CIVILIZATION


READER: Now will you explain, what do you mean by civilization?

EDITOR: (1) Civilization is the process of becoming civil, or the system or method by which people of a region become normal behaving individuals and society. By understanding it, one knows quite a lot about present condition of individuals in particular region and religion, individual, country and society.

As the time passes, certain behavior pattern is enforced upon everyone in that group so that ease of human interaction is achieved. Civilization can also be explained by the norm or value inculcation in the group where in adherence to the value is routine i.e. where performer or observer of values is not praised but any violator of norm is criticized and if necessary, punished.

(2) The civilization is a process of inducing collective fear of bad- prison or hell, and at the same time, creating temptation of good- honour and heaven. As the society develops, it leaves use of brute forces and develops toward self-restraint and refined way of punishment and prize.

- If you observe the activities of various civilization and various religion then one will appreciate that older, larger and stronger civilization are developed from rigidity to flexibility to openness ( in all spheres of life, be it education or be it religion).

On the same question reply Mr. Gandhi : ANS: Let us first consider what state of things is described by the word “civilization”. Its true test lies in the fact that people living in it make bodily welfare the object of life. We will take some examples. The people of Europe today live in better-built houses than they did a hundred years ago. This is considered an emblem of civilization, and this is also a matter to promote bodily happiness. Formerly, they wore skins, and used spears as their weapons. Now, they wear long trousers, and, for embellishing their bodies, they wear a variety of clothing and, instead of spears, they carry with them revolvers containing five or more chambers. If people of a certain country, who have hitherto not been in the habit of wearing much clothing, boots, etc. adopt European clothing, they are supposed to have become civilized out of savagery. Formerly, in Europe, people ploughed their lands mainly by manual labour. Now, one man can plough a vast tract by means of steam engines and can thus amass great wealth. This is called a sign of civilization. Formerly, only a few men wrote valuable books. Now, anybody writes and prints anything he likes and poisons people’s minds. Formerly, men travelled in wagons. Now, they fly through the air in trains at the rate of four hundred and more miles per day. This is considered the height of civilization. It has been stated that, as men progress, they shall be able to travel in airship and reach any part of the world in a few hours. Men will not need the use of their hands and feet. They will press a button, and they will have their clothing by their side. They will press another button, and they will have their newspaper. A third and a motor-car will be in waiting for them. They will have a variety of delicately dished up food. Everything will be done by machinery. Formerly, when people wanted to fight with one another, they measured between them their bodily strength; now it is possible to take away thousands of lives by one man working behind a gun from a hill. This is civilization. Formerly, men worked in the open air only as much as they liked. Now thousands of workmen meet together and for the sake of maintenance work in factories or mines. Their condition is worse than that of beasts. They are obliged to work, at the risk of their lives, at most dangerous occupations, for the sake of millionaires. Formerly, men were made slaves under physical compulsion. Now they are enslaved by temptation of money and of the luxuries that money can buy. There are now diseases of which people never dreamt before, and an army of doctors is engaged in finding out their cures, and so hospitals have increased. This is a test of civilization. Formerly, special messengers were required and much expense was incurred in order to send letters; today, anyone can abuse his fellow by means of a letter for one penny. True, at the same cost, one can send one’s thanks also. Formerly, people had two or three meals consisting of home-made bread and vegetables; now, they require something to eat every two hours so that they have hardly leisure for anything else. What more need I say? All this you can ascertain from several authoritative books. There are all true tests of civilization. And if anyone speaks to the contrary, know that he is ignorant.

This civilization takes note neither of morality nor of religion. Its votaries calmly state that their business is not to teach religion. Some even consider it to be a superstitious growth. Others put on the cloak of religion, and prate about morality. But, after twenty years’ experience, I have come to the conclusion that immorality is often taught in the name of morality. Even a child can understand that in all I have described above there can be no inducement to morality. Civilization seeks to increase bodily comforts, and it fails miserably even in doing so.

