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´╗┐Title: Indian Home Rule
Author: Gandhi, M. K.
Language: English
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Indians in South Africa

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The Drink and Opium Evil

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Indian Independence:

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GANESH & Co., Publishers, Madras.



  Reprinted with a new foreword by the author





The doctrine of violence is more widely believed in than is generally
realised. The votaries of violence can be divided into two classes.
Some, a small and dwindling class, believe in it and are prepared to act
according to their faith. Others, a very large class always, and now,
after bitter experiences of the failure of constitutional agitation,
larger than ever, believe in violence, but that belief does not lead
them to action. It disables them from work on any basis other than
force. The belief in violence serves to dissuade them from all other
kinds of work or sacrifice. In both cases the evil is great.

There can be no reconstruction or hope for this land of ours, unless we
eradicate the worship of force in all its forms, and establish work on a
basis other than violence. A refutation of the doctrine of violence is,
in the present situation of the affairs of our country, more necessary
than ever.

To this end, nothing better can be conceived than the publication and
wide distribution of Mr. Gandhi's famous book.

It was extremely patriotic of Messrs. Ganesh and Company to have readily
agreed to undertake the work when they were approached with the request.

  Satyagrah Sabha, }
    Madras,        } C. RAJAGOPALACHAR.
    6-6-19.        }


I have re-read this booklet more than once. The value at the present
moment lies in re-printing it as it is. But if I had to revise it, there
is only one word I would alter in accordance with a promise made to an
English friend. She took exception to my use of the word 'prostitute' in
speaking of the Parliament. Her fine taste recoiled from the indelicacy
of the expression. I remind the reader that the booklet purports to be a
free translation of the original which is in Gujarati.

After years of endeavour to put into practice the views expressed in the
following pages, I feel that the way shown therein is the only true way
to Swaraj. Satyagrah--the law of love is the Law of life. Departure from
it leads to disintegration. A firm adherence to it leads to

BOMBAY,           }
_28th May, 1919_. } M. K. GANDHI.




_Reply to Critics_

It is certainly my good fortune that this booklet of mine is receiving
wide attention. The original is in Gujarati. It had a chequered career.
It was first published in the columns of the 'Indian Opinion' of South
Africa. It was written in 1908 during my return voyage from London to
South Africa in answer to the Indian school of violence, and its
prototype in South Africa. I came in contact with every known Indian
anarchist in London. Their bravery impressed me, but I feel that their
zeal was misguided. I felt that violence was no remedy for India's ills,
and that her civilization required the use of a different and higher
weapon for self-protection. The _Satyagrah_ of South Africa was still an
infant hardly two years old. But it had developed sufficiently to permit
me to write of it with some degree of confidence. It was so much
appreciated that it was published as a booklet. It attracted some
attention in India. The Bombay Government prohibited its circulation. I
replied by publishing its translation. I thought that it was due to my
English friends that they should know its contents. In my opinion it is
a book which can be put into the hands of a child. It teaches the gospel
of love in the place of that of hate. It replaces violence with
self-sacrifice. It pits soul force against brute force. It has gone
through several editions and I commend it to those who would care to
read it. I withdraw nothing except one word of it, and that in deference
to a lady friend. I have given the reason for the alteration in the
preface to the Indian edition.

The booklet is a severe condemnation of 'modern civilization.' It was
written in 1908. My conviction is deeper to-day than ever. I feel that
if India would discard 'modern civilization' she can only gain by doing

But I would warn the reader against thinking that I am to-day aiming at
the Swaraj described therein. I know that India is not ripe for it. It
may seem an impertinence to say so. But such is my conviction. I am
individually working for the self-rule pictured therein. But to-day my
corporate activity is undoubtedly devoted to the attainment of
Parliamentary Swaraj in accordance with the wishes of the people of
India. I am not aiming at destroying railways or hospitals, though I
would certainly welcome their natural destruction. Neither railways nor
hospitals are a test of a high and pure civilization. At best they are a
necessary evil. Neither adds one inch to the moral stature of a nation.
Nor am I aiming at a permanent destruction of law courts, much as I
regard it as a 'consummation devoutly to be wished for.' Still less am I
trying to destroy all machinery and mills. It requires a higher
simplicity and renunciation than the people are to-day prepared for.

       *       *       *       *       *

The only part of the programme which is now being carried out in its
entirety is that of non-violence. But I regret to have to confess that
even that is not being carried out in the spirit of the book. If it
were, India would establish Swaraj in a day. If India adopted the
doctrine of love as an active part of her religion and introduced it in
her politics, Swaraj would descend upon India from heaven. But I am
painfully aware that that event is far off as yet.

I offer these comments because I observe that much is being quoted from
the booklet to discredit the present movement. I have even seen writings
suggesting that I am playing a deep game, that I am using the present
turmoil to foist my fads on India, and am making religious experiments
at India's expense. I can only answer that _Satyagrah_ is made of
sterner stuff. There is nothing reserved and nothing secret in it. A
portion of the whole theory of life described in 'Hind Swaraj' is
undoubtedly being carried into practice. There is no danger attendant
upon the whole of it being practised. But it is not right to scare away
people by reproducing from my writings passages that are irrelevant to
the issue before the country.

_Young India, 26th January, 1921_.


   CHAP.                           PAGE

      I The Congress and Its Officials      11

     II The Partition of Bengal      18

    III The Discontent and Unrest      21

     IV What is Swaraj?      22

      V The Condition of England      26

     VI Civilization      30

    VII Why was India Lost?      35

   VIII The condition of India      39

     IX Do. Railways      43

      X Do. Hindus and Mahomedans      47

     XI Do. Lawyers      55

    XII Do. Doctors      60

   XIII What is True Civilization?      63

    XIV How can India become Free?      67

     XV Italy and India      71

    XVI Brute Force      75

   XVII Passive Resistance      84

  XVIII Education      97

    XIX Machinery      105

     XX Conclusion      110

        Appendices      123




READER: Just at present there is a Home Rule wave passing over India.
All our countrymen appear to be pining for National Independence. A
similar spirit pervades them even in South Africa. Indians seem to be
eager after acquiring rights. Will you explain your views in this

EDITOR: You have well put the question, but the answer is not easy. One
of the objects of a newspaper is to understand the popular feeling and
to give expression to it; another is to arouse among the people certain
desirable sentiments; and the third is fearlessly to expose popular
defects. The exercise of all these three functions is involved in
answering your question. To a certain extent the people's will has to be
expressed; certain sentiments will need to be fostered, and defects will
have to be brought to light. But, as you have asked the question, it is
my duty to answer it.

READER: Do you then consider that a desire for Home Rule has been
created among us?

EDITOR: That desire gave rise to the National Congress. The choice of
the word "National" implies it.

READER: That, surely, is not the case. Young India seems to ignore the
Congress. It is considered to be an instrument for perpetuating British

EDITOR: That opinion is not justified. Had not the Grand Old Man of
India prepared the soil, our young men could not have even spoken about
Home Rule. How can we forget what Mr. Hume has written, how he has
lashed us into action, and with what effort he has awakened us, in order
to achieve the objects of the Congress? Sir William Wedderburn has given
his body, mind and money to the same cause. His writings are worthy of
perusal to this day. Professor Gokhale, in order to prepare the Nation,
embraced poverty and gave twenty years of his life. Even now, he is
living in poverty. The late Justice Buddrudin Tyebji was also one of
those who, through the Congress, sowed the seed of Home Rule. Similarly
in Bengal, Madras, the Punjab and other places, there have been lovers
of India and members of the Congress, both Indian and English.

READER: Stay, stay, you are going too far, you are straying away from my
question. I have asked you about Home or Self-Rule; you are discussing
foreign rule. I do not desire to hear English names, and you are giving
me such names. In these circumstances, I do not think we can ever meet.
I shall be pleased if you will confine yourself to Home Rule. All other
wise talk will not satisfy me.

EDITOR: You are impatient. I cannot afford to be likewise. If you will
bear with me for a while, I think you will find that you will obtain
what you want. Remember the old proverb that the tree does not grow in
one day. The fact that you have checked me, and that you do not want to
hear about the well-wishers of India, shows that, for you at any rate,
Home Rule is yet far away. If we had many like you, we would never make
any advance. This thought is worthy of your attention.

READER: It seems to me that you simply want to put me off by talking
round and round. Those whom you consider to be well-wishers of India are
not such in my estimation. Why, then, should I listen to your discourse
on such people? What has he whom you consider to be the father of the
nation done for it? He says that the English Governors will do justice,
and that we should co-operate with them.

EDITOR: I must tell you with all gentleness that it must be a matter of
shame for us that you should speak about that great man, in terms of
disrespect. Just look at his work. He has dedicated his life to the
service of India. We have learned what we know from him. It was the
respected Dadabhai who taught us that the English had sucked our
life-blood. What does it matter that, to-day, his trust is still in the
English nation? Is Dadabhai less to be honoured because, in the
exuberance of youth, we are prepared to go a step further? Are we, on
that account, wiser than he? It is a mark of wisdom not to kick against
the very step from which we have risen higher. The removal of a step
from a staircase brings down the whole of it. When, out of infancy we
grow into youth, we do not despise infancy, but, on the contrary, we
recall with affection the days of our childhood. If, after many years of
study, a teacher were to teach me something, and if I were to build a
little more on the foundation laid by that teacher, I would not, on that
account, be considered wiser than the teacher. He would always command
my respect. Such is the case with the Grand Old Man of India. We must
admit that he is the author of Nationalism.

READER: You have spoken well. I can now understand that we must look
upon Mr. Dadabhai with respect. Without him and men like him, we would
probably not have the spirit that fires us. How can the same be said of
Professor Gokhale? He has constituted himself a great friend of the
English; he says that we have to learn a great deal from them, that we
have to learn their political wisdom, before we can talk of Home Rule.
I am tired of reading his speeches.

EDITOR: If you are tired, it only betrays your impatience. We believe
that those who are discontented with the slowness of their parents, and
are angry because the parents would not run with their children, are
considered disrespectful to their parents. Professor Gokhale occupies
the place of a parent. What does it matter if he cannot run with us? A
nation that is desirous of securing Home Rule cannot afford to despise
its ancestors. We shall become useless if we lack respect for our
elders. Only men with mature thoughts are capable of ruling themselves
and not the hasty-tempered. Moreover, how many Indians were there like
Professor Gokhale, when he gave himself to Indian education? I verily
believe that whatever Professor Gokhale does he does with pure motives
and with a view to serving India. His devotion to the Motherland is so
great, that he would give his life for it if necessary. Whatever he says
is said not to flatter anyone but because he believes it to be true. We
are bound, therefore, to entertain the highest regard for him.

READER: Are we, then, to follow him in every respect?

EDITOR: I never said any such thing. If we conscientiously differed from
him, the learned Professor himself would advise us to follow the
dictates of our conscience rather than him. Our chief purpose is not to
cry down his work, but to believe that he is infinitely greater than we,
and to feel assured that compared with his work for India, ours is
infinitesimal. Several newspapers write disrespectfully of him. It is
our duty to protest against such writings. We should consider men like
Professor Gokhale to be the pillars of Home Rule. It is a bad habit to
say that another man's thoughts are bad and ours only are good, and that
those holding different views from ours are the enemies of the country.

READER: I now begin to understand somewhat your meaning. I shall have to
think the matter over, but what you say about Mr. Hume and Sir William
Wedderburn is beyond comprehension.

EDITOR: The same rule holds good for the English as for the Indians. I
can never subscribe to the statement that all Englishmen are bad. Many
Englishmen desire Home Rule for India. That the English people are
somewhat more selfish than others is true, but that does not prove that
every Englishman is bad. We who seek justice will have to do justice to
others. Sir William does not wish ill to India--that should be enough
for us. As we proceed, you will see that, if we act justly, India will
be sooner free. You will see, too, that, if we shun every Englishman as
an enemy, Home Rule will be delayed. But if we are just to them, we
shall receive their support in our progress towards the goal.

READER: All this seems to me at present to be simply nonsensical.
English support and the obtaining of Home Rule are two contradictory
things. How can the English people tolerate Home Rule for us? But I do
not want you to decide this question for me just yet. To pass time over
it is useless. When you have shown how we can have Home Rule, perhaps I
shall understand your views. You have prejudiced me against you by
discoursing on English help. I would, therefore, beseech you not to
continue this subject.

EDITOR: I have no desire to do so. That you are prejudiced against me is
not a matter for much anxiety. It is well that I should say unpleasant
things at the commencement, it is my duty patiently to try to remove
your prejudice.

READER: I like that last statement. It emboldens me to say what I like.
One thing still puzzles me. I do not understand how the Congress laid
the foundation of Home Rule.

EDITOR: Let us see. The Congress brought together Indians from different
parts of India, and enthused us with the idea of Nationality. The
Government used to look upon it with disfavour. The Congress has always
insisted that the Nation should control revenue and expenditure. It has
always desired self-government after the Canadian model. Whether we can
get it or not, whether we desire it or not, and whether there is not
something more desirable, are different questions. All I have to show is
that the Congress gave us a foretaste of Home Rule. To deprive it of the
honour is not proper, and for us to do so would not only be ungrateful,
but retard the fulfilment of our object. To treat the Congress as an
institution inimical to our growth as a Nation would disable us from
using that body.



READER: Considering the matter as you put it, it seems proper to say
that the foundation of Home Rule was laid by the Congress. But you will
admit that it cannot be considered a real awakening. When and how did
the awakening take place?

EDITOR: The seed is never seen. It works underneath the ground, is
itself destroyed, and the tree which rises above the ground is alone
seen. Such is the case with the Congress. Yet, what you call the real
awakening took place after the Partition of Bengal. For this we have to
be thankful to Lord Curzon. At the time of the Partition, the people of
Bengal reasoned with Lord Curzon, but, in the pride of power, he
disregarded all their prayers--he took it for granted that Indians could
only prattle, that they could never take any effective steps. He used
insulting language, and, in the teeth of all opposition, partitioned
Bengal. That day may be considered to be the day of the partition of the
British Empire. The shock that the British power received through the
Partition has never been equalled by any other act. This does not mean
that the other injustices done to India are less glaring than that done
by the Partition. The salt-tax is not a small injustice. We shall see
many such things later on. But the people were ready to resist the
Partition. At that time, the feeling ran high. Many leading Bengalis
were ready to lose their all. They knew their power; hence the
conflagration. It is now well nigh unquenchable; it is not necessary to
quench it either. Partition will go, Bengal will be re-united, but the
rift in the English barque will remain: it must daily widen. India
awakened is not likely to fall asleep. Demand for abrogation of
Partition is tantamount to demand for Home Rule. Leaders in Bengal know
this, British officials realise it. That is why Partition still remains.
As time passes, the Nation is being forged. Nations are not formed in a
day; the formation requires years.

READER: What, in your opinion, are the results of Partition?

EDITOR: Hitherto we have considered that for redress of grievances, we
must approach the Throne and, if we get no redress, we must sit still,
except that we may still petition. After the Partition, people saw that
petitions must be backed up by force, and that they must be capable of
suffering. This new spirit must be considered to be the chief result of
Partition. That spirit was seen in the outspoken writings in the press.
That which the people said tremblingly and in secret began to be said
and to be written publicly. The Swadeshi movement was inaugurated.
People, young and old, used to run away at the sight of an English face;
it now no longer awed them. They did not fear even a row, or being
imprisoned. Some of the best sons of India are at present in banishment.
This is something different from mere petitioning. Thus are the people
moved. The spirit generated in Bengal has spread in the North to the
Punjab, and in the South to Cape Comorin.

READER: Do you suggest any other striking result?

