Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

My thoughts traveled more to other countries and i

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My thoughts traveled more to other countries, and I watched and studied, as far as I could in jail, the world situation in the grip of the great depression. I read as many books as I could find on the subject, and the more I read the more fascinated I grew. India with her problems and strug gles became just a part of this mighty world drama, of the great struggle of political and economic forces that was going on every- 228
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where, nationally and internationally. In that struggle my own sympa thies went increasingly toward the communist side. I had long been drawn to socialism and communism, and Russia had appealed to me. Much in Soviet Russia I dislike the ruthless suppression of all contrary opinion, the wholesale regimentation, the unnecessary violence (as I thought) in carrying out various policies. But there was no lack of violence and suppression in the capitalist world, and I realized more and more how the very basis and founda tion of our acquisitive society and property was violence, Without violence it could not continue for many days. A measure of political liberty meant little indeed when the fear of starvation was always com pelling the vast majority of people everywhere to submit to the will of the few, to the greater glory and advantage of the latter. Violence was common in both places, but the violence of the capi talist order seemed inherent in it; while the violence of Russia, bad though it was, aimed at a new order based on peace and co-operation and real freedom for the masses. With all her blunders, Soviet Russia had triumphed over enormous difficulties and taken great strides to ward this new order. While the rest of the world was in the grip of the depression and going backward in some ways, in the Soviet country a great new world was being built up before our eyes. Russia, follow ing the great Lenin, looked into the future and thought only of what was to be, while other countries lay numbed under the dead hand of the past and spent their energy in preserving the useless relics of a bygone age. In particular, I was impressed by the reports of the great progress made by the backward regions of Central Asia under the Soviet regime. In the balance, therefore, I was all in favor of Russia, and the presence and example of the Soviets was a bright and hearten ing phenomenon in a dark and dismal world. But Soviet Russia's success or failure, vastly important as it was as a practical experiment in establishing a communist state, did not affect the soundness of the theory of communism. The Bolsheviks may blun der or even fail because of national or international reasons, and yet the communist theory may be correct. On the basis of that very theory it was absurd to copy blindly what had taken place in Russia, for its application depended on the particular conditions prevailing in the country in question and the stage of its historical development.
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