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"I am stuck here and now I am going to

take a big risk," Bapu wrote


Brother Vallabh, alerting Sardar Patel
to the dangerous move he had made
on the eve of independence. "Keep a
watch. I will keep on writing."19 To
add to their personal dangers from
renewed communal conflict, drought
now threatened the entire
subcontinent. Monsoon rains, which
should
have started in June, were as yet
nowhere to be seen in the Bay of
Bengal's
cloudless sky that hottest of all Indian
summers. Terrified Hindu and Sikh
refugees now marched over the dust-
choked plains of Punjab toward Delhi
in lines that soon were to stretch as
long as a hundred miles.
"Suhrawardy and I are living together
in a Muslim manzil in Beliaghata,"
Gandhi reported the day after Nehru
delivered his famous midnight

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"Tryst with Destiny" speech in the
packed central hall of New Delhi's
Parliament,
through which Bapu had slept. "We
end today a period of ill fortune
and India discovers herself again,"
Prime Minister Nehru told his national
audience. "The future is not one of
ease or resting but of incessant
striving so that we might fulfill the
pledges we have so often taken. .. .
The
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Freedom's Wooden Loaf
service of India means the service of
the millions who suffer. It means the
ending of poverty and ignorance and
disease and inequality of opportunity.
The ambition of the greatest man of
our generation has been to wipe every
tear from every eye. That may be
beyond us."20 Then Nehru and
Rajendra
Prasad went over to the palace of

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Britain's last governor-general, Lord
Mountbatten, to invite him to stay on
as India's first governor-general. "At
this historic moment, let us not forget
all that India owes to Mahatma
Gandhi—the architect of our freedom
through non-violence," Mountbatten
graciously told them, accepting the
position he never offered to
Gandhi himself, as first head of
independent India's dominion, adding,
"We
miss his presence here today."21
That same day in Calcutta's old Hydari
House, Gandhi noted, "Here
in the compound numberless Hindus
and Muslims continue to stream in
shouting their favourite slogans."22
Gandhi was encouraged by the loving
enthusiasm of all those Bengalis,
Hindu and Muslim, who came to cheer
him and free India. "We have drunk the
poison of mutual hatred and so
this nectar of fraternization tastes all

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the sweeter and the sweetness should
never wear out."23
A week later, Nehru wired,