CWG vol. 3

CWG Vol. 3

The Preface by the publishers summarizes precisely the entire material in this volume.

Preface.

…As in his earlier sojourn in South Africa it was the Christian influence, now it was the Theosophical influence that stimulated his religious quest and led him again to a serious study of Hindu religious literature.  He memorized the Gita, which had become for him an “infallible guide of conduct”, “a dictionary of daily reference”.  His appreciation of  aparigraha made him cancel the only insurance policy he ever took out in life, an act of rare faith.  His resolve that thenceforth his savings would only be utilized for public work brought about a serious misunderstanding between him and his elder brother, Lakshmidas{see vol. 6, 347. LETTER TO LAKSHMIDAS GANDHI, pp. 395-400 for a long letter written by Gandhi to his brother}, which was cleared only before the latter’s death.—p. vi.

The outstanding characteristic of Gandhiji’s utterances and writings during this period [1898-1903], whether public or private, was his continuing faith in the British Constitution, his appreciation of the privileges of British citizenship and his trust in the Empire as a family of nations{…Fair play is the great (p.316) characteristic of the British race….[Indian Opinion, 4-6-1903]— 242VIRTUOUS INCONSISTENCY pp. 316-17}.  The congratulations he sent to the Queen on her successive birthdays, the memorial meetings he organized on her passing away, the repeated references in his letters and petitions to the personal liberty and equal citizenship rights of British subjects, the frequent invocations of the Queen’s Proclamation of 1858, the offer and role of the Indian Ambulance Corps in the Boer War—all these were inspired by the Empire sentiment, “What was wanted in South Africa was not a white man’s country”, he said in his farewell speech in October 1901, “not a white brotherhood, but an Imperial brotherhood”.—p. ix.

The following points under various heading (in alphabetical order) are some important points for me to understand Gahdhiji’s life in SA and developing a great leader gradually:

British:

…Strange as it may appear, a cablegram to-day announces that, in reply to repeated representations from Natal, the Imperial Government have ordered the dispatch of 10,000 troops from India for the protection of Natal which refuses to give temporary shelter to the Indians from the Transvaal, to guard against which, the above troops are intended….—53. RELIEF TO INAIDN REFUGEES.        Durban, October 14, 1899. p. 112

Resolutions:

At a protest meeting of the English-speaking and other Indians which was held in the Congress Hall on the 2nd inst;, Mr. J. L. Roberts, the convener, proposed, and Mr. D. C. Andrews seconded, the following resolutions, which were carried unanimously.  Mr M. K. Gandhi occupied the chair.

  1. That this meeting strongly disapproves of the manner in which the Indian representatives were chosen for the presentation of the address to their Royal Highness the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, inasmuch as only the Mohammedans were apprised of the meeting, thus depriving the other Indians from participating in it.— 151. INDIANS AND THE DUKE. Durban, August 21, 1901. p. 201

…Supreme the English are, and must remain, in the Colony.  Nor do we want them to practice altruism in our favour.  But we do request them not to use the supremacy in order to do us injustice, to degrade and insult us.  “Fair field and no favour” is the just and reasonable demand of the Indian community….Well, there is no convincing a man against his will.  Otherwise, we might put it to our contemporary whether restraint on the personal liberty of a body of people who have committed no crime is not an injustice—as the term is understood under the British Constitution….[Indian Opinion, 9-7-1903]—p. 363

…We may state, parenthetically, that we do not import into consideration the fact often flung in the faces of the Indian races, namely, that, after all is said and done, they are conquered, and therefore, not entitled to the same rights as real Britishers.  We dismiss this from our consideration for two very sound reasons, the one given by Professor Seely in his Expansion of Great Britain, namely, that in the real sense of the term India is not a conquered country, but that it is British because the vast majority of its people have, perhaps for selfish reasons, accepted British rule; the second reason is, that British statesmen have times without number disavowed any connection whatsoever with the idea of inequality necessarily existing between the conquerors and the conquered, other things being equal, and they have done this more especially with regard to the British Indians. [Indian Opinion, 30-7-1903]— 290. THE CINDERELLA OF THE EMPIRE p. 383

…Lord Macaulay’s remark in one of his essays, wherein he says: “We are free, we are civilized to little purpose if we grudge to any portion of the human race an equal measure of freedom and civilization. [Indian Opinion, 24-9-1903]— 342.. The labour question in the Transvaal. sp. 453

Christianity:

