On July 25, 1941, Henry Ford has written a letter to Mahatma Gandhi. The letter, however, is not signed. It was delivered personally to Mahatma by T.A. Raman, then editor of the United Press of India. Here is the text:
''Dear Mahatma M K Gandhi;
I want to take this opportunity of sending you a message through T A Raman, to tell you how I admire your life and message. You are one of the greatest men in the world has ever known.
May God help and guide your lofty work.
Gandhi got this letter on December 8, 1941. In response to it, he sent his own folding spinning wheel through T. A.Raman.The spinning wheel is exhibited in Henry Ford Museum; its dimensions are --- height 4 inches, width 10 inches, length 17 inches. Signed in English and Hindi ( Devanagari ); autograph.
In the image gallery of the museum, there are eight photographs related to it; and other eight related to its presentation by T. A. Raman to Henry Ford accompanied by his wife. One is the reminiscence of T. A. Raman, a typed copy, unsigned, dated December 28, 1942. I quote it below:
. ''Mahatma Gandhi was delighted - - and somewhat surprised - - to receive greetings and good wishes from Mr. Henry Ford. It was the day after pearl harbour too, and Gandhi in the hermitage at sevagram was visibly grieved by the extension of the conflict to this whole world. The message from Mr Ford was a relief.
I told him of Mr Ford's admiration for his selfless life and the ideals which inspired them. gandhi said he was deeply touched by the message and asked me to convey his regards to Mr Ford.
I asked him whether I may take back his message in the shape of the simple machine with which Gandhi's name is associated, the spinning wheel. He agreed instantly and sent a secretary and his disciple Madeleine Slade to fetch an old spinning wheel which he had used.
he autographed it in Hindi and English twice over. while he was writing i said jokingly, '' ford seems to think that you are the one sensible man in the world!'' Gandhi laughed and, as he handed it over .said with a smile, "so, this goes from one sensible man to another!''.
He then asked me about Mr ford's health, his many activities and his views on a variety of international problems. He was particularly interested in Dearborn village and the educational work being done here. He told me in parting to make sure to convey to Mr Ford his best wishes for his health and the success of his many great undertakings.
The spinning wheel, however, had to travel 12,000 miles through perilous submarine infested waters before it reached the U. S. All the way, the blacked out ship signangged and changed the course making the journey from Bombay to New York through Cape Town and Trinidad, even longer.
I got the Captain's special permission to carry the spinning wheel with me into the lifeboat in the event of an emergency.
But we got through without mishap through missing disaster several times only by a few minutes or miles.
And so, safe now, this token of sympathy between two of the most remarkable men of our century rests in the fascinating museum. They are very different, these two men, but they are alike in simplicity, selflessness, and all-conquering faith.''