Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav
Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India
Contact No. – 09415777229, 094055338
VIOLENCE VERSUS NON-VIOLENCE
The Khilafat day has come and gone. It was a great success and a complete triumph of Satyagraha, i.e., not civil disobedience but truth and non-violence. No hartal has been so voluntary as that of the 19th March in that all the canvassing that ever took place was before the 19th. It was an example of wonderful self-restraint on the part of the Committee not to have called out the mill-hands. The Committee deserves the highest praise for its efficient management and for the definite recognition of voluntarism. If the people continue to show the discipline and self-restraint shown on the 19th and add thereto in an equal measure the spirit of self-sacrifice, nothing can prevent the full fruition of our hopes regarding Khilafat. Nobody could have believed a year ago the possibility of peace being observed by the fanatical element among the Mohammedans on a matter of life and death to them and on a day of no business for the idlers. But there can be no idleness when there is prayer. All were enjoined not to quarrel, not to be angry but to pray for the right to be done. It is true that all did not definitely pray, but the spirit of prayer was abroad and it dominated the people rather than the spirit of revenge, anger, excitement, and so we had the amazing spectacle of the hartal day passing off like an ordinary day when everybody expects peace to be observed. The vast meeting of Bombay attended perhaps by thirty thousand men was a sight worth seeing. There was firmness in the faces of those thousands of people who listened to the speeches, yet without applause or any other effusive demonstration. The organizers deserve the warmest praise for having introduced into our meetings the ancient peacefulness, quiet, determination and orderliness in the place of modern fluster, excitement and disorderliness. The one develops just the qualities that make for Satyagraha; the other inevitably leads to violence. And the message of the great meeting and the very successful hartal is not violence but non-violence. I hope that the authorities will not misread the situation. They will not fail to understand the admirable spirit of the whole demonstration or the equally admirable spirit of the resolution a resolution to which, in my humble opinion, it is impossible for any honest lover of this country or the Empire to take exception. I hope, too, that they will read the spirit of the movement in the manner in which it is developing.
I hope that the exemplary patience, self-restraint and orderliness that are evolving in our midst will have their due weight with them and that they will inform the Imperial Government that whilst there is this admirable peace in the land there is also a grim determination behind it which will not take “no” for an answer. I hope that Government will not repeat the sin of last April and entertain any false hope of tyranny and unquenchable spirit that has come into being and that will suffer everything but humiliation, dishonor and defeat [sic]. It is a matter of deep regret that so respected a body as the Liberal League should have hastily and in advance condemned the hartal. Surely a people so stricken with grief and with disappointment probably staring them in the face must have an outlet for orderly manifestation. It was because not very long ago we were afraid to speak or write what we thought that our sentiments burrowed under and became foul with stench because of the absence of the fierce sun and the open air of public opinion playing upon them. Hence we had a secret revolutionary movement. Today, thank God, we seem to have outlived the evil day. We dare to think, speak and write openly, with- out fear, but under restraint that openness imposes upon mankind. I appeal to the members of the Liberal League and those who think with them to recognize this plain fact and to appreciate the superiority of boldness over timid caution. If they desire to harness all the innumerable forces that are coming daily into being for the uplift of the nation, if they wish to become privileged participators in the throes of the new birth, let them not ignore the signs of the time, let them not reject the advances of the younger generation, let them not chill their ardent hopes and aspirations, but let them head this growing party of young, enthusiastic, self-sacrificing dare-devil men. Sympathize with them, respond to the heart’s throb, and regulate it, for they are amenable to reason or an appeal to their highsouledness and you has a disciplined party, obedient to the call of the country. But if they feel neglected, if they feel that the older heads will not patiently listen to their wants, will not give them a helping hand, they may despair and despair may lead to desperation resulting in a catastrophic destruction. I can recall no time so magnificently suitable for leading India to the method of satyagraha not necessarily civil disobedience, but truth and nonviolence in which there is no defeat and in which if there is any error it hurts but those who err.