When i first got a chance to read some old reports and files as a trainee , an about to retire Inspector of special Branch started talking to me about how leaders and Big icons are actually humans and they have all the weakness which every human has. This is the first lesson as an Intelligence operative one has to learn and imbibe. An Ordinary citizen lives in awe of so called LEADERS but he was telling me about how many great leaders and so called Freedom fighters were actually working for British Intelligence.He also talked about venerable Veer Sawarkar who was broken in cellular jail to work for British though he was allowed to malign Muslim community as a whole while supporting UK's war effort against the Germans.In fact he was sure that the creation of Jamaat-e-Islami by Syed Maududi in Muslim dominated areas in 1941 was also by British Intelligence.Both maudoodi and Savarkar were given free reign to preach hatred against each other while keeping British national interest in focus.Both Jamaat-e-Islami and Savarkars Hindu Mahasabha opposed Muslim League and Congress respectively in their Muslim,Hindu dominated areas.The wisdom of British Intelligence comes to fore that both Jamaat-e-islami and Hindu mahasabha supported the war effort of British(in the guise of Militarising hindus and Muslims respectively).One cannot provide proof here except that the Jamaat and Hindu Mahasabha of Savarkar
1)Opposed quit India movement of 1942
2)Both opposed partition of India.
3)Both asked their Hindu and Muslim followers to join British army to gain Military training and follow British government orders.
4)The most significant point from my view is that both NEVER ASKED THEIR FOLLOWERS TO JOIN THE SECULAR INDIAN NATIONAL ARMY LED BY NETHAJI SUBHASH CHANDRA BOSE TO GET MILITARY TRAINING and FIGHT FOR INDEPENDENT INDIA.
When the name of SA.Dange of Communist party of India was later revealed as one of those working for British Intelligence ,i was not surprised. One learns to accept that mighty Icons like the Prime Minster of Japan Mr.Tanaka, Prince Bernard of Netherlands were working for Lockheed aviation company for regular payments ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_bribery_scandals). The accusation of journalist Seymour Hersch about Shri Morarji Desai and Morarji's case against him failing in US court are well known. http://altlaw.org/v1/cases/490359. We Indians get emotional about our leaders and cannot tolerate TRUTH. The hurt i felt when it was revealed that our greatest philosopher Dr.Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan was having an illicit affair with a Punjabi lady which so infuriated his wife that she never talked to him for the last 20 years of their 50 years of married life was worse or knowing about Mahatma Gandhi was sleeping naked with some ladies , (not his wife )to test his power of abstinence!!.The marriage of Jacqueline Kennedy to Onassis was one of the things which made even US citizens look in horror at an ordinary human whom they dietified. In the land of maharishi Vishwamithra , this is realy surprising. I am reproducing a letter written by venerable Nethaji to Nehru. In the light of ban by Gujerat government of Jaswant Singh's book it is becoming all the more important for our youngsters who want small write ups(they do not have patience to read lengthy letters or books) to at least go through some of the mails of our freedom fighters and legends and find that they are also so HUMAN and frail. It is really interesting to see that Nethaji was against Jews being given asylum in India , may be in difference to Nazi Germany's policy or even "minority opinion" amongst then Congressmen.TRUTH IS A GREAT LEVELLER.
I find that for some time past you have developed tremendous dislike for me. I say this because I find that you take up enthusiastically every possible point against me; what could be said in my favour you ignore. What my political opponents urge against me you concede, while you are almost blind to what could be said against them. In the course of what follows I shall try to illustrate the above.
Why you should have developed this strong dislike for me remains a mystery to me, On my side, ever since I came out of internment in 1937, I have been treating you with the utmost regard and consideration, in private life and in public. I have looked upon you as politically as elder brother and leader and have often sought your advice. When you came back from Europe last year, I went to Allahabad to ask you what lead you would give us. Usually, when I approached you in this way, your replies have been vague and non-committal. For instance, last year when you returned from Europe, you put me off by saying that you would consult Gandhiji and then let me know. When we met at Wardha after you had seen Gandhiji, you did not tell me any thing definite. Later on, you produced some resolutions before the Working Committee in which there was nothing new and there was no lead to the country.
The last Presidential election was followed by an acrimonious controversy in which many things were said – some for and some against me. In your utterances and statements every point was stretched against me. At a speech in Delhi you were reported to have said that you dislike that canvassing should have been done by or for me. I do not know what exactly was in your mind, but you were blissfully oblivious of the fact that my election appeal was made after Dr.Pattabhi’s appeared in the press (Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramaya contested against Subhas Chandra Bose for the Congress Presidential Elections of 1939 with Gandhi’s blessings. But still he lost the elections.) As for canvassing, you were, consciously or unconsciously, oblivious of the fact that there was much more canvassing on the other side and the fullest use was made of the machinery of the Congress Ministries in order to secure votes for Dr. Pattabhi. The other side had a regular organization (Gandhi Seva Sangh and All India Village Industries Association (A.I.V.I.A) ) which was immediately set in motion. Moreover, they had all the big guns and yourself against me, as well as the full weight of Mahatma Gandhi’s name and prestige – and the majority of the Provincial Congress Committees – was also in their hands. As against them, what did I have – a solitary individual? Do you know as I know from personal knowledge – that in many places canvassing was done not for Dr. Pattabhi, but for Gandhiji and Gandhism – though many people refused to be taken in by such disingenuous propaganda. Still, standing in a public meeting, you tried to run me down on what appear to be absolutely false grounds.
