The Gandhi-King Community

For Global Peace with Social Justice in a Sustainable Environment

Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav

Gandhian Scholar

Gandhi Research Foundation Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India

Contact No. – 09404955338, 09415777229;



Birla Family and Mahatma Gandhi, Part-II



Mahatma Gandhi behaved to members of Birla family like a own family members. He always advised to them. Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “You should take immediate measures and get cured. Jamnalalji is coming here to improve his health. When he is here, I will see what the matter is with him. If you, too, come and stay here just for a few days, I may have some idea of your health. What should I say about your latest donation? I am simply filled with wonder. I understand what you say about Rs. 70, 0001. I will make every effort through the Spinners’ Association to return it. I have taken it that I do not have to worry about the sum of Rs. 30,000, which you have advanced to Satis Babu. I had followed your argument about the Assembly. You must have got my reply to that letter. Shastriji wrote to me about the reply you gave him. I am both pained and surprised by what you say about the cause of the Calcutta riot. I was very pleased by Malaviyaji’s letter and the subsequent developments, too, were very good.”53


Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Well do I know that no one except Malaviyaji and Shraddhanandji can bring about Hindu-Muslim unity. Wish to be no more than an advisor and help, if I can, to settle small points of dispute. My work is a Bhangi’s, to clean and try to keep clean things. When the time for a settlement comes, the approval of Malaviyaji and others will certainly be essential.”54 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Mr. Birla has offered to loan Rs. 70,000 for one year certainly without interest and without security to the Association. But, I feel that unless we have a reserve in the Association coffers or at least that amount, we must not make use of the loan. We considered the matter yesterday in the Council and others also agreed.”55 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I have also read the reply sent by your secretary. You need do nothing more. Have you improved in health? Jamnalalji is here at present.”56

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “The present political atmosphere stinks in my nostrils.”57 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “You must have read what I wrote about the Bible in Young India. I think it should satisfy you. I have also glanced through what has appeared in Vishwamitra. I wish only to add that, if the children must learn about the Bible, it is better that they learn it through me. Learning it through me, they can learn but one thing, the quintessence of all religions, namely, Ramanama. If others made improper use of my writings or activities, that can do no harm either to me or to my principles. How can truth be misused? Any attempt to do so will have only the opposite effect. That is why truth is given the highest place in the Upanishads and other scriptures and has been described as God. If you are still not satisfied, please write to me again.”58

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “When there is a difference of opinion between revered Malaviyaji and me, I cannot express a positive view because I hold him in great reverence. Personally I am quite sure in my mind that at any rate your sphere of work is not in the Council. If, however, you have confidence in yourself and if Malaviyaji wishes that you should enter it, you may certainly do so. One should not readily give up the work one has already taken in hand. My view now is that you should dissuade your friends from offering you advice and, if you get a majority, enter the Council. It does not seem advisable to withdraw after going this far. In the end you will yourself leave the Council. Yes, if Pandit Malaviyaji releases you out of regard for your health, it will be a great blessing for you. Even from the point of view of your health, I think it inadvisable for you to enter the Assembly or the Council. I do not agree with the comparison you have made. Jamnalalji is here.”59 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “This is not the time to start an Ashram such as you have described. The atmosphere is very foul. Workers have neither intelligence nor character.”60

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I had heard slanderous remarks made about you. I did not believe them, but your letter has completely satisfied me. They said that you took work by giving Rs. 5002 instead of a hundred. From what you have written, I have nothing to say. As for Geneva, I must advise you to be patient. I see no great benefit in your going there. If the experience of the West is necessary, go on your own. You will have many occasions to go. But my inner self says it is not today. In the end you should do what your conscience dictates.”61 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Regarding Geneva I have given my opinion a few days ago at your Kashi address. It appears from Deviprasadji’s letter that you are bound by promise. If such is the case the question of going or not going does not arise. As it is, you ought to go.”62 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I am sorry to tell you that my last letter to you was sent to revere Malaviyaji’s address. It only said this: The reason why I oppose you’re going to Europe is that you should go as a free person. Copies of such letters are not kept. But this was the purport. It is a different matter if you had promised and are morally bound to go.”63

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “No promise is broken by your not going to Europe, then it is my belief that this is not the time for you to go there. I do not wish to write anything about your victory. There are certain battles in which defeat is victory. I do not know if what has happened now is good for you or not. My advice is for you to observe objectively everything that happens in the Assembly. I know that I have served the country through my silence; however, I am not confident that I can unite the various parties. My heart shrinks from the idea of going to Gauhati.1 I have even written to Srinivasa Iyengar and Motilalji asking to be excused. When I feel confident, I shall myself step into the arena. I do not know where it would be proper for me to stay in Calcutta if I had to go there. Unless I am forced to go to some other place, I would like to live under your care.”64 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I was glad to read the plain story of your department. Elections have polluted our atmosphere. I have seen enough of this. After all the trouble taken, the country is not going to gain but lose. But I cannot advise you to leave the Assembly. The idea of being neutral is that not even a vote should be cast under pressure from anyone, as usually happens. The assurance you gave me was needless because I have faith in your earnest efforts. Even then your assurance is gratifying. I shall arrive in Calcutta on the 23rd and leave for Gauhati the same day. I shall stay at Bhai Khandelwal’s. When I was in Calcutta he used to call often. I had told him that, when I went to Calcutta again and if it was not for political reasons, I would stay with him, and he insists on it now. And so I shall have to stay at his place. You aren’t going to Gauhati, are you?”65

