Sie sind auf Seite 1von 32

SPEECH TO STUDENTS AND TEACHERS

(Of the College and the High School run by the Sarvajanik Education Society) ,
SURAT
October 6, 1920
You must have read a summary of my speech to students in Ahmedabad. I want to
talk to you about some of the things I said to them. I shall talk to your elders in the
evening. Wherever I go, I like to keep alive the close contacts which I have
established with students. Being myself a father of four sons, I understand the
sons duty towards his parents. I was myself a son once and some persons whom I
respect as elders are still living. Hence I know very well the duty that sons owe to
fathers. A son can be advised to disobey his father, if the occasion demands this. I
may thus seem to be giving contradictory advice. What I am going to say to you, I
have already told my sons. I have a good many sons, have had quite a few children
entrusted to my care and I have brought them up. Only yesterday, a couple
belonging to one of the untouchable communities expressed their desire to
entrust their daughter (Letter to Maganlal Gandhi, 9-10-1920.) to my care. The girl
has stayed with me before now. I told her father that he could leave Lakshmi with
me only if he gave up all claims on her. I did not make this condition with all
parents who entrusted their children to me. Even so, I regard as my very own the
children whom I have brought up. I have given my sons advice no less harsh than
what I give the students these days. On the right occasion, you can rise against me,
your parents and the whole world. If I did not say this, I should violate what I
understand to be dharma. If one would prosper in dharma, one should, if need be,
sacrifice ones parents, relations and all others in a yajna undertaken in real
sincerity of heart

LETTER TO MAGANLAL GANDHI


[October 9, 1920]
(Dudabhai handed over his daughter Lakshmi to Gandhiji on October 5, 1920; vdie
Speech to Students and Teachers, Surat, 6-10-1920. The letter seems to have
been written on the Friday and Saturday following October 6. )
Started writing this letter on Friday evening and finished it on Saturday morning at
3.15.
CHI. MAGANLAL,
I have your letter. Lakshmi will be ours as long as she remains with us. Dudabhai
may take her away if he wants to. To me she is like a daughter. Though she is not
well bred, we have got to bear with her. The only unhappy part of the business is

that I have invited the burden and you have to bear it. Well, that has been my way,
and there is nothing for you to do but to put up with it. In this lies your training.
Though it is difficult enough, you have agreed to submit to it.
What do I do about Harilals children? I will keep them as long as he permits me to.
When he wants to take them away, who can stand in his way? Have not their
interests suffered? Should we hold ourselves responsible for this? I leave
everything to God. The responsibility and the right, both are His. He uses us only
as His instruments. The moment we have rid ourselves of the I in us, we shall
have done our duty. Dudabhai handed over the girl to me. That was a moment of
trial for me; how could I possibly be found wanting in that? Our duty is now to do
the best we can for her. If Dudabhai keeps interfering, we need not mind that; this
means that he may either leave the girl to us or take her away. I have applied the
same rule to Harilal. My own wish is that the girl should grow up to be a Mirabai;
what would it matter, though, if she should become a prostitute instead? Only,
we may not help her to become one. If this does not explain everything, you may
ask me further. As Rukhi and Manu, so Lakshmi; this is the long and the short of it.
Tell Imam Saheb that I always think about the khilafat. I had tried a little to
intervene. I can say no more. The two brothers, besides, are far away. Ask him
not to worry. A great many things are done without proper understanding. No one
can prevent them. There is God to look after all and so everything will end well.
Does Amina learn anything?
Blessings from
BAPU

SPEECH AT ANTYAJ CONFERENCE, NAGPUR


December 25, 1920
(Read full speech from CWMG)
I would be [they said] worthy of the title [Mahatma] which the country has
conferred on mebut which I have not acceptedonly when Hinduism was
purged of the evil of untouchability.
You want to pass a resolution to the effect that the Antyajas should be free to
enter all the temples. How is this possible? So long as Varnashram-dharma occupies
the central place in Hinduism, it is in vain that you ask that every Hindu should be
free to enter a temple right now. It is impossible to get society to accept this.
It is not prepared for this yet. I know from experience that there are many temples
which some other communities besides the Antyajas are also forbidden to enter.
Some of the temples in Madras are not open even to me. I dont feel unhappy about
this. I am not even prepared to say that this betrays the Hindus narrow outlook or

that it is a wrong they are committing. Maybe it is, but we should consider the
line of thinking behind it. If their action is inspired by considerations of
discipline, I would not say that everyone should be free to go into any temple. There
are a variety of sects in India and I do not want to see them wiped out. Hindu
society has not fallen because of sects or on account of Varnashram. It has fallen
because we have forgotten the beauty and the discipline which lie behind
Varnashram. You should understand that Varnashram-dharma has nothing to do
with the practice of untouchability. To say that the former is evil, that it is a sin, is to
apply Western standards, and I do not accept them. It is by accepting them
that India has fallen. I do not want to have the blessings and the goodwill of
the Antyajas for what I have not done and, therefore, I wish to make it plain to you
on this occasion that I have associated myself with these proceedings most
reluctantly. For I am with the Antyajas and the reformers in wanting to eradicate the
evil of untouchability, but I do not go along with them in the other things which you
and they want to be done. I cannot tell a Hindufor I do not believe in itthat he
may freely eat and drink in the company of any other Hindus or that all Hindus
should freely intermarry. This is not necessary. A man who refrains from these
things, I say, may be a man of self-control or he may even be a man of licence. I
believe that it is with a view to self-control that people refrain from them.
I myself eat and drink in the company of Antyajas. I have adopted the daughter
of an Antyaj family and she is dearer to me than my very life. I should not,
however, tell Hindu society that it might abandon its self-control. I believe that
society has a place even for one like me. It has a place for anyone who lives as I do,
without being a sannyasi. Just as I would eat something offered by a Muslim, if it
was otherwise acceptable, so I would accept anything offered by an Antyaja. But I
should not like to compel other Hindus to do likewise, for it would mean
their casting off self-control, the self-control which protects Hindu society. To
abolish Varnashram or the restrictions about eating and drinking and to eradicate
the evil of untouchabilitythese two are not quite the same thing. One is
Satanism, the other means self-control. I am a student and I have been studying
this matter. If, therefore, I ever feel that I have been mistaken, I will forthwith
admit my error; at the moment, however, I am ready to declare that I see nothing
but hypocrisy, nothing but Satanism, in those who have been defending the
practice of untouchability. It is Satanism which they are defending
..
Speaking of tapashcharya, I should like to tell you of two incidents in my life.
After I had started the Satyagraha Ashram in Ahmedabad, I admitted to it an
Antyaj friend, named Dudhabhai, and his wife. How did our Hindus behave at the
time ? Dudhabhais wife was not allowed to draw water from the well which we had
been using. I told them that, in that case, I, too, would not avail myself of that well. I
had a share in the use of that well. But I let it go. How did Dudhabhai
behave? He remained perfectly calm, bearing the abuse in silence. With this

tapashcharya, the difficulty was overcome in three days, the people having
realized that Dudhabhai, too, was free to draw water from that well. This same
Dudhabhais daughter, Lakshmi, lives in my house, moving like [Goddess] Lakshmi
indeed. If all of you learnt to do the tapashcharya which Dudhabhai did, your
suffering would be over this very day.

