GANDHI IN ACTION network

the Spirit of Mahatma Gandhi lives through every nonviolent action

Afghans are a very brave caste in the world. They keep their world always. They like honesty. They hate those person who don’t keep their word. Mahatma Gandhi knew about him very well. So time to time he spoke and wrote many times. Khan Abdul Gaffer Khan was his crossest friend. The world knows him as a Seemant  Gandhi. He was one the pillar of freedom movements. He believed in Satyagraha.

 Mahatma Gandhi wrote in Young India about afghan on dated 26 may 1920 that In the course of its discussion of my views on non-co-operation the Allahabad Leader asked me to state what I meant by ‘wise and temperate action’ on the part of the Government in dealing with the Khilafat agitation. The U.P. Government has provided me with an excellent illustration of unwise and temperate action almost, if not altogether, amounting to insanity. I refer to the experiment from Mussoorie of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the son of the Hon’ble Pandit Motilal Nehru. Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru’s dignified letter to the Superintendent of Police furnishes the public with all the facts in connection with the order served on him. The whole of the Allahabad public could bear witness, if witnesses to the action of an honorable man were necessary, that Mr. Nehru junior was proceeding with his mother, his sisters and his ailing wife to Mussoorie purely for reasons of health. Having inquired of him, having received an unequivocal, straightforward and full explanation of his presence in Mussoorie, having the knowledge that the embers of the family were with him in Mussoorie, the authorities ought to have accepted Mr. Nehru’s word and refrained from taking further action. It should be remembered that Mr. Nehru in his letter to the Superintendent of Police said :

This was not enough for the authorities. They had lost their mental balance. They wanted an assurance that Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru would not have any communication with the delegation, for we learn from the same letter: And the Government whom Mr. Oakes, the Superintendent of Police, represented, appreciated the position by serving on him the order of experiment two days after the receipt of the letter.1 Mr. Nehru was anxious that the Government should have the full facts before them, [and] therefore told them in the same letter :

In a well-regulated State, individual inconvenience is as much a ‘high matter of State’ as any other, except when individual welfare demonstrably requires to be sacrificed to corporate welfare. In this instance there was nothing, so far as the public are aware, to warrant the inhumanity of tearing a husband from his ailing wife and separating an aged mother from her only son and protector when they have no one else to look after them and are away from home. I call. this insanity of a very severe type and it can only proceed from a guilty conscience. The Government know that the peace terms1 are dishonorable and in breach of the pledges of ministers. They know, too, that the Mohammedan sentiment has been deeply hurt. They know that the Hindu sympathy is completely with them and they know that the Afghan delegation is also in complete accord with the Indian Mohammedan feeling. They are therefore afraid of any Indian of importance being in the position of knowing anything of or from the Afghan delegation. The Government has therefore become hyper-suspicious But we must not answer this madness with madness. I am loath to think that the Government of Sir Harcourt Butler2 desires to goad the people to violence so that he can repeat the frightfulness of the Punjab and terrorize the people into silence and submission. But whether it is the intention of that Government to do so or not, the leaders of the Khilafat movement must prepare themselves for more acts of the Mussoorie type. And the way to success lies not in becoming angry but in welcoming such acts of repression so that they may, ceasing to produce any effect upon those against whom they are directed, cease altogether even as a medicine that does not react upon a patient is necessarily stopped by the administering physician. The severest punishment is stopped as soon as it fails to produce the effect intended.

But the most shocking instance of madness comes from Sind. The AL Wahid, published in Karachi in Sindhi and owned by a responsible merchant, has in its issue of the 13th instant a letter from the Secretary of the Khilafat Committee, Jacobabad, which, after relating that some respectable men connected with the Khilafat movement were sent to jail, proceeds that a respectable zemindar was whipped by the Deputy Commissioner within closed doors and that on his crying out, the police entered the room and administered further beating to him. In Mussoorie, at least, the decorum of law, such as it is, was observed. Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru was not physically molested. But in Sind, if the allegation of the Secretary of the Khilafat Committee is true, a respectable man has been whipped by a Deputy Commissioner, so far as the public are aware, without any cause whatsoever warranting such procedure. The Governor of Bombay enjoys the reputation of being the sanest of Governors and one may trust that he will make the fullest enquiry into the incident and the other allegations made, and publish the result of that enquiry. The Bombay Chronicle supports the AL Wahid statement by giving the version of the same incident received by Mr. Shaukat Ali.

