Glimpses Of World History
"The year you were born in—1917—was one of the memorable years of history when a great leader, with a heart full of love and sympathy for the poor and suffering, made his people write a noble and never-to-be-forgotten chapter of history. In the very month in which you were born, Lenin started the great Revolution which has changed the face of Russia and Siberia."
"“For the family sacrifice the individual, for the community the family, for the country the community, and for the Soul the whole world”."
"Size is the poorest test of a man’s or a country’s greatness."
"But nowhere else, apart from India and China, has there been a real continuity of civilization."
"they loved life and knew that the only way to enjoy life was to be fearless, and not to worry about defeat and disaster."
"The Indian Aryans were influenced greatly by the still older civilization of India—that of the Dravidians, and perhaps the remains of the civilization whose ruins we see at Mohenjo Daro. The Aryans and the Dravidians gave much to each other and took much from each other also, and thus built up a common culture for India."
"In the mainland of Greece famous cities grew up: Athens and Sparta and Thebes and Corinth. The early days of the Greeks, or the Hellenes as they were called, were celebrated in two famous epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey. You know something about these two epics, which in a way correspond to our own epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata."
"It is that of Croesus of whom you must have heard. To be as rich as Croesus has become a well-known saying in English. You may also have read stories of this Croesus, of how rich and proud he was and how he was humbled. Croesus was the king of a country called Lydia, which was on the west coast of Asia, where Asia Minor is today. Being a country touching the sea, probably there was a great deal of trade there. In his time the Persian Empire under Cyrus was growing and becoming powerful. Cyrus and Croesus came into conflict and Cyrus defeated Croesus."
"It is likely to become the common language of India."
"the Lichchhavi clan. This State was a republic, and was governed by an assembly of notables with an elected president, who was called the Nayaka."
"By improving the method of getting food, by making it easier to get it, agriculture changed the whole basis of society. It gave people leisure."
"our ideals should be wholly unselfish, so that we may try to live up to them."
"those who are prepared to die for any cause are seldom defeated."
"Herodotus thought over it and drew a moral from it. He says that a nation’s history has three stages: success; then as a consequence of success, arrogance and injustice; and then, as a consequence of these, downfall."
"The power of Athens grew; and here is evidence—and there is proof of it everywhere—that liberty is a good thing. While the Athenians were despotically governed, they were not superior in war to any of their neighbours, but when they got rid of their despot, they far surpassed them. This shows that in subjection they did not exert themselves, but they were working for a master, but when they became free each individual keenly did his best on his own account."
"In this book, the Shahnamah of Firdausi, it is interesting to find numerous references to Indian swords and daggers being used by the Persian King and nobles. This indicates that even in Alexander’s day India was making swords of fine steel, which were welcomed in foreign countries."
"Kings are disappearing from this world of ours. There are very few left, and they too will go soon enough. It is interesting, however, to see that the idea of kingship in ancient India meant service of the people."
"Takshashila or Taxila in the far north, near Peshawar; Mathura, vulgarly spelt Muttra now by the English; Ujjain in Central India; and Nalanda near Patna in Bihar"
"Hospitals especially meant for them were erected, and animal-sacrifice was forbidden."
"“All sects deserve reverence for one reason or another. By thus acting a man exalts his own sect and at the same time does service to the sects of other people.”"
"after the death of Alexander his empire was divided up by his generals. There were three principal divisions: (1) Western Asia, Persia, and Mesopotamia, under Seleucus; (2) Egypt under Ptolemy; and (3) Macedonia, under Antigonus."
"Alexandria was the capital of the Ptolemys in Egypt."
"the Duke of Ch’in, managed to drive out the ancient and effete Chou dynasty. His descendants are called the Ch’in dynasty, and it is interesting to note that the name China is derived from this Ch’in."
"His name was Wang Cheng, but later he adopted another name—Shih Huang Ti—and he is usually known by his second name, which means “The First Emperor”."
"the great Ch’ins rose and triumphed and ruled a powerful empire, and decayed and ended—all in a brief fifty years. Shih Huang Ti was to have been the first of a great line of powerful emperors, and yet three years after his death in 209 BC, his dynasty came to an end. And soon, after all, the books and the classics of Confucius were dug out of hiding,"
"It was he who started building the Great Wall. This was an expensive job. But the Chinese apparently preferred spending money over this wall, which was to protect them from foreign enemies, to keeping a large standing army for defence. The Wall could hardly prevent a big invasion. All it did was to stop petty raids. It shows, however, that the Chinese wanted peace and, in spite of their strength, were not lovers of military glory."
"The second noteworthy fact was the introduction of the examination system for public officials."
"There were three wars between them—the Punic Wars they are called. The first Punic War lasted twenty-three years from 264 to 241 BC and ended in a victory for Rome. Twenty-two years later came the second Punic War, and Carthage sent a general, famous in history, named Hannibal. For fifteen years Hannibal harassed Rome and terrorized the Roman people."
"Even the poor, down-trodden slaves rose in revolt under a gladiator named Spartacus. But they were crushed ruthlessly, and it is said that 6000 of them were crucified on the Appian Way in Rome."
"Today the Mahayana form of Buddhism exists in China, Japan and Tibet; the Hinayana exists in Ceylon and Burma."
"The Roman people were not intolerant so far as religions went, for the Empire tolerated all religions, and even if someone chose to blaspheme or curse any of the gods, he was not punished. As one of the emperors, Tiberius, said: “If the gods are insulted, let them see to it themselves.”"
"They were hostile to all other religions and they refused absolutely to worship the Emperor’s image."
"As a religion, they might have tolerated Christianity, but the Christian refusal to pay homage to the Emperor’s image was looked upon as political treason and was made punishable with death."
"One party said that the word Homo-ousion should be used in a prayer; the other wanted Homoi-ousion—this difference had reference to the divinity of Jesus. Over this diphthong fierce war was raged and large numbers of people were slaughtered."
"Three hundred years after Augustus Caesar, an emperor named Constantine took a great step which was to have far-reaching consequences. He actually shifted the seat of his empire from Rome to the East. Near an old city called Byzantium on the shores of the Bosphorus, between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, he founded a new city, which he called, after himself, Constantinople. Constantinople, or New Rome as it was also called, became then the capital and seat of the Roman Empire."
"there is one other strong resemblance between the Romans and the English people—they are both singularly devoid of imagination!"
"was this Pallava government that seems to have organized this colonization of Malaysia."
"He tells us that the people of Magadha were happy and prosperous; that justice was mildly administered; and that there was no death penalty."
"The Tang dynasty was started by the Emperor Kao Tsu in 618 AC. Not only did he unite the whole of China, but he spread his authority over an immense area—over Annam and Cambodia in the south and right up to Persia and the Caspian Sea in the west. Part of Korea was also included in this mighty empire. The capital of the Empire was Si-an-Fu, a city which was famous in eastern Asia for its splendour and culture. Embassies and commissions came to it from Japan and southern Korea, which was still free, to study its arts, philosophy, and civilization."
"The Arabs were permitted to build a mosque in Canton. This mosque still exists, although it is 1300 years old, and is one of the oldest mosques in the world."
"The Tangs lasted for 300 years, till 907 AC. These 300 years are said by some to be China’s greatest period, when there was not only a high level of culture, but a high level of general happiness for the people."
"how a Chinese exile named Ki-Tse, not approving of a change of dynasty in China, marched eastwards with 5000 followers. He settled down in Korea, calling it “Chosen”—the Land of the Morning Calm. This was in 1122 BC. Ki-Tse brought with him Chinese arts and crafts, agriculture and silk-making. For over 900 years Ki-Tse’s descendants ruled Chosen."
"We find that a certain Empress Jingo was head of Yamato State about 200 AC. Yamato was the original name of Japan, or that part of it where these immigrants had settled."
"Harsha-Vardhana made Kanauj his capital. Being himself a poet and dramatist, he gathered round himself a host of poets and artists, and Kanauj became a famous city. Harsha was a keen Buddhist. Buddhism, as a separate faith, had weakened greatly in India; it was being swallowed up by the Brahmans. Harsha appears to have been the last great Buddhist sovereign in India."
"Many years he spent in India, especially in the great university of Nalanda, which was not far from Pataliputra. Nalanda, which was a monastery and university combined, is said to have had as many as 10,000 students and monks in residence. It was the great centre of Buddhist learning, a rival to Benares, which was the stronghold of Brahman learning."
"Hiuen gives us a description of the great Kumbh Mela at Prayag.3 When you see this mela again, think of Hiuen Tsang’s visit to it 1300 years ago, and remember that even then it was an old mela coming right down from the Vedic times."
"As a pious Buddhist, Harsha stopped the killing of animals for food."
"A striking feature of India in those days was the great deference and respect shown by rulers and military men to learned and cultured people."
"King Harsha died in 648 AC."
"In the west and centre there is the Chalukyan kingdom, largely consisting of the Maharashtra country, with Badami as their capital. Hiuen Tsang praises the Maharashtrians and speaks highly of their courage. They are “warlike and proud-spirited, grateful for favours and revengeful for wrongs”. The Chalukyans had to hold Harsha in the north, the Pallavas in the south, and Kalinga (Orissa) in the east."
"We have another book which helps us a little to form an idea of India in the Middle Ages. This is the Nitisara of Shukracharya. This is not so good or helpful as the Arthashastra, but with its help and that of some inscriptions and other accounts we shall try to open a window into the ninth or tenth century after Christ."
"The Nitisara tells us that “neither through colour, nor through ancestors can the spirit worthy of a Brahman be generated”. Thus, according to it, caste division should not be by birth, but by capacity. Again, it says: “In making official appointments work, character, and merit were to be regarded—neither caste nor family”."
"it is interesting to notice that in Indian polity in the Middle Ages, as before, autocracy or the divine right of kings had no place."
