Reader: Then from your statement I deduce
that the Government of England is not desirable, and not worth copying
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 as under the control of ministers
who change from time to time. Today it is under Mr. Asquith tomorrow 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.
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 effects
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 today
may be undone tomorrow. It is not possible to recall a single instance in which
finality can be predicted for its work. When the greatest questions are debated.
its members have been seen to stretch themselves and to doze. 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 Parliament were entrusted to a few good men. the
English nation would be occupying today a much higher platform. 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 that
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?
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. 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 Parliament. His energy
is concentrated upon securing the success of his party. His care is not always
that Parliament shall do right. Prime Ministers are known to have made Parliament
do things merely for party advantage. All this is worth thinking
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 are generally known as bribes. let them 'be so
considered, but they are open to subtler influences. In order to gain their
they certainly bribe people with honors. I do not hesitate to say that they
have neither real honesty nor a living conscience.
Reader: As you express these
views about Parliament" I would like to bear you on the English people, so
that I may have your view of their Government.
Editor: To the English voters
their newspaper is their Bible. They take their cue from their newspapers which
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.