Auction Date: 22/05/2014 at 10am
Gandhi three autograph letters signed to his son Harilal dated June 6th, June 19th and June 27th 1935, discussing his situation, his relationships, and his behaviour – saying he has been accused of lying in his behaviour with two named women, adding : ‘ ...please let me have pure truth please tell me if still you are interested in alcohol and debauchery...I wish that you better die rather than resort to alcohol in any manner...’ He further states: ‘you should know that your problem has become much more difficult for me even then our national freedom...’, and elsewhere he makes reference to the fact that Harilal had been accused of rape. The letters are written in Gandhi’s native Gujerati, and are in good condition. Prov: these have come via descent from a branch of Gandhi’s family to the present vendor. As far as we are aware they have never before been seen in public and as such they provide remarkable new information on the troubled relationship Gandhi had with his son. Harilal Gandhi (1888-1948) had wanted to go to England to study to become a barrister, like his father. Gandhi firmly opposed this believing a Western style education would not be helpful in the struggle against British rule over India. This led to Harilal renouncing all family ties in 1911, and his troubled relationship with his father continued throughout his life, as evidenced in these letters. It is said that Harilal appeared at his father’s funeral in such derelict condition that few recognised him. He died from liver disease in a municipal hospital in Mumbai. The troubled relationship he had with his father is the subject of the film and play ‘Gandhi My Father’ released in 2007.