Chitta Ranjan Das18

There was once a great leader whose heart was larger than the largest. In law he was extremely successful and as a national leader he was also quite successful. His real name was kindness, affection and compassion. He was always for the poor and the miserable and he used to help people far beyond their need. The tips he gave to the police, for example, were ten times the amount that they usually got from others.

“These policemen work so hard,” he said. “Just because they wear Indian dhotis and garments, we don’t value them. But if the same work were done by Englishmen with trousers on, we would have to give them much more.”

One day a man in the Congress who worked for the great leader came up to him crying. The great man said, “Why are you crying?”

He said, “I stay at your house, but just because I come from the lowest class, everyone goes away from me. I am given my food at the place where the dogs and the chickens stay. It is so dirty and filthy there. One of your servants brings my food and I eat there as if I were another dog or another chicken. Please do something for me.”

Because of his low class, society did not permit him to sit with the members of the family. But still the great man felt very sad. He said to his wife, “All right, granted he cannot sit and eat with us, but can you not at least give him a nice place to eat? Why does he have to eat with the dogs and chickens? Can he not be given a better place?”

His wife said, “Yes, he should be given a better place. I shall see to it.”

Although the wife told the servant to take his food to a nice place, a few days later the servant was careless and took the food to the same place. So once more the Congress worker came to the great man, crying and crying: “They have given me the food there again, just because I come of a low class. I am staying with you because of your affection and love for me. Otherwise, I would not stay. This kind of treatment I hate. Whenever your Brahmin cooks see me, they run away. They show tremendous contempt for me and literally hate me. Am I not a human being?”

The great leader felt miserable, and he burst into tears. He called his wife and said, “From now on this young man will eat not only inside the house, but actually in my room where I eat. He has to eat in my room whenever I am eating. If I happen to be elsewhere and it is time for him to eat, he has to eat in my room. I make it a law.”

This great man was Chitta Ranjan Das. He was known as the most beloved friend of Mother Bengal. It was he who saved Sri Aurobindo from jail. When he died, Tagore said, “You came into the world with an immortal heart and you left it here on your way back.”

GIM 58. 15 January 1979