GandhiTopia

Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum

Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi- Part-II

 

Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav

Gandhian Scholar

Gandhi Research Foundation Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India

Contact No. – 09404955338, 09415777229

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

 

 

Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi- Part-II

 

 

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “There is certainly no urgent need about your returning. From your telegram I have gathered that you were all an in spite of the chill of which you write to me in your letter. What you read in the papers about a breakdown was not without foundation but just now in Gujarat there is no immediate danger of a breakdown. I am going to Simla next week to confer with Mr. Emerson about several outstanding matters and he says in his letter that incidentally there would be meeting with the Government about the Round Table Conference. He expects me also to go to Nainital on or about the 18th. I do not know how things are progressing in the U.P. just now. But it will be as well for me to go to Nainital. Of course you were quite right in writing to me on the Hindu-Muslim question as frankly as you have done. I should have felt hurt if you had done less. You have a perfect right to unburden yourself without the least fear of being misunderstood by me. Of course I do not plead guilty to your charge. I have always taken good care to say that I was speaking for myself. So long as we have not evolved a concrete policy how could I help expressing my own personal views? But the occasions have not been many when I have let myself go. I quite agree with you that Dr. Ansari’s proposal about arbitration consisting of the many names he suggests is highly unpractical. Nothing of course has come out of it. Dr. Mahmud’s fear is absolutely baseless. I did see Bhopal at the latter’s instance and when he discussed the Hindu-Muslim question I naturally said that he might call in Shaukat Ali and his other friends and then summon me to Bhopal if he thought that there was anything to be done. I could not say to him that he was not to move at all. That same day Mrs. Naidu brought Shaukat Ali to Mani Bhuvan and I related the conversation I had with Bhopal. Nothing more has happened. I have made no movement and have written not one single line beyond saying that I was praying, which I am literally doing. I wrote last week as much to Dr. Mahmud when he complained that I had broken the pact that I was to be dumb. When you return completely restored, we must have a meeting of the Working Committee and if we can evolve a formula for the guidance of all Congressmen, nothing will please me more. Personally I think that we shall not be able to evolve any formula just now and I am more and more driven to the idea I adumbrated before you on the day of your departure or the day previous. When you reach Bombay of course you will first of all seek me out wherever I am. It is highly likely that I shall be by that time in BORSAD or Bardoli. No going to London without Hindu-Muslim unity.”54

 

 

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “If you are fresh and do not mind the journey do come to Bardoli for Sunday to that we might have a quiet chat here before beginning operations on Tuesday. I hope Kamala and Indu have profited by the rest.”55 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “You must have seen the enclosed notice about the flag on the University building. I am receiving complaints from other places also. As soon as you have the time I would like you to go into all these things and then tell me what you think about it all. If the matters can wait till we meet at Surat for the Working Committee we must discuss them then or you should write to me earlier.”56

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I am glad the notice under Sec. 144 in Rae Bareli has been withdrawn. It was undoubtedly due to your clear letter to the Chief Secretary. By the time you reach Bombay for the Working Committee, the Committee should be ready to give definite guidance. I am quite convinced that in order to complete our case it is necessary for you to ask the Governor to see you. In seeking the interview you will tell him that you want to leave no stone unturned to see that the clear position is placed before the highest authority in the province. You may bring nothing from the Governor but our position will surely be the stronger for your having made the attempt to see him and to secure fulfillment of the Settlement. We shall lose nothing by your offering to see him and seeing him if he accepts the offer. You might have seen in Young India what I wrote about the happenings in Unao District. I am going to write again on the material supplied by you and others. It was unfortunate that the Working Committee had to be postponed. Vallabhbhai was strongly against going to Allahabad in the present circumstances there. I think too that what with Cawnpore and the other excitement in U.P. it was better that Allahabad was avoided for the time being.” 57

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I have your letter of 27th June, redirected from Bardoli. Possibly you did not know that from Bombay I had come back to Borsad because it has been necessary for Vallabhbhai and me to divide our work. Danger is being averted by constant presence and vigilance. But any day there might be a burst-up in Borsad. I have had difficult experiences of working settlements in South Africa and even getting the poor head broken in rendering a cent per cent account from our side, and then had to get myself arrested in making the Government render a tolerably good account of them. But I thought that I had forgotten all about working settlements. Now, however, I am reviving old memories and many of the experiences are being repeated. My great satisfaction however is that whether war or settlement, the nation must go forward if we remain faithful servers. I like all your letters to the Chief Secretary. I do hope that the Governor will consent to see you. Here is a complaint against you. Please keep the typewritten sheet and return it to me if you write about it or bring it with you and you will tell me all about it when we meet.”58   

