Selected Letters of Gandhi : Part-2

A collection of Mahatma Gandhi letters.

Chapter-44: Free Will, Village Work

To a worker in villages

What a shame that cow’s milk cannot be had in our villages? If that is so, a worker should carry with him some mavo (dried milk) prepared from cow’s milk, so that he gets from it some butter fat and protein as well. If mavo is crushed into powder and then put into hot water, it will for him be as good as milk. Thus he can maintain himself on rotlo (bread), mavo, onion and tamarind or lemon. He should not have his last meal late at night. He may accept his fellow villagers alms in the shape of rotlo and onion or else cook for himself. No matter where he is, he should if possible boil water before drinking it. Thus no one would feel the worker’s presence in the village as a burden, and nothing special is to be found for him. He should sleep in the open. He may accept a cot if available in order to be safe from snakes and the like. I am laying down all these conditions without any practical experience of living in a village where no one knows me. I am aware that amenities enjoyed by me there would not be available for others. Whatever out of all this is possible and desirable should be practiced, and the rest ignored. I have a full idea of manifold difficulties we are sure to encounter in our attempt to penetrate rural areas. But the attempt must be made all the same. Every worker should have some knowledge of the use of common drugs, and this could easily be acquired.

Recorded under October 24, 1932; ibid., pp. 174-5; translated from the Gujarati.