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STUDENTS' PROJECTS > BA AND BAPU > Appendix I : Ba and Bapu
Appendix I : Ba and Bapu
"(Ba) was illiterate. By nature she was simple, independent, persevering and, with me at least, reticent. She was not impatient of her ignorance and I do not recollect my studies having ever spurred her to go in for a similar adventure."
"I was very eager to teach her. But there were two obstacles in the way: one, she had not as yet felt any hunger for knowledge and the other, that in our days, living in a joint family, it was not easy to satisfy this her hunger."
"For one thing the teaching had to be done against her will, and that, too, at night. I dared not meet her in the presence of the elders, much less talk to her. Kathiawad had then, and to a certain extent has even today, its own peculiar, useless and barbarous purdah system. Circumstances were thus unfavourable. I must, therefore, confess that most of my efforts to instruct Kasturbai in our youth were unsuccessful."
"And when I awoke from the sleep of lust, I had already launched forth into public life, which did not leave me much spare time. I failed likewise to instruct her through private tutors. As a result, Kasturbai can now with difficulty write simple letters and understand simple Gujarati. I am sure that, had my love for her been absolutely untainted with lust, she would be a learned lady today; for, I could then have conquered her dislike for studies. I know that nothing is impossible for pure love."
"But alas! the feelings of lust prevented me at the time from making her literate. Not only that, I vented out my spleen on her and sent her back to her parents. And only after she had suffered long, I called her back. However, it was later that I realized that all this was due to my ignorance."
"Ba is blessed with one great quality to a very considerable degree, a quality which most Hindu wives possess in some measure. And it is this: willingly or unwillingly, consciously or unconsciously, she has considered herself blessed in following in my footsteps, and has never stood in the way of my endeavour to lead a life of restraint. Though, therefore, there is a wide difference between us intellectually, I have always had the feeling that ours is a life of contentment, happiness and progress."
"It seems to me that the root cause, which attracted the public to Kasturba, was her ability to lose herself in me. I never insisted on this self-abnegation. She developed this quality on her own. At first I did not even know that she had it in her. According to my earlier experience, she was very obstinate. In spite of all my pressure she would do as she wished. This led to short or long periods of estrangement between us. But as my public life expanded, my wife bloomed forth and deliberately lost herself in my work. As time passed, I and my service of the people became one. She slowly merged herself in my activities. Perhaps, the Indian soil loves this quality most in a wife. Be it as it may, to me this seems to be the foremost reason for her popularity."
"What developed the self-abnegation in her to the highest level was our Brahmacharya. The latter turned out to be more natural for her than for me. She was not aware of it at first. I made a resolve and Ba, as she was affectionately called, accepted it as her own. Henceforward we became true friends. From 1906, really speaking from 1901, Ba had no other interest in staying with me except to help me in my work. She could not live away from me. She would have had no difficulty, if she had wished, in staying away from me. But as a woman and wife she considered it her duty to lose herself in me ever after. She did not cease looking after me till her last breath."