Mr. Henry Eaton writes from California:
America many of us are sure that once Britain is out of India, Russia will step
in. We cannot visualize the India of the present, the India with her caste
system and her primitive methods of manufacture and agriculture, defending
herself against Western invasion. You have no national organization for
protection. There is no unity in India. Unity had been essential to the rise of
Western culture and civilization. There also seems to be no progress, as we look
on progress in the West, in India. You yourself advocate the return to the old
methods of weaving. Have you, with your great intelligence, no realization of
the inevitability of change, of moving forward?
cannot go back from old age to childhood. How then can you go back from
enlightened methods of weaving to unenlightened methods and hope to gain
anything? While you work in the old way that is hard, you realize that there is
a new way that is easy, and you cannot be satisfied with the old hard way. You
see how Japan had risen to power by adopting the new way and even China is
awakening. India alone seems not to realize the importance of the new ways of
the world. How is it that you, her great leader, do not preach progress to your
letter betrays two superstitions. One of them is that India is unfit: to govern
herself because she cannot defend herself and is torn with internal dissensions.
The writer gratuitously assumes that, if Britain withdraws, Russia is ready to
pounce upon India. This is an insult to Russia. Is Russia's one business to rule
over those peoples who are not ruled by Britain? And if Russia has such
nefarious designs upon India, does not the writer see that the same power that
will oust the British from domination is bound to prevent any other domination?
Personally, I should rely more upon the capacity of the nation to offer civil
resistance to any aggressor as it did last year with partial success in the case
of the British occupier. Complete success awaits complete assimilation of
non-violence in thought, word and deed by the nation. An ocular demonstration of
the success of nation-wide Satyagraha must be a prelude to its world-wide
acceptance and hence as a natural corollary to the admission of the futility of
armament. The only antidote to armament, which is the visible symbol of
violence, is Satyagraha, the visible symbol of non-violence. But the writer is
oppressed also by the fear of our dissensions. In the first place, they are
grossly exaggerated in transmission to the West. In the second place, they are
hardened during foreign control. Imperial rule means divide et impera.
They must, therefore, melt with the withdrawal of the frigid foreign rule and
the introduction of the warmth-giving sunshine of real freedom.
do not subscribe to the belief that everything old is bad. Truth is old and
difficult. Untruth has many attractions. But I would gladly go back to the very
old Golden Age of Truth. Good old brown bread is any day superior to the pasty
white bread which has lost much of its nutritive value in going through the
various processes of refinement. The list of old and yet good things can be
endlessly multiplied. The spinning wheel is one such thing, at any rate for
India becomes self-supporting, self-reliant, and proof against temptations and
exploitation, she will cease to be the object of greedy attraction for any power
in the West or the East and will then feel secure without having to carry the
burden of expensive armament. Her internal economy will be India's strongest
bulwark against aggression.