Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

Everywhere there was evidence of this among the

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Everywhere there was evidence of this: among the industrial workers, the peasantry, middle-class youth, and the intelligentsia generally. The trade-union movement had grown greatly, and the All-India Trade-Union Congress, established seven or eight years previously, was already a strong and representative body. The peasantry was also astir. This was noticeable in the United Provinces and especially in Oudh, where large gatherings of protesting tenants became common. Another very noticeable feature of the India of 1928 was the growth of the youth movement. Everywhere youth leagues were being established, youth conferences were being held. Wherever the Commission went it was greeted by hostile crowds and the cry of "Simon, go back," and thus vast numbers of the Indian masses became acquainted not only with Sir John Simon's name but with two words of the English language, the only two they knew. These words must have become a hated obsession for the members of the Commission. The story is related that once, when they were stay ing at the Western Hostel in New Delhi, the refrain seemed to come to them in the night out of the darkness. They were greatly irritated at being pursued in this way, even at night. As a matter of fact, the noise that disturbed them came from the jackals that infest the waste places of the imperial capital. The All-Parties Conference met at Lucknow to consider the report of their committee. Again some of us were in a dilemma, for we did not wish to come in the way of a communal settlement, if that was possible, and yet we were not prepared to yield on the question of inde pendence. We begged that the conference leave this question open so that each constituent part could have liberty of action on this issue the Congress adhering to independence and the more moderate groups to Dominion status. But my father had set his heart on the report, and he would not yield, nor perhaps could he under the circumstances. I
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was thereupon asked by our independence group in the Conference and this was a large one to make a statement to the Conference on its behalf, dissociating ourselves completely from everything that lowered the objective of independence. But we made it further clear that we would not be obstructive as we did not wish to come in the way of the communal statement. This was not a very effective line to adopt on such a major issue; at best it was a negative gesture. A positive side was given to our attitude by our founding that very day the Independence for India League. The Simon Commission was moving about, pursued by black flags and hostile crowds shouting, "Go back." Occasionally there were minor conflicts between the police and the crowds. Lahore brought matters to a head and suddenly sent a thrill of indignation throughout the country.
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  • Fall '16
  • Alan Kolata

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