Fascinating Gandhi letter to go under hammer

A fascinating letter from Mahatma Gandhi, is expected to fetch an estimated 10,000 pounds at UK`s Bonhams makes reference to his belief in passive resistance and the need for unity between Hindus and Muslims.

Last Updated: Mar 14, 2011, 22:09 PM IST

London: A fascinating letter from Mahatma
Gandhi, is expected to fetch an estimated 10,000 pounds at
UK`s Bonhams makes reference to his belief in passive
resistance and the need for unity between Hindus and Muslims.

"I venture to claim that I have rendered a service of
the highest order by advising the Mohamedans of India to
express their sentiments in a restrained manner and by
advising the Hindus to make common cause with them," Gandhi
wrote in the letter to British journalist Edmund Candler.

Lot 441 in the Papers & Portraits: The Roy Davids
Collection Part II at Bonhams, is a part of Indian history.

The letter was written by Gandhi clearly for
publication on 15th December 1919, and is expected to fetch an
estimated 8,000-10,000 pounds at Bonhams auction on March 29.

And, declaring his `Relentless pursuit of truth`,
Gandhi also explains his attitude towards the British and his
position in relation to the Khilafat question, on Indian
Muslims to support the Khalifah, their spiritual head.

It is written in English in a secretarial hand with a
few minor autograph corrections. The address is 2 Mozang Road,
Lahore. This one of the most important single letters/articles
by Gandhi to come on the market in thirty years and more.

In the words of Gandhi, it "enable me to explain
my position more fully than perhaps it has been by my writings
& speeches` and references to his central concepts of satya
(Truth), ahimsa or Satyagraha (non-violence) and the need for
unity between Hindus and Muslims."

The year 1919/1920 was critical for both Gandhi and
India`s national identity. He took a great step towards
becoming a national communicator and leader through the press
and Congress with a new message and new style.

In 1919 Gandhi still had hope as a `staunch
loyalist`; by 1920 he had become `an uncompromising
disaffectionist and non-co-operator`.

"I do not wish & have never wished to embarrass the
government and I have never worked up an anti-British campaign
for any cause whatsoever. My personal religion would forbid me
to do either the one or the other.

My stubborn opposition to some acts of the British
Government must not be mistaken for unfriendliness.

Such peculiar notions are entertained about
friendliness and loyalty in India that any strong expression
of displeasure in regard to acts of Government passes for
disloyalty."

Commenting on the Khilafat issue Father of the Nation
wrote, "My regard for the claims of the Turk is derived
totally from my regard for my fellow-countrymen the
Mohamedans. I should forfeit the right to call them
fellow-countrymen if I did not feel for them in everything
vitally affecting them provided that the cause was just.

The peace of my country is likely to be placed in
jeopardy not by my earnest effort to guide the Mohamedan
feeling in the right channel but it certainly will be by any
thoughtless or ignorant action of British ministers."

PTI