EXTERIOR - SKY - DAY
The camera is moving toward an Indian city. We are high and
far away, only the sound of the wind as we grow nearer and
nearer, and through the passing clouds these words appear:
"No man's life can be encompassed in one telling. There is
no way to give each year its allotted weight, to include
each event, each person who helped to shape a lifetime. What
can be done is to be faithful in spirit to the record, and
to try to find one's way to the heart of the man..."
And now we are approaching the city, the squalor of the little
shanty dwellings around the outskirts, the shadows of large
factories... And as we move nearer, coursing over the parched
terrain, the tiny fields of cultivation, strands of sound
are woven through the main titles, borne on the wind, images
from the life we are seeking:
British: "Who the hell is he?!", lower class British: "I
don't know, sir."... "My name is Gandhi. Mohandas K.
Gandhi."... A woman's voice, tender, soft: "You are my best
friend, my highest guru... and my sovereign lord."... A man
(Gandhi): "I am asking you to fight!"... An angry aristocratic
English voice: "At home children are writing 'essays' about
him!"... the sound of massed rifle fire, screams...
EXTERIOR - CITY - DAY
And now we are over the city, coming in toward a particular
street in the affluent suburbs of New Delhi... there are a
few cars (it is 1948), and we are closing on a milling crowd
near the entrance to one of the larger homes.
We see saris, Indian tunics, a sprinkling of "Gandhi" caps,
several tongas (two-wheeled, horse-drawn taxis)... the shreds
of sound continue -- American woman, flirtatious, intimate:
"You're the only man I know who makes his own clothes."
Gandhi's laugh... The sound of rioting, women's cries and
screams of terror... An American voice: "This man of peace"...
And as the titles end we begin to pick up the sounds of the
street... an Australian and his wife, a BBC correspondent...
all in passing, as the camera finally closes and holds on
one young man: Godse.
BIRLA HOUSE - EXTERIOR - DAY
Godse steps from a tonga as the crowd begins to move toward
an entrance-way at the back of a long wall.
HOUSE SERVANT'S VOICE
He will be saying prayers in the
garden -- just follow the others.
In contrast to those about him, there is tension in Godse's
face, an air of danger in his movements.
He glances at two policemen who are talking casually, absorbed
in their own gossip -- then he looks back at another tonga
that pulls up just behind his. Two young men (Apte and
Karkare) meet Godse's gaze, and again we get the sense of
They descend and pay their driver absently, their eyes
watching the crowd.
Sitting along in the shadows of a stationary tonga a little
distance down the street an elderly man (Prakash) with a
short, close-cropped beard and the taut, sunken flesh of a
cadaver is watching...
Apte and Karkare look back at him. There is just the slightest
acknowledgment and then Prakash lifts his eyes to the gate,
as though to tell them to be about their business.
THE GATE AT BIRLA HOUSE - EXTERIOR - DAY
Godse hesitates before approaching the two gardeners who
nonchalantly flank the entrance. He stiffens himself,
cautiously touches something under his khaki jacket, then
glances back at the stoic face of Prakash. Prakash's gaze is
as firm and unrelenting as a death's head. Godse turns back,
wetting his lips nervously, then moves into the middle of a
group going through the gate.
GARDEN - BIRLA HOUSE - EXTERIOR - TWILIGHT
A fairly numerous crowd is gathering here, informally filling
the area on one side of a walk that leads to a little pavilion --
some devout, some curious, some just eager to be near the
Godse moves forward through them toward the front just as
hushed voices begin to remark -- "I see him." "Here he comes!"
"Which one is Manu?"...
Apte and Karkare move to different sides of Godse, staying a
little behind, their movements sly and wary, aware of people
Featuring Gandhi. We see him distantly through the crowd.
The brown, wiry figure cloaked only in loincloth and shawl,
still weak from his last fast and moving without his customary
spring and energy as he is supported by his two grand nieces,
his "walking sticks," Manu and Abha.
We do not see him clearly until the very last moment -- only
glimpses of him as he smiles, and exchanges little jokes
with some of the crowd and the two young women who support
him, occasionally joining his hands together in greeting to
someone in particular, then once more proceeding with a hand
on the shoulder of each of the girls.
The camera keeps moving closer, and the point of view is
always Godse's, but Gandhi is always in profile or half
obscured by the heads and shoulders of those in front. We
hear the occasional click of a camera, and we intercut with
shots of Godse moving tensely up through the crowd, of Apte
and Karkare on the periphery of the crowd, watching with
sudden fear and apprehension, like men paralysed by the
presence of danger.
Featuring Godse. He slides through to the very front rank.
His breathing is short and there is perspiration around the
sides of his temples. And now, for an instant we see Gandhi
close from his point of view. He is only a few steps away,
but turned to speak to someone on the other side, and Manu
half obscures him.
Godse swallows dryly, tension lining his face -- then he
moves boldly out into Gandhi's path, bumping Manu, knocking
a vessel for incense from her hands.
Brother -- Bapu is already late for
Ignoring her, his nerves even more taut, Godse joins his
hands together and bows in greeting to the Mahatma.
And now we see Gandhi in full shot. The cheap glasses, the
nut-brown head, the warm, eager eyes. He smiles and joins
his hands together to exchange Godse's greeting.
Godse moves his right hand rapidly from the stance of prayer
to his jacket, in an instant -- it holds a gun, and he fires
point blank at Gandhi -- loud, startling -- once, twice...
Gandhi's white shawl is stained with blood as he falls.
Oh, God... oh, God...
Amid the screams and sounds of chaos we dissolve through to
KINGSWAY - NEW DELHI - EXTERIOR - DAY
Close shot. Soldier's feet moving in the slow step, half-
step, step of the requiem march...
Full shot. The huge funeral procession -- crowds such as
have never been seen on the screen massed along the route.
People everywhere, clinging to monuments, lamp standards,
trees -- and as the camera pulls back from the funeral cortege
it reveals more and more... and more. All are silent. We
only hear a strange, rhythmic shuffling, pierced by an
occasional wail of grief. We see the soldiers and sailors
lining the route, their hands locked together in one seemingly
endless chain. We see the two hundred men of the Army, Navy
and Air Force drawing the Army weapon-carrier that bears the
body of Gandhi.
And finally we see Gandhi lying on the weapon-carrier,
surrounded by flowers, a tiny figure in this ocean of grief
THE COMMENTATORS' ROSTRUM - KINGSWAY - NEW DELHI - EXTERIOR -
Commentators from all over the world are covering the
ceremony. We concentrate on one, let us say the most
distinguished American broadcaster of the time, Edward R.
Murrow, who sits on the makeshift platform, a microphone
marked "CBS" before him, describing the procession as
technicians and staff move quietly around him.
...The object of this massive tribute
died as he had always lived -- a
private man without wealth, without
property, without official title or
KINGSWAY - NEW DELHI - EXTERIOR - DAY
As the cortege continues on its way, we get shots of the
marching soldiers, of the faces of Sikhs, and Tamils, Anglo-
Indians, Moslems from the north, Marathas from the south,
blue-eyed Parsees, dark-skinned Keralans...
Mahatma Gandhi was not a commander
of great armies nor ruler of vast
lands, he could boast no scientific
achievements, no artistic gift...
Yet men, governments and dignitaries
from all over the world have joined
hands today to pay homage to this
little brown man in the loincloth
who led his country to freedom...
We see the throng, following the weapon-carrier bier of Gandhi
as it slowly inches its way along the Kingsway.
Mountbatten, tall, handsome, bemedalled, walks at the head
of dignitaries from many lands... and behind them a broad
mass of Indians. For a moment we see their sandalled feet
moving along the roadway and realize their quiet, rhythmic
shuffling is the only noise this vast assemblage has produced.
Pope Pius, the Archbishop of
Canterbury, President Truman, Chiang
Kai-shek, The Foreign Minister of
Russia, the President of France...
are among the millions here and abroad
who have lamented his passing. In
the words of General George C.
Marshall, the American Secretary of
State, "Mahatma Gandhi had become
the spokesman for the conscience of
In the crowd following the bier we pick out the tall, English
figure of Mirabehn, dressed in a sari, her face taut in a
grief that seems ready to break like the Ganges in flood.
Near her a tall, heavy-set man, Germanic, still powerful of
build and mien though his white hair and deep lines suggest
a man well into his sixties (Kallenbach). He too marches
with a kind of numb air of loss that is too personal for
On the edge of the street an American newspaperman (Walker)
watches as the bier passes him. He has been making notes,
but his hand stops now and we see the profile of Gandhi from
his point of view as the weapon-carrier silently rolls by.
It is personal, close. Walker clenches his teeth and there
is moisture in his eyes as he looks down. He tries to bring
his attention to his pad again, but his heart is not in it
and he stares with hollow emptiness at the street and the
horde of passing feet following the bier.
...a man who made humility and simple
truth more powerful than empires."
And Albert Einstein added,
"Generations to come will scarce
believe that such a one as this ever
in flesh and blood walked upon this
The camera picks out those who ride on the weapon-carrier
with Gandhi's body... the stout, blunt, but now shattered
Patel, Gandhi's son, Devadas, the strong, almost fierce face
of Maulana Azad, now angry at the Gods themselves... and
finally Pandit Nehru -- a face with the strength of a hero,
the sensitivity of a poet, and now wounded like the son of a
... but perhaps to this man of peace,
to this fighter who fought without
malice or falsehood or hate, the
tribute he would value most has come
from General Douglas McArthur: "If
civilization is to survive," the
General said this morning, "all men
cannot fail to adopt Gandhi's belief
that the use of force to resolve
conflict is not only wrong but
contains within itself the germ of
our own self-destruction."...
A news truck is parked in the mass of the crowd. As the
cortege nears, the photographers on it stand to snap their
pictures. There is a newsreel crew center. The camera features
a woman photographer (Margaret Bourke-White) who sits with
her legs dangling over the side of the truck, her famous
camera held loosely in her hand, un-regarded, as she watches
the body of Gandhi approach. The intelligent features are
betrayed by the emotion in her eyes. For an instant we see
Gandhi from her point of view, and read the personal impact
it has on her.
Perhaps for the rest of us, the most
satisfying comment on this tragedy
comes from the impudent New York PM
which today wrote, "There is still
hope for a world which reacts as
reverently as ours has to the death
of a man like Gandhi."...
The camera is high and we see the cortege from the rear,
moving off down the vast esplanade, its narrowing path parting
the sea of humanity like a long trail across a weaving
plain... and as the shuffling sound of sandalled feet fades
in the distance we dissolve through to
RAILROAD - SOUTH AFRICA - EXTERIOR - NIGHT
With the camera high we see a railroad track stretching out
across a darkly verdant plain, and suddenly the whistle of a
train as its engine and light sweep under the camera,
startling us as it sweeps across the moonlit landscape.
Tracking with the train. We begin at the guard's van, dwelling
for a moment on the words "South African Railways," then
pass on to the dimly lit Third Class coaches in the rear of
the train, moving past the crowded Blacks and Indians in the
spare wooden accommodation... There are two or three such
coaches, then a Second Class coach... cushioned seats, better
lighting, a smattering of Europeans: farmers, clerks, young
families. Their clothes indicate the date: the early 1890s.
The conductor is working his way through this coach, checking
tickets... The track continues to the First Class coach --
linen over the seats, well-lit luxurious compartments. We
pass a single European, and then come to rest on the back of
a young Indian dressed in a rather dandified Victorian attire,
and reading as a Black porter stows his luggage.
FIRST CLASS COACH - SOUTH AFRICAN RAILWAYS - INTERIOR -
Featuring the young Indian. It is the young Gandhi -- a full
head of hair, a somewhat sensuous face, only the eyes help
us to identify him as the man we saw at Birla House, the
figure on the bier in Delhi. He is lost in his book and there
is a slight smile on his face as though what he reads
intrigues and surprises him. He grins suddenly at some
insight, then looks out of the window, weighing the idea.
As he does the European passes the compartment and stops
dead on seeing an Indian face in the First Class section.
The porter glances at the European nervously. Gandhi pivots
to the porter, holding his place in the book, missing the
European, who has moved on down the corridor, altogether. We
see the cover of the book: The Kingdom of God is Within You,
by Leo Tolstoy.
Tell me -- do you think about hell?
(stares at him blankly)
(the eternal, earnest
No -- neither do I. But...
(he points abruptly
to the book)
but this man is a Christian and he
has written --
The porter has glanced down the corridor, where from his
point of view we can just glimpse the European talking with
Excuse me, baas, but how long have
you been in South Africa?
A -- a week.
Well, I don't know how you got a
ticket for --
He looks up suddenly then turns back quickly to his work.
Gandhi glances at the door to see what has frightened him
The European and the conductor push open the door and stride
Here -- coolie, just what are you
doing in this car?
Gandhi is incredulous that he is being addressed in such a
Why -- I -- I have a ticket. A First
How did you get hold of it?
I sent for it in the post. I'm an
attorney, and I didn't have time to --
He's taken out the ticket but there is a bit of bluster in
his attitude and it is cut off by a cold rebuff from the
There are no colored attorneys in
South Africa. Go and sit where you
He gestures to the back of the train. Gandhi is nonplussed
and beginning to feel a little less sure of himself. The
porter, wanting to avoid trouble, reaches for Gandhi's
I'll take your luggage back, baas.
No, no -- just a moment, please.
He reaches into this waistcoat and produces a card which he
presents to the conductor.
You see, Mohandas K. Gandhi, Attorney
at Law. I am going to Pretoria to
conduct a case for an Indian trading
Didn't you hear me? There are no
colored attorneys in South Africa!
Gandhi is still puzzled by his belligerence, but is beginning
to react to it, this time with a touch of irony.
Sir, I was called to the bar in London
and enrolled in the High Court of
Chancery -- I am therefore an
attorney, and since I am -- in your
eyes -- colored -- I think we can
deduce that there is at least one
colored attorney in South Africa.
The Porter stares -- amazed!
Smart bloody kaffir -- throw him
He turns and walks out of the compartment.
You move your damn sammy carcass
back to third class or I'll have you
thrown off at the next station.
(anger, a touch of
I always go First Class! I have
traveled all over England and I've
MARITZBURG STATION - EXTERIOR - NIGHT
Gandhi's luggage is thrown onto the station platform. A blast
of steam from the engine.
A policeman and the conductor are pulling Gandhi from the
First Class car. Gandhi is clinging to the safety rails by
the door, a briefcase clutched firmly in one hand. The
European cracks on Gandhi's hands with his fist, breaking
Gandhi's grip and the policeman and conductor push him across
the platform. It is ugly and demeaning. Disgustedly, the
conductor shakes himself and signals for the train to start.
Gandhi rights himself on the platform, picking up his
briefcase, his face a mixture of rage, humiliation, impotence.
The conductor hurls Gandhi's book at his feet as the train
starts to move.
Gandhi picks up the book, looking off at the departing train.
A lamp swinging in the wind alternately throws his face into
light and darkness.
His point of view. The Black porter stares out of a window
at him, then we see the European taking his seat again,
righteously. The conductor standing in the door, watching
Gandhi even as the train pulls out. Then the Second Class
coach, with people standing at the window to stare at Gandhi --
then the Third Class coaches, again with Blacks and a few
Indians looking at Gandhi with mystification and a touch of
Gandhi stands with a studied air of defiance as the train
pulls away -- but when it is gone he is suddenly very aware
of his isolation and looks around the cold, dark platform
with self-conscious embarrassment.
A Black railway worker looks as if he would like to express
sympathy, but he cannot find the courage and turns away from
Gandhi's gaze, pulling his collar up against the piercing
The policeman who pulled Gandhi from the train talks with
the ticket-taker under the gas-lit entrance gate, both of
them staring off at Gandhi.
An Indian woman near the entrance sits in a woolen sari, her
face half-veiled. A small child sleeps in her arms, and there
is a tattered bundle of clothing at her feet. She turns away
from Gandhi's gaze as though it brought the plague itself.
MR. BAKER'S LIVING ROOM - INTERIOR - NIGHT
Featuring Gandhi. As if a reverse angle from the previous
shot, he is angry, baffled, defiant.
But you're a rich man -- why do you
put up with it?
We are in a large Victorian parlor in a well-to-do home.
Facing Gandhi are Khan, a tall, impressive Indian. Singh,
slighter and older than Khan, but wiry and looking capable
of physical as well as intellectual strength, and Khan's
twenty-year-old son, Tyeb Mohammed.
I'm rich -- but I'm Indian. I
therefore do not expect to travel
It is said with a dignity and strength that makes the
statement all the more bewildering. Gandhi looks around
helplessly. We see Mr. Baker, a wealthy white lawyer, whose
home this is, poking at the fire, slightly amused at Gandhi's
In England, I was a poor student but
That was England.
Gandhi is holding a British legal document; he lifts it
This part of "England's" Empire!
Mr. Gandhi, you look at Mr. Khan and
see a successful Muslim trader. The
South Africans see him simply as an
Indian. And the vast majority of
Indians -- mostly Hindu like yourself --
(there is a moment of
from Gandhi at this
mention of his own
were brought here to work the mines
and harvest the crops -- and the
Europeans don't want them doing
Gandhi looks at Mr. Baker almost in disbelief.
But that is very un-Christian.
Mr. Baker smothers a smile.
Mr. Gandhi, in this country Indians
are not allowed to walk along a
pavement with a "Christian"!
Gandhi looks at Khan incredulously.
You mean you employ Mr. Baker as
your attorney, but you can't walk
down the street with him?
I can. But I risk being kicked into
the gutter by someone less "holy"
than Mr. Baker.
He smiles, but his eyes show that it is no joke.
Gandhi glances from one to the other them -- absorbing the
inconceivable. And then almost before our eyes his innocence
of the world fuses with his anger at the injustice of it
Well, then, it must be fought. We
are children of God like everyone
Allah be praised. And what battalions
will you call upon?
I -- I will write to the press --
here -- and in England.
(He turns to Baker
And I will use the courts.
He lifts the documents threateningly.
You will make a lot of trouble.
Its tone is chilling, and Gandhi's firmness is shaken a
We are members of the Empire. And we
come from an ancient civilization.
Why should we not walk on the
pavements like other men?
The sturdy Khan is studying him with a look of wry interest.
I rather like the idea of an Indian
barrister in South Africa. I'm sure
our community could keep you in work
for some time, Mr. Gandhi -- even if
you caused a good deal of trouble.
Especially if you caused a good deal
Gandhi glances at Tyeb Mohammed and Baker, then stiffens,
plainly frightened by the challenge, but just as plainly
determined to take it.
MOSQUE - EXTERIOR - DAY
We see a rather crudely stitched sign: "Indian Congress Party
of South Africa." Gandhi, now sporting a moustache, stands
with Khan and Singh near a fire that has been started in the
open area before the Mosque. A wire basket has been placed
on supports over the fire. Before them, a small crowd, mostly
Indian (Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims), but with a few Whites drawn
by curiosity. Gandhi whispers, trying to ignore the crowd.
There's the English reporter. I told
you he'd come.
We see the English reporter waiting skeptically. Near him,
trying to be inconspicuous on the edge of the small crowd,
are five policemen (one sergeant and four constables). A
horse-drawn paddy wagon is drawn up beside them.
You also said your article would
draw a thousand people.
(If the crowd numbers
100 they're lucky.)
At least some of the Hindus brought
We see five or six women in saris standing together.
No. I asked my wife to organize that.
We feature Gandhi's wife, Ba, standing at the front of the
women. She possesses a surprising delicacy of feature, with
large expressive eyes and a beautiful mouth -- but at this
moment she is ill at ease and uncertain, forcing herself to
do that which she would rather not.
Some of them are leaving...
Gandhi wets his lips nervously. He glances with a little
apprehension at the police, then takes his notes from his
pocket and moves to the front of the fire. He holds up his
hand for attention. He forces a smile -- then starts reading --
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have asked
you to gather here to help us proclaim
our right to be treated as equal
citizens of the Empire.
It is flat and dull, like someone reading a speech to
themselves, and those in the crowd who had hesitated before
wandering off shrug and continue on their way. Gandhi is
unnerved by it a little but he struggles on -- louder, but
just as colorlessly.
We do not seek conflict. We know the
strength of the forces arrayed against
us, know that because of them we can
only use peaceful means -- but we
are determined that justice will be
This last has come more firmly, and he lifts his head to the
crowd, as though expecting a reaction. Three or four committed
supporters applaud as on cue, but his technique is so inexpert
that it draws nothing but blank faces from the bulk of them.
He glances nervously at Ba, who is embarrassed for them both
now. She wraps her sari more closely around her and her
expression is a wife's "I told you so" -- sufferance,
mortification and loyalty, all in one. Gandhi wets his lips
again -- and takes a square of cardboard from his pocket --
The symbol of our status is embodied
in this pass -- which we must carry
at all times, but no European even
has to have.
He holds it up. A constable glances at the police sergeant.
And the first step to changing our
status is to eliminate this difference
And he turns and drops his pass in the wire basket over the
fire. The flames engulf it.
The police sergeant's eyes go wide with disbelief. The crowd
murmurs in shock. At last Gandhi has got a reaction, but the
dropping of the card has been as matter-of-fact as his
speaking, with none of the drama one might expect from so
startling a gesture. Even so, a constable glances at the
police sergeant again, "Do we take him?". The sergeant just
shakes his head, "Wait."
Khan moves up to Gandhi as the tremor of reaction ripples
through the crowd.
You write brilliantly, but you have
much to learn about handling men.
He takes Gandhi's notes from him, and faces the crowd.
(the reading not
fluent, but firm and
We do not want to ignite... the fear
or hatred of anyone. But we ask you --
Hindu, Muslim and Sikh -- to help us
light up the sky... and the minds of
the British authorities -- with our
defiance of this injustice.
It is the end of the speech. He looks at the crowd. No one
knows quite what to do. Gandhi harumphs -- gesturing to a
shallow box Singh holds. Kahn turns back, extemporizing rather
We will now burn the passes of our
committee and its supporters. We ask
you to put your passes on the fire
Oh, no, you bloody well don't!
He has stepped forward with his constables, who have faced
the crowd, halting the tentative movements of the few
committed supporters toward the fire.
Those passes are government property!
And I will arrest the first man who
tries to burn one!
He is facing the crowd. Behind him, Khan holds himself erect
and slowly takes his own card from his pocket. He holds it
aloft and then lowers it resolutely into the wire basket.
The crowd reacts and the sergeant turns just in time to see
it dropped in the flame.
Take him away!
He gestures to a constable, who turns from the crowd and
marches to Khan, seizing him by the arm and marching him to
the paddy wagon. As he passes the sergeant, the sergeant
takes his billy club, and faces the crowd, rapping the club
menacingly against his hand.
Now -- are there any more?!
Behind him, Gandhi wavers indecisively a moment, then takes
the box from Singh and moves to the fire. Ba holds her hand
to her mouth -- terrified. Again the crowd's reaction turns
the sergeant. Gandhi is at the fire. For a second, his eyes
lock with the sergeant's -- and then nervously, he takes a
card and drops it in the wire basket, and another.
You little sammy bastard -- I --
He has leapt across the distance between them, knocking the
box from Gandhi's hands, sending the cards flying and shoving
Gandhi to the ground. He turns and faces the crowd angrily,
pointing the billy club threateningly.
You want that kind of trouble -- you
can have it!
Again, a murmur from the crowd turns him. Gandhi, on his
hands and knees, blood trickling from his abraded cheek, has
picked up a card from the ground and he leans forward
apprehensively, his eyes fearfully on the sergeant, but he
drops it defiantly in the basket. The sergeant's fury bursts --
and he slams the billy club down on Gandhi's head. Gandhi
sags to the ground. Ba screams. She starts to run to him,
but the other women seize her.
Let me go!
She fights loose, but one of the constables takes her firmly.
The sergeant turns from the commotion to see that Gandhi,
his head oozing blood, has crawled to his knees again and is
picking up another card. The crowd watches. The newspaper
reporter watches. Ba stares in anguish. Gandhi lifts the
card. The sergeant stares at him, angry but his emotions
somewhat in control after the first blow.
An instant of hesitation, then Gandhi drops the card into
the basket. The sergeant almost stops, but he strikes again.
A quiver of distaste at his own act crosses his face as Gandhi
Ba's anguished face is wet with tears. The newspaper reporter
stares without making notes. Khan, at the paddy wagon, watches
Gandhi, his head bleeding badly now, rises to his knees -- a
breath and he gropes around the ground for another card. His
fingers finally clutch one.
The sergeant stares, his face wracked with uncertainty and
Gandhi lifts the card and painfully holds it over the fire,
then drops it in the basket.
The sergeant slams the billy club down again -- firmly, but
with a manifest reluctance. The crowd watches breathlessly,
the newspaper reporter stares. The sergeant draws a breath,
grasping the club, but he bites his lip as he sees Gandhi
lift his head feebly, his shaking hands, stained with his
own blood, groping for another card...
GANDHI'S BEDROOM - SOUTH AFRICA - INTERIOR - NIGHT
Ba is gently removing Gandhi's suit coat, staring fearfully
at a bandage on his head, another along the side of his face.
The room is gaslit, overfurnished in the Victorian manner.
Middle class. Gandhi sits carefully on the bed, where some
newspapers are spread out, English-language ones among them.
You saved the papers.
Ba reaches forth, gently touching the bandages on his head.
I wish you were still struggling for
work in Bombay.
Gandhi doesn't take his eyes from the papers, but he shakes
I hated that -- all the pettiness,
the little corruptions.
(A reflective grin.)
And I was more laughing stock than
He smiles whimsically, then turns back to the papers.
But they needed me here. If I'd never
been thrown off that train, perhaps
no one would ever have needed me.
Ba stares at the back of his head, wounded by that remark,
bearing it as stoically as he bore the blows against him.
"A high court judge has confirmed
that Mr. Gandhi would have been within
his rights to prosecute for assault
since neither he nor Mr. Khan resisted
arrest." -- I told you about English
As I told you about English policemen.
Before Gandhi can retort there is a knock on the door.
A small, round ayah (an Indian nursemaid) pushes open the
door and proudly admits her charges, Gandhi's sons: Harilal
(ten), Manilal (six) and Ramdas (two). They are all dressed
in European suits, ties and stiff collars. They step forward,
one by one, making the pranam (the Hindu gesture of greeting),
then bending and touching the hands and lips to Gandhi's
feet in the traditional obeisance of child to father.
We are glad to have you back, Bapu.
And I am glad to be back.
(He holds his hands
out to Ramdas.)
And Ramdas runs to him and Gandhi bends to kiss him as Ramdas
put his arms around his neck.
Gandhi pats him indulgently, then carefully stands erect,
looking at them all with satisfaction.
Tomorrow I will tell you what it
feels like to be a jailbird.
The two older boys show the expected apprehension -- and
interest. Gandhi nods to the ayah. She claps her hands
The boys bow and leave like boys used to household discipline.
The ayah closes the door and we hear their chatter at they
go down the hall.
Just like proper English gentlemen.
I'm proud of them.
They are boys. -- And they're Indian.
Gandhi is stretching out on the bed, taking up another paper.
Hm. Will you take this off?
(he touches the bandage
on his cheek)
It pinches every time I speak.
Ba comes and sits down on the bed beside him, maneuvering so
that she can get at the bandage.
Here, you see? Even the South African
papers apologize -- "a monstrous
(of the tape, as she
is about to pull it)
Are you sure?
Yes -- I can't talk like this.
Ba pauses and looks at him mischievously, as though that's
not a bad idea. He scowls at her, then recognizes her "joke"
Ba pulls one of the strands of tape and Gandhi flinches.
Mr. Khan said they called you brave.
Gandhi is nursing the moustache; he looks at her wryly.
If you would let me teach you to
read, you could see for yourself.
She leans forward to pull at the remaining piece.
I could have told them you were merely
Gandhi is watching her as she leans across him, her beauty
and proximity obviously stirring him.
It proves what I told you. If I had
prosecuted him as everyone advised --
even you -- they would have hated me --
by showing forgiveness I -- ouch!
She has pulled the other piece.
And she slowly pries the gauze free from the strands of hair
above his lip. As she does Gandhi watches her more and more
intently, and slips his arms around her back.
(as though continuing
You see there is such a thing as
moral force -- and it can be
Ba examines the bandage and gently touches the wound, but
she is aware of his burning eyes and arms around her back.
Not always. You have told me twice
now that you were giving up the
pleasures of the flesh.
It slows Gandhi uneasily for a moment and Ba must grin at
his discomfiture. He leans back -- still holding her, but
looking at the ceiling.
I am. I am convinced the holy men
are right. When you give up, you
gain. The simpler your life the
Ba makes a moue of acceptance and starts to pull free of him --
but his arms still hold her. She smothers a smile and lies
down, her face next to his, but neither of them looking at
each other. A long beat... and then Gandhi turns his head.
She is aware of his eyes on her, but she doesn't move. Gandhi
leans forward and touches his lips to her neck.
I will fast tomorrow -- as a penance.
Ba smiles. Still not looking at him, she places her hand
behind his head, gently.
If you enjoy it a great deal you
must fast for two days.
Gandhi laughs... and buries her in love.
STREET AND COURTYARD OF GOVERNMENT BUILDING - JOHANNESBURG -
EXTERIOR - MORNING
General Smuts -- sitting erect and imposing on a beautiful
chestnut horse -- rides down a tree-lined street. He wears
civilian clothes with riding boots and breeches. Behind him,
a junior British officer rides as escort. He turns into the
entrance-way of an imposing building.
The hooves of Smuts's horse clatter on the cobblestones as
the General rides into the courtyard. Two sentries come
smartly to attention. A stable boy rushes to take the horse,
and a tall civil servant approaches the General busily as he
TALL CIVIL SERVANT
The London papers have arrived from
the Cape, sir.
Yes -- ?
The tall civil servant checks his notes.
