New Delhi, Aug 14: In the night between August 14 and 15, 1947, when Jawaharlal Nehru was making the famous "While the whole world was sleeping..." speech, 78-year-old Gandhi was walking along the alleys of then Calcutta with the plead to stop communal violence.
On 15 August 1947, when the day of independence finally arrived, it was relished all over the nation. But in Calcutta, Mahatma Gandhi was worried and trying hard to end the violence because of the partition.
"To me, peace between Hindus and Muslims is more important than the declaration of independence", was the words from him.
Gandhi refused to participate in any celebrations.
"I cannot rejoice on August 15. I do not want to deceive you. But at the same time, I shall not ask you not to rejoice. Unfortunately, the kind of freedom we have got today contains also the seeds of future conflict between India and Pakistan. How can we therefore light the lamps?" said Gandhi.
On 9 August, Gandhi arrived in Calcutta with plans to move to Naokhali (now in Bangladesh), which was ripped apart by communal massacre and violence. Some of the leading figures urged Gandhi not to stay in East Bengal as they felt if Gandhi could bring peace to Calcutta, peace would be restored in all of Bengal.
Gandhi then decided to stay at Hyderi Manzil, close to a Muslim dominated slum, Miabagan.
From 13 August onwards, Gandhi began efforts to pacify people of either community to end the violence. But angry mobs refused to bow down, but Gandhi continued his efforts.
After a few days, Gandhi's efforts were turned to reality. Lord Mountbatten, noting this, wrote "In Punjab we have 55 thousand soldiers and large-scale rioting on our hands. In Bengal, our forces consist of one man, and there is no rioting."