Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

We hastened back to our posts to give the finishing

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We hastened back to our posts to give the finishing touches to our local arrangements, in accordance with the new directions of the All-India Congress Committee, and, as Sarojini Naidu said, to pack up our toothbrushes for the journey to prison. On our way back, father and I went to see Gandhiji. He was at Jam- busar with his pilgrim band, and we spent a few hours with him there and then saw him stride away with his party to the next stage in the journey to the salt sea. That was my last glimpse of him then as I saw him, staff in hand, marching along at the head of his followers, with firm step and a peaceful but undaunted look. It was a moving sight. At Jambusar my father had decided, in consultation with Gandhiji, to make a gift of his old house in Allahabad to the nation and to re name this Swaraj Bhawan. On his return to Allahabad he made the announcement, and actually handed over charge to the Congress peo ple; part of the large house being converted into a hospital. He was unable to go through the legal formalities at the time, and, a year and a half later, I created a trust of the property, in accordance with his wishes. April came, and Gandhiji drew near to the sea, and we waited for the word to begin civil disobedience by an attack on the salt laws. For months past we had been drilling our volunteers, and Kamala and Krishna (my wife and sister) had both joined them and donned male attire for the purpose. The volunteers had, of course, no arms or even sticks. The object of training them was to make them more efficient in their work and capable of dealing with large crowds. The 6th of April was the first day of the National Week, which is celebrated an nually in memory of the happenings in 1919, from Satyagraha Day to Jallianwala Bagh. On that day Gandhiji began the breach of the salt 159
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laws at Dandi beach, and three or four days later permission was given to all Congress organizations to do likewise and begin civil disobedi ence in their own areas. It seemed as though a spring had been suddenly released; all over the country, in town and village, salt manufacture was the topic of the day, and many curious expedients were adopted to produce salt. We knew precious little about it, and so we read it up where we could and issued leaflets giving directions; we collected pots and pans and ulti mately succeeded in producing some unwholesome stuff, which we waved about in triumph and often auctioned for fancy prices. It was really immaterial whether the stuff was good or bad; the main thing was to commit a breach of the obnoxious salt law, and we were success ful in that, even though the quality of our salt was poor. As we saw the abounding enthusiasm of the people and the way salt-making was spreading like a prairie fire, we felt a little abashed and ashamed for having questioned the efficacy of this method when it was first pro posed by Gandhiji.
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