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Mohandas K. Gandhi: The Indian Leader at Home and Abroad

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Author Topic: Mohandas K. Gandhi: The Indian Leader at Home and Abroad  (Read 78 times)
Aphrodite
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« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2009, 12:22:17 am »

In early 1947 the British plan was to quit India by June, 1948, earlier if the Hindu and Moslem communities would compose their differences. Gandhi, in an open break with the Congress party, reversed himself and balked at a Hindu-Moslem partition and the formation of Pakistan as a separate state for the Moslem majority regions of India.

The Gandhi viewpoint was that whether it caused chaos or not, the British must leave India on the promised date and let India work out its own fate. By this time the British were convinced that partition was the only solution that would be accepted and finally Gandhi reluctantly went along, declaring: "Partition is bad. But whatever is past is past. We have only to look to the future."

When on Aug. 15, 1947, India achieved her independence, Viscount Mountbatten, Viceroy of India, hailed Gandhi as the "architect of India's freedom through non-violence."
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« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2009, 12:22:32 am »

 Gandhi did not participate in the independence observances held throughout India. At the moment of victory he sat on a wooden cot in a Calcutta hut, scorning the result of his decades of labor and fast. He announced his intention of living with the Hindu minority in Pakistan, the predominantly Moslem state created by partition.

Riots swept across much of India, with scores killed and injured in communal clashes. Gandhi started in Calcutta his first fast in independent India. It would end, he said, only when Calcutta "returned to sanity."

After he had been assured that there would be no more rioting in Calcutta, Gandhi broke his fast. He was credited with having restored peace to India's largest city. Crowds of Moslems and Hindus made their way to his camp and surrendered guns, swords and ammunition they had used in the riots.

"If the peace is broken again, I will come back and undertake a fast unto death and die if necessary," he said.
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« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2009, 12:22:45 am »

 He went to New Delhi, where he continued his efforts to end the communal strife, which had broken out more violently than ever along the Punjab border and in Delhi itself. Daily he exhorted all non-Moslems to accept Moslem neighbors as friends and brothers.

However, on Sept. 16 he told the Hindu Youth Organization that "if the Dominion of Pakistan persists in wrongdoing there is bound to be war between India and Pakistan."

On Oct. 2 he celebrated his seventy-ninth birthday (Hindus are counted a year old at birth), which had been declared a national holiday by the Government of India.

He started a new fast on Jan. 12, 1948, declaring that he would continue until greater unity between Hindu, Sikh and Moslem communities was achieved. This fast was ended after five days, when Hindus and Moslems in Delhi agreed to live in peace.

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