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down, ariothes afork, then a row parently
not changed remarked, 'It's a little not to do so, acted on them otherwise late. I might be changing clothes for than as waving a red flag before a bull. nothing. He might send me out.' I told him I had always noticed that
The thought that all my efforts to shrewd mine-managers stayed in the get them to work might be brought to office out of sight when trouble of this naught by the asst. telling him it was kind occurred, leaving it to the Pit Comtoo late and perhaps sending all the mittee, and if they failed, reporting it drivers home and shutting the mine to the operators' association, who in down, angered me, and I said, 'You turn took the matter up with higher change clothes and go to work. If he officials of the miners' organization. does n't let you work, then come to me, He eventually agreed that perhaps and there 'll be a hell of a row around that was the right policy to pursue. this mine this morning.' Apparently He seemed vexed, however, and said, one bonehead a day is the limit of the 'It's about time we quit coddling asst., because there was no interfer- these drivers. If they're going to strike ence and we went to work.
why in the hell don't they strike and be As we walked over to the pit-head, done with it?' the mine manager reached the mine. I bristled up and told him that we We went over to the office with him. had done what we considered our duty He asked, “What 's the matter?' under the contract, in trying to keep
Well,' I replied, 'we got 'em down.' the mine in operation, but if he said so 'Who?' he said: 'the drivers? I we would cease further efforts and let thought they said they was n't going to the thing take its own course. He saw strike till Monday.
the trap, however, and backed out, so I I explained to him the telegram that told him that we would keep them at had been received and the difficulty we work, but expected him to coöperate had had in persuading the men, and with us and not complain if we delayed also the injudicious conduct of the starting-time in the morning a few asst. In his defense of the asst., he said, minutes. It would be entirely up to 'Well, I guess he wanted them to go to him, however, we informed him; and if work. I asked him if in his experience the mine were shut down by him beas a mine manager he had ever seen a cause of the delay in getting the men case where the mine manager's appear started, that, of course, would be preance on the scene, trying to persuade sented in the evidence to the Joint men who were determined to wildcat Board, if the case got that far. ...
CALCUTTA offended me. As a town it It has a long river-front covered with was bad enough fifteen years ago. jute mills owned by Scotchmen, AmeriNow, with endless electric car-lines, cans, Greeks, Jews, and Englishmen. with numberless taxicabs as well as And, where there are bathing-ghats for private automobiles, the second largest Hindus, the steps down are of cast iron city of the British Empire was un- made in Sheffield. Where there are endurable beyond description. Busi- no ghats nor factories there are steamness was the genesis of this town when boat landing-stations as ugly as any it was built and fortified in the last the world over. Added to this a horrilap of the seventeenth century; and it ble steam freight-train line runs along will be business, I hope, that will kill the full length of the town up and down it some day. The unbearable Gothic the river to carry jute from factory to
by the garrison
from now, when
of the offices of the Government pro- relief from the reign of ugliness is a few duced an excruciating effect on me, Indian temples and the Maidan. particularly when they were reinforced The Maidan is a large park with by European houses modeled after the gardens, cricket fields and polo horrible mediocre middle-class homes grounds, the centre of which is occupied of the 70's in Britain and Germany. by the garrison called Fort William. A thousand years from now, when Beautiful gray macadam and redvisitors marvel at the beauteous archi- gravel roads serpentine their way tecture of the Mogul India, they will through the thick tropical verdure of marvel equally at the ugliness of this park which is, however, being British India. If there is anything more encroached upon rapidly by statues exotically ugly and unnatural than and public buildings whose untropical those Gothic horrors in tropical Cal character I have already described. cutta, I should like to be warned, that Even in the Maidan, if one has any I may forever avoid seeing it. I might hope left for Beauty, it is well crushed advise a Western tourist not to judge by the military band that plays inIndia by Calcutta, for it would be different Western music there with nothing short of judging salvation by great gusto. Think of bits from suicide. If you can imagine Brixton, Meyerbeer, Verdi, Victor Herbert, and East Ealing, Bayswater, all on the Tchaikowsky's tenth symphony — all shores of the Ganges, then you can groaning, booming, and bombarding imagine the unimaginable — Calcutta. your hearing, while the sunlight falls 1 An earlier chapter of Mr. Mukerji's ex
on you like a thunderbolt of heat, and periences appeared in the June Atlantic under the breeze 15. Ppress
the breeze is oppressive with a thouthe title ‘My Brother's Face.' - The EDITOR sand whisperings of the forest lands VOL. 134 - NO. 1
cious - Sold
where tigers creep, taut as a rope, reached our home. It was all there, stretched to the full, ready to leap on yet all seemed so empty without my bisons twice their size, and the fute of mother to welcome me. My widowed the savage calls his beloved to the tryst sister and her children and my brother, through the thickly fragrant night. all put together, could not fill the place
Where thousands of elephants used of my mother. They too felt as I did, to walk through jungle lands, now honk and the home-coming, though sweet, and pass auto-taxis intent on speed was infinitely sad. Everything reand profit. Speed and profit — yes; minded me of her — the picture of that is the breath and pulse-beat of Vishnu and Shiva on the white polished modern Calcutta.