Then let me come to the resignations ( from the Congress Working Committee). Twelve members resigned. They wrote a straightforward letter – a decent letter – in which they made their position unequivocally clear. Considering my illness, they did not say one unkind word about me, though they could have criticized me adversely if they had wanted to. But your statement – how shall I describe it? I shall refrain from using strong language and simply say that it was unworthy of you. (I am told that you wanted your statement to be substantially embodied in the general letter of resignation, but that this was not agreed to.) Then your statement gave one the impression that you had resigned, as the other twelve members had done – but up till now, to the general public, your position remains a mystery. When a crisis comes, you often do not succeed in making up your mind one way or the other – with the result that to the public you appear as if you are riding two horses.
To come back to your statement of 22nd Feb. You have an idea that you are extremely logical and consistent in what you say or do. But other people are often puzzled and perplexed at the stand you take on different occasions. Take a few instances. In your statement of 22nd Feb you said that you were against my reelection and you gave certain reasons you mentioned in your statement of 26th Jan issued from Almora. You clearly shifted your ground. Then again I was told by some Bombay friends that you had told them previously that you had no objection to my standing, provided I stood as a candidate for the Left. In your Almora statement you concluded by saying that we should forget persons and remember only principles and our cause. It never struck you that you want us to forget persons, only when certain persons are concerned. When it is a cause of Subhas Bose standing for re-election you run down personalities and lionize principles etc. When it is a cause of Maulana Azad standing for re-elections, you do not hesitate to write a long panegyric. When it is a cause of Subhas Bose versus Sardar Patel and others, then Subhas Bose must first of all clear up the personal issue. When Sarat Bose complains of certain things at Tripuri ( viz. of the attitude and conduct of those who call themselves orthodox followers of Mahatma Gandhi), he is, according to you, coming down to personal questions, when he should be confining himself to principles and programmers. I confess that my poor brain is unable to follow your consistency.
Let me now come to the personal question, which in my case becomes so very important in your eyes. You alleged that in my statements I had wronged my colleagues. Evidently, you were not among them – and if I had made any allegation, it was against the others, so you were not speaking on your behalf, but as an advocate for the others. An advocate is usually more eloquent than his client. It will therefore surprise you to know that when I talked to Sardar Patel ( and Rajen Babu and Maulana) at Tripuri over this question he gave me the surprising news that his main grievance or allegation against me referred to the period prior to the Bardoli meeting of the Working Committee in January last. When I retorted that the general impression among the public was that the main grievance or allegation against me was in connection with my ‘election statements’, he said that that was an additional allegation. So, after all, your clients did not attach as much importance to the ‘aspersion affair’ as you did as their advocate. At Tripuri, since Sardar Patel and the others left for the A.I.C.C. meeting and did not return after the meeting although they had promised to do so, I could not pursue the mater further, with a view to finding out what exactly were the incidents prior to the Bardoli meeting of the Working Committee which they had referred to. But my brother Sarat had a talk with Sardar Patel on the subject and the later told him that his main grievance was about my attitude at the Delhi meeting of the A.I.C.C. in September 1938 when there was a walk-out of the Socialists. The allegation came as an utter surprise to both my brother and myself, but indecently it showed that in the minds of Sardar Patel and others, the ‘aspersion affair’ did not have the importance, which you lent it. As a matter of fact, when I was at Tripuri, several delegates (not my supporters, I may tell you) told me that the ‘aspersion affair’ had been practically forgotten, until your statements and utterances raised the controversy once again. And in this connection I may tell you that since the Prisedential election, you have done more to lower me in the estimation of the public than all the twelve ex-members of the Working Committee put together. Of course, if I am such a villain, it is not only your right but also your duty to expose me before the public. But perhaps it will strike you that the devil who has been re-elected President in spite of opposition of the biggest leaders including yourself , of Mahatma Gandhi and of seven or eight provincial governments, must have some saving grace. He must have rendered some service to the cause of the country during his Presidentship to be able to draw so many votes without any organization behind him and inspite of tremendous odds.
In your statement of 22nd Feb you said further, “I suggest to the Congress President that this was the first and the most essential point to be considered, but no attempt has so far been made to deal with it”. Before you penned these lines did it not strike you for once that in order to clear up this misunderstanding, it was necessary for me to meet Sardar Patel and the other members and that the time for doing so was the meeting of the Working Committee on the 22nd Feb? Or did you think that I avoided the meeting of the Working Committee? It is true that I did not discuss the ‘aspersion affair’ with Mahatma Gandhi on the 15th of February, though he mentioned it once. But then I was following your own dictum of attaching more importance to principles and programmes than to personal issues. Nevertheless, I may tell you that when Mahatma Gandhi told me that Sardar Patel and others would not cooperate with me on the same Committee, I told him that I would talk over the matters with them when we meet on the 22nd of Feb and try to secure their cooperation. You will perhaps, agree that the aspersions, if any, referred not to Mahatma Gandhi but to the members of the Working Committee and the matter had to be talked over with the later.
In the above statement you wanted me to define exactly in writing what I meant by my words Left and Right. I should have thought that you were the last person to ask such a question. You have forgotten the reports submitted by Acharya Kipalani and yourself to the All India Congress Committee at Haripura? Did you not in your report say that the Right had been trying to suppress the Left? If it is permissible for you to use the words Left and Right when necessary, is it not equally permissible for other people?
