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Conflicts in India and Mahatma Gandhi, Part-IV

Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav

Gandhian Scholar

Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India

Contact No. – 09415777229, 094055338

E-mail- dr.yogendragandhi@gmail.com;dr.yadav.yogendra@gandhifoundation.net

 

 

Conflicts in India and Mahatma Gandhi, Part-IV

 

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I seem to read a conflict in some clauses of the summary. Has not the present war shaken one’s confidence in the stability of the economic prosperity of the leading nations, and is not that prosperity co-existent with the deep and distressing poverty of large units of the same nations?”189 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “If there is a conflict with the Savarnas for securing the rights of Harijans, we must put up with it but secure them the rights.”190 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Now that the Working Committee is out, I can only give advice through the Maulana Saheb and the Working Committee. My advice, independently given, may be in conflict with their opinion and it may embarrass them and even put them or me in a wrong position and, what is more, may confuse the public mind. Therefore, I should warn all here and outside India against making any reference to me on such questions as are properly for the President and the Working Committee to advise upon.”191

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “The last point concerns the sparks that are flying about in the conflict with Sarat Babu.3 I have been pained by the episode. I have been unable to trace it to its root. If what you have told me is all there is to it and nothing more remains to be said, then I do not have to inquire further. But if an explanation seems necessary, I very much want to hear it.”192 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “It is not as if I have known you from today. You must act with the assumption that you are working under me and with me. It is a different matter that your other pre-occupations keep you in infrequent touch with me. You will of course know everything as the supervisor. You will no doubt remain in touch with women. If you find any shortcoming anywhere, you will draw my attention to them. Then you will be able to tell me what needs to be told without any conflict and without the feeling that you are taking my time. And yet, you will not feel burdened.”193 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “The description you have given is quite good. I am sure that as the problem about beef was solved so will the other also be solved through patience and love.3 I entrusted certain jobs to you as being the most important, but since I have already accepted responsibility for all other arrangements except medical attention I should certainly like you to take up that work also. So do take up whatever work you can without coming into conflict with anybody.”194

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “To take the second question first, it is a reflection both on Gurudev and me. I have found no real conflict between us. I started with a disposition to detect a conflict between Gurudev and myself but ended with the glorious discovery that there was none.”195 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Although the question had been posed in a communal setting the real cleavage as he saw it was not communal but economic. In Bengal the cultivators might be Muslim and the proprietors Hindu. But in Andhra both the cultivators and proprietors were Hindus and yet the same conflict was in evidence in some parts.”196 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Gandhiji said that what he had recommended was that all people should spin not for self but for swaraj. Such conscious and altruistic spinning on the part of forty millions would constitute a veritable yajna or sacrifice out of which swaraj would emerge. It would knit the classes and masses, the brain workers and the manual labourers, in a living bond of unity. What had however happened was that although their efforts had resulted in providing thousands of men and women with a supplementary source of income, the spinners themselves did not wear khaddar. They did not realize the implications of khadi in terms of swaraj. He had therefore come to the conclusion the if khadi was truly to become the “livery of freedom”1, to use Pandit Jawaharlal’s expression, all those who spin should consciously adopt khadi and all those who wanted to wear khadi should spin. There was thus no conflict between spinning for wages and spinning for sacrifice. The two were supplementary, one of the other.”197 

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I know your difficulty. If you think of the vast size of Africa, the distance and natural obstacles separating its various parts, the scattered condition of its people and the terrible divisions among them, the task might well appear to be hopeless. But there is a charm which can overcome all these handicaps. The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fall. He frees himself and shows the way to others. Freedom and slavery are mental states. Therefore the first thing is to say to you: ‘I shall no longer accept the role of a slave. I shall not obey orders as such but shall disobey them when they are in conflict with my conscience.’ The so-called master may lash you and try to force you to serve him. You will say: ‘No, I will not serve you for your money or under a threat.’ This may mean suffering. Your readiness to suffer will light the torch of freedom which can never be put out.”198 

