Page:MKGandhi patriot.djvu/51

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36
AN INDIAN PATRIOT

this time, began to exercise a powerful influence over them, added his persuasions. Finally, they discovered that the school-master, who was venerated by them, indulged in this food, and before these successive assaults, the religious convictions of years gave way. For some time they met and discussed the awful theme, afraid of taking such an unholy course. At last they ventured. Western minds, accustomed from childhood to this diet, can never appreciate the horror and loathing with which a strict Hindu regards it. It outrages all his religious instincts. It insults his judgment. It stands as the symbol of a renunciation of Hindu faith. It is atheism.

These boys trembled while they dared. When the moment came, which should break their caste and cause a breach with all the sacred traditions of their faith, they felt like a company of murderers shocked at themselves. A party of five or six progressive spirits stole away one evening to a secluded spot by the river side, carrying meat with them, and there, under the supervision of the school-master's brother, solemnly cooked and ate it. It was eaten quickly. Mr. Gandhi says: "It rested at first nauseous, but worst of all, the memory of it haunted