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88. The Last Day
On that fateful Friday, the 30th January, Gandhiji thought of going to Sevagram after two days. Someone asked him if the people there should be informed about the date of his arrival there. He said, “Why waste money for the telegram? I will declare the date of departure after the evening prayer. The people at Sevagram will get the news through the newspaper even before they can get the telegram.” He seemed to be very happy that day. Someone told him that a lady wished to go to Sevagram but did not get any transportation. On hearing this Gandhiji said, “Why didn’t you walk down to the station?” he expected everyone to find a way out of any situation, in any condition. If he entrusted a job to anyone, he would not listen to any excuses. Once he was touring in South India when the vehicle stopped because the petrol was over. Gandhiji immediately got ready to heave the luggage on his back and walk down to the station, thirteen miles away. He had severe cough at the time.
Someone suggested him to take a penicillin tablet, but once again he insisted on getting well by the power of Ramnam. He said to the person who massaged he head, “If I would die due to any disease, even if due to a small boil, tell the whole world that this was a ‘Hypocrite Mahatma’. This would bring me solace, wherever I would be. The people might abuse you but do it at any cost. If I die due to a disease, then also call me a hypocrite. But if someone shoots me and I would die without heaving a sigh, saying Ramnam unto the last moment, declare me the real Mahatma.” It was 4 pm and he worked on his spinning wheel for about an hour. Simultaneously, he kept talking to Sarah. He also had his dinner while conversing with her. It was the time for the evening prayer. Abha could dare not intervene their conversation. Gandhiji looked into his watch and glanced at Abha. At last he said to Sardar, “Now I must leave.” He got up and put his hands on the shoulders of Abha and Manu. Joking with them, he started towards the place for prayer. When he reached near the dais he said, “I hate being ten minutes late for the prayer. I feel that I should be there for the prayer at 5 o’ clock, exactly.” These were his last words.