Letter to the Hindu

There is hope for Madras for she has still some verteran leaders of the caliber of Mr. Subramania Aiyer. Mr. Aiyer is a patriot of the othodox type, midway between the fanatic and the funk. For the last three decades and more this man has been unceasingly thinking and writing about his country, her wrongs and her hopes. The dazzling brilliance of genius Mr. Aiyer certainly has not. The gods have not bestowed on him any of those shining, semi-divine mental gifts. But they have mercifully withheld from his composition the cheap and deceitful flashes so painfully common among us in these latter days – the spurious, multicolored and short-lived flames of the political dilettante and charalatan. He is not a star, nor a meteor, nor ignis fatu us. He is the unfailing sacrificial fire; a modest beacon light over the troubled waters of Indian politics.

The gods have given him plenty of suffering as they give to every mortal on earth. Perhaps the gods decree more suffering to men who wish to help human evolution than to others. But to Mrs. Subramaniya Aiyer they have granted the strength to bear all the burden and heat of the day, never complaining, never despairing. This man can endure, he can therefore build. He can suffer, he can therefore elevate. Unaided he has made Tamil journalism a fact of the world in spite of his very imperfect early training in Tamil literature. Learn, says the Tamil aphorist, while you are yet young.

In Mr. Subramaniya Aiyer’s youth he had wholly neglected his mother tongue like most people in this country who claim to have been “educated” in English schools. But his mature patriotism had to realize later on that for the elevation of the Tamil race the Tamil language would be not only the most rational but the indispensable medium. They win who dare; Mr. Aiyer dared and he has succeeded in establishing a Tamil daily journal which with all its faults is the most useful newspaper in the Tamil country. His whole political gospel can be summed up in these words: “ Praceful but tireless and unceasing effort’. Let us sweat ourselves into Swaraj, he would seem to say.”

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The Hindu
December 1914

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