When Jin­nah re­fused to say ‘Ma­hatma’

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Sport -

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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.

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