SELECTED WORKS OF MAHATMA GANDHI >  VOL. IV - SELECTED LETTERS > SECTION ONE : SELECTED LETTERS > To G. K. Gokhale
02. To G. K. Gokhale1
21-24, Court Chambers,
Corner, Rissik & Anderson Street,
P. O. Box 6522,
Johannesburg,
January 13, 1905
To
THE HONOURABLE PROFESSOR GOKHALE,
POONA
DEAR PROFESSOR GOKHALE,
The existence of Indian Opinion you know. It has now embarked on a career when I think I may fairly appeal to you for active sympathy. I propose to write perfectly frankly, as you know me too well to misunderstand me. When I saw that Mr. Madanjit could not carry on the paper without pecuniary assistance and as I knew that he was guided by thoroughly patriotic motives, I placed at his service the bulk of my savings. That, however, was not enough. Three months ago I took over the whole responsibility and management. Mr. Madanjit still remains nominally the proprietor and publisher, because I believe that he has done much for the community. My own office is at present being worked in the interest of Indian Opinion and I have already become responsible to the extent of nearly £ 3,500. Some English friends, who knew me intimately and before whom I placed the scheme as described in the enclosed, took up the idea and now it is in full working order and, although it does not show the same measure of self-sacrifice as shown by the founders of the Fergusson College in Poona, I venture to think that it is not a bad copy. It has been a most delightful thing to me to see the English friends coming forward so boldly. They are not literary men but they are sterling, honest, independent men. Each of them had his own business or employment where he was doing well, and yet none of them had the slightest hesitation in coming forward as a worker for a bare living which means £3 per month, with a distant prospect of getting profits.
It is also my intention, if my earnings continue, to open a school on the grounds, which would be second to none in South Africa for the education primarily of Indian children who would be resident boarders, and secondarily, of all who want to join the school but would also reside on the premises. For this, too, volunteer workers are required. It would be possible to induce one or two Englishmen and English ladies here to give their lifetime to this work, but Indian teachers are absolutely necessary. Could you induce any graduates who have an aptitude for teaching, who bear a blameless character and who would be prepared to work for a mere living? Those who would come must be well-tried, first-class men. I would want two or three at least but more could certainly be accommodated, and after the school is in working order, it is intended to add a sanatorium with open-air treatment on hygienic lines. My immediate purpose, however, is in connection with Indian Opinion. If you approve of all I have said regarding it, will you kindly send a letter of encouragement to be sent to the editor for publication; also if you could spare a few moments, occasionally write an article ever so small for it? I am also anxious to secure either honorary or paid correspondents who would contribute weekly notes in English, Gujarati, Hindi and Tamil. If it becomes expensive, I might have to be satisfied with only English correspondence which would lend itself to being translated in the three Indian languages. Could you recommend any such correspondent or correspondents? The weekly notes should give an idea of what is being done on your side with reference to the Indian question, giving extracts from notices of the question in the newspapers, and should contain matters that are likely to be interesting to the Indians in South Africa. You may at your discretion disclose partly or wholly the contents of this letter in so far as such a course may be necessary in the interests of the subject-matter hereof. I hope you are keeping good health.
I remain,
Yours Faithfully,
M. K. Gandhi

Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. IV, pp. 332-33.

1 Gopal Krishna Gokhale (1866-1915)—Statesman and educationist; was associated with the Indian National Congress since its early days; presided over its Banaras Session in 1905; founded the Servants of India Society at Poona; visited South Africa in 1912 at Gandhiji's invitation.