Home Life Works Texts Gallery Literature Wish List
News Letters Bookshop Donations Links Mailing List Contact


Chapter 7

A Change of Mentality Among the Hindus

Preparation for Resistance

It becomes more and more clear that what the Hindus need, specially in the regions where they are a numerical minority, is to recover, along with their national consciousness, their military virtues of old; to rebecome a military race.

It is useless to try to analyse how and why the Hindus have become the strengthless flock which they presently are. And it is not only useless, but harmful to put stress upon their present weakness without pointing out what should be done to regain vitality and power. Mere stress upon a nation’s weakness only makes it weaker and weaker, through the consciousness of its desperate position.

What must be first got rid of is that idea (as common, it seems, in India, among the Hindus, as in the West, among those who know nothing about India) that Hinduism is a religion of the meek and mild, which exalts passive forbearance as the greatest of virtues.

The present-day Hindus, as a result of centuries of humiliation, have formed the idea that there is


nothing else to do but to “grin and bear.” And longsuffering has become among them a wide-spread “virtue.” To put up with, to tolerate, to excuse, is considered as a sign of self-control (that is to say, of strength) and admired, while in reality it is, half the time, a sign of incapacity to face the cause of one’s sufferings, and check it — a sign of weakness. One puts up with everything, in Hindusthan: with the neighbours’ noise, with the dirt of the streets, and other such ordinary inconveniences, . . . and, ultimately, with “Mohammadan tyranny” and with foreign domination. Having learnt from generation to generation, that it is a “virtue” to tolerate others, one makes up his mind not to say a word, and the evil remains. At end, one does not even feel disturbed. Uncongenial material conditions of life, absence of elementary comforts, etc., should not be taken into consideration by “spiritual” people, whose “strength of mind” is enough to overcome any such unpleasant things. But the Hindus are, in fact, far from being as “spiritual” as they think themselves, and specially as interested foreigners cleverly incite them to think. So, material conditions have an effect upon their lives. The absence of comfort does depress them; and the absence of a suitable atmosphere in which they could develop themselves, physically and intellectually, does keep them backward as a race.

We have said that the finest human beings are to be found among the Hindus, and we believe it is true. The genuine aristocracy of India is the aristocracy of the world. But what about the rest of Hindudom? Compare the down-trodden Hindu masses, who have forgotten everything of the teachings of Hinduism


except that long-suffering is a virtue, with the self-asserting, national-minded masses of other countries. Compare a Hindu coolie with an English or a French coolie. While these are free citizens, well knowing that the strength of their country is theirs, and always ready to claim, their place in the country, their right to live, their right to rise above their condition, individually, if worthy, the Hindu has the inborn fear and humbleness of a beaten dog. As a man, he may be better than a European. There may be endless possibilities in him. But these possibilities, if any, are denied, crushed, annihilated by the lie which he and nearly all Hindudom believe implicitly: “Put up with your condition; tolerate other people’s injustice; suffer silently: it is a virtue.”

* * *

Long suffering may be, in certain cases, a sign of “strength of mind” in an individual. But a race, a nation to which long-suffering is taught, can never be great. You may speak of long-suffering “in daily life,” but it is all the same. There is no definite landmark between the things that concern daily life, and those that are of higher interest. To put up with wretched conditions in daily life leads one to put up with no less wretched conditions in national life. Everything is but a matter of habit, and the very doctrine of forbearance is a depressing one, a philosophy for slaves.

That is why, we suppose, Christian-like Hinduism is so popular among the so-called “friends” of India who come from Western countries. Whether British,


American, or anything else, these people mostly belong to ruling races, unless they are Jews. They come out here, adopt a few easily adoptable Hindu manners, and go about praising Hinduism for its “cosmopolitan” outlook, for its “non-violent” ideal, for its “spirituality,” and for all the Christian virtues that Europe had to reject to become strong. But what is good for Europe is not necessarily good for India. Europe and India are so different! Europe was made to rule, to get rich, and to enjoy the world; India was made to be ruled over, to be robbed of her wealth, and to show the world that wealth and power have no value; to embody universal love and unlimited forbearance, offering the left cheek when slapped upon the right; to be, if not officially, at least yin spirit, the typical Christian nation. Is it not?