You have charged me further with not clarifying my policy in national and international affairs. I think I have a policy, whether that policy be right or wrong. In my short Presidential speech at Tripuri I gave an indication of it in the most unequivocal terms. In my humble opinion, considering the situation in India and abroad, the one problem – the one duty – before us is to force the issue of Swaraj with the British Government. Along with this we need a comprehensive plan for guiding the States’ people’s movement simultaneously throughout the country. I think I gave you a clear indication of my ideas even before when we meet at Shantiniketan and later at Anand Bhawan; What I have just written is at least a definite policy.
May I now ask you what your policy is? In a recent letter, you have referred to the resolution on National Demand passed by Tripuri Congress and you seem to think much of it. I am sorry that such a beautifully vague resolution, containing pious platitudes, does not appeal to me. It leads us nowhere. If we mean to fight the British Government for our Swaraj, and if we feel that the time is opportune, let us say so clearly and go ahead with our task. You have told me more than once that the idea of an ultimatum does not appeal to you. During the last twenty years Mahatma Gandhi has been repeatedly giving ultimatums to the British Government. It is only through such ultimatums and simultaneous preparation to fight if necessary that he has been able to get so much out of the British Government. If you really believe that the time has come for us to enforce our National Demand how else can you proceed, except through an ultimatum? The other day Mahatma Gandhi delivered an ultimatum over the Rajkot issue. Do you object to the idea of an ultimatum because I have been suggesting it? If so, why not say it clearly and with out ambiguity.
To sum up, I fail to understand what policy you have with regard to our internal politics. I remember to have read in one of your statements that in your view, Rajkot and Jaipur will over shadow every other political issue. I was astounded to read such a remark from such an eminent leader as yourself. How any other issue could eclipse the main issue of Swaraj passes my comprehension. Jaipur has a somewhat bigger area than Rajkot, but even the Jaipur issue is a fleabite when compared with our main struggle with the British Government. Moreover, we cannot forget that there are six hundred and odd states in India. If we follow the present piecemeal, tinkering and nibbling policy, suspending the popular struggle in every other state it will take us 250 years to obtain civil liberty and responsible government in the states. And after that we shall think of our Swaraj!
In international affairs, your policy is perhaps even more nebulous. I was astounded when you produced a resolution before the Working Committee some time ago seeking to make India an asylum for the Jews. You were mortified when the Working Committee (with probably Mahatma Gandhi’s approval) turned it down. Foreign policy is a realistic affair to be determined largely from the point of view of a nation’s self interest. Take Soviet Russia, for instance. With all her Communism in her internal politics, she never allows sentiment to dominate her foreign policy. That is why she did not hesitate to enter into a pact with French Imperialism when it suited her purpose. The Franco-Soviet Pact and the Czechoslovak – Soviet Pact are instances in point. Even today, Soviet Russia is anxious to enter into a pact with British Imperialism. Now, what is your foreign policy, pray? Forthy sentiments and pious platitudes do not make foreign policy. It is no use championing lost causes all the time and it is no use condemning countries like Germany and Italy on the one hand and on the other, giving a certificate of good conduct to British and French Imperialism.
For some time past I have been urging on every body concerned, including Mahatma Gandhi and yourself, that we must utilise the international situation to India’s advantage and, to that end, present the British Government with our National demand in the form of an ultimatum; but I could make no impression on you or on Mahatmaji; though a large section of Indian public approved of my stand and the Indian students in Great Britain sent me a largely signed document approving of my policy. Today when you must find fault with me for not appointing the Working Committee forthwith, despite the shackles of the Tripuri resolution, the international situation suddenly assumed exaggerated importance in your eyes. What has happened today in Europe, may I ask, which is unexpected? Did not every student of international politics know that there would be a crisis in Europe in Spring? Did I not refer to it again and again when I pressed for an ultimatum to the British Government?
Let me now take another portion of your statement. You say, “This working Committee has for the time being ceased to be and the President, as he probably wishes, has a free hand to frame and put forward his proposals before the Congress. In accordance with his desire, no meeting was held here even to transact routine business.” I wonder how you could be guilty of such half-truths – or shall I say untruths? Twelve members of the Working Committee suddenly and unexpectedly throw their resignation at my face and still you blame me and not them on supposed ground that I probably wished to have a free hand in framing the resolutions. Then again, when did I prevent you from transacting routine business? Even with regard to the main task of framing resolutions for the Congress, though I suggested postponement of the Working Committee till the Tripuri Congress, did I not ask Sardar Patel, nevertheless in my telegram to consult the other members and wire their opinion to me? If you have any doubt on this point, please have a look at my telegram to the Sardar. My telegram was:
Sardar Patel, Wardha.
“KINDLY SHOW MY TELEGRAM TO MAHATMAJI. REGRETFULLY FEEL WORKING COMMITTEE MUST BE POSTPONED TILL CONGRESS. PLEASE CONSULT COLLEAGUES AND WIRE OPINION – SUBHAS.”
Seven days after the Tripuri Congress was over you sent me a telegram to the effect that I was responsible for causing a stalemate in the affairs of the Congress. With all your sense of fairness, it never struck you that the Tripuri Congress when passing Pandit Pant’s resolution knew full well that I was seriously ill, that Mahatma Gandhi had not come to Tripuri and that it would be difficult for us to meet in the immediate future. It never struck you that the Congress itself was responsible for the stalemate by taking out of my hands in an unconstitutional and ultra vires manner the power of appointing the Working Committee. If the constitution has not been wantonly violated by Pandit Pant’s resolution then I would have appointed the Working Committee on the 13th March 1939. You commenced a public agitation against me only seven days after the Congress was over, though you knew quite well the condition of my health and your telegram to me appeared in the press even before it reached my hands. When for a full fortnight there was a stalemate in the affairs of the Congress prior to Tripuri, caused by the resignation of twelve members of the Working Committee, did you utter one word in protest? Did you offer me one word of sympathy? You say in one of your recent letters that you speak and act for yourself alone and should not be taken as representing anybody else. Unfortunately for us, it never strikes you that you appear to others in the role of an apologist for the Rightists. Take your last letter, dated the 26th March, for instance. You say therein, “I have today read your statement in the press, I fear that such argumentative statements will not help much.”
