Bardoli Satyagraha was a protest against the Government’s decision to impose new taxes without consulting public opinion. Sardar Patel was not very eager to lead tile people until he found that they were adamant and prepared to meet the storm. During this campaign he delivered inner able speeches appreciating,encouraging criticizing and guiding the activities of tin people who had chosen himas their ”leader. No wonder that with a realist and a man of action like him atthe helm of affairs success met their efforts. Bardoli will always remain a landmarkin the history of India’s fight for freedom.
THINK BEFORE YOU LEAP
I still ask you to think twice before you take the plunge. Do notderive comfort from the feeling that you have as your leader a fighterlike myself. Forget me and forget my companions, fight if you feel that you must resist oppression and injustice. Do not take the plungelightly. If you fail miserably, you will fail not to rise again for severalyears; but if you succeed you will have done much to lay the foundation’of Swaraj. Now I am going to ask you to take charge of the resolution,you will move it and you will second and support it. None of us will speak on it. It will be the expression of your own free will and choice.
You must bear clearly in mind that except your capacity forsuffering and grim determination, you have nothing to fight Government’sbrute strength with. The mightiest tyrant must bend if people are determined to put up with suffering.
The question today is not of a few lakhs of rupees, but it is aquestion of self-respect. It is a fundamental principle of Governmentthat there can be no taxation without representation. They should donothing without having had your views on the matter.
For this, you will have to be self-possessed, resourceful and patient. The government will try your strength in various ways offer various inducements, use insidious means to bring about a division in your ranks.But you will have to adhere to your principle, of refusal to pay, at all costs and hardships.
I have suggested a clause in the resolution to the effect that thefight will go on until the Government appoints an impartial tribunal, or revoke the orders of enhancement as arbitrary, unjust and oppressive. ‘If we can make the Government accept this vital principle of an independenttribunal, it is more than any material gain temporary or permanent.
I have nothing” more to say. Do what you do with eyes open, ‘withGod as a witness and fully counting the cost. It is possible that the Government might pick up the leading men amongst you first to set an example. The government might first confiscate the lands of those whomove the resolution to-day. If you are sure that these things will leave you unshaken, take up and fight the good fight.
FIGHT AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT
For the brunt will have to be borne by them (Women); they will have to see their dear cattle seized before their very eyes, they will haveto put up with the repeated attachment parties, and unless they are accustomed to taking these things as a matter of course, they might easilybetray you. I, therefore, want as many women to attend these meetings as possible.
You must change your ways now you will have to create an entirelydifferent atmosphere. Have done with your wedding festivities as soonas possible. A people at war with a’ mighty Government cannot afford . to indulge in these pastimes. From tomorrow, you might have to keepyour doors closed and locked and betake to the fields only to returnhome in the evening. The government will try to raise people from amongstyou to help in the work of attachment, you will see to it that they get none. Throw off your lethargy and apathy. You have to vindicate Gandhiji’s choice of your- taluka as the scene of his first experiment in mass civic disobedience. You are about to fight freedom’s battle Cor[ndia, you have now to fight the battle, a smaller battle, and prove thatyou are capable of fighting the bigger one. I am coming to your villagestraight from the conference because I want to reach as many of you as early as possible. 1 beseech you to forget your personal differencesand petty quarrels. I want you to put an end to your factions anddisputes, and to make friends or even your bitterest enemies. Only that way can you present a united front
I know that some of you are afraid of your lands being confiscated.What is confiscation? Will they take the lands away to England? Theworst that can happen is that the hinds might be transferred to Government in their books, but if you are united you can defy anyone to come forward to cultivate those Lands. And rest assured that when you are ready to allow all your lands to be confiscated, the whole ofGujarat will appreciate your spirit of self-sacrifice
Organize your village and you will set an example to others. Thecampaign has. begun. Every village must now be an armed camp. The news from every village must reach the taluka headquarters daily andpunctually, and every instruction from the headquarters must promptly be obeyed, discipline and organization mean half the battle. The government have at the most one Patel and one Talati to every village.For us, every adult in the village must be a volunteer.
