Freedom's Battle/Non Cooperation
== Non Cooperation ==
A writer in the "Times of India," the Editor of that wonderful daily and Mrs. Besant have all in their own manner condemned non-co-operation conceived in connection with the Khilafat movement. All the three writings naturally discuss many side issues which I shall omit for the time being. I propose to answer two serious objections raised by the writers. The sobriety with which they are stated entitles them to a greater consideration than if they had been given in violent language. In non-co-operation, the writers think, it would be difficult if not impossible to avoid violence. Indeed violence, the "Times of India" editorial says, has already commenced in that ostracism has been resorted to in Calcutta and Delhi. Now I fear that ostracism to a certain extent is impossible to avoid. I remember in South Africa in the initial stages of the passive resistance campaign those who had fallen away were ostracised. Ostracism is violent or peaceful in according to the manner in which it is practised. A congregation may well refuse to recite prayers after a priest who prizes his title above his honour. But the ostracism will become violent if the individual life of a person is made unbearable by insults innuendoes or abuse. The real danger of violence lies in the people resorting to non-co-operation becoming impatient and revengeful. This may happen, if, for instance, payment of taxes is suddenly withdrawn or if pressure is put upon soldiers to lay down their arms. I however do not fear any evil consequences, for the simple reason that every responsible Mahomedan understands that non-co-operation to be successful must be totally unattended with violence. The other objection raised is that those who may give up their service may have to starve. That is just a possibility but a remote one, for the committee will certainly make due provision for those who may suddenly find themselves out of employment. I propose however to examine the whole of the difficult question much more fully in a future issue and hope to show that if Indian-Mahomedan feeling is to be respected, there is nothing left but non-co-operation if the decision arrived at is adverse.
MR. MONTAGU ON THE KHILAFAT AGITATION
Mr. Montagu does not like the Khilafat agitation that is daily gathering force. In answer to questions put in the House of Commons, he is reported to have said that whilst he acknowledged that I had rendered distinguished services to the country in the past, he could not look upon my present attitude with equanimity and that it was not to be expected that I could now be treated as leniently as I was during the Rowlatt Act agitation. He added that he had every confidence in the central and the local Governments, that they were carefully watching the movement and that they had full power to deal with the situation.
This statement of Mr. Montagu has been regarded in some quarters as a threat. It has even been considered to be a blank cheque for the Government of India to re-establish the reign of terror if they chose. It is certainly inconsistent with his desire to base the Government on the goodwill of the people. At the same time if the Hunter Committee's finding be true and if I was the cause of the disturbances last year, I was undoubtedly treated with exceptional leniency, I admit too that my activity this year is fraught with greater peril to the Empire as it is being conducted to-day than was last year's activity. Non-co-operation in itself is more harmless than civil disobedience, but in its effect it is far more dangerous for the Government than civil disobedience. Non-co-operation is intended so far to paralyse the Government, as to compel justice from it. If it is carried to the extreme point, it can bring the Government to a standstill.
A friend who has been listening to my speeches once asked me whether I did not come under the sedition section of the Indian Penal Code. Though I had not fully considered it, I told him that very probably I did and that I could not plead 'not guilty' if I was charged under it. For I must admit that I can pretend to no 'affection' for the present Government. And my speeches are intended to create 'disaffection' such that the people might consider it a shame to assist or co-operate with a Government that had forfeited all title to confidence, respect or support.
I draw no distinction between the Imperial and the Indian Government. The latter has accepted, on the Khilafat, the policy imposed upon it by the former. And in the Punjab case the former has endorsed the policy of terrorism and emasculation of a brave people initiated by the latter. British ministers have broken their pledged word and wantonly wounded the feelings of the seventy million Mussulmans of India. Innocent men and women were insulted by the insolent officers of the Punjab Government. Their wrongs not only unrighted but the very officers who so cruelly subjected them to barbarous humiliation retain office under the Government.
When at Amritsar last year I pleaded with all the earnestness I could command for co-operation with the Government and for res ponse to the wishes expressed in the Royal Proclamation; I did so because I honestly believed that a new era was about to begin, and that the old spirit of fear, distrust and consequent terrorism was about to give place to the new spirit of respect, trust and good-will. I sincerely believed that the Mussalman sentiment would be placated and that the officers that had misbehaved during the Martial Law regime in the Punjab would be at least dismissed and the people would be otherwise made to feel that a Government that had always been found quick (and rightly) to punish popular excesses would not fail to punish its agents' misdeeds. But to my amazement and dismay I have discovered that the present representatives of the Empire have become dishonest and unscrupulous. They have no real regard for the wishes of the people of India and they count Indian honour as of little consequence.
I can no longer retain affection for a Government so evilly manned as it is now-a-days. And for me, it is humiliating to retain my freedom and be a witness to the continuing wrong. Mr. Montagu however is certainly right in threatening me with deprivation of my liberty if I persist in endangering the existence of the Government. For that must be the result if my activity bears fruit. My only regret is that inasmuch as Mr. Montagu admits my past services, he might have perceived that there must be something exceptionally bad in the Government if a well-wisher like me could no longer give his affection to it. It was simpler to insist on justice being done to the Mussulmans and to the Punjab than to threaten me with punishment so that the injustice might be perpetuated. Indeed I fully expect it will be found that even in promoting disaffection towards an unjust Government I have rendered greater services to the Empire than I am already credited with.
At the present moment, however, the duty of those who approve of my activity is clear. They ought on no account to resent the deprivation of my liberty, should the Government of India deem it to be their duty to take it away. A citizen has no right to resist such restriction imposed in accordance with the laws of the State to which he belongs. Much less have those who sympathize with him. In my case there can be no question of sympathy. For I deliberately oppose the Government to the extent of trying to put its very existence in jeopardy. For my supporters, therefore, it must be a moment of joy when I am imprisoned. It means the beginning of success if only the supporters continue the policy for which I stand. If the Government arrest me, they would do so in order to stop the progress of non-co-operation which I preach. It follows that if non-co-operation continues with unabated vigour, even after my arrest, the Government must imprison others or grant the people's wish in order to gain their co-operation. Any eruption of violence on the part of the people even under provocation would end in disaster. Whether therefore it is I or any one else who is arrested during the campaign, the first condition of success is that there must be no resentment shown against it. We cannot imperil the very existence of a Government and quarrel with its attempt to save itself by punishing those who place it in danger.
AT THE CALL OF THE COUNTRY
Dr. Sapru delivered before the Khilafat Conference at Allahabad an impassioned address sympathising with the Mussulmans in their trouble but dissuaded them from embarking on non-co-operation. He was frankly unable to suggest a substitute but was emphatically of opinion that whether there was a substitute or not non-co-operation was a remedy worse than the disease. He said further that Mussulmans will be taking upon their shoulders, a serious responsibility, if whilst they appealed to the ignorant masses to join them, they could not appeal to the Indian judges to resign and if they did they would not succeed.
I acknowledge the force of Dr. Sapru's last argument. At the back of Dr. Sapru's mind is the fear that non-co-operation by the ignorant people would lead to distress and chaos and would do no good. In my opinion any non-co-operation is bound to do some good. Even the Viceragal door-keeper saying, 'Please Sir, I can serve the Government no longer because it has hurt my national honour' and resigning is a step mightier and more effective than the mightiest speech declaiming against the Government for its injustice.
Nevertheless it would be wrong to appeal to the door-keeper until one has appealed to the highest in the land. And as I propose, if the necessity arose, to ask the door-keepers of the Government to dissociate themselves from an unjust Government I propose now to address, an appeal to the Judges and the Executive Councillors to join the protest that is rising from all over India against the double wrong done to India, on the Khilafat and the Punjab question. In both, national honour is involved.
I take it that these gentlemen have entered upon their high offices not for the sake of emolument, nor I hope for the sake of fame, but for the sake of serving their country. It was not for money, for they were earning more than they do now. It must not be for fame, for they cannot buy fame at the cost of national honour. The only consideration, that can at the present moment keep them in office must be service of the country.
When the people have faith in the government, when it represents the popular will, the judges and the executive officials possibly serve the country. But when that government does not represent the will of the people, when it supports dishonesty and terrorism, the judges and the executive officials by retaining office become instrument of dishonesty and terrorism. And the least therefore that these holders of high offices can do is to cease to become agents of a dishonest and terrorising government.
For the judges, the objection will be raised that they are above politics, and so they are and should be. But the doctrine is true only in so far us the government is on the whole for the benefit of the people and at least represents the will of the majority. Not to take part in politics means not to take sides. But when a whole country has one mind, one will, when a whole country has been denied justice, it is no longer a question of party politics, it is a matter of life and death. It then becomes the duty of every citizen to refuse to serve a government which misbehaves and flouts national wish. The judges are at that moment bound to follow the nation if they are ultimately its servants.
There remains another argument to be examined. It applies to both the judges and the members of the executive. It will be urged that my appeal could only be meant for the Indians and what good can it do by Indians renouncing offices which have been won for the nation by hard struggle. I wish that I could make an effective appeal to the English as well as the Indians. But I confess that I have written with the mental reservation that the appeal is addressed only to the Indians. I must therefore examine the argument just stated. Whilst it is true that these offices have been secured after a prolonged struggle, they are of use not because of the struggle, but because they are intended to serve the nation. The moment they cease to possess that quality, they become useless and as in the present case harmful, no matter how hard-earned and therefore valuable they may have been at the outset.
I would submit too to our distinguished countrymen who occupy high offices that their giving up will bring the struggle to a speedy end and would probably obviate the danger attendant upon the masses being called upon to signify their disapproval by withdrawing co-operation. If the titleholders gave up their titles, if the holders of honorary offices gave up their appointment and if the high officials gave up their posts, and the would-be councillors boycotted the councils, the Government would quickly come to its senses and give effect to the people's will. For the alternative before the Government then would be nothing but despotic rule pure and simple. That would probably mean military dictatorship. The world's opinion has advanced so far that Britain dare not contemplate such dictatorship with equanimity. The taking of the steps suggested by me will constitute the peacefullest revolution the world has ever seen. Once the infallibility of non-co-operation is realised, there is an end to all bloodshed and violence in any shape or form.
Undoubtedly a cause must be grave to warrant the drastic method of national non-co-operation. I do say that the affront such as has been put upon Islam cannot be repeated for a century. Islam must rise now or 'be fallen' if not for ever, certainly for a century. And I cannot imagine a graver wrong than the massacre of Jallianwalla and the barbarity that followed it, the whitewash by the Hunter Committee, the dispatch of the Government of India, Mr. Montagu's letter upholding the Viceroy and the then Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab, the refusal to remove officials who made of the lives of the Punjabis 'a hell' during the Martial Law period. These act constitute a complete series of continuing wrongs against India which if India has any sense of honour, she must right at the sacrifice of all the material wealth she possesses. If she does not, she will have bartered her soul for a 'mess of pottage.'
A representative of Madras Mail called on Mr. M.K. Gandhi at his temporary residence in the Pursewalkam High road for an interview on the subject of non-co-operation. Mr. Gandhi, who has come to Madras on a tour to some of the principal Muslim centres in Southern India, was busy with a number of workers discussing his programme; but he expressed his readiness to answer questions on the chief topic which is agitating Muslims and Hindus.
"After your experience of the Satyagraha agitation last year, Mr. Gandhi, are you still hopeful and convinced of the wisdom of advising non-co-operation?"--"Certainly."
"How do you consider conditions have altered since the Satyagraha movement of last year?"--"I consider that people are better disciplined now than they were before. In this I include even the masses who I have had opportunities of seeing in large numbers in various parts of the country."
"And you are satisfied that the masses understand the spirit of Satyagraha?"--"Yes."
"And that is why you are pressing on with the programme of non-co-operation?"--"Yes. Moreover, the danger that attended the civil disobedience part of Satyagraha does not apply to non-co-operation, because in non-co-operation we are not taking up civil disobedience of laws as a mass movement. The result hitherto has been most encouraging. For instance, people in Sindh and Delhi in spite of the irritating restrictions upon their liberty by the authorities have carried out the Committee's instructions in regard to the Seditious Meetings Proclamation and to the prohibition of posting placards on the walls which we hold to be inoffensive but which the authorities consider to be offensive."
"What is the pressure which you expect to bring to bear on the authorities if co-operation is withdrawn?"--"I believe, and everybody must grant, that no Government can exist for a single moment without the co-operation of the people, willing or forced, and if people suddenly withdraw their co-operation in every detail, the Government will come to a stand-still."
"But is there not a big 'If' in it?"--"Certainly there is."
"And how do you propose to succeed against the big 'If'?"--"In my plan of campaign expediency has no room. If the Khilafat movement has really permeated the masses and the classes, there must be adequate response from the people."
"But are you not begging the question?"--"I am not begging the question, because so far as the data before me go, I believe that the Muslims keenly feel the Khilafat grievance. It remains to be seen whether their feeling is inten se enough to evoke in them the measure of sacrifice adequate for successful non-co-operation."
"That is, your survey of the conditions, you think, justifies your advising non-co-operation in the full conviction that you have behind you the support of the vast masses of the Mussalman population?"--"Yes."
"This non-co-operation, you are satisfied, will extend to complete severance of co-operation with the Government?"--No; nor is it at the present moment my desire that it should. I am simply practising non-co-operation to the extent that is necessary to make the Government realise the depth of popular feeling in the matter and the dissatisfaction with the Government that all that could be done has not been done either by the Government of India or by the Imperial Government, whether on the Khilafat question or on the "Punjab question."
"Do you Mr. Gandhi, realise that even amongst Mahomedans there are sections of people who are not enthusiastic over non-co-operation however much they may feel the wrong that has been done to their community?"--"Yes. But their number is smaller than those who are prepared to adopt non-co-operation."
"And yet does not the fact that there has not been an adequate response to your appeal for resignation of titles and offices and for boycott of elections of the Councils indicate that you may be placing more faith in their strength of conviction than is warranted?"--"I think not; for the reason that the stage has only just come into operation and our people are always most cautious and slow to move. Moreover, the first stage largely affects the uppermost strata of society, who represent a microscopic minority though they are undoubtedly an influential body of people."
"This upper class, you think, has sufficiently responded to your appeal?"--"I am unable to say either one way or the other at present. I shall be able to give a definite answer at the end of this month."...
"Do you think that without one's loyalty to the King and the Royal Family being questioned, one can advocate non-co-operation in connection with the Royal visit?" "Most decidedly; for the simple reason that if there is any disloyalty about the proposed boycott of the Prince's visit, it is disloyalty to the Government of the day and not to the person of His Royal highness."
"What do you think is to be gained by promoting this boycott in connection with the Royal visit?"--"Because I want to show that the people of India are not in sympathy with the Government of the day and that they strongly disapprove of the policy of the Government in regard to the Punjab and Khilafat, and even in respect of other important administrative measures. I consider that the visit of the Prince of Wales is a singularly good opportunity to the people to show their disapproval of the present Government. After all, the visit is calculated to have tremendous political results. It is not to be a non-political event, and seeing that the Government of India and the Imperial Government want to make the visit a political event of first class importance, namely, for the purpose of strengthening their hold upon India, I for one, consider that it is the bounden duty of the people to boycott the visit which is being engineered by the two Governments in their own interest which at the present moment is totally antagonistic to the people."
"Do you mean that you want this boycott promoted because you feel that the strengthening of the hold upon India is not desirable in the best interests of the country?"--"Yes. The strengthening of the hold of a Government so wicked us the present one is not desirable for the best interests of the people. Not that I want the bond between England and India to become loosened for the sake of loosening it but I want that bond to become strengthened only in so far as it adds to the welfare of India."
"Do you think that non-co-operation and the non-boycott of the Legislative Councils consistent?"--"No; because a person who takes up the programme of non-co-operation cannot consistently stand for Councils."
"Is non-co-operation, in your opinion, an end in itself or a means to an end, and if so, what is the end?" "It is a means to an end, the end being to make the present Government just, whereas it has become mostly unjust. Co-operation with a just Government is a duty; non-co-operation with an unjust Government is equally a duty."
"Will you look with favour upon the proposal to enter the Councils and to carry on either obstructive tactics or to decline to take the oath of allegiance consistent with your non-co-operation?"--"No; as an accurate student of non-co-operation, I consider that such a proposal is inconsistent with the true spirit of non-co-operation. I have often said that a Government really thrives on obstruction and so far as the proposal not to take the oath of allegiance is concerned, I can really see no meaning in it; it amounts to a useless waste of valuable time and money."
"In other words, obstruction is no stage in non-co-operation?" --"No,"....
"Are you satisfied that all efforts at constitutional agitation have been exhausted and that non-co-operation is the only course left us?" "I do not consider non-co-operation to be unconstitutional remedies now left open to us, non-co-operation is the only one left for us." "Do you consider it constitutional to adopt it with a view merely to paralyse Government?"--"Certainly, it is not unconstitutional, but a prudent man will not take all the steps that are constitutional if they are otherwise undesirable, nor do I advise that course. I am resorting to non-co-operation in progressive stages because I want to evolve true order out of untrue order. I am not going to take a single step in non-co-operation unless I am satisfied that the country is ready for that step, namely, non-co-operation will not be followed by anarchy or disorder."
"How will you satisfy yourself anarchy will not follow?"
"For instance, if I advise the police to lay down their arms, I shall have satisfied myself that we are able by voluntary assistance to protect ourselves against thieves and robbers. That was precisely what was done in Lahore and Amritsar last year by the citizens by means of volunteers when the Military and the police had withdrawn. Even where Government had not taken such measures in a place, for want of adequate force, I know people have successfully protected themselves."
"You have advised lawyers to non-co-operate by suspending their practice. What is your experience? Has the lawyers' response to your appeal encouraged you to ho pe that you will be able to carry through all stages of non-co-operation with the help of such people?"
"I cannot say that a large number has yet responded to my appeal. It is too early to say how many will respond. But I may say that I do not rely merely upon the lawyer class or highly educated men to enable the Committee to carry out all the stages of non-co-operation. My hope lies more with the masses so far as the later stages of non-co-operation are concerned."
RELIGIOUS AUTHORITY FOR NON-CO-OPERATION
It is not without the greatest reluctance that I engage in a controversy with so learned a leader like Sir Narayan Chandavarkar. But in view of the fact that I am the author of the movement of non-co-operation, it becomes my painful duty to state my views even though they are opposed to those of the leaders whom I look upon with respect. I have just read during my travels in Malabar Sir Narayan's rejoinder to my answer to the Bombay manifesto against non-co-operation. I regret to have to say that the rejoinder leaves me unconvinced. He and I seem to read the teachings of the Bible, the Gita and the Koran from different standpoints or we put different interpretati ons on them. We seem to understand the words Ahimsa, politics and religion differently. I shall try my best to make clear my meaning of the common terms and my reading of the different religious.
At the outset let me assure Sir Narayan that I have not changed my views on Ahimsa. I still believe that man not having been given the power of creation does not possess the right of destroying the meanest creature that lives. The prerogative of destruction belongs solely to the creator of all that lives. I accept the interpretation of Ahimsa, namely, that it is not merely a negative State of harmlessness, but it is a positive state of love, of doing good even to the evil-doer. But it does not mean helping the evil-doer to continue the wrong or tolerating it by passive acquiescence. On the contrary love, the active state of Ahimsa, requires you to resist the wrong-doer by dissociating yourself from him even though it may offend him or injure him physically. Thus if my son lives a life of shame, I may not help him to do so by continuing to support him; on the contrary, my love for him requires me to withdraw all support from him although it may mean even his death. And the same love imposes on me the obligation of welcoming him to my bosom when he repents. But I may not by physical force compel my son to become good. That in my opinion is the moral of the story of the Pr odigal Son.