At a time when I am being unfairly attacked from several quarters – being hit below the belt, as they say – you do not utter one word of protest – you do not offer me one word of sympathy. But when I say some thing in self-defence, your reaction is: “Such argumentative statements do not help much.” Have you said the same thing of argumentative statements written by my political opponents? Perhaps you gloat over them.
Again in your statement of the 22nd February you said, “There is a tendency also for the local Congress disputes to be dealt with not in the usual routine way, but directly from the top, with the result that particular groups and parties are favoured and confusion increased and Congress work suffers…It pains me to see that in the very heart of our organization new methods are being introduced which can only lead to local conflicts spreading to higher planes.”
I was painfully surprised to read such an indictment when you had not cared to ascertain all the facts. The least that you could have done was to have asked me for the facts, as I knew them. I do not know what exactly you had in mind when you wrote this. A friend suggested that you were thinking of the affairs of the Delhi Provincial Congress Committee. It so, let me tell you quite plainly that what I did with regard to Delhi was the only right thing for me to do.
In this connection, let me tell you that in the habit of interfering from the top, no Congress President can beat you. Perhaps you have forgotten all that you did as a Congress President or perhaps it is difficult to look at one self objectively. On the 22nd of Feb you charged me with interfering from the top. Did you forget that on the 4th of Feb you had written me a letter in which you had charged me with being a non-assertive, passive President. You wrote, “In effect you have functioned more as a speaker that as a directing President.” Most objectionable was your charge that I was acting in a partisan manner and was favouring a particular party or group. Did you not owe it to the official head of the Congress organization (if not to me personally) to make a proper enquiry before hurling such a serious allegation at him in the public press?
If one takes the election controversy as a whole, one would have thought that after the contest was over, the whole episode would be forgotten, the hatchet would be buried and as happens after a boxing-bout, the boxers would smilingly shake hands. But in spite of the truth and non-violence this did not happen. The result was not taken in a sporting spirit, a grievance was nursed against me and the spirit of vendetta set to work. You took up cudgels on behalf of other members of the Working Committee and you had every right to do so. But did it never strike you that some thing could also be said on my behalf? Was there nothing wrong in the other members of the Working Committee meeting in my absence and behind my back and deciding to set up Dr. Pattabhi for the Presidentship? Was there nothing wrong in Sardar Patel and the others appealing to the Congress delegates, as members of the Working Committee, to support the candidature of Pattabhi? Was there nothing wrong in Sardar Patel in full use of the name and authority of Mahatma Gandhi for electioneering purposes? Was there nothing full to the country’s cause? Was there nothing wrong in making use of the Congress Ministers in different provinces for canvassing votes?
With regard to so called ‘aspersions,’ I have already said what I have to say, both in the press statement as well as in the remarks which I made before the Subjects Committee at Tripuri. But I would like to ask you one question. How have you forgotten that when Lord Lothian was touring India, he remarked publicly that all the Congress leaders did not agree with Pandit Nehru their attitude towards the Federal Scheme? What is the implication and significance of this remark?
You have complained of an atmosphere of mutual suspicion and lack of faith at the top in your statement of the 22nd Feb. May I tell you that till the Presidential election, there was far less suspicion and lack of faith among the members of the Working Committee in my regime than in yours? We never came to the point of resignation in consequence there of as according to yourself , you did more than once. The trouble so far as I am aware, started with my success at the election contest. If I had been defeated, then in all probability the public would have not heard of the “aspersion” affair.
You are in the habit of proclaiming that you stand by yourself and represent nobody else and that you are not attached to any party. Occasionally you say this in a manner as if you are either proud or happy because of it. At the same time, you call yourself a Socialist – some times, a full-blooded Socialist. How a Socialist can be an individualist as you regard yourself, beats me. The one is the anti-thesis of the other. How socialism can ever come into existence through individualism of your type is also an enigma to me. By bearing a non-party label one can be popular with all parties, but what is the value of it? If one believes in certain ideas and principles, one should strive to translate them into reality and that could be done only through a party or organization. I have not heard of Socialism being established in any country or progressing in that direction, except through a party. Even Mahatma Gandhi has his party.
There is another idea on which you often harp, regarding which I would like to say some thing – I mean the idea of National Unity. I am all for it as, I believe, the whole country is. But there is an obvious limitation. The unity that we strive for or maintain must be unity of action and not unity of inaction. Splits are not an evil under all circumstances. There are occasions when splits are necessary in the interest of progress. When the Social Democratic Party of Russia broke up into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks in 1903, Lenin heaved a sigh of relief. He was removed of the dead-weight of the Mensheviks and felt that the path of progress was after all thrown open. When in India the ‘Moderates’ isolated themselves from the congress, nobody of a progressive frame of mind regretted the split. Subsequently, when a large section of Congressmen withdrew from the Congress in 1920, the rest did not mourn their secession. Such splits were really aids to progress. Lately, we have been making a fetish of unity. There is a potential danger in this. It may be used as a cover for weakness, or as an excuse for effecting compromises, which are inherently anti-progressive. Take your own case. You were against the Gandhi-Irwin pact 1931 but you submitted to it on the plea of unity. Again you were against the acceptance of office in provinces-but when office acceptance was decided upon, you submitted to it perhaps on the same plea. Supposing for argument’s sake that somehow the majority in the Congress agreed to work the Federal Scheme, then the anti federationists, in spite of their strong principles, may be tempted by the self-same plea of unity to accept the Federal Scheme against the dictates of their political conscience. Unity in a revolutionary movement is not an end in itself but only a means. It is desirable only so long as it furthers progress. The moment it tends to hamper progress it becomes evil. What would you do, may I ask if the Congress by a majority resolved to accept the Federal Scheme? Would you abide by that decision or revolt against it?