TALL CIVIL SERVANT
The worst was the Daily Mail, sir.
They said, "The burning of passes by
Mr. Gandhi was the most significant
act in colonial affairs since the
Declaration of Independence."
Smuts has given the reins to the stable boy.
Did they? Well, they'll find we're a
little better prepared this time.
Mr. Gandhi will find he's on a long
hiding to nothing.
And he strides into the building, past the smartly saluting
GANDHI'S HOUSE - JOHANNESBURG - EXTERIOR - MORNING
Gandhi comes from the house door. He carries a briefcase and
is still dressed in European clothes, though far less elegant
than we have seen him in before. His mien, the cut of his
hair, all suggest a passage of time. As he turns, he stops
because he is face to face with Charlie Andrews, a very tall,
thin Englishman, who wears a rumpled white suit and a clerical
collar. He has descended from a horse-drawn taxi that carries
his luggage. He too has stopped. For a moment they both
appraise each other, neither speaking. Then
You'd be Gandhi --
...I thought you'd be bigger.
I -- I mean it's all right. It doesn't
(He suddenly steps
forward and thrusts
out his hand.)
I'm -- my name is Andrews, Charlie
Andrews. I've come from India --
I've read a great deal about you.
Some of it good, I hope.
He turns and waves to the parlor window. The three boys are
there -- all bigger -- and Ba holds a new addition; they all
wave. And Gandhi turns back, and starts down the long, hilly
Would you care to walk?
He gestures Charlie on and starts walking.
Charlie nods uncertainly. He looks back at the cab in
confusion, then signals the driver to follow and hurries on
to match strides with Gandhi's brisk pace.
You're a clergyman.
Yes. I've -- I've met some very
remarkable people in India... and --
and when I read what you've been
doing here, I -- I wanted to help.
(He looks at Gandhi,
then smiles awkwardly.)
Does that surprise you?
(And now he smiles.)
At first I was amazed... but when
you are fighting in a just cause,
people seem to pop up -- like you --
right out of the pavement. Even when
it is dangerous or --
JOHANNESBURG SUBURB - EXTERIOR - MORNING
They have come to a turning, nearer to town, the area poorer,
run-down. Ahead of them three youths (twenty, twenty-one) in
working clothes, carrying lunch boxes, lean indolently against
a building directly in their path. They react to the sight
of Gandhi -- fun. Then stride the pavement menacingly. One
of them tosses aside his cigarette.
Hey -- look what's comin'!
A white shepherd leading a brown
Perhaps I should --
Gandhi restrains him and shakes his head.
Doesn't the New Testament say, "If
your enemy strikes you on the right
cheek, offer him the left"?
He starts to move forward. Charlie hesitates, then follows
nervously, more nervous for Gandhi than himself.
I think perhaps the phrase was used
metaphorically... I don't think our
Lord meant --
They are getting closer. The youths laughing, whispering.
I'm not so certain. I have thought
about it a great deal. I suspect he
meant you must show courage -- be
willing to take a blow -- several
blows -- to show you will not strike
back -- nor will you be turned
aside... And when --
One youth has flicked his cigarette -- hard. It lands at
Gandhi's feet. He pauses, looking at the youth.
...and when you do that it calls
upon something in human nature --
something that makes his hate for
you diminish and his respect increase.
I think Christ grasped that and I --
I have seen it work.
He starts forward again, he is almost on the youths -- clearly
Get off the pavement, you bloody --
And he reaches forth to haul Gandhi from the pavement, but --
A WOMAN'S VOICE
Colin! Colin! What are you doing?
A woman is leaning out of an upstairs window, looking down
at the fracas disconcertedly. It is the first youth's mother
and her presence reduces the pitch of his hostility
Nuthing... nuthing. We were just
cleaning up the neighborhood a little.
A snickering response from the other youths -- but they are
embarrassed by the questioning disapproval of Colin's mother's
attitude. There's no note of apology in her cold stare at
Gandhi, but she clearly believes her son should not be doing
what he is doing.
You're already late for work. I
thought you'd gone ten minutes ago.
The moment of crisis has passed. Nothing will happen while
she is there.
Gandhi steps back on the pavement, addressing the first youth.
You'll find there's room for us both.
And he steps around him, Charlie trailing, as the first youth
stares at them sullenly.
As they stride on, Charlie glancing back --
That was lucky.
I thought you were a man of God.
(wittily, but making
I am. But I'm not so egotistical as
to think He plans His day around my
Gandhi laughs as they turn the corner.
BUSY STREET - JOHANNESBURG - EXTERIOR - MORNING
A busy street in the center of the town. Gandhi and Charlie
come around the corner into it.
...you could call it a "communal
farm," I suppose. But we've all come
to the same conclusion -- our Gita,
the Muslim's Koran or your Bible --
it's always the simple things that
catch your breath -- "Love thy
neighbor as thyself" --
(He smiles, thinking
back at the youths.)
not always practiced -- but it's
something we Hindus could learn a
He has paused before an office and a young girl (Sonja) has
come from it to speak to him about something of urgency, but
she hovers, not interrupting.
That's the sort of thing you'll be
seeking on this "farm"...
Well, we shall try.
And now he turns to Sonja. Behind her we see the small office
"M.K. Gandhi/Attorney." Several clients waits, most of them
conspicuously poor. Sonja's tone is loaded with foreboding.
They're going to change the pass
Gandhi absorbs the news stiffly.
SMUTS'S OFFICE - INTERIOR - DAY
A strong masculine hand scrawls a signature across a document.
It's taken time, but it needed to be
done fairly. We didn't want to create
an injustice simply because Mr. Gandhi
was abusing our existing legislation.
Beneath the signature we see the boldly printed
identification: Jan Christian Smuts.
Just one second, sir, please.
Another angle. A cameraman records the moment with a flash
photo. General Smuts, whose presence is equal to his office,
addresses someone out of shot as a male secretary removes
But on a short trip, I wouldn't spend
too much time on the Indian question,
Mr. Walker. It's a tiny factor in
South African life.
The reporter who stands opposite him is Walker, much, much
younger, almost boyish compared to the way we saw him at the
(a helpless shrug)
It's news at the moment. I will
certainly report on your mines and
the economy -- but I would like to
meet this Mr. Gandhi.
Smuts has risen. He knows how to concede with grace.
Of course. We Westerners have a
weakness for these -- these
spiritually inclined men of India.
But as an old lawyer, let me warn
you, Mr. Gandhi is as shrewd a man
as you will ever meet, however
"otherworldly" he may seem. But I'm
sure you're enough of a reporter to
The gaze is firm, strong, cynical...
TENT - THE FARM - EXTERIOR - DAY
The sides are half up, but it is dusty and hot. This is where
the magazine Indian Opinion is printed and we see stacks of
it lying around. A short Westerner (Albert West) is running
the simple printing press which is powered by a crude
generator. A small staff helping him. A Sikh, a Muslim, a
couple of Hindus, two young boys.
Gandhi and Walker are approaching the tent from the river,
Gandhi discoursing earnestly.
...so it's not "spiritualism" or
"nationalism" -- we're not against
anything but the idea that people
can't live together.
They've reached the entrance to the tent, and he gestures
You see -- Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs,
Jews -- even Christians.
This last remark has been directed toward Charlie Andrews,
who sits near them at a cluttered table, typing on an old
typewriter. He waves, and Gandhi shouts out to them all over
the putt-putt of the generator:
Mr. Walker! Of The New York Times!
They nod. One of the Hindus bows with his hands clasped
together. Gandhi hands Walker a copy of Indian Opinion and
they start across the relatively barren field toward some
other tents, Walker glancing at the paper. Gandhi watches
Without a paper -- a journal of some
kind -- you cannot unite a community.
(A teasing smile.)
You belong to a very important
Hm. And what should an "important
professional" write about your
response to General Smuts's new
I don't know... I'm still searching
for a "response."
(a leading question)
You will respect the law.
There are unjust laws -- as there
are unjust men.
This carries a weight and apprehension that none of the rest
of the conversation has. Walker measures Gandhi with a little
You're a very small minority to take
on the Government -- and the Empire.
Gandhi seems trapped by an ineluctable fact.
If you are a minority of one, the
truth is the truth.
Reluctant as it is, it too carries commitment and Walker
senses it. But they have come by a site where a building is
being erected, and a European (Kallenbach) is perched above
a doorway on the half-completed structure, getting a level.
Some Indians are working below him. Gandhi turns to him,
This is Mr. Kallenbach. He is our
chief carpenter -- and also our chief
benefactor. He has made this
Walker waves his notebook at him and Kallenbach lifts his
level in greeting. On his bronzed chest there is a Star of
David. Walker looks around, grinning, shaking his head. We
see two women in saris trying to quell some squabbling
children in the background.
Well, it's quite a place, your
"ashram" -- is that right?
That's right. The word only means
"community." But it could stand for
"village"... or the world.
Walker looks at him appraisingly.
You're an ambitious man.
I hope not.
A moment of embarrassed doubt, then he starts toward a half-
finished building -- wooden sides, door, but canvas still
covering the roof. It has an awning spread before it. Walker's
carriage is tethered nearby, a Black driver standing in the
sun, waiting. In the background we see two women cleaning a
latrine. Walker glances at the latrine.
They tell me you also take your turn
at peeling potatoes and cleaning the
"outhouse" -- is that part of the
As we have approached we see a table set for tea under the
awning. There are two places. Having set the places, Ba is
walking along the side of the building, away from them. She
glances at Gandhi tautly and deliberately avoids speaking or
(a little surprised,
a little annoyed)
Ba -- we will need another place set
for Mr. Walker's driver.
Ba looks at him coldly.
I will tell Sora.
She turns back and walks into the building by the rear
entrance. Gandhi is disconcerted by her attitude, but he
tries to answer Walker.
It's one way to learn that each man's
labor is as important as another's.
In fact when you're doing it,
"cleaning the outhouse" seems far
more important than the law.
A grin -- but forced. When a girl (Sora) comes from the
building bringing another cup and place setting, Gandhi calls
to the driver.
Please come and join us -- you'll
need something before your journey
(He nods to Walker.)
Excuse me a moment.
And he goes into the building, determined to find the source
of Ba's aloofness.
GANDHI'S HUT - INTERIOR - DAY
Ba is sitting sullenly on a carpet near the rear entrance to
the building. She does not look up at Gandhi, but she is
aware of his presence. He crosses and stands in front of her
with all the irritation of a husband. It is hushed, aware
that Walker might overhear them, but bristling with suppressed
What is it?
Now Ba looks at him hostilely.
Sora was sent to tell me I -- I must
rake and cover the latrine.
Everyone takes his turn.
It is the work of untouchables.
In this place there are no
untouchables -- and no work is beneath
any of us!
(she looks up at him)
I am your wife.
All the more reason.
He holds her gaze as angrily as she holds his.
As you command.
As she starts to rise he grabs her arm, but she pulls free.
The others may follow you -- but you
forget, I knew you when you were a
She says it derisively and it stings, but Gandhi is aware of
Walker and he fights to hold his temper.
It's not me. It's the principle. And
you will do it with joy or not do it
Ba settles back defiantly.
Not at all then...
For a moment Gandhi stares at her, and she back at him,
resentfully. He suddenly reaches down and grabs her arm,
pulling her roughly to her feet.
All right, go! You don't belong here!
Go! Leave the ashram! Get out
altogether! We don't want you!
It is hushed but violent as he pulls her toward the rear
door, opening it to push her out as she struggles against
Stop it! Stop it! What are you doing!?
She lurches free of his grip, glaring at him angrily. For a
moment they both stare at each other, shattered by their
Have you no shame? I'm your wife...
Where do you expect me to go?
Gandhi stares at her breathlessly, his temper subsiding into
a dazed remorse. He sinks numbly to a stool, sitting, holding
his head in his hands. Ba studies him for a moment -- and
she sighs, her temper and breathing subsiding too. She moves
and kneels before him.
What is the matter with me...?
A moment, then she soothes the top of his head -- like the
mother-wife she is.
You are human -- only human.
Gandhi looks up at her, blankly, abjectly.
And it is even harder for those of
us who do not even want to be as
good as you do.
And Gandhi grins weakly. Ba catches it and sends it back,
warmer, less complicated by doubts. Gandhi sighs, putting
his arms around her and she leans into him so that their
heads are touching.
Ba mutters "Hm" and holds him a little firmer. A moment.
I must go back to that reporter.
...And I must rake and cover the
Gandhi holds her back so that he can look at her. She looks
at him evenly -- no smile, but the warmth still in her eyes.
IMPERIAL THEATER - INTERIOR - NIGHT
The theater is packed. The front rows near the stage are
held by rich Muslim merchants, the back of the stalls with
small traders, peddlers, artisans -- Muslim, Hindu, Parsee,
Sikh. The gallery is bulging with indentured laborers --
largely Hindu. The mood is restless, belligerent.
On the stage. Gandhi moves forward and he holds up his hand
for silence. Seated on the stage are Khan, Singh, three more
leaders of the Indian community. Charlie Andrews and Herman
Kallenbach sit at the very end of the line of chairs. Gandhi
looks around the audience and we see the packed house from
his point of view, ending with two plainclothes European
policemen conspicuous in seats at the end of the front row.
A uniformed policeman stands near them.
(to the house)
I want to welcome you all!
A buzz, then applause -- loud and defiant. When is subsides
Gandhi looks down at the plainclothes policemen, fixing his
gaze on them.
Every one of you.
(Then, still at them)
We -- have -- no -- secrets.
And again the audience bursts into applause. The policemen
just sit like stone -- confident, sure, immune to rhetoric.
Let us begin by being clear about
General Smuts's new law. All Indians
must now be fingerprinted -- like
criminals. Men and women.
(A rising, angry
No marriage other than a Christian
marriage is considered valid. Under
this Act our wives and mothers are
whores... And every man here a
In the gallery a rhythmic pounding signals the anger and
protest and is taken up around the hall. The police stare
imperturbably. Khan leans towards Singh, nodding to Gandhi.
He's become quite good at this.
Singh smiles at the understatement. Gandhi holds up his hand,
silencing the hall.
And a policeman passing an Indian
dwelling -- I will not call them
homes -- may enter and demand the
card or any Indian woman whose
dwelling it is.
God damn them!
Gandhi just waits.
Understand! He does not have to stand
at the door -- he may enter.
Now a violent response -- a large, powerful merchant rises
in the third row.
I swear to Allah I will kill the man
who offers that insult to my home
and my wife!
(A guttural cheer; he
glares at the police.)
And let them hang me!
Another cheer. When it subsides, Tyeb Mohammed rises near
the back, where he is seated with a number of other young
I say talk means nothing. Kill a few
officials before they disgrace one
Indian woman -- then they might think
twice about such laws!
The police half rise to look back at him, but there is a
smattering of applause and several stand to look back.
TYEB MOHAMMED'S FRIEND
In that cause, I would be willing to
And now there is general applause. Gandhi waits, then
I praise such courage. I need such
courage -- because in this cause, I
too am prepared to die...
(A response; he looks
at Tyeb Mohammed)
But, my friend, there is no cause
for which I am prepared to kill.
He looks at the audience. This is the more sober Gandhi they
have come to know.
I have asked you here tonight because
despite all their troops and police,
I think there is a way to defeat
this law. Whatever they do to us we
will attack no one, kill no one...
But we will not
(the climatic point)
give our fingerprints -- not one of
He looks down at the police, making the point stick. There
is a tentative reaction from the audience, but uncertain.
They will imprison us, they will
fine us. They will seize our
possessions. But they cannot take
away our self-respect if we do not
give it to them.
VOICE FROM THE GALLERY
Have you been to prison? They'll
beat us and torture us! I say --
I am asking you to fight -- !
(It catches the
audience a little,
To fight against their anger -- not
to provoke it!
He has their attention now.
We will not strike a blow -- but we
will receive them. And through our
pain we will make them see their
and it will hurt, as all fighting
...But we cannot lose. We cannot.
(He looks down at the
Because they may torture my body,
may break my bones, even kill me...
(Up to the house)
They will then have my dead body --
not my obedience.
And now he gets the response he has wanted. Firm, mature,
determined. Gandhi holds up his hand.
We are Hindu and Muslim -- children
of God, each of us. Let us take a
solemn oath in His name that -- come
what may -- we will not submit to
He looks at the audience. A second, then a merchant stands,
signifying his pledge. And then another. Then Tyeb Mohammed
and the youths about him. Then all over the theater they
begin to stand and on the stage until everyone is standing.
It is all done is silence. Gandhi looks at the full theater --
all standing. He takes a step forward.
(a coarse singing)
God save our gracious King... Long
(the audience takes
(And their voices
fill the auditorium)
God save the King!!
A prison door slams: we are close on one face, another slam,
another face, and again and again in the rhythm of marching
MINE AREA - EXTERIOR - DAY
Gandhi, Singh and Tyeb Mohammed are leading a large procession
of Indian mine workers along a dirt road from a mining complex --
sheds, elevator platforms, pulleys -- toward a distant city.
We see crude, handworked banners: "We are Citizens of the
Empire," "Justice for All," "One King -- One Law"...
Tyeb Mohammed suddenly touches Gandhi's arm and nods ahead.
Their point of view. A canvas-topped open touring car (circa
1910) pulls out from a turning between two factory buildings
and comes towards them.
Resume Gandhi. There is a little hesitation in the ranks as
the car approaches. In it we can see two uniformed policemen
and a civilian.
The car swings across the center of the road and stops right
in front of Gandhi.
These men are contracted laborers.
They belong in the mines.
You have put their comrades in jail.
When you free them they will go back
The civilian smiles slowly. He looks from Gandhi to the
I've warned you.
We have warned each other.
The civilian looks at him sharply, then smiles derisively,
signaling the car off. As it pulls away, Tyeb Mohammed and
Singh come up to Gandhi, both made wary by the man's evident
satisfaction with what has transpired.
I don't think that is very good.
Gandhi watches the disappearing car worriedly, then turns
and signals the miners on. They start forward.
Their point of view. The car rides on past the factory
building out of which it turned, and suddenly mounted police
come swinging out from the buildings and face the procession.
Tracking back before Gandhi, Singh and Tyeb Mohammed as they
move forward, fear suddenly making their pace more labored.
Tracking back before the mounted police.
At the canter -- for-ward!
They come on fast, batons at the ready. Gandhi screws up his
courage, marching on. Tyeb Mohammed sets his jaw in defiance.
Singh forces himself along at Gandhi's side. The mounted
police riding on, batons at the ready.
Featuring an Indian miner. He is in the front rank of the
procession, watching the horses approach. He has a blunt
(half to Gandhi)
We should lie down -- the horses
won't tramp on us.
(Then shouting out)
Down! Down! Everyone lie down!
He starts to go down, and others around him, convinced by
the authority of his voice.
The sense of the idea seizes Gandhi, and as the sound of the
galloping horses nears, he turns and shouts too.
Lie down! Lie down!
And the miners begin to go down, some face up, shielding
their faces with their hands, some burying their faces in
the earth and covering their heads with their hands.
Close fast traveling, the sergeant's point of view. We arrive
at the prone miners.
Close on Gandhi, his arms crossed in front of his face,
staring up, frightened, but determined to bear it.
Wide angle. The horses cannot bring themselves to gallop
over the human carpet; they rear, plunge, swerve.
Close shot -- miner who shouted "down." He is peering through
his crossed hands, a tight smile of satisfaction at knowledge
confirmed. He turns to see:
The sergeant thrown off his horse. He lands heavily, scrambles
up, furious, darts after it. Mounting, he is enraged to hear
Close shot. Singh and the miner who shouted "Down" kneeling,
grinning at the chaos.
The horses have more mercy than the
Singh smiles, but suddenly looks up fearfully. The sergeant
looms over them.
And without taking his booted foot from the stirrup he swings
it into the miner's face. The man goes down, bleeding.
An angry roar from the miners. Several stand and shake their
fists. "Bastard!," "God damn you, Englishman!," "Jackal!"
The wounded miner himself starts to stagger up.
The sergeant sweeps them, his eyes glittering -- this he can
deal with. But --
Lie down! Lie down!
It is a command, and angry in its own way, but it carries
all the weight of his influence on them. They begin to go
down again and the sergeant wheels his horse and rides at
With deliberate, almost fatalistic pace, Gandhi goes first
to his knees and then sprawls down flat, his hands over the
top of his head, awaiting the blow of the horse's hoof.
Close shot, the horse's head, its eyes rolling as it swerves
Close shot, the sergeant controlling it, cursing, but unable
to make it plunge down on the man.
Full shot, the sergeant wheeling his horse, angrily --
surveying the whole of the procession as they lie sprawled
on the ground, his mounted police circling in front of them,
not knowing what to do.
He turns his horse angrily and gallops back toward the
Gandhi, Singh and Tyeb Mohammed are looking off at the
retreating horses. The car with the civilian has returned in
Gandhi looks at the miner who first shouted "Down" -- a smile,
a nod of recognition and thanks. The miner grins, rubbing at
the blood on his face, shrugging off Gandhi's implied praise.
Featuring the police. The sergeant wheels by the car with
the civilian; his police turn their horses, lining up across
the road again.
Their point of view. Gandhi and the miners coming on once
more, chanting forcefully. "One King! One Law! One King! One
What the hell are we supposed to do
Let them march... In our own sweet
time, in our own sweet way -- we'll
SMALL CHURCH - SOUTH AFRICA - INTERIOR - DAY
We are close on Charlie Andrews.
Some of you may be rejoicing that
Mr. Gandhi has at last been put into
The congregation is listening to him stiffly,
unsympathetically, and there is more than one murmur of assent
at his words. The clergyman who has given Charlie the use of
his pulpit sits beneath it, embarrassed, but sticking
resolutely to his decision to give Charlie a hearing.
But I would ask you -- assembled
here in this house of God -- to
recognize that we are witnessing
something new, something so
unexpected, so unusual that it is
not surprising the Government is at
a loss. What Mr. Gandhi has forced
us to do is ask questions about
A few men in the congregation rise and pointedly escort their
families from the church. Charlie struggles on.
As Christians, those are difficult
questions to answer. How do we treat
men who defy an unjust law -- men
who will not fight, but will not
More of the congregation rise and march from the church...
though a few pointedly do not.
PRISON YARD - EXTERIOR - DAY
Small, packed. Gandhi is threading his way in a line for
soup. But it is a line that winds through masses of prisoners,
some with bowls, eating, some not yet in the line.
As Gandhi near the two stone blocks that hold the large
barrels of soup, he sees that Khan is serving from one of
them. He too wears a prison uniform and there is a bandage
on his head. When he turns and reacts to the sight of Gandhi --
They're sparing no one, I see.
No. You were the surprise. It's been
all over the prison. We thought they'd
be too afraid of the English press.
So did I.
He takes his soup from Khan.
Don't worry about the meat -- it's
(referring to the
-- there's not a trace.
Gandhi smiles, but they turn as the gate opens and a paddy
wagon is backed into the press of prisoners. Khan shakes his
I don't know who they've left out
there to do the work. There can't be
one mine left open. Have they touched
My wife publicly defied the law.
They've arrested her and four others.
(He spills some soup.)
It's split the Government.
Well, that's one victory.
Gandhi looks around the crowded yard at the soiled bandages,
the defiant, determined faces.
If we hold firm, it won't be the
Don't worry -- I've never seen men
so determined. You've given them a
way to fight... And I don't think --
He is distracted by a phalanx of guards (an officer and four
men) pushing their way through the prisoners.
Gandhi! I want Gandhi! Which sammy
The prisoners are moving back from them resentfully but their
glances reveal who Gandhi is. The prison officer's eyes fall
CITY STREET - JOHANNESBURG - EXTERIOR - DAY
A side street, but active. Gandhi -- now manacled -- is being
marched down the pavement before two guards. The prison
officer strides in front of them. People in the street stop
and turn, staring. That part of Gandhi that is still the
dandy is discomfited, but there is a growing part of him
that defies appearances.
Featuring a doorway. It is the side door of a large imposing
building. The prison officer leads his little procession
toward it. He knocks and the door opens. The tall civil
servant has been waiting for them. The prison officer reaches
forward and undoes Gandhi's manacles.
GOVERNMENT BUILDING - INTERIOR - DAY
The tall civil servant, moving with aloof distaste for his
assignment, walks ahead of Gandhi, who in turn is followed
by one of the prison guards, toward a grand staircase that
is at right angles to them (i.e. facing the front of the
building). People working in offices pause to stare at Gandhi
as he moves along, more uncomfortably aware of his prison
garb than ever.
The grand staircase. The tall civil servant turns and starts
up the staircase. Gandhi is even more exposed to everyone's
surveillance on the wide, white expanse of the stairway. He
hesitates, looking around in discomfort, then follows the
tall civil servant on toward the large, white doors at the
top of the staircase.
SMUTS'S ANTEROOM - INTERIOR - DAY
The tall white doors open, the tall civil servant indicates
that Gandhi enter. Gandhi passes two male secretaries, and
the tall civil servant scoots decorously around him to knock
once on the inner doors. Then he pushes them open and gestures
SMUTS'S OFFICE - INTERIOR - DAY
We have seen it before when Walker spoke to Smuts, but now
we see its full breadth -- and the imposing figure Smuts
makes as he stands behind the grand desk.
Ah, Mr. Gandhi. I thought we might
have a little talk.
He nods to the tall civil servant, who bows and closes the
door. Smuts crosses the room toward a small cabinet.
Will you have a glass of sherry?
Thank you. No.
Smuts looks at Gandhi, a little surprised at the frigid tone
of that refusal.
Perhaps some tea?
(a shake of the head)
I dined at the prison.
He appraises Gandhi, measuring the irony of his words, his
determination. Then with a little sigh at the lost opportunity
he replaces the stopper on the sherry, turns and gestures
Gandhi on into the room.
Please -- please do come and sit
down. It's prison I wanted to talk
to you about.
He has indicated a chair near his desk, but as Gandhi goes
forward he pauses by a spread of papers from England on a
long table near the middle of the room. We see one headline
in close shot: "Thousands Imprisoned in South Africa/Mines
Close. Crops Unharvested," a subhead, "Gandhi Leads Non-
Violent Campaign." He looks at Smuts. Smuts smiles, a passing
nod at the papers.
Mr. Gandhi, I've more or less decided
to ask the House to repeal the Act
that you have taken such "exception"
Well, if you ask, General Smuts, I'm
sure it will be done.
Hm. Of course it is not quite that
Somehow I expected not.
A wry smile, and he sits on the edge of the chair Smuts has
directed him to. Smuts measures him again, not absolutely
certain how to deal with him. A pause, and he affects to
take Gandhi's irony at face value.
I'm glad to hear you say that...
very glad. You see if we repeal the
Act under pressure
(a nod at the papers
under this kind of pressure it will
create a great deal of resentment.
Can you understand that?
And Gandhi does understand it -- as a guiding principle.
Never humiliate your enemy. And his tone conveys it.
(a bit surprised)
(The bland politician:
I have thought of calling for a Royal
Commission to "investigate" the new
(He gestures, implying
they'll do what
I think I could guarantee they would
recommend the Act be repealed.
(waiting for the catch)
I congratulate them.
Smuts does a slight double take, a smile, then the "tough"
But they might also recommend that
future Indian immigration be severely
restricted -- even stopped.
He measures Gandhi challengingly, obviously expecting some
contest. Gandhi mulls it, then
Immigration was not an issue on which
we fought. It would be wrong of us
to make it one now that we -- we are
in a position of advantage.
Smuts stares at him... a moment, then
You're an extraordinary man.
(his grin; he brushes
at his prison garb)
I assure you I feel a very ordinary
man at this moment.
And now Smuts smiles with him. He bends suddenly and signs a
group of documents.
I'm ordering the release of all
prisoners within the next twenty-
four hours. You yourself are free
from this moment.
Gandhi stands, a little uncertain about the sudden change in
his status. Smuts signs the last document, then sees Gandhi's
doubt -- and misreads it.
Assuming we are in agreement?
Yes -- yes. It's just that... in
these clothes I'd -- I'd prefer to
go by taxi.
(confused by his
All right. Fine.
I'm -- I'm afraid I have no money.
(He quickly feels in
his waistcoat pockets --
and realizes he has
Neither have I.
(He reaches forth and
touches a buzzer.)
I'm awfully sorry.
The tall civil servant (Daniels) enters.
Daniels, would you lend Mr. Gandhi a
shilling for a taxi?
I beg your pardon, sir?
(a second thought)
How far will you be going, Mr. Gandhi?
(a mischievous smile)
Well -- now that this is settled --
I had thought seriously of going
back to India
(he faces the startled
but a shilling will do splendidly
for the moment.
Still a little confused, Daniels reaches in his pocket and
produces a shilling. He hands it to Gandhi.
Thank you both for a very enlightening
He bows slightly and starts out the door. Daniels immediately
starts to accompany him, but Gandhi stops. A beat.
I'm obliged, Mr. Daniels, but I will
find my own way out.
And his own steel shows in the oblique reference to the
ignominy of his way in. Daniel bows, and he and Smuts just
stare as the uniformed "prisoner" goes out through the grand
doors, past the stunned men in the office to the outer doors
and on to the grand staircase. The prison guard appears in
the doorway, looking off in confusion at Gandhi, then back
at the office for guidance. Daniels simply shakes his head
"Let him be."
Finally, when Gandhi has disappeared down the stairs, Daniels
turns to Smuts.
(a shake of the head)
He's either a great man or a colossal
fraud... Either way, I shall be glad
to see the last of him.
THE PIER AT BOMBAY - EXTERIOR - DAY
Ship's siren, military band... a jubilant crowd on the pier,
passengers waving to the receiving crowd. A group of First
Class passengers, ninety percent English, look down from the
From their point of view. We see the main section of the
pier, a crowd of mostly European civilians on one side. A
mass of military on the other: European officers, topees and
swagger sticks, Indian cavalry, Gurkha infantry, Sikh lanoers --
turbans, rifles, bugles, an Indian military band -- a showy
Featuring two Englishmen. First Class passengers, white suits,
Oxbridge accents; one quite young, the other a bit older,
both civil servants coming to "administer" India.
