- What India Is Thinking About To-day. An unsigned omnibus review of ten books on India
- The Johns Hopkins University Press and Faber & Faber Ltd
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Part III EarlyJournalism: ReviewsandEssays This page intentionally left blank [ 389 What India Is Thinking About To-day An unsigned omnibus review of ten books on India, in order of mention: Indian Thought Past and Present, by Robert Watson Frazer London: T. F. Unwin, 1915. Pp. 339. Agricultural Industries in India, 2nd ed., by Seedick R. Sayani Madras: G. A. Natesan, . Pp. vii + 128. Lift Irrigation, 2nd ed., by Alfred Chatterton Madras: G. A. Natesan, 1912. Pp. iv + 354. Indian Industrial and Economic Problems, by Vaman Govind Kale Madras: G. A. Natesan, 1912. Pp. ii + 286. The Rise and Growth of Bombay Municipal Government, by Dinshaw Edulji Wacha Madras: G. A. Natesan, 1913. Pp. viii + 455. Village Government in British India, by John Matthai Preface by Sidney Webb London: T. F. Unwin, 1915. Pp. xix + 211. The Making of British India: 1756-1858, by Ramsay Muir Manchester: University Press, 1915. Pp. xiv + 398. Essays on Indian Economics: A Collection of Essays and Speeches, 2nd ed., by Mahadev Govind Ranade Madras: G. A. Natesan, 1906. Pp. iii + 353. 390 ] 1915: journalism Speeches and Writings of Dadabhai Naoroji, 2nd ed. Madras: G. A. Natesan, . Pp. vi + 216. Speeches and Writings of Gopal Krishna Gokhale Madras: G. A. Natesan, 1908. The New Statesman, 6 (18 Dec 1915) 2581 Why is it that so many cultivated British officials in India persist in ignoring what the young and educated Indians of to-day are thinking, and occupy themselves by preference, when they write about India, with a perpetual rehashofwhattheyimaginetobethephilosophyoftheVedas?Indians complain , not unnaturally, of the assumption that there is nothing else in the Indian mind, or that what else it holds is beneath the Englishman’s notice. We should consider it both incongruous and presumptuous if the title of “British Thought” were given to an analysis of the most ancient British Literature. Yet it apparently seems to Mr. R. W. Frazer quite natural to give the title Indian Thought to his nicely printed and well-illustrated account, not of the interests and achievements of Indian thinkers and writers during the past half-century in the various realms of knowledge and literature, but exclusively of the Vedas and the Upanishads, and their various philosophical interpretations.2 Why should these speculations on “the problem of the Universe”–in the case of India only–monopolise the word “thought”? No one would suppose from Mr. Frazer’s book, or could infer from the excellentillustrationsthatareitsbestfeature ,thatIndianseverthoughtabouteconomicsorpolitics ,oranybranchofphysicalscience,orhadanycontroversies about commerce or currency, art or industry; or that both the Hindoos and the Parsees had shown extraordinary originality and constructive power, alike in educational institutions, in such manufacturing industries as the cotton mills of Ahmedabad and Bombay, and in the really remarkable enterprises of the Tatas.3 We do not find this exclusive absorption in philosophical speculation in what is written by Indians themselves. Works on industrial development, and on the application to India of the economic principles worked out in Britain and America, and are now appearing one after another. We take up thelittlevolumebyMr.Sayani,notbecauseitisafirst-ratework,butbecause [ 391 What India Is Thinking About To-day it has got to a second edition, and as being the sharpest possible contrast to Mr. Frazer’s representation on Indian Thought.4 Here we have an extremely practical survey of Agricultural Industries in India, giving concise information about a large number of agricultural products, old and new, from the sugar cane to India-rubber–not forgetting “agriculture, floriculture and sericulture ”–with a quite interesting discussion of the methods by which the total product of India may be increased. In this connection may be noticed, too, the new and enlarged edition of Mr. Alfred Chatterton’s work on Lift Irrigation, which may not seem to the metaphysicians to be “thought,” but which is, at any rate, finding Indian purchasers in whom it provokes thought.5 A wider range is covered by the essays on Indian Industrial and Economic Problems by Professor V. G. Kale, of that remarkable creation of “Indian Thought,” the Fergusson College, Poona.6 Here we have both the problem of Jabour and the problem of currency dealt with as they concern India in a way to give our British economists food for reflection; whilst there is much on “Imperial Preference” and the economic position of India withintheBritishEmpiretogiveanewvisiontoour“economicImperialists” who so commonly omit India from their schemes. But India is thinking of more than agriculture and economics. We suggest that Mr. Wacha’s book describing The Rise and Growth of Bombay...