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 as yours.
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
attain 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 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 their
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 for the asking we should have an army, etc.,
ready at hand. We should, therefore, have no difficulty in carrying on
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, you would 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 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 fag. As is Japan, so must
India be. We must own our navy, our army, and we must have our own
splendor, and then will India's voice ring through the world.
Editor: You have drawn the picture well. 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
Englishtan. This is not the Swaraj 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 is to such an extent that, just
as they do not allow others to obtain footing in their country, so we
should not allow them or others to obtain it in ours. What they have
done in their 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 endeavoring to
show that what you call Swaraj is not truly Swaraj.