I will be forgiven, I hope, by the House if I remind the Members of the tale of imperial preference during the last fifteen or twenty years to which this country had been subject. If imperial preference is to wear a new appearance now, as the British Commonwealth of Nations is going to wear a new designation, I cannot but warn this House against any snare of that kind. Though it may not today be spread before us, it will in time be laid before us, for inveigling us into accepting an advantageous position to the British trader compared perhaps with our own or at the sacrifice of our own.
Sir, we had the other day an invitation graciously extended to foreign capital for investment in India, in which British capitalists were particularly singled out for so to say, special butterification. I fear I was unable to accept that attitude then nor can I accept this attitude today as regard the advantage at all likely to flow from closer association with the British Commonwealth in an economic sense.
Sir, Britain may not have been played our ; I do not think that Britain is at her last gasp. But I certainly think that Britain is no more the workshop, the carrier and the banker of the world that she used to pride herself on being in the last century. And those countries which have means of their own, those countries which have resources of their own, have manpower of their own to rise and achieve that very position, for themselves, -those countries are not likely to benefit from the association of a country which may not be bankrupt. Formally speaking, but which is yet unable to pay off its debt and is compounding with her creditors.
Further, the gradual association and the closer dependence of Britain's economy on the United States makes you more than ever doubtful as to the propriety, the wisdom, and the necessity of countries like us, just emerging into independence and intent on our own economic development, so associating, so tying themselves up with such other countries, that in matters economic their whole machinery may be also made dependent upon their class system, their vested interests, their methods, their policies of exploitation such as they have been in the past, such as they may quite possibly be hereafter, if you are not strong enough to resist.
Sir, here is a danger which may not be easily perceived by those who only see the surface and no more. We have been advised, Sir, not to look too much into the past. We have been advised also not to think too much of the present, but to have our eye on the future. Sir, I am not a prophet, and cannot,therefore say what the future has in store for us. But judging from current events, judging from the tendencies now quite clear on the surface, judging from developments that have taken place in the four years since the war ended, it seems to me that, economically speaking, this association that we are now called upon to ratify with the other nations of the British Commonwealth has no economic advantages for us, either in the shape of financial help or industrial development, except of course that we will have to pay through our nose. Of course anything can be of advantage if you do not count the cost. If you are prepared to pay anything for it, then I have nothing more to say. But the fact remains that if you balance the advantages and disadvantages properly, if you put the debits and credits together correctly, I do not think any Chartered Accountant would be able to show you a balanced balance-sheet in regard to our relations, present or future with the British Commonwealth of Nations.
One word more and I have done. The political aspect of the situation is no less important than is sought to be made out here. We are told, Sir, that we cannot live in an isolated cell of our own. We certainly cannot. Nor does anybody suggest that we should try and live in an isolated compartment of our own. It would be a folly ; it would be impossible in the present setup of things
for any country, however large, to follow a policy of isolation. But to say that does not mean that the only association possible for us is with the British Commonwealth of Nations. We have willingly and whole heartedly joined the United Nations Organisations, which, as I said, is a world-wide organisation. We have pledged our co-operation and support to them. We are trying to take advantage of the machinery provided by the UNO for the various kinds of political groupings. But that is not the same thing as becoming closely associated with the British commonwealth of Nations, which, by the very fact of that association is likely to give rise to suspicion to others; and , as such, likely to convert them into potential enemies which we need not have.
We have been told, Sir, that our education has been moulded on the British precedent ; we have been told, Sir, that our whole administration and financial structure is fashioned on the British model. But is that also a reason why we should continue that which might quite conceivably be harmful even? If will be more a signal, in my opinion, of danger and warning rather than an invitation to a greater hospitality and closer association. I have much more to say on this aspect of the matter, but I do not wish to trespass on your patience, and, therefore with these words I invite the House to reject this proposition.
Shri Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar (Madras: General): Mr. President, sir, I have to congratulate, if I may, the Honourable the Prime Minister for having solved a most knotty problem, a problem which was regarded as somewhat insoluable in certain quarters some months ago. The resolution which we are asked to affirm does not in any way detract from the position which the Constituent Assembly has taken up from the outset. India is to be a Sovereign Independent Republic, both in her internal affairs and external relations. The Crown will have no place whatever either in the internal relations or in the external relations. The President of the Union will represent India both in the internal spheres and in external relations. We do not require any credentials either by or in the name of the British Crown for transacting our business with foreign countries. In matters of war in peace, in trade relations, we will be masters of our household. There will be no economic entanglements of any kind. So far as the Dominions are concerned, both India and the Dominions are at arms length. India will be entitled to pursue a foreign policy which is suited to the best interests of India. The only point that is urged against the acceptance of the Agreement is that there is no reason why the first Part of the Statute of Westminster should be embodied in the Declaration, namely, that the Crown is to be the symbol of the free association of the Members of the British Commonwealth. The second part of the Declaration, found in the preamble of Statute of Westminster viz, the part dealing with allegiance to the Crown has been advisedly omitted. Therefore the only link is that of the King being the symbol of the free association of the members of the Commonwealth of Nations. If there is to be a symbol, it will be very difficult to fit in the President of the Union into the framework. It is not a feasible idea to have alternatively, say, the Prime Ministers of England and the Dominions and the President of India as the heads of the association. As the Crown still continues to be the association, the King as the symbol, is perpetuated. But it is necessary to note that it is nothing more than a symbol. The Crown will have no functions, no duties and no rights vis-a-vis the various Units of the Commonwealth. That is the position of the Crown.
Now therefore, are there any radical objections to this scheme that has been adopted is the one question before us. In regard to this point, what I would like to invite the attention of the House to is that this association has not even any resemblance to the Atlantic Pact or the UNO. At least in regard to the UNO, though the sovereignty of the different
Units is in terms declared in the UNO, taking the various parts of the UNO you may come to the conclusion that to some extent there are provisions which detract from the sovereignty of the individual members of the UNO.
Similarly, there is no question of our involving ourselves in any alliances like the Atlantic Pact, because there are no commitments either in regard to defence or in regard to war or other matters. Therefore it is the least onerous task that has been undertaken by our Prime Minister. The republican status of India is in no way affected at all in the external sphere or in the internal sphere and the position of the President will in no way be affected. In fact the Declaration is silent on this point. Supposing the King of England visits India, he will not get any kind of priority or precedence over our President. Our President would be the representative of India and the King of England will have no sort of him inspite of the fact that he may be the link of the Commonwealth of Nations within the limits of India or in any other place. In other places, including the Dominions and England, the President will have the rank of an independent sovereign.
Then the only question that has been sometimes debated is, `Why not we stand aloof altogether? Why not we take up the position which Ireland has taken?' The one point which we have to remember in this connection is that Ireland may be in a position to get all the advantages of citizenship everywhere having regard to the fact that her kith and kin are scattered over Canada, Australia and America and they will be in a position to cement the relationship between the Dominions and America. You can easily understand why they are willing to give the go-by to all ideas of citizenship so far as an Irish citizen is concerned even in England. Therefore it is necessary to exactly appreciate the position of Ireland. First, Ireland is a very small country very near Great Britain ; and secondly, Irishmen are scattered all over the Dominions. Therefore they will be in a position to get all the advantages of the contact and can have the best of both the worlds without being members of the Commonwealth of Nations. That explains the real position of Ireland and it also to some extent satisfies the sentiments of the Irish people. We will have to consider our own position, not in the setting of what Ireland has done or may do, but in the setting of what is in the best interests of our own country. Though it may not be germane for the purpose of understanding this Resolution, you will have to take into account various factors such as the Army organisation under the existing relations, the various conditions which have to be established in the matter of capital importation and so on. For these purposes a certain degree of contact or perpetuation of contact in an effective form will be an advantage to this country.
