Pradhan H Prasad


The most significant and scientific statement1 in the context of poverty in India was made by Jawaharlal Nehru as back as in 1929, ‘‘If we are to eradicate poverty, we must first do away with this widespread unemployment’’2. In view of this Gandhi and many others had emphasized development of agriculture through widespread expansion of irrigation and rapid expansion of small, village, household and cottage industries along with the growth of petty trading so as to generate widespread employment3. Gandhi's assertion about ‘‘The need for providing irrigation facilities to all villages’’ was no less scientific. To suggest that these were retrograde approaches to India’s progress meant a poor understanding of competence of scientific advancement to enhance productivity of labour in a largely labour intensive technological syndrome5. The administrative system which was perceived to take India along this path of progress was a federal structure of democratic and autonomous village and ward panchayats6. This was supposed to involve masses directly with democratic process of development. But the British imperialism was on a completely different wavelength.

The civil administrative system which was created by the British, had its paramount objective of governance through terror so that Indians may dare not even think of protest (let alone the act of protest) against British rule and its exploitative practices. That is why Gandhi did not find it ‘‘particularly useful to the country’’ and Jawaharlal Nehru found it as ‘‘the most inefficent body of service in the world’’. The elections which were initiated under the Government of India Act, 1935, were designed to boost corruption, increasing use of muscle and money power

muscle and money power and a low level of consciousness among the elected ones which would play a role of an accessory rather than of a political master, to the non-elected bureaucracy of the colonial system of administration. Jawaharalal Nehru had perceived some aspects of this nefarious design which is evident from his letter written to Gandhi on August 13,1934, where he says, ‘‘The leading figures of the Congress suddenly became those people who had obstructed us, held us back, kept aloof from the struggle and even co-operated with the opposite party in the time of our direct need. They became the high priests in our temple of freedom and many a brave soldier who had shouldered the burden in the heat and dust of the fray, was not allowed in the temple preciencts’’. It was the crafy manner of introduction of the phony democracy by the British imperialism and the low key of the struggle which created such a turbulence in the Congress.

Churchill and his colleagues had realized, following the outbreak of Second World War that India could not be held under military occupation of Britain for long and therefore they decided, at the same time, to salvage what they could out of the wreckage.