Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

It was an ingeniously worded announcement which could

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It was an ingeniously worded announcement, which could mean much or very little, and it seemed to many of us obvious that the latter was the more likely contingency. And in any event, even if there was more in the announcement, it could not be anywhere near what we wanted. Hardly had this viceregal announcement been made, when, almost with indecent haste, so it seemed, a "Leaders' Conference" was ar ranged at Delhi, and people from various groups were invited to it. Gandhij i was there, so was my father; Vallabhbhai Patel (still presi dent of the Assembly) was also there, and Moderate leaders like Dr. Tej Bahadur Sapru and others. A joint resolution or manifesto was agreed to, accepting the Viceroy's declaration subject to some conditions, which, it was stated, were vital and must be fulfilled. If these conditions were accepted by Government, then co-operation was to be offered. These conditions * were solid enough and would have made a difference. It was a triumph to get such a resolution agreed to by representatives of all the groups, moderate and advanced. For the Congress it was a comedown; as a common measure of agreement it was high. But there was a fatal catch in it. The conditions were looked upon from at least two different viewpoints. The Congress people considered them to be essential, the sine qua non, without which there could be no co-opera- ^Thc conditions were: (1) All discussions at the proposed conference to be on the basis of full Dominion status for India. (2) There should be a predominant representation of Congressmen at the conference. (3) A general amnesty of political prisoners. (4) The Government of India to be carried on from now onward, as far as is pos sible under existing conditions, on the lines of a Dominion government. 146
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tion. For them they represented the minimum required. For the Moder ate groups they were a desirable maximum which should be stated, but which could not be insisted on to the point of refusal of co-operation. And so it happened that later on, though none of these conditions were satisfied and most of us lay in jail, together with scores of thou sands of others, our Moderate friends, who had signed that manifesto with us, gave their full co-operation to our jailers. Most of us suspected that this would happen though hardly to the extent it did happen but there was some hope that this joint action, whereby the Congress people had to some extent curbed themselves, would also result in curbing the propensities of the Liberals and others to indiscriminate and almost invariable co-operation with the British Government. A more powerful motive for some of us, who heartily disliked the compromising resolution, was to keep our own Congress ranks well knit together. On the eve of a big struggle we could not afford to split up the Congress.
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  • Fall '16
  • Alan Kolata

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