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “This will be given to you by Srinivasa Sharma of Meerut. He has found his way to the Ashram and as he seemed to be very importunate, he was admitted. He did not then says that he had really deserted his wife and run away from his place because he was heavily in debt. He felt penitent three or four days ago and confessed that he had left his wife and that he had creditors for nearly Rs. 1,000. He is therefore afraid to return to Meerut. I have advised him to seek some work in U.P. He seems to have been a volunteer also in Allahabad. I had only one chat with him and he impressed me as a sincere man wishing to do the right thing. He is now going to Allahabad and will see you. I would suggest your putting him somewhere, insisting on his sending for his wife and finding out something about his creditors. If he proves a reliable worker he might be of great use. If, however, you cannot accommodate him anywhere and consider it too much of a bother in the midst of your work you may dismiss him from your mind.”59

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “There are so many rumours and so many misrepresentations going on that I thought I would clear the position by letting the Viceroy know exactly where we stand. Dr. Sapru also sent me a wire of which I send you a copy herewith and a copy of my reply. I hope you found Indu cheerful.”60 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “We have just left Port Said. The Big Brother joined us here. Today is my day of silence. We meet tomorrow for a talk. Here are interesting cuttings from the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph some friends from shore brought us. They are meant for your amusement and recreation. You may pass them on to Vallabhbhai after you have done with them. Devdas has given me your further letters to Indira. I have not yet had the time to look at them. My time has been fully taken up with preparing for Young India and Navajivan, writing letters and keeping some appointments with sleep thrown in. I hope the situation in U.P. has improved. I am anxious for news from you. I know you will not hesitate to use the cable when necessary. Are you keeping touch with A. Ghaffar Khan? How is Jayaprakash doing? You will know from Y.I. all about affectionate messages from Egypt. Malaviyaji has been keeping very good health. The sea did not trouble him except for one day. Mirabehn had the largest share of seasickness. Pyarelal and Devdas had a fair share. Mahadev has been quite free. And he has worked the most.”61

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Somehow or other your arrest did not come upon me as a surprise. I have not yet been able to go to Kamala. I may tonight or tomorrow for certain. You will be glad to know that I have read your second series of letters to Indu, I had some suggestions to make, but of that, when perhaps we have come to our own. Meanwhile love to you and Sherwani.”62  Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “You have no cause to envy us poor folk outside. But we do envy you for getting all the glory and leaving the drudgery to the outsiders. But we are plotting vengeance. I hope you are allowed to get some newspapers. In all I am doing you are constantly before my mind’s eye. I saw Kamala the other day. She does need plenty of rest. I shall try to see her once more and insist upon her not leaving her room till she is thoroughly restored. I hope you will approve of the action taken regarding Dr. Mahmud. I am sure that the promise to pay the assessment on Anand Bhawan should be paid.”63

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Sarup came to me the other day to discuss her project about untouchability. She said you had advised rest in Ceylon. I regard it as unnecessary. She is quite able to do some work and she is quite willing to do some untouchability work. I think that she should be allowed to do the work so long as she wishes to do it. She told me you had some more teeth out while she was busy growing grey hair. But eye-witnesses tell me you were otherwise keeping quite fit. You still seem to be refusing to see visitors. I wish you would see them, if it is at all possible. It will give them satisfaction. We are now a happy team of four, Chhaganlal Joshi having been added unto us. I do not know whether you are interesting yourself in the Harijan work. I am having a glorious time with the Shastris. My knowledge of the letter of the Shastras is better but of true religion they are able to give me but little.”64  

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I have been postponing writing to you. But I can do so no longer. Daily the work is increasing. I must therefore write now and do the best I can. I wonder if you are allowed an innocent paper like Harijan. I am sending it in the hope that you will get it. If you do, you will please let me have your opinion. The fight against sanatanists is becoming more and more interesting if also increasingly difficult. The one good thing is that they have been awakened from long lethargy. The abuses they are hurling at me are wonderfully refreshing. I am all that is bad and corrupt on this earth. But the storm will subside. For I apply the sovereign remedy of ahimsa no retaliation. The more I ignore the abuses, the fiercer they are becoming. But it is the death dance of the moth round a lamp. Poor Rajagopalachari and Devdas! They are also in for it. They are dragging out the engagement with Lakshmi and weaving round it foul charges. Thus is untouchability being supported! Sarup and Krishna saw me the other day about untouchability and Indu as part of the domestic interview. Indu was in excellent health and seemed to be quite happy. Sarup is having a brief tour in Kathiawar and Gujarat for anti-untouchability and Krishna was to have gone to Allahabad. Devdas is in Delhi helping Raja who is moving the M.L.A.s for the anti-untouchability Bills. Our time is being wholly occupied by the untouchability work. Sardar Vallabhbhai contributes all the envelopes for the ever-increasing number of outgoing letters. He is the diligent newspaper reader who digs out odd bits of information on untouchability and what not. He is also a factory for the inexhaustible supply of mirth. The inspection day is just the same to him as any other day. He never has any request to make. With me never a day passes but I have some request to make. But I do not know which is the happier. Why may I not be as happy as he, if I can take my defeats without pulling a long face! We all envy your solitude and your studies. It is true that our burdens are of our own making or more accurately of my making. I have dashed to pieces all Vallabhbhai’s hope of becoming a good Sanskrit scholar. He can’t concentrate on his studies in the midst of the excitement of Harijan work and the daily dish of spiced criticism which he enjoys like the Bengal footballers their game. Mahadev continues to be what Shaukat described him to be the hamal of the party. No work is too much for him or beyond him. Chhaganlal Joshi is still finding his feet. But he is flourishing. With the spring now well on us, he cannot fail to blossom out. We are not a bad assortment. We observe the rules of the game and so make a fairly decent family strictly regulated by the code of varnashrama which between Dr. Ambedkar and me will soon provide a new sensation for the sanatanists. More trouble for me but none of my seeking, I assure you. I have now only space and time enough to say we all hope your progress all round continues steadily.”65

