Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

The notion was a very foolish one but then the indian

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The notion was a very foolish one, but then the Indian Civil Service is not known for the originality of its conceptions. Whatever the reason, the Gov ernment stiffened its back and tightened its hold, and it seemed to tell us, in the words of the old prophet: My little finger is thicker than my father's loins. Whereas he chastised you with whips, I will chastise you with scorpions. But the time for chastisement was not yet. If possible the Congress was to be represented at the second Round Table Conference. Twice Gandhij i went to Simla to have long conversations with the Viceroy and other officials. His first visit to Simla was inconclusive. The second visit took place in the last week of August. A final decision had to be taken one way or the other, but still he found it difficult to make up his mind to leave India. In Bengal, in the Frontier Province, and in the United Provinces, he saw trouble ahead, and he did not want to go unless he had some assurance of peace in India. At last some kind of an agreement was arrived at with the Government, embodied in a statement and some letters that were exchanged. This was done at the very last moment to enable him to travel by the liner that was carrying the delegates to the Round Table Conference. Indeed, it was after the last moment, in 206
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a sense, as the last train had gone. A special train from Simla to Kalka was arranged, and other trains were delayed to make the connections. I accompanied him from Simla to Bombay, and there, one bright morning toward the end of August, I waved good-by to him as he was carried away to the Arabian Sea and the far West. That was my last glimpse of him for two years. Gandhij i went to London as the sole representative of the Congress to the Round Table Conference. We had decided, after long debate, not to have additional representatives. Partly this was due to our desire to have our best men in India at a very critical time, when the most tactful handling of the situation was necessary. We felt that, in spite of the Round Table Conference meeting in London, the center of gravity lay in India, and developments in India would inevitably have their reactions in London. We wanted to check untoward developments, and to keep our organization in proper condition. This was, however, not the real reason for our sending only one representative. We were not joining the Round Table Conference to talk intermi nably about the petty details of a constitution. We were not interested in those details at that stage, and they could only be considered when some agreement on fundamental matters had been arrived at with the British Government. The real question was how much power was to be transferred to a democratic India. If by a strange chance a basis of agreement was found on those fundamentals, the rest followed easily enough. It had been settled between us that, in case of such an agree ment, Gandhij i would immediately summon to London some or even all the members of the Working Committee, so that we could then share the work of detailed negotiation.
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