Bombay, August 7, 1942
New York Times, August 8, 1942.
There are people who have hatred in their hearts for the British. I have heard of people saying that they are disgusted with them. The common people's mind does not differentiate between a Britisher and the imperialist form of their government. To them both are the same. There are people who do not mind the advent of the Japanese. To them, perhaps, it would mean a change of masters.
But it is a dangerous thing. You must remove it from your minds. This is a crucial hour. If we keep quiet and do not play our part, it will not be right.
If it is only Britain and the United States who fight this war, and if our part is only to give momentary help, whether given willingly or taken from us unwillingly, it is not a very happy proposition. But we can show our real grit and valor only when it becomes our own fight. Then every child will be brave. We shall get our freedom by fighting. It cannot fall from the skies.
I know full well that the British will have to give us our freedom when we have made sufficient sacrifices and proven our strength. We must remove the hatred for the British from our hearts. At least, in my heart there is no such hatred. As a matter of fact, I am a greater friend of the British now than I ever was.
The reason for this is that at this moment they are in distress. My friendship demands that I must make them aware of their mistakes. As I am not in the position in which they find themselves, I am able to point their mistakes out to them.
I know they are on the brink of the ditch, and are about to fall into it. Therefore, even if they want to cut off my hands, my friendship demands that I should try to pull them out of that ditch. This is my claim, at which many people may laugh, but all the same, I say this is true.
At the time when I am about to launch the biggest front in my life, there can be no hatred for the British in my heart. The thought that, because they are in difficulties, I should give them a push is totally absent from my mind. It has never been there. It may be that, in a moment of anger, they might do things that might provoke you. Nevertheless, you should not resort to violence; that would put non-violence to shame.
When such things happen, you may take it that you will not find me alive, wherever I may be. Their blood will be on your head. If you do not understand this, it will be better if you reject this resolution. It will redound to your credit.
How can I blame you for the things you may not be able to grasp? There is one principle in a fight, which you must adopt. Never believe, as I have never believed, that the British are going to fail. I do not consider them to be a nation of cowards. I know that before they accept defeat every soul in Britain will be sacrificed.
They may be defeated and they may leave you just as they left the people of Burma, Malaya and other places, with the idea of recapturing lost ground when they can. That may be their military strategy. But supposing they leave us, what happens to us? In that case Japan will come here.
The coming in of Japan will mean the end of China and perhaps Russia, too. In these matters, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is my guru [teacher]. I do not want to be the instrument of Russia's defeat, nor China's. If that happened I would hate myself.
You know that I like to go at a rapid speed. But it may be that I am not going as rapidly as you would want me to. Sardar Patel [presumably Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, president of the All-India Congress parliamentary committee] is reported to have said that the campaign may be over in a week. I do not want to be in a hurry. If it ended in a week it would be a miracle, and if this happened it would mean the melting of the British heart.
It may be that wisdom will dawn on the British and they will understand that it would be wrong for them to put in jail the very people who want to fight for them. It may be that a change may come in Jinnah's mind, too. [Mohammed Ali Jinnah is president of the All-India Moslem League.]
Non-violence is a matchless weapon, which can help every one. I know we have not done much by way of non-violence and therefore, if such changes come about, I will take it that it is the result of our labors during the last twenty-two years and that God has helped us to achieve it.
When I raised the slogan "Quit India" the people in India, who were then feeling despondent, felt that I had placed before them a new thing. If you want real freedom, you will have to come together, and such a coming together will create true democracy-the like of which has not so far been witnessed or attempted.
I have read a good deal about the French Revolution. Carlyle's work I read while in jail. I have great admiration for the French people, and Jawaharlal has told me all about the Russian Revolution.
But I hold that though theirs was a fight for the people it was not a fight for real democracy, which I envisage. My democracy means that every one is his own master. I have read sufficient history, and I have not seen such an experiment on such a large scale for the establishment of democracy by non-violence. Once you understand these things you will forget the differences between the Hindus and Moslems.
The resolution that is placed before you says:
"We do not want to remain frogs in a well. We are aiming at world federation. It can only come through non-violence. Disarmament is possible only if you use the matchless weapon of non-violence."
There are people who may call me a visionary, but I am a real bania [shrewd business man] and my business is to obtain swaraj [home rule].
If you do not accept this resolution I will not be sorry. On the contrary, I would dance with joy, because you would then relieve me of tremendous responsibility, which you are now going to place on me.
I want you to adopt non-violence as a matter of policy. With me it is a creed, but so far as you are concerned I want you to accept it as policy. As disciplined soldiers you must accept it in toto, and stick to it when you join the struggle.
People ask me whether I am the same man I was in 1920. The only difference is that I am much stronger in certain things now than in 1920.