32. The Jail Palace
Gandhiji called the jail a palace. Many people are afraid of even mentioning its name. The jail means the high walls, the big gates, the fearsome guards, the handcuffs and noisy chains! Besides this a prisoner had to work on a big hand mill, draw water from the well and work on the oil mill too. In spite of this no one could escape the stick of the inspector.
Once imprisoned no one could escape. There was nothing to see and nothing to listen to.
The thieves used to shake with fear at the mention of jail. But it never seemed horrifying to Gandhiji, instead it seemed like a palace to him. He had enjoyed its hospitality so many times. Similarly he had opened its gates for so many satyagrahis.
He would say, "Why to have fear of going to jail while serving your country?" On the contrary, it was only a pleasure.
In fact, you don't have to worry about anything once you enter the jail. The meal is ready on time, you get clothes to wear, you even have a room and when there is some work to do, a guard is always there for your safety. In addition, after the hard work of the day, one gets a sound sleep at night.
Even a king might not enjoy such luxury in his palace. He can't enjoy the meals properly because of the worries and is unable to sleep comfortably.
Gandhiji had been in South African jail too. In India, he was frequently sent to Yerawada and Sabarmati jail.
The jail employees felt very awkward when they had to imprison him.