XXIII. TO SOUTH
Manilal was restored to health, but I saw that the
Girgaum house was not habitable. It was damp and
ill-lighted. So in consultation with Shri Revashankar
Jagjivan I decided to hire some well-ventilated bungalow
in a suburb of Bombay. I wandered about in Bandra and
Santa Cruz. The slaughter house in Bandra prevented our
choice falling there. Ghatkopar and places near it were
too far from the sea. At last we hit upon a fine bungalow
in Santa Cruz. which we hired as being the best from the
point of view of sanitation.
I took a first class season ticket from Santa Cruz to
Churchgate, and remember having frequently felt a certain
pride in being the only first class passenger in my
compartment. Often I walked to Bandra in order to take
the fast train from there direct to Churchgate.
I prospered in my profession better than I had
expected. My South African clients often entrusted me
with some work, and it was enough to enable me to pay my
I had not yet succeeded in securing any work in the
High Court, but I attended the 'moot' that used to be
held in those days, though I never ventured to take part
in it. I recall Jamiatram Nanabhai taking a prominent
part. Like other fresh barristers I made a point of
attending the hearing of cases in the High Court, more, I
am afraid, for enjoying the soporific breeze coming
straight from the sea than for adding to my knowledge. I
observed that I was not the only one to enjoy this
pleasure. It seemed to be the fashion and therefore
nothing to be ashamed of.
However I began to make use of the High Court library
and make fresh acquaintances and felt that before long I
should secure work in the High Court.
Thus whilst on the one hand I began to feel somewhat
at ease about my profession, on the other hand Gokhale,
whose eyes were always on me, had been busy making his
own plans on my behalf. He peeped in at my chambers twice
or thrice every week, often in company with friends whom
he wanted me to know, and he kept me acquainted with his
mode of work.
But it may be said that God has never allowed any of
my own plans to stand. He has disposed them in His own
Just when I seemed to be settling down as I had
intended I received an unexpected cable from South
Africa: 'Chamberlain expected here. Please return
immediately.' I remembered my promise and cabled to say
that I should be ready to start the moment they put me in
funds. They promptly responded, I gave up the chambers
and started for South Africa.
I had an idea that the work there would keep me
engaged for at least a year, so I kept the bungalow and
left my wife and children there.
I believed then that enterprising youths who could not
find an opening in the country should emigrate to other
lands. I therefore took with me four or five such youths,
one of whom was Maganlal Gandhi.
The Gandhis were and are a big family. I wanted to
find out all those who wished to leave the trodden path
and venture abroad. My father used to accommodate a
number of them in some state service. I wanted them to be
free from this spell. I neither could nor would secure
other service for them; I wanted them to be self-reliant.
But as my ideals advanced, I tried to persuade these
youths also to conform their ideals to mine, and I had
the greatest success in guiding Maganlal Gandhi. But
about this later.
The separation from wife and children, the breaking up
of a settled establishment, and the going from the
certain to the uncertain- all this was for a moment
painful, but I had inured myself to an uncertain life. I
think it is wrong to expect certainties in this world,
where all else but God that is Truth is an uncertainty.
All that appears and happens about and around us is
uncertain transient. But there is a Supreme Being hidden
therein as a Certainty, and one would be blessed if one
could catch a glimpse of that Certainty and hitch one's
waggon to it. The quest for that Truth is the summum
bonum of life.
I reached Durban not a day too soon. There was work
waiting for me. The date for the deputation to wait on
Mr. Chamberlain had been fixed. I had to draft the
memorial to be submitted to him and accompany the