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


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



Gajanan Naik and Mahatma Gandhi




Gajanan Naik had deep knowledge making gur. He had done a lot of experiments under guidance of Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Yesterday I went to Sindi to see how Gajanan Naik was working. The condition of things there is scarcely better but he is carrying on his work, patiently and perseveringly. The moment I saw him last morning I said to myself:  ‘If I had been working with Gajanan, I should certainly have had intimate experience of the difficulties he is meeting with.’ No. It is clearer to me than ever before that my place is in the village.” 1

The following article by Shri Gajanan Naik on the superiority of palms over cane and beetroot for the purpose of yielding sugar is presented for the criticism of sugar experts: Sugar in its pure form is composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen (C12 H22 O11). As such it does not take anything from the soil, but the crops now mainly cultivated for extracting sugar, viz., the beet and the cane, require for their development a number of substances from the soil in which they grow. Therefore their culture exhausts the soil. What is worse still is that the space now occupied by the beet in Europe and the cane in the tropics, might and ought to serve for the culture of food and fodder crops. . . . But people must have sugar. Is there a way of getting it without encroaching on the soil fit for superior crops? Yes according to the opinion expressed by Mr. Devry at the Congress of Giessen. (Watt’s Dictionary of the Economic Products of India, Vol. I, pp. 301-4.) He says that palms can supply the required sugar for they can be grown on inferior soil where even to try to grow cereals would be a vain endeavour. The statement throws much light on the place of the palm for the gur industry. It would be wrong to take it only as a philanthropic proposition for exploring avenues of employment for the toddy-tappers who will be rendered idle through prohibition. It has immense potentialities in the economics of national agriculture.  Sugarcane cannot be grown with profit in the same field year after year. It has to be rotated with some cereal. Cane has to be cultivated year after year while palms once planted yield sugar for 20 to 50 years. Heavy manuring and regular watering are required for cane while palms require neither. . . . Palm plantations are not affected by wind, flood or shortage of rain. Moreover, and this is very important, factory-made apparatus, such as crushers are indispensable in cane gur making while the accessories necessary for palm gur manufacture are procurable locally in villages, and their cost is negligible as compared with those used for cane gur.” 2  

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Are you concerned with ownership or use? What if we could have the use of the building for a certain rent? I hope you have not assumed that I can do or get done anything that I fancy.” 3  Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “It does not matter if Kumarappa does not provide you the money. But should you not have his consent to whatever you do? If you carry on your activities on the strength of money when you don’t have the consent of the institution to which you belong, it is sure to cause them some embarrassment. If you cannot have Kumarappa’s consent you have only to have patience and try to persuade him. Read my reply again.” 4

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “My views on palm gur are firm. People should have permission to make palm gur or toddy wherever there are palm trees. Our requirement can be met with this gur and sugarcane gur. I am of the opinion that palm gur is better than sugar cane gur. This is for you. I did forget about palm gur. I had to write in a hurry. That was the last day. You could have added that and wired me. I had written “etc.” That includes gur. Gur has lost nothing. When was it bitter?” 5 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Kumarappa and others will be glad if Dhiren Muzumdar goes there. But how can he go? Everyone is busy in his own work. Do bring him if you are sure that he will come. I am of the opinion that only a new person should be brought in. What does Jhaverbhai say? He has managed to bring in two persons. Will not one of them do?” 6

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Even if you go to Dhiren, you can go only with their permission and with money taken from there. You are not going there on your own. After all you are working, are you not, for the Gramodyog Sangh? It is your duty to write to me the things which you now hesitate to write. You should not care whether it will make me happy or unhappy. If a person dedicated to public work has not acquired the capacity to hear unhappy things it may be said he has not achieved anything. Therefore write to me without any hesitation.” 7 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I have read your letter. If what you say is true, it is worth considering. You must show your letter to Kumarappa. If you permit me, I shall do so. You cannot suppress the complaint you have mentioned. I also wonder how you can stay in such an institution. Isn’t there exaggeration in what you say? Meanwhile, I am preserving your letter.” 8

 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Just think what my loyalty demands. Either I should pay no attention to your complaints or place them before Kumarappa and hear his side also and then ask for an explanation from you and then give the decision. Your own loyalty also demands the same.” 9 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I have your letter. I regret that I cannot make you understand such a simple thing. If the person who writes is himself not frank, what can be done about what he writes? I tell you it is your dharma to be frank; only then can an inquiry be held. If you wish to write to me secretly I don’t want to listen to anything and don’t want to be influenced.” 10 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Your letter does not show impartiality. However, if the information contained in it is correct it is startling. I must show your letter to Jhaverbhai. Or I would say that there is no substance in your complaint. About the salary I have already taken steps. I will proceed after I get the reply.” 11

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I shall not get tired if you permit me to show them all to the persons about whom you write. Many public workers go in for life insurance. How can they be bracketed together? You have to cultivate a liberal attitude. One reaps as one sows. If we happen to notice someone’s shortcomings we should feel alarmed and say to ourselves: “What if I have even more serious ones and others can see them!” This reflection should make us try to see our own shortcomings and to remove them.” 12




  1. Harijan, 9-5-1936
  2.   Harijan, 14-10-1939
  3. LETTER TO GAJANAN NAIK, January 26, 1945
  4. LETTER TO GAJANAN NAIK, February 28, 1945
  5. LETTER TO GAJANAN NAIK, April 29, 1945
  6. LETTER TO GAJANAN NAIK, May 3, 1945
  7.   LETTER TO GAJANAN NAIK, May 9, 1945
  8. LETTER TO GAJANAN NAIK, September 30, 1945
  9.   LETTER TO GAJANAN NAIK, October 8, 1945
  10. LETTER TO GAJANAN NAIK, October 17, 1945
  11. LETTER TO GAJANAN NAIK, September 9, 1946
  12. LETTER TO GAJANAN NAIK, Silence Day, October 7, 1946





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