How Kirloskar fought against impractical Gandhism

An abstract from SL Kirloskar’s autobiography Cactus and Roses:

From the moment when, after my return from USA [end of 1926], I experienced my first direct contact with the current political movement in India, I became conscious of the serious differences I had in my thinking, that set me apart from my fellow citizens.

Although by no means deficient in the patriotic desire to see my country free and strong, I had my own views about the right methods of making her so. I regarded such rituals as the weekly Prabhat Pheries, the singing of patriotic songs, the parading of the Tricolour, even the wearing of Khaddar and spinning on the Charkha, in a detached and unemotional way. As I saw it, India’s political aim had already put her economy on the road to progress. The improved yield from farm-land created employment and turned out trained, well-paid workers able to raise healthy and educated children for the next generation, making a solid contribution to India’s economic growth.


These Gandhian idealists seemed to me to be blissfully ignoring not only the facts of past history but also the realities of today. When India came under the control of Britain, it was a case of a country without machines being overpowered by one which had them. To discard machines, go about half-naked, live half-starved and reside in rude huts, would never lift us to the heights of happiness and freedom, but rather plunge us into the depths of misery and degradation. I, therefore, resolved to concentrate on the sound management of our enterprise, build more and still better machines, create more jobs and leave politics to our politicians. I would serve my country and lift her out of poverty and bondage, in the manner, which to me, seemed wisest, best, most efficacious, and most efficient.

Should be an interesting read..

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