By God, he loves it...
Their point of view. A British general is coming down the
gangplank accompanied by his ADC. The officer commanding and
the Guard of Honor await him.
I'm sure he hates it.
The young Englishman glances at him quizzically. The General
has taken the salute and moves to inspect the troops to the
accompaniment of the military band.
Generals' reputations are being made
in France today, fighting on the
Western Front. Not as Military
Governors in India.
He is suddenly aware of a well-dressed Indian half-listening
to their conversation. He glances at him and the well-dressed
Indian simply nods slightly and moves off a little. The second
Englishman grimaces at the young Englishman and looks down
What the devil's going on back there?
He is looking aft. His point of view.
Another far less elaborate gangplank extends from the aft
section of the ship. Third Class passengers are disembarking
here, and on shore, separated by a wire fence from the rest
of the pier. A large crowd of Indians is reacting excitedly
to someone coming down the gangplank but we can't yet see
The young Englishman glances back at the well-dressed Indian
to make sure of his distance, then speaks quietly.
It must be that Indian that made all
that fuss back in Africa. My cabin
boy told me he was on board.
Why haven't we seen him?
(Finding the name)
Yes. That's it. He was traveling
Third Class. There he is.
Their point of view.
There has been a little hiatus in those disembarking but now
Gandhi has appeared, coming down the gangplank with Ba and
the children (grown-up sons now), and three or four people
behind them, including the tall figure of Charlie Andrews.
But Gandhi is wearing an Indian tunic and sandals and he has
shaved his hair except for a central section on the top.
SECOND ENGLISHMAN'S VOICE-OVER
God -- he's dressed like a coolie! I
thought he was a lawyer.
The young Englishman glances back cautiously toward the well-
dressed Indian again, then
After he came out of jail he refused
to wear European clothes.
THE PIER - THIRD CLASS AREA - EXTERIOR - DAY
Gandhi is smiling, trying to move on, but answering the
questions of an Indian journalist.
No, no, I haven't "refused"... I --
I simply wanted to dress the way my
comrades in prison dressed.
He speaks with an uncertainty and tentativeness that he had
lost in South Africa, patently overwhelmed by the reception.
An English journalist catches him as he turns.
Will you support the war effort, Mr.
An exuberant woman puts a garland over his shoulders.
I -- I have demanded rights as a
British citizen, it is therefore my
duty to help in the defense of the
He smiles uncertainly again. As he turns he is face to face
with an American reporter.
What are you going to do now that
you're back in India?
I don't know... I don't know...
An Indian reporter has cornered Ba behind him.
SECOND INDIAN REPORTER
As an Indian woman how could you
accept the indignity of prison?
Gandhi half-twists to hear Ba's answer, but his arm is taken
by a young Indian (Nehru) in elegant European clothes. Another
garland is thrown over his shoulders.
Please, Mr. Gandhi.
Featuring Ba. Offhand, her eyes on Gandhi ahead.
My dignity comes from following my
She joins her hands, acknowledging a garland placed around
her shoulders, and pushes on after Gandhi. Charlie helps to
Featuring Gandhi. The young Nehru, somewhat amused by all
the excitement, leads Gandhi through the crowd to a little
flower-covered platform. We see a banner: THE CONGRESS PARTY
(he too speaks with
an Oxbridge accent)
Just a few words -- then we'll get
you to civilization.
He grins. He has guided Gandhi to the first step of the
platform. Another garland is wrapped around Gandhi's
shoulders, and in some embarrassment, he mounts the platform.
There is a great cheer, but in the silence that follows we
hear the military band from across the way as the troops
prepare to march off. Gandhi looks around at the crowd.
Finally he speaks out.
I -- I am glad to be home.
(A little round of
I -- I thank you for your greeting.
He makes the pranam and starts for the steps. The crowd is a
little disappointed, but they manage a cheer and applause.
Nehru is standing next to a heavy-set, well-dressed man
(Patel). They exchange a wry glance, "Not exactly a world-
A car door slams. The camera pulls back. Nehru has slammed
the door of a gleaming Rolls Royce touring car, the top down.
He has seated Gandhi in it beside Patel, taking Gandhi's
knapsack. An Indian chauffeur rides in front. The crowd still
surges around and Gandhi is looking apprehensively back for
We'll follow with your wife -- don't
worry, everything's arranged.
He grins boyishly, in part to comfort, in part unable to
contain his amusement at Gandhi and his evident confusion.
PATEL'S CAR - STREETS OF BOMBAY - EXTERIOR - DAY
With Gandhi still looking back anxiously, the car pulls off.
He finally turns to Patel.
Who is that young man?
That's young Nehru. He's got his
father's intellect, his mother's
looks and the devil's charm. If they
don't ruin him at Cambridge -- Wave!
Wave! -- he may amount to something.
There are crowds along the street, and Gandhi -- in surprise
that they are for him -- waves tentatively. Patel waves too
but he eyes Gandhi rather critically.
I must say when I first saw you as a
bumbling lawyer here in Bombay I
never thought I'd be greeting you as
a national hero.
I'm hardly that, Mr. Patel.
Oh, yes, you are. It's been two
hundred years since an Indian has
cocked a snoot at the British Empire
and got away with it. And stop calling
me Mr. Patel, you're not a junior
(a beat; still hesitant)
They have come to a main thoroughfare. A crowd still lines
the streets but it is thin and around and between we see
groups of desperate poor, parked on the pavement, staring
with blank curiosity at the passing car, but too listless
and too out of touch to move from their little squatters'
Patel looks at Gandhi's clothes rather disapprovingly.
The new Military Governor of the
North West Province was on that ship.
Too bad you came back Third Class --
he might have been impressed by a
successful barrister who had
outmaneuvered General Smuts.
Gandhi is staring at the street. From his point of view we
hold on a gaunt young, aged woman holding a baby wrapped in
rags as threadbare as her sari. Another hollow-faced child
leans against her.
Yes... I'm sure...
PATEL'S GARDEN - EXTERIOR - DAY
A splendid peacock, its tail fanned in brilliant display,
lords it on a velvet lawn. A woman in a sumptuous silk sari
is trying to feed it crumbs. Behind her, Gandhi's reception
is in full spate -- silver trays, tables covered in fine
linen, Indian servants, a swimming pool, a small fountain,
the grounds filled with Indian millionaires and dignitaries
gathered with their wives to meet the new hero from South
A beautiful and beautifully dressed woman (Mrs. Nehru) stands
next to her distinguished husband (Motilal Nehru).
No, I leave practical matters to my
husband and revolution to my son...
She nods lightly toward Nehru.
Featuring Nehru who is introducing Gandhi to two men, one
tall, slender, ascetic looking, but dressed impeccably
(Jinnah). The other with a haunting face -- beard, flowing
dark hair, the air of a poet or a ruthlessly dedicated radical
(Prakash -- whom we recognize from the opening sequence in
Delhi at Gandhi's assassination).
Mr. Jinnah, our joint host, member
of Congress, and the leader of the
Muslim League and Mr. Prakash, who I
fear is awaiting trial for sedition
and inducement to murder.
Gandhi has bowed to Jinnah, now he looks a little startled
at Prakash. Prakash grins and makes the pranam to Gandhi.
I have not actually pulled a trigger,
Mr. Gandhi, I have simply written
that if an Englishman kills an Indian
for disobeying his law, then it is
an Indian's duty to kill an Englishman
for enforcing his law in a land that
is not his.
It is a clever argument; I am not
sure it will produce the end you
He meets Prakash's gaze firmly, the first moment we have
seen any sign of the Gandhi of South Africa.
We hope you intend to join us in the
struggle for Home Rule, Mr. Gandhi.
Charlie Andrews touches Gandhi's arm, excusing himself to
May I? Mohan -- I would like you to
Gandhi bows to the others and is led off to an Indian bishop
in full clerical robes. Behind him we see Patel regaling a
small group with some story of court or society.
As Gandhi leaves, Jinnah, Nehru and Prakash watch him
clinically. Except for the servants, Gandhi is the only Indian
male not in European clothes.
He told the press he would support
the British in the war.
That's non-violence for you.
Is he a fool?
Nehru grins slowly, thoughtfully.
I'm not certain... But I wouldn't be
We get a shot of Ba in a gathering of Indian women. She stands
listening, seemingly tongue-tied in the sophisticated patter.
And we cut to Charlie introducing Gandhi to a man in obvious
ill health, but well dressed, looking like the professor,
philosopher and elder statesman he is (Gokhale).
I lied to you, Mohan, when I told
you I decided to come to South Africa
to meet you. Professor Gokhale sent
Gokhale is pleased, Gandhi amused. He bows very respectfully.
We're trying to make a nation, Gandhi --
and the British keep trying to break
us up into religions and
principalities and "provinces." What
you were writing in South Africa --
that's what we need here.
He has offered his hand during this, and Gandhi has helped
him from the garden chair he has been seated on, handing him
the cane that is resting against it.
I have much to learn about India.
And I have to begin my practice again --
one needs money to run a journal.
Another grin. Gokhale has started to walk with him, looking
at him intently, penetratingly.
(He turns to Charlie)
Go on, Charlie. This is Indian talk --
we want none of you imperialists.
It is brusque but affectionate; we know he regards Charlie
as Gandhi does... and Charlie does too.
(a mock threat)
All right -- I'll go and write my
report to the Viceroy.
Go and find a pretty Hindu woman and
convert her to Christianity -- that's
as much mischief as you're allowed.
He still hasn't smiled, but Gandhi and Charlie have.
ANOTHER PART OF THE GARDEN
This is private -- beautiful and still. Gandhi walks along
slowly, taking the pace of the ailing Gokhale.
Forget your practice. India has many
men with too much wealth -- it is
their privilege to nourish the efforts
of the few who can raise India from
servitude and apathy. I will see to
it -- you begin your journal.
I have little to say. India is an
"alien" country to me.
He grins self-deprecatingly but Gokhale persists.
Well, change that. Go and find India.
Not what you see here, but the real
India. You'll see what needs to be
said. What we need to hear.
He pauses and looks at Gandhi -- and for the first time he
smiles. When he speaks his voice is thick with feeling.
When I saw you in that tunic I knew...
I knew I could die in peace.
(A dying man's command)
Make India proud of herself.
His eyes are watery with emotion, but he stares at Gandhi
TRAIN - EXTERIOR - NIGHT
Indian. Steam. A breed of its own.
THIRD CLASS COACH - INTERIOR - NIGHT
Gandhi sits by a window in the dimly lit coach. Ba sleeps on
the seat next to him, another member of the party next to
her. Gandhi's solemn eyes are studying the huddled humanity
in the rocking coach. People are sleeping everywhere, some
half-erect on the benches, many on the floor among the bundles
and trunks and bedrolls and baskets. Some have children,
some are very old. One old man, sleepless like Gandhi, stares
back at him across the shadowed squalor of the coach;
somewhere unseen a crying baby is soothed by his mother.
Gandhi looks at the bench across from him. Charlie Andrews,
his tall frame cramped in a tiny space between the window
looks at Gandhi dozily, a little smile of sufferance, then
he closes his eyes again, leaning his head against the rocking
NARROW STREET - A SMALL TOWN - EXTERIOR - DAY
Gandhi is carried along in a ceremonial chair borne on the
shoulders of some trotting men. The chair is swathed in
flowers, and flowers are being showered on Gandhi by the
running children and the crowd lining the narrow street. Ba
and Charlie and two others are following in a flower-bedecked
ox-cart, lost in the mass of people that are swirling around
On a building top a British officer watches emotionlessly as
Gandhi and the crowd pass below him. On this building and
others we see some on his Indian soldiers watching with their
rifles beside them.
INDIAN VILLAGES - EXTERIOR - DAY
As from a train... but the shots are varied; some close of
farmers and water buffalo, and ragged children and women in
colorful saris carrying pots on their heads, and some distant
of villages as units, one and another and another.
INTERCUT ALWAYS WITH:
TRAIN - INTERIOR - DAY
Gandhi's face in the window, he and Ba standing, looking out
together, neither speaking. Gandhi writing in the cramped
chaos of the Third Class coaches. Gandhi sweeping part of
the carriage, making disgruntled passengers move as he tries
to bring some cleanliness to their surroundings.
RIVER VISTA - EXTERIOR - DAY
A broad alluvial plain, the river threading through it, purple
and gold in the rising sun. The camera races with the train
along the river's edge, the reflected sun glimmering on the
RIVER BANK - EXTERIOR - DAY
The sun is high and the train is stopped by the river. People
have come out of the coaches to cool their heads with the
touch of water, to stretch their legs.
We see an English clergyman from the Second Class coaches,
dipping a toe cautiously into the water, children of some
British enlisted soldiers wading, splashing, faces alight
And, farther along, the parasols of one or two of the English
First Class passengers, a woman dousing her neck delicately
with perfume. A British officer, tunic unbuttoned, smoking a
long cigar as he walks along in a few inches of water, his
trousers rolled up, his shoes off.
Across the river down from the Third Class coaches a small
group of Indian women is squatted by the river's edge, washing
clothes. Some carry infants on their backs. Some small
children stand near them. Their ritual of washing goes on,
but they are all watching the passengers of the train.
Gandhi stands with Ba and Charlie among the Third Class
passengers. Ba cools her face with water. Charlie, his
trousers rolled up, plays a tentative splashing game with a
skinny little Indian boy. Gandhi is holding a large white
head cloth which he is soaking in the water, but his eyes
have been arrested by the sight of the women across the river.
And now we see the women closely from his point of view, the
camera panning slowly along them. Their bodies are skin and
bone. The clothes they wear, which looked normal from the
distance, are rags -- literally, shredded rages, one hung on
another. The children are hollow-eyed and gaunt, staring
listlessly at the train. One boy, with a stump for an arm,
aimlessly pushes at the flies that buzz around him.
Gandhi stands erect, lost now in the revelation of their
poverty. His eyes hold on one woman at the river bank. Though
her frail face is almost skeletal, it is beautiful but scarred
by a severe rash down her cheek and neck. The cloth she is
washing is a shredded piece of muslin. Her eyes have met
Gandhi's as he watches her.
Gandhi stares for a moment, a long beat. Then he slowly moves
his arm out into the water and, without taking his eyes from
her, releases the head cloth he has been rinsing. It floats
along on the water down toward the woman.
She looks from Gandhi to it with sudden excitement, a sense
of incredulity. As the cloth nears her, she rises and moves
almost greedily out into the water to take it. Her hands
snatch at it quickly. Then she stands, looking at Gandhi.
The infant on her back shifts, its huge hollow eyes reacting
to the movement.
Gandhi smiles slowly, tilting his head just slightly to her.
And now that she has possession of the cloth, her manner
calms again. And she looks back at him, and her lips almost
part with a tiny smile of thanks.
Hold Gandhi, staring at her, fighting the pain in his eyes...
TRAIN - EXTERIOR - NIGHT
Threading like a lighted necklace across the darkness of a
TRAIN IN HILLS - EXTERIOR - DAY
Climbing green hills -- a totally different terrain -- and
again we intercut, this time the train climbing: a boy and
buffalo running a huge, crude grinding wheel, train climbing;
farmers in terraced fields, train climbing faster and
faster... until suddenly with a hoot of the whistle and the
screech of brakes it stops!
TRAIN - EXTERIOR - DAY
Gandhi is leaning out of a window in a Third Class coach.
Ahead of him other passengers are looking too; some have
Gandhi and Charlie jump down too. As they come clear they
can see that a military train of an engine and two cars has
been derailed ahead of them. A small troop of cavalry are
coming slowly along the line of Gandhi's train toward them.
Featuring the cavalry. They are British and their troop leader
is viciously angry.
Clear the way! Get out of the way!
He is swinging his sword, not lethally, but threateningly at
the Indian passengers from the train. His British NCOs are
equally angry and deliberately ride close to the passengers,
forcing them back against the train.
Gandhi and Charlie step back. And as the troop goes past we
see from their point of view a group of Indian bearers,
trotting in the middle of the horsemen, carrying two litters --
covered, each hanging by straps from a long pole -- and each
bearing a badly wounded British soldier; one appears to be
OUTSKIRTS OF VILLAGE - EXTERIOR - DAY
The shadow of a train moves slowly along the ground, a sense
of tension and foreboding. We hear the engine chugging slowly.
The camera lifts. Gandhi and Charlie stand at a window,
staring out grimly. Other passengers are looking off too. Ba
is seated, staring straight ahead, her face taut, deliberately
not seeing what the others are seeing.
GALLOWS - EXTERIOR - DAY
Their point of view: On a hill across from the railroad track
part of a prison wall is visible. In front of it a thick
pole is straddled across two others. From this crude gallows
two Indian men hang by the neck. One is in turban and dhoti,
the other in a tunic. The sound of the train stopping.
VILLAGE - EXTERIOR - DAY
Close shot. Incense rising in shot. The camera pulls back
and back. The incense is burning in a bowl sitting before
Gandhi on a make-shift platform set in the little valley
between the train line and the little hill where the Indian
men have been hanged. A small crowd sits in a crescent before
him, Ba and Charlie are bent in prayer on the platform behind
him. When the camera comes to rest, the edge of the gallows
and a portion of one of the hanged men is in the frame. We
know we are looking from someone's point of view near the
Finally, Gandhi lifts his head.
(at first distant, as
from the hill)
I ask you to pray for those who died.
For the English soldiers...
who were doing what they thought was
And for the brave terrorists whose
patriotism led them to do what was
The murmur of resistance from the crowd is louder at this.
Gandhi shakes his head at the dissent.
It is not my law, it is the law of
creation. We reap what we sow. Out
there in the fields -- and in our
hearts. Violence sows hatred, and
the will to revenge. In them. And in
He looks up.
HILLSIDE - HIS POINT OF VIEW
The troop leader, on horseback, is on the hill beside the
gallows. The first view of Gandhi on the platform was his.
Some of his troops are lined up beside him. He stares down
at Gandhi coldly.
PATEL'S SWIMMING POOL - EXTERIOR - DAY
Patel lounges in the water on his back, supported by a large
air pillow. Nehru sits at the side of the pool in a swimming
suit, his feet dangling in the water. Jinnah sits under an
umbrella in an elegant white suit, being served tea by one
of three or four servants around. Patel spews a fountain of
I agree with Jinnah. Now that the
Americans are in, the war will end
soon. The Germans are worn out as it
(he rolls over, facing
and our first act should be to convene
a Congress Party convention and demand
Nehru takes an iced drunk from a servant.
And we must speak with one voice --
The others assent. Nehru shakes his head wistfully.
(it reminds him)
Ah -- we should invite Gandhi. What
the devil has happened to him anyway?
He's "discovering" India.
Which is a lot better than causing
trouble where it matters. Invite him --
let him say his piece about South
Africa -- and then let him slip into
TRAIN - EXTERIOR - DAY
A fireman heaps coal into an engine's boiler.
The train passes camera to the Third Class section, which
seems besieged by humanity. People cling to the outside of
each door and many more are seated on the central wooden
planks on the roofs of the two coaches.
THIRD CLASS COACH - EXTERIOR - DAY
Gandhi and Charlie are riding on the outside of the coach,
hanging on through the door, and both enjoying it immensely.
Ba, inside the jammed coach, finds it very unfunny. She has
a grip on one of Gandhi's arms.
Please! You're being foolish!
There's no room! And the air is
She grimaces severely and tugs at him.
No violence, please.
Let me hang on with two hands or I
Featuring the roof. And Indian squats right on the edge of
the roof above Charlie. He is looking down, offering a hand.
(over the sound of
Charlie, who has been grinning, suddenly looks baffled, not
to say appalled.
Come! Come! There is room!
His hand still dangles in offering to the tall Charlie.
Another angle. Two other Indians on the roof move to where
they can grip the first Indian's other arm, as counterforce
to the weight of Charlie.
Place the foot on the window.
Featuring Charlie. Hesitatingly, he grips the inside of the
window higher, and starts to swing one foot onto the window
What are you doing?
Going nearer to God!
Gandhi, baffled a second, sees the outstretched hand above
them, and in puckish complicity, helps boost Charlie up.
Long shot. As Charlie reaches up, his hand is grasped and he
starts to scramble and be pulled up to the roof.
Featuring Gandhi and Ba. As Charlie's leg, assisted by Gandhi,
starts to leave its lodging on the window ledge Ba suddenly
turns, sees it, and grabs for it in alarm.
Charlie! Be careful!!
Close shot. Charlie. His face flat on the roof of the train
as his arm is still gripped by the Indian, but his leg is
being pulled from behind.
Mohan -- !!
Resume Gandhi and Ba. Gandhi quickly moves to free Ba's hand
from Charlie's leg and almost loses his own grip.
He grabs the window again.
Let go! You'll kill him!
Ba is confused.
Let go! Let go!
With one hand he pries at her grip. In the chaos of
instructions others in the coach are helping Gandhi, and Ba
senses she is doing something wrong, but is still not sure
what. She lets go.
Close shot. Charlie. A desperate sigh of relief.
Long shot. Charlie is pulled on up to the top of the coach.
Featuring Charlie as he sits, puffing and recovering from
You see -- most comfortable.
Charlie nods grimly.
Featuring Gandhi and Ba. Gandhi, smiling, goes on the tips
of his toes to get a better view. Ba grabs him desperately.
Please, God, no!
Featuring Charlie. He looks around at the rest of the
passengers on the roof, their bundles and baskets clutched
beside them. Their poverty is appalling, but they are all
smiling at him, a sense of gaiety made in part by his
Englishman's participation in their experience. They must
shout over the train.
Are you Christian, Sahib?
Yes, yes, I'm a Christian.
I know a Christian.
She drinks blood.
Charlie stares at him in surprise.
(explaining -- obvious)
The blood of Christ -- every Sunday!
He is nodding, smiling, expecting Charlie's understanding.
And Charlie gives it -- somewhat bleakly. Suddenly
The Indians turn. Charlie turns.
TRAIN AND TUNNEL - EXTERIOR - DAY
Resume Charlie and the Indians.
It's all right, Sahib! Very safe --
bend -- bend!
All the Indians are crouching. Charlie closes his eyes
ruefully -- he's had better ideas than this -- and he gets
as flat as he can.
TRAIN AND TUNNEL - EXTERIOR - DAY
The train, with passengers clinging to the sides and riding
on the top, steams into the tunnel, its whistle sounding.
Black. A glimmer of light, through steam, the whistle echoing.
Pray to God, Sahib! Now is when it
is best to be Hindu!
Close shot. Charlie. In a flash of steamy light, staring
wide-eyed at the Indian.
Black, and sudden silence.
AND WE DISSOLVE THROUGH TO:
CONVENTION TENT - INTERIOR - DAY
High. Coming into focus is a lighted platform, and as the
scene becomes clearer we see figures on the platform and the
banner which reads INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS, and we hear the
emotional voice of Jinnah at the microphone.
(gradually fading in)
We were asked for toleration. We
were asked for patience. Some gave
it and some did not. Well, their war
is over! And those of us who supported
it, and those of us who refused must
forget our differences!
The camera has been moving in; now it jumps to Jinnah in
close shot and intercuts with the impact of his fervid
delivery on the audience.
And there can be no excuses from the
British now! India wants Home Rule!
India demands Home Rule!!
And the audience cheers him. Newspaper cameramen crowded
around the platform photograph him. Patel comes forward from
the back of the platform, clapping. He is chairing the
Congress. Jinnah bows, taking his notes, gesturing to the
auditorium. A man made for the spotlight, a man loving the
At last he moves back to his place on the platform. Nehru
clasps his hand in congratulation. Others crowd around him.
And fleetingly, just in the edge of picture, we see Gandhi --
again, the only one in an Indian tunic -- sitting at the end
of the second row on the platform. He is just watching the
flood of enthusiasm for Jinnah.
Featuring Patel approaching the microphone, stilling the
house with upraised hands.
And let no one question that Mr.
Jinnah speaks not just for the Muslims --
but for all India!
And again the audience cheers and applauds his little coda.
He raises his hands, stilling them again.
And now I'm going to introduce to
you a man whose writings we are all
becoming familiar with... a man who
stood high in the esteem of our
beloved Professor Gokhale... a man
whose accomplishment in South Africa
will always be remembered. Mr.
Gandhi has already started to come toward the podium. He is
greeted with mild applause, but already the convention is
performing like a convention now that the spell of Jinnah's
major speech has dissipated. As Gandhi reaches the podium,
Patel gestures him to it.
Your journal has made a great impact.
Gandhi nods to him and acknowledges the residue of applause.
I am flattered by Mr. Patel
I would be even more flattered if
what he said were true.
He means about the journal.
Patel has wandered back toward the others, his mind already
on them. But he has half heard Gandhi's comment and turns --
a smile, a politician's flexibility --
(loudly; he is away
from the mike)
But it's true! I -- I read it...
Again Gandhi grins -- and takes glasses from his sleeve.
This is the first time we have seen them. He has one slip of
paper with notes on it which he has put on the podium. He
puts his glasses on and faces the convention.
Since I returned from South Africa,
I have traveled over much of India.
And I know I could travel many more
years and still only see a small
part of it.
On the platform, the whispered politics go on. On the floor
of the convention, some listen, some talk of other things.
...and yet already I know what we
say here means nothing to the masses
of our country.
Nehru has turned, having caught that last remark. He touches
Patel on the shoulder "Listen."
Here we make speeches for each other --
and those English liberal magazines
that may grant us a few lines.
And now they are beginning to pay attention on the floor of
the hall too.
But the people of India are untouched.
Their politics are confined to bread
Jinnah too is listening now -- aloofly, challengingly.
Illiterate they may be, but they are
not blind. They see no reason to
give their loyalty to rich and
powerful men who simply want to take
over the role of the British in the
name of freedom.
There is dissent on the floor and on the platform -- but it
is muttered and English "polite." Gandhi goes on.
This Congress tells the world it
represents India. My brothers, India
is seven hundred thousand "villages"
not a few hundred lawyers in Delhi
and Bombay. Until we stand in the
fields with the millions who toil
each day under the hot sun, we will
not represent India -- nor will we
ever be able to challenge the British
as one nation.
He takes off his glasses and folds them and in silence starts
back toward his place on the platform. A cameraman flashes a
picture, and someone begins to applaud; it is taken up here
and there, tepidly. On the platform, the leaders join in
perfunctorily. We see one peasant face (Shukla) -- which we
will come to know -- watching from the crowd of outsiders
who stand in the doorways.
Nehru, who has been looking at Gandhi with interest and some
surprise turns to Patel.
Have you read his magazine?
No -- but I think I'm going to.
THE TRAIL TO GANDHI'S ASHRAM - EXTERIOR - DAY
An open touring car struggling along the bumpy trail. Nehru
drives, four friends as young as he with him, all dressed in
the same expensive, British manner.
This can't be the way!
Nehru is looking a little harassed, from the ragging he is
taking and from the ride. The ashram is only half-finished,
the ground unworked, the buildings only partially completed
and the whole looking like some primitive frontier outpost.
They are finally brought to a halt by a goat that is tethered
right across the path.
(a mocking quote)
Yes, I'm sure this is the direction
India is taking.
The others laugh; Nehru suffers.
To think I almost got excited by Mr.
Jinnah when all this was awaiting
ASHRAM - EXTERIOR - DAY
Nehru has half risen in his seat to address Charlie Andrews,
who, walking from one somnolent building to another, has
stopped dead at the sight of the car. He carries sheaves of
We're looking for Mr. Gandhi!
Ah, you'll find him under the tree
by the river.
(He points off, then
glances at the car.)
You'd better leave the car -- the
ground is rather soft.
Thank you . . .
He looks around the ashram a little dismally.
(drolly, as he climbs
Come on! I'm anxious to meet this
ASHRAM - TREE BY RIVER - EXTERIOR - DAY
Gandhi sits under a tree, peeling potatoes. Nehru and his
friends are sprawled out around him. Beside them, the river;
in the background the business of the ashram goes on.
I try to live like an Indian, as you
see... it is stupid of course, because
in our country it is the British who
decide how an Indian lives -- what
he may buy, what he may sell. And
from their luxury in the midst of
our terrible poverty they instruct
us on what is justice and what is
(He looks at them, a
teasing but mordant
So it is only natural that our best
young minds assume an air of Eastern
dignity, while greedily assimilating
every Western weakness as quickly as
they can acquire it.
His smile is sardonic, but genuine, theirs embarrassed and
If we have Home Rule that will change.
Gandhi has finished the last potato. He glances at Nehru
then drops the potato in the bowl. He lifts the pail of
peelings to Nehru.
Would you, please?
Nehru in his fine linen suit takes the pail awkwardly. His
friends watch with amusement, but they too rise to follow as
they head for the kitchen.
And why should the English grant us
Home Rule? Here, we must take the
peelings to the goats.
He re-directs Nehru toward a trough where two or three goats
are tethered, but he keeps right on talking.
We only make wild speeches, or perform
even wilder acts of terrorism. We've
bred an army of anarchists but not
one single group that can really
fight the British anywhere.
I thought you were against fighting.
They have reached the trough.
Just spread it around -- they like
the new peelings mixed with the
Nehru has carefully walked around something distasteful on
the ground, now he dumps the peelings along the trough and
spreads them "delicately." Gandhi scoops some peelings from
the trough to feed a goat that nudges him.
Where there is injustice, I've always
believed in fighting.
(He looks at Nehru.)
The question is do you fight to change
things, or do you fight to punish.
For myself, I have found that we are
all such sinners we should leave
punishment to God. And if we really
want to change things there are better
ways of doing it than by derailing
trains or slashing someone with a
He meets Nehru's gaze, and for a moment something deeper
than argument passes between them. Then something catches
Gandhi's eye. He looks off. Ba stands, watching him, waiting.
