1966 – To Himalayas

Posted By Author on September 26, 2009

Got up at 3 A.M. washed clothes.  Decided not to shave hereafter. Bath. Breakfast.  Had been to office. Came to know that it was decided to leave at 11 A.M. after taking lunch. Showed magic tricks to about thirty children.  All were bare bodied.  Poverty was speaking. They all had great fun. At midday I was called in.  I already had lunch and packed a bundle of minimum clothes.

When I entered the hall Baba was walking up and down.  He would stand before Christ’s photo, gaze at it, contemplate and walk again. Later we went in the courtyard of his hut. It was a beautifully planned garden. No one was allowed to enter this part of the ashram. It was my privilege to see the area.  He was seated in a cane chair just in front of the door to his hut.  To his left were standing the eldest and the third daughter of Ramani Ranjan Das, Gita and Dipali respectively. Other core members of Ashram were standing beside me. Ramanidada was standing a yard in front of Baba. We all together recited prayers in Bengali .. Rabindranath Tagore’s song, verses on Vivekananda, anf Sanskrit stanzas.  Then Baba touched the neck of Ramanidada with middle finger and touched both the daughter in similar manner. Ramanidada began to recite some prayer. His voice began to rise and the pitch reached crescendo.  He began to shake and he was struggling from unbearable pain. Baba got up and again touched his  middle finger to Ramanidada’s neck.  Like an electric shock he became normal. It seemed his touch charged and discharged Ramanidada.  Everything was queer and beyond my comprehension. Then all of us recited ‘Jago re Jago’ (Wake up), Gandhiji’s ‘Raghupati Raghao Rajaram’, and lastly prayer of Goddess Kali.  All this time Baba was smoking.  Then Baba bent before his meditation room and so did we.    Lastly, as if in procession, we followed Baba to the main gate of the Ashram where Taxis and all Ashramites were waiting. Men, women, and children were lying prostrate before him.  All were weeping.  I observed even an eight year old girl was weeping. He was again asking their welfare and encouraging. Ramanidada whispered in my ear that Baba sold out a house and some adjoining agricultural land for Rs.2400/-

Baba then turned towards me and recited the following verse of Mathew Arnold:

“ Like driftwood spurs, which meet and pass
Upon the boundless ocean plain
So on the sea of life, alas
Man meets man and quits again”

(This I came to know as rendering of a Sanskrit verse ‘yatha kashtam cha kastam’ by Emerson?)
The pathetic scene reminded me of demigod Ramchandra leaving Ayodhya for fourteen years in recluse described in Ramayana.

Baba entered the rear seat of the taxi No.W.G.T.705.
Banana leaves were spread on the seat and his reed mat was kept above it. Gita and Dipali were sitting on his flanks. There was a curtain between the front and back seat. Ramani Ranjan Das with his daughter Kolyani (Kalyani) occupied the front seat near the driver.

My colleague Dr. Akolkar, head of the department of Philosophy was working on parapsychology under Dr. Rhyne of U.S.A.  He had been to him.  Dr.Rhyne advised him to carry a magician while examining occult phenomenon. He chose me as a magician and I ripped open more than twenty-six Mahatmas, Babas, Sadhus and Maharajas performing miracles.  It became my hobby and I also examined haunted places of ghosts and Bhanamatis but in the above case of Tantra rituals I was helpless.

Shubir, Shomu, Dinbandhu, Haribandhu, Haridas and me occupied taxi No. W.G.T. 695.  We entered Falakata and devotees got the urge to have ‘paan’ i.e. betel leaf and tobacco.  There Baba was worried for our delay and waiting for us.  We moved forward.  In Jalpaiguri we had tea and snacks while Baba went ahead. We reached the river Tista.  Baba took bath in the river.  After wash we went ahead and paid toll for both the cars on the bridge.  Baba’s car did not stop and it was a nice planning to avoid the assembled crowd.

We reached outskirts of Siliguri.  Chaudharibabu of Mainaguri was waiting for us in front of a small kiosk.  He brought two private taxi owners.  Baba dictated two to three letters and then began to bargain with taxi owners.  Baba promised Rs. six hundred per taxi for four days to travel up to Lucknow. The owners indulged in haggling. Baba lost patience and roared like a tiger. The owners became panicky and immediately agreed. Baba turned to me and said, “These men are covetous of money. They do not have human touch.” The drivers were not prepared to stay with us at night.  We showed them the site of our camp.  There was a check post two miles ahead of Jalpaiguri and Baba told me to tell the police that there was no need for permission to go to New Jalpaiguri. Distance between Jalpaiguri and New Jalpaiguri is thirty miles. The name was misleading. However, this did not hinder.

We camped at night in an open ploughed field. We leveled the land and brought out our luggage. Baba’s camp was about two hundred feet away.  The taxis left.  Crowd began to cluster.  Baba asked about fertility of the land to the owner of the field.  He questioned whether the land gave two and half maunds of paddy yield per bigha.  The owner answered in affirmation.  Then Baba turned to me and said, “Look Suresh. No care of land!  How can food problem of the nation be solved? I am against synthetic manures. After twenty-five years it will spoil the land. (Research in California now confirmed his prophecy.) Use of compost, urine, and organic manure must be taught.  The difficulty of the persons in seat of power is that they do not feel for the people.” He further gave sermon on planning.  He then enquired with farmers about productivity of milk, expenses, and price. (In Singapore Netaji used to ask to Kalia the prices of groceries.)