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “As I was struggling against the coming fast, you were before me as it were in flesh and blood. But it was no use. How I wish I could feel that you had understood the absolute necessity of it. The Harijan movement is too big for mere intellectual effort. There is nothing so bad in the entire world. And yet I cannot leave religion and therefore Hinduism. My life would be a burden to me, if Hinduism failed me. I love Christianity, Islam and many other faiths through Hinduism. Take it away and nothing remains for me. But then I cannot tolerate it with untouchability the high-and-low belief. Fortunately Hinduism contains a sovereign remedy for the evil. I have applied the remedy. I want you to feel, if you can, that it is well if I survive the fast and well also if the body dissolves in spite of the effort to live. What is it after all more perishable than a brittle chimney piece? You can preserve the latter intact for ten thousand years, but you may fail to keep the body intact even for a minute. And surely death is not an end to all effort. Rightly faced, it may be but the beginning of a nobler effort. But I won’t convince you by argument, if you did not see the truth intuitively. I know that even if I do not carry your approval with me, I shall retain your precious love during all those days of ordeal. I had your letter which I had thought I would answer at leisure. Well, God had willed otherwise. I had talks with Krishna. Of Sarup’s work in Kathiawar I think I wrote to you. Kamala has not even sent me her address. There has been no letter from her for many days now. When you see her please give her and Indu my love. Kamala must not worry over the fast. If possible send me a wire.”66

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I have often wished to write to you but I have been helpless. Every ounce of the energy newly acquired has been spent in attending to the pressing work before me. I had a nice time with Mother and Kamala. I was not able to see much of Sarup and Ranjit. Mother is anxious about Krishna. She had long talks with me about her future. If you have any suggestions for me in the matter please let me have them. Of course my movements are uncertain. But that does not matter. Devdas and Lakshmi, I left in Poona. They are due to come here now. Devdas will most probably settle down in Delhi for the time being. Mahadev, Ba and Prabhavati are with me. They are all soon to disperse, I expect. I have been slow in regaining pre-fast strength. But I am slowly improving.”67 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “So you are out before your time. I hope you got my wire. I had thought that Mother was going back to Allahabad. I expect full report from you. Indu has been with me fairly often. She is to come again this evening. If it is at all possible, we must meet soon. But of course you will be held up there if Mother remains bad. I shall expect a full letter from you. It would be as well to send it by registered post. I am slowly regaining lost strength. I say nothing about the fast as I expect you now know all about it. More when we meet.”68

 

 

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Evidently your presence has served as a tonic for Mother. If she remains free from fever, you should be free to move out for a few days. If so, you should come to me as early as you can. I am anxious to leave here on Friday or Saturday next for Bombay and be there for about a week and then go to Wardha. I do not know the young man you mention. I know the family well. I must have met him too. But I could not identify him, if I saw him. The family has liberal traditions. Krishna is therefore likely to be quite happy with them. I have written to Anasuyabehn about him. She of course knows all these people intimately. But meanwhile I see no harm in you’re sending for him and seeing him and presenting him to Mother if you find him acceptable. On hearing from Anasuyabehn, I shall wire to you, if necessary. Of course, I am otherwise keeping the matter quite secret. I take it that you have not minded my writing to Anasuyabehn. Kamala needs freedom from excitement and worry. I am inclined to think that she is the least unhappy in Bombay with Naoroji sisters. I therefore feel that you should bring her when you come here and then leave her here. In the expectation that we must meet soon, I say nothing of the political situation or of my fasting exploits. I am ‘steadily regaining lost strength. Poor Mahadev is in Belgaum. It is good to go through the fire. Do please tell Mother that she is continually in my thoughts. She has to live long enough to see the clouds lifting.”69 

