India and Nationalism


INDIA is essentially the child of its history. Not one of the features in its life to-day which bewilder the Western observer is without its origins in a more or less remote past. Whether we examine the tangled maze of the caste system, with its bearing on individual progress, or the status of women, with its dysgenic reaction on the race, or the prevailing illiteracy, with its inaptitude for free institutions — if we examine these or almost any other of India’s major problems, we must turn for a better understanding of them, not only to the pages of history, but to the induced knowledge of pre-history. For pure intellectual fascination, few achievements of modern scholarship can equal that by which the pre-history of India is being reconstructed. Every year adds to the structure; but which of us can foresee its majestic future? For the wealth of material which awaits exploration in India, chiefly by the spade of the trained archæologist, is still immense. What we know already, however, enables us with some confidence to trace the far-off beginnings of much in India that occupies men’s minds to-day.

Permeating all our general conceptions of bygone India must be that of a country singularly isolated and absorbent, with few entrances and practically no exits.

In Europe the ancient world was one of much racial movement and migration; the mediæval world was busy with the comings and goings of soldiers and adventurers, travelers and scholars, for whom national boundaries were of small account. Not so with India. There was no continental interchange of men and thought. Almost a continent in itself, its land frontiers were great mountain masses, the loftiest and densest on this globe, while elsewhere the unknown terrors of Ocean guarded it. Into this pocket on the earth’s surface there flowed wave after wave of the human race — not to recede again (for, though Alexander of Macedon receded, he had never reached the real India), but to soak into the soil. There was, it is true, a certain amount of commerce by sea with the West, from Phœnician times onward, and we hear of occasional missions to Western courts. But it was all very partial and spasmodic, this intercourse with the outer world. India received nothing of the critical artistry of Greece, or of the Roman spirit of history and practical administration, or of the rivalry between faith and works which came later with Christianity. It lived in seclusion, in itself and for itself, churning over and over for centuries, under enervating skies, its own speculations on life and eternity. No cleansing winds of outside thought swept through the galleries of its mind.

Of the real aborigines of India we know so little that for our present purpose we need not go further back than the neolithic race known as the Dravidians. Who they were, and whence they came, are problems yet unsolved. That their languages have no affinities elsewhere except perhaps with the socalled Scythian family is a fact of some negative importance; that they may have entered India from the Northwest is a positive speculation, also with a linguistic basis. That they covered the greater part of the land is apparent, mingling with the still older races in the more habitable parts, dwelling in fortified places, and building up a civilization of their own. It was probably one of the great cultures of the ancient world. The Indo-Aryan invaders, when they swarmed down with simpler mind and from healthier lands into the old and complex life which they found in the plains of India, thought little of it and wrote despitefully of it, just as we can imagine the Goths belittling and despising the civilization of Rome. History has long followed their example; and it is only now that we are coming to recognize the richness of the Dravidian background. Its connection with Sumerian culture has been revealed by recent excavations in Sind and Beluchistan, and private scholars like Dr. Gilbert Slater have begun to trace its enduring penetration into the India of to-day.

Whatever may have been the ethnical origins of this ancient race, they had clearly passed, as all their successors have done, under the domination of their environment. Their isolation, the pressure of a tropical climate, the scourge of flood and drought and pestilence, the suddenness of epidemic death, the insidious power of the magic and devil worship of the older inhabitants — all these must have combined to turn the Dravidian mind into channels which are still active in India. When, therefore, the second great wave of invasion began to surge into India, it brought with it a people whose outlook on life was fundamentally different from that which they found on the soil. The Indo-Aryans, as scholars deduce from the Vedic records, were a simple, open-air people, of pastoral pursuits. Fond of horses and of sport, adept hunters, meat eaters, and not averse from fermented liquors — the type has been perpetuated with the Aryan blood in other lands, down to our own day and generation. Their women were free, and chose their own mates. Family ties were strong, and family discipline effective. In their religion there is no trace of totemism, or of any revolting rites; their gods ‘were the great phenomena of nature, conceived as alive, and usually represented in anthropomorphic shape.’ And they were mostly cheerful gods, amenable to simple offerings and sacrifices; but they were many and various in power, from the Sky, the Fire (sun, lightning, and so forth), the Dawn, the Morning and Evening Stars, down to water nymphs and sprites of the air. In every feature, both of mind and of action, the invaders must have differed, as poles asunder, from the people upon whom they flung themselves as they emerged, after their long wanderings, from the northwestern passes into the fertile Indus valley.

