MY DEAR PRAKASAM,
You ask me for my future programme. I have just sent you a telegram
"IN AHMEDABAD TILL SATURDAY SURAT SUNDAY MONDAY BARDOLI TUESDAY."
But that is Government willing, for I have per¬sistent rumours
being thrust upon me that my leave is now more than overdue, and I
am also told that I shall be relieved of my burdens inside of 7 days.
Subject, therefore, to that happy contingency you have the foregoing
programme. If I am arrested, I look to you and all who are out to
keep absolute peace. It will be the best honour that the country can
do me. Nothing could pain me more, in whatever jail I may find myself,
than to be informed by my custodians that a single head has been broken
by or on behalf of non- co-operators, a single man had been insulted
or a single building damaged. If the people or the workers have at
all understood my message, they will keep exemplary peace. I would
certainly be delighted if on the night following my arrest there was
throughout the length and breadth of India a bonfire of all foreign
cloth voluntarily surrendered by the people without the slightest
compulsion having been exercised and a fixed determination to use
nothing but Khaddar and, till then, in the glorious weather of India,
to wear nothing but a piece of loin-cloth, and in the case of Mussalmans
the minimum required by religious obli¬gation. I would certainly
love to be told that there was a phenomenal demand for spinning-wheels
and that all workers who did not know hand-spinning had com¬menced
it in right earnest. The more I think over our future programme and
the more news I get about the spirit of violence that has silently
but surely crept into our ranks, the more convinced I am that even
indi¬vidual civil disobedience would be wrong. It would be much
better to be forsaken by everybody and to be doing the right thing
than to be doing the wrong thing for the sake of boasting a large
following. Whether we are few or whether we are few or whether we
are many, so long as we believe in the programme of non-violence,
there is no abso¬lution from the full constructive programme.
Enforce it today, and the whole country is ready for mass civil disobedience
tomorrow. Fail in the effort, and you are not ready even for individual
civil disobedience. Nor is the matter difficult. If all the members
of the All- India Congress Committee and Provincial Congress Committees
are convinced of the correctness of the premises I have laid down,
the same can be done. The pity of it is that they are not so convinced.
A policy is a temporary creed liable to be changed, but while it holds
good, it has got to be pursued with apostolic zeal.