Courtesy Reuters

Reconciliation in India

WORLD peace and security demand that there be reconciliation in India on a stable basis. But what kind of reconciliation? The Indian people cannot be reconciled to foreign rule. It is Britain that has to be reconciled to a free India. But there must be a spirit of accommodation on both sides and there must be a concrete program, based on that spirit, for the interim period while the war is still being carried on. India needs a national government which will work to establish democracy in India as early as possible and which also will coöperate fully in the war. It is to that end that British statesmen have to be advised, and advised pretty firmly, by their friends abroad.

The continued incarceration of the leaders of the Indian National Congress makes it exceedingly difficult to recommend any proposal contrary to the ideal for which these leaders are suffering imprisonment or which modifies it materially. The intelligentsia who shape the feelings of the people of India are very sensitive. They may even be described as hypersensitive. They would prefer to stick to the ideal, however forlorn it appears, than venture on a compromise in their leaders' absence. This is a fact which cannot be set aside by argument.

The British authorities should examine the policy which keeps the Congress leaders in prison and makes it difficult for anyone to put forward a scheme of reconciliation. The policy is dictated by fear, not by a spirit of vengeance. Fear is a bad word also, but it is true that, except for a few individuals, British statesmen of all shades of opinion seem unable to get over the distrust that was generated in 1942 and are unwilling to take the risk of a popular government in India during wartime. That the fear is unfounded does not alter the reality. Governments everywhere in the world give themselves the benefit of the doubt on questions which they believe affect their security during wartime. Even

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