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Every one of the statements quoted above from Arunabehn’s Press interview is contrary to the views generally held by or attributed to Congressmen. Whether she really holds or does not hold, the views put into her mouth is irrelevant here. For the moment it is enough to examine them on their merits and to show that they are wholly inconsistent with Congress resolutions. The first principle of non-violent action as propounded in the Congress resolution1 of 1920 at its special session in Calcutta under the late Lal Lajpatrai is that of non-co-operation with everything humiliating. It must be remembered that the R.I.N. was founded not for the benefit of the ruled. The men went with their eyes open. Discrimination stares one in the face. It cannot be avoided, if one enters the service which is frankly organized to keep India under subjection. One may, one ought to, try to mend the conditions. That is possible only up to a point. That cannot be achieved through mutiny. Mutiny may conceivably succeed but the success can only avail the mutineers and their kin, not the whole of India. And the lesson would be a bad inheritance. Discipline will be at least as necessary under swaraj as it is now. India under successful mutineers would be cut up into warring factions exhausted by internecine strife. India of the Congress has made little headway in the appreciation of the fight for swaraj, if it is true that hundreds would take their places if the present ratings resigned in pursuance of their campaign against humiliation. Can we have swaraj for the masses, if we are so degraded that hundreds of us are ready to swallow humiliation even to the extent of taking the place of humiliated fellowmen? The very thought is unworthy of Congressmen and that too at the moment when swaraj is believed to be within sight. Those who hold that enlistment in the R.I.N. is their only means of livelihood must have a very poor opinion of them. A soldier’s is a hard life. He is disciplined to work in co-operation and trained to work with the pickaxe and the spade. Such a one will disdain to think that apart from soldiering he has no means of livelihood. We have a poor opinion of soldiers, if we think that they cannot earn their bread by the sweat of the brow. A labourer is any day worthy of his hire. What is, however, true is that a soldier out of his calling will lack the glamour and the amenities provided for him. We have wasted precious twenty-five years, if we have not yet stripped the profession of killing and destroying the thick coat of varnish that has covered it for so long. Aruna Asaf Ali had been reported to have said that the ratings would have gained nothing by resigning. Well, they would have gained honour and dignity, if they had manfully given up their job, and taught the citizens of Bombay the way to save honour and dignity, and they could have spared Bombay the senseless destruction of life, property and very precious food-stuffs. Surely this would have been an achievement not quite beneath notice. The last statement in the reported interview is surely a confusion of thought. Congressmen going to the legislatures for conserving the honour and liberty of the country are not the same as ratings serving for their livelihood with the possibility of being used against their own countrymen and their liberty. Congressmen who go to the legislatures are representatives elected by their voters and they go even if it is only to prevent those from going who will misrepresent the voters. Going to the legislatures may be altogether bad, but there can be no such comparison as has been just adverted to.  Harijan, 17-3-1946 A military man who has any grit in him can take up spinning together with the anterior and posterior processes. He can go in for paper making or any other village craft during his leisure hours. Army men have plenty of leisure when they are not fighting. Even when there is fighting, all are not [and should not be]1 engaged in it though they have to stand by ready. Thus they can learn all those activities which are being conducted for the freedom of India. They should learn the national language in the two scripts. All this study must be coupled with a burning love of freedom and the courage to stand true to one’s conviction and to act accordingly even if one is left alone. In no way does this conflict with military discipline. I do not believe in indulging in indiscipline especially in military service. Nor is there any room in my scheme of things for secret activity. Adherence to these principles is the only correct course for an individual or a people.”199

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I do not consider Bhansalibhai’s fast to be right, and nobody in the Ashram has any right to undertake a fast like this. I have always said that if one wanted to undertake a fast, one must take my permission. The rule still applies. It may be asked, what is to be done when I am away. The answer is that the Manager of the Ashram should be consulted and, if he is in doubt, then some senior member like Vinobaji’s or Kishorelalbhai and others should be consulted. If there is time to consult me, then it is, of course, better to do so. Observance of this rule would save one from any possible conflict of duties.”200

