Rajkumari Amrit Kaur and Mahatma Gandhi, Part-III

Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav

Gandhian Scholar

Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India

Contact No. – 09415777229, 094055338

E-mail- dr.yogendragandhi@gmail.com;dr.yadav.yogendra@gandhifoundation.net

 

 

Rajkumari Amrit Kaur and Mahatma Gandhi, Part-III

 

 

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “You are nasty and of little faith. Why should you always know that your letters are welcome? Taken to its logical extent, it means that you have always to wire whether your letter will be welcome. Why can you not take it for granted? So somehow or other you have succeeded in sending me an instrument case! I shall prize it when I receive it and forgive the expense of sending the yarn which shall be looked after as desired by you. Andrews must be in Wardha today. I wish I was with you to supervise your packing. I should make short work of many of your things and ease your burden for the rest of your life. But now you must be in Jullundur unpacking. Meher Taj is with me. She seems to be flourishing. Do write to her and send her letter with mine.116 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Why are you in a hurry to send me the shawl? Whenever it comes, depend upon it I shall wear it. Therefore deliver it yourself or send it through someone who may be coming and save the postage for a better purpose. I won’t be any party to your becoming a miser nor can I tolerate criminal extravagance at the expense of the poor. But of all such things more when we meet. There are one or two things missing in your beautiful and needful case. One of the khaddar pieces was used to dress a new Andrews’s hernia belt. Ba came in today. She is happy. Her cottage is making steady progress. Andrews went to Nagpur and returns on Saturday or thereabout.”117   

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I shall try to procure Ku.’s book as revised by you and read it. When you post the Granth Saheb, you may pack the precious shawl, if that will satisfy your soul. I understand that Granth Saheb is available in Hindi characters with Hindi translation. If it is a Gurumukhi edition, you will have to send me a Gurumukhi primer with equivalent Hindi alphabet. I wish you could persuade enlightened Sikhs to take to the Devanagari script in the place of the Gurumukhi. I gave over four hours to Dr. or Mr. Mott with Andrews between yesterday and today.”118 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I write never to make you weep but always to make you laugh. After your letter I realized the meaning you gave to your previous letter. At the same time your paragraph did bear the meaning I put upon it. But why should my play make you weep? Why don’t you weep over the many choice adjectives I apply to you? You must develop a thick skin, if you will be well, both physically and mentally, and will take up the task for which you seem to be cut out. I am not going to Faizpur on 1st December but I may on 10th or 11th, certainly about 20th. If you come after 27th it will be very late. Why not come earlier and go from there to Ahmadabad. Then you may be a little late, if you like. But you will see what is possible. I am not touring after the Congress. My destination is Segaon. I shall have to go to Belgaum in March or April, whenever Gandhi Seva Sangh meets. This gives you all the information you need and ask for. The session begins on 27th and ends 29th. I shall certainly read your article if it comes to me in time for suggestions.”119

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I am quite clear that women should not seek favours from men. Therefore the fittest should rely upon their being wanted for the parliamentary work. I like the idea of some women at least declining to be on the reserved list. Those who will come on the Congress ticket must sign the Congress pledge. I do not know what is possible at this stage. Dr. M. should have no difficulty if she would sign the pledge and if there is room for her. But I know nothing of what is happening. You have done well in writing to J.N. I think this covers all your questions on this head. If not you will ask again. Faizpur is 25 miles’ motor drive from Bhusaval and 7 from a station before B. I forget the name. If you can start from J. two days earlier, you can easily drop in at Faizpur. You can even stay there two or three days if you can afford to leave J. earlier still. I should not accept any fixtures in J. after 12th December. You will watch my programme about that time and act accordingly. I did ask Mrs. S. to withdraw but I do not remember whether she acted up to my advice. Dr. M. should know.”120 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I will write to Shummy. My going to Faizpur early is an uncertainty. If I go I will send you full instructions. Do not worry. Your report of Manganwal is fine reading. May I publish it over your name? It can’t be anonymous. Whenever you leave you should see me on your way to Ahmadabad. I am quite clear that you may not leave Ahmadabad without finishing your work. It would be improper for you to do so. Whilst your meeting lasts, it should receive your undivided attention. What does it matter even if you come the last day?”121

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I gave you a hurried note this afternoon. If you do not meet me at Faizpur, your stopping at Wardha would not mean any loss of time. And coming to Wardha and Segaon is certainly easier than Bhusaval and Faizpur. And living at Faizpur is none too comfortable. Let us see what is in store for you.”122 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Agatha came in last evening. Andrews is here and so is Carl Heath. Your two parcels have come. I see in them two blankets! The white one is in use already. Are any of them for the Exhibition? The rest, I take it, is for the Exhibition. The books are valuable. What is the letter about articles? I think I told you they were not worth publishing such, i.e., as I had read. Shummy’s reply has been received. It is good. But he can’t bear the separation and he is anxious about your health. I have to reach Faizpur not before 20th. Hence you will pass through Wardha on your way to Ahmadabad. I leave Wardha on 19th evening. The weather here is very good. I have not seen the lace yet. Is it coming in a separate parcel?”123

