Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

These allied organizations work in the economic field

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These allied organizations work in the economic field, but they do not seek directly to remove the burdens of the peas antry under the present system of land tenure. Nor can the Congress, situated as it is, wholly function as a peasant organization, although in many provinces it has espoused the cause of the peasantry and brought them much relief. It seems to me necessary that the Congress should encourage the formation of peasant unions as well as workers' unions, and co-operate with such as already exist, so that the day-to-day struggle of the masses might be continued on the basis of their eco nomic demands and other grievances. This identification of the Con gress with the economic struggle of the masses will bring us nearer to them and nearer to freedom than anything else. I would welcome also the organization of other special interests, like those of the women, in the general framework of our national struggle for freedom. The Con gress would be in a position to co-ordinate all these vital activities and thus to base itself on the widest possible mass foundation. There has been some talk of a militant program and militant action. I do not know what exactly is meant, but, if direct action on a national scale or civil disobedience are meant, then I would say that I see no near prospect of them. Let us not indulge in tall talk before we are ready for big action. Our business today is to put our house in order, to sweep away the defeatist mentality of some people, and to build up our organization with its mass affiliations, as well as to work among the masses. The time may come, and that sooner perhaps than we ex pect, when we might be put to the test. Let us get ready for that test. Civil disobedience and the like cannot be switched on and off when we feel like doing so. It depends on many things, some of which are beyond our control, but in these days of revolutionary change and con- 410
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stantly recurring crises in the world, events often move faster than we do. We shall not lack for opportunities. The major problem of India today is that of the land of rural poverty and unemployment and a thoroughly out-of-date land system. A curious combination of circumstances has held back India during the past few generations, and the political and economic garments it wears no longer fit it and are torn and tattered. In some ways our agrarian conditions are not unlike those of France a hundred and fifty years ago, prior to the great revolution. They cannot continue so for long. At the same time we have become parts of international capi talism, and we suffer the pains and crises which afflict this decaying system. As a result of these elemental urges and conflicts of world forces, what will emerge in India none can say.
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