Short Stories For Everyone
Inspiring incidents from Gandhiji's Life: Selected from the book Everyone's Gandhi
(For the children in the age group of 10 to 15 years)

Gandhiji writing


Gandhi's inspiring short stories selected from the book Everyone's Gandhi

Editor by : Rita Roy

Table of Contents

  1. All for A Stone
  2. A Car And A Pair of Binoculars
  3. My Master's Master
  4. Enter The Monkeys
  5. Premchand Quits His Job
  6. Returning His Medals
  7. Basic Pen
  8. Prisoner No. 1739
  9. Gandhi's White Brother
  10. Who Saw Gandhi?
  11. An Early School
  12. An Unusual March
  13. Spiritual Heir
  14. The Less You Have The More You Are
  15. An Old Goat Talks
  16. The Phoenix Settlement
  17. Gandhi in Amsterdam
  18. Something To Be Shy About?
  19. Gandhiji The Matchmaker
  20. Gandhi's Army
  21. Dandi Snippet
  22. Hiding Something
  23. The Image Maker
  24. Creative Reader
  25. Postcards To The Rescue
  26. A Non-violent Satyagraha 214 Years Ago
  27. Gandhi And Delhi
  28. Gandhiji's Constructive Programme
  29. Gandhi Looks At Leprosy
  30. Baba Amte
  31. They Gave Peace A Chance
  32. From Mahatma To God
  33. Customs Are Out of Fashion
  34. The Man 'Charlie' Wanted To Meet
  35. It Came Naturally To Him
  36. Crossing The Sea of Narrow-Mindedness
  37. Wear Clothes As They Should Be Worn
  38. Education: For Life, Through Life
  39. The Abode of Joy
  40. To Cling to A Belief
  41. The Fruit of A Child's Labour
  42. An Ideal Prisoner
  43. How A Film Became Something More
  44. Gandhi: Beyond India
  45. Gandhi's Life-Saving Medicine
  46. Understanding The Mechanics of Life With Gandhi
  47. The Lokmanya and The Mahatma
  48. Man's Gift To Nature
  49. Gurudev And His Mahatma
  50. One-man Boundary Force
  51. What Does Mahatma Gandhi's Message Mean To Me?
  52. Let's Play Together
  53. Children's Response To Conflict
  54. Beggar By Choice
  55. The Better Half
  56. Uncle Gandhi
  57. The Watch: An Instrument For Regulating Life
  58. Light The Lamp of Your Mind
  59. Gandhi's Bet!
  60. Gandhi Feeling At Home In The Kitchen
  61. What Is Simplicity?
  62. Bapu And The Sardar
  63. The Power of Quality
  64. Gandhi: The Teenager!

Chapter 24: Creative Reader

Gandhi was no book worm. Yet, such reading as he did, affected him greatly. In one instance, it even changed him almost overnight. Look at what he says:
During the days of my education I had read practically nothing outside textbooks, and after I launched into active life I had very little time for reading. I cannot therefore claim much book knowledge. However, I believe I have not lost much because of this enforced restraint. On the contrary, the limited reading may be said to have enabled me thoroughly to digest what I did read. Of these books, the one that brought about an instantaneous and practical transformation in my life was Unto This Last.....
This book came into Gandhi's hands in curious circumstances. In 1903 he was leaving for Durban on a business trip. His friend Henry Polak came to see him off at the railway station in Johannesburg and gave him, a book to read during the long journey. This was John Ruskin's Unto This Last: Four Essays on the First Principles of Political Economy, published in 1860.
The 34-year old Gandhi read the work all through the journey of twenty-four hours. As he reached the last page, deeply reflecting all the while, he had come to a firm decision: he would change his entire outward life in accordance with the ideals set forth by John Ruskin. (Not that John Ruskin himself could have translated his ideas into the action he prescribed.) Many years after, stressing what he owed to Great Britain, Gandhi wrote: "Great Britain gave me Ruskin, whose Unto This Last transformed me overnight from a lawyer and city-dweller into a rustic living away from Durban on a farm, three miles from the nearest railway station." So who was John Ruskin, and what was the true secret of the extraordinary spell that he cast upon an unknown Indian?
John Ruskin (1819-1900) was a British essayist and art critic, thinker on sociology and economics and had written a number of books. He also gave much of his fortune to social causes and wrote about social justice and education for working people. Incidentally, he also wrote the following: "How much do you think we spend on compared with what we spend on our horses?"
Of course, Gandhi did not accept all the ideas in Ruskin's book. He did not share the more conservative view of Ruskin which held the common man inferior, erected an aristocratic hierarchy, and denied the masses any political control on grounds of incompetence. What appealed to Gandhi most in Ruskin's works was the set of economic principles which supported his own concept of an ashram organisation. Both sought the conversion of the dominant classes by a change of heart.
But despite disagreements, how did Gandhi take to the book to this extent? A point Louis Fischer has made is of much interest in this context. Nothing that Gandhi read in Ruskin's works, says he, need have suggested the drastic course decided upon. The plain fact was that Gandhi himself was ready at this point for a back-to-nature move. Comments Fischer: "He frequently read into texts what he wanted them to say. A creative reader, he co-authored the impression the book played on him. He put things into it..." "It was a habit with me," Gandhi once wrote, "to forget what I did not like and to carry out in practice what I liked." Obviously, Gandhi kept the wheat and threw the chaff.