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Title: India, Old and New
Author: Chirol, Valentine, Sir, 1852-1929
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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(Transcriber's Note: [=x] notation indicates a character with a macron.)


  INDIA
  OLD AND NEW


  BY
  SIR VALENTINE CHIROL

  AUTHOR OF "INDIAN UNREST," "THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM," ETC.


     "We shall in time so far improve the character of our
     Indian subjects as to enable them to govern and protect
     themselves."--Minute by Sir Thomas Munro, Governor
     of Madras, Dec. 31, 1824.


  MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED
  ST. MARTIN'S STREET, LONDON
  1921



FOREWORD


It is little more than ten years since I wrote my _Indian Unrest_. But
they have been years that may well count for decades in the history of
the world, and not least in the history of India. Much has happened in
India to confirm many of the views which I then expressed. Much has
happened also to lead me to modify others, and to recognise more clearly
to-day the shortcomings of a system of government, in many ways
unrivalled, but subject to the inevitable limitations of alien rule.

At a very early stage of the Great War the Prime Minister warned the
British people that, after the splendid demonstration India was already
giving of her loyalty to the cause for which the whole Empire was then
in arms, our relations with her would have henceforth to be approached
from "a new angle of vision." The phrase he used acquired a deeper
meaning still as the war developed from year to year into a
life-and-death struggle not merely between nations but between ideals,
and India claimed for herself the benefit of the ideals for which she
too fought and helped the British Commonwealth to victory. When victory
was assured, could India's claim be denied after she had been called in,
with all the members of the British Commonwealth, to the War Councils of
the Empire in the hour of need, and again been associated with them in
the making of peace? The British people have answered that question as
all the best traditions of British governance in India, and all the
principles for which they had fought and endured through four and a half
years of frightful war, bade them answer it.

The answer finally took shape in the great constitutional experiment of
which I witnessed the inauguration during my visit to India this winter.
It promises to rally as seldom before in active support of the British
connection those classes that British rule brought within the orbit of
Western civilisation by the introduction of English education, just
about a century ago. It has not disarmed all the reactionary elements
which, even when disguised in a modern garb, draw their inspiration from
an ancient civilisation, remote indeed from, though not in its better
aspects irreconcilable with, our own. A century is but a short moment of
time in the long span of Indian history, and the antagonism between two
different types of civilisation cannot be easily or swiftly lived down.
It would be folly to underrate forces of resistance which are by no
means altogether ignoble, and in this volume I have studied their origin
and their vitality because they underlie the strange "Non-co-operation"
movement which has consciously or unconsciously arrayed every form of
racial and religious and economic and political discontent, not merely
against British rule, but against the progressive forces which contact
with Western civilisation has slowly brought into existence under
British rule in India itself. These forces have been stirred to new
endeavour by the goal now definitely placed within their reach. That we
were bound to set that goal and no other before them I have tried to
show by reviewing the consistent evolution of British policy in India
for the last 150 years, keeping, imperfectly sometimes, but in the main
surely, abreast of our own national and political evolution at home and
throughout the Empire. Once placed in its proper perspective, this great
experiment, though fraught with many dangers and difficulties, is one of
which the ultimate issue can be looked forward to hopefully as the not
unworthy sequel to the long series of bold and on the whole wonderfully
successful experiments that make up the unique story of British rule in
India.

I have to express my thanks to the proprietors of _The Times_ for
allowing me to use some of the letters which I wrote for that paper
whilst I was in India last winter, and also to the Royal Society of Arts
for permission to reproduce the main portions of a lecture delivered by
me last year on Hinduism as the first of the Memorial Lectures
instituted in honour of the late Sir George Birdwood, to whom I owe as
much for the deeper understanding which he gave me of old India as I do
to the late Mr. G.K. Gokhale for the clearer insight I gained from him
into the spirit of new India whilst we were colleagues from 1912 to 1915
on the Royal Commission on Indian Public Services.

                                                      VALENTINE CHIROL.

34 CARLYLE SQUARE, CHELSEA,
_August 24, 1921._



CONTENTS

                                                                 PAGE
  CHAPTER I
  THE CLASH OF TWO CIVILISATIONS                                    1


  CHAPTER II
  THE ENDURING POWER OF HINDUISM                                   15



  CHAPTER III
  MAHOMEDAN DOMINATION                                             46


  CHAPTER IV
  BRITISH RULE UNDER THE EAST INDIA COMPANY                        66


  CHAPTER V
  THE MUTINY AND FIFTY YEARS AFTER                                 84


  CHAPTER VI
  THE FIRST GREAT WAVE OF UNREST                                  111


  CHAPTER VII
  THE MORLEY-MINTO REFORMS                                        125


  CHAPTER VIII
  THROUGH THE GREAT WAR TO THE GREAT INDIAN REFORM BILL      139


  CHAPTER IX
  THE EMERGENCE OF MR. GANDHI                                     165


  CHAPTER X
  SIDE-LIGHTS ON THE ELECTIONS                                    193


  CHAPTER XI
  CROSS CURRENTS IN SOUTHERN INDIA                                214


  CHAPTER XII
  THE BIRTH OF AN INDIAN PARLIAMENT                               227


  CHAPTER XIII
  ECONOMIC FACTORS                                                246


  CHAPTER XIV
  SHOALS AND ROCKS AHEAD                                          268


  CHAPTER XV
  THE INCLINED PLANE OF GANDHIISM                                 286


  CHAPTER XVI
  THE INDIAN PROBLEM A WORLD PROBLEM                              299


  INDEX                                                           311



CHAPTER I

THE CLASH OF TWO CIVILISATIONS


On February 9, 1921, three hundred and twenty-one years after Queen
Elizabeth granted to her trusty "Merchant-venturers" of London the
charter out of which the East India Company and the British Empire of
India were to grow up, His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught
inaugurated at Delhi, in the King-Emperor's name, the new representative
institutions that are to lead India onward towards complete
self-government as an equal partner in the British Commonwealth of
Nations. To bring home to every Indian the full significance of the
occasion, the King-Emperor did not shrink from using in his Royal
Message an Indian word which not long ago was held to bear no other than
a seditious construction. His Majesty gave it a new and finer meaning.
"For years--it may be for generations--patriotic and loyal Indians have
dreamed of _Swaraj_ for their motherland. To-day you have the beginnings
of _Swaraj_ within my Empire, and the widest scope and ample opportunity
for progress to the liberty which my other Dominions enjoy."

It was a bold pronouncement inaugurating another, some say the boldest,
of all the many bold adventures which make up the marvellous history of
British rule in India. The simplicity, rare in the East, of the ceremony
itself enhanced its significance. It was not held, like the opening of
the Chamber of Princes, in the splendid Hall of Public Audience in the
old Fort where the Moghul Emperors once sat on the Peacock Throne, nor
were there the flash of jewels and blaze of colour that faced the Duke
when he addressed the feudatory chiefs who still rule their states on
ancient lines beyond the limits of direct British administration. The
members of the new Indian Legislatures, most of them in sober European
attire, though many of them retained their own distinctive head-dress,
were assembled within the white and unadorned walls of the temporary
building in which they will continue to sit until the statelier home to
be built for them in new Delhi is ready to receive them. But Delhi
itself with all its age-long memories was around one to provide the
historic setting for an historic scene, and Delhi still stands under the
sign of the Kutub Minar, the splendid minaret--a landmark for miles and
miles around--which dominates the vast graveyard of fallen dynasties at
its feet and the whole of the great plain beyond where the fate of
India, and not of India alone, has so often been decided.

On that plain were fought out, in prehistoric times, the fierce
conflicts of ancient Aryan races, Pandavas and Kauravas, around which
the poetic genius of India has woven the wonderful epos of the
Mahabharata. Only a couple of miles south of the modern city, the walls
of the Purana Kilat, the fortress built by Humayun, cover the site but
have not obliterated the ancient name of Indraprasthra, or Indrapat, the
city founded by the Pandavas themselves, when Yudhisthira celebrated
their final victory by performing on the banks of the Jumna, in token of
the Pandava claim to Empire, the _Asvamedha_, or great Horse Sacrifice,
originated by Brahma himself. There too, on a mound beyond Indrapat,
stands the granite shaft of one of Asoka's pillars, on which, with a
fine faith that the world has never yet justified, the great Buddhist
Apostle-Emperor of India inscribed over 2000 years ago his edicts
prohibiting the taking of life. At the very foot of the Kutub Minar the
famous Iron Pillar commemorates the victories of the "Sun of Power," the
Hindu Emperor of the Gupta dynasty with whose name, under the more
popular form of Raja Bikram, Indian legend associates the vague memories
of a golden age of Hindu civilisation in the fifth and sixth centuries.
The Pillar was brought there by one of the Rajput princes who founded in
the middle of the eleventh century the first city really known to
history as Delhi. There Prithvi Raja reigned, who still lives in Indian
minstrelsy as the embodiment of Hindu chivalry, equally gallant and
daring in love and in war--the last to make a stand in northern India
against the successive waves of Mahomedan conquest which Central Asia
had begun to pour in upon India in 1001, with the first of Mahmud
Ghazni's seventeen raids. In the next century an Afghan wave swept down
on the top of the original Turki wave, and Kutub-ed-Din, having
proclaimed himself Emperor of Delhi in 1206, built the great Mosque of
_Kuwwet-el-Islam_, "The Power of Islam," and the lofty minaret, still
known by his name, from which for six centuries the Moslem call to
prayer went forth to proclaim Mahomedan domination over India.

With the monumental wreckage of those early Mahomedan dynasties, steeped
in treachery and bloodshed, the plain of Delhi is still strewn. The
annals of Indian history testify more scantily but not less eloquently
to their infamy until the supremacy of Delhi, but not of Islam, was
shaken for two centuries by Timur, who appeared out of the wild spaces
of Tartary and within a year disappeared into them again like a
devastating meteor. From his stock, nevertheless, was to proceed the
long line of Moghul Emperors who first under Baber and then under Akbar
won the Empire of Hindustan at the gates of Delhi, and for a time
succeeded in bringing almost the whole of India under their sway. But
their splendid marble halls in the great Fort of Delhi recall not only
the magnificence of the Moghul Empire, but its slow and sure decay,
until it became a suitor for the protection of the British power, which,
at first a mere trading power that had once sued humbly enough for its
protection, had risen to be the greatest military and political power
in India. It was at Delhi at the beginning of the nineteenth century
that Lord Lake rescued a Moghul Emperor from the hands of Mahratta
jailers, and it was at Delhi again that in 1857 the last semblance of
Moghul rulership disappeared out of history in the tempest of the
Mutiny. It was on the plain of Delhi that the assumption by Queen
Victoria of the imperial title was solemnly proclaimed in 1878, and,
with still greater pomp, King Edward's accession in 1903. There again in
1911 King George, the first of his line to visit his Indian Empire as
King-Emperor, received in person the fealty of princes and peoples and
restored Delhi to her former pride of place as its imperial capital.

Where else in the world can such a procession of the ages pass before
one's eyes, from the great "Horse Sacrifice" of the Pandavas at the dawn
of history to the inauguration by a British prince in the King-Emperor's
name of modern political institutions conceived in the democratic spirit
of British freedom?

Yet at the very time when an Indian-elected assembly, representing as
far as possible all creeds and classes and communities, and above all
the Western-educated classes who are the intellectual offspring of
British rule, were gathered together to hear delivered to them in
English--the one language in which, as a result of British rule, and by
no means the least valuable, Indians from all parts of a vast polyglot
country are able to hold converse--the Royal message throwing open to
the people of India the road to _Swaraj_ within the British Empire, the
imperial city of Delhi went into mourning as a sign of angry protest,
and the vast majority of its citizens, mostly, it must be remembered,
Mahomedans, very strictly observed a complete boycott of the Royal visit
in accordance with Mr. Gandhi's "Non-co-operation" campaign, and went
out in immense crowds to greet the strange Hindu saint and leader who
had come to preach to them his own very different message--a message of
revolt, not indeed by violence but by "soul force," against the
soulless civilisation of the West.

In no other city in India would such an alliance between Hindus and
Mahomedans have seemed only a few years ago more unthinkable. For
nowhere else have we such a vision as in Delhi of the ruthlessness as
well as of the splendour of Mahomedan domination in India. Nowhere can
one measure as in Delhi the greatness of its fall, and its fall had
begun before it ever came into conflict with the rising British power.
It had been shaken to its foundations by the far more ancient power of
Hinduism, which Islam had subdued but never destroyed. In the
seventeenth century Shivaji, the hero still to-day of the Hindu revival
of which Mr. Gandhi is the latest apostle, led out for the first time
his Mahrattas in open rebellion against Delhi and started the continuous
process of disintegration from which the Moghul Emperors were driven to
purchase their only possible respite under British protection. Since
India finally passed not under Mahratta, but under British rule,
Hinduism has never again been subjected to the oppression which the
fierce monotheism of Islam itself taught all her Mahomedan rulers, with
the one noble exception of Akbar, to inflict upon an "idolatrous" race.
British rule introduced into India not only a new reign of law and order
but the principles of equal tolerance and justice for all which had
struck root in our own civilisation. Nevertheless, at the very moment at
which we were attempting to extend a wide and generous application of
those principles to the domain of political rights and liberties, we
were being confronted with unexpected forces of resistance which, even
in Mahomedan Delhi, drew their chief inspiration from Hinduism.

But, it might be argued, Delhi, though restored to the primacy it had
lost under British rule as the capital city of India, has continued to
live on the memories of the past and has been scarcely touched by the
breath of modern civilisation. For the full effect of close contact
with the West, ought one not to look to the great cities that have
grown up under British rule--to Calcutta, for instance, the seat until a
few years ago of British Government in India, itself a creation of the
British, and if not to-day a more prosperous centre of European
enterprise than Bombay, a larger and more populous city, in which the
Hindus are in an overwhelming majority? But in the life even of Calcutta
features are not lacking to remind one how persistent are the forces of
resistance to the whole spirit of the West which Mr. Gandhi mustered in
Delhi to protest against the purpose of the Duke of Connaught's mission.
Had not a great part of Calcutta itself also observed the _Hartal_
proclaimed by Mr. Gandhi during the Prince's visit?

On the surface it seems difficult in Calcutta to get even an occasional
glimpse of the old India upon which we have superimposed a new India
with results that are still in the making. In Bombay, though it proudly
calls itself "the Western Gate of India" the glow of Hindu funeral
pyres, divided only by a long wall from the fashionable drive which
sweeps along Back Bay from the city, still called the Fort, to Malabar
Hill, serves to remind one any evening that he is in an oriental world
still largely governed as ever by the doctrine of successive rebirths,
the dead being merely reborn to fresh life, in some new form according
to each one's merits or demerits, out of the flames that consume the
body. On Malabar Hill itself, in the very heart of the favourite
residential quarter whence the Europeans are being rapidly elbowed out
by Indian merchant princes, the finest site of all still encloses the
Towers of Silence on which, contrary to the Hindu usage of cremation,
the Parsees, holding fire too sacred to be subjected to contact with
mortal corruption, expose their dead to be devoured by vultures.
Calcutta has no such conspicuous landmarks of the East to disturb the
illusion produced by most of one's surroundings that this is a city
which, if not actually European, differs only from the European type in
the complexion and dress of its oriental population and the
architectural compromises imposed on European buildings by a tropical
climate. The Marquess of Wellesley built Government House over a hundred
years ago on the model of Kedleston, and it is still the stateliest
official residence in British India. Fort William with Olive's ramparts
and fosses is still almost untouched, and with an ever-expanding
Walhalla of bronze or marble Governors and Viceroys and
Commanders-in-Chief, and at the farther end the white marble walls and
domes of the Queen Victoria Memorial Hall--the one noble monument we
have built in India--at last nearing completion, the broad expanse of
Calcutta's incomparable Maidan is, even more than our London parks, the
green playfield and the vital lung of the whole city. Along and behind
Chowringhee there are still a few of the old-time mansions of
Thackeray's "nabobs," with their deep, pillared verandahs standing well
off from the road, each within its discreet "compound," but they are all
rapidly making room for "eligible residences," more opulent perhaps but
more closely packed, or for huge blocks of residential flats, even less
adapted to the climate. The great business quarter round Dalhousie
Square has been steadily rebuilt on a scale of massive magnificence
scarcely surpassed in the city of London, and many of the shops compare
with those of our West End. The river, too, all along the Garden Reach
and far below is often almost as crowded as the Pool of London, with
ocean-going steamers waiting to load or unload their cargoes as well as
with lumbering native sailing ships and the ferries that ply ceaselessly
between the different quarters of the city on both banks of the Hugli.
The continuous roar of traffic in the busy streets, the crowded
tram-cars, the motors and taxis jostling the ancient bullock-carts, the
surging crowds in the semi-Europeanised native quarters, even the pall
of smoke that tells of many modern industrial activities are not quite
so characteristic of new India as, when I was last there, the
sandwich-men with boards inviting a vote for this or that candidate in
the elections to the new Indian Councils.

In all the strenuous life and immense wealth of this great city, to
which European enterprise first gave and still gives the chief impulse,
Indians are taking an increasing share. The Bengalees themselves still
hold very much aloof from modern developments of trade and industry, but
they were the first to appreciate the value of Western education, and
the Calcutta University with all its shortcomings has maintained the
high position which Lord Dalhousie foreshadowed for it nearly seventy
years ago. In art and literature the modern Bengalee has often known how
to borrow from the West without sacrificing either his own originality
or the traditions of his race or the spirit of his creed. Some of the
finest Bengalee brains have taken for choice to the legal profession and
have abundantly justified themselves both as judges in the highest court
of the province and as barristers and pleaders. In every branch of the
public services open to Indians and in all the liberal professions, as
well as in the civic and political life of their country, the Bengalees
have played a leading part, not restricted even to their own province,
and in the very distinguished person of Lord Sinha, Bengal has just
provided for the first time an Indian to represent the King-Emperor as
governor of a province--the neighbouring province of Behar and Orissa.
Nor have the women of Bengal been left behind as in so many other parts
of India. In Calcutta many highly educated ladies have won such complete
release from the ancient restraints imposed upon their sex that they
preside to-day over refined and cultured homes from which the subtle
atmosphere of the East does not exclude the ease and freedom of Western
habits of mind and body.

Yet these are still exceptions, and even in such a progressive city as
Calcutta and even amongst the highest classes the social and domestic
life of the majority of Hindus is still largely governed by the laws of
Hinduism, and not least with regard to marriage and the seclusion of
women. I was once allowed to attend a sort of "scripture lesson" for
little high-caste Hindu girls, organised by a benevolent old Brahman
lady, who has devoted herself to the cause of infant education on
orthodox lines. None of these 40 or 50 little girls had of course
reached the age, usually ten, at which they would be cut off from all
contact with the other sex except in marriage. They had bright and happy
faces, and as it was a Hindu festival most of them were decked out in
all their finery with gold and silver bangles on their dainty arms and
ankles, sometimes with jewelled nose-rings as well as ear-rings. They
went through an elaborate and picturesque ritual with great earnestness
and reverence and carefully followed the injunctions of the Brahman, a
cultured and Western-educated gentleman who presided over the ceremony.
It was an attractive scene, and would have been entirely pleasant but
for the painful contrast afforded by some eight or ten poor little mites
with shaven heads and drab-coloured dresses, almost ragged and quite
unadorned. They were infant widows, condemned according to the laws of
Hinduism by the premature death of their husbands to whom they had been
wedded, but whom they had never known, to lifelong widowhood, and
therefore in most cases to lifelong contempt and drudgery. For they were
debarred henceforth from fulfilling the supreme function of Hindu
womanhood, _i.e._ securing the continuity of family rites from father to
son by bearing children in legitimate wedlock, itself terribly
circumscribed by the narrow limits within which inter-marriage is
permissible even between different septs of the same caste. Happily
those I saw were probably still too young to realise the full
significance of the unkind fate that already differentiated them so
markedly from their more fortunate caste-sisters.

Nor has one to go so very far from the heart of Calcutta to be reminded
that the "premier city" of modern India derives its name from Kali, the
most sinister of Indian goddesses. She was the tutelary deity of
Kali-Kata, one of the three villages to which Job Charnock removed the
first British settlement in Bengal when he abandoned Hugli in 1690, and
her shrine has grown in wealth and fame with the growth of Calcutta.
Kali-Kata is to-day only a suburb of the modern city, but in entering it
one passes into another world--the world of popular Hinduism. In its
narrow streets every shop is stocked with the paraphernalia that Hindus
require for their devotions, for everything centres in Kali-Kata round
the popular shrine sacred to Kali, the black goddess of destruction,
with a protruding blood-red tongue, who wears a necklace of human skulls
and a belt of human hands and tongues, and, holding in one of her many
hands a severed human head, tramples under foot the dead bodies of her
victims. From the _ghats_, or long flights of steps, that descend to the
muddy waters of a narrow creek which claims a more or less remote
connection with the sacred Ganges, crowds of pious Hindus go through
their ablutions in accordance with a long and complicated ritual, whilst
high-caste ladies perform them in mid-stream out of covered boats and
behind curtains deftly drawn to protect their _purdah_. Past an ancient
banyan tree, from whose branches streamers of coloured stuffs depend
with other votive offerings from grateful mothers who have not prayed
for male offspring in vain, past the minor shrines of many favourite
deities, a road lined with closely packed beggars and ascetics,
thrusting forth their sores and their shrivelled limbs in the hope of a
few coppers, leads up to the place of sacrifice in front of the temple.
The pavement is still red with the blood of goats immolated to the Great
Goddess, and her devotees who may have just missed the spectacle can at
least embrace the posts to which the victims were tied. On an open
pillared platform facing the holy of holies some of the high-caste
worshippers await in prayer and meditation the moment when its ponderous
bronze doors are from time to time thrown open. One old Brahman lady of
singularly refined appearance presses her fingers alternately on her
right and her left nostril, whilst she expels through the other, keeping
her lips all the time tightly closed, the unhallowed air which may have
contaminated her lungs on her way to the temple. Another worshipper lies
full length with his face pressed to the ground in motionless adoration.
Between them flit about laughing, bright-eyed little girls, the
"daughters" of the temple, still unconscious of the life of temple
prostitution to which they have been dedicated from their birth. The
court-yard all around is packed with a surging, howling mob of pilgrims,
many of them from a great distance, fighting for a vantage point from
which they may get a glimpse of the Great Goddess in her inner
sanctuary, even if they cannot hope to penetrate into it.

At last, after much clanging of bells and fierce altercations between
the Brahman priests and the faithful as to payment of necessary fees,
the bronze doors roll back, and in the dim religious twilight one
catches a glint of gold and precious stones, the head-dress of Kali,
whose terrific image barely emerges from the depth of the inner
sanctuary in which it stands, accessible only to its serving Brahmans.
They alone, though strangely enough temple Brahmans as a class enjoy
little credit with their fellow-castemen, can approach the idol and wash
and dress and feed it with offerings. Whilst the doors are open the
frenzy and the noise increases, as the mob of worshippers struggle for a
front place and bawl out their special supplications at the top of their
voices. Then when they are closed again there is a general unravelling
of the tangled knots of perspiring humanity, and those who have achieved
the supreme purpose of their pilgrimage gradually disperse to make room
for another crowd, one stream succeeding another the whole day long on
special festivals, but on ordinary days mostly between sunrise and noon.
At the back of the shrine, as I came away, some privileged worshippers
were waiting to drink a few drops of the foul water which trickles out
of a small conduit through the wall from the holy of holies. It is the
water in which the feet of the idol--and those of the serving
Brahmans--have been washed!

It was in this same temple of Kali that only some fifteen years ago,
during the violent agitation provoked by the Partition of Bengal, vast
crowds used to assemble and take by the name of the Great Goddess the
vow of _Swadeshi_ as the first step to _Swaraj_, and Bengalee youths,
maddened by an inflammatory propaganda, learned to graft on to ancient
forms of worship the very modern cult of the bomb. To this same temple
resorted only the other day Mr. Gandhi's followers to seek the blessing
of the Great Goddess for the more harmless forms of protest by which he
exhorted the inhabitants of Calcutta to bring home to the Duke of
Connaught during his stay in Calcutta their indignant rejection of the
boon which he had been sent out by the King-Emperor to confer on the
people of India.

Must we then be driven to the conclusion that there is a gulf never to
be bridged between India's ancient civilisation and the modern
civilisation which we have brought to her out of the West? In that case
the great constitutional adventure on which we have just embarked would
be, unlike all our other great adventures in India, foredoomed to
failure, and those Englishmen would be right who shudder at its rashness
and reiterate with added conviction, since the school of Indian thought
for which Mr. Gandhi stands seems to bear them out, that "East is East
and West is West, and never the twain shall meet." The whole history of
the British connection with India surely excludes such a conclusion of
failure and despair. It teaches us, not, as such Englishmen contend,
that India was won and has been held and must be retained by the sword
alone, but that British rule was established and has been maintained
with and by the co-operation of Indians and British, and that in seeking
to-day to associate Indians more closely than ever before with the
government and administration of the country, we are merely persevering
in the same path which, though at times hesitatingly and reluctantly,
the British rulers of India have trodden for generations past, always
keeping step with the successive stages of our own national and
political evolution. The Indian extremists misread equally the whole
history of British rule who see in it nothing but a long nightmare of
hateful oppression to be finally overcome, according to Mr. Gandhi's
preaching, by "Non-co-operation" and the immortal "soul force" of India,
rescued at last from the paralysing snares of an alien civilisation. Not
for the first time has the cry of "Back to the Vedas" been raised by
Indians who, standing in the old ways, watch with hostility and alarm
the impact on their ancient but static civilisation of the more dynamic
civilisation of the West with which we for the first time brought India
into contact. It would be folly to underrate the resistance which the
reactionary elements in Hinduism are still capable of putting forth. I
have shown how it can still be seen operating in extreme forms, and not
upon Hindus alone, in the two pictures which I have drawn from Delhi and
Calcutta. It meets one in a lesser degree at almost every turn all over
India. But it would be just as foolish to underrate the progressive
forces which show now as ever in the history of Hinduism, that it is
also capable of combining with a singular rigidity of structure and with
many forms repugnant to all our own beliefs a breadth and elasticity of
thought by no means inferior to that of the West.

To those who hoped for a more rapid and widespread fusion of Indian and
Western ideals, some of the phenomena which have marked the latter-day
revival of Hinduism and the shape it has recently assumed in Mr.
Gandhi's "Non-co-operation" campaign, may have brought grave
disappointment. But the inrush of Western influences was assuredly bound
to provoke a strong reaction. For let us not forget that to the abiding
power of Hinduism India owes the one great element of stability that
enabled her, long before we appeared in India, to weather so many
tremendous storms without altogether losing the sense of a great
underlying unity stronger and more enduring than all the manifold lines
of cleavage which have tended from times immemorial to divide her.
Hinduism has not only responded for some forty centuries to the social
and religious aspirations of a large and highly endowed portion of the
human race, almost wholly shut off until modern times from any intimate
contact with our own Western world, but it has been the one great force
that has preserved the continuity of Indian life. It withstood six
centuries of Mahomedan domination. Could it be expected to yield without
a struggle to the new forces, however superior we may consider them and
however overwhelming they may ultimately prove, which British rule has
imported into India during a period of transition more momentous than
any other through which she has ever passed, but still very brief when
compared with all those other periods of Indian history which modern
research has only recently rescued from the legendary obscurity of still
earlier ages?

We are witnessing to-day a new phase of this great struggle, the clash
of conflicting elements in two great civilisations. A constitution has
been inaugurated at Delhi to bring India into permanent and equal
partnership with a commonwealth of free nations which is the greatest
political achievement of Western civilisation, and the latest prophet of
Hinduism, applying to it the language of the West, has banned it
forthwith as a thing of Satan, the offspring of a Satanic government and
of a Satanic civilisation. His appeal to India is intended to strike
many and various chords, but it is essentially an appeal to the ancient
forces of Hinduism which gave India a great civilisation long before
Europe, and least of all Britain, had emerged from the savagery of
primitive man. Englishmen find it difficult to understand the strength
of that appeal, perhaps because they do not realise how deep and vital
are the roots of the civilisation to which it appeals.



CHAPTER II

THE ENDURING POWER OF HINDUISM


India's civilisation, intimately bound up from its birth with the great
social and religious system which we call Hinduism, is as unique as it
is ancient. Its growth and its tenacity are largely due to the
geographical position of a great and populous sub-continent, on its land
side exposed only to incursions from the north through mountainous and
desolate regions, everywhere difficult of access and in some parts
impenetrable, and shut in on the other two sides of a roughly isosceles
triangle by broad expanses of sea which cut it off from all direct
intercourse with the West until, towards the close of the Middle Ages,
European navigators opened up new ocean highways to the East. India owes
her own peculiar civilisation to the gradual fusion of Aryan races of a
higher type that began to flow down from Central Asia before the dawn of
history upon the more primitive indigenous populations already in
possession. Its early history has only now begun to emerge from the
twilight of myths and legends, and cannot even now be traced with any
assurance of accuracy nearly as far back as that of other parts of the
world which preceded or gave birth to our own much more recent
civilisation. The pyramids of Ghizeh and Sakkara and the monumental
temples of Thebes bore ample witness to the greatness of Egyptian
civilisation long before the interpretation of her hieroglyphics enabled
us to determine its antiquity, and the discovery of its abundant art
treasures revealed the high degree of culture to which it reached.
Excavations in the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates have yielded an
almost equally valuable harvest in regard to Babylonian and Assyrian
civilisation, and Cnossus has told us its scarcely less wonderful story.
Yet the long line of Pharaohs was coming to an end and Egypt was losing
the national independence which she has never once recovered; Nineveh
had fallen and Jerusalem was destroyed; Greece and even Rome had already
started on their great creative careers before any approximately correct
date can be assigned to the stages through which Indian civilisation had
passed. India only becomes historical with the establishment of the
Sasunaga dynasty in the Gangetic kingdom of Magadha, which centred in
what is now Behar, about the year 600 B.C.

As to the state of India before that date, no sort of material evidence
has survived, or at any rate has yet been brought to light--no
monuments, no inscriptions, very little pottery even, in fact very few
traces of the handicraft of man; nor any contemporary records of
undoubted authenticity. Fortunately the darkness which would have been
otherwise Cimmerian is illuminated, though with a partial and often
uncertain light, by the wonderful body of sacred literature which has
been handed down to our own times in the Vedas and Brahmanas and
Upanishads. To none of these books, which have, for the most part,
reached us in various recensions often showing considerable
discrepancies and obviously later interpolations, is it possible to
ascribe any definite date. But in them we undoubtedly possess a genuine
key to the religious thought and social conceptions, and even
inferentially to the political institutions of the Aryan Hindus through
the many centuries that rolled by between their first southward
migrations into the Indian peninsula and their actual emergence into
history. The Vedic writings constitute the most ancient documents
available to illustrate the growth of religious beliefs founded on pure
Nature-worship, which translated themselves into a polytheistic and
pantheistic idea of the universe and, in spite of many subsequent
transformations, are found to contain all the germs of modern Hinduism
as we know it to-day--and, indeed, of all the religious thought of
India. In the Vedic hymns Nature itself is divine, and their pantheon
consists of the deified forces of Nature, worshipped now as Agni, the
god of Fire; Soma, the god and the elixir of life; Indra, the god of
heaven and the national god of the Aryans; and again, under more
abstract forms, such as Prajapati, the lord of creation, Asura, the
great spirit, Brahmanaspati, the lord of prayer; and sometimes, again,
gathered together into the transcendent majesty of one all-absorbing
divinity, such as Varuna, whose pre-eminence almost verges on
monotheism. But the general impression left on the Western mind is of a
fantastic kaleidoscope, in which hundreds and even thousands of deities,
male and female, are constantly waxing and waning and changing places,
and proceeding from, and merging their identity in, others through an
infinite series of processes, partly material and partly metaphysical,
but ever more and more subject to the inspiration and the purpose of the
Brahman, alone versed in the knowledge of the gods, and alone competent
to propitiate them by sacrificial rites of increasing intricacy, and by
prayers of a rigid formalism that gradually assume the shape of mere
incantations.

This is the great change to which the Brahmanas bear witness. They show
no marked departure from the theology of the Vedas, though many of the
old gods continue to be dethroned either to disappear altogether, or to
reappear in new shapes, like Varuna, who turns into a god of night to be
worshipped no longer for his beneficence, but to be placated for his
cruelty; whilst, on the other hand, Prajapati is raised to the highest
throne, with Sun, Air, and Fire in close attendance. What the Brahmanas
do show is that the Brahman has acquired the overwhelming authority of a
sacerdotal status, not vested merely in the learning of a theologian,
but in some special attribute of his blood, and therefore transmissible
only from father to son. The Brahman was doubtless helped to this
fateful pre-eminence by the modifications which the popular tongue had
undergone in the course of time, and as the result more especially of
migration from the Punjab to the Gangetic plains. The language of the
Vedic hymns had ceased to be understood by the masses, and its
interpretation became the monopoly of learned families; and this
monopoly, like all others, was used by those who enjoyed it for their
own aggrandisement. The language that had passed out of common usage
acquired an added sanctity. It became a sacred language, and sacred
became the Brahman, who alone possessed the key to it, who alone could
recite its sacred texts and perform the rites which they prescribed, and
select the prayers which could best meet every distinct and separate
emergency in the life of man.

In the Brahmanas we can follow the growth of a luxuriant theology for
the use of the masses which, in so far as it was polytheistic, tended to
the infinite multiplication of gods and goddesses and godlings of all
types, and in so far as it was pantheistic invested not only men, but
beasts and insects and rivers and fountains and trees and stones with
some living particle of the divine essence pervading all things; and we
can follow there also the erection on the basis of that theology, of a
formidable ritual of which the exclusive exercise and the material
benefits were the appanage of the Brahman. But we have to turn to a
later collection of writings known as the Upanishads for our knowledge
of the more abstract speculations out of which Hindu thinkers, not
always of the Brahmanical caste, were concurrently evolving the esoteric
systems of philosophy that have exercised an immense and abiding
influence on the spiritual life of India. There is the same difficulty
in assigning definite dates to the Upanishads, though many of the later
ones bear the post-mark of the various periods of theological evolution
with which they coincided. Only some of the earliest ones are held by
many competent authorities to be, in the shape in which they have
reached us, anterior to the time when India first becomes, in any real
sense, historical; but there is no reason to doubt that they represent
the progressive evolution into different forms of very ancient germs
already present in the Vedas themselves. They abound in the same
extravagant eclecticism, leading often to the same confusions and
contradictions that Hindu theology presents. The Sankhya Darshana, or
system, recognising only a primary material cause from which none but
finite beings can proceed, regards the universe and all that exists in
it and life itself as a finite illusion of which the end is
non-existence, and its philosophic conceptions are atheistic rather than
pantheistic. In opposition to it the Vedantic system of mystic
pantheism, whilst also seeing in this finite world a mere world of
illusion, holds that rescue from it will come to each individual soul
after a more or less prolonged series of rebirths, determined for better
or for worse by its own spirituality according to the law of Karma, not
in non-existence, but in its fusion with God, whose identity with the
soul of man is merely temporarily obscured by the world illusion of
Maya. Only the inconceivable is real, for it is God, but God dwells in
the heart of every man, who, if and when he can realise it and has
detached himself from his unworthy because unreal surroundings, is
himself God. Akin to Vedantic mysticism is the Yoga system, which
teaches extreme asceticism, retirement into solitude, fastings, nudity,
mortification of the flesh, profound meditation on unfathomable
mysteries, and the endless reiteration of magic words and phrases as the
means of accelerating that ineffable fusion of God and man. The
materialism of the Sankhya and the idealism of the Vedanta combine to
provoke the reaction of yet another system, the Mimansa, which stands
for the eternal and divine revelation of the Vedas, codifies, so to say,
their theology into liturgical laws, admits of no speculation or
esoteric interpretation, and seems to subordinate the gods themselves
to the forms of worship that consecrate their existence.

Of all the doctrines that these early speculations evolved, none has had
a more enduring influence on Hinduism than that of the long and indeed
infinite succession of rebirths through which man is doomed to pass
before he reaches the ultimate goal either of non-existence or of
absorption into the divine essence. For none has done more to fortify
the patriarchal principle which from the earliest times governed the
tribal family, and to establish the Hindu conception of the family as it
prevails to the present day. With that curious inconsequence which
frequently characterises Hindu thought, even when it professes to be
ruled by the sternest logic, the belief that every rebirth is
irrevocably determined by the law of Karma, _i.e._ in accordance with
the sum total of man's deeds, good and bad, in earlier existences, is
held to be compatible with the belief that the felicity of the dead can
only be assured by elaborate rites of worship and sacrifice, which a son
alone, or a son's son, can take over from his father and properly
perform. The ancient _patria potestas_ of tribal institutions has been
thus prolonged beyond the funeral pyre, and the ancient reverence for
the dead which originally found expression in an instinctive worship of
the ancestors has been translated into a ceremonial cult of the
ancestral manes, which constitutes the primary duty and function of
every new head of the family. Hence the Hindu joint family system which
keeps the whole property of the family as well as the governance of all
its members under the sole control of the head of the family. Hence also
the necessity of early marriage, lest death should overtake the Hindu
before he has begotten the son upon whose survival the performance of
the rites essential, not only to his own future felicity, but to that of
all his ancestors depends, and, as an alternative, to mitigate the awful
consequences of the default of heirs male of his own body, the
introduction of adoption under conditions that secure to the adopted
son precisely the same position as a real son would have enjoyed. Hence
again the inferiority of woman, whom early marriage tended to place in
complete subjection to man. Her chief value was that of a potential
breeder of sons. In any case, moreover, she passed on her marriage
entirely out of her own family into that of her husband, and terribly
hard was her lot if she were left a widow before having presented her
husband with a son. Even if she were left an infant widow of an infant
husband and their marriage could not possibly have been consummated, she
was doomed to an austere and humiliating life of perpetual widowhood,
whilst, on the other hand, if she died, her widowed husband was enjoined
to marry again at once unless she had left him a son. To explain away
this cruel injustice, her fate was supposed to be due to her own Karma,
and to be merely the retribution that had overtaken her for sins
committed in a former existence, which condemned her to be born a woman
and to die a childless wife, or worse still, to survive as a childless
widow. The misfortune of the widowed husband who was left without a son
should logically have been imputed in the same way to his own Karma, but
it was not. All through life, and in death itself, man was exalted and
woman occupied a much lower plane, though in practice this hardship was
mitigated for the women who bore sons by the reverence paid to them in
their homes, where their force of character and their virtues often gave
them a great and recognised ascendancy. However hard the laws that
governed the Hindu family might press on individual members, the family
itself remained a living organism, united by sacred ties--indeed more
than a mere living organism, for the actually living organism was one
with that part of it which had already passed away and that which was
still awaiting rebirth. It is undoubtedly in the often dignified and
beautiful relations which bind the Hindu family together that Hinduism
is seen at its best, and Hindu literature delights in describing and
exalting them.

Traditional usages, or Smriti, were ultimately embodied in codes of law,
of which the most famous is that of Manu; and though disfigured by many
social servitudes repugnant to the Western mind, they represent a lofty
standard of morality based upon a conception of duty, or Dharma,
narrowly circumscribed, but solid and practical. Though these codes of
law, and notably that of Manu in the form in which we possess them, are
of uncertain but probably much later date, they afford us, in
conjunction with the vast body of earlier religious and philosophic
literature, and with a certain amount of scientific literature dealing
with astronomy and astrology, with mathematics and specially with
geometry, and with grammar and prosody, sufficient materials for
appraising, with a fair measure of accuracy, the stage of progress which
the Aryan Hindus had reached in the sixth century B.C. When the world
was young, and they revelled in their recent conquest of a fair portion
in it, they delighted to worship the bright gods who had helped them to
possess it, and worship and war were the ties that kept their loose
tribal organisation together. Out of the primitive conditions of nomadic
and pastoral life, under the leadership of tribal elders who were both
priests and warriors, they gradually passed, after many vicissitudes of
peace and war, into more settled forms of agricultural life and
developed into distinct and separate polities of varying vitality, but
still united by the bond of common religious and social institutions in
the face of the indigenous populations whom they drove before them, or
reduced into subjection and slowly assimilated as they moved down
towards and into the Gangetic plain. As the conditions of life grew more
complex, with increasing prosperity and probably longer intervals of
peace, differentiation between classes and professions grew more marked.
There was time and leisure for thinking as well as for fighting, for
contemplation as well as for action. The "bright" gods that Nature had
conceived for the early Aryans were fashioned and refashioned by
speculations already laden with the gloom of melancholy and awesomeness
that pervades India. Caste, it may be inferred from the Sanskrit word
_Varna_, which means colour, originally discriminated only between the
Aryan conquerors of relatively fair complexion and the darker aborigines
they had subdued. It was extended to connote the various stratifications
into which Hindu society was settling, and in the stringent rules which
governed the constitution of each caste, and the relations between the
different castes, the old exclusiveness of tribal customs was
perpetuated and intensified.

To the supremacy which the Brahman, as the expounder of the scriptures
and of the laws deduced from them, and the ordained dispenser of divine
favour, through prayer and sacrifice, was able to arrogate to his own
caste, the code of Manu, above all others, bears emphatic witness:

     The very birth of Brahmans is a constant incarnation of Dharma....
     When a Brahman springs to light he is born above the world, the
     chief of all creatures, assigned to guard the treasury of duties,
     religious and civil. Whatever exists in the world is all in effect,
     though not in form, the wealth of the Brahman, since the Brahman is
     entitled to it all by his primogeniture and eminence of birth.

Every offence committed by a Brahman involves a relatively slight
penalty; every offence committed against him the direst punishment. Next
to the Brahman, but far beneath him, is the Kshatrya and beneath him
again the Vaishya. The Shudras are the fourth caste that exists chiefly
to serve the three twice-born castes, and above all the Brahman. As Sir
William Jones observes in the preface to the translation which he was
the first to make a little more than a century ago of these
extraordinarily full and detailed ordinances, they represent a system of
combined despotism and priestcraft, both indeed limited by law, but
artfully conspiring to give mutual support with mutual checks. But
though they abound with minute and childish formalities, though they
prescribe ceremonies often ridiculous, though the punishments they
enact are partial and fanciful, for some crimes dreadfully cruel, for
others reprehensibly slight, though the very morals they lay down, rigid
enough on the whole, are in one or two instances, as in the case of
light oaths and of pious perjury, dangerously relaxed, one must,
nevertheless, admit that, subject to those grave limitations, a spirit
of sublime devotion, of benevolence to mankind, and of amiable
tenderness to all sentient creatures pervades the whole work, and the
style of it has a certain austere majesty that sounds like the language
of legislation and extorts a respectful awe. Above all it is well to
remember that the ordinances of Manu still constitute to-day the
framework of Hindu society, and Brahman judges of the Indian High
Courts, who administer our own very different codes, still cling to them
in private life and quote them in political controversies as the
repositories of inspired wisdom.

It is on this background of tangled religious beliefs and abstruse
philosophic speculations and very precise and elaborate laws framed to
safeguard the twofold authority of priests and kings, but of the latter
always in subordination to the former, that we see men and cities and
organised states assume for the first time historic substance towards
the sixth century B.C. From that date onwards we are on firmer ground.
For though even in much later times the Hindus never produced historians
in the strict sense of the term, we are able to call in aid the valuable
testimony not only of a few indigenous chroniclers but also of Greek and
Chinese and Arab writers and travellers, as well as the authoritative
evidence supplied by epigraphy and numismatics; and though for many
centuries still very infrequently, the precious remains of ancient
monuments. But the original background is never effaced, for the whole
religious and social system, the whole philosophic outlook upon the
world of which I have sought to outline the long and laborious evolution
through prehistoric ages, remained fundamentally immune against change
until the advent of the British to India subjected them to the solvent
of Western civilisation.

One of the most striking peculiarities of Hinduism is that its origin
cannot be associated with any single great teacher or prophet, however
legendary. Still less can it be identified with the personal inspiration
of a Moses or a Christ, of a Confucius or a Mahomed. Only when we reach
the firmer ground of historic times does any commanding personality
emerge to leave a definite and abiding impress upon successive ages. The
first and the greatest is Buddha, and we can still trace to-day his
footsteps in the places where he actually stood and delivered his
message to the world. It was at Buddh Gaya that, after fleeing from the
pomp and luxury of his father's royal palace, he sat and meditated under
the Bo-tree on the vanity and misery of human life, but it was at
Rajagriha, "the King's House," that he first began to preach. Rajagriha,
about 40 miles S.S.E. of the modern Patna, was then the capital of one
of the many small kingdoms that had grown up in the broad valley of the
Ganges. It was already an ancient city of some fame, for the Mahabharata
mentions all the five hills which, as the first Chinese pilgrim,
Fa-Hien, puts it, "encompass it with a girdle like the walls of a town."
It was itself a walled city, and some of the walls, as we can still see
them to-day, represent most probably the earliest structure raised in
India by human hands that has survived down to our own times. They were
no jerry-builders then. Strengthened at sundry points by great square
bastions, the walls of Rajagriha measure in places over seventeen feet
in width and eleven or twelve feet in height, and they are faced with
undressed stones three to five feet in length, without mortar or cement,
but carefully fitted and banded together with a core of smaller blocks
not less carefully laid and packed. They merely supplemented and
completed the natural line of defences provided by the outer girdle of
hills, rising to 1200 feet, which shut off Rajagriha from the plain of
Bihar. On one of those peerless days of the cold season in Upper India
when there is not a cloud to break the serenity of the deep blue sky, I
looked up to the mountain Ghridrakuta, on whose slopes Buddha dwelt for
some time after he had found enlightenment at Buddh Gaya, and saw it
just as the second Chinese pilgrim to whom we owe most of our knowledge
of Rajagriha described it--"a solitary peak rising to a great height on
which vultures make their abode." Many had been the revolutions of the
wheel of time since Hiuen-Tsang had watched the circling of the vultures
round the sacred peak some twelve and a half centuries before me, and as
Buddha himself, another twelve and a half centuries earlier, must have
watched them when he miraculously stretched forth his hand through a
great rock to rescue his beloved disciple Ananda from the clutch of the
demon Mara, who had taken on the shape of a vulture. The swoop of those
great birds seemed to invest the whole scene with a new and living
reality. Across the intervening centuries I could follow King Bimbisara,
who reigned in those days at Rajagriha, proceeding along the causeway of
rough, undressed stones, which can be traced to-day to the foot of the
mountain and up its rocky flanks, after his men had "levelled the valley
and spanned the precipices, and with the stones had made a staircase
about ten paces wide," so that he should himself be carried up to wait
in his own royal person on the Lord Buddha. There, marked to the present
day by the remains of two large _stupas_, was the place where the king
alighted from his litter to go forward on foot, and farther up again the
spot where he dismissed his followers and went on alone to invite the
Buddha to come down and dwell in his capital.

That must have been about 500 B.C., and Buddha spent thereafter a
considerable portion of his time in the bamboo garden which King
Bimbisara presented to him on the outskirts of Rajagriha. There, and in
his annual wanderings through the country, he delivered to the poor and
to the rich, to the Brahman and to the sinner, to princes and peasants,
to women as well as to men, his message of spiritual and social
deliverance from the thraldom of the flesh and from the tyranny of
caste.

With the actual doctrines of Buddhism I do not propose to deal. There is
nothing in them that could not be reconciled with those of the Vedanta,
and they are especially closely akin to the Sankhya system. But the
driving force of Buddhism, as also of Jainism, which grew up at the same
time as Buddhism under the inspiration of another great reformer,
Mahavira, who is said to have been a cousin of King Bimbisara, was a
spirit of revolt against Brahmanical Hinduism, and a new sense of social
solidarity which appealed to all classes and castes, and to women as
well as to men. The Vedanta reserved the study of the scriptures to men
of the three "twice-born" castes, and placed it under the supreme
authority of the Brahmans. Both Buddha and Mahavira recognised no such
restrictions, though they did not refuse reverence to the Brahman as a
man of special learning. The religious orders which they founded were
open to all, and these orders included nuns as well as monks. This was
the rock on which they split with Hinduism. This was the social
revolution that, in spite of the religious and philosophical elasticity
of Hinduism, made Buddhists and Jains unpardonable heretics in the eyes
of the Brahmans, and produced a conflict which was to last for
centuries.

Though King Bimbisara welcomed the Buddha to his capital, and Buddhism
made rapid headway amongst the masses, he does not appear to have
himself embraced the new religion, and it is not till after Alexander
the Great's expedition had for the first time brought an European
conqueror on to Indian soil, and a new dynasty had transferred the seat
of government to Pataliputra, the modern Patna, on the Ganges, that
perhaps the greatest of Indian rulers, the Emperor Asoka, who reigned
from 272 to _circa_ 232 B.C., made Buddhism the state religion of his
Empire. Tradition has it, that when Buddha on his last wanderings
passed by the fort which King Ajatasatni was building at Pataliputra, he
prophesied for it a great and glorious future. It had already fulfilled
that prophecy when the Greek Ambassador, Megasthenes, visited it in 303
B.C. A few remains only are being laboriously rescued from the waters of
the Ganges, under which Pataliputra is for the most part buried. But at
that time it spread for ten miles along the river front; five hundred
and seventy towers crowned its walls, which were pierced by sixty-four
gates, and the total circumference of the city was twenty-four miles.
The palace rivalled those of the Kings of Persia, and a striking
topographical similarity has been lately traced between the artificial
features of the lay-out of Pataliputra and the natural features of
Persepolis, King Darius's capital in Southern Persia.

Pataliputra became the capital of India under Chandragupta Maurya, who,
soldier of fortune and usurper that he was, transformed the small
kingdom of Magadha into a mighty empire. Known to Greek historians as
Sandrokottos, young Chandragupta had been in Alexander's camp on the
Indus, and had even, it is said, offered his services to the Macedonian
king. In the confusion which followed Alexander's death, he had raised
an army with which he fell on the Macedonian frontier garrisons, and
then, flushed with victory, turned upon the King of Magadha, whom he
dethroned. After eighteen years of constant fighting he had extended his
frontiers to the Hindu Kush in the north, and nearly down to the
latitude of Madras in the south. He had, at the same time, established a
remarkable system of both civil and military administration by which he
was able to consolidate his vast conquests. His war office was
scientifically divided into six boards for maintaining and supplying his
huge fighting force of 600,000 infantry, 30,000 cavalry, 9000 elephants,
and 8000 war chariots, besides fully equipped transport and commissariat
services. No less scientific was the system of civil government as
illustrated by the municipal institutions of Pataliputra. There, again,
there were six boards dealing respectively with trade, industries,
wages, local taxation, the control of foreign residents and visitors,
and, perhaps most extraordinary of all, with vital statistics. Equally
admirable was the solicitude displayed for agriculture, then, as now,
the greatest of Indian industries, and for its handmaid, irrigation. The
people themselves, if we may believe Megasthenes, were a model people
well worthy of a model government, though if he does not exaggerate, one
is driven to wonder at the necessity for such fearful penalties as were
inflicted for the most trivial breaches of the law. But behind
Chandragupta the power of the Brahman was still clearly entrenched, for
his chief minister was a Brahman, Chanakya, who had followed his
fortunes from their first adventurous beginnings.

The stately fabric which Chandragupta built up during his own
twenty-five years' reign, _circa_ 322-297 B.C., endured during the reign
of his son Bendusara, of whom scarcely anything is known, and at the end
of another twenty-five years passed on, undiminished, to his great
successor, Asoka, whose unique experiment would have been scarcely
possible had he not succeeded to an empire already firmly consolidated
at home and abroad. When he came to the throne, about 272 B.C., Asoka
had served his apprenticeship in the art of government as viceroy, first
in the north at Taxila, and then in the west at Ujjain. He had been
brought up by Brahmans in the manner befitting his rank. Buddhist
tradition would have us believe that until his conversion he was a
monster of cruelty; but there is scarcely enough to warrant that
indictment in the fact that he began his reign with a war of aggression,
for which he afterwards expressed the deepest remorse. It was, indeed,
from that moment that he determined to be henceforth a prince of peace;
but it is quite as probable that his determination inclined him more and
more to turn his ear to Buddhist teaching as that Buddhist teaching
prompted his determination.

No monarch has ever recorded the laws which he gave to his people in
such imperishable shape. They are to be seen to the present day cut into
granite pillars or chiselled into the face of the living rock in almost
every part of what was then the Empire of the Mauryas, from the Peshawar
district in the north to Mysore and the Madras Presidency in the south,
from the Kathiawar Peninsula in the west to the Bay of Bengal in the
east. The pillars are often at the same time monuments of artistic
design and workmanship, as, above all, the Garnath pillar near Benares
with its magnificent capital of the well-known Persepolitan type and its
four lions supporting the stone Wheel of the Law, first promulgated on
that spot. Many more of Asoka's monuments may yet be discovered, but the
eleven pillar edicts and the fourteen rock edicts, not to speak of minor
inscriptions already brought to light and deciphered, constitute a body
of laws which well deserve to have been made thus imperishable. For no
temporal sovereign has ever legislated so fully and exclusively and with
such evident conviction for the spiritual advancement and moral
elevation of his people. Scarcely less important is the autobiographical
value of these inscriptions, which enable one to follow stage by stage
the evolution of the Apostle-Emperor's soul. Within a year of the
conquest of the Kalinjas, for which he afterwards publicly recorded his
remorse, Asoka became a lay disciple of the Buddhist law, and two and a
half years later studied as a Buddhist monk. In 257 B.C., the thirteenth
year of his reign, he began to preach his series of sermons in
stone--sermons that were at the same time laws given to his Empire. His
profession of faith was as lofty as it was simple:

     The gods who were regarded as true all over India have been shown
     to be untrue. For the fruit of exertion is not to be attained by a
     great man only, because even by the small man who chooses to exert
     himself immense heavenly bliss may be won.... Father and mother
     must be hearkened to. Similarly, respect for living creatures must
     be firmly established. Truth must be spoken. These are the virtues
     of the law of piety which must be practised.... In it are included
     proper treatment of slaves and servants, honour to teachers,
     gentleness towards living creatures, and liberality towards
     ascetics and Brahmans.... All men are my children, and just as I
     desire for my children that they may enjoy every kind of prosperity
     and happiness in both this world and the next, so I desire the same
     for all men.

These principles are applied in all the instructions to his officials.
He commends to their special care the primitive jungle folk and the
untamed people of the borderlands. He bestows much thought on the
alleviation of human suffering, and his injunctions in restriction of
the slaughter and maiming of animals and the preservation of life are
minute and precise. It is in this connection that the influence of
Buddhism on Hinduism has been most permanent, for whilst the primitive
Aryan Hindus were beef-eaters, their descendants carried the vegetarian
doctrines of Buddhism to the extreme length of condemning cow-killing as
the most awful of crimes, next to the killing of a Brahman.

Determined to preserve the unity and discipline of his own church,
Asoka's large tolerance sees some good in all creeds. He wishes every
man to have the reading of his own scriptures, and whilst reserving his
most lavish gifts for Buddhist shrines and monasteries, he does not deny
his benefactions to Brahmans and ascetics of other sects. Nor is he
content merely to preach and issue orders. His monastic vows, though
they lead him to forswear the amusements and even the field sports which
had been his youthful pastimes, do not involve the severance of all
worldly ties. He is the indefatigable and supreme head of the Church; he
visits in solemn pilgrimage all the holy places hallowed by the memory
of Buddha, and endows shrines and monasteries and convents with princely
munificence; he convenes at Pataliputra a great Buddhist council for
combating heresy. But he remains the indefatigable and supreme head of
the State. "I am never fully satisfied with my efforts and my despatch
of business. Work I must for the welfare of all, and the root of the
matter is in effort." He controls a highly trained bureaucracy not
unlike that of British India to-day, and his system of government is
wonderfully effective so long as it is informed by his untiring energy
and singular loftiness of purpose.

