BROTHERS AND SISTERS,
When I was on fast¹ in the Aga Khan Palace which was turned into a jail to imprison me, Sarojini Devi², Mirabehn³ and Mahadevbhai⁴, this bhajan⁵ had captured me. Here I do not wish to go into the causes of the fast.
I would like to mention only one thing in that connection, and it is that I survived for 21 days not because of the amount of water I used to drink, or the orange juice which I took for some days, or the extraordinary medical care, but because I had installed in my heart God whom I call Rama. I was so much attracted by the lines of this bhajan that I instructed the persons concerned to send me the correct words by telegram, as I had forgotten those words at the time. I was very happy when I received the whole bhajan by reply telegram. The essence of the bhajan is that Ramanama is everything and other gods count for nothing compared to Him. I am mentioning this instructive episode in my life because I want the A. I. C. C. members to think and deliberate with God in their hearts when they meet for the important session on Saturday. They will have to do so because they are representatives of all Congressmen. Hence, if the leading Congressmen have Satan instead of God in their hearts they are not true to their salt.
The Working Committee discussed for full three hours the resolutions to be placed before the A. I. C. C. During the discussion the question arose as to how the Hindu and the Sikh refugees could be honourably and safely sent back to their homes in West Punjab. They came to the conclusion that the trouble started from the Pakistan side, but they also realized that when the wrong was copied on such a large scale and when the Hindus and the Sikhs resorted to acts of retaliation in East Punjab and the adjoining areas of the Union, the question of where the trouble started became insignificant. If the A. I. C. C. could claim with confidence that so far as the Indian Union was concerned, the days of madness were over and sanity reigned from one end of the Union to the other, the Committee could also say that the Dominion of Pakistan would be obliged to call back the Hindu and Sikh refugees with honour and safety. Such a situation can be created only when all Hindus and Sikhs install Rama in their hearts instead of Ravana. For, when you drive Satan out of your hearts and give up the present madness, every Muslim child will be able to move about with as much freedom as a Hindu or a Sikh child. Then, I have no doubt, the Muslim refugees who have left their homes under duress will gladly come over and the way will be cleared for the honourable and safe return of the Hindu and Sikh refugees to Pakistan.
Will my words have an echo in your hearts and will the A. I. C. C. be able to come to a wise and just conclusion?
Prarthana Pravachan—II, pp. 78-9
- 1. From February 10 to March 3, 1943; vide Vol. LXXVII.
- 2. Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949); poetess and orator; President of the Indian National Congress in 1925; Governor of U. P., 1947-49
- 3. Nee Madeleine Slade; joined Gandhiji in 1925
- 4. Mahadev Desai (1892-1942); Gandhiji’s private secretary from 1917 till his death on August 15, 1942
- 5. और नही कछ कामक, मैं भरोस अपने रामक । “I depend solely on my Rama, all others are of no avail,” a bhajan by Tulsidas
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