SELECTED WORKS OF MAHATMA GANDHI > VOL. IV - SELECTED LETTERS > SECTION TWO : EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS > Hindu-Muslim Unity
10. Hindu-Muslim Unity
I consider that God has not created lower forms of animal life for man to use them as he will. Man realizes his highest station not by indulging but by abstinence. I have no right to destroy animal life if I can subsist healthily on vegetable life. I have no right to slaughter all animal life because I find it necessary to slaughter some animal life. Therefore if I can live well on goats, fish and fowl (surely enough in all conscience) it is sin for me to destroy cows for my sustenance. And it was some such argument that decided the rishis of old in regarding the cow as sacred, especially when they found that the cow was the greatest economic asset in national life. And I see nothing wrong, immoral or sinful in offering worship to an animal so serviceable as the cow so long as my worship does not put her on a level with her Creator. I immensely appreciate the idea (so emphasized by Islam that special worship must be reserved for the Creator of us all. But I must not mix up cow-worship and cow-slaughter....
Cow-slaughter is indefensible on moral grounds.
The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi -Vol. XVI, pp. 508-9, 25-1-1920

Personally, after deep thought, I have come to the conclusion that, if there is anything that can serve an effective and visible symbol of the Hindu-Muslim unity, it is the adoption of Charkha and pure Khaddar dress prepared from hand-spun yarn by the rank and file of both the communities. Only universal acceptance of this cult can supply us with a common idea and afford a common basis of action.
The use of Khaddar cannot become universal until both the communities take to it. The universal adop¬tion of Charkha and Khaddar, therefore, would awaken India. It will also be a proof of our capacity to satisfy all our needs. Ever since the commencement of our present struggle, we have been feeling the necessity of boycotting foreign cloth. I venture to suggest that, when Khaddar comes universally in use, the boycott of foreign cloth will automatically follow. Speaking for myself, Charkha and Khaddar have a special religious significance to me because they are a symbol of kinship between the members of both the communities and hunger and disease-stricken poor. It is by virtue of the fact that our movement can today be described as moral and economic as well as political. So long as we cannot achieve this little thing, I feel certain success is impossible. Again, the Khaddar movement can suc¬ceed only when we recognize non-violence as an essential condition for the attainment of Swaraj and Khilafat both. Therefore, the Khaddar programme is the only effective and successful programme that I can place before the country at present.
The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi -Vol. XXIII, p. 92, 12-3-1922

Cow-protection to me is infinitely more than mere protection of the cow. The cow is merely a type for all that lives. Cow protection means protection of the weak, the helpless, the dumb and the deaf. Man becomes then not the lord and master of all creation but he is its servant. The cow to me is a sermon on pity. As yet we are merely playing at cow protection. But we shall soon have to grapple with the reality.
A Bunch of Old Letters, p. 43, 25-4-1925

Hindus and Muslims are going more and more away from each other. But this thing does not disturb me. Somehow or other, I feel that the separation is growing in order only to bring them all closer later on.
A Bunch of Old Letters, p. 47, 23-4-1926