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I have a moment just now for a love letter. I don’t understand the possibility of your missing Wardha en route to Ahmadabad. If it is to be with Shummy as long as possible you may drop Wardha assuredly. The quickest route from Delhi to Ahmadabad is by meter gauge. From Wardha to Ahmadabad, for you Bombay is more convenient. Tapti valley is cheaper and quite good. I am glad you are missing Delhi. No feverish running to and fro. V. S. ought not to be pampered. Ba’s cottage is nearly finished. You will like it except for its somewhat city appearance. It has cost more than my hut. I am sure that at least Rs. 100 could have been saved on it. But I could not control the operations unless I was to give my time which I could not afford. But of all this when we meet.”124 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “How idiotic of you to disappoint me at the last moment. But it is good. Duty before everything else. To pass through Wardha was no part of duty. It was pleasure to be derived in the course of due performance of duty. From what you say it seems that the two cotton quilts are also for me, not for the Exhibition. When J. comes he shall have the fulkaris. Yes, I know Natesan very well. I can certainly write to him. But I would like you to tackle him once more. Let me know the result. I shall try if you fail. Your account of the Manganwal visit with Agatha is interesting. But you must not get tired. Why strain yourself? You won’t acquire merit by overstraining or even straining yourself. Why not be satisfied with the use of energy God has given? Overuse is as much abuse as wrong use or underuse. Does this penetrate your idiotic brain? If it does, why not act accordingly? I leave here on 19th for Faizpur. They are pressing me to go to Travancore to follow up the temple-entry.”125

 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “So you will receive this in Ahmadabad. You will go to the Harijan Ashram and speak to the girls, the cattle and the trees of which there was not a trace when I took the land. There was a solitary neem tree, I think. You will see old Ramji, the Harijan, and his tall wife. And you will see also some familiar faces. Anandi, I think you know. And you must see the Vidyapith and the labour work of Anasuyabai. You should see her indigenous kindergarten for the Harijan brats. Of course you will see Mridula’s Jyoti Sangh. The other things will be shown to you in the usual manner. Don’t bury yourself in the routine work, though that can’t be neglected, I know. But you must learn the art of doing things without fretting and feeling the strain. What a long-drawn-out sermon this letter has become? You will be quite comfortable with me in Faizpur. Only don’t come there in a dilapidated condition.”126 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “You are straining every nerve to deserve the title. What a scene on Thursday over a most trifling thing! And that too after assuring me that you were indifferent to such things. However, let the past be buried. This is merely to inform you that Ramachandran wires you and Khan Saheb could go with me. I do not want to bank on that wire. I expect confirmation from C.P. I hope you had a good journey and that you have no trouble.”127

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Yesterday I received another wire from R. saying you and K. should not accompany me. But I do still expect to hear directly from C.P. saying “yes”. However, we must be ready for either event. The weather here is good but not as bracing as at Segaon.”128 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, who will speak to you after I have done, will address herself to women’s problems as you may know that she is the Secretary of the All-India Women’s Conference.”129 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I have an excuse for writing to you. You have left a small blue bottle. It contains a white powder resembling epsom salt. What is it? I do hope you had no trouble in the train. The moral is no onion, no sweet potatoes, a fair quanity of garlic. Bowels ought not to be loose. Hip and friction sitz baths and garlic ought to set the bowels right and eradicate eczema. You must take at least 3 lb. of milk per day. Try unboiled fresh milk twice a day. It must be taken whilst it is yet warm from the udder. Your place is vacant and looks dismal. Fancy doing without one’s Secretary ever at your side! But such is life, everything fleeting, only God is, nothing else is.”130

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Your two letters were destroyed as soon as I finished reading them. I am glad you have kept well. If you have that tape measure by any chance, you will send it to Delhi. You will tell me all about Shummy after you reach Jullundur. Of course I shall see Fielden. R. is with me.”131 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “This must be a newsletter only. I twice attempted yesterday and Monday to write to you but failed. This I am writing just after prayer. You are right. The tape measure was in the tin box. Nothing escaped your notice. Mahadev has gone to Calcutta to see Subhas Chandra Bose. He went yesterday. I sent him because Jamnalal Bajaj won’t let me go before Sunday. We are only Pyarelal, Mahadev and self. Of course you need not trouble to write to Bishop Moore. Yes, the missionary letter is in keeping with the general belief. But nothing beats Dornakal. I hope you will continue steady progress. A parcel of Hindi books was sent to you yesterday. Village note-paper has been given to R. I do not think anything else now remains to be done. You have yet to get the steam apparatus. If you can add cream and butter to your diet so much the better, but no forcible feeding. It must be assimilated. I am keeping well, taking more milk.”132

