Luv Puri

Jammu: Much has been written about Mahatma Gandhi’s fascination for goat milk, but little is known about how his hosts in different parts of the world where he travelled were able to meet his requirement every day.

An interesting revelation was made to The Hindu by Chander Bali, a 70-year-old resident of Bahamas who is of Indian origin, visiting his family here, as to how his family arranged goat milk for Gandhiji in London from November to January 1931.

Chandra Bali’s uncle Dr. Kripa Pal Bali had gone to London from Jhelum district of Punjab province, now in Pakistan, in 1911 to study medicine.

As a consequence of the start of the First World War in 1914, his studies stretched on and he eventually settled down in London and started his medical practice there.

Mr. Bali said: “My uncle was settled in London and his main client as a doctor were gypsies who used to come to him for treatment as he did not charge much fees from them. When Gandhiji toured London to attend the first Round Table Conference in 1930, the Indian community was in a dilemma as to how to arrange goat’s milk for him. The community decided to approach Dr. Kripa Pal Bali to contact one of his gypsy patients who used to rear goats… My uncle asked a gypsy patient to arrange a litre of goat’s milk each day during Gandhiji’s stay. This was how goat’s milk was arranged for Gandhiji in London.”

Dr. Kripa Pal Bali died in 1954 and never came to India. The goat milk story was narrated to Chander Bali when he visited his aunt Catheline Bali in London in 1965. Dr. Kripa Pal Bali had married Catheline Bali, a Scottish lady living in London.

Punjabi-speaking Chander Bali is now permanently settled in the Bahamas and rarely visits India.