Their case is more or less like the Sukkur case. There is a great difference in degree. But I feel sure that no popularly elected government can successfully cope with widespread goondaism as it is alleged to be in Noakhali.
It is essentially a case of self-defence. Self-respect and honour
cannot be protected by others. They are for each individual himself
or herself to guard. Governments can at best punish offenders after
the offence has been committed. They cannot assure prevention except
in so far as punishment acts as a deterrent. Self-defence can be
violent or non-violent. I have always advised and insisted on
nonviolent defence. But I recognize that it has to be learnt like
violent defence. It requires a different training from that which is
required for violent defence. Therefore, if the capacity for
non-violent self-defence is lacking, there need be no hesitation in
using violent means.
But Manoranjan Babu, being an old Congressman, said, "You say I
cannot retaliate even in self-defence?" "That is certainly my view,"
I replied. "There was, however, a resolution passed by the Gaya
Congress that the use of force in self-defence was permissible to
Congressmen. I have never justified the resolution. Non-violence
becomes meaningless, if violence is permitted for self-defence. What
is it but self-defence in national resistance against an aggressor
nation? I would, therefore, advise secession from the Congress, if
you contemplate the use of force in defending yourselves in the
circumstances described by you."
"But," said Manoranjan Babu, "Supposing I adopt the Gaya resolution,
would I be accused of communalism, if I defended the aggrieved
Hindus?" "Certainly not," I replied. "In the first place, you do not
cease to be Hindu because you are a Congressman. You will, however,
be guilty of communalism, if you sided with Hindus right or wrong.
In the case in point you will defend Hindus, not because they are
Hindus but because they are afflicted.
I would expect you to defend Muslims if you found them molested by
A Congressman recognizes or should recognize no communal