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
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
[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
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.)
Every worker shall be
habitual wearer of Khadi made from self-spun yarn or certified by the
A.I.S.A. and must be a teetotaler. If a Hindu, he must have abjured
untouchability in any shape or form in his own person or in his family
and must be a believer in the ideal of inter-communal unity, equal
respect for all religions and equality of opportunity and status for all
irrespective of race, creed or sex.
- He shall come in personal contact with every villager within his jurisdiction.
- He shall enroll and train workers from amongst the villagers and shall keep a register of
- He shall keep a record of his work from day to day.
- He shall organize the villages so as to make them self contained and self-supporting through
their agriculture and handicrafts.
- He shall educate the village folk in sanitation and hygiene and take all measures for
prevention of ill health and disease among them.
- He shall organize the education of the village folk from birth to death along the lines of Nai
Talim, in accordance with the policy laid down by the Hindustani Talimi
- He shall see that those whose names are missing on the statutory votersí roll are duty
- He shall encourage those who have not yet acquired the legal qualification, to acquire it
for getting the right of franchise.
- For the above purposes and others to be added from time to time, he shall train and fit himself
in accordance with the rule laid down by the Sangh for the due
performance of duty.
The Sangh shall affiliate the following autonomous bodies:
- Hindustani Talim Sangh.
- Harijan Sevak Sangh.
- Goseva Sangh.
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