Gadai said Dhani must be his alms-giving mother.

“No,” said everybody, but Gadai wouldn’t yield.

At last, all had to agree.

At the age of nine, Gadai was to be given the sacred thread. His eldest brother, Ramakumar, was now the head of the family. He was arranging everything.But, Gadai said that after the ceremony, he would take the first alms from Dhani, a woman of the blacksmith caste, who had helped Chandra at the time of Gadai’s birth and so used to call her ‘mother’, according to the custom. Ramakumar objected, because it was the custom in Khudiram’s family that only Brahmin women should act as ‘mother’ by giving the first alms to the Brahmin boy.

But, Gadai said, “It will have to be done. I have given my word to Dhani that I will take first alms from her and call her ‘mother’. I cannot take back my word.” When Gadai was younger, Dhani had asked him one day, “Will you accept me as your alms-giving mother, when you are given your sacred thread?” Gadai had replied, “Yes”. And this was supposed to be a promise. Such promises were meaningless, it was argued. But, Gadai took a firm stand. He had given his word and it would be an act of untruthfulness, if he did not keep it.

So, everyone had to agree. The ceremony was held and Dhani became the alms-giving mother. And how happy Dhani felt!

After getting the sacred thread, Gadai became eligible to worship Raghubira and Sitala. It was a task he greatly loved to do. While, worshipping, he became so deeply immersed in thoughts of Raghubira that he lost his awareness of the outside world and could see the God within his heart.

– Illustrations : Ms. Hema Satagopan

Questions :

  • 1. From whom did Gadai wish to take first alms?
  • 2. Why did Ramakumar object?
  • 3. What was the reply of Gadai?
  • 4. Mention two noble qualities of Gadai from this story?
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