Every Indian of this age should read this book. Little extract as a teaser for reading the book. THE CASE FOR INDIA FOR INDIA By Will Durant. Book Source: Digital Library of India Item lagemahgunste.ml: Will lagemahgunste.mlioned. Barcode - Title - The Case For India. Subject - HISTORY. Author - Will Durant. Language - english. Pages - Publication.
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Case for India [Will Durant] on lagemahgunste.ml *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers . An insightful examination of the condition of India under British occupation. Shelves: read, non-fiction, information, history, ebook, indology In , he published The Case for India while he was on a visit to India as part of. The famous American historian Will Durant presents before us unflinching. by British government for the controversial content, 'The Case For India' has now.
But the most characteristic and fertile developments of Greek philosophy took form with the Sophists, travelling teachers of wisdom, who looked within upon their own thought and nature, rather than out upon the world of things. They were all clever men Gorgias and Hippias, for example , and many of them were profound Protagoras, Prodicus ; there is hardly a problem or a solution in our current philosophy of mind and conduct which they did not realize and discuss.
They asked questions about anything; they stood unafraid in the presence of religious or political taboos; and boldly subpoenaed every creed and institution to appear before the judgment-seat of reason. In politics they divided into two schools. One, like Rousseau, argued that nature is good, and civilization bad; that by nature all men are equal, becoming unequal only by class-made institutions: and that law is an invention of the strong to chain and rule the weak.
Another school, like Nietzsche, claimed that nature is beyond good and evil; that by nature all men are unequal; that morality is an invention of the weak to limit and deter the strong; that power is the supreme virtue and the supreme desire of man; and that of all forms of government the wisest and most natural is aristocracy. No doubt this attack on democracy reflected the rise of a wealthy minority at Athens which called itself the Oligarchical Party, and denounced democracy as an incompetent sham.
In a sense there was not much democracy to denounce; for of the , inhabitants of Athens , were slaves, without political rights of any kind; and of the , freemen or citizens only a small number presented themselves at the Ecclesia, or general assembly, where the policies of the state were discussed and determined.
Yet what democracy they had was as thorough as never since; the general assembly was the supreme power; and tho highest official body, the Dikasteria, or supreme court, consisted of over a thousand members to make bribery expensive , selected by alphabetical rote from the roll of all the citizens.
No institution could have been more democratic, nor, said its opponents, more absurd. During the great generation-long Peloponnesian war B.
Many of the oligarchic leaders were exiled; but when at last Athens surrendered, one of the peace conditions imposed by Sparta was the recall of these exiled aristocrats. They had hardly returned when, with Critias at their head, they declared a rich man's revolution against the "democratic" party that had ruled during the disastrous war. The revolution failed, and Critias was killed on the field of battle. Now Critias was a pupil of Socrates, and an uncle of Plato. SOCRATES If we may judge from the bust that has come down to us as part of the ruins of ancient sculpture, Socrates was as far from being handsome as even a philosopher can be.
A bald head, a great round face, deep-set staring eyes, a broad and flowery nose that gave vivid testimony to many a Symposium -- it was rather the head of a porter than that of the most famous of philosophers.
But if we look again we see, through the crudity of the stone, something of that human kindliness and unassuming simplicity which made this homely thinker a teacher beloved of the finest youths in Athens. We know so little about him, and yet we know him so much more intimately than the aristocratic Plato or the reserved and scholarly Aristotle. Across two thousand three hundred years we can yet see his ungainly figure, clad always in the same rumpled tunic, walking leisurely through the agora, undisturbed by the bedlam of politics, buttonholing his prey, gathering the young and the learned about him, luring them into some shady nook of the temple porticos, and asking them to define their terms.
They were a motley crowd, these youths who flocked about him and helped him to create European philosophy. There were rich young men like Plato and Alcibiades, who relished his satirical analysis of Athenian democracy; there were socialists like Antisthenes, who liked the master's careless poverty, and made a religion of it; there was even an anarchist or two among them, like Aristippus, who aspired to a world in which there would be neither masters nor slaves, and all would be as worrilessly free as Socrates.
All the problems that agitate human society to-day, and provide the material of youth's endless debate, agitated as well that little band of thinkers and talkers, who felt, with their teacher, that life without discourse would be unworthy of a man. Every school of social thought had there its representative, and perhaps its origin. How the master lived hardly anybody knew.
