Skip to main content

131. THAT MEMORABLE WEEK !---II





So I went to the Commissioner Mr. Griffith's office. All about the staircase leading to the office I saw soldiers armed from top to toe, as though for military action. The verandah was all astir. When I was admitted to the office, I saw Mr. Bowring sitting with Mr. Griffith.

I described to the Commissioner the scenes I had witnessed. He replied briefly: 'I did not want the procession to proceed to the Fort, as a disturbance was inevitable there. And as I saw that the people would not listen to persuasion, I could not help ordering the mounted police to charge through the crowd.'

'But,' said I, 'you knew what the consequences must be. The horses were bound to trample on the people. I think it was quite unnecessary to send that contingent of mounted men.'

'You cannot judge that,' said Mr. Griffith. 'We police officers know better than you the effect of your teaching on the people. If we did not start with drastic measures, the situation would pass out of our hands. I tell you that the people are sure to go out of your control. Disobedience of law will quickly appeal to them; it is beyond them to understand the duty of keeping peaceful. I have no doubt about your intentions, but the people will not understand them. They will follow their natural instinct.'

'It is there that I join issue with you,' I replied. 'The people are not by nature violent but peaceful.'

And thus we argued at length. Ultimately Mr. Griffith said, 'But suppose you were convinced that your teaching had been lost on the people, what would you do?'

'I should suspend civil disobedience if I were so convinced.'

'What do you mean? You told Mr. Bowring that you would proceed to the Punjab the moment you were released.'

'Yes, I wanted to do so by the next available train. But it is out of the question today.'

'If you will be patient, the conviction is sure to grow on you. Do you know what is happening in Ahmedabad? And what has happened in Amritsar? People have everywhere gone nearly mad. I am not yet in possession of all the facts. The telegraph wires have been cut in some places. I put it to you that the responsibility for all these disturbances lies on you.'

'I assure you I should readily take it upon myself wherever I discovered it. But I should be deeply pained and surprised, if I found that there were disturbances in Ahmedabad. I cannot answer for Amritsar. I have never been there, no one knows me there. But even about the Punjab I am certain of this much that, had not the Punjab Government prevented my entry into the Punjab, I should have been considerably helpful in keeping the peace there. By preventing me they gave the people unnecessary provocation.'

And so we argued on and on. It was impossible for us to agree. I told him that I intended to address a meeting on Chaupati and to ask the people to keep the peace, and took leave of him. The meeting was held on the Chaupati sands. I spoke at length on the duty of non-violence and on the limitations of Satyagraha, and said: 'Satyagraha is essentially a weapon of the truthful. A

Satyagrahi is pledged to non- violence, and, unless people observe it in thought, word and deed, I cannot offer mass Satyagraha.'
Anasuyabehn, too, had received news of disturbances in Ahmedabad. Some one had spread a rumour that she also had been arrested. The mill- hands had gone mad over her rumoured arrest, struck work and committed acts of violence, and a sergeant had been done to death.

I proceeded to Ahmedabad. I learnt that an attempt had been made to pull up the rails near the Nadiad railway station, that a Government officer had been murdered in Viramgam, and that Ahmedabad was under martial law. The people were terror-striken. They had indulged in acts of violence and were being made to pay for them with interest.

A police officer was waiting at the station to escort me to Mr. Pratt, the Commissioner. I found him in a state of rage. I spoke to him gently, and expressed my regret for the disturbances. I suggested that martial law was unnecessary, and declared my readiness to co-operate in all efforts to restore peace. I asked for permission to hold a public meeting on the grounds of the Sabarmati Ashram. The proposal appealed to him, and the meeting was held, I think, on Sunday, the 13th of April, and martial law was withdrawn the same day or the day after. Addressing the meeting, I tried to bring home to the people the sense of their wrong, declared a penitential fast of three days for myself, appealed to the people to go on a similar fast for a day, and suggested to those who had been guilty of acts of violence to confess their guilt.