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “You want me to give you news. But you have not armed me with your pen. You can write away for hours and still find more to write. I can’t carry on for minutes, if I have to do mere chatting. Here goes the Morning Prayer bell. If you think that the first relevant portion of the London letter may be published, copy it and send. Sardar Datar Singh met me day before yesterday and we talked about his dairy. You should go and see it. He has one in Lahore now. There is no likelihood of my seeing the Governor-General. I leave on Sunday, possibly tomorrow. All seems to have ended well at the A. I. C. C. But there have been little storms which have not made me quite happy. They make one think. Mahadev returns today or rather tonight. He had an hour with Subhas Chandra Bose, evidently after his release. I am glad Mahadev went in time to greet him as a free man. But who knows whether he is now free or he was freer when he was a prisoner. Your description of the Manganwal village is very hopeful. Of course everywhere the difficulty is about workers. They have to be found or prepared locally. Importation is not possible for nowhere is there a plethora of supply. I have got to stop now for there are visitors surrounding me.”133

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I do not like your pain in the toe. Why do you want dal or ghee in cooking vegetables? Both are quite unnecessary, I am sure. And where is the difficulty in having local earth bandage? Are you taking enough soda? One who knows more about the baths than I do tells me that sitz-baths are far more effective than the hip. Therefore you must not omit them unless you find that they hurt. I hope the books have reached you. The parcel was given to R. to be sent to you. No, I did not see the paper, nor have I received payment. I shall see what is possible about your parcel of hand-made paper. Of course you should belong to All-India Spinners’ Association and take much more interest than you have done in the wheel. Though all has ended well it has cost me much but not more than was warranted by the occasion. Jawaharlal rose to the highest height when he apologized to the Committee for his speech before the Convention. The apology has brought him nearer to the Committee than anything else he has done during these anxious days. Let us see what happens. Thank God that He can and does override our petty plans. We were not allowed to leave yesterday. We go today and leave Wardha for Madras on 25th. Address is: Hindi Prachar Office, Thyagarayanagar, and Madras. We return to Segaon on 31st at latest, I hope.”134

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “This is being written in the moving train. You must have had the letter I asked Mahadev to write to you. In Madras I had no time for anything but the work before me. And I worked to the breaking point. The reason was a discovery of great impurity in the Secretary of the Sabha–Pandit Harihar Sharma. Ammu Swaminathan was not in Madras. You did well in sending me the wire about your foot for your letter was alarming. I hope you are now completely free. You should discover the cause of it. Yes, I would like you to give up even the spoonful of dal and equally give up vegetable or anything cooked or fried in ghee or oil. I know you do not touch oil. Do take raw onion with raw garlic, tomatoes and some green leaf. Increase the quantity of milk. If you have a good cow, once during the day try raw milk. I evidently forgot to send you Dinshaw Mehta’s address. It is Dr. Dinshaw Mehta, Healthatorium, near City Station, Poona City. Did you ever get from him the steaming kettle? I have asked him to send it to you per V. P. P. Jullundur City address. Heat has commenced in these parts. But it is not unbearable as yet. Mira says they had a bad storm in my absence. Wardha weather seems to have changed. Your Hindi attempt was good. With the Hindi Sammelan Ambujam had got up a Mahila Parishad. Ba was nominally President. As A’s address was short, I send you a copy of it. It would be good exercise for you. It has a few mistakes which you should be able to detect.”135

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I wrote yesterday but forgot to tell you that when I saw the cartoon I felt what you felt. The joke was quite innocent. Only a suspicious mind could find a sinister purpose behind the cartoon. But the suspicion is there and has to be taken account of. Therefore you were wholly right in drawing Devdas’s attention to the cartoon. Yesterday’s letter was posted in the train without late fee. Mahadev thinks that therefore it will be delivered to you a day later. This is being posted with the late fee. You will tell me if this reaches you earlier. Hope the toe is in order and you are having your walks. No dal at all and no ghee in cooking vegetables, no fried things, as much milk as you can possibly take, raw onion and raw garlic.”136 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Of course the Punjab khadi work must be put right. You should go into it thoroughly and let me know the result of your enquiry. The Hindi books have to be paid for. I am glad you and Vasumati like the selection. Will you write to Brijkishan Chandiwala, Katra Khushalrai, Delhi, for the bill? I got them through him but examined them personally. I told you, you need not keep them all but keep what you and V. like. What about Pierre? Why should you not drive out and walk barefoot on soft ground? You must have exercise in the fresh air. Bare-foot walking will do well to the toe. Of course if you had been with me the toe would have been set right without difficulty. Quackery is a good thing at times. I do not know why Mira says the weather here is bad. Of course it has rained here outside the season. I am well.”137

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I hope you are following my prescription about your toe. Local earth bandage should also be applied. Of course you won’t sign the big book, if it degrades you in your own estimation. The A. I. V. I. A. meeting accepted Jajuji’s resignation and did not appoint anyone else. Kumarappa did not shine at the meeting. But it is all right. The things will shape themselves. Here it is like monsoon.”138

