Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The essence of Christianity (Satyagraha in South Africa)

The essence of Christianity (Satyagraha in South Africa - Gandhiji)
All classes of Indians flocked to the place to inquire after my health, and when later pernitted by the doctor, to see me, from the humble hawker basket in hand with dirty clothes and dusty boots right up to the Chairman of the Transvaal British Indian Association. Mr Doke would receive all of them in his drawing room with uniform courtesy and consideration, and so long as I lived with the Dokes, all their time was occupied either with nursing me or with receiving the hundreds of people who looked in to see me. Even at night Mr Doke would quietly peep twice or thrice into my room. While living under his hospitable roof, I never so much as felt that it was not my home, or that my nearest and dearest could have looked after me better than the Dokes.
And it must not be supposed that Mr Doke had not to suffer for according public support to the Indians in theor struggle and for harbouring me under his roof. Mr Doke was in charge of a Baptist church, and depended for his livelihood upon a congregation of Europeans, not all of whom entertained liberal views and among whom dislike of the Indians was perhaps as general as among other Europeans. But Mr Doke was unmoved by it. I had discussed this delicate subject with him in the very beginning of our acquiantance.
And he said, 'My dear friend, what do you think of the religion of Jesus? I claim to be a humble follower of Him, who cheerfully mounted the cross for the faith that was in Him, and whose love was wide as the world. I must take a public part in your struggle if I am at all desirous of representing Christ to the Europeans who, you are afraid, will give me up as punishment for it. And I must not complain if they do thus give me up. My livilihood is indeed derived from them, but you certainly do not think that I am associated with them fo living's sake, or that they are my cherishers. My cherisher is God; they are but the instruments of His Almighty will. It is one of the unwritten conditions of my connection with them, that none of them may interfere with my religious liberty. Please therefore stop worrying on my account. I am taking my place beside you in this struggle not to oblige the Indians but as a matter of duty. The fact, however, is that I have fully discussed this question with my dean. I gently informed him, that if he did not approve of my relations with the Indians, he might permit me to retire and engage another minister instead. But he not only asked me not to trouble myself about it but even spoke some words of encouragement. Again you must not imagine, that all Europeans alike entertain hatred against your people. You can have no idea of the silent sympathy of many with your tribulations, and you will agree with me that I must know about it situated as I am.'
After this clear explanation, I never referred to the subject again.

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