In recent years, several of us have had the opportunity to glean stirring stories
from Arun Bhatt ("Arun-dada"
we lovingly call him), a remarkable
elder in his eighties, who has dedicated his life to service, including walking with Vinoba Bhave (whom many recognize as Gandhi's spiritual successor) during the Land Gift (Bhoodan)
Born the child of freedom fighters, Arun-dada spent parts of his childhood in jail when both his parents were incarcerated for political reasons. During that time, other freedom fighters and prisoners would play with him and bring him up.
One loving elderly man used to play with little Arun. He was so loving that Arun could not help but ask him, "Why are you in jail?"
The man replied that he was in for a murder charge.
"But you don't look like you would have killed someone," said Arun.
"I did not kill anyone, but my young nephew did, in a fit of rage. But he was regretful later, and I thought, he has a full life ahead of him, whereas I have just a few years left. So, I took the crime upon myself and here I am, serving his life sentence."
In front of young Arun was an everyday hero (or an ultimate giftivist!), who gave up his freedom so that his nephew could walk free -- so what if he had to bear the cross of being called a murderer.
Upon hearing such an unsung story, I couldn't help but feel that giftivism had taken a whole new dimension!