Members of one community, when talking
about those of the other, at times indulge in terms so vulgar that
they but accentuate the strained relations between the two. In Hindu
society, we do not hesitate to indulge in unbecoming language when
talking of Mahomedans and vice versa.
Fear has become a part of the national
character. Non-co-operators will make a serious mistake if they seek
to convert people to their creed by violence. They will play into
the hands of the Government, if they use the slightest coercion
towards anybody in the course of their propaganda.
To what pass some of us have come in
our blind zeal for our respective faiths. We refuse to see anything
wrong in ourselves. When such becomes the normal state of a majority
of people belonging to a particular faith, that faith is dying. For
nothing based on a lie can persist for any length of time.
Studies in Distortion
I have before my volumes of Agakhani
literature which I have not yet had the time to study carefully, but
I am assured that it is a distortion of Hinduism. I have seen enough
of it to know that it describes H.H. the Agakhan as a Hindu avatar.
It would be interesting to learn what the Agakhan himself thinks of
all this literature. I have many Khoja friends. I commend this
literature to their attention.
But the worst form is that preached by
a gentleman of Delhi, I have read his pamphlet from cover to cover.
It gives detailed instructions to preachers how to carry on
propaganda. It starts with a lofty proposition that Islam is merely
preaching of the unity of God. This grand truth is to be preached,
according to the writer by every Musalman irrespective of character.
A secret department of spices is advocated whose one business is to
be to pry into the privacy of non-Muslim households. Prostitutes,
professional singers, mendicants, government servants, lawyers,
doctors, artisans, are pressed in to the service. If this kind of
propaganda becomes popular, no Hindu household would be safe from
the secret attention of disguised misinterpreters (I cannot call
them missionaries) of the great message of the prophet of Islam. I
am told by respectable Hindus that this pamphlet is widely read in
the Nizam’s dominions and that the methods advocated init are
extensively practiced there.
As a Hindu, I feel sorry that methods
of such doubtful morality should have been seriously advocated by a
gentleman who is a well-known Urdu author and has a large circle of
readers. My Musalman friends tell me that no respectable Musalman
approved of the methods advocated. The point, however, is not what
the respectable Musalmans think. The point is whether a considerable
number of Musalman masses accept and follow them. A portion of the
Punjab press is simply scurrilous. It is at time even filthy. I have
gone through the torture of reading many extracts. These sheets are
conducted by Arya Samajists or Hindu and Muslaman writers. Each vies
with the other in using abusive language and reviling the religion
of the opponent. these papers, have, I understand a fairly large
circulation. They find place even in-respective reading rooms.
I have heard it said that the
Government emissaries are at the back of this campaign of calumny. I
hesitate to believe it. But even assuming the truth of it, the
public of the Punjab should be able to cope with the growing
The language in some parts is simply
revolting. I cannot disfigure these pages by reproducing it. I have
also been favoured with a life, by a Musalman, of Swami Dayananand.
I am sorry to say it is largely a distortion of the great reformer.
Nothing that he did has escaped the author’s venom.
Role of the Press
The newspaper man becomes a walking
plague. He spreads the contagion of lies and calumnies. He exhausts
the foul vocabulary of his dialect and injects his virus into the
unsuspecting and often receptive, minds of his readers.
The newspaper cutting in which
partition is preached describes Hindus as practically untouchable.
Nothing good can come out of Hindus or Hinduism. To live under Hindu
rules is a sin. Even joint Hindu Muslim rules are not to be thought
of. The cuttings show that Hindus and Muslims are already at war
with one another and that they must prepare for the final tussle.
If newspaper reports are to be
believed, responsible Ministers in Sindh and other equally
responsible Leaguers almost all over are preaching violence in naked
language. Nakedness is itself a virtue as distinguished from
hypocrisy. But when it is a hymn of obscenity, it is a vice to be
shunned, whether it resides in a Leaguer or any other person. Any
Muslim who is not in the League is a traitor says one. The Hindu is
a Kafir deserving the fate of such, such, says another.
The Muslim League may call Hindus
names and declares India to be Dar-ul-Harb, where the law of Jehad
operates, and all Muslims who co-operative with the Congress as
Quislings fit only to be exterminated. But we must not cease to
aspire, in spite of this wild talk, to befriend all Musalmans and
hold them fast as prisoners of our love.
By “Muslim” I mean the Muslim League.
For, not all the Muslims are Muslims are Muslim Leaguers. The Muslim
Leaguers have today raised the slogan that ten crores of Indian
Muslims are in danger of being submerged and swept out of existence,
unless they constitute themselves into a separate State. I call that
slogan scaremongering, pure and simple. It is nonsense to say that
any people can permanently crush or swamp out of existence one-forth
of its population, which the Musalmans are in India.
Others said that some Muslim officials
are being kept here in order to keep all Muslims in India loyal to
Pakistan. Some said that the Muslims looked upon all the Hindus as
Kafirs. Learned Muslims have told me that this is wholly in correct.