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “There is that point no doubt but has not it happened in Indian history already that the country has settled down to decisions which when given did not please any party, as the Communal Award for instance. The Communal Award has no doubt been acquiesced in thought everybody not excluding the Muslims have been loudly complaining against it. But its successful enforcement is due primarily to the fact that the British have been in power and also strong enough to force down even an unpopular decision of that sort. The conditions will, however, be very different if on the issue of Pakistan you give a decision of a similar nature. India will be declared independent. You will not be here to face the risk that will inevitably follow such a decision. You will not be doing a service to the country by giving a decision which will intensify communal conflict and lead perhaps to a civil war, the responsibility for tackling which will not be yours. So any decision that you give has more chance of being implemented successfully after you leave if it is one which is justifiable on the merits. If on the other hand it is one which attempts merely to decide the dispute between two antagonists by denying to each a portion of his claim, whatever the merits may be, it will leave a trail of trouble behind.”201

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “It is good to be clear about one’s goal. Forget the person who has become the symbol of your goal. But the difficulty is that the person himself has become your goal. That happens to many and they suffer in consequence. When we make the person symbolizing our goal himself our goal, the result is that we feel happy when his actions and words are such as please us, but get offended when they are otherwise. One should, therefore, keep one’s goal independent. Until you can do that, you will suffer, and so will your work. You have been educated, but learnt no wisdom!!! Learn it now. Learn it from me if you don’t have it. In doing this there will be no conflict at all between your goal and the symbol of your goal, for learning wisdom means acquiring knowledge of practical affairs. But remember that practical affairs may be conducted either truthfully or untruthfully. Wake up.”202

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Where work can be done through one mature and experienced woman, only one should be posted, for, posting two women of the same age and experience at the same place is likely to result in conflict between them. There should be no objection, however, to posting two women if one of them is elderly and the other young. This should be treated as an exception. Care should be taken to see that the exception does not become the rule.”203 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “The foregoing answers should make it clear that under no circumstance can India and England give non-violent resistance a reasonable chance whilst they are both maintaining full military efficiency. At the same time it is perfectly true that all military powers carry on negotiations for peaceful adjustment of rival disputes. But here we are not discussing preliminary peace parleys before appealing to the arbitrament of war. We are discussing a final substitute for armed conflict called war, in naked terms, mass murder.”204

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “It is clear that this freedom was taken away by the authors by section 19 which “proposes” (does not order) what should be done. It presupposes that the Chairman of the Constituent Assembly at its first meeting will ask the delegates of the Provinces whether they would accept the group principle and if they do, whether they [would] accept the assignment given to their Province. This freedom inherent in every Province and that given by 15(5) will remain intact. There appears to me to be no other way of avoiding the apparent conflict between the two paragraphs as also charge of compulsion which would immediately alter the noble character of the document. I would, therefore, ask all those who are perturbed by the group proposal and the arbitrary assignment that, if my interpretation is valid there is not the slightest cause for perturbation.”205 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “When service to the family comes into conflict with public service know that there is something wrong. For true service to the family is never opposed to public service.”206

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Today Hindus and Muslims have gone mad and are stabbing each other. How shameful and tragic it is! If one of the communities gives up the madness the conflict will cease immediately.”207 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Wherever there is a clash between groups of workers it should be understood that neither party seeks Government help. If this is assured the conflict tends to stop. And if they do not accept Government help one of the parties should wisely and courageously stay calm. The conflict will then dissolve. Everyone does not readily realize this. Hence, one should acquire enough strength for self-defence. Detecting and removing the cause of conflict is the universally accepted remedy. But where one party is determined to secure power by resorting to conflict, then there is nothing one can do. It is very clear and also painful.”208 

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “If the whole of the Negro population enters into a bloody conflict with the whole of the Indian population, there is not the least doubt that both will perish. One must have the capacity to fight to win in a bloody conflict. Neither party has this. Any help from the whites will be quite out of the question. You will lose even such help as you are now getting. I cannot therefore believe that except for a few crazy individuals there are any Indian groups who would wish to oppose the ghettoes through violence. There is only one sure way and everyone knows it. Your path, therefore, is clear. Even if you are alone you must clearly and courteously state your views and if they put you in prison you must go to prison. I am becoming more and more convinced each day that Sushila should not go there for the present. If she takes care of the children as a good mother should, she will be doing her duty.”209