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Mahadev has gone to his step-mother about his sister’s marriage. He returns tomorrow. Mahadev had a very long chat with Subhas Chandra Bose who was looking none too well. Have you not written to him after he became free? Your Hindi writing is excellent. Never mind the speed, it will come by practice. You should persevere as you have begun. I am stupid at remembering things. You will now have to bear the burden of my forgetfulness. “Bear you one another’s burdens.” All the accommodation here is proving too small for those whom I must take. Vasumati is here, Bal is coming and Amtul will soon follow. Yes Kanu was with me in Madras and will be with me when I go to Belgaum. Manu will be married in Belgaum. My address there would be: Hudli, District Belgaum, which I reach on 15th, latest 16th. I leave here 13th, latest 14th.”139  

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “You are struggling bravely to set things right with the A. I. S. A. branch there. No one can be sent from here to put things straight. You should have Bhatia also in front of you and then advise Gopichand. I see no other way. You must not strain yourself in the attempt to undo the tangle. Your Hindi is going forward by leaps and bounds. I see that very soon you will write correct and chaste Hindi. The few sentences you have written are really perfect and the hand-writing is equally good. Tell me, do you read and understand Japji in the original? If so I would like you to translate literally one verse every day. I am using both the translations you left for me. None satisfies my taste. This work ought not to take you more than five minutes daily, i.e., if you know Japji thoroughly. If you do not, you need not trouble yourself about it. What you tell me about the Tanning Institute is interesting. If they have a prospectus, send it on to me. It is decided that we leave on 14th for Belgaum. The station is Suldhal. Khan Saheb will go with us. Manu will be married there on 18th. Have you tried my remedy for the toe? I do hope this writing will not fade before it reaches you. I have added too much water.”140  

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I shall see if I can give something to Manu on your behalf. If I fail you may send something made of khadi of Punjab make, nothing expensive. The envelopes you left are still unexhausted. They will last till your return. But the lot you have sent will be welcome. Khan Saheb, his son Wali, Ba, Manu, little Kanu, big Kanu, Mahadev, Durga, Nirmala the bride, Bablo and Balvantsinha will accompany me. Bal also. He is Kakasaheb’s son. The weather everywhere seems extraordinary; we had a fierce storm here. The mango crop is all but ruined, and I am afraid of the seasonal rains holding out. Your Hindi letters are daily improving. If you continue the practice, you will acquire good speed when you come.”141 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “The one per cent that I have reserved is not to be dismissed as of any consequence. Open your heart and write frankly about whatever you are harbouring in it. If you mean to, you can do much. I wish that either you should be proved completely truthful, or that you should purify your heart thoroughly. You are perfectly right in saying that one who admits one’s faults rises. I wish you well.”142  

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I am glad you were able to go to the villages. It is certainly good news that the surrounding villages are voluntarily taking village reform. No good work but spreads like the perfume of a rose. You will take the additional man carefully. Please do not take more work than you can without ruining your body.”143 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “It is now just before Morning Prayer time. The night was quite cool. I slept on the beautiful soft ground. Gosibehn and Perin are here. Khan Saheb of course. If we are to re-introduce village articles after being used to the Western style, we shall have to be patient and inventive. That the pen requires constant dipping is a good point. It lessens fatigue. That the fountain-pen saves time is not an unmixed blessing. The village pen and ink undoubtedly admit of improvement. That can only come when you and I use these things. The rule to which you took objection has been altered so as to answer your objection. There was a dispute between Transvaal and British Governments. The matter was referred to arbitration by the Governments.”144

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “This will go to Simla. I have the prospectus, etc. That letter was over-weight and carried a fine of two annas. It is so hot that we are melting. I am in no mood to write at length. Yes, I leave for Allahabad on 25th and return on 29th. The weather this time has been cruel in so many parts of India. What is this eczema again? Do you mean the same patches?”145 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “How did you fare in your fight about the extraordinary step ordering change in the report? Really these things are enough to make one lose patience. But then these incidents test our faith in ahimsa. And there must be an innocent, non-violent gentle as opposed to noxious, violent, ungentle way of dealing with such difficulties. What answer did you get, if any, from Devdas about that cartoon in which a Biblical verse was caricatured? Did I tell you yesterday I was returning from Allahabad on 29th at the latest?”146

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Your note awaited me as I reached Allahabad. Jawaharlal looks very much pulled down, looks almost an old man. His voice is feeble. Indu is quite nice though she looks the same fragile thing she was before. Old Mrs. Nehru is bed-ridden though better than she was a few days ago. Subhas has arrived but I have not yet seen him. It is presently to strike 12 when I break silence. Subhas sees me at 1 p.m. The Working Committee sits at 2.30 p.m. I leave here on 28th and reach Wardha 29th. The weather seems to have been abnormal everywhere. It is very hot here. Mahadev, Pyarelal and Radhakrishna are with me.”147 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Allahabad was a taxing time. There was no wrangling. But the discussions in which I had to engage were a strain. The heat was terrible. Jawaharlal was pale and weak. He must have sailed for Burma by now. The trip will do him good. I have asked him to take no less than a month. After it he, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and I are to meet for a few days. You should write to Prabhavati, if you have not already. Her address is: C/o Brij Kishore Prasad, Srinagar, Sewan, Bihar. The heat is growing here. It is not trying for me. But I have to go to Gujarat for 20 days to fix up Gujarat Affairs. My address will be Tithal, Bulsar, B.B. & C.I. Railway. Tithal is on the sea. On 10th and 11th I am in Bardoli. I leave here on 9th and reach Bulsar on 12th. I could not get anything to give to Manu on your behalf. So you have to think of something inexpensive and useful.”148

