A journalist and freedom fighter, son of Prithwi Singh Nahar—a noted sadhak, poet, litterateur, disciple of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother—and mother Suhag Kumari; grandson of Puran Chand Nahar—a noted Indologist, scion of the well-known Zamindar family of Nahars of Azimgunj, Murshidabad, West Bengal— Nirmal Singh Nahar (28 July 1922—3 September 2012) belonged to the Swetambar Murtipujak Oswal Jain sect.
Born at Kolkata, educated at Santiniketan from 1929 to 1935 during Rabindranath Tagore’s golden period, Nirmal Singh did his schooling from South Suburban Branch School where he was initiated to the student movement. He raised the national flag in the school building and as a result he was transferred to South Suburban Main School. At the Main School, along with other students, he raised funds for flood relief work and handed over the same to the Congress President, Subhas Chandra Bose, in 1939.
During this period he was initiated to the freedom movement by Phani Majumdar—a Forward Block leader and Lieutenant of Subhas Chandra Bose who later became a minister under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman of Bangladesh.
After the disappearance of Subhas Chandra Bose, Nirmal Singh was directed by Phani Majumdar to go underground to avoid arrest. So he gave up his studies and left for their Zamindari Estate at Dinajpur. There he joined his uncle Bikram Singh Nahar and elder brother Dhir Singh Nahar in starting the Nahar Farm and was entrusted to look after their agricultural farm at Nijpara, Birgunj in Dinajpur district (now in Bangladesh), a remote village 18 miles away from the nearest railway station. He cleared the jungle and bush and started farming after reclaiming 60 acres of land.
In 1943 Nirmal Singh started agricultural farming at Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry under the guidance of the Mother. He was the official referee of football and volleyball at Pondicherry, the capital of French India. In 1947, he joined Reuters Associated Press of India and Press Trust of India as their special correspondent. In 1951, he was declared a persona non grata by the French Indian government and a warrant of arrest was issued for exposing French misrule in India as a journalist, but he was smuggled out of Pondicherry by the then Indian Consul General. On returning to Kolkata he joined a Bengali daily, Jana Sevak, as its chief reporter. After leaving journalism he became a promoter of the Haldia Scooter Project in collaboration with an Italian firm, Armachie Harley-Davidson SPA, in 1964.
Nirmal Singh was an author and contributor of articles in Bengali and English journals on spirituality and economics. His first book Sri Aurobindo and His Birth Place was published in 1990. He also co-edited Sujata Nahar: Loving Homage with Anurag Banerjee.
Nirmal Singh was one of the founder members of Sri Aurobindo Society of West Bengal at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan in Kolkata, nominated by the State Government in 1972. He was also a member of West Bengal State Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Celebration Committee set up by West Bengal State Government in 1971. He was a member of the Governing Council of All India Sri Swetambar Murtipujak Jain Tirth Raksha Trust and Trustee of Murushidabad Sangh Nahar Family Trust, and a Founder-Member of Overman Foundation.
In 1943, under the guidance of the Mother, Nirmal Singh had started agricultural farming at the Cazanove Garden. While he was in charge of Cazanove, he would write and send reports to the Mother regularly about its day-to-day operations. These reports along with the Mother’s replies which have not seen the light of day till date is being published for the first time in the website of Overman Foundation.
The second installment of the Mother’s unpublished correspondence with Nirmal Singh Nahar covers the year 1944. The Mother’s replies are in italics.
To read the first installment of the Mother’s unpublished correspondence with Nirmal Singh which covers the period from 1941 to 1944, kindly click on the following link:
With warm regards,
1 January 1944
I pray to Thee, make me Thy true instrument. Take away all my hate, greed, anger and all bad qualities which are in me.
Make me Thy pure and worthy child.
Mother, O Sweet Mother, I bow to Thee.
My love and blessings. Bonne Année!
4 January 1944
There are ripe coconuts on the trees. I would like to cut them. None of my gardeners is expert in climbing trees, so I would like to engage an outside man. He asks Rs. 0-0-3 per tree for plucking coconuts. I pray for Thy permission.
About a month back I took Thy sanction for 6 baskets for carrying vegetables, etc., from the garden to the ashram. Rs. 2-4-0 was sanctioned at that time. But I would like to buy 12 baskets of that size. The price they are asking is Rs. 0-8-0 per big size basket. I pray for Rs. 3-12-0 more.
I would like to prepare some wooden ploughs. I have some wood with me. Three ploughs can be prepared with the wood at a cost of Rs. 0-12-0 each. I pray for Rs. 2-4-0 for this purpose. I pray for Thy permission.
May I go to see “Thangya Thatti,” a country vegetable garden in the suburbs of the town, with Jalad and Kameshwar next Sunday (Jan. 9, ‘44)? When we go there I would like to buy brinjal plants and also bitter gourd and cucumber seeds for the Dining Room supply. I pray for Thy permission. Once there, we will need 1 anna to cross to the other side of the river by boat. I pray for Thy permission to go there with Jalad and Kameshwar Rao.
I was lending my cart to the Hot Water Service every Thursday to carry fuel and to Atal for his work. After the harvesting and threshing of paddy the cart was engaged in carrying paddy to the granary. So for at least 15 days I was not giving the cart to them. A few days back I informed them that from January 1st I will give it to them regularly.
For now the bullocks are new and young, unaccustomed to any work. The milkman who brought them yesterday told us that these bullocks have walked 300 miles in the last few days. At present the bullocks (new pair) need absolute rest for at least 7 days. Under these circumstances, I pray to know what I should tell Amritada and Atal? I pray to know what arrangements are to be made.
I suppose Jalad will agree to lend his cart once or twice a week until the new bullocks are ready for work.
Yesterday I gave Rs. 0-8-0 for food to the two men who brought the bullocks. I pray for Thy permission.
Today, we gave mild hot water wash to the two bullocks to refresh them.
At present, we are not getting a sufficient quantity of grain from the granary for the bullocks. I pray to know what food I can give all three bullocks.
Dyuman will see with the market what can be found.
I need one mat to put in the cart so that the paint won’t get spoilt quickly.
You can have a mat from Prosperity.
Here Munsiff kept two bags of grain for sowing in the field. I pray to know what is to be done with it.
6 January 1944
The new plough which was bought from Coimbatore is not yet ready. Chandulal says he has no wood to prepare the handle. Moreover he says he is unable to prepare a handle unless I supply the wood. Now I pray to know from where I can take the wood. I don’t speak Tamil well enough nor do I go out to buy things, whereas he has a department for woodwork. I told him repeatedly that I don’t know where to buy the wood and that if he doesn’t supply it I am unable to provide it. At present, I am without a plough for the last 2 months and the work is suffering because of it. January is the month for sowing and transplanting various summer vegetables.
I will speak to Chandulal about it.
We have plucked ripe coconuts from 119 trees for a cost of Rs. 1-13-3. I pray for Thy sanction.
How many coconuts have you plucked? When will you send them here?
For ploughing the fields for sowing green gram tomorrow I would like to engage 5 ploughs. Each plough will work 8 hours and they will charge Rs. 1-0-0 per plough. I pray for 5 ploughs, Rs. 5-0-0. I pray for Thy permission and sanction.
For topdressing of plantains I would like to engage 5 men for 1 day at Rs. 1-6-0 per day. It will cost Rs. 1-14-0. I pray for Thy sanction.
7 January 1944
We have plucked 385 ripe coconuts. Yesterday they had not been counted so I couldn’t write to you. Yesterday evening we sent 40 ripe coconuts by bullock cart. Today also we have sent 40.
A gardener working for us for the last one year is asking for a loan of five rupees. I pray to know what I shall tell him? The loan is for buying clothes. I pray to know.
Tomorrow I would like to engage 12 ploughs for green gram. Twelve ploughs at Rs. 0-12-0 per plough will cost Rs. 9-0-0. I pray for Thy permission.
I pray for Thy permission for hiring 10 men for plantain at Rs. 0-6-0 per head = Rs. 2-12-0.
8 January 1944
As I will have to empty 3 rooms, I will need at least two rooms to keep all the things which are in those 3 rooms. At present we are using them as store rooms; in one room we are keeping all the garden instruments, in another oil cake manure, bone meal, bamboo, ash, charcoal and other manures, and in the third room we are keeping earthen pots, kerosene, husk and grain for bullocks.
Tomorrow I would like to engage 12 ploughs for green gram. It will cost Rs. 9-0-0, each plough being Rs. 0-12-0 per day (8 hours).
Day after tomorrow also I would like to engage 12 ploughs at 0-12-0 per plough. Total labour cost will be Rs. 9-0-0. I pray for Thy sanction.
Tomorrow I would like to engage 10 male labourers for plantain at 0-6-0 per labourer, Rs. 2-12-0.
Day after tomorrow also I would like to engage 10 labourers for plantain at 0-6-0 per labourer, Rs. 2-12-0. I pray for Thy sanction.
One more thing about rooms. At present we are using “Vasantha” for keeping seed pots and for preparing soil for seed pots since we have no other place. For that one floor is to be prepared or else some other arrangements are to be made for seedling pots.
It is to Chandulal that you must explain all that! Blessings.
9 January 1944
I will need green gram seeds. The seed I have now is not sufficient for sowing acres of land. I will need 1 bag (80 kg) of seed. I pray for Thy permission.
I have a bag which I use to bring things from the garden. The bag is old and the cloth is torn. May I give it to Benjamin for repair, he says he can repair it. I pray for Thy permission.
Will we put bells around the necks of the two new bullocks? We don’t have any. I pray to know what is to be done.
11 January 1944
Murgesh has bought a buffalo. He prays for Thy permission to keep it inside the garden.
Why did he buy it without asking permission—I cannot allow it in the garden.
We have cut a completely dead mango tree. I have paid Rs. 5/- to the man hired for cutting. I pray for Thy sanction.
What shall I do with the wood of the mango tree? The wood cannot be used for planks, only as firewood. Those who cut the tree want me to cut it in pieces. There are some pieces which can be used as planks. May I engage men for this purpose? I pray for Thy permission.
It is better if Chandulal sees the wood first before it is cut in planks.
There is another dead mango tree. May we cut it? I pray for Thy permission. There’s not a single green leaf on the tree.
Yes, you can cut it.
I need ropes for bullocks, the stock being almost exhausted. May I ask Dyuman? I pray for Thy permission.
I have 4 pen-knives given by Prosperity last month. If I could have two more it would be useful. I pray for Thy permission.
Due to rains we were unable to plough the fields and to engage labour for planting.
13 January 1944
For weeding the vegetable plot, I would like to engage 10 women tomorrow at 0-5-0 per head for a cost of Rs. 3-2-0. I pray for Thy permission.
If you put women among the vegetables all the vegetables will be gone when they have finished their work.
For ploughing the paddy field for sowing green gram, I would like to hire 12 ploughs at 0-12-0 per plough, that is Rs. 9-0-0.
For topdressing of plantains, I would like to engage 5 men at 0-6-0 per head, that is Rs. 1-14-0.
What on earth, all your usual workers are they doing?
The Bengal variety of paddy is ready. I pray to know to whom it is to be delivered, to Dyuman or to Narayan Prasad? A two acre plot (2a) has given a yield of 45 kg. I pray to know whether I can sow that variety again next season. If it is to be sown, then paddy must be kept for seed. I pray to know how much seed is to be kept.
Send it here so that I may see. Nothing can be decided before trying the rice.
I pray for one sheet of brown paper.
I need a kuja [earthenware jar for water] and an ordinary broom.
Yes. My blessings.
14 January 1944
At present I have 20 workers including men, boys and women. Here is their work routine.
1 man for general work (Murgesh);
2 men for bullocks, cart and plough; I send 2 men with the cart, i.e., one man along with the cart man so that he may learn to drive the cart if the cart man is absent;
1 man for cutting grass for Jalad’s 2 bullocks and our 3 bullocks;
1 man for beans; to fork the soil from time to time, to weed and to collect the many insects in the creepers;
1 man for the special vegetable plot; same work as for beans;
1 man and 1 boy for cauliflower—same work as for beans;
1 man for tomato plants in front of the main garden building (ref.: rough drawing in the garden plan)—same work as for beans;
2 men for tomatoes—specially to look for insects;
1 man for brinjals—specially for insects;
3 men for forking and weeding as far as possible, tomatoes, brinjals and other vegetables, preparing beds for sowing or transplanting seeds or plants;
2 men for flowers—forking and cleaning weeds;
1 boy for domestic work (son of Murgesh);
1 woman for cleaning buildings, roads, collecting leaves, etc. (wife of Murgesh).
1 man is always absent.
= 20 workers
These are the jobs that my regular workers do.
I ask for the sanction of money for labour for topdressing of plantains as per Thy permission on 26 December 1943.
Again I pray for 10 labourers for topdressing of plantains at 0-6-0 per head, that is Rs. 3-12-0.
To date I have taken sanction for 35 labourers for topdressing of plantains.
On 7 and 8 January 1944 I took Thy sanction for 30 labourers for plantains. Then, instead of writing Rs. 3-12-0 each time, I wrote Rs. 2-12-0; therefore I received Rs. 3-0-0 less. I pray for that money also.
The day after tomorrow I would like to engage 10 labourers for plantains at 0-6-0 per head, that is Rs. 3-12-0.
Tomorrow 12 ploughs are needed for green gram. 12 ploughs at 0-12-0 per plough—Rs. 9-0-0.