How they girt their loins and hardened their hearts we can readily picture. Even so did the Israelites, as they cleared their way through the heathen of Arabia to the promised land; and the old Dutchmen of South Africa, as they trekked into the unknown among Kaffir and Hottentot. Racial arrogance asserted itself, and the pride of color. They were a dark-skinned people, those autochthones — not men, but demons, says the Veda, fit only to be extirpated or enslaved, and woe betide the Aryan who has commerce with them or mercy upon them.

To imbibe the spirit there is no need to wrestle with the ancient Sanskrit texts. Turn to the twentythird and twenty-fourth chapters of the Book of Joshua, and you have it in all its essentials: Remember the God of your fathers, said the dying warriorking, and have no dealings with either the gods or the women of the Amorite. From these inhibitions was sown the seed of the caste problem generally, and of that section of it which is commonly known as the problem of the ‘untouchables’ — the presence, to wit, in India to-day of many millions of worthy, industrious people whose mere touch defiles the members of a higher caste.

The first beginning of caste was merely a color bar, intended to preserve the purity of the Aryan blood, as well as to protect, we may conjecture, the old simple Nature worship of the Aryan tribes from contamination by the mysteries and superstitions of the older world.


From the Indus valley, the Aryan invaders pushed onward and eastward, lured by adventure and fresh pastures, goaded from behind by new incursions of kindred tribes. At first it was a progress of war and conquest; there are echoes of the Dravidians retreating into their strongholds, of sieges and triumphs and captive slaves. In the thinly held tract between the Indus and the Jumna, the newcomers possessed the land in strength, settled it with their wives and families, and lived the glowing life of the earlier Vedic epics. But, with the continued advance into the richer and more densely peopled Ganges valley, came change. The men-demons were no longer in flight before conquerors. We hear of wealthy and powerful chiefs among them, and of alliances, possibly the outcome of equal contests. Alliances we can imagine to have often been cemented, as in all history, by marriages. With intermarriage came new gods, new rites, new tongues; and the slow process of absorption and assimilation had made its insidious start. It is thus the Ganges valley which was the cradle of modern India. As the Aryan waves gradually penetrated and soaked into it, there grew up that marvelous system of social life and religion, of entwining the seen with the unseen, time with eternity, which we know as Hinduism.

Of all its marvels, the Brahman is the chief. According to his own account, he sprang from the head of the Creator; regarding his more prosaic human origins we can only speculate that he was the product of specialization. In earlier days the chief of the tribe was competent to make the necessary offerings to the friendly gods on the eve of the march or battle. Later, king and priest became differentiated as the task of securing divine aid grew more solemn and complex; and, once the priestly rank was established, its aggrandizement was sure. In the process we seem to see at least three stages. First of all was the organization of a social system which was waxing more and more involved with the steady fusion of the Aryan and Dravidian stocks. This work the Brahman took in hand, and his tool was caste. M. Senart has explained how the root conception of endogamous and exogamous groups was the common heritage of the Indo-Aryans with the Greeks and Romans. The Brahman used it, moulding it to Indian conditions and endowing it with a range and an elasticity which almost baffle scientific description.

In the later Scriptures, when the old race tradition had faded, much ingenuity was wasted in grounding the caste system upon four imaginary pillars — the Brahman or priest, the Kshatriya or warrior (who afterward disappears miraculously), the Vaisya or merchant, and the Sudra or menial. In reality the first three were merely a rough classification of Aryan society, similar to that which Herodotus recorded for Egypt and Plato for ancient Athens; while the fourth stood for the whole despised Dravidian world. At the best, this division was never more than a literary convention, designed to emphasize the Brahman primacy. The true caste system was a grading of society in a formal framework of the type which is always dear to the Indian mind; and the Brahman made the task his own.

