Congress Hierarchy and Madras Premier

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel broke, in a speech at Karachi, the long silence of the Congress hierarchy on the arrest and conviction of anti-Hindi agitators in Madras under the Criminal Law Amendment Acts. He said that the Congress is now, as before it accepted office, opposed to these laws. But their use was necessitated in Madras by local conditions and by the use of vulgar and obscene language by picketers. He foreshadowed the repeal of the Acts within two months. As regards local conditions, we are not aware of any special conditions in Madras which require the use of a law which was condemned as oppressive and repressive when applied to the whole country by the Willingdon Government which, to do it justice, did not profess to be a popular Government. On the contrary, the Tamil land has perhaps the most law-abiding population in the whole country. Neither is the Sardar well-informed when he alleged that the opposition to the application of the Act came from a small section which was at the back of the anti-Hindi agitation. The opposition to compulsory Hindi is widespread, although the Madras Government may choose to belittle it just as Lord Lansdowne laughed at the Congress as a microscopic minority. The opposition to the application of the Act is not confined to the anti-Hindi campaigners. Mr. T. T. Krishnamachari who moved for leave to introduce a Bill for its repeal, definitely declared that he had no sympathy whatever with that agitation. He was not a non-Brahmin member of the Justice Party which is said to be working up the agitation to overthrow the Congress. Then, as regards vulgar language, the Sardar himself is no Chrysostom. He can no occasion rise or descend to language which Gandhiji would not admit at his prayer meetings. The that the Act stands to be repealed within two months, is wholly against the tenor of the many speeches which the Madras Premier has recently made on the subject. If it does come to pass then Mr. Rajagopalachari will cease to be regarded, as he is, as the one strong man of the Congress who goes his own way regardless of what happens at Wardha or Shegaon The country will watch with interest the progress of this political khedda operation.

Source : Indian Social Reformer - 3rd September1938