Tolstoy's Letters to Gandhi

Leo Tolstoy:  Letters to a Hindu

"Tolstoy's letters issue a clarion call for nonviolent resistance – he admonishes against false ideologies, both religious and pseudo-scientific, that promote violence, an act he sees as unnatural for the human spirit, and advocates for a return to our most natural, basic state, which is the law of love. Evil, Tolstoy argues with passionate conviction, is restrained not with violence but with love – something Maya Angelou would come to echo beautifully decades later."

I hadn't realised that Tolstoy and Gandhi had had such an extensive correspondence. But it made me sad to read these letters from an age where someone could write "Love is the only way to rescue humanity from all ills" and have some hope that it could be achieved.  We live in an age where violence has become the standard reaction to difficult situations, internationally and in our own communities.

I agree with the author of this article, Maria Popova, that Tolstoy's   "words bear extraordinary prescience today, as we face a swelling tide of political unrest, ethnic violence, and global conflict."


  1. Has extreme violence ever brought lasting peace?

    1. Never, Mel. Violence only begets violence.


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