With Asoka Buddhism attained to a supremacy in India which may well be
compared with that of Christianity in Europe under Constantine; and it
is only by measuring the height to which Buddhism had then risen that we
can realise the enduring power of Hinduism, as we see it through
successive centuries slowly but irresistibly recovering all the ground
it had lost until Buddhism at last disappears almost entirely off the
face of India, whereas it continued to spread, though often in very
debased forms, over the greater part of Eastern Asia, and still
maintains its hold there over more than a third of the total population
of the globe.

As with most of the great rulers and conquerors that India has from time
to time thrown up, Asoka's life-work fell to pieces almost as soon as he
had passed away. Not only did the temporal empire which he built up
disintegrate rapidly in the hands of his feeble successors, but Buddhism
itself was dethroned within fifty years with the last of his dynasty,
slain by the usurper Pushyamitra Sunga, who, after consecrating himself
to the Hindu gods with the rites of _Rajasuya_, celebrated his advent to
Paramount Power by reviving the ancient ceremony of _Asvamedha_, the
Sacrifice of the Horse--one of the most characteristic of Brahmanical
rites.

It was not till after another great conquering inflow from Central Asia
in the first century of our era that Kanishka, the greatest of a new
dynasty which had set itself up at Purushpura, situated close to the
modern Peshawar, shed a transient gleam of glory over the decline of
Buddhism and even restored it to the position of a state religion. But
it was a Buddhism already far removed from the purity of Asoka's reign.
The most striking feature of this short-lived revival is the artistic
inspiration which it derived from Hellenistic sources, of which the
museums of Peshawar and Lahore contain so many remarkable illustrations.
The theory, at one time very widely entertained, that Alexander's brief
incursion into India left any permanent mark on Indian civilisation is
now entirely discarded by the best authorities. No Indian author makes
even the faintest allusion to him, nor is there any trace of Hellenic
influence in the evolution of Indian society, or in the elaborate
institutions with which India was endowed by the Mauryan dynasty that
followed immediately on the disruption of Alexander's empire. But the
Kushans, or Yueh Chis, during the various stages of their slow migration
down into Northern India, came into long and close contact with the
Indo-Bactrian and Indo-Parthian kingdoms that sprang up after Alexander.
The populations were never Hellenised, but their rulers were to some
extent the heirs, albeit hybrid heirs, to Greek civilisation. They spoke
Greek and worshipped at Greek shrines, and as they were in turn
subjugated by the forebears of the Kushan Empire, they imparted to the
conquerors something of their own Greek veneer. In the second century of
our era Kanishka carried his victorious arms down to the Gangetic plain,
where Buddhism still held its own in the region which had been its
cradle; and, according to one tradition, he carried off from Pataliputra
a famous Buddhist saint, who converted him to Buddhism. But as these
Indo-Scythian kings had not been long enough in India to secure
admission to the social aristocracy of Hinduism by that slow process of
naturalisation to which so many ruling families have owed their Kshatrya
pedigrees, Kanishka, having himself no claim to caste, may well have
preferred for reasons of state to favour Buddhism as a creed
fundamentally opposed to caste distinctions. Whatever the motives of his
conversion, we have it on the authority of Hiuen-Tsang that he
ultimately did great things for Buddhism, and the magnificent _stupa_,
which he erected outside his capital, five-and-twenty stories high and
crowned with a cupola of diamonds, was still 150 feet high and measured
a quarter of a mile in circumference when the Chinese pilgrim visited
Purushpura five centuries later. To the present day there are traces
outside the northern gate of Peshawar of a great Buddhist monastery,
also built by Kanishka, which remained a seat of Buddhist learning until
it was destroyed by Mahomedan invaders; and it was only a mile from
Peshawar that the American Sanskritist, Dr. Spooner, discovered ten
years ago the casket containing some of Buddha's bones, which is one of
the most perfect specimens of Graeco-Buddhist art. The Buddhist statues
and bas-reliefs of that period are Greek rather than Indian in their
treatment of sacred history, and even the head of Gautama himself might
sometimes be taken for that of a young Greek god.

These exotic influences may indeed have acted as a further solvent upon
Buddhism. But in any case, its local and temporary revival as a dominant
state religion under Kanishka, whose empire did not long outlive him,
failed to arrest its steady resorption into Hinduism. On the one hand,
Buddhism itself was losing much of its original purity. The miraculous
legends with which the life of Buddha was gradually invested, the almost
idolatrous worship paid to him, the belief that he himself was but the
last of many incarnations in which the Buddha had already revealed
himself from the very beginning of creation--all these later accretions
represent, no doubt, the reaction upon Buddhism of its Hinduistic
surroundings. But they doubtless helped also to stimulate the growth of
the more definite forms of anthropomorphism which characterised the
development of Hinduism when the ancient ritual and the more impersonal
gods of the Vedas and of the Brahmanas gave way to the cult of such very
personal gods as Shiva and Vishnu, with their feminine counterparts,
Kali and Lakshmi, and ultimately to the evolution of still more popular
deities, some, like Skanda and the elephant-headed Ganesh, closely
connected with Shiva; others like Krishna and Rama, _av[=a]taras_ or
incarnations--and in many ways extremely human incarnations--of Vishnu.
At the same time, the Aryan Hindus, as they went on subduing the
numerous aboriginal races of India, constantly facilitated their
assimilation by the more or less direct adoption of their primitive
deities and religious customs. The two great epics, the Mahabharata,
with its wonderful episode, the Baghavat-Ghita, which is the apotheosis
of Krishna, and the Ramayana, which tells the story of Rama, show the
infusion into Hinduism of a distinctly national spirit in direct
opposition to the almost cosmopolitan catholicity of Buddhism,
sufficiently elastic to adapt itself even to the political aspirations
of non-Hindu conquerors as well as of non-Hindu races beyond the borders
of Hindustan, in Nepal and in Ceylon, in Burma and in Tibet, in China
and in Japan. The conflict between Buddhist and Hindu theology might not
have been irreconcilable, for Hinduism, as we know, was quite ready to
admit Buddha himself into the privileged circle of its own gods as one
of the incarnations of Vishnu. What was irreconcilable was the conflict
between a social system based on Brahmanical supremacy and one that
denied it--especially after Hinduism had acquired a new sense of Indian
patriotism which only reached fuller development in our own times when
it was quickened by contact with European nationalism.

Hindus themselves prefer, however, to-day to identify Indian nationalism
with the period when from another long interval of darkness, which
followed the downfall of the Kushan kingdom, Indian history emerges into
the splendour of what has been called "the golden age of Hinduism" in
the fourth and fifth centuries of our era under the great Gupta dynasty,
who ruled at Ujjain. Few Indian cities are reputed to be more ancient or
more sacred than the little town of Ujjain on the Sipra river, known as
Ozen[=i] to the Greeks, and where Asoka had ruled in his youth as
Viceroy of Western India. It owes its birth to the gods themselves.
When Uma wedded Shiva her father slighted him, not knowing who he was,
for the mighty god had wooed and won her under the disguise of a mere
ascetic mendicant, and she made atonement by casting herself into the
sacrificial fire, which consumed her--the prototype of all pious Hindu
widows who perform _Sati_--in the presence of gods and Brahmans. Shiva,
maddened with grief, gathered up the bones of his unfortunate consort
and danced about with them in a world-shaking frenzy. Her scattered
bones fell to earth, and wherever they fell the spot became sacred and a
temple sprang up in her honour. One of her elbows fell on the banks of
the Sipra at Ujjain, and few shrines enjoy greater or more widespread
fame than the great temple of Maha-Kal, consecrated to her worship and
that of Shiva. Its wealth was fabulous when it was looted and destroyed
by Altamsh and his Pathan Mahomedans in 1235. The present buildings are
for the most part barely 200 years old, and remarkable chiefly for the
insistency with which the _lingam_ and the bull, the favourite symbols
of Shiva, repeat themselves in shrine after shrine. But it attracts
immense numbers of pilgrims, especially in every twelfth year, when they
flock in hundreds of thousands to Ujjain and camp as near as possible to
the river. The peculiarity of the Ujjain festival is that, in memory of
the form which Shiva took on when he wooed Uma, it attracts a veritable
army of Sanyasis, or mendicants, sometimes as many as fifty thousand,
from all parts of India. Seldom, except at the great Jaganath festivals
at Puri, is a larger congregation seen of weird and almost inhuman
figures; some clothed solely with their long unkempt hair, some with
their bodies smeared all over with white ashes, and the symbol of their
favourite deity painted conspicuously on their foreheads; some
displaying ugly sores or withered limbs as evidence of lifelong
mortification of the flesh; some moving as if in a dream and entirely
lost to the world's realities; some with frenzied eyes shouting and
brandishing their instruments of self-torture; some with a repulsive
leer and heavy sensuous jowls affecting a certain coquetry in the
ritualistic adornment of their well-fed bodies.

Chandragupta I., the founder of the great dynasty which Hindus extol
above all others, was only a petty chieftain by birth, but he was
fortunate enough to wed a lady of high lineage, who could trace a
connection with the ancient Maurya house of Magadha, and, thanks to this
alliance and to his own prowess, he was able at his death to bequeath
real kingship to his son, Samadragupta, who, during a fifty years'
reign, A.D. 326-375, again welded almost the whole of India north of the
Nerbudda river into one empire, and once even spoiled Southern India
right down to Cape Comorin. His victories are recorded--with an irony
perhaps not wholly accidental--beneath the Asokan inscription on the
Allahabad pillar. Of his zeal for Hinduism we have a convincing proof in
gold coins of his reign that preserve on the obverse in the figure of
the sacrificial horse a record of the _Asvamedha_, which he again
revived. Strange to say, however, his fame has never been so popular as
that of his son, Chandragupta II., Vikramadytia, the Sun of Power, who
reigned in turn for nearly forty years, and has lived in Hindu legend as
the Raja Bikram, to whom India owes her golden age. It was his court at
Ujjain which is believed to have been adorned by the "Nine Gems" of
Sanskrit literature, amongst whom the favourite is Kalidasa, the poet
and dramatist. Amidst much that is speculative, one thing is certain.
The age of Vikramadytia was an age of Brahmanical ascendancy. As has so
often happened, and is still happening in India to-day in the struggle
between Urdu and Hindi, the battle of religious and political supremacy
was largely one of languages. During the centuries of Brahmanical
depression that preceded the Gupta dynasty, the more vulgar tongue
spoken of the people prevailed. Under the Guptas, Sanskrit, which was
the language of the Brahmans, resumed its pre-eminence and took
possession of the whole field of literature and art and science as well
as of theology. Oral traditions were reduced to writing and poetry was
adapted to both sacred and profane uses in the Puranas, in the metrical
code of Manu, in treatises on sacrificial ritual, in Kalidasa's plays,
and in many other works of which only fragments have survived.
Astronomy, logic, philosophy were all cultivated with equal fervour and
to the greater glory of Brahmanism. Local tradition is doubtless quite
wrong in assigning to Raja Bikram the noble gateway which is the only
monument of Hindu architecture at its best that Ujjain has to show
to-day. But to that period may, perhaps, be traced the graceful, if
highly ornate, style of architecture, of which the Bhuvaneshwar temples,
several centuries more recent, are the earliest examples that can be at
all accurately dated. To the credit of Brahmanism be it said that in its
hour of triumph it remained at least negatively tolerant, as all purely
Indian creeds generally have been. Fa-Hien, who visited India during the
reign of Vikramadytia, though dismayed at the desolation which had
already overtaken many of the sacred places of Buddhism, pays a generous
tribute to the tolerance and statesmanship of that great sovereign. The
country seems, indeed, to have enjoyed real prosperity under a paternal
and almost model administration.

Yet the Gupta dynasty endured only a little longer than had that of the
Mauryas. Its downfall was hastened by the long reign of terror which
India went through during the invasion of the White Huns. Europe had
undergone a like ordeal nearly a century earlier, for when the Huns
began to move out of the steppes of Eastern Asia they poured forth in
two separate streams, one of which swept into Eastern Europe, whilst the
other flowed more slowly towards Persia and India. What Attila had been
to Europe, Mihiragula was to India, and though the domination of the
Huns did not long outlive him, the anarchy they left behind them
continued for another century, until "the land of Kuru," the cradle and
battle-field of so many legendary heroes, produced another heroic
figure, who, as King Harsha, filled for more than forty years (606-648)
the stage of Indian history with his exploits. He had inherited the
blood of the Gupta emperors from his mother, though his father was only
a small Raja of Thanesvar, to the north of Delhi. The tragic
circumstances in which he succeeded him made a man of him at the early
age of fourteen. By the time he was twenty he was "master of the five
Indias"--_i.e._ of nearly the whole of Northern India from Kathiawar to
the delta of the Ganges, and henceforth he proved himself as great in
peace as in war. In his case the knowledge we owe to Chinese sources is
supplemented by the valuable record left by the Brahman Bana, who lived
at his court and wrote the Harsha-Charita. Taxation, we are told, was
lightened, and the assessment of land revenue was equitable and
moderate. Security for life and property was enforced under severe but
effective penalties. Education received impartial encouragement whether
conducted by Brahmans or by Buddhist monks, and both as a patron of
literature, which he himself cultivated by composing dramas, and as a
philanthropic ruler King Harsha bestowed his favours with a fairly equal
hand on Hinduism and on Buddhism alike. For Buddhism still lingered in
the land, and Harsha, who was a mystic and a dreamer as well as a man of
action, certainly inclined during his later years towards Buddhism, or,
at least, included it in his own eclectic creed.

Hiuen-Tsang, who spent fifteen years in India during Harsha's reign,
searching for the relics of early Buddhism in a land from which it was
steadily disappearing, has given us a wonderful picture of a religious
state-pageant which makes Prayaga, at the triple confluence of the
Ganges and the Jumna with the sacred but invisible river, Saraswati,
near to the modern city of Allahabad, stand out as another striking
landmark in Indian history. Hindus attach great holiness to rivers and
their confluence, and this Triveni, or triple confluence, had been
specially consecrated by Brahma, who chose that spot for the first
_Asvamedha_. "From ancient times," says the Chinese chronicler, "the
kings used to go there to distribute alms, and hence it was known as the
Place of Almsgiving. According to tradition more merit is gained by
giving one piece of money there than one hundred thousand elsewhere." So
King Harsha having invited all alike, whether "followers of the law or
heretics, the ascetics and the poor, the orphans and the helpless," the
kings of eighteen subordinate kingdoms assembled there with their people
to the number of 500,000, and found immense refectories laid out for
their refreshment, and long rows of warehouses to receive silk and
cotton garments and gold and silver coins for distribution to them. "The
first day a statue of Buddha was placed in the shrine erected on the
Place of Almsgiving, and there was a distribution of the most precious
things and of the garments of greatest value, whilst exquisite viands
were served and flowers scattered to the sound of harmonious music. Then
all retired to their resting-places. On the second day a statue of the
Sun-god was placed in the shrine, and on the third day the statue of
Shiva," and the distribution of gifts continued on those days and day
after day for a period of over two months, ten thousand Brahmans
receiving the lion's share, until, having exhausted all his wealth, even
to the jewels and garments he was wearing, King Harsha borrowed a coarse
and much-worn garment, and having "adored the Buddhas of the ten
countries," he gave vent to his pious delight, exclaiming: "Whilst I was
amassing all this wealth I was always afraid lest I should find no safe
and secret place to stow it away. Now that I have deposited it by
alms-giving in the Field of Happiness I know that it is for ever in
safety. I pray that in my future lives I may amass in like manner great
treasures and give them away in alms so as to obtain the ten divine
faculties in all their plenitude."

Here one sees India as it was before the Mahomedan invasions, in the
days of the last of the great Indian rulers who succeeded for a time in
bending the whole of Northern India to his will. As always in India,
behind whatever form of temporal power might for the moment appear to be
paramount, religion and the social order which it consecrates
represented the real paramount power that alone endures. In this
extraordinary festival which marked the close of Harsha's reign the
picture left to us is singularly complete. The first day is a sort of
farewell tribute to the waning glory of Buddha, and the second to the
ancient majesty of the Vedic gods; but they only prepare the way for the
culminating worship, on the third day, of the terrific figure of Shiva,
who had already been raised to one of the highest, if not the highest,
throne in the Hindu pantheon, which he still retains--Shiva, the master
of life and death, whose favourite emblem is the phallus, and from whose
third eye bursts forth the flame which is one day to consume the world.
Around Harsha, and devouring his gifts until, at the end of two months,
they are wholly exhausted, are the Brahmans, "born above the world,
assigned to guard the treasury of duties, civil and religious," through
whom alone the wrath of angry gods can be appeased and present and
future life be made safe in the descending hierarchy of caste.

Shortly after Harsha's death in A.D. 648, India, as is her wont as soon
as the strong man's arm is paralysed, relapses once more into political
chaos. Her history does not indeed ever again recede into the complete
obscurity of earlier ages. We get glimpses of successive kingdoms and
dynasties rising and again falling in Southern India, as the Hindu
Aryans gradually permeate and subdue the older Dravidian races and
absorb the greater part of them, not without being in turn influenced by
them, into their own religious and social system. The most notable
feature of the post-Harsha period of Hindu history is the emergence of
the Rajput states, whose rulers, though probably descendants of
relatively recent invaders, not only became rapidly Hinduised, but
secured relatively prompt admission to the rank of Kshatryas in the
Hindu caste system, with pedigrees dated back to the Sun and Moon, which
to the popular mind were well justified by their warlike prowess and
splendid chivalry. I need only recall the name of Prithvi-Raja, the lord
of Sambhar, Delhi, and Ajmer, whose epic fame rests not less on his
abduction of the Kanauj princess who loved him than on his gallant
losing fight against the Mahomedan invaders of India. But fierce clan
jealousies and intense dynastic pride made the Rajputs incapable of
uniting into a single paramount state, or even into an enduring
confederacy fit to withstand the storm of which Harsha himself might
have heard the distant rumblings. For it was during his reign that
militant Islam first set foot in India, in a remote part of the
peninsula. Just at the same time as the Arabs, in the first flush of
victory, poured into Egypt, a small force crossed the Arabian Sea and
entered Baluchistan, and a century later the whole of Sind passed into
Arab hands. Another two centuries and the Mahomedan flood was pouring
irresistibly into India, no longer across the Arabian Sea, but from
Central Asia through the great northern passes, until in successive
waves it submerged for a time almost the whole of India.

Now if we look back upon the fifteen centuries of Indian history, of
which I have sought to reconstitute the chief landmarks before the
Mahomedan invasions, the two salient features that emerge from the
twilight are the failure of the Aryan Hindus to achieve any permanent
form of political unity or stability, and their success, on the other
hand, in building up on adamantine foundations a complex but vital
social system. The supple and subtle forces of Hinduism had already in
prehistoric times welded together the discordant beliefs and customs of
a vast variety of races into a comprehensive fabric sufficiently elastic
to shelter most of the indigenous populations of India, and sufficiently
rigid to secure the Aryan Hindu ascendancy. Of its marvellous tenacity
and powers of resorption there can be no greater proof than the
elimination of Buddhism from India, where, in spite of its tremendous
uplift in the days of Asoka and the intermittent favours it enjoyed
under later and lesser monarchs, it was already moribund before the
Mahomedans gave it its final deathblow. Jainism, contemporary and
closely akin to Buddhism, never rose to the same pre-eminence, and
perhaps for that very reason secured a longer though more obscure lease
of life, and still survives as a respectable but numerically quite
unimportant sect. But indomitably powerful as a social amalgam, Hinduism
failed to generate any politically constructive force that could endure
much beyond the lifetime of some exceptionally gifted conqueror. The
Mauryan and the Gupta dynasties succumbed as irretrievably to the
centrifugal forces of petty states and clans perpetually striving for
mastery as the more ephemeral kingdoms of Kanishka and Harsha. They all
in turn crumbled away, and, in a land of many races and languages and
climates, split up into many states and groups of states constantly at
strife and constantly changing masters and frontiers. Hinduism alone
always survived with its crowded and ever-expanding pantheon of gods and
goddesses for the multitude, with its subtle and elastic philosophies
for the elect, with the doctrine of infinite reincarnations for all,
and, bound up with it, the iron law of caste.

The caste system, though it may be slowly yielding in non-essentials to
the exigencies of modern life, is still vigorous to-day in all its
essential features, and cannot easily be extruded from their family life
even by the Western-educated classes. It divides up Indian society into
thousands of water-tight compartments within which the Hindu is born and
lives and dies without any possibility of emerging from the one to which
he has been predestined by his own deeds in his former lives. Each caste
forms a group, of which the relations within its own circle, as well as
with other groups, are governed by the most rigid laws--in no
connection more rigid than in regard to marriage. These groups are of
many different types; some are of the tribal type, some national, some
sectarian, some have been formed by migration, some are based upon a
common social function or occupation past or present, some on
peculiarities of religious beliefs and superstitions. A distinguished
French writer, M. Senart, has described a caste as a close corporation,
in theory at any rate rigorously hereditary, equipped with a certain
traditional and independent organisation, observing certain common
usages, more particularly as to marriage, food, and questions of
ceremonial pollution, and ruling its members by the sanction of certain
penalties of which the most signal is the sentence of irrevocable
exclusion or out-casting. The Census of 1901 was the first to attempt a
thorough classification of Indian castes, and the number of the main
castes enumerated in it is well over two thousand, each one divided up
again into almost endless sub-castes. The keystone of the whole caste
system is the supremacy of the _quasi_-sacerdotal caste of Brahmans--a
caste which constitutes in some respects the proudest and closest
aristocracy that the world has ever seen, since it is not merely an
aristocracy of birth in the strictest sense of the term, but one of
divine origin. An Indian is either born a Brahman or he is not. No power
on earth can make him a Brahman. Not all Brahmans were learned even in
the old days of Hinduism, though it was to their monopoly of such
learning as there then was that they owed their ascendancy over the
warrior kings. Nor do all Brahmans minister in the temples. Strangely
enough the minority who do are looked down upon by their own castemen.
The majority pursue such worldly avocations, often quite humble, as are
permissible for them under their caste laws. The Brahmans were wise
enough, too, to temper the fundamental rigidity of the system with
sufficient elasticity to absorb the new elements with which it came into
contact, and in most cases gradually to reabsorb such elements as from
time to time rebelled against it. The process by which new castes may be
admitted into the pale of Hinduism, or the status of existing castes be
from time to time readjusted to new conditions, has been admirably
explained by Sir Alfred Lyall. But the process can be worked only under
Brahmanical authority, and the supreme sanction for all caste laws rests
solely with the Brahmans, whilst of all caste laws the most inexorable
is the supremacy of the Brahman. Therein lies the secret of the great
influence which, for good as well as for evil, he has always wielded
over the masses. For though in theory there could be no escape from the
bondage of caste, individuals, and even a whole group, would sometimes
find ways and means of propitiating the Brahmans who ministered to their
spiritual needs, and the miraculous intervention of a favouring god or
the discovery of a long-lost but entirely mythical ancestor would secure
their social uplift on to a higher rung of the caste-ladder.

Such a system, by creating and perpetuating arbitrary and yet almost
impassable lines of social cleavage, must be fatal to the development of
a robust body politic which can only be produced by the reasonable
intermingling and healthy fusion of the different classes of the
community. It was perhaps chief among the causes that left Hinduism with
so little force of organised political cohesion that the Hindu states of
ancient India, with their superior culture and civilisation, were sooner
or later swept away by the devastating flood of Mahomedan conquest,
whilst the social structure of Hinduism, just because it consisted of
such an infinity of water-tight compartments each vital and
self-sufficing, could be buffeted again and again and even almost
submerged by the waves without ever breaking up.



CHAPTER III

MAHOMEDAN DOMINATION


Of all the great religions that have shaped and are still shaping the
destinies of the human race, Islam alone was borne forth into the world
on a great wave of forceful conquest. Out of the sun-scorched deserts of
Arabia, with the Koran in the one hand and the sword in the other, the
followers of Mahomed swept eastward to the confines of China, northward
through Asia Minor into Eastern Europe, and westward through Africa into
Spain, and even into the heart of medieval France. But it was not till
the beginning of the eleventh century that the Mahomedan flood began to
roll down into India from the north with the overwhelming momentum of
fierce fanaticism and primitive cupidity behind it--at first mere short
but furious irruptions, like the seventeen raids of Mahmud of Ghazni
between 1001 and 1026, then a more settled tide of conquest, now and
again checked for a time by dissensions amongst the conquerors quite as
much as by some brilliant rally of Hindu religious and patriotic
fervour, but sweeping on again with a fresh impetus until the flood had
spread itself over the whole of the vast peninsula, except the extreme
south. For three centuries one wave of invasion followed another, one
dynasty of conquerors displaced another, but whether under Turki or
Afghan rulers, under Slave kings or under the house of Tughluk, there
was seldom a pause in the consolidation of Mahomedan power, seldom a
break in the long-drawn tale of plunder and carnage, cruelty and lust,
unfolded in the annals of the earlier Mahomedan dynasties that ruled at
Delhi. One notable victory Prithvi Raja, the forlorn hope of Hindu
chivalry, won at Thanesvar in 1192 over the Afghan hordes that had
already driven the last of the Ghaznis from Lahore and were sweeping
down upon Delhi, but in the following year the gallant young Rajput was
crushingly defeated, captured, and done to death by a ruthless foe. Then
Delhi fell, and Kutub-ed-Din, in turn the favourite slave, the trusted
lieutenant and the deputed viceroy of the Afghan conqueror, growing
tired of serving an absent master, within a few years threw off his
allegiance. In 1206 he proclaimed himself Emperor of Delhi. That the
Slave Dynasty which he founded was in one respect at least not unworthy
of empire, in spite of the stigma attaching to its worse than servile
origin, the Kutub Minar and the splendid mosque of which it forms part
are there to show. The great minaret, which was begun by Kutub-ed-Din
himself, upon whose name it has conferred an enduring lustre not
otherwise deserved, is beyond comparison the loftiest and the noblest
from which the Musulman call to prayer has ever gone forth, nor
is the mosque which it overlooks unworthy to have been called
_Kuwwet-el-Islam_, the Might of Islam. To make room for it the Hindu
temples, erected by the Rajput builders of the Red Fort, were torn down,
and the half-effaced figures on the columns of the mosque, and many
other conventional designs peculiar to Hindu architecture, betray
clearly the origin of the materials used in its construction. But the
general conception, and especially the grand lines of the screen of
arches on the western side, are essentially and admirably Mahomedan. On
a slighter scale, but profusely decorated and of exquisite workmanship,
is the tomb of Altamsh, Kutub-ed-Din's successor, and like him
originally a mere favourite slave.

It had been well for these Slave kings had no other record survived of
them than those which they have left in stone and marble. Great
builders and mighty warriors they were in the cause of Allah and his
Prophet, but their depravity was only exceeded by their cruelty. The
story of the whole dynasty is a long-drawn tale of horrors until the
wretched Kaikobad, having turned Delhi for a short three years into a
house of ill-fame, was dragged out of his bed and flung into the Jumna,
his infant child murdered, and the house of Khilji set up where the
Slave kings had reigned. It was the second of these Khilji princes,
Ala-ud-Din, who built, alongside of Kutub-ed-Din's mosque, the Alai
Darwazah, the monumental gateway which is not only an exceptionally
beautiful specimen of external polychromatic decoration, but, to quote
Fergusson, "displays the Pathan style at its period of greatest
perfection, when the Hindu masons had learned to fit their exquisite
style of ornamentation to the forms of their foreign masters." Yet the
atrocities of his twenty years' reign, which was one of almost unbroken
conquest and plunder, wellnigh surpass those of the Slave kings. He had
seized the throne by murdering his old uncle in the act of clasping his
hand, and his own death was, it is said, hastened by poison administered
to him by his favourite eunuch and trusted lieutenant, K[=a]fur, who had
ministered to his most ignoble passions. To the Khiljis succeeded the
Tughluks, and the white marble dome of Tughluk Shah's tomb still stands
out conspicuous beyond the broken line of grim grey walls which were
once Tughlukabad. The Khiljis had been overthrown, but the curse of a
Mahomedan saint, Sidi Dervish, whose fame has endured to the present
day, still rested upon the Delhi in which they had dwelt. So Mahomed
Tughluk built unto himself a new and stronger city, but he did nothing
else to avert the curse. Indeed, he invented a form of man-hunt which
for sheer devilish cruelty has been only once matched in the West by the
_cani del duca_ when the crazy Gian Maria ruled in Milan. Well may his
milder successor, Firuz Shah, have removed to yet another new capital.
Well may he have sought to disarm the wrath to come by pious deeds and
lavish charities. The record he kept of them is not without a certain
naïve pathos:

     Under the guidance of the Almighty, I arranged that the heirs of
     those persons who had been slain in the reign of my late Lord and
     Patron, Sultan Mahomed Shah, and those who had been deprived of a
     limb, nose, eye, hand, or foot, should be reconciled to the late
     Sultan and appeased by gifts, so that they executed deeds declaring
     their satisfaction, duly attested by witnesses. These deeds were
     put into a chest, which was placed at the head of the late Sultan's
     grave in the hope that God in his great mercy would show his
     clemency to my late friend and patron and make those persons feel
     reconciled to him.

The curse fell upon Delhi in the reign of the next Tughluk, Sultan
Mahmud. Timur, with his Mongolian horsemen, swooped down through the
northern passes upon Delhi, slaying Mahomedans and Hindus alike and
plundering and burning on all sides as he came. Opposite to the famous
ridge, where four and a half centuries later England was to nail her
flag to the mast, he forded the Jumna, having previously slain all
captives with his army to the number of 100,000. Mahmud's army, with its
125 elephants, could not withstand the shock. Timur entered Delhi, which
for five whole days was given over to slaughter and pillage. Then,
having celebrated his victory by a great carouse, he proceeded to the
marble mosque which Firuz Tughluk's piety had erected in atonement of
his grim predecessor's sins, and solemnly offered up a "sincere and
humble tribute of praise" to God. Within a year he disappeared in the
same whirl-wind of destruction through the northern passes into his
native wilds of Central Asia, leaving desolation and chaos behind him.

From so terrific a blow Delhi was slow to recover. A group of
picturesque domes marks the resting-place of some of the Seyyid and Lodi
kings who in turn ruled or misruled the shrunken dominions which still
owned allegiance to Delhi. The achievement of a centralised Mahomedan
empire was delayed for nearly two centuries. But the aggressive vitality
of Islam had not been arrested, and out of the anarchy which followed
Timur's meteoric raid Mahomedan soldiers of fortune built up for
themselves independent kingdoms and principalities and founded dynasties
which each had their own brief moment of power and magnificence. In all
these states, which spread right across Middle India from the Arabian
Sea to the Gulf of Bengal, Islam remained the dominant power; but, even
whilst trampling upon Hinduism, it did not escape altogether the
inevitable results of increasing contact with an older and more refined
civilisation. Amidst rapine and bloodshed and the constant clash of
arms, it was a period of intense artistic activity which, as usual in
the countries conquered by Islam, expressed itself chiefly in terms of
stone and marble, and though Hinduism never triumphed as classical
paganism, for instance, triumphed for a time in Papal Rome, the steady
and all-pervading revival of its influence can be traced from capital to
capital, wherever these Mahomedan _podestas_ established their seat of
government during that Indian _Cinque Cento_, which corresponds in time
with, and recalls in many ways, though at best distantly, the Italian
_Cinque Cento_, with its strange blend of refined luxury and cruelty, of
high artistic achievement and moral depravity.

To the present day almost all those cities--some of them now mere cities
of the dead, such as Golconda and Gaur and Mandu, some, such as Bijapur
and Bidar and Ahmednagar and Ahmedabad, still living and even
flourishing--bear witness to the genius of their makers. From motives of
political expediency, the Mahomedan rulers of those days, whether
Bahmanis or Ahmed Shahis or Adil Shahis or whatever else they were
called, were fain to reckon with their Hindu subjects. Wholesale
conversions to the creed of the conquerors, whether spontaneous or
compulsory, introduced new elements into the ruling race itself; for
converted Hindus, even when they rose to high positions of trust,
retained many of their own customs and traditions. Differences of
religion ceased to be a complete bar to matrimonial and other alliances
between Mahomedans and Hindus. Even in war Mahomedan mercenaries took
service with Hindu chiefs, and Hindus under Mahomedan captains. There
was thus, if not a fusion, a gradual mingling of the Mahomedan and Hindu
populations which, in spite of many fierce conflicts, tended to promote
a new _modus vivendi_ between them. It was a period of transition from
the era of mere ruthless conquest, which Timur's tempestuous irruption
brought practically to a close, to the era of constructive
statesmanship, which it was reserved to Akbar, the greatest of the
Moghul Emperors, to inaugurate.

Each of these early Mahomedan states has a story and a character of its
own, and each goes to illustrate the subtle ascendancy which the Hindu
mind achieved over the conquering Mahomedan. I can only select a few
typical examples. None is in its way more striking than Mandu, over
whose desolation the jungle now spreads its kindly mantle. Within two
years of Timur's raid into India the Afghan governors of Malwa
proclaimed themselves independent, and Hushang Ghuri, from whom the new
dynasty took its name, proceeded to build himself a new capital. The
grey grim walls of Mandu still crown a lofty outpost of the Vindhya
hills, some seventy miles south-east of Indore, the natural scarp
falling away as steeply on the one side to the fertile plateau of Malwa
as on the other to the broad valley of the sacred Nerbudda. The place
had no Hindu associations, and in the stately palaces and mosques
erected by Hushang and his immediate successors early in the fifteenth
century scarcely a trace of Hindu influence can be detected, though some
of them still stand almost intact amidst the luxuriant vegetation which
has now swallowed up the less substantial remains of what was once a
populous and wealthy city. The Ghuris came from Afghanistan, and the
great mosque of Hushang Ghuri--in spite of inscriptions which say in
one place that it has been modelled on the mosque of the Kaaba at Mecca,
and in another place on the great mosque at Damascus--is perhaps the
finest example of pure Pathan architecture in India, and one of the
half-dozen noblest shrines devoted to Mahomedan worship in the whole
world; a mighty structure of red sandstone and white marble, stern and
simple, and as perfect in the proportions of its long avenues of pointed
arches as in the breadth of its spacious design. Behind it, under a
great dome of white marble, Hushang himself sleeps. Unique in its way,
too, is the lofty hall of the Hindola Mahal, with its steeply sloping
buttresses--a hall which has not been inaptly compared to the great
dining-hall of some Oxford or Cambridge College--and alongside of it,
the more delicate beauty, perhaps already suggestive of Hindu
collaboration, of the Jahaz Mahal, another palace with hanging balconies
and latticed windows of carved stone overlooking on either side an
artificial lake covered with pink lotus blossoms. Mandu was at first an
essentially Mahomedan city, and under Mahmud Khilji, who wrested the
throne from Hushang's effete successor, its fame as a centre of Islamic
learning attracted embassies even from Egypt and Bokhara. But its
greatness was short-lived. Mahmud's son, Ghijas-ud-Din, had been for
many years his father's right hand, both in council and in the field.
But no sooner did he come to the throne in 1469 than he discharged all
the affairs of the state on to his own son and retired into the
seraglio, where 15,000 women formed his court and provided him even with
a bodyguard. Five hundred beautiful young Turki women, armed with bows
and arrows, stood, we are told, on his right hand, and, on his left,
five hundred Abyssinian girls. Profligate succeeded profligate, and the
degeneracy of his Mahomedan rulers was the Hindu's opportunity. The
power passed into the hands of Hindu officers, who were even suffered to
take unto themselves mistresses from among the Mahomedan women of the
court. The end came, after many vicissitudes, with Baz Bahadur, chiefly
known for his passionate devotion to the fair Hindu, Rup Mati, for whom
he built on the very crest of the hill, so that from her windows she
might worship the waters of the sacred Nerbudda, the only palace now
surviving in Mandu which bears a definite impress of Hinduism. Baz
Bahadur surrendered to the Emperor Akbar in 1562.

At Ahmedabad, on the other hand, the Ahmed Shahi Sultans of Gujerat
found themselves in presence of an advanced form of Hindu civilisation
as soon as they entered into possession of the kingdom which they
snatched from the general conflagration. Whether Ahmedabad, which is
still the modern capital of Gujerat and ranks only second to its
neighbour, Bombay, as a centre of the Indian cotton industry, occupies
or not the exact site of the ancient Karn[=a]vati, Gujerat was a
stronghold of Indian culture long before the Mahomedan invasions.
Architecture especially had reached a very high standard of development
in the hands of what is usually known as the Jaina school. This is a
misnomer, for the school was in reality the product of a period rather
than a sect, though Jainism probably never enjoyed anywhere, or at any
time, such political ascendancy as in Gujerat under its Rashtrakuta and
Solanki rulers from the ninth to the thirteenth century, and seldom has
there been such an outburst of architectural activity as amongst the
Jains of that period. To the present day the _salats_ or builders,
mostly Jains, have in their keeping, jealously locked away in iron-bound
chests in their temples, many ancient treatises on civil and religious
architecture, of which only a few abstracts have hitherto been published
in Gujerati, but, as may be seen at Ahmedabad, in the great Jaina temple
of Hathi Singh, built in the middle of the last century at a cost of one
million sterling, they have preserved something of the ancient
traditions of their craft.

Firishta described Ahmedabad as, in his day, "the handsomest city in
Hindustan and perhaps in the world," and very few Indian cities contain
so many beautiful buildings as those with which Ahmedabad was endowed in
the course of a few decades by its Ahmed Shahi rulers. No one can fail
to admire the wealth of ornamentation and the exquisite workmanship
lavished upon them, though they are not by any means the noblest
monuments of Mahomedan architecture in India. In fact--and herein lies
their peculiar interest--they are Hindu rather than Mahomedan in spirit.
For they were built by architects of the Jaina school, who were just as
ready to work for their Moslem rulers as they had been to work in
earlier times for their Hindu rajas. By the mere force of a civilisation
in many ways superior to that of their conquerors, these builders
imposed upon them, even in the very mosques which they built for them,
many of the most characteristic features of Hindu architecture. To
obtain, for instance, in a mosque the greater elevation required by the
Mahomedans, to whom the dim twilight of a Hindu shrine is repugnant,
they began by merely superimposing the shafts of two pillars, joining
them together with blocks to connect the base of the upper with the
capital of the lower shaft; and this feature in a less crude shape was
permanently retained in the Indo-Mahomedan architecture of Gujerat.
Nowhere better than at Ahmedabad can the various stages be followed
through which this adaptation of a purely Hindu style to Mahomedan
purposes has passed. It was at first somewhat violent and clumsy. The
earliest mosque in Ahmedabad, that of Ahmed Shah, is practically a Hindu
temple with a Mahomedan façade, and the figures of animals and of idols
can still be traced on the interior pillars. The octagonal tomb of Ganj
Bakhsh, the spiritual guide of Ahmed Shah, just outside the city at
Sarkhij, marks an immense stride, and the adjoining mosque, of which all
the pillars have the Hindu bracket capitals and all the domes are built
on traditional Hindu lines, retains nevertheless its Mahomedan
character. Still more wonderful is the blend achieved in the mosque and
tomb of Ranee Sepree, the consort of Mahmud Bigarah, who was perhaps the
most magnificent of the Mahomedan kings of Gujerat. It was completed in
1514, just a hundred years after the foundation of the Ahmed Shahi
dynasty, and it shows the distance travelled in the course of one
century towards something like a fusion of Hindu and Mahomedan ideals in
the domain at least of architecture.

In Bijapur alone, of all the great Mahomedan cities of that period which
I have seen, did the proud austerity of Mahomedan architecture shake
itself free from the complex and flamboyant suggestions of Hindu
art--perhaps because the great days of Bijapur came after it had taken
its full share of the spoils of Vijianagar, the last kingdom in Southern
India to perish by the sword of Islam. Having laid low the Hindu "City
of Victory," the conquerors determined to make the Mahomedan "City of
Victory" eclipse the magnificence of all that they had destroyed. The
Gol Kumbaz, the great round dome over the lofty quadrangular hall in
which Sultan Mahomed Adil Shah lies under a plain slab of marble, is an
almost perfect hemisphere, which encloses the largest domed space in the
world, and it dominates the Deccan tableland just as the dome of St.
Peter's dominates the Roman Campagna. To such heights Hindu architecture
can never soar, for it eschews the arched dome; and beautiful as the
Hindu cupola may be with its concentric mouldings and the superimposed
circular courses horizontally raised on an octagonal architrave which
rests on symmetrical groups of pillars, it cannot attain anything like
the same bold span or the same lofty elevation. Have we not there a
symbol of the fundamental antagonism between Hindu and Mahomedan
conceptions in many other domains than that of architecture? Even if the
Arabs did not originate the pointed arch, it has always been one of the
most beautiful and characteristic features of Mahomedan architecture.
The Hindu, on the other hand, has never built any such arch except
under compulsion.

To unite India under Mahomedan rule and attempt to bridge the gulf that
divided the alien race of Mahomedan conquerors from the conquered Hindus
required more stedfast hands and a loftier genius than those Mahomedan
_condottieri_ possessed. A new power more equal to the task was already
storming at the northern gates of India. On a mound thirty-five miles
north of Delhi, near the old bed of the Jumna, there still stands a
small town which has thrice given its name to one of those momentous
battles that decide the fate of nations. It is Panipat. There, on April
21, 1526, Baber the Lion, fourth in descent from Timur, overthrew the
last of the Lodis. Like his terrible ancestor, he had fought his way
down from Central Asia at the head of a great army of Tartar horsemen;
but, unlike Timur, he fought not for mere plunder and slaughter, but for
empire. He has left us in his own memoirs an incomparable picture of his
remarkable and essentially human personality, and it was his
statesmanship as much as his prowess that laid the rough foundations
upon which the genius of his grandson Akbar was to rear the great fabric
of the Moghul Empire as it was to stand for two centuries. Though it was
at Delhi that, three days after the battle of Panipat, Baber proclaimed
himself Emperor, no visible monument of his reign is to be seen there
to-day. But the white marble dome and lofty walls and terraces of his
son Humayun's mausoleum, raised on a lofty platform out of a sea of dark
green foliage, are, next to the Kutub Minar, the most conspicuous
feature in the plain of Delhi. Endowed with many brilliant and amiable
qualities, Humayun was not made of the same stuff as either his father
or his son. Driven out of India by the Afghans, whom Baber had defeated
but not subdued, he had, it is true, in a great measure reconquered it,
when a fall from the top of the terraced roof of his palace at Delhi
caused his death at the early age of forty-eight. But would he have
been able to retain it? He had by no means crushed the forces of
rebellion which the usurper Sher Shah had united against Moghul rule,
and which were still holding the field under the leadership of the
brilliant Hindu adventurer Hemu. Delhi itself was lost within a few
months of Humayun's death, and it was again at Panipat, just thirty
years after his grandfather's brilliant victory, that the boy Akbar had
in his turn to fight for the empire of Hindustan. He too fought and won,
and when he entered Delhi on the very next day, the empire was his to
mould and to fashion at the promptings of his genius.

Akbar was not yet fourteen, but, precocious even for the East, he was
already a student and a thinker as well as an intrepid fighter. He
showed whither his meditations were leading him as soon as he took the
reins of government into his own hands. There had been great conquerors
before him in India, men of his own race and creed--the blood of Timur
flowed in his veins--and men of other races and of other creeds. They
too had founded dynasties and built up empires, but their dynasties had
passed away, their empires had crumbled to pieces. What was the reason?
Was it not that they had established their dominion on force alone, and
that when force ceased to be vitalised by their own great personalities
their dominion, having struck no root in the soil, withered away and
perished? Akbar, far ahead of his times, determined to try another and a
better way by seeking the welfare of the populations he subdued, by
dispensing equal justice to all races and creeds, by courting loyal
service from Hindus as well as Mahomedans, by giving them a share on
terms of complete equality in the administration of the country, by
breaking down the social barriers between them, even those which hedge
in the family. He was a soldier, and he knew when and how to use force,
but he never used force alone. He subdued the Rajput states, but he won
the allegiance of their princes and himself took a consort from among
their daughters. With their help he reduced the independent Mahomedan
kings of Middle India, from Gujerat in the West to Bengal in the East.
He created a homogeneous system of civil administration which our own
still in many respects resembles, the revenue system especially, which
was based on ancient Hindu custom, having survived with relatively
slight modifications to the present day.

Political uniformity had been achieved, at least over a very large area
of India. A great stride had been made towards real unity and social
fusion. Nevertheless Akbar felt that, so long as the fierce religious
exclusivism of Islam on the one hand, and the rigidity of the Hindu
caste system on the other, were not fundamentally modified there could
be no security for the future against the revival of the old and
deep-seated antagonism between the two races and creeds. He was himself
learned in Islamic doctrine; he caused some of the Brahmanical sacred
books to be translated into Persian--the cultured language of his
court--so that he could study them for himself; and he invited
Christians and Zoroastrians, as well as Hindus and Mahomedans of
different schools of thought, to confer with him and discuss in his
presence the relative merits of their religious systems. The deserted
palaces of Fatehpur Sikri, which he planned out and built with all his
characteristic energy as a royal residence, only about twenty-two miles
distant from the imperial city of Agra, still stand in a singularly
perfect state of preservation that enables one to reconstruct with
exceptional vividness the life of the splendid court over which the
greatest of the Moghul Emperors--the contemporary of our own great Queen
Elizabeth--presided during perhaps the most characteristic years of his
long reign. Within the enceinte of his palace were grouped the chief
offices of the State, the Treasury, the Record Office, the Council
Chamber, the Audience Hall, some of them monuments of architectural
skill and of decorative taste, more often bearing the impress of Hindu
than of Mahomedan inspiration. For his first wife, Sultana Rakhina, who
was also his first cousin, Akbar built the Jodh Bai palace, whilst over
against it, in the beautiful "Golden House," dwelt his Rajput consort,
Miriam-uz-Zemani, who bore him the future Emperor Jehanghir. Nor did he
forget his favourite friends and counsellors. Upon no building in
Fatehpur has such a wealth of exquisite ornamentation been lavished as
upon the dainty palace of Raja Birbal, the most learned and illustrious
Hindu, who gave his spiritual as well as his political allegiance to
Akbar. The Mahomedan brothers Abul Fazl and Faizi, whose conversation,
untrammelled by orthodoxy, so largely influenced his religious
evolution, had their house close to the great mosque, sacred to the
memory of a Mahomedan saint who, according to popular legend, sacrificed
the life of his own infant son in order that Akbar's should live. In the
great hall of the Ibadat Khaneh, built by him for the purpose, Akbar
himself took part in the disputations of learned men of all
denominations in search of religious truth. The spirit which inspired
Akbar during that period of his life breathes nowhere more deeply than
in one of the inscriptions which he chose for the "Gate of Victory," the
lofty portal, perhaps the most splendid in India, leading up to the
spacious mosque quadrangle: "Jesus, on whom be peace, said: 'The world
is a bridge. Pass over it, but build not upon it. The world endures but
an hour; spend that hour in devotion.'"

It was at Fatehpur that Akbar sought to set the seal upon his conquests
in peace and in war by evolving from a comparative study of all the
religions of his empire some permanent remedy for the profound
denominational and racial discords by which, unless he could heal them,
he foresaw that his life's work would assuredly some day be wrecked. Did
he despair of any remedy unless he took the spiritual law, as he had
already taken the civil law, into his own hands? Or was even as noble a
mind as his not proof against the overweening _hubris_ to which a
despotic genius has so often succumbed? One momentous evening, in the
Hall of Disputations, he caused, or allowed, his devoted friend and
confidant, Abul Fazl, to proclaim the Emperor's infallibility in the
domain of faith. From claiming the right to explain away the Koran,
which is the corner-stone of Islam, its alpha and omega, to repudiating
it altogether, there was but a short step. Akbar very soon took it. He
promulgated a new religion, which he called the Din-i-Ilahi, and a new
profession of faith, which, instead of the old Islamic formula, "There
is no God but God, and Mahomed is his prophet," proclaimed indeed in the
same words the unity of God, but declared Akbar to be the one Viceregent
of God. The new religion, theistic in doctrine, not only borrowed its
prayers chiefly from the Parsees and its ritual from the Hindus, but
practically abolished all Mahomedan observances. The orthodox Mahomedans
naturally held up their hands in horror, and many preferred honourable
exile to conformity. But the awe which Akbar inspired, and perhaps the
acknowledged elevation of his motives, generally compelled at least
outward acceptance during his lifetime. His Mahomedan subjects had,
moreover, to admit that his desire to conciliate Hinduism did not blind
him to its most perverse features. Whilst he abolished the capitation
tax on Hindus and the tax upon Hindu pilgrims, he forbade infant
marriages and, short of absolute prohibition, did all he could to
discountenance the self-immolation of Hindu widows. To the Brahmans
especially his condemnation, both implied and explicit, of the caste
system was a constant stone of offence.

Great as was his genius and admirable as were many of his institutions,
Akbar, to use a homely phrase, fell between two stools to the ground. He
himself ceased to be a Mahomedan without becoming a Hindu, whilst the
great bulk at least of his subjects still remained at bottom Mahomedans
and Hindus as before. Neither community was ripe for an eclectic creed
based only upon sweet reasonableness and lofty ethical conceptions. His
son and successor, Jehanghir, at once reverted to Mahomedan orthodoxy,
but the reaction only became militant when Aurungzeb succeeded Shah
Jehan. The profound incompatibility between Islam and Hinduism
reasserted itself in him with a bitterness which the growing menace of
the rising power of the Hindu Mahrattas probably helped to intensify.
The reimposition of the poll-tax on the Hindus destroyed the last
vestige of the great work of conciliation to which Akbar had vainly
applied all his brilliant energies. Like Fatehpur Sikri itself, which
for lack of water he had been compelled to abandon within fifteen years
of its construction, it was a magnificent failure, and it was perhaps
bound in his time to be a failure.

Aurungzeb was the first of the Moghuls to reside in the Mahomedan
atmosphere of Delhi throughout his long reign. But, begun in usurpation
at the cost of his own father, it ended in misery and gloom. His sons
had revolted against him, his sombre fanaticism had estranged from him
the Rajput princes of whom Akbar had made the pillars of the Moghul
throne, and though he had reduced to subjection the last of the
independent Mahomedan kingdoms of India, he had exhausted his vast
military resources in long and fruitless endeavours to arrest the growth
of the new Mahratta power, to which Shivaji had not unsuccessfully
attempted to rally the spiritual forces of disaffected Hinduism. In the
incapable hands of Aurungzeb's successors, whilst the Delhi palace
became a hotbed of squalid and often sanguinary intrigue, disintegration
proceeded with startling rapidity. Revolt followed revolt within, and
the era of external invasions was reopened. Nadir Shah swept down from
Persia and, after two months' carnage and plunder, carried off from
Delhi booty to the value of thirty-two millions, including the famous
Peacock Throne. Then the Afghans again broke through the northern
passes. Six times in the course of fourteen years did Ahmed Shah Durani
carry fire and sword through Northern India. One service, however, the
Afghan rendered. From the Deccan, where a great Mahratta confederacy
had grown up under the Poona Peishwa, the Mahrattas slowly but surely
closed in upon Delhi. Another great battle was fought at Panipat between
the Afghan invaders from the North and the flower of the Mahratta army.
The Mahrattas endured a crushing defeat, which, together with treachery
within their own ranks, broke up the confederacy and prepared the
downfall of their military power, which British arms were to complete.

For whilst the Moghul Empire was rapidly breaking up, the oversea
penetration of India by the ocean route, which the Portuguese had been
the first to open up at the beginning of the sixteenth century, was
progressing apace. Of all those who had followed in the wake of the
Portuguese--Dutch and Danes and Spaniards and French and British--the
British alone had come to stay. After Panipat the wretched emperor, Shah
Alam II., actually took refuge at Allahabad under British protection,
and stayed there for some years as a pensioner of the East India
Company, already a power in the land. Well for him had he remained
there, for he returned to Delhi only to be buffeted, first by one
faction and then by another. Ghulam Kadir, the Rohilla, blinded him in
the very Hall of Audience which bears the famous inscription, "If a
paradise there be on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here"; and
when the Mahrattas rescued him he merely exchanged jailers. He was
already an old man, decrepit and sightless, when in 1803, in the same
Hall of Audience, he welcomed his deliverer in Lord Lake, who had routed
the Mahratta forces, almost within sight of his palace, between
Humayun's tomb and the river Jumna. Then, perhaps for the first time in
her history, India knew peace; for though two more descendants of the
Moghul Emperors were still suffered to retain at Delhi the insignia of
royalty, Mahomedan domination was over and her destinies had passed into
the strong keeping of the British, who have sought to fulfil, on
different and sounder lines, the purpose which had inspired the noblest
of Akbar's dreams.

But throughout all those centuries of Mahomedan domination the enduring
power of Hinduism had bent without ever breaking to the storm, even in
Northern India, where it was exposed to the full blast of successive
tempests. Many of its branches withered or were ruthlessly lopped off,
but its roots were too firmly and too deeply embedded in the soil to be
fatally injured. It continued indeed to throw off fresh shoots. The same
process of adaptation, assimilation, and absorption, which had been
going on for centuries before the Mahomedan conquest, without ever being
permanently or even very deeply affected by the vicissitudes of Indian
political history, went on throughout all the centuries of Mahomedan
domination. Whilst millions of Hindus were, it is true, being forcibly
converted to Islam, Hinduism, making good its losses to a great extent
by the complete elimination of Buddhism, and by permeating the Dravidian
races of Southern India, continued its own social and religious
evolution. It was, in fact, after the tide of Mahomedan conquest had set
in that Hindu theology put on fresh forms of interpretation. The rivalry
between the cults of Shiva and of Vishnu became more acute, and many of
the Dharmashastras and Puranas were recast and elaborated by Shivaite
and Vishnuite writers respectively in the form in which we now know
them, thus affording contemporary and graphic pictures of the
persistency of Hindu life and manners after India had lost all political
independence. It was then, too, that Krishna rose to be perhaps the most
popular of Hindu gods, and the divine love, of which he was at first the
personification, was to a great extent lost sight of in favour of his
human amours, whilst the works known as the Tantras, deriving in their
origin from the ancient ideas of sexual dualism immanent in some of the
Vedic deities, developed the customary homage paid to the consorts of
the great gods into the Sakti worship of the female principle, often
with ritual observances either obscene or sanguinary or both. Possibly
as a result of closer contact with primitive Dravidian religions, or of
such wild lawlessness as followed the barbarous devastation wrought by
Timur, the blood even of human victims flowed more freely before the
altars of the Mahamatri, the great goddesses personified in Kali and
Durga. The worship of the gods assumed a more terrific and orgiastic
character. _Sati_ was more frequently practised. Many of the most
splendid and, at the present day, most famous temples--amongst others
that of Jaganath at Puri--were founded during that period. The custom,
in itself very ancient, of religious pilgrimages to celebrated shrines
and to the banks and sources of specially sacred rivers, was consecrated
in elaborate manuals which became text-books of ritual as well as of
religious geography. Much of what might be regarded as the degeneration
of Hinduism from its earlier and more spiritual forms into gross
idolatry and licentiousness, may well have been in itself a reaction
against the iconoclastic monotheism of the politically triumphant
Mahomedans. Caste, which was as foreign to Islam as to Christianity, but
nevertheless retained its hold upon Indian converts to Islam as it has
also in later times upon Indian converts to the Christian creeds, tended
to harden still further; for caste has ever been the keystone of
Hinduism, and, as Mahomedan power gradually waned, Hinduism reasserted
itself in a spirit of both religious and national rebellion against
Mahomedan domination.