The Europeans are the last people to discourage the aptitudes of the Hindus for such a destiny. And those who are in love with Christian-like Hinduism are surely the most effective missionaries that “Christian power” has ever had in India. If they are willfully deceiving the Hindus for political purposes, then one must praise their cunningness, and the originality of their method of deceit. If they are sincere, they are still more dangerous; for then, it is not they who have come over, but the sub-conscious self-defence instinct of their race which has sent them over to India, so that the “white man” may keep on carrying his “burden” there, for a few years more at least, without being disturbed. If they are Jews, the origin of their slavish virtues is not difficult to trace, and their message of peace not difficult to understand.


Unfortunately, all these “friends” and admirers of a distorted Hinduism enjoy a great credit among the Hindus. And how could it be otherwise? The Hindus themselves have become Christianised, in practical matters, if not in their metaphysical outlook. They have become domesticated.

* * *

One will never preach enough, nowadays, that Hinduism is not a religion of the weak, nor of the sick, nor of the slaves. The national cult of India is a cult of strength and youth, the cult of the fair Aryan warriors, worshippers of Dawn, who settled in India ages ago.

One will never say enough, never do enough to revive in present-day India the love of bold adventures, along with the spirit of self-assertion; the will to live, not a weary scanty life, but a beautiful one; the will to enjoy all what is enjoyable on earth: wealth, pleasure, power; the will to create; and the will to resist, to overcome, and to crush mercilessly any force that opposes itself to Hindu self-assertion and creation.

When the Hindus recover their glory and actually get wealth and power as a nation, then, if some of them like, they can renounce these things, as the Pandavas did their reconquered throne. But not now. (The Pandavas did not renounce their throne before reconquering it.) Now, the whole nation’s preoccupation should be, not renunciation of the world and its vanity, but: “How to live and enjoy the world, as other great nations do?”; not: “How to go to


heaven”? But: “How to make India, his motherland, actually ‘more exalted than heaven’, to every Hindu;” not: “How to bear silently?” How to tolerate? etc., but: “How to resist any force that keeps the Hindus from expressing themselves.”

It is astonishing that with such examples in their mind as that of the warriors in the Hindu Epics; with such Gods as the Krishna of Kurukshetra, or as Siva, the Victor of Death (Mrityunjaya), the Hindus have become a race of people so full of fear. Never has it become more necessary to popularise among the Hindu masses, as broadly as possible, some of the essential teachings of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, some of the most uplifting stories of the Gods and, as a rule, all what, in Hindu legend, history and religion, can awaken in man his instinctive warrior-like virtues.

But this is not to be achieved by mere preaching. Preaching alone has never achieved anything; if there be any latent feeling, it can only bring it to consciousness. National consciousness, and the will to resist are what we would like to see the Hindus cultivate.

Will to resist does not appear as long as people are sure that there is no danger. And the Hindus, nearly everywhere, enjoy such a feeling of false security. There is now an organised government (whether foreign or not, that is not the question) and a well-trained police to protect everybody. The streets are quiet. Riots do not occur every day in the same place;


and riots that one reads about in the newspapers are not the same thing as riots around one’s own house. More Hindus are, everyday, becoming Mohammadans or Christians. But they are inhabitants of remote villages, or people with whom one is out of touch, even while living in the same town. One does not hear of them. Everyday, there are new laws and regulations made to curtail the legitimate advantages that the Hindus were formerly enjoying, and, economically as well as politically, Mohammadan competition is growing stronger and stronger. Everyday, the Hindus are put to some new trouble, with regard either to some religious performance of theirs (such as the immersion of a holy image) or to the percentage of jobs they will be allowed to get in public services, or to something else. But life goes on. If a Hindu cannot get any work, he will live upon his brother’s income. If his brother’s income is next to nothing, then, they will both live miserably, with their family. They will put up with it (long-suffering is a virtue) and they will feel in safety, as long as there be no violent disturbance within their immediate surroundings.

