The third important trait in Rajaji
was his service-mindedness. He had become quite rich while quite young.
If he had continued as a lawyer and had not entered politics, he could
have been very wealthy. He could have led a life of luxury. He gave up
such a career for the sake of the country. He went to goal five times.
Another Congress leader, Kaleswara Rao, has narrated how he became the
Chief Minister of Madras. Rajaji never wanted any position. Vallabha Bhai
Patel himself suggested that Rajaji should be the leader of the Party.
"I do not want all that," said Rajaji. He just would not listen. Kaleswara
Rao became angry. He said, "It is now your duty to lead the Party. If you
do not wish to do your duty, why are you here? You can go anywhere.Go to
theHimalayas. But this is not the place for you. Yes, please go away."
Rao was shouting in fury. Finally, with great effort, Patel had to persuade
Rajaji. As Governor General, he had held the highest position in the country.
Any one else in his position would have said, "I was the Governor General
of India. How can I accept a lower position?" But Rajaji had no such thought.
Hebecame a Central Minister and later the Chief Minister of a state. When
he felt that his work was over, he promptly laid down office. When he started
Party he was a very old man. He wanted
no position for himself. Building up a new party meant hard work, he could
expect no personal gain. But he felt that in a democracy there should be
a strong opposition party. If there is no such party, the Government will
Becomeirresponsible. So he started and nursed and built up the new party.
It was only once that Rajaji went outside
India. Representing the Gandhi Peace Foundation, he visited Britain and
the United States of America in 1961.
At that time, he was 83 years old.
The old sage went out only to utter a few words of wisdom. Powerful nations
of the world were competing among themselves; they wanted to make atom
bombs and even more destructive weapons. Rajaji was troubled. He thought
that if it went on, all mankinds would be destroyed. So he wished to warn
that even the mostpowerful nation must consider the welfare of humanity
at large. He went as the leader of a mission, which wanted to appeal, that
suicidal atomic experiments should stop. He talked to the then President
of the United States, John F.Kennedy, for forty-five minutes. Kennedy later
said that the discussion brought him the great influence of a pure and