ALS in Hindi, signed “Bapu,” both sides of a 5.5 x 3.5 postcard, postmarked October 22, 1945. Letter to Shri R. Achuthan, a freedom fighter, student revolutionary, and later a member of the first parliament of free India. In full (translated): “I have written a lot about constructive work. Now read it again and again. Do not listen to commentary by others. If you do, you must have the strength to answer back. Till what extent can I answer people? Students must have the strength not to listen to such talk and to answer back.” A central vertical crease and a few small stains, otherwise fine condition.
Shri R. Achutan was the general secretary of the Madras students who was imprisoned in 1941 after speaking out against ‘police terrorism,’ and became one of Gandhi’s followers and correspondents during his time in prison. In 1944, he became co-founder of the Indian Students’ Congress, which seems to be what Gandhi is advising him about in this letter, encouraging him to ignore harsh criticism, and when he can’t ignore it, to have the strength to respond. Gandhi coined the term ‘Constructive Program’ to describe one of the two branches of his satyagraha—the other branch, which is sometimes referred to as the ‘Obstructive Program,’ is his well-known philosophy of nonviolent disobedience. His ‘constructive’ method involved overcoming struggle through community and self-improvement by building structures, systems, processes, and resources that serve as alternatives to oppression. A truly extraordinary letter touching upon a key aspect of the satyagraha philosophy that Gandhi became known for around the world. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.
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