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Self imposed discipline
In Yeravada jail, prisoners were posted as warders to guard and serve Gandhiji.
Warder Adan belonged to Somaliland. He was sentenced to ten years of imprisonment for abdicating the British army during the First World War. He had been transferred here from the Aden jail. He could read Kuran with difficulty. But, he would keep reading the Ayats of Kuran in his spare time. He became a fan of Gandhiji. Gandhiji filed a number of applications for his release or transfer to the Aden jail again, on his behalf.
One day, he brought a fresh ‘Times’ news paper with great trouble. How the sight of a newspaper was ever possible in the jail? He happily went to Gandhiji and presented the paper to him.
Gandhiji would observe each and every rule of the jail religiously. If the rules were unjust, he would inform the authority and would fight against it. But he would never violate the smallest of the small rule of the jail.
He asked Adan, “Adan, what is this?”
‘Maharaj, it‘s a newspaper, fresh newspaper. See, I have brought it for you.’
‘I cannot see this newspaper. It is against the law. You take it back.’
Adan felt bad. He was disappointed.
He spoke, “Everybody wants to see the paper. I have brought it with such a great difficulty.”
Gandhiji explained to him, “I understand everything. But, it is against the rule. That is why I cannot see it. You take it back and burn it, otherwise I will have to report.
Adan got very confused. He left from there with the paper. He started thinking. He went to Gandhiji’s colleague and said: “Maharaj says, it is against the law. Whose laws? The Government is rascal. Why to care for this Government‘s laws? But, Gandhiji is a religious person. He does not listen to me. You please explain to him.”
The colleague told him, “Gandhiji never listens to such a thing. On the contrary, he would get annoyed.”
Even then, Adan could not convince himself. He again went to Gandhiji quietly in slow steps, and talked, “You are a great man, you are religious person. You are not going to see the paper for yourself. But, I have been here for quite a long time. Please tell me, if there is any news from my country in there?”
Listening to him Gandhiji smiled. He could see Adan’s trick to make him read the paper anyhow. But, seeing his insistence, Gandhiji did not want to displease him, and he then read out the news related to Somaliland’s war and something else to him.
Adan came out and started telling with a childlike giggle, “Look, Gandhiji saw the paper. Look, how I persuaded him!
Whom shall we praise? The one, who could deviate the saint from the observance of the rule with the force of his love or the one who subjected himself to love and affection, instead of sticking to the rule rigidly?