You are here:
34. A polish sister's agony
"In spite of all I am going to try to reach Poland—sailing tonight — to Basra in Iraq, then through Turkey and Rumania. The inner call is irresistible. It may seem madness from the ordinary human point of view. Now I am not going for my mother's sake or for my dearest friends who are now on the battlefields — ready to die at any moment — it is for Poland itself. I believe countries have also souls. Souls of nations are a reality, not a theory, for me. If I reach the soul of Poland, I will feel satisfied, even if I do not find those whom I love. It is the soul (and body) of the nation itself that is in its supreme hour of martyrdom. I believe Poland bleeds and struggles not only for her own rights but for the Right, the Just, the True; for the freedom of all nations, India including. I feel Hindu to the bottom of my heart; Indian as much as Pole, both motherlands are to be in my soul to the last day of my life. But I could not live if I would not do what is humanly possible to reach the feet of the Mother who is now bleeding in agony of pain. I shall write from the way, but not when I reach the war zone; I shall only think often about you and send mental messages as well as I can. Bapuji, do pray in all fervour of your great loving heart for those thousands of innocent people who suffer incredible pain and misery in Poland. It is these that need most sympathy and blessings and tender thoughts."
This is the letter a Polish sister wrote from Bombay harbour. I have known her for some years. She is herself a believer through and through in non-violence. But her very non-violence made her restless. Her whole soul has rebelled against the wrong, as she thinks, that is being perpetrated against her motherland. So she has gone to find the Poland of her imagination fighting to the last ditch, not for merely preserving her own freedom but for the freedom of all those nations who have lost it. And in this she naturally includes her second love, India. May her dream prove true. If Poland has that measure of utter-most bravery and an equal measure of selflessness, history will forget that she defended herself with violence. Her violence will be counted almost as non-violence.
Sevagram, 18-9-'39
Harijan, 23-9-1939