I will cite another instance to show the flexibility of Hinduism. When I returned from
South Africa, I had, accompanying me, a boy named Naidoo belonging to the
Panchama community. Shri Natesan is a sincere worker in the cause of the
Antyajas. Once I was to stay in his house when I was in Madras on my way to
Ahmedabad. Many friends asked me if I knew what I was doing. Natesans mother
[they said] was so orthodox in her ideas that it would be the death of the old lady to
know that I was accompanied by an Antyaj boy. I told them that I would prefer to
avoid Natesans house rather than send away the boy elsewhere. Natesan,
however, is a straightforward man. He went to his mother and told her the real fact.
She said the boy was welcome. She had understood that a boy accompanying me
could not lack cleanliness. I, too, had seen that he did not. We stayed in his house
and drew our water from the very same well which the lady was using. What does
this incident prove ? That like Natesan, other caste Hindus can succeed, by the
purity of their character and their straight forwardness, in winning over their
mothers and sisters. The point is that this problem can be solved only through the
sincerity of caste Hindus and the tapashcharya of the Antyajas
Navajivan, 2-1-1921

LETTER T0 LAKSHMI
[September 19, 1924]
CHI. LAKSHMI,
This letter too is for all. But should I call Lakshmi a bad girl or a good girl because
the boys say so? Will she not keep her promise and write a letter? I am looking
forward to a beautifully written letter. I remember all the children during my fast,
and Ieven ask myself, Do all the children spin regularly? Do they study? Do they
speak the truth? Do they obey the rules? Who will tell me? I get immense peace
from my fast. No one need worry about me.
Blessings from

BAPU
CHI. L AKSHMI
SATYAGRAHA ASHRAM
SABARMATI
LETTER TO LAKSHMI
Kartik Sud 15 [November 11, 1924]
[CHI. LAKSHMI ,
I had received your second letter. You should improve your handwriting still
further. You should cultivate the habit of writing regularly to Dudabhai and me.
I hope you are quite happy. I hope to reach there most probably by the end of
this (English) month. You must spin regularly and get up [early]. I wish to hear
everybody saying,Lakshmi is now
a good girl.
Blessings from
BAPU

LETTER TO MOTIBEHN CHOKSI


ASHRAM, S ABARMATI,
Wednesday, February 17, 1926
CHI. MOTI,
Your letter. Yesterday Najuklal alone wrote. It is good both of you saw Abbas Saheb.
Your handwriting is not yet good enough. Bharuch could be read only with
difficulty; the initial curve of the letter bhais broken. The letter dhi reads like a
chhi.The distinction between paandya is not clear. I can cite a number of such
instances. The younger Lakshmi had gone to sleep, but she told me she was doing
her hair. So with her consent today I cut her hair with my own hands; now her head
looks quite nice and clean. She promises likewise to cleanse her heart.
Lakshmidas left for Vijapur yesterday. He will return today or tomorrow.
Blessings from
BAPU

SAU . S UKANYABEHN
C/O SHRI NAJUKLAL CHOKSI
BHARUCH KELAVANI MANDAL
BROACH

LETTER TO DUDABHAI
THE ASHRAM,
SABARMATI,
Tuesday, June 22, 1926
BHAI DUDABHAI,
I have your letter. Write to Bhai Balwantrai saying that you have not received your
salary yet. It is necessary that you keep on writing to him about all the difficulties
you have. He too has suggested it. I was very happy at your decision not to leave
the school at any cost. I had a talk with Bhai Balwantrai about your salary. Most
probably you will have no difficulty now. Write to me promptly when Lakshmis
clothes are torn and, if the new ones are to be stitched here, send me her
measurements also.

LETTER TO LAKSHMI
THE ASHRAM,
SABARMATI,
[1926]
CHI. LAKSHMI,
This time, it may be said, your letter was late. Your handwriting has improved. There
should not be two kinds of writing in one letter. There is nothing to worry if you are
inclined to play. Children are bound to be playful. But they should have the same
heart for work too. Those children whose mind is always engrossed in play cant
help lying some time or other. Now you will be entering your 13 th year. It is not so
young an age. You should get from here new clothes if those you are using wear out.
If they can be stitched there, that is, if Danibehn knows how to sew, khadi can be
sent from here; but if she is unable to do so, the clothes can be made here and sent
to you. Take a vow to do some good deed on your birthday.

Rukhi(Daughter of Maganlal Gandhi) and Anandi (Daughter of Lakshmidas Asar) are


ill. Both have fever. I hope they will be all right in two or three days.

CHAPTER IX : FOUNDING OF THE ASHRAM


The pilgrimage to the Kumbha fair was my second visit to Hardvar. The
Satyagraha Ashram was founded on the 25th of May, 1915. Shraddhanandji wanted
me to settle in Hardvar. Some of my Calcutta friends recommended
Vaidyanathadham. Others strongly urged me to choose Rajkot. But when I happened
to pass through Ahmedabad, many friends pressed me to settle down there, and
they volunteered to find the expenses of the Ashram, as well as a house for us to
live in.
I had a predilection for Ahmedabad. Being a Gujarati I thought I should be able to
render the greatest service to the country through the Gujarati language. And then,
as Ahmedabad was an ancient centre of handloom weaving, it was likely to be the
most favourable field for the revival of the cottage industry of hand-spinning. There
was also the hope that, the city being the capital of Gujarat, monetary help from
its wealthy citizens would be more available here than elsewhere.
The question of untouchability was naturally among the subjects discussed with the
Ahmedabad friends. I made it clear to them that I should take the first
opportunity of admitting an untouchable candidate to the Ashram if he was
otherwise worthy. Where is the untouchable who will satisfy your condition ? said a
Vaishnava friend self-complacently. I finally decided to found the Ashram at
Ahmedabad. So far as accommodation was concerned, Sjt. Jivanlal Desai, a barrister
in Ahmedabad, was the principal man to help me. He offered to let, and we decided
to hire, his Kochrab bungalow.T1 The first thing we had to settle was the name of
the Ashram. I consulted friends. Amonst the names suggested were Sevashram
the abode of service). Tapovan (the abode of austerities), etc. I liked the name
Sevashram but for the absence of emphasis on the method of service. Tapovan
seemed to be a pretentious title, because though tapaswas dear to us we could not
presume to be tapasvins (men of austerity). Our creed was devotion to truth, and
our business was the search for and insistence on truth. I wanted to acquaint India
with the method I had tried in south Africa, and I desired to test in India the extent
to which its application might be possible. So my companions and I selected the
name Satyagraha Ashram, as conv-eying both our goal and our method of service.
For the conduct of the Ashram a code of rules and obser-vances was
necessary. A draft was therefore prepared, and friends were invited to express
their opinions on it. Amongst the many opinions that were received, that of Sir
Gurudas Benerji is still in my memory. He liked the rules, but suggested that
humility should be added as one of the observances, as he believed that the
younger generation sadly lacked humility. Though I noticed this fault, I feared

