28th January 1948
struggle not really non-violent''
the 27th of January, Mahatma Gandhi had given an important interview
to the visiting British journalist, Mr. Kingsley Martin. To the visitor,
he repeated his growing conviction that India''s struggle for freedom
from foreign rule had not really been non-violent at heart, and that
fatal difference between word and deed had been the root cause of
all the violence seen in the country soon after partition. He saw
India''s passive resistance to have been on expedient only, undertaken
because the freedom fighters had had no military strength with which
to battle the British Empire in all its might. True non-violence,
in his view, had to be an attitude of the strong who commanded power
but would not use it as a matter of dharma, and not because they were
for Mr. Martin an incident in South Africa many years ago in which
a businessman, Mr. William Hosken, had introduced him at a meeting
saying, Mr. Gandhi is a leader of Transvaal Indians who take recourse
to passive resistance, having no franchise, and having no arms. They
have taken to passive resistance which is a weapon of the weak.
Bapu said that he had even then resisted that description; he said,
Real passive resistance has been miscalled a weapon of the weak.
After all, Jesus Christ is the Prince of all Passive Resisters. Can
he, in any sense of the term, be called weak? Soul Force, the weapon
of the truly non-violent, is actually a weapon of the strong.
Mr. Martin wanted to know how non-violence could be employed, say,
as a positive weapon against the raiders in Kashmir, or how it could
have been effective against a man like Adolf Hitler who just stamped
out all opposition with brute force. Gandhiji laughed. He quoted the
moral of Tolstoy''s Ivan the Fool. Hindu scriptures had scores
of such stories, but he said he was quoting Tolstoy as Mr. Martin
might have read it. Ivan became a king, and commanded wealth and power,
but even then he remained non-violent. The non-violent man derived
his power from the people whom he served. For such a man, or such
a government, a non-violent army would be perfectly possible. A non-violent
army would, Bapu said, fight against all injustice, but carry out
its campaign with the clean weapon of soul-force.
At his prayer
meeting on Tuesday, Bapu referred to raiders in Kashmir having abducted
a number of women and children from Mirpur to hold them in inhuman
cruelty. He appealed,I must ask the raiders and the Government
of Pakistan, for the sake of humanity, and for the sake of God, to
return all the abducted with due respect. It is their duty to do so.
I have enough knowledge of Islam, about which I have read a good deal.
Nowhere does Islam bid people to carry away women and keep them in
such disreputable conditions. This is worship of Satan, not of God.
Today he continued
an interview to Vincent Sheean, an author of repute and admirer of
the Mahatma from the United States. And, of course, there was the
volume of correspondence Bapu had to attend to, in order to make a
clean desk for himself!
objection to the use of force, Bapu told Mr. Sheean I do not go
by results. It is enough if I take care of the means. Sheean, another
Westerner, came up with acute questions and difficult examples. If
Gandhiji suffered from typhoid, would he not take sulpha drugs? he
asked, implying in the question that the use of force could not be
avoided to overcome strong evil. Gandhiji said,I do not know if
it is good for me, or for humanity, to be cured by using sulpha drugs.
So I refuse to use them. If evil does seem sometimes to result from
the use of good means, the inference would be that the means employed
were probably wrong.