6th January, 1948.
on doing away with monopoly
some Muslim leaders, who had written to him complaining that Hindus
were arming themselves with design to let violence loose, Mahatmaji
wrote, It would be more helpful if you could supply some proof in
support of what you have said. Moreover, I have been receiving complaints
that Muslims too have arms in plenty in their possession. Therefore,
first you should presuade your Muslim brothers to get the arms from
them and hand them over to me. And then, if the Government fails to
provide protection to the Muslims, I will myself die first, before
letting them die.
on Monday, Gandhiji''s written speech was read out. In it hehad set
out evidence of prices to show how a whole range of grains and food
articles had become substantially cheaper after the lifting of controls.
Those details had come in a letter from a person whom Bapu characterised
as a successful businessman. That gentleman had wanted controls
on textiles also to be lifted, and stated in his letter, If controls
are lifted, the prices are likely to fall by 60 per cent. That will
lead to competition among the various mills and make more cloth easily
available. But if control on cotton textiles is lifted, export of
cloth should be banned. The correspondent had asked Bapu to use his
good offices to have controls on petrol lifted too.
from the letter, Bapu''s address said, There is not much that one
can say when faced with these figures. When the people, by and large,
want a thing like decontrol, there is no room left for hesitation
in action in a democracy. This is my view. Let not the learned laugh
at my ignorance. I seek light. If I hide in the darkness I cannot
get light. If we have a situation of controls as boon to the rich,
and bane for the poor, it is shocking. And yet it is in the name of
the poor that controls are imposed! If that is how monopoly operates,
it should be done away with, without a moment''s thought.
Bapu''s address said, Khadi has been described as ''the livery of
freedom''. We have enough cotton and innumerable hands which can work
the wheels and the looms in the villages. We can thus produce enough
cloth for ourselves. This needs neither the noise of the cities nor
motor transport. In former times, the railways first served the needs
of the army. Then their task was to carry cotton to the ports to be
sent abroad, and to bring foreign cloth into interior India from our
ports. Now our calico should be Khadi. It is made in the villages,
and is consumed in the villages. There is therefore no need for centralisation
over khadi. Let us not ruin our villages out of our indolence, or
from our ignorance.
Thoughts on transforming
the nation through khadi and village industries were so much in his
mind that, early on the morning of the 6th, Bapu wrote in a piece
for the Harijan, that for khadi to help remove shortages of cloth
very soon, two conditions were necessary. The Central and Provincial
Governments should adopt the policy of encouraging hand spinning and
weaving in every village. Secondly, provincial and all-India leaders
should put forth greater efforts to popularise khadi. In my opinion
it is the duty of the Congress to fulfil these conditions. Our indifference
in this respect shows that we have failed in our duty. This is the
most opportune time to get over our difference. This can be done by
example and conduct, as well as the wisdom of those with unshakable
faith in the programme, Bapu said.
on the khadi programme was based on his strong belief in its rationale.
He wanted khadi supported, so that the money got from sale of Khaddar
really went to benefit the poor in the nation''s multitude of villages.
Therefore he wanted the people to buy only ''certified'' khadi. Let
me indicate the meaning of the term, he said, and proceeded, Certified
Khadi implies that a reasonable wage is given to spinners and weavers
of that cloth, and that the price of it is fixed with an eye on the
public good, and not with a profit motive. Certification of khadi
by the Charkha Sangh thus becomes necessary. Uncertified khadi is
open to objection and should not be used. It is open to the public
to suggest improvements in the conditions presented for the certification
of khadi, but it would be definitely wrong to abolish the distinction
between the certified and the uncertified varieties.''''