"We find that the kings and rulers were far from being autocratic rulers. Their power was kept in check by elected panchayats. We find also that there was a fairly advanced system of self-government in the villages and towns, and that there was little interference with this by the Central Government."
"although there was no labour slavery in India as in the West, our whole social structure was one of gradations— one class over another."
"About 1300 AC the mouth of the river Mekong became blocked by deposits of mud. The waters of the river could not flow through, and they backed up and flooded the entire region round the great city, turning fertile fields into a great area of useless marshlands. The large population of the city began to starve. It could not stay on, and was forced to leave the city and migrate. So “Angkor the Magnificent” was abandoned, and the jungle came and took possession of it, and its wonderful buildings housed wild animals for a while, till the jungle reduced the palaces to dust and reigned unchallenged."
"The imperial forces would have been no match for him, but the Germanic tribes, the “barbarians” of the Romans, were frightened at this Hun invasion, and so the Franks and Goths joined the imperial army and together they fought the Huns under Attila at a great battle at Troyes. Over 150,000 people are said to have been killed at this battle, at which Attila was defeated and the Mongolian Huns repulsed. This was in 451 AC."
"Her past history had led other peoples to think of her as the leader of the world, and they treated her with respect and almost with superstitious fear. So Rome continued, outwardly as the powerful mistress of an empire, but in reality with no strength behind her. There was outward calm, and there were crowds in her theatres and stadiums and market-places. But inevitably she was heading for collapse, not merely because she was weak, but because she had built up a rich man’s civilization on the misery and slavery of the masses."
"Islam was the new force or idea which woke up the Arabs and filled them with self-confidence and energy. This was a religion started by a new prophet, Mohammad, who was born in Mecca in 570 AC. He was in no hurry to start this religion. He lived a quiet life, liked and trusted by his fellow-citizens. Indeed, he was known as “Al-Amin”—the Trusty. But when he started preaching his new religion, and especially when he preached against the idols at Mecca, there was a loud outcry against him, and ultimately he was driven out of Mecca, barely escaping with his life. Above all he laid stress on the claim that there was only one God, and that he, Mohammad, was the Prophet of God."
"Within seven years of the flight, Mohammad returned to Mecca as its master. Even before this he sent out from Medina a summons to the kings and rulers of the world to acknowledge the one God and his Prophet."
"Mohammad died in 632 AC, ten years after the Hijrat. He had succeeded in making a nation out of the many warring tribes of Arabia and in firing them with enthusiasm for a cause. He was succeeded by Abu Bakr, a member of his family, as Khalifa or Caliph or chief. This succession used to be by a kind of informal election at a public meeting. Two years later Abu Bakr died, and was succeeded by Omar, who was Khalifa for ten years."
"Even in these short dozen years, during which Abu Bakr and Omar ruled, the Arabs defeated both the Eastern Roman Empire and the Sassanid King of Persia. Jerusalem, the holy city of the Jews and Christians, was occupied by the Arabs, and the whole of Syria and Iraq and Persia became part of the new Arabian Empire."
"So, in about 100 years from the death of Mohammad, the Arab Empire spread from the south of France and Spain right across northern Africa to Suez, and across Arabia and Persia and Central Asia to the borders of Mongolia."
"Charles Martel was the leader of this coalition and in 732 AC he defeated them at the battle of Tours in France. This defeat saved Europe from the Arabs. “On the plains of Tours,” a historian has said, “the Arabs lost the empire of the world when almost in their grasp.” There can be no doubt that if the Arabs had won at Tours, European history would have been tremendously changed. There was no one else to stop them in Europe and they could have marched right across to Constantinople and put an end to the Eastern Roman Empire and the other States on the way. Instead of Christianity, Islam would then have become the religion of Europe, and all manner of other changes might have taken place."
"Ali, the husband of Fatima, who was the daughter of Mohammad, was Khalifa for a short while. But there was continuous conflict. Ali was murdered, and some time later his son Hussain, with his family, were massacred on the plain of Karbala. It is this tragedy of Karbala that is mourned year after year in the month of Moharram by the Muslims,"
"It amazes me to think that some people put up with this barbarity still. Whenever I think of the women in purdah, cut off from the outside world, I invariably think of a prison or a zoo! How can a nation go ahead if half of its population is kept hidden away in a kind of prison? Fortunately, India is rapidly tearing the purdah away. Even Muslim society has largely rid itself of this terrible burden."
"across Asia in Mongolia there arose Chengiz Khan, the Mongol Shaker of the Earth, as he was called, who was indeed going to shake Asia and Europe. He and his descendants finally put an end to Baghdad and its empire. By the time the Mongols had finished with the great and famous city of Baghdad, it was almost a heap of dust and ashes and most of its 2,000,000 inhabitants were dead. This was in 1258 AC."
"This wielder of the sword who came to India with fire and slaughter was Mahmud of Ghazni."
"Year after year he raided India and sacked and killed and took away with him vast treasure and large numbers of captives. Altogether he made seventeen raids and only one of these—into Kashmir—was a failure. The others were successful, and he became a terror all over the north. He went as far south as Pataliputra, Mathura and Somnath. From Thaneshwara he took away, it is said, 200,000 captives and vast wealth. But it was in Somnath that he got the most treasure. For this was one of the great temples, and the offerings of centuries had accumulated there. It is said that thousands of people took refuge in the temple when Mahmud approached, in the hope that a miracle would happen and the god they worshipped would protect them. But miracles seldom occur, except in the imaginations of the faithful, and the temple was broken and looted by Mahmud and 50,000 people perished, waiting for the miracle which did not happen. Mahmud died in 1030 AC."
"on Christmas day 800 AC there was a great ceremony in the Cathedral when the Pope crowned Charlemagne Roman Emperor. From that day began the Holy Roman Empire"
"The cry of religion has paid often enough."
"He was Wang An-Shih, a prime minister of the Sungs in the eleventh century. China was, as I have told you, a land governed by the ideas of Confucius. All officials had to pass examinations in the Confucian classics, and nobody dared to go against anything that Confucius had said. Wang An-Shih did not go against them, but he interpreted them in a remarkable way. That is a way clever people have of getting round a difficulty. Some of Wang’s ideas were remarkably modern. His whole object was to lessen the burden of taxation on the poor and increase it on the rich who could afford to pay. He lowered the land taxes and permitted the peasants to pay them in kind—that is, in grain or other produce—if they found payment in money difficult. On the rich he levied an income-tax. This is supposed to be quite a modern tax, and yet we find it proposed in China 900 years ago."
"The two chief Daimyo families were the Taira and the Minamoto. They helped the Emperor in suppressing the Fujiwaras in 1156 AC. But then they attacked each other. The Tairas won, and, perhaps to make sure that the rival family would not trouble them in future, they killed them. They killed all the leading Minamotos except four children, one of these being a twelve-year-old boy, Yoritomo. The Taira family, in spite of their attempts, had not been thorough enough. This boy Yoritomo, who was spared as of no great consequence, grew up a bitter enemy of the Taira family, full of the desire for vengeance. He succeeded. He drove them out of the capital, and then smashed them up at a naval battle."
"Yoritomo now became all powerful, and the Emperor gave him the high-sounding title of Sei-i-tai-Shogun, which means the Barbarian-subduing-great-general. This was in 1192 AC. The title was hereditary, and with it went full power to govern. The Shogun was the real ruler. In this way began the Shogunate in Japan. It was to last a very long time, nearly 700 years, almost to recent times,"
"he established his military capital at Kamakura, and this first Shogunate is called therefore the Kamakura Shogunate. It lasted till 1333 AC, that is, for nearly 150 years."
"Civilizations, like empires, fall, not so much because of the strength of the enemy outside, as through the weakness and decay within. Rome fell not because of the barbarians; they merely knocked down something that was already dead. The heart of Rome had ceased beating when the arms and legs were cut off. We see something of this process in India and China and in the case of the Arabs. The collapse of Arabian civilization was sudden, even as their rise had been. In India and China the process is long-drawn-out and it is not easy to spot it."
"It is a little dangerous to live in a society which is closed up like a shell. We petrify there and grow unaccustomed to fresh air and fresh ideas. Fresh air is as necessary for societies as for individuals."
"Such a solution can only mean the ending of poverty and misery everywhere. This may take a long time, but we must aim at this, and at nothing less than this. Only then can we have real culture and civilization based on equality, where there is no exploitation of any country or class. Such a society will be a creative and progressive society, adapting itself to changing circumstances, and basing itself on the co-operation of its members. And ultimately it must spread all over the world."
"In another 100 years another people came on the scene. These were the Aztecs from Mexico. Early in the fourteenth century they conquered the Maya country and about 1325 AC they founded the city of Tenochtitlan. Soon this became the capital city of the whole Mexican world, the centre of the Empire of the Aztecs, with a vast population."
"Early in the sixteenth century (in 1519), when the Aztecs were apparently at the height of their power, the whole empire came down with a crash before a handful of foreign bandits and adventurers! This is one of the most amazing examples of the collapse of an empire. And this was brought about by a Spaniard, Hernan Cortés, and a small troop with him. Cortés was a brave man, and daring enough. He had two things which were of great help to him—firearms and horses. Apparently there were no horses in the Mexican Empire, and there were certainly no firearms. But neither Cortés’s courage nor his guns and horses would have availed him if the Aztec Empire had not been rotten at heart. It had decayed inside, just keeping the outer form, and even a little kick was enough to bring it down. The empire was based on exploitation and was much resented by the people."