humility would cease to be humility the moment it became a matter of vow. The
true connotation of humility is self- effacement. Self-effacement is
moksha(salvation), and whilst it cannot, by itself, be an observance, there may be
other observances necessary for its attainment. If the acts of an aspirant after
moksha or a servant have no humility or selflessness about them, there is no
longing for moksha or service. Service without humility is selfishness and egotism.
There were at this time about thirteen Tamilians in our party. Five Tamil youngsters
had accompanied me from South Africa, and the rest came from different parts of
the country. We were in all about twenty-five men and women. This is how the
Ashram was started. All had their meals in a common kitchen and strove to live as
one family.
CHAPTER X : ON THE ANVIL
The Ashram had been in existence only a few months when we were put to a test
such as I had scarcely expected. I received a letter from Amritlal Thakkar to this
effect : A humble and honest untouchable family is desirous of joining your
Ashram. Will you accept them ?
I was perturbed. I had never expected that an untouchable family with an
introduction from no less a man than Thakkar Bapa would so soon be seeking
admission to the Ashram. I shared the letter with my companions. They welcomed
it.
I wrote to Amritlal Thakkar expressing our willingness to accept the family, provided
all the members were ready to abide by the rules of the Ashram.
The family consisted of Dudabhai, his wife Danibehn and their daughter Lakshmi ,
then a mere toddling babe. Dudabhai had been a teacher in Bombay. They all
agreed to abide by the rules and were accepted.
But their admission created a flutter amongst the friends who had been helping the
Ashram. The very first difficulty was found with regard to the use of the well, which
was partly controlled by the owner of the bungalow. The man in charge of the waterlift objected that drops of water from our bucket would pollute him. So he took to
swearing at us and molesting Dudabhai. I told everyone to put up with the abuse
and continue drawing water at any cost. When he saw that we did not return his
abuse, the man became ashamed and ceased to bother us.
All monetary help, however, was stopped. The friend who had asked that question
about an untouchable being able to follow the rules of the Ashram had never
expected that any such would be forth coming.
With the stopping of monetary help came rumours of proposed social boycott. We
were prepared for all this. I had told my companions that, if we were boycotted
and denied the usual facilities, we would not leave Ahmedabad. We would rather go

and stay in the untouchables quarter and live onT1whatever we could get by
manual labour.
Matters came to such a pass that Maganlal Gandhi one day gave me this notice :
We are out of funds and there is nothing for the next month. I quietly replied :
Then we shall go to the untouchables
quarter. This was not the first time I had been faced with such a trial. On all such
occasions God has sent help at the last moment. One morning, shortly after
Maganlal had given me warning of our monetary plight, one of the children came
and said that a Sheth who was waiting in a car outside wanted to see me. I went out
to him. I want to give the Ashram some help. Will you accept it ? he asked. Most
certainly, said I. And I confess I am at the present moment at the end of my
resources. I shall come tomorrow at this time, he said.Will you be here ? Yes,
said I, and he left.
Next day, exactly at the appointed hour, the car drew up near our quarters, and the
horn was blown. The children came with the news. The Sheth did not come in. I
went out to see him. He placed in my hands currency notes of the value of Rs.
13,000, and drove away. I had never expected this help, and what a novel
way of rendering it! The gentleman had never before visited the Ashram. So far as
I can remember, I had met him only once. No visit, no enquiries, simply
rendering help and going away ! This was a unique experience for me. The help
deferred the exodus to the untouchables quarter. We now felt quite safe for a year.
Just as there was a storm outside, so was there a storm in the Ashram itself. Though
in South Africa untouchable friends used to come to my place and live and feed
with me, my wife and other women did not seem quite to relish the admission
into the Ashram of the untouchable friends. My eyes and ears easily detected
their indifference, if not their dislike, towards Danibehn. The monetary difficulty
had caused me no anxiety, but this internal storm was more than I could bear.
Danibehn was an ordinary woman. Dudabhai was a man with slight education but
of good understanding. I liked his patience. Sometimes he did flare up, but on
the whole I was well impressed with his forbearance. I pleaded with him to
swallow minor insults. He not only agreed, but prevailed upon his wife to do
likewise. The admission of this family proved a valuable lesson to the Ashram. In
the very beginning we proclaimed to the world that the Ashram would not
countenance untouchability. Those who wanted to help the Ashram were thus put
on their guard, and the work of the Ashram in this direction was considerably
simplified. The fact that it is mostly the real orthodox Hindus who have met the
daily growing exp-enses of the Ashram is perhaps a clear indication that untouchability is shaken to its foundation. There are indeed many other proofs of this, but
the fact that good Hindus do not scruple to help an Ashram where we go to the
length of dining with the untouchables is no small proof.

I am sorry that I should have to skip over quite a number of things pertaining to this
subject, how we tackled delicate questions arising out of the main question, how
we had to overcomeT2 some unexpected difficulties, and various other matters
which are quite relevant to a description of experiments with Truth. The chapters
that follow will also suffer from the same drawback. I shall have to omit important
details, because most of the characters in the drama are still alive, and it is not
proper without permission to use their names in connection with events with which
they are concerned. It is hardly practicable to obtain their consent or to get them
every now and then to revise the chapters concerning themselves. Besides, such
procedure is outside the limit of this autobiography. I therefore fear that the rest of
the story, valuable as it is in my opinion to seekers after Truth, will be told with
inevitable omissions. Nevertheless, it is my desire and hope, God willing, to bring
this narrative down to the days of Non-co-operation.

IN ANDHRA DESHA
UNTOUCHABILITY
This deadly snake of untouchability is scotched but not destroyed. It shows its
poisonous fangs even when you may least expect to see them. I was certainly
not prepared for the following letter:
I regret very much to bring to your kind notice, the following fact which occurred
soon after the ladies meeting held at Tanuku on the 22nd instant. At about 5 p.m.
there were present three to four hundred ladies in the meeting. It was whispered by
some in the meeting that the young lady who was sitting by you was a Panchama
girl.
As soon as the meeting was over, all the ladies who attended the meeting directly
went to the canal and took a plunge in the water to purify themselves from the
unpardonable sin of touching her. I saw with my own eyes even small children, nay
more, suckling babies too, were sprinkled with holy water to save them also from
this sin. We are deceiving you and honouring you. It is a pious ancient fraud with us.
. . . People are steeped in ignorance and superstition. These combined with the
pride of higher caste are ruining us and seem to be more powerful even than the
present Government. As it so happens the young lady sitting by me was no other
than Shrimati Prabhavati Devi, the daughter of Brijkishore Babu, the well-known
leader of Bihar. She has been with me in the Ashram for some time and has been
travelling with me during the Andhra tour. By the vast majority of the people she
has been taken to be my daughter, by some to be daughter-in-law, but it was
reserved for the Tanuku ladies to confound her with Lakshmi, the Antyaja girl, whom
I have adopted as my daughter in my own manner. And so being polluted by
thetouch transmitted through me of the imaginary Antyaja girl the good ladies
purified themselves and their children by a holy bath or a mere sprinkling. This

tragic comedy has a lesson for us. Superstitious themselves, men having neglected
the women folk, have allowed the latter to remain in darker superstition. After I got
the letter, I became circumspective and began an examination of the
composition of subsequent audiences. I found that at most meetings the
untouchables were intermingled with the touchables. I asked the audience pointblank whether they had any objection. And they said they had none. At one of the
villages near Rajahmundry I saw, at a well-arranged meeting, volunteers
pointing with pride to the touchables, untouchables and women in their
respective wards. I set a trap for them. I suppose you have specially arranged in
order to isolate the untouchables? The poor volunteer who answered my
question readily fell into the trap and said, Yes, sir. I discovered afterwards that he
knew very little English and had not understood my question.
For I straightway asked the audience whether they had any objection to
untouchables sitting in their midst. They showed by a chorus of hands that they had
none. I was still not satisfied and therefore asked whether they would have me send
the untouchables in their midst. They again raised their hands signifying
assent. I asked them to signify the same with their voice. And they did so, at first
softly. I asked for a loud-voiced declaration. And all sung out at the top of their
voices, saray, saray. Then I invited the untouchables to sit in their midst which
they did without any hesitation and without any fear. Then I based my speech to the
meeting on untouchability telling them that they had done a meritorious act by
letting the untouchable brethren sit in their midst and that it was a sin to regard
any human being as an untouchable. If, in spite of this ocular demonstration
enforced by the explanation that I gave, the women or anybody had a purificatory
bath, it will be a question for a psycho-analyst to dissect and consider. Let me finish
this story by adding that the women also had taken part in signifying their
assent to the untouchables intermingling, and as a matter of fact the so-called
untouchables sat with caste men and women touching both without my noticing any
movement on the part of anybody to avoid them. In a village near by, a school is
being conducted where both touchable and untouchable boys associate in large
numbers without any friction. And so while I deplore occurrences such as happened
at Tanuku, the fact cannot be gain said that untouchability is fast dying of
exhaustion.