The most permanent, or at least the most signal, mark which Mahomedan
ascendancy has left upon Hinduism has been to accentuate the inferiority
of woman by her close confinement--of which there are few traces in
earlier times--within the zenana, possibly in the first instance a
precautionary measure for her protection against the lust of the
Mahomedan conquerors. Her seclusion still constitutes one of the
greatest obstacles to Indian social and religious reform. For, as custom
requires an Indian girl to be shut up in the zenana at the very age when
her education, except in quite elementary schools, should commence, the
women of India, even in the classes in which the men of India have been
drawn into the orbit by Western education, have until recently remained
and still for the most part remain untouched by it, and their innate
conservatism clings to social traditions and religious superstitions of
which their male belongings have already been taught to recognise the
evils. In this respect Mahomedan domination has helped to strengthen the
forces of resistance inherent to Hinduism.

On the other hand, Mahomedan domination has left behind it a deep line
of religious cleavage, deepest in the north, which was the seat of
Mahomedan power, but extending to almost every part of India. Sixty-six
millions of Indians out of three hundred millions are still Mahomedans,
and though time has in a large measure effaced the racial differences
between the original Mahomedan conquerors and the indigenous populations
converted to their creed, the religious antagonism between Islam and
Hinduism, though occasionally and temporarily sunk in a sense of common
hostility to alien rulers who are neither Mahomedans nor Hindus, is
still one of the most potent factors not only in the social but in the
political life of India, both indelibly moulded from times immemorial by
the supreme force of religion. We have a pale reflection of that sort of
antagonism at our own doors in the bitterness between Protestants and
Roman Catholics in Ulster. All over India, Mahomedans and Hindus alike
remember the centuries of Mahomedan domination, the latter with the
bitterness bred of the long oppression that struck down their gods and
mutilated their shrines, the former with the unquenched pride and
unquenchable hope of a fierce faith which will yet, they believe, make
the whole world subject to Allah, the one God, and Mahomed, his one
Prophet.



CHAPTER IV

BRITISH RULE UNDER THE EAST INDIA COMPANY


The basic fact which has governed the whole evolution of British rule in
India is that we went there in the first instance as traders, and not as
conquerors. For trade meant co-operation. There could be no successful
trading for British traders unless they found Indian traders ready to
co-operate with them in trade. That we ever went to India at all was due
to the national instincts of an insular people accustomed to go down to
the sea in ships and to trade with distant lands. When the rise of great
Mahomedan states on the southern and eastern shores of the
Mediterranean, and finally the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks,
blocked the overland trade routes from Christendom into the Orient, our
forefathers determined to emulate the example of the Spaniards and
Portuguese and open up new ocean highways to the remote markets credited
with fabulous wealth which would have been otherwise lost to them
indefinitely. The handful of English merchant-venturers who under Queen
Elizabeth's charter first established three hundred years ago a few
precarious settlements on the far-flung shores of a then almost unknown
continent no more dreamt of ruling India than did the great East India
Company of which they had laid the foundations when it first sought to
extend its trading operations into the interior and sent an embassy to
court the goodwill of the mighty Moghul emperors then at the height of
their power. Throughout those early days co-operation between Indians
and Englishmen, though then for the sole purpose of trade, was the
principle that guided British enterprise in India, and the venturers
would never have grown and thriven as they did had they not laid
themselves out to secure the confidence and co-operation of the Indians
who flocked to their "factories." At home too it was not dominion, but
the profits derived from the Indian trade that occupied the mind of the
nation. Not till the disintegration of the Moghul Empire in the
eighteenth century plunged India into a welter of anarchy which
endangered not only our trade but the safety of our settlements, which,
like the foreign settlements in the Chinese Treaty Ports to-day,
attracted in increasing numbers an indigenous population in search of
security for life and property, did the Directors of the East India
Company consent to depart from their policy of absolute non-intervention
in the internal affairs of India. Nor was it till, in the course of the
great duel between England and France for the mastery of the seas which
only ended at Trafalgar, the genius of Dupleix threatened the very
existence of the East India Company that the British nation began to
face the responsibilities of British dominion in India as the only
alternative to the greater danger of French dominion. It was the French
challenge to Britain's position all over the world far more than any
deliberate policy of conquest in India that drove successive agents of
the East India Company to enlarge the area of British authority, and
successive Governments at home to acquiesce and aid in its enlargement,
until ultimately the whole peninsula was made subject to the paramount
British power from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin.

But even that long period of irresistible expansion was a period of
almost constant co-operation between British and Indians. The East India
Company extended its authority quite as much by a system of alliances
with indigenous rulers, who turned to our growing power to save them
from destruction at the hands of Haidar Ali or of the Mahratta
confederacy, as by mere force of arms, and, when it had to use force,
its most decisive victories in the field were won by armies in which
Indian troops fought shoulder to shoulder with British troops. At
Plassey in 1757 and at Buxar in 1764, when the destinies of India were
still in the balance, the British, though the backbone of the Company's
forces, formed only a tithe numerically of the victorious armies that
fought under Clive and Munro. The traditions of loyal comradeship
between the Indian and the British army, only once and for a short time
seriously broken during the Mutiny of 1857, can be traced back to the
earliest days of British ascendancy, just as the map of India to-day,
with hundreds of native States, covering one-third of the total area and
nearly one-fourth of the total population under the autonomous rulership
of their own ancient dynasties, testifies to the wisdom and moderation
which inspired the policy of the East India Company in preferring,
wherever circumstances made co-operation possible, co-operation based
upon alliances to submission enforced by the sword.

In the same spirit there grew up at home with the extension of British
dominion in India a definite determination on the part of the British
Government and the British people to control the methods by which
British dominion was to be exercised and maintained. So when the British
in India ceased to be mere traders and became administrators and rulers,
they had behind them not only the driving power, but the restraining
force also, of a civilisation which was producing in England new
conceptions of personal rights destined profoundly to affect the
relations between those who govern and those who are governed. Those
conceptions which underlay both the great Cromwellian upheaval and the
more peaceful revolution of 1688 were at first limited in their
application to the free people of Britain, but they began before long to
influence also the attitude of the British people towards the alien
races brought under their sway. The motives which prompted English
colonial enterprise in its earliest stages did not differ materially
from those which prompted the Spanish and the Portuguese, the Dutch and
the French. All were impelled primarily by the desire to attain wealth.
But whilst our competitors never got much beyond that stage, and for the
most part imagined that the only way to attain wealth was by a crude
exploitation of subject countries and peoples, the British were saved
from similar short-sightedness by the very different spirit with which
the development of their own national institutions had imbued their
rulers at home. By the middle of the eighteenth century a British
Government had a very different sense of its responsibilities to the
British people for the welfare of the nation as a whole from that which
any continental ruler had been taught to entertain in regard to his own
people. That sense of responsibility the British Government and the
British people applied in a modified form to the administration of their
Indian possessions.

So long as British settlements were confined to trading factories on the
shores of the Indian Ocean, the problems of administration were simple.
The three "Presidents" who with their large and rather unwieldy Councils
carried on at the beginning of the eighteenth century the affairs of the
East India Company on the west coast, at Madras and in Bengal were
chiefly concerned with commercial operations, and they provided in their
own way and out of their own resources for the maintenance of the public
peace within the narrow areas subject to their jurisdiction. But matters
assumed a very different complexion when instead of merely taking
abundant tithe of the wealth acquired by the enterprise and ability of
British traders in a far-away land, the British people had to lend
financial and military assistance in order to rescue the East India
Company from destruction at the hands of their French rivals as well as
from the overwhelming ruin of internecine strife all over India. The
grant of the _Diwani_ to the Company by the titular Emperor of Delhi
gave the Company not only the wealth of Bengal, the richest province in
India, but full rights of government and administration, which were at
first ruthlessly exercised with little or no regard for the interests of
the unfortunate population, who alone gained nothing by the change. The
magnitude of the financial transactions between the Company and the
British Government, which was sometimes heavily subsidised by the
Company's coffers and then in turn compelled to make considerable
advances in order to replenish them, and the splendour of the fortunes
amassed by many of the Company's servants who returned from India to
spend them in ostentatious luxury and in political intrigue at home,
combined with the brilliant achievements of British arms on Indian soil
to focus public attention on Indian affairs. They became one of the live
issues of British party politics.

There was much that was squalid and grossly unjust in the rancorous
campaigns conducted first against Clive and then against Warren
Hastings. But behind all the personal jealousies and the greed of
factions there was a strong and healthy public instinct that the
responsibilities assumed by the East India Company were greater than a
trading association could safely be left to discharge uncontrolled, and
that the State could not divest itself of the duties imposed upon it by
the acquisition of vast and populous possessions. It would be idle to
pretend that the British people already entertained any definite
conception of a tutelary relationship towards the peoples of India, or
were animated by purely philanthropic solicitude for the moral welfare
of India. But the passionate oratory of Fox and Burke and their fervid
denunciation of oppression and wrongdoing in India awoke responsive
echoes far beyond the walls of Westminster. In 1762, when France had
claimed, in the course of the peace negotiations which led to the Treaty
of Paris, the restitution of the possessions she had lost to the East
India Company, the British Government pleaded the absence of "any right
of the Crown of England to interfere in the legal and exclusive property
of a body corporate." Only eleven years later, the House of Commons
passed resolutions to the effect that "all acquisitions made under the
influence of military force or by treaty with foreign princes do of
right belong to the State," and the Commons had the country behind them.
From 1773 onward British public opinion never hesitated to support
Parliament in claiming and exercising supreme control over Indian
affairs.

A very brief survey of the long series of enactments in which
Parliament, asserting the right of "eminent dominion over every British
subject in every country," gradually established its authority over
Indian administration and moulded it to the shape which it virtually
preserved until the Crown assumed direct sovereignty in 1858, shows how
steadily the strengthening of Parliamentary control kept pace with the
extension of British dominion in India. The first of these legislative
measures was Lord North's Regulating Act, which was passed in 1773, just
eight years after the East India Company had acquired for the first time
the right of revenue and civil administration over vast territories in
Bengal and in the Madras "Northern Circars," and thereby taken over the
duties of government in respect of a great native population, absolutely
alien in race, in religion, and in customs. Lord North's Act did not
attack directly the problem of Indian government, but it sought to
facilitate its solution by the East India Company itself by reforming
its constitution at home, where the jealousies and intrigues of rival
factions in the Board of Directors had often reached the dimensions of a
public scandal, and by centralising the Company's authority in India,
where, as the result of recent developments which had now established
the centre of British gravity in Bengal, the post of Governor-General
was created for the Bengal Presidency and invested with powers of
control over the other Presidencies, Madras and Bombay, which had
hitherto enjoyed a status of practical equality. At the same time an
attempt was made to strengthen control from home by enjoining upon the
Governor-General to keep the Board of Directors in London fully informed
and to abide by its instructions, whilst a check was placed upon the
executive authority in Bengal by the creation of a Supreme Court in
Calcutta from which the present High Court is descended.

The defect of this legislation--a defect inherent to the situation in
India itself--was the dualism it created by endeavouring to enforce
Parliamentary restraints upon a Company which derived its title to
government over the greater part of its possessions from the
irresponsible despotism of the Moghul emperors. The Company was thus
made to serve two masters, and at the same time it remained essentially
a great trading corporation whose commercial and fiscal interests were
always liable to conflict, and sometimes did conflict, with its duties
towards both masters. The total collapse of the Moghul Empire removed
before long one of the ambiguities of this situation, but the other
endured in a greater or less degree until the East India Company itself
disappeared, though every subsequent measure of Indian legislation at
home tended to bring the Indian executive more and more fully under the
control of the home Government.

Eleven years later Pitt's famous Government of India Act of 1784 marked
a very important step forward. Another great war had been brought to an
end by the Peace of Versailles in 1783, and whilst at its close we had
lost the greater part of our North American Colonies, the genius of
Warren Hastings had saved and consolidated British power in India. It
was easy to criticise, and if we are to judge in accordance with modern
standards, it is doubtless right to condemn some of the devices to which
he resorted in the course of the long struggle he was often left to wage
with little or no help, and sometimes in the face of active obstruction
from those who, at home and in India, should have been the first to
support him. Whatever his errors may have been, they were more than
atoned for by the cruel persecution to which he was subjected whilst
England was harvesting the fruits of his energy and courage. Pitt's Act
was in fact the solemn consecration of all his greatest achievements,
whilst it brought India into closer and more direct relationship with
the Crown. Not the least of the difficulties with which Hastings, the
only Governor-General appointed by the East India Company, was
confronted arose from frequent opposition in his own Council, where he
was merely _primus inter pares_. Pitt took care to provide against the
recurrence of similar trouble in the future. But having strengthened the
Governor-General's position, he took away the right of appointing him
from the Company and transferred it to the Crown. Nor was that all. The
Company itself was placed under the effective control of the Crown by
the establishment in London of a Board of Control, of which the
President was ultimately to develop into the Secretary of State for
India, over the Courts of Directors and Proprietors. In substance, if
not in form, India was already becoming a Dependency of the British
Crown.

Nor was Pitt's Act concerned only with the relations of the Company to
the Crown. Its numerous and very drastic provisions for the prevention
and punishment of the corruption and oppression which had become rampant
amongst the Company's servants after the grant of the _Diwani_ testified
to the determination of Parliament, whilst acquiescing in the extension
of the British dominion, to uphold and enforce at the same time in the
governance of Indian peoples the principle of justice for all to which
the British people had gradually fought their way. A strong impetus was
thus given to the great reforms already initiated by Clive himself, and
still more drastically by Warren Hastings, which, within the framework
as far as possible of the old indigenous system of judicial and civil
administration, built up on solid foundations of integrity and
efficiency a capacious and elastic structure easily extended to the vast
territories that were still to pass under British rule. But then no
more than at any later period could the machinery of government have
worked smoothly, or even at all, without the co-operation of the Indians
themselves, who were recruited in large numbers into the Company's
service. Respect for their traditional customs and beliefs, and
encouragement, of which Warren Hastings was the first to recognise the
importance, to Indian education, though still only on the old lines with
which Indians were already familiar, secured the growing loyalty of
their co-operation. Then, as now, it was nowhere more effective than in
the judicial administration, and side by side with new tribunals, which
conformed with Western jurisprudence, the old ones, purified and
reorganised, continued to dispense justice in accordance mainly with
Hindu and Mahomedan and Indian customary law. With the consolidation of
the British Paramount Power Indians learnt to identify it with their
ancient conception of the State, and the Company's service came to enjoy
the popularity and prestige which had always attached to the service of
the State under their indigenous rulers and even under Mahomedan
domination.

The renewal of the Company's Charter, which took place at intervals of
twenty years, dating from Lord North's Act of 1773, afforded a
convenient opportunity for the revision, when required, both of its
relations to the Crown and of its methods of government in India. The
abrogation of its trading monopoly in 1813 was mainly a concession to
opposition at home, quickened by the loss of the European markets which
had been closed against Great Britain by Napoleon's continental system,
and for the renewal of its Charter the Company had to surrender its
trading monopoly. It was the first step towards the abrogation of all
its trading privileges twenty years later, when the Company, finally
delivered from the temptations which beset a commercial corporation,
became for the first time a purely governing body, free to devote its
entire energies to the discharge of the immense responsibilities that
had devolved upon it. This was, however, only one, though not the least
significant of the momentous changes that accompanied the renewal of the
Charter in 1833.

The trend of events in Europe after the peace in 1815 had tended to
accentuate the profound divergency of views between Great Britain and
the leading continental Powers in regard to fundamental principles of
government, which, dating back to the seventeenth century, had been
arrested at the close of the eighteenth by the exigencies of common
action against the excesses of the French Revolution and the inordinate
ambition of Napoleon. Under the auspices of the Holy Alliance, the
continent of Europe was drifting into blind reaction. The British
people, on the contrary, were entering upon a further stage of
democratic evolution at home, and, under the influence of new liberal
and humanitarian doctrines, their sympathies were going out abroad to
every down-trodden nationality that was struggling, whether in Greece or
in South America, to throw off the yoke of oppressive despotisms. Their
growing sense of responsibility towards alien races which they
themselves held in subjection was manifested most conspicuously in the
generous movement which resulted in the abolition of slavery in our West
Indian Colonies. It could not fail to be extended also to India. Under
Lord Hastings British dominion had again rapidly expanded between 1813
and 1823, when he left it firmly established from the extreme south to
the Sutlej in the north. Then ten years of internal and external peace
had followed in which the educational labours, chiefly in Bengal, of a
generation of great missionaries began not only to meet with unexpected
reward in India itself, but also to stir the public mind at home to new
aspects of a mission which came to be regarded as providential, and to
the moral duties which it imposed upon us in return for the material
advantages to be derived from political dominion. Some of our great
administrators in India were themselves beginning to look forward to a
time, however far distant, when we should have made the people of India
capable of self-government--not yet, of course, on the lines now
contemplated, since even in Great Britain self-government was not
established then on a broad popular basis. As early as 1824 Sir Thomas
Munro, then Governor of Madras, raised in an official minute the "one
great question to which we should look in all our arrangements: What is
to be their final result on the character of the people?" The following
passage in that remarkable document may be commended to our
faint-hearted doubters of to-day:

     Liberal treatment has always been found the most effectual way of
     elevating the character of any people, and we may be sure that it
     will produce a similar effect on that of the people of India. The
     change will no doubt be slow, but that is the very reason why no
     time should be lost in commencing the work. We should not be
     discouraged by difficulties, nor, because little progress may be
     made in our own time, abandon the enterprise as hopeless, and
     charge upon the obstinacy and bigotry of the nations the failure
     occasioned by our own fickleness in not pursuing steadily the only
     line of conduct on which any hope of success can be reasonably
     founded. We should make the same allowances for the Hindus as for
     other nations and consider how slow the progress of improvement has
     been among the nations of Europe and through what a long course of
     barbarous ages they had to pass before they attained their present
     state. When we compare other countries with England, we usually
     speak of England as she now is. We scarcely ever think of going
     back beyond the Reformation, and we are apt to regard every foreign
     nation as ignorant and uncivilised, whose state of government does
     not in some degree approximate to our own, even should it be higher
     than our own was at no distant date.

     We should look upon India not as a temporary possession but as one
     to be maintained permanently until the natives shall in some future
     age have abandoned most of their superstitions and prejudices and
     become sufficiently enlightened to frame a regular government for
     themselves and to conduct and preserve it. Whenever such a time
     shall arrive it will probably be best for both countries that the
     British control over India should be gradually withdrawn. That the
     desirable change contemplated may in some after age be effected in
     India there is no cause to despair. Such a change was at one time
     in Britain itself at least as hopeless as it is here. When we
     reflect how much the character of nations has always been
     influenced by that of governments, and that some, once the most
     cultivated, have sunk into barbarism, while others, formerly the
     rudest, have attained the highest point of civilisation, we shall
     see no reason to doubt that if we pursue steadily the proper
     measures, we shall in time so far improve the character of our
     Indian subjects as to enable them to govern and protect themselves.

It was a splendid vision for a great British administrator to have
entertained nearly one hundred years ago, though, with no self-governing
Dominions in those days to point a better way, the only possibility that
could occur to Munro's mind in the event of its fulfilment was an
amicable but complete severance of our connection with India; and it is
well to be reminded of the faith that was already in him and not a few
other experienced and broad-minded Englishmen in India as well as at
home, now that many of us are inclined to contemplate only with
scepticism and apprehension an approach to its fulfilment on the new
lines which the evolution of the British Empire and of democratic
government throughout all its component parts, neither of which could
then be foreseen, have in the meantime suggested.

Indians were at that time already employed in large numbers in the
Company's services, but only in subordinate posts, for which in most
cases their educational backwardness alone fitted them, and only as an
act of grace on the part of their British rulers. Parliament had
recognised the right of the Indian people to expect from us the benefits
of good and honest government--perhaps as a duty which we owed to
ourselves as much as to them--but it had not yet risen to a recognition
of their right to any active share in the government of their country.

One of the first questions to come before the new Parliament elected
after the great Reform Bill was that of the renewal of the Company's
charter in 1833. The Parliamentary Committee appointed to inquire and
report on the subject struck a new note when it laid distinct stress on
the Indian point of view. It admitted frankly that "Indians were alive
to the grievance of being excluded from a larger share in the executive
government," and proceeded to state that in its opinion ample evidence
had been given to show "that such exclusion is not warranted on the
score of their own incapacity for business or the want of application or
trustworthiness." Accordingly, when the Charter was renewed, Parliament
laid it down that "no native of the said Indian territories, nor any
natural British-born subject of His Majesty resident therein, shall by
reason only of his religion, place of birth, descent, colour, or any of
them be disabled from holding any place, office, or employment under the
Company." This was the first substantial promise given to India that
British rule was not to spell merely the unqualified dominion, however
beneficent, of alien rulers. It invited the co-operation of the subject
race, instead of merely postulating unconditional submission. It
heralded at the same time the introduction of Western education, without
which the promise would have been empty.

The problem of Indian education had occupied the minds of far-sighted
Englishmen from the days of Warren Hastings, who had been the first to
provide out of the Company's funds for the maintenance of indigenous
educational institutions, and it had been definitely provided in the
renewal of the Charter in 1813 that the Company should set aside a
certain portion of its revenues to be spent annually upon education. But
long delays had been caused by an interminable and fierce controversy
over the rival merits of the vernaculars and of English as the more
suitable vehicle for the diffusion of education. The champions of
English were much encouraged by the immediate success which attended the
opening of an English school in Calcutta in 1830 by Dr. Alexander Duff,
a great missionary who was convinced that English education could alone
win over India to Christianity, and Macaulay's famous Minute of March 7,
1835, disfigured as it is by the quite unmerited and ignorant scorn
which he poured out on Oriental learning with his customary
self-confidence, finally turned the scales in favour of the adoption of
English as essential to the spread of Western education. One of the
immediate objects in view--and incidentally as a measure of economy--was
undoubtedly the training of Indians, and in much larger numbers, for the
more efficient performance of the work allotted to them in the
administrative and judicial services of the Company. But if Macaulay was
quite wrong in imagining that Western education would assimilate Indians
to Englishmen in everything but their complexions, he was by no means
blind to the larger implications of the new departure he was advocating.
Like other great Englishmen of his day, he believed that good government
and, still less, mere dominion were not the only ends to which our
efforts should be directed. "It may be," he declared, "that the public
mind of India may expand under our system until it has outgrown that
system; that by good government we may educate our subjects into a
capacity for better government; that having become instructed in
European knowledge they may, in some future age, demand European
institutions. Whether such a day will ever come, I know not. But never
will I attempt to avert or retard it. Whenever it comes, it will be the
proudest day in English history."

Peace and law and order British rule had restored to India, and its
foremost purpose henceforth, as set forth by Lord William Bentinck, a
great Governor-General, imbued with the progressive spirit of the best
Englishmen in India, to which Parliament had given a fresh impetus, was
to be the diffusion of Western education. "The great object of the
British Government," he declared, "ought to be the promotion of English
literature and science, and all the funds appropriated for the purpose
of education would be best employed in English education alone."

India seemed for the next twenty years to respond enthusiastically to
the new call. Not only were the new Government schools as well as the
older missionary schools thronged with Indian students who displayed no
less intelligence than industry in the acquisition of Western learning,
but the rapid assimilation of Western ideas amongst the upper classes,
especially in Bengal, was reflected in the social and religious reform
movements initiated by Western-educated Indians touched with the spirit
of the West. Already in 1829 Lord William Bentinck had been supported by
a considerable body of Indian public opinion in prohibiting the
barbarous custom of _Sati_, _i.e._ the self-immolation of Hindu widows
on the funeral pyre of their husbands. Government, however, rightly felt
that, except in regard to practices of which it could not tolerate the
continuance without surrendering the principles of humanity for which it
stood, it was for the Indians themselves and not for their alien rulers
to take the lead in bringing their religious and social customs and
beliefs into harmony with Western standards. Nor was there any lack of
Indians to give their countrymen that lead--amongst them several
high-caste Brahmans, Ram Mohun Roy first and foremost. They were
resolved to cleanse Hinduism of the superstitious and idolatrous
impurities which, as they believed, were only morbid growths on the pure
kernel of Hindu philosophy. The Brahmo Somaj, the most vital of all
these reform movements, professed even to reconcile Hinduism with
theism, though without importing into the new creed the belief in any
personal God. British administrators watched and fostered the moral and
intellectual progress of India with increasing confidence in the results
of Western education, and none with more conviction than Lord Dalhousie,
a high-minded and dour Scotsman, who was the last Governor-General to
serve out his time under the East India Company. Other aspects of his
policy may have been less wise. The extension of British rule to the
Punjab became inevitable after a Sikh rising compelled him to complete
what his predecessor, Lord Hardinge, had begun, and break once and for
all the aggressive power of the Sikh Confederacy; but the rigorous
application to the native States of the doctrine of lapse or escheat
whenever the ruler died without a recognised heir, and the forcible
annexation of the kingdom of Oudh as a penalty incurred by the sins,
however gross, of the reigning dynasty have been often condemned as
grave errors of judgment. They were not, in any case, errors that can be
ascribed to the lust of mere dominion. Dalhousie was convinced that
Indian progress would always be hampered by the continuance of native
administration under such rulers as the kings of Oudh. If he was bent on
extending the area of British dominion, it was in order to extend the
area within which Britain was to be free to discharge her civilising
mission without let or hindrance, and not least by the furtherance of
education. If he took a legitimate pride in the introduction into India
under his auspices of the two great discoveries of applied science which
were just beginning to revolutionise the Western world, viz. railways
and telegraphs, together with unified postage, it was because he
regarded them as powerful instruments of education. The impulse given by
him to public instruction even in the new provinces recently brought
under British control prepared the way for the great educational
measures of 1854 which marked a tremendous stride forward on the road
upon which Macaulay's Minute had started India just two decades before.
It was to Dalhousie that Sir Charles Wood addressed his memorable
despatch which contained, as the Governor-General frankly acknowledged,
"a scheme of education for all India far wider and more comprehensive
than the local or Supreme Governments could have ventured to suggest."
Its main features were the establishment of a department of Public
Instruction in every province to emphasise the importance attached by
Government to the educational purpose of British rule; the creation of
Universities in each of the three Presidency cities, and of Government
colleges of a higher grade, and training colleges for teachers, and the
bestowal of grants-in-aid on private educational institutions. The
claims of vernacular education were not forgotten, nor the vital
importance of promoting female education, by which "a far greater
proportional impulse is imported to the educational and moral tone of
the people than by the education of men." The despatch mapped out a
really national system of education worthy of the faith which the
British generation of that day had in the establishment of an
intellectual and spiritual communion between India and the West. The
initial steps immediately taken by Dalhousie to carry the provisions of
that despatch into execution are enumerated in the masterly Report drawn
up by him on his way home in 1856, reviewing every aspect of his
administration during his eight years' tenure of office--an
administration which virtually closed, and not unworthily, perhaps the
noblest period of British rule in India, when men of the intellectual
and moral elevation of Bentinck and Munro and Metcalfe and Elphinstone
and Thomason, and Dalhousie himself, humbly but firmly believed that in
trying to found "British greatness on Indian happiness" they were
carrying out the mission which it had pleased Providence to entrust to
the British people. Dalhousie's parting hope and prayer, when he left
India, broken in health but not in spirit, after eight years of
intensely strenuous service, was that "in all time to come these reports
from the Presidencies and provinces under our rule may form in each
successive year a happy record of peace, prosperity, and progress." His
immediate successor, Lord Canning, was moved to utter some strangely
prophetic words before he left England: "I wish for a peaceful term of
office. But I cannot forget that in the sky of India, serene as it is, a
small cloud may arise, no larger than a man's hand, but which, growing
larger and larger, may at last threaten to burst and overwhelm us with
ruin." Within less than a year the cloud arose and burst, and he had to
face the outbreak of the Mutiny and see all the foundations of
co-operation between Indians and British rudely shaken, which a broad
and liberal policy of "peace, prosperity, and progress" seemed to have
so well and truly laid.



CHAPTER V

THE MUTINY AND FIFTY YEARS AFTER


Many different causes, much more clearly apprehended to-day than at the
time, contributed to provoke the great storm which burst over India in
1857. On the surface it was a military and mainly Mahomedan
insurrection, but it was far more than that. It was a violent upheaval
not so much against the political supremacy of Britain as against the
whole new order of things which she was importing into India. The
greased cartridges would not have sufficed to provoke such an explosion,
nor would even Mahomedans, let alone Hindus, have rallied round a
phantom King of Delhi in mere revenge for the annexation of Oudh or the
enforcement of the doctrine of lapse. The cry of "Islam in danger" was
quick to stir the Mahomedans, but the brains that engineered and
directed the Mutiny were Hindu, and the Mutiny itself was the
counter-revolution arraying in battle against the intellectual and moral
as well as against the material and military forces of Western
civilisation that was slowly but steadily revolutionising India, all the
grievances and all the fears, all the racial and religious antagonism
and bitterness aroused by the disintegration under its impact of ancient
social and religious systems. Western education was to yield other
fruits later on, but before the Mutiny it was rapidly familiarising the
mind of India with Western ideals which imperilled not only the worship
of the old gods but also the worship of the Brahman as their mouthpiece
and "the guardian of the treasury of civil and religious duties."
Modern schools and colleges threatened to undermine his ascendancy just
as Western competition had by more dubious methods undermined Indian
domestic industries. No man's caste was said to be safe against the
hidden defilement of all the strange inventions imported from beyond the
seas. Prophecy, vague but persuasive, hinted that British rule, which
dated in the Indian mind from the battle of Plassey in 1757, was doomed
not to outlive its centenary. All the vested interests connected with
the old order of things in the religious as well as in the political
domain felt the ground swaying under their feet, and the peril with
which they were confronted came not only from their alien rulers but
from their own countrymen, often of their own caste and race, who had
fallen into the snares and pitfalls of an alien civilisation. The spirit
of fierce reaction that lay behind the Mutiny stands nowhere more
frankly revealed than in the _History of the War of Independence of
1857_, written by Vinayak Savarkar, one of the most brilliant apostles
of a later school of revolt, who, as a pious Hindu, concludes his
version of the Cawnpore massacre with the prayer that "Mother Ganges,
who drank that day of the blood of Europeans, may drink her fill of it
again."

The revolt failed except in one respect. It failed as a military
movement. It had appealed to the sword and it perished by the sword. But
it is well to remember that the struggle, which was severe, would have
been, to say the least, far more severe and protracted had not a large
part of the Indian army remained staunch to the _Raj_, and had not
Indian troops stood, as they had stood throughout all our previous
fighting in India, shoulder to shoulder with British troops on the ridge
at Delhi and in the relief of Lucknow. It failed equally as a political
movement, for it never spread beyond a relatively narrow area in Upper
and Central India. The vast majority of the Indian people and princes
never even wavered. British rule passed through a trial by fire and it
emerged from the ordeal unscathed and fortified. For it was purged of
all the ambiguities of a dual position and of divided responsibilities.
The last of the Moghuls forfeited the shadowy remnants of an obsolete
sovereignty. Just a hundred years earlier Clive had advised after
Plassey that the Crown should assume direct sovereignty over the whole
of the British possessions in India, as the responsibility was growing
too heavy for the mere trading corporation that the East India Company
then still was. The Company had long ceased to be a mere trading
corporation. Transformed into a great agency of government and
administration, it had risen not unworthily to its immense
responsibilities. But the time had come for the final step. The Company
disappeared and the Crown assumed full and sole responsibility for the
government and administration of India. The change was in effect more
formal than real. The Governor-General came to be known as the Viceroy,
and the Secretary of State in Council took the place of the old
President of the Board of Control. But the system remained as before one
of paternal despotism in India, to be tempered still by the control of
Parliament at home.

Only in one respect had the reactionary forces at the back of the Mutiny
scored some success. The Proclamation issued by Queen Victoria on her
assumption of "the government of the territories in India heretofore
administered in trust for us by the Honourable East India Company," was
a solemn and earnest renewal of all the pledges already given to the
princes and people of India. It emphasised the determination of the
Crown to abstain from all interference with their religious belief or
worship. It reiterated the assurance that "as far as may be," her
subjects "of whatever race or creed" would be freely and impartially
admitted to offices in the service of the Crown, "the duties of which
they may be qualified by their education, ability, and integrity duly to
discharge," and that, "generally in framing and administering the law,
due regard be paid to the ancient rights, usages, and customs of India."
It promised the wide exercise of her royal clemency to all offenders
save those actually guilty of murder during the recent outbreak. It
closed with a fine expression of her confidence and affection towards
her Indian subjects. "In their prosperity will be our strength, in their
contentment our security, and in their gratitude our best reward." But
no Proclamation, however generous and sincere, could undo the moral harm
done by the Mutiny. The horrors which accompanied the rising and the
sternness of the repression left terrible memories behind them on both
sides, and this legacy of racial hatred acted as a blight on the growth
of the spirit of mutual understanding and co-operation between Indians
and Englishmen in India which two generations of broad-minded Englishmen
and progressive Indians had sedulously and successfully cultivated.

If we look back upon the half-century after the Mutiny and before the
Partition of Bengal, which may be regarded as closing that long period
of paternal but autocratic government, it was one of internal peace and
of material progress which the large annual output of eloquent
statistics may be left to demonstrate. In 1857 there were not 200 miles
of railways in India, in 1905 there was a network of railways amounting
to over 28,000 miles, and the telegraph system expanded during the same
period from 4500 to 60,000 miles. The development of a great system of
irrigation canals added large new tracts of hitherto barren wastes to
the cultivable area of the country, and an elaborate machinery of
precautionary measures and relief works was created to mitigate the
hardships of periodical famines unavoidable in regions where a
predominantly agricultural population is largely dependent for existence
on the varying abundance or shortage of the seasonal rainfalls. The
incidence and methods of collection of the land-tax, the backbone of
Indian revenue, were carefully corrected and perfected, and the burden
of taxation readjusted and on the whole lightened. Those were the days
of _laisser-faire_, _laisser-aller_ at home, and it was not deemed to
be part of the duties of government to give any special protection to
Indian commerce, whilst the operation of free trade principles in India
checked the industrial development of the country. Nevertheless the
internal and external trade of India expanded continually, and the
cotton mills in Western India, and the jute mills in Calcutta, as well
as the opening up of coal mines in Bengal and of gold mines in Southern
India showed how great were the natural resources of the peninsula still
awaiting development; and under Lord Curzon's administration, which
reached during the first years of the present century the high-water
mark of efficiency, a department was created to deal specially with
commerce and industry. In spite of several famines of unusual intensity
and of the appearance in India in 1896 of a new scourge in the shape of
the bubonic plague, which has carried off since then over eight million
people, the population increased by leaps and bounds, and the census of
1901 showed it to have reached in our Indian Empire the huge figure of
nearly 300,000,000--which it has since then exceeded by another
20,000,000--or about a fifth of the estimated population of the whole
globe. It had risen since the first census officially recorded in 1871
by nearly 30 per cent--no mean evidence that fifty years of peaceful and
efficient administration had produced an increased sense of welfare and
confidence.

The great bulk of the population, mostly a simple and ignorant peasantry
whose horizon does not extend beyond their own village and the fields
that surround it, accepted with more or less conscious gratitude the
material benefits conferred upon them by alien rulers with whom they
were seldom brought into actual contact save through the occasional
presence of a District officer on tour, almost invariably humane and
kindly and anxious to do even-handed justice to all. Another class of
Indians, chiefly dwellers in large cities, infinitesimally small
numerically but constantly increasing in numbers and still more rapidly
in activity and influence, saw, however, in an autocratic form of
government, of which it even questioned the efficiency, an
insurmountable barrier to the aspirations which Western education had
taught it to entertain. The list of graduates from Indian Universities
lengthened every year, the number of schools and colleges in which young
Indians acquired at least the rudiments of Western knowledge grew and
multiplied in every province. Western-educated Indians flocked to the
bar; they showed themselves qualified for most of the liberal
professions; they filled every post that was open to them in the public
services. But where, they asked with growing impatience, was the
fulfilment of the hopes which they had founded on the Queen's
Proclamation of 1858? There had been perhaps no departure from the
letter of the Proclamation, but had its spirit been translated into
effective practice? Was it never to be interpreted in the same generous
sense in which a still earlier generation of British administrators had
interpreted their mission as a means to train the Indians to protect and
govern themselves?

The Indian army, reorganised after the Mutiny, displayed all its old
qualities of loyalty and gallantry in the course of the numerous foreign
expeditions in which it was employed in co-operation with the British
army, in Egypt and the Sudan, in Afghanistan, China, and Tibet, in
addition to the chronic frontier fighting on the turbulent North-West
border. The menace of Russia's persistent expansion towards India
through Central Asia and the ascendancy for which she was at the same
time striving in the Near East and the Far East, and later on the far
more real menace of German aspirations to world-dominion, lent added
importance to the maintenance of an efficient Indian army as an
essential factor in the defensive forces of the Empire. But there was no
departure from the old system under which not only were army
administration and all the higher commands reserved for British
officers, but the whole army was kept as a fighting machine entirely
dependent upon British leadership. The native officers of an Indian
regiment, mostly promoted from the ranks, could in no circumstances rise
to a position in which they might give orders to a British officer,
whilst, however senior in years and service, they were under the orders
of the youngest British subaltern gazetted to the regiment. No other
system was indeed possible so long as no attempt was made to give to
Indians any higher military training, or to hold out to them any
prospects of promotion beyond those within their reach by enlistment in
the ranks. These Indian officers, drawn from races that had acquired a
martial reputation and often from families with whom military service
was an hereditary tradition, were as a rule not only very fine fighters
but gallant native gentlemen, between whom and their British officers
there existed very cordial relations, human and professional, based upon
an instinctive recognition of differences of education and similarities
of tastes on both sides. But such a system, however well it worked in
practice for the production of a reliable fighting machine, was not
calculated to train the Indians to protect themselves.

That nothing was done to open up a military career to the
Western-educated classes was not at first more than a sentimental
grievance. But when the years passed and they still waited for that
larger share in the government and even in the administration of their
country to which the British Parliament had recognised their claim as
far back as the Act of 1833, their faith even in the professed purpose
of British rule began to waver. At first the leaders of the Indian
_intelligentsia_, some of whom had learned the value of British
institutions and of the freedom of British public life, not merely
through English literature but through years of actual residence in
England, preferred to hold the Anglo-Indian bureaucracy alone or chiefly
responsible for the long delay in the fulfilment of hopes which they in
fact regarded as rights. Their confidence in British statesmanship and
in the British Parliament remained unshaken for nearly thirty years
after the Mutiny, though they were perhaps not unnaturally inclined to
put their trust chiefly in the Liberal party which had been most closely
associated with the promotion of a progressive policy towards India in
the past. Lord Lytton's Viceroyalty confirmed them in the belief that
from the Conservative party they had little to hope for, and his drastic
Press Act of 1879, though not unprovoked by the virulent abuse of
Government in some of the vernacular papers and the reckless
dissemination of alarmist rumours during the worst period of the Afghan
troubles, was held to foreshadow a return all along the line to purely
despotic methods of government. But his departure from India after Lord
Beaconsfield's defeat at the general election of 1880 and the return of
the Liberal party to power quickened new hopes which Lord Ripon, when he
became Viceroy in succession to Lord Lytton, showed every disposition to
justify.

All the greater was the disillusionment when a measure, introduced for
the purpose of abolishing "judicial disqualifications based on race
distinctions," not only provoked fierce opposition amongst the whole
European community and even amongst the rank and file of the civil
service, but was ultimately whittled down in deference to that
opposition until the very principle at issue was virtually surrendered.
Indians resented this fresh assertion of racial superiority, and saw in
the violence of the agitation, sometimes not far removed from threats of
actual lawlessness, and in the personal abuse poured out by his own
countrymen on the Queen's representative, the survival amongst a large
section of Europeans of the same hatred that had invented for a Viceroy
who was determined to temper justice with mercy after the Mutiny the
scornful nickname of "Clemency Canning."

The fate of the Ilbert Bill taught the Indians above all one practical
lesson--the potency of agitation. If by agitation a Viceroy enjoying the
full confidence of the British Government, with a powerful
Parliamentary majority behind it, could be compelled by the British
community in India, largely consisting of public servants, to surrender
a great principle of policy, then the only hope for Indians was to learn
to agitate in their own interests, and to create a political
organisation of their own in order both to educate public opinion in
India and influence public opinion in England. The men who started the
Indian National Congress were inspired by no revolutionary ambitions.
Though they did not talk, as Mr. Gandhi does to-day, about producing a
"change of hearts" in their British rulers, that was their purpose and
unlike Mr. Gandhi, they were firm believers not in any racial
superiority, but in the superiority of Western civilisation and of
British political institutions which they deemed not incapable of
transplantation on to Indian soil. So on December 28, 1885, a small band
of Indian gentlemen, who represented the _élite_ of the Western-educated
classes, met in Bombay to hold the first session of the Indian National
Congress which, with all its many shortcomings, even in its earlier and
better days, was destined to play a far more important part than was for
a long time realised by Englishmen in India or at home. Many of
them--such as Mr. Bonnerji, a distinguished Bengalee, Pherozeshah Mehta,
a rising member of the great Parsee community in Bombay, Dadabhai
Naoroji, who was later on to be the first Indian to put forward plainly
India's claim to self-government within the British Empire--had spent
several years in England. Others, like Ranadé and Telang, had been for a
long time past vigorous advocates of Indian social reforms. With them
were a few Englishmen--chief among them a retired civilian Mr. Hume--who
were in complete sympathy with their aspirations. Only the Mahomedans
were unrepresented, though not uninvited, partly because few of them had
been caught up in the current of Western thought and education, and
partly because the community as a whole, reflecting the ancient and
deep-seated antagonism between Islam and Hinduism, distrusted
profoundly every movement in which Hindus were the leading spirits. Lord
Reay, who was then Governor of Bombay, was invited to preside and
declined only after asking for instructions from the Viceroy, Lord
Dufferin, who, though not unfriendly, held that it was undesirable for
the head of a Provincial Government to associate himself with what
should essentially be a popular movement. Mr. Bonnerji, who was selected
to take the chair, emphatically proclaimed the loyalty of the Congress
to the British Crown. Amongst the most characteristic resolutions moved
and carried was one demanding the appointment of a Royal Commission, on
which the people of India should be represented, to inquire into the
working of the Indian administration, and another pleading for a large
expansion of the Indian Legislative Councils and the creation of a
Standing Committee of the House of Commons to which the majority in
those Councils should have the right to appeal if overruled by the
Executive.

The Congress claimed to represent the educated opinion of India, and,
though Government withheld from it all official recognition, it
flattered itself not without reason that its preaching had not fallen on
to altogether barren soil when, still under Lord Dufferin's Viceroyalty,
the Indian Local Government Act of 1888 marked a large advance upon the
reforms in local and municipal institutions which, with the repeal of
the Lytton Press Act, had been amongst the few tangible results of Lord
Ripon's "Pro-Indian" Viceroyalty; for it fulfilled many of the demands
which Indian Liberals, and notably Pherozeshah Mehta, had urged for
years past for a more effective share in municipal administration. Still
greater was the satisfaction when, under Lord Lansdowne's Viceroyalty,
the British Parliament passed in 1892 an Indian Councils Act, for which
Lord Dufferin himself had paved the way by admitting that Government
could and should rely more largely upon the experience and advice of
responsible Indians. The functions and the constitution of both the
Viceroy's and the Provincial Legislative Councils, though their powers
remained purely consultative, were substantially enlarged by the
addition of a considerable number of unofficial members representing, at
least in theory, all classes and interests, who were given the right to
put questions to the Executive on matters of administration and, in the
case of the Viceroy's Council, to discuss the financial policy of
Government if and when the budget to be laid before it involved fresh
taxation. The Act of 1892 did not, however, admit "the living forces of
the elective principle" on which the Congress leaders had laid their
chief stress, and they went on pressing "not for Consultative Councils,
but for representative institutions." Their hopes never perhaps rose so
high as when one of their own veterans, Dadabhai Naoroji--though Lord
Salisbury could not resist a jibe at the expense of the "black
man"--entered the House of Commons as Liberal member for Central
Finsbury. It must be conceded that, had Government at that time taken
the Congress by the hand instead of treating it with disdain and
suspicion, it might have played loyally and usefully a part analogous to
that of "Her Majesty's Opposition" at home--a part which Lord Dufferin
had been shrewd enough in the beginning not to dismiss as altogether
impossible or undesirable. Its claim to represent Indian opinion, as,
within certain limits, it unquestionably did, was ignored, and it was
left to drift without any attempt at official guidance into waters none
the less dangerous because they seemed shallow. It quickly attracted a
large following among the urban middle classes all over India. But as
the number of those who attended its annual sessions, held in turn in
every province, grew larger, it became less amenable to the guiding and
restraining influence of those who had created it, and especially of
those who had hoped to lead it in the path of social and religious
reform as well as of political advancement.

The social and religious reform movement which had been of great promise
before the Mutiny and for some years afterwards, when Keshab Chundra Sen
gave the Brahmo Somaj a fine uplift, slackened. Like the Brahmo Somaj in
Bengal, the Prirthana Somaj in Bombay no longer made so many or such
fervent recruits. New societies sprang up in defence of the old faiths,
some even glorifying all their primitive customs and superstitions, and
most of them, whilst professing to recognise the need for cleansing them
of their grosser accretions, displaying a marked reaction against the
West in their avowed determination to seek reform only in a return to
the purer doctrines of early Hinduism. The most important of all these
movements was the Arya Somaj in the Punjab, whose watchwords were "Back
to the Vedas" and "Arya for the Aryans." The latter has sometimes barely
disguised a more than merely platonic desire to see the British
disappear out of the Aryan land of India. But the Vedas at any rate
yielded to the searchers sufficient fruitful authority for promoting
female education on sound moral lines and for discouraging idolatry and
relaxing the cruel bondage of caste. That it has been and still is in
many respects a powerful influence for good is now generally admitted by
those even whom its political tendencies have alarmed. New sects arose
within Hinduism.[1] An ardent apostle of the Hindu revival in Bengal,
Swami Vivekananda, was the most impressive and picturesque figure at the
Chicago Parliament of Religions in 1893 and made converts in America and
in Europe, amongst them in England the gifted poetess best known under
her Hindu name as Sister Nivedita. How strong was the hold regained by
the purely reactionary forces in Hinduism was suddenly shown in the
furious campaign against Lord Lansdowne's Age of Consent Bill in 1891
which brought Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a Chitawan Brahman of Poona, for
the first time into public life as the champion of extreme Hindu
orthodoxy. That measure was intended to mitigate the evils of infant
marriage by raising the age for the woman's consent to its consummation
from ten to twelve, and the death quite recently of a young Hindu girl
of eleven in Calcutta due to the violence inflicted upon her by a
husband nearly twenty years older than she was, had enlisted very
widespread support for Government amongst enlightened Hindus and
especially amongst the Western-educated. Tilak did not defeat the Bill,
but his unscrupulous attacks, not only upon the British rulers of India
but upon his own more liberal co-religionists, including men of such
ability and character as Telang and Ranadé, dealt a sinister blow at the
social reform movement, which practically died out of the Congress when
he and his friends began to establish their ascendancy over it.

It was so much easier for Indians to unite on a common political
platform against British methods of government than on a platform of
social and religious reforms which offended many different prejudices
and threatened many vested interests. The Congress developed into a
purely political body, and like all self-constituted bodies with no
definite responsibilities it showed greater capacity for acrid
criticism, often quite uninformed, than for any constructive policy. As
the years passed on without any tangible results from its expanding flow
of oratory and long "omnibus" resolutions, proposed and carried more or
less automatically at every annual session, it turned away from the old
exponents of constitutional agitation to the fiery champions of very
different methods, and almost insensibly favoured the dangerous growth
both inside it and outside it of the new forces, and of the old forces
in new shapes, which were to explode into the open with such unforeseen
violence after the Partition of Bengal in 1905.

If, however, when that explosion came the Western-educated classes were
against us rather than with us, the explanation cannot be sought only in
their continued exclusion from all real participation in the counsels
of Government, or in the refusal of the political rights for which they
had vainly agitated, or even in a general reaction against the earlier
acceptance of the essential superiority of the West. A much more acute
and substantial grievance, which affected also their material interests,
was the badge of inferiority imposed upon them in the public services.
Not till 1886 had Government appointed a Commission to report upon a
reorganisation of the public services, and its recommendations
profoundly disappointed Indian expectations. For only a narrow door was
opened for the admission of Indians into the higher Civil Service, and
all public services were divided into two nearly water-tight
compartments, the one labelled Imperial, recruited in England and
reserved in practice, as to most of the superior posts, for Englishmen,
and the other recruited in India mainly from Indians, but labelled
Provincial and clearly intended to be inferior. Such a system bore the
stamp, barely disguised, of racial discrimination, at variance with the
spirit, if not the letter, of the Queen's Proclamation--and this at a
time when Indian universities and colleges were bearing abundant fruit,
and some of it at least of a good quality.

The diffusion of Western education had, it is true, produced other and
less healthy results, but the inquiry into Indian education instituted
by Government in 1882 had been unfortunately blind to them. Diffusion
had been attained largely by a dangerous process of dilution, as side by
side with the European schools and colleges, either under Government
control or State-aided, which had grown and multiplied, many had been
also started and supported by Indian private enterprise, often
ill-equipped for their task. The training of Indian teachers could
hardly keep pace with the demand, either as to quantity or quality, and
with overcrowded classes even the best institutions suffered from the
loss of individual contact between the European teacher and the Indian
scholar. Western education had been started in India at the top, whence
it was expected to filter down by some strange and unexplained process
of gravitation. Attention was concentrated on higher and secondary
education, to which primary education was at first entirely sacrificed.
Whereas Lord William Bentinck had declared the great object of
Government to be the promotion of both Western science and literature,
scarcely any effort was made--perhaps because most Anglo-Indians had a
leaning towards the humanities--to correct by the encouragement of
scientific studies the natural bent of the Indian mind towards a purely
literary education. Yet the Indian mind being specially endowed with the
gift of imagination and prone to speculative thought stands in
particular need of the corrective discipline afforded by the study of
exact science. Again, the reluctance of Government to appear even to
interfere with Indian moral and religious conceptions, towards which it
was pledged to observe absolute neutrality, tended to restrict the
domain of education to the purely intellectual side. Yet, religion
having always been in India the basic element of life, and morality
apart from religion an almost impossible conception, that very aspect of
education to which Englishmen profess to attach the highest value, and
of which Mr. Gokhale in a memorable speech admitted Indians to stand in
special need, viz. the training of character, was gravely neglected.

Whilst from lack of any settled policy Indian education was drifting on
to rocks and quicksands, and the personal influence of Englishmen on the
younger generation diminished in an officialised educational service,
gradual changes in the material conditions of European life in India
tended to keep British and Indians more rather than less apart. Greater
facilities of travel between England and India, and the growth of "hill
stations" in which Europeans congregated during the hot season, made it
easier for Englishwomen to live in India, though, when the time came for
children to be sent home for their education, the choice continued to
lie between separation of husband and wife, or of mother and children.
But if the presence of a larger feminine element was calculated to
exercise a refining and restraining influence on Anglo-Indian society,
it did not promote the growth of intimate social relations between
Europeans and Indians, as Indian habits and domestic institutions, and
especially the seclusion of women, created an even greater barrier,
which only slowly and rarely yielded to the influences of Western
education, between European and Indian ladies than between the men of
the two races. Englishwomen even more than Englishmen continued to be
haunted by the memories of the Mutiny, which remained painfully present
to a generation who, whether Indians or British, had lived through that
tempest, and if to Indians the Mutiny recalled such scenes as "The
Blowing of Indians from British Guns" which the great Russian painter
Verestchagin depicted with the same realism as the splendid pageant of
the entry of the Prince of Wales into Delhi in 1876, it was the horrors
of Cawnpore that chiefly dwelt in the minds of Europeans. Many
Englishmen and Englishwomen owed their lives during the Mutiny to the
devotion and courage of Indians who helped them to escape, and sheltered
them sometimes for months at no slight risk to themselves. But the
spirit of treachery and cruelty revealed in the Mutiny and personified
in a Nana Sahib, who had disappeared into space but, according to
frequently recurrent rumour, was still alive somewhere, chilled the
feelings of trustfulness and goodwill of an earlier generation. Again,
whilst there was a large increase in the number of young Indians who
went to England to complete their studies--especially technical studies
for which only tardy and inadequate facilities were provided in their
own country--and many of them, left to their own devices in our large
cities, brought back to India a closer familiarity with the unedifying
rather than the edifying aspects of Western civilisation, the
development of European industries and the railway and telegraph
services, which at first at least required the employment of Europeans
in subordinate capacities, imported into India a new type of European,
with many good qualities, but rather more prone than those of better
breeding and education to glory in his racial superiority and to bring
it home somewhat roughly to the Indians with whom he associated. The
ignorance of European and American globe-trotters who were finding their
way to India also often offended Indian susceptibilities. Add to many
causes of friction, almost inevitable sometimes between people whose
habits and ideas are widely different, the effect of a trying climate
upon the European temper--never, for instance, even at home at its best
when travelling--and one need hardly be surprised that unpleasant
incidents occurred in which, sometimes under provocation and sometimes
under none, Englishmen who ought to have known better were guilty of
gross affronts upon Indians. Such incidents were never frequent, but,
even if there had been no tendency on the part of Indians to magnify and
on the part of Englishmen to minimise their gravity, they were frequent
enough to cause widespread heartburning, and in not a few cases
political hatred has had its origin in the rancour created by personal
insults to which even educated Indians of good position have
occasionally been subjected by Englishmen who fancied themselves, but
were not, their betters. That Indians also could be, and were sometimes,
offensive they were generally apt to forget, as they forgot in their
denunciations of Lord Curzon at the time of the Partition of Bengal that
he had not shrunk from incurring great unpopularity in some Anglo-Indian
circles by insisting upon adequate punishment of all Europeans guilty of
violence towards Indians. Apart from such collisions nothing rankled
more with Indians of the better classes than their rigid exclusion from
the European clubs in India. Even the few who were members of, or had
been admitted at home as visitors to, the best London clubs were
debarred, when they landed in Bombay, even from calling on their English
friends at the Yacht Club. Europeans could see nothing in this but the
right of every club to restrict its membership and frame its regulations
as it chooses. Indians could see nothing in it but humiliating racial
discrimination. The question has now been more or less solved by the
creation in most of the large cities in India of new clubs to which
Indians and Europeans are equally eligible, and in which those who
choose can meet on terms of complete equality and good fellowship. But
it constituted one of the grievances which contributed to the
estrangement of the Western educated classes during the latter part of
the last century.