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I trust your word I am not afraid of your reconsidering it. I trust you also in the matter of the Assembly. But in view of the prevailing atmosphere there it is difficult to remain absolutely independent. On the question of sangathan I hold the same views that I have expressed. Organization is certainly not the remedy for the case, particulars of which you have sent to me. Here the remedy is either tapascharya or individual courage. As long as we remain cowards no wonder our women fall into the hands of the lecherous. I know of a Hindu prince in whose territory no young girl was safe and the husband and the father used to be helpless. But then this is a complicated problem. Please do come to the Gurukul if you can. I wish to have you with me for a fortnight; we cannot dispose of such matters in a day. In the meanwhile whatever my advice does what your inner voice bids you. Blessings to your son and daughter-in-law.”66 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “When I get the money it will help the charkha movement. I am very glad that pujya Malaviyaji is being progressively drawn to the charkha. I shall want large amounts for the charkha work. With his help I can raise larger funds. Bhaiji and Rameshwarji have decided to donate money for the construction of reservoirs of water for the Antyajas; it will be spent as directed by them. I did not know Parasram collected scraps of paper. I have warned him against this fault. He will write to you. He had no wrong motive. He is a simpleton but I can get work out of him. He wishes to live with pujya Malaviyaji and Rabindranath for some days. I have asked him to try on his own to get himself admitted to their service. In my opinion the following rules of conduct must be observed to safeguard one’s health while staying in Europe:

1. We should not take food to which we are not used.

2. In Europe they eat six or seven times a day, but we must not eat more than thrice. Do not get addicted to taking chocolate or other such things between meals.

3. They eat even at 1 o’clock at night. But we must eat nothing after 8 in the evening. When visiting people and places we are, it is believed, expected to take tea, etc. This is not true.

4. One should go walking at least six miles daily. One should walk both in the morning and in the evening.

5. It is not right to wear too many clothes, secret being that one must not feel cold. Walking shakes off cold.

6. It is not at all necessary to put on European dress.

7. One should try to get acquainted with the poor people of Europe; walking helps such acquaintance. When there is time at your disposal, it is better to walk.

8. Do not persuade yourself for a moment that since you have gone to Europe you have got to do something, Attempt only what clean and spontaneous efforts can accomplish.

9. Your stay in Europe will, I feel, result in at least one good thing. You can certainly build up your body.

10. May God save you from mental debauchery; very few Indians escape it. While their way of living is natural to them, it only helps to intoxicate us.

11. The practice of reading the Gita and the Ramayana must in no case be given up. If you have not been doing it already, the sooner you begin the better.

I am sure you did not expect advice in such minute detail. This I am giving because I have great faith in the goodness of yourself and your brothers. Few rich people possess your goodness and humility. I seek an intense growth in these qualities and I want to put them to use in the service of the nation. I have no faith in the principle of shatham prati satyam. Therefore, wherever I see purity, truth and non-violence, etc., even in the smallest degree, I start collecting the treasure with the care of a miser, and it makes me happy. You can ask for any further advice.”67

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Jamnalalji is here since a couple of days ago. He has conveyed your message to me. I can think of nothing further to write to you than what I have already done. Regarding an audience with the Emperor I think you should not try for one. You should not, however, refuse it if the Secretary of State for India or the Prime Minister proposes to arrange it. As far as I know I think political matters are not discussed with the British Monarch. Only formal greetings are exchanged. Do meet the ministers and talk with them whatever you want to. Observe closely the British jails and also visit the poorer districts of London with some knowledgeable person and study the condition of the poor. Once or twice, on a Saturday evening, stand near the pubs of the poor and the bars of the rich and watch their doings. I am improving day by day. I wrote to pujya Malaviyaji long ago. I expect no reply from him as answering letters is contrary to his nature. But he does send a telegram in reply to one. I am going to write to him again all the same.”68

