Raising False Consciousness:
Savitri Devi and the Hindu Mission
by Savitri Devi
An excerpt from
Souvenirs et réflexions d ’une Aryenne
(Calcutta: Savitri Devi Mukherji, 1976), pp. 36-38.
Translated by Savitri Devi.
Transcribed and edited by R.G. Fowler
The title was provided by the editor.
The following text is an excerpt from Savitri Devi’s Souvenirs et réflexions d ’une Aryenne (Memories and Reflections of an Aryan Woman), chapter 2, “Fausses nations et vrai racisme” (“False Nations and True Racism”). This excerpt was translated into English by Savitri herself and included in a letter, dated 25 July 1973, to a young American friend (who prefers to remain anonymous). We thank him for preserving this letter, making it available to the Archive, and giving us permission to publish this excerpt here.
—R. G. Fowler
The English who, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, tore away India, bit by bit from the domination of the “Great Mughals” (and of several Indian princes) were, as were the founders of the kingdoms of Bactria and Sangala, twenty-two centuries earlier, Aryans by race, therefore disposed to toleration. Consequently they did not try to alter by force the customs and beliefs of the Hindus or of the Muslims, whenever these did not act as a hindrance to their own exploitation of the country. But they were Christians, or at least had had a Christian education, and had imbibed from Christianity (be it but in theory at least) “love of all men,” and the belief, which stands at the basis of modern Democracies, that “all men” have the same rights and the same duties. In addition to that, they had kept of it (i.e. of Christianity) that typically Jewish intolerance, that the religion itself had taken over from its earliest faithful, brought up in the faith of the “jealous God.” Therefore they encouraged the activities of Christian missionaries in India, and suppressed, in course of time, certain customs that shocked them: in particular, the sacrifice (on principle voluntary) of widows upon the funeral pyre of their husbands, and especially, they gradually introduced into the country, through the teaching in their schools and universities, and through a series of political reforms, the dogmas of Democracy, and the spirit of the Declaration of the Rights of Man.
England’s real crime against India is not to have exploited the soil and the people on an unprecedented scale, but was to have inculcated into the heads of thousands of Hindus of higher castes, anti-racialist democratic principles, anti-Traditionalist principles, along with an ominous humanitarianism when not an out-and-out anthropocentrism; and finally to have introduced into the administration of that vast sub-continent such measures as tended to promote the least valuable racial elements of the population.
One of the most outrageous of these measures, against which took place a long and widespread agitation, but which was finally enforced, in spite of all, already before the 1939-1945 war, is know as the “Communal Award.” It consisted of having the members of the provincial legislative assemblies elected “according to religious communities”—the provincial legislative assemblies being actual native parliaments, composed (theoretically) of “representatives of the people” of regions mostly as broad as France or Great Britain, and containing millions of inhabitants (all voters, naturally. Otherwise, where would Democracy stand?).
It was, for example, compulsory that the number of Muslim delegates should be 55 percent of the total members of the Assembly of Bengal, for Bengal had then 55 percent of Muslims in her total population. It was compulsory, that in the Assam Assembly, there should be a number of Christian representatives proportionate to the number of Christians—nearly all Aboriginies, i.e., tribal men converted by the Missionaries—living in the province. Moreover: it was compulsory that the Untouchables (people of the most inferior races of India, when not outcasts from any race) should be represented in every Assembly proportionately to their numbers in every province. As a consequence, there were in every province, constituencies in which the electoral lists of candidates, whatever be the political party belonged to, were composed of nothing but Christians, or nothing but Muslims, or nothing but Untouchables. The voters—that is to say, all the inhabitants of age—had no other choice, whatever was their own caste or creed, but to vote for one of these candidates—or to put a blank paper in the polls.
The whole system was conceived in order to take away from the Hindus, in general, and especially from the high-caste Hindus—i.e., from the Aryan elite of India—every scrap of political power, already within the more and more “Indianized” administration that the British were setting up themselves, before their departure, which they had felt was unavoidable. It was enforced by the authority without appeal of the colonial power. One could not change it. One only could, from an Aryan racialist standpoint, try to limit the mischief that would result out of its applications. And in order to do that, one had to act as though one accepted the absurd principle of the “right” of any majority to power, regardless of its value, simply because it represents the greatest numbers . . . and try to make the Hindus a majority at the expense of other communities.
One therefore had to try to give to the most backward of the most degenerate of Aborigines—to the half-savages of the hills of Assam—a (false) Hindu consciousness. One had to bring them to proclaim themselves “Hindus,” sincerely, by telling them how tolerant Hinduism is, but by forgetting to mention the caste system that it upholds. One had to try to bring (or rather bring back) the Indian Christian or Muslim (both, as a rule, sprung from low-caste Hindus converted to one of the two foreign creeds) to Hinduism. And for that one had to surmount the repugnance of most Hindus to accept them, for never yet had Hinduism taken back into its fold anyone who had left it, or had been expelled from it (and declared Untouchable). One could fall out of one’s caste and land into Untouchable. One could not re-enter it. But one had to change that, if power was not to pass entirely into the hands of the non-Aryan majority of the population of India. For alone could a (false) nationalism—a European style nationalism, necessarily false in the case of any multiracial society—could bring about the change and unite the Hindus (badly, but better badly then not al all) under a no less false parliamentary system imposed up in them against their tradition, and against the Aryan Tradition, of which their elite had remained up till then the sole depositary.