GANDHI IN ACTION network

the Spirit of Mahatma Gandhi lives through every nonviolent action

Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav

Senior Gandhian Scholar

Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India

Contact No. – 09415777229, 094055338

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

Mail Address-   C- 29, Swaraj Nagar, Panki, Kanpur-208020, U.P.

 

 

The Hindu and Mahatma Gandhi, Part-I

 

The Hindu is a reputed English newspaper. It is started since 1878 in Chennai. It covered a lot of activities of Mahatma Gandhi. So it is a good source for Mahatma Gandhi’s material. If anybody wants to know through News paper about Gandhi, It is easy for him. So I am collecting all related things and publish on net. Mahatma Gandhi remarks in visitor books, “I had the honour to visit this excellent institution. I was highly delighted with it. Being a Gujarati Hindu myself, I feel proud to know that this institution was started by Gujarati gentlemen. I wish the institution a brilliant future which I am sure it deserves. I only wish that such institutions will crop up all over India and be the means of preserving the Aryan religion in its purity.” 1

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to The Hindu, “It would be ungrateful on my part if I did not thank the Madras public for rallying round the cause of the British Indians in South Africa as they did so admirably last evening. Indeed, all seemed to have vied with one another in making the meeting a huge success which it evidently was. I beg to thank you for your cordial support to the movement. It, perhaps, shows the absolute righteousness of the cause and the reality of our grievances. My special thanks are due to the courteous Secretaries of the Madras Mahajan Sabha, who worked with unremitting zeal in organizing the meeting and made the cause their own. I only hope that the sympathy and support, thus far extended, will be continued and we shall not be long in securing justice. I beg to assure you and the public that the news of the last night’s meeting, when it reaches South Africa, will fill the hearts of the Indians with gladness and joy and thankfulness. Such meetings will form a silver lining to the cloud of distress that is hanging over our heads. As it was very late last evening I was unable to give expression to the above sentiments hence this letter. The scramble for the copies of the pamphlet was a scene I will not easily forget. I am issuing a second edition of the pamphlet, and as soon as the copies are ready, they can be had from the obliging Secretaries of the Sabha.” 2 

Mahatma Gandhi gave an interview to Reuter, “Interviewed by Reuter with regard to the correspondence which has been exchanged between Senator Campbell, the well-known sugar planter, and Mr. Gandhi, the latter said that he had appealed to Mr. Campbell to continue his co-operation and sympathy. Mr. Campbell in reply stated that he adhered to his opinion that the three pound tax should be repealed and still supported Indians seeking redress from harsh administration and the licensing laws, bus that nevertheless he appealed to Mr. Gandhi to desist from lawlessness and not to refuse to accept a Commission composed of men with judicial minds and of known integrity. Mr. Gandhi replied that the strike and the subsequent courting of imprisonment were a protest against the Government’s breach of the promise to Mr. Gokhale and the three pound tax, not against the general treatment of indentured Indians. He feared a recrudescence of former measures if the Government rejected the Indians’ prayers.” 3

Mahatma Gandhi sent a cable to The Hindu, “The final settlement of passive resistance completed ending eight years’ continuous struggle passive resistance submission entirely met by legislative and administrative measures as required. Sprit of justice prevailed ministers speeches and debates in both houses. For this honourable result though reached principally through suffering of thousand of resisters by way of quickening South African conscience community is deeply grateful to imperial Indian and Union Governments and to Andrews and Pearson’s Mission. If Above sprit continues to pervade administration existing laws no fear revival of trouble.” 4

Mahatma Gandhi gave an interview at Rangoon, “When I asked Mr. Gandhi to grant me an interview on behalf of a local paper, he simply would not hear of it. He said he had returned from S. Africa only recently. He had not given to the, problems of India the amount of study they required. Therefore he could not be expected to speak on Indian affairs with any semblance of authority. He was at present engaged in studying our problems on the late lamented Mr. G. K. Gokhale’s advice. When his studies were over, then he would be “out for interviews”, but not till then. But I assured him that I had no intention of asking him his opinions about topical matters. I said I represented a Tamil paper, that I was myself a member of the Tamil community and that I merely intended to ask him what he thought of the Tamil community with whom he must have largely come into contact in South Africa. On hearing this he seemed greatly relieved and without the slightest pause, like a man who had already formed his final opinions on this subject, he delivered a glowing eulogy on the Tamil people. He started by saying he could quote chapter and verse for the good work performed by them in South Africa. They were of the greatest help to him during the passive resistance struggle. All the Indian communities were of very great help to him, but especially the Tamil community. It was considered a shame among them for one man not to have gone to jail at least once for the common cause. That was not true of any other community, but that was entirely true of the Tamil. When he first met them, he learnt to admire them. Ever afterwards he had found them better and better. He said: I consider I have more in common with the Tamil community than with any other. I asked him whether he had any ulterior purpose in visiting Burma. . . . His answer was simple. He said: My work lies in India.” 5

 Mahatma Gandhi at Gurukul, Hardwar, “An address of welcome was presented to Mr. Gandhi by the Brahmacharis of Gurukul Kangri on 8th April when Mr. and Mrs. Gandhi visited Hardwar in connection with the Kumbhi. Professor Mahish Charan Sinha with his band of Brahmacharis went to receive him. Brahmachari Budhaduri read the address.... Mr. Gandhi replied: I feel indebted to Mahatmaji for his love. I came to Hardwar only to pay my respects to Mahatma Munshiram, as Mr. Andrews has pointed out his name as one of the three great men whom I ought to see in India. He thanked the Brahmacharis for the help they sent to their Indian brothers in Africa and felt specially grateful to the Brahmacharis and the Mahatma for the love and affection they extended towards his Phoenix boys while visiting Gurukul and felt that his pilgrimage to Gurukul was satisfactory. He said: I am proud that Mahatmaji has called me his brother in a letter, Please pray that I may deserve his fraternity. I have come after 28 years to my country. I can give no advice. I have come to seek guidance and am ready to bow down to anyone who is devoted to the service of the Motherland and I am ready to lay down my life in the service of my country and I shall no more go abroad. One of my brothers is gone. I want guidance. I hope the Mahatmaji will take his place and be a brother to me now. To the Brahmacharis, he said: Whatever your aim is, is the aim of all of us. May God fulfil our mission? Mahatma Munshiram, while welcoming him, said that he was glad to hear that he would live in India and would not go abroad like others to serve India from outside. He hoped that Mr. Gandhi would be the beacon light of India.” 6

