We Wants Socialism
THE ANTI-IMPERIALIST STRUGGLE AND SAMYAVADA
Address at the Indian Political Conference, London, to June 1933
We had been engaged in a non-violent war with the British Government for the attainment of our political freedom. But today our condition is analogous to that of an army that has suddenly surrendered unconditionally to the enemy in the midst of a protracted and strenuous campaign. And the surrender has taken place, not because the nation demanded it - not because the national army rose in revolt against its leaders and refused to fight - not because the supply of the sinews of war was cut off - but either because the Commander-in-Chief was exhausted as a result of repeated fasting or because his mind and judgment were clouded owing to subjective causes which it is impossible for an outsider to understand.
What would have happened-I ask-if a similar incident had taken place in any other country? What happened to all the Governments that surrendered to the enemy at the end of the Great War? But India is a strange land.
The surrender of 1933 reminds one of the Bardoli Retreat of 1922. But in 1922, some explanation, however unsatisfactory, could be offered to justify the retreat.
The outbreak of violence at Chauri Chaura was suggested as the pretext for suspending the Civil Disobedience campaign in 1922. What explanation or pretext can one suggest to account for the surrender of 1933 ?
There can be no doubt that the non-cooperation movement that was launched in 1920 and has been in existence in some form or other since that date - was the movement best suited to India in the fateful year 1920. There can be no doubt that in 1920 when political India was looking forward to a more militant plan of action - Mahatma Gandhi was the one man who could stand up as the undisputed spokesman of the people and lead them on from victory to victory. And there can also be no doubt that during the last decade India has completed the march of a century. But standing today at the crossroads of Indian History - it is meet and proper that we should try to discover the mistakes of the past - so that our future activity may be directed along the right lines and all possible pitfalls may be avoided.
For the attainment of freedom two paths are open to us. One is the path of uncompromising militancy. The other is the path of compromise. If we follow the first path, the fight for liberty will have to be pursued till we are able to wrest political power in its entirety and there lan be no question of a compromise along the road at freedom. If, on the other hand we follow the second path, periodical compromises may have to be made with Our opponents for consolidating our position, before further attempts are made.
At the outset it should strike everybody that it is not at all clear if our movement during the last thirteen years has been following the path of uncompromising militancy or that of compromise. This ideological ambiguity has been responsible for a lot of mischief. If our policy had been one of uncompromising militancy, the Bardoli surrender of 1922 would never have taken place - nor would the Delhi Pact of March, 1931, have been entered into. On the other hand, if we had been following the pa th of compromise, we should never have missed the opportunity of a bargain with the British Government in December 1931 - when the situation was so opportune. In March, 1931, the situation was not opportune for a compromise from our point of view ~ nevertheless a truce was. established between the Indian National Congress and the British Government. And considering our strength in March, 1931 the terms of the truce were altogether unsatisfactory. In short, as political fighters we have .. been neither sufficiently militant - nor sufficiently diplomatic.
In a fight between an unarmed subject people like the Indians and a first-class imperialist power like Great Britain - the supply of our necessary resources depends on our ability to keep up the enthusiasm of the people and maintain the spirit of opposition towards the Government. In the case of a war between two well-equipped and well-trained armies, the psychological factor is not so important as in bur case. In 1922, when the whole nation had been roused to passionate activity and greater daring and sacrifice could be expected of the people, the Commander-in-Chief suddenly hoisted the white flag. And this happened after he had thrown away, a couple of months. earlier, a unique opportunity for what would have appeared in the existing circumstances as an honorable compromise with the Bureaucracy.
It is not easy to learn to remember the lessons of past history and the latest developments in India go to show that we have not yet assimilated the lessons of 1921 and 1922. And unfortunately for us, with the death of Deshbandhu C.R. Das and Pandit Motilal Nehru of hallowed memory in 1925 and 1931 respectively - there disappeared from the Indian scene two political giants who might have saved India from the political mess in which she now finds herself.
