Then, in that caste system, you come to the Kṣhaṭṭriya, from whom more was demanded than from the Vaishya. He had the right to splendour; he had the right to enjoy; he had the right to wealth; but on one condition: he must be willing to sacrifice everything, if the safety of the people demanded it. From him was asked the offering of limb, the offering of life. If he ruled, he must be first in the battle as well as first in the pageant, and he must learn to give up life, family, love, and all that makes life joyous, if the people were in need of protection, and if the order of the State were threatened. And then came the Brāhmaṇa, the teacher, the wise man, the educator of the people. He was not to be wealthy save in wisdom; he was not to gratify desires, but was to be the mouth of God, pure in conduct, ascetic in life; he was to show that the wise man needed not wealth, and that the duty of wisdom was to teach the people. A splendid theory, carried out for many ages. All is in confusion now. The ḍharmas of the castes have broken into pieces, and with the ḍharmas the reality has disappeared. And so the Brāhmaṇa the elder brother, is a lawyer, a merchant, a physician, or anything else, an engine driver sometimes, but seldom a teacher from a sense of ḍharma. And with the old duty, the old reverence has passed away; for only when the elders live up to their duties can the youngers be asked to give them reverence. And so now, Indian Society has to be rebuilt. It has lived, as I have said, because the Law of Brotherhood was its centre, its theory, though its practical denial brought on it the judgment of decay. We find now in our India a mass of conquered people, a slave population in everything but name. The “untouchable” too often goes so foul in body, so foul in speech, in food, that the cleanly shrink from personal contact, and they are left in their foulness, their degradation. But if it be true that the tears of the weak undermine the throne of Kings, what of the denial of Brotherhood which has made this lowest population in our midst? The sweeper, the scavenger, those who perform the hardest duties in Society, they are trampled under foot. India cannot live, if she persist in that denial of Brotherhood, which leaves one section of her population untouchable by the remaining cleanlier people. They were conquered, they were trampled on, they were made outcastes, every foul duty was made their work; they were sacrificed to keep you clean; they were untouchable that you might be refined; they were left in ignorance that you might be educated; and they were degraded that you might be raised. Do you think that the cries of the miserable have not entered into the ears of God? And He looked upon India, and made a stern decree: As you enslave your brethren, you shall yourselves be enslaved.
What ought to be the attitude of Society towards the man, the class, that makes possible cleanliness, refinement and delicacy of life? If you had to clean out your own foul places, if you had to sweep your yards and your streets, would you be as delicate, as refined, as you are to-day? But if these men and women do these humble offices in order that you may live in cleanliness, ought you not to repay them with gratitude and not with contempt, with respect and not with opprobrium? They make your lives possible; your children will have to do these things, your wife and your children, if the scavengers are not there to do the work, and you treat contemptuously those who make possible your civilised life. There lies your crime as a Nation against Brotherhood, and India need not expect to stand high among the Nations of the world, until she sets herself to this work of redeeming her own outcaste population. You are not alone. Other Nations are similar to you. In the country whence my body comes one-tenth of the population is degraded, like your one-sixth. One-tenth of the London population die in the work-house, the prison, the hospital. But I am bound to say to you, though I am sorry to say it, that you remain asleep while England is awake to her duty to her outcaste population, and she is beginning to redeem them from the degradation in which hitherto they have lived. She is educating them, and where education is, there refinement inevitably follows. She is beginning to realise that the lowest work ought to be the shortest. That the lowest work has a right to decent living. That if a man be sacrificed to social necessities, he should be repaid by a leisure which would enable him to live above the degrading tendencies of the necessary surroundings of his work. The British are building houses for them, they are educating their children, they are helping them to live in decency, and so, they are gaining the right to enjoy the freedom they have won. And to you, my Indian brethren, I would say, that if you hold up your hands to Īshvara and pray that liberty may be your own, those hands will never be filled with liberty until you have poured out freedom among your own people, and have begun to redeem your miserable slave population. For Justice is the Divine Law. Those who oppress shall be oppressed; those who trample shall be trampled on; those who make others outcastes shall be outcastes themselves. Until you obey the law of Brotherhood in your dealings with these younger brothers, ignorant, degraded, helpless, you will not win the smile of the Ḍeva of India, nor have His mighty force running upon your side to redeem. But you are waking up, you are beginning to realise your duty. Schools must be scattered over the whole country for the education of the submerged classes; every such school is a temple of Brotherhood, and is quickening the coming of the salvation of the Indian Nation.