 Mr. and Mrs. M. K. Gandhi arrived in Madras last Saturday evening from Hardwar by the Delhi Express. . . “A little disappointment was in store for the people, however. When the train arrived, they searched all the first and second class compartments, but in vain, and they were inclined to think that Mr. Gandhi and Mrs. Gandhi had not come. But a guard told them that Mr. and Mrs. Gandhi had come by that train and they were in a compartment at the end of the train. A long search discovered Mr. and Mrs. Gandhi sitting in a third class compartment. Mr. Gandhi looked thin and emaciated, a loose shirt soiled by four days of continuous travel covered his body and a pair of trousers similar in appearance covered his legs. There was a rush to that compartment and the crowd was such that about a dozen policemen who had been there found them powerless to manage the crowd and had to leave it to shift as best it could. Shouts of “Long live Mr. and Mrs. Gandhi”, “Long live our hero” and “Bande Mataram” rang from the crowd. Mr. Gandhi bowed to them in acknowledgement and was conducted to the carriage. The students who had gathered in large numbers unyoked the horse and volunteered to drag the carriage. The carriage was taken, dragged by the students, to the premises of Messrs Natesan & Co., Sunkurama Chetty Street, Mr. Gandhi being cheered all along the way, Mr. and Mrs. Gandhi standing in the carriage and with hands cooped [sic] acknowledging the greetings. On arrival at Messrs Natesan & Co., where he will be stopping during his stay in Madras, Mr. Gandhi stood up in the carriage and in a loud and clear voice said that he was exceedingly thankful to them for the expression of their love to him. He was fagged on account of the four days continuous journey and wished to be allowed to say good night. He would, however, be free to see them during his stay here between three and five o’clock on all days and discuss questions affecting their common good. Mr. and Mrs. Gandhi expect to stay in Madras for a fortnight. Mr. Gandhi desires to visit the places in the South wherefrom the bulk of South African Indian settlers have been drawn in order to meet such of the passive resisters as have settled in India.” 7

Mahatma Gandhi spoke at Gokhale Club, Madras, “Yesterday evening, Mr. Gandhi spent about an hour and a quarter in a conversation in the home of the Servants of India Society with the members of the Gokhale Club, an association of young men started some six months ago for the study of pubic questions under the guidance of experienced elders. Mr. Gandhi described his “Phoenix” settlement scheme as one meant for the training of people for the service of the motherland. Special attention would be paid in the settlement to the formation of character and several vernaculars would be taught in it. In his opinion, the observance of brahmacharya was essential for all national service and would be a necessary condition for admission into the settlement. Everyone there would be taught and required to do some manual work, preferably in connection with agriculture. The settlement would be open to persons of sexes, married and unmarried. Asked if he would recommend brahmacharya and poverty as ideals to be followed by the whole country, he said he would do so without the least hesitation; only he would recognize it as a religious impossibility for a whole nation to follow them. For conduct in life he would recommend two principles above all love of truth and ahimsa, the latter including abstention from giving any pain to the body or to the mind and extending to all forms of life. As to the application of passive resistance to politics, he warned his hearers that it was a very difficult weapon to use and should not be resorted to except as a last resource and in defence of the dearest interest like national honour. He was against the use of all machinery and would use only hand-made articles. When the meeting dispersed, everyone present felt chastened by his inspiring words.” 8

Mahatma Gandhi spoke at public reception, Madras, “On behalf of my wife and myself, I am deeply grateful for the great honour that you here and Madras, and, may I say, this Presidency have done to us and the affection that has been lavished upon us in this great and enlightened not benighted Presidency. (“Hear, hear.”) If there is anything that we have deserved, as has been stated in this beautiful address, I can only say I lay it at the feet of my Master under whose inspiration I have been working all this time under exile in South Africa. In so far as the sentiments expressed in this address are merely prophetic, Sir, I accept them as a blessing and as a prayer from you and from this great meeting, that both my wife and I myself may possess the power, the inclination, and the life to dedicate whatever we may develop in this sacred land of ours to the service of the motherland. (Cheers.) It is no wonder that we have come to Madras. As my friend, Mr. Natesan, will perhaps tell you, we have been overdue and we have neglected Madras. But we have done nothing of the kind. We knew that we had a corner in your hearts and we knew that you will not misjudge us if we did not hasten to Madras before going to other Presidencies and to other towns. It was in 1896 that I found in Mr. Gokhale my Rajya guru (Cheers.) and it was in the same year that I found in Madras, as I did not find in any other place, that deep abiding sense of religion. It appeared in 1896 before you as a stranger pleading a forlorn cause. I then discovered that Madras, or this Presidency, had that instinctive power to distinguish between a right cause and a wrong cause, and it was here that you appreciated in its fullest measure the gravity of the situation that I was then endeavouring to place before my countrymen throughout India. (“Hear, hear.”) And the impressions that I took with me to South Africa in 1896 have been more than amply verified throughout my experience in South Africa. The drafters of this beautiful address have, I venture to say, exaggerated the importance of the little work that I was able to do in South Africa out of all proportion. (Cries of “No, no”.) As I have said on so many platforms, India has been still suffering under the hypnotic influence produced upon it by that great saintly politician, Mr. Gokhale. (Cheers.) He issued in my favour a certificate which you have taken at its surface value, and it is that certificate which has placed me in a most embarrassing position, because I do not know that I shall be able to answer the expectations that have been raised about myself, and about my wife in the work that lies before us in the future on behalf of this country. But, Sir, if one-tenth of the language that has been used in this address is deserved by us, what language do you propose to use for those who have lost their lives, and therefore finished their work on behalf of your suffering countrymen in South Africa? What language do you propose to use for Nagappen and Narayansamy, lads of seventeen or eighteen years, who braved in simple faith all the trials, all the sufferings, and all the indignities for the sake of the honour of the motherland? (Cheers.) What language do you propose to use with reference to Valliamma, that sweet girl of seventeen years who was discharged from Maritzburg prison, skin and bone, suffering from fever to which she succumbed after about a month’s time? (Cries of “Shame”.) It was the Madrassees who of all the Indians were singled out by the great Divinity that rules over us for this great work. Do you know that in the great city of Johannesburg, it is found among the Madrassees that any Madrassee is considered dishonoured if he has not passed through the jails once or twice during this terrible crisis that your countrymen in South Africa went through during these eight long years? You have said that I inspired these great men and women, but I cannot accept that proposition. It was they, the simpleminded folk, who worked away in faith, never expecting the slightest reward, which inspired me, who kept me to the proper level, and who compelled me by their great sacrifice, by their great faith, by their great trust in the great God to do the work that I was able to do. (Cheers.) It is my misfortune that I and my wife have been obliged to work in the limelight, and you have magnified out of all proportion (Cries of “No, no”.) this little work we have been able to do. Believe me, my dear friends that if you consider, whether in India or in South Africa, it is possible for us, poor mortals, the same individuals, the same stuff of which you are made, if you consider that it is possible for us to do anything whatsoever without your assistance, and without your doing the same thing that we would be prepared to do, you are lost, and we are also lost, and our service will be in vain. I do not for one moment believe that the inspiration was given by us. The inspiration was given by them to us, and we were able to be interpreters between the powers who called themselves the governors and those men for whom redress was so necessary. We were simply links between those two parties and nothing more. It was my duty, having received the education that was given to me by my parents, to interpret what was going on in our midst to those simple folk, and they rose to the occasion. They realized the importance of birth in India, they realized the might of religious force, and it was they who inspired us, and let them who have finished their work, and who have died for you and me, let them inspire you and us. We are still living, and who knows whether the devil will not possess us tomorrow and we shall not forsake the post of duty before any new danger that may face us? But these three have gone forever. An old man of 75 from the United Provinces, Harbat Singh, has also joined the majority and died in jail in South Africa, and he deserved the crown that you would seek to impose upon us. These young men deserve all the adjectives that you have so affectionately, but blindly lavished upon us. It was not only the Hindus who struggled, but there were Mahomedans, Parsis and Christians, and almost every part of India was represented in the struggle. They realized the common danger, and they realized also what their destiny was as Indians, and it was they, and they alone, who matched the soul-force against the physical forces. (Loud applause.) The meeting then terminated with a vote of thanks to the Chair.” 9

