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Mr. R. V. Gogate 2G.Ed., a member of the Board of Directors of the World Federation of Educational Associations and the representative of India at the World Education Conference held at Edin-borough last summer has written the following article for the Crimson regarding the Asiatics' view of the League of Nations. Mr. Gogate is studying educational systems in America with a view to their possible use in India where large masses of the common people are beginning to seek for education. While studying at the University Mr. Gogate has contributed numerous articles to Indian periodicals on political and educational subjects.
Occident people have often boasted of the superior quality of their intellectual awakening as manifested in their political life. Their boast is not without grounds for it does take a very open state of mind to force the body to act according to the dictates of the conscience and an Occidental political career presupposes a certain element of domination by conscience. It must not be forgotten, however, that the European awakening has been confined to that phase of action which concerns the preservation of European liberties.
When the national system of Europe was in a process of formation the various countries and powers not only acquiesced to the policy of monarchical despotism but even discouraged rulers in their alleged "divine right" to their prerogatives. The presence in India today of numerous potentates of varying influence and importance is not by any means a blessing generously granted by the English conquerors for the good of the Indian people, but is in fact, a grave deviation from their own policy of centralization, but at the same time, one which makes it vastly more simple to sustain the foreign rule in the subcontinent. The great majority of the Indian rajahs and native princes are more of a detriment than an aid to their people and it is a mistake to suppose that the opposition which might be offered to a policy of general dethronement would be such as to prevent the movement from being carried out. The Indian native rulers squander the wealth they gain by force from their subjects in performances of a highly Sybarite nature.
Big Powers Are Arbitrary
The character of the regeneration of the European nations would seem to preclude the idea of European selfishness. Nevertheless, since the overthrow of the pre-war balance of power policy, these nations of the Occident begin to show strong signs of desiring to handle lesser powers in a very arbitrary fashion. The smaller nations which have overthrown monarchical rule and followed the example of Western civilization in adopting more or less democratic forms of government begin to be considered thorns in the sides of their greater sister nations. Now the big powers of Europe seem desirous of creating federations of small sovereign nations.
In the full heat of war-time fury the great powers who won the war were inclined to omit their vanquished enemies from the scheme of re-constructive federations but now that only the faint echoes of war remain, there is evident a growing tendency to appreciate the gravity of the situation and the necessity of including all great powers in the international union. Asiatic powers which fought on the side of the Allied victors are naturally included in the scheme and many other small Eastern principalities have been offered the opportunity to join the League if they so chose.
To me, as an Asiatic, it seems self-evident that the aims of the uniting powers are twofold.
First comes the desire to quell the animosities and race hatreds which, let loose by the war, might well continue to go far toward tearing down the civilization built up with travail and difficulty in the course of many centuries.
The second aim of the League, it seems to me, is projected as much by selfish as altruistic motives. A very strong League could completely prevent turbulence in the smaller powers but it would at the same time quell all individual enterprise in the smaller states and turn them into gaming grounds and milchcows for the major nations of the League.
When Asiatic principalities are offered membership in the League they are expressly told that their membership will continue only as long as "domestic questions" are not submitted to the jurisdiction of the League. Curiously enough most Eastern countries, except Japan, have some grievance against one or other of the Western custodians of civilization. These grievances, if submitted to the League, would fall under the Category of domestic problems of the Western parties to the trouble. Therefore these problems could not be cared for by the League but would be handled arbitrarily by the Western powers concerned.
The League is in theory a remarkable and entirely admirable structure. Unfortunately for the ultimate success of the League its work and accomplishments so far fail to justify optimism or to guarantee Asiatic nations the justice they desire.
France Should Submit Morocco Question
The League, as it stands, consists of sovereign powers. None of these have agreed to cede the central unit the authority it must have ti sit in judgment over their disputes. All, without exception, wish to conserve their respective armaments, they wish to submit questions of "grave significance" arising between small powers, but they do not think that the combined efforts of France and Spain to crush the Riffians, who are fighting for their liberties, deserve the attention of the League. They say Morocco is not a member of the League. Well, what of France? Is she not a member of the League? Why then should not France call upon the League and ask for an international judgment on the question? If the League found France justified in her arbitrary handling of the Riffians then she might go ahead with universal approval and aid to combat the Riffians. But France is not certain that her policy is justifiable. So she takes upon herself the solution of what she calls her "domestic problem." Also if France were to approach the League either voluntarily or at the instance of other nations, it would leave a precedent which would hurt the secure position of England in India: That clause in the League of Nations compact which rules out domestic questions from the jurisdiction of the League is the badge which protects and furthers the imperialistic hold of the great powers over the lesser ones in Asia and Africa. Thus the League will not definitely undertake the straightening out of political injustices obtaining in Asia and Africa until the countries making up the two continents exhibit their physical prowess by staging such bloody performance as the World War.
Suggests Exploited Peoples Unite
The idea that the League is the instrument of peace on the basis of international justice has been sold to the common people the world over. The League is nothing of the sort. It recognizes the sovereignty of existing governments within their political and geographical domains and is therefore in no way a help to those nations which hope for liberty through justice. Some time it may be necessary for a League of Exploited Peoples to come into existence.
By the policy of civilization the educated people of Asia have been forced to separate from the masses. The resulting disunion furthers Western imperialism and prevents the small Asiatic countries from gaining solidarity.
Japan made a successful imitation of the Western civilization and passed examination in the Russo-Japanese War. She now proudly holds mandates alongside the British and the French.
Turkey recently underwent a critical examination and emerged successfully by killing those who would impose on her liberties. She will soon become a full fledged member of the League.
Turken will gain solidarity by siding against India because mercenary Indian Moslems fought against Turkey in the British armies.
America is helping China, not because she is any more humanitarian than other Westerners, but because she is at present faced with an open competition with Japan for industrial leadership in China. The Chinese hate the Jaanese and America is exploiting that hatred. American investments in China made it necessary for President Coolidge to consider the Chinese claims and check the British in their attempts to dominate China in the recent troubles concerning extra-territorial rights.
America and Australia have already openly declared their closed-door policy in so far as the Asiatics are concerned. This superiority complex is no more a matter of private behavior, but is writ large in the laws of their lands.
It is becoming more and more obvious that Western people are forcing their Eastern brethren to drop their ways and methods, but in the victory which they seem to be winning they are creating situations which will make for a more terrible war. If every time an incident, great or small, arises, the powerful nations resort to violence, there can be no peace. Nicaragua, Haiti, Amritsar, Rubr, Corfu, Egypt all involved a resort, to force upon the part of the great and powerful nations against the unarmed and helpless. In all of these instances the aggressor nation was strong enough and powerful enough to have invoked conciliation, adjustment, and arbitration, and thus to have set examples and established precedents more valuable to the cause of peace than any peace plan.
Is it to be wondered at that Asiatics look askance at the League of Nations and want more proof that it will be a help rather than their undoer? If the present attitude toward Asiatics does not change then Asia for Asiatics will be a justifiable slogan.
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