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “When, on my return from London at the end of 1931, I found you to have been suddenly snatched away from me, I felt the separation keenly. I was, therefore, most anxious to meet you and exchange views. With much of what you have said in your letter I am in complete agreement. The experience gained after the Karachi Congress has, if possible, strengthened my faith in the main resolution and the economic programme referred to by you. I have no doubt in my mind that our goal can be no less than ‘Complete Independence’. I am also in whole-hearted agreement with you when you say that without a material revision of vested interests the condition of the masses can never be improved. I believe, too, though I may not go as far as you do, that before India can become one homogeneous entity, the princes will have to part with much of their power and become popular representatives of the people over whom they are ruling today. I can corroborate from first-hand experience much of what you say about the Round Table Conference. Nor have I the slightest difficulty in agreeing with you that in these days of rapid intercommunication and a growing consciousness of the oneness of all mankind, we must recognize that our nationalism must not be inconsistent with progressive internationalism. India cannot stand in isolation and unaffected by what is going on in other parts of the world. I can, therefore, go the whole length with you and say that ‘we should range ourselves with the progressive forces of the world’. But I know that though there is such an agreement between you and me in the enunciation of ideals, there are temperamental differences between us. Thus you have emphasized the necessity of a clear statement of the goal, but having once determined it, I have never attached importance to the repetition. The clearest possible definition of the goal and its appreciation would fail to take us there if we do not know and utilize the means of achieving it. I have, therefore, concerned myself principally with the conservation of the means and their progressive use. I know that if we can take care of them, attainment of the goal is assured. I feel too that our progress towards the goal will be in exact proportion to the purity of our means. If we can give an ocular demonstration of our uttermost truthfulness and non-violence, I am convinced that our statement of the national goal cannot long offend the interests which your letter would appear to attack. We know that the princes, the zamindars, and those who depend for their existence upon the exploitation of the masses, would cease to fear and distrust us, if we could but ensure the innocence of our methods. We do not seek to coerce any. We seek to convert them. This method may appear to be long, perhaps too long, but I am convinced that it is the shortest. In the main I agree with your interpretation of Sjt. Aney’s instructions and my note upon them. I am quite clear in my mind that had those instructions not been issued, the whole movement of civil resistance would have collapsed through growing internal weakness; for Congressmen were deluding themselves into the belief that there were organizations effectively functioning to which they could look for guidance, when, as a matter of fact, under the organized terrorism which the Ordinance Rule means, organized functioning of Congress Committees had become impossible. A false belief in the functioning of organizations, rendered illegal and largely impotent, was fast producing a demoralization which had to be arrested. There is no such thing as demoralization in civil resistance properly applied. You have said rightly that after all “civil disobedience is essentially an individual affair”. I go a step further and say that so long as there is one civil resister offering resistance, the movement cannot die and must succeed in the end. Individual civil resisters do not need the aid of an organization. After all an organization is nothing without the individuals composing it. Sjt. Aney’s instructions were, therefore, I hold, an affective answer to the Ordinances and if only men and women belonging to the Congress will appreciate the necessity of those instructions with all their implications, the Ordinances will be rendered nugatory, at least so far as the resisters are concerned. They can form a nucleus around which an army of invincible civil resisters can be built up. Nothing ill Sjt. Aney’s instructions or in my note would warrant the supposition that they preclude organized action by Congressmen in any shape or form. I would like to warn you against thinking that there is no fundamental difference between individual civil resistance and mass civil resistance. I think that the fundamental difference is implied in your own admission that “it is essentially an individual affair”. The chief distinction between mass civil resistance and individual civil resistance is that in the latter everyone is a complete independent unit and his fall does not affect the others; in mass civil resistance the fall of one generally adversely affects the rest. Again, in mass civil resistance leadership is essential, in individual civil resistance every resister is his own leader. Then again, in mass civil resistance, there is a possibility of failure; in individual civil resistance failure is impossibility. Finally, a State may cope with mass civil resistance; no State has yet been found able to cope with individual civil resistance. Nor may much be made of my statement that an organization which feels its own strength can at its own risk adopt mass civil resistance. While, as an opinion, it is unexceptionable, I know that at the present moment there is no organization that can shoulder the burden. I do not want to raise false hopes. I am as firm as ever that they must be tabooed. I am myself unable to make any exceptions. Secrecy has caused much mischief and if it is not put down with a firm hand, it may ruin the movement. There may be exceptional circumstances that may warrant secret methods. I would forgo that advantage for the sake of the masses that we want to educate in fearlessness. I will not confuse their minds by leading them to think that under certain circumstances, they may resort to secret methods. Secrecy is inimical to the growth of the spirit of civil resistance. If Congressmen will realize that all property is liable to be confiscated at any moment, they will learn to be utterly independent of it. I quite agree with you that it is ludicrous for individuals to send notices to the local authorities of their intention to offer a particular form of civil disobedience. We do not want to make a great movement ridiculous. Therefore when civil resistance is offered it should be offered seriously and in an effective manner, in so far as this is possible, in furtherance of the Congress programme. I notice one gap in your letter. You make no mention of the various constructive activities of the Congress. They became an integral part of the Congress programme that was framed after mature deliberations in 1920. With civil resistance as the background we cannot possibly do without the constructive activities such as communal unity, removal of untouchability and universalization of the spinning-wheel and khaddar. I am as strong as ever about these. We must recognize that whilst the Congressmen can be counted by hundreds of thousands, civil resisters imprisoned have never amounted to more than one lakh at the outside. I feel that there is something radically wrong if paralysis has overtaken the remaining lakhs. There is nothing to be ashamed of in an open confession by those who for any reason whatsoever are unable to join the civil resisters’ ranks. They are also serving the cause of the country and bringing it nearer to the goal who is engaged in any of the constructive activities I have named and several other kindred activities I can add to the list. Ordinance or no Ordinance, if individual Congressmen and Congresswomen will learn the art of contributing their share to the work of building of the house of independence and realize their own importance, dark as the horizon seems to us, there is absolutely no cause for despair or disappointment. Finally, if I can say so without incurring the risk of your accusing me of egotism, I would like to say that I have no sense of defeat in me and the hope in me that this country of ours is fast marching towards its goal is burning as bright as it did in 1920; for I have an undying faith in the efficacy of civil resistance. But as you are aware, after full and prayerful consideration, I have decided not to take the offensive during the unexpired period of the sentence of imprisonment that was pronounced against me on the 4th of August last by the court that met in Yeravda Jail. I need not go into the reasons as I have already issued a separate statement about it. This personal suspension, although it may be misunderstood for a while, will show how and when it may become a duty. And if it is a duty, it cannot possibly injure the cause.”70

