Our mutual friend Sudhir Ghosh tells me that you would like me to reduce to writing the points I told him to discuss informally with you and Sir Stafford.
One is universal among all independence-minded people as distinguished from the dumb millions, whether Congressmen or other. It is the immediate release of political prisoners irrespective of the charge of violence or non-violence. They cannot be a danger to the State now that the necessity for independence has become common cause. It seems to be ridiculous to keep, say Shri Jayaprakash Narayan and Dr. Lohia, both learned and cultured men of whom any society would be proud, nor is there any occasion for beating any person as an underground worker. To leave the question of discharge for disposal by the incoming national Government would be a step no one will understand or appreciate. Independence will lose its grace.
The other affects the masses. I refer to the salt tax. As a means of raising revenue, it is insignificant. As a means of harassing the masses, it is a measure of which the mischief is indescribable. The masses will hardly appreciate independence if the burden of the salt monopoly continues to afflict them. I must not weary you with argument. I mention the two measures as a preparation of the Indian mind for independence. They will produce a psychological effect.
I may mention that I discussed both the measures in a different setting with Mr Casey and I am now in correspondence with the present Governor of Bengal. I may add that I have today heard from Mr Abell in regard to the salt tax that "the Government do not find themselves able to accept the suggestion".
Yours sincerely,THE RT. HON'BLE LORD PETHICK LAWRENCE,
M. K. GANDHI
M. K. GANDHI
SERCETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA, NEW DELHI.