Sardar Patel's Indictment - Wavell has succumbed to Jinnah's Veto!! - 2

Continued from Sardar Patel's Indictment - Wavell has succumbed to Jinnah's Veto!! - 1


IF MY PRESUMPTION is not the object for the breakdown of the conference, then what is, Sardar Saheb? The usual object, I suppose, he replied, to make the world believe that the British were trying their best to hand over the reins of Government to India -- but the Indians simply will not hold them, that their political parties could not agree among themselves.


Happily the Congress has done enough this time to be completely absolved from any blame for the wreckage. If the Government were banking on the hope that the Congress would refuse to participate and negotiate would refuse to take up ministries, they were miserably flouted.


For Congress made every possible endeavour by way of compromise, persuasion and patience and in face of a violent cross-fire from many of its own sympathisers for sacrificing so much of its prestige, to arrive at some understanding and subsequent settlement in the interest of the country.


When I mentioned to Vallabhbhai; why the Congress Working Committee had not insisted on the release of the detenues alongwith the leaders and made the same a condition of Congress participation in the Conference, he told me that the Congress did not wish to give any bone whatever to the British to blame them for not showing an unqualified spirit of co-operation.


So, the Congress went even so far as letting its army rot in jail a while longer -- so that there should be no hitch in the chances of a settlement. What more could it have done?


At the time when it looked likely that Wavell would overrule Jinnah, the Rt. Hon'ble Dr. M. R. Jayakar had told me that the great danger of a well organized body like the Congress taking up power for the first time is that it refuses to forget that it is a party instead of a parens pairi that it is now the Government of the entire country and not a narrow, selfish, organization.


But Dr. Jayakar had added that in other countries, this transformation had taken sometime to come about and it may be so in India. But that he would be content if the Congress adheres to the excellent beginning it had made in its selections to the Cabinet. He would indeed regard it as a safe augury of future success.


Congress has indeed proved itself to be parens pairi.

THE QUESTION OF ANY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CONGRESS AND THE LEAGUE DOES NOT ARISE AT ALL, VALLABHBHAI SETH POINTED OUT, IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE GOVERNMENT ITSELF DID NOT AGREE WITH THE LEAGUE.

In his summing-up speech, the Viceroy himself did not suggest anything that the Congress should do or should have done. It proves that Congress conduct was impeccable.

I asked the Congress "Chief of Staff" what he thought Jinnah meant by saying that we would know who was responsible for the _______when the Azad-W__ pondence wa____

 

The Sardar just ____ couldn't figure it out, Pro____ Jinnah, having published his own correspondence with His Excellency without the latter's knowledge, wanted to draw out the Congress and make it sail in the same boat as himself.

Of course, the Congress know better etiquette and would have none of it and would publish the correspondence only with the knowledge and acquiescence of the Viceroy. That was however, all the reason that Vallabhbhai could attach to Jinna's boast. As a matter of fact there was not even any mention of the League in the correspondence of the Congress President with Lord Wavell.

I was curious to know why the Viceroy had so unequivocally taken the blame of the failure on himself. Was there a catch in it? Was he counting on attracting world sympathy and appreciation for the British effort and spirit?

The Sardar took a more lenient view. He attributed the Viceroy's self-blame to his anxiety not to upset the atmosphere for another attempt.

So another attempt was the offing. The cat will soon be out of the bag. What sort of a "cat" will it be this time. I asked bitterly. Oh, I wouldn't take such a pessimistic view of things, one of our national brains trust men cheered me up. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE BRITISH TO HOLD THE COUNTRY ANYMORE.

Why, Sardarji, I asked, why do you say that when they held us during the worst times? You mean during the war, rejoined Mr. Vallabhbhai, yes, but during the time, do not forget their administration has broken down miserably. THE PRESIDENT ADMINISTRATION IS NO CREDIT TO THEM AND IT IS GOING FROM BAD TO WORSE.

ON THE OTHER HAND,  THE CONGRESS ORGANIZATION HAS GAINED ENORMOUS STRENGTH AND PRESTIGE IN THE MEANTIME AND THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE FORCED TO REMOVE SOME OF THE RESTRICTIONS PLACED ON THE CONGRESS AS A RESULT OF WHICH IT WILL SOON BE FUNCTIONING NORMALLY AGAIN.

We should know in the course of the next three or four weeks.

That is a very heartening prospect, I commented, but don't you think that the moment you start functioning normally again, they will clamp you all back in jail?

To this the Congress Chief replied emphatically : THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT CANNOT HELP GIVING US A FREE REIN UNLESS THEY WANT TO ENTER A CONFLICT EVEN BIGGER THAN 1942.

And what will be the nature of this free rein, when you have it, I enquired, meaning what would be the future Congress programme. That I cannot say, replied Sardarji, at the moment we are collecting facts and figures from provinces.

And after all, you must not forget that we are just out of jail - and hardly yet out of bed - and lying back wearily on his couch, he added a deft closing touch-as you can ace.

 

Article : BLITZ, July 28, 1945 – By Homi J. H. Taleyarkhan

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