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “It is hot here but I do not feel it much. The nights are cool. I quite agree with you that Lionel1 should give up the present job and do what he can in England. I wish you could persuade him to give up the job and go back to England. Shummy is right about his fear of infection. You may not expose your dear ones to risks which they and their parents will not willingly run. I am glad you have resumed Sanskrit study. You won’t give up Hindi on any account. I have already told you about my movements. Departure 9th 10 p.m., Bardoli, 10-11, Tithal, Bulsar, 12 to 30 May. Mira has been down again with fever. She can’t live without me. So she accompanies me this time and I suppose will insist every time I go out. It is no using my striving against it any more than I did against her coming back to Segaon.”149 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “This is being written on paper prepared by Prabhu Dayal. He has brought a fair lot of paper and has been showing it to me with great pride. I thought therefore that I should let you see his handiwork. This is not the best specimen but it was a convenient size for me to cut. Well, normal men are just as good and as bad as normal women. You have been known to have behaved just as badly as if not worse than Lionel. And I see from your letter to Mira that you do not give me any news about your health thus leaving me to infer that you are keeping quite well. But now I understand you are not keeping extra well. Why should I not know all this? And you have been taking medicines too! You must let me know accurately what the matter is with you. Balkrishna is just as you left him. I thought I had told you as much. I am glad you are giving so much time to Sanskrit. Your Hindi writing is a trifle too large but you are erring on the safe side; when the hand has settled you will soon begin to write the natural size. I have not had a bill from Mehta. He was given the full address. But an evil fate hangs about your address which no one but I would write correctly. I hope you had to pay nothing extra. I hope it will be of use. You should write to Dinsha Mehta to send you the bill for the kettle.”150  

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Whether four days’ gap is too long or not is a matter of opinion. I certainly missed your letter in Bardoli as also here yesterday. But you are always excused. I do not want your letters at the cost of your health or your work. But I want them when you can give them to me without strain and stress. Your letter to the Municipality is good. If no relief is immediately given, you should certainly expose the Municipality. Why not write to Lady Linlithgow? Invite her to visit the quarters. I am not going to issue a certificate of merit until you possess excellent health. And you can do it, if you will be carefree and take plenty of milk, juicy fruit and salads. What is the quantity of milk you take now? I do not believe in your reserving things to be told to me when we meet. You either forget they or the things are too stale to bear telling or there is no time. When you have a hailstorm, why can’t you say “God knows best?” If He does not, who does? When we have what we call magnificent weather, why should we thank God, and why not when there is uncomfortable hailstorm? I can understand not thanking at all. But we do, whether we say it in so many words or not, every time we feel pleased. To be pleased is to express thanks by action. Here comes the meal and I must stop.”151 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Of course you will miss your Hindi lesson or Sanskrit when you are tired or busy. These things ought never to be a tax on you. They must be your recreation. You will master these languages better and mentally and physically flourish under recreate work. And on no account may you omit your daily walks. The cutting you send is out of the ordinary. The writer is concerned about my soul more than about the loss of Harijans to the so-called Christianity. Sardar has ensured perfect quiet for me. He does not allow visitors to come near me. This leaves me free to attend to correspondence with fair regularity.”152  

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Yes, the sea breezes are fine. I wish you were here to share them. We walk through the sea water every morning and evening. It is a bracing walk. Kanu the little one enjoys it most. We are almost 25 strong now. And presently we shall perhaps double the record. Tithal is a little village. It has only a few bungalows. We are in Bhulabhai’s. He has hired another to take in the overflow. He bears all the expenses. I expect to leave this on 30th. I do not mind the Segaon heat. I must not absent myself for any length of time. I am glad you were able to make a collection from the Club for Harijans. Of course, the principal portion should go to the Harijans and khadi. But I know you cannot, may not, force the pace. This suppuration of the toe I do not like. Nevertheless, it is good that the poison is coming out. Are you having the hip-baths? What about the friction-baths? I wish you could master them and do them correctly. Are you continuing garlic? What about onion? No fried things I hope and about dal? Even a spoonful is poison for you. Purest milk and butter if needed with green vegetables and juicy fruit is your food. What is the quantity of milk? Have you written to Balkrishna?”153  

