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Deep compassion
Gandhiji was travelling with Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in the villages of Bihar after post-partition riots of the country.
Some Muslim refugees came to Bapu. They said,
“Gandhiji, what can we do? There is so much violence, killing and insecurity all around here!”
Gandhiji told them, “I can teach you only a lesson of bravery. You should go back to your respective homes.”
Terrified, they asked, “How is it possible for us? What is the guarantee of our not being massacred?”
Gandhiji uttered, “What guarantee can I give you? But, if any of you have been slaughtered, the Hindu will have to pay its price with Gandhi’s life. Only that much guarantee I can give you.”
Gandhiji’s words instilled courage in them and they then returned to their respective homes.
Gandhiji then mentioned this talk that he had with the refugees, in his evening prayer. “I have assured the Muslims of this place that if any of them has been killed, the Hindus of Bihar will have to pay the price with the life of Gandhi.”
These were not simply plain and empty words from Gandhiji’s mouth, which were rushing towards the listener’s hearts. In fact, they were full of compassion and identification with the listeners. The effect of the same was to subside the hostility, by engulfing their hearts and minds in its own flow.