When Jinnah refused to say ‘Mahatma’
Indian National Congress met at Nagpur in December 1920. By then, it had become customary to refer to Gandhi as ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi. Mohammad Ali Jinnah referred to Gandhi as Mr Gandhi. Maulana Mohammad Ali, leader of the Khilafat movement, requested Jinnah to refer to Gandhi as Mahatma. Many delegates also shouted and asked Jinnah to say ‘Mahatma Gandhi.’ As Jinnah persisted, a section of the audience started shouting, ‘Sit down.’ Still Jinnah persisted. Gandhi then stood up and said; “I am not a Mahatma. I am an ordinary man. By coercing Jinnah to a particular choice of word, you are not doing me honour. We can not win real freedom by forcing our views upon others. As long as there is nothing objectionable or derogatory in a man’s language he is at liberty to think or say whatever he likes about others.” This pacified the delegates.