The fire is ready.
Gandhi turns. The goat is reaching for his bowl of potatoes.
He pushes it away and starts for the kitchen.
You see, even here we live under
Nehru grins, captured by Gandhi's seriousness, and his humor.
He hasn't moved, and neither have his friends. They watch
Gandhi as he carries his bowl of potatoes to Ba.
I told you...
Hm... but look at him. Some "fighter"!
I can see the British shaking now.
Gandhi plods on toward the kitchen, carrying the bowl of
THE RIVER BED AT THE ASHRAM - EXTERIOR - DAY
Clothes are dipped in the brownish water. Ba and an ashramite
woman squat by the river, washing clothes. It is long past
the monsoons and they have had to come far out in the riverbed
to the water. But they are laughing at their task.
But it's the ink that is the most
She stops, because coming along the riverbed toward them is
a man (Shukla) who looks as though he has come a long, weary
way. His face is gaunt, his little bundle of belongings
pathetic. As he nears them, he pauses.
I am looking for Mr. Gandhi...
GANDHI'S HUT - ASHRAM - INTERIOR - DUSK
Shadowed, the end of the day. Gandhi sits cross-legged,
watching solemnly as Shukla reaches with his fingers into a
bowl to eat. The fingers are thin, half-starved, like the
...I've wanted to speak to you for a
He looks up at Gandhi almost sheepishly. He does not eat
yet, but his hunger is evident. Ba sits at one side in the
shadows watching him as intently as Gandhi.
...our crops... we can't sell them...
We have no money... but the landlords
take the same rent.
His voice is choked and near to tears, resonant with the
unspoken agony his words mean for him and the others like
him. He looks at Gandhi nervously for a moment, then puts
the food to his mouth like a man who is starving, and trying
desperately not to show it.
Close shot. Ba. The solemn intensity of her gaze reflects
her identification with the man's agony. She glances up at
TRAIN STATION - CHAMPARAN - EXTERIOR - NIGHT
The camera is low, shooting along the track toward the light
of an approaching train. From its distant glow we can see
that people line the platform of the small station, waiting,
but we cannot tell how thick the crowd may be.
The station house. An open staff car pulls up through the
press of the crowd. An English captain leaps out and pushes
aggressively through the mass of bodies toward the platform.
Again the darkness of the ill-lit station and the angle of
the camera limit our vision.
Clear the way there! Get out of the
A detail of British troops, already on the station, moves in
his wake, just as aggressive toward the crowd as he is.
Sir! Up here!
The sergeant is on the low sloping roof of the station. The
captain turns briskly to two of his detail.
Give me a leg up, will you!
The two men join hands and the captain is hoisted up with an
assist from Sergeant Putnam. We hear the train stop in the
On the roof. The captain stands erect.
What the hell is it, Sergeant?
He is now standing and his face has frozen. It needs no answer
He turns his head slowly, his mouth agape at His point of
view. The whole of the obscurely lit platform is covered
thick with waiting crowds. They engulf the station house,
back and front, and on the other side of the train more people
are packed all along its length, and beyond them along the
narrow street that stretches through the little collection
of houses adjoining the station, every rooftop is covered --
men, women with babes in arms, children. There is no
excitement, hardly any movement -- just a vast congregation
of people, waiting silently is the darkness -- and as the
camera pans we see that the crowd extends, indiscernible,
even beyond the range of light.
(awed, a little
What the hell is going on?
I don't know, sir. The agent says
they got a telegram and it just said,
he is coming... and gave the time of
Who the hell is he?
I don't know, sir.
Featuring Gandhi. He has stepped down from the train. Shukla
guides him, Ba and Charlie a step or two behind. Gandhi moves
through the silent crowd, his hands in the pranam, bowing a
little to either side. As he advances, the crowd parts -- it
is almost eerily silent. As their clothes indicate, the area
is Muslim, so some salaam (a touch of the hand to the
forehead) and a few tentatively make the pranam back to Gandhi
as he moves through them. Most of the faces are gaunt and
lean. A destitute people.
And suddenly there is a commotion and the sound of boots on
the concrete platform, and the English captain shoves his
way through to confront Gandhi down the little aisle that
was being made for him. The sergeant and part of the detail
and behind the captain.
The captain stares. Then he looks around at the crowd,
suspiciously, a touch of inner fear, then back to Gandhi.
Who the devil are you?
My name is Gandhi. Mohandas K. Gandhi.
There is a flicker of recognition, but uncertain. The captain
stiffens; a steeling of the will. Another glance at the crowd,
this time with an air of outraged authority.
Well, whoever you are, we don't want
you here. I suggest you get back on
that train before it leaves the
(calmly, a glance at
They seem to want me.
Now look here. I'll put you under
arrest if you'd prefer?
On what charge?
It has the cold assurance of a lawyer, and the Captain is a
little shaken by it. He glances at Charlie who stands behind
Gandhi now, and it makes him all the more uncertain.
I don't want any trouble.
He tries to make it severe, but it is a comedown.
I am an Indian traveling in my own
country. I see no reason for trouble.
It is firm and there is an edge of assertiveness to it that
the Captain doesn't like, but Gandhi's unrelenting stare
unnerves him. He glances at Charlie again.
Well, there'd better not be.
Again, the empty severity of weakness. He looks around, then
turns and marches off briskly shoving his way through the
crowd. "Out of my way, there! Come on, move!"
Gandhi smiles reflectively, and the crowd suddenly begins to
buzz. Where all was silence before there is now the hum of
excitement. Already he has scored a victory -- and as he
moves forward again, making the pranam, they return it with
flushed greetings. "Gandhi -- Gandhi -- Bapu -- Gandhiji"...
PEASANT'S DWELLING - INTERIOR - DAY
The early light of the sun illumines the dwelling. We feature
a man in middle age, but one who looks ill and drawn (Meha).
He lies on a straw mat.
For years the landlords have ordered
us to grow indigo, for dyeing the
cloth. Always they took part of the
crop as rent.
Gandhi sits cross-legged, listening. It is the kind of
listening that opens the heart. Behind him a mass of villagers
sits stoically, outside the dwelling, waiting while their
case is heard. Meha tries to speak unemotionally but under
Gandhi's sympathetic gaze his despair keeps cracking through.
But now the English factories make
cloth for everyone. No one wants our
indigo. And the landlords won't take
their share. They say we must pay
our rent in cash.
Near to breakdown, he gestures around the empty house.
What we could, we sold... The police
have taken the rest. There is no
food, we --
He cannot go on.
(He examines his hands
The landlords are British?
It's a rhetorical question. Meha nods.
Gandhi looks around the crude dwelling, almost nothing
remains. We see two young men, one seventeen perhaps, the
other older, and a girl, sixteen. And finally Meha's wife,
sitting near Ba, the two women listening together but Meha's
wife looks like a woman who has given up, her hair is dead
and hardly combed, her sari dirty.
Meha looks at Gandhi and shakes his head hopelessly. Gandhi
nods... He stands slowly.
What we can do... we will try to do.
The words are said bleakly, not to raise false hopes. He
glances at Meha's wife. Water comes to her eyes, and she
lowers her head. Ba puts her hands on her shoulders and clasps
her to her, and the woman breaks, and sobs and sobs...
TILLED FIELD - CHAMPARAN - EXTERIOR - DAY
Gandhi rides on an open howdah on an elephant, his mind locked
in sober reflection. Shukla shares the howdah with him, but
does not dare break Gandhi's black mood.
Is all Champaran like this, Shukla?
(He looks across the
The whole province... hundreds --
It registers with Gandhi -- but inside. A moment.
Mohan -- !
Gandhi shakes himself from his absorption and looks back. Ba
and Charlie are mounted on a similar howdah on another
elephant, both being led by peasant boys. Charlie is pointing
behind them. Coming along the path is a tall Indian policeman
on a bicycle. He rides right past Charlie and Ba and comes
alongside Gandhi. His attitude is superficially polite, but
he is full of righteous authority.
Are you Mr. M. K. Gandhi?
I'm sorry but you are under arrest.
I am not sorry at all.
It contains more anger than we have seen him display to anyone
CHAMPARAN CRICKET CLUB - EXTERIOR - DAY
A ball is hit. The camera pulls back to reveal a lush, verdant
pitch, white-garbed players, English, a few ladies dressed
in First World War fashion watching under parasols near the
clubhouse and in the shade of trees with a few officers and
civil servants, while Indian servants discreetly serve cool
The batsman has hit a four and we see him run down the pitch
with his partner until the four is certain, then
(to the wicket keeper)
Who did you say would be buying the
The wicket keeper makes a rude, facetious gesture, but as
the batsman turns to settle in his crease again
Oh, no --
He has looked up. A car is pulling hurriedly in near the
clubhouse, an officer in it, and people are streaming toward
The car. A major is standing on the back seat. An Indian
...I've got no idea. All I know is
there's a riot or something at
Motihari in Champaran, and the whole
company is ordered out.
It's two days' march!
That's why the match is off. It's
mostly Muslim territory and the old
man's taking no chances.
Featuring the batsman and some of the players as they walk
across the field toward the car. They know something's up.
God, and it's the best innings I've
had since Oxford.
India's full of grief, old man.
The batsman "takes" on him facetiously, and we cut to:
THE COURTHOUSE AND JAIL - MOTIHARI - EXTERIOR - DAY
A small building on a little Anglicized square. It is
surrounded by a milling angry throng of peasants.
Featuring the front entrance. The English captain who was at
the station when Gandhi arrived is on the top step, looking
harried and tense. A small detachment of Indian troops lines
the step below him. Charlie Andrews is pushing through the
crowd toward the captain. As he approaches, the Indian
sergeant holds up his hand.
I wish to see the prisoner, please.
The captain looks at his clerical collar, his English face,
All right, Sergeant.
Charlie moves through the Indian soldiers and up toward the
entrance. The captain stares out worriedly over the unruly
COURTHOUSE JAIL - INTERIOR - DAY
A basement chamber -- dark, thick-walled and poorly lit. The
camera has panned off a close shot of Gandhi as he turns in
his cell at the sound of a door opening and approaching
footsteps. We have seen only his head and shoulders, which
are covered in a shawl.
A police guard leads Charlie across the rough, unfinished
floor. As he comes to Gandhi's cell we get a fleeting glimpse
of Gandhi sitting on a low pallet bed.
Close shot. Gandhi as he recognizes his visitor.
Reverse on Charlie. He looks down at Gandhi and shakes his
(a somber grin)
...Shades of South Africa.
Close shot. Gandhi. Head and shoulders. He returns the grin,
but anger and determination still dominate his mood.
Not quite. They're only "holding me"
until the Magistrate's hearing. Then
it will be prison.
Did they take your clothes?
And now we see Gandhi in full shot for the first time. He is
wearing only a white loincloth, the shawl over his shoulders
and sandals -- the costume he will wear for the rest of his
These are my clothes now.
Charlie studies him a moment, and being Charlie, he
You always had a puritanical streak,
He grins, and it elicits a little grin from Gandhi.
(in a tone of
If I want to be one with them, I
have to live like them.
I think you do.
But I thank God we all don't.
And Gandhi laughs.
I'm sure your legs are quite as
handsome as mine.
Ah, but my puritanism runs the another
way. I'm far too modest for such a
And again Gandhi laughs. Charlie turns to the guard.
Couldn't I be let in with the
prisoner? I am a clergyman.
The police guard hesitates, and then unlocks the cell.
Charlie enters and sits on a little wooden stool opposite
Gandhi, his long legs awkwardly filling most of the space
between them. Gandhi has remained seated, pensive. Charlie
studies him a moment.
(a bit puzzled)
They're calling you "Bapu." I thought
it meant father.
It does. We must be getting old,
A little grin, but his mood remains pensive -- and remote.
What do you want me to do?
Gandhi looks up -- his anger, his determination there, but
then broken by a hopeless sigh.
I think, Charlie, that you can help
us most by taking that assignment
you've been offered in Fiji.
Charlie is stunned, and obviously hurt. Gandhi proceeds more
I have to be sure -- they have to be
sure -- that what we do can be done
by Indians... alone.
And now Charlie understands. Gandhi smiles; warmth, and
sadness. Then he speaks with a determined purposefulness, a
But you know the strategy. The world
is full of people who will despise
what's happening here. It is their
strength we need. Before you go, you
could start us in the right direction.
He has taken some scratched notes from under the bedding and
handed them to Charlie. Charlie nods. He sighs, and rises
I must leave from Calcutta, and soon.
You'll have to say goodbye to Ba for
Gandhi rises, glancing wryly at the prison walls. He nods.
When I get the chance.
And now he faces Charlie; this is the moment of farewell.
Well, I --
He doesn't know what to say, how to say it. Gandhi meets his
eyes -- a smile that shelters Charlie's vulnerability, returns
There are no goodbyes for us, Charlie.
Wherever you are, you will always be
in my heart...
The very English, very steadfast Charlie fights to contain
THE COURTROOM - MOTIHARI - INTERIOR - DAY
It is packed to overflowing; restless. Gandhi sits in the
dock. One or two sergeants-at-arms are trying to keep order,
but it the uneven and menacing chanting of "Gandhi... Gandhi"
coming from the mobs outside the courtroom that fills the
atmosphere with threat.
The magistrate (English) is surveying the courtroom; he
signals his clerk (English) to him.
I am going to clear the courtroom.
I'm not sure we'd be able to. And it
is a first hearing, it's supposed to
be public. And he's a lawyer.
The magistrate frowns.
I don't know where they found the
nerve for all this.
I'm sure I don't either, but the
troops won't be here until tomorrow.
How the press get here before the
We see the front row from his point of view. Two or three
Indian journalists and one European.
That English clergyman sent a number
of telegrams yesterday afternoon. I
understand one of them even went to
The magistrate receives that news with some alarm. He
indicates that the clerk take his place.
Gandhi stands. The courtroom is silent, but we can still
hear the sound of the chanting outside.
You have been ordered out of the
province on the grounds of disturbing
With respect, I refuse to go.
The magistrate stares. The journalists write. The clerk
The magistrate looks around the courtroom and is only too
aware of the mob outside.
Do you want to go to jail?
(not giving him an
As you wish.
The clerk lowers his eyes to his pad. The magistrate searches
the distant wall, the top of his desk, his twitching hands
for an answer. Finally
(as much sternness as
he can muster)
All right. I will release you on
bail of one hundred rupees until I
reach a sentence.
I refuse to pay one hundred rupees.
Again the magistrate stares. And so do the journalists. The
magistrate wets his lips --
Then I -- I will grant release without
bail -- until I reach a decision.
And now the court explodes. In the chaos of cheering and
delight, the magistrate rises, looks around the room and
heads for his chambers.
The journalists are scribbling furiously.
Gandhi turns and starts out of the courtroom. We hear cries
of "Gandhi! -- Gandhi! -- Bapu!"
THE COURTHOUSE BALCONY
Gandhi steps down from the courtroom to the balcony. A huge
cheer comes up from the massed peasants below. As he smiles
down at them, he is turned by
Gandhiji! -- Gandhiji! Mr. Gandhi!
Four young Indians -- elegantly dressed in English clothes --
are following him, having plunged through the crowd in the
courtroom. A beat -- and the first young man addresses him
over the chaos.
FIRST YOUNG MAN
(his accent is as
refined as his clothes)
Gandhiji -- we are from Bihar. We
received a cable this morning from
an old friend who was at Cambridge
His name is Nehru and I believe you
Gandhi reacts -- with surprise and caution.
FIRST YOUNG MAN
He tells us you need help. And we
have come to give it.
Again Gandhi is surprised -- but even more cautious. Behind
him, the crowd begins to chant "Gandhi -- Gandhi."
I want to document, coldly,
rationally, what is being done here.
It may take months -- many, many
FIRST YOUNG MAN
We have no pressing engagements.
It sounds casually ironic, but they look determined, even
You will have to live with the
I have nothing to pay you.
(They only smile.)
He is looking at them with a soupšon of skepticism but he is
beginning to smell victory. His name echoes around him and
is taken up even louder as the news spreads to the street.
GOVERNOR'S OFFICE - CHAMPARAN - INTERIOR - DAY
Almost total silence. The room is long, large and imposing --
hardwood floors, overhead fans, an aura of wealth and
permanence. Footsteps pace its acres of space... and Sir
George Hodge comes into frame. He is rich, middle-aged, Tory --
and at the moment feeling impotent and harried.
I don't know what this country is
The Governor, Sir Edward Gait -- the portrait of the King
prominent behind him -- is feeling as cornered as Sir George
but for different reasons. His desk is arrayed with several
tall stacks of folders -- all with exactly the same covers --
and on one corner of the desk, some folded newspapers. We
can just read "Gandhi" in a headline. He taps one of the
folders irritably with his hand.
But good God, man, you yourself raised
the rent simply to finance a hunting
Sir George looks at him -- half defensive, half defiant.
They are old friends -- the same school, the same social
class, long together in India -- and their argument is an
argument between friend who accept the same premises. But
even so the Governor feels the game has not quite been played
And some of these others --
(he gestures to the
beatings, illegal seizures, demanding
services without pay, even refusing
them water! In India!...
Sir George is staring out of the window, vexed, bristling
Nobody knows what it is to try to
get these people to work!
Well, you've make this half-naked
whatever-he-is into an international
He picks up one of the papers irritatedly, the London Daily
"One lone man marching dusty roads
armed only with honesty and a bamboo
shaft doing battle with the British
(He lowers the paper
dismally; then the
At home children are writing "essays"
Sir George looks at him and sighs heavily. Sir Edward stares
back, then drops the paper back on his desk.
I couldn't take another two years of
him to save my life.
Sir George turns, and paces back toward him. For the first
time we see Sir Edward's personal secretary (a male civil
servant) sitting at a small desk and listening with highly
What do they want?
It is the first sign of concession. Sir Edward lifts his
eyes to his personal secretary.
from a document)
A rebate on rents paid.
(Sir George huffs.)
They are to be free to grow crops of
their own choice. A commission --
part Indian -- to hear grievances.
Sir George looks from him to Sir Edward. A beat.
That would satisfy him?...
(a nod; then pointedly)
And His Majesty's Government. It
only needs your signature for the
Sir George looks at the document on the secretary's desk. A
moment. The secretary turns it slowly so it is facing him.
Sir George looks at it like a snake. The secretary picks up
a pen and offers it. A second, then Sir George takes the pen
and signs angrily.
It will be worth it to see the back
(A flourish at the
end of his signature,
then he stands.)
We're too damn liberal.
Sir Edward is at the liquor cabinet.
Perhaps. But at least all this has
made the Government see some sense
about what men like Mr. Gandhi should
be allowed, and what they should be
He turns, offering Sir George a whiskey in a finely cut glass
Things are going to change.
JINNAH'S RESIDENCE - BOMBAY - EXTERIOR - DAY
Jinnah moves from under the portico. His shining, expensive
car is coming in the drive and stops by him. He opens the
back door, but only the chauffeur is in the car.
Where is Mr. Gandhi?
He said he preferred to walk, sir. I
followed him most of the way. He's
just turned the corner.
Jinnah closes the door and looks across at the entrance in
The Prophet give me patience.
He came Third Class.
It's a disdainful comment and he drives the car off toward
Gandhi comes around the corner of the wall into the entrance.
He is carrying a bedroll and a bamboo walking stick. Herman
Kallenbach is with him, dressed informally, also carrying a
bedroll. Jinnah makes a "sophisticated" salaam.
My house is honored.
Gandhi grins, dismissing the formality.
(he makes the pranam)
The honor is ours. May I introduce
Mr. Kallenbach. He's an old friend
and his interest is in flowers. I
presumed to tell him he could wander
your gardens while we talked.
(the suave, but
slightly ironic host)
I'll send my gardener. I'm sure you'll
have much to discuss.
JINNAH'S DRAWING ROOM - INTERIOR - DAY
It is spacious, "English." At the door, Jinnah introduces
Gandhi to the room.
Gentlemen -- the hero of Champaran.
Again Gandhi grins at the extravagance.
Only the stubborn man of Champaran.
A polite little laugh; Jinnah introduces him.
Mr. Patel you know.
Mr. Maulana Azad -- a fellow Muslim...
recently released from prison.
Gandhi makes the pranam, studying him with interest after
that comment. Azad gives a gentle salaam.
(A bow -- we have
seen him at the
And of course you know Mr. Nehru.
Featuring Nehru. He stands, awaiting Gandhi's attention. All
the others have been dressed in European clothes. The handsome
Europeanized Nehru now wears an Indian tunic -- much like
the one that Gandhi once wore.
For a moment Gandhi studies the costume, then a broad smile.
(a play on Jinnah's
I am beginning to know Mr. Nehru.
(to business: Gandhi
has been admitted to
the power circle, he
is not the power)
Well, I've called you here because
I've had a chance to see the new
legislation. It's exactly what was
rumored. Arrest without warrant.
Automatic imprisonment for possession
of materials considered seditious...
He looks at Gandhi.
Your writings are specifically listed.
Gandhi nods at the "compliment," but they are all angered by
the severity of it.
So much for helping them in the Great
There is only one answer to that.
Direct action -- on a scale they can
Again the temper of it produces a little silence. Then
I don't think so.
He moves to a servant who stands, holding a large tray with
a silver service of tea. Of them all, Nehru's manner is the
most naturally patrician and Jinnah watches him with a
somewhat envious awareness of it.
Terrorism would only justify their
repression. And what kinds of leaders
would it throw up? Are they likely
to be the men we would want at the
head of our country?
His stand has produced a little shock of surprise. Holding
his tea, he turns to Gandhi with a little smile.
I've been catching up on my reading.
He means Gandhi's of course. Jinnah looks at the two of them.
Gandhi has removed his sandals and is sitting cross-legged
on a fine upholstered chair. Jinnah's eyes rake him with
anger and distaste.
I too have read Mr. Gandhi's writings,
but I'd rather be ruled by an Indian
terrorist than an English one. And I
don't want to submit to that kind of
(to Nehru --
but with a trace of
I must say, Panditji, it seems to me
it's gone beyond remedies like passive
(in the silence)
If I may -- I, for one, have never
advocated passive anything.
They all look at him with some surprise. As he speaks, he
rises and walks to the servant.
I am with Mr. Jinnah. We must never
submit to such laws -- ever. And I
think our resistance must be active
They all stare at him, startled by his words and the fervor
with which he speaks to them.
I want to embarrass all those who
wish to treat us as slaves. All of
He holds their gaze, then turns to the immobile servant and
with a little smile, takes the tray from him and places it
on the table next to him. It makes them all aware that the
servant, standing there like an insensate ornament, has been
treated like a "thing," a slave. As it sinks in, Gandhi pours
some tea then looks up at them with a pleading warmth --
first to Jinnah.
Forgive my stupid illustration. But
I want to change their minds -- not
kill them for weaknesses we all
It impresses each one of them. But for all his impact, they
still take the measure of him with caution.
And what "resistance" would you offer?
The law is due to take effect from
April sixth. I want to call on the
nation to make that a day of prayer
"Prayer and fasting"? They are not overwhelmed.
You mean a general strike?
I mean a day of prayer and fasting.
But of course no work could be done --
no buses, no trains, no factories,
no administration. The country would
Patel is the first to recognize the implications.
My God, it would terrify them...
(a wry smile)
Three hundred fifty million people
at prayer. Even the English newspapers
would have to report that. And explain
But could we get people to do it?
(he is half sold
Champaran stirred the whole country.
They are calling you Mahatma -- the
Fortunately such news comes very
slowly where I live.
(continuing, to the
I think if we all worked to publicize
it... all of the Congress... every
avenue we know.
The idea has caught hold. As the others talk of "papers,"
"telegrams," "speeches," Jinnah looks over his cup at Gandhi
with an air of bitter resignation, but he tries to make light
Perhaps I should have stayed in the
garden and talked about the flowers.
THE GARDEN - VICEROY'S PALACE - EXTERIOR - DAY
A garden party in full imperial splendor. A military band
plays discreetly in the background. Princes, maharajahs,
generals, ranking British civil servants and their ladies
taking tea on the manicured lawns among the exotic flowers.
But over all there is a thread of anxiety, we pick up one or
two nervous phrases: "At the West Gate there were no taxis
at all!," "Of course, the Army will always be loyal." And
the camera picks out a civil servant stepping from a door of
the palace carrying a sheaf of telegrams and cable forms.
He searches the assembled guests, then heads with almost
indecorous haste toward his target. It is the Viceroy, Lord
Chelmsford. With him, talking quietly, are his aide-de-camp,
the Governor of the province and his ADC, and the commanding
general of the Army in India. Lord Chelmsford's ADC is the
first to react to the civil servant's arrival and his
Sir -- it's Mr. Kinnoch.
Lord Chelmsford turns expectantly.
Nothing... nothing is working, sir --
buses... trains... the markets...
There's not even any civilian staff
here, sir... Everything has stopped.
Is it simply Delhi and Bombay?
His firmness doesn't restore Kinnoch's normal aplomb. He
holds the telegrams forward.
No, sir -- Karachi, Calcutta, Madras,
Bangalore. It's, it's total.
He glances at the general.
The Army had to take over the
telegraph or we'd be cut off from
That takes the wind out of all of them. Grimly, Lord
Chelmsford looks out across the palace's ordered lawns and
I can't believe it...
He's going to sell his own paper
tomorrow in Bombay. They've called
for a parade -- on Victoria Road.
(clenches his jaw and
turns to the General)
THE JAIL - BOMBAY - INTERIOR - DAY
A prison door opens. Gandhi, in prison clothes, is led along
a small corridor to a room. The door is held open by a prison
ROOM - THE JAIL - BOMBAY - INTERIOR - DAY
Nehru waits for Gandhi. He rises when Gandhi enters. The
guard signals Gandhi to a chair across a small wooden table
from Nehru. The guard closes the door, but remains in the
room. Nehru's face is a map of concern, but he manages a
small smile of greeting.
Gandhi, who also looks worn, rises his eyebrows whimsically
at the use of that name.
He means "Bapu" -- "Father."
(a real smile, but
the same affection)
It seems less formal than "Mahatma."
Gandhi sighs, and their faces and minds go to more somber
Since your arrest the riots have
hardly stopped. Not big --; but they
keep breaking out. I run to stop
them... and Patel and Kripalani --
they are never at rest. But some
English civilians have been killed,
and the Army is attacking crowds
with clubs -- and sometimes worse.
Gandhi has listened to it all with a growing sense of despair.
Maybe I'm wrong... maybe we're not
ready yet. In South Africa the numbers
The Government's afraid, and they
don't know what to do. But they're
more afraid of terrorists than of
you. The Viceroy has agreed to your
release if you will speak for non-
(a sad smile)
I've never spoken for anything else.
THE STREETS OF AMRITSAR - EXTERIOR - DAY
The golden dome of the Temple fills the screen, shimmering.
The sound of a car, and marching feet. The camera pulls back
from the dome, revealing the rooftops, the trees and then
suddenly, center of frame, the face of General Dyer -- blunt,
cold, isolated in a cocoon of vengeful military righteousness.
He is traveling slowly, steadily in an armored car at the
head of fifty armed sepoys -- Gurkhas and Baluchis --
immaculate, precise, awesome. Behind them a staff car with
Dyer's English ADC and a British police officer. It is a
relentless, determined procession, filling the dusty street
with a sense of menace and foreboding.
JALLIANWALLAH BAGH - AMRITSAR - EXTERIOR - DAY
A large public garden, enclosed by a thick, old, crumbling
wall. A large crowd is gathered around a speaker on a platform
at one side of the park. It is political, but the crowd is
mixed. We see Muslims and Hindus, many of them Sikhs, old
men, little children, women with babes in arms. Some donkey
carts, a sense of fair-time gaiety.
We close in on the speaker -- a Muslim. He clutches a copy
(we need not see the title) of Gandhi's journal.
...England is so powerful -- its
army and its navy, all its modern
weapons -- but when a great power
like that strikes defenseless people
it shows it brutality, its own
weakness! Especially when those people
do not strike back.
(He holds aloft the
That is why the Mahatma begs us to
take the course of non-violence!
THE ENTRANCE OF THE JALLIANWALLAH BAGH - EXTERIOR - DAY
General Dyer, his armored car, his sepoys, moving toward the
gate. Dyer looks ahead calmly.
His point of view. The Gate of the Bagh. A rickety double
gate in the high crumbling wall. On each pillar, poster
notices for the meeting: "For Congress -- For Gandhi." In
the distance the speaker and the assembled crowd. Nearer, a
few vendors, loiterers and children. At the sound of the
armored car and marching feet, a few turn in curiosity.
Another angle. The armored car grinds forward. It won't go
through the gates, one fender scraping against the gate post.
Dyer gives a quiet order, the car backs away. Dyer jumps
down lightly -- a man in splendid condition. He walks through
the gate and stands quietly in the at-ease position, hands
clasping his swagger stick behind his back. looking off at
The speaker -- medium shot.
...If we riot, if we fight back, we
become the vandals and they become
the law! If we bear their blows,
they are the vandals -- God and His
law are on our...
(He glances up.)
Long shot -- his point of view. The two platoons of sepoys,
rifles at the port, trot smartly through the gate and fan
out on either side of the motionless and dominant figure of
Resume the speaker.
...We must have the courage to take
Medium close -- the sepoys and Dyer. He issues his commands
in a quiet and unemotional voice, as though they were on
Port arms, Sergeant Major.
The sergeant major issues the command. The troops port arms.
Again, the sergeant major barks the command, the bolts slam
back and forth, the magazines clatter.
Featuring the platform and the front of the crowd. They have
all turned now to watch, frozen in incredulity and
fascination. The sound of the sergeant major's orders and
the sinister rattle of breeches and bolts drifting to them.
(almost to himself as
he too is riveted)
...Our pain will be our victory.
