Post Prayer Speech 1947-05-13


Mahatma Gandhi

At today’s prayer meeting Gandhiji dealt with the questions that were put before him.

The first was: What could we do to save ourselves and our culturewhether Hindu or Muslim?

Gandhiji said that he thought that nobody else could protect their culture for them. They had to protect it themselves and could destroy it by their folly. Thus, if Bengal had one culture, as he believed it had, it was for the people of Bengal to protect it.

The second question was: When everything at the top goes wrong, can the goodness of the people at the bottom assert itself against its mischievous influence?

In answer, Gandhiji said that if the people at the top went wrong, it was certainly open to, and it was the duty of those at the bottom, to remove the wrong top even as he would remove an umbrella which appeared to be at the top but which was sustained by him.

Thus Pandit Nehru was at the top. But in reality he was sustained by them. If he went wrong, those at the bottom could remove him without trouble. Coming nearer home if they found Suhrawardy Saheb to be unworthy, they at the bottom could certainly remove him, not by physical force but by the way he [Gandhiji] had had the honour of putting before them. The argument that he was elected by the Muslim voters was beside the point.

It all boiled down to the fact that if the people at the bottom were ignorant, they would be exploited. Such was the case with the English. When the people realized their strength and the fact that the bottom sustained the top, it would be well with them. Therefore, he would say that if the top was wrong there was something radically wrong with the bottom. Let them, therefore, dispel their ignorant helplessness.

Before he dealt with the questions, Gandhiji told some demonstrators that they need not be afraid of his doing anything that they did not like. He represented nobody but himself. He could only give advice which they were free to accept or reject. Therefore, if Bengal was divided or united, it would be their act.

Harijan, 25-5-1947


This item is part of a library of books, audio, video, and other materials from and about India is curated and maintained by Public Resource. The purpose of this library is to assist the students and the lifelong learners of India in their pursuit of an education so that they may better their status and their opportunities and to secure for themselves and for others justice, social, economic and political.

This library has been posted for non-commercial purposes and facilitates fair dealing usage of academic and research materials for private use including research, for criticism and review of the work or of other works and reproduction by teachers and students in the course of instruction. Many of these materials are either unavailable or inaccessible in libraries in India, especially in some of the poorer states and this collection seeks to fill a major gap that exists in access to knowledge.

For other collections we curate and more information, please visit the Bharat Ek Khoj page. Jai Gyan!