BROTHERS AND SISTERS,
A gentleman has written a letter to me. It is accompanied with a cutting from a Bombay newspaper. It is stated in that cutting that Gandhi is only carrying on propaganda for the Congress, but people are not interested in hearing it. If the Congress uses the radio, etc., like this for its own propaganda, it is bound to bring about dictatorship in the end. It is absolutely incorrect to say that I sing praises of the Congress I do not sing anybody’s praises and, if I do, I sing the praises of the whole world. The cutting also says that the talk of non-violence is just for show, the real purpose being self-glorification by the Government. But I would say that no government which indulges in self-glorification can survive. And I only want to serve dharma. I speak to you only about things related to dharma. Maybe, some people are not interested in hearing what I say. But there are others who write to tell me that they feel greatly encouraged by what I say. Nobody forces people to listen to me against their wishes. If your mind is somewhere else, you are free to leave this place without listening to what I say. If you leave me alone, I would neither have the prayer here, nor deliver the speeches. I am not particular about speaking on the radio. I do not like it. Even here I do not come with a prepared speech.
Many of our women are in Pakistan. They are being molested. Those unfortunate women are made to feel ashamed. In my view, they have no reason to feel ashamed. It would be gross injustice if any woman is considered worthless by society and abandoned by her brothers, parents, and husband because she had been abducted by the Muslims. It is my belief that any woman who has the purity of Sita cannot be touched by anyone. But where can we find women like Sita these days? And not all women can be like Sita. Should we show contempt for the woman who had been forcibly abducted and tyrannized? She is not a woman of loose character. My daughter or wife too could be abducted and raped. But I would not hate her for that reason. Many such women had approached me in Noakhali. Many Muslim women also came. We have all become goondas. I consoled those women. It is the men who commit rape that should feel ashamed, not these poor women.
A gentleman¹ remarks that supposing controls are removed and people start producing food for themselves in the villages and villagers start helping in harvesting the crops, etc., the prices will come down, but the prices will still rise if the farmers have to hire paid labour. It was customary at one time for one farmer to invite other farmers to help in harvesting and threshing and thus take the grains to the house. That practice is now forgotten, but should be revived. Nothing can be accomplished single-handed. That friend also suggests that at least one of the Ministers should be a peasant. Unfortunately, none of our Ministers is a peasant. The Sardar is a peasant by birth and has some knowledge of agriculture, but he is a barrister by profession. Jawaharlal is a scholar and a great writer, but what does he know about farming? More than 80 per cent of our population are peasants. In a true democracy, there should be the rule of peasants in our country. They need not become barristers. They should know how to be good farmers, how to increase their produce and keep the soil fertile. If we had such peasants, I would ask Jawaharlal to be their secretary. Our peasant ministers would stay not in a palace but in a mud-house, and would toil on the land throughout the day. Then alone can there be a true peasant rule.
Prarthana Pravachan—II, pp. 123-4
- 1. Secretary of a Provincial Congress Committee, who was a farmer.
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