Saturday, 1 February 2014

Interesting Letters of Mahatma Gandhi 

To Jawaharlal Nehru
Segaon, Wardha,
July 29, 1939
My dear Jawaharlal,
Instead of guiding the Dhami people I have passed them on to you. I feel that you should discharge burden without any interference from me. The idea in the states seems to be to isolate and ignore the Congress and hence the States' Conference. I have already suggested in Harijan that no state association or Mandal should act on its own without reference to your committee. I should act, if at all, through you i.e., when you refer to me, I should give my opinion as I do in respect of the W.C. I told the Gwalior people also likewise yesterday. You will have to reorganize your committee a bit, if it is to function properly.
After all I could not go to Kashmir. Sheikh Abdullah and his friends won't tolerate the idea of my being state guest. Banking on my past experience, I had accepted state offer in anticipation of Sheikh Abdulla's approval. But I saw that I was mistaken. I therefore cancelled the acceptance of the state hospitality and accepted the Sheikh's. This embarrassed the state. So I cancelled the visit altogether. I was guilty of double stupidity in daring to think of going there without you and in not getting Sheikh's permission before accepting the state offer. I had thought that I would serve the people by accepting the state offer. I must confess that I was not pleased with my contact [with] the sheikh and his friends. They seemed to all of us to be most unreasonable. Khan Saheb reasoned with them. But it was to no purpose.
Your visit to Ceylon was glorious. I don't mind what the immediate outcome is. Saleh Tyabji asks me to send you to Burma and Andrews thinks of you in connection with S.A. As for Ceylon the idea of a Congress deputation came to me spontaneously, not so these two even after the promptings. But of these when we meet. I hope you are fresh and that Krishna is enjoying herself.
From Subhash Chandra Bose
Subhash Chandra Bose.jpg
March 31, 1939
My dear Mahatmaji,
. . . I shall be grateful if you could let me know your reaction to Pant's resolution. You are in this advantageous position that you can take a dispassionate view of things - provided of course, you get to know the whole story of Tripuri. Judging from the papers most of the people who have seen you so far seem to belong to one school - namely, those who supported Pant's resolution But that does not matter. You can easily assess things at their proper value, regardless of the persons who visit you.
You can easily imagine my own view of Pant's solution. But my personal feelings do not matter so much. In public life we have often to subordinate personal feelings to public considerations. As I have said in a previous letter, whatever one may think of Pant's resolution from the purely constitutional point of view, since it has been passed by the Congress, I feel bound by it. Now do you regard that resolution as one of no-confidence in me and do you feel that I should resign in consequence thereof? Your view in this matter will influence me considerably.
There is one other matter to which I shall refer in this letter - that is the question of our programme. . . . For months I have been telling friends that there would be a crisis in Europe in spring which would continue till summer. The international situation as well as our own position at home convinced me nearly 8 months ago that the time had come for us to force the issue of Purna Swaraj. . . . For these and other reasons we should lose no time in placing our National Demand before the British Government in the form of an ultimatum. . . .If you do so and prepare for the coming struggle simultaneously I am sure that we shall be able to win Purna Swaraj very soon. The British Government will either respond to our demand without a fight - or, if the struggle does take place in our present circumstances it cannot be a long drawn one. I am so confident and so optimistic on his point that I feel if we take courage in both hands and go ahead we shall have Swaraj inside of 18 months at the most.
I feel so strongly on this point that I am prepared to make any sacrifice in the connection. If you take up the struggle, I shall most gladly help you to the best of my ability. If you feel that the Congress will be able to fight better with another president I shall gladly step aside. If you feel the Congress will be able to fight more effectively with a Working Committee of your choice, I shall gladly fall in line with your wishes. All that I want is that you and the Congress should in this critical hour stand up and resume the struggle for Swaraj. If self-effacement will further the national cause, I assure you most solemnly that I am prepared to efface myself completely. I think I love my country sufficiently to be able to do this.
