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

 

 

Jehangir Patel and Mahatma Gandhi

 

 

Jehangir Patel was a famous associate of Mahatma Gandhi. He helped to set up National Institute of Naturopathy, Pune. Mahatma guided him always. He played an important in organic farming. Pyarelal secretary of Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “He is glad you enjoyed the charming scenery and climate of Ooty. Thanks for the honey and the eucalyptus which you have sent. The parcel was received yesterday. Bapu was very sorry to hear about the demise of Zabair’s wife. He hopes Zubair will take the bereavement bravely. So-called adversities are sent to us to test our faith. Is not life itself a discipline and a probation? Bapu is very much on the mend as you guess. The illness is all gone. The weakness is still there but he is slowly regaining lost strength and the whole day silence is serving as his strong shield. Without it one wonders how he would have fared.” 1 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “You are needlessly unhappy. Dinshaw’s duty is to stay in Poona as long as he can. He gave me a massage. He left only yesterday. He will come again either on the 15th or 16th. There are only three experts who can massage me Sushilabehn, Pyarelal and Kanu. These days mostly Kanu massages me. Generally I go to sleep while taking the massage. Mother should either recover or get relief from suffering. Please tell her that I think of her often.” 2

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Gradually forms the habit of speaking and writing in Gujarati. Read and write a little of Gujarati every day. Your letter is clear and I have understood it. I feel that just now we should go to the sanatorium and shift to Tryambak Road after we get electricity and water. But I don’t want to do this if Dinshaw does not like it. I understand about Verrier. More when you come over. I hope Mother is all right and you did not get fever again.” 3 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “It is good you have reached there. I am considering sending someone from here for keeping the accounts and so I have been doing a lot of thinking. We would like to have all possible help from you.” 4

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “You could not catch hold of Munnalal but I had also spoken to you about another man called Ramprasad. He is not physically as sturdy as Munnalal, but is just as hard-working. He is conversant with book-keeping. He has been trained under Bapa whom he has served well. He is married and has a child. If you decide to have him, he will for the time being come alone. He certainly needs Rs. 150 but I think he should be paid Rs. 200 if possible. There will be no question of raising this amount. If he does not need the whole amount he is honest enough to return the surplus. His child however is delicate. He himself is of course delicate, and so is his wife. Hence I suggest Rs. 200, so that in the event of a contingency arising he should not be without resources. I want to see to it that he is not obliged to economize on his food. I think your association ought to provide him residential accommodation. If he were to fend for himself and pay the current market rent he would hardly be free to move around. And as your work progresses he might have to run around a bit. Ramprasad’s knowledge of English is rudimentary. Of course he understands it. He may also write it but will make mistakes. Gujarati, however, he knows well. He understands Marathi. He has an elementary knowledge of indigenous medicine. His wife is a nice lady full of the spirit of service. And she has become one with Ramprasad. In her own life she does not harbour any prejudice. She is simple. I rarely have English knowing women around me. This one knows absolutely no English. She can read and write Gujarati. Please let me have an early reply to this if possible. Remember that Ramanama is the unfailing remedy for eradicating malaria. Having become a trustee of a nature-cure institution you have got to appreciate this thing. And Ramanama is the same as Ahurmazda.” 5

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Do you have my letters read out to you? If you could tell me whether you read my letters yourself and can follow them fully or have to have someone explain them to you, I could do something about it. If Ramprasad’s case is likely to take long I shall have to think about the matter a little. I thought you needed a man urgently, and that obtaining sanction was only a formality. But what you say is right. Consider it only after having consulted your association. It would be better if you could tell me how much time it will take. But this you ought to bear in mind that Ramprasad is not unoccupied here. All I wish to convey is that I can spare him without inconvenience to me. You will find in Harijan the answer to the question you have raised regarding Ramanama. Nevertheless you will please ask me again if you do not understand it or are not satisfied with it. I think it is another matter whether you put it into practice or not. However, as a trustee you ought to have a correct understanding of it. And if I am making a mistake you should correct me. I note that Dinshaw has been seeing you. Write to me if you have anything to say regarding the views I have expressed.” 6 

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I understand what you say. I shall write in English whenever I have anything special to say. But I do want you to get used to reading and writing Gujarati. I have wired Ramprasad to see you on the 3rd. I have also written to Bhai Bhise. Your committee can now do as they like. I hope Khurshedbehn is well. It will be more than enough if she maintains her health. I am glad that Dinshaw will be going with you. Please comfort him.” 7 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I send this letter to you in English. So far as I am aware you are a bankrupt concern if what Ramprasad has told me is true. And it is altogether wrong to get a good worker and to expect him to be a collector of funds. I should like to talk to Balasahib about this. I take it that Bapa also is in this concern. Ramprasad tells me that your Association is under debt. He cannot be of any use in wiping it off. He can be of inestimable use as far as management of the Association is concerned and that too among the Adivasis. All other difficulties that he has mentioned can be easily waived. He has said so to me but I know that he must not be used for collecting funds. And please know that neither you nor members of your Association are in any way obliged to entertain Ramprasad’s services. As to Ramanama, we must talk about it. You cannot have it mechanically. It is not like a quinine pill or sun-bath. It stands on its own and by itself. I can understand and appreciate your objection to Ahuramazda because of the bad associations. Hence it is that we describe God as long suffering and patient beyond human endurance. Just now you must swear by your injections and pills although you are a trustee for nature cure.” 8 

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Lack of fertilizers has nothing to do with the poverty of our soil. There is great divergence of opinion on inorganic manure. We waste a tremendous quantity of organic manure. It is all a question of the education of the growers, whether owners or not. I have no doubt that food control is an unmixed evil and it should go. About alcohol, we must discuss the subject again when we meet. For the time being do not write anything for publication. Do return if you can with Dinshaw and we shall discuss many things.” 9

 

References:

 

  1. LETTER TO JEHANGIR PATEL, January 20, 1945
  2. LETTER TO JEHANGIR PATEL, June 7, 1945
  3.   LETTER TO JEHANGIR PATEL, October 24, 1945
  4. LETTER TO JEHANGIR P. PATEL, November 27, 1945
  5.   LETTER TO JEHANGIR PATEL, August 8, 1946
  6. LETTER TO JEHANGIR PATEL, August 17, 1946
  7. LETTER TO JEHANGIR PATEL, August 30, 1946
  8. LETTER TO JEHANGIR PATEL, September 13, 1946
  9. LETTER TO JEHANGIR PATEL, November 12, 1947

 

 

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