The old ideal of maintaining the Aryan blood pure and undiluted gradually waned. Intermarriage became no longer a matter of color, but of permitted or forbidden groupings, to which the key rested in Brahman hands. Startling occasions of mixed marriages were condoned by being taken as the origins of new castes. But to check indiscriminate unions the rules of caste and the penalties for their infringement became more stringent, an invariable ingredient in the penalty for these and all other social offenses being that the Brahman must be paid or fed. With invaders much later than the Aryan — with the Scythians, the Huns, and the Mongols — the Brahman proved equally successful in welding the newcomers into the hierarchy of caste, and continuing thus the age-long absorption of mankind into the scheme of Indian life. It is no exaggeration to say that caste is the keystone of brahmanical Hinduism.

The second stage toward Brahman domination was the development of the Hindu pantheon. The stately gods to whom the Aryan forefathers raised their altars consorted ill with the godlings and the goblins which the Dravidians feared; but for good or ill their association had to be cemented, and here again was a duty that the Brahman alone could undertake. In some cases his ingenuity identified one of the older gods with an Aryan deity, as when Rudra, the storm god of the Vedas, becomes one with Siva, the cruel Destroyer, rejoicing in blood, of the Dravidian legends. In many cases the old Nature gods faded away into abstractions: the Sun is still an object of worship in Vedic form for the initiated, but Vishnu the Preserver has replaced him in popular veneration. Most frequently, however, there was no attempt at reconciling the irreconcilable; each worshiper was left at will to erect his own shrine and choose his own god.

There was no congregational worship; the priests did no leading their people to the deity, no interceding for them; every man propitiated in his own way the particular unknown power which he most feared or whose help at the moment he specially needed. At certain holy places of immemorial age, venerated long before the Aryan invasions, the Brahmans established themselves in force and promulgated the doctrine of pilgrimage and purification : Hurdwar, Benares, Ajmere, Jagannath, are monuments of their methods. The old Aryan divinities were drawn down from the starry heavens and imprisoned with the goddesses of smallpox and gaming and the like in the one vast gallery of superhuman powers where Hinduism roams in perpetual twilight.

The third aspect of Brahmanism triumphant is very different from the accepted function of a priesthood in Western eyes. The long process of stocking the Hindu pantheon developed a synthetic side at an early stage. As the Brahman specialized in the work of the mind and the study of religious emotions, his thoughts seem to have focused on the unity amid the vast diversity in which he moved, and the conception soon took shape of the essential oneness of what we should call the Godhead. For anthropomorphic visions of deity, however, there was no place in the inner mind of Brahmanism; it was the nature of a universal divine essence which became the food for its philosophy. One school of philosophy, indeed, succeeded another, each more daring and more profound than its predecessor, and all engaged in speculation on the relation between sense and cognition, illusion and reality, man’s soul and the infinite Ego, time and eternity. Not for the humble worshiper evidently was all this. He was fobbed off with what he could understand — the jealousies of one godling, the malignity of another, the virtue of pilgrimages, and above all the primary duty of feeing and feasting the Brahman. The future of his soul was not on the priestly conscience or in priestly care. The priesthood was too busy with the fine-drawn subtleties of its own intellectual world, in which brotherly kindness and charity played no part.

For present-day purposes, the main fruit of all those centuries of speculation is the doctrine of Karma, sometimes imperfectly translated as Salvation by Works, at other times as the Transmigration of Souls. The idea of an omnipresent God had matured into the conception of a universal Soul or Self, absolute, unknowable, pure intelligence emptied of all thought. All else was Illusion; but Illusion permitted of men’s souls seeming to separate from the universal Soul, to be born and reborn in endless chain, until they became absorbed once again in the Infinite. According to a particular soul’s deeds in one birth would be its rank in its next birth; elevation, it might be, into the body of a Brahman, or degradation into the body of an outcaste or a reptile. By deeds, however, the doctrine did not inculcate works in the Pauline sense; the import is ceremonial purity and abstention from actions capable of evil — in fact, by preference, complete inaction and self-centred meditation. Through meditation it may be possible for the soul at last to pierce the veil of sense and Illusion, and to recognize that it is part of the Universal Absolute; whereupon — and only then — it is released from the chain of reincarnations and flows into the omnipresent Self as the river flows into the sea. This, in brief, is Karma, the dominant notion in Indian religion to-day as it was two thousand years ago.