In December 1927, when the Indian National Congress met at Madras, the unanimous acceptance of the resolution on Independence gave an indication of the rising temper of our people. And when early in 1928 the Simon Commission landed at Bombay, the demonstrations throughout India were reminiscent of the glorious days of 1921. From one point of view, the situation in 1928 was more favourable than in' 1921 - because while in 1921 the Indian Liberals we're actively opposed to the Congress - in 1928· they were actively opposed to the British Government and in the campaign against the Simon Commission there was a united front of the Congress and the Liberal Party. The arriv~1 of the Simon commission should therefore have been the occasion for reviving the movement which had been suspended arbitrarily by Mahatma Gandhi in 1922. Nevertheless, for full two years, instead of marching ahead we began to retreat. In December, 1928, a resolution was passed at the Calcutta Congress by approximately 1,300 votes to 900, which put back the clock by definitely committing the Congress to the acceptance of Dominion Status. Thus at Calcutta we retreated not only from the position at Madras in December, 1927 - but also from the position at Nagpur in December, 1920 -:- because the Nagpur resolution on Swaraj, in view of its vague terminology, could be interpreted to mean that the goal of ' the Indian people was to be 'Independence' and not 'Dominion Status'.
The 'resolution of the Calcutta Congress gave the British Government one year's time within which they could offer Dominion Status to India. But the Government had no intention of making any such offer to India. The situation therefore became rather critical for the Congress leaders when the year 1929 began to draw to a close without Dominion Status being in sight. Another gesture was made by the Congress leaders in November, 1929, on the eve of the Lahore Congress, but to no avail. In a joint manifesto - now generally known as the Delhi Manifesto - the leaders agreed to participate in the Round Table Conference in London if some assurance would be given that Dominion Status would be granted to India.
I was one of those who had the temerity to oppose Mahatma Gandhi's resolution on Dominion Status at the Calcutta Congress in 1928 and who had the presumption to condemn the Delhi Manifesto of November 1929. We had to point out that the Round Table Conference was a misnomer because it was not a Conference of plenipotentiaries representing the belligerent parties. A large number of nondescript Indians nominated by the alien Government would be present at the Conference to do the bidding of the wily British politicians. Moreover, if the Conference by any chance arrived at any conclusions favourable to India - they would not be binding on the British Government. We also pointed out that the primary object of the Government in convening this Conference was to bring the Indians to England and make them fight amongst themselves for the amusement of the British people. We therefore urged that as the Sinn Feiners had boycotted the Irish Convention, which was Mr. Lloyd George's creation, so also the Indian National Congress should leave the Round Table Conference severely alone.
But ours was a cry in the wilderness. The leaders as a body were too anxious to find some honorable escape from the impending fight with the Government which was every day becoming unavoidable. But no such opportunity was given by the Government. Consequently when the Lahore Congress met in December, 1929, the temper of the people had risen and there was no alternative for the leaders but to swallow the resolution on Independence.
But 'Independence', which implied severance of the British connection - was like a pill bitter to the taste and difficult to digest. When the Congress unanimously adopted the resolution on Independence and thereby once for all ended the shilly-shallying of the last nine years - the moderate elements in the country were alarmed. Our leaders lost no time in trying to reassure them and beautiful phrases and attractive slogans were evolved for the purpose. We were told that Independence meant 'Purna Swaraj' (an expression which one could interpret according to his convenience). Mahatma Gandhi issued early in 1930 his famous 'eleven points' which, according to him, represented the substance of Independence and could form the basis of a compromise with the British Government. Thus the significance and the effect of the Lahore Congress resolution on Independence was nullified to a great extent through the action of the leaders themselves.
After the Lahore Congress it was impossible for the leaders not to do anything. The movement was therefore launched with the celebration of the Independence Day on the 26th January, 1930. By April the whole of India was in the throes of a revolution (may be a nonviolent revolution). So great was the response of the people to the can to action that even Mahatma Gandhi was taken by suprise and he stated that the movement could have been started two years earlier.
The movement of 1930 -like the earlier movement of 1921 - took the Government by surprise and for a long time they were at a loss to decide as to the most effective means for crushing the movement. The international situation - economic and political - also helped India. It was therefore a mistake to suspend operations on the basis of what is known as the Delhi Pact (the Gandhi-Irwin Pact) of March, 1931. Even if the leaders wanted a compromise, they should have waited for a more opportune moment, and such a moment would certainly have arrived if the operations had continued for another six months or one year. But once again subjectivism prevailed - and objective factors and considerations were not taken into account when the Delhi Pact was entered into. I shall even go so far as to say that in the circumstances which prevailed in March, 1931 - better terms could have been extracted from the Government if our leaders had possessed greater statesmanship and diplomacy.