Though social friction assisted that estrangement its chief cause lay
much deeper. After the Mutiny government under the direct authority of
the Crown lost the flexibility which the vigilant control of the British
Parliament had imparted to the old system of government under the East
India Company with every periodical renewal of its charter. The system
remained what it had inevitably been from the beginning of British rule,
a system devised by foreigners and worked by foreigners--at its best a
trusteeship committed to them for the benefit of the people of India,
but to be discharged on the sole judgment and discretion of the British
trustees. The Mutiny shook the finer faith which had contemplated the
finality some day or other of the trusteeship and introduced Western
education into India as the agency by which Indians were to be prepared
to resume when that day came the task of governing and protecting
themselves. There was a tacit assumption now, if never officially
formulated, that the trusteeship was to last for ever, and with that
assumption grew the belief that those who were actually employed in
discharging it were alone competent to judge the methods by which it was
discharged, whilst the increasing complexity of their task made it more
and more difficult for them to form a right judgment on the larger
issues, or to watch or appraise the results of the great educational
experiment which was raising up a steadily increasing proportion of
Indians who claimed both a share in the administration and a voice in
the framing of policy. Executive and administrative functions were
vested practically in the same hands, _i.e._ in the hands of a great and
ubiquitous bureaucracy more and more jealous of its power and of its
infallibility in proportion as the latter began to be questioned and the
former to be attacked by the class of Indians who had learned to speak
the same language and to profess the same ideals.

The constant additions made to the huge machinery of administration in
order to meet the growing needs of the country on the approved lines of
a modern state resulted in increased centralisation. New departments
were created and old ones expanded, but even when the highest posts in
them were not specifically or in practice reserved for the Indian Civil
Service, it retained the supreme control over them as the _corps
d'élite_ from which most of the members of the Viceroy's Executive
Council, _i.e._ the Government of India, were recruited. The District
Officer remained the pivot and pillar of British administration
throughout rural India, and he kept as closely as he could in touch with
the millions of humble folk committed to his care, though the
multiplication of codes and regulations and official reports and
statistics involving heavy desk work kept him increasingly tied to his
office. But the secretariats, which from the headquarters of provincial
governments as well as from the seat of supreme government directed and
controlled the whole machine, became more and more self-centred, more
and more imbued with a sense of their own omniscience. Even the men with
district experience, and those who had groaned in provincial
secretariats under the heavy hand of the Government of India, were quick
to adopt more orthodox views as soon as they were privileged to breathe
the more rarefied atmosphere of the Olympian secretariats, that prided
themselves on being the repositories of all the _arcana_ of "good
government." Of what constituted good government efficiency came to be
regarded as the one test that mattered, and it was a test which only
Englishmen were competent to apply and which Indians were required to
accept as final whatever their wishes or their experience might be.

Herein perhaps more than anywhere else lay the secret of the antagonism
between the British bureaucracy and the Western-educated Indians which
gradually grew up between the repression of the Mutiny and the Partition
of Bengal, a measure enforced on the sole plea of greater administrative
efficiency by a Viceroy under whom a system of government by efficiency
reached its apogee--himself the incarnation of efficiency and
unquestionably the greatest and most indefatigable administrator that
Britain sent out to India during that period. It would be unfair to
suppose that that antagonism was due on either side to mere narrow
prejudice or sordid jealousy. Indians who resented their exclusion from
the share in the administration of their country for which they believed
their education to have qualified them, and which they claimed as the
fulfilment of repeated promises and of the declared purpose of British
rule, may not have been free from a human appetite for loaves and
fishes. British officials who were loath to recognise those claims, or
to concede to Indians any substantial proportion of their privileged
posts and emoluments, may have been not always unselfishly indifferent
to the material interests and prospects of the services to which they
belonged, if not to their own personal interests and prospects. But
apart from any such considerations, the attitude of both parties was
governed by the firm belief, not in itself discreditable to either, that
it possessed the better knowledge of the needs and interests and wishes
of the vast populations of India, still too ignorant and inarticulate to
give expression of their own to them. The lamentable effects of the
estrangement between British administrators and the very class of
Indians whose co-operation it had been one of the main objects of
British policy ever since the Act of 1833 to promote, never stood
clearly revealed till the sudden wave of unrest that followed the
Partition of Bengal, and it is upon future co-operation between them
that the success of the great constitutional experiment now being made
must ultimately depend. It is therefore well to try to understand the
conflicting sentiments and opinions which drove asunder the moderate but
progressive Western-educated Indian and the earnest but conservative
British administrator, and ended by bringing them almost into open
conflict. The Western-educated Indian claimed recognition at our hands
first and foremost because he was the product of the educational system
we ourselves imposed upon India. His limitations, intellectual and
moral, were largely due to the defects of that system, just as his
political immaturity was largely due to our failure to provide him with
opportunities of acquiring experience in administrative work and public
life. Where careers had been opened up to him in the liberal professions
he had often achieved great distinction--at the Bar, on the Bench, in
literature--and he had proved himself quite competent to fill all the
posts accessible to him in the public services. Without his assistance
in the many subordinate branches the everyday work of administration
could not have been carried on for a day. He contended that he must
intuitively be a better judge than aliens, who were, after all, birds of
passage, of the needs and interests and wishes of his own
fellow-countrymen, and a better interpreter to them of so much of
Western thought and Western civilisation as they could safely absorb
without becoming denationalised. His complaint was that his own best
efforts and best intentions were constantly thwarted by the rigid
conservatism and aloofness of the European, official and unofficial,
wrapped up in his racial and bureaucratic superiority. He admitted that
he might not yet be able to discharge with the European's efficiency the
legislative or administrative responsibilities for which he had hitherto
been denied the necessary training, but he protested against being kept
altogether out of the water until he had learnt to swim, especially
when there was so little disposition ever to teach him to swim. What he
lacked in the way of efficiency he alone, he argued, could supply in the
way of sympathy with and understanding of his own people. When it was
objected that he represented only a very small minority of Indians, and
formed, indeed, a class widely divided from the vast majority of his
fellow-countrymen, and that the democratic institutions for which he
clamoured were unsuited to the traditions and customs of his country, he
replied that in every country the impulse towards democratic
institutions had come in the first instance from small minorities and
had always been regarded at first as subversive and revolutionary. If,
again, it was objected that the moderate and reasonable views he
expressed were not the views of the more ambitious politicians who
professed to be the accredited interpreters of Western-educated India,
that there were many amongst them whose aims were more or less openly
antagonistic to all the ideals for which British rule stands, and were
directed in reality not to the establishment of democratic institutions
but to the maintenance of caste monopoly and other evils inherent to the
Hindu social system, and that in the political arena he seemed incapable
of asserting himself against these dangerous and reactionary elements,
his reply was once more that he had never received the support and
encouragement which he had a right to expect from his European mentors,
and that it was often their indifference or worse that had chiefly
helped to raise a spirit of revolt against every form of Western
influence.

The case for the British administrator can be still more easily stated.
Britain has never sent out a finer body of public servants, take them
all in all, than those who have in the course of a few generations
rescued India from anarchy, secured peace for her at home and abroad,
maintained equal justice amidst jealous and often warring communities
and creeds, established new standards of tolerance and integrity, and
raised the whole of India to a higher plane of material prosperity and
of moral and intellectual development. They spend the best part of their
lives in an exile which cuts them off from most of the amenities of
social existence at home, and often involves the more or less prolonged
sacrifice of the happiest family ties. Those especially whose work lies
chiefly in the remote rural districts, far away from the few cities in
which European conditions of life to some extent prevail, are brought
daily into the very closest contact with the people, and because of
their absolute detachment from the prejudices and passions and material
interests by which Indian society, like all other societies, is largely
swayed, they enjoy the confidence of the people often in a higher degree
than Indian officials whose detachment can never be so complete. Their
task has been to administer well and to do the best in their power for
the welfare of the population committed to their charge. The Englishman,
as a rule, sticks to his own job. The British administrator's job had
been to administer, and he had not yet been told that it was also his
job to train up a nation on democratic lines and to instil into them the
principles of civic duty as such duty is understood in Western
countries. No doubt there were British administrators in India whose
innate conservatism, coupled with the narrowness which years of routine
work and official self-confidence are apt to breed, revolted against any
transfer of power to, or any recognition of equality with, the people of
the country they had spent their lives in ruling with unquestioned but,
as they at least conceived it, paternal authority. The conditions of
bureaucratic rule inevitably tended to produce an autocratic temper. But
it was not merely in obedience to that temper that they shrank from any
changes that would weaken the administration; the best of them at least
had a strong sense of their responsibilities as guardians and protectors
of the simple and ignorant masses committed to their care. They might be
inclined to judge the Western-educated class of Indians too harshly, and
to identify them too closely with the type that was beginning to
dominate the Indian National Congress, but the form in which the
question of yielding to Indians any substantial part of their authority
presented itself to their minds was by no means an entirely selfish one.
"Are we justified," they asked, "in transferring our responsibilities
for the welfare and good government of such a large section of the human
race to a small minority which has hitherto shown so little disposition
to approach any of the difficult problems with the solution of which the
happiness and progress of the overwhelming majority of their own race
are bound up, though, because themselves belonging to the same stock and
the same social system, it would have been much easier for them to deal
with those problems than it is for alien rulers like ourselves? Those
problems arise out of the social system which is known as Hinduism--for
Hinduism is much more a social than a religious system. Western-educated
Indians will not openly deny its evils--the iron-bound principle of
caste, which, in spite of many concessions in non-essentials to modern
exigencies of convenience, remains almost untouched in all essentials
and, above all, in the fundamental laws of inter-marriage, the social
outlawry of scores of millions of the lower castes, labelled and treated
as 'untouchable,' infant-marriage, the prohibition of the re-marriage of
widows, which, especially in the case of child-widows, condemns them to
a lifetime of misery and semi-servitude, the appalling infantile
mortality, largely due to the prevalence of barbarous superstitions, the
economic waste resulting from lavish expenditure, often at the cost of
lifelong indebtedness, upon marriages and funerals, and so forth and so
forth. How many of the Western-educated Indians who have thrown
themselves into political agitation against the tyranny of the British
bureaucracy have ever raised a finger to free their own
fellow-countrymen from the tyranny of those social evils? How many of
them are entirely free from it themselves, or, if free, have the courage
to act up to their opinions? At one time--before the Congress gave
precedence to political reforms--social reform did find many
enthusiastic supporters amongst the best class of Western-educated
Indians, but the gradual disappearance of men of that type may be said
almost to coincide with the growth of political agitation. There have
been, and there still are, some notable and admirable exceptions, but
they are seldom to be found amongst the men who claim to be the tribunes
of the Indian people. It is on these grounds--moral rather than
political--that we claim to be still the best judges of our duties as
trustees for the people of India."

This was perhaps the most forcible of the British administrator's
arguments, and it was an honest one. Another was that the
Western-educated Indians were mainly drawn from the towns and from a
narrow circle of professional classes in the towns, who could not
therefore speak on behalf of and still less control the destinies of a
vast population, overwhelmingly agricultural, regarding whose interests
they had hitherto shown themselves both ignorant and indifferent, and
from whom the very education which constituted their main title to
consideration had tended to separate and estrange them. The land-owning
gentry and the peasantry had so far scarcely been touched by this
political agitation. The peasantry knew little or nothing of its
existence. The land-owners feared it, for, having themselves for the
most part kept aloof from modern education, and shrinking instinctively
from the limelight of political controversies and such electioneering
competitions as they had already been drawn into for municipal and local
government purposes, they felt themselves hopelessly handicapped in a
struggle that threatened their traditional prestige and authority as
well as their material interests. What they dreaded most of all was the
ascendancy of the lawyer class in this new political movement--the
_Vakil-Raj_, as they called it--for they had in many instances already
been made to feel how heavy the hand of the lawyer could be upon them
in a country so prone to litigation as India, and endowed with so costly
and complicated a system of jurisprudence and procedure, if they
ventured to place themselves in opposition to the political aspirations
of ambitious lawyers. Above all, the British administrator, who rightly
held the maintenance of a strict balance between the different creeds
and communities of India to be an essential part of his mission, felt
strong in the undivided support which his conception of his
responsibilities and duties received from the Mahomedans of India. Then,
and almost into the second decade of this century, a community forming a
fifth of the whole population professed itself absolutely opposed to any
surrender of British authority which, it was convinced, would enure
solely to the benefit of its hated Hindu rivals, far more supple and far
more advanced in all knowledge of the West, including political
agitation. The Mahomedans had held aloof from the Congress. They still
had no definite political organisation of their own; they were content
with the British _raj_ and wanted nothing else.

The British administrator was therefore not altogether unwarranted in
his conviction that in standing in the ancient ways he had behind him
not only the tacit assent of the inarticulate masses but the positive
support of very important classes and communities. He knew also that he
had with him, besides unofficial European opinion in India, almost solid
on his side, the sympathy, however vague and uninformed, of the bulk of
his own countrymen at home, represented for a great part of the fifty
years now under review by a succession of conservative parliaments and
governments. There were no longer, as in the East India Company days,
periodical inquests into the state of India to wind up Parliament to a
concert pitch of sustained and vigilant interest in Indian affairs. The
very few legislators who exhibited any persistent curiosity about Indian
administration were regarded for the most part as cranks or bores, and
the annual statement on the Indian budget was usually made before
almost empty benches. Only questions that raised large issues of foreign
policy, such as Afghan expeditions and the Russian menace in Asia Minor,
or that affected the considerable commercial interests at home, like the
Indian cotton duties or currency and exchange, would intermittently stir
British public opinion inside and outside Parliament, and these often
chiefly as occasions for party warfare. Ministers themselves appeared to
be mainly concerned with the part which India had to play in their
general scheme of Imperial and Asiatic policy rather than with the
methods by which India was governed. These could be safely left to "the
man on the spot."

Very different had been the spirit in which British parliaments and
governments had discharged their responsibilities before the transfer of
India to the Crown, and rude was the awakening for the British
administrator in India and for British ministers at home when the
explosion that followed the Partition of Bengal revealed a very
different India that was in process of evolution with much and dangerous
travail out of the reaction of new forces, hitherto almost unobserved,
upon old forces so long quiescent that they had come to be regarded as
negligible quantities.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] A detailed and learned study of these movements is found in Dr.
J.N. Farquhar's _Modern Religious Movements in India_, published by
the Macmillan Company, New York, in 1915.



CHAPTER VI

THE FIRST GREAT WAVE OF UNREST


Amongst the Western-educated classes the new forces which had been
turning the minds of young India towards _Swaraj_ as the watchword of
national unity and independence had drawn much of their inspiration from
text-books which taught them how large a share Nationalism had played in
redeeming modern nations from alien oppression and in shaping the whole
political evolution of Europe. It had emancipated the Balkan States from
the alien thraldom of the Ottoman Sultans; it had helped to unify Italy
and Germany; it had been a potent if less apparent factor in welding
Great Britain and the distant colonies peopled by the British race into
a great British Empire. Had not Indians also a common nationhood which,
despite all racial and religious differences, could be traced back
across centuries of internal strife and foreign domination to a period,
remote indeed but none the less enviable, when they had been their own
masters? Had not the British themselves removed one of the greatest
barriers to India's national unity--the multiplicity of her
vernaculars--by giving English to the Western-educated classes as a
common language, without which, indeed, Indian Nationalism could never
have found expression, and such an assembly of Indians from all parts of
India to discuss their common aspirations as the Indian National
Congress itself would have been an impossibility? Great events,
moreover, had been happening quite recently which tended to shake the
Indians' belief in the irresistible superiority of Western civilisation
even in its material aspects. The disaster inflicted upon an Italian
army at Adowa in 1894 by the Abyssinians--a backward African people
scarcely known except for the ease with which a British expedition had
chastised them not thirty years before--was perhaps the first of these
events to awaken observant Indians to the fact that European arms were
not necessarily invincible. The resistance put up for nearly three years
by two small South African Republics, strong chiefly in their
indomitable pride of nationhood, seemed to have strained the resources
even of the British Empire, and Japan, an Asiatic power only recently
emerged from obscurity, had just proved on land and sea that an Asiatic
nation in possession of her national independence could equip herself to
meet and overcome one of the greatest of European powers--one whose vast
ambitions constituted in the eyes of generations of British statesmen a
grave menace to the safety of India itself. Was England really mightier
than Russia? Had she not also perhaps feet of clay? Was British rule to
endure for ever? Was it not a weak point in England's armour that she
had to rely not a little on Indian troops, whom she still treated as
mercenaries, to fight her battles even in such distant countries as
China and the Sudan, and upon still more numerous legions of Indians in
every branch of the civil administration to carry out all the menial
work of government? If the Indians, untrained, and indeed forbidden, to
bear arms, were unable at once to overthrow British rule, could they not
at least paralyse its machinery, as Bepin Chandra Pal was preaching, by
refusing to take any kind of service under it?

To such interpretations of contemporary events young Indians, who at
school read Burke and Byron and Mill "On Liberty," and in secret the
lives of Garibaldi and Mazzini, were bound to be receptive, and they
soon reached from a different base along different lines the same ground
on which the old orthodox foes not only of British rule but of Western
civilisation stood who appealed to the Baghavat-Ghita and exhorted
India to seek escape from the foreign domination that had enslaved her,
body and soul, by clinging to the social and religious ark of Hinduism
which in her golden age had made her wise and wealthy and free beyond
all the nations of the earth.

The stronghold of orthodox reaction was in the Mahratta Deccan, and its
stoutest fighters were drawn from the Chitawan Brahmans, who had never
forgiven us for snatching the cup of power from their lips just when
they saw the inheritance of the Moghul Empire within their grasp. First
and foremost of them all was the late Mr. Tilak, a pillar of Hindu
orthodoxy, who knew both in his speeches and in his Mahratta organ, the
_Kesari_, _i.e._ "The Lion," how to play on religious as well as on
racial sentiment. He first took the field against the Hindu Social
Reformers who dared to support Lord Lansdowne's Age of Consent Bill, and
his rabid campaign against them developed quickly into an equally rabid
campaign against British rule. He appealed to the pride of his Mahratta
people by reviving the cult of Shivaji, the great Mahratta chieftain who
first raised the standard of Hindu revolt against Mahomedan domination,
and he appealed to their religious passions by placing under the
patronage of their favourite deities a national movement for boycotting
British-imported goods and manufactures which, under the name of
_Swadeshi_, was to be the first step towards _Swaraj_. He it was too who
for the first time imported into schools and colleges the ferment of
political agitation, and presided at bonfires which schoolboys and
students fed with their European text-books and European clothes. The
movement died down for a time after the murder of two British officials
in Poona on the night of Queen Victoria's second jubilee in 1897 and the
sentencing of Tilak himself shortly afterwards to a term of imprisonment
on a charge of seditious and inflammatory writing. But the Partition of
Bengal was to give him the opportunity of transplanting his doctrines
and his methods from the Deccan to the most prosperous province in
India.

The Partition of Bengal was a measure harmless enough on the face of it
for splitting up into two administrative units a huge province with some
70 million inhabitants which had outgrown the capacities of a single
provincial government. But the Bengalees are a singularly sensitive
race. They were intensely proud of their province as the senior of the
three great "Presidencies" of India, of their capital as the capital
city of India and the seat of Viceregal Government, and of their
Calcutta University as the first and greatest of Indian Universities,
though already menaced, they declared, by Lord Curzon's Universities
Act. They resented the Partition, against which they had no remedy, as a
wanton _diminutio capitis_ inflicted upon them by a despotic Viceroy
bent on chastising them for the prominent part played by their leaders
in pressing the claims of India to political emancipation from
bureaucratic leading-strings. That in the new province of Eastern
Bengal, which was to be created by the Partition, the Mahomedans would
constitute a large majority and enjoy advantages hitherto denied to them
as a minority in the undivided province was an added grievance for the
Hindus. Lord Curzon had not at first been unpopular with the
Western-educated classes. They recognised his great intellectual gifts
and admired his majestic eloquence. But continuing to fasten their hopes
on the Liberal party in England, they had quickly followed its lead in
attacking him as a dangerous Imperialist, whose Tibetan adventure was
saddling the Indian tax-payer with the costs of his aggressive foreign
policy, and they required no promptings to denounce as the sworn foe of
India a Viceroy who had not only sought to restrict the statutory
freedom of their University, but, as its Chancellor, used language into
which they read a deliberate insult to the Bengalee character. By
partitioning Bengal he had struck both at the dignity of the Bengalee
"nation" and at the nationhood of the Indian Motherland, in whose
honour the old invocation to the goddess Kali, "_Bande Materam_," or
"Hail to the Mother," acquired a new significance and came to be used as
the political war-cry of Indian Nationalism. To that war-cry public
meetings were organised in Calcutta and all over the province. The
native press teemed with denunciatory articles. The wildest rumours were
set afloat as to the more concrete mischiefs which partition portended.
Never had India seen such popular demonstrations. Government, however,
remained inflexible, and the storm abated when it was announced that
Lord Curzon had resigned and was about to leave India--the last and
perhaps the ablest and certainly the most forceful Viceroy of a period
in which efficient administration had come to be regarded as the be-all
and end-all of government. His resignation, however, had nothing to do
with the Partition. He had fought and been defeated by Lord Kitchener,
then, and largely at his instance, Commander-in-Chief in India, over the
reorganisation of the military administration. Lord Curzon stood for the
supremacy of the civil over the military authority, but he made the
mistake of resigning not on the question of principle, on which he
finally agreed to a compromise, but on a subsidiary point which, fatal
as he may have thought it to the spirit of the compromise, appeared to
the outside public to be mainly a personal question. In any case, though
on the merits of the quarrel he might have looked for support from
educated Indian opinion, Bengal was content to rejoice over his
disappearance and to wonder whether with its author the Partition might
not also disappear.

Another and worthier preoccupation was the impending visit of the Prince
and Princess of Wales to India. King Edward's son was to follow in the
footsteps of his father, who had for the first time made a Royal
progress through the Indian Empire nearly thirty years before. His
progress had been a triumphal one at a period when the internal and
external peace of India seemed equally profound. That of his son was no
less triumphal, though India was just entering on a period of political
unrest undreamt of in the preceding generation. Even in Calcutta, which
had been seething with agitation a few weeks before, the Prince and
Princess were received not only with loyal acclamations but almost with
god-like worship; and all these demonstrations were perfectly genuine.
For with the curious inconsistency which pervades all Indian
speculations religious and political, though countless dynasties have
fallen and countless rulers have come to a violent end in the chequered
annals of Indian history, nothing has ever destroyed the ancient
conception of royalty as partaking of the divine essence. The remoteness
of the Western rulers under whose sceptre India had passed lent if
anything an added mystery and majesty to the royalty they wielded. Even
the avowed enemies of British rule seldom levelled their shafts at the
Throne. That the King can do no wrong is a saying that appealed to the
Indian mind long before the Western-educated classes grasped its real
meaning under a constitutional monarchy, and began to extend its
application even to the King's Government for the purpose of
conveniently discriminating between the British Government, whose good
intentions were generally assumed, and the autocratic Government of
India, whence all mischief sprang. During the whole of the Royal tour,
which extended to all the major provinces of British India and to
several of the Native States, the enthusiasm was general, and even the
Extremists did not venture a discordant note. The Prince and Princess,
whose graciousness never wearied, moved freely amongst the crowds, and
the presence of the future Queen appealed strongly to the women of
India, whose influence we are apt to underrate because until recently it
has been exercised almost exclusively in the seclusion of the zenana.
Even high-caste ladies, Hindus as well as Mahomedans, were known on this
occasion for the first time perhaps in their lives to pass beyond the
outer gates of their houses in order to attend a Royal reception--with
all the precautions of course that have always to be taken to shelter a
_purdah_ party from any contact with the other sex.

It became the fashion for all classes to draw their own happy auguries
from the Royal visit, but to none did it seem so auspicious as to the
politically-minded Indians. For it coincided with the sweeping defeat of
the Unionist party at the general election of 1905 and the return to
office of a Liberal Government with a crushing majority behind it, whom
the hostility displayed by the Liberal party towards Lord Curzon's
administration on almost every Indian question save that which had
brought about his resignation seemed to pledge to a prompt reversal of
his policy. Was not the appointment to the India Office of such a
stalwart Radical as Mr. John Morley, who had been Gladstone's Home Rule
Secretary for Ireland, enough to justify the expectation that the right
of India, if not to Home Rule, to a large measure of enfranchisement
would receive prompt recognition? If Indians could hardly regard Lord
Curzon's successor as another Ripon, their first impression of Lord
Minto satisfied them that, though the Conservative nominee of Mr.
Balfour's Government, the new Viceroy was neither disposed to tread in
his predecessor's footsteps as an autocratic administrator nor likely to
carry sufficient weight at home to stand in the way of a Secretary of
State who, like many Radical doctrinaires, was essentially what the
French call _un homme d'autorité_. The event proved that they were right
in their estimate of Lord Minto, but wrong in their sanguine expectation
that Mr. Morley would at once break with the old principles of Indian
government or even with Lord Curzon's administrative methods. Bengal
remained partitioned. It was a _chose jugée_ which Mr. Morley was not
prepared to reopen.

The disillusionment in India was much greater than after the fiasco of
the Ilbert Bill in Lord Ripon's time, and there had been a vast if still
unsuspected change since those days in the whole atmosphere of India.
Disillusionment in the 'eighties was mainly confined to a small group of
Western-educated Indians who had hoped for better things but did not
despair of bringing constitutional methods of agitation to bear upon
British public opinion. In 1906 the Indian National Congress, which they
had founded twenty years before, was sliding rapidly down the inclined
plane which was to lead first to open and violent discord and later on
to disruption. Even before the Partition the Moderates could make but a
poor reply to those who jeered at the paltry results which had attended
their practice of constitutional forms of agitation. For if the Indian
Councils Act of 1892 had opened the doors of the Viceroy's Legislative
Assembly to some of the most distinguished among them, what had it
profited them? The official benches merely gave a courteous hearing to
the incisive criticisms proceeding from men of such undisputed capacity
as Mehta and Gokhale and bore less patiently with the Ciceronian periods
of the great Bengalee tribune Surendranath Banerjee. Government paid
little or no heed to them. Equally powerless had been their passionate
protest against the Partition. Even had they not been in complete
sympathy with popular feeling, they would have been compelled to voice
it or surrender the leadership they still hoped to retain to the new
Extremist party which, under Mr. Tilak's leadership, was carrying his
doctrines and his methods far beyond the limits of the Deccan. Each
annual session of the Congress grew more turbulent and the Moderates
gave ground each year, until at the famous Surat session of 1907 they
realised that they had to make a definite stand or go under. There the
storm burst over the preliminary proceedings before the real issues were
reached. Mr. Tilak's followers assailed the presidential platform of
which the Moderates had still retained possession, and the Congress
broke up in hopeless confusion and disorder.

But what happened in the Congress was but a pale reflection of what was
happening outside. The Partition was indeed little more than the signal
for an explosion, not merely in Bengal, of which premonitory indications
had been witnessed, but had passed almost unheeded, some ten years
earlier in the Deccan. The cry of _Swaraj_ was caught up and re-echoed
in every province of British India. In Calcutta the vow of _Swadeshi_
was administered at mass meetings in the famous temple of Kali. Hindu
reactionaries, whose conception of a well-ordered society had not moved
beyond the laws of Manu, fell into line for the moment with the
intellectual products of the modern Indian University. Hindu ascetics
appealed to the credulity of the masses and every Bar Association became
the centre of an active political propaganda on a Western democratic
model. Schoolboys and students were exhorted to abandon their studies
and go out into the streets, where they qualified as patriots by
marching in the van of national demonstrations for _Swaraj_ or by
furnishing picketing parties for the _Swadeshi_ boycott. The native
press, whether printed in the vernacular tongues or in the language of
the British tyrant, reached the extreme limits of licence, and when it
did not actually preach violence it succeeded in producing the
atmosphere which engenders violence. When passions were wrought up to a
white heat by fiery orators and still more fiery newspaper writers, who
knew how to draw equally effectively on the ancient legends of Hindu
mythology and on the contemporary records of Russian anarchism, the cult
of the bomb was easily grafted on to the cult of Shiva, the Destroyer,
and murders, of which the victims were almost as often Indians in
Government service as British-born officials, were invested with a halo
of religious and patriotic heroism. Youths even of the better classes
banded themselves together to collect patriotic funds by plunder and
violence, and revived those old forms of lawlessness which had been
rampant in pre-British days under the name of _dacoity_. Schools and
colleges were found to be honeycombed with secret societies, and a flood
of light was suddenly thrown on the disastrous workings of an
educational system that had been slowly perverted to such ends under the
very eyes of the Government that was supposed to direct and control it.

Lord Curzon had held a special conference at Simla in 1900 "to consider
the system of education in India," but not a single Indian and only one
non-official European had been invited to take part in it. It was the
intellectual shortcomings of the system with which he was concerned, and
the chief outcome of that conference and of a Commission subsequently
appointed to carry on the inquiry was the Universities Act of 1904,
carried in the face of bitter Indian opposition. Even such broad-minded
and experienced Indians as Gokhale and Mehta suspected the Viceroy of a
desire to hamper the growth of higher Western education on political
grounds. But throughout the four years' controversy Government never
betrayed an inkling of the appalling extent to which inferior secondary
education had been allowed to degenerate in second-and third-rate
schools with second-and third-rate masters into a mere teaching machine,
clumsy and imperfect at that, for the passing of examinations that
tested memory rather than intelligence, and character least of all. The
unfortunate youths who could not stand even that test were left
hopelessly stranded on the road, equally disqualified for a humbler
sphere of life which they had learnt to despise and for the higher walks
to which they had vainly aspired. Soured by defeat, and easily persuaded
to impute it solely to the alien rulers responsible for a system which
had led them merely into a blind alley, they formed the rank and file of
a proletariat that could only by courtesy be called intellectual, but
was just the material out of which every form of discontent is apt to
breed desperadoes. But many were no mere vulgar desperadoes. Amongst
those who were engaged in making bombs and collecting revolvers and
organising dacoities or who actually committed murder not a few
sincerely believed that they were risking or giving their lives in a
great patriotic and religious cause. The _Yugantar_, their chief
Bengalee organ, which had an enormous circulation and sold often at
fancy prices in the streets of Calcutta, was written, according to a
statement made in the High Court by the Government translator whose
business it was to study it, in language so lofty, so pathetic, so
stirring that he found it impossible to convey it into English. The
writers made no secret of their purpose. The young Indian's "mind must
be excited and maddened by such an ideal as will present to him a
picture of everlasting salvation." Murder had its creed to which Dr.
Farquhar assigns a definite place in his _Modern Religious Movements in
India_ with the following as its chief dogmas:

     Indian civilisation in all its branches,--religion, education, art,
     industry, home life and government,--is healthy, spiritual,
     beautiful and good. It has become corrupted in the course of
     centuries, but that is largely the result of the cruelty and
     aggression of the Muhammadans in former times and now of the
     British. The Indian patriot must toil to restore Indian life and
     civilisation.

     Western civilisation in all its parts,--religion, education, art,
     business and government,--is gross, materialistic and therefore
     degrading to India. The patriotic Indian must recognise the grave
     danger lurking in every element of Western influence, must hate it,
     and must be on his guard against it.

     India ought to be made truly Indian. There is no place for
     Europeans in the country. Indians can manage everything far better
     than Europeans can. The British Government, Missions, European
     trade and Western influence of every kind, are altogether unhealthy
     in India. Everything should belong to the Indians themselves.

     Hence it is a religious duty to get rid of the European and all the
     evils that attend him. The better a man understands his religion,
     the more clear will be his perception that Europeans and European
     influence must be rooted out. All means for the attainment of this
     end are justifiable. As Krishna killed Kamsa, so the modern Indian
     must kill the European demons that are tyrannically holding India
     down. The bloodthirsty goddess Kali ought to be honoured by the
     Indian patriot. Even the Baghavad Ghita was used to teach murder.
     Lies, deceit, murder, everything, it was argued, may be rightly
     used.

Not till some years later did a Committee, presided over by a British
High Court judge sent out from England for the purpose, fully explore
the many ramifications of a revolutionary movement which had one of its
head centres in London, until the murder of Sir W. Curzon-Wylie by an
Indian student during a crowded reception at the Imperial Institute
aroused the attention of the authorities to the activities of the "India
House," and Mr. Krishnavarma, its familiar genius, had to transfer to
Paris his notorious paper, the _Indian Sociologist_, in which he openly
glorified murder. The "Sedition Committee's" Report was only made public
in 1918, and if the action taken upon it by the Government of India was
to furnish the occasion for another popular explosion different in
character from, but no less formidable than, the explosion which
followed the Partition of Bengal, the facts which it marshalled and the
conclusions which it drew from them with judicial soberness have never
been seriously challenged. It found that the long series of crimes of
which it recorded the genesis and growth had been "directed towards one
and the same objective, the overthrow by force of British rule in
India," and nothing revealed more clearly the mainspring of the movement
than the statistics given as to age, caste, and occupation of persons
who had been actually convicted of revolutionary crimes or killed whilst
committing them. The large majority were between 16 and 25 years of age;
most of them students and teachers; all of them Hindus, and almost all
high-caste Hindus, either Brahmans or Kayasthas--the latter a
writer-caste ranking just below the Brahman caste. These statistics did
not cover the large number of crimes of which the authors escaped
scot-free and were never brought to justice.

Not the least alarming feature of the situation was the attitude of the
Indian public generally towards this epidemic of political crime which
assumed some forms hitherto quite unknown to India and abhorrent to
most Indians. The movement could only be correctly described as an
Anarchist movement in so far as the methods to which it resorted were
largely modelled upon those of Russian anarchists and aimed, like
theirs, at the subversion of the existing Government. It differed
fundamentally from Russian anarchism in that it was directed against
alien rulers of another faith and another civilisation. That it created
a widespread feeling of apprehension and even of detestation amongst the
great majority of peaceful and sober-minded Indians cannot be doubted,
and especially amongst those who watched with alarm the ravages it was
making amongst the younger generation. But few had the courage to carry
reprobation to the length of assisting Government in the detection and
repression of crimes which terrorism made it less dangerous to extenuate
as lamentable exhibitions of a misguided patriotic frenzy. The
Western-educated classes were completely estranged and smarted so
bitterly over the contempt with which their representations and protests
against the policy of Government had been treated that those even of the
more moderate school of politics were content to throw up their hands in
horror and declare that if they were unable to stem the torrent, the
fault lay entirely with the bureaucracy which had killed by long years
of neglect and hostility the influence they might have otherwise been
able to exert over their fellow-countrymen in the hour of stress. The
Extremists boldly threw the whole responsibility for the movement on
British rule and combined with a perfunctory and dubious condemnation of
the crimes themselves an ecstatic admiration for the heroism which had
driven the youth of India to follow the example of the Russian
_intelligentsia_ in its revolt against an autocracy as brutal and as
odious as that of Russia. Mere measures of repression under the ordinary
law were clearly incapable of coping with a situation which was becoming
no less dangerous in its negative than in its positive aspects. British
rule in India had concentrated so largely on mechanical efficiency that
it had gradually lost sight of the old and finer principles of
Anglo-Indian as well as of British statesmanship based on the paramount
importance of genuine co-operation between British and Indians. During
the Mutiny there were few of the Western-educated classes whose loyalty
to the British _Raj_ ever wavered. Fifty years later, when the _Raj_ was
confronted with a less violent but more insidious movement of revolt, a
large part of the Western-educated classes, whose influence and numbers
had increased immensely in the interval, were, if not in league, at
least to some extent in sympathy with it, and many of those who deplored
and reprobated it remained sulking in their tents. Government, they
declared, had always despised their co-operation. As it had made its
bed, so it must lie. It was a desperately short-sighted attitude, which
has had its nemesis in the "Non-co-operation" movement of the present
day. But, in a situation so severely strained, relief could only come
from England and from a return to the earlier British ideals, and to
those Indians who still looked for it there with some confidence after
the change of Government which had taken place at home in December 1905
it seemed to come very slowly.



CHAPTER VII

THE MORLEY-MINTO REFORMS


A British Government of a more advanced type of liberalism than any of
its Liberal predecessors found itself confronted as soon as it took
office with a more difficult situation in India than had ever been
dreamt of since the Mutiny, and the difficulties grew rapidly more
grave. When Mr. Morley went to the India Office during the respite from
agitation against the Partition of Bengal, procured by the visit of the
Prince and Princess of Wales to India even more than by Lord Curzon's
departure from India, the new Secretary of State allowed himself to be
persuaded that an agitation directed, so far, mainly against a harmless
measure of mere administrative importance must be largely artificial,
and he determined to maintain the Partition. He was entirely new to
Indian affairs, and his _Recollections_ show him to have been often
sorely perplexed by the conflict between his own political instincts and
the picture of Indian conditions placed before him by his official
advisers at home and in India. He felt, however, on the whole fairly
confident that he could deal with the situation by producing a moderate
measure of reforms which would satisfy India's political aspirations and
by keeping an extremely vigilant eye on Indian methods of administration
of which "sympathy" was in future to be the key-note rather than mere
efficiency. But when in the course of 1907 the agitation broke out
afresh with increased fury and began to produce a crop of political
outrages, Mr. Morley found himself in a particularly awkward position.
He was known from his Irish days to be no believer in coercion. But the
Government of India was not to be denied when it insisted that a
campaign of murder could not be tolerated and that repression was as
necessary as reform. The Secretary of State agreed reluctantly to
sanction more stringent legislation for dealing with the excesses of the
Extremist press in India, but he was only the more resolved that it must
be accompanied by a liberal reforms scheme. The Viceroy himself shared
this view and lent willing assistance. But the interchange of opinions
between India and Whitehall was as usual terribly lengthy and laborious.
A Royal Proclamation on November 28, 1908, the fiftieth anniversary of
Queen Victoria's Proclamation after the Mutiny, foreshadowed reforms in
"political satisfaction of the claims of important classes representing
ideas that have been fostered and encouraged by British rule." But not
till the following month, _i.e._ three years after Mr. Morley had taken
over the India Office, did the reforms scheme see the light of day.

It bore his impress. He had a ready ear for Indian grievances and much
understanding for the Moderate Indian point of view. He was prepared to
give Indians a larger consultative voice in the conduct of Indian
affairs, and even to introduce individual Indians not only into his own
Council at Whitehall but even into the Viceroy's Executive Council, the
citadel of British authority in India. He was determined to enforce far
more energetically than most of his predecessors the constitutional
right of the Secretary of State to form and lay down the policy for
which his responsibility was to the British Parliament alone, while the
function of the Government of India was, after making to him whatever
representations it might deem desirable, to carry his decisions
faithfully and fully into execution. He was prepared to exercise also to
the full his right to control the administrative as well as the
executive acts of the Government of India and its officers. He was not
prepared to devolve upon Indians collectively any part of the
constitutional powers vested in the Indian Executive and ultimately
through the Secretary of State in the British Parliament. He was not
therefore prepared to give India any representative institutions that
should circumscribe or share the power of the Indian Executive. The
Indian Councils Act of 1909 was drawn up on those lines. It enlarged the
membership and the functions of the Indian Legislative Councils, and
placed them definitely on an elective basis without doing away
altogether with nominations by Government. The only point upon which Mr.
Morley yielded to pressure was in conceding the principle of community
representation in favour of the Mahomedans, to whom, at a time when they
not only held rigidly aloof from all political agitation but professed
great anxiety as to political concessions of which the benefit would,
they submitted, accrue mainly to the Hindus, Lord Minto had given a
promise that in any future reforms scheme full consideration should be
given to the historical importance and actual influence of their
community rather than to its mere numerical strength.

The Indian Councils Act, 1909, fell considerably short of the demands
put forward even by the founders of the Congress five-and-twenty years
before, as the new Councils, greatly enlarged, were still to be merely
consultative assemblies. But it did for the first time admit "the living
forces of the elective principle," and to that extent it met the demand
for representative institutions. Indian Moderates could point also to
the presence of an Indian member, Sir Satyendra (now Lord) Sinha, in the
Viceroy's Executive Council and of two Indian members in the Secretary
of State's Council at Whitehall as a definite proof that India would
have henceforth a hearing before, and not as in the past merely after,
the adoption of vital lines of policy. The Act was accepted by the
Moderate leaders as a genuine if not a generous instalment of reform,
and it restored to some extent their influence as the advocates of
constitutional progress by showing that the British Government had not
been altogether deaf to their appeals. It did not of course satisfy the
Extremists, but their influence had suffered a great set-back from the
wrecking of the Surat Congress, their great Deccanee leader was working
out a long term of imprisonment at Mandalay, and with the tide of
anarchism still spreading and visibly demoralising the student class all
over India, even to the undermining of parental authority, the first
feeling of suppressed and largely inarticulate alarm and resentment
developed into a definite reaction in favour of government as by law
established.

The great wave of unrest which had swept over India was already
subsiding when Lord Minto left India in 1910 amidst genuine
demonstrations of returning goodwill, and the appointment of Lord
Hardinge of Penshurst as his successor was welcomed in the same spirit,
not because Lord Kitchener, who had run him very hard for the
Viceroyalty, was personally unpopular in India, but because he owed to
reactionary supporters the quite unmerited reputation of being "the man
with the big stick."

The visit of the King and Queen to India at the end of 1911 was
therefore well timed, and it provoked a still greater outburst of
popular enthusiasm than their visit as Prince and Princess of Wales in
1905. For it was the first time that the Sovereign to whom it was given
to rule over India from a remote Western island travelled out to receive
on Indian soil the homage of his Indian subjects and appeared before
them in the full majesty of crown, orb, and sceptre. Apart entirely from
the merits of the measure, the dramatic transfer of the capital of his
Indian Empire from Calcutta to Delhi appealed to the imagination of
Indians as a demonstration of the Royal power no less impressive than
the splendours of the great Durbar at which the Royal command went
forth. Equally did their Majesties fulfil another of the time-honoured
conceptions of royalty by knowing, so to say, when to step down from
their throne and mix freely with the people. It has been from times
immemorial one of the principles of Indian rulership that the ruler
cannot deny to his subjects the privilege of access to his person, and
many are those who have gained more popularity by giving ample
opportunity to their subjects for stating to them their grievances in
the royal presence than by ever actually redressing them. In Calcutta
especially when the King and Queen moved cheerfully amongst the
delirious crowds that had thronged to the Maidan to worship them, the
scene surpassed all previous experiences. For had not one of the
measures announced as the Royal will at the Delhi Durbar been the
revision at last of Lord Curzon's detested Partition of Bengal? The
furious agitation of the first few years had broken in vain against the
dead wall of the _chose jugée_ which Mr. Morley had upheld, and it had
gradually died down. The wound, however, had been still there, and now
the King's hand had touched and healed it. The old Province of Bengal
was not indeed restored within its former limits, but Eastern Bengal,
created as the Hindu Bengalees believed, in favour of Mahomedan
ascendancy, disappeared, and in its stead Behar and Orissa, where a
large part of the population was of a different stock and spoke a
different tongue, were detached to the west and south of Bengal proper
and formed into a separate province which served equally well to relieve
administrative congestion without doing violence to Bengalee sentiment.

On the very first anniversary, however, of the day of the great Delhi
Durbar an audacious attempt to murder the Viceroy at the moment when he
was making his solemn entry into the new capital came as a painful
reminder that the fangs of Indian anarchism had not yet been drawn. From
one of the balconies of the Chandni Chauk, the chief thoroughfare of the
native city, a bomb was thrown at Lord Hardinge who was riding with Lady
Hardinge on a State elephant, in accordance with Indian usage, on his
way to the Fort where he was to have delivered a message of greeting to
the people of India recalling the memorable results of the Royal visit.
The Viceroy was severely wounded and Lady Hardinge, though she escaped
without any apparent hurt, suffered a shock which at least hastened her
premature death two and a half years later. Lord Hardinge had already
earned the widespread confidence of Indians by his undisguised sympathy
with all their legitimate aspirations, and the Lady Hardinge's School of
Medicine for Indian women stands now at Delhi as an enduring monument,
not only of the keen interest which she took in the cause of Indian
womanhood and in everything that could tend to its advancement, but of
the affection she had won by a rare charm of manner that was, with her,
merely the outward reflection of a gentle and finely tempered nature.
There had been abortive plots against Lord Minto's life, but it had been
deemed politic to minimise their importance. This, however, was an
attempt too flagrant and too nearly fatal to be disguised or denied, and
a thrill of horror which hushed even the Extremists went through the
whole of India, for to the office of the Viceroy as the personal
representative of the sovereign there had always hitherto attached
something of the sanctity with which, according to Indian beliefs, all
kingship is invested. All the more grateful was the response elicited by
the assurance which Lord Hardinge hastened to convey from his sick-bed
that what had happened could and would in no way diminish his affection
and devotion to the people of India or modify the policy of goodwill and
progress for which he stood. Neither he nor India ever forgot that
assurance.

Unfortunately the artificial basis upon which the Morley-Minto reforms
had been built revealed itself very soon under the searching test of
practical experience. The Councils Act of 1909 had made no attempt to
organise on an effective and genuine basis "the living forces of the
elective principle." The indirect system of election established under
the Act could only produce haphazard and misleading results. An indirect
chain of elections afforded no means of appraising the true
relationship between the elected members of the Councils and their
original electors. The qualifications of candidates, as well as of
electors, varied widely from province to province, but shared one common
characteristic, that the election was more often a matter of form.
Members of the Provincial Councils were returned partly by Municipal and
Local Boards arranged in various groups, without any connection with, or
mandate from, the constituencies by which these bodies had been chosen,
partly by a land-holding community which did not consider itself bound
by the acts of its constituted representatives. The so-called
electorates were never known to give definite mandates to those who
professed to represent them or to pronounce upon any course of action
which their representatives might pursue. Nobody knew what was the
numerical foundation on which an elected member took his seat. It was
almost impossible to trace it back along the chain of indirect
elections. Before the British Reform Bill of 1832 much play was made of
pocket boroughs of twenty or thirty electors. In India, one constituency
electing a member to the Imperial Legislative Council numbered exactly
seven, and there were cases where the representation was pretty well
known to have been divided by agreement between two individuals. Nor did
the recommendations of a Royal Commission on Decentralisation avail to
break down that spirit of over-centralisation which had of late years
marked the policy of the Government of India. The Provincial Governments
still remained bound hand and foot by the necessity of constant
reference to the Central Government, while the latter in its turn was
forced to make an ever-increasing number of references to Whitehall,
where Mr. Morley enforced, far beyond the practice of any previous
Secretary of State, the principle that the Provincial Governments were
responsible to the Central Government, and the Central Government to the
India Office for every detail of administration.

More galling to Indians was it to have to admit that the expansion of
Indian representation in the Councils had not been followed by any
visible increase of Indian control over the conduct of public affairs.
Whilst disclaiming warmly any intention of paving the way for the
introduction of parliamentary institutions into India, Mr. Morley had
allowed an illusory semblance of parliamentary institutions to be
introduced into the enlarged Councils by requiring their sanction for
legislative measures brought forward by the Executive. The latter had to
go through the same forms of procedure as if its existence depended upon
the support of a parliamentary majority to which it was responsible,
whereas it continued to be irremovable and responsible only to the
Secretary of State. These were in fact mere empty forms, for however
unpalatable any measure might be to the Indian members, or however
powerful their arguments against it, Government could always vote the
Indian opposition down in the Viceroy's Legislative Council, the most
important of all, by mustering the official majority in full force to
deliver their votes according to instructions. In the Provincial
Councils on the other hand in which an unofficial majority had been
conceded, the Indian members were in a position to create a deadlock by
refusing to vote for measures indispensable to the proper conduct of
Government; but whilst the power they could thus exercise might go far
enough to paralyse the Executive, they had no power to turn it out.
These new Councils had been invested with large but mostly negative
powers, and with no positive responsibilities.

For a time the sentiment of trust which underlay the granting of the
reforms had its effect. Both sides seemed to display a more conciliatory
spirit and the relations between the official and unofficial benches in
the enlarged Councils assumed a more friendly character. In many cases
the influence of the non-official members was successfully exerted to
secure modifications in the legislative measures of Government, though
from a mistaken desire to "save its face" Government too often preferred
to make concessions at private conferences with the Indian leaders
rather than as the outcome of public discussion, and lost thereby a good
deal of the credit which it might have secured by a more open display of
its desire to meet Indian objections. On some occasions before the war
the pressure of Indian opinion even deterred Provincial Governments from
introducing legislative measures which they considered essential to
public safety because they apprehended defeat at the hands of the
unofficial majority in the legislative Councils. But the Indian public
remained generally in ignorance of the extent to which the influence of
the Indian representatives made itself felt, either for good or for
evil, on Government. The bureaucracy, more secretive in India than
elsewhere, had never realised the importance of guiding public opinion,
or, _a fortiori_, the necessity of keeping it informed if you wish to
guide it. The politicians, on the other hand, preferred to make capital
out of those questions on which they failed to make any impression upon
Government, though the real difficulty very often lay in the rigidity of
the statutory control exercised by the Central Government over
Provincial Governments, and by Whitehall over the Central Government.
The inevitable consequences soon became clear. The enlarged Indian
representation appeared to have less power than it really enjoyed, and,
having no responsibility whatever, it was free to make its own bids for
popularity with constituencies equally irresponsible. Resolutions were
introduced which, if they could have carried them, the unofficial
members would often have been much puzzled to carry into effect, and
grievances were voiced which, even when well founded, it was frequently
beyond the power of any Government to remedy. On the other hand, the
Executive was threatened with the possibility of a complete deadlock,
and the concessions by which it could be averted often alarmed not
merely the innate conservatism of the official world but many Indian
interests scarcely less conservative.

Not till after Mr. Morley had been raised to the peerage and Lord Crewe
had succeeded him at the India Office was anything done to meet the
demand of the Western-educated classes for a larger share in the
administrative work of the country or to redress the very reasonable
grievances of Indians employed in the Government services who were still
for the most part penned up in the Provincial Services as established on
the recommendations of the Aitcheson Committee more than twenty-five
years earlier. In 1912 a Royal Commission went out to India with Lord
Islington as Chairman. It was a body on which the British element in the
Indian Public Services was only represented by a small minority, and
amongst the European members Lord Ronaldshay and Mr. Ramsay Macdonald,
both then in the House of Commons, stood for widely different schools of
politics. Of the three Indian members, Mr. Gokhale, who had become one
of the most influential leaders of the Moderate party, carried by far
the greatest weight, and his premature death before the Commission
completed its Report seriously impaired its usefulness. It spent two
successive winters in taking a mass of evidence from Indians and
Europeans all over India, but its sittings held, except in very rare
cases, in public served chiefly at the time to stir up Indian opinion by
bringing into sharp relief the profound divergencies between the Indian
and the Anglo-Indian point of view, and in a form which on the one hand,
unfortunately, was bound to offend Indian susceptibilities, and on the
other hand was apt to produce the impression that Indians were chiefly
concerned to substitute an indigenous for an alien bureaucracy. Anyhow,
while the Western-educated classes were rapidly coming to the conclusion
that the Minto-Morley reforms had given them the shadow rather than the
substance of political power, they saw in the proceedings of the Public
Services Commission little indication of any radical change in the
attitude of the British official classes towards the question of
training up the people of India to a larger share in the administration.

In such circumstances the Extremists saw their opportunity to pour
ridicule on the new Councils and preach once more the futility of
constitutional agitation. The Indian National Congress, overshadowed for
a time by the new Councils, began to recover its popularity, and though
the split which had taken place at Surat between Moderates and
Extremists had not yet been mended, there was much talk of reunion. Some
of the Moderates had grown once more faint-hearted. The Extremists who
knew their own minds still constituted a very formidable party, and they
were finding new allies in an unexpected quarter.

When the Indian National Congress was founded in 1885 and for nearly
thirty years afterwards, the Indian Mahomedans kept severely aloof from
it, partly because they had kept equally aloof from Western education
which had originally brought the leaders of the new political movement
together, and partly because most of those leaders were Hindus, and the
ancient antagonism between Mahomedans and Hindus led the former to
distrust profoundly anything that seemed likely to enhance the influence
of the latter. One intellectual giant among the Mahomedans had indeed
arisen after the Mutiny, during which his loyalty had never wavered, who
laboured hard to convert his co-religionists to Western education. In
spite of bitter opposition from a powerful party, rooted in the old
fanatical orthodoxy of Islam, who resented his broad-mindedness which
went to the length of trying to explain, and even to explain away much
of, the Koran, Sir Seyyid Ahmed Khan succeeded in founding at Aligurh in
1880 a Mahomedan College which soon attracted students from the best
Mahomedan families all over India. His idea was to create there a centre
which should do for young Mahomedans what he himself had watched Oxford
and Cambridge doing for young Englishmen. Education was not to be
divorced as in most Indian colleges from religion, and he was convinced
that a liberal interpretation of the Mahomedan doctrine was no more
incompatible with the essence of Islam than with that of Western
civilisation, with which British rule had come to bring India into
providential contact. Loyalty to British rule was with him synonymous
with loyalty to all the high ideals which he himself pursued and set
before his students. For a whole generation success appeared to crown
this work to which he brought all the fervour of missionary enterprise.
He died full of years and honour in 1898, and one of his last efforts
was an historical refutation of the Ottoman Sultan's claim to the
Khalifate of Islam. He already realised the reactionary tendencies of
the Pan-Islamic propaganda which Abdul Hamid was trying to spread into
India. So great and enduring was the hold of Sir Seyyid Ahmed's
teachings upon the progressive elements in Mahomedan India that the
All-India Moslem League was founded in 1905, almost avowedly in
opposition to the subversive activities which the Indian National
Congress was beginning to develop. It was in this spirit, too, that the
influential deputation headed by the Agha Khan, who, though himself the
head of a dissenting and thoroughly unorthodox Mahomedan community
claiming descent from the Old Man of the Mountain, was then the
recognised political leader of the whole Indian Mahomedan community,
waited on Lord Minto to press upon the Government of India the Mahomedan
view of the political situation created by the Partition of Bengal, lest
political concessions should be hastily made to the Hindus which would
pave the way for the ascendancy of a Hindu majority equally dangerous to
the stability of British rule and to the interests of the Mahomedan
minority whose loyalty was beyond dispute. It was again in the same
spirit, and fortified by the promise which Lord Minto had on that
occasion given them, that they insisted, and insisted successfully, on
the principle of community representation being applied for their
benefit in the Indian Councils Act of 1909.

A new generation of young Mahomedans had nevertheless been growing up
who knew not Seyyid Ahmed and regarded his teachings as obsolete. The
lessons which they had learnt from their Western education were not his.
They were much more nearly those that the more ardent spirits amongst
the Hindus had imbibed, and they were ready to share with them the new
creed of Indian Nationalism in its most extreme form. Other
circumstances were tending to weaken the faith of the Mahomedan
community in the goodwill, not only of the Government of India, but of
the British Government. Even the most conservative Mahomedans were
disappointed and irritated by the revision of the Partition of Bengal in
1911 when the predominantly Mahomedan Province of Eastern Bengal,
created under Lord Curzon, was merged once more into a largely Hindu
Bengal. The more advanced Mahomedans had been stirred by the
revolutionary upheaval in Constantinople to seek contact with the
Turkish Nationalist leaders who now ruled the one great Mahomedan power
in the world, and they learnt from them to read into British foreign
policy a purpose of deliberate hostility to Islam itself inspired by
dread of the renewed vitality it might derive from the returning
consciousness in many Mahomedan countries of their own independent
nationhood. In that light they saw in the British occupation of Egypt,
in the Anglo-French agreement with regard to Morocco and the
Anglo-Russian agreement with regard to Persia, and last but not least,
in the Italian invasion of Tripoli, the gradual development of a scheme
in which all the powers of Christendom were involved for the extinction
of the temporal power of Islam and, with it inevitably, according to
orthodox doctrine, of its spiritual authority. The Ottoman Empire had
been saved for a time by the protection extended to it for her own
purposes by Germany who had alone stood between it and the
disintegrating machinations of the "European Concert" in
Constantinople, bent on undermining the ascendancy of the ruling
Mahomedan race by its menacing insistence on reforms for the benefit of
the subject Christian races which could result only in the further
aggrandisement of the independent Christian states already carved out of
the Sultans' former dominions in Europe and in the introduction of
similar processes even into their Asiatic dominions. The Balkan wars of
1912-1913 appeared to bear out the theory of a great European conspiracy
directed against Turkey as "the sword of Islam," and whilst the
sympathies of Indian Mahomedans of all classes and schools of thought
were naturally enlisted in favour of their Turkish co-religionists, the
leaders of the advanced Mahomedan party themselves went to
Constantinople in charge of the Red Crescent funds collected in India
and got into close personal touch with the Turkish Nationalists who
ruled in the name of the Sultan but derived their authority from the
"Committee of Union and Progress." The same party had in the meantime
gone a long way towards capturing the All-India Moslem League and
bringing it into line with the advanced wing of the Indian National
Congress. The fusion between the League and the Congress, which was
still very repugnant both to the politically conservative and to the
religious orthodox majority of the Indian Mahomedan community, was not
completed, nor was the reunion of the Moderate and Extremist parties
within the Congress itself, when India was caught up with Great Britain
and most of the nations of the world into the whirlpool of the Great War
on August 4, 1914.