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I think that India has used for every one of them who is loyal to India and to Indian traditions and conditions and who will be above temptation and corruption. I don’t want to say that they should be disloyal to England. That is not the point. They should not be disloyal to India. These things not conflict but it has happened in history. Most have come here to serve the country of their birth by exploiting India. That is hypocrisy. It is dishonesty. There is no room for dishonesty in any service or outside it.”210 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “About the Madras quota spindles I am absolutely clear. If I were the Government of Madras as you are and I had the backing of public opinion in the shape of mass opinion I would do this in spite of the manufactured opinion of interested parties and, if the worst happened, I would pay for the spindles of my quota and yet not use them. I regard mill-owners’ and Chamber of Commerce’s opinion to be interested in the sense that they and their supporters have made up their minds that what is good for them is good for the whole of India. It is not a question of honesty and dishonesty; it is a question pure and simple of conflict of ideals. Of course, it is open to these gentlemen to retort that in my sense the opinion of the masses may also be called interested. If such be the argument I would hold that the interest of the masses as conceived by them must prevail over that of the classes. It is conceivable that in certain cases the opinion of the classes may be intrinsically right and that of the masses intrinsically absurd. This to my mind is the crux of democracy. Hence, as the Government, if I am confident about the backing of the masses, I would tell the Centre that my Government would pay damages for breach of contract if that be the legal result. I must serve the masses to the best of my ability.”211

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “But it remained unanswered for lack of time. In the meanwhile I received another letter yesterday—it is dated December 30—and it was also yesterday that I embarked on my walking tour. During the tour the correspondence is to be reduced to the minimum. For the past few days, I have been waking up daily at 2.30 or 3 in the morning and writing or dictating. In no other way can I cope with my work. I know that this method of working is wrong but I have no choice. If God wishes to save me, He will. If I restrict myself to the work here and completely stop letter-writing, there will be no need to wake up too early. Maybe I shall have to do that. Another way is that I should appoint old workers and sit back myself. But this seems wrong to me. There is no doubt that it was the proper thing to entrust independent work to the old co-workers. A great deal depends on how much burden Manu can bear. Enlisting someone else will go against my resolve. Throughout the tour I have to face the conflict between dharma and adharma. Manu sleeps in the same bed with me. When I get up I wake her up and dictate to her. So far she too is pulling along well. So much for the background it was necessary to give some; otherwise I could have saved this much time.”212

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “How can we afford to forget the charkha? The spirit behind spinning implies equality of all. The charkha teaches us the unique lesson of identifying ourselves with the forty crores and be in perfect harmony with them. It will not admit of any distinction of high and low, master and servant, which is the cause of conflict in the world today, isn’t it? The charkha warns us against it. How can we, therefore, fail to worship God in the form of the charkha?”213 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Whatever may be said to the contrary, it would be a blunder of the first magnitude for the British to be a party in any way whatsoever to the division of India. If it has to come, let it come after the British withdrawal, as a result of understanding between the parties or of an armed conflict which according to Quaid-e-Azam Jinnah is taboo. Protection of minorities can be guaranteed by establishing a court of arbitration in the event of difference of opinion among contending parties.”214

