Mahatma Gandhi loved very much his second son Manilal and his wife. Both are very sincere and hard worker. They did all responsibility given by Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi told him everything and gave suggestion for every problem.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 24 August 1930 that you seem to have dried up? Is it out of compassion for me or through laziness? If you had compassion for me, you would write to me. How is Sita? Why does she fall ill so often? I hope you are not being miserly about fruit. What is the condition of your ears? How do you keep generally? How is Tara? How is Nanabhai’s health? Think about other similar questions yourself. I hope you, always find Manilal with a smile on his face and joking. Does he read anything in jail?
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 20 April 1930 that I kept thinking about you the whole of yesterday and today. I cannot spare time to write a long letter. I pray that in East Africa all three of you may make great progress in every direction. Do all work without attachment? Read the preface to Anasaktiyoga frequently, if it does not tire you. The more you study it, the more clearly will you understand how to act, and in consequence you will experience spiritual contentment.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 2 June 1930 that I had the letter you both wrote on board the ship. I also got news of your having reached there. I will now expect your regular letter by the next mail. Ba is with me at Bardoli. She was with me at Simla too. Nothing is certain as yet about my going to England. The solution of the Hindu-Muslim problem seems to be far away yet. As for the rest, everything is all right.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 23 June 1930 that Corruption you will find everywhere. The reformer and public worker should do what he can to remove it, himself remain untouched by it, and cease worrying. However, personally I do believe that persons like you would get better support in India and so be able to do some work. But now that you have gone back there, you should stay on for some time and, if you wish to wind up the work, do so properly before you come away. It would certainly be good if Indian Opinion continues.
But rather than that it should pass into the hands of persons who may not run it well, it had better stop. Everything that exists is bound to perish sooner or later. Let Indian Opinion, then, meet its end at your hands. Meet Kallenbach, Omar Sheth and others, and do what you think proper after discussing the matter with them.
You should plan to return here when the struggle is resumed. It seems certain that it will be resumed next year, though I will make every effort to see that it does not become necessary. Don’t decide anything in haste or excitement. It is a painful thing that Sorabji should refuse to pay even the policy premiums. The Ashram cannot pay them. Do not mind if the premiums already paid are lost. Now that Jalbhai also is there, see if you can persuade the two brothers and make them pay the premiums. Is any surrender value of the policy payable or nothing at all? What is Sorabji’s financial condition?
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 17 December 1930 that I have been getting from you occasionally, not letters exactly, but little notes. As I myself did not write often, I cannot blame you. However, there were strong reasons for my not being able to write. In London, I could neither sleep nor have regular meals. I used to carry my tiffin with me and ate wherever I could. This time I seldom wrote to anybody and, as for writing for Young India and Navajivan, I had to stop it altogether. You had no excuse for not writing to me or writing only brief notes. But the saying that habits die hard is true in your case. There is, however, another saying which applies to people who are prepared to try hard: “A mere string can make a dent in a black, strong, and stone.” What, then, cannot one achieve with effort?
We entered the Red Sea today. There are nine of us. All of us are deck passengers. Deck passengers get no amenities worth the name. But we have everything we require and so need not worry. I mention this merely to describe the conditions on the deck. We shall reach Bombay on the 28th. Let us see what happens when we arrive there. If the struggle starts again, you need not think you have to come away immediately. First watch what form the struggle takes and then come. Do not come until you have been able to make proper arrangements for the work there. Moreover, all of you keep good health there, and I would not be happy if it suffered by your going to India. You should do what you think is your duty, without regard to what I may wish. I say this now because I cannot say whether I would get any time to write to you afterwards. They may even arrest me as soon as I reach Bombay.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 18 September 1930 that I have been constantly thinking about both of you. But I believe you have patience and courage and I take heart from that thought. I am sure you wish to run up here. But please control your desire. Fulfil all my hopes about you. You know what they are. Augment the legacy which I may leave you. God will surely prosper you. I do not have time to write a separate letter and give my blessings to Pragji and Parvati. Today is Sunday. I have commenced the silence. I wish to write yet many more letters.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 30 January 1933 that there has been no letter either from you or from Sushila. No sooner you leave the shores of India, my complaints start. Sita’s boils must have disappeared as soon as the ship had left the shore. I hope your work has become smoother. Let me know what arrangements you have finally made. If you wish to live happily and preserve your reputation, pay off the debt soon and never borrow money again. One should not incur a debt even for the sake of one’s father. One may give one’s life for him, but not forsake one’s dharma, and incurring a debt is as good as forsaking dharma. I am all right. I do not know whether or when I shall have to fast, but I am sure of this, that I will fast only if, and when, God prompts me. If you believe me when I say this, you will not be upset and will not be anxious to come running here. You should leave South Africa when you feel beyond doubt that it is your duty to do so. Till then, your duty is to remain there and do what service you can. You should live as if at present your country was South Africa.