As matters stood, the Delhi Pact was an advantage to the Government and a disaster to the people. The Government got time to study the tactics adopted by the Congress organization in 1930 and 1931, so that they could perfect their machinery for striking a crushing blow whenever the Congress launched the movement once again. It is now a matter of common language that the ordinances promulgated by the Government in January, 1932, and the detailed tactics adopted
by them throughout the year, were carefully worked out before the year 1931 came to a· close. But what did the Congress do? Inspite of the fact that there was seething discontent in the Frontier. Province, in the United Provinces 'and Bengal, 'nothing was done by the leaders ~o prepare the country for the unavoidable resumption of the fight. In fact, I .shall not be wrong if I say that till the last everything was done to avoid 'a possible resumption of hostilities.
The Delhi Pact had on the whole a soporific effect on the popular enthusiasm and passion - nevertheless, the temper of the people was too militant to be soothed by soft phrases. And if this had not been the case, I am sure that a resumption of hostilities would have been successfully avoided by the leaders. It is necessary for the workers 6f tomorrow to realise that the movement of 1932 was not planned and organised by the leaders, as it should have been, but that they were dragged into it. And if this statement be true, should it surprise anybody if the leaders today feel anxious to get out of the troubles into which they were forced in January, 1932?
The Delhi Pact of March, 1931, will appear to be a painful document the more we study it:
(1) In the first place there,was not one word of commitment on the part of the British Government on the major issue of Swaraj.
(2) In the second place there was a tacit acceptance of the proposal of federation with the Indian Princes - a' proposal which, in' my humble opinion, is disastrous to the political progress of the country.
(3) Thirdly, there was no provision for the release of the incarcerated Garhwali soldiers - the finest apostles of non-violence - who refused to shoot down their unarmed countrymen.
(4) Fourthly, there was no provision for the release of the state-prisoners and detenues who were imprisoned without any trial, charge or justification.
(5) Fifthly, there was no provision for the withdrawal of the Meerut Conspiracy Case which had been dragging on for years.
(6) Sixthly, there was no provision for the release of other classes of political prisoners, not convicted for participation in the Civil Disobedience Movement.
It will thus be seen that the Delhi Pact, by refusing to espouse the cause of the Garhwali soldiers, the state prisoners, the Meerut Conspiracy prisoners and the revolutionary prisoners, deprived the Indian National Congress of the claim to be the central organ of the anti-imperialist struggle in India. By declining to be the spokesman of these militant anti-imperialist elements in India, the Indian National Congress stood out before the Indian public as the spokesman and representative of the 'Satyagrahies' (Civil resisters) alone.
If the Delhi Pact of March, 1931, was a blunder, the surrender of May, 1933, is a calamity of the first magnitude. According to the principles of political strategy, at a time when the new constitution for India is under discussion, the maximum pressure should have been brought to bear on the Government by a strengthening of the Civil Disobedience Movement in the country. By suspending the movement at this critical hour, the work, the suffering and the sacrifice of the nation for the last thirteen years have been virtually undone. And the tragedy of the situation is that the people who could have effectively protested against this gross betrayal are now safely lodged behind prison bars. As to those who are outside prison, a real protest has not probably been possible because of the 21 days fast of Mahatma Gandhi.
But the die has been cast. Suspension of the Civil disobedience campaign for one month means virtually a permanent suspension - because mass movements cannot be created overnight: So the problem now before us is what we should do to make the most of a bad situation and what policy and plan we should adopt for the future.
Before we can solve this problem, two other questions will have to be answered by us :
(1) With regard to our goal, is a compromise between England and India ultimately possible?
(2) With regard to our method, can India win political freedom by following the path of periodical compromise and without adopting an uncompromisingly militant plkan of action?
To the first question I say that such a compromise is not possible. A political compromise is possible only when there is some community of interest. But in the case of England and India there are no common interests which can make a compromise between the two nations possible and desirable, as we shall see from the following :-
(1) There is no social kinship between the two countries.
(2) There is hardly anything in common between the cultures of India and of Britain.
(3) From the economic standpoint, India is to Britain is a supplier of raw materials and a con- sumer of British manufactures. On the other hand, India aspires to be a manufacturing country, so that she could become self-contained in the matter of manufactured goods and could also export not only raw materials but manufactured goods as well.
(4) India is at present one of the biggest markets for Great Britain. The industrial progress of India therefore is against Britain's economic interests.
(5) India affords employment at present to young Britishers in the army and in the civil administration in India. But this is against India's interests and India wants her own children to occupy all these posts.