I wrote my diary in the moonlight. Baba’s magnetic personality would attract all and sundry.  A few persons from Siliguri surreptitiously crept in towards him out of curiosity.  They were driven out.  There were many rules and restrictions while cooking his food.  Gita was preparing his food in the open on stone-chula. (Furnace). Our friends forgot to take rice with us.  Lalitbabu and Haridas walked down to Siliguri and with difficulty purchased provisions.  They returned at 9 P.M. We dined Khichari at 10 P.M. I was in dhoti and shirt both of very thin cloth.  It was windy and cold.  I was shivering.  We slept in the open field.

Got up at 4 A.M. It was pitch dark. I finished ablution, bath, meditation and Bhagwat Gita reading then had chat with Baba. We were to start at 7 A.M. The hired private taxies Ambassador Nos. W.G.U.2503 and A.S.K. 4686 arrived in time. Baba had bath and went in neighboring farm and returned. We had lunch of rice and we packed luggage by 9 A.M. Baba, Lalitbabu and myself were talking.  Baba said, “Suresh there was a public meeting at Mainaguri.  Mukherjee blurted that Atulya Ghosh was a leader equal to Netaji’s stature and Ghosh was listening.  Useless people.  They have lost their sense of proportion”, remorsed Baba in a raised voice.  We were ready to move.  Lalitbabu lay prostrate before Baba and began to sob uncontrollably.  He handed over hundred rupees note to Haridas and begged an apology that he was ashamed of not being able to give more that time.  A crowd of twenty people was watching nearby.  Baba became serious and pensive.  The scene was very touching.  Baba soothed Lalitbabu and then we began onward journey at 10 A.M. We were to follow Baba’s car at reasonable distance and not lag behind.  Our driver began to grumble about speed and load.  Whenever Baba used to halt to ease himself he would cover the wet spot with soil and wash genitals. (Netaji was very particular to inspect hygienic conditions in INA camps.) We all had a halt on the bank of river Mahananda. Baba and most of us took bath in the river.  Three employees of the check-post came.  Poor fellows voluntarily collected two and half rupees amongst themselves and offered as Bhiksha to Baba.  He instructed to give receipt of the Ashram to them.

We entered Bihar. Strong Loo (dusty wind) was blowing. The torrid Sun sizzled and hot dusty winds rolled. Visibility was poor. We shut the windows. At one place cars were stopped.  Baba called us all and instructed that we were entering the Loo zone and that everybody should covertheir ears.  The journey restarted.  We halted in Purnia.  He called me with atlas. The district road was closed and hence decided new route.  He told me to calculate the distance of new route.  I measured the map and gave figures.  He was puzzled and could not believe the figure.  Then I realized my mistake.  I was estimating in miles and he was assuming kilometers.  He laughed and said that was the reason for his bewilderment. Journey began.  It was decided that we would stop our journey everyday by forenoon but it continued up to 5 P.M.

We stopped at the river Kosi.  The construction of the bridge was in process.  There was a pontoon bridge.  It was floating on rocket like cylinders.  At a distance vertical cylinders were fixed in riverbed and cables were tied from its bottom to floating bridge.  All of us alighted on the east bank.   Baba reconnoitered the bank for bath but being depositional side and almost stagnant, it was covered with moss and filth. After two and half furlongs’ walk Baba returned and decided to cross the pontoon bridge and take bath on the west bank.

I deliberately straggled behind with Shomu.  I told Shomu that I would swim across hardly about 400 feet and handed over my clothes to him and told him to reach the west bank.  I was a good swimmer and used to swim continuously for four hours in a swimming pool but never had an experience of running water.  I was out of practice too.  I entered the river and reached half the distance. I got exhausted and so began to float on my back.  I had no idea.  I was caught in the main current and swept towards the pontoon bridge that was about five feet above water.  I was exhausted and nervous.  All were standing in the middle of pontoon bridge and Baba was with one leg on the railing in a jumping position.  I swam towards the vertical supporting cylinder. I got hold of it but slipped due to moss and went down and came up. The cable was surfacing ten feet away.  I got hold of it.  I regained confidence that I was out of danger.  Baba was five feet away.  He shouted, “Suresh, you look tired.  Shall I help you? I requested him to go forward but he would not budge.  Dasbabu’s daughters were with him.  Ultimately I had to tell him that my ‘gamcha’ (thin towel) swept away.  He realized my plight and laughed heartily but all the while looking back when going ahead.  With difficulty I climbed up the cable and came to pontoon bridge.  Horrible.  I escaped almost certain death.  Shomu gave my clothes.  Colleagues were laughing to see me in nature’s suit.  Baba cancelled taking bath, as the west bank too was not suitable.  We pushed off.

In the car Baba told Dipali that he was about to jump to save me. She conveyed this to me through Shomu. With one foot on the railing he was definitely in the posture of jumping.

We stopped at Khagadia in a schoolyard.  Fruits and prepared food was purchased.  All had bath in the school. I begged an apology for the swimming incident.  I told him how it happened.  He advised me that the Himalayan Rivers were very forceful and never attempt even ten feet crossing in life.  After his bath he performed pooja (puja-rituals of God). Leaves of mango tree were sprawled on which he sat.  He took fruits and we dined.  Villagers began to throng.  We pushed off and he selected a field for night camp.  Soon I was sound asleep.

I got up early morning and the first person to be seen was Baba. He was taking a round to see whether we were comfortable.  There was water scarcity and so with bare minimum ablutions we began our traverse.  We took a brief halt at Barauni as drivers wanted to take tea.