"In South America there was another seat of civilization in Peru, and the Inca ruled it. He was a kind of divine monarch. It is strange that this Peruvian civilization was, in its later days at least, completely cut off from the Mexican civilization. They were not far from each other, and yet they knew nothing of each other, and this itself shows their remarkable backwardness in some respects. A Spaniard also put an end to this Peruvian State soon after Cortés had succeeded in Mexico. This was Pizarro. He came in 1530 and he seized the Inca by treachery. The seizure of the “divine” monarch itself terrified the people. Pizarro tried to rule in the name of the Inca for some time and extorted vast wealth. Later this pretence was ended and the Spaniards made Peru a part of their dominions."
"in the Indus Valley we go back not only 5000 years but many more thousands, till we are lost in the dim mists of antiquity when man first settled down."
"another great charge brought against the “Moriscos” was that they were tolerant in religion. It is extraordinary to read of this, and yet this was one of the main charges in an account of the “Apostacies and Treasons of the Moriscos” drawn up by the Archbishop of Valencia in 1602, when he was recommending the expulsion of Saracens from Spain. Referring to this he says, “that they [the Moriscos] commended nothing so much as that liberty of conscience in all matters of religion, which the Turks, and all other Mohammedans, suffer their subjects to enjoy”. What a great compliment was thus paid unwittingly to the Saracens in Spain,"
"For centuries Spain had been the centre of civilization, the seat of arts and sciences, of learning and every form of refined enlightenment. No other country in Europe had so far approached the cultivated dominion of the Moors. The brief brilliancy of Ferdinand and Isabella, and of the Empire of Charles, could found no such enduring pre-eminence. The Moors were banished; for a while Christian Spain shone, like the moon, with a borrowed light; then came the eclipse, and in that darkness Spain has grovelled ever since."
"Thus began the Crusades in 1095 AC, and for more than 150 years the struggle continued between Christianity and Islam, between the Cross and the Crescent."
"The chief result of the Crusades was to bring death and misery to millions of Christians and Muslims and again to soak Asia Minor and Palestine with human blood."
"Politicians usually hide their real reasons and talk pompously of religion and justice and truth and the like. It was so at the time of the Crusades. It is so still."
"There is a story that once Richard was very ill and was suffering from the heat. Saladin, hearing of this, arranged to send him fresh snow and ice from the mountains."
"There are many stories of the time of the Crusades. Perhaps you have read Walter Scott’s Talisman."
"The last Crusade took place in 1249. It was headed by Louis IX, King of France, who was defeated and taken prisoner."
"Frederick I of Hohenstaufen became Emperor in 1152. He is usually called Frederick Barbarossa. He it was who got drowned on his way to the Crusades."
"grandson of Frederick Barbarossa was also called Frederick. He became Emperor at an early age and was called Frederick II. He was the man who was called stupor mundi, the Wonder of the World, and who went to Palestine and had a friendly talk with the Egyptian Sultan. He also, like his grandfather, defied the Pope and refused to obey him. The Pope retaliated by excommunicating him."
"This was the signing of the Magna Carta by King John in 1215 AC. John had succeeded his brother, Richard Coeur de Lion. He was very grasping, but he was also weak and he succeeded in irritating everybody. The nobles cornered him at the island of Runnymede in the Thames and, almost at the sword’s point, forced him to sign this Magna Carta, or Great Charter, which contained a promise that he would respect certain liberties of the nobles and people of England."
"It is interesting to note that this rule laid down in England over 700 years ago does not apply to India even in 1932 under British rule. Today one individual, the Viceroy, has power to issue Ordinances, framing laws and depriving people of their liberty and their property."
"national council gradually grew up to which knights and citizens were sent from the different country areas and the cities. This was the beginning of the English Parliament. The knights and citizens came to form the Commons’ House; the nobles and the bishops formed the Lords’ House. This Parliament had little power to begin with, but this grew gradually. Ultimately there came the final test between the King and Parliament, as to who was supreme. The King lost his head, and Parliament became undisputed master. But this was to take place after nearly 400 years, in the seventeenth century."
"Last came the Ottoman Turks and to them fell the great prize of the imperial city of Constantinople in 1453 AC. And with the fall of the city, fell also the Eastern Empire."
"For another 150 years or more after Mahmud, neither Muslim conquest nor Islam made much progress in India."
"An Afghan chief had arisen in Afghanistan, who captured Ghazni and put an end to the Ghaznavite Empire. He is called Shahab-ud-din Ghuri (Ghur being some little town in Afghanistan). He came down to Lahore, took possession of it, and then marched to Delhi. The King of Delhi was Prithvi Raj Chauhan, and under his leadership many other chiefs of northern India fought against the invader and defeated him utterly. But only for a while. Shahab-ud-din returned next year with a great force, and this time he defeated and killed Prithvi Raj."
"Thus in 1192 AC was won the first great victory by Shahab-ud-din, which resulted in the establishment of Muslim rule in India."
"It was not a question of a Muslim killing a Hindu because of his religion; but a question of an alien conqueror trying to break the spirit of the conquered. Religion is almost always brought in to explain these acts of cruelty, but this is not correct. Sometimes religion was used as a pretext. But the real causes were political or social. The people from Central Asia, who invaded India, were fierce and merciless even in their homelands and long before they were converted to Islam. Having conquered a new country, they knew only one way of keeping it under control—the way of terror."
"The first effect of the Muslim invasion was an exodus of people to the south. After Mahmud’s raids and massacres, Islam was associated in northern India with barbarous cruelty and destruction. So when the new invasion came and could not be checked, crowds of skilled craftsmen and learned men went to southern India. This gave a great impetus to Aryan culture in the south."
"About the time of the Afghan invasions in northern India, the Cholas were dominant in southern India. Soon, however, they began to decline, and a little kingdom, which was subordinate to them, became independent and grew in power. This was the Pandya kingdom, with Madura for its capital and Kayal as its port. A famous traveller from Venice, Marco Polo, about whom I shall have something more to say later, visited Kayal, the port, twice, in 1288 and in 1293. He describes the town as “a great and noble city”, full of ships from Arabia and China, and humming with business. Marco himself came by ship from China."
"After Shahab-ud-din, the Afghan, who defeated Prithvi Raj, there came a succession of Sultans of Delhi called the Slave Kings. The first of them was Qutub-ud-din. He had been a slave of Shahab-ud-din, but even slaves could rise to high positions, and he managed to become the first Sultan of Delhi."
"It was during the reign of Iltutmish (from 1211 to 1236) that a great and terrifying cloud hovered over the frontiers of India. This was composed of the Mongols under Chengiz Khan. Right up to the Indus he came, pursuing an enemy, but there he stopped. India escaped him. It was nearly 200 years later that another of his breed, Timur, came down to India to massacre and destroy. But although Chengiz did not come, many Mongols made a practice of raiding India, and even coming right up to Lahore. They spread terror and frightened even the Sultans, who sometimes bribed them off. Many thousands of them settled down in the Punjab."
"The Slave kings ended in 1290. Soon after came Ala-ud-din Khilji, who came to the throne by the gentle method of murdering his uncle, who was also his father-in-law. He followed this up by having all the Muslim nobles whom he suspected of disloyalty killed. Fearing a Mongol plot, he ordered that every Mongol in his territories should be killed, so that “not one of the stock should be left alive upon the face of the earth”. And so 20,000 or 30,000 of them, most of them of course quite innocent, were massacred."
"the people of the country, the Hindus, were being slowly converted to Islam. The process was not rapid. Some changed their religion because Islam appealed to them, some did so because of fear, some because it is natural to want to be on the winning side."
"People who were not Muslims had to pay a special tax, a poll tax—jezia, as it was called. This was a great burden on the poor. Many would change their religion just to escape it. Among the higher classes desire to gain Court favour and high office was a powerful motive. Ala-ud-din’s great general, Malik Kafur, who conquered the south, was a convert from Hinduism."
"his most famous exploit was his decision to ruin Delhi, his own capital, because some of the people of the city had dared to criticize his policy in anonymous notices. He ordered that the capital should be transferred from Delhi to Deoghiri in the south (in Hyderabad State now). This place he called Daulatabad."
"This was the person who is known as Chengiz Khan (or Genghiz or Jenghiz or Jengiz Khan—there are many ways of spelling it). He was born in 1155 AC and his original name was Timuchin. His father, Yesugei-Bagatur, died when he was a little boy. “Bagatur”, by the way, was a favourite name for Mongol nobles. It means “hero” and I suppose the Urdu bahadur comes from it."
"A Secret History of the Mongol People written in the thirteenth century, and published in China in the fourteenth century, describes this election: “And so, when all the generations living in felt tents became united under a single authority, in the year of the Leopard, they assembled near the sources of the Onan, and raising the White Banner on Nine Legs, they conferred on Chengiz the title of Kagan.”"
"This also reminds us that Chengiz did not simply dash across Asia in a fit of youthful enthusiasm. He was a cautious and careful middle-aged man, and every big thing he did was preceded by thought and preparation."
"If they won great victories on the field of battle, it was not because of their numbers, but because of their discipline and organization. And above all it was due to the brilliant captainship of Chengiz. For Chengiz is, without doubt, the greatest military genius and leader in history. Alexander and Caesar seem petty before him. Chengiz was not only himself a very great commander, but he trained many of his generals and made them brilliant leaders."
"This march, begun in 1219, opened the eyes of Asia, and partly of Europe too, to this new terror, this great roller which came on inexorably, crushing down cities and men by the million. The Empire of Khwarazm ceased to exist. The great city of Bokhara, full of palaces, and with over a million population, was reduced to ashes. Samarqand, the capital, was destroyed, and out of a million people that lived there, only 50,000 remained alive. Herat, Balkh and many other flourishing cities were all destroyed. Millions were killed."
"Chengiz died in 1227 at the age of seventy-two. His empire extended from the Black Sea in the west to the Pacific Ocean, and it was still vigorous and growing. His capital was still the little town of Karakorum in Mongolia. Nomad as he was, he was an extremely able organizer, and he was wise enough to employ able ministers to help him. His empire, so rapidly conquered, did not break up at his death."
