11th January, 1948
patience is lost, the battle is lost''
abashment and deep sorrow over the deplorable state of affairs in the country
had again found mention in his post-prayer talk on Saturday evening. Bapu
observed,It is shocking to see how we have fallen. He was reacting to
two incidents of the evening which seemed to cast shadows of an event to come
in the future.
As he was walking to the
dais, there was a commotion with a bunch of Sikh and Hindu refugees from Bahawalpur
State raising raucous slogans that the apostle should at once become practical,
and do something to help the 70,000 non-Muslim refugees rendered destitute
there. Then a man wearing orange robes stood up as Gandhiji was about to speak.
The sadhu insisted on reading out a letter. Only with great difficulty was
this man persuaded to resume his seat.
In his speech, the Mahatma
said, it is shocking to see how we have fallen today. Those who are sadhus
and boast of self-control and reciting the Gita, show no self-control at all.
I had been warned that Bahawalpur refugees would create a disturbance. I do
know their sufferings. I assure them that all the Hindus and Sikhs there will
be brought over. The Government too are seized of the matter. I also have
a telegram from Karachi which says that the situation in Sind is much worse
than what is
described in the newspapers.
The times now are, therefore,
such that we must maintain the utmost self-possession and patience. If we
lose patience, we are sure to lose the battle. And defeat is a word that should
find no place in our dictionary. To the people, I say,Do not believe in
anything simply because I say it. Learn from your mistakes. Do what appears
to you to be right. Only then will you be able to deserve your freedom and
to keep it.
He who holds the scales
evenly with no bias of mind or manipulation of hand is hold his own with the
gods, but few humans can claim such scrupulous neutrality and the large majority
of others can seldom see, much less appreciate, such rare persons genuine
even-handedness. Between the Hindus and Sikhs on the one hand, and the Muslims
on the other, the Mahatma ever held the balance evenly and without fail.
But Hindus and Sikhs,
including some leaders too, who could not shed their own bias verily thought
and believed that he favoured the Muslims! Yet, such a jaundiced response
was the last factor likely to influence Gandhiji, who fearlessly persisted
in saying and doing what he felt was right. Speaking of the Urdu language,
which was by no means exclusively used by Muslims in the north of India, Bapu
wrote today in an article for the Harijan,It is wrong to ruffle Muslims''
or any others'' feelings. Those who take the trouble of learning the Urdu script
in addition to the Devanagari script, will surely lose nothing. Urdu is a
language which many of our countrymen know.
If it was not for cussedness,
this will be admitted without any argument. The limitations of the Urdu script
in terms of perfection are many. But, for elegance and grace, it will equal
any script in the world. It will not die so long as Arabic and Persian live.
With a little adaptation, it can serve the purpose of shorthand too. If it
is set free from orthodoxy, as a national script of India it is capable of
improvement to enable one to transcribe Samskrit versus too without the slightest
difficulty. Lastly, those who in anger boycott Urdu put a wanton affront upon
the Muslims of India, who in the eyes of many Hindus, have become aliens in
their own land. This is nothing but copying the bad manners of Pakistan with