Baba was standing near his car.  We surrounded him and he talked, “Suresh, although Shastri is praised as peace maker future will call him a fool.  Sometimes Jayaprakash Narayan behaves like an idiot.  His talk of peace with the Nagas was the height of idiotness.  Can you teach peace to a panther?” About king of Nepal he observed,” He was an old orthodox king.  He did not like democracy. Koirala brothers were fighters for democracy and were disciples of Jayaprakash. The king jailed both Koiralas. They were very good young boys. One was of your age or may be around forty.” He tersely remarked that Rajgopalachari should retire to temple and be busy in bhajan, singing god’s name. We crossed the Rajendra Bridge and got down on the bank of the Ganges for bath.  I completed diary and then joined. After bath fruits were washed in the river and offered to God first and then he was first to eat.  He also ate raw lemons and rock salt. (Netaji used to take water of rock salt) All of us had fruits after he finished.  He ate very quickly and fast while our colleagues were slow and leisurely.

He was about to climb in the car but stopped and assembled all.  He rebuked in Bengali for not washing his seat and inside of car by lemons.  This process was to be performed every day.

To the east of Patna was a small temple of Lord Mahadeo built in 1960 near Mohamadpur.  His car stopped.  I thought he wanted to bow in the temple.  All of us assembled. It was anger, whole anger, and nothing but anger.  He ordered to take out his walking stick, Dalda tin container, reed-mat and shawl. He said his direction of washing seat was flouted and consequently his body was burning.  He was intensely suffering.  First I thought it to be a pretext and part of imposition.  Then I saw red rash on his forehead and his fingers were swollen.  He was sitting on the floor of the temple. The temple was hardly eight feet in length and breadth.  He told all of us that he would walk down to Haridwar.  It might take fifteen to twenty days.  He put on the cloth bag on the shoulder and ordered for us to proceed with two cars either to Haridwar or Ashram.

Oh God.  What anger!  Every individual was scolded. Then he called me in a mild and loving tone, a dramatic change, and said, “Suresh, my body is burning.  I cannot go further in car.”  I ventured to suggest him that I would take his car back to the Ganges, clean, wash, process and bring it back.  He said that a splinter had entered his body and poisoned it.  It would take its own time.  If he wished he could remove the poison in a second but that would spoil his one-year’s achievement from ‘tapashcharya’ meaning meditation and devotion.

It was horribly hot and Loo was blowing ferociously. I requested him to let others go and that I would accompany him.  I requested him to tell me his rules and if at fault he could punish me as he chose.  He laughed and said I was not accustomed to heat and walk.  I told that for research work I moved afoot in 112-degree F. searing heat for fieldwork.  He said but there was no Loo. I said I was ready to undergo ten hells.  He became pensive and said, “What sort of man am I.  Brute I am that I came after you people.” I persuaded him in every possible way till 4.30 P.M.  Then he called me and told that we would walk afoot. I ultimately said that the worst sin had penance.  He should tell us what we should do for our mistake.  He then enquired as to whether there was any sandalwood.  We told him yes we had it.  Then he asked to rub it on a run stone with water.  We did not have the stone.  He again blasted us.  I showed a rub stone in front of the idol.  He agreed.  The Gangetic valley being full of silt, stones are a rarity.  We washed the stone and cleaned it with lemon juice.  The stone was put before him and sandalwood paste was prepared.  Once again he expressed that he would have to go alone by car. I promised to get one.  He he had no license which posed difficulty.  He put layers of sandalwood paste on swollen parts.  I pointed out that the stone was not of temple but the Government property.  He asked how.  I showed him the reverse side of the stone.  It was an uprooted milestone.  He laughed and said that stone was ours.  Was not it the property of the people? Gita was busy in making paste.  He would put layer, wipe it, and again put fresh layer. Three to four times he rubbed pure ghee (clarified butter) on his face and hands.  He again muttered, “Only foolhardy sadhus like him came to the plain from the Himalayas and they suffer heavily for that.”  He then got ready to go.  I paid some amount to the ailing priest of the temple.  Our members were smiling and bored.  It seemed they were accustomed to angry antics.

Baba’s car went ahead.  We stopped in Patna city to purchase sandalwood-stone and his cigarettes.  The driver was grumbling.  I took him to task.  In spite of my telling he wrongly entered the city.  We reversed and entered from the east.  We had to waste time.  Then we purchased a few things.  Driver wanted to take meal near Patna railway station.  We had to wait.  We were delayed more.

Baba had camped in the yard of the Bhunnatola’s school near Biyapur.  We reached there.  Baba was off on Haridas for the delay.  Cooking could not be started till we brought the purchases.  I intervened and explained how the driver was rouge and mischievous and intentionally whiled away time.  When I rebuked him for the delay he retorted that we could go by rickshaw.  The driver was summoned and before he could reach, Baba walked towards him. He thundered on the driver, “Lala, you are not a man.  You are an animal.  What did you retort to Suresh?”  The driver began to argue.  Baba warned him that he would be physically beaten unless he shut his mouth.  The Driver said he was elder to me. As if the volcano erupted, Baba warned him that he was not equivalent to my nail.  First he should beg an apology to me.  He did so probably out of panic. The mileage was calculated and payment was made immediately.  Then Baba asked the drivers to promise that they would not repeat the mistake. Then alone they would park the cars nearby.  They were mean.  In no time both of them vanished in thin air.

It was 10 P.M. I expressed that I was very sorry.  He said, ” No. Suresh you have done the right thing.  These people do not know how to behave.”  I told Baba that I would immediately push off to Patna to fetch new taxis.  We were thirteen miles away from the city. He enquired how would I reach the city? I told him I would take teacher’s bicycle and further on road get hold of some truck and unless I bring taxis I would not partake food.  Baba exclaimed ”No, no Suresh. This sort of thing will not do. You will take Shubir with you, eat something at Patna and if possible return by night.”  He managed to handover Rs.10 to me. At this time about ten villagers gathered there. He asked them about milk productivity and prices.  One villager spat.  Baba got off and rebuked him.