walls which had been hers. The bare Yet - it is my own town, and I love floors, immaculate and red-tiled as it. The language of Bengal is spoken before, the tree in the front yard and there as nowhere else. Every tongue the empty backyard — each thing was has the style of Tagore's prose – familiarity itself, yet none spoke out pellucid, haunting, wicked. The first its heart to me. As my brother and Bengali sentence that Calcutta spoke sister said: “The goddess is gone, only to me on my return was, ‘Come, amuse the devotees are left.' thyself with kind words; the day is Then I went to look at our family young, and we all know life is brief as temple. How beautiful it was and how a sparrow's hop.'
old! It had been ours for many, many The speech of men is the ring of gold centuries. I was told that it had hardly in which may shine the precious stone any beams and rafters and that all its of Thought; and there is no speech so three stories were held up by cunningly attractive as Bengali, unless it be contrived arches — the product of an Spanish — 'a language of caprice and art and a science that are no more orderliness.' Tears came to my eyes within the command of the master when I heard the railway porter say, builders. It was strange to think that “The parched tongue needs a cool drink here I might have remained to carry or the voice of the beloved to slake its on the tradition of my family in peace, thirst.'
instead of leaving all in exchange for Of course we Bengalis are trementhe strange turbulent years in a foreign dous talkers. But what a picturesque land. But something had always speech we utter! The best poet of driven me from the settled path, some India as well as the best scientist is a urge toward an unknown goal, where Bengali, and Jagadish Bose is as much should await me 'The Thousandof a poet (read his inaugural address Faced One' – at last. before his institute) as Tagore is a I must not delude the reader into scientist.
believing that the moment of reunion So when I am accused of being a was a perfectly happy one for our talkative Bengali I am complimented, family. It took nearly two days for and I say to myself, “If you had such a us to overcome strange obstacles of tongue as mine you too would talk. thought and to make the necessary
adjustment to them. I had to unlearn many things. For an example: in
America young and old smoke together, In a tumultuous state of mind - but in India one does not smoke in horrified at Calcutta's ugliness, and the presence of one's elders, whether thrilled at the Bengali speech - I relatives or friends. Since I am the
youngest I have no end of elders in my mark at home as I did abroad. Then family and the result was that I could another niece, an orthodox soul, enhardly light a cigarette and smoke for joined upon me two baths and three a few seconds without hearing foot- meditation hours a day. She also steps which were the signal for me to thought my relations with God were fling the cigarette at once from the too loose. Now I ask the traveled window, and sit still like a nice boy. reader if this does not sound like his It was agonizing to see a good cigarette own home-coming. I have since then smoking itself out of existence just decided to live on steamships and outside one's own window. And I Pullman trains. Never shall I willingly took the only way out of that difficulty go where the young are shaping the - I gave up smoking. The cigarette future nearer to their heart's desire. episode proved to me beyond the I have a nephew, a lad of twenty or shadow of a doubt that, in my family, thereabouts. He and his friends opened we have an extraordinarily large my eyes to another aspect of modern number of elderly relations.
