Do as Mridulabehn says. I do not need [anyone knowing] English. One should know well the Devanagari and Urdu scripts and Hindi as well as Urdu. It is essential that one should be [aware]1 of the potency of the charkha and the handloom and should also know Bengali and Sanskrit well. My handwriting has come out badly due to haste.
I was delighted to receive your letter. Indeed I did not know you were alive. But then there is saying that God keeps those whom he wants to keep even through most stormy weather.
The news you heard that I was going to the Frontier was wholly wrong. But where I am is worse than the Frontier. And yet one rarely knows what is good for us and what is bad. Therefore if we knowingly put ourselves in the hands of Almighty, whatever happens must be deemed good. And I try literally to follow that precept.
ON THE FACTS BEFORE ME YOUR FAST IS WHOLLY WRONG. PANDHARPUR MANDIR WILL BE OPENED SHORTLY TO HARIJANS. YOUR COURAGE AND GREATNESS SHOULD DISDAIN TAUNTS OF MEN HOWEVER GREAT OR MANY. PLEASE STOP THE FAST AND WIRE.3
AND SHANKERRAO7. I AM QUITE CLEAR THE FAST IS WHOLLY INDEFENSIBLE. PLEASE DISSUADE SANE GURUJI AND WIRE.8
4President, Maharashtra Harijan Sevak Sangh, Pandharpur
5Vide the preceding item.
6 B. G. Kher, Chief Minister of Bombay
7 Shankerrao Deo
8Videalso \u201cTelegram to G. V. Mavalankar\u201d, 7-5-1947.
It is only twenty days since I had left Delhi. But even as I went I had a feeling that I might have to return soon. But my place was then in Bihar and Noakhali and I could not stay back even for a fortnight. That was why I went to Bihar. I had told you that I was Jawaharlal\u2019s prisoner and would return whenever he sent for me. I have come back as soon as I received the summons from him and Kripalani.
You will be happy to learn that when I went to Bihar people left me in peace. They did not bother me on my way. I slept in peace, I was not tired and could even do some work. But that was not the case on my return journey. People created noisy scenes at every place. It did not occur to them that an old, infirm man like me should be left in peace, and his sleep should not be disturbed. Today I felt exhausted as I was not able to sleep well. Even so, I did work during the day, because it is work that sustains me. I cannot live without work; but I could work very little. What I really cannot stand is shouting by the people and the slogans they raise. Through you I wish to convey to all people that they should not greet me with noise and should not raise slogans. It would be all right if the people gathered at the railway stations if they wished, for, if they came, some collection would be made for the Harijan Fund. But they should not make noise.
I wish to tell you what I did in Bihar. The work done there is considerable. Gen. Shah Nawaz has installed himself in a small place. He is now meeting with success in his work. The Muslims who had fled to Asansol under duress have come back. They had to undergo too many hardships at Asansol. They realized that people could be comfortable only in their own place. Their children had grown so emaciated that their bones were sticking out. They were not looked after in any way there. Now these children are provided with milk. It is impossible to get fresh milk because our cattle have gone dry. Hence, these children are being given powdered milk. Powdered milk does not have the vitamins fresh milk has. But the inherent nutritive property of milk is preserved in powdered milk. After their return from Asansol these children have regained health because of the powdered milk and they have started putting on weight.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?