Mahatma Gandhi spoke at reception by Muslim League, “On Saturday evening, the Muslim League was At Home to Mr. and Mrs. Gandhi at Lawley Hall, Mount Road. The refreshments being over, Mr. Yakub Hasan made a short speech. He promised on behalf of the Mussalman community co-operation in any work he might undertake for the benefit of India. Mr. Gandhi made a short reply in which he thanked them on behalf of his wife and himself for their kindness to them. A promise had been made to him and it was an unconditional promise to co-operate with him in anything he might undertake on behalf of this country. It was one thing to promise and another thing to fulfil. He gave them fair warning that he was most exacting to demand the discharge of obligations, especially when so voluntarily given and it might give them an uncomfortable hour when he called upon them to discharge their obligations. In this connection, he remembered two instances of the valuable services rendered by the Mussalmans in South Africa. One was that of Ahmed Mohamed Kachadia who was a merchant. He had not known a more stubborn man than Kachadia. He went to jail several times for the sake of the country and his European creditors forced insolvency upon him for political reasons, but he was able to pay those 20s In the £. The other instance that of Abdul Sahiba Muezzin His services were as valuable as any rendered by anybody else and he also forsook everything and was reduced to poverty on behalf of the mother-country. He and his family were now in the Phoenix settlement in Natal. He again reminded them of the promise they made. On Sunday afternoon at 2.30 p.m., the ladies of the Abeda Aikya Ananda Samajum gave an At Home at their premises in Ramasammy Street, Manady, where an address was also presented.” 10

Mahatma Gandhi spoke at Madras law dinner, “Under the auspices of the Madras Bar Association, the Annual Madras Law Dinner, the third of its kind, came off on Saturday evening last in the open air under bright moonlight on the extensive grounds adjoining the Moore Pavilion, People’s Park, and Madras. The Hon’ble Mr. F. H. M. Corbet, Advocate-General, was in the chair.... Mr. Gandhi, who is now in Madras, and who, as a Barrister, had been invited to the Dinner, was honoured with a seat on the left of the Hon’ble the Advocate-General. . . . The Chairman asked Mr. Gandhi to propose the toast of “The British Empire”. . . .In proposing the toast of “The British Empire”, Mr. Gandhi said: Mr. Chairman, Mr. Lord Chief Justice, My Lords and Gentlemen, when the learned Advocate-General came to me and asked me to propose this toast, I must confess that I was taken aback a little. I don’t think he noticed it himself, but I make that confession to you. I felt that I was invited to be present here as at one time I belonged to the profession to which you or most of you belong and as I happen to be in Madras, but that I would be allowed to remain a silent spectator of what was going on here. But when he mentioned the thing I did not hesitate to say, “Yes, I shall be pleased to speak to this toast.” During my three months’ touring in India as also in South Africa, I have been often questioned how I, a determined opponent of modern civilization and an avowed patriot, could reconcile myself to loyalty to the British Empire of which India was such a large part, how it was possible for me to find it consistent that India and England could work together for mutual benefit. It gives me the greatest pleasure this evening at this very great and important gathering to re-declare my loyalty to this British Empire and my loyalty is based upon very selfish grounds. As a passive resister I discovered that I could not have that free scope which I had under the British Empire. I know that a passive resister has to make good his claim to passive resistance, no matter under what circumstances he finds himself, and I discovered that the British Empire had certain ideals with which I have fallen in love, (“Hear, hear.”) and one of those ideals is that every subject of the British Empire has the freest scope possible for his energies and efforts and whatever he thinks is due to his conscience. I think that this is true of the British Empire as it is not true of any other Governments that we see. (“Hear, hear.”) I feel as you have perhaps known that I am no lover of any Government and I have more than once said that Government is best which governs least, and I have found that it is possible for me to be governed least under the British Empire Hence my loyalty to the British Empire. (Loud applause.) And may I before I sit down and ask you to drink to the prosperity of the British Empire remind you of one singular incident that happened during this campaign in far-off South Africa. General Beyers, the trusted Commander of one of the Forces of the British Empire, rose against that Empire in open rebellion. It was only possible for him under that Empire and that Empire alone not to have himself shot on sight. General Smuts wrote to him in a memorable letter that he himself was at one time a rebel. He wrote to General Beyers that it was only under the British Empire that it was possible for him to save his life. Hence my loyalty to the British Empire. (Loud applause.) The toast was very enthusiastically honoured.” 11

Mahatma Gandhi spoke at social service league, Madras, “The members of the Social Service League met Mr. Gandhi in the Ranade Hall, on Sunday (25-4-1915) last at 3.30 p.m. Among those present were Mr. S. Sreenivasa Aiyangar, Rao Bahadur T. Vijayaraghavachariar, and the Hon’ble Mr. V. S. Srinivasa Sastri, Mr. V. T. Krishnamachariar, Mr. G. A. Natesan and others. Mr. Gandhi, who was introduced to the meeting by Mr. T. Vijayaraghavachariar, said that he had already heard something of the work which the League had been doing. He began by saying that all social work must be undertaken in a spirit of utter humility and self-sacrifice and instanced Mr. Gokhale who had said that to all true pubic workers, work was its own reward. Absence of recognition or appreciation should not in the least deter a social worker from carrying on his work strenuously and with whole-hearted attention. Whatsoever a social worker attempted to do, he must not cease his labours till he had carried it out to a successful conclusion. He was against half-hearted social service and said that such work had better not be done at all. Asked what he would advise the members of the League to do who were only able to devote a limited time each week, Mr. Gandhi said that they should devote at least the few hours they could spare with concentrated attention. He said that if they had the right sort of men undertaking social work, success could certainly be hoped for. He was unable within the time at his disposal to enter into the question of moral and religious instruction for the depressed classes, while he fully believed that it was a most important point, a true understanding of which would enable them to get to the heart of the people among whom they worked. Asked about the policy of mingling Panchnama boys with caste boys in night schools, he said that there was nothing bad in it at least in the night schools, where the time of teaching was so short, and that neither the Panchnama boys nor the caste boys would be prejudicially affected in any way. As to elementary education generally and the policy of extending that education indefinitely, he said that there was no doubt that it did a great deal of good and was an eminently desirable thing, though it was not indispensable for the sanitary betterment of the masses. Even people without knowledge of the 3 R’s were capable of understanding hygienic principles and capable of co-operating in any proper scheme of improvement that might be devised for them. He said that there was a great and crying need for active work in that direction work or put into their head the notion that manual labour was degrading and said that he saw nothing wrong in a cobbler who had taken the M. A. degree following that profession throughout his life. Regarding intemperance, Mr. Gandhi said that it was an evil which it was extremely difficult to remedy and that it could be successfully overcome only by a great religious worker. He gave a practical instance of this from the experience of a social worker in Poona. Mr. Gandhi in closing the conversation said that for social service what was required was not money but men, men of the right sort with right sentiments, with an abiding love and charity and full of faith in their work. If they did have such men, money would come, even unasked. Much social work could be done without any money. It was very difficult for an educated man to understand and appreciate exactly the feelings that prompted the masses unless he retraced his steps; and it was impossible for any man however wealthy to do any social work if he was inspired thereto not by the work itself, but by any feeling of personal ambition. It was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for such a man to do any effective social service. With a vote of thanks to Mr. Gandhi, the meeting terminated at 4 30 p.m.”  12

