CWG Vol. 10

In this Volume we continue to read Gandhi’s visit to London for Deputation and the way he could influence few White people to support his cause and also his influence on them (220,389,432) .  Once the deputation failed to achieve its purpose,  Gandiji returns back to South Africa and continues his struggle.  And in this whole volume again we read Gandhiji’s  ideals and views on various issues like Hinduism (190-91, 398-401), Satyagraha (134-35, 160, 173-76, 180-83, 203), education (‘study for earning your livelihood, it is not proper’ 187)Liberty (380-81) Swadeshi, Hindu-Muslim unity (p. 55, 69 139-40, 187, 337, 383-84, ‘And even when a name is given, we shall have to find a common word over which the question of Hindu or Mussalman will not arise. The word math or ashram has a particularly Hindu connotation and therefore may not be used. “Phoenix” is a very good word…’317), Language: “we must cultivate pride in our language’ (145, 145-48, 172, 183),  racialism (373-74, 390-91),  His views about India and  Indians are idealistic though he poured down his life for them. (171, 403-04, 456) Knowing this he writes:

My present state of mind is such that even if the whole world were against what I have written, I would not be depressed. This I say not out of pride; it is the statement of a fact.’ (400).

Gandhiji’s view on media (journal in his time) remain true even today: ‘Newspaper editors as editors are hardly interested in anything that is not sent to them for publication (p.28) and ‘…We do not want to make a fetish of the journal and worship it….’(p.333, 339,368).  The same is the case with govt. which ‘in order to catch votes, publicly paraded the news’. (431)

Gandhiji was not only an ardent reader, but often quotes the important points from others: ‘Rev. Meyer had observed : “…If a man made no mistakes, he made nothing. No man had not had to regret some word or act which might have been said or performed better,…”(p.236)

Though we read Gandhiji’s rhetorical views on sex (391-93, 399), yet the way he could even discuss this with his son (Manilal) back in those days shows the need to talk about it with one’s own children openly at present:

A person who marries in order to satisfy his carnal desire is lower than even the beast. For the married, it is considered proper to have sexual intercourse only for having progeny. The scriptures also say so. Thus considered, all the progeny that is born now is the issue of passion. (p.26) … I am putting this serious subject before you, though you are but a child, simply because I have a high opinion of your character. I would not place these thoughts before any other child of your age, for he would not understand them….(27)

On his way back to South Africa Gandhi wrote the book Swaraji in Gujarati which was later translated in English to publish in India.  Gandiji’s view on Western Civilization (29, 68, 165-67, 169-71, 394-95)  and all kinds of modern facilities like Railway, Medicine and Courts are too idealistic for the present generation to read and accept.  For example his opposition against processed food which is produced keeping only profit is even true to day (107) But he continue live and practice with a personal conviction against them, though he too cannot escape from the reality of their presence and utility in his life too  ‘Every time I get into a railway car, use a motor-bus, I know that I am doing violence to my sense of what is right.’ (p.171).  In his letter to his friend  A. H. West Gandhi says,:

The more I observe, the greater is the dissatisfaction with the modern life. I see nothing good in it. Men are good. But they are poor victims making themselves miserable under the false belief that they are doing good. I am aware that there is a fallacy underneath this. I who claim to examine what is around me may be a deluded fool. This risk all of us have to take. The fact is that we are all bound to do what we feel is right. And with me I feel that the modern life is not right. The greater the conviction, the bolder my experiments.—387)

And  writing to his third son Ramdas he says, ‘…Do not be angry with me if I have not brought anything for you. What could I do if nothing European appealed to me? I like everything Indian.’ (p.334)

We also read his correspondence with Tolstoy whom he accepted as one of his guru, though he does not agree with him on all points, ‘No one should assume that I accept all the ideas of Tolstoy. I look upon him as one of my teachers. But I certainly do not agree with all his ideas.’ (243) He always maintained a reverential attitude towards Indian leaders (227-28)  His friendship with Hendry Polak (who ‘has given very little of his time to his wife who, in order the better to enable her husband to perform his self-imposed duty, has reconciled herself to a life of almost indefinitely prolonged separation.’—122)and the way he could be part of their life (pp. 229-30 & 366-67 ‘I have entered so much into your and Henry’s lives – I hope for our common good and the good of humanity. Your brief letter haunts me’) again proves his warm relationship with people.  In his letter to A. H. West he shares his struggles openly (pp. 386-88). This we also read in his relationship  with his children (165, 186-87, 338-39).  In his letter to Manilal Gandhi he after encourage him to continue to do his duty at Phoenix (by not sending him to London to study Law but prefers to sent Chhaganlal) ‘As a father, I have felt [it] to be in his interest that he should not yet go to England.’) concludes, ‘While writing this I feel like meeting and embracing you; and tears come to my eyes as I am unable to do that. Be sure that Bapu will not be cruel to you. Whatever I do, I do it because I think it to be in your interest. You will never come to grief, for you are doing service to others. ‘(120-21, 318-19).  He was happy to send Manilal to goal as  he believed that ‘to go to gaol or suffer similar hardships with a pure motive for the sake of the motherland is the truest kind of education. ‘(356-57) Keeping good relationship with his extended family he encourages his brother KHUSHALCHAND GANDHI to spare Narandas Gandhi also for the service at Phoenix.(142) as he alone, ‘among all the brothers … the one who understands me to some extent.’(142)

Gandhiji’s personal integrity and transparency in his life is again clearly demonstrated in his correspondence and public statements.  He request Polak to cancel his Insurance which “has been long preying upon my mind. I have no longer, I conceive, any use for it’ (39) and request him to ‘dismiss me from your conversations…for the sake of the cause’ as he requested Mr. Gokhale also, when he was with him in Calcutta and when he heaped upon him praise that he thought was excessive (150-51). He was happy to hear when his son Harilal was rearrested like others (p.228)  His  open statement when his integrity was questioned about the money spent for the Satyagra struggle: ‘The community knows me; and if it does not yet do so, it is not possible for me to introduce myself to it now.’ (451) Lord Amarpalli’s  comments on Gandhiji’s struggle shows his clear conviction which he never compromised for anything in life, ‘It is impossible not to admire the man, for it is evident that he recognises no court of appeal except that of his own conscience.’(491)

We read a lot about his continuous struggle(216-17, 319-27, 336-37, 339, 342-48, 350-54, 367-68, 381, 436-37, 439-40, 442-44, 453, 455, 472, 486)  and the suffering and sacrifice of everyone involved in it (32, 200, 467-68).

The entire book Swaraj which Gandhiji wrote is found in this book which is reproduced in Indian Opinion (pp. 246-316).  As usual we read all the idealistic view of Gandhiji on various issues like Civilization, Swaraj, British role and place in Independent India, his (negative) views about Railway, Lawyers, doctors,  machinery, education etc.  But this book was banded at India by the British govt. there.

As usual we read Gandhiji’s appreciation of the role of Tamilians’ involvement in his struggle at South Africa and their support back at India. (196, 413-15, 463, 480)

And we also read about Gandhiji’s favorite theme of ‘holding truth’ at any cost and lack of it among Indians. (409-11), vegetarianism ( ‘You know my ideas in the matter. I would have preferred Ba’s passing away without the soup’p.100.) and against violence (137-38, 369)