Pardon me for saying that the way you have been recently conducting the States People's struggle does not appeal to me.
I may say that many people like myself cannot enthuse over the terms of the Rajkot settlement. We, as well as the Nationalist Press have called it a great victory - but how much have we gained? Sir Maurice Gwyer is neither our man nor is he an independent agent. He is a Government man. What point is there in making him the umpire? We are hoping that his verdict will be in our favour. But supposing he declares against us, what will be our position?
My letter has become to long, so I must stop here. If I have said anything which appears to you to be erroneous, I hope you will pardon me. I know you always like people to speak frankly and openly. That is what has emboldened me in writing this frank and long letter.
With respectful Pranams,
Yours affectionately,

To Subhash Chandra Bose
Birla House,
New Delhi,
My dear Subhash,
I have yours of 31st march as also the previous one. You are quite frank and I like your letters for the clear enunciation of your views.
The view you express seem to be so diametrically opposed to those of the others and my own that I do not see any possibility of bridging them. I think that such school of thought should be able to put forth its views before the country without any mixture. And if this is honestly done, I do not see why there should be any bitterness engaging in civil war.
What is wrong is not the differences between us but loss of mutual respect and trust. This will be remedied by time which is the best healer. If there is real non-violence in us, there can be no civil war and much bitterness.
Taking all things into consideration, I am of opinion that you should at once form your own Cabinet fully representing your views. Formulate your programme definitely and put it before the forthcoming A. I. C. C. If the Committee accepts the programme all will be plain-sailing and you should be enabled to prosecute it unhampered by the minority. If on the other hand your programme is not accepted you should resign and let the committee choose it president. And you will be free to educate the country along your lines. I tender this advice irrespective of Pandit pant's resolution.
My prestige does not count. It has an independent value of its own. When my motive is suspected or my policy or programme rejected by the country, the prestige must go. India will rise and fall by the quality of the sum total of her many millions. Individuals, however high they may be, are of no account except in so far as they represent the many millions. Therefore let us rule it out of consideration.
I wholly dissent from your view that the country has been never so violent as now. I smell violence in the air I breath. But the violence has pout on a subtle form. Our mutual distrust I a bad form of violence. The widening gulf between Hindus and Mussalmans points to the same thing. I can give further illustrations.
We seem to differ ad to the amount of corruptions in the Congress. My impression is that it is in the increase. I have been pleading for the past many months for a thorough scrutiny.
In these circumstances I se no atmosphere of non-violent mass action. An ultimatum without effective sanction is worse than useless.
But as I have told you that I am an old man perhaps growing timid and over-cautious and you have youth before you and reckless optimism born of youth. I hope you are right. I am wrong. I have the firm belief that the Congress as it is today cannot deliver goods, cannot offer civil disobedience worth the name. Therefore if your prognosis is right, I am s back and played out as the generalissimo of Satyagraha.
I am glad you have mentioned the little Rajkot affair. It brings into prominent relief the different angles from which we look at things. I have nothing to repent of in the steps I have taken I connection with it. I feel that it has great national importance. I have not stopped civil disobedience in the other States for the sake of Rajkot. But Rajkot opened my eyes. It showed me the way. I am not in Delhi for my health. I am reluctantly in Delhi awaiting the Chief Justice's decision. I hold it to be my duty to be in Delhi till the steps to be taken in due fulfillment of the Viceroy's declaration in his last wire to me are finally taken. I may not run any risk. If I was invited the Paramount Power to do its duty, I was bound to be in Delhi to see that the duty as fully performed. I saw nothing wrong in the Chief Justice being appointed the interpreter of the document whose meaning was put in doubt by the Thakor Sahib. By the way, Sir Maurice will examine the document not in his capacity as Chief Justice but as a trained jurist trusted by the Viceroy. By accepting the Viceroy's nominee as judge, I fancy I have shown both wisdom and grace and what is more important I have increased the Vice regal responsibility in the matter,
Though we have discussed sharp differences of opinion between us, I am quite sure that our private relations will not suffer in the least. If they are from the heart, I believe they are, they will bear the strain of these differences.