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “The Congress has come to have a tradition of its own. For years for more than sixty years—it has fought the British Government. As Tulsidas says, “The name of Rama has become greater than Rama Himself”; similarly the name of the Congress has become greater than the Congress. But what is the condition of the Congress now? Congressmen think that now it is their Government. Formerly there were not even a hundred or two hundred rupees in the Congress fund which would need any elaborate accounts to be maintained. With great difficulty a crore of rupees were collected for the Tilak Swaraj Fund. An equal amount could never be collected again for the Congress. Now in every province crores of rupees come to their coffers and the Congress leads thousands of people. But truly speaking one can only be a servant of the people, not their leader. It would be a misfortune if the spirit of service disappears and everyone thinks only of grabbing a share out of the crores of rupees. It would be no service to the nation if devoid of the spirit of service we concern ourselves only with serving our own ends or those of our relatives and friends by seeking the favours of the Chief Minister or by capturing the Congress office to further our own interest. Everywhere Congressmen are thus scrambling for power and favours. This is true not only of Bihar but of all provinces. If this continues, I am afraid, we shall not be able to hold the reins of the Congress firmly, nor will those who are in the Government be able to run it efficiently. A government seems to have only military power behind it, but it cannot run on the strength of that power alone. What is the real power of the Government? The real power is in your hands. Their power is only what you delegate to them. Therefore once you have your own government you become your own master. It is a different matter if you fail to recognize your own strength and remain in darkness. But if we realize that real power is now in the hands of India, i. e., in our own hands, we should use it judiciously. No doubt, there had been riots all over the country, not only in Bihar. But if we do not hold firmly to the power that has come to the hands of the Congress, if we do not have harmonious relations among ourselves and refuse to fulfil our duties, I am afraid our whole purpose would be defeated. And I too shall not be able to do what I have come here for. It might be suggested that I should finish the work of establishing good relations among the Hindus and the Muslims, for which I have come here, and should not take up any other task; that first the Hindu-Muslim conflict should be settled and any other problem should be tackled only after that. But it is not like this, all these problems are inter-related. In tackling one problem others too have to be tackled.”215

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “If the answer to the first question is held valid, the second question does not arise. However, the question may be discussed for a clearer understanding. If the majority of the Muslims obey Qaid-e- Azam Jinnah, a violent conflict should be out of the question, or if the majority of the Hindus take their stand on non-violence, no matter how much violence the Muslims use, it is bound to fail. One thing, however, should be perfectly understood. The votaries of nonviolence cannot harbour violence even in thought, let alone doing it. If Pakistan is wrong, partition of Bengal and the Punjab will not make it right. Two wrongs will not make one right.”216 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “The socialist revolution you envisage is likely to make the Hindu-Muslim tension less acute. It is common knowledge that there are quite a few things at the root of our troubles. Even the end of the Hindu-Muslim conflict will not end all our troubles. It might be said that the Hindu-Muslim conflict has assumed a formidable form and the end of other petty conflicts would undoubtedly reduce the danger. What is happening is this. With the end of slavery and the dawn of freedom, all the weaknesses of society are bound to come to the surface. I see no reason to be unnecessarily upset about it. If we keep our balance at such a time, every tangle will be solved. As far as the economic question is concerned it has to be solved in any case. Today there is gross economic inequality. The basis of socialism is economic equality. There can be no Ramarajya in the present state of iniquitous inequalities in which a few roll in riches and the masses do not get even enough to eat. I accepted the theory of socialism even while I was in South Africa. My difference with the Socialists and others consists in advocating non-violence and truth as the most effective means for any reform.”217

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “If they do not do so then it seems that strife is going to be India’s lot. We are hardly out of the Hindu-Muslim quarrel and we are faced with this new conflict with the Princes. Then there will be the I. C. S. I hope the Civil Service will conduct itself decently and no occasion for a quarrel will arise. But if there must be quarrels there are innumerable little groups who will advance their claims to this bit of the country or that. But what will become of India then? There will be nothing left for anybody. The country will be destroyed. My fate has ever been to be involved in conflict. I want that conflict should now cease. But I cannot see the country lose its freedom while petty factions fight. In the end I shall say that we must go on uttering the names: Rama Rahim, Krishna Karim. We may not abuse the Princes, but we must tell them that they should be the servants of their people; they can be masters no more.”218

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “He says further that Travancore has always been a free country. This is right in a way. In ancient days our country was divided into innumerable kingdoms but India was always considered one country. Our saints and seers established places of pilgrimage in all parts of the country and did many things that promoted its social, economic and religious unity. But politically the country was never united. During the reigns of Chandragupta and Ashoka, India had to a large extent become unified but even so a small bit in the South remained outside the empire. It was only when the English came that for the first time the country became one from Dibrugarh to Karachi and Kanya Kumari to Kashmir. The English did it not for our good but for their own. It is wrong to say that Travancore was free under the British regime. The Princes were never free. They were vassals of the British, they were subservient to them. Now when the British rule is on the way out and power is coming into the hands of the people, for any Prince to say that he was always independent and shall remain independent is wholly wrong and not in the least becoming. True Sir C. P. has been a friend of mine. But what of it? Even if it be my son why should I hesitate to say what is true? If when India is free Sir C. P. declares that Travancore is independent, it means that he intends to enter into a conflict with free India.”219

