120. The purpose of the tour
[The following address which was written out by Gandhiji in Hindustani for being read to the audience at prayer time on 6th January—it being his day of silence—has been rendered in English from its Bengali version by Shri Nirmal Kumar Bose. It was published in the Bengali edition of the Harijan of the 12th instant.
— Mg. Ed.]
As my weekly silence will not break before 7 p.m., I have written out my address. I pray to God, and request you all to join with me in praying that the tour which I commenced yesterday should go on uninterrupted till the end and be successful in achieving its purpose. But before praying, you should know that purpose. I have only one object in view and it is a clear one: namely, that God should purify the hearts of Hindus and Muslims, and the two communities should be free from suspicion and fear towards each other. Please join with me in this prayer and say that God is the Lord of us both and that He may give us success.
You might well ask me why it is necessary to undertake a tour for this purpose; or how can one, who is not pure in heart himself, ask others to become pure; or how can one, who himself is subject to fear, give courage to others; one, who himself moves under armed escort, call upon others to cast away their arms. All these questions are relevant and have been put to me.
My answer is that during my tour I wish to assure '-he villagers to the best of my capacity that I do not bear the least ill-will towards any. I can prove this only by living and moving among those who distrust me. I admit that the third question is a little difficult for me to answer; for I do happen to be moving under armed protection, I am surrounded by armed police and military keenly alert to guard me from all danger. I am helpless in the matter as it is arranged by the Government which being responsible to the people feels that it is their duty to keep me guarded by the police and the military. How can I prevent them from doing so? Under the circumstances, I can declare only in words that I own no protector but God. I do not know whether you will believe my statement. God alone knows the mind of a person; and the duty of a man of God is to act as he is directed by his inner voice. I claim that I act accordingly.