The one weak point about the Indian system, as it at present exists, is, that there is no means of regulating the proportion of labour in each section of the community. The rules of caste prevent any transfer from one trade to another, while there is no system of intercommunication between the villages to enable them to readily transfer their surplus population to the places where they would be most needed. In a case where some village industry is threatened with annihilation, as for instance the weavers, there is absolutely no provision for the transfer of the unfortunate victims of civilisation either to some more favored locality or to some other sphere of labour.
Now this is just where our combined plan of campaign with its union of City, Country, and Over-sea Colonies would step in and supply the missing link. We should be able to direct the glut of labor into just those channels where it would be the most useful.
And why should this be thought impracticable? Everybody is acquainted with the power of wind, water and steam, where properly directed, to move the most gigantic machinery and yet for centuries those powers were suffered to go to waste. It is only of late that we have learnt for instance to put chains upon the genii of the tea-kettle, to put them as it were into harness, to bridle them and to compel them to drag our huge leviathans across thousands of miles of ocean. May not the enormous mass of waste labor that has accumulated in our cities and rural districts be fitly compared to the former waste of steam. The best that we have been able to do for it so far has been to provide for it the safety valves of beggary, destitution, famine, pestilence, crime, imprisonment and the gallows.
Is it too much to suppose that this enormous waste of human steam, the most valuable sort of steam that the world contains, can be properly controlled and guided so that it will make for itself railways and steamers that shall carry its human cargoes by millions across lands that are at present mere wastes, and to populate countries which are as yet wildernesses? In doing so, we shall but fulfil the words of prophecy uttered 26,000 years ago. “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing.* * For in the wilderness shall waters break out and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool and the thirsty land springs of water.* * * And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for those. The way-faring men, though fools shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon; it shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Sion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”