You should preserve the utmost simplicity in your life except in regard to things which may be necessary for conforming to the standard of life there. Do not discontinue the daily recitation of the Gita; Chapter XII is in fact your spiritual food in the journey of life.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 20 March 1933 that I got your letters; I hope that you get mine. I will write to Shanti along with this. Sita’s boils seem to have persisted. I was surprised to read about Jalbhai’s daughter. Was it some known man? How did the girl come into contact with him, and how did she get rid of him?
Lakshmi was married to Maruti last Tuesday. At present at least it seems that the marriage will be successful. Lakshmi and Maruti are staying with Manju. Anandi has been operated upon, as it was detected that she had appendicitis. She is at Shri Trivedi’s place. Velanbehn is here with her. Anandi is progressing satisfactorily. Ramdas and Jamnalalji are here and live together. They are both well. I hope you get the Harijan, both English and Gujarati. Rajaji and Devdas are at Delhi. Ba is with Mirabehn and keeps fairly well. I suppose Manilal must have been appointed a trustee now. Did you discuss about the press with West? You ought to cultivate relations with him, irrespective of whether the talks bear fruit or not.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 15 April 1933 that since the letter1 to Manilal is intended for you both, what more can I write in this letter? You may teach Sita only as much as you can while playing with her and without scolding or beating her. She will imbibe very little from what both of you tell her, but she will certainly follow the example which you set. Ramdas has not been released yet. He will be released in the beginning of May. The only change in my diet is that I do not at present take bread and vegetables. Fruit and milk suffice for me. I do not heat the milk. The pain in the elbow persists, but it seems to be only a sign of old age.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 3 July 1933 that both of you have been regular in writing to me. I did read all
your letters, but I could not reply. Now that I have gained some strength, I try to write a few letters every day. My weight also is increasing. I eat fairly well. I am on milk and fruit just now. There is no cause for worrying about me. Only God knows where I shall be when you get this letter. Perhaps with Vallabhbhai. We must accept whatever is ordained for us. Can we alter anything even if we wish? It will be enough if you go on doing your duty devotedly. I like that Sushila helps you. If both of you lead a life of self-control, Sushila will be able to do a lot. The arrangement you have made for Sita1 seems good. I see that Shanti cannot be trusted. He is extremely unsteady.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 13 November 1933 that I cannot reply immediately to your letters. I don’t have time even today, but have found some to write this letter as Kishorelal told me the substance of your letter to Nanabhai. If I could, I would certainly have tried to guide you in regard to the dispute among you there.1 But I really cannot judge in such matters unless I see all the
people concerned. However, why do you always feel dependent on me? Go on doing fearlessly what you feel to be the right thing. Don’t mind if you make mistakes. Whenever you realize that you have made a mistake, rectify it unhesitatingly without thinking of the consequences.
If you always act thus, you will be able to judge what the right course is in every matter. I shall not live forever. You should try to swim with your own strength. That is the right thing to do. Don’t mind if you drown while trying to swim. If you realize that you have made a mistake in adopting the course which you are following at present, you should abandon it. If you don’t see any mistake, you must cling to it no matter even if you die or become a pauper in consequence.