May I go to see a country vegetable garden with Jalad and Kameshwar Rao. The name of the garden is “Thangya Thatti.” I would like to buy brinjal plants from there. People say that they supply the best local variety seeds and plants. If available, I would also like to buy cucumber and bitter gourd seeds. Jalad says he will buy plants and seeds. We would like to go next Sunday, the 16th Jan., early morning after breakfast.
I will need 2 more sheets of brown paper.
As I can’t attend Tamil class regularly it has become difficult for me to follow the class. Moreover, I don’t have time to devote to Tamil at night because I am tired after the day’s work. I pray to know what I shall do?
16 January 1944
I have prepared one “at a glance” account of Cazanove garden for the year 1943 (from April to December) which I enclose herewith. I hope by your grace we will make at least a profit of Rs. 1,000 this year after recovering the loss of last year (Rs. 1232-12-0).
When will you come and see the garden?
17 January 1944
For cutting one dead mango tree (about which I wrote to you on 11.1.1944), I have given Rs. 5/- to the person who cut it. I pray for the sanction of the money.
For cutting one small dead mango tree (about which I wrote on 11.1.1944) and for cutting the wood into pieces, I have given Rs. 5/- to the woodcutter.
Yesterday I went to “Thangya Thatti” with Jalad and Kameshwar.
19 January 1944
The condition of the bullock is better. The compounder of the Veterinary Hospital came again today. Yesterday the doctor came at 10 o’clock in the morning. At 3 p.m. he sent his compounder for bandaging the left hind leg with some medicine. He came again today at 3 p.m. and opened it for re-bandaging and found that it had improved. Tomorrow the veterinary doctor will come again to see its condition.
Sudhirkanti says that the bullock’s tail is spoilt so I asked the compounder. He says that the tail is perfectly alright.
Today somebody from outside has plucked a bunch of coconuts. We couldn’t catch him.
Whenever any of our usual workers plucks coconuts, how much should I fine them? Yesterday a gardener plucked two coconuts.
Today ploughing and sowing of green gram has been completed.
May I buy 24 seedling earthen pots and 24 pots for growing vegetables for a special experiment. Altogether it will cost Rs. 9/-.
20 January 1944
The veterinary doctor didn’t come today. He told me that he will come tomorrow (21.1.1944).
The stock of groundnut oil cake is finished. The last time we bought was in the month of July ‘43. The quantity was ¼ ton. This oil cake was bought only for vegetables. For paddy 1 ton was bought in September ‘43. I pray to know how much oil cake we can buy for vegetables at present?
What is the price first now?
In the paddy plot green gram was sown before January 10 and it has not germinated well. The germination is not more than 30%.
I heard today that you like soya beans. May I sow it in this plot (about one acre)?
No. I do not like it.
If you permit I can write for seeds. There are four varieties, light yellow, white, green and brown and also mixed seeds are available. The price is As. 10/- per pound for each variety. For one acre 20 lbs of seed is necessary.
It is not necessary to grow soya beans.
Now that we have sown green gram we will need the engine for irrigating if after 10-15 days there is no rain. At present we are watering vegetables with picottah, but it takes too much time. When we water with the pump it takes one day per week, with picottah it takes 5-6 days. As we have started watering with picottah today we will have to work it continuously unless we get showers. Now the summer season is fast approaching we will have to irrigate coconuts and bananas also, but this is not possible with picottah.
The engine is sent for repair just now. When it is ready I hope it will work well.
One man is asking for the coconut skins which we are cutting every day in exchange for 4 big earthen pots (price Rs. 1/- each pot). I pray to know what I shall tell him.
What kind of pots?
May we buy wood ash from outside? They charge Rs. 0-4-0 per cart.
21 January 1944
The pots are the biggest size—1½ ft. in diameter and 1½ ft. deep. The market price is Rs. 2/- each. The man proposes 4 such pots in exchange for the coconut skins that we cut daily. The skins are not in good condition. I don’t think they are usable by the Hot Water Service.
You can give him one or two days’ collection.
I pray to know whether we can buy wood ash or not. It’s available outside at 0-4-0 per cart.
We are not getting a sufficient quantity of grain for the bullocks. I would like to give 1 lb of grain to each bullock per day. Practically, the bullocks are getting nothing except grass. The grain which they get is very nominal.
In Dinajpur we used to give 2 lbs. of grain (edible grain) and 2 lbs. of oil cake with straw and fodder per bullock per day.
Here they graze all day and night and only get grass. So I pray to know what is to be given apart from grass.
You have already put the question and I have already answered. Blessings.
24 January 1944
Yesterday night at about 10.30 p.m., somebody entered the garden and took away dried coconut sticks and leaves. Around 10.30 Murgesh was alarmed by some noise so he called out for me. I was preparing to go to bed at that time. I came out of my room with a torch in my hand and with Murgesh I went to the spot from where the noise came. At first we thought somebody had taken coconuts, but we checked and none were missing. So we looked for some marks and found some over the stairs of the platform at the western side of the garden. Afterwards we noticed that someone had taken dried coconut sticks and leaves from the platform on the western side of the garden. I went to verify again this morning and am sure that someone has taken away dried coconut leaves and sticks, etc.
For the bullock’s treatment we have spent Rs. 6-11-0 on doctor’s fees, compounder’s fees and for removing the iron shoe from the bullock’s affected leg. I pray for Thy sanction.
25 January 1944
Harikant has returned. Thy sanction chit is attached herewith.
Today I met the veterinary doctor since he wanted to tell me the diet for the bullocks. He told me to give one kilo (2 lbs) of green gram mixed with bran and two tablespoons of salt to each bullock. The gram is to be well soaked in water and then mixed as written above. When green gram is unavailable, horse gram can be used instead. Now I pray for Thy permission and sanction for green gram or horse gram.
Dyuman will buy and granary will supply.
I am unable to transplant beets, turnips and carrots for want of moisture in the soil.
Bijon has informed me about the tomatoes which were sent to him with Asoke with Thy permission. He has written that they are exceptionally good.
To date Uday Singh has not replied to my letter which I wrote upon Thy instruction, for a watchdog or dogs.
N.B.: The veterinary doctor asked me to irrigate with some pressure the affected leg of the bullock. He says it will be best if it can be irrigated by a tube connected to the mouth of a tap. I don’t know where to get the rubber tube. I asked Nripen but they haven’t the size which can be fitted to a tap.
26 January 1944
For the bullocks, I pray for 3 buckets in which I can give them grain. I pray to know from where I can get the buckets.
Yes. Amrita will speak to you about it.
I pray for one almirah for the engine room to be made from the mango tree wood. The almirah we have in the engine room is in a most wretched condition. One leg of the almirah is held up with bricks and the shelves are broken.
I need an extra chair for people to sit on when they come to the gardens. Recently when the veterinary doctor came I couldn’t ask him to sit.
I pray for 3 small size mugs for garden use.
When the veterinary doctor asked for a bottle for giving medicine to the bullocks as I had no bottle he lent me one which he asked me to return when the medicine is finished.
I have lost my key a few days ago. This is the first time that I have lost a key.
27 January 1944
Atal has informed me that you asked him to give me 1 bag of coconut fertilizer. May I take delivery from him?
Today one of Jalad’s bullocks was injured—the forehead of one of the new bullocks (not the one already injured in the leg). It’s nothing serious. I applied some disinfectant immediately.
The green gram has germinated well but it will need watering in 10 days time if there is no rain in the meantime.
I have bought some local cucumber seed as per Thy permission on 26.12.43 at a cost of Rs. 0-15-0.
One bullock is to be shoed. It will cost Rs. 0-12-0.
I have given a contract to a man for Rs. 5-8-0, to cut the mango wood (which was cut on 17.1.1944), into pieces.
I pray for clips and pins. I don’t know from where I can get them.
Ask from Prosperity. Blessings.
7 February 1944
All the standing crops are dying for want of water:
6 acres of green gram,
1½ acres of tomatoes
1 acre of brinjals
½ acre of cauliflower
½ acre of carrots
and beans, khnol khol and plantains.
At present I have 11 labourers altogether and out of the 11, 4 are absent, so 7 labourers remain.
7 labourers: 1 boy for domestic work, 1 woman for domestic work, 2 men for bullocks and 3 men for garden work.
For working picottah, 4 men are required, so we are unable to water vegetables even by picottah.
A major portion of my time is spent looking after the bullocks. I pluck tomatoes in the evening. In the morning, either myself or Sudhirkanti accompany the cart which goes with vegetables so we can’t help the 3 gardeners if they work picottah.
Nowadays, it is very difficult to find either daily or monthly labourers. Outside they are paid 8 annas per day plus midday meal.
I don’t know what is to be done now. I pray for Thy direction.
Why don’t you take extra labourers for watering? Blessings.
13 February 1944
I have engaged extra labourers for watering. Yesterday 3 labourers were employed and today we have engaged 3 more. Rs. 3-0-0 will be needed.
Tomorrow I would like to engage 8 labourers. Rs. 4-0-0 will be needed. I pray for Thy sanction.
15 February 1944
If we bring grain and bran twice a month instead of bringing it daily, have you any objection? It is troublesome for us to go and bring it daily which means that we cannot work in the garden in the mornings. If it is not daily, we can accompany the cart and return without delaying at the ashram as occurs now.
I do not see how it is possible because you would have to wait 15 days without giving to the bullocks. Only a small quantity of grain is prepared from the mill every day.
We have cut another mango tree. It cost Rs. 3-0-0.
Again the daily labourers are not coming. They come one day and they are absent the next and another 3 men come instead, but yesterday nobody came. They say they are unable to work with the money we are paying them (i.e., As. 8 per day). I am searching for labourers but haven’t found any as yet since nowadays they are busy harvesting and transplanting paddy. Outside they are getting 7 measures of paddy plus 1 anna. The price of 7 measures of paddy is 14 annas therefore outside they are earning 0-15-0 per day. I am in a fix and don’t know what to do. I pray for Thy direction.
Since last June I have been asking Amritada for a good domestic servant. Eight months have now elapsed but he still has not got a servant for me. The one I have at present is simply good for nothing.
16 February 1944
Before we were not giving the bran which we were getting from Padmasini and moreover the quantity isn’t sufficient for the bullocks. We are getting bran from Narayan Prasad for regular use—5 bags per month. We are giving 1 kg of grain mixed with 3 kg of bran and two tablespoons of salt which we are getting from Dyuman at present. The bran we are getting from Padmasini improves the taste of the preparation. So if we can wait for 15 days once only, then afterwards we will get it regularly at 15 days interval.
Of course we are asking for this arrangement (i.e., to bring grain and bran every 15 days) for mine and Sudhirkanti’s convenience. But we haven’t the slightest objection to bringing it daily. I wrote because I feel uneasy when I am delayed in returning to the garden. If I remain in the garden at least I can do something, specially during working hours.
Have you thought of how you will keep the bran so that it won’t be robbed?
I pray for Thy sanction of the following money: Rs. 2-1-0 for Sudhirkanti’s rickshaw fare. The doctor wanted him for an x-ray at 3 p.m. so he went by rickshaw.
17 February 1944
Yes, I will keep bran and grain in a room to be opened and locked by either of us. That is what we do when we give bran in the evenings to the bullocks. The bullocks’ food is prepared in front of us and sometimes we prepare it ourselves.
The bullock’s injured leg is not yet cured.
29 February 1944
Yesterday we hired 8 labourers and today 12.
I will need Rs. 8-8-0, Rs. 4-0-0 being with me from Thy previous sanction of 13.2.44.
3 March 1944
Yes, I ordered radish, cucumber and greens seed yesterday. I hope it will reach in a day or two.
Narayan Prasad has got broken rice pieces. For the bullocks I pray for 15 kg of broken rice.
I have engaged labourers. I pray for Rs. 8-0-0. This time I have engaged them on contract basis. I told them what is to be done and the area of it. I will pay them when the work is finished. Before paying we will see whether it is well done or not. I think under this system where they work on their own initiative they will work better and faster.
Yes, it is all right like that.
Three bullocks have been shoed. It has cost Rs. 3-0-0. I pray for Thy sanction.
I pray to know whether I should try to grow vegetables on a large scale or on a small scale and what system of work to use in each case? I am uneasy about the above point and I pray to Thee for Thy direction.
So long as the garden is full of weeds, it seems impossible to grow vegetables on a big scale.
6 March 1944
One gardener, who is working since 1 year, is asking for a loan of Rs. 5/- for buying clothes, and another gardener, who is with us since 6 months, is asking for a loan of Rs. 10/- for preparing his house.
I pray for Thy direction.
Speak to Amrita about it. Blessings.
8 March 1944
Yesterday I received the seeds I told you about a few days back. They have cost Rs. 8-6-0. I have received 4 oz cucumber, 1 lb white country radish, 1 lb greens, 2 pkts pepper (Chinese giant sweet).
Today I have engaged 8 labourers. I pray for Thy sanction of Rs. 5-0-0.
I pray for Thy permission for buying the following seeds: 2 oz small bitter gourd (uchee), 6 oz big bitter gourd (karela) and 8 oz papaya.
I pray for 2 big and 2 small gunny bags.
I pray for one brush for cleaning bullocks. And one for cleaning my handbag.
The cart man is not coming regularly. Last month he was absent for 27½ days out of 29. This month he has already been absent for 3½ days out of 8. I pray to know what I shall do?
10 March 1944
I have engaged labourers yesterday and today:
9th – 14 labourers Rs. 8-12-0
10th – 10 labourers Rs. 6-4-0
I pray for Thy sanction of Rs. 15-0-0.
Tomorrow I would like to engage 10 labourers and the day after tomorrow also:
11th – 10 labourers Rs. 6-4-0
12th – 10 labourers Rs. 6-4-0
I pray for Thy sanction of Rs. 12-8-0.