Baba was moaning intermittently.  Since two days he was without food.  He told me that he would walk ahead may be a mile or five and after getting suitable spot he would retire.  He badly wanted to meditate after rest.  I later found him a mile away in a mango grove.

Shubir and I went to one teacher Sharma.  I requested him to lend his bicycle.  He agreed but later on enquired whether we were thieves or gentlemen.  We rode on one bike for about a mile and halted at a small hutment for tea and snacks on the main road.  A truck driver came for a cup of tea.  I requested him to drop us to Patna city.  He welcomed us and promised to drop us at a taxi stand in Patna.  I requested the owner of the tea stall to look after our bicycle.  First he hesitated doubting that it was a stolen bicycle.  I assured him and left in the truck.  The driver was amicable.  He dropped us at the stand.  I paid him four rupees. An agent came dead drunk and was very cunning.  He promised to arrange a taxi for Rs.800/- each plus Rs.40/- per night as halting charge. Other taxi owners surrounded us. They charged one rupee per mile with no halting charge.  We hired them and went for dinner.

It was “Lal Bahadur Shastri Day”, a day declared to fast in order to save food for the nation. We returned like hungry wolves and boarded the taxi. No.B.R.P.1239 and B.R.P.3712. They asked for money to put petrol and oil.  We had only six rupees left. When I told my inability to pay then and there, they became suspicious.  One driver was Dharmendar Singh and another Gopal Dey.  The latter being Bengali and Shubir explained in Bengali both of them agreed but then Dharmendar backed out.  One Sukhdeo approached with his taxi and agreed to come with us.  We noted the reading of the milometer as 28429.  We reached the destination at 1.30 A.M. The drivers first suspected that we were drug traffickers. When they saw luggage and colleagues asleep, they gained confidence. They agreed to stay.  With Shomu I went to hotel and brought the cycle. It was 2 A.M.

Up, bath and wrote diary. Banana leaves brought. Ramanidada himself washed and rubbed lemons to back seat of the car, spread leaves, put mat and prepared Baba’s seat. I narrated the story of the night and how we managed taxis. He got off on Gita for not keeping someone to guard his prepared seat in the car. If driver might have touched it, the work would be destroyed. A set of his clothes was kept on the back seat. He had no more extra clothes. Anger and abuse in Bengali followed as usual. I requested him not to burn clothes and that I would fetch holy water of the Ganges and purify them. He said it would take three hours to boil the clothes. I said I would do it. He asked how would I make fire. I assured that utensils and fire would be managed. He posed problem that Loo would begin and dust would pour in clothes. I assured that it would be covered by tin sheet. Then he created another problem that it would take lot of time for drying. I suggested that instead of walking afoot let one car be relieved and passengers be sent by bus. The other car would be detained and processed to his satisfaction and he could start as per his wish. He posed problem that first class train reservation from Lucknow would be wasted by the delay. I said the advance batch would utilize it. Then he questioned that seven days would be required for his new reservation and it was impossible to prolong the stay so much. I said he could proceed by taxi furthermore. He said there was no money. I asked as to how much we had. He said Rs.300/-. I showed him my gold ring. He laughed. Both of us were accustomed to such jargon of argument and counter argument. (Netaji was running a debating club in college days and I was winner of many debating trophies.)

He agreed that he would go on his reed mat alone. Then he said he would take bath in the Ganges. We diverted our cars for three miles to a small village near the river. We camped in a grove of mango trees. Crowd began to gather. It was difficult to pursue them to go away. One leader in typical Khadi (hand-spun cloth) dress began to harangue that the Sadhus were for good of humanity and that they should remain in society and not away from it. I confessed to him that our Sadhu was yet to reach the height that the leader had attained. Baba was enjoying our talk. Then one villager came and requested that the Sadhu should cure his eyes. Baba told him politely that he did not know that art.

Again our cars were heading towards the river. The Loo was blowing strongly. After about two miles from the main road Baba suddenly stopped his car and then told me to cancel the bath at the Ganges and reach the river Son. After crossing some distance we saw a well in an adjoining farm. He stopped his car and took his umbrella and gamcha and with Ramanidada walked about two furlongs across the fields and reached the farm. There was an electric pump on the well. He took bath for pretty long time and returned in attire that was wet as there was no other set.

The owner of the farm walked with Baba up to car. He said there was one request. Baba queried, “What?”. He said let the poor prosper and people be happy. Baba told him if Mother wished it would be so. Then Baba took his meal under a tree. After he finished we took our meals. He called Haridas and rebuked him as to why he did not show his face to him since morning.

At 2 P.M. we moved onward. In order to drink water Baba stopped his car before Arrha settlement near temple adjoining Blind Institute. After start, within a few minutes tyre of his car went bust. We had to extend our break. We went to Arrah and purchased fruits for him. He told me to go again to purchase ‘Khash tatis’ (sheet of aromtic grass used as cooler). I reported that there were no ‘tatis’ but fans were available. He ordered to purchase thirty fans. We removed red cloth of fans and joined them to make a sheet to cover sides and roof of his car. He changed his mind. He said things would have to be boiled before use. Since the weather was cloudy he would pull on but said he was suffocating with closed windows.

