Declaration of Independence resolution in Calcutta Congress - 1928

  • You may ask what we shall gain by this resolution of Independence. I say, we develop a new mentality. After all, what is the fundamental cause of our political degradation? It is a question of mentality, and if you want to overcome the slave mentality you do so by encouraging our countrymen to stand for full and complete independence

  • Speaking for myself, I stand for an independent Federal Republic. That is the ultimate goal which I have before me. India must fulfil her own destiny and cannot be content with colonial self-government or Dominion Home Rule

  • The usual argument that India without the help of Britain cannot defend herself is puerile. It is the Indian army—much more than the British army—which is defending India today

  • While striving to attain liberty we have to note all its implications. You cannot free one half of your soul and keep the other half in bondage. You cannot introduce a light into a room and expect at the same time that some portion of it will remain dark. You cannot establish political democracy and endeavour at the same time to resist the democratization of the society

  • While I do not condemn any patch-up work that may be necessary for healing communal sores, I would urge the necessity of discovering a deeper remedy for our communal troubles. It is necessary for the different religious groups to be acquainted with the traditions, ideals and history of one another, because cultural intimacy will pave the way towards communal peace and harmony. I venture to think that the fundamental basis of political unity between different communities lies in cultural rapprochement. As things stand today, the different communities inhabiting India are too exclusive

  • I have often been asked how the end will come, how the bureaucracy will ultimately be forced to accede to our terms. I have no misgivings in this matter for I have already had a foretaste of what will come. The movement will reach its climax in a sort of general strike or country-wide hartal coupled with a boycott of British goods. Along with the strike or hartal to bring about which labour and the National Congress will heartily co-operate, there will be some form of civil disobedience because the bureaucracy is not likely to sit idle while a strike is going on. It is also possible that there may be non-payment of taxes in some form or other, but this is not essential. When the crisis is reached the average Britisher at home will feel that to starve India politically means economic starvation for him. And the bureaucracy in India will find that it is impossible to carry on the administration in the face of a country-wide non-co-operation movement

Speech at the third session of the All-India Youth Congress, Calcutta December 25,1928

  • In India we want today a philosophy of activism. We must be inspired by robust optimism. We have to live in the present and to adapt ourselves to modern conditions

  • I am not one of those who in their zeal for modernism forget the glories of the past. We must take our stand on our past. India has a culture of her own which she must continue to develop along her own distinctive channels. In philosophy, literature, art and science we have something new to give to the world which the world eagerly awaits. In a word, we must arrive at a synthesis

Presidential address at the Rangpur Political Conference, March 30, 1929

  • Truth alone is our ideal and that explains why in spite of many inroads on Bengal in culture, civilization, literature and religion, she always assimilated the truth of the newcomers, keeping her individuality intact all the while

  • The gospel of democracy that was preached by Swami Vivekananda has manifested itself fully in the writings and achievements of Deshbandhu Das, who said that Narayan lives amongst those who till the land, prepare our bread by the sweat of their brow, those who in the midst of grinding poverty have kept the torch of our civilization, culture and religion burning

  • We must not forget that the Russians, the main disciples of Karl Marx, have not blindly followed his ideas ; finding it difficult to apply his theories they have adopted a new economic policy consistent with possession of private property and ownership of business factories. We have therefore to shape society and politics according to our own ideals and according to our needs. This should be the aim of every Indian

Students’ Conference held at Lahore, 19 October, 1929

  • All the aspects of national life are inter-related and all its problems are interwoven. This being the case, it will be found that in a subject race all the evils and all the shortcomings can be traced to a political cause, viz., political servitude. Consequently students cannot afford to blind themselves to the all-important problem of how to achieve our political emancipation

  • The gospel of democracy that was preached by Swami Vivekananda has manifested itself fully in the writings and achievements of Deshbandhu Das, who said that Narayan lives amongst those who till the land, prepare our bread by the sweat of their brow, those who in the midst of grinding poverty have kept the torch of our civilization, culture and religion burning

  • Thought without action cannot suffice to build character, and for this reason participation in healthy activity—political, social or artistic, is necessary for developing character. Book-worms, gold-medalists and office clerks are not what universities should endeavour to produce, but men of character who will become great by achieving greatness for their country in different spheres 

  • We shall have to hold out before the students a vision of the ideal society which they should try to realize in their own lifetime. They should chalk out for themselves a programme of action which they should try to follow to the best of their ability, so that while performing their duties as students they may at the same time prepare themselves for their post-university career

  • Asia is at the present moment busy throwing off the yoke of thralldom, and the time is not far off when rejuvenated Asia will rise resplendent in power and glory out of the darkness of the past and take her legitimate place in the comity of free nations

  • Indian civilization has emerged out of the dark ages and is now entering on a new lease of life. At one time there was a genuine danger that our civilization might die a normal death like the civilizations of Phoenicia and Babylon. But it has once again survived the onslaught of time. If we want to continue the work of rejuvenation that has begun, we must bring about a revolution of ideas, in the world of thought, and an intermingling of blood on the biological plane