These are matters which I have no doubt must have weighed with the Honourable the Prime Minister in coming to this Agreement without in any way sacrificing the independence, the dignity, and the constitutional position of India as per the terms of the Constitution.
One other point which you may take note of is that without the alteration of a comma or putting in any kind of prefix this Constitution can go through without the mention of the Crown in any parts of it. The Preamble will be there. Necessary changes may be made to fit in the different parts of the Constitution with the preamble. But the Crown will come nowhere in any part of this Constitutional structure. It is a very loose association which has some advantages. Nobody, no country in the present day can live in what may be called splendid isolation. It is one thing to become the slave of another nation and become a victim of its economic policy and it is quite another thing to maintain one's individuality. It is said that if you sever your constitutional relations altogether, there will be independence. That is wrong. It all depends upon the strength which you develop. Look at China.
She was for a very long time theoretically independent and had to depend upon other countries. Similarly, our country may be theoretically independent with no connection with Britain or the British Crown. But until you develop your own strength you will be subject to control by other nations. Therefore, the only way in which to approach the problem is to see that there is nothing in the way of developing our strength and if we so desire to break off at any time we choose. If, for example, Britain does not conduct herself properly it will be quite open to the next Government or the next Parliament which will be elected on universal suffrage to snap the tie. Therefore it is a question of expediency. I cannot understand the argument on the one side that it means nothing and on the other side it means everything. You have no right to read between the lines when the Prime Minister makes an open declaration. You will have to take him at his word. there is no reason why, having regard to our knowledge of our Prime Minister, you should think that he has entered into any kind of understanding with somebody else. The understanding is there in the declaration. Are you or are you not willing to abide by the Declaration?
Another point was put forward, viz, that this question should have first been ratified. I have never heard it said that before you enter into a pact with other nations you must discuss with others the minute details of that pact. In the past the whole scheme was adumbrated before this House on several occasions. The Congress had agreed to support in principle this alliance or union, it does not matter what you call it. Having done that, to say that every comma, every semi-colon and every sentence of this agreement that should be placed before this House before it is entered into is meaningless. The Prime Minister goes there and he carries out in letter and in spirit the mandate of this House and the Congress, and he now comes back and asks you to ratify it. What is wrong in this procedure? Does it conflict with the international procedure adopted by any civilised country in the world? This is a point which I cannot understand. I have never heard it said that all the details of an agreement must be discussed before a Parliament or a Constituent Assembly, that every clause of it should be discussed and approved, and then the other parties to the agreement should either accept it or reject it. The one point that you have to consider is whether the Prime Minister has in any way deviated from the instruction given to him by the Congress or the Constituent Assembly.
Now, I am also quite clear on this point that so far as India is concerned, there is no commitment of any kind. It is entitled to pursue its own foreign policy, domestic policy or industrial policy. Even as a Dominion India is having an independent line of her own without reference to the other Dominions at times even at cross-purposes with England, the latter having remained neutral on difficult occasions when she found that she could not side with one or the other. Even her neutrality is an advantage to us. For example, whenever there is a conflict between one member of the Commonwealth and ourselves, her neutrality will be an advantage to us. The point to note is that we have no commitment to enter into any power bloc. India is the one country which has no kind of commitments. Under those circumstances, I think to have friends with whom you can discuss things without any commitments is a great advantage, unless you want to live in isolation in the complicated world of the present day. When really there are no commitments, any criticism of the decision is merely legalistic, unless the critics want-that there should be commitments. Does the other people who indulged in a caveat against the agreement want commitments? Does Professor Shah want that there should be commitments? Do the other people who indulged in a caveat against the agreement want commitments? If you want, then those commitments will have to be bilateral. You cannot have
unilateral commitments. Therefore that arguments is rather contradictory. On the one side you do not want to enter into any bloc and you do not want to have any commitments. If you want to derive tangible concrete advantages from any particular group of people, then you must be willing to yield to the other side. Even in the economic sphere it is wrong to think that you can be independent only if you stand aloof from other nations. Take America. America is able to dominate the other nations? It is because she has got money, she has got wealth, she has got immense resources, she is able to dominate the whole world. Look at the independent nations of Europe. Is it because they are not independent they are being dominated? They are independent republic in every sense of the term, but yet they are being dominated. For a growing country like India to remain in the Commonwealth without any commitments of any kind will be an advantage in the interests of peace and the future good relations of the world, and I do not think there can be any better exponent of world peace than our Prime Minister. I have no doubt whatsoever that if he finds that there are any entanglements under the cover of this free association, with the King as the symbol of that association he will be the first one to advise you to scrap that association. Under these circumstances, let us not be afraid of meeting another person because he is going to swallow you. That means you are timid; you have no confidence in yourself. If you have confidence in yourself, in this compact you will be able to assert your individuality. Under these circumstances, having regard to the considerations I have set out, we should accord an enthusiastic and unanimous support to the agreement reached by our Prime Minister. He has shown himself to be taller even though he may be short physically than all the other Ministers from the different parts of the Commonwealth as a result of this Conference. He has achieved what we have fought for and at the same time he has preserved our continued relationship with the Commonwealth.
Mr. Mohamed Ismail Sahib (Madras: Muslim): Mr.President, Sir, I have come forward to support wholeheartedly the Resolution that has been place before this House by the Honourable Prime Minister. At the outset, I want to congratulate him on his having raised his own status in the international sphere along with that of this country. Sir, I need not say such in support of the Resolution after what Pandit Kunzru, Mr. K. M. Munshi and Shri Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyer and similar other Members have spoken about it. If I want to speak, I want to do so only to demonstrate the fact that it is not one or two groups that are in support of the policy which has been adumbrated by the Prime Minister, but many groups the vast majority of the people of the country are supporting him in the stand that he has taken. It is only for that purpose that I have come forward to speak in support of this Resolution. Firstly, when we are speaking at present about such important matters, we must not always be thinking of the past. We have to leave the past behind and we should not be harping on what happened in the past. We should not be thinking in terms of the past. In the past we were a dependent country struggling for our independence and so any proposal as is now put before us would have then been viewed with suspicion and we would have fought against such proposals. Now the position is altogether different. We are now a free nation. We are free to choose our own course of action. Therefore, when the position is altogether different now, I do not know why we must be spending so much of our time in criticising in this manner the action that has been taken by the Honourable Prime Minister as the spokesman of a free nation. Now Sir, what is our position today? We are a Dominion of the Commonwealth; we have not yet become a sovereign independent Republic according to the Constitution, which has not yet been passed. Even under this position, Sir, what are our rights? We can make our own
choice; we are free to do anything we please. It is under that assumption that certain of our friends are advising us to reject the Resolution that is placed before the House. Even when we are under the Crown and even when we are accepting the Crown as the Head of the Commonwealth, of which we are a Member, even now those Members assume and rightly assume that we are free to do as we please and, therefore, what is their objection in continuing in the same position, even when we declare that we are a Republic itself or the Declaration, which was issued in London after the conclusion of the Commonwealth Conference. That Declarations simple. The Prime Minister has assured us that there is nothing behind it, that there is no secret pact or any private understanding with the other Prime Minister or powers that be in the other dominions of the Commonwealth ; and, therefore, as it is, it is a simple declaration and what it is that we are fighting against in that Declaration, passes my understanding; it only reiterates the present position that though in the near future India may declare itself to be a Republic, the rights we have got and the position which we are enjoying now will not in any way be whittled down is what is assured by that Declaration. Then also, when we accept the King as the symbol of association instead of the Head of the Commonwealth, we will be free to do whatever we may want to do at that time. Our position in the matter of our internal affairs and also external affairs is not in any way sought to be affected by that Declaration.