"Right across Asia and Europe the mighty Mongol Empire sprawled. There had never been in history anything to compare with the Mongol conquests; there had never been such a vast empire. The Mongols must indeed have seemed at the time the lords of the world. India was free from them at the time simply because they had not gone that way. Western Europe, just about the size of India, was also outside the Empire. But all these places existed almost on sufferance, and only so long as the Mongols did not take it into their heads to swallow them up. So it must have seemed in the thirteenth century."
"Kublai Khan died in 1292. After him there was no Great Khan."
"Travels of Marco Polo"
"The Great Khan, Kublai, died soon after Marco Polo left him. The Yuan dynasty, which he had founded in China, did not long survive him. The Mongol power declined rapidly, and there was a Chinese nationalist wave against the foreigner. Within sixty years the Mongols had been driven out from South China, and a Chinaman had established himself as Emperor at Nanking. In another dozen years—in 1368—the Yuan dynasty fell finally and the Mongols were driven beyond the Great Wall. Another great Chinese dynasty—the “Tai Ming” dynasty—comes upon the scene now. For a long period, nearly 300 years, this dynasty ruled in China, and this period is looked upon as one of good government, prosperity and culture."
"The Church started the reign of violence in religion, formally and officially, in 1233, by starting what is called the Inquisition. This was a kind of court which inquired into the orthodoxy of people’s beliefs, and if they did not come up to the standard, their usual punishment was death by burning. There was a regular hunt for “heretics”, and hundreds of them were burnt at the stake. Even worse than this burning was the torture inflicted on them to make them recant. Many poor unfortunate women were accused of being witches and were burnt."
"To call a starving man free is but to mock him."
"Only in one country can it be said that economic freedom has been won by the people generally, and that is Russia, or rather the Soviet Union."
"In India there was no such fight for freedom of conscience because from the earliest days this right never seems to have been denied. People could believe in almost anything they liked and there was no compulsion."
"You know something of Jeanne d’Arc (or Joan of Arc), the Maid of Orleans. She is a heroine of yours. She gave confidence to her dispirited people and inspired them to great endeavour, and under her lead they drove out the English from their country. But for all this the reward she got was a trial and sentence of the Inquisition and the stake. The English got hold of her, and they made the Church condemn her, and then in the market-place of Rouen they burnt her in 1430. Many years later the Roman Church sought to undo what had been done by reversing the decision condemning her; and long afterwards they made her a saint!"
"The date of the fall of Constantinople is a great date in history. It is supposed to be the end of one era and the beginning of another. The Middle Ages are over. The 1000 years of the Dark Ages end, and there is a quickening in Europe, and fresh life and energy are visible. This is called the beginning of the Renaissance—the rebirth of learning and art."
"In the course of our wanderings through past ages we have seen many invasions of Europe by Asia. There were some invasions of Asia by Europe, but they were of little moment. Alexander went across Asia to India without any great result. The Romans never went beyond Mesopotamia. Europe, on the other hand, was repeatedly overrun by Asiatic tribes from the earliest times. Of these Asiatic invasions the Ottoman invasion of Europe was the last."
"You will remember that Kublai Khan was the last Great Khan. After his death in 1292 the vast empire, which stretched right across Asia from Korea to Poland and Hungary in Europe, split up into five empires. Each of these five empires was in reality a very big empire. In a previous letter (No. 68) I have given you the names of these five."
"In the far west was the Empire of the Golden Horde—what a fascinating name these people had! The Russian nobles paid tribute to it for nearly 200 years after Kublai’s death. At the end of this period (1480) the Empire was weakening a little and the Grand Duke of Moscow, who had managed to become the chief Russian noble, refused to pay tribute. This Grand Duke is called Ivan the Great. In the north of Russia there was the old republic of Novgorod, which was controlled by merchants and traders. Ivan defeated this republic and added it to his dukedom. Constantinople meanwhile had fallen to the Turks and the family of the old emperors had been driven out. Ivan married a girl of this old imperial family, and thus claimed to be in the imperial line and an heir to old Byzantium. The Russian Empire, which was finally ended by the revolutions of 1917, began in this way, under Ivan the Great."
"His grandson, who was very cruel, and was therefore called Ivan the Terrible, gave himself the title of Tsar, which was the equivalent of Caesar or Emperor."
"The wealth of India attracted this savage. He had some difficulty in inducing his generals and nobles to agree to his proposal to invade India. There was a great council in Samarqand, and the nobles objected to going to India because of the great heat there. Ultimately Timur promised that he would not stay in India. He would just plunder and destroy and return. He kept his word."
"when Timur came with an army of Mongols there was no great resistance and he went on gaily with his massacres and pyramids. Both Hindus and Muslims were slain. No distinction seems to have been made. The prisoners becoming a burden, he ordered all of them to be killed and 100,000 were massacred. At one place, it is said, both the Hindus and Muslims jointly performed the Rajput ceremony of jauhar—marching out to die in battle."
"After Timur’s departure, Delhi was a city of the dead. Famine and pestilence reigned unchecked. There was no ruler or organization or order for two months. There were few inhabitants. Even the man Timur had appointed as his Viceroy in Delhi retired to Multan."
"Certainly the world is more civilized and cultured now. Why, then, do we relapse back into barbarism during periods of war? Because war itself is a negation and denial of civilization and culture, except in so far as it takes advantage of the civilized brain to invent and use more and more powerful and horrible weapons."
"Timur, as we have seen, was one of the worst afflictions that befell India."
"Let us look at the India of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The Delhi Sultanate shrinks till it vanishes away on Timur’s coming. There are a number of large independent States all over India, mostly Muslim; but there is one powerful Hindu State—Vijayanagar—in the south."
"right through history, from the earliest times, reformers have risen in Hinduism, who have tried to rid it of its abuses. Buddha was the greatest of these. I have also told you of Shankaracharya, who lived in the eighth century. Three hundred years later, in the eleventh century, there lived in the south, in the Chola Empire, another great reformer who was the leader of a rival school of thought to that of Shankara. His name was Ramanuja."
"Ramanand, who lived in the south in the fourteenth century, was the first well-known teacher who preached this synthesis. He preached against caste and ignored it. Among his disciples was a Muslim weaver named Kabir, who became even more famous later on. Kabir became very popular. His songs in Hindi, as you perhaps know, are very well known now even in remote villages in the north. He was neither Hindu nor Muslim; he was both, or something between the two, and his followers came from both religions and all castes."
"A little after Kabir there rose another great reformer and religious leader in the north. This was Guru Nanak, who was the founder of Sikhism. He was followed, one after the other, by the ten gurus of the Sikhs, the last of whom was Guru Govind Singh."
"One other name, famous in Indian religious and cultural history, I should like to mention here. This was Chaitanya, a famous scholar of Bengal early in the sixteenth century, who suddenly decided that his scholarship was not worthwhile and left it, and took to the ways of faith. He became a great bhakta, who went about singing bhajans with his disciples all over Bengal. He founded also a Vaishnavite order, and his influence is still great in Bengal."
"On the plains of Panipat, near Delhi, in 1526, Babar won the Empire of Hindustan. A great empire rose again, known as the Moghal Empire of India, and Delhi again attained prominence and became the seat of this empire."
"In Jaunpur, newly founded, there was a small Muslim State ruled by the Sharqi kings. It was not big and powerful, and politically it was not important. But for nearly 100 years in the fifteenth century it was a great seat of culture and toleration in religion. The Muslim colleges of Jaunpur spread these ideas of toleration, and one of the rulers even tried to bring about that synthesis between Hindus and Muslims of which I wrote to you in my last letter."
"The city of Vijayanagar, he says, is as “large as Rome and very beautiful to the sight”. He describes at length the wonders of the city, and the charms of its innumerable lakes and waterways and fruit gardens. It is, he says, “the best-provided city in the world . . . for the state of the city is not like that of other cities, which often fail of supplies and provisions, for in this everything abounds.”"
"Vijayanagar was defeated by this league of States in 1565. There was terrible slaughter, and the sack of the great city followed soon after."
"Hung Wu was the first Emperor of the new Ming dynasty. His son, Yung Lo, was also a great ruler. He was Emperor from 1402 to 1424. But I must not inflict these Chinese names upon you. There were several good rulers and then, as usually happens, there was deterioration. But let us forget the emperors and consider this period in China’s history. It is a bright period, and there is a singular charm about it. The word “Ming” itself means bright. The Ming dynasty lasted for 276 years—from 1368 to 1644. It is the most typically Chinese of all dynasties, and during their rule the genius of the Chinese people had full scope."
"China at the end of the fifteenth century was far ahead of Europe in wealth, industry, and culture. During the whole of the Ming period, no country in Europe or elsewhere could compare with China in the happiness and artistic activity of its people. And remember that this covered the great Renaissance period in Europe."
"the Manchus would have had great difficulty in conquering China if China had not been split up into rival factions. Foreign invasions in almost every country—China, India, etc.—have always succeeded because of the weakness of that country and the internal conflicts of its people. So in China there were disturbances all over the country."
"The general of the Mings who was leading the armies against the Manchus was Wu San-Kwei. He was hard put to it to know what to do between the brigand emperor and the Manchus. Very foolishly, or perhaps traitorously, he asked the Manchus to help him against the brigand. The Manchus gladly did so—and of course remained in Peking! Wu San-Kwei then, convinced of the helplessness of the Ming cause, deserted it and joined the foreign invaders, the Manchus."
"If the government was as good as it is supposed to be, why were there revolts and internal troubles? Why could not the foreign invaders from Manchuria be stopped? Probably the government became oppressive towards the end. And it may be that too much parental government weakened the people. Spoon-feeding is not good for children or nations."