Journey began. After a few miles our car was not showing the needle of charger but it did not flicker to discharge. I told driver to pull on. At 4 P.M. we halted near Vikramganj to let engines cool down. The driver realized that the fan belt of our car was broken. He replaced it with an old one.

In the mean time we were standing with Baba on the road. I purposely initiated a topic on politics. He opined that Nehru was clever and glamorous and such people were failures. He quoted Swami Vivekananda, “Real war can never be fought by cleverness and glamour.” Nehru was never on good terms with his sisters. He reminisced, “At Anand Bhavan Vijaya would squat on the floor with a box of betel leaves and assortment. She would prepare ‘paan’ and offer it to visiting guests by touching her right hand elbow by left hand. Jawahar never liked her behaviour.” After Nehru’s death Vijaya began to talk and he referred an article by Vijayalaxmi Pandit. “Nehru stage-managed Cowasji Jahangir on the first day of the Parliament. It was mock parliament. Tandon was a bit communal otherwise he was all right. To maintain sixteenth century thoughts would not do. (Would not do is typical expression of Netaji.) Nehru committed blunder in the case of Tibet and another during war with Pakistan in 1948. Shastri committed the third blunder. Traitor, whosoever he might be, must have been punished severely. Sheikh Abdulla should have been punished properly long before. If Sheikh Abdulla is a traitor he should be shot down first and then inquiry be made” Baba said, “Ayyub and company of gangsters must be finished off first. Was Bhutto a human being? What a selfish man! He deserted his five-year-old son and ran away.” I instigated Baba by asking him as to how castes could be wiped out. “This would be wiped out completely. May be it might take ten years. If you ask anybody as to who are you? He will first tell that he is Hindu or Muslim but he will not say that he is Indian.” He gave an example of an American person. Then he explained as to how all the languages in the world were offshoots of Sanskrit. He quoted many examples like mar=mortal, mater=mother etc. He then turned to history and quoted Sher Shah and Jehangir and inferred that like the king like the populace. He opined that rampant corruption must be rooted out from top to bottom and not vice versa. When I asked his opinion about Gulzarilal Nanda, he said he was a useless man. He further remarked that nobody wanted real sacrifice and without it the Nation could not prosper.

At this time Baba was rubbing lemon on his legs. I observed that there was not a single wrinkle but all muscles. On the back of palms and sides of the ankles, the skin was dark and hardened because of constant touch with ground while sitting. By 6 P.M. we reached Sasaram. I knew this was stronghold of Babu Jagjivan Ram.

Baba took us to the tomb of Sher Shah. It seemed he had seen the tomb earlier. It was a beautiful place. At the center of a lake the building was constructed in which lay the sepulchre of Sher Shah and his family four hundred years ago. Sher Shah was doyen of improvements and we experienced the shade of his Banyan trees along Patna road. Sher Shah planted them along the road. We searched the watchman of the monument but could not find him. Baba was surprised. He expected a guard round the clock. A man came with keys. I requested Baba to permit us to see the tomb for five minutes. He smiled. We entered the monument while he remained at the door and explained intricacies of the monument and tombs. We came out. He explained how Sher Shah acquired the throne, and how Humayun came to attack him. Baba showed engraved Koran on outer wall of mausoleum because of which Humayun returned without invasion. I paid a rupee to the watchman. Baba told to give one more. Baba told story of Rani of Chittod and how she tied ‘Rakhi’ to Humayun. He remarked Aurangzeb was cunning. Then referred a news item of how two boys imitated Goddess Kali and cut own necks but died. He said imitation would not do.

It was six P.M. Cars had gone for repair. I rushed there. Our driver was looking at dynamo. I told him to see cutout and point. I was right. Charging became normal. Some more work was to be done. I returned to Baba. He was on the lawns of the tomb and told me the description of Greek Monuments and seven miles long walls. I wondered how he knew the details. (Netaji visited Delphi) We were to reach Banaras by 9 P.M. and our car was not ready. So I requested Baba to proceed ahead but he insisted that both cars would go together.

Ultimately we left and reached Banaras at 11 P.M. Leaving cars we straightaway went to a Ghat and washed ourselves. I got down on a lower step in the water. It was slippery. I fell down. All were amused. All of us hurried to the Vishweshwar temple. On the way Baba told us to purchase garland for each one of us. Some temples on the way were closed. It was twelve at night. We entered the temple of Vishweshwar. We were the last to be allowed. Baba stood in the entrance. The atmosphere was serene. The idol had thousands of years of history. I put the garland on the idol and touched forehead to the ground. Baba instructed others to follow my suit. He then told all of us to gaze at the idol. The priest put garland around everyone’s neck as ’prasad’. I was in pensive mood standing aside. Baba ordered me to go forward and the priest garlanded me. Then the priest said to Baba that he was instructing all, he should come forward. Baba came but took the garland in his hand instead of around the neck. Then the priest enquired about whereabouts and Baba simply told that we were all from Bengal. I was thrilled beyond description. We came out. (Once in Singapore Netaji took INA officers of all religions to a temple)

There were stilll many people on the way and we had to request people to step aside to make way for Baba. I was worried that another human touch to Baba might create another ‘gandgol’ (problem). Then on different stalls Baba himself would enquire prices of edibles and sweets. At one stall he demanded ‘Sandesh ’ (sweet from split milk). The shopkeeper told it being too costly, Rs. 12 per Kg., no one keeps it. Baba exclaimed Banaras too had deteriorated. High prices and too much sugar in sweets, smiling he left the shop. Then he took us to one particular shop that he knew. It was a shop selling Bengali sweets. After his bargaining, sweet curd, chamcham, rosgullas, sandesh, etc. were purchased.