NOTES
A CONTRADICTION
The reader will recall a paragraph I gave to a letter from an Andhra correspondent
who had complained that the ladies at the womens meeting at Tanuku had a
purificatory bath after the meeting under the belief that the Antyaja girl Lakshmi

was with me at that meeting. Two correspondents have sent letters energetically
protesting that the charge is wholly false. I gladly reproduce one of the letters:

We were all surprised to read your note in Young India for the 16 th instant entitled
Untouchability about the ladies meeting at Tanuku. The remarks are justified if
what your correspondent wrote is true. But I am sorry to say your correspondent has
erred grievously. ...
I was at the place of the meeting as the ladies of my family had been to the
meeting. I am a Brahmin and my ladies have not had a purificatory bath. I know
many ladies who attended and they assured me they never contemplated such a
thing. ... Some might have bathed as they had to cook the evening meals. But to
suggest that they did this to purify themselves from the touch of a so-called
untouchable, is a gross libel. Both the correspondents have given their names. I
have no reason to disbelieve their statements and I am sorry for hurting the
feelings of the ladies who attended the meeting. I had the name of the
correspondent who had made the charge now contradicted. I have therefore
written to him to inquire how he came to make the serious charge. it is a matter of
joy to me that ladies nowadays resent the imputation that they would regard as
pollution the presence of the so-called untouchables at meetings attended by them.
Young India, 20-6-1929

LETTER TO GANGABEHN VAIDYA


September 16, 1929
CHI. GANGABEHN SENIOR,
Write to me if Lakshmi has been giving trouble. I will then write to Dudabhai and he
will take her away. I am happy to learn that the Dehra Dun girls have shown their
merit. Surajbehn of course will take time to learn things.
.
Blessings from
BAPU
ETTER TO DUDHABHAI
KANPUR,
September 24, 1929

BHAI DUDHABHAI,
Recently I have been again having unfavourable reports about Lakshmi. But I do not
despair. We shall be able to discipline her only by keeping her alternately at Sayla
and at Sabarmati. Her pranks are once again on the increase. At Sabarmati she
cannot keep her mind under control for a long time. Gangabehn has showered the
utmost love on her. She even spent some of her own money on Lakshmi, but she
is still not mature enough to understand such love. Take her away, educate and
send her back. These days she does not even write to me.
Blessings from
BAPU

LETTER TO CHHAGANLAL JOSHI


KANPUR,
September 24, 1929
CHI. CHHAGANLAL,

If Lakshmi cannot stay with Gangabehn in any circumstances, write to Dudhabhai


and tell him that he should take her away for sometime; he may send her back
when she agrees to return. If this is done every time it is necessary, she will become
wiser in course of time. I enclose with this a letter to Dudhabhai; you may use it if
you wish.

LETTER TO GANGABEHN VAIDYA


MANAKPUR,
October 9, 1929
CHI. GANGABEHN (SENIOR),
I have had no letter from you for many days. Do write once a week at least. I think
you must have been by Kakis side at the time of her death. If you were not,
whoever was present should send me an account of her last moments. What is
your present weight? What is your diet? How does Lakshmi behave
nowadays? How is Raiyas condition now? How much of your time do you have
to give to making bread? And what is its quality now?

Blessings from
BAPU
LETTER TO GANGABEHN VAIDYA
YERAVDA ,
Silence Day, May 12, 1930
CHI. GANGABEHN,
I hope you do not worry. I often think about you. Write to me. Did Nath pay a visit
there? For how many persons do you have to cook now? I am not writing today to
the other women. You will get news about me from my letter to Narandas. Inquire
from Narahari and let me know how Kamalnayan, who lives in the Vidyapith, is
faring. Who has been specially asked to look after Hari and Vimala? How is Lakshmi?
The manner in which we look after Hari and Vimala will be a test of our love.
Blessings from
BAPU

LETTER TO NARANDAS GANDHI


September 5/9, 1930
.
If Dudabhai is eager to have Lakshmi with him and if the latter wishes to go, do not
stop her. She is sufficiently obstinate, but watch if you have a different experience
of her now. .
LETTER TO NARANDAS GANDHI
May 4, 1931
The second problem is about Lakshmi . She has been so brought up that she
will not be happy if she is married to an Antyaja. Fortunately Maruti wishes to marry
her. Read Lakshmidass letter and let me have your opinion. From a moral standpoint, the proposed step seems to me justified and even necessary. Even then I wish
to have your independent opinion.
Blessings from
BAPU

LETTER TO NARANDAS GANDHI


BORSAD,
May 8, 1931
CHI. NARANDAS,
I got your two letters.
I felt a weight off my mind to know that you approved of my suggestion regarding
Lakshmi. Kaka and Vallabhbhai are also of the same opinion as yours. I have yet to
hear from Vinoba and Kishor-elal.

Blessings from
BAPU

LETTER TO KISHORELAL MASHRUWALA


May 8, 1931
CHI. KISHORELAL,
Do not be in a hurry to get up and walk so long as the wound is not healed. The diet
should be such as would give you clear motions. I intend to marry Dudabhais
Lakshmi to Maruti who has been brought up by Lakshmidas . I consider it my
duty to do so. A girl brought up in the Ashram from her childhood must not be
married to an antyaja.
Blessings from
BAPU

LETTER TO DUDABHAI
NAINITAL,
May 18, 1931
BHAI DUDABHAI,

I have decided to give Lakshmi in marriage to a non-Antyaja. It seems necessary to


me to do that. Let me know what you think in the matter. It will do if you send your
reply to the Ashram.
Blessings from
BAPU
LETTER TO PREMABEHN KANTAK
NAINITAL,
May 18, 1931
CHI. PREMA,
I liked your letter very much indeed. I see that during the journey you had
observed things intelligently. I should like Kisan also to send me a description of her
experiences. She may write either in English or Marathi. Take great care of Lakshmi.
My idea is to marry her to a non-Antyaja. She should be able to take her place in
such a family. She should know cooking and also how to run a home. She should
know how to keep accounts. It would be excellent if she knew a little Sans-krit. Even
if she does not know Sanskrit she should be able to recite the prayer verses and
verses from the Gita with correct pronunciation.
All girls should know this. We ought not to neglect their edu-cation. Write to me in
detail. Let me know your experience regarding Lakshmi.
Blessings from
BAPU

LETTER TO DUDABHAI
BARDOLI,
May 31, 1931
BHAI DUDABHAI,
I got your letter. A non- Antyaja Hindu does not mean a Bhangi, it means a Hindu
who is not an antyaja.The man I have in view is a Brahmin brought up in Gujarat.
As the Ashram does not recognize distinctions of caste and community and as
it is necessary to abolish the class of Antyajas from Hindu society, I realty
think that it would be good if Lakshmi could be married to a non-Antyaja.I a
certainly very glad to know that Laksmi is not eager to get married just now. I hope I
told you bought a house near Amreli.

