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36. India's Attitude

I agree with Kamaladevi's analysis of the motives of the parties to the war.

Both are fighting for their existence and for the furtherance of their policies. There is, however, this great difference between the two: however incomplete or equivocal the declarations of the Allies are, the world has interpreted them to mean that they are fighting for saving democracy. Herr Hitler is fighting for the extension of the German boundaries, although he was told that he should allow his claims to be submitted to an impartial tribunal for examination.

He contemptuously rejected the way of peace or persuasion and chose that of the sword. Hence my sympathy for the cause of the Allies. But my sympathies must not be interpreted to mean endorse­ment, in any shape or form, of the doctrine of the sword for the defence even of proved right. Proved right should be capable of being vindicated by right means as against the rule, i.e. sanguinary, means. Man may and should shed his own blood for establishing what he considers to be his 'right'. He may not shed the blood of his opponent who disputes his 'right'. India as represented by the Con­gress has been fighting in order to prove her 'right', not by the sword but by the non-violent method. And she has carved out for herself a unique place and prestige in the world, although she is yet far — let us hope, not very far — from the independence of her dream. Her novel method has evidently struck the imagination of the world. It has the right to expect India to play a decisive part in this war, which no people of the world have wanted, by insisting that the peace this time is not to be a mockery, designed to share among the victors the spoils of war and to humiliate the vanquished. Jawaharlal Nehru, who has a right to speak for the Congress, has said in stately language that the peace must mean freedom for those who are held in bondage by the imperialist powers of the world. I have every hope that the Congress will also be able to show the world that the power that armaments give to defend right is nothing compared to the power that non­violence gives to do the same thing and that too with better show of reason. Armaments can show no reason, they can make only a pretence of it.

Sevagram, 9-10-'39

Harijan, 14-10-1939