I see that these 15 days have taught you to cast off fear from yourhearts. You are, however, not completely free from it. Some traces of fear are still visible. Shake it off. Why need you fear? If anything, The Government has cause to fear. No civilized Government can governwithout the consent of the governed. At the present moment, theygovern because your eyes are blind-folded, you are deluded into thebelief that they are keeping you in peace and prosperity. It is not areign of peace but a reign of fear. You have lost the capacity ofrighteous indignation against wrong. The absence of it is cowardice. I go about in your villages at the dead of the night sometimes without evenonce being asked, “Halt”! Who goes there?” In these villages, not a dog barks and not a buffalo flourishes its horns at a stranger. It is your acquiescence that has been your undoing. I want to inoculate youwith fearlessness. I want to galvanize you into life. I miss in youreyes the flash of indignation against wrong.
It is not for you to give vent to wrath. Your pledge restricts youto non-violence and non-violence excludes anger. The defection of theseunfortunate brethren should serve to stiffen your resolve and to warn’ you for the future. You must not be angry with these two friends whofell prey to the official machinations. They deserve your pity ratherthan anger.
You fear that you will be called upon to assist in a Japti. Shakeoff that fear. You are men, you are not dublas Spurn that appellationof degradation. Dubla means weak and cowardly. Weak and cowardlyare they who would exact labor from you. You are strong enough to labor in the fields, strong enough to carry burdens for yourselves andfor others; how can you be called weak? I am told that a Patel froma neighboring village was threatened by the Mahalkari that he will have to carry the attached property if he failed to find men to do so. ThePatel should not have swallowed the insult. He should have said: “Itis none of my business. The men in charge refuse to do the dirty work.And so do I. You enjoy a high salary, sir. Rather than ask us toI do the dirty job, why not do it yourself.
Sisters, I do not like those signs of slavery on your hands andfeet. Your heavy brass ornaments accumulate a lot of dirt, produce all sorts of skin diseases and interfere with your free movement. You mustshed them. Look at those clean clad happy girls of your Jun communitysilting opposite, singing satyagraha songs. Would you not love to looklike them? They bathe every day and wash their clothes. They .spinand have their own clothes. I am glad you understand the difference.Now that you have joined this movement you must be proper soldiers. These foreign clothes will become soldiers. You have strong hands andfeet like those Khadi-clad girls. Why should you, not have wheels fromthe Ashram and start spinning? Within a few days, you can have enoughfor your clothes. And you may not touch the drink. Up to now, you have remained aloof, not heeding our advice. But now that you have joinedthe movement, you ought to have the necessary fitness by abstainingfrom drink.
PEASANTS AND PARASITES
If anyone is fit to walk with his head erect on this earth, it is the peasant. He is the producer, the others are parasites. But what a sorry plight he has been reduced to! The whole world depends on youtwo, the agriculturist and the laborer, and yet you are the worst abusedpeople on earth. I am grieved at the woeful state of helplessness to which you have been reduced. You s.hudder at the sight of a worthlessGovernment peon, who can compel you to do his bidding. TheGovernment taxes you according to its sweet will, and you have novoice in it. There are a soil tax and a water tax, a special irrigation tax, and a special subsoil water tax; even the improvements you make atyour cost and by your labor are taxed. You toil in the fields even as« your own bullocks do from morning till evening, in biting cold, in scorching heat and drenching rain. You grapple with scorpions andwade through mud and raise a crop of rice to feed yourselves and yourchildren. But even that rice must be taxed. Why are you so fear-stricken? Why are you so inarticulate? I feel deeply ashamed andhumiliated at your plight. I shall feel blessed and all my laborsfulfilled when I see you come into your own and walk erect like men.
Where is another so honest as a peasant, so free from badhabits and vices, so guileless, so God-fearing, living on the sweat ofhis brow? Why should such a man fear any mortal man? A seemingcontradiction, is it not? A man who is so pure and guileless cannot butbe fearless.
