Sunday, February 5, 2017

Love at Work: Mahatma Gandhi's Last Struggle

This is an audio-visual recording of a talk I gave at the ANHAD office on January 14, 2017, almost 69 years to the day after Gandhiji began his fast for communal harmony - a fast he called his yagnya, and that was to prove his last. It began on January 13 and ended on January 18, with the agreement named the Delhi Declaration of 1948. Twelve days after the fast ended, he was murdered. It would not be far-fetched to say that he had a premonition of his violent end. He spent his last months of life among his grief-stricken compatriots - both before and after some of them became Pakistanis. But the man who had spent 33 years confronting British imperialism was not permitted 33 weeks of life in independent India.

My talk covers the period from 1946 to his assassination, further details of which may be read here. The talk had been uploaded earlier but had to be suspended due to editing errors. It is now back on YouTube, at the following link.

Love at Work: Mahatma Gandhi's Last Struggle
14 January 2017, at Anhad Baat Cheet

See also



Tributes to Mahatma Gandhi (For more tributes to Gandhi, click here)
Rev Martin Luther King: Like most people, I had heard of Gandhi, but I had never studied him seriously. As I read I became deeply fascinated by his campaigns of nonviolent resistance.... The whole concept of Satyagraha was profoundly significant to me.... Gandhi was probably the first person in history to lift the love ethic of Jesus above mere interaction between individuals to a powerful and effective social force on a large scale… If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. He lived, thought, and acted, inspired by the vision of humanity evolving toward a world of peace and harmony. We may ignore him at our own risk… Gandhi resisted evil with as much vigour and power as the violent resister, but he resisted with love instead of hate. True pacifism is not unrealistic submission to evil power. It is rather a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love.

C. Rajagopalachari, Governor-General: No one could die a more glorious death than Mahatma Gandhi. He was going to the seat of his prayer to speak to his Rama. He did not die in a bed calling for hot water, doctors or nurses… He died standing, not even sitting down. Rama was too eager to take him even before he could reach the seat of his prayer. When Socrates died for his views and Christ for his faith, they believed that they would not get another example like that.

Romain Rolland: Gandhi is not only for India a hero of national history…Gandhi has renewed, for all the peoples of the West, the message of their Christ, forgotten or betrayed…I have seen here, in Switzerland, the pious love that he inspired in humble peasants of the country side and the mountains.

Mian Iftikharuddin (President, West Punjab Muslim League): Mahatma Gandhi's death ends an epoch of Indian history of which he was the originator ... Each one of us who has raised his hand against innocent men, women and children during the past months, who has publicly or secretly entertained sympathy for such acts is a collaborator in the murder of Mahatma Gandhi.

Jawaharlal Nehru: He spread out over India not in palaces only, or in select places.. but in every hamlet and hut of the lowly and those who suffer. He lives in the hearts of millions and he will live for immemorial ages.. all over India there is a feeling of having been left desolate and forlorn… In ages to come, centuries and may be millenniums after us, people will think of this generation when this man of God trod the earth and will think of us who, however small, could also follow his path and probably tread on that holy ground where his feet had been. Let us be worthy of him. Let us always be so.

A.K. Fazlul Huq: The assassination of Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most tragic events since the great tragedy of Karbala. It is impossible to find words to express the feelings that are uppermost in our minds.

Will Durant: Not since Buddha has India so revered any man. Not since St. Francis of Assissi has any life known to history been so marked by gentleness, disinterestedness, simplicity of soul and forgiveness of enemies. We have the astonishing phenomenon of a revolution led by a saint.

Sardar Patel:  His supreme sacrifice will quicken our conscience… Gandhiji's imperishable teachings will abide with us. I even feel that Gandhiji's immortal spirit is still hovering over us and will continue to watch over the nation's destiny in future also. The mad youth who killed him was wrong if he thought thereby he was destroying his noble mission. Perhaps God wanted Gandhiji's mission to fulfil and prosper through his death. I am sure Gandhiji's supreme sacrifice will wake up the conscience of our countrymen and evoke a higher response in the heart of every Indian. I hope and pray that it may be given to us to complete Gandhiji's mission…

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Mahatma Gandhi has carried on his frail shoulders a great deal of the burden of humanity and now it was for them to stand together and share it. If millions of Indians could divide that burden and carry it successfully, it would be nothing short of a miracle.