  • By freedom I mean all-round freedom, i.e., freedom for the individual as well as for society; freedom for the rich as well as for the poor; freedom for men as well as women; freedom for all individuals and for all classes. This freedom implies not only emancipation from political bondage but also equal distribution of wealth, abolition of caste barriers and social inequities, and destruction of communalism and religious intolerance

  • life has but one meaning and one purpose, namely freedom from bondage of every kind. This hunger after freedom is the song of the soul—and the very first cry of the new-born babe is a cry of revolt against the bondage in which it finds itself. Rouse this intense desire for freedom within yourselves and in your countrymen, and I am sure India will be free in no time

  • Even at the risk of being called a chauvinist, I would say to my countrymen that India has a mission to fulfil, and it is because of this that India still lives. There is nothing mystic in this word ‘mission’. India has something original to contribute to the culture and civilization of the world in almost every department of human life. In the midst of her present degradation and slavery, the contribution she has been making is by no means a small one. Just imagine for a moment how great her contribution will be once she is free to develop along her own lines and in accordance with her own requirements

  • Let us break with the past, destroy all the shackles which have bound us for ages, and like true pilgrims let us march shoulder to shoulder towards our destined goal of freedom. Freedom means life, and death in the pursuit of freedom means glory imperishable. Let us therefore resolve to be free, or at least die in the pursuit of freedom

Karachi conference of the All-India Naujawan Bharat Sabha, March 27, 1931 (Presidential address)

  • To summarize what I have said, I want a Socialist Republic in India. The message I have to give is one of complete, all-round, undiluted freedom. Until the radical or revolutionary elements are stirred up we cannot get freedom, and we cannot stir up the revolutionary elements among us except by inspiring them with a new message which comes from the heart and goes straight to the heart

  • I do not believe that the Congress programme can win freedom for India. The programme by which I believe freedom can be achieved is : (1) Organization of peasants and workers on a socialistic programme. (2) Organization of youth into Volunteer Corps under strict discipline (3) Abolition of the caste system and the eradication of social and religious superstitions of all kinds. (4) Organization of women’s associations for getting our womenfolk to accept the gospel and work out the new programme. (5) Intensive programme for boycott of British goods. (6) Creation of new literature for propagating the new cult and programme

  • India is the key-stone to the world edifice and a free India spells the destruction of Imperialism throughout the world. Let us, therefore, rise to the occasion and make India free so that humanity may be saved

Presidential address at the fifty-first session of the Congress at Haripura, February 19, 1938

  • Every empire is based on the policy of divide and rule. But I doubt if any empire in the world has practised this policy so skilfully, systematically and ruthlessly as Great Britain. The British Empire at the present moment is suffering from strain at a number of points. Within the Empire in the extreme West there is Ireland and in the extreme East, India. In the middle lies Palestine with the adjoining countries of Egypt and Iraq. Outside the Empire there is the pressure exerted by Italy in the Mediterranean and Japan in the Far East, both of these countries being militant, aggressive and imperialist. Against this background of unrest stands Soviet Russia whose very existence strikes terror into the hearts of the ruling classes in every imperialist State. How long can the British Empire withstand the cumulative effect of this pressure and strain?

  • Today, Britain can hardly call herself the Mistress of the Seas. Her phenomenal rise in the 18th and 19th centuries was the result of her sea-power. Her decline as an empire in the 20th century will be the outcome of the emergence of a new factor in world history—air force

  • Our goal is that of an Independent India and in my view that goal can be attained only through a Federal Republic in which the States will be willing partners

  • The objective of the Congress is an independent and united India where no class or group or majority or minority may exploit another to its own advantage, and where all the elements in the nation may co-operate together for the common good and the advancement of the people of India. This objective of unity and mutual co-operation in a common freedom does not mean the suppression in any way of the rich variety and cultural diversity of Indian life, which have to be preserved in order to give freedom and opportunity to the individual as well as to each group to develop unhindered according to its capacity and inclination

  • I shall merely add that only by emphasizing our common interests, economic and political, can we cut across communal divisions and dissensions. A policy of live and let live in matters religious, and an understanding in matters economic and political, should be our objective

  • So far as the religious and social disabilities of the so-called depressed classes are concerned, it is well known that during the last seventeen years the Congress has left no stone unturned in the efforts to remove them, and I have no doubt that the day is not far off when such disabilities will be things of the past

  • Like the President of Eire, I should also say that we have no enmity towards the British people. We are fighting Great Britain and we want the fullest liberty to determine our future relations with her. But once we have real self-determination, there is no reason why we should not enter into the most cordial relations with the British people

  • I know that there are friends who think that after freedom is won the Congress Party, having achieved its objective, should wither away. Such a conception is entirely erroneous. The party that wins freedom for India should be also the party that will put into effect the entire programme of post-war reconstruction. Only those who have won power can handle it properly. If other people are pitchforked into seats of power which they were not responsible for capturing, they will lack that strength, confidence and idealism which is indispensable for revolutionary reconstruction...No, there can be no question of the Congress Party withering away after political freedom has been won. On the contrary, the party will have to take over power, assume responsibility for administration and put through its programme of reconstruction. Only then will it fulfill its role. If it were forcibly to liquidate itself, chaos would follow....The existence of more than one party and the democratic basis of the Congress Party will prevent the future Indian State becoming a totalitarian one. Further, the democratic basis of the party will ensure that leaders are not thrust upon the people from above, but are elected from below

