What he wanted to know was the precise area of
India in square miles. I referred him to Whittaker. He had
never heard of Whittaker. He wanted it from my own mouth, and I
would not tell him. Then he swerved off, just like the other
man, to details of journalism in our own country. I ventured to
suggest that the interior economy of a paper most concerned the
people who worked it.
"That's the very thing that interests us," he said. "Have you
got reporters anything like our reporters on Indian newspapers?"
"We have not," I said, and suppressed the "thank God" rising to
"Why haven't you?" said he.
"Because they would die," I said.
It was exactly like talking to a child - a very rude little child.
He would begin almost every sentence with, "Now tell me something
about India," and would turn aimlessly from one question to the
other without the least continuity. I was not angry, but keenly
interested. The man was a revelation to me. To his questions I
re-turned answers mendacious and evasive. After all, it really
did not matter what I said. He could not understand. I can only
hope and pray that none of the readers of the "Pioneer" will ever
see that portentous interview.