Swarajya

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Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856-1920) was a freedom fighter whose famous call "Swaraj is my birthright" inspired generations of Indians. He was popularly known as Lokmanya Tilak, as shown (in Devanagiri) in the attached postage stamp, which was released in 1956.

Editor's note: This article originally appeared in BAL GANGADHAR TILAK: HIS WRITINGS AND SPEECHES,  Appreciation by BABU AUROBINDO GHOSE, Third Edition, Ganesh & Co., Madras, 1922. The entire book is attached as three pdf files.

The full speech by Tilak at Ahmednagar on 31 May, 1916 is reproduced below. The editor has broken the speech into many more paragraphs than appear in the original text.

Gentlemen,-Before saying a few words to you it is my first duty to thank you very much. It is my first duty to thank you for the honour you have done me and for the address you have presented to me. Whatever the motive with which you have conferred the honour upon me may be, the few words, which I have now to tell you, relate to my own work. Perhaps this may appear strange to you. You have called me here and I make a statement about my own work before you, that would be a soil of impropriety. Even if you should think that Mr. Tilak came here and talked to people of his own things I say I do not hesitate at all since what I have to tell you is of as great an advantage to you as it is to me. Controversies and discussions about the state of our country have taken place in various ways and at various places.

What is beneficial to the people in general? Many things are beneficial. Religion, which relates to the other world, is beneficial. Similarly morality too beneficial. Provision for one's maintenance is beneficial. Our trade should expand, the population should increase, there should be plenty and that plenty should safely fall into our hands-all these things are desired by men.

But it is not possible to discuss all these things in the short time allowed to me. I will, therefore, say a few words to you about such of the above things as are important and are considered important by thousands of people and about a subject which is now discussed on all sides. This subject is Swarajya (Cheers). What concerns our homes we do with authority in our homes. If I desire to do such and such a thing, if it be merely a private one, I have not to ask anyone about it nor to take anybody's permission nor is it necessary to consult anyone else.

That is not the case in public matters to-day. As is our own good, just so is the good of all people. If we turn to consider how people would begin to live well and how they would attain a condition of progressive improvement, we shall see that, we are handicapped in con­sequence of want of authority in our hands. If a railway is to be constructed ,from one place to another, that is not under our control. As for trade, I might talk much about giving encouragement to such and such an industry but it is not wholly in our power to acquire knowledge of that industry at the place where it is carried on, to lessen the trade of those people in this country, and increase our own trade. Wherever we turn it is the same state that we see. We cannot stop the sale of liquor.

There are also some things which are not wanted by us or by our Government, but the course of the general administration is such that it is not in power to make any change,-the slightest change,- in it. We have till now made many complaints and Government have heard them; but what is the root of all the complaints? What things come in the way of improving our condition as we desire and what is our difficulty?--this has been considered for about 50 years past, and many wise people have, after due consideration discovered one cause and that is that our people have no authority in their hands.

In public matters, different people have different opinions. Some say, 'Do you not possess authority? Do not drink liquor, and all is done.' The advice is sweet indeed, but stopping all the people from drinking liquor cannot be done by mere advice. This requires some authority. He who has not got that authority in his hands cannot do that work. And if it had been possible to do the work by mere advice, then we would not have wanted a king.

Government has come into existence for giving effect to the things desired by a large number of people. And as that Government is not in our hands, if anything is desired by thousands of you but not by those who control the administration, that can never be accomplished. I had come here on a former occasion. What about the famine administration of the time? When Government came to know that the weavers sustained great loss during famine no doubt some steps were taken about it.

We have lost our trade. We have become mere commission agents. The busi­ness of commission agency used to be carried on formerly; it is not that commission agency did not exist before, nor that it does not exist now. The differ­ence is that while at that time you were the com­mission agents of our trade, you have now become the commission agents of the businessmen of England. You buy cotton here, and send it to England and when the cloth made from it in England, arrives, you buy it on commission and sell it to us. The business of commission agency has remained, but what has happened in it is that the profit which this country derived from it, is lost to us and goes to the English. The men and the  business are the same. Owing to a change in the ruling power, we cannot do certain things.

