Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

Hin duism clings on to its children almost despite

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Hin duism clings on to its children, almost despite them. A Brahman I was born, and a Brahman I seem to remain whatever I might say or do in regard to religion or social custom. To the Indian world I am "Pandit" so and so, in spite of my desire not to have this or any other honorific title attached to my name. I remember meeting a Turkish scholar once in Switzerland, to whom I had sent previously a letter of introduction in which I had been referred to as "Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru." He was surprised and a little disappointed to see me, for, as he told me, the "Pandit" had led him to expect a reverend and scholarly gentleman of advanced years. I met Mohamad Ali for the last time on the occasion of the Lahore 105
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Congress in December 1929. He was not pleased with some parts of my presidential address, and he criticized it vigorously. He saw that the Congress was going ahead, and becoming politically more ag gressive. He was aggressive enough himself, and, being so, he disliked taking a back seat and allowing others to be in the front. He gave me solemn warning: "I warn you, Jawahar, that your present colleagues will desert you. They will leave you in the lurch in a crisis. Your own Congressmen will send you to the gallows." A dismal prophecy! Soon after my return from Coconada, in January 1924, 1 had a new kind of experience in Allahabad. I write from memory, and I am likely to get mixed up about dates. But I think that was the year of the Kumbh, or the Ardh-Kumbh, the great bathing mela held on the banks of the Ganges at Allahabad. Vast numbers of pilgrims usually turn up, and most of them bathe at the confluence of the Ganges and the Jumna the Triveni, it is called, as the mythical Saraswati is also supposed to join the other two. The Ganges river bed is about a mile wide, but in winter the river shrinks and leaves a wide expanse of sand exposed, which is very useful for the camps of the pilgrims. Within this river bed, the Ganges frequently changes its course. In 1924 the current of the Ganges was such that it was undoubtedly dangerous for crowds to bathe at the Triveni. With certain precautions, and the con trol of the numbers bathing at a time, the danger could be greatly lessened. I was not at all interested in this question, as I did not propose to acquire merit by bathing in the river on the auspicious days. But I noticed in the press that a controversy was going on between Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya and the Provincial Government, the latter (or the local authorities) having issued orders prohibiting all bathing at the junction of the rivers. This was objected to by Malaviyaji, as, from the religious point of view, the whole point was to bathe at that con fluence. The Government was perfectly justified in taking precautions to prevent accidents and possible serious loss of life, but, as usual, it set about its work in the most wooden and irritating way possible.
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