Chapter 2 & 3/Synopsis: – “An Autobiography: The Story Of My Experiments With Truth” By Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi)
CHAPTER 2 – CHILDHOOD
- I was put into a primary school at the age of 7. There is hardly anything to note about studies. I was a mediocre student.
- I was very shy and avoided all company. I ran back and forth from home to school, least anyone stop me and talk to me.
- I recall an incident when a teacher tried to prompt me with the pin of his boot, to copy from my neighbor in a spelling examination, but without effect. I thought teachers were there to supervise against copying. I could never learn the art of `copying’.
- Two incidents at the time deeply clung to my memory, and in some way, influenced the course of my future thought. One, was a book from my father’s library that fell into my hands: “Shravana Pitrubhakti” and two, a play called “Harishchandra” which I had watched.
- What is it that stops all of us from being dedicated like Shravana & truthful like Harishchandra – is a question that I have often asked myself.
CHAPTER 3 – CHILD MARRIAGE
- I shall have to swallow much shame in the course of this narrative. I was married at 13.
- There is no moral argument in support of marriage at such a preposterously early age.
- It appears I was betrothed (engaged) thrice without my knowledge. 2 chosen girls had died in turn; to the 3rd I was married.
- It was decided to conduct marriages of myself, my brother and a cousin at the same time. It was to be a triple wedding.
- Hindu marriages are no simple matter. Parents of brides & bridegrooms inflict ruin upon themselves in the course of such marriage.
- Months are spent in wasting time, wasting substance; deciding ornaments, clothes and budgets.
- Women whether they have a voice or not, sing themselves hoarse; sometimes till they fall ill; and disturb the peace of neighbours.
- Neighbours in turn quietly put up with turmoil, bustle, dirt, filth – because they know that a time will come when they will be soon behaving this way.
- I don’t think marriage meant anything to me except good clothes, drum beatings, rich dinners and a strange girl to play with.
- Carnal desire came later, but I propose to draw the curtains over my shame as these events have little to do with the central idea of my writing.
- My father arrived for my marriage with severe injuries and bandages all over, as his coach from Rajkot to Porbandar had toppled over.
- I forgot the grief of my father’s injuries in the childish amusement of my own wedding.
- Looking back, this is a lesson that I have learnt, and a lesson I often teach to 13 year olds today…
- …Devotion to parents and commitment to duty – is often impaired by passions that flesh is heir to.
- …There comes a time in everyone’s life when passion of the flesh, and pleasure of the body threaten to blind us to the obvious pain of our parents, and of our near & dear ones.
- …And if such an occasion does come to pass, we will always look back upon it in shame.
- My father put on a brave front in spite of his severe injuries. Everything looked so right, so proper, so pleasing.
- Looking back at that day, I never ever imagined I would criticize my father today for my marriage; or regret having married at an age when the mind is malleable to any suggestion.
- My brother’s wife coached me on my behavior for the first night; I don’t know who coached my wife. But no coaching is really necessary in such matters. The impressions of the former birth are potent enough to make all coaching superfluous.
- We were of the same age, and I took no time in assuming the authority of a husband.
CHAPTER 4 – PLAYING THE HUSBAND