On the 7th I engaged 10 labourers, but due to rain they worked only 1½ hours. I have paid them Rs. 1-1-6. I pray for Thy sanction.
I am in need of 2 litres of castor oil for bullocks, the stock being almost exhausted. We use the oil on the bullocks’ horns every Sunday.
I pray to know whether I can buy seeds (6 oz bitter gourd, 2 oz small bitter gourd and 8 oz papaya) of which I wrote on 8th instant.
Yesterday I received the latest copy of Indian Farming (September 1943) which I enclose herewith.
18 March 1944
I regret very much to inform you that the new bullocks have quarrelled again and the younger one (with black horns) has injured the other bullock in 5 places with his horns. Of course the injury is not serious. When the ploughman came for ropes for tying them for grazing, the younger bullock injured the older one.
If a brass cover can be put over the horns, then the bullock won’t be able to scratch.
It is better to put some round ends to the horns so that they can’t hurt one another.
Two gardeners are asking for loans of Rs. 3/- each. Both are working since 8 months.
We have cut two more mango trees. Both the trees were very big. I gave both under contract for Rs. 40/-. They have not yet been able to finish the work. They will cut the trees and cut the wood into pieces we can use for planks. I have told them that after finishing the work they will get their money.
Rs. 40 seems to me a high price. It would have been better to speak to me about it before to see if a better arrangement could be arranged.
Mother, I have some points regarding management and expenditure of the garden to be cleared. So I pray to know how I can inform you? In this book or when I go to Thee in the mornings or evenings? But personally I would like a separate interview.
It is better to write in detail in this book and afterwards I shall see if I can give you some time for explanations.
For some reference I need Indian Farming of 1940. Will you kindly give me the copies for some days.
Ask them from Dyuman.
I need castor oil for the bullocks’ horns. I pray for Thy permission.
I attach herewith a chit for Thy sanction.
23 March 1944
The price of round heads to put over the bullock’s horns is Rs. 0-18-0 per pair. I pray for 2 pairs, I pray for Thy permission.
I gave two trees for cutting for Rs. 40/- expecting to get Rs. 100/- out of it and I still think so.
Henceforth I won’t do anything without Thy previous sanction and permission.
From yesterday we have started harvesting of green grains. I pray for Thy sanction of Rs. 1-14-3.
22nd—5 labourers x 3 hoursRs. 0-11-3
23rd—5 labourers x 4 hoursRs. 0-15-0
23rd—2 half-day labourers x 4 hoursRs. 0-4-0
The price of a ton of groundnut oil cake is Rs. 155/-. I would like to buy ½ ton. I pray for Thy permission. I want to buy it for using in vegetables in 1944. I have only one barrel left.
I enclose a letter for Thy kind perusal and direction. It’s regarding the renewal of the subscription to Indian Farming.
Renew the subscription.
I pray for 20 gunny bags for storing green grains temporarily.
The son of Murgesh was working here as a domestic. Since his work was not satisfactory, myself and Sudhirkanti suspended him. He will now do garden work.
My love and blessings.
24 March 1944
Labour charge for today’s harvesting is Rs. 1-6-0.
I have given wood to B.S. but they haven’t prepared the wheelbarrow that you sanctioned.
I pray for one photo of Thee and Sri Aurobindo to keep in the engine room.
I pray for one almirah (cupboard) for the engine room (sanctioned by you on 26 Jan. 1944), one clock and one photo stand.
25 March 1944
Labour charges for today’s grain harvest are Rs. 2-7-3.
Total cost of harvesting to date is Rs. 5-11-3 including today’s costs.
I pray for one bottle of Phenyl (concentrated) for cleaning the bullocks’ room every month.
I pray for 20 kg of broken rice for bullocks every month.
26 March 1944
Labour charge for grain harvest is Rs. 3-5-6 for today. I pray for Thy sanction.
27 March 1944
Today’s labour charge is Rs. 4-5-6 for grain harvest. I pray for Thy sanction.
28 March 1944
Today’s labour charge for grain harvest is Rs. 3-15-3. I pray for Thy sanction.
29 March 1944
Today’s labour charge for grain harvest is Rs. 5-11-0. I pray for Thy sanction.
I hope by your Grace that the grain harvest will be finished by 31 March ‘44 and threshing by 7 April ‘44, if there is no rain and the weather remains sunny. We do not need rain at the moment.
Total cost of harvesting grains is Rs. 23-0-6 to date.
30 March 1944
Labour charge for harvesting grains is Rs. 4-14-0 for today. I pray for Thy sanction.
Labour charge for threshing grains is Rs. 0-9-0. I pray for Thy sanction.
Total cost of harvesting grains was Rs. 27-11-6. Harvesting is finished today by your kind grace. We have already threshed about 20 kg of grain. From tomorrow we will begin threshing on a big scale. We hope we will be able to finish by 7 April ‘44 if the weather remains sunny by your grace.
I will need Jalad’s cart for transporting grains from the garden to the ashram. I pray for Thy permission.
31 March 1944
As you told me to ask Narayan Prasad for taking one day’s grain, I did so. He was going to the market at that time so I met him in the Reading Room. He told me that as soon as I ask at the granary, those there will give it to me. But when I asked for the grains they told me that Narayan Prasad had told them not to give grains to me today. I pray for Thy direction.
On 17 March he gave me 11½ kg of grain instead of 21 kg and on 24th he gave me 20 kg instead of 21 kg + 9½ kg = 30½ kg of grain. On those two occasions I managed as I had some grain in stock. He told me on both occasions that he had no more grain in stock for Cazanove so he was unable to give grain. I pray for Thy direction.
Amrita will speak to you about it. Blessings.
3 April 1944
Labour charge for threshing grain is Rs. 0-12-0 up to 2.4.44. I pray for Thy sanction.
Labour charge for threshing for today is Rs. 0-6-0. I pray for Thy sanction.
Nowadays, Hot Water Service is not taking away dried coconut leaves. The garden is full of them. As I have no extra labour to spare I am unable to collect them and so they are getting spoiled. If the Hot Water Service collects and removes them it will help keep the roads clear. Before, when I used to sell them, people collected them themselves and paid a price. If you permit me to, I can engage two daily labourers to collect the leaves. Under the circumstances I pray to know what I shall do.
One bullock being sick there is no cart available, so it is better to sell these leaves, at least for the moment.
Coconut trees are to be cleaned, specially to see if there are any insects. Recently 6 coconut trees were spoilt by insects. I pray for Thy precise and written permission for cleaning the coconut trees and also for insect cleaning as they charge extra for this.
Yes, you can clean the coconut trees, but under a strict and close supervision so that the workmen do not spoil the trees.
I pray to know what can be grown in the paddy field just now as paddy is only cultivated from September, except Bengal paddy which can be cultivated from May, if you permit? To my knowledge, green manure or ragi can be grown now. I pray to know. I am asking this as the engine will be ready shortly.
I cannot advise you in this matter as I do not know the possibilities.
For reference, I pray for the rough sketch of Cazanove which I gave you on 29.12.43. As soon as I have the reference I will return it to Thee. I need to see the division of some plots.
I shall look for this plan and give it when it is found.
It seems that something is wrong with the cart-bullock. I will call the veterinary doctor instead of taking the bullock to the Dispensary which is very unclean and many kinds of diseased livestock go there, so naturally the bullock may be attacked there by some kind of quickly spreading disease.
Yes, better call the doctor.
5 April 1944
Labour charge for threshing of grain is Rs. 1-7-0 for 4 April ‘44. I pray for Thy sanction.
Labour charge for today’s threshing is Rs. 1-14-0. I pray for Thy sanction.
Charge for cleaning the coconut trees is Rs. 2-1-0. I pray for Thy sanction.
8 April 1944
Labour charge for threshing of grain for
6 April Rs. 1-14-0,
7 April Rs. 1-2-0
8 April Rs. 1-14-0
9 April Rs. 1-14-0
I pray for Thy sanction. I expect threshing and winnowing of grain will be finished by 14 April by your kind grace.
Labour charge for insect cleaning of coconut trees is Rs. 2-12-0. Cleaning of coconut trees is finished. We have plucked about 200 ripe coconuts. We wish to send them from Monday (10.4.44).
I pray to know what is to be done about Murgesh?
I made some local enquiries yesterday regarding the cultivation of ragi and green manure crops in paddy field. As for ragi, they say it is too late to cultivate now. As for green manure, they cultivate indigo and with indigo they cultivate gingili for extracting oil and after that they trample indigo into the soil.
I have written to Bijon asking him whether he will be able to supply the seeds of Dhaincha (Sesbania aculeata) [Hemp] which is a very good and recognized green manure crop. When Bijon was here he told me that he will send the Dhaincha seeds so I asked him. The Bengal paddy is to be sown mid-May and to be transplanted by mid-June. Paddy will be ready for harvest by December.
Now I pray to know whether we can cultivate indigo as green manure crop or not. If so I pray to know the following. We have 6 acres of land for wet land cultivation, so
How many acres of Bengal paddy?
How many acres of Dhaincha?
How many acres of indigo (as green manure)?
Where we cultivate Bengal paddy we will not be able to cultivate local paddy (Kisilisambha) which is to be transplanted in October/November. I pray for Thy direction.
Bengal paddy 2 acres (two). Blessings.
11 April 1944
Labour charge for threshing of grain on:
10th Rs. 1-2-0
11th Rs. 1-2-0
12th Rs. 0-12-0
Grain threshing will be finished tomorrow. I pray for Thy sanction.
Day before yesterday, Nagen Ghose came to the garden on his way back from the lake. He didn’t visit the garden but simply saw the building and left.
At present the cart man is not coming for work and the ploughman is irregular. Murgesh is not working as his hand is fractured and bandaged, and one of the other gardeners is also not coming. That is to say, everyday 3 gardeners out of 11 do not come for work. Then there is one woman and one boy. Generally, when the cart man does not come for work, the ploughman drives the cart so with both of them absent there is no one to drive the cart and no one can handle the bullock. So two gardeners are required to take vegetables to the ashram. As the two new bullocks are only for ploughing, we cannot use them for the bullock cart without Thy permission. Here is the work the gardeners are doing:
3 gardeners absent
1 woman for domestic work
1 boy for watering
1 gardener for cutting grass for Cazanove and Jalad’s bullocks
1 gardener for ploughing, bullock shed and bullock cleaning
1 gardener for cart
3 gardeners for vegetable work
= 11 gardeners.
When there is no one to drive the cart then we get two gardeners in the morning and 3 in the evening for vegetables. In the mornings we are cutting 30 coconuts, which takes 3 hours for 2 gardeners specially as they are new to this work. The man doing this work before was dismissed on the recommendation of the police. Two gardeners help us cutting and arranging flowers and cutting vegetables for 2 hours. For the last 15 days, one gardener is busy with grain harvest which we expect will finish today.
This is the general routine being carried out.
I pray to know about the arrangement for paying Murgesh as at present he is not working. Is he to be paid in full or in any other way. I pray for Thy direction.
I pray for the working of the engine next Saturday 15th for watering a plot in preparation for vegetables (cucumber) and on next Tuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th for watering coconuts. I pray for Thy permission.
14 April 1944
Threshing and winnowing of grain was finished on 12th last, but I could not inform you earlier because I was unable to go to Thee yesterday owing to a police investigation concerning a theft in Sudhirkanti’s room. Yesterday afternoon I kept the grain in the flower room for showing it to Thee today. Here is the total expenditure and out turn:
Labour for ploughing= Rs. 34-2-0
Labour for harvesting= Rs. 27-11-6
Labour for threshing= Rs. 14-12-0
Miscellaneous (seeds, etc.)= Rs. 8-6-6
Grain 6½ kalams= Rs. 78-0-0
Spoiled grain 1 kalam= Rs. 3-0-0
Bran from grain 50 bags= Rs. 25-0-0
In the expenditure, Rs. 34-2-0 spent for ploughing is extra because nowhere grains are broadcast after ploughing in wet lands. The system is to broadcast the seeds before the harvest of paddy, at least 10 days prior to harvest. I had to plough because work was started by Munsiff.
In 3 acres of land, seeds were broadcast twice and both times they were spoiled by heavy rain. Out of 3 acres spoiled by rain, grains germinated very poorly on 2 acres and in the other 1 acre there was almost no germination. In the other 3 acres germination was only fair.
Lastly, there were weeds, specially at the time of forming of pods, i.e., just after flowering. With the heavy rains the weeds grew fast spoiling the formation of grain and making it difficult to harvest.
Threshing was delayed due to rain on 31 March and 1 April. The rains delayed us by 5-6 days.
Today 4 gardeners, one woman and one boy are working.
It seems that the cart man will not return to work this month. He is absent since the 3rd.
Two gardeners were detained by the police on account of the theft from Sudhir’s room.
16 April 1944
I want to finish an unfinished work. A plot of radishes needs weeding. Work was started but remains unfinished due to lack of labour. I want to engage a labourer for one day to finish it. So I pray for Rs. 4-2-0 for the work.
17 April 1944
At present we are cutting 30 green coconuts daily. If we continue at this pace there will be a shortage within the next few days, since there are not many just now. Therefore I pray to know how many coconuts we should cut until there are sufficient coconuts.
