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Saturday, 24th January, 1948

Scrutiniser of his own motives

For a long time in his development into stature personally, and into fame on the social and political scene, Mahatma Gandhi has been a relentless scrutiniser of his own motives and actions, and honest, humble, public confesser of failures in all the spheres of his being and doing. This was a fundamental feature of his going through life as an Experiment with Truth. In letters he wrote from the earliest hours before dawn on Friday the 23rd, Gandhiji revealed that kind of stern self-examination. He told Ms. Kanti Gandhi,The fast seems to have done some harm to my body. To that extent I may be said to be deficient in regard to Rama Nama. That faith requires ceaseless practice, which I have not been able to manage. If God wants my faith to bear fruit, He will grant it. Even if I do not get that experience in this life, I think my faith will remain unshaken. In another letter he made these remarks, My giving up the fast has not lessened my responsibility. It had added to it. It will count for something if I show some achievement in Delhi. On the 20th (the day of the bomb explosion) I might have died. But Rama saved me because he had to take some more work from me. If I can die with a smile on my lips, it will be a great mercy. Do I deserve such grace? It is my endeavour to make myself fit for such a death. The endeavour becomes more earnest with each passing day. This morning I had a long frank talk with Manu. I am a servant of Rama. I shall work as long as He commands me to work. I shall go when He commands me to go. I am prepared for both. My only prayer is that I may realise non- violence and make others to realise it. You should join me in that prayer.

Subhas Chandra Bose''s birthday had fallen on the 23rd. Referring to Netaji''s significance, Bapu said at his prayer meeting, Subhas Babu was a votary of violence, while I am a devotee of ahimsa. But what does that matter? The most important thing is that we should learn from other people''s virtues. Subhas was a great patriot. He laid down his life for the country. The soldiers of his Indian National Army included Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians and others. He had no use for parochialism and caste distinctions. In his eyes, all were Indians and servants of India. Let us, in remembering Subhas, think of his great virtues.

Today, the Mahatma attended the first session of the new Congress Working Committee constituted by Dr. Rajendra Prasad who had succeeded Acharya Kripalani as the party''s president upon the latter''s resigning from the post. The members of the Committee congratulated Bapu on the successful conclusion of his self- imposed fast for amity and peace, and expresses their relief that he escaped providentially in the bomb attack on the 20th. Every member pledged to the Mahatma assurance to continue to work for the restoration of communal harmony in the country.

Earlier today, the Mahatma had been wielding pen and voice to writing and dictating as usual. In an article for the Harijan, he quoted J. C. Kumarappa, the rural economist of Gandhian persuasion who had been on a visit to the United Kingdom and was commending for emulation in India features of British society and Government. Kumarappa had said,Great Britain prides herself on possessing the Mother of Parliaments. The method prevailing there is to maintain, at Government cost,''His Majesty''s Opposition'' to keep the Ministers within bounds by directing the floodlight of public criticism on the steps taken, or proposed to be taken, by Government. Our country has taken up the reins of Government. If we desire to pursue non-violence, what should be the form of our Government? Our Government will also need a corrective force to perform the functions of Opposition. What we should aim at is not to replace the Ministers, but to hold up models that the Ministers should follow.

Bapu could not agree more that what Kumarappa earnestly suggests was a very desirable pattern of functioning, but he reared greatly that the conditions manifesting then in Indian politics (so soon after Independence!) did not hold out hope for the model to be implemented. Bapuji noted, with unmistakable sadness, It has to be confessed that we do not have the requisite number of selfless workers capable of giving a good account of themselves.