SOME PROBLEMS OF INDIA
...Then thinking of the changes which will inevitably come soon, he questioned, "Which is better? The arranged marriage of India or the individual choice of the West? But our young men are even now demanding the right to choose their wives." Again, "Is intermarriage advisable? Heretofore, the worst of both races have produced an unfortunate breed. What if the best of the two races unite? It might produce a race of supermen. Would it? Is it advisable?" His country, always Swami's country! How to preserve this great race which has given to the world some of its most transcendental ideas, and is still the custodian of spiritual treasures of which the world outside stands in need?
Or he would turn to the question of child-marriage. Was there any subject upon which he did not throw the rays of his luminous mind? It was a revelation to watch the concentration of this searchlight upon problems. A question or a chance remark was enough. He would jump up, walk rapidly to and fro while words poured forth like molten lava. His mind would seize upon a subject and he would not let it go until it had revealed its secret to him. It has been said that he upheld child-marriage, caste, purdah. He has been accused of being untrue to the great principle inherent in his message. Those of us who saw him wrestle with these problems, know how far from truth this is. He who was roused to a very passion of chivalry at the sight of injustice, of suffering due to man's cruel domination, was he the one to add another link to the fetters which bind the helpless? He "whose heart was like butler." whose feeling for the downtrodden was a passion, whose mission it was to help those in bondage to attain the Great Freedom, how could one think that he would not prove himself the Master of compassion, the Deliverer? Yet he had but little sympathy with reform and reformers. How could he be in harmony with a method which, while it tore up the evil by the roots, destroyed so much that was beautiful and precious in the process, leaving ugly barren places behind? Whatever changes were to be made in his country, must not be brought about by the loss of her self-respect or by loss of faith in herself. Denunciation of her customs and institutions, no, that was not the way. What perversity was it that made so many of his own generation see only evil in the land of their birth and unalloyed good in everything Western? How had this hypnotism come about? Could India have lived through the ages if this were true? The heart of India is sound. Evils there may be. Where are they not? Is the West free from them? Pacing back and forth, hour after hour, he would wrestle with the problems of India.