Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

1 what a capacity he had to give shocks to peo ple

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1 What a capacity he had to give shocks to peo ple! Suddenly all manner of ideas rushed into my head; all kinds of possibilities and contingencies rose up before me and upset my equili brium completely. For two days I was in darkness with no light to show the way out, my heart sinking when I thought of some results of Gandhiji's action. The personal aspect was powerful enough, and I thought with anguish that I might not see him again. It was over a year ago that I had seen him last on board ship on the way to Eng land. Was that going to be my last sight of him? And then I felt annoyed with him for choosing a side issue for his final sacrifice. What would be the result on our freedom movement? Would not the larger issues fade into the background, for the time being at least? And, if he attained his immediate object and got a joint electorate for the depressed classes, would not that result in a reaction and a feeling that something had been achieved and nothing more need be done for a while? And was not his action a recognition, and in part an acceptance, of the communal award and the general scheme of things as sponsored by the Government? Was this consistent with nonco-operation and civil disobedience? After so much sacrifice and 1 A provisional decree determining the degree o representation to be held by various Indian groups in the provincial assemblies. It was opposed for many reasons by Indian nationalists, and by Gandhi particularly, because it established a separate electorate for the depressed classes and thus, in his view, widened the cleavage between these classes and other Hindus. Ed. 236
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brave endeavor, was our movement to tail off into something insig nificant? I felt angry with him at his religious and sentimental approach to a political question, and his frequent references to God in connection with it. He even seemed to suggest that God had indicated the very date of the fast. What a terrible example to set! If Bapu died! What would India be like then? And how would her politics run? There seemed to be a dreary and dismal future ahead, and despair seized my heart when I thought of it. So I thought and thought, while confusion reigned in my head, with anger and hopelessness, and love for him who was the cause of this upheaval. I hardly knew what to do, and I was irritable and short- tempered with everybody, most of all with myself. And then a strange thing happened to me. I had quite an emotional crisis, and at the end of it I felt calmer, and the future seemed not so dark. Bapu had a curious knack of doing the right thing at the psy chological moment, and it might be that his action impossible to justify as it was from my point of view would lead, to great results, not only in the narrow field in which it was confined, but in the wider aspects of our national struggle.
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