Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

We would wonder what the morrow would bring of strife

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We would wonder what the morrow would bring of strife and tumult, and gallant enthusiasm and cruel repression and hateful cowardice and what was all this leading to? Whither were we go ing? The future was hid from us, and it was as well that it was hidden; even the present was partly covered by a veil, so far as we were concerned. But this we knew: that there was strife and suffering and sacrifice in the present and on the morrow. 217
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XXXIII BALLYHOO THOSE EARLY MONTHS of 1932 were remarkable, among other things, for an extraordinary exhibition o ballyhoo> on the part of the British authorities. Officials, high and low, shouted out how virtuous and peaceful they were, and how sinful and pugnacious was the Congress. They stood for democracy while the Congress favored dictatorships. Was not its president called a dictator? In their enthusiasm for a righteous cause they forgot trifles like ordinances, and suppression of all liberties, and muzzling of newspapers and presses, imprisonment of people without trial, seizure of properties and moneys, and the many other odd things that were happening from day to day. They forgot also the basic character of British rule in India. Ministers of Government (our own countrymen) grew eloquent on how Con gressmen were "grinding their axes" in prison while they labored for the public good on paltry salaries of a few thousand rupees per month. The lower magistracy not only sentenced us to heavy terms but lectured to us in the process, and sometimes abused the Congress and individuals connected with it. Even Sir Samuel Hoare, from the serene dignity of his high office as Secretary of State for India, an nounced that "though dogs may bark the caravan passes on." Most sur prising of all, the Cawnpore Communal Riots were laid at the door of the Congress. The horrors of these truly horrible riots were laid bare, and it was repeatedly stated that the Congress was responsible for them. As it happened, the Congress had played the only decent part in them, and one of its noblest sons lay dead, mourned by every group and community in Cawnpore. No doubt, in this and other matters, the truth will prevail in the end, but sometimes the lie has a long start. It was all very natural, I suppose, this exhibition of a hysterical war mentality; and no one could expect truth or restraint under the circum stances. But it did seem to go beyond expectation and was surprising in its intensity and abandon. It was some indication of the state of nerves of the ruling group in India, and of how they had been repress ing themselves in the past. Probably the anger was not caused by any thing we had done or said, but by the realization of their own previous fear of losing their empire. Rulers who are confident of their own strength do not give way in this manner.
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