A Guide to Health/Translator's Note

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In these days when the name of Mahatma Gandhi is identified with the momentous question of Non-Co-operation, it may come with a shock of surprise to most readers to be told that he is something of an authority on matters of Health and Disease as well. Very few of us perhaps are aware that he is the author of quite an original little Health-book in Gujarati. Those who think of him as a dreamy idealist or an unpractical visionary, with his head always in the clouds, will certainly be undeceived when they read this book replete from cover to cover with practical observations on the most practical question of Health. His views are of course radically different from the ordinary views that find expression in the pages of such books; in many cases, indeed, his doctrines must be pronounced revolutionary, and will doubtless be regarded by a certain class of readers as wholly impracticable. Even the most revolutionary of his doctrines, however, are based, not on the shifting quicksands of mere theory, but on the solid foundation of deep study, backed up by personal, experience of nearly thirty years. He himself recognises that many of his views will hardly be accepted by the ordinary reader, but he has felt himself impelled by a stern sense of duty to give publicity to his convictions formed after so much of study and experience. Some at least however, of those who read his book cannot help being profoundly influenced by it. Such, at any rate, has been the case with me; and I have ventured to translate the book into English in the hope that others may also be benefitted likewise.

I should perhaps explain that I am not a student of Gujarati, the language of the original. I have used instead one of the two Hindi versions of the book. I should also point out that I have not attempted a literal or close translation, but only a very free rendering into English. In some cases, whole passages have been omitted; and occasionally only the general sense of a passage has been given. It is hoped, however, that, in no single instance has there been a misinterpretation of the original words.

I am aware that many errors might have crept in, as the translation had to be done in a hurry, and there was hardly anytime for revision. I hope to make a thorough revision of the book, in case a second edition is called for.

National College,


July 1921