From the Archives: Mahatma Gandhi pays tribute to Bose
But Mahatma Gandhi would not forget that it was Subhas Babu who knew no provincialism nor communal differences.
People should cleanse their hearts of all communal bitterness on the occasion of Subhas Bose’s birthday, said Mahatma Gandhi in his post-prayer speech yesterday.
Gandhiji referred to Subhas Bose's birthday. He said he generally did not remember such dates nor did he attach much value to dates of birth and death. He did not know whether it was right or wrong for him to be so indifferent.
But he was just reminded of the day and he was glad there was special reason to take note of Subhas Babu's birthday in spite of the fact that the deceased patriot had believed in violence, while he (Gandhiji) believed in non-violence.
But he would not forget that it was Subhas Babu who knew no provincialism nor communal differences. He had in his brave army men and women drawn from all over India without distinction and evoked affection and loyalty which very few have been able to evoke.
A lawyer friend asked him for a good definition of Hinduism. Though he was a Sanatani Hindu, he was unable to define Hinduism. Gandhiji replied he had forgotten his law for years, nor was he learned in religion. But as a layman he could say Hinduism regarded all religions as worthy of respect. Subhas Babu was, in his opinion, such a Hindu. In memory of that great patriot, they should cleanse their hearts of all communal bitterness.
Gwalior Report Denied
Proceeding, Gandhiji referred to what he had said about communal communal trouble in a Gwalior village. He had been investigating the matter and had just received a telegram from one who had personally visited the village saying that the information conveyed to him regarding looting, arson and killing of Muslims in the village of Jahangirpur was quite wrong.
It was true that there was a private quarrel which could not be stretched into a communal question. And, in no case was there arson or loss of life.
Gandhiji said the telegram gladdened him. He advised his Muslim friends to be most careful about sending complaints! They should meticulously avoid all exaggeration. The golden rule of life was to exaggerate one's own faults and belittle those of others. That was the only way to self-purification. Those who indulged in exaggeration would discredit their community.
Gandhiji then mentioned a telegram from Mysore saying that there had been communal trouble there and that his fast had not produced any effect in Mysore. He (Gandhiji) was sorry to hear this. He advised the Mysore Government to issue a clear statement on the actual happenings.
Gandhiji referred to a telegram by several influential Muslims of Junagadh. They said that since the Sardar had appointed a Regional Commissioner there they felt fully reassured. No one would now be able to create a split among the people of Junagadh and at the referendum they would be able to prove that the Muslims of Junagadh were with the rest of the people.
Loyalty of Muslims
Gandhiji had also received a telegram from Meerut. It said that the efforts to keep perfect peace in the country were highly appreciated. They had no ill-feelings against Nationalist Muslims, but they did not believe that those League Muslims who, until yesterday had been collecting arms and even now intended to help Pakistan, could ever be loyal to the Union. He (Gandhiji) would have to repent if he put his trust in them.
They also said that religion and politics were quite separate and non-violence could never work in politics. They added that they were satisfied with the present Government and did not want any change in it. He (Gandhiji) did not understand how the question of change in the Government arose. He did not believe anyone could displace or replace the present Government.
It was rather late to tell him that non-violence could not work in politics. In politics they could not begin with distrust. Those in charge of the Government were men of great courage and self-sacrifice. They would deal with traitors when the occasion came. Traitors might be found in any community and not only among the Muslims.
They had decided to live with the Muslims as brothers as he wanted them to stick to their resolve. All Leaguers were not bad. They should report against those who indulged in questionable activities and let the Government deal with them as severely as it liked. They must on no account take the law into their own hands. That would be barbarous.
Lastly, Gandhiji again thanked those who had sent telegrams of good wishes which were still pouring in. He prayed to God that their wishes for the maintenance of peace might be fulfilled. The senders would excuse him for his inability to send personal acknowledgments.