From the Archives: ‘Treat minorities fairly’, Gandhi's advice to Hindus
“The British will make of us two nations and that with a flourish of trumpets. Is that to be the parting shot? I hope not”, Mahatma Gandhi said.
The division of India with subdivision of some provinces puts us on our mettle, says a message issued by Mahatma Gandhi, and read out in place of his usual speech at the prayer meeting on Monday, his silence day.
The message adds: “The papers today (Monday) talk of a grand ceremonial to take place in London over the division of India into "two nations" which were only the other day one nation. What is there to gloat over in the tragedy? We have hugged the relief that though we part we do so as friends and brothers belonging to one family. Now, if the newspaper report is correct, the British will make of us two nations and that with a flourish of trumpets. Is that to be the parting shot? I hope not.
"If the major partner is true to his salt the foreshadowed wisdom can be confounded not in the shape of avoiding partition, however distasteful it might be, but by right behaviour on the part of the major partner by always acting as one nation, by refusing to treat the Muslim minorities as aliens in their own home.
‘Reform Hindu religion’
"This means a revolutionary reform in the religion of the major partner. Let us not shut our eyes to the plain fact. The untouchables – the Scheduled Classes – are the target because they are the weakest point of Hinduism. One reads reports of Muslim League speakers holding forth that the Scheduled Classes in Pakistan can have separate electorates. Is that to be a call for joining Islam of the Pakistan type? I do not wish to recall the tales of forcible conversions. But having heard so much from their own mouths, I shudder to contemplate the worst.
"What is the answer to this feat or threat? It is undoubtedly that there should be no untouchability whatsoever in Hinduism, no Scheduled Classes therefore in India, no caste divisions whatsoever in the eye of the law.
Hindus are all one, no high or low. All the neglected classes such as the Scheduled Classes and the so-called aboriginal classes should receive special treatment in the matter of education, housing, etc. On the electoral roll they will be one. This [indecipherable] than the present but better in every way. Will Hinduism come up to the high level or will it court extinction by hugging infamous superstitions and aping bad manners?”
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