Mahatma Gandhi spoke at reception by Arya Vaishya, “Mr. Gandhi in his reply thanked them for the honour shown to his wife and himself and said that the credit for their success in South Africa should be given to other people who have settled in South Africa. He said it was not the time for him to detail all they were doing in South Africa The Indians in South Africa were petty agriculturists, hawkers and petty traders. The cause of the trouble was the stubborn competition which our people offered to the Europeans domiciled in South Africa. There were many other things also which accounted for the struggle but the chief reason was the competition. Although a settlement had been arrived at for the time being, he said, they might assume that some kind of irritation remained and would remain so long as that competition remained. He said our people there were not men with scholarship or university men, but he told them that they were men that would enable India to be raised in the scale of nations.” 13

Mahatma Gandhi spoke at reception at Tranquebar, “Yesterday the public of Tranquebar and suburbs accorded a grand and enthusiastic reception to Mr. and Mrs. Gandhi. Over 2,000 people representing numerous classes, particularly passive resisters, had assembled. . . .Mr. K. C. Subramaniam, Barrister, read the welcome address. The distinguished guest replied in appropriate terms exhorting his fellow-workers to take to passive resistance whenever and wherever needed for adopting constitutional agitation sic. His speech was heard with rapt attention and it was translated on the spot. The Hon’ble Mr. V. S. Srinivasa Sastri was next called upon to speak. He exhorted the audience to work for their country’s cause.” 14

Mahatma Gandhi at reception at Mayavaram, “I am exceedingly thankful to the people of Mayavaram for presenting this beautiful address to me on the occasion of our simply passing through your town or village whatever it may be called, on our way to places where I had hoped to see two widows of men who were shot during the struggle that went on for eight years in South Africa. I was able to see only one and I was not able to see the other whom I hope to see before I leave this great Presidency. It is therefore a matter of greater pleasure to me that you would not allow us to pass unnoticed even though it was simply a passing tour through Mayavaram. But if we have appreciated or if we have received this great and warm welcome from you, may I, for the first time after my return to the sacred land, commence to make a return for the great love that has been shown to us and with your permission I shall try to do so this evening. It was quite by accident that I had the great pleasure of receiving an address from my Panchama brethren, and there they said that they were without convenience for drinking water, they were without convenience for living supplies and they could not buy or hold land. It was difficult for them even to approach courts. Probably, the last is due to their fear, but a fear certainly not due to themselves and who is then responsible for this state of things? Do we propose to perpetuate this state of things? Is it a part of Hinduism? I do not know; I have now to learn what Hinduism really is. In so far as I have been able to study Hinduism outside India, I have felt that it is no part of real Hinduism to have in its hold a mass of people whom I would call “untouchables”. If it was proved to me that this is an essential part of Hinduism, I for one would declare myself an open rebel against Hinduism itself But I am still not convinced and I hope that up to the end of my life, I shall remain unconvinced that it is an essential part of Hinduism. But who is responsible for this class of untouchables? I have been told that wherever there are Brahmins, it is they who are enjoying supremacy as a matter of right, but today are they enjoying that supremacy? If they are, then the sin will fall upon their shoulders and that is the return I am here to declare and that is the return I shall have to make for the kindness you are showing to me; often my love to my friends, relations and even to my dear wife takes devious ways. So my return here for your kindness is to suggest a few words which you were probably not prepared to listen to and it does seem to me that it is high time for Brahmins to regain their natural prerogative. I recall to my mind the beautiful verse in the Bhagavad Gita. I shall not excite the audience by reciting the verse, but give you simply a paraphrase. “The true Brahmin is he who is equimindedness towards a Pundit and a Pariah.” Are the Brahmins in Mayavaram equimindedness towards the Pariah and will they tell me if they are so equimindedness and, if so, will they tell me if others will not follow? Even if they say that they are prepared to do so but others will not follow, I shall have to disbelieve them until I have revised my notions of Hinduism. If the Brahmins themselves consider they are holding a high position by penance and austerity, and then they have themselves much to learn, then they will be the people who have cursed and ruined the land. My friend the Chairman has asked me the question whether it is true that I am at war with my leaders. I say that I am not at war with my leaders. I seemed to be at war with my leaders because many things I have heard seem to be inconsistent with my notions of self-respect and with self-respect to my motherland. I feel that they are probably not discharging the sacred trust they have taken upon their shoulders; but I am not sure I am studying or endeavouring to take wisdom from them, but I failed to take that wisdom. It may be that I am incompetent and unfit to follow them. So, I shall revise my ideas. Still I am in a position to say that I seem to be at war with my leaders whatever they do or whatever they say does not somehow or other appeal to me. The major part of what they say does not seem to be appealing to me. I find her words of welcome in the English language. I find in the Congress programme a Resolution on Swadeshi. If you hold that you are Swadeshi and yet print these in English, then I am not Swadeshi. To me it seems that it is inconsistent. I have nothing to say against the English language. But I do say that, if you kill the vernaculars and raise the English language on the tomb of the vernaculars (“Hear, hear.”), and then you are not favouring Swadeshi in the right sense of the term. If you feel that I do not know Tamil, you should pardon me, you should excuse me and teach me and ask me to learn Tamil and by having your welcome in that beautiful language, if you translate it to me, then I should think you are performing some part of the programme. Then only I should think I am being taught Swadeshi. I asked when we were passing through Mayavaram whether there had been any handlooms here and whether there were handloom weavers here. I was told that there were 50 handlooms in Mayavaram. What were they engaged in? They were simply engaged chiefly in preparing sarees for our women. Then, is Swadeshi to be confined only to the women? Is it to be only in their keeping? I do not find that our friends, the male population, also have their stuff prepared for them in these by these weavers and through their handlooms. (A voice: There are a thousand handlooms here.) There are, I understand, one thousand handlooms; so much the worse for the leaders! (Loud applause.) If these one thousand handlooms are kept chiefly in attending to the wants of our women, double this supply of our handlooms and you will have all your wants supplied by your own weavers and there will be no poverty in the land. I ask you and ask our friend the President how far he is indebted to foreign goods for his outfit and if he can tell me that he has tried his utmost and still has failed to outfit himself, or rather to fit himself out with Swadeshi clothing and therefore he has got this stuff, I shall sit at his feet and learn a lesson. What I have been able to learn today is that it is entirely possible for me, not with any extra cost to fit myself with Swadeshi clothing. How am I to learn, through those who move or who are supposed to be movers in the Congress, the secret of the Resolution? I sit at the feet of my leaders, I sit-at the feet of Mayavaram people and let them reveal the mystery, give me the secret of the meaning, teach me how I should behave myself and tell me whether it is a part of Swadeshi, whether it is a part of the national movement that I should drive off those who are without dwellings, who cry for water and that I should reject the advances of those who cry for food. These are the questions which I ask my friends here. Since I am saying something against you, I doubt whether I shall still enjoy or retain the affection of the student population and whether I shall still retain the blessings of my leaders. I ask you to have a large heart and give me a little corner in it. I shall try to steal into that corner. If you would be kind enough to teach me the wisdom, I shall learn the wisdom in all humility and in all earnestness. I am praying for it and I am asking for it. If you cannot teach me, I again declare myself at war with my leaders.” 15

