Gandhi now felt that his mission in South Africa was over and he wanted to return to India.
At that time Gokhale was in England. He wanted
Gandhi to meet him in London before returning to India. Gandhi promised to
Gandhi announced his decision to Kasturbai.
‘You are going to London with me,’ he said.
‘From England we will go back to India.’
Gandhi with Kasturbai and kallenbach, sailed
for England on July 18, 1914. On August 4, two days before he reach London,
the First World War was declared.
On arrival in London, Gandhi heard that
Gokhale had gone to Paris for reasons of health. Communications were cut off
between London and Paris because of the war. Gandhi was disappointed. He did
not want to return to India without seeing Gokhale, so he stayed on in
The war was on. What could Gandhi do in
England? The war was on. What could Gandhi do in England? At the suggestion
of some Indian friends, a meeting was called of the Indians in England.
Gandhi expressed the view that Indian s residing in England ought to do
their bit in the war. English students had volunteered to serve in the army
and Indians should do no less.
There were objections to his views and many
Indians were of the opinion that the war provided an opportunity to get
freedom for India and that Indians should assert themselves and claim their
Gandhi felt that England’s difficulty should
not be turned into India’s opportunity. He insisted on rendering all
possible help to England. He organized an ambulance corps which, in spite of
all difficulties, helped the British in their time of need.
After some time Gokhale returned to England.
Gandhi and Kallenbach went to see him often and they talked together about
the war and other matters.
Then Gandhi had an attack of pleurisy and
Gokhale and his friends were worried. Dr. Jivraj Mehta treated Gandhi but
there was little relief. Gandhi was still ill when Gokhale returned to
As the pleurisy still persisted, Gandhi was
advised to go back to India as soon as possible. He accepted the advice and
returned to India.