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Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi-Vol 012

Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi-Vol 012

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Published by tij15
This are the volumes form the revised - erroneous - version of the CWMG as published on the CD-Rom "Mahatma Gandhi - Interactive Multimedia - Electronic Book" in 1999. Page and volume nos. are not identical with the original print version of the 1960's-1990's. The content of this CWMG version is to be credited as "The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book), New Delhi, Publications Division Government of India, 1999, 98 volumes"
Vol 012- July 15, 1911 - March 8, 1913
This are the volumes form the revised - erroneous - version of the CWMG as published on the CD-Rom "Mahatma Gandhi - Interactive Multimedia - Electronic Book" in 1999. Page and volume nos. are not identical with the original print version of the 1960's-1990's. The content of this CWMG version is to be credited as "The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book), New Delhi, Publications Division Government of India, 1999, 98 volumes"
Vol 012- July 15, 1911 - March 8, 1913

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Published by: tij15 on Mar 08, 2011
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05/13/2011

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VOL. 12: 15 JULY, 1911 - 8 MARCH, 1913
1
1. TO
 
THE COLONIAL-BORN 
 
INDIAN 
Those of our Colonial-born friends who have not read thespecial contribution
1
to this journal on the Native IndustriesExhibition in Durban, and [
sic
] published last week, we trust, willhasten to read it and ponder over it. It is written by one who is himself an idealist and who knows thoroughly what he is writing about. He is,moreover, a friend and fellow-worker in the Indian cause. Ourcontributor’s remarks are therefore worthy of careful considerationby every Indian whose life-mould has not yet been cast or, if it isalready cast, does not give real satisfaction. Our future in South Africadepends largely upon the conduct of those who are born in thiscountry and to whom India is merely a geographical expression.We associate ourselves with the remarks of our contributor that“lolling on stools in lawyers’ offices” is no “
useful
ambition”. Amoment’s thought ought to convince our friends that a nation cannotbe built out of clerks or even merchants.“Back to the land” isGeneral Botha’s advice even to the Europeans who, after all, do followmany useful occupations. The world lives on its farmers and thosewho are indispensable to farmers, e.g., carpenters, shoemakers, black-smiths, masons, bricklayers, tailors, barbers, etc. It is a sad fact thatvery few Colonial
born Indians are found willing enough to learn ortake up these truly noble (because useful) professions. We all liveupon the great industry of the Natives and Indians engaged in usefuloccupations in this country. In this sense they are more civilized thanany of us, not excluding European non-producers, inhabiting thiscontinent. Every speculator may leave the country; every lawyer mayshut down his office, every merchant may wind up his business; andyet we should live comfortably on this land endowed by nature with abeneficent climate. But if the great Native races were to stop work fora week, we should probably be starving. It must, then, be a privilegefor us to be able to copy their productive industry and their ability asmatters of useful handicraft. We assure our friends that, even if all the
1
The witer had praised the Natives’ industry, manual skill and intelligencewhich were in the evidence at the exhibition. He felt that Colonial-born Indians hadno desire to be useful, that education would merely serve to produce clerks amongthem and that practical training in agriculture or a useful trade was the best way toequip them for public service as well as for life.
Indian Opinion
, 8-7-1911.
 
2
THE COLLECTED WORKS OF MAHATMA GANDHI
galling disabilities which we labour under in South Africa were to beremoved at a stroke the pen, our condition would in no wise besatisfactory until our Colonial-born friends direct their undoubtedability and energy in the channels pointed out in the contribution wehave drawn attention to.
Indian Opinion
, 15-7-1911
2. INDIA
S SORRY PLIGHT 
The news that we have had of a complete settlement issatisfying. A campaign which called forth such sacrifices couldhave had only one result. [Yet] reflecting over the outcome, oneis moved to sorrow at our unfortunate state here. Things are sobad that it would seem an edifice had rotted and lay about inruins. If you still see a vestige of form[about it], it is then due toits solid foundations. People have been enfeebled in body andmind, and economically. Extreme poverty prevails all around.There is a [Gujarati] saying about the idle barber who keepshimself busy shaving wooden seats; likewise you must have alsoheard the one about “the weak husband who is brave with hiswife”. Sin is the fruit of the tree of poverty. The economicsitua-tion has greatly deteriorated. People ask in despair howthey can make a living. Here you will [of course] say thatagriculture is the best of all. But that is for men who are patientand of a steady temperament. People are in an abject statebecause of wranglings over affairs of caste, and unhealthyrivalry in regard to commu-nal dinners and social customs;[people’s] tendency to be satis-fied with the earnings of a fewhours’ work, say four, six, eight or ten hours; and to waste therest; such misguided contentment, the terror of the plague, etc.Education, which is believed to be a means for promotinghappiness has become instrumental in bringing about the worststate of misery. The strain of learning leaves one a physicalwreck. The methods of learning are such that they wholly wearone out in body, in mind, and financially. Add to this theburden of [keeping up] status in society. By the time a man ismature and knowing and tries to hold his head high, he isweighed down with the responsibilities of family.We find these reflections in a letter by a certain experienced andeducated Indian of South Africa to another. The correspondent has
 
VOL. 12: 15 JULY, 1911 - 8 MARCH, 1913
3given a faithful and vivid picture of conditions in India. We thought itnecessary to cite these views and comment on them for the benefit of readers. A patriot’s first duty is to know the state of his country.Having done so, his next duty is to search for a remedy. This done, histhird duty is to give effect to the remedy. The state of the country is asset forth above. One cannot question that description. Once theremedy is know, it is up to the readers to put it into practice. Ourfunction is to help them to discover the remedy.In the very process of setting forth the country’s sorry plight,the correspondent mentioned some of the reasons. Let us considerthem further. Starvation is not a cause of misery. It is itself misery.The contentment men find in service is not a cause of degradation; itis degradation in itself. Wranglings over affairs of caste, hypocrisy,unhealthy rivalries, the terror of the plaguethese are not causes of afallen state; they constitute that state. [In fact] there is a single causefor all these. We
have forsaken our duty
. We have forgotten God andwe worship Satan. A man’s duty is to worship God. Telling one’sbeads is no symbol of that worship; neither is going to mosque ortemple., nor saying the
namaz
1
or the
gayatri
2
. These things are allright as far as they go. It is necessary to do the one or the otheraccording to one’s religion. But by themselves they are no indicationof one’s being devoted to god in worship. He alone truly adores godwho finds his happiness in the happiness of others, speaks evil of none, does not waste his time in the pursuit of riches, does nothingimmoral, who acquits himself with others as with a friend, does notfear the plague or any human being. Such a one will not, for fear of his caste, give communal dinners; if he is young, he will not, for fearof his men of his caste, marry before he is old enough or until he feelsthe need for it, and, if a father, he will not, for fear of men of his caste,ruin his son’s and daughter’s future. Such a one will not pause, indeciding on any course of action, to think of what any individual orcommunity would think of it. He will only ask himself: ‘What willGod within me say of this deed of mine?’ The upshot of all this is thatall of us, whether Hindus, Muslims, Parsis or Christians, have forsakenour true religion. If this view is right, what we need is not remediesagainst the plague or revolt against the British rule; neither bigassociations with theirostentatious ways of doing things, nor societies
1
The Islamic prayer
2
The Rigvedic hymn to the Sun God

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