monism could be bought with personal and social freedom. Democracy asks for personal and social responsibility. Com- munism asks for submission, the herding of all wills into a common destiny that demands the willingness to be controlled rather than the character to make personal decisions. All dictators know this. Dictators do not want character in a man, they know it is actually dangerous. What they want and must have, Nehru had warned, is the control of the will of man, the will that may be educated to choose, the will to differ, and, most of all, the will to aspire.

An easy bargain! What was this freedom anyway? For millions of men washing this morning in tanks and public taps in India, freedom was a nebulous something they could not feel nor know. They were told that under the British Raj, they did not have it and that now they had it, in dependence had brought it. What was this freedom? Were there not just as many exploiters? Their color might be different, and they might be dressed in dhotis or pajamas or Western pants rather than white drill shorts, but under neath were they not the same? The names, the big, important words like freedom, independence, and democracy, had not changed those in power!

Twenty-four hours from today! Today was election day, the day to choose, to sell freedom if they wanted to because it was all they had to bargain with. Today was election day, the day to vote for a new world. Just step right up, put a ballot in the right box and, hocus pocus, the new day would be tomorrow, not five years from now, not when projected five-year plans of the Congress government would bear fruit because men had worked to make them succeed, but now. Vote for the system and get a new

leader. Submit, sit back, and wait, the change would come! All this had been promised again and again.

Nihar had squashed his loincloth on the wet pavement and with a series of beatings had satisfied himself that it was clean for another day. He slung it over his shoulder as he walked toward a tea stall in front of which was an iron fence on which he hung the cloth. The pale, brown-sugared tea was what he always had first in the early morning. It was as regular as his bath and as invigorating in a different way. The vagrant population of the city had suddenly collected around the stalls, beggars had taken up their regular positions, and the day's pattern had formed.

The boy poured the tea into the saucer, blew on it, and then sucked it down, repeating the process two or three times until the small cup was drained. He tossed an anna on the counter and went next door to the shop where the pan walla had just made fresh pan packets, that piquant combination of betel and spices enclosed in a folded leaf that is universally enjoyed in India. The wet greenness of the packets was inviting, and Nihar bought two, putting them both into his mouth at once. The pleasurable taste was recompense enough for the large mouthful that had to be mastered, and it was only a few seconds before he was able to spit a tremendous splash of red against the iron fence post. As the bloodlike juice ran down the post and the cross-pieces, it almost touched the drying end of his loincloth. A tooth-cleaning on the way to the bath, the bath, the cup of tea, and the pan was the regular routine that the boy followed morning after morning.

Yet Nihar liked it. There was nothing restricted about it. It was, in a very real way, the sense of freedom that he

enjoyed. He belonged to the spot where he had slept. He had paid for a space in a room with other men, but it was much too crowded and too hot to sleep there. He had been used to the open. He belonged to the tap where he washed and now to the park where he sat to enjoy the juicy chew. He had freedom. Freedom not to drink the tea at the same stall, to wash as long as he wanted to, to spit where he wished, freedom each morning for the half hour before he caught a bus to the jute mill where he worked for seven hours a day.
But today was different. He did not have to hang on to a bus. Today was election day, and the mill was closed. Today was his to vote for change. The men at the mill had told him it was their only hope.
Today in the park Nihar slid his dhoti around his body, put on the still-damp loincloth, and then rearranged the dhoti carefully so that it held together outlining his slim hips. He remembered where he was to vote, and he went over to that side of the park only to be told that more than two hours remained before the polling place would open. Already the street was full of people. Everywhere there seemed to be policemen. An air of expectancy as if some tremendous change was about to take place buoyed him up. The police regulations had forbidden soliciting for votes within a few hundred feet of the polls, but workers of all parties were on hand. In this district only two candidates had been declared, the Congress candidate, who was the present Chief Minister of the State, and his Communist opponent, a vigorous and popular man, who was considered a serious threat as a vote-getter.
Nihar sat on a bench near the open-air gymnasium where

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