CWG Vol. 5

The high light in this volume is the case studies about several leading personalities to challenge the Indians to imitate their life and sense of duty.  JOSEPH MAZZINI of Italy who fought to united it as one nation; ELIZABETH FRY1 who worked tirdlessly for Prison reform in England and Austrelia; FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE {1820-1910}, the famous nurse and pioneer of hospital reform; LORD CHARLES THEOPHILUS METCALFE LIBERATOR OF THE INDIAN PRESS, who said to his English opponents, ‘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.’ (p.125)

In the same way he also wrote highly about British so that Indians can ‘emulate them in their deeds so that our aspirations may be fulfilled.’(p.118). He also wrote about their sense of duty and commitment to the work that ,’ without looking at their faults or envying them, that they deserve all they have, and for the most part it is necessary to behave as they do.’ (p.396):   At the same time he didn’t hesitate their police of divide and rule (pp.121-22) hitting the Indian with the same spirit for the need of unity among them.  When it comes to the unity, Gandhi is of the view that, ‘the Hindus, being the majority community, should act with greater humility…’ (p.166).  As usual we find his views on duty, hygiene and promotion of Hindi as the common national language in India to make it as a true ‘nation’.  His views on Indians, justice, the role of mass meeting, religion,  perseverance, Satyagraha, seva, suffering, shortcoming, the importance of education and respecting the view of opponents and publishing it in Indian Opinion., again marks the quality of a born leader.  But one thing that still remain curious to me is his letter to Mr. Polak about his sisters after his visit to their house during his visit to London this time: ‘Both the sisters are really most lovable, and if I was unmarried, or young, or believed in mixed marriage, you know what I would have done! As it is, I told them that if I had made their acquaintance in 1888 (for not doing which they took me severely to task) I should have adopted them as daughters…,’

Db. 11-11-2011. Gurukulam


We should not envy the nation, but emulate its example. Those who have faith in God recognize that the British do not rule over Indiawithout 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 (p.117) emulate them in their deeds so that our aspirations may be fulfilled. [From Gujarati] Indian Opinion, 28-10-1905.— 135. HOW ENGLAND WON, p.117-18


…The British prefer a harsh but self-governing political system to a mild alien rule…. [From Gujarati; Indian Opinion, 16-6-1906].— 380. LORD SELBORNE, p.357



Writing about the voyage, we have reflected why the English prosper. I am aware that, as every shield has two sides, so has the Englishman’s way of life. It should not be our business to examine the reverse side. Just as a swan, as the saying goes, separates milk from water and drinks only the former, so must we learn to recognize our rulers’ virtues, which alone we should follow. Continuing this train of thought, we noticed that people on the boat did not merely enjoy themselves all day long. Those who had work to do did it as if it was the most natural thing to do, without fuss. On this steamer there are passengers who are always reading. They read not for pleasure, but because it is necessary. As soon as their reading is over, they join others in sport and merriment. The crew discharge their duties punctually to the minute. Looking at the vanities around them, they do not forget their station in life. Envying none, they remain absorbed in their work. We Indians, too, behave in much the same way, and in certain respects excel them. But if we take an overall view, the balance-sheet will show more to the Englishman’s credit. We do not possess the ability to build steamers like the one we are sailing in. Even if we can build one, we have not the ability to operate it. We cannot match their record in public sanitation. We rarely present the spectacle of a number of men working together without noise. Their (P.395)mode of life is such that they can save much time, and in the modern age to save time is to gain money….Viewing things in this manner we should conclude, without looking at their faults or envying them, that they deserve all they have, and for the most part it is necessary to behave as they do. This is not the place to consider how we can set about doing this. Here I have put my thoughts before the reader as they occurred to me during the voyage.[From Gujarati; Indian Opinion, 24-11-1906.]— 484. THE DEPUTATION’S VOYAGE—III; [S. S. ARMADALE CASTLE, Before October 20, 1906] p.471

Case studies




Italyas a nation came into existence recently. Before 1870Italycomprised a number of small principalities, each with its petty chief. Before 1870, she was like theIndiaor Kathiawad of today. Though the people spoke the same language and had the same character, they all owed allegiance to different petty states. TodayItalyis an independent European country and her people are regarded as a distinct nation. All this can be said to be the achievement of one man. And his name—Joseph Mazzini. Joseph Mazzini was born inGenoaonJune 22, 1805. He was a man of such sterling character, so good-natured and so patriotic, that great preparations are being made throughoutEuropeto commemorate the centenary of his birth. For, although he dedicated his whole life to the service of Italy, he was so broadminded that he could be regarded a citizen of every country. It was his constant yearning that every nation should become great and live in unity.

1 The original has “What is wrought by the hand hits the heart”,

Even at the early age of thirteen, Mazzini showed great intelligence In spite of great scholarship that he evidenced, he gave up his books out of patriotism and undertook the study of law, and began using his legal knowledge gratuitously to help the poor. Then he joined a secret organization which was working for the unification of Italy. When the (p.27) Italian chiefs learnt of this, they put him into prison. While still in prison, he continued to advance his plans for freeing his country. At last he had to leave Italy. He went to Marseillesand lived there. The Italian princes, however, using their influence, had him banished from that city. Though obliged to fly from place to place, he did not lose heart and kept on sending his writings secretly to Italy, which gradually influenced the minds of the people. He suffered a lot in the process. He had to run about in disguise to evade spies. Even his life was frequently in danger, but he did not care. At last he went to Englandin 1837. He did not suffer so much there but had to live in extreme poverty. In Englandhe came into contact with the great leaders of that country and sought their aid.

In 1848 Mazzini returned with Garibaldi to Italy, and set up the self-governing State of Italy. But it did not last long, thanks to the activities of crafty persons and though Mazzini had to flee the country once again, his influence did not fade. The seed of unity that he  had sown endured and, though Mazzini remained in banishment,Italy became a single united kingdom in 1870. Victor Emmanuel became its king. Mazzini was gratified to see his country thus united. But as he was not permitted to enter the country, he used to go there in disguise. Once when the police went to arrest him, he opened the door for them as if he were an usher and gave them the slip.

This great man died on March, 1873. His foes had now become his friends. People had come to recognise his true worth. Eighty thousand people joined his funeral procession. He was buried at the highest spot in Genoa. Today Italy and the whole of Europe worship this man. In Italy he is considered one of the greatest of men. He was a pious and religious man, ever free from selfishness and pride. Poverty was for him an ornament. The sufferings of others he regarded as his own. There are very few instances in the world where a single man has brought about the uplift of his country by his strength of mind and his extreme devotion during his own lifetime. Such was the unique Mazzini. [From Gujarati, Indian Opinion, 22-7-l905.pp.27-28]

65. ELIZABETH FRY1 {1Elizabeth Fry, (1780-1845), belonged to the Society of Friends. She was a pioneer of prison reform.}

There are many reasons why the British should be ruling over us and why we are in such a deplorable condition. One of the reasons is that in modern times the British seem to have produced a larger number than we of brave and pious men and women of high principles. Nevertheless we believe that we are bound to benefit from a knowledge and constant contemplation of the lives of such devout men and women, and we therefore propose to give the stories of their lives from time to time. We hope that the readers of this journal will read their lives and follow them in practice and thus encourage us. We have suggested earlier that each one of our subscribers should maintain a file of Indian Opinion. We remind them of it on this occasion.

