Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

It is after all a side issue and it can have no real

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It is, after all, a side issue, and it can have no real importance in the larger scheme of things. Those who think of it as the major issue think in terms of British imperialism continuing per manently in this country. Without that basis of thought, they would not attach so much importance to one of its inevitable offshoots. I have no such fear, and so my vision of a future India contains neither imperialism nor communalism. Yet the present difficulty remains and has to be faced. Especially our sympathy must go to the people of Bengal, who have suffered most from these communal decisions, as well as from the heavy hand of the Government. Whenever opportunity offers to improve their situation in a friendly way, we must seize it. But always the background of our action must be the national struggle for independence and the social freedom of the masses. I have referred previously to the growing divorce between our or ganization and the masses. Individually many of us still have influence with the masses and our word carries weight with them, and who can measure the love and reverence of India's millions for our leader, Gandhiji? And yet organizationally we have lost that intimate touch that we had. The social reform activities of the \hadi and village industries and Harijan organizations keep large numbers of our com rades in touch with the masses, and those contacts bear fruit. But they are essentially nonpolitical, and so, politically, we have largely lost touch. There are many reasons for this, and some are beyond our con trol. Our present Congress constitution is, I feel, not helpful in develop ing these contacts or in encouraging enough the democratic spirit in its primary committees. These committees are practically rolls of voters who meet only to elect delegates or representatives, and take no part in discussion or the formation of policy. It is interesting to read in that monumental and impressive record, the Webbs' new book on Russia, how the whole Soviet structure is based on a wide and living democratic foundation. Russia is not sup posed to be a democratic country after the Western pattern, and yet we find the essentials of democracy present in far greater degree among the masses there than anywhere else. The six hundred thou sand towns and villages there have a vast democratic organization, 408
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each with its own soviet, constantly discussing, debating, criticizing, helping in the formulation of policy, electing representatives to higher committees. This organization of citizens covers the entire population over 1 8 years of age. There is yet another vast organization of the people as producers, and a third, equally vast, as consumers. And thus scores of millions of men and women are constantly taking part in the discussion of public affairs and actually in the administration of the country.
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