Blessings from
BAPU

LETTER TO GANGABEHN VAIDYA


ON BOARD THE S. S. R AJPUTANA,
Silence Day [August 31, 1931]
CHI. GANGABEHN,
I have your letter. About Lakshmi I have sent a message with Joshi. If Maruti is
ready, they may marry at any time. We should put no pressure on him.
.

LETTER TO NARANDAS GANDHI


January 2, 1932
Tell Lakshmi that I got her letter. I like her decision.

LETTER TO DUDABHAI DAFDA


April 23, 1932
BHAI DUDABHAI,
I got your letter. My compliments to Sunderjibhai for his help. It seems you have
attracted a good many pupils. I hope Danibehn Is all right now. I occasionally get
news about Lakshmi. Sardar and Mahadev are with me.They send their regards to
you.

REMOVAL OF UNTOUCHABILITY
The Ashram was founded in order to serve and if necessary to die in the service
of Truth. If therefore while holding that untouchability is a sinful thing, it did not
do something positive in order to end it, it could hardly deserve the name of
Satyagraha (adherence to Truth) Ashram. Even in South Africa we recognized
untouchability as a sin. When the Ashram therefore was founded in India, removal
of untouchability easily became one of its major activities.

Within a month of the foundation of the Ashram, Dudabhai applied for admission
along with his family. I had no idea that the testing time of the Ashram would
arrive so soon. Dudabhais application was supported by Shri Amritlal Thakkar. I
felt bound to admit a family which was recommended by him. The arrival of
Dudabhai was the signal for a storm breaking upon the placid atmosphere of
the Ashram. *An AutobiographyPartt V, Chapter X, 3-2-1929
Kasturba, Maganlal Gandhi and Mrs. Maganlal had each of them some
scruples in living with so-called untouchables. Things came to such a pass that
Kasturba should either observe Ashram rules or else leave the Ashram. But the
argument that a woman in following in her husbands footsteps incurs no sin
appealed to her and she quieted down. I do not hold that a wife is bound to follow
her husband in what she considers sinful. But I welcomed my wifes attitude in the
present case, because I looked upon the removal of untouchability as a meritorious
thing. No one could uphold untouchability and still live in the Ashram. It would have
been extremely painful to me if my wife had had to leave the Ashram, seeing that
she had been my companion all these days at the cost of great suffering. It was
hard to be separated from her, but one must put up with every hardship that
comes his way in the discharge of his duty. I had therefore no hesitation in
accepting my wifes renunciation of untouchability not as an independent person
but only as a faithful wife.
Maganlal Gandhis case was harder than mine. He packed up his things and came to
me to bid good-bye. But who was I to bid him good-bye? I put him on his guard. I
told him that the Ashram was his creation as much as mine, and would be
destroyed if he left it. But he certainly did not want that it should perish. He did not
need to seek my permission to leave an institution which he himself had brought
into existence. But to leave the Ashram should be something unthinkable for
him. This appeal did not fall on deaf ears. Perhaps Maganlal had thought of leaving
in order to give me a free hand. I could endure to be separated from all the world
besides but not from Maganlal. I therefore suggested that he should go to Madras
with family. He and his wife would learn more of weaving there and would have
more time to ponder over the situation that had developed. So they went and lived
in Madras for six months. They mastered the art of weaving and after mature
consideration also washed their hearts clean of untouchability.
The internal storm thus blew over. But there was a storm outside the Ashram too.
The chief person who financed the Ashram discontinued his assistance. There
was even a possibility that the Ashramites should not be allowed any more
to draw water from the neighbours well. But all difficulties were surmounted
by and by. As regards finance, something happened which was not unlike
Narasinha Mehtas hundi (bill of exchange) being honoured at Dvaravati. A
sum of thirteen thousand rupees was received from an unexpected source.
Thus the Ashram ordeal in keeping Dudabhai at any cost was not so severe as it
might well have been. The Ashram passed that test as regards its opposition to

untouchability. Untouchable families come to the Ashram freely and live in it.
Dudabhais daughter Lakshmi has become a full member of the family.
Three callings followed by the so-called untouchables are practised in the
Ashram, and improved methods are devised in each. Everyone in the Ashram has in
turn to do sanitary service, which is looked upon not as a special calling but a
universal duty. No outside labour is engaged for this work, which is carried on on
lines suggested by Dr. Poore. Night-soil is buried in shallow trenches and is thus
converted into manure in only a few days. Dr. Poore says that the soil is living up to
a depth of twelve inches. Millions of bacteria are there to clean up dirt. Sunlight and
air penetrate the ground to that depth. Therefore night-soil buried in the upper layer
readily combines with the earth.
Closets are so constructed that they are free from smell and there is no difficulty
in cleaning them. Everyone who visits them covers the night-soil with plenty of
dry earth, so that the top is always dry. Then again we have handloom weaving.
Coarse khadi was manufactured in Gujarat by Harijan weavers only. The industry
was almost on the verge of destruction, and many weavers were compelled to take
up scavenging for a living. But now there has been a revival of this handicraft.
Thirdly we have tanning. We shall deal with it in the chapter on the Ashram dairy.
The Ashram does not believe in subcastes. There are no restrictions on
interdining and all Ashramites sit to dinner in the same line. But no propaganda in
favour of interdining is carried on outside the Ashram, as it is unnecessary for the
removal of untouchability, which implies the lifting of bans imposed on Harijans
in public institutions and discarding the superstition that a man is polluted by the
touch of certain persons by reason of their birth in a particular caste. This disability
can also be removed by legislation. Interdining and intermarriage are reforms of a
different type which cannot be promoted by legislation or social pressure. The
Ashramites therefore feel themselves free to take permitted food with everyone else
but do not carry on any such propaganda. Schools are established and wells sunk
for Harijans through the Ashram which chiefly finds the finance for such activities.
The real anti-untouchability work carried on in the Ashram is the reformed conduct
of the Ashramites. There is no room in the Ashram for any ideas of high and low.
However the Ashram believes that varnas and ashrams are essential elements
of Hinduism. Only it puts a different interpretation on these time-honoured terms.
Four varnas and four ashramas are an arrangement not peculiar to Hinduism but
capable of world-wide application, and a universal rule, the breach of which has
involved humanity in numerous disasters. The four ashrams are brahmacharya,
garhasthya, vanaprasthyaand sannyasa. Brahmacharyais the stage during which
men as well as women prosecute their studies, and should not only observe
brahmacharyabut should also be free from any other burden except that of studies.
This lasts till at least the twenty-fifth year, when the student becomes a
householder if he wishes. Almost all the students thus become householders. But
this stage should close at the age of fifty. During that period the householder

enjoys the pleasures of life, makes money, practises a profession and rears a
family. From fifty to seventy-five wife and husband should live apart and wholly
devote themselves to the service of the people. They must leave their families and
try to look upon the world as a big family. During the last 25 years they should
become sannyasis, live apart, set to the people an example of ideal religious life
and maintain themselves with whatever the people choose to give them. It is clear
that society as a whole would be elevated if many carried out this scheme in their
lives.
LETTER TO LAKSHMI D. DAFDA
October 2, 1932
CHI. LAKSHMI,
What did you do in Bombay? How do you spend the day now? Did I write and tell
you that my fast has increased your responsibility? I hope you understand how that
is so.
BAPU
LETTER TO LAKSHMI D. DAFDA
November 27, 1932
CHI. LAKSHMI,
I got your letter. If you feel really hungry, I am sure you would relish salted gruel of
jowar. I relished it very much. A diet of rotlas and vegetables is better for health
than of rice and pulses. In the course of time one comes to relish every kind of
food. Did you not eat gruel in jail? Or didnt you relish rotlas and vegetables?
Maintain excellent health.
BAPU