This civilization is irreligion, and it has taken such a hold on the people in Europe who are in it appears to be half mad. They lack real physical strength or courage. They keep up their energy by intoxication. They can hardly be happy in solitude. Women, who should be the queens of households, wander in the streets or they slave away in factories. For the sake of a pittance, half a million women in England alone are labouring under trying circumstances in factories or similar institutions. This awful fact is one of the causes of the daily growing suffragette movement.
This civilization is such that one has only to be patient and it will be self-destroyed. According to the teaching of Mohammed this would be considered a Satanic Civilization.

Hinduism calls it the Black Age. I cannot give you an adequate conception of it. It is eating into the vitals of the English nation. It must be shunned. Parliaments are really emblems of slavery.

If you will sufficiently think over this, you will entertain the same opinion and cease to blame the English. They rather deserve our sympathy. They are a shrewd nation and I therefore believe that they will cast off the evil. They are enterprising and industrious and their mode of thought is not inherently immoral. Neither are they bad at heart. I therefore respect them. Civilization is not an incurable disease, but it should never be forgotten that the English people are at present afflicted by it.

READER: Why do we not know this generally?

EDITOR: To know and understand all these, one has to be at the top of civilization. How can the one at bottom or at the middle will know about the highly developed society? The people from highly developed civilization if look back and analyze the entire phases of destruction and development then only one can say something about destruction and development of civilization.

READER: But many an English say that they are better civilized.

EDITOR: As far as civilization of England is concerned, it is approximately twelve hundred year old and that of America is just five hundred years old. Their saying that they are the better civilized is just like every novice say that they are the best. In our day to day life many a children feel modern and better than their parents or grandparents and show smartness, similar is the case of civilization of English.

READER: Do you want to say that India is better civilized. If yes then what are your bases to say so?

EDITOR: When we say that India is better civilized than any other nation in the world then it is our feeling and experience. For others, some of testimonies from Hind Swaraj, and that of MR. Macaulay in British Parliament are reproduced below:

II. Testimonies by Eminent Men:
The following extracts from Mr. Alfred Webb’s valuable collection show that the ancient Indian civilization has little to learn from the modern:


“It cannot be too well understood that our position in India has never been in any degree that of civilians bringing civilization to savage races. When we landed in India we found there a hoary civilization, which, during the progress of thousands of years, had fitted itself into the character and adjusted itself to the wants of highly intellectual races. The civilization was not perfunctory, but universal and all-pervading - furnishing the country not only with political systems, but with social and domestic institutions of the most ramified description. The beneficent nature of these institutions as a whole may be judged from their effects on the character of the Hindu race. Perhaps there are no other people in the world who show so much in their characters the advantageous effects of their own civilization. They are shrewd in business, acute in reasoning, thrifty, religious sober, charitable, obedient to parents, reverential to old age, amiable, law-abiding, compassionate towards the helpless and patient under suffering.”

J. Seymour Keay, M. P - 1883 Banker in India “On the other hand when we read with attention the poetical and philosophical movements of the East, above all, those of India, which are beginning to spread in Europe, we discover there so many truths, and truths, so profound, and which make such a contrast with the meanness of the results at which the European genius has sometimes stopped, that we are constrained to bend the knee before that of the East, and do see in this cradle of the human race the native land of the highest philosophy.”

Cousin (1792-1867)
Founder of Systematic Eclecticism in Philosophy


“If I were to ask myself from what literature we here in Europe, we who have been nurtured almost exclusively on the thoughts of (Greeks and Romans, and of one Semitic race, the Jewish, may draw that corrective which is most wanted in order to make our inner life more perfect, more comprehensive, more universal, in fact more truly human, a life, not for this life only, but a transfigured and eternal life - again I should point to India.”
Friedrich Max Muller

“It cannot be denied that the early Indians possessed knowledge of the true God; all their writings are replete with sentiments and expressions, noble, clear and severely grand, as deeply conceived and reverently expressed as in any human language in which men have spoken of their God.... Among nations possessing indigenous philosophy and metaphysics together with an innate relish for these pursuits, such as at present characterizes Germany, and in olden times was the proud distinction of Greece, Hindustan holds the first rank in point of time.”
Frederick Von Schlegel

