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ONLINE BOOKS > INDIA OF MY DREAMS > Communal Unity
Everybody is agreed about the necessity of this (communal) 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 things essential for achieving such unity is for every in his won person Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Zoroastrain, Jew, etc. shortly, every one of the millions of the inhabitants of Hindustan. In order to realize this, every congressman will cultivate personal friendship with person representing faiths other than his own. He should have the same regard for the other faiths as he has for his own.
Constructive Programme, p.8
Hindus and Musalmans, Christians, Shikhs and Parsis must not settle their difference by resort to violence….Hindus and Musalmans prate about no compulsion in religion. What is it but compulsion, if Hindus will kill a Musalman for saving a cow? It is like wanting to convert a Musalman to Hinduism by force. And similarly what is it but compulsion, if Musalmans seek to prevent by force Hindus from playing music before mosques? Virtue lies in being absorbed in one’s prayers in the presence of din and noise. We shall both be voted irreligious savages by posterity if we continue to make a futile attempt to compel one another to respect our religious wishes.
If Hindu-Muslim unity is endangered because an Arya Samaj preacher or a Musalman preacher preaches his faith in obedience to a call from within, that unity is only skin-deep. Why should we be ruffled by such movements? Only they must be genuine. If the Malkanas wanted to return to the Hindu fold they had a perfect right to do so whenever they liked. But no propaganda can be allowed which reviles other religions. For, that would be negation of toleration. The best way of dealing with such propaganda is publicly to condemn it. Every movement attempts to put on the cloak of respectability. As soon as the public tear the cloak of respectability. As soon as the public tear the cloak down, it dies for want of respectability.
It is now time to examine the treatment of two constant causes of friction.
The first is cow slaughter. Though I regard cow protection as the central fact of Hinduism, central because it is comman to classes as well as masses, I have never been able to understand the antipathy towards the Muslamans on that score. We say nothing about the Musalmans that daily takes place on behalf of Englishmen. Our anger becomes red-hot when a Muslalman slaughters a cow. All the riots that have taken place in the name of the cow have been an insane waste of effort. They have not saved a single cow, but they have on the contrary stiffened the backs of the Musalmans and resulted in more slaughter…Cow protection should commence with ourselves. In no parts of the world perhaps are cattle worse treated than in India. I have wept to see Hindu drivers goading their jaded oxen with the iron points of their cruel stick. The half starved condition of the majority of our cattle is a disgrace to. The cows find their necks under the butcher’s knife because Hindus sell them. The only effective and honourable way is to befriend the Musalmans and leave it to their Honour to save the cow. Cow protection societies most turn their attention to the feeding of cattle, prevention of cruelty, preservation of the fast disappearing pasture land, improving the breed of cattle, buying from poor shepherds and turning pinjrapols in to middle self-supporting dairies. Hindus do sin against god and man when they omit to do any of the things I have described above. They commit no sin, if they cannot prevent cow slaughter at the hands of Muslmans, and they do sin grievously when in other to save the cow, they quarrel with the Muslmans.
The question of music before mosques, and now even arati in Hindu temples, has occupied my prayerful attention. This is a sore point with the Musalmans as cow slaughter is with the Hindus. And just as Hindus cannot compel Musalmans to refrain from killing cows, so can Musalmans not compel Hindus to stop music or arati at the point of sword. They must trust the god sense of the Hindus. As a Hindu, I would certainly advise the Hindus, without any bargaining spirit, to consult the sentiment of their Musalman neighbours and wherever they can, accommodate them. I have heart that in some places, Hindus purposely and with the deliberate intention of irritating Musalmans, commence. This is an insensate and unfriendly act. Friendship presupposes the utmost attention to the feelings of a friend. It never required consideration. But Musalmans should never expect to stop Hindu music by force. To yield to the threat or actual use of violence is a surrender of one’s self-respect and religious conviction. But a person, who never will yield to threat, would always minimize and, if possible, even avoid occasions for causing irritation.
I am convinced that the masses do not want to fight, if the leaders do not. If, therefore the leaders a free that mutual rows should be, as in all advanced countries, erased out of our public life as being barbarous and irreligious, I have no doubt that the masses will quickly follow them.
Were Hindus and Musalmans and Sikhs always at war with one another when there was mo British rule, when there was no English face seen here? WE have chapter and verse given to us by Hindu historians and by Musalman historians to say that we were living in comparative peace even then. And Hindus and Musalmans in the villages are not even today quarrel at all…. This quarrel is not old…. I dare say, it is coeval with the British advent, and immediately this relationship, the unfortunate, artificial unnatural relationship between Great Britain and India is transformed into a natural relationship, when it becomes, if it does become a voluntary partnership to be given up, to be dissolved at the will of either partly, when it becomes that, you will find that Hindus, Musalmans, Sikhs, Europeans, Anglo-Indians, Christians, untouchables, will all live together as one man.
Young India, 24-12-31
I have not a shadow of doubt that the iceberg of communal differences will melt under the warmth of the sun of freedom.
Young India, 29-10-31