Will Durant

Excerpts To Prove That Will Durant Was A Misinformed Hinduphobic

The bad luck of our present public is that, we’re caught in a left and right controversy. Above that, leftism finds its liberty to undermine our Indian and particularly Sanatani culture. 

I’ve seen various institutions who take the references of the western scholars over our own culture. Just check the syllabus of NET for Sanskrit; and you’ll find that not just our own texts, they also ask you questions regarding Sanskrit dictionaries and commentaries by Western Scholars such as Max Muller to name a few. For having a look at the real side of Max Muller, you must read Rajendra Jigyasu’s ‘Max Muller Ka X-Ray‘.

I read Will Durant’s ‘Adventures In Genius’. Even though, he has praised Indians in various ways, but in some excerpts, he has undermined Hindus way below their dignities. 

Had he been truthful, I would’ve accepted his claims. But, his writing seems to be misinformed basically, which is disappointing to be expected from a person who claims to be educated.

Misinterpretation of Buddhism

Pg- 88, Buddhism (the Socialism of India) sweeps away the heroic element in the Hindu character, and the conversion of Asoka (264-228 b. c.) marks the close of an age.

The westerns tried to showcase that Buddhism emerged as a way out from ‘bad’ Hinduism, which is cent per cent false. Lord Buddha created this way to find eternal bliss, peace and happiness. There has been no mention or historical evidence that this path was created out of discord with Hindus. Buddhists and Hindus have always been living with peace and harmony.

Buddhism shouldn’t be related to socialism. Be it socialism, capitalism or communism, in many instances, properties are state owned, and there’s huge dominance from the government’s side. The governments over there follow one or two party system.

Misinterpretation of Caste System

Pg-85, In India the Brahmans come to power and establish the three castes (1000-800 b. c).

No evidence for it is available as well. Durant tried to prove the Brahmins as a dominant and ruling clan. However, they were the stakeholders involved in practice, execution and conservation of our Sanatan Dharma. Many of them lived minimalist lives back then. It was thus the moral obligation of the society to offer them alms. They were the true guides of the society.

Pg-343– It is the first glimpse I have of the real caste system in India: the British civil servants replace the Brahmins, the British officers replace the Kshatryas ; the British merchants replace the Vaisyas, and all the Hindus are Outcastes now.

Many Britishers claimed and some claim even now, that they unleashed India from the clutches of the social discrimination. First of all, this was a divide and rule policy of colonizers themselves. Secondly, even if we suppose, we had such discrimination; did they do anything better? Read the above extract once again. They replaced Hindus from all walks of life and treated them as outcastes.

Usage of wrong language

Pg- 144– “He is not keenly interested in the Hindu people; he passes among them almost without seeing them; he looks over their heads to find their priests, their philosophers, and their gods. He likes the thinkers so much that he exalts the people romantically : he is quite unconscious of their superstitions, their modest worship of cows, monkeys, elephants and snakes, their fantastic idols and masturbating deities ; typically he remarks that “the Hindu regards . . . eating meat with horror,”

This he wrote describing Keyserling taking a reference from Pg-187 of his Travel Diary America Set Free.

The attitude itself is arrogant enough that any reader would understand if the Westerns were generous to us or not. They used to call our scientifically supported culture merely a ‘superstition’.

Pg- 348But I see everywhere around me, in Benares and Delhi, in Madras and Madura, signs of ignorance and superstition even worse than our own. Faces smeared with red symbols of favorite gods ; temples horrible with leering deities and animal sacrifices ; snake-charmers and fakirs on every street ; women shut up in their homes, or digging ditches, or carrying burdens for ten cents a day, or ministering as temple prostitutes to acquisitive and lecherous priests ; girls of eight years bearing in their noses the little rings denoting that they are married; a million such girls left widowed and forever mateless by the death of husbands whom they had never lived with and hardly seen. 

With such a language, Durant has insulted women way below their dignity. Such people don’t deserve to utter this way about Indian culture. Child Marriages have never been part of our ancient culture. They were introduced by invaders and later on merged with our culture. 

My readers can listen to Rajiv Dixit’s talks to know what Britishers did to Indian women. You can also read Ajit Vadakayil’s post on Devdasi system. You can also watch Rajiv Malhotra’s videos to find how Britishers insulted Indian culture by misinterpreting it.

What a chasm lies between Benares and Delhi, between Benares and Agra! The Holy City is the symbol of India’s present weakness and decay; Delhi and Agra are symbols of a glory alien and dead.

Calling someone’s holy place a symbol of weakness and decay is also unethical and shameful.

Justified the colonization

This portion is quite long, so I expect you to read the entire account patiently. So much is here to reveal the mindset of Durant.

Pg-351– This is Madras, so different from Benares … “This city,” I remark to our Hindu guide, “is a credit to the English.” He smiles sadly. “Every traveler says that,” he tells us. “Hardly one of them stops long enough to learn that we owe this good management not to the English but to the Hindus; that the City Council is nearly all Hindu ; that the Mayor is a low-caste Hindu elected by low-caste votes, including woman suffrage.” …

 I invite my new friend to dine with us, and timidly suggest that he bring with him some members of the rising sex. At six he comes, with his stately mother, a member of the Municipal Council, and his wife, so shy that it takes us much time to learn that she is a graduate of an American college.

