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Friday, 23rd January, 1948

India has no rival in moral supremacy

Gandhiji''s associates in Delhi and his disciples in the Ashram at Sevagram were planning for his activities in the first and second weeks of February 1948. But the sage was looking even beyond into the future. He regarded his period of convalescence after the fast as an unfortunate impediment to be got over the soonest, so that his service to the causes he held dear, and to the people whom he loved with all his heart, could be resumed at full energy. Reflection of these thoughts of his were available in the letters the Mahatma wrote from the early hours on Thursday morning. One letter went to a friend, Begum Ismat Iftikhar-ud-din in Lahore. Her husband had come and met Gandhiji earlier with the news that the lady, a social activist, who had been working with Mrs. Rameshwari Nehru in the cause of the refugees, had taken ill. Bapu told the Begum, You had no business to get ill again. Your services are required much more than ever before. Therefore, be up and doing. I assure you that I am eager to go to Lahore, as soon as my convalescence is finished, and the way is open for me to come to Pakistan. He himself knew that his own services were needed much more than before, and that as the leading exemplar of the nation, he had to be up and doing without even a trace of any kind of illness!

At his prayer meeting on Thursday, Bapu had dealt with the evil that comes from looking to money as a source of power, and the dangers inherent in wielding money power. He told the gathering,Formerly the Congress could, only with the greatest difficulty, collect even a lakh of rupees. Today it can disburse crores of rupees. This is the power it has been fighting for. But we are an extremely poor country; if we compete with others in spending, we shall be destroyed. That even Congressmen should fall into such erraneous ways should make us sit up and think. We should not judge people by the money that they have, and by the money that they lavishly spend.

Gandhiji wanted the new Indian nation to set a moral example to the whole world. He uttered this resplendent exhortation,India''s status in the world depends upon her moral supremacy, which the passive resistance movement has brought to us. In this supremacy, India has no rival as yet. The other nations, great and small, are proud only of their armaments and military valour. That is their capital. We in India possess only our moral capital, which is different from money power, because moral power increases with every spending.

This should be the power of the Congress. On any other ground, the Congress''s claim, to revolutionise values on coming into power, would be forfeited.Gandhiji deplored the tendency among Congressmen and others to seek offices and high emoluments, which were wholly out of keeping with the state of the country and with the kind of service they were bound to render to the people. Mother India could not be served in that manner. The rulers and the ruled all had to undergo continuous self- purification, adopt the practices of simple living and selfless service so that India could stand erect before the whole world and hold the moral heights that would benefit all humanity. Just as Bapu wanted India to rule high by moral example and contribute to the comity of nations, leaders of the people were deluging him with messages of goodwill wanting him to continue to live long and lead the way.

A telegram from the Muslim leader, M. Jamal Mohammed Sahib of Madras, who had visited Pakistan on a peace mission but not been able to meet Governor-General Jinnah there, said Please be firm as regards India''s accession to the Indian Union. Kindly deal with the Nizam of Hyderabad, as I have no doubt you will, with patience and tact, but also with firmness. Mr. Jinnah''s position and Pakistan''s affairs seem to be getting more and more difficult. I have great hopes that before long there will be a reunion of the divided parts of our country.

This is because the whole world immediately requires India''s contribution on matters social, economic, political, and human. By God''s almighty grace, in India we have a beautiful blend of Islamic and Hindu philosophies and spiritualities, which can provide the saving touch for the redemption of the whole world. Mahatma Gandhi is the real and only key to it, and I am hopeful you will succeed by God grace, and the world will ultimately be grateful to India for helping to solve the crying problems of war, hatred, selfishness and narrow-minded nationalisms. God Almighty is with you. You will succeed to the lasting benefit of the country, and its lasting usefulness and glory to the whole world.