From the Archives: ‘Driving out Muslims will ruin Hinduism’, says Gandhiji
Gandhiji expressed sorrow at the recrudescence of trouble in Delhi, even though it was on a very minor scale.
Addressing the prayer gathering at Birla House last evening, Mahatma Gandhi expressed sorrow at the recrudescence of trouble in Delhi. He said that the Government of India should protect the Muslims in the country. If they failed to do so it would mean the decline and extinction of Hinduism and Sikhism.
The following is the authorised version of Gandhiji's speech:
Gandhiji expressed sorrow at the recrudescence of trouble in Delhi, even though it was on a very minor scale. The Hindus and Sikhs of Delhi or the Pakistan sufferers in Delhi were determined not to let the Muslims stay here, they should say so boldly and openly and the governments should declare that it could offer the affected Muslims no protection.
It would be a declaration of bankruptcy on the part of the Government. It would mean a decline and extinction of Hindu and Sikh religions if the disease spread. Similarly, if Pakistan would let no Hindu or Sikh stay there with safety and honour, it would mean extinction of Islam in India.
He wanted them to shed all cowardice. He held it to be cowardice to force out anyone by indirect means. If Muslims were bad, goodness on the part of Hindus and Sikhs would make them good.
In the bhajan that they had just heard, Mira said she felt happy when she saw a devotee of God and grieved when she looked at worldly men. The sight of the godly man made her feel godly. The way to deal with bad men was to reform them, not to turn them out or kill them.
Gandhiji then referred to the meetings of the All-India Village Industries Association (AIVIA) that he had attended at the Harijan Colony during the week between December 6 and 13. He had told them about three meetings but was unable to deal with AIVIA meetings.
He had said that the spinning wheel was the sun in the village system of India, if not for her few cities also. The various village industries were like planets revolving round the sun. Without the sun, the planets were nowhere: He felt the reverse was equally true, though he could not prove it scientifically. But he could say so confidently about the villages.
There were many villages round about Delhi. If they developed village industries, the villages and the City of Delhi would add to each ether's prosperity. Then they would have no time to think of communal strife. He heard that many artisans in Delhi and round about were Muslims. Their departure had greatly disturbed the city life.
At Panipat, large numbers of Muslims were employed in making blankets. Their departure had greatly hampered the work, if it had not stopped it altogether. Hindus and Muslims in many cases had their different industries. Hindustan and Pakistan were both suffering heavily as a result of this dislocation.
Capital Versus Labour
Gandhiji had talked to them about compost manure the previous evening. The excreta of animals and human beings mixed with refuse could be turned into golden manure. It increased the productivity of the soil which received it. Preparation of this manure was itself a village industry.
But this like all village industries could not give tangible results unless the crores of India co-operated in reviving them and thus making India prosperous.
This was the fundamental distinction between capital and labour. Capital exploited the labour of a few to multiply itself. The sum total of the labour of the crores wisely utilised automatically increased the wealth of the crores. Therein lay true democracy (and) true panchayat raj.
Unless India concentrated her whole energy on this vast constructive effort and if her children occupied themselves in unseemly communal strife her fate would be like that of the Yadavs of old who wasted their time in drink, debauchery and gambling and ended by cutting one another's throats.
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