to 1 a. m.; visit of the Shabari Ashram of Krishnaswamy Iyer at 2 a.m.; rest at the station at last at 2. 30 a. m. This is the relentlessly non-stop programme of 22 hours in one day. But there were many such in the Southern tour." (p.128)
And Mahadevbhai, the loving secretary, repeats his protest twice or thrice in this book.
That Gandhiji had no illusions about the intensity of the darkness that enveloped him is evidenced by his letter to Maulana Mohamad Ali :
"Before you wrote to me, I had realized your position. Such must be the lot of genuine workers. We were doing little when we were swimming with the tide. We have to exert ourselves, only when we swim against it. Now we shall know whether we have strength. It is a child's play for a soldier to fight against a foe, however formidable. But not many can stand demoralisation, distrust, indiscipline and want of faith, among their own ranks. You and I have to face that fact. (p. 313).
But what was his psychic reaction to the situation ?
"I have such deep faith in God that I am sitting quiet now in the assurance that when the hour strikes, He will shake everyone out of his slumber" ( p. 274 ). By the way, should this not serve us as a tonic in these days of party break-ups, floor-crossings, graft, strikes etc ? And this faith and assurance were based on no under-estimate of the opponent's strength.
"The age of speaking, book-writing, is gone and the age of action has come. You have to give battle not to a race of speakers, but of born workers, a race that has known not what it is to yield, a race of inflexible determination as well as some of the finest soldiers of the world." ( p. 288 ) Verily, Gandhiji never stinted in his chivalrous tribute to the opponent where it was due.
And he had no illusions either, about the way in which a helpless, unarmed, disorganised, multi-lingual, multi-religious, and multi-cultural country could pit itself against that mighty power.