Such has become the condition that certain things as would be beneficial to the country cannot be carried out. At  first we thought that even though the administration was 'alien' it could be prevailed upon to hear. Since the English administration is as a matter of fact 'alien,' and there is no sedition in calling it so, there would be no sedition whatever nor any other offence in calling alien those things which are alien.

What is the result of alienness. The difference between aliens and us is that the aliens' point of view is alien, their thoughts are alien, and their general conduct is such that their minds are not inclined to particularly benefit those people to whom they are aliens. The Muhammedan kings who ruled here at Ahmednagar (I don't call Muhammedans aliens) came to and lived in this country and at least desired that local industries should thrive. The religion may be different. The children of him who wishes to live in India, also wish to live in India. Let them remain. Those are not aliens who desire to do good to those children, to that man, and other inhabitants of India.

By alien I do not mean alien in religion. He who does what is beneficial to the people of this country, be he a Muhammedan or an Englishman, is not alien. Alienness has to do with interest. Alienness is certainly not concerned with white or black skin. Alienness is not concerned with religion. Alienness is not concerned with trade or profession. I do not consider him an alien who wishes to make an arrangement whereby that country in which he has to live, his children have to live and his future generations have to live, may see good days and be benefited. He may not perhaps go with me to the same temple to pray to God, perhaps there may be no intermarriage and interdining between him and me.

All these are minor questions. But, if a man is exerting himself for the good of India, and takes measures in that direction. I do not consider him an alien. If anybody has charged this administration with being alien, he has done so in the above sense. At first I thought that there was nothing particular in this. The Peshwa's rule passed away and the Muhammedan rule passed away. The country came into the possession of the English. The king's duty is to do all those things whereby the nation may become eminent, be benefited, rise and become the equal of other nations. That king who does this duty is not alien. He is to be considered alien, who does not do this duty, but looks only to his own benefit, to the benefit of his own race, and to the benefit of his original country

At first, hundreds of questions arose. Agricultural assessment increa­sed, the Forest Department was organised in a particular manner, the Abkari Department was organised in a particular manner, -about all these things we have been constantly complaining to the Government for the past 20 or 25 years. But no arrangements about the different departments, the different professions, the different trades and the different industries, were made to accord.

This is the chief question of the past 50 years. While look­ing out for a cause we at first believed that when we informed the administration of it, it would at once proceed to do as we desire. The Administration is alien. It does not know the facts. When 5 or 10 of our prominent men assemble and represent, the administration will understand. It being alien it cannot otherwise understand. As soon as it is informed of facts it is so generous minded and wise that it will listen to what you have to say and redress the grievances.

Such was our belief. But the policy of the Bureaucracy during the last 50 years has removed this belief. However much you may clamour, however much you may agitate, whatever the number of grounds you may show, its sight is so affected as not to see the figures drawn from its own reports and set before it. Its own arguments and its own grounds do not meet with its own approval. If we urge any further it sticks only to what may be adverse to our statement.

Some may say there is nothing to wonder at in this. Whoever were your rulers those kingdoms have been broken up and now the rule of the English has been established. Of course those people do just what is beneficial to them. Why then do you complain about them? This is sure to happen. Such is the opinion of several people. ‘Your outcry only causes pain to the Government and in a manner disturbs its mind. So do not raise this outcry. Accept quietly what it may give. Accept gladly, what little it may give and thank it.' Such is the opinion of several others.

I do not approve of this opinion. My opinion is that whatever be the Government whether British or any other, it has, as Government, a sort of duty to perform. Government has a sort of religious duty to perform; a sort of responsibility lies on its shoulders. I say that when a Government evades this responsibility it is no Government at all. Government possesses authority. All the power possessed by Government may be acquired by it by fighting or may be conferred upon it by the people.  ...  Even if it is acquired by conquest still Government has a duty to perform. As we have a duty, so those who are called Government have also a duty. They must do certain things.

