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Book Name: From Ignorance to InnocencePrevious     Next

across the bridge and you would not be at all aware that just behind those mogras, the wall of flowers, was the most dirty place possible.

I was just going to the university. Seeing people decorating the Naudra bridge -- that was the name of the bridge; it was called Naudra because it had nine pillars, nine doors through which the dirt used to flow -- seeing the people putting those flowers up, I stopped there. I started working with those people who were decorating, and nobody made any objection because many people were working, and it had to be done quickly -- soon Jawaharlal was going to pass. So I got mixed in with the workers, the volunteers.

When Jawaharlal's procession came and he was standing in an open jeep, I stood in front of the jeep and stopped it. It would not have been possible in any other place because everywhere there were military police, guards, security. On Naudra bridge these volunteers were on both sides, and there was no crowd because nobody wanted to stand there. And the crowd was not aware of what had happened -- that those mogra flowers had completely covered the smell. The place was smelling of paradise! The people were not aware of it because nobody was near there.

I told Jawaharlal, "Please get down. You have to look behind these flowers -- that is the reality of this city. You are being befooled; these flowers are not decorations for your welcome, they are put here to deceive you."

He said, "What do you mean?"

I said, "Get down, and just come close to the flowers and look beyond them." He was a very sensitive and intelligent man. Others tried to prevent him -- the local leaders.

I said, "Don't listen to these fools. These are the people who have arranged these flowers here. Have you seen in the city, anywhere, thousands of flowers arranged for your decoration? And here you don't see any crowd. The arithmetic is simple. Just come down."

He got down and went with me to look beyond the flowers: he could not believe it. He told the people, the local leaders, the mayor, the members of the corporation and the president of the congress, "If this young man was not so stubborn, I would have missed

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