CHAPTER VIII

THROUGH THE GREAT WAR TO THE GREAT INDIAN REFORM BILL


The genuine outburst of enthusiasm with which India, whether under
direct British administration or under the autonomous rule of indigenous
dynasties, responded to the call of the Empire at the beginning of the
war came almost as a revelation to the British public generally who knew
little about India, and the impression deepened when during the critical
winter of 1914-1915 Indian troops stood shoulder to shoulder with
British troops in the trenches to fill the gap which could not then have
been filled from any other quarter. The loyalty displayed by the Indian
princes and the great land-owning gentry and the old fighting races who
had stood by the British for many generations was no surprise to
Englishmen who knew India; but less expected was the immediate rally to
the British cause of the new Western-educated classes who, baulked of
the political liberties which they regarded as their due, had seemed to
be drifting hopelessly into bitter antagonism to British rule--a rally
which at first included even those who, like Mr. Tilak, just released
from his long detention at Mandalay, had taught hatred and contempt of
the British rulers of India with a violence which implied, even when it
was not definitely expressed, a fierce desire to sever the British
connection altogether. In some cases the homage paid to the
righteousness of the British cause may not have been altogether genuine,
but with the great majority it sprang from one thought, well expressed
by Sir Satyendra Sinha, one of the most gifted and patriotic of India's
sons, in his presidential address to the Indian National Congress in
1915, that, at that critical hour in the world's history, it was for
India "to prove to the great British nation her gratitude for peace and
the blessings of civilisation secured to her under its aegis for the
last hundred and fifty years and more." The tales of German
frightfulness and the guns of the _Emden_ bombarding Madras, which were
an ominous reminder that a far worse fate than British rule might
conceivably overtake India, helped to confirm Indians in the conviction
that the British Empire and India's connection with it were well worth
fighting for. This was one of Germany's many miscalculations, and the
loyalty of the Indian people quite as much as the watchfulness of
Government defeated the few serious efforts made by the disaffected
emissaries and agents in whom she had put her trust to raise the
standard of rebellion in India. All they could do was to feed the
"Indian Section" of the Berlin Foreign Office with cock-and-bull stories
of successful Indian mutinies and risings, which the German public,
however gullible, ceased at last to swallow. Amongst the Indian
Mahomedans there was a small pro-Turkish group, chiefly of an Extremist
complexion, whose appeals to the religious solidarity of Islam might
have proved troublesome when Turkey herself came into the war, had not
Government deemed it advisable to put a stop to the mischievous
activities of the two chief firebrands, the brothers Mahomed Ali and
Shaukat Ali, by interning them under the discretionary powers conferred
upon it by the Defence of India Act. Indian Mahomedan troops fought with
the same gallantry and determination against their Turkish
co-religionists in Mesopotamia and Palestine as against the German enemy
in France and in Africa, and the Mahomedan Punjab answered even more
abundantly than any other province of India every successive call for
fresh recruits to replenish and strengthen the forces of the Empire.

The British Government and people responded generously to these splendid
demonstrations of India's fundamental loyalty to the British cause and
the British connection. The Prime Minister, Mr. Asquith, declared with
special emphasis that in future Indian questions must be approached from
"a new angle of vision," and Indians, not least the Western-educated
classes, construed his utterance into a pledge of the deepest
significance. For two years India presented on everything that related
to the war a front unbroken by any dissensions. The Imperial Legislative
Council passed, almost without a murmur even at its most drastic
provisions, repugnant as they were to the more advanced Indian members,
a Defence of India Act on the lines of the Defence of the Realm Act at
home, when Lord Hardinge gave an assurance that it was essential to the
proper performance of her part in the war, and it voted spontaneously
and unanimously a contribution of one hundred million pounds by the
Indian Exchequer to the war expenditure of the Empire. India had
thrilled with pride when, at Lord Hardinge's instance, her troops were
first sent, not to act as merely subsidiary forces in subsidiary
war-areas, but to share with British troops the very forefront of the
battle in France, and she thrilled again when an Indian prince, the
Maharajah of Bikanir, and Sir Satyendra Sinha, who was once more playing
a conspicuous part in the political arena, and had been one of the
oldest and ablest members of the moderate Congress party, were sent to
represent India at the first Imperial War Conference in London, and took
their seats side by side with British Ministers and with the Ministers
of the self-governing Dominions.

There was, however, another side to the picture. If India had displayed
in the best sense of the word an Imperial spirit and made sacrifices
that entitled her to be treated as a partner in, rather than a mere
dependency of, the British Empire, was she still to be denied a large
instalment at least of the political liberties which had been long ago
conferred on the self-governing Dominions? Were her people to be refused
in the self-governing Dominions themselves the equality of treatment
which her representatives were allowed to enjoy in the council-chamber
of the Empire? Whilst the Morley-Minto reforms had disappointed the
political expectations of the Western-educated classes, the measures
adopted in several of the self-governing Dominions to exclude Indian
immigration, and, especially in South Africa, to place severe social and
municipal disabilities on Indians already settled in some of the
provinces of the Union, had caused still more widespread resentment, and
nothing did more to strengthen Lord Hardinge's hold upon Indian
affection than his frank espousal of these Indian grievances, even at
the risk of placing himself in apparent opposition to the Imperial
Government, who had to reckon with the sentiment of the Dominions as
well as with that of India. The war suddenly brought to the front in a
new shape the question of the constitutional relationship not only
between Great Britain and India but between India and the other
component parts of the Empire. It was known in India that, before Lord
Hardinge reached the end of his term of office, extended for six months
till April 1916, he had been engaged in drafting a scheme of reform to
meet Indian political aspirations more fully than Lord Morley had done,
and it was known also in India that schemes of Imperial reconstruction
after the war were already being discussed throughout the Empire. The
Indian politician not unnaturally argued that if, as was generally
conceded, the constitutional relations of the Government of India to the
Imperial Government were to be substantially modified and India to be
advanced to a position approximately similar to that of the
self-governing Dominions whose governments were responsible to their own
peoples, this could be done only by opening up to her too the road to
self-government. The Extremist at once pressed the argument to its
utmost consequences. The India for which he spoke was at that time, he
declared, still willing to accept the British connection on the same
terms as the Dominions, but she must be given Dominion Home Rule at
once--not merely as a goal to be slowly reached by carefully graduated
stages, but as an immediate concession to Indian sentiment, already more
than due to her for her share in the defence of the Empire during the
war.

In the Legislative Councils there had been a political truce by common
consent after the Government had undertaken to introduce no
controversial measures whilst the war was going on. But the war dragged
on much longer than had been generally anticipated. India, to whom it
brought after the first few months an immense accession of material
prosperity by creating a great demand for all her produce at rapidly
enhanced prices, was so sheltered from its real horrors, and the number
of Indians who had any personal ties with those actually fighting in far
off-lands was after all so small in proportion to the vast population,
that the keen edge of interest in its progress was gradually blunted,
and political speculations as to the position of India after the war
were unwittingly encouraged by the failure of Government to keep Indian
opinion concentrated on the magnitude of the struggle which still
threatened the very existence of the Empire. Circumstances, for which
the British lack of imagination as well as the ponderous machinery of
Indian administration was in some measure responsible, favoured, it must
be admitted, the revival of political agitation. Some three years
elapsed after India was promised a "new angle of vision" before there
was evidence to the Indian eye that anything was being done to redeem
that promise. Lord Hardinge had taken home with him one scheme of
reforms, and his successor, Lord Chelmsford, had set to work with his
Council on another one as soon as he reached Simla. But time passed and
all this travail bore no visible fruits. Outside events also gave rise
to suspicion. The rejection by the House of Lords of the proposed
creation of an Executive Council for the United Provinces caused
widespread irritation amongst even moderate Indians, and the rumours of
a scheme to hasten on Imperial federation and to give the self-governing
Dominions some share in the control of Indian affairs aroused a very
bitter feeling, as Indian opinion still smarted under the treatment of
Indians in other parts of the Empire and remained distrustful of the
temporary compromise only recently arrived at. The Viceroy was very
reserved and reticent, and his reserve and reticence were made the
pretext for assuming that, as he had been appointed under the first
Coalition Government at home when Mr. Chamberlain succeeded Lord Crewe
at the India Office, he was the reactionary nominee of a reactionary
Secretary of State. No assumption could have been more unjust. Lord
Chelmsford's scheme was completed and sent home towards the end of 1916.
But nothing transpired as to its contents, nor as to any action being
taken upon it. Indians inferred that it was indefinitely pigeon-holed in
Whitehall. The very reasonable plea that the Imperial Government, whose
energies had to be devoted to the life-and-death struggle in which the
whole Empire was involved, had little time to devote to a serious study
of such problems as the introduction of grave constitutional changes in
India, was countered by the argument that the same Imperial Government
seemed to find no difficulty in sparing time for such measures as Irish
Home Rule, votes for women, and a large extension of the franchise in
the United Kingdom.

The long delay, whatever its causes, perplexed and alarmed even moderate
Indian opinion, which had lost the most popular of the leaders capable
of guiding it, and waited in vain for any comforting assurances from
responsible official quarters. Moreover, it allowed the Extreme wing to
set up a standard of political demands which it became more and more
difficult for any Indian to decline altogether to endorse without
exposing himself to the reproach that he was unpatriotic and a creature
of Government. As soon as it became known that Lord Chelmsford was
engaged in elaborating a scheme of post-war reforms, nineteen Indian
members of the Imperial Legislative Council hurriedly put forward a
counter scheme of their own, professedly for the better guidance of
British Ministers. Besides pressing for various more or less practical
reforms, such as the granting of commissions to Indians, the Nineteen
demanded full control for the Provincial Councils over the Executive
subject to a limited veto of the Governor of the Province; direct
election to those Councils--although nothing definite was said about the
franchise; and, in the Imperial Legislative Council, an unofficial
majority and control over the Central Government except in certain
reserved matters. The scheme was hazy, bore evident marks of haste, and
aggravated immensely the dangers with which experience had already shown
the Morley-Minto reforms to be fraught. It was an attempt to make the
Central and Provincial Governments in India dependent upon the caprice
of legislatures, with no mandate from any representative electorate and
no training in responsible government, but completely immune to the
consequences of their own mistakes. It must have led to a hopeless
deadlock and the complete paralysis of Government, but even so it did
not satisfy the more fiery members of the Indian National Congress,
where, in complete unison with the All-India Moslem League, finally
captured by some slight concessions to Mahomedan sentiment, resolutions
were passed more crude and unworkable than the scheme of the Nineteen,
and virtually amounting to Home Rule in its most impracticable shape.

The Congress was at last passing under Extremist control. Its first
session during the war was held in December 1914 in Bombay, and under
the presidency of Mr. Bupendranath Basu, afterwards a member of the
Secretary of State's Council, the proceedings reflected the general
enthusiasm with which India had rallied to the cause of the Empire. But
before the Congress met again a disease common amongst Indians and
aggravated by overwork and anxiety had carried away in April 1915, still
in the prime of life, the founder of the "Servants of India Society,"
Mr. Gokhale, himself perhaps the greatest servant of India that has
toiled in our time for her social as well as her political advancement.
His friends believed that in his case the end was precipitated by an
acute controversy with Mr. Tilak, to whom he had made one last appeal to
abandon his old attitude of irreconcilable opposition. A few months
later, in November, the veteran Sir Pherozeshah Mehta, who had fought
stoutly ever since Surat against any Congress reunion, in which he
clearly foresaw that the Moderates would be the dupes of the Extremists,
passed away in his seventy-first year, but not before he had sent a
message, worded in his old peremptory style, to Sir Satyendra Sinha,
daring him to refuse the chairmanship of the coming session which was to
be held in December in Bombay. Sir Satyendra came, and his great
personal influence kept the Indian National Congress on the rails, and
defeated the projects already on foot once more for delivering it into
the hands of Mr. Tilak and his followers. But the death of those two
pillars of the Moderate party at such a critical juncture proved to be
an irreparable loss. When Mr. Gokhale's political testament was
published, it was dismissed by the Extremists as a well-meant but quite
obsolete document. The Congress found a new and strange Egeria in Mrs.
Besant, who had thrown herself into Indian politics when, owing to
circumstances[2] which had nothing to do with politics, the faith that
many respectable Hindus had placed in her, on the strength of her
theosophical teachings, as a vessel of spiritual election was rudely
shaken. But nothing shook the mesmeric influence which she had acquired
over young India by preaching with rare eloquence the moral and
spiritual superiority of Indian over Western creeds, and condemning the
British administration of India, root and branch, as one of the worst
manifestations of Western materialism. With her remarkable power of
seizing the psychological moment, she had fastened on to the catchword
of "Home Rule for India," into which Indians could read whatever measure
of reform they happened to favour, whilst it voiced the vague aspiration
of India to be mistress in her own house, and to be freed from the
reproach of "dependency" in any future scheme of reconstruction. She
herself gave it the widest interpretation in _New India_, a newspaper
whose extreme views expressed in the most extreme form drew down upon
her not only the action of Government but the censure of the High Court
of Madras. At the Congress session held at Lucknow at the end of 1916
she shared the honours of a tremendous ovation with Tilak, whose
sufferings--and her own--in the cause of India's freedom her newspaper
compared with those of Christ on the Cross. Resolutions were carried not
only requesting that the King Emperor might be pleased "to issue a
proclamation announcing that it is the aim and intention of British
policy to confer self-government on India at an early date," but setting
forth in detail a series of preliminary reforms to be introduced
forthwith in order to consummate the "bloodless revolution" which,
according to the President's closing oration, was already in full blast.
The All-India Moslem League sitting at the same time at Lucknow followed
the Congress lead.

To those feverish days at Lucknow the session of the Imperial
Legislative Council held shortly afterwards at Delhi afforded a striking
contrast. The Great War was in its third year, and the end seemed as far
off as ever. The Government of India announced the issue of an Indian
War Loan for £100,000,000 which was well received and speedily
subscribed, and, as an earnest of the revision of the whole fiscal
relations of the Empire after the war, an increase of the import duty on
cotton fabrics, without the corresponding increase of the excise duty
which had always been resented as an unjust protection of the Lancashire
industry, abated an Indian grievance of twenty years' standing. A
Defence Force Bill opening up opportunities for Indians to volunteer and
be trained for active service responded in some measure to the agitation
for a national militia which the Congress had encouraged. The Viceroy
also announced that the system of indentured emigration to Fiji and the
West Indies against which Indian sentiment had begun to rebel was at an
end, and that the problem of Indian education would be submitted to a
strong Commission appointed, with Sir Thomas Sadler at its head, to
inquire in the first place into the position of the Calcutta University,
and he warmly invited the co-operation of Indians of all parties with
the representative Committee under Sir Thomas Holland, then already
engaged in quickening the development of Indian industries which, far
too long neglected by successive governments, was at last receiving
serious attention under the compelling pressure of a world-war.
Government and Legislature met and parted on cordial terms. But Mrs.
Besant never abated the vehemence of her Home Rule campaign, for only by
Home Rule could India, she declared, "be saved from ruin, from becoming
a nation of coolies for the enrichment of others." Access to some of the
provinces was denied to her by Provincial Governments, and the
Government of Madras decided to "intern" her. The "internment" meant
merely that she transferred her residence and most of her activities
from Madras to Ootacamund, the summer quarters of the Madras Government,
where she hoisted the Home Rule flag on her house and continued to
direct the Home Rule movement as vigorously as ever. But in her own
flamboyant language she described herself as having been "drafted into
the modern equivalent for the Middle Ages _oubliette_," and even Indians
who were not wholly in sympathy with her views were aflame with
indignation at her cruel "martyrdom." The Government of India, whilst
acquiescing in the action of the Provincial Governments, maintained an
attitude of masterly inactivity, and neither in India nor at home was an
authoritative word forthcoming as to the birth of the reforms scheme
known to be in laborious gestation.

The political tension grew more and more acute. When would Simla or
Whitehall break the prolonged silence? The publication of the
Mesopotamian Report only added fuel to the flames, as it was easy to
read into it a condemnation of Indian administration only less sweeping,
if expressed in a more restrained form, than that which Indians had for
years past poured forth upon it. There was no restraint at all in the
fierce attack delivered upon it during the subsequent debate in the
House of Commons by Lord Morley's former Under Secretary of State for
India, Mr. Montagu. He had himself visited India and was personally
known there, and his speech, cabled out at once in full, produced a
tremendous sensation, which was intensified when a few days later he was
appointed Secretary of State for India in succession to Mr. Chamberlain.
There could be no doubt whatever as to the reality of the "new angle of
vision" when on August 20 Mr. Montagu made in the House of Commons and
Lord Chelmsford in Simla a simultaneous announcement, as solemn in its
form as it was far-reaching in its implications.

The purpose of British policy, it declared, was not only "the increasing
association of Indians in every branch of the administration, but also
the greatest development of self-governing institutions with a view to
the progressive realisation of responsible government in India as an
integral part of the British Empire."

This momentous announcement was accompanied, it is true, by a
reservation to the effect "that the British Government and the
Government of India, on whom the responsibility lies for the welfare and
advancement of the Indian people, must be judges of the time and measure
of each advance; and they must be guided by the co-operation received
from those upon whom new opportunities of service will thus be
conferred, and by the extent to which it is found that confidence can be
reposed in their sense of responsibility." But it was made clear that
the declaration of policy was not meant to be a mere enunciation of
principles, for it wound up with the statement that His Majesty's
Government had "decided that substantial steps in this direction should
be taken as soon as possible, and that it is of the highest importance
that there should be a free and informal exchange of opinion between
those in authority at home and in India." For that purpose Mr. Montagu
himself was authorised to proceed to India and confer with the Viceroy,
in response to an invitation addressed originally to Mr. Chamberlain and
extended after his resignation to his successor at the India Office.

Could this great pronouncement have been made a year earlier, and with
the added authority of a Royal proclamation, it might have been received
with such widespread acclamation in India as to drown any but the
shrillest notes of dissent from the irreconcilables. The Moderates
hardly dared to admit that it fulfilled--nay, more than fulfilled--their
hopes, whilst the Extremists in the Indian National Congress, presided
over on this occasion by Mrs. Besant herself, banged, bolted, and barred
the door against any compromise by reaffirming and stiffening into
something akin to an ultimatum the Home Rule resolutions of 1916 just at
the moment when Mr. Montagu was landing in India. But the Secretary of
State was not the man to be perturbed by such demonstrations. He had the
British politician's faith in compromise, and he did not perhaps
understand fully that Indian Extremism represents a very different
quality of opposition from any that a British Minister has yet had to
reckon with in Parliament. He saw Indians of all classes and creeds and
political parties during his tour through India, but on none did he
lavish more time and more patient hearing than upon the Extremists whom
he hoped against hope to convert. He had an easier task when he tried
to disarm the resentment which his vigorous onslaught on the methods and
temper of British administration just before he took office had aroused
amongst the European members of the public services. He conferred with
governors and with heads of departments, and with representatives of the
European community. He received endless deputations and masses of
addresses, and he remained of course in close consultation with the
Viceroy in accordance with the declared object of his mission. After
four strenuous months Mr. Montagu and Lord Chelmsford signed at Simla on
April 22, 1918, a joint report which was laid before Parliament in July.

Great as had always been the responsibilities of the Secretary of State
and the Viceroy for the government of India "as by law established,"
they were on this occasion vastly greater. For two men of widely
different temperaments had to work out together a scheme for shifting
the very axis of government. They rose to the occasion. The
Montagu-Chelmsford Report will rank with the great State papers which
are landmarks of constitutional progress in the history of the British
Empire. It falls naturally and logically into two parts, the first
setting forth the conditions of the problem, the second the
recommendations for its solution; and even if the second had not
provided the foundations for the Act of 1919, the first would have
deserved to live as a masterly survey of the state of India--the first
authoritative one since the transfer to the Crown just sixty years
before. For the first time since the Mutiny it marked a reversion to the
spirit in which the Bentincks and Munros and Elphinstones had almost a
century earlier conceived the mission of England in India to lie in the
training of the Indian people to govern themselves, and for the first
time an attempt was made to appraise generously but fairly the position
of the Western-educated classes and the part they have come to play in
the Indian polity. The passage is worth quoting in full, as the
constitutional changes effected on the lines recommended by the Report
were to give them the opportunity to prove the stuff they were made of
as the political leaders of their country.

     In estimating the politically-minded portion of the people of India
     we should not go either to census reports on the one hand, or to
     political literature on the other. It is one of the most difficult
     portions of our task to see them in their right relation to the
     rest of the country. Our obligations to them are plain, for they
     are intellectually our children. They have imbibed ideas which we
     ourselves have set before them, and we ought to reckon it to their
     credit. The present intellectual and moral stir in India is no
     reproach but rather a tribute to our work. The _Raj_ would have
     been a mechanical and iron thing if the spirit of India had not
     responded to it. We must remember, too, that the educated Indian
     has come to the front by hard work; he has seized the education
     which we offered him because he first saw its advantages; and it is
     he who has advocated and worked for political progress. All this
     stands to his credit. For thirty years he has developed in his
     Congress, and latterly in the Moslem League, free popular
     convocations which express his ideals. We owe him sympathy because
     he has conceived and pursued the idea of managing his own affairs,
     an aim which no Englishman can fail to respect. He has made a
     skilful, and on the whole a moderate, use of the opportunities
     which we have given him in the legislative councils of influencing
     Government and affecting the course of public business, and of
     recent years he has by speeches and in the press done much to
     spread the idea of a united and self-respecting India among
     thousands who had no such conception in their minds. Helped by the
     inability of the other classes in India to play a prominent part he
     has assumed the place of leader; but his authority is by no means
     universally acknowledged and may in an emergency prove weak.

     The prospects of advance very greatly depend upon how far the
     educated Indian is in sympathy with and capable of fairly
     representing the illiterate masses. The old assumption that the
     interests of the ryot must be confided to official hands is
     strenuously denied by modern educated Indians. They claim that the
     European official must by his lack of imagination and comparative
     lack of skill in tongues be gravely handicapped in interpreting the
     thoughts and desires of an Asiatic people. On the other hand, it is
     argued that in the limited spread of education, the endurance of
     caste exclusiveness and of usages sanctioned by caste, and in the
     records of some local bodies and councils, may be found reasons
     which suggest that the politically-minded classes stand somewhat
     apart from and in advance of the ordinary life of the country. Nor
     would it be surprising if this were the case. Our educational
     policy in the past aimed at satisfying the few who sought after
     English education, without sufficient thought of the consequences
     which might ensue from not taking care to extend instruction to the
     many. We have in fact created a limited _intelligentsia_, who
     desire advance; and we cannot stay their progress entirely until
     education has been extended to the masses. It has been made a
     reproach to the educated classes that they have followed too
     exclusively after one or two pursuits, the law, journalism, or
     school teaching; and that these are all callings which make men
     inclined to overrate the importance of words and phrases. But even
     if there is substance in the count, we must take note also how far
     the past policy of Government is responsible. We have not succeeded
     in making education practical. It is only now, when the war has
     revealed the importance of industry, that we have deliberately set
     about encouraging Indians to undertake the creation of wealth by
     industrial enterprise, and have thereby offered the educated
     classes any tangible inducement to overcome their traditional
     inclination to look down on practical forms of energy. We must
     admit that the educated Indian is a creation peculiarly of our own;
     and if we take the credit that is due to us for his strong points
     we must admit a similar liability for his weak ones. Let us note
     also in justice to him that the progressive Indian appears to
     realise the narrow basis of his position and is beginning to
     broaden it. In municipal and university work he has taken a useful
     and creditable share. We find him organising effort not for
     political ends alone, but for various forms of public and social
     service. He has come forward and done valuable work in relieving
     famine and distress by floods, in keeping order at fairs, in
     helping pilgrims, and in promoting co-operative credit. Although
     his ventures in the fields of commerce have not been always
     fortunate, he is beginning to turn his attention more to the
     improvement of agriculture and industry. Above all, he is active in
     promoting education and sanitation; and every increase in the
     number of educated people adds to his influence and authority.

The authors of the Report were at the same time by no means unmindful of
England's responsibilities towards the vast masses still quite content
to accept the system of government which she had given them, and who
looked with undiminished faith to their British administrators for the
continuance of the peace and security and even-handed justice which they
had seldom if ever enjoyed in the same measure under their indigenous
rulers. The problem to be solved was "one of political education which
must be practical and also experimental." The politically-minded classes
had to be given an opportunity of learning how to govern and administer;
and the other classes, which have hitherto accepted unquestioningly the
government and administration given to them, had to be taught to
exercise the critical rights of intelligent citizenship. A sphere had to
be found in which Indians could be given work to do, and be held
accountable to their own people for the way they did it. That sphere had
to be circumscribed at first so as not to endanger the foundations of
Government, and yet capable of steady expansion if and in proportion as
the experiment succeeds, until the process of political education should
be complete and Indians should have shown themselves qualified for the
same measure of self-government as the Dominions already enjoy within
the British Empire.

From a careful examination of the existing structure of Government and
an exhaustive review of present conditions in India, the
Montagu-Chelmsford Report deduced two definite conclusions:

(1) It is on the Central Government, _i.e._ the Government of India,
that the whole structure rests; and the foundations must not be
disturbed pending experience of the changes to be introduced into less
vital parts. The Government of India must therefore remain wholly
responsible to Parliament, and, saving such responsibility, its
authority in essential matters must during the initial stages of the
experiment remain indisputable.

(2) While popular control can be at once largely extended in the domain
of local government, the Provinces provide the sphere in which the
earlier steps towards the development of representative institutions and
the progressive realisation of responsible government promised in the
Declaration of August 20, 1917, can be most usefully and safely taken.

The whole of the second part of the Report was devoted to working out in
considerable detail a practical scheme for giving effect to those two
conclusions. The powers and responsibilities of the Government of India
as the Central Government were left intact, but an All-Indian
legislature consisting of two assemblies, the one as popular and
democratic as a large elective majority proceeding from the broadest
practicable franchise could make it--to be called the Indian Legislative
Assembly--and the other a relatively small upper chamber to be known as
the Council of State which, composed partly of elected members and
partly of members nominated by Government or entitled _ex officio_ to
membership, was expected to provide the desired counterpoise of approved
experience and enlightened conservatism. The Report expressed the pious
hope that "inasmuch as the Council of State will be the supreme
legislative authority for India on all crucial questions and the
revising authority for all Indian legislation," it would "attract the
services of the best men available," and "develop something of the
experience and dignity of a body of Elder Statesmen"--an expression
presumably borrowed, but not very aptly, from Japan, where the Elder
Statesmen have no doubt had immense influence but never any
constitutional status. The Report had, moreover, to contemplate the
possibility of conflict between the Legislature and the Executive, and
in accordance with the first of the two main conclusions at which it had
arrived it proposed to arm the Governor-General in Council with power to
override the Legislature if it failed to pass measures or grant supplies
which he was prepared to "certify" as vital to the peace, safety, and
interests of India.

For the great experiment in the provincial sphere, the eight provinces
of Bombay, Madras, Bengal, the United Provinces, Behar and Orissa, the
Punjab, the Central Provinces, and Assam, were deemed to be already
ripe. Burma (which is not really India at all, and whose people belong
to another race and to another stage of political development), the
North-West Frontier Province, and Baluchistan (which for strategical
reasons must remain under the direct control of the Government of
India), and a few smaller areas, whose populations are altogether too
backward, were not to be touched at present. The essential feature of
the scheme was the division of the functions of the Provincial
Government into two categories: the one comprising what are now termed
"the reserved subjects," _i.e._ those with which the maintenance of
peace and order and good government is immediately bound up; and the
other, those which, though less vital, very closely affect the daily
life and common interests of the people, and which were to be called
"the transferred subjects," because it was proposed to transfer at once
the largest possible measure of power and responsibility in regard to
them to exclusively Indian shoulders. While all essential power and
responsibility in regard to "the reserved subjects" were to remain
vested in the Governor-in-Council, _i.e._ the executive body consisting
of the Governor and (under the new scheme) one British and one Indian
member of Council, real power and responsibility for dealing with "the
transferred subjects" were to be conferred on Indian Ministers
accountable to a Legislative Council in which there was to be a large
Indian non-official majority, elected also on the broadest possible
franchise. The Provincial Government would thus itself be divided into
two compartments: in the one the Governor-in-Council, responsible as
heretofore to the Government of India and to the Secretary of State,
_i.e._ the British Parliament; in the other the Governor--but not "in
Council"--acting with Indian Ministers responsible to an Indian
legislature.

This was the system of partial but progressive devolution that had
already come to be known as "Dyarchy," having been propounded in a
somewhat different form by an independent inquirer, Mr. Lionel Curtis,
whose "Letters to the People of India" on responsible Government, though
they at first caused almost as much displeasure in official as in
Extremist circles, did a great deal to educate the mind of the
"politically-minded" classes, and to prepare the ground for the
Montagu-Chelmsford Report. The authors of the Report were themselves
fully alive to the demerits as well as to the merits of dyarchy, and
they were careful to state it as their intention that "the Government
thus composed and with this distribution of functions shall discharge
them as one Government, and that as a general rule it shall deliberate
as a whole." The Governor-in-Council was to have, on the other hand,
within his narrower sphere, powers similar to those retained by the
Viceroy for overriding the Provincial Legislature in extreme cases of
conflict.

General principles were alone laid down in the Report, and its authors
confined themselves to a rough preliminary indication of their views, as
to the distribution of "reserved" and "transferred" subjects in the
Provinces and as to the constitution of electorates. The latter problem
they stated in brief terms: "We must measure the number of persons who
can in the different parts of the country be reasonably entrusted with
the duties of citizenship. We must ascertain what sort of franchise will
be suited to local conditions, and how interests that may be unable to
find adequate representation in such constituencies are to be
represented." But it was perhaps Mr. Montagu's doctrinaire Radicalism
that betrayed itself in the treatment of the question of "communal"
representation, _i.e._ the creation of separate constituencies for
various communities, which, however important or however much entitled
to make their voices heard, might be submerged in constituencies based
solely on territorial representation. "Communal representation" had been
conceded to so powerful a minority as the Mahomedans under the Indian
Councils Act of 1909; and the Report admitted that it could not be
withdrawn from them, and that it might have to be conceded to other
communities, such as the Sikhs. At the same time it developed at great
length all the theoretical arguments against the principle, viz. that it
is opposed to history, that it perpetuates class division, that it
stereotypes existing relations based on traditions and prejudices which
we should do everything to discourage.

At the risk even of travelling somewhat beyond the expressed terms of
their reference, the Secretary of State and the Viceroy could not but
recognise that the effects of great constitutional reforms, of which the
statutory application would be necessarily confined to that part of
India that is under direct British administration, must nevertheless
react upon that other smaller but still very considerable part of India
which enjoys more or less complete internal autonomy under its own
hereditary rulers. A growing number of questions, and especially
economic questions, must arise in future, which will affect the
interests of the Native States as directly as those of the rest of
India; and their rulers may legitimately claim, as the Report plainly
admitted, to have constitutional opportunities of expressing their views
and wishes and of conferring with one another and with the Government of
India. For such purposes the Report included suggestions which were to
take shape in the establishment of the Chamber of Princes.

One other recommendation of the Report deserves special notice, as it
shows the authors to have realised how seriously Parliament, though more
directly responsible than ever for the exercise of due vigilance over
Indian affairs after the transfer to the Crown, had lost touch with
them, since, with the disappearance of the East India Company after the
Mutiny, it ceased to hold the regular and exhaustive inquiries which the
renewal of the Charter had until then periodically required. As their
own scheme was designed merely to give Parliament a lead in the first of
a progressive series of constitutional reforms, they recommended that a
Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into the working of the new Indian
institutions and the general progress of the people of India should at
stated intervals determine the further stages of advance towards the
final goal of self-government. Such a Commission, armed with power to
examine witnesses, would not only enlighten British public opinion, but
also probe Indian opinion in a much more searching way than can be done
by impassioned and irresponsible arguments and counter-arguments in the
press and on platforms. It would, above all, assist Parliament to master
from time to time the many-sided problem whose progressive solution it
would have constantly to watch and periodically to determine.

The Report was a document of such magnitude and complexity, and went so
boldly to the roots of Indian government and administration, that even
amongst the absorbing preoccupations of the war, which was only just
emerging for the Allies from the terrible crisis of March-April 1918,
its publication at once provoked a considerable stream of criticism. On
the whole, British public opinion was favourable, though there was a
small but not uninfluential group of British reactionaries who at once
took up, and have ever since maintained, the position that the Report
meant, not the mending, for which they saw, moreover, very little need,
but the ending of British rule in India. Equal divergencies occurred in
Indian public opinion. An Extremist gathering in Madras declared roundly
that "the scheme is so radically wrong in principle and in detail that
in our opinion it is impossible to modify or improve it." In vain had
Mrs. Besant been released from her modern _oubliette_ before Mr. Montagu
started for India. "The scheme," she wrote in her haste, on the very day
of its publication, "is unworthy to be offered by England or to be
accepted by India." In vain had Mr. Montagu allowed himself to be
garlanded by Mr. Tilak, who was not far behind Mrs. Besant in
pronouncing the scheme to be "entirely unacceptable." The Calcutta
Provincial Conference of the Congress party held a few days later
abounded in the same sense, and a special session of the whole Congress
convoked in August in Bombay was only in form somewhat less bitterly
uncompromising, and only because it began to realise that the secession
of the more moderate elements was likely to reduce "the Parliament of
India" to a mere rump. Moderate opinion had not committed itself to
acceptance of the scheme as precipitately as the Extremists to its
rejection, but against rejection pure and simple it set its face at
once, and it rallied so steadily and surely to acceptance that few of
the Moderates attended the Provincial Congress, where they were promptly
howled down, and they determined to hold a Conference of their own in
opposition to the special Congress session. At this Conference, as well
as in the Committee of non-official members of the Indian Legislative
Council, there was a good deal of disjointed criticism of various
recommendations in the Report, not infrequently due to misunderstanding
of their import, but on the whole it was recognised as representing a
great triumph for the cause of political progress on constitutional
lines and therefore for the educated opinion of India. The breach
between the Extremists and the Moderates was clearly defined by Mr. B.L.
Mitter, a prominent Moderate of Calcutta and a member of the new
Moderate organisation, the "National Liberal League":

     The Extremists would have nothing to do with the English in the
     Government or outside; the Moderates consider co-operation with the
     English necessary for national development, political, industrial,
     economic, and otherwise. The Extremists would straightway assume
     full responsibility of Government; the Moderates think that would
     lead to chaos, and would proceed by stages. It is the difference
     between cataclysm and evolution. The Extremists' ideal is
     destruction of the existing order of things in the hope that
     something better will take its place, for nothing can be worse than
     what is; the Moderates' ideal is formation of a new order of things
     on definite progressive lines. One is chance, the other is design.
     The primary difference (so far as methods are concerned) is that
     the Extremists' method is not necessarily constitutional; the
     Moderates' method always constitutional. Some Extremists use
     violence, others work secretly and spread discontent and
     disaffection. Others again, pretending to follow legitimate methods
     of agitation, take care not to discourage unconstitutional methods
     or even crimes, nay, they miss no opportunity to applaud criminals
     as martyrs. There are others, again, who merely idealise and are
     content with rousing the passions of the people. Intrigue and abuse
     are the general weapons in the Extremists' armoury. The Moderates
     always act openly and with dignity, and follow lawful methods of
     agitation. The Extremists always oppose the Government. The
     Moderates co-operate with authority, and oppose when necessary in
     the interests of the country. Lastly, the Extremists appeal only to
     the passions of the people; the Moderates appeal to their reason.

Later developments in India itself were unfortunately to play once more
into the hands of the Extremists, and the leadership was to pass from
Mr. Tilak, who was growing old and died in the summer of 1920, and from
Mrs. Besant too, who, after being bitterly reviled by her former ally,
at last saw the error of her ways and finally went over to the Moderate
camp with the diminishing remnants of her influence, into the hands of a
new and strange figure in Indian politics, Mr. Gandhi, endowed with very
different qualities and greater spiritual influence than either of them.

But before bringing him on to the stage it may be well to follow the
progress of Indian reforms at home after the publication of the
Montagu-Chelmsford Report. It had been laid before Parliament without
any _imprimatur_ from the Cabinet, and some months passed before, with
the conclusion of the war, His Majesty's Government found leisure to
give it their collective consideration. Not till June 1919 was Mr.
Montagu in a position to move in the House of Commons the second reading
of the great Bill drafted with their authority to give effect in all
essentials to the recommendations of the Report. His powerful and lucid
exposition of its provisions and of the whole situation with which
England was confronted in India made a deep impression on the House,
though it by no means disarmed opposition, and the Bill was remitted for
consideration to a Joint Select Committee of both Houses which, chosen
impartially from all parties, proceeded to take a large mass of evidence
from British and Indian witnesses of every political complexion, and
delivered a very weighty report in November. The views of the Government
of India and of the Provincial Governments, by no means always in accord
amongst themselves, had also been before the Committee, as well as those
of the members of the Secretary of State's Council. But the alternative
proposals submitted were either impracticable or ineffective, and the
Bill which, in so far as it was modified in accordance with its
recommendations, assumed an even more liberal character. Mr. Montagu's
hands were thus strengthened for the final debates in the House of
Commons in which the opposition proved sterile in argument and weak in
numbers, and the Bill was passed through both Houses of Parliament in
time for the constitutional assent of the Crown to be given to it and
for the King-Emperor to address a solemn proclamation to the Viceroy,
Princes, and people of India on the eminently appropriate date of
Christmas Eve 1920. This Royal message of peace and goodwill set forth
in simple language both the purposes and the genesis of the Act:

     I have watched with understanding and sympathy the growing desire
     of my Indian people for representative institutions. Starting from
     small beginnings, this ambition has steadily strengthened its hold
     upon the intelligence of the country. It has pursued its course
     along constitutional channels with sincerity and courage. It has
     survived the discredit which at times and in places lawless men
     sought to cast upon it by acts of violence committed under the
     guise of patriotism. It has been stirred to more vigorous life by
     the ideals for which the British Commonwealth fought in the Great
     War, and it claims support in the part which India has taken in our
     common struggles, anxieties, and victories.

     In truth, the desire after political responsibility has its source
     at the root of the British connection with India. It has sprung
     inevitably from the deeper and wider studies of human thought and
     history which that connection has opened to the Indian people.
     Without it the work of the British in India would have been
     incomplete. It was, therefore, with a wise judgment that the
     beginnings of representative institutions were laid many years ago.
     Their scope has been extended stage by stage until there now lies
     before us a definite step on the road to responsible government.

The Act, which implemented all the principal recommendations of the
Montagu-Chelmsford Report, superseded within little more than fifty
years the Government of India Act of 1858, under which the Crown first
assumed direct responsibility for the government and administration of
India. The Royal message certainly did not exaggerate its significance.
Its actual provisions are indeed of less moment than its larger
implications and the spirit in which it will be interpreted and carried
into effect. For the right spirit to crown the new Constitution with
success we must look to Indians and British alike, not forgetting that
the changes introduced into the structure of Indian government and
administration are themselves only ancillary to the still more important
changes which must result from the recognition of Indian public opinion
as a powerful and ultimately paramount influence in the shaping of
policy. Such recognition must follow not only from the creation of
Indian representative Assemblies with a large majority of Indian elected
members but from the appointment of Indians, three in number already in
the Government of India, three in the Secretary of State's Council in
Whitehall, and in varying numbers both as Ministers and members of the
Executive Councils in Provincial Governments. Side by side with this
progressive Indianisation of the Executive of which we are witnessing
only the first stage, the Indianisation of the administrative
departments and of the public services, and not least of the Indian
Civil Service, is bound to proceed with increasing rapidity. Indians can
hardly fail to realise that, perhaps for a long time to come, they will
require the experience and driving power of Englishmen, but they will
inevitably claim increasing control over policy, now formally conceded
to them in a large Provincial sphere, until it shall have extended in
successive stages to the whole sphere of Provincial Government and
ultimately to the Central Government itself. Then, and then only, India
will actually emerge into complete Dominion Self-Government. But we
shall do well to remember, and Indians will certainly not allow us to
forget, that the terms of equality, on which her representatives are now
admitted to the innermost counsels of the Empire, have already in many
respects outstripped the Act of 1919.

FOOTNOTES:

[2] _The Evolution of Mrs. Besant_, by the Editor of _Justice_,
Madras, _Justice_ Printing Works, 1918.



CHAPTER IX

THE EMERGENCE OF MR. GANDHI


Before this great statute could be brought into operation, and even
whilst Parliament was still laboriously evolving it, a strange and
incalculable figure was coming to the forefront in India, who, favoured
by an extraordinary combination of untoward circumstances, was to rally
round him some of the most and many of the least reputable forces which,
sometimes under new disguises, the old and passive civilisation of India
is instinctively driven to oppose to the disintegrating impact upon it
of the active and disturbing energies of Western civilisation. Saint and
prophet in the eyes of the multitude of his followers--saint in the eyes
even of many who have not accepted him as a prophet--Mr. Gandhi preaches
to-day under the uninspiring name of "Non-co-operation," a gospel of
revolt none the less formidable because it is so far mainly a gospel of
negation and retrogression, of destruction not construction. Mr. Gandhi
challenges not only the material but the moral foundations of British
rule. He has passed judgment upon both British rule and Western
civilisation, and, condemning both as "Satanic," his cry is away with
the one and with the other, and "back to the Vedas," the fountain source
of ancient Hinduism. That he is a power in the land none can deny, least
of all since the new Viceroy, Lord Reading, almost immediately on his
arrival in India, spent long hours in close conference with him at
Simla. What manner of man is Mr. Gandhi, whom Indians revere as a
Mahatma, _i.e._ an inspired sage upon whom the wisdom of the ancient
Rishis has descended? What is the secret of his power?

Born in 1869 in a Gujarat district in the north of the Bombay
Presidency, Mohandas Karamchamd Gandhi comes of very respectable Hindu
parentage, but does not belong to one of the higher castes. His father,
like others of his forebears, was Dewan, or chief administrator, of one
of the small native States of Kathiawar. He himself was brought up for
the Bar and, after receiving the usual English education in India,
completed his studies in England, first as an undergraduate of the
London University and then at the Inner Temple. His friend and
biographer, Mr. H.S.L. Polak, tells us that his mother, whose religious
example and influence made a lasting impression upon his character, held
the most orthodox Hindu views, and only agreed to his crossing "the
Black Water" to England after exacting from him a three-fold vow, which
he faithfully kept, of abstinence from flesh, alcohol, and women. He
returned to India as soon as he had been called to the Bar and began to
practise as an advocate before the Bombay High Court, but in 1893, as
fate would have it, he was to be called to South Africa in connection
with an Indian legal case in Natal. In South Africa he was brought at
once into contact with a bitter conflict of rights between the European
population and the Indian settlers who had originally been induced to go
out and work there at the instance of the white communities who were in
need of cheap labour for the development of the country. The Europeans,
professing to fear the effects of a large admixture of Asiatic elements,
had begun not only to restrict further Indian immigration, but to place
the Indians already in South Africa under many disabilities all the more
oppressive because imposed on racial grounds. Natal treated them
harshly, but scarcely as harshly as the Transvaal, then still under Boer
government. In the Transvaal the Imperial Government took up the cudgels
for them, and the treatment of the Indian settlers there was one of the
grievances pressed by Lord Milner during the negotiations which preceded
the final rupture with the Boer Republics. When the South African war
broke out Mr. Gandhi believed that it would lead to a generous
recognition of the rights of Indians if they at once identified their
cause with that of the British, and he induced Government to accept his
offer of an Indian Ambulance Corps which did excellent service in the
field. Mr. Gandhi himself served with it, was mentioned in despatches,
and received the war medal. His health gave way, and he returned to
India in 1901 where he resumed practice in Bombay with no intention of
returning to South Africa, as he felt confident that when the war was
over the Imperial Government would see to it that the Indians should
have the benefit of the principles which it had itself proclaimed before
going into the war. He was, however, induced to return in 1903 to help
in preparing the Indian memorials to be laid before Mr. Chamberlain
whose visit was imminent in connection with the work of reconstruction.
On his arrival he found that conditions and European opinion were
becoming more instead of less unfavourable for Indians, and though in
1906, when the native rebellion broke out in Natal, he again offered and
secured the acceptance of an Indian Stretcher-Bearer Corps with which he
again served and received the thanks of the Governor, he gradually found
himself driven into an attitude of more and more open opposition and
even conflict with Government by a series of measures imposing more and
more intolerable restraints upon his countrymen. It was in 1906 that he
first took a vow of passive resistance to a law which he regarded as a
deliberate attack upon their religion, their national honour, and their
racial self-respect. In the following year he was consigned, not for the
first time, to jail in Pretoria, but his indomitable attitude helped to
bring about a compromise. It was, however, short-lived, as
misunderstandings occurred as to its interpretation. The struggle broke
out afresh until another provisional settlement promised to lead to a
permanent solution, when Mr. Gokhale, after consultation with the India
Office during a visit to England, was induced in 1912 to proceed to
South Africa and use his good offices in a cause which he had long had
at heart. Whether, as Mr. Gokhale himself always contended, as a
deliberate breach of the promise made to him by the principal Union
Ministers, or as the result of a lamentable misunderstanding, measures
were again taken in 1913 which led Mr. Gandhi to renew the struggle, and
it assumed at once a far more serious character than ever before. It was
then that Mr. Gandhi organised his big strikes of Indian labour and
headed the great strikers' march of protest into the Transvaal which led
to the arrest and imprisonment of the principal leaders and of hundreds
of the rank and file. The furious indignation aroused in India, the
public meetings held in all the large centres, and the protest entered
by the Viceroy himself, Lord Hardinge, in his speech at Madras, combined
with earnest representations from Whitehall, compelled General Smuts to
enter once more the path of conciliation and compromise. As the result
of a Commission of Inquiry the Indians' Relief Act was passed, and in
the correspondence between Mr. Gandhi and General Smuts the latter
undertook on behalf of the South African Government to carry through
other administrative reforms not actually specified in the new Act. Mr.
Gandhi returned to India just after the outbreak of the Great War, and
the Government of India marked its appreciation of the great services
which he had rendered to his countrymen in South Africa by recommending
him for the Kaisar-i-Hind gold medal, which was conferred upon him
amongst the New Year honours of 1915.

The South African stage of Mr. Gandhi's career is of great importance,
as it goes far to explain both the views and the methods which he
afterwards applied in India. He brought back with him from South Africa
a profound distrust of Western civilisation, of which he had
unquestionably witnessed there some of the worst aspects, and also a
strong belief in the efficacy of passive resistance as the most peaceful
means of securing the redress of all Indian grievances in India as well
as in South Africa should they ever become in his opinion unendurable.
Mr. Gokhale, before he died, obtained a promise from him that for at
least a year he would not attempt to give practical expression to the
extreme views which he had already set forth in the proscribed pamphlet
_Hind Swaraj_. At an early age Mr. Gandhi had fallen under the spell of
Tolstoian philosophy, and he has admitted only quite recently that for a
time he was so much impressed with the doctrines of Christ that he was
inclined to adopt Christianity; but the further study of the spiritual
side of Hinduism convinced him that in it alone the key of salvation
could be found, and all his teachings since then have been based on his
faith in the superiority of the Indian civilisation rooted in Hinduism
to Western civilisation, which for him in fact represents in its present
stage only a triumph of gross materialism and brute force. Nevertheless,
when the Great War broke out, he was prepared to believe that the ordeal
of war in the cause of freedom for which Britain had taken up arms might
lead to the redemption of Western civilisation from its worst evils, and
whilst in London on his way to South Africa he had already offered to
form, and to enrol himself and his wife in, an Indian Volunteer
Ambulance Corps. Yet he was not blind to the flaws of the civilisation
for which he stood. He conducted a temperance campaign amongst his
countrymen in South Africa, and, brought there into close contact with
many Indians of the "untouchable" castes, he revolted against a system
which tried to erect such insurmountable barriers between man and man.
Perhaps the best clue to the many contradictions in which his activities
have continually seemed to involve him was furnished by himself when he
said, "Most religious men I have met are politicians in disguise; I,
however, who wear the guise of a politician am at heart a religious
man," and the doctrine which he holds of all others to be the
corner-stone of his religion is that of _Ahimsa_, which, as he has
described it, "requires deliberate self-suffering, not the deliberate
injuring of the wrongdoer," in the resistance of evil.

Throughout the war Mr. Gandhi devoted his ceaseless energies chiefly to
preaching social reforms and the moral regeneration of his countrymen.
He was then an honoured guest at European gatherings, as for instance at
the Madras Law dinner in 1915, at various conferences on education, at
the Bombay Provincial Co-operative Conference in 1917 when in connection
with the admirable Co-operative Credit movement in India he lectured on
the moral basis of co-operation, at missionary meetings in which he
showed his intimate familiarity with the gospels by reverently quoting
Christ's words in support of his own plea for mutual forbearance and
tolerance. As late as July 1918 he defined _Swaraj_ as partnership in
the Empire, and war service as the easiest and straightest way to win
_Swaraj_, inviting the people of his own Gujarat country whom he was
addressing to wipe it free of the reproach of effeminacy by contributing
thousands of Sepoys in response to the Viceroy's recent appeal for fresh
recruits for the Indian army at one of the most critical moments during
the war. His comments about the same time on the Montagu-Chelmsford
scheme were by no means unfavourable, and he specifically joined in the
tribute of praise bestowed upon the Indian Civil Service for their
steadfast devotion to duty and great organising ability. Government
itself resorted to his services as the member of a Commission appointed
to inquire into agrarian troubles at Camparan, and his collaboration was
warmly welcomed by his European colleagues. Nor were there any signs of
implacable hostility to British rule in his vigorous protests in the
following year against the anti-Asiatic legislation of the South
African Union which was again stirring up bad feeling in India.

The circumstances which drove him to declare war against British rule
and Western civilisation arose out of the action taken by Government on
the report of the "Sedition Committee," which, under the presidency of
Mr. Justice Rowlatt, a judge of the High Court of King's Bench, sent out
especially to preside over it, had not only carefully explored the
origins and growth of political crime during the great wave of unrest
after the Partition of Bengal, but recommended that in some directions
the hands of the executive and judicial authorities should be
strengthened to cope with any fresh outbreaks of a similar character.
The Committee pointed out that in spite of the preventive legislation of
1911 it had become apparent before the war broke out that the forces of
law and order were still inadequately equipped to cope with the
situation in Bengal. For the duration of the war the Defence of India
Act had conferred upon Government emergency powers which had enabled the
authorities summarily to intern a large number of those who were known
to be closely connected with the criminal propaganda, but almost as soon
as the war was over their release would follow automatically upon the
expiry of the Defence Act, and a dangerous situation would arise again
if Government had nothing but the old methods of procedure to fall back
upon.

In January 1919 the Government of India announced that legislation in
conformity with the recommendations of the Sedition Committee would be
required from the Imperial Legislative Council, and two draft bills were
published, one of them embodying permanent alterations in the law and
the other arming the Executive with emergency powers. The publication of
these bills threw the country into a fresh ferment of agitation, and
even an Indian judge of undeniably moderate views, Sir Narain
Chandavarkar, declared that such measures were no longer required, as
with the advent of constitutional reforms revolutionary agitation
would, he believed, cease, and, as a warm supporter of the
Montagu-Chelmsford Report, he felt bound to protest against legislation
so entirely at variance with the spirit in which the Report had been
conceived and with the expectations which it had aroused. The Extremists
read into the bills another proof of the organised hypocrisy
characteristic of British rule in general and of the Report in
particular, and denounced them as a monstrous engine of tyranny and
oppression, against which no Indian would be safe. Government, however,
was not to be moved from its determination, and in explaining the
necessity for proceeding with the bills the Viceroy pointed out in his
opening speech that "the reaction against all authority that had
manifested itself in many parts of the civilised world was unlikely to
leave India entirely untouched and the powers of evil were still
abroad." The Indian non-official members, on the other hand, were solid
in opposition, and even those who did not challenge the report of the
Sedition Committee intimated that now the war was over they could not
acquiesce in such measures until the reforms had come into operation,
and unless it was then found that revolutionary forces were still at
work and constituted a real public danger. The two amendments, supported
by all the Indian non-official members, were voted down by the official
_bloc_. Government did something to allay opposition by agreeing that
the Act which was to have been permanent should operate for three years
only, and the title of the bill was amended to show clearly that its
application would be confined to clearly anarchical and revolutionary
crimes. It was further modified in form in the committee stage, but the
opposition within the Council remained unmoved, and outside the Council
grew more and more fierce. The Extremists who had shrunk from no efforts
to misrepresent the purpose of the bills received a great accession of
strength when Mr. Gandhi instituted the vow of _Satyagraha_, or passive
resistance, under which, if the bills became law, he and his followers
would "severally refuse to obey these laws and such other laws as a
committee to be thereafter appointed might see fit," whilst they would
"faithfully follow the truth and refrain from violence to life, person,
or property." The Moderate leaders at Delhi at once issued a manifesto
condemning _Satyagraha_, but Government stuck to its guns, the bills
being finally passed on March 18, after very hot discussion. Mr. Gandhi,
having formed his committee, proclaimed a _Hartal_, _i.e._ a
demonstrative closing of shops and suspension of business for March 30.
This _Hartal_ at Delhi started a terrible outbreak which spread with
unexpected violence over parts of the Bombay Presidency and the greater
part of the Punjab, with sporadic disturbances in the North-West
Frontier Province, and even in Calcutta.

The Delhi _Hartal_ brought for the first time into full relief the close
alliance into which the Mahomedan Extremists had been brought with the
Hindu Extremists, as well as the influence which both had acquired over
a considerable section of the lower classes in the two communities. The
political leaders had fallen into line in the Indian National Congress
and the All-India Moslem League during the 1916 and 1917 sessions, when
they united in demanding Home Rule for India, and they had united since
then in rejecting as totally inadequate the scheme of reforms
foreshadowed in the Montagu-Chelmsford Report. But not till towards the
conclusion of the war did the Mahomedan Extremists discover a special
grievance for their own community in the peace terms likely to be
imposed upon a beaten Turkey. That was a grievance far more likely to
appeal to their co-religionists than the political grievances which had
formed the stock-in-trade of Hindu Extremism, if they could be worked
upon to believe that Great Britain and her allies were plotting not
merely against the temporal power of the Ottoman Empire, but against the
Mahomedan religion all over the world by depriving the Sultan of Turkey
of the authority essential to the discharge of his office as Khalif or
spiritual head of Islam.

The agitation was at first very artificial, for the bulk of Indian
Mahomedans had until recent years known very little about and taken
still less interest in Turkey, and their loyalty had never wavered
during the war. Some of the leading Indian Mahomedans had indeed openly
disputed Sultan Abdul Hamid's claim to the Khalifate of Islam when he
first tried at the end of the last century to import his Pan-Islamic
propaganda into India. But the long delay on the part of the Allies in
formulating their Turkish peace terms allowed time for the movement to
grow and to carry with it the more fanatical element amongst Indian
Mahomedans. The Government of India tried in vain to allay Mahomedan
feeling by receiving deputations from the _Khilafat_ Association founded
to prosecute an intensified campaign in favour of Turkey, and professing
its own deep anxiety to procure what it called "a just peace with
Turkey," for which the Indian delegates to the War and to the Peace
Conferences in Europe had been constantly instructed to plead. The
greatest success which the _Khilafat_ agitators achieved was when Mr.
Gandhi allowed himself to be persuaded by them that the movement was a
splendid manifestation of religious faith, as he himself described it to
me. For, once satisfied that the cause which they had taken up was a
religious cause, he was prepared to make it his own without inquiring
too closely into its historical or political justification. For him it
became a revolt of the Mahomedan religious conscience against the
tyranny of the West just as legitimate as the revolt of the Hindu
conscience against the same tyranny embodied in the Rowlatt Acts. Whilst
Mahomedans proved their emancipation from narrow sectarianism by joining
in the _Satyagraha_ movement of passive resistance in spite of the Hindu
character impressed upon it by its Sanscrit name, it was, he declared,
for Hindus to show that they, too, could rise above ancient prejudice
and resentment by throwing themselves heart and soul into the _Khilafat_
movement. Both movements were to be demonstrations of the "soul-force"
of India, to be put forth in passive resistance according to his
favourite doctrine of _Ahimsa_, the endurance and not the infliction of
suffering.

But Mr. Gandhi, with all his visionary idealism, was letting loose
dangerous forces which recked naught of _Ahimsa_. Hindus and Mahomedans
"fraternised" at the Delhi _Hartal_ in attempts to compel its observance
by violence which obliged the authorities to use forcible methods of
repression, and of the five rioters who were killed two were Mahomedans.
These deaths were skilfully exploited by the Extremists of both
denominations, and a day of general mourning for the Delhi "martyrs" was
appointed. The spark had been laid to the train, and Hindus and
Mahomedans continued to "fraternise" in lawlessness, arson, and murder
wherever the mob ran riot. Systematic attempts to destroy railways and
telegraphs at the same moment in widely separated areas pointed to the
existence of a carefully elaborated organisation. Public buildings as
well as European houses were burnt down in half a dozen places, and
Europeans were often savagely attacked and done to death, nowhere more
savagely than at Amritsar, where five Europeans, two of them Bank
managers, were killed with the most fiendish brutality, and a missionary
lady, known for her good works, barely escaped with her life. The
authorities were not slow to take stern measures. Troops were rapidly
moved to the centres of disturbance, flying columns were sent through
the country, and armoured cars and trains and aeroplanes were used to
disperse the rioters. A Resolution issued by the Government of India on
April 14 asserted its determination to use all the powers vested in it
to put down "open rebellion" even by the most drastic means. By the end
of the month the Viceroy was able to announce that order had been
generally restored, though in some places there was still considerable
effervescence.

Had the measures taken, however stern, been confined to the repression
of actual violence and to the punishment of the guilty, the reaction
produced amongst the great majority of Indians by the atrocities which
Indian mobs had committed, and the appalling spirit of lawlessness which
inspired them, would probably have been at least as great as the
impression which they at first made upon Mr. Gandhi himself, who
suddenly recognised and admitted that he had underrated the "forces of
evil" and advised his disciples to co-operate, as he himself had done at
Ahmedabad, with Government in the restoration of order. The _Satyagraha_
Committee, of which he was President, resolved to suspend temporarily
"civil disobedience" to the laws, and the fraternisation between
Mahomedans and Hindus cooled down, when important Mahomedan associations
began to protest against the desecration of mosques by the admission of
Hindu "idolaters" to deliver fiery orations to mixed congregations
within the sacred precincts. But before the reaction could take real
effect, it was arrested by rumours of terrible happenings in the course
of the repression in the Punjab which turned the tide of Indian feeling
into an opposite direction, and for those rumours there ultimately
proved to have been no slight foundation.

The methods adopted in the Punjab had been very different from those
adopted in the Bombay Presidency, where there had been scarcely less
menacing outbursts in some of the northern districts, besides serious
rioting in Bombay itself. In Ahmedabad, the second city of the
Presidency, mob law reigned for two days. There were arson and pillage,
and murder of Europeans and Government officers. Troops had to be
hurried up to quell the disturbances, and for a short time the military
authorities had to take charge. The repression was stern; 28 of the
rioters were killed and 123 wounded in Ahmedabad alone. There were many
arrests and prosecutions. But those stormy days left no bitterness
behind them. The use of military force was not resented, because it was
directed only against the crowds actually engaged in violent rioting.
Martial law was never proclaimed, nor did the military authorities
prolong the exercise of their punitive powers beyond the short period of
active disorder, nor strain it beyond the measures essential to the
suppression of disorder. They never interfered in administrative
matters. The Bombay Government kept their heads, and there was nowhere
any wholesale surrender of the civil authority into military hands. Mr.
Gandhi, who had been turned back by the Punjab Government when he tried
to enter the Punjab, was left free by the Bombay Government, and the
value of his assistance in restoring order in Allahabad, whilst he was
in his first fit of penitence, was acknowledged by the authorities.

Very different was the intensive enforcement of martial law in the
Punjab. Even when all allowance is made for the more dangerous situation
created by a more martial population and the proximity of an always
turbulent North-Western Frontier with the added menace at that time of
an Afghan invasion, nothing can justify what was done at Amritsar where
the deliberate bloodshed at Jallianwala has marked out April 13, 1919,
as a black day in the annals of British India. One cannot possibly
realise the frightfulness of it until one has actually looked down on
the Jallianwala Bagh--once a garden, but in modern times a waste space
frequently used for fairs and public meetings, about the size perhaps of
Trafalgar Square, and closed in almost entirely by walls above which
rise the backs of native houses facing into the congested streets of the
city. I entered by the same narrow lane by which General Dyer--having
heard that a large crowd had assembled there, many doubtless in
defiance, but many also in ignorance of his proclamation forbidding all
public gatherings--entered with about fifty rifles. I stood on the same
rising ground on which he stood when, without a word of warning, he
opened fire at about 100 yards' range upon a dense crowd, collected
mainly in the lower and more distant part of the enclosure around a
platform from which speeches were being delivered. The crowd was
estimated by him at 6000, by others at 10,000 and more, but practically
unarmed, and all quite defenceless. The panic-stricken multitude broke
at once, but for ten consecutive minutes he kept up a merciless
fusillade--in all 1650 rounds--on that seething mass of humanity, caught
like rats in a trap, vainly rushing for the few narrow exits or lying
flat on the ground to escape the rain of bullets, which he personally
directed to the points where the crowd was thickest. The "targets," to
use his own word, were good, and when at the end of those ten minutes,
having almost exhausted his ammunition, he marched his men off by the
way they came, he had killed, according to the official figures only
wrung out of Government months later, 379, and he left about 1200
wounded on the ground, for whom, again to use his own word, he did not
consider it his "job" to take the slightest thought.

In going to Jallianwala I had passed through the streets where, on April
10, when the disorders suddenly broke out in Amritsar, the worst
excesses were committed by the Indian rioters. But for General Dyer's
own statements before the Hunter Commission, one might have pleaded
that, left to his own unbalanced judgment by the precipitate abdication
of the civil authority, he simply "saw red," though the outbreak of the
10th had been quelled before he arrived in Amritsar, and the city had
been free from actual violence for the best part of three days. But, on
his own showing, he deliberately made up his mind whilst marching his
men to Jallianwala, and would not have flinched from still greater
slaughter if the narrowness of the approaches had not compelled him
regretfully to leave his machine-guns behind. His purpose, he declared,
was to "strike terror into the whole of the Punjab." He may have
achieved it for the time, though the evidence on this point is
conflicting, but what he achieved far more permanently and effectively
was to create in the Jallianwala Bagh, purchased since then as a
"Martyrs' Memorial" by the Indian National Congress, a place of
perpetual pilgrimage for racial hatred.

Then, two days after--not before--Jallianwala came the formal
proclamation of martial law in the Punjab, and though there were no more
Jallianwalas, what but racial hatred could result from a constant stream
of petty and vindictive measures enforced even after the danger of
rebellion, however real it may at first have seemed, had passed away?
Sir Michael O'Dwyer protested, it is true, against General Dyer's
monstrous "crawling order," and it was promptly disallowed. But what of
many other "orders" which were not disallowed? What of the promiscuous
floggings and whippings, the indiscriminate arrests and confiscations,
the so-called "fancy punishments" designed not so much to punish
individual "rebels" as to terrorise and humiliate? What of the whole
judicial or _quasi_-judicial administration of martial law? The
essential facts are on record now in the Report of the Hunter Committee
and in the evidence taken before it, though its findings were not
entirely unanimous and the majority report of the European members, five
in number including the president Lord Hunter, formerly
Solicitor-General for Scotland, was accompanied by a minority report
signed by the three Indian members, two of them now Ministers in the
Government of Bombay and of the United Provinces respectively, who on
several points attached graver importance to the circumstances which
they themselves had chiefly helped to elicit from witnesses under
examination. Upon the Report the Government of India and His Majesty's
Government expressed in turn their views in despatches which are also
public property. The responsibility of the Government of India was so
deeply involved, and in a lesser degree that of the Secretary of State,
that in neither case was judgment likely to err on the side of severity.
The Government of India certainly did not so err, and one must turn to
the despatch embodying the views of the British Government for a
considered judgment which at least set forth in weighty terms the
principles of British policy that had been violated in the Punjab,
however short some may consider it to have fallen of the full
requirements of justice in appraising the gravity of the departure from
those principles in specific cases.

The Punjab tragedy has had such far-reaching effects in shaking the
confidence of the Indian people in the justice and even in the humanity
of British rule that it is best to quote the language in which the
British Government recorded their judgment in their despatch to the
Government of India:

     The principle which has consistently governed the policy of His
     Majesty's Government in directing the methods to be employed, when
     military action in support of civil authority is required, may be
     broadly stated as using the minimum force necessary. His Majesty's
     Government are determined that this principle shall remain the
     primary factor of policy whenever circumstances unfortunately
     necessitate the suppression of civil disorder by military force
     within the British Empire.

     It must regretfully but without possibility of doubt be concluded
     that Brigadier-General Dyer's action at Jallianwala Bagh was in
     complete violation of this principle.

The despatch proceeded to take into account the provocation offered and
the great difficulties of the position in which General Dyer was placed.
His omission to give warning before opening fire was nevertheless
declared to have been "inexcusable," his failure to see that some
attempt was made to give medical assistance to the dying and the wounded
an "omission from his obvious duty," and the "crawling order" issued by
him six days later "an offence against every canon of civilised
government."

     Upon a military commander administering martial law in a hostile
     country there lies a grave responsibility; when he is compelled to
     exercise this responsibility over a population which owes
     allegiance and looks for protection to the Government which he
     himself is serving, this burden is immeasurably enhanced. It would
     prejudice the public safety, with the preservation of which he is
     charged, to fetter his free judgment or action either by the
     prescription of rigid rules before the event or by over-censorious
     criticism when the crisis is past. A situation which is essentially
     military must be dealt with in the light of military considerations
     which postulate breadth of view and due appreciation of all the
     possible contingencies. There are certain standards of conduct
     which no civilised Government can with impunity neglect and which
     His Majesty's Government are determined to uphold.... That
     Brigadier-General Dyer displayed honesty of purpose and unflinching
     adherence to his conception of his duty cannot for a moment be
     questioned. But his conception of his duty in the circumstances in
     which he was placed was so fundamentally at variance with that
     which His Majesty's Government have a right to expect from and a
     duty to enforce upon officers who hold His Majesty's commission
     that it is impossible to regard him as fitted to remain entrusted
     with the responsibilities which his rank and position impose upon
     him. You have reported to me that the Commander-in-Chief has
     directed Brigadier-General Dyer to resign his appointment as
     Brigade Commander, and has informed him that he would receive no
     further employment in India and that you have concurred. I approve
     the decision and the circumstances of the case have been referred
     to the Army Council.

With regard to the administration of martial law the despatch considers
it

     impossible to avoid the conclusion that the majority of Lord
     Hunter's Committee have failed to express themselves in terms
     which, unfortunately, the facts not only justify, but necessitate.
     In paragraphs 16 to 25 of chapter xii. of their report the majority
     have dealt with the "intensive" form generally which martial law
     assumed and with certain specific instances of undue severity and
     of improper punishments or orders. It is unnecessary to
     recapitulate the instances which the Committee have enumerated in
     detail in both their reports, nor would any useful purpose be
     served by attempting to assess, with a view to penalties, the
     culpability of individual officers who were responsible for these
     orders, but whose conduct in other respects may have been free from
     blame or actually commendable. But His Majesty's Government must
     express strong disapproval of these orders and punishments and ask
     me to leave to you the duty of seeing that this disapproval shall
     be unmistakably marked by censure or other action which seems to
     you necessary upon those who were responsible for them. The
     instances cited by the Committee gave justifiable ground for the
     assertion that the administration of martial law in the Punjab was
     marred by a spirit which prompted--not generally, but unfortunately
     not uncommonly--the enforcement of punishments and orders
     calculated, if not intended to humiliate Indians as a race, to
     cause unwarranted inconvenience amounting on occasions to
     injustice, and to flout the standards of propriety and humanity,
     which the inhabitants not only of India in particular but of the
     civilised world in general have a right to demand of those set in
     authority over them. It is a matter for regret that,
     notwithstanding the conduct of the majority, there should have been
     some officers in the Punjab who appear to have overlooked the fact
     that they were administering martial law, not in order to subdue
     the population of a hostile country temporarily occupied as an act
     of war, but in order to deal promptly with those who had disturbed
     the peace of a population owing allegiance to the King Emperor, and
     in the main profoundly loyal to that allegiance.

This clear enunciation of bed-rock principles and emphatic condemnation
of many of the methods of repression used in the Punjab would have done
more to reassure the public mind in India had the actual punishment
inflicted on General Dyer and a few others been more commensurate with
the gravity of the censure passed on their actions, and in any case it
came far too late. It came too late to stem the rising tide of Indian
bitterness, intensified by many gross exaggerations and deliberate
inventions, which lost all sense of proportion when the Extremists
demanded Sir Michael O'Dwyer's impeachment, though many responsible
Indians had expressed their unabated confidence in him before he left
the Punjab on the expiry of his term of office, just after the troubles,
in terms more unstinted even than those in which the Government of India
and the British Government conveyed their appreciation of his long and
distinguished services--services which assuredly no errors of judgment
committed under great stress could be allowed to overshadow. It came
too late also to correct the effects of the panic that had taken
possession of the European mind when it was still largely in ignorance
of the actual facts. For most Europeans had at once rushed to the
conclusion that the outbreak in the Punjab, in which no single Sepoy
ever took part, was or threatened to be a reproduction of the Mutiny. In
the first days, as a measure of precaution, European women and children
had been hurriedly collected into places of refuge lest the horrible
excesses perpetrated by the Indian mob at Amritsar might prove the
prelude to a repetition of Cawnpore. The hardships and anxiety they
underwent and the murderous outrages actually committed on not a few
Europeans moved most of their fellow countrymen and countrywomen to
unmeasured resentment, and not until they gained at last a fuller
knowledge of all the facts so long allowed to remain obscure did a
gradual reaction set in against the belief which was genuinely
entertained by most Europeans, non-official and official in India, and
which spread from them to England, that General Dyer's action and the
rigours of martial law alone "saved India."

What drove the iron into the soul of India more than the things actually
done in the Punjab, for which many Indians admit the provocation, was
the reluctance of her rulers to look them in the face, and the tardiness
and half-heartedness of the atonement made for them. Not till nearly
half a year after the troubles had occurred did the Government of India
announce the appointment of the Hunter Committee of Inquiry, and this
announcement was coupled with the introduction of a Bill of Indemnity
for all officers of Government engaged in their repression, which wore,
in the eyes of Indians, however unreasonably, the appearance of an
attempt to shelter them against the possible findings of the Committee.
Again nearly half a year passed before the report of the Committee was
made public, and the bloom had already been taken off it for most
Indians by the report of a Commission instituted on its own account by
the Indian National Congress which, partisan and lurid as it was, never
received full refutation, as the witnesses upon whose evidence it was
based were, for technical reasons, not heard by the Hunter Committee.
The complete surrender of civil authority into military hands first at
Amritsar, and then, under orders from Simla, at Lahore and elsewhere,
was, as His Majesty's Government afterwards acknowledged, a disastrous
departure from the best traditions of the Indian Civil Service. But,
whatever the mistakes committed by the civil authority in the Punjab or
by those charged with the administration of martial law in that
province, there is above the Punjab the Government of India, and its
plea of prolonged ignorance as to the details of the occurrences in the
Punjab can hardly hold water. The preoccupations of the Afghan war which
followed closely on the Punjab troubles were no doubt absorbing, but had
the Viceroy or the Home member or the Commander-in-Chief or one of his
responsible advisers proceeded in person, the moment the disorders were
over, to Lahore or Amritsar, barely more than a night's journey from
Delhi or Simla, is it conceivable that a halt would not have been
forthwith called to proceedings which these high officers of state were
constrained later on unanimously to deplore and reprobate? And if the
Government of India were too slow to move, was there not a Secretary of
State who knew, from statements made to him personally by Sir Michael
O'Dwyer on his return to England, at least enough to insist upon
immediate inquiry on the spot? Mr. Montagu has seldom, it is believed,
hesitated to require in the most peremptory terms full information on
far more trivial matters. Had prompt action been taken in India, there
would never have been any need for the Hunter Committee. As it was,
Indian feeling had run tremendously high before its findings were made
public. So when the Government of India and the Secretary of State
published their belated judgment, the people of India weighed such a
tardy measure of justice against the dissent of an important minority in
the House of Commons and of the majority of the Lords, the stifling of
discussion in the Indian Legislature, which was still more directly
interested in the matter, and above all the unprecedented public
subscriptions in England and in India for the glorification of General
Dyer, whilst the Punjab Government was still haggling over doles to the
widows and orphans of Jallianwala--and, having weighed it, found it
lamentably wanting, until at last the Duke of Connaught's moving speech
at Delhi for the first time began to redress the balance.

The story of Jallianwala and all that followed in the Punjab scattered
to the winds Mr. Gandhi's threadbare penitence for the horrible violence
of Indian mobs, and he poured out henceforth all the vials of his wrath
on the violence of the repression, far more unpardonable, he declared,
because they were not the outcome of ignorant fanaticism, but of a
definite policy adopted by European officers high in rank and
responsibility. There was no longer any doubt in his mind that a
Government that tolerated or condoned or palliated such things was
"Satanic," and that the whole civilisation for which such a Government
stood was equally Satanic. For Indians to co-operate with it until it
had shown "a complete change of heart" was a deadly sin. To accept any
scheme of constitutional reforms as reparation for the wrongs of the
Punjab with which the wrongs of Turkey were linked up with an increased
fervour of righteous indignation when the terms of the treaty of Sèvres
became known, was treachery to the soul of India. Thence it was but a
step to the organisation of a definite "Non-co-operation" movement to
demonstrate the finality of the breach. Mr. Gandhi appealed in the first
place to the educated classes to set the example to the people. He
called upon those on whom the State had conferred honours and titles to
renounce them, upon barristers and pleaders to cease to practise in the
law-courts, and upon parents to withdraw their children from the
schools and colleges tainted with State control and State doles. If
parents would not hearken to him, schoolboys and students were exhorted
to shake themselves free of their own accord. To the people he opened up
simpler ways of "Non-co-operation" by abstaining from tea and sugar and
all articles of consumption and of clothing contaminated by alien hands
or alien industry. If all would join in a common effort he promised that
India would speedily attain _Swaraj_--the term mentioned was generally a
year--and, quit of the railways and telegraphs and all other instruments
and symbols of Western economic bondage, return to the felicity and
greatness of Vedic times. All this, however, was to be done by "soul
force" alone and without violence.

In the course of the only long conversation I had with Mr. Gandhi I
tried to obtain from him some picture of what India would be like under
_Swaraj_ as he understood it. In a voice as gentle as his whole manner
is persuasive, he explained, more in pity than in anger, that India had
at last recovered her own soul through the fiery ordeal which Hindus and
Mahomedans had undergone in the Punjab, and the perfect act of faith
which the _Khilafat_ meant for all Mahomedans, and that, purged of the
degrading influences of the West, she would find again that peace which
was hers before alien domination divided and exploited her people. As to
the form of government and administration which would then obtain in
India, he would not go beyond a vague assurance that it would be based
on the free will of the people expressed by manhood suffrage for which
Indians were already ripe, if called upon to exercise it upon truly
Indian lines. When I objected that caste, which was the bed-rock of
Hindu social and religious life, was surely a tremendous obstacle to any
real democracy, he admitted that the system would have to be restored to
its pristine purity and redeemed from some of the abuses that had crept
into it. But he upheld the four original castes as laid down in the
Vedas, and even their hereditary character, though in practice some born
in a lower caste might well rise by their own merits and secure the
deference and respect of the highest castes, "such as, for instance, if
I may in all modesty quote my own unworthy case, the highest Brahmans
spontaneously accord to me to-day, though by birth I am only of a lowly
caste." I tried to get on to more solid ground by pointing out that,
whatever views one might hold as to his ultimate goal, the methods he
was employing in trying to break up the existing schools and colleges
and law-courts and to paralyse the machinery of administration was
destructive rather than constructive, and that, confident as he might
feel of substituting better things ultimately for those that he had
destroyed, construction must always be a much slower process than
destruction; and in the meantime infinite and perhaps irreparable harm
would be done. "No," he rejoined--and I think I can convey his words
pretty accurately, but not his curious smile as of boundless compassion
for the incurable scepticism of one in outer darkness--"no, I destroy
nothing that I cannot at once replace. Let your law-courts with their
cumbersome and ruinous procedure disappear, and India will set up her
old _Panchayats_, in which justice will be dispensed in accordance with
her own conscience. For your schools and colleges, upon which lakhs of
rupees have been wasted in bricks and mortar for the erection of
ponderous buildings that weigh as heavily upon our boys as the
educational processes by which you reduce their souls to slavery, we
will give them simpler structures, open to God's air and light, and the
learning of our forefathers that will make them free men once more." Not
that he would exclude all Western literature--Ruskin, for instance, he
would always welcome with both hands--nor Western science so long as it
was applied to spiritual and not to materialistic purposes, nor even
English teachers, if they would become Indianised and were reborn of the
spirit of India. Indeed, what he had looked for, and looked in vain
for, in the rulers of India was "a change of hearts" by which they too
might be reborn of the spirit of India. He hated no one, for that would
be a negation of the great principle of _Ahimsa_, on which he expatiated
with immense earnestness.

As I watched the slight ascetic frame and mobile features of the Hindu
dreamer in his plain garment of white home-spun, and, beside him, one of
his chief Mahomedan allies, Shaukat Ali, with his great burly figure and
heavy jowl and somewhat truculent manner and his opulent robes
embroidered with the Turkish crescent, I wondered how far Mr. Gandhi had
succeeded in converting his Mahomedan friend to the principle of
_Ahimsa_. Perhaps Mr. Gandhi guessed what was passing in my mind when I
asked him how the fundamental antagonism between the Hindu and the
Mahomedan outlook upon life was to be permanently overcome even if the
common cause held Hindus and Mahomedans together in the struggle for
_Swaraj_. He pointed at once to his "brother" Shaukat as a living proof
of the "change of hearts" that had already taken place in the two
communities. "Has any cloud ever arisen between my brother Shaukat and
myself during the months that we have now lived and worked together? Yet
he is a staunch Mahomedan and I a devout Hindu. He is a meat-eater and I
a vegetarian. He believes in the sword, I condemn all violence. But what
do such differences matter between two men in both of whom the heart of
India beats in unison?"

I turned thereupon to Mr. Shaukat Ali and asked him whether he would
explain to me the application to India under _Swaraj_ of the Mahomedan
doctrine that the world is divided into two parts, one the "world of
Islam" under Mahomedan rule, and the other "the world of war," in which
infidels may rule for a time but will sooner or later be reduced to
subjection by the sword of Islam. To which of these worlds would
Mahomedans reckon India to belong when she obtained _Swaraj_? Mr.
Shaukat Ali evaded the question by assuring me with much unction that
he could not conceive the possibility of the Hindus doing any wrong to
Islam, but, if the unthinkable happened, Mahomedans, he quickly added,
would know how to redress their wrongs, for they could never renounce
their belief in the sword, and it was indeed because Turkey is the sword
of Islam that they could not see her perish or the Khalifate depart from
her.

I wondered as I withdrew how long the fiery Mahomedan would keep his
sword sheathed, did he not feel that his own personality and that of his
brother Mahomed Ali would count for very little without the reflected
halo with which they were at least temporarily invested by the
saintliness of Mr. Gandhi's own simple and austere life of
self-renunciation, so different in every way from their own. For it is
to his personality rather than to his teachings that Mr. Gandhi owes his
immense influence with the people. It is a very different influence from
that of Mr. Tilak, to whom he is sometimes, but quite wrongly, compared.
Mr. Tilak belonged by birth to a powerful Deccani Brahman caste with
hereditary traditions of rulership. He was a man of considerable
Sanscrit learning whose researches into the ancient lore of Hinduism
commanded respectful attention amongst European as well as Indian
scholars. Whatever one may think of his politics and of his political
methods, he was an astute politician skilled in all the ways of
political opportunism. Mr. Gandhi is none of these things. He is not a
Brahman, but of the humbler _Bania_ caste; he does not come from the
Deccan, but from Gujarat, a much less distinguished part of the Bombay
Presidency. He does not claim to be anything but a man of the people. He
looks small and fragile and his features are homely. He lives in the
simplest native way, eating simple native food which he is said to
prepare with his own hands, and dresses in the simplest native clothes
from his own spinning-wheel. His private life is unimpeachable--the only
point indeed in which Mr. Tilak resembled him. Though he lays no claim
to Sanscrit erudition, his speeches are replete with references to Hindu
mythology and scripture, but they usually reflect the gentler, and not
the more terrific, aspects of Hinduism. He blurts out the truth as he
conceives it with as little regard for the feelings or prejudices of his
supporters as for those of his opponents. He will tell the most orthodox
Brahman audience at Poona that if they want to be the leaders of the
nation they must give up their worldly notions of caste ascendancy and
their harsh enforcement of "untouchability"; or he will lecture a
youthful Bengalee audience, intensely jealous of their own language,
upon their shameful ignorance of Hindi, which he believes to be the
future language of India and of _Swaraj_. No one could suspect him of
having an axe of his own to grind. He is beyond argument, because his
conscience tells him he is right and his conscience must be right, and
the people believe that he is right, and that his conscience must be
right because he is a _Mahatma_, and as such outside and above caste.
His influence over the Indian Mahomedan cannot be so deep-rooted, and
the ancient antagonism between them and the Hindus still endures amongst
the masses on both sides; but it is of some significance that his warm
espousal of the grievances which large and perhaps growing numbers of
them have been induced to read into the Turkish peace terms, has led
some of his most enthusiastic Mahomedan supporters to bestow upon him
the designation of _Wali_ or Vicegerent which is sometimes used to
connote religious leadership.

No leader has ever dominated any meeting of the old Indian National
Congress as absolutely as Mr. Gandhi dominated last Christmas at Nagpur
the 20,000 delegates from all parts of India who persisted in calling
themselves the Indian National Congress, though between them and the
original Congress founders few links have survived, and the chief
business of the session was to repudiate the old Congress profession of
loyalty to the British connection as the fundamental article of its
creed, and to eliminate the reference hitherto retained, with the
consent even of the Extremists, to India's participation on equal terms
with the other members of the Empire in all its rights and
responsibilities. The resolution moved and carried at Nagpur stated
bluntly that "the object of the Indian National Congress is the
attainment of _Swaraj_ by the people of India by all legitimate and
peaceful means." Many of the members would have left out the last words
which were intended to ease the scruples of the more weak-kneed
brethren. But Mr. Jinna, a Mahomedan Extremist from Bombay, whose legal
mind in spite of all his bitterness does not blink the cold light of
reason, warned his audience that India could not achieve complete
independence by violent means without wading through rivers of blood.
Mr. Gandhi himself intimated that India did not "want to end the British
connection at all costs unconditionally," but he declared it to be
"derogatory to national dignity to think of the permanence of the
British connection at any cost, and it was impossible to accept its
continuance in the presence of the grievous wrongs done by the British
Government and its refusal to acknowledge or redress them." He explained
that the resolution of which he was the mover could be accepted equally
by "those who believe that by retaining the British connection we can
purify ourselves and purify the British people, and those who have no
such belief." He concluded on a more minatory note: "The British people
will have to beware that if they do not want to do justice, it will be
the bounden duty of every Indian to destroy the Empire"--which Mr.
Mahomed Ali, however, with less diplomacy, declared to be already dead
and buried.

That the "Non-co-operation" programme was reaffirmed at Nagpur except in
regard to the propaganda amongst schoolboys as differentiated from
students, and that threats were uttered of extending passive resistance
to the non-payment of taxes and more especially of the land tax, were
not matters to cause much surprise to those who had measured the sharply
inclined plane down which "Non-co-operation" was moving. But one hardly
sees how Mr. Gandhi can reconcile the racial hatred which was the
key-note of all the proceedings with his favourite doctrine of _Ahimsa_.
He has, however, himself, on one occasion, openly referred to a time
when legions of Indians may be ready to leap to the sword for _Swaraj_,
and though his appeal is to an inner moral force which he declares to be
unconquerable, he does not always disguise from himself or from his
followers the bloodshed which the exercise of that moral force may
involve. In an article in support of the "Non-co-operation" movement in
his organ _Young India_ the following pregnant passage occurs:

     For me, I say with Cardinal Newman: "I do not ask to see the
     distant scene; one step enough for me." The movement is essentially
     religious. The business of every God-fearing man is to dissociate
     himself from evil in total disregard of consequences. He must have
     faith in a good deed producing only a good result; that, in my
     opinion, is the Ghita doctrine of work without attachment. God does
     not permit man to peep into the future. He follows truth, although
     the following of it may endanger life. He knows that it is better
     to die in the way of God than to live in the way of Satan.
     Therefore, whoever is satisfied that this Government represents the
     activity of Satan has no choice left to him but to dissociate
     himself from it.

Are there any limits to the disastrous lengths to which a people may not
be carried away by one who combines to such ends and in such fashion
religious and political leadership?



CHAPTER X

SIDE-LIGHTS ON THE ELECTIONS


On probably the last of seventeen visits to India spread over some forty
years, I landed after three years' absence in Bombay early in November
1920, on the eve of the first elections for the new popular assemblies
created by the Act of 1919.

Municipal elections there had been in India for a long time past, and
elections for the Councils since 1909, but on a very restricted
franchise or by indirect processes. To provide a real measure of popular
representation, and even to secure the usefulness of the reforms as a
means of political education for the Indian people, the franchise was
now placed on as broad a basis as possible, whilst in mapping out the
constituencies the principle of separate representation for particular
races and creeds and special interests had to be taken into account. The
territorial basis prevailed largely, and rural and urban constituencies
corresponded roughly to county and borough constituencies in this
country, but besides the "general constituencies" for all qualified
electors indiscriminately, "special constituencies" had to be created
wherever required for "community" representation, whether of Mahomedans,
or, in the Punjab, of Sikhs, or, in Madras, of non-Brahmans, or, in the
large cities, of Europeans and of Eurasians, besides still more
specialised constituencies for the representation of land-holders,
universities, commerce, and industries. There was no female suffrage,
and no plural vote. No elector could vote both in a "general
constituency" and in a "special" one. The qualifications laid down for
the franchise were of a very modest character. Illiteracy was no bar, as
to have made it so in a country where barely 10 per cent of the adult
males attain to the slender standard of literacy adopted for census
purposes would have reduced the electorate to very insignificant
proportions, and many Indians who cannot read or write have often quite
as shrewd a knowledge of affairs as those who can. The franchise varied
in slight details from province to province, but generally speaking was
based on a property qualification measured by payment of land revenue or
of income-tax or of municipal rates. Military service counted as a
special qualification. Under these regulations about 6,200,000 electors
were registered, or nearly 2-3/4 per cent of the total population
throughout India under direct British administration, excluding the
areas to which the Act of 1919 was not to apply.

The regulations, however, merely supplied the rough framework; the task
of compiling the lists of qualified electors devolved upon the
Government officers and special election commissions appointed _ad hoc_
throughout the country, and to the much-abused Civil Service mainly
belongs the credit of having made it possible to hold the elections
within less than a year of the passing of the Act. In the Bombay
Presidency, for instance, where I had my first opportunity of seeing the
new electoral system at work, the electoral rolls finally included some
550,000 electors out of a population of about 20,000,000 of widely
different races and creeds, speaking three absolutely different
languages. Even more laborious than the compiling of voters' lists was
the task of explaining to the vast majority of voters what the vote
meant, why they ought to use it, and how they had to record it. At many
polling stations ballot-boxes were provided of different colours or
showing different symbols--a horse, a flag, a cart, a lion,
etc.--adopted by candidates to enable the voter who could not read their
names to drop his ballot ticket into the right box without asking
questions apt to jeopardise the secrecy of the ballot.

Many voters instinctively distrusted the privilege suddenly thrust on
them, and scented in it some trap laid by Government, perhaps for
extracting fresh taxation, or worse. Many more remained wholly
indifferent and saw no reason for putting themselves to the slightest
trouble in a matter with which they could not see that they had any
personal concern. Except in large centres, the candidates themselves
often did very little to disarm distrust or to combat indifference.
There was little or no electioneering of the kind with which we are
familiar; and when once "Non-co-operation" led to the withdrawal of
Extremist candidates, there was generally no serious line of political
cleavage between the others, who, especially in the rural districts,
where their neighbours already knew all about them, were content to rely
on their local influence and personal reputation to carry them through.

The battle, in fact, was not fought out chiefly at the polls. It was
waged very fiercely in the press and on the platform between those who
were bent on paralysing the reforms as the malevolent conception of a
"Satanic" Government and those who were determined to bring them to
fruition, not indeed in blind support of Government, but as a means of
exercising constitutional pressure on the Government. Mr. Gandhi
certainly succeeded not only in dissuading his immediate followers but
in frightening a good many respectable citizens who have no heart for
militant politics from coming forward as candidates. Could he have made
"Non-co-operation" universally effective, there would have been no
candidates and no nominations, no elections and no councils. But in this
he failed, as some of the more worldly Extremists foresaw who obeyed him
in this matter with reluctance. In the Bombay Presidency, Gokhale,
though dead, had a large share in the victory of the old principles for
which he had stood when there had been little will to co-operate on the
part either of Government or of the majority of Western-educated
Indians. For none fought the battle of the Moderates more steadfastly
and faced the rowdiness of the "Non-co-operationists" more fearlessly
than Mr. Srinivasa Sastri, who had succeeded him as the head of his
"Servants of India" Society, and Professor Paranjpe, who had long been
closely associated with him in educational work at the Ferguson College
in Poona. Enough Moderates were found to stick to their colours in
practically every constituency, and they secured their seats, in the
absence of Extremist nominations, without contest, or after submitting
their not very acute political differences to the arbitrament of the
polls.

Nowhere had the Extremists developed their plan of campaign on more
comprehensive lines than in those great United Provinces of Agra and
Oudh, which with their huge and dense population of over forty-eight
millions under one provincial government form the largest and in some
respects the most important administrative unit in British India. It was
within the area which it now covers that the Mutiny broke out and, with
the exception of Delhi itself, was mainly confined and fought out. The
bitter memories of that period have not yet wholly vanished. It contains
a larger proportion than any other province of historic cities--Agra,
Lucknow, Cawnpore, Muttra, Jhansi, Benares, Allahabad, some of them
still the nerve centres of Hinduism and of Islam. The Mahomedans form
only a minority of about one-sixth of the population, but their
influence must not be measured merely by numbers, for one of the
distinctive features of the United Provinces is the survival of a great
landed aristocracy in which the Mahomedans are largely represented.
Nowhere else, indeed, is the land still held in such an overwhelming
proportion by great landlords, or the rights of the humble tillers of
the soil more precarious.

The Extremists were quick to exploit the various fields of agitation
which those peculiar conditions provide. They even launched the forces
of "Non-co-operation" against the two Indian universities only founded
within the last few years, in deference to the demands of the Indians
themselves, on frankly denominational lines, in derogation of the very
principle of undenominational education that we had upheld in all other
Indian universities. It is one of the many strange anomalies of
Gandhiism that it should have elected to concentrate its wrecking policy
on the very universities in which Islam and Hinduism respectively have
been conceded a closer preserve than anywhere else for the training of
Indian youths in the spirit of the two great national religions of
India. The joint efforts of the Hindu saint and of his chief Mahomedan
henchmen, the brothers Ali, failed to take either the Hindu or the
Mahomedan stronghold by storm. Mr. Gandhi, indeed, showed some
reluctance to press his attack upon the Hindu university at Benares with
anything like the same vigour with which he backed up Mahomed and
Shaukat Ali's raid on the Mahomedan university at Aligurh, and from so
marked a contrast many Mahomedans might have been expected to draw very
obvious conclusions.

More insidious, and perhaps more dangerous, was the organised attempt of
the Extremists to get hold of the agricultural masses through the
widespread discontent, by no means of recent date, due to the peculiar
conditions of land tenure in these provinces. In an essentially
agricultural country such as India still is, and must probably always
remain, agrarian questions are amongst the most difficult and
complicated with which British rule has had to deal. For they present
themselves in the different provinces in forms as diverse as the past
history and local conditions of each province, long before it was
brought under British administration, had combined to make them. Whereas
in the Bombay Presidency, for instance, land is chiefly held by small
landlords and peasant proprietors, it was held in Agra and Oudh before
they became British by a great landed aristocracy whose rights, like
all established rights, it was a principle of British policy to respect,
and the _talukdars_ of Oudh and the _zemindars_ of Agra stood for the
most part very loyally by the British _Raj_ during the Mutiny, and have
continued to stand by Government in many difficult if not equally
critical moments since then.

The relationships, varying almost _ad infinitum_ between landlords and
tenants and sub-tenants, have created marked differences which still
exist very widely in the two divisions of the United Provinces. In Agra,
about half the tenants possess at least occupancy rights, but only a
very small percentage in Oudh enjoy even that measure of protection.
There have been successive endeavours to improve the position of the
tillers of the soil by benevolent legislation. But worse even than the
precarious nature of the tenures are the many forms of arbitrary
exaction to which bad landlords can subject their peasants without any
definite breach of the law. Often landlords who want to build a new
house or send a son to England or buy a new motor simply levy an extra
anna in the rupee on their rent-rolls which the wretched tenants dare
not refuse to pay. As in many other matters, the ancient institution of
caste, which is still the corner-stone of the whole Indian social
structure, introduces yet another disturbing factor. For tenants and
sub-tenants who belong to the depressed castes are exposed to much
harsher treatment at the hands of their superior landlords than those
who are privileged to belong to less down-trodden castes. Even the best
landlords who show some real consideration for their people are actuated
rather by a natural kindliness of disposition than by any conscious
sense of duty or recognition of the special responsibilities that attach
to their high position. Government has for some time past realised the
necessity of dealing with these questions on broader lines, but when the
reforms scheme first took substance, legislation was, not unreasonably,
postponed until the new Councils met, though the subject is not one of
those transferred under the Act to Indian ministers.

Agrarian questions, moreover, are very intimately connected with the
larger question of land revenue, in regard to which there are signs of a
considerable change in the attitude of the politically-minded classes,
or at least of the Moderate section. For a long time the lawyer element,
always very strong in the Indian National Congress, was not particularly
keen to see it take up agrarian questions which would have probably
estranged a good many fat clients, and some, though perhaps fewer,
political supporters, amongst the land-owning classes. The old Congress
platform was, moreover, drawn up by and for the _intelligentsia_ of the
towns, who had little in common with the great rural population of
India; and in so far as it professed to champion also the agricultural
interests of the country, it preferred to concentrate its attacks on the
general system of Indian land revenue and to press for its revision on
the lines of the "permanent settlement" in Bengal--not so much perhaps
on account of any intrinsic merits of that "settlement," as because it
was identified with the province which was then regarded as in the van
of Indian political progress and enlightenment. The "permanent
settlement" in Bengal, effected more than a century and a quarter ago by
Lord Cornwallis under a complete misapprehension, as was afterwards
realised, of the position of the Bengalee _zemindars_, determined once
and for all the proportion of land revenue which Government was entitled
to collect in the province, instead of leaving it, as in other parts of
India it is still left, to be varied from time to time after periodical
inquiry into the constantly varying yield and value of the land. The
result in Bengal has been highly satisfactory from the point of view of
the large land-owners whose property has appreciated enormously with the
general growth of prosperity during a long period, unprecedented in its
earlier annals, of internal and external peace. It has been less
satisfactory to the tenants with inferior and infinitely subdivided
interests who have shared very little in the increased wealth of their
superior landlords, and nowhere else has sub-infeudation been carried to
such extravagant lengths. But for the State, above all, the results have
been singularly unfortunate, as it has debarred itself from taking toll
of the unearned increment that has been constantly accruing to the
_zemindars_.

So long as the National Congress saw little or no hope of securing the
transfer of any substantial share in the governance of the country to
Indian shoulders, it could afford to indulge in wholesale criticism of
Government finance and to propose sweeping changes without stopping to
consider ways and means or to weigh the ultimate effects upon the
revenue of the State, and it was easy for it to court popularity by
inveighing against the land tax and advocating the extension of the
"permanent settlement" to the whole of India as a sovereign panacea. But
sober Indian politicians have begun to look farther ahead and to reckon
with the costs of the many popular reforms which Indian Ministers will
be expected to carry through in the new Councils. Mr. Gandhi and his
followers, who are determined if possible to wreck them, are deterred by
no such considerations, and the non-payment of the land tax, which must
remain the backbone of Indian revenue, already figures in their
programme of "Non-co-operation," of which the avowed object is to
paralyse Government and render British rule impossible without any
resort to the methods of violence they profess to deprecate. It can
hardly fail to prove a fairly popular cry, for there is no more
unpalatable form of co-operation with Government all the world over than
the payment of taxes, and the Extremists combine this part of their
propaganda with more specialised efforts to capture the confidence of
the particular classes amongst the peasantry who have rent and tenure
grievances by warmly espousing their cause against the landlords and
inciting them to organised resistance. They not only stimulate thereby
a general feeling of unrest and discontent, but they actually carry the
war to the very doors of the great land-owning class which has hitherto
been least accessible to revolutionary influences.

This was one of the special features of the "Non-co-operation" campaign
in the United Provinces, and Mr. Gandhi himself arrived on the scene to
lend it the full weight of his personal influence on the very eve of the
elections. How extraordinary is the influence of his mesmeric
personality and style of oratory I realised when I drove out on the day
of the elections into a district outside Allahabad where he had himself
addressed on the previous afternoon a vast crowd of twenty thousand
peasants. It was about noon, and only a few creaking bullock-carts and
"the footfall mute of the slow camel"--neither of them suggestive of a
hotly contested election--disturbed the drowsy peace which even in the
coolest season of the year in Upper India falls on the open country when
the sun pours down out of the cloudless sky. Here at a roadside shrine a
group of brightly dressed village women were trying to attract the
attention of a favourite god by ringing the little temple bell. There
some brown-skinned youngsters were driving their flock of goats and
sheep into the leafy shelter of the trees. But the fields, now bare of
crops, were lifeless, and the scattered hamlets mostly fast asleep.
About fifteen miles out we reached the big village of Soraon--almost a
small township--in which there seemed equally little to suggest that
this was the red-letter day in the history of modern India that was to
initiate her people into the great art of self-government. Still the
small court-house, we found, had been swept and garnished for use as a
polling station. Two small groups of people stood listlessly outside the
building, the candidates' agents on the one side of the entrance, and on
the other the _patwaris_--the village scribes who keep the official land
records--brought in from the different villages to attest the signatures
and thumbmarks of the voters. Inside, the presiding officer with his
assistants sat at his table with the freshly printed electoral roll in
front of him and the voting paper to be handed to each voter as he
passed into the inner sanctuary in which the ballot-boxes awaited him.
But voters there were none. From eight in the morning till past twelve
not a single voter had presented himself out of over 1200 assigned to
this polling station, nor did a single one present himself in the course
of the whole day.

Nowhere else, however, was the boycott so effective, and throughout the
province a full third of the qualified electors recorded their
votes--not a bad percentage under such novel conditions and in the face
of such a determined effort to wreck the elections. The land-owning
class secured the representation to which its hereditary influence
unquestionably entitles it, but it has held so much aloof from modern
education that with some notable exceptions it contributes numbers
rather than capacity to the Council. With forty-four members belonging
to the legal profession out of a total of one hundred members this
Provincial Council, like most others, is doubtless somewhat overstocked
with lawyers. But upon no other profession has Mr. Gandhi urged more
strongly the duty of "Non-co-operation," and that, after having been for
years conspicuous for political disaffection, it should have rallied so
generally in support of the reforms shows how great is the change they
have wrought amongst the Western-educated classes. Nowhere in the United
Provinces was the electoral battle so fierce as in the town of Jhansi,
where Mr. Chintamani, once the irreconcilable editor of the Allahabad
_Leader_, came out at the head of a large poll, though in order to
defeat him the "Non-co-operationists" sacrificed their principles and
put up and supported with their own votes an obscure candidate by whose
election they hoped to bring the new Council into contempt.

The outstanding feature of the elections in Bengal was the striking
evidence afforded of a return to political sanity in a province which, a
dozen years ago, was the chief political storm-centre in India. Many of
the same leaders who, formerly, at least dallied with lawlessness during
the violent agitation that followed the Partition of Bengal now came
forward openly as champions of constitutional progress on the lines of
the new reforms and as candidates for the new Councils. They knew what
all their own attempts to make a _Swadeshi_ boycott really effective by
developing "national" industries and substituting "national" products
and "national" trade agencies for foreign ones had ended in. They
remembered the failure of the "national" schools and colleges which were
to have supplanted Government schools and colleges. They realised that a
dangerous propaganda which had involved hundreds of immature youths in a
network of criminal conspiracies had tended to the subversion of every
principle of authority, at the expense of the parent at least as much as
of good government and public peace. When the famous Pronouncement of
August 20, 1917, opened up for India the prospect of ultimate
self-government within the Empire, and the recommendations of the
Montagu-Chelmsford Report finally took shape in a new Government of
India Act, there was found a solid body of public opinion in Bengal
which had been taught by actual and very costly experience not to throw
away the substance for the shadow. The most influential perhaps amongst
the Extremists during the Anti-Partition campaign was Mr. Arabindo
Ghose, who, like Mr. Gandhi, had studied in England and with great
distinction. Though, unlike Mr. Gandhi, he never indulged in wholesale
denunciations of Western civilisation, his newspaper, the _Yugantar_,
was a daily trumpet-call to revolt against British rule, and he himself
narrowly escaped conviction on a charge of bomb-making. Yet as far back
as 1910, from his place of retirement in Pondicherry, he issued after
the Morley-Minto reforms had been promulgated a significant message to
his fellow-countrymen advising them to accept partial _Swaraj_ as a
means to ensure complete _Swaraj_, and amongst the literature that
helped to defeat "Non-co-operation" in Bengal, one of the most striking
pamphlets was one entitled "Gandhi or Arabindo?" in which a very fervent
disciple and collaborator of the latter in the most fiery days of the
_Yugantar_ argued with great force the case for co-operation with
Government against "Non-co-operation" as now preached by Mr. Gandhi.
Only less remarkable has been the conversion of many other old Bengalee
leaders, including the veteran Sir Surendranath Banerjee, who never,
however, went quite to the same lengths of extremism.

During the electoral campaign Mr. Gandhi could still find large
audiences, not all consisting of excitable students, to acclaim him or
to listen open-mouthed to his ceaseless flow of eloquence. But the
electors went to the polls and voted for the candidates against whom he
and his followers had fulminated, and, in the rural districts
especially, election meetings often refused to listen to any elaborate
political dissertations, and wanted only to hear what the candidates
were prepared to do for elementary education, sanitation, schools,
roads, etc. So the Bengal elections too resulted in the return, often by
relatively large bodies of voters, of members pledged and competent to
co-operate with Government. The _Khilafat_ agitation, accompanied in
Bengal as everywhere else by aggressive religious intimidation, affected
the polling in some of the Mahomedan constituencies. But during the
Anti-Partition campaign Mahomedans and Hindus had been in opposite
camps, whereas Mr. Gandhi was now making a strong and to some extent
successful bid for Mahomedan support by endorsing the Mahomedan
grievance. So the Mahomedan change of front merely emphasised
"Non-co-operation's" defeat in Bengal.

Equally hopeful were the signs of a better understanding and of the
revival of a spirit of friendly co-operation between Indians and
Englishmen in Calcutta, hitherto regarded, not quite without reason, as
a stronghold of reactionary European conservatism, especially amongst
the non-official community. It can hardly be denied that, except where
official relations brought them into contact--and not always
there--Europeans and Indians have lived too much in separate water-tight
compartments until each has ceased to see anything but the beam in the
other's eye. In Calcutta they have been far more rarely drawn together
in commercial and industrial co-operation, and they have rubbed up less
frequently against each other in healthy competition than, for instance,
in Bombay. It is one of the most promising features of the new reforms
that the Europeans, who have hitherto taken very little interest in
anything that was not directly connected with their own business or
their own amusements, have been at last roused to play the part which it
is their duty as well as their right to play in the political life of
the country, and the men who have been returned to sit in the new
Councils as the representatives of the European community seem to
realise fully, the importance of the task that is before them in giving
a practical example of what the helpful co-operation of Europeans with
Indians can do to promote the healthy political life of the country.

In social service there is an equally large field of co-operation of
which Calcutta has also provided an interesting illustration. In no
other city in India are University students, of whom there are nearly as
many--some 26,000--at the one university of Calcutta as in all the
universities of Great Britain put together, thrown so much on their own
resources without any guidance or control. The bulk of them may never
come in contact even with European professors, let alone with the
European community in general. What opportunities have they of forming
any opinion for themselves of what our civilisation stands for, except
possibly through the medium of cheap cinemas in which its worst and most
vulgar features are thrust before them? Bengalee youths are
extraordinarily quick to respond to the best European influence when it
has once established contact with them. Some teachers do secure a
strong personal hold upon them, most of all in the missionary and other
hostels where they live under the same roof with them, take part in
their games as well as in their studies, and encourage them to express
their own opinions freely and fearlessly. There relations of mutual
friendship and confidence grow up and endure. In this respect the
Y.M.C.A., in which Indian Christians act in close co-operation with
broad-minded Englishmen, has done admirable work, and none better and
with more definite and immediate results than when Government turned to
them for assistance last year in the difficult situation created by the
royal amnesty which required the immediate liberation of nearly a
thousand young Bengalees who, having been more or less concerned in
conspiracies and dacoities during the troublous years before the war,
had been interned after its outbreak under administrative orders. In
many cases they had broken with their families, who were not inclined to
take them back. Many had no means of earning a livelihood. To let them
loose upon the world without any provision for them would have been to
drive them to desperation. The Y.M.C.A. stepped into the breach. They
were given the use of an internment camp which German war _détenus_ had
vacated, and with the help of Mr. B.C. Chatterjee, who was well known to
that particular class of Indians for having constantly appeared as
counsel for the defendants in the innumerable political prosecutions of
the preceding decade, and had himself formed an Indian Committee for a
similar purpose, they induced a large number of these young fellows to
come to them. They were at first rather distrustful, but Mr.
Chatterjee's political past and the warm-hearted sympathy of Mr. Rahu,
an Indian Y.M.C.A. worker who was placed in charge of the hostel, soon
disarmed their suspicions. They learnt to appraise at their real value
the malicious rumours set afoot to prejudice them against their new
friends, and began to respond cordially to a generous treatment,
physical and moral, which was so unlike all that they had heard about
Western methods. They were given food and lodging, newspapers,
magazines, and books, and, when necessary, medical advice and care. They
had opportunities of learning a trade and securing employment as well as
facilities for indoor and outdoor recreation, and carefully planned
social gatherings helped to restore their self-respect and confidence.
To their credit be it said, their conduct was unexceptionable, and not a
single complaint was received with regard to any of those who thus found
a new start in life. One could well credit the assurance that they were
all as much opposed to any reversion to "Non-co-operation" as Sir
Surendranath Banerjee himself.

Much must always depend upon the example set by those in authority not
only as administrators but as the natural leaders of both European and
Indian society. Lord Ronaldshay, whose appointment as Governor of Bengal
was not at first very well received by the politically minded Indians in
Calcutta, has succeeded by patient effort in convincing them that they
have a genuine as well as a candid friend in him, and even his social
popularity is due not merely to the generosity of his hospitality but to
the keen interest he takes, amongst other things, in the renascence of
Indian art in which Bengal has taken the lead. There is amongst
Europeans in India a good deal of Philistine contempt for all Indian
forms of culture, and Indians are surprised and grateful when Governors
like Lord Ronaldshay, and his predecessor, Lord Carmichael, frankly
acknowledge that whilst Indian painting and Indian music are ruled by
other canons than those of the West, they pursue none the less high
ideals along different paths. What Indians look for too often in vain
from Europeans is any hearty attempt either to understand them or to
make them understand us. The influence which Lord Ronaldshay had
acquired by such forms of co-operation with the Indian mind stood him
and the Bengal Provincial Council in good stead when he had on one
occasion to appeal to it to reconsider its hasty refusal of a grant in
which it would have been impossible for Government to acquiesce, lest he
should be driven to override it by the exercise of the statutory powers
vested in him. He gave it to be understood that, if they became
frequent, such conflicts of opinion between him and the Council would
put an end to his usefulness either to the Government or to the
Presidency, and he would feel justified in demanding his release from
responsibilities he would no longer be able satisfactorily to discharge.
The Council was wise enough to take the hint and not to risk losing a
Governor who had done so much to earn the confidence of Bengal, and by
correcting an error of judgment, due chiefly to inexperience, it
confirmed the victory which had been won over "Non-co-operation" at the
polls.