The Government has already admitted certain duties. Does not Government do such works as constructing roads, establishing post offices and Telegraphs? It does. If to-morrow someone were to say ‘If Government does not construct roads, it is its pleasure. It may construct them if it likes, but
not, if it does not like,' then all of you who are assembled here would find fault with him saying, ‘If these things are not to be done by Government, why do we pay taxes? If the Government will not utilise for the people's conveniences taxes levied from us, it has no authority to take any taxes whatever from us. Government take these for our benefit.'

When persons argue that the Government is good, what do they point to? The question is always asked, This our Government has constructed roads, made railways, established telegraphs and post offices-are not these conveniences made for you? Why do you then raise an outcry against Government? ' I do not say that these things have not been done, but that those that have been done are not sufficient. These things have been done, done well and have been done better by the British Government than they would have been done by the former Government - this is an honour to them.

But should we not ask it to do those things which it does not do? That is not a real Government which considers itself insulted when told of those things which have not been done and a desire to do which is not apparent, which does not direct its attention  to them though urged in many ways, and which thinks that we should not urge things to it.

What then is meant by a real Government? This must be considered a little. There is a vast difference between the present system and the old system. At present an effort is being made to create a sort of erroneous conception. Neither the Collector nor the Civilians arriving here who are called the bureaucracy in English, are Government. A police sepoy is not Government. It does not constitute any sedition whatever to say, ‘Do something if it can be done, while maintaining the British rule which is over our country, without harm being done to that rule and without weakening it.'

We want the rule of the English which is over us. But we do not want these intervening middlemen. The grain belongs to the master, the provisions belong to the master. But only remove the intervening middlemen's aching belly, and confer these powers upon the people so that they may duly look to their domestic affairs.

We ask for swarajya of this kind. This swarajya does not mean that the English Government should be removed, the Emperor's rule should be removed and the rule of some one of our Native States should be established in its place. The meaning of swarajya is that explained by Mr. Khaparde at Belgaum, viz., we want to remove the priests of the deity. The deities are to be retained. These priests are not wanted. We say, appoint other priests from amongst us. These intervening Collectors, Commissioners,  and other people are not wanted, who at present exercise rule over us.

The Emperor does not come and exercise it. He is in England. If facts were communicated to him, he would wish that good should be done to you. Is good done to us? We do not want these priests (cheers).

These people are clever. We say that no priest is wanted. They say, 'We have passed examinations. We do much.' That is all true. But their attention is directed more to the remuneration belonging to the priest. Hence this priestly office should remain in our hands. The position of the Badwas of Pandharpur and these people is the same (cheers).

Will there be any loss to the Emperor if the said priestly office does not remain in the hands of the bureaucracy who are endeavouring to retain? There will be none. Some may say that the English people belong to the Emperor's race. We have become the Emperor's subjects. He does not make any difference between the English subjects and the black subjects. He does not wish to make it.

The meaning of the word swarajya is Municipal Local Self-Government. But even that is a farce. It is not sufficient. When an order comes from the Collector, you have to obey it. He (Collector) has power to call the President and tell him to do such and such a thing. If the President does not do it, the Collector has power to remove him. Then where is swarajya? (cheers).

The meaning of swarajya as stated above is retention of our. Emperor and the rule of the English people, and the full possession by the people of the authority to manage the remaining affairs. This is the definition of swarajya. What we ask for is not that the authority of the English should be lessened, nor that the English Government should go away and the German Government should come in its place. On the contrary, the present war has proved and the whole world has seen that it is not our wish that the German Government should come here. Nay, in order that the rule of this Government should remain here permanently, thousands of our people are to-day sacrificing their lives in the most distant and cold climes (hear, hear, cheers).

If in order that this rule may remain and that this rule should not go away and the rule of the German people should not come in its place, we pay money-be it accord­ing to our means-though we are not as wealthy as the English. What then is left of the charge ....