(6) India is sufficiently strong and has enough resources to be able to stand on her own leg without the help or patronage of Great Britain. In this respect the position of India is quite different from that of the dominions.
(7) India has so long been exploited and dominated by Britain that there is a genuine apprehension that in the event of a political compromise between the two countries, India will stand to lose and Britain will stand to gain. Moreover, India has developed an 'inferiority complex' as a result of her long servitude, and this 'inferiority complex' will remain as long as India is not completely independent of Britain.
(8) India wants the status of a free country, with her own flag, her own army, navy and defence force, and with her own ambassadors' in the capitals of free countries. Without this in-' vigorating and life-giving freedom, Indians will never be able to rise to the full stature of their manhood. Independence is to India a psychological, ethical, cultural, economic and political necessity. It is an essential condition of the new awakening in India. Independence, which India aspires after today, is not 'Dominion Home Rule/ as we find in Canada or Australia, but full national sovereignty as obtains in the United States of America or in France.
(9) As long as India remains within the British Empire she will not be able to safegurard the interests of other Indians who have settled in other parts of the Empire. The weight of Great Britain has always been, and always will be thrown on the side of white races - as against the Indians. An independent India, on the other hand, will be able to secure better treatment for her children who have settled in different parts o! the British Empire.
It will thus be seen that the basis of a compromise between India and Great Britain does not exist. Consequently, if the leaders of the Indian people disregard this fundamental fact and effect a compromise with the British Government, the arrangement ~ill not last. Like the 'Gandhi-Irwin Pact' of March, 1931, it will be shortlived. The social, economic and political forces working within India are such that no peace is possible between India and Britain till her legitimate aspirations are fulfilled.
The only solution of the present deadlock that is possible is through the attainment of India's freedom. This implies the defeat of the British Government in India. How India can win freedom for herself, we shall now have to consider.
With regard to the second question - namely, the question of the method we should adopt - I may say that the country has already rejected the path of periodical compromise. The support which the country gave to the Indian National Congress was due to the fact that the Congress promised to win Independence for India and promised to fight on and on till this was accomplished. Therefore, in determining our future policy and plan, we should rule out, once for all, the prospect of periodical compromises.
The Congress hoped to win political freedom for India by paralyzing the Civil administration of the country through non-cooperation and Civil Disobedience. It is necessary now to analyze the causes of our failure in doing so in order that we may be more successful in the future.
The position of the British Government in India today in relation to the Indian National Congress can be compared to a well-armed and well-equipped fortress standing in the midst of territory which has suddenly become hostile. Now, however, well-equipped a fortress may be it requires for its safe existence for all time a friendly civil population living around and near it. But even if the surrounding population become hostile, the fortress has nothing to fear in the immediate future, so long as the people round about it do not make an active attempt to seize the fortress. The objective of the Indian National Congress is to get possession of the fortress now occupied by the British Government. Towards this end the Congress has succeeded in winning over the sympathy and support of the population living round about and near the fortress. This is the first stage of the campaign from the Indian side. For the next stage of the campaign, either or both of the following steps can be taken:
(1) A complete economic blockade of the fortress, which will starve into submission the army occupying the fortress.
(2) An attempt to capture the fortress by force of arms.
In the history of war both these methods have been tried with success. In the last great war Germany was the victor from a military point of view, but she was starved into submission through the economic blockade of the Allies. This blockade was possible because the Allies had control over the seas and over the lines of communication leading into Germany.
In India no attempt has been made to storm the enemy's citadel by force of arms, as the Congress policy has been pledged to non-violence. The economic blockade, though attempted in a general way by the Congress, has failed for three reasons :
(a) All the external communications leading to India are controlled by the Government.
(b) Owing to defective organization inside India the lines of communication from the seaports to the interior and from one part of the country to another are not controlled by the Congress, but by the Government.
(c) The machinery for collecting revenue - on which depends the existence of the British Government in India - has not been seriously impaired. There have been deficits in most provinces, no doubt, but the Government have been able to makeup either by increased taxation or by borrowing.
It should always be remembered that a nationalist movement can succeed in paralyzing a foreign Government only when either or all of the following steps are taken:
(1)Prevention of tax and revenue collection.
(2) Adoption of measures whereby help from other quarters - whether financial or military - may not reach the Government in times of distress.
(3) Winning over the sympathy and support over the present supporters of the British Government in India – that is, of the Army, the Police and civil servants- so that orders given by the Government for crushing the movement will not be carried out.
