Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

I write of liberals but what i write applies to many

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I write of Liberals, but what I write applies to many of us also in the Congress. It applies even more to the Responsivists, 1 who have out distanced the Liberals in their moderation. There is a great deal of difference between the average Liberal and the average Congressman, and yet the dividing line is not clear and definite. Ideologically there is little to choose between the advanced Liberal and the moderate Con gressman. But, thanks to Gandhiji, every Congressman has kept some touch with the soil and the people of the country and has dabbled in action; because of this he has escaped some of the consequences of a vague and defective idealogy. Not so the Liberals : they have lost touch with both the old and the new. As a group they represent a vanishing species. Most of us, I suppose, have lost the old pagan feeling and not gained the new insight. Not for us to "have sight of Proteus rising from the sea"; or "hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn." And very few of us are fortunate enough: To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour. Not for most of us, unhappily, to sense the mysterious life of nature, to hear her whisper close to our ears, to thrill and quiver at her touch. Those days are gone. But, though we may not see the sublime in na ture as we used to, we have sought to find it in the glory and tragedy of humanity, in its mighty dreams and inner tempests, its pangs and failures, its conflicts and misery, and, over all this, its faith in a great destiny and a realization of those dreams. That has been some recom pense for us for all the heartbreaks that such a search involves, and often we have been raised above the pettiness of life. But many have not undertaken this search and, having cut themselves adrift from the ancient ways, find no road to follow in the present. They neither dream a A group which branched off from the Swaraj party some years before. Ed. 262
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nor do they act. They have no understanding of human convulsions like the great French Revolution or the Russian Revolution. The com plex, swift, and cruel eruptions of human desires, long suppressed, frighten them. For them the Bastille has not yet fallen. It is often said with righteous indignation that "patriotism is not a monopoly of Congressmen." The same phrase is repeated again and again with a lack of originality which is somewhat distressing. I hope no Congressman has ever claimed a corner on this emotion. Certainly I do not think it is a Congress monopoly, and I would be glad to make a present of it to anyone who desired it. It is often enough the refuge of the opportunist and the careerist, and there are so many varieties of it to suit all tastes, all interests, all classes.
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