According to our ability, our fighting men are going there and sacrificing their lives and in this way exerting themselves. France, Germany and other nations are commending and applauding them (cheers, hear, hear). By shedding our blood we have proved our desire that our loyalty to the English Government should be of this intense kind (hear, hear, and cheers). I do not think that any man can adduce stronger evidence than this in his favour. Thus today it is an undoubted fact that we want here the rule of the English alone and accordingly we are exerting ourselves.

When such is the state of things, why should not these intervening people who have been appointed be removed and why should we not get the rights possessed by the people in other places within the British Empire? We are not inferior to them in point of bravery and education, we possess ability. Such being the case, why should we not get the rights? Why should the Emperor make a distinction between his black and white subjects? Who has given such advice to the Emperor? The peculiar feature of this British constitution is that the Emperor acts on the advice of the people. Why should the ministers give him such advice?

At present those who possess power, i.e., the bureau­cracy, are white. When a black man joins them he too becomes like them. Under the present system, if a native on his arrival from England after passing examinations be appointed to be Collector, he becomes just like them. Note then that I am not speaking only about the whites.

We do not want this system. What does it matter if a man or two of ours is exalted to the Bureaucracy. He cannot do anything in particular. Therefore this system must be done away with. We would not be satisfied by the appointment of one or two persons.

Let us pass on. Who introduced the system? The Emperor did not introduce it. The Queen's procla­mation as promulgated declares one policy and the present system is quite its opposite. At present it is not at all in our hands to bring about our own good. Were we to think that encouragement should be given to swadeshi goods by imposing duty on certain imported foreign goods, that is not in our hands. Were we to think of starting such and such industries required in this country or of importing paid teachers from foreign countries, that is not in our hands. What a trifling matter this is after all!

It is necessary that all people should know reading and writing. Whether a man be a Muhamadan or of any other religion or of any caste, he ought to know a little of reading and writing. This is now acknowledged by all people throughout the world. There is now no doubt about this. By reading and writing a man derives at least some benefit. No one requires to be told of this anew.

Then why is not that achieved here? Because there is no money. Who gives this excuse? The bureaucracy. Their pay is Rs. 2,500 and if they want a raising to 3,000 then there is money. Think of exchange compensa­tion. When the price of the rupee fell, six crores of rupees were brought out by Government on account of exchange. At that time money was found. Unless you have authority in your hands this state of affairs cannot be got over. There is no money for education, but there is money to pay a salary of Rs. 2,500 to the Collector. However clearly we may explain this aspect it cannot carry conviction. The present bureaucracy cannot consider this matter from the point of view from which we would con­sider it if authority were to come into our hands.

No doubt we have been told that money should be spent on education. When people begin to know how to read and write the number of offences committed falls by thousands, they carry on their dealings well; they understand what is of advantage and what is of disadvantage to them. When people become fit in this manner, an officer on Rs. 2,500 will not be necessary to govern them. One on Rs. 500 will do and we shall be able to spend Rs. 2,000 on education. In no other country are there so highly paid officers at present. The Viceroy who comes to govern India gets Rs. 20,000 a month while the Prime Minister of England gets Rs. 5,000, He who has to live in England and manage the affairs of the whole Empire gets Rs. 5,000, while he who carries on the administration of India here gets Rs. 20,000.

Why so? There is no answer to this. This is so because the latter is managed at the cost of others (cheers). This is India. Go and eat. If any shop belonging to other people is made over to you for management, you will naturally pay the employee a salary of Rs. 100 if he belongs to your community or caste even when you are prepared to pay him a pay of Rs. 50 only in your own shop. In this way the present arrangement is being carried on. We are not at all benefitted by this arrange­ment.

It is not the case that these things have come to our notice for the first time. It is 50 years since the things came to our notice, When the National Congress was held at Calcutta in 1906, Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji (cheers) stated this distinctly. He gave it as his 50 years' experience that for counter­acting this present irregularity and the sort of injustice that is taking place in India, there is no other remedy than that the power should pass into the people's hands, and rest in the hands of the people. He called it Self-Government.

