I said, “I am saying exactly the right thing. You don’t believe in me, you believe in him. You are afraid I will be affected by him – you are not giving even a single thought that I may affect him. Why do you think I am so weak?”
He said, “I have never thought from this angle – perhaps you are right.”
Slowly, slowly that man became accepted by my family. It took a little time; there were many reasons for them to reject him. The first reason was that he was a Mohammedan; second, he was a thief.
I had to sit outside the dining room because they would not allow him in the dining room. In a Jaina family, no Mohammedan can be allowed in the dining room. Even for guests or customers, separate plates, glasses, saucers, cups – everything is kept, but it is kept separate; it is used only for them. And I insisted that when I invited him for food, I was going to eat with him – I could not insult him. He may be a thief, he may be a Mohammedan, it doesn’t matter; I respect his humanity. So the only way was that I would also have to sit outside the dining room. And my friend used to say, “Why do you unnecessarily continue to fight with your family?”
And slowly, slowly my respect towards him changed him. He was angry with me, saying, “Your respect prevents me from being a thief, and I don’t know anything else. I am uneducated.”
He was an orphan, and there was no other way for him except either to beg or to steal, and certainly stealing is better than begging. Begging degrades you very badly; by stealing, at least you are using your intelligence, your courage.
He was angry and said, “Now my life has become really a problem, and you are the cause. I cannot steal because I cannot betray your trust, your love and your respect. And nobody is ready to give me employment.”
So I took him to my father and I said to him, “Now my friend wants employment. You are against his stealing, now give him employment; otherwise you will be responsible for his stealing. The poor fellow is ready to do any work, but nobody in the whole city is ready to give him work because he is a thief. People say to him, ‘Bring certificates from where you have been working. Who has ever employed you ever in your whole life?’ And he has no certificates.”
I told my father, “Listen, somebody has to give him work the first time; otherwise, how can he get a certificate? You give him employment, and then you can give him a certificate. And I guarantee that he will not steal and he will not do anything wrong.”
On my guarantee my father employed him. All other friends of my father said, “What are you doing, giving a job to a thief? He will deceive you.” But my father said, “My son has given his guarantee, and I have to give the man an opportunity because my son’s reasoning is right: If nobody gives him an opportunity, then everybody is pushing him towards the jail. And the whole society is responsible for pushing him towards the jail. He wants to work, but if nobody is willing to give him work…. What do you want – that he should commit suicide or what?”