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Durable Link to this BlogSunday, March 21, 2010

Gandhiji and Letter-writing

Gandhiji wrote letters to all who responded and replied himself in his own handwriting difficult to decipher at times. Some letters needed copying. Dr. Susheela Nayar or Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur did that job.

Letter-writing occupied most of his time and at times he had pain in the right hand. If tired of sitting and writing, he used to standup and write. In Belgaum Congress Session in his ""Khadi Palace"" (Tent of Hand woven cloth) he had a small sloping desk kept on a table. It was for writing, while standing. He was president of that session with busy schedule. Still he found time for writing. At times he wrote by left hand as well. The letters by both hands looked same.

His letter-writing was an art. He used to cut out neatly the blank part of the letters he received, for writing himself. Used pins were carefully stored. Envelopes were turned and reused. The letters received by him crossed a thousand at times. These were of varied nature. Several sought his advice in social service, education, upliftment of Harijans, many on political matters, some on observing celibacy, a few on spiritual matters. He tried to send replies to one and all. Even a short letter of few lines conveyed the much saught affection, intimacy and care. Letters on everyday affairs had their tinge of love and at times humor.

Due to his strict discipline, his body had become like a machine. It yielded to his will (Whim?)

"This human body full of faults has one virtue. It behaves in the way one likes it to behave" -- says a subhashita.

Gandhiji had molded his body and its limbs in such a way that it had rare power, to work as he demanded. He used to have a nap while reading hundreds of letters and telegrams.

(Siddavanahalli Krishnasharma on Gandhiji)

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Jyotsna Kamat

Jyotsna Kamat Ph.D. lives in Bangalore.


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