Your letter of the 4th February from Allahabad is interesting as it is showing that you had not then hardened against me as you subsequently did. For instance, you said in that letter. “As I told you, your contested election has done some good and some harm.” Later on, you came to hold the view that my re-election was an unmixed evil. Then again, you wrote, “This future we have to view from the larger view point and not in terms of personalities. Obviously it is not good enough for any one of us to get into a huff because matters have not shaped as one wished them to. We have to give our best to the cause whatever happens.” It is clear that you had not come to attach the importance of the ‘aspersion’ affair, which you did there after. Not only that; as I have already said, the agitation over the ‘aspersion’ affair that was fomented subsequently was largely of your own making. In this connection, you may perhaps remember that when we met at Shantiniketan, I suggested to you that if in spite of our endeavour we failed to retain the cooperation of the other members of the Working Committee, we should not shirk the responsibility of running the Congress. You then agreed with me. Later on, owing to reasons, which I cannot comprehend, you went over, bodily as it were, to the other side. Of course, you have every right to do so, but then what about your Socialism and Leftism?
In the letter of 4th Feb you have alleged more than once that vital questions like Federation were not discussed during my Presidentship. It is a curious charge to make when you yourself were out of the country for nearly six months. Do you know that when there was a storm over Shri Bhulabhai Desai’s supposed speech in London, I suggested to the Working Committee that we should reiterate our resolution against Federation and also carry on an anti-Federation propaganda in the country and that my proposal was regarded as unnecessary? Do you know that when the Working Committee met subsequently in September in Delhi, it was at last considered necessary to have a resolution condemning Federation and that this resolution was adopted by the All India Congress Committee?
Another accusation you made in that letter was that I adopted an entirely passive attitude in the Working Committee and that in effect I functioned more as a Speaker than as a directing President. That was a rather unkind statement to make. Would it be wrong to say that unusually you monopolized most of the time of the Working Committee? If the Working Committee had another member as talkative as yourself, I do not think that we would ever have come to the end of our business. Besides your manners were such that you would almost usurp the functions of the President. I could, of course, have dealt with the situation by pulling you up, but that would have led to an open breach between us. To be brutally frank, you some times behaved in the Working Committee as a spoilt child and often lost your temper. Now, in spite of all of your ‘nerviness’ and jumpiness, what results did you achieve? You would generally hold forth for hours together and then succumb at the end. Sardar Patel and others had a clever technique for dealing with you. They would let you talk and talk and they would ultimately finish up by asking you to draft their resolution. Once you were allowed to draft the resolution, you would feel happy, no matter whose resolution it was. Rarely have I found you sticking to your point till the last.
Another strange charge against me is that A.I.C.C. office has deteriorated greatly during the past year. I do not know what you consider to be the functions of a President. In my view, he is much more than a glorified clerk or even a glorified Secretary. As a President you were in the habit of usurping the functions of the Secretary, but that is no reason why other Presidents should do the same thing. Apart from this my chief difficulty was that the A.I.C.C. office was situated at a distance and that the General Secretary was not a man of my choice. It would be no exaggeration to say that the General Secretary was not loyal to me in the sense that a Secretary ought to be loyal to his President.( I am purposely putting the case very mildly.) As a matter of fact, Kripalaniji was thrust on me against my will. You may perhaps remember that I tried my best to have a part of the A.I.C.C. office transferred to Calcutta so that I would be able to supervise its work properly. All of you set your face against it and now you turn round and blame me for the defects of the A.I.C.C. office! If the A.I.C.C. office has really deteriorated as you allege, it is the General Secretary who is responsible of it and not myself. All that you can charge me with is that during my Presidentship there was less interference with the work of the General Secretary and that the later, in actual practice, enjoyed larger powers than before. Consequently, if the A.I.C.C. office has really deteriorated, it is the General Secretary who is responsible for it and not myself.
I am surprised that without knowing the facts you have alleged that I did not do my best to prevent the enactment of the Bombay Trades Disputes Bill in its present form. In fact, you have lately developed the art of making accusations, some times publically, with out caring to ascertain facts, where I am concerned. If you desire to know what I did in this connection the best thing would be to ask Sardar Patel himself. The only thing that I did not do was to break with him on this issue. If that be an offence, I plead guilty to the charge. By the way, do you know that the Bombay C.S.P. lent its support to the Bill in its present form? And now, coming to yourself, may I ask what you did to prevent the enactment of this Bill? When you returned to Bombay, there was still time for you to act and I believe you were approached by a number of Trade Unionists to whom you gave some hopes. You were in a much better position than myself, because you can always influence Gandhiji much more than I can. If you had exerted yourself, you might have succeeded where I failed. Do you do so?
