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Gandhi and the Copper Coin!

Oct. 2, 2021, 6:56 a.m. by Dr Gayatri Mohapatra ( 453 views)

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Gunnar Myrdal,the Swedish economist, after his survey of the socioeconomic problems of the underdeveloped world, pronounced Gandhi “in practically all fields an enlightened liberal."

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illustrative purposes from internet.

Mahatma Gandhi ingenously deployed the charkha or spinning wheel as an important tool for political emancipation, by using it as a symbol of economic self reliance and social reaction to the British Rule.

It was in 1925, that Charkha Sangh was formed and around 50,000 spinners in 1,500 villages across the country got work.

"It is my conviction that with every thread I draw, I am spinning the destiny of India.

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Photo by  Dr.Bidyut Sahu

Without the spinning wheel, there is no salvation for this country of ours,” Mahatma Gandhi once said, when he was asked about the significance of spinning yarn on ‘Charkha’.Gandhiji called it a Kamdhenu because he believed that it could even help our countrymen get independence.

Jamnalal Bajaj,the famous industrialist who founded the "Bajaj group" of industries was a close and beloved associate of Mahatma Gandhi, who is known to have often declared that Jamnalal was his fifth son.

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illustrative purposes from internet.

Upon Mahatma Gandhi's return from South Africa, Jamnalal was so impressed with Gandhi's way of life, his principles and his dedication to the poor that he brought his wife Jankidevi and his children to live in Sabarmati Ashram and in
1925, he was chosen as the treasurer of the All India Spinners Association.

When Mahatma Gandhi was leading India's freedom struggle, it was a matter of immense pride for people to become four-anna members of the Congress party. Gandhiji, of course, valued the participation of even those who couldn't pay chavanni. 

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Photo by  Dr.Bidyut Sahu

At a time when most political parties reserve a special welcome for super-rich donors and wheeler-dealers, here is an inspiring story about Gandhiji who went from town to city, tehsil to village collecting funds for the Charkha Sangh. 

During one of his tours ,he addressed a meeting in Orissa. 

After his speech, a poor old woman got up. She was bent with age, her hair was grey and her clothes were in tatters. 

The volunteers tried to stop her, but she fought her way to the place where Gandhiji was sitting. 

"I must see him," she insisted and going up to Gandhiji touched his feet. Then from the folds of her sari she brought out a copper coin and placed it at his feet.

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illustrative purposes from internet.

Gandhiji picked up the copper coin and put it away carefully. 
The Charkha Sangh funds were under the charge of Jamnalal Bajaj. 

He asked Gandhiji for the coin but Gandhiji refused."I keep cheques worth thousands of rupees for the Charkha Sangh," Jamnalal Bajaj said laughingly "yet you won't trust me with a copper coin." 

"This copper coin is worth much more than those thousands," Gandhiji said.

"If a man has several lakhs and he gives away a thousand or two, it doesn't mean much. But this coin was perhaps all that the poor woman possessed. She gave me all she had. That was very generous of her. What a great sacrifice she made.

That is why I value this copper coin more than a crore of rupees."

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Photo by  Dr.Bidyut Sahu

When I read about this story I remembered  Brian Tracy's unforgettable words—"Always give without remembering and always receive without forgetting".

In Mahatma Gandhi's words:
"Every yard of khadi that you wear will mean some coppers going into the pockets of the poor. Coarse hand-spun signifies simplicity of life. Khadi has a soul about it."

The "khadi spirit"was representative of simplicity, patience,faith & fellow feeling which grew into a mass movement due to the untiring efforts of the Saint from Sabarmati.


Comments (2)

user
Swadhina 7 months, 2 weeks ago
Happy Gandhi jayanti
user
Mini 7 months, 2 weeks ago
Such a lovely tale about the copper coin.