Gandhi in Noakhali 1946 - Peace mission

Gandhi in Noakhali 1946 - Peace mission

Gandhi peace mission [Failed]

Gandhi in Noakhali, 1946-  Mahatma Gandhi played a role in cooling down the situation. He toured the area with his aides and was instrumental in calming the communal tension. On 18 October, Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy personally communicated with Mahatma Gandhi, appraising him of the massacre of Hindus in Noakhali and the plight of the Hindu women in particular. At the evening prayer, Gandhi mentioned the events in Noakhali with concern. He said, if one half of India's humanity was paralysed, India could never really feel free. He would far rather see India's women trained to wield arms than that they should feel helpless.

On 19 October, he decided to visit Noakhali. Before leaving, he was interviewed on 6 November by Dr Amiya Chakravarty at the Abhay Ashram in Sodepur, near Kolkata. After the interview, Dr. Amiya Chakravarty said that the most urgent need of the hour was to rescue the abducted Hindu women who obviously could not be approached by the military because, after being forcefully converted, they were kept under the veil. Gandhi started for Noakhali on 6 November and reached Chaumuhani the next day. After spending two nights at the residence of Jogendra Majumdar, on 9 November he embarked on his tour of Noakhali, barefoot. In the next seven weeks, he covered 116 miles and visited 47 villages.

He set up his base in a half-burnt, house in the village of Srirampur, where he stayed until 1 January. He organised prayer meetings, met local Muslim leaders and tried to win their confidence. Mistrust between Hindus and Muslims continued to exist, and stray incidents of violence occurred even during his stay in Noakhali. On the evening of 10 November, two persons were reported to have been murdered while returning home after attending Gandhi's evening prayer at Duttapara relief camp.

Gandhi's stay in Noakhali was resented by the Muslim leadership. On 12 February 1947, while addressing a rally at Comilla, A. K. Fazlul Huq said that Gandhi's presence in Noakhali had harmed Islam enormously. His presence had created a trace of bitterness between the Hindus and the Muslims. The resentment against Gandhi's stay in Noakhali grew day by day. Towards the end of February 1947, it became vulgar.

Gandhi's route was deliberate, dirtied every day and Muslims began to boycott his meetings. Mahatma Gandhi discontinued his mission halfway and started for Bihar on 2 March 1947 at the request of the Muslim League leaders of Bengal. On 7 April, more than a month after leaving Noakhali, Gandhi received telegrams from Congress Party workers in Noakhali, describing attempts to burn Hindus alive. He responded that the situation in Noakhali required that the Hindus should either leave or perish