After the Gandhi-Irwin Pact on March 5, 1931, Sukhdev wrote 'an open letter' to Gandhiji, which you read in the previous issue. Gandhiji wrote this letter in response to that letter, which was published in Hindi Navjivan.
The letter 'One of the Many' is written by Late Sukhdev. Shri Sukhdev was the companion of Bhagat Singh. This letter was given to me after his death. Due to paucity of time I could not publish it soon. It is given elsewhere without any change.
The author is not 'one of many'. There are not many who embrace the gallows for political freedom. The patriotism and courage with which such terrible things are done, however cruel the political blood may be, cannot be left without appreciating them. And let us hope that the sect of political killers is not increasing. If the experiment of Bharatvarsha is successful, and it should be, then the profession of political murderers will stop forever. I myself am working with this faith.
The writers do injustice to me by saying that I have done nothing but make passionate requests to the revolutionaries to stop their movement. On the contrary, my claim is that I have placed before them the naked truth, which has been mentioned many times in these pillars, and yet it can be repeated...:
1. The revolutionary movement did not bring us near to our goal.
2. He got the military expenditure of the country increased.
3. He has created causes of violence against the government without providing any benefit.
4. Whenever there has been revolutionary blood, the people of those places have lost their moral strength for some time.
5. He did not contribute anything in the awakening of the masses.
6. The double bad effect it has had on the people is that they have finally suffered the burden of overspending and the indirect fruits of government anger.
7. Revolutionary blood cannot flourish in the land of India, because history is witness to the fact that Indian tradition is hostile to the growth of political violence.
8. If the revolutionists want to attract the populace to their method, they will have to wait indefinitely for them to spread among the people and gain independence.
9. Even if violence is ever popular, it will not survive without destroying us as it has done in other countries.
10. On the contrary, the revolutionists have seen a clear demonstration of the power of the second method i.e. non-violence. Non-violence has survived in spite of their sporadic violence and time-to-time violence of those who are called worshipers of non-violence.
11. When I tell the revolutionists that their movement has not benefited the movement of non-violence in any way, and on the contrary it has harmed this movement, they should accept my point. In other words, I would simply say that if I had found a completely peaceful environment, we would have reached our goal by now.
I assert that this is the naked truth, not a sentimental request. But the present authors object to my express requests to the revolutionaries and say that in this way I help the bureaucracy in crushing their movement. But the bureaucracy does not need my help at all to counter that movement. Like the revolutionists, she is fighting for her identity against me as well. She sees more danger in a non-violent movement than a violent one. She knows how to counter violent agitation. He loses his courage in the face of non-violence. This non-violence has already shaken its foundation.
Secondly, political murderers pay the price for their dreadful tendencies even before they begin. It is not possible that any of my work can spoil their future.
And, since the revolutionary party has to work in secret, the way is not open to me except to openly pray to its secretive members. At the same time, I must say that my manifest prayers have not been completely in vain. Many revolutionaries of the past have become my companions today.
There is a complaint in this open letter that the prisoners other than the Satyagrahi prisoners were not released. I have explained in these pages the reasons why it was impossible to request the release of these other prisoners. I myself want to get rid of each one of them. I am going to do my best to get rid of them. I know that many of them should have been released long ago. The General Assembly has made an agreement in this regard. The Working Committee has entrusted Mr. Nariman with the task of preparing the rolls of all such prisoners. Action will be taken to release those prisoners as soon as they get all the names.
But those who are outside should help in this by stopping the revolutionary killings. Both the work cannot be done simultaneously. Yes, there are political prisoners who must be freed at any cost. I can only assure everyone who is concerned with these things that the reason for this slowness is not lack of will, but lack of strength. It should be remembered that if the final reconciliation is reached within a few months, then all the political prisoners will certainly be released. If there is no reconciliation, those who are trying to free other political prisoners will themselves end up in jails. -Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi