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This is the writer's first essay in English, which he has prepared only in hasty intervals of leisure from heavy studies and avocations in life ; and though the MS. has been, as already noted, inspected by English scholars, the writer does not hesitate to say that, being desirous to appear in his native and independent garb, however humble and awkward it be, he has not asked any one of his English friends to add or alter aught, either to ensure correctness or perfect elegance in his work. There may, therefore, be discovered faults of taste as well as idiom and reasoning; but whatever may appear worthy of blame in the work, let the critic, when tempted to be harsh, take our inexperience into consideration, and he will learn to be lenient and unsearching. And it must never be forgotten, that writing, as the Author does, in a foreign language, acquired only in the schoolroom and the closet, born and living in a country of enervating climate,
which denies to the zealous student many a wished-for hour of active study and labour, and bred up in the midst of a society which is socially, morally, and intellectually as coldly apathetic and defective as he has described, he cannot hope to achieve any high degree of success with that favoured nation which has the noble heritage of the English language, English climate, and English institutions to claim as its own. He would therefore naturally ask to be tried by a special and much modified code in the English court of criticism.
As for his countrymen, the author is confident many
will dislike his bold exposition of their faults, and some selfdeluders from among them will, in some way or other, set about pulling him to pieces. But it will do them good service to remember that the first step towards advancement of any kind is a knowledge of one's defects, and if India is to be advanced, the defects in the character of
her sons must be boldly and prominently exposed. The writer's share in the work of his country's progress is doubtless intrinsically of the minutest consequence ; but to himself it appears to be of great consequence—to himself it appears to be of great consequence to decide whether he lives an arrant coward, as some would wish him to be, or a true man, as he wishes to be ; and, right or wrong, good or bad, this is his work, which he chanced to do, and which he has done to the best of his ability and honesty.
The author has in conclusion to acknowledge that he has when necessary availed himself of other sources of information; and to tender his best thanks for the extreme honour done to him by most of the greatest and most illustrious names of India, and some of the distinguished statesmen of England, appearing in his list of subscribers.
BOMBAY: March, 1863.
MEANING of the expression Young India.—Two divisions
of this class always distinct but always confounded.-
Exclusion of Young India from his proper position.-
Government and Mercantile reserve.—Patricians and
Plebeians in India. Danger to Government from this
distinction.-Harris's misfortune under the present
levelling system.-He commences as a Clerk on Rs. 10.