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “While I am dictating this letter Mahadev reminds me that you had sent word through Jamnalalji that I should write to you in English. But I propose to write nothing that needs be conveyed to anyone. I am, therefore, having this letter written in Hindi. I have the letter you wrote from the steamer. I have already written two letters to your Geneva address. They must have reached you. I am steadily improving. I write regularly to pujya Malaviyaji. No sooner had I written to him this week than a lengthy telegram arrived from him, telling me that his health was now better but weakness persisted. He is at present in Bombay. It won’t be right to say I do not take care of my health. I do take all the precautions that I think are necessary to preserve my health. Pujya Malaviyaji does not do it as I have complained on many occasions and he took no rest even after solemnly promising to do so. He has great faith in the treatment of vaidyas and believes that he keeps and can keep well by taking their pills and powders. And so strong is his self-confidence that in spite of his weakness and ill health he is determined to live at least up to seventy-five. May God carry him through his resolve? Who can try to persuade him? I have written to him in a lighter vein but with as much severity as can be combined with courtesy. The truth is that man’s wisdom is determined by his past karma. In such matters there is very little scope for human effort. It is our duty to try and we ought to do it but there comes in the life of every man a time when all effort appears futile and luckily God gives us no fore-knowledge of the end so as to avoid the frustration. Why then worry over the inevitable? The affairs of the nation depend neither upon Malaviyaji nor upon Lalaji1 nor upon me. All are but instruments; moreover I think a good man’s efforts bear fruit only after his death. It is not correct as Shakespeare says, “the evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones”. Evil does not endure. Rama is still in our midst and we cherish his memory. Ravana and his wickedness are no more. Not even the wicked utter his name. Who knows what Rama was in his own age? The poet certainly says that in his own lifetime even Rama did not escape recriminations. But now all his imperfections have, with his body, turned to ashes and we worship him as an incarnation of God. And the Kingdom of Rama is much wider now than it ever was while he lived in the body. When I write this I don’t mean to philosophize or persuade you to suppress your feelings. But I emphasize that we should never grieve over the death of one whom we regard as a saint. And we must have the firm belief that a saint’s deeds begin to work or, say, truly bear fruit only after his death. The achievements which were regarded as great in his own time are only infinitesimal compared to the influence they will have in times to come. Yet it is certainly our duty to emulate to the best of our ability the good deeds of those whom we regard as saints of our age. Regarding your health I would suggest if you have no faith in allopathy, and you need not have it, that you should visit the institutions of Louis Kuhne and Just when you go to Germany. Their treatment with open air and water has benefited hundreds of people. Contact the Vegetarian Society both at London and Manchester. There are always some nice, serious-minded people to be found there who will be courteous and considerate. Of course, you will come across some faddists and fanatics too. You said milk was not available on the steamer. Next time you should carry Horlick’s Malted Milk. It is pure milk-powder. The chemists say that this dehydrated powder contains all that milk does. You can try it.”69

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Jamnalalji has sent me your cablegram. Hence this letter in English. I must not yet try to write letters myself. In order to conserve my energy, therefore, I am dictating most of my correspondence, whether in English, Hindi or Gujarati. Malaviyaji is with me today. He is on his way to Ooty to recoup himself. He came this morning and was to have left this evening; but on my telling him that the day after tomorrow is the Mysore Maharaja’s birthday and suggesting that he should go to Mysore to give his blessings before proceeding to Ooty, he has sent a telegram to the Dewan. He has suspended his journey forward and will probably leave for Mysore tomorrow. Of course, I have been in regular correspondence with him and he has been replying by wires. He is looking much pulled down, but he is as hopeful as ever about everything. There is nothing wrong with his body. It is simply weakness caused by ceaseless wear and tear. He promises to take about a month’s rest in Ooty. He has Dr. Mangal Singh with him, and, of course, a cook. Govind was with him as far as Bombay but has been obliged to go to Allahabad as he could not get a postponement of his ‘crow case’. I wonder if I suggested to you that you should see Miss Muriel Lester who is working in the slums of London. She was in India for some time last year. She was at the Ashram for one month. She is a most enthusiastic and able worker. She is working in the cause of total prohibition and is trying to cultivate public opinion there. Her address is: Miss Muriel Lester, Kingsley Hall, Powis Road, Bow, E. 3. I hope that your health has improved and likewise Lalaji’s. I descended from Nandi last Sunday. I am making fair progress. Doctors here are of opinion that I will be able to resume a moderate amount of touring next month.”70

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I see that you are observing things with your customary keenness. I hope however that you will form no hasty conclusions as so many of our superior men have often done. All is not gold that glitters. The converse of it is also equally true. All is not dirt that appears dirty. And how often do we not see the two co-existing, riches and poverty, virtue and vice, Jekyll and Hyde, God and Satan? The combination that you have described of wine-drinking, womanizing, etc., with physical strength, orderliness, common honesty and ardent patriotism is not to be denied. The fact seems to me to be that one virtue does not lead at any rate all at once to all the other virtues, and a particular quality ceases to be a virtue when it solidifies into a custom. Vegetarianism with us is really no virtue. We are vegetarians by custom. It would be a sacrifice for us a large majority of vegetarians to be otherwise. But vegetarianism in Europe will be a virtue. It would be an active force in the life of a European vegetarian, and if he is a seeker of truth that one reform will lead him to many others. Foreign visitors to India have remarked upon our general domestic happiness and family affection. This quality is part of our being. A father loves his children and children render willing obedience to parents without much effort on either side. People in Europe have found by experience that it is necessary for them to extend the family idea and regard the society to which they belong as a nation. Hence patriotism there is not a virtue which needs to be cultivated. Want of it would be noticed as a strange thing and would lead to excommunication of the type familiar in Europe. They have also understood the doctrine of honesty being the best policy and so up to a point, you will find that quality abundantly in evidence. With us patriotism has got to be cultivated. We have in practice not gone beyond family affection as a nation. But I shall not elaborate this point further as I must keep an appointment which I have put off to finish this letter. It will be an agreeable surprise to me if you succeed in enlisting 500 paying subscribers for Young India. It would be further proof of European interest in what Young India stands for. I am making steady progress. And doctors are of opinion that I should be able to resume touring on a moderate scale early next month.”71

