ONLINE BOOKS > HIND SWARAJ OR INDIAN HOME RULE > Italy & India
Italy & India
Editor: It is well that you have instanced
Italy. Mazzini was a great and good man; Garibaldi was a great
warrior. Both are adorable; from their lives we can learn much. But the
condition of Italy was different from that of India. In the first instance, the
difference between Mazzini and Garibaldi is worth noting. Mazzini ambition was
not and has not yet been realized regarding Italy. Mazzini has shown in his
writings on the duty of man that every man must learn how to rule himself. This
has not happened in Italy. Garibaldi did not hold this view of Mazzini's.
Garibaldi gave, and every Italian took arms. Italy and Austria had the same
civilization; they were cousins in this respect. It was a matter of tit for tat.
Garibaldi simply wanted Italy to be free from the Austrian yoke. The
machinations of Minister Cavour disgrace that portion of the history of Italy.
And what has been the result? If you believe that because Italians rule Italy
the Italian nation is happy, you are grouping in darkness. Mazzini has shown
conclusively that Italy did not become free. Victor Emanuel gave one meaning to
the expression; Mazzini gave another. According to Emanuel Cavour and even
Garibaldi, Italy meant the King of Italy and his henchmen. According to Mazzini, it meant the whole of the Italian people, that is, its
agriculturists. Emanuel was only its servant. The Italy of Mazzini still
remains in a state of slavery. At the time of the so called national war, it was
a game of chess between two rival kings with the people of Italy as pawns. The
working classes in that land are still unhappy. They, therefore, indulge in
assassination, rise in revolt, and rebellion or their part is always expected.
What substantial gain did Italy obtain after the withdrawal of the Austrian
troops? The gain was only nominal. The reforms for the sake of which the war was
supposed to have been undertaken have not yet been granted. The condition of the
people in general still remains the same. I am sure you do not wish to reproduce
such a condition in India. I believe that you want the millions of India to be
happy, not that you want the reins of Government in your hands. If that be so,
we have to consider only one thing: how can the millions obtain self-rule? You
will admit that people under several Indian princes are being ground down. The
latter mercilessly crush them. Their tyranny is greater than that of the
English, and if you want such tyranny in India, then we shall never agree. My
patriotism does not teach me that I am to allow people to be crushed under the
heel of Indian princes if only the English retire. If I have the power, I should resist the tyranny of Indian princes just as much as that of the English.
By patriotism I mean the welfare of the whole people, and if I could secure it
at the hands of the English, I should bow down my head to them. If any
Englishman dedicated his life to securing the freedom of India, resisting
tyranny and serving the land, I should welcome that Englishman as an Indian.