24th January, 1948
of his own motives
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
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.