But when violent disturbance comes, it may be too late to think of what to do. In Bengal at least, in most riots, two hundred Hindus are scattered by twenty Mohammadans. Why? For the sole reason that they are unprepared. If you ask them, when the riot is over, how it is that they did not offer the slightest resistance, they will tell you, most earnestly: “We did not know there was going to be a riot. Here, there had never been any yet.” Certainly not. But elsewhere there had been many; the Hindus should never


consider a riot as impossible, in any place where they are not themselves an overwhelming numerical majority not merely in the town, but in the whole province.

And even then, . . . who can tell? There have been riots in Benares.

* * *

The thing is that, as long as they entertain the idea of an organised government, with police and military force at hand to protect their life and property in case of need, the Hindus, never mind how miserable may be their condition, will feel secure. That idea should be got rid of.

In fact, it is a false idea — an illusion. For if, in ordinary peaceful times, the government can give a certain amount of security to each citizen, there are circumstances where it cannot; there are troubled times where no protection is available. The Hindus should remember that their fate is not the main concern of the present government. If there be any trouble, it is to protect the Treasury, the Imperial Bank and other such public buildings, that armed force would be sent first; then, it would be sent to protect the life and property of the Europeans, specially of the officials. If there be time, and force to spare, then only, half a dozen policemen might be sent to protect the Hindus. But that would not be sufficient. That has never been sufficient, in any case of widespread rioting in the recent past, where the Hindus have always been the sufferers.


Moreover, we have said, if India becomes one day an independent country (as we all hope), it may not be without assing through a more or less long period of confusion in which there would be no government at all worth mentioning. Nobody knows when such a time may come. It does not depend upon India’s will alone, but also upon international circumstances out of India’s control. Whenever it comes, what will the Hindus do if they are not prepared from now to meet, with organised resistance, any threat whatsoever? If, from now, the consciousness of possible danger does not shake their inertia?

The widespread feeling of false security should give place, among the Hindus, to the preoccupation of self-defence. Even in untroubled times, the sense of self-defence is not to be done away with. The right of self-defence is a birth-right of man acknowledged by every government, for the reason that no government, however strong, can give full and entire guarantee of protection, to each and every citizen. If such guarantee were conferred, then government would give damages to people who have been robbed or injured. Therefore, to exercise one’s right of self-defence, and, first of all, to be prepared in view of self-defence, is nothing illegal under any government. In India, a European, although in fact he is quite safe, seldom goes out alone, unarmed. But generally a Hindu, when he goes out, does not even think of taking a stick. In the places where the Hindus are only fifteen, ten, or even five percent of the total population; in the very places where riots have occurred, a Hindu walks about with nothing in his


hand, except, perhaps a book, a newspaper or one end of his “dhoti.”

* * *

But consciousness of danger alone will not make the Hindus strong, unless there is something practical done to face the eventual danger. And this is the task of the young Hindus.

It is the task of every Hindu to contribute his best to the organisation of his fold. But the forces threatening them from every direction are so powerful that the Hindus, in all parts of India where they are a numerical minority, cannot survive unless they become, rapidly, a wholesale military race comparable to what the Sikhs were in Panjab, during the days of Guru Govind Singh. And it is the young men who first become soldiers, everywhere. The very ideas of danger and of resistance are welcomed by youth. To youth, these ideas are strength-giving.

That is why the first part of the constructive programme before the Hindus should be the organisation of the young men,* in pledge-bound military-like batches, with Hindu nationalism as their only ideal, with the cult of all what, in Hindu legend and history, can exalt strength, and with, as a rule of action, the determination to resist any attack, by all means and at any cost.

