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>>

Response to Mahatma Gandhi's Statement

I have read the statement of Mahatma Gandhi on the recent presidential election with all the attention that it deserves. It gives me pain to find that Mahatma Gandhi has taken it as a personal defeat. I would respectfully differ from him on this point. The voters, that is the delegates, were not called upon to vote for or against Mahatma Gandhi. Consequently, the result of the contest does not in my view and in the view of most people affect him personally.

Much has been said in the Press during the last few days about the right- and left-wings in the Congress. Several persons have interpreted the result of the election as a victory for the leftists. The fact is that I placed before the public two main issues, namely, the fight against Federation and free and unfettered choice for the delegates in the matter of choosing their President. These issues must have greatly influenced the voting and over and above these, the personality of the candidates might have had some effect. In the circumstances, I feel that while analysing the significance of the election we should not draw on our imagination nor should we read into it more than it contains.

Assuming for argument's sake that the result of the election implies a victory of the left, we should stop to consider what the leftists' programme is. For the immediate future the leftists stand for national unity and unrelenting opposition to the Federal Scheme. In addition to this, they stand for democratic principles. Leftists will not take the responsibility of creating a split within the Congress. If a split does come it will come not because of them, but in spite of them.

Personally I am definitely of opinion that there is neither reason nor justification for a split within the ranks of the Congress. I, therefore, earnestly hope that there will be no occasion now or in the near future for the so-called minority party to non-cooperate with the so-called majority party. I need hardly add that I will try till the last to avert a split whenever any such likelihood appears before us.

A certain amount of apprehension has been caused in the minds of many as to the policy which people like myself will follow in future. Let me make it quite clear that there will be no violent break with the past in the Parliamentary or in the extra-Parliamentary sphere. So far as the Parliamentary programme is concerned, we shall only try to implement our election pledges and our Parliamentary programme with greater speed than in the past. In the extra-Parliamentary sphere, we shall endeavour to rally all our strength and resources for combating Federation and for pushing on towards 'Purna Swaraj' and we shall, of course, act in accordance with the principles and policy of the Indian National Congress.

In this connection I should also like to say that I have on some occasions felt constrained to differ from Mahatma Gandhi on public questions, but I yield to none in my respect for his personality. If I have understood him correctly, he too would like to see people think for themselves even though they may not always agree with him. I do not know what sort of opinion Mahatmaji has of me. But whatever his view may be, it will always be my aim and object to try and win his confidence for the simple reason that it will be a tragic thing for me if I succeed in winning the confidence of other people but fail to win the confidence of India's greatest man.