Mahatma Gandhi spoke at Industrial Conference, Bombay, “Mr. Gandhi in support of the Resolution said that they could not keep their industries if their industrial population went away from India and returned, if it ever did, a broken reed, a moral wreck. The two adjectives, ‘injurious” and “immoral” were not chosen haphazard but they bore the “imprimatur” of their deceased countryman, Mr. Gokhale. He urged them to insist on the abolition of the system even while the war was going on. Mr. K. N. Aiya Iyer seconded the Resolution. He said that this wretched system no human ingenuity could mend and, therefore, must be ended. Mr. Muzumdar, in supporting, said that no more despicable system could be invented by man.” 16

Mahatma Gandhi spoke on Swadeshi at Missionary Conference, “It was not without much diffidence that I undertook to speak to you at all. And I was hard put to it in the selection of my subject. I have chosen a very delicate and difficult subject. It is delicate because of the peculiar views I hold upon swadeshi, and it is difficult because I have not that command of language which is necessary for giving adequate expression to my thoughts. I know that I may rely upon your indulgence for the many shortcomings you will no doubt find in my address, the more so when I tell you that there is nothing in what I am about to say, that I am not either already practicing or am not preparing to practice to the best of my ability. It encourages me to observe that last month you devoted a week to prayer in the place of an address. I have earnestly prayed that what I am about to say may bear fruit and I know that you will bless my words with a similar prayer. After much thinking, I have arrived at a definition of swadeshi that perhaps best illustrates my meaning. Swadeshi is that spirit in us which restricts us to the use and service of our immediate surroundings to the exclusion of the more remote. Thus, as for religion, in order to satisfy the requirements of the definition, I must restrict myself to my ancestral religion. That is the use of my immediate religious surroundings. If I find it defective, I should serve it by purging it of its defects. In the domain of politics, I should make use of the indigenous institutions and serve them by curing them of their proved defects. In that of economics, I should use only things that are produced by my immediate neighbours and serve those industries by making them efficient and complete where they might be found wanting. It is suggested that such swadeshi, if reduced to practice, will lead to the millennium. And as we do not abandon our pursuit after the millennium because we do not expect quite to reach it within our time, so may we not abandon swadeshi even though it may not be fully attained for generations to come. Let us briefly examine three branches of Swadeshi as sketched above. Hinduism has become a conservative religion and therefore a mighty force because of the Swadeshi spirit underlying it. It is the most tolerant because it is non-proselytizing, and it is as capable of expansion today as it has been found to be in the past. It has succeeded not in driving, as I think it has been erroneously held, but in absorbing Buddhism. By reason of the swadeshi spirit, a Hindu refuses to change his religion not necessarily because he considers it to be the best, but because he knows that he can complement it by introducing reforms. And what I have said about Hinduism is, I suppose, true of the other great faiths of the world, only it is held that it is specially so in the case of Hinduism. But here comes the point I am labouring to reach. If there is any substance in what I have said, will not the great missionary bodies of India, to whom she owes a deep debt of gratitude for what they have done and are doing, do still better and serve the spirit of Christianity better, by dropping the goal of proselytizing but continuing their philanthropic work? I hope you will not consider this to be impertinence on my part. I make the suggestion in all sincerity and with due humility. Moreover, I have some claim upon your attention. I have endeavoured to study the Bible. I consider it as part of my scriptures. The spirit of the Sermon on the Mount competes almost on equal terms with the Bhagavad Gita for the domination of my heart. I yield to no Christian in the strength of devotion with which I sing, “Lead, kindly Light” and several other inspired hymns of a similar nature. I have come under the influence of noted Christian missionaries belonging to different denominations. And I enjoy to this day the privilege of friendship with some of them. You will perhaps therefore allow that I have offered the above suggestion not as a biased Hindu but as a humble and impartial student of religion with great leanings towards Christianity. May it not be that the “Go Ye unto the entire World” message has been somewhat narrowly interpreted and the spirit of it missed? It will not be denied, I speak from experience, that many of the conversions are only so called. In some cases, the appeal has gone not to the heart but to the stomach. And in every case, a conversion leaves a sore behind it which, I venture to think, is avoidable. Quoting again from experience, a new birth, a change of heart, is perfectly possible in every one of the great faiths. I know I am now treading upon thin ice. But I do not apologies, in closing this part of my subject, for saving that the frightful outrage that is just going on in Europe, perhaps, shows that the message of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Peace, has been little understood in Europe, and that light upon it may have to be thrown from the East. I have sought your help in religious matters, which it is yours to give in a special sense. But I make bold to seek it even in political matters. I do not believe that religion has nothing to do with politics. The latter divorced from religion is like a corpse only fit to be buried. As a matter of fact, in your own silent manner, you influence politics not a little. And I feel that if the attempt to separate politics from religion had not been made, as it is even now made, they would not have degenerated, as they often appear to do. No one considers that the political life of the country is in a happy state. Following out the swadeshi spirit, I observe the indigenous institutions and the village panchayat’s hold me. India is really a republican country, and it is because it is that that it has survived every shock hitherto delivered. Princes and potentates, whether they were Indian-born or foreigners, have hardly touched the vast masses except for collecting revenue. The latter in their turn seem to have rendered unto Caesar what was Caesar’s and for the rest have done much as they have liked. The vast organization of caste answered not only the religious wants of the community, but it answered too its political needs. The villagers managed their internal affairs through the caste system, and through it they dealt with any oppression from the ruling power or powers. It is not possible to deny of a nation that was capable of producing the caste system its wonderful power of organization. One had but to attend the great Kumbha Mela at Hardwar last year to know how skilful that organization must have been, which without any seeming effort, was able effectively to cater for more than a million pilgrims. Yet is it the fashion to say that we lack organizing ability. This is true, I fear, to a certain extent, of those who have been nurtured in the new traditions. We have laboured under a terrible handicap owing to an almost fatal departure from the swadeshi spirit. We the educated classes have received our education through a foreign tongue. We have therefore not reacted upon the masses. We want to represent the masses, but we fail. They recognize us not much more than they recognize the English officers. Their hearts are an open book to neither. Their aspirations are not ours. Hence there is a break. And you witness not in reality failure to organize, but want of correspondence between the representatives and the represented. If during the last fifty years we had been educated through the vernaculars, our elders and our servants and our neighbours would have partaken of our knowledge; the discoveries of a Bose or a Ray would have been household treasure as are the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. As it is, so far as the masses are concerned, those great discoveries might as well have been made by foreigners. Had instruction in all the branches of learning been given through the vernaculars, I make bold to say that they would have been enriched wonderfully. The question of village sanitation, etc., would have been solved long ago. The village panchayat’s would be now a living force in a special way, and India would almost be enjoying self-government suited to its requirements and would have been spared the humiliating spectacle of organized assassination on its sacred soil. It is not too late to mend. And you can help if you will, as no other body or bodies can and now for the last division of swadeshi. Much of the deep poverty of the masses is due to the ruinous departure from swadeshi in the economic and industrial life. If not an article of commerce had been brought from outside India, she would be today a land flowing with milk and honey. But that was not to be. We were greedy and so was England. The connection between England and India was based clearly upon an error. But she (England) does not remain in India in error. It is her declared policy that India is to be held in trust for her people. If this be true, Lancashire must stand aside. And if the swadeshi doctrine is a sound doctrine, Lancashire can stand aside without hurt, though it may sustain a shock for the time being. I think of swadeshi not as a boycott movement undertaken by way of revenge. I conceive it as a religious principle to be followed by all. I am no economist, but I have read some treatises which show that England could easily become a self-sustained country, growing all the produce she needs. This may be an utterly ridiculous proposition, and perhaps the best proof that it cannot be true is that England is one of the largest importers in the world. But India cannot live for Lancashire or any other country before she is able to live for herself. And she can live for herself only if she produces and is helped to produce everything for her requirements within her own borders. She need not be, she ought not to be, drawn into the vortex of mad and ruinous competition which breeds fratricide, jealousy and many other evils. But who is to stop her great millionaires from entering into the world competition? Certainly, not legislation. Force of public opinion, proper education, however, can do a great deal in the desired direction. The handloom industry is in a dying condition. I took special care during my wanderings last year to see as many weavers as possible, and my heart ached to find how they had lost, how families had retired from this once-flourishing and honourable occupation. If we follow the swadeshi doctrine, it would be your duty and mine to find out neighbours who can supply our wants and to teach them to supply them where they do not know how to, assuming that there are neighbours who are in want of healthy occupation. Then every village of India will almost be a self-supporting and self-contained unit exchanging only such necessary commodities with other villages where they are not locally producible. This may all sound nonsensical. Well, India is a country of nonsense. It is nonsensical to parch one’s throat with thirst when a kindly Mahomedan is ready to offer pure water to drink. And yet thousands of Hindus would rather die of thirst than drink water from a Mahomedan household. These nonsensical men can also, once they are convinced that their religion demands that they should wear garments manufactured in India only and eat food only grown in India, decline to wear any other clothing or eat any other food. Lord Curzon set the fashion for tea-drinking. And that pernicious drug now bids fair to overwhelm the nation. It has already undermined the digestive apparatus of hundreds of thousands of men and women and constitutes an additional tax upon their slender purses. Lord Hardinge can set the fashion for swadeshi and almost the whole of India will foreswear foreign goods. There is a verse in the Bhagavad Gita, which, freely rendered, means masses follow the classes. It is easy to undo the evil if the thinking portion of the community were to take the swadeshi vow even though it may for a time cause considerable inconvenience. I hate interference in any department of life. At best, it is the lesser evil. But I would tolerate, welcome, indeed plead for, and stiff protective duty upon foreign goods. Natal, a British colony, protected its sugar by taxing the sugar that came from another British colony, Mauritius. England has sinned against India by forcing free trade upon her. It may have been food for her, but it has been poison for this country. It has often been urged that India cannot adopt swadeshi in the economic life at any rate. Those who advance this objection do not look upon swadeshi as a rule of life. With them, it is a mere patriotic effort not to be made if it involved any self-denial. Swadeshi, as defined here, is a religious discipline to be undergone in utter disregard of the physical discomfort it may cause to individuals. Under its spell, the deprivation of pin or a needle, because these are not manufactured in India need cause no terror. A swadeshi will learn to do without hundreds of things which today he considers necessary. Moreover, those who dismiss swadeshi from their minds by arguing the impossible forget that swadeshi, after all, is a goal to be reached by steady effort. And we would be making for the goal even if we confined swadeshi to a given set of articles, allowing ourselves as a temporary measure to use such things as might not be procurable in the country. There now remains for me to consider one more objection that has been raised against swadeshi. The objectors consider it to be a most selfish doctrine without any warrant in the civilized code of morality. With them, to practice Swadeshi is to revert to barbarism. I cannot enter into a detailed analysis of the proposition. But I would urge that Swadeshi is the only doctrine consistent with the law of humility and love. It is arrogance to think of launching out to serve the whole of India when I am hardly able to serve even my own family. It were better to concentrate my effort upon the family and consider that through them I was serving the whole nation and, if you will, the whole of humanity. This is humility and it is love. The motive will determine the quality of the act. I may serve my family regardless of the sufferings I may cause to others, as, for instance, I may accept an employment which enables me to extort money from people. I enrich myself thereby and then satisfy many unlawful demands of the family. Here I am neither serving the family nor the State. Or I may recognize that God has given me hands and feet only to work with for my sustenance and for that of those who may be dependent upon me. I would then at once simplify my life and that of those whom I can directly reach. In this instance, I would have served the family without causing injury to anyone else. Supposing that everyone followed this mode of life, we would have at once an ideal State. All will not reach that state at the same time. But those of us who, realizing its truth, enforce it in practice will clearly anticipate and accelerate the coming of that happy day. Under this plan of life, in seeming to serve India to the exclusion of every other country, I do not harm any other country. My patriotism is both exclusive and inclusive. It is exclusive in the sense that in all humility I confine my attention to the land of my birth, but it is inclusive in the sense that my service is not of a competitive or antagonistic nature. It is the key to a proper practice of ahimsa or love. It is for you, the custodians of a great faith, to set the fashion and show by your preaching, sanctified by practice, that patriotism based on hatred “killeth” and that patriotism based on love, give life.” 17

