Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

I was glad that the congress had adopted the idea of

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I was glad that the Congress had adopted the idea of a Constituent Assembly for setding the constitution of the country. It seemed to me that there was no other way of solving the problem, and I am sure that sometime or other some such assembly will have to meet. Mani festly it cannot do so without the consent of the British Government, unless there has been a successful revolution. It is equally manifest that this consent is not likely to be forthcoming under present circum stances. A real assembly can therefore not meet till enough strength has been evolved in the country to force the pace. This inevitably means that even the political problem will remain unsolved till then. It was interesting to watch the reactions of Simla and London to this idea. It was made known semiofficially that Government would have no objection; they gave it a patronizing approval, evidently looking upon it as an old type of All-Parties Conference, foredoomed to failure, which would strengthen their hands. Later they seem to have realized 342
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the dangers and possibilities of the idea, and they began opposing it vigorously. Soon after the Bombay Congress came the Assembly elections. With all my lack of enthusiasm for the Congress parliamentary program, I was greatly interested, and I wished the Congress candidates success, or to put it more correctly, I hoped for the defeat of their opponents. Among these opponents was a curious assortment of careerists, com- munalists, renegades, and people who had stanchly supported the Government in its policy of repression. The Congress met with re markable success, and I was pleased that a good number of undesirables had been kept out. The Assembly elections threw a revealing light on the people at the back of the two most reactionary communal bodies. Industrial advance and profits are their governing motives. Soon after the Assembly elections the Report of the Joint Parliamen tary Committee on Indian Constitutional Reform was issued. Among the varied and widespread criticisms to which it was subjected, stress was often laid on the fact that it showed "distrust" and "suspicion" of the Indian people. This seemed to me a very strange way of looking at our national and social problems. Were there no vital conflicts of interest between British imperial policy and our national interests? The question was which was to prevail. Did we want freedom merely to continue that imperial policy? Apparendy that was the British Government's notion, for we were informed that the "safe guards" would not be used so long as we behaved and demonstrated our fitness for self-rule by doing just what British policy required. If British policy was to be continued in India, why all this shouting about getting the reins in our own hands?
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