विठ्ठ्ल रामजी शिंदे व महात्मा गांधी

[विठ्ठल रामजी शिंदे आणि महात्मा मोहनदास करमचद गांधी ह्यांनी परस्परांस लिहिलेली पत्रे खाली दिली आहेत. त्यांतील विषय ‘अस्पृश्योद्धाराचा कार्यक्रम व तो पार पाडण्याची पद्धती’ हा प्रामुख्याने आहे. शिंदे ह्यांनी त्या संबंधीच्या आपल्या विचाराचे एक टिपण गांधीजींना पाठविले होते. त्या टिपणावरून झालेला हा पत्रव्यवहार आहे..........संपादक]

Poona, 25-11-1924

My dear mahatmaji,

Mr. patade who saw you in the All Party Conference, tells me that the very brief note I sent to you through him, was described by you as too bad. I was painfully surprised to hear this message from a good and frank soul as yourself. It was not at all a personal note to you. It was an official note from a very humble servant of the Depressed as myself to an almost divinely inspired leader of India as you are. The views and fears I expressed in my note wre generally of the depressed classes and specially of this Mission and not particularly my own.

Khadi occupies the first place, Hindu-Mahomedan Unity second and untouchability perhaps third at the highest in your heart. But in mine, it occupies the very first. Certainly I do not presume to compare myself with you. Very likely I may be wrong and you right in practical politics. I wrote that note in great haste yet in loyalty to my heart and had to send it to you as a leader and not as an individual merely.

You know the gulf between professions and practices of the Congress even under you towardsthese unfortunate untouchables, the so-called Hindus! In the Nagpur congress subject committee I took part but to no purpose; of course, I am not a leader. But since then no leader worth mentioning ever found time to look into the grievances of these people except yourself, and Mr. Rajagopalachari. In spite of you, the Satyagriha in Southern India which I have been myself personally studying on the spot is beautifully neglated by our leaders. You could not go to vykome and Pandit Malawiyaji would not go. While Shraddhanandji who met me at Mangalore in perhaps now made to repent for his activities in this unfashionalbe field!

Last eight months I spent in Malabar and South Kananra in quiet work, I am convinced that not only the orthodox but even the most vocal liberals, not even the no-changes, with all their “constructive” premises have any serious thought yet to give to this problem. No organized body. Alien, or Indian, in yet prepared to give to the Depressed Classes any recognition as a political asset at all.

Mr. Patade reports that he approached about a dozen highest All-India leaders who were last week in Bombay, but they all declined to accept the presidentship of the coming All-India AntiUntouchability Conference in Belgaum. You remember you kindly presided over it at Nagpur. But now after all these years of  sympathetic talk almost everybody secms to be too busy for this “third rate” cause!

At present I don’t want to trouble you with any appeal, except that you should be good enough to let me know at your earliest as to how my note to you was “too bad”. Mr. Patade has already explained to you the differences of this Mission with the Parent Society at Bombay.


If in writing this, I have done anything wrong, I trust you will foregive me in your goodness. I am very happy to hear that you have recovered your health.


Your letter has followed me on my travels. I called your previous letter too bad because it contained a threat. I made the remark as I knew you as a worker in the same fields. You wrong in saying that untouchability occupies the third place in my heart. It occupies an equal place with the rest. You are superior because for you, it is the sole concern.
Yours sincerely,
M. K. Gandhi