Routledge

From M.K. Gandhi, Hind Swaraj (1909)

Introduction: During his stay in South Africa, Mahatma Gandhi was requested by the Indian community there to represent them in London at the time when a new constitution for South Africa was debated there. In London he met his old friend Dr. Pranjivan Mehta as well as young Indian revolutionaries. They discussed the latest developments in India where the National Congress had split and the Government of India was prosecuting the "Extremists". On his voyage back to South Africa, Gandhi wrote the manuscript of "Hind Swaraj" which was his first intervention in Indian politics. He adopted the style of a Socratic dialogue between an editor and a reader. His statements were very explicit and some of them were very radical. He stood by them in later years and always asserted that "Hind Swaraj" represented his considered opinion.
(see also AHOI, Ch. 7, section: Gandhi and non-cooperation)

....
The English have not taken India, we have given it to them. They are not in India because of their strength, but because we keep them. Let us now see whether this proposition can be sustained. They came to our country originally for purposes of trade. ... They had not the slightest intention at that time of establishing a kingdom. Who assisted the Company´s officers? Who was tempted at the sight of their silver? Who bought their goods? History testifies that we did all this. In order to become rich all at once we welcomed the Company´s officers with open arms. We assisted them. If I am in the habit of drinking bhang and a seller thereof sells it to me, am I to blame him or myself? By blaming the seller, shall I be able to avoid the habit? And, if one particular retailer is driven away, will not another take his place? A true servant of India will have to go to the root of the matter.
.....
We have already seen that the English merchants got a footing in India because we encouraged them. When our Princes fought amongst themselves they sought the assistance of [the Company]. That corporation was versed alike in commerce and war. It was unhampered by questions of morality. Its object was to increase its commerce and to make money. It accepted our assistance and increased the number of its warehouses. To protect the latter it employed an army which was utilised by us also. Is it then not useless to blame the English for what we did at that time? The Hindus and the Mahomedans were at daggers drawn. This, too, gave the Company its opportunity  and thus we created the circumstances that gave the Company its control over India. Hence it is truer to say that we gave India to the English than that India was lost.

 

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