Reader: I appreciate your views about
civilization. I will have to think over them. I cannot take
them in all at once. What, then, holding the views you do, would you suggest for freeing India?
Editor: I do not expect my views to be accepted all of a sudden. My duty is to
place them before readers like yourself. Time can be trusted to do the rest.
We have already examined the conditions for freeing India, but we have done so
indirectly; we will now do so directly. It is a world-known maxim that the
removal of the cause of a disease results in the removal of the disease itself.
Similarly if the cause of India's slavery be removed, India can become free.
Reader: If Indian civilization is, as you say, the best how do you account
for India's slavery?
Editor: This civilization is unquestionably the best, but
it is to be observed that all civilizations have been on their trial. That
civilization which is permanent outlives it. Because the sons of India were
found wanting, its civilization has been placed in jeopardy. But its strength is
to be seen in its ability to survive the shock. Moreover, the whole of India is
not touched. Those alone who have been affected by Western civilization have
become enslaved. We measure the universe by our own miserable foot-rule. When we
are slaves, we think that the whole universe is enslaved. Because we are in an
abject condition, we think that the whole of India is in that condition. As a
matter of fact, it is not so, yet it is as well to impute our slavery to the
whole of India. But if we bear in mind the above fact, we can see that if we
become free, India is free. And in this thought you have a definition of Swaraj.
It is Swaraj when we learn to rule ourselves. It is, therefore, in the palm of our hands. Do not consider this Swaraj to be like a dream. There
is no idea of sitting still. The Swaraj that I wish to picture is such that,
after we have once realized it, we shall endeavor to the end of our life-time
to persuade others to do likewise. But such Swaraj has to be experienced, by
each one for himself. One drowning man will never save another. Slaves
ourselves, it would be a mere pretension to think of freeing others. Now you
will have seen that it is not necessary for us to have as our goal the expulsion
of the English. If the English become Indianised, we can accommodate them. If
they wish to remain in India along with their civilization, there is no room for
them. It lies with us to bring about such a state of things.
Reader: It is
impossible that Englishmen should ever become Indianised.
Editor: To say that is
equivalent to saying that the English have no humanity in them. And it is really
beside the point whether they become so or not. If we keep our own house in
order, only those who are fit to live in it will remain. Others will leave of
their own accord. Such things occur within the experience of all of us. Reader:
But it has not occurred in history.
Editor: To believe that what has not
occurred in history will not occur at all is to argue disbelief in the dignity
of man. At any rate, it behooves us to try what appeals to our reason. All
countries are not similarly conditioned. The condition of India is unique. Its
strength is immeasurable. We need not, therefore, refer to the history of other
countries. I have drawn attention to the fact, that, when other civilizations
have succumbed, the Indian has survived many a shock.
Reader: I cannot follow
this. There seems little doubt that we shall have to expel the English by force
of arms. So long as they are in the country we cannot rest. One of our poets
says that slaves cannot even dream of happiness. We are day by day becoming
weakened owing to the presence of the English. Our greatness is gone, our people
look like terrified men. The English are in the country like a blight which we must remove by every means.
Editor: In your excitement, you have forgotten
all we have been considering. We brought the English, and we keep them. Why, do you forget that our adoption of their
civilization makes their presence in
India at all possible? Your hatred against them ought to be transferred to their
civilization. But let us assume that we have to drive away the English by
fighting, how is that to be done?
Reader: In the same way as Italy did it. What
was possible for Mazzini and Garibaldi is possible for us. You cannot deny that
they were very great men.