ALS signed “M. K. Gandhi,” one page, 4 x 6.5, October 9, 1932. In full: "Dear friends, I thank you for your letter of sympathy. The funds can be sent to the anti untouchability assn formed under the chairmanship by Sjt. G. D. Birla for the furtherance of its subjects." Beautifully mounted, double-matted, and framed to an overall size of 16.25 x 19.25. In fine condition, with intersecting folds and a tiny hole to the upper left blank area.
In 1932, Gandhi founded the All India Anti Untouchability League—now known as Harijan Sevak Sangh ('Servants of Untouchables Society')—as part of his efforts to eradicate the concept of 'untouchability' from India's caste system. He put his close friend, the pioneering industrialist Ghanshyam Das Birla, in charge of the organization. The group's noble efforts have helped the depressed classes to access public places such as temples, schools, roads, and water resources that were previously available only to those of privilege. A superb letter pertaining to one of the overlooked aspects of Gandhi's activism.
The letter was written from Yeravda Central Prison, where Gandhi was imprisoned after beginning a new satyagraha in January 1932. While in prison, the British government enacted a new law that granted untouchables a separate electorate. In response Gandhi and associates formed the All-India Anti-Untouchability League and shortly thereafter he began a protest fast-unto-death (started just weeks before this letter was written), while he was held in prison. The resulting public outcry forced the government, in consultations with Ambedkar, to replace the Communal Award with a compromise Poona Pact. Gandhi said of the fast: 'My politics are derived from my religion, If God has ordained death by starvation, I know that it will set the last seal on my political leadership. Nationalism will be the stronger for sacrificial death. The vast majority of the Indian community has instinctively recognized the correctness and implications of this fast.'
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.