Last Sunday’s routine of work:
Morning: 4 men, 1 boy and 1 woman
2 men coconut cutting for 3 hours,
1 man and 1 boy helping to cut vegetables and flowers for 2 hours
1 man brought the carrier from Dining Room in 2 hours
1 woman for domestic work: 4 hours
1 man cleaning the bullock shed: 1 hour
1 man cutting grass for Jalad’s bullocks: 1 hour
1 man cleaning bullocks: 2 hours
1 man driving bullock cart: 2 hours and 1½ hours overtime
Afternoon: 4 men, 1 boy and 1 woman
1 man taking the bullocks to Thee: 3 hours
1 man driving the cart to Thee and bringing the carrier from the dining room: 4 hours
1 man cutting grass for bullocks: 4 hours
1 man watering and sowing cucumbe4 hours
1 boy watering tomatoes: 4 hours
1 woman for domestic work
1 man putting straw in the bullocks’ shed and preparing food for the bullocks: 1 hour.
23 April 1944
I feel it my duty to clear my position with regard to the eczema on the neck of the cart bullock.
I remember that I told you about the veterinary doctor’s report in the first week of this month, in which he informed us that the eruptions which have appeared on the bullock’s body is eczema. At that time the bullock was given rest and treatment. When the eruptions on the body were cured they then appeared over the eye and before they were cured they appeared on the neck. The bullock was again given rest. I informed Thee about the eye. Each time the bullock was shown to the veterinary and more rest was given than what he prescribed. The doctor said the eczema on the neck has nothing to do with the cart driving since the yoke does not rub the eczema. I asked if I should pad the yoke, he said no and I told Thee. But today when Jyotin told me you had asked to put a pad around the yoke, even though I thought it was not necessary, I thought it better to put a pad first and then inform Thee why I didn’t put it before and why I didn’t give rest to the bullock. It is not true that I disobeyed your order in not putting the pad. You can ask Amrita what he saw. It seems that you were told that when Amrita came to put the pad I refused. When Amrita came I was coming back with Jalad from his room with cloth to prepare a pad around the yoke. The question may arise as to why I didn’t put a pad immediately when I was told to do so. When Jyotin told me I gave my opinion and went to give my cloth to Premanand then came back and went to Jalad to ask for old cloth to prepare a pad. While going with the cloth, Jyotin came and said Amrita had come to put a pad around the yoke. These are the facts. Now I pray for Thy direction, whether the pad is necessary or not any more.
The neck of the bullock is badly rubbed (I am not speaking of the eczema patch). I think it is better to put a soft pad. Blessings.
28 April 1944
I would like to sow Bengal paddy seeds (kataribhog) on May 1.
After 20-25 days, seedlings are to be transplanted. Seeds are with Narayan Prasad. I pray for Thy sanction to bring the seeds (2 bags), about 30 kg.
For watering the paddy seed bed, I will need the pump on Monday morning also.
From Monday I would like to start preparation for transplanting paddy. So I will need to work the engine on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next i.e., 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
Afterwards I will need it again on 8th and 9th and I may also need it on the 10th but this is not sure.
For the paddy work, i.e., for ploughing, I will need an outside plough but if I get Jalad’s bullocks, then I won’t need to hire outside bullocks for ploughing.
One of the bullocks is still sick and cannot work.
I will need some daily labourers for paddy field work from time to time. Following are the rates for labourers and ploughs:
Male labourers = Rs. 0-10-0 per day (8 hours)
Female labourers = Rs. 0-6-0 per day (8 hours)
Plough = Rs. 0-12-0 per day (six hours)
At present dry mango and other leaves are falling profusely. I want to collect them for preparing manure but I haven’t any extra labour in hand to do so. I would like to engage one woman daily labourer at 0-6-0 per day for 8 days. I pray for Rs. 3/- for the work.
From the cleaned dry coconut leaves I would like to prepare kiths (woven leaves). I pray for Thy sanction.
Again I have cleaned insects from the coconut trees. It has cost Rs. 2-10-0 including plucking of palm fruits. I pray for Thy sanction.
Bijon has informed that he is arranging to send Dhaincha (Sesbania Aculeata) seeds. He sends his pranams at Thy feet.
NB: Herewith I enclose letters regarding the eradication of Cyperas Rotendus for Thy kind direction for next process; how shall I do the work of eradication.
1 May 1944
I feel very much oppressed.
I think everybody knows that paddy needs water and in a large quantity. I remember that I told you that Bengal paddy is a 7-month crop (May to November/December). As for expenditure, I have not the slightest intention of spending money at random. If that had been my intention, then I would have insisted on higher wages for new labourers (Rs. 12/- to 15/- per month), which is the prevailing rate outside, when the garden labourers left work at the beginning of February this year. My personal opinion is that unless we pay them decent salaries it is foolish to expect good work from them. Of course they will work but their minds will be on their homes and what they will eat when they return and I doubt whether they think for a moment about how to work better when they get insufficient pay.
So I didn’t want to ask for labourers at higher wages. I simply wanted you to know the facts sincerely and to the best of my ability so that you may decide whether or not to put the labour on higher wages.
One question that may arise is: if we remain in front of the labourers will they work more? Yes, that is true to some extent. Only, when we are with them they will no doubt work but their work will be useless because they make a show of working, but they are not actually working. What they can do in an hour they will do in a day (8 hours). Of course the fault is ours and not theirs. We must find out why the labourers do not work willingly.
At present we have 5-6 labourers working and out of that only 2-3 for garden work. Two are used exclusively for bullocks. We have a pair of bullocks for ploughing but we have no ploughman. We have establishment costs but no produce to compare to the expenditure.
So now I pray to Thee, and most earnestly I pray, how should we proceed? How many gardeners should we keep? And what will be their pay? What will be our method of work? What crops should we grow and what should our expenditure be each month?
I am trying to put the facts as truly and sincerely as I can, but my shortcomings and weaknesses are there and I cannot always express myself clearly. Yes, I will try my best but meanwhile I pray to Thee to show me, tell me what are my defects and how to correct them however bitter the truth may be.
I want to serve Thee and Thy purpose alone but if I go wrong will you not tell me how to proceed rightly? I want to be very frank with Thee but if I am unable to express myself, will you not ask me?
I have put all that has come to my mind and oppressed me at Thy feet. Now I am free and glad that I have tried my best to express what has oppressed me.
If you can find 4 gardeners who know the work, you can give them eight annas-8-per day. I do not see why you should feel oppressed. It is not an easy job to run an establishment like Cazanove and many bitter experiences may be necessary before you learn the job. I only ask that you should keep a good will to learn and to improve your capacities. For the rest, that is to say the results, we must be patient. With my love and blessings.
2 May 1944
For sowing cucumber I would like to engage some labourers for one day (i.e., on May 4). So I pray for Rs. 6-14-0. The area is about two-thirds of an acre.
Send a chit.
I pray for the working of the engine next Friday and Saturday, May 5 and 6.
For the working of the engine, crude oil is needed. So I pray for Thy permission to buy 2 barrels of crude oil (about 50 gallons).
We shall see if crude oil is available, but it is far from sure. My blessings.
4 May 1944
Today we have started preparing beds for sowing cucumbers (area about 2/3 acre) and tomorrow we would like to sow, subject to Thy approval and permission. Tomorrow we will also need labour as the work will not be finished today, so I pray for Rs. 6-14-0 more.
For ploughing the paddy field we have spent Rs. 1-8-0 (on 30.4.44). I pray for Thy sanction.
I pray for further sanction of Rs. 3 for collecting dry leaves for manure. I pray for Thy permission.
6 May 1944
At present we are not working the cart so we are unable to bring manure from outside. I asked Jalad whether he can lend me his cart and bullocks for one half day per week, he says he has no objection if you permit.
We have arranged for one cart of cow dung every week at Rs. 0-12-0 per cart subject to Thy approval and permission.
It is all right.
Is it a fact that the cucumbers we supplied and which you liked, have no value? So says Dyuman. He says that since this variety of cucumber is not available locally they have no value. And for that reason he has not calculated the price of 300 cucumbers that we supplied in March.
Which cucumbers was it? Is it the small pale coloured ones you gave first? These were very good although for buying they are cheap, not more than Rs. 4 or at most 5 for the 300.
At present Dyuman is calculating the prices of what we supply from the garden. How interesting it is to see the various prices he calculates from month to month. Below are the prices he has calculated for tomatoes.
Nov. 194340 kgRs. 6-4-0
Dec. 1943100.11 kgRs. 50-0-0
Jan. 1944119.90 kgRs. 30-0-0
Feb. 1944104.35 kgRs. 75-0-0
Mar. 1944100.39 kgRs. 18-12-0
As far as my knowledge goes about the market value of vegetables, the price of off-season vegetables will be higher than the price of the same vegetables in-season, but in the case of tomatoes it is just the opposite.
It is not only the weight of the tomatoes that counts, it is also their quality—and the quality was not equal every month.
If Dyuman finds it difficult to price the vegetables and if you approve, I am perfectly willing to make enquiries in the market about the current prices of vegetables. Both myself and Sudhirkanti can enquire about prices in the market. I pray for Thy direction.
10 May 1944
There are ripe coconuts to be plucked. We are plucking under our strict personal supervision. I pray for Thy permission to pluck ripe coconuts.
With Thy permission I have given an order for one gallon of Pip ready-to-spray insecticide for cattle fly spray. The price of one gallon is Rs. 9-4-0 F.O.R. (Free On Rail) Madras, plus packing charges at 5%. We have placed the order with Vernon & Co. of Madras.
For spraying the insecticide a “Flit spray” would be convenient if available.
I pray for Thy permission to buy 1 lb of ladies’ fingers seed. At present I have no seed with me, all has been sown.
I pray to know if you like the variety of ladies’ fingers we are growing now? At present we send ladies’ fingers in the mornings directly to Datta as Tara told me you want ladies’ fingers early morning.
Yes, they are good.
The plots for ploughing are cleaned beforehand. We clean only the big weeds specially the thorny ones, if not it is difficult to plough. I would like to engage women labourers for cleaning as they do the weeding easily and they are more economical since they are paid less than the male labourers. So for that purpose I pray for Rs. 3-0-0.
Yes, I wrote about the cucumbers which you liked and asked us to grow again. We have already sown all the seeds I had with me (about 1 lb).
I pray for one small wooden table if available.
When it is available it will be given.
Why is it that we can’t take Thy orders in good heart even though we know what you have said is for our good? I have tried my best to take Thy advice in good heart but I can’t say that I always succeed. I don’t know why it happens like that. I am writing in general, not for any particular case.
It is vanity and selfishness that prevent the sadhaks from taking the teaching in good spirit. With love and blessings.
12 May 1944
But how can one get rid of one’s vanity and selfishness? What process should one follow to banish one’s vanity and selfishness?
We plucked ripe coconuts yesterday. For that I pray for Rs. 2-0-0.
Today also we are plucking ripe coconuts. Labour charge is Rs. 2-0-0. I pray for Thy sanction.
Tomorrow we will pluck coconuts also. Labour charge is Rs. 2-0-0. I pray for Thy sanction.
Today we have sent 124 ripe coconuts and will send about 60 more.
This time we expect more than 1000 ripe coconuts.
For one plantation plot I would like to engage labour. So I pray for Rs. 10-0-0. The soil needs upturning and weeding and we will also apply manure (oil cake and bone mash). This will be the final dressing and in the other plot the final dressing will be done when this plot is finished.
Harikant says that “Flit spray” is available in Prosperity.
15 May 1944
The Pip insecticide spray for cattle fly was received by me on 13th last. It cost Rs. 10-13-0.
I pray for Thy permission to buy horse manure and for that I pray for Rs. 15-0-0.
This week there will be 2 carts of cow dung manure which will cost Rs. 1-8-0. We are bringing this manure under the existing arrangement approved by Thee last week.
We have bought indigo seed for use as green manure crop. The cost was Rs. 1-0-0.
I have asked Chandulal to give me carts for sending ripe coconuts and also for bringing horse manure if you permit. I expect about 2000 ripe coconuts this time. We have already sent 461 ripe coconuts.
How can one get rid of one’s vanity and selfishness?
By a complete consecration to the Divine and a loving surrender to the Divine’s Will.
17 May 1944
Bijon has sent a letter which I received today. He says that seeds are not allowed to be sent. He is remitting Rs. 20/- to buy Dhaincha seeds, which are available from the Cuddalore Agricultural Demonstator’s office. May I correspond with the above office for buying seeds? Price of Dhaincha seed is 8 lbs per rupee. I pray to know what quantity to buy? If we sow seeds on 6 acres of paddy fields then 70-80 lbs will be needed. Dhaincha is to be used as a green manure crop.
You can buy for Rs. 10 of seeds.
One plot of banana was fertilized and topdressing finished on 15th last. Today we have watered another plot of bananas for final dressing and applying manure. We want to start final dressing from Friday, May 19 next. For that I pray for Rs. 10/- (ten).
The cucumbers which we sowed on 6th and 7th May need weeding. For that I pray for Rs. 15/-.
For manure (horse) I pray for one rupee more.
The cutting of two mango trees about which I wrote to you on March 18 was finished yesterday and they have finished cutting them into pieces. Two trees were given on contract for Rs. 40/-. I pray for Thy sanction. We supplied firewood from those two trees as follows:
8 carts of mango firewood – local price at Rs. 10/- per cart minimum
1 cart of dry mango sticks – local price at Rs.5/- per cart minimum.
And still there are:
1 cart of dry mango firewood
1 cart of dry mango sticks
and wood to be made into planks.
Since the last two months Chandulal is saying that he will send a saw man to cut the wood but no one has come. I asked him several times and every time he says that the man will come in a day or two.