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I have not written to you for the last two mails, nor is there anything particular to say to you just now. But you will be glad to learn that for the first time during my 12 years in India after my return from South Africa, I had what may be called a fairly prolonged real contact with Pandit Malaviyaji. Instead of going to Oozy, he remained in Bangalore as long as it was possible for him to do in view of the Reserve Bank Committee meeting at Calcutta. Of course all the time we were under the same roof, and we had discussions on many things. We reached one definite conclusion, and it was that there should be, just like the All-India Spinners’ Association, and All-India Cow-protection Association, a definite body called ‘All-India Untouchability Association’ brought into being with a definite constructive programme for the uplift of the suppressed classes. I have no time just now to discuss the outlines of the scheme. But I am now looking for an efficient secretary to believe in the work and who would give his whole heart to it to the exclusion practically of every other activity. A further stage will be reached as soon as I can find such a secretary. Jamnalalji showed me your circular letter to friends. I see how your mind is working in that atmosphere. I would warn you against using the same scales and weights for two different materials. Eyes are well adapted for examining and inspecting drawing-room furniture. Do they serve the same purpose for examining the furniture in the blue vault overhead? I have resumed gentle touring. I do not know whether I have been wise in resuming it so early. But I am daily taking a measure of my capacity. If Lalaji1 is with you, please give him my love and tell him that there shall be a violent quarrel between him and me if he does not give himself full rest and return with full vigour for tackling the work that lies in front of him.”72

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I learn from Jamnalalji’s letter that you have returned from Europe with your health impaired. I think it is imperative that you take rest somewhere and recoup it. I can certainly assist you in selecting a diet but for that you must stay with me for some time. You did well in sending me your views on various matters. It is not due to non-co-operation that two factions have come into being. The two camps were already there. What has arisen is only a change in form. My faith is firm that we cannot gain any strength except through non-co-operation. The public has been impressed by its miraculous power but has not enough strength yet to practice it. Hindu-Muslim differences are proving another obstruction in its way. I cannot seek any help from the Councils. The members, if so inclined, can help khadi and prohibition. But members can do nothing to remove selfishness, ignorance and indolence. The khadi and allied work is progressing slowly as well as rapidly. It is slow in the sense that we cannot show [quick] results and it is rapid because all that is done is pure and for that reason bound to produce good results. My thirst for money is unquenchable. For khadi, untouchability and education work I required the minimum sum of Rs. 200,000. The experiment being conducted in dairying demands Rs. 50,000 at present. The Ashram expenses are of course there. The work never stops; but God gives funds after severe trials. I am content with that. Give me as much as you can for whichever work you have faith in. My touring will continue up to the end of this year. I hope to reach the Ashram by January. I have written a letter to Malaviyaji regarding the Hindu-Muslim question. In this matter something must be done through proper channels. I see no dharma in what is going on today.”73

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “The use of the expression “Marwari interest” should not have pained you. And if it did, you should have told one like me then and there. I had used the expression only jokingly. I often use the word ‘Kathiawari’ in its derogatory sense. ‘Kathiawari’ suggests a crook. It does not at all mean that I am a crook. Being attached to you I shall not use even jestingly the word ‘Marwari’ in its derogatory sense, if you so wish. But I feel that you should not be afraid of such expressions. The idiom “when Greek meets Greek” is well known. But this does not mean that every Greek is treacherous. For your information I may tell you that in Gujarat too there are many who exact exorbitant interest. Marwaris may be good or bad, your body must get well like your heart; and you should be prepared to sacrifice the Marwari community for the sake of India.”74 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “You must have received my letter sent with Jamnalalji. I had also sent a telegram asking you not to attend the Assembly till your health returned to normal. I wanted to mention this to the pujya Malaviyaji but we were so busy with other things that I did not remember you. I see no need of writing to him now. You must have sent the money to Jamnalalji? I have not yet heard about it. The pujya Malaviyaji’s speech had a magic effect and he proposes to make a mighty effort in this matter. Let us see what happens. Up to the end of March, I shall be at the Ashram itself. On the 17th I shall have to leave for Kathiawar on a five days’ tour.”75

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Medicines would certainly cause tiredness. In my view total fasting is the first step. I have nothing to fear from it. Fasting can do no harm and should be undertaken not for a day or two, but for ten to fifteen days. If you decide to fast, you must stay here. I can send for one or two friends who are well versed in the technique of fasting. There is enough accommodation. The weather here is fine these days. If you wish to invite the specialist on fasting to Pilani, that too can be arranged. It is my firm belief that on no account should you go to Delhi. I am writing today to pujya Malaviyaji and Lalaji to this effect. Regarding the memorial to Hakim Ajmal Khan, I have published an appeal in Young India and Navajivan; I want donations from you and your friends. If you are not inclined to give a big sum and if you permit, I would take out a substantial portion from the Rs. 75,000 already donated by you. I leave it to you to have your name published or not. Please write to me without hesitation if you do not wish to give anything out of that. Do not be alarmed by the reports of my health in the newspapers. There is not much cause for anxiety. Doctors do try to frighten me, but I remain unaffected by it.”76

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Some digestible preparations can be made with oil. But this experiment cannot be conducted from a distance. At present fasting are the most essential and the best remedy for you. I have no doubt about it.”77 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I have not been able to take a decision as yet about going to Europe. I am not keen on it. The desire to meet Romain Rolland is certainly there. But I am awaiting his letter in this connection. A letter has come, but it does not incline me to go. If at all I go, it will be in May and I shall be back in October. I shall try to stay with you in Mussoorie even if it is for only a few days. I want to remain here up to April 132. Please let me have your opinion on what I wrote inviting the cooperation of mills in the boycott of foreign cloth. Write in detail about your health. Are you now able to eat anything?”78 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Seth Ghanshyamdas Birla is willing to employ Keshu, so you need not worry now about him. God will certainly ensure that he prospers. All of you should get absorbed in work. Take care of your health.”79

