Mr. Stokes approves of non-co-operation, but dreads the consequences that may follow
complete success, i.e. evacuation of India by the British. He conjures up before
his mind a picture of India invaded by the Afghans from the North-West,
plundered by the Gurkhas from the Hills. For me I say with Cardinal Newman: 'I
do not ask to see the distant scene; one step enough for me.' The movement is
essentially religious. The business of every god-fearing man is to dissociate
himself from evil in total disregard of consequences. He must have faith in a
good deed producing only a good result: that, in my opinion, is the Gita
doctrine of work without attachment. God does not permit him to peep into the
future. He follows truth although the following of it may endanger his very
life. He knows that it is better to die in the way of God than to live in the
way of Satan. Therefore, whoever is satisfied that the Government represents the
activity of Satan has no choice left to him but to dissociate himself from it.
However, let us consider the worst that can happen to India on a sudden evacuation of India by the British. What does it matter that the Gurkhas and the Pathans attack us? Surely we would be better able to deal with their violence than we are with the continued violence, moral and physical, perpetrated by the present Government. Mr. Stokes does not seem to eschew the use of physical force. Surely the combined labour of the Rajput, the Sikh and the Mussalman warriors in a united India may be trusted to deal with plunderers from any or all the sides. Imagine, however, the worst: Japan overwhelming us from the Bay of Bengal, the Gurkhas from the Hills, and the Pathans from the North-West. If we do not succeed in driving them out, we make terms with them, and drive them out at the first opportunity. This will be a more manly course than a helpless submission to an admittedly wrongful state.
But I refuse to contemplate the dismal outlook. If the movement succeeds through non-violent non-co-operation — and that is the supposition Mr. Stokes has started with — the English, whether they remain or retire, will do so as friends and under a well-ordered agreement as between partners. I still believe in the goodness of human nature, whether it is English or any other. I therefore do not believe that the English will leave in ' a night.
And do I consider the Gurkha and the Afghan being incorrigible thieves and robbers without ability to respond to purifying influences? I do not. If India returns to her spirituality; it will react upon the neighbouring tribes; she will interest herself in the welfare of these hardy but poor people, and even support them, if necessary, not out of fear but as a matter of neighbourly duty. She will have dealt with Japan simultaneously with the British. Japan will not want to invade India, if India has learnt to consider it a sin to use a single foreign article that she can manufacture within her own borders. She produces enough to eat, and her men and women can, without difficulty, manufacture enough cloth to cover their nakedness and protect themselves from heat and cold. We become prey to invasion, if we excite the greed of foreign nations by ealing with them under a feeling of dependence on them. We must learn to be independent of every one of them.
Young India, 29-12-1920