Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

A feeble effort is also made now to teach reading and

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A feeble effort is also made now to teach reading and writing to the boys and younger prisoners. But all these changes, welcome as they are, barely scratch the problem, and the old spirit remains much the same. The great majority of the political prisoners had to put up with this regular treatment for ordinary prisoners. They had no special privileges or other treatment, but, being more aggressive and intelligent than the others, they could not easily be exploited, nor could money be made out of them. Because of this they were naturally not popular with the staff, and, when occasion offered itself, a breach of jail discipline by any of them was punished severely. For such a breach a young boy of fifteen or sixteen, who called himself Azad, was ordered to be flogged. He was stripped and tied to the whipping triangle, and as each stripe fell on him and cut into his flesh, he shouted, "Mahatma Gandhi %i jai" Every stripe brought forth the slogan till the boy fainted. Later, that boy was to become one of the leaders of the group of terrorists in North India. XVI OUT AGAIN ONE MISSES MANY things in prison, but perhaps most of all one misses the sound of women's voices and children's laughter. The sounds one usually hears are not of the pleasantest. The voices are harsh and mina tory, and the language brutal and largely consisting of swear words. Once I remember being struck by a new want. I was in the Lucknow District Jail, and I realized suddenly that I had not heard a dog bark for seven or eight months. On the last day of January 1923 all of us politicals in the Lucknow Jail were discharged. There is always a feeling of relief and a sense of glad excitement in coming out of the prison gate. The fresh air and open expanses, the moving street scene, and the meeting with old friends, all go to the head and slightly intoxicate. Almost, there is a 92
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touch of hysteria in one's first reactions to the outer world. We felt exhilarated, but this was a passing sensation, for the state of Congress politics was discouraging enough. In the place of ideals there were intrigues, and various cliques were trying to capture the Congress machinery by the usual methods which have made politics a hateful word to those who are at all sensitive. On my return home from jail the first letter that met my eyes was one from Sir Grimwood Mears, the then Chief Justice of the Allaha bad High Court. The letter had been written before my discharge, but evidently in the knowledge that it was coming. I was a little surprised at the cordiality of his language and his invitation to me to visit him frequently. I hardly knew him. He had just come to Allahabad in 1919 when I was drifting away from legal practice. I think I argued only one case before him, and that was my last one in the High Court.
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