Their point of view. The distant figures facing them.
Resume the crowd. Numbly they begin to back away, pressing
against the speaker's stand, themselves. A man picks up a
Their point of view. The small, distant figures of the sepoys
again. A word of command. One platoon kneels and takes aim.
Another command. The second platoon, standing behind the
first, takes aim.
Featuring Dyer. His ADC approaches. The British police officer
stands off to one side.
Do we issue a warning, sir?
They've had their warning -- no
It is final.
Resume the crowd. A ripple of panic now, everyone pressing
back, but still they cannot credit what they see. Only one
or two have the presence of mind to push clear and seek
shelter. It is too late.
Close shot Dyer, still calm.
Sergeant Major --
Long shot over the sepoys and their sights, the wavering
Flash shot along the line of sepoys; the rifles jerk and
bang. The crowd, running, screaming.
A dreadful press of panic-stricken people flying toward the
walls. And again the crash of rifles. Some fall. Others run
off-screen in an aimless, irresistible wave.
Dyer is walking behind his men, telling them, with a view to
maximum accuracy, what he has told them on the firing range
(it makes him a little irritable to have to repeat it).
Take your time. Take your time.
He looks off at the crowd. His eyes narrow.
A group of men are hurling themselves at a breach in the top
of the wall, hanging there, scrabbling for a purchase, some
disappearing, a few heroic individuals astride the wall
reaching down to assist their women and children in the
swirling crowd below.
He nods. The corporal looks.
He directs the attention of his neighbors in the firing line
toward the new target; they shift their aim.
A man reaching for a child -- who is also propelled upward
by its mother from below -- is hit, falls, so that he and
the child crash into the crowd below.
Sepoys firing ad lib. Dyer watching the effect, careful and
Swift tracking a man running through the staggering crowd,
over the litter of bodies, his mouth open, his eyes wild. He
arrives at a well, throws down the rope and slides down it.
Others seize the idea and in panic throw themselves into the
well, dropping out of sight.
Featuring Dyer. Meticulously, he taps a corporal on the
shoulder with his swagger stick and indicates the well. The
corporal signals his line of men.
At the well. The gathering crowd -- men, women -- and laced
with rifle fire.
From behind the sepoys we see the whole Bagh, littered with
dead and dying, a thick ruck around the well, the walls
hanging with wounded and dying, the firing continuing, loud,
loud, louder... until --
THE ARMORY HALL - THE FORT OF LAHORE - INTERIOR - DAY
Silence. The camera is close as it crosses a table with legal
documents. Gradually we hear a muffled cough, whispers,
shuffled papers, and it at last comes to a large close shot
of General Dyer.
Another angle. A Commission of Inquiry sits in the large
Armory Hall of the Old Fort. Dyer faces a panel of
Commissioners: Lord Hunter, presiding, Mr. Justice Rankin,
General Barrow, a British civil servant, and an Indian
The Commission functions like a public parliamentary committee --
little ceremony, no judicial robes, a small group of public
and press, who sit on wooden chairs behind a barrier that
isolates the Commission's business.
Much of that public is English -- fellow officers and
A Government Advocate (English) turns to face Dyer.
General Dyer, is it correct that you
ordered your troops to fire at the
thickest part of the crowd?
Dyer glances woodenly at the panel -- a man in some shock at
the consequences of what he assumed was an act worthy of
That is so.
The Advocate looks at him with a degree of disbelief -- more
at his attitude than his statement.
One thousand five hundred and sixteen
casualties with one thousand six
hundred and fifty bullets.
A slight reaction from the public section. Dyer's jaw
My intention was to inflict a lesson
that would have an impact throughout
He stares at the panel like a reasonable man making a
reasonable point. The evasiveness, the only half-buried
embarrassment of their response only deepens his own
withdrawal into himself.
General, had you been able to take
in the armored car, would you have
opened fire with the machine gun?
Dyer thinks about it. Then unashamedly --
I think, probably -- yes.
A muted reaction from the public section. The Indian barrister
stares at him a moment, then simply lowers his eyes to his
General, did you realize there were
children -- and women -- in the crowd?
For the first time there is the hint of uncertainty in his
But that was irrelevant to the point
you were making?
That is correct.
There is just a tremor of distaste quickly suppressed among
the panel. Not so quickly in the public section.
Could I ask you what provision you
made for the wounded?
Dyer looks at him quickly. The question is unexpected, even
a little "clever." The officers listening clearly resent it.
(a moment, then firmly)
I was ready to help any who applied.
And that answer stops the Advocate. He smiles dryly.
General... how does a child shot
with a 3-0-3 Enfield "apply" for
Dyer faces him stonily, a seed of panic taking root deep in
JALLIANWALLAH BAGH - EXTERIOR - DAY
Quiet: the same silence as at the Court of Inquiry. The camera
is panning slowly along a section of the wall. We are close
and see the bullet holes, the patches of splashed blood, the
scratches where fingers have dug at the surface of the wall
to claw a path to safety... And finally the camera comes to
a close shot of Gandhi, matching that of Dyer, whom we have
just left. He is surveying the wall in the now empty park
Nehru stands a few feet away from him, his mood the same,
the same benumbed grief and incredulity.
Resume the wall -- Gandhi's point of view. The camera
continues its pan -- bits of human hair matted in the dried
blood, and the bullet-ripped foliage, the well, trampled
ground around it, little pieces of clothing. Flies buzz around
the debris. Abstractedly, Gandhi touches the bucket rope
that lies across the surround. Nehru has moved to the other
side of the well. Gandhi lifts his eyes to him...
THE VICE-REGAL PALACE - NEW DELHI - EXTERIOR - DAY
The imposing capitol building of the British Raj in India.
We establish then cut into
GOVERNMENT COUNCIL ROOM - INTERIOR - DAY
Featuring the Viceroy, Lord Chelmsford.
You must understand, gentlemen, that
His Majesty's Government -- and the
British people -- repudiate both the
massacre and the philosophy that
Chelmsford is pacing along one side of a large conference
table. Just in front of this is the "British" side -- two
generals (a full general and a brigadier), a naval officer,
two senior civil servants, a senior police officer. Across
from them is the "Indian" side: Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Jinnah,
Azad. This time Gandhi is in the middle and speaks with the
full authority of a leader.
The Indian side acknowledges Chelmsford's disclaimer --
coolly, but accepting it. That lifts Chelmsford's hopes a
What I would like to do is to come
to some compromise over the new civil
If you will excuse me, Your
Excellency, it is our view that
matters have gone beyond
It is spoken with the cold determination of a man still angry.
It stops Chelmsford in mid-pace.
We think it is time you recognized
that you are masters in someone else's
(It chills, stiffens;
Gandhi proceeds only
an iota softer)
Despite the best intentions of the
best of you, you must, in the nature
of things, humiliate us to control
us. General Dyer is but an extreme
example of the principle. It is time
The British are stunned almost to speechlessness -- the
audacity, the impossibility of it -- and from Gandhi of all
people. The senior civil servant, Kinnoch, is the first to
With respect, Mr. Gandhi, without
British administration, this country
would be reduced to chaos.
Mr. Kinnoch, I beg you to accept
that there is no people on earth who
would not prefer their own bad
government to the "good" government
of an alien power.
My dear sir -- India is British!
We're hardly an alien power!
Gandhi and the others just look at him.
Chelmsford is realist enough to recognize that a faux pas
has been made, and he strives to get the meeting back on the
course he intends.
Even if His Majesty could waive all
other considerations, he has a duty
to the millions of his Muslim subjects
who are a minority in this realm.
And experience has taught that his
troops and his administration are
essential in order to keep the peace.
He has deliberately if delicately caught the eye of both
Jinnah and Maulana Azad during this. Gandhi knows the trouble
this can cause and he answers more for those on his side
than the Viceroy's.
All nations contain religious
minorities. Like other countries,
ours will have its problems.
But they will be ours -- not yours.
Its finality is such that for a moment there is no response
at all, but then the General smiles.
And how do you propose to make them
yours? You don't think we're just
going to walk out of India.
His smile flitters cynically on the mouths of the others on
Yes... in the end you will walk out.
Because one hundred thousand
Englishmen simply cannot control
three hundred fifty million Indians
if the Indians refuse to co-operate.
And that is what we intend to achieve --
peaceful, non-violent, non-co-
He looks at them all, then up at Lord Chelmsford behind them.
Until you yourself see the wisdom of
leaving... your Excellency.
LATER - THE SAME GOVERNMENT COUNCIL ROOM
Close shot -- a crystal decanter. The top is lifted, whiskey
The camera pulls back. We are still in the Council Room, but
time has passed. The Indian delegation has gone, and the
British are relaxing as a servant pours.
(mocking his exchange
"You don't just expect us to walk
And they all laugh.
Extraordinary little man! "Nonviolent,
non-co-operation" -- for a moment I
almost thought they were actually
going to do something.
There are some smiles, but not all of them are quite so
Yes -- but it would be wise to be
very cautious for a time. The Anti-
Terrorist Act will remain on the
statutes, but on no account is Gandhi
to be arrested. Whatever mischief he
causes, I have no intention of making
a martyr of him.
It is an instruction they all find correct.
FIELD - EXTERIOR - NIGHT
A roar of approval from a huge crowd. We are featuring two
British soldiers, their faces partially lit by a flickering
torch light that reveals their tense wariness.
Another angle. And we can see its cause. A huge crowd is
gathered around a platform -- torches sprinkled through it --
and their mood is confident, belligerent. As their defiant
roar carries through the night air we see that Gandhi sits
cross-legged on the platform. Nehru is with him. Patel, now
for the first time in an Indian tunic, and Azad, also in an
Indian tunic. Desai, Gandhi's new male secretary, is with
them. But it is Ba who is speaking at the microphone, who
has brought the shout of defiance from the crowd.
...but now something worse is
happening. When Gandhiji and I were
growing up, women wove their own
cloth. But now there are millions
who have no work because those who
can buy all they need from England.
I say with Gandhiji, there is no
beauty in the finest cloth if it
makes hunger and unhappiness.
It is the end of her speech and she makes the pranam and
turns away. There is applause and noise, but Ba does not
acknowledge it; she simply sits cross-legged behind Gandhi,
who is talking with Patel and Nehru. At last he rises, and
the noise and applause increase to something like chaos.
In close shot we see other British soldiers watching on the
perimeter of the crowd and they are now made even more wary
by the enthusiasm of this greeting. Gandhi fiddles with his
glasses, preoccupied; finally he looks out over the crowd
and holds up a hand -- almost lazily -- and gradually, but
quite definitely, the crowd stills.
My message tonight is the message I
have given to your brothers
everywhere. To gain independence we
must prove worthy of it.
We intercut with the crowd, listening raptly. Gandhi holds
up one finger.
There must be Hindu-Muslim unity --
(A second finger.)
Secondly, no Indian must be treated
as the English treat us so we must
remove untouchability from our lives,
and from our hearts.
Neither of these goals is easy, and the audience reaction
shows it. Now Gandhi raises a third finger.
Third -- we must defy the British.
And the crowd breaks into stamping and applause. Gandhi lets
it run for a time, then stills it with the one small gesture
Not with violence that will inflame
their will, but with firmness that
will open their eyes.
This has sobered the audience somewhat. Now he looks out
across them as though seeking something. Then
English factories make the cloth --
that makes our poverty.
All those who wish to make the English
see, bring me the cloth from
Manchester and Leeds that you wear
tonight, and we will light a fire
that will be seen in Delhi -- and
There is an excited stir; he silences it.
And if, like me, you are left with
only one piece of homespun -- wear
it with dignity!
Close shot -- the ground. As suitcoats, shirts, vests,
trousers, are flung into a pile.
Featuring the two British soldiers -- later -- on the edge
of the crowd, staring off, their faces now brightly lit by
Their point of view. A huge triangular pile burns before the
platform, an excited half-naked crowd swirling in the shadows
around it. Resume the two British soldiers. They look at
each other with a kind of fear a rampant crowd can excite in
those who must hold it...
ASHRAM STATION - EXTERIOR - DAY
The small train station near the ashram. Kallenbach stands
by a new (early 1920s) Ford touring car, watching as a train
pulls into the station.
As people start to jump off the train he moves forward.
Featuring Patel, getting out of a compartment marked "Second
Class." He lugs a bedroll and a bag. Despite the Indian tunic
he now wears he cannot help but look and act like the
incisive, patrician lawyer he is under the skin. As he moves
through the crowded platform.
Excuse me -- just let me get out of
your way, please.
(Someone reaches for
his bedroll and bag.)
No, thank you, I'll manage.
He looks up; it is Kallenbach who is the insistent "helper."
(joyous -- it's been
a long time)
(Of the bags)
No, no -- don't destroy my good
intentions. I'm feeling guilty about
traveling Second Class.
Kallenbach is smiling too. He reaches for the bags again.
I do it as a friend -- and admirer --
not a servant.
Ah, in that case!
And grandly, he relinquishes the bags and looks back.
Maulana is made of sterner stuff.
Our trains met in Bombay, but he's
back there in that lot somewhere.
Their point of view. In the chaos of the Third Class we see
Maulana Azad coming out of a section of the coach. He is
carrying a baby wrapped in rags. The child's mother with two
little ones hanging on her has followed him out.
There he is -- out Gandhi-ing Gandhi.
Azad hands the woman the baby and she obviously thanks him.
He makes a little salaam to her and moves through the
confusion of the platform toward the camera.
Resume Patel and Kallenbach.
(shaking his head at
When I think what our "beloved
Mahatma" asks, I don't know how he
ever got such a hold over us. Is he
Yes. Now that things are moving he's
going to write and only take part
when it's necessary.
Azad approaches them.
It was a Hindu child and it tried to
wet on me.
He and Kallenbach clasp with their free hands, both grinning.
Of course. A Muslim beef eater --
I'm only surprised he missed.
He was a she.
Ah, that explains it.
Well, do I carry your luggage as
penance or --
There's another passenger -- a Miss
Patel and Azad do,
toward the First
She's the daughter of an English
(Patel and Azad look
back at him in quick
She's been corresponding with him
for a year.
And the camera pans with their glances at they look back
with real interest toward the First Class coach.
Porters are unloading the baggage of two or three passengers
here and helping some others (English and Indian) to board.
In the foreground we see a tall Indian woman in a red sari.
Farther along there is a large stack of luggage being added
to by a porter. An English woman is hovering about it. She
is well dressed, but rather dreary and unprepossessing, and
the camera zooms in toward her.
And what does the daughter of an
English admiral propose to do in an
ashram -- sink us?
(quietly -- his manner)
From the looks of the luggage, yes.
Patel grins. Like most witty men, he loves wit in others.
She wants to make her home with us --
and Gandhiji has agreed.
Patel groans. They turn back to the train and just as they
do, the tall Indian woman in the red sari tips a porter,
taking one small bag from him and turns: Mirabehn (Madeleine
Slade) is tall, quite pretty and extremely English despite
the sari. The minute she turns, she stops on seeing the now
You'd be Mr. Kallenbach.
Kallenbach recovers sufficiently to --
...And you would be Miss Slade.
I prefer the name Gandhiji has given
me -- Mirabehn.
The word means "daughter." Patel and Azad stare at each other
in something like bafflement.
THE ROAD TO THE ASHRAM - EXTERIOR - DAY
An ox labors along in harness. We follow him for a moment,
then move along the traces of the harness to the Ford touring
car that it is pulling. In the car Kallenbach and Mirabehn
sit in the front seat, Patel and Azad in the back.
(of the car)
It was a gift and it only worked a
few weeks, but when Gandhi came home
he struck on this idea. He calls it
his ox-Ford. Comfortable -- and yet
more our pace.
He does what little steering is necessary and Mirabehn smiles
at it all, finding everything delightful. She peers ahead in
the direction of the distant ashram.
Might Mr. Nehru be there too?
The irresponsible young Nehru is in
prison -- again. Though there is a
rumor that under pressure from your
country, they will let him out --
Mirabehn has turned to look at him. She has the same
sophomoric eagerness and intensity as the young Gandhi.
You can't know how closely we follow
your struggle --
(to Patel personally)
how many in England admired what you
did in Bardoli. It must have taken
Well, in this country one must decide
if one is more afraid of the
government or Gandhi.
(Of Azad, Kallenbach
For us, it's Gandhi.
Mirabehn is enthralled by the wit, the modesty that underlines
the words. She faces Kallenbach.
(a note of wonder)
And you're German...
And do you feel Indian?
She thinks she does, and that he would want to.
It surprises, but it doesn't deflate.
But you've been with him so long --
Kallenbach, whose size and stillness carry the aura of some
great piece of primitive sculpture -- solid, true,
disturbingly profound -- searches inside himself for the
...I'd come to believe I would never
meet a truly honest man. And then I
It is so profoundly simple and deeply felt that it obviously
touches the deeply emotional Mirabehn.
GANDHI'S BUNGALOW - EXTERIOR - DAY
Ba has a spinning wheel on the small porch and Gandhi is
sitting next to her with another. He is trying to imitate
her action -- which is fast and dexterous -- and he gets in
a terrible jumble. Ba watches, laughing.
Stop -- stop...
She leans across and tries to extricate his fingers.
God gave you ten thumbs.
And Ba laughs again and Gandhi smiles, tapping her with
playful reproval on the top of her bent head. There are
footsteps and Gandhi looks up. Patel stands in the doorway.
Gandhi's face changes to something like elation. A beat.
It means "leader" and it is the name the peasants have given
Patel. Gandhi uses it with an intonation of novelty and
respect. He stands and crosses to Patel, clutching him
emotionally, and it brings a bit of emotion from the
Gandhi holds him back to look at him.
What you've done is a miracle. You
have made all India proud.
Patel gets hold of himself, and affects his usual glib
It must have been the only Non-violent
campaign ever led by a man who wanted
to kill everybody every day.
(He means himself.)
The secret is mastering the urge.
He smiles again, then, his arm still around Patel's shoulder,
he turns to greet the others. Azad looks at him, then
facetiously, as though to put down Patel.
He came Second Class.
Gandhi laughs again, squeezing Patel's shoulder.
Well, we can't expect miracles all
(Then to Azad, more
Your news I understand is not so
Azad shakes his head.
Gandhi reaches forward and touches his hand, and he sees
Mirabehn on the porch. For a moment their eyes meet and then
Mirabehn moves forward quickly and takes his hand, kissing
it, tears running down her cheek. Gandhi touches the top of
Come, come -- you will be my
LATER - GANDHI'S BUNGALOW - INTERIOR - TWILIGHT
The camera is on a row of sandals by the door -- Patel's,
Azad's, Desai's, Gandhi's. It pans to the room. Gandhi sitting
facing Patel and Azad, Desai in the background, making notes
of the discussion. Gandhi is carding fiber to thread as they
talk. Mirabehn, seated like the others, is almost in the
circle, sitting near Ba, and listening like her. Ba's spinning
...but then some rioting broke out
between Hindus and Muslims -- violent,
Gandhi looks up at Azad, Azad shakes his head solemnly
Whether it was provoked...
(he shrugs, a hint of
But it gave them an excuse to impose
martial law throughout Bengal.
(He looks at Gandhi,
shaking his head
Some of the things the military have
But he does not go on. It has a terrible sobriety.
Is the campaign weakening?
Azad shakes his head.
The marches and protests are bigger
if anything but with the censorship
(a nod toward Mirabehn)
they know more in England than we
do, and it saps the courage to think
you may be suffering alone.
Gandhi reaches out and touches his hand.
They are not alone. And martial law
only shows how desperate the British
He holds Azad's eyes, giving strength. Then he turns to
Mirabehn, made more aware of her by Azad's reference. For a
moment he looks at her sari.
Is that homespun? Or cotton from
The tone suggests he thinks it is homespun. Mirabehn nods, a
little choked that his attention is turned to her.
I -- I sent for it, from here. I
dyed it myself.
Gandhi smiles approvingly. Then a shadow --
What do the workers in England make
of what we're doing? It must have
It has. But you'd be surprised. They
understand -- they really do. It's
not the workers you have to worry
(A glance toward Ba.)
Ba will have to teach you to spin
I would rather march.
First spin. Let the others march for
Mirabehn nods and looks resignedly at Ba. Ba is spinning.
First lesson: To march, wear shoes,
to spin, do not.
Mirabehn looks down at the shoes on her feet -- and then at
the others and their bare feet -- and she looks up in
grinning, self-conscious embarrassment. Ba smiles at her
I'll teach you all our foolishness,
and you must teach me yours.
Mirabehn looks at her, accepting the warmth behind the
teasing. It is the beginning of an enduring friendship.
CHAURI CHAURA - EXTERIOR - NIGHT
A small town. Featuring the faces of six Indian police
constables as a torch light parade passes them. There are
enough of them in their group to be watching the marchers
with a challenging disdain. The marchers are men in loin-
clothes and tunics; they brandish torn and ripped English
cloth and shout in unison.
Home Rule! Long live Gandhi! Buy
Indian! Long live Gandhi!
We have cut to the parade -- and it is the tail end, going
around a corner ahead. Some of the marchers wave their cloth
tauntingly at the police. One policeman suddenly steps out
and grabs at a piece of cloth waved at him. He pulls it
viciously from the marcher.
I'll stuff your damn mouth with it!
He chases the marcher and boots him with his foot. Another
marcher runs at the policeman, swinging at him with his piece
Leave him alone -- he wasn't harming
Another angle -- sudden. He is whacked across the face with
a billy club and falls, clutching his face and spouting blood
from his nose.
Another angle. The police are now all attacking, swinging
clubs and kicking at the tail-enders of the march. And the
tail-enders begin to scream
Help! Help us! as they try to scramble
away from the attack. Out of shot we
can still hear the disappearing chant:
"Home Rule! Long live Gandhi!"
CONNECTING STREET - EXTERIOR - NIGHT
The parade is on this street. A tail-ender, blood streaming
down his face, runs around the corner. lose shot -- the tail-
ender. As he stops
Help! Help us!
Another angle. Some of the marchers turn at the shout.
RESUME THE POLICE - THE FIRST STREET
A few of the tail-enders watching, some running clear of the
police, some being beaten.
Two police have a man on the ground. One policeman looks up.
Their point of view. The corner where the parade has
disappeared. It is now packed with more marchers, more
flooding in from behind.
We see the whole street, the marchers massed near the corner,
spread out, staring at the police, who are now frozen in
their mayhem, staring off at the marchers.
For a second, utter silence.
And then the police begin to back away from their victims.
The marchers start to move forward. The police draw their
guns, and the marchers suddenly run at them, a guttural roar,
as though they were one single wild beast.
Featuring the police. They start to run, some turning to
fire at the pursuing crowd, then running on.
THE POLICE STATION - EXTERIOR - NIGHT
A small building for this small town. A policeman on duty
holds the door and the fleeing police, first one, then two
more, then the last three, run into the building.
The crowd surges around it, smashing windows, hurling stones.
Close shot. English cloth shirts pushed together and ignited.
Second close shot. Trousers, already aflame, being hurled
through a broken window. All around, the noise of the angry,
surging crowd, stones raining on the building. Shouts: "Out --
Later. A corner of the building engulfed in flames. The camera
pulls back and we see the whole building swept with fire.
The heat of it keeps the crowd back but they are still
shouting "Out -- Out! -- Out" -- and a sudden cheer.
At the door of the flaming building. One policeman appears,
his face blackened with soot, his hands up over his head.
Another appears in the smoke behind him, and they start to
come out -- not only the original six but the five or six
others who were in the building -- rushing suddenly from the
heat of the fire.
Close shot -- the crowd. We are close on the body of the
first policeman as he runs into the crowd and on the instant
we see a sword slash at his arm.
Another angle. The crowd massed around the fallen figure, a
flash of the sword going up over the heads -- a breathless
pause -- and it comes down again... savagely.
Later. The flames of the crumbled building. The crowd has
gone and we only hear the roar of the flames. The camera
pans across the flames, and we see a skull, charred flesh
still clinging to it, the eyes black holes, the teeth bare
as it burns in the fire.
JINNAH'S DRAWING ROOM - INTERIOR - DAY
Close shot -- Gandhi. His face drawn, stunned, as he stares
emptily at the floor. He is sitting on the carpet in the
center of the room. A moment of silence and then we begin to
hear the tick of a clock, the sounds of others moving in the
room, and finally
That's one bit of news they haven't
Another angle. Patel leans with one arm on a table, his mood
as devastated as Gandhi's; he is looking at an Indian paper
on the table by his hand. A moment then
Oh, it's all over the world...
He has been standing, looking out of a window. He turns, and
tosses a newspaper on a desk. It is a New York Times and we
just glimpse the picture of the severed head lying in the
And now we see Nehru and Azad in the background too. And
Desai. Jinnah as usual in a finely cut European suit, the
others are dressed in tunics of homespun as they will be to
What can we do?
We must end the campaign.
They turn to him -- a sense of surprise, but they don't really
believe he means the statement.
After what they did at the massacre --
it's only an eye for an eye.
(he hasn't moved; the
An eye for an eye only ends up making
the whole world blind.
(Now he looks up at
We must stop.
(a baffled smile)
Gandhiji -- do you know the sacrifices
people have made?
He looks at him. Gandhi doesn't move. Patel looks up
hopelessly at Jinnah. Azad keeps his eyes fixed on Gandhi,
sensing, fearing what is going to happen.
We would never get the same commitment
again -- ever.
He looks at Gandhi with a mounting sense of annoyance.
Gandhi is listening, but still withdrawn into himself.
If we obtain our freedom by murder
and bloodshed I want no part of it.
It was one incident.
Tell that to the families of the
policemen who died.
Jinnah turns away in anger. Patel sighs. Nehru feels helpless
but he continues to try.
Bapu -- the whole nation is marching.
They wouldn't stop, even if we asked
Gandhi stares into nothing -- mulling that. Finally
I will ask. And I will fast as penance
for my part in arousing such emotions --
and I will not stop until they stop.
Nehru stares at him -- surprised. Azad is not.
God! You can be sure the British
won't censor that! They'll put it on
every street corner.
Gandhi does not react. And Nehru ignores the thought too,
because like Azad his mind is already on the real danger.
But -- but Gandhiji people are
aroused... they won't stop.
Gandhi looks up at him -- a resigned fatalism.
If I die, perhaps they will...
THE ASHRAM - EXTERIOR - TWILIGHT
Mirabehn walks across the grounds toward Gandhi's bungalow.
She carries a small tray with a pitcher and a glass. We see
a few people working in the background, and a mass of people
camped near the entrance, some sprawled, some sitting, some
standing -- all waiting.
The steps of Gandhi's bungalow. A doctor in a white tunic
sits on the porch, reading. On a small table beside him we a
stethoscope and the equipment to measure blood pressure. He
looks up at Mirabehn as she mounts the steps, and nods.
Mirabehn reaches the doorway and is suddenly brought up.
GANDHI'S BUNGALOW - THE INTERIOR - MIRABEHN'S POINT OF VIEW -
In the shadows, Ba sits by Gandhi's mat bed. She is holding
him as he heaves in a spasm of dry retching, his face to the
wall. When he is finished, he lies almost limp in her arms
and she gently lowers him to the mat. She strokes his head.
Mirabehn stiffens herself. She is not yet devotee and nurse.
She removes her sandals and walks across the room.
Ba looks up at her. She glances at the jug and glass, then
nods. She turns to Gandhi.
I must get ready for evening prayers.
Mirabehn is here.
She strokes his sweating head again, touches his shoulder
and gets up. For a moment the two women hold each other's
gaze, then Ba smiles weakly, and leans her head into the
taller Mirabehn's shoulder. With her free hand Mirabehn
touches Ba's head. Then Ba straightens, and leaves without
Mirabehn bends and sits by Gandhi's side.
I've brought your drinking water.
May I turn you?
Gandhi struggles to turn, and Mirabehn helps him. When he
turns we see that his face is wet with sweat from the dry
heaving and his hands and arms are quivering and he cannot
stop them. She looks at him nervously, then pours a glass
from the pitcher.
There is a little lemon juice in it.
That is all.
She turns back, and propping up his head, helps him to sip.
Herman has gone to meet Pandit Nehru --
there was a telegram. Almost
everywhere it has stopped.
Gandhi swallows with difficulty. He pauses, letting his head
fall back and she lowers it down to the mat again. He tries
When it is everywhere, then my prayers
will be answered.
Mirabehn looks daunted by his intractability.
Do you find me stubborn?
(her own honesty)
I don't know... I know you are right.
I don't know that this is right.
Gandhi signals her down to him. She bends so she is looking
at the floor and he is speaking almost into her ear.
When I despair, I remember that all
through history the way of truth and
love has always won.
We intercut their faces, very close, as he speaks.
There have been tyrants and murderers,
and for a time they can seem
invincible. But in the end they always
fall. Think of it -- always... When
you are in doubt that that is God's
way, the way the world is meant to
be... think of that.
During the very last of it Mirabehn has turned her face to
him, touched with emotion.
(the paternal smile)
And then -- try to do it His way.
(A tear runs down
Mirabehn's face. She
touches his shoulder.
Gandhi just leans
his head back in
And now -- could I have another feast
of lemon juice?
Mirabehn straightens up, smiling, wiping the tear from her
cheek with mock discipline. She starts to pour water from
the pitcher into the glass again, then she turns suddenly,
her attention caught.
Her point of view. The doorway. Nehru stands in it. Kallenbach
and Desai are a step or two behind him.
Panditji -- come in.
She stands, moving back from Gandhi.
Nehru crosses and kneels in Mirabehn's place. Gandhi looks
up at him and his eyes light. He moves his shaking hand out
and Nehru clasps it. A moment of personal feeling between
Jinnah, Patel, all of Congress has
called for the end of non-co-
operation. There's not been one
demonstration. All over India people
are praying that you will end the
fast. They're walking in the streets,
offering garlands to the police --
and to British soldiers.
