CWG Vol. 4

From this volume I selected few points which will help us  to understand the Personality of Gandhiji in this period. In his comments on Christianity while appreciating its influence do not fail to criticize with the same spirit.  When we talk about corruption now (2011 the year of corruption and scams) we read its universal nature even in the past from the accounts given by Gandhiji.  We also get information about the origin of Indian Congress; while rebuking Indians for the lack of the sense of duty among them, yet he encourage them to follow the example of Khan Bahadur Mohiuddin.  He also points about the need of ‘Unity’ among in spite of various difference to achieve common goal for all Indians. We read some interesting information about the personal life of Gandhi: his interest to learn Tamil, cooking and simple life style.  His talks and writing on Hinduism that too comparing with Islam and Christianity is the repetition of his view on religion in general and Hinduism in particular, which we have seen in previous volumes and will see in future volumes too.  His attitude and approach to various branches of Hinduism (Teosophical Society and Arya Samaj here) strikes a balance.  According to Gandhiji all the religions are same.  Same is his view on Indians and India.  While highly exalting India on several points, particular about its culture, tradition, spirituality (by often quoting from European scholars) he equally hits the Indians by pointing their shot comings.  Gandiji’s talk on Islam and the misunderstanding that it created and the clarification that he gave are some important points in this volume.  Gandhi’s role in Indian Opinion (A weekly? News Paper) is very crucial for us to understand all his life and mission in South Africa.  And his cousin’s role and the way Gandhiji directed and handled him are important for us to understand the personality of Gandhiji and we find some interesting information about this in this volume.

Gurukulam. November 2, 2011.

British:

…On July 2, 1857, he was struck by a splinter from a cannon shot. The doctors told him that the wound was fatal and that he would not live more than forty-eight hours. In spite of the unbearable pain, he kept on giving orders. He breathed his last on July 4, praying: “Oh God! keep my heart pure. Thou alone art great. This world of Thine will certainly be pure some day. I am but a child, but it is through Thy strength that I can become strong. Always teach me meekness, justice, good-will and peace. I seek not the thoughts of men. Thou art my Judge; do Thou teach me Thy thoughts, for I fear Thee.” He loved Indians greatly. He condemned the atrocities that were perpetrated at the time of the Mutiny and believed that every Englishman was a trustee forIndia. As trustees, the English were not to lootIndia, but to make the people prosperous, to teach them self-government and to make over the country to the Indian people in a prosperous state. The English people have progressed because men likeLawrenceare born amongst them.[From Gujarati; Indian Opinion, 14-10-1905].— 409. SIR HENRY LAWRENCE p.457

 

“The right to rule belongs to the ruler only if he works for the happiness of the ruled.” Charles Theophilus Metcalfe, who uttered these words and acted up to them, was born inCalcuttaonJanuary 30, 1785…. He placed the landholders’ rights on a firm basis. This is what he wrote about it: (p.481)

…how can we deprive the ryots of their rights? How can liberal rulers attach any weight to such an argument? The kingdom of man is controlled by thekingdomofGod. The Almighty can bestow a kingdom in a moment and take it back in another. Man’s ingenuity avails not before His command. The duty of the rulers, therefore, is only to advance the well-being of their subjects. If we but discharge this duty, our Indian subjects will be grateful to us, and the world will for ever sing our praises. What if in future a rebellion should break out as a result of such a policy? Well, if out of the base fear of a future danger we should oppress the subjects, we shall deserve the attacks that may be made against us. And, when we are driven to such a position, the world will scorn us, will spit upon us and call us all sorts of names.