He never worked, and he took no thought of the morrow. He ate when his disciples asked him to honor their tables; they must have liked his company, for he gave every indication of physiological prosperity.
He was not so welcome at home, for he neglected his wife and children; and from Xanthippe's point of view he was a good-for-nothing idler who brought to his family more notoriety than bread.
Xanthippe liked to talk almost as much as Socrates did, and they seem to have had some dialogues which Plato failed to record.
Yet she, too, loved him, and could not contentedly see him die even after three-score years and ten. Why did his pupils reverence him so? Perhaps because he was a man as well as a philosopher: he had at great risk saved the life of Alcibiades in battle; and he could drink like a gentleman -- without fear and without excess.
But no doubt they liked best in him the modesty of his wisdom: he did not claim to have wisdom, but only to seek it lovingly; he was wisdom's amateur, not its professional.
It was said that the oracle at Delphi, with unusual good sense, had pronounced him the wisest of the Greeks; and he had interpreted this as an approval of the agnosticism which was the starting-point of his philosophy -- "One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.
Who knows how these cherished beliefs became certainties with us, and whether some secret wish did not furtively beget them, clothing desire in the dress of thought?
There is no real philosophy until the mind turns round and examines itself. Gnothi seauton, said Socrates: Know thyself. There had been philosophers before him, of course: strong men like Thales and Heraclitus, subtle men like Parmenides and Zeno of Elea, seers like Pythagoras and Empedocles; but for the most part they had been physical philosophers; they had sought for the physis or nature of external things, the laws and constituents of the material and measurable world.
That is very good, said Socrates; but there is an infinitely worthier subject for philosophers than all these trees and stones, and even all those stars; there is the mind of man. What is man, and what can he become? So he went about prying into the human soul, uncovering assumptions and questioning certainties. What do you mean by these abstract words with which you so easily settle the problems of life and death?
What do you mean by honor, virtue, morality, patriotism? What do you mean by yourself? It was with such moral and psychological questions that Socrates loved to deal. Some who suffered from this "Socratic method," this demand for accurate definitions, and clear thinking, and exact analysis, objected that he asked more than he answered, and left men's minds more confused than before.
Nevertheless he bequeathed to philosophy two very definite answers to two of our most difficult problems -- What is the meaning of virtue? No topics could have been more vital than these to the young Athenians of that generation.
The Sophists had destroyed the faith these youths had once had in the gods and goddesses of Olympus, and in the moral code that had taken its sanction so largely from the fear men had for these ubiquitous and innumerable deities; apparently there was no reason now why a man should not do as he pleased, so long as he remained within the law. A disintegrating individualism had weakened the Athenian character, and left the city a prey at last to the sternly-nurtured Spartans.
And as for the state, what could have been more ridiculous than this mob-led, passion-ridden democracy, this government by a debating-society, this precipitate selection and dismissal and execution of generals, this un-choice choice of simple farmers and tradesmen, in alphabetical rotation, as members of the supreme court of the land?
How could a new and natural morality be developed in Athens, and how could the state be saved? It was his reply to these questions that gave Socrates death and immortality. The older citizens would have honored him had he tried to restore the ancient polytheistic faith; if he had led his band of emancipated souls to the temples and the sacred groves, and bade them sacrifice again to the gods of their fathers.
But he felt that that was a hopeless and suicidal policy, a progress backward, into and not "over the tombs. If one could build a system of morality absolutely independent of religious doctrine, as valid for the atheist as for the pietist, then theologies might come and go without loosening the moral cement that makes of wilful individuals the peaceful citizens of a community. Perhaps all sin is error, partial vision, foolishness?
The intelligent man may have the same violent and unsocial impulses as the ignorant man, but surely he will control them better, and slip less often into imitation of the beast.
And in an intelligently administered society -- one that returned to the individual, in widened powers, more than it took from him in restricted liberty -- the advantage of every man would lie in social and loyal conduct, and only clear sight would be needed to ensure peace and order and good will.
But if the government itself is a chaos and an absurdity, if it rules without helping, and commands without leading, -- how can we persuade the individual, in such a state, to obey the laws and confine his self-seeking within the circle of the total good? No wonder an Alcibiades turns against a state that distrusts ability, and reverences number more than knowledge. No wonder there is chaos where there is no thought, and the crowd decides in haste and ignorance, to repent at leisure and in desolation.
