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Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi-VOL019

Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi-VOL019

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This are the volumes form the revised - erroneous - version of the CWMG as published on the CD-Rom "Mahatma Gandhi - Interactive Multimedia - Electronic Book" in 1999. Page and volume nos. are not identical with the original print version of the 1960's-1990's. The content of this CWMG version is to be credited as "The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book), New Delhi, Publications Division Government of India, 1999, 98 volumes"
Vol 019- September 29, 1919 - March 24, 1920
This are the volumes form the revised - erroneous - version of the CWMG as published on the CD-Rom "Mahatma Gandhi - Interactive Multimedia - Electronic Book" in 1999. Page and volume nos. are not identical with the original print version of the 1960's-1990's. The content of this CWMG version is to be credited as "The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book), New Delhi, Publications Division Government of India, 1999, 98 volumes"
Vol 019- September 29, 1919 - March 24, 1920

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05/13/2011

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March 19, 1920

It gives me the greatest pleasure to be able to move the only

resolution2

of this great conference.

I beg to congratulate the organizers and the volunteers on the
splendid success of the peaceful demonstration of today. We had
many warnings given to us as to the consequences that were likely to
follow from suspension of business. Bombay at least has, thanks to
the effort of the Khilafat Committee, behaved nobly in the matter.
The hartal was spontaneous a nd voluntary. No pressure whatever was
used. It was a matter of great satisfaction to me to note that the
Committee followed the advice tendered by me that mill-hands should
not be called upon to participate in the hartal.

1

Made on the occasion of the Khilafat Day at a mass meeting consisting of
about thirty thousand Muslims, Hindus and other citizens, presided over by Mia
Mahomed Haji Jan Mahomed Chhotani

2

The next of the resolution read :
This meeting of Hindus, Muslims and other citizens of Bombay hereby enters
its emphatic protest against the violent and irresponsible agitation going on in the
United Kingdom calculated to wound the deepest susceptibilities of the Muslims and
therefore the whole of India, and trusts that not only will His Majesty’s Ministers and
other statesmen who desire the retention of India in the Empire as a free partner
dissociate themselves from that agitation but will reassure the inhabitants of India of
the fellow-feeling of the people of the United Kingdom by securing a settlement of
the Khilafat question compatible with the just and religious sentiments of millions of
the Muslim subjects of His Majesty.
This meeting further records its deep conviction that any other solution of the
question must eventually result in complete withdrawal of co-operation from the
Government and therefore appeals to all the statesmen of the Empire to prevent such a
severe strain being put upon India’s loyalty.
This meeting at the same time wishes to place upon record the fact that,
whatever joint steps it may be necessary to take in order to give effect to the just
sentiments of Indians, there shall be no resort to violence whether in speech or deed
and is firmly of opinion that any violence practised in connection with the
movement will seriously injure it and cause irreparable harm.
In the event of the failure of the joint movement, the Muslims reserve to
themselves the right of taking such steps as the exigencies of the situation might
dictate.

That the President of this meeting be authorized to send a copy of this
resolution to His Excellency the Viceroy with a request to convey the same to His
Majesty the King Emperor. Amrita Bazar Patrika, 24-3-1920.

476

THE COLLECTED WORKS OF MAHATMA GANDHI

In these days of tension between employers and employees in
the various industrial concerns1

of the country, we may not encourage
labourers to absent themselves from work without the willing consent
of the employers.

Our resolution divides itself into four parts. The first part
consists of a protest and a prayer. It protests against violent and
irresponsible agitation2

set up in England in connection with the
Khilafat question, and appeals to the Ministers and other statesmen to
dissociate themselves from this agitation and reassure us of the fellow-
feeling of the people of the United Kingdom by securing an honou-
rable settlement consistent with the just religious sentiments of the
Mussulmans of India. The second part warns those concerned that an
adverse solution is likely to eventuate in complete withdrawal of co-
operation from the Government and will put an undue strain upon
Indian loyalty,3

and if such a step unfortunately becomes a necessity
there is likely to be excitement. The third part of the resolution warns
the people in the most emphatic language against violence of speech
or deed and gives it as the opinion of this great meeting that any
exercise of violence is calculated to injure the sacred cause and to do
irreparable harm. So far the resolution is a joint transaction between
the Hindus, Mohammedans and others to whom this great land is their
mother country or their adopted home.

And it commits the joint movement to a policy of non-violence
in the course of the struggle. But Mohammedans have special Koranic
obligations in which Hindus may or may not join. They, therefore,
reserve to themselves the right, in the event of the failure of non-co-
operation cum non-violence, in order to enforce justice, to resort to all
such methods as may be enjoined by the Islamic scriptures. I venture
heartily to associate myself with this resolution. I consider the
resolution to be thoroughly respectful and moderate in tone. I see on

1

For example, the Tata Iron Works at Jamshedpur, where the strikers were fired
on by the police and troops on March 15

2

This presumably refers to the propaganda carried on in England against the
Turks who were accused of crimes against humanity.

3

Gandhiji’s programme of non-co-operation was placed before the public for
the first time at the Khilafat Conference held in Meerut on January 26, 1920. At
the second Khilafat Conference held in Calcutta on February 29, 1920, Maulana Azad,
in his presidential address, recommended this programme “for the acceptance of the
Muslims”.

VOL. 19 : 29 SEPTEMBER, 1919 - 24 MARCH, 1920

477

the platform Shias and Sunnis,1

Hindus and Parsis, all joined together
in a respectful demonstration. Complete closure of the great Hindu
cloth market and Hindu business houses is an eloquent testimony of
Hindu agreement with the Muslim demand. The unholy agitation set
up in London has evoked an outburst of feeling in India which will
never die until justice is done. It is a matter of painful surprise that
even Lord Curzon, with all his knowledge and experience of India,
should have allied himself with the ignorant agitation.
There is, however, a silver lining to the cloud that has gathered
overhead. Mr. Montagu has been our uncompromising advocate.
Mr. Lloyd George has at last reaffirmed his memorable declaration2
though in a somewhat halting form. I believe that the Government of
India is pressing forward our claim with great firmness. The Anglo-
Indian Press has not been hostile. The Times of India and the Bengal
Chamber of Commerce have even warmly espoused our cause. The
resolution invites all Englishmen to rally round the banner of Truth
and vindicate British honour and the pledged word of the British
Premier. I yield to no one in my loyalty to the British connection but
I must refuse to buy that loyalty at the price of honour and at the
sacrifice of the deeply seated religious sentiments of one section of
my countrymen. A loyalty that sells its soul is worth nothing, and if
in spite of acknowledged services of Indian soldiers, both Hindu and
Mohammedan, during the late War,3

the promises made by British
statesmen are broken, the reasons that evoke the loyalty of India will
have ceased to exist. I do not lose hope, but if the hope is dis-
appointed and the worst happens, God alone knows what will happen
to this fair land of ours. We know this that there will be neither peace
nor rest for the Government or the people until the wrong is righted
and the feelings of eight crores of Mohammedans are respected.

I hope it is unnecessary to show why it is obligatory on Hindus
to march side by side with their Mohammedan countrymen. So
long as the means and the end are honourable, I can imagine no

1

Two sects of Mohammedans

2

On February 26, 1920, Lloyd George declared in the House of Commons :
“The pledge given in January 1918 was given after full consultation with all parties.
It was specific, unqualified and deliberate . . . The effect of the statement in India was
that recruiting went up appreciably from that very moment.”

3

On January 30, 1920, Queen Alexandra’s tribute to the Indian Army was read
by the Commander-in-Chief in the Council-chamber.

478

THE COLLECTED WORKS OF MAHATMA GANDHI

better cement for perpetually binding us both than our complete
association with Mohammedans. But in a cause so sacred as this there
can be, there should be, no violence either of speech or of deed. We
must conquer not by hate but by love. I admit the difficulty of loving
the un-just, but victory consists not in marching along a smooth
surface but in conquering obstacles in a resolute and undaunted way.
And in a just and sacred cause, firmness of purpose and uncon-
querable will are the least qua-lities required of us. Moreover violence
can only damage this great cause. It may create a sensation but we
shall never reach the goal through a series of sensations. The non-
violence clause of the resolution, therefore, definitely recognizes the
wisdom of self-restraint and enjoins upon all speakers to refrain from
making wild or exaggerated speeches which can only lead to blood-
shed, ruthless repression and humiliation of both the Government and
the people. But the Mohammedans want to play a perfectly honou-
rable game.

They wish to reserve or suppress nothing. Some of them have,
therefore, insisted upon the insertion of a proviso to the resolution,
meaning that if non-violence fails, they are at liberty to resort to the
other methods enjoined upon them by the Koran and these are that
when their religion is assailed, they should leave the country in which
it is assailed or war against the assailant. And so the resolution
undoubtedly foreshadows, in the most honourable and unmistakable
manner, the stages through which this great movement will pass, the
last stage being a bloody revolution. God forbid that this country
should have to pass through such a revolution and all its horrors but
the feeling on this Khilafat question runs so high and goes so deep
that an unjust solution may, if peaceful means fail, land this country in
a revolutionary move-ment the like of which we have not seen before,
and if it comes responsibility will rest with Englishmen, the Hindus
and the timid Mohammedans. If Englishmen will only recognize the
existence of the deep feeling and the necessity of a just decision, all
would be well. If the Hindus will understand the neighbourly duty
and actively co-operate with the Mohammedans, they can, by united
and perfectly peaceful effort, force a just solution. Timid Mohamm-
edans by shedding their timidity at this critical moment of their
history will also prevent bloodshed by letting the party of violence
understand that there are no deserters of the flag of Islam. If, then,
revolution is to be our lot, it will come through sheer despair

VOL. 19 : 29 SEPTEMBER, 1919 - 24 MARCH, 1920

479

staring honest, honourable, high-souled Mohammedans in the face
and giving them a feeling of being neglected by Englishmen, Hindus
and their co-religionists. I hope, therefore, that the whole of India
will unite in a prayer to the Almighty and in a cry of justice that shall
not be denied. I venture finally to hope that the Government will not
anticipate revolution by thoughtless and angry repression. They will
recognize that India is no longer an infant and that Indians have the
same feelings that actuate Englishmen in similar circumstances.
Young India, 24-3-1920

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