PRINCIPLES OF SATYAGRAHA
It is a struggle based essentially on truth and non-violence; we must not do anything in resentment or anger. It is a sign of weakness. Our strength lies in cheerfully going through all sufferings that may be imposed on us. I can understand you’re refusing to assist the officers in Japti’s work. In fact, it is your duty to do so, but do not refuse themthe. ordinary amenities of life. They must get whatever they want at market rates.
Go on strengthening your caste organization. No one can haveanything to say against it. This handful of men, who come over herefrom a land 6,000 miles away, rule over us because they have a casteorganization of their own. Their close corporation? Their corporationalways relying on the brute force has as its object the exploitation of theweak; ours has the only object of self-protection.
The government wants disturbance, wants to provoke us into violence.Drums and conches have nothing to do with the question of revenue. Let us not quarrel with their notifications, they do not harm us, theycannot affect the issue. Refuse to be embarrassed, if they try to provokeyou. Refuse to submit if they try to crush you. The Government haslost its balance. “The Iron can afford to fling thousands of sparks, not„so the hammer. If the hammer got hot it would burn up its ownhandle.” A Government may wax as red-hot as it likes. The people(the hammer) cannot afford to do so, and if they retain their equanimity,they are bound to cool the Government and beat it into submission andshape.
The Government is trying it’s level best to spread as much poisonin the taluka as possible through our own men. These men are ours, but beware of them like thieves in the night, they are trying to createbreaches in our ranks. They are always on the lookout for our’weaknesses, they flourish on them. Don’t go within miles of them. . . . And even if a handful from amongst you fall victim to their wiles, don’tbe alarmed, don’t flinch from your resolve. Even a victorious army hasits casualty list and has its deserters. If blacklegs are discovered,understand that it is so much dirt and stain washed away. Challengethe Government to take up your land and carry it, if they can, to England. Challenge them to surround the taluka with machine gunsand airplanes. We have no armed force, but we have better and a purer force to pit against it — the force of truth, the force of ourallegiance to our pledge.
Let them capture your buffaloes and other property. They cannotcapture your souls. The infatuation for possessions is no good. Howmuch land does a man require? The Musalman not more than twocubits and a half and Hindus that much only for a couple of hours. God, is always with the right. ( At a certain static in the speech the bellowingof the buffaloes impounded in the thana closely was heard, and that give the Sardar an opportunity for his sardonic humor.)”Reporters,please note it down, — the buffaloes are speaking. The Government’thought that drums would subvert Government established by law.These buffaloes, I tell you, are as bad as the drums.(Still louderbehaving) They are bellowing themselves hoarse to tell you if you donot know yet that right and justice have vanished from the Empire.
if there are any amongst you who feel any misgivings or areafraid of the lire of repression, they had better go on a pilgrimage or betake themselves to some hill station or breezy seaside place whilethere is yet time. For let, there be no mistake in the matter. Asagriculturists you know, that the dark rain-laden clouds, so welcometo your site, come only after you have passed through the parchingheat of the summer months of Chaitra and Vaishakha. and descend only/’after we have had terrific storms and lightning and peals of thunderwhich send the skies. Similarly, Government is not going to do youjustice until it has pu1 you through the fire. , It will try to cajole you,if you are willing to be cajoled. But if you resist its ‘advances, it hasit’s iron list ready with which to descend upon you. Similarly, you haveto realize on your part that it is not merely yourselves that you representbut you hold in your hands the honor of the whole of India.
What is this fear of this ‘will-o’-the-wisp’? ‘What is this Government? Has anyone seen it? I have never seen it. Does Governmentmean the Mamlatdar or the Talati, or the Patel, or is.just a combinationof these all? There is no individual called the sarkar. Why then should? we magnify individuals and make sarkars of them? Here is his definitionof an ‘amaldar’ (official): ‘He who stands by the side of the ryot in the hour of his need is an amaldar, all the rest are hawaldars (pettypeons).’
