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Friday, 9th January, 1948.

For Hindustani as national language

Writing as often as possible in Gujarati and Hindi, the sage of India wanted his correspondents too to write more and more in Indian languages. He could himself read and write in Bengali, and had a little of Urdu besides. To show at least some initial familiarity with the scripts of other languages he had learnt also to sign ``M. K. Gandhi'''' in many Indian languages. Bapu left no one in any doubt that the people of independent India, while continuing to use English as much as was necessary, should develop skills of proper expression in their own native tongues, and have Hindustani as their national language. To E. W. Aryanayakum, a Ceylonese-born staunch worker in the Ashram in Wardha, Gandhiji conveyed his happiness that the former had written two letters to him using Hindustani. Wanting Aryanayakum to further improve his Hindustani vocabulary and use of the script, Bapu added, ``You could even have written to me in Bengali.'''' In a letter to Krishnadas Gandhi, Bapu wrote, ``It is quite correct that you should write in Hindustani. I am, however, replying in Gujarati.'''' Gandhiji
added, ``All our dealings should be in Hindustani, not in Hindi or Urdu. Hence I would not regard the expression `nirvachit'' which has been used in the resolution that we have passed, as Hindustani. There must be a simpler equivalent for it. If `nirvachit'' means `one who has been elected'', why can''t we say `chuna hua''? This is only by way of an illustration. Why should the constitution of our organisation be in English It should be in beautiful Hindustani. Even now we should have it rendered into Hindustani.''''

A peep into how the hours of his packed days went was afforded in another letter Bapu wrote on the 8th, in Gujarati. It went, ``Kakasaheb Kalelkar has been here for the last two days. It was with the greatest difficulty that I could find time to talk to him about Hindustani and other things. If he had not himself spoken, he might have stayed on for weeks, and I might not have found the time to talk to him! Innumerable people, men and women, visit me during the day. There is a huge pile of letters to be attended to. The work connected with the Harijan has to be done. There is not a moment to spare. I am now lying in the bath plying the razor to shave myself, and dictating this letter to Manu. I am not as fit as I should be, which shows some weakness of my faith in Rama Nama. ...I had never doubted that the removal of rationing would bring the relief that it has indeed brought. The Government hesitated to order decontrol, because they were afraid of hurting Vested interests. But can a government be carried on in this way? Nothing is certain about me. There is still fire smouldering here. One cannot say when it may not leap into flame.''''

In his evening speech after prayers, Bapu had said on Thursday, ``Even if there is no Prohibition, drinking is not a virtue. All those who drink should give up the habit. Since the Harijans and the labour classes cannot be persuaded by themselves, the law must persuade them. These people take to drink, deprived of other comforts. They want to drown their poverty in drink. But what reason can there be for the rich, and for soldiers to drink? Even among the English people, there are many who do not drink. Everyone should give up drinking. The law of Prohibition will apply to all. It will not make any exception in favour of the rich.'''' Noting that members of Communist persuasion were behind the students strike, the Mahatma said, ``Why should students support any political party? Their job is to study for themselves, and for the service of the country.''''

Incidents of lawlessness with communal intolerance at their root had turned Delhi''s aspect from its former peaceful fairness into the likes of a garrison city, with police and army units constantly on the patrol in vehicles plying about, gunmen in uniform at the ready in many of them. Grieving over such a sad transformation, Gandhiji wrote in one of his earliest letters of Thursday morning, ``Today the capital city is under a kind of siege. Although India is free, our capital is protected by the army and the police, and I can do nothing but sit here and watch. Votaries of non-violence have had to shift their trust into weapons of violence. What a severe test this is going to be for us! If this is God''s will, what strange design does it hide?''''