And thus the terrors of a primitive rebirth are always in the mind of the ordinary Hindu, as a stimulus to that ceremonial purity for guidance in which he needs at every turn the Brahman’s aid. At the same time, the conviction that whatever he does or suffers in this life is the unalterable consequence of something that has happened in an earlier existence acts, throughout his days, as a drag on all improving effort and a steady premium on apathy — the real secret of Indian pessimism.


Here, then, we have the three great achievements of Brahmanism and the three essentials of Hinduism — a social system enveloped in the bonds of caste, a vast pantheon to be feared rather than loved or reverenced, and the doctrine of Karma. Nothing has ever shaken, nothing, believes the orthodox Hindu, ever will shake, these three pillars of life. Not that efforts have been wanting. The greatest of all reforming endeavors, and in its inception one of the most beautiful of the world’s faiths, was Buddhism. It was a revolt against the hopelessness of the Brahman creed. For its simple followers the orthodox Hinduism held out no hope of a better world. It gave them no guidance to that supreme spiritual concentration by which alone they could escape from the endless misery of birth and rebirth. But with Gautama Buddha came a new light. After years of fruitless penance and meditation, a new gospel was revealed to him. It was the fourfold truth and the eightfold path of right living and right thinking by which the soul could slip away from the tireless wheel of existence and reach Nirvana or emancipation. There was to be no searching for the Unknown God, no caste, no violence; and a monastic life for men and women who desired to hasten the perfection of their souls.

The story of Buddhism ended in tragedy. For over a thousand years it rivaled Hinduism in the affections of the people, but in the Brahmans it had to face an enemy implacable and indomitable. It suffered also from internal decay, drifting into a religion of inaction, sloth, and formalism. It developed a complicated hagiolatry, hardly distinguishable from Hindu pantheism, and in the end it is said to have been extinguished by persecution. That it failed in India, while it still rules the hearts of hundreds of millions in Burma and the farther East, is perhaps the greatest of all tributes to the skill of brahmanical Hinduism in adapting itself to the needs of the Indian mind. There was a time at which it seemed as if one ruler, the Emperor Asoka, might consolidate the greater part of India into political unity under a common faith; but with his death the vision faded. Hinduism learned and borrowed from Buddhism, but discarded it and ultimately beat it down, as it did with Jainism and the many other protests of reform. Caste and Karma triumphed, as they believe that they will triumph to-day.

It was in the Ganges valley that the welding together of Aryan and Dravidian was effected by that code of life which we know as brahmanical Hinduism. From there the system spread slowly into the southern lands which Asoka never conquered; and in the Deccan and Madras it found, as late as the Christian era, a Dravidian world advanced in civilization and organized into warring kingdoms. Of actual physical penetration the Aryan, whether of the pure or of the half blood, did little, though we hear of Brahman colonies in the area. It was the doctrine that made its way into the Dravidian mind, and practically moulded a pure Dravidian people into the same social framework as had been devised for very different conditions. With the proverbial zeal of the recent convert, South India has adopted the Hindu framework more fervently than the land of its origin. Castes have been created; Brahmans and Rajputs have been manufactured wholesale, without a drop of Aryan blood in their veins; and the communities which refused or were unable to come into the caste system have been stigmatized as untouchable, and treated with an arrogance which not only is unknown in Northern India, but is unsurpassed in any other social scheme now surviving in the civilized world.


While Hinduism was thus organizing society and religion throughout the land, India on the political plane was the scene of endless disruption. On the internecine wars in the North before the expedition of Alexander the Great, we have the evidence of the Epics, and in the Dravidian South the records are even more definite. With the Mauryan dynasty something of an imperial nexus was established, but with the downfall of the great Asoka’s successors chaos again broke out. Insurgents from the South attacked the imperial zone, and weakness on the northwest frontiers admitted one inroad after another from Persia and Central Asia. ’The attempt to make India a great world power had failed; and its history now becomes a complex struggle within its own borders of elements both native and foreign, such as was to recur many centuries later on the downfall of the Mogul Empire.’ During all this period of struggle, however, two movements continued unchecked and unswerving. The brahmanical framework of Hinduism was strengthened, cross-tied, and buttressed, whatever might be the regional or dynastic struggles within. And as to the invasions, whether the peaceful Mongoloid penetration on the East or the armed descent of Parthian, Scythian, or White Hun from the Northwest, the residuum of settlement which they left on Indian soil was steadily and effectively sucked into the brahmanical ordering of social and religious life.

Hard and enduring though Hinduism had become before Buddhism disappeared, it was yet to pass through a fiery crucible, in order to emerge as the fine steel which it is to-day. That crucible was provided for it by Islam. After some tentative attacks on the coast, the Mahomedan invasions became systematic about 1000 A.D. At first they were raids of blood and plunder. Later they developed into campaigns of annexation and settlement, into centuries of chaos and oppression culminating in the imperial sway of the Great Moguls. They differed from all previous and all subsequent invasions, for Islam was essentially a proselytizing faith. The Koran exhorts its followers to ‘fight till opposition shall cease, and the religion becometh God’s alone.’ In India the injunction was obeyed for something like six centuries, and of the seventy million Moslems who inhabit the country to-day no small proportion are descendants of Hindus who were converted to Islam by force or by the strongest self-interest. It was a steady, agonizing process, calming down at times, blazing into fury at others, but always at work.

The ordeal was such as probably no other religion in the world but Hinduism would have survived. In many senses, however, its effect was disastrous. It put an end to all chances of internal reform, and it hardened and exaggerated the purely defensive and materialistic side of Hinduism. Whether, with the final absorption of Buddhism, the lime would have been ripe for shedding the archaic crust of Hinduism, it is now impossible to guess. There would seem to have been indications, in the rising cult of Vishnu, that men’s minds were reaching out toward a kindlier incarnation, a loving God compassionate to human weaknesses. But all this went by the board under the direct, attacks of Islam upon the whole tabernacle of the faith. Any softening of the doctrine of Karma was strangled by the necessity for using the terrors of rebirth as a check on apostasy, compulsory or otherwise. And for similar reasons, in almost every direction, there was a stiffening of faith and practice. The Joint Family System, a device which in times of peace deadens individual effort and multiplies human parasites, became in troublous days an insurance against alien rapacity. The position of women deteriorated, the bonds of caste grew more rigid. On all sides Hinduism ossified in self-defense. Speculation on the eternal verities flourished, for adversity often stimulates the philosophic mind. And some of the masterpieces of Hindu literature belong to these hard centuries.

But the social structure and the cardinal doctrines of the system were far more unbending when the British replaced the Mogul than they had been six hundred years earlier. It was on this rigidity that there then impinged, with an intellectual impact very different from the physical onset of Islam, the spirit of the West.


Before reviewing this new influence, let our minds dwell for a moment on the ethical triumphs of Hinduism throughout and despite the turbulence which brooded over India for at least three thousand years before the British occupation. Its first and greatest triumph was in bridging the gulf between the early dark-skinned occupants of the land and the formidable invaders of an entirely different human stock, who poured into India, it may have been for centuries, with a view to conquest and settlement. It then spread slowly into the southern lands, where conquest had not penetrated, and took into its capacious bosom a whole civilization which melted in its embrace. It next turned to the absorption of a new series of varied adventurers from across the borders, who broke up the only purely Hindu empire in India’s history.

During all the conflicts which preceded the consolidation of that empire and during the chaos of warring kingdoms which followed its downfall, Hinduism steadily increased its dominion over the minds and lives of men, to whatever camp they belonged. On the one hand, it established a minute and despotic rule over the daily routine of social relations; on the other, it developed a habit of intellectual research into the How and Why of existence, for which there is no parallel elsewhere; while all the time it left the multitudes of its followers in a morass of ignorance and superstition. When its supreme trial came, it strengthened its discipline and tightened its hold over its people, so that for something like six centuries it resisted the fiercest proselytizing power in the world. From that struggle it emerged bruised and stunned, but undefeated. It emerged to find Islam established by its side in India, permanently hostile, but for the time a spent force. Though here it had failed, under sheer physical violence, in its tactics of absorption, it had vanquished all other rivals. It had drawn into its fold Aryan and Dravidian alike, the Mongoloid races which had drifted into the Ganges valley from the East, the Parthian, Scythian, and Hun invaders from beyond the Himalayan screen, and — what was possibly its only missionary effort — it had climbed into the mountains of Nepal and enveloped the Gurkha Kingdom.