Non-co-operation is not a passive state, it is an intensely active state--more active than physical resistance or violence. Passive resistance is a misnomer. Non-co-operation in the sense used by me must be non-violent and therefore neither punitive nor vindictive nor based on malice ill-will or hatred. It follows therefore that it would be sin for me to serve General Dyer and co-operate with him to shoot innocent men. But it will be an exercise of forgiveness or love for me to nurse him back to life, if he was suffering from a physical malady. I cannot use in this context the word co-operation as Sir Narayan would perhaps use it. I would co-operate a thousand times with this Government to wean it from its career of crime but I will not for a single moment co-operate with it to continue that career. And I would be guilty of wrong doing if I retained a title from it or "a service under it or supported its law-courts or schools." Better for me a beggar's bowl than the richest possession from hands stained with the blood of the innocents of Jallianwala. Better by far a warrant of imprisonment than honeyed words from those who have wantonly wounded the religious sentiment of my seventy million brothers.
My reading of the Gita is diametrically opposed to Sir Narayan's. I do not believe that the Gita teaches violence for doing good. It is pre-eminently a description of the duel that goes on in our own hearts. The divine author has used a historical incident for inculcating the lesson of doing one's duty even at the peril of one's life. It inculcates performance of duty irrespective of the consequences, for, we mortals, limited by our physical frames, are incapable of controlling actions save our own. The Gita distinguishes between the powers of light and darkness and demonstrates their incompatibility.
Jesus, in my humble opinion, was a prince among politicians. He did render unto Caesar that which was Caesar's. He gave the devil his due. He ever shunned him and is reported never once to have yielded to his incantations. The politics of his time consisted in securing the welfare of the people by teaching them not to be seduced by the trinkets of the priests and the pharisees. The latter then controlled and moulded the life of the people. To-day the system of government is so devised as to affect every department of our life. It threatens our very existence. If therefore we want to conserve the welfare of the nation, we must religiously interest ourselves in the doing of the governors and exert a moral influence on them by insisting on their obeying the laws of morality. General Dyer did produce a 'moral effect' by an act of butchery. Those who are engaged in forwarding the movement of non-co-operation, hope to produce a moral effect by a process of self-denial, self-sacrifice and self-purification. It surprises me that Sir Narayan should speak of General Dyer's massacre in the same breath as acts of non-co-operation. I have done my best to understand his meaning, but I am sorry to confess that I have failed.
THE INWARDNESS OF NON-COOPERATION
I commend to the attention of the readers the thoughtful letter received from Miss Anne Marie Peterson. Miss Peterson is a lady who has been in India for some years and has closely followed Indian affairs. She is about the sever her connection with her mission for the purpose of giving herself to education that is truly national.
I have not given the letter in full. I have omitted all personal references. But her argument has been left entirely untouched. The letter was not meant to be printed. It was written just after my Vellore speech. But it being intrinsically important, I asked the writer for her permission, which she gladly gave, for printing it.
I publish it all the more gladly in that it enables me to show that the movement of non-co-operation is neither anti-Christian nor anti-English nor anti-European. It is a struggle between religion and irreligion, powers of light and powers of darkness.
It is my firm opinion that Europe to-day represents not the spirit of God or Christianity but the spirit of Satan. And Satan's successes are the greatest when he appears with the name of God on his lips. Europe is to-day only nominally Christian. In reality it is worshipping Mammon. 'It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom.' Thus really spoke Jesus Christ. His so-called followers measure their moral progress by their material possessions. The very national anthem of England is anti-Christian. Jesus who asked his followers to love their enemies even as themselves, could not have sung of his enemies, 'confound his enemies frustrate their knavish tricks.' The last book that Dr. Wallace wrote set forth his deliberate conviction that the much vaunted advance of science had added not an inch to the moral stature of Europe. The last war however has shown, as nothing else has, the Satanic nature of the civilization that dominates Europe to day. Every canon of public morality has been broken by the victors in the name of virtue. No lie has been considered too foul to be uttered. The motive behind every crime is not religious or spiritual but grossly material. But the Mussalmans and the Hindus who are struggling against the Government have religion and honour as their motive. Even the cruel assassination which has just shocked the country is reported to have a religious motive behind it. It is certainly necessary to purge religion of its excrescences, but it is equally necessary to expose the hollowness of moral pretensions on the part of those who prefer material wealth to moral gain. It is easier to wean an ignorant fanatic from his error than a confirmed scoundrel from his scoundrelism.
This however is no indictment against individuals or even nations. Thousands of individual Europeans are rising above their environment. I write of the tendency in Europe as reflected in her present leaders. England through her leaders is insolently crushing Indian religious and national sentiment under her heels. England under the false plea of self-determination is trying to exploit the oil fields of Mesopotamia which she is almost to leave because she has probably no choice. France through her leaders is lending her name to training Cannibals as soldiers and is shamelessly betraying her trust as a mandatory power by trying to kill the spirit of the Syrians. President Wilson has thrown on the scrap heap his precious fourteen points.
It is this combination of evil forces which India is really fighting through non-violent non-cooperation. And those like Miss Peterson whether Christian or European, who feel that this error must be dethroned can exercise the privilege of doing so by joining the non-co-opera tion movement. With the honour of Islam is bound up the safety of religion itself and with the honour of India is bound up the honour of every nation known to be weak.
A MISSIONARY ON NON-COOPERATION
The following letter has been received by Mr. Gandhi from Miss Anne Marie Peterson of the Danish Mission in Madras:
Dear Mr. Gandhi,
I cannot thank you enough for your kindness and the way in which you received me and I feel that meeting more or less decided my future. I have thrown myself at the feet of India. At the same time I know that in Christ alone is my abode and I have no longing and no desire but to live Him, my crucified Saviour, and reveal Him for those with whom I come in contact. I just cling to his feet and pray with tears that I may not disgrace him as we Christians have been doing by our behaviour in India. We go on crucifying Christ while we long to proclaim the Power of His resurrection by which He has conquered untruth and unrighteousness. If we who bear His name were true to Him, we would never bow ourselves before the Powers of this world, but we would always be on the side of the poor, the suffering and the oppressed. But we are not and therefore I feel myself under obligation and only to Christ but to India for His sake at this time of momentous importance for her future.
Truly it matters little what I, a lonely and insignificant person, may say or do. What is my protest against the common current, the race to which I belong is taking and (what grieves me more), which the missionary societies seem to follow? Even if a respectable number protested it would not be of any use. Yet were I alone against the whole world, I must follow my conscience and my God.
I therefore cannot but smile when I see people saying, you should have awaited the decision of the National Congress before starting the non-co-operation movement. You have a message for the country, and the Congress is the voice of the nation--its servant and not its master. A majority has no right simply because it is a majority.
But we must try to win the majority. And it is easy to see that now that Congress is going to be with you. Would it have done so if you had kept quiet and not lent your voice to the feelings of the people? Would the Congress have known its mind? I think not.
I myself was in much doubt before I heard you. But you convinced me. Not that I can feel much on the question of the Khilafat. I cannot. I can see what service you are doing to India, if you can prevent the Mahomedans from using the sword in order to take revenge and get their rights. I can see that if you unite the Hindus and the Mahomedans, it will be a master stroke. How I wish the Christian would also come forward and unite with you for the sake of their country and the honour not only of their Motherland but of Christ. I may not feel much for Turkey, but I feel for India, and I can see she (India) has no other way to protest against being trampled down and crushed than non-co-operation.
I also want you to know that many in Denmark and all over the world, yes, I am sure every true Christian, will feel with and be in sympathy with India in the struggle which is now going on. God forbid that in the struggle between might and right, truth and untruth, the spirit and the flesh, there should be a division of races. There is not. The same struggle is going on all over the world. What does it matter then that we are a few? God is on our side.
Brute force often seems to get the upper hand but righteousness always has and always shall conquer, be it even through much suffering, and what may even appear to be a defeat. Christ conquered, when the world crucified Him. Blessed are the meek; they shall inherit the earth.
When I read your speech given at Madras it struck me that it should be printed as a pamphlet in English, Tamil, Hindustani and all the most used languages and then spread to every nook and corner of India.
The non-co-operation movement once started must be worked so as to become successful. If it is not, I dread to think of the consequences. But you cannot expect it to win in a day or two. It must take time and you will not despair if you do not reach your goal in a hurry. For those who have faith there is no haste.
Now for the withdrawal of the children and students from Government schools, I think, it a most important step. Taking the Government help (even if it be your money they pay you back), we must submit to its scheme, its rules and regulation. India and we who love her have come to the conclusion that the education the foreign Government has given you is not healthy for India and can certainly never make for her real growth. This movement would lead to a spontaneous rise of national schools. Let them be a few but let them spring up through self-sacrifice. Only by indigenous education can India be truly uplifted. Why this appeals so much to me is perhaps because I belong to the part of the Danish people who started their own independent, indigenous national schools. The Danish Free Schools and Folk-High-Schools, of which you may have heard, were started against the opposition and persecution of the State. The organisers won and thus have regenerated the nation. With my truly heartfelt thanks and prayers for you.
HOW TO WORK NON-COOPERATION
Perhaps the best way of answering the fears and criticism as to non-co-operation is to elaborate more fully the scheme of non-co-operation. The critics seem to imagine that the organisers propose to give effect to the whole scheme at once. The fact however is that the organisers have fixed definite, progressive four stages. The first is the giving up of titles and resignation of honorary posts. If there is no response or if the response received is not effective, recourse will be had to the second stage. The second stage involves much previous arrangement. Certainly not a single servant will be called out unless he is either capable of supporting himself and his dependents or the Khilafat Committee is able to bear the burden. All the classes of servants will not be called out at once and never will any pressure be put upon a single servant to withdraw himself from the Government service. Nor will a single private employee be touched for the simple reason that the movement is not anti-English. It is not even anti-Government. Co-operation is to be withdrawn because the people must not be party to a wrong--a broken pledge--a violation of deep religious sentiment. Naturally, the movement will receive a check, if there is any undue influence brought to bear upon any Government servant or if any violence is used or countenanced by any member of the Khilafat Committee. The second stage must be entirely successful, if the response is at all on an adequate scale. For no Government--much less the Indian Government--can subsist if the people cease to serve it. The withdrawal therefore of the police and the military--the third stage--is a distant goal. The organisers however wanted to be fair, open and above suspicion. They did not want to keep back from the Government or the public a single step they had in contemplation even as a remote contingency. The fourth, _i.e.,_ suspension of taxes is still more remote. The organisers recognise that suspension of general taxation is fraught with the greatest danger. It is likely to bring a sensitive class in conflict with the police. They are therefore not likely to embark upon it, unless they can do so with the assurance that there will be no violence offered by the people.
I admit as I have already done that non-co-operation is not unattended with risk, but the risk of supineness in the face of a grave issue is infinitely greater than the danger of violence ensuing form organizing non-co-operation. To do nothing is to invite violence for a certainty.
It is easy enough to pass resolutions or write articles condemning non-co-operation. But it is no easy task to restrain the fury of a people incensed by a deep sense of wrong. I urge those who talk or work against non-co-operation to descend from their chairs and go down to the people, learn their feelings and write, if they have the heart against non-co-operation. They will find, as I have found that the only way to avoid violence is to enable them to give such expression to their feelings as to compel redress. I have found nothing save non-co-operation. It is logical and harmless. It is the inherent right of a subject to refuse to assist a Government that will not listen to him.
Non-co-operation as a voluntary movement can only succeed, if the feeling is genuine and strong enough to make people suffer to the utmost. If the religious sentiment of the Mahomedans is deeply hurt and if the Hindus entertain neighbourly regard towards their Muslim brethren, they will both count no cost too great for achieving the end. Non-co-operation will not only be an effective remedy but will also be an effective test of the sincerity of the Muslim claim and the Hindu profession of friendship.
There is however one formidable argument urged by friends against my joining the Khilafat movement. They say that it ill-becomes me, a friend of the English and an admirer of the British constitution, to join hands with those who are to-day filled with nothing but ill-will against the English. I am sorry to have to confess that the ordinary Mahomedan entertains to-day no affection for Englishmen. He considers, not without some cause, that they have not played the game. But if I am friendly towards Englishmen, I am no less so towards my countrymen, the Mahomedans. And as such they have a greater claim upon my attention than Englishmen. My personal religion however enables me to serve my countrymen without hurting Englishmen or for that matter anybody else. What I am not prepared to do to my blood-brother I would not do to an Englishman, I would not injure him to gain a kingdom. But I would withdraw co-operation from him if it becomes necessary as I had withdrawn from my own brother (now deceased) when it became necessary. I serve the Empire by refusing to partake in its wrong. William Stead offered public prayers for British reverses at the time of the Boer war because he considered that the nation to which he belonged was engaged in an unrighteous war. The present Prime Minister risked his life in opposing that war and did everything he could to obstruct his own Government in its prosecution. And to-day if I have thrown in my lot with the Mahomedans, a large number of whom, bear no friendly feelings towards the British, I have done so frankly as a friend of the British and with the object of gaining justice and of thereby showing the capacity of the British constitution to respond to every honest determination when it is coupled with suffering, I hope by my 'alliance' with the Mahomedans to achieve a threefold end--to obtain justice in the face of odds with the method of Satyagrah and to show its efficacy over all other methods, to secure Mahomedan friendship for the Hindus and thereby internal peace also, and last but not least to transform ill-will into affection for the British and their constitution which in spite of the imperfections weathered many a storm. I may fail in achieving any of the ends. I can but attempt. God alone can grant success. It will not be denied that the ends are all worthy. I invite Hindus and Englishman to join me in a full-hearted manner in shouldering the burden the Mahomedans of India are carrying. Theirs is admittedly a just fight. The Viceroy, the Secretary of State, the Maharaja of Bikuner and Lord Sinha have testified to it. Time has arrived to make good the testimony. People with a just cause are never satisfied with a mere protest. They have been known to die for it. Are a high-spirited people like the Mahomedans expected to do less?
SPEECH AT MADRAS
Addressing a huge concourse of people of the city of Madras Hindus and Mahomedans numbering over 50,000, assembled on the South Beach opposite to the Presidency College, Madras, on the 12th August 1920, Mahatma Gandhi spoke as follows:
Mr. Chairman and Friends,
Like last year, I have to ask your forgiveness that I should have to speak being seated. Whilst my voice has become stronger than it was last year, my body is still weak; and if I were to attempt to speak to you standing, I could not hold on for very many minutes before the whole frame would shake. I hope, therefore, that you will grant me permission to speak seated. I have sat here to address you on a most important question, probably a question whose importance we have not measured up to now.
But before I approach that question on this dear old beach of Madras, you will expect me--you will want me--to offer my tribute to the great departed, Lokamanya Tilak Maharaj (loud and prolonged cheers). I would ask this great assembly to listen to me in silence. I have come to make an appeal to your hearts and to your reason and I could not do so unless you were prepared to listen to whatever I have to say in absolute silence. I wish to offer my tribute to the departed patriot and I think that I cannot do better than say that his death, as his life, has poured new vigour into the country. If you were present as I was present at that great funeral procession, you would realise with me the meaning of my words. Mr. Tilak lived for his country. The inspiration of his life was freedom for his country which he called Swaraj the inspiration of his death-bed was also freedom for his country. And it was that which gave him such marvellous hold upon his countrymen; it was that which commanded the adoration not of a few chosen Indians belonging to the upper strata of society but of millions of his countrymen. His life was one long sustained piece of self-sacrifice. He began that life of discipline and self-sacrifice in 1879 and he continued that life up to the end of his day, and that was the secret of his hold upon his country. He not only knew what he wanted for his country but also how to live for his country and how to die for his country. I hope then that whatever I say this evening to this vast mass of people, will bear fruit in that same sacrifice for which the life of Lokamanya Tilak Maharaj stands. His life, if it teaches us anything whatsoever, teaches one supreme lesson: that if we want to do anything whatsoever for our country we can do so not by speeches, however grand, eloquent and convincing they may be, but only by sacrifice at the back of every act if our life. I have come to ask everyone of you whether you are ready and willing to give sufficiently for your country's sake for country's honour and for religion. I have boundless faith in you, the citizens of Madras, and the people of this great presidency, a faith which I began to cultivate in the year 1983 when I first made acquaintance with the Tamil labourers in South Africa; and I hope that in these hours of our trial, this province will not be second to any other in India, and that it will lead in this spirit of self-sacrifice and will translate every word into action.
NEED FOR NON-COOPERATION
What is this non-co-operation, about which you have heard so much, and why do we want to offer this non-co-operation? I wish to go for the time being into the why. here are two things before this country: the first and the foremost is the Khilafat question. On this the heart of the Mussalmans of India has become lascerated. British pledges given after the greatest deliberation by the Prime Minister of England in the name of the English nation, have been dragged into the mire. The promises given to Moslem India on the strength of which, the consideration that was expected by the British nation was exacted, have been broken, and the great religion of Islam has been placed in danger. The Mussalmans hold--and I venture to think they rightly hold--that so long as British promises remain unfulfilled, so long is it impossible for them to tender whole-hearted fealty and loyalty to the British connection; and if it is to be a choice for a devout Mussalman between loyalty to the British connection and loyalty to his Code and Prophet, he will not require a second to make his choice,--and he has declared his choice. The Mussalmans say frankly openly and honourably to the whole world that if the British Ministers and the British nation do not fulfil the pledges given to them and do not wish to regard with respect the sentiments of 70 millions of the inhabitants of India who profess the faith of Islam, it will be impossible for them to retain Islamic loyalty. It is a question, then for the rest of the Indian population to consider whether they want to perform a neighbourly duty by their Mussalman countrymen, and if they do, they have an opportunity of a lifetime which will not occur for another hundred years, to show their good-will, fellowship and friendship and to prove what they have been saying for all these long years that the Mussalman is the brother of the Hindu. If the Hindu regards that before the connection with the British nation comes his natural connection with his Moslem brother, then I say to you that if you find that the Moslem claim is just, that it is based upon real sentiment, and that at its back ground is this great religious feeling, you cannot do otherwise than help the Mussalman through and through, so long as their cause remains just, and the means for attaining the end remains equally just, honourable and free from harm to India. These are the plain conditions which the Indian Mussalmans have accepted; and it was when they saw that they could accept the proferred aid of the Hindus, that they could always justify the cause and the means before the whole world, that they decided to accept the proferred hand of fellowship. It is then for the Hindus and Mahomedans to offer a united front to the whole of the Christian powers of Europe and tell them that weak as India is, India has still got the capacity of preserving her self-respect, she still knows how to die for her religion and for her self-respect.
That is the Khilafat in a nut-shell; but you have also got the Punjab. The Punjab has wounded the heart of India as no other question has for the past century. I do not exclude from my calculation the Mutiny of 1857. Whatever hardships India had to suffer during the Mutiny, the insult that was attempted to be offered to her during the passage of the Rowlatt legislation and that which was offered after its passage were unparalleled in Indian history. It is because you want justice from the British nation in connection with the Punjab atrocities: you have to devise, ways and means as to how you can get this justice. The House of Commons, the House of Lords, Mr. Montagu, the Viceroy of India, everyone of them know what the feeling of India is on this Khilafat question and on that of the Punjab; the debates in both the Houses of Parliament, the action of Mr. Montagu and that of the Viceroy have demonstrated to you completely that they are not willing to give the justice which is India's due and which she demands. I suggest that our leaders have got to find a way out of this great difficulty and unless we have made ourselves even with the British rulers in India and unless we have gained a measure of self-respect at the hands of the British rulers in India, no connection, and no friendly intercourse is possible between them and ourselves. I, therefore, venture to suggest this beautiful and unanswerable method of non-co-operation.
IS IT UNCONSTITUTIONAL?
