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Monday, 12th January, 1948

'' Emulate the good, eschew the evil ''

Do what you know is right according to your well-trained conscience. Emulate the good earnestly, and eschew the example of evil. This message Bapu ceaselessly urged upon the people. In condemning the attitude of some religious fanatics seeking to justify their own intolerance by pointing a finger towards Pakistan''s rabid groups, the Mahatma exhorted that returning evil for evil would benefit no one, and that resort to retribution was not the way of the good. I invite every inhabitant of India to join me in stern refusal to copy bad manners from anywhere, he said in his own soft voice and gentle manner, but unmistakably emphatic manner.

In an article for the Harijan on Sunday, Bapuji reproduced a reply he had sent to a correspondent who said that decontrol was followed by escalation of prices, and feared further outbreaks of Hindu-Muslim riots if Muslims in India continued to be treated softly. The Mahatma told this Cassandra-ite, We have become independent, but you write as if you still had the slave mind! If decontrol has produced the bad effect you attribute to it, you should raise your voice - even though you may be alone in doing
so, and your voice may be feeble.

As a matter of fact, you have many companions, and your voice is by no means feeble, unless intoxication by power has enfeebled it! The bogey of prices shooting up due to decontrol does not frighten me. If we have many sharks in society, and we do not know how to combat them, we deserve to be eaten up by them! We should know how to carry ourselves in the teeth of adversity. In a real democracy, people learn not from books, nor from the government who are in reality their servants. They learn from hard experience which is the most efficient teacher in democracy. Your second letter about Hindu-Muslim tension is more to the point than the first letter. Here too you should raise your voice openly if you find any soft handling of the situation. I too shall do my part, but I am painfully conscious of my limitations. Formerly I could afford to be monarch of all that I surveyed. Today I have many fellow- monarchs, if I may count myself as a monarch still! But even if I can do so, I am the least among them.

Speak as he did bluntly about the weakness into which he had been cast so soon after he had brought independence to the nation by single-handed determination, unquenchable fearlessness and persistent zeal, Bapuji could yet distance himself impersonally from the passing moment and his own personal pain to state universal truths.

The Congress today is falling down. Everybody in it wants to become an MLA, and those who succeed in getting elected do not work for the country, but for themselves alone. An MLA gets quite a sizable salary which is quite adequate for more than his necessities. But, the correspondent (Mr. Konda Vekatappayya) says MLAs are corrupt, they harass civil servants, and they try to browbeat them into doing their bidding. In this way both suffer - the civil servants, as well those who call themselves the people''s representatives.

The rot is spreading among us. The more the people we return to the Legislative Assemblies, the greater the amount there is of filth. My correspondent suggests that we should reduce the number of MLAs because, in any case, they do not represent the people, and go into the Assemblies only to serve their own self-interest.

The MLAs also feel self- important and talk about capturing the whole of India. But who will control India? Let us not say that India is ours, rather let us say that we belong to India. If we make India our own, we must do so, not to further our own self- interest and to enrich our relatives, but to serve our motherland.

Gandhiji''s day of silence also saw him write a touching tribute in Gujarati to Totaram Sanadhya who had passed away after a distinguished life of pious work steadfastly true to Gandhian manner and example. Bapu said, Totaramji has passed away at a ripe old age without requiring any nursing. He was a jewel of the Sabarmati Ashram.

Though not a scholar, he had wisdom. He had a treasure of devotional songs, though he was not an accomplished singer. He used to delight audiences at the Ashram, with his Ektara instrument and his devotionals.