the Spirit of Mahatma Gandhi lives through every nonviolent action
Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav
Senior Gandhian Scholar, Professor, Editor and Linguist
Gandhi International Study and Research Institute, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India
Contact No. – 09404955338, 09415777229
Mailing Address- C- 29, Swaraj Nagar, Panki, Kanpur- 208020, Uttar Pradesh, India
Last Message of Mahatma Gandhi to South African Indians
It must be borne in mind that success in the struggle will depend on what the Transvaal Indians do while those arrested remain in jail. It is well therefore that the Government has arrested some persons. It will be a testing time for the others. Cowards will spread panic. Blacklegs will say all manner of things. It is my appeal to all my brave fellow-countrymen to remain undaunted by these, and be ever mindful of their pledge and keep up their courage. At the very beginning of the campaign we had resolved not to compromise our honour by submitting to the obnoxious law, whatever the cost. We find hundreds of examples, among the British, of persons sacrificing their all for honour and country. It is only when we do likewise that we shall become esteemed men and retains that esteem. I therefore take it that Indians will remain unshaken, whether or not they get licences, whether or not they are allowed credit, and that they will only become confirmed in their resolve to endure imprisonment or deportation.
If only they will prepare themselves in their own minds, they will find that jail is not something to be frightened of. Let no one look to the others; let each depend on his own strength, so that even if in fear a few Indians submit to the outrageous law, the others will not be tempted to do likewise. You will, in this manner, serve your interests as well as those of the country. If you make the mistake of registering, you will throw away success just as it has come within reach. Not only does this righteous campaign call for courage; but it is also based on truth. Large numbers [of Indians] must be faced with the prospect of starvation. It will be necessary to provide for their relief. This will call for honesty of the highest degree. Contributions will be received from various towns, and these will have to be utilized to good purpose. Let no one ask for aid unless in need. Those in charge of distributing aid should act with the utmost scrupulousness in utilizing whatever funds or food-grains are placed at their disposal. This struggle will test the strength of all the elements of character and lay bare all our weaknesses. Let us be careful, then, after sending so many people to jail not to throw away this opportunity by panicking and submitting to the law. We should bear no grudge against those who have taken out registers or may do so hereafter. If you are convinced that their action is not right, you will not feel the slightest temptation to follow their example. Those who have the courage to fight till the last will be able to earn a livelihood anywhere in the world.
The Transvaal Indians put up with hardships of every Description physical, mental, financial. You are asked to make sacrifices only of money. Do not therefore fall behind. Money will be needed in plenty. Your congratulations are welcome; they are of some use. But they will have meaning only if you follow them up with financial aid. This is a campaign that concerns not only the Transvaal Indians, but the entire Indian community. Your interests, too, are at stake. It is in your power to give financial aid; equally, you can help by holding meetings and passing resolutions. Success will never be ours if we do not at all costs keep Hindu- Muslim differences out of matters of common interest. Let everyone accept this as a guiding principle. We shall succeed only when we feel a strong urge that all of us, Hindus and Muslims alike, belong to the same land and are children of the same mother.
Indian Opinion, 18-1-1908