Everybody is agreed about the necessity of this unity. But everybody does not know that unity does not mean political unity which may be imposed. It means an unbreakable heart unity. The first thing essential for achieving such unity is for every Congressman, whatever his religion may be, to represent in his own person Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Zoroastrian, Jew, etc., shortly, every Hindu and non-Hindu. He has to feel his identity with every one of the millions of the inhabitants of Hindustan. In order to realize this, every Congressman will cultivate personal friendship with persons representing faiths other than his own. He should have the same regard for the other faiths as he has for his own.
In such a happy state of things there would be no
disgraceful cry at the stations such as "Hindu water" and "Muslim water" or
"Hindu tea" and "Musrim tea". There would be no separate rooms or pots for
Hindus and non-Hindus in schools and colleges, no communal schools, colleges and
hospitals. The beginning of such a revolution has to be made by Congressmen
without any political motive behind the correct conduct. Political unity will be
its natural fruit.
We have long been accustomed to think that power
comes only through Legislative Assemblies. I have regarded this belief as a
grave error brought about by inertia or hypnotism. A superficial study of
British history has made us think that all power percolates to the people from
parliaments. The truth is that power resides in the people and it is entrusted
for the time being to those whom they may choose as their representatives.
Parliaments have no power or even existence
independently of the people. It has been my effort for the last twenty-one years
to convince the people of this simple truth. Civil Disobedience is the
storehouse of power. Imagine a whole people unwilling to conform to the laws of
the legislature, and prepared to suffer the consequences of non-compliance! They
will bring the whole legislative and executive machinery to a standstill. The
police and the military are of use to coerce minorities however powerful they
may be. But no police or military coercion can bend the resolute will of a
people who are out for suffering to the uttermost.
And Parliamentary procedure is good only when its
members are willing to conform to the will of the majority. In other words, it
is fairly effective only among compatibles. Here in India we have been
pretending to work the parliamentary system under separate electorates which
have created artificial incompatibles. Living unity can never come out of these
artificial entities being brought together on a common platform. Such
legislatures may function. But they can only be a platform for wrangling and
sharing the crumbs of power that may fall from rulers whoever they may be. These
rule with a rod of iron, and prevent the opposing elements from flying at one
another's throats. I hold the emergence of complete Independence to be an
impossibility out of such a disgrace.
Though I hold such strong views, I have come to
the conclusion that so long as there are undesirable candidates for elective
bodies, Congress should put up candidates in order to prevent reactionaries from
entering such bodies.