Even in the storm-tossed Punjab the new Provincial Council made a better
start than might have been expected from the temper of Lahore and the
other large centres still brooding over the bitter memories of 1919. In
the Punjab and in the neighbouring North-West Frontier Province,
formerly itself part of the Punjab--but excluded from the operation of
the new Government of India Act and therefore lying outside this
survey--the _Khilafat_ agitation has gone deeper than probably in any
other part of India amongst large and very backward Mahomedan
populations. Yet upon the Punjab itself so cruel a lesson has not been
lost as that taught to thousands of unfortunate Mahomedan peasants in
the Frontier Province who were persuaded to give up their lands and trek
into Afghanistan to seek the blessings of Mahomedan rule, and came back
starved and plundered from their ill-starred exodus undertaken for the
sake of Islam. In Lahore and in the other chief urban constituencies
"Non-co-operation," with its usual methods of combined persuasion and
intimidation, was so far successful that not 5 per cent of the electors
went to the poll. In some of the Mahomedan rural constituencies the
attendances at the polls were, on the other hand, fairly large,
especially in those where the influence of old conservative families was
still paramount. Altogether the Punjab Provincial Council is perhaps
less representative of the whole electorate than in any other province
in India. Some official ingenuity had been displayed in grouping remote
towns together without any regard for geography, in order to prevent
townsmen undesirably addicted to advanced political views from standing
as candidates for the rural constituencies in which many of the smaller
towns would otherwise have been naturally merged. This was a last effort
based on the old belief that the population of the Punjab could be
divided into goats and sheep, the goats being the "disloyal" townsmen
and the sheep being the "loyal" peasantry. There may have been substance
in that belief before 1919, but how little there is in it now has been
shown by the large majority who, in an assembly in which it is just the
rural constituencies that are most effectively represented, passed a
Resolution for the remission of the fine imposed on Amritsar to punish
the disorders in that city, already amply punished, they considered, at
Jallianwala. The presence in the new Government of Mr. Harkishen Lal,
himself condemned two years ago under martial law to transportation for
life and treated for months as a common criminal, has done more than
anything else perhaps to restore public confidence. He was elected to
the Council, not by political firebrands, but by a sober constituency
specially constituted to represent the Punjab Industries, and in
courageously choosing him to be one of his new Ministers, the Governor,
Sir Edward MacLagan, gave a striking demonstration, of which the effect
has not been confined to the Punjab, of the profound change that has
been wrought in the attitude of the official world towards the
politically minded classes.

An appalling incident last spring showed how quick the fierce races of
Northern India are to burst into violent feuds amongst themselves for
which no responsibility can be imputed to their alien rulers. The
Sikhs, though less numerous than the Hindus and the Mahomedans, form an
extremely influential community in the Punjab, which was the cradle and
always has been the stronghold of their religion, and was only a century
ago the seat of their political and military power. Not many years ago,
however, Sikhism, which began in Moghul times as a revolt against the
social and religious trammels of Hinduism as well as against Mahomedan
domination, seemed to be tending steadily towards resorption into the
Hindu system. Its temples, most of them richly endowed, had passed out
of the control of the community, to whom they in theory belonged, into
the possession of lukewarm Mahunts, or incumbents, many of them half
Hinduised and most of them more concerned with the temporal advantages
than with the religious duties of their office. Even in the days of the
militant Sikh Confederacy under Ranjit Singh, upon whom religion sat
rather lightly, there was a growing trend towards laxity of belief and
practice, which continued to spread after the British annexation of the
Punjab had broken the political power of the Sikhs. Strange to say, the
old customs of pure Sikhism survived nowhere so immune from decay as in
the Sikh regiments of our Indian Army. But with the growth of Indian
Nationalism, which often manifested itself at first in a revival of
local and racial patriotism, there arose amongst the Sikhs a vigorous
reform movement which aimed at rebuilding their nationhood on the solid
foundations of the faith originally preached by their ten Gurus, or
religious teachers, and the strict observance of the peculiar customs
that were the badge of their faith. The first important step was the
opening of the Khalsa College for Sikhs at Amritsar in 1892, which did
not, however, fulfil its real purpose until it was gradually emancipated
from Government control. A religious Diwan, or assembly, was constituted
at Lahore, to which local bodies were affiliated, with the object of
preaching purity of religion and promoting the abolition of caste
distinctions and other Hindu influences that had crept back into
Sikhism.

In its essence a puritan movement, there was unquestionably a
nationalist side to it which tended to render it suspect in the eyes of
many Punjab officials, and these suspicions were heightened by the
_Gadr_ conspiracy fomented in the second year of the war by a number of
Sikhs, who returned from Canada bitterly estranged from British rule by
the anti-Asiatic policy of the Dominion and still more by the fiery
eloquence of Indian revolutionaries in German pay. But against the
disloyalty of a small section must be weighed the loyal war services of
the vast majority of Sikhs, and the Punjab Government proudly boasted at
the time that there were 80,000 Sikhs serving in the army, a proportion
far higher than in the case of any other community. It was doubtless
partly in recognition of such war services that in the reforms scheme
they were given the benefit of "community" representation in the new
Councils on the same lines as the Mahomedans. But with a tenacious
memory of the language used years ago by Lord Minto in reply to
Mahomedan representations, they still complain that the historical
importance and actual influence of their community have not received
nearly as full a measure of consideration. Unfortunately, bitterness was
revived by the large number of Sikhs amongst General Dyer's victims at
Jallianwala, most of them, according to the Sikh version, innocent
country-folk, who had come into Amritsar on that day because it happened
to be a Sikh religious holiday, and had merely strayed into the Bagh out
of harmless and ignorant curiosity.

The puritan movement struck a dangerous course when it addressed itself
to the recovery of the Sikh shrines which it held to have passed into
the possession of unorthodox and corrupt Mahunts, faithless both to
their religious and temporal trust. Considerable success was achieved by
the exercise, it was affirmed, of mere moral pressure, though not
perhaps always without a display or threat of material pressure behind
it in the event of moral pressure proving inadequate. Amongst others,
the incumbent of the Golden Temple at Amritsar, the most sacred of all
Sikh shrines, was constrained to make a public confession of his
wrongdoings and resign his office into the hands of a Reformers'
Committee. Next to Amritsar in wealth and sanctity came Nankhanda Saheb
with a Mahunt to whom the Reformers imputed all kinds of enormities. A
great popular demonstration against him had been organised for March 5,
and some 150 Sikhs had gone out to make arrangements for sheltering and
feeding several thousands in the immediate vicinity of the shrine. The
Mahunt had already scented danger and he clearly believed in taking the
offensive. He collected some fifty Pathan cut-throats as a Praetorian
guard for the temple, and also, for a purpose which was soon to
transpire, a very large store of petrol. When the advance party of
reformers entered the shrine to perform their morning devotions the
gates were closed upon them and over 100 were butchered, and their
corpses so effectively soaked in oil and burned that when the District
Commissioner and a detachment of troops arrived post-haste on the scene,
the victims could scarcely be counted except by the number of charred
skulls.

There was a universal thrill of horror and fury, and passions rose so
high that Government found itself suddenly confronted with a situation
which at once put to a severe test the capacity of the new regime to
deal with emergencies endangering law and order. That Indian Ministers
now shared in the responsibility of government, and that there was a
popular assembly to undertake legislation for composing the differences
between the conflicting sections of the Sikh community, helped at least
as much to avert still graver troubles as the object-lesson which the
Nankhanda Saheb tragedy afforded to thoughtful Punjabees of all creeds.
The massacre carried out by a mere handful of Pathans was a grim
reminder of the dangers to which the Punjab would be the first to be
exposed if the hasty severance of the British connection for which Mr.
Gandhi is clamouring were to leave it defenceless against the flood of
lawless savagery that would at once pour down, as so often before in
Indian history, from the wild fastnesses of the North-West Frontier.



CHAPTER XI

CROSS CURRENTS IN SOUTHERN INDIA


The elections in the Southern Provinces presented a somewhat different
picture though the defeat of "Non-co-operation" was equally complete.
The Nerbudda river has been from times immemorial a great dividing line,
climatic, racial, and often political, between Northern and Southern
India. It still is so. For, whilst with a few relatively unimportant
exceptions the whole of British India--save Burma, which, except from an
administrative point of view, is not India at all--has been brought with
perhaps excessive uniformity within the scope of the new constitutional
reforms, many conditions in the Central Provinces and in the great
Presidency of Madras differ widely from those prevailing in the other
major provinces north of the Nerbudda, and the actual failure of
"Non-co-operation" to enforce its boycott of the elections was less
noteworthy than some other features in the new situation. In the Central
Provinces the elections themselves were fought out on much the same
lines as in the north and with very similar results, if allowance is
made for the intellectual backwardness of the province. Political
activity and agitation had been confined in the past mainly to Nagpur,
the capital, and to the western districts, in which a large Mahratta
element predominates especially amongst the better-educated classes.
Most of Mr. Tilak's former followers there had joined the
"Non-co-operation" movement, and their rigid abstention from the
elections left the doors of the Provincial Council wide open for the
representation of more sober Indian opinion. The Extremists showed their
contempt for the new assembly by putting up one or two "freak"
candidates in breach of the boycott they were preaching, and actually
got in a _dhobi_, or laundryman, at Jubbulpur. But the elections were
overshadowed by the preparations for the Nagpur Congress, which was to
be the great Gandhi counterblast to the Reforms, and the Extremists, who
poured into the province from the neighbouring Bombay Presidency,
concentrated their efforts on the creation of an atmosphere of general
unrest favourable to the new line of campaign upon which the rump of the
old Indian National Congress was about to enter with the open
renunciation of the fundamental article of its original creed--loyalty
to the British connection.

It seems one of the strangest of the many anomalies with which the
Indian situation teems that the Central Provinces should have been
chosen of all others as the scene for a great spectacular demonstration
of revolt against the state of "slavery" to which Indians have been
reduced by a "Satanic" alien rule. It is one of the precepts of Mr.
Gandhi's gospel of "Non-co-operation," though doubtless only as a
counsel of perfection, that Indian husbands and wives must cease to
bring "slave" children into the world until India has attained _Swaraj_.
Yet in the Central Provinces a larger proportion of Indian children than
in any other province are born every year to a state of degradation much
more closely akin to slavery, which is not imposed upon them by any
alien rulers, but by the ancient traditions of those of their own race
and creed whose interest it is to perpetuate at the expense of their
less fortunate fellow-countrymen the most cruel form of caste tyranny.
Of the total population of the Central Provinces, which numbered some
sixteen millions at the last Census in 1911, one-fifth belong to that
order of humanity which stands so low in the eyes of Hindus that it is
unworthy to be reckoned as possessing any caste at all. These no-castes
stand at the very foot of the social ladder of Hinduism, and in theory
at least they can never hope to climb even on to its lowest rungs,
though in practice the most stringent laws can be gradually circumvented
with the help of needy Brahmans or will yield to the pressure of
changing economic conditions. They are "untouchable," _i.e._ that any
physical contact with them involves defilement of which the caste Hindu
can only cleanse himself by ritual ablutions and other forms of
ceremonial purification. Go into a village which is partially inhabited
by these unfortunate people, mostly called Mahars in that part of India,
and you will find that they are forbidden even to draw water from any
but their own wells, as by drawing it from wells used by caste Hindus
they would render them impure. In the larger urban schools under
Government control British laws, which recognise no caste distinctions,
enforce the admission of Mahar boys, some of whom do extremely well. But
in a village school you will often see the poor little "untouchables,"
if admitted at all, relegated to mats on the outside verandah, where
they may pick up such scraps of teaching as they can. The Government
inspector of schools may remonstrate, but he knows that few teachers
will make any serious attempt to mend matters, and that if they did the
caste-boys would be withdrawn by their indignant parents.

When I was touring a few years ago in the Central Provinces with a
British commissioner, who was carrying on an inquiry into certain
grievances of the peasantry in connection with irrigation, the villagers
from the more remote villages were frequently collected along the road
to tell their story, and they brought with them their land-records.
These the "untouchables" had to lay on the ground at the feet of the
Brahman subordinate, who would have been defiled had he taken them
straight out of their hands, and only after they had withdrawn a few
paces did he condescend to pick up the books and verify them before
passing them on to his British superior. The latter, on the other hand,
though the representative, according to Congress orators, of a "Satanic"
Government that has reduced Indians to "slavery," never hesitated to
question the poor "untouchables" closely and good-humouredly, not merely
about the particular matter at issue, but about the condition of their
crops or the health of their village, and sometimes gave a friendly pat
on the back to the youngsters who accompanied their elders, whilst the
Brahman stood by in stony and disgusted silence.

These caste discriminations doubtless originated in remote ages when the
Aryan conquerors from the north gradually subdued the aboriginal
Dravidian populations. The "untouchables" are mostly remnants of that
population, some of them still very primitive jungle folk whom the
Census classes as "animists," or nature-worshippers, _i.e._ they still
worship trees and stones and the spirits that are supposed to dwell in
them. But they tend gradually to include in their worship some of the
gods and goddesses of the Hindu Pantheon, especially those who are
credited with power to avert the worst scourges to which the people
happen to be subject. Under a sacred roadside tree I have seen in one
place a rude stone, roughly shaped to represent the Goddess of
Small-pox, and alongside of it a clay image of a tiger that had killed a
man on that very spot, set up in the hope of averting further
manifestations of its wrath, and also of appeasing the dead man's soul
so that he might remain quietly within the tiger and become a kindly
protector to the village. The appropriation of Hindu deities is usually
the first step towards their absorption into the Hindu social structure.
Others, the more progressive, have settled down as cultivators, a few
occasionally becoming quite considerable land-owners. Others, again,
have taken to weaving and to petty trade. Under British rule they have
progressed all along the line. A Mahar regiment has been raised,
officered by Mahomedans from the north, as no Hindu would think of
serving with "untouchables," and though Hindu sepoys must not be
brought into proximity with it, it has always behaved very creditably.
Some Mahars are now well educated, and in favour of two of them the
Governor of the Central Provinces has exercised the right conferred upon
him to nominate a certain number of members to the Provincial
Legislative Council in order to give some representation to communities
too backward to secure any for themselves under the existing franchise.

One of the best results of British governance and of Western education
has been to stimulate even amongst the "untouchables" a new sense of
self-respect and self-reliance and a wholesome desire to emerge from the
degradation to which the custom of centuries has condemned them. It is
amongst them that of late years Christian and even Mahomedan
missionaries have found all over India their most fruitful field, and in
some provinces mass-movements to Christianity have taken place, which
are admittedly due in the first place to a desire for social
emancipation, but will steadily lead, if properly handled, to moral and
religious advancement. One of the great problems now before the
missionary societies of all Christian denominations is how these tens of
thousands of converts can be taught and trained, and it is of great
promise for the future that a Commission of Inquiry composed of British
and American and Indian Christian missionaries has recently issued a
report on Village Education in India which has approached this problem,
amongst others, with a broad-minded appreciation of its economic and
social as well as purely religious aspects.

Is it surprising that when the Indian National Congress, that has
hitherto done nothing for them beyond embodying in its programme vague
expressions of sympathy, is agitating for the severance of the British
connection, and Extremist orators perambulate the country to preach a
boycott of British officials, the Mahars should have sent in petitions
imploring the Governor not to abandon them or surrender the power which
has alone done something to raise them out of the slough of despond? Mr.
Gandhi, however, who would be a great social reformer had he not
preferred to plunge into a dangerous political agitation, is not himself
blind to such an awful blot as "untouchability" has made on Hindu
civilisation, and some of his followers, prompted perhaps less than he
is himself by a generous reforming spirit, have not been slow to see
what abundant materials lie ready to their hand in these vast masses,
profoundly ignorant and superstitious, if they can only be drawn into
the turbid stream of "Non-co-operation" by some novel and ingenious
appeal to their fears or to their appetites.

In the Madras Presidency, never swept to the same degree as Bengal or
Bombay by the waves of political unrest, the electoral struggle assumed
a form, peculiar to Southern Indian conditions, in which
"Non-co-operation" entered very little. For Southern India has its own
life-history which differentiates it in many respects from other parts
of India, and in none more so than in the survival of the Brahman's
ancient ascendancy, until recently almost unchallenged in this
stronghold of Hinduism.

Mostly of the primitive Dravidian stock that inhabited the peninsula
before the great Aryan inflow from the north, and still speaking
Dravidian languages, the people of Southern India have preserved in its
most archaic form the social system of Hinduism which the Aryan
conquerors, probably never more than a small minority, imposed upon them
by the relative superiority of their civilisation quite as much as by
force of arms. Of a much fairer complexion, the Aryans became the ruling
"white" race of those days, and to preserve their racial prestige they
enforced the most rigid laws for the differentiation of caste--which
originally meant colour. The Brahmans, being the law-givers, naturally
framed laws to secure the pre-eminence of their own caste, and to the
present day, for instance, in the more remote parts of Southern India,
men of the lower castes may be seen retiring hastily from the road at
his approach, lest they should pollute the air he breathes by coming
within a forbidden distance of him.

In Southern India, where Buddhist influence never secured any firm
footing, Hinduism had its golden age during the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries, whilst the tide of Mahomedan invasion was pouring in
successive waves into Northern and Central India. The last and greatest
of the Hindu kingdoms of Southern India did not succumb to the sword of
Islam till 1565, and the splendid ruins of Vijianagar bear out, if we
make allowance for oriental hyperbole, the contemporary testimony of a
Persian Ambassador that "the pupil of the eye has never seen a place
like it and the ear of intelligence has never been informed that there
existed anything to equal it in the whole world." The Moslem conquerors
laid Vijianagar low. But, by the curious irony of fortune, it was from a
descendant of its royal house, some remnants of which escaped
destruction, that the British, by whom Mahomedan domination was to be in
turn overthrown, received their first grant of land on the Carnatic
coast close to where Madras now stands.

Mahomedan domination came so late to Southern India and lasted for such
a brief period that it never disturbed, even to the small extent that it
did in Northern India, the social stratifications of Hinduism, which
have equally withstood there more than anywhere else the subtler
pressure of Western civilisation under British rule. Take, for instance,
a small town like Tirupati, only a few miles from Chatnagiri, where the
Rajahs, whose forebears made that momentous grant to Francis Day a
little less than three centuries ago, still live in modest state. Were
Tirupati still ruled by the Vijianagar kings in all their splendour, it
could hardly present a better-preserved picture of ancient Hindu life.
At the foot of a steep range of hills crowned with venerable temples
whose sanctity has from times immemorial attracted a constant stream of
pilgrims, and possessing some famous temples of its own, it is
essentially a Brahman town, and lives almost entirely by ministering, at
more or less extortionate rates, to the material and spiritual needs of
pilgrims, averaging about a thousand a day in ordinary times and scores
of thousands at the special festival seasons, on their way to and from
the sacred hill-top. There are whole streets of lodgings for their use,
consisting chiefly of small bare cubicles, and rows of shops at which
they can purchase their simple vegetarian food and innumerable religious
trifles as mementoes of their pilgrimage. When I approached Tirupati,
early in the morning, a few groups of pilgrims were already on their way
to the hill-sanctuaries and peasants were starting work on the temple
lands outside the town. Sacred monkeys gambolled about the trees and
still more sacred cows had begun to exercise their daily privilege of
browsing for food wherever their fancy leads them, even amongst the
vegetables exposed for sale in the public market-places. The Brahmans
themselves were still engaged in performing their elaborate morning
devotions and ablutions, but the members of their household had already
swept the approach to their low, one-storied, flat-roofed houses and
stencilled on the threshold with white liquid chalk the geomantic
patterns, finished off with scattered marigolds, which keep away the
evil spirits. The Brahman quarters surround the temples, of which of
course only the outer courtyards are accessible to other than high-caste
Hindus. The low-caste "untouchables," who do the menial work of the
town, live strictly segregated in their own quarter, which consists only
of mud huts and even flimsier shelters of platted palm-leaves and
bamboos. The whole town wore an air of leisured superiority as if
conscious that there can be no need for special effort when the gods
bring pilgrims to provide for the wants of its "twice-born" inhabitants.

There are scores of other Tirupatis in which the Brahman still reigns
supreme by virtue of his _quasi_-sacerdotal caste. But in the public
life of Southern India, as British rule has moulded it, he has owed a
pre-eminence only recently disputed to a monopoly of Western education
in modern times almost as complete as the monopoly which he enjoyed of
Hindu learning and culture before the advent of the British. As soon as
he saw that the British _Raj_ threatened no curtailment of his
hereditary supremacy in the religious and social world of Hinduism, he
was quick to profit by all the material advantages which the country as
a whole derived from a new era of public security and peace. He realised
at once that Western education might open up for him opportunities of
making himself almost as indispensable, if on a somewhat humbler scale,
to the alien rulers of India as he had formerly made himself to the
indigenous rulers in the land. Thus the Brahmans acquired from the first
a virtual monopoly of all the subordinate public services in the Madras
Presidency and, as time went on, of all the higher posts gradually
thrown open to Indians. They crowded also into all the new liberal
professions fostered by Western education, and, above all, into the
legal profession for which they showed, as most Indians do, a very
special aptitude. But, like all monopolists, they were tempted to abuse
their monopoly, the more so as they regarded it merely as a legitimate
adaptation to the new conditions imported by British rule of the ancient
privileges always vested in their caste. They resented any attempt on
the part of Hindus belonging to inferior castes to follow in their
footsteps along the new paths of Western learning and to qualify for a
share of employment in the public services, for which under the British
dispensation all Indians are entitled to compete on equal terms
irrespective of all caste discriminations. The non-Brahmans were slow to
start, and when they did start, they had to contend with the jealous
opposition of the Brahmans, who combined, as Hindu castes know how to
combine, against unwelcome intruders into a profitable field of which
they had secured early possession. When the Public Services Commission
was in Madras eight years ago, we heard many bitter complaints from
non-Brahmans that, whenever one of them did succeed in getting an
appointment under Government, the Brahmans with whom or under whom he
had to work would at once unite to drive him out, either by making his
life intolerable or by turning against him the European superior to
whose ear they had easy access. For it is one of the weaknesses of an
alien bureaucracy that, in regard to routine work at least, its weaker
members are apt to be far too much in the hands of their native
assistants. The Brahmans later on formed the bulk of the new
Western-educated and "politically-minded" class, and the Madrasee
Brahmans played a considerable part in the Indian National Congress
before it broke away from its constitutional moorings.

The non-Brahmans, nevertheless, under the leadership of such resolute
men as the late Dr. Nair, fought their way steadily to the front, and,
being of course in a large majority, they had only to organise in order
to make full use of the opportunity which a relatively democratic
franchise afforded them for the first time at the recent elections. They
can hardly themselves have foreseen how great their opportunity was, for
they regarded the reforms at first with deep suspicion as calculated
merely to transfer substantive power from a British to a Brahman
bureaucracy, and so deep was their dread of Brahman ascendancy even in
the new Councils that they clamoured to the very end for a much larger
number of seats than the sixteen that were ultimately reserved as
"communal" seats for non-Brahman electorates. They never needed such a
reservation, for they actually carried the day in so many of the
"general" constituencies that out of ninety-eight elected members of the
new Provincial Council only fourteen are Brahmans, and it is the
Brahmans now who complain, not without reason, that their representation
falls short of their legitimate influence in the State, and are already
demanding a reservation of "communal" seats for their own caste in
future. Lord Willingdon, as a constitutional Governor, chose from the
non-Brahman majority in the Council all the three Indian Ministers who
form part of the new Provincial Government and preside over the
"transferred" departments. This is the most startling transformation
scene which any of the Provincial elections has produced. The
non-Brahmans have got the chance which they have long claimed. If they
rise to the occasion, deal with the Brahmans more fairly than the latter
dealt with them, and, remembering the struggle they have had for their
own emancipation, help the "untouchables" to rise in their turn out of
the state of degradation to which centuries of Brahman domination have
condemned them, the reforms may prove to have been perhaps as important
a landmark in the moral regeneration of Hindu society as in the
development of the Indian body politic. For, though it would be unfair
to forget that the rigidity of the great caste system probably alone
saved Hindu society from complete disintegration during centuries of
internal anarchy and foreign invasions, its survival would be fatal now
to the advancement of India on new lines of democratic progress. In any
case the triumph of the non-Brahmans is an unmistakable blow to
"Non-co-operation." Their one grievance against British rule has
hitherto been that it tolerated Brahman ascendancy and refused to
co-operate with them in their passionate struggle against it. But now
there is nothing to damp their zeal or deter them from co-operating with
Government in securing the permanent success of the reforms to which, as
they have to admit in spite of their former suspicions, they owe a
measure of political advancement that far exceeds all their
anticipations.

In Southern as well as in Northern India the failure of the
Non-co-operationists' frontal attack on the reforms was beyond dispute.
They were resolved to kill them in the womb by laying an interdict upon
the elections to the new popular assemblies. No candidate, Mr. Gandhi
had pronounced, was to enter for election, no elector was to record his
vote. At a moment when the elections were already in progress and should
have at least tempered his optimism, he himself assured me that the
results as a whole would yet afford a most splendid demonstration of the
stern temper of the people that would never trust and would never accept
the mockery of reforms proceeding from a "Satanic" Government. He was
deaf to my suggestion that, even if the temper of the Indian people was
such as he believed it to be, it would have been demonstrated in a
manner far more intelligible to the political mind of the West had his
followers taken part in the elections, and, after sweeping the board in
accordance with his anticipations, had then placed their demands,
whatever they might be, on record before the world, declaring at the
same time that, unless they were fully granted, they would walk out of
every Council Chamber in India and bring down the whole edifice of
reforms, which would then indeed have been hopelessly shattered. Things,
on the contrary, went quite differently. In defiance of Mr. Gandhi,
candidates came forward in almost every constituency, elections were
held everywhere, and except for a few insignificant disturbances created
by his followers they were held in peaceful and orderly fashion. There
were indeed numerous and in some places very large abstentions. That
many of those who kept away from the polls were convinced
"Non-co-operationists" cannot be denied, but no more can it be denied
that many kept away from fear, not altogether unjustified by the event,
of actual violence or of the more insidious forms of intimidation which
social and religious pressure assumes with particularly deadly effect in
India. Reputable members, including a large proportion of the leaders
who had fought for years past the battle of India's political
advancement, took their seats in the Provincial Councils and in the
All-India Legislature at Delhi. They represented, not unfairly on the
whole, all classes and creeds and communities, and even all schools of
political thought, except, of course, the Extremists, who by their own
default remained unrepresented. That the Extremists, whose influence
cannot be ignored, should have remained unrepresented is not a matter
entirely for congratulation, for the complete exclusion, even when
self-inflicted, of any important political party must tend to weaken the
authority of a popular Assembly. At the same time, it may be doubted
whether the abstention of "Non-co-operationists" has deprived the Indian
Councils of more than a very few individuals whose ability and
character, apart from their political opinions, would have given them
any great weight. The splendid demonstration which Mr. Gandhi had
contemplated fell completely flat because an overwhelming proportion of
those to whom he directed his appeal refused to endorse his view that
the great constitutional changes of which the creation of popular
Assemblies was the corner-stone were merely a snare and a delusion, and
to his cry of "Non-co-operation" they opposed an emphatic affirmation of
their belief that the salvation of India lay in co-operation.



CHAPTER XII

THE BIRTH OF AN INDIAN PARLIAMENT


Only twelve years ago Lord Morley, with all his advanced liberalism and
his broad sympathy for Indian aspirations, could not conceive the
possibility of introducing Parliamentary institutions into India in his
time or for generations to come. He would assuredly have had to revise
his opinion could he have attended the first session of the Indian
Legislative Assembly. In form its proceedings were not unworthy of a
great Parliamentary Assembly. The speeches sometimes rose to a high
level of eloquence all the more noteworthy in that English was not the
mother tongue of those who delivered them. They were, as a rule, sober
and dignified, and if all members did not at once abandon a habit much
favoured in the old Councils of putting long strings of questions and
moving impracticable resolutions in sonorous harangues, often prepared
for them by outside hacks, their own colleagues soon taught them that
such methods were no longer likely to pay even for purposes of
advertisement. The majority quickly acquired a knack of suppressing
wind-bags and bores quietly and effectively. The Act of 1919 reserved to
Government the appointment of the President of the Assembly for the
first four years, after which he will be chosen by the Assembly itself.
Not even the House of Commons could treat the Chair with more unfailing
deference than the Assembly showed to Mr. A.F. Whyte, who brought with
him the prestige of Westminster traditions and experience to which he
from time to time appealed aptly and successfully, and the Assembly
appreciated the tact as well as the firmness with which he discharged
his novel duties. A gentle reminder of what was the usual practice in
the House of Commons was never lost on Indian members whose inexperience
occasionally failed to realise the Parliamentary implications of the
procedure adopted by them, but was always ready to accept guidance that
derived its authority from the wisdom of the Mother of Parliaments.

But the qualities shown by the Assembly transcended mere matters of
form. Mr. Whyte bore testimony at the close of the session to debates
"well worthy to stand by the side of the best debates in the Imperial
Parliament." It was no empty compliment, for they revealed the makings
of real statesmanship, and the circumstances in which the Indian
Legislature met for the first time to give collective expression to the
feelings of the people of India, called for statesmanship. The
King-Emperor's message impressed them with a sense of the great
responsibilities and great opportunities arising for them out of the
far-reaching rights conferred upon them. The personal appeal with which
the Duke of Connaught accompanied the delivery of the Royal message went
far to dispel "the shadow of Amritsar," which had, in his own apt
phrase, "lengthened over the face of India" and threatened even to
darken their own path. For on no subject had Indian feeling been more
unanimous during the elections all over the country than in regard to
the Punjab tragedy. None had been more persistently exploited by the
"Non-co-operationists" to point their jibes at the "slave-mentality" of
candidates and electors who were merely the willing dupes of a "Satanic"
Government. On no subject did the Assembly feel itself under a greater
obligation to give expression to the unanimous sentiments of the people
it represented--all the greater indeed in that opportunity of expression
had been denied to the old Legislative Council. It was the acid test to
which the sincerity and the whole value of the reforms were put. The
atmosphere of the Assembly was never again so tense as when the crucial
debate was opened by one of the ablest of the younger members of the
Moderate party, Mr. Jamnadas Dwarkadas, from Bombay, on the
administration of martial law in the Punjab in 1919. He asked the
Government (1) to declare its adhesion to the principle of equal
partnership for Indian and European in the British Empire; (2) to
express regret that martial law in the Punjab violated this fundamental
principle; (3) to administer deterrent punishment to officers guilty of
an improper exercise of their powers including the withdrawal of their
pensions; (4) to assure itself that adequate compensation is awarded to
those who lost their relatives at the Jallianwala Bagh and elsewhere.
The speaker moved his Resolution with great firmness and power but also
with great self-restraint. Most of the Indian speeches in support of it
were conceived in much the same spirit, though now and again one got a
glimpse of angrier passions just beneath the surface. Happily the
Government of India responded for the first time with the frankness and
generosity which, had it displayed them in a much earlier stage in its
handling of the Punjab troubles, would have averted many of the worst
consequences. By reprobating, either implicitly or explicitly, the worst
abuses of martial law the Home member, Sir William Vincent, the
Commander-in-chief, Lord Rawlinson, and Sir Godfrey Fell on behalf of
the army administration, succeeded in persuading the Assembly that not
only were methods of humiliation and terrorism absolutely repugnant to
all traditions of British rule, but that the censure and punishment
already inflicted upon officers and officials were in reality far more
serious and effective than the Indian mind had been wont to believe.
Indian members were asked to realise that for a British officer a broken
career is virtually the end of life, and Sir Godfrey Fell had no need to
mention General Dyer's name when he said, "As it was put to me the other
day by a very distinguished general officer, to leave the army in these
circumstances would be to many officers a disgrace worse than death."
Government finally accepted the Resolution as it had been moved with the
exception of the third clause asking for further punishment--a question
which it was not prepared nor in a position to reopen. With the eager
approval of a great many of his Indian colleagues the mover withdrew
that clause and the rest of the Resolution was passed unanimously and,
be it noted, with the support of every European member of the Assembly.

The atmosphere was thus cleared before the Assembly approached another
and only less delicate question. Some time before the Budget disclosed
the heavy military expenditure to be defrayed out of Indian revenues,
the recommendations of the Committee appointed under the presidency of
Lord Esher to inquire into the administration and organisation of the
army in India had caused widespread alarm. There were peculiar
circumstances connected with the Committee's Report which were
calculated to excite Indian suspicion. The first part, which laid down
the general principles in regard to organisation and administration, was
drawn up in London and received the approval of the Secretary of State
for India before the British members of the Committee proceeded to
India, where their Indian colleagues for the first time joined them,
whilst the President, Lord Esher, himself never went to India at all. To
carry out these principles the Report stated that "the centre of gravity
of probable military operations has shifted from West to East. In the
future we must contemplate the possibility of our armies operating in
the Middle East based partially in India and partially at home.... India
has now been admitted into partnership with the Empire, and the Indian
Army has fought alongside of troops from other parts of the Empire in
every theatre of war. Its responsibilities have thus been greatly
widened, and it can no longer be regarded as a local force whose sphere
of activity is limited to India and the surrounding frontier
territories. It must rather be treated as a part of the Imperial Army
ready to serve in any part of the world." Indians interpreted the Report
as an attempt on the part of the British War Office to throw upon the
Indian Exchequer the cost of a larger army than would be required merely
for Indian defence whilst keeping it under its own control for
employment at the discretion of British Ministers far beyond the
frontiers of India. Official assurances were given both in India and at
home that an exaggerated construction had been placed on the meaning of
the Report, to which, moreover, neither the British Government nor the
Government of India was officially committed, and that in any case
Indian troops would not be required to serve outside India except with
the consent of the Government of India. These assurances did not prevent
the Assembly from passing two Resolutions in which it embodied its
strong protests. The second part of the Report, containing practical
recommendations for the reorganisation of the Indian Army, and alone
based on the results of the inquiry actually conducted in India, was far
less criticised.

The army estimates themselves would have been enough to cause dismay
even if the estimates of other departments, upon which the Indian public
looks with more favour, had not clearly been pruned down with more than
usual parsimony to meet the large increase in military expenditure. But
Lord Rawlinson, who had done his utmost to reduce them to the extreme
limit of safety as he conceived it in existing circumstances, wisely
decided to take the Assembly as far as possible into his confidence, and
to explain the requirements of the military situation not only from his
seat on the Government bench but in private conferences, at which
members were freely invited to meet him and his advisers. If he did not
altogether convince them, he gave them food for reflection at a time
when not only our own North-West Frontier but the whole of Central Asia
is still in a state of turmoil, Persia a very doubtful quantity, and the
Ameer of Afghanistan far more eager to sign a treaty of alliance with
Soviet Russia than to bring to a friendly conclusion the long-drawn
negotiations which the Government of India has sent the head of its
foreign department to conduct at Kabul. The appointment of a Committee
to visit the North-West Frontier and to study the situation on the spot
was admirably calculated to carry the practical education of Indian
legislators a long step farther. In regard to other matters, too,
Government gave and gained time for reflection by referring them, before
committing itself to any definite pronouncement of policy, to special
committees in which points at issue could be thrashed out much more
effectively and with less heat than if only discussed in full house.

Nothing, however, could alter the awkward fact that Government had been
compelled to confront the Legislative Assembly at its first session with
a Budget showing a deficit and making calls upon the Indian tax-payer
absolutely unprecedented in the annals of British-Indian State finance.
The deficit amounted to nearly 19 crores of rupees on a Budget of 130
crores,[3] and the Financial Member, Mr. Hailey, who had only recently
succeeded to the financial department, had to admit that the deficit
could only be met by increased taxation. That the estimates of the
previous year had been so largely exceeded was due beyond dispute to the
growth of military expenditure, which, for the current financial year,
has been put down at 62 crores, or very nearly half the total
expenditure for which provision has to be made. This Budget, moreover,
not only came at a time of general economic depression, but coincided
with the operation of the new financial arrangements between the
Provinces and the Government of India, which have deprived the latter of
the facilities it had formerly for mitigating its own financial
necessities by adjusting to them the doles paid out of the Central
Exchequer to the several Provincial Exchequers. Under the new system
various revenues have been definitely allocated to the Provincial
Governments for their own free disposal, and in return they have to make
fixed annual contributions to the Central Exchequer. These contributions
are in no case to be subject to increase in the future, but on the
contrary to be reduced gradually and to cease at the earliest possible
moment compatible with the irreducible requirements of the Government of
India. The Act of 1919, it is true, transfers to the Indian Legislature
no direct or complete statutory control over revenue and expenditure,
and powers are still vested in the Government of India to override the
Assembly in cases of emergency and to enact supplies which it refuses if
the Governor-General in Council certifies them to be essential to the
peace, tranquillity, and interests of India. But the fact that there was
a deficit which could only be met by increased taxation offered
exceptional opportunities which might easily have been used for
embarrassing obstruction by a young and immature chamber naturally
concerned for its own popularity. Even a direct conflict between the
Government and the Assembly might not have been impossible, and the
consequences would have been lamentable. For if the Government of India
had been driven to use its statutory powers to impose taxation and
secure supplies in opposition to the Legislature during its very first
session, all the hopes of friendly co-operation based on the new
constitution would have been wrecked far more disastrously and
permanently than by any "Non-co-operation" movement. The Legislative
Assembly was wise enough to exercise its rights with sufficient
insistence to show that it was conscious of them, but never to strain
them. It did not refrain from criticism of almost every department in
turn or from motions to reduce the official estimates for them. Many of
the criticisms were sound, and some of the reductions were accepted by
Government. Mr. Hailey handled a delicate situation with unfailing
patience and skill. Even in regard to new taxation he endeavoured to
meet, as far as the exigencies of the Budget allowed, the objections of
the Assembly to such increases as, for instance, higher postal rates,
which press most heavily on the least well-to-do classes. Nothing,
however, helped him so much to get his Budget through without a serious
conflict as the decision of the Government to seek in an increase of the
import duties over two-thirds of the new revenue to be raised to meet
the deficit. For there Government took up common ground with Indian
opinion on fiscal matters and carried into effect the principle laid
down by the Select Joint Committee on the Reforms Bill, and endorsed by
the Secretary of State, that the Government of India must be granted the
same liberty to devise Indian tariff arrangements on a consideration of
Indian interests as all other self-governing parts of the Empire enjoy.
If the Assembly did not see altogether eye to eye with Government as to
the necessity for all this increased expenditure and increased taxation,
its objections were at least mitigated by a form of increased taxation
in which it saw the first step towards fiscal autonomy. In this as in
every other question with which the Legislature had to deal, the
Government of India showed its willingness to accept as far as possible
the guidance of Indian opinion and to act as a national Indian
Government, and not merely as the supreme executive authority under the
Government of the United Kingdom.

On those terms the Assembly was prepared to take into account the
difficulties and responsibilities inherited by Government from past
policies from which no sudden departure was possible, or desired even,
by responsible Indians who recognise the present limitations of their
experience as well as of their rights. Government and Legislature
therefore parted in mutual goodwill and with increased confidence in the
value of the new policy of co-operation. But the Legislature has only
just commenced to realise the extent of its powers, expressed and
implied. The latter stretch almost immeasurably farther than the
former. Indian-elected members form a large majority in the Legislative
Assembly, which has already so largely overshadowed the Council of State
that it will probably be difficult for the upper house to exercise over
the more popular chamber the corrective influence originally
contemplated. The Government of India, of course, retains its great
statutory powers, but these could hardly be exercised again in
uncompromising opposition to the opinion of the majority of the Assembly
now that out of eight members of the Viceroy's Executive Council, which,
with him, forms the Government of India, no less than three are Indians,
who would presumably be often more amenable than their British
colleagues to the pressure of Indian opinion. Under the Act of 1919 the
Government of India is not responsible to the Assembly. That may come in
a later stage, it has not come yet. But one may rest already assured
that only in extreme cases, and if the majority shows itself far more
irresponsible than it has yet given the slightest reason to fear, is
Government likely to risk a cleavage between British and Indian members
of the Viceroy's Executive Council, or to rely on the fact that no vote
of the Assembly can remove it from office, to provoke or face a conflict
of which the consequences would extend far beyond the walls of the
Legislature. This is a powerful lever of which Indians may quickly learn
the use.

In another important direction the first session of the Legislature bore
out Sir Thomas Munro's view, expressed, as we have already seen, a
hundred years ago, that in India as elsewhere liberal treatment will be
found the most effectual way of elevating the character of the people.
Nothing perhaps has tended more to alienate the sympathies of Englishmen
from the political aspirations which the founders of the Indian National
Congress were bent upon promoting than the subordination of social to
political reforms. There remained always some distinguished Indians who
ensued both--notably Mr. Gokhale, who founded the society of "the
Servants of India," dedicated chiefly to social reform, of which the
beneficent activities have expanded steadily throughout a decade of
political turmoil. His mantle fell on no unworthy shoulders, and it is a
good omen that his chief disciple, Mr. Srinivasa Sastri, has become the
leader of the Moderate party in the Council of State, as well as one of
the Indian representatives at the recent Imperial Conference in London.
A similar spirit informs the numerous associations that have addressed
themselves, though with perhaps less success so far, to the more glaring
evils of the Hindu religious social system, such as infant marriage, the
prohibition of re-marriage of widows, the rigidity of caste laws in
regard to inter-caste marriage, and to intercourse between the different
castes even at meals. Many interesting experiments have been made by
Indians for infusing into education a new moral tone and discipline on
Indian lines, and it is due to Indian effort no less than to the
encouragement of Government that female education has begun to bridge
over the intellectual gulf that tended to separate more and more the men
and the women of the Western-educated classes. In Madras, to quote only
one instance, there is to-day a high school for girls--almost
unthinkable two decades ago and only opened ten years ago--in which
high-caste Brahman girls live under the same roof and are taught in the
same class-rooms as not only Hindu girls of the non-Brahman castes, but
Mahomedan and native Christian and Eurasian girls from all parts of the
Presidency, and the only real difficulty now experienced is in the
traditional matter of food, and it is circumvented, if not overcome, by
providing seven different kitchens and seven different messes.

The last attempt on the part of the Government to promote social reforms
by way of legislation was Lord Lansdowne's "Age of Consent" Bill thirty
years ago, and though it was carried through in spite of the violent
opposition of Hindu orthodoxy, which then brought Mr. Tilak into public
life as its leader, an alien Government pledged to complete neutrality
in social and religious matters shrank after that unpleasant experience
from assuming the lead in such matters without having at least the
preponderating bulk of Indian opinion behind it. Not the least
noteworthy event of the first session of the Indian Legislature was the
introduction by Dr. Gour, a Hindu member from the Central Provinces, of
a private Bill legalising civil marriage which British Indian law so far
recognises only between a Christian and a non-Christian, though the
Indian States of Baroda and Indore have legalised them for all their
subjects. Sir Henry Maine wished to move, as far back as 1868, in this
direction when he was Law Member of the Government of India, but to meet
even then a fierce orthodox opposition the provisions of the Bill
finally enacted in 1872 were so whittled down as to make it practically
useless, and it was almost nullified when it came up for interpretation
by the Privy Council. The question does in fact involve many material as
well as social and religious considerations, as matters of personal law
are largely governed by ancient custom in the different communities, and
the point at issue was whether it is possible for a Hindu to cease to be
subject to Hindu law. More recent attempts to make civil marriage lawful
have failed hopelessly. Dr. Gour has had the courage to appeal to the
more liberal spirit for which the new reforms stand, and he defended his
Bill, which is only a permissive Bill, on the grounds that any measure
calculated to break down the ancient barriers between races and creeds
and communities must tend to strengthen the sense of national solidarity
of which the new Indian Legislature is the expression. It remains yet to
be seen what will be the fate of his Bill, but its introduction is in
itself not one of the least hopeful signs of the times.

If one turns from the Government of India to the new Provincial
Governments and Councils the outlook is, on the whole, not less
encouraging. The statutory powers of the Provincial Councils are more
definite and can be brought more directly to bear upon Government, but
they are not likely to be exercised in any extravagant fashion until
time has shown how Indian Ministers discharge their responsibilities to
the Councils and how the two wings of the new Provincial Governments
work together. In fact, the policy, wisely adopted by Provincial
Governors, of treating the two wings of their Government as equally
associated with them in a common task of governance, has robbed the
distinction between "reserved" and "transferred" subjects, if not of all
reality, at any rate of the invidious appearance of discrimination which
might otherwise have attached to the word "dyarchy." As one Provincial
Governor remarked to me, "We are in reality skipping the dyarchy stage."
Indian Ministers, kept fully informed and drawn into consultation on all
subjects, are learning to understand the difficulties of government and
administration of which, as outside critics, they had little notion, and
to value the experience and knowledge which their European colleagues
and subordinates freely place at their disposal, whilst the latter
benefit both from hearing the Indian point of view and from having to
explain and justify their own. Economic depression and financial
stringency cannot, however, but react unfavourably upon the new system
in the Provinces as well as at Delhi, for all the more practical reforms
in which the ordinary Indian elector, whether politically minded or
otherwise, is most closely interested, and for which he has been looking
to the new Provincial Councils, require money, and a great deal of
money. There is a universal demand for more elementary schools, more
road-making, more sanitation, a more strenuous fight against malaria, a
greater extension of local government and village councils' activities,
and the demand cannot be met except by more expenditure. The Indian
Ministers and Indian members of the Provincial Councils have to face
unpopularity whether by postponing much-needed reforms or by imposing
new taxation in order to carry them out. A great many of the best men
have naturally been attracted to Delhi, but though the proceedings in
the Provincial Councils have more frequently betrayed impatience and
inexperience, and sometimes required the monitory intervention of the
Governor, they have played on the whole creditably the important part
allotted to them in this great constitutional experiment.

It is far less easy to appraise the value of the attempt which has been
made at the same time to bring that large part of India which lies
outside the sphere of direct British administration into closer touch
with it by the creation of a Chamber of Princes, which will at least sit
under the same roof with the Council of State and the Legislative
Assembly in the great hall of Parliament to be erected in New Delhi. The
moment when the Government of India is departing from its autocratic
traditions and transferring a large part of its powers throughout
British India into the hands of representative assemblies which are to
pave the way towards the democratic goal of responsible government,
seems scarcely well chosen for the creation of a Chamber which must give
greater cohesion, and potentially greater power to resist the spirit of
the age, to a body of ruling Princes and Chiefs who all stand in varying
degrees for archaic forms of despotic government and whose peoples have
for the most part stood hitherto entirely outside the political life of
British India.

The Native States, as they are commonly called, scattered over nearly
the whole length and breadth of the Indian Empire, cover altogether more
than a third of its total area and include nearly a quarter of its total
population. Some of them can compare in size and wealth with the smaller
States of Europe. Some are but insignificant specks on the map. Great
and small, there are several hundreds of them. Their relations with the
Paramount Power, which have been not inaptly described as those of
subordinate alliance, are governed by treaties and engagements of which
the terms are not altogether uniform. The essence is in all cases the
maintenance of their administrative autonomy under their own dynastic
rulers whose hereditary rights and privileges are permanently guaranteed
to them, subject to their loyalty to the British Crown and to reasonably
good government. The Princes and Chiefs who rule over them--some well, a
few rather badly, most of them perhaps indifferently; some Hindus, some
Mahomedans; some still very conservative and almost mediaeval, some on
genuinely progressive lines; some with a mere veneer of European
modernity--are all equally jealous of their rights and their dignity.
The Native States cannot, however, live wholly in water-tight
compartments. They must be more or less directly affected by what goes
on in British India just across their own often very artificial
boundaries. Their material interests are too closely bound up with those
of their British-Indian neighbours. In many matters, _e.g._ railways,
posts, telegraphs, irrigation, etc., they are in a great measure
dependent upon, and must fall into line with, British India. Their
peoples--even those who do not go to British India for their education
or for larger opportunities of livelihood--are being slowly influenced
by the currents of thought which flow in from British India.

Political unrest cannot always or permanently be halted at their
frontier, though His Exalted Highness the Nizam of Hyderabad, whose ways
are still largely those of the Moghuls, has not hesitated, albeit
himself a Mahomedan Prince, to proscribe all _Khilafat_ agitation within
his territory. The Extremist Press has already very frequently denounced
ruling Princes and Chiefs as obstacles to the democratic evolution of a
_Swaraj_ India which will have to be removed, and if the Nagpur Congress
pronounced against extending its propaganda to the Native States, it did
so only "for the present" and on grounds of pure and avowed expediency.
Apart from the menace of Indian Extremism, there must obviously be a
fundamental conflict of ideals between ruling Chiefs bent on preserving
their independent political entity and the aspirations towards national
unity entertained by the moderate Indian Nationalists whose influence is
sure to predominate over all the old traditions of Indian governance if
the new reforms are successful. Some Princes are wise enough to swim
with the current and have introduced rudimentary councils and
representative assemblies which at any rate provide a modern façade for
their own patriarchal systems of government. But all are more or less
conscious that their own position is being profoundly modified by
constitutional changes in British India, which must, and indeed are
intended to, alter the very character of the Government representing the
Paramount Power to whose authority they owe their own survival since the
beginning of British rule. Their survival has indeed always been an
anomaly, though hitherto, on the whole, equally creditable to the
British _Raj_ that preserved them from extinction in the old days of
stress and storm and to the rulers who have justified British
statesmanship by their fine loyalty. But in a democratised and
self-governing India it might easily become a much more palpable
anomaly.

How was this new situation to be dealt with? Some of the ruling Princes
and Chiefs whose views appear to have prevailed with the Secretary of
State and the Government of India, came to the conclusion that they
should combine together and try to secure as a body a recognised
position from which their collective influence might be brought more
effectively to bear upon the Government of India, whatever its new
orientation may ultimately be under the influence of popular assemblies
in British India. Some, doubtless, believed that once in such a position
they would be able to oppose a more effective because more united front
to interference from whatever quarter in the internal affairs of their
States. Circumstances favoured their scheme for the loyalty displayed by
all the Native States, and the distinguished services rendered in person
by not a few Chiefs inclined Government to meet their wishes without
probing them too closely, and in the first place to relax the control
hitherto exercised by its political officers on the spot--often, it must
be confessed, on rather petty and irritating lines. The leading Princes
were encouraged to come to Delhi during the winter season, and those who
favoured a policy of closer combination amongst themselves were those
who responded most freely to these official promptings. Conversations
soon assumed the shape of informal conferences, and, later on, of formal
conferences convened and presided over by the Viceroy. The hidden value
of these conferences must have been far greater than would appear from
the somewhat trivial record of the subjects under discussion, for it is
out of these conferences that the new Chamber of Princes has been
evolved as a permanent consultative body for the consideration of
questions affecting the Native States generally, or of common concern to
them and to British India and to the Empire generally.

The conception is in itself by no means novel and appeals to many upon
whom the picturesqueness and conservative stability of the Native States
exercise a strong attraction. It can be traced back at least as far as
Lord Lytton's Viceroyalty over forty years ago, and the steadily growing
recognition of the important part which the Native States play in the
Indian Empire culminated during the war in the appointment of an Indian
Prince to represent them specially at the Imperial War Conferences held
in London during the war, and again, after the war was over, at the
Paris Peace Conference.

But the creation of a Chamber of Princes at this particular juncture
raises very difficult issues. In the first place, though it has been
engineered with great skill and energy by a small group of very
distinguished Princes, mostly Rajput, it is viewed with deep suspicion
by other chiefs who, not being Rajputs, scent in it a scheme for
promoting Rajput ascendancy, and it has received no support at all from
other and more powerful Princes such as the Nizam of Hyderabad, the
Gaikwar of Baroda, the Maharajah of Mysore. Some have always held aloof
from the Delhi Conferences and have intimated plainly that they have no
desire to see any alteration introduced into their treaty relationships
with the Paramount Power. Without their participation no Chamber of
Princes can pull its full weight, and even if most of them considered
themselves bound out of loyalty to the Sovereign to attend an inaugural
ceremony performed by the Duke of Connaught in the name of the
King-Emperor himself, it would be premature to infer that their
opposition has been permanently overcome. The Supreme Government has of
course reiterated the pledges already embodied in the treaties that
there shall be no interference with the ancient rights and privileges of
the Native States and their rulers, but its eminent right to interfere
in cases of extreme urgency has not and cannot be surrendered. It has
been exercised very rarely, and only when administration and government
have fallen flagrantly short of certain standards, established by usage
and generally understood and accepted, which it is perhaps easier to
describe negatively than positively. Misrule cannot be tolerated when it
amounts to a public scandal or takes the form of criminal acts. The
whole question has always bristled with difficulties, and still does.
The tendency, since Lord Curzon's time, has been to relax the control of
the Supreme Government even in matters of slighter moment on which it
had been accustomed to tender advice not always distinguishable from
commands. That some of the Native States, and not the least powerful,
are badly governed is of common notoriety. But if the Supreme Government
has been sometimes inclined to turn a blind eye in such cases, and even
to forget that it has moral obligations towards the subjects as well as
towards the rulers of the Native States, it has been free hitherto to
obey considerations of political expediency which may conceivably not
weigh so much in the future. For the same forces that have obtained the
surrender of the autocratic principle in British India, may demand with
equal insistency its surrender throughout the Native States. Should the
more irresponsible chiefs rely on the solidarity of a Chamber of Princes
to secure for them greater immunity than ever from the just consequences
of misgovernment, they would merely hasten a conflict which undoubtedly
most of their caste have begun to dread between their own archaic
methods and the democratic spirit which the Government of India Act of
1919 has quickened in British India.

There are many other thorny points. Obviously there could be no room for
all the seven or eight hundred ruling chiefs, great and small, in any
assembly reasonably constituted to represent the Native States. Nor have
they ever enjoyed any uniform status or received any uniform treatment.
Some of them, the most important, have maintained direct relations with
the Government of India; the majority only indirect relations through
the Provincial Governments within whose sphere their territories are
situated. The creation of the Chamber of Princes has necessitated a new
classification of major and minor States, the former entitled to direct,
the latter only to indirect representation, which has naturally caused a
vast amount of jealousy and heartburning. Another consequence still
under discussion is the substitution in most cases of direct relations
with the Government of India for those in which the smaller Native
States now stand to provincial governments. Such transfer must involve
innumerable difficulties and complications, especially in a Presidency
like Bombay, within whose boundaries there are over 300 Native States
inextricably bound up with it by common interests and even by common
administrative needs. Many of them are at first sight inclined to
welcome such a transfer as enhancing their prestige; some of them,
remembering the old saying that "Delhi is a long way off," hope that it
will lessen the prospect of outside interference in their own
administration, however bad it may be or become. But these are hardly
arguments to justify a transfer which can only import a new element of
confusion into an already sufficiently confused situation.

The Chamber of Princes was opened with all the glitter of oriental pomp
and magnificence, but it only held a few meetings and the proceedings
were veiled in secrecy. Only enough transpired to show that personal
jealousies and clan rivalries were rife even at that early stage. Its
very constitution denies it the assistance for which the Indian Councils
and the Indian Ministers have been wise enough to look from the
co-operation with them of British elements, whose authority in
government and administration is still maintained by statute and so far
undisputed. To the Chamber of Princes the Viceroy alone is in a position
to give guidance, and to shape that illustrious assembly to useful
purposes is one of the many difficult tasks in front of Lord Reading.

FOOTNOTES:

[3] At the "stabilised" rate of exchange a crore, or ten million
rupees = one million gold pounds sterling. One hundred lacs make a
crore.



