Page:Speeches And Writings MKGandhi.djvu/24

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on the basis of racial equality, and that the principle of racial equality would come out triumphantly vindicated after the present struggle in India was over. Indeed, he held himself to be the champion of that theory, and the upholder of the British Constitution.

Whether that belief, which he has held so persistently and patiently all these years, will be justified at last, time alone can show, I remember how impressed I was at the time by the fact that he, who had been treated so disgracefully time after time in South Africa, should still retain his faith in the British character. I said to him, "It would almost seem as if you had more faith in my own countrymen than I have myself." He said to me, "That may be true," and I felt deeply his implied rebuke.

I have gone through carefully the words he employed later at the time of his trial, and in spite of all that he said with such terrible severity concerning the evil effect of British Rule in India, I do not think that he has actually departed from the position which runs through all the speeches in this book from beginning to end. He still trusts that the temper and character of the British people will change for the better, and that the principle of racial equality will finally be acknowledged in actual deed, not merely in word. If that trust is realised, then he is prepared to remain within the British Empire. But if that trust is ultimately shattered, then he will feel that at last the time has come to sever once and for all the British connexion.

Shantiniketan, May, 1922.