“Bapu was a mother to me and me only”

India Today - - COVER STORY -

Jan­uary 18, 1947, Birla House, Delhi Bapu said he pe­rused my diary af­ter a long time and felt happy. He said my test is over and he has never come across a girl more no­ble than me and that’s the rea­son he calls him­self my mother and not of any­one else. Bapu said: “Abha or Sushila, Pyare­lal or Kanu, why should I care for any­one? That girl ( Abha) is fool­ing me but the fact is that she is cheat­ing her­self. I greatly value your un­par­al­leled con­tri­bu­tion in this great yagna.” He then told me, “Your only fault is that you have de­stroyed your body. More than your phys­i­cal ex­er­tion, it is your dif­fi­dent na­ture that is killing you. I will con­sider my­self a vic­tor only when you start look­ing not like a 70- yearold that you look now but a 17- year- old.” Oc­to­ber 2, 1947, Birla House, Delhi To­day was Bapu’s birth­day. I prayed to God to bring him out a vic­tor from this wild­fire ( Par­ti­tion ri­ots which Gand­hiji was try­ing to quell) or else call him ( mean­ing bring an end to his life). Bapu has ex­erted a lot but now I can’t see his agony fur­ther. Oh God, how long you will con­tinue this test of Bapu! While sleep­ing or keep­ing awake in the night, I only pray that let this last good work ( of dous­ing the com­mu­nal ri­ots) end at the hands of Bapu. Novem­ber 14, 1947, Birla House, Delhi I am feel­ing to­tally de­pressed of late. When Bapu saw this, he asked

me to re­veal my agony say­ing he was a grand­fa­ther and fa­ther to many but mother to me and me only. I told Bapu Abha is very in­dif­fer­ent to­wards me th­ese days which is the cause. Bapu said he was happy that I poured my heart to him but even if I didn’t, he could guess my state of mind. Then he said I will re­main as­so­ci­ated with him till the end but that was not the case with Abha and so let her do what she wants. He com­pli­mented me say­ing that I served not just him with de­vo­tion but oth­ers too. Novem­ber 18, 1947, Birla House, Delhi To­day when I was giv­ing Bapu a bath he be­came very an­gry with me for hav­ing stopped my evening walks with him. The words he used were bit­ter. He said, “You don’t fol­low my in­struc­tions when I am alive, so what will you do af­ter I am dead? Does it mean you are wait­ing for my death?” I was stunned when I heard this and didn’t have the courage to re­act.

GETTY IM­AGES

GANDHI WITH MANUBEN ( LEFT) AND ABHAIN DELHI, 1947

NMML

GANDHI ATAPRAYER MEET­ING IN BIRLA HOUSE, DELHI, WITH ABHATO HIS LEFT, AND MANUBEN

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