Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

THE HON. RAJA SIR RAMPAL SINGH.

ROM sometime past a movement towards nationalism has been gaining strength in this country and the best and enlightened minds amongst our community have rightly adopted the so-called non-sectarian attitude of being Indian first and Hindu, Mahomedan or anything else afterwards. No body can cavil at the high standard of patriotism that vibrates through their hearts. But there is still a higher patriotism towards which humanity is now moving and it is nothing more, nothing less, than what the Hindu Rishis of old, of revered memory preached and practised. Nationalism seems to be a spent force and the future of the world lies in internationalism. The ancient Hindu ideal of the oneness of man was a far wiser one in comparison with the narrow exclusive and one-sided nationalism of the west which can never be truly serviceable to humanity. All that the world needs is justice and no undue advantages and gains obtained artificially by force of circumstances to serve some special purpose temporarily can keep the equilibrium even and are sure to prove injurious in the long run. It is un-Hindu to assail the rights and privileges of others and I therefore humbly pray my nationalist Hindu brethren to co-operate and help us in our activities to safeguard our legitimate rights and privileges.* If that is not so the word 'Hindu' before the Sabha may better be expunged because by its long usage it connotes a community whose very religion is an embodiment of tolerance, catholicity and spiritualism as opposed to fanaticism, bigotry and materialism.* We have lost sight of the high ideals which use to pulsate and animate the hearts of our forefathers. The chief cause is that we are disorganized and disunited. It is for the Hindu Sabha to organize and unite the scattered atoms of our community and to devise means for the amelioration of the

*

whole so that we might rise again to the same pinnacle of glory and civilization which our forefathers had attained. The majority of our community reside in villages sunk in the lowest depths of misery and ignorance. There is absolutely no provisions for the ministration of the spiritual and religious requirements of the people and the result is that their religious ideas are fast drifting into something vague and meaningless. The less said about the depressed classes the better. Our system of charity has degenerated and is producing a demoralizing effect on a vast mass of population; our charitable endowments are misused and are neither applied nor serve the purpose for which they were made; the majority of our temples and monasteries are not now the places for the uplift of the spiritual side of our being, but contrary to that, they often debase and produce à pernicious effect on the minds of the people; our Sadhus and so-called Mahatmas have become mere mendicants and instead of invigorating the moral side of human souls, are pests to the country. The study of our sacred and secular languages-I mean Sanskrit and Hindi-is being neglected and Dava Nagri script has not yet been adopted by the country and in this way we are laying an axe at the very root of solidarity and cohesion which we so much aim at in our community. Painful is the story to tell of the unfortunate and unwholesome changes in most of the social, political and religious Hindu institutions that were meant for the uplift of the people but are now serving the reverse purpose. 1 appeal to the Hindu Sabha, I peal to my Hindu brethren to take all these matters in hand and bring about such improvements in them as to make them worthy of the Hindu name. 1 desire to sound a warning. We are demanding self-determination in all that concerns us politically, the same determination should be allowed to the people in social matters and if the Hindu Sabha will act otherwise, it shall fail in its object I am sure.-Presidential Address to the Hindu Conference.]

ap

BY MRS. SAROJINI NAIDU

HAVE known some of the finest minds and spirits in Europe to offer the insult of philanthropy which they call social service to suffering humanity. To offer relief to the poor in the spirit of philanthropy is to offer them that insult which is worse than death, for the rich have their riches, the beautiful have their beauty, the poets have their genius but the poor have only their pride. In offering social service do it in a spirit of humility which alone can make that service acceptable to the dying, the suffering and which alone makes the poor accept from your hands the cup of water which generates them to life. Friends, this is one point on which I wish to lay special stress. I, in the course of my life, have often been obliged to work with those who finding that the channel of service was open have worked indeed, have served indeed and I ventured to be their comrade in that scene because I felt that charity was there, though love there had become a mechanical duty instead of being a spontaneous feeling that it should be. Some years ago when in a night the river floods came to my beautiful city of Hyderabad in Deccan, not in Sindh (laughter), thousands upon thousands were swept away, homes were destroyed. Then I recognized with shame within myself that though death was upon them, service was upon them, the poor men stood side by side refusing help from the rich but sharing in one another's poverty. They refused with scorn the help that they gave to them, that kind of social service offered to them by those who felt that the suffering of those men and women was because that they had no clothes upon their backs, no bread, to eat. They offered a loaf of bread, a change of clothes but no man, no woman said to any one Come and share with me to-day the bread that I eat, the cloth that I wear." They said "Take this money, take this food, give me your name,

"

[ocr errors]

where do you live?" No one said "My sister, my daughter what matters this dirt and what matters this filth I am here to help you." No body said that.

