Triveni Journal

1927 | 11,233,916 words

Triveni is a journal dedicated to ancient Indian culture, history, philosophy, art, spirituality, music and all sorts of literature. Triveni was founded at Madras in 1927 and since that time various authors have donated their creativity in the form of articles, covering many aspects of public life....

‘The Triple Stream’

K. Ramakotiswara Rau  




Preparing for 1962


All political activity in India today is tinged with the desire to achieve success at the General Election of 1962. Every political party, including the Congress which is in power, is busy massing its forces in preparation for the great event. Thirteen years of uninterrupted power, at the Centre and in most of the States, have inevitably created for the ruling party certain problems of organisation which have an important bearing on its administrative wing. In State after State, particularly in Andhra, Mysore and Uttar Pradesh, the question which agitates the party chiefs is the composition of the State Committee that will recommend the party candidates for election to Parliament and the State Legislatures. It seems to be taken for granted that anyhow the Congress will win by large majorities and once again occupy the seats of power. But the bother is as regards the group or sub-group within the Congress which will succeed in returning its own candidates. The position is complicated by the fact that the Chief Minister who is also the leader of the Congress Legislature Party of the State does not always command the confidence of the Pradesh Congress Committee. Where the Chief Minister and the President of the Pradesh Congress Committee belong to the same group, the effort of rival group is to dislodge at least one of them by moving a vote of no-confidence. And there are endless confabulations, repeated visits to Delhi to consult the High Command, and conflicting statements to the Press. To the average citizen who is not particularly interested in group politics within the Congress, the unedifying performances of the leaders of the party in different States, whether Ministers or aspirants to Ministership, are a perpetual source of irritation and amazement. In Andhra there is an open rift even within the Cabinet, and the Congress High Command is seeking to restore harmony.

It is usual for the “man in the street” to complain that idealism is at a discount among Congressmen, that the lure of wealth and power has corrupted them, that they no longer deserve to be the representatives of the people. The truth is that the generation of Congressmen who led the freedom fight is fast disappearing and new men have to step into their places. Most of these are not swayed by noble impulses like their elders. And yet, the party organisation has to be kept alive, and men must be found to fill the Congress Committees and the Legislatures. Obviously Congressmen cannot lay a perpetual claim to the rewards of martyrdom, nor can they always go about with a halo round their heads. They must face the electorate like the members of any other party and convince the voters about their personal probity as well as the integrity of their party.

From time to time, the top leaders of the Congress send out fervent appeals to their party men all over India to re-order their lives and to render unselfish and efficient service to the nation in their respective spheres. In particular, they are admonished not to interfere in the day-to-day administration of the country-side by bringing pressure to bear on local officials in the interest of their henchmen. When the elections to Congress Committees and to the party-controlled local bodies are over, a good number of Congressmen turn their attention to the settling of old scores against members of rival parties, or against men of their own party who belong to a rival group. Despite the many earnest attempts to achieve unity among Congressmen, the atmosphere in many towns and villages is contaminated by the perpetual wrangles of Congressmen and by their efforts to utilise the State power for their personal advancement.

The question arises, “Are the Communists any better?” Their rule in Kerala was something of a nightmare, and their accession to power in other States is not calculated to lead to beneficial results. The promotion of class-war, the ‘liquidation’ of large sections of the community, and the spread of international Communism are fraught with evil for the future of the country, and no peaceful and law-abiding citizen can contemplate the prospect with equanimity.

Public opinion is veering round to the view that, between now and the General Election of 1962, the ever-growing section of countrymen who are genuinely opposed to the Congress concept of Democratic Socialism as well as to the revolutionary programme of the Communists should organise themselves into a powerful party and fight the next election on the issue of individual freedom and initiative in the many common concerns of life against the threatened encroachment of the State power. It is necessary to place the Congress on the defensive and compel it to justify its programmes, Whichever party happens to win, there must always be a well-informed, effective opposition. Real democracy can function only when well-organised democratic parties seek the suffrage of the nation for the implementation of their programmes, and are prepared to quit office when they suffer defeat at the polls.

Whether the Congress Party should quit office even before the election is an interesting point. The Swatantra Party has thrown up a suggestion that for six months prior to the date of the election President’s rule should prevail throughout the Indian Union, so as to give a fair chance to all parties at the election. The Congress is not likely to oblige its opponents by accepting this novel suggestion. But it can at least refrain from misusing its power to favour its party candidates. A party in office can offer many inducements to the electorate, and it can collect funds on a large scale for election purposes. But even a vague suspicion that it is so employing its power will impel large numbers of uncommitted voters to vote against the Government of the day. So, election time is a time of test for political parties. The party in power has to exercise extra care and keep itself above suspicion. That is the correct democratic behaviour, the life-breath of democracy.

Sri Nehru at the U. N.

It was a great day in the history of the United Nations Organisation when the Prime Minister of India, representing the point of view of the ‘unaligned’ nations, urged the General Assembly to ‘Build the World without War’ and quoted the magnificent words of Lord Buddha: “The only real victory is the one in which all are equally victorious, and there is defeat for no one.” As a first urgent step in this adventure of peace, he sponsored, along with the leaders of four other nations, a resolution requesting the President of the U.S.A. and the Premier of the Soviet Union to resume their broken contacts and pave the way to disarmament and world peace. Eventually the resolution had to be withdrawn after what is described as a ‘procedural wrangle’ over the correct interpretation of the voting on the Argentine demand for the substitution of the countries–U. S. A. and the Soviet Union–in place of the Heads of States. Sri Nehru rightly pointed out that, as there had been no break in diplomatic contacts between the two countries, there was no meaning in asking them to renew such contacts. He and his fellow-sponsors were concerned solely to bring about a renewal of contacts between the President and the Premier which had actually been broken. This was necessary for the restoration of a climate of peace.

