But it seems to me that my numerous
correspondents who have been writing voluminously think that
ministerships are prizes for past services and that certain
Congressmen can demand their inclusion. I venture to suggest to them
that ministerships are avenues to service which those who are called
to it should render cheerfully and to the best of their ability.
There can therefore never be a scramble for these offices.
It would be decidedly wrong to create
ministerships for the sake of conciliating interests. If I were a
Prime Minister and I was pestered with such claims I should tell my
electors to choose another leader. These offices have to be held
lightly, not tightly. They are or should be crowns of thorns, never
of renown. Offices have been taken in order to see if they enable us
to quicken the pace at which we are moving towards our goal.
Harijan, 7-8-37, p. 204
Today you have worn on your head a
crown of thorns. The seat of power is a nasty thing. You have to
remain ever wakeful on that seat. You have to be more non-violent,
more humble and more for bearing. You had been put to test during
the British regime. But in a way it was no test at all. But now
there will be no end to your being tested. Do not fall a prey to
lure of wealth. May God help you. You are there to serve the
villages and the poor.
The Miracles of Calcutta, (1959),
They (Ministers) may not make private
gains either for themselves or for their relatives or friends. If
the relatives or friends get any appointment, it must be only
because they are the best amongst the candidates, and their market
value is always greater than what they get under the Government.
Harijan, 28-4-38, p. 88
Ministers should not be sensitive (to
public criticism). They would take in good part even carping
criticism... The critics expect much more from these chosen servants
of the people than from others in the way of simplicity, courage,
honesty and industry.
Harijan, 21-9-47, p. 325
Our ministers are of the people, from
the people. Let them not arrogate to themselves greater knowledge
than those experienced men who do not happen to occupy ministerial
Harijan, 16-11-47, p. 409
The leaders have the reins of
Government and the disposal of millions of rupees is in their hands.
They have to be vigilant. They must be humble. People often think
nothing of not keeping their word. They should never promise what
they cannot do. Once a promise is made, it must be kept at all cost.
Harijan, 14-12-47, p. 467
A popular ministry is responsible to
the legislatures and cannot do anything without their consent. Every
elected member in a popular legislature is responsible to his
voters. Therefore, the voter who represents the public should ponder
well before embarking on any criticism of the Government. The
tax-payer gets full return for his money, as for example, the water
tax in cities. No tax-payer could get water on his own for the same
payment. But even so, and in spite of the fact that the tax is
levied by the popular will, tax-payers always resent even paying
such taxes. It is, of course, true that one cannot prove the benefit
of all taxes as easily as the one I have cited as an examples. But
as society grows in size and complexity and the field of service
also grows, it is difficult to explain to the individual tax-payer,
how he gets his return for any particular tax. This much, however,
is clear that taxes as a whole should stand for the general benefit
of society. If this were not so, the argument that taxes were levied
by popular will would not hold.
Harijan, 8-9-46, p. 293
The legislative assemblies should be
there only law-makers. Ministers were liable to be changed at will.
Their acts should be subject to review by their courts. They should
do all in their power to make justice cheap, expeditions and
incorruptible. For that purpose Panchayat Raj had been suggested. It
was not possible for a high court to reach lakhs and lakhs of
people. Only extraordinary situations required emergency
legislation. Legislative assemblies, even though the procedure might
entail some delay, must not be superseded by the Executive.
Harijan, 19-10-47, p. 377-78