Vol: 21 No: 01
04 August 1974
After two years of stay in the prison the Lokmanya developed diabetes and had an acute attack. In spite of the medicine there was no improvement and his weakness increased.
He turned to hard restrictions in diet and informed the jail superintendent accordingly. He introduced barley in his diet. The jail authorities permitted wheat, pulses, barley, milk and ghee in place of rice. Sugar was reduced considerably in the diet. With this conquest over his tongue he improved his health. Sometimes he took ‘Puries’ made of barley flour. He ate it with curd. He liked thick and sour curd and said ‘I am a native of Konkan, I like sour things.’ He was very fond of plantain-bhaji.
Since Mandalay was very hot Lokamanya had blisters on his body. He submitted his petition to the Bombay Government saying that he should be sent to Andamans and allowed to move freely after giving bail. The request was turned down. At this verdict he calmly observed “All right, it appears to be God’s wish that I should die in prison.”
Tilak was allowed to have an interview with outsiders once in three months. His nephew Babasaheb Vidwans came frequently. The interview always took place in the presence of the jail superintendent. He was also permitted to write a letter to the members of his family at Poona and he could receive one private letter. Once he wrote a long letter but the superintendent suspected one word and asked him to write the letter afresh. Tilak was angry and said: “Servility hurts in a hundred ways.”
Once there was an epidemic of cholera in Mandalay jail. He was removed to Mictilla jail. From Mandalay jail to the station there were armed guards on both sides but when the car reached the station a huge crowd assembled shouting: “Tilak Maharaj ki Jai.” He was secretly taken in a special carriage to Mictilla where again hundreds of people shouted: ‘Tilak Maharaj Ki Jai’. When Tilak reached the jail the jailer asked him, “What country do you rule”? Tilak answered promptly: “I am not the master of this body of mine. How can I have a kingdom?”
His cook was released earlier and he went to Poona to apprise all members of his family about Tilak’s welfare in Mandalay. After Tilak’s release the same cook took the privilege to greet him in Poona. Tilak pressed him to stay with him and he accepted the offer as did Hanuman with Shri Ramachandra in Ayodhya. He felt proud to observe, “Conviction was a blot on my character but luckily it was washed in the holy Ganges of a saint’s company. My life has achieved its noblest end.”
04 August 1974
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