These are thoughts of a person, who was at first a Non Co-Operator and then thought that Non Co-Operation is merely a Social Movement and the revolutionary is the true political movement and then again started to think that the path of non violence is correct.
“SEEKER AFTER TRUTH”
One who describes himself a seeker after truth sends me his own reflections arising out of my discussion of revolutionary views. He tells me that at first he was a non-co-operator, then, he began to think that non-co-operation was merely a social movement and that therevolutionary was the only true political movement. At Belgaum again, he began to think anew. I condense below his reflections without in any way whatsoever changing the sense or his language:
The Revolutionary is certainly patriotic. He is a Hero. He is prepared to give up his life in the cause of Motherland. But his very aim is wrong. What is it the Revolutionary wants? Freedom for the country. So far quite right. Why is the freedom required? So that the people may be happy. This also is right. How can the people be happy? By changing the system of Government.
Now here comes the real point.
Let us just consider our state. We Indians have ever so many virtues. But what of our weaknesses? We have become cowards. We have taken to several vices. Amongst the Hindus we have the untouchables. We till the ground and produce grains, vegetables and such things which could very easily feed us all. All the same, the fact remains that the major portion of us are half-starving. We all weave and work in mills. Still we are but half-clad. We have got enough clay. We know how to make bricks and build beautiful houses. Still there areseveral of us who have no other place than beneath trees to live. No doubt the foreigners are, to a very large extent, to blame for our difficulties. Wrong though it may be, that is our sincere opinion. But what of our own share of the responsibility? Are we not at all to blame? Or suppose that we, with the help of the revolvers or such things, do drive away the enemies? Is it not possible for any other foreigner to occupy the position of the present foreigner? After all warfare is but a sort of gambling.
I do not propose to deal with the utility or otherwise of non-violence, maintaining armies and such things. I consider myself absolutely incompetent to discuss this subject. Suffice it to say that I am beginning to understand Gandhiji’s views on this subject and his views appear to me to be right. The United States of America, it is generally said, have a very good Government. What of the several plots, the several murders, dacoities, swindlings, etc., that take place there? The Bolshevik system is considered to be good. Why then the daily increasing capital punishment, riots and such things? Any number of such examples can be given.
To dispose of Gandhiji's ideas as merely idealistic and impracticable is wrong; much more so for a revolutionary to do so. For he has really the welfare of the people at heart. It is not impossible to bring about a situation where the world will be an abode of happiness. The best thing, of course, is to do good to others. But at present you need not even go so far. Do good to your own self. Don’t you waste a good portion of your time? Don’t you send out crores of your rupees to other countries by purchasing their cotton goods? Spin and make good use of your time. Weave your own cloth and use the same and save your crores.
This spinning, I take it, does not merely mean spinning of cotton yarn. I take it to mean home industry. It is a solution as much for any other country as for India. Removal of untouchability, Hindu-Muslim unity and such things are internal. It is self-purification. Everyone has his own dirt to wash. The Hindus have the untouchability, the Indians, the Hindu-Muslim rupture. It is thus for every country to wash itself of its own curse. The revolutionary will thus see that he has more useful work in spreading this wonderful cure of the world-illness. He serves not only himself and his countrymen, but he serves the whole world.
When you have purified yourself, and when you have become selfsufficient how on earth can anyone levy tax or collect by any other means money from you without your co-operation? It is impossible to govern without the co-operation of the governed. Now we, the governed, are not pure, we are not self-sufficient. But we will soon become such. This is the real meaning of non-violent non-co-operation. Fear none but your conscience. Why do you hide and throw bombs on the foreigner? Come out and tell him boldly that we hold him to a large extent responsible for our weaknesses, fear not if he sends you to jail. Tell him also that you propose as much to change him as your own self. Thus you will be doing good both to your own self and to the person whom you now consider to be your enemy.
Young India, 30-4-1925
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