Back | Next
ONLINE BOOKS > INDIA OF MY DREAMS > Indian National Congress
Indian National Congress
Indian National Congress which is the oldest national political organization and which has after many battles fought her non-violent way to freedom cannot be allowed to die. It can only die with the nation. A living organism ever grows or it dies. The Congress has won political freedom, but it has yet to win economic freedom, social and moral freedom. These freedom are harder then the political, if only because they are constructive, less exciting and not spectacular. All-embracing constructive work evokes the energy of all the units of the millions.
The Congress has got the preliminary and necessary part of her freedom. The hardest has yet to come. In its difficult ascent to democracy, it has inevitably created rotten boroughs leading to corruption and creation of institutions, popular and democratic only in name. How to get out of the weedy and unwieldy growth?
The Congress must do away with its special register of members, at no time exceeding one crore, not even then easily identifiable. It had an unknown register of millions who could never be wanted. Its register should now be co-extensive with all the men and women on the votersí rolls in the country. The Congress business should be to see that no faked name gets in and no legitimate name is left out. On its own register it will have a body of servants of the nation who would be worked doing the work allotted to them from time to time.
Unfortunately for the country they will be drawn chiefly for the time being from the city dwellers, most of whom would be required to work for and in the villages of India. The ranks must be filled in increasing numbers from villagers.
These servants will be expected to operate upon and serve the voters registered according to law in their own surroundings. Many persons and parties will woo them. The very best will win. Thus and in no other way can the Congress regain its fast ebbing unique position in the country? But yesterday the Congress was unwittingly the servant of the nation; it was Khudai-Khidmatgar-Godís servant. Let it now proclaim to itself and the world that it is only Godís servant-nothing more, nothing less. If it engages in the ungainly skirmish for power, it will find one fine morning that it is no more. Thank God, it is now no longer on role possession of the field.
I have only opened to view the distant scene. If I have the time and health, I hope to discuss in these columns what the servants of the nation can do to raise themselves in the estimation of their masters, the whole of the adult population, male and female.
His Last Will and Testament
[The following draft of a new constitution for the Indian National Congress was prepared by Gandhiji on 29th January, 1948, a day before his death. Being his last piece of writing it may be taken as his ďLast Will and TestamentĒ.]
Though split into two, India having attained political Independence through means provided by the Indian National Congress, the Congress in its present shape and form, i.e., as a propaganda vehicle and parliamentary machine, has outlived its use. India has still to attain social, moral and economic independence in terms of its seven hundred thousand villages as distinguished from its cities and towns. The struggle for the ascendancy of civil over military power is bound to take place in Indiaís progress towards its democratic goal. It must be kept out of unhealthy competition with political parties and communal bodies. For these and other similar reasons, the A.I.C.C. resolves to disband the existing Congress organization and flower into a Lok Sevak Sangh under the following rules with power to alter them as occasion may demand.
Every Panchayat of five adult men or women being villagers or village-minded shall form a unit.
Two such contiguous Panchayats shall form a working party under a leader elected from among them.
When there are one hundred such Panchayats, the fifty first grade leaders shall elect from among themselves a second leader and so on, the first grade leaders meanwhile working under hundred Panchayats shall continue to be formed till they cover the whole of India, each succeeding group of Panchayats electing second grade leaders shall serve jointly for the whole of India and severally for their respective areas. The second grade leaders may elect, whenever they deem necessary, from among themselves a chief who will, during pleasure, regulate and command all the groups.
( As the final formation of provinces or districts is still in a state of flux, no attempt has been made to divide this group of servants into Provincial or District Councils and jurisdiction over the whole of India has been vested in the group or groups that may have been formed at any given time. It should be noted that this body of servants derive their authority or power from service ungrudgingly or wisely done to their master, the whole of India.)
The Sangh shall affiliate the following autonomous bodies:
The Sangh shall raise finances for the fulfillment of its mission from among the villagers and others, special stress being laid on the collection of poor manís pice.
The Last Phase, vol. II, pp. 819-20