Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav
Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India
Contact No. – 09415777229, 094055338
BREAKING FAST OF MAHATMA GANDHI
So The Day arrived for which hundreds and thousands had prayed for. The scenes were as solemn as on the 8th May. Men and women of all faiths were represented there by those who were present on the occasion in response to the invitation of the door-keeper, Shrimati Sarojini Naidu, who for once in her life had forsaken her extravagant generosity and become niggardly in the interest of the patient, for whom she had kept tireless vigil. On any other occasion of rejoicing, she might have invited the whole city of Poona, but not that day. I had been expecting the Harijan boy who had entered into that contract with Gandhiji on the 8th of May to appear punctually on the noon of the 29th. I had entreated the door-keeper to find him out and allow him in. Unfortunately, I did not know his address; otherwise, I should have fetched him myself. He did not turn up, and the orange juice was supplied not by him but by the kind hostess, Lady Thackersey, who perhaps felt the luckiest woman that day, as Dr. Ansari, the proudest man. The Harijan boy was not there, but the door-keeper had flung the doors open to all Harijans, and the first and only garland offered to Gandhiji before the break of the fast was that of a Harijan girl, who then sat in the midst of her sisters of rank and station. In the centre and with Sjt. Amritlal Thakkar and Seth Jamnalal Bajaj, sat the Harijans among whom there were some who had come from far off Ahmadabad. With the name of Rama on our lips we began the function, which was inaugurated by Dr. Ansari with texts from the Koran on the spiritual meaning of fasting, during which the aspirant after grace had to feast himself on good and fast from all evil. Brothers from the Christ Seva Sangh sang Gandhiji’s favourite: “When I survey the Wondrous Cross.” Prof. Wadia sang the Parsi prayer which, as he said, could be the universal prayer; and Kakasaheb sang the verse in which the devotee offers his prayers to the embodiment of all good, of all freedom from passion and hatred, of all love and compassion, whatever be the name by which men call Him. Then came the Poet’s song wherein he invokes the Almighty to come with a torrent of mercy when the springs of life dry up and with neutered music when all the sweetness is missing. The Poet could not be there, as at the break of the September Fast, to sing it and so I sang it in his name. Last came the hymn of ‘the true Vaishnava’, which is almost as life-breath to Gandhiji and is sung on all occasions when we are called upon to face sorrow and joy with equanimity.