BEING A COMPREHENSIVE COLLECTION OF WRITINGS AND SPEECHES ON THE PRESENT SITUATION
BY MAHATMA GANDHI
The Publishers express their indebtedness to the Editor and Publisher of the "Young India" for allowing the free use of the articles appeared in that journal under the name of Mahatma Gandhi, and also to Mr. C. Rajagopalachar for the valuable introduction and help rendered in bringing out the book.
the great war it is difficult, to point out a single nation that is happy; but
this has come out of the war, that there is not a single nation outside
It is said that we, too, are on the road to freedom, that it is better to be on the certain though slow course of gradual unfoldment of freedom than to take the troubled and dangerous path of revolution whether peaceful or violent, and that the new Reforms are a half-way house to freedom.
new constitution granted to
The new constitution gives no scope for retrenchment and therefore no scope for measures of social reform except by fresh taxation, the heavy burden of which on the poor will outweigh all the advantages of any reforms. It maintains all the existing foreign services, and the cost of the administrative machinery high as it already is, is further increased.
reformed constitution keeps all the fundamental liberties of person, property,
press, and association completely under bureaucratic control. All those laws
which give to the irresponsible officers of the Executive Government of India
absolute powers to override the popular will, are still unrepealed. In spite of
the tragic price paid in the
Not only is Despotism intact in the Law, but unparalleled crimes and cruelties against the people have been encouraged and even after boastful admissions and clearest proofs, left unpunished. The spirit of unrepentant cruelty has thus been allowed to permeate the whole administration.
understand our present condition it in not enough to realise the general
political servitude. We should add to it the reality and the extent of the
injury inflicted by
The Khalifa is the authority that is entrusted with the duty of defending Islam. He is the successor to Muhammad and the agent of God on earth. According to Islamic tradition he must possess sufficient temporal power effectively to protect Islam against non-Islamic powers and he should be one elected or accepted by the Mussalman world.
Jazirat-ul-Arab is the area bounded by the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, the
Persian Gulf, and the waters of the Tigris and the
The sacred places of Islam should be in the possession of the Khalifa. They should not merely be free for the entry of the Mussalmans of the world by the grace or the license of non-Muslim powers, but should be the possession and property of Islam in the fullest degree.
It is a religions obligation, on every Mussalman to go forth and help the Khalifa in every possible way where his unaided efforts in the defence of the Khilifat have failed.
The grievance of the Indian Mussalmans is that a government that pretends to protect and spread peace and happiness among them has no right to ignore or set aside these articles of their cherished faith.
to the Peace Treaty imposed on the nominal Government at
The Jazirat-ul-Arab is split up; a great part of it given to powerful non-Muslim Powers, the remnant left with petty chiefs dominated all round by non-Muslim Governments.
Holy places of Islam are all taken out of the Khalifa's kingdom, some left in
the possession of minor Muslim chiefs of
In a word, the Mussalman's free choice of a Khalifa such as Islamic tradition defines is made an unreality.
age of misunderstanding and mutual warfare among religions is gone. If
The Dharma of Hinduism in this respect is placed beyond all doubt by the Bhagavat Gita.
Those who are the votaries of other Gods and worship them with faith--even they, O Kaunteya, worship me alone, though not as the Shastra requires--IX, 23.
Whoever being devoted wishes in perfect faith to worship a particular form, of such a one I maintain the same faith unshaken,--VII 21.
Hinduism will realise its fullest beauty when in the fulfilment of this cardinal tenet, its followers offer themselves as sacrifice for the protection of the faith of their brothers, the Mussalmans.
If Hindus and Mussalmans attain the height of courage and sacrifice that is needed for this battle on behalf of Islam against the greed of the West, a victory will be won not alone for Islam, but for Christianity itself. Militarism has robbed the crucified God of his name and his very cross and the World has been mistaking it to be Christianity. After the battle of Islam is won, Islam and Hinduism together can emancipate Christianity itself from the lust for power and wealth which have strangled it now and the true Christianity of the Gospels will be established. This battle of non-cooperation with its suffering and peaceful withdrawal of service will once for all establish its superiority over the power of brute force and unlimited slaughter.
What a glorious privilege it is to play our part in this history of the world, when Hinduism and Christianity will unite on behalf of Islam, and in that strife of mutual love and support each religion will attain its own truest shape and beauty.
internal strength and unity alone has the Khilafat brought to
Khilafat has solved the problem of distrust of Asiatic neighbours out of our
future. The Indian struggle for the freedom of Islam has brought about a more
lasting entente and a more binding treaty between the people of
Every nation like every individual is born free. Absolute freedom is the birthright of every people. The only limitations are those which a people may place over themselves. The British connection is invaluable as long as it is a defence against any worse connection sought to be imposed by violence. But it is only a means to an end, not a mandate of Providence of Nature. The alliance of neighbours, born of suffering for each other's sake, for ends that purify those that suffer, is necessarily a more natural and more enduring bond than one that has resulted from pure greed on the one side and weakness on the other. Where such a natural and enduring alliance has been accomplished among Asiatic peoples and not only between the respective governments, it may truly be felt to be more valuable than the British connection itself, after that connection has denied freedom or equality, and even justice.
Is violence or total surrender the only choice open to any people to whom Freedom or Justice is denied? Violence at a time when the whole world has learnt from bitter experience the futility of violence is unworthy of a country whose ancient people's privilege, it was, to see this truth long ago.
may rid a nation of its foreign masters but will only enslave it from inside.
No nation can really be free which is at the mercy of its army and its military
heroes. If a people rely for freedom on its soldiers, the soldiers will rule
the country, not the people. Till the recent awakening of the workers of
Europe, this was the only freedom which the powers of
Even were violence the true road to freedom, is violence possible to a nation which has been emasculated and deprived of all weapons, and the whole world is hopelessly in advance of all our possibilities in the manufacture and the wielding of weapons of destruction.
or withdrawal of co-operation is the real and only alternative before
ancients classified the arts of conquest into four well-known Upayas.
Sama, Dana, Uheda, and Danda. A fifth Upuya was recognised sometimes by our
ancients, which they called Upeshka. It is this Punchamopaya that
is placed by Mahatma Gandhi before the people of
Where in any case negotiations have failed and the enemy is neither corruptible nor incapable of being divided, and a resort to violence has failed or would certainly be futile the method of Upeshka remains to be applied to the case. Indeed, when the very existence of the power we seek to defeat really depends on our continuous co-operation with it, and where our Upeskha its very life, our Upeskha or non-co-operation is the most natural and most effective expedient that we can employ to bend it to our will.
Englishman believes that his nation can rule or keep
powerful character of the measure, however, leads some to object to
non-co-operation because of that very reason. Striking as it does at the very
root of Government in
Another fear sometimes expressed that, if non-co-operation were to succeed, the British would have to go, leaving us unable to defend ourselves against foreign aggression. If we have the self-respect, the patriotism, the tenacious purpose, and the power of organisation that are necessary to drive the British out from their entrenched position, no lesser foreign power will dare after that, undertake the futile task of conquering or enslaving us.
It is sometimes said that non-co-operation is negative and destructive of the advantages which a stable government has conferred on us. That non-co-operation is negative is merely a half-truth. Non-co-operation with the government means greater co-operation among ourselves, greater mutual dependence among the many different castes and classes of our country. Non-co-operation is not mere negation. It will lead to the recovery of the lost art of co-operation among ourselves. Long dependence on an outside government which by its interference suppressed or prevented the consequences of our differences has made us forget the duty of mutual trust and the art of friendly adjustment. Having allowed Government to do everything for us, we have gradually become incapable of doing anything for ourselves. Even if we had no grievance against this Government, non-co-operation with it for a time would be desirable so far as it would perforce lead us to trusting and working with one another and thereby strengthen the bonds of national unity.
The most tragic consequence of dependence on the complex machinery of a foreign government is the atrophy of the communal sense. The direct touch with administrative cause and effect is lost. An outside protector performs all the necessary functions of the community in a mysterious manner, and communal duties are not realised by the people. The one reason addressed by those who deny to us the capacity for self-rule is the insufficient appreciation by the people of communal duties and discipline. It is only by actually refraining for a time from dependence on Government that we can regain self-reliance, learn first-hand the value of communal duties and build up true national co-operation. Non-co-operation is a practical and positive training in Swadharma, and Swadharma alone can lead up to Swaraj.
The negative is the best and most impressive method of enforcing the value of the positive. Few outside government circles realise in the present police anything but tyranny and corruption. But if the units of the present police were withdrawn we would soon perforce set about organising a substitute, and most people would realise the true social value of a police force. Few realise in the present taxes anything but coercion and waste, but most people would soon see that a share of every man's income is due for common purposes and that there are many limitations to the economical management of public institutions; we would begin once again to contribute directly, build up and maintain national institutions in the place of those that now mysteriously spring up and live under Government orders.
is a priceless thing. But it is a stable possession only when it is acquired by
a nation's strenuous effort. What is not by chance or outward circumstance, or
given by the generous impulse of a tyrant prince or people is not a reality. A
nation will truly enjoy freedom only when in the process of winning or
defending its freedom, it has been purified and consolidated through and
through, until liberty has become a part of its very soul. Otherwise it would
be but a change of the form of government, which might please the fancy of
politicians, or satisfy the classes in power, but could never emancipate a
people. An Act of Parliament can never create citizens in
war that the people of India have declared and which will purify and
consolidate India, and forge for her a true and stable liberty is a war with
the latest and most effective weapon. In this war, what has hitherto been in the
world an undesirable but necessary incident in freedom's battles, the killing
of innocent men, has been eliminated; and that which is the true essential for
forging liberty, the self-purification and self-strengthening of men and women
has been kept pure and unalloyed. It is for men, women and youth, every one of
them that lives in and loves
That on which a foreign government truly rests whatever may be the illusions on their or our part is not the strength of its armed forces, but our own co-operation. Actual service on the part of one generation, and educational preparation for future service on the part of the next generation are the two main branches of this co-operation of slaves in the perpetuation of slavery. The boycott of government service and the law-courts is aimed at the first, the boycott of government controlled schools is to stop the second. If either the one or the other of these two branches of co-operation is withdrawn in sufficient measure, there will be an automatic and perfectly peaceful change from slavery to liberty.
The beat preparation for any one who desires to take part in the great battle now going on is a silent study of the writings and speeches collected herein, and proposed to be completed in a supplementary volume to be soon issued.
esteemed South African friend who is at present living in
will doubtless remember having met me in
I have sent a reply to the writer. But as the views expressed in the quotation are likely to be shared by many of my English friends and as I do not wish, if I can possibly help it, to forfeit their friendship or their esteem I shall endeavour to state my position as clearly as I can on the Khilafat question. The letter shows what risk public men run through irresponsible journalism. I have not seen The Times report, referred to by my friend. But it is evident that the report has made the writer to suspect my alliance with "the prevailing anarchies" and to think that I have "thrown to one side" my "moral responsibilities."
is just my sense of moral responsibilities which has made me take up the
Khilafat question and to identify myself entirely with the Mahomedans. It is
perfectly true that I am assisting and countenancing the union between Hindus
and Muslims, but certainly not with "a view of embarrassing
Thus, if it is true, as I hold it is true that the Indian Mussalmans have a cause that is just and is supported by scriptural authority, then for the Hindus not to support them to the utmost would be a cowardly breach of brotherhood and they would forfeit all claim to consideration from their Mahomedan countrymen. As a public-server therefore, I would be unworthy of the position I claim, if I did not support Indian Mussalmans in their struggle to maintain the Khilafat in accordance with their religious belief. I believe that in supporting them I am rendering a service to the Empire, because by assisting my Mahomedan countrymen to give a disciplined expression to their sentiment it becomes possible to make the agitation thoroughly, orderly and even successful.
Turkish treaty will be out on the 10th of May. It is stated to provide for the
internationalisation of the Straits, the occupation of Gallipoli by the Allies,
the maintenance of Allied contingents in
* * * * *
have given above the terms of the Turkish treaty as indicated in Router's
messages. These reports are incomplete and all of them are not equally
authenticated. But if these terms are true, they are a challenge to the Muslim
demands. Turkish Sovereignty is confined to the Chatalja lines. This means that
the Big Three of the Supreme Council have cut off
is not yet known how the Supreme Council disposed of the rich and renowned
* * * * *
we come to the question of mandates, the Allied Powers' motives come out more
distinctly. The Arabs' claim of independence was used as a difficulty against
keeping Turkish Sovereignty. This was defended in the of self-determination and
by pointing out parallels of
So what little news has arrived about the Turkish treaty, is uniformly disquieting. The Moslems have found sufficient ground to honour
The terms of the Turkish treaty are not only a breach of the Premier's pledge, not only a sin against the principle of self-determination, but they also show a reckless indifference of the Allied Powers towards the Koranic injunctions. The terms point out that Mr. Lloyd George's misinformed ideas of Khilafat have prevailed in the Council. Like Mr. Lloyd George other statesmen also at
is supernational and not national, the basis of Islamic sympathy is a common
outlook on life and common culture.... And it has two centres. The personal
centre is the
few words could have removed the mis-undertakings rooted in the minds of those
question of question to-day is the Khilafat question, otherwise known as that
of the Turkish peace terms. His Excellency the Viceroy deserves our thanks for
receiving the joint deputation even at this late hour, especially when he was
busy preparing to receive the head of the different provinces. His Excellency
must be thanked for the unfailing courtesy with which he received the
deputation and the courteous language in which his reply was couched. But mere
courtesy, valuable as it is at all times, never so valuable as at this, is not
enough at this critical moment. 'Sweet words butter no parsnips' is a proverb
more applicable to-day than ever before. Behind the courtesy there was the
determination to punish
does the sentiment demand? The preservation of the Khilafat with such guarantee
as may be necessary for the protection of the interests of the non-Muslim races
living under Turkish rule and the Khalif's control over
"As I told you in my last letter I think Mr. Gandhi has made a serious mistake in the Kailafat business. The Indian Mahomedans base their demand on the assertion that their religion requires the Turkish rule over
Arabia: but when they have against them in this matter, the Arabs themselves, it is impossible to regard the theory of the Indian Mahomedans as essential to Islam. After all if the Arabs do not represent Islam, who does? It is as if the German Roman Catholics made a demand in the name of Roman Catholicism with and the Italians making a contrary demand. But even if the religion of the Indian Mahomedans did require that Turkish rule should be imposed upon the Arabs against their will, one could not, now-a-days, recognise as a really religious demand, one which required the continued oppression of one people by another. When an assurance was given at the beginning of the war to the Indian Mahomedans that the Mahomedan religion would be respected, that could never have meant that a temporal sovereignty which violated the principles of self-determination would be upheld. We could not now stand by and see the Turks re-conquer the Arabs (for the Arabs would certainly fight against them) without grossly betraying the Arabs to whom we have given pledges. It is not true that the Arab hostility to the Turks was due simply to European suggestion. No doubt, during the war we availed ourselves of the Arab hostility to the Turks to get another ally, but the hostility had existed long before the war. The Non-Turkish Mahomedan subjects of the Sultan in general wanted to get rid of his rule. It is the Indian Mahomedans who have no experience of that rule who want to impose it on others. As a matter of fact the idea of any restoration of Turkish rule in Rome Syriaor Arabia, seems so remote from all possibilities that to discuss it seems like discussing a restoration of the Holy Roman Empire. I cannot conceive what series of events could bring it about. The Indian Mahomedans certainly could not march into Arabiathemselves and conquer the Arabs for the Sultan. And no amount of agitation and trouble in Indiawould ever induce Englandto put back Turkish rule in Arabia. In this matter it is not English Imperialism which the Indian Mahomedans are up against, but the mass of English Liberal and Humanitarian opinion, the mass of the better opinion of England, which wants self-determination to go forward in . Supposing the Indian Mahomedans could stir up an agitation so violent in India Indiaas to sever the connection between and the British Crown, still they would not be any nearer to their purpose. For to-day they do have considerable influence on British world-policy. Even if in this matter of the Turkish question their influence has not been sufficient to turn the scale against the very heavy weights on the other side, it has weighed in the scale. But apart from the British connection, Indian Mahomedans would have no influence at all outside India . They would not count for more in world politics than the Mahomedans of China. I think it is likely (apart from the pressure of India on the other side. I should say certain) that the influence of the Indian Mahomedans may at any rate avail to keep the Sultan in America Constantinople. But I doubt whether they will gain any advantage by doing so. For a Turkeycut down to the Turkish parts of Asia-Minor, Constantinoplewould be a very inconvenient capital. I think its inconvenience would more than outweigh the sentimental gratification of keeping up a phantom of the old Ottoman Empire. But if the Indian Mahomedans want the Sultan to retain his place in Constantinople I think the assurances given officially by the Viceroy in Indianow binds us to insist on his remaining there and I think he will remain there in spite of ." America
is an extract, from the letter of an Englishman enjoying a position in
writer of the letter quoted above has built up convincing argument on imaginary
data. He has successfully shown that the Mahomedan case, as it has been
presented to him, is a rotten case. In
us for a moment examine the case as it has been imagined by the writer. He
suggests that Indian Mahomedans want Turkish rule in Arabia in spite of the
opposition of the Arabs themselves, and that, if the Arabs do not want Turkish
rule, the writer argues, no false religions sentiment can be permitted to interfere
with self-determination of the Arabs when India herself has been pleading for
that very status. Now the fact is that the Mahomedans, as is known to everybody
who has at all studied the case, have never asked for Turkish rule in
is unnecessary for me to examine the position imagined by the English friend,
I have been overwhelmed with public criticism and private advice and even anonymous letters telling me exactly what I should do. Some are impatient that I do not advise immediate and extensive non-co-operation; others tell me what harm I am doing the country by throwing it knowingly in a tempest of violence on either side. It is difficult for me to deal with the whole of the criticism, but I would summarize some of the objections and endeavour to answer them to the best of my ability. These are in addition to those I have already answered:--
(1) Turkish claim is immoral or unjust and how can I, a lover of truth and justice, support it? (2) Even if the claim be just in theory, the Turk is hopelessly incapable, weak and cruel. He does not deserve any assistance.
(4) It is no part of the Indian Mahomedans' business to meddle in this affair. If they cherish any political ambition, they have tried, they have failed and they should now sit still. If it is a religious matter with them, it cannot appeal to the Hindu reason in the manner it is put and in any case Hindus ought not to identify themselves with Mahomedans in their religious quarrel with Christendom.
(5) In no case should I advocate non-co-operation which in its extreme sense is nothing but a rebellion, no matter how peaceful it may be.
(6) Moreover, my experience of last year must show me that it is beyond the capacity of any single human being to control the forces of violence that are lying dormant in the land.
(7) Non-co-operation is futile because people will never respond in right earnest, and reaction that might afterwards set in will be worse than the state of hopefulness we are now in.
(8) Non-co-operation will bring about cessation of all other activities, even working of the Reforms, thus set back the clock of progress. (9) However pure my motives may be, those of the Mussalmans are obviously revengeful.
I shall now answer the objections in the order in which they are stated--
In my opinion the Turkish claim is not only not immoral and unjust, but it is
highly equitable, if only because
(2) I do not believe the Turk to be weak, incapable or cruel. He is certainly disorganised and probably without good generalship. He has been obliged to fight against heavy odds. The argument of weakness, incapacity and cruelty one often hears quoted in connection with those from whom power is sought to be taken away. About the alleged massacres a proper commission has been asked for, but never granted. And in any case security can be taken against oppression.
(3) I have already stated that if I were not interested in the Indian Mahomedans, I would not interest myself in the welfare of the Turks any more than I am in that of the Austrians or the Poles. But I am bound as an Indian to share the sufferings and trial of fellow-Indians. If I deem the Mahomedan to be my brother. It is my duty to help him in his hour of peril to the best of my ability, if his cause commends itself to me as just.
(4) The fourth refers to the extent Hindus should join hands with the Mahomedans. It is therefore a matter of feeling and opinion. It is expedient to suffer for my Mahomedan brother to the utmost in a just cause and I should therefore travel with him along the whole road so long as the means employed by him are as honourable as his end. I cannot regulate the Mahomedan feeling. I must accept his statement that the Khilafat is with him a religious question in the sense that it binds him to reach the goal even at the cost of his own life.
(5) I do not consider non-co-operation to be a rebellion, because it is free from violence. In a larger sense all opposition to a Government measure is a rebellion. In that sense, rebellion in a just cause is a duty, the extent of opposition being determined by the measure of the injustice done and felt.
My experience of last year shows me that in spite of aberrations in some parts
(7) From a religious standpoint the seventh objection is hardly worth considering. If people do not respond to the movement of non-co-operation, it would be a pity, but that can be no reason for a reformer not to try. It would be to me a demonstration that the present position of hopefulness is not dependent on any inward strength or knowledge, but it is hope born of ignorance and superstition.
If non-co-operation is taken up in earnest, it must bring about a cessation of
all other activities including the Reforms, but I decline to draw therefore the
corollary that it will set back the clock of progress. On the contrary, I
consider non-co-operation to be such a powerful and pure instrument, that if it
is enforced in an earnest spirit, it will be like seeking first the
(9) I do not know that I have a right to arrogate greater purity for myself than for our Mussalman brethren. But I do admit that they do not believe in my doctrine of non-violence to the full extent. For them it is a weapon of the weak, an expedient. They consider non-co-operation without violence to be the only thing open to them in the war of direct action. I know that if some of them could offer successful violence, they would do to-day. But they are convinced that humanly speaking it is an impossibility. For them, therefore, non-co-operation is a matter not merely of duty but also of revenge. Whereas I take up non-co-operation against the Government as I have actually taken it up in practice against members of my own family. I entertain very high regard for the British constitution, I have not only no enmity against Englishmen but I regard much in English character as worthy of my emulation. I count many as my friends. It is against my religion to regard any one as an enemy. I entertain similar sentiments with respect to Mahomedans. I find their cause to be just and pure. Although therefore their viewpoint is different from mine I do not hesitate to associate with them and invite them to give my method a trial, for, I believe that the use of a pure weapon even from a mistaken motive does not fail to produce some good, even as the telling of truth if only because for the time being it is the best policy, is at least so much to the good.
