Even in abject poverty the
Karve family did not sacrifice its self-respect. On one occasion the Maharaja of Baroda
gave cows as gifts to Brahmins in several villages. Every Brahmin was given also a gift of
ten rupees. Shikaji asked his mother: "Mother, the Maharaja of Baroda is making a
gift of ten rupees to every Brahmin. Shall I also go and get the money?"
Said Lakshmi Bai: "You are not born in a family which
seeks gifts! Among your forefathers there were many learned men; but they never accepted a
gift from anybody. This Maharaja of Baroda is a descendant of persons who owed money to
your ancestors. Even now they owed lakhs of rupees to our family. Do not even dream of
accepting gifts from such persons."
This was the lesson of self-respect taught by Dhondo Pant's
mother to her children