GANDHI IN ACTION network

the Spirit of Mahatma Gandhi lives through every nonviolent action

Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav

Senior Gandhian Scholar

Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India

Contact No. – 09404955338, 09415777229

E-mail- dr.yadav.yogendra@gandhifoundation.net;

dr.yogendragandhi@gmail.com

Mailing Address- C- 29, Swaraj Nagar, Panki, Kanpur- 208020, Uttar Pradesh, India

 

Chhotalal Tejpal and Mahatma Gandhi

 

Chhotalal was an artist and a famous associate of Mahatma Gandhi. He worked with him. Mahatma Gandhi was guidance him always. Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “The cause of your hardship is not the Customs Department. It originated with the Police Department. It is possible to file a suit against the police, but I don’t advise that. I think it will be better, for the present, to write to the Police Department. It will be advisable to have this done through some lawyer friend of yours there. You can also do it yourself. If you make a brief, factual statement in Gujarati, that will serve your purpose all right. That will be the basis. It is necessary to leave the papers about Viramgam with me for the time being. I don’t propose to drop the matter.” 1

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “The right time for me will be when I can work in freedom. That cannot be during this year. The root cause of all this is the same. As we are against customs levy as such, whether or not here is police tyranny, we must emphasize the inherent injustice of the system. We would oppose the customs levy even if the police were gods. I know you have no selfish end to serve. I did not receive Jain Hitechchhu at all. I waited for it.” 2 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I cannot praise your enthusiasm too much. Send me a brief account of the reform you have introduced; I will then see if I can publish it and give my views on the subject. When did you start? What is the evidence? If formerly a cart was used, why do we carry [the bier] on shoulders now? How many dead bodies have been removed by cart so far? How much does it cost to employ a cart? Who drives the cart? How is the thing arranged? Is there any association for the purpose or do you alone bear the burden? Do you work in Rajkot only or elsewhere too?” 3

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “If you send me a factual statement which will take up one column in Navajivan, I will publish it. What you have sent is too long. I have no time at present to shorten it.  We have had two or three letters from Shri Chhotalal Tejpal, and also some literature on the movement he is carrying on. There is so much of it and so thick-laid with secondary details that we are unable to publish it. Hence we intend merely to describe here his purpose, which has appeared useful to us.” 4

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I do not see any connection between the evil of untouchability and the question whether dead bodies should be carried on shoulders or in a cart. I do not wish to make a will to oblige people, after my death, to have my body carried in a cart, for I see a sort of egotism in the idea. Moreover, if they cremate my body on the Ashram premises, I would rather that they carried it on a few bamboo poles on shoulders or with hands. I don’t feel that it is a matter of dharma to insist on dead bodies being carried in carts. I fully accept, however, the necessity and propriety of carrying them in that manner in certain circumstances.” 5 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I have not received your book. I will go through it when I get it. Please send to Mr. Clayton Pragji Desai’s address (Box No. 5390, Johannesburg), so that I need not write.” 6

 

References:

 

  1. LETTER TO CHHOTALAL TEJPAL, July 22, 1915
  2. LETTER TO CHHOTALAL TEJPAL, August 18, 1915
  3. LETTER TO CHHOTALAL TEJPAL, July 22, 1919
  4.   LETTER TO CHHOTALAL TEJPAL, September 17, 1919
  5. LETTER TO CHHOTALAL TEJPAL, September 8, 1926
  6.   LETTER TO CHHOTALAL TEJPAL, October 9, 1928

 

 

 

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