THE HONOURABLE PROFESSOR GOKHALE,
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.