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Mr. Jinnah says that under the Muslim majority the minorities will live in peace. But what is in fact happening? If after Pakistan has come into being the conflict is further sharpened then it will only mean that we have been made fools of. It will mean that they will be masters and anyone following a different religion will have to stay there as a slave or a servant and admit that he is inferior to them. I am eager to hear from them that all are well treated in Pakistan and that temples also are well looked after. When I see that I shall bow my head to them. But if that does not happen then I shall know that Mr. Jinnah was uttering a false-hood and I shall begin to suspect Lord Mountbatten who although a commander of such a high rank was in such a hurry. He could have allowed the carnage to go on, if it had to go on, and said that he would not bow before the sword.”220

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I am myself in a dilemma. I do not know what to do. I know how things are there. They got Pakistan through conflict. Now everything is sought to be achieved through conflict. My faith is in Ramanama. Let me see what way Rama shows.”221 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “There is a perpetual conflict in man’s heart between the two opposing forces, darkness and light. If these did not exist there would be no life. I am, therefore, struggling to find light. A handful of capitalists are ruling over millions with the help of machines. They are impelled solely by self-interest and greed. I am ready to devote all my energies to ending this economic inequality, but only if I emerge safely from this conflagration. Let us take a warning from the damage we have suffered from the present Hindu-Muslim conflict in the country and the shameful exhibition of ourselves that we have made before the world. If we do not take a similar warning also from the existing economic inequality, we shall suffer the same fate in future that we are doing today. I must admit, however, that today I am alone in thinking as I do. No one has so far paid any attention to the Harijan men, women and children with whom I am staying these days. It remains to be seen how much I can do from here.”222

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Unfortunately the kind of freedom we have got today contains also the seeds of future conflict between India and Pakistan. How can we therefore light the lamps? I shall consider freedom to have been secured only on the day Hindus and Muslims have cleansed their hearts. Only lately some Muslim League friends from the Punjab have held out the threat that if the Boundary Commission does not decide in their favour they will get what they want by fighting. The Sikhs also are holding out similar threats. But when we accept the principle of arbitration we must go by the award. We should not talk of fighting. I know only one kind of fighting and that is Satyagraha. It purifies the soul. If that kind of fighting went on all the time in the world it would be very good for the world. I shall appeal to my Hindu, Sikh and Muslim brethren that once having accepted the Boundary Commission as the arbitrator they should accept its award.”223

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “The Congress alone can tell what its programme will be. As a humble servant of the Congress I know that so long the task before us had been to fight foreign rule. We became rebels and we dislodged that rule. Outwardly we followed truth and non-violence. But inwardly there was violence in us. We practiced hypocrisy and as a result we have to suffer the pain of mutual strife. Even today we are nurturing attitudes that will result in war and if this drift is not stopped we shall find ourselves in a conflict much more sanguinary than the Mutiny of 1857. India then did not have enough awakening and the mutiny was confined only to the spays. All that we did was to cut down Englishmen. In the end the British army overcame the mutineers. God forbid that the present strife should ever assume such dimensions. Therefore not only out of regard for truth and non-violence but also in the interest of the country, for which hundreds of thousands faced imprisonment and suffered hardships, I shall appeal to you not to prepare for warfare. For by so doing you will not only lose the country’s freedom but you will send it back into slavery. England, Russia, America or China—any of these countries may attack and enslave us. Do you, on the fifteenth of August, went to witness the spectacle of Hindus fighting Muslims and the Sikhs being crushed between the belligerents? I would rather that there was an earthquake and we all were crushed to death. Therefore since the Congress belongs to all India it should see to it that Hindus, Muslims, Parsis, and all the other communities are kept happy. I do not suggest that you should try to appease the Muslims or become cowards. I have never advocated cowardice. We should bravely pacify the people. This should be the chief programme of the Congress.”224

