Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

The will to truth was not the same thing as the will

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The will to truth was not the same thing as the will to believe. It talked of peace and yet supported systems and organizations that could not exist but for vio lence. It condemned the violence of the sword, but what of the violence that comes quietly and often in peaceful garb and starves and kills; or, worse still, without doing any outward physical injury, outrages the mind and crushes the spirit and breaks the heart? And then I thought of him again who was the cause of this commo- 312
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tion within me. What a wonderful man was Gandhiji after all, with his amazing and almost irresistible charm and subtle power over people. His writings and his sayings conveyed little enough impression of the man behind; his personality was far bigger than they would lead one to think. And his services to India, how vast they had been! He had instilled courage and manhood in her people, and discipline and endurance, and the power of joyful sacrifice for a cause, and, with all his humility, pride. Courage is the one sure foundation of character, he had said; without courage there is no morality, no religion, no love. "One cannot follow truth or love so long as one is subject to fear." With all his horror of violence, he had told us that "cowardice is a thing even more hateful than violence." And "discipline is the pledge and guaran tee that a man means business. There is no deliverance and no hope without sacrifice, discipline, and self-control. Mere sacrifice without dis cipline will be unavailing." Words only and pious phrases perhaps, rather platitudinous, but there was power behind the words, and India knew that this little man meant business. He came to represent India to an amazing degree and to express the very spirit of that ancient and tortured land. Almost he was India, and his very failings were Indian failings. A slight to him was hardly a personal matter, it was an insult to the nation; and Viceroys and others who indulged in these disdainful gestures little realized what a dangerous crop they were sowing. I remember how hurt I was when I first learned that the Pope had refused an interview to Gandhiji when he was returning from the Round Table Conference in Decem ber 1931. That refusal seemed to me an affront to India, and there can be no doubt that the refusal was intentional, though the affront was probably not thought of. The Catholic Church does not approve of saints or mahatmas outside its fold, and because some Protestant churchmen had called Gandhiji a great man of religion and a real Christian, it became all the more necessary for Rome to dissociate itself from this heresy. But Gandhiji's greatness or his services to India or the tremendous debt I personally owed to him were not in question. In spite of all that, he might be hopelessly in the wrong in many matters.
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  • Fall '16
  • Alan Kolata

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