EDITOR: The Partition has not only made a rift in the English ship, but
has made it in ours also. Great events always produce great results. Our
leaders are divided into two parties: the Moderates and the Extremists.
These may be considered as the slow party and the impatient party. Some
call the Moderates the timid party, and the Extremists the bold party.
All interpret the two words according to their pre-conceptions. This
much is certain--that there has arisen an enmity between the two. The
one distrusts the other, and imputes motives. At the time of the Surat
Congress, there was almost a fight. I think that this division is not a
good thing for the country, but I think also that such divisions will
not last long. It all depends upon the leaders how long they will last.



READER: Then you consider Partition to be a cause of the awakening? Do
you welcome the unrest which has resulted from it?

EDITOR: When a man rises from sleep, he twists his limbs and is
restless. It takes some time before he is entirely awakened. Similarly,
although the Partition has caused an awakening, the comatose has not yet
disappeared. We are still twisting our limbs and still restless, and
just as the state between sleep and awakening must be considered to be
necessary, so may the present unrest in India be considered a necessary
and, therefore, a proper state. The knowledge that there is unrest will,
it is highly probable, enable us to outgrow it. Rising from sleep, we do
not continue in a comatose state, but, according to our ability, sooner
or later, we are completely restored to our senses. So shall we be free
from the present unrest which no one likes.

READER: What is the other form of unrest?

EDITOR: Unrest is, in reality, discontent. The latter is only now
described as unrest. During the Congress-period it was labelled
discontent; Mr. Hume always said that the spread of discontent in India
was necessary. This discontent is a very useful thing. So long as a man
is contented with his present lot, so long is it difficult to persuade
him to come out of it. Therefore it is that every reform must be
preceded by discontent. We throw away things we have only when we cease
to like them. Such discontent has been produced among us after reading
the great works of Indians and Englishmen. Discontent has led to unrest,
and the latter has brought about many deaths, many imprisonments, many
banishments. Such a state of things will still continue. It must be so.
All these may be considered good signs, but they may also lead to bad



READER: I have now learnt what the Congress has done to make India one
nation, how the Partition has caused an awakening, and how discontent
and unrest have spread through the land. I would now like to know your
views on Swaraj. I fear that our interpretation is not the same.

EDITOR: It is quite possible that we do not attach the same meaning to
the term. You and I and all Indians are impatient to obtain Swaraj, but
we are certainly not decided as to what it is. To drive the English out
of India is a thought heard from many mouths, but it does not seem that
many have properly considered why it should be so. I must ask you a
question. Do you think that it is necessary to drive away the English,
if we get all we want?

READER: I should ask of them only one thing that is: "Please leave our
country." If after they have complied with this request, their
withdrawal from India means that they are still in India, I should have
no objection. Then we would understand that, in our language, the word
"gone" is equivalent to "remained."

EDITOR: Well then, let us suppose that the English have retired. What
will you do then?

READER: That question cannot be answered at this stage. The state after
withdrawal will depend largely upon the manner of it. If, as you assume,
they retire, it seems to me we shall still keep their constitution, and
shall carry on the government. If they simply retire for the asking, we
should have an army, etc. ready at hand. We should, therefore, have no
difficulty in carrying on the government.

EDITOR: You may think so: I do not. But I will not discuss the matter
just now. I have to answer your question, and that I can do well by
asking you several questions. Why do you want to drive away the English?

READER: Because India has become impoverished by their government. They
take away our money from year to year. The most important posts are
reserved for themselves. We are kept in a state of slavery. They behave
insolently towards us, and disregard our feelings.

EDITOR: If they do not take our money away, become gentle, and give us
responsible posts, would you still consider their presence to be

READER: That question is useless. It is similar to the question whether
there is any harm in associating with a tiger, if he changes his nature.
Such a question is sheer waste of time. When a tiger changes his nature,
Englishmen will change theirs. This is not possible, and to believe it
to be possible is contrary to human experience.

EDITOR: Supposing we get self-government similar to what the Canadians
and the South Africans have, will it be good enough?

READER: That question also is useless. We may get it when we have the
same powers; we shall then hoist our own flag. As is Japan, so must
India be. We must own our navy, our army, and we must have our own
splendour, and then will India's voice ring through the world.

EDITOR: You have well drawn the picture. In effect it means this: that
we want English rule without the Englishman. You want the tiger's
nature, but not the tiger; that is to say, you would make India English,
and when it becomes English, it will be called not Hindustan but
Englistan. This is not the Swaraj that I want.

READER: I have placed before you my idea of Swaraj as I think it should
be. If the education we have received be of any use, if the works of
Spencer, Mill and others be of any importance and if the English
Parliament be the mother of Parliaments, I certainly think that we
should copy the English people and this to such an extent that, just as
they do not allow others to obtain a footing in their country, so we
should not allow them or others to obtain it in ours. What they have
done in their own country has not been done in any other country. It is,
therefore, proper for us to import their institutions. But now I want to
know your views.

EDITOR: There is need for patience. My views will develop of themselves
in the course of this discourse. It is as difficult for me to understand
the true nature of Swaraj as it seems to you to be easy. I shall,
therefore, for the time being, content myself with endeavouring to show
that what you call Swaraj is not truly Swaraj.



READER: Then from your statement, I deduce the Government of England is
not desirable and not worth copying by us.

EDITOR: Your deduction is justified. The condition of England at present
is pitiable. I pray to God that India may never be in that plight. That
which you consider to be the Mother of Parliaments is like a sterile
woman and a prostitute. Both these are harsh terms, but exactly fit the
case. That Parliament has not yet of its own accord done a single good
thing, hence I have compared it to a sterile woman. The natural
condition of that Parliament is such that, without outside pressure, it
can do nothing. It is like a prostitute because it is under the control
of ministers who change from time to time. To-day it is under Mr.
Asquith, to-morrow it may be under Mr. Balfour.

READER: You have said this sarcastically. The term "sterile woman" is
not applicable. The Parliament, being elected by the people, must work
under public pressure. This is its quality.

EDITOR: You are mistaken. Let us examine it a little more closely. The
best men are supposed to be elected by the people. The members serve
without pay and, therefore, it must be assumed only for the public weal.
The electors are considered to be educated and, therefore, we should
assume that they would not generally make mistakes in their choice. Such
a Parliament should not need the spur of petitions or any other
pressure. Its work should be so smooth that its effect would be more
apparent day by day. But, as a matter of fact, it is generally
acknowledged that the members are hypocritical and selfish. Each thinks
of his own little interest. It is fear that is the guiding motive. What
is done to-day may be undone to-morrow. It is not possible to recall a
single instance in which the finality can be predicted for its work.
When the greatest questions are debated its members have been seen to
stretch themselves and to dose. Sometimes the members talk away until
the listeners are disgusted. Carlyle has called it the "talking shop of
the world." Members vote for their party without a thought. Their
so-called discipline binds them to it. If any member, by way of
exception, gives an independent vote, he is considered a renegade. If
the money and the time wasted by the Parliament were entrusted to a few
good men, the English nation would be occupying to-day a much higher
platform. The Parliament is simply a costly toy of the nation. These
views are, by no means, peculiar to me. Some great English thinkers
have expressed them. One of the members of the Parliament recently said
that a true Christian could not become a member of it. Another said that
it was a baby. And, if it has remained a baby after an existence of
seven hundred years, when will it outgrow its babyhood?

READER: You have set me thinking; you do not expect me to accept at once
all you say. You give me entirely novel views. I shall have to digest
them. Will you now explain the epithet "prostitute"?

EDITOR: That you cannot accept my views at once is only right. If you
will read the literature on this subject, you will have some idea of it.
The Parliament is without a real master. Under the Prime Minister, its
movement is not steady, but it is buffeted about like a prostitute. The
Prime Minister is more concerned about his power than about the welfare
of the Parliament. His energy is concentrated upon securing the success
of his party. His care is not always that the Parliament shall do right.
Prime Ministers are known to have made the Parliament do things merely
for party advantage. All this is worth thinking over.

READER: Then you are really attacking the very men whom we have hitherto
considered to be patriotic and honest?

EDITOR: Yes, that is true; I can have nothing against Prime Ministers,
but what I have seen leads me to think that they cannot be considered
really patriotic. If they are to be considered honest because they do
not take what is generally known as bribery, let them be so considered,
but they are open to subtler influences. In order to gain their ends,
they certainly bribe people with honours. I do not hesitate to say that
they have neither real honesty nor a living conscience.

READER: As you express these views about the Parliament, I would like to
hear you on the English people, so that I may have your views of their

EDITOR: To the English voters their newspaper is their Bible. They take
cue from their newspapers, which latter are often dishonest. The same
fact is differently interpreted by different newspapers, according to
the party in whose interests they are edited. One newspaper would
consider a great Englishman to be a paragon of honesty, another would
consider him dishonest. What must be the condition of the people whose
newspapers are of this type?

READER: You shall describe it.

EDITOR: These people change their views frequently. It is said that they
change them every seven years. These views swing like the pendulum of a
clock and are never steadfast. The people would follow a powerful orator
or a man who gives them parties, receptions, etc. As are the people, so
is their Parliament. They have certainly one quality very strongly
developed. They will never allow their country to be lost. If any person
were to cast an evil eye on it, they would pluck out his eyes. But that
does not mean that the nation possesses every other virtue or that it
should be imitated. If India copies England, it is my firm conviction
that she will be ruined.

READER: To what do you ascribe this state of England?

EDITOR: It is not due to any peculiar fault of the English people, but
the condition is due to modern civilization. It is a civilization only
in name. Under it the nations of Europe are becoming degraded and ruined
day by day.



READER: Now you will have to explain what you mean by civilization.

EDITOR: It is not a question of what I mean. Several English writers
refuse to call that, civilization which passes under that name. Many
books have been written upon that subject. Societies have been formed to
cure the nation of the evils of civilization. A great English writer has
written a work called "Civilization: Its Cause and Cure." Therein he has
called it a disease.

READER: Why do we not know this generally?

EDITOR: The answer is very simple. We rarely find people arguing against
themselves. Those who are intoxicated by modern civilization are not
likely to write against it. Their care will be to find out facts and
arguments in support of it, and this they do unconsciously, believing it
to be true. A man, whilst he is dreaming, believes in his dream; he is
undeceived only when he is awakened from his sleep. A man labouring
under the bane of civilization is like a dreaming man. What we usually
read are the work of defenders of modern civilization, which undoubtedly
claims among its votaries very brilliant and even some very good men.
Their writings hypnotise us. And so, one by one, we are drawn into the

READER: This seems to be very plausible. Now will you tell me something
of what you have read and thought of this civilization.

EDITOR: Let us first consider what state of things is described by the
word "civilization." Its true test lies in the fact that people living
in it make bodily welfare the object of life. We will take some
examples. The people of Europe to-day live in better-built houses than
they did a hundred years ago. This is considered an emblem of
civilization, and this is also a matter to promote bodily happiness.
Formerly, they wore skins, and used as their weapons spears. Now, they
wear long trousers, and for embellishing their bodies they wear a
variety of clothing, and, instead of spears, they carry with them
revolvers containing five or more chambers. If people of a certain
country, who have hitherto not been in the habit of wearing much
clothing, boots, etc., adopt European clothing, they are supposed to
have become civilised out of savagery. Formerly, in Europe, people
ploughed their lands mainly by manual labour. Now, one man can plough a
vast tract by means of steam-engines, and can thus amass great wealth.
This is called a sign of civilization. Formerly, the fewest men wrote
books, that were most valuable. Now, anybody writes and prints anything
he likes and poisons people's minds. Formerly, men travelled in waggons;
now they fly through the air, in trains at the rate of four hundred and
more miles per day. This is considered the height of civilization. It
has been stated that, as men progress, they shall be able to travel in
airships and reach any part of the world in a few hours. Men will not
need the use of their hands and feet. They will press a button, and they
will have their clothing by their side. They will press another button,
and they will have their newspaper. A third, and a motor-car will be in
waiting for them. They will have a variety of delicately dished up food.
Everything will be done by machinery. Formerly, when people wanted to
fight with one another, they measured between them their bodily
strength; now it is possible to take away thousands of lives by one man
working behind a gun from a hill. This is civilization. Formerly, men
worked in the open air only so much as they liked. Now, thousands of
workmen meet together and for the sake of maintenance work in factories
or mines. Their condition is worse than that of beasts. They are obliged
to work, at the risk of their lives, at most dangerous occupations, for
the sake of millionaires. Formerly, men were made slaves under physical
compulsion, now they are enslaved by temptation of money and of the
luxuries that money can buy. There are now diseases of which people
never dreamt before, and an army of doctors is engaged in finding out
their cures, and so hospitals have increased. This is a test of
civilization. Formerly, special messengers were required and much
expense was incurred in order to send letters; to-day, anyone can abuse
his fellow by means of a letter for one penny. True, at the same cost,
one can send one's thanks also. Formerly, people had two or three meals
consisting of homemade bread and vegetables; now, they require something
to eat every two hours, so that they have hardly leisure for anything
else. What more need I say? All this you can ascertain from several
authoritative books. These are all true tests of civilization. And, if
any one speaks to the contrary, know that he is ignorant. This
civilization takes note neither of morality nor of religion. Its
votaries calmly state that their business is not to teach religion. Some
even consider it to be a superstitious growth. Others put on the cloak
of religion, and prate about morality. But, after twenty years'
experience, I have come to the conclusion that immorality is often
taught in the name of morality. Even a child can understand that in all
I have described above there can be no inducement to morality.
Civilization seeks to increase bodily comforts, and it fails miserably
even in doing so.

This civilization is irreligion, and it has taken such a hold on the
people in Europe that those who are in it appear to be half mad. They
lack real physical strength or courage. They keep up their energy by
intoxication. They can hardly be happy in solitude. Women, who should be
the queens of households, wander in the streets, or they slave away in
factories. For the sake of a pittance, half a million women in England
alone are labouring under trying circumstances in factories or similar
institutions. This awful fact is one of the causes of the daily growing
suffragette movement.

This civilization is such that one has only to be patient and it will be
self-destroyed. According to the teaching of Mahomed this would be
considered a Satanic civilization. Hinduism calls it the Black Age. I
cannot give you an adequate conception of it. It is eating into the
vitals of the English nation. It must be shunned. Parliament are really
emblems of slavery. If you will sufficiently think over this, you will
entertain the same opinion, and cease to blame the English. They rather
deserve our sympathy. They are a shrewd nation and I therefore believe
that they will cast off the evil. They are enterprising and industrious
and their mode of thought is not inherently immoral. Neither are they
bad at heart. I, therefore, respect them. Civilization is not an
incurable disease, but it should never be forgotten that the English
people are at present afflicted by it.



READER: You have said much about civilization--enough to make me ponder
over it. I do not now know what I should adopt and what I should avoid
from the nations of Europe, but one question comes to my lips
immediately. If civilization is a disease, and if it has attacked
England why has she been able to take India, and why is she able to
retain it?

EDITOR: Your question is not very difficult to answer, and we shall
presently be able to examine the true nature of Swaraj; for I am aware
that I have still to answer that question. I will, however, take up
your previous question. The English have not taken India; we have given
it to them. They are not in India because of their strength, but because
we keep them. Let us now see whether these propositions can be
sustained. They came to our country originally for purposes of trade.
Recall the Company Bahadur. Who made it Bahadur? They had not the
slightest intention at the time of establishing a kingdom. Who assisted
the Company's officers? Who was tempted at the sight of their silver?
Who bought their goods? History testifies that we did all this. In order
to become rich all at once, we welcomed the Company's officers with open
arms. We assisted them. If I am in the habit of drinking Bhang and a
seller thereof sells it to me, am I to blame him or myself? By blaming
the seller shall I be able to avoid the habit? And, if a particular
retailer is driven away, will not another take his place? A true servant
of India will have to go to the root of the matter. If an excess of food
has caused me indigestion, I will certainly not avoid it by blaming
water. He is a true physician who probes the cause of disease and, if
you pose as a physician for the disease of India, you will have to find
out its true cause.