We must decide upon the arrangement as regards what is to be done in our homes, what is to be done in our villages, what is to be done in our presidency and what is to be done in our country. If we decide about this it will be done at a small cost, it will be done well, and our decision as regards in what matter we should expend more money, and in what matter less will be more beneficial to the people.

The bureau­cracy say that we do not possess knowledge as if they alone possess it. Their first lookout is to see how their pay will be secure. When money comes, into the treasury the expense on account of their pay must be first defrayed. Their military expendi­ture must be first defrayed. They must be first fully provided for. If money remains after this, it is to be applied to education. They do not say that education is not wanted. Education is not a bad thing in their eye. But the people are to be educated and their other conveniences are, if possible to be looked to after all the above expenditure is defrayed. This is to be thought of afterwards.

Now we shall first see whether we could manage things or not if power were to come into our hands. If we think that more pay is demanded of us then we reduce it and tell them that they will have to do the work for the country. If all things can be considered in this manner, we shall have in our hands the opportunity of bringing about those things which it is desirable to bring about. This is mere speculation. Where is your difficulty?

There is a common saying in Marathi:  A certain man asked three questions. Why does the horse become restive, why did betel leaves rot-the story occurs in the third book it was there formerly, I do not know whether it is there now.-He gave a single answer to two or three such ques­tions, which is, ‘owing to not turning.'

Similarly why is not the consumption of liquor reduced in our presidency, why are the people subjected to zulum in forests, why is money not available for education? -All these questions have one answer, and it is this: Because you have no power in your hands (cheers) and so long as this power will not come into your hands, so long there will also be no dawn of your good fortune.

Whoever may be the Emperor we speak not anything about him. But we must do those things which relate to business, trade, religion and society. Unless the power of doing those things comes partially into our hands-in the end it must come fully-unless it comes fully into our hands, it is impossible for us to see a time of plenty, the dawn of good fortune, advantage or prosperity.

Water cannot be drunk with others' mouths. We ourselves have to drink it. The present arrangement makes us drink with others' mouths. We ourselves must draw our water-the water of our well-and drink it. If that well belongs to Government a tax of a rupee per month may, if necessary, be paid.

But we want power. There are no means of salvation for us unless we have it in our possession. This principle of politics is almost settled-proved-from the point of view of history, morality and social science.

Now you may ask why it is told you so late that power should come into your hands or the time of its coming into your hands is approaching. I have to say a few words about this.

Up till now the generality of people in England thought of deriving as much profit from India as possible and that India was a sort of burden to them. The people in England used to think that the 30 crores of people in India would overthrow their rule some time or other, that they should be disarmed and that they must be kept in slavery and under control as much as possible.

But that condition is now changed. Owing to the war which is now going on in Europe, it has begun to be thought that unless all the many parts of the British Empire unite together, that Empire would not attain as much strength as it should. It has so happened now that a consciousness has been awakened in England that they stand in need of help from other countries called colonies belonging to them-Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, which are inhabited by Sahebs.

If you advantage of this awakened consciousness, you too have this opportunity of acquiring some rights. No one asks you to obtain these rights by the use of the sword. To-day the nation's mind has undergone a change. India can give some help to England. If India be happy, England too will acquire a sort of glory a sort of strength and a sort of greatness. This consciousness has been awakened in England. If no advantage is taken of this awakened consciousness at this time, such an opportunity will not occur again.

The bureaucracy considers this to be bad. Who will be the loser in this? Not the Emperor, but the bureaucracy. They, therefore, consider this thing to be bad, and they are now telling us that we are not fit for swarajya and that, therefore, they have come here. As if there was no swarajya anywhere in India when they were not here. We all were barbarians and ready to cut each other's throats. There was no system of administration under the Peshwa's regime. There was no system of administration under Muhammadan regime. We were not able to carry on State administration, we were not able to construct roads. We did not know how the people might be happy. Nana Phadnavis was a fool, Malik Amber was a fool, Akbar and Aurangzeb were fools. Therefore these people have come here for our good and we are still children (laughter).

