Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

And i hoped that the course of events and the

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And I hoped that the course of events and the participation in direct action would inevitably drive the Congress to a more radical ideology and to face social and economic issues. The development of the Congress during recent years had been in the direction of the peasant and the village. If this development continued, it might in course of time become a vast peasant organization, or, at any rate, an organization in which the peas ant element predominated. Many Congressmen took prominent part in labor activities. The ad vanced sections of labor, however, fought shy of the National Congress. They mistrusted its leaders, and considered its ideology bourgeois and reactionary, which indeed it was, from the labor point of view. The Congress was, as its very name implied, a nationalist organization. I played a very undistinguished role at the Nagpur Trade-Union Congress. Being a newcomer in the labor field and still feeling my way, I was a little hesitant. Generally, I expressed my views in favor of the more advanced groups, but I avoided acting with any group and played the part more of an impartial speaker than a directing president. I was thus an almost passive spectator of the breaking-up of the Trade-Union Congress and the formation of a new moderate organization. Person ally, I felt that the Right groups were not justified in breaking away, and yet some of the leaders of the Left had forced the pace and given them every pretext to depart. Between the quarrels of the Right and 148
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Left, a large Center group felt a little helpless. Perhaps given a right lead, it could have curbed the two and avoided the break-up of the Trade Union Congress, and, even if the break came, it would not have had the unfortunate consequences which resulted. I was out of all this from 1930 onward, as I was mostly in prison. XXIV INDEPENDENCE AND AFTER THE LAHORE CONGRESS remains fresh in my memory a vivid patch. That is natural, for I played a leading role there and, for a moment, occupied the center of the stage; and I like to think sometimes of the emotions that filled me during those crowded days. I can never forget the magnificent welcome that the people of Lahore gave me, tremen dous in its volume and its intensity. I knew well that this overflowing enthusiasm was for a symbol and an idea, not for me personally; yet it was no little thing for a person to become that symbol, even for a while, in the eyes and hearts of great numbers of people, and I felt exhilarated and lifted out of myself. But my personal reactions were of little account, and there were big issues at stake. The whole atmosphere was electric and surcharged with the gravity of the occasion. Our deci sions were not going to be mere criticisms or protests or expressions of opinion, but a call to action which was bound to convulse the country and affect the lives of millions.
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