Candler has favoured me with an open letter on this question of questions. The
letter has already appeared in the Press. I can appreciate Mr. Candler's
position as I would like him and other Englishmen to appreciate mine and that
of hundreds of Hindus who feel as I do. Mr. Candler's letter is an attempt to show
that Mr. Lloyd George's pledge is not in any way broken by the peace terms. I
quite agree with him that Mr. Lloyd George's words ought not to be torn from
their context to support the Mahomedan claim. These are Mr. Lloyd George's
words as quoted in the recent Viceregal message: "Nor are we fighting to
have already my view of the retention of the Sultan in
"While we do not challenge the maintenance of the Turkish Empire in the home-land of the Turkish race with its capital at Constantinople, the passage between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea being inter-nationalised,
Armenia, Mesopotamia, Syriaand are in our judgment entitled to a recognition of their separate national condition." Palestine
that mean entire removal of Turkish influence, extinction of Turkish suzerainty
and the introduction of European-Christian influence under the guise of
Mandates? Have the Moslems of Arabia, Armenia,
wonder if Mr. Candler knows what is going on to-day in
have reproduced the above extract in order to show that the present British
policy has been affected by propaganda of an unscrupulous nature. Turkey which
was dominant over two million square miles of Asia, Africa and Europe in the
17th century, under the terms of the treaty, says the London Chronicle,
has dwindled down to little more than 1,000 square miles. It says, "All
European Turkey could now be accommodated comfortably between the Landsend and
the Tamar, Cornawal alone exceeding its total area and but for its alliance
me now remind those who think with Mr. Candler that the promise was not made by
Mr. Lloyd George to the people of
"The effect of the statement in
was that recruiting went up appreciably from that very moment. They were not all Mahomedans but there were many Mahomedans amongst them. Now we are told that was an offer to India . But they rejected it, and therefore we were absolutely free. It was not. It is too often forgotten that we are the greatest Mahomedan power in the world and one-fourth of the population of the Turkey British Empireis Mahomedan. There have been no more loyal adherents to the throne and no more effective and loyal supporters of the Empire in its hour of trial. We gave a solemn pledge and they accepted it. They are disturbed by the prospect of our not abiding by it."
Who shall interpret that pledge and how? How did the Government of India itself interpret it? Did it or did it not energetically support the claim for the control of the Holy Places of Islam vesting in the Khalif? Did the Government of India suggest that the whole of Jazirat-ul-Arab could he taken away consistently with that pledge from the sphere of influence of the Khalif, and given over to the Allies as mandatory Powers? Why does the Government of India sympathise with the Indian Mussalmans if the terms are all they should be? So much for the pledge. I would like to guard myself against being understood that I stand or fall absolutely by Mr. Lloyd George's declaration. I have advisedly used the adverb 'practically' in connection with it. It is an important qualification.'
Candler seems to suggest that my goal is something more than merely attaining
justice on the Khilafat. If so, he is right. Attainment of justice is
undoubtedly the corner-stone, and if I found that I was wrong in my conception
of justice on this question, I hope I shall have the courage immediately to
retrace my steps. But by helping the Mahomedans of India at a critical moment
in their history, I want to buy their friendship. Moreover, if I can carry the
Mahomedans with me I hope to wean
writer of 'Current Topics' in the "Times of India" has attempted to
challenge the statement made in my Khilafat article regarding ministerial
pledges, and in doing so cites Mr. Asquith's Guild-Hall speech of November 10,
1914. When I wrote the articles, I had in mind Mr. Asquith's speech. I am sorry
that he ever made that speech. For, in my humble opinion, it betrayed to say
the least, a confusion of thought. Could he think of the Turkish people as
apart from the Ottoman Government? And what is the meaning of the death-knell
of Ottoman Dominion in Europe and
one who has enjoyed a certain measure of your Excellency's confidence, and as
one who claims to be a devoted well-wisher of the
the very earliest stages of the war, even whilst I was in
peace terms and your Excellency's defence of them have given the Mussalmans of
India a shock from which it will be difficult for them to recover. The terms
violate ministerial pledges and utterly disregard Mussalman sentiment. I
consider that as a staunch Hindu wishing to live on terms of the closest
friendship with my Mussalman countrymen. I should be an unworthy son of
My duty to the Empire to which I owe my loyalty requires me to resist the cruel violence that has been done to the Mussalman sentiment. So far as I am aware, Mussulmans and Hindus have as a whole lost faith in British justice and honour. The report of the majority of the Hunter Committee, Your Excellency's despatch thereon and Mr. Montagu's reply have only aggravated the distrust.
In these circumstances the only course open to one like me is either in despair to sever all connection with British rule, or, if I still retained faith in the inherent superiority of the British constitution to all others at present in vogue to adopt such means as will rectify the wrong done, and thus restore confidence. I have not lost faith in such superiority and I am not without hope that somehow or other justice will yet be rendered if we show the requisite capacity for suffering. Indeed, my conception of that constitution is that it helps only those who are ready to help themselves. I do not believe that it protects the weak. It gives free scope to the strong to maintain their strength and develop it. The weak under it go to the wall.
It is, then, because I believe in the British constitution that I have advised my Mussalman friends to withdraw their support from your Excellency's Government and the Hindus to join them, should the peace terms not be revised in accordance with the solemn pledges of Ministers and the Muslim sentiment.
Three courses were open to the Mahomedans in order to mark their emphatic disapproval of the utter injustice to which His Majesty's Ministers have become party, if they have not actually been the prime perpetrators of it. They are:--
(1) To resort to violence,
(2) To advise emigration on a wholesale scale,
(3) Not to be party to the injustice by ceasing to co-operate with the Government.
Your Excellency must be aware that there was a time when the boldest, though the most thoughtless among the Mussulmans favoured violence, and the "Hijrat" (emigration) has not yet ceased to be the battle-cry. I venture to claim that I have succeeded by patient reasoning in weaning the party of violence from its ways. I confess that I did not--I did not attempt to succeed in weaning them from violence on moral grounds, but purely on utilitarian grounds. The result, for the time being at any has, however, been to stop violence. The School of "Hijrat" has received a check, if it has not stopped its activity entirely. I hold that no repression could have prevented a violent eruption, if the people had not had presented to them a form of direct action involving considerable sacrifice and ensuring success if such direct action was largely taken up by the public. Non-co-operation was the only dignified and constitutional form of such direct action. For it is the right recognised from times immemorial of the subject to refuse to assist a ruler who misrules.
At the same time I admit that non-co-operation practised by the mass of people is attended with grave risks. But, in a crisis such as has overtaken the Mussalmans of India, no step that is unattended with large risks, can possibly bring about the desired change. Not to run some risks now will be to court much greater risks if not virtual destruction of Law and Order.
But there is yet an escape from non-co-operation. The Mussalman representation has requested your Excellency to lead the agitation yourself, as did your distinguished predecessor at the time of the South African trouble. But if you cannot see your way to do so, and non-co-operation becomes a dire necessity, I hope that your Excellency will give those who have accepted my advice and myself the credit for being actuated by nothing less than a stern sense of duty.
I have the honour to remain,
Excellency's faithful servant, (Sd.) M.K. GANDHI.
English mail has brought us a full and official report of the Premier's speech
which he recently made when he received the Khilafat deputation. Mr. Lloyd
George's speech is more definite and therefore more disappointing than H.E. the
Viceroy's reply to the deputation here. He draws quite unwarranted deductions
from the same high principles on which he had based his own pledge only two
years ago. He declares that
expounds the principle of self-determination and justifies the scheme of
This detraction of the Sultan's suzerainty is only a corollary of the Premier's indifference towards the Muslim idea of the Caliphate. The premier's injustice in treating the Turkish question becomes graver when he thus lightly handles the Khilafat question. There had been occasions when the British have used to their advantage the Muslim idea of associating the Caliph's spiritual power with temporal power. Now this very association is treated as a controversial question by the great statesman.
this raise the reputation of
but surely the Mussulmans are preparing for the battle before them. They have
to fight against odds that are undoubtedly heavy but not half as heavy as the
prophet had against him. How often did he not put his life in danger? But his
faith in God was unquenchable. He went forward with a light heart, for God was
on his side, for he represented truth. If his followers have half the prophet's
faith and half his spirit of sacrifice, the odds will be presently even and
will in little while turn against the despoilers of Turkey. Already the
rapacity of the Allies is telling against themselves.
It surprises me to find so many people shirking over the mention of non-co-operation. There is no instrument so clean, so harmless and yet so effective as non-co-operation. Judiciously hauled it need not produce any evil consequences. And its intensity will depend purely on the capacity of the people for sacrifice.
The chief thing is to prepare the atmosphere of non-co-operation. "We are not going to co-operate with you in your injustice," is surely the right and the duty of every intelligent subject to say. Were it not for our utter servility, helplessness and want of confidence in ourselves, we would certainly grasp this clean weapon and make the most effective use of it. Even the most despotic government cannot stand except for the consent of the governed which consent is often forcibly procured by the despot. Immediately the subject ceases to fear the despotic force his power is gone. But the British government is never and nowhere entirely or laid upon force. It does make an honest attempt to secure the goodwill of the governed. But it does not hesitate to adopt unscrupulous means to compel the consent of the governed. It has not gone beyond the 'Honesty is the best policy' idea. It therefore bribes you into consenting its will by awarding titles, medals and ribbons, by giving you employment, by its superior financial ability to open for its employees avenues for enriching themselves and finally when these fail, it resorts to force. That is what Sir Michael O'Dwyer did and that is almost every British administrator will certainly do if he thought it necessary. If then we would not be greedy, if we would not run after titles and medals and honorary posts which do the country no good, half the battle is won.
advisers are never tired of telling me that even if the Turkish peace terms are
revised it will not be due to non-co-operation. I venture to suggest to them
that non-co-operation has a higher purpose than mere revision of the terms. If
I cannot compel revision I must at least cease to support a government that
becomes party to the usurpation. And if I succeed in pushing non-co-operation
to the extreme limit, I do compel the Government to choose between
The Khilafat representation addressed to the Viceroy and my letter on the same subject have been severely criticised by the Anglo-Indian press. The Times of India which generally adopts an impartial attitude has taken strong exception to certain statements made in the Muslim manifesto and has devoted a paragraph of its article to an advance criticism of my suggestion that His Excellency should resign if the peace terms are not revised.
Times of India excepts to the submission that the British Empire may not
Times has endeavoured to make capital out of the fact that the
representation does not examine the reason for
"The Times" to say that the peace terms strictly follow the principle
of self-determination is to throw dust in the eyes of its readers. Is it the
principle of self-determination that has caused the cessation of Adrianople and
decline to believe that the Arabs like the disposition that has been made of
them. Who is the King of Hedjaj and who is Emir Feisul? Have the Arabs elected
these kings and chiefs? Do the Arabs like the Mandate being taken by
is still a way out. Let her treat
do with all deference still suggest that the least that Lord Chelmsford can do
is to resign if the sacred feelings of
Khilafat meeting at
Andrews whose love for India is equalled only by his love for England and whose
mission in life is to serve God, i.e., humanity through India, has contributed
remarkable articles to the 'Bombay Chronicle' on the Khilafat movement. He has
Andrews and I have discussed the question as fully as it was possible. He asked
me publicly to define my own position more fully than I have done. His sole
object in inviting discussion is to give strength to a cause which he holds as
intrinsically just, and to gather round it the best opinion of Europe so that
the allied powers and especially
I gladly respond to Mr. Andrew's invitation. I should clear the ground by stating that I reject any religious doctrine that does not appeal to reason and is in conflict with morality. I tolerate unreasonable religious sentiment when it is not immoral. I hold the Khilafat claim to be both just and reasonable and therefore it derives greater force because it has behind it the religious sentiment of the Mussalman world.
In my opinion Mr. Mahomed Ali's statement is unexceptionable. It is no doubt clothed in diplomatic language. But I am not prepared to quarrel with the language so long as it is sound in substance.
Andrews considers that Mr. Mahomed Ali's language goes to show that he would
resist Armenian independence against the Armenians and the Arabian against the
Arabs. I attach no such meaning to it. What he, the whole of Mussalmans and
therefore I think also the Hindus resist is the shameless attempt of England
and the other Powers under cover of self-determination to emasculate and
dismember Turkey. If I understand the spirit of Islam properly, it is
essentially republican in the truest sense of the term. Therefore if
have thus discussed the question academically. The fact is that neither the
Mussulmans nor the Hindus believe in the English Ministerial word. They do not
believe that the Arabs or the Armenians want complete independence of
The solution of the question lies not in our academic discussion of the ideal position, it lies in an honest appointment of a mixed commission of absolutely independent Indian Mussulmans and Hindus and independent Europeans to investigate the real wish of the Armenians and the Arabs and then to come to a modus vivendi where by the claims of the nationality and those of Islam may be adjusted and satisfied.
is common knowledge that
A friend who has been listening to my speeches once asked me whether I did not come under the sedition section of the Indian Penal Code. Though I had not fully considered it, I told him that very probably I did and that I could not plead 'not guilty' if I was charged under it. For I must admit that I can pretend to no 'affection' for the present Government.
And my speeches are intended to create 'dis-affection' such that the people might consider it a shame to assist or co-operate with a Government that had forfeited all title to confidence, respect or support.
draw no distinction between the Imperial and the Indian Government. The latter
has accepted, on the Khilafat, the policy imposed upon it by the former. And in
can no longer retain affection for a Government so evilly manned as it is
now-a-days. And for me, it is humiliating to retain my freedom and be witness
to the continuing wrong. Mr. Montagu however is certainly right in threatening
me with deprivation of my liberty if I persist in endangering the existence of
the Government. For that must be the result if my activity bears fruit. My only
regret is that inasmuch as Mr. Montagu admits my past services, he might have
perceived that there must be something exceptionally bad in the Government if a
well-wisher like me could no longer give his affection to it. It was simpler to
insist on justice being done to the Mussalmans and to the
At the present moment, however, the duty of those who approve my activity is clear. They ought on no account to resent the deprivation of my liberty, should the Government of India deem it to be their duty to take it away. A citizen has no right to resist such restriction imposed in accordance with the laws of the State to which he belongs. Much less have those who sympathise with him. In my case there can be no question of sympathy. For I deliberately oppose the Government to the extent of trying to put its very existence in jeopardy. For my supporters, therefore, it must be a moment of joy when I am imprisoned. It means the beginning of success if only the supporters continue the policy for which I stand. If the Government arrest me, they would do so in order to stop the progress of Non-co-operation which I preach. It follows that if Non-co-operation continues with unabated vigour, even after my arrest, the Government must imprison others or grant the people's wish in order to gain their co-operation. Any eruption of violence on the part of the people even under provocation would end in disaster. Whether therefore it is I or any one else who is arrested during the campaign, the first condition of success is that there must be no resentment shown against it. We cannot imperil the very existence of a Government and quarrel with its attempt to save itself by punishing those who place it in danger.
But there is yet another side to the movement. Here are the facts as stated in the following Government Communique dated 10th July 1920:--
An unfortunate affair in connection with the Mahajarin occurred on the 8th instant at Kacha Garhi between
and Jamrud. The following are the facts as at present reported. Two members of a party of the Mahajarins proceeding by train to Jamrud were detected by the British military police travelling without tickets. Altercation ensued at Islamia College Station, but the train proceeded to Kacha Garhi. An attempt was made to evict these Mahajarins, whereupon the military police were attacked by a crowd of some forty Mahajarins and the British officer who intervened was seriously wounded with a spade. A detachment of Indian troops at Kacha Garhi thereupon fired two or three shots at the Mahajarin for making murderous assault on the British officer. One Mahajarin was killed and one wounded and three arrested. Both the military and the police were injured. The body of the Mahajarin was despatched to Peshawar and buried on the morning of the 9th. This incident has caused considerable excitement in Peshawar , and the Khilafat Hijrat Committee are exercising restraining influence. Shops were closed on the morning of the 9th. A full enquiry has been instituted. Peshawar City
And may I draw the attention of those who are opposing non-co-operation that unless they find out a substitute they should either join the non-co-operation movement or prepare to face a disorganised subterranean upheaval whose effect no one can foresee and whose spread it would be impossible to check or regulate?
is a secret brotherhood which has more by its secret and iron rules than by its
service to humanity obtained a hold upon some of the best minds. Similarly
there seems to be some secret code of conduct governing the official class in
India before which the flower of the great British nation fall prostrate and
unconsciously become instruments of injustice which as private individuals they
would be ashamed of perpetrating. In no other way is it possible for one to
understand the majority report of the Hunter Committee, the despatch of the
Government of India, and the reply thereto of the Secretary of State for
minority report stands out like an oasis in a desert. The Indian members
deserve the congratulation of their countrymen for having dared to do their
duty in the face of heavy odds. I wish that they had refused to associate themselves
even in a modified manner with the condemnation of the civil disobedience form
of Satyagraha. The defiant spirit of the
universally pronounced adverse judgment upon the report and the despatches
rests upon far more painful revelations. Look at the manifestly laboured
defence of every official act of inhumanity except where condemnation could not
be avoided through the impudent admissions made by the actors themselves; look
at the special pleading introduced to defend General Dyer even against himself;
look at the vain glorification of Sir Michael O'Dwyer although it was his
spirit that actuated every act of criminality on the part of the subordinates;
look at the deliberate refusal to examine his wild career before the events of
April. His acts were an open book of which the committee ought to have taken
judicial notices. Instead of accepting everything that the officials had to
say, the Committee's obvious duty was to tax itself to find out the real cause
of the disorders. It ought to have gone out of its way to search out the
inwardness of the events. Instead of patiently going behind the hard crust of
official documents, the Committee allowed itself to be guided with criminal
laziness by mere official evidence. The report and the despatches, in my humble
opinion, constitute an attempt to condone official lawlessness. The cautious
and half-hearted condemnation pronounced upon General Dyer's massacre and the
notorious crawling order only deepens the disappointment of the reader as he
goes through page after page of thinly disguised official whitewash. I need,
however, scarcely attempt any elaborate examination of the report or the
despatches which have been so justly censured by the whole national press
whether of the moderate or the extremist hue. The point to consider is how to
break down this secret--be the secrecy over so unconscious--conspiracy to
uphold official iniquity. A scandal of this magnitude cannot be tolerated by
the nation, if it is to preserve its self-respect and become a free partner in
the Empire. The All-India Congress Committee has resolved upon convening a
special session of the Congress for the purpose of considering, among other
things, the situation arising from the report. In my opinion the time has
arrived when we must cease to rely upon mere petition to Parliament for
effective action. Petitions will have value, when the nation has behind it the
power to enforce its will. What power then have we? When we are firmly of
opinion that grave wrong has been done us and when after an appeal to the
highest authority we fail to secure redress, there must be some power available
to us for undoing the wrong. It is true that in the vast majority of cases it
is the duty of a subject to submit to wrongs on failure of the usual procedure,
so long as they do not affect his vital being. But every nation and every
individual has the right and it is their duty, to rise against an intolerable
wrong. I do not believe in armed risings. They are a remedy worse than the
disease sought to be cured. They are a token of the spirit of revenge and
impatience and anger. The method of violence cannot do good in the long run.
Witness the effect of the armed rising of the allied powers against
have a better method. Unlike that of violence it certainly involves the
exercise of restraint and patience: but it requires also resoluteness of will.
This method is to refuse to be party to the wrong. No tyrant has ever yet
succeeded in his purpose without carrying the victim with him, it may be, as it
often is, by force. Most people choose rather to yield to the will of the
tyrant than to suffer for the consequences of resistance. Hence does terrorism
form part of the stock-in-trade of the tyrant. But we have instances in history
where terrorism has failed to impose the terrorist's will upon his victim.
notice a desire for the impeachment of General Dyer and Sir Michael O'Dwyer. I
will not stop to examine whether the course is feasible. I was sorry to find
Mr. Shastriar joining this cry for the prosecution of General Dyer. If the
English people will willingly do so, I would welcome such prosecution as a sign
of their strong disapproval of the Jallianwalla Bagh atrocity, but I would
certainly not spend a single farthing in a vain pursuit after the conviction of
this man. Surely the public has received sufficient experience of the English
mind. Practically the whole English Press has joined the conspiracy to screen
these offenders against humanity. I would not be party to make heroes of them
by joining the cry for prosecution private or public. If I can only persuade
Army Council has found General Dyer guilty of error of judgment and advised
that he should not receive any office under the Crown. Mr. Montagu has been unsparing
in his criticism of General Dyer's conduct. And yet somehow or other I cannot
help feeling that General Dyer is by no means the worst offender. His brutality
is unmistakable. His abject and unsoldier-like cowardice is apparent in every
line of his amazing defence before the Army Council. He has called an unarmed
crowd of men and children--mostly holiday-makers--'a rebel army.' He believes
himself to be the saviour of the
commissioners appointed by the Congress Punjab Sub Committee have in their
report accused His Excellency the Viceroy of criminal want of imagination. His
Excellency's refusal to commute two death sentences out of five is a fine
illustration of the accusation. The rejection of the appeal by the Privy Council
no more proves the guilt of the condemned than their innocence would have been
proved by quashing the proceedings before the Martial Law Tribunal. Moreover,
these cases clearly come under the Royal Proclamation in accordance with its
interpretation by the Punjab Government. The murders in
But if the Government will grievously err, if they carry out the sentences, the people will equally err if they give way to anger or grief over the hanging if it has unfortunately to take plane. Before we become a nation possessing an effective voice in the councils of nations, we must be prepared to contemplate with equanimity, not a thousand murders of innocent men and women but many thousands before we attain a status in the world that, shall not be surpassed by any nation. We hope therefore that all concerned will take rather than lose heart and treat hanging as an ordinary affair of life.
[Since the above was in type, we have received cruel news. At last H.E. the Viceroy has mercilessly given the rude shock to Indian society. It is now for the latter to take heart in spite of the unkindest cut.--Ed. Y.I.]
laughter has been indulged in at my expense for having told the Congress
cup of our humiliation was filled during the closing scenes in the Viceregal
Council. Mr. Shustri could not move his resolution on the
do not blame the British. If we were weak in numbers as they are, we too would
perhaps have resorted to the same methods as they are now employing. Terrorism
and deception are weapons not of the strong but of the weak. The British are
weak in numbers we are weak in spite of our numbers. The result is that each is
dragging the other down. It is common experience that Englishmen lose in
character after residence in
But if we Indians take care of ourselves the English and the rest of the world would take care of themselves. Our contributions to the world's progress must therefore consist in setting our own house in order.
in arms for the present is out of the question. I go a step further and believe
is it such an impracticable proposition to expect parents to withdraw their
children from schools and colleges and establish their own institutions or to
ask lawyers to suspend their practice and devote their whole time attention to
national service against payment where necessary, of their maintenance, or to
ask candidates for councils not to enter councils and lend their passive or
active assistance to the legislative machinery through which all control is
exercised. The movement of non-co-operation is nothing but an attempt to
isolate the brute force of the British from all the trappings under which it is
hidden and to show that brute force by itself cannot for one single moment hold
But I frankly confess that, until the three conditions mentioned by me are fulfilled, there is no Swaraj. We may not go on taking our college degrees, taking thousands of rupees monthly from clients for cases which can be finished in five minutes and taking the keenest delight in wasting national time on the council floor and still expect to gain national self-respect.
The last though not the least important part of the Maya still remains to be considered. That is Swadeshi. Had we not abandoned Swadeshi, we need not have been in the present fallen state. If we would get rid of the economic slavery, we must manufacture our own cloth and at the present moment only by hand-spinning and hand weaving.
this means discipline, self-denial, self-sacrifice, organising ability,
confidence and courage. If we show this in one year among the classes that
to-day count, and make public opinion, we certainly gain Swaraj within one
year. If I am told that even we who lead have not these qualities in us, there
certainly will never be Swaraj for
Interpreter is however more to the point in asking, "Does Mr.