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “The first is well stated. Carnal desire was the reality; nationalism was the fashion of the day. Nationalism in the sense of power politics is quite consistent with satisfaction of carnal desire. Instances from life can be multiplied. I have in mind nationalism in the sense of a burning love for the nation including the poorest. It must burn as it always has burnt carnal desire and the like. Thus there is no conflict but always victory of the latter over the former. All-embracing love of the nation leaves not a minute for any occupation that interferes with that ruling pursuit. He is lost who is possessed by carnal desire.”225

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Some people say that Sanskritized Hindi is the national language of India. That English is now on the way out but people will carry on their work in the language of their province. There is a justifiable fear of conflict in this matter which is bound to create mutual hatred. English cannot continue, because there are only a handful of Englishmen here. And it is not up to them to carry on the Government.”226 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “All the Muslims in the camp here want to go. I told them that they would get all the protection here. But one should depend on God’s protection rather than on the protection of the army and the police. Supposing you are eating and death comes while food is in your mouth, no army or police, no doctors or drugs, will be of any use. If we could only stop to think how God holds in his own hand the string of death, the prevailing conflict between trust and distrust would end. If my brother has become mad and wants to kill me, does it mean that I should also go mad? To return evil for evil makes for the fall of both parties. No one can be forced to accept another’s faith.”227

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “What Burma can take from India is its culture which today has fallen into disrepute. Never before in history has there been a single instance of so large a country with such immense population securing its freedom not by violent conflict but through non-violence. You may say that the English had got fed up and they left. That is not so. If there is anything to be learnt from India, it is non-violence. Not that we have learnt the lesson of non-violence fully. We are weak. We took to non-violence because we had not the weapons for a violent fight. Non-violence is the best weapon. Only the pure of heart can use it. I therefore told the Burmese Prime Minister that if he wished to take anything from India it should be this non-violence. He must not think that if India lapsed into barbarity, how could Burma which took its religion from India advance? I told him that if he wanted to copy India he must copy the good qualities that India once had and still retained. He must not take anything barbarous. We must export only what is good so that the world may learn from us. Had India not attained its freedom, Burma and Ceylon also would not have attained theirs. And India did not become free by resorting to the sword. And if we did not need the sword for securing freedom, we will not need it for sustaining it. If we cannot keep our freedom without the sword, then I shall think that India has done nothing for the world. Today we have an army. Attempts are being made to strengthen it. Attempts are also being made to further enlarge the Navy and the Air Force. I declare that in this way we are not really strengthening ourselves. We shall be doing no good to the world in this way. And if the world learns this kind of thing from us it is not going to gain anything, rather it will be doomed.”228

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I am passing through a difficult time. I have not a moment to spare. I am convinced that this communal conflict is not of the common people’s making. A handful of persons are behind it. Whose fault is it if I do not see amity even between these two . . .? If the ocean itself catches fire, who can put it out? Falsehood has spread so much that one cannot say where it will end.”229 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Today there is talk of war everywhere. Everyone fears a war breaking out between the two countries. If that happens it will be a calamity both for India and for Pakistan. India has written to the U. N. because whenever there is a fear of conflict anywhere the U. N. is asked to promote a settlement and to stop fighting from breaking out. India therefore wrote to the U. N. O. However trivial the issue may appear to be, it could lead to a war between the two countries. It is a long memorandum and it has been cabled.3 Pakistan’s Zafarullah Khan1 and Liaquat Ali Khan have since issued long statements. I would take leave to say that their argument does not appeal to me. You may ask if I approve of the Union Government approaching the U. N. O. I may say that I both approve and do not approve of what they did. I approve of it, because after all what else are they to do? They are convinced that what they are doing is right. If there are raids from outside the frontier of Kashmir, the obvious conclusion is that it must be with the connivance of Pakistan. Pakistan can deny it. But the denial does not settle the matter. Kashmir has acceded to India. And India has accepted the accession upon certain conditions. If Pakistan harasses Kashmir and if Sheikh Abdullah who is the leader of Kashmir asks the Indian Union for help, the latter is bound to send help. Such help therefore was sent to Kashmir. At the same time Pakistan is being requested to get out of Kashmir and to arrive at a settlement with India over the question through bilateral negotiations. If no settlement can be reached in this way then a war is inevitable. It is to avoid the possibility of war that the Union Government has taken the step it did. Whether they are right in doing so or not God alone knows.”230