Sympathizing with the ryots in their woes, young Metcalfe wrote such noble words….In 1827 Metcalfe became a member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council atCalcutta. The good Lord William Bentinck was the Viceroy then. When Bentinck was obliged for reasons of health to proceed suddenly toEngland, Metcalfe was appointed in his place as Acting Governor-General. At this time he did the greatest deed of his life. He enacted the famous law giving freedom to the Indian Press, which displeased his masters—the Board of Directors. But Metcalfe did not care. When prominent Englishmen opposed him, he made the following reply:

If the argument of my opponents be that the spread of knowledge may be harmful to our rule in India, I say that, whatever be the consequences, it is our duty to educate the people. If British rule can be preserved only by keeping the people in ignorance, our rule then would be a curse on the country and ought to come to an end. But I personally think that we have much more to fear if the people remain ignorant. The spread of knowledge, I hope, will remove their superstitions, will enable them to appreciate the benefits of our government, will promote the goodwill between the rulers and the ruled and will eliminate the differences and disunity amongst the Indians themselves. We, however, do not know what the will of the Almighty is in respect of the future of India. Our duty clearly is to execute the work entrusted to us for the good of the people. [From Gujarati, Indian Opinion, 4-11-1905]— 429. LORD METCALFE, LIBERATOR OF THE INDIAN PRESS, pp.481-82

Christianity

But later, when Christianity and Western civilisation came to be associated, the Hindus began to look upon the religion with disfavour. And today, we see few Hindus embracing Christianity inspite of the fact that the Christians are ruling over a vast kingdom.  Nevertheless, Christianity has had a very considerable influence on Hinduism. Christian priests imparted education of a high (p.246) order and pointed out some of the glaring defects in Hinduism, with the result that there arose among the Hindus other great teachers who, like Kabir, began to teach the Hindus what was good in Christianity and appealed to them to remove these defects. To this category belonged Raja Ram Mohan Rai1,  Devendranath Tagore,2 and Keshab Chandra Sen.3 In Western India we had Dayanand Saraswati.4 And the numerous reformist associations like the Brahmo Samaj and the Arya Samaj that have sprung up in India today are doubtless the result of Christian influence.5 Again, Madame Blavatsky6 came to India, told both Hindus and the Muslims of the evils of Western civilisation and asked them to beware of becoming enamoured of it. (p.247) [Indian Opinion, 15-4-1905].—188. LECTURES ON RELIGION.—pp.246-47

1 Founder of the Brahmo Samaj.

2 & 3 Raja Ram Mohan Rai’s work was continued by Devendranath Tagore and

Keshab Chandra Sen, the former on the lines of pure Hinduism and the latter along those of Christianity.

4 Founder of the Arya Samaj.

5 The Brahmo Samaj was to some extent the result of Christian influence, but the Arya Samaj, which was based on ancient Vedic principles, was an attempt to meet the challenge of Christianity.

6 Founder of the Theosophical Society.

The time has now passed when the followers of one religion can stand and say, ours is the only true religion and all others are false. The growing spirit of toleration towards all religions is a happy augury of the future. An article appeared recently in the columns of The Christian World, aLondon religious weekly, over the signature of “J.B.”, one of that journal’s regular contributors, on this question, extracts from which I intend to quote.

The writer, in a most liberal and generous spirit, reviews the question from the Christian standpoint, and shews how the world’s religions are linked one with the other, each having characteristics common to all others. The appearance of such an article in the Christian Press is worth noting, and shews that it is moving with the times. A few years back, such an article would have been classed as heretical teaching, and its author denounced as a traitor to the cause. After remarking upon the new spirit which was changing the attitude of Christians to other religions, and pointing out how, a few years ago, the idea prevailed of the Christian religion standing out [as] the only true religion amongst a multitude of false ones, he goes on to say:

There has been an immense revulsion, and one of the features of it is the discovery, so vastly surprising to the average man, that the doctrine he was brought up on was not the earlier Christian teaching at all. The noblest of the old apologists thought very differently, he finds, of the outside races and faiths, from what he had been led to imagine. He hears of Justin Martyr, standing so close to the apostolic age, who regards the wisdom of  Socrates as inspired by the ‘Word’; of Origen, and Gregory of Nyssa, whose teaching is of (p. 392) the entire race of man as under the Divine tutorship; of Lactantius maintaining that belief inProvidencewas the common property of all religions……The finer Christian minds have, in fact, in every age gone more or less along this line. It needed only that men should come into contact with these outside races, whether in their literature or face to face, to realise at once that the ‘impassable gulf’ theory between one religion and another was false to life and to the soul…

…Religion, by a hundred different names and forms, has been dropping the one seed into the human heart, opening the one truth as the mind was able to receive it.

