Monday, October 23, 2017

Mahatma Gandhi on the use of Indian Armed Forces - 2

This is an excerpt from a speech by Sardar Patel given on October 1, 1948.
You can read the whole speech here.

I am proud of the Air Force, for their doings in the short period, both in Kashmir and Hyderabad; for their work for the relief operations, for removing the refugees, for supply the necessities of the army in Kashmir.  While people talk of our failing to follow Gandhiji’s teachings, I wish to give you one example which I remember from his conversation.  When Srinagar was touch and go, when we wanted to put our Army in Srinagar and when the Air Force was asked that they had to carry the Army and all its requirements quickly, they did it with wonderful speed; and if we had been late by twenty-four hours the whole game would have been lost.   That is the work which you have done, which is written in letters of gold in the history of Freedom.  We are proud of you.   But what Gandhiji said to me was “I feel so proud when I hear the noise of these airplanes.   At one time, I was feeling very miserable and oppressed when I heard this.  But when this Kashmir  operation began, I began to feel proud of them and every airplane that goes with materials and arms and ammunition and requirements of the Army.  I feel proud.”  Because he felt injustice over Kashmir by the raiders.  And he said: “Any injustice on our land, any encroachment on our land should either be defended by violence, if not by non-violence.”  “If you can defend by non-violence, by all means do it; that is the first thing I should like.   If it is for me to do, I would not touch anything, either a pistol or revolver or anything.   But I would not see India degrading itself to be feeling helpless.   Therefore, when the Air Force has performed this miracle of saving Srinagar by its organized strength and the co-operation it gave to the Army, I feel proud of them and I feel happy.”  That is what he said.

Therefore, those who say that we do not follow the preachings or teachings of the Mahatma, we tell them: “Perhaps you from a distance know better about Mahatma’s teachings than we who have all our life with him know.  Thank you very much.  We will not take our lessons from you, but we will go our own way.  We must go our own way.   We have got small lights.  We must work according to our own lights.

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