It was arranged with Jalad that he will send his cart on Monday evenings for the manure which we collect every week. It was also arranged that he send the cart to fetch the manure and that I send a man to that place. Whenever we bring manure, either myself or Sudhirkanti accompany the cart. Last Monday Jalad didn’t send his cart nor did he inform us. Everyday one of us goes to the ashram. We sent our man to the place and I went shortly afterwards. Not finding the cart there, I went to the ashram to enquire. I met Jalad and he told me that he forgot to inform me that the cart man hadn’t come that day. How nice it is to keep labour waiting without any work for 2 hours and how pleasant it is to roam the streets under the blazing sun. If the cart man doesn’t come could he not inform either:
At 7:30 a.m. when Murgesh goes to fetch our morning cocoa,
At 9:30 a.m. when the cart goes to the ashram with vegetables;
After 9:30 a.m. since one of us accompanies the cart to the ashram, or
At 11:30 a.m. when again Murgesh goes to bring our food to the ashram.
21 May 1944
To date this month we have supplied 3441 ripe coconuts .
I pray for Rs. 5-8-6 for coconut plucking, Circulation Tax for sending coconuts and coconut insect cleaning. I pray for Thy sanction.
At present we have 6 gardeners—4 men, 1 boy and 1 woman.
24 May 1944
Yesterday I received 1 lb of ladies’ finger seeds from Sutton & Sons of which I wrote to you on May 10. It cost Rs. 8-1-0. With ladies’ fingers I have received 1 packet of white radish seeds and 1 packet of large red capsicum seeds (sweet). These last two are for trial. I pray for Thy sanction.
It is already paid.
All the irrigation drains are to be cleaned otherwise it is difficult to irrigate with the pump water when the engine works. If we do not clean them it will take double the amount of time to irrigate. I pray for Rs. 10-0-0 for cleaning the drains.
From now we will give the tree numbers with each variety of mangoes. Yesterday there were three varieties.
I pray to know what is to be done about the tank? If it is to be cleaned, we must do it before the beginning of the monsoon otherwise it won’t be possible this year either.
I pray for one kuja.
26 May 1944
There are many dried coconut leaves here that are getting spoiled. It would be better if the Hot Water Service could take them away quickly or, if they do not want them, I pray for Thy permission to sell them.
Do not sell them, they are required here. After 2 or 3 days at most, they will be removed.
I pray for one pair of pruning shears.
Last month I took a chit from you for 20 kg of rice bits for the bullocks every month. I gave the chit to Narayan Prasad. In April he gave me 18 kg of rice bits and told me that he will give me 2 kg more next month. This month he first told me that when the rice comes from the mill he will give it to me. When the rice came back from the mill I asked him again and this time he told me that as he doesn’t have many rice bits, he couldn’t say when he could give them since there are many who want them. Further he told me that he will ask the Mother about it. I agreed with him and I told him that if the Mother says that it’s not necessary to give for the bullocks I won’t ask any more. The next week I again asked him but he said that he hadn’t yet asked but will do so. Again last Tuesday I asked him and he told me that all the rice bits were finished for this month so there was no use asking Mother now. So this month I didn’t get any rice bits for the bullocks.
Last month all the rice bits were given to the B.S. I am sending word to Narayan Prasad to give you some as soon as he gets them. Blessings.
2 June 1944
I pray for Thy permission to buy 1 lb of ladies’ finger and 1 lb of sponge gourd seeds.
4 June 1944
Today 4 gardeners are present out of 6. The cart man is absent. We have had no domestic servant for the last two months.
Yesterday I received one wheelbarrow from B.S.
The cart bullock was shown to the veterinary doctor as we found some kind of patches on its body. The doctor said that it is because the bullock’s bowels are not alright so he gave some medicine and applied an ointment over the body. He said not to stop the bullock from working. Now the patches have almost cleared up. He also said not to give only rice bran to the cart bullock. Now we are giving rice bran and green gram (boiled) to the cart bullock and green gram (boiled), rice bran and wheat bran to the other two bullocks. The doctor says that wheat bran keeps the bowels clear.
5 June 1944
If we start new gardeners at Rs. 15/- per month then what will be the wages of the gardeners working now? And also what will Murgesh’s wages be?
Amrita will explain to you.
Murgesh wants some old sandals as sometimes he goes on foot to bring our carrier when the cycle is under repair.
He is spoiling terribly the cycle, so it is impossible to let him have another one. Love and blessings.
6 June 1944
Narayan Prasad says that you have said that every week we should inform him a day before we take grain. At present we are taking grain every Monday. Now he says that on Mondays we should give a bag and he will give grain the following day. That is, we will have to go to him twice.
Amrita will speak to Narayan Prasad.
Today the cart man went to take wheat waste (to use as manure) and Narayan Prasad sent rice bran back along with the wheat waste without informing us. Previously he had informed us that when we need bran we will have to ask him at least 3 days in advance. This time we neither wanted nor asked for it. If he gives it like that without informing us or without any chit, then I pray to know who will be responsible if anything happens to the things he gives.
I pray for two kuja stands.
For weeding out grass from the vegetable plot (radish), I pray for Rs. 2-8-0.
8 June 1944
The stock of oil cake is exhausted. Two months back we bought ½ ton of oil cake which we have used in banana and cucumber plantations. The area of banana plantation is 1 acre and that of cucumber ½ acre. We have also used it in a plot we prepared for sowing paddy.
This time I pray for a ton of groundnut oil cake for vegetables. After buying this ton, I don’t think any more will be needed this year. At present the price is cheap but it may rise afterwards. Price is Rs. 120/- per ton.
For shoeing the cart bullock I pray for Rs. 1/-.
For buying manure under the arrangement made on 6 May 1944 with Thy approval, I pray for Rs. 2-4-0.
I would like to prepare the fields for tomato and cauliflower from now, also for carrot, khnol khol, lettuce and other winter crops. We want to finish the sowing and transplanting of winter crops before 15 August.
First it is necessary to weed so I pray for Rs. 15/-. Today we have 1 lb of ladies’ fingers.
10 June 1944
Today I went to the veterinary doctor with Arun for the dog.
I asked him whether anything can be done or not about the bullock’s neck which is rubbed by the yoke. He told me to apply Margosa oil (Neem) on the neck. I pray for Thy permission to buy 1 litre of Margosa oil. I would like to ask Dyuman to buy the oil. I don’t know whether Margosa oil is available in the Dispensary or not. I will enquire there first, then I will ask Dyuman to buy.
I pray for 2 earthen kuja dishes.
May I take on Rajagopal who previously worked in the ashram for about 8-10 years. When he was working his pay was Rs. 12-0-0 per month. I asked Amrita about him and he said he had nothing against him. I pray for Thy permission. And also I pray to know what his wages will be if we take him.
At present we have 4 gardeners (including Murgesh), 1 boy gardener and 1 woman gardener.
Nowadays Murgesh is working very well.
I pray to know what is to be done with the bad quality mangoes. Can we sell them? We have already sold some, as we did last season.
15 June 1944
I wrote to the Cuddalore Agricultural Demonstrator asking him to send Dhaincha seed by railway parcel, but he informed that they only sell seed at the Depot, they do not send seeds by V.P.P. Herewith I enclose the letter I received from the Agricultural Demonstrator, Cuddalore, S. A. [South Arcot] District.
For working the engine, crude oil is needed. I pray for 2 barrels of crude oil (about 50 gallons).
Lubricating oil is also needed for the engine. Our stock is exhausted. Last August (1943) we got Mobil oil offered by Manoranjan. I pray to know from where we will get lubricating oil.
Today Mritunjoy started the engine at 10.20 a.m. and it worked until 5.20 p.m. i.e., 7 hours.
I need to work the engine and pump for the remaining days of the month of June, on the following days:
Saturday 14th and
On the above working days we will water the plots of vegetable, banana, lemon and prepare new plots for vegetables.
Yesterday I received 1 lb of sponge gourd seed costing Rs. 7-4-6.
16 June 1944
Yesterday I asked to run the engine for watering on 3 days; not for watering mango trees, but now I would like to irrigate mango trees also. So I pray for the working of the engine on the following revised days. It would be helpful if Mritunjoy comes and starts the engine:
Monday 26th and
Today Sankar Ram, who is writing Cazanonve’s accounts, said that Amrita told him not to enter the value of firewood that we have supplied. I told Sankar Ram that I will ask Thee about it and let him know Thy direction.
It seems to me that it is difficult to assign a value to this firewood because the trees were in the compound and we have lost what they could produce before cutting and also the money spent for cutting was a very high amount.
I pray to know what is the use of keeping accounts only partly as we are doing now? I think that if we want to keep complete accounts then we must keep them in every detail and under separate heads. But if we don’t keep complete accounts then it is better to keep a cash account only. What I want to say is, either we keep proper accounts in a bookkeeping system or we keep only an account of cash transactions.
As at present we are keeping neither detailed accounts in separate heads nor accounts of cash transactions.
In his account Jalad is giving the weight of the things he is producing and no cash value. I prefer this way of doing. Blessings.
17 June 1944
For weeding the vegetable plot I pray for Rs. 10-0-0.
I pray for 1 kuja for the engine room.
I pray for 2 funnels for the engine.
21 June 1944
I pray for Thy permission to buy the following seeds—1 lb cauliflower, 4 oz tomato. (We have some seeds with us. We have tested germination and found it good, and Bijon will also bring or send some seeds.)
1 oz carrot
½ oz khnol khol
½ oz cabbage and
½ oz lettuce
As there was a rain shower yesterday evening we would like to engage labourers to prepare drains for mango and coconuts trees. So I pray for Rs. 10-0-0.
For cleaning vegetable plots I pray for Rs. 5-0-0.
For plucking mangoes I pray for Rs. 5-0-0.
I pray for 20 gunny bags for bringing oil cake.
22 June 1944
Cucumbers have been heavily attacked by insects; if there are heavy showers once or twice, there is a chance they will be washed out. If the insects remain for more than a week there is every chance of the plants dying prematurely.
Is it not possible to remove the insects?
I pray to know whether I can buy the seeds about which I wrote yesterday?
I have said to Amrita to forward my permission but he did not meet you.
Today we have begun to prepare drains for watering mango trees. For that purpose I pray for a further Rs. 10-0-0.
25 June 1944
I pray for Rs. 5/- for cleaning weeds from the vegetable plot.
From next month I would like to adopt Jalad’s method, as suggested by you, for the things grown in Cazanove. He gives the weights every week, I would like to give them fortnightly.
I pray to buy 1 litre of Margosa oil through Dyuman for applying on the bullock’s neck. The veterinary doctor says it will keep the neck smooth.
I pray for one bucket for use in the engine room.
Tomorrow I would like to sow sponge gourd seed (1 lb) so I will need some labour. I pray for Rs. 5/- for this purpose.
For the plucking of mangoes I pray for Rs. 2-8-0.
The month of June is almost over but there is very little progress on the excavation of the tank. Now Chandulal says it is not possible to do it this season.
Chandulal has taken 5 months to prepare a wheelbarrow.
Nine mumties were sanctioned by you 6 or 7 months before (maybe more). He brought 7 mumties and said that he would prepare the other 2 mumties within a month. I have reminded him several times but he always says he has no time to do it.
4 July 1944
I pray for Rs. 5 for collecting mango leaves.
I pray for Rs. 10 for plucking mangoes.
I pray for Rs. 5 for preparing vegetable plots.
I have received some tomato and cauliflower seeds from Soundarya Nursery at the cost of Rs. 4-0-0. Other seeds will reach by 12th instant.
8 July 1944
Today I have received seeds from Sutton & Sons of Calcutta by V.P.P. for Rs. 18-11-0 (including V.P.P. charge).
I have received the following seeds: cauliflower, tomato, cabbage, pea, carrot and khnol khol.
Today I came to know through Noren that Atal has bought manure from the place where we had arranged to buy it with your approval. When I was informed I asked Sudhirkanti to tell Atal that we always buy manure from that same place. Sudhirkanti informed him accordingly but Atal refused flatly and told Sudhirkanti that he has arranged with them to buy manure regularly. Not only is he buying from them but at an increased rate. We used to buy at 0-12-0 per cart and he has bought or is going to buy at Rs. 1/- per cart. Previously we had arranged to buy it regularly. Today he has gone and offered a higher price and is getting it, if tomorrow I go and offer yet a higher price then again they will give it to me regularly. As it is Atal who is going to buy I cannot do that because he is not just Atal but a representative of the ashram. I cannot compete with him outside when I am also buying in the name of and for the ashram. We may have our internal differences but we must remain united to the outside. There we are One.
Arrangements for buying manure were made by Noren as I had requested, since he knows many places in the town. He always used to remind us whenever we were a day or two late and even sometimes when we were not. This time we were due to bring it last Monday (July 3) but we were busy with the engine and sending mangoes twice a day. Also from 5th I was sick and unable to arrange anything although Noren gave many reminders.
I am informing Thee of this as I feel this must not happen between sadhaks especially when both know about it. I pray for Thy intervention.
I couldn’t write after 4th as I was very weak for the last 2 days. Today I am a little better by Thy Grace. I am suffering with diarrhoea. I hope by your grace and blessings I will be alright by tomorrow.
For the same reason, I couldn’t write my report on the working of the engine. As soon as I feel strong enough I will write it.
It seems that the present cart man has also left work. We enquired at his home but he is not there and his parents don’t know where he is. As we have no other cart man Murgesh is driving the cart, and we are forced to stop ploughing because there in no one else to plough with those big new bullocks.
14 July 1944
I pray for Rs. 15/- for weeding vegetable plots.
I pray for Rs. 10/- for repairing the existing roads and drains.
I pray for Rs. 10/- for mango plucking.
