BEFORE THIS UNITY becomes a reality,
both the communities will have to give up a good deal and will have
to make radical changes in ideas held heretofore.
As with Hindus, so with Musalmans. The
leaders among the latter should meet together and consider their
duty towards Hindus. When both are inspired by a spirit of
sacrifice, when both try to do their duty towards one another
instead of pressing their rights, then and then only would the
long-standing differences between the two communities cease. Each
must respect the otherís religion, must refrain from even secretly
thinking ill of the other. We must politely dissuade members of both
the communities from indulging in bad language against one another.
Only a serious endeavor in this direction can remove the
estrangement between us.
Mutual tolerance is a necessity for
all times and for all races. We cannot live in peace if the Hindus
will not tolerate the Mohammedan form of worship of God and his
manners and customs, or if the Mohammedan will be impatient of Hindu
idolatry or cow-worship. It is not necessary for toleration that I
must approve of what I tolerate all these in Hindus, Mohammedans 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 Mohammedans have arisen from each wanting to force the
other to his view.
The cow is as dear as life to a Hindu.
The Musalman should, therefore, voluntarily accommodate his Hindu
brother. Silence at his prayer is a precious thing for a Musalman.
Every Hindu should voluntarily respect his Musalman brotherís
sentiment. This, however, is a counsel of perfection.
Clarity towards Opponents
The unity we desire will last only if
we cultivate a yielding and a charitable disposition towards one
Evolution of democracy is not possible
if we are not prepared to hear the other side. We shut the doors of
reason when we refuse to listen to our opponents or, having
listened, make fun of them. If intolerance becomes a habit, we run
the risk of missing the truth. Whilst with the limits that nature
has put upon our understanding, we must act fearlessly according to
the right vouchsafed to us, we must always keep an open mind and be
ever ready to find that what we believed to the truth was, after
all, untruth. This openness of mind strengthens the truth in us and
removes the dross from it, if there is any.
Those do not like things do not
coincide with their notions need not patronize them but it is
ungentlemanly to behave like less that men when things are not to
Let me not told, as I have often been,
that it is all due to the misdeeds of the Muslim league. Assuming
the truth of the remark, is our toleration made of such poor stuff
that it must yield under some uncommon strain? Decency and
toleration to be of value must be capable of standing the severest
strain. If they cannot, it will be a sad day for India. Let us not
make it easy for our critics (we have many) to say that we did not
deserve liberty. Many arguments come to my mind in answer to such
critics. But they give poor comfort. It hurts my pride as a lover of
India of the teeming millions, that our tolerant and combined
culture should not be self-evident.
When Hindu or a Musalman does evil, it
is evil done by an Indian to an Indian, and each one of us must
personally share the blame and try to remove the evil. There is no
other meaning to unity than this Nationalism is nothing if it is not
at least this. Nationalism is greater than sectarianism. And in that
sense, we are Indians first and Hindus, Musalmans, Parsis and
We should deplore the fact that one
Indian does not see the obvious wrong that tour other brethren have
done. There is no unity, if we must continuously look at things
Critics may say, ĎAll this is sheer
nonsense, because it is so inconsistent with facts. It is
visionary.í But my contention is that we shall never achieve
solidarity unless new facts are made to suit the principle instead
of performing the impossible feat of changing the principle to suit