Saturday, August 26, 2017

Monday, the silence day

Monday, the Silence Day

Every Shravan, on Monday, millions of Hindu pray Lord Shiva, the lord of salvation. Many follow silence on this day. Some people practice silence on one day in a week. Mahatma Gandhi was one of them, practicing silence on Monday. His Monday silence was used by British in deciding two important matters on following two occasions. 

1) On the day of execution of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Shukhdev (23 March 1931)

2) On Partition decision of India (2 June 1947)

People still circulate messages in social media blaming Gandhi to not to commute the execution Bhagat Singh, charging him for disregarding the feelings of the entire nation. Some say that he was jealous of his popularity. But was he silent on the subject? 

Gandhi's efforts in the case of Bhagat Singh have been appreciated by his close associates like Sitaramayya, Mira Behn (Madeline Slade), Asaf Ali, and Aruna Asaf Ali.

On 4 May 1930, a day before he was arrested, Gandhi had written to the Viceroy strongly criticizing him for the creation of the special Tribunal to try the revolutionaries in the Lahore Conspiracy Case. He raised the issue twice with the Viceroy on 18 February 1931 and 19 March 1931 during their Gandhi-Irwin pact discussions. He had a long conversation with Herbert Emerson, the Home Secretary on the issue on 20 March.

He met the Viceroy Lord Irvin on 21 March 1931 (Saturday), 2 days before the execution and discussed the matter of the execution of Bhagat Singh and two others where the Viceroy conveyed little hope for the commutation of the sentence but he would consider the submission of Gandhi. 

It might have been a war of principles of violence and non violence in the mind of Gandhi but, he tried once more writing a letter to the Viceroy on 23 March 1931 (Monday) as interest of peace demands final appeal for the commutation of death sentence citing public opinion, internal peace, offer of revolutionaries to shed violence, his own position, the possibility of a judicial error, etc, and wrote "If my presence is necessary, I can come. Though I may not speak, may hear and write what I want to say. Charity never faileth.” Mahatma's efforts failed to bear fruit. They were hanged the same evening at 7 p.m.As the news reached Gandhi, he was visibly moved and deeply shocked.

The Lahore trial case was pulled out from the Special Judge Court of Lahore (where a Hindu was the judge) and tried in a Special Court at Delhi with only an appeal to Privy Council. It was decided on fast track and the petition for special leave to appeal in the Privy Council was dismissed on 11 February 1931. The only option of commutation was the intervention by the Viceroy. 

Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were sentenced to death in the Lahore conspiracy case and ordered to be hanged on 24 March 1931. The schedule was moved forward by 11 hours and the three were hanged on 23 March 1931 at 7:30 PM (Monday) in the Lahore jail. They used Monday and executed the patriots before the start of INC Session at Karachi. Gandhi had to face demonstrators and slogan shouting in Karachi Session. Instead of naming the British villain, people blame Gandhi!

Reports suggest that, although Lord Irwin might had accepted the request of Gandhi to suspend or commute the execution but the real power in India the European ICS Cadre and the Punjab Governor were against such decision and threatened the Viceroy that they will resign en mass if commuted the death sentence. Murder of Saunders and subsequent revolutionary actions had posed a direct challenge to the European civil servants serving in India. Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru, on 20 March 1931, closed the door on all efforts to save them by writing their 'mercy petition' to the Punjab Governor: "... according to the verdict of your court we had waged war and we are therefore war prisoners. And we claim to be treated as such, i.e., we claim to be shot dead instead of being hanged." In this circumstance, Judicial mercy from the Viceroy stood little chance and only option was to exert political pressure. And that failed too in the broader goal of non-violence and historical Gandhi-Irwin pact.

British were cunning, used another MONDAY, 2 June 1947, to take indirect consent of Gandhi for the partition of India. During his meeting with the Viceroy on 2/6/47, Gandhi wrote on a peace of paper: "I am sorry I can't speak. When I took the decision about the Monday silence I did reserve two exceptions, i.e. about speaking to high functionaries on urgent matters or attending upon sick people. But I know you don't want me to break my silence. Have I said one word against you during my speeches? If you admit that I have not, your warning is superfluous. There are one or two things I must talk about, but not today. If we meet each other again I shall speak...". Agony of a man at the partition junction, who had worked, lived and prayed for the unity of India, he neither considered the Viceroy as high functionary nor considered the partition of the country as an urgent matter. The Viceroy came to advice Gandhi to restrain his speeches at the payer meetings, not to take his consent for partition, because he had already an approved draft in hand on 30 May 1947.

Lord Mountbatten met Gandhi on 2 June 1947 Monday) after the forenoon resolution of 7 representatives (3 from Congress: Nehru, Sardar, Kripalani; 3 from Muslim League: Jinnah, Liakat Ali, Abdur Rab Nishtar; and 1 from Shikh: Baldev Singh) of India with the Viceroy. It was functioning problems working with Muslim League in the interim government and outbreak of riots in many parts of the country compelled the leaders to agree for the partition. Gandhiji was kept away (or he had opted to remain away) from the negotiations of freedom agreements by the British and may be by the INC with an argument that he was not a four anna member of the INC. 

The partition was formally accepted on 3rd June 1947 by Nehru, Sardar and Kripalani from INC; Jinnah, Liakatali Khan and Abdur Rab Nishtar from Muslim League; Sardar Baldev Singh as minority representative; in a meeting with the Viceroy Lord Mountbatten. It was made public in the evening. Lord Mountbatten, Jawaherlal Nehru, Mohammed Ali Jinnah and Baldev Singh, spoke in this order on All-India Radio. To march together to the heaven of freedom for all (40 crore) in India, the broadcast in Nehru's  words: "nine months have passed, months of trial and difficulty, of anxiety and sometimes even of heartbreak. (...)These months have been full of tragedy for millions (...) My mind is heavy with the thought of the sufferings of our people in the areas of disturbance, the thousands who are dead and those, especially our womenfolk, who have suffered agony worse than death. (...) It is with no joy in my heart that I commend these proposals to you, though I have no doubt in my mind that this is the right course".

British used two MONDAYs of Gandhi's silence to dilute his voice on two important decisions. 

And see the tragedy of the history, Gandhi was killed by a mad man with an argument that he was pro-muslim and blaming him responsible for the partition. And many mads in this country accept his arguments at present without understanding the events following direct action day of 16 August 1946. They don't understand the pain of a non-violent father, when freedom was in hand, his two sons were parting away with violence. 

It is an unfortunate condition of the present minds    that they believe in words of a British or others but not believe the words of their freedom fighters. If Bhagat Singh had said it, people would have believed it. But now the people who don't know history and geography of the nation are talking against the great personalities by using the name of the greatest Martyr. 

Do you feel that the throwing dust over the Sun will reduce the light of our freedom fighters? They spent their valuable years of life in jail for our freedom. He was Gandhi and his team of Satyagrahi, who put forward the great army of "Common Men" in front of the "Powerful British Empire" and won the freedom through non violence. His "Khadi" won against "Khakhi" (police raj)

26 August 2017


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