Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Literature for the Millions

Literature for the Millions

I may fight the British rule, but I do not hate the English or their language. In fact, I appreciate their literary treasures. And Dean Farar’s book on the life of Christ is one of the treasures of the English language. You know how he labored to produce that book? He read everything about Jesus in the English language, and then he went to Palestine, saw every place and spot in the Bible that he could identify, and then wrote the book in faith and prayer, for the masses of England, in a language all of them could understand.

Have we men like Farar who will produce great literature for the village folk? I have hundreds of such folk for whom I want real life-giving literature. I want literature that can speak to the millions. We have neglected the village folk though we depend on them entirely for our food. We have never thought of their needs.

There is no good book in French or German but is translated into English within a short time of its publication. Even its own classics are made available to the average reader, even to the children, in convenient abridged sizes and at the cheapest prices. Have we anything like it? The field is vast and unexplored, and I want our litterateurs to explore it. I want them to go to the villages, feel the pulse of the people, examine their needs and supply what they want.

M.K. GANDHI

[Condensed by Mahendra Meghani from the weekly ‘Harijan’: November 14 and 21, 1936]

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I have taken up journalism merely as an aid to what I have conceived to be my mission in life. My mission is to teach the use of the matchless weapon of satyagraha. Therefore I may not write in anger or malice. I may not write merely to excite passion. The reader can have no idea of the restraint I have to exercise in the choice of topics and my vocabulary. Often my vanity dictates a smart expression or my anger a harsh adjective. It is a terrible ordeal to remove these weeds. The reader sees the pages of ‘Young India’ fairly well dressed up. Well, let the world understand that the fineness is carefully and prayerfully cultivated.

M.K. GANDHI

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