Arrest And Imprisonment
|The Government seized the opportunity for which it was waiting. On
the evening of March 10, 1922, Gandhi was arrested in his ashram. The trial was held
before Broomfield, District and Sessions Judge of Ahmedabad. The British judge behaved
with great consideration, nodding respectfully to the accused in the dock before taking
his seat. He acknowledged that Gandhi was in a different category from any person that he
had ever tried or was likely to try. Gandhi made his task easy by pleading guilty. He was
sentenced to six years imprisonment.
An observer noted that Gandhi was not only serene but festively joyful during the 100-minute trial. "So far as the sentence is concerned," he told the judge "I certainly consider that it is as light as any judge would inflict on me; and so far as the whole proceedings are concerned, I must say that I could not have expected greater courtesy." He was lodged in the Yeravada prison in Poona. He was not allowed to sleep in the open. He was denied a pillow but he devised one with books and spare clothes. Among the 150 and odd books he read during this term were Henry James The Varieties of Religious Experience, Bernard Shaws Man and Superman, Buckles History of Civilization, Wells Outline of History, Goethes Faust and Kiplings Barrack Room Ballads. He kept up his daily routine of morning and evening prayers, and spinning. His literary and religious studies which had been neglected in the midst of other activities were resumed. There is no doubt that in spite of occasional pinpricks, prison life proved for Gandhi, as Tagore once put it, "arrest cure".