LETTER TO DUDABHAI M. DAFDA


January 8, 1933
BHAI DUDABHAI,
I think we ought to get Lakshmi married now. She gets fre-quent fainting fits and I
believe they suggest marriage. Have a talk with her about this and then write to
me. How are you getting on? How many pupils attend the school? Write to me
occasionally.
Blessings from

BAPU

LETTER TO NARANDAS GANDHI


January 8, 1933
CHI. NARANDAS,
I got your large packet.
After reading Premas letter, I feel that we should get Lakshmi married immediately.
I have written to Lakshmidas and told him that, if Marulia has changed his mind, he
has a right to do so. I think it will also be good if Prema writes to him and tells him
about the special circumstances of Lakshmi. If Marulia has changed his mind, we
will think what to do. Post the accompanying letter (Vide Letter to Dudabhai M.
Dafda, 8-1-1933) to Dudabhai. And please send me his address. Read the letter to
Liladhar and then pass it on to him. Take him back if he agrees to behave well. I
leave the matter entirely to your decision. I assume that, if Liladhar comes to live in
the Ashram, you will entrust him with some work. Ask the doctor why Kusums
injection turned septic. How long will she have to take the injections?
I had agreed with what you had written about Bhikhabhai and Balwant. I, therefore,
did not say anything in reply. Thus the reason was not that I had any doubt in my
mind.

LETTER TO PREMABEHN KANTAK


January 22, 1933
CHI. PREMA
he news you have given about happenings in the Ashram is very useful to me. You
should discuss the problem of Lakshmi with Narandas, and if both of you decide that
she should be married, it should be done soon. Her restlessness also is likely to be
the result of an unconscious desire to get married. She is now of marriageable age,
and she does intend to marry. The desire to wait till I am released should be
regarded as nothing but ignorant attachment to me. You should try and understand
her heart properly, and not wait for her emphatic consent. It seems to me
desirable to take the advice of Lakshmibehn and Durgabehn in this matter. They
would understand the problem better than you can. I understand from what you
yourself have said that you have no experience of how a girl feels when she desires
to marry. In other words, you have never felt the desire to marry. I also know some

other unmarried women who have never felt it. Some other women remain
unmarried with an effort of will. They know what marriage means.

LETTER TO PREMABEHN KANTAK


February 13, 1933
CHI. PREMA
I will now apply these observations to some specific cases. In bringing up and
educating Lakshmi, we, including you, are being tested. What would we do to
children in our own family? What would you do to your own sister? If Lakshmi does
not observe the rules, the fault is chiefly mine, and then yours. I leave out the
others. I leave out Narandas, too, for if we hold him responsible for the behaviour of
every person in the Ashram, he will not be able to attend to his own duties. Looking
after Lakshmi is a womans job, and particularly of the woman to whom it is
entrusted. The fault is chiefly mine because I am her adopted father and also
mother. I did my duty as a father but not as a mother, because I remained away
from the Ashram most of the time. I feel now that I should not have accepted
Lakshmi at all.
But who was I to decide? I am but a servant of God. I did not seek Lakshmi. God
sent her. Let Him, then, look after her. She was under the charge of Ba first, then of
Santok, then of Gangabehn, and now
she is under your charge. None of you asked to have charge of her. It was time and
circumstances which put her under the charge of these persons one after another.
You should now do the best that you can. Whenever necessary, you may consult
me. Do not get tired of your charge or despair. Have faith and bathe her with your
love. God will ultimately solve the problem. She has come to us as a representative
of Harijans to claim payment of the debt which we owe to them. If she is full of
shortcomings and is indolent, the responsibility for that lies on you, me and on the
caste Hindus. We reap as we sow. I am trying to get her married off. I have written
to Lakshmidas and inquired about Maruti. I have also written to Dudabhai. You need
not get upset because more boys and girls are coming to the Ashram. They will
benefit to the extent that they observe the rules. We may let them stay as long as
we tolerate their laxity, and ask them to leave when we can do so no longer. People
do not stay in a dharmashala permanently. Even near relations do not stay
permanently. Those of them who can accommodate themselves to the discipline of
the Ashram will stay, and the others will leave. Why should we care either way?
Moreover, we cannot adopt any other policy in the present circumstances. As
long as we can do so, we should admit people who come unasked and who
seem deserving. Most of them will leave on their own. Our rules themselves will
drive them away. Everybody who comes must do physical work. They should

clean lavatories and eat simple food in the same manner as we swallow medicine.
They will not get jaggery, nor wheat as often as they might wish. If we can daily
demonstrate more and more clearly by our manner of life that the Ashram is a
representative of the starving poor, we shall always be safe and happy. This
means that there should be increasing simplicity in our life in the Ashram and the
rules should be observed more and more strictly.
..

LETTER TO NARANDAS GANDHI


February 17, 1933
CHI. NARANDAS,
You will find with this a letter from Maruti. In view of what he says in it, it is best that
they should be married as soon as possible. If Dudabhai or Lakshmi rejects the
proposal, we will refuse further responsibility for getting her married. Read the
accompanying letters.
Blessings from
BAPU

LETTER TO PREMABEHN KANTAK


February 19, 1933
CHI. PREMA,
I am determined not to make this a long letter. If you can win over Maitri and all the
three sisters improve, I will certainly regard that as your and Ashrams victory.
Narandas has tried the way of love. See if you succeed. You must have realized that
Lakshmi must be married off now, or else she should leave the Ashram. I do not
think any of you should be burdened any longer with her responsibility. Maruti
is an exceptional young man. Lakshmidas also has had a hand in his training.
You have found that what Moti had told you about him was not correct.

