Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

Quite apart from the national aspect o the question

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Quite apart from the national aspect o the question there was the personal aspect. Nonco-operation meant his withdrawing from his legal practice; it meant a total break with his past life and a new fashioning of it not an easy matter when one is on the eve of one's sixtieth birthday. It was a break from old political colleagues, from his profession., from the social life to which he had grown accustomed, and a giving up of many an expensive habit. For the financial aspect of the question was not an unimportant one, and it was obvious that he would have to reduce his standard of living if his income from his profession vanished. But his reason, his strong sense of self-respect, and his pride, all led him step by step to throw in his lot wholeheartedly with the new movement. The accumulated anger with which a series of events, cul minating in the Punjab tragedy and its aftermath, filled him; the sense of utter wrong-doing and injustice; the bitterness of national humilia tion these had to find some way out. But he was not to be swept away by a wave of enthusiasm. It was only when his reason, backed by the trained mind of a lawyer, had weighed all the pros and cons that he took the final decision and joined Gandhiji in his campaign. He was attracted by Gandhiji as a man, and that no doubt was a factor which influenced him. Nothing could have made him a close associate of a person he disliked, for he was always strong in his likes and dislikes. But it was a strange combination the saint, the stoic, the man of religion, one who went through life rejecting what it offers in the way of sensation and physical pleasure, and one who had been a bit of an epicure, who accepted life and welcomed and enjoyed its many sensations, caring litde for what might come in the hereafter. In the language of psychoanalysis it was a meeting of an introvert with an extrovert. Yet there were common bonds, common interests, which drew the two together and kept up, even when, in later years, their politics diverged, a close friendship between them. This special session at Calcutta began the Gandhi era in Congress politics which has lasted since then, except for a period in the twenties when he kept in the background and allowed the Swaraj party, under the leadership of Deshbandhu C. R. Das and my father, to fill the picture. The whole look of the Congress changed; European clothes vanished, and soon only \hadi was to be seen; a new class of delegate, chiefly drawn from the lower middle classes, became the type of Con gressman; the language used became increasingly Hindustani, or some times the language of the province where the session was held, as many 66
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of the delegates did not understand English, and there was also a grow ing prejudice against using a foreign language in our national work; and a new life and enthusiasm and earnestness became evident in Con gress gatherings.
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