Story of Philosophy
Is it not a base superstition that mere numbers will give wisdom? On the contrary is it not universally seen that men in crowds are more foolish and more violent and more cruel than men separate and alone?
Is it not shameful that men should be ruled by orators, who "go ringing on in long harangues, like brazen pots which, when struck, continue to sound till a hand is put upon them"? Surely the management of a state is a matter for which men cannot be too intelligent, a matter that needs the unhindered thought of the finest minds. How can a society be saved, or be strong, except it be led by its wisest men?
Imagine the reaction of the popular party at Athens to this aristocratic gospel at a time when war seemed to require the silencing of all criticism, and when the wealthy and lettered minority were plotting a revolution. Consider the feelings of Anytus, the democratic leader whose son had become a pupil of Socrates, and had then turned against the gods of his father, and laughed in his father's face.
Had not Aristophanes predicted precisely such a result from this specious replacement of the old virtues by unsocial intelligence? Then the revolution came, and men fought for it and against, bitterly and to the death. When the democracy won, the fate of Socrates was decided: he was the intellectual leader of the revolting party, however pacific he might himself have been; he was the source of the hated aristocratic philosophy; he was the corrupter of youths drunk with debate.
It would be better, said Anytus and Meletus, that Socrates should die. The rest of the story all the world knows, for Plato wrote it down in prose more beautiful than poetry. We are privileged to read for ourselves that simple and courageous if not legendary "apology," or defence, in which the first martyr of philosophy proclaimed the rights and necessity of free thought, upheld his value to the state, and refused to beg for mercy from the crowd whom he had always contemned.
They had the power to pardon him; he disdained to make the appeal. It was a singular confirmation of his theories, that the judges should wish to let him go, while the angry crowd voted for his death.
Had he not denied the gods? Woe to him who teaches men faster than they can learn. So they decreed that he should drink the hemlock. His friends came to his prison and offered him an easy escape; they had bribed all the officials who stood between him and liberty.
He refused. He was seventy years old now B. Now the hour of sunset was near, for a good deal of time had passed while he was within. When he came out, he sat down with us again, Soon the jailer And so fare you well, and try to bear lightly what must needs be; you know my errand.
Socrates looked at him and said: "I return your good wishes, and will do as you bid. But we must do as he says, Crito; let the cup be brought, if the poison is prepared; if not, let the attendant prepare some. Please then to do as I say, and not to refuse me. Socrates said: "You, my good friend, who are experienced in these matters, shall give me directions how I am to proceed. May I, or not?
And hitherto most of us had been able to control our sorrow; but now when we saw him drinking, and saw too that he had finished the draught, we could no longer forbear, and in spite of myself my own tears were flowing fast; so that I covered my face and wept over myself; for certainly I was not weeping over him, but at the thought of my own calamity in having lost such a companion.
Nor was I the first, for Crito, when he found himself unable to restrain his tears, had got up and moved away, and I followed; and at that moment Apollodorus, who had been weeping all the time, broke out into a loud cry which made cowards of us all.
Socrates alone retained his calmness: "What is this strange outcry? Be quiet, then, and have patience.
Win at work
And then Socrates felt them himself, and said, "When the poison reaches the heart, that will be the end. Such was the end of our friend, whom I may truly call the wisest, the justest, and best of all the men whom I have ever known. He had been brought up in comfort, and perhaps in wealth; he was a handsome and vigorous youth -- called Plato, it is said, because of the breadth of his shoulders; he had excelled as a soldier, and had twice won prizes at the Isthmian games.
Philosophers are not apt to develop out of such an adolescence. But Plato's subtle soul had found a new joy in the "dialectic" game of Socrates; it was a delight to behold the master deflating dogmas and puncturing presumptions with the sharp point of his questions; Plato entered into this sport as he had in a coarser kind of wrestling; and under the guidance of the old "gad-fly" as Socrates called himself he passed from mere debate to careful analysis and fruitful discussion.
He became a very passionate lover of wisdom, and of his teacher. It filled him with such a scorn of democracy, such a hatred of the mob, as even his aristocratic lineage and breeding had hardly engendered in him; it led him to a Catonic resolve that democracy must be destroyed, to be replaced by the rule of the wisest and the best. It became the absorbing problem of his life to find a method whereby the wisest and the best might be discovered, and then enabled and persuaded to rule.
