Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

Those of us who continued to live in that barrack

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Those of us who continued to live in that barrack took full advantage of it later. Toward the end of July there was a great deal of talk about Dr. Tej Bahadur Sapru and Mr. M. R. Jayakar endeavoring to bring about peace between the Congress and the Government. We heard that there had been some correspondence between Lord Irwin and Messrs. Sapru and Jayakar, and that the "peacemakers" had visited Gandhiji. Later, we were told, a brief statement that father had agreed to in Bombay a few days before his arrest had encouraged them. Mr. Slo- combe (a correspondent of the London Daily Herald then in India) had drafted this statement after a conversation with my father, and father had approved it. It envisaged the possibility of suspending civil disobedience if the Government agreed to a number of conditions. I remember father mentioning it to me in Naini, after his arrest, and adding that he was rather sorry that he had given such a vague state ment in a hurry, as it was possible that it might be misunderstood. It was indeed misunderstood, as even the most exact and explicit state ments are likely to be, by people whose way of thinking is entirely different. Dr. Tej Bahadur Sapru and Mr. Jayakar suddenly descended on us in Naini Prison, on July 27, with a note from Gandhiji. We had long interviews with them, which were very exhausting for father as he 172
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was actually feverish then. We talked and argued in a circle, hardly understanding one another's language or thought, so great was the dif ference in political outlook. It was obvious to us that there was not the faintest chance of any peace. We refused to make any suggestions without first consulting our colleagues of the Working Committee, especially Gandhiji. And we wrote something to this effect to Gandhiji. Eleven days later, on August 8, Dr. Sapru came to see us again with the Viceroy's reply. The Viceroy had no objection to our going to Yeravda, the prison in Poona where Gandhiji was kept; but he and his Council could not allow us to meet members of the Working Com mittee who were outside and were still carrying on an active campaign against the Government. Two days later, on August 10, the three of us father, Mahmud, and I were sent by a special train from Naini to Poona. Our train did not stop at the big stations; we rushed past them, stopping at the small wayside ones. Still, news of us traveled ahead, and large crowds gathered both at the stations where we stopped and at those where we did not stop. We reached Kirkee, near Poona, late at night on the nth. Our conferences in the prison office with Messrs. Sapru and Jayakar lasted three days, the i3th, i4th, and i5th of August, and we exchanged letters giving expression to our views and indicating the minimum con ditions necessary to enable us to withdraw civil disobedience and offer co-operation to the Government. These letters were subsequently pub lished in the newspapers.
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