Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

It cannot survive this war whatever the result of the

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It cannot survive this war, whatever the result of the war. But, whether it survives or not, we want none of it. We do not want to be bound down to a group of nations which has dominated and exploited over us; we will not be in an Empire in some parts of which we are treated as helots and where racialism runs riot. We want to cut adrift from the financial domina tion of the City of London. We want to be completely free with no reservations or exceptions, except such as we ourselves approve, in common with others, in order to join a Federation of Nations, or a new World Order. If this new World Order or Federation does not come in the near future, we should like to be closely associated in a federation with our neighbors China, Burma, Ceylon, Afghanistan, Persia. We are prepared to take risks and face dangers. We do not want the so-called protection of the British Army or Navy. We shall shift for ourselves. If the past had not been there to bear witness, the present would have made us come to this final decision. For even in this present of war and peril, there is no change in the manner of treatment accorded to our people by British imperialism. Let those who seek the favor and protection of this imperialism go its way. We go ours. The parting of the ways has come. JAWAHARLAL NEHRU Allahabad, August io f 1940. 384
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APPENDIX A PLEDGE TAKEN BY THE INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS ON INDEPENDENCE DAY, JANUARY 26, 1930 WE BELIEVE THAT it is the inalienable right of the Indian people, as of any other people, to have freedom and to enjoy the fruits of their toil and have the necessities of life, so that they may have full opportu nities of growth. We believe also that if any government deprives a people of these rights and oppresses them the people have a further right to alter it or to abolish it. The British Government in India has not onlydeprived the Indian people of their freedom but has based itself on the exploitation of the masses, and has ruined India economically, politically, culturally, and spiritually. We believe, therefore, that India must sever the British connection and attain Purna Swaraj, or complete independence. India has been ruined economically. The revenue derived from our people is out of all proportion to our income. Our average income is seven pice (less than twopence) per day, and of the heavy taxes we pay, 20 per cent are raised from the land revenue derived from the peas antry and 3 per cent from the salt tax, which falls most heavily on the poor. Village industries, such as hand-spinning, have been destroyed, leav ing the peasantry idle for at least four months in the year, and dulling their intellect for want of handicrafts, and nothing has been substi tuted, as in other countries, for the crafts thus destroyed.
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