LETTER TO NARANDAS GANDHI


Morning, March 2, 1933
CHI. NARANDAS,

You must have received the letter which I wrote to you yesterday. Make
careful preparations for Lakshmis marriage and see that everything goes well.
Jamna and you should give away the bride, and Velanbehn should offer the
bridegroom. If possible, I will send Lakshmidas there. As usual, keep a dhoti, shirt,
cap, takli and a copy each of the Gitaand the Bhajanavali ready for the
bridegroom. Tie the marriage knot with the ends. Give a translation of the vows to
both the bride and the bridegroom. And they should fast on that day and eat
nothing till after the ceremony is over. You, Jamna and Velanbehn also should
fast. Both the bride and the bridegroom should perform the ceremonial worship
of the cow and the tree and recite Chapter XII of the Gita. It is not necessary to
invite any friends except Anasuyabehn. We dont want the marriage to be published
in newspapers, though we do not wish to keep it a secret either. The bride and the
bridegroom may leave for home by the night train and start working immediately.
Velanbehn will arrange for the sari on behalf of Maruti. If you wish to ask any other
question, you may do so. Invite all Harijan friends to attend the wedding. If you
wish, you may serve them refreshments. In that case, I believe fruit will be the best.
But consult your own convenience in all this, and make any changes which
you feel necessary. Let the members of the Committee come together and plan the
arrangements. Invite the senior women inmates also to the meeting of the
Committee. Let the day of marriage be for us a sacred day of tapascharya and selfpurification and one to be celebrated in keeping with our ideal of simplicity and selfcontrol. Let all present shower their blessings on the bride and the bridegroom.
Marutis letters simply fill me with admiration for him. If he remains true to the
aspirations which he expresses in them, we shall believe that he must have
become a member of Lakshmidass family blessed with the holy merit of his
good deeds in previous lives. Lakshmidass love for him, too, must be wonderful
beyond words. And what excellent training he must have given! Explain to
everybody in the Ashram that it is the universal experience that anybody who
does not give his best, physically and mentally in serving the sick, can do no other
useful work, and that the Ashram exists to enable its inmates to serve others.
Nobody in the Ashram, therefore, should be half-hearted in doing service.
BAPU
[PS.]
Doesnt Velanbehn keep well? Read my letter to Dudabhai. I have not pressed him
to attend the wedding. I am enclosing letters for Dudabhai, Lakshmi, Velanbehn and
Durga.
LETTER TO NARANDAS GANDHI
March 8, 1933
I see from Kikabhais letter that a large crowd of Harijans will be attending
Lakshmis wedding. I think that Jamna and you are the right persons to give away

the bride. I hope Jamna does not harbor the prejudice of untouchability in her heart.
Dont make the Harijans who may attend sit apart from the others. Since their
proportion will be large enough for the gathering, serve them some fruit as refreshment, as I have suggested. I suggest copra and raisins. If possible, I will write
something to be read out to the assembled guests and en-close it with this letter.
You will have to give some dresses to Lakshmi as a gift from the Ashram. Think over
this. If you can, see Ba and ask her advice. I should be happy if she gives one of her
saris, a new one or an almost new one. If she has preserved any jewellery, she may
give some of it too. Tell the Superintendent that you wish to see her specially
for this reason. If he permits you, well and good, if he does not, dont mind. Discuss
with the women this question of what to give to Lakshmi. See that we omit to do
nothing which would be proper on such an occasion. I will write to you again if I
think of anything more. You can ignore any of my suggestions which you dont
think appropriate.
I have replied to Parachure Shastri. Everything will depend on your wire. I have
received Kelloggs book. Gangabehn and Sharda have arrived here. They have not
seen me yet. Gangabehn will not be able to do so. Sharda will see me on Saturday if
she is here on that day. You did the right thing in keeping Lakshmis younger sister
with Anasuyabehn. I see that Dudabhai has stayed on. Dahibehn should be
welcomed if she comes. You did right in agreeing to pay her the expenses of her
journey.

MESSAGE ON WEDDING OF LAKSHMI


AND MARUTI
March 8, 1933
I feel a little unhappy that neither Ba nor I will be present in the Ashram on the
occasion of the wedding of Lakshmi and Maruti (A South Indian orphan boy, brought
up by Velabehn and Lakshmidas Asar) , but I think that is ignorant love. One should
feel happy wherever devotion to dharma may make it necessary for one to be.
Since one who follows dharma should never wish that things should be otherwise
than they are, he can have no cause to feel unhappy.
Moreover, when so many elders and friends, men and women, will be assembling
to give their blessings, Bas presence or mine should not be considered at all
essential. Lakshmi was of course eager that Ba and I should be present at her
wedding. So was Chi. Maruti. I could understand their desire. But all of us felt that
the marriage should take place without delay, and hence I advised both the bride
and the bridegroom to have the wedding as soon as possible and they accepted
my advice. Lakshmi has been brought up in the Ashram since her childhood. But we
have not been able to educate and train her as well as the Ashram and I would have

liked to do. We did not, therefore, think it desirable to keep a girl in the bloom of
youth unmarried for very long after betrothal. The fact that Chi. Lakshmi is
getting married does not mean that her education will stop. I regard Maruti as a
very worthy young man. He is a man of self-control. He has received training at the
hands of Bhai Lakshmidas and Velabehn. He realizes the responsibility he is
undertaking. He will not only be a husband to Lakshmi, but will also be a friend and
teacher to her. There can be no doubt that, if this marriage is successful, it will
benefit both Harijans and Hinduism a great deal. Looked at from this point of view,
this marriage is of great importance and makes the responsibility of both
correspondingly greater.
Chi. Maruti and Chi. Lakshmi were betrothed some years ago. It was a big problem
for the Ashram to whom Lakshmi should be married. We thought that, having
regard to the training she had received in the Ashram, she would be happy only
if she got a partner who had received a similar training. The Ashram believes
in the principle of varnashrama and tries to follow it as well as it can. I cannot
speak for all, but I have often stated that I myself believe that in the present age all
Hindus can, and do, belong to one varna only. If we wish to revive the varnashrama
system, we shall have to start with a clean slate. This being my view, it was my duty
to find a suitable husband for Lakshmi. Velabehn came to my help and
suggested Marutis name. Lakshmidas also liked the idea. I put the suggestion to
Lakshmi, and she, too, accepted it. Her father also gave his consent and the two
were betrothed. In my opinion all that we did was in conformity with dharma. I
regard marriage too as a protective hedge for dharma, and we should hope that the
bride and the bridegroom also will regard it in the same light. This marriage has no
connection with the present movement. Mixed marriages like this one are in no way
a part of the movement for the removal of untouchability. This marriage is a
recognition of the point of view of one who believes in all the various ideals of the
Ashram. I hope that no one will misunderstand its significance because it is
taking place at the present time when the movement for removal of untouchability
is going on and because it is inspired by one who is the chief leader of that
movement. I do not hold up this marriage as an example for anybody to follow. I
regard marriage as a matter of the parents and their childrens free will. I believe
that there is ample support for this view in Hinduism. However, it has no connection
with the problem of the removal of untouchability. The question belongs to another
field of reform in Hinduism. [Vandemataram] from
MOHANDAS

LETTER TO NARANDAS GANDHI


March 16, 1933

A pair of brass pots, a thali and a tapeliI hope Lakshmi will not get crushed
under the weight of all these things. Even these are marks of love, however, but I
am glad that you refused to be a party. I am also glad that Velabehn and others
decided to give something. I cannot judge from here where the limit should have
been put. Didnt I myself wish to give Lakshmi a string of beads, when I was
reluctant
to give anything to Rami? Love shows itself in such contradictory forms. I do not
doubt your sincerity in the least [in refusing to join]. It is the wisdom of giving a pair
of pots which should be doubted.
.

LETTER TO K. R. KRISHNA IYER


March 21, 1933
DEAR FRIEND,
I thank you for your letter. The marriage you refer to had no connection with the
untouchability movement. It was arranged years ago. We do not know to what varna
the husband of the child belongs. He was picked up as an orphan boy by one of the
members of the Ashram and he has been brought up as his own child. So far as
varnashrama is concerned, I have expressed my views already in the pages of the
Harijan and I have stated my belief that restriction on the intermarriage and
inter-dining is no part of varnadharma and was not in the palmy days of
Hinduism. I have also expressed my opinion that at the present moment in India
there is in reality but one varna possible, and that is of Shudra, in other words, that
of service. But you can learn my views more fully from the pages of the Harijan.

