Q. 1. The leaders and followers of the League do not believe in attaining their object through non-violence. In such circumstances, how is it possible to melt their hearts or to convince them of the evil of violent action?
A. 1. Violence, can only be effectively met by non-violence. This is an
old, established truth. The questioner does not really understand
the working of non-violence. If he did, he would have known that the
weapon of violence, even if it was the atom bomb, became useless
when matched against true non-violence. That very few understand how
to wield this mighty weapon is true. It requires a lot of
understanding and strength of mind. It is unlike what is needed in
military schools and colleges. The difficulty one experiences in
meeting Himsa with Ahimsa arises from weakness of mind.
Q. 2. Today many people are beginning to feel that a clash, possibly
of a violent character, with the supporters of the League is
inevitable. The nationalists feel that until the League agrees to
the partition of Bengal and the Punjab, its demand for Pakistan is
unjust. What means should they adopt to meet the situation?
A. 2. If the answer to the first question is held valid, the second
question does not arise. However, the question may be discussed for
a clearer understanding. If the majority of the Muslims obey
Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah, a violent conflict should be out of the
question, or if the majority of the Hindus take their stand on
non-violence, no matter how much violence the Muslims use, it is
bound to fail. One thing, however, should be perfectly understood.
The votaries of (non-violence cannot harbour violence in thought,
let alone the question of doing it. If Pakistan is wrong, partition
of Bengal and the Punjab will not make it right. Two wrongs will not
make one right.
Q. 3. The majority of the socialists claim that if there was a
socialist revolution the economic question will come to the
forefront throwing the communal conflict in the background. Do you
agree? If such a revolution takes place, will it promote the
establishment of the Kingdom of God which you call Ramarajya?
A. 3. The economic conflict you envisage is likely to make the
Hindu-Muslim tension less acute. Even the end of the Hindu-Muslim
conflict will not end all our troubles. What is happening is this.
With the end of slavery and the dawn of independence, all the
weaknesses of society are bound to come to the surface. I do not see
any reason to be unnecessarily upset about it. If we keep our
balance at such a time, every tangle will be solved. As far as the
economic question is concerned it has to be solved in any case.
Today, there is gross economic inequality. The basis of socialism
is economic equality. There can be no Ramarajya in the present state
of iniquitous inequalities in which a few roll in riches and the
masses do not get even enough to eat. I accepted the theory of
socialism even while I was in South Africa. My opposition to the
socialists and others consists in attacking violence as a means of
effecting any lasting reform.
Q. 4. You say that a Raja, a Zamindar or a capitalist should be a
trustee for the poor. Do you think that any such exists today? Or do
you expect them to be so transformed ?
A. 4. I think that some very few exist even today, though not in the
full sense of the term. They are certainly moving in that direction.
It can, however, be asked whether the present Rajas and others can
be expected to become trustees of the poor. If they do not become
trustees of their own accord, force of circumstances will compel the
reform unless they court utter destruction. When Panchayat Raj is
established, public opinion will do what violence can never do. The
present power of the Zamindars, the capitalists and the Rajas can
hold away only so long as the common people do not realize their own
strength. If the people non-co-operate with the evil of Zamindari or
capitalism, it must die of inanition. In Panchayat Raj only the
Panchayat will be obeyed and the Panchayat can only work through the
law of their making.
New Delhi, 25-5-'47