But, while doing that, do not get angry with anybody or adopt untruthful means or lose your peace of mind or patience. Bear the hardships which may follow. Instead of seeking the protection of an imperfect father, seek that of the Father of all, of Omnipotent God. That will make you strong. This is the only lesson I wish to teach you.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 10 December1933 that I got the letters of you both. Which remarks of mine hurt so much? I don’t remember what I said to Kishorelal, but I have never thought you timid or cowardly. On the contrary, I have always been proud of your courage. But I do think that you are too dependent on
others, that you do not have sufficient capacity to think for yourself,. But that is not your fault. Partly it may be mine. You have nothing to feel ashamed about. I wrote a long letter to you by the last mail, from which you will be able to know clearly my views in this regard. Even your seeking my advice from here is a sign of your feeling of dependence.
If you make a mistake, I will not blame you even in my thoughts. I would do that if you betrayed the trust reposed in you. I do wish that you should keep the promises which you may have made to the people or to friends. I am not at all afraid of your present course. At the most the result would be your financial ruin. Let it be so. But don’t let people think that you acted foolishly. If you feel that you have made a mistake, admit it and free yourself. It is not as easy for me to give advice in this matter as you seem to think. If it were so, why wouldn’t I advise you immediately?
And now regarding your expenses. My remarks were not meant as criticism nor did they express my pain. I only wished to say that, having lived there in a certain manner, you could not easily change your mode of life here. I don’t wish that you should try our manner of life here at the cost of the health of all three of you. You yourself have calculated your monthly requirement at Rs. 150. I have put it at Rs. 200. But now even Rs. 150 can be obtained only as a favour. I would rather that you lived on plain fare than that you should depend on anybody’s favour. In short I am not satisfied with your way of life. I know that Sushila is much more careful than you in this matter.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 1 January 1934 that I have not yet received the letter which is due from you. I hope you got the long letters which I wrote to you. Ba is worrying about you a great deal in jail. She has been upset by some things that Pragji has said. She believes that you, Manilal, have quarreled with everybody there. I do not believe this, of course. I merely write what Ba has written to me. She has asked me to convey her exact words. Since she is in jail and can write only one letter, I naturally feel that I should
satisfy her wishes, whatever they are. That is the only reason why I have mentioned this. I keep very good health.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 13 January 1934 that I got the letters from both of you. I hope you get my letters regularly. Of late I have not missed a single mail. With my last letter I had enclosed a copy of Ba’s letter. Sushila has given sufficiently detailed news about Shanti. If he does not waste money in fanciful ventures, I am satisfied. Sushila wishes to know who are in my party. I think I have already written about that.
Personally I like Sita being talkative and mischievous. It is for the parents to put these qualities to good use. They can in this way impart a good deal of education. Naughtiness and talkativeness are a kind of energy, like steam. The energy of steam is conserved and used to drive big trains and steamboats. A child’s energy can be used in a similar manner. If we understand it and use it wisely, it can produce excellent results. Instead of making Sita write the letters of the alphabet, you should teach her just now to draw geometrical figures. After that you may teach her to draw pictures of objects and last of all to write the letters. But before doing that you should teach her to recognize the letters, and to understand the meaning of words. You can give her some knowledge daily through stories. You can easily teach her something about history, geography, science and tell her. According to the addressee, he communicated the contents of this letter to Mother and inquired if it was true that Gandhiji had “asked for at least a line in Shri Aurobindo’s hand; and Shri Aurobindo has written a full letter in his own hand which he does not usually do”. In reply, Shri Aurobindo wrote in pencil on the note: “Yes, I wrote to him a short letter explaining the nature of my retirement and regretting that I could not break my rule as long as the reason for it existed. It was addressed to Bangalore, I believe, and ought to have reached him, unless it has been pocketed by the C.I.D.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 16 February 1934 that I got the letters from both of you. I am writing this letter before the Morning Prayer in Cuddalore near Pondicherry. If you can prevent personal estrangement with Sorabji, try to do so. You shouldn’t mind his having withdrawn the advertisement. It is desirable that there should be no bitterness between you two. I have already started receiving letters on this subject. Bhavani Dayal has published an open letter against you. There was a letter in The Times of India on the
opposite side too. If I can find it, I will ask them to enclose a cutting. I
only tell you about the reports which reach here. Whether or not there is any truth in them, you two alone can say. Some of these reports may also be inspired by selfish motives. I send you whatever falls into my hands. Maybe these reports also affect the collections for the Bihar fund. What is the circulation of I.O. now?
