Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

This proposal has been resisted because of a fear

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This proposal has been resisted because of a fear that the Congress might be swamped by new elements, sometimes even politically backward elements. As a matter of fact, although this question is an important one for us, any decision of it will make little difference at present; its chief significance will be as a gesture of good will. For there are few well-organized workers' or peasants' unions in the country which are likely to profit by Congress affiliation. There is not the least possibility of any swamping, and, in any event, this can easily be avoided. I think that now or later some kind of functional representation in the Congress is inevitable and de sirable. It is easy for the Congress to lay down conditions for such affiliation, so as to prevent bogus and mushroom growths or undesir able organizations from profiting by it. A limit might also be placed on the number of representatives that such affiliated organizations can send. Some such recommendation, I believe, has been made by the Pro vincial Congress Committee of the United Provinces. The real object before us is to build up a powerful joint front of all the anti-imperialist forces in the country. The Congress has indeed been in the past, and is today, such a united popular front, and inevi tably the Congress must be the basis and pivot of united action. The active participation of the organized workers and peasants in such a front would add to its strength and must be welcomed. Co-operation between them and the Congress organization has been growing and has been a marked feature of the past year. This tendency must be encouraged. The most urgent and vital need of India today is this united national front of all forces and elements that are ranged against imperialism. Within the Congress itself most of these forces are repre sented, and in spite of their diversity and difference in outlook, they 425
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have co-operated and worked together for the common good. That is a healthy sign both o the vitality of our great movement and the unity that binds it together. The basis of it is anti-imperialism and inde pendence. Its immediate demand is for a Constituent Assembly lead ing to a democratic state where political power has been transferred to the mass of the people. An inevitable consequence of this is the with drawal of the alien army of occupation. These are the objectives before us, but we cannot ignore the present- day realities and the day-to-day problems of our people. These ever- present realities are the poverty and unemployment of our millions, appalling poverty and an unemployment which has even the middle classes in its grip and grows like a creeping paralysis. The world is full of painful contrasts today, but surely nowhere else are these con trasts so astounding as in India.
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