For Global Peace with Social Justice in a Sustainable Environment
Mahatma Gandhi and Manilal & his wife-I Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 28 March 1927 that I have got letters from you both. I must say I was pained. The slightest deviation from truth pierces me like a dart. I can forgive Sushila’s slip considering her a child with no self-mastery, but there was no excuse for you to have slipped. Now what is done is done make no more promise to me; it is enough if you keep whatever you have already made. Don’t worry on account of my illness. There is certainly no need for you to be here. You can serve me best by always being faithful in your own duties. Fleeting are the bonds of flesh; they will not endure. Why lament over this, why brood over it? With a wish that both of you should be noble Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 11 May 1927 that your letter has not reached me but I have seen the one you wrote to Ramdas who perhaps forgot to send over the one to me. I am glad that both of you are getting along well. I always wish you will help each other in your progress. I am improving steadily. I have already written to you that I had a wire sent to you as you wished but your steamer had by then sailed. Verses from the Gita are being regularly sent to you. Please meditate on them as often as you can. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 6 June 1927 that So far your letters have been coming regularly. It would be good if you kept this up. This letter should go to you by the same steamer by which Sastriji arrives there. The translation of the Gita is now proceeding five times faster, so that you will now have a lot of feeding. You should both ask me whatever you do not understand. My health continues to improve. I arrived in Bangalore yesterday. Nandi is now too cold for me. I shall be here for a month at least. Thereafter, I hope, I shall get to move about a little. Look after Sastriji. If Sushila learns type-composing and if God keeps her well she will be of much help to you. I too wish she should be. If you earnestly study each and every problem there, you will acquire the knowledge that I expect of you. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 20 June 1927 that I get your letters regularly. I feel happy. Whether the cause of this regularity is the regret I expressed in Bombay or the new broom in the form of Sushila is a question which only you two can answer. If my regret is the cause, may the memory of that regret remain fresh with you forever, and if the new broom is the cause, let it never grow old. My letter is late by a week. I will be more careful hereafter. Your regularity will keep me careful. When elders become old, the young can keep them vigilant. Perhaps you know that, had Gorakh not proved stronger than Machchhendra, the latter would have fallen. If you do not know about this, ask me; I will explain the story in my next letter, and shall have a good subject to write upon. I am very glad to hear that Sushila has put on weight. Has her deafness decreased somewhat? It is also good news she has started type-composing. She can become capable of managing a press. A girl of 17 or 18 can train herself in no time. The burden of household chores on her should not increase. For that, if you keep your food requirements simple as you used to do formerly, a great deal of time will be saved. Food should be cooked only once and that too should be very simple, so that the kitchen may not occupy all one’s time. Manilal knows all this art, if, that is, he has not forgotten it. A woman is not born merely to cook meals. Since cooking must be done, both [husband and wife] should take a hand in it. If they do and work in a spirit of service, they can easily discover many ways of saving time. You may take as much as you can digest from all this that I have written and leave the rest. I shall certainly try to write a letter by every mail, but remember that the translation of the Gita which I have given you must also be counted among my letters. That translation is intended for people like you, and now it is being done at a faster rate. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 5 July 1927 that I got your cable. You must have received my reply to it. You must have got my letters even before my reply to the cable. But I sent the cable as I thought that would make both of you happier, especially Sushila. If Manilal alone were there, I would not have spent money on a cable and would have rebuked him for wasting money on one. But considering that Sushila was in foreign country, that she has never been abroad before now and that, therefore, she would be happy to hear from me, I thought it proper to send a cable. I am glad to know that both of you would like to receive letters from me, but at the same time I should like to make it clear that, if you do not receive one, you should not suppose that my failure to write was due to indifference or carelessness. It may be that I cannot find the time to write because of pressure of work, or that I miss writing because I do not remember the date on which the mail leaves. If I am ill, you will have somehow heard about it. But now I shall be more careful about writing. Sushila should forget her attachment to her parental home. We ought always to remember our parents, but it is not possible to live forever with them. A son cannot do so. How, then, is it possible for a daughter? Her home is with her husband. Sushila should, therefore, understand that her home is where Manilal is and learn to live like Savitri. She should protect herself and also protect Manilal. In both of you maintaining simplicity, truthfulness, compassion and patriotism, despite the many