Let us admit for a moment also that we are children. When are we to become grown up? In law when one attains his 21st year one is considered to be grown up. Though these people have ruled over us for 150 years we have not been able to grow.

What then did they do for 150 years? If the people of India were children whose duty was it to educate them? It was their duty. They were the rulers. I go so far as to say that they have not done this duty - hence not only are we children, but they are unfit to rule (cheers).

It is better that those people who could not improve the condition of their subjects during 150 years should give up their power and make it over to others. If there be a manager of your shop and if he performed the duty of munim for 150 years. But there was only loss continuously for 150 years what would you tell him? ‘Sir, give up your place and go away. We shall look to our own management.' Another may be of a lower grade. Though he may be less clever he will at least know that in managing a shop there should at least be no loss. This at least he must know.

What those people tell us, viz., that we have not become fit, proceeds from selfishness. If what they say be true, it is in a way disgraceful to them. They are being proved to be unfit. And if it be false, they are selfish. We can draw no other conclusion from this than the above. What is meant by  ‘we are unfit?' What is the matter with us? Our municipal management is tolerated. If someone comes from England after passing an examination and becomes a Collector that is tolerated. He discharges his duties and Government commends him.

But when the rights of swarajya are to be given to the people, to tell all people-crores of people-plainly that they are unfit is to make an exhibition of one's own unfitness (cheers).

Besides this, objections of many other sorts are taken against swarajya. In the first place, I have already said that they unhesitatingly decide that the whole nation is unfit. If we say, ‘hold an examination', no examination too is held. Unfit, unfit-what does it mean? Set your men to work and set our men also to work. See whether they do or do not work properly. No opportunity to work is given and yet we are called unfit.

Are even those, who have been given an opportunity, found unfit? There are members in the Legislative Council, are they unfit? Have they ever called themselves unfit? Have you ever called them unfit? No. What does then unfit mean? You don't mean to give. In order to say there is no butter­milk, why circumlocute and say to-day being Sunday, there is no buttermilk-such is the shuffling that is going on now.

I want to ask you whether you-without permitting that shuffling-are prepared or not to make a resolute demand. If you are not prepared to ask, if you do not make urgent solicita­tion about this,-if you throw away the present opportunity, such an opportunity will not come again for 100 years. Therefore, you must be prepared. I know that if after being prepared we spoke a little forcibly, some police sepoy may say ‘O  you.'' This is not unlikely, But it must be put up with. There is no help for it. We have no power in our hands. We cannot say to the police sepoy, ‘you are a fool, go back.' He obeys the Police Inspector's order.

But 1 can tell you that if you people of all castes and religions, become united and at this time make this demand of Government resolutely, unitedly press it earnestly, be prepared to bear any expense that may be necessary for this, and proclaim not only to the Government but to the whole world that unless your demand be granted you would not be satisfied nor remain contented.

If you possess so much resoluteness I am sure that by the grace of God you will not fail to have the demand granted to  you as a fruit of your resoluteness. Whether in religion or in politics, resoluteness is required and that resoluteness of mind does not come without courage. It will not do to say ‘How may it be?' Whether good or evil may result, we want this very thing. We will ask for this very thing. For this we will collect money and undergo any expenditure or exertions that may be necessary and we will not stop this agitation till this our demand is satisfied. If this work is not completed within our lifetime, our children also will keep up this same agitation. When there is such devotion for this work, only then will it be fruitful. Without devotion, no fruit is obtained from God, from King, in this world or in the next world. If you do not possess this devotion, no fruit will be obtained though strenuous exertions be made in this manner.

First, devotion is required. Both rich and poor must possess devotion. The poor must help in their own way, the rich must help in their own way. Those who possess intelligence must help by means of intelligence. Every man must bear this thing constantly in mind. If you do not bear this thing constantly in mind, if you do not prepare yourself to make exertions then it will be sheer folly to blame others for failure. Perhaps the word folly may not be to your taste. I have used it in the heat of speaking. But my firm belief is that we have not yet begun to make efforts as strenuously, as earnestly and as devotedly, as we should do. If a Saheb were to ask whether there would be confusion or not if powers were given to us, we say yes, yes. We have no men. The men are not prepared ! And then we laugh at the Saheb in our house. No, we must laugh there in his presence (cheers) (laughter.)

