Page:Speeches And Writings MKGandhi.djvu/43

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selves and Parliament. Nor did the year 1912 show any better promise in the direction of a final settlement. Meanwhile, there occurred the historic visit to South Africa of India’s great statesman-patriot, the Hon, Mr. Gokhale, who, even then, was suffering from ill-health. Mr. Gandhi, who, for years had regarded him as his own political leader, had invited him to South Africa, not primarily for political reasons, but so that he might nurse his guru back to health. Circumstances combined, however, to impose upon Mr. Gokhale a greater physical strain than had been anticipated, in spite of Mr. Gandhi’s own devoted personal service. It was pathetic and beautiful to observe the way these two old friends refused to see anything but the best in each other, in spite of their fundamental diiferences of temperament and often of outlook. To Gandhi, Gokhale was the gallant and selfless paladin, whom the whole of India looked up to as her noblest son. To Gokhale, Gandhi was the very embodiment of saintly self-abnegation, a man whose personal sufferings, splendid and chivalrous leadership and moral fervour, marked him out as one of the most outstanding figures of the day, the coming leader of his people, who had made the name of his adored Motherland, revered and honoured throughout the Empire and beyond, and who had proved beyond dispute the capacity of even his most insignificant countrymen to live and die for her.


During his visit, Mr. Gokhale extracted a promise (afterwards denied) from the principal Union Ministers, that they would introduce legislation repealing the £3 tax. When therefore in 1913, Mr. Gandhi discovered that the Government were not going to fulfil their pledges of 1911, and that they refused to repeal the £3 tax, he denounced the "provisional settlement," and, in September, announced the revival of Passive Resistance and its bodily extension to Natal, where he promptly organised and carried through the now historic strike. The events of this last phase of the struggle are still fresh in the public memory and therefore need no more than the barest recapitulation—the