Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav
Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India
Contact No. – 09415777229, 094055338
MAHATMA GANDHI INTERVIEW TO THE TIMES OF INDIA
Mahatma Gandhi gave interview to The Times of India on November 10, 1932. Details of interview are here.
GANDHIJI: The Zamorin does not say that it is impossible to throw open the temple but he goes on pointing out his difficulties. If he fails in his efforts Kelappan and I have to resort to fast unless I see some flaw in the claim advanced. In fact there is no flaw in it. There are difficulties in the way of the Zamorin but they are not such that they cannot be got over. The real test is whether the sanatanists, those who have the privilege of entering the temple, have any objection to untouchables entering the temple. All the information I have received shows that the majority of the temple goers have no objection. The whole movement is based on the belief that the temple goers, i.e., sanatanists are prepared for the reform. Our fast would be premature if they are not prepared for the reform.
Question: There won’t be any fast if the difficulties regarding the opening of these temples are removed. Isn’t that so?
G. The proposed fast is above all for the opening of this temple. To make it a test case Kelappan had concentrated all his efforts on this temple alone. They have made their utmost effort to get the temple opened. After I began my fast Kelappan also decided to follow me. But he had not given due notice. I pointed out this fault and advised him to postpone the fast. He agreed to it. Now therefore I am honour-bound to fast with him. This is the reason why we have concentrated our efforts on Guruvayur.
Q. The Zamorin says that thousands of people are willing to lay down their lives.
G. That statement of his is not true. However, I won’t be worried if thousands of people who call themselves sanatanists go on a fast. Truth is more precious than thousands of lives. I feel that a fast is a means to self-purification and awakening the inner self. It cannot be a means of coercion.
Q. Won’t this movement divide the Hindu community? Won’t the sanatanists be separated from the rest of the Hindus?
G. I entertain no such fear. Being a democrat, I would not oppose as I am doing now the movement known as the sanatanist movement if I am satisfied that it has the support of the majority. The whole movement of eradication of untouchability rests on the belief that the opposition does not have a formidable support. It is well known that it does not have any moral support.
Q. Don’t you feel that you would be more effective if you were outside? Do you consider eradication of untouchability less important than civil disobedience?
G. I do not give anyone of them either less or more importance. For me both are religious principles and so I cannot consider one inferior to the other. Here I am talking about civil disobedience as a principle, not as a movement. I cannot give any opinion on the civil disobedience that is going on the country.
Q. It seems that the movement is not as effective as it should be.
G. I cannot say that. I am not in a position to say anything. I cannot rely on the information gathered from the newspapers. You should contact the workers outside.
Q. What do you say about Delhi resignations from Anti-untouchability?
G. I am not surprised. However, I do hope there is nothing very significant behind it all. The foundation of the League is quite strong. It has an ideal President and a more ideal Secretary.