 If the facts set forth are true the offending Deputy Commissioner must be removed. But whether he is removed or not, the duty before those who are guiding the Khilafat movement is absolutely clear. Are they prepared to go through the fieriest of ordeals? An insolent treaty of peace, if it is in any way resisted by those who are affected by it, can only be supported by an equally insolent exhibition of force. And if Indian Mohammedans and Indians in general are more concerned with the revision of the treaty than with showing resentment and anger, they will submit to all the ill-treatment that may be meted out to them

and yet pursue the policy of not submitting to the treaty. Any use of violence against Government violence must kill the Khilafat movement.

Mahatma Gandhi spoke on Non-Co-Operation including Afghan in speech on 11 December 1920 that

It is the duty of every Indian, whether he be Hindu or Mohammedan, Arab or Afghan, male or female, to think deeply over the present condition of India—to analyses minutely the situation. It is also the duty of every one of you to devise ways and methods for the weeding out of the present-day evils.

Gandhi wrote in Young India on dated 4 May 1921 that The reader will find elsewhere a string of questions put by a correspondent. The most important relates to a speech delivered by Maulana Mahomed Ali on the fear of an Afghan invasion. I have not read Maulana Mahomed Ali's speech referred to by the correspondent. But whether he does or not, I would, in a sense, certainly assist the Amir of Afghanistan if he waged war against the British Government. That is to say, I would openly tell my countrymen that it would be a crime to help a Government which had lost the confidence of the nation to remain in power. On the other hand, I would not ask Indians to raise levies for the Amir. That would be against the creed of non-violence accepted by both Hindus and Muslims for the purpose of the Khilafat, the Punjab and swaraj. And I apprehend that Maulana Mahomed Ali could not mean more in his speech than what I have suggested. He could not very well do otherwise, so long as the Hindu- Muslim compact subsists. The Muslims are free to dissolve the compact. But it would be found, upon an examination of the case, that the compact is indissoluble. Dissolution of the compact means destruction of India's purpose. I cannot conceive the present possibility of Hindus and Muslims entering upon a joint armed revolt. And Muslims can hardly expect to succeed with any plan of an armed revolt.

However, I warn the reader against believing in the bogey of an Afghan invasion. Their own military writers have often let us into the secret that many of the punitive expeditions were manufactured for

giving the soldiers a training or keeping idle armed men occupied. A weak, disarmed, helpless, credulous India does not know how this Government has kept her under its hypnotic spell. Even some of the

best of us today really believe that the military budget is being piled up for pro-tecting India against foreign aggression. I suggest that it is being piled up for want of faith in the Sikhs, the Gurkhas, the Pathans, and the Rajputs, i.e., for want of faith in us and for the purpose of keeping us under forced subjection. My belief (I write under correction) is that the anxiety of the Government always to have a

Treaty with the Amir was based, not so much upon the fear of a Russian invasion as upon the fear of losing the confidence of the Indian soldiery. Today there is certainly no fear of a Russian invasion.

I have never believed in the Bolshevik menace. And why should any Indian Government, to use the favourite phrase of the erstwhile idol of Bengal, 'broad-based upon a people's affection', fear Russian, Bolshevik or any menace? Surely a contented and a powerful India (all the more), in alliance with Great Britain, can any day meet any invasion upon her. But this Government has deliberately emasculated us, kept us under the perpetual fear of our neighbors and the whole world, and drained India of her splendid resources so that she has lost faith in herself either for defense or for dealing with the simple problem of

the growing poverty. I, therefore, do certainly hope that the Amir will not enter into any treaty with this Government. Any such treaty can only mean unholy bargain against Islam and India. This Government,

being unwilling to part with O'Dwyerism as an 'emergency measure, being unwilling to keep its faith with the Muslims, (I must decline to treat the Government of India separately from the Imperial Government)

and being unwilling to let India rise to her full height, wants Afghanistan to enter into a treaty of offence against India. I hope that there is but one opinion so far as non-co-operators are concerned. Whilst unwilling ourselves, we cannot wish others to co-operate with the Government.