Gandhi hold without hesitation or reserve that British rule in
The fact is that non-co-operation by reason of its non-violence has become a religious and purifying movement. It is daily bringing strength to the nation, showing it its weak spots and the remedy for removing them. It is a movement of self-reliance. It is the mightiest force for revolutionising opinion and stimulating thought. It is a movement of self-imposed suffering and therefore possesses automatic checks against extravagance or impatience. The capacity of the nation for suffering regulates its advance towards freedom. It isolates the force of evil by refraining from participation in it, in any shape or form.
[A dialog between the Reader and Editor,--Indian Home Rule].
You have said much about civilisation--enough to make me ponder over it. I do
not know what I should adopt and what I should avoid from the nations of
Your question is not very difficult to answer, and we shall presently be able
to examine the true nature of Swaraj; for I am aware that I have still to
answer that question. I will, however, take up your previous question. The
English have not taken
Reader: You are right. Now, I think you will not have to argue much with me to drive your conclusions home. I am impatient to know your further views. We are now on a most interesting topic. I shall, therefore, endeavour to follow your thought, and stop you when I am in doubt.
I am afraid that, in spite of your enthusiasm, as we proceed further we shall
have differences of opinion. Nevertheless, I shall argue only when you will
stop me. We have already seen that the English merchants were able to get a
Will you now tell me how they are able to retain
The causes that gave them
following is a fairly full report of Mr. Gandhi's important speech at
The very fact, that so many of you cannot understand Hindi which is bound to be the National medium of expression throughout Hindustan in gatherings of Indians belonging to different parts of the land, shows the depth of the degradation to which we have sunk, and points to the supreme necessity of the non-co-operation movement which is intended to lift us out of that condition. This Government has been instrumental in degrading this great nation in various ways, and it is impossible to be free from it without co-operation amongst ourselves which is in turn impossible without a national medium of expression.
I am not here to day to plead for the medium. I am to plead for the acceptance
by the country of the programme of non-violent, progressive non-co-operation.
Now all the words that I have used here are absolutely necessary and the two
adjectives 'progressive' and 'non-violent' are integral part of a whole. With
me non-violence is part of my religion, a matter of creed. But with the great
number of Mussalmans non-violence is a policy, with thousand, if not millions
of Hindus, it is equally a matter of policy. But whether it is a creed or a
policy, it is utterly impossible for you to finish the programme for the
enfranchisement of the millions of
Ronaldshay who has done me the honour of reading my booklet on Home Rule has
warned my countrymen against engaging themselves in a struggle for a Swaraj
such as is described in that booklet. Now though I do not want to withdraw a
single word of it, I would say to you on this occasion that I do not ask
moment this fact is realised and non-co-operation is effected, this Government
must totter to pieces. If I know that the masses were prepared for the whole
programme at once, I would not delay in putting it at once to work. It is not
possible at the present moment, to prevent the masses from bursting out into
wrath against those who come to execute the law, it is not possible, that the
military would lay down their arms without the slightest violence. If that were
possible to-day, I would propose all the stages of non-co-operation to be
worked simultaneously. But we have not secured that control over the masses, we
have uselessly frittered away precious years of the nation's life in mastering
a language which we need least for winning our liberty; we have frittered away
all those years in learning liberty from Milton and Shakespeare, in deriving
inspiration from the pages of Mill, whilst liberty could be learnt at our
doors. We have thus succeeded in isolating ourselves from the masses: we have
been westernised. We have failed these 35 years to utilise our education in
order to permeate the masses. We have sat upon the pedestal and from there
delivered harangues to them in a language they do not understand and we see
to-day that we are unable to conduct large gatherings in a disciplined manner.
And discipline is the essence of success. Here is therefore one reason why I
have introduced the word 'progressive' in the non-co-operation Resolution.
Without any impertinence I may say that I understand the mass mind better than
any one amongst the educated Indians. I contend that the masses are not ready
for suspension of payment of taxes. They have not yet learnt sufficient
self-control. If I was sure of non-violence on their part I would ask them to
suspend payment to-day and not waste a single moment of the nations time. With
me the liberty of
grieves me to miss the faces of dear and revered leaders in this assembly. We
miss here the trumpet voice of Surendranath Banorji, who has rendered
inestimable service to the country. And though we stand as poles asunder to-day,
though we may have sharp differences with him, we must express them with
becoming restraint. I do not ask you to give up a single iota of principle. I
urge non-violence in language and in deed. If non-violence is essential in our
dealings with Government, it is more essential in our dealings with our
leaders. And it grieves me deeply to hear of recent instances of violence
reported to have been used in East Bongal against our own people. I was pained
to hear that the ears of a man who had voted at the recent elections had been
cut, and night soil had been thrown into the bed of a man who had stood as a
candidate. Non-co-operation is never going to succeed in this way. It will not
succeed unless we create an atmosphere of perfect freedom, unless we prize our
opponents liberty as much as our own. The liberty of faith, conscience, thought
and action which we claim for ourselves must be conceded equally to others. Non
co-operation is a process of purification and we must continually try to touch
the hearts of those who differ from us, their minds, and their emotions, but
never their bodies. Discipline and restraint are the cardinal principles of our
conduct and I warn you against any sort of tyrannical social ostracism. I was
deeply grieved therefore to hear of the insult offered to a dead body in
was not a joke when I said on the congress platform that Swaraj could be
established in one year if there was sufficient response from the nation. Three
months of this year are gone. If we are true to our salt, true to our nation,
true to the songs we sing, if we are true to the Bhagwad Gita and the Koran, we
would finish the programme in the remaining nine months and deliver Islam the
have proposed a limited programme workable within one year, having a special
regard to the educated classes. We seem to be labouring under the illusion that
we cannot possibly live without Councils, law courts and schools provided by
the Government. The moment we are disillusioned we have Swaraj. It is
demoralising both for Government and the governed that a hundred thousand
pilgrims should dictate terms to a nation composed of three hundred millions.
And how is it they can thus dictate terms. It is because we have been divided
and they have ruled. I have never forgotten Humes' frank confession that the
British Government was sustained by the policy of "Divide and Rule."
Therefore it is that I have laid stress upon Hindu Muslim Unity as one of the
important essentials for the success of Non-co-operation. But, it should be no
lip unity, nor bunia unity it should be a unity broad based on a recognition of
the heart. If we want to save Hinduism, I say for Gods sake, do not seek to
bargain with the Mussalmans. I have been going about with Maulana Shaukat Ali
all these months, but I have not so much as whispered anything about the
protection of the cow. My alliance with the Ali Brothers is one of honour. I
feel that I am on my honour, the whole of Hinduism is on its honour, and if it
will not be found wanting, it will do its duty towards the Mussalmans of India.
Any bargaining would be degrading to us. Light brings light not darkness, and
nobility done with a noble purpose will be twice rewarded. It will be God alone
who can protect the cow. Ask me not to-day--'what about the cow,' ask me after
Islam is vindicated through
what do we owe the
I have used strong language but I have done so with the greatest deliberation, I am not actuated by any feeling of revenge. I do not consider Englishmen as my enemy. I recognise the worth of many. I enjoy the privilege of having many English friends, but I am a determined enemy of the English rule as is conducted at present and if the power--tapasya--of one man could destroy it, I would certainly destroy it, if it could not be mended. An Empire that stands for injustice and breach of faith does not deserve to stand if its custodians will not repent and non-co-operation has been devised in order to enable the nation to compel justice.
Ronaldshay has been doing me the favour of reading my booklet on Indian Home
Rule which is a translation of Hind Swaraj. His Lordship told his audience that
if Swaraj meant what I had described it to be in the booklet, the Bengalis
would have none of it. I am sorry that Swaraj of the Congress resolution does
not mean the Swaraj depicted in the booklet; Swaraj according to the Congress
means Swaraj that the people of
am free to confess that the Swaraj I expect to gain within one year, if India
responds will be such Swaraj as will make practically impossible the repetition
of the Khilafat and the Punjab wrongs, and will enable the nation to do good or
evil as it chooses, and not he 'good' at the dictation of an irresponsible,
insolent, and godless bureaucracy. Under that Swaraj the nation will have the
power to impose a heavy protective tariff on such foreign goods as are capable
of being manufactured in
I adhere to all I have said in that booklet and I would certainly recommend it to the reader. Government over self is the truest Swaraj, it is synonymous with moksha or salvation, and I have seen nothing to alter the view that doctors, lawyers, and railways are no help, and are often a hindrance, to the one thing worth striving after. But I know that association, a satanic activity, such as the Government is engaged in, makes even an effort for such freedom a practical impossibility. I cannot tender allegiance to God and Satan at the same time.
The surest sign of the satanic nature of the present system is that even a nobleman of the type of Lord Ronaldshay is obliged to put us off the track. He will not deal with the one thing needful. Why is he silent about the
But it has become the fashion nowadays to ascribe hatred to non-co-operationism. And I regret to find that even Col. Wedgewood has fallen into the trap. I make bold to say that the only way to remove hatred is to give it disciplined vent. No man can--I cannot--perform the impossible task of removing hatred so long as contempt and despise for the feelings of
I am positively certain that there is no personal element in this fight. Both the Hindus and the Mahomedans would to-day invoke blessings on the English if they would but give proof positive of their goodness, faithfulness, and loyalty to
The belated report of the Congress Constitution Committee has now been published for general information and opinion has been invited from all public bodies in order to assist the deliberations of the All India Congress Committee. It is a pity that, small though the Constitution Committee was, all the members never met at any one time in spite of efforts, to have a meeting of them all. It is perhaps no body's fault that all the members could not meet. At the same time the draft report has passed through the searching examination of all but one member and the report represents the mature deliberations of four out of the five members. It must be stated at the same time that it does not pretend to be the unanimous opinion of the members. Rather than present a dissenting minute, a workable scheme has been brought out leaving each member free to press his own views on the several matters in which they are not quite unanimous. The most important part of the constitution, however, is the alteration of the creed. So far as I am aware there is no fundamental difference of opinion between the members. In my opinion the altered creed represents the exact feeling of the country at the present moment.
I know that the proposed alteration has been subjected to hostile criticism in several newspapers of note. But the extraordinary situation that faces the country is that popular opinion is far in advance of several newspapers which have hitherto commanded influence and have undoubtedly moulded public opinion. The fact is that the formation of opinion to-day is by no means confined to the educated classes, but the masses have taken it upon themselves not only to formulate opinion but to enforce it. It would be a mistake to belittle or ignore this opinion, or to ascribe it to a temporary upheaval. It would be equally a mistake to suppose that this awakening amongst the masses is due either to the activity of the Ali Brothers or myself. For the time being we have the ear of the masses because we voice their sentiments. The masses are by no means so foolish or unintelligent as we sometimes imagine. They often perceive things with their intuition, which we ourselves fail to see with our intellect. But whilst the masses know what they want, they often do not know how to express their wants and, less often, how to get what they want. Herein comes the use of leadership, and disastrous results can easily follow a bad, hasty, or what is worse, selfish lead.
first part of the proposed creed expresses the present desire of the nation,
and the second shows the way that desire can be fulfilled. In my humble opinion
the Congress creed with the proposed alteration is but an extension of the
original. And so long as no break with the British connection is attempted, it
is strictly within even the existing article that defines the Congress creed.
The extension lies in the contemplated possibility of a break with the British
connection. In my humble opinion, if India is to make unhampered progress, we
must make it clear to the British people that whilst we desire to retain the
British connection, if we can rise to our full height with it we are determined
to dispense with, and even to get rid of that connection, if that is necessary
for full national development. I hold that it is not only derogatory to
national dignity but it actually impedes national progress superstitiously to
believe that our progress towards our goal is impossible without British
connection. It is this superstition which makes some of the best of us tolerate
next important alteration is about the election of the members of the All-India
Congress Committee, making that committee practically the Subjects Committee,
and the redistribution of
observe that the Servant of India sees an inconsistency between my
implied acceptance of the British Committee, so far as the published draft
constitution is concerned, and my recent article in Young India on that
Committee and the newspaper India. But it is well known that for several
years I have held my present views about the existence of that body. It would
have been irrelevant for me, perhaps, to suggest to my colleagues the
extinction of that committee. It was not our function to report on the
usefulness or otherwise of the Committee. We were commissioned only for
preparing a new constitution. Moreover I knew that my colleagues were not
averse to the existence of the British Committee. And the drawing up of a new
constitution enabled me to show that where there was no question of principle I
was desirous of agreeing quickly with my opponents in opinions. But I propose
certainly to press for abolition of the committee as it is at present
continued, and the stopping of its organ
Asked by the Times representative as to his impressions formed as a result of his activities during the last three months, Mr. Gandhi said:--"My own impression of these three months' extensive experience is that this movement of non-co-operation has come to stay, and it is most decidedly a purifying movement, in spite of isolated instances of rowdyism, as for instance at Mrs. Besant's meeting in Bombay, at some places in Delhi, Bengal, and even in Gujarat. The people are assimilating day after day the spirit of non-violence, not necessarily as a creed, but as an inevitable policy. I expect most startling results, more startling than, say, the discoveries of Sir J.C. Bose, or the acceptance by the people of non-violence. If the Government could be assured beyond any possibility of doubt that no violence would ever be offered by us the Government would from that moment alter its character, unconsciously and involuntarily, but nonetheless surely on that account."
"Alter its character,--in what, direction?" asked the Times representative.
"Certainly in the direction which we ask it should move--that being in the direction of Government becoming responsive to every call of the nation."
"Will you kindly explain further?" asked the representative.
"By that I mean," said Mr. Gandhi, "people will be able by asserting themselves through fixed determination and self-sacrifice to gain the redress of the Khilafat wrong, the Punjab wrong, and attain the Swaraj of their choice."
"But what is your Swaraj, and where does the Government come in there--the Government which, you say will alter its character unconsciously?"
"My Swaraj," said Mr. Gandhi, "is the Parliamentary Government of India in the modern sense of the term for the time being, and that Government would be secured to us either through the friendly offices of the British people or without them."
"What do you mean by the phrase, 'without them!'" questioned the interviewer.
movement," continued Mr. Gandhi, "is an endeavour to purge the
present Government of selfishness and greed which determine almost every one of
their activities. Suppose that we have made it impossible by disassociation
from them to feed their greed. They might not wish to remain in
"How do you think," queried the representative, "in practice this will work out?"
I have sketched before you," said Mr. Gandhi, "is the final
possibility. What I expect is that nothing of that kind will happen. In so far
as I understand the British people I will recognise the force of public opinion
when it has become real and patent. Then, and only then, will they realise the
hideous injustice which in their name the Imperial ministers and their
that the British Government wish to retire because
Gandhi answered: "At that stage surely it is easy to understand that
Gandhi answered the question with an emphatic affirmative. "My experience
during the last months fills me with the hope," continued Mr. Gandhi,
"that within the nine months that remain of the year in which I have
expected Swaraj for
"Where will the present Government be at the end of the nine months?" Asked the Times representative.
Mr. Gandhi, with a significant smile, said: "The lion will then lie with the lamb."
Gandhi in moving his resolution on the creed before the Congress, said,
"The resolution which I have the honour to move is as follows: The object
of the Indian National Congress is the attainment of Swarajya by the people of
are only two kinds of objections, so far as I understand, that will be advanced
from this platform. One is that we may not to-day think of dissolving the
British connection. What I say is that it is derogatory to national dignity to
think of permanence of British connection at any cost. We are labouring under a
grievous wrong, which it is the personal duty of every Indian to get redressed.
This British Government not only refused to redress the wrong, but it refuses
to acknowledge its mistake and so long as it retains its attitude, it is
not possible for us to say all that we want to be or all that we want to get,
retaining British connection. No matter what difficulties be in our path, we
must make the clearest possible declaration to the world and to the whole of
want just now to wind up my remarks with a personal appeal, drawing your
attention to an object lesson that was presented in the
I only wanted my Bengali friends and all the other friends who have come to this great assembly with a fixed determination to seek nothing but the settlement of their country, to seek nothing but the advancement of their respective rights, to seek nothing but the conservation of the national honour. I appeal to every one of you to copy the example set by those who felt aggrieved and who felt that their heads were broken. I know, before we have done with this great battle on which we have embarked at the special sessions of the Congress, we have to go probably, possibly through a sea of blood, but let it not be said of us or any one of us that we are guilty of shedding blood, but let it be said by generations yet to be born that we suffered, that we shed not somebody's blood but our own, and so I have no hesitation in saying that I do not want to show much sympathy for those who had their heads broken or who were said to be even in danger of losing their lives. What does it matter? It is much better to die at the hands, at least, of our own countrymen. What is there to revenge ourselves about or upon. So I ask everyone of you that if at any time there is blood-boiling within you against some fellow countrymen of yours, even though he may be in the employ of Government, though he may be in the Secret Service, you will take care not to be offended and not to return blow for blow. Understand that the very moment you return the blow from the detective, your cause is lost. This is your non-violent campaign. And so I ask everyone of you not to retaliate but to bottle up all your rage, to dismiss your rage from you and you will rise graver men. I am here to congratulate those who have restrained themselves from going to the President and bringing the dispute before him.
Therefore I appeal to those who feel aggrieved to feel that they have done the right thing in forgetting it and if they have not forgotten I ask them to try to forget the thing; and that is the object lesson to which I wanted to draw your attention if you want to carry this resolution. Do not carry this resolution only by an acclamation for this resolution, but I want you to accompany the carrying out of this resolution with a faith and resolve which nothing on earth can move. That you are intent upon getting Swaraj at the earliest possible moment and that you are intent upon getting Swaraj by means that are legitimate, that are honourable and by means that are non-violent, that are peaceful, you have resolved upon, so far you can say to-day. We cannot give battle to this Government by means of steel, but we can give battle by exercising, what I have so often called, "soul force" and soul force is not the prerogative of one man of a Sanyasi or even a so-called saint. Soul force is the prerogative of every human being, female or male and therefore I ask my countrymen, if they want to accept this resolution, to accept it with that firm determination and to understand that it is inaugurated under such good and favourable auspices as I have described to you.
In my humble opinion, the Congress will have done the rightest thing, if it unanimously adopts this resolution. May God grant that you will pass this resolution unanimously, may God grant that you will also have the courage and the ability to carry out the resolution and that within one year.
[A dialogue between Editor and reader on the Hindu-Moslem Unity--Indian Home Rule.]
EDITOR: Your last question is a serious one, and yet, on careful consideration, it will be found to be easy of solution. The question arises because of the presence of the railways of the lawyers, and of the doctors. We shall presently examine the last two. We have already considered the railways. I should, however, like to add that man is so made by nature as to require him to restrict his movements as far as his hands and feet will take him. If we did not rush about from place to place by means of railways such other maddening conveniences, much of the confusion that arises would be obviated. Our difficulties are of our own creation. God set a limit to a man's locomotive ambition in the construction of his body. Man immediately proceeded to discover means of overriding the limit. God gifted man with intellect that he might know his Maker. Man abused it, so that he might forget his Maker. I am so constructed that I can only serve my immediate neighbours, but, in my conceit, I pretend to have discovered that I must with my body serve every individual in the Universe. In thus attempting the impossible, man comes in contact with different natures, different religions, and is utterly confounded. According to this reasoning, it must be apparent to you that railways are a most dangerous institution. Man has therefore gone further away from his Maker.
READER: But I am impatient to hear your answer to my question. Has the introduction of Mahomedanism not unmade the nation?
READER: But what about the inborn enmity between Hindus and Mahomedans?
EDITOR: That phrase has been invented by our mutual enemy. When the Hindus and Mahomedans fought against one another, they certainly spoke in that strain. They have long since ceased to fight. How, then, can there be any inborn enmity? Pray remember this, too, that we did not cease to fight only after British occupation. The Hindus flourished under Moslem sovereigns, and Moslems under the Hindu. Each party recognised that mutual fighting was suicidal, and that neither party would abandon its religion by force of arms. Both parties, therefore, decided to live in peace. With the English advent the quarrels recommenced.
The proverbs you have quoted were coined when both were fighting; to quote them now is obviously harmful. Should we not remember that many Hindus and Mahomedans own the same ancestors, and the same blood runs through their veins? Do people become enemies because they change their religion? Is the God of the Mahomedan different from the God of the Hindu? Religions are different roads converging to the same point. What does it matter that we take different roads, so long as we reach the same goal? Wherein is the cause for quarrelling?
Moreover, there are deadly proverbs as between the followers of Shiva and those of Vishnu, yet nobody suggests that these two do not belong to the same nation. It is said that the Vedic religion is different from Jainism, but the followers of the respective faiths are not different nations. The fact is that we have become enslaved, and, therefore, quarrel and like to have our quarrels decided by a third party. There are Hindu iconoclasts as there are Mahomedan. The more we advance in true knowledge, the better we shall understand that we need not be at war with those whose religion we may not follow.
READER: Now I would like to know your views about cow protection.
I myself respect the cow, that is, I look upon her with affectionate reverence.
The cow is the protector of
But, just as I respect the cow so do I respect my fellow-men. A man is just as useful as a cow, no matter whether he be a Mahomedan or a Hindu. Am I, then to fight with or kill a Mahomedan in order to save a cow? In doing so, I would become an enemy as well of the cow as of the Mahomedan. Therefore, the only method I know of protecting the cow is that I should approach my Mahomedan brother and urge him for the sake of the country to join me in protecting her. If he would not listen to me, I should let the cow go for the simple reason that the matter is beyond my ability. If I were over full of pity for the cow, I should sacrifice my life to save her, but not take my brother's. This, I hold, is the law of our religion.
When men become obstinate, it is a difficult thing. If I pull one way, my Moslem brother will pull another. If I put on a superior air, he will return the compliment. If I bow to him gently, he will do it much, more so, and if he does not, I shall not be considered to have done wrong in having bowed. When the Hindus became insistent, the killing of cows increased. In my opinion, cow protection societies may be considered cow killing societies. It is a disgrace to us that we should need such societies. When we forgot how to protect cows, I suppose we needed such societies.
What am I to do when a blood-brother is on the point of killing a cow? Am I to kill him, or to fall down at his feet and implore him? If you admit that I should adopt the latter course I must do the same to my Moslem brother. Who protects the cow from destruction by Hindus when they cruelly ill-treat her? Whoever reasons with the Hindus when they mercilessly belabour the progeny of the cow with their sticks? But this has not prevented us from remaining one nation.
Lastly, if it be true that the Hindus believe in the doctrine of non-killing, and the Mahomedans do not, what, I pray, is the duty of the former? It is not written that a follower of the religion of Ahimsa (non-killing) may kill a fellow-man. For him the way is straight. In order to save one being, he may not kill another. He can only plead--therein lies his sole duty.
But does every Hindu believe in Ahimsa? Going to the root of the matter, not one man really practises such a religion, because we do destroy life. We are said to follow that religion because we want to obtain freedom from liability to kill any kind of life. Generally speaking, we may observe that many Hindus partake of meat and are not, therefore, followers of Ahimsa. It is, therefore, preposterous to suggest that the two cannot live together amicably because the Hindus believe in Ahimsa and the Mahomedans do not.
