Lionel Fielden's book, Beggar My Neighbour, is more propaganda than advertisement because of the antithetical effects it inadvertently produces. Like many people in the early 1940's, Fielding wanted India to be a free and independent country, though when you look a little closer, his reasoning reveals it to be a pipe dream given the international context and the unoriginal thinking.
At that point in our history, Western and Eastern civilization were siblings that wanted to play with the same exact toys. Sure, they both wanted freedom in whatever their version of it prescribed, but the world had shrunk to a point that no longer could they both be wholly satisfied with their lifestyle. The West, being complex with its technology, culture, money and progress viewed Eastern countries like India as obsolete because they weren't optimizing resources or striving for economic success. Eastern ideology is more simple, more ancestral, lacking the West's hypersensitivities and assumptions. Conquering India wasn't a universal solution, and the British ideally wanted to cherry-pick India's destiny for them, leaving them their independence to de-industralize and be neutral in war while infusing Western sentiment. It makes as little sense as it sounds, which is why Orwell describes Fielding's book--which holds this view--as propaganda instead of advertisement, which is simpler, more direct, and less nebulous.
How was independence defined in the early 40's? Just as strength in the schoolyard awards one with almost absolute certainty from being attacked, it was defined by the proliferation of aeroplanes. But India couldn't defend itself, so it didn't really matter if Britain was the country to subjugate them, because behind them were Germany, Russia, and Japan. It's not like Britain was unique in its imperialism. Even non-imperialistic countries would have something to say about India's impotence, they'd just voice it in terms of "education." Eastern countries that don't convert to Western are seen as wild-cards; if we don't convert them to our way, instilling them with better, more functional values, someone else is going to come along and disease them, creating a threat to us. India's compulsion toward simplicity and neutrality were seen as virtues in the abstract, but in the early 40's, the Western world just couldn't leave it at that; Britain had to involve herself. Page 480: "Either power politics must yield to common decency, or the world must go spiraling down into a nightmare of which we can already catch some dim glimpses. And the necessary first step, before we can make our talk about world federations sound even credible, is that Britain shall get off India's back. This is the only large scale decent action that is possible at this moment."
How? Isn't the West like a steam roller once it gets going? Yes, which is why the ordinary citizen (a common theme for Orwell) needs to be informed and educated about India on its own terms. Not cherry-pick information, but all the information, allowing the Britain citizen to see how India has been mistreated and that their time-tested way has honor. Insulting how they smell, look, or the habits they choose is simply degrading them via slander. Plus, the West had its fair share of historical filth and hypocrisy, considering the luxurious Palace at Versailles didn't even have functioning toilets for around a century, and the attendees prior to that improvement didn't exit the premises to relieve themselves.
Fielding suggests the struggle between the East and West is one of spirituality versus materialism, however, spirituality never exists within a vacuum, as it abstractly suggests. It gets infected. Gandhi was not a universal pacifist, and his political awareness (he was a lawyer) informed him that conflict will always arise, affecting his point of view as to the course of India's international presence. Pacifism thus wasn't the message within his passive resistance. Thus, the East may not have participated in the West's traditions and beliefs, but they weren't savages, which is Orwell's point to the British; learn from these people, don't shove your education and values onto them. Your values, if you are a normal, everyday citizen, have most likely been infected by others coercing them onto you in the same fashion as Britain wanted to infect India. Orwell says the people who are most apt to exploit and infect others are sleepwalkers. Unaware that they trample values instead of act intelligently and wisely, they take refuge in popular social ideologies.
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