(4) Actual attempt to seize power by force of arms.
The last step has to be ruled out, because the Congress is pledged to non-violence. But it is nevertheless possible to paralyse the present administration' and compel it to submit to our demands it we can adopt the following measures :-
(1) Prevent collection of tax and revenue.
(2) Through labor and peasant organizations prevent all kinds of help from reaching the Government when they are in difficulty
(3) Win the sympathy and support of the Government's own supporters by means of our superior propaganda.
If these three measures are adopted, the Governmental machinery can be thrown out of gear. In the first place, they will have no money to meet the cost of administration. In the second place, the orders they may issue will not be carried out by their own officers. And, lastly, help sent to the Government from other quarters will not reach them.
There is no royal road to success in winning political freedom. The above three measures have to be adopted in part or in whole if victory is to be achieved. The Congress has failed, simply because it has not succeeded in giving effect satisfactorily to any of the above three measures. The peaceful meetings, processions and demonstrations that have been held during the last few years, in spite of the official ban, show a spirit of defiance no doubt and also cause some annoyance to the Government; but they do not yet menace the very existence of the Government. In spite of all our demonstrations and in spite of seventy thousand persons having gone to prison since January, 1932, the Government can still claim:
(1) That their army is quite loyal.
(2) That their police forces are quite loyal.
(3) That the Civil administration (collection of revenue and taxes, administration of law courts and of prisons, etc.) is still unimpaired.
(4) That the life and property of Government officials and of their supporters are still quite safe.
And the Government can still boast that they do not care if the general population in India today are passively hostile. As long as the people do not actively menace the Government and their supporters, either with arms or through an effective economic blockade, the present Government can continue to exist for an indefinite period, in spite of our non-cooperation and Civil Disobedience.
During the last decade there has been an unprecedented awakening all over India. The placid self-complacence of the people· is gone. The whole country is throbbing with new life and is yearning for freedom. Fear of official frowns, of imprisonment and of baton charges has disappeared. The prestige of the British has reached its lowest ebb. There is no question of goodwill on the Indian side towards the British Government. The moral basis of British rule has been demolished, and it rests today on the naked sword and on nothing else. And India has managed to capture the imagination of the world.
But the fad has to be faced that 'free India' is still a thing of the future! The intentions of the British Government with regard to Indian aspirations as embodied in the recently published White Paper show clearly that they are not yet prepared to part with an iota of real power. Apparently the British Government think that they are strong enough to resist successfully the demand of the Indian people. And if they are strong enough to resist us, it dearly shows that the most strenuous efforts of the Indian people since 1920 have failed to bring us appreciably nearer our goal of 'Swaraj'.
India therefore must resolve to launch another fight on a bigger and more intensive scale. The intellectual and practical preparation for this must be scientific and must rest on objective foundations. The intellectual preparation for this task will entail the following measures :-
(i) A scientific examination of the strong and weak points of British Rule in India in relation to the Indian people.
(ii) A scientific examination of the strong and weak points of the Indian people in relation to British rule in India.
(iii) A scientific examination of the rise and fall of empires in other parts of the world.
(iv) A scientific examination of the history of freedom movements in other lands and a study of the gradual evolution of freedom in all its aspects in this world.
When this study is completed - and not till then '-shall we be able to form a conception of the magnitude of the task that awaits us.
Our next requirement will be a party of determined men and women who will take upon themselves the task of delivering India - no matter what the suffering and sacrifice involved may be. Whether India will be able to free herself and to live once again as a free nation will depend on whether she can produce the requisite leadership. Her ability to produce the requisite leadership will be the test of her vitality and of her fitness for 'Swaraj'.
Our next requirement will be· a scientific plan of action and a scientific programme for the future. The method of action beginning from today and right up to the conquest of power will have to be visualized and planned out in detail as far as humanly possible. The movement of the future must therefore be made to rest on an objective and scientific foundation in keeping with the facts of history and of human nature. Hitherto, too much appeal has been made to 'inner light' and to subjective feeling in guiding a political campaign which is after all an objective movement.
