Let no one labour under the delusion that this is an exaggerated picture; if there is anyone who has such fear, I shall be only too happy to be able to explain the thing to him in all humility. If I am being in the least unfair to the British, I am ready to be convinced of my mistake and, on being convinced, I shall consider it my religious duty to apologize to them.
I would apply to any Indian Prince the standard I apply to the British Government. Actually, I apply, a much stricter standard to Indian Princes. Judging it even by the lightest standard, I find British rule repugnant to me. All my admiration for this rule has vanished.
I have the utmost respect for the courage of the British. Their team spirit and organizing power are wonderful. Their literature has much that is admirable. Reading their Bible, I feel myself in bliss. However, their selfishness overshadows their fine qualities.Their activities have done nothing but harm to India. These policies have ruined and emasculated the country. I am convinced that never under Moghul rule, or at any other time, were the people so thoroughly emasculated as they are today. This is no accidental result that has been deliberately brought about, and so I look upon this rule as Ravanarajya. The Government we dream of, I describe as Ramarajya. Swaraj alone can be such Ramarajya.
How may we establish it?
In former times, the subjects did tapascharya when they were oppressed. They believed that it was because of their sins that they got a wicked king and so they tried to purify themselves. The first step in this was to recognize a monster as such and avoid him, to non-co-operate with him. Even non-co-operation requires courage.To cultivate it, one needs to give up comforts and pleasures. To receive education provided by a wicked Government, to accept honours at its hands, to seek settlement of one’s disputes through its agency, to help it in framing laws, to provide it with policemen, to wear cloth produced by it—to do this while desiring that it should perish is like trying to cut off the branch on which one is sitting. This is nothing but sin. Nor, in this way, shall we succeed in destroying the government.
How, then, should we celebrate Diwali?
1. If your children are attending Government schools,we should withdraw them from such schools.
2. We should start other schools in their place.
3. We should settle our disputes privately through panchas.
4. If we are lawyers, we should give up practice.
5. We should resolve, if we are voters, and persuade others, not to vote for any candidate. If anyone from our own locality stands as a candidate, we should send him a “card” requesting him to withdraw his candidature.
6. We should introduce the sacred spinning-wheel in our homes.
7. We should get hand-spun yarn woven into cloth and wear such cloth, bearing the additional burden for the sake of the country. All these things need money, of course. We should, therefore, donate what we can and collect contribution from others. If the people listen to me, I would advise them to do nothing during the
Diwali but engage themselves in work for swaraj.
This, at any rate, we should not do during Diwali :
1. Treat ourselves to pleasures,
3. prepare all manner of sweet dishes and
4. enjoy ourselves with fire-works.
The money saving by renouncing these things, we should donate for swaraj work. This is the duty dictated by these difficult times. When we have the Government of our dream, we may enjoy some innocent pleasures. At present, however, the people are in mourning, they are widowed. At such a time, they can have no celebrations.