Mahatma Gandhi spoke at Madras Social Service League, “I have been asked to speak to you this evening about social service. If this evening you find that I am not able to do sufficient justice to this great audience, you will ascribe it to so many engagements that I hastily and unthinkingly accepted. It was my desire that I should have at least a few moments to think out what I shall have to say to you but it was not to be. However, as our Chair Lady has said, it is work we want and not speeches. I am aware that you will have lost very little, if anything at all, if you find at the end of this evening’s talk that you have listened to very little. For social service, as for any other service on the face of the earth, there is one condition indispensable, viz., proper qualifications on the part of those who want to render that service. The question to be asked is whether those of us who are already engaged in this kind of service and those who aspire to render that service, possess the necessary qualifications; because you will agree with me that servants, if they can mend matters, can also spoil matters, and in trying to do service, however well-intentioned that service might be, if they are not qualified for that service, they will be rendering not service but disservice. What are those qualifications? I imagine I should almost repeat to you the qualifications that I described this morning to the students in the Y.M.C.A. Hall, because they are of universal application and are necessary for any class of work, much more in social service at this time of the day in our national life in our dear country. It seems to me that we do require truth in one hand and fearlessness in the other hand. Unless we carry the torch-light of truth, we shall not see the stall in front of us and unless we carry the quality of fearlessness we shall not be able to give the message that we might want to give and on proper occasion. When the occasion for testing us comes and such occasions do not occur to men so often as they might imagine, they come but rarely, they are special privileges when that supreme final test comes, unless we have this fearlessness in the other hand, I feel sure we shall be found wanting. But let me remind you also that these two qualities may be trained in us in a manner detrimental to ourselves and to those with whom we may come in contact. This is a dangerous statement almost to make, as if truth could be ever so handled, and in making that statement I would like you also to consider that truth comes not as truth but only as truth so called. You will recall the instance of Ravana and Rama and that of Lakshmana and Indrajit in that inimitable book the Ramayana. Lakshmana and Indrajit both possessed the same qualities. Both had performed austerities, both had attained a certain amount of self control. It was therefore most difficult to conquer Indrajit. We find what Indrajit possessed was mere dross and what Lakshmana possessed was of great assistance not only to him, not only to the side on whose behalf he was fighting, but to us, to whom he has left a treasure to cherish and to value. What was that additional quality that Lakshmana possessed? Lakshmana was divinely guided. He had religious perception. His life was guided upon principle and based upon religion, and the life of Indrajit upon irreligion. Indrajit knew not where he was going. Life without religion is life without principle and life without principle is like a ship without a rudder. Just as a ship without a rudder and the helmsman will be tossed about from place to place and will never reach its destination, so will a man without religious backing, without the hard grasp of religion, be tossed about on this stormy ocean of the world without ever reaching its destined goal. So I suggest to every social servant not to run away with the idea that he will be able to serve his fellow-countrymen without these two qualities duly sanctified by religious perception and divine guidance. Immediately we have these two qualities, even our mistakes which we would still commit will not be mistakes that would redound to our discredit or injure the cause that we may handle or the persons of the communities we may want to serve. Our Chair Lady was good enough to take me to the Pariah Village just behind the compound of the Bishop’s house and described to me the condition that little village was in before this League commenced its operations there. After seeing the village, I make bold to state that it is a model of cleanliness and order and it is much cleaner than some of the busiest and the most central parts of Madras. That is undoubtedly a creditable piece of work on the part of the Social Service League; and if the League can penetrate into the recesses of Madras and do the same kind of work, certain things which I have noticed in Madras will be conspicuous by their absence when I next pay my visit to this great city. (Cheers.) These things stare us in the face and have got to be remedied. When our Pariah brethren are amenable to reason and persuasion, shall we say that the so-called higher classes are not equally amenable to reason and persuasion and are not amenable to hygienic laws which are indispensable in order to live the city life? We may do many things with immunity but when we immediately transfer ourselves to crowded streets where we have hardly air to breathe, the life becomes changed, and we have to obey another set of laws which immediately come into being. Do we do that? It is no use saddling the Municipality with responsibilities for the condition in which we find not only the central parts of Madras, but of every city in India without exception. No municipality in the world will be able to override the habits of a class of people which have been handed to them from generation to generation. It is a work that can be done only by patient toil and divine guidance. With these two immutable weapons in our hands, it can be done only by such bodies as Social Service Leagues. We are pulsating with a new life and a new vision which will add dignity to our nationality and will carry the banner of progress forward. The question of sanitary reform in big cities is practically a hopeless task if we expect our municipalities to do this unaided by this voluntary work. Far be it from me to absolve the municipalities from their own responsibilities. There is a great deal still left to be done by them. Only the other day I read with a great degree of pain a report about the proceedings of the Bombay Municipality, and the deplorable fact in it is that a large part of the time of the Municipality was devoted to talking over trifles while they neglected matters of great moment. Municipalities will be able to do very little unless there is a demand for further improvement from the people themselves. In one of the model principalities in India, officials and others complained that in spite of their ceaseless vigilance and efforts, it was not possible for them to turn the people away from the ways they had adopted and which had become part of their being. Still the principality showed signs of visible progress. The Dewan of the place assured him that had it not been for the valuable assistance rendered by the Social Service League, people would not have done half of what they had done. Terrorism of officials is of no avail. I agree with that celebrated saint who said: “It is far better that people should even remain drunkards rather than that they should become sober at the point of the sword.” If a man, after an appeal is made to his heart and after due effort is made to redeem him from bad ways, continues to believe he must drink himself to death, I am afraid we must allow him to do so; we cannot help it; we are not going to heap evil upon evil. It is no use doing physical harm to the man. He may cease to drink for the time being, but he will return to it again and again. There is little merit in the physical denial when there is no mental co-operation. The streets of Kashi, the most sacred place for the Hindus, are dirty. The same dirt was to be seen even in the sanctuary where the din and noise was very great. In such a place there should be perfect orderliness, peace, silence, gentleness and humility. All these things, I regret to say, were conspicuous by their absence. The priests do not accept anything less than a rupee from the devotees. That could not have been the position of Kashi Vishwanath in ages gone by. When people are transported to Kashi in a railway Express by millions and when the surroundings are altered, one condition of orderly progress is that people should respond to the new conditions. What is true of Kashi Vishwanath is true in the majority of cases in our holy temples. Here is a problem for the Social Service League. It must not be a problem for Government or municipality. Immediately you begin going to schools, you leave temples alone. Before we fit ourselves for this work, we should revolutionize the educational system. We are today in a false position and I promise that we shall incur the curse of the next generation for this great tragedy enacted before us. It is a matter for thinking and redressing. The task may be Herculean, but this reward will be adequate. I have placed a few thoughts before you at random and I hope that they will sink deep into you and exercise your hearts. You should never rest satisfied until you have put your shoulder to the wheel and assisted to the best of your ability to bring about the necessary reform One other word of advice to the students who travel in third class compartments. Do not dominate those who wrongly think they are your inferiors, seeing your costume. If you do so, you will be disqualified for rendering social service.” 18