Baba brought us to ‘Dashmeshwar Ghat.‘ Bright moonlight flooded the whole span. From there he showed us ‘Mankarnika Ghat ’, ‘Harishchandra Ghat ’, palace of Maharaja of Gwalior next to us and other historic spots. Then he asked every individual whether they knew story of Raja Harishchandra. All said yes. It appeared that Baba was well conversant with nook and corner of Kashi (Banaras). We all ate sweets on the Dashameshwar Ghat. Baba coaxed us to eat more and more. I never swallowed so much and so many sweets in my life. He did not touch sweets but partook grapes and oranges. While eating he told us the story of the installation of Vishweshwar idol thousands of years ago. He pointed out that there was hardly any change in the Ghats in thousands of years. When I queried about the removal of Dnyanawapi mosque at the entrance of Vishweshar temple, he said it was an emotional and psychological problem. All monuments, whether Hindu, Muslim or Christian, erected atrociously reminding subjugation of a community should be removed by the other community voluntarily, otherwise there would be riots. (His augury was true regarding demolition of Babri Masjid at Ayodhya.) Then I turned on Nehru and told him that Nehru’s will of spreading his ashes from plane all over the country was originally of an American poet. He pointed out jokingly that one person said that Nehru was thrown out throughout the country. Then he narrated importance of ‘raksha’ (ashes) and ‘asti’ (remnant bones after cremation). Ramkrishana Paramhansa suddenly went into Samadhi (deep meditation) in front of the Mankarnika Ghat. When he awoke the disciples queried as to what happened to him. He told them that he saw God taking away every individual and Kali Mata was watching. Baba said it was hundred percent true. Then he repeated Vivekananda’s sentence, ”War cannot be fought by cleverness and glamour.” He opined on Nehru, ”Jawahar was out and out an actor. He was craving for publicity. In eighteen years he did not solve the food problem of India. Are people going to eat these big iron-manufacturing units? Or will they eat iron?” I asked him about the difference in cleverness and intellect. He said, “Cleverness is full of hypocrisy. One tries to have showmanship. An intellectual need not make any show.”

There was a young chap named Bhattacharya standing nearby and he was listening intently. Baba became conscious of him. Shubir came and asked Baba who were we discussing. He said in Bengali that he would tell him later on. He told me to give coins to all beggars along the road and went towards the car. (Giving alms and donations in charity was Netaji’s characteristic from childhood. He would walk to Presidency College to save two annas of tram fare and give it in alms to an old beggar lady sitting in front of his house.)

All of us were on the Ghat and the ladies were now taking sweets. Ramanidada came to me and said he was unable to take notes in detail and expressed satisfaction about writing the details in my diary. He said certain issues he could not write for the sake of safety. He told that Baba talked lot of very confidential matters but he could not jot it down and hence he left diary writing. He remarked that I was very fortunate. He himself got first chance after seven years to have the privilege of pilgrimage with Baba whereas I got the chance uninvited. Lightly he said he envied me.

We left Banaras at 1.30 A.M. After about five miles he stopped. There was a mango grove. Together we searched camping a ground. I was surprised to see him jump from an embankment two and half feet high and that too at that age. He selected a spot. I cleaned it with branches of a mango tree. He spread newspaper pages and unfolded his ‘asan’ (reed-mat) and that was all his bed. Rest of us camped a hundred yards away. Shubir and I went to a well of nearby school and took bath. I began writing diary but felt drowsy. Oh God! It was 4 A.M.

I snatched two hours sleep and got up because Baba summoned me with atlas and driver.  He took out his spectacles and read the map of U.P. He finalized route as Allahabad-Bela-Raebareilly-Lucknow.  He dropped Kanpur due to extra mileage.  By night one wheel of our car went flat.  It was replaced but the driver wanted to repair the spare.  I requested Baba to be at ease and suggested that we would go ahead and we will repair puncture and join him at 22nd mile. He thought over and insisted to go together as a lot of crowd would come there.  A couple of observers were already there.  Within half an hour we packed and moved.  Forty miles before Allahabad our driver began to create trouble.  I persuaded him to repair the wheel at Allahabad.  He said he would be charged twelve rupees as tax.  I paid extra amount. We had to spend an hour for repair. I completed my diary and then began gossip with Baba.

I asked his opinion about nationalization of film and tea industries.  He said that the idea was good but nor practicle because of lack of honest men and machinery.  Then he narrated about places and numbers of tea plantations of Assam.  We began the onward journey.  Near Allahabad he took a halt and assembled us.  He showed us the Jamuna Bridge and pointed the ‘Triveni Sangam ’ (confluence of three rivers-the Ganga, the Jamuna and unseen Saraswati).  Then the journey resumed.  Since morning we had no time for ablution or food.  We made a brief halt of fifteen minutes near a village.

I opened up the topic of the Second World War.  He got engrossed and said, ”General Rommel Erwin used to say that if he could get Nepalis, Sikhs and Marathas he would conquer the world.  He was a very rare and able General.  He met his first defeat in life from Indians under Alexander.” He thought over to remember and then said,” It was 1944. In the first three hours fate of the battle was decided.  With war cry of ‘Har Har Mahadeo, Satshri Akal, and Jai Gurkhali’ the Indians jumped in the fray.  Hitler murdered him.  He told the General either to face the trial or take poison. He was the only general who did not incur damage even in retreat.  Swami Vivekananda in his last visit to Berlin warned the Germans that if they did not change their racial thinking, the country was doomed.  His prophecy came true.”

