DescriptionGreat Content Autograph Letter Signed by Mohandas Gandhi Written Shortly After Arriving in London to Study Law at the Age of 18 A.L.S. "Mohandas Karamchand Gandi" in the text of the first paragraph, 4 pp., on the recto and verso of a 10" x 8" conjugate leaf, London, <"Friday 5", [October 1888], written in Gujarati to his brother Lakshmidas. He writes, in part: "I happily arrived here on the evening of Saturday, the 29th, with great pleasure...I have written to you about Suez. I have no words to describe Suez. It was worth seeing. The canal is 30 feet wide. There was land on both sides, and the steamer proceeded through the canal very slowly. From there we reached Port Said one day later... It started getting cold after Suez and even more so after Gibraltar; thanks to the grace of God, up to today, I have not needed meat or liquor. Here it is extremely cold, but I do not see any need for hard liquor or meat. Everyone seems to think that during winter...one cannot do without liquor or meat. And for me there is no need for liquor. With full faith in God and strong will, I feel that the cold weather will not affect me... There is a problem about caste distinction, it is true [missing word]. Cooking is problematic. However, if someone does employ a cook, caste differences can be observed with great difficulty. It is very difficult to observe caste differences here just as we do in India. When we leave our country to go abroad, we have to let go of certain differences. And in the same way, if we do have to let go of it here, there is nothing to replace it... How can I praise the city of London... There were gas and electric lights. There were machines to go up and down floors so people did not have to climb steps. How can I express the grandeur..."
After much familial discussion and sacrifice, it was decided that Gandhi would do better to study for a Barrister's title in London. His brother sold off parts of the family land as well as jewels to fund the expenses. At the risk of becoming an outcast after a public decree stating that anyone crossing the seas, and after promising his mother never to touch meat, women, or wine while abroad, the young Gandhi set off for London. This is likely his first letter home upon arrival and captures the wonderment and culture shock he must have experienced. With some toning and paper loss at corners affecting a few words of text; however this letter remains highly desirable providing insight at a critical moment in Gandhi's formative years.
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