“J.B.” points out that many of the Christian institutions and doctrines were born of the knowledge of other religions. Many of the symbols are relics of ancient days.

How marvellous, too, in this connection, is that ancient cult of Mithras inPersia, where, as M. Cumont says: ‘Like the Christians, the followers of Mithras lived in closely united societies, calling one another father and brother; like the Christians, they practised baptism, communion and confirmation; taught an authoritative morality, preached continence, chastity and self-denial, believed in the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the dead’.

It is not surprising that the writer should claim for the Christian religion the premier position, but it is gratifying to find such a broadminded attitude taken up by Christian writers and the Christian Press. [Indian Opinion, 26-8-1905].— 355. THE WORLD’S RELIGION, pp.392-93

Congress:

…It is particularly necessary to remember this origin of the Congress.  Lore Dufferin believed that such body should be founded.  He talked about it to Mr. Hume; the idea was very much to the latter’s liking and, as a result of his consultations with prominent public men in India, the Congress was ultimately founded. [Indian Opinion,14/01/1905]— 131.  INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS AND RUSSIAN ZEMSTVOS—A COMPARISON:1. p. 164

Corruption:

…For it is said that it is during a crisis that a man’s character is put to the test. It cannot  be claimed that he has been put to the test until he has had the chance successfully of committing a crime but remains steadfast in spite of the opportunity. Such steadfastness at a critical time may be found in a handful of men. It is indeed all too rare.

…The bigger the war, the bigger the extent of chaos. The fraud and trickery, that were exposed during the Crimean War1, and other sundry happenings that have later come to light, are most distressing. During that war, a large stock of boots was purchased and dispatched to the front for the use of soldiers, but they all were found to be for the left foot! A large quantity of foodstuff for the army was sent fromEngland; but when it was consumed, instead of helping to feed the army, it proved deleterious being very rotten meat. It was not only merchants who wanted to become millionaires, but even the generals on the front, the politicians who were out to sacrifice a large number of precious lives, and leaders who called themselves benefactors of the state, committed fraud. Large stock of useful medicines sent out for soldiers and officers on their deathbed disappeared mysteriously before reaching the hospitals for which they were bound, and not a trace of them was found. Merchants, the so-called patriotic generals and high Government officials thus went on misappropriating hundreds of useful and valuable articles to fill their pockets at the expense of hundreds of poor soldiers who had gone to the front to fight for their country, leaving their homes and hearths…Contracts were blindly given by the departments concerned to contractors who were their favourites or were known to them and who made a profit of 50 to 500 per cent on some of the goods (p.325) supplied. Such corruption was not confined toGreat Britainalone. The defeatFrancesustained in 1879 was due to its officers who had become slaves of mammon…The reports of the present Russo-Japanese War, too, are astounding.

Last April, a million roubles were given to Duke of Sergius to be spent on feeding and clothing the army inManchuria…instead of reaching there, it got transported directly fromMoscowtoDanzig, and from thence, goods worth thousands of pounds were sold for a song inGermany… Large sums of money were raised through subscriptions for the benefit of the widows of men and officers killed in the war; but not a farthing of that money reached the poor widows. The bags of suger despatched to the battle-field were found to contain sand instead of sugar! No trace could be found of millions of roubles that disappeared during the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway. But this is not all. Innumerable examples have been recorded of the corruption and bribery practised in Russia.

