Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

Often i felt a little embarrassed and humiliated

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Often I felt a little embarrassed and humiliated because of this special treatment when I compared my lot with that of mosi of my colleagues. Despite all these advantages that I had, jail was jail* and the oppres sive atmosphere of the place was sometimes almost unbearable. The very air of it was full of violence and meanness and graft and untruth; there was cither cringing or cursing, A person who was at alt searitbe was in a continuous state of tension. Trivial occurrences would upiet one. A piece of bad news in a letter, some item ia the newspaper^ would make one almost ill with anxiety or anger for a wWIe, Outside
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there was always relief In action, and various interests and activities produced an equilibrium of the mind and body* In prison there was no outlet, and one felt bottled up and repressed; inevitably* one took one sided and rather distorted views of happenings. Illness in jail was par ticularly distressing. And yet 1 managed to accustom myself to the jail routine and with physical exercise and fairly hard mental work kept fit. Whatever the value of work and exercise might be outside, they are essential in jail, for without them one is apt to go to pieces, I adhered to a strict time table, and, in order to keep up to the mark, I carried on with as many normal habits as I could, such as the daily shave (I was allowed a safety razor), I mention this minor matter because, as a rule, people gave it up and slacked in other ways. After a hard day's work, the evening found me pleasantly tired, and sleep was welcomed. And so the days passed, and the weeks and the months. But some times a month would stick terribly and would not end, or so it seemed* Sometimes I would feel bored and fed up and angry with almost everything and everybody with my companions in prison, with the jail staff, with people outside for something they had done or not done, with the British Empire (but this was a permanent feeling), and above all with myself. I would become a bundle of nerves, very susceptible to various moods caused by jail life. Fortunately I recovered soon from these. Interview days were the red-letter days in jail How one longed for them and waited for them and counted the days! And after the excite ment of the interview there was the inevitable reaction and a sense of emptiness and loneliness. If, as sometimes happened, the interview was not a success, because of some bad news which upset me, or some other reason, I would feel miserable afterward* There were jail officials pres* ent at the interviews, of course; but two or three times at Bareilly there was in addition a Criminal Investigation Department man present with paper and pencil, eagerly taking down almost every word of the conversation* I found this exceedingly irritating, and these Interviews were complete failures* And then I gave up these precious interviews because of the brutal treatment my mother and wife had received in the course of an inter view in the Allahabad Jail and afterward from the Government* For nearly seven months I had no interview*
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  • Fall '16
  • Alan Kolata

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