Mrs. Elizabeth Fry lived in England a century ago. She was a very religious-minded lady and it was her constant concern to help mitigate the sufferings of man. Though herself a chronic invalid she did not care; she was not to be daunted by personal suffering. There is a prison called the Newgate Prison inEnglandwhere, a hundred years ago, men and women prisoners were huddled together somehow and lived quite uncared for. They were in an extremely bad state. Crime among them, instead of diminishing, was on the increase. Their life was more like that of cattle. Consequently, the condition of Newgate prisoners who were released after their sentences became very pitiable. This misery, the (p.45) good Elizabeth could not bear to see.  Her heart was deeply grieved, and she dedicated her life to the amelioration of their condition. Having obtained permission of the authorities, she began helping, in particular, the women prisoners, whom she used to comfort. But she did not stop here. By her writings and personal effort she got a number of reforms introduced through the authorities. As a result of her efforts the condition of prisoners improved much. But this she considered quite inadequate. In those days, prisoners used to be deported to Australia. They were subjected to great harassment while on board ships. Even the honour of women prisoners was not safe. Elizabeth saw that all her good work was being undone on board the ships while the prisoners were being thus transported. To remedy this evil, she visited the ships at great personal inconvenience. At last she succeeded in putting an end to the sufferings of prisoners on the ships. Further, she effected some improvement in the miserable condition of the prisoners in Australia; and a law was accordingly passed to the effect that prisoners, on reaching Australia, were to be passed on to others for service after being trained there for six months. While thus sharing in the sufferings of many unfortunate persons, this good lady forgot her own suffering, and breathed her last, praying to God. [From Gujarati, Indian Opinion, 19-8-1905.]—pp.45-46

80. FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE {1820-1910}, famous nurse and pioneer of hospital reform}

This lady remained single all her life, which she spent in such good work. It is said that, when she died, thousands of soldiers wept bitterly like little children, as though they had lost their own mother. No wonder that a country where such women are born is prosperous. That England rules over a wide empire is due not to the country’s military  strength, but to the meritorious deeds of such men and women. [From Gujarati, Indian Opinion, 9-9-1905].—p.62

“The right to rule belongs to the ruler only if he works for the happiness of the ruled.” Charles Theophilus Metcalfe,… This is what he wrote about it:

…The kingdom of man is controlled by the kingdomof God. 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.(p.124)

Sympathizing with the ryots in their woes, young Metcalfe wrote such noble words. Metcalfe was later appointed Resident at the Nizam’s Court. The Nizam’s Government was at that time in great financial difficulty. Some crafty but powerful Englishmen had lent him large sums on interest. Metcalfe was much pained to learn of this. Without caring for what the Governor-General might think, he did his duty and got rid of the crafty men. 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.

Metcalfe, thereafter, was appointed Governor-General of Canada. There he fell seriously ill, but disregarding his illness went on doing his duty till the last. He was a deeply religious man. Having served the Queen loyally and won the love of the people, he died in 1840. [From Gujarati] Indian Opinion, 4-11-1905.— 141. LORD METCALFE LIBERATOR OF THE INDIAN PRESS, pp.124-25:


…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…. (p.114)

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.]— 132. OUR DUTY, pp.114-15

…Self-government means self-control; if privileges are granted, responsibilities must be assumed also, and… to see to it that those responsibilities are properly discharged.[Indian Opinion, 14-4-1906.]— 295. A LICENSING PETITION, p.280

…We give ourselves over to physical pleasures and cannot give them up. It is our duty to make some sacrifice for the sake of others. We do not realize that there is real beauty in this: that it is thus that we please God and do our true duty…..[[From Gujarati; Indian Opinion, 8-9-1906.]— 433. RUSSIA AND INDIA, p.414





October 26, 1906


…I passed last Sunday with your people. Nothing surprised me, as you had prepared me for everything; otherwise to meet your sisters and your brilliant father would have been a most agreeable surprise. Both the sisters are really most lovable, and if I was unmarried, or young, or believed in mixed marriage, you know what I would have done! As it is, I told them that if I had made their acquaintance in 1888 (for not doing which they took me severely to task) I should have adopted them as daughters,from which proposition your father violently dissented. Your mother was very hospitable….(p. 421) Your mother is suffering from a very severe attack of indigestion. I mildly proposed an extended Jewish fast. I am afraid the proposal won’t wash, however it has gone in for what it is worth. I pushed in the claim for earth-bandages also, and by the time I have done with them, I might be able to make some impression. Anyhow she said she was quite open to conviction….[From a photostat of the typewritten office copy: S. N. 4406.]—pp.421-22

{This is from volume five from website.  But they will be in volume six in Govt. serials.  However from volume six onwards I read from website.  So, though I put these notes in volume five notes from Govt. ones,  these are from website ones.  So there will change in page numbers.–db }


…One language remains, namely, Hindustani, which is spoken by North Indians. Derived as it is from Sanskrit and Persian, it suits Hindus and Muslims alike. Moreover, since the fakirs and the sanyasis both speak it, they help to propagate it throughout the land. Many Englishmen too study it. It is thus spoken over an extensive area. The language itself is very sweet, polite and spirited. Many books have been, and are still being, written in it. The editor of the Indian World therefore suggests that it should be taught in every school in India in addition to the mother tongue. Parents too should inculcate the habit of  speaking Hindustani to their children from their formative years. Only then can India truly become a nation. [From Gujarati; Indian Opinion, 18-8-1906.]— 414. INDIA FOR INDIANS. pp.397



…the saying about tobacco, that it spoils “a corder [in the house] of one who chews it, the whole house of one who smokes it, and the clothes of one who sniffs it”….[From Gujarati]. Indian Opinion, 21-10-1905.— 124. The Evils of Smoking. p.105

Among us the custom of taking tea is of recent origin. In India, there is no need for it, but if, in imitation of the whites, people do want to have some drink, they should instead drink coffee or cocoa which are less harmful. [From Gujarati]Indian Opinion, 28-10-1905.— 136. THE EVILS OF TEA, p.118



1 An Indian barber. in Dundee, while shaving an Indian merchant, left off in the middle to attend to a European customer. The Indian community thereupon decided to boycott the barber.—foot notes. p. 197

…Congratulations to Sir George! It is thanks to such Anglo-Indians that Indians have tolerated British rule. [From Gujarati; Indian Opinion, 31-3-1906.]— 275. SIR GEORGE BIRDWOOD’S COURAGE AND THE MEANNESS OF A CLUB, p.256

…there is no unity among the Indians and that they will not succeed in securing their rights as long as it is not achieved. There are many factions amongst them. If the Commissioner wants any information about the whites, he can immediately find a white person to speak for all of them; but when the Commissioner desires to know anything about Indians, he has to invite half a dozen men of different communities. This is indeed unfortunate, if true. As we all come from the same country, we should forget that we belong to different communities. So long as we do not bear this in mind, we can never be rid of our hardships. [From Gujarati; Indian Opinion, 5-5-1906.]— 327. THE EXAMPLE OF MOMBASA, p. 303



…Mr. John Morley has not hitherto worked half-heartedly in anything he has taken up. His sympathies for the weaker party are well known…. No matter how sacred may be the independence of self-governing colonies, he is not without remedy against oppression by the stronger over the weaker party….[Indian Opinion, 6-1-1906.]— 190. THE OUTLOOK, p.175



… (1) we should as a rule publish all letters against us, for instance, those of Habib Motan and Haji Habib…[ From a photostat of the Gujarati original in Gandhiji’s hand: S. N. 4311.]— 212. LETTER TO CHHAGANLAL GANDHI, JOHANNESBURG, February 19, 1906, p.197



….A mass meeting can only give strength to a movement which is based on facts, (p. 143) but it never sifts and finds true facts. It is guided often by invective and appeals to passions. Mass meetings, therefore, become dangerous when they are called upon to deal with a situation which has not been ascertained…. [Indian Opinion, 31-3-1906].— 265. THE EARLY CLOSING ACT, pp.249



…Even a mother does not give without being asked. They will, if you ask them….

[From a photostat of the Gujarati original in Gandhiji’s hand: S.N. 4783.]— 210. LETTER TO CHHAGANLAL GANDHI, [JOHANNESBURG,], Sunday, February 18, 1906, p. 196


I have expressed appreciation of every religion and pointed out the distinctive merit of each.  There was not the least intention even in my dream of hurting anybody….[From the Gujarati in Gandhiji’s hand: Letter Book (1905): No. 950.]—60. Letter to Haji Habib. [Johannesburg] August 14, 1905. p.42

How marvellous, too, in this connection, is that ancient cult of Mithras in Persia, 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 practiced 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’. [An article appeared recently in the columns of The Christian World, a London religious weekly, over the signature of “J.B.”, [Indian Opinion, 26-8-1905].— 69. THE WORLD’S RELIGION, p.49