READER: You are right. Now, I think you will not have to argue much with
me to drive your conclusions home. I am impatient to know your further
views. We are now on a most interesting topic. I shall, therefore,
endeavour to follow your thought, and stop you when I am in doubt.

EDITOR: I am afraid that, in spite of your enthusiasm, as we proceed
further we shall have differences of opinion. Nevertheless, I shall
argue only when you will stop me. We have already seen that the English
merchants were able to get a footing in India because we encouraged
them. When our princes fought among themselves, they sought the
assistance of Company Bahadur. That corporation was versed alike in
commerce and war. It was unhampered by questions of morality. Its object
was to increase its commerce, and to make money. It accepted our
assistance, and increased the number of its warehouses. To protect the
latter it employed an army which was utilised by us also. Is it not then
useless to blame the English for what we did at that time? The Hindus
and the Mahomedans were at daggers drawn. This, too, gave the Company
its opportunity; and thus we created the circumstances that gave the
Company its control over India. Hence it is truer to say that we gave
India to the English than that India was lost.

READER: Will you now tell me how they are able to retain India?

EDITOR: The causes that gave them India enable them to retain it. Some
Englishmen state that they took, and they hold, India by the sword.
Both these statements are wrong. The sword is entirely useless for
holding India. We alone keep them. Napoleon is said to have described
the English as a nation of shop-keepers. It is a fitting description.
They hold whatever dominions they have for the sake of their commerce.
Their army and their navy are intended to protect it. When the Transvaal
offered no such attractions, the late Mr. Gladstone discovered that it
was not right for the English to hold it. When it became a paying
proposition, resistance led to war. Mr. Chamberlain soon discovered that
England enjoyed a suzerainty over the Transvaal. It is related that some
one asked the late President Kruger whether there was gold in the moon.
He replied that it was highly unlikely, because, if there were, the
English would have annexed it. Many problems can be solved by
remembering that money is their God. Then it follows that we keep the
English in India for our base self-interest. We like their commerce,
they please us by their subtle methods, and get what they want from us.
To blame them for this is to perpetuate their power. We further
strengthen their hold by quarrelling amongst ourselves. If you accept
the above statements, it is proved that the English entered India for
the purposes of trade. They remain in it for the same purpose, and we
help them to do so. Their arms and ammunition are perfectly useless. In
this connection, I remind you that it is the British flag which is
waving in Japan, and not the Japanese. The English have a treaty with
Japan for the sake of their commerce, and you will see that, if they can
manage it, their commerce will greatly expand in that country. They wish
to convert the whole world into a vast market for their goods. That they
cannot do so is true, but the blame will not be theirs. They will leave
no stone unturned to reach the goal.



READER: I now understand why the English hold India. I should like to
know your views about the condition of our country.

EDITOR: It is a sad condition. In thinking of it, my eyes water and my
throat get parched. I have grave doubts whether I shall be able
sufficiently to explain what is in my heart. It is my deliberate opinion
that India is being ground down not under the English heel but under
that of modern civilization. It is groaning under the monster's terrible
weight. There is yet time to escape it, but every day makes it more and
more difficult. Religion is dear to me, and my first complaint is that
India is becoming irreligious. Here I am not thinking of the Hindu and
Mahomedan or the Zoroastrian religion, but of the religion which
underlies all religions. We are turning away from God.

READER: How so?

EDITOR: There is a charge laid against us that we are a lazy people, and
that the Europeans are industrious and enterprising. We have accepted
the charge and we, therefore, wish to change our condition. Hinduism,
Islamism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity and all other religions teach
that we should remain passive about worldly pursuits and active about
godly pursuits, that we should set a limit to our worldly ambition, and
that our religious ambition should be illimitable. Our activity should
be directed into the latter channel.

READER: You seem to be encouraging religious charlatanism. Many a cheat
has by talking in a similar strain led the people astray.

EDITOR: You are bringing an unlawful charge against religion. Humbug
there undoubtedly is about all religions. Where there is light, there is
also shadow. I am prepared to maintain that humbugs in worldly matters
are far worse than the humbugs in religion. The humbug of civilization
that I endeavour to show to you is not to be found in religion.

READER: How can you say that? In the name of religion Hindus and
Mahomedans fought against one another. For the same cause Christians
fought Christians. Thousands of innocent men have been murdered,
thousands have been burned and tortured in its name. Surely, this is
much worse than any civilization.

EDITOR: I certainly submit that the above hardships are far more
bearable than those of civilization. Everybody understands that the
cruelties you have named are not part of religion, although they have
been practised in its name: therefore there is no aftermath to these
cruelties. They will always happen so long as there are to be found
ignorant and credulous people. But there is no end to the victims
destroyed in the fire of civilization. Its deadly effect is that people
came under its scorching flames believing it to be all good. They become
utterly irreligious and, in reality, derive little advantage from the
world. Civilization is like a mouse gnawing, while it is soothing us.
When its full effect is realised, we will see that religious
superstition is harmless compared to that of modern civilization. I am
not pleading for a continuance of religious superstitions. We will
certainly fight them tooth and nail, but we can never do so by
disregarding religion. We can only do so by appreciating and conserving
the latter.

READER: Then you will contend that the Pax Britannica is a useless

EDITOR: You may see peace if you like; I see none.

READER: You make light of the terror that Thugs, the Pindaris, the Bhils
were to the country.

EDITOR: If you will give the matter some thought, you will see that the
terror was by no means such a mighty thing. If it had been a very
substantial thing, the other people would have died away before the
English advent. Moreover, the present peace is only nominal, for by it
we have become emasculated and cowardly. We are not to assume that the
English have changed the nature of the Pindaris and the Bhils. It is,
therefore, better to suffer the Pindari peril than that some one else
should protect us from it, and thus render us effeminate. I should
prefer to be killed by the arrow of a Bhil than to seek unmanly
protection. India without such protection was an India full of valour.
Macaulay betrayed gross ignorance when he libelled Indians as being
practically cowards. They never merited the charge. Cowards living in a
country inhabited by hardy mountaineers, infested by wolves and tigers
must surely find an early grave. Have you ever visited our fields? I
assure you that our agriculturists sleep fearlessly on their farms even
to-day, and the English, you and I would hesitate to sleep where they
sleep. Strength lies in absence of fear, not in the quantity of flesh
and muscle we may have on our bodies. Moreover, I must remind you who
desire Home Rule that, after all, the Bhils, the Pindaris, the Assamese
and the Thugs are our own countrymen. To conquer them is your and my
work. So long as we fear our own brethren, we are unfit to reach the




READER: You have deprived me of the consolation I used to have regarding
peace in India.

EDITOR: I have merely given you my opinion on the religious aspect, but
when I give you my views as to the poverty of India you will perhaps
begin to dislike me, because what you and I have hitherto considered
beneficial for India no longer appears to me to be so.

READER: What may that be?

EDITOR: Railways, lawyers and doctors have impoverished the country, so
much so that, if we do not wake up in time, we shall be ruined.

READER: I do now indeed fear that we are not likely to agree at all. You
are attacking the very institutions which we have hitherto considered to
be good.

EDITOR: It is necessary to exercise patience. The true inwardness of the
evils of civilization you will understand with difficulty. Doctors
assure us that a consumptive clings to life even when he is about to
die. Consumption does not produce apparent hurt--it even produces a
seductive colour about a patient's face, so as to induce the belief that
all is well. Civilization is such a disease, and we have to be very

READER: Very well, then, I shall hear you on the railways.

EDITOR: It must be manifest to you that, but for the railways, the
English could not have such a hold on India as they have. The railways,
too, have spread the bubonic plague. Without them, masses could not move
from place to place. They are the carriers of plague germs. Formerly we
had natural segregation. Railways have also increased the frequency of
famines, because, owing to facility of means of locomotion, people sell
out their grain, and it is sent to the dearest markets. People become
careless, and so the pressure of famine increases. They accentuate the
evil nature of man. Bad men fulfil their evil designs with greater
rapidity. The holy places of India have become unholy. Formerly people
went to these places with very great difficulty. Generally, therefore,
only the real devotees visited such places. Now-a-days, rogues visit
them in order to practise their roguery.

READER: You have given an one-sided account. Good men can visit these
places as well as bad men. Why do they not take the fullest advantage of
the railways?

EDITOR: Good travels at a snail's pace--it can, therefore, have little
to do with the railways. Those who want to do good are not selfish, they
are not in a hurry, they know that to impregnate people with good
requires a long time. But evil has wings. To build a house takes time.
Its destruction takes none. So the railways can become a distributing
agency for the evil one only. It may be a debatable matter whether
railways spread famines, but it is beyond dispute that they propagate

READER: Be that as it may, all the disadvantages of railways are more
than counter-balanced by the fact that it is due to them that we see in
India the new spirit of nationalism.

EDITOR: I hold this to be a mistake. The English have taught us that we
were not one nation before, and that it will require centuries before we
become one nation. This is without foundation. We were one nation before
they came to India. One thought inspired us. Our mode of life was the
same. It was because we were one nation that they were able to establish
one kingdom. Subsequently they divided us.

READER: This requires an explanation.

EDITOR: I do not wish to suggest that because we were one nation we had
no differences, but it is submitted that our leading men travelled
throughout India either on foot or in bullock-carts. They learned one
another's languages, and there was no aloofness between them. What do
you think could have been the intention of those far-seeing ancestors of
ours who established Shethubindu-Rameshwar in the South, Juggernaut in
the South-East and Hardwar in the North as places of pilgrimage? You
will admit they were no fools. They knew that worship of God could have
been performed just as well at home. They taught us that those whose
hearts were aglow with righteousness had the Ganges in their own homes.
But they saw that India was one undivided land so made by nature. They,
therefore, argued that it must be one nation. Arguing thus, they
established holy places in various parts of India, and fired the people
with an idea of nationality in a manner unknown in other parts of the
world. Any two Indians are one as no two Englishmen are. Only you and I
and others who consider ourselves civilised and superior persons imagine
that we are many nations. It was after the advent of railways that we
began to believe in distinctions, and you are at liberty now to say that
it is through the railways that we are beginning to abolish those
distinctions. An opium-eater may argue the advantage of opium-eating
from the fact that he began to understand the evil of the opium habit
after having eaten it. I would ask you to consider well what I have said
on the railways.

READER: I will gladly do so, but one question occurs to me even now. You
have described to me the India of the pre-Mahomedan period, but now we
have Mahomedans, Parsees and Christians. How can they be one nation?
Hindus and Mahomedans are old enemies. Our very proverbs prove it.
Mahomedans turn to the West for worship whilst Hindus turn to the East.
The former look down on the Hindus as idolators. The Hindus worship the
cow, the Mahomedans kill her. The Hindus believe in the doctrine of
non-killing, the Mahomedans do not. We thus meet with differences at
every step. How can India be one nation?




EDITOR: Your last question is a serious one; and yet, on careful
consideration, it will be found to be easy of solution. The question
arises because of the presence of the railways, of the lawyers and of
the doctors. We shall presently examine the last two. We have already
considered the railways. I should, however, like to add that man is so
made by nature as to require him to restrict his movements as far as his
hands and feet will take him. If we did not rush about from place to
place by means of railways and such other maddening conveniences, much
of the confusion that arises would be obviated. Our difficulties are of
our own creation. God set a limit to a man's locomotive ambition in the
construction of his body. Man immediately proceeded to discover means of
overriding the limit. God gifted man with intellect that he might know
his Maker. Man abused it, so that he might forget his Maker. I am so
constructed that I can only serve my immediate neighbours, but in my
conceit, I pretend to have discovered that I must with my body serve
every individual in the Universe. In thus attempting the impossible, man
comes in contact with different natures, different religions and is
utterly confounded. According to this reasoning, it must be apparent to
you that railways are a most dangerous institution. Man has there
through gone further away from his Maker.

READER: But I am impatient to hear your answer to my question. Has the
introduction of Mahomedanism not unmade the nation?

EDITOR: India cannot cease to be one nation because people belonging to
different religions live in it. The introduction of foreigners does not
necessarily destroy the nation, they merge in it. A country is one
nation only when such a condition obtains in it. That country must have
a faculty for assimilation. India has ever been such a country. In
reality, there are as many religions as there are individuals, but those
who are conscious of the spirit of nationality do not interfere with
one another's religion. If they do, they are not fit to be considered a
nation. If the Hindus believe that India should be peopled only by
Hindus, they are living in dreamland. The Hindus, the Mahomedans, the
Parsees and the Christians who have made India their country are
fellow-countrymen, and they will have to live in unity if only for their
own interest. In no part of the world are one nationality and one
religion synonymous terms; nor has it ever been so in India.

READER: But what about the inborn enmity between Hindus and Mahomedans?

EDITOR: That phrase has been invented by our mutual enemy. When the
Hindus and Mahomedans fought against one another, they certainly spoke
in that strain. They have long since ceased to fight. How, then, can
there be any inborn enmity? Pray remember this too, that we did not
cease to fight only after British occupation. The Hindus flourished
under Moslem sovereigns and Moslems under the Hindu. Each party
recognised that mutual fighting was suicidal, and that neither party
would abandon its religion by force of arms. Both parties, therefore,
decided to live in peace. With the English advent the quarrels

The proverbs you have quoted were coined when both were fighting; to
quote them now is obviously harmful. Should we not remember that many
Hindus and Mahomedans own the same ancestors, and the same blood runs
through their veins? Do people become enemies because they change their
religion? Is the God of the Mahomedan different from the God of the
Hindu? Religions are different roads converging to the same point. What
does it matter that we take different roads, so long as we reach the
same goal? Wherein is the cause for quarrelling?

Moreover, there are deadly proverbs as between the followers of Shiva
and those of Vishnu, yet nobody suggests that these two do not belong to
the same nation. It is said that the Vedic religion is different from
Jainism, but the followers of the respective faiths are not different
nations. The fact is that we have become enslaved, and, therefore,
quarrel and like to have our quarrels decided by a third party. There
are Hindu iconoclasts as there are Mahomedan. The more we advance in
true knowledge, the better we shall understand that we need not be at
war with those whose religion we may not follow.

READER: Now I would like to know your views about cow protection.

EDITOR: I myself respect the cow, that is I look upon her with
affectionate reverence. The cow is the protector of India, because, it
being an agricultural country, is dependant on the cow's progeny. She
is a most useful animal in hundreds of ways. Our Mahomedan brethren will
admit this.

But, just as I respect the cow so do I respect my fellow-men. A man is
just as useful as a cow, no matter whether he be a Mahomedan or a Hindu.
Am I, then, to fight with or kill a Mahomedan in order to save a cow? In
doing so, I would become an enemy as well of the cow as of the
Mahomedan. Therefore, the only method I know of protecting the cow is
that I should approach my Mahomedan brother and urge him for the sake of
the country to join me in protecting her. If he would not listen to me,
I should let the cow go for the simple reason that the matter is beyond
my ability. If I were over full of pity for the cow, I should sacrifice
my life to save her, but not take my brother's. This, I hold, is the law
of our religion.