I shrewdly posed a question as to how much share the Indian National Army and Subhash Chandra Bose deserved for the independence of the country.  He said all credit goes to Mahatma Gandhi.  It was his sacrifice, which galvanized the nation.  I admitted but reminded Attlee’s statement to the British Parliament that because the Indian mercenaries were not faithful and that Britain lacked manpower, India was to be given freedom. In 1956 Sir Attlee visited India and stayed at ‘Raj Bhawan’ (Governor’s house) in Calcutta. Justice Fanibhushan Chakraborty was acting Governor. When questioned whether it was due to Gandhi that Britain granted Independence to India; the Former Prime Minister of Britain Sir Clement Attlee confessed to the Governor and correspondents that Gandhi was of little consequence to give freedom to India. It was Subhash Chandra Bose who inculcated nationalism in the Army that was responsible for rebellion in Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force and that compelled Britain to hasten India’s freedom.
Was not the First War of Independence of 1857 an eye opener to Britain? The British dubbed it as ‘Sepoy Mutiny’.  That time Indian armed mercenaries joined hands with Bahadur Shah, Nana Peshwa, Tantya Topey, Rani of Jhansi, Nawab of Rampur and thousands of British men, women and children were massacred at Meerut, Kanpur, Delhi, and Agra. Attlee knew history repeats itself.

I insisted that all the revolutionaries from Vasudeo Balwant Phadke to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose deserved credit and were mainly responsible for freedom. He simply said that it was true.  I asked why the I.N.A. soldiers received bad treatment and not accepted in free India’s army but Pakistan absorbed INA soldiers in the regular army? Baba said that Nehru treated them as enemy.  Nehru once said that if Subhash Bose came to India he would be the first man to fight with him.

It was Rafi Ahmad.  All villagers there, irrespective of caste and creed, praise that Rafi Saheb was a saint. I could gather that Baba had been to his village. I put an intriguing question that if Germany and Japan would have won the war, would they have given freedom to India?  Within second he blurted, “Oh! Definitely not and here Subhash committed blunder.”  I pointed that there was no other alternative and he said, “Yes! You are right”.  Then he explained,  “Untill the entry of Russia, the nature of Second World War was different.  It was stated to be capitalist’s war but the day Russia entered, war’s fate and nature changed. It conveniently became war between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.” He asked me whether I knew spelling of ‘Boorzwaazee’. He then dictated the spelling as ‘ bourgeoisie’.

He was very particular about spellings and grammar. He even sent a letter to me about correction of English. I found this word funny. Its pronunciation and spelling are poles apart. When I again reminded Attlee’s statement and questioned, “Was not the credit of gaining independence due to Subhash Chandra Bose?” He said, “Of course.  No doubt.  The Army captured one fort and the Navy rebelled at Bombay.  These were the effects of I.N.A.  The Komagata Maru and Ghadar definitely added unrest.  That traitor ——— (name forgotten but with suffix singh) went to Viceroy and disclosed the plan.” (In 1914 the Japanese ship Komagata Maru carried 376 freedom fighters to Canada and after two months waiting at the sea the Canadian Government turned down the request for asylum due to the white policy of that time. The ship returned to Calcutta and the British forces shot down many freedom fighters. Recently Canadian Government officially regretted turning down the Komagata Maru. (On 13/5/2008).

Baba was talking with new vigour and enthusiasm. “The British committed a mistake in starting a trial against I.N.A. The result was that the Indian Army showed commotion and restlessness.”

Our drivers arrived after repairs and the journey began.  After Raibareilly our car went ahead and Baba’s car remained behind. I objected to this but Ashramites wanted to continue.  Ultimately I used veto and stopped the car.  When Baba approached, as I expected, everybody got a nice rebuff.  I told Baba that all were asleep and I stopped the car.  Thank God.  Matter ended there.  He lost his temper but boarded his car and we pushed forward.

We reached Lucknow at 6 P.M. and as decided went to the railway station.  Ratan Maheshwari, Radhakant Pandey, Ramkrishnaji, and Srinath Agrawal received us. Immediately, convoy of five cars proceeded.  We reached Ramkrishnaji’s house. He had made lofty arrangements. A shamiana was erected.  Baba disliked it. He abhorred pomp and show. His chair was washed and processed.  Then he sat in the open back courtyard.  Ratan Maheshwari brought with him three girls and two boys-Gaurkumar and Shukumar-from the Ashram.  The passenger load was probably to increase.  We all sat on the ground before Baba.  He then introduced Ramakrishnaji and Srinath to me.  Ramkrishnaji’s old father Chedilal Potdar was there.  Gobind Shah from Calcutta had arrived.  It was a big gathering.

He assembled selected disciples.  I was there. He was then off on Radhakant because he did not do the work in time.  He told him to tell Hitendra of Calcutta that all his work and sacrifice done so far had gone waste.  He was angry.  After Radhakant went out, Baba enquired with me about monetary position.  It was precarious.  Baba set off on other Ashramites and told them to return to Ashram because they were not doing their job promptly and properly.  He made a good drama of anger but there was nothing in his heart. The anger was an outlet to his mental pressure and shortage of money that I realized.  I was convinced of his aristocratic style.  When money came, he would spend and sometimes waste liberally without bothering about next day and during crunch he would roar like a tiger on flimsy issues. He would kick a person and squeeze money out of him. Owing to revelation of his identity indirectly people stuck up around him probably with aspiration to become or receive something substantial when he would come to power after disclosing his identity.  This was my surmise.

