Page:A Brief Study of Mahatma Gandhi.djvu/9

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peasants will be greatly profited by this and will stop the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars from India into foreign markets. This would prove a great national economic asset to India. Gandhi says:

"I want to see the spinning wheel everywhere because I see pauperism everywhere. Not until and unless we have fed and clothed the skeletons of India, will religion have any meaning to them. They are living the cattle-life of today and we are responsible for it. The spinning wheel, therefore, is a penance for us."

Some Economic Facts About India.—India is an enormous reservoir of material wealth yet undiscovered and unused. “Congregated on the banks of the River Hugli,” says Earl Ronaldshay (in his India, A Bird's Eye View, p. 156), “are innumerable jute mills with something like 850,000 spindles and 400,000 looms, employing in all about 275,000 persons. It has been estimated that the total capital, including shares, debentures, reserve and other funds invested in the mills on the banks of the river, amounts to £30,000,000 sterling. But with scarcely an exception the mills are in the hands of the Europeans.”

In the words of Mr. Cecil Jones of the Geological Survey of India, the iron ore deposits of India “are remarkable for the enormous quantities of extremely rich ore they contain and will undoubtedly prove to be amongst the largest and richest in the world. In a region about 150 to 200 miles from Calcutta the minimum quantities of iron deposits are estimated up to the present, of ore containing not less than sixty per cent of iron, or 2,832,000,000 tons, on a conservative basis.”

It is not unknown to Indian intelligentia and particularly to Mahatma Gandhi that India will not be able to avoid the use of machinery in order to secure for her people the enormous gifts that their motherland treasures within her soil. The only concern they legitimately feel is about avoiding the machinery from becoming a curse, as it has become in the West, and about using it for the benefit of humanity. Human values must count first and not be overlooked. This is the chief contention of the East against the practice in the West.

Wherever machinery has captured the industries, Indian workers have not been slow to follow in the steps of their fellow-laborers in the West. They have been forced to organize trade unions, and the movement is growing fast. In 1920 the membership of Indian trade unions was 500,000. In 1922 it rose to 1,500,000. There is considerable labor unrest in India and many strikes on a large scale have occurred all over the country during the past few years.

Gandhi has, on all occasions, stepped forward to champion the cause of Indian workers and peasants. “About 200,000,000 people in India are engaged in agriculture; about 14,000,000 are engaged in cotton mill; and the industrial population is some 8,000,000. Of these about 2,000,000 are engaged in more than 5,000 factories and the industrialization of India is growing every day.” (T. Das, World Tomorrow, Dec. 1924, p. 371.)

Gandhi, in discussing the capital and labor situations in his Young India, says: