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Tuesday, 27th January, 1948.

''INC cannot be allowed to die''

The sun had begun its return swing from the southern latitudes towards the quator, to mark the gradual withdrawal of winter over India. But there were cold mists over the Capital, which was a far way from being mellow and fruitful. As with the weather, Bapu''s optimism too ebbed and flowed along with feelings of disillusionment. The flood of congratulatory telegrams to him on successfully completing his fast and on escaping the bomb attempt on his life made him feel,How I wish God will keep me fit enough to render the service to humanity that still lies in front of me! The pledges and assurances he received from all quarters made him feel intensely that he should live that full span, serving till the last moment - a span as learned opinion has it, of least one hundred and twenty-five years, and some say one hundred and thirty-three, he said.

The Congress, long ago, had declared the 26th of January as Independence Day. Gandhiji held to that significance still, though August 15 had supplanted it in reality. In his prayer meeting on the 26th he said, Independence means equality of all classes and creeds in India, never the domination of the major community over the minor ones. Let us not defer the hope of our future and make our hearts sick.

Bapu said in reference to the state of the nation, Yet, what are the strikes and varieties of lawlessness we see now, but a deferring of our strong and bright hope? These are symptoms of our weakness and sickness. Let labour realise its dignity and strength. Strength and dignity the man in the street also has. In a well-ordered democratic society, there should be no room, or occasion, for lawlessness or strikes. In such a society, there will be ample lawful means for vindicating justice. Violence, veiled or unveiled, should be taboo for us. Strikes mean material loss to the whole of society, not excluding the strikers themselves. I also wonder if in our independent India we can be free of the fever of power politics, and the bid to be in power which afflicts the world, East and West. Gandhiji referred to the spreading evil of corruption, and observed,It has now become worse than before. Restraint from it has practically gone. Corruption will go when the large number of persons given unworthily to it realise that the nation does not exist for them to exploit but that they exist to serve the nation. This requires morals, and extreme vigilance on the part of those who are free of the taint. Indifference will be criminal. If our prayers are genuine, they must remove the demon.

Another day of unceasing work from the early hours. The Mahatma dictated an important piece for the Harijanin the morning. It dealt with the Congress party. Bapu observed,The Indian National Congress which is the oldest Indian national organisation, and which has after many battles fought her non- violent way to freedom, cannot be allowed to die. It can die only with the Indian nation. A living organism ever grows or it dies. The Congress has won for us political freedom, but it has yet to win economic freedom for the people, and social freedom, and moral life. These freedoms are harder to achieve than political freedom, if only because they are constructive, and the way to them is less exciting, and not spectacular. All-embracing constructive work evokes the energies of all the units of the millions. The Congress has achieved the preliminary and necessary part of India''s freedom. But the hardest task has yet to come. In the difficult ascent to democracy, inevitably rotten boroughs have been created, leading to corruption and the establishing of institutions which are democratic only in name. How are we to get out of this weedy, unwieldly growth?

Bapu answered the vitally important question he had raised: The Congress must do away with its special register of members, at no time exceeding one crore, and even then not easily identifiable. It used to have an unknown register of millions of people. The Congress''s register ought now to be co-extensive with all the men and women who are on the voters'' rolls in the country. It should be the business of the Congress to see that no faked name gets in, and that no legitimate name is left out. On its own party register, it will have a body of selfless servants of the nation who would be workers doing the work that is allotted to them from time to time.

Gandhiji went to Mehrauli, where the Urs was being celebrated. He told the large assembly,I have come on a pilgrimage. I request you, Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs who have come here with cleansed hearts, to take a vow that will never allow strife to raise its head, but will live in amity, united as friends and brothers. We must purify ourselves and meet even our opponents with love. On this very busy day, Bapu gave an interview to Mr. Kingsley Martin, a well-known journalist who had come from London.