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “My inquiry was completed at 1 p.m. I have now met Kasturbhai, Mrs. Hathisingh and Shankerlal who knows the family well. I am not quite satisfied with my experiences. I have missed straightforwardness. And yet I have nothing to say against the proposed match. Krishna will be happy enough in the new surroundings. What is more, she seems to have set her heart upon the match. She has been corresponding with Raja’s mother. Rajababu is the pet name of her chosen one. There is no question of their leaving anything in Krishna’s name. Of course I made it perfectly clear to them that the suggestion as to leaving something in Krishna’s name was purely mine, and that even so, I had no intention of making it a condition of marriage. I made the proposal, I told them, because I believe in such arrangement for all girls wherever it was possible. If the match is to be finally fixed up, you have to write to Mrs. Hathisingh, Ahmadabad, making the proposal definitely and she will send you her acceptance. She is quite ready for the marriage to take place as early as Krishna wishes. She is desirous (and I concur) that the betrothal and marriage should take place simultaneously. You may now write to young Hathisingh and send for him when you like. I hope Mother is better as also Kamala. I reached Wardha this morning. Except for the high blood pressure which the doctors register, there is nothing wrong with me. Nevertheless I am not to move about for at least three weeks from today, i.e., up to 15th October next. Mathuradas is in Bombay. Chandrashankar and Nayar are with me of course, apart from Ba, Mirabehn and Prabhavati. Prabhudas5 is also with me.”71

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I had a talk today with Jamnalalji about the proposed match. He seems to know the family well. He is decidedly of opinion that the family, apart from Kasturbhai of course, is not as well off as they would appear to be. He is even of opinion that they may be actually in want. I thought I should pass this news on to you. He too is anxious that I should let you have his opinion. Personally I remain unaffected by it. But he thinks that Krishna should know it. So far as I can judge, nothing will affect Krishna’s choice unless she has something definite against the young man. And she would be quite right. Kasturbhai is strongly of opinion that Krishna’s choice is good.”72 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I had a long chat with Rafi. He will tell you all about it. I adhere to the opinion that it will do no good to have the A.I.C.C. meeting. But that does not mean that it will deeply hurt me if such a meeting was held. On the contrary if a sufficient number desire it, it is their duty to send a requisition for the meeting. What I feel is that we may not take the initiative. If you personally feel that it is better to hold the meeting even though there is no requisition, you should hold it. I know that I am not in touch even with the opinion of workers. Therefore my opinion may safely be discounted by those who have a decided opinion the other way. The other point I would like to clear apart from the impression that Rafi may give you of my talks is about the workers. Whilst I shall try to do what I can, I am firmly of opinion that every province should support its own workers and that every district or tehsil should support its. Unless we reach that state, ours must remain a house of cards. I think that you should take up the begging bowl in the province and set the pace and the example. My ideal is that every worker should find his maintenance from the area he may serve and feel proud of it. Every labourer is worthy of his hire.”73

