Letter to Leo Tolstoy (10-11-1909)

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Volume X by Mohandas K. Gandhi

Letter to Leo Tolstoy (10-11-1909)

August 1909 – March 1910.

Westminster Palace Hotel
4, Victoria Street,

Dear Sir:
I beg to tender my thanks for your registered letter in connection with the letter addressed to a Hindu, and with the matters that I dealt with in my letter to you.
Having heard about your failing health I refrained in order to save you the trouble, from sending an acknowledgment, knowing that a written expression of my thanks was a superfluous formality, but Mr. Aylmer Maude, whom I have now been able to meet reassured me that you were keeping very good health indeed and that unfailingly and regularly attended to your correspondence every morning. It was very gladsome news to me, and it encourages me to write to you further about matters which are, I know, of the greatest importance according to your teaching.
I beg to send you herewith a copy of a book written by a friend - an Englishman, who is at present in South Africa, in connection with my life, insofar as it has a bearing on the struggle with which I am so connected, and to which my life is dedicated. As I am very anxious to engage your active interest and sympathy I thought that it would not be considered by you as out of the way for me to send you the book.
In my opinion, this struggle of the Indians in the Transvaal is the greatest of modern times, inasmuch as it has been idealised both as to the goal as also the methods adopted to reach the goal. I am not aware of a struggle, in which the participators are not to derive any personal advantage at the end of it, and in which 50 % of the persons affected have undergone great suffering and trial for the sake of a principle. It has not been possible for me to advertise the struggle as much as I should like. You command, possibly, the widest public today. If you are satisfied as to the facts you will find set forth in Mr. Doke's book, and if you consider that the conclusions I have arrived at are justified by the facts, may I ask you to use your influence in any manner you think fit to popularise the movement? If it succeeds, it will be not only a triumph of religion, love and truth over irreligion, hatred and falsehood, but it is highly lilely to serve as an example to the millions in India and to people in other parts of the world who may be down-trodden, and will certainly go a great way towards breaking up the party of violence, at least in India. If we hold out to the end, as I think we would, I entertain not the slightest doubt as to the ultimate success; and your encouragement in the way suggested by you can only strengthen us in our resolve.
The negociations [sic] that were going on for a settlement of the question have practically fallen through, and together with my colleague I return to South Africa this week, and invite imprisonment. I may add that my son has happily joined me in this struggle, and is now undergoing imprisonment with hard labour for six months. This is his fourth imprisonment in the course of the struggle.
If you would be so good as to reply to this letter, may I ask you to address your reply to me at Johannesburg, S.A. Box 6522.
Hoping that this will find you in good health, I remain

Your obedient servant,

M K Gandhi

This work by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before 1928. It has been in the public domain in India, its source country, since 1 January 2009, 60 years after Gandhi's death in 1948, pursuant to s. 22, Copyright Act, 1957 of India.

The longest-living author of this work died in 1948, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 74 years or less. This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.