Editor: Your last question is a serious one
and yet, on careful consideration, it will be found to be easy of
solution. The question arises because of the presence of the railways,
of the lawyers and of the doctors. We shall presently examine the last
two. We have already considered the railways. I should, however, like to
add that man is so made by nature as to require him to restrict his
movements as far as his hands and feet will take him. If we did not rush
about from place to place by means of railways and such other maddening
conveniences, much of the confusion that arises would be obviated. Our
difficulties are of our own creation. God set a limit to a man's
locomotive ambition in the construction of his body. Man immediately
proceeded to discover means of overriding the limit. God gifted man with
intellect that he might know his Maker. Man abused it so that he might
forget his Maker. I am so constructed that I can only serve my immediate
neighbors, but in my conceit I pretend to have discovered that I must
with my body serve every individual in the Universe. In thus attempting
the impossible, man comes in contact with different natures, different
religions, and is utterly confounded. According to this reasoning, it
must be apparent to you that railways are a most dangerous institution.
Owing to them, man has gone further away from his Maker.
Reader: But I am impatient to
bear your answer to my question. Has the introduction of Mohammedanism not unmade
Editor: India cannot cease to be one nation because people belonging
to different religions live in it. The introduction of foreigners does not necessarily destroy the nation, they
merge in it. A country is one nation only when such a condition obtains in it.
That country must have a faculty for assimilation, India has ever been such a
country. In reality there are as many religions as there are individuals; but
those who are conscious of the spirit of nationality do not interfere with one
another's religion. If they do, they are not fit to be considered a nation. If
the Hindus believe that India should be peopled only by Hindus, they are living
in dreamland. The Hindus, the Mohammedans, the Parsis and the Christians who
have made India their country are fellow countrymen, and they will have to live
in unity, if only for their own interest. In no part of the world are one
nationality and one religion synonymous terms; nor has it ever been so in India.
Reader: But what about the inborn enmity between Hindus and
That phrase has been invented by our mutual enemy. When the Hindus and Mohammedans
fought against one another, they certainly spoke in that strain. They
have long since ceased to fight. How, then, can there be any inborn enmity? Pray
remember this too, that we did not cease to fight only after British occupation.
The Hindus flourished under Moslem sovereigns and Moslems under the Hindu. Each
party recognized that mutual fighting was suicidal, and that neither party would
abandon its religion by force of arms. Both parties, therefore, decided to live
in peace. With the English advent quarrels recommenced.
The proverbs you have
quoted were coined when both were fighting; to quote them now is obviously
harmful. Should we not remember that many Hindus and Mohammedans own the same
ancestors and the same blood runs through their veins? Do people become enemies
because they change their religion? Is the God of the Mohammedan different from
the God of the Hindu? Religions are different roads converging to the same
point. What does it matter that we take different roads so long as we reach the
same goal? Wherein is the cause of quarreling?
Moreover, there are deadly
proverbs as between the followers of Siva and those 6f Vishnu, yet nobody
suggests that these two do not belong to the same nation. It is said that the
Vedic religion is different from Jainism, but the followers of the respective
faiths are not different nations. The fact is that we have become enslaved
and, therefore, quarrel and like to have our quarrels decided by a third party.
There are Hindu iconoclasts as there are Mohammedan. The more we advance in true
knowledge, the better we shall understand that we need not be at war with those
whose religion we may not follow.
Reader: Now I would like to know your views
about cow protection.
Editor: I myself respect the cow, that is, I
her with affectionate reverence. The cow is the protector of India because,
being an agricultural country, she is dependent on the cow. The cow is a most
useful animal in hundreds of ways. Our Mohammedan brethren will admit this.
just as I respect the cow, so do I respect my fellow men. A man is just as
useful as a cow no matter whether he be a Mohammedan or a Hindu. Am I, then, to
fight with or kill a Mohammedan in order to save a cow? In doing so, I would
become an enemy of the Mohammedan as well as of the cow. Therefore, the only
method I know of protecting the cow is that I should approach my Mohammedan brother and urge him for the sake of the country to join me in protecting her.
If he would not listen to me I should let the cow go for the simple reason that
the matter is beyond my ability. If I were overfull of pity for the cow, I should sacrifice my life to save her but not take my brother's. This,
I hold, is
the law of our religion.
