Sunday, July 8, 2012

Gandhi on religion and politics

From the Transfer of Power papers, Volume VI, #272

Richard Gardiner Casey, an Australian,  was the Governor of Bengal at the time of this entry.  A number of entries in the Transfer of Power of papers are about Casey-Gandhi talks.

Entry in Mr Casey's Diary (Extract)

6 December 1945

The papers today had a paragraph—"Mr Gandhi did not see Mr Casey yesterday".

Some small matters that came out of my talks with M.K.G.

He reminds one a little of a meek edition of W.M.Hughes. {7th Prime Minister of Australia?}

He told me that he claimed to be better acquainted with Christianity than most Christians, better acquainted with Zoroastrianism than most Parsees, and with Islam than most Muslims.

He said that he endeavoured to introduce elements of all the principal religions into his public evening prayers—he had passages in Arabic (drawn from the Koran), passages from Zoroastra in (I think he said) Persian—and "Lead Kindly Light'.

He told me that Jinnah had told him that he (Gandhi) had ruined politics in India, by dragging up a lot of unwholesome elements in Indian life and giving them political prominence—that it was a crime to mix up politics and religion in the way he had done.

He said that the habit in India of wanting to touch his feet ("a very nice habit in itself") was most embarrassing when done by great crowds.

He is very keen about the "Nature Cure", which he is undergoing.

He said that he greatly appreciated my informality and the fact that I had accepted no title.

He says that he is not a learned man and that he has no great gifts.

He clearly has a certain rather feminine streak in him.

He is not very businesslike.

Each night that he came to see me, his departure was remarkable in that probably 150 of our servants (Muslim and Hindu) lined the passage and the entrance to the house, to see him—all salaaming profoundly.

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