Presidential Address in Indian National Congress
“Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was the President of the ’16th Indian NationalCongress held in Karachi in 1931. At the outset, he condoled tin deaths of PanditMotilal Nehru, Maulana Mohammed All and “those nameless heroes who, unknown to fame. high and in caring for it. lard down their lives in the non-violent struggleduring the point months”
You have called a simple farmer to the highest office, to which anyIndians can aspire. I am conscious that your choice of me as the first servant is not so much for what little I might have done, but it is therecognition of the amazing sacrifice made by Gujarat for the honor.But in truth, every Province did its utmost during the year of thegreatest national awakening that we have known in modern times.
NON-VIOLENCE—NO IDLE DREAM
Though there have been aberrations, it is a fact beyond challengethat India has given a singular proof to the world that mass non-violenceis no longer the idle dream of a visionary or a mere human longing.It is a solid fact capable of infinite possibilities for humanity, which is groaning for want of faith, beneath the weight of violence of which it has almost made a fetish. The greatest proof that our movement wasnon-violent lies in the fact that the peasants falsified the fears of our worst skeptics. They were described as very difficult to organize fornon-violent action and it is they who stood the test with bravery and endurance that was beyond all expectation. Women and childrentoo contributed their great share in the fight. They responded to thecall by instinct and played a part which we are too near the evenadequately to measure. Looked at in the light of non-violence ourstruggle is a world struggle and it is a matter of great satisfaction thatthe nations of the earth, especially the United States of America, haveheartened us by their sympathy.
The recent settlement, however, renders it unnecessary to dwell at greater length upon this heroic period in the national life. Your WorkingCommittee has entered into the Settlement in anticipation of yourapproval. You are now invited formally to endorse it. The Committee1 haying accepted it as your accredited representatives, it is not, I take it, open to you to repudiate it- but it is open to you to pass a vote ofno-confidence in the present executive and appoint better agents. Butwhilst it is but meet f hat I should draw your attention to the constitutionalposition, I have no doubt whatsoever that you will endorse the settlementwhich I hold to be perfectly honorable for both the parties. Had wenot accepted the settlement we should have put ourselves in the wrongand thereby undone the effect of the sufferings of the past year. Indeedwe had always claimed, as Satyagrahis must claim, to be ready andeager for peace. When, therefore, the way seemed to be open for peace, we took it. In view of the clear demand on the part of the BritishIndian Delegation at the Round Table Conference for full responsibility,and in view of the British parties have accepted the position and in view of the appeal made to the Congress by the Premier, the Viceroyand many of our distinguished countrymen, the Working Committeethought that if an honorable truce could be arranged and if it was opento the Congress to press without any reservation for what is consideredto be the best for the country, the Congress should, if invited, takepart in the Conference and attempt to reach an agreed solution of theconstitutional issue. If we failed in the attempt and there was no wayopen but that of suffering, then it was a privilege of which no power onearth could deprive us.
Under the constitution clause bf the settlement it is open to us to press for Purna Swaraj, to ask for complete control over our defenseforces, foreign affairs, finance, fiscal policy and the like. There wouldbe safeguards or reservations, or as the late Pandit Motilalji called them, adjustments, conceived in our own interest. When power passes fromone to the other by agreement there are always safeguards in theinterest of the party in need of reparation or help. The continuedexploitation of India for close on two centuries renders it necessary for us to seek assistance in several respects from external sources. Thuswe would need military skill and there is no reason why we may notreceive English assistance in this direction. I have taken only one tellingillustration out of others that may be suggested.
The defense safeguard may, therefore, be the retention of BritishOfficers, or, as some would say, even privates, but we could never let our defense be controlled by the British. We must have full power to make mistakes. We may gratefully receive British advice, neverdictation.
BRITISH ARMY OF OCCUPATION
The fact is that the British army in India is an army of occupation, the defense is a misnomer. Frankly, the army is for defending Britishinterests and British men and women against any internal uprising. I cannot recall a single instance in which the Indian army was required forthe protection of India to fight a foreign power. True, there have beenexpeditions on the Frontier, wars with Afghanistan. British historianshave taught us that they were wars more of aggression rather than of,defense. We must not, therefore, be frightened by the bogey of foreign designs upon India. In my opinion, if we need an army, we certainlydo not need the octopus we are daily bleeding to support. If the Congress has its way, the army will suffer an immediate reduction to its reasonable proportion.
