Significance of the National Week

For nearly two decades, the National Week has been celebrated by the Indian National Congress throughout the country from April 6 to 13, both days inclusive. The last date of the week coincides with the anniversary of the day when the Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place at Amritsar in 1919.

It may appear queer to many that the National Week is being observed all these years to remind us on one of the most shameful and humiliating episodes in the history of British rule in India. But there is an obvious and legitimate ground for our doing so.

It often happens that, when the nation loses its freedom and self-respect, humiliation, persecution and suffering bring about a re-birth of its national soul. Our object in celebrating the National Week is not to rouse hatred against the British, but to remind us of the depth to which we have fallen from lofty heights, and thereby stimulate our progress towards national liberation and self-fulfillment.

During this week there should be nation-wide activity for the coming struggle, through elevation of our individual and national character. Above all, the greatest stress should be laid on the constructive forms of activity, for instance, propagation of Khadi, vigorous enrolment of primary Congress members, promotion of Prohibition and the anti-untouchability campaign, drive against illiteracy, promotion of inter-communal understanding, etc.

Last but not least, I would earnestly appeal to all Congressmen to put forward their utmost effort in the direction of rooting out corruption and weakness within our ranks and to see to it that members enlisted are genuine Congress members. In this task we should seek the cooperation of all anti-imperialist organisations, particularly trade unions and Kisan Sabhas, and thus further the endeavour to establish closer and more harmonious relations between the Congress and such anti-imperialist organisations, so that we may be able to build up a broad anti-imperialist front. If we can utilise the National Week in this way, we can make a distinct advance towards our goal of political and economic emancipation.