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “This is just to send you a sample of the lace now being manufactured in Andhra out of hand-spun yarn. The price is Re. 0-3- 6 per yard. Do you, i.e., your customers, need any? Is it up to the mark? There is some for sale in the Bombay Depot.”154 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I am overwhelmingly busy just now. Wish I had the time to describe the interesting events. This is just to acknowledge your letter. Your reconstruction circular letter is good. I have not even been able to study it so carefully as to enable me to offer helpful suggestions.”155 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I have written to Jerajani, A.I.S.A. Khadi Depot, Kalbadevi, and Bombay, asking him to send you the lace for sale or return. You should send him your specimen or your criticism which he can understand. You should similarly send your opinion to the Gandhi Seva Sena. Poor Tofa! In spite of your references to him in every letter, I have not even thought of him. My apologies to you and him. In spite of my regarding dogs and human beings as equal, I cannot feel the same in respect of illness of dogs as of men. But I hope for your sake that he is fully restored. The moral from this domestic illness may be that you cannot serve man and dogs at the same time and therefore dogs should not be kept as pets. Hard lines, but there it is. You cannot divide your loyalty between two. The pin’s head may be far more dangerous than an open sore into which you can thrust your finger. Therefore don’t disregard it.”156

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Jawaharlal’s letter to Ammu is inoffensive. It won’t do for women to have tender skin. His viewpoint should be appreciated. You were right in not circulating the letter. It may be read, if necessary, at some meeting where you can watch and correct misunderstanding. But just as it is necessary to understand his viewpoint, it is also necessary for you to recognize your limitations. You stand midway between two forces. You will therefore never become a democratic organization. Perhaps your title is a misnomer. You may retain it but define your limitations. This theme can be further considered when we meet in July. (Is it not?) I hope the pin-head has closed from the bottom. I am hoping that you will meet Kallenbach. You will love him.”157 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I have already told you I leave here 10th June; reach Segaon 12th June, not to leave it (D.V.) till the meeting of the Haripura Congress. So I expect you in July and thereafter you will take your seconds, minutes or hours whatever you can get and have advice, guidance, and orders at your wish! Yes, Kumarappa does feel that his interpretation was right and mine wholly wrong and misleading and when he told me that Bahadurji had agreed with him, I told him I must have his opinion in writing. He said he would get it. I do not know what happened after. I still maintain that he has no legal sense. But what does that matter? He has good sense, he is a faithful worker. I would therefore be pleased if he proves to be right in his interpretation. I shall then have to blow out my legal brain which people thought I had. Your pin-head is an eternal pin-prick for me. You must not neglect it. You must worry Shummy’s life out of him and get it right, your preoccupations notwithstanding. Your dal is also a pin-head. I speak not from prejudice but experience. You cannot judge results from what ordinarily healthy men can eat seemingly without harm. I tell you a tea-spoonful of dal has been known to upset delicate stomachs and yours is extra delicate. You do get enough protein from your milk and chapati when you take enough. I wish you would consult Menkel, the food specialist. I am not sure of the spelling of his name. I would be sorry if you miss meeting Kallenbach. He has no desire to see anything in India. He has come just to be with me as long as he can. He is not sure how long he can stay. Although he has become a big architect and his firm has four branches employing 35 architects, he remains in his personal life just as simple as when I left him in 1914.”158

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I am glad the dog is better but the pin-point still remains active. Can’t you get some doctor to find out the cause? You want Jawaharlal’s letter back. Did you ask for it in your first letter? I destroyed it after replying as it was clearly a type copy. The original must be in existence with Ammu. I should be sorry if the original is also destroyed. It cannot be. In future always mark “to be returned” when you want any writing returned. You should teach men a lesson in punctuality by your leaving punctually even as you reach punctually. Did I tell you of an English friend beginning his meeting exactly at the advertised time, though the audience consisted of only one man or woman I forget which? It is not unlikely that Kallenbach would be in Segaon in July when you come. Did I not tell you I was leaving here on 10th morning? Letters may come here till 9th June.”159 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Congratulations. What a splinter! So, my anxiety was justified and so is your idiocy. You won’t repeat the folly of disregarding pinpoints. I hope when this reaches you, you would have recovered completely. I understand your question about violence. Good results do not justify violence and they do not nullify the evil that violence works. It is not always possible to lay one’s hands on the evil that violence works. Thus it is not possible to weigh the evil wrought by hanging a murderer, though we may heave a sigh of relief when he is put out. Faith would be meaningless, if we were able always to account for everything. Have I understood your question correctly?”160

 

 

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “It has evidently miscarried. But yours of 4th gives an indication of what was in that of the 3rd so far as the Sammelan is concerned. The matter is being dealt with in Harijan. Am glad there is no oozing. You know now how sinful suppression is. If you had told me, the splinter would have been out in Segaon if it was there that it entered the toe, as it must have. Call thou nothing mean or trifling! Do you know anything about two Englishmen stealthily removing the Congress flag flying over the Khadi Depot of Simla? Let us not anticipate my whereabouts when the Sammelan meets in Simla. You know that I shall want to come if I can. Did I tell you I have a very good Gujarati translation with notes of Japji together with the original text? It is a shame if there is no such thing in Hindi. But you won’t make a search now. The Gujarati translation meets my wants entirely.”161

