First posted January 29, 2013

 ‘Badla nahin, bad-laav chaahiye’ – Mahatma Gandhi

Another time, another mosque: Gandhi’s Last Fast: January 13-18, 1948

On January 18, Gandhi ended his final fast. Over a hundred representatives of various groups and organizations including the Hindu Mahasabha, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Jamiat-ul-Ulema who had assembled at Rajendra Prasad’s residence, called on Gandhiji at 11.30 a.m. Those present included Jawaharlal Nehru, Abul Kalam Azad, Rajendra Prasad, INA General Shah Nawaz Khan, Hifzur Rahman and Zaheed Hussain, Pakistan’s High Commissioner. Dr. Rajendra Prasad reported that even those who had some doubts on the previous night were confident that they could ask Gandhiji with a full sense of responsibility to break the fast. 

As President of the Congress, Rajendra Prasad said that he had signed the document in view of the guarantee which they had all jointly and severally given. Khurshid, the Chief Commissioner and Randhawa, Deputy Commissioner of Delhi, had signed the document on behalf of the administration. It had been decided to set up a number of committees to implement the pledge. Rajendra Prasad hoped that Gandhiji would now terminate his fast. Deshbandhu Gupta described scenes of fraternization between Hindus and Muslims which he had witnessed when a procession of Muslims was taken out that morning in Subzimandi and was received with ovation and offered fruit and refreshments by the Hindu inhabitants. A seven-point declaration in Hindi was read out solemnly affirming the people’s desire for communal harmony and civic peace. This read as follows:


“We wish to announce that it is our heart-felt desire that the Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs and members of the other communities should once again live in Delhi like brothers and in perfect amity and we take the pledge that we shall protect the life, property and faith of Muslims and that the incidents which have taken place in Delhi will not happen again.

“We want to assure Gandhiji that the annual fair at Khwaja Qutub-ud-Din Mazar will be held this year as in the previous years.

“Muslims will be able to move about in Subzimandi, Karol Bagh, Paharganj and other localities just as they could in the past.

“The mosques which have been left by Muslims and which now are in the possession of Hindus and Sikhs will be returned. The areas which have been set apart for Muslims will not be forcibly occupied.

“We shall not object to the return to Delhi of the Muslims who have migrated from here if they choose to come back and Muslims shall be able to carry on their business as before.

“We assure that all these things will be done by our personal effort and not with the help of the police or military.

“We request Mahatmaji to believe us and to give up his fast and continue to lead us as he has done hitherto.” .” (vol 98, p 249, 253).

Read about the events preceding the Declaration

Another time, another mosque: Gandhi’s Last Fast: January 13-18, 1948

Reliving Gandhi’s last fast, frame by frame

In a tribute to the causes close to Mahatma Gandhi’s heart, the Teen Murti Nehru Memorial Library here has put up an exhibition on his ‘Last Fast’ for a fortnight, choosing to start on the day that marks 65 years of his assassination. The 20-panel exhibition includes some rare material, including letters, that reflect the turmoil of the Partition days.

Kumar Gandharva sings: उड जायेगा हंस अकेला / जग दर्शन का मेला ।।