I have been told that non-co-operation is unconstitutional. I venture to deny that it is unconstitutional. On the contrary, I hold that non-co-operation is a just and religious doctrine; it is the inherent right of every human being and it is perfectly constitutional. A great lover of the British Empire has said that under the British constitution even a successful rebellion is perfectly constitutional and he quotes historical instances, which I cannot deny, in support of his claim. I do not claim any constitutionality for a rebellion successful or otherwise, so long as that rebellion means in the ordinary sense of the term, what it does mean namely wresting justice by violent means. On the contrary, I have said it repeatedly to my countrymen that violence whatever end it may serve in Europe, will never serve us in India. My brother and friend Shaukat Ali believes in methods of violence; and if it was in his power to draw the sword against the British Empire, I know that he has got the courage of a man and he has got also the wisdom to see that he should offer that battle to the British Empire. But because he recognises as a true soldier that means of violence are not open to India, he sides with me accepting my humble assistance and pledges his word that so long as I am with him and so long as he believes in the doctrine, so long will he not harbour even the idea of violence against any single Englishman or any single man on earth. I am here to tell you that he has been as true as his word and has kept it religiously. I am here to bear witness that he has been following out this plan of non-violent Non-co-operation to the very letter and I am asking India to follow this non-violent non-co- operation. I tell you that there is not a better soldier living in our ranks in British India than Shaukat Ali. When the time for the drawing of the sword comes, if it ever comes, you will find him drawing that sword and you will find me retiring to the jungles of Hindustan. As soon as India accepts the doctrine of the sword, my life as an Indian is finished. It is because I believe in a mission special to India and it is because I believe that the ancients of India after centuries of experience have found out that the true thing for any human being on earth is not justice based on violence but justice based on sacrifice of self, justice based on Yagna and Kurbani,--I cling to that doctrine and I shall cling to it for ever,--it is for that reason I tell you that whilst my friend believes also in the doctrine of violence and has adopted the doctrine of non-violence as a weapon of the weak, I believe in the doctrine of non-violence as a weapon of the strongest. I believe that a man is the strongest soldier for daring to die unarmed with his breast bare before the enemy. So much for the non-violent part of non-co-operation. I therefore, venture to suggest to my learned countrymen that so long as the doctrine of non-co-operation remains non-violent, so long there is nothing unconstitutional in that doctrine.
I ask further, is it unconstitutional for me to say to the British Government 'I refuse to serve you?' Is it unconstitutional for our worthy Chairman to return with every respect all the titles that he has ever held from the Government? Is it unconstitutional for any parent to withdraw his children from a Government or aided school? Is it unconstitutional for a lawyer to say 'I shall no longer support the arm of the law so long as that arm of law is used not to raise me but to debase me'? Is it unconstitutional for a civil servant or for a judge to say, 'I refuse to serve a Government which does not wish to respect the wishes of the whole people?' I ask, is it unconstitutional for a policeman or for a soldier to tender his resignation when he knows that he is called to serve a Government which traduces his own countrymen? Is it unconstitutional for me to go to the 'krishan,' to the agriculturist, and say to him 'it is not wise for you to pay any taxes if these taxes are used by the Government not to raise you but to weaken you?' I hold and I venture to submit, that there is nothing unconstitutional in it. What is more, I have done every one of these things in my life and nobody has questioned the constitutional character of it. I was in Kaira working in the midst of 7 lakhs of agriculturists. They had all suspended the payment of taxes and the whole of India was at one with me. Nobody considered that it was unconstitutional. I submit that in the whole plan of non-co-operation, there is nothing unconstitutional. But I do venture to suggest that it will be highly unconstitutional in the midst of this unconstitutional Government,--in the midst of a nation which has built up its magnificent constitution,--for the people of India to become weak and to crawl on their belly--it will be highly unconstitutional for the people of India to pocket every insult that is offered to them; it is highly unconstitutional for the 70 millions of Mohamedans of India to submit to a violent wrong done to their religion; it is highly unconstitutional for the whole of India to sit still and co-operate with an unjust Government which has trodden under its feet the honour of the Punjab. I say to my countrymen so long as you have a sense of honour and so long as you wish to remain the descendants and defenders of the noble traditions that have been handed to you for generations after generations, it is unconstitutional for you not to non-co-operate and unconstitutional for you to co-operate with a Government which has become so unjust as our Government has become. I am not anti-English; I am not anti-British; I am not anti any Government; but I am anti-untruth--anti-humbug and anti-injustice. So long as the Government spells injustice, it may regard me as its enemy, implacable enemy. I had hoped at the Congress at Amritsar--I am speaking God's truth before you--when I pleaded on bended knees before some of you for co-operation with the Government. I had full hope that the British ministers who are wise, as a rule, would placate the Mussalman sentiment that they would do full justice in the matter of the Punjab atrocities; and therefore, I said:--let us return good-will to the hand of fellowship that has been extended to us, which I then believed was extended to us through the Royal Proclamation. It was on that account that I pleaded for co-operation. But to-day that faith having gone and obliterated by the acts of the British ministers, I am here to plead not for futile obstruction in the Legislative council but for real substantial non-co-operation which would paralyse the mightiest Government on earth. That is what I stand for to-day. Until we have wrung justice, and until we have wrung our self-respect from unwilling hands and from unwilling pens there can be no co-operation. Our Shastras say and I say so with the greatest deference to all the greatest religious preceptors of India but without fear of contradiction, that our Shastras teach us that there shall be no co-operation between injustice and justice, between an unjust man and a justice-loving man, between truth and untruth. Co-operation is a duty only so long as Government protects your honour, and non-co-operation is an equal duty when the Government instead of protecting robs you of your honour. That is the doctrine of non-co-operation.
NON-COOPERATION AND THE SPECIAL CONGRESS
I have been told that I should have waited for the declaration of the special Congress which is the mouth piece of the whole nation. I know that it is the mouthpiece of the whole nation. If it was for me, individual Gandhi, to wait, I would have waited for eternity. But I had in my hands a sacred trust. I was advising my Mussalman countrymen and for the time being I hold their honour in my hands. I dare not ask them to wait for any verdict but the verdict of their own Conscience. Do you suppose that Mussalmans can eat their own words, can withdraw from the honourable position they have taken up? If perchance--and God forbid that it should happen--the Special Congress decides against them, I would still advise my countrymen the Mussalmans to stand single handed and fight rather than yield to the attempted dishonour to their religion. It is therefore given to the Mussalmans to go to the Congress on bended knees and plead for support. But support or no support, it was not possible for them to wait for the Congress to give them the lead. They had to choose between futile violence, drawing of the naked sword and peaceful non-violent but effective non-co-operation, and they have made their choice. I venture further to say to you that if there is any body of men who feel as I do, the sacred character of non-co-operation, it is for you and me not to wait for the Congress but to act and to make it impossible for the Congress to give any other verdict. After all what is the Congress? The Congress is the collected voice of individuals who form it, and if the individuals go to the Congress with a united voice, that will be the verdict you will gain from the Congress. But if we go to the Congress with no opinion because we have none or because we are afraid to express it, then naturally we wait the verdict of the Congress. To those who are unable to make up their mind I say by all means wait. But for those who have seen the clear light as they see the lights in front of them, for them to wait is a sin. The Congress does not expect you to wait but it expects you to act so that the Congress can gauge properly the national feeling. So much for the Congress.
BOYCOTT OF THE COUNCILS
Among the details of non-co-operation I have placed in the foremost rank the boycott of the councils. Friends have quarrelled with me for the use of the word boycott, because I have disapproved--as I disapprove even now--boycott of British goods or any goods for that matter. But there, boycott has its own meaning and here boycott has its own meaning. I not only do not disapprove but approve of the boycott of the councils that are going to be formed next year. And why do I do it? The people--the masses,--require from us, the leaders, a clear lead. They do not want any equivocation from us. The suggestion that we should seek election and then refuse to take the oath of allegiance, would only make the nation distrust the leaders. It is not a clear lead to the nation. So I say to you, my countrymen, not to fall into this trap. We shall sell our country by adopting the method of seeking election and then not taking the oath of allegiance. We may find it difficult, and I frankly confess to you that I have not that trust in so many Indians making that declaration and standing by it. To-day I suggest to those who honestly hold the view--_viz_. that we should seek election and then refuse to take the oath of allegiance--I suggest to them that they will fall into a trap which they are preparing for themselves and for the nation. That is my view. I hold that if we want to give the nation the clearest possible lead, and if we want not to play with this great nation we must make it clear to this nation that we cannot take any favours, no matter how great they may be so long as those favours are accompanied by an injustice a double wrong, done to India not yet redressed. The first indispensable thing before we can receive any favours from them is that they should redress this double wrong. There is a Greek proverb which used to say "Beware of the Greek but especially beware of them when they bring gifts to you." To-day from those ministers who are bent upon perpetuating the wrong to Islam and to the Punjab, I say we cannot accept gifts but we should be doubly careful lest we may not fall into the trap that they may have devised. I therefore suggest that we must not coquet with the council and must not have anything whatsoever to do with them. I am told that if we, who represent the national sentiment do not seek election, the Moderates who do not represent that sentiment will. I do not agree. I do not know what the Moderates represent and I do not know what the Nationalists represent. I know that there are good sheep and black sheep amongst the Moderates. I know that there are good sheep and black sheep amongst the Nationalists. I know that many Moderates hold honestly the view that it is a sin to resort to non-co-operation. I respectfully agree to differ from them. I do say to them also that they will fall into a trap which they will have devised if they seek election. But that does not affect my situation. If I feel in my heart of hearts that I ought not to go to the councils I ought at least to abide by this decision and it does not matter if ninety-nine other countrymen seek election. That is the only way in which public work can be done, and public opinion can be built. That is the only way in which reforms can be achieved and religion can be conserved. If it is a question of religious honour, whether I am one or among many I must stand upon my doctrine. Even if I should die in the attempt, it is worth dying for, than that I should live and deny my own doctrine. I suggest that it will be wrong on the part of any one to seek election to these Councils. If once we feel that we cannot co-operate with this Government, we have to commence from the top. We are the natural leaders of the people and we have acquired the right and the power to go to the nation and speak to it with the voice of non-co-operation. I therefore do suggest that it is inconsistent with non-co-operation to seek election to the Councils on any terms whatsoever.
LAWYERS AND NON-COOPERATION
I have suggested another difficult matter, _viz._, that the lawyers should suspend their practice. How should I do otherwise knowing so well how the Government had always been able to retain this power through the instrumentality of lawyers. It is perfectly true that it is the lawyers of to-day who are leading us, who are fighting the country's battles, but when it comes to a matter of action against the Government, when it comes to a matter of paralysing the activity of the Government I know that the Government always look to the lawyers, however fine fighters they may have been to preserve their dignity and their self-respect. I therefore suggest to my lawyer friends that it is their duty to suspend their practice and to show to the Government that they will no longer retain their offices, because lawyers are considered to be honorary officers of the courts and therefore subject to their disciplinary jurisdiction. They must no longer retain these honorary offices if they want to withdraw on operation from Government. But what will happen to law and order? We shall evolve law and order through the instrumentality of these very lawyers. We shall promote arbitration courts and dispense justice, pure, simple home-made justice, swadeshi justice to our countrymen. That is what suspension of practice means.
PARENTS AND NON-COOPERATION
I have suggested yet another difficulty--to withdraw our children from the Government schools and to ask collegiate students to withdraw from the College and to empty Government aided schools. How could I do otherwise? I want to gauge the national sentiment. I want to know whether the Mahomodans feel deeply. If they feel deeply they will understand in the twinkling of an eye, that it is not right for them to receive schooling from a Government in which they have lost all faith; and which they do not trust at all. How can I, if I do not want to help this Government, receive any help from that Government. I think that the schools and colleges are factories for making clerks and Government servants. I would not help this great factory for manufacturing clerks and servants if I want to withdraw co-operation from that Government. Look at it from any point of view you like. It is not possible for you to send your children to the schools and still believe in the doctrine of non-co-operation.
THE DUTY OF TITLE HOLDERS
I have gone further. I have suggested that our title holders should give up their titles. How can they hold on to the titles and honour bestowed by the Government? They were at one time badges of honours when we believed that national honour was safe in their hands. But now they are no longer badges of honour but badges of dishonour and disgrace when we really believe that we cannot get justice from this Government. Every title holder holds his titles and honours as trustee for the nation and in this first step in the withdrawal of co-operation from the Government they should surrender their titles without a moment's consideration. I suggest to my Mahomedan countrymen that if they fail in this primary duty they will certainly fail in non-co-operation unless the masses themselves reject the classes and take up non-co-operation in their own hands and are able to fight that battle even as the men of the French Revolution were able to take the reins of Government in their own hands leaving aside the leaders and marched to the banner of victory. I want no revolution. I want ordered progress. I want no disordered order. I want no chaos. I want real order to be evolved out of this chaos which is misrepresented to me as order. If it is order established by a tyrant in order to get hold of the tyrannical reins of Government I say that it is no order for me but it is disorder. I want to evolve justice out of this injustice. Therefore, I suggest to you the passive non-co-operation. If we would only realise the secret of this peaceful and infallible doctrine you will know and you will find that you will not want to use even an angry word when they lift the sword at you and you will not want even to lift your little finger, let alone a stick or a sword.
NON-COOPERATION -- SERVICE TO THE EMPIRE
You may consider that I have spoken these words in anger because I have considered the ways of this Government immoral, unjust, debasing and untruthful. I use these adjectives with the greatest deliberation. I have used them for my own true brother with whom I was engaged in battle of non-co-operation for full 13 years and although the ashes cover the remains of my brother I tell you that I used to tell him that he was unjust when his plans were based upon immoral foundation. I used to tell him that he did not stand for truth. There was no anger in me, I told him this home truth because I loved him. In the same manner, I tell the British people that I love them, and that I want their association but I want that association on conditions well defined. I want my self-respect and I want my absolute equality with them. If I cannot gain that equality from the British people, I do not want that British connection. If I have to let the British people go and import temporary disorder and dislocation of national business, I will favour that disorder and dislocation than that I should have injustice from the hands of a great nation such as the British nation. You will find that by the time the whole chapter is closed that the successors of Mr. Montagu will give me the credit for having rendered the most distinguished service that I have yet rendered to the Empire, in having offered this non-co-operation and in having suggest the boycott, not of His Royal Highness the principle of Wales, but of boycott of a visit engineered by Government in order to tighten its hold on the national neck. I will not allow it even if I stand alone, if I cannot persuade this nation not to welcome that visit but will boycott that visit with all the power at my command. It is for that reason I stand before you and implore you to offer this religious battle, but it is not a battle offered to you by a visionary or a saint. I deny being a visionary. I do not accept the claim of saintliness. I am of the earth, earthy, a common gardener man as much as any one of you, probably much more than you are. I am prone to as many weaknesses as you are. But I have seen the world. I have lived in the world with my eyes open. I have gone through the most fiery ordeals that have fallen to the lot of man. I have gone through this discipline. I have understood the secret of my own sacred Hinduism. I have learnt the lesson that non-co-operation is the duty not merely of the saint but it is the duty of every ordinary citizen, who not know much, not caring to know much but wants to perform his ordinary household functions. The people of Europe touch even their masses, the poor people the doctrine of the sword. But the Rishis of India, those who have held the tradition of India have preached to the masses of India this doctrine, not of the sword, not of violence but of suffering, of self-suffering. And unless you and I am prepared to go through this primary lesson we are not ready even to offer the sword and that is the lesson my brother Shaukal Ali has imbibed to teach and that is why he to-day accepts my advice tendered to him in all prayerfulness and in all humility and says 'long live non-co-operation.' Please remember that even in England the little children were withdrawn from the schools; and colleges in Cambridge and Oxford were closed. Lawyers had left their desks and were fighting in the trenches. I do not present to you the trenches but I do ask you to go through the sacrifice that the men, women and the brave lads of England went through. Remember that you are offering battle to a nation which is saturated with their spirit of sacrifice whenever the occasion arises. Remember that the little band of Boers offered stubborn resistance to a mighty nation. But their lawyers had left their desks. Their mothers had withdrawn their children from the schools and colleges and the children had become the volunteers of the nation, I have seen them with these naked eyes of mine. I am asking my countrymen in India to follow no other gospel than the gospel of self-sacrifice which precedes every battle. Whether you belong to the school of violence or non-violence you will still have to go through the fire of sacrifice, and of discipline. May God grant you, may God grant our leaders the wisdom, the courage and the true knowledge to lead the nation to its cherished goal. May God grant the people of India the right path, the true vision and the ability and the courage to follow this path, difficult and yet easy, of sacrifice.
SPEECH AT TRICHINOPOLY
Mahatma Gandhi made the following speech at Trichinopoly on the 18th August 1920:
I think you on behalf of my brother Shaukat Ali and myself for the magnificent reception that the citizens of Trichinopoly have given to us. I thank you also for the many addresses that you have been good enough to present to us, but I must come to business.
It is a great pleasure to me to renew your acquaintance for reasons that I need not give you. I expect great things from Trichinopoly, Madura and a few places I could name. I take it that you have read my address on the Madras Beach on non-co-operation. Without taking up your time in this great assembly, I wish to deal with one or two matters that arise out of Mr. S. Kasturiranga Iyongar's speech. He says in effect that I should have waited for the Congress mandate on Non-co-operation. That was impossible, because the Mussulmans had and still have a duty, irrespective of the Hindus, to perform in reference to their own religion. It was impossible for them to wait for any mandate save the mandate of their own religion in a matter that vitally concerned the honour of Islam. It is therefore possible for them only to go to the Congress on bended knees with a clear cut programme of their own and ask the Congress to pronounce its blessings upon that programme and if they are not so fortunate as to secure the blessings of the National Assembly without meaning any disrespect to that assembly, it is their bounden duty to go on with their programme, and so it is the duty of every Hindu who considers his Mussalman brother as a brother who has a just cause which he wishes to vindicate, to throw in his lot with his Mussalman brother. Our leader does not quarrel with the principle of non-co-operation by itself, but he objects to the three principal details of non-co-operation.
He considers that it is our duty to seek election to the Councils and fight our battle on the floor of the Council hall. I do not deny the possibility of a fight and a royal fight on the Council floor. We have done it for the last 35 years, but I venture to suggest to you and to him, with all due respect, that it is not non-co-operation and it is not half as successful as non-co-operation can be. You cannot go to a class of people with a view to convince them by any fight--call it even obstruction--who have got a settled conviction and a settled policy to follow. It is in medical language an incompatible mixture out of which you can gain nothing, but if you totally boycott the Council, you create a public opinion in the country with reference to the Khilafat wrong and the Punjab wrong which will become totally irresistible. The first advantage of going to the Councils must be good-will on the part of the rulers. It is absolutely lacking. In the place of good-will you have got nothing but injustice but I must move on.
I come now to the second objection of Mr. Kasturiranga Iyengar with reference to the suspension by lawyers of their practice. Milk is good in itself but it comes absolutely poisonous immediately a little bit of arsenic is added to it. Law courts are similarly good when justice is distilled through them on behalf of a Sovereign power which wants to do justice to its people. Law courts are one of the greatest symbols of power and in the battle of non-co-operation, you may not leave law courts untouched and claim to offer non-co-operation, but if you will read that objection carefully, you will find in that objection the great fear that the lawyers will not respond to the call that the country makes upon them, and it is just there that the beauty of non-co-operation comes in. If one lawyer alone suspends practice, it is so much to the good of the country and so if we are sure to deprive the Government of the power that it possess through its law courts, whether one lawyer takes it up or many, we must adopt that step.
He objects also to the plan of boycotting Government schools. I can only say what I have said with reference to lawyers that if we mean non-co-operation, we may not receive any favours from the Government, no matter how advantageous by themselves they may be. In a great struggle like this, it is not open to us to count how many schools will respond and how many parents will respond and just as a geometrical problem is difficult, because it does not admit of easy proof, so also because a certain stage in national evolution is difficult, you may not avoid that step without making the whole of the evolution a farce.
We have had a great lesson in non-co-operation and co-operation. We had a lesson in non-co-operation when some young men began to fight there and it is a dangerous weapon. I have not the slightest doubt about it. One man with a determined will to non-co-operate can disturb a whole meeting and we had a physical demonstration of it to night but ours is non-violent, non-co-operation in which there can be no mistake whatsoever in the fundamental conditions are observed. If non-co-operation fails, it will not be for want of any inherent strength in it, but it will fall because there is no response to it, or because people have not sufficiently grasped its simple principles. You had also a practical demonstration of co-operation just now; that heavy chair went over the heads of so many people, because all wanted to lift their little hand to move that chair away from them and so was that heavier dome also removed from our sight by co-operation of man, woman and child. Everybody believes and knows that this Government of our exists only by the co-operation of the people and not by the force of arms it can wield and everyman with a sense of logic will tell you that the converse of that also is equally true that Government cannot stand if this co-operation on which it exists is withdrawn. Difficulties undoubtedly there are, we have hitherto learned how to sacrifice our voice and make speeches. We must also learn to sacrifice ease, money, comfort and that, we may learn form the Englishmen themselves. Every one who has studied English history knows that we are now engaged in a battle with a nation which is capable of great sacrifice and the three hundred millions of India cannot make their mark upon the world, or gain their self-respect without an adequate measure of sacrifice.
