Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

Most stately of all were the dutch liners flying to

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Most stately of all were the Dutch liners flying to and from Batavia. Sometimes, if we were lucky, we saw a plane in the early winter morning, when it was still dark and the stars were visible. The great liner was brightly lit up, and at both ends it had red lights. It was a beautiful sight, as it sailed by, against the dark background of the early-morning sky. The New Year's Day, the first of January 1931, brought us the news of Kamala's arrest. I was pleased, for she had so longed to follow many of her comrades to prison. Ordinarily, if they had been men, both she and my sister and many other women would have been arrested long ago. But at that time the Government avoided, as far as possible, arrest ing women, and so they had escaped for so long. And now she had her heart's desire! How glad she must be, I thought. But I was apprehen sive, for she was always in weak health, and I feared that prison con ditions might cause her much suffering. As she was arrested, a pressman who was present asked her for a message, and, on the spur of the moment and almost unconsciously, she gave a little message that was characteristic of her: "I am happy beyond measure and proud to follow in the footsteps of my husband. I hope the people will keep the flag flying." Probably she would not have said just that if she had thought over the matter, for she con sidered herself a champion of woman's right against the tyranny of man! My father was in Calcutta and far from well, but news of Kamala's arrest and conviction shook him up, and he decided to return to Alla habad. He sent on my sister Krishna immediately to Allahabad and followed himself, with the rest of the family, a few days later. On the i2th of January he came to see me in Naini. I saw him after nearly two months, and I had a shock which I could conceal with difficulty. He seemed to be unaware of the dismay that his appearance had pro duced in me, and told me that he was much better than he had lately been in Calcutta. His face was swollen, and he seemed to think that this was due to some temporary cause. That face of his haunted me. It was so utterly unlike him. For the first time a fear began to creep in my mind that there was real danger for him ahead. I had always associated him with strength and health, 181
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and I could not think of death in connection with him. He had always laughed at the idea of death, made fun of it, and told us that he pro posed to live for a further long term of years. Latterly I had noticed that whenever an old friend of his youth died, he had a sense of loneli ness, of being left by himself in strange company, and even a hint of an approaching end. But generally this mood passed, and his overflow ing vitality asserted itself; we of his family had grown so used to his rich personality and the all-embracing warmth of his affection that it was difficult for us to think of the world without him.
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