26th January 1948
is the salt of Indian earth''
knows what will happen tomorrow? It is not given to the average mortal man
to pierce the veils that block a clear view of the future. But coming events
do cast their shadows before. The Mahatma was no crystal gazer, though there
were not a few, especially in the West, who confused the spiritual cast he
had given to his life to associate it with sooth- saying! Repeatedly he tried
to disabuse them of such notions. His spirituality in truth was that of a
determined person of the highest ideals, who sought in himself and in others
to bring them to realisation by hard application and toil. He endeavoured
to move towards the light, not to pierce an opening showing the future, but
to make things radiant here upon earth for the glory and greatness of humankind.
Gandhiji wanted to be guided in his journey not by the fumbling and faltering
steps of someone groping towards a prophesied future, but by the firm hand
of God, whom Bapu saw as Living Truth and the Redeeming Grace of Sri Rama.
Again and again, like
the vital rhythm of the living heart, Gandhiji''s thoughts throbbed with concern
for the people of the myriad of villages which made up the most of India.
Bapu was convinced absolutely that unless their lot was improved the nation
really could not advance. In a letter he wrote on Sunday to Prabhudayal Vidyarthi,
the Mahatma observed that a lot of difficulties had to be expected in carrying
out the tasks of rural reconstruction. But the workers committed to them had
to be resolute, hardy, and also tactful bringers about of change.
Gandhiji attended the
second session of the Congress Working Committee on Sunday afternoon. He supported
the proposal for Provinces being created on the basis of India''s major languages,
but insisted that thereafter their citizens should all be true children of
mother India, living together in fraternal love and cooperation. Bapu came
on the dot of the hour to Sunday''s prayer meeting. Speaking to the audience
which was swelling from day to day and from hour to hour, he said,I will
not ask how many Muslims there are at this meeting. I shall only ask everyone
to treat them as their brothers. More and more people have been coming to
the prayer. If each one of them makes it a point to bring a Muslim friend,
it will be a great thing.
The Urs (Muslim festival)
at the shrine of Khwaja Syed Kutub- ud-Din Bakhtiar in Mehrauli will start
from tomorrow. Earlier this year, the shrine was demolished. Now it has been
repaired, and the Urs will take place as usual. Formerly, a large number of
Muslims and an equal number of Hindus used to go there. The Hindus should
go there with peace and reverence in their hearts.
Referring to his programme,
in February, the sage said, I shall leave for Wardha on February 2, with
Rajendra Babu accompanying me. But I shall try to return to Delhi as soon
as I can. The report that I shall be staying in Wardha for a month is not
correct. I shall go only if you bless me and assure me you will not start
fighting as soon as I leave! Later I want to visit Pakistan also, if that
Government allows it.
On Monday the 26th, his
day of weekly silence, Bapu held ''talks'' with Dr. Gopichand Bhargava, Mr.
Prafulla Chandra Ghosh, and others, giving his remarks and replies in written
chits. He followed the same procedure when he attended another session of
the Congress Working Committee. At the evening prayer meeting, his written
speech was read out by Pyarelal to the assemblage.
The Mahatma said, This
day, 26th January, is India''s Independence Day. This observance was quite
appropriate when we were fighting for independence, and we had not seen or
handled it. Now that we have seen and handled it, we seem to be disillusioned.
At least, I am disllusioned.What are we celebrating today? Surely not our
disillusionment! What we are entitled to celebrate is the hope that the worst
is over, and that we are on the road to showing the lowliest of India''s villagers
that it means his freedom from being a serf, and that he is no longer a slave
born to serve the cities and towns of India, but that he is entitled to use
city-dwellers for the finished products of his well thought-out labours. He
is the salt of Indian earth.