I saw my duty as clear as daylight. It was unbearable for me to find that the labourers, amongst whom I had spent a good deal of my time, whom I had served, and from whom I had expected better things, had taken part in the riots, and I felt I was a sharer in their guilt.

Just as I suggested to the people to confess their guilt, I suggested to the Government to condone the crimes. Neither accepted my suggestion.

The late Sir Ramanbhai and other citizens of Ahmedabad came to me with an appeal to suspend Satyagraha. The appeal was needless, for I had already made up my mind to suspend Satyagraha so long as people had not learnt the lesson of peace. The friends went away happy.

There were, however, others who were unhappy over the decision. They felt that, if I expected peace everywhere and regarded it as a condition precedent to launching Satyagraha, mass Satyagraha would be an impossibility. I was sorry to disagree with them. If those amongst whom I worked, and whom I expected to be prepared for non-violence and self-suffering, could not be non-violent,
Satyagraha was certainly impossible. I was firmly of opinion that those who wanted to lead the people to Satyagraha ought to be able to keep the people within the limited non-violence expected of them. I hold the same opinion even today.

Next : 132. (157-250) 'A HIMALAYAN MISCALCULATION'

To be continued  ..

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

LORD SRI RAMA THE APOTHEOSIS OF HUMAN PERFECTION-2.

LORD SRI RAMA THE APOTHEOSIS OF HUMAN PERFECTION-2.
22/02/2018
2.
The whole of the Ramayana is an Epic of humanity. Humanity does not mean mankind but that which particularly characterises human nature.

It is in this sense, Sri Rama is oftentimes called the paragon of humanity, an example of the perfection of human nature.

This perfection of human nature is not inclusive of the foibles of man in his lower endowments.

In the majestic words of Valmiki with which the Epic commences, we are given a description of what this perfection of humanity is, as an answer given by sage Narada to a question put by sage Valmiki as to who is the ideal of human nature.


"Whom do you think, O sage, is the perfect embodiment of humanity in this world and can you give me an example of such a perfection?" was the question put by Valmiki to Narada.

And then, Narada commences a dignified description of a personality whom today we know and adore as Sri Rama.

That majestic feature of bodily personali…

PM’s Mann Ki Baat Programme on All India Radio :- 25/02/2018

25 Feb, 2018

My dear countrymen, Namaskar.

Let us begin today’s Mann Ki Baat with a phone call.


Phone Call…

Thank you very much for your phone call. My young friends have asked me many questions related to Science; they keep writing on quite a few points. All of us have seen that the sea appears blue, but we know from routine life experiences that water has no colour at all. Have we ever thought why water acquires colour in rivers and seas? The same thought occurred to a young man in the 1920s. The same question gave rise to a great scientist of modern India. When we talk about Science, the first name that strikes us is that of Bharat Ratna Sir C.V.Raman. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his outstanding work on light scattering. One of his discoveries is famous as the Raman Effect.

We celebrate the 28th of February as National Science Day since on this very day, he is said to have discovered the phenomenon of light scattering, for which the Nobel Prize was conferred upon him. This …

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Biography :

Personal Life & Legacy :



Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel tied the knot at the age of 18, to Jhaverba, who was twelve years of age then. Following the traditional Hindu customs, which allowed the bride to stay with her parents until her husband had a decent income and an established household, the two stayed apart for a few years until Sardar Patel had definite income to fall back on.

Along with Jhaverba, he set up a house in Godhra. The couple was blessed with a daughter, Manibehn, in 1904, and a son, Dahyabhai, two years later.

In 1909, Jhaverba, who was suffering from cancer, underwent a major surgical operation. Though the operation was successful, Jhaverba’s health continued to decline. She passed away the same year. Patel was against remarrying and instead raised his children with the help of his family.

Patel’s health started declining in the summer of 1950. Though he was taken care of intensely, his health worsened. To recuperate, he was flown to Mumbai, where he lodged at the Bi…