Introduction

The lesson ”The passing away of Bapu” written by Nayantara Sehgal revolves around the sudden death of the father of our nation, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and the agony of his followers.

Nayantara was having tea at home on the evening of 30th January, 1948, when she was astonished to know that Gandhiji had been shot on his way to a prayer meeting. At the Birla House, Gandhiji’s relatives and followers had gathered round his body. The news about Bapuji’s death had spread through Delhi where sad groups of men and women had collected around Birla House crying and wildly shouting .They looked like lost children as it was very difficult for them to believe that their Bapu was no more.

Agony of the people

Padmasi, Mrs Naidu’s daughter, spoke for all the people by encouraging them that they would walk for the last time with Bapu. Bapu was laid on an open truck covered with flowers. Thousands of people wept, trying to touch Bapu’s feet. As Nayantara moved forward she realised that she was among people for whom walking with Bapu had a special meaning as they had walked with Bapu over the rough and smooth of India’s recent history. People could not accept the fact that the man who had led the nation over difficult paths, was never going to walk with us again.

Farewell to our beloved leader

Some days after the funeral, a special train took Gandhiji’s ashes to Allahabad, where People on the train sang bhajans. People did not weep anymore for they could feel Gandhiji’s presence amid the flowers and the songs. At every station sorrowful crowds filled the platform. The ashes were immersed in the Ganges where a huge crowd had gathered at the bank. Bapu brought millions of people out of indifference and awakened them to one another’s suffering. Bapu had passed away but his India would continue to live in his children.