GIVE OUT OF YOUR ABUNDANCE.

It was organised philanthropy by men and women who gave out of their abundance. Now that phrase brings me to a beautiful phrase in the letter written by our great national poet, Sir Rabindranath Tagore (Cheers). He said in his etter, that was read just now, that we must learn to give out of our abundance. Now this seems as a contradiction to what I said. But what I mean is this: "Give out of your abundance, not of that superfluous abundance of your material wealth, not the superfluous leisure of your idle time, not the superfluous sympathy that you can spare, because you have no need to use it for self gain and self-interest, but of that abundance within yourself which is love itself." That is the abundance of which Sir Rabindranath Tagore has spoken.

SPIRIT OF DEDICATION,

Let me say to you that if you form social organisations over the whole of the country, for working for the relief of the suffering, the destitute, let it be in a spirit of dedication of that abundance, that

abundance, for without that vital love within you, your work is not worth anything........ What we need to-day is the recognition that no national life is possible in our midst until every class of suffering has reached some kind of help. Indeed I would say the primary part of our programme should be a dedication to the uplifting of the masses. I do not mean masses in the sense in which the word is used, but liberally it means within our land millions upon millions. of men and women are hungry for work. Millions of would not care so much merely for the hunger of

46

THE INDIAN REVIEW

the body, I would not care so much for the ignorance only of the mind; I would not care SO much for their sufferings, where only suffering is measured by material needs, but the tragedy of our national life lies in this that the principle of self-respect has been denied to our people and the most tragic part of the whole thing is that they are not even conscious of that. Friends, the basis of our social service must be this that apart from those that take food to the famine stricken or the missionary that takes books of Algebra, and Arithmetic to the masses, for those are after all secondary needs, I want missionaries that would go from door to door taking the torch and saying to every one "Here from this torch of self-respect light that little hut in which you live, that hut, that dirty, that filthy airless hut that is your prison."

SOCIAL SERVICE-A PART OF LIFE.

In whatever way, in whatever channel in whatever opportunity it gives you to carry the torch to the dark houses, those prisons in which

[ JANUARY 1919

the poor and the suffering dwell, take that torch with you; do not take charity but love. Do not take your idleness but out of the abundance of the crowded hours in which you cannot spare a single moment create moments, create leisure. It is greater than filling your names on the pages of history. How will a school-master, you ask, serve humanity at 4 o'clock if time has passed ahead? How will a statesman after sitting in the council weary and tired serve his fellow men? How can all these people do social service? I say to you that social service is not a thing separate from your life. It is not like a council where men gather, it is not the mosque where many go on Fridays to pray and not the temple where they gather at the proper time. Social service is that which is always with you, when the opportunities are there, when the will is there, and every moment of your life; for like religion it is that which is within you and not that which is outside you. It is a part of your daily life, it is the enthusiastic dedication of yourself to the service of humanity which alone makes you a man.

THE LANGUAGE PROBLEM IN INDIA

BY DEWAN BAHADUR V. P. MADHAVA RAO, C.I.E.

नौ

MONG the principal issues that confront us, the first is the question whether the Urdu. speaking Mahomedans who number about a seventh or a sixth of the population will agree to the adoption of Hindi as a common language or at least of Nagari as a common script out of regard for the wishes of the majority. If they do not, the curse of dividedness will continue to rest on our country. And if we recognise and perpetuate two languages and two scripts, we should not have derived the full benefits of the great work of unification, effected so far through the medium of the English tongue. Next, among the non-Mahomedans, under which head we may

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Hindi, has to learn this language in addition to their mother tongue, which in many instances is a Dravidian language, and also learn the local vernacular which may not be their mother tongue. Most of such people being keen businessmen cannot think of devoting their precious time to learning a new language merely for the pleasure of exchanging thoughts with the Indians of the North on some rare occasions. This, however, is a point on which none but a Mahomedan gentleman of wide knowledge could speak with authority. It would have been of immense help to this great cause, had our esteemed fellowcountry man Mr. Syed Hassan Imam found it possible to accede to your request and had presided on this occasion. His contribution to the solution of this practical difficulty would have been of the highest value.