* All what, in these pages, concerns the organisation of Hindu youth, represents the views of Srimat Swami Satyananda, President of the Hindu Mission, Calcutta.


The pledge of each member of this Hindu militia is suggested by all what we have already said, concerning the defence of Hindudom. Among other things, each one would have to take an oath, saying:

(1) That he puts the welfare of Hindudom above his personal welfare; the interest of Hindudom above his personal interest; the salvation of Hindudom, and the freedom and greatness of India above his’ personal salvation.

(2) That he will treat any Hindu just as he would a man of his own caste.

(3) That he considers himself, and himself alone, responsible for his own personal defence; that he also holds himself responsible for the defence of his family, for the defence of the Hindus of his village or of his town, for the defence of the Hindus of his province and of all over Hindusthan.

(4) That he will obey his leader without arguing, and do whatever he is told.

Wherever a few such volunteers can be gathered, whether it be within the compound of a temple, or in some grove, regarded as sacred, a unit of the Hindu militia should be started. We suggest the compound of a temple or a sacred grove as a gathering place, so that the very surroundings may constantly remind the members of the batch of the beloved culture for the defence of which they stand. Wherever there is a strong non-Hindu majority, naturally, the Students of Resistance will not take long to be suspected. It would be wise, for them, to keep among themselves, and, at the same time, to do nothing which can be, presently, judged “unlawful.” In Assam, wherever similar batches of Hindu young men have been organised by


the Hindu Mission, they have been started as branches of a “Physical Culture Association.” And the name is perfectly justified, as physical training (exercises to strengthen the muscles, games, etc. and exercises in the use of knives, daggers and ordinary sticks, for self-defence) is the main thing which the young men are given, in each batch.

The main thing which is given . . . apparently; for the young Hindus receive, in fact, much more. They are trained in a new mentality: in nationalism, and in the spirit of self-defence; they are made to think of resistance as the main necessity for them; they are prepared for resistance physically and mentally. Physical preparation is necessary, but not sufficient. Essays are given to little boys to write: “Suppose five or six dacoits attack your house at midnight. How would you defend yourselves? What would your father do? What would your mother do? What would your little sister do? What would you do?”; Or else: “Is your house, as it is built, easy to defend in case dacoits attack it any time? Try to imagine what possible transformations would make it more easily and more effectively defendable.” And by writing such essays, the boys get into the habit of thinking that danger, for the Hindus, is an everyday’s concern (which it is, in so many places) and that each one of them, individually, as a Hindu, must be always ready; that he must know, beforehand, what he has to do, in case of attack, to defend himself (for there is nobody, no government, no police, to defend him) and to defend his family members, his home, . . . the Hindus of his village, who are all looking to him for protection; that, if danger comes, he must do the duty


for which he was trained. They get into the habit of feeling themselves personally responsible for the defence of the whole nation, thing which the Hindus have not felt for years, at least in Bengal.

* * *

The social reforms of which we have spoken do not require to be forced upon a batch of Hindu young men trained in the art of self-defence. The fingers of the hand, which ordinarily remain separate, suddenly unite, when the hand has to give a blow. In the same way, caste-consciousness of every sort will automatically be pushed at the background, and the now divided Hindus will become one bloc, when the idea of resistance will become predominant in each one of them.

Among the Hindus, from age to age, up till the present day, many reformers, many Incarnations appeared, who tried to do away with the evils originated from caste-prejudices. They tried, . . . but they could not. Ram Mohan Roy could not; Sri Gauranga could not; one of the two or three greatest of all men, Lord Buddha himself, could not. The result of their teachings has been the formation of different new religious sects, one after another, not the formation of a new lasting social order. But one of them could and did change, among his disciples, the very basis of Hindu society, for the sake of the defence of Hindudom in this world, and he is Guru Govind Singh, the one who saved the Hindus of Punjab from total extinction, two and a half centuries back. He was able to realise such a transformation


because he organised his disciples as a military society, of which their descendants still retain the spirit.

