16th January, 1948.
must not be our concern''
11 a.m. today, the ailing but resolute Mahatma had completed four
days of the ordeal he had imposed on himself by his indefinite fast
undertaken to drive home essential principles of public morality and
religious harmony which he held far dearer than his own life. He was
physically examined by Doctors B. C. Roy, Jivraj Mohta, and M.D.D.
the top members of the Union Cabinet were in Birla House, and meeting
him frequently, as the Mahatma lay on his bed. A Sikh deputation called
on him and assured him of their sincere cooperation and heartfelt
prayers both for his proclaimed goals and for him to reach a successful
end to his ordeal and return swiftly thereafter to good health.
light of his deteriorating physical condition, ever sporting a broad
smile, and telling anxious callers, Do not worry about me. I am
in excellent hands, those of the Almighty. He insisted on continuing
with his correspondence work. Among the important letters he dictated
today was one to Mira Behn. To this devoted English associate and
disciple he said. I got your letter. Evidently when you wrote it
you had no knowledge of this, my greatest fast. Whether it will ultimately
prove so or not, is neither your concern nor mine. Our concern should
be with the action itself, and not with the result of it.
To Prema Kantak,
who favoured the Congress Socialists, went this dictated letter, I
have received the tilgur you sent, (a sweet of gingelly and jaggery)
on Sankranti day itself. Because of the fast I could not myself partake
of it. I had it distributed among all those present. I also read with
pleasure your poem describing the significance of tilgur. I would
never slight a religious celebration which is used to strengthen pure
sentiments. But celebrations which involve conspicuous enjoyment displease
me. Continuing, he wrote it is true that the Congress Working Committee
is selected from among members who belong to the majority in the party,
but it does not always happen that the majority elects the President
from its own ranks. A wise Committee would certainly select a capable
and upright man from among the minority if they found one. In this
way alone, would democracy succeed in the end. As far as I know, Jayaprakash
Narayan''s views and policies are not harmful to the country''s interests,
but his method is. If, however, he becomes President, he must follow
the Congress policy. I have explained how my mind is working. But
this does not mean that anybody should give up his views and act contrary
to his own convictions out of deference to me, or to anybody more
important than I am. It would be a suicidal policy to take every decision
by a majority vote. But in matters involving no moral principle, there
is always room for give and take... The Congress is still a political
body, and will remain so in the future. When however, it holds political
power, it still is one of the parties, no matter how big. Those who
hold perfect faith in ahimsa should therefore not hold any office
in the Government. In order to explain these matters fully, I would
have to write a treatise. I am sure you do not expect me to do so
on the fourth day of this fast! But the fact that I am able to dictate
this long letter shows that this fast is causing me the least pain.
Blessings from, Bapu.
Lying on his cot,
Gandhiji insisted on speaking to his prayer meeting audience by addressing
his words into a microphone placed close to him.
Pandit Nehru''s Cabinet for reversing an earlier stand of its, and
agreeing to release to Pakistan a sum of Rs. 55 crores as per the
terms of an original Partition-related agreement.
The Mahatma said,
The Cabinet deserves the warmest thanks of the whole country. And
I know that all the nations will acclaim this gesture as one which
only a large-hearted Cabinet like ours can rise to do. This is no
policy of appeasement of the Muslims. The present gesture is one of
unmixed goodwill, born out of my fast.