15 July 1944
Bijon has offered the following seeds:
3 packets of cauliflower seed,
3 packets of tomato seed, and
5 kg of Dhaincha seed.
I pray for Rs. 1/- for shoeing the cart bullock.
19 July 1944
For preparing vegetable plots I pray for Rs. 15/-.
Today we will start sowing winter season vegetables (tomato, cauliflower, etc.). I hope we will be successful this year by your Grace and blessings.
At present 3 men, 1 boy and 1 woman are working on monthly wages. One is working regularly as a daily labourer.
20 July 1944
As the engine couldn’t be worked on 18th and 19th, we started watering with picottah from yesterday evening. We were able to irrigate some part of our vegetable plot before the engine and pump began to work today.
At present we haven’t any monthly gardeners so we engaged daily labourers for working picottahs. I pray for Rs. 12-0-0 for this.
I pray for Thy sanction for the following articles: one more wheelbarrow, two wooden bench stools, if available, one woven and two ordinary brooms.
I have received one pair of pruning shears, which was shown to you by Abhay Singh, with Thy approval.
Bijon has offered the following extra vegetable seeds to Thee which I have received today: Papaya, brinjal, radish and carrot.
I pray for Rs. 10/- for mango plucking for 4 days.
Nowadays, sometimes I go to play football in the evenings. But as I didn’t take your permission I was feeling guilty. I pray to know whether I can play or not. I have not the slightest desire to play football if you do not approve fully. For my playing I pray for Thy direction.
Love and blessings.
26 July 1944
Again we have to irrigate vegetables with picottah so I pray for Rs. 3-0-0.
I pray for Rs. 5/- for collecting mango leaves.
For preparing vegetables I pray for Rs. 32-0-0 for the remaining days of this month.
For weeding the sponge gourd plot, I pray for Rs. 15/-.
For road cleaning I pray for Rs. 15/-.
We have started sowing winter season vegetable seeds. We have sown tomato and cauliflower seeds.
We are eradicating the weeds (Cyprus rotendus) from a small plot and preparing it for use as a seedling bed.
Sahana told me that she has no wooden stools and also no wooden table.
29 July 1944
I pray for 2 kg of slaked lime for garden use. I pray for Thy permission to use it as an insecticide particularly in papaya plants. It may stop the patches which appear on the fruits. For other purposes I pray for 4 kg of slaked lime.
I pray for 2 kg of soda which we need from time to time in the garden and also sometimes for cleaning the oil tank of the engine.
I pray for 6 Thatte which we need for carrying manure, weeds, etc.
I pray for 1 kg of tobacco leaves for using as an insecticide.
Paddy season is approaching. I pray for Thy direction.
Last Thursday Murgesh’s cycle was given to Benjamin for cleaning and oiling as arranged by you. He has changed the tyre which was worn out but has neither cleaned nor oiled the cycle. He returned the cycle on Saturday at 9 a.m.
As he returned late we took our breakfast after 9.30 a.m. Benjamin didn’t give another cycle for bringing our carrier today. On Friday last he told me that Murgesh’s cycle was ready and that he could take it the next morning. But when Murgesh went to take the cycle he found that is was not repaired and accordingly informed Benjamin immediately, whereupon Benjamin asked Murgesh to wait until his worker came to repair it. So Murgesh had to wait up to 9 a.m. over there although he knew that Pavitra would come at 9.30 a.m. and also that one of us will accompany the bullock cart, which starts at about 9 a.m., after taking our breakfast.
I pray to know whether the pond is to be cleaned this year or not? I intended to use the excavated soil as manure in plantains as this soil is the best manure. We will have to dig once more in plantain plots in a week and also to apply some manure.
We have killed one krait and one cobra in the last two days. Both were very young.
I pray to know whether somebody will go to Cuddalore to buy the Dhaincha seeds from the Agricultural Department there. Bijon proposes that we (Bijon, Dhirsingh and myself) go there one day to buy.
2 August 1944
On last 31 July when I was returning to the garden at night after meditation and pranam, I heard a noise upon reaching there. I called out “Who’s that?” in the direction from where the noise was coming. At first nobody answered, but when the gate was opened I went in that direction with the servants following me. The man who was in the dark replied. He told me that he was taking some bundles of straw for the owner (the owner is the man who occupies the adjoining paddy field) as he is sick. I asked him why he was taking the straw at night. He answered that as he had been busy with other work he had no time to take it during the day. He further said that he needed the straw because his master’s cattle had no straw now. Afterwards I entered the garden and took a torch from my room and went to see the matter for myself as I suspected that the man was taking the straw unlawfully. Outside I found the man making bundles with the straw. I didn’t count the bundles. When I focused my torch inside the paddy field owner’s hut, I found a man trying to hide in the hut. I called him out and asked his name but he refused to give it and told me that he had come for the latrine. I asked him repeatedly but he refused and went away quickly. He was an old man. I asked the other man’s name, he said it was Kuppan. He further told me that he worked for the paddy field owner. I told him I would inform the owner of the matter.
I told Murgesh to inform the owner of the paddy field but he forgot, so I reminded him and he told him today. The owner came to me and I explained things to him. He said he would take some legal steps as he had not asked the man to bring the straw. It is a case of theft. He said if the case comes before a Court he would ask us to stand as witnesses. I pray for Thy direction in the matter.
Now that you have raised the matter you must go to the end.
I pray for buying 1 tuk of tobacco leaves and 1 tuk of tobacco stems. I pray for Rs. 8-8-0 as tobacco leaves and stems are not in stock with Parichand who used to give them to us before.
Last time I took sanction for 4 kg of slaked lime for general purposes, specially to paint coconut trees to prevent rats from eating coconuts, but I forgot to take Thy sanction chit.
I pray for Rs. 25-0-0 for digging in plantain plots (2).
Bananas, lemons, coconuts, ladies’ fingers (about 1000) need water immediately. In those plots it is not possible to irrigate with picottah. In other vegetable plots we use picottah to irrigate where possible.
We are also unable to prepare fields for winter crops (tomato, cauliflower, etc.) as the engine is not in working order and rainfall was insufficient last month. At present we need the engine very badly.
I pray for Rs. 12-0-0 to engage labour for working picottahs for watering vegetables in the plots where we can use them.
I pray for Rs. 5-0-0 for collecting mango leaves for manure.
For preparing seedling beds I further pray for Rs. 10-0-0.
I pray to know whether paddy is to be cultivated this year or not as the season is approaching.
It is law here that once we have cultivated paddy somewhere we must continue cultivating paddy.
Rajagopal who is working in the garden for the last 2 months worked for about 10 years in the Domestic and Garden Service. Amrita knows him well. Till now we have nothing against him only compliments. He wants to stay in the garden with his wife and two girls (about 6 and 10 years of age). At present he stays inside the garden with Murgesh’s family. I have found him very helpful, especially on rainy nights, for putting the seedling chettis undercover. He is modest and a very responsible gardener.
I pray to know whether I can allow him to stay inside the garden with his family.
You have room for him? Blessings.
6 August 1944
Yes, we have a hut on the southern side of the garden near the engine room. Can we give him that hut to stay with his family?
I pray for Thy permission for buying 12 thattes. I asked B.S. whether they had any thattes or not. Khirod informed me that they didn’t when we gave him Thy sanction chit.
9 August 1944
At present we are cleaning the pond, for that purpose I pray for Rs. 50-0-0.
I pray for Rs. 8-0-0 for preparing the papaya plot.
For collecting leaves (mango) for manure I pray for Rs. 2-0-0.
12 August 1944
I pray for Rs. 5-0-0 for plucking ripe coconuts.
I pray for 100 zinc labels which we need for labelling seed pots, seedling beds, final beds and pots.
I pray for Rs. 5-0-0 for collecting leaves (mango) for manure.
Before writing anything about “woven coconut leaves” I want to make it absolutely clear that when I told you that I will try to prepare them as soon as possible, I hope I will be able to with Thy kind grace.
I want to write about what I feel to be a case of misinterpretation.
About a month ago, Chandulal asked me through Amrita whether I could give him about 500 leaves for the B.S. I told him that I don’t have any kith nor do I have any leaves for preparing kiths so I won’t be able to supply him with leaves or kith. Then I received a note from him four days back asking me whether I could supply 600 woven leaves or not.
I informed him in a note through Sudhirkanti that it wouldn’t be possible for me to supply kiths as I hadn’t any leaves in stock and the leaves I had were all dried. On the same day I received an urgent note from Thee for supplying 600 kiths. I was surprised to get the note. So I went to Thee to ask about it. When I asked Thee you told me that Sudhirkanti had told you that they could be prepared. So I told you that I will try to prepare them. But in fact Sudhirkanti didn’t tell anybody that they can be prepared. He told Amrita and Chandulal when they asked, that we had leaves but nothing else.
After coming to Thee I met Amrita who told me that Thy urgent note for supplying kiths was for Sudhirkanti as he said he could prepare them.
When I handed over the note to Sudhirkanti he was surprised. He asked me the reason. I told him about my talk with Thee and Amrita. Then he told me that he would speak to Amrita as he never said that they could be prepared. Afterwards when I met Amrita he told me that as I had told Mother that I could prepare kiths it was no longer necessary for Sudhirkanti to do it but I would have to prepare them.
This is what I feel to be a case of misinterpretation.
Benjamin took the cycle used by Murgesh for repair about a week or more ago. Yesterday he returned it after doing the necessary repairs but still the cycle is not working.
I have engaged a boy for cleaning the cycles.
20 August 1944
At present we have got about 1500 ripe coconuts which were plucked before Darshan. I asked Dyuman (in writing) to take delivery on 25th as he says he is busy with other work now. I wrote to him on the 17th asking whether 25th will suit him or not but until now he has not replied.
When we plucked ripe coconuts we cut all the completely dried leaves and many dry leaves had already fallen of themselves. We used those which we could use for kith. Now we have about 5-6 carts of dry leaves which can be used as fuel. If they remain here there is every possibility of them being stolen or being spoiled by white ants. The leaves are also exposed to sun and rain. I have informed Amrita and he says he has no place to keep them but he will tell me after speaking to you about it.
I have received 4 oz cauliflower seeds from Soundarya Nursery by V.P.P. as my previous stock was not sufficient. It cost Rs. 5-14-0 (Rupees five and annas fourteen only).
One of the bullocks has pain in the neck (the one which ploughs), so we have stopped ploughing from yesterday. We have shown it to the veterinary doctor yesterday. I called him to the garden. He has given some ointment for massaging on the neck. He said that it would be all right in a day or two and asked us to rest the bullocks next Monday also.
This is the season to broadcast (sow) paddy.
I pray to know whether we can cultivate paddy or not this season. If we are to cultivate, I would like to prepare seed beds immediately as well as the field for transplanting, with Thy full approval and permission. In preparation we will have to irrigate the field first so we need to work the engine and pump from Monday next.
When watering is finished we will have to hire ploughs to plough the land and to engage labourers to repair bunds and other necessary works to prepare the fields.
If I am to cultivate I would like to do it thoroughly.
I pray for Thy direction about the cultivation of paddy.
Full approval and blessings.
I pray for 10 kg of coal tar for painting the posts we use to provide supports for the tomatoes.
May I take coconut oil from Robin? We can use the oil for many purposes. 1 litre per month will be sufficient.
I pray for one bottle of Phenyl for gardening work.
23 August 1944
If we can get a sadhak who is able to accompany the cart that goes to the ashram with vegetables in the mornings, it would be very helpful for us. I pray to Thee.
Today we have started ploughing the paddy plots.
I pray for Rs. 25/- for ploughing of paddy plots.
I pray for Rs. 10/- for labour in paddy plots.
I pray for Rs. 15/- for ploughing of vegetable plots as our bullocks are not working at present and even if they work, we will need outside ploughs as the plots are to be ready in ten days time and one pair of bullocks cannot do all. Cauliflower and tomato seedlings are almost ready. Payapa seedlings are also ready to be transplanted. Our pair of bullocks will be ready for ploughing from the day after tomorrow (Friday).
I pray for Rs. 15/- for labour for preparing vegetable plots.
Last year after the paddy harvest, we gave 4 bags to Narayan Prasad as reserve for seed. We marked “seeds” on all the four bags. As we intend to start broadcasting (sowing) by 3 September, I pray for Thy permission to bring the paddy from Narayan Prasad on Saturday, August 26. We have informed him verbally twice. A few days back Sudhirkanti informed him and I have informed him again today.
I pray for Rs. 6-0-0 as veterinary doctor’s fee.
I pray for Rs. 1-0-0 for shoeing the cart bullock once he is cured.
I pray for 2 big and 2 small strong locks which we need.
Rajagopal, who you said would drive the cart as Amrita told you that he knows how, is at present looking after seedlings. Till now I have found him very efficient in his work and also responsible. I have no other person whom I can rely on for looking after seedlings, not even Murgesh who I consider to be a most careless, negligent, rough and irresponsible servant. It seems to me that Murgesh has taken the habit of thinking of himself as a man of great prominence, as if we would be helpless without him. He has a very bad habit of speaking nonsense. Sometimes he comes to me and speaks against Sudhirkanti and tries to flatter me. Sometimes he goes to Sudhirkanti and speaks against me and tries to flatter him. And perhaps sometimes he goes to Amrita and speaks of this and that against both of us thinking that it will be reported to you. Take the following case for example.