The Hindus are as much followers of inspired scriptures as the
Muslims, the Christians and the Jews.
As Urdu magazine published in the
Union a verse to the effect that everyone is taking of the Somnath
temple today. But in order to avenge the happenings in Junagadh, a
new Gaznavi will have to come from Ghazni. This has deeply hurt me.
How can any Muslim worth the name in the Union entertain such
thoughts? Why should he not be proud to associate himself with the
act of renovation of Somnath? I hope that no true Muslim will be
pledged my life of secure safety for the Muslims in the Union. I
will not swerve from my pledge, because I believe in returning
amongst the Sunni Musalmans. The suspicion or fear of their having
set the Hindus and Musalmans by the ears is always entertained,
because both have quarreled so often. It is this habit of
quarrelling that needs to be abandoned if we want to have Swaraj and
You may be certain that they (the
disturbances) will end. If the British influence were withdrawn,
they would end much quicker. While the British influence is here,
both parties, I am sorry to confess, look to the British power for
The British officials should know what
the people are whispering. Many believe that their hand is in the
riots. I must refuse to believe the serious charge unless it is
established beyond doubt.
It is sign of weakness- not of fitness
for Swaraj to go to the foreign ruling power to arbitrate between us
or to enforce the peace between us at the point of the bayonet.
Largely, or I should say half and
half, I the British attitude towards the communal question is an
obstacle in my path. There has been consciously or unconsciously
that the policy of divide and rule working here as in India. the
British officials have something coquetted with one party, sometimes
with another. Of course, if I were a British official, I would
probably do the same and take advantage of dissensions to
consolidate the rule. Our share of responsibility lies in the fact
that we fall easy victims to the game.
Obstacle to Unity
I am firmly of opinion that there is
no unity whilst the third party is there to prevent it. It created
the artificial division and it keeps it up. In its presence both
Hindus and Muslims and, for the matter, all seemingly conflicting or
disgruntled interest and elements will look to it for support and
will get it. Their interest is greater than the independence of
their country. No one need throw my other statement in my face viz.,
that there is no independence without unity. I do not withdraw a
word of it. It is an oblivious truth. From its contemplation I have
discovered the formula of inviting the British power to withdraw.
Their withdrawal does not by itself bring independence. It may
induce unity or it may lead to chaos. There is also the risk of
another power filling in the vacancy if it is there. If, however,
the withdrawal is orderly and voluntary, the British not only gain a
moral height but secure the ungrudging friendship of a great nation.
I wish all conflicting elements and interest will make a combined
effort to rid India of foreign domination. If they do not, any
understanding with them will be like a house built on sand.
But it is from the frustration of
every effort made to bring about unity by me, among many others,
that has arisen the for me logical step that not until British power
is wholly withdrawn from India can there be any real unity, because
all parties will be looking to the foreign power. For the time being
it is British, but it may be French, Russian, Chinese, even then
it would be the same thing. I have, therefore, come to the
conclusion that real heart unity, genuine unity, is almost an
impossibility unless and until British power is withdrawn and no
other power takes its place, that is to say, when India not only
feels but is actually independent without a master in any shape or
form, Nevertheless, I shall try and welcome every effort for peace,
well knowing that it is likely to be fruitless.
Freedom a Prerequisite
As for communal unity, the third party
being removed, unity will follow as day follows night. Unity will
not precede but will succeed freedom.
I have not asked the British to hand
over India to the Congress or to the Hindus. Let them untrust India
to Goa or, in modern parlance, to anarchy. Then, all the parties
will fight one another like dogs, or will, when real responsibility
faces them, come to reasonable agreement. I shall expect
non-violence to arise out of that chaos.
Time is a merciless enemy, if it is
also a merciful friend and healer. I claim to be amongst the oldest
lovers of Hindu-Muslim unity and I remain one even today. I have
been asking myself why every whole hearted attempt made by all,
including myself, to reach unity has failed, and failed so
completely that I have entirely fallen from grace and am described
by some Muslim papers as the greatest enemy of Islam in India. It is
a phenomenon I can account for only by the fact that the third
power, even without deliberately wishing it, will not allow real
unity to take place. Therefore, I have come to the reluctant
conclusion that the two communities will come together almost
immediately after the British power comes to a final end in India.
If independence is the immediate goal of the Congress and the
League, then without needing to come to any terms, all will fight
together to be free from bondage.
When the bondage is done away with,
not merely the two organizations but all parties will find it to
their interest to come together and make the fullest use of the
liberty in order to evolve a national government suited to the
genius of India. I do not care what is called. Whatever it is, in
order to be stable, it has to represent the masses in the fullest
sense of the term. And, if it is to be broad based upon will of the
people, it must be predominantly non-violent. Anyway, up to my last
breath, I hope I shall be found working to that end, for I see no
hope for humanity without the acceptance of non-violence. We are
witnessing the bankruptcy of violence from day to day. There is no
hope for humanity of the senseless, fierce, mutual slaughter is to