17th January, 1948
should replace enmity''
his seventy-ninth year, and not commanding a doughty physical frame,
in elan and mischievous good humour Bapu showed he was yet standing
up very well to the rigours of the continuing fast. He told Mira Behn
in his letter to her on Friday:
I am dictating immediately after my 3-30 a.m. prayer, and taking the
meal which a fasting man can take. Don''t be shocked! The ''food'' consists
of eight ounces of hot water sipped with difficulty. You sip it as
poison, well knowing that in result it is nectar. It revives me whenever
I take it. Strange to say, this time I am able to take daily about
eight times this poisonous-tasting, but nectar-like, meal. Yet I claim
to be fasting, and credulous people accept it. What a strange world.!
Behn''s work in the Ashram towards raising the lot of the cow which
Hindus hold sacred, the Mahatma told his English-born disciple (known
as Madeleine Slade before she became Mira Behn) I see you are destined
for serving the cow and nothing else. But I seem to see a vital defect
in you. You are unable to cling to anything finally. You are a gypsy,
never happy unless you are wandering! You will not become an expert
in anything in this way. Don''t rush here, just because I am fasting.
The yajna, as I have called it, demands that everyone, wherever he
or she is, should perform his or her duty. If an appreciable number
of people do this, I must survive this ordeal. Trust God, and be where
Referring to the
Government of India''s revised decision to release a payment of Rs.
55 crores to Pakistan without linking the matter to the Kashmir dispute,
Bapu said, It is never a light matter for a responsible Cabinet
to alter a set policy. Yet our Cabinet in Delhi, responsible in every
sense of the term, has with equal deliberation, and yet promptness,
unsettled a settled fact. In the midst of insanity should not our
best representatives retain sanity and bravely prevent a wreck of
the ship of State? My fast changed their outlook. Without it, they
could not go beyond what the law permitted, and what it required them
to do. But the present gesture of the government of India is one of
unmixed goodwill, and it has put the Government of Pakistan on its
honour. This ought to lead to an honourable settlement not only of
the Kashmir question, but of all the differences between the two countries.
replace the present enmity between them. Demands of equity supersede
the letter of the law. This is a maxim which has been in practice
for centuries in England: that, when common law seems to fail, equity
comes to the rescue. Considered in this setting, there is no room
for questioning the utter justice of this act of the Government of
India. I have been asked to end my fast because of this great act
of the Government. I wish I could persuade myself to do so. I know
my medical friends are getting more and more anxious as the fast is
prolonged. But I did not embark upon the fast after consultation with
the medical men, be they however able! My sole guide, even dictator,
is God, the Infallible and Omnipotent. If He has any further use for
this frail body of mine, He will keep it in spite of the prognostications
of the medical men and women. I am in His hands. Therefore, I dread
neither death nor permanent injury even if I survive.
had worsened on the fifth day. The doctors said in their bulletin,
Mahatma Gandhi is definitely weaker and has begun to feel heavy
in the head. This is significant since his kidneys are not functioning
well. In our opinion, it will be most undesirable to let his fast
to continue. Therefore it is our duty to tell the people of all communities
to take immediate steps to produce the requisite conditions for ending
the fast without further delay.
and indomitable faith in Rama Nama was enabling the Mahatma yet to
show unbelievable stamina.
Today was like
any other normal day. He was up for work from 3.30 a.m. After being
helped with his ablutions, he prayed, and called for his letters waiting
to be answered. He dictated a few replies but did not have the time
to look at the written versions for correction before they were despatched.