There is one matter regarding which you often have a fling at me – the idea of a Coalition Ministry. As a doctrinaire politician you have decided once for all that a Coalition Ministry is a Rightist move. Will you kindly do one thing before expressing a final verdict on this question? Will you tour the province of Assam for a fortnight and then come and tell me if the present Coalition Ministry has been a progressive or a reactionary institution? What is the use of your sitting in Allahabad and uttering words of wisdom, which have no relation to reality? When I went to Assam after the fall of Saadullah Ministry, I did not find one single Congressman who did not insist that there should be a Congress Coalition Ministry. The fact is that the province had been groaning under a reactionary Ministry. Things were going from bad to worse and corruption was daily on the increase. The entire Congress-minded public of Assam heaved a sigh of relief and recovered confidence and hope when the new ministry came into office. If you scrap the policy of office acceptance for the whole country, I shall welcome it, along with Congressmen in provinces like Assam and Bengal. But if the Congress Party accepts office in seven provinces, it is imperative that there should be coalition ministries in the rest. If only you knew the improvement that has taken place in Assam, in spite of the various obstacles and handicaps since the Coalition Ministry came into office, you would change you opinion completely.
Regarding Bengal, I am afraid you know practically nothing. During two years of your Presidentship you never cared to tour the province, though that province needed your attention much more than any other, in view of the terrible repression it had been through. Have you ever cared to know what has happened to the province ever since the Haq Ministry came into office? If you did, then you would not talk like a doctrinaire politician. You would then agree with me that if the province is to be saved, the Haq Ministry must go and we should have the best government under the present circumstances, namely, a Coalition Ministry. But while I say all this I must add that the proposal of a Coalition Ministry arises because the active struggle for Purna Swaraj has been suspended. Resume this struggle tomorrow and all talk of a Coalition Ministry will vanish into thin air.
I shall now refer to your telegram of the 20th March from Delhi. You said therein, “In view of international situation and critical national problems formation of Working Committee Office arrangements urgently necessary” etc. Any one can appreciate the necessity of the early formation of the Working Committee – but what struck me in your telegram was the utter lack of sympathy for my difficulties. You knew full well that if Pant’s resolution had not been moved and passed, the Working Committee would have been announced on the 13th March. When that resolution was passed, the Congress knew full well that I was seriously ill-that Mahatma Gandhi had not come to Tripuri and that it would be difficult for us to meet in the immediate future. I can understand that if a month had elapsed without the Working Committee being appointed, people would naturally feel restless. But the agitation was started exactly one week after the Tripuri Congress was over and once again-as in the case of the “aspersion” affair – it was you who started the campaign against me. Was it easy to form the Working Committee without meeting Mahatma Gandhi? How could I possibly meet Mahatmaji? And did you forget that last year the Working Committee met about six week after the Haripura Congress? Do you think that the agitation started by a certain section of the public and the press against me, after your telegram appeared in the press, was an altogether bonafide one? Was I consciously causing a stalemate in the affairs of the Congress by deliberately refraining from appointing the Working Committee? If the agitation against me was not altogether fair, did you not, as a public leader, feel called upon to put in a word on my behalf at a time when I was laid up in bed?
I have already refered to your accusation that the A.I.C.C. has deteriorated under my Presidentship. I shall add a word in that connection. Did it not strike you that besides damning the General Secretary, you were, while trying to damn me, damning the entire staff as well?
In your telegram, you have referred to ‘critical national problems’ for which you want the Working Committee to be formed at once – though, as you say, you do not desire to be on that Committee. What are these “critical national problems” pray? In a previous letter, you said that the most critical problem was the situation in Rajkot and Jaipur. Since Mahatmaji has been handling these matters, they are in a way outside the jurisdiction of the Working Committee and the A.I.C.C.
Then again in your telegram, you have referred to the international situation. I noticed in the press that after you have mentioned this, several persons who have no international sense at all, who have no desire to understand international affairs and who have no intention of using the international situation to India’s advantage – suddenly became concerned over the fate of Bohemia and Slovakia. Obviously it was a convenient stick to beat me with. Nothing has happened in Europe in the last two months, which has not been expected. What has happened in Czechoslovakia recently is but a sequel to the Munich pact. As a matter of fact, I have been telling Congress friends during the last six months, on the basis of information, which I had been getting from Europe, that there would be a crisis in Europe in Spring which would last till Summer. I have, therefore, been pressing for a dynamic move from our side – for an ultimatum to the British Government demanding Purna Swaraj. I remember that when I spoke to you about the international situation recently (at Shantiniketan or at Allahabad) and used it as an argument for submitting our National Demand to the British Government, your cold reply was that the international tension would continue for some years. Suddenly you seem to have grown enthusiastic about the international situation! But let me tell you that there is no sign of any intension on your part or on the part of the Gandhian group to utilize the international situation for our benefit. Your telegram also says that the international crisis demands an early meeting of the A.I.C.C. to what end? To pass a long worded resolution or no practical consequence? Or will you change your mind and tell the A.I.C.C. that we should now push on towards Purna Swaraj and present the British Government with our National Demand in the form of an ultimatum? No, I feel that either we should take international politics seriously and utilize the international situation for our benefit-or not talk about it at all. It is no use making a show, if we do not mean business.
I am told that when you were at Delhi you carried a message to Mahatmaji to the effect that he should pay a visit to Allahabad to meet Maulana Azad. This information may be quite wrong. But if it is not-did you also suggest him that he could pay a visit to Dhanbad as well? When my Secretary telephoned to you on the 24th March to contradict the press report that Mahatmaji could not come to Dhanbad because of Doctor’s prohibition, you did not show any desire that he should visit Dhanbad, though you were awfully anxious that I should announce the formation of the Working Committee in accordance with Gandhiji’s wishes. Over the telephone you said Dhanbad was not his programme. Was it so terribly difficult for you to persuade Mahatmaji to come to Dhanbad? Did you try? You may say that he had to go back to Delhi for the Rajkot affair. But he had already finished his interview with the Viceroy. And so far as interviewing Sir Maurice Gwyer was concerned, that was for Sardar Patel and not Mahatmaji.