…If having taken such an oath we violate our pledge we are guilty before God and man. Personally I hold that a man, who deliberately and intelligently takes a pledge and then breaks it, forfeits his manhood….(p.420)

…It is possible that a majority of those present here might take the pledge in a fit of enthusiasm or indignation but might weaken under the ordeal, and only a handful might be left to face the final test. Even then there is only one course open to the like of me, to die but not to submit to the law. It is quite unlikely but even if every one else flinched leaving me alone to face the music, I am confident that I would never violate my pledge….[Indian Opinion, 15-9-1906.]— 441. THE MASS MEETING, pp.420-21

…What if a hundred or more lose their all and become paupers in serving the community or the country? The English honour only those who make such sacrifice. Their shining glory has spread just because great heroes have been and are still born among them. Such were Wat Tyler, John Hampden, John Bunyan and others. They laid the foundations of England’s political supremacy. Who they were and what they did we shall tell some other time.1 But we shall continue to be in our present abject condition till we follow their example. The Indian community has a good (p.462) opportunity today of proving its mettle. We hope that it will not let it slip, but will rush to the field, plunge in whole-heartedly and fight to the last. There was a time inIndiawhen the mother refused to look at the face of a son who returned vanquished from the battle-field. We pray to God that every Indian in the Transvaal will remember that time. [From Gujarati; Indian Opinion, 6-10-1906.]— 475. THE DUTY OF TRANSVAAL INDIANS , pp.462-63


….We have to be satisfied if, by putting ourselves out, others can be made happy or can benefit….[From a photostat of the original Gujarati: S.N. 4262]— 142. LETTER TO CHHAGANLAL GANDHI, [JOHANNESBURG,], November 6, 1905 p.126


Short coming

It is characteristic of human nature to discover in others the faults which are in oneself, and thus to feel complacent in the belief that (p.320) others share one’s defects. Men of discernment who are patriotic, and who are moved by the valour of others, should entertain good thoughts, should consider the merits and not the demerits of others, and should try to follow their example and persuade others to do likewise. [From Gujarati; Indian Opinion, 19-5-1906.]— 344. OUR SHORTCOMINGS, pp.320-21


…a man once bitten by a serpent dreads even a length of rope….[[From Gujarati; Indian Opinion, 7-4-1906.]— 285. POLITICAL TURMOIL IN NATAL, p.267



…Though co-operation and riches will always be of very great assistance, teaching is a department of work in which one teacher alone can be a host in himself. None need,  therefore, wait for others to take up the work. And there is no calling so sacred. As a Sanskrit verse says:

Kingship and learning are never equal:

A King is worshipped in his own kingdom,

But a learned man throughout the world.


Riches are spent by use; but learning is increased by its rich and plentiful.

[Indian Opinion, 23-12-1905.]— 178. THE HARVEST, p.164


…brings the aphorism vividly home to us. It is said that twenty thousand Mahomedans at Dacca, the capital of the new province partitioned from Bengal, assembled together and offered prayers of thanksgiving to the Almighty for the partition, and their consequent deliverance from Hindu oppression…. 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. (p.121)

But, if the rulers of India will 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.]— 139. DIVIDE AND RULE, pp.121-22

… We, also, hold that the Hindus, being the majority community, should act with greater humility…  .[From Gujarati]Indian Opinion, 23-12-1905.— 181. AGREEMENT BETWEEN HINDUS AND MUSLIMS, p.166



Every country depends a great deal on its young men and women. Old men with their set habits of thought cannot readjust their opinions as necessary. They cling to old ideas. Every community, however, has undoubtedly need of such men, for they help to contain the restless enthusiasm of youth within limits. While they have their uses, they have their disadvantages also, since they often hesitate to do things which needs must be done. This may be thought becoming in them; but it is (p.295) helpful to have good young men coming forward, for it is they alone who can venture to experiment. It is therefore as necessary for us to encourage these associations as to caution them against over-enthusiasm…. [From Gujarati; Indian Opinion, 28-4-1906.]— 315. APPEAL TO YOUNG INDIANS IN SOUTH AFRICA, pp. 295-96