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GODHRA -- 1928: The Story of Muslim War On Hindus as told by Gandhiji

GODHRA -- 1928: The Story of Muslim War On Hindus as told by Gandhiji

Author: V P Bhatia
Publication: Organiser
Date: April 21, 2002

The Secularist Media has virtually become a mouthpiece of Jamaat-e-Islami and its Pakistani patrons in its misrepresentation of the Hindu counter-offensive.

....................For, as Shri Vajpayee told the press during his Gujarat tour, it was not an ordinary incident. It was in fact the last straw on Hindu camel's back. So far, such collective massacres of Hindus have been taking place only in J&K in a planned way to clear even Jammu region of Hindus after 'purification' of the Valley of all Kafirs. But now, an act of unparalleled barbarity of burning to death a whole bogey full of Hindus has taken place. ....... It is in fact the beginning of a new conspiracy to gobble up Gujarat bordering Pakistan like J&K by Islamic forces within and without the country. .......

In fact Godhra, with 40 % Muslim Population has a long history of anti- Hindu offensive. It has been a bastion of Muslim League even after 1947. As we find in at least two articles of Gandhiji in his Young India in 1928 the entire state of Gujarat has the history of being terrorised by Muslim goondas. The Mahatma as usual advised Hindus to face Islamic violence with self sacrificing non-violence and get killed instead of killing the aggressors. However, now the Hindu is not prepared to be such a guinea-pig any more. For, the very survival of even the truncated India is at stake. There are Islamic time bombs planted everywhere under secular protection, from Baramulla and Srinagar to Godhra and from Mumbai , Malegaon and Hyderabad to Coimbatore. Moreover, West Bengal and even Delhi have become colonies of Bangladeshi infiltrators.

"Hindus being Crushed to atoms in Godhra"

Anyway, the following article from Gandhiji's article entitled "What are We to Do ?" in Young India (October 11, 1928) reveals that the Muslims were ever aggressive against Hindus in that city (as in other areas of Gujarat) in the wake of the Khilafat fiasco. There was virtually a state of war between the two communities in which the nonviolent Hindu was the real sufferer. The following are the exact words of Gandhiji in the said article.

" Two weeks ago I wrote in 'Navajivan' a note on the tragedy in Godhra, where where Sh. Purshottam Shah bravely met his death at the hands of his assailants and gave my note the heading Hindu Muslim Fight in Godhra. Several Hindus did not like the heading and addressed angry letters asking me to correct it (for it was a one sided fight). I found it impossible to accede to their demand. Whether there is one victim or more , whether there is a free fight between the two communities, or whether one assumes the offensive and the other simply suffers, I should describe the event as a fight if the whole series of happenings were the result of a state of war between the two communities. Whether in Godhra or in other places, there is today a state of war between the two communities. Fortunately, the countryside is still free from the war fever (no longer now) which is mainly confined to towns and cities, where, in some form or other fighting is continually going on. Even the correspondents who have written to me about Godhra do not seem to deny the fact that the happenings arose out of the communal antagonisms that existed there. "If the correspondents had simply addressed themselves to the heading, I should have satisfied myself with writing to them privately and written nothing in Navjivan about it. But there are other letters in which the correspondents have vented their ire on different counts. A volunteer from Ahmedabad who had been to Godhra writes:

'You say that you must be silent over these quarrels. Why were you not silent over the Khilafat, and why did you exhort us to join the Muslims? Why are you not silent about your principles of Ahimsa? How can you justify your silence when the two communities are running at each others throats and Hindus are being crushed to atoms. How does Ahimsa come there? I invite your attention to two cases:

'A Hindu shopkeeper thus complained to me: Musalmans purchase bags of rice from my shop, often never paying for them. I cannot insist on payment, for fear of their looting my godowns. I have, therefore, to make an involuntary gift of about 50 to 70 maunds of rice every month?'

"Others complained: 'Musalmans invade our quarters and insult our women in our presence, and we have to sit still. If we dare to protest we are done for. We dare not even lodge a complaint against them.'

"What would you advise in such cases? How would you bring your Ahimsa into play? Or , even here you would prefer to remain silent!

"These and similar other questions have been answered in these pages over and over again, but as they are still being raised, I had better explain my views once more at the risk of repetition.

"Ahimsa is not the way of the timid or the cowardly. It is the way of the brave ready to face death. He who perishes sword in hand is no doubt brave, but he who faces death without raising his little finger is braver. But he who surrenders his rice bags for fear of being beaten is a coward and no votary of Ahimsa. He is innocent of Ahimsa. He, who for fear of being beaten, suffers the women of his household to be insulted is not manly, but just the reverse. He is fit neither to be a husband nor a father, nor a brother. Such people have no right to complain ..." (extract from 'To the Hindus and Muslims', a collection of articles by Gandhiji from Young India)

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