"You can compare the two to a cultured person of middle age, rather fond of a quiet life, not keen on new adventure and a disturbance of his routine, busy with his classics and his art; and a young boy, rather uncouth, but full of energy and inquiry and seeking adventure everywhere."
"in 1636, Japan was sealed up. The Portuguese were expelled; all Japanese, Christians or non-Christians, were forbidden to go abroad for any reason whatsoever; and no Japanese living abroad could return to Japan, on pain of death!"
"For over 200 years Japan was almost completely cut off from the world, even from its neighbours, China and Korea."
"Another tendency to be noticed in India is the desire to look back and not forward; to the heights we once occupied and not to the heights we hope to occupy."
"Within two years, in 1642, civil war began, the King on one side, supported by many nobles and a great part of the army, the Parliament on the other, supported by the rich merchants and the city of London. For several years this war dragged on, till there arose on the side of Parliament a great leader, Oliver Cromwell. He was a great organizer, a stern disciplinarian and a man full of religious enthusiasm for the cause. “In the dark perils of war,” says Carlyle about Cromwell, “in the high places of the field, hope shone in him like a pillar of fire, when it had gone out in all the others.” Cromwell built up a new army, the “Ironsides” they were called, and filled them with his own disciplined enthusiasm. The “Puritans” of the army of Parliament faced the “Cavaliers” of Charles. Cromwell won in the end, and Charles, the King, became a prisoner of Parliament."
"England was for the first time a republic, and Cromwell and his army were there to defend her. Cromwell was practically a dictator. He was called the “Lord Protector” Under his stern and efficient rule England’s strength grew and her fleets drove away the Dutch and French and Spanish fleets. For the first time England became the chief naval Power in Europe."
"He abolished the jizya poll tax on non-Muslims and the tax on Hindu pilgrims. He married himself a girl of a noble Rajput family; later he married his son to a Rajput girl also; and he encouraged such mixed marriages. He appointed Rajput nobles to the highest posts in his Empire. Several of his bravest generals and most capable ministers and governors were Hindus. Raja Man Singh was even sent for a while as governor to Kabul."
"Then came the fifth guru, Arjun Singh, who compiled the Granth, which is a collection of sayings and hymns, and is the sacred book of the Sikhs. For a political offence Jahangir had Arjun Singh tortured to death."
"Under their sixth guru, Hargovind, they became a military brotherhood, and from that time onwards they were often in conflict with the ruling power. Guru Hargovind was himself imprisoned for ten years by Jahangir. The ninth guru was Tegh Bahadur, who lived in Aurangzeb’s reign. He was ordered by Aurangzeb to embrace Islam, and on his refusal, he was executed. The tenth and the last guru was Govind Singh. He made the Sikhs into a powerful military community, mainly to oppose the Delhi Emperor."
"it was his son, Shivaji, born in 1627, who became the glory of the Marathas and the terror of the Empire. When only a boy of nineteen he started on his predatory career and captured his first fort near Poona. He was a gallant captain, an ideal guerilla leader and adventurer, and he built up a band of brave and hardened mountaineers, who were devoted to him. With their help he captured many forts and gave Aurangzeb’s commanders a bad time. In 1665 he suddenly appeared at Surat, where there was the English factory, and sacked the city. He was induced to visit Aurangzeb’s Court at Agra, but he felt humiliated and insulted by not being treated as an independent prince. He was kept a prisoner, but escaped. Even then Aurangzeb tried to win him over by giving him the title of raja."
"Having prepared the ground by forgery and treason, Clive defeated the Nawab at Plassey in 1757. This was a small battle, as battles go, and indeed it had been practically won by Clive by his intrigues even before the fighting began. But the little battle of Plassey had big results. It decided the fate of Bengal, and British dominion in India is often said to begin from Plassey."
"few years later, in 1764, the British won another battle, at Buxar, which resulted in the nominal Emperor at Delhi submitting to them."
"Haider Ali of Mysore was their bitter opponent. He was an able and fierce leader, and he repeatedly defeated the English forces. In 1769 he dictated terms of peace favourable to himself under the very walls of Madras. Ten years later he was again successful in a large measure, and after his death his son, Tippu Sultan, became a thorn in the side of the British. It took two more Mysore wars and many years to finally defeat Tippu."
"England satisfied her conscience by censuring or trying these men, but in her heart she admired them, and was willing enough to profit by their policy. Clive and Hastings may be censured, but they are the typical empire-builders, and so long as empires have to be forcibly imposed on subject people, and these people exploited, such men will come to the front and will gain admiration."
"Clive may have been censured by the British Parliament, but they have put up a statue to him in front of the India Office in Whitehall in London, and inside, his spirit dwells and fashions British policy in India."
"the East India Company—a trading company—was governing India. There was growing control by the British Parliament, but, in the main, India’s destinies were in the hands of a set of merchant adventurers. Government was largely trade, trade was largely plunder. The lines of distinction were thin. Enormous dividends of 100 per cent, and 150 per cent, and over 200 per cent, per year were paid by the Company to its shareholders."
"A new dynasty usually produces some capable rulers to begin with and then tails off into incompetents."
"The Chinese language, you will remember, consists of characters, not words. Kang Hi had a lexicon or dictionary of the language prepared. This was a mighty work containing over 40,000 characters, with numerous phrases illustrating them. It is said to be unrivalled even today. Another of the productions which we owe to Kang Hi’s enthusiasm was a huge illustrated encyclopaedia, a wonderful work running into several hundred volumes. This was a complete library in itself; everything was dealt with, every subject considered. The book was printed from movable copper plates after Kang Hi’s death. The third important work I shall mention here was a concordance of the whole of Chinese literature—that is, a kind of dictionary in which words and passages are collected and compared. This also was an extraordinary piece of work, as it involved a close study of the whole of literature. Full quotations from poets, historians and essayists were given."
"James I, the King of England, who was father of Charles I who lost his head, was a great believer in the autocracy and the divine right of kings. He did not like Parliament or the upstart merchants of London and, in his anger, threatened the citizens of London with the removal of his Court to Oxford. The Lord Mayor of London was unmoved by this threat, and he said that he hoped “His Majesty would be graciously pleased to leave them the Thames”!"
"The great hero of South American independence was Simon Bolivar, called El Libertador, the Liberator. The Republic of Bolivia in South America is named after him."
"Monroe was President of the United States then, and he told the European Powers that if they interfered anywhere in America, North or South, they would have to fight the United States. This threat frightened the European Powers, and since then they have more or less kept away from South America. President Monroe’s threat to Europe has become famous as the “Monroe Doctrine”."
"This is the name of Ahilya Bai, a ruler of Indore for thirty years from 1765 to 1795. She was a young widow of thirty when she came to the gaddi, and she succeeded remarkably well in administering her State."
"In the east, Burma had spread right up to Assam. So there was bound to be conflict with the ever-advancing British. There were three wars with Burma, each time the British annexing some territory. The first war in 1824-26 resulted in Assam coming under the British; in the second war, in 1852, South Burma was annexed. North Burma, with the capital at Ava near Mandalay, was completely cut off from the sea and left high and dry, at the mercy of the British. The end came in 1885, when there was a third Burma War, and the whole of the country was annexed by the British and joined on to the British Empire. But Burma was in theory a vassal of China; and indeed it used to send tribute regularly. It is curious to note that the British, when annexing Burma, agreed to continue this tribute to China."
"Kashmir was sold by the British to a certain Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu for about seventy-five lakhs of rupees. It was a bargain for Gulab Singh! The poor people of Kashmir of course did not count in the transaction."
"But the fate of the Revolt was settled by the Indians themselves. The Sikhs and the Gurkhas supported the British. The Nizam in the south, and Scindia in the north, and many other Indian States, also lined up with the British. Even apart from these defections, the Revolt had the seeds of failure in it. It was fighting for a lost cause, the feudal order; it had no good leadership; it was badly organized, and there were mutual squabbles all the time."
"It is also well to remember that the cruelty of a mob is nothing compared to the cruelty of an organized government when it begins to behave like a mob. Even today, if you go to many of the villages in our province, you will find that the people have still got a vivid and ghastly memory of the horrors that befell them during the crushing of the Revolt."
"The Revolt of 1857-58 was the last flicker of feudal India. It ended many things. It ended the line of the Great Moghal, for Bahadur Shah’s two sons and a grandson were shot down in cold blood, without any reason or provocation, by an English officer, Hodson, as he was carrying them away to Delhi. Thus, ignominiously, ended the line of Timur and Babar and Akbar."
"Even before the industrialization of England a famous English writer had pointed out the harmful effects of the East India Company’s rule in India. This man was Adam Smith, who is called the father of political economy. In a famous book of his called The Wealth of Nations, which was published as early as 1776, he said, referring to the East India Company: The government of an exclusive company of merchants is perhaps the worst of all governments for any country whatever . . . It is the interest of the East India Company considered as sovereigns that the European goods which are carried to their Indian dominions should be sold there as cheaply as possible; and that the Indian goods which are brought from there should be sold there as dear as possible. But the reverse of this is their interest as merchants. As sovereigns their interest is exactly the same with that of the country which they govern. As merchants their interest is directly opposite to that interest. I"
"the first so-called legal title of the East India Company in Bengal was that of revenue-farmer on behalf of the Moghal Emperor. This was the grant of the Diwani to the Company in 1765."
"Within twelve years of Plassey, within four years of the grant of the Diwani, the policy of the East India Company, added to want of rain, brought about a terrible famine in Bengal and Bihar, when one-third of the whole population perished. I have referred to this famine of 1769-70 in a previous letter to you, and told you that, in spite of it, the East India Company collected the full amount of revenue."
