Gandhiji returned to India from South Africa in1915. Because of his brave-fight against
the unjust treatment of the coloured people by the whites and their Government in South
Africa, Gandhiji was already known as a great leader. Motilal and Jawaharlal came to know
him. This new friendship changed the course of the Nehru family.
In 1919 Gandhiji became the national leader of the fight for freedom. He gave definite
shapes and direction to the agitation against the unjust Rowlatt Act imposed by the
British Government. Jawahar liked very much the idea of courting imprisonment by
participating in the national movement. But his fathers reactions were different.
Could any one get rid of the Government by merely launching Satyagraha and going to jail?
doubted it very much.
Besides, Motilal was worried
about one thing. If his son also took part in the Satyagraha (nonviolent noncooperation),
and went to prison, he would have to eat the unhealthy food served there, and sleep on the
hard floor. Should the son, who was brought up in such utmost comfort as even princes
envied, suffer this?
Motilal tried sleeping on the bear and hard floor to experience what it was like. After
this he was even more worded to think of his son's lot in the prison.
He knew that his son was eager tobecome a follower of the Mahatma. So he decided to go
straight to Gandhiji and express his distress. Though theyre political views
differed, there had developed a sweet friendship between them. Motilal was older by eight
years. "Please advise my son properly. Do not allow him to join Satyagraha. I cannot
live if I am separated from him. It is after many years that my son and daughterin-law
have come home," appealed Motilal to the Mahatma.
Gandhiji knew Motilal's great love and attachment to his son. He told Jawaharlal,
"Look here, Jawahar, you know how much your father and mother love you. Do not do
anything that may make them unhappy. You have returned to India just now. You better study
the conditions here very Well. Don't be in a hurry. There is ample time to serve the
nation. Wait a little and go slow."
Jawahar heeded the words of the Mahatma, and did not immediately jump in to the fight.