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “About Maganlal, what shall I write? I find it harder to bear this loss than to drink the cup of poison, but God has been most compassionate to me for I am calm. What can we do about the boycott until the educated class is ready for it? One sees clearly enough now that it is useless to expect anything from the mills. I am happy to hear that your health is improving; the happiness is of course tinged with self-interest. How could I help it?”80 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Jamnalalji is here. I shall speak to him about exercise. He needs it. Which asanas are you practicing? My health may be said to be fair. It would be good if Satis Babu was given assistance. He is so self-sacrificing and pure.”81 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I hope you will succeed with Mr. Birla. I am anxious that he should help you far more for the soundness of your khadi propaganda than for the help you may render in his business. The latter is undoubtedly good and he should have all the assistance you can give. But khadi, if it is to succeed, can do so only on the strength of its merits and that of the business-like character of its organizations.”82

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I took hold that asanas are beneficial. But my experience is that specific knowledge is needed to choose the asanas. It now seems that I shall remain in the Ashram during August. Do come.”83 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I enclose with this two letters from friends1 in Austria. Both are most deserving. I consider it necessary to invite them to India and make them acquainted with the country. For such purposes I do not wish to make use of your donation. Bhai Jugalkishoreji takes pleasure in such matters. If you deem it proper, send him all the letters. We have to send them £200. If he wishes to make this donation the amount will have to be sent promptly. Your health, I trust, is good. Read the Ashram rule carefully and do send whatever suggestions you consider proper.”84 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Your hundi for Rs. 2,700 have been received. I am in touch with China no doubt but I am not inclined to send them a wire. It would smack somewhat of arrogance. I intend to visit China if I live long enough. They want to invite me after things have cooled down a bit. I always shrink from asking for financial assistance from you and your brothers because you give me whatever I ask for. I understand [what you say] about Dakshinamurti. The fact is that there are plenty of worthy causes in the country but not so many donors. A good cause is not held up but enough new donors are not forthcoming. Fresh tasks are always mounting. You are right in saying that the value of the Ashram rules depends only upon those who follow the rules. The money has been sent to the Austrian friends.”85

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “The fact is that its language will further prevent me from stretching out the begging bowl. But has beggar prudence? Therefore whenever I am helpless I shall be at your doorstep. It now appears that some settlement will come about in Bardoli.”86 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “It does not matter if you have sent nothing for Bardoli. Enough contributions are pouring in. If I am hard up I shall certainly bother you. There is now little possibility of an agreement. It is all right if it comes about and none the worse if it does not. The reins of Satyagraha rest in the hands of God alone. Vallabhbhai is here today. I shall write again in Navajivan on the boycott.”87 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Having been unable to write to you for so long, I feel ashamed while penning this. Your letters did come. I do not want to write more as we shall now meet at Wardha. I had sent a cable in connection with the present hardships in South Africa. The incident of the calf and the monkeys did annoy me but it was a good opportunity of understanding human nature and of controlling my temper. Mahadev told me many things about you and it gladdened my heart, although I am already acquainted with much of it. I propose to reach Wardha on the 24th instant. The rest when we meet.”88

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I like the suggestion. But it is difficult to say whether Rajaji’s constitution will stand the strain of this work. Anyway I shall write to him. How is your health now?”89 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I am happy to learn that khadi work is progressing. In this connection there is a letter from Satis Babu. I send it to you for perusal. You need not return it.”90 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “A khadi bhandar was opened in Calcutta, 251 Harrison Road, by me on new year’s day in the presence of Pandit Malaviyaji. The bhandar owes its origin to a conversation I had at Wardha with Sjt. Ghanshyamdas Birla. He and his brothers are noted for their silent munificent charities. Among the many causes helped by Sjt. Ghanshyamdas khadi has been one. I have always felt the need of a depot that would relieve the pressure, in times of need, on production centers which are generally made responsible by the All-India Spinners’ Association for the sale of the khadi they manufacture. I suggested to Sjt. Birla that he should not only give money but he should also give the use of his mercantile talents to khadi. I told him that if the merchant princes of India took no personal interest in khadi it could not in the near future be made universal merely through the effort of the clerical class who were largely manning the Association. Sjt. Ghanshyamdas appreciated the argument. Hence the khadi bhandar of Calcutta. It has secured the services of a khadi lover in Sjt. Mahavirprasad Poddar of Gorakhpur. Malaviyaji blessed the effort. The arrangement was to sell khadi immediately after the opening ceremony. Nearly five thousand rupees worth of khadi was sold on the spot.”91

