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Letters from Anagarika Dharmapala and Edmund Hewavitarna to Piotr Kropotkin


Archive: State Archive of the Russian Federation

Reference: State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF) Piotr Kropotkin Papers, Fond 1129, opisi 2, 893 (Edmund Hewavitarna) and 2915 (Anagarika Dharmapala)

Date Range: 1904-1908

Number of sheets: 8

Number of letters: 4


Anagarika Dharmapala, the Buddhist revivalist and writer (pictured left), and Edmund Hewavitarna, the businessman (pictured right), were brothers from Sri Lanka. Both corresponded with Kropotkin, mentioning each other and their other brother Dr Charles Alwis Hewavitharana. The letter from Edmund as can be seen from below is however very brief. I have noted them in first person to save time and will do this more often from now on (my personal summaries of correspondence are written in first person).


Anagarika Dharmapala to Piotr Kropotkin, 1 March 1904

Glad to inform you I have been asked to speak to the National Indian Association to give a lecture on poor children in India and their education. I hope you and your family will try and be present. After I venture to Paris before going back to India. I visited Holland and Denmark and visited Dr Van Eeden and his colony at Walden. I liked his methods and they are healthy. In Denmark I found the Village high school under Dr L. Schroeder. its an excellent school well suited to the agricultural people in India. I have enjoyed greatly visiting Denmark. I met Mr Harrison and Mr Naorgi (? - illegible) and also Mr Hyndman. 'It is always best not to expect anything, but work on, and not complain.'


Anagarika Dharmapala to Piotr Kropotkin, 25 May 1904

Writing from Benares (which is now known as Varanasi). I am at last in Benares where I hope to start the first school in a village about 4 miles out of the city in a place called Sarnath where Prince Siddhartha first preached his sermon on the noble life of unselfishness and founded his religion of Love and service. 180 million are illiterate in the Ganges valley. No teachers, no preachers, no patriot is there for these millions. I am going to start this great and noble work and am convinced of its success because there is no political bugbear to frighten me. I only need a few workers. I wish you could visit with your family for a year and help. The village children will be taught the useful subjects. The Brahmins will I hope not fight me. My ways are the ways of peace and love.' The Maharajah of Benares has become the patron and the two big British official have visited. I have 10000 rupees but need another 20000 (about £1300) perhaps English friends might help me? A guinea subscription is not much for an Englishman. India has given England these 300 years over £600,000,000 in taxes and revenues. England is wealthy; but 100 millions of people in India are starving. My brother is in London. His address is 31 Keppel St, WC.


Anagarika Dharmapala to Piotr Kropotkin, 25 December (No Year)

When I was at Hull House, Chicago last June I learnt from Jane Addams that you are interested in Sociological questions and she thought that I might call on you on my way to India. I leave New York on the 16th by the Umbria for Liverpool and would love to call on your if you let me know whether I could when I am in London. I am interested in the elevation of the downtrodden Sudra Class in India, and I am trying to get the children trained in arts and crafts of ancient India; 'and also to form social centres in the pure Aryan lines of ancient India.' There is abnormal poverty in India at present. Ignorance in the cause of the present suffering and its removal will bring happiness to several millions. Under his name AD lists himself as 'Educational Commisioner'.


Edmund Hewavitarna to Piotr Kropotkin, 20 September 1908

Writing from the Westminster Palace Hotel in London. My brother Dr Hewavitarna has probably written to you that we had come visiting England and would like to 'pay our respects to you.' I regret that we won't have the pleasure of seeing you as we have to leave London by the end of the week. As we have to leave earlier than originally intended. Mr Dharmapala and the Dr have asked me to have you remember us all to your wife and daughter

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