History of Modern India Part 8
Gandhiji said that Pakistan has become. To this the same person replied, “We ask for Pakistan here, in Kashmir.” Mahatma Gandhi did not respond. His driver sped up and tried to push the car forward, honking his horn. One of the protesters pelted stones at the driver and smashed his car window. However, Karam Chand Gandhi was safe in the accident. He was not injured. He also met Maharaja Hari Singh and other Kashmiri leaders. On August 4, he left for Rawalpindi via Jammu.
As a result of this visit of Mahatma Gandhi, the annexation of Kashmir was not announced but some important events took place soon after. One is that the Prime Minister of Kashmir, Ram Chandra, whom Kashmiri Muslims did not like, was removed from office. The following month, Kashmiri leader Sheikh Abdullah, who had been held captive by the Maharaja, was released. After completing his visit to Kashmir, Mahatma Gandhi reached Lahore by train on August 6, 1947.
He made another announcement at Lahore railway station. “I will spend the rest of my life in Pakistan,” he said. Probably in East Bengal or in West Punjab or in this border province which is now called Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. However, Mahatma Gandhi also said during the announcement that he could not stay here for the time being. I am going to Bengal now because I promised the people there that I would be with them before Independence Day on 15th August.
He also asked the Hindus not to leave Lahore. He said that if the rights of minorities were ensured in Pakistan then minorities should salute the Pakistani flag. But if minorities do not get rights then at least I will not salute the Pakistani flag. After this speech at the Lahore railway station, Mahatma Gandhi first went to Patna and then to Calcutta. Independence Day was now approaching on August 15. Karamchand Gandhi appealed to all his followers in India to fast on 15th August.
“We have no grain, no clothes, no ghee and no oil,” he said. So why should we celebrate independence? Therefore, instead of celebrating independence on 15th August, one should fast, run a wheel and pray. Mahatma Gandhi arrived in Calcutta on August 10. Here he met the leader of the Muslim League and former Prime Minister of Bengal Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy. At that time Bengal was divided under the partition plan. East Bengal had become East Pakistan while West Bengal with Calcutta as its capital had become part of India.
Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy was still in Calcutta and had not moved to East Pakistan. Mahatma Gandhi reached Calcutta and met Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy. The two agreed to work together to prevent riots and restore peace. They also decided that they would live in the same building so that Hindus and Muslims could also be taught brotherhood. So now Karam Chand Gandhi and Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy have moved to Haideri Manzil.
It was an empty mansion owned by some Muslims. However, its owners left it after the riots. By the way, nowadays let me tell you that this building has been turned into a museum and it is called Gandhi Bhavan. Good friends Mahatma Gandhi and Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy started living in this building. Living in the same building became a symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity.
The two leaders began contacting powerful people in the city and involved them in efforts to restore peace. Not only that, but many Hindus and Muslims who had been displaced due to the riots have now moved into the house and set up tents in its courtyard. But the Hindu extremists were not happy with the arrival of Mahatma Gandhi.