Saturday, 30 January 2016

Gandhi after Independence

We know the contribution of Gandhiji in Indian independence struggle, but we know little about his work after the independence.

When people were celebrating the hard-earned independence, the protagonist of the struggle was busy in dealing with riots spread in eastern parts of India(Bengal). The 77-year-old man walked in difficult terrain through slush and stone. He walked 117 miles, mostly barefoot. He decided simply to fast and pray on 15th August 1947. On 31st August, there were reports of fresh rioting in Bengal which commenced after a Hindu youth was attacked by Muslims commencing retaliatory violence. On 2nd September, Gandhi went on fast-unto-death. Next day, all rioters laid down their arms.

On 7th September, he left for Delhi hoping to proceed further to Punjab for silencing the riots. However, he contemplated that to make the Muslims undo the wrong in Punjab, he should first secure justice for the Muslims in Delhi. On 13th January, Gandhiji began one more fast addressing three different sections. First were the people of India to bring the peace at earliest. The second section was the government of Pakistan, asking them to put a stop to the driving out of minorities. Third and the most controversial section was the government of India. They had withheld part of the Pakistan's share of the 'Sterling balance' due to their invasion of Kashmir. Gandhiji found it unnecessarily spiteful and asked for the transfer of money. On 15th Jan, the Indian government decided to release the remaining amount to Pakistan. Gandhiji's health was rapidly declining. On 18th, he was satisfied enough, by the unity in Delhi, to end his fast.

However, his final fast was controversial and made some Indians hostile towards him. On 20th Jan, a Punjabi refugee threw a bomb at Gandhiji in Birla House. Luckily he was saved. Unfortunately, he couldn't survive the second attempt of assassination. On 30th Jan 1948, he was shot dead by a young man at his daily prayer meeting.

Salute to one of the greatest freedom fighter and the sage who gifted a precious weapon of non-violence!

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