Meanwhile his efforts to save Socrates had marked him out for suspicion by the democratic leaders; his friends urged that Athens was unsafe for him, that it was an admirably propitious moment for him to see the world. And so, in that year B. Where he went we cannot for certain say; there is a merry war of the authorities for every turn of his route. He seems to have gone first to Egypt; and was somewhat shocked to hear from the priestly class which ruled that land, that Greece was an infant-state, without stabilizing traditions or profound culture, not yet therefore to be taken seriously by these sphinxly pundits of the Nile.
But nothing so educates us as a shock; the memory, of this learned caste, theocratically ruling a static agricultural people, remained alive in Plato's thought, and played its part in writing his Utopia. And then off he sailed to Sicily, and to Italy; there he joined for a time the school or sect which the great Pythagoras had founded; and once again his susceptible mind was marked with the memory of a small group of men set aside for scholarship and rule, living a plain life despite the possession of power.
Twelve years he wandered, imbibing wisdom from every source, sitting at every shrine, tasting every creed. Some would have it that he went to Judea and was moulded for a while by the tradition of the almost socialistic prophets; and even that he found his way to the banks of the Ganges, and learned the mystic meditations of the Hindus.
We do not know. He returned to Athens in B. He had lost a little of the hot enthusiasms of youth, but he had gained a perspective of thought in which every extreme was seen as a half-truth, and the many aspects of every problem blended into a distributive justice to every facet of the truth.
He had knowledge, and he had art; for once the philosopher and the poet lived in one soul; and he created for himself a medium of expression in which both beauty and truth might find room and play -- the dialogue. Never before, we may believe, had philosophy assumed so brilliant a garb; and surely never since. Even in translation this style shines and sparkles and leaps and bubbles over.
The difficulty in understanding Plato lies precisely in this intoxicating mixture of philosophy and poetry, of science and art; we cannot always tell in which character of the dialogue the author speaks, nor in which form; whether he is literal or speaks in metaphor, whether he jests or is in earnest.
His love of jest and irony and myth leaves us at times baffled; almost we could say of him that he did not teach except in parables. These dialogues, we are told, were written by Plato for the general reading public of his day: by their conversational method, their lively war of pros and cons, and their gradual development and frequent repetition of every important argument, they were explicitly adapted obscure though they may seem to us now to the understanding of the man who must taste philosophy as an occasional luxury, and who is compelled by the brevity of life to read as he who runs may read.
Therefore we must be prepared to find in these dialogues much that is playful and metaphorical; much that is unintelligible except to scholars learned in the social and literary minutiae of Plato's time; much that today will seem irrelevant and fanciful, but might well have served as the very sauce and flavor by which a heavy dish of thought was made digestible for minds unused to philosophic fare.
Let us confess, too, that Plato has in sufficient abundance the qualities which he condemns. He inveighs against poets and their myths, and proceeds to add one to the number of poets and hundreds to the number of myths.
He complains of the priests who go about preaching hell and offering redemption from it for a consideration -- cf. The Republic, , but he himself is a priest, a theologian, a preacher, a supermoralist, a Savonarola denouncing art and inviting vanities to the fire.
He acknowledges, Shakespeare-like, that "comparisons are slippery" Sophist, , but he slips out of one into another and another and another; he condemns the Sophists as phrase-mongering disputants, but he himself is not above chopping logic like a sophomore. Faguet parodies him: "The whole is greater than the part? Therefore, clearly, philosophers should rule the state? The best of them, The Republic, is a complete treatise in itself, Plato reduced to a book; here we shall find his metaphysics, his theology, his ethics, his psychology, his pedagogy, his politics, his theory of art.
In the group are Glaucon and Adeimantus, brothers of Plato; and Thrasymachus, a gruff and excitable Sophist.
The Case For India
Socrates, who serves as the mouthpiece of Plato in the dialogue, asks Cephalus: "What do you consider to be the greatest blessing which you have reaped from wealth? Socrates, after his sly fashion, asks him just what he means by justice; and therewith lets loose the dogs of philosophic war.