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 24 February 1934 that Miss Schlesin has complained bitterly against the article on Thambi Naidoo which appeared in Indian Opinion. I think her
complaint is justified. The criticism of Thambi is altogether improper. There is a saying in English to the effect that one must speak nothing but good about the dead. Miss Schlesin even says that the criticism is not just either. Please write to her. And explain the matter to me too. Besides, take whatever steps may be necessary to perpetuate Thambi’s
We are in Coorg today. It is a small hilly tract below Mysore. It is a very beautiful region, quite small in size. The population must be at the most a hundred and fifty thousand. It is 6 a.m. just now. I rose at 2.45. At seven we descend from here and go to Mangalore. I shall be going to Bihar from Hyderabad on the 9th. I don’t know how long I shall have to remain there. I hope Sorab is helping you in the Bihar collection.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 26 March 1934 that I got the letters from you both. Give up all hopes about Shanti. If Sushila steadily improves her efficiency, she will be able to shoulder more responsibility. Satisbabu’s wife does not know English, but she shoulders the whole burden of Khadi Pratishthan and its Prakashan Mandir and has released Satisbabu for Harijan work. The truth of the matter is that both of them think only of service. I understand what you say regarding West1. I think his services have been so valuable that, even if he has come to feel aversion now towards us, we should not forget all that he has done in the past.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 14 May 1934 that I got your letters. I went through the Press cuttings. The criticism of Andrews’s letter was not convincingly argued. If Manilal says that he had not made any such promise, he should have quoted the exact words. A promise like that couldn’t have been merely an oral one. Manilal has quoted from Andrews’s letter though it appeared in the same issue, whereas he has [not] quoted the exact words of the promise on which his whole case is based and thus has denied the reader an opportunity to judge for himself. How could a person who has a doubt in the matter merely trust Manilal’s word? If, therefore, the promise was in writing, he should even now quote the exact words, so that the charge of violation of pledge may be refuted.
If the promise was what Manilal asserts it was, Andrews’s statement is plainly unjustified. He must have arrived there now. Manilal should have a talk with him and try to convince him if he can. There is no need for him to satisfy me. You should follow what seems to be truth to you both, and that should be enough for me. I agree with Miss Schlesin with regard to Thambi. The views expressed in the article are bound to appear as vilification. There is a saying1 in Latin, to the effect that one must speak nothing but good of the dead. Tulsidas says: This is described as one of the marks of saintly character means to cover up. A good man will himself suffer but will not expose the weaknesses of others. He might say something for the good of such a person, but that would be a different matter. This cannot be applied in Thambi’s case, for he is dead now. Try to satisfy Miss Schlesin in this matter if you can. You know that very important changes are taking place in my life. Learn from them what you can. All this is the result merely of devotion to truth. You know that your duty in regard to civil disobedience has now increased a hundredfold. You have to cultivate the fitness to be ready for it when it comes. The same is true about this tour on foot. It is not unlikely that many more people may have to undertake such tours. Make your life straightforward, simple, tough, truthful and self-controlled so that you may be able to take up such duties.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 17 July 1934 that Please do not worry about the fast I have to take up in August. God will see me through it. Don’t worry about attempts on my life either. They are nothing new. I have survived such attempts so far and will survive them as long as God wills. When He wills otherwise, a mere
yawn will end my life. Ramdas doesn’t keep good health. He will improve if he goes there. Can he and a vaid accompanying him get permission to go there? If it is possible, please secure it and send it here. The companion’s name in Raghunandan Sharma.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 23 July 1934 that I got the letter from you both. I understand what you say about West. If finally he does not reply, let it be. It is necessary that you should stay on their till somebody else agrees to take charge of your work. I see no harm in your remaining there so long as you can meet your expenses.
Have quarrels started even on the football ground? So be it. Certainly do what you think best. I have no desire at all to guide you from here, nor wish to criticize your actions. I want nothing but that you should be completely independent. It is not desirable that every day you should have to think what I would say. I want you always to do what seems proper and right to you. Progress for you two lies in your doing so. Who will guide you after my death? God is the only true guide. You should, therefore, pray to Him every day. You should daily pray, “Let Your will be mine”, and then act with faith that the Lord dwelling in your heart will guide you rightly without fail.
