Message to India

by Mohandas Gandhi

Pencil drawing of Gandhi, 1931, by Kanu Desai; courtesy Golden Vista Press

Editor’s Preface: This article, another in our WRI project, is from The War Resister: Quarterly News Sheet of the War Resisters’ International, issue XXVII, Winter 1930-1931. Pre-World War II, European pacifists were slow to come under the influence of Gandhi. They had disavowed violence in all its forms, but were not always sure that Gandhian satyagraha was an equal commitment. WRI consistently supported Indian independence and self-rule, and about this aspect of Gandhism there was no ambivalence. Please also see the archive reference information and acknowledgments at the end. JG

Here in Gujarat well tried and popular public servants have been arrested one after another, and yet the people have been perfectly nonviolent. They have refused to give way to panic, and have celebrated the arrests, by offering civil disobedience in ever-increasing numbers. This is just as it should be.
If the struggle so auspiciously begun is continued in the same spirit of nonviolence to the end, not only shall we see Purna Swaraj [complete independence] in our country before long, but we shall also have given the world an object lesson worthy of India and her glorious past.

Swaraj [self-rule] won without sacrifice cannot last long. I would therefore like our people to get ready to make the highest sacrifice they are capable of. In true sacrifice all the suffering is on one side; one is required to master the art of getting killed without killing, of gaining life by losing it. May India live up to this mantra . . .

By main force to snatch the salt from the poor harmless Satyagrahis’ hands is barbarism pure and simple and an insult to India. Such insult can be answered only by allowing our hand to be fractured without loosening the grasp. Even then the actual sufferers or his comrades may not harbour in their hearts anger against the wrongdoer. Incivility should be answered not by incivility, but by a dignified and calm endurance of all suffering in the name of God.

Let not my companions or the people at large be perturbed over my arrest, for it is not I, but God, who is guiding this movement. He ever dwells in the hearts of all, and He will vouchsafe to us the right guidance if only we have faith in Him . . .

Reference: IISG/WRI Archive Box 116p: Folder 1, Subfolder 1. We are grateful to WRI/London and their director Christine Schweitzer for their cooperation in our WRI project.

“When planted in the garden, the mustard seed, smallest of all the seeds, became a large tree, and birds came and made their home there.” Luke 13:19

“For me whatever is in the atoms and molecules is in the universe. I believe in the saying that what is in the microcosm of one’s self is reflected in the macrocosm.” M. Gandhi