These thoughts are put into our minds by selfish and false religious teachers. The English put the finishing touch. They have a habit of writing history; they pretend to study the manners and customs of all peoples, God has given us a limited mental capacity, but they usurp the function of the Godhead and indulge in novel experiments. They write about their own researches in most laudatory terms and hypnotise us into believing them. We in our ignorance, then fall at their feet.
Those who do not wish to misunderstand things may read up the Koran, and will find therein hundreds of passages acceptable to the Hindus; and the Bhagavad Gita contains passages to which not a Mahomedan can take exception. Am I to dislike a Mahomedan because there are passages in the Koran I do not understand or like? It takes two to make a quarrel. If I do not want to quarrel with a Mahomedan, the latter will be powerless to foist a quarrel on me, and, similarly, I should be powerless if a Mahomedan refuses his assistance to quarrel with me. An arm striking the air will become disjointed. If everyone will try to understand the core of his own religion and adhere to it, and will not allow false teachers to dictate to him, there will be no room left for quarrelling.
READER: But, will the English ever allow the two bodies to join hands?
EDITOR: This question arises out of your timidity. It betrays our shallowness. If two brothers want to live in peace, is it possible for a third party to separate them? If they were to listen to evil counsels, we would consider them to be foolish. Similarly, we Hindus and Mahomedans would have to blame our folly rather than the English, if we allowed them to put asunder. A clay pot would break through impact; if not with one stone, thou with another. The way to save the pot is not to keep it away from the danger point, but to bake it so that no stone would break it. We have then to make our hearts of perfectly baked clay. Then we shall be steeled against all danger. This can be easily done by the Hindus. They are superior in numbers, they pretend that they are more educated, they are, therefore, better able to shield themselves from attack on their amicable relations with the Mahomedans.
There is a mutual distrust between the two communities. The Mahomedans, therefore, ask for certain concessions from Lord Morley. Why should the Hindus oppose this? If the Hindus desisted, the English would notice it, the Mahomedans would gradually begin to trust the Hindus, and brotherliness would be the outcome. We should be ashamed to take our quarrels to the English. Everyone can find out for himself that the Hindus can lose nothing be desisting. The man who has inspired confidence in another has never lost anything in this world.
I do not suggest that the Hindus and the Mahomedans will never fight. Two brothers living together often do so. We shall sometimes have our heads broken. Such a thing ought not to be necessary, but all men are not equi-minded. When people are in a rage, they do many foolish things. These we have to put up with. But, when we do quarrel, we certainly do not want to engage counsel and to resort to English or any law-courts. Two men fight; both have their heads broken, or one only. How shall a third party distribute justice amongst them? Those who fight may expect to be injured.
Mr. Candler some time ago asked me in an imaginary interview whether if I was sincere in my professions of Hindu-Mahomedan Unity. I would eat and drink with a Mahomedean and give my daughter in marriage to a Mahomedan. This question has been asked again by some friends in another form. Is it necessary for Hindu Mahomedan Unity that there should he interdining and intermarrying? The questioners say that if the two are necessary, real unity can never take place because crores of Sanatanis would never reconcile themselves to interdining, much less to intermarriage.
I am one of those who do not consider caste to be a harmful institution. In its origin caste was a wholesome custom and promoted national well-being. In my opinion the idea that interdining or intermarrying is necessary for national growth, is a superstition borrowed from the West. Eating is a process just as vital as the other sanitary necessities of life. And if mankind had not, much to its harm, made of eating a fetish and indulgence we would have performed the operation of eating in private even as one performs the other necessary functions of life in private. Indeed the highest culture in Hinduism regards eating in that light and there are thousands of Hindus still living who will not eat their food in the presence of anybody. I can recall the names of several cultured men and women who ate their food in entire privacy but who never had any illwill against anybody and who lived on the friendliest terms with all.
Intermarriage is a still more difficult question. If brothers and sisters can live on the friendliest footing without ever thinking of marrying each other, I can see no difficulty in my daughter regarding every Mahomedan brother and vice versa. I hold strong views on religion and on marriage. The greater the restraint we exercise with regard to our appetites whether about eating or marrying, the better we become from a religious standpoint. I should despair of ever cultivating amicable relations with the world, if I had to recognise the right or the propriety of any young man offering his hand in marriage to my daughter or to regard it as necessary for me to dine with anybody and everybody. I claim that I am living on terms of friendliness with the whole world. I have never quarrelled with a single Mahomedan or Christian but for years I have taken nothing but fruit in Mahomedan or Christian households. I would most certainly decline to eat food cooked from the same plate with my son or to drink water out of a cup which his lips have touched and which has not been washed. But the restraint or the exclusiveness exercised in these matters by me has never affected the closest companionship with the Mahomedan or the Christian friends or my sons.
But interdining and intermarriage have never been a bar to disunion, quarrels and worse. The Pandavas and the Kauravas flew at one another's throats without compunction although they interdined and intermarried. The bitterness between the English and the Germans has not yet died out.
The fact is that intermarriage and interdining are not necessary factors in friendship and unity though they are often emblems thereof. But insistence on either the one or the other can easily become and is to-day a bar to Hindu-Mahomedan Unity. If we make ourselves believe that Hindus and Mahomedans cannot be one unless they interdine or intermarry, we would be creating an artificial barrier between us which it might be almost impossible to remove. And it would seriously interfere with the flowing unity between Hindus and Mahomedans if, for example, Mahomedan youths consider it lawful to court Hindu girls. The Hindu parents will not, even if they suspected any such thing, freely admit Mahomedans to their homes as they have begun to do now. In my opinion it is necessary for Hindu and Mahomedan young men to recognise this limitation.
I hold it to be utterly impossible for Hindus and Mahomedans to intermarry and yet retain intact each other's religion. And the true beauty of Hindu-Mahomedan Unity lies in each remaining true to his own religion and yet being true to each other. For, we are thinking of Hindus and Mahomedans even of the most orthodox type being able to regard one another as natural friends instead of regarding one another as natural enemies as they have done hitherto.
What then does the Hindu-Mahomedan Unity consist in and how can it be best promoted? The answer is simple. It consists in our having a common purpose, a common goal and common sorrows. It is best promoted by co-operating to reach the common goal, by sharing one another's sorrow and by mutual toleration. A common goal we have. We wish this great country of ours to be greater and self-governing. We have enough sorrows to share and to-day seeing that the Mahomedans are deeply touched on the question of Khilafat and their case is just, nothing can be so powerful for winning Mahomedans friendship for the Hindu as to give his whole-hearted support to the Mahomedan claim. No amount of drinking out of the same cup or dining out of the same bowl can bind the two as this help in the Khilafat question.
And mutual toleration is a necessity for all time and for all races. We cannot live in peace if the Hindu will not tolerate the Mahomedan form of worship of God and his manners and customs or if the mahomedans will be impatient of Hindu idolatory, cow-worship. It is not necessary for toleration that I must approve of what I tolerate. I heartily dislike drinking, meat eating and smoking, but I tolerate all these in Hindus, Mahomedans and Christians even as I expect them to tolerate my abstinence from all these, although they may dislike it. All the quarrels between the Hindus and the Mahomedans have arisen from each wanting to force the other his view.
There can be no doubt that successful non-co-operation depends as much on Hindu-Muslim Unity as on non-violence. Greatest strain will be put upon both in the course of the struggle and if it survives that strain, victory is a certainty.
severe strain was put upon it in
But Hakimji Ajmal khan cannot be everywhere appearing at the exact hour as an angel of peace. Nor can Maulana Shankat Ali or I go everywhere. And yet perfect peace must be observed between the two communities in spite of attempts to divide them.
was there any appeal made to the authorities at all at
union that we want is not a patched up thing but a union of hearts based upon a
definite recognition of the indubitable proposition that Swaraj for
I would frankly despair of reaching such union if there was anything in the holy Quran enjoining upon the followers of Islam to treat Hindus as their natural enemies or if there was anything in Hinduism to warrant a belief in the eternal enmity between the two.
We would ill learn our history if we conclude that because we have quarrelled in the past, we are destined so to continue unless some such strong power like the British keep us by force of arms from flying at each other's throats. But I am convinced that there is no warrant in Islam or Hinduism for any such belief. True it is that interested fanatical priests in both religions have set the one against the other. It is equally true that Muslim rulers like Christian rulers have used the sword for the propagation of their respective faiths. But in spite of many dark things of the modern times, the world's opinion to-day will as little tolerate forcible conversions as it will tolerate forcible slavery. That probably is the most effective contribution of the scientific spirit of the age. That spirit has revolutionised many a false notion about Christianity as it has about Islam. I do not know a single writer on Islam who defends the use of force in the proselytising process. The influences exerted in our times are far more subtle than that of the sword.
believe that in the midst of all the bloodshed, chicane and fraud being
resorted to on a colossal scale in the west, the whole humanity is silently but
surely making progress towards a better age. And
used to call the Panchamas 'suppressed classes.' There is no doubt that
Vivekanand's is a more accurate adjective. We have suppressed them and have
consequently become ourselves depressed. That we have become the 'Pariahs of the
Empire' is, in Gokhale's language, the retributive justice meted out to us by a
just God. A correspondent indignantly asks me in a pathetic letter reproduced
elsewhere, what I am doing for them. I have given the letter with the
correspondent's own heading. Should not we the Hindus wash our bloodstained
hands before we ask the English to wash theirs? This is a proper question
reasonably put. And if a member of a slave nation could deliver the suppressed
classes from their slavery without freeing myself from my own, I would do so to
day. But it is an impossible task. A slave has not the freedom even to do the
right thing. It is a right for me to prohibit the importation of foreign goods,
but I have no power to bring it about. It was right for Maulana Mahomed Ali to
Meanwhile are the depressed classes to be loft to their own resources? Nothing of the sort. In my own humble manner I have done and am doing all I can for my Panchama brother.
are three courses open to those downtrodden members of the nation. For their
impatience they may call in the assistance of the slave owning Government. They
will get it but they will fall from the frying pan into the fire. To-day they
are slaves of slaves. By seeking Government aid, they will be used for
suppressing their kith and kin. Instead of being sinned against, they will
themselves be the sinners. The Mussalmans tried it and failed. They found that
they were worse off than before. The Sikhs did it unwittingly and failed.
To-day there is no more discontented community in
The second is rejection of Hinduism and wholesale conversion to Islam or Christianity. And if a change of religion could be justified for worldly betterment, I would advise it without hesitation. But religion is a matter of the heart. No physical inconvenience can warrant abandonment of one's own religion. If the inhuman treatment of the Panchamas were a part of Hinduism, its rejection would be a paramount duty both for them and for those like me who would not make a fetish even of religion and condone every evil in its sacred name. But, I believe that untouchability is no part of Hinduism. It is rather its excrescence to be removed by every effort. And there is quite an army of Hindu reformers who have set their heart upon ridding Hinduism of this blot. Conversion, therefore, I hold, is no remedy whatsoever.
Then there remains, finally, self-help and self-dependence, with such aid as the non-Panchama Hindus will render of their own motion, not as a matter of patronage but as a matter of duty. And herein comes the use of non-co-operation. My correspondent was correctly informed by Mr. Rajagopaluchari and Mr. Hanumantarao that I would favour well-regulated non-co-operation for this acknowledged evil. But non-co-operation means independence of outside help, it means effort from within. It would not be non-co-operation to insist on visiting prohibited areas. That may be civil disobedience if it is peacefully carried out. But I have found to my cost that civil disobedience requires far greater preliminary training and self-control. All can non-co-operate, but few only can offer civil disobedience. Therefore, by way of protest against Hinduism, the Panchamas can certainly stop all contact and connection with the other Hindus so long as special grievances are maintained. But this means organised intelligent effort. And so far as I can see, there is no leader among the Panchamas who can lead them to victory through non-co-operation.
The better way, therefore, perhaps, is for the Panchamas heartily to join the great national movement that is now going on for throwing off the slavery of the present Government. It is easy enough for the Panchama friends to see that non-co-operation against this evil government presupposes co-operation between the different sections forming the Indian nation. The Hindus must realise that if they wish to offer successful non-co-operation against the Government, they must make common cause with the Panchamas, even as they have made common cause with the Mussalmans. Non-co-operation with it is free from violence, is essentially a movement of intensive self-purification. That process has commenced and whether the Panchamas deliberately take part in it or not, the rest of the Hindus dare not neglect them without hampering their own progress. Hence though the Panchama problem is as dear to me as life itself, I rest satisfied with the exclusive attention to national non-co-operation. I feel sure that the greater includes the less.
allied to this question is the non-Brahmin question. I wish I had studied it
more closely than I have been able to. A quotation from my speech delivered at
a private meeting in
resolution of the Senate of the
'depressed' classes difficulty is internal and therefore far more serious
because it may give rise to a split and weaken the cause--no cause can survive
internal difficulties if they are indefinitely multiplied. Yet there can be no
surrender in the matter of principles for the avoidance of splits. You cannot
promote a cause when you are undermining it by surrendering its vital parts.
The depressed classes problem is a vital part of the cause. Swaraj is as
inconceivable without full reparation to the 'depressed' classes as it is
impossible without real Hindu-Muslim unity. In my opinion we have become
'pariahs of the Empire' because we have created 'pariahs' in our midst. The
slave owner is always more hurt than the slave. We shall be unfit to gain
Swaraj so long as we would keep in bondage a fifth of the population of
The Gujarat Senate therefore counted the cost when it refused to bend before the storm. This non-co-operation is a process of self-purification. We may not cling to putrid customs and claim the pure boon of Swaraj. Untouchability I hold is a custom, not an integral part of Hinduism. The world advanced in thought, though it is still barbarous in action. And no religion can stand that which is not based on fundamental truths. Any glorification of error will destroy a religion as surely as disregard of a disease is bound to destroy a body.
This government of ours is an unscrupulous corporation. It has ruled by dividing Mussalmans from Hindus. It is quite capable of taking advantage of the internal weaknesses of Hinduism. It will set the 'depressed' classes against the rest of the Hindus, non-Brahmins against Brahmins. The Gujarat Senate resolution does not end the trouble. It merely points out the difficulty. The trouble will end only when the masses and classes of Hindus have rid themselves of the sin of untouchability. A Hindu lover of Swaraj will as assiduously work for the amelioration of the lot of the 'depressed' classes as he works for Hindu-Muslim unity. We must treat them as our brothers and give them the same rights that we claim for ourselves.
It is worthy of note that the subjects Committee accepted without any opposition the clause regarding the sin of untouchability. It is well that the National assembly passed the resolution stating that the removal of this blot on Hinduism was necessary for the attainment of Swaraj. The Devil succeeds only by receiving help from his fellows. He always takes advantage of the weakest spots in our natures in order to gain mastery over us. Even so does the Government retain its control over us through our weaknesses or vices. And if we would render ourselves proof against its machination, we must remove our weaknesses. It is for that reason that I have called non-co-operation a process of purification. As soon as that process is completed, this government must fall to pieces for want of the necessary environment, just as mosquitos cease to haunt a place whose cess-pools are filled up and dried.
Has not a just Nemesis overtaken us for the crime of untouchability? Have we not reaped as we have sown? Have we not practised Dwyerism and O'Dwyerism on our own kith and kin? We have segregated the 'pariah' and we are in turn segregated in the British Colonies. We deny him the use of public wells; we throw the leavings of our plates at him. His very shadow pollutes us. Indeed there is no charge that the 'pariah' cannot fling in our faces and which we do not fling in the faces of Englishmen.
is this blot on Hinduism to be removed? 'Do unto others as you would that
others should do unto you.' I have often told English officials that, if they
are friends and servants of
Untouchability is not a sanction of religion, it is a devise of Satan. The devil has always quoted scriptures. But scriptures cannot transcend reason and truth. They are intended to purify reason and illuminate truth. I am not going to burn a spotless horse because the Vedas are reported to have advised, tolerated, or sanctioned the sacrifice. For me the Vedas are divine and unwritten. 'The letter killeth.' It is the spirit that giveth the light. And the spirit of the Vedas is purity, truth, innocence, chastity, humility, simplicity, forgiveness, godliness, and all that makes a man or woman noble and brave. There is neither nobility nor bravery in treating the great and uncomplaining scavengers of the nation as worse than dogs to be despised and spat upon. Would that God gave us the strength and the wisdom to become voluntary scavengers of the nation as the 'suppressed' classes are forced to be. There are Augean stables enough and to spare for us to clean.
prejudice against Indian settlers outside
meeting held at the Excelsior Theatre in
question of franchise will soon become a burning one. It will be suicidal to
divide the electorate or to appoint Indians by nomination. There must be one
general electoral roll applying the same qualifications to all the voters. This
principle, as Mr. Andrews reminded the meeting, had worked well at the
second part of the East African resolution shows the condition of our
countrymen in the late
Let us face the facts frankly. The problem is difficult alike for Englishmen and for us. The Englishmen and Indians do not agree in the Colonies. The Englishmen do not want us where they can live. Their civilisation is different from ours. The two cannot coalesce until there is mutual respect. The Englishman considers himself to belong to the ruling race. The Indian struggles to think that he does not belong to the subject race and in the very act of thinking admits his subjection. We must then attain equality at home before we can make any real impression abroad.
is not to say that we must not strive to do better abroad whilst we are ill at
ease in our own home. We must preserve, we must help our countrymen who have
memorable Conference at Gujrat in its resolution on the status of Indians
abroad has given it as its opinion that even this question may become one more
reason for non-co-operation. And so it may. Nowhere has there been such open
defiance of every canon of justice and propriety as in the shameless decision
of confiscation of Indian rights in the Kenia Colony announced by its Governor.
This decision has been supported by Lord Milnor and Mr. Montagu. And his Indian
colleagues are satisfied with the decision. Indians, who have made
British Guiana I observe from the papers received from that quarter, that the
mission that came here is already declaring that Indian labour will be
situation is clear. We are Pariahs in our own home. We get only what Government
intend to give, not what we demand and have a right to. We may get the crumbs,
never the loaf. I have seen large and tempting crumbs from a lavish table. And
I have seen the eyes of our Pariahs--the shame of Hinduism--brightening to see
those heavy crumbs filling their baskets. But the superior Hindu, who is
filling the basket from a safe distance, knows that they are unfit for his own
consumption. And so we in our turn may receive even Governorships which the
real rulers no longer require or which they cannot retain with safety for their
material interest--the political and material hold on
writer in the "Times of India," the Editor of that wonderful daily
and Mrs. Besant have all in their own manner condemned non-co-operation
conceived in connection with the Khilafat movement. All the three writings
naturally discuss many side issues which I shall omit for the time being. I
propose to answer two serious objections raised by the writers. The sobriety
with which they are stated entitles them to a greater consideration than if
they had been given in violent language. In non-co-operation, the writers
think, it would be difficult if not impossible to avoid violence. Indeed
violence, the "Times of India" editorial says, has already commenced
in that ostracism has been resorted to in
Mr. Montagu does not like the Khilafat agitation that is daily gathering force. In answer to questions put in the House of Commons, he is reported to have said that whilst he acknowledged that I had rendered distinguished services to the country in the past, he could not look upon my present attitude with equanimity and that it was not to be expected that I could now be treated as leniently as I was during the Rowlatt Act agitation. He added that he had every confidence in the central and the local Governments, that they were carefully watching the movement and that they had full power to deal with the situation.
This statement of Mr. Montagu has been regarded in some quarters as a threat. It has even been considered to be a blank cheque for the Government of India to re-establish the reign of terror if they chose. It is certainly inconsistent with his desire to base the Government on the goodwill of the people. At the same time if the Hunter Committee's finding be true and if I was the cause of the disturbances last year, I was undoubtedly treated with exceptional leniency, I admit too that my activity this year is fraught with greater peril to the Empire as it is being conducted to-day than was last year's activity. Non-co-operation in itself is more harmless than civil disobedience, but in its effect it is far more dangerous for the Government than civil disobedience. Non-co-operation is intended so far to paralyse the Government, as to compel justice from it. If it is carried to the extreme point, it can bring the Government to a standstill.
A friend who has been listening to my speeches once asked me whether I did not come under the sedition section of the Indian Penal Code. Though I had not fully considered it, I told him that very probably I did and that I could not plead 'not guilty' if I was charged under it. For I must admit that I can pretend to no 'affection' for the present Government. And my speeches are intended to create 'disaffection' such that the people might consider it a shame to assist or co-operate with a Government that had forfeited all title to confidence, respect or support.
draw no distinction between the Imperial and the Indian Government. The latter
has accepted, on the Khilafat, the policy imposed upon it by the former. And in
at Amritsar last year I pleaded with all the earnestness I could command for
co-operation with the Government and for response to the wishes expressed in
the Royal Proclamation; I did so because I honestly believed that a new era was
about to begin, and that the old spirit of fear, distrust and consequent
terrorism was about to give place to the new spirit of respect, trust and
good-will. I sincerely believed that the Mussalman sentiment would be placated
and that the officers that had misbehaved during the Martial Law regime in the
Punjab would be at least dismissed and the people would be otherwise made to
feel that a Government that had always been found quick (and rightly) to punish
popular excesses would not fail to punish its agents' misdeeds. But to my
amazement and dismay I have discovered that the present representatives of the
Empire have become dishonest and unscrupulous. They have no real regard for the
wishes of the people of
can no longer retain affection for a Government so evilly manned as it is
now-a-days. And for me, it is humiliating to retain my freedom and be a witness
to the continuing wrong. Mr. Montagu however is certainly right in threatening
me with deprivation of my liberty if I persist in endangering the existence of
the Government. For that must be the result if my activity bears fruit. My only
regret is that inasmuch as Mr. Montagu admits my past services, he might have
perceived that there must be something exceptionally bad in the Government if a
well-wisher like me could no longer give his affection to it. It was simpler to
insist on justice being done to the Mussulmans and to the
At the present moment, however, the duty of those who approve of my activity is clear. They ought on no account to resent the deprivation of my liberty, should the Government of India deem it to be their duty to take it away. A citizen has no right to resist such restriction imposed in accordance with the laws of the State to which he belongs. Much less have those who sympathize with him. In my case there can be no question of sympathy. For I deliberately oppose the Government to the extent of trying to put its very existence in jeopardy. For my supporters, therefore, it must be a moment of joy when I am imprisoned. It means the beginning of success if only the supporters continue the policy for which I stand. If the Government arrest me, they would do so in order to stop the progress of non-co-operation which I preach. It follows that if non-co-operation continues with unabated vigour, even after my arrest, the Government must imprison others or grant the people's wish in order to gain their co-operation. Any eruption of violence on the part of the people even under provocation would end in disaster. Whether therefore it is I or any one else who is arrested during the campaign, the first condition of success is that there must be no resentment shown against it. We cannot imperil the very existence of a Government and quarrel with its attempt to save itself by punishing those who place it in danger.
