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Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi-VOL017

Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi-VOL017

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Published by tij15
This are the volumes form the revised - erroneous - version of the CWMG as published on the CD-Rom "Mahatma Gandhi - Interactive Multimedia - Electronic Book" in 1999. Page and volume nos. are not identical with the original print version of the 1960's-1990's. The content of this CWMG version is to be credited as "The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book), New Delhi, Publications Division Government of India, 1999, 98 volumes"
vol 017-April 26, 1918 - April, 1919
This are the volumes form the revised - erroneous - version of the CWMG as published on the CD-Rom "Mahatma Gandhi - Interactive Multimedia - Electronic Book" in 1999. Page and volume nos. are not identical with the original print version of the 1960's-1990's. The content of this CWMG version is to be credited as "The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book), New Delhi, Publications Division Government of India, 1999, 98 volumes"
vol 017-April 26, 1918 - April, 1919

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Published by: tij15 on Mar 23, 2011
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05/13/2011

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VOL.17 : 26 APRIL, 1918 - APRIL, 1919
1
1. LETTER T0 SIR CLAUDE HILL
S
T
. S
TEPHEN
S
C
OLLEGE
,D
ELHI
,
April 26, 1918
DEAR SIR CLAUDE HILL,
It was not without considerable pain that I had to decline thehonour of serving on any of the Committee that will be appointed atthe eventful Conference
1
or speaking to the main resolution
2
.I feel that the Conference will be largely abortive with themost powerful leaders excluded from it. The absence of Mr. Tilak,Mrs. Besant and Ali Brothers from the Conference deprives it of anyreal weight.
3
I must confess that not one of us who were present attoday’s meeting has the influence of these leaders with the masses.Refusal to have them at the Conference shows that there is no realdesire to change the attitude hitherto adopted by those who areholding the reins of Government. And without any real alteration inthe spirit all your concessions will lose their grace and force and willfail to evoke genuine loyalty from the masses. If I understand thepurpose of the Conference aright, you wish to work upon the masses.How to evoke in the Indian the loyalty of the Englishman is the ques-tion before the Indian leaders. I submit that it is impossible to do sounless you are prepared to trust the trusted leaders of the people andto do all that such trust means. So far as Ali Brothers are concernedthere is no proof of their guilt before the public and they have emph-atically repudiated the charge of having corresponded with the ene-my. Most Mahomedans think what the Brothers think on the situation.I feel that for other reasons also I could not effectively serve on
1
This was the War Conference convened by Lord Chelmsford.
2
The resolution read as follows: “That this Conference authorizes and requestsHis Excellency the Viceroy to convey to His Majesty the King-Emperor anexpression of India’s dutiful and loyal response to his gracious message, andassurance of her determination to continue to do her duty to her utmost capacity in thegreat crisis through which the Empire is passing.”
3
Tilak had not been invited; but, after an interview with the Viceroy on April27, Gandhiji wired asking Tilak to attend the Conference. This he declined to do asGovernment would not rescind the externment order issued against him. AnnieBesant, too, had received no invitation, while the Ali Brothers were still ininternment.
 
2
THE COLLECTED WORKS OF MAHATMA GANDHI
the Conference. I have just read the Home Mail papers. They dealwith the secret Treaties. The revelations make painful reading, I do notknow that I could call the Allies’ cause to be any longer just if thesetreaties are truly reported. I do not know what effect the news willproduce on the Mahomedans of India. The Government will bestserve the Empire if they were boldly to advise His Majesty’sGovernment to recede from the false and immoral position theyplaced themselves in by these treaties. No one will be more glad than Iwould be to find that my reading of the papers is totally incorrect.
1
There will be no domestic peace in India so long as localofficials administer affairs as they have been doing in Kaira. I am surethe Viceroy does not wish that the people should not resist injusticeand tyranny. I do hope that the contemplated spoliation in Kaira willbe stopped at once and the just demand of the Kaira people will becomplied with.I would like to warn the Government against accepting orinitiating conscription. I hope it will never flourish on the Indian soil.But, in any case, it ought not to be introduced until all voluntaryefforts have been honestly made and failed. You will admit that theleaders have with remarkable self-restraint hushed all the tales of theforcible recruitment that is reported to have gone on hitherto. Iventure to think that the danger point has been reached.Lastly a thorough education in Home Rule has now so widelypenetrated the masses that nothing short of very substantial evidenceof the near advent of Home Rule will secure the real co-operation of the people.You will now understand and perhaps appreciate my reluctance
1
Some light is thrown on the background to these observations of Gandhiji in
Charles Freer Andrews,
p. 132. Gandhiji had asked Andrews to join him on his way tothe War Conference. “In the train on his way there Andrews read in the English
NewStatesman
an account of the predatory ‘secret treaties’ unearthed by revolutionariesfrom the Russian Foreign Office; Great Britain was a signatory of these treaties,notwithstanding her public declarations of the disinterestedness of her fight forfreedom. Andrews thrust the papers before Gandhi. ‘How can you take part in a warconference while this sort of double-dealing is going on?’ he demanded.” This wasanother reason why Gandhiji had initially refused to attend the Conference. LordChelmsford, however, in the course of an interview, repudiated the report about thetreaties as having emanated from interested quarters and expressed his disbelief thatthe British Cabinet would enter into a treaty to cede Constantinople to Russia. It wason the basis of this clarification that Gandhiji finally agreed to participate in theConference.
 
VOL.17 : 26 APRIL, 1918 - APRIL, 1919
3to speak or to serve on the committees. I can best demonstrate mygood wishes by abstaining from the Conference.Will you please place this letter before the Viceroy at the earliestpossible opportunity?
From the manuscript of Mahadev Desai’s Diary. Courtesy: Narayan Desai
2. LETTER T0 J. L. MAFFEY 
S
T
. S
TEPHEN
S
C
OLLEGE
,D
ELHI
,
April 27, 1918
DEAR MR. MAFFEY,
I duly received your wire as also your note of the l9th instantfor both of which I thank you.The development which the situation has since undergonerenders the discharge of the [Ali] Brothers more than ever imperative.After considerable hesitation and much deep thought, I have come tothe conclusion that I cannot take part in the Conference and serve thecause for which it has been called. My reasons are set forth in myletter to Sir Claude Hill,
1
copy of which I beg to enclose herewith. Ido not know whether His Excellency would still like to see me aboutthe Brothers. I am in Delhi up to the 29th, but can naturally prolongmy stay if necessary.
Yours sincerely,
M. K. G
ANDHI
N.A.I.: Home, War (Deposit): October 1918, No. 26
1
 
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