"This settlement that Cornwallis made with the zamindars of Bengal and Bihar in 1793 is called the “Permanent Settlement”. The word “settlement” means the fixing of the amount of land revenue to be paid by each zamindar to the Government. For Bengal and Bihar this was fixed permanently. There was to be no change. Later on, as British rule spread in the north-west to Oudh and Agra, the British policy was changed. They had temporary settlements with zamindars, not permanent as in Bengal. Each temporary settlement was revised periodically, usually every thirty years, and the sum to be paid as land revenue was fixed afresh. Usually it was enhanced at every settlement."
"Owing to the duty on machinery, which was not taken off till 1860, the cost of building a factory in India was four times that of building it in England, although labour was far cheaper in India."
"it is foolish to get angry with a country or with a people, with Britain or the British. They were as much the victims of circumstances as we were. Our study of history has shown us that life is often very cruel and callous. To get excited over it, or merely to blame people, is foolish and does not help. It is much more sensible to try to understand the causes of poverty and misery and exploitation, and then try to remove them. If we fail to do so, and fall back in the march of events, we are bound to suffer."
"But one name towers above all others—that of Dadabhai Naoroji, who became the Grand Old Man of India and who first used the word Swaraj for India’s goal. One other name I shall tell you, for he is the sole survivor today of the old guard of the Congress, and you know him well. He is Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya. For over fifty years he has laboured in India’s cause, and, worn down with years and anxiety, he labours still for the realization of the dream he dreamed in the days of his youth."
"A high English officer in China, Sir Robert Hart, who was Inspector-General of the customs there at the time, went through the siege of the legations. He tells us that the foreigners, and especially the missionaries, were to blame for outraging Chinese feelings, and that the rebellion “was patriotic in its origin, and that it was justifiable in much that it aimed at cannot be questioned, and cannot be too much insisted on”."
"The actual truth has never been written about any war, and this will be no exception."
"In 1911 it changed its name to the Kuo-Min-Tang—the “People’s National Party”—and became the centre of the Chinese Revolution. Dr Sun, the inspirer of the movement, looked to the United States for his model. He wanted a republic, not a constitutional monarchy, as in England, and certainly no emperor-worship, as in Japan."
"On February 12, 1912, an Edict of Abdication was issued, and thus disappeared the Manchu dynasty from the Chinese stage, after over two and a half centuries of memorable rule. According to a Chinese phrase: “They had come in with the roar of a tiger, to disappear like the tail of a snake.”"
"About 1848 another great agitation shook the country. This was called the Chartist Agitation, because it was proposed to present a monster petition to Parliament containing a “People’s Charter” demanding various reforms. After frightening the ruling classes greatly, the movement was suppressed."
"This man was Otto von Bismarck, a junker—that is, a landowner in Prussia. Born in the year of Waterloo, he served for many years as a diplomatic envoy in various Courts. In 1862 he became Prime Minister of Prussia and immediately he began to make his influence felt. Within a week of his becoming Prime Minister he said in the course of a speech: “The great questions of the time will be decided, not by speeches and resolutions of majorities, but by iron and blood.”"
"The British ruling classes were so frightened by the French Revolution that they made laws—Combination Acts they were called— to prevent the poor workers from even meeting together to discuss their own grievance. “Law and order”, then in England as now in India, has always performed the very useful function of serving the ends and the pockets of the handful of those in authority."
"Partly because of him, the British Parliament passed the first law to protect the workers against the greed and selfishness of the employers. This was the Factory Act of 1819. This Act laid down that little children of nine should not be made to work more than twelve hours a day. This provision itself will give you some idea of the terrible conditions to which the workers had to submit."
"Owen’s idea was to have workers’ cooperative societies, and that workers should have a share in the factories."
"If instead of this the State could own and control this, or at any rate the principal means of production, like the land and the chief industries, then there would be no danger of the workers being exploited."
"Even the British brand of socialism became the most moderate of all. Fabianism this was called, from an old Roman general who refused to give direct battle to the enemy, but gradually wore them out. In 1867 the British franchise was still further extended and some of the city workers got the vote. The trade unions were so well-behaved and prosperous that the labour vote was given to the British Liberal Party."
"“That government is best which governs not at all; and when men are prepared for it that will be the kind of government which they will have”, said an American, Thoreau."
"It is easy enough to reconcile one’s conscience to any step that one desires to take."
"After the war was over, Lenin started a new Workers’ International in Moscow in 1919. This was a purely communist organization, and only declared communists could join it. This exists now, and is called the Third International."
"at present there are two International Workers’ organizations, briefly known as the Second and Third Internationals. Strangely enough, they both swear by Marxism, but each has its own interpretation, and yet they hate each other even more than they do their common enemy, capitalism."
"Socialism, I have told you, is of many kinds. There is general agreement, however, that it aims at the control by the State of the means of production—that is, land and mines and factories and the like—and the means of distribution, like railways, etc., and also banks and similar institutions. The idea is that individuals should not be allowed to exploit any of these methods or institutions, or the labour of others, to their own personal advantage."
"among Marxists also there are two main divisions in Europe—there are the Russian communists on the one hand, and the old social democrats of Germany, Austria and elsewhere on the other—and between the two there is no love lost."
"The British Empire thus became a curious medley of two types of countries: the self-governing countries, which later became the free dominions, and the dependencies and protectorates. The former were more or less family members acknowledging the headship of the mother-country, the latter were definitely the servants and slaves of the establishment, looked down upon, ill treated and exploited. The self-governing dominions consisted of British people or other Europeans and their descendants, the dependencies were all non-British, non-European. This difference between the two parts of the British Empire has persisted till now."
"When two such big parties run members for Parliament, it becomes very difficult for independent individuals or small groups to get elected. In spite of democracy and the vote, the poor voter has little say in the matter. He can either vote for the candidate of one of the parties or stay at home and not vote at all. And the members of the parties in Parliament have little independence left. They have to carry out the orders of their party chiefs and vote, and can do little else. For only in this way can they develop solidarity in the party and strength to defeat the rival party and thus gain office. This solidarity and uniformity is no doubt good in its own way, but it is very far from real democracy."
"England allowed foodstuffs to come from abroad to feed her population, and allowed her agriculture to suffer. She concentrated on manufacturing articles industrially for sale abroad, and ignored the plight of her farmers. If she could get cheap food from abroad, why should she trouble to raise it herself?"
"marched ahead in its ceaseless search for profits. Success and profits were the only gods that drew the worship of the people, for capitalism had nothing to do with religion or morality. It was the doctrine of cut-throat competition between individuals and nations,"
"This was the old French colony of Louisiana, which Napoleon sold to them, as he was quite unable to defend it from British naval attacks. A few years later, in 1822, a purchase, from Spain this time, brought Florida to the States, and in 1848 a successful war with Mexico brought several States in the south-west, including California."
"The people who were in favour of this were called the “Abolitionists”, and their principal leader was William Lloyd Garrison. In 1831 Garrison brought out a paper called the Liberator to support his anti-slavery agitation. In the very first issue of this paper he made it clear that he was not going to compromise on this issue,"
"He made another effort to win over the South and prevent this break-up. He gave them all manner of assurances about allowing slavery to go on; he even said that he was prepared to make it (where it existed) a part of the constitution, which would give it permanence. In fact, he was prepared to go to almost any length for peace, but one thing he would not agree to, and that was the break-up of the Union."
"He denied absolutely the right of any State to withdraw from the Union."
"Lincoln’s attempts to avoid Civil War failed. The South had decided to break away, and eleven States did so, while some other border States also sympathized with them. The seceding States called themselves the “Confederate States” and elected their own President, Jefferson Davis."
"in September 1862, he issued the Proclamation of Emancipation, in which it was declared that the slaves in all the States in rebellion against the government should be free on and after January 1st, 1863. The principal reason for issuing this proclamation was probably the desire to weaken the South in the war. It resulted in 4,000,000 slaves being freed, and it was no doubt hoped that these would create trouble in the Confederate States."
"I have told you already of the “Monroe Doctrine”, the rule which President Monroe of the United States laid down when some European Powers—the “Holy Alliance”— wanted to interfere in South America to preserve Spain’s empire. Monroe declared that the United States could not tolerate any armed intervention in the whole of America by any European Power. This declaration saved the young South American republics from Europe. It almost led to war with England once, but America has successfully stuck to this policy for more than 100 years now."
"In American politics two parties grew up—the Republican and the Democratic. As in England, and even more so than in England, they represented the same rich classes, and there was little difference of principle between them."
"In 1846 the potato crop failed, and this resulted in a great famine. But despite the famine the landlords turned out their tenantry for non-payment of rent. Large numbers of Irishmen left their homes for America and other countries, and Ireland became almost a depopulated land. Many of her fields were tilled no longer and became pasture-lands."
"The Ottoman Empire connected three continents—Europe, Asia, Africa; it covered all the ancient trade routes between East and West. If the Turks had been so inclined and had possessed the necessary capacity for it, they could have taken advantage of this favourable position and become a great commercial nation. But they had no such inclination or capacity, and they went out of their way to discourage this trade, probably because they did not like to see others profiting by it. It was partly owing to this stopping of the old trade routes that the seafaring and commercial peoples of Europe felt compelled to search for other routes to the East, and this led to the discoveries of new routes by Columbus in the west and Diaz and Vasco da Gama in the east."
"To give you an instance of how the European parts of the Ottoman dominions deteriorated: Athens, the famous city of old, was but a village of about 2000 inhabitants when Greece became free in 1829. (Now, hundred years later, Athens has a population of over 500,000.)"
"The strength of the Ottoman Sultans for several hundred years consisted in the “Janissaries”, a corps of Turkish soldiers consisting of Christian slaves, who were carefully trained from boyhood upwards."