Neither Sri Nehru nor his friends of the Afro-Asian group at the U. N. hoped for a spectacular victory leading to immediate results. Russia is obviously waiting for the election of a new President of the U.S.A. That might make it easier for her Premier to deal with some one other than the present President. But the moral effect of Sri Nehru’s presence at the U. N. and his impassioned plea for peace was obviously very profound. In spite of a momentary feeling of disappointment, Sri Nehru would not be led into throwing his weight on the side of a ‘third bloc’ nor would he support the Russian demand for the resignation of the Secretary-General of the U. N. In a situation of great difficulty and complexity, he managed to preserve friendly relations with the leaders of the many nations assembled at the U.N. Some day the world will realise the importance of the part played by the Indian Prime Minister at a crucial moment, when everyone’s nerves were frayed by the hectoring, bullying speeches of the Soviet Premier, and when the insensate rivalry of two great Powers seemed to lead the U. N. into a blind alley with no way out.

The achievement of world peace is a great end in itself, and the means to it must be commensurate with the purity of the aim. Sri Nehru was nearer to Gandhiji than ever when he addressed the General Assembly of the U. N. on the 3rd of this month.

The Bi-lingual Formula

It has been announced that a Bill will be introduced in Parliament before the end of this year to give statutory sanction to the Presidential directive regarding the official language of the Indian Union. An important concession to public opinion in the non-Hindi regions was made by the Prime Minister some months ago when he stated categorically in Parliament that, even after 1965, English will continue to be used as an ‘associate language’ along with Hindi, till such time as the people of the non-Hindi regions voluntarily agree to the employment of Hindi as the sole official language for all-India purposes. This found a place in the Preamble to the Presidential directive but not in the text. All doubts have however been set at rest by the recent statement of the Home Minister that the Prime Minister’s assurance will be incorporated in the Bill.

Bi-lingualism at the Centre implies the use of both Hindi and English in the Secretariat at Delhi, in the proceedings of Parliament, and for the promulgation of Statutes and Orders. It further implies that the Central Government offices situated in different parts of India will also be bi-lingual. Correspondence between the Central Government and the Governments of the States will be carried on presumably in Hindi in the case of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, and in English in regard to other States, with option to any non-Hindi State to switch over to Hindi at its will. Inter-state correspondence as between a Hindi and a non-Hindi State presents a difficulty. Each State must determine for itself the language–Hindi or English–in which it will correspond with other States. Thus, Mysore will address its communications to Uttar Pradesh in English, and Uttar Pradesh will reply in Hindi. The Secretariat at every State capital must employ two sets of officers, one for English and the other for Hindi, and several documents despatched to other States or received from them must be made available in both languages.

During the transitional period, which is necessarily indefinite in duration, some degree of confusion will prevail in all the Secretariats, including the Central, and also some silent hostility between the English and Hindi sections in every office. But all this has to be faced, and the situation rendered less unpleasant by a process of mental and emotional adjustment. And, as every State is planning to make its main regional language the official language of the State, the bulk of the Secretariat staff will function in that language, and the size of the English and Hindi sections will shrink to the minimum needed for all-India correspondence.

Since there is widespread agreement about the three-language formula in our educational system, we can visualise a time, two or three decades after 1965, when most of our boys and girls will have a working knowledge of English and Hindi along with considerable proficiency in the regional language. In the Hindi-speaking regions, each State will prescribe some Indian language–preferably a Southern one–which can be taught compulsorily in the schools in addition to Hindi and English. The results of such training must be wholesome, and the present day linguistic fanaticisms and rivalries may be expected to fade out, yielding place to the normal, healthy recognition that all Indian languages are our national languages, and each of them as dear to us as our own. Lovers of goodwill must work towards this happy consummation and make it possible for the coming generations of Indian citizens to realise the fundamental unity of India despite its many languages.

It is sometimes asserted, and notably by Sri Rajaji, that the bi-lingual formula which originated with the Madras Government and the support of the Governments of the other Southern States is a trap into which India is being led unwittingly. But the only alternative is  the acceptance of the slogan rendered famous by my esteemed friend, Sri P. Kodanda Rao– “English ever; Hindi never”. Even this will introduce another type of bi-lingualism so far as the States are concerned, for the administration must be carried on in the States in the respective regional languages, and also in English for inter-State purposes. It is possible to argue that this is a lesser evil than the tri-lingualism which will prevail from 1965 till the fairly distant date when Hindi will be the only official language for all-India and inter-State affairs. That, however, is only for a transitional period, and it does not commit the country to the perpetual use of English for all time to come as India’s sole official language.

The bi-lingual solution is the least unsatisfactory of the solutions proposed at various stages of the discussion. Like all compromise moves, it is not ideally perfect. But it is the best that is available in the circumstances in which India is placed today.
1October 18, 1960.

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