Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

Every day of freedom was something precious a day

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Every day of freedom was something precious, a day gained. As a matter of fact, I had a long innings in 1928 and 1929, and arrest came at last as late as April 1930. Since then my brief periods outside prison have had a measure of unreality about them, and I have lived in my house as a stranger on a short visit, or moved about uncertainly, not knowing what the morrow would hold for me, and with the constant expectation of a call back to jail. As 1928 approached its appointed end, the Calcutta Congress drew near. My father was to preside over it. He was full of the All-Parties Conference and of his report to it and wanted to push this through the Congress. To this he knew that I was not agreeable, because I was not prepared to compromise on the independence issue, and this irritated him. We did not argue about the matter much, but there was a definite feeling of mental conflict between us, an attempt to pull different ways. Differences of opinion we had often had before, vital differences which had kept us in different political camps. But I do not think that at any previous or subsequent occasion the tension had been so great. Both of us were rather unhappy about it. In Cal cutta matters came to this, that my father made it known that if he could not have his way in the Congress that is, if he could not have a majority for the resolution in favor of the All-Parties Report he would refuse to preside over the Congress. That was a perfectly reasonable and constitutional course to adopt. Nonetheless it was dis concerting to many of his opponents who did not wish to force the issue to this extent. There were negotiations between the two groups, and a compromise formula was announced. Then this fell through. It was all rather confusing and not very edifying. The main resolution of the Congress, as it was finally adopted, accepted the All-Parties Report but intimated that if the British Government did not agree to that constitution within a year the Congress would revert to independence. It was an offer of a year's grace and a polite ultimatum. The resolution was no doubt a come-down from the ideal of independence, for the All-Parties Report did not even ask for full Dominion status. And yet it was prob ably a wise resolution in the sense that it prevented a split when no one was ready for it, and kept the Congress together for the struggle that began in 1930. It was clear enough that the British Government were not going to accept the All-Parties Constitution within a year. The struggle was inevitable; and, as matters stood in the country, no such struggle could be at all effective without Gandhiji's lead. 140
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I had opposed the resolution in the open Congress, though I did so half-heartedly. And yet I was again elected general secretary.
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