She was sitting alone. Her head was shaking involuntarily, every now and then. She was reading a biography of Aurobindo.
I went and sat next to her and started talking. I was there at that conference, especially to hear her speak. And what a great opportunity I got to meet her personally. When she occasionally held my hands while talking, the chill-warmth was so energizing.
She talked to me about her tale of how she joined Vinoba. She mentioned about her son, who went to Cambodia to treat children affected by war crimes and has refused to come back, because he just couldn’t leave. She was thrilled about my work and told me, “You should include Bharathi along with Thirukkural”.
Krishnammal Jagannathan – follower of Gandhi; close associate of Vinoba; a fighter for the landless dalits, and against the powerful and destructive prawn industry.She is 87 years old; she spends 3 days a week looking after her equally illustrious 98-year-old husband at Chengalpet and goes to Nagappatinam for 4 days to take care of the various social activities she is still pursuing. (like trying to convince the District Collector to build 100 brick-houses).The way she talked on stage about their struggle against the prawn MNCs was inspiring – ” Our livelihoods, water and land were being destroyed for the sake of someone in Japan and Australia to eat prawns. My husband lamented, ‘Is it for this that we ate worm-infested food in British prisons?’ We decided to fight this through Satyagraha.”.
I could see a few people in the room sobbing many a time during her speech.