"But remember that the word slave had not got quite the same meaning in Islamic countries in those days, as it has now. Slaves were often technically and legally slaves, but they rose to the highest offices. In India you will remember the Slave Kings of Delhi; Saladin of Egypt also was originally a slave. The point of view of the Turks seems to have been that a very thorough training should be given to the ruling class to make them as efficient as possible. They knew, as every teacher knows, that the best period to train a person is from early childhood upwards. It was perhaps not easy to take away the children of their Muslim subjects and cut them off completely from their parents or make them slaves. So they got hold of little Christian boys and made them join the Sultan’s slave household"
"Turkey’s history for the last 200 years is one of warfare against the continually advancing Russians and against revolts by subject nationalities. Greece, Rumania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Bosnia, were all Balkan countries and parts of the Ottoman Empire. Greece, as we saw, broke away in 1829 with the help of England, France and Russia."
"In 1774 Russia got the Crimea from Turkey, and thus reached the Black Sea."
"The Tsar of Russia, referring to Turkey, said to the British Ambassador in 1853: “We have on our hands a sick man—a very sick man . . . He may die suddenly upon our hands . . .” The phrase became a famous one, and Turkey was henceforth the “Sick Man of Europe”. But the sick man took a mighty long time in dying!"
"There was a famous international conference in Berlin in 1878 to consider the fate of Turkey, and Bismarck was there and Disraeli, and many other leading politicians of Europe, and they threatened and intrigued against each other. England seemed to be on the verge of war with Russia when the latter gave in. As a result of the Treaty of Berlin, the Balkan countries Bulgaria, Serbia, Rumania and Montenegro gained their independence; Austria occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina (which in theory remained under Turkish sovereignty); and Britain took the island of Cyprus, as a kind of commission from Turkey, for having sided with her to some extent."
"Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and Montenegro, anxious to drive Turkey out of Europe and share the spoils, and seeing that the moment was favourable, allied themselves together in a Balkan League and attacked Turkey in October 1912. Turkey was exhausted and disorganized, and a contest for power was going on between the constitutionalists and the reactionaries. She collapsed completely before the Balkan League and had huge losses. Thus the first Balkan War ended in a few months, and Turkey was driven out of Europe almost completely, with only Constantinople remaining to her."
"All the Ottoman Sultans, you will remember, were also Caliphs, or the religious heads of Islam. Abdul Hamid tried to exploit his position as such by attempting to build up a Pan-Islamic movement—that is, a movement in which Muslims of other countries could join, so that he could get their support. There was some talk of this Pan-Islamism for a few years in Europe and Asia, but it had no substantial foundation, and the Great War completely put an end to it. Pan-Islamism was opposed by nationalism in Turkey, and nationalism proved the greater force of the two."
"Russia today is a Soviet country, and its government is run by representatives of the workers and peasants. In some ways it is the most advanced country in the world."
"freedom repressed has a way of adding compound interest to itself, and when it moves forward, its progress is likely to be in jumps, which upset the old apple-cart."
"other ways they were harassed and humiliated. Poland, which was industrially more advanced than Russia, had been made just a province of Russia, and the very name of Poland had practically disappeared. The Polish language was prohibited. If this was the treatment accorded to Poland, worse treatment was given to other minorities and races."
"Jews were continually being subjected to pogroms— that is, massacres, and large numbers of them migrated to other countries."
"To meet this menace the Tsar’s government adopted a method which was carried to extraordinary lengths. They sent agents-provocateurs to the ranks of the terrorists and revolutionaries, and these people actually provoked bomb outrages, and sometimes committed them themselves, so that they might implicate others."
"In 1887, when he was seventeen, he had to face a terrible blow. His elder brother Alexander, to whom Lenin was greatly attached, was executed on the scaffold for taking part in a terroristic attempt on the Tsar’s life. In spite of the shock, Lenin said even then that freedom was not to be obtained by methods of terrorism; the way was through mass action only."
"the victory lay with Lenin, and the Social Democratic Party split up into two, and two names, which have since become famous, came into existence—Bolsheviki and Mensheviki. Bolshevik is now a terrible word for some people; but all it means is the majority. Menshevik means minority. Lenin’s group in the party, after this split in 1903, being in the majority, was called Bolshevik—that is, the majority party. It is interesting to note that at that time Trotsky, then a young man of twenty-four, who was to be Lenin’s great colleague in the 1917 revolution, was on the side of the Mensheviks."
"Strangely enough, these political strikes were rare in western Europe, in spite of its powerful trade unions and workers’ organizations. Or perhaps they were rare because the workers’ leaders had toned down on account of their vested interests."
"The workers who had struck, especially in big centres like Petersburg and Moscow, created a new organization—the “Soviet”—in each such centre. This was at first just a committee to run the general strike. Trotsky became the leader of the Petersburg Soviet."
"What the peasant revolts of the past had failed to do, what the terrorists with their bombs had not succeeded in doing, and what the moderate liberal constitutionalists with their cautious pleadings could not do, that the workers had done with their general strike. Tsardom, for the first time in its history, had to bow down to the common people. It turned out later to be an empty victory. But still the memory of it was a beacon of light for the workers."
"And yet—such stuff are revolutions made of!—of the Petersburg Bolshevik Committee of seven, it was discovered later that three were in the Tsarist secret service! The Bolsheviks had a small group in the Duma, and the leader of this was Malinowsky. He also was found to be a police agent! And Lenin trusted him."
"India was held down by a triple army of occupation—military, civil, and commercial. The British military forces, and the Indian mercenary army under British officers, were obvious enough as an alien army of occupation. But an even more powerful hold was that of the civil service, an irresponsible and highly centralized bureaucracy; and the third army, the commercial one, was supported by these two, and was the most dangerous of all, as most of the exploitation was done by this, or on its behalf, and its ways of exploiting the country were not so obvious as those of the other two."
"A statement made by an English statesman, Lord Salisbury, who was Secretary of State for India, has often been quoted, and, as it is illuminating, I shall give it to you here. He said in 1875: As India must be bled, the lancet should be directed to the parts where the blood is congested, or at least is sufficient, not to those which are already feeble from want of it."
"In 1911 the first general Indian Factory Act was passed. Even this Act fixed a twelve-hour day for men, and six hours for children."
"Each people was made to believe that their freedom was in danger and they must fight to defend it. The newspapers especially took a great part in creating this war atmosphere everywhere, which meant in effect bitter hatred of the people of the enemy countries."
"Lenin and his group (most of the leaders were in exile outside Russia) opposed the war from the very beginning. They were not carried away by it like most of the socialists of other countries. They called it a capitalists’ war, with which the working class had no concern except insofar as they could profit by it to win their own freedom."
"The Russian generals were, even for military men, who are not usually supposed to be endowed with much intelligence, remarkably incompetent."
"Matters came to such a pass that a disgusting scoundrel, known as Gregory Rasputin, became the chief favourite of the Tsarina, and through her, of the Tsar. Rasputin (the word Rasputin means “dirty dog”) had been a poor peasant who had got into trouble over stealing horses. He decided to put on a garb of holiness and adopt the paying profession of an ascetic. As in India, this was an easy way of making money in Russia. He grew his hair long, and with his hair his fame also grew till it reached the imperial Court. The only son of the Tsar and Tsarina, called the Tsarevitch, was a bit of an invalid, and Rasputin somehow made the Tsarina believe that he would cure the boy. His fortune was made, and soon he dominated the Tsar and Tsarina, and the highest appointments were made at his instance. He lived a most depraved life, and took huge bribes, but for years he played this dominating part. Everybody was disgusted by this. Even the moderates and the aristocracy began to murmur, and there was talk of a palace revolution— that is, a forcible change of Tsars. Meanwhile Tsar Nicholas had made himself the commander-in-chief of his army and was making a mess of everything. A few days before the end of the year 1916 Rasputin was murdered by a member of the Tsar’s family."
"When the Tsar heard of the workers’ strikes and disturbances in Petrograd, he ordered a declaration of martial law. This was formally declared by the general in command, but the declaration was not broadcast in the city or pasted up, as there was no one to do this job! The government machinery had gone to pieces. The Tsar, still blind to what was happening, tried to return to Petrograd. The railway workers stopped his train on the way. The Tsarina, who was then in a suburb of Petrograd, sent a telegram to the Tsar. It was returned from the telegraph office with a note in pencil: “Whereabouts of addressee unknown”!"
"The three immediate slogans of the Bolsheviks became (1) democratic republic, (2) confiscation of the landed estates, and (3) an eight-hour day for the workers. Immediately, these slogans brought reality into the struggle for the peasantry and workers. It was not a vague and empty ideal for them; it meant life and hope."
"Exactly a month after Lenin’s arrival another prominent exile came back to Petrograd. This was Trotsky, who had returned from New York after being detained on the way by the British. Trotsky was not one of the old Bolsheviks, nor was he now a Menshevik. But soon he lined up on the side of Lenin, and he took his place as the leading figure of the Petrograd Soviet. He was a great orator, a fine writer, and very much of an electric battery, full of energy, and he was of the greatest help to Lenin’s party."
"November 7 came, and Soviet soldiers went and occupied government buildings, especially the vital and strategic places like the telegraph office, telephone exchange, and the State Bank. There was no opposition. “The Provisional Government simply melted away,” said the official report sent to England by a British agent."
"Unimpressive to be the idol of the mob. A strange popular leader—a leader purely by virtue of intellect; colourless, humourless, uncompromising and detached, without picturesque idiosyncrasies—but with the power of explaining profound ideas in simple terms, of analysing a concrete situation. And combining with shrewdness the greatest intellectual audacity."
"Lenin’s advice was accepted in the end by the Soviet, and they signed the peace of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918, much as they hated it. By this peace a huge slice of Russian territory on the west was annexed by Germany, but peace at any cost had to be accepted as, according to Lenin, “the army had voted for peace with its legs”."
"they were after world revolution; only thus, they thought, could they protect their own revolution. I have already told you that Soviet propaganda had great effect on the French and German armies."