The dissatisfaction that the latest move on the part of the Natal Government in the matter of education has caused amongst the Indian converts to Christianity, of whom there is a large number, is indeed very intense.  They, of all others, know fully, and have been taught to understand, the advantages of Western culture.  They are taught by their religious teachers the doctrine of equality.  They are told, Sunday after Sunday, that their Great Master knew no distinction between a Jew and a Gentile, a European or an Asiatic.  Small wonder, then, if they feel keenly the disabilities that are sought to be imposed upon them in the educational line….—45. THE INDIAN QUESTION IN SOUTH AFRICA. Durban, July 12, [1899], p. 85

…We are told that the members open their proceedings with a prayer, and that the bible occupies a conspicuous place on the Speaker’s or the President’s table.  We wonder if the followers of the Prophet of Nazareth ever saw a little verse from the lips of their Master: viz., ‘Do unto others as you would be done by’, or is it that the printers have made a mistake and omitted a little ‘not’ after ‘do’?  Let us see how Mr. Chamberlain the Imperialist treats the petition. [Indian Opinion, 6-8-1903]— 299. IMMIGRATION RESTRICTION BILL. p. 397

Lord Salisbury, again, it was who, at the risk of losing popularity, did not hesitate, on the very platform of the Propagation of the Gospel Society at the time of the Chinese expedition, to utter some disagreeable though wholesome truths.  Before his distinguished audience, with reference to the missionary work in China, His Lordship, true Christian gentleman that he was, reminded the missionaries that, as they had fallen from the advice of Christ, and instead of meekly suffering hardships, and even death if necessary, in pursuit of their calling, asked for the assistance of temporal power in carrying on their work, it was their duty to temper their zeal with prudence, so as not to compromise or place in a false position countries they represented. [Indian Opinion, 3-9-1903]— 323. LORD SALISBURY [twice prime Minister of Britain. 1830-1903] p. 429

Criticism:

…if we appear to have used strong language, we have done so because we feel strongly. [Indian Opinion, 1-10-1903]— 351.. POLITICAL MORALITY. p. 463

Doing Good:

…A great crime committed by a man has been known to changer his face in such a way as to stamps the crime on it. Similarly, a great good act done by a man has produced the opposite effect on his features, and he has been known, as the case may be, either to attract to, or to repulse from, himself people by his very act.  We then hold it to be our paramount duty not to think evil of those who we may consider are dealing unjustly by us.  There is hardly any virtue in the ability to do a good turn to those that have done similarly by us.  That even the criminals do.  But it would be some credit if a good turn could be done to an opponent.  If this very simple thing be always borne in mind, we do think that success will come to us far more quickly than we are likely to imagine…. [Indian Opinion, 20-8-1903]— 311. THE USES OF ADVERSITY p. 413

Duty:

…One should content oneself with doing one’s duty as one understands it, facing insults, obstacles, etc., courageously and behaving politely in every respect….—173. LETTTER TO PARSEE RUSTOMJEE. Rajkot, March 1, 1902. p. 227

…Never mind reward for your services. It always comes without the slightest doubt when we do not pine for it.  It may not come in the manner we may expect it.  But that matters very little.  Really speaking, a consciousness that we are doing what we consider to be our duty to the best of our ability is the highest reward….—197. LETTER TO JAMES GODFREY. Rajkot, [prior to June 3, 1902.] p. 254

Gandhiji:

…among the officers mentioned is included my name, described as “Mr. Gandhi, Asst. Supt. Indian Ambulance Corps.”  If the extract is complete, according to my correspondent, no more officers of that Corps are thus mentioned.  It that be so, and if the credit given is to the Assistant Superintendent as such, it belongs to Mr. Shire, who was the only Gentleman in the Corps recognized as such….if I am entitled to any credit for having done my duty, it is due in a greater measure to Dr. Booth, now Dean of St. John’s, and to Mr. Shire, who spared no pains in making the Corps the success it proved to be…..—124. LETTER TO COLONIAL SECRETARY. Durban, March 30, 1901 p.181

I have taken the above step deliberately and prayerfully.  I feel that neither I nor my family can make any personal use of the costly presents.  They are too sacred to be sold my me or my heirs, and, seeing that there can be no guarantee against the last contingency, in my opinion, the only way I can return the love of our people is to dedicate them all to a sacred object.  And since they are in reality a tribute to the Congress principles, to the Congress I return them.— 159. LETTER TO PARSEE RUSTOMJEE. Durban, October 18, 1901. p. 208

[Schedule of jewellery]

Gold medal presented in 1896.