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I am going to Sind at the end of this month in connection with the Lalaji Memorial Fund. Did you collect any subscriptions in Calcutta? Did you write to the South Indian gentleman whose name I had sent for the dairy? If he does not suit I can suggest a few other names. As regards the Khadi Bhandar do not let its purpose slip off your mind. It ought not to be run merely on a commercial basis. It is to be conducted from an altruistic viewpoint. My health is good. These days my diet consists of milk from 15 tolas almonds, 14 tolas roti (soaked), vegetable, raw tomatoes, 4 tolas linseed oil and 2 tolas of wheat flour gruel in the morning. I have left off fruit. The increase in weight in one week is 1_ lb. I am maintaining good strength.”92 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Attached please find the supplementary list of donations for Lalaji Fund from Karachi. The total amounts to Rs. 45,000/- out of which Rs. 43,223/- have been so far realized in cash. Rs. 40,000/- have already been sent to you. I now enclose a cheque for Rs. 3,223/- for the cash balance. As soon as I receive the balance from the Treasurer at Karachi I shall remit you the same. Kindly arrange to issue receipts for the individual members and also a cutcha receipt for me for my office file.”93

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “You are unnecessarily nervous. I spoke to Sjt. Birla when on my way to Calcutta I passed through Delhi on the 2nd instant. It was lapse of memory on his part to tell you that I had suggested Rs. 120-150. I had given him the very figure that you had mentioned to me, i.e., Rs. 175. But now you say you require Rs. 200. Whether Rs. 200 is the minimum or not, you would require Rs. 175 at least. I would ask you to be patient and hopeful. Sjt. Birla is anxious to accommodate you. You have specialized in theoretical philosophy; you must specialize now in applied philosophy. Philosophy to be worth anything has got to be applied in one’s own life. A philosopher must be brave and absolutely to the point, whereas your letters are unusually long. Do not shower compliments on me or Sjt. Birla. If he accommodates you or if I do anything for you, it is from a sense of duty. And duty carries no merit with it. I want you to feel certain that work will be found for you giving you not less than Rs. 175 and not more than Rs. 200. If there is a hitch, you will please write to me.”94

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “As for my article I am sure I have saved Ba from injustice. And I feel Ba herself knows this, or she could not move about with me so cheerfully. I have saved Ba, Chhaganlal and others from a number of needless accusations. I doubt if anyone else has experienced to the extent that I have the sweet joy of publicly confessing one’s own guilt. I am surprised that you were not able to appreciate this. Do try to collect contributions from the mill-owners. There should be no condition attached. Khadi may or may not gain, but the mills are certainly making enormous profits as even Wadia has admitted. If only the mills understand they can benefit still further. Time alone will convince them.”95 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Could you please get a reputed certified auditor to audit the account books the Bengal P.C.C? I enclose herewith the letter received from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.”96

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Lala Jaswant Rai’s contribution will, of course, be used for the Hall. I think I should send to the Society all the money received in this connection. There is nothing more to be written on the matter. I am at present making a dietetic experiment. Since it started only three days ago I can say nothing about it as yet. But I have met a gentleman who asserts that this experiment is usually very successful. Its secret lies in taking only uncooked food. I got the letter from Sitaramji. I have replied to it.”97 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I have written to him today and I enclose a copy for you. I am sorry I gave you so much trouble about such a man. My acquaintance with him was slight. I had met him only once or twice. He seemed to be a good man. He still does. But you cannot employ such people. Or possibly I am doing you an injustice in believing this. You have an altruistic instinct but it is probably too big a responsibility to collect such people around you. He now fears that he may not be able to stay on there and has written that he may be called to the Ashram. Tell me what I should do. My article was in no way connected with what appeared in Forward. I am quite sure that the punishment meted out to Forward is cruel and inhuman. I have no doubt that forward has shown courage. The raw cereals experiment is continuing. I shall leave Sabarmati on June 11.”98

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “There is no doubt that D. committed suicide. I had sent him a telegram, and that took a harsh one certainly. I had several telegrams and letters from him. To him the whole world had become poisoned. People no doubt were a little unjust to him. But some injustice there always is. D. was a learned man. He had read Lecky’s praise of suicide. He appears to have acted on it. You no doubt gave him support. If you can find out, will you let me know whether he died before or after he got my telegram? Send me any other details you come across.”99 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “It has given me much comfort because the feeling had been weighing on me that my advising you to keep D. with you was perhaps a mistake. There can be no two opinions that he had been treated very harshly by the girl’s relatives. I have received a letter regarding this which I enclose for your perusal...had hinted at it....writes that...’s death was caused by heart failure. Is it correct? I understand about Forward. There will always be attacks on public figures but we have to weigh things in the scales of justice. Subhas’s courage is laudable.”100

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “It is true I have become weak. But no harm to the body is perceptible. I am conducting the experiment with caution. You should not be anxious. Such experiments are an integral part of my life; they are essential for my mental peace and self-realization. I try to keep alive within the limits I have specified for myself. But I also believe that life and death are not in our hands. I am happy to know your ideas about Keshu. His father took great pains over him and we all hope to get much service from him. I do not wish to restrict his freedom in any way. His being with you frees me from anxiety.”101 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Harbhai is Nanabhai’s colleague at Dakshinamurti Bhavan. Nanabhai has fallen ill. Following the talk we had at Wardha about this school I am sending him on to you. You were to consider what assistance you could give to this institution. I have today sent an assurance to Nanabhai taking it that you will make a donation. You will learn all the details from Harbhai, see the accounts of the institution and do whatever you consider proper.”102

