from, THE COLLECTED WORKS OF MAHATMA GANDHI
Let us not assume that the British are happy only because they rule. There are many other reasons for concluding that the British are happy. We have often discussed why they are happy and why they rule. We have again been led to give thought to this question by an account we have received of a lepersí hospital. India has a large number of lepers. We usually shun them, and keep them at a distance. There may be some who do not behave in this way. But we do not hear of anyone from among us coming forward to give them medical treatment or to build hospitals for them. The task of bringing medical aid to these people appears to have been left to the whites. The Hindus have among them a whole class of people whom they may not even touch. Members of this class are subjected to severe privations and hardly ever treated as human beings. Here again, it is the Europeans who go to their rescue.
There is a place called Chandkuri in India. There, Christian missionaries have established a lepersí hospital to which they admit any Indian leper. According to pre-1900 census figures, there were at least 100,000 lepers in India. Missionaries have established 50 hospitals in which they not only treat them, but also educate them and look after their children, providing them food and clothing. They also arrange for their schooling. Europeans go out from various countries to take up this work, giving up their own pursuits. They are convinced that this is the best way of serving humanity. They look upon it as holy work, which will bring prosperity to them and their people. Mr. Anderson, a Canadian millionaire, has gone to work in these hospitals.
How are these hospitals financed? If anyone wants to know, he will find the information in the pamphlet from which we have taken the foregoing. The expenses are met from funds raised in England. We in India pay only a small part of the expenditure.
What is the object behind this work? The question is simply answered. Their aim is, undoubtedly, to convert to Christianity the victims of the disease who go to them. But no one is sent away for refusing to be converted. Their constant objective is to treat these people, whatever happens.
Is there any reason why people, who so nobly serve humanity and from among whom thousands come forward for such work, should not prosper? Why indeed should they not rule?
How can Indians expect to prosper if they refuse to shoulder their own burdens of this sort and forsake what is clearly their own duty? How can they expect to have swaraj? And what will they gain from swaraj? It is not as if there were no lepers in England, or other deserving causes [for their money]. But the British do not depend on others for such work. They attend to their tasks themselves. We do not accept our own responsibilities, let alone help others.
We must give thought to these matters. We look at the question only superficially, curse the British for denying us our rights and feel triumphant when we have started an agitation to drive them out. But this way we only do ourselves harm. We forget the real cause.
Let us seek Truth together
Blessed be God forever