[March 17, 1930]
You have just heard Panditji's song that the path of love is like a flame. A satyagrahi's path is the path of love, not one of enmity. It should be the ambition of a satyagrahi to win over even the most hard-hearted of enemies through love.
How can one demonstrate that there is nothing but love underlying civil disobedience? Pritam must have had a direct experience of this, as a result of which this bhajan poured forth from his heart.
Ill feeling perhaps could be compared to fire. How could that be said of love? Whereas ill-feeling burns others, love burns oneself ,and purifies the other person. When love assumes this intense form, it may well appear to some as fire, but you may be sure that in the end it will make its cooling effect known. This band of satyagrahis which have set out is not staging a play; its effect will not be merely temporary; even through death, it will prove true to its pledge—if death becomes necessary. The Government will, in the end, have to admit that these persons practicing satyagraha were devotees of truth and nonviolence. Nothing will be better than if this band of satyagrahis perishes. If the satyagrahis meet with death, it will put a seal upon their claim.
Not only should there be no anger within one's heart at the time of death, but on the contrary, one should feel and pray: 'May good befall him who kills me!' When anyone meets death in such a manner, I would call it a satyagrahi's death and only in such a death would the dying person be considered to have been true to his pledge. Even with regard to myself I cannot give any assurance today. It is only others who can judge a person by this test after his death.
Here in Anand, you have Narsinhbhai's hut. Anand is the educational centre of the Patidars. Kheda district is the home town of the Patidars, of Vallabhbhai, of Motibhai Amin, and of the volunteers of the Charotar Education Society. Where can I give expression to the feelings within me if not before such an audience? I have come to you filled with great expectations.
I have asserted at many places that this time I have not set out to beg for funds. I know how to do that. This struggle is not one based on money. It is going to be carried on without it. In a trice this morning, the yarn merchants of Bombay presented me with Rs. 2,501. The Diamond Association has sent me Rs. 2,000. Moreover, if I make even a feeble appeal for fund, Gujarat and India would shower money upon me; I would be buried under its weight and would be unable even to reach Jalalpur.
I have come to ask for a big contribution. In your hands lies the honour of the Patidars of Charotar. You are like salt in the sea of Patidars. If the salt loses its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? Salt is more sapid than either sugar or jaggery. The latter may even cause jaundice, whereas a pinch of salt adds flavour to the meal. If Anand gives up its savour, if courage and such other virtues which have been attributed to the Patidars are not displayed in Anand at this juncture, where else can one see them?
You must have understood the reason for this introduction. Are the students of Anand and Kheda district going to sit down with their books, or will they follow the lead that has been given by the Vidyapith? We have already received a return with interest for the 2 1/2 lakhs of rupees spent by Dr. Mehta for the Vidyapith and contributions made by other well-wishers. Today the Vidyapith has wound up its book-learning and has proved its motto: That is learning which liberates.
All the students who have entered their sixteenth year have united in giving up their studies, and the teachers too have joined them. What more can be expected of the place where all the students as well as the teachers obtain cent per cent marks? Why do you also not adopt this path?
It is my hope that Gujarat will set an object-lesson to the rest of the country. One cannot say yet whether the fight will be a prolonged one or will end quickly. If, however, we have sacrificed our all in the movement, we should not worry about whether it will be long or short. I have a right to entertain such hopes of the Patidars of Kheda district. They have been giving me hopes ever since my South Africa days. Kheda is a population of seven lakhs which includes our Thakore brethren. If the Patidars show the way, the Garasias are bound to follow them. Has not Tulsidas said that base metal shines at the touch of the parasmani.
You students must suspend your studies for as long as this struggle continues. At this time, I recall the words of the late Deshbandhu. He was unhappy about non-co-operation in schools. He used to say that we should certainly call out students when the time came for the final struggle but that we should leave them alone at the moment. I did not agree, and he joined in the boycott of schools. But these words were uttered in 1920. Not five, ten years have elapsed since then. The final battle has to be waged. Hence there is no reason why students should now remain in schools.
Today I am not asking for preparing one battlefield only. Today, everyone from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and from Karachi to Dibrugarh will be able to to practise non-co-operation either individually or collectively.
Until last December, I felt that the atmosphere was not favourable for civil disobedience and I said what I felt. I now claim that if ever the circumstances were opportune, they are today. This is the auspicious moment. If at this auspicious time we do not develop the strength for civil disobedience we shall never do so.
What student is he who will continue to study at such a time? Formerly, I asked the students to leave schools and to set up national schools. Today I ask them to leave schools and come out on the battlefield become mendicants for the sake of the country. If a businessman continues to carry on his business today, he will not enhance his prestige. If India wishes to launch satyagraha on a wide scale, this is the time it should do so.
God will provide food and drink; countless people will provide it. If there is flare-up in the entire country, and if the whole of India starts civil disobedience, how long will it take for 30 crores of people to free themselves from the grip—the domination—of a hundred thousand Britishers? School children will work this out by the rule of three.
The army consists of 70 thousand Britishers and others including Sikhs, Pathans, Gurkhas and Marathas. This army is sitting astride both our shoulders; although it may be stationed in Meerut and other cantonment, we see nothing else behind the laws that suppress Us. The British make us dance to their tune on the strength of the backing of this army.
Please remember again I am not asking you to give up your studies for good but only to give up book-learning while the struggle lasts. It is up to you whether it will be a protracted one or not. Youth leagues—that is you students—proclaim many big things. This year our Congress President is a young man who rides a horse. Hence a large part of the burden of this struggle is to be borne by you students.
May God give you inner strength. This is not a question of utilizing your intellect. If something has to be made convincing through the use of the intellect, it can be set out in the same manner as a proposition of geometry with a Q.E.D. at the end of it. However, here the intellect becomes helpless if there is no strength of heart. The intellect is a handmaid of the heart.
I am helpless, however, if you feel at heart that this man has only begun a stunt, that at the end of a month he will call the thing off saying he has committed a Himalayan blunder and withdraw quietly to the banks of Sabarmati. If, however, you do not believe this to be the case, rest assured that so far as you and I are concerned this is indeed the final struggle and the means to be adopted are peaceful, involving civil disobedience and so on.