Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

And we marveled at the amazing knack of the man to

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And we marveled at the amazing knack of the man to impress the multitude and make it act in an organized way. I was arrested on the I4th of April as I was entraining for Raipur in the Central Provinces, where I was going to attend a conference. That very day I was tried in prison and sentenced to six months' imprison ment under the Salt Act. In anticipation of arrest I had nominated (under the new powers given to me by the All-India Congress Com mittee) Gandhiji to act as Congress president in my absence, but, fear ing his refusal, my second nomination was for father. As I expected, Gandhiji would not agree, and so father became the acting president of the Congress. He was in poor health; nevertheless he threw himself into the campaign with great energy; and, during those early months, his strong guidance and enforcement of discipline was of tremendous benefit to the movement. The movement benefited greatly, but it was at the cost of such health and physical fitness as had remained in him. Those were days of stirring news processions and lathee charges and firing, frequent hartals to celebrate noted arrests, and special observ ances, like Peshawar Day, Garhwali Day, etc. For the time being the boycott of foreign cloth and all British goods was almost complete. When I heard that my aged mother and, of course, my sisters used to stand under the hot summer sun picketing before foreign cloth shops, I was greatly moved. Kamala did so also, but she did something more. She threw herself into the movement in Allahabad city and district with an energy and determination which amazed me, who thought I 160
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had known her so well for so many years. She forgot her ill-health and rushed about the whole day in the sun, and showed remarkable powers of organization. I heard of this vaguely in jail. Later, when my father joined me there, I was to learn from him how much he had himself appreciated Kamala's work, and especially her organizing capacity. He did not at all fancy my mother or the girls rushing about in the hot sun, but, except for an occasional remonstrance, he did not interfere. The biggest news of all that came to us in those early days was of the occurrences in Peshawar on April 23,* and subsequently all over the Frontier Province. Anywhere in India such a remarkable exhibition of disciplined and peaceful courage before machine-gun firing would have stirred the country. In the Frontier Province it had an additional sig nificance, for the Pathans, noted for their courage, were not noted for their peaceful nature; and these Pathans had set an example which was unique in India. In the Frontier Province also occurred the famous incident of the refusal to fire on the civil population by the Garhwali soldiers. They refused to fire because of a soldier's distaste for firing on an unarmed crowd, and because, no doubt, of sympathy with the crowd.
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  • Fall '16
  • Alan Kolata

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