GANDHI, MOHANDAS

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A one page, typed letter signed, from Yeravda Central Prison, February 10th, 1933. “...Dear Sister, I thank you for your letter. This time, Sir Henry Lawrence was right when he told you that “Abide with me” was one of my favourite hymns. Though I am a devout Hindu, or even because I am a devout Hindu, I have no difficulty in appreciating the devotional hymns of other religions, and having had intimate contact with many Christians I came to appreciate some of the hymns even as a youngster. You will perhaps be glad to know that among them, “Lead Kindly Light” is the most favourite. But there are others also which you do not need to know. As to the fast, let me say that you have been wholly misinformed. My fast was not directed to a political purpose at all. It was a purely spiritual act after the same style as Buddha’s, only upon an infinitely humbler scale. I am sending you a new weekly which is being published this week. In the light of your letter you might find it of some little interest. Yours sincerely, M… Gandhi.”

           In Gandhi’s lifelong quest for equal rights and to end British colonial rule over India, he would be imprisoned many times. His activism took many peaceful forms, and even his time in prison was spent reflectively and productively, as can be seen in this letter. Gandhi showcases his appreciation for other religions and worship, as well as mentions one of his infamous fasts, this one, described as a spiritual cleanse. Gandhi did indeed go on a political fast (“unto death”) while imprisoned during this time, and the resulting public response led to a compromise from the British government regarding representation in the legislature. India would not see full independence until 1947, less than a year before Gandhi’s tragic assassination. A letter of excellent content, and Gandhi letters written in English are scarce.  $11,500.