LETTER TO PRABHAVATI
March 27, 1933
.
Lakshmi has been married to Maruti. About 100 Harijans came from Ahmedabad to
bless them. They were all served with fruits. Maruti lives at Bardoli with
Lakshmidas.
Blessings from
BAPU

LETTER TO SUMANGAL PRAKASH


April 5, 1933
CHI. SUMANGAL PRAKASH,
I have you letter.
(1) One cannot give reasons for everything in this world. Dharma does not lie
in giving up a custom simply because no reason can be given for it. On the contrary
dharma consists in respecting the customs of the society of which one is part,
provided these do not go against morality. Therein lies truth and non-violence. To
cause pain to anyone without reason is untruth and violence. A person who gives up
a practice because he cannot see any reason for its continuance is unwise and
wilful.
(2) In regard to inter-dining and inter-marriage there is not contradiction between
my earlier writings and present writings. When I wrote those articles I had Lakshmi
with me and I was planning to have her married outside the Dhed community.I still
hold that in inter-dining and inter-marriage some restrictions are necessary. I do
not think that varnashrama comes in here. There is no loss of dharma in marrying a
suitable partner outside ones varna. I may say that my views are now much clearer
than before. But I hesitate to revise the views I have held for a long time. My
present views supplement the views I have expressed earlier. However, if it
appears that there is conflict between the two you should accept what I say now
and reject what I have said before.
(3) I should not answer this question. I am also not competent to answer it.
Everyone should be able to find the meaning of the vow he has taken. The meaning
that I may give to your vow should be considered false, while the meaning you give
it should be taken as valid. When one does not have confidence in oneself one may
accept a witnesss interpretation. Here the witness is not in a position to
givean interpretation. Therefore you should either interpret the vow yourself or ask
other co-workers.
(4) That is because the address of the journal is changes.
Blessings from
BAPU
ETTER TO D. B. KALELKAR
[April 18, 1933]
CHI. KAKA,

I have your letter. The book on milk-diet lays great stress on rest. If, therefore,
Dinshawji also insists on that, follow his advice and take complete rest. You should
build a completely new body. The author forbids even reading, etc. Maruti and
Lakshmi came and saw me. I hope Karsandas has met you.
Blessings from
BAPU

LETTER TO DUDHABHAI M. DAFDA


January 2, 1934
BHAI DUDHABHAI,
I got your letter. By Gods grace everything will turn out well. I came to know only
yesterday that Lakshmi is expecting. I have advised that if Manjukeshabehn
offers to shoulder the responsibility,
Lakshmi may go to Bardoli for her delivery, otherwise she should get herself
admitted in the Vadilal Hospital at Ahmedabad. It has all the facilities, and some
Ashram women also are working in it and they will be able to look after her. Let me
know if you have any suggestion to make in this regard. I will decide finally after I
hear from Maruti and Laskhmi. I have made the necessary arrangements for you to
get a copy of the Harijanbandhu.Let me know if you do not get it. What help did
Sunderjibhai give ? Let me have his address. I have forgotten it completely. A girls
hostel is being run in the Sabarmati Harijan Ashram. Are you willing to send the girls
there ? If yes, I may inquire. They may admit them there. My blessings to all the
children.
Blessings from
BAPU
SJT. D UDHABAI MALJI
HARIJAN TEACHER
SATHRA
BHAVNAGAR STATE
KATHIAWAR

LETTER TO KASTURBA GANDHI

MYSORE,
February 22, 1934

Lakshmi will have her baby at Bardoli. Manjukesha will look after her. Moti or
Lakshmi also will be there at that time..

LETTER TO KASTURBA GANDHI


April 27, 1934
BA,
It is nearing four in the morning. My eyes feel heavy. I got your letter. Nimu and
Lakshmi have given birth to daughters. The mothers and the daughters are quite
well. Now the delivery of Bardoli Lakshmi is awaited. Some news about her also is
expected in a few Days
LETTER TO KASTURBA GANDHI
May 1, 1934
A son has been born to Maruti and Lakshmi. I keep good health. Please do not worry
in the least. I shall be in Patna when you are released and from there I shall be
going to Calcutta. Ramdas is pining for you. So go and see him first. From there go
to Delhi. You should go to Bardoli too, and from there you may go to
Ahmedabad for a few days.

Blessings to all women from


BAPU
ETTER TO PRABHAVATI
June 14, 1935
Lakshmi will come here from Bardoli. Manu also is coming.
Blessings from
BAPU

LETTER TO PRABHAVATI
July 5, 1935
..
Lakshmi has come from Bardoli
..
LETTER TO NARAHARI D. PARIKH
August 10, 1936
CHI. NARAHARI,
Have you ever extracted juice from a dried lemon? If you say no, how will you
squeeze out of me a lesson for your series of readers? I went through your circular
request. It is good, but not for me. I would stop all writing if I could have my way.
Dont ask for anything new. Go ahead with your work, taking me as gone. Maruti
desires to build a house. The land should be from the Harijan Ashram. What
happened to Avantikabais plot? Can we give him that or some part of it? Or he
might keep with us the sum he wishes to invest and so long as he does so he might
put the land to his use and enjoy ownership rights of the house. If it does not suit
us, we may return his deposit after estimating the current value of the
property. I am saying all this on the supposition that Avantikabais land might not be
available or that the Ashram land might not be sold. For my part, I have no
objection whatever to selling it. Think over the whole matter and do what seems
proper.
Blessings from
BAPU

TALK TO A WOMAN RELATIVE


June 8, 1947
Women at any rate should think of God and His infinite power and know that His is the only real
support. While cultivating self-confidence and courage, they should also exercise wisely their natural
qualities of humility, simplicity and kindness with which God has endowed them. Indias women were
never weak, are not so even today and will not be so in future. If we think over the matter, we shall
see that from the times of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata their courage has been unrivalled,
and that courage has been the result of strength of character. Revive that strength of character. If the

women do not remind themselves of the examples of Draupadi and Sita and display the same
strength of virtue, they will never be able to serve the country well no matter how many of them get
educated. If the atrocities one hears of are perpetrated on women, the fault does not lie with men
alone. Women also are responsible. I know that today women have taken the downward path. In
their craze for equality with men, they have forgotten their duty. Ba was in no way weaker than I; in
fact she was stronger. If I had not had her co-opeation I would have been sunk. It was that illiterate
woman who helped me to observe all my vows with the utmost strictness and kept me ever vigilant.
Similarly in politics also she displayed great courage and took part in all the campaigns. From the
worldly point of view she may have been illiterate, but she was an ideal woman who had received
what I regard as true education.
<<<< She was a devout Vaishnava, used to worship the tulsi, religiously observed sacred days and
continued to wear the necklace of holy beads right up to her death. I have given that necklace to this
girl (Lakshmi). But she loved the Harijan girl as much as she loved manu or Devdass Tara. >>>>
She was a living image of the virtues of a Vaishnava described by Narasinha Mehta in his bhajan. It
is because of her that I am today what I am. She never spared herself, no matter how ill she herself
was, in serving me. And often I have been in danger of my life. In the fast of 1943 I may say I was
nearly at deaths door, but she never cried or lost courage but on the contrary kept up other peoples
courage and prayed to God. I can see her face vividly even today.