Friday, April 29, 2011

“I am a Sindh” -- Gandhi

“EVERYTHING IN INDIA attracts me. 
But when I first visited Sindh in 1916, it attracted me in a special way
 and a bond was established between the Sindhis and me that has proved capable of bearing severe strains. 
I have been able to deliver to the Sindhis bitter truths without being misunderstood” --
 wrote Gandhiji way back in 1929.
Actually Gandhiji delivered to Sindh more sweet truths than bitter truths. And, in any case, all these truths indeed established a very warm relationship between Gandhiji and the Sindhis. He visited Sindh seven times --- in 1916, 1917, 1920, 1921, 1929, 1931, and 1934. It was ``a Sindhi friend'' who had helped Gandhi shift from an expensive hotel to economical lodgings when he arrived in London for his law studies. In 1893, C.L. Lachiram, a Sindhi merchant, helped him organize the Natal Indian Congress.
the most important Sindhi leader in Gandhiji's life and work was Acharya Jivatram Bhagavandas Kripalani.
After a few years, as Acharya of Gujerat Vidyapeeth, Kripalani went full-time into politics and became General Secretary of the Congress for more than a decade. 
Gandhiji's relations with Acharya Gidvani were equally dear, except that the latter died too soon, in 1935. Gidvani resigned as principal of Ramjas College in Delhi, to head the Gujerat Vidyapeeth. Gandhiji said of him that he was ``not only a scholar but, on the touch-stone of character, gold.''
Gandhiji had known Prof. Malkani since his stay with him in Muzaffarpur. Malkani was teaching at Gujerat Vidyapeeth when, in 1927, under pressure from his wife and persuasion from N.V. Thadhani --- then Principal, D.G. National College, Hyderabad Sindh --- he left Ahmedabad without consulting Gandhiji.
Gandhiji admired Sindh for giving so many excellent professors to the country. 
However, perhaps his sweetest relations were with Jairamdas
When Gandhiji was launching the ``Salt Satyagraha'' in 1930, he wrote to Jairamdas, who was then member of the Bombay Legislative Council: ``I have taken charge of the Committee for Boycott of Foreign Cloth. I must have a whole-time secretary, if that thing is to work. And I can think of nobody so suitable like you.'' Jairamdas immediately resigned his his seat, took up the new charge, and made a tremendous success of the boycott of foreign cloth.

In 1941, when Dr. Choithram, President Sindh PCC, consulted Gandhiji on a particular issue, the latter told him: ``Do as Jairamdas advises. My ,faith in his wisdom is a constant factor.' when in 1947 the Sindhi Hindus did begin to leave, Gandhiji wrote: ``If even a single Sindhi leaves Sindh, it will be a matter of shame to Mr. Jinnah as Governor-General.'' He added: ``The Sindh Hindus are first-class businessmen. Why are they running away to Bombay, Madras and other places? It will not be they who will be the losers, but Sindh. 

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