Soon after Gandhiji’s return from South Africa, a meeting of the Congress was held in Bombay.
Kaka Saheb Kalelkar went there to help. One day Kaka Saheb found Gandhiji anxiously searching around his desk.
“What’s the matter? What are you looking for?” Kaka Saheb asked. “I’ve lost my pencil,” Gandhiji answered. “It was only so big.”
Kaka Saheb was upset to see Gandhiji wasting time and worrying about a little pencil. He took out his pencil and offered it to him. “No, no, I want my own little pencil,” Gandhiji insisted like a stubborn child.
“Well, use it for the time being,” said Kaka Saheb. “I’ll find your pencil later. Don’t waste time looking for it now.”
“You don’t understand. That little pencil is very precious to me,” Gandhiji insisted. “Natesan’s little son gave it to me in Madras. He gave it with so much love and affection. I cannot bear to lose it.” Kaka Saheb didn’t argue any more.
He joined Gandhiji in the search. At last they found it-a tiny piece, barely two inches long. But Gandhiji was delighted to get it back.
To him it was no ordinary pencil. It was the token of a child’s love and to Gandhiji a child’s love was very precious.
Mahatma Gandhi went from city to city, village to village collecting funds for the Charkha Sangh. During one of his tours he addressed a meeting in Orissa.
After his speech a poor old woman got up. She was bent with age, her hair was grey and her clothes were in tatters. The volunteers tried to stop her, but she fought her way to the place where Gandhiji was sitting.
“I must see him,” she insisted and going up to Gandhiji touched his feet. Then from the folds of her sari she brought out a copper coin and placed it at his feet.
Gandhiji picked up the copper coin and put it away carefully. The Charkha Sangh funds were under the charge of Jamnalal Bajaj.
He asked Gandhiji for the coin but Gandhiji refused. “I keep cheques worth thousands of rupees for the Charkha Sangh,” Jamnalal Bajaj said laughingly “yet you won’t trust me with a copper coin.”
“This copper coin is worth much more than those thousands,” Gandhiji said. “If a man has several lakhs and he gives away a thousand or two, it doesn’t mean much.
But this coin was perhaps all that the poor woman possessed. She gave me all she had. That was very generous of her. What a great sacrifice she made.
That is why I value this copper coin more than a crore of rupees.”