“I Assisted in Preparing Lunch for Bapu”

Ankur Acharya


It is truly amazing to see the manner in which Mahatma Gandhi influenced the lives of different persons in different parts of the country. This article is the story of octogenarian Gandhian social worker Hema Kakoti, who was one such person influenced by Gandhiji. The story has been created by
Shri Ankur Acharya after a long interview with Hema baideu. The focus of this article is to record the reminiscences of the glimpses of the Mahatma she was fortunate enough to have. The first glimpse that she had was when she was just a small nine-year-old girl. Though young, some of the impressions she had then have remained firmly imprinted on her mind. The second glimpse was when she was a grown-up girl. There are very few persons left in Assam now who had seen or had a meeting with Mahatma or had interacted with him. Hema baideu is one of them and we are very happy to carry her impressions in this article.
This article makes a mention of a distinguished family of Dr Harikrishna Das, his wife Shrimati Hemaprova Das and his daughter Shrimati Amalprova Das. This family functioned as a pivot of constructive work in Assam. Late Hemaprova Das was the most active of this trio, but she expired at an early age. Her dreams were fulfilled later by her daughter Amalprova, who was universally addressed as Amalprova Baideu. The word baideu, meaning elder sister in Assamese language is now a familiar
word for the Gandhian fraternity all over the country. She was no doubt a remarkable soul. For many years she was the motivating force behind the Assam State Branch of Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust. She was also instrumental in motivating a good number of Assamese men and
women to engage themselves in the activities related to constructive work programme. One is also reminded here of the efficient and well-planned manner in which Bhoodan Yatra (march on foot undertaken for land-gift mission) of Acharya Vinoba Bhave in Assam was conducted under her
leadership. The main character of our article, Hema Baideu was one of her life-long associates. This article carries some details.

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