God coin presented in 1896 by the Tamil Indians.

Gold chain presented by the Johannesburg Committee in 1899.

Gold chain, sovereign purse and seven gold coins presented by Mr. Parsee Rustomjee.

Gold watch presented by Mr. Joosub of Messrs Dada Abdoola & Co.

Diamond ring presented by the Community.

Gold necklace presented by the Gujarati Hindoos.

Diamond pin presented by Mr. Abdul Cadir and a Silver cup and plate presented by the Katiawar Hindoos, Stanger.—ibid. p. 209

265.     LETTER TO H. V. VORA [a leading layer of Kathiawar who pleaded against Gandhiji’s excommunication after return from England in 1891 and later helped him in his early practice at Rajkot]..     Johannesburg. June 30, 1903.

…I do think, however, that if she [Mrs. Gandhi] would consent to remain there, for the time being at any rate, it would enable me to give undivided attention to public work.  As she knows, she had very little of my company in Natal; probably, she would have less in Johannesburg.  However, I wish to be guided entirely by her sentiments and I place myself absolutely in her hands….—p. 353

Harmony:

…we have every reason to be hopeful as to the future, and to think that, as the European community grows older, the awkward corners would be rubbed out, and that the different members of the Imperial family in South Africa would be able to live in perfect peace in the near future.  That time many not come within the present generation; we may not live to see it, but that it will come no sane man can deny; and that being so, let us all strain our every nerve to hasten its coming, and that can only be done by calmness in discussion and strict adherence to facts and high ideals, and last, though not least, by trying to step into the shoes of our opponents and endeavouring to find out what may be running in their minds—to find out, that is to say, not merely the points of difference, but also points of agreement. [Indian Opinion, 25-6-1903]. — 260.THE BRIGHT SIDE OF THE PICTURE. p. 348

Indian Congress in SA:

…The fiery enthusiasm seems to have died out… While, at one time, the number of members reached the respectable total of nearly 300, strictly speaking, the number now is only 37!  That is to say, that there are only 37 who have paid up their subscriptions up to date.  It is time the members woke up from their long sleep, or else it might be too late.— 52. THE SECOND REPORT OF THE NATAL INDIAN CONGRESS. [Post October 11, 1899] p. 98

…the institution of fines for late attendance at the Congress meetings was founded.  Many members paid five shillings for each late attendance.  It has now fallen into disuse, and so much have we fallen back from our first love that now it is difficult to form even a quorum at the Congress meetings before 9 p.m., that is, one and a half hours after the appointed time….—ibid. p. 109

The outlook at present is gloomy so far as the internal work of the Congress is concerned.  Members do not possess half the enthusiasm that was displayed in 1895 and 1896….—ibid. p. 110

…So far, those that have not paid up their subscriptions have been allowed to be considered as members and to have a say in Congress matters.  This practice is very undesirable….—ibid. p. 110

Indian:

… Mr. Justice Wragg: …Looking at the preamble of that and the later Laws, we find that the term “Coolie’ means person who, under these Laws, have been introduced from India into this Colony at the public expense, or by private individuals at their own expense, for a particular class of service….—7. NOTES ON THE TEST CASE, Appendix. –p. 9

…the traditions of the country of our birth, our unswerving and proved loyalty to the Throne, and our acknowledged law-abiding instincts?….— 161. ADDRESS TO LORD MILNER. Durban, October 18, 1901. p. 210

…The cap Act was drafted so as to include Indian languages but it was amended in Committee.  The legislation here is against Indians (described as the “aboriginal races of Asia)….— 232. LETTER TO G. K.Gokhale.  Johannesburg. May 10, 1903. p. 300

…A large Indian population settled in Zanzibar before the Englishman put his foot there.  But the Indian settlers, though in many instances they have built substantial structures, have certainly not made it an elegant town.  The reason is obvious.  We lack the spirit of unity, co-operation, and a full measure of the spirit of sacrifice for the sake of the general good.