PIRNA SWARAJ—OIK GOAL
Again we have been taught to think that our civil administrationwill be inefficient and corrupt if we give up the able assistance of highlypaid British civilians. The administrative powers that the Congresshas exhibited during recent years and the fact of its having on an ever-increasing scale drawn to its assistance some of the best young men andwomen either without pay or on a mere pittance should sufficientlydispose of the fear of corruption or inefficiency. It would be too great a strain upon our poor purse to have to pay, by way of insurance againstcorruption, a premium out of all proportion to the highest possibleestimate of corruption that may ever take place’. It will, therefore, benecessary if India is to come to her own, to demand a heavy reductionin the Civil Service expenditure and thus a consequent reduction in theemoluments of the Civil Service.
We have claimed that many of the charges laid upon India are wholly unjust. We have never suggested repudiation of a singleobligation, but we have asked and must continue to ask for an impartialinvestigation into the debits against us wherever we cannot agree.
There is no receding from the Lahore resolution of completeIndependence. This independence does not mean, was not intended to mean, a churlish refusal to associate with British or any other power.Independence, therefore, does not exclude the possibility of equal partnership for mutual benefit and dissolvable at the will of either party.If India is to reach her independence through consultation and the agreement, it is reasonable to suppose that there is a strong body ofopinion in the country to the effect that before partnership couldbe conceived there must be a period of complete dissociation. I do notbelong to that school. It is, as I think, a sign of weakness and disbelief in human nature.
FEDERATION OF INDIA
Federation is a fascinating idea. But it introduces new embarrassments. Princes will not listen to reverence? Is it severanceof British connection. But if they will come in the true spirit it will be a great gain. Their association must not be to impede the progress of democracy. I hope therefore that they will not take up an’uncompromising attitude that may be wholly inconsistent with thespirit of freedom. I wish they would, without any pressure, give us* an earnest of their desire to march abreast of the time-spirit. Surelythe fundamental rights of their subjects should be guaranteed as of the rest of the inhabitants of India. All the inhabitants of FederatedIndia should enjoy some common elementary rights. And if there arerights, there must be a common court to give relief from anyencroachment upon them. Nor can it be too much to expect that the subjects of the states should be to an extent directly represented onthe federal legislature.
COMMUNAL UNITY ESSENTIAL
But before all else comes the question of Hindu Muslim or rathercommunal unity. The position of the Congress was defined at Lahore.Let me recite the resolution here
In view of the lapse of the Nehru Report, it is unnecessary to declare the policy of the Congress regarding communal questions, theCongress believing that in an independent India, communal questions can only be solved on strictly .national lines. But as the Sikhs, in particular, and Muslims and other minorities, in general, had expresseddissatisfaction over the solution of the communal question proposed in the Nehru Report, the Congress assures the Sikhs, Muslims, and otherminorities that no solution thereof in any future constitution, can beacceptable to the Congress that does not give satisfaction to theparties concerned.
Therefore, Congress can be no party to any constitution that does not contain a solution to the Communal question that is notdesigned to satisfy the respective parties. As a Hindu, I adopt mypredecessor’s formula and present the minorities, with a Swadeshi fountain-pen and paper and let them write out their demands. And,I should endorse them. I know, that it is the quickest method. Butit requires courage on the part of the Hindus. What we want is a heartunity, not parched-up paper-unity that will break under the slightest strain. That unity can only come when the majority takes couragein both the hands and is prepared to change places with the minority.This would be the highest wisdom. Whether the unity is reached thatway or any other, it is becoming plainer day after day that it is uselessto attend any conference unless that unity is achieved. ‘ The Conference can give us an agreement between the British and us, it can perhapshelp us to come nearer to the Princes but it can never enable us toachieve unity. That must be hammered into shape by ourselves. Congress must leave no stone unturned to realize this much-desired end.
