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77. Bapu's insistence on strict observance of rules
In 1939, during the Satyagraha in Rajkot, Ba was interned in a small village nearby, just before Bapu was arrested. The atmo­sphere and climate there were far from satisfactory. This affected her health so badly that in keeping her so far away, there was great risk to her life. Though she never complained of her suffering to any one, not even to Bapu, the public somehow got the scent of it, and, consequently, they agitated for her being shift­ed to some other place. At last the State Government shifted Ba to another village, about 10 to 15 miles off Rajkot. Along with her at the time there were Manibehn Patel and Mridulabehn Sarabhai. Even here, how­ever, Ba did not keep well. But she never cared for herself, all the time being concerned about Bapu's health and the well-being of Ramadas- bhai's son, Kahana.
Now once Bapu visited Ba in her intern­ment. He found her looking extremely weak and pale, even though the Government had provided her with various kinds of comforts and conveniences. But the fact of the matter was that she was feeling keenly her separation from Bapu.
Then, all of a sudden, Bapu entered on a fast. This was a great shock to Ba and others. So she said to Sushilabehn, who had conveyed the disturbing news to her, "You should have at least told me betimes that Bapu was contemplating a fast."
Sushilabehn answered, "But, Ba, none of us had any previous inkling of what was coming."
Presently, Ba called the maid, who cooked food for her, and told her that during the period of Bapu's fast she would have only fruit and that, too, only once during the day. It may be stated here that this was her usual practice whenever Bapu went on a fast.
Now two or three days after the fast had begun, Ba came one day and stood before Bapu! Whereupon Bapu asked her, "How have you come up here?"
Ba replied that the Government had told her that if she wished to see Bapu, she could.
However, when till nightfall nobody came there to take back Ba to her place of internment, presumably, because the Government thought of setting her free in this way—Bapu said, "If the Government wishes to release you, then they should release Manibehn and Mridulabehn and others as well, and also in a proper manner."
After waiting in vain for an escort till 1 a.m., Bapu sent Ba back. Then someone told him that at that late hour the road would be closed. Further, nobody would let her in without a pass, and so they might even stop her on the way. "If they do this," Bapu said to Ba, "then offer Satyagraha and lie down on the road, even if you have to be there the whole night."
Thereupon Ba went away, though she did not at all like to leave Bapu alone. However, no one stopped her on the way and she reached her place of internment. Subsequently, in compliance with Bapu's letter, the Government set Ba and others free in the proper manner. Ba at once went back to Bapu and engaged herself in his service, absolutely un­mindful of her own needs.