The intelligent and kindly ladies of our party are happy to talk for the first time with educated Hindus, and with Hindu women. We ply them with a hundred questions. We have been puzzled at the gigantic temples at Madras, Madura, Tanjore and Trichinopoly, gloomy cathedrals which are to the Taj Mahal what the Cathedral of Milan is to the Sistine Chapel. “Where,” I ask, “did the Hindus of three or four centuries ago get the money to build these tremendous temples?” “We were not always as poor as now,” the Hindu answers. “Our artisans used to be the best in the world ; our towns were busy with every handicraft. Travelers from Europe described Vijayanagar as the richest city they had seen. But today we are taxed far more than before, and half the money raised from us is spent outside of India. English economists calculate the drain of Indian wealth to England at $40,000,000 a year. That was in 1906; now it must be twice as great. Consider what would happen to Canada, or South Africa, or Australia, if they were for a century subjected to such a drain. Edmund Burke predicted that this drain would ruin India. It has.” 

We have, in our party, a stout bluff Englishman, six feet and three hundred pounds, red-faced and jolly; God created him in the image of John Bull, and for the purposes of our conversation. He rises like a mountain that would move to Mohammed, and draws his chair nearer to the Hindu. “But look here, young man,” he says, like a steam roller, “don’t you think we’ve given you something for your money? You were going to the dogs, for you’re a nation of weaklings ; not one of you could stand up in a fight, and you’d all run away from a gun. Well, we came and gave you law and order, a good army to protect your frontiers, a navy to protect your coast; we gave you the best government in the world, and introduced you to democracy; we gave you universities, and taught you sciences ; we’re training you for self-government and industry. What more do you want for your drain? You’ve gotten plenty, I say.” The Hindu takes the storm calmly, though it is easy to see, under his self-control, the sensitive nerves that receive these stings to the full. “Yes,” he says, with quiet passion. “You have given us much, but you have taken away our life. When we were in chaos you helped us by robbing us, through the East India Company, as no civilized nation was ever robbed before. You took so much wealth from us in the eighteenth century that Brooks Adams, and your own Macaulay, believe it was this stolen gold that financed your Industrial Revolution, and made you powerful enough to defeat Napoleon. Your ‘best governors’ included Clive, who snatched all Bengal from us because he had big guns, and took over a $1,000,000 in bribes. His successors stole so much that even the Company’s Directors protested. Warren Hastings took $3,000,000 a year. This is the help, the law and order you gave us.” The Englishman is not abashed; he has heard such things before about his enterprising race of buccaneers, and they seem quite picturesque to him. He counters: “But that was the Company, not England. When you came under the Crown, in ’58, you got as good a government as human beings can bear. We abolished suttee, slavery and thuggery, built railways, opened schools, and gave you doctors, medicine, and public sanitation. You mustn’t forget that.” 

What Britishers gave to Indians could’ve been given without colonizing it as well. Indians had their well developed Sciences which were systematically dismantled by Britishers only. Malpractices were also rumored by them to defame our culture.

“We will not forget,” says the Hindu. “We will not forget that for these reforms, which were inaugurated by our own people, we paid with our independence; that province after province was taken from us until today 320,000,000 Indians, with men like Gandhi and Tagore, women like Sarojini Naidu and my mother, are subject to foreign laws, foreign judges, foreign taxes, and a foreign censorship over our thought and our press. We will not forget the 111 wars you made us fight in a hundred years, the Hindu blood you made us shed to extend your British Empire in Burma, in China, in Beluchistan, in Afghanistan, in Palestine, and in France. We will not forget the 850,000 Hindus taken from India in the last War, to die for causes not their own, nor the billion dollars taken from our Treasury.” “We appreciated your sacrifices,” says the Englishman, “and gave you, in 1919, a goodly measure of Home Rule.” 

“You gave us a window-dressing and a sham. You gave us a Legislature whose every act can be vetoed by the Viceroy ; a Legislature with no real power over taxation and tariffs, budget and policy. You have taxed us so heavily that your own liberals have called you robbers; you have raised our national debt from $35,000,000 in 1792 to $3,400,000,000 today. You kept our products out of England by a tariff as high as 75%, and forced your own textiles into India by refusing us protection ; you ruined our domestic industries, and drove us all back to the soil, which cannot maintain us. You have taxed us so much that our famines have been worse since you came than before. The result is such poverty as, in any other country, would be universally accepted as warranting the overthrow of the Government.” 

“But you would have done worse by yourselves. Your people are so superstitious, so illiterate and ignorant, that it would be ridiculous to give them full democracy. Educate yourselves, and then talk of freedom.” 

The illiteracy, poverty and superstition this Englishman is talking about were caused by Englishmen themselves.

“Bills for universal education have repeatedly been introduced by Hindus in the Legislature, and defeated by the Government on the ground that the Treasury could not afford the cost. Your Government in India spends 6% of our total taxes on education ; it spends 64% in keeping up the army that keeps us slaves. Illiteracy is higher among us now than when you came. Instead of education you encourage liquor and opium; the Government revenue from liquor licenses is three times the appropriation for education; one-ninth of the total revenues comes from the Government growth and sale of opium.” 

“Do you know what would happen if we left you to your own resources? Your native princes would start a war for additionary territory (False, they were living bravely and peacefully before the advent of Britishers as well. Their valor is widely known.)

; your Brahmins would enslave your Outcastes, (False again. Already mentioned that Brahmins didn’t rule anyone.)

 and your Moslems would massacre the Hindus by thousands. The Afghan tribes would overrun your northern passes, and Russia or Japan would pounce down upon you by land or sea. You would be defenseless. You would become another China, a bloody chaos disrupting the trade and prosperity of the world.” ( Even before the advent of Europeans, we had the power to defend ourselves.)

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