IF THE Hindu and the Muslim
communities could be united in one bond of mutual friendship, and if
could act towards the other ever as children of the same mother it
would be a consummation devoutly to be wished.
The union that we want is not a
patched up thing but a union of hearts based upon a definite
recognition of the indubitable proposition that Swaraj for India
must be an impossible dream without an indissoluble union between
the Hindus and Muslims of India. It must not be a mere truce. It
cannot be based upon mutual fear. It must be a partnership between
equals, each respecting the religion of the other.
And Hindu-Muslim unity is nothing if
it is not a partnership between brave men and women.
Hindu Muslim unity means not unity
only between Hindus and Musalmans and between all those who believe
India to be their home, no matter what faith they belong.
I am fully aware that we have not yet
attained that unity to such an extent as to bear any strain. It is a
daily growing plant, as yet in delicate infancy, requiring special
care and attention.
Both the Hindus and the Musalmans must
learn to stand alone and against the whole world, before they become
really united. This unity is not to be between weak parties, but
between men who are conscious of their strength.
With me the conviction is as strong as
ever that, willy-nilly, the Hindus and the Musalmans must be friends
one day. No one can say how and when that will happen. The future is
entirely in the hands of God. But He has vouchsafed to us the ship
of Faith which alone can enable us to cross the ocean of Doubt.
For, I believe with the late Poet
Iqbal that the Hindus and the Muslims, who have lived together, long
under the shadow of the mighty Himalayas and have drunk the waters
of the Ganges and Yamuna, have a unique message fro the world.
Disunity a Phase
As members of a family, we shall
sometimes flight, but we shall always have leaders who will compose
our differences and keep us under check.
Taking even the Hindu-Muslim
disturbances in that light, I do not despair of the future. Order
must come out of the present chaos. We would expedite the advent of
order by watching, waiting and praying. If we do so, the evil that
has come to the surface will disappear much quicker than, if, in our
haste and impatience, we would disturb the surface and thus send the
dirt to the bottom again instead of allowing it to throw itself out.
This, however, is no cause for the
slightest despair. I know that the demon of disunion is at his last
gasp. A lie has no bottom. Disunion is a lie. Even if it is sheer
self-interest, it will bring about unity. I had hoped for
disinterested unity. But I will welcome a unity based even on mutual
interest. It will come when it does come, in away perhaps least
expected by us. God is the Master Trickster. He knows how to
confound us frustrate our ‘Knavish tricks’. He sends death when one
least expects it. He sends life when we see no sign of it. Let us
admit our object helplessness, let us own that we are utterly
defeated. Out of the dust of our humility will, I feel sure, be
built up an impregnable citadel of unity.
Hindus and Muslims are going more and
more away from each other. But this does not disturb me. Somehow or
other, I feel that the separation is growing only to bring them all
closer later on.
The Hindu-Muslim quarrels are, in a
way, unknown to us, as a fight for Swaraj. Each party is conscious
of its impending coming. Each wants to be found ready and fit for
Swaraj when it comes. The latter consider themselves to be weak in
educational and earthly equipment. They are now doing what all weak
bodies have done hitherto. This fighting therefore, however
unfortunate it may be, is a sign of growth. It is like the Wars of
the Roses. Out of it will rise a mighty nation. A better than the
bloody way was opened out to us in 1920, but we could not assimilate
it. But even a bloody way is better than utter helplessness and
We may think are living, but disunited
we are worse than dead. The Hindu thinks that in quarreling with the
Musalman he is benefiting Hinduism; and the Musalman thinks that in
fighting a Hindu he is benefiting Islam. But each is ruining his
faith. And the poison has spread among the members of the
communities themselves. And no wonder. For one man cannot do right
in one department of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in
any other department. Life is one indivisible whole.
It is a matter of shame to me to
confess that we are a house divide against itself. We fly at each
other’s throats in cowardice and fear. The Hindu distrusts the
Musalman through cowardice and fear, and the Musalman distrusts the
Hindu through equal cowardice and imaginary fears. Islam throughout
history has stood for matchless bravery and peace it can, therefore,
be no matter for pride to the Musalmans that they should fear the
Hindus. Similarly, it can be no matter for pride to the Hindus that
they should fear the Musalmans, even if they are aided by the
Musalman of the world. Are we so fallen that we should be afraid of
our own shadows.