And yet when we come face to face with the details of the scheme, we find that the scale of our operations must necessarily depend on the amount of capital with which we are able to start. The City Colony, with its Labor Bureau, Labor Yards, Food Depots, Prison and Rescue Homes, and Salvage Brigade, will involve a considerable initial expense. Although we are able to supply an efficient supervising staff for a mere fraction of the ordinary cost,—rents of land and buildings will have to paid. And although work will be exacted from those who resort to our Yards and Homes, yet the supply of food to the large numbers who are likely to need our help will at the outset probably cost us more than we are able to recover from the sale of the goods produced.
The Country Colony, with its Industrial Villages, Suburban Farms, and Waste Settlements, will involve a still heavier outlay of capital. There is every reason to believe that we may look for an ample return. Indeed the financial prospects of this branch of the scheme are more hopeful than these of the City Colony. But to commence on a large scale will involve no doubt a proportionate expenditure. We may hope indeed that Government, Native States and private landowners will generously assist us to overcome these difficulties by grants of land, and advances of money and other concessions. Still we must anticipate that a considerable portion of the financial burden and responsibility in commencing such an enterprise must of necessity fall upon us.
The Over-Sea Colony may for the present be postponed, and hence we have not now to consider what would be the probable expenses. But omitting this, and having regard only to the City and Country Colonies, I believe that to make a commencement on a fairly extensive scale we shall require a sum of one lakh of rupees. We do not pretend that with this sum at our command we can do more than make a beginning. It would be idle to suppose that the miseries of twenty-five millions of people could be annihilated at a stroke for such a sum.
We do believe however that by sinking such a sum we should be able to manufacture a road over which a continuous and increasing mass of the Submerged would be able to liberate themselves from their present miserable surroundings and rise to a position of comparative comfort.
We are confident moreover that the profits, or shall we call them the tolls paid by those who passed over this highway, would enable us speedily to construct a second, which would be broader and better than the first. The first two would multiply themselves to four, the four to eight, the eight to sixteen, till the number and breadth of these social highways would be such as to place deliverance within easy reach of all who desired it.
The sum we ask for is less than a tithe of what has been so speedily raised in England for the rescue of a far smaller number of the submerged. And yet there may be those who will think that we are asking for too much. But when I see far larger sums expended on the erection, or support of a single Hospital, or Dharamsala, and when I remember that Indian philanthropy has covered the country with such, I am tempted to exclaim “What is this among so many?”