Gandhi's Visit To England
As the struggle for freedom grew in India, Britain had to send over more and more young men. They had to become prison guards. They were forced to kill unarmed Indians. Gandhi knew the British were also his brothers and sisters, no matter how terribly they treated his people.
"Don't you understand,"? Gandhi asked them." This injustice is destroying India and it is destroying you. To rule India, Britain is destroying the lives and the hopes of its young men."
Some of the British leaders were beginning to hear Gandhi's message. Many British people came to help Gandhi work for the freedom of India.
Gandhi was in jail again when the British decided to hold a conference in London to decide India's future. But how could they invite Gandhi, since he was in prison for disobeying their laws? "Gandhi is India," one advisor told them. "If you invite him, you invite India. If you do not, no matter whom else you do invite, all India will be absent." So in Yeravada Prison, Gandhi received an official invitation from His majesty the King of England.
Once more Gandhi traveled to England. He was the guest of the King, but he left the grand hotels to stay in the poorest part of London. Every day he joked and played with the children as they followed him on his morning walks through the foggy streets. The children teased him back, saying, "Hey, Gandhi, where's your pants?"
While in England, Gandhi decided to go to Lancashire, a town that was full of cloth factories. The cotton used in these factories came from India. The Indians were paid very little for the cotton and then were forced to buy the expensive British cloth.
For years in India, Gandhi had been teaching the Indians how to spin their own cotton and make their own cloth for clothes. hundreds of thousands of Indians learned to spin and stopped buying from the British.
By the time Gandhi arrived in London, the factories of Lancashire were not selling much cloth and thousands of workers had lost their jobs. A huge crowd of angry workers, men and women, came to meet Gandhi.
"Please listen to me for a few minutes", Gandhi asked them quietly," I know three million of you in England have had no work now for several months. I know that many days you only get bread and butter for dinner. In India, three hundred million people have no work for six months every year. many days they get no food at all."
As Gandhi talked, the British workers listened and understood. When he finished speaking, they began to cheer him.