Gandhiji’s Shoes

As Gandhiji stepped aboard a train one day, one of his shoes slipped off and landed on the track.

He was unable to retrieve it as the train was moving. To the amazement of his companions, Gandhiji calmly took off his other shoe and threw it back along the track to land close to the first shoe.

Asked by a fellow passenger why he did that, Gandhiji replied, ‘the poor man who finds the shoe lying on the track will now have a pair he can use.’


Gandhiji went from city to city, village 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.
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 Gandhi refused.
“I keep cheque 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.”

Who Saw Gandhiji

Sometimes old words acquire new meanings, as happened in this incident.Gandhiji had arrived at the Harijan Ashram in Delhi. In this ashram ran a workshop to train boys in various vocational skills.

When Gandhiji entered this workshop during his round of inspection, the boys working there stopped what they were doing to stare at him curiously. A lone boy, engrossed in making rotis, was so involved in cooking them over the chulha that he did not get to know that Gandhiji had just passed from there.

As Gandhiji came out of the workshop, one of the boys remarked in amazement, “Arrey, the boy making rotis did not see Bapu (Gandhiji) at all.” Bapu responded at once, saying, “If there is anyone who really saw me at all in the whole workshop, it is the boy who was making rotis.”