Apropos of the Rajkot affair, I want to say a few words. You thought a lot of the terms of settlement that terminated Mahatmaji’s fast. There is no Indian who did not feel happy and relieved that Mahatmaji’s life was saved. But when one analysed the terms of settlement with the cold eye of logic, what did one find? In the first place, Sir Maurice Gwyer, who is a part and parcel of the Federal Scheme, was recognized as the umpire or arbitrator. Did that not amount to a tacit recognition of that scheme (Federal) itself? Secondly, Sir Maurice is neither our man nor an independent agent. He is a Government man-pure and simple. In any conflict with the British Government, if we accept a High Court Judge or a Sessions Judge as umpire or arbitrator, the British Government will very gladly agree to it. For instance, in the matter of State prisoners detained without trial, the Government always boasts that the relevant papers are placed before the High Court or Sessions Judges. But we never accept that as a satisfactory settlement. Why then has there been a departure in the case of Rajkot?
There is another point in this connection, which I cannot understand and on which you will be able to enlighten me. Mahatma Gandhi went to see the Viceroy and the interview took place duly. Why is he still waiting there? It is Sardar Patel who has to wait, in case Sir Maurice Gwyer wants him. Does it not indirectly enhance the prestige of the British Government, if Mahatmaji lingers on in Delhi after his interview with the Viceroy? You said in your letter of 24th March that Mahatmaji was completely fixed in Delhi for several days and could not leave at all. I should have thought that there are more important things for Gandhiji to do now than wait in Delhi. The drift, stalemate etc. of which you complain so much could be brought to an end in no time, if Mahatmaji exerted himself a bit. But on that point you are silent and all the blame is reserved for me.
In your letter of the 23rd March you said, ‘I found later some vague talk among other people that a meeting of the A.I.C.C. should be held. I do not know exactly who were thinking on these lines and what their objective was in holding the meeting, except insofar as it might be a further clarification of the situation.” News travels fast and far and I got the information that some M.L.A.s (Central) were trying to get a requisition signed by members of the A.I.C.C. for an early meeting of that body – as if I was avoiding calling a meeting of the A.I.C.C. and was deliberately causing a deadlock in the affairs of the Congress. Did you not hear any thing of this sort – either at Delhi or elsewhere? If so, do you think that such a move was fair and honorable?
In the same letter (of the 23rd March) you refer to the National Demand resolution and Sarat’s opposing it. As for Sarat’s attitude, he will probably be writing to you about it. But it is not correct to say that apart from his opposition, the resolution was passed unanimously. I have heard from several people that they opposed the resolution- not because there was any thing inherently wrong in it – but because it contained nothing of practical significance. It was like one of those innocuous resolutions which towards the end of every Congress are moved and seconded and passed either unanimously or nem .con.
Really, I fail to understand how you can enthuse so much over this resolution. What practical lead does it give?
In this connection I cannot help remarking that in recent years Congress resolutions are often to verbose and long worded. One should call them ‘Theses’ or ‘essays’ rather than ‘resolutions’. Formally our resolutions used to be brief, pertinent and practical. I am afraid that you have had a hand in giving this new shape and form to our resolutions into lengthy theses.
More than once you have referred in your letters to the ‘adventurist tendencies’ in the Congress of today. What exactly do you mean? It strikes me that you have in view certain individuals. Are you against new men and women coming into the Congress and getting prominence? Do you desire that the top leadership in Congress should be the close preserve of a few individuals? If my memory does not betray me, the Council of the U.P. Provincial Congress Committee once adopted a rule to the effect that in certain Congress organisations, the same individual should not continue as an office-bearer for more than three years. Eventually if this rule was to apply to subordinate organisations and in the higher bodies, the same individuals could continue in the same post for decades. Whatever you might say, we are, in a sense, all adventurers, for life is one long adventure. I should have thought that those who regard themselves as progressive would welcome fresh blood in all ranks of the Congress organisation.
There is no reason for you to think (here I am referring to your letter of the 24th March) that Sarat’s letter was written on my behalf. He has a personality of his own. He got Gandhiji’s telegram asking him to write, after he returned to Calcutta from here. If Gandhiji had not telegraphed in that way, I doubt that if he would have written at all. I must say, however, that there are certain things in his letter to Mahatmaji, which echo my feelings.
Regarding your letter to Sarat, I have a few observations to make. I must infer from your letter that what he wrote about the atmosphere etc. at Tripuri came as a surprise to you. This surprises me. Though I could not move about freely, I had sufficient reports from independent-sources about the morally sickening atmosphere of the place. How you could have moved about the place without sensing it and hearing about it, beats me.
Secondly, you have remarked that at Tripuri personal issues coloured the consideration of other issues. You are right. Only you did not add that though did not speak on the subject either in the Subjects Committee or in the open session of the Congress-you did more than any other individual to accentuate these personal issues and make them prominent in the public eye.
You have said in your letter to Sarat, “It was absurd for any one to say that Subhas’s illness was a fake and none of my colleagues hinted at this to my knowledge.” You must be completely jaundiced to be able to make such a remark when before and at Tripuri, a systematic campaign to that effect was carried on everywhere by my political opponents. This is an additional proof that for some time past you have become completely biased against me (see the beginning of this letter). I do not think that what Sarat has said about the atmosphere etc. at Tripuri is any exaggeration at all.
