THE BANQUET FOR RANJIT SINJHI
(New Discoveries, Vol. 4, pp. 479-80.)
[The Indian Mirror, December 16, 1896]
On the 21st of this month [November], the Cambridge “Indian Majlis” gave a complimentary dinner at the University Arms Hotel [in Cambridge] to Prince Ranjit-sinhji and Mr. Atul Chandra Chatterjee. Mr. Hafiz G. Sarwir of St. John’s College, took the chair. There were about fifty Indians present and a few Englishmen. . . .
Swami Vivekananda rose next to respond [to the toast of India] amidst loud and deafening cheers. (There is no verbatim transcript available. Cf. the following January 8, 1897 Indian newspaper report, “The Majlis in Cambridge” .) The Swami began by saying that he did not know exactly why he should be chosen to respond to the toast unless it be for the reason that he in physical bulk bore a striking resemblance to the national animal of India (laughter). He desired to congratulate the guest of the evening and he took the statement which the Chairman had made that Mr. Chatterjee was going to correct the mistake of past historians of India, to be literally true. For out of the past the future must come and he knew no greater and more permanent foundation for the future than a true knowledge of what had preceded before. The present is the effect of the infinity of causes which represent the past. They had many things to learn from the Europeans but their past, the glory of India which had passed away, should constitute even a still greater source of inspiration and instruction. Things rise and things decay, there is rise and fall everywhere in the world. . . . [Vide the block quotation under “The Majlis In Cambridge” for the remaining text of this report.]