Freedom of speech provided the speech was not to the king’s face, and freedom of movement were accepted; likewise freedom to agitate and propagate theories of an intellectual character, whether or not these had practical implications.
Freedom of property, in the modern sense of the term freedom, or of choice of occupation and of way of life in a chosen environment, no one seems ever to have desired. Freedom to choose one’s own direction seemed synonymous with insecurity, with disorder and the dreaded state of affairs when the large fish swallow smaller fish, or, according to another explanation of the celebrated matsya-nyaya (the maxim of the fish), when people are roasted as fish are roasted on a spit.
The ideals of the Indian peoples presupposed insecurity, from which political power rescued them. Against this background one sought one’s soul’s comfort by practising personal and social virtues; apart from that background, virtues were hardly to be aspired to.
It is of interest that as soon as the fear of primeval chaos was actually removed, a taste for reform, for fundamental rights, and civil liberties actually made an entrance into the Indian mind, and, so far as recent history indicates, their continuance in India seems not unconnected with a firm intention not to relapse into it.