49. To The Britishers

Gandhiji wrote a book named 'Hind Swaraj'. He has described in detail his idea of independence in this book. The book is written in the form of conversation between the master and the reader.

The reader asks: "What would you say about Britishers?"

Even we would like to ask the same question!

Gandhiji, in the role of the master, answers it as follows. It will help us know Gandhiji's feelings.

Master -I will tell them, I do accept that you are the king! I don't want to discuss whether you are here at your own will or mine. I don't think that it is necessary. You may stay in my country I don't mind it. But you will still have to obey our orders even though you are our masters presently.

You may keep all our wealth you have carried away to your country, but you won't be allowed to do so in future.

If you want to stay here as soldiers, you may do so. You won't be allowed to do business with us and earn profit.

The changes you have introduced are not at all useful for us. Instead, the change we want to bring in will be better for us. It will be better for you to try to understand this. Even if you don't understand this we will let you stay here. But you will have to become and behave like one of us.

You should not try to harm our religious notions. Being our masters, it would be your duty to give up eating beef and pork for the sake of Hindus and Muslims. We were not able to resist you until now because we were suppressed. That doesn't mean that we were not hurt. We might have been held up by our selfishness or fear, but now we consider it our duty to remind you of it.

We insist that the courthouses and the schools you have established here are useless to us. We want our own honest courthouses and schools.

Hindi is our national language and not English! You will have to learn it. This way we will be able to deal with you in our own language.

We know that you spend a lot of money on railways and the army. We would not need to do so. You are afraid of Russia we are not. We will deal with them if they come. If you are still here at that time, we will deal with them together.

We don't need your western fabrics. We will be happy with the things made in our own country. You are trying to help develop Manchester by using us. Now you will not be allowed to do so.

We can be friends if we have the same aim. We don't wish to humiliate you. You have enough armed forces and weaponry. You have enough naval forces too. We will not be able to fight against you with same strength as yours. But if you don't agree with us, there cannot be any dealing between us. You can slaughter us if you wish or shoot us. But we won't let you do what we don't like. Rather you won't be able to do anything without our help.

You might ignore these things due to pride and power but it won't help you at all. When we will show our strength, you will realise that your pride is in vain and that your laughter a sign of your foolishness.

We think that you are religious people. Our nation, our land is a pilgrimage for us. It's no use discussing how we came together. Still, both of us can use this relationship in a better way. We don't consider the Britishers who have come here as the true representatives of British people. Similarly, we, the partly Westernised Indians too are not the real representatives of Indians. If the British public comes to know the reality they will also oppose you. The Hindi people already keep at a distance from you.

The changes you are making for our betterment are not actually helpful. Consult your religious books and you will find that our demands are proper. So you will have to accept them if you want to stay here.

If it happens so, we will learn so many things from you and you too will learn a lot of things from us. Both of us can benefit from such give and take. The rest of the world can also have its benefits. But this can happen only if we respect and keep our relationship within the religious framework!