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STUDENTS' PROJECTS > GANDHI - GANGA > Clare Sheridan > Extreme Simplicity
49. Extreme Simplicity
I had the privilege of closely observing that tiny but great Mahatma. I got the opportunity of making his sculpture due to sister Sarojini Naiydu. It was not at all an easy job. It was utterly impossible that he would sit motionless for making a sculpture. Some of its reasons could either be his modesty or it could be the workload or apathy to art. This reminded me of the people’s leader Lenin. In 1920, I was granted permission to enter his Kremlin office in Moscow. He too had made me accept such conditions. There is an amazing similarity in these two leaders. There might have been differences of opinion between them about violence and nonviolence, but both of them were staunch idealists.
On my first meeting with Mahatmaji, he told me (just like Lenin did) that he wouldn’t be able to sit still in front of me continuously and that he would keep working; I would have to do whatever I could in that condition. He sat down on the floor and started spinning his wheel; Lenin had started reading a book sitting in his office chair.
Both these incidents had ultimately led to a friendship between us. One day, Gandhiji ironically said to me, just like Lenin would have said, “So, you are Winston Churchill’s sister?” It’s an old joke! Winston’s real sisterwas trying to be friendly with his staunch enemy! Gandhiji then added, “Do you remember that your brother had asked you not to see me? But, would you tell him how happy I am to see you?”
Lenin too had said almost the same thing... “Tell you brother...” etc. The immortal message these two eminent leaders spread in the world has kindled hope within the lowly, downtrodden and unhappy people. This message promises them a better position; they feel that they belong in this world. Those who sacrificed their lives for Lenin were brave but those who sacrificed their lives for Gandhi were brave as well as martyrs.
American sculptor Joe David had sculpted a replica of Gandhiji’s head. I had an opportunity to talk to him. Joe David had made sculptures of almost all the famous men and women of this era. Both of us had the same opinion about one thing; both of us were disappointed to meet these people. Their bodyguards always surrounded all of them as if they were sentenced to house arrest. None of them had impressed us much, but Gandhiji was different from all of them. This man with a lean and thin stature, who walked barefoot and used Khadi to drape himself, had made deep impression on us by his extreme simplicity.