CALL TO PEOPLE
It must be clear to all of us that Congress can be useful for’attaining Purna Swaraj only to the extent that it has gained power.The past twelve months have undoubtedly given it a power which hewho runs may see. But it is not enough and can be easily frittered away by hasty action, or by pride. He is a spendthrift who lives onhis capital. We must, therefore, add to our power. One way to do sois on our part to fulfill to the letter the conditions of the settlement.The other is to consolidate our gains. therefore propose to devote afew lines to this part of our activity.
We have made much headway in the matter of t ho boycott foreign cloth. It is a right as well as a duty. Without it, the impoverishedmillions of India must continue to starve. For if cheap foreigncloth continues to be dumped down in the villages of India, the Charka cannot flourish. The foreign cloth must, therefore, be banished from the land.It is, therefore, want of easy employment in their villages that leadto starvation. Incessant propaganda is necessary to rid the country ofchronic unemployment, which has become second nature with ourpeasantry. The best propaganda is to do sacrificial spinning ourselvesand wear khaddar (Khadi). The All-India Spinners” Association hasdone much valuable work. But it is for the Congress to create thisspinning and the khaddar atmosphere. This to my mind is the bestand the most effective propaganda of Boycott.
It has been suggested that the argument against foreign clothapplies to indigenous mill cloth. But our mills do not produce all thecloth we need. For years to come, they may continue to supply thebalance that may be required over and above the hand-spun cloth. But even our mills may prove a hindrance if they compete with khaddar or resort to questionable devices to push their wares. Fortunately, manymills are patriotically working in co-operation with the Congress andare beginning to appreciate the virtue of khaddar in the interest of thetoiling millions. But I can certainly say that if our mills unpatriotically hurt khaddar instead of complimenting it, they must face an oppositionsomewhat similar to that against the foreign cloth.
The foreign cloth merchants will do well to bear the Congress’the attitude in mind in this regard. Foreign cloth boycott is- a permanentthing, not conceived as a political but as an economic and social measure of permanent value for the welfare of the masses. These merchants, will do well to jive up their foreign cloth trade. Everything possible is being done to help them but some very big sacrifice on their part is essential.
English, Japanese, and other foreign merchants will, I hope, not misunderstand Congress attitude. If they will help India, they will deny themselves the India trade in foreign cloth. They have othermarkets and other enterprises.
PICKETING NOT COERCION
This brings me to picketing. This has not been and cannot begiven up. I give below the relevant clause of the Settlement.
Picketing shall be unaggressive, and it shall not involve coercion,intimidation, restraint, hostile demonstration, obstruction to the public, or any offense under the ordinary law, and if and when any of these’ methods are employed in any place, the practice of picketing in that placewill be suspended.
Picketing ‘is a common law of right. Its function is gentle persuasion,never coercion or violent restraint on liberty. I use the adjective’violent’ a, advisedly. The restraining force of public opinion there always,’ will be. It is healthy, elevating, and conducive to the growth of liberty as distinguished from a license. Non-violent picketing is designed to create public opinion, an atmosphere that should become irresistible.
This can best be carried on by women. I hope therefore that theywill continue the marvelous work begun by them and earn the eternalgratitude of the nation and, what is more, the blessings of the starvingmillions.
The idea of a boycott of British goods is almost as old as the Congress.We know that after- the advent of Gandhiji on the political platform,boycott of British goods was replaced by that of foreign—not onlyBritish—cloth. He interpreted it in terms of economic and social uplift, whereas the boycott of the British goods as such is a political andpunitive measure. We must withdraw the political weapon. We cannotbe sitting at the friendly conference table and outside making designsto hurt British interests. Whilst, therefore, we must for the time beingwithdraw British goods’ boycott, we must intensify Swadeshi, which is the birthright of every nation. Whatever we produce in our countrywe must encourage to the exclusion of foreign whether British or other.This is the condition of national growth. Thus we must encourage andcarry on banking, shipping and the like. We may not belittle or neglectthem on the ground of their inferiority or dearness. Only by wide use and helpful criticism may we make them cheaper and better. Equalityof treatment in the case of hopeless un equals ought to mean raising the less favored up to the ‘level of the most favored. Thus equality of, treatment for suppressed classes on the part of the so-called superior’ classes means raising the former to the latter’s level; the lattersacrificing their substance and stooping to conquer. In relation to theBritish we have hitherto occupied a position in some respects lower even than the suppressed classes.