The social outlook of a civil population is difficult to change, while a military population automatically changes its outlook, while modifying its habits to suit the necessities of war. “What will “people” think about me? What will be the reaction of my relatives?” such questions are the last ones to appear before the mind of a soldier. Military life creates a new society, with a new type of relationship, a new brotherhood: the brotherhood of those who share the same hardships and the same dangers, who obey the same orders, and fight on the same side. Wherever that sort of brotherhood comes to existence, the conventions and prejudices of civil life are forgotten. Any ideas, habits, customs, etc., which have no meaning in the life of an army in the field, which are of no use, are considered as superfluous; any such ideas, habits, customs, etc., which are not only useless but create inconvenience, which are a hindrance to the army’s common action, are considered as a nuisance and deliberately dropped. It may be regarded, for instance, by many Hindus, in civil life, as a mark of piety to not interline with people of an inferior caste. But if Hindus of ten different castes have, any day, for the purpose of their common self-defence, to come under the discipline of organised military life, then they certainly will not carry ten different utensils wherever they go, to cook each one’s rice separately. It would be so inconvenient that they will not even think of it. And the idea of “sin” now attached to the partaking of the same food by Hindus of different


castes, will disappear by itself. New life will create a new mentality.

* * *

The aim of those who are trying, here and there, to organise batches of Hindu young men on military lines is, no doubt, to prepare a well-trained Hindu militia, ready to fight in case of need for defence. But it is still more to bring, through that undivided, national minded, self-relying, sturdy militia, a new life and a new mentality throughout Hindudom; to awaken the Hindus to resistance; to accustom them to disciplined action; to make them and to keep them, as a whole, always prepared to face any danger, always ready — like an army in the field.

It is natural that the military-trained Hindu boys will mark their influence, not merely upon the next generation of Hindus (that would be too late) but upon their elders of this generation and of the past one. After having learnt to march together, in a row; to eat together; to play together, to salute the flag of India together, and to obey command, they will go back to their homes. Not only will they help to organise, in every village, new units of the growing Hindu militia, but they will bring the, ideal, the principles and the virtues of the Hindu militia within the Hindu family circle. They will make their brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers understand that the defence of Hindu honour, life and property, beginning with the defence of the Hindu home, is the most important thing, the most urgent necessity; that, will of resistance is the greatest virtue, not will


of forbearance. They will bring the members of each Hindu household to organise themselves in view to resist any attack, to prevent any insult, every one of them, from old man to child, being prepared before hand and always ready to do whatever he or she knows to be his or her duty in case of danger. They will inspire the sense of self-reliance and self-defence even to the shy Hindu girls and women, now afraid to go from one room to the other, alone, in the dark; make every Hindu house a little fort, and the Hindus of every village a battalion of camping soldiers. They will make the whole Hindu civil population a permanent militia. For unless that is achieved, there is no hope for the Hindus, wherever they are a minority. And, in such regions as North and East Bengal, that has to be achieved without delay; it is, for the Hindus, a question of life or death.

* * *

By such a transformation of their life and mentality, the Hindus would acquire the two sources of strength of which the absence has been, and is still, the cause of all their disasters: preparedness and unity. Preparedness depends upon the consciousness of what the actual danger is, along with a proper military training. Unity depends upon the capacity of the Hindus to do away with all what keeps them from feeling themselves one bloc, specially with the rigidity of caste rules, on one hand, and with excessive provincialism, on the other.

Just as, through daily contact with a widespread young Hindu militia, the whole Hindu population


could not but be awakened to the sense of danger and to the necessity of being ready to face it, so it also could not but become more united. To become militarised means to become united. The parents, relatives, friends and acquaintances of each member of the Hindu militia, when they once let their lives be influenced by its spirit, would become new men and new women. When they get to think in terms of self-defence and of national defence (feeling the whole of Hindudom as one nation, and their non-Hindu brethren themselves as Hindus who have forgotten that they are Hindus) then their habits would change, without them even troubling to change them; their scale of values would be a different one. And, any social custom that is a hindrance to the organisation and defence of the Hindus, as well as to the acceptance, by them, as one of theirs, of any Indian who wishes to share once more, with them, the only real Indian culture and civilisation, would be rapidly looked upon as an inconvenience, and would die out by itself, as among the young Hindu pioneers.