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I would have no right to be in this lovely, secluded spot surrounded by snow-clad mountains, if I had no special work to do here. The special work was revision of the translation of the Gita, which had remained unfinished at Wardha. I could complete it only in seclusion. I just sat down here for the purpose. I have postponed all other work that could be postponed till I could finish this job. That is the reason why I have not replied to you earlier. The work on the Gita is now over. Now regarding Keshu. His father’s hope and mine has been that ultimately Keshu would choose the Ashram life and dedicate himself to khadi work. But I do not wish to put any pressure on him. And now he is in your hands. You should take from him such work as he may be willing to do and as may be for his good. You should look upon him as your own son and train him. You have trained numerous young men and I have been informed and I believe that many enterprises of the Birla family were started by you. What shall I say about khadi when there is the opportunity of using your talent for the sale of khadi? The khadi stock is all sold out. Still, it is bound to accumulate again. I shall then use your ability. At present we shall let the business run itself. I hope the khadi being “unasked for” does not mean I sent it without permission? As for production, it is true that here I cannot make much use of your assistance. We are making what efforts we can. What happened about the dairy? I have not fasted. Since I began to look upon death as my great friend I have given up fasting on account of death. I did not fast on the death of Maganlal and Rasik. Death now has ceased to hurt or, say, it hurts very little. The experiment with uncooked food is continuing. The meaning of [faddist]1 can be understood as ‘dhuni’ in Gujarati. I am unfamiliar with the word ‘sanaki’. ‘Chakram’ of course will not do. These days I try to write something every week for Hindi Navajivan. If you don’t happen to read it now, begin to do so and give me any suggestions that you deem fit about the subjectmatter and language.”103

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Do give up worrying on my account. People fall sick even when they take regular diet. What does it matter if the same happens to me in the pursuit of truth? I am taking plenty of curds these days. May I tell you that even milk and curds are admissible only to a certain extent? They are not man’s natural food. The argument you advance in support of milk is the same as that in support of beef-tea and liquor because some physical benefit is derived for the time being from all of them. But physical benefit [is not] everything. The abatement of carnal desires experienced by so many people while taking raw cereals is not the result of starvation. During the four years I was on fruit diet I used to walk forty miles daily and experienced the same mental peace. But I do not wish to emphasize this point overmuch. The mere physical benefit is not the only consideration in my experiment. I shall not change over hastily to raw cereals nor shall I give up milk in a hurry. At the moment many doctors are taking interest in this experiment. Many have sent me literature [on this subject]. If I resume the experiment, it shall be under Dr. Haribhai's supervision.”104

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “My impression is that I wrote to you during the Andhra tour to arrange for the auditing of the Bengal Congress Committee accounts. I was hoping your auditors would agree to do the job free of charge. You may write to the Secretary of the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee. I shall write to him today. I have had enough rest in Agra. My health is better. I am only taking goat’s milk, curds and fruits. I could eat roti but I have not tried it. If we get some opportunity to sit down together at leisure as we had in Wardha, I would like to know your views regarding food. Because of weakness or inability, one may not be able to adopt an ideal diet and yet one may have well-considered views about it. The sages had arrived at fairly well-founded views regarding this matter of an ideal diet but my mind does not accept that they had reached a solution which must hold good for all time to come. But as I have been unsuccessful for the time being in my experiment this subject is no longer of immediate interest. I trust you are keeping good health. Mahadevlalji had written to me in July a letter which contained some charges against you I drew his attention to the impropriety of it and asked his permission to pass on the letter to you. the impropriety consisted in his not mentioning the matter to you first. In his reply he gave me permission to forward his letter to you. the letter, however, was not dispatched perhaps because I was on tour or for some other reason. Meanwhile, Mahadevlal came to the Ashram. At present he is touring with Jamnalalji. He does not seem to have any selfish motive. I am sending his letter to you now. Read it t leisure and take your own time in sending the reply. And return his letter with your reply.”105

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Here is my message: Having made a start you must continue to spin in the spirit of yajna and always remember Daridranarayana, i.e., our poverty-stricken brethren.”106 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I feel ashamed that I have not been able to write to you for so long, though your letters came regularly. Since we are going to meet at Wardha, I do not want to write at length. I had sent a wire in connection with the prevailing imposts in South Africa. The episode of the calf and that of the monkeys did cause me pain, but also gave me an opportunity to understand man’s nature and to keep anger under control. Mahadev told me many things about you. I felt happy. I already knew much of what he told me. I intend to reach Wardha on the 24th. More when we meet. Jamnalalji is leaving for Bombay today. Mahadev is staying at Bardoli nowadays. He has come here for three days.”107

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “What instructions can I give from this distance? There can be nothing lacking in your attention. I am aware that Keshu2 needs some comforting. To that end I am sending Devdas. I have little faith in medicines. But I do not interfere in the treatment of those away from me. Hence there was no need for any instructions in response to your telegram. My treatment is quite well known fasting or fruit juice, sun-baths, sleeping at night in a well-ventilated room and enema in case of constipation. Many patients like Keshu have been cured by this treatment. But I do not wish to practice my theories from a distance. You can do whatever you like. Medicines should not be suggested to Keshav unless he asks for them. I hope Keshav will be out of all danger by the time this reaches you.”108 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Devdas writes that Keshu is receiving loving attention from you all. So writes Radhabehn too. What more can I say in this matter? The treatment too conforms more or less to what I would have wished. Enough; it would be discourteous to write anything further on this subject. I am free from all anxiety. The Lahore resolutions are very much to my liking. And my opinion is further strengthened by the current happenings. Go through what I have written in Young India and offer whatever comments you think fit. You have every right to express your views and offer advice.”109