To A Friend
Bhangi Colony,
New Delhi,
July 6, 1947
Dear Friend,
I was much touched by your letter of 19th instant. I wholly agree with you that the number of years a person lives in this world is of no consequence whether to him or to the world but even a day spent in true service of mankind is of supreme and only importance. I further agree with you that hope and faith are as often as not synonymous terms. Of course good is eternal, evil transitory.
I must abide by my statement. There can be no place for a man of peace in a society full of strife. Please do not look at my bad imperfect English but consider the heart of my meaning. I am sure you will agree with me that a man of peace is out place in a society full of strife. He must know this fact and yet work and act in that society. I wonder if I have al all made my meaning clear. There is no such thing as surrender in me to the spirit of evil.
I do hope that your physical illness is under control.
Love to you all,
To Winston Churchill
17th July 1944
Dear Prime Minister,
You are reported to have the desire to crush the 'naked fakir', as you are said to have described me. I have been long trying to be a fakir and that, naked - a more difficult task. I therefore regard the expression as a compliment though unintended. I approach you then as such and ask you to trust and use me for the sake of your people and mine and through them those of the world.
Your sincere friend,

To Maganlal Gandhi. (After March 14, 1915)
Bhaishri Maganlal,
You are right in what you think about non-violence. It essentials are , daya�, akrodha�, aman etc. clearly in Calcutta and came to the conclusion that we should include it among our vows. The thought led to the further conclusion that we do so by way of vows, we perceive the inner significance of non-violence. In my talks with hundreds of men here I place the various yam above everything else.
 Maganlal Gandhi-Gandhiji's cousin; assisted Gandhiji for about a decade in his work in South Africa; left Phoenix in August 1914 with a party of about 25 students and teachers for India and with them stayed for some tim Tagore's Shanti Niketan; Manager, Sabarmati Ashram; Member, All India Khadi Board. Such was his devotion to Constructive Programme that Gandhiji felt widowed by his untimely death in 1928.
. Compassion
Freedom from anger
. Freedom from the desire to be respected

. Any great moral or religious duty or observance

In observing the vow of non-hoarding, the main thing to be borne in mind is not to store up anything which we do not require. For agriculture, we may keep bullocks, if we use them, and the equipment required for them. Where there is a recurring danger of famine, we shall no doubt store food-grains. But we shall always ask ourselves whether bullocks and food-grains are in fact needed. We are to observe all the yamas in thought as well, so that we shall grow more secure in them from day to day and come to think of fresh things to renounce. Renunciation has no limit to it. The more we renounce, the more shall we grow in the knowledge of the atman.1 If the mind continues to move towards renunciation of the desire for hoarding and if in practice we give up hoarding as far as it is physically possible to do, we shall have kept the vow of non-hoarding.
The same is true about about non-stealing. Non-hoarding refers to stocking of things not needed. Non-stealing refers to the use of such things. Non-stealing refers to the use of such things. If I need only one shirt to cover myself with but use two, I am guilty of stealing one from another. For, a short which could have been of use to someone else does not belong to me. If five bananas are enough to keep me going, my eating a sixth one is a form of theft. Suppose we have a stock of 50 limes, thinking that among us all we would need them. I need only two, but take three because there are so many. This is theft.
Such unnecessary consumption is also a violation of the vow of non-violence. If with the ideal of non-stealing in view, we reduce our consumption of things we would grow more generous. If, we do so, actuated by the ideal -violence, we would grow more compassionate. In assuring, as it were, every animal or living thing that it need have no fear on our account, we entertain such love will not find any living being inimical to him, not even in thought. That is the most emphatic conclusion of the Shastras and my experience as well.
