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

 

 

Harihar Sharma and Mahatma Gandhi

 

 

Harihar Sharma was member of Ganganath Bharatiya Vidyalaya, Baroda; active worker of Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha. He met Mahatma Gandhi in Shantiniketan. He came with Kaka Saheb to Sabarmati. He was one close associate of Mahatma Gandhi and working in his guidance. Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Your letter made me so very happy indeed. It was such a surprise to me to learn that I am never out of your mind. You, Gomatibehn, and a third person of your own choice what more could one want? Mahadev will write to you about the rest.” 1

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Perhaps most readers of Navajivan have not heard of Shri Harihar Sharma. He may be described as a relative of Kaka’s. Let me introduce the reader to that family. When Barrister Shri Keshavrao Deshpande founded the Ganganath Vidyalaya in Baroda, he gathered round him a group of teachers and, with the idea of creating a family-feeling among them, gave them titles indicative of family relationships. The school as an institution housed in a particular building has ceased to exist, but as a sentiment it survives even today. This family circle still maintains its old ties. Like blood relationship, spiritual relationship too cannot cease. Inspired by this idea, those who were given these titles of family relationships regard them as sacred and have retained them. Keshavrao Deshpande’s followers still know and respect him by the name of “Saheb”. Our Kalelkar likes always to be addressed as “Kaka”. Very few Gujaratis know Phadke by that name. We know him as “Mama”. Similarly, Harihar Sharma is “Anna”. This is one of the titles in use in Maharashtrian families. In Tamil, too, it is used in much the same sense. “Anna” means brother. Another person is known as “Bhai”. Though he is still alive, he is as good as lost. I do not know the names of all the members of this well-known family. I have given these few facts while introducing Shri Harihar Sharma, hoping that Kaka himself will tell us in detail about the family when he has an occasion to do so.” 2

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “There was no need for you to feel sorry. It was imperative to give expression to the shock I received at the station. It would have been betrayal of friendship if I had not done so. Had I entertained suspicion before this I would have dealt with it. When you had intended to leave after obtaining my permission you ought to have handed over charge to somebody. No calamity would have befallen if I had not given permission. This is evident as you saw how it affected me and what I had to do suddenly since you did not hand over charge and that too as soon as I got down at the station.” 3

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I was given to understand that you would do any work that Kakasaheb might give you and would even be prepared to go wherever you were required to go. Of course, if you cannot stay in Kakawadi, you may stay in the Ashram. I have not been able to fully grasp what you now write about the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan. If it means that we ought to stay within the Sammelan, I too am guilty. In my opinion, I have only served the cause of Hindi and widened its field by quitting the organization. Write to me again to tell me what you mean. Is my interpretation correct? Discuss fully the whole issue with Kaka and tell me about the proper course of action. I want you somehow to be at ease. Krishnachandra is indifferent about you Talk to him. You have the capacity to mix with people as sugar with milk. I am not writing separately to Kamala. It seems it would be possible for me to reach Wardha only in August. I want Kamala and the children to keep well. I earnestly wish that you should both lead an ideal life and through it have a good influence on the lives of others. Service is limited by one‘s capacity. What the outcome here would be, God alone knows. Are you both learning the Urdu script? Both of you should write to me. Even if I am unable to reply I would like to know your minds.” 4

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “There is art in dying also. As it is, all die, but one has to learn by practice how to die a beautiful death. The matter will not be settled even if everybody went to Noakhali and got killed. When the time comes I shall call for you, Reddy and Amtussalaam to go there. So far I do not see that the moment has come. Your keeping indifferent health is another difficulty. Considering all this, please tell me what you would like to do. Can you go to Assam or to Sindh?” 5

 

References:

 

  1. LETTER TO HARIHAR SHARMA, April 10, 1918
  2. Navajivan, 18-5-1924
  3. LETTER TO HARIHAR SHARMA, August 20, 1937
  4. LETTER TO HARIHAR AND KAMALA SHARMA, May 22, 1946
  5. LETTER TO HARIHAR SHARMA, October 21, 1946

 

 

 

 

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