Now the amendments that are placed before the House are to this effect: One is that the consideration of this Resolution must be postponed until after the Constitution is passed. For what purpose? Now, if that amendment is accepted, what will be the position? Then, the position will be that we shall still continue to be a member of the Commonwealth. Then that amendment means that our position of being free to make our own choice is not being affected in any way. If so, how it will be affected if we pass the Resolution, I do not understand. Then, the second amendment is that until Africa and Australia agreed to treat Indians on a par with the other citizens of the Commonwealth, we should not ratify this Resolution. But, would we not be in a better position, if we pass this Resolution and continue to be a member of the Commonwealth, to treat with them in that whatever action we please on those questions though we may continue to be a member of the Commonwealth under the arrangement that has been come to by our Prime Minister with the other Ministers.
Sir, I do not want to say much more on this subject and I only want o remind the House that today or tomorrow we cannot as a country or as a nation stand alone. If we have to create or maintain any relationship with any other country of the world, this is the best arrangement, the arrangement that is place before us now. Under this arrangement there is no commitment whatever for us. If it is a treaty that our friends want us to enter into with other countries,it will put so many conditions and restrictions upon us as it will, of course put upon also the other countries entering into the treaty. But now,as it is, according to this arrangement, there is no commitment whatever. We are as free as the bird of the air can be. Take a treaty; there will at least be time-limit for the continuance of that treaty, but here there is not even that time-limit. Under this London Declaration or under this Resolution, which is place before this House, we are free to change our position under the circumstances and it will serve us both ways: It will give us a favourable position in the comity of nations and at the same time it will maintain our perfect freedom of action, and it is for this purpose, Mr. President, I wholeheartedly support the Resolution.
Shri Khandubhai K. Desai (Bombay : General): Mr. President, Sir, I have not the least hesitation in supporting the motion moved by the Honourable the Prime Minister. I support
this motion not as a politician nor as a lawyer nor as a student of international questions. My support to this motion is from the point of view of how that agreement has reacted on the common people of this country. There is no doubt that the handling of the this question by our Prime Minister has raised the prestige and the status of India in the comity of the nations in the world. The opposition to this motion was mainly based on, in my opinion, fear and inferiority complex. I must say to those friends that the people of this country are more buoyant, more cheerful, more courageous and they are not afraid of dealing with any nation in the common interest. The way in which some of the friends who have opposed this motion spoke betrays really no confidence in themselves. It has rightly been pointed out by some speakers here that we must cease to live in the past; we must live in the present with certainly an eye on the future. The present agreement really is a great contribution to changing the hitherto character of the Commonwealth. Our Prime Minister has been instrumental in changing the whole picture of what was upto now called "the British Commonwealth of Nations". Incidentally he has substantially also helped the other nations who were members of the defunct British Commonwealth of Nations.
The masses of this country look at the status which we have attained as an independent sovereign nation from one point only and that is, how far our present status will contribute to the promotion of world peace. It has been stated that there are commitments implied in this association. The Prime Minister had very clearly pointed out that there are no commitments whatsoever. There is one commitment and that commitment is to promote world peace. I think he has given us a very great lead, a welcome lead in the very first act of the new nation in international politics. The question before us is whether we as an independent nation should take up the attitude of an ostrich. If there are fears, if there are dangers, if there are difficulties, they have to be faced. You cannot simply in an ostrich-like attitude sit aside and say,there is no fear. There is fear to world peace and we as a nation must contribute towards the promotion of that world peace. To those friends who want this motion to be rejected, I say that they are running away from efforts towards the promotion of the world peace. The present agreement does create a forum where our representative can go and discuss and place our points of view with regard to the promotion of world peace. There is absolutely no commitment. Of course, the old hatred against the Britishers,and our fear of them still persists, but we must overcome them. It has also been stated that the Britishers are past masters in bargaining and therefore they will cheat us. That is all old complex. Can world peace be maintained, be promoted by fear complex, by suspicion, by distrust? No. If efforts for world peace are to be made by our nation and I think that our nation has got a definite mission and that definite mission has to be fulfilled you should have some friends in the world where you can percolate your ideas. Prof.. Shah has stated that he has suspicion, distrust, that he has this that and the other. How long are you going to harbour this distrust, suspicion, this year? You have to live in the world. You are affected whether you like it or not by world politics, by world affairs. Let it not be said that when there was occasion, when there was the opportunity to talk with the world statesmen, you have failed. Instead of expressing our gratification at what our Prime Minister has said. some of the speakers have incoherently attacked this agreement. Some of these friends talk the old language and feel that they are leftists or radicals. In my view they are neither leftists nor radicals. They are conservatives; they are reactionaries; they want to live in a state which is static. Our Prime Minister's efforts at the Commonwealth were more or less dictated by his progressive outlook on world
Sir, only the other day, a week back, the representatives of the working classes of this country met at Indore in annual session and the question of this agreement came up for discussion. I was surprised to find that there was unanimous support for this agreement, and on one ground alone and that was this. they state in their resolution: "Without impairing in the least degree India's status as a completely independent sovereign Republic, it enables it to play an increasingly positive role towards the promotion of world peace. As far as the masses of the country, as well as the masses of other countries are concerned, they are only interested in world peace so that they can progress and live in peace and harmony.
It has been stated that this House is incompetent to deal with this question. One amendment says, let us wait to ratify this convention till the new legislature is elected under our new Constitution. I cannot see any force in this argument. This Assembly can and will pass the Constitution, will decide the future of this country; it has got all that status. But, it cannot, according to them ratify this small agreement. I think it is wrong thinking and it does not stand on logic. We are well advised to pass the motion placed before us by our Prime Minister without any hesitation whatsoever.
Sir, while entering into this agreement our Prime Minister must have had in his mind the mission which he has been called upon as the heir of Mahatma Gandhi to carry out in this world, and he has given his consent to this agreement with a view to see that a forum is created where he can place his mission of world peace, so that the Commonwealth of Nations may be the beginning of an organisation of nations with Potentiality of further expansion towards world peace:
With these few words. I support the motion.
Shri Kameshwar Singh of Darbhanga (Bihar: General): Mr.President, allow me to avail myself of this opportunity to offer my humble felicitations to the Honourable the Prime Minister on the success of his mission. He has steered clear of the conflicting dogmas and, taking a realistic view of the situation, has placed India in a position from which she can usefully promote the peace of the world.
The status of India as a free and independent country has been recognised. As a sovereign democratic Republic, the people inhabiting this country will not owe allegiance to the Crown as they had hitherto done. She has to vindicate her fetters whether external or internal. Complete sovereignty will vest in the people of India and she will stand with her head erect with the other free nations of the world.
But, as things are, no country can remain in isolation in the present-day world. Specially, for a country like ours, which has thrown off the foreign yoke only recently and is struggling hard to stand on her own feet, it is impossible to think that she will have nothing to do with others. She will be stultifying her growth and even imperilling her freedom if she takes up that attitude. She has therefore, through her able Prime Minister, shown great statesmanship by agreeing to remain a member of the Commonwealth. This Commonwealth has changed its character and assumed & new form. The members of the Commonwealth have according to convention and through agreement changed its structure and pattern. It has been emphasised that allegiance to the Crown is not the essential feature of the Commonwealth organisation. India, on the other hand, has agreed to regard the King of England and dominions as the symbolic Head of the Commonwealth. All this has been done by agreement in pursuance of a very high objective, namely the establishment of peace and prosperity in the world. India like any other country can walk out of the Commonwealth at any moment she feels that her national ideals and aspirations will not be fulfilled by remaining within that organisation. The agreement is for a specific purpose and it can be broken if the parties to that agreement do not act in a manner which may achieve
that end. Our Prime minister has categorically said that this does not mean alignment of India with any of the power blocs. As a staunch believer in the tenets of democracy she could not have taken any other step. It would have been the negation of all her spreading the totalitarian influence in the world. She cannot see human freedom and human dignity destroyed by the adoption of a cult according to which a human being is treated as a machine.
India has to look to her own national interest and situated as she is today her close association with the Commonwealth is the result of the compulsion of necessity.
Past events have shown that in this new set up of Commonwealth India can play a decisive role in the affairs of the world. She is by common consent the leading country in South-East Asia. Both history and geography entitle her to ensure the peace of the world. But she can discharge that function only if she is strong both militarily and economically. She can be made so by the co-operation of the Commonwealth countries and America. She can be made so by the better alliance could be possible to stem the tide of unrest which is surging in all parts of the world and threatening the fundamental principles of human liberty with extinction.
Some people have charged our Prime Minister with the crime of allying this country with British Imperialism. A greater falsehood could not have been uttered. With the freedom to leave the Commonwealth at will such charges are baseless. Knowing as we do his antecedents we feel sure that by having him in the discussion of Commonwealth countries the whole tenor will be changed and the peace of the world assured.
Begum Aizaz Rasul (United Provinces: Muslim): Sir, I come to give my wholehearted support to the motion moved by the Honourable Prime Minister yesterday and I join in the felicitations that have been extended to him on the floor of this House. I am rather surprised at the amount of criticism that has been levelled against the action of the Prime Minister in agreeing that India should remain in the Commonwealth. Since this news was published in the paper the general opinion not only in this country but all over the world has been in favour of the action that has been taken by the Prime Minister and I therefore should have thought that in this House there would have been more unanimous support of what the Prime Minister had done in elevating the position of India in the eyes of the world and raising its prestige. The hearts of Indians have been filled with pride at the very high position that the Prime Minister of India occupied in the deliberations of the Commonwealth Conference and in the Prime Minister Conference, and there is no doubt that today the position that our Prime Ministers enjoys amongst the statesmen of the world is far above that enjoyed by any other Prime Minister. They look up to India for leadership of Asia and I make bold to say that the Prime Minister enjoys that leadership not only by the circumstances in which he placed on account of the position of India in Asia, but by the statesmanship he has shown in the Political arena, not only for the last two years since India achieved independence but during the vast number of years that he has been in the political field under the guidance of Mahatma Gandhi. Sir, the main question that is being asked by critics is : What are the advantages the accrue to India by remaining in the Commonwealth? But I ask a counter question what are the disadvantages that accrue to India by remaining in the Commonwealth? Sir, points regarding the political and economic aspects of this country vis-a vis Great Britain have been ably dealt with by Pandit Kunzru, Mr. Munshi and others. We cannot forget that inspite or perhaps on account of British rule in India we have come to think on those lines which are very akin to the lines of thought that are followed by people, in Britain and in the countries of the Commonwealth and it stands to the credit of Great Britain and to the statesmen of Great Britain that in
spite of the fact that they ruled India for 150 years, they have been able to achieve the goodwill and friendship of this country after their departure from here. But I think it stands to the shake away the old ties of suspicion and mistrust that were prevalent in India against Great Britain and has been able to accept the lines of peace and prosperity. Sir, I believe that criticism and opposition to this is mainly based upon mistrust-not only mistrust but a fear complex.
But I feel that fear complex must be shed and we must realise that conditions now are vastly different to what they were before. India is now a free country, and master of its own destiny, and we who have trust in India's greatness must realise that we cannot go forward unless we do away with small things like suspicion and distrust and accept friendship when it is offered. Sir, I have just said that there are many things akin with British thought in India today. I do not think that we should hesitate in saying that the democratic system as prevalent in India today is exactly on British lines. We are aware that India is the youngest members in the comity of democratic nations. We like the way in British democracy, we feel that we going on right lines. Today in India our institutions, our parliamentary life, our local self-Government, our administrative machinery, etc., are more or less based on British lines. Therefore remaining in the Commonwealth will certainly be to our advantage.
It has been said that Britain is a poor country and will not be able to help us financially. We do not want Britain's financial help. We certainly can go forward with our own industrial development, and the development of our own resources, and make India rich and prosperous. We do not want any country's financial help. We want their help and their guidance, their advice and the advice of their technicians, so that India may develop on the lines she desires to develop.
There is also no doubt that Britain and the countries of the Commonwealth are today the greatest factor working for world peace. India has always aligned itself on the side of peace, and it would certainly co-operate with those countries which wish to build up world peace, with countries which have no desire to fight, but which desire only to prosper and let other countries of the world also prosper. Therefore, I think it is in the fitness of things that India should remain in the Commonwealth of Nations. I do not see any disadvantage in it. I feel that it will be to the benefit of India to be associated with countries that are working towards world peace.
We cannot also forget that Indian ideology is opposed to communism. There is no doubt that we do not want communism in our country, and we know that Britain and the countries of the Commonwealth are also opposed to communism. Therefore, that is also a common factor between the two. As has been repeatedly pointed out if at any time there comes a stage when India feels that its association with the nations of the Commonwealth is to its disadvantage, there is nothing to debar it from coming out of it. Therefore, I feel that it is entirely to the advantage of India and consistent with its prestige and dignity to remain in the Commonwealth.
With these few words, Sir, I wholeheartedly support the motion of the Honourable Prime Minister.
Shri Prabhu Dayal Himatsingka (West Bengal: General:) Mr. President, Sir, I wholeheartedly support the Resolution moved by the Honourable the Prime Minister. I find the opposition that has been voiced here is based mostly or suspicion; the argument seems to be that the Declaration contains more than meets the eye. But it has not agreed to anything which is not recorded in the Declaration. As a matter of fact, we can easily imagine that there cannot possibly be anything beyond what is there.
It has also been pointed out that India stands to lose by entering into this sort of agreement. But I say there is no disadvantage in continuing to remain a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. On the
contrary, there are number of positive advantages, and that is why the agreement that has been arrived at has been arrived at has been welcomed by the people of the country.
Sir, as has been mentioned by previous speakers, India's economy, India's defence, everything that we have in India is more or less based on the model of English economy and business. Our connection with England having been for so many years, our thoughts, our actions, our lines of approach, are all mostly common with those of the nations of the Commonwealth. In our industries, most of the factories, have been supplied by England.
Our business connections are with the different Commonwealth countries. We have to realise a very large amount of money from England. These are various factors which go in favour of continuing our alliance, our association with the Commonwealth of Nations. Prof. Shah has said that the Honourable Prime Minister has placed before the House an accomplished fact and this House is now called upon to ratify a thing which he was not authorised to do. I cannot see how that argument can be put forward. This House expressly authorised the Prime Ministers to proceed to England and to join in the Conference of Prime Ministers that had been called. I may say that public opinion is overwhelmingly in favour of this agreement and that the Prime Minister has done something which very few people could have imagined was possible to be done in the position that has been accepted by this country. The position of independent sovereign Republic has been made to fit in with the ideas of the other members of the Commonwealth with regard to the Crown who regard the Crown as the Head of their State. The Honourable the Prime Minister has accomplished almost an impossible task and I wholeheartedly support the Declaration and the Resolution moved by him.
Mr. Frank Anthony (C.P. & Berar: General): Mr. President Sir, I am aware that it will be thought, if not said, by certain Members of the House that my views on this particular Resolution are a foregone conclusion, and that I must necessarily have a bias in favour of the Resolution. I feel Sir, that being an Anglo-Indian, with regard to this particular Resolution, I am placed in a fortunate position. I believe I can say that I can appreciate the point of view of my fellow Indians and I am also understand the point of view of many British people.
Sir, before I develop my other argument, I would like to answer a point raised by Prof. Shah, which was, partially answered by Sir Alladi. In spite of Prof. Shah's professions to the contrary, I could not help feeling that what he said dripped not only with a little vitriol, but certainly with a good deal of past venom. Prof. Shah took exception to the use of the word ratification". He felt that this word represented something reprehensible, that the Prime Minister had sought to present the House with a fait accomplish and force it down its throat. Sir, as a lawyer, I find that thesis not only slender, but utterly untenable. The Prime Minister went to England on behalf of the peoples of India-his chief principals. He went as their agent, as their super-agent, and it is axiomatic in law that when a person goes as the agent with trust and responsibility, and if his principals feel that he has acted not mala fides, that he has acted in their best interests, then they are bound to ratify and undertaking that he may have entered into on their behalf. Is there any one in this House who will dare say that the Prime Minister was prompted by mala fides? Will anyone say that he was not prompted only by the desire to secure the best interests of India against the present background?
Sir, I can only feel that much of the opposition to this kind of resolution is inspired by a jumble of complexes, inhibitions, and may I say, motives. I feel perhaps one of the reasons which has inspired opposition to it is an ill-concealed-I say it without offence- an ill-concealed slave mentality. It is understandable that a country which has been under
political subjection for generations, perhaps for hundreds of years, that people in such a country who belong to the common rut cannot escape the consequences of two hundred years of political subjection overnight. This opposition is inspired. I feel, to some extent by an evident, though not admitted, inferiority complex. There are may public men who cannot envisage any association with European nations without this inferiority complex vitiating their psychology. They feel that an association with a European nation must necessarily imply European hegemony on one side and Asian subordination on the other. Once again I say without offence, it is a concomitant of political subjection of people who have fought political slavery and fought it essentially with the weapon of shibboleths, slogans and propaganda. They have had to use these shibboleths and slogans in place of facts. They induce in themselves a kind of self-hypnosis. We talk glibly and vocally of India being the leader of Asia. We say glibly that it is inconsistent with India's position as the leader of Asia to be political appendage of the Commonwealth of Nations. I am one of those who believe, and believe passionately, that it is India's heritage that she should become the leader of Asia, the India should be looked up to by the nations of Asia as their natural leader. It is a heritage which is yet to be striven for and achieved. We cannot achieve it by living in a world of illusion, by believing that we can substitute realities by shibboleths and slogans.
Prof. Shah asked a rhetorical question: What are the advantages of adopting this resolution, and in a cavalier and airy manner he answered that question to his own satisfaction. He asked, if there are no advantages and no disadvantages, what is the point of adopting and endorsing this resolution. This is political blindness par excellence. It is typical of the kind of attitude that some of our public men wallow in.
But what are the realities nobody has referred to it as to what secession from the Commonwealth would have meant? It would have meant one thing. I do not know many of our people realise it. A person like the Prime Minister can and does realise it. There has always been let us understand it a section of British public opinion supported by a reactionary and conservative press fed by British administrators who have spent their administrative lives in this country fighting the Congress, who have identified spot of prejudice against the Hindus and the Congress. There has always been that section of British public opinion which is anti-Hindu and anti-Congress. And if India had seceded from the Commonwealth, this section would have seized avidly on this secession to stir up a spate of anti-Indian sentiment in the country. We are fortunate in that we have a person of the stature of the Prime Minister. While dealing a blow to this reactionary anti-Indian section he has mobilised and given strength to the new forces which are emerging in England-forces of friendliness towards this country. I am quite confident that secession would have meant in the first place coolness between Britain and India and subsequently an irrevocable estrangement. And it is for my friends who glibly mouth slogans and shibboleths to answer honestly whether India today, is in a position to estrange some of the most powerful countries in the world. And I go further and say secession would have not only led to coolness and subsequent estrangement between this country and Britain, it would have led inevitably to estrangement between India and America. Let us have no illusions about it. I am not advocating chauvinism or Machiavellianism I think it was Macaulay who has said that British diplomacy has been struck midway between moral principle on one side and expediency on the other. I believe that those who are building India cannot ignore expediency. I am not talking of opportunism : I am talking of realism. It is an accepted fact that the building up of all our schemes, our hopes, the building of India economically,
industrially and aye, militarily also, all these depend in no small measure on our continuing cordial relations both with Britain and with America.
I am one of those who feel that India cannot, that India dare not, live in an international vacuum. It is all very well for some of our public men to talk in vacuo, to talk of neutrality, which is something absolutely unrelated to realities in the international sphere. Absolute neutrality is not only an academic, it is today an unreal, an unattainable ideal. India trying to live in an international vacuum would have discovered, as Burma perhaps has already discovered, that theoretical independence may mean vacuous inanity. Theoretical independence, in disregard of realities, may well mean in a period of stress and need, helpless and hopeless isolation.
There is another aspect that I want to place before the House. What is the attitude of those who oppose this resolution towards Pakistan? Our relations with Pakistan have not been as cordial or as friendly as many of us would have liked. I was one of India's representatives at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference and my colleagues will bear me out when I say that many of the Pakistan representatives definitely tried to create as feeling that India dominated by the Congress is inevitably anti-British, that India has no intention of staying within the Commonwealth. They wanted to work up this feeling in order to mobilise British sentiment on their side, to antagonise it against India. I feel that if we had seceded our secession would have rejoiced the hearts of those in Pakistan who have no friendliness that are today being given to India by Britain and by America, if we had seceded, would have been diverted from India, diverted increasingly to Pakistan. That is a consideration which I feel many of my friends have not taken account of.
I appreciate as much as anyone else does the bitterness and indignation of every self-respecting Indian at the racial arrogance, the racial tyranny practised by a member of the Commonwealth. But if as a premise or shall we say, as a presupposition, before entering into relations with any nation, we require that nation should in all its dealings measure up to certain perfect moral standards then perhaps we would never be able to enter into relationship with any nation of the world. And because the Commonwealth of Nations, in my opinion, consists of one or two blacklegs, one or two renegades, is that any reason why we should in a mood of petulent frustration, a mood of inferiority, walk out and abjure all the definite advantages that association with democratically minded members of the Commonwealth can and do give us?
Perhaps I am striking a discordant note when I say I do not believe that association with the Commonwealth is going to improve our relations with South Africa. But I do believe that our association will mean that all the influences and the resources the imponderables exercised in no small degree by America and by England will be thrown in on the side of India and that matters may not get worse. From my own experience, I believe- I may be wrong-ultimately we will only be able to resolve the South African question according to the measure of our own strength. And that is why I say that our policy must be broad-based, and the India's strength should be built up most policy must be broad-based, and that India's strength should be built up most rapidly. It may take us five years; it may take us ten years. But any realist, any sober person must realise that in the world we are living in today, in the final analysis, one's strength is measured exactly by one's military might, and that is why I feel that ultimately we only be able to resolve the South African-Indian question when we are in a position to be able to demonstrate militarily-as the Japanese did at Durban. But that is, as I have said, no reason for leaving the Commonwealth, because it may consist of one or two blacklegs or renegades.
And, finally, Sir, I want to end with this note. As I
said, it is fortunate that India has today leaders of the present stature persons who have been able to rise, as Prof. Shah has not been able to rise, bitterness and iron of recent political events; that while the dust and kin of political battle and political struggle have not subsided, they have the vision to see without that vision being blurred, to be able to judge without their judgment being clouded, where India's best interests lie. Sir, can any one say to this House that anyone in this country has discharged his duties to the people more selflessly than the Prime Minister? And, if answer that question, as we are bound to answer it, then whatever decision he had taken has been taken against the background of his knowledge, which is perhaps much greater than the knowledge of anyone of us, in the sole interest of India. What then can any Indian do but wholeheartedly to endorse the resolution which has been moved in this House.
The Honourable Shri Satyanarayan Sinha (Bihar: General): Sir, I move that the question be now put.
Mr. President: The question is:
That the question be put.
I think the majority is in favour of closure.
The Honourable Shri Jawaharlal Nehru (United Provinces: General): Mr. President, Sir, we have had a fairly full debate since yesterday and many honourable Members have spoken in approval of this motion. In fact, if I may say so, some of them have even gone a little further than I might perhaps have gone. They have drawn some consequences and pointed out some implications which for my part I would not have approved or accepted. However, if is open to all of us and to each one of us to see the future in a particular way.
So far as this resolution of mine and the Declaration of London are concerned, what we have got to see are these : number one, that it fulfills or at any rate it does not go against any pledges of ours; that is to say, that it takes India forward, or does not come in the way of India going forward to her natural destination of a Sovereign Independent Republic. Secondly, that it helps India, or does not hinder India in making rapid progress in the other domains in the course of the next few years. We have, in a sense, solved the political problem, but the political problem is intimately connected with the economic condition of the country. We are being faced by many economic difficulties. They are our domestic concern, no doubt, but obviously the world can help or hinder any policy that we might adopt. Now, does this proposal which is contained in this Declaration help our speedy progress economically and otherwise of not? That is another test. I am prepared to admit that even without external help, we will go ahead. But obviously it will be a far more difficult task and it will take a much longer time. It is not easy matter to do that.
The third test is whether in the world, as it is today, it helps in the promotion of peace and the avoidance of war. Some people talk about encouraging this particular group or that, this bloc or that. We are all, I am afraid, in the habit of considering ourselves or our friends as angel and others the reverse of angels. We are all apt to think that we stand for the forces of progress and democracy and others do not. I must confess that in spite of my own pride in India and her people, I have grown more humble about talking in terms of our being in the vanguard of progress or democracy.
In the last two or three years we have passed through difficult times, humiliating times. We have lived through them. That has been something in our favour. We have survived them. But I hope we have learned our lesson from them. For my part I am a little chary now of condemning this act of that person or this or that nation, because the hands of no individual or nation are clean in such matters. And there is far too much of the habit of condemning other nations as being the wrong-doers or the war-mongers, and yet doing exactly the same thing oneself.
If one looks round the world of course one favours certain
policies one is against some things and thinks that those are dangerous and might lead to war, but others are not. But the most amazing thing that strikes me is this: if you look back during the last thirty years or more which have comprised two wars and the period between these wars, you will find the same cries, changing slightly with changed situation of course, but nevertheless the same cries, the same approaches, the same fears and suspicions and the same arming on all sides and war coming. The same talk of this being the last war, the fight for democracy and all the rest of it is heard on every side. And then the war ends, but the same conflicts continue and again the same preparation for war. Then another war comes. Now that is a very extraordinary thing, because I am convinced that hardly anybody in this wide world wants war, barring a few persons or groups who make profit by war. Nobody and no country wants war. As war becomes more and more terrible they want it still less. Yet some past evil or Karma or some destiny goes on pushing people in a particular direction, towards the abyss and they go through the same argument and they perform the same gestures like automatons.
Now are we fated to do that? I do not know, but anyhow I want to fight against that tendency of talking about war and preparation for war. Obviously no country and no Government of any country dare allow its country to be unprepared for contingencies. We have to prepare ourselves unfortunately, unless we are brave enough to follow the policy that Mahatmaji laid down. If we are brave enough, well and good, we take the chance. I do believe that if we are brave enough that policy would be the right policy. But it is not so much a question of my being brave or your being brave, but of the country being brave enough to follow and understand that policy. I do not think we have been brought up to that level of understanding and behaviour. Indeed when we talk about that great level, I should say that in the last year and a half we have sunk to the lowest depths of behaviour in this country. So let us not take the name of the Mahatma in vain in this country. Anyhow we cannot, no Government can, say that it stands for peace and do nothing at all. We have to take precautions and prepare ourselves to the best of our ability. We cannot blame any other Government which does that, because that is an inevitable precaution that one has to take. But, apart from that, it seems to me that some Government or many Government go much further. They talk all the time of war. They blame the other party all the time. They try to make out that the other party is completely wrong or is a war-monger and so on and so forth. In fact they create the very condition which lead to war. In talking of peace and our love of peace we or they create the conditions that in the past have invariably led to war. The conditions that ultimately generally lead to war are economic conflicts and this and that. But I do not think today it is economic conflict or even political conflict that is going to lead to war, but rather the overmastering fear, the fear that the other party will certainly overwhelm one, the fear that the other party is increasing its strength gradually and would become so strong as to be unassailable and so each party goes on arming and arming with the deadliest weapons. I am sorry I have drifted off in this direction.
How are we to meet this major evil of the day? Some people say, "join up other group" which, according to them, stands for some other kind of peace or progress. But I am quite convinced in my own mind that by joining up in this way, I do not help the cause of peace. That, in fact, only intensifies the atmosphere of fear. Then what am I to do? I do not believe in sitting inactively or practising the policy of escapism. You cannot escape. You have to face the problem and try to beat it and overcome it. Therefore the people who think that our policy is a kind of passive negation or is an inane policy, they are mistaken. That has not been
ever my idea on this subject. I think it is and it ought to be our policy, a positive policy, a definite policy, to strive to overcome the general trend towards war in people's minds.
I know that in this huge problem before the world India may not be a strong enough factor. She may be a feeble factor to change it or alter it. That may be so. I cannot claim any necessary results. But nevertheless I say that the only policy that India should pursue in this matter is a positive, definite policy of avoiding this drift to war by other countries also and of avoiding this atmosphere becoming so charged with fear suspicion, etc., and of not acclaiming this country or that, even though they may claim to make the world rational, but rather laying stress on those qualities of those countries which are good, which are acceptable and drawing out the best from them and thereby, in so far as it may be possible, to work to lessen the tensions and work for peace. Whether we succeed or not is another thing. But it is in our hands now to work with might and main in the direction we consider right, not because we are afraid or fear has overwhelmed us. We have gone through many frightful things and I do not think anything is going to happen in India or the world that is going to frighten us any more. Nevertheless we do not want this world to suffer or go through another world disaster from which you and I cannot escape and our country cannot escape. No policy can make us escape from that. Even if war does not spread to this country, even so if the war comes from abroad it will engulf the world and India. We have to face this problem.
This is more a psychological problem than a practical one, although it has practical applications. I think that in a sense India is partly suited to do it, partly suited because in spite of our being feeble and rather unworthy followers of Gandhiji, nevertheless we have imbibed to some small extent what he told us. Secondly, in these world conflicts you will see there is a succession of one action following another; inevitably one leading to another and so the chain of evils spreads; war comes and the evils that follow wars come after that and they themselves lead to another war and that chain of events goes on and each country is caught within this cycle of Karma or evil or whatever you call it. Now, so far these evils have brought about wars in the West, because in a sense these evils were concentrated in the Western powers; I do not by any means say that the Eastern powers are virtuous. So far the West or Europe has been the centre of political activity, has dominated the politics of the world. Therefore their disputes and their quarrels and their wars have dominated the world.
Now, fortunately we in India are not inheritors of these hatreds of Europe. We may like a person or dislike something or an idea, but we have not got that past inheritance on our backs. Therefore it may be slightly easier for us in facing these problems, whether in international assemblies but also with the deal with them not only objective and dispassionately but also with the goodwill of others who may not suspect us of any fund of ill-will derived from the past. It may be that a country can only function effectively if it has a certain strength behind it. I am not for the moment thinking of material or war strength that of course counts but the general strength behind it. A feeble country which cannot look after itself how is it to look after the World and others? All these considerations I should like this House to have before the House, because I had all those considerations and I felt first of all that it was my duty to see that Indian freedom and independence was in no way touched.
It was obvious that the Republic that we have decided on will come into existence. I think we have achieved that. We would have achieved that, of course, in any event, but we have achieved that with the goodwill of many others. That, I think is some additional achievement. To achievement it with the goodwill of those who perhaps
are hit by it is some achievement. It shows that the manner of doing things the manner which does not leave does not leave any trace of hatred or ill-will behind it, starts a fund of goodwill is important. Goodwill is always precious from any quarter. Therefore I had a feeling when I was considering this matter in London and later, in a small measure perhaps, I had done something that would have met with the approval of Gandhiji. The manner of it I am thinking of, more than the thing itself. I thought that this in itself would raise a fund of goodwill in this world- goodwill which in a smaller sense is to our advantage certainly, and to the advantage of England, but also in a larger sense to the advantage of the world in these psychological conflicts which people try to resolve by blaming each other, by cursing each other and saying that the others are to blame. May be somebody is to blame; may be some politicians or big men are to blame, but nobody can blame those millions of men who will die in these catastrophic wars. In every country the vast masses of human beings do not want wars. They are frightened of wars. Sometimes this very fright is exploited to revive wars because it can always be said that the other party is coming to attack you.
Therefore, I want this House to consider not only that we have achieved something politically that we would have achieved in any event, nobody would have been able to prevent us but what has a certain relevancy and importance is that we have achieved it in a way that helps us and helps others, in a way which does not leave evil consequences behind when we think that we have profited at somebody else's expense and that somebody thinks of that always and wants to take revenge later on. That is the way and if the world functions in that way problems will be solved far more easily and wars and the consequences of wars will perhaps be fewer. They would be no more. It is easy to talk about the faults of the British or of the imperialism and the colonialism of other countries. Perfectly true. You can make out a list of the good qualities and the bad qualities of every nation today, including certainly India. Even if you made that list, the question still remains how anyone is going to draw the good from the other parties and yourself and to lay the foundations for good in the future.
I have come to the conclusion that it does not help us very much either in the government plane or in the national plane to lay stress on the evil in the other party. We must not ignore it; we have to fight it occasionally. We should be prepared for that, but with all that, I do not think this business of maintaining our own virtues and blaming the other party is going to help us in understanding our real problem. It no doubt gives an inner satisfaction that we are virtuous while others are sinners. I am talking in religious phraseology which does not suit me, but the fact is that I do wish to bring this slightly moral aspect of this question before this honourable House. I would not dare to do any injury to the cause of India and then justify it on some high moral ground. No government can do that. But if you can do a profitable business and at the same time it is god on moral grounds, then obviously it is worthy of our understanding and appreciation. I do summit that what we have done in no way, negatively speaking injuries us or can injure us, what we have done in no way negatively speaking, injuries us or can injure us. Positively, we have achieved politically what we wanted to achieve and we are likely to progress, to have more opportunities of progress, in this way than we would otherwise have in the next few years.
Finally, in the world context, it is something that encourages and helps peace, to what extent I do not know; and lastly, of course, it is a thing which in no way binds this country down to any country. It is open to this House or Parliament at any time to break this link, if they so choose, not that I want that link broken. But I am merely pointing out that we have
not bound the future down in the slightest. The future is as free as air and this country can go any way it chooses. If it finds this way is a good way, it will stick to it; if not, it will go some other way and we have not bound it down. I do submit that this resolution that I have placed before this House embodying, approval of the Declaration, the decision at the Conference in London, is a motion which deserves the support and approval of this House, not merely, if I may say so, a passive approval and support, but the active appreciation of all that lies behind it and all that it may mean for the future of India that is gradually unrolling before our very eyes. Indeed all of us have hitched our wagons to the Star of India long ago. Our future, our individual future depends on the future of India; and we have thought and dreamt of the future for a long time. Now we have arrived at a stage when we have to mould by our decisions and activities this future at every step. It is no longer good enough for us to talk of that future in terms merely of resolutions, merely in terms of denunciations of others and criticism of others; it is we who have to make it for good or ill; sometimes some of us are too fond of thinking of that future only in negative terms of denouncing others. Some Members of this House who have opposed this motion and some others who are not in this House, who have opposed this motion, I have felt, have been totally unable to come out of that cage of the past in which we all of us have lived, even though the door was open for them to come mentally out. They have reminded us and some of our friends have been good enough to quote my speeches, which I delivered fifteen and twenty years ago. Well if they attach so much value to my speeches, they might listen to my present speech a little more carefully. The world has changed. Evil still remains evil, and good is good; I do not mean to say that it is not; and I think imperialism is an evil thing, and wherever it remains, it has to be rooted our, and racialism is an evil and has to be fought. All that is true. Nevertheless the world has changed; England has changed; Europe has changed; India has changed; everything has changed and is changing: and look at it now. Look at Europe which for the last three hundred years has a period of magnificent achievement in the arts and sciences and it has built up a new civilization all over the world. It is really a magnificent period of which Europe or some countries of Europe can be greatly proud, but Europe also during those three hundred years or more has gradually spread out its domination over Asia and Africa, has been an Imperialist power and exploited the rest of the world and in a sense dominated the political scene of the world. Well, Europe has still, I believe, a great many fine qualities and those people there who have fine qualities will make good, but Europe can no longer be the centre of the world politically speaking, or exercise that influence over other parts of the world, which it has done in the past. From that point of view, Europe belongs to the past and the centre of world history, of political and other activities, shifts elsewhere. I do not mean to say that any other continent, becomes a dominating force, dominates the rest not in that way. However, we are looking at it in an entirely changed scene. If you talk of British Imperialism and the rest of it, I would say that there is no capacity for imperialism even if the will was there; it cannot be done. The French are, imperialistically, in parts of Asia. But the fact remains that capacity for doing it is past. They may carry on for a year or two years, but it just cannot be done. The Dutch may do it elsewhere and if you look at it in the historical perspective all these things are hangovers of something past and the thing cannot be done. There may be strength behind today; it may last even a few years and therefore, we have to fight it and therefore, we have to be vigilant I do not deny that but let us not think as if Europe or England was the
same as it was fifteen or twenty years ago. It is not.
