Post Prayer Speech 1948-01-25


Mahatma Gandhi


People say that we have achieved heart-unity. I question both Muslims and Hindus and they all say that they have realized the futility of going on fighting with each other. I will not ask how many Muslims there are at this meeting. But I shall ask everyone to treat them as their brothers. If you meet any Muslim treat him as a brother and offer him a place to sit. For the last two days more people have been coming to the prayer. If each one of them brings a Muslim with him it will be a great thing.

The Urs¹ will start from tomorrow at the Mehrauli shrine. This fair is an annual feature but this year we had destroyed the shrine. Even the stone lattice work was demolished. Now it has been repaired somewhat and the Urs will take place as usual. I do not know how many Muslims will go there but I know that formerly a large number of them visited the Urs and so did a large number of Hindus. I hope that this time too Hindus will go there with peaceful intent and reverent hearts. Let them not mock or malign the Muslims who will be going to the fair. The police of course will be there but these should be as few as possible, you should all act as policemen yourselves and make sure that everything functions smoothly. At any rate you have earned a good name. The newspapers feature it and I continue to receive letters and telegrams from all over the world. I am receiving communications from China and other parts of Asia and from America and Europe as well. All of them say that we have achieved here something very great, that they had been fearing that with the British having left the country we Indians being stupid and inexperienced in the ways of governing would destroy ourselves in a civil war.

I shall be leaving for Wardha on February 2. Rajendra Babu will accompany me. But I shall try to return to Delhi as soon as I can. The newspaper report that I shall be staying there for a month is not correct. I shall go to Wardha only if you will all bless me and assure me that you will not start fighting as soon as I leave. I shall later go to Pakistan also, but for that to be possible the Pakistan Government has to tell me that I can go and carry on my work there. Even if any one of the Provincial Governments of Pakistan invites me I shall go.

Whenever there is a meeting of the Congress Working Committee at which I am present I give you some idea of what is transacted there. Today there was a second meeting of the Congress Working Committee and many matters were discussed there. You may not be interested in everything that was taken up for discussion but one thing I may tell you. The Congress had decided some twenty years ago that there should be as many provinces in the country as there are major languages. The Congress had also said that as soon as power came into its hands such linguistic provinces would be formed. For that matter we have nine or ten provinces even today—all under a central authority. If new provinces are formed and they are all placed under the authority of Delhi there is no harm in it. But it will be very bad if they all want to be free and refuse to accept central authority. It should not be that Bombay then will have nothing to do with Maharashtra and Maharashtra with Karnataka and Karnataka with Andhra. Let all live as brothers. Moreover if linguistic provinces are formed it will also give a fillip to the regional languages. It would be absurd to make Hindustani the medium of instruction in all the regions and it is still more absurd to use English for this purpose.

[From Hindi]
Prarthana Pravachan—II, pp. 338-40


  • 1. A religious fair held annually at the shrine of Khwaja Syed Kutub-ud-Din Bakhtiar


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