DEAR LORD LINLITHGOW,
This is a very personal letter. Contrary to the biblical injunction
I have allowed many suns to set on a quarrel I have harboured against
you. But I must not allow the old year to expire without disburdening
myself of what is rankling in my breast against you. I have thought
we were friends and should still love to think so. However what has
happened since August 9 last makes me wonder whether you still regard
me as a friend. I have perhaps not come in such close touch with any
occupant of your gadi as with you.
Your arrest of me, the communique you issued thereafter, your reply
to Rajaji and the reasons given therefore, Mr. Amery's attack on me,
and much else I can catalogue go to show that at some stage or other
you must have suspected my bona fides. Mention of other Congressmen
in the same connection is by the way. I seem to be the fons et origo
of all the evil imputed to the Congress. If I have not ceased to be
your friend why did you not, before taking drastic action, send for
me, tell me of your suspicions and make yourself sure of your facts
? I am quite capable of seeing myself as others see me. But in this
case I have failed hopelessly. I find that all the statements made
about me in Government quarters in this connection contain palpable
departures from truth. I have so much fallen from grace that I could
not establish contact with a dying friend. I mean Prof. Bhansali who
is fasting in regard to the Chimur affair ! ! !
And I am expected to condemn the so-called vio¬lence of some people
reputed to be Congressmen, al¬though I have no data for such condemnation
save the heavily censored reports of newspapers. I must own that I
thoroughly distrust those reports. I could write much more, but I
must not lengthen my tale of woe. I am sure, what I have said is enough
to enable you to fill in details.
You know I returned to India from South Africa at the end of 1914
with a mission which came to me in 1906, namely, to spread truth and
non-violence among mankind in the place of violence and falsehood
in all walks of life. The law of Satyagraha knows no defeat. Prison
is one of the many ways of spreading the message. But it has its limits.
You have placed me in a palace where every reasonable creature comfort
is ensured. I have freely partaken of the latter purely as a matter
of duty, never as a pleasure, in the hope that someday those who have
the power will realize that they have wronged innocent men. I had
given myself six months. The period is drawing to a close. So is my
patience. The law of Satyagraha as I know it prescribes a remedy in
such moments of trial. In a sentence, it is, 'Crucify the flesh by
fasting'. That same law forbids its use except as a last resort. I
do not want to use it if I can avoid it.
This is the way to avoid it, convince me of my error or errors, and
I shall make ample amends. You can send for me or send someone who
knows your mind and can carry conviction. There are many other ways
if you have the will. May I expect an early reply ? May the New Year
bring peace to us all !