The principle underlying all these vows in truth. By deceiving oneself, one may refuse to recognize an act of stealing or hoarding as such. Hence, by taking careful thought we can ensure at every step that truth prevails. Whenever we are in doubt whether a particular thing should be stored or not, the wisdom of speaking, it is the duty of a man who has taken the vow of truth not to speak.
I want all of you to take only such vows as each one feels inclined to, of his own free will. I always feel that vows are necessary. But everyone may take them only when he himself feels the need and take only such as he wants to.
Ramchandra may have been a man of great prowess, performed innumerable feats and killed hundreds of thousands of monsters, but no one would think of him today if he had not had such devoted men as Lakshmana and Bharata to follow him. The points is, if Ramchandra had had no more than extraordinary strength as a fighter, his greatness would have been forgotten after a while. There have been many brave warriors who killed monsters as he did. There has been none among them whose fame and greatness are sung in every home. Ramchandra possessed power of some other kind which he could induce into Lakshmana and Bharata and in virtue of which the latter became great men of austerities. Singing in praise of their austerities, Tulsidasji asked, who else, if Bharata had not been born and practised austerities unattainable even by great sages, would have else, if Bharata had not been born and practised austerities unattainable even by great sages, would have turned an ignorant man like him to Rama? This is as much as to say that Lakshmana and Bharata were the guardians of Rama's fame, that is, of his teaching. Moreover, austerities are not everything. For, if Lakshmana went without food or sleep for 14 years, so did Indrajit1. But the latter did not know the true significance of austerities which Lakshmana had learnt from Rama; on the contrary, he possessed a nature which inclined him to misuse the power earned through austerities and so came to be known merely as a monster and suffered defeat at the hands of Lakshmana, the man of self-mastery, a lover of God and seeker of deliverance. In the same way, however great the ideal of Gurudev, (Rabindranath Tagore) if there is no one to implement that ideal, it will spread its light multiplied many times over. The steps which one has to climb in order to practice an ideal constitute tapas. (Penance) One should realize, therefore, how very necessary it is to bring tapas-discipline-into the life of children.
(Meghnad, son of Ravana, who had earned the name of Indrajit, by his victory over Indra, chief of the Gods.)
Blessing from Bapu 
Source: Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. pp 37-39
To Maganlal Gandhi
Thursday [July 25, 1918]
Chi. Maganlal,
You have been frightened by Raojibhai as he was by me. He read too much into my words.
No, my ideals have not changed. Despite my bitter experiences. in India, my conviction remains the same as ever, that we have but little to learn from the West. The evils I have seen here have made no change in my fundamental idea nor has this war. The old idea has developed into something purer. I have certainly not come to feel that we shall have to introduce Western civilization. Nor do I suppose that we shall have to take to drinking and meat-eating. To be sure, I have felt, in all seriousness, that Swaminarayana [The Vaishnava sect whose founder was Swami Sahajanand (1781-1833)] and Vallabhacharya [Vallabhacharya (1473-1531) - Religious Teacher, principally responsible for spreading the Bhakti cult in Gujarat.]have robbed us of our manliness. They made the people incapable of self-defense. It was all to the good, of course, that people gave up drinking, smoking, etc; this, however, is not an end in itself, it is only a means. If a smoker happens to be a man of character his company is worth cultivating. If on the contrary, a man who has never smoked in his life is an adulterer, he can be of little service. The love taught by Swaminarayana and Vallabh is all sentimentalism. It cannot make one a man of true love. Swaminarayana and Vallabh simply did not reflect over the true nature of non-violence. Non-violence consists in holding in check all impulses in the chitta. (mind) It comes into play especially in men's relations with one another. There is not even a suggestion of this idea in their writings. Having been born in this degenerate age of ours, they could not remain unaffected by its atmosphere and had, in consequence, quite an undesirable effect on Gujarat. Tukaram and Ramdas had no such effect. The Abhangas (Devotional metrical composition in Marathi Poetry) of the former and the shlokas (Devotional Metrical verse or composition) of the latter admit ample scope for manly striving. They, too, were Vaishnavas. Do not mix up the Vaishnava tradition with the teaching of Vallabh and Swaminarayana. Vaishnavism is an age-old truth. I have come to see, what I did not so clearly before, that there is non-violence in violence. This is the big change which has come about. I had not fully realized the duty of restraining a drunkard from doing evil, of killing a dog in agony or one infected with rabies. In all these instances, violence is in fact nonviolence. Violence is a function of the body. Brahmacharya (Continence. Literally, conduct that leads one to God.) consists in refraining from sexual indulgence, but we do not bring up our children to be impotent. They will have observed Brahmacharya only if, though possessed of the highest virility, they can master the physical urge. In the same way, our offspring must be strong in physique. If they cannot completely renounce the urge to violence, we may permit them to commit violence, to use their strength to fight and thus make them nonviolent. Nonviolence was taught by a kshatriya (A member of the military or second caste among Hindus) to a Kshatriya.