  • The very first thing which our future national government will have to do would be to set up a commission for drawing up a comprehensive plan of reconstruction. This plan will have two parts—an immediate programme and a long-period programme. In drawing up the first part, the immediate objectives which will have to be kept in view will be three-fold: firstly, to prepare the country for self sacrifice ; secondly, to unify India; and, thirdly, to give scope for local and cultural autonomy

  • While unifying the country through a strong Central Government, we shall have to put all the minority communities as well as the provinces at their ease, by allowing them a large measure of autonomy in cultural as well as governmental affairs. Special efforts will be needed to keep our people together when the load of foreign domination is removed, because alien rule has demoralized and disorganized us to a degree. To promote national unity we shall have to develop our lingua franca and a common script

  • With regard to the long-period programme for a free India, the first problem to tackle is that of our increasing population. I do not desire to go into the theoretical question as to whether India is over populated or not. I simply want to point out that where poverty, starvation and disease are stalking the land, we cannot afford to have our population mounting up by thirty millions during a single decade. If the population goes up by leaps and bounds, as it has done in the recent past, our plans are likely to fall through. It will, therefore, be desirable to restrict our population until we are able to feed, clothe and educate those who already exist

  • Regarding reconstruction, our principal problem will be how to eradicate poverty from our country. That will require radical reform of our land system, including the abolition of landlordism. Agricultural indebtedness will have to be liquidated and provision made for cheap credit for the rural population. An extension of the co-operative movement will be necessary for the benefit of both producers and consumers. Agriculture will have to be put on a scientific basis with a view to increasing the yield from the land

  • A comprehensive scheme of industrial development under State ownership and State control will be indispensable. A new industrial system will have to be built up in place of the old one, which has collapsed as a result of mass production abroad and alien rule at home. The Planning Commission will have to consider carefully and decide which of the home industries could be revived despite the competition of modern factories, and in which sphere large-scale production should be encouraged

  • The first thing to do is to change the composition and character of the bureaucracy. If this is not done, the Congress Party may come to grief. In every country, the Ministers come and go but the steel frame of the permanent services remains. If this is not altered in composition and character, the governmental party and its Cabinet are likely to prove ineffective in putting their principles into practice

  • A disciplined Volunteer Corps manned by trained officers is exceedingly necessary. Moreover education and training should be provided for our political workers, so that we may produce a better type of leaders in future

Presidential address at All India Forward Bloc Conference, June 1940

 

  1. The wheels of history are grinding on, quite regardless of what we may be doing in India. But in order to fully utilize the opportunity which international events have presented to us, we must have sufficient unity and solidarity among ourselves. If India could speak with one voice today, our demand would indeed be well-nigh irresistible. It follows, as a consequence, that while we should think of intensifying the national struggle and widening its scope, we should at the same time try to develop national unity and solidarity to the maximum limit

  2. We should also bear in mind that the Forward Bloc will have a role to play in the post-struggle phase of our history. It will have to preserve liberty after winning it and it will have to build up a new India and a happy India on the basis of the eternal principles of liberty, democracy and socialism

  3. Let us not commit the fatal mistake of thinking that our mission will be over, once we win our freedom. The organization or party that wins freedom must undertake the responsibilities of post-war reconstruction. Only in this manner will continuity of progress be maintained

  4. India must in this grave crisis think of herself first. If she can win freedom now and then save herself, she will best serve the cause of humanity. It is for the Indian people to make an immediate demand for the transference of power to them through a Provisional National Government. No constitutional difficulties can be put forward by the British Government with a view to resisting this demand, because legislation for this purpose can be put through Parliament in twenty-four hours. When things settle down inside India and abroad, the Provisional National Government will convene a Constituent Assembly for framing a full-fledged Constitution for this country

Youth Conference in Nagpur, Nov 20, 1929

One who desires to swim with the tide of popular approbation on all occasion may become the hero of the hour, but he cannot live in history, neither he can create history. If we aspire to become makers of history, we should be prepared for any amount of misunderstanding and for any degree of persecution. For the most unselfish actions we should be prepared to get abuse and vilification. From our closest friends we should be prepared to get unwarranted hostility.

GIVE ME BLOOD! I PROMISE YOU FREEDOM - A speech delivered in Burma on July 4, 1944 - Excerpts

 

I am so very hopeful and optimistic about the outcome of our struggle because I do not rely merely on the efforts of the three million Indians in the East Asia. There is a gigantic movement going on inside India and millions of our countrymen are prepared for maximum suffering and sacrifice in order to achieve liberty..... Consequently we have now an ideal combination of circumstances favouring the success of our struggle - and all that is wanted is that Indians should themselves come forward to pay the price of liberty.

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