It is a victory. Gandhi's face cracks into a tearful grin.
Perhaps -- perhaps I have overdone
And Nehru chokes with emotion and laughter at the same time.
He buries his head on Gandhi's hand, clutching it to him.
THE ASHRAM - EXTERIOR - DAY
Bright sunshine. A little boy is pulling a goat by a tether.
He turns with a bright smile.
Good morning, Bapu!
Reverse angle. Gandhi is walking, holding Ba's shoulder for
support with one hand, and Mirabehn's with the other. It is
some days later.
(Of the goat)
Don't let her go. If she bumps me I
am done for.
The boy grins at Gandhi's feigned alarm.
Don't worry. I milk her every day,
she's not --
The sound of a motor disturbs them. Gandhi turns.
His point of view. Coming into the entrance, along the bumpy
path are two police cars (early 1920s Morris). They have to
stop because they are impeded by Gandhi's ox-Ford.
Four Indian policeman hop quickly out of the second car. A
British police superintendent, and his British deputy get
more decorously out of the first.
Another angle. Gandhi has turned with his two props, Ba and
Mirabehn. The police are approaching him. Kallenbach is
running from the fields. Nehru is hurrying from another
building carrying sheaves of page proofs. Other ashramites
converge from the fields and buildings.
The British police superintendent (who is Scottish) stops
(it is too absurd)
You can't be serious! This man has
just stopped a revolution!
That's as may be. I only know what I
am charged to perform.
Nehru stares at him and the policemen with growing
I don't believe it -- even the British
can't be that stupid!
Panditji -- please, help me.
It stops Nehru. He looks at Gandhi and sighs in unmastered
frustration, but he moves to Gandhi's side. Gandhi turns to
You must help Herman -- and Ba.
(He releases her, and
says more loudly to
I have been on many trips -- it is
just another trip.
He smiles at them, then slips his free hand on Nehru's
shoulder and he turns to the superintendent.
I am at your command.
Featuring Gandhi, Ba and Nehru, as they walk to the car behind
the somewhat surprised superintendent.
If there is one protest -- one riot --
a disgrace of any kind, I will fast
He looks at Nehru firmly. Nehru knows him well enough now
not to argue -- even at this, though his face shows the
(and now he smiles --
Gandhi to Nehru,
I know India is not ready for my
kind of independence. If I am sent
to jail, perhaps that is the best
protest our country can make at this
time. And if it helps India, I have
never refused to take His Majesty's
He laughs and Nehru struggles to join in the joke.
THE CIRCUIT COURT - AHMEDABAD - INTERIOR - DAY
A quiet hum in a packed courtroom. Armed sepoys line the
Featuring Judge Broomfield and the clerk. The Judge is
flipping through documents on the case, a troubled frown on
his face. At last, he shuts the folder and nods to the clerk.
The clerk turns and says in a moderately loud voice --
Call the prisoner to the bar.
The sergeant-at-arms turns and moves to the door at the side
of the bench. The courtroom immediately falls silent. The
sergeant-at-arms opens the door -- a moment -- and Gandhi
enters slowly. He has recovered a bit more, but he still
Featuring Judge Broomfield. As Gandhi enters, he lowers his
glasses, places them on his desk, and rises, facing Gandhi.
Featuring two English court reporters. One nudges the other
in astonishment, signaling off toward the judge.
Their point of view. The clerk, confused as well as
astonished, see the judge standing, facing Gandhi in respect,
and dutifully, he too stands.
Resume the reporters. A disbelieving exchange of glances,
the sound of others standing around them. They glance back.
Full shot -- the courtroom. The whole court rises, the
astounded reporters the last of all.
Featuring Gandhi. He takes the prisoner's stand. He looks
around, a little surprised, a little affected by the
demonstration. He looks up at the judge. For a minute their
eyes meet, the judge makes a little bow to Gandhi. Gandhi
reciprocates... and the judge sits down.
Featuring the reporters shrugging incredulously to each other,
as they sit once more.
Later. The Advocate General is speaking from a folded journal.
..."Non-co-operation has one aim:
the overthrow of the Government.
Sedition must become our creed. We
must give no quarter, nor can we
(He looks up at Gandhi.)
Signed M. K. Gandhi, in your journal
Young India, dated twenty-second
March of this year. Do you deny
Not at all.
(To the judge)
And I will save the Court's time,
M'Lord, by stating under oath that
to this day I believe non-co-operation
with evil is a duty. And that British
rule of India is evil.
There is a little shock of reaction around the courtroom.
The Advocate General smiles with a brittle disdain, then he
turns to the judge.
The Prosecution rests, M'Lord.
The judge nods. He turns, glancing at the empty table for
defense counsel, and then to Gandhi.
I take it you will conduct your own
defense, Mr. Gandhi.
I have no defense, My Lord. I am
guilty as charged.
And if you truly believe in the system
of law you administer in my country,
you must inflict on me the severest
It is almost a cruel challenge to the obviously humane
The reporters scribble, watching the Judge even as they write,
because the mere doubt in the Judge's face reflects on the
whole position of the British to India.
Featuring Judge Broomfield. He lowers his glasses soberly,
staring at them for a moment.
It is impossible for me to ignore
that you are in a different category
from any person I have ever tried,
or am likely to try.
He looks up at Gandhi and his own respect for him is almost
(a long beat)
It is nevertheless my duty to sentence
you -- to six years' imprisonment.
A stunned intake of breath from the whole courtroom, then in
absolute silence the clerk scribbles the sentence in his
notebook. A pause. The Judge lowers his eyes.
(a personal statement,
not a real hope)
If however His Majesty's Government
could -- at some later date -- see
fit to reduce that term, no one would
be better pleased than I.
He folds, and refolds his glasses and then without looking
at anyone he rises. The court rises and he walks stiffly to
Featuring Gandhi. He stands, staring at Broomfield, and now
it is his face that shows the respect.
INDIAN ROAD - EXTERIOR - DAY
Long shot. From far above the hills we see a car traveling
along the road. Its style tells us some years have passed.
Featuring Walker -- close. The reporter from the New York
Times, whom we first saw as a younger man in South Africa.
He is in an open car, turning back to look at something, his
face intrigued by what he sees.
Yes, I'm sure that's exactly what
they hoped. Put him in prison a few
years and with luck he'd be forgotten.
And maybe they'd even subdue him...
We see from Walker's point of view an Indian woman walking
along the road, leading a tall camel that carries sacks of
produce. Two young girls in ragged saris walk with her, and
a boy of eight leads a smaller camel behind them. They are
staring off at the car.
Resume Walker. He swings back around, fascinated with what
he is seeing of India. The car is an early 1930s Morris Minor.
Well, he certainly wasn't forgotten!
And as soon as he got out he was
back tramping the country, preaching
non-violence and demanding a free
India. Everybody knows another
showdown's coming -- but when, and
over what --
He shrugs, "Nobody knows"...
Well, I read you account of that
crowd in Calcutta and that he was
twisting the Lion's tail again...
Collins has suddenly slowed the car, then swerves around a
pair of elephants hauling logs.
...and I knew something had to give.
And I was determined to be here when
How does a reporter in Central America
learn that Gandhi was born in
Oh, I've been a Gandhi buff for a
Collins glances at him in surprise as he steers the car around
another procession of camels heading toward the port.
He certainly makes good copy.
The other day Winston Churchill called
him "that half-naked Indian fakir."
Walker smiles too, but it soon passes.
I met him once.
Collins looks at him in real surprise.
You mean Gandhi?
Back in South Africa...
long time ago.
What was he like?
Lots of hair... and a little like a
college freshman -- trying to figure
Well, he must've found some of the
He honks as he goes around a wooden-wheeled cart.
PRANAMI TEMPLE - PROBANDER - INTERIOR - DAY
Simple. Austere. Filtered light. Featuring Gandhi -- close.
He is looking straight ahead.
Reverse angle. Across the emptiness of the temple, Ba faces
(a step forward)
"In every worthy wish of yours, I
shall be your helpmate."
Another angle featuring Walker and Collins, who are sitting
alone, in the cool shadows of the temple, watching with
fascination as Gandhi and Ba repeat their marriage ceremony
for them, Walker jotting notes occasionally, but his eyes
always glued to Gandhi and Ba, who are in part lost in
memories and echoes of a significance only they can know.
"Take a fourth step, that we may be
ever full of joy."
Wide shot. Showing the two of them before the altar of the
temple, moving closer to each other.
"I will ever live devoted to you,
speaking words of love and praying
for your happiness."
Close shot -- Gandhi.
"Take a fifth step, that we may serve
"I will follow close behind you and
help to serve the people."
Featuring Walker, now too entranced by the ceremony, by the
depth of layered emotions in Gandhi and Ba's voices and eyes
to take any notes...
"Take a sixth step, that we may follow
our vows in life."
"I will follow you in all our vows
Ba and Gandhi. Near to meeting now.
(a last step)
"Take the seventh step, that we may
ever live as friends."
Ba takes the last step, so that they are face to face. A
"You are my best friend... my highest
guru, and my sovereign lord."
For a moment their eyes hold -- the many dreams, and hopes
and pain -- the love of many years.
Walker watches, his own face taut with emotion.
Resume Gandhi and Ba. And Gandhi slowly lifts his hand.
Then I put a sweetened wheat cake in
He touches Ba's lips with his extended fingers and she kisses
And I put a sweetened wheat cake in
She has lifted her fingers to his mouth and he kisses them
Featuring Walker and Collins both touched, the overtly cynical
American obviously even more than the likeable Englishman.
Gandhi turns to them.
And with that we were pronounced man
We were both thirteen...
THE BAY - PORBANDAR - EXTERIOR - DAWN
A tiny, beautiful city rising steeply out of the Arabian Sea
with tall, thick-walled buildings, half-fortresses, half-
homes, their white walls tinted amber and gold now by the
early light of the sun.
Featuring Gandhi, sitting on a promontory watching the sunrise
in solemn meditation... He becomes aware of the sound of
footsteps and he turns to see Walker approaching, a little
knapsack over his shoulder. Gandhi smiles. Walker comes to
his side, looking out over the bay and city, truly impressed.
Even as a boy I thought so.
Walker looks down at him. Gandhi scowls up in the early light.
Trying to keep track of you is making
me change all my sleeping habits.
And you've come all this way because
you think something is going to
Perhaps. I've come here to think
They both watch the waves beat on the shore a moment, the
changing hues of the sunrise on the whites of Porbandar.
Do you remember much of South Africa?
A great deal.
I've traveled so far -- and thought
(He smiles in self-
mockery, and turns
toward the city.)
As you can see, my city was a sea
city -- always filled with Hindus
and Muslims and Sikhs and Jews and
(He looks at Walker.)
The temple where you were yesterday
is of my family's sect, the Pranami.
It was Hindu of course but the priests
used to read from the Muslim Koran
and the Hindu Gita, moving from one
to the other as though it mattered
not at all which book was read as
long as God was worshipped.
He looks out to sea, and we intercut his face with Walker's,
the sea, and the town itself as the sun turns it white.
When I was a boy I used to sing a
song in that temple: "A true disciple
knows another's woes as his own. He
bows to all and despises none...
Earthly possessions hold him not."
Like all boys I said the words, not
thinking of what they meant or how
they might be influencing me.
(He looks at Walker...
then out to the sea
again, shaking his
I've traveled so far... and all I've
done is come back home.
Walker studies him as this profound man reaches, in his middle
years, a profound insight.
Featuring Gandhi staring out to sea, his mind locked in
reflection, and suddenly his head lifts, his eyes become
alert, he is caught by some excitement which he weighs for a
moment, then he stands, his manner suddenly tingling with
Walker stares at him, then at what Gandhi seems to be looking
His point of view. The waves lapping the shore below them.
Walker turns back to Gandhi, puzzled. But there is no
mistaking the sudden glow in Gandhi's face.
You know what you're going to do.
Gandhi looks at him, a teasing smile.
It would have been very uncivil of
me to let you make such a long trip
The grin broadens, and then he starts briskly down the
promontory. Walker scrambles up after him.
Where are you going?
Gulls fly over them, squawking in the growing light. Gandhi
pauses, looking up at the gulls, then back down to the sea.
I'm going back to the ashram
and then I'm going to prove to the
new Viceroy that the King's writ no
longer runs in India!
He turns from the sea to Walker, his eyes confident, elated,
then he continues on down the promontory. Still baffled,
Walker glances at the sea, at him, then hurries after.
Full shot. The waves running against the shore...
LORD IRWIN'S OFFICE - INTERIOR - DAY
Close shot -- the Viceroy, a "new one," Lord Irwin.
Another angle. He is looking in astonishment at his principal
secretary. His ADC, a general, a brigadier, a senior police
officer are with him. Like him they hold the same offices,
but are a new team.
Yes, sir. He is going to march to
the sea and make salt.
Irwin looks at him, still trying to penetrate the significance
of the act. The senior police officer helps.
SENIOR POLICE OFFICER
There is a Royal Monopoly on the
manufacture of salt, sir. It's illegal
to make it or sell it without a
Irwin has listened; it's beginning to make a little sense.
All right -- he's breaking the law.
What will he be depriving us of, two
rupees of salt tax?
It's not a serious attack on the
revenue, sir. Its primary importance
Don't patronize me, Charles.
The principal secretary blanches.
No, sir. I -- in this climate, sir,
nothing lives without water -- or
salt. Our absolute control of it is
a control on the pulse of India.
Irwin looks at his ADC, then paces a bit, pondering it.
And that's the basis of this
"Declaration of Independence"?
SENIOR POLICE OFFICER
Yes, sir. The day he sets off everyone
is supposed to raise the flag of
"Free India." Then he walks some two
hundred and forty miles to the sea
and makes salt.
A moment as Irwin considers it, then it is the general who
I say ignore it. Let them raise their
damn flags, let him make his salt.
It's only symbolic if we choose to
make it so.
He's going to arrive at the sea on
the anniversary of the massacre at
Irwin has turned to him. And this makes up his mind.
General Edgar is right -- ignore it.
Mr. Gandhi will find it's going to
take a great deal more than a pinch
of salt to bring down the British
He is concerned enough to be angry, but certain enough to be
THE ASHRAM - EXTERIOR - DAWN
It is very early, the light just beginning to break, and we
are looking out across the river toward the distant town,
and against the pink glow of the sky we can see people in
groups wading across the river toward the ashram. And suddenly
a mass of people, hidden by the embankment, appear at the
top of the steps coming up from the river, and the camera
lifts slightly with their movement and we see that they are
but the forerunners of a long tendril of humanity that
stretches across the river, all the way back to the distant
outskirts of the city.
And around the ashram many fires are burning, people are
cooking breakfast, some are packing knapsacks for the journey,
others are strewing the path from the ashram with leaves.
GANDHI'S BUNGALOW - INTERIOR - DAWN
Quiet, just the buzz of activity from outside the building.
Gandhi lies on a mat and Ba and Mirabehn are massaging him
with oil as he checks page proofs, an oil lamp by his side.
Nehru sits cross-legged next to him, taking the proofs as
Gandhi finishes them. Maulana Azad sits to one side. Behind
them Desai is making notes on Gandhi's instructions.
...the real test will come if I am
arrested. If there is violence we
lose all our moral advantage. This
time it mustn't happen.
He looks at Nehru and Azad solemnly to emphasize the point.
Nehru nods; a little smile.
We're not beginners anymore. We've
been trained by a strict sergeant
He means Gandhi of course, and Gandhi accepts the reference,
but it is the acceptance of the strict sergeant major: "Don't
fail me." Then he looks to Azad.
If I'm taken, Maulana is to lead the
march. If he is arrested, Patel,
then Kripalani, then yourself.
Nehru nods. Ba moves to massage the top of Gandhi's head.
You should be relaxing.
Gandhi grins, looking at Mirabehn, who is massaging his legs.
I'm sure I'm fit for at least five
You should ride the pony. It is not
necessary to walk to prove the point.
Gandhi looks at Nehru, a benign shrug.
I have two of them bossing me now.
Nehru smiles. He stands, having taken the last proof sheet.
Azad rises with him.
We must get these to the printer.
(He looks down at
I know it will succeed. Even my mother
is prepared to march.
Gandhi is pleasurably impressed with that.
He's waiting. He's not prepared to
accept it will mean as much as you
Wait and see... wait and see...
He leans back and closes his eyes. Ba rubs his head
soothingly. Nehru bends and squeezes his arm in farewell.
Gandhi nods, not opening his eyes. Nehru and Azad smile at
Ba and leave.
THE ASHRAM - LATER - EXTERIOR - DAY
The sun higher, but still early light. A green, white and
saffron flag (the colors of India) is pulled up an uneven
pole. The sound of gentle clapping.
Gandhi is off to one side, just in front of the veranda of
his bungalow, not paying attention to the ceremony. Ba and
Mirabehn watch from the veranda as Pyarelal (Desai's new
assistant), with a knapsack over his own shoulders, hands
Gandhi his. As Gandhi slips it on, the ashramite boy whom we
saw with the goat hands him a long staff. And Gandhi moves
around the edge of the bungalow, heading toward the entrance
of the ashram.
A long line of ashramites and marchers stretches from opposite
the flagpole to the entrance of the ashram. As Gandhi walks
briskly along it, they turn, ready to follow him.
When he nears the entrance Gandhi sees Walker standing in
front of a collection of newsmen, cameramen, a newsreel crew.
He begins to smile, Walker returns it. Gandhi pauses by him.
(of the press)
You've done me a great service.
(a grin, then a play
on Gandhi's words to
It would have been uncivil of me to
have let you make such a long trip
Gandhi smiles. He turns back toward his bungalow. Ba and
Mirabehn stand there watching, Desai with them. Gandhi holds
their gaze a second, then turns and starts forward. Pyarelal
takes up a position next to him, the marchers follow.
Featuring Walker. He steps back, letting Gandhi proceed into
the range of the cameras on his own. The crowd around the
entrance throws flowers in Gandhi's path, some calling out,
"Long live Mahatma Gandhi!"
Gandhi passes the cameramen and starts along the trail.
THE PATH TO GANDHI'S ASHRAM - EXTERIOR - DAY
A thinner crowd here, but going all along the path. To one
side we see two police cars drawn up, and several policemen
(a British officer, a British sergeant, and four Indian
constables) lined up near them.
As Gandhi nears them Walker moves up beside him. Some of the
newspaper cameramen trot behind to get the picture of Gandhi's
arrest. Among the newsmen we see Collins.
Featuring Gandhi and Walker, Pyarelal just behind them all
glancing ahead at the police, who are now quite near.
Is it over if they arrest you now?
Not if they arrest me -- or a thousand --
or ten thousand.
(He looks at Walker.)
It is not only generals who know how
to plan campaigns.
Walker smiles -- a little uneasily -- for they are now near
the police. Gandhi nods to them amiably as he passes along
in front of them. Walker is turning, watching for a move
from the police but begins to grasp that there may be none.
He hurries along closer to Gandhi again, one eye still on
What if they don't arrest you? What
if they don't react at all?
Gandhi glances at him. Walker too wears a knapsack. Gandhi
nods to it, though never breaking his pace.
Do you still have your notebook?
(Walker fumbles for
it; Gandhi goes right
The function of a civil resister is
to provoke response. And we will
continue to provoke until they
respond, or they change the law.
They are not in control -- we are.
That is the strength of civil
He nods politely toward the British police officer at the
end of the police line. Walker stops, letting the procession
march on by him, looking at the British police officer, then
writing busily in his notebook. Collins stop by him.
What'd he say?
He said he's in charge...
AN INDIAN VILLAGE - EXTERIOR - DAY
A dusty approach to a dusty little village. Both sides of
the track are lined with peasants holding flower petals and
leaves, all gazing expectantly down the road. Behind them
the village is strung with the green, white and saffron colors
Two large policemen stand arms-akimbo at the front of them
all, their postures imposing and threatening, though the
impression is somewhat weakened by the children skirting
A little band of drummers and flute players suddenly begins
to play. The crowd starts to jump up to see, and the flower
petals begin to float in the sky. "Gandhi! Long live Mahatma
Another angle. Gandhi and the procession of marchers and
ashramites stride down the dusty road toward them.
A newsreel truck and crew ride along about two-thirds of the
way back. A car of cameramen and reporters tails at the end.
Featuring Gandhi. He looks at Walker, walking along a few
paces behind him, at the side of the procession. He is wiping
sweat from his face.
Are you going to walk all the way?
(a weary grin)
My name is Walk-er. And I intend to
report it the way it is.
Gandhi smiles and turns back. He shakes his head.
"My name is Walk-er"...
And grinning at it, he passes by the policemen and into the
cheers of the crowd.
Long shot, high. As the procession trails into the village,
we see several villagers, knapsacks or bundles strung over
their shoulders, run around the police and join the end of
FIELD BY THE ROAD - EXTERIOR - NIGHT
In the dark a large group of students comes stumbling,
laughing, across the ditch that separates the road from the
field. The student leader gets clear of the ditch and comes
upon Pyarelal and Walker. They are standing near a group of
American newsmen playing poker by a campfire. He addresses
We've come to join the march. What
do we do?
Be sure you're awake in the morning.
(It comes from a
knowledge of students.
He smiles and nods
Find a place to sleep.
The student leader follows his gaze and the camera pans off
with his glance. We see that the numbers have grown immensely.
Fires dot the field and spread and spread and spread. Behind
Walker and Pyarelal the newsreel truck and three cars for
reporters are spread out around the fires. We identify a
couple of Frenchmen and a Japanese. Walker looks at Pyarelal
and shakes his head in wonder at it all.
TREE - EXTERIOR - DAWN
A small Indian boy is high in a dead tree. Below him a couple
of bone-thin cattle graze in the early light as he stares
DUSTY ROAD - BOY'S POINT OF VIEW - EXTERIOR - DAWN
The huge procession stretched out along the road.
Resume the boy. He grins as though he is privy to some great
"Y" JUNCTION OF TWO COUNTRY ROADS - EXTERIOR - DAY
A blunt, rotund, powerful-looking woman (Sarojini Naidu) in
an outrageously colorful sari strides along the dusty road
as though she could cover another thousand miles -- and means
to. The sound of hundreds of marching feet, of cars, some
distant singing. The camera lifts and pulls back. We see
that Naidu is marching just behind Gandhi, like a determined
lieutenant, and that the procession has grown even greater.
Two newsreel trucks now, four cars of reporters, some people
riding donkeys, some walking with camels trailing, loaded
And at the "Y" junctions the newsreel crews suddenly go into
action because another enormous procession is waiting to
join the first, mingling already, making one immense column
And as they pass the camera up close we see an extraordinary
variety of participants: old, young, students, peasants,
ladies in saris and jewels, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christian
nuns, Untouchables, merchants, some vigorous and determined,
others disheveled, tired and determined.
Suddenly the sound of waves and gentle wind.
THE BEACH AT DANDI - EXTERIOR - DAY
The camera closing fast (helicopter) as the silhouette of a
man appears running up a sand dune, lifting his arms to the
sky and the camera sweeps over him and up, revealing a
crescent of beach and ocean, and for a second it holds on
the sea as it did at Porbandar, then pivots to the truly
astronomical crowd thronging the shore, an immense wheel of
human beings, and in its hub a gathering around Gandhi. We
descend on that center, recognizing the newsmen, Walker,
Pyarelal, Sarojini Naidu, and at last Gandhi picking up a
handful of natural salt and lifting it high.
During the last of this
Man needs salt as he needs air and
water. This salt comes from the Indian
(The salt crystals
are added to an urn
full. The camera
pulls back and Gandhi
lifts the urn. All
around him the
reporters -- Walker,
Let every Indian claim it as his
A wide-angle shot.
Gandhi in the center of the wildly cheering crowd, the camera
pulling back and back... and the shot becomes black and white,
and we hear the music of Movietone News.
...and so once more the man of non-
violence has challenged the might of
the British Empire.
And with that we get the Movietone Music tag and as the film
fades, the lights go up on
LORD IRWIN'S OFFICE - INTERIOR - DAY
A couple of civil servants move about to raise the window
shades while Lord Irwin stares at the blank screen set up in
his office. The general, the brigadier, the senior police
officer, Irwin's ADC and the principal secretary are all
present. The two men who ran the projector are quietly
Finally, Irwin turns to the senior police officer, who
fidgets, but answers the implied questions.
SENIOR POLICE OFFICER
They're making it everywhere, sir --
mobs of them -- publicly. Congress
leaders are selling it on the streets
We're being made fools of around the
Isn't there any instruction from
We're required to stop it.
(He stands, his mind
And stop it we will.
(He looks at the senior
I don't care if we fill the jails,
stop it. Arrest anyone, any rank --
except Gandhi. We'll cut his strength
from under him. And then we'll deal
with the Mahatma.
For the first time he is truly angry.
WALL BY A BEACH - EXTERIOR - DAY
A young British subaltern trots up to the wall and looks
down. His face falls.
Oh, my God!
The beach. Subaltern's point of view. Packed with people
making salt, selling salt, buying salt.
Resume the British subaltern. He looks back.
His point of view. Behind him there is an open military truck
and about twenty sepoys. Formidable for an ordinary crowd,
nothing to handle this. The subaltern stiffens bravely and
signals the men somewhat unconvincingly from the truck.
Right -- jump to it -- clear this
SMALL WAREHOUSE - INTERIOR - DAY
Men, women and children are making little paper packets of
salt from piles heaped along long tables. A group of policemen
barge into the room, knocking tables and salt and paper in
every direction with their lathis, seizing some of the
volunteers for arrest.
In the chaos an old man calmly picks up a piece of paper
from the floor, a handful of salt, and folds another packet.
WIDE CITY STREET - EXTERIOR - DAY
Nehru is on the back of a big open truck that is stationary
in the street. The truck is loaded with boxes that contain
salt packets and Nehru and eight or nine others are selling
them to people who flock about the truck. The sound of horses.
Nehru lifts his head.
Mounted Indian police are coming down either side of the
street, a wave of foot police running forward down the center.
Some of the people run, others deliberately stand fast.
The mounted police converge on the truck. Nehru is grabbed,
and hurled so that he half falls, half leaps to the street.
One of the men with him is knocked along the ground by a
policeman. He is young and vigorous and he swivels on the
ground as though to strike back. Nehru lunges toward him.
No violence, Zia!
And a lathi is brought smashing across the side of Nehru's
head. He is knocked to his knees; blood streams from his
head. He feels the side of his head, the blood soaking his
hand. He struggles to his feet, facing the policeman who has
as though to Zia)
It stops the policeman for a second, and a sergeant suddenly
intrudes, recognizing Nehru.
You're Nehru --
I'm an illegal trader in salt.
The sergeant sighs grimly.
LORD IRWIN'S OFFICE - INTERIOR - NIGHT
The desk lights are on. Irwin, the senior police officer,
the principal secretary. Tension, fatigue, frustration as
the senior police officer outlines the situation.
SENIOR POLICE OFFICER
...There's been no time to keep
figures, but there must be ninety --
a hundred thousand under arrest.
And it still goes on.
Who's leading them?
SENIOR POLICE OFFICER
I don't know! Nehru, Patel, almost
every Congress Official is in jail...
and their wives and their children --
we've even arrested Nehru's mother.
Has there been any violence?
SENIOR POLICE OFFICER
Oh, in Karachi the police fired on a
crowd and killed a couple of people
(and this hurts)
and in Peshawar the Deputy Police
Commissioner lost his head and...
and opened fire with a machine gun.
(He looks up at them
But he's facing a disciplinary court!
You can't expect things like that
not to happen when --
I believe the question was intended
to discover if there was any violence
of their side.
The senior police officer looks up, realizing his gaffe and
wishes desperately he could relive the last couple of minutes.
SENIOR POLICE OFFICER
Oh, no, sir -- no, I'm afraid not.
Perhaps if we arrested Gandhi, it
He means incite violence. The Viceroy ponders it -- favorably.
(to senior police
He's addressed this letter directly
to you, has he?
SENIOR POLICE OFFICER
Yes, sir, he has. The usual -- India's
salt belongs to India -- but then he
says flatly that he personally is
going to lead a raid tomorrow on the
Dharasana Salt Works.
Thank him for his letter, and put
him in jail.
The senior police officer is brought up by the chill
directness of it. He looks at Irwin and the principal
secretary for a moment in uncertainty. Then
SENIOR POLICE OFFICER
Yes, sir. Yes, sir. It will be my
As he turns to leave Irwin speaks -- almost offhandedly.
And Fields, keep that salt works
The senior police officer stares at him, then
SENIOR POLICE OFFICER
DHARASANA SALT WORKS - EXTERIOR - DAY
Barbed wire stretches on either side of the stockade-like
entrance. Above the gate we see the sign DHARASANA SALT WORKS.
Before it six British police officers and two Indian police
officers command a large troop of Indian policemen. They
face their opposition, unmoving, tense. The camera pans from
them, across a sloping dip in the ground, to a huge group of
volunteers lining up to face the police as tautly as the
police face them.
Walker is off to one side, climbing to stand in the back of
Collin's car. He watches, looking tensely from one group to
the other, almost terrified by what seems about to happen.
Collins leans against the back of the car near him, watching
with an equally appalled expectancy. There are two other
reporters near them.
From Walker's point of view. We see Mirabehn and some Indian
women quietly placing stretchers and tables of bandages near
a group of tents where the volunteers have been housed.
Walker turns back to the two opposing groups at the Salt
Works entrance. We hear only a shuffle of feet, the clank of
a lathi against a metal police buckle. The air itself seems
breathless with tension.
Featuring Azad. He has approached the chief police officer.
He stops before him politely.
I would like admission to the Works.
CHIEF POLICE OFFICER
I am sorry, sir. That cannot be
Azad looks at him a second, then glances at the troops. He
is clearly afraid, but there is an air of tragic inevitability
in his face.
He moves back to address the volunteers.
