(With the special correspondent, Organiser, December 1957)
Q : Why is there discontent in the country?
A : Because the Government is whipping up people's desires by incessantly talking of 'raising their standards'. The Government is raising expectations without being able to satisfy them. The result is terrible frustration. That is precisely what the communists want. The seeds of communism strike root only in despairing minds.
They talk of higher standards of living. But for them this only means more and better food, clothes etc. There is no mention of character, knowledge and charity, no appeal to higher sentiments. All is vulgarity, selfishness. And when that is not satisfied, discontent is the result.
Q : Don't' you think that it is a democratic compulsion to please the electorate?
A : No. They will get even more votes if they spoke sincerely and appealed for sacrifice. A country is built by blood and sweat, and not by sweet words and tall promises. As it is, they have to mix immoral practices with extravagant promises, and still they don't get even 50% vote. Actually the whole psychology of Congressmen has undergone a sea-change. Their psychology is 'We are realizing that a government must serve, and not rule. They want to impress the electorate with gigantic constructions. But the people are not at all enthused.
(With pressmen at Delhi, April 1966)
Q : There is a spurt in violent agitations these days. Any special reason?
A : The growing discontent, sense of frustration and probably a lamentable lack of confidence in the Government seems to have provoked the people in various parts to launch agitations to get their grievances redressed. Unfortunately, a feeling is growing that unless there is an agitation and unless it becomes violent the Government does not wake up to the gravity of the situation. And when the Government does wake up, it also indulges in indiscriminate retaliatory violence. I think this feeling is dangerous in the extreme. It is the duty of those in power to act in time and with sympathy and see that there are no causes given to the people to entertain such dangerous notions.
Q : Especially, the food agitations have become violent, disrupting all life.
A : Political elements which rely upon the doctrine of chaos for attaining their goal of grabbing power have been fanning the fire of such agitations, by exploiting the general discontent. These agitations could have been avoided by prompt and timely supply of food. I feel that the food situation is aggravated not because there is no food but because of maldistribution, resulting from the various restrictions on free movement of food-grains. Scarcity and surplus districts can be found contiguous to one another, because normal healthy channels of movement of food-grains are choked by these restrictions. People at the helm appear to have more interest in their own districts or provinces than in the country as a whole. I suggest abolition of all zones and restrictions. The whole country must be treated as one indivisible unity. Let food flow freely from surplus to deficit areas. The Government should be alert to check any undue rise in prices.