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135. Weapon of the brave

The talk went about that Gandhiji was staying in Bihar, no doubt, in order to help the Muslims but the result would be that the Hindus would be butchered. He had said to the Hindus that even if the Muslims went mad, they should not lose their reason. He was not ashamed of giving that advice to anyone. The Hindus were in a minority in the Punjab, but there were the brave Sikhs, each one of whom considered himself equivalent to 11 lakh. Did it mean that one Sikh could shed as much blood as lakh? He thought not. It meant that one Sikh could stand up to lakh persons against him. In that sense it was a tribute to the bravery of the Sikhs. Not one Sikh should stand by and see a wrong perpetrated. He should give his life to prevent it. His advice, therefore, to the Sikhs also was that whatever might have been the use of the sword in Sikh history, in this age of the atom bomb there was no weapon like non-violent resistance. It did not make cowards of men. It infused courage even in women. If he recommended non-violence, it was because he was convinced that it was the weapon of the really brave.

Analogy of the Mad Dog

Someone asked Gandhiji what should be done with a mad dog? His reply was that if the friend meant a mad dog literally, he himself would say that in the first place a dog would not go mad amongst really god-fearing men. But supposing in the presence of men who considered themselves of God, they found a dog running amuck, they would naturally kill it rather than allow many of them­selves to be bitten by a rabid dog and be sent to Kasauli for treatment as they used to before.

But what if a human being went mad? His own brother had gone mad. He (Gandhiji) was a small boy of ten at that time. But his mother and father did not have the mad son killed. They sent for Vaidyas and doctors and had him treated and cured.

"You are all my blood brothers whether you are Hindus or Muslims. Supposing you go mad and I have a battalion at my command, would I have you shot? No. I would not like to be shot myself, if I went mad. My friend's son went mad, I had to send him to the lock-up but I would not have him killed."

Harijan, 8-6-1947