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SELECTED LETTERS > GANDHI -SAROJINI NAIDU CORRESPONDENCELetter from Sarojini Naidu to Gandhiji, [before April 11], 1929

 

Letter from Sarojini Naidu to Gandhiji, [Before April 11], 1929

(Extract)

This morning on my journey back from Minnesota, the "Land of blue waters", to Illinois, the land of great lakes, I was reading a famous and profoundly fascinating story of Jewish psychology by Ludwig Lewisopu and I chanced upon a very significant passage about you which I have copied out and am enclosing in the letter. Curiously enough only last night at the request of the people of... I addressed a large and eager audience on the Gospel of the Mystic Spinner and the `home weaving, the home speech and the home thought' to which the Jewish novelist has so beautifully alluded in his book The Island Within... and how significant, how symbolic is his saying that coincides with your conviction that only through the fellowship of the weak can the strong be saved from the sins of their strength?
Since I wrote to you several weeks ago from the great town of Cincinnati I have been almost incredibly occupied in travelling, speaking, meeting thousands of new people, giving and receiving. The first stage of my tour is now finished. It included all the important centres of the Eastern States and beautiful Canada with its snow-bound landscapes and warm-hearted citizens. It included also what is called the "Middle West". I am now about to set out on the second stage of my travels journeying across the breadth of the Continent through the wheat districts and the mining districts over the Rockies to the magic land of California where I shall behold the waters of the Blue Pacific through the Golden Gate... My experience and adventures in California will not, I promise you, exclude the exciting mysteries of Hollywood and its galaxy of dazzling stars!
From the coast I travel back into the interior towards Texas through the desert of Arizona pausing a day to marvel at the Grand Canyon. Then I go to Florida and the other Southern States ending at Washington, the capital, where the fictitious Peace Pact has just been signed - the pact that holds a fictitious signature for India, for all vicarious pledges and commitments are fictitious! After the Southern States are finished I return to my beloved New York for a few days before visiting the Northern States and revisiting Canada. When by the time I cross the [Atlantic?]... spring will already have forestalled me. You see I am literally a wandering singer with a spirit in my feet as Shelley said... Everywhere I go I find increasing welcome and increasing response... and the winged wind goes forth for the sake and in the name of India.
I am waiting for authentic news of the Congress and All Parties' decisions. No news or very disjointed news comes to America through the cables. Very little news has come through about the December Conferences. But I had a happy wire from my Padmaja saying "Congress great success". In a week or so the belated newspapers from India would reach us. Meanwhile I am torn between rejoicing and suspense. And I am - may I confess it - terribly and shamelessly homesick for my own land and my own people... for in the lovely words of Khalil Gibran, the Syrian poet, in his great book The Prophet, we cannot rise higher than their hope nor fall lower than their despair and wherever I am I must share both the height of their hope and the depth of their despair.
I was so relieved of half my gnawing everpresent anxiety about Padmaja when I found she was well enough or at least eager enough to attend the Congress... After her long lonely seclusion in a far off sanatorium she longed for and needed the breath and tumult of crowds again. Sometimes there is more healing in the "common touch" of multitudes than in the sanctuaries of the Most High...
The epic and the epitaph are both implicit and inevitable. A Chacun son infini as the French writer said... But if I do not retire to rest I shall have no epic at all but only a speedy epitaph for myself. So good night. I am always the wanderer of the steadfast heart.

From: Young India, April 11, 1929