Mission Of Peace
|The tales of woe that Gandhi heard burned themselves into his soul,
but he did not falter in his conviction that only non-violence and love could end this
spiral of hate and violence. In his prayer speech every evening, he touched on this
problem. He stressed the futility of retaliation. He wore himself out in an effort to
re-educate the people; he heard grievances, suggested solutions, encouraged or admonished
his numerous interviewers, visited refugee camps, remained in touch with local officials.
On January 13, 1948, he began a fast; "my greatest fast," he wrote to Mirabehn, his English disciple. It was also to be his last. The fast was not to be broken until Delhi became peaceful. The fast had a refreshing impact upon Pakistan. In India there was an emotional shake-up. The fast compelled people to think afresh on the problem on the solution of which he had staked his life. On January 18, representatives of various communities and parties in Delhi signed a pledge in Gandhis presence that they would guarantee peace in Delhi.
After this fast the tide of violence showed definite signs of ebbing. Gandhi felt free to make his plans for the future. He thought he should visit Pakistan to promote the process of reconciliation between the two countries and the two communities.
Even as he had grappled with communal violence, the real problems of India, the social and economic uplift of her people, had never been absent from his mind. Political freedom having become a fact, Gandhis mind was switching more and more to constructive work, and to the refurbishing of his non-violent technique.