the Spirit of Mahatma Gandhi lives through every nonviolent action
Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav
Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India
Contact No. – 09415777229, 094055338
In spite of the goading of correspondents, wise and otherwise, I have hitherto resisted the temptation to be drawn into the controversy that has arisen over this pamphlet. I have endeavoured patiently to deal with these correspondents by private correspondence. But of late the correspondence has increased beyond my capacity to deal with it privately. The last letter is from a Muslim professor in Bihar. He sends me a newspaper cutting containing a letter rebuking me in that even I had chosen to join in the conspiracy of silence observed by the leading Hindus in general. The professor wants me to “reply sharp”. I gladly do so in the hope that my correspondents will be satisfied with my good faith and understand the reason for my silence. As I do not read newspapers, save a local one, I know nothing about the “conspiracy of silence” by Hindu leaders. The newspaper I read most frequently just now is The Hindu and I do remember having seen in it a strong article against the Rangila Rasul. So far as I am concerned, long before many Mussalmans knew even of the existence of the pamphlet, it came into my possession. In order to test the veracity of my informant, I read it and wrote the following note in Young India, dated 19th June, 1924: Then followed protests from Arya Samajists enclosing viler writing against Arya Samajists and the great founder Rishi Dayanand, telling me that Rangila Rasul and such writings were in answer to the Muslim writings referred to above. I thereupon wrote the following second note (Young India, 10th July, 1924):
Thus I had anticipated the Mussalman wrath. But in the present agitation the meeting-point ends there. I could not approve of the turn the agitation took. I regarded it as excessive and inflammatory. The attack against Justice Duleep singh was uncalled for, undeserved and hysterical. The judiciary is by no means above being influenced by the Government, but it would be wholly unfit to render justice if it was open to popular attacks, threats and insults. So far as the Judge’s integrity was concerned, it should have satisfied any Mussalman that he condemned the pamphlet, as he did, in unmeasured terms. His reading of the section ought not to have been made a cause for virulent attack against him. That other judges have taken a different view from Justice Duleepsingh is irrelevant to the issue. Judges have been often known before now to have given honest and opposite interpretations of the same law. The agitation for strengthening the penal section may be wise. Personally I question the wisdom. Any stiffening of the section will react against ourselves, and will be utilized; as such sections have been utilized before, for strengthening the hold of British authority over our necks. But if Mussalmans or Hindus want to agitate for unequivocally bringing such writings under the criminal law, they have a right to do so. I hold strong views about Government protection. Time was when we knew better and disdained the protection of law-courts in such matters. To stop anti-Muslim writings like the Rangila Rasul is the work of Hindus as to stop anti-Hindu writings is the work of Mussalmans. The leaders have either lost control over mud-flingers or are in sympathy with them. In any case Government protection will not make us tolerant of one another. Each hater of the other’s religion will under a stiffer law seek secret channels of making vicious attacks on his opponent’s religion, or writing vilely enough to provoke anger but veiled enough to avoid the penal clauses of the law.
But then I recognize that at the present moment we are not acting as sane nationalists or as men of religion. We are seeking under cover or religion to wreak mad vengeance upon one another. My correspondents, both Hindu and Mussalman, should understand that I am just now out of tune with the prevailing atmosphere. I recognize fully that I have no power over the fighters whether Hindu or Muslim. My solution for removing the tension is, I admit, not suited to the times. I therefore best serve the nation by holding my peace. But my faith in my solution is as immovable as my faith in the necessity and the possibility of real Hindu-Muslim unity. Though therefore my helplessness is patent, there is no hopelessness is me. And as I believe that silent prayer is often mightier than any overt act, in my helplessness I continuously pray in the faith that the prayer of a pure heart never goes unanswered. And with all the strength at my command, I try to become a pure instrument for acceptable prayer.