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21. THE GOONDAS AND RIOTS
Reform
IT IS easy enough to dig out a few criminals from their hiding places and hand them over to the police, but it does not protect society against the repetition of them. It is necessary to remove the causes by undertaking a thorough process to reform. There must arise in Islam as well as in Hinduism men who being comparatively pure in character, would work among such men.
We would not then try to shift blame for ugly happenings on the hooligan elements. We could convert and control the hooligan elements too.
There is not a man, however cruel and hard-hearted, but would give his admiration to a brave man. A goonda is not the vile man he is imagined to be. He is not without his noble traits.
(‘A goonda does not understand reason.) But he understands bravery. If he finds that you are braver than he, he will respect you.

Fight Goondas
What I detest is the match between the goondas of both the parties. Any peace based upon such a trial of strength will turn to bitterness in the end. The way to get rid of the Hindu cowardice is for the educated portion to fight the goondas. We may use sticks and other clean weapons. My Ahimsa will allow the use of them. We shall be killed in the fight. But that will chasten both the Hindus and the Musalmans. That would remove the Hindu cowardice in a moment. As things are going, each party will be the slaves of their own goondas. That means dominance of the military power. England fought fort the predominance of the civil power and won and lived. Lord Curzon did much harm to us. But he was certainly brave and right when he stood out for the predominance civil authority. When Rome passed into the hands of the soldiery, it fell.
My whole soul rises against the very idea of the custody of my religion passing into the hands of goondas. Confining myself, therefore, for the present to the Hindus, I must respectfully but earnestly warn the thinking. Hindus against relying upon the assistance of goondas for the protection of their temples, themselves and their wives and children. With the weak bodies they have, they must determined to stand at their post and to die fighting or without fighting. It would have been a glorious death for Jamanlalji and his colleagues, if they had died in the act of securing peace. It will be a glorious death fort Dr. Moonje or me, when we defend temples single-handed. That were bravery of the spirit indeed.
The goondas came on the scene because the leaders wanted them.
Goondas do not drop from the sky, nor do they spring from the earth like evil spirits. They are the product of social disorganization, and society is therefore responsible for their existence. In other words, they should be looked upon as a symptom of corruption in our body politic. To remove the disease we must first discover the underlying cause. To find the remedy will then be a comparatively easy task. So far we have not even attempted a proper beginning. But it is never too late to mend. It is enough that we are at last alive to the necessary of it. We have now to follow it up with prompt action. Let everyone who is interested make a prompt beginning in his own neighbourhood.

Moral alibi
I deprecate the habit of procuring moral alibi for ourselves by blaming it all on the goondas. We always put the blame on the goondas. But it is we who are responsible for their creation as well as encouragement. It is therefore not right to say all the wrong that has been done is the work of the goondas.
It would be wrong and misleading to underestimate the trouble by calling it the work of goondas.
It (the habit of taking refuge behind moral alibis by blaming it all on the goondas) is a dangerous expedient.
It is the cowardice or passive sympathy of the average citizen or the “man with the stake” that gives the so-called goondas the power to do the mischief.