(For Three-Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "N" is for Nearly)
I rummaged about in my mind through the past decades, trying to find something to work with. Then I remembered.
There was a fairly well-known snack back in the forties that I have never forgotten. It was in India, of all places, and I was there.
I can hear groans in the background of “Oh no, not another of Berowne’s ‘I was there’ stories.”
Sorry, but I’m afraid it’s true – I was there – and I thought it might make for an interesting post. Or at least semi-interesting.
I’m sure you remember the movie back in the eighties, a real epic, titled “Gandhi,” starring Ben Kingsley as the Mahatma.
When I saw the movie, I felt like shouting “I was there!” and nearly dropped my popcorn.
Here’s the story.
Soon after Pearl Harbor, with the draft board busily preparing to bestow upon me the coveted title of Buck Private, U S Army, I enlisted instead as cadet-midshipman in the Maritime Service division of the U S Navy. The first ship I was on delivered many tons of stuff to the CBI, the China-Burma-India theatre of war.
And it was then, while we were tied up at a dock, that a British officer came by and told us that Gandhi was in bad shape; he was nearly dead. It looked as though the hunger strike would kill him. If that happens, he said, we should slip our lines and drift out to the center of Bombay harbor and anchor there, because there would be a national uprising on the part of all India and Europeans would not be safe on the street.
I wasn’t much of a European because at that time I had never been to Europe, but I realized that distinction wouldn’t mean much to rioters.
After a time Gandhi was removed from prison for necessary surgery, and was to live for another five years. (Presumably he had a few snacks during that five-year period.)
He struggled for years to create a peaceful and calm India that would contain a wide variety of religions, all living together harmoniously, but the Muslim leader insisted on the formation of a fully independent Muslim Pakistan, a world apart.
The ironic truth is that in 1948 when Gandhi was assassinated it was not by a Muslim, it was by a member of his own religion, by a Hindu - who shot Gandhi three times at point-blank range with a .38 Beretta semi-automatic pistol - because of his tolerance of Islam.
1 year ago