Chapter 18: Witnessing
Naturally, he was thinking of becoming the prime minister. If he cannot become the first prime minister, then his must be the second chance after Jawaharlal. But he could not manage even to become a cabinet minister. He could not manage to become even a governor, a chief minister of a state. He had tried everything, but basically he was not a politician. He was very simple, almost a simpleton. So the desire was there, burning his heart.
He had two sons, and he tried hard that they should become what he had missed. And he had all the political connections, so he helped his first son become a deputy minister. He was hoping that the son soon would become minister, then move to the cabinet of the central government and then become prime minister.
If he had not been able to become the prime minister himself, at least he can claim to be the father of a prime minister, which is far better. But the son died as a deputy minister in a state council. He was only thirty-six when he died.
But ambition is such a thing that this old man tried to commit suicide, because with the death of the son all his ambitions had failed again. I told him, “You have another son. Give him a try. You have all the best connections in the country, from the lowest to the highest. It is just very easy for you.” And suddenly I could see his eyes shine again, as if life returned to him. He said “Yes, I had never thought about it. I was thinking simply to die, because what is the point of living? I missed, my son has died.” So he managed that his second son enter into the same post; he became the deputy minister. But neither of his sons had the ability to be politicians. They were his sons, just as stupid as he was, perhaps a little more.
And you will be surprised that the second son also died. The man was now seventy-five or seventy-eight, and this was too much of a shock. Again he started talking about suicide. His wife phoned me and said, “You come. Last time you had done something and he dropped the idea of suicide. Now you do something because again he is talking of suicide.” I said, “Don’t be worried. People who talk of suicide never commit suicide. People who commit suicide are those who never talk about it. But I will come.”
I went. He was sitting again in the same posture, and I said to him, “If you want to commit suicide, commit! Why do you harass the whole family by talking about it?” He said, “Everybody, the mayor of the city, the chief minister, all have come to console me. Indira Gandhi’s telegram has come.” He was sitting with a pile of telegrams from all the ministers and governors - India has thirty states and chief ministers - and he was showing them to everybody who was coming. I told him, “You don’t seem to be interested in the death of the son. You are more interested in these telegrams.”