When men become obstinate, it is a f g.
If I pull one way, my Moslem brother will pull another. If I put on a superior
air, he will return the compliment. If I bow to him gently, he will do it much
more so; and if he does not, I shall not be considered to have done wrong in
having bowed. When the Hindus became insistent, the killing of cows increased. In my
opinion, cow protection societies may be considered cow killing societies. It is
a disgrace to us that we should need such societies. When we forgot how to
protect cows, I suppose we needed such societies.
What am I to do when a blood brother is on the point of killing a cow? Am I to kill him, or to fall
down at his feet and implore him? If you admit that I should adopt the latter
course, I must do the same to my Moslem brother.
Who protects the cow from
destruction by Hindus when they cruelly ill treat her? Whoever reasons with the
Hindus when they mercilessly belabor the progeny of the cow with their sticks?
But this has not prevented us from remaining one nation.
Lastly, if it is he
true that the Hindus believe in the doctrine of non-killing and the Mohammedans do not, what, pray, is the duty of the former? It is not written that a follower
of the religion of Ahimsa (non-killing) may kill a fellow-man. For him the way
is straight. In order to save one being, he may not kill another. He can only
plead therein lies his sole duty.
But does every Hindu believe in Ahimsa? Going
to the root of the matter, not one man really practices such a religion because
we do destroy life. We are said to follow that religion because we want to
obtain freedom from liability to kill any kind of life. Generally speaking, we
may observe that many Hindus partake of meat and are not, therefore, followers
of Ahimsa. It is, therefore, preposterous to suggest that the two cannot live
together amicably because the Hindus believe in Ahimsa Mohammedans do
These thoughts are put into our minds by selfish and false religious
teachers. The English put the finishing touch. They have habit of writing
history; they pretend to study the manners and customs of all peoples. God has
given us a limited mental capacity, but they usurp the function of the Godhead
and indulge in novel experiments. They write about their own researches in most
laudatory terms and hypnotize us into believing them. We in our ignorance then fall at their
Those who do not wish to misunderstand things may read up the Koran, and
they will find therein hundreds of passages acceptable to the Hindus, and the
contains passages to which not a Mohammedan can take exception. Am I to dislike a
Mohammedan because there are passages in the Koran
I do not
understand or like? It takes two to make a quarrel. If I do not waist to quarrel
with a Mohammedan, the latter will be powerless to foist a quarrel on me; and,
similarly, I should be powerless if a Mohammedan refuses his assistance to
quarrel with me. An arm striking the air will become disjointed. If everyone
will try to understand the core of his own religion and adhere to it, and will
not allow false teachers to dictate to him, there will be no room left for
Reader: But will the English ever allow the two bodies to join
Editor: This question arises out of your timidity. It betrays our
shallowness. If two brothers want to live in peace, is it possible for a third
party to separate them? If they were to listen to evil counsels we would
consider them to be foolish. Similarly, we Hindus and Mohammedans would have to
blame our folly rather than the English, if we allowed them to put us asunder. A
clay pot would break through impact, if not with one stone, then with another.
The way to save the pot is not to keep it away from the danger point but to bake
it so that no stone would break it. We have then to make our hearts of perfectly
baked clay. Then we shall be steeled against all danger. This can be easily done
by the Hindus. They are superior in numbers; they pretend that they are more
educated, they are, therefore, better able to shield themselves from attack on
their amicable relations with the Mohammedans.
There is mutual distrust between
the two communities. The Mohammedans, therefore ask for certain concessions from
Lord Morley. Why should the Hindus oppose this? If the Hindus desisted, the
notice it, the Mohammedans would gradually begin to trust the Hindus, and
brotherliness would be the outcome. We should be ashamed to take our quarrels to
the English. Everyone can find out for himself that the Hindus can lose nothing
by desisting. That man who has inspired confidence in another has never lost
anything in this world.
I do not suggest that the Hindus and the Mohammedans
never fight. Two brothers living together often do so. We shall sometimes have
our heads broken. Such a thing ought not to be necessary, but all men are not
equitable. When people are in a rage, they do many foolish things. These we have
to put up with. But when we do quarrel, we certainly do not want to engage
counsel and resort to English or any law courts. Two men fight; both have
their beads broken, or one only. How shall a third party distribute justice
amongst them? Those who fight may expect to be injured.