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 realized 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 sill 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, then 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 in 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 pit 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 Europeanize 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 overstating the facts. All need not be armed. At first,
we shall 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 shall regain our land. We
shall 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 sacrifice 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 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 other similar 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. England 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.