We cannot joke with revolution. The leaders thought they could. They thought, they could choose their own, time and their own methods in winning a revolution. They were sadly unaware of the socio-political dynamics and needs of a revolution. They forgot, or, more correctly, they never knew, that “insurrection is an art as much as war—and subject to certain rules and procedure,” as Lenin said.
“A new Revolution is possible only as a consequence of a new crisis.” The approach of a crisis is the clarion call of the Revolution. On the other hand, the Congress leaders bewailed that crisis. They were afraid of “taking an advantage of the situation.” They were afraid of “embarrassing the Government.” In the face of the crisis, which was a capital opportunity, the leaders, instead of doing, preparing and acting were hustling about, prattling about. When they began, it was rather late. The crisis had already taken an opposite turn.
The reason why Indians could not take advantage of the tide was that the leaders thought of fighting the Government with ‘their own strength’. They had no idea of a Revolution beyond an isolated Putsch of “their own nonviolent strength”.
And even when they started it, belated though it was, they were absolutely unprepared for it. They never prepared for it because their ideas of a revolution are highly romantic and are based upon the instance of the French Revolution, when it was possible for a mob in a city to rise up and sack the whole state. They believed too much in the mysterious will of the people or the self-adjusting, self- correcting social forces, which can be depended upon to operate for themselves in the interest of the ends visualised by the Congress.
Today, it is a patent fact—so patent, that it glares everybody in the eyes—that the success of everything depends upon a proper technique, planning and organisation. We have to plan and prepare for a war as well as for peace. In fact, today the social and political life is so complicated that the success of anything, great or small, depends upon a proper anticipation, calculation and preparation. But the leaders thought, they could do without every one of them and go about their job of Revolution. They had absolutely no idea of a ‘planned Revolution’. They forgot that Revolution, in a large measure, is an Engineering problem.
A proper organisation is necessary for achieving anything. For, an organisation is functional. It stores and canalises energy. It co-ordinates activities, avoids unnecessary friction, waste, jamming, clashes, panics and crisis, and ensures continuity. It achieves the maximum effect with the minimum of effort. But the Congress chose the method of disorganised activity of everybody being his own leader. It chose the method of “least possible resistance and greatest possible blunder.”
They erred on the point of organisation. They still more criminally erred on the point of training. Any activity in order to be effective must be trained and informed, technically. It is not sufficient to depute one to a job. It is equally necessary to train him to execute that job. Doing requires capacity, relevant information and proper training. But in the absence of these requisites, the slogan DO or DIE would generally end in one’s dying only, instead of one’s doing anything. So, those who gave the people this slogan without giving them proper training were butchers not sacrificers. Death—even when it is martyrdom—is an ugly thing, though, unfortunately, due to group-greed and group domination sometimes a necessary thing. But it is the duty of the “Recognised Leadership” (as Azad describes himself and his collegues) to minimize the chances of death consistent with the realization of the goal. But perhaps the Recognised Leadership did not think that way. There are people who seem to revel in death. They are people of very unhealthy and unnatural instinct.
They talked big and made tall promises, and held out impossible hopes. They used sonorous phrases. Do and Die, or “plunge-into-death” are very good phrases and under well- understood conditions, are even useful and necessary phrases, in so far as they create a proper atmosphere, and generally enthuse the people. But used in themselves and for the sake of them, without anything to back them, is the greatest cause of demoralization. Many of the leaders, in fact, promised that the movement was going to be so swift and victory so easy that it would take just a week to achieve them, without the need of the people being told, what they were to do in those days of the memorable week, which I think was rather introduced after the biblical fashion of God’s seven day’s creation. Even considering such irresponsible outbursts most charitably, it was a bad propaganda. For propaganda is the art of anticipating events, and preparing people for what is coming, in advance; otherwise the shock of the contrast between what is promised and what turns out is too much for people and demoralizes them.
They talked. Perhaps, they thought, they could conjure up vistas with their words.