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87. A Message To Maulana Mohammed Ali
After his release from prison in 1923 Maulana Mohammed Ali was torn between the Swarajist influences — most of the Swarajists being his nearest and dearest friends— and his loyalty to Gandhiji who was still in Yeravda prison. So when Devadas Gandhi met him, he was anxious to know whether Bapu had sent any message for him. There was a message and it was to this effect:
"I can send you no message because I am in prison. I have always disapproved of persons sending messages from prison. But I may say that I am deeply touched by your loyalty to me. I would, however, ask you not to allow your loyalty to me to weigh with you, so much as your loyalty to the country. My views are very well known. I expressed them before I went to jail, and there has been no change in them since. I may assure you that if you choose to differ from me, it will not affect by one jot the sweetness of relations between you and me.”
In a second the Maulana exclaimed, "Quite like Bapu! I could have written it out before, I heard of it. He is the last man to fetter anyone's liberty of thought and action, and that is why he is the fittest man to be our dictator.”