SECTION II : Extracts From Letters

[ from Selected Works of Mahatma Gandhi : Vol - 4 ]

Mahatma Gandhi

Selected Works of Mahatma Gandhi
Volume IV

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Publisher's Note



  1. Faith in God
  2. Religions and Scriptures
  3. Value of Prayer
  4. Truth and Non-violence
  5. The Science of Satyagraha
  6. Fasting in Satyagraha
  7. Unto This Last
  8. Khadi and Village Industry
  9. East and West
  10. Hindu-Muslim Unity
  11. Upliftment of Women
  12. The Good of All
  13. India's Freedom
  14. Education
  15. Caste System and Untouchability
  16. Brahmacharya
  17. Fearlessness
  18. Health and Hygene
  19. Self-restraint
  20. Self-development
  21. Selfless Service
  22. Voluntary Poverty

About This Volumes

Selected Works of Mahatma Gandhi

Selected Works of Mahatma Gandhi comprises of Five volumes.

  • Vol-I: Autobiography
  • Vol-II: Satyagraha in South Africa
  • Vol-III: Basic Works
    1. Ethical Religion
    2. Unto This Last
    3. Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule
    4. From Yeravada Mandir
    5. Discourses on the Gita
    6. Constructive Programme
    7. Key to Health
  • Vol-IV: Selected Letters
  • Vol-V: Voice of Truth

This book, Selected Letters, is volume-4.

Written by : M. K. Gandhi
General Editor : Shriman Narayan
Volume Selected Works of Mahatma Gandhi : A set of five books
ISBN: 81-7229-278-3 (set)
Printed and Published by :
Jitendra T. Desai
Navajivan Mudranalaya,
© Navajivan Trust, 1968


Chapter 10: Hindu-Muslim Unity

I consider that God has not created lower forms of animal life for man to use them as he will. Man realizes his highest station not by indulging but by abstinence. I have no right to destroy animal life if I can subsist healthily on vegetable life. I have no right to slaughter all animal life because I find it necessary to slaughter some animal life. Therefore if I can live well on goats, fish and fowl (surely enough in all conscience) it is sin for me to destroy cows for my sustenance. And it was some such argument that decided the rishis of old in regarding the cow as sacred, especially when they found that the cow was the greatest economic asset in national life. And I see nothing wrong, immoral or sinful in offering worship to an animal so serviceable as the cow so long as my worship does not put her on a level with her Creator. I immensely appreciate the idea (so emphasized by Islam that special worship must be reserved for the Creator of us all. But I must not mix up cow-worship and cow-slaughter....
Cow-slaughter is indefensible on moral grounds.

The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi -Vol. XVI, pp. 508-9, 25-1-1920

Personally, after deep thought, I have come to the conclusion that, if there is anything that can serve an effective and visible symbol of the Hindu-Muslim unity, it is the adoption of Charkha and pure Khaddar dress prepared from hand-spun yarn by the rank and file of both the communities. Only universal acceptance of this cult can supply us with a common idea and afford a common basis of action.
The use of Khaddar cannot become universal until both the communities take to it. The universal adop¬tion of Charkha and Khaddar, therefore, would awaken India. It will also be a proof of our capacity to satisfy all our needs. Ever since the commencement of our present struggle, we have been feeling the necessity of boycotting foreign cloth. I venture to suggest that, when Khaddar comes universally in use, the boycott of foreign cloth will automatically follow. Speaking for myself, Charkha and Khaddar have a special religious significance to me because they are a symbol of kinship between the members of both the communities and hunger and disease-stricken poor. It is by virtue of the fact that our movement can today be described as moral and economic as well as political. So long as we cannot achieve this little thing, I feel certain success is impossible. Again, the Khaddar movement can suc¬ceed only when we recognize non-violence as an essential condition for the attainment of Swaraj and Khilafat both. Therefore, the Khaddar programme is the only effective and successful programme that I can place before the country at present.

The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi -Vol. XXIII, p. 92, 12-3-1922

Cow-protection to me is infinitely more than mere protection of the cow. The cow is merely a type for all that lives. Cow protection means protection of the weak, the helpless, the dumb and the deaf. Man becomes then not the lord and master of all creation but he is its servant. The cow to me is a sermon on pity. As yet we are merely playing at cow protection. But we shall soon have to grapple with the reality.

A Bunch of Old Letters, p. 43, 25-4-1925

Hindus and Muslims are going more and more away from each other. But this thing does not disturb me. Somehow or other, I feel that the separation is growing in order only to bring them all closer later on.

A Bunch of Old Letters, p. 47, 23-4-1926