Adjacent to his home is a small temple he has built for Guru Nanak to whom he is devoted. Often, there is a gathering at home of neighbours for a satsang or discussions. He has made his will, reduced his wants to a minimum and the clutter in his head to nothing. After all, he watches the TV for just two news bulletins from Doordarshan. He walks to most places, wears only khadi, and quietly states the importance of Gandhi. He is entitled to a freedom fighter's pension, but refuses to claim it saying he doesn't need it. He travels only second class, paying for it, though he is entitled to passes. He is a gritty old man.
His growing, admiring family worries about his hectic life. But it has no control over him. Dada is a bit of an eccentric tyrant, who will brook no delays or sloppiness. His nephew Sunil, now abroad, feels Dada's pull from afar. He explains: "I read in school about the Indian concept that we all bear three debts ["Ryn", in Hindi]: Matri [of Mother], Pitr [of Father] and Guru [of teacher]. To be truly free of these debts in your lifetime, you have to be one of the two: parent or teacher. I think Dada, a bachelor, takes commitment to others quite seriously, but without words or any consciousness."
That is all there is to the life of Dada Devkishan Lakhiani. No drama, no disciples, no teachings, no headlines, no expectations. Luckily for India, he is not unique. There are thousands like him keeping the society positively disposed towards the future. Look around you in your neighbourhood- you will probably find one.
These simpletons don't read detailed analyses, make speeches or rile against the ills around them. They doggedly do what they can. It is they who will enable the meek to inherit India.
c/o Arvind Lakhiani
17/4, Navjivan Colony
Mori Road, Mumbai- 400016
Tel : 022-56662396, 98212 21216
email: [Dada's grand-nephew Sunil Lakhiani]
This story was made possible by interviews, field reports research and photographs by Shruti Parthasarathy [ ]