The progress of Hinduism is not without a certain similarity to the spread of Christianity over Europe. There also, in a world of grim ferocity, a priestly organization grew up to direct the spiritual side of life, and continued its work unabated through centuries of racial and dynastic strife. It brought into its fold a great variety of different peoples — Latin, Byzantine, Goth, Teuton, Norseman, and Gael. It conceded to its converts, though always with some change of form, the retention within their new religion of rites, traditions, and festivals belonging to their more ancient faiths. It aimed, and the Roman Church preserves the goal, at a community which would transcend all national boundaries; and in a large measure it succeeded, though it has not been generally successful in composing national animosities. We cannot, however, push the parallel much further. The community at which Hinduism aims is not a Civitas Dei, but a highly complicated and stratified human society. The religion for its guidance is not a system of faith or belief, or even philanthropy, about which Hinduism cares little, but a close observance of ritual determined for every step in men’s daily lives. Its object is not so much the well-being of men or the care of their souls as the strength of the social strata, in which are involved the reward of right living and the penalties of wrong living. In maintaining the structure of society and in performing the ritual, the Brahman is indispensable. Consequently, in all circumstances must the position of the Brahman be respected. Whatever storm may rage in the ocean of Hinduism, the ark of Brahmanism must ride in safety.

With the decay of the Mogul Empire and the rise of British power, Hinduism had a new situation to face. The terrors of forcible conversion were over, but only to make way for the attractions of a new type of civilization. Its very novelty was stimulating: India got a glimpse of new commercial customs, of new systems of law, and ultimately — when missionaries received their begrudged licenses to work in the country — of a new religion. None of these were enforced on her, and a healthy interest in them was consequently aroused. In Calcutta, the centre of the most emotional and artistic of the Indian peoples, this interest bore its first fruits. A society for the reform of Hinduism, the Brahmo Samaj, was started in 1828 by a group of learned Brahmans. It aimed at getting back to the Vedas, the primitive Sanskrit scriptures, and ridding Hinduism of many intermediate accretions. Bearing very definite marks of Christian influence, it soon encountered the hostility of Hinduism proper; and though some of the most eminent Bengalis of the last century were its adherents, the sect now makes little headway and its energies are spent.

More formidable, however, than any specific movement of reform was the spirit of curiosity and questioning which began to stir when English education was adopted as the policy of the East India Company a century ago. The exact and experimental methods of Western science crashed into a realm of vague speculation. The teachings of the utilitarian school, then in vogue in England, fell like a cleansing douche upon the musty mysticism of orthodox thought. Political doctrines of personal freedom and equal opportunities had all the fascination of a delightful heresy. There grew up a young school of educated Indians who received with genuine enthusiasm these breezes from the outer world.


At this point India suffered at the hand of destiny its most grievous blow in modern times — the Mutiny of 1857. How far this upheaval was what it professed to be, a military rising; how far it was a protest against the imperialistic policy of Dalhousie; or how far it sprang from a general reaction against the new spirit, still remains for the historian to decide. Whatever its causes, it left two deplorable sequels behind. On the one hand, racial bitterness was its legacy; the treachery and cruelty which characterized the outbreak poisoned the minds of Englishmen; the severity with which it was crushed evoked a parallel resentment in the Indian mind, at least in later years when the provocation was forgotten. On the other hand, the promise of a new Hinduism moulded by Christian influences was shattered. The thirst for Western education continued, but mainly as a passport to official and professional occupation rather than as a desirable thing in itself. And about 1870 a series of movements took shape in defense of the old faith and in direct antagonism to the attempts that had been made to reform it from within or from without. Chief among these was the Arya Samaj, a militant organization which, while disavowing caste and calling for a return to the simplicity of the Vedas, has concentrated on attacks upon Christianity and Islam, and has adopted the mission of reclaiming converts to those religions back into Hinduism. Other movements were more orthodox; but the whole trend was a protest against the attractions of Western thought and the seductive freedom of its outlook.