You have referred to some unsavory reports, which you heard at Tripuri. It is somewhat strange and unbecoming on your part that only such reports impress you to go against us. Let me give you a few examples. Do you know that Bengal is not the only province against which complaints were made regarding the issue of delegates’ tickets? Do you know that a similar complaint was made against Andhra Province? But you mention only Bengal. Again, do you know that when duplicate receipts were issued by Bengal Provincial Congress Committee (B.P.C.C.) office on the ground that the originals were lost, the B.P.C.C. office warned the A.I.C.C. office about the matter and asked the later to be careful while issuing delegates’ tickets? Do you care to enquire as to who was responsible for the error- the B.P.C.C. office or the A.I.C.C. office?
Further, you have referred to large sums being spent in bringing delegates. Don’t you know in which side are to be found the capitalists and moneyed people? Have you heard of lorry-loads of Punjab delegates being brought from Lahore? At whose instance were they brought? Perhaps Dr. Kitchlew could through light on this. A reputed lady Congress worker from Punjab who saw me here five days ago, said that they had been brought under Sardar Patel’s instructions. I do not know. But surely, you should have some sense of impartiality.
Regarding the role of the Congress Ministers at Tripuri, I have two remarks to make. I had requests from a large number of A.I.C.C. members to the effect that voting should be by ballot. On my asking why, they said that if they openly voted against the Congress Ministers they would get into trouble. What is the meaning of this? Secondly, I have the idea of ministers canvassing in this partisan way. No doubt they have constitutional right to do so-but the effect of it will be that in every province there will be splits in the Congress Parliamentary Party. How can the Ministers carry out their work if they do not have the undivided support of all Congress M.L.A’s and M.L.C.s in their respective provinces?
Don’t you agree that at the Tripuri Congress (including the Subjects Committee), the Old Guard played a passive role in the eyes of the public and that the Ministers dominated the scene? Was Sarat wrong when he made this remark?
It is adding insult to injury – as they say –for you to remark in your letter to Sarat that “ The Tripuri resolution envisaged cooperation between the Congress President and Gandhiji.”
You claim in the above letter that you labored to bring about cooperation among Congressmen at Tripuri and before. May I tell you the unpleasant fact that other people hold a different view? In their view, you cannot be absolved of the responsibility for the gulf that the Tripuri Congress created between Congressmen and Congress-men.
I should now invite you to clarify your policy and programme-not in vague generalities but in realistic details. I should also like to know what you are – Socialist or Leftist or Centralist or Rightist or Ganshiist or something else?
There are two admirable sentences in your letter to Sarat, “What pains me most is the overshadowing of all political issues by the personal equation. If there is to be conflict among Congressmen, I earnestly hope that it will be kept on a higher level and will be confined to matters of policy and Principle.” If only you had adhered to your dictum, what a difference it would have made to our Congress politics!
When you say that you do not understand what obstruction there was at Tripuri, I cannot help admiring your ‘naiveté’. The Tripuri Congress, in reality, passed only one resolution, viz. Pant’s resolution, and that resolution was charged with the spirit of pettiness and vindictiveness. The protagonists of truth and non-violence had told the world after the Presidential election that they would not obstruct the majority party and out of a spirit of non-obstruction they resigned their membership of the Working Committee. At Tripuri they did nothing but obstruct. They had right to do so-but why did they make professions which they belied in practice.
I shall refer to a few other things before I finish this unusually long letter.
You referred to the trouble of issue of tickets to Bengal delegates at Tripuri. The other day I read in the papers that at a public meeting in Calcutta, it was stated by a member of the A.I.C.C. that he had heard from some U.P. delegates that similar trouble had taken place with regard to U.P. also.
Don’t you think that the fundamental motive behind Pant’s resolution was to pit Mahatmaji against me? Do you consider such a move to be an honest one, when no breach had taken place between Mahatmaji and myself, at least from my side? If the Old Guard wanted to fight me, why did they not do so in a straightforward manner? Why did they bring Mahatma Gandhi in between us? It was a clever artifice no doubt, but the point is if such a move accords with Truth and Non-violence.
I have already asked you if you consider it fair on the part of Sardar Patel to declare that my re-election would be harmful to the country’s cause. You never said a word that he should withdraw such a remark-thereby indirectly supporting his allegation. Now I would like to ask you what you think of Mahatmaji’s remark to the effect that after all, I am not an enemy of the country. Do you think that such a remark was justified? If not, then did you put in a word on my behalf to Mahatmaji?
What do you think of the trick indulged in by some people by publishing in the daily press, while we were at Tripuri, that Pant’s resolution had the full support of Mahatmaji?
And now, what do you think of Pant’s resolution? There was a rumor at Tripuri that you were one of the authors of it. Is that a fact? Do you approve of this resolution, though you remained neutral at the time of voting? What is your interpretation of it? Was it, in your view, a motion of confidence?
I am sorry that my letter has become so long. It will no doubt tire your patience. But I would not avoid it-there were so many things to say.
Possibly, I shall have to write to you again or issue a press statement. There is an unconfirmed report that in some articles you have been adversely criticizing my Presidentship. When I see your articles I shall be in a position to say some thing on the subject and to compare our work – particularly how far you have advanced the cause of Leftism in two years and I in one year.
If I have used harsh language or hurt your feelings at any place, kindly pardon me. You yourself say that there is nothing like frankness and I have tried to be frank – perhaps brutally frank.
I am progressing steadily, though slowly. Hope you are all right.