"A greater danger to the Soviet regime came from the members of the various civil services, many of whom refused to work under the Bolsheviks or co-operate with them in any way. Lenin laid down the principle that “he that will not work, neither shall he eat”; no work, no food. All civil servants who did not co-operate were immediately dismissed. The bankers refused to open their safes; they were opened by dynamite. But the supreme example of Lenin’s contempt for the servants of the old order who refused to co-operate was seen when the Commander-in-Chief refused to obey orders. He was dismissed, and within five minutes a young Bolshevik lieutenant, Krylenko, was made the Commander-in-Chief!"
"Lenin was opposed to the execution of the ex-Tsar on grounds of international policy, and of his family on humanitarian grounds. The deed having been done, however, the Central Government justified it."
"As the young French Republic had done a century and a quarter earlier, like a wild animal at bay, they turned on their enemies. There was to be no more tolerance, no mercy. The whole country was put under martial law, and early in September the Central Soviet Committee announced the Red Terror. “Death to all traitors, merciless war on the foreign invaders.” They would fight with their backs to the wall both the enemy within and the enemy without. It was the Soviet against the world and against its own reactionaries. A period of what is called “militant communism” also began, and the whole country was turned into a kind of besieged camp. Every effort was made to build up the Red Army, and Trotsky was put in charge of this."
"The Bolshevik Government sent a note to President Wilson pungently criticizing his Fourteen Points. In the course of this note they said: “You demand the independence of Poland, Serbia, Belgium, and freedom for the people of Austro-Hungary . . . But, strangely, we do not notice in your demands any mention of freedom for Ireland, Egypt, India, or even the Philippine Islands.”"
"Single-handed, the Soviets fought a host of enemies. At one time the Red Army was attacked on seventeen different fronts. England, America, France, Japan, Italy, Serbia, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, the Baltic States, Poland, and a host of counter-revolutionary Russian generals were all opposing the Soviet, and the fighting extended from eastern Siberia to the Baltic and the Crimea."
"The Allies also blockaded Russia, and so effective was this that for the whole of 1919 Russia could neither buy nor sell anything abroad."
"Freedom is a habit, and if we are deprived of it for long, we are apt to forget it."
"The farmers were not interested in producing much, because they said that the State would take away, under the militant communism then prevailing, all the extra stuff that they produced, so why should they take the trouble?"
"Lenin, with his genius for adapting fundamentals to existing conditions, immediately took action. He put an end to war-communism, and introduced a new policy called the New Economic Policy, or NEP for short (from the first letters). This gave greater freedom to the peasant to produce and sell his stuff, and it also permitted some private trading. It was a break-away to some extent from strict communistic principles, but Lenin justified it as a temporary measure."
"It is not many years since he died, and already Lenin has become a mighty tradition, not only in his native Russia, but in the world at large. As time passes he grows greater; he has become one of the chosen company of the world’s immortals. Petrograd has become Leningrad, and almost every house in Russia has a Lenin corner or a Lenin picture. But he lives, not in monuments or pictures, but in the mighty work he did, and in the hearts of hundreds of millions of workers today who find inspiration in his example, and the hope of a better day."
"In the past the Chinese people had attached little importance to political power as such. Their whole mighty civilization was based on culture, and it taught, in a way which has not been equalled elsewhere, the art of living. They were so full of this old culture of theirs that even when their political and economic structure fell down they clung to the old cultural ways."
"the very size of huge countries like China and India creates difficulties. They are continental countries, and have something of the heaviness of a continent about them. When an elephant falls, he takes his time to get up; he cannot jump up like a cat or a dog."
"These “Twenty-one Demands” became famous. I shall not give them here. They meant the transfer of all manner of rights and privileges to Japan, especially in Manchuria, Mongolia, and in the province of Shantung. The result of agreeing to these demands would have been to convert China practically into a colony of Japan. The feeble Northern Chinese Government objected to these demands, but what could they do against the powerful Japanese army? And, then, this Chinese Government in the north was itself not a popular one with its own people. However, it did one thing which helped. The Japanese demands were published. There was a tremendous outcry immediately in China,"
"In Africa the German colonies were seized by the Allies as spoils of war, England getting the choicest morsels. By adding Tanganyika and other territories in East Africa, the British succeeded in realizing a long-cherished dream of a continuous strip of empire right across Africa, from Egypt in the north to the Cape in the south."
"The League could only decide important matters unanimously. Thus if even one member-State voted against a proposition, it fell through. This meant that there was to be no coercion by a majority vote. It further meant that national sovereignties remained as independent and almost as irresponsible as before; the League did not become a kind of super-State over them. This provision weakened the League greatly and made it practically an advisory body."
"America, which was in a sense a parent of the League, refused to join it. The Americans disapproved of President Wilson’s activities and of European intrigues and complications, and decided to keep away."
"The Treaty should satisfy brigands, imperialists, and militarists. It is the death-blow to the hopes of those who expected the end of the war to bring peace. It is not a peace treaty, but a declaration of another war. It is the betrayal of democracy and of the fallen in the war. The Treaty exposes the true aims of the Allies."
"There is a tendency to give them far more importance than they deserve, and every quarrel between a Hindu boy and a Muslim boy is considered a communal quarrel, and every petty riot is given great publicity. We must remember that India is a very big country, and in tens of thousands of towns and villages Hindus and Muslims live at peace with each other, and there is no communal trouble between them."
"Probably the Muslims of India have resisted this nationalizing process more than any other large group of Muslims in the world, and they are thus far more conservative and religious-minded than their co-religionists of the Islamic countries."
"It was hardly possible to do anything on a big scale in the way of reform in social conditions if the richest people escaped taxation. During the long period of direct British rule, they had practically done nothing for primary education or the sanitation and improvement of village conditions."
"The unhappy Egyptian Parliament had appealed to the League of Nations against “the exploitation of a tragic incident for imperialist purposes”, but the League is blind and deaf to complaints against the great Powers."
"Thereupon King Fuad had to give way and elections were held under the old system. Result: vast majority for Zaghlul’s party— 200 to 14! There could not have been a greater proof of Zaghlul’s hold on the nation and of what Egypt wanted. In spite of this the British Commissioner (who was Lord Lloyd, an ex-Indian governor) said he objected to Zaghlul becoming Prime Minister and another person was, therefore, appointed. What business the English had to interfere in the matter it is a little difficult to understand. The new Government was, however, largely controlled by Zaghlul’s party and, in spite of all attempts at moderation, they often came into conflict with Lloyd, who was a most imperious and domineering individual, and who often threatened them with British warships."
"There was a coup d’état, and by a decree the King suspended Parliament and altered the constitution. The articles in the constitution dealing with the freedom of the Press and other liberties were abolished and a dictatorship was proclaimed. There were rejoicings in the English Press"
"The immediate cause, however, was a dispute about the “Wailing Wall”, as it is called. This is part of the wall which surrounded Herod’s temple in old times, and is thus sacred to the Jews, who look upon it as a monument of the days when they were a great people. Subsequently a mosque was built there, and this wall was made part of the structure. The Jews say their prayers near this wall and, especially, recite their lamentations in a loud voice—hence the name the “Wailing Wall”. The Muslims object to this practice near a part of one of their most famous mosques."
"it is a fact that the Jewish immigrants there have improved the country, introduced industries, and raised standards of living. But we must remember that Palestine is essentially an Arab country, and must remain so, and the Arabs must not be crushed and suppressed in their own homelands. The two peoples could well co-operate together in a free Palestine, without encroaching on each other’s legitimate interests, and help in building up a progressive country."
"In Hungary a revolution broke out as early as October 3, 1918, five weeks before the war ended. In November a republic was proclaimed. Four months later, in March 1919, a second revolution took place. This was a Soviet revolution under the leadership of a communist, Bela Kun, who had been associated with Lenin previously. A Soviet government was established, and it was in power for some months. Thereupon the conservative and reactionary elements in the country invited a Rumanian army to come to their help. The Rumanians came most willingly, helped to crush Bela Kun’s government, and then settled down to loot the country. They only left when the Allied Powers threatened to take action against them."
"The conservatives were opposed to any recognition of the Soviets, and in the next British general election, which came within a year of the last one, Russia figured greatly. This was due to the fact that a certain letter, known as the Zinoviev letter, was made a trump card by the conservatives in the election. In this letter communists in England were urged to work secretly for revolution. Zinoviev was a leading Bolshevik in the Soviet Government; he denied absolutely having written the letter and said that it must be a forgery. But still the conservatives exploited the letter fully and, partly with its help, managed to win the election. A Conservative Government was now formed with Stanley Baldwin as the Prime Minister. This government was repeatedly asked to investigate the truth or falsity of the “Zinoviev letter”, but it refused to do so. Subsequent disclosures in Berlin showed that it was a forgery made by a “white” Russian—that is, an anti-Bolshevik émigré Russian. The forgery, however, had done its work in England and put an end to one government and brought in another. By such trivial incidents are international affairs influenced!"
"I have not included the Soviet Union in the above list of dictatorships, because the dictatorship there, although as ruthless as any other, is of a different type. It is not the dictatorship of an individual or a small group, but of a well-organized political party basing itself especially on the workers. They call it the “dictatorship of the proletariat”. Thus we have three kinds of dictatorships—the communist type, the fascist, and the military."
"Patriotism among wealthy people does not apparently stand the strain of a risk to money or vested interest."
"When the war began, the American Government owed Europe five thousand million dollars; when the war ended Europe owed America ten thousand million dollars."
"To understand a person who lived long ago, you will have to understand his environment, the conditions under which he lived, the ideas that filled his mind. It is absurd for us to judge of past people as if they lived now and thought as we do. There is no one to defend slavery today, and yet the great Plato held that slavery was essential."