GANDHI AND COMMUNAL PROBLEMS > Approach to Communal Unity
Partiality to Muslims?
YOU MAY say I am partial to the Musalmans. So be it, though the Musalmans do not admit it. But my religion will not suffer by even an iota, by reason of my partiality. I shall have to answer my God and my Maker if I give and one less than his due, But I am sure that He will bless me if He knows that I gave some one more than his due. I ask you to understand me.
If my hand or heart has done anything more than was any one’s due, you should be proud of it, rather than deplore it. It should be a matter of pride to you as Hindus to think that there was amongst you at least one man Gandhi who was not only just to the Musalmans, but even went out of his way in giving them more than their due. Hinduism is replete with instances of tolerance, sacrifice and forgiveness. Think of the sacrifice of the Pandavas, think of the forgiveness of Yudhihthira. Should it be a matter of sorrow for you that there is at least one man who has tried to carry out the precept of Hinduism to the latter?
I would not sell my soul to buy India’s freedom. And if I want Muslim friendship, it is not for personal gratification but for India’s sake.
I consider myself as good a Muslim as I am a Hindu and for that matter I regard myself an equally good Christian or Parsi. That such a claim will be rejected, and on some occasions was rejected, I know. This however, does not affect my fundamental position.
The Muslims look upon me as their arch-enemy and the Hindus accuse me of partiality for the Muslims. My advice to the Hindus to be honorable and just to the Muslims in the Union of India, irrespective of what is done in Pakistan, is also looked upon in that light. I do not plead guilty to the charge.
I am believed to be the arch –enemy of Islam and Indian Muslims. If was at one time acclaimed as their greatest friend and suffered the praise, must suffer, too, to be described as an enemy. Truth is known only to God. I am confident that in nothing that I am doing, saying or thinking, I am their enemy. They are blood-brothers and will remain so, though they may disown me ever so much.
The True Religion
You may be astonished to learn that I continue to receive letters charging me that I have compromised the interests of the Hindus by acting as a friend of the Muslims. How can I convince people by mere words, if the sixty years of my public life have failed to demonstrate that, by trying to befriend the Muslims, I have only proved myself a true Hindu and have rightly served the Hindus and Hinduism? The essence of true religious teaching is that one should serve and befriend all. I learn this in my mother’s lap. You may refuse to call me a Hindu. I know no defence except a quote a line from Iqbal’s famous song: majhab nahin sikhata apasmen bair rakhana, meaning, religion does not teach us to bear ill-will towards one another. It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regard himself as our enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business.
I believe in the sovereign rule of the law of love which makes no distinctions.
I am told that I am a friend of the Muslims and an enemy of Hindus and Sikhs. It is true that I am a friend of the Muslims, as I am of the Parsis and others. In this respect, I am the same today as I have been since the age of twelve. But those who call me an enemy of Hindus and Sikhs do not know me. I can be enemy of none, much less of Hindus and Sikhs.
I claim to be equal servant of all.