The name of Noakhali resurfaces whenever the discussion centers around the worst riots in the history of modern India. On August 16, 1946, severe communal riots broke out in Kolkata on the occasion of the Direct Action Day called by the Muslim League. The heat of the riots reached as far as Noakhali district in present-day Bangladesh, 400 km from Kolkata. Then seventy-six-year-old Gandhiji went to Noakhali and stayed there for four months to wipe the tears of the minority Hindus and to instill confidence in them. It was the most difficult phase of his life.
The eternal struggle goes on between Sat (noble and truthful) and Asat (ignoble and untruthful) forces in the history of mankind. Gandhiji's stay in Noakhali is of great importance for upholding the Sat values. As our society today faces the most difficult challenge of the post-independence era, this becomes even more important. Because the problem of communalism has taken a very fierce form today and once again a question mark has arisen before the existence of humanity.
In this depressing context, writer duo Ramesh Oza and Shyam Pakhare are presenting the story of how Gandhiji established the highest mark of infinite human inner strength in Noakhali facing the challenge of Himalayan magnitude. It is hoped that this novel will inspire readers to come forward for the protection of humanity.
Ramesh Oza is senior journalist, social activist and Gandhian thinker. He is an adviser of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. He is the coordinator of Bhavan's 'Mahatma Gandhi in Indian Languages Series'.
Shyam Pakhare is Assistant Professor in the Department of History, Kisinchand Chellaram College, Mumbai. He is a Co-series Editor of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's 'Mahatma Gandhi in Indian Languages Series'.