“The reasons behind our failings – is our inveterate selfishness, our inability to make sacrifices for the country, our dishonesty, our timidity, our hypocrisy and our ignorance. Everybody is selfish, more or less but, we seem to be more selfish than others. Where so much selfishness exists, how can one expect self sacrifice? Does the businessman cleanse his business off dishonesty for the sake of his country? Does he forget his profit? Does he stop speculation? Our dishonesty is there for all to see. We believe that business can never be carried on honestly.
We have made cowardice especially our own. Nobody wants bloodshed in connection with non-cooperation; and yet it is out of this fear of bloodshed that we do not want to do anything. We are so possessed by the fear of the governments armed might that we dare not take any step. And so we submit to force in every matter and allow dacoits to plunder us in broad daylight.
Our hypocrisy is only a little less than the British. We have experience of this every moment. In our meetings and in all other activities of ours, we try to show ourselves other than, what we are. What shall I say about hypocrisy? It has increased in every field. Weakness is always accompanied with hypocrisy. Moreover, where the people want to be upright but cannot be so, hypocrisy will naturally increase; for, if we are not upright, we are anxious to seem so and thus, we add another moral weakness to the one we already possess. Hypocrisy has entered our religion as well, and that, so fully that the marks we put on our forehead, the rosary and things of that kind have ceased to be a token of piety and become a sign of impiety.
The origin of all is ignorance; it is because we are ignorant of our strength that our other weaknesses grow. We doubt the very existence of the Atman in us, we have no faith in its powers. This ignorance will not disappear merely with education. It can go only with a change in our way of thinking. Literacy is necessary only to the extent that it develops our thinking power and teaches us to distinguish between good and evil.
Hence, so long as we have not given up our selfishness and learnt to be mindful of the interest of others, have not learnt self-sacrifice, have not taken refuge in truth, eschewed fear and become brave, shed hypocrisy and banished ignorance, the country (India) will not prosper in any real sense.”
Gandhi, M.K.: Living in the Past. Navajivan. June 27, 1920
Vinay K. Stephen
January 01, 2017
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