Sapru delivered before the Khilafat Conference at
I acknowledge the force of Dr. Sapru's last argument. At the back of Dr. Sapru's mind is the fear that non-co-operation by the ignorant people would lead to distress and chaos and would do no good. In my opinion any non-co-operation is bound to do some good. Even the Viceragal door-keeper saying, 'Please Sir, I can serve the Government no longer because it has hurt my national honour' and resigning is a step mightier and more effective than the mightiest speech declaiming against the Government for its injustice.
Nevertheless it would be wrong to appeal to the door-keeper until one has appealed to the highest in the land. And as I propose, if the necessity arose, to ask the door-keepers of the Government to dissociate themselves from an unjust Government I propose now to address, an appeal to the Judges and the Executive Councillors to join the protest that is rising from all over India against the double wrong done to India, on the Khilafat and the Punjab question. In both, national honour is involved.
I take it that these gentlemen have entered upon their high offices not for the sake of emolument, nor I hope for the sake of fame, but for the sake of serving their country. It was not for money, for they were earning more than they do now. It must not be for fame, for they cannot buy fame at the cost of national honour. The only consideration, that can at the present moment keep them in office must be service of the country.
When the people have faith in the government, when it represents the popular will, the judges and the executive officials possibly serve the country. But when that government does not represent the will of the people, when it supports dishonesty and terrorism, the judges and the executive officials by retaining office become instrument of dishonesty and terrorism. And the least therefore that these holders of high offices can do is to cease to become agents of a dishonest and terrorising government.
For the judges, the objection will be raised that they are above politics, and so they are and should be. But the doctrine is true only in so far us the government is on the whole for the benefit of the people and at least represents the will of the majority. Not to take part in politics means not to take sides. But when a whole country has one mind, one will, when a whole country has been denied justice, it is no longer a question of party politics, it is a matter of life and death. It then becomes the duty of every citizen to refuse to serve a government which misbehaves and flouts national wish. The judges are at that moment bound to follow the nation if they are ultimately its servants.
There remains another argument to be examined. It applies to both the judges and the members of the executive. It will be urged that my appeal could only be meant for the Indians and what good can it do by Indians renouncing offices which have been won for the nation by hard struggle. I wish that I could make an effective appeal to the English as well as the Indians. But I confess that I have written with the mental reservation that the appeal is addressed only to the Indians. I must therefore examine the argument just stated. Whilst it is true that these offices have been secured after a prolonged struggle, they are of use not because of the struggle, but because they are intended to serve the nation. The moment they cease to possess that quality, they become useless and as in the present case harmful, no matter how hard-earned and therefore valuable they may have been at the outset.
would submit too to our distinguished countrymen who occupy high offices that
their giving up will bring the struggle to a speedy end and would probably
obviate the danger attendant upon the masses being called upon to signify their
disapproval by withdrawing co-operation. If the titleholders gave up their
titles, if the holders of honorary offices gave up their appointment and if the
high officials gave up their posts, and the would-be councillors boycotted the
councils, the Government would quickly come to its senses and give effect to
the people's will. For the alternative before the Government then would be
nothing but despotic rule pure and simple. That would probably mean military
dictatorship. The world's opinion has advanced so far that
a cause must be grave to warrant the drastic method of national
non-co-operation. I do say that the affront such as has been put upon Islam
cannot be repeated for a century. Islam must rise now or 'be fallen' if not for
ever, certainly for a century. And I cannot imagine a graver wrong than the
massacre of Jallianwalla and the barbarity that followed it, the whitewash by
the Hunter Committee, the dispatch of the Government of India, Mr. Montagu's
letter upholding the Viceroy and the then Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab,
the refusal to remove officials who made of the lives of the Punjabis 'a hell'
during the Martial Law period. These act constitute a complete series of
continuing wrongs against
A representative of Madras Mail called on Mr. M.K. Gandhi at his temporary residence in the Pursewalkam High road for an interview on the subject of non-co-operation. Mr. Gandhi, who has come to
Madrason a tour to some of the principal Muslim centres in Southern India, was busy with a number of workers discussing his programme; but he expressed his readiness to answer questions on the chief topic which is agitating Muslims and Hindus.
"After your experience of the Satyagraha agitation last year, Mr. Gandhi, are you still hopeful and convinced of the wisdom of advising non-co-operation?"--"Certainly."
"How do you consider conditions have altered since the Satyagraha movement of last year?"--"I consider that people are better disciplined now than they were before. In this I include even the masses who I have had opportunities of seeing in large numbers in various parts of the country."
"And you are satisfied that the masses understand the spirit of Satyagraha?"--"Yes."
that is why you are pressing on with the programme of
non-co-operation?"--"Yes. Moreover, the danger that attended the
civil disobedience part of Satyagraha does not apply to non-co-operation,
because in non-co-operation we are not taking up civil disobedience of laws as
a mass movement. The result hitherto has been most encouraging. For instance,
people in Sindh and
"What is the pressure which you expect to bring to bear on the authorities if co-operation is withdrawn?"--"I believe, and everybody must grant, that no Government can exist for a single moment without the co-operation of the people, willing or forced, and if people suddenly withdraw their co-operation in every detail, the Government will come to a stand-still."
"But is there not a big 'If' in it?"--"Certainly there is."
"And how do you propose to succeed against the big 'If'?"--"In my plan of campaign expediency has no room. If the Khilafat movement has really permeated the masses and the classes, there must be adequate response from the people."
"But are you not begging the question?"--"I am not begging the question, because so far as the data before me go, I believe that the Muslims keenly feel the Khilafat grievance. It remains to be seen whether their feeling is intense enough to evoke in them the measure of sacrifice adequate for successful non-co-operation."
"That is, your survey of the conditions, you think, justifies your advising non-co-operation in the full conviction that you have behind you the support of the vast masses of the Mussalman population?"--"Yes."
"This non-co-operation, you are satisfied, will extend to complete severance of co-operation with the Government?"--No; nor is it at the present moment my desire that it should. I am simply practising non-co-operation to the extent that is necessary to make the Government realise the depth of popular feeling in the matter and the dissatisfaction with the Government that all that could be done has not been done either by the Government of India or by the Imperial Government, whether on the Khilafat question or on the "Punjab question."
"Do you Mr. Gandhi, realise that even amongst Mahomedans there are sections of people who are not enthusiastic over non-co-operation however much they may feel the wrong that has been done to their community?"--"Yes. But their number is smaller than those who are prepared to adopt non-co-operation."
"And yet does not the fact that there has not been an adequate response to your appeal for resignation of titles and offices and for boycott of elections of the Councils indicate that you may be placing more faith in their strength of conviction than is warranted?"--"I think not; for the reason that the stage has only just come into operation and our people are always most cautious and slow to move. Moreover, the first stage largely affects the uppermost strata of society, who represent a microscopic minority though they are undoubtedly an influential body of people."
"This upper class, you think, has sufficiently responded to your appeal?"--"I am unable to say either one way or the other at present. I shall be able to give a definite answer at the end of this month."...
"Do you think that without one's loyalty to the King and the Royal Family being questioned, one can advocate non-co-operation in connection with the Royal visit?" "Most decidedly; for the simple reason that if there is any disloyalty about the proposed boycott of the Prince's visit, it is disloyalty to the Government of the day and not to the person of His Royal highness."
"What do you think is to be gained by promoting this boycott in connection with the Royal visit?"--"Because I want to show that the people of India are not in sympathy with the Government of the day and that they strongly disapprove of the policy of the Government in regard to the Punjab and Khilafat, and even in respect of other important administrative measures. I consider that the visit of the Prince of Wales is a singularly good opportunity to the people to show their disapproval of the present Government. After all, the visit is calculated to have tremendous political results. It is not to be a non-political event, and seeing that the Government of India and the Imperial Government want to make the visit a political event of first class importance, namely, for the purpose of strengthening their hold upon India, I for one, consider that it is the bounden duty of the people to boycott the visit which is being engineered by the two Governments in their own interest which at the present moment is totally antagonistic to the people."
you mean that you want this boycott promoted because you feel that the
strengthening of the hold upon
"Do you think that non-co-operation and the non-boycott of the Legislative Councils consistent?"--"No; because a person who takes up the programme of non-co-operation cannot consistently stand for Councils."
"Is non-co-operation, in your opinion, an end in itself or a means to an end, and if so, what is the end?" "It is a means to an end, the end being to make the present Government just, whereas it has become mostly unjust. Co-operation with a just Government is a duty; non-co-operation with an unjust Government is equally a duty."
"Will you look with favour upon the proposal to enter the Councils and to carry on either obstructive tactics or to decline to take the oath of allegiance consistent with your non-co-operation?"--"No; as an accurate student of non-co-operation, I consider that such a proposal is inconsistent with the true spirit of non-co-operation. I have often said that a Government really thrives on obstruction and so far as the proposal not to take the oath of allegiance is concerned, I can really see no meaning in it; it amounts to a useless waste of valuable time and money."
"In other words, obstruction is no stage in non-co-operation?" --"No,"....
"Are you satisfied that all efforts at constitutional agitation have been exhausted and that non-co-operation is the only course left us?" "I do not consider non-co-operation to be unconstitutional remedies now left open to us, non-co-operation is the only one left for us." "Do you consider it constitutional to adopt it with a view merely to paralyse Government?"--"Certainly, it is not unconstitutional, but a prudent man will not take all the steps that are constitutional if they are otherwise undesirable, nor do I advise that course. I am resorting to non-co-operation in progressive stages because I want to evolve true order out of untrue order. I am not going to take a single step in non-co-operation unless I am satisfied that the country is ready for that step, namely, non-co-operation will not be followed by anarchy or disorder."
"How will you satisfy yourself anarchy will not follow?"
instance, if I advise the police to lay down their arms, I shall have satisfied
myself that we are able by voluntary assistance to protect ourselves against
thieves and robbers. That was precisely what was done in
"You have advised lawyers to non-co-operate by suspending their practice. What is your experience? Has the lawyers' response to your appeal encouraged you to hope that you will be able to carry through all stages of non-co-operation with the help of such people?"
"I cannot say that a large number has yet responded to my appeal. It is too early to say how many will respond. But I may say that I do not rely merely upon the lawyer class or highly educated men to enable the Committee to carry out all the stages of non-co-operation. My hope lies more with the masses so far as the later stages of non-co-operation are concerned."
is not without the greatest reluctance that I engage in a controversy with so
learned a leader like Sir Narayan Chandavarkar. But in view of the fact that I
am the author of the movement of non-co-operation, it becomes my painful duty
to state my views even though they are opposed to those of the leaders whom I
look upon with respect. I have just read during my travels in Malabar Sir
Narayan's rejoinder to my answer to the
At the outset let me assure Sir Narayan that I have not changed my views on Ahimsa. I still believe that man not having been given the power of creation does not possess the right of destroying the meanest creature that lives. The prerogative of destruction belongs solely to the creator of all that lives. I accept the interpretation of Ahimsa, namely, that it is not merely a negative State of harmlessness, but it is a positive state of love, of doing good even to the evil-doer. But it does not mean helping the evil-doer to continue the wrong or tolerating it by passive acquiescence. On the contrary love, the active state of Ahimsa, requires you to resist the wrong-doer by dissociating yourself from him even though it may offend him or injure him physically. Thus if my son lives a life of shame, I may not help him to do so by continuing to support him; on the contrary, my love for him requires me to withdraw all support from him although it may mean even his death. And the same love imposes on me the obligation of welcoming him to my bosom when he repents. But I may not by physical force compel my son to become good. That in my opinion is the moral of the story of the Prodigal Son.
Non-co-operation is not a passive state, it is an intensely active state--more active than physical resistance or violence. Passive resistance is a misnomer. Non-co-operation in the sense used by me must be non-violent and therefore neither punitive nor vindictive nor based on malice ill-will or hatred. It follows therefore that it would be sin for me to serve General Dyer and co-operate with him to shoot innocent men. But it will be an exercise of forgiveness or love for me to nurse him back to life, if he was suffering from a physical malady. I cannot use in this context the word co-operation as Sir Narayan would perhaps use it. I would co-operate a thousand times with this Government to wean it from its career of crime but I will not for a single moment co-operate with it to continue that career. And I would be guilty of wrong doing if I retained a title from it or "a service under it or supported its law-courts or schools." Better for me a beggar's bowl than the richest possession from hands stained with the blood of the innocents of Jallianwala. Better by far a warrant of imprisonment than honeyed words from those who have wantonly wounded the religious sentiment of my seventy million brothers.
My reading of the Gita is diametrically opposed to Sir Narayan's. I do not believe that the Gita teaches violence for doing good. It is pre-eminently a description of the duel that goes on in our own hearts. The divine author has used a historical incident for inculcating the lesson of doing one's duty even at the peril of one's life. It inculcates performance of duty irrespective of the consequences, for, we mortals, limited by our physical frames, are incapable of controlling actions save our own. The Gita distinguishes between the powers of light and darkness and demonstrates their incompatibility.
Jesus, in my humble opinion, was a prince among politicians. He did render unto Caesar that which was Caesar's. He gave the devil his due. He ever shunned him and is reported never once to have yielded to his incantations. The politics of his time consisted in securing the welfare of the people by teaching them not to be seduced by the trinkets of the priests and the pharisees. The latter then controlled and moulded the life of the people. To-day the system of government is so devised as to affect every department of our life. It threatens our very existence. If therefore we want to conserve the welfare of the nation, we must religiously interest ourselves in the doing of the governors and exert a moral influence on them by insisting on their obeying the laws of morality. General Dyer did produce a 'moral effect' by an act of butchery. Those who are engaged in forwarding the movement of non-co-operation, hope to produce a moral effect by a process of self-denial, self-sacrifice and self-purification. It surprises me that Sir Narayan should speak of General Dyer's massacre in the same breath as acts of non-co-operation. I have done my best to understand his meaning, but I am sorry to confess that I have failed.
commend to the attention of the readers the thoughtful letter received from
Miss Anne Marie Peterson. Miss Peterson is a lady who has been in
have not given the letter in full. I have omitted all personal references. But
her argument has been left entirely untouched. The letter was not meant to be
printed. It was written just after my
I publish it all the more gladly in that it enables me to show that the movement of non-co-operation is neither anti-Christian nor anti-English nor anti-European. It is a struggle between religion and irreligion, powers of light and powers of darkness.
is my firm opinion that
however is no indictment against individuals or even nations. Thousands of
individual Europeans are rising above their environment. I write of the
is this combination of evil forces which
The following letter has been received by Mr. Gandhi from Miss Anne Marie Peterson of the Danish Mission in
Dear Mr. Gandhi,
cannot thank you enough for your kindness and the way in which you received me
and I feel that meeting more or less decided my future. I have thrown myself at
the feet of
Truly it matters little what I, a lonely and insignificant person, may say or do. What is my protest against the common current, the race to which I belong is taking and (what grieves me more), which the missionary societies seem to follow? Even if a respectable number protested it would not be of any use. Yet were I alone against the whole world, I must follow my conscience and my God.
I therefore cannot but smile when I see people saying, you should have awaited the decision of the National Congress before starting the non-co-operation movement. You have a message for the country, and the Congress is the voice of the nation--its servant and not its master. A majority has no right simply because it is a majority.
But we must try to win the majority. And it is easy to see that now that Congress is going to be with you. Would it have done so if you had kept quiet and not lent your voice to the feelings of the people? Would the Congress have known its mind? I think not.
myself was in much doubt before I heard you. But you convinced me. Not that I
can feel much on the question of the Khilafat. I cannot. I can see what service
you are doing to
also want you to know that many in
Brute force often seems to get the upper hand but righteousness always has and always shall conquer, be it even through much suffering, and what may even appear to be a defeat. Christ conquered, when the world crucified Him. Blessed are the meek; they shall inherit the earth.
I read your speech given at
The non-co-operation movement once started must be worked so as to become successful. If it is not, I dread to think of the consequences. But you cannot expect it to win in a day or two. It must take time and you will not despair if you do not reach your goal in a hurry. For those who have faith there is no haste.
for the withdrawal of the children and students from Government schools, I
think, it a most important step. Taking the Government help (even if it be your
money they pay you back), we must submit to its scheme, its rules and
regulation. India and we who love her have come to the conclusion that the
education the foreign Government has given you is not healthy for India and can
certainly never make for her real growth. This movement would lead to a
spontaneous rise of national schools. Let them be a few but let them spring up
through self-sacrifice. Only by indigenous education can
I am, Your sincerely, Anne Marie.
Perhaps the best way of answering the fears and criticism as to non-co-operation is to elaborate more fully the scheme of non-co-operation. The critics seem to imagine that the organisers propose to give effect to the whole scheme at once. The fact however is that the organisers have fixed definite, progressive four stages. The first is the giving up of titles and resignation of honorary posts. If there is no response or if the response received is not effective, recourse will be had to the second stage. The second stage involves much previous arrangement. Certainly not a single servant will be called out unless he is either capable of supporting himself and his dependents or the Khilafat Committee is able to bear the burden. All the classes of servants will not be called out at once and never will any pressure be put upon a single servant to withdraw himself from the Government service. Nor will a single private employee be touched for the simple reason that the movement is not anti-English. It is not even anti-Government. Co-operation is to be withdrawn because the people must not be party to a wrong--a broken pledge--a violation of deep religious sentiment. Naturally, the movement will receive a check, if there is any undue influence brought to bear upon any Government servant or if any violence is used or countenanced by any member of the Khilafat Committee. The second stage must be entirely successful, if the response is at all on an adequate scale. For no Government--much less the Indian Government--can subsist if the people cease to serve it. The withdrawal therefore of the police and the military--the third stage--is a distant goal. The organisers however wanted to be fair, open and above suspicion. They did not want to keep back from the Government or the public a single step they had in contemplation even as a remote contingency. The fourth, i.e., suspension of taxes is still more remote. The organisers recognise that suspension of general taxation is fraught with the greatest danger. It is likely to bring a sensitive class in conflict with the police. They are therefore not likely to embark upon it, unless they can do so with the assurance that there will be no violence offered by the people.
I admit as I have already done that non-co-operation is not unattended with risk, but the risk of supineness in the face of a grave issue is infinitely greater than the danger of violence ensuing form organizing non-co-operation. To do nothing is to invite violence for a certainty.
It is easy enough to pass resolutions or write articles condemning non-co-operation. But it is no easy task to restrain the fury of a people incensed by a deep sense of wrong. I urge those who talk or work against non-co-operation to descend from their chairs and go down to the people, learn their feelings and write, if they have the heart against non-co-operation. They will find, as I have found that the only way to avoid violence is to enable them to give such expression to their feelings as to compel redress. I have found nothing save non-co-operation. It is logical and harmless. It is the inherent right of a subject to refuse to assist a Government that will not listen to him.
Non-co-operation as a voluntary movement can only succeed, if the feeling is genuine and strong enough to make people suffer to the utmost. If the religious sentiment of the Mahomedans is deeply hurt and if the Hindus entertain neighbourly regard towards their Muslim brethren, they will both count no cost too great for achieving the end. Non-co-operation will not only be an effective remedy but will also be an effective test of the sincerity of the Muslim claim and the Hindu profession of friendship.
There is however one formidable argument urged by friends against my joining the Khilafat movement. They say that it ill-becomes me, a friend of the English and an admirer of the British constitution, to join hands with those who are to-day filled with nothing but ill-will against the English. I am sorry to have to confess that the ordinary Mahomedan entertains to-day no affection for Englishmen. He considers, not without some cause, that they have not played the game. But if I am friendly towards Englishmen, I am no less so towards my countrymen, the Mahomedans. And as such they have a greater claim upon my attention than Englishmen. My personal religion however enables me to serve my countrymen without hurting Englishmen or for that matter anybody else. What I am not prepared to do to my blood-brother I would not do to an Englishman, I would not injure him to gain a kingdom. But I would withdraw co-operation from him if it becomes necessary as I had withdrawn from my own brother (now deceased) when it became necessary. I serve the Empire by refusing to partake in its wrong. William Stead offered public prayers for British reverses at the time of the Boer war because he considered that the nation to which he belonged was engaged in an unrighteous war. The present Prime Minister risked his life in opposing that war and did everything he could to obstruct his own Government in its prosecution. And to-day if I have thrown in my lot with the Mahomedans, a large number of whom, bear no friendly feelings towards the British, I have done so frankly as a friend of the British and with the object of gaining justice and of thereby showing the capacity of the British constitution to respond to every honest determination when it is coupled with suffering, I hope by my 'alliance' with the Mahomedans to achieve a threefold end--to obtain justice in the face of odds with the method of Satyagrah and to show its efficacy over all other methods, to secure Mahomedan friendship for the Hindus and thereby internal peace also, and last but not least to transform ill-will into affection for the British and their constitution which in spite of the imperfections weathered many a storm. I may fail in achieving any of the ends. I can but attempt. God alone can grant success. It will not be denied that the ends are all worthy. I invite Hindus and Englishman to join me in a full-hearted manner in shouldering the burden the Mahomedans of India are carrying. Theirs is admittedly a just fight. The Viceroy, the Secretary of State, the Maharaja of Bikuner and Lord Sinha have testified to it. Time has arrived to make good the testimony. People with a just cause are never satisfied with a mere protest. They have been known to die for it. Are a high-spirited people like the Mahomedans expected to do less?