Last night they took Gandhiji from
us. They expect us to lose heart or
to fight back. We will not lose heart,
we will not fight back. In his name
we will be beaten. As he has taught
us, we will not raise a hand. "Long
live Mahatma Gandhi!"
He turns and starts down the dip toward the gate and the
waiting lathis of the police.
A series of shots, as Azad leads the first row of volunteers
down and up the dip.
We intercut Walker, frozen, watching the inevitable onslaught,
the British police commanding officer ready to give the first
POLICE COMMANDING OFFICER
And with the volunteers a foot from them, the police strike
with their lathis. A groan of empathic anguish from the
waiting volunteers, but then we get A series of shots As the
next row moves forward and the horror of the one-sided mayhem
proceeds heads are cracked, faces split, ribs smashed, and
yet one row of volunteers follows another, and another into
the unrelenting police, who knock bleeding bodies out of the
way, down into the dip, swing till sweat pours from their
faces and bodies.
And through it we intercut with Mirabehn and the Indian women
rescuing the wounded, carrying them on stretchers to be
bandaged. We see Walker helping once or twice, turning,
watching, torn between being a professional spectator and a
normal human being. And always the volunteers coming, never
stopping, never offering resistance.
And finally on sound there is an insistent click, click,
click, like a thud of the lathis but becoming clearly the
slap of an impatient hand on a telephone cradle and out of
the carnage of the salt works we dissolve to
A SMALL INDIAN STORE - INTERIOR - TWILIGHT
Close shot -- a telephone cradle being pounded.
Walker is at the phone at a table in the corner of the small,
cluttered store. His clothes are matted with blood and dirt.
(into the phone)
Hello! Ed! Ed! Goddammit, don't cut
(Then suddenly he's
Ed! Okay -- yeah -- right.
And he continues urgently reading the story that lies on his
notes on the little stand before him.
"They walked, with heads up, without
music, or cheering, or any hope of
escape from injury or death."
(His voice is taut,
"It went on and on and on. Women
carried the wounded bodies from the
ditch until they dropped from
exhaustion. But still it went on."
He shifts the mangled notes and comes to his last paragraph.
He speaks it trying only half successfully to keep the emotion
from his voice.
"Whatever moral ascendance the West
held was lost today. India is free
for she has taken all that steel and
cruelty can give, and she has neither
cringed nor retreated."
(On Walker close. His
sweating, blood and
"In the words of his followers, 'Long
live Mahatma Gandhi.' "
LORD IRWIN'S OFFICE - INTERIOR - DAY
Silence. The camera moves across the empty room and discovers
Irwin, standing by himself, looking out of the window down
into the street.
Closer. His numb, motionless face is stirred to consciousness
by something outside. He focuses somberly on it.
RAJPATH AND VICE-REGAL PALACE - IRWIN'S POINT OF VIEW -
EXTERIOR - DAY
Through the formal entrance comes a single black car. A
motorcycle policeman precedes it.
VICE-REGAL PALACE - EXTERIOR - DAY
The black car pulls up before the front of the palace and
stops. There is no sign of activity. It is as though the
building and grounds are deserted except for Irwin alone in
Gandhi gets out of the car. He too is alone. In his dhoti
and shawl he starts to mount the grand stairs.
Wide angle. The great palace, the magnificent entrance, and
the little man in the dhoti, who in a sense has conquered it
all, marching to the great doors. Two Gurkhas spring to
attention and the doors are swung open.
LORD IRWIN'S OFFICE - INTERIOR - DAY
The principal secretary, with a look of faint distaste for
someone out of shot, discreetly moves out of the doors, and
closes them behind him.
Featuring Gandhi, just inside the door. He is looking across
the wide office.
I am aware that I must have given
you much cause for irritation, your
Excellency. I hope it will not stand
between us as men.
Reverse angle. Irwin is in shadows behind his desk looking,
still, in some kind of shock, staring at Gandhi.
Mr. Gandhi, I have instructions to
request your attendance at an All-
Government Conference in London to
discuss -- to discuss the possible
Independence of India.
He faces Gandhi stiffly.
The whirr of a camera, and a swift cut to
A SUCCESSION OF BLACK-AND-WHITE "NEWSREEL" SEQUENCES OF
GANDHI'S VISIT TO ENGLAND AND THE ALL-GOVERNMENT CONFERENCE.
Wide screen, but slightly under-cranked with the bad cutting
and predictable music of the old newsreels.
A. Gandhi, Mirabehn and Gandhi's secretary, Desai, waving
goodbye from the boat deck of their ship as it sails --
Mirabehn is holding the tether of a goat -- all of them
smiling at the camera like voyagers everywhere.
B. Gandhi on the steps of Kingsley Hall in the East End of
London being greeted by a cheering crowd. Mirabehn holds an
umbrella over him as he takes a bouquet from a little child.
The now gray-haired Charlie Andrews beams possessively at
C. Gandhi, in his dhoti, waving to a small crowd as he enters
the gates of Buckingham Palace. A London bobby watches.
D. Gandhi, taking his seat at the conference table among the
formally -- in some Maharajahs' cases, elaborately -- dressed
delegates. A gavel is struck and Ramsay MacDonald begins his
I think our first duty is to recognize
that there is not one India, but
several: a Hindu India, a Muslim
India, and India of Princely States.
And all these must be respected --
and cared for -- not just one.
Beneath its unctuous political veneer it is blatantly divisive
and clearly reveals the true intent of the Conference. As
Gandhi looks at MacDonald, we read on his face his perception
of the sad truth.
E. Gandhi, Mirabehn and Charlie walking under an umbrella in
the rain, their heads bent in glum conversation.
F. Gandhi being welcomed and kissed by a group of millworkers
outside a large mill entrance identified by the sign
GREENFIELD COTTON MILL, LANCASHIRE. He is hugged and squeezed
by some hefty female millworkers, all grinning happily, Gandhi
G. Gandhi in a radio studio, seated at a table, a large
microphone labeled "CBS" before him, technicians and Mirabehn
in the glass booth behind him, Walker across the table from
him, the "On the Air" sign bright...
Do I speak into that?
Walker cringes, glancing at the lighted "On the Air" sign.
He signals "Yes" frantically.
Are they ready? Do I start?
He glances at the booth. Everybody including Walker and
Mirabehn are nodding "Yes." Gandhi shrugs, grins at everyone's
excitement, and begins.
I am glad to speak to America where
so many friends exist that I know
only in my heart.
As the speech continues in the thin, static-y tones of
thirties' radio, we see Mirabehn and the technicians listening
in the control room./ Walker, across the table from Gandhi./
The outside of Broadcasting House./ The Empire State Building
and Manhattan./ A mid-western farmhouse./ A thirties' radio
set in a thirties' American living room./ A family, listening,
kids playing on the floor, half ignoring it, the mother
ironing, the father in an armchair, a newspaper open.
(continuing over all)
I think your interest and the world's
has fallen on India, not only because
we are struggling for freedom, but
because the way we are doing so is
unique as far as history shows us.
Here in Europe mighty nations are,
it seems, already contemplating
another war, though I think they,
and all the world, are sick to death
of bloodspilling. All of us are
seeking a way out, and I flatter
myself that perhaps the ancient land
of India will offer such a way. If
we are to make progress we must not
repeat history, but make history.
And I myself will die before I betray
our belief that love is a stronger
weapon than hate.
H. Gandhi shaking hands with MacDonald outside No. 10 Downing
Street, MacDonald smiling the politician's smile, Gandhi
smiling rather sadly.
I. Gandhi on the deck of a boat, sitting on a deck chair,
wrapped in blankets, staring somberly out to sea. Reverse
angle: the wake of the boat in the vast ocean.
THE ASHRAM - EXTERIOR - DAY
The gentle sounds of the country. A girl of twelve leads a
limping goat slowly across the grass. She pauses and looks
Reverse angle -- close. Gandhi is watching from the porch of
his bungalow. We can tell he is sitting and turned to watch
the goat, but we see only him and a portion of the bungalow
It is only a sprain. Take her to the
river, and we'll make a mud-pack for
her. Go -- I won't be long.
He turns back.
Another angle. He is spinning (expertly), and gathered on
the porch with him are Nehru and Jinnah and Patel and Azad
and Kripalani. Desai and Pyarelal are inconspicuously in
attendance as always, Pyarelal now clearly sharing Desai's
role as secretary.
So the truth is, after all your
travels, all your efforts, they've
stopped the campaign and sent you
He is in his white suit, the black-ribboned pince-nez. He
sits on a wicker chair, Nehru and Patel lean against the
railing, Azad and Kripalani sit on the floor like Gandhi.
They are only clinging to old dreams
(looks up from his
spinning to Jinnah)
and trying to split us in the old
way. But the will has gone --
Independence will drop like a ripe
apple. The only question is when
(another glance at
I say when is now -- and we will
Gandhi winds up what he has done, and starts to rise.
They are preparing for war. I will
not support it, but I do not intend
to take advantage of their danger.
(blithely, but to the
That's when you take advantage.
Gandhi has moved toward the steps. He stops and looks at
Patel. A wry, gentle smile.
No. That is just another way of
striking back. We have come a long
way together with the British. When
they leave we want to see them off
(He starts down the
steps and heads for
And now, if you'll excuse me, there
is something I must attend to.
Featuring Nehru. He looks at Jinnah and shrugs. Jinnah takes
it less philosophically and his eyes burn with anger as he
watches Gandhi head for the young girl with the injured goat.
TRAIN STATION. INTERIOR. DUSK.
Gandhi is moving with the stream of passengers disembarking
from the Third Class section. Ba and Mirabehn are struggling
along behind him, Desai and Pyarelal completing the little
group. They pass a newspaper stand: "Hitler's Armies Sweep
On." As they move out into the flux of the station we see
many uniforms, the sense of a nation readying for war.
A British captain stands before a full platoon of Indian
As Gandhi approaches, a British Lt. Colonel and his Adjutant
(a Captain) move out from one side of the troops.
Mr. Gandhi -- sir.
Gandhi stops, looks up at him, at the troops behind him.
I have instructions to inquire as to
the subject of your speech tonight.
Gandhi shakes his head with a weary grin.
The value of goat's milk in daily
(Into his eyes)
But you can be sure I will also speak
The British Colonel signals back to the troops.
I'm sorry, sir. That can't be allowed.
As a detail marches up to them, the colonel's adjutant speaks
gently to Ba.
It's all right, Mrs. Gandhi. I have
orders to return with you and your
companion to the Mahatma's ashram.
If you take my husband, I intend to
speak in his place.
She stares at the adjutant belligerently. He looks flummoxed.
Later. Long shot -- high. The colonel and his adjutant
striding toward the exit of the station. Following behind
them, a detail of six soldiers accompanying Gandhi. The camera
tracks across the platform and we see they are being followed
by a detail of six soldiers accompanying Ba. And the camera
tracks again and we see they are being followed by a detail
of six soldiers accompanying Mirabehn!
WINDING BUMPY ROAD - EXTERIOR - DAY
A jeep bounces along the road. It is driven by an American
lieutenant and his passenger is a woman dressed in an American
War Correspondent's uniform (Margaret Bourke-White). As the
jeep passes the camera we pan with it and see the walls of a
Stop! Wait a minute!
The jeep slithers to a stop, and Bourke-White grabs a camera
that is strapped around her, stands, and takes a picture of
AGA KHAN'S PALACE - BOURKE-WHITE'S POINT OF VIEW - EXTERIOR -
The palace looks evocative -- a lonely, incongruous building.
WINDING BUMPY ROAD - EXTERIOR - DAY
It was the Aga Khan's palace, but
they've turned it into a prison.
Bourke-White slips back down into her seat; we see the arm
band on her jacket: "Press." The lieutenant starts the jeep
up and they head toward the gate, where we see a British
soldier on guard.
(shouting over the
They've got most of the leading
Congress politicians in this one.
But Nehru and some others are over
in Dehra Dun. Your timing's pretty
lucky. They had your Mr. Gandhi cut
off from the press but last month
his personal secretary died and
they've let up on the restrictions.
Bourke-White just absorbs it, staring at the palace, taking
in the experience with the appetite of her breed, and her
own particular sensitivity.
GANDHI'S ROOM - AGA KHAN'S PALACE - INTERIOR - DAY
Gandhi sits by the window that is grilled rather than barred.
He is spinning in a shaft of light -- and looking off -- as
we hear a camera click and the rustle of movement. His hair,
only half-gray in London, is now white.
Yes, I have heard of Life Magazine.
I have even heard of Margaret Bourke-
White. But I don't know why either
should be interested in an old man
sitting in prison when the world is
blowing itself to pieces.
Bourke-White -- who has been moving, crouching to shoot him
and the light -- sags back against the wall, relaxing at
last. She has a smile as penetrating and warming as his.
(a beat -- and she
You're the only man I know who makes
his own clothes.
Gandhi grins and glances toward his dhoti.
Ah, but for me that's not much of an
Meaning he doesn't wear many clothes. Bourke-White bursts
into an appreciative radiance -- already she has assessed
him, and been won.
WALL AND YARD - AGA KHAN'S PALACE - EXTERIOR - DAY
Gandhi walks along, Bourke-White loping along beside him, a
little distance away, listening, but searching too for an
angle, a moment that is right.
No -- prison is rather agreeable to
me, and there is no doubt that after
the war, independence will come. My
only worry is what shape it will
take. Jinnah has --
She has Gandhi in the foreground, a soldier on the wall above
and behind him.
Now go on -- just as you were.
Gandhi shrugs but suffers it. We feature him, low, from her
point of view, as he walks on, the soldier pacing on the
wall in the background.
"...what shape it will take." Jinnah
has -- what?
(at first disconcerted,
but then flowing)
Jinnah has -- has cooperated with
the British. It has given him power
and the freedom to speak, and he has
filled the Muslims with fears of
what will happen to them in a country
that is predominantly Hindu.
(He stops, lowering
his head gravely.)
That I find hard to bear -- even in
WALLED GARDEN IN THE PALACE - EXTERIOR - DAY
A spinning wheel works rapidly. The camera lifts. Gandhi is
at the wheel and he is smiling off at Bourke-White, who is
trying ineptly to imitate him on another spinning wheel. The
garden they are in has gone to seed a bit, but with latticed
fretwork in the walls dappling sunlight on the grass and
shrubs it is still beautiful.
emphatically of the
I do not see it as the solution of
the twentieth century's problems!
She's grinning at her own frustration and she keeps trying,
but there's no doubt she means it. Gandhi's smile broadens.
Wryly he lifts his own "product" -- a tiny roll of thread.
I have a friend who keeps telling me
how much it costs him to keep me in
And they both laugh... a guard on the wall distantly looks
at them wonderingly.
(a bit more seriously)
But I know happiness does not come
with things -- even twentieth century
things. It can come from work, and
pride in what you do.
(He looks at her
It will not necessarily be "progress"
for India if she simply imports the
unhappiness of the West.
And she responds to the sophistication of that observation.
He pivots around, moving beside her, and slowly demonstrates
the process, taking her hands, guiding her. Bourke-White
watches him as much as the wheel.
But do you really believe you could
use non-violence against someone
(a thoughtful pause)
Not without defeats -- and great
(He looks at her.)
But are there no defeats in this war --
(For a moment the
thought hangs, and
then Gandhi takes
their hands back to
What you cannot do is accept
injustice. From Hitler -- or anyone.
You must make the injustice visible --
be prepared to die like a soldier to
And he smiles a little wisely at her.
Is my finger supposed to be wrapped
No. That is what you get for
What do you expect when you talk
(trying to unravel
I expect you to show as much patience
as I am now.
His tone is not altogether patient. She looks at him in
surprise and he sighs tolerantly. Then reflectively
Every enemy is a human being -- even
the worst of them. And he believes
he is right and you are a beast.
(And now a little
And if you beat him over the head
you will only convince him. But you
suffer, to show him that he is wrong,
your sacrifice creates an atmosphere
of understanding -- if not with him,
then in the hearts of the rest of
the community on whom he depends.
Bourke-White looks at him and there is enough sense in this
argument to give her pause.
If you are right, you will win --
after much pain.
(He looks at her,
then smiles in his
own ironic way.)
If you are wrong, well, then, only
you will suffer the blows.
She stares at him, and we know she thinks him much more
profound than she had thought initially.
BA AND MIRABEHN'S ROOM - AGA KHAN'S PALACE - INTERIOR -
Ba, Mirabehn and Bourke-White sit on straw mats around the
room, an oil lamp is the only light. It is women's talk, but
Ba is defending her husband, speaking simply, but with total
...not at all. Bapu has always said
there were two kinds of slavery in
India -- one for women, one for the
untouchables -- and he has always
fought against both.
Bourke-White accepts it at face value. She opens another
line of inquiry.
Does it rankle, being separated from
him this way?
Yes... but we see each other in the
But not at night...
She's terribly curious, but she doesn't want to offend. Ba
sees both the curiosity and the hesitancy. She smiles across
at Mirabehn, then
In Hindu philosophy the way to God
is to free yourself of possessions --
and the passions that inflame to
anger and jealousy.
Bapu has always struggled to find
the way to God.
You mean he -- he gave up --
(how to phrase it,
Again Ba smiles.
Four times he tried -- and failed.
(Mirabehn and Bourke-
White grin. The older
woman gives a wistful
But then he took a solemn vow...
She shrugs... the implication is it was a long time ago.
And he has never broken it?
She looks at them soberly and then they all burst into
laughter like girls.
AGA KHAN'S PALACE - EXTERIOR - TWILIGHT
Military move quietly but urgently in and out around the
main entrance. Two military ambulances are drawn up nearby.
A British major comes down the steps quickly. He is almost
at the bottom when a British army doctor starts to go up
them. The major signals him to one side. They talk quietly
I've got permission to move her --
he can go too.
The doctor shakes his head.
She's had a coronary throm -- a
serious heart failure. She wouldn't
survive a trip. It's best to leave
her -- and hope.
The major looks defeated and depressed by the news.
BA'S ROOM - INTERIOR - TWILIGHT
Ba lies on a mat, a pillow beneath her head, her eyes closed,
her breathing short. Mirabehn sits next to her, rubbing a
hand up and down her arm.
Gandhi sits a little distance away, staring at the floor and
into nothingness. Pyarelal sits inconspicuously behind him.
Azad and Patel come to the doorway, Patel makes the pranam
toward Ba and holds it as he obviously prays. Azad has bowed
his head and he too is clearly making some prayer for her.
Finally Azad takes just a step forward.
Gandhi looks up at him. For a moment he folds his hands
absently, then he stands. He moves to Ba's side and kneels.
She does not open her eyes.
It is time for my walk -- I won't be
Ba's eyes flutter open. She holds her hand out to him and he
takes it. When he goes to release it, she clutches it. Gandhi
hesitates, and then he sits, holding Ba's hand in his lap.
He looks across at Mirabehn and nods for her to go.
Mirabehn smiles weakly, gives Ba a last little rub of farewell
The doorway. Patel stands, letting Mirabehn pass before him
and do down the corridor with Azad. He looks back.
His point of view. Gandhi sitting, holding Ba's hand, his
eyes once more on the floor in their empty stare.
Another angle -- later. The light has changed. A fly moves
along a small section of the floor that still contains a
ribbon of the dying sunlight.
Gandhi still sits, holding Ba's hand, staring into
The doctor appears in the doorway. He pauses, nods amiably
to Gandhi, though Gandhi does not react to his presence at
all. Moving quietly, the doctor goes to the other side of Ba
and crouches, and lifts her wrist to feel her pulse. He holds
it for a moment, then lifts his eyes in doubt and sudden
fateful apprehension. He glances at her, then slowly lowers
her arm and puts the branches of his stethoscope in his ears.
He puts the acoustic bell over her heart... a moment, and he
lifts it slowly, his face confirming for us what he and we
already know: there is no heartbeat. He glances at Pyarelal,
who only lowers his eyes. The doctor turns his head slowly
Gandhi. His point of view. His posture is utterly unchanged,
Ba's hand still in his lap, his eyes still staring emptily
at the floor in front of him, but suddenly tears begin to
run down his cheeks. He does not move, there is no change in
his empty stare, but the tears continue to flow.
SMALL COURTYARD OF THE PALACE - EXTERIOR - DAY
The funeral pyre burns, its work almost done.
Mirabehn, Patel, Azad, Pyarelal, stand with other prisoners
and the military wardens in solemn obeisance to the dead --
and the living, for Gandhi sits a little distance from the
pyre, wrapped in his shawl, staring at the dying embers in
tragic and impenetrable isolation as though he may never
Close shot -- Mirabehn watching him her face wet with tears.
DELHI AIRPORT - EXTERIOR - DAY
Extreme close shot. A piece of cloth, shimmering in a stiff
breeze... For a moment we hold it in silence and then we
hear the sound of an aircraft growing louder and louder. And
slowly the camera pulls back and we see that the cloth is
part of a pennant of the nose of an aircraft.
We cut from the pennant to see the aircraft stopping before
a reception area, a carpet rolled out toward its door.
An Indian regimental band strikes up martial music. A
detachment of Indian Royal Air Force comes to attention at
the shouted command of their NCO.
Featuring the aircraft doors. An elaborately dressed military
aide opens the door and Lord Louis Mountbatten, resplendent
in naval uniform, steps out onto the platform. He pauses and
renders a salute.
ON A BANNERED PLATFORM
Nehru, Lady Mountbatten and dignitaries. English and Indians
watch as Mountbatten approaches a group of microphones
identified as NBC, CBS, BBC, etc.
We have come to crown victory with
friendship -- to assist at the birth
of an independent India and to welcome
her as an equal member in the British
Commonwealth of Nations.
(A little smile.)
I am here to see that I am the last
British Viceroy ever to have the
honor of such a reception.
He grins in his youthful, beguiling manner and makes the
pranam to the cheering crowd.
It is cut off by the sound of a door being opened, close.
THE GREAT PORTICO - VICE-REGAL PALACE - EXTERIOR - DAY
Jinnah stands by one of the great pillars of the immense
portico. It is a break in their Independence Conference, and
as he lights a cigarette, a weary Gandhi approaches him with
Azad. Jinnah's anger is clearly too deep to be left at the
conference table. He slaps his lighter shut and addresses
Gandhi in hushed but fiercely felt words.
I don't give a damn for the
independence of India! I am concerned
about the slavery of Muslims!
Nehru and Patel are approaching from the conference room,
both of them looking worn and angry too. Jinnah raises his
voice deliberately so Nehru will hear.
I will not sit by to see the mastery
of the British replaced by the mastery
of the Hindus!
(patiently, not yet
believing it can't
Muslim and Hindu are the right and
left eye of India. No one will be
slave, no one master.
Jinnah sneers at the idea, though he cools a little.
The world is not made of Mahatma
(He looks at Nehru
I am talking about the real world.
The "real India" has Muslims and
Hindus in every village and every
city! How do you propose to separate
Where there is a Muslim majority --
that will be Pakistan. The rest is
(a forced patience)
Mohammed -- the Muslims are in a
majority on two different sides of
Let us worry about Pakistan -- you
worry about India.
Gandhi is staring at Jinnah trying to fathom the source of
his anger and fear. He turns to see that Mountbatten has
been standing in the open door to the conference room, as
torn as Gandhi by the conflict, feeling it best controlled
in formal discussion.
Gentlemen, perhaps we should
Gandhi nods, and reluctantly the adversaries move back to
the conference room. Gandhi is last through the door. He
pauses by Mountbatten, a little sigh -- "How difficult, how
difficult" -- then he puts a friendly hand on Mountbatten's
shoulder and the two of them enter together.
GANDHI'S ASHRAM - EXTERIOR - DAY
Featuring Godse waving a black flag and shouting.
Death to Jinnah! Death to Jinnah!
We have pulled back and we see a whole gathering of Hindu
youths near the entrance to the ashram. Many wave black flags.
A couple of trucks that have brought them, and a car, are
along the path. Kallenbach is stepping out of an old 1942
open Austin that he has put in a waiting position near the
entrance to the path. The chanting shout "Death to Jinnah!"
suddenly dies. The youths -- and Kallenbach -- look back
toward the ashram.
Featuring Gandhi's bungalow. Nehru has stepped out onto the
porch and he glares at the youths. It is his presence that
has silenced them.
GANDHI'S BUNGALOW - INTERIOR - DAY
Gandhi is rising from the floor, where his spinning wheel
sits. He stops, halfway up, listening, then, a weary sigh.
Thank God, they've stopped.
Mirabehn is spinning across the room. She lifts her head as
a signal to someone out of shot.
Gandhi's two grand nieces, Manu and Abha, who help Mirabehn
now that Ba is gone, rise quickly at Mirabehn's signal, Manu
to help with his shawl, Abha to hold his sandals so that he
can slip into them.
I'm your grand uncle but I can still
walk either of you into the ground
and I don't need to be pampered this
It's cross -- he's worried about other things. Mirabehn just
smiles at it. Gandhi looks down at Abha, and taps her sharply
on the top of the head.
Finish your quota of spinning.
She nods obediently, the flicker of a smile around her mouth,
youthful, irrepressible. The beauty of it almost saddens
Gandhi. He taps her again -- gently -- and goes out.
GANDHI'S ASHRAM - EXTERIOR - DAY
Kallenbach shoos a chicken from the back seat of the Austin
and dusts off the seat. He steps back out.
Gandhi is approaching with Nehru and Azad, Pyarelal trails
close behind. We have seen Azad and Pyarelal come out on the
porch behind Nehru. As Gandhi near the car a Hindu youth
with a black flag calls to him.
Bapu -- please. Don't do it!
They are all awed, timid even in his actual presence, and
the mood of their gathering has changed altogether. Gandhi
looks at the youth and the line of others.
What do you want me not to do? Not
to meet with Mr. Jinnah?
I am a Muslim!
(He stares at them,
And a Hindu, and a Christian and a
Jew -- and so are all of you. When
you wave those flags and shout you
send fear into the hearts of your
He sweeps them sternly with his eyes, all his fatigue and
This is not the India I want. Stop
it. For God's sake, stop it.
And he lowers his head and moves on to the car, where
Kallenbach holds the door for him, Nehru, Azad and Pyarelal
Another angle. As they get into the car, we see the car that
sits by the two trucks that have brought the youths. In the
back seat we see two men, one of whom is Prakash (The bearded
man at Gandhi's assassination).
JINNAH'S DRAWING ROOM - INTERIOR - NIGHT
Jinnah is on the small balcony of this elaborate room. He is
looking down in a slightly supercilious manner. As usual he
is impeccably dressed.
Now, please, if you've finished your
prayers, could we begin with business.
He has been looking at Gandhi, who sits on the floor of the
large room some distance from him, just lifting his head
Nehru, Patel and Azad are on the same side of the room as
Gandhi. They rise from prayer as Jinnah comes down the steps
to them. Gandhi hesitates, then begins.
My dear Jinnah, you and I are brothers
born of the same Mother India. If
you have fears, I want to put them
just glances in
I am asking Panditji to stand down.
I want you to be the first Prime
Minister of India
(Jinnah raises an
eyebrow of interest.)
-- to name your entire cabinet, to
make the head of every government
department a Muslim.
And Jinnah has drawn himself up. His vanity is too great not
to be touched by that prospect. He measures Gandhi for a
moment to see that he is sincere, and when he is satisfied
with that, he turns slowly to Nehru, Patel and Azad.
Nehru glances at Patel. They have all been taken by surprise
by the offer -- and do not feel what Gandhi feels. Nehru
looks hesitantly at Gandhi.
Bapu, for me, and the rest,
(his hand gestures to
Patel and Azad)
if that is what you want, we will
accept it. But out there
(he indicates the
already there is rioting because
Hindus fear you are going to give
too much away.
If you did this, no one could control
it. No one.
It bears the stamp of undeniable truth. Gandhi's eyes sag
with the despair of a man whose last hope, whose faith, has
crumbled around him.
Jinnah smiles cynically, he spreads his hands "See?"
It is your choice. Do you want an
independent India and an independent
Pakistan? Or do you want civil war?
Gandhi stares at him numbly.
THE RED FORT - NEW DELHI - EXTERIOR - DAY
On a platform in the foreground Mountbatten and Nehru. A
band plays the Indian National Anthem loudly and there is
the roar of a tremendous crowd as the green, white and saffron
flag of India is raised on the flagpole.
GOVERNMENT BUILDING - KARACHI - EXTERIOR - DAY
On a platform in the foreground Jinnah and a British
plenipotentiary. A band plays the new Pakistani National
Anthem loudly and there is the roar of a tremendous crowd as
the white, green with white crescent, flag of Pakistan is
raised on the flagpole.
THE ASHRAM - EXTERIOR - DAY
Silence. The little flagpole is empty, the rope dangling,
flapping loosely down the pole.
Gandhi sits on the porch of his bungalow, spinning. The hum
of the spinning wheel. Inside we can just see Mirabehn,
spinning too. But apart from that, he is alone; the whole
ashram seems deserted. We hear the sound of a bell on one of
the goats, fairly distant.
THE PATH TO THE ASHRAM - EXTERIOR - DAY
Featuring Kallenbach. He is taking the goat and tethering it
near the path of the ashram. He stills the bell with his
hand. As he ties it the camera angle widens and we see
Margaret Bourke-White sitting on the grass, watching
Kallenbach and looking off toward Gandhi's bungalow.
Aren't you being a little
Kallenbach looks at her. Her tone criticizes more than his
stilling the goat's bell.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow photograph him.
I came all this way because I believed
the picture of Independence Day was
of him here alone.
Kallenbach stands and looks across at her, judging, then
appealing to her humanity.
It is violence, and the fear of
violence, that have made today what
it is... Give him the dignity of his
Bourke-White grabs a clump of grass, twists it free, and
sighs. She tosses the grass vaguely at the goat.
And while we're sitting here feeding
goats, what will happen to all the
Muslims in India and the Hindus in
Kallenbach stops, staring absently at the ground ahead, then
Gandhi will pray for them...