Mrs. Sarojini Naidu:.. It was right that the cremation took place in the midst of the dead kings who were buried in Delhi, for he was the kingliest of all kings. It is right also that he who was the Apostle of Peace should have been taken to the cremation ground with all the honours of a great warrior. Far greater than all warriors who led armies to battle was this little man, the bravest, the most tried friend of all…

M. A. Jinnah: I associate myself with the tributes that have been paid to this great man. He died in the discharge of the duty in which he believed. His tragic death, however much we may deplore it and however much we may condemn the murderer, was a noble death, for he died in the discharge of his duty.

Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy: (ex Premier of Bengal) To him we had learnt to turn for guidance and for advice in all our difficulties, and he never failed us. Weep India, weep until thy heart breaks, for extinguished is the light that shed truth and justice, a deep love for humanity and transcendental sympathy for the forlorn and the friendless. I am sure he sees what we do; let us try to fulfil his cherished dream of Hindu-Muslim unity and oneness of mind and spirit in the common service of humanity.

Resolution passed by the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-i-Hind: It was Mahatma Gandhi who, practising truth, patience, perseverance, forbearance and tolerance conducted the nation's peaceful and non-violent struggle for freedom to success. He was an ardent supporter and upholder of democracy, fraternity and Hindu- Muslim unity, and staked his life several times for his high ideals and at last sacrificed his life for these. The Working Committee fully appreciates the grand and unparalleled services of the Mahatma to the country as a whole and regards him as the greatest benefactor of India.

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan: He was the only ray of light to help us through these darkest days.

General Douglas MacArthur: Nothing more revolting has occurred in history of modern world than the senseless assassination of this venerable man. That he should die by violence is one of those bitter anachronisms that seems to refute all logic. In the evolution of civilization, if it is to survive, all men cannot fail eventually to adopt his belief that the process of mass application of force to resolve contentious issues is fundamentally not only wrong but contains within itself the germs of self-destruction. Gandhiji, however, was one of those prophets who lived far ahead of the times.

Rajkumari Amrit Kaur: It is impossible to estimate his loss at this critical juncture in our history. I am sure that we shall miss his wise counsel more and more as the days pass by. He has led us faultlessly to our goal of political independence. The communal strife that started almost immediately after August 15 wounded him to the depths. An India wedded to violence he could not tolerate. He saw the moral deterioration in us and, as a loving father, he again unwearyingly pointed out to us the right way. With his infinite love he was trying to quench the anger that raged in many breasts. He was the one thing that stood between us and disaster, for lawlessness and disorder and hate and violence can lead nowhere else.

Sheikh Abdullah: Although Gandhiji is no more, Kashmir will follow him for ever. Kashmiris are laying down their lives for Gandhiji's ideals. As long as a single Kashmiri is alive, the torch of truth and unity lit by Gandhiji will burn brightly.

Sri Sankaracharya of Sri Kamakoti Peetah: A more perfect ideal of ahimsa and love cannot be conceived. Gandhiji utilised every evil happening to test his inner purity…

Albert Einstein: Everyone concerned in the better future of mankind must be deeply moved by the tragic death of Mahatma Gandhi. He died as the victim of his own principles, the principle of non-violence. He died because in time of disorder… he refused armed protection for himself. It was his unshakable belief that the use of force is an evil in itself... With his belief in his heart and mind, he has led a great nation on to its liberation. He has demonstrated that a powerful human following can be assembled not only through the cunning game of the usual political manoeuvres and trickeries but through the cogent example of a morally superior conduct of life. The admiration for Mahatma Gandhi in all countries of the world rests on recognition, mostly sub-conscious recognition of the fact that in our time of utter moral decadence, he was the only statesman to stand for a higher level of human relationship in the political sphere… We must learn the difficult lesson that an endurable future of humanity will be possible only if also in international relations decisions are based on law and justice and not on self-righteous power..

A leader of his people… a politician whose success rests not upon craft nor mastery of technical devices, but simply on the convincing power of his personality; a victorious fighter who has always scorned the use of force; a man of wisdom and humility, armed with resolve and inflexible consistency, who has devoted all his strength to the uplifting of his people and the betterment of their lot; a man who has confronted the brutality of Europe with the dignity of the simple human being, and thus at all times risen superior. Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe that such one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.

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Gandhiji has been killed by his own people for whose redemption he lived. This second crucifixion in the history of the world has been enacted on a Friday - the same day Jesus was done to death one thousand nine hundred and fifteen years ago. Father forgive us.
The Hindusthan Standard January 31, 1948