Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

The least that should have been done i thought was to

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The least that should have been done, I thought, was to lay stress on our political objective, to make it clear again and, if possible, to add to it social and economic objectives. Instead of this, the discussion seems to have been entirely confined to the relative merits of mass and individual civil disobedience, and the desirability or otherwise of secrecy. There was also some strange talk of "peace" with the Government. Gandhiji sent a telegram to the Vice roy, as far as I remember, asking for an interview, to which the Viceroy replied with a "No," and then Gandhiji sent a second telegram men tioning something about "honorable peace." Where was this elusive peace that was being sought, when the Government was triumphantly trying to crush the nation in every way, and people were starving to 247
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death in the Andamans? But I knew that, whatever happened, it was Gandhiji's way always to offer the olive branch. Repression was going on in full swing, and all the special laws sup pressing public activities were in force. In February 1933 even a me morial meeting on my father's death anniversary was prohibited by the police, although it was a non-Congress meeting, and such a good Mod erate as Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru was to have presided over it. And as a vision of future favors to come we had been presented with the White Paper. This was a remarkable document, a perusal of which left one gasp ing for breath. India was to be converted into a glorified Indian state, with a dominating influence of the states' feudal representatives in the federation. But in the states themselves no outside interference would be tolerated, and undiluted autocracy would continue to prevail there. The real imperial links, the chains of debt, would bind us forever to the City of London, and the currency and monetary policy would also be controlled, through a Reserve Bank, by the Bank of England. There would be an impregnable defense of all vested rights, and additional vested interests were going to be created. Our revenues were mort gaged up to the hilt for the benefit of these vested interests. The great imperial services, which we loved so much, would continue uncon trolled and untouched, to train us for further installments of self- government. There was going to be provincial autonomy, but the Gov ernor would be a benevolent and all-powerful dictator keeping us in order. And high above all would sit the All-Highest, the supreme Dic tator, the Viceroy, with complete powers to do what he would and check when he desired. Truly, the genius of the British ruling class for colonial government was never more in evidence, and well may the Hitlers and Mussolinis admire them and look with envy on the Viceroy of India. A constitution having been produced which tied up India hand and foot, a collection of "special responsibilities" and safeguards were added as additional fetters, making the unhappy country a prisoner incapable of movement.
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  • Fall '16
  • Alan Kolata

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