March 31, 1939
My dear Mahatmaji,
. . . I shall be grateful if you could let me know your reaction to Pant’s resolution. You are in this advantageous position that you can take a dispassionate view of things – provided of course, you get to know the whole story of Tripuri. Judging from the papers most of the people who have seen you so far seem to belong to one school – namely, those who supported Pant’s resolution But that does not matter. You can easily assess things at their proper value, regardless of the persons who visit you.
You can easily imagine my own view of Pant’s solution. But my personal feelings do not matter so much. In public life we have often to subordinate personal feelings to public considerations. As I have said in a previous letter, whatever one may think of Pant’s resolution from the purely constitutional point of view, since it has been passed by the Congress, I feel bound by it. Now do you regard that resolution as one of no-confidence in me and do you feel that I should resign in consequence thereof? Your view in this matter will influence me considerably.
There is one other matter to which I shall refer in this letter – that is the question of our programme. . . . For months I have been telling friends that there would be a crisis in Europe in spring which would continue till summer. The international situation as well as our own position at home convinced me nearly 8 months ago that the time had come for us to force the issue of Purna Swaraj. . . . For these and other reasons we should lose no time in placing our National Demand before the British Government in the form of an ultimatum. . . .If you do so and prepare for the coming struggle simultaneously I am sure that we shall be able to win Purna Swaraj very soon. The British Government will either respond to our demand without a fight – or, if the struggle does take place in our present circumstances it cannot be a long drawn one. I am so confident and so optimistic on his point that I feel if we take courage in both hands and go ahead we shall have Swaraj inside of 18 months at the most.
I feel so strongly on this point that I am prepared to make any sacrifice in the connection. If you take up the struggle, I shall most gladly help you to the best of my ability. If you feel that the Congress will be able to fight better with another president I shall gladly step aside. If you feel the Congress will be able to fight more effectively with a Working Committee of your choice, I shall gladly fall in line with your wishes. All that I want is that you and the Congress should in this critical hour stand up and resume the struggle for Swaraj. If self-effacement will further the national cause, I assure you most solemnly that I am prepared to efface myself completely. I think I love my country sufficiently to be able to do this.
Pardon me for saying that the way you have been recently conducting the States People’s struggle does not appeal to me.
I may say that many people like myself cannot enthuse over the terms of the Rajkot settlement. We, as well as the Nationalist Press have called it a great victory – but how much have we gained? Sir Maurice Gwyer is neither our man nor is he an independent agent. He is a Government man. What point is there in making him the umpire? We are hoping that his verdict will be in our favour. But supposing he declares against us, what will be our position?
My letter has become to long, so I must stop here. If I have said anything which appears to you to be erroneous, I hope you will pardon me. I know you always like people to speak frankly and openly. That is what has emboldened me in writing this frank and long letter.
With respectful Pranams,
Headlines Everyday brings you this letter while celebrating our joy of freedom and paying salute to our freedom fighters.