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “If a girl like you had not come to me with such a complaint and instead if I were to hear that Subhadra had been killed, while trying to save Muslims from Hindus, I would dance for joy. I feel that only when Hindu men and women thus bravely sacrifice their lives will this conflict end.”231 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Where people live in groups there are bound to be some conflicts. I do not remember any occasion when this couple might have been a party to any such conflict or the cause of one. Totaramji loved the soil. Farming was his very life. He came to the Ashram years ago and never left it. Men and women, young and old, always sought his guidance. He brought unfailing solace to them.”232 Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I am sure the little differences2 will vanish. But things may have to await my return from Wardha. That won’t be long. The Government is composed of patriots and no one will do anything that is in conflict with the interests of the country. I am sure that they must hold together at all costs and they will. There is no difference of substance.”233

 

 

References:

 

  1. LETTER TO M. VISVESVARAYA, June 12, 1945
  2. LETTER TO SHYAMLAL, July 23, 1945
  3.   The Hindu, 6-8-1945
  4. LETTER TO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, October 5, 1945
  5. LETTER TO MRIDULA SARABHAI, October 14, 1945
  6. LETTER TO MUNNALAL G. SHAH, December 16, 1945
  7. Visva-Bharati News, Vol. XIV, No. 9
  8. VOL. 89: 7 DECEMBER, 1945 - 24 FEBRUARY, 1946 185
  9.   VOL. 89: 7 DECEMBER, 1945 - 24 FEBRUARY, 1946 187 
  10. Harijan, 24-2-1946
  11. Harijan, 10-3-1946
  12.   LETTER TO KRISHNACHANDRA, March 7, 1946
  13.   VOL. 90: 25 FEBRUARY, 1946 - 19 MAY, 1946 221
  14.   LETTER TO PREMA KANTAK, April 22, 1946
  15.   VOL. 90: 25 FEBRUARY, 1946 - 19 MAY, 1946 320
  16.   Harijan, 12-5-1946
  17.    Harijan, 26-5-1946
  18. Silence Day Note, May 20, 1946
  19.   VOL. 91 : 20 MAY, 1946 - 8 AUGUST, 1946 229
  20.   LETTER TO KASHINATH TRIVEDI, August 20, 1946
  21. LETTER TO MANILAL GANDHI, September 1, 1946
  22.   Harijan, 3-11-1946
  23. LETTER TO T. PRAKASAM, January 4, 1947
  24.   LETTER TO SHRIKRISHNADAS JAJU, January 8, 1947
  25. REMARK TO MANU GANDHI, April 28, 1947
  26. VOL. 95: 30 APRIL, 1947 - 6 JULY, 1947 45
  27. Harijan Sevak, 1-6-1947
  28. VOL. 95: 30 APRIL, 1947 - 6 JULY, 1947 135
  29.   Harijan, 1-6-1947
  30. VOL. 95: 30 APRIL, 1947 - 6 JULY, 1947 273
  31.   VOL. 95: 30 APRIL, 1947 - 6 JULY, 1947 277
  32. Prarthana Pravachan–I, pp. 163
  33.   LETTER TO RAMESHWARI NEHRU, June 26, 1947
  34.   A LETTER, July 1, 1947
  35. Prarthana Pravachan–I, pp. 265
  36. Prarthana Pravachan–I, pp. 277
  37.   Harijan, 19-10-1947
  38.   Prarthana Pravachan—I, pp. 435
  39.   The Hindustan Times, 3-12-1947
  40.     Prarthana Pravachan—II, pp. 168
  41. A LETTER, December 17, 1947
  42. Prarthana Pravachan—II, pp. 265
  43.   NOTE TO SUBHADRA GUPTA, January 5, 1948
  44. Harijanbandhu, 18-1-1948
  45. TALK WITH DEVDAS GANDHI, January 29, 1948

 

 

 

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