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31. China and Japan
Gandhiji went straight to the question on which he wanted to hear first hand from Dr. Kagawa. "What is the feeling of people in Japan about the war?"
"I am rather a heretic in Japan," said Dr. Kagawa. "Rather than I express my views, I would like to learn from you what you would do if you were in my position."
"It would be presumptuous for me to express my views."
"No, I would like very much to know what you would do."
"I would declare my heresies and be shot. I would put the co-operatives and all your work in one scale, and put the honour of your nation in the other, and if you found that the honour was being sold, I should ask to declare your views against Japan and in so doing make Japan live through your death. But, for this, inner conviction is necessary. I do not know that I should be able to do all that I have said if I was in your position, but I must give you my opinion since you have asked for it."
"The conviction is there. But friends have been asking me to desist."
"Well, don't listen to friends when the Friend inside you says, 'Do this.' And friends, however good, can sometimes well deceive us. They cannot argue otherwise. They would ask you to live and do your work. The same appeal was made to me when I took the decision to go to jail. But I did not listen to friends, with the result that I found the glow of freedom when I was confined within the four solid walls of prison. I was inside a dark cell, but I felt that I could see everything from within those walls, and nothing from outside."
Harijan, 21-1-1939
M. D.