On October 2, nice things will be said about Gandhi by the prime minister, and by other people affiliated with the RSS as well. It is therefore important to alert readers to the historical record, to set out the facts about the concrete relations between the RSS and Gandhi while the Mahatma was alive.
The year was ; the month, April. He had heard that the Sangh was not particularly well disposed towards Muslims. In early September , the Mahatma had gone on fast in Calcutta, seeking to stop the violence between Hindus and Muslims. From Calcutta Mahatma Gandhi is praising Islam and crying Allah-o-Akbar and enjoining Hindus to do the same, while in the Punjab and elsewhere most heinous and shameless barbarities and brutalities are being perpetrated in the name of Islam and under the cry of Allah-o-Akbar.
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A year-old man had, through the moral force of a faith founded on trust and non-violence, brought about peace between these warring communities. Gandhi now moved to Delhi, hoping to reassure the Muslims who lived there that they need not flee in panic to Pakistan. He reached Delhi on September 9.
Here he met the sarsanghachalak , or head, of the RSS. This was M. On September 12, Gandhi spoke at an inter-faith prayer meeting. He [Gandhiji] had been told that the hands of this organization too were steeped in blood. The Guruji assured him that this was untrue. Their organization was enemy to no man.
It did not stand for the killing of Muslims. All it wanted was to protect Hindustan to the best of its ability.
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It stood for peace and he had asked Gandhiji to make his views public. What Golwalkar told Gandhi was untrue. The RSS and its leader detested Muslims. We have no doubt about your bravery or devotion to your fatherland, nor do we believe that you are the monster described by your opponents. But your own writings and pronouncements and those of your friends and admirers leave no room for doubt that many of your acts are monstrous and unbecoming of human dignity, especially in the estimation of men like me who believe in universal friendliness. Such are your humiliation of Czechoslovakia, the rape of Poland and the swallowing of Denmark.
I am aware that your view of life regards such spoliations as virtuous acts. But we have been taught from childhood to regard them as acts degrading humanity. Hence we cannot possibly wish success to your arms. But ours is a unique position.
We resist British Imperialism no less than Nazism. If there is a difference, it is in degree. One-fifth of the human race has been brought under the British heel by means that will not bear scrutiny.
Our resistance to it does not mean harm to the British people. We seek to convert them, not to defeat them on the battle-field.
Ours is an unarmed revolt against the British rule. But whether we convert them or not, we are determined to make their rule impossible by non-violent non-co-operation. It is a method in its nature indefensible. It is based on the knowledge that no spoliator can compass his end without a certain degree of co-operation, willing or compulsory, of the victim. Our rulers may have our land and bodies but not our souls. They can have the former only by complete destruction of every Indian-man, woman and child.
That all may not rise to that degree of heroism and that a fair amount of frightfulness can bend the back of revolt is true but the argument would be beside the point. For, if a fair number of men and women be found in India who would be prepared without any ill will against the spoliators to lay down their lives rather than bend the knee to them, they would have shown the way to freedom from the tyranny of violence.
I ask you to believe me when I say that you will find an unexpected number of such men and women in India. They have been having that training for the past 20 years. We have been trying for the past half a century to throw off the British rule. The movement of independence has been never so strong as now. The most powerful political organization, I mean the Indian National Congress, is trying to achieve this end.
We have attained a very fair measure of success through nonviolent effort. We were groping for the right means to combat the most organized violence in the world which the British power represents.
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