DOI:

https://doi.org/10.22455/2541-8297-2022-25-252-306

EDN:

https://elibrary.ru/FGCNIJ

Issue:

2022 №25

Author: Sergei D. Serebriany
УДК / UDK: 821.161.1.0
About the author:

Sergei D. Serebriany — DSc in Philosophy, Sergei D. Serebriany — DSc in Philosophy,PhD in Philology; E.M. Meletinsky Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, Russian State University for the Humanities, Miusskaya sqr. 6, 125047 Moscow, Russia.

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Abstract:

One of the most often evoked episodes of 20th century Russian-Indian interrelations is a short correspondence between Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869 –1948) and Leo Tolstoy (1828 –1910). The correspondence lasted from October of 1909 up to November of 1910, that is during the very last year of Tolstoy’s life. The “corpus” of this correspondence consists of seven letters: four from Gandhi to Tolstoy and three from Tolstoy to Gandhi. Those letters have been published more than once and translated into various languages. But the circumstances of this correspondence, the history of its study, and the contents of the letters themselves — all this has been researched rather little. This paper is a preliminary study of several friends and associates of Gandhi during his stay in South Africa (1893 –1914). Those people were connected, one way or another, with the correspondence between Gandhi and Tolstoy.

Here are their names:

1. Joseph John Doke (1861 –1913), a Baptist priest; he wrote the first biography of Gandhi;

2. Henry Solomon Leon Polak (1882 –1959), a journalist; Gandhi called him “a blood brother;”

3. Pranjivandas Jagjivandas Mehta (1864 –1932), a commersant; he financed a number of Gandhi's “projects;”

4. Louis (or Lewis) Walter Ritch (1868 –1952), a businessman; he corresponded with Leo Tolstoy before Gandhi;

5. Hermann Haim Kallenbach (1871 –1945), an architect; he built a house for Gandhi in Johannesburg;

6. Sonja (Sophia) Schlesin (1888 –1956), Gandhi's secretary and, sometimes, deputy; in his letters Gandhi addressed her as “my dear daughter;”

7. Pauline Podlashuk (1881 –1971), an immigrant from Lithuania; in 1910, she translated for Gandhi from Russian into English the last letter of Tolstoy.

The personalities and legacies of these people, including their more or less voluminous correspondences with Gandhi, have been studied rather little. In this paper, problematic issues are defined and perspectives of further research are suggested.

Keywords: Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, correspondence, Russia, India, South Africa, Lithuania, nonviolence, “The Kingdom of God is within you”.
For citation:

Serebriany, S.D. “The Correspondence between L.N. Tolstoy and M.K. Gandhi. A Famous, but Under-researched Episode of Russian-Indian Cultural Interrelaions.” Literaturnyi fakt, no. 3 (25), 2022, pp. 252 –306. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.22455/2541-8297-2022-25-252-306

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