Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

He did me the honor to ask me for advice and i was

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He did me the honor to ask me for advice, and I was puzzled and perplexed, for it is no easy thing to advise another in such a matter, when such advice might mean prison. Subhas Bose has suffered enough at the cost of his health. Was I justified in adding to this mental and physical agony? I hesitated and at first suggested to him to postpone his departure. But this advice made me unhappy, and I consulted other friends and then advised him differently. I suggested that he should return to his home land as soon as he could. But it appears that even before my advice reached him he had started on his journey back to India. This instance leads us to think of the larger problem, of the way the bogey of terrorism has been exploited by the Government to crush political activity and to cripple physically and mentally the fair prov ince of Bengal. You know that terrorism as such is practically non existent now in Bengal or any part of India. Terrorism is always a sign of political immaturity in a people, just as so-called constitution alism, where there is no democratic constitution, is a sign of political senility. Our national movement has long outgrown that immature stage, and even the odd individuals who have in the past indulged in terrorist acts have apparently given up that tragic and futile philoso phy. The Congress, by its stress on peaceful and effective action, has drawn the youth of the country into its fold, and all traces of terror istic activity would long have vanished but for the policy of the Gov ernment, which feeds the roots out of which a helpless violence grows. But, terrorism or no terrorism, a government which adopts the methods which have long prevailed in Midnapore and elsewhere in Bengal stands self-condemned. Similar methods have also long prevailed in the Frontier Province, although there is no hint of terroristic activity 393
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there^ and that fine man and true, beloved of millions, Abdul Ghaffar Khan, still lies in prison. Excuses differ, but the real reason is the ever growing fascist mentality of our rulers. That is one side of the picture. What of us? I have found a spirit of disunion spreading over the land, a strange malaise, and petty con flicts among old comrades growing ever bigger and interfering with all activity. We have forgotten for the moment the larger ideals we stood for, and we quarrel over petty issues. We have largely lost touch with the masses, and, deprived of the life-giving energy that flows from them, we dry up and weaken, and our organization shrinks and loses the power it had. First things must always come first, and, be cause we have forgotten this and argue and dispute over secondary matters, we are in danger of losing our bearings. Every great struggle has its ups and downs and temporary failures.
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