Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

There is nothing inherently wrong in our acting

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There is nothing inherently wrong in our acting together with others on specific issues of civil liberty or economic or other demands, pro vided we do not compromise on any principle. But I can imagine few things more dangerous and more likely to injure us than the 403
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acceptance of office on the sufferance of others. That would be an intolerable position. It is said that our chances at the elections would increase if we announced that we were prepared to accept offices and ministries. Per haps that might be so, for all manner of other people, eager for the spoils and patronage that office gives, would then hurry to join us. Does any Congressman imagine that this would be a desirable develop ment or that we would gain strength thereby? Again, it is said more voters would vote for us if they knew that we were going to form ministries. That might happen if we deluded them with false promises of what we might do for them within the Act, but a quick nemesis would follow our failure to give effect to those promises, and failure would be inevitable if the promises were worth while. There is only one straight course open to us: to go to the people with our program and make it clear to them that we cannot give effect to the major items in it under present conditions, and therefore, while we use the platform of the legislatures to press that program, we seek to end these imperialist bodies by creating deadlocks in them whenever we are in a position to do so. Those deadlocks should preferably take place on those programs so that the masses might learn how ineffective for their purposes are these legislatures. One fact is sometimes forgotten the provision for second chambers in many of the provinces. These chambers will be reactionary and will be exploited by the Governor to check any forward tendencies in the lower house. They will make the position of a minister who seeks advance even more difficult and unenviable. Some people have suggested, though their voices are hushed now, that provincial autonomy might be given on this office issue and each Provincial Congress Committee should be empowered to decide it for its own province. An astonishing and fatal suggestion playing into the hands of our imperialist rulers. We who have labored for Indian unity can never be parties to any proposal which tends to lessen that unity. That way lies disaster and a disruption of the forces working for free dom. If we agree to this, why then should we also not agree to the communal issue being decided provincially, or many other issues where individual provinces might think differently? First issues will sink into the background, independence itself will fade away, and the narrowest provincialism raise its ugly head.
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  • Fall '16
  • Alan Kolata

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