During the Czechoslovak crisis, what I saw of Franco-British statesmanship in Prague and in the Sudetenland, in London and Paris, and in Geneva where the League Assembly was then sitting, amazed and disgusted me. Appeasement seemed to be a feeble word for it. There was behind it not only a fear of Hitler, but a sneaking admiration for him….
For long years before the war my mind was full of the war that was Coming. I thought of it, and spoke of it, and wrote about it, and prepared myself mentally for it. I wanted India to take an eager and active part in the mighty conflict, for I felt that high principles would be at stake, and out of this conflict would come great and revolutionary changes in India and the world…. But I was convinced that only as a free country and an equal could she function in this way.
That was the attitude of the National Congress, the one great organization in India which consistently for all these years had been anti-fascist and anti-nazi, as it had been anti-imperialist. It had stood for Republican Spain, for Czechoslovakia, and throughout for China.
And now for nearly two years the Congress has been declared illegal — outlawed and prevented from functioning in any way. The Congress is in prison. Its elected members of the provincial parliaments, its speakers of these parliaments, its ex-ministers, its mayors and presidents of municipal corporations, are in prison.
(Selected and edited by Mridula Mukherjee, former Professor of History at JNU and former Director of Nehru Memorial Museum and Library)
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