Protection of Indian industries and enterprise to the exclusion „ofBritish or foreign is a condition of our national existence even under astate of partnership. Protection within even the British Commonwealthis no newfangled notion. It is in vogue in the Dominions to the extentnecessary for their growth.
Just as a boycott of foreign cloth is an economic necessity f6r thesake of the starving millions, a boycott of intoxicating drink and drugs a necessity for the moral welfare of the nation. The idea of totalprohibition was born before its political effect, was thought of. The Congress conceived it as a measure of self-purification! Even if theGovernment ear-marked the revenue from this traffic for purelyprohibition purposes, our picketing of these shops would continue, no doubt subject to the same severe restrictions as in the case of foreigncloth. We cannot rest still, so long as there is a yard of foreign clothentering the country or a single liquor shop corrupting our misguidedcountrymen.
The salt raids must stop. Defiance of salt laws for the sake ofdisobedience must stop. But the poor, living in the neighborhood ofsalt areas, are free to make and sell salt within that neighborhood.The Salt Tax is not gone, it is true. In view of the likelihood of the Congress participating in the Conference, we may not press for theimmediate repeal of the tax which is bound to come very soon. Butthe poorest on whose behalf the campaign was undertaken is nowvirtually free from the tax. I hope that no traders will seek to takean undue advantage of the relaxation.
The foregoing perhaps shows you how uninterested I am in manythings that interest the intelligentsia. I am not interested in loaves andfishes, or legislative honors. The peasantry does not understand these,they are little affected by them. I believe that Gandhiji’s eleven pointsmean the substance of Swaraj. That which does not satisfy them is noSwaraj. (Whilst I would respect the rights of landlords, Rajas,Maharajas and others to the extent that they do not hurt the sweating millions, my interest lies in helping the downtrodden to rise from theirstate and be on a level with the tallest in the land). Thank God, thegospel of Truth and Non-Violence has given these an inkling of theirdignity and the power they possess. Much remains to be done. Butlet us make up our minds that we exist for them, not they for- us. Letwe shed our petty rivalries and jealousies, religious feuds and let everyone realize that the Congress represents and exists for the toiling millions and it will become an irresistible power working not for greedor power but for the sake of common humanity.
There is one part of the constructive program which I have notdealt with already; that is the all-important work of removinguntouchability. The recent heroic struggle on the part of the nationwould have been more glorious if Hindus had purged Hinduism of this evil. But heroism or glory apart, no Swaraj would be worth havingwithout this supreme ”act of self-purification, and even if Swaraj is wonwhilst this stain continues to blacken Hinduism, it would be as insecure’as a Swaraj without a complete boycott of foreign cloth.
In, conclusion, I may not forget our brethren overseas. Their lotin South Africa, in East Africa and in the other parts of the world isstill hanging in’ the balance. Deenabandhu Andrews is happily in South Africa helping our countrymen. Pandit Hirdaya Nath Kunzru has specialized in the Indian question in East Africa. The onlyconsolation the Congress can give is to assure them of its sympathy.They know that their lot( must automatically improve to the extent that we approach our goal. In your name, I would appeal to the Governmentsconcerned to treat with consideration the members of a nation whichis bound at a very early date to, enter upon her heritage and which means ill to no nation on earth. We ask them to extend to our nationalsthe same treatment they would have us, when we are free, to extend totheirs. This is surely not asking too much.
I invite you to conduct your proceedings, over which you have askedme to preside, in a manner befitting the grave occasion at which wehave met. Differences of opinion are bound to exist, but I trust that everyone here will co-operate to make our deliberations dignified andconducive to the attainment of our goal.
Integration and Democratization
The democratization of the administration which has long been the keynote of Congress policy towards the states has become a pressing problem since August 15th. The Princes themselves have in many cases begun to realize the spirit of the times and have been gradually introducing measures in accordance with that spirit. The progress has been . in some States slow, in others, it has been swift, but everywhere it has been sure.