Indian life. They are all university I must say also that beside un- men and not a single one of them has learning many things I was forced to any respect for the Western mind. I learn a great deal. The younger remember that when I was a boy of members of the family, mostly my their age I went to the Occident to nephews and nieces, were very forward learn at its feet. The young college and assertive. I said to myself, 'They men of India, to-day, would rather sit have no manners at all. Why, when we on the head of the West. I had one were their age - eighteen or twenty unforgettable afternoon with these – we were seen, never heard! The youngsters. There were four of us — young are a horrible spectacle nowmyself, two students of physics, and adays, the world over. No doubt they one medical student who was very fair, have their excellence, but that does not with a round face, pug nose, and excuse their demerits. Imagine young extremely strong ungracious chin. The people thirty years ago arguing to other two were of a professional and prove one of their seniors wrong! We retiring type, as dark as ripe olives, never did such rude things.' My and with exquisite features, but they nephews and nieces not only contra- both lacked strength of jaw, and dicted me, but told me to my face that looked very much alike. I was not good but — goody-good! I The young doctor began the converwas so enraged that I could have sation by saying: “Civilization comes murdered the lot of them, and felt no from the East as does the sun. The regret.
West has nothing to teach us.' Every dog must have his day, how. “But is not medicine Western?' I ever, even those modern youngsters. asked. 'Hippocrates, Harvey, Osler --' My niece told me that she thought men He said, ‘But what about our Hindu ought to attempt to 'live up' to the medicine, Ayurveda (translated, ‘how women. (Yes, she spoke English!) to lengthen life,' which is our word As if they had done anything else for medicine)? And chemistry? Has these centuries! She added insult to the East known less of these than injury by saying that a man like me, the West? Has it not contributed just who relaxes too much at home, will not as many valuable truths? Even now be tolerated within another twenty we find that a majority of the people of years. I was advised to keep up to the India lives by the aid of old Hindu 20
medicine, and few ever get assistance to the Western savage simply because from the West. You forget, sir. I am he has the lung power to shout that he afraid you take the sordid European's is superior? He has invented poison evil interpretation of our history and gas, liquid fire, and peace proclamasciences. There are thirty Indians who tions; then he comes to us, Bible in one go to Hindu practitioners to one who hand and hand grenades in the other. receives aid from European doctors. Who is savage — he or we? They from In the face of that —'
the West send us whiskey with machine 'But you must admit that some guns and we offer them Gandhism. things are lacking to our science,' I Who is more spiritual, who more ventured meekly.
· civilized, they or we?' 'Whatever it lacks in one way it Here the medical student put the can supply in another.' He was firm. finishing touch to the afternoon's “The West may teach us something of argument: ‘Until the eighteenth censurgery, but we can teach it the cure tury, the East and West were abreast of leprosy. Does it not rather balance of each other. If one were more the account?' questioned this aggres- advanced than the other, surely it was sive young hopeful.
the East. Since the Crusades and 'Surely in physics and chemistry before the eighteenth century, the Westerners teach us a lot.' I turned to Western swashbucklers came to us for the two physicists, but I am afraid I gold, silk, Damascene work, and the had mistaken their meekness.
real arts of civilization. They kept on 'What can those aggressive bar. coming as beggars to the gate of a royal barians teach us more than we our palace. Till the eighteenth century selves have taught them?' answered they were our debtors. Then they one.
stole a march on us — when they 'What did we teach them, by the superseded man and animal-power by way, for they think of us as savages?' steam and electricity. During all these I remarked.
thousands of years civilization was the A flood of eloquence was the reward gift of the East to the West. Only a of my retort. 'Did not we Hindus hundred out of thousands of years is teach the Arabs algebra and the deci- European; their civilization began with mal system of notation and numerals, the steam engine and will end with and did not the Arabs give these to the aerial navigation. In a hundred more Western savages? Did not the Chal years, they are finished — and their deans, another Eastern people, teach souls dead. I grant you that the them astronomy? Did not China teach nineteenth century is theirs, but not them how to make gunpowder and the the other hundreds of years before that, mariner's compass? Did not Persia when they took and we gave!' invent paper, the very thing on which “But that hundred years is someprinting - a Chinese invention — thing, is n't it?' I asked. depends?'
'Give us time. Let us have the The second physicist added to the equivalent of those hundred years, list: ‘Did not India teach Pythagoras with all their material facilities, and the scales of music? The very word, I can wager that our Asiatic genius Pythagoras, is Sanskrit — Father, and concentration will in the end Teacher. India has her own geometry, give them a better science than their her own mathematics, her own art, own. We shall beat them in their science, and philology. Should we bow own game. Bose, Sah, Dutta, Ghose,