The Pandit's Dilemma | Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru has been moved to write out his reflections on the situation in the Congress created by the Tripuri developments. He has, as he has himself stated in his autobiography, often suppressed his own convictions in deference to Gandhiji. He had persuaded himself that by doing so he would be best serving the cause or causes which he had at heart. But Tripuri has aroused in him serious doubts as to the rightness of his conduct in doing so. Undoubtedly by his acquiescent attitude he led other less glamorous politicians similarly to swallow their convictions and follow Gandhiji blindly. In our opinion, as suggested last week, Gandhiji is less to blame than acquiescent friends like the Pandit, for the uncomfortable pedestal on which he finds himself perched beyond reach of human counsel. Gandhiji has frankly proclaimed that he has broken his compass and cannot find his bearings in the troubled sea of Indian politics. His friends, Rajagopalacharya, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and now Latthe (of all men) have come forward to proclaim their unswerving "faith" in Gandhiji, Pandit Nehru, on the other hand, finds himself in a terrible dilemma.

As President of the States People's Conference, the Pandit had thought of taking the lead in the Rajkot trouble. But GAndhiji stepped into the scene and for fear of coming into conflict with him the Pandit silently abdicted his office. He could not, he says functions where he did not understand. "I do not understand the logic at all of what has taken place." The fault is the Pandit's. He was like the proverbial blind man seeking in a dark room for the black cat which was not there. The events in Rajkot were not conceived or carried out in any logical sequence. Gandhiji has many qualities in common with the British which makes him so effective in dealing with Simla and Whitehall. Prominent among these is a contempt for theory and logic. The Pandit writes :

But more and more the choice before many of us becomes difficult, and this is no question of Right or Left or even of political decisions. The choice is of unthinking acceptance of decisions which sometimes contradict each other and have no logical sequence; or opposition or inaction. Not one of these three courses is easily commendable. To accept unthinkingly what one cannot appreciate or willingly agrees to, produces ultimately mental flabbiness and paralysis. No great movement can be carried on this basis, certainly not a democratic movement. Opposition is difficult when it weakens us and helps the adversary. Inaction produces frustration and all manner of complexes, and is hardly conceivable when from every side comes the call for action.

These are not the only alternatives and what makes the Pandit think they are, is that his vision has been blurred by the darkness in which he has so long confined himself in the honest but mistaken belief that he is thereby advancing the cause of Indian freedom. He has now awakened to the fact which was plain as can be for several years past, that "the acceptance unthinkingly of what one cannot appreciate or willingly agree to, produces ultimately mental flabbiness and paralysis." Did not Sarojini Naidu say at some election meeting in the United Provinces that if Congress nominates a stick as a candidate all should vote for it? The fourth alternative which has escaped the PAndit's observation, always remains. Every man can work for the cause he has at heart according to his own ideas. The great movements which have shaken the world in the past originated in one or a few minds. A crowd is an encumbrance not a help to constructive thinking. Reading the Pandit's articles brings to mind Hamlet's pathetic lines :
The time is out of Joint : O cursed spite,

That ever I was born to set it right.