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Nehru and GandhiLet us not Self-Respecters, fall foul of Mahatma Gandhi, when he insists that only persons having Congress mentality should have predominant representation in the forthcoming Round Table Conference. It reveals a very interesting development of his mentality and his motives.

For one thing this dramatic gesture of the Viceroy has taken the wind out of the political sails of Mahatmaji. Even though he has been protesting all along that he has become a back member in politics and must make room for younger men, as when he espoused the name of Jawaharlal Nehru to the Presidentship of the Indian National Congress, Still, in his creeping old age and in enfeebled health, and after his numerous Himalayan blunders in the past when young, still, one cannot but regret, that he has not outgrown his passion for the limelight and the mentality of the naughty child which characterizes the average Congressman of today.

Again, there is the observation of an Ex-president of the Indian National Congress, a very shrewd lawyer, and perhaps a very much disappointed man at the present moment: “To those who got into the Simon Boycott Omnibus, it is a relief to find some talk of a Round Table Conference which offers some salvage of personal self-respect.” He is the only man who had the courage to proclaim it that in the Self-respect Movement the Madras Congresswallah was meeting his Fate.

The question is why should we Self-Respectors stand in the way of the Congressman, who with all his naughtiness, and silliness and impossible conditions is now merely attempting to save his face; why should we, Non-Brahmins, who welcomed the Simon Commission at considerable discount to our political dignity and self-respect and who have had our innings before the Statutory Commission, why should we foil the attempt of the Congressman to have the greatest possible representation at that Conference? Why not allow him the longest possible rope for committing political suicide?

If I had my way I would permit the Congressman to stew in his own juice. It would be the height of political folly in those who participated in welcoming the Simon Commission to put any spoke into the wheel of the Congressman. For one thing, the Non-Brahmins must look back. They were dubbed traitors and arch-fiends, sneered at, laughed it and wept over, by these same virtuous people, when the Non- Brahmins barely did the courteous thing in welcoming the Simon Commission.

We shall take a leaf out of the Congressman’s political gospel and just turn up our nose at the Round Table Conference, if the Congressman is going to have predominant representation. We shall not, of course, be childish enough to run to black flags, caste excommunications and so forth.

What have we Self-Respectors to do with any Table in which the Congressman predominates? If the Congressman thinks that he is the only pebble on the beach or that he is some sort of Special Providence for the political future on India, let us leave him severely alone.

“And do unto others as you would be done by”.

Boycott is a game at which two can play. Let not the Congressman forget that. If he gets predominance as he claims it, let us boycott that predominance. It is due to our self-respect to do it. We stood by the Statutory Commission right through and we are not going to leave it alone at this moment. We should not adopt the policy of hunting with the hounds and running with the hare. Let us leave it to the intelligentsia, our masters.

(Revolt, 24 November 1929)


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