Page:Forty Thousand Followers of Gandhi in Prison.djvu/4

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en duty to offer our deep and reverent homage to our great and saintly Leader, Mahatma Gandhi, who inaugurated this unique movement of Non-violent Non-co-operation, and for nearly 20 months guided and controlled it with a combination of wisdom, courage, tact and foresight without a parallel in the annals of the world. It will be impertinent on our part if we try to appreciate his work or even attempt to pass encomiums on the great qualities that he possesses. I shall not attempt to do so. We can only bow our heads in deep thankfulness to Providence which has vouchsafed to grant us the inestimable boon of such a great personality at a time when India, fallen and stricken India, stood sorely in need of a strong hand to pull us out of the Slough of Despond.

At the time when he entered into the arena of politics, it looked as if the claims of India to justice, freedom and self-determination had been for ever ruthlessly trampled under foot. The solemn pledges given by the British Prime Minister to the Muslims had been cruelly broken, and the faith, that we rightly or wrongly had in the justice and fairplay of the English, was gone forever. The horrors of the Martial Law in the Punjab and the subsequent denial of even justice to the Indian nation had made us despair that the Indians would ever be treated as human beings entitled to ordinary human rights and privileges.

Gandhi brings a ray of hope.

It was at this moment of gloom and despondency when hope had died down and faith in the goodness of human nature was shattered, that Mahatma Gandhi came forward and we began to see a ray of hope whereby we could triumph in spite of the forces of reaction which stood arrayed against us. He showed us a path for us to travel, treading on which we could by pure self-reliance, self-purification and self-sacrifice, attain our goal without taking thought of the strength of the opposition.