When men become obstinate, it is a difficult thing. If I pull one way,
my Moslem brother will pull another. If I put on a superior air, he will
return the compliment. If I bow to him gently, he will do it much more
so, and if he does not, I shall not be considered to have done wrong in
having bowed. When the Hindus became insistent, the killing of cows
increased. In my opinion, cow protection societies may be considered
cow-killing societies. It is a disgrace to us that we should need such
societies. When we forgot how to protect cows, I suppose we needed such

What am I to do when a blood-brother is on the point of killing a cow?
Am I to kill him, or to fall down at his feet and implore him? If you
admit that I should adopt the latter course, I must do the same to my
Moslem brother.

Who protects the cow from destruction by Hindus when they cruelly
ill-treat her? Whoever reasons with the Hindus when they mercilessly
belabour the progeny of the cow with their sticks? But this has not
prevented us from remaining one nation.

Lastly, if it be true that the Hindus believe in the doctrine of
non-killing and the Mahomedans do not, what, I pray, is the duty of the
former? It is not written that a follower of the religion of Ahimsa
(non-killing) may kill a fellow-man. For him the way is straight. In
order to save one being, he may not kill another. He can only
plead--therein lies his sole duty.

But does every Hindu believe in Ahimsa? Going to the root of the matter,
not one man really practises such a religion, because we do destroy
life. We are said to follow that religion because we want to obtain
freedom from liability to kill any kind of life. Generally speaking, we
may observe that many Hindus partake of meat and are not, therefore,
followers of Ahimsa. It is, therefore, preposterous to suggest that the
two cannot live together amicably because the Hindus believe in Ahimsa
and the Mahomedans do not.

These thoughts are put into our minds by selfish and false religious
teachers. The English put the finishing touch. They have a habit of
writing history; they pretend to study the manners and customs of all
peoples. God has given us a limited mental capacity, but they usurp the
function of the God-head and indulge in novel experiments. They write
about their own researches in most laudatory terms and hypnotise us into
believing them. We, in our ignorance, then fall at their feet.

Those who do not wish to misunderstand things may read up the Koran, and
will find therein hundreds of passages acceptable to the Hindus; and the
Bhagavad-Gita contains passages to which not a Mahomedan can take
exception. Am I to dislike a Mahomedan because there are passages in the
Koran I do not understand or like? It takes two to make a quarrel. If I
do not want to quarrel with a Mahomedan, the latter will be powerless to
foist a quarrel on me, and, similarly, I should be powerless if a
Mahomedan refuses his assistance to quarrel with me. An arm striking the
air will become disjointed. If every one will try to understand the core
of his own religion and adhere to it, and will not allow false teachers
to dictate to him, there will be no room left for quarrelling.

READER: But will the English ever allow the two bodies to join hands?

EDITOR: This question arises out of your timidity. It betrays our
shallowness. If two brothers want to live in peace is it possible for a
third party to separate them? If they were to listen to evil counsels,
we would consider them to be foolish. Similarly, we Hindus and
Mahomedans would have to blame our folly rather than the English, if we
allowed them to put us asunder. A claypot would break through impact; if
not with one stone, then with another. The way to save the pot is not to
keep it away from the danger point, but to bake it so that no stone
would break it. We have then to make our hearts of perfectly baked clay.
Then we shall be steeled against all danger. This can be easily done by
the Hindus. They are superior in numbers, they pretend that they are
more educated, they are, therefore, better able to shield themselves
from attack on their amicable relations with the Mahomedans.

There is mutual distrust between the two communities. The Mahomedans,
therefore, ask for certain concessions from Lord Morley. Why should the
Hindus oppose this? If the Hindus desisted, the English would notice it,
the Mahomedans would gradually begin to trust the Hindus, and
brotherliness would be the outcome. We should be ashamed to take our
quarrels to the English. Everyone can find out for himself that the
Hindus can lose nothing by desisting. That man who has inspired
confidence in another has never lost anything in this world.

I do not suggest that the Hindus and the Mahomedans will never fight.
Two brothers living together often do so. We shall sometimes have our
heads broken. Such a thing ought not to be necessary, but all men are
not equiminded. When people are in a rage, they do many foolish things.
These we have to put up with. But, when we do quarrel, we certainly do
not want to engage counsel and to resort to English or any law-courts.
Two men fight; both have their heads broken, or one only. How shall a
third party distribute justice amongst them? Those who fight may expect
to be injured.




READER: You tell me that, when two men quarrel, they should not go to a
law-court. This is astonishing.

EDITOR: Whether you call it astonishing or not, it is the truth. And
your question introduces us to the lawyers and the doctors. My firm
opinion is that the lawyers have enslaved India and they have
accentuated the Hindu-Mahomedan dissensions, and have confirmed English

READER: It is easy enough to bring these charges, but it will be
difficult for you to prove them. But for the lawyers, who would have
shown us the road to independence? Who would have protected the poor?
Who would have secured justice? For instance, the late Mr. Manomohan
Ghose defended many a poor man free of charge. The Congress, which you
have praised so much, is dependent for its existence and activity upon
the work of the lawyers. To denounce such an estimable class of men is
to spell justice injustice, and you are abusing the liberty of the press
by decrying lawyers.

EDITOR: At one time I used to think exactly like you. I have no desire
to convince you that they have never done a single good thing. I honour
Mr. Ghose's memory. It is quite true that he helped the poor. That the
Congress owes the lawyers something is believable. Lawyers are also men,
and there is something good in every man. Whenever instances of lawyers
having done good can be brought forward, it will be found that the good
is due to them as men rather than as lawyers. All I am concerned with is
to show you that the profession teaches immorality; it is exposed to
temptations from which few are saved.

The Hindus and the Mahomedans have quarrelled. An ordinary man will ask
them to forget all about it, he will tell them that both must be more
or less at fault, and will advise them no longer to quarrel. They go to
lawyers. The latter's duty is to side with their clients, and to find
out ways and arguments in favour of the clients to which they (the
clients) are often strangers. If they do not do so, they will be
considered to have degraded their profession. The lawyers, therefore,
will, as a rule advance quarrels, instead of repressing them. Moreover,
men take up that profession, not in order to help others out of their
miseries, but to enrich themselves. It is one of the avenues of becoming
wealthy and their interest exists in multiplying disputes. It is within
my knowledge that they are glad when men have disputes. Petty pleaders
actually manufacture them. Their touts, like so many leeches, suck the
blood of the poor people. Lawyers are men who have little to do. Lazy
people, in order to indulge in luxuries, take up such professions. This
is a true statement. Any other argument is a mere pretension. It is the
lawyers who have discovered that theirs is an honourable profession.
They frame laws as they frame their own praises. They decide what fees
they will charge, and they put on so much side that poor people almost
consider them to be heaven-born. Why do they want more fees than common
labourers? Why are their requirements greater? In what way are they more
profitable to the country than the labourers? Are those who do good
entitled to greater payment? And, if they have done anything for the
country for the sake of money, how shall it be counted as good?

Those who know anything of the Hindu-Mahomedan quarrels know that they
have been often due to the intervention of lawyers. Some families have
been ruined through them; they have made brothers enemies.
Principalities, having come under lawyer's power, have become loaded
with debt. Many have been robbed of their all. Such instances can be

But the greatest injury they have done to the country is that they have
tightened the English grip. Do you think that it would be possible for
the English to carry on their government without law-courts? It is wrong
to consider that courts are established for the benefit of the people.
Those who want to perpetuate their power do so through the courts. If
people were to settle their own quarrels, a third party would not be
able to exercise any authority over them. Truly, men were less unmanly
when they settled their disputes either by fighting or by asking their
relatives to decide upon them. They became more unmanly and cowardly
when they resorted to the courts of law. It was certainly a sign of
savagery when they settled their disputes by fighting. Is it any the
less so if I ask a third party to decide between you and me? Surely,
the decision of a third party is not always right. The parties alone
know who is right. We, in our simplicity and ignorance, imagine that a
stranger, by taking our money, gives us justice.

The chief thing, however, to be remembered is that, without lawyers,
courts could not have been established or conducted, and without the
latter the English could not rule. Supposing that there were only
English Judges, English Pleaders and English Police, they could only
rule over the English. The English could not do without Indian Judges
and Indian pleaders. How the pleaders were made in the first instance
and how they were favoured you should understand well. Then you will
have the same abhorrence for the profession that I have. If pleaders
were to abandon their profession, and consider it just as degrading as
prostitution, English rule would break up in a day. They have been
instrumental in having the charge laid against us that we love quarrels
and courts, as fish love water. What I have said with reference to the
pleaders necessarily applies to the judges; they are first cousins, and
the one gives strength to the other.




READER: I now understand the lawyers; the good they may have done is
accidental. I feel that the profession is certainly hateful. You,
however, drag in these doctors also, how is that?

EDITOR: The views I submit to you are those I have adopted. They are not
original. Western writers have used stronger terms regarding both
lawyers and doctors. One writer has likened the whole modern system to
the Upas tree. Its branches are represented by parasitical professions,
including those of law and medicine, and over the trunk has been raised
the axe of true religion. Immorality is the root of the tree. So you
will see that the views do not come right out of my mind, but they
represent the combined experiences of many. I was at one time a great
lover of the medical profession. It was my intention to become a doctor
for the sake of the country. I no longer hold that opinion. I now
understand why the medicine men (the vaids) among us have not occupied a
very honourable status.

The English have certainly effectively used the medical profession for
holding us. English physicians are known to have used the profession
with several Asiatic potentates for political gain.

Doctors have almost unhinged us. Sometimes I think that quacks are
better than highly qualified doctors. Let us consider: the business of a
doctor is to take care of the body, or, properly speaking, not even
that. Their business is really to rid the body of diseases that may
afflict it. How do these diseases arise? Surely by our negligence or
indulgence. I overeat, I have indigestion, I go to a doctor, he gives me
medicine. I am cured, I overeat again, and I take his pills again. Had I
not taken the pills in the first instance, I would have suffered the
punishment deserved by me, and I would not have overeaten again. The
doctor intervened and helped me to indulge myself. My body thereby
certainly felt more at ease, but my mind became weakened. A continuance
of a course of a medicine must, therefore, result in loss of control
over the mind.

I have indulged in vice, I contract a disease, a doctor cures me, the
odds are that I shall repeat the vice. Had the doctor not intervened,
nature would have done its work, and I would have acquired mastery over
myself, would have been freed from vice, and would have become happy.

Hospitals are institutions for propagating sin. Men take less care of
their bodies, and immorality increases. European doctors are the worst
of all. For the sake of a mistaken care of the human body, they kill
annually thousands of animals. They practise vivisection. No religion
sanctions this. All say that it is not necessary to take so many lives
for the sake of our bodies.

These doctors violate our religious instinct. Most of their medical
preparations contain either animal fat or spirituous liquors; both of
these are tabooed by Hindus and Mahomedans. We may pretend to be
civilised, call religious prohibitions a superstition and wantonly
indulge in what we like. The fact remains that the doctors induce us to
indulge, and the result is that we have become deprived of self-control
and have become effeminate. In these circumstances, we are unfit to
serve the country. To study European medicine is to deepen our slavery.

It is worth considering why we take up the profession of medicine. It is
certainly not taken up for the purpose of serving humanity. We become
doctors so that we may obtain honours and riches. I have endeavoured to
show that there is no real service of humanity in the profession, and
that it is injurious to mankind. Doctors make a show of their knowledge,
and charge exorbitant fees. Their preparations, which are intrinsically
worth a few pennies, cost shillings. The populace in its credulity and
in the hope of ridding itself of some disease, allows itself to be
cheated. Are not quacks then, whom we know, better than the doctors who
put on an air of humaneness?



READER: You have denounced railways, lawyers and doctors. I can see that
you will discard all machinery. What, then, is civilization?

EDITOR: The answer to that question is not difficult. I believe that the
civilization India has evolved is not to be beaten in the world. Nothing
can equal the seeds sown by our ancestors. Rome went, Greece shared the
same fate, the might of the Pharaohs was broken, Japan has become
westernised, of China nothing can be said, but India is still, somehow
or other, sound at the foundation. The people of Europe learn their
lessons from the writings of the men of Greece or Rome, which exist no
longer in their former glory. In trying to learn from them, the
Europeans imagine that they will avoid the mistakes of Greece and Rome.
Such is their pitiable condition. In the midst of all this, India
remains immovable, and that is her glory. It is a charge against India
that her people are so uncivilised, ignorant and stolid, that it is not
possible to induce them to adopt any changes. It is a charge really
against our merit. What we have tested and found true on the anvil of
experience, we dare not change. Many thrust their advice upon India, and
she remains steady. This is her beauty; it is the sheet-anchor of our

Civilization is that mode of conduct which points out to man the path of
duty. Performance of duty and observance of morality are convertible
terms. To observe morality is to attain mastery over our mind and our
passions. So doing, we know ourselves. The Gujarati equivalent for
civilization means "good conduct."

If this definition be correct, then India, as so many writers have
shown, has nothing to learn from anybody else, and this is as it should
be. We notice that mind is a restless bird; the more it gets the more it
wants, and still remains unsatisfied. The more we indulge our passions,
the more unbridled they become. Our ancestors, therefore, set a limit to
our indulgences. They saw that happiness was largely a mental condition.
A man is not necessarily happy because he is rich, or unhappy because he
is poor. The rich are often seem to be unhappy, the poor to be happy.
Millions will always remain poor. Observing all this, our ancestors
dissuaded us from luxuries and pleasures. We have managed with the same
kind of plough as it existed thousands of years ago. We have retained
the same kind of cottages that we had in former times, and our
indigenous education remains the same as before. We have had no system
of life-corroding competition. Each followed his own occupation or
trade, and charged a regulation wage. It was not that we did not know
how to invent machinery, but our forefathers knew that, if we set our
hearts after such things, we would become slaves and lose our moral
fibre. They, therefore, after due deliberation, decided that we should
only do what we could with our hands and feet. They saw that our real
happiness and health consisted in a proper use of our hands and feet.
They further reasoned that large cities were a snare and a useless
encumbrance, and that people would not be happy in them, that there
would be gangs of thieves and robbers, prostitution and vice flourishing
in them, and that poor men would be robbed by rich men. They were,
therefore, satisfied with small villages. They saw that kings and their
swords were inferior to the sword of ethics, and they, therefore, held
the sovereigns of the earth to be inferior to the Rishis and the Fakirs.
A nation with a constitution like this is fitter to teach others than to
learn from others. This nation had courts, lawyers and doctors, but they
were all within bounds. Everybody knew that these professions were not
particularly superior; moreover, these vakils and _vaids_ did not rob
people; they were considered people's dependents, not their masters.
Justice was tolerably fair. The ordinary rule was to avoid courts. There
were no touts to lure people into them. This evil, too, was noticeable
only in and around capitals. The common people lived independently, and
followed their agricultural occupation. They enjoyed true Home Rule.

And where this cursed modern civilization has not reached, India remains
as it was before. The inhabitants of that part of India will very
properly laugh at your new-fangled notions. The English do not rule over
them nor will you ever rule over them. Those whose name we speak we do
not know, nor do they know us. I would certainly advise you and those
like you who love the motherland to go into the interior that has yet
not been polluted by the railways, and to live there for six months; you
might then be patriotic and speak of Home Rule.

Now you see what I consider to be real civilization. Those who want to
change conditions such as I have described are enemies of the country
and are sinners.

READER: It would be all right if India were exactly as you have
described it; but it is also India where there are hundreds of
child-widows, where two-year-old babies are married, where
twelve-year-old girls are mothers and housewives, where women practise
polyandry, where the practice of Niyog obtains, where, in the name of
religion, girls dedicate themselves to prostitution, and where, in the
name of religion, sheep and goats are killed. Do you consider these also
symbols of the civilization that you have described?