Will the groups speaking languages other than Hindi, who when combined, would constitute a majority, numbering about 200 millions submit to the linguistic predominance of the Hindi speaking minority who are about a third of the entire population? The majority will have to undergo the trouble of learning Hindi in addition to their local vernacular while the minority will have no such trouble. The situation when viewed a little more closely will better reveal the magnitude of the difficulties to be overcome. At present there are about 220 mother tongues against fifteen or sixteen provincial vernaculars, and as such most men have to learn

[blocks in formation]

has been thought to involve too great a strain, Could we reasonably propose to add two or three more? At a time when India has to equip herself for the struggle to attain nationhood and when she has to keep in line with the most advanced nations, can her youth afford to waste in picking up half a dozen languages, the time required to get correct ideas regarding the world round them and store their minds with knowledge necessary for success in life or maintaining themselves in the world?

It may be suggested as is sometimes done that people should be compelled to adopt a common language by legislation but this can never succeed. Again the State may in shaping its policy in regard to public instruction discourage the use of some language or languages. But if a language happens to be one's mother tongue aud has some cultural value, people will not really abandon it. Even dead languages they would not give up if they are their classical languages.

It should also not be lost sight of, under modern conditions that no people can make any appreciable progress by means of a single language. In every other enlightened country other tongues than the local vernaculars and many foreign tongues also are systematically taught. The idea of adopting a single language for all purposes is too antiquated to deserve serious consideration. It appears to me, therefore, that we ought to approach the subject from a different standpoint. Efforts should be made in the direction of the natural processes and tendencies which determine the survival of languages in their struggle for existence. First let people learn such languages as have a value for them in practical life relinquishing those that are of themselves loosing ground. Next let special encouragement be given to the study of those popular languages which would bring men nearer the goal of unification.-[From the Presidential Address to the All-India Common Language Conference.]

BY

THE REV. ALLEN F. GARDINER.

HE example of Germany and her fellow-conspirators stands as a warning to all who claim to be patriotic to examine their patrio

tism very closely. Corporate selfishness is not patriotism; the aggressive ambition of a nation is not patriotism: lust of power is not patriotism: True patriotism is defined in the ideas current to day throughout civilised humanity, of which f am speaking now, and all "patriotism" must be measured by that standard.

The ideas are pure and noble in themselves, and it is at first sight a strange fact that attempts to realise them are so often just the reverse. This is a paradox which demands investigation. Why is it that those who loudly profess to be dominated by such ideas, who blazon their cause with all sorts of high-sounding titles, resort to the vilest practices in their methods? A noble idea is born; watch its development in society. The idea is dragged into mire and squalor; the policy of those who profess to maintain it is stained with malice, spite, and hatred; with wilful misreprentation, vituperation, and recrimination; with detraction, calumny, and lies; the vilest passions of humanity are exhibited by its professed supporters and evoked in their adherents. Why is it that we who watch the future of a noble ideal do so with the utmost anxiety? Why is it that so many leaders in a noble movement retire so soon, shouted down, disillusioned, exiled?

Ideas that are noble in the abstract appeal to the inherent goodness in man, but too often that appeal is forgotten when the realisation of these ideas is attempted. If liberty is advocated, all the lovers of license flock to its standard. If patriotism is the call, all the workers of revolution and disorder rally to it, and in the movement which began so favourably the worst ele

ments in the community soon take the lead by pandering to the lowest appetites in their followmen-to pride, greed, selfishness, and base ambition. And how easy it is to succumb to the fatal fascination of the false! Meanwhile the best and noblest spirits, who had formed the vanguard of the movement, drop silently out of the ranks since they fearlessly refuse to flatter friends and to vilify their political opponents, to claim a monopoly of wisdom for themselves and to ascribe every kind of injustice and deceit to those who honestly disagree with them. Many a beneficent and patriotic movement which had been full of promise at the start has been swamped in its course by petty jealousy, petty ambition, and petty revenge, and instead of concord and prosperity discord and disaster have been the result. I have asked you as students to consider the noble ideas with which the spirit of the age is inspired. I ask you in conclusion to consider three things which are essential and and necessary for their realisation.

The first is a high level of secondary education, and the second a wide diffusion of elementary education throughout the land. This is constuctive work which claims the first attention of every patriot. If I make no further allusion to this now, it is not because I under-estimate its importance, but because its supreme importance, as far as at any rate you can appreciate it, must be self-evident to such an audience as this.

The third essential requisite is, however, the most vital of all, though it is the one that is most frequently overlooked and ignored. Such ideas and ideals as we are considering can only be built up into realization on the foundation of personal virtue and individual merits.-(From Presidential address at the Madras Students, Convention).

« AnkstesnisTęsti »