Monday, September 13, 2010


M A H A T M A.....G A N D H I.....N E W S.....D I G E S T

Select News on Mahatma Gandhi, Peace and Nonviolence


Monday, September 13, 2010 5:25 AM



Posted by Arya Bhushan Bhardwaj on September 12, 2010 at 10:30am


I was speaking at the Catholic Worker, New York, it was 2nd October 2007 and the topics was Relevance of Gandhi in Present Times. I must tell you the day was not good, weather wise. I was not sure if some people will be able to come. To my surprise, it was a jampacked, people were standing soaked in rains. After I spoke about half an hour, there were a row of questions. One of the main questions was, Is nonviolent action is possible in a situation like Hitler Rule? I humbly said, yes it is possible. Provided you have absolute faith in Non-violence. People were eger to know.


I gave a practical experience. It was a time of Internal Emergency Rule in India, the year 1975 and the situation was such that people were terrified so much that they were not able to take the name of JP in public because of terror of arrest and jail. Situation was such that top most Gandhians were even afraid of taking any public protest to avoid MISA, the dreconian Act under which there will be no trail for unlimited period of time. I have with me the written letters from top most leaders like R.R. Diwaker, Shriman Narayan, the two heads of Gandhian Organisations in the country. About two hundred thousand people were put into jail with no legal trail, including JP, Morarji Desai and all the top most leaders who were not agreeing with Mrs. Indira Gandhi-s dictetorial Regime. I was young at that time and had not much experience of public Work in such a critical situations.


Most of my colleagues had been either arrested or gone under ground. I was feeling lonliness and sad. But I had faith in nonviolent action. So I started discussing it with few friends who were not arrested. Prominent among them was Sh. Krishan Kant, MP, B.G.Rao, ICS, who had worked with Pt. Jwaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, and his wife Mes. Amia Rao. All these friend were discourageing me to do an open non-violent action because of the fear of arrest and jail.


But I had the utmost faith in nonviolent action in public, therefore, inspite of discouragements of my senior friends I desided to make this experiment. And the act was to organise a parallel Public Prayer Meeting to that of the Goverment, at the naional level at the Rajghat Smadhi, New Delhi, on the 2nd October, birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. I did every thing openly, first of all I talked to the Secretry of the Rajghat Committee, and saught his permission. Secretery Devendra Kumar, advised me to take written permission from the District Magistrate of Delhi, and to my surprise I got the permission.But I was not sure that people will come to join the prayer meeting because of the terror of the Government of the Emergency Rule.


I was thinking that I have to do every thing myself including a lonly prayer on 2nd October. I had got 500 invitations printed and dispatched to various indviduals and organisations. Some of them responded. But non had commited to be present in the prayer meeting. Interested thing was the response from Shri Siddeshwar Prasad, Deputy Minister of Energy, Government of India, Shri Jeevraj Mehta, a senior most Member of Parliament and the Dierctor, Gandhi Smriti, Shri Nalin Mehta.


It was middle of September, I got aphone call from my senior colleauge Shri S.N.Subarao telling that Acharya Kriplaniji, the senior most political figure in the country wanted to talk to me about this prayer meeting. A meeting was fixed and I went and attended the meeting. There were five persons. Acharyaji, Shri Hari Vishnu IKamat, ICS and the youngest Member of Constituent Assambly, Shri Krishan Kant MP and my close senior, Shri S.N. Subbarao and my self. And I was the last to reach and Shri Krishan Kant introduced me telling that, here is the youngman who had the idea of organising the proposed Prayer Meeting at Rajghat on 2nd of October. To my utter surprise, Acharyaji stood up frim his chair and warmly embresed me telling-- youngman I will join the prayer meeting.


The first person who had given his affirmation to attend the meeting. So I got relieved that now we will be two not one who will be in the meeting. The day was comming nearer and Intelligence Agencies of the Goverment were curious to know as to how many people are participating in the Perallel Prayer Meeting and my reply was,that only one person has given me his confermation.


The final day came and I was on silent fast. To my surprise, there were about 400 people, including Acharya Kriplani, Dr. Sushila Nayer, Health Minister in Pt. Nehru-s Cabinet and Secretry to Mahatma Gandhi, Rajmohan Gandhi and Ramchandra Gandhi two grandsons of Mahatma Gandhi, Shri Krishan Kant MP{Later on he became the Vice-President of Indian Republic.}. The Prayer Meeting went on smoothly. After the prayers, Kriplaniji was requested to say a few words to which Police objected and latter on arrested 12 people including Shri H.V. Kamath, Rajmohan and Ramchandra Gandhi, Vishnu Dutt and myself. Police invoked Defence of India Rule{DIR} and falsely charged of Sedition Aginst the Lawful Government of India. The case went on for 8 months, and we were acqueted in the end honorably. This historic nonviolent action was reported by BBC World Service.



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