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “The first did not call for a reply. I see that Krishna’s marriage comes off on 20th inst. I am glad. I must not attempt to come to Allahabad. It is much better for me to remain in the purdah till the medical men declare me to be quite fit. Here with a letter for Krishna. I see Mother is not yet quite out of the wood. Let us hope she will be fit enough to attend the wedding. Your article for the D. H I like very much. I am sending it to Agatha for such use as she can make of it. She is a wonderful worker. Mira had forgotten all about the note of her prison experiences. Her draft is now ready. It will be sent to you to be handed to Andrews and such other use that you may wish. I am thinking out what is possible to do for the workers. What is this I read about Tandon’s differences? Have you seen the paragraph?”74 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I do hope Mother will be strong enough to attend to the wedding. I got today the accompanying from Saraladevi. I have told her Indu is left free to do as she chooses and that she is not likely to entertain any marrigae proposal as she is still studying. I have told her too that I am forwarding the letter to you. If Indu was at all prepared to consider a marriage proposal, I do regard Dipak to be a good match. Hardikar4 and Kamala Chattopadhyay came in today. Hardikar is suffering from fistula and would need an operation. I shall know more tomorrow. Jamnalalji has gone to Bombay for helping a friend who is in financial trouble. He will be back in four days. My tour commences on 8th November, all being otherwise well. I am having fair rest.”75

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Let us all hope that she will be well enough to take part in the ceremony. Have you introduced the Roman character for writing Hindi? A typed letter is going to you today with a copy of my letter to Malaviyaji.”76  Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “If you think that it must not be sent in and is likely to cause embarrassment, you need not take any action upon it. You may then return it with your reasons after you are free from the wedding arrangements. If, however, you think that the resignation may be accepted, you may publish it forthwith. I know that the Treasurer can only be appointed by the All-India Congress Committee. Therefore, the Treasurership may remain in Jamnalalji’s hands, for the time being. The chief thing is that he ceases to be a member of the Working Committee. I think that the step is a wise and necessary one. Constituted as he is, it is risky for him to seek imprisonment just now, that is, without taking the rest that the specialist considers necessary. But, ordinarily, fighters can’t consult their health to the extent that Jamnalalji’s temperament demands and as he shares the same view of a civil resister’s duty that I have, he is ill at ease, so long as he holds a responsible office in the Congress Organization. I have given you my reasoning which decided my acceptance of Jamnalalji’s proposal to resign.”77

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Herewith two garlands made out of yarn specially spun by me today for the bride and the bridegroom charged with my blessings. Will you please put them round their necks on my behalf! I hope they will reach you in time. I cannot help being sorry that the ceremony has been vetoed by Mrs. Hutheesing. But I suppose in these matters I am a back number. I understand what you say about Dipak. I would write to Sarala Devi in as gentle a manner as I can.” 78 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I had two wires one from you and the other from Krishna and Raja. Thank God. Mother’s bravery commands my worship. I have pictured her to be a personification of quiet, dignified bravery and sacrifice, ever since I have met her. One thing I have been forgetting to write to you. If ever you feel that you would like to call a meeting of the A. I. C. C., you must not hesitate to call it. You need not mind my disinclination. I am disinclined, because I feel it will make confusion worse confounded and mean waste of energy, time and money. But I may be quite wrong.”79

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I have told him that it should have been sent to you. I advise its acceptance. It arises out of a letter of bitter complaint received against him from Lahore. I sent him a copy of it. He strictly denied some of the charges made therein But accepted the one about practice. Jamnalalji is anxious about his resignation. My own opinion is that his too should be accepted. He is anxious to go to prison but it worries him that he does not go at once. I suppose Krishna is now in Bombay. I see nothing in the paper about Mother now days. Is she better? Vithalbhai’s death was fully expected by me but the actuality is disturbing me. His very opposition I valued. It cleared my mind and enabled me to put my position more clearly before the country than I otherwise could have.”80 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “You ought to be able to say without fear of contradiction that the Swaraj Bhawan Dispensary is a perfect fraud and thoroughly boycotted. Without absolute proof, I am disinclined to believe that they fabricate cases. I am anxious to have this evidence, because it is necessary for framing my opinion about the Congress Hospital, for, I feel that we should be able to take possession of the Swaraj Bhawan strictly for Hospital work, if the Government management has proved to be a fiasco. If you think that the Congress Hospital or Dispensary should be run in the place where it is now being run and that no attempt whatsoever should be made to regain possession of the Swaraj Bhawan, an appeal certainly becomes necessary and then it should be issued in the names of Mohanlal Nehru and Kamala. I am glad that Mother is making steady progress. Evidently the successful conclusion of the marriage ceremony has also something to do with easing the mental strain she was having. Andrews is expected here on Wednesday. I understand what you say about Jamnalalji. When do you think it may be safely announced? Thakkar Bapa writes saying that you prohibited Congressmen from working for Harijan cause, even though they may not be offering civil resistance. Where is the truth! I have known nothing about any such embargo.”81   