The conduct of the Japanese affords a marked contrast to all this. No merchant or officer inJapanhas entertained any thought of exploiting the war situation, with the result that the Japanese army can secure its needs at a very small cost…. The report of the Butler Commission on the war in South Africa, which has been published, tells us that the irregularities and corruption that prevailed during that war were in no way less [considerable] than in Russia. The way public money has been spent is very much to be deplored.…This has cast a slur on the British administration, which has so for enjoyed a reputation for justice and integrity in public affairs. (p.326) [From Gujarati] Indian Opinion, 24-6-1905.— 276 CORRUPTION DURING WAR TIME, pp. 325-26

Duty

It has come to our knowledge that some Indians are offended by our article on the plague. We are sorry, but not surprised. We should rather be complimented on drawing attention to the subject, but we are being blamed because we do not hesitate to mention others’ faults…What is the duty of the Press, that is, our duty, on such an occasion ? We could easily win the applause of the people by suppressing their faults. But we would fail utterly in our duty if we did so. Our duty is to serve the people. While championing their rights, if we happen to observe any of their shortcomings, we must bring these to their notice. If instead of doing so we went on flattering them, we would be playing the part of an enemy. As we said at the very outset, we shall boldly defend our people if our opponents speak ill of them; but at the same time, if we notice any shortcomings in our people, we shall fearlessly expose them to the public gaze and urge their removal. Who will do this if we don’t ? We have never cherished, nor do we do so now, the idea of doing anything simply to please others. It is our duty to administer the bitter pill…. It is quite obvious that, when plague breaks out amongst us, it clearly leads to loss of life; more than that, it means a blow to the whole community….(p. 470) If, living in this country, we do not learn how to deal with this contagious disease, we have only our obstinacy to thank. It is, we believe, the supreme duty of those who are in a position to offer guidance in such matters to enlighten people and lead them along the right path. We say this without the least fear; for whatever we have written so far will have been in vain if we try to flatter our readers out of fear. We have been repeatedly telling people to stick to their resolve, to remain courteous under all circumstances, and to discharge their duties courageously. We are publishing the biographical sketches of brave men and women like Sir Henry Lawrence and Elizabeth Fry and exhorting our readers to follow the examples of those heroic souls. In the end, we appeal to all our readers to take our writings in the spirit in which they are written. It is possible that we might unwittingly commit mistakes in the course of our public service. We shall be grateful if those who notice any such draw our attention to them. [From Gujarati, Indian Opinion, 28-10-1905]— 420. OUR DUTY, pp. 470-71

 

 The Daily Mail, a well-known English paper, has narrated a story of great loyalty shown by an Indian in India. He was a surveyor named Khan Bahadur Mohiuddin. It fell to his lot in 1903 to survey arid waste land in Rajputana. He had with him four messengers, four assistant surveyors and two camels. Once, travelling at night, they found their water-bag burst and all the water drained. The messengers advised return, but brave Mohiuddin was not the man to turn back. He sent one of the messengers in search of water, which was fetched but was found to be exceedingly brackish. Marching on they came upon some water which, however, soon gave out. The Khan Bahadur had by then become absorbed in deep thought. The camel-drivers were tied to the camels, and the animals allowed to go as they pleased, for meanwhile the men had fainted, owing to thirst. At last they came to a watering-place and regained consciousness. When in search of water thus, Mohiuddin strayed from his men, and ultimately, lost his life while doing his duty. However, infected with his enthusiasm, the men bravely completed the task. We rarely come across examples of such bravery and devotion to duty. The Khan Bahadur’s body was given an honourable burial and his companions, who survived him, were handsomely rewarded by the Government. [From Gujarati]Indian Opinion, 28-10-1905—422. AN ABLE INDIAN p.?

 

Gandhi:

…I am studying Tamil very diligently and, if all is well, I may be able to fairly understand the Tamil articles within two months at the outside. I am rather anxious to get the Tamil books….—189. LETTER TO CHHAGANLAL GANDHI, JOHANNESBURG, April 17, 1905. p. 248

 

..If you cannot make the cake properly, it must be the fault of the oven, or you do not add sufficient ghee. You will remember that the meal must be kept soaked in cold water for nearly three hours. When you make your cake the ghee should be added first and thoroughly mixed with flour before you pour water over it, and it should be well kneaded. .— 190. LETTER TO CHHAGANLAL GANDHI. JOHANNESBURG, April 19, 1905. p .250

 

…Did you send the sweets from Durban? If so, please do not repeat the experiment. It is totally unnecessary, and I am anxious not to introduce complex dishes in the house….

