Friday, 14 July 2017

Gandhiji and hus Killer

"One evening a big meeting of Indians and sympathizers was held in the Masonic Hall, Johannesburg. The large gathering overflowed the confines of the hall, and crowded up the doorway and porch. Mr. Gandhi was the chief speaker and always drew a big crowd to him wherever he went. At the close of the meeting Mr. Gandhi came down from the platform and talked with a few people; then he and I walked out together. As we reached the outer door I noticed a man standing in the shadow of it. Mr. Gandhi also specially noticed him, it was evident, for he went directly to him and linked his arm in the man's, saying something in a quiet, earnest voice to him. The man hesitated for one moment, then turned and walked away with Mr. Gandhi, I meantime keeping my place on the other side of him. We walked the length of the street. I did not understand what the others were talking about, even could I have heard it. But I could not hear, for both men were speaking in a very low voice. At the end of the street the man handled something over to Mr. Gandhi and walked away. I was somewhat puzzled by the whole proceeding and, as soon as the man had gone, I asked Mr. Gandhi what was the matter. "What did the man want—anything special?" I queried.

"Yes," replied Mr. Gandhi, "he wanted to kill me."

"To kill you," I repeated. "To kill you? How horrible! Is he mad?"

"No, he thinks that I am acting traitorously towards our people; that I am intriguing with the Government against them, and yet pretending to be their friend and leader."

"But that is all wicked and dreadful," I protested. "Such a man is not safe; he ought to be arrested. Why -did you let him go like that? He must be mad!"

"No," replied Mr. Gandhi, "he is not mad, only mistaken; and you saw, after I had talked to him, he handed over to me the knife he had intended to use on me."

"He would have stabbed you in the dark. I . . ." But Mr. Gandhi interrupted me. "Do not disturb ..yourself so much about it. He thought he wanted to kill me; but he really had not the courage to do so. If I were as bad as he thought I was, I should deserve to die. Now we will not worry any more about it. It is finished. I do not think that man will attempt to injure me again. Had I had him arrested, I should have made an enemy of him. As it is, he will now be my friend.""

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