Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

Quite a lot happened on that fateful day january 4

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Quite a lot happened on that fateful day, January 4, all over the country. Not far from where we were, in Allahabad city, huge crowds came in conflict with the police and military, and there were the usual lathee charges involving deaths and other casualties. The jails began to fill with civil disobedience prisoners. To begin with, these prisoners went to the district jails, and Naini and the other great central prisons received only the overflows. Later, all the jails filled up, and huge temporary camp jails were established. The Congress had been declared illegal the Working Committee at the top, the provincial committees, and innumerable local commit tees. Together with the Congress all manner of allied or sympathetic or advanced organizations had been declared unlawful \isan sabhas and peasant unions, youth leagues, students' associations, advanced political organizations, national universities and schools, hospitals, 1 Sir Samuel Hoare, Secretary of State for India, stated in the House of Commons on March 24, 1932: "I admit that the ordinances that we have approved are very drastic and severe. They cover almost every activity of Indian life." 216
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Swadeshi concerns, libraries. The lists were indeed formidable, and contained many hundreds of names for each major province. The all- India total must have run into several thousands, and this very num ber of outlawed organizations was in itself a tribute to the Congress and the national movement. My wife lay in Bombay, ill in bed, fretting at her inability to take part in civil disobedience. My mother and both my sisters threw themselves into the movement with vigor, and soon both the sisters were in jail with a sentence of a year each. Odd bits of news used to reach us through newcomers to prison or through the local weekly paper that we were permitted to read. We could only guess much that was happening, for the press censorship was strict, and the pros pect of heavy penalties always faced newspapers and news agencies. In some provinces it was an offense even to mention the name of a person arrested or sentenced. So we sat in Naini Prison cut off from the strife outside, and yet wrapped up in it in a hundred ways; busying ourselves with spin ning or reading or other activities, talking sometimes of other mat ters, but thinking always of what was happening beyond the prison walls. We were out of it, and yet in it. Sometimes the strain of expec tation was very great; or there was anger at something wrongly done; disgust at weakness or vulgarity. At other times we were strangely detached, and could view the scene calmly and dispassion ately and feel that petty individual errors or weaknesses mattered little when vast forces were at play and the mills of the gods were grinding.
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