Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

Sir harcourt sent my father nothing at all in prison

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Sir Harcourt sent my father nothing at all in prison; nobody sent him champagne or any other alcoholic drink; and indeed he had given up alcohol in 1920 after the Congress took to nonco- operation, and was not taking any such drinks at that time. 8 7
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I went out early in March, and six or seven weeks later, in April, I returned. I found that the conditions had greatly changed. Father had been transferred to the Naini Tal Jail, and, soon after his departure, new rules were enforced. All the prisoners in the big weaving shed, where I had been kept previously, were transferred to the inner jail and kept in the barracks (single halls) there. Each barrack was prac tically a jail within a jail, and no communications were allowed be tween different barracks. Interviews and letters were now restricted to one a month. The food was much simpler, though we were allowed to supplement it from outside. In the barracks in which I was kept there must have been about fifty persons. We were all crowded together, our beds being about three or four feet from each other. Fortunately almost everybody in that bar rack was known to me, and there were many friends. But the utter want of privacy, all day and night, became more and more difficult to endure. Always the same crowd looking on, the same petty annoyances and irritations, and no escape from them to a quiet nook. We bathed in public and washed our clothes in public, and ran round and round the barrack for exercise, and talked and argued till we had largely exhausted one another's capacity for intelligent conversation. It was the dull side of family life, magnified a hundredfold, with few of its graces and compensations, and all this among people of all kinds and tastes. It was a great nervous strain for all of us, and often I yearned for soli tude. In later years I was to have enough of this solitude and privacy in prison, when for months I would see no one except an occasional jail official. Again I lived in a state of nervous tension, but this time I longed for suitable company. I thought then sometimes, almost with envy, of my crowded existence in the Lucknow District Jail in 1922, and yet I knew well enough that of the two I preferred the solitude, provided at least that I could read and write. And yet I must say that the company was unusually decent and pleasant, and we got on well together. But all of us, I suppose, got a little bored with the others occasionally and wanted to be away from them and have a little privacy. The nearest approach to privacy that I could get was by leaving my barrack and sitting in the open part of the enclosure. It was the monsoon season, and it was usually possible to do so because of the clouds. I braved the heat and an occasional drizzle even, and spent as much time as possible outside the barrack.
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