[PS.] I see [the] sweets were brought by Desai.– 202. LETTER TO CHHAGANLAL GANDHI, JOHANNESBURG, May 1, 1905, p.261

Hinduism:

…The key-note of Hinduism on the spiritual side was moksha, or salvation; that is, the final absorption of the Soul in the Infinite Soul that pervades all things.  In regard to religion, pantheism was the chief characteristic, whilst, on the ethical plane, self-abnegation was the most notable quality, with its corollary, toleration.  In social matters, the characteristic of caste was predominant, whilst the ceremonial characteristic was the sacrificing of animals….Hinduism had never, as a religion,  been missionary… [The Star, 10-3-1905]  {This was the summary of Gandhiji’s lecture by The Star}.—157. HINDUISM [Johannesburg, March 4, 1905] p. 201

…The lecturer {Gandhiji} was not one these who believed that the religion of Islam was a religion of sword…The key-note of Islam was, however, its levelling spirit.  It offered equality to all that came within its pale, in the manner that no other religion in the world did…(p.208) The fanatical raiders who, from time to time, found their way into India, did not hesitate to convert by the sword if they could not do so by persuasion….When there was no political influences at work, there was no difficulty about the Hindus and the Mahomedans living side by side in perfect peace and amity, each respecting the prejudices of the other, and each following his own faith without let or hindrance.  It was Hinduism that gave Mahomedanism its Akbar…Hinduism arose out of the struggle braced, as we would rise out of a cold bath, with warm glow…[The Star, 18-3-1905]— 163 HINDUISM. [Johannesburg, March, 11, 1905].—pp. 208-09

Gandhiji said he had come to the conclusion that Theosophy was Hinduism in theory, and that Hinduism was Theosophy in practice. There were many admirable works in Theosophical literature which one might read with the greatest profit, but it appeared to him that too much stress had been laid upon mental and intellectual studies, upon argument, upon the development of occult powers, and that the central idea of Theosophy, the brotherhood of mankind and the moral growth of man, had been lost sight of in these. He did not wish to suggest that such studies had no place in a man’s life, but he thought that they should follow, not precede, the absolutely certain course which was necessary for every life. There were certain maxims of life, which they had not only to get an intellectual grasp of, but which they had to weave into their very being, before they could at all follow the great scriptures of the world.  When a man desired to qualify in any science, he had first of all to pass an entrance examination, but they seemed to think that when they took up a religious book, no previous preparation in any other direction was necessary, but that they could read these scriptures untaught and interpret them for themselves; and that attitude of mind was considered to be real independence of spirit. In his opinion it was nothing but sheer licence taken with things of which they had not the slightest knowledge. They were told in all the Hindu scriptures that, before they could even handle these books, they must cultivate absolutely pure and truthful lives, they must learn to control their passions, which took them away from the central point.  The mind had been likened to an intoxicated monkey, and so it was. If they were to analyse their minds, they would find that they had very little reason to think ill of others, and would begin to think ill of themselves, for they would find that they harboured within themselves robbers and murderers—terms used by them so glibly in connection with others. He wished that they would recognize a limitation in regard to their studies, and that such limitation, instead of hampering their activity, would further their strength and enable them to soar higher.  He did not think it at all a part of their lives to extend their scope, but thought it their duty to intensify it both with reference to their studies and to their activities; for, if a man concentrated his attention on a particular thing or idea in life, he was likely to make much better use of himself and of his opportunities than if he divided his attention between this, that, and the next thing.  Hindu sages told them that to live life, no matter how hampered it might be, no matter with what limitations, was infinitely superior to having a mental grasp of things divine. They had taught them that, until, one by one and step by step, they had woven these things into their lives, they would not be able to have a grasp of the whole of the divine teaching; and so he urged them that, if they wanted to live the real life, it was not to be lived in that hall, it was not to be lived in Theosophical libraries, but it was to be lived in the world around them, in the real practice of the little teaching that they might have been able to grasp. (From a copy: C. W. 11295. Courtesy: Chhaganlal Gandhi; also Mahatma, Vol. I,pp. 86-7 )— 174. SPEECH AT THEOSOPHICAL LODGE, JOHANNESBURG, [March 25, 1905] pp. 224-25

