“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty of the wicked, but the silence of the good people. “
~ Martin Luther King Jr.
During the Renaissance era, Desiderius Erasmus, the Dutch philosopher and one of the foremost Renaissance scholars of the North, believed it was natural for good men to lament the corrupt world. A young man of 25, Mahatma Gandhi realized and wrote on the overwhelming accusation of modern civilization revealed in South Africa ~ despite its dazzling surface, material attractions and madly feverish activity, modern civilization was an obstacle rather than a help for the needs of the human soul and the thirst for an ideal life. He was an ardent critic of modern civilization for its moral insufficiency, its extravagant pretensions, its treacherous deceptions, and its hypnotic and self-destructive tendencies.
The man of today is an emasculated ~ a favorite word of Gandhi – victim of a vast hoax that is kept alive by schools, legislatures, armies, churches, prisons and hospitals. Machinery is the main symbol of modern civilization; but it represents a great sin. The people who live in modern nations are no less violent than their ancestors or the people who now live in small-scale hunting, gathering and horticultural societies.
Being a great soul, Gandhi said, “I wrote because I couldn’t hold back. His moral and political thinking was provided by what he himself called “a severe condemnation of modern civilization” in Hind Swaraj, which marks a crucial phase in the crystallization of his thinking. “It was the seed from which the Gandhian thought tree grew into a solid tree,” according to Anthony Parel, a Canadian historian.
Gandhi began his nonviolent campaign (Passive Resistance / Satyagraha) to end the repressive laws enacted by the South African government against the Indian minority. But, over time, the struggle became more difficult once the government resorted to repressive measures and began to deport the satyagrahis to India. However, Gandhi’s deportation to India was not really on the agenda. Probably, the prestige surrounding Gandhi excluded him. The vital problem was that the struggle was no longer joined by more educated men and that most of the big traders were also standing aside. Moreover, an effort in England at that time was inevitable: the white rulers of South Africa were traveling to England to obtain a merger of the four colonies ~ Cape Town, Natal, Transvaal and the Free State. Orange ~ in the union of South Africa. In such a situation, the intervention of London for the defense of Indian rights was urgent before the merger because the united domination would be stronger vis-à-vis London.
Sensing the urgency, Gandhi also decided to lead a deputation in London around the same time. The team sailed to London on a ship named Kenilworth Castle on June 23, 1909 and arrived there on July 10, 1909. Gandhi wrote that his trip to England this time made him a changed man.
Gandhi stayed there for about four months. The Indian deputation failed to impress the British bureaucrats. It was during his stay that he spoke to a wide range of Indians in London, seeking a unified nonviolent response to British imperialism. But he found no more support for Satyagraha among the Indians than he found among the British.
His arrival in London was preceded by the murder of Sir Curzon Wyllie, the former Viceroy of India, in London by Indian terrorist Madanlal Dhingra on July 1, 1909. Gandhi also came into contact with well-known Indian terrorists in London.
He was impressed by their bravery. He tried to persuade them to give up violence and follow the path of non-violence, but to no avail. Gandhi was inspired by Tolstoy. He wrote to Tolstoy for the first time during his stay in London. In response, Tolstoy showed the greatest sympathy for his Indian disciple, Mahatma Gandhi.
On November 13, 1909, Gandhi left London disappointed but with determination to lead the battle of Satyagraha to the end. During his return trip to South Africa aboard the SS Kildonan Castle, Gandhi wrote his famous book titled Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule ~ containing about 30,000 words in Gujarati ~ on the steamboat stationery, in the 10 days (November 13 to November 22), a total of 270 pages. He wrote feverishly, the quill running so fast over the page that the right hand got tired, and about fifty pages were written with the left hand.
It was published serially in the columns of Indian Opinion, edited by Gandhi himself. Then it was published in book form, to be banned by the Bombay government. Gandhi had translated it into English. When Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Gandhi’s political guru, saw the translation during his visit to South Africa in 1912, he prophesied that Gandhi himself would destroy the book after spending a year in India because, according to him, the book seemed to be so raw and hastily designed. But even thirty years after writing it, Gandhi argued that he had seen nothing that caused him to alter the views exhibited in it, although he could change the language here and there.
Of his book, Gandhi wrote: “He teaches the gospel of love instead of hate. He replaces violence with self-denial … The libretto is the severe condemnation of modern civilization. He also sent a copy of Hind Swaraj to Tolstoy, who noted in his diary on April 20, 1910: “Read Gandhi about civilization, wonderful.