Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

Any violent activity seems to be out of the question

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Any violent activity seems to be out of the question, injurious, and waste of effort. That, I think, is generally recognized in India, in spite of rare instances of futile and sporadic violence. That way cannot lead us anywhere except into a hopeless maze of violence and counter- violence out of which it will be difficult to emerge. I write vaguely and somewhat academically about current events and try to play the part of a detached onlooker. I am not usually consid ered a looker-on when action beckons; my offense, I am often told, is that I rush in foolishly without sufficient provocation. What would I do now? What would I suggest to my countrymen to do? Perhaps the instinctive caution of a person who dabbles in public affairs comes in the way of my committing myself prematurely. But, if I may confess the truth, I really do not know, and I do not try to find out. When I cannot act, why should I worry ? I do worry to a large extent, but that is inevitable. At least, so long as I am in prison, I try to save myself from coming to grips with the problem of immediate action. All activity seems to be far away in prison. One becomes the object of events, not the subject of action. And one waits and waits for something to happen. I write of political and social problems of India and the world, but what are they to this little self-contained world of jail which has long been my home? Prisoners have only one major interest: the date of their release. LII A CONCLUSION We are enjoined to labor; but it is not granted to us to complete our labors The Talmud. I HAVE REACHED the end of the story. This egotistical narrative of my adventures through life, such as they are, has been brought up to today, February 14, 1935, District Jail, Almora. Three months ago to day I celebrated in this prison my forty-fifth birthday, and I suppose 351
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I have still many years to live. Sometimes a sense of age and weariness steals over me; at other times I feel full of energy and vitality. I have a fairly tough body, and my mind has a capacity for recovering from shock, so I imagine I shall yet survive for long unless some sudden fate overtakes me. But the future has to be lived before it can be written about. The adventures have not been very exciting perhaps; long years in prison can hardly be termed adventurous. Nor have they been in any way unique, for I have shared these years with their ups and downs with tens of thousands of my countrymen and countrywomen; and this record of changing moods, of exaltations and depressions, of in tense activity and enforced solitude, is our common record. I have been one of a mass, moving with it, swaying it occasionally, being influ enced by it; and yet, like the other units, an individual, apart from the others, living my separate life in the heart of the crowd.
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