For nothing is so difficult as definition, nor anything so severe a test and exercise of mental clarity and skill. Socrates finds it a simple matter to destroy one after another the definitions offered him; until at last Thrasymachus, less patient than the rest, breaks out "with a roar": "What folly has possessed you, Socrates? And why do you others all drop down at one another's feet in this silly way? I say that if you want to know what justice is, you should answer and not ask, and shouldn't pride yourself on refuting others For there are many who can ask but cannot answer" Socrates is not frightened; he continues to ask rather than answer; and after a minute of parry and thrust he provokes the unwary Thrasymachus to commit himself to a definition: "Listen, then," says the angry Sophist, "I proclaim that might is right, and justice is the interest of the stronger The different forms of government make laws, democratic, aristocratic, or autocratic, with a view to their respective interests; and these laws, so made by them to serve their interests, they deliver to their subjects as 'justice,' and punish as 'unjust' anyone who transgresses them I am speaking of injustice on a large scale; and my meaning will be most clearly seen in autocracy, which by fraud and force takes away the property of others, not retail but wholesale.
Now when a man has taken away the money of the citizens and made slaves of them, then, instead of swindler and thief he is called happy and blessed by all. For injustice is censured because those who censure it are afraid of suffering, and not from any scruple they might have of doing injustice themselves" This, of course, is the doctrine which our own day more or less correctly associates with the name of Nietzsche.
They distribute praise and censure with a view to their own interests; they say that dishonesty is shameful and unjust -- meaning by dishonesty the desire to have more than their neighbors; for knowing their own inferiority, they would be only too glad to have equality But if there were a man who had sufficient force enter the Superman , he would shake off and break through and escape from all this; he would trample under foot all our formulas and spells and charms, and all our laws, that sin against nature He who would truly live ought to allow his desires to wax to the uttermost; but when they have grown to their greatest he should have courage and intelligence to minister to them, and to satisfy all his longings.
The Case for India
And this I affirm to be natural justice and nobility. But the many cannot do this; and therefore they blame such persons, because they are ashamed of their own inability, which they desire to conceal; and hence they call intemperance base It ranks with the highest civilizations of history, and some, like Keyserling, would place it at the head and summit of all. When, in , the invading British besieged the Fort at Agra, and their cannon struck near the beautiful Khass Mahal, or Hall of Private Audience, the Hindus surrendered at once lest one of the most perfect creations of the human hand should be ruined like Rheims.
Who then were the civilized? The British conquest of India was the invasion and destruction of a high civilization by a trading company utterly without scruple or principle, careless of art and greedy of gain, over-running with fire and sword a country temporarily disordered and helpless, bribing and murdering, annexing and stealing, and beginning that career of illegal and "legal" plunder which has now gone on ruthlessly for one hundred and seventy-three years, and goes on at this moment while in our secure comfort we write and read.
When the British came, India was politically weak, and economically prosperous.
See a Problem?
The Mogul dynasty, which had so stimulated art, science and literature in India, came to the usual fate of monarchies in , when Shah Jehan, builder of the Taj Mahal, was succeeded by his fanatical son, Aurangzeb. For almost fifty years this Puritanic emperor misgoverned India; when he died his realm fell to pieces, and petty princes set up their rule in numberless divided and "sovereign" states. It was a simple matter for a group of English buccaneers, armed with the latest European artillery and morals, to defeat the bows and arrows, the elephants and primitive musketry of the rajahs, and bring one Hindu province after another under the control of the British East India Company.
Those who have seen the unspeakable poverty and physiological weakness of the Hindus to-day will hardly believe that it was the wealth of eighteenth century India which attracted the commercial pirates of England and France. Nearly every kind of manufacture or product known to the civilized world-nearly every kind of creation of Man's brain and hand, existing anywhere, and prized either for its utility or beauty- had long, long been produced in India.That test will be no mere academic examination; it will be practical as well as theoretical: "there shall also be toils and pains and conflicts prescribed for them" The rage that is swelling in the heart of the Author is so apparent, one could almost touch it.
Written in , a balanced approach has been taken and mostly quoting the Britishers, so to not being favourable to the subjects of colonization and providing a short book of facts and logic. Published by Strand Book Stall first published I will refrain from getting into the political commentary of the present day conflicts facing India, since that is not the subject of my review though I naturally do have plenty of thoughts on it. Nearly every kind of manufacture or product known to the civilized world-nearly every kind of creation of Man's brain and hand, existing anywhere, and prized either for its utility or beauty- had long, long been produced in India.
Gaining a neutral point of view of the events in India during its colonization, through an American lens was my motive in reading this work. Luckily, India and the Indian people have risen above it. It was a singular confirmation of his theories, that the judges should wish to let him go, while the angry crowd voted for his death.
No doubt this was banned by the British Parliament, for it would bring an Englishman, proud of his country's authority, face to face with the evil that it has bred all along.
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