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Mahatma Gandhi was very careful about the permotion of Indian women. He knew it very well that without co-operation of women, men cannot participate & did satyagraha for the freedom of India. They were not perform and spread of my constructive work among societies.
You are sorry, I know, that the great patriot, Bharatbhushan Pandit Malaviyaji, who treats me as an elder brother, is not here today, but I am more sorry than you are. This ceremony should have been performed by him. We can understand how much it must have hurt Sulochanabehn and Rukshmanibehn that this could not be. Panditji could have possibly come here some time ago. He had come as far as Bombay. But this function was then postponed owing to the events
which occurred and which we were unable to control. Even on this occasion, it was my wish that this ceremony should be performed by Malaviyaji. But he has had to go to Lahore and it is his own order that I should perform it. I therefore do this as his representative. His words are worth noting.2 I agree with what he says about how much men owe to women.
I have been touring all over India since 1915 and saying everywhere that, till woman takes her place by the side of man and claims her rights, she will not come into her own. And till she does so, there can be no progress for us. If one of the two wheels of a carriage remains in a working condition but the other goes out of order, the carriage will not run properly. This was the burden of the ladies’ song here before us, and it is true. Opinions differ, and probably that is so
in regard to this subject. Men carry all manner of plans in their pockets, as if they had them ready-made, and they produce plans about women’s education, all different from one another. They seem to me like the leaflets which they dropped in this place from aeroplanes. This, of course, is no reason for the founders of the Vanita Vishram to be uneasy. With patience and experimenting, they will reach the goal. One need not be afraid of making mistakes, nor of
experimenting. If we do not move forward, we shall lag behind. Hence 1 Gandhiji laid the foundation stone of an independent building for the Vanita
 In his message, he had said: “Great is man’s debt to woman as mother, sister, wife and daughter. Nothing we can do to honour and comfort womankind can repay the countless self-sacrificing acts of affection and devotion with which women influence lives of men for good and contribute to our richest happiness.”
the founders should go on making experiments within the frame-work of their principles. If we correct the mistakes we make, we shall succeed in our aim. We see from this report of the Vanita Vishram that Sulochanabehn has brought lustre into her widow’s life. There is beauty in widowhood, if only we can see it. It is well known that there are two difirerent views about widowhood; in any case, however, it remains true that, in the measure one has strength and nobility of soul, one can promote one’s own and others’ good. Every widow owes it as an especial duty to dedicate her strength and her soul to the motherland. If we like, we may say that, becoming a widow, Behn Sulochana has, as Narasinh Mehta would have said,1 shaken off herburden; but, then, in her widowhood, she has taken the motherland to husband. Thanks to her indefatigable efforts, this institution is making good progress. In this great task, Shri Somnath’s donation has been a good help. With reference to what was said here about donations, I should like to say that, if we are sincere in our work, donations will come seeking us. I found disappointment in the report. It is an unhappy thing for the founders that, for a matter like money, they had to go begging for this small institution as far as Africa; for Ahmedabad, it is a matter of shame. The people here should have said that, while they were alive, they would never permit the founders to go to foreign countries for money. They owe it as a duty to give such a re-assuring
promise. In my view, those in charge of the institution (do not need to go to Africa. They ought to collect the money from the citizens and, should they refuse, resort to satyagraha against them. I am afraid the men on the managing body are not seasoned enough. They have everything in them but self-confidence. With faith in their own strength, they should melt the citizens’ hearts and get from them the money they need.
This institution needs scholars as much as it needs money and widows to manage it. That is, we require learned teachers. I have been all this time looking at the motto in front of me: “Learning owes its worth to dharma.” What the motto says is true. I have discovered in the course of my travels in India that, without dharma, learning is barren. This raises the question: “What is right learning?” I have given my reply often enough. We shall settle afterwards the issue of 1 In a verse attributed to him, the poet welcomes his wife’s death as it has set him free to devote himself entirely to worship of God.
what manner of learning to provide. For the present, we may follow one definite method and include religious instruction in it. Religion is not a matter for reflection but of conduct. It is not a subject for talking about, be it noted. Teachers can create the thing only by their conduct. Gujarat itself should produce such teachers; it is shameful to go looking for them outside. It was said here, by way of complaint, that Ahmedabad has an excess of Vanik shrewdness; but I am not unhappy about this. Along with the shrewdness of a Vanik, one should have a venturesome spirit, knowledge and readiness for service, that is, the qualities of a Kshatriya, a Brahmin and a Sudra. It is the Vanik who in fact gives the
country its wealth. He is the best Vanik who has dedicated his skill in commerce to the country and is carrying on trade accordingly. The spirit of patriotism does not come unless one has a true sense of dharma. By the compassion which the Gita teaches, I only understand that we should dedicate ourselves wholly, body, mind and possessions,
to relieving the suffering of those around us whom we find in distress. In Gujarat, we may embark upon any kind of ventures. It is my prayer to God that the venture on which this institution has embarked may prove the best among them all and be followed by similar ones elsewhere in the province. It is my especial wish that the scholars and men of letters of Gujarat should be put to use in this or similar institutions. It is but right that the wealth which the people of Gujarat accumulate with their commercial shrewdness should be used by them with the same shrewdness for philanthropic purposes. To the pupils in the school, I have only this to say: “Bring credit to your education. When you enter on family life, see that you bring credit to your home and country.” The widows who have been taking advantage of this Ashram should dedicate to the service of the country the training of body and spirit which they receive here. on this way Mahtma Gandhi was doing his duty for womenr of India.

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