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Mahadev is inquiring. Mira has been well and yet she gets fever now and then. She is ready to go to a hill station. I forget what you had said about her coming to you. My impression is that you had finally said ‘No’; she has an impression that you might have said ‘Yes’. If you feel like taking her, you must see Shummy and let him decide. She is an easy guest in a well-ordered home. But that is nothing. You must decide without the slightest reserve. Your ‘No’ won’t be misunderstood. You will see what I have said in Harijan. If it is not enough you will tell me. You may have political sense. I have none. But I claim the nonviolent sense to which you from the camphorated area must be a stranger! My solution is in furtherance of non-violence. That has been my policy and it has served me well. I seem to possess the requisite acumen when I am assiduously accused of lacking it. How else can they be little my proposal? But am I not a free lance? Congress can repudiate the suggestion, refuse office altogether or retrace its step and accept it unconditionally. You should write to Vithaldas about the lace. It is made in Andhra. Send him specimens of what you would like.”162  

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I have no doubt that the Harijan article will be copied elsewhere. It ought to give satisfaction. But as I have said, if anything more is required, you will let me know. The Muslim distrust and consequent opposition is difficult to remove. But if anyone can do it you are the person. You must therefore study the whole question so thoroughly as to be able to answer every objection. Whatever you cannot answer, you will pass on to me and I shall deal with it. I am afraid this writing is too faint to decipher. If it is, you will let me know. I would like you even to return the letter so that I can have the lesson imprinted on my memory. The ink was too thick. I added water. It has served my purpose but I doubt if the writing won’t fade by the time this reaches you. We came in yesterday, early morning and reached Segaon 7.30 a.m. It is fairly hot here still. The rain is keeping off.”163 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Having just got your letter, this is just to tell you I understand and appreciate your ‘No’1. I had expected it. Mira went yesterday to Dalhousie, having got subhas’s wire. Why should you worry about explaining the ‘No’ to me? Must every ‘yes’ and every ‘no’ need explaining? Love that demands such explanations must be sorry stuff. Mine never is. It can stand many “no’s” so long as there is a ‘yes’ interspersed. No nonsense now. Time flies.”164

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I am positive that you have no cause to feel depressed. You will feel depressed even when you do the right thing, if so doing you are likely to wound somebody’s susceptibility. How are you to cheer such stupid people? Are they to be told to do the wrong thing in order to escape depression? Read Chapter 6 of the Gita or Japji. You will find in the latter many passages to dispel your depression which is a form of ignorance. I suppose Jawaharlal wrote to me at the same time that he wrote to you. For in his letter to me also he alludes to his sore throat, etc. He is likely to be with me during the last week of the month.”165 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I have not kept you without letter two days running. Sometimes I have written two days running. As you must have seen I have declined to make any statement on the office issue. The Times of India interview was exhaustive and the last word so far as I am concerned. Now the Working Committee has to have its say. Your Hindi writing is getting scarce. But I don’t grumble. You have your hands more than full. I therefore satisfy myself with what I get. Khan Saheb, Mehrtaj and Lali came in yesterday.”166

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “There is nothing wrong with the village ink. The wrong is with me. I am too lazy to attend to the laws governing the use of village ink. I won’t shake off my laziness by reverting to the use of the lazy city ink. I can do so, if ever, by persisting in the use of village ink and by people like you pulling me up when my letters are too faint to be deciphered. Mira is happy in Dalhousie. She is charmed with the eternal snows which she sees daily. And Dr. Dharmavir and subhas are very attentive to her. And you are right when you say she won’t feel too crowded there. You should write to her. It is good news you give me of some of the Harijan hovels being destroyed and new houses being built for them. Most probably the Working Committee will meet here next week. There is no question this time of going to Allahabad. Who recommended the three pamphlets? Do you know anything of them? You should plead for me with those who would want me to read books. No time.”167 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “So you have fairly won your victory. But you will have to pursue the matter to the end, lest the Municipality goes to sleep. You are right. Subhas ought not to leave Dalhousie in a hurry. He should be thoroughly restored for the task in front of him. I am sorry I forgot to tell you that Jamnalalji came in here on 6th and will be with the exception of three or four days when he has to go to Calcutta for his son’s marriage in Calcutta. He goes on 29th. You should write to Mira when you get two minutes. Why won’t you consult Mencken or Menkel about your food? You must get rid of your indigestion. I can’t guide you much from a distance. Therefore you need some local assistance for the proper selection of your menu. The Working Committee meets on 4th or 5th July in Wardha. It must decide the office issue finally.”168