EDITOR: You make a mistake. The defects that you have shown are defects.
Nobody mistakes them for ancient civilization. They remain in spite of
it. Attempts have always been made, and will be made, to remove them. We
may utilise the new spirit that is born in us for purging ourselves of
these evils. But what I have described to you as emblems of modern
civilization are accepted as such by its votaries. The Indian
civilization, as described by me, has been so described by its votaries.
In no part of the world, and under no civilization, have all men
attained perfection. The tendency of Indian civilization is to elevate
the moral being, that of the western civilization is to propagate
immorality. The latter is godless, the former is based on a belief in
God. So understanding and so believing, it behoves every lover of India
to cling to the old Indian civilization even as a child clings to its
mother's breast.



READER: I appreciate your views about civilization. I will have to think
over them. I cannot take in all at once. What, then, holding the views
you do, would you suggest for freeing India?

EDITOR: I do not expect my views to be accepted all of a sudden. My duty
is to place them before readers like yourself. Time can be trusted to
do the rest. We have already examined the conditions for freeing India,
but we have done so indirectly; we will now do so directly. It is a
world-known maxim that the removal of the cause of a disease results in
the removal of the disease itself. Similarly, if the cause of India's
slavery be removed, India can become free.

READER: If Indian civilization is, as you say, the best of all, how do
you account for India's slavery?

EDITOR: This civilization is unquestionably the best; but it is to be
observed that all civilizations have been on their trial. That
civilization which is permanent outlives it. Because the sons of India
were found wanting, its civilization has been placed in jeopardy. But
its strength is to be seen in its ability to survive the shock.
Moreover, the whole of India is not touched. Those alone who have been
affected by western civilization have become enslaved. We measure the
universe by our own miserable foot-rule. When we are slaves, we think
that the whole universe is enslaved. Because we are in an abject
condition, we think that the whole of India is in that condition. As a
matter of fact, it is not so, but it is as well to impute our slavery to
the whole of India. But if we bear in mind the above fact we can see
that, if we become free, India is free. And in this thought you have a
definition of Swaraj. It is Swaraj when we learn to rule ourselves. It
is therefore in the palm of our hands. Do not consider this Swaraj to be
like a dream. Hence there is no idea of sitting still. The Swaraj that I
wish to picture before you and me is such that, after we have once
realised it, we will endeavour to the end of our lifetime to persuade
others to do likewise. But such Swaraj has to be experienced by each one
for himself. One drowning man will never save another. Slaves ourselves,
it would be a mere pretension to think of freeing others. Now you will
have seen that it is not necessary for us to have as our goal the
expulsion of the English. If the English become Indianised, we can
accommodate them. If they wish to remain in India along with their
civilization, there is no room for them. It lies with us to bring about
such a state of things.

READER: It is impossible that Englishmen should ever become Indianised.

EDITOR: To say that is equivalent to saying that the English have no
humanity in them. And it is really beside the point whether they become
so or not. If we keep our own house in order, only those who are fit to
live in it will remain. Others will leave of their own accord. Such
things occur within the experience of all of us.

READER: But it has not occurred in history!

EDITOR: To believe that, what has not occurred in history will not occur
at all, is to argue disbelief in the dignity of man. At any rate, it
behoves us to try what appeals to our reason. All countries are not
similarly conditioned. The condition of India is unique. Its strength is
immeasurable. We need not, therefore, refer to the history of other
countries. I have drawn attention to the fact that, when other
civilizations have succumbed, the Indians has survived many a shock.

READER: I cannot follow this. There seems little doubt that we shall
have to expel the English by force of arms. So long as they are in the
country, we cannot rest. One of our poets says that slaves cannot even
dream of happiness. We are, day by day, becoming weakened owing to the
presence of the English. Our greatness is gone; our people look like
terrified men. The English are in the country like a blight which we
must remove by every means.

EDITOR: In your excitement, you have forgotten all we have been
considering. We brought the English, and we keep them. Why do you forget
that our adoption of their civilization makes their presence in India at
all possible? Your hatred against them ought to be transferred to their
civilization. But let us assume that we have to drive away the English
by fighting; how is that to be done?

READER: In the same way as Italy did it. What it was possible for
Mazzini and Garibaldi to do, is possible for us. You cannot deny that
they were very great men.



EDITOR: It is well that you have instanced Italy. Mazzini was a great
and good man; Garibaldi was a great warrior. Both are adorable; from
their lives we can learn much. But the condition of Italy was different
from that of India. In the first instance the difference between Mazzini
and Garibaldi is worth noting. Mazzini's ambition was not, and has not
yet been realised, regarding Italy. Mazzini has shown in his writings on
the duty of man that every man must learn how to rule himself. This has
not happened in Italy. Garibaldi did not hold this view of Mazzini's.
Garibaldi gave, and every Italian took arms. Italy and Austria had the
same civilization; they were cousins in this respect. It was a matter of
tit for tat. Garibaldi simply wanted Italy to be free from the Austrian
yoke. The machinations of Minister Cavour disgrace that portion of the
history of Italy. And what has been the result? If you believe that,
because Italians rule Italy, the Italian nation is happy, you are
groping in darkness. Mazzini has shown conclusively that Italy did not
become free. Victor Emanuel gave one meaning to the expression; Mazzini
gave another. According to Emanuel, Cavour, and even Garibaldi, Italy
meant the King of Italy and his henchmen. According to Mazzini, it meant
the whole of the Italian people, that is, its agriculturists. Emanuel
was only its servant. The Italy of Mazzini still remains in a state of
slavery. At the time of the so-called national war, it was a game of
chess between two rival kings, with the people of Italy as pawns. The
working classes in that land are still unhappy. They therefore indulge
in assassination, rise in revolt, and rebellion on their part is always
expected. What substantial gain did Italy obtain after the withdrawal of
the Austrian troops? The gain was only nominal. The reforms, for the
sake of which the war was supposed to have been undertaken, have not yet
been granted. The condition of the people, in general, still remains the
same. I am sure you do not wish to reproduce such a condition in India.
I believe that you want the millions of India to be happy, not that you
want the reins of Government in your hands. If that be so, we have to
consider only one thing: how can the millions obtain self-rule? You will
admit that people under several Indian princes are being ground down.
The latter mercilessly crush them. Their tyranny is greater than that of
the English, and, if you want such tyranny in India, that we shall
never agree. My patriotism does not teach me that I am to allow people
to be crushed under the heel of Indian princes, if only the English
retire. If I have the power, I should resist the tyranny of Indian
princes just as much as that of the English. By patriotism I mean the
welfare of the whole people, and, if I could secure it at the hands of
the English, I should bow down my head to them. If any Englishman
dedicated his life to securing the freedom of India, resisting tyranny
and serving the land, I should welcome that Englishman as an Indian.

Again, India can fight like Italy only when she has arms. You have not
considered this problem at all. The English are splendidly armed; that
does not frighten me, but it is clear that, to fit ourselves against
them in arms, thousands of Indians must be armed. If such a thing be
possible, how many years will it take. Moreover, to arm India on a large
scale is to Europeanise it. Then her condition will be just as pitiable
as that of Europe. This means, in short, that India must accept European
civilization, and if that is what we want, the best thing is that we
have among us those who are so well trained in that civilization. We
will then fight for a few rights, will get what we can and so pass our
days. But the fact is that the Indian nation will not adopt arms, and it
is well that it does not.

READER: You are overassuming facts. All need not be armed. At first, we
will assassinate a few Englishmen and strike terror; then a few men who
will have been armed will fight openly. We may have to lose a quarter of
a million men, more or less, but we will regain our land. We will
undertake guerilla warfare, and defeat the English.

EDITOR: That is to say, you want to make the holy land of India unholy.
Do you not tremble to think of freeing India by assassination? What we
need to do is to kill ourselves. It is a cowardly thought, that of
killing others. Whom do you suppose to free by assassination? The
millions of India do not desire it. Those who are intoxicated by the
wretched modern civilization think of these things. Those who will rise
to power by murder will certainly not make the nation happy. Those who
believe that India has gained by Dhingra's act and such other acts in
India make a serious mistake. Dhingra was a patriot, but his love was
blind. He gave his body in a wrong way; its ultimate result can only be

READER: But you will admit that the English have been frightened by
these murders, and that Lord Morley's reforms are due to fear.

EDITOR: The English are both a timid and a brave nation. She is, I
believe, easily influenced by the use of gunpowder. It is possible that
Lord Morley has granted the reforms through fear, but what is granted
under fear can be retained only so long as the fear lasts.



READER: This is a new doctrine; that what is gained through fear is
retained only while the fear lasts. Surely, what is given will not be

EDITOR: Not so. The Proclamation of 1857 was given at the end of a
revolt, and for the purpose of preserving peace. When peace was secured
and people became simple-minded, its full effect was toned down. If I
ceased stealing for fear of punishment, I would re-commence the
operation so soon as the fear is withdrawn from me. This is almost a
universal experience. We have assumed that we can get men to do things
by force and, therefore, we use force.

READER: Will you not admit that you are arguing against yourself? You
know that what the English obtained in their own country they have
obtained by using brute-force. I know you have argued that what they
have obtained is useless, but that does not affect my argument. They
wanted useless things, and they got them. My point is that their desire
was fulfilled. What does it matter what means they adopted? Why should
we not obtain our goal which is good, by any means whatsoever even by
using violence? Shall I think of the means when I have to deal with a
thief in the house? My duty is to drive him out anyhow. You seem to
admit that we have received nothing, and that we shall receive nothing
by petitioning. Why, then, may we not do so by using brute-force? And,
to retain what we may receive, we shall keep up the fear by using the
same force to the extent that it may be necessary. You will not find
fault with a continuance of force to prevent a child from thrusting its
foot into fire? Somehow or other, we have to gain our end.

EDITOR: Your reasoning is plausible. It has deluded many. I have used
similar arguments before now. But I think I know better now, and I shall
endeavour to undeceive you. Let us first take the argument that we are
justified in gaining our end by using brute-force, because the English
gained theirs by using similar means. It is perfectly true that they
used brute-force, and that it is possible for us to do likewise: but by
using similar means, we can get only the same thing that they got. You
will admit that we do not want that. Your belief that there is no
connection between the means and the end is a great mistake. Through
that mistake even men who have been considered religious have committed
grievous crimes. Your reasoning is the same as saying that we can get a
rose through planting a noxious weed. If I want to cross the ocean, I
can do so only by means of a vessel; if I were to use a cart for that
purpose, both the cart and I would soon find the bottom. "As is the God,
so is the votary," is a maxim worth considering. Its meaning has been
distorted, and men have gone astray. The means may be likened to a seed,
the end to a tree; and there is just the same inviolable connection
between the means and the end as there is between the seed and the tree.
I am not likely to obtain the result flowing from the worship of God by
laying myself prostrate before Satan. If, therefore, anyone were to say:
"I want to worship God: it does not matter that I do so by means of
Satan," it would be set down as ignorant folly. We reap exactly as we
sow. The English in 1833 obtained greater voting power by violence. Did
they, by using brute-force, better appreciate their duty? They wanted
the right of voting, which they obtained by using physical-force. But
real rights are a result of performance of duty; these rights they have
not obtained. We, therefore, have before us in England the force of
everybody wanting and insisting on his rights, nobody thinking of his
duty. And, where everybody wants rights, who shall give them and to
whom? I do not wish to imply that they never perform their duty, but I
do wish to imply that they do not perform the duty to which those rights
should correspond; and, as they do not perform that particular duty,
namely, acquire fitness, their rights have proved a burden to them. In
other words, what they have obtained is an exact result of the means
they adopted. They used the means corresponding to the end. If I want to
deprive you of your watch, I shall certainly have to fight for it; if I
want to buy your watch, I shall have to pay you for it; and, if I want a
gift, I shall have to plead for it; and, according to the means I
employ, the watch is stolen property, my own property, or a donation.
Thus we see three different results from three different means. Will you
still say that means do not matter?

Now we shall take the example given by you of the thief to be driven
out. I do not agree with you that the thief may be driven out by any
means. If it is my father who has come to steal I shall use one kind of
means. If it is an acquaintance, I shall use another; and, in the case
of a perfect stranger, I shall use a third. If it is a white man, you
will perhaps say, you will use means different from those you will adopt
with an Indian thief. If it is a weakling, the means will be different
from those to be adopted for dealing with an equal in physical strength;
and, if the thief is armed from tip to toe, I shall simply remain quiet.
Thus we have a variety of means between the father and the armed man.
Again, I fancy that I should pretend to be sleeping whether the thief
was my father or that strong-armed man. The reason for this is that my
father would also be armed, and I should succumb to the strength
possessed by either, and allow my things to be stolen. The strength of
my father would make me weep with pity; the strength of the armed man
would rouse in me anger, and we should become enemies. Such is the
curious situation. From these examples, we may not be able to agree as
to the means to be adopted in each case. I myself seem clearly to see
what should be done in all these cases, but the remedy may frighten you.
I, therefore, hesitate to place it before you. For the time being, I
will leave you to guess it, and, if you cannot, it is clear that you
will have to adopt different means in each case. You will also have seen
that any means will not avail to drive away the thief. You will have to
adopt means to fit each case. Hence it follows that your duty is _not_
to drive away the thief by any means you like.

Let us proceed a little further. That a well-armed man has stolen your
property, you have harboured the thought, you are filled with anger; you
argue that you want to punish that rogue, not for your own sake, but for
the good of your neighbours; you have collected a number of armed men,
you want to take his house by assault, he is duly informed of it, he
runs away; he too, is incensed. He collects his brother-robbers, and
sends you a defiant message that he will commit robbery in broad
day-light. You are strong, you do not fear him, you are prepared to
receive him. Meanwhile, the robber pesters your neighbours. They
complain before you, you reply that you are doing all for their sake;
you do not mind that your own goods have been stolen. Your neighbours
reply that the robber never pestered them before, and that he commenced
his depredations only after you declared hostilities against him. You
are between Sylla and Charybdis. You are full of pity for the poor men.
What they say is true. What are you to do? You will be disgraced if you
now leave the robber alone. You, therefore, tell the poor men: "Never
mind. Come, my wealth is yours, I will give you arms, I will teach you
how to use them; you should belabour the rogue; don't you leave him
alone." And so the battle grows; the robbers increase in number; your
neighbours have deliberately put themselves to inconvenience. Thus the
result of wanting to take revenge upon the robber is that you have
disturbed your own peace; you are in perpetual fear of being robbed and
assaulted; your courage has given place to cowardice. If you will
patiently examine the argument, you will see that I have not overdrawn
the picture. This is one of the means. Now let us examine the other. You
set this armed robber down as an ignorant brother; you intend to reason
with him at a suitable opportunity; you argue that he is, after all, a
fellow-man; you do not know what prompted him to steal. You, therefore,
decide that, when you can, you will destroy the man's motive for
stealing. Whilst you are thus reasoning with yourself, the man comes
again to steal. Instead of being angry with him, you take pity on him.
You think that this stealing habit must be a disease with him.
Henceforth you, therefore, keep your doors and windows open; you change
your sleeping-place, and you keep your things in a manner most
accessible to him. The robber comes again, and is confused, as all this
is new to him; nevertheless, he takes away your things. But his mind is
agitated. He inquires about you in the village, he comes to learn about
your broad and loving heart, he repents, he begs your pardon, returns
you your things, and leaves off the stealing habit. He becomes your
servant, and you find for him honourable employment. This is the second
method. Thus, you see different means have brought about totally
different results. I do not wish to deduce from this that robbers will
act in the above manner or that all will have the same pity and love
like you; but I wish only to show that only fair means can produce fair
results, and that, at least in the majority of cases, if not, indeed, in
all, the force of love and pity is infinitely greater than the force of
arms. There is harm in the exercise of brute-force, never in that of

Now we will take the question of petitioning. It is a fact beyond
dispute that a petition, without the backing of force, is useless.
However, the late Justice Ranade used to say that petitions served a
useful purpose because they were a means of educating people. They give
the latter an idea of their condition, and warn the rulers. From this
point of view, they are not altogether useless. A petition of an equal
is a sign of courtesy; a petition from a slave is a symbol of his
slavery. A petition backed by force is a petition from an equal and,
when he transmits his demand in the form of a petition, it testifies to
his nobility. Two kinds of force can back petitions. "We will hurt you
if you do not give this" is one kind of force; it is the force of arms,
whose evil results we have already examined. The second kind of force
can thus be stated: "If you do not concede our demand, we will be no
longer your petitioners. You can govern us only so long as we remain the
governed; we shall no longer have any dealings with you." The force
implied in this may be described as love-force, soul-force, or, more
popularly but less accurately, passive resistance. This force is
indestructible. He who uses it perfectly understands his position. We
have an ancient proverb which literally means "One negative cures
thirty-six diseases." The force of arms is powerless when matched
against the force of love or the soul.

Now we shall take your last illustration, that of the child thrusting
its foot into fire. It will not avail you. What do you really do to the
child? Supposing that it can exert so much physical force that it
renders you powerless and rushes into fire, then you cannot prevent it.
There are only two remedies open to you--either you must kill it in
order to prevent it from perishing in the flames, or you must give your
own life, because you do not wish to see it perish before your very
eyes. You will not kill it. If your heart is not quite full of pity, it
is possible that you will not surrender yourself by preceding the child
and going into the fire yourself. You, therefore, helplessly allow it to
go into the flames. Thus, at any rate, you are not using physical force.
I hope you will not consider that it is still physical-force, though of
a low order, when you would forcibly prevent the child from rushing
towards the fire if you could. That force is of a different order, and
we have to understand what it is.

Remember that, in thus preventing the child, you are minding entirely
its own interest, you are exercising authority for its sole benefit.
Your example does not apply to the English. In using brute-force against
the English, you consult entirely your own, that is the national
interest. There is no question here either of pity or of love. If you
say that the actions of the English, being evil, represent fire, and
that they proceed to their actions through ignorance, and that,
therefore, they occupy the position of a child, and that you want to
protect such a child, then you will have to overtake every such evil
action by whomsoever committed, and, as in the case of the child, you
will have to sacrifice yourself. If you are capable of such immeasurable
pity, I wish you well in its exercise.



READER: Is there any historical evidence as to the success of what you
have called soul-force or truth-force? No instance seems to have
happened of any nation having risen through soul-force. I still think
that the evil-doers will not cease doing evil without physical

EDITOR: The poet Tulsidas has said: "Of religion, pity or love is the
root, as egotism of the body. Therefore, we should not abandon pity so
long as we are alive." This appears to me to be a scientific truth. I
believe in it as much as I believe in two and two being four. The force
of love is the same as the force of the soul or truth. We have evidence
of its working at every step. The universe would disappear without the
existence of that force. But you ask for historical evidence. It is,
therefore, necessary to know what history means. The Gujarati equivalent
means: "It so happened." If that is the meaning of history, it is
possible to give copious evidence. But if it means the doings of kings
and emperors, there can be no evidence of soul-force or passive
resistance in such history. You cannot expect silver-ore in a tin-mine.
History, as we know it, is a record of the wars of the world, and so
there is a proverb among Englishmen that a nation which has no history,
that is, no wars, is a happy nation. How kings played how they become
enemies of one another and how they murdered one another is found
accurately recorded in history and, if this were all that had happened
in the world, it would have been ended long ago. If the story of the
universe had commenced with wars, not a man would have been found alive
to-day. Those people who have been warred against have disappeared, as,
for instance, the natives of Australia, of whom hardly a man was left
alive by the intruders. Mark, please, that these natives did not use
soul-force in self-defence, and it does not require much foresight to
know that the Australians will share the same fate as their victims.
"Those that wield the sword shall perish by the sword." With us, the
proverb is that professional swimmers will find a watery grave.

The fact that there are so many men still alive in the world shows that
it is based not on the force of arms but on the force of truth or love.
Therefore the greatest and most unimpeachable evidence of the success of
this force is to be found in the fact that, in spite of the wars of the
world, it still lives on.

Thousands, indeed, tens of thousands, depend for their existence on a
very active working of this force. Little quarrels of millions of
families in their daily lives disappear before the exercise of this
force. Hundreds of nations live in peace. History does not and cannot
take note of this fact. History is really a record of every interruption
of the even working of the force of love or of the soul. Two brothers
quarrel: one of them repents and re-awakens the love that was lying
dormant in him; the two again begin to live in peace: nobody takes note
of this. But if the two brothers, through the intervention of solicitors
or some other reason, take up arms or go to law--which is another form
of the exhibition of brute-force--their doings would be immediately
noticed in the press, they would be the talk of their neighbours, and
would probably go down to history. And what is true of families and
communities is true of nations. There is no reason, to believe that
there is one law for families, and another for nations. History, then,
is a record of an interruption of the course of nature. Soul-force,
being natural, is not noted in history.

READER: According to what you say, it is plain that instances of the
kind of passive resistance are not to be found in history. It is
necessary to understand this passive resistance more fully. It will be
better, therefore, if you enlarge upon it.

EDITOR: Passive resistance is a method of securing rights by personal
suffering; it is the reverse of resistance by arms. When I refuse to do
a thing that is repugnant to my conscience, I use soul-force. For
instance, the government of the day has passed a law which is applicable
to me: I do not like it, if, by using violence, I force the government
to repeal the law, I am employing what may be termed body-force. If I do
not obey the law and accept the penalty for its breach, I use
soul-force. It involves sacrifice of self.

Everybody admits that sacrifice of self is infinitely superior to
sacrifice of others. Moreover, if this kind of force is used in a cause
that is unjust only the person using it suffers. He does not make others
suffer for his mistakes. Men have before now done many things which were
subsequently found to have been wrong. No man can claim to be absolutely
in the right, or that a particular thing is wrong, because he thinks so,
but it is wrong for him so long as that is his deliberate judgment. It
is, therefore, meet that he should not do that which he knows to be
wrong, and suffer the consequence whatever it may be. This is the key to
the use of soul-force.

READER: You would then disregard laws--this is rank disloyalty. We have
always been considered a law-abiding nation. You seem to be going even
beyond the extremists. They say that we must obey the laws that have
been passed, but that, if the laws be bad, we must drive out the
law-givers even by force.

EDITOR: Whether I go beyond them or whether I do not, is a matter of no
consequence to either of us. We simply want to find out what is right,
and to act accordingly. The real meaning of the statement that we are a
law-abiding nation is that we are passive resisters. When we do not like
certain laws, we do not break the heads of law-givers, but we suffer and
do not submit to the laws. That we should obey laws whether good or bad
is a new-fangled notion. There was no such thing in former days. The
people disregarded those laws they did not like, and suffered the
penalties for their breach. It is contrary to our manhood, if we obey
laws repugnant to our conscience. Such teaching is opposed to religion
and means slavery. If the government were to ask us to go about without
any clothing, should we do so? If I were a passive resister, I would say
to them that I would have nothing to do with their law. But we have so
forgotten ourselves and become so compliant, that we do not mind any
degrading law.

A man who has realised his manhood, who fears only God, will fear no one
else. Man-made laws are not necessarily binding on him. Even the
government do not expect any such thing from us. They do not say: "You
must do such and such a thing," but they say: "If you do not do it, we
will punish you." We are sunk so low, that we fancy that it is our duty
and our religion to do what the law lays down. If man will only realise
that it is unmanly to obey laws that are unjust, no man's tyranny will
enslave him. This is the key to self-rule or home-rule.

It is a superstition and an ungodly thing to believe that an act of a
majority binds a minority. Many examples can be given in which acts of
majorities will be found to have been wrong, and those of minorities to
have been right. All reforms owe their origin to the initiation of
minorities in opposition to majorities. If among a band of robbers, a
knowledge of robbing is obligatory, is a pious man to accept the
obligation? So long as the superstition that men should obey unjust laws
exists, so long will their slavery exist. And a passive resister alone
can remove such a superstition.

To use brute-force, to use gun-powder is contrary to passive resistance;
for it means that we want our opponent to do by force--that which we
desire but he does not. And, if such a use of force is justifiable,
surely he is entitled to do likewise by us. And so we should never come
to an agreement. We may simply fancy, like the blind horse moving in a
circle round a mill, that we are making progress. Those who believe that
they are not bound to obey laws which are repugnant to their conscience
have only the remedy of passive resistance open to them. Any other must
lead to disaster.

READER: From what you say, I deduce that passive resistance is a
splendid weapon of the weak but that, when they are strong, they may
take up arms.

EDITOR: This is gross ignorance. Passive resistance, that is,
soul-force, is matchless. It is superior to the force of arms. How,
then, can it be considered only a weapon of the weak? Physical force men
are strangers to the courage that is requisite in a passive resister. Do
you believe that a coward can ever disobey a law that he dislikes?
Extremists are considered to be advocates of brute-force. Why do they,
then, talk about obeying laws? I do not blame them. They can say nothing
else. When they succeed in driving out the English, and they themselves
become governors, they will want you and me to obey their laws. And that
is a fitting thing for their constitution. But a passive resister will
say he will not obey a law that is against his conscience, even though
he may be blown to pieces at the mouth of a cannon.

What do you think? Wherein is courage required--in blowing others to
pieces from behind a cannon or with a smiling face to approach a cannon
and to be blown to pieces? Who is the true warrior--he who keeps death
always as a bosom-friend or he who controls the death of others? Believe
me that a man devoid of courage and manhood can never be a passive

This, however, I will admit: that even a man, weak in body, is capable
of offering this resistance. One man can offer it just as well as
millions. Both men and women can indulge in it. It does not require the
training of an army; it needs no Jiu-jitsu. Control over the mind is
alone necessary, and, when that is attained, man is free like the king
of the forest, and his very glance withers the enemy.

Passive resistance is an all-sided sword; it can be used anyhow; it
blesses him who uses it and him against whom it is used. Without drawing
a drop of blood, it produces far-reaching results. It never rusts, and
cannot be stolen. Competition between passive resisters does not
exhaust. The sword of passive resistance does not require a scabbard. It
is strange indeed that you should consider such a weapon to be a weapon
merely of the weak.

READER: You have said that passive resistance is a speciality of India.
Have cannons never been used in India?

EDITOR: Evidently, in your opinion, India means its few princes. To me,
it means its teeming millions, on whom depends the existence of its
princes and our own.

Kings will always use their kingly weapons. To use force is bred in
them. They want to command, but those who have to obey commands, do not
want guns; and these are in a majority throughout the world. They have
to learn either body-force or soul-force. Where they learn the former,
both the rulers and the ruled become like so many mad men, but, where
they learn soul-force, the commands of the rulers do not go beyond the
point of their swords, for true men disregard unjust commands. Peasants
have never been subdued by the sword, and never will be. They do not
know the use of the sword, and they are not frightened by the use of it
by others. That nation is great which rests its head upon death as its
pillow. Those who defy death are free from all fear. For those who are
labouring under the delusive charms of brute-force, this picture is not
overdrawn. The fact is that, in India, the nation at large has generally
used passive resistance in all departments of life. We cease to
co-operate with our rulers when they displease us. This is passive

I remember an instance when, in a small principality, the villagers were
offended by some command issued by the prince. The former immediately
began vacating the village. The prince became nervous, apologised to his
subjects and withdrew his command. Many such instances can be found in
India. Real home-rule is possible only where passive resistance is the
guiding force of the people. Any other rule is foreign rule.

READER: Then you will say that it is not at all necessary for us to
train the body?

EDITOR: I will certainly not say any such thing. It is difficult to
become a passive resister, unless the body is trained. As a rule, the
mind, residing in a body that has become weakened by pampering, is also
weak, and where there is no strength of mind, there can be no strength
of soul. We will have to improve our physique by getting rid of infant
marriages and luxurious living. If I were to ask a man having a
shattered body to face a cannon's mouth I would make of myself a

READER: From what you say, then, it would appear that it is not a small
thing to become a passive resister, and, if that is so, I would like you
to explain how a man may become a passive resister.

EDITOR: To become a passive resister is easy enough, but it is also
equally difficult. I have known a lad of fourteen years become a passive
resister; I have known also sick people doing likewise and I have also
known physically strong and otherwise happy people being unable to take
up passive resistance. After a great deal of experience, it seems to me
that those who want to become passive resisters for the service of the
country have to observe perfect chastity, adopt poverty, follow truth,
and cultivate fearlessness.

Chastity is one of the greatest disciplines without which the mind
cannot attain requisite firmness. A man who is unchaste loses stamina,
becomes emasculated and cowardly. He whose mind is given over to animal
passions is not capable of any great effort. This can be proved by
innumerable instances. What, then, is a married person to do, is the
question that arises naturally; and yet it need not. When a husband and
wife gratify the passions, it is no less an animal indulgence on that
account. Such an indulgence, except for perpetuating the race, is
strictly prohibited. But a passive resister has to avoid even that very
limited indulgence, because he can have no desire for progeny. A married
man, therefore, can observe perfect chastity. This subject is not
capable of being treated at greater length. Several questions arise: How
is one to carry one's wife with one? What are her rights, and such
other questions? Yet those who wish to take part in a great work are
bound to solve these puzzles.

Just as there is necessity for chastity, so is there for poverty.
Pecuniary ambition and passive resistance cannot well go together. Those
who have money are not expected to throw it away, but they are expected
to be indifferent about it. They must be prepared to lose every penny
rather than give up passive resistance.

Passive resistance has been described in the course of our discussion as
truth-force. Truth, therefore, has necessarily to be followed, and that
at any cost. In this connection, academic questions such as whether a
man may not lie in order to save a life, etc. arise, but these questions
occur only to those who wish to justify lying. Those who want to follow
truth every time are not placed in such a quandary, and, if they are,
they are still saved from a false position.

Passive resistance cannot proceed a step without fearlessness. Those
alone can follow the path of passive resistance who are free from fear
whether as to their possessions, false honour, their relatives, the
government, bodily injuries, death.

These observances are not to be abandoned in the belief that they are
difficult. Nature has implanted in the human breast ability to cope with
any difficulty or suffering that may come to man unprovoked. These
qualities are worth having, even for those who do not wish to serve the
country. Let there be no mistake as those who want to train themselves
in the use of arms are also obliged to have these qualities more or
less. Everybody does not become a warrior for the wish. A would-be
warrior will have to observe chastity, and to be satisfied with poverty
as his lot. A warrior without fearlessness cannot be conceived of. It
may be thought that he would not need to be exactly truthful, but that
quality follows real fearlessness. When a man abandons truth, he does so
owing to fear in some shape or form. The above four attributes, then,
need not frighten any one. It may be as well here to note that a
physical-force man has to have many other useless qualities which a
passive resister never needs. And you will find that whatever extra
effort a swordsman needs is due to lack of fearlessness. If he is an
embodiment of the latter, the sword will drop from his hand that very
moment. He does not need its support. One who is free from hatred
requires no sword. A man with a stick suddenly came face to face with a
lion, and instinctively raised his weapon in self-defence. The man saw
that he had only prated about fearlessness when there was none in him.
That moment he dropped the stick, and found himself free from all fear.



READER: In the whole of our discussion, you have not demonstrated the
necessity for education; we always complain of its absence among us. We
notice a movement for compulsory education in our country. The Maharaja
of Gaekwar has introduced it in his territories. Every eye is directed
towards them. We bless the Maharaja for it. Is all this effort then of
no use?

