SELECTED WORKS OF MAHATMA GANDHI >  VOL. IV - SELECTED LETTERS > SECTION ONE : SELECTED LETTERS > To Motilal Nehru
48. To Motilal Nehru
The Ashram,
Sabarmati,
20-4-'28
DEAR MOTILALJI,
I have your letter. I am daily making fresh discov¬eries which go to show that we may expect nothing from .the mill-owners at the present stage. They will yield only to pressure and the pressure of the Government is more felt than that of the Congress. But we may not be impatient. We need not put boycott of Indian mill- made cloth in the same category as that of foreign cloth. A negative attitude about mill cloth will be quite enough to keep the mills under wholesome check. A positive boycott will only stir up bad blood without bringing us any nearer boycott of foreign cloth. We shall never, unless a sudden manifestation of mass energy comes into being, succeed in reaching the millions. In spite of all we may do, for the time being the latter will therefore be buying Indian mill cloth and, further, there will be keen competition between Lancashire mills and Japanese on the one hand and Indian mills on the other. We have therefore to concentrate our effort on changing the mentality of the townspeople and those few villagers whom we are controlling and bringing them round to the adoption of Khadi. If we set about doing this, the message of Khadi will percolate the masses. Then both our and foreign mills will feel the brunt. That will be the time for our mills to come in a line with us. The moment they do so we can complete boycott of foreign cloth inside of six months. The programme definitely therefore has to be this:
We leave Indian mills severely alone. We carry on a whirlwind campaign for boycott of foreign cloth through Khadi, asking people to count no sacrifice too great in adopting Khadi. We must have faith in ourselves and in our people and believe that they can make this which appears to me to be small sacrifice. But I confess that at the present moment I do not visualize the organization that is needed to carry on the boycott. The political who are in a possession of the platform do not mean to do any serious business. They will not concentrate on any constructive work. Jawahar in a letter truly describes the atmosphere, when he says: "There is violence in the air." We read and hear so much about the boycott of British cloth in Bengal, but the letters I receive almost every week show that there is no real boycott. There is no organization behind it, there is no will working behind it. All things considered what will you advise me to do.
The expected letter from Romain Rolland is due next Tuesday at the latest. I must after that come to a decision quickly. Supposing that Romain Rolland predisposes me in favour of the European visit, what would you have me to do in view of the talk of the boycott. Would you want me for the sake of the boycott not to go to Europe? I shall accept your decision whatever it may be. I am not personally keen on the European visit, but if all is plain sailing in India and if Romain Rolland wants me to visit Europe, I should feel bound to accept the European invitations. Will you please wire your decision? Jawahar will be with you and probably you will know Doctor Ansari's mind.
Yours sincerely

From a photostat: S.N. 13197