I was saying about our friends who have criticised us and taken this rather negative and passive view. I mentioned at another place that view was static. I said that, in this particular context, it was rather reactionary and I am sorry I used that word because I do not wish to use words that hurt and I do not wish to hurt people in this way; I have certainly the capacity to use language, clever language to hurt people, and dialectical language, but I do not wish to use it, because we are up against an opponent in an argument and defeat him by a word, and not reach his heart or mind, and I want to reach the hearts and minds of our people (Loud cheers) and I feel that whatever our domestic differences might be let there be differences honestly felt we do not want a cold regimentation of this country (Cheers).
So far as foreign affairs are concerned, there may also be differences, I do not deny that, but fundamental things before any man who is whatever else he may be- an Indian patriot, who wants India to progress and the world also to progress, must be necessarily Indian freedom, that is, complete freedom, India's progress, economically and the rest, India playing a part in this freedom of the world and the preservation of peace, etc., in the world. These are the fundamental things: India must progress. India must progress internally. We can play no part unless we are strong in our country economically and otherwise. How we should do so internally may be a matter of difference of opinion. Now I think it should be possible for people who differ considerably in regard to our internal policy, it should be possible for us to have more or less unified foreign policy in which they agree or mostly agree. May I make myself clear? I do not wish in the slightest to stop argument or comment or criticism; not that; and I want that; it is a sign of healthy nation, but I do wish that argument to be the argument just of a friend and not of an opponent who sometimes uses that argument, not for argument's sake, but just to injure the opposite party, which often is done in the game of politics. I do not see any major difference for any person. I do see a major difference between those individuals or groups who think in terms of other difference between those individuals or groups who think in terms of others countries and not of India at all as the primary thing. That is a basic difference and with them it is exceedingly difficult to have any common approach about anything; but where people think in terms of India's independence and progress in the near future and in the distant future and who want peace in the world, of course, there will be no great difference in our foreign policy. And I do not think there is, in fact, although it may be expressed differently. Although a Government can only speak in the language of a Government, others speak a language which we all used to speak, of opposition and agitation. So, I would beg this House, and if I may say so, the country to look upon this problem not in any party spirit, not in the sense of bargaining over this little matter or that.
We have to be careful in any business deal not to lose a thing which is advantageous to the nation. At the same time, we have to look at this problem in a big way. We are a big nation. If we are a big nation in size, that will not bring bigness to us unless we are big in mind, big in heart, big in understanding and big in action also. You may lose perhaps a little here or there with your bargainers and hagglers in the market place. If you act in a big way, the response to you is very big in the world and their reaction is also big. Because, good always brings good and draws good from others and a big action which shows generosity of spirit brings generosity from the other side.
Therefore, may I finish by commending this resolution to you and trusting that the House will not only accept it, but accept it as something, as a harbinger of good relations, of our acting in a generous
way towards other countries, towards the world, and thus strengthening ourselves and strengthening the cause of peace.
Mr. President : The House will recollect that there are two amendments to the motion. I would put the motion of Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena; if it is carried, it will obviate the necessity of putting the other amendment to vote.
Shri Lakshmainarayan Sahu (Orissa: General): *[Mr. President, I beg leave of the House to withdraw my amendment.]
Mr. President: Mr. Lakshminarayan Sahu wants to withdraw his amendment. Does the House permit him to do that?
The amendment was, by leave of the Assembly, withdrawn.
Mr. President: Mr. Shibban Lal Saksena's amendment alone now remains. I now put Mr. Shibban Lal's amendment to vote.
The question is :
That in the motion, for the words "do hereby ratify" the words "has carefully considered" be substituted and
That the following be added at the end of the motion:
"and is of opinion that membership of the Commonwealth is incompatible with India's new status of Sovereign Independent Republic. Besides, the terms of membership are derogatory to India's dignity and her new status, and as such are bound to circumscribe and limit her freedom of action in international affairs and tie her down to the chariot-wheel of Anglo-American power bloc. India with a population of 350 millions out of a total population of about 500 millions of the whole of the Commonwealth cannot accept the King of England as the Head of the Commonwealth in any shape or form. Also, India cannot become the member of a Commonwealth, many members of which still regard Indians as an inferior race and enforce colour bar against them and deny them even the most elementary rights of citizenship. The recent anti-Indian riots in South Africa, the assertion of the all White policy in Australia and the execution of Ganapathy and the refusal to commute the death sentence on Sambasivam in Malaya in spite of the representations of the Indian Government clearly show that India cannot derive any advantage from the membership of the Commonwealth and that Britain and the other members of the Commonwealth cannot give up their Imperialist and racial policies.
"Considering all these facts, and also considering the fact, that the Congress Party, which is in an absolute majority in the Constituent Assembly and in other provincial legislatures in the country, has had the Complete Independence of India with the severance of the British connection as its declared goal at the time of the last general elections, any new relationship in contravention of that policy with the British commonwealth can only be elected under the new Constitution on the basis of adult suffrage.
* Translation of Hindustani speech.
"This Assembly therefore resolves that the question of India's membership of the Commonwealth be deferred until the new Parliament is elected and the wishes of the people of the country clearly ascertained. The Assembly calls upon the Prime Minister of India to inform the Prime Minister of Great Britain and other members of the Commonwealth accordingly."
The amendment was negative.
Mr. President: I now put the original motion to vote.
The question is:
"Resolved that this Assembly do hereby ratify the declaration, agreed to by the Prime Minister of India, on the continued membership of India in the Commonwealth of Nations, as set out in the official statement issued at the conclusion of the conference of the Commonwealth Prime Minister in London on April 27, 1949."
The motion was adopted
Maulana Hasrat Mohani: Sir, I want to know categorically who are in favour of this Resolution, and who are against it. Besides, I want to know who are neutral.
Mr.President: Do you want a division?
Several Honourable Members: It is too late now.
Maulana Hasrat Mohani: My contention is this. Those who are neutral are against this Resolution. I want to Know........
There is no means of knowing who the neutrals are.
Maulana Hasrat Mohani: This decision of the House will not be final... (Interruption)
Mr. President: Does the Maulana want a division?
Maulana Hasrat Mohani: Yes, Sir...(Interruption).
Maulana Tajamul Hussain: Sir, it is too late now to demand a division. He should have asked for it immediately before you had declared that it had been carried. It is too late now.
Maulana Hasrat Mohani: This is wrong. I at once rose.
Mr. President: I do not think even if the Maulana gets a division, he would get the votes. I do not think it is necessary now to have a division because it is asked for too late.
We adjourn now till 8 o'clock tomorrow morning.
The Assembly, then adjourned till 8 A.M. on Wednesday, the 18th May 1949.