Once, Gandhi was sailing in a big British ship, to attend a conference in England. Sitting at a desk on the deck, he was writing a letter. A well –dressed young Englishman was amused to see Gandhi who appeared to him quite different from all the other passengers on board.

The vain Englishman went to his room and taking some bits of paper, wrote nasty sentences and drew funny pictures to annoy Gandhi. He wondered why a half- naked, bald –headed and toothless old man should go to England at all. He advised Gandhi to give up this `madness’ of going abroad. He neatly pinned all the bits of paper together and returned to the deck.

Walking proudly, he came to the desk where Gandhi sat writing. As Gandhi looked up, the Englishman handed over to him the pinned bits of paper, expressing his disrespect to Indians. ``you will find interesting and useful. Read it and keep it with you’’. He said to Gandhi.

He then went and stood at some distance to see Gandhi recreation to what he had done. Gandhi calmly read every word written by him, raised his head and looked for a moment at the young Englishman. Then, he slowly took off the pin and threw away the bits of paper into the waste –papers basket under the desk. ``I have done just what you asked me to do,’’ he said, Giving the young man his usual smile. I have kept your pin with me which is the only interesting and useful thing you gave me, Thank you’’.

The young Englishman at once realized mistake that, on seeing what he had written, Gandhi would fly into a rage and create a scene which all the white passengers onboard would enjoy. Now Gandhi short and sweet reply went straight to his heart. He realized how intelligent, cultured and humble Gandhi was. He hung his head in shame and went back the way he had come. This lesson which he learnt from Gandhi clearly went a long way towards putting down his vanity and sense of superiority.


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