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Mahatma Gandhi

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Mahatma Gandhi and Rangila Rasool - The Real Truth

- Dr Ashwin Zala, Gandhi Research Foundation

The social media posts circulating Mahatma Gandhi and Rangila Rasool are incomplete truth. Here’s an authentic attempt to try to understand the truth through authorized references in the context of each critique.

Myth: For almost a year and a half, the book Rangila Rasool1 was being sold all over India. There were no issues or arguments around it. But suddenly on 24th May 1924, Gandhi wrote an extensive article in his newspaper ‘Young India’, strongly condemning the book Rangila Rasool. And at the end of the article, he wrote three lines like this – “the Muslims themselves should punish the ones who write such books.”

Truth: On 24th May 1924, no issue of the Young India was published. In the Young India of 19 June 1924, Mahatma Gandhi mentioned the book Rangila Rasool for the first time and wrote an article about it under the title – ‘inflammatory literature’2 and criticized the book in it, but there is no such thing in the article. The article has no such statement that states the Muslims themselves should punish the ones who write such books.

Myth: Mahatma Gandhi wrote an article against this book. On this, the fundamentalist Muslims started a movement against Mahashay Rajpal.

Truth: When Mahatma Gandhi came to know about this case, he criticized it strongly. When the case was going on in the context of this matter, many stories were cooked in light of Muslims using inappropriate language for Judge Dilip Singh. After a verbal attack on the judge in the context of this case, Mahatma Gandhi gave the following perspective.

In a letter by Mahatma Gandhi from Bangalore, on July 10, 1927, he writes – So far as the judgement in the Rangila Rasool case is concerned, you will permit me to say that the whole of the agitation in respect of it is unfortunate and unjustified. I do not seek to justify the judgement but all that is said against Justice Dilip Singh is in my opinion highly improper. If he has misread the law, as he well might have, the remedy is to appeal against the judgement, or if the law itself is defective to agitate for its amendment... You may not also know that the author of Rangila Rasool is not the only misguided mischief-maker. I have seen Muslim writings just as offensive as Rangila Rasool. So far as I am aware there is nothing to choose between this class of writers, whether Hindu or Mussalman and both are equally worthy of condemnation. But the remedy against this evil, so far as I am concerned, is not through a court of law, certainly not through violence, but through the cultivation of healthy Hindu-Muslim opinion which will make the publication of sheets inflaming religious passions against one another an impossibility.3

On 7 August 1927, writing a letter to Gulzar Mohammad Aqeel, Gandhi wrote, “I have not taken part in the present dispute, because I think that the movement of the Muslims in this regard is almost entirely wrong. There is no basis for his condemnation of the judge. It is completely appropriate to agitate to get the law amended.”

But whether there is movement or not, the government will have to follow the law strictly. The truth is that as much as bitter and obscene things have been written against Islam, at least as much has been stated by me very clearly in Young India. Responding further, Gandhi writes – ‘I don’t read all the newspapers. But, the newspaper edited by Hindus does not seem to me to support the action of the author of Rangila Rasool in any way or force, nor does it seem to me to show any disrespect to the Prophet in any way. I would be grateful to you if you can send me the newspapers you have in your mind in this regard.

The writers have sent me some of these sheets. I have suffered the pain of going through a few of the extracts. The language in some of them is revolting. The articles have a lot against Arya Samajists and great Swami Dayanand. I am sorry to say it is largely a distortion of the great reformer.4

Thus, I had anticipated the Musalman wrath. But in present agitation, the meeting point ends there. I could not approve of the turn the agitation took. I regarded it as excessive and inflammatory. The attack against Justice Daleepsingh was uncalled for, undeserved, and hysterical.

To stop anti-Muslim writings like the Rangila Rasool is the work of Hindus and to stop anti-Hindus writings is the work of Musalmans.5

Myth: After that, on 3rd August 1924, Gandhiji again wrote a provocative article in the Young India, and in this article, he sarcastically wrote that when a person does not get justice from the courts, then he should make efforts to get justice himself.

Truth: No issue of Young India was published on 3rd August 1924; it was a weekly magazine and the previous issue was published on 31st July 1924 and the next issue was published on 7th August 1924. Even in these two numbers, there is no mention of the above-said thing anywhere. Moreover, in no issue of Young India and the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, the above-said thing is mentioned in any section.

Myth: Gandhi was in Lahore 4 days after the day Mahashay Rajpal was assassinated, but did not go to Mahashay Rajpal Ji’s house to mourn, nor in any of his editorials condemned the murder of Mahashay Rajpal Ji.

Truth: Mahatma Gandhi was in Hyderabad when Mahashay Rajpal was assassinated on 6th April 1929. After that, 4 days late, he was not in Lahore at all. He was in Lahore on 24th December 129 and there he was prominently present at an annual meeting of the Servant of people society. On the second day, he also inaugurated the Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial Auditorium. But he did react in the context of this murder and it was also published in The Hindu on 11th April 1929, it is like this.

The murder of Mahashay Rajpal has accentuated the situation. One dastardly act of a Muslim has set the Hindus against Mahommedans. As a Hindu, I pray you do not have any bad feelings towards Muslim. By murdering him he, the man who did it, has neither benefitted himself nor Islam. In the past, too, such things have occurred.

Whenever the mind is full of vice and passion, there will be a manifestation of it. The revengeful spirit must be banished from our minds.6

A book called Swami Dayanand, a Critical Study of His Life and Teachings, by F.K. Durrani, B.A., was written a Muslim missionary. Mahatma Gandhi had no hesitation about expressing his opinion on Rangila Rasool and therefore should have none in giving it to Mr. Durrani’s volume. He advises Mr. Durrani to reconsider his views, apologize for the libellous publication and withdraw it.7

It is clear from the above facts and authorized references that the post and video circulating on social media named ‘Mahatma Gandhi and Rangila Rasool’ is not authentic in any way. They are based on lies and rumors. We request all such gentlemen and good readers that if you come across any kind of post related to Mahatma Gandhi or our Independence struggle, then you should first check about its authority and later share.


References:

  1. The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. 24, 34, 35, 40, 99, Publication Department, the Government of India, New Delhi;
  2. Young India, 10 July 1924;
  3. Young India, 22 September 1927;
  4. Young India, 25 July 1929;
  5. Gandhiji’s Diary, C.B. Dalal, Niyamak, Mahiti khatu, Gujarat State, Gandhinagar.