Today when I spoke about ploughing the paddy plots, you told me that you were informed that we plough the plots in dry condition. This was never the case. Why then do we work the engine and pump so much? Is it to waste water in a barren plot where we will do nothing? I don’t know who has informed you, but I think it can only be Murgesh who spoke to Amrita with the purpose of informing you. I asked Surhirkanti today whether he had said anything to you, he said he had not. Yes, it is quite possible that a small portion of any plot may remain dry even after watering, but even then the bullocks will not be hurt when ploughing that portion for the simple reason that the plough won’t penetrate into the dry soil. The neck pain came because the bullocks are new to ploughing and previously they were not working regularly. They have been ploughing regularly only since the 3rd week of July. The bullocks are new and not accustomed to ploughing, naturally this will cause pain in their necks just as when we do hard work with our hands and they become rough, so we suffer pain in the beginning until they become accustomed to the work. It is just that which has happened and happens to all bullocks in the beginning. Tomorrow we will send the yoke to Benjamin for preparing a leather pad for the bullocks.
I pray to know whether Rajagopal will look after the cart bullock or whether he will look after seedlings. I have not the slightest objection if he looks after the bullock because I am sure that the work will not be stopped if the Mother wills that it is done.
I pray for 2 big size empty bottles to bring the medicine we need from time to time for the bullocks.
25 August 1944
I pray for Rs. 15/- for preparing vegetable plots.
I pray for Rs. 15/- for ploughing paddy plots.
I pray for four ordinary brooms and one small oven.
30 August 1944
I pray for Thy permission to buy 2 lbs of ladies’ finger seed and 2 lbs of cucumber seed.
We need one stirrup pump to irrigate the bullock’s injury. I pray to Thee to know from where we can get one and for Thy permission. We will have to irrigate the sprain for ½ hour daily.
The country veterinary doctor comes daily. He massages and paints on the medicine.
It seems that the bullock is a little better now. I hope by your Grace that the bullock will be completely cured within a fortnight.
A few days back one gardener tried to steal grain from the bullocks’ diet. We caught him red-handed. I have warned the gardeners many times for the same act though we have never caught anyone before. I told them they will be fined if caught. I don’t think we will be able to check this with simple warnings. I pray for Thy permission to fine him 0-8-0, annas eight only, as this is his first offence.
I would like to sow paddy when the engine begins to work well.
I pray for Thy permission to make arrangements for fixing locks on the four doors as there aren’t any. The work is to be done by Chandulal.
We have delivered 1648 ripe coconuts to Dyuman yesterday.
1 September 1944
I pray for Rs. 50/- for ploughing paddy field.
There was heavy rainfall today morning.
5 September 1944
I pray for Rs. 30/- for preparing vegetable plots.
I pray for Rs. 20/- for repairing the bunds of the paddy field.
I pray for Rs. 10/- for the bullock’s treatment. It seems the bullock is better now and will be completely cured within a week if Thou wishes.
On Monday 4 September at 5 p.m. we have sown paddy (kisilisambha) seed with Mother’s permission and blessings.
On 1st September we kept the seeds soaked in water for 18 hours.
After that we kept the seeds covered with straw and gunny bags 5-6 hours for germination.
As the seeds were ready for sowing we have broadcast them with Thy permission.
Konanda Raman asked me to ask Thy permission to watch paddy operations. He says he is interested but has never seen it so he wants to see practically. I pray to know what I should tell him?
8 September 1944
I pray for Rs. 30/- for ploughing paddy field.
As the bunds of the paddy field are old and were not repaired (it seems at least for the last 5 years) they need thorough repairing, practically to be redone. To do it thoroughly will cost more. We have already repaired bunds in a few plots. If we repair thoroughly this year, then I do not think it will be necessary to repair again thoroughly within the next three years.
If we are to do it then I pray for Rs. 25/-.
I pray for Rs. 5/- more for the bullock’s treatment.
I pray for Thy permission to go to Atal’s garden (Marit).
May I ask Atal to come to Cazanove once? I had a talk with him and he is eager to come and see once. I pray to know what I shall tell him?
He can come and you can go. Blessings.
12 September 1944
It has been reported that Murgesh’s wife is selling ripe coconuts from our garden.
I am sure they steal ripe coconuts although we have never caught them red-handed.
I pray to know how much to fine Murgesh for stealing banana leaves?
They are stealing mangoes too. I caught his son red-handed a few days back.
We also suspect that they steal sponge gourd and ladies’ fingers.
I pray for Rs. 25/- for weeding out vegetables (tomato and cauliflower).
I pray for Rs. 10/- for the treatment of the injured bullock. The bullock is better.
If you permit, we would like to show you the bullock next Sunday. We think the bullock will be able to go there.
I pray for Rs. 20/- for buying 100 seedling pot stands (earthen). Last time they were very useful at sowing time. The special stands prevent the ants and other insects from eating the seeds. When we used them the seeds were not eaten up; in the pots where we didn’t use them the seeds were eaten by insects resulting in a low percentage of germination and in some cases no germination at all.
Next Thursday I would like to broadcast the remaining half of the paddy seeds.
13 September 1944
We have one month’s straw with us. Afterwards there will be nothing to give to the bullocks. Straw is available outside at the rate of Rs. 1/- per 3 bundles. I pray for Rs. 30/- to buy straw for our bullocks.
Yesterday Murgesh spent the whole night outside without informing me. I only came to know when he entered the garden in the morning.
16 September 1944
I pray to know what arrangements to make when Murgesh leaves the work. I have told him that Mother has said he can leave the work at Cazanove to join Ambabhikhu’s garden any day after Sunday.
I pray for Rs. 20/- for labour in paddy field.
I pray for Rs. 30/- for ploughing of paddy field.
Our stock of Pip (ready-to-spray) insecticide is almost finished.
I pray to buy two gallons this time. We use it for spraying bullocks to keep the flies and other cold blooded insects away.
Today we are sowing cabbage, khnol khol, carrot and capsicum seeds.
I have received some seeds from Soundarya Nursery.
17 September 1944
I pray to know what arrangements to make from tomorrow for bringing our food as there is no one who knows cycling.
I pray to buy 2 gallons of Pip (ready-to-spray) insecticide, for spraying the bullocks.
20 September 1944
The cost of 2 gallons of Pip (ready-to-spray) insecticide will be approximately Rs. 22/- (Rupees twenty two only).
I pray for Rs. 5/- for weeding the vegetable plots.
I pray for Rs. 5/- for the treatment of the bullock.
For ploughing (paddy plot) I pray for Rs. 20/-.
For preparing bunds, etc., for the paddy I pray for Rs. 30/-.
Today again we will broadcast (sow) 1 bag of paddy seeds.
Now ½ bag remains to be broadcast on the 25th of this month.
On the morning of the 18th (17th was written by mistake) we gave sponge gourd (directly after plucking, as fresh as anything), but it was not cooked in the Dining Room up to the evening of the 19th.
Dyuman was told that we will pluck sponge gourd every alternate day and to expect a minimum of 40 kg approximately.
22 September 1944
We are short of paddy seeds. We need one bag more.
The seeds Munsiff kept last year were not good. They were full of husk. We came to know only at the time of sowing. As there was so much husk, the percentage of germination was low. If we do not get “kisilisambha” seeds from the granary, can we grow another country variety?
I pray for one bag of paddy seed.
We have a pucca platform that needs to be repaired. If it is repaired then we can thresh, winnow and clean paddy conveniently. Last year you gave permission but it was not done as we thought that another small platform, which is in good condition, would be enough. At the time of threshing we found the small platform too small. It is impossible to thresh all the paddy there. I pray to Thee so that it can be repaired now. Chandulal may say that it will cost too much money but if it is done properly then we won’t have to spend a single farthing for many days to come.
We have two rooms which if repaired can be used by two sadhaks.
In one room, the floor is to be repaired and two windows installed.
In the other room, the floor is to be raised and some windows installed.
If it is done now, 2 sadhaks can stay in those two rooms. I pray to Thee so that it is done now.
Whereas there is a tap in the garden there is nothing underneath it to bathe or clean clothes comfortably. If a platform is constructed with a cistern then it will be very convenient. I pray to Thee so that it is done now.
The floor of the bullocks’ room is not good. Urine and water soak into the floor. In the rainy season damp comes up which is very harmful for the bullocks. I pray to Thee for its repair.
We have supplied sponge gourd on the morning of the 20th but it wasn’t cooked until the evening of the 21st.
24 September 1944
A few days back Nishikanta came to the garden. He came this side in search of something and called me from outside the gate. When I met him I asked him to come inside and then only he came. He came in the evening.
I pray for Rs. 30/- for ploughing the paddy field.
I pray for Rs. 30/- for vegetable and paddy work.
I pray for one camp cot if available.
I pray for two big bottles.
I have placed an order for more vegetable seeds (tomato, ladies’ fingers and cucumber) with Sutton & Sons of Calcutta. I expect to receive the seeds any day.
27 September 1944
It was Nishikanta who came.
We have found a man to saw the mango tree which we cut in last February, March, into planks. I had asked Chandulal many times previously to engage a man for sawing and making planks to no effect whatsoever. Afterwards I began to search for someone myself. Now I have found someone by your Grace.
He wants to make planks at the following rate:
Rs. 1/- for a plank of 8 ft by 1 ft.
There will be many planks of various sizes. The price will be fixed with him according to size subject to Thy approval from time to time. He will cut the planks only. Other preliminaries are to be done by us. For that I pray for Rs. 10/-.
For the bullock’s treatment I pray for Rs. 5/-.
I pray for Rs. 25/- for paddy and vegetable works.
4 October 1944
I would like to grow potatoes in one sixth of an acre.
If you permit us to grow potatoes, we will require 40 kg of potato tubers (seed potato). I pray to know whether we can get tubers from Dyuman or not. We require small size potatoes for the purpose.
Potatoes are too costly nowadays to make such an attempt.
I pray for Rs. 10/- for the treatment of the cart bullock.
I pray for Rs. 30/- for ploughing paddy field.
I pray for Rs. 30/- for labour for paddy work.
We pray for Thy permission and blessings to start paddy transplanting from next Friday, October 6, 1944.
6 October 1944
For weeding out the grass from the cauliflower and tomato plots, I pray for Rs. 20/-.
For other works in the vegetable plot I pray for Rs. 30/-.
For the saw man who is cutting the mango tree into planks, I pray for Rs. 5.
I pray to know whether all the tomatoes are to be supported by bamboo or not?
Sulphate of ammonia is a very good chemical manure which can be used both in paddy and vegetables. Dyuman says he can enquire in the market whether it is available now or not. Some days back it was available. Now I pray to know whether we can buy it or not and if so then how much?
You must first say what is the quantity required and if possible also the price of the manure. Blessings.
N.B. On 5th we received Pip ready-to-spray insecticide.
8 October 1944
For the saw man who is cutting the mango tree into planks, I pray for Rs. 15/-.
I pray for Rs. 15/- for the cart bullock’s treatment.
For transplantation of paddy, I pray for Rs. 35/-.
11 October 1944
I pray for Rs. 55/- for transplantation of paddy.
For weeding out of vegetable plots I pray for Rs. 10/-.
Sulphate of Ammonia:
The requirement for an acre of paddy is 40 lbs. We are cultivating 6 acres of paddy. The total required therefore is 240 lbs. The price of sulphate of ammonia is Rs. 1/- per 7 lbs.
We will also require 40 lbs of ammonia for vegetables.
The total of sulphate of ammonia we need is 280 lbs. Price will be Rs. 40/-.
Last year we applied 1 ton of groundnut oil cake as manure on the paddy field. Price was Rs. 150/- per ton.
We have used ¼ ton of groundnut oil cake in the paddy nursery from our stock for vegetables.
I pray to know whether we should use supports for tomatoes or not? We have already used all the bamboo (bought last year) as supports for tomatoes. If we use bamboo for supporting all the tomatoes, we will need at least Rs. 400/- (four hundred) for the purpose, if not Rs. 500/- (five hundred).
For five hundred rupees we could buy 1½ tons of tomatoes! I do not see what advantage we can have in cultivating them at that cost. Blessings.
12 October 1944
I pray for Rs. 30/- for vegetable plot work, weeding and preparing beds.
14 October 1944
I heard that Noren is not working in the Domestic Service nowadays. If we could get him, he would be very helpful for collecting manure and other work. I had a mind to speak about him previously but I couldn’t as he was working in the Domestic Service at the time.
17 October 1944
I pray for 2 safety matches for the engine room and other works.
Herewith I am enclosing a pamphlet on Pip insecticide which I received along with the insecticide a few days back. We are using insecticide for the bullocks.
19 October 1944
I pray for 2 cobweb cleaners.
I pray for Rs. 30/- for vegetable works (weeding, cleaning, etc.).
I pray for Rs. 20/- for paddy work.
Two days back a representative of Parry & Co. (Manure Dept.) approached me for buying Bone Super. They say the rate is Rs. 21-8-0 per bag of 2 cwt. They say it’s very beneficial for paddy. Can I buy a bag of Bone Super from them to see the results.
I enclose herewith their rate quotation.
Dyuman said that sulphate of ammonia is not available in the market now.
The same representative of Parry & Co. (Manure Dept.) told me that they can supply special paddy fertilizer after some days. They will give me a rate quotation when they get the fertilizer.
21 October 1944
We have sown some bottle gourds of good variety. Bottle gourd requires bowers to grow nicely. We need some bamboo for preparing bowers. I pray for Rs. 25/- for the purpose. I pray for Thy sanction.
Palm joists which were bought for the pond (I do not know for what exact purpose) are lying uselessly, so we have used some of them as pillars in the bowers of bottle gourd.
These joists were kept to repair the pond when we would have collected a sufficient number. They ought not to have been used for anything else.
