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Amrit Kaur (1889–1964), Rajkumari, politician and advocate of women's rights
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Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—Reports on his health and daily routine. Has dined with Amrit Kaur. The mission are convincing many Indians that they mean business (with regard to independence) this time, but the mutual suspicion between Congress and Muslims presents a problem.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
April 5. 46

My dear

I think I have had two letters from you since I wrote last {1}. The lastest† was written Mch 30, 31, from Fways; so that it came in 5 days. I am delighted to hear you are having such glorious weather & are enjoying every minute of it.

Here it grows steadily warmer[,] 101º yesterday & I think even higher today. But I never felt better in my life. The doctor paid me an official visit the other day & gave me a clean bill of health. He said tht blood pressure should be rather below 100 + ones age & I guessed tht mine wd be 160. He took it & found it 150 which he said was just right. I knew it would be so because when I get into bed about midnight I never get out at all & sleep right through till about 6.45 when I get up. After exercises & bath I go out at 7.30 to walk to the Viceroys Garden. The flox† & stocks & other stalk-flowers are running to seed & the big shrubs including the red bougeinvillea & the blue Petria† are fading. But the big trees outside (? Jackoranda†) with blue flowers, & others with red & yellow are just coming out. I get back to breakfast at 8 on the verandah. I start with fruit—mangoes, papaya, banana, apple, then cornflakes with stewed fruit & raisins, then 2 weeny bits of toast with butter & jam. Then I walk to my office on the other side of the Viceroy’s house getting there about 9 o’c. I drive home to lunch about 1.15. I sleep a little & drive back about 3.15 & walk home about 7. Dinner is at 8 & generally political talks with Indians afterwards. Amrit Kaur came last night & said she had a lovely letter from you to which she was replying {2}.

We are [making] good progress with our programme of interviewing people but that of course is quite a different matter from saying tht we are making political progress. One thing is making progress, I think we are convincing most of the Congress & a large part of the press & some of the Moslems tht we mean business this time. But how to abate the mutual suspicion between Congress & Moslems is the question.

All my love
Boy

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There are a few characteristically abbreviated words, including ‘tht’ for ‘that’.

{1} These letters do not survive.

{2} Amrit Kaur’s letter is PETH 1/33.

† Sic.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—The mission’s statement has been published. Discusses the likely date of his return home. Has discussed his theory of the equilibrium of good and evil with an Indian Christian.

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Transcript

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
June 17. 46

Dearest

With publication of our statement of yesterday the political barometer has risen somewhat but at any moment may go down again.

If, mirabile dictu, we were to get unqualified agreement by both parties we might be wending our way home by the time this letter reaches you & if so you will have been already told by the I B O. If you have not so heard you must take it either tht they are still haggling about it or tht one or other of the parties has turned either the long term or the short term scheme definitely down.

I hope tht in any case we may not have to stay here many days longer. But if necessary we may have to do so.

Poor Albert (Alexander), who incidentally has been slightly indisposed, especially wanted to be back on 23rd but his chance of doing so seems rather slender at the moment if he is to stay here to see the job through.
It is getting damp & sticky & the monsoon may break before we leave. The swimming pool is full of hot water & it is not easy to swim in it.

I went for a walk with Amrit Kaur this morning before breakfast. She talked shop most of the time but said at the end tht she didn’t see why I should not be able to get off home quite soon—which seemed to me encouraging both on public & private grounds.

I was pleased to know tht you seem to have entered on a period of better weather.

I met an Indian yesterday & talked to him about my idea of the equilibrium of good & evil. He said he had not heard it put like tht before. But he said he was a Christian. {1}

Dear love & kisses to my darling
Boy.

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The abbreviation ‘tht’ for ‘that’ occurs a few times.

{1} This paragraph is written in the left-hand margin; the succeeding words are in the right. It is unclear which was written first.

Extracts from letters from Rajkumari Amrit Kaur to Carl Heath and Agatha Harrison

(To Carl Heath:) Gandhi is distressed by the proposed division of India, but is determined to make the operation as free from bitterness as possible.

(To Agatha Harrison:) Gandhi has not been able to persuade Jinnah to discuss the question of frontiers with the Congress Ministry, in order to avoid a referendum. He may go to Kashmir. ‘Otherwise Bihar and Noakhali hold his heart and mind.’

(Carbon copy of typed extracts.)

Copy of a letter from M. K. Gandhi to Sir Stafford Cripps

Camp: Gauhati (‘as from’ Sevagram, Via Wardha).—Acknowledges the receipt of his letter, and expresses the hope that ‘this time there is determination to do the right thing in terms of Indian thought’.

(Typed transcript.)

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Transcript

As from Sevagram, | Via Wardha (India)

Camp: Gauhati,
12th January, 1946.

Dear Friend,

I was delighted to receive your letter of 19th December ’45. As I am touring Bengal and Assam, your kind greetings were received only yesterday. The Rajkumari {1} had described her talks with you and told me how affectionate you were towards me. I am hoping that this time there is determination to do the right thing in terms of Indian thought. I well remember what King Edward had said about right dealing. I was then in South Africa. The question was of interpreting the treaty between the British and the Boers, and the King had gently insisted on the Boer interpretation being accepted in preference to the British. How I wish that the admirable canon be repeated this time.

I hope with you that this New Year will bring to the thirsting earth the much needed shower of peace and goodwill for which the “Prince of Peace” lived and died.

Yours sincerely,
(sgd) M. K. GANDHI

Sir R. Stafford Cripps,
Board of Trade,
Millbank,
London, S.W.1.

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{1} Amrit Kaur.