Besides a plan of action which will lead up to the conquest of power, we shall require a programme for the new state when it comes into existence in India. Nothing can be left to chance. The group of men and women who will assume the leadership of the fight with Great Britain will also have to take up the task of controlling, guiding and developing the new state and, through the state, the entire Indian people. If our leaders are not trained for post-war leadership also there is every possibility that after the conquest of power a period of chaos will set in and incidents somilar to those of the French Revolution of the 18th century may be repeated in India. It should therefore be clear that the Generals of the war-time period in India-will have to carry through the whole programme of post-war reform in order to justify to their countrymen the hopes and aspirations that they will have to rouse during the fight. The task of these leaders will not be over till a new generation of men and women are educated and trained after the establishment of the new state and this new generation are able to take complete charge of their country's affairs.
The party of the future will have to part company with the erstwhile leaders of the Indian people, because there is no possibility that the latter will be able to adopt the principles, programme, policy and tactics that will be required for the next phase of the grim fight with Great Britain. Rarely in history -,- if ever at all - do we find the leaders of one epoch figuring as the leaders of the next. And it is no discredit to them if they fail. The times always produce the required men, and this will happen in India also.
The new party will have to play the role of the fighters and leaders in the 'national' campaign against Great Britain and also the role of the architects of new India, who will be called upon to undertake the work of post-war social reconstruction. The Indian movement will have two phases. In the first phase the fight will be a 'national' fight against Great Britain - though the leadership will be in the hands of the 'party of the people' representing Indian labour and inter-class fight under the leadership of the same party, and during this, phase of the campaign - all privileges, distinctions and vested interests will have to be abolished, so that a reign of perfect equality (social, economic and political) may be established in our country. India will be called upon to play an important role in world-history in the near future. We all know that in the seventeenth century England made a remarkable contribution to world-civilization through her ideas of constitutional and democratic Government. Similarly, in the eighteenth century, France made the most wonderful contribution to the culture of the world through her ideas of 'liberty, equality and fraternity.' During the nineteenth century Germany made the most remarkable gift through her Marxian Philosophy. During the twentieth century Russia has enriched the culture and civilization of the world through her achievement in proletarian revolution, proletarian Government and proletarian culture. The next remarkable contribution to the culture and civilization of the world, India will be called upon to make.
It is sometimes urged by our British friends that the British public have an open mind on the Indian question and that we would gain much if we could win their sympathy by means of our propaganda. I do not, however, think that the British Public have an open mind on the Indian question - it is not humanly possible. In India, administration and exploitation go hand in hand, and it is not exploitation by a group of British capitalists and financiers, but the exploitation of India by Great Britain as a whole. The British capital that has been invested in India has not come from the upper classes alone, but also from the middle classes, and probably to some extent from the poorer classes as well. Further, even the working classes of Great Britain cannot afford to see the Indian textile industry thrive at the expense of Lancashire. That is why India has not been made a party question by the great political parties in Great Britain. That is why the policy of brutal repression and persecution was continued in India even when there was a Labour Government in power in London. I know that there are individual members in the Labour Party who rise above selfish consideration and who are sincere in their desire to do justice to India. But however much we may admire them and however cordial our personal relations with them may be, the fact remains that they are not in a position to influence party decisions. And, judging from our past experience, we may say that we cannot expect any improvement in the Indian situation through a change of Government in Downing Street.
Since politics and economics are inextricably bound up together in India - and since British Rule in India exists not only for political domination but also for economic exploitation - it follows that politi teal freedom is primarily an economic necessity to us. The problem of giving bread to our starving millions - the problem of clothing and educating them - the problem of improving the health and physique of the nation - all these problems cannot be solved so long as India remains in bondage. To think of economic improvement and industrial development before India is free politically, is to put the cart before the horse. We are frequently asked as to what will be the internal condition of India when British Rule disappears from our country. Thanks to British propaganda, India has been portrayed before the world as a country full of internal conflicts in which peace has been preserved by the might of England. India certainly had her internal conflicts in the past, as every other country has. But these conflicts were solved by the people themselves. That is why Indian history from the most ancient times abounds in instances of mighty empires like that of Ashoka the Great, under the aegis of which peace and prosperity reigned throughout the land. But the conflicts of today are permanent in character and they are artificially engineered by the agents of the third party in our country. And I have no doubt in my mind that real unity among the Indian people can never be achieved as long as British Rule exists in India.
Though we cannot expect anything from any political party in England, it is exceedingly important and necessary for our purpose that we should organise international propaganda on behalf of India. This propaganda must be both positive and negative. On the negative side we must refute the lies that are told about India consciously or unconsciously by the agents of Great Britain throughout the world. On the positive side we must bring to the notice of the world the rich culture of India in all its aspects as well as India's manifold grievances. It goes without saying that London must be an important centre for this international propaganda. It is to be regretted that till quite recently the Indian National Congress did not realise the value and the necessity of international propaganda. But we now hope that our countrymen in the days to come will realise in an increasing degree the value of international propaganda.