OPEN TERRAIN AND RAILROAD - EXTERIOR - DAY
The camera is high (helicopter) and moving and from its
position we meet and then pass over an immense column of
refugees -- ten, twenty abreast -- moving down one side of
the railroad track toward camera. Women, children, the sick,
the aged, all burdened with bedding, utensils, household
treasures, useless bric-a-brac and trudging with them every
type of cart, wagon, rickshaw, pulled by donkey, camel, bike,
oxen. It stretches endlessly to the horizon. Tiny green,
white and saffron flags here and there indicate that it is a
Hindu column and spotted through it we see people in fresh
bandages, some on stretchers, sticking out like radioactive
tracers in the huge artery of frightened humanity.
And the camera lifts and tilts, slowly swinging to the
opposite direction, and as it does, reveals another vast
column across the track, several yards away, moving in the
opposite direction: veiled women in purdah, the crescent
flag of Muslim Pakistan here and there. As the camera levels
and speeds along it, we see that this column too reaches to
the horizon, that it too carries its wounded.
An unbelievable flood of desperate humanity.
EXTREME CLOSE SHOT
The sound of the vast refugee column. A woman's arms cradle
a baby in swaddling. Blood has seeped through the swaddling
in three or four places, some of it dried. Flies buzz around
it. And suddenly we hear the woman's sobs and she rocks the
baby and we know it has stopped moving, stopped breathing,
and a male hand gently touches the back of the baby, checking,
and the camera pans up to the face of a man.
Again in extreme close shot so we cannot tell whether they
are Hindu or Muslim. And the man's eyes knot, and he swings
out of shot as he runs in fury and rage at the other column.
LONG SHOT - HIGH
The two columns -- and a howl of hate and grief! And the
camera sweeps to where men are running at each other across
the track, some already fighting. Knives, pangas, hatchets;
women screaming and running; a besieged wagon tipped.
Another angle. And as the fighting grows more fierce streams
of men from each column run back to partake, but the bulk of
the two columns hurries off, scrambling, running, some leaving
their bundles, fleeing the meleÚ in terror.
HINDU/MUSLIM RIOT SEQUENCE - SEVERAL LOCATIONS - DAY/NIGHT
A Muslim pulled through broken glass in an urban market shop./
Night: a Hindu temple daubed with blood, the bodies of women
and children strewn before it; screams, the sound of
fighting./ Mud and straw houses burning, figures running
through them./ A city street: a truck crashes into a barricade
of rickshaws and bales, and is set upon by a swarm of knife-
and panga-bearing men. From the back of the truck opponents
with swords and clubs leap into battle.
NEHRU'S OFFICE - INTERIOR - DAY
Chaos. It and the adjoining office have been made into
something like operations rooms. Military and civilian aides
move back and forth. Telephones at work everywhere. A huge
map on the wall is constantly having data changed by people
receiving messages there.
Nehru is glancing at a telex message; he turns and gives it
back to the military aide who's given it to him.
No. There just are not that many
What's he to do?
What he can!
He turns. Patel has a message he was going to present to
him. He hesitates, grins dismally, and crumples the message --
"No use." Nehru sags. He looks at Patel with haggard eyes.
He was right. It's insane -- anything
would have been better.
Have you found him?
Nehru nods solemnly.
He's in Noakhali.
Patel reacts to that -- surprise, apprehension.
He's tramping from village to village --
no police, no troops -- trying to
quell the madness single-handedly.
(He sighs, half in
admiration, half in
at the old man's
Maulana has gone to bring him back.
Patel nods grimly -- the noisy chaos of the room. Someone
shouts at Nehru, "Prime Minister!"
CLOSE SHOT - GANDHI
In silence -- looking tragic, tired and defeated. He is
sitting in his characteristic manner, staring down at the
carpet before him.
What you have done in Noakhali is a
miracle, Bapu, a miracle, but millions
are on the move -- millions. There
is no way to stop it... and no one
can count the dead.
The camera angle has changed. We are in
NEHRU'S PRIVATE CHAMBERS - INTERIOR - NIGHT
Patel and Azad are there and Pyarelal of course, and with
them now the giant figure of Abdul Ghaffar Khan, the first
time we have seen him among Gandhi's intimate group.
In Calcutta it's like civil war. The
Muslims rose and there was a
bloodbath, and now the Hindus are
taking revenge -- and if we can't
stop it there'll be no hope for the
Hindus left in Pakistan.
...an eye for an eye making the whole
It is an empty and despairing echo of Gandhi's words.
Aren't there any troops to spare?
Nothing -- nothing. The divisions in
Bombay and Delhi can hardly keep the
peace now. And each fresh bit of
news creates another wave of mad...
He has turned and seen Gandhi standing slowly. It has almost
Could we cut all news off? I know --
Bapu -- please. Where are you going.
(sounding like an old
I don't want to hear more...
He is moving toward the door. It stops them all. Pyarelal
moves tentatively to open the door.
We need your help!
There is nothing I can give.
Where are you going?
Gandhi turns, looks at him bleakly.
CALCUTTA - EXTERIOR - NIGHT
We are high. There are fires, the sounds of spasmodic gunfire,
of looting, screams, the roar of police vehicles and
occasional sirens. The camera zooms in on a poor quarter of
artisan dwellings in narrow streets. Outside one of the houses
is a car, an army jeep, policemen, a few soldiers and a group
of people. It seems a little island of calm in a sea of wild
On the roof of the house, a figure moves into the light.
CLOSER - TAHIB'S ROOF
The figure is Gandhi. He peers down at the dark, rioting
streets. Azad, Tahib, a Muslim whose house this is, Mirabehn
and Pyarelal are with him along Abdul Ghaffar Khan.
A police commissioner moves to Gandhi's side, demanding his
Sir, please, I don't have the men to
protect you -- not in a Muslim house.
Not this quarter.
I am staying with the friend of a
There is a sudden commotion just below them and angry shouts:
"Death to Muslims!," "Death to Muslims!"
Gandhi peers down.
His point of view. A surging gang of youths, many carrying
torches, and far outnumbering the little group of police and
soldiers, are shouting up at the roof. We see three or four
black flags and stains of blood on many of them. A few hold
knives still wet with blood.
There he is!
A feral roar goes up at the sight of Gandhi, but he stands
HINDU YOUTH LEADER
(his voice emotional,
Why are you staying at the home of a
Muslim! They're murderers! They killed
Featuring Gandhi. It is a comment too grave for glibness,
and Gandhi is obviously struck by the pain of it. He pauses
for a moment, staring down at the youth:
Because forgiveness is the gift of
He makes it mean the youth. For a second it makes an impact,
but then the youth shouts his defiance at him and his message.
To hell with you, Gandhi!!
An angry chorus of acclamation; when it dies
(to the youth)
Go -- do as your mother and father
would wish you to do.
It is ambiguous, open-ended, meaning anything your mother
and father would wish you to do. Tears flush from the boy's
eyes and he stares at Gandhi with a kind of hopeless anguish
and rage. But the impact is on the youth alone; around him
the others begin to take up the chant "Death to Muslims!,"
"Death to Muslims!"
Gandhi turns from the street. He looks at the police
commissioner -- at his fatigue, his concern, his manifest
respect. Gandhi musters a weary smile.
I have lived a lifetime. If I had
shunned death -- or feared it -- I
would not be here. Nor would you be
concerned for me.
(He lets it sink in
then he takes the
and moves back toward
the center of the
Leave me -- and take your men.
touch of the arm.)
You have more important things to
The commissioner looks at him, uncertain, not knowing what
to do, as the angry chanting continues above the sound of
HOSPITAL - INTERIOR - DAY
An old, inadequate hospital -- dark cavernous. Margaret Bourke-
White is moving among the densely packed litter of wounded
women. She is positioning herself to photograph Gandhi, who
is speaking to a woman who cradles a small baby. The corridors
behind him are even more packed. The few doctors and nurses
hardly have room to move.
Featuring Gandhi. Azad and Mirabehn are behind him as he
moves on, and behind them, like a giant guardian, Abdul
Ghaffar Khan. We hear "Bapu, Bapu" muttered quietly here and
there. Gandhi bends to a woman whose face is bandaged and a
cruel wound is half-exposed between her mouth and eye.
Bapu... Allah be with you...
There are tears in Gandhi's eyes now.
And with you.
(He touches her
Pray... I cannot help you -- pray...
And the weight of his helplessness hangs on him.
CALCUTTA STREET - EXTERIOR - DAY
A streetcar (tram) crashes into a barricade of carts,
rickshaws, a couple of old cars, smashing through to breach
the barricade, but stopped in the end by the mass of debris.
The streetcar is loaded with Indian troops and they break
from the stalled vehicle to chase A gang of Hindus --
organized -- runs down the street from the troops, some
dragging the bodies of victims with them. We see several
Hindu black flags.
NEHRU'S OFFICE - INTERIOR - NIGHT
He speaks across his desk to a senior police commissioner.
The same activity going on in the background.
No! There will not be a Hindu Police
and a Muslim Police. There is one
An aide slips a newspaper on his desk in front of him. He
doesn't look at it till the senior commissioner lowers his
head and turns, accepting defeat. Then Nehru glances at the
In thick headlines: GANDHI: A FAST UNTO DEATH!
Nehru doesn't move for a moment. Then he lifts his face slowly
to his aide.
Why must I read news like this in
The aide shakes his head -- there's no answer. Nehru lowers
his head again; it is like another burden on a man who already
has too many. He grips his temples... a terrible sigh.
Tell Patel. Arrange a plane. We will
go -- Friday.
Nehru thinks on it solemnly, then nods yes.
TAHIB'S HOUSE - EXTERIOR - DAY
The sounds of rioting and looting on nearby streets, but
here a mass of people are gathered. Many youths with black
flags. Two black government limousines. Motorcycles. Police
and soldiers. They are looking off to
AN OUTSIDE STAIRCASE - TAHIB'S HOUSE
It runs up the side of the building and is lined with waiting
people. Nehru and Patel are climbing the stairs, moving past
them almost irritably as they mutter "Nehru, Nehru," "Patel,"
and make the pranam to the eminent men.
In the heat of the city Tahib's rooftop is still Gandhi's
"home" and has become a center of activity. Azad clears
someone aside and ushers Nehru and Patel under the canopy
Nehru pauses as he lowers his head.
His point of view. Gandhi lies curled awkwardly on his side
of the cot. He is writing, Pyarelal taking the pages as he
finishes, both ignoring all the people, the sounds of gunfire
and distant shouting, but he looks tired and tightens his
jaw occasionally in pain. The camera pans. A doctor sits
near the foot of the cot, Abdul Ghaffar Khan beyond him.
Near the other edge of the canopied area, Mirabehn sits with
Bourke-White. They are whispering quietly, but Mirabehn has
stopped on seeing Nehru and she smiles a relieved greeting.
She knows Gandhi's feeling for him. Bourke-White stares at
him and Patel for a second and then her hand goes slowly,
almost reflexively, for her camera.
CLOSER ON GANDHI
Nehru crosses and kneels so that he is almost at Gandhi's
eyeline. Gandhi must take his eyes from his writing to look,
and he is almost moved to tears at the sight of Nehru. His
hand shakes a little as he holds it out to him.
Gandhi turns to pat their joined hands with his other hand.
He does so with effort, and at last he sees Patel.
(He looks him over.)
You have gained weight. You must
join me in the fast.
Patel sits near the head of the cot so the three of them are
on a level. Outside the canopied area, Bourke-White is
crouched, her camera framing the three of them.
If I fast I die. If you fast people
go to all sorts of trouble to keep
Gandhi smiles and reaches to touch hands with him.
Bapu, forgive me -- I've cheated. I
could have come earlier. But your
fast has helped. These last days
people's minds have begun to turn to
this bed -- and away from last night's
atrocity. But now it is enough.
Gandhi shakes his head.
All that has happened is that I've
grown a little thinner.
It is despairingly sincere. But Nehru feels he has an antidote
for that despair. The distant sound of an explosion.
Tomorrow five thousand Muslim students
of all ages are marching here in
Calcutta -- for peace.
(The real point)
And five thousand Hindu students are
marching with them. It is all
Bourke-White captures the sense of elation in his face. From
her discreet distance, she lowers the camera, holding it
against her mouth, waiting for Gandhi's response.
Gandhi nods to Nehru, accepting the news with a sad
I'm glad -- but it will not be enough.
Nehru isn't prepared for this resistance. He glances at Patel,
and we see that they recognize that their bland conviction
that they could talk him out of the fast was deeply misplaced.
Nehru turns back -- this time no confidence, only concern. A
Bapu, you are not so young anymore.
Gandhi smiles, pain etched in his eyes. He touches Nehru's
Don't worry for me -- death will be
(There is water in
his eyes, but his
words have the weight
of a man truly
determined to die.)
I cannot watch the destruction of
all I have lived for.
Nehru stares at him, feeling the sudden fear that Gandhi
means it. Patel, Mirabehn, Azad, Bourke-White are gripped by
the same realization.
TAHIB'S HOUSE - EXTERIOR - NIGHT
An outside broadcast truck is parked among the usual crowd,
grown even larger now, and more women among them. The sounds
of distant fighting.
TAHIB'S ROOF - EXTERIOR - NIGHT
The senior technician, in earphones, signals across to
Mirabehn. She holds a microphone by Gandhi, who is lying on
his side. He seems almost out of touch.
Gandhi looks at her, and then the microphone. When he speaks
into the microphone his voice is very weak.
Each night before I sleep, I read a
few words from the Gita and the Koran,
and the Bible...
(we intercut with
those on the roof
tonight I ask you to share these
thoughts of God with me.
And now we go into the streets, intercutting with Gandhi but
seeing Hindus listening around loudspeakers on corners, in
little eating houses, Muslim shops where people live in the
back, and neighbors gathering defensively in groups.
(the books are there,
but he does it from
memory of course)
I will begin with the Bible where
the words of the Lord are, "Love thy
neighbor as thyself"... and then our
beloved Gita which says, "The world
is a garment worn by God, thy neighbor
is in truth thyself"... and finally
the Holy Koran, "We shall remove all
hatred from our hearts and recline
on couches face to face, a band of
He leans back, exhausted. Mirabehn is looking at him; she
starts to sing softly.
"Lead Kindly Light, amidst the
Gandhi, his eyes closed, takes it up in his weak, croaking
"The night is dark, and I am far
from home, Lead thou me on..."
TAHIB'S HOUSE - EXTERIOR - DAY
Two police motorcycles lead a black limousine to a stop before
Tahib's house. The crowd now gathered is very large. More
mixed than before but still predominantly of youths, many
still with black flags.
Nehru gets out of the limousine with a Muslim leader, a tough-
looking man who carries himself with the authority and power
of a mobster (Suhrawardy). And they start to go up the outside
Suddenly we hear the shout "Death to Gandhi!," "Death to
Gandhi!" And Nehru turns, pushing past Suhrawardy fiercely
and going back onto the street. He runs at the crowd, where
the shout comes once more from the back. His face is wild
with anger and shock.
Who dares say such things! Who?!
(And he is running at
them and they spread
Come! Kill me first! Come! Where are
you?! Kill me first!
The crowd has spread from him all along the street; they
stand against the walls of the houses staring at him,
terrified to move. We see, just in passing, the frightened,
apprehensive faces of Godse, and near him, Apte and Karkare.
Nehru stands, staring at them all, his face seething with
TAHIB'S ROOF - EXTERIOR - DAY
We are featuring a copy of Life Magazine. On the cover is a
picture of rioting men fighting and diagonally a cut-out of
Gandhi lying on his cot. The caption reads: "An Old Man's
Battle." As the magazine starts to be opened, it is suddenly
put to one side.
Another angle. Mirabehn is rising, leaving the magazine at
her feet. She moves to Nehru and Suhrawardy as Azad ushers
them into the canopied area. Abdul Ghaffar Khan sits quietly
in the background. Mirabehn speaks softly.
His pulse is very irregular -- the
kidneys aren't functioning.
Nehru looks across at Gandhi. The doctor, who is testing
Gandhi's pulse yet again, glances at him -- no encouragement --
and moves away. Nehru moves to the side of the cot and Gandhi
smiles weakly and holds out a hand, but he is in pain.
Bapu, I have brought Mr. Suhrawardy.
It was he who called on the Muslims
to rise; he is telling them now to
go back to their homes, to lay down
Gandhi looks up at Suhrawardy, who nods. Gandhi looks back
at Nehru. There is no hint of him changing his mind.
Think what you can do by living --
that you cannot do by dying.
Gandhi smiles whimsically, he touches him again but there is
no change in his attitude.
What do you want?
That the fighting will stop -- that
you make me believe it will never
Nehru looks at him hopelessly.
SQUARE IN CALCUTTA - EXTERIOR - DAY
A huge crowd, some smoke in distant buildings, some damage
near to help us know this is still Calcutta, and all is not
yet at peace. The camera sweeps over the crowd, past the
loudspeakers on their poles. We see surly knots of belligerent
rowdies, mostly young, but not all, hanging on the fringes
as we move over the heads of the mass of listening people to
a platform where Nehru speaks. Azad, Suhrawardy, and others
sit on the floor behind him. We have heard his voice over
...Sometimes it is when you are quite
without hope and in utter darkness
that God comes to the rescue. Gandhiji
is dying because of our madness. Put
away your "revenge." What will be
gained by more killing? Have the
courage to do what you know is right.
For God's sake, let us embrace like
TAHIB'S ROOF - EXTERIOR - NIGHT
Featuring the Muslim leader Suhrawardy, leaning against a
wall, watching an action out of shot with evident tension.
We hear a little clank of metal.
Another angle. There are five men facing Gandhi. They wear
black trousers and black knit vests. There are thongs around
their arms that make their bulging muscles seem even more
powerful. They are Hindu thugs (Goondas). Their clothes are
dirty -- and they are too -- but they are laying knives and
guns at Gandhi's feet.
Mirabehn, Azad, Pyarelal, the doctor and others on the roof
watch fascinated, a little frightened.
It is our promise. We stop. It is a
Gandhi is looking at him, testing, not giving or accepting
anything that is mere gesture.
Go -- try -- God by with you.
The Goondas stand. They glance at Suhrawardy; he smiles tautly
and they start to leave, but one (Nahari) lingers. Suddenly
he moves violently toward Gandhi, taking a flat piece of
Indian bread (chapati) from his trousers and tossing it
forcefully on Gandhi.
Mirabehn and Azad start to move toward him -- the man looks
immensely strong and immensely unstable. But Gandhi holds up
a shaking hand, stopping them. Nahari's face is knotted in
emotion, half anger, half almost a child's fear -- but there
is a wild menace in that instability.
Eat! I am going to hell -- but not
with your death on my soul.
Only God decides who goes to hell...
I -- I killed a child...
(Then an anguished
I smashed his head against a wall.
Gandhi stares at him, breathless.
(in a fearful whisper)
It is as though the man has told him of some terrible self-
(tears now -- and
They killed my son -- my boy!
Almost reflexively he holds his hand out to indicate the
height of his son. He glares at Suhrawardy and then back at
The Muslims killed my son... they
He is sobbing, but in his anger it seems almost as though he
means to kill Gandhi in retaliation. A long moment, as Gandhi
meets his pain and wrath. Then
I know a way out of hell.
Nahari sneers, but there is just a flicker of desperate
Find a child -- a child whose mother
and father have been killed. A little
boy -- about this high.
He raises his hand to the height Nahari has indicated as his
...and raise him -- as your own.
Nahari has listened. His face almost cracks -- it is a chink
of light, but it does not illumine his darkness.
Only be sure... that he is a Muslim.
And that you raise him as one.
And now the light falls on Nahari. His face stiffens, he
swallows, fighting any show of emotion; then he turns to go.
But he takes only a step and he turns back, going to his
knees, the sobs breaking again and again from his heaving
body as he holds his head to Gandhi's feet in the traditional
greeting of Hindu son to Hindu father. A second, and Gandhi
reaches out and touches the top of his head.
Mirabehn watches. The Goondas watch. Suhrawardy watches.
Go -- go. God bless you...
COURTYARD - POLICE STATION - CALCUTTA - EXTERIOR - NIGHT
Trucks with riot squads (shields and truncheons) in place,
but they are lounging, waiting. There is silence, and air of
somnolence. Some of the riot squad lounge in little groups
around the courtyard. A distant cough.
Featuring a senior riot squad officer dressed and ready for
action. He it is who coughed. He coughs again, clearing his
throat. A police sergeant stands by him, both are reading
the front page of a paper the senior riot squad officer holds.
We see two huge lines of headline: GANDHI NEAR DEATH/NEHRU
GOES ON FAST.
In one of the trucks one of the men offers another a
A telephone rings sharply, inside. The senior riot squad
officer and the sergeant run in as engines start; the men
run to their places, lower visors, headlights go on!
POLICE STATION OFFICE - INTERIOR - DAY
A constable mans the telephone. He listens as the senior
riot squad officer and the sergeant run to him tensely. The
sound of the great doors opening in the courtyard, more
engines revving up.
Yes, sir, yes, sir,
(He holds up his hand
to the senior officer)
He glances up at the senior riot squad officer.
(writing, from the
Accident, "Christie crossroads," a
lorry and a rickshaw. Yes, sir, I
He shrugs at the senior riot squad officer and hands the
information slip to another constable behind the desk.
The sergeant sighs, and moves to the outside door. We hear
him bellow, "Stand down." The constable hangs up and sighs
heavily. The senior riot squad officer shakes his head, and
turns and walks slowly to the door.
COURTYARD - POLICE STATION - EXTERIOR - NIGHT
The senior riot squad officer and the sergeant stand in the
doorway as the engines die. The men relax... the silence
returns. A dog barks distantly, disturbed by the noise... A
bird caws once or twice.
I wouldn't have believed it, Mr.
Sergeant, it's a bloody miracle...
HIGH SHOT - CALCUTTA - EXTERIOR - NIGHT
It lies in silence.
TAHIB'S ROOF - EXTERIOR - DAY
Mirabehn is bent over Gandhi. He is curled almost in the
fetal position, his face looking wan and sunken. For the
first time there is silence, no explosions, no distant shouts,
Bapu, there's been no fighting --
anywhere. It has stopped -- the
madness has stopped.
We see the police commissioner, Suhrawardy, two doctors,
Abdul Ghaffar Khan, and some others. Nearer Gandhi, behind
Mirabehn, are Nehru, Patel, Azad and Pyarelal.
Gandhi turns to Mirabehn, his face shaking, peering into her
It is foolish if it is just to save
the life of an old man.
No... no. In every temple and mosque
they have pledged to die before they
lift a hand against each other.
His weary eyes look at her; he looks up slowly to Azad. Azad
nods "It's true." Then Patel
Gandhi looks at Nehru. Nehru just nods tautly. Gandhi looks
down, then lifts his head to Azad.
Maulana, my friend, could I have
some orange juice... Then you and I
will take a piece of bread together...
The relief brings water to their eyes and grins to their
faces. Nehru bends to Gandhi. Gandhi holds his hand out to
him, and Nehru clutches it. Then
You see, Bapu, it is not difficult.
I have fasted only a few hours and I
accomplished what you could not do
in as many days.
It is a joke in their way with each other and Gandhi's eyes
light, his smile comes. But it is tired. He puts his other
hand over Nehru's and Nehru lowers his head to it, crying
BIRLA HOUSE - EXTERIOR - DAY
As in the opening sequence -- but a few minutes earlier. The
crowd is beginning to gather for the evening prayers. We see
a tonga or two, a gardener opening the gate to the garden,
three policemen standing, talking idly among themselves.
BIRLA HOUSE - INTERIOR - DAY
Laughter. Gandhi is eating muli; he holds his head back to
capture the lemon juice. We hear the click of a camera
That is how you eat muli.
Manu hands him a cloth and he wipes his hands. Another click
of a camera. He is not fully recovered, but well on the way.
(to the photographer)
I'm not sure I want to be remembered
It is all light and for fun. We get a wide-angle shot now
and see that Bourke-White is shooting one of her favorite
subjects again. She is enjoying the banter, as is Mirabehn,
who is spinning quietly to one side of the room, and Patel,
who sits cross-legged like Gandhi on the floor. Pyarelal is
working on papers with him but grins at this.
Don't worry, with luck you may not
And she shoots him again, as he hands the cloth back to Manu.
Abha is sitting next to Manu, looking at a collection of
pictures of Gandhi, obviously Bourke-White's.
No, he'll be remembered for tempting
It is wry, but waspishly chiding. Abha suddenly holds a
picture up for Gandhi to see. It's one of him, ears wide,
Gandhi taps her on the head with his finger as she smiles.
But Bourke-White has looked from Patel to Gandhi, clearly
shaken by the implication in Patel's words.
You really are going to Pakistan,
(Gandhi shrugs, and
she chides too)
You are a stubborn man.
(a grin, in the mood
of their "flirtation")
I'm simply going to prove to Muslims
there, and Hindus here, that the
only devils in the world are those
running around in our own hearts --
and that's where all our battles
ought to be fought.
Abha has signaled to the cheap watch dangling from his dhoti.
He glances at it, and holds his arms out. The two girls help
And what kind of a warrior have you
been in that warfare?
She is photographing his getting-up and leaning on the two
Not a very good one. That's why I
have so much tolerance for the other
scoundrels of the world.
He moves off, but has a sudden thought and turns to Patel.
Ask Panditji to -- to consider what
Patel nods soberly and Gandhi starts for the door, Bourke-
White moving with him.
(of the photographs)
He has passed her, he's in the doorway. We see the crowd at
the end of the garden, where the light of the day is beginning
to soften. He turns, teasing in his slightly flirtatious way
You're a temptress.
She shoots him against the door -- the crowd milling
distantly, waiting -- then she lowers her camera.
Just an admirer...
Nothing's more dangerous, especially
for an old man.
He turns; the last words have betrayed the smile on his face;
they have a painful sense of truth about them. Bourke-White
watches as he moves into the garden toward the crowd in the
She turns to Mirabehn.
There's a sadness in him.
It's an observation -- and a question. Mirabehn accedes
He thinks he's failed.
Bourke-White stares at her, then turns to look out at him.
Why? My God, if anything's proved
him right, it's what's happened these
Mirabehn nods, but she keeps on spinning and tries to sound
cynically resigned but her innate emotionalism keeps breaking
through in her voice and on her face.
I am blinded by my love of him, but
I think when we most needed it, he
offered the world a way out of
madness. But he doesn't see it...
and neither does the world.
It is laced with pain. Bourke-White turns and looks out at
Gandhi -- so tiny, so weak as he walks between his "props."
He has now reached the end of the garden and is moving among
the crowd assembled there.
THE GARDEN - BIRLA HOUSE - EXTERIOR - TWILIGHT
Gandhi is moving forward in the crowd, one hand resting on
Manu, the other on Abha. He makes the pranam to someone, the
crowd is bowing to him, some speaking, and we also see the
crowd from his point of view -- "Bapu," "God bless you,"
"Thank you -- thank you." He turns to a very old woman, who
makes a salaam to him. Gandhi touches her head.
Allah be with you.
Smiling, he turns back. A jostling, the sound of beads
Brother, Bapu is already late for
Gandhi turns to the person; he makes the pranam.
Full shot. Godse is making the pranam to him and he suddenly,
wildly draws his gun and fires. The camera closes on Gandhi
as he staggers and falls, the red stain of blood seeping
through his white shawl.
Oh, God... oh, God...
Manu and Abha bend over him, silent in their first shock.
The sound of panic and alarm begins to grow around them,
they suddenly scream and begin to cry.
FUNERAL PYRE - EXTERIOR - DAY
A moment -- we sense the blackness moving -- like dark smoke.
The camera is pulling back very slowly and we can tell the
blackness is smoke rising from a fire.
And now we see that it is a funeral pyre. And all around
that pyre a mass of silent humanity. Through the smoke,
sitting cross-legged near the rim of the flames, we see
Nehru... and Azad and Patel, Mirabehn and Kallenbach, the
drawn faces of Lord and Lady Mountbatten, Manu and Abha...
THE RIVER - EXTERIOR - DAY
A helicopter shot coming slowly up the wide river, low, toward
a barge and a mass of people in the distance.
And now we are over the barge, and it is covered with flowers.
Flowers flow downstream around it. An urn sits on it --
containing Gandhi's ashes -- and Nehru stands near it, Azad
and Patel a little behind him. And as the barge floats down
the river, Nehru bends and lifts the urn...
Featuring Nehru. He swallows, restraining his own emotion,
and slowly, ritualistically, sprinkles the ashes over the
And as they spread, we hold on that stretch of the river,
the flowers swirling languidly around it as the dark, timeless
current moves them toward the sea.
(weak, struggling, as
he spoke the words
...There have been tyrants and
murderers -- and for a time they can
seem invincible. But in the end they
always fall. Think of it -- always...
When you are in doubt that that is
God's way, the way the world is meant
to be... think of that.
And slowly the camera begins pulling back, leaving the
flowers, the brown, rolling current as though leaving the
story of Gandhi, going far out, away from the great river,
reaching higher and higher, through streaks of clouds as end
And through them, once more we hear, dimly, reminiscently,
through the rushing wind:
"At home children are writing 'essays' about him!"... the
croaky voice singing, "God save our gracious King"... Dyer:
"Sergeant Major --," the Sergeant Major: "Take aim!," Dyer:
"Fire!," the sound of massed rifle fire, screams... "You are
my best friend... my highest guru, and my sovereign lord."
"Who the hell is he?," "I don't know, sir." "My name is
Gandhi. Mohandas K. Gandhi."... the sound of rioting, women's
screams, terror... "Find a child -- a child whose mother and
father have been killed. A little boy... about this high."...
"He thinks he's failed."... "Long live Mahatma Gandhi!...
Long live Mahatma Gandhi!"
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