A HERMIT IN THE HIMALAYAS
to me, albeit in tones so low that the world will sneeringly say that
I am deluding myself. But we shall both laugh pityingly at the
world and forgive it, because we know well that although Nature
is the common mother of us all, the world still remains darkly
ignoranfrof her tightly held secret.
My thoughts drift back to sultry India, to the land which I
have left behind. In the cities of the distant plains, where one's hand
placed upon a stone parapet in the sun has to be hastily withdrawn,
so scorched is it, and where the few white sun-stewed men who cannot
escape from feet-imprisoned duties are reeling in the haze of summer
heat and being pestered by voracious mosquitoes, the stress of
political agitation has temporarily diminished, because it is difficult
to work up enthusiasm for far-off ideals in a temperature of one
hundred and ten, no matter how much you may fancy yourself to
be an idealist.
The mystery and meaning of the British conquest of India is
something that no Briton and no Indian has ever explained satis-
factorily, because none has ever examined it with inner vision but
without racial prejudice. I think that if British rule is as black as it is
Fainted by many Indians, emigration is the only resource for them!
equally think, however, that if the subject race is such a difficult
one as it is painted by British officials, emigration is the only thing
for them too! Time alone, through the amplitude of its perspective,
may help both to understand why this huge sub-continent was
the meeting place of such widely different races.
Life is unlikely to have thrown the two people across each other's
path in this strange manner without some purpose.
Have they a service to render each other?
The couple of centuries during which Western civilization has
been lapping at the shores of India must be rounded out by a couple
of decades more before the world shall see the answer.
Meanwhile politicians have created a new profession for young
educated India, and the cry for independence, for the British
authority to leave the shores of their country, makes itself vociferously
heard wherever they forgather. The young cultured Hindu who
dresses like the moderns but thinks like the ancients is fast dis-
appearing. The trouser which he wears today becomes a symbol of
the titillation to which he is subjecting his religion, his Government,
bis customs and his environment. On the other side, in the military
cantonments and civilian clubs, in the red sandstone buildings of
the Government Secretariat at New Delhi, scornful Anglo-Saxons,
with all the stubborn courage of their race, are determined to hold
the bridge during their generation, anyway. Destiny, as usual, will
have the last word to say in the matter. She will write her own