This answers Sushila’s question. It will be enough to maintain courteous relations with Sorabji. If you try to go further, you may have to compromise yourselves. I hope you have seen about passports for Ramdas and Dr. Sharma.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 4 August 1934 that I thought I would write a few lines before the fast which commences in two days’ time. We are in a train just now. We shall reach Wardha tomorrow morning. Devdas had come to Kashi. He parted from us at Allahabad. This time it may be said that I have already begun the fast; but how can I claim merit for it? Not being well during the last two days I have not taken milk for four days. For two days I have been eating only fruit and that too in small quantity. Even so, my strength and weight have remained satisfactory. That means that the body has lost nothing yet except the toxins. There is, therefore, no cause at all for worry. By the time you get this letter, everything will have been over. Hence it even seems unnecessary to write all this. But I thought you should know my condition as it is today.
Sushila seems to be giving you excellent help. If she had a stronger body, she could have done much more. But what she is able to do is quite satisfactory. You must have received the name selected for Arun and sent to you.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 27 August 1934 that Since Manilal has not written to me but Sushila has, should her name not be put first? I am awaiting your reply regarding a permit for Ramdas. Medh has sent nothing as yet to Uncle. If he does mean to send it, why doesn’t he send it directly to Uncle, or to me? I think I have already written to you about saving at least Rs. 5 and sending it to me for Uncle. I have requested this contribution repaying the sum that I have got paid to him. I would be glad if he is not given even that much as a gift. I don’t think he himself will be able to repay the sum. If you two and Devdas pay every month, you will feel no burden and the sum which I have borrowed from Jamnalalji can be repaid. You should try and do this much. Andrews has returned. We talked a great deal specially about you. He has been very much disappointed. He complains that Manilal has been writing articles about the Agent which are full of anger and contempt. He doesn’t say that there should be no criticism of the Agent, but that it should be kept within proper limits. I myself cannot read Indian Opinion these days. I rarely see any newspapers. I therefore don’t know. If however you have been writing anything in anger or with contempt, you should change that. You should realize that your responsibility is great. Since I have not read anything, I am not writing this by way of criticism. I am only letting you know the impression that Andrews has formed.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 17 September 1934 that I had received your letters. I had long discussions with Andrews. The trouble about Sorabji1 will go on. But it is desirable that no attacks should be made on the Agent. It would be better to write to him confidentially. So far as I can judge from here, attacking him will
serve no purpose except giving vent to one’s anger. Andrews liked all that you have been doing except the attack on the Agent. Schlesin also didn’t like it.
You have suggested that Kanti should be sent over there. But he does not agree to go. He has set his heart on studying. I believe Ramdas will require a permit. I suspect that they have taken away the rights of even the Colonial-born Indians. Ramdas’s plans are still uncertain. Just now he has gone to Sabarmati with Ba. He had a fairly serious attack of fever there. It has come down now. He has taken Kanu with him. Since he gets good company at Sabarmati, he feels quite cheerful. Kanti has gone far away to Travancore, where he will do Harijan work and study at the same time. My future plans are uncertain.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 11 November 1934 that I get your letters regularly. So it seems we shouldn’t expect a permit for Ramdas after all. He does want to get all right without having to go there. All the same if you can secure a permit do send it. If you cannot, tell me so plainly. We don’t want it if you have to flatter anybody to get it. We want it only if you can get it in a straight
manner. Ramdas and Ba arrived yesterday. Ramdas has returned a mere skeleton. He will be under my treatment now. I am hopeful that he will be all right. I understand about the Agent. Do what you think right. I told
you what I felt, but finally the pen is in your hands. I would certainly not sit in judgment over you from this distance. I don’t wish to teach you to act unnaturally. Do only that which finds an echo in your heart. If you make a mistake, you will correct it afterwards. Listen to everybody and think over what they say, but in the end do just what seems right to you.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 10 December 1934 that I got your letters. You should not expect any article from me just now. I can’t even think what to write. I do not know the situation there. I do believe, however, that the Agent should stay. Whether he is a good or a bad one will depend on our luck. But if there were to be no Agent, nothing could be done. What is to be done if none of you knows the art of using the Agent well? Or probably experience will teach you that art. It will be enough if you yourself keep away from
intrigues. Should I take it as certain now that you won’t send a permit
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 24 December 1934 that I have had no letter from you, though it is time I had one. Ramdas is getting on fairly well. Should I assume that you will
not be able to send a permit? I am going to Delhi for a month at the most. I will leave this place on the 28th. Ba will accompany me. I am getting ready for jail. But it will be some time yet. It won’t happen before February. Have you met Rees Jones? He is a very good man. He was here for a few days. Lakshmi has gone to Madras with Rajaji. Devdas is getting along very well.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 2 January 1935 that I got your letters as also the cable regarding Ramdas and Nimu. I wanted something like this, but I had not asked for a cable. It is difficult to say if Ramdas will go [to South Africa]. At present he is
looking for an opening in some business in Bombay. Anyway Manilal has, though belatedly, discharged his obligation. Harilal has for some time now settled in Rajkot. He seems to have undergone a metamorphosis.
