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Day to day with Gandhi - Volume II
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DAY-TO-DAY WITH GANDHI-II
5
PREFACE

     This Diary covers the period of Rowlatt Satyagraha and Non-co-operation. Every page of it bristles with Gandhiji's Herculean efforts to rouse the country from its age-long sleep That was a period of exceptional, even marvellous, awakening and enthusiasm in the history of India's struggle for freedom. Owing to the novelty of the method, the people were imbued during the period, with an extraordinary vitality. Before we could gain independence, we have offered three mighty fights : This non-co-operation struggle of 1920-21, civil disobedience fight from 1933 to 1934, and the 'Quit India' fight of 1942 and after. All the three of them were momentous struggles, but the first fight of 1920-21 has a special significance of its own, owing to the fact that that was the first time when a method of fighting, original and very novel, not only in the annals of India but in those of the world, was adopted. Gandhiji was usually the very embodiment of gentleness in heart and hand. But on the occasion of a fight he used to be so possessed with Lord Shiva's all-devastating intensity of purpose and reckless disregard of his very life, that everyone who heard or saw him used to catch the contagion of his fiery spirit. "The sun never sets on the British Empire", that was what the Imperialists used to proclaim; and the Empire had dug its roots so deep into our mind that there was a class of educated men among us-and Gandhiji himself once belonged to that class-which believed that the country's progress was never more pheno-menal than under the British regime. But Gandhiji knocked the bottom out of that overwhelming prestige of the mighty British Empire by one single word 'Satanic'. How could the people, after this telling epithet, retain any respect or awe or fear of Government officers and the police? There remained in the country none so poor as to do reverence to these Government officers. Openly and loudly, the whole mass of Indian

(continued)

 
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