December 25, 1946
Your letter to Pyarelal reached me direct yesterday. Pyarelal and all the rest are engrossed in their own work and are staking their lives.... So Pyarelal does not know about this letter. He comes to see me occasionally and will read it when he comes here next.
I am dictating this at 3 a.m. I shall have a wash at 4 a.m. and prayers after that. This is the present routine. I shall carry on only if such is God's will. However there is nothing in my health which should make you anxious. The body responds to the demands made upon it, but it is a real ordeal for me. My truth and non-violence are being weighed in a balance which is much more accurate than any a pearl merchant ever used. It is so sensitive as to register the difference of even the hundredth fraction of a hair. They in themselves can never be found wanting. If anything is to be found wanting, it may be I who have constituted myself their representative; if so, I at least hope that God will take me away and work through some other worthier agent. I am sorry that I cannot myself do the work which Pyarelal used to do for me and I have not yet been able to prepare the two men who are with me to do it. But both are intelligent. I therefore hope to be able to arrange it. In this your letter will afford me encouragement. Jaisukhlal left Manu at her own wish three or four days ago. I allowed her to come, as she was prepared to stay and die with me if necessary. And now I am dictating this to her, lying down with my eyes closed so as to reduce my exertion to the minimum. Sucheta [Kripalani] is also in this room. She is still asleep....
The telegram you sent me is fit only to be thrown into the waste-paper basket. There is no limit to exaggeration here. Not that the people exaggerate intentionally; they simply do not know what exaggeration means. The imagination of the people runs riot like the local vegetation which presses in on all sides. All around us I find huge coconut and betelnut palms, and a large variety of greens grow in their shade. The rivers are all like the Sindhu, the Ganga, the Yamuna and the Brahmaputra. These empty their waters in the Bay of Bengal. My advice is that if you have not replied to him already you should ask the man who sent the telegram to you to furnish proof for his statements so that "the Central Government may try to do something about it, though they have no power to interfere in terms of the Constitution". And add: "Gandhi is there in your midst and it is impossible that he would not hear you. But he is an apostle of truth and non-violence and therefore there is a possibility of his disappointing you. But if he disappoints you, how can we, who were trained under him, hope to satisfy you? But we shall do what we can." Don't tell anyone that since Gandhi is there, he need not bring his problems to you. Let him write to you as well, and it would be your duty to afford relief to him even by going against me, for that is what I have taught you. The situation is difficult. Truth is nowhere to be found. Violence masquerades as non-violence, irreligion as religion. But truth and non-violence can be tested only in such conditions, I know; that is why I am here. Do not call me away. If I ran away in fear, that would be my own misfortune; but India is certainly not so unlucky. I am here to do or die. News came over the radio yesterday that Jawaharlal, Kripalani and Deo were coming to have consultations with me. That is enough.
What is the use of my meeting every one? However, if any one among you wants to ask me anything, he can.
What I wrote about Assam was not meant for immediate publication. But rest assured that I am right on that point.
You will have seen the report of the Bihar [Muslim] League. I wrote to Rajendrababu about it and have asked him to acquaint all of you with my views. I have also written to the Bihar Chief Minister. Even if half of what the report says is correct, it is bad business. I have no doubt that an impartial commission of inquiry with which no one can find any fault ought to be set up without a single day's delay. Whatever is correct in the allegations must be admitted straightaway and the rest should be referred to the commission. You should also discuss this with your Muslim League colleagues in the Cabinet. I am still in correspondence with Suhrawardy. When it is completed I shall send it all to you. Jawaharlal will see what has passed between us so far.
If you are not doing it already, please read the summary of my post-prayer speeches which is sent to the newspapers. Or go through the cuttings which Mani could give you. I know the high pressure under which you are working, but some things have to be done in spite of this pressure. To keep abreast of what I am saying is one of them.
I do not think I can hope that your health is excel¬lent, but trust that it is good enough for you to work. I think it can be very much improved. I would still ask you to call Dinshah [Mehta] in for treatment. I have no doubt that he is a good and sincere man with a benevolent outlook on life. What if he is not so efficient? You ask about Sushila. I cannot say she is in good health. She is at her post in inhospitable villages and is doing good work. Even a quack is a rarity in these parts; so naturally the people make much of someone like her. Therefore do not be anxious about any of us here. And when every one of them is here to die, their falling ill should not be of great concern. If they die, it would be a master for con¬gratulation. For this they have to die in purity.
SARDAR VALLABHBHAI PATEL,
AURANGZEB ROAD, NEW DELHI
Letters to Sardar Vallobhbhai Patel , pp. 201-204