Mohandas Gandhi

"Constructive Work" and World War II

With the failure of the Cripps mission, the Congress now decided on an immediate campaign of civil disobedience. Before it could begin, however, all the Congress leaders, including Gandhi, were arrested in August of 1942 and imprisoned in the palace of the Aga Khan. Without the Mahatma's voice to calm the people, India exploded into violence. The Viceroy demanded that Gandhi speak out against the civil strife, but for once he refused, choosing instead to begin a fast in February of 1943 that lasted for three weeks and left the government terrified that he might die in confinement. But still, he seemed less dangerous to them in his velvet prison than out of it, and so the government kept him in the Aga Khan's palace, surrounded by his friends and family, while the war dragged on. He was not released until May of 1944, a month before D-Day, and he left the palace nursing a profound personal grief– Kasturbai, his wife and companion for the last sixty-two years, had died during their confinement.