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “It is good. I do not think it is possible to change the name of the Sammelan. I got the definition put right with difficulty. It is the spirit that needs to be changed and not the name which is ancient. I hope you will not commit yourself to anything that may embarrass you or the officials of the Sammelan. Have you read any of the annual addresses of the Sammelan Presidents? Do, if you get the time. No more today as this is being written just after the Morning Prayer for Parnerkar to take it to Wardha.”169 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I forgot to write to you about one thing. You referred to Devdas’s third child. I agree with you that he should stop now. I must not write, you can, perhaps, must. I have no doubt he knows. I do not know who greater sinner is. They passionately love each other. And then love expresses itself in the painful fashion. I suppose they cannot help themselves. I know what an effort it is to exercise self-restraint when physical love is let loose. Duty separated us for long intervals. That gave me time for thinking and disciplining myself. After the appearance of Devdas I had fairly conquered the animal in me. Intense public activity of an exacting nature cast upon me a burden which I could not carry at the sometime as making additions to the family. Thus did nature help me? And my greatest good luck was that in Ba I had a companion who never tempted me, so far as I can recall. Such is not the case with the present generation. I do not know that it was better in my generation. Ba is perhaps an exceptional woman. So you see I have boundless charity for Devdas. And yet how I wish the terrible burden on Lakshmi could be removed. Devdas and Lakshmi almost make out a case for the use of contraceptives. And yet I know that it will be a fatal conclusion to draw from this hard case. If they cannot restrain themselves Lakshmi must suffer. Now you have all the data, if you have self-confidence enough, to write to Devdas.”170

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “You are quite correct in writing to me as you have done. Other friends also have been writing to me and letters such as yours will help me to gauge public opinion. For, it is one thing for me to hold a theoretical opinion, another thing to base it on practical experience.”171 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I knew Menckel was a crank but did not know that he was a fool. Of course you are bound to report to me any irregularity in your health even though I may be able to do nothing. Garlic should never induce loose stools. Dal or some protein or starch food is at bottom. Do you know Dharmavir? What do you think of him? I quite see that I must not pile any new work on you even though it is a letter to be written to anyone. Are you not an idiot? You have said nothing new in suggesting that the common language may be written in either script, Devanagari or Persian. You will read my credo in Harijan. But the name Hindi will never be changed. You might as well change your own name to please people! Hindi is the original name. It is the utmost one can do to adopt Hindustani violence in the air and this demand for the change of name not by an individual but by an institution is violence which ought not to be submitted to. There is no logic or reason in it. How can I ask an old literary association to change its name without an overwhelmingly just cause? Do you see the point? Parkinson’s letter is good. The rains have set in properly now. Ba came in yesterday bringing in Kusum–an old Ashram inmate. The weather is alternately cool and warm. When you come do bring your mosquito net, though there are not more than the usual number. I do not want you to run any avoidable risk.”172  

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I have no time. But I dare not leave you alone. Therefore this is just to acknowledge your letters. Pyarelal must have written to you. I shall try to send you a wire as you desire. If the spot near the ear shows signs of oozing, you should give it steam and try ice, if you won’t take the trouble of having an earth bandage. You should bring the steaming apparatus with you when you come. Mine is not with me just now. Hope your play will go off well if only for the Harijan cause. Jawaharlal is looking better and cheerful. We had good two days. Ramdas goes with Kallenbach to South Africa, Kallenbach paying all the expenses. He has plenty of money and my relations with him warrant my accepting his offer.”173

 

References:

 

  1. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, November 9, 1936
  2. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, November 12, 1936
  3. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, November 14, 1936
  4. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, November 19, 1936
  5. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, November 24, 1936
  6. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, November 29, 1936
  7. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, November 29, 1936
  8. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, December 6, 1936
  9. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, December 11, 1936
  10. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, December 15, 1936
  11. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, December 18, 1936
  12. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, January 8, 1937
  13. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, January 9, 1937
  14. VOL. 70: 21 OCTOBER, 1936 - 24 FEBRUARY, 1937 325
  15. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, March 8, 1937
  16. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, March 13, 1937
  17. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, March 17, 1937
  18. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, March 19, 1937
  19. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, March 22, 1937
  20. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, March 30, 1937
  21. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, March 31, 1937
  22. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, April 1, 1937
  23. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, April 3, 1937
  24. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, April 5, 1937
  25. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, April 9, 1937
  26. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, April 12, 1937
  27. LETTER TO CHANDAN PAREKH, April 12, 1937
  28. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, April 15, 1937
  29. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, April 17, 1937
  30. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, April 23, 1937
  31. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, April 24, 1937
  32. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, April 26, 1937
  33. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, May 2, 1937
  34. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, May 4, 1937
  35. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, May 8, 1937
  36. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, May 13, 1937
  37. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, May 15, 1937
  38. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, May 18, 1937
  39. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, May 19, 1937
  40. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, May 23, 1937
  41. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, May 24, 1937
  42. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, May 27, 1937
  43. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, May 29, 1937
  44. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, May 31, 1937
  45. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, June 2, 1937
  46. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, June 7, 1937
  47. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, June 8, 1937
  48. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, June 13, 1937
  49. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, June 14, 1937
  50. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, June 14, 1937
  51. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, June 18, 1937
  52. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, June 20, 1937
  53.  LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, June 21, 1937
  54. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, June 25, 1937
  55. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, June 26, 1937
  56. LETTER TO C.A. TULPULE, June 26, 1937
  57. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, June 30, 1937
  58. LETTER TO AMRIT KAUR, July 5, 1937

 

 

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