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Preface to the First Edition
In this work attempt has been made, by assembling together passages from writings and speeches of Mahatma Gandhi, to give the reader an idea of the part which he expects a completely free and independent India of his conception to play in her own domestic affairs as well as in her relations with the rest of the world. On 15th August, 1947, India will have finally shaken off the yoke of foreign which for the past century and half had held her soil in bondage and well-nigh ruined her materially, morally and spiritually. In the process of achieving her independence, however, her unit has been broken in many places and her soul has been badly bruised, owing to internecine quarrels, and the shape of ‘Swaraj’ that is emerging is not at all what her patriotic sons and daughters had ardently longed for and struggled for all these decades. It is quite natural, therefore, that Gandhiji, the Father of Indian Independence, should feel little inclined to enthuse over the Independence that is drawing; and cry out, like the vedic seer, ‘Lead us from darkness unto Light.’
Gandhiji has refused to subscribe to the fantastic theory that the Muslims of India are ‘a separate nation.’ My whole soul rebels against the idea that Hinduism and Islam represent two antagonistic cultures and doctrines,’ he said. To assent to such a doctrine is for me a denial of God. For I believe with my whole soul that the God of the Quran is also the God of the Gita, and that we are all, no matter by what name designated, children of the same God. I must rebel against the idea that millions of Indians who were Hindus the other day changed their nationality on adopting Islam as their religion.’ He refuses to believe that India will remain for ever partitioned, either geographically or spiritually, in the manner that is being sought to be done at present. ‘India does not become two nations,’ he says, ‘because it has been cut up into two sovereign states.’ He lives in the hope and will work in the hope that with the removal of the most serious obstacle in the way of her unity-the wedge driven by her alien rulers-and the healing of the wounds recently inflicted on her, the India of his dream will yet emerge into reality in the distant future.
The compiler of the present work, cognizant of the onerousness of the task before him and of his own shortcomings, is fully aware of the risks involved in trying to convey to the readers a conception of ‘India of Gandhiji’s dreams’ which may fall short, far short, of the picture which the master artist has drawn in the immortal pages of Young India and Harijan and in the collections of his writings speeches. The compiler expresses the hope that he may not have deviated far from the correctness as well as comprehensiveness of that picture, inasmuch as the attempt to redraw the picture, on a reduced scale, has been made in Gandhiji’s own words. For whatever shortcomings there still remain in the present work the compiler tenders his profuse apologies both to Gandhiji and to the reader.
August, 1947
R. K. P.