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ASSOCIATES & DISCIPLES OF MAHATMA GANDHI > TRIBUTES BY MAHATMA GANDHI > P. Krishnaswami Naidu
P. Krishnaswami Naidu
I have just received a cable from Johannesburg announcing the death of P. K. Naidu from pneumonia. He was one of the truest of Indians and the stoutest of hearts. He suffered the hardships of a prison life many times. His wife followed suit. He was ready for all work. He got ready on an hour's notice to take charge of a party of deportees who were banished by General Smuts to India. He counted no cost too dear for the sake of his country's freedom. His death at the present moment, for our countrymen in South Africa, is a tremendous loss. He was capable single-handed of hurling defiance against the mighty South African Government. Indeed only a few weeks ago I had a letter from him describing his plan of campaign. Alas! cruel Nature had planned otherwise. Naidu is dead; his work will live for ever. P. K. Naidu was a fair English scholar. He knew Hindi, Telugu, French and Zulu. He was self-taught. He had a powerful build. He was no mean pugilist. But he had learnt the secret of non-violence. He was therefore able to control himself under the gravest provocation. He was a born toiler. He never refused any work. He was an expert barber and, because he would not become a clerk, he had chosen to be a barber and carried on a haircutting saloon. When, at Tolstoy Farm, we took to sandal making, he became a finished sandal-maker. He was a true soldier. He knew how to obey. I tender my humble condolences to Mrs. Naidu and our countrymen in South Africa.