other day I met a friend of mine, who, because he has
no time to stop and think, continues to be a Congressman
still - and he was extra enthusiastic that day. And
I understood as soon as I saw his gait, that the Congress
was in the 'head-lines' - for my friend will saunter
in a peculiar gait, whenever there was any news of importance
about the Congress. Having scented, I wanted to be a
bit peevish, just for the sake of tickling him and so
I began speaking about subjects like butter and butterflies,
rain and rainbow; naturally my friend was about to get
wild. He was about to burst forth. When I, assuming
an air of innocence, said, "But I have been talking
about small problems, before a big man. Well, let me
hear the big news from you." My friend coughed
once or twice - sure signs of impending tempest. I knew
that now none can stop him from talking and he did talk.
I should cut off that portion of the speech, wherein
he scolded me in rather scathing terms, how I was after
all a jack of all trades, a mere novice in the art of
evaluation, a sort of frog in a well, so on and so forth.
After having exhausted his vituperation my friend came
to facts and the very first fact that he presented before
me was this. As usual he presented that fact in the
form of an interrogation. "Haven't you seen the
news, Dr.Nkrumah has come over here - to look and learn,
to talk and plan, to meet and formulate?"
I know the trick; the more intense my friend's feeling
is, the easier it is to tickle him. He poured forth
his intensity of feeling through his interrogation;
hence I just tickled him with an exclamation, "Oh!
Is that the news? Dr.Nkrumah has come. Who will not?
There is the Taj and Red Fort, Rajghat and Bakhra, Moghul
gardens and Muslims, besides the Planning Board. Lot
of things to see in this land of yore. Dr.Nkrumah, a
man with laurels, should surely see all these sights",
My friend burst forth. "You have the checks to
say, that Dr.Nkrumah, is to be taken as one amongst
the throng of tourists, who go over here?"
"Cheeks, my dear friend, are for registering blushes
and occasional kisses, it is not the talking apparatus"
"Thank you, thanks ever so much for your very kind
lesson in human physiology - though I need hardly seek
a master for that", said my friend. He was attempting
"Dr.Nkrumah is the head of Ghana, a new found Republic,
in the Dark Continent. He is not only the virtual ruler
of that virile country, he is the Morning Star shedding
lustre over the Dark continent. He happens to be not
only the Liberator of Ghana, but a Crusader for the
emancipation of the entire African Nation from bondage,
serfdom, colonialism and poverty. He has come over here,
my friend, not to have a look at the Taj in Moonlight,
nor to shed a tear or two over Rajghat, but for conferring
with the greatest of crusaders, Pandit Nehru, on the
most vital issue of the day, 'Discovery of the African
personality'. And you place Dr.Nkrumah alongside tourists
and globe-trotters. I am sorry for you, my friend, you
have a thick fog on your mind."
"Well, well, my friend get not irritated"
I remarked. "I am not as keen on these matters
as you are, you know. And most of the people have lost
their interest in such affairs, for these 'visits' have
now become so frequent, almost continuous, that the
importance usually attached to such 'topicals' has been
minimised. Every second day we are getting a 'World
figure' a 'Liberator', a 'Crusader'. We had the Premier
of Canada, and the Prime Minister of Norway, and before
the festivities were over, came Dr.Nkrumah. When leaders
of eminence come in such quick succession, we are apt
to forget their mission, aren't we?" I asked.
My friend took strong objection to the word 'We'.
"Men like you" said my friend, "men like
you are apt to forget the mission! not all, not those
who are astute, not me! My friend, leaders do come in
quick succession. But, why?" he asked.
Not a hard nut to crack. Yet my friend was almost smiling
after placing that question. I wanted to bye-pass.
"What a query! Leaders have to come you know! What
else they do? And for what else are they leaders of
liberated lands?" I said.
"You are silly, my friend, silly, that is what
you are. And that silliness is stupendous. I am asking
you to have a probe into the problem, to analyse the
affair, to look into the matter. But you blabber some
humour" - my friend's irritation was visibile.
"Dr.Nkrumah has come with definite message, African
Personality. The Prime Minister of Canada came with
another message, the Lessons of partnership in the great
Commonwealth. The Prime Minister of Norway had still
another message to impart, the Role of Small Nations
in World affairs. No leader comes here without a particular
message" My friend became professorial. But I refused
to be content with the role of a pupil. Hence I began
a new line altogether.
"Well, I accept your analysis. Each leader has
a message to offer. But, of what use are these message
for us, for solving the intricate problems we face,
for the puzzles we are confronted with? The discovery
of the African personality, by itself is a good thing
- a tremendous problem in fact. But how is that going
to help us, in bridging this gap in foreign exchange,
this fall in our production, especially the agricultural?
how are we going to be benefited? And each new message
envisages a new camp! And each new camp implies new
tangle. How are we going to adjust and readjust!".
My friend did not expect this line of argument; hence
he had to fret and foam. I marched on.
"Dr.Nkrumah, you say, is a Liberator. We are all
glad he is so. We take pleasure in hailing him as the
Deliverer. But do you know, that in his own Ghana, all
is not quiet. Dr.Nkrumah has shown to the world that
he is a Liberator, a champion of freedom and liberty
for his country, but he has yet to prove that he is
a good and successful Democrat. He has to set his house
in order - work out plans, and take all shades of opinion
into consideration. To play the autocrat at home and
the Democrat on the World Stage is not only awkward
but dangerous. My friend, I have my own respects for
Dr. Nkrumah. An energetic, enlighteed leader like Dr.Nkrumah
deserves all the praise and approbation. But to forget,
because of the dazzle, the entire truth, is not right.