Atal wants the excess paddy seedlings. We have not yet finished the transplanting of paddy. But we think that there will be some excess seedlings when finished. If there is excess can we give it to Atal? I pray for Thy direction.
As there are many ripe coconuts in the trees we intend to pluck them after we finish the transplanting of paddy. I pray for Thy permission.
We would like to deliver the coconuts as soon as we pluck them. We hope to finish the plucking by the end of this month (October).
Can we plant new plantain suckers in a new plot of about ½ acre. The soil of the plot is good for nothing else except plantain. It’s a clay soil on high level ground. Neither vegetable nor paddy will grow there. At present the plot is not under cultivation. We have only recently cleaned the weeds, previously it was full of weeds. I pray for Thy direction.
I pray for Rs. 2-8-0 for buying one cart of horse manure.
When we took delivery of bone meal from Udar, we had to hire coolies to take it (5 bags) from the godown [warehouse] and put it onto the cart. We got the cart from B.S.
I pray for Rs. 50/- for transplantation of paddy.
27 October 1944
I pray for Rs. 20/- for ploughing the paddy field.
I pray for Rs. 30/- for transplantation of paddy.
I pray for Thy sanction.
It’s becoming exceedingly difficult to control the bullocks while ploughing, without nose ropes. I pray for Thy direction.
29 October 1944
I pray for Rs. 30/- for transplantation of paddy.
I pray for Rs. 10/- for vegetable work.
1 November 1944
I pray for Rs. 5/- for plucking ripe coconuts.
I pray for Rs. 10/- for labour for preparing kith.
I pray for Rs. 1-8-0 for tomato seeds which I received yesterday.
I pray for Rs. 30/- for vegetable work.
5 November 1944
I pray for Rs. 2-8-0 for grinding stone. I will need six annas (0-6-0) more for teething (?) (2).
With Thy permission I asked Noren to find one grinding stone for grinding ragi. Yesterday I saw it myself before buying it as I told you.
We are changing the ropes of the bullocks very often as they tear them.
I pray for Rs. 20-0-0 for vegetable work.
I pray for Rs. 10-0-0 for domestic labour.
We have finished plucking ripe coconuts. I pray to know when we can send them to the Dining Room? We will keep tomatoes in the place where we are keeping coconuts as soon as the coconuts are removed. Tomatoes are increasing daily now. I pray for Thy direction.
8 November 1944
We sent 986 ripe coconuts yesterday.
At present we have sufficient stock of woven coconut leaves but we haven’t got space to keep them. If anybody requires kith we can now give it with Thy permission. Weaving of leaves is not yet finished.
I pray for Rs. 5/- for weaving coconut leaves (kith). I pray for Thy sanction. Kith is prepared from the fallen dry leaves only. We do not cut leaves specially for preparing kith.
Chandulal says that as long as “Nanteuil” is not repaired, it won’t be possible to come here to prepare the platform for paddy threshing and other necessary repairs and construction. He says that the work in “Nanteuil” may take 2-3 months more.
Paddy will probably be ready for harvesting and threshing by January (1945). If the platform is not repaired before, we will have to make some other arrangement for threshing, but we can only make another arrangement when we are sure the platform will not be ready. I pray for Thy direction.
I shall see that the platform will be repaired.
While ploughing, the leg of one bullock was slightly cut by the blade of the plough. We have now stopped ploughing. The bullocks became incontrollable and they began to run at their own will with the plough and yoke fitted and at that time the leg of one bullock was scratched by the plough.
I suppose you will have to put back the rope in their nose if they cannot be tamed otherwise. Blessings.
9 November 1944
I heard that one gardener who left work at Cazanove without any reason is now working in the garden service. His name is Rajagopal. Previously when he tried to work in Jalad’s he was asked to bring a certificate from me (Amrita told me) which of course he never asked for.
I pray for Rs. 15/- for weeding paddy.
I pray for Rs. 10/- for the vegetable work.
10 November 1944
A portion of the compound wall of the garden, about 10 ft long on the eastern side, has cracked. Possibly it cracked because of the root of a huge tree just by the side of the wall. The tree is outside the garden on the municipal road.
The ceiling of a room in the main building of the garden has cracked. The crack is about one foot in length. The reason for the crack is unknown to me.
A gardener, Madan Mutu by name, who left work of his own wants to work again. He was getting a pay of Rs. 15/- per month as a daily labourer but on his last payment day he wanted As. 10 per day as pay, which I refused to consider so he left work. Now he is willing to work again at his old pay (Rs. 15/- per month). Now I pray to know if in the above circumstances I can take him or not and if so, what pay shall we give him?
Give him Rs. 15/- plus the dearness allowance which you can give to all the labourers.
At present 4 gardeners are working regularly at the pay of Rs. 15/- per month (no dearness allowance). There is no gardener who will work on a monthly pay (i.e., at Rs. 12/- per month including dearness allowance). But we are in need of 6 gardeners for regular work. There are many gardeners who are willing to work on Rs. 15/- per month. I pray to know whether we can take 2 more gardeners at Rs. 15/- per month.
Yes, you can take two more gardeners.
Last year one ton of oil cake was applied as topdressing in the paddy crop. This year till now we have applied only 50 kg of sulphate of ammonia (total 54 kg of sulphate of ammonia has been received) on one acre. On another one acre we have applied 2 cwt of Bone Super. So there now remain 4 acres to be top dressed with manure. There is no chance of getting any more ammonia. We have also applied ¼ ton of groundnut oil cake in the seedling beds. The supplier from whom we had bought Bone Super, says that within a week they will get paddy fertilizer. Their price is too high. They quote the price as Rs. 10-15-3 per 1 cwt. For one acre, 3 cwt will be required. I would like to apply oil cake on 3 acres and to apply paddy fertilizer on one acre.
So this year we will be able to see what kind of manure gives the best result since we are applying sulphate of ammonia, Bone Super, paddy fertilizer and oil cake (groundnut). We have also applied cow dung at the time of preparing the plots. So I pray for ½ ton of oil cake and 3 cwt of paddy fertilizer.
12 November 1944
The space around the main building, the bullock shed and the small bungalow and the road between the main building and the water tap, has become full of weeds. I pray to know whether we can clean them or not. If we are to clean them, I pray for Rs. 10/- for the purpose. Last time we cleaned was in the month of June/July.
Amrita will explain what must be done.
We will probably get some lemon plants through Krishnaya: 24 plants. He says that if they come, it will be before Darshan. We want to prepare beds now so that we will be able to plant them as soon as they come. Moreover, we have also got some plants which are to be planted now. There are mango (3), guava (2) and lemon (6) plants. I pray for Rs. 10/- for preparing beds.
I think we will be able to supply only about 1000 woven coconut leaves (kith). We won’t have the 2000 which Jalad needs.
15 November 1944
Spikes of paddy grains are appearing in the paddy plants. Paddy will be ready for harvesting and threshing most probably by the first week of January 1945.
Amulya Sirkar needs one rain coat. He comes daily for taking the cart. He gets wet on the way when it rains.
24 November 1944
The cart is broken. When the bullock was put into the cart today, he began to run like anything. The bullock was uncomfortable which resulted in overturning the cart. The cart man is also severely injured. We have sent him to our Dispensary for treatment.
We are unable to control the cart bullock. Nobody dares to drive the cart now.
26 November 1944
I wrote by mistake that the cart is broken. It is badly damaged and requires repair. Can we give it to Chandulal for necessary repairs? I pray for Thy direction.
Today Balnarayan came to see the garden. He was speaking about growing orange plants. I couldn’t tell him anything as I had no information from you.
Amrita must have told you that I asked Balnarayan to go to Cazanove and choose a place to plant orange and lemon trees.
27 November 1944
I pray for Rs. 10/- for weeding of paddy.
About 14-6 kg of tomato is getting spoilt daily. We think it’s owing to heavy rainfall—¼ of the tomato plants have died in these rains. Almost all of the tomato fruits are cracked for the same reason. All the preventive measures known to us have been tried but without any success.
28 November 1944
Amrita never told me for what particular purpose Balnarayan was coming. He told me simply that Balnarayan will come to Cazanove to see and to report to you about it. He never mentioned anything about orange or lemon trees. He said to Sudharkanti that whenever Balnarayan comes we must receive him.
I pray to know what I shall do about the damaged cart? Can I give it to Chandulal for necessary repair? Unless it is repaired we cannot drive the cart with the bullock.
Send it to Chandulal.
About 2000 cauliflower plants and about 1000 tomato plants have been spoiled by rain as well as 100 papaya plants. All the flowers on the tomato plants have disappeared owing to rain. Sponge gourd (newly planted) has also suffered, the area is about one-third of an acre.
Paddy will be ready for harvesting by the 1st week of January ‘45 but the platform where we will thresh it is not yet ready.
Inform Chandulal but so long as it rains nothing can be done.
Today when Amrita and Balnarayan came they wanted to know about the quality of two mango trees which it seems to me that Balnarayan wants to cut for growing oranges. I told them by mistake that both the varieties are not of very good quality. When Sudhirkanti came back from the ashram in the morning I wanted to confirm with him. It came out that one of the varieties is an exceptionally good one. I am sorry for giving them wrong information.
N.B.: I am enclosing a letter from Sutton & Sons which I received a few days back for Thy information. They have replied as I asked for 3 lbs of cucumber, 2 lbs of ladies’ fingers and 1 lb of clover seeds to be sent to me.
You can order at another place. Blessings.
We suspect that an outside person still comes into the garden at night to steal something (such as coconuts, bananas). We have seen some foot marks and we suspect that somebody comes over the compound wall. I do not know what can be done. Again recently we were informed that coconuts are being stolen from the garden. We are trying to keep a vigilant eye to catch the culprit and hope we will be able to do so by your Grace and protection. I pray to know what steps we should take for the prevention of theft?
We expect to give 50 cucumbers daily for some days (when the crop gives the maximum), if they aren’t spoilt meanwhile by rain.
I pray for two kujas and 2 ovens of smallest size.
I also pray for 2 doormats.
15 December 1944
We have started the cleaning of coconut trees which I told you previously. Cleaning is being done under our strict supervision. We are cutting only the useless leaves etc., without any damage to the plants. We are also plucking ripe coconuts. The charge for cleaning each tree is 0-0-6 (half anna). I pray for Rs. 10/- for the purpose.
We are preparing woven coconut leaves also from the fallen and cleaned leaves. For the purpose I pray for Rs. 5-0-0.
For the last two months many cartloads of dried coconut leaves, etc., which can be used as fuel, are lying over here uselessly. I have asked Amrita repeatedly to remove them so that they don’t get spoiled by white ants but without any result. He has taken only some cartloads. We have asked for a definite reply from him but he always says that he will reply after consulting Janardhan. Now I pray to know what I shall do? As for myself I have not the slightest wish to sell them but I think it’s far better to sell them rather than allowing them to be eaten up by white ants, not only in these days of great scarcity but always. I pray for Thy direction.
The leaves will be taken away tomorrow.
I have received a reply from Sutton & Sons of Calcutta which I enclose herewith. They have asked for an advance deposit of Rs. 30/-, I pray for Thy sanction. I will send the money by Money Order. So I will also need Rs. 0-6-0 as money order fee. I will need total Rs. 30-6-0 (Rupees thirty and annas six only). I pray for Thy sanction.
Why not order from Cooper or Pocha?
I have received some cucumber seeds from Soundarya Nursery for Rs. 2-2-0, I pray for Thy sanction.
May we send some tomatoes and cucumbers to Bijon with Dhir Singh? Last year we had sent some tomatoes to him with Thy permission. I pray for Thy direction.
Yes you can send.
I pray for 2 carts from B.S. for supplying ripe coconuts to Dyuman on Monday next. Dyuman agreed verbally to receive coconuts on that day when I asked him in a note through Sudhirkanti. I pray for Thy sanction.
I pray for 4 earthen dishes, which are used for keeping kujas and as puppies’ dishes. At present they are not available with the potters over here.
I pray for Rs. 15/- for weeding of vegetables (cucumber, sponge gourd, tomato and cauliflower) and also for other vegetable works.
18 December 1944
I have cancelled my order with Sutton & Sons as you do not approve of buying seeds from that company.
I have already ordered cucumber and clover seed from Cooper and Pocha.
Today 1 oz cucumber seed has come from Cooper. I pray for Rs. 1-11-0 for the seed. I pray for Thy sanction. I have also received seeds from Pocha for Rs. 3-4-0.
Almost all the tomatoes and all the cucumbers which we are getting now are from Sutton’s seed.
24 December 1944
At present I have got more than 3000 (three thousand) woven coconut leaves. I pray to know what I shall do with them.
I pray for Rs. 20/- as labour for weaving coconut leaves. I pray for Thy sanction. The charge is Rs. 0-10-0 (annas ten only) per 100 woven coconut leaves.
I pray for Rs. 5/- for one cart of horse manure and 2 carts of cow dung manure.
I pray for Rs. 15/- for vegetable and other miscellaneous works to be done by daily labour.
I couldn’t find small size balls in the market which we wanted for the dogs.
Is it necessary to use Bob Martin’s Condition Powder for the puppies? I pray to know. At present it’s available in the market.
Arun was talking about the comb and brush to use for the puppies. I pray to know whether they are necessary or not. If necessary, then from where to get them, or to buy them from the market?
29 December 1944
I pray for Rs. 9/- for horse and cow dung manure which I have bought.
I pray for Rs. 2-0-0 for a dog’s chain.
Copyright: Overman Foundation.
Photograph of Nirmal Nahar courtesy: Shri Sekhar Nahar.