Post Prayer Speech 1947-09-26


Mahatma Gandhi


What is going on is not Sikhism, nor Islam nor Hinduism. We are somewhat familiar with each of these. Can any religion which indulges in unworthy things survive? Sikhism started with Guru Nanak. What did Guru Nanak teach? He said that God is known by several names including Allah, Rahim, Khuda. This is so in all religions. Nanak Saheb tried to bring together all religions. Kabir Saheb did the same thing. It is said that that age is gone.

Today a man—Guru Dutt¹—came to me. He is a big vaidya. As he narrated his tale he burst into tears. He agreed that in the light of the training he had received from me he should have laid down his life there. But he confessed he had not the courage to do so. He told me that he had always respected me and felt that what I said was the only right thing. But it was a different matter following truth in practice. He said the truth was that he was not able to carry it out in practice. He was prepared to go back if I said so. I told him that if we were convinced that we could never expect justice at the hands of the Pakistan Government and if they did not admit their mistakes then we had our own Cabinet which included Jawaharlal, Sardar Patel and many other good men. If even they cannot stop the Pakistan Government from indulging in those things, then ultimately they would have to resort to war. Let us arrive at a mutual and friendly settlement. Why can we not do so? We Hindus and Muslims were friends till yesterday. Have we become such enemies today that we cannot trust one another? If you say that you are never going to trust them, then the two sides would have to fight. Speaking in terms of logic it may be asked what else would people do when they have army and police and are forced to depend on them? If they decide to kill two persons for every person killed in Pakistan, who would care for whom? If we want to have justice, let me tell you the matter does not lie with you or me. It is the function of the Government. Tell the Government, it is there to help us. We should not take the offensive. But we must be ready to fight, because when war comes it does not come after giving a warning. We should not take any initiative to fight, but if the other side takes the initiative, both the Governments face their doom. War is no joke. After all, how long can I go on stressing the point? But if there is no settlement between the two sides, there would be no alternative. In that event, if all the Hindus have to die fighting, I would not be sorry. But we have to choose the path of justice. I would not bother if all the Hindus and all the Muslims have to die following that path. And, then, if it is proved that all those 4½ crore Muslims are fifth-columnists, I have no doubt that they have to be shot down or executed. And like the Muslims, the Hindus and the Sikhs living in Pakistan too should be treated in the same manner; if they betray that country, we cannot be partial in their case. If we regard all the Muslims as fifth-columnists, will not the Hindus and the Sikhs in Pakistan be also considered fifth-columnists? That would not do. The Hindus and the Sikhs staying there can come here by all means if they do not wish to continue staying there. In that case, it is the first duty of the Indian Government to give them jobs and make their lives comfortable. But they cannot continue to stay there and become petty spies and work for us and not for Pakistan. Such a thing cannot be done and I would not be a party to it. I do not have any magic wand with me. Nor do I possess a sword. I have only one thing with me, and that is, to recite the name of God and work in the name of God. Everything is accomplished by following that path. It is not that I am the only one in possession of it. All of you, including that little girl standing there, possess it. God alone has the power to perform miracles. What do you think I can do without the grace of God? But this much I have realized. I have been a fighter for many many years, more than 60 years. But I fight not with the sword, but with the weapons of truth and non-violence. Those weapons are still with us. But it is not within my power alone to use them. I can do nothing without your support.

We are going to preserve our freedom with the strength with which we have won it. We defeated the British with that strength. We did not defeat them with the help of arms. Ours was the unarmed power with which we defeated them. Whoever wants to live in India, whether Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Christian, will have to fight and die for India. If all the Indians would lay down their lives for the country, no power could defeat us or push us back, irrespective of the army we mayor may not have. The Muslims have said they would be loyal to India. Let us trust them with all our heart. Let us remember that truth alone triumphs never untruth,—Satyameva jayate nanritam². This is a great saying. It contains the essence of our religion. Let us learn it by heart and always remember it. And then I would say and say with all the force at my command that we would stand firm even if the whole world was against us. No one can kill us. No one can destroy Hinduism. If it is destroyed, it would be at our own hands. Similarly if Islam is destroyed in India, it would be at the hands of the Muslims living in Pakistan. It cannot be destroyed by the Hindus.

[From Hindi]
Prarthana Pravachan—I, pp. 349-52


  • 1. Pandit Thakur Dutt of Lahore
  • 2. Mundakopanishad, III. i. 6


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