BOYCOTT OF BRITISH GOODS
Our friend has suggested the boycott of British or foreign goods. Boycott of all foreign goods is another name for Swadeshi. He thinks that there will be a greater response in the boycott of all foreign goods. With the experience of years behind me and with an intimate knowledge of the mercantile classes, I venture to tell you that boycott of foreign goods, or boycott of merely British goods is more impracticable than any of the stops I have suggested. Whereas in all the steps that I have ventured to suggest there is practically no sacrifice of money involved, in the boycott of British or foreign goods you are inviting your merchant princes to sacrifice their millions. It has got to be done, but it is an exceedingly low process. The same may be said of the steps that I have ventured to suggest, I know, but boycott of goods in conceived as a punishment and the punishment is only effective when it is inflicted. What I have ventured to suggest is not a punishment, but the performance of a sacred duty, a measure of self-denial from ourselves, and therefore it is effective from its very inception when it is undertaken even by one man and a substantial duty performed even by one single man lays the foundation of nations liberty.
I am most anxious for my nation, for my Mussalman brethren also, to understand that if they want to vindicate national honour or the honour of Islam, it will be vindicated without a shadow of doubt, not be conceiving a punishment or a series of punishments, but by an adequate measure of self-sacrifice. I wish to speak of all our leaders in terms of the greatest respect, but whatever respect we wish to pay them may not stop or arrest the progress of the country, and I am most anxious that the country at this very critical period of its history should make its choice. The choice clearly does not lie before you and me in wresting by force of arms the sceptre form the British nation, but the choice lies in suffering this double wrong of the Khilafat and the Punjab, in pocketing humiliation and in accepting national emasculation or vindication of India's honour by sacrifice to-day by every man, woman and child and those who feel convinced of the rightness of things, we should make that choice to-night. So, citizens of Trichinopoly, you may not wait for the whole of India but you can enforce the first step of non-co-operation and begin your operations even from to-morrow, if you have not done so already. You can surrender all your titles to-morrow all the lawyers may surrender their practice to-morrow; those who cannot sustain body and soul by any other means can be easily supported by the Khilafat Committee, if they will give their whole time and attention to the work of that Committee and if the layers will kindly do that, you will find that there is no difficulty in settling your disputes by private arbitration. You can nationalise your schools from to-morrow if you have got the will and the determination. It is difficult, I know, when only a few of you think these things. It is as easy as we are sitting here when the whole of this vast audience is of one mind and as it was easy for you to carry that chair so is it easy for you to enforce this programme from to-morrow if you have one will, one determination and love for your country, love for the honour of your country and religion. (Loud and prolonged cheers.)
SPEECH AT CALICUT
Mr. Chairman and friends.--On behalf of my brother Shaukut Ali and myself I wish to thank you most sincerely for the warm welcome you have extended to us. Before I begin to explain the purpose of our mission I have to give you the information that Pir Mahboob Shah who was being tried in Sindh for sedition has been sentenced to two years' simple imprisonment. I do not know exactly what the offence was with which the Pir was charged. I do not know whether the words attributed to him were ever spoken by him. But I do know that the Pirsaheb declined to offer any defence and with perfect resignation he has accepted his penalty. For me it is a matter of sincere pleasure that the Pirsaheb who exercises great influence over his followers has understood the spirit of the struggle upon which we have embarked. It is not by resisting the authority of Government that we expect to succeed in the great task before us. But I do expect that we shall succeed if we understand the spirit of non-co-operation. The Lieutenant-Governor of Burma himself has told us that the British retain their hold on India not by the force of arms but by the force of co-operation of the people. Thus he has given us the remedy for any wrong that the Government may do to the people, whether knowingly or unknowingly. And so long as we co-operate with the Government, so long as we support that Government, we become to that extent sharers in the wrong. I admit that in ordinary circumstances a wise subject will tolerate the wrongs of a Government, but a wise subject never tolerates a wrong that a Government imposes on the declared will of a people. And I venture to submit to this great meeting that the Government of India and the Imperial Government have done a double wrong to India, and if we are a nation of self-respecting people conscious of its dignity, conscious of its right, it is not just and proper that we should stand the double humiliation that the Government has heaped upon us. By shaping and by becoming a predominant partner in the peace terms imposed on the helpless Sultan of Turkey, the Imperial Government have intentionally flouted the cherished sentiment of the Mussalman subjects of the Empire. The present Prime Minister gave a deliberate pledge after consultation with his colleagues when it was necessary for him to conciliate the Mussalmans of India. I claim to have studied this Khilafat question in a special manner. I claim to understand the Mussalman feeling on the Khilafat question and I am here to declare for the tenth time that on the Khilafat matter the Government has wounded the Mussalman sentiment as they had never done before. And I say without fear of contradiction that if the Mussalmans of India had not exercised great self-restraint and if there was not the gospel of non-co-operation preached to them and if they had not accepted it, there would have been bloodshed in India by this time. I am free to confess that spilling of blood would not have availed their cause. But a man who is in a state of rage whose heart has become lacerated does not count the cost of his action. So much for the Khilafat wrong.
I propose to take you for a minute to the Punjab, the northern end of India. And what have both Governments done for the Punjab? I am free to confess again that the crowds in Amritsar went mad for a moment. They were goaded to madness by a wicked administration. But no madness on the part of a people can justify the shedding of innocent blood, and what have they paid for it? I venture to submit that no civilised Government could ever have made the people pay the penalty and retribution that they have paid. Innocent men were tried through mock-tribunals and imprisoned for life. Amnesty granted to them after; I count of no consequence. Innocent, unarmed men, who knew nothing of what was to happen, were butchered in cold blood without the slightest notice. Modesty of women in Manianwalla, women who had done no wrong to any individual, was outraged by insolent officers. I want you to understand what I mean by outrage of their modesty. Their veils were opened with his stick by an officer. Men who were declared to be utterly innocent by the Hunter Committee were made to crawl on their bellies. And all these wrongs totally undeserved remain unavenged. If it was the duty of the Government of India to punish those who were guilty of incendiarism and murder, as I hold it was their duty, it was doubly their duty to punish officers who insulted and oppressed innocent people. But in the face of these official wrongs we have the debate in the house of lords supporting official terrorism, it is this double wrong, the affront to Islam and the injury to the manhood of the Punjab, that we feel bound to wipe out by non-co-operation. We have prayed, petitioned, agitated, we have passed resolutions. Mr. Mahomed Ali supported by his friends is now waiting on the British public. He has pleaded the cause of Islam in a most manful manner, but his pleading has fallen on deaf ears and we have his word for it that whilst France and Italy have shown great sympathy for the cause of Islam, it is the British Ministers who have shown no sympathy. This shows which way the British Ministers and the present holders of office in India mean to deal by the people. There is no goodwill, there is no desire to placate the people of India. The people of India must therefore have a remedy to redress the double wrong. The method of the west is violence. Wherever the people of the west have felt a wrong either justly or unjustly, they have rebelled and shed blood. As I have said in my letter to the Viceroy of India, half of India does not believe in the remedy of violence. The other half is too weak to offer it. But the whole of India is deeply hurt and stirred by this wrong, and it is for that reason that I have suggested to the people of India the remedy of non-co-operation. I consider it perfectly harmless, absolutely constitutional and yet perfectly efficacious. It is a remedy in which, if it is properly adopted, victory is certain, and it is the age-old remedy of self-sacrifice. Are the Mussalmans of India who feel the great wrong done to Islam ready to make an adequate self-sacrifice? All the scriptures of the world teach us that there can be no compromise between justice and injustice. Co-operation on the part of a justice-loving man with an unjust man is a crime. And if we desire to compel this great Government to the will of the people, as we must, we must adopt this great remedy of non-co-operation. And if the Mussalmans of India offer non-co-operation to Government in order to secure justice in the Khilafat matter, I believe it is duty of the Hindus to help them so long as their moans are just. I consider the eternal friendship between the Hindus and Mussalmans is more important than the British connection. I would prefer any day anarchy and chaos in India to an armed peace brought about by the bayonet between the Hindus and Mussalmans. I have therefore ventured to suggest to my Hindu brethren that if they wanted to live at peace with Mussalmans, there is an opportunity which is not going to recur for the next hundred years. And I venture to assure you that if the Government of India and the Imperial Government come to know that there is a determination on the part of the people to redress this double wrong they would not hesitate to do what is needed. But in the Mussalmans of India will have to take the lead in the matter. You will have to commence the first stage of non-co-operation in right earnest. And if you may not help this Government, you may not receive help from it. Titles which were the other day titles of honour are to-day in my opinion badges of our disgrace. We must therefore surrender all titles of honour, all honorary offices. It will constitute an emphatic demonstration of the disapproval by the leaders of the people of the acts of the Government. Lawyers must suspend their practice and must resist the power of the Government which has chosen to flout public opinion. Nor may we receive instruction from schools controlled by Government and aided by it. Emptying of the schools will constitute a demonstration of the will of the middle class of India. It is far better for the nation even to neglect the literary instruction of the children than to co-operate with a Government that has striven to maintain an injustice and untruth on the Khilafat and Punjab matters. Similarly have I ventured to suggest a complete boycott of reformed councils. That will be an emphatic declaration of the part of the representatives of the people that they do not desire to associate with the Government so long as the two wrongs continue. We must equally decline to offer ourselves as recruits for the police or the military. It is impossible for us to go to Mesopotamia or to offer to police that country or to offer military assistance and to help the Government in that blood guiltiness. The last plank in the first stage is Swadeshi. Swadeshi is intended not so much to bring pressure upon the Government as to demonstrate the capacity for sacrifice on the part of the men and women of India. When one-fourth of India has its religion at stake and when the whole of India has its honour at stake, we can be in no mood to bedeck ourselves with French calico or silks from Japan. We must resolve to be satisfied with cloth woven by the humble weavers of India in their own cottages out of yarn spun by their sisters in their own homes. When a hundred years ago our tastes were not debased and we were not lured by all the fineries from the foreign countries, we were satisfied with the cloth produced by the men and women in India, and if I could but in a moment revolutionize the tastes of India and make it return to its original simplicity, I assure you that the Gods would descent to rejoice at the great act of renunciation. That is the first stage in non-co-operation. I hope it is as easy for you as it is easy for me to see that if India is capable of taking the first step in anything like a full measure that step will bring the redress we want. I therefore do not intend to take you to the other stages of non-co-operation. I would like you to rivet your attention upon the plans in the first stage. You will have noticed that but two things are necessary in going through the first stage: (1) Prefect spirit of non-violence is indispensable for non-co-operation, (2) only a little self-sacrifice, I pray to God that He will give the people of India sufficient courage and wisdom and patience to go through this experiment of non-co-operation. I think you for the great reception that you have given us. And I also thank you for the great patience and exemplary silence with which you have listened to my remarks.
SPEECH AT MANGALORE
Mr. Chairman and friends,--To my brother Shaukat Ali and me it was a pleasure to go through this beautiful garden of India. The great reception that you gave us this afternoon, and this great assembly are most welcome to us, if they are a demonstration of your sympathy with the cause which you have the honour to represent. I assure you that we have not undertaken this incessant travelling in order to have receptions and addresses, no matter how cordial they may be. But we have undertaken this travelling throughout the length and breadth of this dear Motherland to place before you the position that faces us to-day. It is our privilege, as it is our duty, to place that position before the country and let her make the choice.
Throughout our tour we have received many addresses, but in my humble opinion no address was more truly worded than the address that was presented to us at Kasargod. It addressed both of us as 'dear revered brothers.' I am unable to accept the second adjective 'revered.' The word 'dear' is dear to me I must confess. But dearer than that is the expression 'brothers.' The signatories to that address recognized the true significance of this travel. No blood brothers can possibly be more intimately related, can possibly be more united in one purpose, one aim than my brother Shaukat Ali and I. And I considered it a proud privilege and honour to be addressed as blood brother to Shaukat Ali. The contents of that address were as equally significant. It stated that in our united work was represented the essence of the unity between the Mussalmans and Hindus in India. If we two cannot represent that very desirable unity, if we two cannot cement the relation between the two communities, I do not know who can. Then without any rhetoric and without any flowery language the address went on to describe the inwardness of the Punjab and the Khilafat struggle; and then in simple and beautiful language it described the spiritual significance of Satyagrah and Non-co-operation. This was followed by a frank and simple promise. Although the signatories to the address realised the momentous nature of the struggle on which we have embarked, and although they sympathise with the struggle with their whole heart, they wound up by saying that even if they could not follow non-co-operation in all its details, they would do as much as they could to help the struggle. And lastly, in eloquent, and true language, they said 'if we cannot rise equal to the occasion it will not be due to want of effort but to want of ability.' I can desire no better address, no better promise, and if you, the citizens of Mangalore, can come up to the level of the signatories, and give us just the assurance that you consider the struggle to be right and that it commands your entire approval, I am certain you will make all sacrifice that lies in your power. For we are face to face with a peril greater than plagues, greater than influenza, greater than earthquakes and mighty floods, which sometimes overwhelm this land. These physical calamities can rob us of so many Indian bodies. But the calamity that has at the present moment overtaken India touches the religious honour of a fourth of her children and the self-respect of the whole nation. The Khilafat wrong affects the Mussalmans of India, and the Punjab calamity very nearly overwhelms the manhood of India. Shall we in the face of this danger be weak or rise to our full height. The remedy for both the wrongs is the spiritual solvent of non-co-operation. I call it a spiritual weapon, because it demands discipline and sacrifice from us. It demands sacrifice from every individual irrespective of the rest. And the promise that is behind this performance of duty, the promise given by every religion that I have studied is sure and certain. It is that there is no spotless sacrifice that has been yet offered on earth, which has not carried with it its absolute adequate reward. It is a spiritual weapon, because it waits for no mandate from anybody except one's own conscience. It is a spiritual weapon, because it brings out the best in the nation and it absolutely satisfies individual honour if a single individual takes it, and it will satisfy national honour if the whole nation takes it up. And therefore it is that I have called non-co-operation in opposition to the opinion of many of my distinguished countrymen and leaders--a weapon that is infallible and absolutely practicable. It is infallible and practicable, because it satisfies the demands of individual conscience. God above cannot, will not expect Maulana Shaukat Ali to do more than he has been doing, for he has surrendered and placed at the disposal of God whom he believes to be the Almighty ruler of everyone, he has delivered all in the service of God. And we stand before the citizens of Mangalore and ask them to make their choice either to accept this precious gift that we lay at their feet or to reject it. And after having listened to my message if you come to the come to the conclusion that you have no other remedy than non-co-operation for the conservation of Islam and the honour of India, you will accept that remedy. I ask you not to be confused by so many bewildering issues that are placed before you, nor to be shaken from your purpose because you see divided counsels amongst your leaders. This is one of the necessary limitations of any spiritual or any other struggle that has ever been fought on this earth. It is because it comes so suddenly that it confuses the mind if the heart is not tuned properly. And we would be perfect human beings on this earth if in all of us was found absolutely perfect correspondence between the mind and the heart. But those of you who have been following the newspaper controversy, will find that no matter what division of opinion exists amongst our journals and leaders there is unanimity that the remedy is efficacious if it can be kept free from violence, and if it is adopted on a large scale. I admit the difficulty the virtue however lies in surmounting it. We cannot possibly combine violence with a spiritual weapon like non-co-operation. We do not offer spotless sacrifice if we take the lives of others in offering our own. Absolute freedom from violence is therefore it condition precedent to non-co-operation. But I have faith in my country to know that when it has assimilated the principle of the doctrine In the fullest extent, it will respond to it. And in no case will India make any headway whatsoever until she has learnt the lesson of self-sacrifice. Even if this country were to take up the doctrine of the sword, which God forbid, it will have to learn the lesson of self-sacrifice. The second difficulty suggested is the want of solidarity of the nation. I accept it too. But that difficulty I have already answered by saying that it is a remedy that can be taken up by individuals for individual and by the nation for national satisfaction; and therefore even if the whole nation does not take up non-co-operation, the individual successes, which may be obtained by individuals taking up non-co-operation will stand to their own credit as of the nation to which they belong.
The first stage in my humble opinion is incredibly easy inasmuch as it does not involve any very great sacrifice. If your Khan bahadurs and other title-holders were to renounce their titles I venture to submit that whilst the renunciation will stand to the credit and honour of the nation it will involve a little or no sacrifice. On the contrary, they will not only have surrendered no earthly riches but they will have gained the applause of the nation. Let us see what it means, this first step. The able editor of _Hindu_, Mr. Kastariranga Iyengar, and almost every journalist in the country are agreed that the renunciation of titles is a necessary and a desirable step. And if these chosen people of the Government were without exception to surrender their titles to Government giving notice that the heart of India is doubly wounded in that the honour of India and of muslim religion is at stake and that therefore they can no longer retain their titles, I venture to suggest, that this their step which costs not a single penny either to them or to the nation will be an effective demonstration of the national will.
Take the second step or the second item of non-co-operation. I know there is strong opposition to the boycott of councils. The opposition when you begin to analyse it means not that the step is faulty or that it is not likely to succeed, but it is due to the belief that the whole country will not respond to it and that the Moderates will steal into the councils. I ask the citizens of Mangalore to dispel that fear from your hearts. United the voters of Mangalore can make it impossible for either a moderate or an extremist or any other form of leader to enter the councils as your representative. This step involves no sacrifice of money, no sacrifice of honour but the gaining of prestige for the whole nation. And I venture to suggest to you that this one step alone if it is taken with any degree of unanimity even by the extremists can bring about the desired relief, but if all do not respond the individual need not be afraid. He at least will have laid the foundation for true self progress, let him have the comfort that he at least has washed his hands clean of the guilt of the Government.
Then I come to the members of the profession which one time I used to carry on. I have ventured to ask the lawyers of India to suspend their practice and withdraw their support from a Government which no longer stands for justice, pure and unadulterated, for the nation. And the step is good for the individual lawyer who takes it and is good for the nation if all the lawyers take it.
And so for the Government and the Government aided schools, I must confess that I cannot reconcile my conscience to my children going to Government schools and to the programme of non-co-operation is intended to withdraw all support from Government, and to decline all help from it.
I will not tax your patience by taking you through the other items of non-co-operation important as they are. But I have ventured to place before you four very important and forcible steps any one of which if fully taken up contains in it possibilities of success. Swadeshi is preached as an item of non-co-operation, as a demonstration of the spirit of sacrifice, and it is an item which every man, woman and child can take up.
SPEECH AT BEZWADA
As I said this morning one essential condition for the progress of India is Hindu-Muslim Unity. I understand that there was a little bit of bickering between Hindus and Mussalmans to-day in Bezwada. My brother Maulana Shaukat Ali adjusted the dispute between the two communities and he illustrated in his own person the entire efficacy of one item in the first stage of Non-co-operation. He sat without any vakils appearing before him for either parties to arbitrate on the dispute between them. He required no postponement for the consideration of the question from time to time. His fees consisted in a broken lead pencil. That is what we should do, if all the lawyers suspended practice and set up arbitration for the settlement of private disputes. But why was there any quarrel at all? It is laughable in the extreme when you come to think of it. Because the Hindus seem to have played music whilst passing the mosque. I think it was improper for them to do so. Hindu Moslem Unity does not mean that Hindus should cease to respect the prejudices and sentiments cherished by Mussalmans. And as this question of music has given rise to many a quarrel between the two communities it behoves the Hindus, if they want to cultivate true Hindu-Moslem Unity, to refrain from acts which they know injure the sentiments of their Mussalman brethren. We may not take undue advantage of the great spirit of toleration that is developing in Mussalmans and do things likely to irritate them. It is never a matter of principle for a Hindu procession to continue playing music before mosques. And now that we desire voluntarily to respect Mussalman sentiment, we should be doubly careful at a time when Hindus are offering assistance to Mussalmans in their troubles. That assistance should be given in all humility and without any arrogation of rights. To my Mussalman brethren I would say that it would become their dignity to restrain themselves and not feel irritated when any Hindu had done anything to irritate their religious sentiment. But in any event, you have today presented to you a remedy for the settlement of any such issue. We must settle our disputes by arbitration as was done this after-noon. You cannot always get a Moulana Shankat Ali, exercising unrivalled influence on the community. But we can always get people enough in our own villages, towns and districts who exercise influence over such villages and towns and command the confidence of both the communities. The offended party should consider it its duty to approach them and not to take the law in its own hands.
It gives me much pleasure to announce to you that, Mr. Kaleswar Rao has consented to refrain from standing for election to the new Legislative Councils. You will be also pleased to know that Mr. Gulam Nohiuddin has resigned his Honorary Magistrateship, I hope that both these patriots will not consider that they have done their last duty by their acts of renunciation, but I hope they will regard their acts as a prelude to acts of greater purpose and greater energy and I hope they will take in hand the work of educating the electorate in their districts regarding boycott of councils. I have said elsewhere that never for another century will India be faced with a conjunction of events that faces it to-day. The cloud that has descended upon Islam has solidified the Moslem world as nothing else could have. It has awakened the men and women of Mussulman India from their deep sleep. Inasmuch as a single Panjabi was made to crawl on his belly in the famous street of Amitsar, I hold that the whole of was made to crawl on its belly. And if we want to straighten up ourselves from that crawling position and stand erect before the whole world, it requires, a tremendous effort. H.E. the Viceroy in his Viceregal pronouncement at the opening of the Council was pleased to say that he did not desire to make any remarks on the Punjab events. He treated them as a closed chapter and referred us to the future verdict of history. I venture to tell you the citizens of Bezwada that India will have deserved to crawl in that lane if she accepts this pronouncement as the final answer, and if we want to stand erect before the whole world, it is impossible for a single child, man or woman in India to rest until fullest reparation has been done for the Punjab wrong. Similarly with reference to the Khilafat grievance the Mussalmans of India in my humble opinion will forfeit all title to consider themselves the followers of the great Prophet in whose name they recite the Kalama, day in and day out, they will forfeit their title if they do not put their shoulders to the wheel and lift this cloud that is hanging on them. But we shall make a serious blunder. India will commit suicide, if we do not understand and appreciate the forces that are arrayed against us. We have got to face a mighty Government with all its power ranged against us. This composed of men who are able, courageous, capable of making sacrifices. It is a Government which does not scruple to use means, fair or foul, in order to gain its end. No craft is above that Government. It resorts to frightfulness, terrorism. It resorts to bribery, in the shape of titles, honour and high offices. It administers opiates in the shape of Reforms. In essence then it is an autocracy double distilled in the guise of democracy. The greatest gift of a crafty cunning man are worthless so long as cunning resides in his heart. It is a Government representing a civilisation which is purely material and godless. I have given to you these qualities of this government in order not to excite your angry passions, but in order that you may appreciate the forces that are matched against you. Anger will serve no purpose. We shall have to meet ungodliness by godliness. We shall have to meet their untruth by truth; we shall have to meet their cunning and their craft by openness and simplicity; we shall have to meet their terrorism and frightfulness by bravery. And it is an unbending bravery which is demanded of every man, woman and child. We must meet their organisation by greater organising ability. We must meet their discipline by grater discipline, and we must meet their sacrifices by infinitely greater sacrifices, and if we are in a position to show these qualities in a full measure I have not the slightest doubt that we shall win this battle. If really we have fear of God in us, our prayers will give us the strength to secure victory. God has always come to the help of the helpless and we need not go before any earthly power for help.
You heard this morning of the bravery of the sword, and the bravery of suffering. For me personally I have forever rejected the bravery of the sword. But, to-day it is not my purpose to demonstrate to you the final ineffectiveness of the sword. But he who runs may see that before India possesses itself a sword which will be more than a match for the forces of Europe, it will he generations. India may resort to the destruction of life and property here and there but such destructive cases serve no purpose. I have therefore presented to you a weapon called the bravery of suffering, otherwise called Non-co-operation. It is a bravery which is open to the weakest among the weak. It is open to women and children. The power of suffering is the prerogative of nobody, and if only 300 millions of Indians could show the power of suffering in order to redress a grievous wrong done to the nation or to its religion, I make bold to say that, India will never require to draw the sword. And unless we are able to show an adequate measure of sacrifice we shall lose this battle. No one need tell me that India has not got this power of suffering. Every father and mother is witness to what I am about to say, viz., that every father and mother have shown in the domestic affairs matchless power of suffering. And if we have only developed national consciousness, if we have developed sufficient regard for our religion, we shall have developed power of suffering in the national and religious field. Considered in these terms the first stage in Non-co-operation is the simplest and the easiest state. If the title-holders of India consider that India is suffering from a grievous wrong both as regards the Punjab and the Khilafat is it any suffering on their part to renounce their titles to-day? What is the measure of the suffering awaiting the lawyers who are called upon to suspend practice when compared to the great benefit which is in store for the nation? And if thy parents of India will summon up courage to sacrifice secular education, they will have given their children the real education of a life-time. For they will have learnt the value of religion and national honour. And I ask you, the citizens of Bezwada, to think well before you accept the loaves and fishes in the form of Government offices set them on one side and set national honour on the other and make your service. What sacrifice is there involved in the individual renouncing his candidature for legislative councils. The councils are a tempting bait. All kinds of arguments are being advanced in favour of joining the councils. India will sacrifice the opportunity of gaining her liberty if she touches them. It passes comprehension how we, who have known this Government, who have read the Viceregal pronouncement, how we who have known their determination not to give justice in the Punjab and the Khilafat matters, can gain any benefit by co-operation, constructive or obstructive, with this Government? But the Nationalists, belonging to a great popular party, tell us that if they do not contest these scats, the moderates will get in. Surely, it is nothing but an exhibition of want of courage and faith in our own cause to feel that we must enter the councils lest moderates should get in. Moderates believe in the possibility of obtaining justice at the hands of the Government. Nationalists have on the other hand filled the platforms with denunciations of the Government and its measures. How can the Nationalists ever hope to gain anything by entering the councils, holding the belief that they do? They will better represent the popular will if they wring justice from the Government by means of Non-co-operation. A calculating spirit at the present moment in the history of India will prove its ruin. I, therefore, tender my hearty congratulation to those who have announced their resignations of candidature or honorary offices, and I hope that their example will prove infectious. I have been told, and I believe it myself from what I have seen, that the Andhrus are a brave, courageous and spiritually-inclined people. I venture therefore to ask my Andhra brethren whether they have understood the spirituality of this beautiful doctrine of Non-co-operation. If they have, I hope they will not wait for a single moment for a mandate from the Congress or the Moslem League. They will understand that a spiritual weapon is god whether it is wielded by one or many. I, therefore, invite you to go to Calcutta with a united will and a united purpose, sanctified by a spirit of sacrifice, with a will of your own to convert those who are still undecided about the spirituality or the practicability of the weapon.
I thank you for the attention and patience with which you have listened to me. I pray to the Almighty that He may give you wisdom and courage that are so necessary at the present moment.--
The largest and the most important Congress ever held has come and gone, It was the biggest demonstration ever held against the present system of Government. The President uttered the whole truth when he said that it was a Congress in which, instead of the President and the leaders driving the people, the people drove him and the latter. It was clear to every one on the platform that the people had taken the reins in their own hands. The platform would gladly have moved at a slower pace.
The Congress gave one day to a full discussion of the creed and voted solidly for it with but two dissentients after two nights' sleep over the discussion. It gave one day to a discussion of non-co-operation resolution and voted for it with unparalleled enthusiasm. It gave the last day to listening to the whole of the remaining thirty-two Articles of the Constitution which were read and translated word for word by Maulana Mahomed Ali in a loud and clear voice. It showed that it was intelligently following the reading of it, for there was dissent when Article Eight was reached. It referred to non-interference by the Congress in the internal affairs of the Native States. The Congress would not have passed the proviso if it had meant that it could even voice the feelings of the people residing in the territories ruled by the princes. Happily it resolution suggesting the advisability of establishing Responsible Government in their territories enabled me to illustrate to the audience that the proviso did not preclude the Congress from ventilating the grievances and aspirations of the subjects of these states, whilst it clearly prevented the Congress from taking any executive action in connection with them; as for instance holding a hostile demonstration in the Native States against any action of theirs. The Congress claims to dictate to the Government but it cannot do so by the very nature of its constitution in respect of the Native States.
Thus the Congress has taken three important steps after the greatest deliberation. It has expressed its determination in the clearest possible terms to attain complete null-government, if possible still in association with the British people, but even without, if necessary. It proposes to do so only by means that are honourable and non-violent. It has introduced fundamental changes in the constitution regulating its activities and has performed an act of self-denial in voluntarily restricting the number of delegates to one for every fifty thousand of the population of India and has insisted upon the delegates being the real representatives of those who want to take any part in the political life of the country. And with a view to ensuring the representation of all political parties it has accepted the principle of "single transferable vote." It has reaffirmed the non-co-operation resolution of the Special Session and amplified it in every respect. It has emphasised the necessity of non-violence and laid down that the attainment of Swaraj is conditional upon the complete harmony between the component parts of India, and has therefore inculcated Hindu-Muslim unity. The Hindu delegates have called upon their leaders to settle disputes between Brahmins and non-Brahmins and have urged upon the religious heads the necessity of getting rid of the poison of untouchability. The Congress has told the parents of school- going children, and the lawyers that they have not responded sufficiently to the call of the nation and and that they must make greater effort in doing so. It therefore follows that the lawyers who do not respond quickly to the call for suspension and the parents who persist in keeping their children in Government and aided institutions must find themselves dropping out from the public life of the country. The country calls upon every man and woman in India to do their full share. But of the details of the non-co-operation resolution I must write later.
WHO IS DISLOYAL?
Mr. Montagu has discovered a new definition of disloyalty. He considers my suggestion to boycott the visit of the Prince of Wales to be disloyal and some newspapers taking the cue from him have called persons who have made the suggestion 'unmannerly'. They have even attributed to these 'unmannerly' persons the suggestion of boycotting the Prince. I draw a sharp and fundamental distinction between boycotting the Prince and boycotting any welcome arranged for him. Personally I would extend the heartiest welcome to His Royal Highness if he came or could come without official patronage and the protecting wings of the Government of the day. Being the heir to a constitutional monarch, the Prince's movements are regulated and dictated by the ministers, no matter how much the dictation may be concealed beneath diplomatically polite language. In suggesting the boycott therefore the promoters have suggested boycott of an insolent bureaucracy and dishonest ministers of his Majesty.
You cannot have it both ways. It is true that under a constitutional monarchy, the royalty is above politics. But you cannot send the Prince on a political visit for the purpose of making political capital out of him, and then complain that those who will not play your game and in order to checkmate you, proclaim boycott of the Royal visit do not know constitutional usage. For the Prince's visit is not for pleasure. His Royal Highness is to come in Mr. Lloyd George's words, as the "ambassador of the British nation," in other words, his own ambassador in order to issue a certificate of merit to him and possibly to give the ministers a new lease of life. The wish is designed to consolidate and strengthen a power that spells mischief for India. Even us it is, Mr. Montagu has foreseen, that the welcome will probably be excelled by any hitherto extended to Royalty, meaning that the people are not really and deeply affected and stirred by the official atrocities in the Punjab and the manifestly dishonest breach of official declarations on the Khilafat. With the knowledge that India was bleeding at heart, the Government of India should have told His Majesty's ministers that the moment was inopportune for sending the Prince. I venture to submit that it is adding insult to injury to bring the Prince and through his visit to steal honours and further prestige for a Government that deserves to be dismissed with disgrace. I claim that I prove my loyalty by saying that India is in no mood, is too deeply in mourning, to take part in and to welcome His Royal Highness, and that the ministers and the Indian Government show their disloyalty by making the Prince a catspaw of their deep political game. If they persist, it is the clear duty of India to have nothing to do with the visit.
CRUSADE AGAINST NON-COOPERATION
I have most carefully read the manifesto addressed by Sir Narayan Chandavarkar and others dissuading the people from joining the non co-operation movement. I had expected to find some solid argument against non-co-operation, but to my great regret I have found in it nothing but distortion (no doubt unconscious) of the great religions and history. The manifesto says that 'non-co-operation is deprecated by the religious tenets and traditions of our motherland, nay, of all the religions that have saved and elevated the human race.' I venture to submit that the Bhagwad Gita is a gospel of non-co-operation between forces of darkness and those of light. If it is to be literally interpreted Arjun representing a just cause was enjoined to engage in bloody warfare with the unjust Kauravas. Tulsidas advises the Sant (the good) to shun the Asant (the evil-doers). The Zendavesta represents a perpetual dual between Ormuzd and Ahriman, between whom there is no compromise. To say of the Bible that it taboos non-co-operation is not to know Jesus, a Prince among passive resisters, who uncompromisingly challenged the might of the Sadducees and the Pharisees and for the sake of truth did not hesitate to divide sons from their parents. And what did the Prophet of Islam do? He non-co-operated in Mecca in a most active manner so long as his life was not in danger and wiped the dust of Mecca off his feet when he found that he and his followers might have uselessly to perish, and fled to Medina and returned when he was strong enough to give battle to his opponents. The duty of non-co-operation with unjust men and kings is as strictly enjoined by all the religions as is the duty of co-operation with just men and kings. Indeed most of the scriptures of the world seem even to go beyond non-co-operation and prefer a violence to effeminate submission to a wrong. The Hindu religious tradition of which the manifesto speaks, clearly proves the duty of non-co-operation. Prahlad dissociated himself from his father, Meerabai from her husband, Bibhishan from his brutal brother.
The manifesto speaking of the secular aspect says, 'The history of nations affords no instance to show that it (meaning non-co-operation) has, when employed, succeeded and done good,' One most recent instance of brilliant success of non-co-operation is that of General Botha who boycotted Lord Milner's reformed councils and thereby procured a perfect constitution for his country. The Dukhobours of Russia offered non-co-operation, and a handful though they were, their grievances so deeply moved the civilized world that Canada offered them a home where they form a prosperous community. In India instances can be given by the dozen, in which in little principalities the raiyats when deeply grieved by their chiefs have cut off all connection with them and bent them to their will. I know of no instance in history where well-managed non-co-operation has failed.
Hitherto I have given historical instances of bloodless non-co-operation, I will not insult the intelligence of the reader by citing historical instances of non-co-operation combined with, violence, but I am free to confess that there are on record as many successes as failures in violent non-co-operation. And it is because I know this fact that I have placed before the country a non-violent scheme in which, if at all worked satisfactorily, success is a certainty and in which non-response means no harm. For if even one man non-co-operates, say, by resigning some office, he has gained, not lost. That is its ethical or religious aspect. For its political result naturally it requires polymerous support. I fear therefore no disastrous result from non-co-operation save for an outbreak of violence on the part of the people whether under provocation or otherwise. I would risk violence a thousand times than risk the emasculation of a whole race.
SPEECH AT MUZAFFARABAD
Before a crowded meeting of Mussalmans in the Muzaffarabad, Bombay, held on the 29th July 1920, speaking on the impending non-co-operation which commenced on the 1st of August, Mr. Gandhi said: The time for speeches on non-co-operation was past and the time for practice had arrived. But two things were needful for complete success. An environment free from any violence on the part of the people and a spirit of self-sacrifice. Non-co-operation, as the speaker had conceived it, was an impossibility in an atmosphere surcharged with the spirit of violence. Violence was an exhibition of anger and any such exhibition was dissipation of valuable energy. Subduing of one's anger was a storing up of national energy, which, when set free in an ordered manner, would produce astounding results. His conception of non-co-operation did not involve rapine, plunder, incendiarism and all the concomitants of mass madness. His scheme presupposed ability on their part to control all the forces of evil. If, therefore, any disorderliness was found on the part of the people which they could not control, he for one would certainly help the Government to control them. In the presence of disorder it would be for him a choice of evil, and evil through he considered the present Government to be, he would not hesitate for the time being to help the Government to control disorder. But he had faith in the people. He believed that they knew that the cause could only be won by non-violent methods. To put it at the lowest, the people had not the power, even if they had the will, to resist with brute strength the unjust Governments of Europe who had, in the intoxication of their success disregarding every canon of justice dealt so cruelly by the only Islamic Power in Europe.
In non-co-operation they had a matchless and powerful weapon. It was a sign of religious atrophy to sustain an unjust Government that supported an injustice by resorting to untruth and camouflage. So long therefore as the Government did not purge itself of the canker of injustice and untruth, it was their duty to withdraw all help from it consistently with their ability to preserve order in the social structure. The first stage of non-co-operation was therefore arranged so as to involve minimum of danger to public peace and minimum of sacrifice on the part of those who participated in the movement. And if they might not help an evil Government nor receive any favours from it, it followed that they must give up all titles of honour which were no longer a proud possession. Lawyers, who were in reality honorary officers of the Court, should cease to support Courts that uphold the prestige of an unjust Government and the people must be able to settle their disputes and quarrels by private arbitration. Similarly parents should withdraw their children from the public schools and they must evolve a system of national education or private education totally independent of the Government. An insolent Government conscious of its brute strength, might laugh at such withdrawals by the people especially as the Law courts and schools were supposed to help the people, but he had not a shadow of doubt that the moral effect of such a step could not possibly be lost even upon a Government whose conscience had become stifled by the intoxication of power.
He had hesitation in accepting Swadeshi as a plank in non-co-operation. To him Swadeshi was as dear as life itself. But he had no desire to smuggle in Swadeshi through the Khilafat movement, if it could not legitimately help that movement, but conceived as non-co-operation was, in a spirit of self-sacrifice, Swadeshi had a legitimate place in the movement. Pure Swadeshi meant sacrifice of the liking for fineries. He asked the nation to sacrifice its liking for the fineries of Europe and Japan and be satisfied with the coarse but beautiful fabrics woven on their handlooms out of yarns spun by millions of their sisters. If the nation had become really awakened to a sense of the danger to its religions and its self-respect, it could not but perceive the absolute and immediate necessity of the adoption of Swadeshi in its intense form and if the people of India adopted Swadeshi with the religious zeal he begged to assure them that its adoption would arm them with a new power and would produce an unmistakable impression throughout the whole world. He, therefore, expected the Mussalmans to give the lead by giving up all the fineries they were so fond of and adopt the simple cloth that could be produced by the manual labour of their sisters and brethren in their own cottages. And he hoped that the Hindus would follow suit. It was a sacrifice in which the whole nation, every man, woman and child could take part.
RIDICULE REPLACING REPRESSION
Had His Excellency the Viceroy not made it impossible by his defiant attitude on the Punjab and the Khilafat, I would have tendered him hearty congratulations for substituting ridicule for repression in order to kill a movement distasteful to him. For, torn from its context and read by itself His Excellency's discourse on non-co-operation is unexceptionable. It is a symptom of translation from savagery to civilization. Pouring ridicule on one's opponent is an approved method in civilised politics. And if the method is consistently continued, it will mark an important improvement upon the official barbarity of the Punjab. His interpretation of Mr. Montagu's statement about the movement is also not open to any objection whatsoever. Without doubt a government has the right to use sufficient force to put down an actual outbreak of violence.
But I regret to have to confess that this attempt to pour ridicule on the movement, read in conjunction with the sentiments on the Punjab and the Khilafat, preceding the ridicule, seems to show that His Excellency has made it a virtue of necessity. He has not finally abandoned the method of terrorism and frightfulness, but he finds the movement being conducted in such an open and truthful manner that any attempt to kill it by violent repression would not expose him not only to ridicule but contempt of all right-thinking men.
Let us however examine the adjectives used by His Excellency to kill the movement by laughing at it. It is 'futile,' 'ill-advised,' 'intrinsically insane,' 'unpractical,' 'visionary.' He has rounded off the adjectives by describing the movement as 'most foolish of all foolish schemes.' His Excellency has become so impatient of it that he has used all his vocabulary for showing the magnitude of the ridiculous nature of non-co-operation.
Unfortunately for His Excellency the movement is likely to grow with ridicule as it is certain to flourish on repression. No vital movement can be killed except by the impatience, ignorance or laziness of its authors. A movement cannot be 'insane' that is conducted by men of action as I claim the members of the Non-co-operation Committee are. It is hardly 'unpractical,' seeing that if the people respond, every one admits that it will achieve the end. At the same time it is perfectly true that if there is no response from the people, the movement will be popularly described as 'visionary.' It is for the nation to return an effective answer by organised non-co-operation and change ridicule into respect. Ridicule is like repression. Both give place to respect when they fail to produce the intended effect.
THE VICEREGAL PRONOUNCEMENT
It may be that having lost faith in His Excellency's probity and capacity to hold the high office of Viceroy of India, I now read his speeches with a biased mind, but the speech His Excellency delivered at the time of opening of the council shows to me a mental attitude which makes association with him or his Government impossible for self-respecting men.
The remarks on the Punjab mean a flat refusal to grant redress. He would have us to 'concentrate on the problems of the immediate future!' The immediate future is to compel repentance on the part of the Government on the Punjab matter. Of this there is no sign. On the contrary, His Excellency resists the temptation to reply to his critics, meaning thereby that he has not changed his opinion on the many vital matters affecting the honour of India. He is 'content to leave the issues to the verdict of history.' Now this kind of language, in my opinion, is calculated further to inflame the Indian mind. Of what use can a favourable verdict of history be to men who have been wronged and who are still under the heels of officers who have shown themselves utterly unfit to hold offices of trust and responsibility? The plea for co-operation is, to say the least, hypocritical in the face of the determination to refuse justice to the Punjab. Can a patient who is suffering from an intolerable ache be soothed by the most tempting dishes placed before him? Will he not consider it mockery on the part of the physician who so tempted him without curing him of his pain?
His Excellency is, if possible, even less happy on the Khilafat. "So far as any Government could," says this trustee for the nation, "we pressed upon the Peace Conference the views of Indian Moslems. But notwithstanding our efforts on their behalf we are threatened with a campaign of non-co-operation because, forsooth, the allied Powers found themselves unable to accept the contentions advanced by Indian Moslems." This is most misleading if not untruthful. His Excellency knows that the peace terms are not the work of the allied Powers. He knows that Mr. Lloyd George is the prime author of terms and that the latter has never repudiated his responsibility for them. He has with amazing audacity justified them in spite of his considered pledge to the Moslems of India regarding Constantinople, Thrace and the rich and renowned lands of Asia minor. It is not truthful to saddle responsibility for the terms on the allied Powers when Great Britain alone has promoted them. The offence of the Viceroy becomes greater when we remember that he admits the justness of the Muslim claim. He could not have 'pressed' it if he did not admit its justice.
I venture to think that His Excellency by his pronouncement on the Punjab has strengthened the nation in its efforts to seek a remedy to compel redress of the two wrongs before it can make anything of the so-called Reforms.
FROM RIDICULE, TO...?
It will be admitted that non-co-operation has passed the stage ridicule. Whether it will now be met by repression or respect remains to be seen. Opinion has already been expressed in these columns that ridicule is an approved and civilized method of opposition. The viceregal ridicule though expressed in unnecessarily impolite terms was not open to exception.
But the testing time has now arrived. In a civilized country when ridicule fails to kill a movement it begins to command respect. Opponents meet it by respectful and cogent argument and the mutual behaviour of rival parties never becomes violent. Each party seeks to convert the other or draw the uncertain element towards its side by pure argument and reasoning.
There is little doubt now that the boycott of the councils will be extensive if it is not complete. The students have become disturbed. Important institutions may any day become truly national. Pandit Motilal Nehru's great renunc iation of a legal practice which was probably second to nobody's is by itself an event calculated to change ridicule into respect. It ought to set people thinking seriously about their own attitude. There must be something very wrong about our Government--to warrant the step Pundit Motilal Nehru has taken. Post graduate students have given up their fellowships. Medical students have refused to appear for their final examination. Non-co-operation in these circumstances cannot be called an inane movement.
Either the Government must bend to the will of the people which is being expressed in no unmistakable terms through non-co-operation, or it must attempt to crush the movement by repression.
Any force used by a government under any circumstance is not repression. An open trial of a person accused of having advocated methods of violence is not repression. Every State has the right to put down or prevent violence by force. But the trial of Mr. Zafar Ali Khan and two Moulvis of Panipat shows that the Government is seeking not to put down or prevent violence but to suppress expression of opinion, to prevent the spread of disaffection. This is repression. The trials are the beginning of it. It has not still assumed a virulent form but if these trials do not result in stilling the propaganda, it is highly likely that severe repression will be resorted to by the Government.
The only other way to prevent the spread of disaffection is to remove the causes thereof. And that would be to respect the growing response of the country to the programme of non-co-operation. It is too much to expect repentance and humility from a government intoxicated with success and power.
We must therefore assume that the second stage in the Government programme will be repression growing in violence in the same ratio as the progress of non-co-operation. And if the movement survives repression, the day of victory of truth is near. We must then be prepared for prosecutions, punishments even up to deportations. We must evolve the capacity for going on with our programme without the leaders. That means capacity for self-government. And as no government in the world can possibly put a whole nation in prison, it must yield to its demand or abdication in favour of a government suited to that nation.
It is clear that abstention from violence and persistence in the programme are our only and surest chance of attaining our end.
The government has its choice, either to respect the movement or to try to repress it by barbarous methods. Our choice is either to succumb to repression or to continue in spite of repression.
TO EVERY ENGLISHMAN IN INDIA
I wish that every Englishman will see this appeal and give thoughtful attention to it.
Let me introduce myself to you. In my humble opinion no Indian has co-operated with the British Government more than I have for an unbroken period of twenty-nine years of public life in the face of circumstances that might well have turned any other man into a rebel. I ask you to believe me when I tell you that my co-operation was not based on the fear of the punishments provided by your laws or any other selfish motives. It was free and voluntary co-operation based on the belief that the sum total of the activity of the British Government was for the benefit of India. I put my life in peril four times for the sake of the Empire,--at the time of the Boer war when I was in charge of the Ambulance corps whose work was mentioned in General Buller's dispatches, at the time of the Zulu revolt in Natal when I was in charge of a similar corps at the time of the commencement of the late war when I raised an Ambulance corps and as a result of the strenuous training had a severe attack of pleurisy, and lastly, in fulfilment of my promise to Lord Chelmsford at the War Conference in Delhi. I threw myself in such an active recruiting campaign in Kuira District involving long and trying marches that I had an attack of dysentry which proved almost fatal. I did all this in the full belief that acts such as mine must gain for my country an equal status in the Empire. So late as last December I pleaded hard for a trustful co-operation, I fully believed that Mr. Lloyd George would redeem his promise to the Mussalmans and that the revelations of the official atrocities in the Punjab would secure full reparation for the Punjabis. But the treachery of Mr. Lloyd George and its appreciation by you, and the condonation of the Punjab atrocities have completely shattered my faith in the good intentions of the Government and the nation which is supporting it.
But though, my faith in your good intentions is gone, I recognise your bravery and I know that what you will not yield to justice and reason, you will gladly yield to bravery.
_See what this Empire means to India_
Exploitation of India's resources for the benefit of Great Britain.
An ever-increasing military expenditure, and a civil service the most expensive in the world.
Extravagant working of every department in utter disregard of India's poverty.
Disarmament and consequent emasculation of a whole nation lest an armed nation might imperil the lives of a handful of you in o ur midst. Traffic in intoxicating liquors and drugs for the purposes of sustaining a top heavy administration.
Progressively representative legislation in order to suppress an evergrowing agitation seeking to give expression to a nation's agony.
Degrading treatment of Indians residing in your dominions, and
You have shown total disregard of our feelings by glorifying the Punjab administration and flouting the Mosulman sentiment.
I know you would not mind if we could fight and wrest the sceptre form your hands. You know that we are powerless to do that, for you have ensured our incapacity to fight in open and honourable battle. Bravery on the battlefield is thus impossible for us. Bravery of the soul still remains open to us. I know you will respond to that also. I am engaged in evoking that bravery. Non-co-operation means nothing less than training in self-sacrifice. Why should we co-operate with you when we know that by your administration of this great country we are lifting daily enslaved in an increasing degree. This response of the people to my appeal is not due to my personality. I would like you to dismiss me, and for that matter the Ali Brothers too, from your consideration. My personality will fail to evoke any response to anti-Muslim cry if I were foolish enough to rise it, as the magic name of the Ali Brothers would fail to inspire the Mussalmans with enthusiasm if they were madly to raise in anti-Hindu cry. People flock in their thousands to listen to us because we to-day represent the voice of a nation groaning under iron heels. The Ali Brothers were your friends as I was, and still am. My religion forbids me to bear any ill-will towards you. I would not raise my hand against you even if I had the power. I expect to conquer you only by my suffering. The Ali Brothers will certainly draw the sword, if they could, in defence of their religion and their country. But they and I have made common cause with the people of India in their attempt to voice their feelings and to find a remedy for their distress.
You are in search of a remedy to suppress this rising ebullition of national feeling. I venture to suggest to you that the only way to suppress it is to remove the causes. You have yet the power. You can repent of the wrongs done to Indians. You can compel Mr. Lloyd George to redeem his promises. I assure you he has kept many escape doors. You can compel the Viceroy to retire in favour of a better one, you can revise your ideas about Sir Michael O'Dwyer and General Dyer. You can compel the Government to summon a conference of the recognised lenders of the people, duly elected by them and representing all shades of opinion so as to devise means for granting _Swaraj_ in accordance with the wishes of the people of India. But this you cannot do unless you consider every Indian to be in reality your equal and brother. I ask for no patronage, I merely point out to you, as a friend, as honourable solution of a grave problem. The other solution, namely repression is open to YOU. I prophesy that it will fail. It has begun already. The Government has already imprisoned two brave men of Panipat for holding and expressing their opinions freely. Another is on his trial in Lahore for having expressed similar opinion. One in the Oudh District is already imprisoned. Another awaits judgment. You should know what is going on in your midst. Our propaganda is being carried on in anticipation of repression. I invite you respectfully to choose the better way and make common cause with the people of India whose salt you are eating. To seek to thwart their inspirations is disloyalty to the country.
Your faithful friend,
M. K. GANDHI
ONE STEP ENOUGH FOR ME
Mr. Stokes is a Christian, who wants to follow the light that God gives him. He has adopted India as his home. He is watching the non-co-operation movement from the Kotgarh hills where he is living in isolation from the India of the plains and serving the hillmen. He has contributed three articles on non-co-operation to the columns of the Servant of Calcutta and other papers. I had the pleasure of reading them during my Bengal tour. Mr. Stokes approves of non-co-operation but dreads the consequences that may follow complete success _i.e.,_ evacuation of India by the British. He conjures up before his mind a picture of India invaded by the Afghans from the North-West, plundered by the Gurkhas from the Hills. For me I say with Cardinal Newman: 'I do not ask to see the distant scene; one step enough for me.' The movement is essentially religious. The business of every god-fearing man is to dissociate himself from evil in total disregard of consequences. He must have faith in a good deed producing only a good result: that in my opinion is the Gita doctrine of work without attachment. God does not permit him to peep into the future. He follows truth although the following of it may endanger his very life. He knows that it is better to die in the way of God than to live in the way of Satan. Therefore who ever is satisfied that this Government represents the activity of Satan has no choice left to him but to dissociate himself from it.
However, let us consider the worst that can happen to India on a sudden evacuation of India by the British. What does it matter that the Gurkhas and the Pathans attack us? Surely we would be better able to deal with their violence than we are with the continued violence, moral and physical, perpetrated by the present Government. Mr. Stokes does not seem to eschew the use of physical force. Surely the combined labour of the Rajput, the Sikh and the Mussalman warriors in a united India may be trusted to deal with plunderers from any or all the sides. Imagine however the worst: Japan overwhelming us from the Bay of Bengal, the Gurkhas from the Hills, and the Pathans from the North-West. If we not succeed in driving them out we make terms with them and drive them at the first opportunity. This will be a more manly course than a hopeless submission to an admittedly wrongful State.
But I refuse to contemplate the dismal out-look. If the movement succeeds through non-violent non-co-operation, and that is the supposition Mr. Stokes has started with, the English whether they remain or retire, they will do so as friends and under a well-ordered agreement as between partners. I still believe in the goodness of human nature, whether it is English or any other. I therefore do not believe that the English will leave in a night.
And do I consider the Gurkha and the Afghan being incorrigible thieves and robbers without ability to respond to purifying influences? I do not. If India returns to her spirituality, it will react upon the neighbouring tribes, she will interest herself in the welfare of these hardy but poor people, and even support them if necessary, not out of fear but as a matter of neighbourly duty. She will have dealt with Japan simultaneously with the British. Japan will not want to invade India, if India has learnt to consider it a sin to use a single foreign article that she can manufacture within her own borders. She produces enough to eat and her men and women can without difficulty manufacture enough to clothe to cover their nakedness and protect themselves from heat and cold. We become prey to invasion if we excite the greed of foreign nation, by dealing with them under a feeling dependence on them. We must learn to be independent of every one of them.
Whether therefore we finally succeed through violence or non-violence in my opinion, the prospect is by no means so gloomy as Mr. Stokes has imagined. Any conceivable prospect is, in my opinion, less black than the present unmanly and helpless condition. And we cannot do better than following out fearlessly and with confidence the open and honourable programme of non-violence and sacrifice that we have mapped for ourselves.
THE NEED FOR HUMILITY
The spirit of non-violence necessarily leads to humility. Non-violence means reliance on God, the Rocks of ages. If we would seek His aid, we must approach Him with a humble and a contrite heart. Non-co-operationists may not trade upon their amazing success at the Congress. We must act, even as the mango tree which drops as it bears fruit. Its grandeur lies in its majestic lowliness. But one hears of non-co-operationists being insolent and intolerant in their behaviour towards those who differ from them. I know that they will lose all their majesty and glory, if they betray any inflation. Whilst we may not be dissatisfied with the progress made so far, we have little to our credit to make us feel proud. We have to sacrifice much more than we have done to justify pride, much less elation. Thousands, who flocked to the Congress pandal, have undoubtedly given their intellectual assent to the doctrine but few have followed it out in practice. Leaving aside the pleaders, how many parents have withdrawn their children from schools? How many of those who registered their vote in favour of non-co-operation have taken to hand-spinning or discarded the use of all foreign cloth?
Non-co-operation is not a movement of brag, bluster, or bluff. It is a test of our sincerity. It requires solid and silent self-sacrifice. It challenges our honesty and our capacity for national work. It is a movement that aims at translating ideas into action. And the more we do, the more we find that much more must be done than we have expected. And this thought of our imperfection must make us humble.
A non-co-operationist strives to compel attention and to set an example not by his violence but by his unobtrusive humility. He allows his solid action to speak for his creed. His strength lies in his reliance upon the correctness of his position. And the conviction of it grows most in his opponent when he least interposes his speech between his action and his opponent. Speech, especially when it is haughty, betrays want of confidence and it makes one's opponent sceptical about the reality of the act itself. Humility therefore is the key to quick success. I hope that every non-co-operationist will recognise the necessity of being humble and self-restrained. It is because so little is really required to be done because all of that little depends entirely upon ourselves that I have ventured the belief that Swaraj is attainable in less than one year.
SOME QUESTIONS ANSWERED
"I write to thank you for yours of the 7th instant and especially for your request that I should after reading your writings in "Young India" on non-co-operation, give a full and frank criticism of them. I know that your sole desire is to find out the truth and to act accordingly, and hence I venture to make the following remarks. In the issue of May 5th you say that non-co-operation is "not even anti-Government." But surely to refuse to have anything to do with the Government to the extent of not serving it and of not paying its taxes is actually, if not theoretically anti-Government; and such a course must ultimately make all Government impossible. Again, you say, "It is the inherent right of a subject to refuse to assist a government that will not listen to him." Leaving aside the question of the ethical soundness of this proposition, may I ask which Government, in the present case? Has not the Indian Government done all it possibly can in the matter? Then if its attempts to voice the request of India should fail, would it be fair and just to do anything against it? Would not the proper course be non-co-operation with the Supreme Council of the Allies, including Great Britain, if it be found that the latter has failed properly to support the demand of the Indian Government and people? It seems to me that in all your writings and speeches you forget that in the present question both Government and people are as one, and if they fail to get what they justly want, how does the question of non-co-operation arise? Hindus and Englishmen and the Government are all at present "shouldering in a full-hearted manner the burden that Muhomedans of India are carrying etc. etc." But supposing we fail of our object--what then? Are we all to refuse to co-operate and with whom?
Might I recommend the consideration of the following course of conduct?
(1) "Wait and see" what the actual terms of the Treaty with Turkey are?
(2) If they are not in accordance with the aspirations and recommendations of the Government and the people of India, the every legitimate effort should be made to have the terms revised.
(3) To the bitter end, co-operate with a Government that co-operates with us, and only when it refuses co-operation, go in for non-co-operation.
So far I personally see no reason whatsoever for non-co-operation with the Indian Government, and till it fails to voice the needs and demands of India as a whole there can be no reason. The Indian Government does some times make mistakes, but in the Khilafat matter it is sound and therefore deserves or ought to have the sympathetic and whole-hearted co-operation of every one in India. I hope that you will kindly consider the above and perhaps you will be able to find time for a reply in _Young India_."
I gladly make room for the above letter and respond to the suggestion to give a public reply as no doubt the difficulty experienced by the English friend is experienced by many. Causes are generally lost, not owing to the determined opposition of men who will not see the truth as they want to perpetuate an injustice but because they are able to enlist in their favour the allegiance of those who are anxious to understand a particular cause and take sides after mature judgment. It is only by patient argument with such honest men that one is able to check oneself, correct one's own errors of judgment and at times to wean them from their error and bring them over to one's side. This Khilafat question is specially difficult because there are so many side-issues. It is therefore no wonder that many have more or less difficulty in making up their minds. It is further complicated because the painful necessity for some direct action has arisen in connection with it. But whatever the difficulty, I am convinced that there is no question so important as this one if we want harmony and peace in India.
My friend objects to my statement that non-co-operation is not anti-Government, because he considers that refusal to serve it and pay its taxes is actually anti-Government. I respectfully dissent from the view. If a brother has fundamental differences with his brother, and association with the latter involves his partaking of what in his opinion is an injustice. I hold that it is brotherly duty to refrain from serving his brother and sharing his earnings with him. This happens in everyday life. Prahalad did not act against his father, when he declined to associate himself with the latter's blasphemies. Nor was Jesus anti-Jewish when he declaimed against the Pharisees and the hypocrites, and would have none of them. In such matters, is it not intention that determines the character of a particular act? It is hardly correct as the friend suggests that withdrawal of association under general circumstances would make all government impossible. But it is true that such withdrawal would make all injustice impossible.
My correspondent considers that the Government of India having done all it possibly could, non-co-operation could not be applicable to that Government. In my opinion, whilst it is true that the Government of India has done a great deal, it has not done half as much as it might have done, and might even now do. No Government can absolve itself from further action beyond protesting, when it realises that the people whom it represents feel as keenly as do lakhs of Indian Mussalmans in the Khilafat question. No amount of sympathy with a starving man can possibly avail. He must have bread or he dies, and what is wanted at that critical moment is some exertion to fetch the wherewithal to feed the dying man. The Government of India can to-day heed the agitation and ask, to the point of insistence for full vindication of the pledged word of a British Minister. Has the Government of India resigned by way of protest against the threatened, shameful betrayal of trust on the part of Mr. Lloyd George? Why does the Government of India hide itself behind secret despatches? At a less critical moment Lord Hardiage committed a constitutional indiscretion, openly sympathised with South African Passive Resistance movement and stemmed the surging tide of public indignation in India, though at the same time he incurred the wrath of the then South African Cabinet and some public men in Great Britain. After all, the utmost that the Government of India has done is on its own showing to transmit and press the Mahomedan claim. Was that not the least it could have done? Could it have done anything less without covering itself with disgrace? What Indian Mahomedans and the Indian public expect the Government of India to do at this critical juncture is not the least, but the utmost that it could do. Viceroys have been known to tender resignations for much smaller causes. Wounded pride brought forth not very long ago the resignation of a Lieutenant Governor. On the Khilafat question, a sacred cause dear to the hearts of several million Mahomedans is in danger of being wounded. I would therefore invite the English friend, and every Englishman in India, and every Hindu, be he moderate or extremist, to make common cause with the Mahomedans and thereby compel the Government of India to do its duty, and thereby compel His Majesty's Ministers to do theirs.
There has been much talk of violence ensuing from active non-co-operation. I venture to suggest that the Mussalmans of India, if they had nothing in the shape of non-co-operation in view, would have long ago yielded to counsels of despair. I admit that non-co-operation is not unattended with danger. But violence is a certainty without, violence is only a possibility with non-co-operation. And it will he a greater possibility if all the important men, English, Hindu and others of the country discountenance it.
I think, that the recommendation made by the friend is being literally followed by the Mahomedans. Although they practically know the fate, they are waiting for the actual terms of the treaty with Turkey. They are certainly going to try every means at their disposal to have the terms revised before beginning non-co-operation. And there will certainly be no non-co-operation commenced so long as there is even hope of active co-operation on the part of the Government of India with the Mahomedans, that is, co-operation strong enough to secure a revision of the terms should they be found to be in conflict with the pledges of British statesmen. But if all these things fail, can Mahomedans as men of honour who hold their religion dearer than their lives do anything less than wash their hands clean of the guilt of British Ministers and the Government of India by refusing to co-operate with them? And can Hindus and Englishmen, if they value Mahomedan friendship, and if they admit then full justice of the Mahomaden friendship and if they admit the full justice of the Mahomedan claim do otherwise than heartily support the Mahomedans by word and deed.
After the forgoing was printed the long-expected peace terms regarding Turkey were received. In my humble opinion they are humiliating to the Supreme Council, to the British ministers, and if as a Hindu with deep reverence for Christianity I may say so, a denial of Christ's teachings. Turkey broken down and torn with dissentions within may submit to the arrogant disposal of herself, and Indian Mahomedans may out of fear do likewise. Hindus out of fear, apathy or want of appreciation of the situation, may refuse to help their Mahomedan brethren in their hour of peril. The fact remains that a solemn promise of the Prime Minister of England has been wantonly broken. I will say nothing about President Wilson's fourteen points, for they seem now to be entirely forgotten as a day's wonder. It is a matter of deep sorrow that the Government of India _communique_ offers a defence of the terms, calls them a fulfilment of Mr. Lloyd George's pledge of 5th January 1918 and yet apologises for their defective nature and appeals to the Mahomedans of India as if to mock them that they would accept the terms with quiet resignation. The mask that veils the hypocrisy is too thin to deceive anybody. It would have been dignified if the _communique_ had boldly admitted Mr. Lloyd George's mistake in having made the promise referred to. As it is, the claim of fulfilment of the promise only adds to the irritation caused by its glaring breach. What is the use of the Viceroy saying, "The question of the Khilafat is one for the Mahomedans and Mahomedans only and that with their free choice in the matter Government have no desire to interfere," while the Khalif's dominions are ruthlessly dismembered, his control of the Holy places of Islam shamelessly taken away from him and he himself reduced to utter impotence in his own palace which can no longer be called a palace but which can he more fitly described us a prison? No wonder, His Excellency fears that the peace includes "terms which must be painful to all Moslems." Why should he insult Muslim intelligence by sending the Mussalmans of India a of encouragement and sympathy? Are they expected to find encouragement in the cruel recital of the arrogant terms or in a remembrance of 'the splendid response' made by them to the call of the King 'in the day of the Empire's need.' It ill becomes His Excellency to talk of the triumph of those ideals of justice and humanity for which the Allies fought. Indeed, the terms of the so called peace with Turkey if they are to last, will be a monument of human arrogance and man-made injustice. To attempt to crush the spirit of a brave and gallant race, because it has lost in the fortunes of war, is a triumph not of humanity but a demonstration of inhumanity. And if Turkey enjoyed the closest ties of friendship with Great Britain before the war, Great Britain has certainly made ample reparation for her mistake by having made the largest contribution to the humiliation of Turkey. It is insufferable therefore when the Viceroy feels confident that with the conclusion of this new treaty that friendship will quickly take life again and a Turkey regenerate full of hope and strength, will stand forth in the future as in the past a pillar of the Islamic faith. The Viceregal message audaciously concludes, "This thought will I trust strengthen you to accept the peace terms with resignation, courage and fortitude and to keep your loyalty towards the Crown bright and untarnished as it has been for so many generations." If Muslim loyalty remains untarnished it will certainly not be for want of effort on the part of the Government of India to put the heaviest strain upon it, but it will remain so because the Mahomedans realise their own strength--the strength in the knowledge that their cause is just and that they have got the power to vindicate justice in spite of the aberration suffered by Great Britain under a Prime Minister whom continued power has made as reckless in making promises as in breaking them.
Whilst therefore I admit that there is nothing either in the peace terms or in the Viceregal message covering them to inspire the Mahomedans and Indians in general with confidence or hope, I venture to suggest that there is no cause for despair and anger. Now is the time for Mahomedans to retain absolute self-control, to unite their forces and, weak though they are, with firm faith in God to carry on the struggle with redoubled vigour till justice is done. If India--both Hindu and Mahomedan--can act as one man and can withdraw her partnership in this crime against humanity which the peace terms represent, she will soon secure a revision of the treaty and give herself and the Empire at least, if not the world, a lasting peace. There is no doubt that the struggle would be bitter sharp and possibly prolonged, but it is worth all the sacrifice that it is likely to call forth. Both the Mussalmans and the Hindus are on their trial. Is the humiliation of the Khilafat a matter of concern to the former? And if it is, are they prepared to exercise restraint, religiously refrain from violence and practise non-co-operation without counting the material loss it may entail upon the community? Do the Hindus honestly feel for their Mahomedan brethren to the extent of sharing their sufferings to the fullest extent? The answer to these questions and not the peace terms, will finally decide the fate of the Khilafat.
MORE OBJECTIONS ANSWERED
_Swadeshmitran_ is one of the most influential Tamil dailies of Madras. It is widely read. Everything appearing in its columns is entitled to respect. The Editor has suggested some practical difficulty in the way of non-co-operation. I would therefore like, to the best of my ability, to deal with them.
I do not know where the information has been derived from that I have given up the last two stages of non-co-operation. What I have said is that they are a distant goal. I abide by it. I admit that all the stages are fraught with some danger, but the last two are fraught with the greatest--the last most of all. The stages have been fixed with a view to running the least possible risk. The last two stages will not be taken up unless the committee has attained sufficient control over the people to warrant the beliefs that the laying down of arms or suspension of taxes will, humanly speaking, be free from an outbreak of violence on the part of the people. I do entertain the belief that it is possible for the people to attain the discipline necessary for taking the two steps. When once they realise that violence is totally unnecessary to bend an unwilling government to their will and that the result can be obtained with certainty by dignified non-co-operation, they will cease to think of violence even by way of retaliation. The fact is that hitherto we have not attempted to take concerted and disciplined action from the masses. Some day, if we are to become truly a self-governing nation, that attempt has to be made. The present, in my opinion, is a propitious movement. Every Indian feels the insult to the Punjab as a personal wrong, every Mussalman resents the wrong done to the Khilafat. There is therefore a favourable atmosphere for expecting cohesive and restrained movement on the part of the masses.
So far as response is concerned, I agree with the Editor that the quickest and the largest response is to be expected in the matter of suspension of payment of taxes, but as I have said so long as the masses are not educated to appreciate the value of non-violence even whilst their holding are being sold, so long must it be difficult to take up the last stage into any appreciable extent.
I agree too that a sudden withdrawal of the military and the police will be a disaster if we have not acquired the ability to protect ourselves against robbers and thieves. But I suggest that when we are ready to call out the military and the police on an extensive scale we would find ourselves in a position to defend ourselves. If the police and the military resign from patriotic motives, I would certainly expect them to perform the same duty as national volunteers, not has hirelings but as willing protectors of the life and liberty of their countrymen. The movement of non-co-operation is one of automatic adjustment. If the Government schools are emptied, I would certainly expect national schools to come into being. If the lawyers as a whole suspended practice, they would devise arbitration courts and the nation will have expeditions and cheaper method of setting private disputes and awarding punishment to the wrong-doer. I may add that the Khilafat Committee is fully alive to the difficulty of the task and is taking all the necessary steps to meet the contingencies as they arise.
Regarding the leaving of civil employment, no danger is feared, because no one will leave his employment, unless he is in a position to find support for himself and family either through friends or otherwise.
Disapproval of the proposed withdrawal of students betrays, in my humble opinion, lack of appreciation of the true nature of non-co-operation. It is true enough that we pay the money wherewith our children are educated. But, when the agency imparting the education has become corrupt, we may not employ it without partaking of the agents, corruption. When students leave schools or colleges I hardly imagine that the teachers will fail to perceive the advisability of themselves resigning. But even if they do not, money can hardly be allowed to count where honour or religion are at the stake.
As to the boycott of the councils, it is not the entry of the Moderates or any other persons that matters so much as the entry of those who believe in non-co-operation. You may not co-operate at the top and non-co-operate at the bottom. A councillor cannot remain in the council and ask the _gumasta_ who cleans the council-table to resign.
MR. PENNINGTON'S OBJECTIONS ANSWERED
I gladly publish Mr. Pennington's letter with its enclosure just as I have received them. Evidently Mr. Pennington is not a regular reader of 'Young India,' or he would have noticed that no one has condemned mob outrages more than I have. He seems to think that the article he has objected to was the only thing I have ever written on General Dyer. He does not seem to know that I have endeavoured with the utmost impartiality to examine the Jallianwala massacre. And he can see any day all the proof adduced by my fellow-commissioners and myself in support of our findings on the massacre. The ordinary readers of 'Young India' knew all the facts and therefore it was unnecessary for me to support my assertion otherwise. But unfortunately Mr. Pennington represents the typical Englishman. He does not want to be unjust, nevertheless he is rarely just in his appreciation of world events because he has no time to study them except cursorily and that through a press whose business is to air only party views. The average Englishman therefore except in parochial matters is perhaps the least informed though he claims to be well-informed about every variety of interest. Mr. Pennington's ignorance is thus typical of the others and affords the best reason for securing control of our own affairs in our own hands. Ability will come with use and not by waiting to be trained by those whose natural interest is to prolong the period of tutelage as much as possible.
But to return to Mr. Pennington's letter he complains that there has been no 'proper trial of any one.' The fault is not ours. India has consistently and insistently demanded a trial of all the officers concerned in the crimes against the Punjab.
He next objects to be 'violence' of my language. If truth is violent, I plead guilty to the charge of violence of language. But I could not, without doing violence to truth, refrain from using the language, I have, regarding General Dyer's action. It has been proved out of his own mouth or hostile witnesses:
(1) That the crowd was unarmed.
(2) That it contained children.
(3) That the 13th was the day of Vaisakhi fair.
(4) That thousands had come to the fair.
(5) That there was no rebellion.
(6) That during the intervening two days before the 'massacre' there was peace in Amritsar.
(7) That the proclamation of the meeting was made the same day as General Dyer's proclamation.
(8) That General Dyer's proclamation prohibited not meetings but processions or gatherings of four men on the streets and not in private or public places.
(9) That General Dyer ran no risk whether outside or inside the city.
(10) That he admitted himself that many in the crowd did not know anything of his proclamation.
(11) That he fired without warning the crowd and even after it had begun to disperse. He fired on the backs of the people who were in flight.
(12) That the men were practically penned in an enclosure.
In the face of these admitted facts I do call the deed a 'massacre.' The action amounted not to 'an error of judgment' but its 'paralysis in the face of fancied danger.'
I am sorry to have to say that Mr. Pennington's notes, which too the reader will find published elsewhere, betray as much ignorance as his letter.
Whatever was adopted on paper in the days of Canning was certainly not translated into action in its full sense. 'Promises made to the ear were broken to the hope,' was said by a reactionary Viceroy. Military expenditure has grown enormously since the days of Canning.
The demonstration in favour of General Dyer is practically a myth.
No trace was found of the so-called Danda Fauj dignified by the name of bludgeon-army by Mr. Pennington. There was no rebel army in Amritsar. The crown that committed the horrible murders and incendiarism contained no one community exclusively. The sheet was found posted only in Lahore and not in Amritsar. Mr. Pennington should moreover have known by this time that the meeting held on the 13th was held, among other things, for the purpose of condemning mob excesses. This was brought out at the Amritsar trial. Those who surrounded him could not stop General Dyer. He says he made up his mind to shoot in a moment. He consulted nobody. When the correspondent says that the troops would have objected to being concerned in 'what might in that case be not unfairly called a 'massacre,' he writes as if he had never lived in India. I wish the Indian troops had the moral courage to refuse to shoot innocent, unarmed men in full flight. But the Indian troops have been brought in too slavish an atmosphere to dare do any such correct act.
I hope Mr. Pennington will not accuse me again of making unverified assertions because I have not quoted from the books. The evidence is there for him to use. I can only assure him that the assertions are based on positive proofs mostly obtained from official sources.
Mr. Pennington wants me to publish an exact account of what happened on the 10th April. He can find it in the reports, and if he will patiently go through them he will discover that Sir Michael O'Dwyer and his officials goaded the people into frenzied fury--a fury which nobody, as I have already said, has condemned more than I have. The account of the following days is summed up in one word, _viz._ 'peace' on the part of the crowd disturbed by indiscriminate arrests, the massacre and the series of official crimes that followed.
I am prepared to give Mr. Pennington credit for seeking after the truth. But he has gone about it in the wrong manner. I suggest his reading the evidence before the Hunter Committee and the Congress Committee. He need not read the reports. But the evidence will convince him that I have understated the case against General Dyer.
When however I read his description of himself as "for 12 years Chief Magistrate of Districts in the South of India before reform, by assassination and otherwise, became so fashionable." I despair of his being able to find the truth. An angry or a biased man renders himself incapable of finding it. And Mr. Pennington is evidently both angry and biased. What does he mean by saying, "before reform by assassination and otherwise became so fashionable?" It ill becomes him to talk of assassination when the school of assassination seems happily to have become extinct. Englishmen will never see the truth so long as they permit their vision to be blinded by arrogant assumption of superiority or ignorant assumptions of infallibility.
MR. PENNINGTON'S LETTER TO MR. GANDHI
I do not like your scheme for "boycotting" the Government of India under what seems to be the somewhat less offensive (though more cumbrous) name of non-co-operation; but have always given you credit for a genuine desire to carry out revolution by peaceful means and am astonished at the violence of the language you use in describing General Dyer on page 4 of your issue of the 14th July last. You begin by saying that he is "by no means the worst offender," and, so far, I am inclined to agree, though as there has been no proper trial of anyone it is impossible to apportion their guilt; but then you say "his brutality is unmistakable," "his abject and unsoldierlike cowardice is apparent, he has called an _unarmed crowd_ of men and children--mostly holiday makers--a rebel army." "He believes himself to be the saviour of the Punjab in that he was able to shoot down like rabbits men who were _penned_ in an enclosure; such a man is unworthy to be considered a soldier. There was no bravery in his action. He ran no risk. He shot without the slightest opposition and without warning. This is not an error of judgement. It is paralysis of it in the face of _fancied_ danger. It is proof of criminal incapacity and heartlessness," etc.
You must excuse me for saying that all this is mere rhetoric unsupported by any proof, even where proof was possible. To begin with, neither you nor I were present at the Jallianwalla Bagh on that dreadful day--dreadful especially for General Dyer for whom you show no sympathy,--and therefore cannot know for certain whether the crowd was or was not unarmed.' That it was an 'illegal,' because a 'prohibited,' assembly is evident; for it is absurd to suppose that General Dyer's 4-1/2 hours march, through the city that very morning, during the whole of which he was warning the inhabitants against the danger of any sort of gathering, was not thoroughly well-known. You say they were 'mostly holiday makers,' but you give nor proof; and the idea of holiday gathering in Amritsar just then in incredible. I cannot understand your making such a suggestion. General Dyer was not the only officer present on the occasion and it is impossible to suppose that he would have been allowed to go on shooting into an innocent body of holiday-makers. Even the troops would have refused to carry out what might then have been not unfairly called a "massacre."
I notice that you never even allude to the frightful brutality of the mob which was immediately responsible for the punitive measure reluctantly adopted by General Dyer. Your sympathies seem to be only with the murderers, and I am not sanguine enough to suppose that my view of the case will have much influence with you. Still I am bound to do what I can to get at the truth, and enclose a copy of some notes I have had occasion to make. If you can publish an _exact_ account of what happened at Amritsar on the 10th of April, 1919 and the following days, especially on the 13th, including the demonstration in favour of General Dyer, (if there was one), I for one, as a mere seeker after the truth, should be very much obliged to you. Mere abuse is not convincing, as you so often observe in your generally reasonable paper,
Yours faithfully, J. R. PENNINGTON, I.O.S. (Retd.) 35, VICTORIA ROAD, WORTHING, SUSSEX 27th Aug. 1920.
For 12 years Chief Magistrate of Districts in the south of India before reform, by assassination and otherwise, became so fashionable.
P.S. Let us get the case in this way. General Dyer, acting as the only representative of Government on the spot shot some hundreds of people (some of them _perhaps_ innocently mixed up in an illegal assembly), in the _bona fide_ belief that he was dealing with the remains of a very dangerous rebellion and was thereby saving the lives of very many thousands, and in the opinion of a great many people did actually save the city from falling in the hands of a dangerous mob.
Babu Janakdhari Prasad was a staunch coworker with me in Champaran. He has written a long letter setting forth his reasons for his belief that India has a great mission before her, and that she can achieve her purpose only by non-violent non-co-operation. But he has doubts which he would have me answer publicly. The letter being long, I am withholding. But the doubts are entitled to respect and I must endeavour to answer them. Here they are us framed by Bubu Janakdhari Prasad.
(a) Is not the non-co-operation movement creating a sort of race-hatred between Englishmen and Indians, and is it in accordance with the Divine plan of universal love and brotherhood?
(b) Does not the use of words "devilish," "satanic," etc., savour of unbrotherly sentiment and incite feelings of hatred?
(c) Should not the non-co-operation movement be conducted on strictly non-violent and non-emotional lines both in speech and action?
(d) Is there no danger of the movement going out of control and lending to violence?
As to (a), I must say that the movement is not 'creating' race-hatred. It certainly gives, as I have already said, disciplined expression to it. You cannot eradicate evil by ignoring it. It is because I want to promote universal brotherhood that I have taken up non-co-operation so that, by self-purification, India may make the world better than it is.
As to (b), I know that the words 'satanic' and 'devilish' are strong, but they relate the exact truth. They describe a system not persons: We are bound to hate evil, if we would shun it. But by means of non-co-operation we are able to distinguish between the evil and the evil-doer. I have found no difficulty in describing a particular activity of a brother of mine to be devilish, but I am not aware of having harboured any hatred about him. Non-co-operation teaches us to love our fellowmen in spite of their faults, not by ignoring or over-looking them.
As to (c), the movement is certainly being conducted on strictly non-violent lines. That all non-co-operators have not yet thoroughly imbibed the doctrine is true. But that just shows what an evil legacy we have inherited. Emotion there is in the movement. And it will remain. A man without emotion is a man without feeling.
As to (d), there certainly is danger of the movement becoming violent. But we may no more drop non-violent non-co-operation because of its dangers, than we may stop freedom because of the danger of its abuse.
Messrs. Popley and Philips have been good enough to reply to my letter "To Every Englishman in India." I recognise and appreciate the friendly spirit of their letter. But I see that there are fundamental differences which must for the time being divide them and me. So long as I felt that, in spite of grievous lapses the British Empire represented an activity for the worlds and India's good, I clung to it like a child to its mother's breast. But that faith is gone. The British nation has endorsed the Punjab and Khilsfat crimes. The is no doubt a dissenting minority. But a dissenting minority that satisfies itself with a mere expression of its opinion and continues to help the wrong-doer partakes in wrong-doing.
And when the sum total of his energy represents a minus quantity one may not pick out the plus quantities, hold them up for admiration, and ask an admiring public to help regarding them. It is a favourite design of Satan to temper evil with a show of good and thus lure the unwary into the trap. The only way the world has known of defeating Satan is by shunning him. I invite Englishmen, who could work out the ideal the believe in, to join the ranks of the non-co-operationists. W.T. Stead prayed for the reverse of the British arms during the Boer war. Miss Hobbhouse invited the Boers to keep up the fight. The betrayal of India is much worse than the injustice done to the Boers. The Boers fought and bled for their rights. When therefore, we are prepared to bleed, the right will have become embodied, and idolatrous world will perceive it and do homage to it.
But Messers. Popley and Phillips object that I have allied myself with those who would draw the sword if they could. I see nothing wrong in it. They represent the right no less than I do. And is it not worth while trying to prevent an unsheathing of the sword by helping to win the bloodless battle? Those who recognise the truth of the Indian position can only do God's work by assisting this non-violent campaign.
The second objection raised by these English friends is more to the point. I would be guilty of wrong-doing myself if the Muslim cause was not just. The fact is that the Muslim claim is not to perpetuate foreign domination of non-Muslim or Turkish races. The Indian Mussalmans do not resist self-determination, but they would fight to the last the nefarious plan of exploiting Mesopotamia under the plea of self-determination. They must resist the studied attempt to humiliate Turkey and therefore Islam, under the false pretext of ensuring Armenian independence.
The third objection has reference to schools. I do object to missionary or any schools being carried on with Government money. It is true that it was at one time our money. Will these good missionaries be justified in educating me with funds given to them by a robber who has robbed me of my money, religion and honour because the money was or iginally mine.
I personally tolerated the financial robbery of India, but it would have been a sin to have tolerated the robbery of honour through the Punjab, and of religion through Turkey. This is strong language. But nothing less would truly describe my deep conviction. Needless to add that the emptying of Government aided, or affiliated, schools does not mean starving the young mind National Schools are coming into being as fast as the others are emptied.
Messrs. Popley and Phillips think that my sense of justice has been blurred by the knowledge of the Punjab and the Khilafat wrongs. I hope not. I have asked friends to show me some good fruit (intended and deliberately produced) of the British occupation of India. And I assure them that I shall make the amplest amends if I find that I have erred in my eagerness about the Khilafat and the Punjab wrongs.
TWO ENGLISHMEN REPLY
Dear Mr. Gandhi,
Thank you for your letter to every Englishman in India, with its hard-hitting and its generous tone. Something within us responds to the note which you have struck. We are not representatives of any corporate body, but we think that millions of our countrymen in England, and not a few in India, feel as we do. The reading of your letter convinces us that you and we cannot be real enemies.
May we say at once that in so far as the British Empire stands for the domination and exploitation of other races for Britain's benefit, for degrading treatment of any, for traffic in intoxicating liquors, for repressive legislation, for administration such as that which to the Amritsar incidents, we desire the end of it as much as you do? We quite understand that in the excitement of the present crisis, owing to certain acts of the British Administration, which we join with you in condemning, the Empire presents itself to you under this aspect along. But from personal contact with our countrymen, we know that working like leaven in the midst of such tendencies, as you and we deplore, is the faith in a better ideal--the ideal of a commonwealth of free peoples voluntarily linked together by the ties of common experience in the past and common aspirations for the future, a commonwealth which may hope to spread liberty and progress through the whole earth. With vast numbers of our countrymen we value the British Empire mainly as affording the possibility of the realization of such an idea and on the ground give it our loyal allegiance.
Meanwhile we do repent of that arrogant attitude to Indians which has been all too common among our countrymen, we do hold Indians to be our brothers and equals, many of them our superiors, and we would rather be servants than rulers of India. We desire an administration which cannot he intimated either by the selfish element in Anglo-Indian political opinion or by any other sectional interest and which shall govern in accordance with the best democratic principles. We should welcome the convening of a National assembly of recognized leaders of the people, representing all shades of political opinion of every caste, race and creed, to frame a constitution for Swaraj. In all the things that matter most we are with you. Surely you and we can co-operate in the service of India, in such matters for example as education. It seems to us nothing short of a tragedy that you should be rallying Indian Patriotism to inaugurate a new era of good will under a watchword that divides, instead of uniting all.
We have spoken of the large amount of common ground upon which you and we can stand. But frankness demands that we express our anxiety about some items in your programme. Leaving aside smaller questions on which your letter seems to us to do the British side less than justice, may we mention three main points? Your insistence on spiritual forces alone we deeply respect and desire to emulate, but we cannot understand your combining into it with a close alliance with those who, as you frankly say, would draw the sword as soon as they could.
Your desire for an education truly national commands our whole-hearted approval. But instead of Indianizing the present system, as you could begin to do from the beginning of next year, or instead of creating a hundred institutions such as that at Bolpur and turning into them the stream of India's young intellectual life, you appear to be turning that stream out of its present channel into open sands where it may dry up. In other words, you seem to us to be risking the complete cessation, for a period possibly, of years, of all education, for a large number of boys and young men. Is it best, for those young men or for India that the present imperfect education should cease before a better education is ready to take its place?
Your desire to unite Mohammedan and Hindu and to share with your Mohammedan brethren in seeking the satisfaction of Mohammedan aspirations, we can understand and sympathize with. But is there no danger, in the course which some of your party have urged upon the Government, that certain races in the former Ottoman Empire might be fixed under a foreign yoke, for worse than that which you hold the English yoke to be? You could not wish to purchase freedom in India at the price of enslavement in the middle East.
To sum up, we thank you for the spirit of your letter, to which we have tried to respond in the same spirit. We are with you in the desire for an India genuinely free to develop the best that is in her and in the belief that best is something wonderful of which the world to-day stands in need.
We are ready to co-operate with you and with every other man of any race or nationality who will help India to realize her best. Are you going to insist that you can have nothing to do with us if we receive a government grant (i.e., Indian money), for an Indian School. Surely some more inspiring battle cry than non-co-operation can be discovered. We have ventured quite frankly to point out three items in your present programme, which seem to us likely to hinder the attainment of your true ideals for Indian greatness. But those ideals themselves command our warm sympathy, and we desire to work, so far as we have opportunity, for their attainment. In fact, it is only thus that we can interpret our British citizenship.
Yours sincerely, (Sd.) H.A. POPLEY, (Sd.) G.E. PHILLIPS. Bangalore, November 15, 1920.
RE NUNCIATION OF MEDALS
Mr. Gandhi has addressed the following letter to the Viceroy:--
It is not without a pang that I return the Kaisar-i-Hind gold medal granted to me by your predecessor for my humanitarian work in South Africa, the Zulu war medal granted in South Africa for my services as officer in charge of the Indian volunteer ambulance corps in 1906 and the Boer war medal fur my services as assistant superintendent of the Indian volunteer stretcher bearer corps during the Boer war of 1899-1900. I venture to return these medals in pursuance of the scheme of non-co-operation inaugurated to-day in connection with the Khilafat movement. Valuable as those honours have been to me, I cannot wear them with an easy conscience so long as my Mussalman countrymen have to labour under a wrong done to their religious sentiment. Events that have happened during the past month have confirmed me in the opinion that the Imperial Government have acted in the Khilafat matter in an unscrupulous, immoral and unjust manner and have been moving from wrong to wrong in order to defend their immorality. I can retain neither respect nor affection for such a Government.
The attitude of the Imperial and Your Excellency's Governments on the Punjab question has given me additional cause for grave dissatisfaction. I had the honour, as Your Excellency is aware, as one of the congress commissioners to investigate the causes of the disorders in the Punjab during the April of 1919. And it is my deliberate conviction that Sir Michael O'Dwyer was totally unfit to hold the office of Lieutenant Governor of Punjab and that his policy was primarily responsible for infuriating the mob at Amritsar. Do doubt the mob excesses were unpardonable; incendiarism, murder of five innocent Englishmen and the cowardly assault on Miss Sherwood were most deplorable and uncalled for. But the punitive measures taken by General Dyer, Col. Frank Johnson, Col. O'Brien, Mr. Bosworth Smith, Rai Shri Ram Sud, Mr. Malik Khan and other officers were out of all proportional to the crime of the people and amounted to wanton cruelty and inhumanity and almost unparalleled in modern times. Your excellency's light-hearted treatment of the official crime, your, exoneration of Sir Michael O'Dwyer, Mr. Montagu's dispatch and above all the shameful ignorance of the Punjab events and callous disregard of the feelings of Indians betrayed by the House of Lords, have filled me with the gravest misgivings regarding the future of the Empire, have estranged me completely from the present Government and have disabled me from tendering, as I have hitherto whole-heartedly tendered, my loyal co-operation.
In my humble opinion the ordinary method of agitating by way of petitions, deputations and the like is no remedy for moving to repentence a Government so hopelessly indifferent to the welfare of its charges as the Government of India has proved to me. In European countries, condonation of such grievous wrongs as the Khilafat and the Punjab would have resulted in a bloody revolution by the people. They would have resisted at all costs national emasculation such as the said wrongs imply. But half of India is to weak to offer violent resistance and the other half is unwilling to do so.
I have therefore ventured to suggest the remedy of non-co-operation which enables those who wish, to dissociate themselves from the Government and which, if it is unattended by violence and undertaken in an ordered manner, must compel it to retrace its steps and undo the wrongs committed. But whilst I shall pursue the policy of non-co-operation in so far as I can carry the people with me, I shall not lose hope that you will yet see your way to do justice. I therefore respectfully ask Your Excellency to summon a conference of the recognised leaders of the people and in consultation with them find a way that would placate the Mussalmans and do reparation to the unhappy Punjab.
_August 4, 1920._
MAHATMA GANDHI'S LETTER TO H.R.H. THE DUKE OF CONNAUGHT
The following letter has been addressed by Mr. Gandhi to his Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught;--
Your Royal Highness must have heard a great deal about non-co-operation, non-co-operationists and their methods and incidentally of me its humble author. I fear that the information given to Your Royal Highness must have been in its nature one-sided. I owe it to you and to my friends and myself that I should place before you what I conceive to be the scope of non-co-operation as followed not only be me but my closest associates such as Messrs. Shaukat Ali and Mahomed Ali.
For me it is no joy and pleasure to be actively associated in the boycott of your Royal Highness' visit--I have tendered loyal and voluntary association to the Government for an unbroken period of nearly 30 years in the full belief that through that way lay the path of freedom for my country. It was therefore no slight thing for me to suggest to my countrymen that we should take no part in welcoming Your Royal Highness. Not one among us has anything against you as an English gentleman. We hold your person as sacred as that of a dearest friend. I do not know any of my friends who would not guard it with his life, if he found it in danger. We are not at war with individual Englishmen we seek not to destroy English life. We do desire to destroy a system that has emasculated our country in body, mind and soul. We are determined to battle with all our might against that in the English nature which has made O'Dwyerism and Dyerism possible in the Punjab and has resulted in a wanton affront upon Islam a faith professed by seven crores of our countrymen. The affront has been put in breach of the letter and the spirit of the solemn declaration of the Prime Minister. We consider it to be inconsistent with our self respect any longer to brook the spirit of superiority and dominance which has systematically ignored and disregarded the sentiments of thirty crores of the innocent people of India on many a vital matter. It is humiliating to us, it cannot be a matter of pride to you, that thirty crores of Indians should live day in and day out in the fear of their lives from one hundred thousand Englishmen and therefore be under subjection to them.
Your Royal Highness has come not to end the system I have described but to sustain it by upholding its prestige. Your first pronouncement was a laudation of Lord Wellingdon. I have the privilege of knowing him. I believe him to be an honest and amiable gentleman who will not willingly hurt even a fly. But, he has certainly failed as a ruler. He allowed himself to be guided by those whose interest it was to support their power. He is reading the mind of the Dravidian province. Here in Bengal you are issuing a certificate of merit to a Governor who is again from all I have heard an estimable gentleman. But he knows nothing of the heart of Bengal and its yearnings. Bengal is not Calcutta. Fort William and the palaces of Calcutta represent an insolent exploitation of the unmurmuring and highly cultured peasantry of this fair province. Non-co-operationists have come to the conclusion that they must not be deceived by the reforms that tinker with the problem of India's distress and humiliation. Nor must they be impatient and angry. We must not in our impatient anger resort, to stupid violence. We freely admit that we must take our due share of the blame for the existing state. It is not so much the British guns that are responsible fur our subjection, as our voluntary co-operation. Our non-participation in a hearty welcome to your Royal Highness is thus in no sense a demonstration against your high personage but it is against the system you have come to uphold. I know that individual Englishmen cannot even if they will alter the English nature all of a sudden. If we would be equals of Englishmen we must cast off fear. We must learn to be self-reliant and independent of the schools, courts, protection, and patronage of a Government, we seek to end, if it will not mend. Hence this non-violent non-co-operation. I know that we have not all yet become non-violent in speech and deed. But the results so far achieved have I assure Your Royal Highness, been amazing. The people have understood the secret and the value of non-violence as they have never done before. He who runs may see that this a religious, purifying movement. We are leaving off drink, we are trying to rid India of the curse of untouchability. We are trying to throw off foreign tinsel splendour and by reverting to the spinning wheel reviving the ancient and the poetic simplicity of life. We hope thereby to sterilize the existing harmful institution. I ask Your Royal Highness as an Englishman to study this movement and its possibilities for the Empire and the world. We are at war with nothing that is good in the world. In protecting Islam in the manner we are, we are protecting all religions. In protecting the honour of India we are protecting the honour of humanity. For our means are hurtful to none. We desire to live on terms of friendship with Englishmen but that friendship must be friendship of equals in both theory and practice. And we must continue to non-co-operate, i.e. to purify ourselves till the goal is achieved.
I ask Your Royal Highness and through you every Englishman to appreciate the view-point of the non-co-operationists.
I beg to remain, Your Royal Highness's faithful servant, (Sd.) M.K. GANDHI. _February_, 1921
THE GREATEST THING
It is to be wished that non-co-operationists will clearly recognise that nothing can stop the onward march of the nation as violence. Ireland may gain its freedom by violence. Turkey may regain her lost possessions by violence within measurable distance of time. But India cannot win her freedom by violence for a century, because her people are not built in the manner of other nations. They have been nurtured in the traditions of suffering. Rightly or wrongly, for good or ill, Islam too has evolved along peaceful lines in India. And I make bold to say that, if the honour of Islam is to be vindicated through its followers in India, it will only be by methods of peaceful, silent, dignified, conscious, and courageous suffering. The more I study that wonderful faith, the more convinced I become that the glory of Islam is due not to the sword but to the sufferings, the renunciation, and the nobility of its early Caliphs. Islam decayed when its followers, mistaking the evil for the good, dangled the sword in the face of man, and lost sight of the godliness, the humility, and austerity of its founder and his disciples. But, I am not at the present moment, concerned with showing that the basis of Islam, as of all religions, is not violence but suffering not the taking of life but the giving of it.
What I am anxious to show is that non-co-operationists must be true as well to the spirit as to the letter of their vow if they would gain Swaraj within one year. They may forget non-co-operation but they dare not forget non-violence. Indeed, non-co-operation is non-violence. We are violent when we sustain a government whose creed is violence. It bases itself finally not on right but on might. Its last appeal is not to reason, nor the heart, but to the sword. We are tired of this creed and we have risen against it. Let us not ourselves belie our profession by being violent. Though the English are very few, they are organised for violence. Though we are many we cannot be organised for violence for a long time to come. Violence for us is a gospel or despair.
I have seen a pathetic letter from a god-fearing English woman who defends Dyerism for she thinks that, if General Dyer had not enacted Jallianwala, women and children would have been murdered by us. If we are such brutes as to desire the blood of innocent women and children, we deserve to be blotted out from the face of the earth. There is the other side. It did not strike this good lady that, if we were friends, the price that her countrymen paid at Jallianwala for buying their safety was too great. They gained their safety at the cost of their humanity. General Dyer has been haltingly blamed, and his evil genius Sir Michael O'Dwyer entirely exonerated because Englishmen do not want to leave this country of fields even if everyone of us has to be killed. If we go mad again as we did at Amritsar, let there be no mistake that a blacker Jallianwala will be enacted.
Shall we copy Dyerism and O'Dwyerism even whilst we are condemning it? Let not our rock be violence and devilry. Our rock must be non-violence and godliness. Let us, workers, be clear as to what we are about. _Swaraj depends upon our ability to control all the forces of violence on our side._ Therefore there is no Swaraj within one year, if there is violence on the part of the people.
We must then refrain from sitting _dhurna_, we must refrain from crying 'shame, shame' to anybody, we must not use any coercion to persuade our people to adopt our way. We must guarantee to them the same freedom we claim for ourselves. We must not tamper with the masses. It is dangerous to make political use of factory labourers or the peasantry--not that we are not entitled to do so, but we are not ready for it. We have neglected their political (as distinguished from literary) education all these long years. We have not got enough honest, intelligent, reliable, and brave workers to enable us to act upon these countrymen of ours.
IX. MAHATMA GANDHI'S STATEMENT
[The following is the Statement of Mahatma Gandhi made before the Court during his Trial in Ahmedabad on the 18th March 1921.]
Before reading his written statement Mahatma Gandhi spoke a few words as introductory remarks to the whole statement. He said: Before I read this statement, I would like to state that I entirely endorse the learned Advocate-General's remarks in connection with my humble self. I think that he was entirely fair to me in all the statements that he has made, because it is very true and I have no desire whatsoever to conceal from this Court the fact that to preach disaffection towards the existing system of Government has become almost a passion with me. And the learned Advocate-General is also entirely in the right when he says that my preaching of disaffection did not commence with my connection with "Young India" but that it commenced much earlier and in the statement that I am about to read it will be my painful duty to admit before this Court that it commenced much earlier than the period stated by the Advocate-General. It is the most painful duty with me but I have to discharge that duty knowing the responsibility that rested upon my shoulders. And I wish to endorse all the blame that the Advocate-General has thrown on my shoulders in connection with the Bombay occurrence, Madras occurrences, and the Chouri Choura occurrences thinking over these things deeply, and sleeping over them night after night and examining my heart I have come to the conclusion that it is impossible for me to dissociate myself from the diabolical crimes of Chouri Choura or the mad outrages of Bombay. He is quite right when he says that as a man of responsibility, a man having received a fair share of education, having had a fair share of experience of this world, I should know them. I knew that I was playing with fire. I ran the risk and if I was set free I would still do the same. I would be failing in my duty if I do not do so. I have felt it this morning that I would have failed in my duty if I did not say all what I said here just now. I wanted to avoid violence. Non-violence is the first article of my faith. It is the last article of my faith. But I had to make my choice. I had either to submit to a system which I considered has done an irreparable harm to my country or incur the risk of the mad fury of my people bursting forth when they understood the truth from my lips. I know that my people have sometimes gone mad. I am deeply sorry for it; and I am, therefore, here to submit not to a light penalty but to the highest penalty. I do not ask for mercy. I do not plead any extenuating act. I am here, therefore, to invite and submit to the highest penalty that can be inflicted upon me for what in law is a deliberate crime and what appears to me to be the highest duty of a citizen. The only course open to you, Mr. Judge, is, as I am just going to say in my statement, either to resign your post or inflict on me the severest penalty if you believe that the system and law you are assisting to administer are good for the people. I do not expect that kind of conversion. But by the time I have finished with my statement you will, perhaps, have a glimpse of what is raging within my breast to run this maddest risk which a sane man can run.