Then he said to Ramkrishna and Srinath that anyhow he would pull on four to five months. He said he was working for the world not for himself.  World should worry and not he.  The amount of Rs.500/- sent by friend Dr. Wadodkar from Amravati was received.  He then planned further route and declared that he would start by 10 P.M. that day itself.  Private car of Ramkrishnaji was made available. In emergency I was told to drive the car to help driver. We were waiting for second car.  The taxis from Patna were relieved on the pretext that they were in useless condition.  They were paid Rs.822/-. He expected Rmkrishnaji and Ramprasadji would arrange cars for further journey. He again roared on Radhakant, ” I cannot go according to the world, world will have to go according to me.”  After bath he took fruits. His car was washed and processed.  He told me that we would travel for twelve hours and reach Roorkee 380 miles away.  I got the road map.  Baba pushed off and Ramkrishnaji followed him in jeep.  We had our meals. Baba was in car No.U.P.A.4089 and Ramkrishnaji hired the driver of the car. It was a

Our taxi came at 12.30 A.M. at night. The number of the taxi was. U.P.? 6480 It belonged to Mr.Nassir Ahmad, G.P.O., Hazarat Ganj, Lucknow and the driver was Motisingh Nepali. Four girls were on the back seat and Dinbandhu, Haribandhu and myself jammed with the driver. On the 25th mile on Sitapur road Ramkrishnji’s jeep crossed. He was returning and said all was well. Hardly two miles further Ramani Ranjan Das came in Baba’s car and stopped us. All of them were nervous. He told that Baba’s work was ruined. Baba told Shubir to wait on the road for me. We were helpless to start. There was no third car. Both the cars were crowded beyond capacity because of additional members. I felt Baba was in fact upset because the disciples of Lucknow did not provide third car voluntarily in spite of swelling crowd of passengers from Ashram. Ratan was to come late by train. Everything was upset. Ramanidada told that Baba alone left afoot and ordered him to return the car to Ramkrishnaji and hence he was proceeding to Lucknow. He was panicky and in hurry. He told me that Baba had not gone beyond 30th milestone on Lucknow-Sitapur road and that I should try to persuade him and bring peace.

Like hunters we began to search him in the dead of the night. In addition to the road we had to also cover fields on both the flanks. We reached 35th milestone but found no trace of him. I got down there and told the rest to go to 30th milestone and wait there for me. I would walk down in search of him. Haridas got down seeing me alone. He was grumbling. We walked down two miles and we were exhausted. It was 2 A.M. There was a bridge. On the guarding wall of the bridge we relaxed and unknowingly fell asleep. After long wait our car came in search of us. They stopped near us and feared that we were foreigners. They shouted our names from the car. We were shaken from slumber and responded instantly. All of us went to 33rd milestone, took out our beddings and slept in the open up to 5 A.M. We packed the luggage. Dipali, Uma, Haridas and myself went to a nearby well and finished ablutions. We plucked ‘datoon’ (pencil thick stems of Neem or Babhul tree used as toothbrush to wash teeth).

At dawn as visibility became clear to see, we hurriedly started to search Baba. We approached Sidholi and found Baba talking with a truck driver. The truck was going towards Lucknow and either he intended to go by truck or was enquiring whether the driver saw any ambassador car crossing the truck. The moment I approached him he asked me as to where was ’Ramani’. I told him that he went to Lucknow to return Ramkrishnaji’s car and was yet to return. He ordered the girls and Haridas to get down and gave ultimatum to me that I should go to Lucknow, do hell, procure in all three cars and reach near Sidholi by 9.30 A.M.

I rushed to Lucknow at a speed of sixty miles per hour. My driver introduced me to his friend. his friend said that his car was booked for an M.L.A. but if I promised him one and a quarter rupee per mile he would come. I agreed. The plate number of Ambassador car was U.P.D.4109 and driver was Shriram Nepali. The problem of the third car remained unsolved. Therefore, I went to Ramkrishnaji’s house and told Radhakant to take Ramkrishnaji to Baba at Sidholi and urge him to accept his refused car. Accordingly Ramakrishnaji rushed to Sidholi and not finding Baba returned. As his boss was due for inspection he could not make a second round of sixty miles to and fro. He was to attend the office at 9.30 A.M. With two cars I left Lucknow at 9 A.M., i.e. within two hours after his ultimatum. Between fifth to seventh milestones from Lucknow I came across Ramanidada, Gita, and others. After returning Ramkrishnaji’s car they were sitting under a roadside tree. I left Shriram Bahadur’s taxi with them and requested to process Baba’s seat and reach Sidholi. Again our car sped fast. A greenish coloured Ambassador model.

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2 Responses to “1966 – To Himalayas”

  1. Ajmer Singh Randhawa says:

    I am very well aware of the truth of Subhash chandra Bose’s life after 1945 and know that he was blackmailed to remain silent. Only due to this condition abided to him and assured of hie his secrecy shall never be revealed by him or his admirers/personal of INA, he was given a clean chit to enter India and allowed to move freely. Thus he remained silent throughout his life.
    We the members of Netaji Mission Uttrakhand , Dehra Dun are thankful to Shri Padhye for his services to nation by disclosing the secrets He has truthfully stated the mystery truthfully of the missing period of life Subhash Bose. RestI have disclosed in my website http://www.deathofsubhashbose.com/
    Both of us and members of our Netaji Mission Uttrakhand, Dehra Dun have successfully proved that Netaji was alive after 1945 and he was known as Swami Shardanand ji who passed away in Dehra Dun on 13th April 1977 and cremated on 23 April 1977 at Rishikesh, Dehra Dun.

  2. Vishal Sharma says:

    Why are you making such a fake story of Netaji? You must have known the real truth of Netaji before writing this kind of webpage.