….To my mind, there is no distinction between a Hindu and a Muslim or Christian. I have frequently said so and, I believe, I have been acting accordingly. I maintain that Hindu religion teaches us to look upon all with an equal eye without making distinctions between Hindu and Muslim, Brahmin and bhangi, and that is the religion I follow. Indian Opinion, 20-5-1905. —215. MR. GANDHI’S CLARIFICATION, May 13, 1905, p. 275

Indian:

‘If you want, he says, to save your colony of Natal from being overrun by a formidable enemy, you ask Indian for help, and she gives it; if you want to rescue the white men’s legislation from massacre at Peaking and the need is (p.52) urgent, you ask the Government of India to dispatch an expedition, and they dispatch it.  If you are fighting the Mad Mullah inSomaliland, you soon discover that Indian troops and an Indian General are best qualified for the task, and you ask the Government of India to send them.  If you desire to defend and of the extreme outposts or coaling station of the Empire, Aden, Mauritius, Singapore, Hong Kong, even Tientsin or Shan-hai-Kawn, it is to the Indian Army that you turn.  If you want to build a railway inUgandaor in the Soudan, you apply toIndiafor labour’(Lord Courzon.London,July 20, 1904.) [Indian Opinion, 20-08-1904]— 45. India Makes the Empire. pp. 52-53. Vol. IV

…We respectfully draw His Lordship’s attention to the fact that the very wearing of the turban or the Indian cap implies a mark of respect, for just as on entering a place the European custom requires the taking off the hat, Indian custom requires that the turban and the cap, as the case may be, should be kept on.  Want of respect is not an Indian characteristic, and we venture to assure His Lordship that in the omission to salaam there can be no disrespect meant.  The salaaming presupposes the meeting of the eyes of the  person salaamed and the person salaaming, which is hardly possible in a Court-house where the judge is absorbed in the case before him.  The only feasible course, in our opinion, is that, on entering the witness-box, the Indian should certainly be made to salaam, but we think that such a caution is hardly necessary, as every Indian on entering the witness-box almost instinctively offers the respect due to the Court….[Indian Opinion, 19-11-1904].— 98. CHIEF JUSTICE AND BRITISH INDINAS.  p?

To Europeans and Indians working together for the common good, this has a special significance.India, with its ancient religions, has much to give, and the bond of unity between us can best be fostered by a wholehearted sympathy and appreciation of each other’s form of religion. A greater toleration on this important question would mean a wider charity in our everyday relations, and the existing misunderstandings would be swept away. Is it not also a fact that between Mahomedan and Hindu there is a great need for this toleration? Sometimes one is inclined to think it is even greater than between East and West. Let not strife and tumult destroy the harmony between Indians themselves. A house divided against itself must fall, so let me urge the necessity for perfect unity and brotherliness between all sections of the Indian community. [Indian Opinion, 26-8-1905].— 355. THE WORLD’S RELIGION, pp.392-93

…Max Müller has acknowledged in his writings that in Indian philosophy the meaning of life is summed up in four letters spelt—DUTY. Probably at the present day such a meaning of life is not apparent in the conduct of the average Indian…. [ Indian Opinion, 28-10-1905]— 417. THE NELSON CENTENARY : A LESSON, p. 467

Islam

…The lecturer {Gandhiji} was not one these who believed that the religion of Islam was a religion of sword…The key-note of Islam was, however, its levelling spirit.  It offered equality to all that came within its pale, in the manner that no other religion in the world did…(p.208) The fanatical raiders who, from time to time, found their way into India, did not hesitate to convert by the sword if they could not do so by persuasion….When there was no political influences at work, there was no difficulty about the Hindus and the Mahomedans living side by side in perfect peace and amity, each respecting the prejudices of the other, and each following his own faith without let or hindrance.  It was Hinduism that gave Mahomedanism its Akbar…Hinduism arose out of the struggle braced, as we would rise out of a cold bath, with warm glow…[The Star, 18-3-1905]— 163 HINDUISM. [Johannesburg, March, 11, 1905].—pp. 208-09

