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94. Gandhiji At Adyar

"In the dining-shed in the Ashram at Sevagram there hangs a board with this exhortation in Bapu's name: 'I hope all will regard the property of the Ashram as belonging to themselves and to the poorest of the poor. Even salt should not be allowed to be served in excess of one's needs. Water too may not be wasted.' I have been witness to this thrift ever since I joined Gandhiji for the first time in June 1919 at Mani Bhavan in Bombay. One of my duties then was to write letters as dictated or direc­ted by him. Once after receiving his directions I took up note-paper and was about to begin a letter. But Bapu, who had been observing my movements, promptly repri­manded me with, 'Will not a card do?' And so it did.

"Even before the war began, while paper was neither dear nor scarce, Bapu would not allow paper written on only one side to be thrown into the waste-paper basket. All such pastis are carefully sifted out from his volumin­ous incoming correspondence. He utilizes the backside for writing out drafts and other purposes. He cuts up one note-paper into half a dozen tiny pieces and writes out as many separate personal letters to the several Ashramites, dispatching them all in one cover.

"Indeed, the Bapu, not only of the Ashramites but of the famished millions of India, the votary of Daridranarayan, can ill afford to waste even a particle of food or a drop of water," observes Shri Appasaheb Patwardhan, narrating the above-mentioned incident.