There was an extremely patriotic old lady who was 73 years old. She was the greatest admirer of Mahatma Gandhi; his very name used to give her a sea of inspiration. She wanted the British government to leave India, and she did many patriotic things that were extremely inspiring to the women of India. Because of this lady’s extreme admiration for Mahatma Gandhi, everyone used to call her Gandhi Buri, “buri” meaning “old lady.”
In 1942, Gandhi was arrested, and all of India became furious. In many places people held processions, using the slogan “Quit India,” which was Mahatma Gandhi’s offering to his brothers and sisters of India. The day after Gandhi’s arrest, Gandhi Buri was involved in a march to a police station. The people in the procession wanted to take down the British flag, the Union Jack, from over the police station and hoist up the Indian flag.
The police stood in the way and warned the protesters that if they came forward one more step, they would shoot.
All the marchers stopped except Gandhi Buri. She snatched India’s flag from one of the young boys in the procession and ran towards the police station. The police first laughed at her. “Enough, enough! No more! Go away from here, old woman. We don’t want to kill you,” they shouted.
But Gandhi Buri cried, “Kill me. I am not afraid of you. I want to free my Mother India.”
She ran towards the staircase that led to the top of the police station. Before she reached the stairs the police shot her. With her right hand she was still holding the flag as she chanted a few times, “Bande Mataram, Bande Mataram, Bande Mataram: ‘Mother, I bow to Thee.’” Then she left the body.
This old lady of 73 years was so courageous that she gave her life for her beloved country. There were some young boys in the procession who were shouting and screaming things against the British, but when the time came for them to sacrifice their lives, they hesitated. But Gandhi Buri devotedly and proudly gave her life. From that day on, people who were in that procession became more inspired to dedicate their lives totally to the freedom of India.
GIM 78. 21 January 1979↩