Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

Essentially their oudook is based on the maintenance

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Essentially their oudook is based on the maintenance of the status quo, and the changes they desire can almost be termed personal changes. And they seek to achieve these changes by a slow infiltration with the good will of the British. The whole foundation of their politics and economics rests on the continuance and stability of the British Empire, Looking on this Empire as unshakable, at least for a considerable time, they adapt themselves to it and accept not only its political and eco nomic ideology but also, to a large extent, its moral standards, which have all been framed to secure the continuance of British dominance. The Congress attitude differs fundamentally from this because it seeks a new State and not just a different administration. What that new State is going to be may not be quite clear to the average Con gressman, and opinions may differ about it. But it is common ground in the Congress (except perhaps for a moderate fringe) that present conditions and methods cannot and must not continue, and basic changes are essential. Herein lies the difference between Dominion status and independence. The former envisages the same old structure, with many bonds visible and invisible tying us to the British economic system; the latter gives us, or ought to give us, freedom to erect a new structure to suit our circumstances. It is not a question of an implacable and irreconcilable antagonism 265
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to England and the English people, or the desire to break from them at all costs. It would be natural enough if there were bad blood between India and England after what has happened. "The clumsiness of power spoils the key and uses the pickax," says Tagore; the key to our hearts was destroyed long ago, and the abundant use of the pickax on us has not made us partial to the British. But, if we claim to serve the larger cause of India and humanity, we cannot afford to be carried away by our momentary passions. And, even if we were so inclined, the hard training which Gandhiji has given us for the last fifteen years would prevent us. I write this sitting in a British prison, and for months past my mind has been full of anxiety, and I have perhaps suffered more during this solitary imprisonment than I have done in jail before. Anger and resentment have often filled my mind at vari ous happenings, and yet, as I sit here and look deep into my mind and heart, I do not find any anger against England or the English peo ple. I dislike British imperialism, and I resent its imposition on India; I dislike the capitalist system; I dislike exceedingly and resent the way India is exploited by the ruling classes of Britain. But I do not hold England or the English people as a whole responsible for this; and, even if I did, I do not think it would make much difference, for it is a little foolish to lose one's temper at or to condemn a whole people.
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  • Fall '16
  • Alan Kolata

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