13 February, 1924.
Most beloved Bapu,
To give myself an exquisite birthday gift today I have stolen
one moment, just one, out of my crowded hours of public engagements to send you
a little message across the seas of my
love, my homage, and my utter devotion to the beautiful gospel you have given to
the world for its deliverance and which is my privilege to bear literally to the
ends of the earth.
I came to Kenya on a mission which I have tried to fulfil according to my
ability, and the heart of all communities and creeds in this wonderful country,
this "Ophir" of the ancients, has been stormed, Indians, Arab,
African, and European.
I am going now - on a pilgrimage - to that province that was the scene of your
first victorious martyrdom in the cause of Indian rights and liberties. The call
from there is poignant in its urgency, or I should have followed the temptation
of my heart and set my face homewards, and you-wards by tomorrow's boat.
I shall write to you fully, and I hope legibly, from board the Khandala
next week. This is only, as I said, to give myself the luxury of a birthday gift
by having a moment's speech with you across space.
Will you be very kind and send me a line to meet me at Mombasa on my return
journey from S. Africa? A letter posted before the 5th in Bombay will reach me
in time. C/o A. M. Jeevanji, Kilandeni Road, Mombasa.
I want say so many things but I want, above all, I want to know from you one
thing: that your health is improving steadily and that you are really resting
in some quiet place full of beauty and the sound of clear cool waves. I wish I
could transport you into the heart of one of the marvellous Highland forest
retreats of Kenya - but I was forgetting - in spite of being the Greatest Man in
the world you are a miserable Indian and may not have a sanctuary in the
I am just going off to address a meeting largely of the Europeans of Mombasa on
Life and its Ideals. I shall of course have to boldly plagiarise (is that
spelling correct) from the Gospel according to Gandhi.
May I send you the charming salutation of the African races and say Jambo!
You devoted friend and follower,
Benarsidas Chaturvedi, who has gone ahunting lions like a Kshatriya,
sends you his pranams.
My health has improved though the old fever has returned in full force.
From: SN 9902