Gandhi Versus the Empire

By Haridas T. Muzumdar | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV
GANDHI GREETS AMERICA

At the insistent request of his many American friends and of the representative of the Columbia Broadcasting Company of America, Mahatma Gandhi stepped skeptically before the microphone on the second day after his arrival in London (i.e., on September 13, 1931) and broadcast to the American people the first radio address of his life. Its reception was very clear, every word having been heard distinctly.

Gandhi's radio address to the American people takes its place, both historically and intrinsically, among the world's most momentous documents. The frankness with which he admitted the shortcomings of his people elicited the heartiest commendation from the American press.

Without any preparation whatsoever, the Mahatma delivered in brief compass a most cogently worded speech, neither omitting any necessary word or phrase nor adding any unnecessary word or phrase. In lucidity of expression the speech is a gem.

Mahatma Gandhi approached the microphone with curiosity and trepidation. "Do I have to speak into that thing?" he asked, unaware at the moment that the mute device was alive electrically. But the ever faithful radio ear was attentive and the Mahatma's question was instantly sent forth on its way across the Atlantic. At the conclusion of his address, which was delivered in a gentle voice, he breathed more freely: "Well, that's over," was the comment that travelled across the Atlantic.

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