Selected Writings of Gandhi

Journalist Gandhi

(Selected Writings of Gandhi)

Table of Contents

About This Book

Compiled by : T. K. Somaiya
Gandhi Book Center,
Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal,
299, Tardeo Road,
Nana Chowk, Mumbai 400 007
First Edition : August 1994
Published by : Jitendra T. Desai,
Navajivan Publishing House,
Ahemadabad - 380 014,
Printed by : Yash Printers
140/L, Kalbadevi Road,
Mumbai 400 002



Chapter 31: Members of The R. S. S.

Only Sacrifice Is Not Enough

Addressing about 500 members of the Rashtriya Sevak Sangha at the Bhangi Colony, Gandhiji said that he had visited the Rashtriya Sevak Sangh Camp years ago at Wardha, when the founder Shri Hedgewar was alive. The late Shri Jamnalal Bajaj had taken him to, the camp and he (Gandhiji) had been very impressed by their discipline, complete absence of untouchability and rigorous simplicity. Since then this Sangh had grown. Gandhiji was convinced that any organization which was inspired by the ideal of service and self-sacrifice was bound to grow in strength. But in order to be truly useful, self-sacrifice had to be combined with purity of motive and true knowledge. Sacrifice without these two had been known to prove ruinous to society.

Sanatani Hindu

The prayer that was recited at the beginning was in praise of Mother India, Hindu culture and Hindu religion. He claimed to be a Sanatani Hindu. He took the root meaning of the word Sanatana. No one knew accurately the origin of the word Hindu. The name was given to us and we had characteristically adopted it. Hinduism had absorbed the best of all the faiths of the world and in that sense it was not an exclusive religion. Hence, it could have no quarrel with Islam or its followers, as unfortunately was the case today. When the poison of untouchability entered Hinduism, the decline began. One thing was certain, and he had been proclaiming it from house tops, that if untouchability lived, Hinduism must die. Similarly, if the Hindus felt that in India there was no place for any one else except the Hindus and if non-Hindus, especially Muslims. wished to live here, they had to live as the slaves of the Hindus, or they would kill Hinduism. Similarly if Pakistan believed that in Pakistan only the Muslims had a rightful place and the non-Muslims had to live there on sufferance and as their slaves, it would be the death-knell of Islam in India.

Good For Evil

It was an unfortunate fact that India had been divided into two parts. If one part went mad and did ugly deeds, was the other part to follow suit? There was no gain in returning evil for evil. Religion taught us to return good for evil.

The Sangh's Claim

He had seen their Guruji a few days ago. He had mentioned to him the various complaints about the Sangh that he had received in Calcutta and Delhi. The Guruji had assured him that though could not vouchsafe for the correct behaviour of every member of the Sangh, the Policy Of the Sangh was purely service of Hindus and Hinduism and that too not at the cost of any one else. The Sangh did not believe in aggression. It did not believe in ahimsa. It taught the art of self-defence. It never taught retaliation.
The ship of India was passing through troubled waters. The leaders in charge of the Government were the best that India possessed. Some people were dissatisfied with them. He would ask them to produce better men if they could and he would advise the old guard to hand over the reins to their betters. After all, Sardar was an old man and Pandit Jawaharlal, though not old in years, looked old and haggard under the burden he was carrying. They were doing their utmost to serve the people, but they could only act according to their light. If the vast bulk of the Hindus wanted to, go in a particular direction. even though it might be wrong, no one could prevent them from doing so. But even a single individual had the right to raise his voice against it and give them the warning. That is what Gandhiji was doing. He was told that he was the friend of the Muslims and the enemy of the Hindus and the Sikhs. It was true that he was a friend of the Muslims, as he was of the Parsis and others. In this respect he was the same today as he had been since the age of twelve. But those who called him the enemy of the Hindus and the Sikhs did not know him. He could be enemy of none, much less of the Hindus and the Sikhs.

Result of Wrong Doing?

If Pakistan persisted in wrong doing, there was bound to be war between India and Pakistan. If he had his way, he would have no military; no police even. But all this was tall talk. He was not the Government. Why did not Pakistan plead with the Hindus and the Sikhs and asked them not to leave their homes and ensure their safety in every way? Why could not they in the Indian Union ensure the safety of every Muslim?
Both the parties appeared to have gone crazy. The result could be nothing but destruction and misery.

Deeds and Words

The Sangh was a well-organized, well-disciplined body. Its strength could be used in the interests of India or against it. He did not know whether there was any truth in the allegations made against the Sangh. It was for the Sangh to show by their uniform behaviour that the allegations were baseless.

Who Can Punish?

At the conclusion of the speech, Gandhiji invited questions. One person asked if Hinduism permitted killing of an evil-doer. Gandhiji replied that it did and it did not. One evil-doer could not punish another. To punish was the function of the Government, not that of the public.

Harijan 28-9-1947