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India Wins Freedom
Apostle of Peace
The Last War of Independence
Quit India
Leave India to God… or to Anarchy
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A Pinch of Salt!
Saga of Indian Revolutionaries
Bardoli
Gandhiji Withdraws from Political Activities
The Himalayan Blunder
A People Reject Their Rulers
Jallianwala — The Aftermath
Massacre at Jallianwala Bagh
The Gentle Satyagrahi
Gandhi in Champaran
Carrot and Stick
Revolutionaries Outside India
Heroes and Martyrs
Gandhi in South Africa
From Swadeshi to Swaraj
Swadeshi Enterprise
The New Spirit of India
The Great Divide
Partition of Bengal
The Battle is Taken to the Legislature!
The Monk Who Shook The Nation
Father of Indian Unrest
An Old Man's Dream
Women : Crossing the Threshold
The Battle Lines are Drawn
The Battle For A Free Press
Pressing On !
Europeans Take To The Street!
The British Raj in Black and White
Mamool Raj
The One-Man Army
Hunger Deaths
The Delhi Durbar
Return to Swadeshi
Barbarous Britannia
‘Rani Ka Hookum’
Perishing in Peace
The Blue Mutiny
English Education
The Trial of the Last Emperor
Roll of Honour
The Empire Strikes Back
British Authority Collapses
Sepoys on the Move
Tribal Uprisings
The Empire Builders
For God and Country

An Old Man's Dream

A.O. Hume loved the country where he served as a civil servant and at the same time he was proud of the democratic traditions of the country of his birth, England. Though a liberal himself he was part of an administrative system which refused to grant citizens the rights which his countrymen back at home held sacred.
In his open letter to the graduates of Calcutta University, Hume had written: "Whether in an individual or the nation, all vital progress must spring from within, the real work must ever be done by the people of the country themselves."
While Hume was happy that leaders from all parts of India had responded to his call to form the Indian National Congress, he was far from happy with the progress the party had made in the first few years.
This is evident from a pamphlet he issued in 1888 in which he urged the people of India to work for a representative government. "I appeal to all who call India home," Hume wrote "...I appeal to all, high and low, gentle and simple, ignorant and learned, rich and poor... You will now, one and all, alike for your own sakes and the sakes of those millions who are being crushed beneath the existing despotic system, boldly...throw in your lot, heart and soul with us ; this is my hope, my belief, my prayer; this is an old man's hope; and if I can only live to see this realised, I shall die content and happy!"
By 1892, the old man was getting impatient. His frustration showed in the circular letter he wrote to his colleagues in the Congress on 16th February, 1892.
"A very large number of you seem almost as behind as the government," went the letter, "...you do not ... realise that the existing system of administration is not only ill-adapted to the wants of the country, is not only pauperizing the people ..but is inevitably preparing the way for one of the most terrible cataclysms, in the history of the world."
Hume felt that a violent backlash was inevitable and when that happened the government would not be able to protect itself or the people.
Hume's circular letter, instead of galvanizing Congress leaders into action, frightened them into silence! The chairman of the Allahabad Congress Standing Committee urged Hume to withdraw the letter, confessing that "a considerable number of men in our ranks will feel nervous at the publication of the letter".
Phirozeshah Mehta, the Lion of Bombay, asked the Bombay Standing Committee to decline to circulate Hume's letter.

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