Lahore, Sunday, August 1, 1920

Why Non-co-operation Cannot Do

WE consider that at the root of the whole difficulty in India lies not the dishonesty or unscrupulousness of individual rulers, though individual rulers can be both dishonest and unscrupulous, but the existence of an evil system and a vicious method that we cannot pin our faith to the remedy prescribed by Mr. Gandhi. Non-co-operation for the turning out of one set of individual rulers would, indeed, be a comparatively simple process, and might conceivably succeed even under present conditions, if a considerable number of leading Indians showed strength, vigour and determination. But where you want to uproot a whole system, which has its roots not only in your own want of organisation but in the racial self-interest and pride of your rulers, non-co-operation can only succeed if you can adopt it on a national scale and that not by a long or laborious process, but at once or within the shortest possible time. It is just because we cannot do this, that we must think of a remedy more comprehensive than non-co-operation, a remedy in which non-co-operation itself must, indeed, have its proper place, but which must include other elements suited both to the requirements of a highly complex position, and to the taste and capacity of all those from whom in one degree or another we expect active co-operation in the great work of transforming the present order of things. A system which touches us at many points and affects us in many ways has necessarily to be attacked at many points and in many ways, until the time comes, if it must come — that is to say, if the ruling authorities, realising the signs of the times, do not voluntarily abdicate their power and authority to the people when things are otherwise ripe for the transformation — when a concentrated attack may be delivered in the shape of immediate and universal non-co-operation or passive resistance with instantaneous result.

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