EDITOR: If we consider our civilization to be the highest, I have
regretfully to say that much of the effort you have described is of no
use. The motive of the Maharaja and other great leaders who have been
working in this direction is perfectly pure. They, therefore,
undoubtedly deserve great praise. But we cannot conceal from ourselves
the result that is likely to flow from their effort.

What is the meaning of education? If it simply means a knowledge of
letters, it is merely an instrument, and an instrument may be well used
or abused. The same instrument that may be used to cure a patient may be
used to take his life, and so may a knowledge of letters. We daily
observe that many men abuse it, and very few make good use of it, and if
this is a correct statement, we have proved that more harm has been done
by it than good.

The ordinary meaning of education is a knowledge of letters. To teach
boys reading, writing and arithmetic is called primary education. A
peasant earns his bread honestly. He has ordinary knowledge of the
world. He knows fairly well how he should behave towards his parents,
his wife, his children and his fellow-villagers. He understands and
observes the rules of morality. But he cannot write his own name. What
do you propose to do by giving him a knowledge of letters? Will you add
an inch to his happiness? Do you wish to make him discontented with his
cottage or his lot? And even if you want to do that, he will not need
such an education. Carried away by the flood of western thought, we came
to the conclusion, without weighing _pros_ and _cons_, that we should
give this kind of education to the people.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now let us take higher education. I have learned Geography, Astronomy,
Algebra, Geometry, etc. What of that? In what way have I benefitted
myself or those around me? Why have I learned these things? Professor
Huxley has thus defined education:--"That man I think has had a liberal
education who has been so trained in youth that his body is the ready
servant of his will and does with ease and pleasure all the work that as
a mechanism it is capable of, whose intellect is a clear, cold logic
engine with all its parts of equal strength and in smooth working order
... whose mind is stored with a knowledge of the fundamental truths of
nature ... whose passions are trained to come to heel by a vigorous
will, the servant of a tender conscience ... who has learnt to hate all
vileness and to respect others as himself. Such an one and no other, I
conceive, has had a liberal education, for he is in harmony with Nature.
He will make the best of her and she of him."

If this be true education, I must emphatically say that the sciences I
have enumerated above, I have never been able to use for controlling my
senses. Therefore, whether you take elementary education or higher
education, it is not required for the main thing. It does not make of us
men. It does not enable us to do our duty.

READER: If that is so, I shall have to ask you another question. What
enables you to tell all these things to me? If you had not received
higher education, how would you have been able to explain to me the
things that you have?

EDITOR: You have spoken well. But my answer is simple: I do not for one
moment believe that my life would have been wasted, had I not received
higher or lower education. Nor do I consider that I necessarily serve
because I speak. But I do desire to serve and, in endeavouring to fulfil
that desire, I make use of the education I have received. And, if I am
making good use of it, even then it is not for the millions, but I can
use it only for such as you, and this supports my contention. Both you
and I have come under the bane of what is mainly false education. I
claim to have become free from its ill-effects, and I am trying to give
you the benefit of my experience, and, in doing so, I am demonstrating
the rottenness of this education.

Moreover, I have not run down a knowledge of letters under all
circumstances. All I have shown is that we must not make of it a fetish.
It is not our Kamdhuk. In its place it can be of use, and it has its
place when we have brought our senses under subjection, and put our
ethics on a firm foundation. And then, if we feel inclined to receive
that education, we may make good use of it. As an ornament it is likely
to sit well on us. It now follows that it is not necessary to make this
education compulsory. Our ancient school system is enough.
Character-building has the first place in it, and that is primary
education. A building erected on that foundation will last.

READER: Do I then understand that you do not consider English education
necessary for obtaining Home Rule?

EDITOR: My answer is yes and no. To give millions a knowledge of English
is to enslave them. The foundation that Macaulay laid of education has
enslaved us. I do not suggest that he had any such intention, but that
has been the result. Is it not a sad commentary that we should have to
speak of Home Rule in a foreign tongue?

And it is worthy of note that the systems which the Europeans have
discarded are the systems in vogue among us. Their learned men
continually make changes. We ignorantly adhere to their cast-off
systems. They are trying each division to improve its own status. Wales
is a small portion of England. Great efforts are being made to revive a
knowledge of Welsh among Welshmen. The English Chancellor, Mr. Lloyd
George, is taking a leading part in the movement to make Welsh children
speak Welsh. And what is our condition? We write to each other in faulty
English, and from this even, our M. A.'s are not free; our best thoughts
are expressed in English; the proceedings of our Congress are conducted
in English; our best newspapers are printed in English. If this state of
things continues for a long time, posterity will--it is my firm
opinion--condemn and curse us.

It is worth noting that, by receiving English education, we have
enslaved the nation. Hypocrisy, tyranny, etc., have increased;
English-knowing Indians have not hesitated to cheat and strike terror
into the people. Now, if we are doing anything for the people at all, we
are paying only a portion of the debt due to them.

Is it not a most painful thing that, if I want to go to a court of
justice, I must employ the English language as medium; that, when I
become a barrister, I may not speak my mother-tongue, and that some one
else should have to translate to me from my own language? Is not this
absolutely absurd? Is it not a sign of slavery? Am I to blame the
English for it or myself? It is we, the English-knowing men, that have
enslaved India. The curse of the nation will rest not upon the English
but upon us.

I have told you that my answer to your last question is both yes and no.
I have explained to you why it is yes. I shall now explain why it is no.

We are so much beset by the disease of civilization, that we cannot
altogether do without English education. Those who have already received
it may make good use of it wherever necessary. In our dealings with the
English people, in our dealings with our own people, when we can only
correspond with them through that language, and for the purpose of
knowing how much disgusted they (the English) have themselves become
with their civilization, we may use or learn English, as the case may
be. Those who have studied English will have to teach morality to their
progeny through their mother-tongue, and to teach them another Indian
language; but when they have grown up, they may learn English, the
ultimate aim being that we should not need it. The object of making
money thereby should be eschewed. Even in learning English to such a
limited extent we will have to consider what we should learn through it
and what we should not. It will be necessary to know what sciences we
should learn. A little thought should show you that immediately we cease
to care for English degrees, the rulers will prick up their ears.

READER: Then what education shall we give?

EDITOR: This has been somewhat considered above, but we will consider it
a little more. I think that we have to improve all our languages. What
subjects we should learn through them need not be elaborated here. Those
English books which are valuable we should translate into the various
Indian languages. We should abandon the pretension of learning many
sciences. Religious, that is ethical, education will occupy the first
place. Every cultured Indian will know in addition to his own provincial
language, if a Hindu, Sanskrit; if a Mahomedan, Arabic; if a Parsee,
Persian; and all, Hindi. Some Hindus should know Arabic and Persian;
some Mahomedans and Parsees, Sanskrit. Several Northerners and
Westerners should learn Tamil. A universal language for India should be
Hindi, with the option of writing it in Persian or Nagric characters. In
order that the Hindus and the Mahomedans may have closer relations, it
is necessary to know both the characters. And, if we can do this, we can
drive the English language out of the field in a short time. All this is
necessary for us, slaves. Through our slavery the nation has been
enslaved, and it will be free with our freedom.

READER: The question of religious education is very difficult.

EDITOR: Yet we cannot do without it. India will never be godless. Rank
atheism cannot flourish in that land. The task is indeed difficult. My
head begins to turn as I think of religious education. Our religious
teachers are hypocritical and selfish; they will have to be approached.
The Mullas, the Dasturs and the Brahmins hold the key in their hands,
but if they will not have the good sense, the energy that we have
derived from English education will have to be devoted to religious
education. This is not very difficult. Only the fringe of the ocean has
been polluted, and it is those who are within the fringe who alone need
cleansing. We who come under this category can even cleanse ourselves,
because my remarks do not apply to the millions. In order to restore
India to its pristine condition, we have to return to it. In our own
civilization, there will naturally be progress, retrogression, reforms,
and reactions; but one effort is required, and that is to drive out
Western civilization. All else will follow.



READER: When you speak of driving out Western civilization, I suppose
you will also say that we want no machinery.

EDITOR: By raising this question, you have opened the wound I had
received. When I read Mr. Dutt's Economic History of India I wept; and,
as I think of it, again my heart sickens. It is machinery that has
impoverished India. It is difficult to measure the harm that Manchester
has done to us. It is due to Manchester that Indian handicraft has all
but disappeared.

But I make a mistake. How can Manchester be blamed? We wore Manchester
cloth, and that is why Manchester wove it. I was delighted when I read
about the bravery of Bengal. There are no cloth-mills in that
Presidency. They were, therefore, able to restore the original
hand-weaving occupation. It is true Bengal encourages the mill-industry
of Bombay. If Bengal had proclaimed a boycott of _all_ machine-made
goods, it would have been much better.

Machinery has begun to desolate Europe. Ruination is now knocking at the
English gates. Machinery is the chief symbol of modern civilization; it
represents a great sin.

The workers in the mills of Bombay have become slaves. The condition of
the women working in the mills is shocking. When there were no mills,
these women were not starving. If the machinery craze grows in our
country, it will become an unhappy land. It may be considered a heresy,
but I am bound to say that it were better for us to send money to
Manchester and to use flimsy Manchester cloth than to multiply mills in
India. By using Manchester cloth we would only waste our money, but by
reproducing Manchester in India, we shall keep our money at the price of
our blood, because our very moral being will be sapped, and I call in
support of my statement the very mill-hands as witnesses. And those who
have amassed wealth out of factories are not likely to be better than
other rich men. It would be folly to assume that an Indian Rockfeller
would be better than the American Rockfeller. Impoverished India can
become free, but it will be hard for an India, made rich through
immorality, to regain its freedom. I fear we will have to admit that
moneyed men support British rule; their interest is bound up with its
stability. Money renders a man helpless. The other thing is as harmful
as sexual vice. Both are poison. A snakebite is a lesser poison than
these two, because the former merely destroys the body, but the latter
destroys body, mind and soul. We need not, therefore, be pleased with
the prospect of the growth of the mill-industry.

READER: Are the mills, then, to be closed down?

EDITOR: That is difficult. It is no easy task to do away with a thing
that is established. We, therefore, say that the non-beginning of a
thing is, supreme wisdom. We cannot condemn mill-owners, we can but pity
them. It would be too much to expect them to give up their mills, but we
may implore them not to increase them. If they would be good, they would
gradually contract their business. They can establish in thousands of
households the ancient and sacred handlooms, and they can buy out the
cloth that may be thus woven. Whether the mill-owners do this or not,
people can cease to use machine-made goods.

READER: You have so far spoken about machine-made cloth, but there are
innumerable machine-made things. We have either to import them or to
introduce machinery into our country.

EDITOR: Indeed, our gods even are made in Germany. What need, then, to
speak of matches, pins, and glassware? My answer can be only one. What
did India do before these articles were introduced? Precisely the same
should be done to-day. As long as we cannot make pins without machinery,
so long will we do without them. The tinsel splendour of glassware we
will have nothing to do with and we will make wicks, as of old, with
home-grown cotton, and use hand-made earthern saucers for lamps. So
doing, we shall save our eyes and money, and will support Swadeshi, and
so shall we attain Home Rule.

It is not to be conceived that all men will do all these things at one
time, or that some men will give up all machine-made things at once.
But, if the thought is sound, we will always find out what we can give
up, and will gradually cease to use this. What a few may do, others will
copy, and the movement will grow like the cocoanut of the mathematical
problem. What the leaders do, the populace will gladly follow. The
matter is neither complicated nor difficult. You and I shall not wait
until we can carry others with us. Those will be the losers who will not
do it, and those who will not do it, although they can appreciate the
truth, will deserve to be called cowards.

READER: What, then, of the tram-cars and electricity?

EDITOR: This question is now too late. It signifies nothing. If we are
to do without the railways, we shall have to do without the tram-cars.
Machinery is like a snake-hole which may contain from one to a hundred
snakes. Where there is machinery there are large cities; and where there
are large cities, there are tram-cars and railways; and there only does
one see electric light. English villages do not boast any of these
things. Honest physicians will tell you that, where means of artificial
locomotion have increased, the health of the people has suffered. I
remember that, when in a European town there was a scarcity of money,
the receipts of the tramway company, of the lawyers and of the doctors,
went down, and the people were less unhealthy. I cannot recall a single
good point in connection with machinery. Books can be written to
demonstrate its evils.

READER: It is a good point or a bad one that all you are saying will be
printed through machinery?

EDITOR: This is one of those instances which demonstrate that sometimes
poison is used to kill poison. This, then, will not be a good point
regarding machinery. As it expires, the machinery, as it were, says to
us: "Beware and avoid me. You will derive no benefit from me, and the
benefit that may accrue from printing will avail only those who are
infected with the machinery-craze." Do not, therefore, forget the main
thing. It is necessary to realise that machinery is bad. We shall then
be able gradually to do away with it. Nature has not provided any way
whereby we may reach a desired goal all of a sudden. If, instead of
welcoming machinery as a boon, we would look upon it as an evil, it
would ultimately go.



READER: From your views I gather that you would form a third party. You
are neither an extremist nor a moderate.

EDITOR: That is a mistake. I do not think of a third party at all. We do
not all think alike. We cannot say that all the moderates hold identical
views. And how can those who want to serve only have a party? I would
serve both the moderates and the extremists. Where I should differ from
them, I would respectfully place my position before them, and continue
my service.

READER: What, then, would you say to both the parties?

EDITOR: I would say to the extremists:--"I know that you want Home Rule
for India; it is not to be had for your asking. Everyone will have to
take it for himself. What others get for me is not Home Rule but foreign
rule; therefore, it would not be proper for you to say that you have
obtained Home Rule, if you expelled the English. I have already
described the true nature of Home Rule. This you would never obtain by
force of arms. Brute-force is not natural to the Indian soil. You will
have, therefore, to rely wholly on soul-force. You must not consider
that violence is necessary at any stage for reaching our goal."

I would say to the moderates:--"Mere petitioning is derogatory; we
thereby confess inferiority. To say that British rule is indispensable,
is almost a denial of the Godhead. We cannot say that anybody or
anything is indispensable except God. Moreover, commonsense should tell
us that to state that, for the time being, the presence of the English
in India is a necessity, is to make them conceited.

"If the English vacated India bag and baggage, it must not be supposed
that she would be widowed. It is possible that those who are forced to
observe peace under their pressure would fight after their withdrawal.
There can be no advantage in suppressing an eruption, it must have its
vent. If, therefore, before we can remain at peace, we must fight
amongst ourselves, it is better that we do so. There is no occasion for
a third party to protect the weak. It is this so-called protection which
has unnerved us. Such protection can only make the weak weaker. Unless
we realise this, we cannot have Home Rule. I would paraphrase the
thought of an English divine and say that anarchy under home rule were
better than orderly foreign rule. Only, the meaning that the learned
divine attached to home rule is different to Indian Home Rule according
to my conception. We have to learn, and to teach others, that we do not
want the tyranny of their English rule or Indian rule."

If this idea were carried out both the extremists and the moderates
could join hands. There is no occasion to fear or distrust one another.

READER: What, then, would you say to the English?

EDITOR: To them I would respectfully say: "I admit you are my rulers. It
is not necessary to debate the question whether you hold India by the
sword or by my consent. I have no objection to your remaining in my
country, but although you are the rulers, you will have to remain as
servants of the people. It is not we who have to do as you wish, but it
is you who have to do as we wish. You may keep the riches that you have
drained away from this land, but you may not drain riches henceforth.
Your function will be, if you so wish, to police India; you must abandon
the idea of deriving any commercial benefit from us. We hold the
civilization that you support to be the reverse of civilization. We
consider our civilization to be far superior to yours. If you realise
this truth, it will be to your advantage, and, if you do not, according
to your own proverb, you should only live in our country in the same
manner as we do. You must not do anything that is contrary to our
religions. It is your duty as rulers that, for the sake of the Hindus,
you should eschew beef, and for the sake of the Mahomedans, you should
avoid bacon and ham. We have hitherto said nothing, because we have been
cowed down, but you need not consider that you have not hurt our
feelings by your conduct. We are not expressing our sentiments either
through base selfishness or fear, but because it is our duty now to
speak out boldly. We consider your schools and law courts to be useless.
We want our own ancient schools and courts to be restored. The common
language of India is not English but Hindi. You should, therefore, learn
it. We can hold communication with you only in our national language.

"We cannot tolerate the idea of your spending money on railways and the
military. We see no occasion for either. You may fear Russia; we do not.
When she comes we will look after her. If you are with us, we will then
receive her jointly. We do not need any European cloth. We will manage
with articles produced and manufactured at home. You may not keep one
eye on Manchester and the other on India. We can work together only if
our interests are identical.

"This has not been said to you in arrogance. You have great military
resources. Your naval power is matchless. If we wanted to fight with you
on your own ground we would be unable to do so, but, if the above
submissions be not acceptable to you, we cease to play the ruled. You
may, if you like, cut us to pieces. You may shatter us at the cannon's
mouth. If you act contrary to our will, we will not help you and,
without our help, we know that you cannot move one step forward.

"It is likely that you will laugh at all this in the intoxication of
your power. We may not be able to disillusion you at once, but, if there
be any manliness in us, you will see shortly that your intoxication is
suicidal, and that your laugh at our expense is an aberration of
intellect. We believe that, at heart you belong to a religious nation.
We are living in a land which is the source of religions. How we came
together need not be considered, but we can make mutual good use of our

"You English who have come to India are not a good specimen of the
English nation, nor can we almost half Anglicised Indians, be considered
a good specimen of the real Indian nation. If the English nation were to
know all you have done, it would oppose many of your actions. The mass
of the Indians have had few dealings with you. If you will abandon your
so-called civilization, and search into your own scriptures, you will
find that our demands are just. Only on conditions of our demands being
fully satisfied may you remain in India, and, if you remain under those
conditions we shall learn several things from you, and you will learn
many from us. So doing, we shall benefit each other and the world. But
that will happen only when the root of our relationship is sunk in a
religious soil."

READER: What will you say to the nation?

EDITOR: Who is the nation?

READER: For our purposes it is the nation that you and I have been
thinking of, that is, those of us who are affected by European
civilization, and who are eager to have Home Rule.

EDITOR: To these I would say: It is only those Indians who are imbued
with real love who will be able to speak to the English in the above
strain without being frightened, and those only can be said to be so
imbued who conscientiously believe that Indian civilization is the best,
and that European is a nine days' wonder. Such ephemeral civilizations
have often come and gone, and will continue to do so. Those only can be
considered to be so imbued, who, having experienced the force of the
soul within themselves, will not cower before brute-force, and will not,
on any account, desire to use brute-force. Those only can be considered
to have been so imbued who are intensely dissatisfied with the present
pitiable condition having already drunk the cup of poison.

If there be only one such Indian, he will speak as above to the English,
and the English will have to listen to him.

These demands are not demands, but they show our mental state. We will
get nothing by asking; we shall have to take what we want, and we need
the requisite strength for the effort and that strength will be
available to him only who

    1. will, only on rare occasions, make use of the English language;

    2. if a lawyer, will give up his profession and take up a hand-loom;

    3. if a lawyer, will devote his knowledge to enlightening both his
    people and the English;

    4. if a lawyer, will not meddle with the quarrels between parties,
    but will give up the courts and from his experience induce the
    people to do likewise;

    5. if a lawyer, will refuse to be a judge, as the will give up his

    6. if a doctor, will give up medicine, and understand that rather
    than mending bodies, he should mend souls;

    7. if a doctor, will understand, that no matter to what religion he
    belongs, it is better that bodies remain diseased rather than that
    they are cured through the instrumentality of the diabolical
    vivisection that is practised in European schools of medicine;

    8. although a doctor, will take up a hand-loom and, if any patients
    come to him, will tell them the cause of their diseases, and will
    advise them to remove the cause, rather than pamper them by giving
    useless drugs; he will understand that, if by not taking drugs,
    perchance the patient dies, the world will not come to grief, and
    that he will have been really merciful to him;

    9. although a wealthy man, regardless of his wealth, will speak out
    his mind and fear no one;

    10. if a wealthy man, will devote his money to establishing
    hand-looms, and encourage others to use hand-made goods by wearing
    them himself;

    11. like every other Indian, will know that this is a time for
    repentance, expiation and mourning;

    12. like every other Indian, will know that to blame the English is
    useless, that they came because of us, and remain also for the same
    reason, and that they will either go or change their nature, only
    when we reform ourselves;

    13. like others, will understand that, at a time of mourning, there
    can be no indulgence, and that, whilst we are in a fallen state, to
    be in gaol or in banishment is much the best;

    14. like others, will know that it is superstition to imagine it
    necessary that we should guard against being imprisoned in order
    that we may deal with the people;

    15. like others, will know that action is much better than speech;
    that it is our duty to say exactly what we think and face the
    consequences, and that it will be only then that we shall be able to
    impress anybody with our speech;

    16. like others, will understand that we will become free only
    through suffering;

    17. like others, will understand that deportation for life to the
    Andamans is not enough expiation for the sin of encouraging European

    18. like others, will know that no nation has risen without
    suffering; that, even in physical warfare, the true test is
    suffering and not the killing of others, much more so in the warfare
    of passive resistance;

    19. like others, will know that it is an idle excuse to say that we
    will do a thing when the others also do it; that we should do what
    we know to be right, and that others will do it when they see the
    way; that when I fancy a particular delicacy, I do not wait till
    others taste it; that to make a national effort and to suffer are in
    the nature of delicacies; and that to suffer under pressure is no

READER: This is a large order. When will all carry it out?

EDITOR: You make a mistake. You and I have nothing to do with the
others. Let each do his duty. If I do my duty, that is, serve myself, I
shall be able to serve others. Before I leave you, I will take the
liberty of repeating.

    1. Real home-rule is self-rule or self-control.

    2. The way to it is passive resistance: that is soul force or

    3. In order to exert this force, Swadeshi in every sense is

    4. What we want to do should be done, not because we object to the
    English or that we want to retaliate, but because it is our duty to
    do so. Thus, supposing that the English remove the salt-tax, restore
    our money, give the highest posts to Indians, withdraw the English
    troops, we shall certainly not use their machine-made goods, nor use
    the English language, nor many of their industries. It is worth
    nothing that these things are, in their nature, harmful; hence, we
    do not want them. I bear no enmity towards the English, but I do
    towards their civilization.

In my opinion, we have used the term "Swaraj" without understanding its
real significance. I have endeavoured to explain it as I understand it,
and my conscience testifies that my life henceforth is dedicated to its


Some Authorities.

Testimonies by Eminent Men.


Some Authorities.

The following books are recommended for perusal to follow up the study
of the foregoing:--

"The Kingdom of God is Within You"--_Tolstoy_.

"What is Art?"--_Tolstoy._

"Slavery of Our Times"--_Tolstoy_.

"The First Step"--_Tolstoy_.

"How Shall We Escape"--_Tolstoy_.

"Letter to a Hindoo"--_Tolstoy_.

"The White Slaves of England"--_Sherard_.

"Civilization: Its Cause and Cure"--_Carpenter_.

"The Fallacy of Speed"--_Taylor_.

"A New Crusade"--_Blount_.

"On the Duty of Civil Disobedience"--_Thoreau_.

"Life Without Principle"--_Thoreau_.

"Unto This Last"--_Ruskin_.

"A Joy for Ever"--_Ruskin_.

"Duties of Man"--_Mazzini_.

"Defence and Death of Socrates"--From _Plato_.

"Paradoxes of Civilization"--_Max Nordau_.

"Poverty and Un-British Rule in India"--_Naoroji_.

"Economic History of India"--_Dutt_.

"Village Communities"--_Maine_.

Testimonies by Eminent Men.

The following extracts from Mr. Alfred Webb's valuable collection, if
the testimony given therein be true, show that the ancient Indian
civilization, has little to learn from the modern:--

Victor Cousin.

(_1792--1867_). _Founder of Systematic Eclecticism in Philosophy._

"On the other hand when we read with attention the poetical and
philosophical movements of the East, above all, those of India, which
are beginning to spread in Europe, we discover there so many truths, and
truths so profound, and which make such a contrast with the meanness of
the results at which the European genius has sometimes stopped, that we
are constrained to bend the knee before that of the East, and to see in
this cradle of the human race the native land of the highest

J. Seymour Keay, M. P.

_Banker in India and India Agent._

(_Writing in 1883._)

"It cannot be too well understood that our position in India has never
been in any degree that of civilians bringing civilization to savage
races. When we landed in India we found there a hoary civilization,
which, during the progress of thousands of years, had fitted itself into
the character and adjusted itself to the wants of highly intellectual
races. The civilization was not prefunctory, but universal and
all-pervading--furnishing the country not only with political systems
but with social and domestic institutions of the most ramified
description. The beneficent nature of these institutions as a whole may
be judged of from their effects on the character of the Hindu race.
Perhaps there are no other people in the world who show so much in their
characters the advantageous effects of their own civilization. They are
shrewd in business, acute in reasoning, thrifty, religious, sober,
charitable, obedient to parents, reverential to old age, amiable,
law-abiding, compassionate towards the helpless, and patient under

Friedrich Max Muelier, LL.D.

"If I were to ask myself from what literature we hear in Europe, we who
have been nurtured almost exclusively on the thoughts of Greeks and
Romans, and of one Semetic race, the Jewish may draw that corrective
which is most wanted in order to make our inner life more perfect, more
comprehensive, more universal, in fact more truly human, a life, not for
this life only but a transfigured and eternal life--again I should point
to India."

Michael G. Mulhall, F.R.S.S.

_Statistics_ (_1899_).

  Prison population per 100,000 of inhabitants:
       Several European States        100 to 230
       England and Wales                      90
       India                                  38

--"_Dictionary of Statistics_," _Michael G. Mulhall, F.R.S.S._,
_Routledge and Sons, 1899_.

Colonel Thomas Munro.

_Thirty-two years' service in India._

"If a good system of agriculture, unrivalled manufacturing skill, a
capacity to produce whatever can contribute to convenience or luxury;
schools established in every village, for teaching, reading, writing and
arithmetic; the general practice of hospitality and charity among each
other; and, above all, treatment of the female sex, full of confidence,
respect and delicacy, are among the signs which denote a civilised
people, then the Hindus are not inferior to the nations of Europe; and
if civilization is to become an article of trade between the two
countries, I am convinced that this country [England] will gain by the
import cargo."

Frederick von Schlegel.

"It cannot be denied that the early Indians possessed a knowledge of the
true God; all their writings are replete with sentiments and expressions
noble, clear and severely grand, as deeply conceived and reverently
expressed as in any human language in which men have spoken of their
God.... Among nations possessing indigenous philosophy and metaphysics,
together with an innate relish for these pursuits, such as at present
characterises Germany; and in olden times, was the proud distinction of
Greece, Hindustan holds the first rank in point of time."

Sir William Wedderburn, Bart.

"The Indian village has thus for centuries remained a bulwark against
political disorder, and the home of the simple domestic and social virtues.
No wonder, therefore, that philosophers and historians have always dwelt
lovingly on this ancient institution which is the natural social
unit and the best type of rural life; self-contained, industrious,
peace-loving, conservative in the best sense of the word.... I think you
will agree with me that there is much that is both picturesque and
attractive in this glimpse of social and domestic life in an Indian
village. It is a harmless and happy form of human existence. Moreover,
it is not without good practical outcome."

J. Young.

_Secretary, Savon Mechanics' Institutes._

(_Within recent years_).

"Those races, [the Indian viewed from a moral aspect] are perhaps the
most remarkable people in the world. They breathe an atmosphere of moral
purity, which cannot but excite admiration, and this is especially the
case with the poorer classes who, notwithstanding the privations of
their humble lot, appear to be happy and contented. True children of
nature, they live on from day to day, taking no thought of to-morrow and
thankful for the simple fare which Providence has provided for them. It
is curious to witness the spectacle of coolies of both sexes returning
home at nightfall after a hard day's work often lasting from sunrise to
sunset. In spite of fatigue from the effects of the unremitting toil,
they are, for the most part, gay and animated, conversing cheerfully
together and occasionally breaking into snatches of light-hearted song.
Yet what awaits them on their return to the hovels which they call home?
A dish of rice for food, and the floor for a bed. Domestic felicity
appears to be the rule among the Natives, and this is the more strange
when the customs of marriage are taken into account, parents arranging
all such matters. Many Indian households afford examples of the married
state in its highest degree of perfection. This may be due to the
teachings of the Shastras, and to the strict injunctions which they
inculcate with regard to marital obligations; but it is no exaggeration
to say that husbands are generally devotedly attached to their wives,
and in many instances the latter have the most exalted conception of
their duties towards their husbands."

Abbe J. A. Dubois.

_Missionary in Mysore. Extracts from letter dated Seringapatam, 15th
December, 1820._

"The authority of married women within their houses is chiefly exerted
in preserving good order and peace among the persons who compose their
families: and a great many among them discharge this important duty with
a prudence and a discretion which have scarcely a parallel in Europe. I
have known families composed of between thirty and forty persons, or
more, consisting of grown-up sons and daughters, all married and all
having children, living together under the superintendence of an old
matron--their mother or mother-in-law. The latter, by good management,
and by accommodating herself to the temper of the daughters-in-law, by
using, according to circumstances, firmness or forbearance, succeeded in
preserving peace and harmony during many years amongst so many females,
who had all jarring interests, and still more jarring tempers. I ask you
whether it would be possible to attain the same end, in the same
circumstances, in our countries, where it is scarcely possible to make
two women living under the same roof to agree together.

"In fact, there is perhaps no kind of honest employment in a civilised
country in which the Hindu females have not a due share. Besides the
management of the household, and the care of the family, which (as
already noticed) under their control, the wives and daughters of
husbandmen attend and assist their husbands and fathers in the labours
of agriculture. Those of tradesmen assist theirs in carrying on their
trade. Merchants are attended and assisted by theirs in their shops.
Many females are shopkeepers on their own account and _without a
knowledge of the alphabet_ or of the decimal scale, they keep by other
means their accounts in excellent order, and are considered as still
shrewder than the males themselves in their commercial dealings."


Books on Liberty and Freedom

The Ideal of Swaraj.

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GANESH & Co., Publishers, Madras.


Obvious typographical and printer errors have been corrected without
comment. In addition to obvious errors, the following two changes have
been made:

   Page 62: 'four' replaced with 'our' in the phrase: "... to deepen our

   Page 115: 'cover' changed to 'cower' in the phrase: "... will not
   cower before brute-force...."

   Page 128: 'foot' changed to 'roof' in the phrase: "... living under
   the same roof....'

Other than this, any inconsistencies in the author's spelling, use of
grammar and punctuation have been preserved in this text as they appear
in the original publication.

Two possible printer errors which have not been corrected in this text

   Page 116: "... the will give up his profession;" probably should
   read, "... he (or 'they') will give up his profession...."

   Page 119: "It is worth nothing that these things are...." probably
   should read, "It is worth noting that these things are...."

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