They had two speakers. I was introduced to them by a very eminent person in India, a very simple and humble man; but by chance he was the general manager of Jamnalal Bajaj in Wardha. Jamnalal Bajaj was one of the richest men in India who sacrificed his everything for the freedom struggle. He had made a big guest house, at least five hundred people can stay there at a time, and continually there were conferences for the freedom fighters. And finally he persuaded Mahatma Gandhi also – who was the leader – to come to Wardha, and he made an ashram for him nearby, outside the city.
And this old man, Chiranjilal Badjatya, was in charge of taking care of all the guests. These guests finally became president of India, governors of all the states, chief ministers, cabinet ministers – all the great posts after freedom came into the hands of these people, who had been guests in Jamnalal’s guest house – and Chiranjilal Badjatya was taking care of them. So he was intimately connected with all India’s well-known leaders, not a single man of any eminence was unknown to him. And they all respected him – because he was an old man, and he served them so lovingly.
Just by chance again, he came across me.
In Jabalpur there is a very beautiful complex of Jaina temples in the mountains. And the stones in Jabalpur have a speciality – they’re all round. Big stones, huge stones but all round, egg-shaped, which has proved that the earth in Jabalpur has come out of the ocean first. Those big boulders have been rolling in water for millions of years – that is why the roundness…. And not one – millions of boulders. It is a strange mountain. It is not an ordinary mountain, just those boulders upon boulders – it has its own beauty.
And there was a celebration. I had gone to speak there, and as I was coming out this old man was standing by the side of the road. It was a cold morning. He had a blanket around himself. He simply threw the blanket on the ground and asked me to sit there, but I said, “Your blanket will get dirty.”
He said, “Don’t be worried about the blanket.”
I said, “You are old. You may get cold. “
He said, “Don’t be worried. You just sit. Just sit with me. And I cannot tell you to sit on bare earth.” He said, “I have listened to all the great speakers of this country – from the lowest up to the highest, Mahatma Gandhi – but the way you said things, nobody has touched my heart in this way. I have just one request, please don’t refuse an old man.”
I said, “First you tell me what you want.” I had no idea who he was.
He said, “On a certain date this year I invite you to Bombay. I want to introduce you to prominent people. Otherwise, just as I was unaware of you they will remain unaware.”
And Bombay is the real capital of India for intelligentsia, for industrialists; even the politicians from Delhi are under the thumb of the people of Bombay because for elections they need money and all the money is in Bombay.
You will be surprised that Bombay has only a population of ten million – in a country of nine hundred million – but it has half of the wealth of the whole country. Ten million against eight hundred and eighty million people are holding half the wealth of the country. Certainly they have a power.
So he said to me, “I don’t want these people to miss you.”