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18. DISTRUST
IN MANY places we see that each community harbours distrust against the other. Each fears the other. It is an undoubted fact that this anomalous and wretched state things is improving day to day. The time spirit is ceaselessly working on unchecked, and willy-nilly we have to live together.
I know that there is much, too much destruct of one another as yet. Many Hindus distrust Musalmanís honesty. They believe that Swaraj means Musalman Raj, for they argue that without the British, Musalmans of India will aid Musalman power to build a Musalman empire in India Musalmans, on the other hand, fear that the Hindus being in an overwhelming majority will smother them. Such an attitude of mind betokens impotence on eitherís part. If not their desire to live in peace would dictate a policy of mutual trust and mutual forbearance.
There is still too much mutual distrust and consequent fear. I am not disappointed. The progress we have made in that direction is indeed phenomenal. We seem to have covered in eighteen months time to work of a generation. But infinitely more is necessary. Neither the classes nor the masses feel instinctively that our union is necessary as the breath of our nostrils.
Another potent cause of the tension is the growing distrust even among the best of us.
The leaders distrusted one another. Distrust never comes from well-defined causes. A variety of causes, more felt than realized breeds distrust. We have not yet visualized the fact that our interests are identical. Each party seems vaguely to believe that it can displace the other by some kind of maneuvering. But I freely confess that our not knowing the kind of Swaraj we want has also a great deal to do with the distrust used not to think so. I am now a confirmed convert.
I can only guess and my guess (as to the real cause; whether remote or immediate, of the frequent riots and difference between Musalman and Hindus in North India and of their absence or infrequency in south India) is that the two communities quarrel more frequently in the North because they are more equally balanced than in South. Where riots do take place, they occur because both think communally and because either fears or distrusts the other, and because neither has the courage or the foresight to forgo the present for the sake of the future, or the communal interests for the sake of the national.