Recollections and reflections

Reminiscences, Rafi Ahmad Kidwai

I first came in contact with Subhas Bose in 1923 at Delhi when the Congress was divided into two groups over the question of what was known as 'Council Entry.'...Subhas Babu, as the favourite lieutenant of Deshabandhu, was playing a prominent part in the controversy. more>>

Prepare for Struggle, Speech at Howrah

There is a two-fold distinction. Firstly, the Forward Bloc desires to work the existing programme of the Congress, not with a reformist or moderate mentality, but with a revolutionary mentality. Secondly, it has an advanced programme of its own, which it will try and persuade the Congress to accept. This advanced programme will have as its objective the early attainment of India's independence.

The Forward Bloc, being a platform for all anti-imperialist, radical and progressive groups, including the Socialist Party, will naturally have a friendly attitude towards the existing Leftist parties or groups in the Congress. It will not do anything consciously to weaken or undermine them. The Forward Bloc expects to have members from these parties or groups.

There is no doubt that for some time past we have been drifting towards constitutionalism. This tendency has been considerably accentuated since Congressmen took ministerial office in several provinces. The truly Gandhian spirit of non-violent non-cooperation is being smothered by the newly developed parliamentarian constitutionalist mentality, which is none other than a moderate mentality.

The two-fold task of the Forward BIoc will consequently be: firstly, to instil life and revolutionary impulse into the existing programme of the Congress, and, secondly, to prepare the country for the coming struggle through countrywide agitation and through an advanced radical programme. This advanced programme the Congress will be persuaded to accept in December, if only we do the necessary propaganda and agitation from now.

If it be found ultimately that our parliamentary machinery is incapable of any further advance or any forward move in the battle of freedom, we may have to discard it and fall back exclusively on a mass movement leading on to a mass satyagraha.

I shall mention a few items of the programme. It will be necessary to raise and equip a Congress Volunteer Corps on an all-India basis and develop closer and intimate contacts with other anti-imperialist organisations such as the Kisan Sabha, Trade Union Congress, youth league and student movements, if we want to mobilise all the available revolutionary energy of the nation. In organising the Forward Bloc we intend taking practical steps towards establishment of contact between the Congress and other anti-imperialist organisations.

A further item will be the establishment of closer relationship between the Congress and States peoples' movements. We are of definite opinion that a sub-committee of the Congress should formulate a comprehensive programme for helping and guiding the people's movement in the six hundred odd States. This plan should be given effect to simultaneously all over the country.

Apart from this we would devote our attention to the minority problem, particularly the Hindu-Muslim question. In spite of assurances given to minorities and Muslims in particular, through several successive resolutions of the Congress, the fact remains that we have not succeeded in rallying them to a common platform. The announcement of the formation of the Forward Bloc has evoked such favourable reactions from minority communities that we are led to hope that, through the instrumentality of the Forward Bloc and its radical programme, we may be able to establish real unity.