temptations surrounding you, in your observing self-restraint as befits you and protecting each other’s body and character lies the success of your marriage. Sushila’s physical strength does not seem to have increased in proportion to the increase in her weight. There is only one way of increasing it : that she should eat nothing but wholesome food, and only as much as can be digested, and take as much physical exercise in the open air as she can without getting exhausted, and that both of you should refrain, as much as possible, from sexual indulgence. I am a living example before you of how much even mental indulgence tells on the body. I failed to wake up for thirty years, and reap the fruits of that to this day. My body is comparatively good. I have, it may be said, suffered from very few illnesses. Still, I know that had I waked up earlier, my body would have been as strong as adamant. My capacity to serve would also have been far greater than it is. There was none to awaken me or to keep me vigilant. I am there to awaken you both and keep you on your guard. Learn from my experience. I keep good health. As a khadi exhibition is on here these days and as there is to be a meeting of the Charkha Sangh, Jamnalalji, Mithubehn, Jamnabehn, Maganlal, Keshu, Anasuyabehn, Shankerlal and others have come here. In a day or two the nest will be empty again. You send your letters needlessly to Amreli. If you write the word ‘personal’ on your letters, no one will read them, but why do you wish that no one in the Ashram should read them? It would be all right if you wish that no one should read those letters of yours in which you consult me about your moral problems, but what can be there in ordinary letters that no one should read? Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 14 August 1927 that your letters still arrive after many wanderings. I should get faithful account of Sastri’s visit, but have not received one so far. Sushila has asked a question about social service. Any work which we do for people’s welfare and with sincere motives is social service. If in your family life you merely aim at enjoyment and do not think of society, that will be serving self-interest; if, on the other hand, you adopt simplicity for the sake of society, take care not to set a bad example to others and, when buying anything, consider whether it is morally right or wrong to do so, then that is social service. Going further, if your aim in helping in the press work is merely to save money, that is service of self. If, however, your aim is to learn that work and spend the money saved by your work for some public purpose, if it is that you should bring out the paper even at the cost of hardship to yourself that is social service. Go a step further still; if, finding that your neighbour is ill, you sacrifice your comforts in order to nurse him and learn nursing work that is social service. From these examples you can think of any number of others and extend the field of social service within the limits of your capacity. If, tired of India, Manilal lives in South Africa to enjoy the pleasures which that country offers that is selfishness. If, believing that the paper conducted by his father was good and that his country stood to gain by his continuing to run it, he lives and forces you to live in exile without the aim of amassing wealth, he is rendering a great social service and you, too, are making a contribution to it. Today we have come to a far-off place in Mysore State. About sixty miles from here is a waterfall like the Inanda Falls, but much bigger than that, which we are all going to see tomorrow. Devdas has stayed back in Bangalore. He will arrive here this evening with others. We shall remain here and collect contributions for about four days and then return to Bangalore. At the end of this month, we shall cross the boundary of Mysore State and enter Tamilnad. My health continues to improve Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 28 August 1927 that I have no time today to write myself. I am dictating this letter while I am having my meal. After I sent the cable to you, I have not missed a single mail. Mr. Andrews is here. I shall write more by the next mail. Sushila’s health must improve. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 9 October 1927 that I get your letters regularly. We should not think about Sastriji’s weakness to which you refer. It is a kind of weakness from which practically no one in Government service can be free. I adopted nonco operation with the Government only when I found that its system was altogether evil. It is but natural that, having grown in the atmosphere in which you have, you cannot bear such flattery. But From the reference to Devdas’s operation for piles respect for elders requires that, as far as possible, we should not criticize them. You did well, of course, in drawing my attention to his weakness, but do not permit your behavior to Sastriji or your sincere respect for him to be affected in any way. We have few patriotic workers as upright and able as Sastriji. Devdas has been operated upon for piles. He is in Dr. Rajan’s hospital. It is now six days since the operation. He is progressing satisfactorily. Almost all the men in the Ashram are engaged in flood relief work. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 20 October 1927 that I got your letters. I have conveyed to Sastriji your opinion about him expressed in your letter. I thought it best that he should know it. Someone has cabled to newspapers here unconnected extracts from his speeches in order to run him down. I am not surprised or pained by his praise of the Empire, since that is his view of it; were it not so, he would not have accepted service under it. Nevertheless, you can with due courtesy tell him whatever you think, so that if he wishes he may explain his attitude to you. Do not be hasty in anything you do. Devdas has been operated upon for piles. He was operated upon by Dr. Rajan in Trichinopally. He is in the doctor’s nursing home. He is quite well now. There is still a small wound, but it will heal soon. He will see me the day after tomorrow. You should immediately send to the Ashram the money you owe for the goods sent to you. I have explained to you that you cannot delay paying this money, because the Ashram has no authority to supply goods on credit. Pay the amount, therefore, without delay. How much weight has Sushila gained? How many miles can she walk now? How is her ear? Can she set the types with speed? Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 6 March 1927 that I get letters from you regularly, but they are letters which I feel you write as a matter of social duty or to keep your promise. The letters which I used to write to my elders were not of this kind; I gave in them a detailed description of my life. Today Mira, aged thirty-two, writes letters to me as long as ten to twenty sheets, though she writes as often as twice or thrice a week. She writes to her mother once every week and in those letters, too, she pours out her whole heart. One of you two at any rate should get time. If you wish you can write about many things, such as how your press is working, what difficulties you have to face, whether your expenses have increased or decreased, how large the circulation of the paper is, and so on. You can also, likewise, give information about the social and political conditions there. I may even be able to use your reports sometimes. Why it is that Sushila does not get strong? Does she digest the food she eats? What is her diet? How much milk does she take? Do you obtain fresh milk, and cow’s milk? What work does Sushila now do in the press? I would have missed the mail this time, were it not that God saved me. For I was to sail for Colombo today. I would not have been able to catch the mail for South Africa from there. Today is Sunday. The mail leaves on Wednesday. Sorabji and his bride came to see me today and had my blessings. The marriage will take place on the 18th. There is much I can write about Harilal, but I don’t wish to spend time on the subject today. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 5 November1927 that I missed one mail this time. I could not attend to things regularly while I was in Ceylon. There was plenty of travelling to do. When, however, I miss a mail you should not feel worried or followed my example. You will be free to miss a mail when both of you become as busy as I am if you have not learnt by then to get over my weaknesses. Truly speaking, however, a real heir is one who enhances the legacy he has inherited. Sushila is right when she says that in the realm of art there can be no distinction between indigenous and foreign, but her statement calls for some reflection. Lovers of art take a superficial view of art and use it as a cover for many weaknesses. We should, therefore, examine what we mean by art. Not everything which appeals to the eye is art. What is accepted as art by many experts may not be art? I have read conflicting opinions about many paintings and statues expressed by art-critics who have become famous in the world. We should, therefore, think what art means. The book What Is Art? 1 has been translated into Gujarati. Sushila should read it. If you cannot get it there, Please write to me. Devdas suffered very much during his illness. There is some affection in the nose. There was temperature again. He is better now. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 31 December 1927 that I got both your letters. I have now returned to the Ashram, and shall know, therefore, what letters arrive. You gave at least one particular in your letter, and that was good. I understand what you say about Sastriji. You can boldly, but courteously, tell him what you may wish to. You have given a good description of your conversation with him. I certainly like the idea of closing the Durban Office. Personally, I believe that, if the paper does not run on its own merit, we should not be too eager to continue it. If it runs on its own merit, it should without difficulty run even from Phoenix. Do not run it by incurring debts or simply for the sake of running it. In this matter, at any rate, please do accept my advice. If you find it difficult to stay there on this condition, both of you should return here. Do not wait till it is too late. You have not replied to what I said about the money you owe to the Ashram. This is to remind you again. And now to Sushila. Your letters are dull. Manilal is justified in saying that, being very busy with work, he cannot write much, but you certainly ought to write. If you have interest in life, you will find much to write about. Sons and daughters fill sheets and sheets when writing to their parents about their happy and unhappy experiences, but your letters contain no more than a few lines. Your physique does not seem yet to have become stronger. If you wish, you may consult some doctor there. Do anything, but get strong. If you wish to return here, discuss the matter between you two. So far as I am concerned, you have my permission. It will also be for you to decide where you will live. You may live either here or at Akola. Think of me not as a father-in-law but as a father. In order that you may be able to do some service, it is also your duty to take care of your body. Do not neglect that duty. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 26 February 1928 that I got your letters. I also got the cable, to which I have already replied. If I were seriously ill, I would certainly have had a cable sent to you. Others, too, would have cabled, but do you think a man who was so seriously ill would wait till the steamer had arrived? Even in case of such illness, therefore, it would be best for you to suppress the desire to abandon your work and run back home. Ramdas and Nirmala have gone to Rajkot, and from there they will go to Amreli. They have decided, both of them, to take up some work connected with my activities and devote themselves wholly to it. The place of work too will be decided before the 16th of March. Devdas is still here. He is keeping well. Brian Gabriel left for Bombay today after staying here for three days. This letter will be carried by the same ship by which he sails. I wish to see Sushila restored to perfect health. Which book in English is she studying? Send me a sample of her handwriting. Tell Mr. Kallenbach that I am waiting for him to come. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 10 April 1928 that I have no time today to write myself. This is the National Week, and so I give as much time as I can spare and the body can endure, to spinning. Hence I am dictating this letter. You must have settled in phoenix by now. I like you’re staying there. It would be enough if Sushila went to the town twice or thrice to take her lessons. As a matter of fact, knowledge of a language as well as other knowledge can be acquired by one’s own effort. I hope that Sushila is now completely all right. Yesterday Mr. Wayne met me. We talked The Ashramabout his meeting Manilal. I did not engage him in any particular discussion, but I got the impression that he went away from here with some useful ideas. Ramdas is hawking khadi in Kathiawar. Nimu is here. Devdas is teaching spinning, etc., at Jamia Millia in Delhi. These days the spinning-wheels are working non-stop in the Ashram. Kishorelal was ill, but is now reported to be recovering with common remedies. You must be getting letters from there, so I do not write about anything there. Do you spend any time in studying the Gita? Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 23 April 1928 that As I write this letter, I have before me a telegram from Patna informing me that Maganlal is on his death-bed. Radha is there by chance. The friends at Patna are doing their best for him. Any moment there may be a telegram about his passing away. What mystery of God’s wills is this, that he whom I regard as my heir is preparing to go away, leaving his inheritance? If only all of you who remain behind could follow in Maganlal’s footsteps! I get the letters of both of you. Wayne must have given you my message. I think I have already informed you that he met me. Ramdas is still in Kathiawar hawking khadi. He should return in four or five days. Chhaganlal fell ill and has, therefore, left Orissa and gone to Almora. Prabhudas is already there on grounds of health. But now he is doing khadi work all the time. I want a sample of Sushila’s English handwriting and language. What is her weight now? What painting is she engaged on at present? If Sorabji spends beyond his means, do not forget your duty, as a friend, of restraining him. Never take advantage of his spend-thrift nature. Always remain within the bounds of propriety. I have dropped for the present the idea of going to Europe. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 7 May 1928 that what shall I write to you this time? There has been no change at all in my routine work, nor do I think constantly about any particular matter, and yet I feel that a change has come over my life these days. Imperceptibly and involuntarily, a struggle is going on within me. Maganlal’s soul rules over my heart. The thought of his death fills me with a kind of happiness. Ba, I and all of us had always believed that I would die first. Had it happened so, I feel, as I see the unmanageable growth of our activities, that he would have been crushed by their weight. We are all thinking how to limit them. I do not know if any of us will be able to cope with the work. But I put my trust in God. He who has steered the ship so far will steer it in future too. No matter if Maganlal has died or others die. All of us will die but the truth which we have thought and lived will never die. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 19 June 1928 that I continue to get your letters. But I cannot say that they satisfy me. You always say that both of you are pressed for time; it is difficult for me to conceive what great work you have on hand. But we both derive comfort from the proverb that it is better to have someone to call uncle than to have no uncle at all. I had hoped for something better from Sushila but even if she lacks Manilal’s physical fitness she must have at least reached his level of wisdom. But must you take on each other’s defects, and not virtues? I shall be pleased if you cast aside this great lethargy and you will be benefited too. Other letters from Africa and elsewhere always contain more news than is to be found in your letters. I must get a reply to my previous letter in which I have reminded you of the debts to the Ashram. If you want you may coolly contemplate the fact that the debt will be entered in the Bad Debts list but I cannot. At present significant changes are taking place at the Ashram. I have no time to describe them now. These days I get up before the four-o’clock morning prayers and dictate many letters, for only so can I cope with it somewhat. Whilst dictating this, the fouro’ clock bell has rung, so I stop. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 1 July 1928 that I got your letters. Sushila, believes that she is not fit to write to me. Anyone who sincerely admits in this manner his or her unfitness will strive to the utmost to become fit. I wrote to you rebuking you about the money which you owe to this place. That letter of mine you must have got during the same week in which you wrote to me about it. I had already written by then what I wish I did not have to. I should like you to become vigilant. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 15 July 1928 that I got the letters from both of you. I get no time these days and so dictate most of the letters between three and four in the morning. This I find convenient. I have to give much of my time to the problems of the common kitchen. I do that because the experiment seems to me an extremely important one and it is essential that I pay attention to it. At present about a hundred persons take their meals in it. Despite this large number, there is no noise at meal-time and complete peace is preserved. One cannot be sure, though, how long this will last. We have shifted the kitchen and merged it with the one in the Hostel, and the room formerly used for the purpose is now occupied by women. If you were here at present, you would thus see the Ashram changed in many ways. Chi. Chhaganlal has handed over about Rs. 10,000 which he had accumulated and now observes the vow of non-possession quite strictly. He had the fullest co-operation of Chi. Kashi in this act of self-sacrifice. That family has now joined the common kitchen. Mahadev had Rs. 4,000 with him, and he has handed over that amount. The separate kitchens which still remain will have closed down by the next Kartik Sud. There are only a few of them. Harilal came and stayed here for one day. Ramdas and Rasik are still at Bardoli. The Gita recitation is kept up every day. The eighteen chapters are finished in fourteen days. I was prompted by love in writing what I did about the Rustomji case in the “Autobiography”. I have omitted other names but given this one; my aim in giving certain names is that they should be remembered as long as the “Autobiography” is recognized as an important work. I follow what you say about Miss Schlesin2. But, then, isn’t she half crazy? She has written a sort of wild letter even to me. Ask me again if you do not follow my point. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 12 August 1928 that I have your letters. I shall write no more about the dryness of your letters. This is the reply to Sushila’s question about Sudama. We know nothing about whether or not he was a historical character. I do not remember what the Bhagavata says about Sudama. We have what Narasinh Mehta and Premanand have written about him. The stories told by both of them are imaginary. The pictures drawn by the two poets are their own inventions. We cannot, therefore, take every word in the narrative seriously and pronounce judgement on any aspect of the story. To me both the husband and the wife seem beautifully drawn characters. The poems were composed to illustrate the power of bhakti1. In composing them, the poets have shown the wife as a worthy lady who tries to safeguard the interests of her family and worries about it. Sudama, who is under the spell of bhakti, lets his affairs manage themselves. The wife wants to protect her children and so she tries to wake up the detached Sudama. He hesitates, because a devotee of God makes no selfish prayer. But his wish, though seemingly selfish, is in fact unselfish. Prompted by his wife, he went to Krishna without any expectation and came away as he had gone. We should, therefore, read the poem to enjoy the sentiment of bhakti. We cannot draw any conclusions from it about what the relation between a husband and a wife should be. We may use our reason to decide that question, and act in the manner that seems best to us. An attempt to judge old examples in the light of modern reason is not only futile and unnecessary but may be actually harmful sometimes. We should base our conduct in this age on independent moral principles. I like Manilal’s independence in what he thinks about Sastriji, but I see an error in his view. There should be a different standard for judging every individual. If we judge a horse by the standard applicable to an elephant, we would be doing injustice to both. Both may be good or bad in their respective spheres. An elephant or a horse may be treated to have failed in the test if it fails when judged by the standard applicable to itself. If we judge Sastriji by the standard of Satyagraha, we would do him injustice. If we look to the service which he renders to the nation, though in Government service, we shall see that he has no equal. If, then, he were to plunge into the field of Satyagraha, he would probably have no equal there too. It is my belief that no one else would give as much satisfaction, through his uprightness, as Sastriji does. In my view, he sincerely follows his conscience in everything he does. I learn from him that Sushila now speaks fairly good English. I would expect such information about you from yourselves. Now that a settlement about Bardoli has been reached, I am returning to the Ashram. Ba and Mahadev are with me. Subbiah joined later. Pyarelal, Ramdas and Rasik have been here from the beginning. It is to be decided now what they are to do. Devdas is in Delhi working in Jamia Millia. Prabhudas is at Almora. Rule has now been made to have one common kitchen only in the Ashram, and, therefore, very few are left now who have their meals by themselves. They, too, will have stopped doing that before the next year. At present, about 140 persons take their meals in the common kitchen. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 27 August 1928 that I have your letters. You would naturally get all the news about Balubhai, and so I write nothing. If we remember and cultivate in ourselves the virtues of our good relations, they though dead live on and society progresses continuously. Ordinarily we see the opposite of this happening. That is so because of our lethargy. We believe that by selfishly mourning over a death we have done our duty and thus deceive ourselves. If we look upon death in the manner I have indicated, we would never mourn it but turn it into a means of self-purification. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 23 October 1928 that I have your letter, as also the cable. By the time you get this, Sushila will have left her bed and Dhairyabala will have learnt to smile. I had a letter from Nanabhai only yesterday, in which he said that he had sent a cable about the name of the baby. This time too if I had not thought of your letter just now, that is, at 3.30 a.m., I would not have written this. It was thus that I missed the last mail. I get very little time these days to write letters and therefore get up at 3 in the morning, sometimes even at 2, and dictate letters. I wrote1 you about Rasik and Navin having gone to Delhi. Ramdas is still in Bardoli. Nimu is here. Ba is ill. There is no cause for worry. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 3 December 1928 that Sushila has asked us to suggest a name for the baby girl. But Nanabhai has already cabled the name and, therefore, there is no need to give her another name. The name “Dhairyabala” is also a good one. It requires many other virtues to be able to cultivate patience which has no taint of lethargy in it. Bhartrihari described patience as father. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 14 January 1929 that I get your letters. I missed one mail as I have been very busy. If it was left to me to give a name to Dhairyabala1, I would call her Sita. It is a holy name. It is easy for friends there to pronounce and suggest the virtues we wish her to have. I considered some other names too, but could not think of a better one. What need is there now to write about Sastriji? Keep me informed how the new Agent2 is doing. Since I do not know him, I have not written a single line about him. The other reports that I have received are not favourable, but we should not form an opinion on the basis of these reports. It is possible that he may show only his better qualities there. You should not, any of you, be prejudiced against him from the beginning. I am doing fairly well. At present I have given up goat’s milk and fruits. Fruits I gave up after coming here. I take tomatoes instead, and almond-milk instead of goat’s milk. I hope you write to Ramdas. It appears he and Nimu are doing well at Bardoli. Devdas, Navin and Rasik are still in Delhi. All three are doing well. Mahadev is in Bardoli. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 29 January 1929 that I received together all the letters you had sent by three different mails. I have already sent another name for Dhairyabala. Today I am writing this letter in great hurry. Rasik has caught typhoid in Delhi. Kanti has been down with fever for the past three days. Such are the ups and downs over here. I cannot advise the closing of Indian Opinion. A journal that has survived till this day cannot be allowed to close down. I would not mind if both of you had to spend your whole life there. That is how great tasks are accomplished. That is what single-minded devotion means. Yes, if you can make some other arrangement for running the paper and leave the place, I would not mind. Nor would I see anything wrong if Sushila came over here once and stayed for some time. I would be happy to see you three living happily. I was sorry to learn about Charlie. That is the way the world goes. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 10 February 1929 that your letters reached me only today during my tour of Sind. It will grieve you both to learn that after an illness of 15 to 20 days, Rasik passed away on the 8th at Delhi. Dr. Ansari spared no pains in looking after him. Ba, Kanti, Harilal and Bali had by that time run up to Delhi. Devdas, Krishnadas and Navin were also there. For the last two months, Rasik had become a devotee of God and took great interest in the Ramayana. There is no reason at all for sorrow in this matter, as all of us have to go the same way sooner or later. Our sorrow results from selfishness. I did not let it interfere with any of my work. For Dhairyabala I send you another name, Sita, which is sweet, easy for all to pronounce and a sacred name. You have now no cause for complaint. I have today a letter from Nanabhai also. Sushila’s present weight, 90 lb., is good enough. She can easily reach to 105 lb. She can do that with some exercise and enough food. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 22 March 1929 that I have not been able to write to you for some time. After spending two weeks in Burma we are again on board the ship. It was impossible, while in Burma, to keep in mind the mail days. Today also, I am writing this letter without any idea as to when the ship is leaving. As for Rasik, you must have seen what I have written in Navajivan and Young India. To my mind, he is not at all dead. We have been able to collect more than Rs. 1, 50, 000 in Burma. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 27 April 1929 that I have the satisfaction that I have been getting letters from you, however uninteresting. If you wish, you may complain of absence of letters from me. If, however, you could realize the conditions under which I have been touring at present, you would pity me and not Complain that I do not write to you. And, in any case, you do have my Letters in the form of Young India and Navajivan. Even today I am writing this at 5.30 in the morning during the spare time before beginning the tour. Every day it begins at 6 o’clock in the morning and we camp at 9 o’clock. It is resumed at 5.30 p.m., and we camp again at 8 p.m., and occasionally at 9 or 10 or even 11 o’clock. In these conditions, I sometimes do not get even the day’s post. This tour will be over on May 22. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 19 May 1929 that I get your letters regularly though I find them rather dry. But the grievance that both of you have is justified, since I do not write regularly, whether interestingly or otherwise. But during this touring I cannot keep count of the dates. I think I have not been able to attend to your correspondence during my tours of Burma and Andhra. I shall be more careful now that the pace of my tours will slow down. I had learnt form Nanabhai that you did not like the name Sita. And you have mentioned the reason in your latest letter. I appreciate your reason. It may be all right for Sushila to have Sita as her ideal but the child should have someone revolutionary. I cannot at the moment recollect any girl mentioned in the classics who would fulfill all these requirements. You should have acquainted me with your sentiments earlier. I shall now think of some other name. In our society as also among the English a person may have two or three names. Let Sita have two or three. In this way I wish to justify the name Sita. Sita is the last word in wifehood as much as it is in maidenhood. Moreover it is my ideal to make a person lead a life of independence and purity in spite of being married. Sita, Parvati and others have fully attained both these ideals. According to the accounts in the Ramayana and other works they were free form passion. Sita experienced no difficulty when she was separated from Ramachandra. She was so free from passion that the lascivious Ravana could not touch her. A woman should pray for freedom from passion although her name may be Sita. That is why Sita is one of the seven satis1. Sati does not merely mean one faithful to her husband. Sati signifies freedom from passion. Sita had two children. This need not be regarded as wrong on her part, because it is mentioned in this context that Rama and Sita came together out of a desire for progeny. It is not so today. Now children are born as a result of passion; a person like me therefore regards begetting children as forbidden. I am, of course, talking about the belief in regard to Sita and others; Sit should not be regarded as a historical person but as our ideal woman. We do not worship the historical Rama and Sita. The Rama of history is no more now. But the Rama to whom we attribute perfect divinity, who is God directly perceived, lives to this day. Reciting the name of this Rama would save us; the Rama of history, who is qualified by attributes, good or bad, would not have the strength to save. If you do not follow all this you should, by all means, discuss it with me. In all my reading I have come across no ideal loftier than Sita. This name therefore is extremely dear to me. Again, it is sweet to utter, short, and the two syllables too are easy. It has no compound syllable. And the name is by itself musical, ending as it does with a long a. But I do not insist that you call the child by this name. There is nothing wrong if you give a name of your own choice. You may give her a name indicative of the qualities that you wish her to have. Find it in some religious books or novels. On my part I shall certainly search for another. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 13 June 1929 that I fail to write when I am moving from place to place. I often intend to write but when it is time for the weekly mail my letter is not ready. This time too I have set out on a journey. The journey will lead me to the hills. Today we are at the foot of the mountain in Bareilly. This time I have a large convoy. There is Ba, there is Purushottam, then Prithviraj and Pyarelal too. Devdas will join us in Almora. The journey has been organized by Prabhudas. Among the women are Jamnabehn, Khurshedbehn, Mirabehn and Kusumbehn. Mahadev has been detained by Vallabhbhai. If both of you cannot come away and Sushila alone comes, it is all right. But I think there is nothing wrong if she stays on till both of you can come along provided she is keeping well and her separation from her parents is not very painful to her. What I mean is that you should do what both of you wish to. If Sushila desires to come she must not be held back. If proper arangements about the journal, etc., cannot be made, I realize that you cannot come over. Ramdas is not particularly well. He is not yet free from his mental trouble. I am of course fine. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 30 June 1929 that I have your letters. I am at the moment sitting in a secluded spot in front of the peaks of the Himalayan ranges covered with snow. I spend all my time in the verandah. Here I finished revising my translation of the Gita. It will now be published if my friends so desire. If it is not printed, I shall send you a copy or you will see it if you come here in the meantime. Has the name Sita now stuck to your heart? If not, it can be given up. If it is, it would not pain me at all. The right to give a name must belong to you. My wish is that you would ask for suggestions from elders but do what you yourselves decide. It would be a different matter if you were children. I have opened this subject because Nanabhai says the name Sita hurts Sushila. There is no reason to be displeased. Since I do not insist on this why should she be unhappy about it. Now about the alliance with a Marwari. I do not remember whether I had told Manilal about it, but before I received the offer of Sushila, it was my plan to form alliance with an educated Bengali girl. God may have joined you, because who knows whether with the Bengali girl, you could have merged as completely as you two now have. However, it was my intention even before I betrothed Ramdas to go out of Gujarat. It is essential that we do this. Of course, I wished to limit myself to the Vaishya community. The unnatural restrictions that now prevail, have done and are still doing much harm. The alliance that I have just concluded, I expect to be as successful as yours. Here again, the main role has been Jamnalalji’s. He has found a groom who is one of his distant relatives. He is modest and educated. He was introduced to Rukhi and the alliance is formed as she and Santok were willing. This too is a way of bringing about India’s unity. Now do you understand, can you swallow it? Sushila should not be impatient to come here. I can quite understand her wish to see her family. But if it is found that she must stay on for the sake of the work there, it is her duty to stay on. This is my advice. But do only that which both of you think right. Yes, if the community does not want Indian Opinion and it involved a loss, it should be closed down, however necessary it may be. But it must be proved that the community does not want it and that the losses are not owing to our slackness or remissness. Our writings should not be immature. Sastriji particularly insists that the journal should never be closed down. Whatever you would do, should be done with deliberation, after considering the advice of your friends and having made all the efforts needed to keep going. I have with me Devdas, Prabhudas, Purushottam, Kusumbehn senior, Jamnabehn, Khurshedbehn and Pyarelal. Ba is of course there. Thus, this time I have a large company. And I quite forget Brijkisan. Now about vaccination. I do not believe in cow-pox. It is a dirty practice. The cow’s teats are made to fester till they stink and a vaccine is extracted from it. This is inoculated into our system. This is tantamount to partaking of beef. This question had aristen in the South African jail; it also confronted us in the jails here. But in the end, no one let me off. Nor does it always prove beneficial. The opponents of vaccination are growing in number. But it would be all right if you got yourself vaccinated. What I have stated above are my personal views. Generally, people do get themselves vaccinated. Does what you think right after both of you go deep into this matter, study it with interest and form an independent opinion about it. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 12 August 1929 that I get your letters all right. And now I am also getting some details. I have very little time left to me. Sushila seems to have become restless; it is therefore only right that she should now come over here. Sorabji is just what he was a year ago. But I can understnad that Sushila should take to heart all that has happened since. But we have to live in this world without attachment, retaining our sweetness and without losing virtue. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 8 September 1929 that I got the letters of you both. Sushila may certainly come when she wants to. I shall arrange to keep everything ready for her to return immediately if she so desires. I am dictating this letter at Bhopal. Kanti is taking it down and I am spinning at the wheel. Today is Sunday. It is already evening. My silence period is about to begin. Among the others accompanying me are Kusumbehn and Jamnalalji, too, will remain with us at least till we leave this place. The scenery around here is very pleasant. Sanchi, the place known for Buddhist art, is near here. We shall visit it on Tuesday. The lake here also is famous all over India. The surrounding scenery is beautiful and stretches some six or seven miles. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 5 October 1929 that I have your letters, as also Sita’s photograph. It is a fine one. I hope you do not dress her in too many clothes and render her delicate. I believe that the prevailing ill will between Hindus and Muslims is for the present unavoidable. Its remedy lies in patience and in passage of time. Go on doing whatever service you can and take offence at nothing. Bear with any opposition that people may offer. You should not lose heart or get tired because of persistent opposition. I certainly wish that you are not forced to run away from there in despair. But remember that the right course would be to judge your own strength and act accordingly, rather than bow to my wishes. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Manilal and his wife on dated 18 December 1929 that I am glad that you have come home. Manilal will certainly go to Lahore. As for Sushila, Ramdas says in his letter that Ba desires that she may also be permitted to go. I am certainly not against her going. I have merely given advice. Ba believes that Sushila may wish to see the Congress session. If this is true and she wishes to go, she may do so provided Sita’s health is all right and Sushila herself has regained her physical strength. In short, you two are no longer children; you are grown-up persons and free to decide for yourselves. That you nevertheless ask my permission is an act of courtesy on your part and a voluntary limitation of your freedom out of respect for me. I, therefore, wish only that you may do as you both like. Whether Manilal ought to return within four months, we shall discuss when we meet.