I am grieved to read the above letter. I wrote what I believe to be true. However, I find that some persons have taken offence at what I said, for which I am sorry and I apologise to them. As I do not wish to prolong the controversy, I do not think it advisable to reply to the letter at any length. I have not sought to lower Islam, nor do I hold it to be lowly. I do not think that such an impression was created on anyone’s mind when I made the speech. [ Indian Opinion, 3-6-1905] [From Gujarati]— 254. MR. GANDHI’S COMMENTS1, p. 305

1 Subsequent to Gandhiji’s reply, vide “Mr. Gandhi’s Clarification”, May 13, 1905, two letters of protest were received by the Editor, Indian Opinion. The one signed by “A Muslim” asserted that “. . . The ancestors of over a lakh of Bohras, who are highly placed, had been the Brahmin priests of Sidhpur. Besides, the forefathers of Sunni Bohras from Central Gujarat had been Banias . . . Thus it can be proved that some people even from the higher classes were converted to Islam,” to which Gandhiji replied as above.

Love

…I have already shown you conclusively as in a mathematical problem that the press won’t break down. You had agreed with me in that, and now you write that the circumstances are unbearable and precarious. This is exactly what I consider a sign of weakness. You have not been able to consider—nor did you have the time to do so—what our duty is in regard to the press, what your own duty is or how to deal with the workers; and your weakness is brought out by the adverse circumstances. I consider it a good thing that this has happened; but it can be so considered only if you understand the purport of it….however bitter a man might be, he is sure to come round if we bestow upon him pure love in thought, word and deed; (4) but, whether he comes round or not, our duty is to follow the same course without misgivings….[ From a photostat of the original Gujarati: S.N. 4252]— 381. LETTER TO CHHAGANLAL GANDHI, JOHANNESBURG, September 27, 1905, p. 427

Magazine

…Patchwork was useless Palliatives were dangerous…The object of Indian Opinion was to bring the European and Indian subjects of King Edward closer together.  It was to educate public opinion, to remove causes for misunderstanding; to put before the Indians their own blemishes; and to show them the path of duty while they insisted they securing their rights.  This was an Imperial and pure ideal, towards the fruition of which any one could work unselfishly.  So it appealed to some of the workers. [Indian Opinion,24-12-1904]— 118. OURSELVES. p. 145

Perseverance

…Unwearied reiteration is, as the late Prof. Max Muller used to say, the only remedy for (p.112) for deriving a new truth at home, and for enabling people to remove preconceived notion….[Indian Opinion, 5-11-1904]— 87. A RIFT IN THE LUTE pp. 112-13

Relationship

Orchard writes to me saying that you gave Ram directly an order for binding a book, and he complains that, if he is the foreman, this was irregular. He also states the book is not well bound. I have written to him saying that if you have done so, the giving of the order directly is irregular, but that you could not possibly have meant any offence to him or to break the rules, and I have also asked him to have a man-to-man conversation with you. I should, therefore, like you to have a chat with him and let me know also what this is about. It is quite true that all the orders should be delivered to him and not to the different men directly….[From a photostat of the original: S. N. 4253]— 382. LETTER TO CHHAGANLAL GANDHI, JOHANNESBURG, September 29, 1905, p. 428

Religion

… I am to speak to you no doubt about the [Hindus1]; but the ways and manners of the Hindus and other Indians are all but identical. All Indians have similar virtues and vices and are descended from the same stock. The other consideration was that there was, among the objects of the Teosophical Society, this one, viz., to compare the various religions, find out the truth underlying these and show the people how those religions were only so many roads leading to the realisation of God, and how one ought to hesitate to dub any of them false….[Indian Opinion, 15-4-1905].—188. LECTURES ON RELIGION.—p.244

