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Old St. Stephen’s College

North Delhi, Delhi

December 14, 2021

Gandhiji visited St. Stephen’s college in Delhi and stayed at his principal Sushil Kumar Rudra’s place a couple of times.Gandhiji fondly remembered his stay at Principal Rudra’s house at St. Stephen’s College residence and listed some of the important events that took place under the roof, in a tribute to Principal Rudra.

Sushil Kumar Rudra, a close friend of C.F. Andrews, was an educationist and the principal of Delhi’s St. Stephen’s College from 1909 to 1923. When Gandhiji was in South Africa, Charlie Andrews was anxious that whenever Gandhiji returns to India, he should make the acquaintance of the Poet (Rabindranath Tagore), Principal Rudra, and Mahatma Munshiram (Swami Shraddhanand). He made Gandhiji stay at his college since Gandhiji’s return home in 1915 from South Africa.

‘Ever since my return home in 1915, I had been his guest whenever I had occasions to go to Delhi.’ Wrote Gandhiji. It was fine as long as Gandhiji had not started satyagraha. But he thought of asking him once he started satyagraha against Rowlett Bills.

On Gandhiji’s concern that hosting him might compromise Principal Rudra and expose his college to unnecessary risk, Principal Rudra replied, ‘I cannot possibly misunderstand by keeping you under my roof as an honoured friend and guest. And if ever I have to choose between losing influence I may have among Englishmen and losing you, I know what I would choose. You cannot leave me.’