Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

I refuse to believe that the sensual affinity

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I refuse to believe that the sensual affinity, referred to here, can be at all regarded as natural; in that case the deluge would soon be over us. The natural affinity between man and woman is the attraction between brother and sister, mother and son, or father and daughter, It is this natural attraction that sustains the world." And more em phatically still: "No, I must declare with all the power I can command that sensual attraction, even between husband and wife, is unnatural." One can accept it as an act of faith or reject it. There is no halfway house, for it is a question of faith, not of reason. For my part I think Gandhiji is absolutely wrong in this matter. His advice may fit in with some cases, but as a general policy it can only lead to frustration, in hibition, neurosis, and all manner of physical and nervous ills. Sexual restraint is certainly desirable, but I doubt if Gandhiji's doctrine is likely to result in this to any widespread extent. It is too extreme, and most people decide that it is beyond their capacity and go their usual ways, or there is friction between husband and wife. Evidently Gan dhiji thinks that birth-control methods necessarily mean inordinate indulgence in the sex act, and that if the sexual affinity between man and woman is admitted every man will run after every woman, and vice versa. Neither inference is justified, and I do not know why he is so obsessed by this problem of sex, important as it is. For him it is a "soot or whitewash" question; there are no intermediate shades. At either end he takes up an extreme position which seems to me most abnormal and unnatural. Perhaps this is a reaction from the deluge of literature on sexology that is descending on us in these days. I presume I am a normal individual and sex has played its part in my life, but it has not obsessed me or diverted me from my other activities. It has been a subordinate part, I have drifted to other topics, but in those distressful days in Alipore Jail all these ideas crowded in my mind, not in logical order or se quence, but in a wild jumble which confused me and oppressed me. Above all, there was the feeling of loneliness and desolation, heightened by the stifling atmosphere of the jail and my lonely little cell. If I had been outside, the shock would have been more momentary, and I would have adjusted myself sooner to new conditions and found relief in expression and action. Inside the prison there was no such relief, and I spent some miserable days. Fortunately for myself, I am resilient and recover soon from attacks of pessimism. I began to grow out of 317
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my depression, and then I had an interview in jail with Kamala. That cheered me up tremendously, and my feeling of isolation left me. Whatever happened, I felt, we had one another.
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