Mr. M. K. Gandhi writes to us: “Mrs. Besant’s reference in New India and certain other references to the Benares Incident perhaps render it necessary for me to return to the subject; however disinclined I may be to do so. Mrs. Besant denies my statement with reference to her whispering to the Princes. I can only say that if I can trust my eyes and my ears, I must adhere to the statement I have made. She occupied a seat on the left of the semi-circle on the other side of the Maharaja of Darbhanga, who occupied the chair, and there was at least one Prince, perhaps, there were two who were sitting on her side. Whilst I was speaking, Mrs. Besant was almost behind me. When the Maharaja rose, Mrs. Besant had also risen. I had ceased speaking before the Rajahs actually left the platform. She was discussing the incident with a group round her on the platform. I gently suggested to her that she might have refrained from interrupting, but that if she disapproved of the speech after it was finished, she could have then dissociated herself from my sentiments. But she, with some degree of warmth, said, “How could we sit still when you were compromising every one of us on the platform? You ought not to have made the remarks you did.” This answer of Mrs. Besant’s does not quite tally with her solicitude for me which alone, according to her version of the incident, prompted her to interrupt the speech. I suggest that if she merely meant to protect me, she could have passed a note round or whispered into my ears her advice. And, again, if it was for my protection, why was it necessary for her to rise with the Princes and to leave the hall as I hold she did along with them? So far as my remarks are concerned, I am yet unable to know what it was in my speech that seems to her to be open to such exception as to warrant her interruption. After referring to the Viceregal visit and the necessary precautions that were taken for the Viceroy’s safety, I showed that an assassin’s death was anything but an honourable death, and said that anarchism was opposed to our shastras and had no room in India. I said then where there was honourable death; it would go down history as men who died for their conviction. But when a bomb-thrower died, secretly plotting all sorts of things, what could he gain? I then went on to state and deal with the fallacy that had not bomb-throwers thrown bombs, we should never have gained what we did with reference to the Partition Movement. It was at about this stage that Mrs. Besant appealed to the chair to stop me. Personally, I will desire a publication of the whole of my speech whose trend was a sufficient warrant for showing that I could not possibly incite the students to deeds of violence. Indeed it was conceived in order to carry on a rigorous self-examination. I began by saying that it was a humiliation for the audience and me that I should have to speak in English. I said that English having been the medium of instruction, it had done a tremendous injury to the country, and as I conceive I showed successfully that had we received training during the past 50 years in higher thought in our own vernaculars, we would be today within reach of our goal. I then referred to the self-government Resolution passed at the Congress and showed that whilst the All-India Congress Committee and the All-India Moslem League would be drawing up their paper about the future constitution, their duty was to fit themselves by their own action for self-government. And in order to show how short we fell of our duty, I drew attention to the dirty condition of the labyrinth of lanes surrounding the great temple of Kashi Vishwanath and the recently erected palatial buildings without any conception as to the straightness or the width of the streets. I then took the audience to the gorgeous scene that was enacted on the day of the foundation and suggested that if a stranger not knowing anything about Indian life had visited the scene, he would have gone away under the false impression that India was one of the richest countries in the world such was the display of jewellery worn by our noblemen. And turning to the Maharajas and the Rajahs, I humorously suggested that it was necessary for them to hold those treasures in trust for the nation before we could realize our ideals, and I cited the action of the Japanese noblemen who considered it a glorious privilege, even though there was no necessity for them, to dispossess themselves of treasures and lands which were handed to them from generation to generation. I then asked the audience to consider the humiliating spectacle of the Viceroy’s person having to be protected from ourselves when he was our honoured guest. And I was endeavouring to show that the blame for these precautions was also on us, in that they were rendered necessary because of the introduction of organized assassination in India. Thus I was endeavouring to show, on the one hand, how the students could usefully occupy themselves in assisting to rid the society of its proved defects and, on the other, wean themselves even in thought from methods of violence. I claim that with twenty years’ experience of public life in the course of which I had to address on scores of occasion’s turbulent audiences, I have some experience of feeling the pulse of my audience. I was following closely how the speech was being taken and I certainly did not notice that the student world was being adversely affected. Indeed some of them came to me the following morning and told me that they perfectly understood my remarks which had gone home. One of them, a keen debater, even subjected me to cross-examination and seemed to feel convinced by a further development of the argument such as I had advanced in the course of my speech. Indeed I have spoken now to thousands of students and others of my countrymen throughout South Africa, England and India; and by precisely the arguments that I used that evening, I claim to have weaned many from their approval of anarchical methods. Finally, I observe that Mr. S. S. Setlur, of Bombay, who has written on the incident to The Hindu in no friendly mood towards me, and who I think in some respects totally unfairly has endeavoured to tear me to pieces, and who was an eye witness to the proceedings, gives a version different from Mrs. Besant’s. He thinks that the general impression was not that I was encouraging the anarchists but that I was playing the role of an apologist for the Civilian bureaucrat The whole of Mr. Setlur’s attack upon me shows that if he is right I was certainly not guilty of any incitement to violence and that the offence consisted in my reference to jewellery, etc. In order that the fullest justice might be done both to Mrs. Besant and me, I would make the following suggestion. She says that she does not propose to defend herself by quoting the sentence which drove the Princes away and that that would be playing into the enemies’ hands; according to her previous statement, my speech is already in the hands of detectives so that, so far as my safety is concerned, her forbearance is not going to be of the slightest use. Would it not therefore be better that she should either publish a verbatim report if she has it or reproduce such sentiments in my speech as in her opinion necessitated her interruption and the Princes’ withdrawal? I will, therefore, conclude this statement by repeating what I have said before; that but for Mrs. Besant’s interruption, I would have concluded my speech within a few minutes and no possible misconception about my views on anarchism would have arisen.” 19

