Page:Speeches And Writings MKGandhi.djvu/45

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introduction and passing into law of the Indians’ Relief Act, after lengthy and remarkable debates in both Houses of the Legislature, the correspondence between Mr. Gandhi and General Smuts, in which the latter undertook, on behalf of the Government, to carry through the administrative reforms that were not covered by the new Act, and the final letter of the Indian protagonist of Passive Resistance—formally announcing the conclusion of the struggle and setting forth the points upon which Indians would sooner or later have to be satisiied before they could acquire complete equalisy of civil status—and the scenes of his departure for his beloved Motherland, enacted throughout the country, wherein the deaths and sufferings of the Indian martyrs, Nagappan, Narayanasamy, Harbat Singh and Valliamma, were and sanctified to the world.


Faithful to his instinct for service, Mr. Gandhi hurried to England, where he heard that Gokhale was critically ill, and arrived, on the outbreak of the Great War, to find that his friend was slowly recovering from the almost fatal attack that had overwhelmed him. Here, too, his sense of responsibility revealed itself. He recognised that it was India’s duty, in the hour of the Empire’s trial, to do all in her power to help, and he at once set about the formation of the Indian Volunteer Ambulance Corps in London, enrolling himself and his devoted wife, who had herself been barely snatched from the jaws of death but a few weeks earlier, amongst the members. But the years of strain, his neglect of his own physical well-being, and his addiction to long fasts as a means to spiritual purification, had undermined a never very robust constitution, and his condition became so serious that private and official friends insisted upon his proceeding immediately, with Mrs. Gandhi, to India.


Since his arrival in his Motherland, at the beginning of 1915, his movements have been much in the popular eye. His progress through India, from the day of the