Mahatma Gandhi, who, on rising to speak, received an ovation, said that he had been addressing men and women everywhere in the city and he thought he would not be in a position to speak to them anything new on swadeshi. A gentleman had come to him from Lucknow who told him that something was going wrong in the United Provinces. A man had been incarcerated by Government for three days in a very dark cell for some trivial offence and was still in jail. The gentleman from Lucknow asked the speaker as to what a man in that position should do. He advised him to bear all hardships with patience. They should all create in their hearts the virtue of patience. He was not sure whether that story told by the gentleman was true or not, for it was very difficult to remain incarcerated for three days in a dark room. Of course, he had an experience of such an incident, because they had not forgotten as yet the cruelties perpetrated on Indians by foreigners in the Punjab. Therefore the story related to him might be true.
He would again tell them that, if they did not understand their duty towards the country, they were not then right in asking for freedom. He was going to speak to them on swadeshi that night. There were other stories related to him by someone that there were three persons arrested by Government. One of them was a Congress Secre- tary who on being arrested by Government apologized to the Government and the remaining two also apologized. They (the three men) had now given up the national cause and were remaining aloof from the movement. They should feel ashamed of such action. He would appeal to those present to be fearless as far as possible, for when their object was laudable, why should they care for the Government? If they were not willing to undergo hardships and troubles they should give up the movement at this stage. He, therefore, appealed to every man and women present in the hall to be ready ford u k h a (pain) at any time for the sake of their country.
The had opened a depot for foreign-made clothes, where they could send their clothes without any hesitation. If they did not succeed in boycotting foreign cloth by 31st July they would be put to great shame in the eyes of their fellow men and in the eyes of the world at large.
The Mahatma asked whether they had made any preparations for the 1st of August. There was no shame at all in sending away their clothes to that depot for foreign-made clothes. Someb a h e n s (sisters) when asked to boycott
other women who were ever ready to wear the khadi dress. Whateverp a r d e s h i (foreign) clothes a woman had at present, she should give them up in obedience to the call of the nation. If men and women present at the meeting were not willing to boycott their foreign-made clothes, they had no right, no claim whatever to swaraj.
Whatever he had got to say that night he had already said many times and he would now ask those who were willing to do what he desired to raise their hands. But before they raised their hands he must tell them that the so-called swadeshi cloth manufactured in mills should not at all be resorted to; for his advice to them was to avoid all machine-made cloth. The supreme virtue of khadi was that it was hand-spun and hand-woven.
Bezwada khadi saris, the speaker said, were now not available in large stocks but in their absence, they could very easily wear khadi saris and on the 1st of August they would see many women wearing khadi saris. He would again tell them that there was no shame at all in adopting that dress for it was their national dress. They should not keepn i r a s h a (pessimism) in their mind, but they should be courageous in
He then asked those men and women willing to dress themselves on the 1st of August and thereafter in khadi to raise their hands. At that request nearly all present in the hall raised their hands. Some women were found somewhat unwilling to raise their hands.
The Mahatma again appealed to them to boycott foreign-made clothes and wear khaddar dress without any fear or favour. Still he would ask them not to be led away by any threats . . .
Concluding, the Mahatma said he had nothing more to speak on the swadeshi movement, for he had been speaking constantly on the same theme for the last so many days. He had great faith in his countrymen and he therefore prayed to God that the great movement he had set on foot would bear good results in the end. (Prolonged cheers.)The Bombay Chronicle, 23-7-1921
Mahatma Gandhi said before he commenced the proceedings of the meeting, he would read out a letter from Mr. Jayakar2 who was laid up with fever and, therefore, had expressed his inability to attend the meeting and contribute his quota of tribute to the memory of the Lokamanya. He then requested Mr. Lalit to recite his song about the late Lokamanya.
In addressing the meeting, the Mahatma said that the work for which they had gathered was sacred. They had a long programme that afternoon. He would not detain them long.
Mr. Tilak was not noted for making long speeches. He was noted for brave deeds. The country loved him not for his oratory. It was possible to name some of his contemporaries who were better orators from the ornamental standpoint. He (Mr. Gandhi) therefore did not need to detain the audience with a long speech. He would draw their attention to some of the most marked qualities which made him the idol of the people, qualities which were so needed for the nation when it was making a supreme effort to obtain its emancipation during the year. The truest tribute they could render to the memory of the deceased was by imitating his qualities and weaving them into their own lives. One great quality that the country prized in the Lokamanya was his fearlessness. It was so marked a quality in him that some even accused him of rudeness. We know that he never spared the bureaucracy. He therefore roused its ire and was accused of raising hatred against Englishmen. He knew however that if Mr. Tilak was unsparing in his criticism of the bureaucracy, he was ready to give praise to its members when it was merited. He remembered, during the last Calcutta session, which the deceased attended, Mr. Tilak presiding at a Hindi Sammelan. He was coming from a strenuous discussion at the Congress session. But he was able to deliver a learned extempore speech at the Sammelan. He gave unstinted praise to English scholars for their service to the vernaculars. He said that future historians would acknowledge their service. That did not mean they had come to India for the purpose of benefiting the vernaculars but he said it would be unjust not to acknowledge the debt India owed to the many Englishmen who had helped them to
Marmaduke Pickthall, Mahomed Ali and Sarojini Naidu were among those present. A number of ladies in the audience, including Perin Captain, grand-daughter of Dadabhai Naoroji, were dressed in khadi. Money raised on admission to the function was set aside as help for the best biography of Tilak.
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