The difference between the West and the East is what I have explained to be, and it is a great one. The civilization of the West is based on self-indulgence, ours on self-control. If we commit violence, it will be as a last resort and with a view to lokasangraha (That which promotes the conservation of society). The West will indulge in violence in self-will. My taking part in (the movement for) a parliament and similar activities is not a new development; it is quite an old thing and is only intended to ensure a check on these bodies. You will see this if you read my article on Mr. Montagu's scheme. I simply cannot bring myself to take interest in the movement, but I can spread my ideals by working in it. When I saw that I could continue in it only by sacrificing my ideals, I decided to retire from the movement.
I think you have your reply in what I have said. I cannot explain much when I am there for a day and so I have set down the thing in writing. This will enable you to think and ask me questions, if fresh doubts occur to you.
I continue to be in Navagram. I wanted to leave from here today, but perhaps I may not be able to do so.
Blessing from,
Source: Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. XIV, pp. 504-5
August 15, 1935
           I got your letter. Don�t worry, you will get somebody else. Weare in no great hurry. Keep Mahadev there as long as necessary. I willtry and manage somehow without him. Rajkumari and Khurshed arehelping as much as they can. The former disposes of most of theEnglish correspondence. She will leave on the 21st. Khurshedbehnwill remain here for the present.
           Rajendrababu left today. He was, as usual, accompanied byMathurababu and Gorakhbabu. The astronomer is leaving for thatside this evening.
          If necessary, take fourteen instead of seven doses of the powder,but see that you completely get rid of the jaundice. Never leave a jobhalf done.
          Your buying a second-class ticket for Andrews was all right.You could feed him well there because we starved him here. If we hadfed him here, too, he would have been laid up in bed, as he was inAllahabad.
                                                                                                                                                 Blessings from
[From Gujarati]
 Bapuna Patro�2: Sardar Vallabhbhaine,. pp. 177-8
August 17, 1935
             I found nothing in your articles to justify their publication.Even so, your labour in thinking on those subjects and writing thearticles will not be altogether wasted.
            What shall I say to Chi. Vallabh? Vinoba will see what shouldbe done about him. I cannot interfere with the running of thatAshram. I know, however that Vallabh has to carry heavy enoughburden in managing the Nalwadi Ashram.
From a photostat of the Gujarati: G.N. 10466
From M. A. Jinnah
September 23, 1944
Dear Mr. Gandhi,
I am in receipt of your letter of September 23. May I refer you to my letter to today's date which I sent to you in reply to yours of September 22? I have nothing new of fresh to add, but I may say that it is not a case of your being asked to put your signature as representing anybody till you clothe yourself with representing capacity and are vested with authority. We stand by, as I have already said, the basic and fundamental principles embodied in the Lahore resolution of March 1940. I appeal to you once more to revise your policy and programme, as the future of this subcontinent and the welfare of the peoples of India demand that you should face realities.

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