Rapidly, we say, . . . if Hindu society can rapidly imbibe a military spirit, considering self-defence as its first necessity.

Most ordinary, insignificant customs, we know, are not easy to change, not to speak of those which are believed to be sanctioned by religion. But there are cases, in daily Indian life, in which even these are set aside with bewildering rapidity. Take, for instance, the case of a Hindu whose son has just received a scholarship to go and continue his studies in England. It is amazing how quickly the orthodox father can, then, set aside his orthodoxy, and send the boy off to


Bombay. From the very moment the young man will take his place on board the boat, it will be impossible for him to stick to his rules of life. He will, no doubt, not touch beef; but who can tell how many times beef has been served in the plates and dishes that he will have to use, wherever he goes? Still, the orthodox Hindu father sends him, for he considers it a matter of great interest, a necessity.

The Hindus will do away with all what is bar to united disciplined action and a hindrance to their own national defence, when widespread military habits create among them a widespread military outlook; when national defence (beginning with self-defence) becomes, to their eyes, the highest of duties, and united action a necessity. Then (and not before) will Hindudom be in a position to live, and take in hand its own destiny as well as the destiny of India, even in the regions where it represents, now, a numerical minority.

* * *

Now, when riots occur, often half a dozen sturdy Mohammadans, armed with sticks and stones, disperse a procession of hundred Hindus. A numerical minority, if armed and prepared, can easily overcome an unarmed and unprepared crowd. The Hindus are unarmed because they are unprepared, unaware of eventual danger. Nobody prevents them from using, when attacked, the very same weapons as their opponents: sticks and stones. (At present, nobody can use machine-guns, in India, except the British forces. Hindus and non-Hindus are equal, in that respect.) It


is not arms and ammunitions, but unity and preparedness, military spirit, which is lacking among the Hindus, wherever they come to a clash with such aggressors who also possess no arms worth speaking of. Number itself is a force, when readiness and unity go with it; not otherwise.

If only the Hindus, wherever a minority, would become a minority of soldiers, well-trained and always ready, then, not only could they defend themselves and survive, but, a time is coming when they would be the actual masters of the situation.

We have spoken of a period of confusion (possibly coming, sooner or later) during which no effective government may remain, in India, for a time, no one can tell.

The Hindus, then, even in North and East Bengal, and other such places where they are now a hopeless minority, would be the masters of India, if organised and ready. For then, while there may be no police, they would act as a police force: they would keep peace and order throughout the country; and the leaders of the Hindu militia would be, practically, the only government existing. What would happen afterwards, it is difficult to say, now. But one can hope, at least, that a whole nation who, in a short time, would have risen from the state of a helpless flock to the military virtues which we have tried to suggest, would not be easily subdued.

The vitality, the power, the pride acquired by the Hindus after such an experience, would be beyond conception. Not only the Indian Mohammadans and Christians, themselves protected by the Hindu militia during the unsettled transitory period, would


probably rejoin the Hindu fold in numbers, as religious fanaticism would rapidly give place to real Indian nationalism, when one would see what Indian nationalism can do, but the world at large would respect the strong regenerated Hindu nation.

And there would be nothing astonishing if such Hindus, enjoying complete independence, become conquerors, and rebuild Greater India. There would be nothing astonishing even if, through them, one day (through their direct or indirect influence) the dream of the resurrection of Aryan Pagandom in the West also, which now seems impossible, becomes a reality.

Nobody knows what can happen, what might happen. And all hopes are natural to a young nation, if it be strong.

Through the organisation of Hindudom, first let us make real India strong again.