Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

At the beginning of march 1926 we sailed my wife our

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At the beginning of March 1926 we sailed, my wife, our daughter, and I, from Bombay for Venice. With us on the same boat went also my sister and brother-in-law, Ranjit S. Pandit. They had planned their European trip long before the question of our going had arisen. XXI IN EUROPE I WAS GOING back to Europe after more than thirteen years years of war, and revolution, and tremendous change. The old world I knew had expired in the blood and horror of the war, and a new world awaited me. I expected to remain in Europe for six or seven months or, at most, till the end of the year. Actually our stay lengthened out to a year and nine months. It was a quiet and restful period for both my mind and body. We spent it chiefly in Switzerland, in Geneva, and in a mountain sana torium at Montana. My younger sister, Krishna, came from India and joined us early in the summer of 1926, and remained with us till the end of our stay in Europe. I could not leave my wife for long, and so I could only pay brief visits to other places. Later, when my wife was better, we traveled a little in France, England, and Germany. On our mountaintop, surrounded by the winter snow, I felt completely cut off from India as well as the European world. India, and Indian happen ings, seemed especially far away. I was a distant onlooker, reading, watching, following events, gazing at the new Europe, its politics, eco nomics, and the far freer human relationships, and trying to under stand them. When we were in Geneva I was naturally interested in the activities of the League of Nations and the International Labor Office. 121
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But with the coming of winter., the winter sports absorbed my atten tion; for some months they were my chief occupation and interest. I had done ice skating previously, but skiing was a new experience, and I succumbed to its fascination. It was a painful experience for a long time, but I persisted bravely, in spite of innumerable falls, and I came to enjoy it. Life was very uneventful on the whole. The days went by and my wife gradually gained strength and health. We saw few Indians; in deed, we saw few people apart from the little colony living in that mountain resort. But in the course of the year and three-quarters that we spent in Europe, we came across some Indian exiles and old revolu tionaries whose names had been familiar to me. I must say that I was not greatly impressed by most of the Indian political exiles that I met abroad, although I admired their sacrifice, and sympathized with their sufferings and present difficulties, which are very real. I did not meet many of them; there are so many spread out all over the world. Only a few are known to us even by reputa tion, and the others have dropped out of the Indian world and been forgotten by their countrymen whom they sought to serve.
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