Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

The strain of these conferences had told on father

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The strain of these conferences had told on father, and on the i6th he suddenly got high fever. This delayed our return, and we started back on the night of the ipth, again by special train, for Naini. Every effort was made by the Bombay Government to provide a comfortable journey for father, and even in Yeravda, during our brief stay there, his comforts were studied. I remember an amusing incident on the night of our arrival at Yeravda. Colonel Martin, the superintendent, asked father what kind of food he would like. Father told him that he took very simple and light food, and then he enumerated his various requirements from early morning tea in bed to dinner at night. (In Naini we used to get food for him daily from home.) The list father gave in all innocence and simplicity consisted certainly of light foods, but it was impressive. Very probably at the Ritz or the Savoy it would have been considered simple and ordinary food, as father himself was convinced that it was. But in Yeravda Prison it seemed strange and far 173
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away and most inappropriate. Mahmud and I were highly amused to watch the expression on Colonel Martin's face as he listened to father's numerous and expensive requirements in the way of food. For a long time he had had in his keeping the greatest and most famous of India's leaders, and all that he had required in the way of food was goat's milk, dates, and perhaps oranges occasionally. The new type of leader that had come to him was very different. During our journey back from Poona to Naini we again rushed by the big stations and stopped in out-of-the-way places. But the crowds were larger still, filling the platforms and sometimes even swarming over the railway lines, especially at Harda, Itarsi, and Sohagpur. Acci dents were narrowly averted. Father's condition was rapidly deteriorating. Many doctors came to examine him, his own doctors as well as doctors sent on behalf of the Provincial Government. It was obvious that jail was the worst place for him, and there could be no proper treatment there. And yet, when a suggestion was made by some friend in the press that he should be released because of his illness, he was irritated, as he thought that people might think that the suggestion came from him. He even went to the length of sending a telegram to Lord Irwin, saying that he did not want to be released as a special favor. But his condition was grow ing worse from day to day; he was losing weight rapidly, and physi cally he was a shadow of himself. On the 8th of September he was discharged after exactly ten weeks of prison. Our barrack became a dull and lifeless place after his departure. There was so much to be done when he was with us, little services to add to his comfort, and all of us Mahmud, Narmada Prasad, and I filled our days with this joyful service.
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