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girls, who had succeeded in obtaining their degrees, he was the only one, who had the honour of a handshake with the President of the University. His career had been a particularly brilliant one, and he set a standard, which I am glad to say, was worthily kept up by the other students from India who followed him. I have referred to this standard later on, in connection with my interview with the President of the University.

After he had obtained his Master's degree, he returned to India; and within a month of his landing in Calcutta he received an appointment in the State of Cooch Behar, which brought us together for the first time. So his trip to the United States with me was his second venture. He took his first trip as a student to study agriculture, and his second one as an official to specialize in the culture and curing of tobacco. We travelled thousands of miles, and spent several months together in the United States and Cuba.

I was asked by the author to write an account of my short but highly instructive stay at Cornell University; it has been used as the last chapter in the book. I would ask you, kind readers, not to do, as some who read novels do, i.e., read the last chapter and find out if there is a happy ending. I do not pretend to possess any literary genius; I have tried to put down in plain English my thoughts and impressions about America in that short chapter.

This book was written several years ago, but various untoward circumstances prevented its publication. Many things have happened since then, and the ties between India and America are drawn closer now that the latter has joined the Allies in the great world war. The book is published with the hope that it may give a few pleasant hours to those who would go through it.

My special thanks are due to Mr. Jamini Prakash Gangooli, Vice-Principal, Calcutta Government School of Arts, for drawing the picture for the cover of the book, and to Mr. Sarat Chandra Gupta, M.A., Professor of English Literature, Victoria College, Cooch Behar, for the interpretation of that picture (given in Appendix A), and for his help in correcting the proofs. I must also express my thanks to Mr. S. Ghosh, B.A., formerly of the Home Civil Service, for going through portions of the Manuscript and the proofs, and rendering valuable assistance.


March, 1918.


There are very few people from Hindusthan in the United States; the American people therefore have fewer opportunities of knowing about them than about the Filipinos, the Chinese and the Japanese who are found in larger numbers in the States. While on the one hand, the minority of the Americans who came in contact with master-minds like Swami Vivekananda, Sir Jagadish Chunder Bose and Sir Rabindranath Tagore, have exaited notions about Hindu civilization, to the generality of the American people, on the other hand, India has no greater significance than that of being a land of palmists, jugglers and snake-charmers, where

"The poor benighted Hindoo

He does the best he kindoo (can do);

He sticks to his caste

From first to last,

And for pants, he makes his skindoo (skin do).” And a Hindu visitor is often asked if there are more gods in India than there are men; if the children are betrothed before they are born; if the widows, as a rule, have to be sacrificed on the funeral pyres of their husbands; and if live babies are thrown to the crocodiles of the river. These few pages, therefore,

may not be uninteresting to my countrymen in India,

as they deal with the reminiscences of a Hindu in the United States, especially in the American Universities, although they do not pretend to give more than a meagre information about that vast country, and the great people who inhabit it.


It is further hoped that this little book may not be unwelcome to the American people, who are more eager to get the opinions of a stranger about their own country than any other people in the world. Most of the matters dealt with in the book were discussed before American audiences and friends, and it was found that the impressions of oriental people about America greatly contributed to their enjoyment. first questions that greet the stranger as soon as he lands in New York are "What do you think of this country? What do you think of those sky-scrapers ?" Now if that stranger answers in the same candid manner in which he is questioned, and amidst a hundred strong points that the American people possess, mentions a few of their characteristics which may appear amusing to his oriental nature, may it not be expected that his observations will be taken in good spirit, especially when he comes from a country on the other side of the globe, about which the Americans themselves have all sorts of amusing ideas.

No one realises more than my humble self the difficulty of speaking in general terms of the people of so vast a country as the United States, where there are all types of humanity from the quiet,

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