We look upon our troubles as a divine chastisement.  If we should but learn the lessons that have to be learnt from our adversity, it will not have been lost upon us.  We would emerge from the trial a community richer in social virtues, stronger in the justness of our cause, and, to take up the analogy we have used at the outset, with a far larger credit balance in our favour than we started with.  We submit this before the thoughtful members of the Indian community all over South Africa. [Indian Opinion, 2-7-1903]—267.  THE BALANCE-SHEET, p. 355

…With [Mr. Booker T. Washington] himself he has raised his own countrymen also immeasurably, and set to them, as indeed to all of us who care to study his life, an example worthy to be followed.  One word to our own countrymen, and we have done. We have in our midst in India men who have devoted their lives to the service of their country, but we make bold to say that the life of our hero would perhaps rank higher than that of any British Indian, for the simple reason that we have a very great past and an ancient civilization. What, therefore, may be and is undoubtedly natural in us, is a very great merit in Booker Washington.  Be that, however, as it may, a contemplation of lives like this cannot fail to do good. [Indian Opinion, 10-9-1903]— 331. FROM SLAVE TO COLLEGE PRESIDENT. p. 440 [boasting or real credit to Indians?  Sometimes Gandhiji has gone overboard in his view aboutIndia and Indians, particularly about our civilization morality.—db]

Judgment:

It has often been said that people on the spot, being unable to take a correct focus, are often unfit to pass an unbiased judgment, especially when it is their own conduct which is the subject for decision….[Indian Opinion, 23-7-1903]— 284. THE LONDON MEETING: I p. 375

…It is well known that, after all, men, being creatures of circumstances, would do things which are unjustifiable quite unconsciously, owning to the control exercised over them by the circumstances in which they are placed.  Is it not, then, necessary for us to be charitable in our judgments?…. [Indian Opinion, 20-8-1903]— 311. THE USES OF ADVERSITY p. 413

Leader:

…Above all, the one quality that is needed in the holder of that post more than any other, namely, calmness of mind under all the irritation from within and without and the ability to put up with the different disposition of the members, he [Mr. Adamji Miankhan] displayed in abundance….—52. THE SECOND REPORT OF THE NATAL INDIAN CONGRESS. [Post October 11, 1899], p. 107

Maya:

The catastrophe at Paris must have filled all the portions of the globe where the news reached with gloom….To us, these untoward happenings are not merely accidents but we look upon them as divine visitations from which we, if we chose, may learn rich lessons.  To us, they show a grim tragedy behind all the tinsel splendour of the modern civilization…. (p. 414) Those, however, who will give the accident, if so it may be called, more than a passing thought, cannot fail to realize that behind al the splendour and behind all the glittering appearances there is something very real which is missed altogether.  To us, the meaning is quite clear, namely, that all of us have to live the present life merely as a preparation for a future, far more certain and far more real.  Nothing that the modern civilization can offer in the way of stability can ever make any more certain that which is inherently uncertain; that, when we come to think of it, the boast about the wonderful discoveries and the marvelous inventions of science, good as they undoubtedly are in themselves, is, after all, an empty boast.  They offer nothing substantial to the struggling humanity, and the only consolation that one can derive from such visitations has to come from a firm faith not in the theory, but in the fact, of the existence of a future life and real Godhead.  And that alone is worth having or worth cultivating which would enable us to realize our Maker and to feel that, after all, on this earth we are merely sojourners. [Indian Opinion, 20-8-1903]— 313. ACCIDENT? pp. 414-15

Morality:

…As long as a man carries out with care the work entrusted to him, it is not necessary to pay attention to his ways.— 173. LETTTER TO PARSEE RUSTOMJEE. Rajkot, March 1, 1902. p. 227

…One should content oneself with doing one’s duty as one understands it, facing insults, obstacles, etc., courageously and behaving politely in every respect….—ibid. p. 227

Racialism:

Socially and popularly, the Indian is a pariah—in some places less so than in others.  He is nicknamed “coolie”.  In fact, popular prejudice has portrayed him as a “filthy being”, without any virtue.  The prejudice, it must be confessed, has become much toned down in Natal.  And though the differences between the two communities undoubtedly still exist, they are perhaps more based on the fact that each looks at the problem from a different standpoint from the other than on colour prejudice, pure and simple…. [Indian Opinion, 4-6-1903.]— 240. THE BRITISH INDIAN IN SOUTH AFRICA p. 315

If a European commits a crime or a moral delinquency, it is the individual: if it is an Indian, it is the nation….[Indian Opinion, 4-6-1903]— 241. IS IT FAIR?p. 316

Saying:

Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, said Emerson….[Indian Opinion, 4-6-1903]— 242VIRTUOUS INCONSISTENCY p. 316

Courage and patience are qualities which one needs very badly when one is placed in difficult circumstances….[Indian Opinion, 20-8-1903]— 311. THE USES OF ADVERSITY p. 412

…We should not forget that “Calamity is man’s true touchstone,” and that “none can cure their harms by bewailing them”. [Indian Opinion, 20-8-1903]—ibid. p. 412