Though it may be somewhat premature to give a detailed plan of reconstruction, we might as well consider some of the principles according to which our future social reconstruction should take place.
I have no doubt in my mind that our chief national problems relating to the eradication of poverty, illiteracy and disease and to scientific production and distribution can be effectively tackled only along socialistic lines.
The very first thing which our future national government will have to do, would be to set up a commission for drawing up a comprehensive plan of reconstruction.
This plan will have two parts-an immediate programme and long-period program.
In drawing up the first part, the immediate objectives which will have to be kept in view will be threefold–firstly, to prepare the country for self-sacrifice; secondly, to unify India; and thirdly, to give scope for local and cultural autonomy.
The second and third objectives may appear to be contradictory, but they are not really so.
Whatever political talent or genius we may possess as a people, will have to be used in reconciling these two objectives. We shall have to unify the country through a strong central government.
we shall have to pull all the minority communities as well as the provinces at their ease, by allowing them a large measure of autonomy in cultural as well as governmental affairs.
Social efforts will be needed to keep our people together when the load of foreign domination is removed, because alien rule has demoralised and disorganised us to a degree.
To promote national unity, we shall have to develop our lingua-franca and a common script.
Further, with the help of such modern scientific contrivances as aeroplanes, telephone, radio, films, television, etc., we shall have to bring the different parts of India closer to one another and through a common educational policy we shall have to foster a common spirit among the entire population.
So far as our lingua-franca is concerned, I am inclined to think that the distinction between Hindi and Urdu is an artificial one.
The most natural lingua-franca would be a mixture of the two, such as is spoken in daily life in large portions if the country and this common language may be written in either of the two scripts, Nagari or Urdu.
I am aware that there are people in India who strongly favour either of the two scripts to the exclusion of the other.
Our policy, however, should not be one of exclusion.
We should allow the fullest latitude to use either script.
At the same time, I am inclined to think that the ultimate solution would be the adoption of a script that would bring us into line with the rest of the world.
Perhaps, some of our countrymen will gape with horror when they hear of the adoption of Roman script, but I would beg them to consider this problem from the scientific and historical point of view.
If we do that, we shall realise at once that there is Nagari script, as we know it to-day, has passed through several phases of evolution.
Besides, most of the major provinces of India have their own script and there is the Urdu Script which is used largely by the Urdu-speaking public in India and buy both Muslims and Hindus in Provinces like Punjab and Sind.
In view of such diversity, the choice of a uniform script for the whole of India should be made in a thoroughly scientific and impartial spirit, free from bias of every kind.
I confess that there was a time when I felt that it would be anti-national to adopt a foreign script.
But my visit to Turkey in 1934 was responsible for converting me.
I then realised for the first time what a great advantage it was to have the same script as the rest of the world.
So far as our masses are concerned, since more than 90 per cent are illiterate and are not familiar with any script, it will not matter to them which script we introduce when they are educated.
The Roman script will, moreover, facilitate their learning a European language.
I am quite aware how unpopular the immediate adoption of the Roman Script would be in our country. Nevertheless, I would beg my countrymen to consider what would be the wisest solution in the long term.
With Regard to the long-term programme for a free India, the first problem to tackle is that of our increasing population.
I do not desire to go into the theoretical question as to whether India is over-populated or not.
I simply want to point out that where poverty, starvation and disease are stalking the land, we cannot afford to have our population mounting up by thirty million during a single decade.
If the population goes up by leaps and bounds, as it has done in the recent past, our plans are likely to fall through.
It will, therefore, be desirable to restrict our population until we are able to feed, clothe and educate those who already exist.
It is not necessary at this stage to prescribe the methods that should be adopted to prevent a further increase in population, but I would urge that public attention be drawn to this question.
Regarding reconstruction, our principal problem will be how to eradicate poverty from our country.
That will require a radical reform of our land-system, including the abolition of landlordism.
Agricultural indebtedness will have to be liquidated and provision made for cheap credit for the rural population.
An extension of the co-operative movement will be necessary for the benefit of both producers and consumers.
Agriculture will have to be put on a scientific basis with a view to increase the yield from the land.
To solve the economic problem agricultural improvement will not be enough.
A comprehensive scheme of industrial development under state ownerships and state-control will be indispensable.
A new industrial system will have to be build up in place of the old one which has collapsed as a result of mass production abroad and alien rule at home.
The Planning commission will have to carefully consider and decide which of the home industries could be revived despite the competition of modern factories and in which sphere, large scale production should be encouraged.
However, much we may dislike modern industrialism and condemn the evils which follow in its train, we cannot go back to the pre-industrial era, even if we desire to do so.
It is well, therefore, that we should reconcile ourself to industrialisation and devise means to minimise its evils and at the same time explore the possibilities of reviving cottage industries where there is a possibility of their surviving the inevitable competition of factories.
In a country like India, there will be plenty of room for cottage industries, especially in the case of industries including hand-spinning and hand-weaving allied to agriculture.