When it was a country of only twenty million people, naturally it was rich. There was no reason for anybody to be poor. So much land, so much gold – there was more of everything than anybody needed. It attracted invaders, obviously. Continually for three thousand years, India has been attracting invaders. Now anybody is trying to invade India; in fact the last invaders, the Britishers, found finally that they had sucked India totally, there was nothing left.
Then it was more of a liability than an empire. You had to take care of so many poor people, otherwise you were blamed; you had to take care of so many criminals, otherwise you were blamed. For everything that went wrong the empire was blamed because it was your enforced slavery that was causing every trouble.
This is not a valid argument. Mahatma Gandhi was very careful to remain always truthful, but about the basics he was not. It was not true to say to India that it was only because of the British Empire that all the problems were there. Because now – after ‘47 and up to ‘84 – although there has been no slavery and the country is free, it has fallen far more deeply into misery and suffering.
You will be surprised that since the British left India, the price of things has gone up seven hundred times. Today if you have seven hundred rupees, it is only worth what one rupee was worth in 1947. So today, to earn seven hundred rupees – which is a big salary in India – is just like earning one rupee in 1947. It was not only the British Empire that was responsible for India’s problems; for three thousand years so many people had been sucking India dry.
Mahmud gained confidence. He said, “If a small creature like a spider has such tremendous optimism…am I inferior to this spider? I will try one time more.” And what a coincidence! – on the nineteenth time he succeeded. In fact he succeeded because Prithviraj Chauhan had simply dropped the idea that this man would have the courage to invade again. Eighteen times defeated…with what face could he come back again?
So Prithviraj Chauhan simply dropped the idea that there was going to be any invasion. All the preparations that he had been making continually for the eighteen invasions were dropped. It was no longer an emergency. Mahmud was the only enemy on the borders of Prithviraj Chauhan’s land – and he was crushed. Prithviraj Chauhan also thought, “In such a situation I would have committed suicide. Any man with just a little bit of self-respect would rather die than be defeated eighteen times.” So he simply dropped the idea. The army was dispersed, sent back to work, and Mahmud invaded at a time when he was not expected at all. He won.
This story was told to me in my class by the teacher of history. He said, “This is the way one should be. Never be pessimistic. One never knows: if this time you fail, don’t be worried; next time perhaps you will succeed, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. But never lose heart; to the last breath go on struggling.”