Mahatma Gandhi spoke at Reception in Hyderabad, “About seven thousand people led by the Hon’ble Mr. Bhurgri and the Hon’ble Mr. Ghulam Hussein, both Mahomedan members of the Bombay Legislative Council, gave a public reception to Mr. Gandhi at Hyderabad and a procession of fifty carriages took three hours to pass through the crowded streets owing to numerous stops for Mr. Gandhi to be garlanded. A eulogistic address in a sandalwood casket was presented to Mr. Gandhi at a public meeting; where all the speeches were in English accept that of Mr. Gandhi, who preferred to speak in Hindustani. Mr. Gandhi said that his political guru, the late Mr. Gokhale, had imposed on him one year’s silence and had bidden him to travel and see things. The period had passed now and he could speak. Self-government for India was in the air. A scheme was to be framed by the Congress and the League leaders at Allahabad, but how many knew what was wanted? It could not be given and taken mechanically. They could only get as much of swaraj as they fitted themselves for, they had to fulfil certain conditions and they could fulfil them. One condition was that they should adopt swadeshi whole heartedly. Swaraj and swadeshi must go together. Then their motto should be “Fear God rather than man, be the man King or Guru or Moulvi.” Then they must treat their depressed and poor brethren as human beings. Mr. Gandhi also reminded his hearers that they could best honour their leaders by copying the virtues which they ascribed to those leaders. He concluded with an appeal for funds being raised for the Servants of India Society. At the conclusion of his speech, he was loudly cheered. At the end “Vande Mataram” and another national song of the famous Digambar were sung, the audience standing.” 20

Mahatma Gandhi spoke at Champaran Enquiry Committee, “The Champaran Agrarian Enquiry Committee resumed their sitting today. At the outset the Chairman said some of the written statements put before them contained events relating to specific acts of coercion alleged to have occurred many years ago. Some were about twenty or twenty-five years old. It was quite impossible for them for their inquiry to extend back to such remote periods. Their inquiry related to the present agrarian conditions of Champaran District and their concern with the past history would be inasmuch as it would elucidate present conditions. He did not think any advantage would accrue by inquiring into individual cases that occurred a long number of years ago and he ruled the Committee should confine itself to more recent events for the reason that there was a special inquiry made by Mr. Gourlay in 1909 which dealt with all agrarian conditions prior to that date and he proposed the Committee should undertake only an inquiry of conditions after Mr. Gourlay’s inquiry. That seemed to him to be the reasonable time to adopt. The second point he wished to put forward was that certain incidents referred to matters which had been the subject of decisions of judicial courts of the country. Again, it would be useless for them to attempt to review those cases. Already those cases had been heard and decided by judicial courts and it was not in the province of the Committee to revise the decisions of the judicial courts of the country. Therefore, so far as those cases were concerned, all that they could consider was the judicial record and not any extra facts connected with it. Mr. Gandhi said he wished to say just a few words on the subject as he was responsible for putting in those statements. He bowed to the Chairman’s ruling but he thought it was necessary to put those matters in statement as otherwise he would not have done justice to those men unless he allowed them to give their story in its historical sequence. He did not wish the Committee to go behind judicial decisions, but he thought the Committee should have an opportunity of having the full story of the ryots. The Chairman said they could not enquire into allegations that judgments of courts were based on false facts. Mr. Gandhi said he agreed, but he thought it was proper not to withhold anything from the Committee.” 21

 

References:

 

  1. The Hindu, 28-10-1896
  2. The Hindu, 28-10-1896
  3. The Hindu, 5-1-1914
  4. The Hindu, 8-7-1914
  5. The Hindu, 30-3-1915
  6. The Hindu, 12-4-1915
  7. The Hindu, 19-4-1915
  8. The Hindu, 21-4-1915
  9. The Hindu, 21-4-1915  
  10. The Hindu, 26-4-1915
  11. The Hindu, 26-4-1915  
  12. The Hindu, 27-4-1915  
  13. The Hindu, 26-4-1915
  14. The Hindu, 1-5-1915
  15. The Hindu, 3-5-1915
  16. The Hindu, 25-12-1915
  17. The Hindu, 28-2-1916
  18. The Hindu, 17-2-1916
  19. The Hindu 17-2-1916
  20. The Hindu, 29-2-1916
  21. The Hindu, 20-7-1917

 

 

 

 

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