Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

Like rip van winkle they sleep even though wak ing on

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Like Rip Van Winkle, they sleep, even though wak ing, on Simla hill. The developments in the war situation posed new questions before
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the Congress Working Committee. Gandhiji wanted the Committee to extend tie principle of nonviolence, to which we had adhered in our struggle for freedom, to the functioning of a free state. A free India must rely on this principle to guard itself against external aggression or internal disorder. This question did not rise for us at the time, but it occupied his own mind, and he felt that the time had come for a clear enunciation. Every one of us was convinced that we must adhere to our policy of nonviolence, as we had so far done, in our own struggle. The war in Europe had strengthened this conviction. But to commit the future state was another and a more difficult matter, and it was not easy to see how anyone moving on the plane of politics could do it. Mr. Gandhi felt, and probably rightly, that he could not give up or tone down a message which he had for the world. He must have free dom to give it as he liked and must not be kept back by political exigencies. So, for the first time, he went one way and the Congress Working Committee another. There was no break with him, for the bond was too strong, and he will no doubt continue to advise in many ways and often to lead. Yet it is perhaps true that by his partial with drawal, a definite period in the history of our national movement has come to an end. In recent years I have found a certain hardness creep ing into him, a lessening of the adaptability that he possessed. Yet the old spell is there, the old charm works, and his personality and great ness tower over others. Let no one imagine that his influence over India's millions is any the less. He has been the architect of India's destiny for twenty years and more, and his work is not completed. During the last few weeks, the Congress, at the instance of C. Rajagopalachari, made yet another offer to Britain. Rajagopalachari is said to belong to the Right in the Congress. His brilliant intellect, self less character, and penetrating powers of analysis have been a tremen dous asset to our cause. He was the Prime Minister of Madras during the functioning of the Congress Government there. Eager to avoid con flict, he put forward a proposal which was hesitatingly accepted by some of his colleagues. This proposal was the acknowledgment of India's independence by Britain and the immediate formation at the cen ter of a Provisional National Government, which would be responsible to the present Central Assembly. If this were done, this Government would take charge of defense and thus help in the war effort. This Congress proposal was eminently feasible and could be given effect to immediately without upsetting anything.
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  • Fall '16
  • Alan Kolata

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