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Letter from Bhagwan Singh Gyanee to Ellen Watumull

Letter from Bhagwan Singh Gyanee to Ellen Watumull dated January 1, 1961. Gyanee discusses his thoughts on the progress of India and his disillusionment with the lack of "men and women of vision with public spirit and Nationalism." He also discusses his efforts to start a "Self-Culture Research Institute," and establish a modern library.

Date: January 1, 1961
Subject(s): Ellen Watumull
Type: Correspondence
Language: English
Creator: Bhagwan Singh Gyanee
Location: Saproon, India

“Gyan Bhavan”-V & P O Saproon, Simla Hills,
Punjab, INDIA


Jan 1st, 1961

My dear Ellen:

Your sweet letter, understabding and true to facts, as well as “Glad Tidings” both reached us. Yes, my dear, you are quite right. This country is enormously rich in potential resources, minerals timber, oil, history as well as human creativity. But unfortunately there are not enough men and women of vision with public spirit and Nationalism. Nations do not decline, nor are they conquered from without; they become victims of first their weaknesses and then foreign invasions.

India is rich in these lessons too. However, there is undiminished vitality in this Race which has not died out. After a thousand and years of slavery she still could produce J C Bose in Science, Tagore, gore in poetry and literature, Gandhi in moral idealism and compassion, and Nehru in Nationalism and Humanities. She always has given birth to unique individuals in spite of outer conditions. What other nation in history could or has survived a thousand years of subjugation? But enough of this.

Now, India is gripped with the spirit of industrialization, Nation building and defense. We see monumental structurs arising all over India, side by side ancient civilization is going under while the New arise. Ours is a small effort in the field of thought and Education HOW to stimulate a “new way of thinking”, with the vision of a poet, the certainty of a scientist and the discipline of a soldier? This is the most neglected field in all countries, especially India.

In spite of my ill-health and age what little experience I h have had in the past two years, since my return, gives me encouragement: Our youth is hungry for something new, rare and constructive. They are seeking not only enlightenment but guidance for maturing and espression. It is with this conviction that I started this “Self-Culture Research Institute” and am trying to establish in it a Modern Science. Hence, the building of a LIBRARY equipped with modern books a as a necessity.

You are entirely right that there are many rich people in this Land but most are devoid of the spirit of Patriotism. They always have been self-centered banias and there are still plenty following the same old line of greed, graft and grabbing…but, like everything else, their activities will come to an end abruptly one of these days inthis fast changing world and society.

Something in the form of what might be called “mitigation” is in the process of making and will take definite shape within a few weeks. It was to bridge over the gap that I mentioned it. The situation is further aggravated by untoward delays and obstacles in the exchange of American currencies into Indian Rs. which has taken as much as 19 weeks to accomplish and which is still a problem in spite of our correspondence with the Reserve Bank of India and the Ministry of Finance.

However, I greatly appreciate your frankness and deeply value your friendship. This period of exigency too shall pass. I want you to know that I consider you one of the creative workers who is dedicated to the making of a better man thereby a better world, and my approaching you was in the spirit of a fellow-worker who understands the difficulties of another worker, in search of a solution…not in anyway taking advantage of our friendship.

Please convey my New Year Greetings and love to the children, with best wishes and thanks to yourself,

Sincerely Yours,


My health seems to improve with the cold weather and plenty of rest. To-day, New Year's Day, it snowed in the morning and it was a beautiful sight to behold. Would that you had been here to enjoy the exotic scenery and experience…Natives tell us that this treat takes place only every five or six years. Just now, only the highest peaks on the North are still blanketted with snow. BSG

Collection: Bhagwan Singh Gyanee Materials
Donor: S.P. Singh
Digitizer: Anne Vagts, Samip Mallick
Item History: 2012-08-05 (created); 2013-05-03 (modified)

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