From the Archives: ‘Hindu-Muslim unity an integral part of Indian nationhood’, says Gandhiji at AMU
Gandhiji said that Sir Syed Ahmed rightly regarded the Hindus and Mohamedans the two eyes of a fair maiden.
After having observed his usual weekly fast during the day Mahatma Gandhi paid a visit to the Muslim University last night at 8:30. Long before his arrival the spacious ball of the Siddon' Union Club and the galleries above were packed to suffocation and the students were peeping through the long rows of the ventilators in the roof high up.
Hundreds had to remain outside for want of space. On reaching the doors the Mahatma was heavily garlanded and there was a prolonged shower of flowers from the sky-lights in the roof and from all round the platform Dr. Ross Masood, the new Vice-Chancellor spoke of the Mahatma in highly euologistie language. The Mahatma gave his assent to be an honorary member of the Siddon's Union Club and signed the book amidst vociferous cheers.
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The Mahatma spoke for nearly twenty-five minutes in good Urdu and was audible in all parts of the hall. He apologised for his inability to address by standing since God had thought it fit to deprive him of his normal strength. He asked his audience to pray God to keep him deserving of the honour of being a life member of the Club which they had conferred upon him and to keep his heart unspoiled for his Mohamedan brethren.
He said he had known from his very boyhood that Hindu Mohamedan unity was an integral part of Indian nationhood and he believed that national liberty was meaningless if the two could not live together open heartedly with complete harmony. He would not tolerate that these two big communities by uniting together should torment the minority communities or make them suspect for a minute that Hindu-Muslim unity was a bad thing.
He rather wished the unity of the two to be a model for the whole world. He further said that Sir Syed Ahmed rightly regarded the Hindus and Mohamedans the two eyes of a fair maiden. He exhorted the students to be as sincere and true soldiers of India as they were the true sons of Islam.
He further said that having read much of Islam and having long lived and dined with Muslims, he knew the Islamic religion well. His heart was sincere for them though they could only be convinced of it if instead of addressing them in broken Urdu he could speak chaste and flowery Lakhnawi language.
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Advice to Students
He advised the students not to give themselves up to ease and luxury and never to mind the white bread or brown, the coarse cloth or fine since only he could serve his country well whose heart was simple and whose habits were simple. He further exhorted the students to pity the lot of the millions of the poor and the weavers who were having hardly one meal a day.
In his opinion, God could not be pleased by them by their daily reading of the Koran or by their daily prayers. The real thing that could please God was their real mercy and compassion for the millions of their distressed brethren. He, therefore, urged them to encourage Khaddar.
The meeting terminated at half past nine when the Mahatma with his party motored down to his place of residence. Нe addresses the ladies and the public in two separate meetings this afternoon.