|Saturday, May 24, 2003||
IT would, of course, not come as a surprise to anyone that Mahatma Gandhi regularly wrote to and receives letters from many important people of his day. But how many know that he also wrote regularly — sometimes even twice a week — to a beautiful princess, using different pseudonyms such as "Idiot", "Rebel" and "Untouchable" to address her and signing himself as "Tyrant", "Robber" and "Warrior" etc?
between Mahatma Gandhi and the "Idiot" would have remained
undiscovered and passed into oblivion, had the lady to whom the
letters were addressed not handed them over to a publisher who brought
out them in the form of a book, which is now unavailable and out of
print. The question why no letters of this lady were found in Gandhi’s
papers after his death is answered in two letters (numbered 96 and
101), which Gandhi wrote saying that as desired by her, he had
destroyed the letters she wrote to him. To bolster credibility, letter
number 105, which was addressed to "Idiot" and signed
"Tyrant" after cutting out "Bapu", has been
produced in Bapu’s own handwriting. What is still not clear is
whether the lady in question also addressed Bapu as
"Tyrant", "Warrior" etc, in the letters she wrote
to him because, as said earlier, these letters were destroyed.
So who was this mysterious lady Gandhi wrote to? She was Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur of the House of Kapurthala. Now, it is obvious that she was neither an idiot nor untouchable, but she may have rebelled against some of Gandhi’s personal fads. She was well-educated, a linguist of sorts, as she could read, write and speak Punjabi, Hindi, Gujarati, English and French with equal ease. She had surprised the French by speaking extempore in French at an official conference in Paris as Union Minister of Health and Family Planning in Nehru’s cabinet.
These letters have been culled form Letters to Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur, which was published a long time back by Navjivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad.
Yours is a departure from the orthodox routine. You may not therefore resent the criticism of the family. You will justify your rebellion only by your large-hearted charity, ever increasing inner joy, equableness and possession of good health. Rebellions can only be justified by success. If you will therefore be patient and wise in your changes, all will be well.
Please give my love to Tai, if she is still there.
You need not now give me daily letters if you are pressed for time or too lazy to write. Writing to me must be no tax on your mind or body.
Cartloads of love,
Surely it is ‘idiotic’ to pass summer in Simla merely because you possess a house there. You ought to select another summer resort where you can really recoup yourself.
Remember one of the attributes of non-violence. It seldom speaks, it simply and silently acts. It appeals not to the intellect, it pierces the heart. The more it speaks and argues, the less effective it becomes. Therefore do not hesitate to let your case be lost by default. Apparent defeat may be the hour of victory. Speech is often a sign of weakness.
You will please give a trial to meat if S. says it is necessary. Your vegetarianism will be on surer ground for your yielding now, if yielding becomes a duty.
Do you know anything about two Englishmen stealthily removing the Congress flag flying over the Khadi Depot of Simla?`85Did I tell you I had a very good Gujarati translation with notes of Japji together with the original text. It is a shame if there is no such thing in Hindi. But you won’t make a search now. The Gujarati translation meets my wants entirely.
My dear Idiot,