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114. Bapu Apologizes
When Shri Rajagopalachari and Shri Shankarlal Banker were discussing the possibility of Gandhiji's being examined by doctors prior to the commencement of his 21 days' fast for purification, (which was to begin on 8th May 1933), Gandhiji said : "I cannot agree to any medical examination, as it would be tantamount to lack of faith on my part."
"Then," said C. R., "you are conceding nothing and claiming infallibility."
This irritated Gandhiji, who flared up saying, "You shall not thus undermine my conviction and my faith. I am confident that I am going to survive the ordeal. That should be enough for me, and you as my friends ought not to try to weaken my faith. I cannot agree to any examination of me by doctors before the commencement of the fast."
The friends then left. Both of them were sorry that they should have irritated Gandhiji's soul.
In the evening, while taking our usual walk, Gandhiji as in a flash realized his mistake and said that he had done a great wrong to two dear friends. "What a frail erring creature is man !" said he, "even on the eve of a purificatory fast, I gave way to anger against my dear friends. I will tender an apology to them."
Next morning, accordingly, he sent the following letter to C. R. :
"My dear C. R.
You are dearer to me than life itself. I wounded you and Shankarlal deeply yesterday. It is no use my saying 'forgive me'. Your forgiveness I have, before asking. But I will do the very thing that I resisted like an ass. I will submit to an examination now and at any time you like; by any doctor, provided, of course, Government permit it. I feel that the result of such an examination should not be published, for fear of political use being made of it. I must say, too, that medical examination, if it comes, is not likely to affect the commencement of the fast. More when we meet. This is just to relieve my soul of the impurity that crept in yesterday. Love to you and Shankarlal, Bapu."
Next day, however, C. R. came laughing and said, "There was no occasion for apology. The irritation was more on our side than on yours and we have now decided to have no examination."
- M. D. in Harijan