MY DEAR JAWAHARLAL,
I have been desirous of writing to you for many days but have not
been able to do so before today. The question of whether I should
write to you in English or Hindustani was also in my mind. I have
at length preferred to write to you in Hindustani.
The first thing I want to write about is the difference of outlook
between us. If the difference is fundamental then I feel the public
should also be made aware of it. It would be detrimental to our work
for Swaraj to keep them in the dark. I have said that I still stand
by the system of Government envisaged in Hind Swaraj. These are not
mere words. All the experience gained by me since 1908 when I wrote
the booklet has confirmed the truth of my belief. Therefore if I am
left alone in it I shall not mind, for I can only bear witness to
the truth as I see it. I have not Hind Swaraj before me as I write.
It is really better for me to draw the picture anew in my own words.
And whether it is the same as I drew in Hind Swaraj or not is immaterial
for both you and me. It is not necessary to prove the Tightness of
what I said then. It is essential only to know what I feel today.
I am convinced that if India is to attain true freedom and through
India the world also, then sooner or later the fact must be recognized
that people will have to live in villages, not in towns, in huts,
not in palaces. Crores of people will never be able to live at peace
with each other in towns and palaces. They will then have no recourse
but to resort to both violence and untruth. I hold that without truth
and non-violence there can be nothing but destruction for humanity.
We can realize truth and non-violence only in the simplicity of village
life and this simplicity can best be found in the Charkha and all
that Charkha connotes. I must not fear if the world today is going
the wrong way. It may be that India too will go that way and like
the proverbial moth burn itself eventually in the flame round which
it dances more and more furiously. But it is my bounden duty up to
my last breath to try to protect India and through India the entire
world from such a doom. The essence of what I have said is that man
should rest content with what are his real needs and become self-
sufficient. If he does not have this control he cannot save himself.
After all the world is made up of individuals just as it is the drops
that constitute the ocean. I have said nothing new. This is a well-known
But I do not think I have stated this in Hind Swaraj. While I admire
modern science, I find that it is the old looked at in the true light
of modern science which should be re-clothed and refashioned aright.
You must not imagine that I am envisaging our village life as it is
today. The village of my dreams is still in my mind. After all every
man lives in the world of his dreams. My ideal village will contain
intelligent human beings. They will not live in dirt and darkness
as animals. Men and women will be free and able to hold their own
against anyone in the world. There will be neither plague, nor cholera
nor small pox; no one will be idle, no one will wallow in luxury.
Everyone will have to contribute his quota of manual labour. I do
not want to draw a large scale picture in detail. It is possible to
envisage railways, post and telegraph offices, etc. For me it is material
to obtain the real article and the rest will fit into the picture
afterwards. If I let go the real thing, all else goes.
On the last day of the Working Committee it was decided that this
matter should be fully discussed and the position clarified after
a two or three days' session. I should like this. But whether the
Working Committee sits or not I want our position vis-a-vis each other
to be clearly understood by us for two reasons. Firstly, the bond
that unites us is not only political work. It is immeasurably deeper
and quite unbreakable. Therefore it is that I earnestly desire that
in the political field also we should understand each other clearly.
Secondly neither of us thinks himself useless. We both live for the
cause of India's freedom and we would both gladly die for it. We are
not in need of the world's praise. Whether we get praise or blame
is immaterial to us. There is no room for praise in service. I want
to live to 125 for the service of India but I must admit that I am
now an old man. You are much younger in comparison and I have therefore
named you as my heir. I must, however, understand my heir and my heir
should understand me. Then alone shall I be content.
One other thing. I asked you about joining the Kasturba Trust and
the Hindustani Prachar Sabha. You said you would think over the matter
and let me know. I find your name is already in the Hindustani Prachar
Sabha. Nanavati reminded me that he had been to both you and Maulana
Sahib in regard to this matter and obtained your signature in 1942.
That, however, is past history. You know the present position of Hindustani.
If you are still true to your then signature I want to take work from
you in this Sabha. There won't be much work and you will not have
to travel for it.
The Kasturba Fund work is another matter. If what I have written above
does not and will not go down with you I fear you will not be happy
in the Trust and I shall understand.
The last thing I want to say to you is in regard to the controversy
that has flared up between you and Sarat Babu. It has pained me. I
have not really grasped it. Is there anything more behind what you
have said? If so you must tell me.
If you feel you should meet me to talk over what I have written we
must arrange a meeting.
You are working hard. I hope you are well. I trust Indu too is fit.