The people of India constitute one-fifth of the human race and in the plans for reconstruction of the disjointed world, India also claims consideration. Mere patch-work, though called reconstruction, does not become so unless grievances of all the nations of the World are sympathetically and seriously attended to.
The economic poverty of India is universally known. Besides numerous other curses that follow in the train of poverty, illiteracy and lack of provision for up to date information concerning the contributions of the different nations to the body of knowledge, are the most significant. Educated Indians are not able to obtain the literature that is so common-place in the United States. The newspapers, magazines, and books that are continuously pouring forth to the rising generation of America, the flood of information, knowledge, and ideals, are not available to the youth of India, primarily because they are unable to furnish material price for these sources of enlightenment.
U. S. Educators Suggest Way To Help
To meet this essential need of the educated youths of India we had had a chance to take up this matter with some of the prominent educators and philosophers of this great country. To our great satisfaction a few very simple and effective means have been suggested:
1. University professors should be generous to give copies of their own publications, as gifts to India.
2. All interested in the much needed educational service to India should save the magazines and other instructive publications that they subscribe for and send these collections to India from time to time.
3. On festive occasions, when the sentiment of gift-giving becomes dominant, individuals, as well as organizations should make gifts, of some standard books to the youth of India.
4. Those of the educated Americans who can afford to travel and out of sheer curiosity go to India, should arrange to give some of their time in offering short courses of free lectures in the field of their special interest. These lectures could be easily arranged with the help of Indian schools and colleges.
These suggestions are not quite novel for they have been carried out to a limited extent during the past two years. Some University professors, authors, women's clubs, young men's associations, Internationally minded individuals who subscribe to good periodicals, etc., have come forward and sent their literary help to India. Editors of newspapers and magazines can render a great help in this direction.
It is pertinent that we begin to realize the richness of opportunity that awaits us all in these days of universal awakening. India never asked for missionaries of religion nor have we been able to understand their usefulness. But they are being exported in ever increasing shiploads. A prominent Indian educator once said that America will do well to send shiploads of "life savers" and distribute them freely instead of sending the army of "soul savers." These latter should be given more opportunity to serve their fellow men in the states where they are most needed to help the cause of prohibition and such other civilizing laws.
More serious attempts need to be made in clarifying the ideas about philanthropy. Individual charitableness, that inevitably led to universal beggary, has been successfully supplanted by organized charity in the United States. The next step is to extend that same principle to international charity. Investigations should be made to find out what the real needs of the people are and what they ask for. Then their demands should be forwarded through organized philanthropy."
India Needs Immediate Attention
India's thirst for knowledge needs immediate attention. Educated Hindus are eager to read the literary contributions of the democratic Americans, and would ever stand indebted to the United States if any educators or educational organizations will sponsor this cause of exporting American literature to India in the stead of religious teachers. The latter can find plenty of work in the--Christendom it they have a message and the ability to deliver it effectively.
When the backs are bare and stomachs are empty any gospel that carries with it food and clothes can make an appeal. Acceptance of a gospel under the stress of starvation is rarely genuine. Man must be free of worries, physical as well as mental, to be able to weigh the appeals of the foreign gospels and thus make a really voluntary choice. All other conversions are numerically valuable but spiritually worthless. Such material conversions can do nothing for the soul of the converts. The souls of Indian people can only be saved by education that is capable of revolutionizing her and feeding her sons and daughters with great enlightening truths that progressive Americans have inherited and discovered.
Instead of spending millions of dollars in supporting the exported soul-savers and their families, will it not be desirable that the enlightened Americans revise their ideas of soul and its salvation and see that by merely converting large numbers of starving Indians to Christianity they are saving only bodies? Such "relief work" in the famine stricken areas of that poor country is undoubtedly commendable. As long as India is politically in bondage and hence unable to handle her problems of artificial famines, she will have to depend upon the generosity of other nations to protect her millions from starvation. No educated Indian could be or would be opposed to such relief work if only it were done straightforwardly and not with the underhanded motive of numerical increase in the population of Christianity.
Mission Should Be Educational
Religious missions, more than anything else, need to be converted into educational and social service missions if mutual understanding among people and faiths of the world is to be effected.
American philanthropists, men and especially women, should learn to lavish the milk of their human kindness in supplying intellectual nourishment to those Indians on whom the real existence of India depends. Universal diffusion of learning and enlightenment among the people of the land will make India stand on her own feet.
India Is Example of Religious Tolerance
We, the people of India, have no ill will toward the followers of religions other than our own: In fact we are the outstanding example of religious toleration in the history of mankind. Our chronicle, which far antidates those of any western peoples, is unsullied by the innocent blood of any teacher of gospel, Violence is not our way. Human differences we believe must be removed by humans methods and never by unworthy motives backed by brutal force, idealistic America should not go back to the path of the old European world, but assert her democratic way of cooperation in all endeavors. Young India is proud of America's achievements and fervently looks up to her for inspiration and help in her present struggle against evil that has crept into her system and has thus rendered her social, economic, political and spiritual existence unworthy of her past. Will America rise up to her power and dignity? We hope she will.