Addressing a huge concourse of people of the city of Madras Hindus and Mahomedans numbering over 50,000, assembled on the South Beach opposite to the Presidency College, Madras, on the 12th August 1920, Mahatma Gandhi spoke as follows:--
Mr. Chairman and Friends,--Like last year, I have to ask your forgiveness that I should have to speak being seated. Whilst my voice has become stronger than it was last year, my body is still weak; and if I were to attempt to speak to you standing, I could not hold on for very many minutes before the whole frame would shake. I hope, therefore, that you will grant me permission to speak seated. I have sat here to address you on a most important question, probably a question whose importance we have not measured up to now.
before I approach that question on this dear old
What is this non-co-operation, about which you have heard so much, and why do we want to offer this non-co-operation? I wish to go for the time being into the why. here are two things before this country: the first and the foremost is the Khilafat question. On this the heart of the Mussalmans of India has become lascerated. British pledges given after the greatest deliberation by the Prime Minister of England in the name of the English nation, have been dragged into the mire. The promises given to Moslem India on the strength of which, the consideration that was expected by the British nation was exacted, have been broken, and the great religion of Islam has been placed in danger. The Mussalmans hold--and I venture to think they rightly hold--that so long as British promises remain unfulfilled, so long is it impossible for them to tender whole-hearted fealty and loyalty to the British connection; and if it is to be a choice for a devout Mussalman between loyalty to the British connection and loyalty to his Code and Prophet, he will not require a second to make his choice,--and he has declared his choice. The Mussalmans say frankly openly and honourably to the whole world that if the British Ministers and the British nation do not fulfil the pledges given to them and do not wish to regard with respect the sentiments of 70 millions of the inhabitants of India who profess the faith of Islam, it will be impossible for them to retain Islamic loyalty. It is a question, then for the rest of the Indian population to consider whether they want to perform a neighbourly duty by their Mussalman countrymen, and if they do, they have an opportunity of a lifetime which will not occur for another hundred years, to show their good-will, fellowship and friendship and to prove what they have been saying for all these long years that the Mussalman is the brother of the Hindu. If the Hindu regards that before the connection with the British nation comes his natural connection with his Moslem brother, then I say to you that if you find that the Moslem claim is just, that it is based upon real sentiment, and that at its back ground is this great religious feeling, you cannot do otherwise than help the Mussalman through and through, so long as their cause remains just, and the means for attaining the end remains equally just, honourable and free from harm to India. These are the plain conditions which the Indian Mussalmans have accepted; and it was when they saw that they could accept the proferred aid of the Hindus, that they could always justify the cause and the means before the whole world, that they decided to accept the proferred hand of fellowship. It is then for the Hindus and Mahomedans to offer a united front to the whole of the Christian powers of Europe and tell them that weak as India is, India has still got the capacity of preserving her self-respect, she still knows how to die for her religion and for her self-respect.
is the Khilafat in a nut-shell; but you have also got the
have been told that non-co-operation is unconstitutional. I venture to deny
that it is unconstitutional. On the contrary, I hold that non-co-operation is a
just and religious doctrine; it is the inherent right of every human being and
it is perfectly constitutional. A great lover of the
ask further, is it unconstitutional for me to say to the British Government 'I
refuse to serve you?' Is it unconstitutional for our worthy Chairman to return
with every respect all the titles that he has ever held from the Government? Is
it unconstitutional for any parent to withdraw his children from a Government
or aided school? Is it unconstitutional for a lawyer to say 'I shall no longer
support the arm of the law so long as that arm of law is used not to raise me
but to debase me'? Is it unconstitutional for a civil servant or for a judge to
say, 'I refuse to serve a Government which does not wish to respect the wishes
of the whole people?' I ask, is it unconstitutional for a policeman or for a
soldier to tender his resignation when he knows that he is called to serve a
Government which traduces his own countrymen? Is it unconstitutional for me to
go to the 'krishan,' to the agriculturist, and say to him 'it is not wise for
you to pay any taxes if these taxes are used by the Government not to raise you
but to weaken you?' I hold and I venture to submit, that there is nothing
unconstitutional in it. What is more, I have done every one of these things in
my life and nobody has questioned the constitutional character of it. I was in
Kaira working in the midst of 7 lakhs of agriculturists. They had all suspended
the payment of taxes and the whole of
I have been told that I should have waited for the declaration of the special Congress which is the mouth piece of the whole nation. I know that it is the mouthpiece of the whole nation. If it was for me, individual Gandhi, to wait, I would have waited for eternity. But I had in my hands a sacred trust. I was advising my Mussalman countrymen and for the time being I hold their honour in my hands. I dare not ask them to wait for any verdict but the verdict of their own Conscience. Do you suppose that Mussalmans can eat their own words, can withdraw from the honourable position they have taken up? If perchance--and God forbid that it should happen--the Special Congress decides against them, I would still advise my countrymen the Mussalmans to stand single handed and fight rather than yield to the attempted dishonour to their religion. It is therefore given to the Mussalmans to go to the Congress on bended knees and plead for support. But support or no support, it was not possible for them to wait for the Congress to give them the lead. They had to choose between futile violence, drawing of the naked sword and peaceful non-violent but effective non-co-operation, and they have made their choice. I venture further to say to you that if there is any body of men who feel as I do, the sacred character of non-co-operation, it is for you and me not to wait for the Congress but to act and to make it impossible for the Congress to give any other verdict. After all what is the Congress? The Congress is the collected voice of individuals who form it, and if the individuals go to the Congress with a united voice, that will be the verdict you will gain from the Congress. But if we go to the Congress with no opinion because we have none or because we are afraid to express it, then naturally we wait the verdict of the Congress. To those who are unable to make up their mind I say by all means wait. But for those who have seen the clear light as they see the lights in front of them, for them to wait is a sin. The Congress does not expect you to wait but it expects you to act so that the Congress can gauge properly the national feeling. So much for the Congress.
the details of non-co-operation I have placed in the foremost rank the boycott
of the councils. Friends have quarrelled with me for the use of the word
boycott, because I have disapproved--as I disapprove even now--boycott of
British goods or any goods for that matter. But there, boycott has its own
meaning and here boycott has its own meaning. I not only do not disapprove but
approve of the boycott of the councils that are going to be formed next year.
And why do I do it? The people--the masses,--require from us, the leaders, a
clear lead. They do not want any equivocation from us. The suggestion that we
should seek election and then refuse to take the oath of allegiance, would only
make the nation distrust the leaders. It is not a clear lead to the nation. So
I say to you, my countrymen, not to fall into this trap. We shall sell our
country by adopting the method of seeking election and then not taking the oath
of allegiance. We may find it difficult, and I frankly confess to you that I
have not that trust in so many Indians making that declaration and standing by
it. To-day I suggest to those who honestly hold the view--viz. that we
should seek election and then refuse to take the oath of allegiance--I suggest
to them that they will fall into a trap which they are preparing for themselves
and for the nation. That is my view. I hold that if we want to give the nation
the clearest possible lead, and if we want not to play with this great nation
we must make it clear to this nation that we cannot take any favours, no matter
how great they may be so long as those favours are accompanied by an injustice
a double wrong, done to India not yet redressed. The first indispensable thing
before we can receive any favours from them is that they should redress this
double wrong. There is a Greek proverb which used to say "Beware of the
Greek but especially beware of them when they bring gifts to you." To-day
from those ministers who are bent upon perpetuating the wrong to Islam and to
I have suggested another difficult matter, viz., that the lawyers should suspend their practice. How should I do otherwise knowing so well how the Government had always been able to retain this power through the instrumentality of lawyers. It is perfectly true that it is the lawyers of to-day who are leading us, who are fighting the country's battles, but when it comes to a matter of action against the Government, when it comes to a matter of paralysing the activity of the Government I know that the Government always look to the lawyers, however fine fighters they may have been to preserve their dignity and their self-respect. I therefore suggest to my lawyer friends that it is their duty to suspend their practice and to show to the Government that they will no longer retain their offices, because lawyers are considered to be honorary officers of the courts and therefore subject to their disciplinary jurisdiction. They must no longer retain these honorary offices if they want to withdraw on operation from Government. But what will happen to law and order? We shall evolve law and order through the instrumentality of these very lawyers. We shall promote arbitration courts and dispense justice, pure, simple home-made justice, swadeshi justice to our countrymen. That is what suspension of practice means.
I have suggested yet another difficulty--to withdraw our children from the Government schools and to ask collegiate students to withdraw from the College and to empty Government aided schools. How could I do otherwise? I want to gauge the national sentiment. I want to know whether the Mahomodans feel deeply. If they feel deeply they will understand in the twinkling of an eye, that it is not right for them to receive schooling from a Government in which they have lost all faith; and which they do not trust at all. How can I, if I do not want to help this Government, receive any help from that Government. I think that the schools and colleges are factories for making clerks and Government servants. I would not help this great factory for manufacturing clerks and servants if I want to withdraw co-operation from that Government. Look at it from any point of view you like. It is not possible for you to send your children to the schools and still believe in the doctrine of non-co-operation.
I have gone further. I have suggested that our title holders should give up their titles. How can they hold on to the titles and honour bestowed by the Government? They were at one time badges of honours when we believed that national honour was safe in their hands. But now they are no longer badges of honour but badges of dishonour and disgrace when we really believe that we cannot get justice from this Government. Every title holder holds his titles and honours as trustee for the nation and in this first step in the withdrawal of co-operation from the Government they should surrender their titles without a moment's consideration. I suggest to my Mahomedan countrymen that if they fail in this primary duty they will certainly fail in non-co-operation unless the masses themselves reject the classes and take up non-co-operation in their own hands and are able to fight that battle even as the men of the French Revolution were able to take the reins of Government in their own hands leaving aside the leaders and marched to the banner of victory. I want no revolution. I want ordered progress. I want no disordered order. I want no chaos. I want real order to be evolved out of this chaos which is misrepresented to me as order. If it is order established by a tyrant in order to get hold of the tyrannical reins of Government I say that it is no order for me but it is disorder. I want to evolve justice out of this injustice. Therefore, I suggest to you the passive non-co-operation. If we would only realise the secret of this peaceful and infallible doctrine you will know and you will find that you will not want to use even an angry word when they lift the sword at you and you will not want even to lift your little finger, let alone a stick or a sword.
may consider that I have spoken these words in anger because I have considered
the ways of this Government immoral, unjust, debasing and untruthful. I use
these adjectives with the greatest deliberation. I have used them for my own
true brother with whom I was engaged in battle of non-co-operation for full 13
years and although the ashes cover the remains of my brother I tell you that I
used to tell him that he was unjust when his plans were based upon immoral
foundation. I used to tell him that he did not stand for truth. There was no
anger in me, I told him this home truth because I loved him. In the same
manner, I tell the British people that I love them, and that I want their
association but I want that association on conditions well defined. I want my
self-respect and I want my absolute equality with them. If I cannot gain that
equality from the British people, I do not want that British connection. If I
have to let the British people go and import temporary disorder and dislocation
of national business, I will favour that disorder and dislocation than that I
should have injustice from the hands of a great nation such as the British
nation. You will find that by the time the whole chapter is closed that the
successors of Mr. Montagu will give me the credit for having rendered the most
distinguished service that I have yet rendered to the Empire, in having offered
this non-co-operation and in having suggest the boycott, not of His Royal
Highness the principle of Wales, but of boycott of a visit engineered by
Government in order to tighten its hold on the national neck. I will not allow
it even if I stand alone, if I cannot persuade this nation not to welcome that
visit but will boycott that visit with all the power at my command. It is for
that reason I stand before you and implore you to offer this religious battle,
but it is not a battle offered to you by a visionary or a saint. I deny being a
visionary. I do not accept the claim of saintliness. I am of the earth, earthy,
a common gardener man as much as any one of you, probably much more than you
are. I am prone to as many weaknesses as you are. But I have seen the world. I
have lived in the world with my eyes open. I have gone through the most fiery
ordeals that have fallen to the lot of man. I have gone through this
discipline. I have understood the secret of my own sacred Hinduism. I have
learnt the lesson that non-co-operation is the duty not merely of the saint but
it is the duty of every ordinary citizen, who not know much, not caring to know
much but wants to perform his ordinary household functions. The people of
Mahatma Gandhi made the following speech at Trichinopoly on the 18th August 1920:--
I thank you on behalf of my brother Shaukat Ali and myself for the magnificent reception that the citizens of Trichinopoly have given to us. I thank you also for the many addresses that you have been good enough to present to us, but I must come to business.
is a great pleasure to me to renew your acquaintance for reasons that I need
not give you. I expect great things from Trichinopoly, Madura and a few places
I could name. I take it that you have read my address on the
considers that it is our duty to seek election to the Councils and fight our
battle on the floor of the Council hall. I do not deny the possibility of a
fight and a royal fight on the Council floor. We have done it for the last 35
years, but I venture to suggest to you and to him, with all due respect, that
it is not non-co-operation and it is not half as successful as non-co-operation
can be. You cannot go to a class of people with a view to convince them by any
fight--call it even obstruction--who have got a settled conviction and a
settled policy to follow. It is in medical language an incompatible mixture out
of which you can gain nothing, but if you totally boycott the Council, you
create a public opinion in the country with reference to the Khilafat wrong and
I come now to the second objection of Mr. Kasturiranga Iyengar with reference to the suspension by lawyers of their practice. Milk is good in itself but it comes absolutely poisonous immediately a little bit of arsenic is added to it. Law courts are similarly good when justice is distilled through them on behalf of a Sovereign power which wants to do justice to its people. Law courts are one of the greatest symbols of power and in the battle of non-co-operation, you may not leave law courts untouched and claim to offer non-co-operation, but if you will read that objection carefully, you will find in that objection the great fear that the lawyers will not respond to the call that the country makes upon them, and it is just there that the beauty of non-co-operation comes in. If one lawyer alone suspends practice, it is so much to the good of the country and so if we are sure to deprive the Government of the power that it possess through its law courts, whether one lawyer takes it up or many, we must adopt that step.
He objects also to the plan of boycotting Government schools. I can only say what I have said with reference to lawyers that if we mean non-co-operation, we may not receive any favours from the Government, no matter how advantageous by themselves they may be. In a great struggle like this, it is not open to us to count how many schools will respond and how many parents will respond and just as a geometrical problem is difficult, because it does not admit of easy proof, so also because a certain stage in national evolution is difficult, you may not avoid that step without making the whole of the evolution a farce.
We have had a great lesson in non-co-operation and co-operation. We had a lesson in non-co-operation when some young men began to fight there and it is a dangerous weapon. I have not the slightest doubt about it. One man with a determined will to non-co-operate can disturb a whole meeting and we had a physical demonstration of it to night but ours is non-violent, non-co-operation in which there can be no mistake whatsoever in the fundamental conditions are observed. If non-co-operation fails, it will not be for want of any inherent strength in it, but it will fall because there is no response to it, or because people have not sufficiently grasped its simple principles. You had also a practical demonstration of co-operation just now; that heavy chair went over the heads of so many people, because all wanted to lift their little hand to move that chair away from them and so was that heavier dome also removed from our sight by co-operation of man, woman and child. Everybody believes and knows that this Government of our exists only by the co-operation of the people and not by the force of arms it can wield and everyman with a sense of logic will tell you that the converse of that also is equally true that Government cannot stand if this co-operation on which it exists is withdrawn. Difficulties undoubtedly there are, we have hitherto learned how to sacrifice our voice and make speeches. We must also learn to sacrifice ease, money, comfort and that, we may learn form the Englishmen themselves. Every one who has studied English history knows that we are now engaged in a battle with a nation which is capable of great sacrifice and the three hundred millions of
Our friend has suggested the boycott of British or foreign goods. Boycott of all foreign goods is another name for Swadeshi. He thinks that there will be a greater response in the boycott of all foreign goods. With the experience of years behind me and with an intimate knowledge of the mercantile classes, I venture to tell you that boycott of foreign goods, or boycott of merely British goods is more impracticable than any of the stops I have suggested. Whereas in all the steps that I have ventured to suggest there is practically no sacrifice of money involved, in the boycott of British or foreign goods you are inviting your merchant princes to sacrifice their millions. It has got to be done, but it is an exceedingly low process. The same may be said of the steps that I have ventured to suggest, I know, but boycott of goods in conceived as a punishment and the punishment is only effective when it is inflicted. What i have ventured to suggest is not a punishment, but the performance of a sacred duty, a measure of self-denial from ourselves, and therefore it is effective from its very inception when it is undertaken even by one man and a substantial duty performed even by one single man lays the foundation of nations liberty.
am most anxious for my nation, for my Mussalman brethren also, to understand
that if they want to vindicate national honour or the honour of Islam, it will
be vindicated without a shadow of doubt, not be conceiving a punishment or a
series of punishments, but by an adequate measure of self-sacrifice. I wish to
speak of all our leaders in terms of the greatest respect, but whatever respect
we wish to pay them may not stop or arrest the progress of the country, and I
am most anxious that the country at this very critical period of its history
should make its choice. The choice clearly does not lie before you and me in
wresting by force of arms the sceptre form the British nation, but the choice
lies in suffering this double wrong of the Khilafat and the Punjab, in
pocketing humiliation and in accepting national emasculation or vindication of
India's honour by sacrifice to-day by every man, woman and child and those who
feel convinced of the rightness of things, we should make that choice to-night.
So, citizens of Trichinopoly, you may not wait for the whole of
Chairman and friends.--On behalf of my brother Shaukut Ali and myself I wish to
thank you most sincerely for the warm welcome you have extended to us. Before I
begin to explain the purpose of our mission I have to give you the information
that Pir Mahboob Shah who was being tried in Sindh for sedition has been
sentenced to two years' simple imprisonment. I do not know exactly what the
offence was with which the Pir was charged. I do not know whether the words
attributed to him were ever spoken by him. But I do know that the Pirsaheb
declined to offer any defence and with perfect resignation he has accepted his
penalty. For me it is a matter of sincere pleasure that the Pirsaheb who
exercises great influence over his followers has understood the spirit of the
struggle upon which we have embarked. It is not by resisting the authority of
Government that we expect to succeed in the great task before us. But I do
expect that we shall succeed if we understand the spirit of non-co-operation.
The Lieutenant-Governor of
propose to take you for a minute to the Punjab, the northern end of
Chairman and friends,--To my brother Shaukat Ali and me it was a pleasure to go
through this beautiful
our tour we have received many addresses, but in my humble opinion no address
was more truly worded than the address that was presented to us at Kasargod. It
addressed both of us as 'dear revered brothers.' I am unable to accept the
second adjective 'revered.' The word 'dear' is dear to me I must confess. But
dearer than that is the expression 'brothers.' The signatories to that address
recognized the true significance of this travel. No blood brothers can possibly
be more intimately related, can possibly be more united in one purpose, one aim
than my brother Shaukat Ali and I. And I considered it a proud privilege and
honour to be addressed as blood brother to Shaukat Ali. The contents of that
address were as equally significant. It stated that in our united work was
represented the essence of the unity between the Mussalmans and Hindus in
The first stage in my humble opinion is incredibly easy inasmuch as it does not involve any very great sacrifice. If your Khan bahadurs and other title-holders were to renounce their titles I venture to submit that whilst the renunciation will stand to the credit and honour of the nation it will involve a little or no sacrifice. On the contrary, they will not only have surrendered no earthly riches but they will have gained the applause of the nation. Let us see what it means, this first step. The able editor of Hindu, Mr. Kastariranga Iyengar, and almost every journalist in the country are agreed that the renunciation of titles is a necessary and a desirable step. And if these chosen people of the Government were without exception to surrender their titles to Government giving notice that the heart of India is doubly wounded in that the honour of India and of muslim religion is at stake and that therefore they can no longer retain their titles, I venture to suggest, that this their step which costs not a single penny either to them or to the nation will be an effective demonstration of the national will.
Take the second step or the second item of non-co-operation. I know there is strong opposition to the boycott of councils. The opposition when you begin to analyse it means not that the step is faulty or that it is not likely to succeed, but it is due to the belief that the whole country will not respond to it and that the Moderates will steal into the councils. I ask the citizens of Mangalore to dispel that fear from your hearts. United the voters of Mangalore can make it impossible for either a moderate or an extremist or any other form of leader to enter the councils as your representative. This step involves no sacrifice of money, no sacrifice of honour but the gaining of prestige for the whole nation. And I venture to suggest to you that this one step alone if it is taken with any degree of unanimity even by the extremists can bring about the desired relief, but if all do not respond the individual need not be afraid. He at least will have laid the foundation for true self progress, let him have the comfort that he at least has washed his hands clean of the guilt of the Government.
I come to the members of the profession which one time I used to carry on. I
have ventured to ask the lawyers of
And so for the Government and the Government aided schools, I must confess that I cannot reconcile my conscience to my children going to Government schools and to the programme of non-co-operation is intended to withdraw all support from Government, and to decline all help from it.
I will not tax your patience by taking you through the other items of non-co-operation important as they are. But I have ventured to place before you four very important and forcible steps any one of which if fully taken up contains in it possibilities of success. Swadeshi is preached as an item of non-co-operation, as a demonstration of the spirit of sacrifice, and it is an item which every man, woman and child can take up.
I said this morning one essential condition for the progress of
gives me much pleasure to announce to you that, Mr. Kaleswar Rao has consented
to refrain from standing for election to the new Legislative Councils. You will
be also pleased to know that Mr. Gulam Nohiuddin has resigned his Honorary
Magistrateship, I hope that both these patriots will not consider that they
have done their last duty by their acts of renunciation, but I hope they will
regard their acts as a prelude to acts of greater purpose and greater energy
and I hope they will take in hand the work of educating the electorate in their
districts regarding boycott of councils. I have said elsewhere that never for
another century will
heard this morning of the bravery of the sword, and the bravery of suffering.
For me personally I have forever rejected the bravery of the sword. But, to-day
it is not my purpose to demonstrate to you the final ineffectiveness of the
sword. But he who runs may see that before India possesses itself a sword which
will be more than a match for the forces of Europe, it will he generations.
I thank you for the attention and patience with which you have listened to me. I pray to the Almighty that He may give you wisdom and courage that are so necessary at the present moment.--
The largest and the most important Congress ever held has come and gone, It was the biggest demonstration ever held against the present system of Government. The President uttered the whole truth when he said that it was a Congress in which, instead of the President and the leaders driving the people, the people drove him and the latter. It was clear to every one on the platform that the people had taken the reins in their own hands. The platform would gladly have moved at a slower pace.
The Congress gave one day to a full discussion of the creed and voted solidly for it with but two dissentients after two nights' sleep over the discussion. It gave one day to a discussion of non-co-operation resolution and voted for it with unparalleled enthusiasm. It gave the last day to listening to the whole of the remaining thirty-two Articles of the Constitution which were read and translated word for word by Maulana Mahomed Ali in a loud and clear voice. It showed that it was intelligently following the reading of it, for there was dissent when Article Eight was reached. It referred to non-interference by the Congress in the internal affairs of the Native States. The Congress would not have passed the proviso if it had meant that it could even voice the feelings of the people residing in the territories ruled by the princes. Happily it resolution suggesting the advisability of establishing Responsible Government in their territories enabled me to illustrate to the audience that the proviso did not preclude the Congress from ventilating the grievances and aspirations of the subjects of these states, whilst it clearly prevented the Congress from taking any executive action in connection with them; as for instance holding a hostile demonstration in the Native States against any action of theirs. The Congress claims to dictate to the Government but it cannot do so by the very nature of its constitution in respect of the Native States.
the Congress has taken three important steps after the greatest deliberation.