 Mahatma Gandhi gave a interview which published in The Hindu on 16 Oct 1921 that Afghanistan are really in support of the Khilafat. But when the Khilafat question is out of the way, then the Afghan people will not have any design on India. The warrior tribes who live on loot and plunder are given lakhs of  rupees as subsidy. I would also give them a little subsidy. When the charkha comes into force in India, I would introduce the spinning-wheel among the Afghan tribes also and thus prevent them from attacking the Indian territories. I feel that the tribesmen are in their own way  God-fearing people.

Gandhi wrote in Young India on dated 3 November 1921 that  I do not know anything about the treatment of Hindus in Afghanistan, but I am prepared for the moment to assume the truth of the statement referred to by the correspondent. It would be relevant, if we were trying to introduce Afghan rule in India. I am only concerned with the present misrule in India, which, if it permits me to ride a horse, has reduced me to serfdom in my own country. Nor can I be deterred from overthrowing the present misrule for fear of Afghan or other Muslim rule creeping in. The correspondent will find that when we have attained swaraj, we shall have attained the ability to resist any other misrule. We shall have learnt, without the necessity of a training at Sandhurst, the art of dying for country and religion.

Gandhi wrote in Navajivan on dated 10 November 1921 that the same correspondent asks: “Supposing as a result of nonco- operation, the British severed their connection with us; how can we be sure, in that case, that India will not be invaded by Afghanistan or some other power? If that happens, we should be where we were.” The question does indeed worry some persons. If it worries many we shall not get swaraj, for those who are afraid of Afghanistan, Japan, or some other country will necessarily prefer to remain under the British umbrella. Swaraj means no more and no less than being free from this fear. If we get the strength to drive out the British, will that same strength not help us to resist Afghanistan or Japan ? So long as we have not fully adopted swadeshi we shall remain a prey to fear. The complete adoption of swadeshi is like the virtue of a perfectly faithful wife. Just as no ruffian can cast an evil eye on such a woman, so will none be able to look with a covetous eye at Mother India, attired in self-spun and self-woven clothes. Of what profit will a self-reliant India be to Japan ? How can Afghanistan harm India if her sons, Hindus and Muslims, have become united? He alone has reason to be afraid of Japan who does not want to follow swadeshi. He may fear the Afghan who doubts the Muslims’ sense of honor. The swarajist should shed all fear.

Gandhi wrote in Young India on dated 16 January 1930 that the spectre of an Afghan invasion is raised in certain quarters the moment we talk of independence. 

Gandhi wrote in Harijan on dated 15 October 1931 that a more apposite instance, perhaps, is that of Khan Saheb Abdul Ghaffar Khan, the servant of God as he calls himself, the pride of Afghan as the Pathans delight to call him. 

Gandhi wrote in Harijan on dated 5 August 1939 that it has grieved me to find that internal squabbles have begun to fill the Congress ranks in this province too. Yesterday I was closeted for over an hour with the members of your Provincial Congress Committee. They asked me to show them a way out. I suggest to you that the solution lies in your own hands. You have adopted Khan Saheb Abdul Ghaffar Khan as your uncrowned chieftain. You have given him the proud titles of ‘Badshah Khan’ and ‘Fakhr-e-Afghan’. Let his word be law to you as it was before. He does not believe in argument. He speaks from his heart. You must learn to sink your individual differences and work together like a team under him if the titles that you have bestowed upon him are to be vindicated, and not remain as mere lip compliments.

Gandhi spoke in prayer meeting in New Delhi on 25 Jun 1947 that the refugees from N.W. F. P. and the Punjab I met in Hardwar told me that Hindus residing in Kabul are obliged to wear turbans of a particular color to make them easily distinguishable. In this connection the Afghan Consul1 has today issued a long statement contradicting the report. He says that there is no such thing in Kabul. He says that the Hindus even have temples in Kabul and they have the right to build temples there. If that is so we can feel proud. The carnage in Lahore, Amritsar and Gurgaon is a matter

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