Sunday, September 9, 2012

Gurjar Sabha, January 14, 1915 from CWMG

Stanley Wolpert & Jaswant Singh cite Volume XIII, page 9 of The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi; however in the electronic version, it is Volume 14, page 342.

{footnote: A brief report of this also appeared in Gujarati, 17-1-1915.}
January 14, 1915

A garden party in honour of Gandhiji and Shrimati Kasturba Gandhi was given by members of the Gurjar Sabha, Bombay, on the grounds of Mangaldas House, on January 14, 1915. Messrs M. A. Jinnah, Chairman of the Sabha, who presided on the occasion, and K. M. Munshi having spoken (in English) welcoming the guests, Gandhiji replied as follows:

Mr. Gandhi, who spoke in Gujarati, thanked Mr. Jinnah for presiding at this function and said that while he was in South Africa and anything was said about Gujaratis, it was understood to have a reference to the Hindu community only and Parsis and Mahomedans were not thought of. He was, therefore, glad to find a Mahomedan a member of the Gurjar Sabha and the chairman of that function.

With regard to their words of praise and welcome, he was at a loss to say anything. As he had said so often before, he and his wife had done nothing beyond their duty. He did not wish to repeat the same thing, but he desired to say that he considered all these good feelings and kind words as their blessings and he prayed to God. that those blessings might enable him and his wife faithfully to serve their country. They first intended to study all the Indian questions and then enter upon the service of the country. He had looked upon the Hon. Mr. Gokhale as his guide and leader and he had full confidence in him and he was sure that Mr. Gokhale would not put him on the wrong track. He had visited His Excellency the Governor {Lord Willingdon}   that morning and while thanking him for the honour, he also mentioned the same thing that he was absolutely confident that under the guiding spirit of the Hon. Mr. Gokhale he would be adopting the right course.

Continuing, Mr. Gandhi said that the chairman had referred to the South African question. He had a good deal to say on this subject and he would explain the whole situation in the very near future to the Bombay public and through them to the whole of India. The compromise was satisfactory and he trusted that what had remained to be gained would be gained. The South Africans had now learnt that they could not utterly disregard the Indians or disrespect their feelings.

With regard to the Hindu-Mahomedan question he had much to learn, but he would always keep before his eyes his twenty-one years’ experience in South Africa and he still remembered that one sentence uttered by Sir Syed Ahmed, namely, that the Hindus and Mahomedans were the two eyes of Mother India and if one looked at one end and the other at the other, neither would be able to see anything and that if one was gone, the other would see to that extent only. Both the communities had to bear this in mind in the future.

In conclusion, he thanked them for the great honour done to him and his wife.

The Bombay Chronicle,  15-1-1915

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