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 shall 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- 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 utilized 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. Napolean is said to have described the
English as a nation of shopkeepers. 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
someone 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.