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I had thought there would be plenty of time to study while in the village. But the hopes were belied. Here, the days were spent on excursions and pleasure activities. Sometimes we went for boat rides, sometimes we went fishing and bird hunting, there were wrestling bouts to watch, or we simply sat down for a game of chess. There was a whole team of servants to attend upon us always. There was no need to move the limbs, only the tongue needed to be moved and the orders would be executed instantly. If we went to bathe there would be a servant ready with pails of water; if we lay down there would be a servant ready to pull at the fan!
I was respected by one and all for "being the scion of a princely family and a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi". Every care was taken to ensure that there was not the slightest delay in serving me meals or laying the bed at the right time. I had become much more tender than Ishwari or was compelled to become so. Ishwari might spread out his bed with his own hands, but how could his princely guest do the same! That would cause a blot in his greatness.
This is exactly what happened one day. Ishwari was not in the room; he was, perhaps, discussing certain things with his mother. It was already 10 pm and my eyelids were drooping in sleep. But the bed was not laid. How could I spread it myself? I was the scion of a princely family! The servant came at around 11.30 pm; he had been busy with other household work and had quite forgotten about laying my bed. He came hurrying when he realized his folly. I gave him such a scolding that he must have remembered it for life. When Ishwari heard me reprimanding the servant he rushed to the room. "You did the right thing; this is the way to deal with these idiots," he said.
A similar incident occurred another day. Ishwari was invited to dinner somewhere. It was evening, but the lamp had not yet been lighted. The lamp was on the table and the matchbox was by its side. I had never seen Ishwari lighting the lamp with his own hands; so, how could the worthy guest do so? I was getting annoyed; the newspaper lay on the table and I wanted to read it. But the lamp threw no light! Riyasat Ali, the clerk, happened to pass by the room and I vented my anger on him. "You people don't have the courtesy to even light the lamp in the guest's room," I rebuked him. "I can't understand why laziness is tolerated here."
The dressing down unnerved the unfortunate man and he lighted the lamp with trembling hands.
One man, an enterprising kind of a person, often visited Ishwari's house. He respected me because I was Mahatma Gandhi's follower but hesitated to ask me questions openly. Finding me alone one day, he came up to me with folded hands and said, "Sir, you are Mahatma Gandhi's follower, aren't you? People say that after we gain freedom, the zamindari (landownership) system will be abolished."
Pretending to be well-informed I said, "Where is the need for zamindars to remain? What do they do other than suck blood from the poor?"
The man asked, "Sir, does that mean the land of the zamindars will be taken away from them?"
"Many will give away their lands willingly. But the lands of those who do not do so will have to be seized. We are all ready for that day; once we gain freedom, we will distribute our lands among the tenant-farmers."
I was sitting with my feet on the chair; the man began massaging them. "These days the zamindars have become very despotic, sir. While distributing the lands in your jurisdiction, please give me a piece as well; I will serve you well."
"Well, I have not been allotted any jurisdiction as of now, but when I am allotted one, I will summon you first. I will teach you to drive and employ you as my chauffeur," I told him.
I heard that the man consumed a large quantity of "bhang" that day and beat his wife. He even challenged the village money-lender to a fight.
Some useful links for
- Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
- IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
- Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
- Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
- IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
- Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
- Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
- Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
- Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
- Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu