Page:Mahatma Gandhi, his life, writings and speeches.djvu/61

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Once more did the rapture of suffering come upon thousands and the prison-house become a holy of holies. And how glorious was the spirit which had come upon them! Gentle and meek and uncomplaining,it was the very spirit of that Cross which their persecutors professed to follow but honoured so little in practice. It was almost as if one heard these men exclaim, "Lord, forgive them, for they know not what they do." From every class and sect were the heroes drawn. Many among them were the poorest of the poor, living by the sweat of the brow and innocent of 'education.’ Wealthy merchants went into voluntary insolvency rather than prove false to their vow. The ruin and misery caused, the dislocation of family life, the hunger and starvation of the women and children were indescribable. But the women amidst all the desolation of their hearts only cheered the men on! The passive resisters were subjected to cruel hardships and indignities in gaol that their spirit might be broken, but this served only to quicken and intensify it. They had tasted of an immortal cup and anguish itself had now become only the food of their souls.

To us in Southern India it is a matter