It has expressed its determination in the clearest possible terms to attain
complete null-government, if possible still in association with the British
people, but even without, if necessary. It proposes to do so only by means that
are honourable and non-violent. It has introduced fundamental changes in the
constitution regulating its activities and has performed an act of self-denial
in voluntarily restricting the number of delegates to one for every fifty
thousand of the population of India and has insisted upon the delegates being
the real representatives of those who want to take any part in the political
life of the country. And with a view to ensuring the representation of all
political parties it has accepted the principle of "single transferable
vote." It has reaffirmed the non-co-operation resolution of the Special
Session and amplified it in every respect. It has emphasised the necessity of
non-violence and laid down that the attainment of Swaraj is conditional upon
the complete harmony between the component parts of
Mr. Montagu has discovered a new definition of disloyalty. He considers my suggestion to boycott the visit of the Prince of Wales to be disloyal and some newspapers taking the cue from him have called persons who have made the suggestion 'unmannerly'. They have even attributed to these 'unmannerly' persons the suggestion of boycotting the Prince. I draw a sharp and fundamental distinction between boycotting the Prince and boycotting any welcome arranged for him. Personally I would extend the heartiest welcome to His Royal Highness if he came or could come without official patronage and the protecting wings of the Government of the day. Being the heir to a constitutional monarch, the Prince's movements are regulated and dictated by the ministers, no matter how much the dictation may be concealed beneath diplomatically polite language. In suggesting the boycott therefore the promoters have suggested boycott of an insolent bureaucracy and dishonest ministers of his Majesty.
cannot have it both ways. It is true that under a constitutional monarchy, the
royalty is above politics. But you cannot send the Prince on a political visit
for the purpose of making political capital out of him, and then complain that
those who will not play your game and in order to checkmate you, proclaim
boycott of the Royal visit do not know constitutional usage. For the Prince's
visit is not for pleasure. His Royal Highness is to come in Mr. Lloyd George's
words, as the "ambassador of the British nation," in other words, his
own ambassador in order to issue a certificate of merit to him and possibly to
give the ministers a new lease of life. The wish is designed to consolidate and
strengthen a power that spells mischief for
I have most carefully read the manifesto addressed by Sir Narayan Chandavarkar and others dissuading the people from joining the non co-operation movement. I had expected to find some solid argument against non-co-operation, but to my great regret I have found in it nothing but distortion (no doubt unconscious) of the great religions and history. The manifesto says that 'non-co-operation is deprecated by the religious tenets and traditions of our motherland, nay, of all the religions that have saved and elevated the human race.' I venture to submit that the Bhagwad Gita is a gospel of non-co-operation between forces of darkness and those of light. If it is to be literally interpreted Arjun representing a just cause was enjoined to engage in bloody warfare with the unjust Kauravas. Tulsidas advises the Sant (the good) to shun the Asant (the evil-doers). The Zendavesta represents a perpetual dual between Ormuzd and Ahriman, between whom there is no compromise. To say of the Bible that it taboos non-co-operation is not to know Jesus, a Prince among passive resisters, who uncompromisingly challenged the might of the Sadducees and the Pharisees and for the sake of truth did not hesitate to divide sons from their parents. And what did the Prophet of Islam do? He non-co-operated in Mecca in a most active manner so long as his life was not in danger and wiped the dust of Mecca off his feet when he found that he and his followers might have uselessly to perish, and fled to Medina and returned when he was strong enough to give battle to his opponents. The duty of non-co-operation with unjust men and kings is as strictly enjoined by all the religions as is the duty of co-operation with just men and kings. Indeed most of the scriptures of the world seem even to go beyond non-co-operation and prefer a violence to effeminate submission to a wrong. The Hindu religious tradition of which the manifesto speaks, clearly proves the duty of non-co-operation. Prahlad dissociated himself from his father, Meerabai from her husband, Bibhishan from his brutal brother.
manifesto speaking of the secular aspect says, 'The history of nations affords
no instance to show that it (meaning non-co-operation) has, when employed, succeeded
and done good,' One most recent instance of brilliant success of
non-co-operation is that of General Botha who boycotted Lord Milner's reformed
councils and thereby procured a perfect constitution for his country. The
Dukhobours of Russia offered non-co-operation, and a handful though they were,
their grievances so deeply moved the civilized world that
Hitherto I have given historical instances of bloodless non-co-operation, I will not insult the intelligence of the reader by citing historical instances of non-co-operation combined with, violence, but I am free to confess that there are on record as many successes as failures in violent non-co-operation. And it is because I know this fact that I have placed before the country a non-violent scheme in which, if at all worked satisfactorily, success is a certainty and in which non-response means no harm. For if even one man non-co-operates, say, by resigning some office, he has gained, not lost. That is its ethical or religious aspect. For its political result naturally it requires polymerous support. I fear therefore no disastrous result from non-co-operation save for an outbreak of violence on the part of the people whether under provocation or otherwise. I would risk violence a thousand times than risk the emasculation of a whole race.
a crowded meeting of Mussalmans in the Muzaffarabad,
In non-co-operation they had a matchless and powerful weapon. It was a sign of religious atrophy to sustain an unjust Government that supported an injustice by resorting to untruth and camouflage. So long therefore as the Government did not purge itself of the canker of injustice and untruth, it was their duty to withdraw all help from it consistently with their ability to preserve order in the social structure. The first stage of non-co-operation was therefore arranged so as to involve minimum of danger to public peace and minimum of sacrifice on the part of those who participated in the movement. And if they might not help an evil Government nor receive any favours from it, it followed that they must give up all titles of honour which were no longer a proud possession. Lawyers, who were in reality honorary officers of the Court, should cease to support Courts that uphold the prestige of an unjust Government and the people must be able to settle their disputes and quarrels by private arbitration. Similarly parents should withdraw their children from the public schools and they must evolve a system of national education or private education totally independent of the Government. An insolent Government conscious of its brute strength, might laugh at such withdrawals by the people especially as the Law courts and schools were supposed to help the people, but he had not a shadow of doubt that the moral effect of such a step could not possibly be lost even upon a Government whose conscience had become stifled by the intoxication of power.
had hesitation in accepting Swadeshi as a plank in non-co-operation. To him
Swadeshi was as dear as life itself. But he had no desire to smuggle in
Swadeshi through the Khilafat movement, if it could not legitimately help that
movement, but conceived as non-co-operation was, in a spirit of self-sacrifice,
Swadeshi had a legitimate place in the movement. Pure Swadeshi meant sacrifice
of the liking for fineries. He asked the nation to sacrifice its liking for the
fineries of Europe and
His Excellency the Viceroy not made it impossible by his defiant attitude on
the Punjab and the Khilafat, I would have tendered him hearty congratulations
for substituting ridicule for repression in order to kill a movement
distasteful to him. For, torn from its context and read by itself His
Excellency's discourse on non-co-operation is unexceptionable. It is a symptom
of translation from savagery to civilization. Pouring ridicule on one's
opponent is an approved method in civilised politics. And if the method is
consistently continued, it will mark an important improvement upon the official
barbarity of the
I regret to have to confess that this attempt to pour ridicule on the movement,
read in conjunction with the sentiments on the
Let us however examine the adjectives used by His Excellency to kill the movement by laughing at it. It is 'futile,' 'ill-advised,' 'intrinsically insane,' 'unpractical,' 'visionary.' He has rounded off the adjectives by describing the movement as 'most foolish of all foolish schemes.' His Excellency has become so impatient of it that he has used all his vocabulary for showing the magnitude of the ridiculous nature of non-co-operation.
Unfortunately for His Excellency the movement is likely to grow with ridicule as it is certain to flourish on repression. No vital movement can be killed except by the impatience, ignorance or laziness of its authors. A movement cannot be 'insane' that is conducted by men of action as I claim the members of the Non-co-operation Committee are. It is hardly 'unpractical,' seeing that if the people respond, every one admits that it will achieve the end. At the same time it is perfectly true that if there is no response from the people, the movement will be popularly described as 'visionary.' It is for the nation to return an effective answer by organised non-co-operation and change ridicule into respect. Ridicule is like repression. Both give place to respect when they fail to produce the intended effect.
It may be that having lost faith in His Excellency's probity and capacity to hold the high office of Viceroy of India, I now read his speeches with a biased mind, but the speech His Excellency delivered at the time of opening of the council shows to me a mental attitude which makes association with him or his Government impossible for self-respecting men.
remarks on the
Excellency is, if possible, even less happy on the Khilafat. "So far as
any Government could," says this trustee for the nation, "we pressed
upon the Peace Conference the views of Indian Moslems. But notwithstanding our
efforts on their behalf we are threatened with a campaign of non-co-operation
because, forsooth, the allied Powers found themselves unable to accept the
contentions advanced by Indian Moslems." This is most misleading if not
untruthful. His Excellency knows that the peace terms are not the work of the
allied Powers. He knows that Mr. Lloyd George is the prime author of terms and
that the latter has never repudiated his responsibility for them. He has with
amazing audacity justified them in spite of his considered pledge to the
Moslems of India regarding
venture to think that His Excellency by his pronouncement on the
It will be admitted that non-co-operation has passed the stage ridicule. Whether it will now be met by repression or respect remains to be seen. Opinion has already been expressed in these columns that ridicule is an approved and civilized method of opposition. The viceregal ridicule though expressed in unnecessarily impolite terms was not open to exception.
But the testing time has now arrived. In a civilized country when ridicule fails to kill a movement it begins to command respect. Opponents meet it by respectful and cogent argument and the mutual behaviour of rival parties never becomes violent. Each party seeks to convert the other or draw the uncertain element towards its side by pure argument and reasoning.
There is little doubt now that the boycott of the councils will be extensive if it is not complete. The students have become disturbed. Important institutions may any day become truly national. Pandit Motilal Nehru's great renunciation of a legal practice which was probably second to nobody's is by itself an event calculated to change ridicule into respect. It ought to set people thinking seriously about their own attitude. There must be something very wrong about our Government--to warrant the step Pundit Motilal Nehru has taken. Post graduate students have given up their fellowships. Medical students have refused to appear for their final examination. Non-co-operation in these circumstances cannot be called an inane movement.
Either the Government must bend to the will of the people which is being expressed in no unmistakable terms through non-co-operation, or it must attempt to crush the movement by repression.
Any force used by a government under any circumstance is not repression. An open trial of a person accused of having advocated methods of violence is not repression. Every State has the right to put down or prevent violence by force. But the trial of Mr. Zafar Ali Khan and two Moulvis of Panipat shows that the Government is seeking not to put down or prevent violence but to suppress expression of opinion, to prevent the spread of disaffection. This is repression. The trials are the beginning of it. It has not still assumed a virulent form but if these trials do not result in stilling the propaganda, it is highly likely that severe repression will be resorted to by the Government.
The only other way to prevent the spread of disaffection is to remove the causes thereof. And that would be to respect the growing response of the country to the programme of non-co-operation. It is too much to expect repentance and humility from a government intoxicated with success and power.
We must therefore assume that the second stage in the Government programme will be repression growing in violence in the same ratio as the progress of non-co-operation. And if the movement survives repression, the day of victory of truth is near. We must then be prepared for prosecutions, punishments even up to deportations. We must evolve the capacity for going on with our programme without the leaders. That means capacity for self-government. And as no government in the world can possibly put a whole nation in prison, it must yield to its demand or abdication in favour of a government suited to that nation.
It is clear that abstention from violence and persistence in the programme are our only and surest chance of attaining our end.
The government has its choice, either to respect the movement or to try to repress it by barbarous methods. Our choice is either to succumb to repression or to continue in spite of repression.
I wish that every Englishman will see this appeal and give thoughtful attention to it.
me introduce myself to you. In my humble opinion no Indian has co-operated with
the British Government more than I have for an unbroken period of twenty-nine
years of public life in the face of circumstances that might well have turned
any other man into a rebel. I ask you to believe me when I tell you that my
co-operation was not based on the fear of the punishments provided by your laws
or any other selfish motives. It was free and voluntary co-operation based on
the belief that the sum total of the activity of the British Government was for
the benefit of
But though, my faith in your good intentions is gone, I recognise your bravery and I know that what you will not yield to justice and reason, you will gladly yield to bravery.
See what this Empire means to India
An ever-increasing military expenditure, and a civil service the most expensive in the world.
working of every department in utter disregard of
Disarmament and consequent emasculation of a whole nation lest an armed nation might imperil the lives of a handful of you in our midst. Traffic in intoxicating liquors and drugs for the purposes of sustaining a top heavy administration.
Progressively representative legislation in order to suppress an evergrowing agitation seeking to give expression to a nation's agony.
Degrading treatment of Indians residing in your dominions, and
have shown total disregard of our feelings by glorifying the
know you would not mind if we could fight and wrest the sceptre form your
hands. You know that we are powerless to do that, for you have ensured our
incapacity to fight in open and honourable battle. Bravery on the battlefield
is thus impossible for us. Bravery of the soul still remains open to us. I know
you will respond to that also. I am engaged in evoking that bravery.
Non-co-operation means nothing less than training in self-sacrifice. Why should
we co-operate with you when we know that by your administration of this great
country we are lifting daily enslaved in an increasing degree. This response of
the people to my appeal is not due to my personality. I would like you to dismiss
me, and for that matter the Ali Brothers too, from your consideration. My
personality will fail to evoke any response to anti-Muslim cry if I were
foolish enough to rise it, as the magic name of the Ali Brothers would fail to
inspire the Mussalmans with enthusiasm if they were madly to raise in
anti-Hindu cry. People flock in their thousands to listen to us because we
to-day represent the voice of a nation groaning under iron heels. The Ali
Brothers were your friends as I was, and still am. My religion forbids me to
bear any ill-will towards you. I would not raise my hand against you even if I
had the power. I expect to conquer you only by my suffering. The Ali Brothers
will certainly draw the sword, if they could, in defence of their religion and
their country. But they and I have made common cause with the people of
are in search of a remedy to suppress this rising ebullition of national
feeling. I venture to suggest to you that the only way to suppress it is to
remove the causes. You have yet the power. You can repent of the wrongs done to
Indians. You can compel Mr. Lloyd George to redeem his promises. I assure you
he has kept many escape doors. You can compel the Viceroy to retire in favour
of a better one, you can revise your ideas about Sir Michael O'Dwyer and
General Dyer. You can compel the Government to summon a conference of the
recognised lenders of the people, duly elected by them and representing all shades
of opinion so as to devise means for granting Swaraj in accordance with
the wishes of the people of
I am, Your faithful friend, M. K. GANDHI
Stokes is a Christian, who wants to follow the light that God gives him. He has
let us consider the worst that can happen to
But I refuse to contemplate the dismal out-look. If the movement succeeds through non-violent non-co-operation, and that is the supposition Mr. Stokes has started with, the English whether they remain or retire, they will do so as friends and under a well-ordered agreement as between partners. I still believe in the goodness of human nature, whether it is English or any other. I therefore do not believe that the English will leave in a night.
do I consider the Gurkha and the Afghan being incorrigible thieves and robbers
without ability to respond to purifying influences? I do not. If India returns
to her spirituality, it will react upon the neighbouring tribes, she will
interest herself in the welfare of these hardy but poor people, and even
support them if necessary, not out of fear but as a matter of neighbourly duty.
She will have dealt with
Whether therefore we finally succeed through violence or non-violence in my opinion, the prospect is by no means so gloomy as Mr. Stokes has imagined. Any conceivable prospect is, in my opinion, less black than the present unmanly and helpless condition. And we cannot do better than following out fearlessly and with confidence the open and honourable programme of non-violence and sacrifice that we have mapped for ourselves.
The spirit of non-violence necessarily leads to humility. Non-violence means reliance on God, the Rocks of ages. If we would seek His aid, we must approach Him with a humble and a contrite heart. Non-co-operationists may not trade upon their amazing success at the Congress. We must act, even as the mango tree which drops as it bears fruit. Its grandeur lies in its majestic lowliness. But one hears of non-co-operationists being insolent and intolerant in their behaviour towards those who differ from them. I know that they will lose all their majesty and glory, if they betray any inflation. Whilst we may not be dissatisfied with the progress made so far, we have little to our credit to make us feel proud. We have to sacrifice much more than we have done to justify pride, much less elation. Thousands, who flocked to the Congress pandal, have undoubtedly given their intellectual assent to the doctrine but few have followed it out in practice. Leaving aside the pleaders, how many parents have withdrawn their children from schools? How many of those who registered their vote in favour of non-co-operation have taken to hand-spinning or discarded the use of all foreign cloth?
Non-co-operation is not a movement of brag, bluster, or bluff. It is a test of our sincerity. It requires solid and silent self-sacrifice. It challenges our honesty and our capacity for national work. It is a movement that aims at translating ideas into action. And the more we do, the more we find that much more must be done than we have expected. And this thought of our imperfection must make us humble.
A non-co-operationist strives to compel attention and to set an example not by his violence but by his unobtrusive humility. He allows his solid action to speak for his creed. His strength lies in his reliance upon the correctness of his position. And the conviction of it grows most in his opponent when he least interposes his speech between his action and his opponent. Speech, especially when it is haughty, betrays want of confidence and it makes one's opponent sceptical about the reality of the act itself. Humility therefore is the key to quick success. I hope that every non-co-operationist will recognise the necessity of being humble and self-restrained. It is because so little is really required to be done because all of that little depends entirely upon ourselves that I have ventured the belief that Swaraj is attainable in less than one year.
write to thank you for yours of the 7th instant and especially for your request
that I should after reading your writings in "Young India" on
non-co-operation, give a full and frank criticism of them. I know that your
sole desire is to find out the truth and to act accordingly, and hence I
venture to make the following remarks. In the issue of May 5th you say that
non-co-operation is "not even anti-Government." But surely to refuse
to have anything to do with the Government to the extent of not serving it and
of not paying its taxes is actually, if not theoretically anti-Government; and
such a course must ultimately make all Government impossible. Again, you say,
"It is the inherent right of a subject to refuse to assist a government
that will not listen to him." Leaving aside the question of the ethical
soundness of this proposition, may I ask which Government, in the present case?
Has not the Indian Government done all it possibly can in the matter? Then if
its attempts to voice the request of
Might I recommend the consideration of the following course of conduct?
"Wait and see" what the actual terms of the Treaty with
If they are not in accordance with the aspirations and recommendations of the
Government and the people of
(3) To the bitter end, co-operate with a Government that co-operates with us, and only when it refuses co-operation, go in for non-co-operation.
far I personally see no reason whatsoever for non-co-operation with the Indian
Government, and till it fails to voice the needs and demands of
gladly make room for the above letter and respond to the suggestion to give a
public reply as no doubt the difficulty experienced by the English friend is
experienced by many. Causes are generally lost, not owing to the determined
opposition of men who will not see the truth as they want to perpetuate an
injustice but because they are able to enlist in their favour the allegiance of
those who are anxious to understand a particular cause and take sides after
mature judgment. It is only by patient argument with such honest men that one
is able to check oneself, correct one's own errors of judgment and at times to
wean them from their error and bring them over to one's side. This Khilafat
question is specially difficult because there are so many side-issues. It is
therefore no wonder that many have more or less difficulty in making up their
minds. It is further complicated because the painful necessity for some direct
action has arisen in connection with it. But whatever the difficulty, I am
convinced that there is no question so important as this one if we want harmony
and peace in
My friend objects to my statement that non-co-operation is not anti-Government, because he considers that refusal to serve it and pay its taxes is actually anti-Government. I respectfully dissent from the view. If a brother has fundamental differences with his brother, and association with the latter involves his partaking of what in his opinion is an injustice. I hold that it is brotherly duty to refrain from serving his brother and sharing his earnings with him. This happens in everyday life. Prahalad did not act against his father, when he declined to associate himself with the latter's blasphemies. Nor was Jesus anti-Jewish when he declaimed against the Pharisees and the hypocrites, and would have none of them. In such matters, is it not intention that determines the character of a particular act? It is hardly correct as the friend suggests that withdrawal of association under general circumstances would make all government impossible. But it is true that such withdrawal would make all injustice impossible.
correspondent considers that the Government of India having done all it
possibly could, non-co-operation could not be applicable to that Government. In
my opinion, whilst it is true that the Government of India has done a great
deal, it has not done half as much as it might have done, and might even now
do. No Government can absolve itself from further action beyond protesting,
when it realises that the people whom it represents feel as keenly as do lakhs
of Indian Mussalmans in the Khilafat question. No amount of sympathy with a
starving man can possibly avail. He must have bread or he dies, and what is
wanted at that critical moment is some exertion to fetch the wherewithal to
feed the dying man. The Government of
There has been much talk of violence ensuing from active non-co-operation. I venture to suggest that the Mussalmans of India, if they had nothing in the shape of non-co-operation in view, would have long ago yielded to counsels of despair. I admit that non-co-operation is not unattended with danger. But violence is a certainty without, violence is only a possibility with non-co-operation. And it will he a greater possibility if all the important men, English, Hindu and others of the country discountenance it.
think, that the recommendation made by the friend is being literally followed
by the Mahomedans. Although they practically know the fate, they are waiting
for the actual terms of the treaty with
the forgoing was printed the long-expected peace terms regarding
therefore I admit that there is nothing either in the peace terms or in the
Viceregal message covering them to inspire the Mahomedans and Indians in
general with confidence or hope, I venture to suggest that there is no cause
for despair and anger. Now is the time for Mahomedans to retain absolute
self-control, to unite their forces and, weak though they are, with firm faith
in God to carry on the struggle with redoubled vigour till justice is done. If
is one of the most influential Tamil dailies of
do not know where the information has been derived from that I have given up
the last two stages of non-co-operation. What I have said is that they are a
distant goal. I abide by it. I admit that all the stages are fraught with some
danger, but the last two are fraught with the greatest--the last most of all.
The stages have been fixed with a view to running the least possible risk. The
last two stages will not be taken up unless the committee has attained
sufficient control over the people to warrant the beliefs that the laying down
of arms or suspension of taxes will, humanly speaking, be free from an outbreak
of violence on the part of the people. I do entertain the belief that it is
possible for the people to attain the discipline necessary for taking the two
steps. When once they realise that violence is totally unnecessary to bend an
unwilling government to their will and that the result can be obtained with
certainty by dignified non-co-operation, they will cease to think of violence
even by way of retaliation. The fact is that hitherto we have not attempted to
take concerted and disciplined action from the masses. Some day, if we are to
become truly a self-governing nation, that attempt has to be made. The present,
in my opinion, is a propitious movement. Every Indian feels the insult to the
So far as response is concerned, I agree with the Editor that the quickest and the largest response is to be expected in the matter of suspension of payment of taxes, but as I have said so long as the masses are not educated to appreciate the value of non-violence even whilst their holding are being sold, so long must it be difficult to take up the last stage into any appreciable extent.
I agree too that a sudden withdrawal of the military and the police will be a disaster if we have not acquired the ability to protect ourselves against robbers and thieves. But I suggest that when we are ready to call out the military and the police on an extensive scale we would find ourselves in a position to defend ourselves. If the police and the military resign from patriotic motives, I would certainly expect them to perform the same duty as national volunteers, not has hirelings but as willing protectors of the life and liberty of their countrymen. The movement of non-co-operation is one of automatic adjustment. If the Government schools are emptied, I would certainly expect national schools to come into being. If the lawyers as a whole suspended practice, they would devise arbitration courts and the nation will have expeditions and cheaper method of setting private disputes and awarding punishment to the wrong-doer. I may add that the Khilafat Committee is fully alive to the difficulty of the task and is taking all the necessary steps to meet the contingencies as they arise.
Regarding the leaving of civil employment, no danger is feared, because no one will leave his employment, unless he is in a position to find support for himself and family either through friends or otherwise.
Disapproval of the proposed withdrawal of students betrays, in my humble opinion, lack of appreciation of the true nature of non-co-operation. It is true enough that we pay the money wherewith our children are educated. But, when the agency imparting the education has become corrupt, we may not employ it without partaking of the agents, corruption. When students leave schools or colleges I hardly imagine that the teachers will fail to perceive the advisability of themselves resigning. But even if they do not, money can hardly be allowed to count where honour or religion are at the stake.