I have noted what Sushila writes about Sita. It will be enough if she is educated as you four brothers were educated by me. I don’t repent it. It does not matter that they had no formal schooling. They have lost nothing thereby. Harilal was stubborn and did eventually go to school, doing himself harm. What children get in the loving company of their parents they can get nowhere else? Sita need not be sent here. Know that you have a duty towards Sita as you have your other duties. When you try to discharge this duty you will learn the lesson of pure brahmacharya. Just by her trying to pick up your calling she will train herself. She will pick up your speech whether decent or indecent. If you know your grammar she will learn it. If you can keep your accounts, she will learn her arithmetic. She will dust, cook, fetch water, tend the plants, learn press work. In this way by learning yourselves and helping others learn, you will all rise higher and higher. When she grows up you can send her elsewhere where she can learn more. This is the purport of the varnashramadharma and there is economics underlying it. This is true education.
Give up your fondness for schools. It is my firm belief that although the schools may offer you a free play for the intellect they do little towards character-building. I myself know many who have suffered in character by going to school. I do not know of many people who could add luster to their character by attending schools. I for one believe that those parents who send their children to school do not observe their dharma. Yes, when the children grow up, that is, say, attain the age of sixteen, they can do whatever they like. Hence, let Sita remain under your personal care till she is sixteen so that she turns out an accomplished girl and may not suffer any kind of handicap. To achieve this she should participate in all your activities and play her part intelligently. With this you will have observed your dharma.
The purport of all that I have said is only this: Forget for the time being your obsession with schooling for Sita. Let her have as much English, Hindi, Gujarati as you two can give her. Teach her your calling. You can impart to her plenty of knowledge through everyday conversation. In this way she will be making rapid progress. The right thing for her is to stick right there. Teach her the prayers, bhajans, etc. She should learn the Ramayana and other stories. Let her know about the Gita and other books. Some books you and Sushila have to read just for Sita’s sake. None of you need think of the country for the time being. When you come you should all come together. Having thought over all this “do as you like”
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 8 January 1935 that I have your separate letters. I understand what you write about Ramdas. I did want a permit issued from there. But never mind if we cannot have it. I shall myself see about it here if Ramdas is willing. I had a tersely worded letter from Mama about Medh1, which I
am enclosing along with one from Harilal. If you wish, you may let Medh read the letter. There is a great difference between what you recommended and what I find in this letter. Now Pragji alone remains to be consulted.
The new Agent came to see me. He has visited South Africa once. You will surely meet him. Keep me informed about your experience. I have of course asked him to bring about reconciliation. I am in Delhi these days. Ba, etc., are with me. We shall be here for a few more days. At any rate we must return by the end of this month. It is pretty cold here.
I hope you are all well. Sushila seems to have acquired wide knowledge.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on 13 February 1935 that I have your separate letters. I will reply to Dool’s letter. You should both get acquainted with the new agent. I had a casual talk with him about you. I have most probably written to you about it. Manilal can be said to have done well in Rhodesia. Sushila has given a considerably good account of settlers there. What do the expenses of the two of you come to? You must be making up a statement of accounts every year or every six months. So send me a copy of the latest. Sushila has asked me a question about sugar-cane juice. It has the same properties as jaggery, only in a larger measure. A man can retain strength and survive for some time on sugar-cane juice only. It is laxative if taken hot. One who takes sugar-cane juice does not need sugar or jaggery at all. Either hot or cold sugar-cane juice should be taken with a lemon squeezed into it. What its other qualities are over and above this I do not know.