There is probably nothing which I admire so much about the Britisher as his skill in propaganda. A Britisher is a born propagandist, and to him propaganda is more powerful than howitzers. There is one other country in Europe which has learnt this lesson from Britain, and that is Russia. And it is not surprising that Britain cordially dislikes Russia and is even afraid of her for having discovered the secret of her (Britain's) success.
There is so much of hostile propaganda carried on in this world against India by British agents that if only we could state the real condition of India and her grievances against Britain - we would at once get a large measure of international sympathy. I will now mention some of the points in connection with which active propaganda is necessary throughout the world:
(1) Ill-treatment of political prisoners in India and the transportation of long-term political prisoners to the unhealthy Andaman Islands, where recently two of them have died as a result of hunger-strike.
(2) Extreme vindictiveness displayed by the Government in the matter of issuing passports to Indians. (It is not known outside India that innumerable Indians have been refused passports for going out of India, while Indians living abroad have been refused passports for returning to India.)
(3) The systematic practice of aero plane bombing in India, particularly in the North-Western Frontier, for terrorising helpless villagers.
(4) The strangling of India's indigenous Industries - including the shipbuilding industry - by Great Britain during her rule in India.
(5) The popular and widespread opposition in India to any scheme of Imperial Preference, including the Ottawa Pact. (The world should be informed that India never accepted the Ottawa Pact, but that it was forced down our unwilling throats).
(6) The popular opposition in India to any proposal for a tariff truce, since India urgently wants protection for her infant industries.
(7) The fixing of the exchange rate arbitrarily by England in a manner that is prejudicial to India's interests. The world should know how Great Britain has robbed India of crores of rupees merely through the manipulation of the exchange rate.
(8) Further, the world should be told that Great Britain has saddled India with a heavy public debt for which Indian nationalists refuse to accept any responsibility. As early as in 1922 the Indian National Congress at its Gaya Session gave notice to the Government that it would refuse to accept any responsibility for this public debt. It is a matter of common knowledge that the debt was incurred not for India's benefit, but for the interests of British imperialists.
It is exceedingly important and necessary that some propaganda should be conducted on behalf of India for the World Economic Conference and the Disarmament Conference. A carefully prepared memorandum stating the economic grievances of India against Great Britain and giving exression to the real voice of India on economic questions should be placed before every member of the World Economic Conference.
With regard to the Disarmament question, India should tell the world that British sincerity should be put to the test by making India a test case. In a land where the people have been disarmed for nearly 80 years, where the entire population is altogether emasculated, what justification is there for spending more than 50 percent of the central revenues over military expenditure ?
I feel sure that if all the facts in this connection are brought to the notice of the world, there will be an unanswerable case against England.
Whenever the question of India is brought up before a World Congress or a World Conference the usual plea raised by the protagonists of Great Britain is that India is a domestic question so far as the British Empire is concerned. This is a position which Indians should refuse to accept any longer. If India is a member of the League of Nations, surely she-is a nation and has all the rights and privileges of a nation. I know that we shall have to fight hard and fight strenuously before we can alter the present status of India in international affairs. Nevertheless it is imperative that the attempt should begin without delay.
It is not necessary for me to go into a detailed consideration of the contents of the White Paper, as they do not deserve such an examination. I shall only say that the proposal of Federation with the Princes is an impossible and unacceptable proposition. We shall certainly work for the unification of the whole of India for a federation of the Indian people. But we cannot accept the present proposal of substituting the Princes for the present official bloc in the Legislatures, in order to satisfy the whims of Mr. Ramsay MacDonald or of Lord Sankey. And it is futile to talk of 'freedom' and 'safeguards' in the same breath. If we are to have freedom there can be no safeguards, for freedom itself is the only safeguard that we can have. To talk of 'safe- guards in the interest of India' is but a species of self-deception.
It is not possible to say today when we shall get a constitution which will give some substantial power to the people. But there can be no doubt that when we do get that power the people will insist on having the right to bear arms. They also will say to the world, and particularly to the British Government: 'Disarm, or we shall arm.' While voluntary disarming is a great blessing to this sorrow stricken world, the forcible disarming of a conquered people for nearly 80 years, as we see in India, is one of the greatest of curses. And the much vaunted Pax Britannica which we see in India is not the peace of a healthy life, but peace of the graveyard.