As to the boycott of the councils, it is not the entry of the Moderates or any other persons that matters so much as the entry of those who believe in non-co-operation. You may not co-operate at the top and non-co-operate at the bottom. A councillor cannot remain in the council and ask the gumasta who cleans the council-table to resign.
I gladly publish Mr. Pennington's letter with its enclosure just as I have received them. Evidently Mr. Pennington is not a regular reader of 'Young India,' or he would have noticed that no one has condemned mob outrages more than I have. He seems to think that the article he has objected to was the only thing I have ever written on General Dyer. He does not seem to know that I have endeavoured with the utmost impartiality to examine the Jallianwala massacre. And he can see any day all the proof adduced by my fellow-commissioners and myself in support of our findings on the massacre. The ordinary readers of 'Young India' knew all the facts and therefore it was unnecessary for me to support my assertion otherwise. But unfortunately Mr. Pennington represents the typical Englishman. He does not want to be unjust, nevertheless he is rarely just in his appreciation of world events because he has no time to study them except cursorily and that through a press whose business is to air only party views. The average Englishman therefore except in parochial matters is perhaps the least informed though he claims to be well-informed about every variety of interest. Mr. Pennington's ignorance is thus typical of the others and affords the best reason for securing control of our own affairs in our own hands. Ability will come with use and not by waiting to be trained by those whose natural interest is to prolong the period of tutelage as much as possible.
to return to Mr. Pennington's letter he complains that there has been no
'proper trial of any one.' The fault is not ours.
He next objects to be 'violence' of my language. If truth is violent, I plead guilty to the charge of violence of language. But I could not, without doing violence to truth, refrain from using the language, I have, regarding General Dyer's action. It has been proved out of his own mouth or hostile witnesses:
(1) That the crowd was unarmed.
(2) That it contained children.
(3) That the 13th was the day of Vaisakhi fair.
(4) That thousands had come to the fair.
(5) That there was no rebellion.
That during the intervening two days before the 'massacre' there was peace in
(7) That the proclamation of the meeting was made the same day as General Dyer's proclamation.
(8) That General Dyer's proclamation prohibited not meetings but processions or gatherings of four men on the streets and not in private or public places.
(9) That General Dyer ran no risk whether outside or inside the city.
(10) That he admitted himself that many in the crowd did not know anything of his proclamation.
(11) That he fired without warning the crowd and even after it had begun to disperse. He fired on the backs of the people who were in flight.
(12) That the men were practically penned in an enclosure.
In the face of these admitted facts I do call the deed a 'massacre.' The action amounted not to 'an error of judgment' but its 'paralysis in the face of fancied danger.'
I am sorry to have to say that Mr. Pennington's notes, which too the reader will find published elsewhere, betray as much ignorance as his letter.
Whatever was adopted on paper in the days of Canning was certainly not translated into action in its full sense. 'Promises made to the ear were broken to the hope,' was said by a reactionary Viceroy. Military expenditure has grown enormously since the days of Canning.
The demonstration in favour of General Dyer is practically a myth.
trace was found of the so-called Danda Fauj dignified by the name of
bludgeon-army by Mr. Pennington. There was no rebel army in
I hope Mr. Pennington will not accuse me again of making unverified assertions because I have not quoted from the books. The evidence is there for him to use. I can only assure him that the assertions are based on positive proofs mostly obtained from official sources.
Mr. Pennington wants me to publish an exact account of what happened on the 10th April. He can find it in the reports, and if he will patiently go through them he will discover that Sir Michael O'Dwyer and his officials goaded the people into frenzied fury--a fury which nobody, as I have already said, has condemned more than I have. The account of the following days is summed up in one word, viz. 'peace' on the part of the crowd disturbed by indiscriminate arrests, the massacre and the series of official crimes that followed.
I am prepared to give Mr. Pennington credit for seeking after the truth. But he has gone about it in the wrong manner. I suggest his reading the evidence before the Hunter Committee and the Congress Committee. He need not read the reports. But the evidence will convince him that I have understated the case against General Dyer.
When however I read his description of himself as "for 12 years Chief Magistrate of Districts in the South of India before reform, by assassination and otherwise, became so fashionable." I despair of his being able to find the truth. An angry or a biased man renders himself incapable of finding it. And Mr. Pennington is evidently both angry and biased. What does he mean by saying, "before reform by assassination and otherwise became so fashionable?" It ill becomes him to talk of assassination when the school of assassination seems happily to have become extinct. Englishmen will never see the truth so long as they permit their vision to be blinded by arrogant assumption of superiority or ignorant assumptions of infallibility.
I do not like your scheme for "boycotting" the Government of India under what seems to be the somewhat less offensive (though more cumbrous) name of non-co-operation; but have always given you credit for a genuine desire to carry out revolution by peaceful means and am astonished at the violence of the language you use in describing General Dyer on page 4 of your issue of the 14th July last. You begin by saying that he is "by no means the worst offender," and, so far, I am inclined to agree, though as there has been no proper trial of anyone it is impossible to apportion their guilt; but then you say "his brutality is unmistakable," "his abject and unsoldierlike cowardice is apparent, he has called an unarmed crowd of men and children--mostly holiday makers--a rebel army." "He believes himself to be the saviour of the
Punjabin that he was able to shoot down like rabbits men who were penned in an enclosure; such a man is unworthy to be considered a soldier. There was no bravery in his action. He ran no risk. He shot without the slightest opposition and without warning. This is not an error of judgement. It is paralysis of it in the face of fancied danger. It is proof of criminal incapacity and heartlessness," etc.
You must excuse me for saying that all this is mere rhetoric unsupported by any proof, even where proof was possible. To begin with, neither you nor I were present at the Jallianwalla Bagh on that dreadful day--dreadful especially for General Dyer for whom you show no sympathy,--and therefore cannot know for certain whether the crowd was or was not unarmed.' That it was an 'illegal,' because a 'prohibited,' assembly is evident; for it is absurd to suppose that General Dyer's 4-1/2 hours march, through the city that very morning, during the whole of which he was warning the inhabitants against the danger of any sort of gathering, was not thoroughly well-known. You say they were 'mostly holiday makers,' but you give nor proof; and the idea of holiday gathering in
just then in incredible. I cannot understand your making such a suggestion. General Dyer was not the only officer present on the occasion and it is impossible to suppose that he would have been allowed to go on shooting into an innocent body of holiday-makers. Even the troops would have refused to carry out what might then have been not unfairly called a "massacre." Amritsar
I notice that you never even allude to the frightful brutality of the mob which was immediately responsible for the punitive measure reluctantly adopted by General Dyer. Your sympathies seem to be only with the murderers, and I am not sanguine enough to suppose that my view of the case will have much influence with you. Still I am bound to do what I can to get at the truth, and enclose a copy of some notes I have had occasion to make. If you can publish an exact account of what happened at Amritsar on the 10th of April, 1919 and the following days, especially on the 13th, including the demonstration in favour of General Dyer, (if there was one), I for one, as a mere seeker after the truth, should be very much obliged to you. Mere abuse is not convincing, as you so often observe in your generally reasonable paper,
Yours faithfully, J. R. PENNINGTON, I.O.S. (Retd.) 35,
VICTORIA ROAD, WORTHING, SUSSEX27th Aug. 1920.
For 12 years Chief Magistrate of Districts in the south of
before reform, by assassination and otherwise, became so fashionable. India
P.S. Let us get the case in this way. General Dyer, acting as the only representative of Government on the spot shot some hundreds of people (some of them perhaps innocently mixed up in an illegal assembly), in the bona fide belief that he was dealing with the remains of a very dangerous rebellion and was thereby saving the lives of very many thousands, and in the opinion of a great many people did actually save the city from falling in the hands of a dangerous mob.
Janakdhari Prasad was a staunch coworker with me in Champaran. He has written a
long letter setting forth his reasons for his belief that
(a) Is not the non-co-operation movement creating a sort of race-hatred between Englishmen and Indians, and is it in accordance with the Divine plan of universal love and brotherhood?
(b) Does not the use of words "devilish," "satanic," etc., savour of unbrotherly sentiment and incite feelings of hatred?
(c) Should not the non-co-operation movement be conducted on strictly non-violent and non-emotional lines both in speech and action?
(d) Is there no danger of the movement going out of control and lending to violence?
to (a), I must say that the movement is not 'creating' race-hatred. It
certainly gives, as I have already said, disciplined expression to it. You
cannot eradicate evil by ignoring it. It is because I want to promote universal
brotherhood that I have taken up non-co-operation so that, by
As to (b), I know that the words 'satanic' and 'devilish' are strong, but they relate the exact truth. They describe a system not persons: We are bound to hate evil, if we would shun it. But by means of non-co-operation we are able to distinguish between the evil and the evil-doer. I have found no difficulty in describing a particular activity of a brother of mine to be devilish, but I am not aware of having harboured any hatred about him. Non-co-operation teaches us to love our fellowmen in spite of their faults, not by ignoring or over-looking them.
As to (c), the movement is certainly being conducted on strictly non-violent lines. That all non-co-operators have not yet thoroughly imbibed the doctrine is true. But that just shows what an evil legacy we have inherited. Emotion there is in the movement. And it will remain. A man without emotion is a man without feeling.
As to (d), there certainly is danger of the movement becoming violent. But we may no more drop non-violent non-co-operation because of its dangers, than we may stop freedom because of the danger of its abuse.
Popley and Philips have been good enough to reply to my letter "To Every
when the sum total of his energy represents a minus quantity one may not pick
out the plus quantities, hold them up for admiration, and ask an admiring
public to help regarding them. It is a favourite design of Satan to temper evil
with a show of good and thus lure the unwary into the trap. The only way the
world has known of defeating Satan is by shunning him. I invite Englishmen, who
could work out the ideal the believe in, to join the ranks of the
non-co-operationists. W.T. Stead prayed for the reverse of the British arms
during the Boer war. Miss Hobbhouse invited the Boers to keep up the fight. The
But Messers. Popley and Phillips object that I have allied myself with those who would draw the sword if they could. I see nothing wrong in it. They represent the right no less than I do. And is it not worth while trying to prevent an unsheathing of the sword by helping to win the bloodless battle? Those who recognise the truth of the Indian position can only do God's work by assisting this non-violent campaign.
second objection raised by these English friends is more to the point. I would
be guilty of wrong-doing myself if the Muslim cause was not just. The fact is
that the Muslim claim is not to perpetuate foreign domination of non-Muslim or
Turkish races. The Indian Mussalmans do not resist self-determination, but they
would fight to the last the nefarious plan of exploiting
The third objection has reference to schools. I do object to missionary or any schools being carried on with Government money. It is true that it was at one time our money. Will these good missionaries be justified in educating me with funds given to them by a robber who has robbed me of my money, religion and honour because the money was originally mine.
personally tolerated the financial robbery of
Popley and Phillips think that my sense of justice has been blurred by the
knowledge of the
Dear Mr. Gandhi,
you for your letter to every Englishman in
we say at once that in so far as the British Empire stands for the domination
and exploitation of other races for Britain's benefit, for degrading treatment
of any, for traffic in intoxicating liquors, for repressive legislation, for
administration such as that which to the Amritsar incidents, we desire the end
of it as much as you do? We quite understand that in the excitement of the
present crisis, owing to certain acts of the British Administration, which we
join with you in condemning, the Empire presents itself to you under this
aspect along. But from personal contact with our countrymen, we know that
working like leaven in the midst of such tendencies, as you and we deplore, is
the faith in a better ideal--the ideal of a commonwealth of free peoples
voluntarily linked together by the ties of common experience in the past and
common aspirations for the future, a commonwealth which may hope to spread
liberty and progress through the whole earth. With vast numbers of our
countrymen we value the
we do repent of that arrogant attitude to Indians which has been all too common
among our countrymen, we do hold Indians to be our brothers and equals, many of
them our superiors, and we would rather be servants than rulers of
We have spoken of the large amount of common ground upon which you and we can stand. But frankness demands that we express our anxiety about some items in your programme. Leaving aside smaller questions on which your letter seems to us to do the British side less than justice, may we mention three main points? Your insistence on spiritual forces alone we deeply respect and desire to emulate, but we cannot understand your combining into it with a close alliance with those who, as you frankly say, would draw the sword as soon as they could.
desire for an education truly national commands our whole-hearted approval. But
instead of Indianizing the present system, as you could begin to do from the
beginning of next year, or instead of creating a hundred institutions such as
that at Bolpur and turning into them the stream of India's young intellectual
life, you appear to be turning that stream out of its present channel into open
sands where it may dry up. In other words, you seem to us to be risking the
complete cessation, for a period possibly, of years, of all education, for a
large number of boys and young men. Is it best, for those young men or for
desire to unite Mohammedan and Hindu and to share with your Mohammedan brethren
in seeking the satisfaction of Mohammedan aspirations, we can understand and
sympathize with. But is there no danger, in the course which some of your party
have urged upon the Government, that certain races in the former Ottoman Empire
might be fixed under a foreign yoke, for worse than that which you hold the
English yoke to be? You could not wish to purchase freedom in
To sum up, we thank you for the spirit of your letter, to which we have tried to respond in the same spirit. We are with you in the desire for an India genuinely free to develop the best that is in her and in the belief that best is something wonderful of which the world to-day stands in need.
are ready to co-operate with you and with every other man of any race or
nationality who will help
sincerely, (Sd.) H.A. POPLEY, (Sd.) G.E. PHILLIPS.
Mr. Gandhi has addressed the following letter to the Viceroy:--
It is not without a pang that I return the Kaisar-i-Hind gold medal granted to me by your predecessor for my humanitarian work in South Africa, the Zulu war medal granted in South Africa for my services as officer in charge of the Indian volunteer ambulance corps in 1906 and the Boer war medal fur my services as assistant superintendent of the Indian volunteer stretcher bearer corps during the Boer war of 1899-1900. I venture to return these medals in pursuance of the scheme of non-co-operation inaugurated to-day in connection with the Khilafat movement. Valuable as those honours have been to me, I cannot wear them with an easy conscience so long as my Mussalman countrymen have to labour under a wrong done to their religious sentiment. Events that have happened during the past month have confirmed me in the opinion that the Imperial Government have acted in the Khilafat matter in an unscrupulous, immoral and unjust manner and have been moving from wrong to wrong in order to defend their immorality. I can retain neither respect nor affection for such a Government.
attitude of the Imperial and Your Excellency's Governments on the
my humble opinion the ordinary method of agitating by way of petitions,
deputations and the like is no remedy for moving to repentence a Government so
hopelessly indifferent to the welfare of its charges as the Government of India
has proved to me. In European countries, condonation of such grievous wrongs as
the Khilafat and the
have therefore ventured to suggest the remedy of non-co-operation which enables
those who wish, to dissociate themselves from the Government and which, if it
is unattended by violence and undertaken in an ordered manner, must compel it
to retrace its steps and undo the wrongs committed. But whilst I shall pursue
the policy of non-co-operation in so far as I can carry the people with me, I
shall not lose hope that you will yet see your way to do justice. I therefore
respectfully ask Your Excellency to summon a conference of the recognised
leaders of the people and in consultation with them find a way that would
placate the Mussalmans and do reparation to the unhappy
The following letter has been addressed by Mr. Gandhi to his Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught;--
Your Royal Highness must have heard a great deal about non-co-operation, non-co-operationists and their methods and incidentally of me its humble author. I fear that the information given to Your Royal Highness must have been in its nature one-sided. I owe it to you and to my friends and myself that I should place before you what I conceive to be the scope of non-co-operation as followed not only be me but my closest associates such as Messrs. Shaukat Ali and Mahomed Ali.
me it is no joy and pleasure to be actively associated in the boycott of your
Royal Highness' visit--I have tendered loyal and voluntary association to the
Government for an unbroken period of nearly 30 years in the full belief that
through that way lay the path of freedom for my country. It was therefore no
slight thing for me to suggest to my countrymen that we should take no part in
welcoming Your Royal Highness. Not one among us has anything against you as an
English gentleman. We hold your person as sacred as that of a dearest friend. I
do not know any of my friends who would not guard it with his life, if he found
it in danger. We are not at war with individual Englishmen we seek not to
destroy English life. We do desire to destroy a system that has emasculated our
country in body, mind and soul. We are determined to battle with all our might
against that in the English nature which has made O'Dwyerism and Dyerism
possible in the
Royal Highness has come not to end the system I have described but to sustain
it by upholding its prestige. Your first pronouncement was a laudation of Lord
Wellingdon. I have the privilege of knowing him. I believe him to be an honest
and amiable gentleman who will not willingly hurt even a fly. But, he has
certainly failed as a ruler. He allowed himself to be guided by those whose
interest it was to support their power. He is reading the mind of the Dravidian
province. Here in
I ask Your Royal Highness and through you every Englishman to appreciate the view-point of the non-co-operationists.
I beg to remain, Your Royal Highness's faithful servant, (Sd.) M.K. GANDHI. February, 1921
is to be wished that non-co-operationists will clearly recognise that nothing
can stop the onward march of the nation as violence.
What I am anxious to show is that non-co-operationists must be true as well to the spirit as to the letter of their vow if they would gain Swaraj within one year. They may forget non-co-operation but they dare not forget non-violence. Indeed, non-co-operation is non-violence. We are violent when we sustain a government whose creed is violence. It bases itself finally not on right but on might. Its last appeal is not to reason, nor the heart, but to the sword. We are tired of this creed and we have risen against it. Let us not ourselves belie our profession by being violent. Though the English are very few, they are organised for violence. Though we are many we cannot be organised for violence for a long time to come. Violence for us is a gospel or despair.
have seen a pathetic letter from a god-fearing English woman who defends
Dyerism for she thinks that, if General Dyer had not enacted Jallianwala, women
and children would have been murdered by us. If we are such brutes as to desire
the blood of innocent women and children, we deserve to be blotted out from the
face of the earth. There is the other side. It did not strike this good lady
that, if we were friends, the price that her countrymen paid at Jallianwala for
buying their safety was too great. They gained their safety at the cost of
their humanity. General Dyer has been haltingly blamed, and his evil genius Sir
Michael O'Dwyer entirely exonerated because Englishmen do not want to leave
this country of fields even if everyone of us has to be killed. If we go mad
again as we did at
Shall we copy Dyerism and O'Dwyerism even whilst we are condemning it? Let not our rock be violence and devilry. Our rock must be non-violence and godliness. Let us, workers, be clear as to what we are about. Swaraj depends upon our ability to control all the forces of violence on our side. Therefore there is no Swaraj within one year, if there is violence on the part of the people.
We must then refrain from sitting dhurna, we must refrain from crying 'shame, shame' to anybody, we must not use any coercion to persuade our people to adopt our way. We must guarantee to them the same freedom we claim for ourselves. We must not tamper with the masses. It is dangerous to make political use of factory labourers or the peasantry--not that we are not entitled to do so, but we are not ready for it. We have neglected their political (as distinguished from literary) education all these long years. We have not got enough honest, intelligent, reliable, and brave workers to enable us to act upon these countrymen of ours.
[The following is the Statement of Mahatma Gandhi made before the Court during his Trial in Ahmedabad on the 18th March 1921.]
Before reading his written statement Mahatma Gandhi spoke a few words as introductory remarks to the whole statement. He said: Before I read this statement, I would like to state that I entirely endorse the learned Advocate-General's remarks in connection with my humble self. I think that he was entirely fair to me in all the statements that he has made, because it is very true and I have no desire whatsoever to conceal from this Court the fact that to preach disaffection towards the existing system of Government has become almost a passion with me. And the learned Advocate-General is also entirely in the right when he says that my preaching of disaffection did not commence with my connection with "Young India" but that it commenced much earlier and in the statement that I am about to read it will be my painful duty to admit before this Court that it commenced much earlier than the period stated by the Advocate-General. It is the most painful duty with me but I have to discharge that duty knowing the responsibility that rested upon my shoulders. And I wish to endorse all the blame that the Advocate-General has thrown on my shoulders in connection with the Bombay occurrence, Madras occurrences, and the Chouri Choura occurrences thinking over these things deeply, and sleeping over them night after night and examining my heart I have come to the conclusion that it is impossible for me to dissociate myself from the diabolical crimes of Chouri Choura or the mad outrages of Bombay. He is quite right when he says that as a man of responsibility, a man having received a fair share of education, having had a fair share of experience of this world, I should know them. I knew that I was playing with fire. I ran the risk and if I was set free I would still do the same. I would be failing in my duty if I do not do so. I have felt it this morning that I would have failed in my duty if I did not say all what I said here just now. I wanted to avoid violence. Non-violence is the first article of my faith. It is the last article of my faith. But I had to make my choice. I had either to submit to a system which I considered has done an irreparable harm to my country or incur the risk of the mad fury of my people bursting forth when they understood the truth from my lips. I know that my people have sometimes gone mad. I am deeply sorry for it; and I am, therefore, here to submit not to a light penalty but to the highest penalty. I do not ask for mercy. I do not plead any extenuating act. I am here, therefore, to invite and submit to the highest penalty that can be inflicted upon me for what in law is a deliberate crime and what appears to me to be the highest duty of a citizen. The only course open to you, Mr. Judge, is, as I am just going to say in my statement, either to resign your post or inflict on me the severest penalty if you believe that the system and law you are assisting to administer are good for the people. I do not expect that kind of conversion. But by the time I have finished with my statement you will, perhaps, have a glimpse of what is raging within my breast to run this maddest risk which a sane man can run.
owe it perhaps to the Indian public and to the public in
But I was not baffled. I thought that this treatment of Indians was an excrescence upon a system that was intrinsically and mainly good. I gave the Government my voluntary and hearty co-operation, criticising it fully where I felt it was faulty but never wishing its destruction.
when the existence of the Empire was threatened in 1899 by the Boer challenge,
I offered my services to it, raised a volunteer ambulance corps and served at
several actions that took place for the relief of Ladysmith. Similarly in 1906
at the time of the Zulu revolt I raised a stretcher-bearer party and served
till the end of the 'rebellion'. On both these occasions I received medals and
was even mentioned in despatches. For my work in
first shock came in the shape of the Rowlalt Act a law designed to rob the
people of all real freedom. I felt called upon to lead an intensive agitation
against it. Then followed the Punjab horrors beginning with the massacre at
Jallianwala Bagh and culminating in brawling orders, public floggings and other
indescribable humiliations, I discovered too that the plighted word of the
Prime Minister to the Mussalmans of India regarding the integrity of Turkey and
the holy places of Islam was not likely to be fulfilled. But in spite of the
foreboding and the grave warnings of friends, at the Amritsar Congress in 1919
I fought for co-operation and working the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms, hoping
that the Prime Minister would redeem his promise to the Indian Mussalmans, that
the Punjab wound would be healed and that the reforms inadequate and
unsatisfactory though they were, marked a new era of hope in the life of India.
But all that hope was shattered. The Khilafat promise was not to be redeemed.
came reluctantly to the conclusion that the British connection had made
fact I believe that I have rendered a service to
M. K. GHANDI.