Mahatma Gandhi laid great emphasis on Hindu-Muslim unity. Communalism had raised its ugly head in Indian politics. The communal situation deteriorated in India in 1946 and 1947 as a result of the policy of Direct Action Followed by the Muslim League. Then took place the Calcutta killing in August 1946. As a result of partition of India there was largescale bloodshed both by Hindus and Muslims. Gandhiji who was totally against partition was a shattered man by that time.
In stead of participating in the celebration of independence Gandhi Walked bare-froted from village to village in Nuakhali to restore pace and harmony in that area. Then he proceeded to Bihar and Calcutta to establish amity and peace. It was the fast of Gandhi for 72 hours that brought about the change of atmosphere in Calcutta. In the words of Lord Mountbatten”. What fifty thousand welt- equipped soldiers could not do, the Mahatma has done-he has brought peace. He is a one-man boundary force’.
After Calcutta, Gandhi came to Delhi where the Hindus were determined to turn out the Muslims from the capital of India. He went on a fast and demanded that the Hindus must allow the Muslims to live in Delhi. He made a vibrant appeal for Hindu-Muslim unity, restoration of mosques converted into temples, and the payment of Rupees 55 crore which was due to Pakistan by way of division of assets. All this infuriated the orthodox and narrow-minded Hindus and Gandhi was short dead by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu fanatic on 30th January, 1948. It is indeed an irony of fate that the apostle of non-violence had a violent death.
It is true that Gandhiji alone was not responsible for the independence of India. Other leaders preceding him had done a lot of work in this direction. But his contribution to India’s struggle for independence was unique. In the words of Romain Rolland,” Mahatma Gandhi raised up 300 millions of his fellowmen, shaken the British Empire and inaugurated in human politics the most powerful movement that the whole world has seen for nearly 2000 years’. Under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, the people of India become heroice, audacious fighters for national freedom. He was a nationalist par excellence. Louis Fischer wrote. The symbol of India’s unanimous wish for freedom is Mahatma Gandhi.
He does not represent all of India but he does reflect the will of all India for national liberation Gandhi is great because every single act that he performs is calculated to promote the one goal of his life-the liberation of India. He had no intention to rule India. His function ends when he frees India”. The whole world pays tributes to this saint of sabermati. He taught the people of India how to fight the mighty British Empire without arms. He has given the world a moral substitute for war. When the people of India were utterly helpless, he made them realise their own strength through ‘Truth’ and ‘Non-violence’.