You must have received a lengthy letter I wrote to you about Sita’s education. Ramdas has completely given up the idea of going there. At present there is no question of my going to jail. One could say it is not likely till the month of May.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 18 March 1935 that You have given a good description of the agent. I am able to form an idea. You should write “Saiyed Sahib” and not just “Saiyed”. I do not want to annoy you by persistently criticizing you. I trust that you would do nothing with deliberate malice but I also know that you could be led astray or provoked into saying or writing thoughtless words. Moreover you do allow your opinions to be based on unconfirmed reports. But it is difficult to change your habit forthwith. Yes, if you regularly pray as in the ashram and recite Chapter XII of the Gita which both of you were made to memorize before your marriage and if you meditate on all this, your heart will soften without any effort and your words will be full of humility, love and truth. Then you will not sit in judgment upon what others do. You will rather examine your own conduct. God has not equipped us very fully with the faculty of judging others. Who has been able to penetrate the depth of the human heart and isn’t everything imperfect unless we know what is within us? That is why the sages have said that we should never sit in judgment over others. We will have done our duty if we can weigh our own deeds dispassionately. The maxim that if we are good, the whole world is good is but a corollary of this statement.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 31 March 1935 that I have your letters. There was some confusion. I have received a part of the letter addressed to Devdas and a part of mine has gone to him. I understand about the new Agent1. You should not even think about Maharaj Singh’s criticism of you. A public worker has to put up with all such things. Do fearlessly what you consider to be your duty. Ramdas’s business is again off the rails. The person with whom he was to enter into partnership has himself broken it off. It is no doubt a good thing.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 15 April 1935 that The right hand is aching, but there is no time now to write with the left. I got the letters of you both. Don’t expect Ramdas now. Do the best you can and go ahead. Kishorelal has gone on a tour of Poona and other places. Tara has got whooping cough, which is likely
to be quite prolonged. Harilal is still with me. He wants to marry again. Let us see what happens. Ramdas is trying hard for something in Bombay, but has found nothing suitable as yet. Kanti is with me of course. I am in fine health, and so is Ba.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 13 May 1935 that I got your letters. In the end the garment to be made from my yarn could not be ready in time. Someday it surely will be. You can banish the disease from Phoenix in the same way that I did. It was banished merely through a change in diet and the crop rose in the fields. There were hardly any cases of malaria. At that time we never used to take milk. It is for you to decide what changes you should make.
Kishorelal, Gomati, and Anasuya1 arrived here three days ago. Anasuya will leave when her holidays are over. Kishorelal stood the journey well enough on the whole. Ramdas is trying hard to settle down in Bombay. He also has joined a Press. Harilal wants to marry again and that is why he has gone to Rajkot. He will try there and also look for some work. In other respects he seems all right.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 6 July 1935 that I have your letters. I understand the difficulty about eradicating malaria. The task is certainly difficult if all around the place there are plantations of sugarcane. But one thing about mosquitoes is that they do not fly beyond a certain distance. I think you are not likely to be affected by plantations situated at a distance of a hundred acres from your place. Be that as it may, make sure that no water or moisture collects around the place. Since the houses are on top of a hill, there is no possibility, either, of water accumulating around them. The food should be light. You should eat green leaves like salad, etc.
Constipation should never be ignored. Mosquito-nets should be used. I think with the help of these precautions you can keep off malaria. I was surprised to learn that Lakshmi could send khadi made from the yarn spun by me. May I take it then that I need not send anything now? If you two cannot spare any time to teach Sita, then I should think that there is some big defect somewhere in your life. If, willingly or unwillingly, you accept the responsibility of parenthood, then it also becomes your duty to train the children’s body, mind, etc., and you ought to spare some time for that, however busy your life may be. Thanks to God’s kindness, children do get some education from parents whether they know it or not. Whether you want it or not, your children are bound to imitate your manners and thoughts. Even for that reason, parents are obliged to keep their thoughts and actions absolutely pure. If your speech is pure, that of your children will be pure. If you pray regularly, your children also will do the same.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 22 July 1935 that I got the letters of you both. Your letter to Ba has been redirected to her at Delhi. She and Manu are there. News about Lakshmi’s delivery is expected in a day or two. Ramdas seems to have lost some money recently. He will learn only from his own bitter experiences. Harilal has gone to the last extreme. For the whole day he is
found in a drunken state. This time he has crossed all limits. Narandas and Kusum are in Rajkot. Nimu and her children are here. They keep fairly good health. Jamnalalji has already arrived here. Janakibehn and Madalasa are in Almora.
Kanti and Kanu are here. This being the season for rain and malaria, everybody has to be careful. Fasting has proved to be the most effective medicine. Even though it may not work in all cases, it can do no harm either. The fast may either be partial or complete. In a partial fast protein and starch are avoided. Protein is present in milk and dal. Starch is found in rice, wheat, potatoes, etc. In a partial fast, therefore, juicy fruits and green vegetables can be eaten.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 15 August 1935 that I am dashing this off in great hurry in order not to miss the mail. Everything is going on all right here. I am working under great pressure these days. I don’t get even a minute free. Harilal spends the whole day immersed in a tub of liquor, so to say. All our hopes about his having been reformed are falsified. He is now worse than he was. But one keeps on hoping as long as one breathes. Accordingly, let us hope that, if he lives, some day he will reform himself. Ba and Manu are in Delhi.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 19 August 1935 that today also I have just enough time to write only a few words. Did I write to you about a son having been born to Devdas? Lakshmi and the baby are very well. Ba and Manu are still in Delhi. Nimu is with me at present. Kano is having fever. The temperature rises and falls. He will be all right soon.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 16 September 1935 that I got your letters. I have no time at all today. On one side is Mirabehn’s sick-bed; Nimu, Lakshmi also are here. And I myself am busier with Harijan today than I am on other Mondays. Rajaji and Kishorelal are busy revising an important article of mine. In the mean time I am writing this. Devdas and Ba are in Simla. Devdas is a little better now. Pyarelal is attending on him. There is no cause for anxiety. Rajaji and Lakshmi will leave tomorrow. Rajaji himself has named the baby Rajmohan. Sardar, Ghanshyamdas and Mahadev are coming here from Bombay tomorrow.
I am firm about Sita’s and Arun’s education. You may be certain that they will never get from anybody else what they can from you. If they are trained in the right way, they will learn by themselves whatever else they especially wish to when they are grown up. Manilal must spare some time every day for them just as he spares some for eating.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 30 September 1935 that Accidents like the one that happened to Sita are a common occurrence. We should not treat them either as a good or a bad omen. If both of you feel that she ought to go to a school, that would be the right course to adopt. I am firm in my own opinion, though. It is the duty of you both to give Sita whatever you have. When she is grown up, she may add to it whatever she wishes. But I attach no value to my views before yours. After all it is you who have to shape her future. You know best your difficulties and aspirations. It would be proper, therefore, that you should do what you yourselves desire after taking my views into consideration and attaching to them whatever importance you may feel inclined to.
Ba is returning from Simla this evening. Devdas is improving. Ramdas has become a little weak. He does not wish to leave Bombay. Harilal is sanctifying his anatomy in the holy Ganga of liquor. Nimu and her children are at present staying with me. Kishorelal is keeping indifferent health, as usual. Kanti, Kanu and Navin are absorbed here in work and study.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 13 October 1935 that I got the letters of you both. You may arrange for Sita’s education as you like best. We are considering a proposal for Manu’s betrothal with Surendra. It was Kishorelal’s wish.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal and his wife on dated 29 October 1935 that I got your letters. When you feel tired, you may wind up your work there. Do not wait till you are besieged on all sides. One must understand one’s limitations. If the quarrels go on increasing and you feel helpless against them, you should frankly admit defeat and wind up the whole thing. Rent out the orchard to somebody. If you get a
buyer, sell it off. If the public want the journal2, they should meet the expenditure. If they do not want it, it is against our principle to force it on them. About the Trust, I shall think and let you know.