Dr.Nkrumah should be judged not by his utterances alone,
but by the achievements."
Having waited for this, my friend found a clue for a
counter-attack, and he found the clue, in the word,
"You want me to tell you, Dr.Nkrumah's achievement?
Do you? Well! His achievement is of tremendous importance;
and it is a warning unto men of your way of thinking.
You are crying hoarse about a Separate State. Don't
you! You? man in the moon! Hear now, Dr.Nkrumah's message
- told not in so many words, but by a simple stroke
of statesmanship. His inimitable achievement! Ghana
and Guinea are to be united! Do you hear that, my friend,
two Sovereign States, are now to be united. United!
You want to be Separated! And here comes Dr.Nkrumah
after his historic conference at Accra to announce,
his intention of liberating entire Africa. His message
is of supreme importance to men like you, the Separatists.
When for the common good, Ghana and Guinea are to be
united, how dare you people, dabble in such dangerous
talk, like getting a Separate State! I was anxious to
stress that point alone, and you have yourself led me
to that point. Thank you. Now what say you to this?
These are the days of getting together, not of cutting
asunder! Ghana and Guinea are to be united!"
My friend put on the victor's smile. He almost attempted
to pat me on the back.
"My friend, this union of Ghana and Guinea, is
a fact of importance, no doubt, but not the first of
its kind. Some months ago, we found Nasser parading
one such achievement, Egypt was untied with Syria and
out of that wedlock was brought forth what has been
babtised as United Arab Republic. But you forget, that
they are combinations not cohesions. They form part
of a game - the game of maintaining balance of power.
They are not results of the people's desire or demand
- at the best, they are the outcome of the manoeuvres
"We were not told, about any urge on the part of
Syrians for a merger with Egypt. The announcement came
from the bank of the Nile, and Damascus; emitted an
echo. Neither the Egyptians nor the Syrians, attempted
any such 'union' before or even immediately after the
coming to power of Nasser. Various forces are at work,
in the Middle East and curious combinations arise. There
is all around the smell of selfishness and power-mongering,
and the people have no part or lot in those arrangements.
So too, this union of Ghana with Guinea, arises from
out of a conference chamber; it is not born from any
desire on the part of the peoples of these countries.
Nasser announces that he is determined to grow bigger
than Egypt, and his hands embrace nearby Syria. Dr.Nkrumah
thinks that Ghana is too small for him or for his experiment
and Guinea comes in handy. Why these 'diplomatic combinations'
should deter the demand for the right of Self-determination
in other parts of the world is beyond my comprehension.
My friend, may I ask you to tell me this; you are pointing
out these unions with glee. What would your answer be,
if I ask you, when such small countries like Ghana can
be, and are free, independent States, why not Dravida
"Even after these 'Combinations', these units are
not of massive size - not much bigger than the unit
which we envisage. Why then, do you, drag in these instances,
as so many arguments against the demand for self determination?
They are all instances - fluid, full of puzzles and
possibilities, and are not solid and permanent enough
to attain the status of becoming arguments for or against
any problem. They are the 'curios' in the Modern Museum
of Politics - costly, and so not easily marketable.
So, please rely more upon your own thought, even to
decry our demand, and do not take a dip in the Nile,
or a sip of Cocoa, just to deny the inherent right of
an awakened people.
"And as for Nkrumah, may I again stress the point,
he has to prove yet that he is a good democrat. I had
an occasion to go through the debates in the National
Assembly of Ghana, and I find these words spoken therein:
'The speech only pays lip service to human rights as
evidenced by the government's record of intimidation
and discrimination. On the attainment of independence
Ghana's motto was freedom and justice, but the people
had been subjected to a terrifying repression never
before known in 200 years of imperialist rule. Men of
the cleanest possible record had been deported, ......
At public expense the minister of the interior had been
going round inspecting police stations and holding rallies,
usually at election times, threatening people who would
vote for the opposition....
'Local authority courts were packed with Members of
the Gouvention People's Party only, and from his consituency,
gamblers, ex-convicts, and people of doubtful antecedents
had been picked to sit in courts to dispense justice.
All this had created a state of fear, repression, and
'Democracy is being prosituted by these men who have
used every form of intimidation and discrimination against
their political opponents while permanently paying lip
service to democracy and human rights.....
'Farmers were suffering untold poverty. Prices were
rising whilst wages were stagnant and the wokers of
the country shouted freedom, like robots on empty stomachs.
Thousands of boys who had left the middle schools were
unemployed; trade was bad; street-begging was becoming
a national discase, coming from the most unusual sources.
'What is the government's answer to this challenge of
hardship and poverty?'
"These are the words of Mr.Owusu of the United
Party. - and spoken on the floor of the National Assembly.
"The only answer that Dr.Nkrumah seems to have
given so far, is the wholesale arrest of many, in the
opposition camps. I am not concerned' my friend, with
the Justice or otherwise behind such deeds. I simply
point this out to prove, that all is not quiet on the
Ghana front, and the immediate problem that the Doctor
has to face is, how to run the democratic machinery.
"To my mind, it seems, my friend, that most of
these foreign dignitaries, do undertake this global
visits, just to pepper up politics at home. And there
is a very long tradition behind this. Julius Caezar,
it is said, used to go forth to distant lands, register
military viotories, and return to Rome in laurels, whenever
he found his stock a bit dwindling in the capitol".
My friend, had a mysterious head-ache, and we entered
a cafe and the Radio announced there, that Marshall
Tito's 'Galeb' is bound to arrive in Madras.
"Sweet!" exclaimed my friend.
"The news about Marshall Tito?" I enquired.
My friend replied, "Coffee!"