King replies to an 11 May letter from Mohandas Gandhi's third son, whom he had met in India. Gandhi had sent King biographical information on his father's personal secretary Mahadev Desai and reported losing a memo book containing autographs from King and his traveling party.1
Mr. Ramdas M. Gandhi
Dist. Vardha, INDIA
Dear Mr. Gandhi:
I am very sorry that I am just getting to the point of answering your letter of several weeks ago. Absence from the city and many other pressing responsibilities account for the delay. I hope you will accept my apologies.
It was certainly a rich experience to meet you in India. Since I did not have the opportunity to meet your great and immortal father, I considered it something of a blessing to be able to meet one so close to him in blood and kinship.2 My trip to India was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. I came back with a new love and affection for the Indian people. I will never forget the warm hospitality extended to Mrs. King and me during our visit there. I am more convinced than ever before that nonviolence resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in our struggle for freedom and human dignity.
Enclosed you will find three cards with the autographs of me, Mrs. King, and Dr. Reddick. I am very sorry that your memo pocket diary was misplaced.
Please extend our best regards to all of our friends in your area. Tell them that we long to see them again. We hope that it will be possible to come back to India in the not-too-distant future.
With warm personal regards.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
1. Mahadev Desai worked with Gandhi for over twenty years and translated several of Gandhi's writings into English. Desai died in the Aga Khan Palace jail in August 1942, a few days after being arrested by the colonial government for his political activities.
2. Ramdas Mohandas Gandhi (1897-1969), born in Johannesburg, was imprisoned in South Africa at the age of fourteen for his political activity. He later moved to India and became involved in the independence movement; he was arrested in Champaran during his father's first protest campaign in India. For a time, Ramdas Gandhi served as the editor of the weekly Navjivan newspaper, founded by his father in 1919, and managed the ashram at Bardoli, established by Indian independence leader Sardar Patel.
MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Boston University, Boston, Mass.