This, however, somewhat anticipates the sequence of events. What we seem to see from the seventies of last century onward is a steady march of India’s fate along three lines. Most obvious was the forward movement in administration, the extension and elaboration of the machinery of efficient government by British officials. For half a century that process went on untiringly. Lawmaking, the strengthening of the magistracy, improvements in the police, the building up of a powerful bar — all made for the securer enthronement of justice in the land. The establishment of universities, and the multiplying of colleges and schools, brought education to the doors of the people. The rapid expansion of railways, coupled with the construction of vast irrigation reservoirs and canals, increased the products of the land and enabled them to be mobilized, thus turning the flanks of those terrible famines which used to decimate the population. Material prosperity was enhanced, and all the executive paraphernalia of the modern State were imposed upon the country. This was the first and most impressive line of advance.

The second line was somewhat parallel. It marked the magnetic influence of Western thought and ideals upon a small but notable section of the educated classes. It drew them into the study of utilitarian philosophy and of Christian ethics. It touched chords in them which vibrated to the liberty preached by Cobden, Gladstone, and John Bright in England. It shook them out of their bondage to the rigid observances of orthodox Hinduism, especially when they crossed the ocean and left caste behind. And it set them speculating on political emancipation. It was a fine type, the dignified learned Hindu of that period, who was equally at home in the classics of his own faith and in the concepts of Western culture, and equally tolerant of both; but it has almost disappeared.

The third line of change ran an oblique course to the other two. It was in effect a revulsion against them. The old Hinduism was distrustful of the new outlook which British rule was bringing into men’s minds and resentful of the defections of the younger generation. Recovering from the stunning blow of 1857, it began its long, patient, tortuous striving for the restoration of its dominion, of which we are witnessing some of the results to-day. The revival of orthodox Hinduism and its struggle against the heresies of new thought are dominant features in the last half century of India’s psychology.

Out of these three movements has emerged what, for want of a better word, may be called the Nationalism of modern India. Nationalism is a word which many writers have striven, and not with complete success, to define. There is, however, a consensus that it involves a sentiment of unity in race or language or religion or tradition or some combination of the four. No such sentiment exists in India. The country has been torn by every conceivable form of dissension within itself, but through all its agonies one constant influence has been at work, the influence of Brahmanism and caste. At intervals and for lengthened periods the country has been pressed into a common mould by alien government; and the result has been a hardening of the tissues and a toughening of the crust of the same enduring social system. Dynasties have risen and fallen, kingdoms have been formed and dissolved, invasions have swept the land, centripetal and centrifugal forces have alternated; but one power has grown through it all — the power over men’s minds and lives which is inherent in brahmanical Hinduism.

Thus it comes that the battalions which face us to-day, and which we call the army of Indian Nationalism, are the forces of Hinduism; the sentiment which the Indian extremist would have us accept as a subjective nationality is the sentiment and tradition of the orthodox Hindu. The power and the sentiment have a reality, an intensity, a dominion, to which there are few, if any, parallels in the world; but they have not that binding force which welds nations into solid units of fervent patriotism. What we call the Nationalism of India to-day is something radically different from, to take three familiar types, the nationalism of England under Queen Elizabeth, or of Italy under Garibaldi, or of Czechoslovakia under Masaryk. It is not the movement of a people united by some common danger or intolerable burden or all-consuming ideal—a movement driving them forward to some definite form of political organization which will enable them to express themselves or to achieve their common purpose. It is rather the revolt of a privileged class against modern influences which are threatening its social predominance. It is the struggle of an ancient civilization, which has drawn into itself many races and cultures in its time, to absorb now whatever in Western civilization suits it and to reject the rest.

There is much in the movement with which we can sympathize, or which at least we can understand. On the other hand, it is disguised and overlaid by masses of artificial sentimentality and false analogies, as well as often by the gravest misstatements; and we must get rid of all such top-hamper before we can squarely face the peculiar complexity of the problem of gauging and handling the demands which are now being advanced in India’s name.