Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

Successful action from the national point of view did

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Successful action, from the national point of view, did not seem to be at all easy, but I felt that both individual and national honor demanded a more aggressive and fighting attitude to foreign rule. Father himself was dissatisfied with the Moderate philosophy, and a mental conflict was going on inside him. He was too obstinate to change from one position to another until he was abso lutely convinced that there was no other way. Each step forward meant for him a hard and bitter tussle in his mind, and, when the step was taken after that struggle with part of himself, there was no going back. He had not taken it in a fit of enthusiasm but as a result of intellectual conviction, and when he had done so, all his pride prevented him from looking back. The outward change in his politics came about the time of Mrs. Besant's internment, and from that time onward step by step he went ahead, leaving his old Moderate colleagues far behind, till the tragic happenings in the Punjab in 1919 finally led him to cut adrift from his 43
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old life and his profession and throw in his lot with the new move ment started by Gandhiji. But that was still to be, and from 1915 to 1917 he was still unsure of what to do, and the doubts in him, added to his worries about me, did not make him a peaceful talker on the public issues of the day. Often enough our talks ended abruptly by his losing his temper. My first meeting with Gandhiji was about the time of the Lucknow Congress during Christmas, 1916. All of us admired him for his heroic fight in South Africa, but he seemed very distant and different and unpolitical to many of us young men. He refused to take part in Con gress or national politics then and confined himself to the South African Indian question. Soon afterward his adventures and victory in Champaran, on behalf of the tenants of the planters, filled us with enthusiasm. We saw that he was prepared to apply his methods in India also, and they promised success. I remember being moved also, in those days after the Lucknow Congress, by a number of eloquent speeches delivered by Sarojini Naidu in Allahabad. It was all nationalism and patriotism, and I was a pure nationalist, my vague socialist ideas of college days having sunk into the background. Roger Casement's wonderful speech at his trial in 1916 seemed to point out exacdy how a member of a subject nation should feel. The Easter Week rising in Ireland by its very failure attracted, for was that not true courage which mocked at almost cer tain failure and proclaimed to the world that no physical might could crush the invincible spirit of a nation? Such were my thoughts then, and yet fresh reading was again stir ring the embers of socialistic ideas in my head. They were vague ideas, more humanitarian and Utopian than scientific.
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  • Fall '16
  • Alan Kolata

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