India and the War
[C. Subramania Bharati]

Call it fatalism or what you will, we, in India, have always thought and still think that the destines of all things here on earth are controlled by superior forces of whose nature man has yet known but little. The affairs of cawing crows and of “civilized nations”, of cats and of “supermen,” are all determined by Divine laws – the laws of those whom we call the immortals. The diplomats and statesmen of the world think that the diplomats and statesmen are wrong. All beings are instruments of the Divine Will and act for ends which they can never fully comprehend.

We know this and we are therefore possessed with a sense of humility and diffidence when we want to understand the real objects for which the Gods have sent this grim and terrible tragedy into the fair and prosperous land of Europe. Our hearts are very deeply touched when we think of the immense amount of suffering and anguish which this war has brought to European humanity. We have a special love for Europe, in spite of her blunders and faults; for she has done some very good things for mankind.

Why we love Europe

Within her own realms she has fought noble battles against superstition and injustice3. She has used her best talents for unraveling the mysteries of God’s physical world. She has been bold in her inquiries, courageous in her convictions and high-souled in her aspirations. Man kind is fundamentally one. Of course there are some silly theorists and sillier rhymesters in Europe, as here, who have been pleased to divide mankind into hearts which “shall never meet, “ but the true seers have everywhere proclaimed the unity of the human race. And whatever mental or moral victories Europe may have won for herself, she has won for the whole of humanity also. We therefore love Europe and we earnestly hope that she will soon be permitted by the Gods to return to the normal ways of life. Her pain moves our hearts. May she soon have peace!

Why we are friendly to the cause of the allies?

Even the soul which recognizes and is ever willing to submit to the inscrutable dispensations of the higher powers may have its own convictions, its own sympathies, its own choice. And from whatever philosophical height one may choose to survey the momentous struggle now going on in Europe, one cannot help taking sides unless one ceases to be human. The thing is so grand, so terrible, so tragic, so human. It is a pity that men should have to die like this. But the laws are inexorable. Certain ideas have god to triumph, certain principles have got to be realised among men. And man generally learns new lessons at a frightful cost. In Europe, to-day, the allies maintain that they fight for international equity, for the rights of nations and individuals; while the Germans say that they are fighting, among other things, for the maintenance and advancement of their culture.

They even speak of Germanizing the world. I am willing to admin that on the side of the allies also there are certain people whose love for liberty and equity is of very recent origin – the principal advisers of the Tsar, for instance. But still there remains the fact that their war-cry is : “each nation for itself,” while the other side lays more stress on imposing German culture on the rest of us. There is no use in thinking about past incidents. In the past everyone has been wrong, in Asia as well as in Europe. We must forgive the past. There remains no doubt, however, that in the present war the right is with the Allies. And we in India – all of us who count for anything – being passionate lovers of the cause of freedom, we pray that the side which will guarantee the freedom of nations, which will demolish once for all the stupid doctrine that “Might is Right”, which will establish a permanent and universal system of international equity and mutual respect – that side should win. This is the reason why India is so willing to sacrifice her men and resources towards aiding England and her allies. England, we are pleased to find, is full of genuine gratitude for all that we are doing for her at present, though some of her agents here persist in clinging to the old follies and superstition. But these men do not count for much ; England will never forget India’s generosity and magnanimity. She will not disappoint the civilized world by denying her present ideals when the war shall be over.


The Commonweal

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