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 reception after Election as President

Since yesterday morning excitement has been running high in the city and since last evening excitement has changed into jubilation. You have gathered here today in your thousands to offer me your congratulations. But may I ask you to whom the victory belongs? The victory belongs to those delegates who voted on this side, to the public who are behind those delegates and to the ideas and principles which actuated those delegates. The victory belongs also to those provinces who gave us a large number of votes. I have been saying from the very beginning that there is nothing personal in this contest — that is why such a keen contest took place without a trace of bitterness or rancour.

Though it is not I who deserve the congratulations, I cannot but express to you my profound thankfulness for the affection and hearty goodwill underlying such a tumultuous ovation. It Is affection and goodwill which steel our hearts in times of adversity and enable us to undergo ever untold persecution and hardship. I consider myself fortunate that I have received the affections of my countrymen in abundance. I only hope and pray that with the blessings of Providence and your wishes, I may be able to prove myself worthy of your affection and trust.

There is one appeal I have to make to you in this connection. We should not be so foolish as to accept the verdict of the delegates in a spirit of elation or jubilation. On the contrary, we should accept it in a spirit of humility and deep sense of responsibility. I would beg you to ponder over the implications of this contest and of its sequels and then to act accordingly. What are the problems which will confront us in the immediate future and how shall we solve them?

Do you regard yourself as more progressive than the older generation? If so how are you going to demonstrate your superiority? Do you criticise or condemn your elders needlessly? If so, how can you do so unless you resolve to improve on their record of service? In this hour of rejoicing do not utter a word or do anything which may hurt the feelings of anybody or cast reflection on any person. Friends, I have often said that the coming year or two is going to be a momentous period in the history of India. How are you going to acquit yourselves in this crisis? You should do a great deal of heart-searching and prepare for the task that tomorrow has in store for you. At the present moment I feel overwhelmed with a feeling of humility and a deep sense of responsibility. We have to give a much better account of ourselves in the future than we have ever done in the past. Let us lose no time but prepare for that task from today.