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “They should clear the air a bit. I do not follow the Hindu Sabha activities. They are vicious. It is most unscrupulous if they are making use of my name in connection with shuddhi. If you have any literature please pass it on to me. I think that the nationalist Press so called or real has not welcomed its activities and has been known often to condemn it. I do not know anything about the embargo on M. A. K. Azad’s book. As to the Harijan activities, the complaint is wholly unjustified. My conscience is absolutely clear. So far as you and I are concerned, we can clear our minds and hands by exchanging letters, if you like. I do not know what aggressive action is possible or desirable beyond an emphatic condemnation of specific acts. As to Gorakhpur, I do not see what can be done. I am finding it hard to get funds for your workers and the Dal people. I am still talking about both. Baba Raghavdas told me he was trying grain collections for the peasants in distress. He is under promise to send me authentic details of persecution. Nariman was here yesterday. I have advised him to see you and told him that you were my political chief! What else could I do? I stand thoroughly discredited as a religious maniac and predominantly a social worker. I told him that if I felt convinced that the A. I. C. C. members desired discontinuance of C. D. and a council-entry programme; I would at once ask you to convene a meeting of A. I. C. C. I do not do so because I believe that the majority will insist on a C. D. programme and I do not want to invite the ordinance sword for it. I have told him too that I would not resist any programme that the A. I. C. C. might want though I could not give my approval to the suspension of C. D. I believe Kelkar’s attitude to be honest and consistent. He frankly dislikes N. C. O. and C. D. He would not join the terrorists or whatever they may be called. Then for a man of political activity, council-entry is the only programme such as it is. Hopeless inactivity is the worst of all and should be discountenanced. I think I have now covered all the points raised in your letters and even not raised. It is nearing 4 a. m. Hope Mother’s progress continuing. Herewith note for Kamala.”82

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “It is impossible to give more than one day and more then three hours. It is difficult enough even to give three hours. The programme is so packed that hardly any time is given for rest. Four hours for rest, bath and dinner, have hitherto dwindled down to two. A programme in which tens of thousands of people are concerned cannot easily be postponed or disturbed. The enclosed copy will give you an idea of the work, and where you find hours of rest, except for Friday afternoon, they have been encroached upon, changing the time from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to 12 o’clock to 2 p.m. I entirely agree with you that the proposed conversation will not clarify matters to any satisfactory extent. If the A. I. C. C. meeting is held, I do not know how I shall be able to attend the sittings. Will it not be better for me to abstain from attending? If it is desirable, I will send my views in writing. The opinion I have expressed in my public letter to you is becoming more and more confirmed. You must have seen Lahiri’s statement about the Hijli Prison. It more than confirms Satisbabu’s letter. I have heard from the Governor. His Secretary says that “His Excellency will look into the matter to which you refer”. I have read the appeal for the Hospital. I hope it will have the response it deserves. I carefully read your letter about the Government demand. In anything you do about Swaraj Bhawan, do you not think that you should consult the trustees and not merely inform them? I have not been able even to show your letter to Jamnalalji for sheer want of time. He twits me by saying that as I am in Wardha you are ignoring him entirely, not even acknowledging his letters. I told him that your letters to me are as much for him as for me and that just now the few of us who are out have little time for performing acts of mere courtesy. You cannot expect rapid progress for an old patient like Mother. The wonder to me is that she has survived the attack she had. I hope the progress though slow continues.”83

