Friday, 12 December 2014

Gandhi and Narayana Guru

Narayana Guru and Gandhi ! Two giants solidarity in their satyagraha against untouchability.  

"With reference to the reported interview with the Tiya priest, Shri Narayana Guru Swami, I gladly publish the following letter from Mr. Narayanan:
I was very much pained to see your note in Young India regarding the views of His Holiness Shri Narayana Guru Swami on the present methods of satyagraha at Vaikom. A few days before that, I happened to see the Swamiji with whom I had a fairly long conversation over the Vaikom struggle. The Swamiji himself told me at the outset that one Mr. Kesavan, who had a talk with him some time back in a railway train, has misrepresented him to the public by publishing an unauthorized account of the so-called interview in the vernacular Press. First of all, Swamiji is not in the habit of granting interviews to Press representatives. But he freely expresses his opinions to whomsoever he talks with on any subject. Very recently, Sjt. C. Rajagopalachari also had a free talk with the Swamiji on the Vaikom affairs; and it is said that the Swamiji expressed himself in unmistakable terms his approval of the present methods of satyagraha at Vaikom. What the Swamiji says is this. It is true that he spoke in favour of entering temples and sitting with others to dine, because he has always been an advocate of temple-entry and interdining. But he lays great stress on non-violence. He says that even advancing into the prohibited area in the absence of barricades is an act of violence, because the prohibitory board at the boundary line carrying the Government order itself is equivalent to a barricade of policemen who simply repeat the same order as the volunteers advance. He is of opinion that, so long as the prohibitory board is there,the volunteers should remain at the boundary line, praying God to give courage to the oppositionists to change their mind and cause the removal of the board. He might have told Mr. Kesavan that, if the volunteers may advance into the prohibitory area disobeying the Government order put up in the prohibitory board, they may as well scale the barricades and advance. This, the Swamiji says, might have been misunderstood by Mr. Kesavan. He drew my special attention to the fact that the volunteers must be of exemplary character, and that they must not even show signs of distemper at the greatest provocation. The Swamiji also expressed the view that the pro-posed procession on foot of 500 caste Hindus from Vaikom to Trivandrum will produce a great moral effect on all concerned. Lastly, he wished all success to the movement saying that, if carried on in the same strain as at present, success is not far off.
After the foregoing was prepared, I received the following authoritative letter:
The report of the interview K. M. Kesavan had with me in the railway
train, published in the Desabhimani, seems to have been prepared without correctly understanding my meaning. That report was not shown to me before publication, nor did I see it soon after it was published. The removal of untouchability is quite essential for the attainment of social harmony. I have no objection whatsoever to the satyagraha movement started by Mahatma Gandhi to fight this evil nor to the co-operation of people in that movement. Any method of work that may be adopted for eradicating the evil of untouchability must be strictly non-violent.
Young India, 10-7-1924

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