“The authority of married women within their houses is chiefly exerted in preserving good order and peace among the persons who compose their families; and a great many among them discharge this important duty with a prudence and a discretion which have scarcely a parallel in Europe. I have known families composed of between thirty and forty persons, or more, consisting of grown up sons and daughters, all married and all having children, living together under the superintendence of an old matron - their mother or mother-in-law. The latter, by good management, and by accommodating herself to the temper of the daughters-in-law, by using, according to circumstances firmness or forbearance, succeeded in preserving peace and harmony during many years amongst so many females, who had all jarring tempers. 1 ask you whether it would be possible to attain the same end, in the same circumstances, in our countries, where it is scarcely possible to make two women living under the same roof to agree together In fact, there is perhaps no kind of honest employment in a civilized country in which the Hindu females have not a due share. Besides the management of the household and the care of the family which (as already noticed) is under their control the wives and daughters of husbandmen attend and assist their husbands and fathers in the labours of agriculture. Those of tradesmen assist theirs in carrying on their trade. Merchants are attended and assisted by theirs in their shops. Many females are shopkeepers on their own account; and without a knowledge of the alphabet or of the decimal scale, they keep by other means their accounts in excellent order, and are considered as still shrewder than the males themselves in their commercial dealings.” Abbe J. A. Dubois, 1820 Missionary in
Mysore: Extracts from a letter, Seringapatan,


“Those races (the Indian viewed from a moral aspect) are perhaps the most remarkable people in the world. They breathe an atmosphere of moral purity, which cannot but excite admiration, and this is especially the case with the poorer classes, who, notwithstanding the privations of their humble lot, appear to be happy and contented. True children of Nature, they live on from day to day, taking no thought for the morrow and thankful for the simple fare which Providence has provided for them. It is curious to witness the spectacle of coolies of both sexes returning home at nightfall after a hard day’s work often lasting from sunrise to sunset. In spite of fatigue from the effects of the unremitting toil, they are, for the most part gay and animated, conversing cheerfully together and occasionally breaking into snatches of light-heartec1 song. Yet what awaits them on their return to the hovels which they call home, a dish of rice for food, and the floor for a bed. Domestic felicity appears to be the rule among the Natives, and this is the more strange when the customs of marriage are taken into account, parents arranging all such matters. Many Indian households afford examples of the married state in its highest degree of perfection. This may be due to the teachings of the Shastras, and to the strict injunctions which they inculcate with regard to marital obligation; but it is no exaggeration to say that husbands are generally devotedly attached to their wives, and in many instances the latter have the most exalted conception of their duties towards their husbands.”

J. Young Secretary, Savon Mechanics Institutes

“If a good system of agriculture, unrivalled manufacturing skill, a capacity to produce whatever can contribute to convenience or luxury; schools established in every village, for teaching reading, writing and arithmetic; the general practice of hospitality and charity among each other; and, above all, a treatment of the female sex, full of confidence, respect and delicacy, are among the signs which denote a civilized people, then the Hindus are not inferior to the nations of Europe; and if civilization is to become an article of trade between the two countries, I am convinced that this country (England) will gain by the import cargo.”

SIR WILLIAM WEDDERBURN,

“The Indian village has thus for centuries remained a bulwark against political disorder, and the home of the simple domestic and social virtues. No wonder, therefore, that philosophers and historians have always dwelt lovingly on this ancient institution which is the natural social unit and the best type of rural life: self-contained, industrious, peace-loving, conservative in the best sense of the word.... I think you will agree with me that there is much that is both picturesque and attractive in this glimpse of social and domestic life in an Indian village. It is a armless and happy form of human existence. Moreover, it is not without good practical outcome.”

Colonel Thomas Munro
(Thirty-two Years’ Service in India)


Statistics (1899)


Prison population per 100,000 of inhabitants:
Several European States 100 to 230
England and Wales 190
India 38
Dictionary of Statistics: Rutledge and Sons, 1899.
Source: (http://www.mssc.edu/projectsouthasia/history/ primarydocs/education/Macaulay001.htm
http://www.languageinindia.com/april2003/macaulay.html )
"I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation ?

Thomas Babington Macaulay
February 1835


READER: If Bharat feels that they are better civilized, then what?

EDITOR: Every experience wants expression, larger the experience, bigger is the desire/requirement as well as responsibility to express this for the larger benefit of the society. It is the prerogative as well as responsibility/duty of Bharat to make the entire world civilized, a living paradise on earth.


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