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I have just arrived in Chanda and whilst the others are coming, I have taken up your letter. It is now 9 p.m. The programme is fairly strenuous. I was in Hinganghat at 6 p.m. Tiwari has handed me your letter. I have also read yours to J. So far as he knows there is probably very little left in A. I. C. C. a/c. The books are not with him. He has sent for the accounts. Meanwhile I have suggested that Rs. 500 might be sent at least on a/c. If the funds are exhausted, I do not know what is to be done. I have an earmarked a/c at my disposal. I am loath to part with that fund. I am drawing upon it for Hardikar and I want to do likewise for the list of workers you have sent me. It too will be soon exhausted. In the circumstances, the office staff has to be reduced if not given up altogether, i .e., if the civil resistance movement is to continue. The more I look about me, the more convinced I feel that those who are in the fight will have to do without funds except such as may remain in hands such as mine. I have just managed for Gujarat and Karnatak. The lady who was to have paid Rs. 50,000 has just sent the message that she would like to pay Rs. 10,000 to you. If she does, I shall expect you to pay the U.P. workers out of this. Anyway I think it is best for you to confer with Jamnalalji and if necessary with me as to the management of the funds that are still available. I have sent notices everywhere that no more help need be expected through me. I am trying to run through whatever is at my disposal. You will see from the programme herewith that I am in Delhi between 10 and 14 December. Thakkar Bapa says I can take up the bulk of 14th for our meeting. I am supposed to entrain for Andhra on 14th immediately after 4 p.m. Ansari who was with me on Sunday suggested Delhi. You will now make your choice 24th inst., 4th Dec. or 14th Dec., i. e., if the conference is to come off at all.  As to the Harijan tour, I am not worrying at all over the proposed boycott in U.P. I am finding no difficulty here. Congressmen and non-Congressmen are co-operating in arranging for the tour. You are unnecessarily hard on the liberals whom I would include among non-Congressmen. We have to get work even from them. They work according to their lights. In any case, I do not want a single Congressman to work for this movement who would go to jail. I have said this to everyone who has come to me. I am sending back some of the best workers who have just come out. Ba I hope is going soon and so is Manibehn Patel. Kakasaheb, Swami, Surendra are going. Those Congressmen who are too weak to go or who have lost faith in civil disobedience and who are anxious to work for the Harijan cause I am taking, but not those who want Harijan work as a mere cloak. This movement, if it is to become universal, must be able to continue even if every Congressman is in jail or it must perish. I feel too that congressmen should not handle this movement to strengthen the C. D. movement or the Congress hold on the people. It would be going about it the wrong way. Such an attitude will damage both the Congress and the Harijan cause. Cases of this type have come under my notice. I have expressed strong disapproval of any such work. I think I have now sufficiently answered all your questions. If not, please ask again. You will have noticed that the Sarkar Salaam in Hijli has stopped. Shall I write to Sir Tej about the Frontier treatment? I had a nice letter from Krishna. She seems to be happy in her new home. I hope Mother’s progress continues.”84

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I am telling him, I see no objection to the Party so long as it is not claimed as the Congress Party and that in any case he should seek your advice. I note that we are to meet at Jubbulpore on 5th December. I shall try to give more time, if it is at all possible. Have I not sent you the programme for C. P.? More than that was not ready till now. So you are being gradually disburdened of shares and the like. I am not sorry. From my point of view the ideal thing would be a voluntary surrender of all the property you have, either to an institution or to those members of the family who do not want to throw themselves into the battle which is bound to be prolonged and perhaps increasingly bitter. In the final heat only those will be able to stand who have no property and nowhere to rest their heads on. But it is no use worrying over the future. Whatever happens you will be found in the front rank. I am glad that Mother is making steady progress. I wonder if she knows all that is happening. Yes, I did read your attack on the Hindu Sabha. It might have been less fierce. The summary made you speak like a partisan.”85 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Here is a cutting from the M. Mail though the whole conversation practically referred to you and your views; naturally the interviewer could not reproduce it all. I was shown the proof. It is a fair presentation of the substance of what I said. Please read it carefully and correct me where you find me to have erred about yourself. There is a great deal of misunderstanding about you in our circles too. But it does not worry me. You will find also the programme so far as it goes. I hope Mother is progressing.”86

 

References:

 

  1.  LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, May 8, 1931
  2. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, June 5, 1931
  3. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, June 17, 1931
  4. LETEER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, June 28, 1931
  5. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, July 1, 1931
  6. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, August 21, 1931
  7. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, August 21, 1931
  8. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, September 7, 1931 
  9. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, December 28, 1931
  10. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, January 2, 1932
  11. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, December 31, 1932
  12. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, February 15, 1933
  13. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, May 2, 1933
  14. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, July 22, 1933
  15. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, August 31, 1933
  16. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, September 3, 1933
  17. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, September 14, 1933
  18. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, September 23, 1933
  19. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, September 24, 1933
  20. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, September 28, 1933
  21. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, October 7, 1993
  22. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, October 9, 1933
  23. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, October 15, 1933
  24. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, October 16, 1933
  25. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, October 18, 1933
  26. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, October 23, 1933
  27. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, October 26, 1933
  28. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, October 30, 1933
  29. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, November 1, 1933
  30. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, November 11, 1933
  31. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, November 13, 1933
  32. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, November 27, 1933
  33. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, December 26, 1933

 

 

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