It will not do to laugh in our house. The reply must be given just to his face. We must be prepared to maintain what we consider to be true and proclaim it to the people, to the officers, and even to the Emperor. On the day on which you will be ready to do this particularly in days after the war is over - the administration shall have to be changed in some respects at least. If the administration here continues as at present, England cannot hold authority among European nations.

At present England is the most powerful of all. The English Government is the most powerful, but to keep it so, change must necessarily he made in the present administration. As a matter of fact they say, ‘make that change' by all means. But India does not say that the change should be made!

Some defect can always be found. I stood up to-day ; another will stand up to-morrow and say your good does not lie in what I have said. The arrangement which exists at present is itself good. There is the benign Government. The bureaucracy is wise. Therefore if you act in accordance with their principles that would be well.

The question does not concern only our traders; nor intelligent people; nor people of any religion such as Musalmans, etc. It is not the case that it applies only to one class, only to Muhamadan merchants. The thing which I am urging is not for Musalmans, for Hindus, nor for traders. It applies to all. There is only one medicine for all people. That medicine is power; take it into your possession; when it comes into your possession, if there be any disputes between you and us, we would be able to settle them. After the power has come into our hands there would be much time to settle them. If there be any differ­ence of opinion in religious beliefs, that too we will remove. We want power for this. We want power to settle disputes. It is not wanted for increasing them. Aliens do not know as much as we do what we have to do for our country. Their point of view is different.

British Government being maintained  at the head, one and the same Emperor will rule over India as he does over the British Empire. But introduce here an arrangement similar to that in other Colonies. There, in those Colonies, the people have got in their own hands all the power, the right of ownership, and the power to make laws. That does not affect the Emperor. There is no attempt to overthrow the British Government. Really it is an attempt to make the British rule more pleasing to the people. Certain people may lose means of maintenance, that may happen. We do not think that the Emperor has reserved India for those people.

The present system has come into existence for some reason or other. It must go. The Emperor ought to give powers into the hands of the people, and without making any distinction between India and British subjects, between the white and the black subjects. As they are the Emperor's subjects, so are we too the subjects. We must become as happy as they.

The thing which some wise, learned and thoughtful people have now decided to the key of all these, is swarajya. The time for it has now arrived, I have explained to you the meaning of it. I have told you how the time has come. All factors there may be, but your resoluteness is the final thing. Without it the opportunity which has come will be lost. Though the change, of which I speak, be in contemplation, you will not get it. There must be resoluteness on your part.

Fortunately agitation of this kind has  now begun. Recently we established at Belgaum an institution to work for swarajya. An institution has been established in Madras. This subject is already before the Congress and it will dispose it of one way or the other. The several provinces will make their arrangements and render help. You must show this much courage; that if some­one, the Collector, Commissioner, etc.-were to ask ‘what do you want?' you answer ‘We want power, there must be power in our hands.'

Govern­ment servants should be considered to be people's servants. Do not think that when in future power comes into your hands, you are not to entertain the European as a servant. If he can work well, we shall keep him, and we shall pay him what we may think proper. But he must be our servant, not we his servants.

If we entertain this desire and make efforts for it, then our ideal is capable of accomplishment. Give the help that may be required. Be prepared to render such assistance as may be required to those who may come to speak to us in connection with this. And when you are thus prepared-people of different places, not only of Bombay, Poona, Nagar, but also of Bengal, Madras, etc., if people of all places be prepared this thing is feasible. To accomplish it, to accomplish it soon, begin to work for it.

May India enjoy quick, the fruit of such work.

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Gaurav Mathur   |2016-09-06
Insightful! Except that we failed in settling our disputes when power came to
us. Or were we prevented? How does it matter? we allowed ourselves to be
prevented!
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