August 24, 1924
MY DEAR RAJGOPALACHARI,
Mahadev has shown me your letter to him. You must not despond. For Mrs Naidu to say that I am despondent is a libel. It is true that I am groping. There are things about which I give no clear-cut decisions. But that is to admit that we are voyaging in uncertain waters.
Remember we are Satyagrahis. Let me apply to the situation the law of the family. Assume that two brothers are quarrelling over the inheritance. Both want to use it for the good of the family. One at least knows he does not need it to serve the family. The majority of the clan would have him to cling to the inheritance. But is it not the duty of the Satyagrahi brother to forgo the inheritance and avoid a quarrel and consequent waste of time and energy? Is the case any different here? However, I am acting cautiously. All I am trying to do is to avoid an unseemly wrangle. I will take up the Presidentship2, if I find that it will serve the country. There is plenty of time to decide. The returns of spinning are proving most instructive. Is it much use my presiding if the returns remain as poor as they are? Will it not then be better to retire from the Congress and have a rigid programme and a membership that is honest and willing? Is it any use having a vote for the wheel from persons clad in foreign stuff? And think of the exploitation of the simple folk for capturing the Congress! Will the so-called No-changers remain strictly honest? Picture to yourself the whole working. If we cannot retain the Congress without this tug of war, we must willingly surrender it. I have thought deeply over your letters but feel sure that I must retire from any such contest. But for the present I am simply watching. Am waiting for Motilalji's answer.
Now for Malabar. I have applications from many sources. What would you have me to do? I was thinking of sending someone to make special report in collaboration with you. But as nothing has yet been done I would like your suggestions. Plenty of clothing has been collected. Please guide me about its disposal too.
I have not been able to make much headway in Delhi. There is still some prospect of a settlement. But the thing is very delicate.
Yes, your guess is correct. The fair friend is Sarladevi.3 She wants to bombard me with more stuff but I have refused to give further accommodation. There are some beautiful letters from Brahmins in repudiation. I have published one.
M. K. G.
Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. XXV, pp. 36-37