Events Gurmeet Batra  

Mahatma Gandhi started fasting for Hindu-Muslim unity

Mahatma Gandhi started fasting for Hindu-Muslim unity on 13 January 1948. 1948 – Father of the Country Mahatma Gandhi started a fast until death in Kolkata to support Hindu-Muslim solidarity and harmony. In January 1948, Mahatma Gandhi sat on a lent for collective peace the last fast of his time.

Mahatma Gandhi started fasting for Hindu-Muslim unity
Mahatma Gandhi started fasting for Hindu-Muslim unity

On 12th January 1948, Gandhi announced his daily prayer in a conference that he was beginning a fast the following day. The current riots had been carried by policemen and military operation, but there was yet a ‘thunderstorm within the heart. It may explode out any day’. So he had chosen to go on a fast, which would stop when he was ‘convinced that there is a reconciliation of spirits and hearts of all inhabitants brought about without any external influence, but from a stimulated feeling of integrity’.

On January 13, 1948, Gandhi eventually declared his fast until death. This was Gandhi’s last fast in common life. The intention was to create communal harmony. Uproars had been born but as he faded over the next five days, political and spiritual administrators became concerned.

On the evening of the first day of his fast, Gandhi visited the regular prayer conference and gave his dissertation as common. He pronounced, amongst other people, the knowledge that Indian Muslims granted both him and Nehru, but not Sardar Patel. Gandhi believed this imperceptibly wrong. ‘The Sardar Patel is straightforward of conversation’, in which he commented: ‘What he speaks seldom sounds harsh. The mistake is in his tongue’. He asked his Muslim colleagues to ‘take to the Sardar Patel’s comments any blunders which in their belief he perpetrates’.

Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru and Sardar Patel
Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru and Sardar Patel

This was his third fasting in his life but this time this was for Hindu-Muslim solidarity fast for the rehabilitation of common harmony. Meeting Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Gandhi put down provisions for contravening his fast.

The yearly celebration at the Khwaja Bakhtiyar memorial at Mehrauli, due in nine days’ time, should take place harmoniously. The hundred-odd mosques in Delhi transformed into refugee tents should be reinstated to their principal uses. Muslims should be permitted to move unobstructedly throughout Old Delhi. Non-Muslims should not complain to Delhi Muslims retreating to their houses from Pakistan. Muslims should be permitted to move without exposure in trains. There should be no financial boycott of Muslims. Reconciliation of Hindu refugees in Muslim neighborhoods should be made with the approval of those Muslims previously in these neighborhoods.

Finally, on 18 January 1948, after all, communities and societies convinced him of embracing peace and harmony, Gandhi broke his fast with orange juice given by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.