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I am so busy these days that there is no time to answer letters. I shall make my comments after going through the speech. I too had a talk with Malaviyaji Maharaj. Things can improve much if he inculcates tolerance in the other party. Do whatever you can in this direction. We shall discuss your health when we meet. I have no anxiety on Keshu’s account.”110 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “The address of Sjt. Ghanshyamdas Birla as President of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, delivered recently at Delhi in the presence of the Viceroy, has justly attracted wide attention. I take the following seasonable paragraphs from it our foreign liabilities. Sjt. Birla as a financier can only deal with the arithmetic of the transactions and find how those liabilities just or unjust may be met. Reformers claim to go behind these liabilities and to know how and why they were created. We need not be squeamish about repudiation of liabilities only so called and imposed upon us involuntarily and often without our knowledge. Constitution making is a good pastime under healthy conditions. But it is deceptive and ruinous when the patient for whom a new constitution is prescribed is about to die. An impartial and unfettered examination of our financial position should therefore be a condition precedent to any scheme of constitution making.”111

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I have reproduced your speech at length. Whatever was done is all to the good. I have practiced my ‘gift’ well by this time. I now see that they have no answer to it. They merely exploit our ignorance and cowardice. The sooner the Assembly dissolves the better. I have little hope of remaining out of jail by the end of March. I have a query. Keshu and his mother were there, so were Radhabehn and Devdas. Tell me what you think of them? How did Keshu behave during his illness?”112 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Teachers know that in 1928 a society for the spread of Hindi was formed in Calcutta. The treasurer of the society was Shri Ghanshyamdas Birla. I have received a statement of the working of this society and a statement of accounts. I give the following facts from the statement of its working.”113 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Your letters of resignation have filled me with joy. I am writing this at 2 a.m. as some friends have brought the news that I shall be arrested today. Jamnalalji is ensconced in jail. I am confident that you will do all you can in connection with salt Satyagraha, prohibition and the boycott of foreign cloth. We shall have good support if Malaviyaji remains firm about this. The awakening in Gujarat, at least for the present, is beyond words. God alone knows the future. I see only good coming out of these arrests. The present is shaping as we had anticipated. What more shall I write?”114

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I know your love for khadi. That is why I hesitate to offer comments on your scheme. However, I must tell you that your scheme is not workable because the mill-owners will not give up their interests. For many matters Government aid is essential; it will never be available for the boycott [of foreign cloth]. If the boycott can be successfully implemented by the efforts of the mill-owners only, khadi need have no place in it. But I am confident that boycott will be successful only with khadi. This does not mean that mills have no place in the scheme at all. The mills can take their proper place only by recognizing the worth of khadi. According to the doctrine that various individual deities are included in God, we destroy them by worshipping them separately because they have no independent existence, and we do not reach God either. For all these reasons, the prosperity of the mills and the success of foreign-cloth boycott lie in spreading the love of khadi and increasing its production. Verb Sap. Hope you will not find any difficulty in deciphering my handwriting.”115




53. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, August 10, 1926

54. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, August 12, 1926


56. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, September 1, 1926

57. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, September 5, 1926

58. LETTER TO JUGAL KISHORE BIRLA, September 7, 1926

59. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, October 3, 1926

60. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, October 21, 1926

61. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, November 5, 1926

62. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, November 18, 1926

63. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, November 25, 1926

64. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, December 4, 1926

65. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, December 20, 1926

66. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, February 21, 1927

67. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, March 21, 1927

68. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, May 21, 1927

69. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, June 1, 1927

70. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, June 9, 1927

71. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, June 22, 1927

72. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, July 20, 1927

73. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, October 1, 1927

74. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, November 6, 1927

75. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, January 5, 1928

76. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, February 7, 1928

77. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, February 8, 1928

78. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, March 30, 1928

79. LETTER TO SANTOK GANDHI, After April 23, 1928

80. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, April 27, 1928

81. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, May 12, 1928

82. VOL. 42 : 2 MAY, 1928 - 9 SEPTEMBER, 1928, Page- 59

83. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, June 6, 1928

84. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, June 18, 1928

85. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, July 2, 1928

86. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, July 16, 1928

87. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, July 20, 1928

88. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, November 12, 1928

89. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, December 11, 1928

90. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, December 13, 1928

91. Young India, 10-1-1929

92. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, January 14, 1929

93. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, February 27, 1929

94. LETTER TO D., March 13, 1929

95. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, Before April 30, 1929

96. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, May 8, 1929

97. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, May 11, 1929

98. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, May 28, 1929

99. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, May 31, 1929

100. LETTER TO G.D. BIRLA, June 2, 1929

101. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, June 3, 1929

102. LETTER TO G.D. BIRLA, June 13, 1929

103. LETTER TO G.D. BIRLA, June 30, 1929

104. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, August 23, 1929

105. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, September 18, 1929

106. LETTER TO BASANT KUMAR BIRLA, October 3, 1929

107. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, November 12, 1929

108. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, Before January 9, 1930

109. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, January 9, 1930

110. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, January 16, 1930

111. Young India, 27-2-1930

112. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, February 28, 1930

113. Hindi Navajivan, 13-3-1930

114. LETTER TO G. D. BIRLA, April 10, 1930






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