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The prime minister of an Indian state, whom I happened to be visiting several years ago, said to me during a conversation in his office: "Your book about the yogis has circulated too widely for my liking amongst the educated generation of Indians. People like myself, with a modern outlook, have been trying for years to uplift this particular generation from the superstitious, backward, inert, and medieval mental attitudes which are so responsible for the poverty, dirt, illiteracy, and misery of the masses whom they should lead. People like you are being quoted here both to sustain the faith in all those undesirable attitudes and to support the exploitation of religious impostures and mystical apathy which have harmed India for centuries. Thus you are helping to undo our good work and to retard the progressive movement in modern Indian life." This statement struck me at the time with the force of an abrupt shock. I had not dwelt in thought on this situation before. I am grateful to Sir Shanmukhan Chetty, then the prime minister of Cochin, for having given me this food for many month's thought and for having contributed towards my general awakening.


-- Notebooks Category 12: Reflections > Chapter 5: The Literary Work > # 80






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