I have already referred to the dual role which the new party will be called upon to play if it is to justify its existence. In order to be able to seize political power and thereafter use it for the creation of a new social order it is necessary that our people should be trained for the task from today. I have no doubt in my own mind that in solving the problems of our national life, when India is free, original thought and fresh experiment will be necessary if we are to achieve success. The experience of the older generation and of the teachers of the past will not be of much avail. The social-economic conditions of free India will be altogether different from what prevails now. In industry, agriculture, land-tenure, money, exchange, currency, education, prison administration, public health, etc., new theories and novel experiments will have to be devised. We know, for example, that in Soviet Russia a new scheme of national (or political) economy has been evolved in keeping with the facts and conditions of the land. The same thing will happen to India. In solving our economic problem, Pigon and Marshall will not be of much help.
Already in Europe and in England old theories in every department of life are being challenged and new theories are taking their places. As an instance, let me mention the new theory of Free Money, evolved by Silvio Gesell, which has been put into operation in a small community in Germany and proved thoroughly satisfactory. The same thing will happen in India. Free India will not be a land of capitalists, landlords and castes. Free India will be a social and a political democracy. The problems of Free India will be quite different from those of present-day India, and it will therefore be necessary to train men from today who will be able to visualise the future, to think in terms of Free India and solve those problems in anticipation. In short, it will be necessary to educate and train from today the future cabinet of Free India.
Every great movement starts from small beginnings, and so it will be in India. Our first task will be to gather together a group of men and women who are prepared to undergo the maximum sacrifice and suffering which will be necessary if we are to attain success in our mission. They must be whole-time workers 'Freedom-intoxicated' missionaries - who will not be discouraged by failure or deterred by difficulty of any kind and who will vow to work and strive in the service of the great cause till the last day of their lives.
When these 'morally prepared' men and women are available they must be given the requisite intellectual training so that they may be able to realise the magnitude of their task. They will have to make a scientific and critical study of the freedom movements in other lands, so that they may l1nderstand how similar problems have been solved in other countries, in spite of similar difficulties. Side by side with this they must also make a scientific and critical study of the rise and fall of empires in other ages and climes. Armed with this knowledge, they should proceed to make a scientific examination of the strong and weak points of the British Government in India in relation to the Indian people and a similar scientific examination of the strong and, leak points of the Indian people in relation to the British Government.
When this intellectual . training is completed we shall have a clear notion of the plan of action that will be necessary. for the conquest of power and also of the programme that should be put into operation when the new state is brought into existence after the seizure of power. It is thus evident that we want a party of determined men and women who have consecrated their life to the great cause, who have had the necessary intellectual training and who have formed a clear conception of the work they will have to do before the conquest of power and thereafter.
It will be the task of this party to deliver India from foreign yoke. It will be the task of this party to create a new, Independent and sovereign state in India. It will be the task of this party to execute the entire programme of post-war social-economic reconstruction. It will be the task of this party to create a new generation of men and women in India fully trained and equipped for the battle of life. Last, but not least, it will be the task of this party to lead India on to her honored place among the free nations of the world.
Let this party be called the Samyavadi Sangh. It will be a centralized and well-disciplined All-India Party working amongst every section of the community. This party will have its representatives working in the Indian National Congress, in the All-India Trade Union Congress, in the peasants' organisations, in the women's organisations, in the youth organisations, in the student organizations , in the depressed classes' organisations, and, if necessary in the interests of the great cause, in the sectarian or communal organisations as well. The different branches of the party working in different spheres and in different places must be under the control and guidance of the central committee of the party.
This party will work in co-operation with any other party that may be working towards the same end, in whole or in part. It will not bear enmity towards any individual or party, but at the same time it will look upon itself as specially called upon to play the role in history that has been described above.
In addition to the activities of the Samyavadi Sangh that we have described above, branches of the Sangh should be started all over the country for carrying on a general propaganda about the ideals, aims and objects of the new party. The Samyavdi Sangh will stand for all round freedom for the Indian people -that is for social, economic and political freedom. It will wage a relentless war against bondage of every kind till the people can become really free. It will stand for political independence for India so that a new state can be created in Free India on the basis of the eternal principles of justice, equality and freedom. It will stand for the ultimate fulfillment of India's mission, so that India may be able to deliver to the world the message that has been her heritage through the past ages.
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