Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

They would tell us that they got much more news about

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They would tell us that they got much more news about the Gandhiji-Irwin conversations from the New
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Delhi Secretariat than from us, which was a fact. Then there were many people of high degree who hurried to pay their respects to Gan dhiji, for was not the Mahatma's star in the ascendant? It was very amusing to see these people, who had kept far away from Gandhiji and the Congress and often condemned them, now hastening to make amends. The Congress seemed to have made good, and no one knew what the future might hold. Anyway, it was safer to keep on good terms with the Congress and its leaders. A year later yet another change was witnessed in them, and they were shouting again their deep abhor rence of the Congress and all its works and their utter dissociation from it. Even the communalists were stirred by events, and sensed with some apprehension that they might not occupy a very prominent place in the coming order. And so, many of them came to the Mahatma and assured him that they were perfectly willing to come to terms on the communal issue, and, if only he would take the initiative, there would be no dif ficulty about a settlement. The very prosperous gentlemen who came to visit Gandhiji showed us another side of human nature, and a very adaptable side, for wher ever they sensed power and success, they turned to it and welcomed it with the sunshine of their smiles. Many of them were stanch pillars of the British Government in India. It was comforting to know that they would become equally stanch pillars of any other government that might flourish in India. Often in those days I used to accompany Gandhiji in his early morn ing walks in New Delhi. That was usually the only time one had a chance of talking to him, for the rest of the day was cut up into little bits, each minute allotted to somebody or something. Even the early morning walk was sometimes given over to an interviewer, usually from abroad, or to a friend, come for a personal consultation. We talked of many matters, of the past, of the present, and especially of the future. I remember how he surprised me with one of his ideas about the future of the Congress. I had imagined that the Congress, as such, would automatically cease to exist with the coming of freedom. He thought that the Congress should continue, but on one condition: that it passed a self-denying ordinance, laying it down that none of its members could accept a pay job under the State, and, if anyone wanted such a post of authority in the State, he would have to leave the Con gress. I do not at present remember how he worked this out, but the whole idea underlying it was that the Congress, by its detachment and 188
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having no ax to grind, could exercise tremendous moral pressure on the Executive as well as other departments of the Government, and thus keep them on the right track.
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