…I should very much like you not to give the reception a religious aspect. You may be aware that there are differences between the Samajic teaching and the orthodox (p.361) Hindu teaching, and a complaint has been forwarded to me from the latter. We owe respect to any cultured Indian who may arrive from India, and I would rather you gave a suitable reception from Indians representing all classes, but that can only be done if it is bereft of the religious element, and then those who are interested in the Arya Samaj teaching will have to see specially to it. Yours faithfully, [Letter Book (1905): No. 730]— 316. LETTER TO MAGHRAJ & MOODLEY, [JOHANNESBURG,], July 21, 1905, pp. 361-62

Unity

.Those who have faith in God recognize that the British do not rule over India without His will. This too is a divine law that those who rule do so because of the good deeds they have done before. Let us therefore emulate them in their deeds so that our aspirations may be fulfilled.

Let us be as courageous as Nelson and like him know what our duty is. Let us also be patriotic like the nation to which Nelson belonged. Let us forget all thoughts of ‘I a Hindu, you a Muslim;’ or ‘I a Gujarati, you a Madrasi.’ Let us sink “I” and “mine” in a common Indian nationality. We shall be free only when a large number of our people are determined to swim or sink together. How can we walk without a staff so long as we are lame? [From Gujarati, Indian Opinion, 28-10-1905].— 423. HOW ENGLAND WON, p. 474

 

The title of this article is a maxim as old as the hills, and the policy underlying the maxim was enunciated by a British statesman in connection with British rule in India. The cablegram fromIndiathat has appeared lately in the newspapers brings the aphorism vividly home to us. It is said that twenty thousand Mahomedans atDacca, the capital of the new province partitioned fromBengal, assembled together and offered prayers of thanksgiving to the Almighty for the partition, and their consequent deliverance from Hindu oppression.

We cannot bring ourselves to believe that the movement could possibly be spontaneous. It is absurd on the face of it. Assuming that there was any oppression on the part of the Hindus, relief could be obtained without partition, because the might of the British power was there to protect one community against another…It is short-sighted statesmanship to contemplate the government of millions of human beings on the principle of setting one class against another. We know that such a suggestion would be vehemently repudiated, and we know also that pure British statesmanship would revolt against the idea. At the same time, the policy itself is deep rooted, has been followed before with (p. 478) temporary effect, and the tamasha  in Dacca is but a continuation of it. If the Anglo-Indian administrators, who have really built up the Indian Empire, and who depended for its continuance on the goodwill of the people, were to rise from their graves today, they, in our opinion, would be the first to encourage the boycott agitation, at the same time, conciliating public opinion, which has become so excited. What can be more natural than for the people to wish to clothe themselves, to feed themselves, and to supply their luxuries out of home-grown products and home manufactures ? We see such movements worked out more extensively in many Colonies. It is a legitimate and healthy growth amongst the people, not in the slightest degree inconsistent with a feeling of loyalty to the British Crown. It is only a fulfilment of the prophecy uttered by Macaulay in connection with India.

But, if the rulers ofIndiawill not see the reasonableness of the movement, why should not the Indians ? It is true that, to a certain extent, the introduction of British rule was possible by reason of internal dissensions but it is the peculiar province, as also the privilege, of Great Britain to bring together the two great communities in India, and to leave to them an heritage for which she would receive not only the gratitude of the millions in India, but the unstinted admiration of the whole world. It behoves, then, both communities to seize the opportunity offered to them, and to sink material  jealousies and dissensions for their common good. Better far, that two brothers should suffer at the hands of each other, than that a third party should step into the breach and gain an advantage over them. We would ask those who see these lines, no matter who they be, to join with us in the prayer that the present agitation in Bengal, which has in it the germs of the unification of the different communities, may grow in strength, and that the people of Dacca or elsewhere, whether Hindus or Mahomedans, may have the good sense to refrain from doing anything that may mar the glorious possibilities that are opened up to the people of India. [Indian Opinion, 4-11-1905].— 427. DIVIDE AND RULE, pp. 478-79