New Year's Eve 1942
DEAR LORD LINLITHGOW,
This is a very personal letter. Contrary to the biblical injunction I have allowed many suns to set on a quarrel I have harboured against you. But I must not allow the old year to expire without disburdening myself of what is rankling in my breast against you. I have thought we were friends and should still love to think so. However what has happened since August 9 last makes me wonder whether you still regard me as a friend. I have perhaps not come in such close touch with any occupant of your gadi as with you.
Your arrest of me, the communique you issued thereafter, your reply to Rajaji and the reasons given therefore, Mr. Amery's attack on me, and much else I can catalogue go to show that at some stage or other you must have suspected my bona fides. Mention of other Congressmen in the same connection is by the way. I seem to be the fons et origo of all the evil imputed to the Congress. If I have not ceased to be your friend why did you not, before taking drastic action, send for me, tell me of your suspicions and make yourself sure of your facts ? I am quite capable of seeing myself as others see me. But in this case I have failed hopelessly. I find that all the statements made about me in Government quarters in this connection contain palpable departures from truth. I have so much fallen from grace that I could not establish contact with a dying friend. I mean Prof. Bhansali who is fasting in regard to the Chimur affair ! ! !
And I am expected to condemn the so-called vio¬lence of some people reputed to be Congressmen, al¬though I have no data for such condemnation save the heavily censored reports of newspapers. I must own that I thoroughly distrust those reports. I could write much more, but I must not lengthen my tale of woe. I am sure, what I have said is enough to enable you to fill in details.
You know I returned to India from South Africa at the end of 1914 with a mission which came to me in 1906, namely, to spread truth and non-violence among mankind in the place of violence and falsehood in all walks of life. The law of Satyagraha knows no defeat. Prison is one of the many ways of spreading the message. But it has its limits. You have placed me in a palace where every reasonable creature comfort is ensured. I have freely partaken of the latter purely as a matter of duty, never as a pleasure, in the hope that someday those who have the power will realize that they have wronged innocent men. I had given myself six months. The period is drawing to a close. So is my patience. The law of Satyagraha as I know it prescribes a remedy in such moments of trial. In a sentence, it is, 'Crucify the flesh by fasting'. That same law forbids its use except as a last resort. I do not want to use it if I can avoid it.
This is the way to avoid it, convince me of my error or errors, and I shall make ample amends. You can send for me or send someone who knows your mind and can carry conviction. There are many other ways if you have the will. May I expect an early reply ? May the New Year bring peace to us all !
M. K. GANDHI
Gandhiji's Correspondence with the Government—1942-'44, pp. 18-19