A hundred years ago July 1, 1920 Archives

From the Archives (July 1, 1920): Mr. Gandhi: Letter to Viceroy

Mr. Gandhi has sent the following letter [June 24, Bombay] to H.E. the Viceroy: Your Excellency - As one who has enjoyed a certain measure of Your Excellency’s confidence and one who claims to be a devoted well wisher of the British Empire, I owe it to Your Excellency and, through Your Excellency, to His Majesty’s Ministers to explain my connection with, and my conduct to, the Khilafat question. At the very earliest stage of the war, even whilst I was in London, organising the Indian volunteer ambulance corps, I began to intercut myself in the Khilafat question. I perceived how deeply moved the little Mussalman world in London was when Turkey decided to throw in her lot with Germany. On my arrival in India in January of 1915 I found the same anxiousness and earnestness among the Mussalmans with whom I came in contact. Their anxieties became intense when information about secret treaties leaked out. The Peace terms and Your Excellency’s defence of them have given the Mussalmans of India a shock from which it will be difficult for them to recover. The terms violate Ministerial pledges and utterly disregard the Mussalman sentiment. I consider that, as a staunch Hindu wishing to live on terms of the closest friendship with my Mussalman countrymen, I should be an unworthy son of India if I did not stand by them in their hour of trial. In my humble opinion, their cause is just. My duty to the Empire to which I owe my loyalty requires me to resist this cruel violence that had been done to Mussalman sentiment. So far as I am aware, the Mussalmans and Hindus have a whole lost faith in British justice and honour. In these circumstances, the only course open to one like me is either in despair to sever all connection with British rule, or if I still retained the faith in the inherent superiority of British Constitution, to adopt such means as will rectify the wrong done and thus restore confidence. It is because I believe in British Constitution that I have advised my Mussalman friends to withdraw their support from Your Excellency’s Government and the Hindus to join them should peace terms not be revised in accordance with the solemn pledges of the ministers and the Muslim sentiment.

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