CHAPTER XIII

ECONOMIC FACTORS


If the war has wrought great changes in the political life of India, in
its status within the Empire and in its constitutional relations with
the United Kingdom, it has produced equally important changes in its
economic situation and outlook. The Montagu-Chelmsford Report had not
failed to note how largely economic factors entered into the political
situation which the Secretary of State and the Viceroy were primarily
concerned to study. India is, and probably must always remain,
essentially an agricultural country, and its economics must always
suffer from the exceptionally unstable conditions to which, except
within the relatively small areas available for irrigation, dependence
upon a precarious rainfall condemns even the most industrious
agricultural population. Many circumstances had combined to retard the
development of its vast natural resources and the growth of modern
manufacturing industries. Few British administrators during the last
half-century had realised their importance as Lord Dalhousie had done
before the Mutiny, until Lord Curzon created a special department of
commerce and industry in the Government of India. The politically minded
classes, whose education had not trained them to deal with such
questions, were apt to lose themselves in such blind alleys as the
"doctrine of drain." But as they perceived how largely dependent India
was on foreign countries for manufactured goods, whilst her own
domestic industries had been to a great extent crushed in hopeless
competition with the products of the much more highly organised and
equipped industries of European countries, they rushed to the conclusion
that an industrial revival might be promoted by a crude boycott of
foreign imported goods which would at the same time serve as a
manifestation of their political discontent. The _Swadeshi_ movement
failed, as it was bound to fail. But failure intensified the suspicion
that, as India's foreign trade was chiefly with the United Kingdom, her
industrial backwardness was deliberately encouraged in the interests of
British manufactures, and it was not altogether unjustified by the
maintenance of the excise duty on locally manufactured cotton goods,
which protected the interests of Lancashire in the one industrial field
in which Indian enterprise had achieved greatest success. The
introduction of an annual Industrial Conference in connection with the
Indian National Congress was the first organised attempt of the
politically minded classes to link up with politics a movement towards
industrial independence. It assumed increased bitterness with the
disastrous failures of Indian banks started on "national" lines in
Bombay and the Punjab. The cry for fiscal freedom and protection grew
widespread and insistent before the war broke out. Then, under the
pressure of war necessities, the Government of India explored, as it had
never done before, the whole field of India's natural resources and of
the development of Indian industries. At the same time an opportunity
arose for a group of Indian "merchant-venturers"--to use the term in its
fine old Elizabethan sense--who had set themselves to give the lead to
their countrymen, to show what Indian enterprise was capable of
achieving. What it has already achieved deserves to be studied as the
most pregnant illustration of what the future may hold in reserve.

It is a somewhat chastening reflection that the creation of the one
great metallurgical industry in India has been due not to British but to
Indian capital and enterprise, assisted in the earliest and most
critical stages not by British but by American skill, and that, had it
not been created when it was, our Syrian and Mesopotamian campaigns
could never have been fought to their victorious issue, as Jamsheedpur
produced and could alone at that juncture supply the rails for the
construction of the railways essential to the rapid success of those
great military operations. Equally chastening is the reflection that
from its very inception less than twenty years ago, the pioneers of this
vast undertaking had constantly to reckon with the indifference and
inertia of Anglo-Indian officialdom, and with the almost solitary
exceptions of Sir Thomas Holland, then at the head of the Geological
Survey, and Sir Benjamin Robertson, afterwards Chief Commissioner of the
Central Provinces where the first but unavailing explorations were made,
seldom received more than a minimum of countenance and assistance. Not
till Messrs. Tata's American prospectors had explored this region did
the Government of India realise that untold mineral wealth lay there
within 150 miles of Calcutta, almost on the surface of the soil, and not
until the pressure of the Great War and the inability of India to draw
any longer upon British industry for the most vital supplies compelled
them to turn to Jamsheedpur do they seem to have at all appreciated what
an enterprise that owed little or nothing to them meant to India and the
Empire. When the war was over, Lord Chelmsford paid a visit to
Jamsheedpur and generously acknowledged that debt. "I can hardly
imagine," said the Viceroy, "what we should have done if the Tata
Company had not been able to give us steel rails which have provided not
only for Mesopotamia, but for Egypt, Palestine, and East Africa." One
may therefore hope that the lesson of the war will not be forgotten, and
that Sir Thomas Holland, who has now exchanged the Munitions Board for
the portfolio of Industry, will prevent a relapse into the old
traditions of aloofness now that the war pressure is over.

The cotton-mills of Bombay, the jute-mills of Calcutta, the goldfields
of Mysore each contribute their own remarkable chapter to the story of
British industrial enterprise in India, but none can compare in point of
romance with the story of the iron and steel industry of Jamsheedpur. It
need only be very briefly recalled. In 1902 Mr. Jamsheedji Tata, a
veteran of the great Parsee community of Bombay and one of the founders
of the Bombay cotton industry, visited the United States. His active
mind had already for some time been busy with the idea of starting a
metallurgic industry in India, and he had received in the course of
conversation with Lord George Hamilton, then Secretary of State for
India, about the only encouragement he ever did receive in England. He
fared better in America. In New York he called with a letter of
introduction from Lord Avebury on Mr. C. Page Perin, an eminent mining
engineer, who was at once impressed both with his visitor and with the
schemes which he unfolded, though they were still quite visionary. Mr.
Perin, who is still the consulting engineer of the Tata Company, agreed
to send a party of American prospectors, and followed them in 1904 to
India. Long was the search and many the hardships undergone, and Mr.
Jamsheedji Tata himself passed away before he could see the fulfilment
of his dream. But Sir Dorab Tata proved himself not unworthy to follow
in his footsteps, and when an area hitherto almost unknown and
unexplored had been definitely located, combining in an extraordinary
degree the primary requisites of adequate coalfields, vast ore deposits
of great wealth, a sufficient water supply, a suitable site for a large
industrial town with good railway communication though still badly
needing development, he and a small group of his Bombay friends tried to
find in London the financial support which they imagined would hardly be
denied to an enterprise of such immense importance for our Indian
Empire. But they failed. It was then that, largely on the advice of Sir
George Clarke, now Lord Sydenham, who was then Governor of
Bombay--whose great services to the economic advancement of India and to
Indian technical education latter-day politicians are too apt to
forget--they appealed to their own fellow-countrymen for the capital
needed. Never had such an appeal been made, but the response was
immediate and ample. The Tata Iron and Steel Works Company was launched
as an Indian Company, and to the present day all the hard cash required
has come out of Indian pockets. In 1908 the first clearance was effected
in what had hitherto been a barren stretch of scrub-jungle sparsely
inhabited by aboriginal Sonthals, one of the most primitive of Indian
races, and in 1910 the first works, erected by an American firm, were
completed and started. As far as the production of pig-iron was
concerned success was immediate, but many difficulties had to be
overcome in the manufacture of steel which had never before been
attempted in a tropical climate. These too, however, had been surmounted
by the end of 1913 in the nick of time to meet the heavy demands and
immense strain of the Great War, towards the end of which Government
took as much as 97 per cent of the steel output and obtained it from the
Company at less than a quarter of the price that it would have commanded
in the Indian open market.

To-day, just twelve years after the first stake was driven into the
ground, Jamsheedpur is already a town of close on 100,000 inhabitants,
pleasantly situated on rising ground between a considerable river which
flows down sometimes during the rainy season in a devastating torrent
from the lofty plateau of Chota Nagpur into the Bay of Bengal and a
minor affluent whose waters mingle with it close by. The climate is dry
and therefore healthy, though the shade temperature rises in hot weather
to 116, and a finely scarped range of hills over 3500 feet high provides
within easy distance the makings of a small hill station as a refuge,
especially valuable for women and children, from the worst heat of the
torrid season. During the "cold" weather, when the thermometer falls to
between 40° and 50° at night, there can be no more delightful climate in
the world. The war gave a tremendous impetus to the Company's operations
and stimulated the rapid expansion of the works on a far larger scale
than had ever been anticipated, until they now need not fear comparison
with some of the largest and best-equipped works of the same kind in the
West. No doubt is entertained as to the demand for the enormous output
from such a plant. Nor is it contemplated that it will meet anything
like the full needs of India, which are growing apace. Before the war
India imported annually about 1,000,000 tons of steel products, of which
Germany furnished a large and increasing percentage direct or through
Belgium. Equally little room is there to question the continued supply
of either coal or ore. The life of the coal mines which the Tata Company
possess within one hundred miles of their works is estimated at two
hundred years, and they form only a very small portion of the great
carboniferous area known as the Gondwana measures. They produce the best
coking coal in India, and though much inferior as such to most British
coal mines, against this disadvantage can be set off the much greater
richness of the iron ore deposits, carrying between 60 and 67 per cent
of metallic iron. These non-titaniferous deposits are practically
inexhaustible, and those at present used are within forty to fifty miles
of Jamsheedpur. This favoured region supplies also most of the fluxes
required for the manufacture of steel, and even clays for firebricks.

Of equal promise for the future prosperity of India is the force of
attraction which Jamsheedpur is exercising on other kindred or
subsidiary industries which are establishing themselves in large
numbers, and with Indian as well as European capital behind them,
throughout the same region.

To keep pace with the growth of the population which such huge and rapid
extensions involve is no easy task, and the Tatas aim at making
Jamsheedpur a model industrial town not unworthy of the high standard
which they have reached in their works. It is to an Englishman, a son of
the late Archbishop Temple, formerly in the Public Works Department,
that the task has been entrusted. The Company own twenty-seven square
miles of land, which is none too little for a town that already has
nearly 100,000 and may in the near future have a quarter of a million
inhabitants. Fortunately the lie of the land, which is undulating and
rises gradually from the level of the river beds, adapts itself both to
aesthetic and sanitary town-planning. There is plenty of scope for
laying out round the existing nucleus a number of new and separate
quarters in which suitable provision can be made for the needs of
different classes of Europeans and Indians, and for applying new
scientific principles which should secure for all, including especially
the children, the light and air so much needed in a large industrial
centre. Many, too, are the novel problems arising out of the governance
of a great heterogeneous community in a town which, though within the
British Indian province of Behar and Orissa, is in many respects
autonomous; and to another Englishman, Mr. Gordhays, who has for the
purpose retired from the Indian Civil Service, Messrs. Tata have
entrusted this equally responsible task.

How soon such a vital undertaking can be Indian-run as well as
Indian-owned is a question upon the answer to which the future of India
in the economic sphere depends as much as upon the success or failure of
the new Councils in the sphere of political advancement.

The operations of a steel and iron foundry call for high scientific
attainments, grit, and the power to control large bodies of labour. In
addition to these qualities others are required at Jamsheedpur to deal
with the many physical and social problems which the rapid growth of a
very heterogeneous population and its harmonious and healthy governance
present. What augury can be drawn for the future from the results
already achieved? The board of directors, with whom the ultimate
responsibility rests, has always been exclusively Indian. But, being
sane business men, they realised from the first that they must for some
time rely on Western management, Western technical knowledge, and even
to some extent on Western skilled labour. Having met with little
encouragement in British official quarters in India, or in British
unofficial quarters in England, they turned in the first place to
America. Many Americans occupy responsible posts in the works. The
erection of the first plant was committed to Americans. The Indian
directors never attempted to exclude Englishmen from their employ, nor
did they hesitate to have recourse to British industry when it could
best supply their needs. To keep the balance even they turned before the
war to Germany also. Much of the machinery was purchased from German
firms, who, like the Americans and the British, sent out their own
parties to set up and work the plant which they supplied. In August 1914
the Germans numbered 250. But they were soon eliminated, and their
places for the most part filled by Englishmen, the smelters from
Middlesbrough importing not only their fine Yorkshire physique and
dialect, but their Trade Union ideas.

During the war, Government, both in Delhi and in London, were constantly
pressing for an increased output, which meant a large extension of the
works; and as nothing could be obtained from England or brought out
except at extreme risk from submarines, large orders for new plant for
the extensions now in progress had therefore to be placed in America.
The total number of covenanted employees of the Company to-day is 137,
of whom ninety-three are English and forty-four American, and there are
in addition sixty locally employed Europeans. The number of Indians
employed is about 44,500. Nearly half the population of Jamsheedpur is
directly employed by the Company, and almost the whole owes its means of
livelihood to it in less direct forms. It comprises Indians of many
races and creeds and castes and tongues. There are Bengalees and
Madrasees of the educated classes, some of them Brahmans, who are
chiefly engaged in clerical, technical, and managerial work. There are
rougher Pathans and Punjabee Mahomedans, as well as Sikhs, who take more
readily to heavy skilled manual labour. There are artisans and small
traders and shopkeepers from all parts of India, and even a few picked
carpenters from China as pattern-makers. The bulk of the unskilled
labour is drawn from the Sonthal aboriginal population, industrious,
docile, and cheerful as a rule, but abysmally ignorant and credulous,
and liable to sudden gusts of emotion and passion.

The question of the employment of Indians on the actual processes of
manufacture is largely a question of technical and physical training,
and it has not been lost sight of in Jamsheedpur. Schools have been
started for the education of the Indian children, and though in a
community still largely composed of people who are themselves young, the
number of children of a school-going age is necessarily small, a
secondary school under a Bengalee graduate in science, who was himself
originally trained in Rabindranath Tagore's remarkable school at Bolpur,
already has over 140 boys, and a training institute for higher technical
studies is to follow in due course. Nor are the adult men and women
neglected, for social welfare in all its aspects plays an important part
in the life of Jamsheedpur.

As to the actual employment of Indians, nowhere has the principle been
more carefully applied that Europeans--a term which in this connection
must be taken to include Americans--are only to be employed when and so
long as no Indian can be found competent to perform the particular work
required. The proportion of Europeans to Indians works out to-day
approximately as 1 to 230, but this figure is in itself somewhat
misleading. Out of the total of 197 Europeans, no fewer than
seventy-five are the highly skilled mechanics who are still absolutely
indispensable as supervisors at the steel-smelting furnaces and the
rolling-mills. Work of this kind requires a powerful physique, long
experience, and plenty of pluck. One has only to look at the muscular,
hard-bitten Americans and Englishmen who stand round the furnaces to see
that they represent a type of humanity which in India is still extremely
rare. The Company have tried eighteen Indians, carefully selected, but
only three have stayed. The up-country races, physically more promising,
lack the training. It will take, it is believed, twenty-five years to
bring on Indians who can be trusted to replace Europeans in these
arduous jobs.

Nevertheless, in the steel-smelting furnaces there are only forty
European supervisors to 2000 Indian workmen, and in the rolling-mills
only thirty-five to 2200. In other departments much more rapid progress
has been achieved, and the results are already remarkable. Indians do
excellent work as machinists, cranemen, electricians, etc., and even in
the rolling-mills they do all the manual work. The best of them make
reliable gangers and foremen. In the blast furnaces there are only eight
Europeans to 1600 Indians, in the mechanical department only six to
3000, and in the traffic department only one to 1500. In two other
important departments it has been already found possible to place an
Indian in full charge. One of these is the electrical department, which
requires unquestionably high scientific capacity. Another is the coke
ovens, on which 2000 Indians are employed under the sole charge of an
Indian who seemed to me to represent an almost new and very interesting
type--a young Bengalee of good family, nephew to Sir Krishna Gupta, who
was recently a member of the Secretary of State's Council in Whitehall.
He had studied at Harvard, had worked afterwards right through the mill,
and had acquired the habit of organised command, which is still rare
amongst Indians. If Jamsheedpur may be not inaptly regarded as a
microcosm of India, in which the capacity of Indians for self-government
in a wider sense than any merely political experiment connotes is being
subjected to the closest and most severe test, it assuredly holds forth
high promise for the future.

Yet at the very time when the future of Indian industries seemed to be
at last almost assured, and largely thanks to Indian enterprise, it was
gravely compromised by the miserable breakdown of the most important of
all the services on which the very life of industry depends. The Indian
railways proved altogether incapable of meeting the new demands made
upon them. Even in the essential matter of coal supplies, though the
output of the Indian coal mines suffices for present requirements, huge
dumps of coal accumulated round the mines and could not be moved owing
to the lack of rolling-stock and to the general inadequacy of the
existing railway system. The breakdown may have been due in the first
place to the rapid deterioration of rolling-stock and permanent way that
could not be made good during the war, and has not been made good yet,
but the real causes must be traced much farther back to the parsimonious
and short-sighted railway policy of the Government of India for years
past. Apart from the economic consequences, it is particularly
unfortunate, even from the political point of view, that such a
revelation of inefficiency should have occurred in a field which has
been hitherto most jealously preserved for British enterprise, and just
in the very sphere of Western activity which has appealed most strongly
to Indians of all classes.

Of all the Western inventions which we have brought to India, the
railway is certainly the most popular, perhaps because the modern love
of travel has developed largely out of the ancient practice, still
continued, of pilgrimages _en masse_ to popular shrines, near and far.
During the great days when the worship of Juganath reaches its climax
and half a million pilgrims pour into Puri from all parts of India, the
terminus of the branch-line from the Calcutta-Madras railway is busier
than Epsom Downs station on Derby Day. A big Indian railway station--the
Howrah terminus in Calcutta, the Victoria Terminus in Bombay, the
Central Station in Delhi--is in itself at all times a microcosm of
India. It is never empty, never silent by day or by night. It is always
alive, always crowded, always full of Indian sounds and smells. It is a
camping ground not only for those who are actually going to travel but
also for those who merely come to give their friends a send-off or to
greet them on arrival. No Indian of any position can be allowed to
depart or to arrive without a party of friends to garland him with
flowers, generally the crude yellow "temple" marigolds. The ordinary
Indian to whom time is of little value cares nothing for time-tables. He
goes to the station when he feels moved to do so, and waits there
patiently for the next train that will take him to his destination or
bring the friends he wants to meet. He does not in the least mind
waiting for two, three, or four hours--sometimes in more remote parts of
the country for the best part of twelve or even of twenty-four hours.
Only the Europeans and a few Western-educated Indians who have learnt
business habits ever think of "catching" a train. So the Indian railway
station has a constant and generally dense floating population that
squat in the day-time in separate groups, men, women, and children
together, according to their caste, hugging the slender bundles which
constitute their luggage, chattering and arguing, shouting and
quarrelling, as their mood may be, but on the whole wonderfully
good-humoured and patient. At night they stretch themselves out full
length on the ground, drawing their scanty garments well over their
heads and leaving their legs and feet exposed, or, if the air is chilly
and they possess a blanket, rolling themselves up in it tightly like so
many shrouded corpses in long and serried rows, till the shriek of an
incoming train arouses them. Then, whether it be their train or not,
there is a din of yelling voices, a frenzied rush up and down the
platform, and, even before those who want to get out have had time to
alight, a headlong scramble for places--as often as not in the wrong
carriages and always apparently in those that are already crammed full,
as the Indian is essentially gregarious--and out again with fearful
shouts and shrill cries if a bundle has gone astray, or an agitated
mother has mislaid her child, or a traveller discovers at the last
moment that it is not after all the train he wants. In nine cases out of
ten there is really no need for such frantic hurry. Even express trains
take their time about it whenever they do stop, and ordinary trains have
a reputation for slowness and unpunctuality to which they seldom fail to
live up. But, as if to make up for the long hours of patient waiting,
the struggling and the shouting go on _crescendo_ till the train is at
last under way again. For, besides the actual passengers coming and
going, the platforms are alive with hawkers of all sorts who minister to
their clamorous needs--sellers of newspapers and of cigarettes and of
the betel-nut which dyes the chewer's mouth red, of sweetmeats and
refreshments suited to the different castes and creeds, Mahomedan
water-carriers from whom alone their co-religionists will take water to
fill their drinking-vessels, and Brahman water-carriers who can in like
manner alone pour out water for Hindus of all castes. And all have their
own peculiar cries, discordant but insistent.

Who that has passed at night through one of the great junctions on the
Upper Indian railways, say Saharampur or Umballa or Delhi, can ever
forget such sounds and sights of pandemonium? Or who would care to miss
during the daylight hours the open window on to the kaleidoscopic scenes
of Indian life at every halt? Here a turbaned Rajput chief with his
whiskers fiercely twirled back under his ears descends from the train to
be greeted and garlanded by a throng of expectant retainers who look as
if they had stepped straight out of an old Moghul picture. Or a fat and
prosperous Mahomedan _zemindar_ in a gold-embroidered velvet coat and
patent-leather boots struts along the platform convoying his fluttering
household of heavily veiled ladies, all a-twitter with excitement, to
the _purdah_ carriage specially reserved for them. Or a band of
mendicant ascetics, their almost naked bodies smeared all over with
fresh ashes and the trident of Shiva painted on their foreheads, return
with well-filled begging-bowls from some favourite shrine. Or an excited
crowd, all wearing the little white Gandhi cap, rend the air with shouts
of _Mahatma Gandhi-ki jai!_ in honour of some travelling apostle of
"Non-co-operation." And all over India the swarm of humbler travellers,
who lend their own note of varied colour even to the smallest way-side
stations, seems to increase every year, whether one crosses the vast
drab plains of Upper India or climbs the steep face of the Western Ghats
on to the sun-scorched plateau of the Deccan, or is unmercifully jolted
through the gentler and more verdant landscapes of Southern India.

One change, however, since pre-war days none can fail to mark.
Travelling is far less comfortable. Trains are fewer and far more
crowded. The rolling-stock is war-worn and dilapidated, for it could not
be renewed during the war, as, although a great deal of railway material
can be produced in Indian workshops, some absolutely essential parts
have always been imported from England--as many Indians believe for the
purpose of subordinating Indian railways to the industrial interests of
Great Britain. Even the permanent way has deteriorated. But the mere
discomfort inflicted upon travellers is a small matter, and it is
chiefly on grounds of racial feeling that Indians are beginning to cry
out against the many outward and visible forms of discrimination in
favour of European travellers. What the most moderate and thoughtful
Indians are concerned about is the futility of talking of the
development of Indian industries and the starting of new ones when
railroads and rolling-stock can no longer handle even the existing
traffic or move the essential raw materials. The problem brought to the
front by the grave crisis through which the Indian railway system is now
passing is neither new nor accidental. It is the outcome of antiquated
methods of railway administration and finance, of which it was possible
to disguise the defects so long as they were not subjected to any
searching strain. The war provided that strain, and the system showed,
it must be admitted, wonderful endurance under it so long as the war
lasted. But since the end of the war it has betrayed such grave symptoms
of imminent collapse that Government have been compelled to appoint an
independent Committee of Inquiry, with a fair proportion of Indian
members on it, which with a man like Sir William Acworth as Chairman
will, it may be hoped, not be content merely to pass judgment upon it,
but will be able also to point to a better way in the future. The
evidence produced before the Committee furnishes ample material for a
scathing indictment of the system.

There are altogether only some 35,000 miles of railroad in India to-day,
or about as much as before the war in European Russia, the most backward
of all European countries, whose population was little more than a third
of that of India. The Government of India may claim that this is a
magnificent return for the £380,000,000 of capital expenditure that
these railways represent to-day in its books, and that the profits which
they have yielded for the last twenty years with steadily increasing
abundance to the State show the money to have been well invested. But
how if these results have been achieved only by a short-sighted and
narrow-minded policy which sacrificed the future to the present?

Of the Indian railways some are owned and worked by the State, some are
owned by the State and worked by companies, some are owned and worked by
companies under contracts with the State. The companies that own and
work their own lines are for the most part domiciled in England, and the
evidence already taken before the Committee shows how little power is
left by the London Boards to the local agents who manage them, and how
often the interests of the public and of the country appear to be
subordinated to the narrow view taken at home of the companies' own
interests. But however flagrant the special shortcomings of the
company-owned railways may be, the root of the evil common to all lies
in the policy laid down by and for the Government of India, in whom the
supreme control has always been vested as a professedly necessary
consequence of the financial guarantees given by the State and the right
of ultimate purchase reserved to it. That control, which has passed
through many different incarnations in the course of the last
half-century, has been exercised since 1905 by a Railway Board of three
members outside of, but subordinate to, the Government of India. It is
represented in the Viceroy's Executive Council by the Member for
Commerce and Industry, but its real master and the ultimate authority in
all matters of railway policy is and always has been the Finance Member
of the Government of India, who in turn has to adapt himself to the
exigencies of Whitehall. The Finance Member, who lays down the annual
amount that can be allocated to railway expenditure out of revenue, cuts
the cloth of the Railway Board in accordance not so much with the needs
of the railways themselves as with the requirements of his annual
budget. For when the yield of the Indian railways began to constitute an
important source of Government revenue, the Finance Member, instead of
devoting it to the equipment and expansion of railways, however
essential to the future prosperity of the country, was easily prevailed
upon to regard it, in part at least, as a convenient lucky-bag to draw
upon, especially in difficult times, for meeting the demands of other
departments, and especially of the Army Department, always the most
insatiable of all. In the same way, however clear a case could be made
out from the point of view of the railways for capital expenditure to be
met by raising loans at home or in India, the decision was not based so
much on the intrinsic merits of such an operation as on the immediate
effect it was likely to have on the British or Indian money market in
respect of other financial operations with which the Secretary of State
was saddled. The result has been that before the war the Indian railways
were kept on the shortest possible commons, and that having been
inevitably starved during the war, without any reserves to fall back
upon, they are clamouring to-day for financial assistance for the mere
upkeep of open lines and the renewal of rolling-stock, without which
they are threatened with complete paralysis, whilst the Government of
India, confronted on the one hand with the categorical imperative of the
Esher Committee and the fantastic extravagance of the Army Department
since the Afghan war, and on the other with the appalling losses already
incurred in consequence of Whitehall's currency and exchange policy, has
never been in a worse position to give such assistance.

The keen searchlight of the war has been turned effectively on many weak
points in the government and administration of India besides railway
policy, and the Indian currency and exchange policy stands out now as
one of the most disturbing factors in the economic situation.

India played her part in the war, and played it well, but she was never
called upon to bear any crushing share in its financial burdens. The
Indian Legislature unanimously and spontaneously granted £100,000,000 in
1917 towards Imperial war expenditure, and another £140,000,000 of
Indian money went into the two Indian war loans and issues of Treasury
notes. But the increase in India's actual military expenditure during
the war was small, as the Imperial Exchequer continued to bear all the
extra cost of the Indian forces employed outside India, and the last
Indian war budget, 1918-19, showed an excess of only about £23,000,000
over the last pre-war budget, 1913-14--an increase easily met by
relatively small additional taxation. Moreover, the Indian export trade,
after a temporary set-back on the first outbreak of hostilities,
received a tremendous impetus from the pressing demand for Indian
produce at rapidly increasing prices, and the lucrative development of
many new as well as old industries and of natural resources too long
neglected. The balance of trade which before the war had generally been
slightly against India then shifted rapidly, and the scale turned
heavily in her favour till the end of the war. The total value of the
supplies of all sorts, foodstuffs, raw materials, and manufactured
products, sent out from India to other parts of the British Empire and
to Allied countries has been estimated at some £250,000,000.

For India as a whole the war years were fat years, though the wealth
poured into the country was, as usual, very unevenly distributed, and
some sections of the population were very hard hit by the tremendous
rise in the cost of living. Lean years were bound to come in India as
elsewhere when the war was over. But the reaction would hardly have led
to such a serious crisis had it not been for complications which have
arisen out of the peculiarities of a unique exchange and currency
system. This system presumes a gold standard, but it is in reality a
gold exchange system by which, in the absence of an Indian gold
currency, the exchange as between the Indian silver rupee and the
British gold sovereign has to be kept at the gold point of the legally
established rate of the rupee to the sovereign by delicately balanced
operations directed from Whitehall. These consist in the sale of
"Council bills" at gold point by the Secretary of State for India when
the balance of trade is in favour of India, and in the sale of "Reverse
Councils" at gold point by the Government of India when the balance of
trade is against India.

The system worked fairly well until the second year of the war, when the
balance of trade turned in favour of India and soon assumed
unprecedented proportions. The enormous Indian exports could not be paid
for in goods, as the Allied countries had neither goods nor freight
available for maintaining their own export trade. Nor could they be
paid for in bullion, as gold and silver were taken under rigid control.
Nor could internal borrowings in India (though the success of the Indian
war loans was a phenomenon hitherto undreamt of) suffice to finance the
expenditure incurred in India on behalf of the Imperial Government. The
Government of India made very large purchases of silver, which combined
with the stimulated world-demand to drive the price of the white metal
up to inordinate levels, and to keep pace with this rise and avoid an
intolerable loss on the coining of rupees the rate of exchange--_i.e._
the rate at which the Secretary of State sells "Council bills" in
London--was raised until it actually reached 2s. 5d. for the rupee. To
meet the balance of Imperial expenditure in India the Government of
India issued currency notes against London Treasury bills.

The result of these operations was that at the end of the war the funds
standing to the credit of the Government of India in London had been
swollen to the unprecedented figure of £106,000,000, a large proportion
of which had to be paid back to India when, with the cessation of the
abnormal conditions induced by the war, the balance of trade turned
against her, and the rate of exchange had been raised from the legal
standard of sixteenpence to the rupee to 2s. 5d. The very important
question then arose of the future legal ratio of the rupee to the
sovereign or the £1 sterling. A Committee was appointed to advise the
Secretary of State as to the best means of securing fixity of exchange
under the new conditions; it took evidence in London during the year
1919 and reported towards the end of the year. A majority of the
Committee recommended that the rupee should be linked with the gold
sovereign and not with the £1 sterling, which had become divorced from
gold under the pressure of war finance, and that the legally established
ratio of 1s. 4d. or fifteen rupees to the sovereign should be raised to
2s., _i.e._ ten rupees to the sovereign. The Secretary of State accepted
the recommendations of the majority of the Committee, and in February
1920 steps were taken to establish the new ratio regardless of the fact
that signs were indubitably discerned in the previous month showing that
the economic current had turned against India. The rupee was to be
"stabilised" at 2s. gold. The only dissentient voice in the Currency
Committee had been that of the one Indian member, a Bombay bullion
broker, Mr. D. Merwanji Dalal, who probably had more practical knowledge
and experience of the problem than all the ten signatories of the
Majority Report, and he had pleaded in vain for the retention of the old
ratio of fifteen rupees to the sovereign. The event was soon to
demonstrate his sagacity. The Secretary of State in order to establish
the new ratio sold "Reverse Councils" at rates from 2s. 11d. downwards.
The attempt failed egregiously, for the rupee fell steadily, and has now
fallen to and under 1s. 4d. The money represented by the Indian balances
with the Secretary of State had been put down in London at 1s. 4d.
upwards, and India had to pay at the rate of 2s. 11d. downwards to get
it back. The difference between the two rates represents, it is
calculated, a loss to the Indian tax-payer of thirty-five crores of
rupees, or £35,000,000 at the "stabilised" rate ordained by Government.

But the actual loss to India on these exchange transactions is not the
worst outcome of these conjuring tricks, as they have been
contemptuously called by Indian critics of Whitehall. Faith both in the
omnipotence and in the honesty of Government was by no means extinct in
Indian business circles, and when Government undertook to "stabilise"
the rupee at 2s. gold Indian merchants assumed that Government could and
would do what it said it was going to do. Their stocks of imported goods
had been completely depleted during the war, and prosperity had bred, as
usual, a spirit of excessive optimism. Enormous orders for cotton
piece-goods and other British manufactures were placed in England on the
basis of a 2s. rupee just when prices there had soared to their
dizziest heights. By the time the British manufacturers had fulfilled
their contracts and the goods were delivered in India, not only had the
rupee fallen headlong but prices too had declined, and the Indian
importer found that he had made both ways a terribly bad bargain, of
which in many cases he could not possibly fulfil his share. There was
£15,000,000 worth of Manchester piece-goods alone lying in India at one
time last winter on board the ships that brought them out or in the
docks. Of these the Indian importer simply refused to take delivery,
because to do so would have meant ruin, as, what with the depreciation
of the rupee and the fall in market prices, they seldom represented
one-half, sometimes not a quarter, of the cost to him, if he took them
up. It was useless to preach to him about the sanctity of contract, for
had not Government itself, he declared, set the example of a gross
breach of contract by undertaking and then failing to "stabilise" its
own rupee currency? Government pleaded that it had given no undertaking
that could be construed as a contract, but the Indian retorted that the
Government's word had been hitherto held as good as its bond, and Indian
Extremists found only too ready hearers when they imputed the exchange
policy of Whitehall not so much to mere incompetence as to unholy
influences behind Whitehall which robbed India in order to fill British
pockets.

A wiser spirit ultimately prevailed, and merchants and buyers came
together and agreed to compromise, and large stocks were gradually
cleared. If this year's monsoon is followed by good harvests, and the
European markets recover something of their former activity, Indian
trade will be gradually restored to more normal conditions. But the
ordeal which it has passed through will have taught some enduring
lessons.

Remembering, too, the large profits which London firms used to make on
silver purchases for the Government of India, and the enormous Indian
balances kept in London in pre-war times which were supposed to be
essential to the maintenance of Indian credit but were still more
clearly of great convenience for London bankers who had the use of them,
Indians who are by no means Extremists ask themselves not unreasonably
why, instead of leaving the ordinary laws of supply and demand to work
through the ordinary channels of financial and commercial enterprise,
the Secretary of State should persist in carrying on big financial
operations connected with the adjustment of the balance of trade or any
purpose other than his official requirements in regard to what are known
as "home charges," _i.e._ payments to be made in England on account of
the Government of India.

That the effects of the present system as it has worked recently have
been deplorable from a political as well as from an economic point of
view is shown by the large number of recruits made by Mr. Gandhi from
what one might have regarded as the most unlikely classes. Indian
merchants whose interests would seem to be bound up with the maintenance
of order and public tranquillity, Bombay _Banias_ and Calcutta
_Marwaris_, have thrown themselves into the "Non-co-operation" movement
out of sheer bitterness and loss of confidence in British good faith,
boycotting British imported goods and supplying a large part of the
funds without which even a Mahatma cannot carry on a prolonged political
agitation.



CHAPTER XIV

SHOALS AND ROCKS AHEAD


Unless the economic situation improves again with a rapidity beyond even
sanguine expectations, Government will have to lay before the Indian
Legislature next winter a budget scarcely less unpleasant than the last
one. Even if expenditure does not outrun the estimates, revenue can
hardly fail to fall short of them. Mr. Hailey, with perhaps forced
optimism, seems to have reckoned upon taxation old and new continuing to
yield at much the same rate during a year which began and is likely to
end in great depression as during the preceding year, a great part of
which had been a "boom" year. In the same way he budgeted on a 1s. 8d.
rupee, though the rate of exchange for the rupee was then under, and has
only quite recently[4] risen above, 1s. 4d. This means an inevitable and
considerable loss to the Government of India on all the home charges
which it has to remit to London. Another deficit to be met by another
increase of taxation would be a strain upon the Assembly far more trying
than that to which this year's Budget subjected it. Indian opinion will
press for further steps towards complete fiscal autonomy. Scarcely a
single Indian is a convinced free trader. In the old Indian National
Congress the desire not to estrange the sympathies of the Liberal party
in England, and the lack of interest then taken by Indian politicians in
economic questions, kept the issue somewhat in the background until the
Extremists raised it in the form of _Swadeshi_ and in an attempt to
organise a boycott of British imported goods. The immense development of
Indian industries during the war has made protection once more a very
live issue, for if that development is arrested or languishes as the
result of the general economic situation, the louder will be the demand
for protection. Even the outcry at first raised last winter in
Lancashire against the increase of the Indian import duties as an
intolerable blow to British textile industries, though at once firmly
checked by the Secretary of State, provoked enough irritation in India
to show how deeply engrained is the suspicion that, from the days of the
East India Company onward, the industrial and commercial interests of
India have always been deliberately or instinctively sacrificed to those
of Great Britain. Indians regard complete fiscal autonomy as one of the
first steps towards the fulfilment of the pledge of self-government, and
indeed as the logical consequence of the recommendation already made by
the Joint Select Committee of both Houses of Parliament. To believe that
in such matters the Government of India would now place itself in
opposition to the views of the Indian Legislature is to ignore the whole
spirit of the constitutional changes.

To the economic factors that react unfavourably upon a difficult
political situation must be added the growth of labour troubles, which
Extremist agitators know how to exploit to the utmost even when they do
not actually foment them. Strikes are as common to-day in India as they
are in England, and the epidemic has sometimes spread from industrial
workers to those employed by municipalities and by the State. There have
been strikes not only in the big cotton mills and jute mills and other
large manufacturing industries, but also amongst postmen, and amongst
railwaymen on State as well as on private-owned lines, amongst tram-car
drivers and conductors, and even amongst city scavengers. Lightning
strikes without any notice are of growing frequency. Some are
short-lived, others very obstinate, dragging on for weeks and months.
Some are grotesquely frivolous, others by no means lack justification or
excuse. Intimidation often not unaccompanied by violent assaults on
non-strikers is an ugly feature common to most of them. They sometimes
lead to very serious riots and bloodshed. They have played a prominent
part in the worst disorders of the last few years. Nowhere have they
assumed at times a more threatening shape than in the Bombay Presidency,
for in the cotton mills of Bombay itself and of the Ahmedabad district,
which employ over 200,000 hands, are collected the largest
agglomerations of factory workers in India.

Labour troubles were bound to come with the introduction of Western
methods of industrial development and Western machinery. It has led, and
very rapidly, to a demand for labour which the urban population could
not supply. But the wages soon attracted immigrants from the more or
less distant countryside, where at certain seasons of the year there is
little work to be done on the land. It became the custom for an
increasingly large number of rural districts to send their men into the
towns, where they worked for a few months. Then they went away after
they had put by a little money and came back again when they had
exhausted their hoard. These migrations became more and more regular and
on a larger scale as the demand for labour increased, and they
constitute to-day the feature which radically differentiates the problem
of Indian labour from that of British labour. There has not yet grown up
in India an industrial population permanently rooted in the towns. It is
still largely migratory, returning from time to time for more or less
lengthy periods to field-work in the villages, which remain the real
home. The Indian factory operative has not yet ceased to be a man of the
country rather than of the town. Hence perhaps the conditions under
which he is sometimes content to live whilst he is working in a town--in
Bombay, for instance, for the most part in huge overcrowded blocks,
known as _chawls_, ill lighted, ill ventilated, in a foul atmosphere and
unspeakable dirt--may seem to him less intolerable as he can look
forward to exchanging them again some day for the light and air which
surround even the most squalid village hovels. If there were reason to
believe that improved housing conditions such as are now assured to
Bombay by the huge city improvement schemes which, under Sir George
Lloyd's energetic impulse, are expanding the limits and transforming
almost beyond recognition the appearance of the most congested quarters
of the most congested of modern Indian cities, or even that increased
wages would substantially affect the temper of Indian labour, one might
look forward to the future in this respect with less apprehension. But
in Bombay labour troubles have been scarcely less rife in the best- than
in the worst-conducted mills. In Calcutta the British jute-mill owners
have set a splendid example to Indian employers of labour, and the
mill-hands, now largely imported from other provinces, not only work
under the best possible conditions of light and air, but are housed in
spacious quarters specially built for them, well ventilated and
scientifically drained, with playing-fields and elementary schools for
the swarms of children who certainly look healthy and well-fed and
happy. The Birmingham mills in Madras are recognised to be, from the
same point of view, second to none in the world. But the most humane and
generous employers--whether European or Indian--are as liable as the
most grasping and callous to see their workers suddenly carried away by
a great wave of unreasoning discontent and passion.

The greater the general unrest amongst these excitable and terribly
ignorant masses, the more urgent is the need for the establishment of
some effective means of determining the social and economic justice of
the claims of labour, as well as for the adjustment of actual conflicts
by bringing employers and employed together in a friendly atmosphere. A
real organisation of labour in its own sphere of interests and the
constitution of responsible trades unions would probably go far to
prevent labour from turning for encouragement and support to agitators
who have never been workers themselves, who have no personal knowledge
of its processes or of its needs, and who exploit its discontent,
reasonable or unreasonable, for purposes as disastrous, if fulfilled, to
its permanent interests as to those of the employers and of the whole
community. A Congress which called itself the first "All-India Trades
Union Congress" met this year in Bombay. The present organisation of
labour in India can hardly be said to justify the title it assumed, and
in answer to a deputation which waited on the Governor, Sir George Lloyd
expressed a legitimate desire for more information than was contained in
its high-flown address as to the status of these unions, their method of
formation, their constitution, their system of ballot and election, and
the actual experience in the several trades of those who claimed to
represent them. That information was not and could not be furnished,
because the ninety-two Trades Unions alleged to have been represented
are at present little more than embryonic. Their spokesmen have not
risen to the leadership of labour out of its own ranks by superior
industry and knowledge. Their organisation has not been a spontaneous
growth from within, but artificially promoted from without. The vast
majority of unskilled workers are illiterate, and even amongst ordinary
skilled labour the level of education is still extremely low. The actual
workers are therefore quite unable to organise, or even to think out the
simplest labour problems for themselves, and they easily become the
dupes and tools of outsiders--frequently lawyers or professional
politicians--who are not always disinterested sympathisers, but more
often stimulate and exploit grievances which may in themselves be
legitimate for purposes which have little to do with the real interests
of labour.

The economic causes of the growing frequency of strikes during recent
years have not yet been all explored, and Sir George Lloyd responded to
a crying need when, in his reply to the deputation, he announced that
the Bombay Government was about to establish a Labour Bureau under a
competent official from the British Board of Trade to advise it in the
interests of labour. One of the greatest difficulties in dealing with
industrial disputes in India is, the Governor rightly observed, the
absence of all trustworthy materials for forming an accurate judgment on
the actual cost of living for the working man, and the ever fluctuating
relations between the wages he receives and the expenditure he has to
incur even for the mere necessaries of life.

With a two-and three-fold appreciation, during and especially since the
war, in the cost both of the cotton stuffs which the working man needs
even for his scanty apparel and of the foodstuffs which constitute his
meagre fare, discontent grew steadily more acute, and wages, though more
than once enhanced, did not always keep pace with that appreciation. If
in circumstances, often of undoubted hardship, labour had been
sufficiently equipped to state its own case, or had found disinterested
friends to state it clearly and temperately, it would have been easier
to admit that economic causes sufficed, in some cases at least, to
explain, and perhaps even to justify, the increasing use of the strike
weapon. But there is unhappily very abundant evidence to show that
strikes would not have been so frequent, so precipitate, and so
tumultuous, had not political agitation at least contributed to foment
them as part of a scheme for promoting a general upheaval. The
Extremists, who, with few exceptions, have no part or lot in labour,
either as employers or as workers, began to carry on in Mr. Tilak's days
amongst the mill-hands of Bombay an active propaganda which originally
had little to do with labour. The mill-hands played an evil part in the
worst excesses committed during the outbreak in and around Ahmedabad in
April 1919, and twice within the last two years they have seriously
threatened the peace of Bombay itself and held up for weeks together the
normal life of the great city, necessitating the employment of large
military forces to overawe them, and to avert through the exercise of
disciplined forbearance collisions with which the police alone would
have been unable to cope, and which, when once started, could probably
have been quelled only at the cost of considerable bloodshed. Mr. Gandhi
has a great personal hold over the factory workers, especially in
Western India. Sometimes he uses it to restrain them, sometimes, though
one may hope less deliberately, he works dangerously on their emotions.
His influence when he preaches temperance to them on temperate lines may
be all to the good, and except that, when he denounces tea also, because
it is tainted with Western capitalism, he is waging war against a
popular substitute for spirits, one need not quarrel with the solemn
processions of mill-hands proceeding to a favourite shrine to break a
symbolical teapot in the presence of the deity as a pledge of
renunciation. But not all Mr. Gandhi's followers can be credited with
his earnest sympathies for labour, largely inspired by his detestation
of a "machine age," and he himself lapses into language that seems to
preach more rigid abstention from drink than from violence.

Factory legislation has never been neglected in India, though until
recently the chief impulse has had to proceed from Government itself. A
great increase of public interest has taken place in the last years, and
in India perhaps even more than anywhere else the activity in this
respect of the League of Nations and of the International Labour Office
has elicited prompt and vigorous response. The Secretary of State has
created at the India Office a new department for dealing with labour and
industry. India has had her own representation at international labour
conferences, and the Government of India is now engaged on a new Factory
Act in accordance with the draft covenants and recommendations of the
Washington Conference. Indeed in some directions the Bill is in advance
of Washington. The statutory definition of a child presents special
difficulties in India, where physical development is more precocious
than in Western countries, but, instead of making the general limit of
age for juvenile work lower, the Bill proposes to raise it not to
fourteen but to fifteen years, whilst still permitting the employment of
younger children on special and very stringent conditions. Provisions
are also made for securing longer daily intervals during the working
hours as well as a weekly holiday. Further legislation will be
introduced for the benefit of industrial workers, more particularly as
regards Trade Union rights and compensation for accidents. But however
excellent such measures may be, only the spread of education and the
better organisation with it of labour itself can be expected to give any
real stability to large struggling masses invested by the new economic
forces that have sprung so rapidly into existence with tremendous powers
for mischief, but with no individual or collective sense of
responsibility.

But the most dangerous rocks ahead are the questions which directly or
indirectly raise the racial issue. Even during the first session of the
Indian Legislature it could be seen underlying the attitude of Indian
members towards military expenditure, and military expenditure, not
likely to diminish, will be a sore subject again when the next budget is
introduced at Delhi. If one looks merely at the growth of such
expenditure, the enormously increased cost of the British Army which, in
respect of the British forces serving in India, falls upon the Indian
exchequer, furnishes Indians with a specious plea for reducing the
number of British troops as a measure of mere economy. But even if one
could concede the Indian argument that, in a contented India marching
towards self-government under the new constitution, there can no longer
be the same necessity for large British garrisons to guarantee the
safety of British rule, any considerable reduction of the proportion of
British to Indian forces in India would disturb the foundations of our
own military organisation in peace time, based for the last fifty years
on a certain fixed proportion of British regulars serving at home and
abroad. That an Indian territorial army would, on paper at least, be
less costly is beyond dispute, and if ultimately officered entirely or
almost entirely by Indians, it would meet the Indian demand for a
military career for those of the educated classes who regard themselves
now as shut out in practice from the profession of arms. That demand
cannot be met merely by the granting of British commissions to a few
Indian officers, which is already raising many difficult regimental
problems not easily grasped by Indians familiar only with the civil
administration. The difficulties do not arise so much out of objections
taken by the British officers, however repugnant still is to most of
them the idea of ever having to take orders from an Indian superior
officer, as out of the feelings, even if they be mere prejudices, of the
existing class of native officers and of the rank and file who belong to
the old and have no liking for the new India. Most of the politically
minded Indians are beginning, too, to measure the demands made upon
India for her military contribution to the needs of the Empire by those
that are made upon the self-governing Dominions. "We are quite willing,"
they say, "to bear our share of the military burdens of the Empire as
equal partners in it, and"--as some at any rate add--"we recognise that
in view of our geographical position, which lays us almost alone amongst
the Dominions open to the dangers of invasion on our land frontiers, we
require a larger army for our own defence. But even taking that into
account, as well as our inability at present to make any contribution in
kind to the naval defence of the Empire, can we be expected to submit to
military expenditure absorbing almost half our revenues? Can you point
to a single Dominion that is asked to make an annual sacrifice
comparable to that? Are we not at least entitled to claim that the
Indian tax-payer's money should not be spent merely on the maintenance
of British garrisons that are here to-day and gone to-morrow, and of an
Indian army that is so constituted as to lack all the essentials of a
national army, but should go to the building up of an army really worthy
to take its place on equal terms when India attains to self-government
with the other armies of a commonwealth of free nations?"

The racial issue dominates in a far graver form the whole question of
the status and treatment of Indians in the Dominions and Crown Colonies.
For there it enters a much larger field which extends far beyond India.
In India so far, in speaking of the racial issue, Indians and Europeans
alike have hitherto had in mind chiefly the relations between the ruling
and the subject race. When the rulers all belong to one race and come
from a far distant country not to settle permanently but chiefly to
maintain, each one in his own sphere and during his appointed time, the
continuity of rulership over millions of subjects of another and very
different race with a different civilisation, an additional element of
discord is introduced into their relations. But since Great Britain
achieved dominion over India the main issue between rulers and ruled has
been how far on the one hand British rulers should devolve on to their
Indian subjects a share in the government and administration of the
country, and how far on the other hand their Indian subjects could
hasten such devolution by various forms of pressure. Whatever part any
purely racial antagonism may have played in the controversy, the British
rulers of India have at least since 1833, and still more since the
Queen's Proclamation in 1858, debarred themselves from basing on racial
differences their refusal or reluctance to meet the growing aspirations
of their Indian subjects. They have been content to plead the political
immaturity of the Indian people and the lack of individual
qualifications amongst all but a few Indians, and even these
disabilities they had deliberately undertaken and expressed their
anxiety to remove by the introduction of Western education. Neither
colour nor descent, it was specifically declared, were to constitute
any barrier. It is quite otherwise with the question of the right of
Indians to immigrate into other parts of the Empire, and of the measure
of rights they are to enjoy as settlers there. It brings us face to face
with the racial issue pure and simple and in its widest aspects. There
is an open and declared conflict between the claims of the Dominions to
exclude or to restrict the rights of Indian settlers on grounds of
colour and descent for the avowed purpose of maintaining the paramount
ascendancy of one race over another, and the claims put forward by
Indians as British subjects to have access to all parts of the Empire
and to possess the same rights as other British subjects already enjoy
there. Some of the arguments employed to justify the attitude of the
Dominions allege inferior social standards of Indian life, but behind
them and quite undisguised is the supreme argument that Indians belong
to a coloured race and, in consequence, have no interests or rights that
can possibly prevail against those of a superior white race.

The magnitude of the issue and the resentment which it has caused in
India are, it is true, out of all proportion to the actual number of
Indians who have immigrated into other parts of the Empire. The Indians
are not a migratory people. Mostly engaged in agriculture, they cling,
as peasants are apt to do all over the world, to their own bit of land
and familiar surroundings. It is difficult even to induce them to move
from one part of India to another, and, intensely conservative in their
habits and outlook, with no horizon wider than their own village, they
generally prefer, even under the stress of economic pressure, the ills
they know of. But that does not affect the issue raised in the most
acute and naked form in some of the States now forming the South African
Union. To Mr. Gandhi's experiences and struggles in Natal and the
Transvaal can be traced back, as I have already shown, a great deal of
the bitterness which has now led him to denounce British rule as
"Satanic." It is only about fifty years ago that Indians began to go
across to South Africa, when the Government of Natal with the consent
and assistance of the Government of India sought to engage Indians to
work as indentured labourers on sugar and tea plantations. In 1911, the
year of the last census, the number of Indians in the Union was about
150,000, and, immigration having been since then checked and finally
stopped, they cannot have increased by more than 10 per cent during the
last decade. Of the total in 1911, 133,000 were in Natal, 11,000 in the
Transvaal, and 7000 in the Cape, with barely 100 in the Orange Free
State. The proportion of Indians to the total European population of the
Union, which was then about 1,400,000, was therefore only just over one
to ten. But they had not remained merely indentured labourers as at the
beginning. When their labour contracts expired many settled in the
country, acquiring small plots of land as their own or becoming petty
traders, artisans, etc., and, being frugal and hard-working and of a
higher type than the Kaffir and other natives, they throve as a whole.
The white population, who had found them at first very useful, began to
see in them either dangerous competitors or an undesirable element
calculated to complicate the social problems in a country in which the
European formed anyhow but a small minority face to face with 6,000,000
natives. Both the old Boer Government in the Transvaal and the Colonial
Government of Natal set to work to curtail by legislative enactments and
local regulations the rights which Indians had been at first allowed to
enjoy, and to assimilate their treatment to that of the lowest and most
backward natives. The Indians were systematically subjected to the
disabilities and indignities against which Mr. Gandhi for the first time
led them to organise a violent agitation and finally to offer passive
resistance.

The agreement arrived at between General Smuts and Mr. Gandhi in 1914
was in the nature of a compromise which gave the Indians some relief
without conceding the principle of equal rights, and it only brought the
long struggle to a temporary close. The old sore was reopened with the
Asiatics' Trading and Land Act of 1919, which, the Indians contend,
wantonly violated both the terms and the spirit of the 1914 settlement
and which Europeans have declared to be "necessary in the interests of a
white population." The chief grievances of the Indians are the denial of
representation and franchise (except in Cape Colony), their segregation
within appointed areas, and the curtailment of their "inherent right to
trade." Some Europeans would fain deny that colour prejudice affects
their view of the problem, which they regard as essentially eugenic and
economic. As far as the mixture of races is concerned the European's
objections to it should be readily understood by the Indians, whose own
caste laws are as rigidly directed as any in the world against the
drawbacks of miscegenation. The European, however, has legislated not to
prevent mixed marriages but to arrest the general depression of the
standards of life--low wages, a lower standard of skill in skilled
trades, and low housing conditions which, he alleges, have resulted from
the unrestricted influx of a large coloured population into the
towns--and he uses the term "coloured" to include the Indians. With
regard to the restrictions of trade licences he deduces the necessity
for them from the economic effects of unrestricted competition which has
led, he declares, to the bankruptcy of European firms, to their
displacement in the same premises by Indians, and to the depreciation of
European property. But, the Indian replies, if Indians have thriven in
South Africa in the past it is because they work harder and live more
frugally, and if they flourish more especially as traders it is because
Europeans, finding it to their interest to trade with them, have been
their best customers. Apart from the material ruin which South African
legislation has brought upon many Indians, what they most deeply resent
is unquestionably its specifically racial character. They may suffer
fewer personal disabilities as to travelling on railways and in
tram-cars and walking on street pavements than they did a few years
ago, when very special precautions had to be taken to prevent such a
distinguished Indian as Mr. Gokhale being exposed to them during his
visit to South Africa. But they still suffer, they complain, under the
supreme indignity of racial discrimination with which South African
legislation is openly stamped. Repatriation could only take place slowly
even if the cost of compensation, which no fair-minded European could
then reasonably deny, were not in itself an almost insurmountable
obstacle. From the merely practical point of view the question therefore
is now reduced to the discovery of a _modus vivendi_ for the Indian
community now in South Africa, and it would be very near a solution if
legislation to secure the economic and eugenic standards on which the
Afrikander lays so much stress were so framed as to apply to the whole
population, even should it in practice bear more heavily on the Indian
than on the European, if the former less frequently rose to the required
standards. A similar solution would remove the sense of grievance
arising out of the denial of the franchise in Natal and the Transvaal,
of which the injustice seems to Indians to be merely heightened by the
fact that it has been given to them in Cape Colony, where they form a
much smaller minority. But there is no sign that the temper of the South
African Union, in which British and Dutch are united on no issue more
firmly than on this one, will abate its claim to treat the Indians
within its borders as an inferior race that has no rights to be weighed
against the interests, real or assumed, of the superior white race.

The Government of India has never questioned the reality of Indian
grievances in South Africa. In 1903, shortly after the Boer war, Lord
Curzon strongly urged the British Government to enforce their redress in
the Transvaal whilst it was still governed as a Crown Colony. At the end
of 1913, when the struggle was most acute, Lord Hardinge expressed his
sympathy with a frankness and warmth which fluttered Ministerial
dovecots both at home and in the Union. Since then Indian troops have
fought during the war side by side with South African troops, and the
representatives of India have sat in the War and Peace Councils of the
Empire side by side with Ministers of the South African Union. So long
as South African legislation bears the impress of racial discrimination
the Government of India is bound to maintain its opposition to it, and
the more fully it voices Indian opinion under the new constitution, the
more emphatic its opposition must be.

In other Dominions the Indian question is much less acute, as there has
never been anything like the same amount of Indian immigration, and it
is now practically stopped. But it must be remembered that it was the
return to India of a large number of Sikhs who were refused permission
to land in British Columbia that was the signal for grave disorders in
the Punjab in the second year of the war. And not so long ago the Aga
Khan, as well known in London as in India, had to give up visiting
Australia in view of the many humiliating formalities to which as an
Asiatic he would have been subjected before being allowed to land there.
It is surely not beyond the resources of statesmanship to devise at
least a scheme by which Indians of good repute who wish to travel for
purposes of business or study, or for the mere satisfaction of a
legitimate curiosity to see other parts of the Empire, should be free to
do so without any restraints on the score of race. The attitude of the
other Dominions seems certainly to be at present far less uncompromising
than that of the South African Union, and one may look forward with some
confidence to an agreement by which the rights of Indians already
settled in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada will obtain sufficient
recognition to satisfy Indian self-respect.

The Indian question is not, however, confined to the Dominions. It is
unfortunately in some of the Crown Colonies that it has recently assumed
an even more serious aspect than in South Africa, inasmuch as in the
Crown Colonies the British Government is directly responsible for the
treatment of Indians, whilst only indirectly in a Dominion, where the
primary responsibility rests with the Dominion Government. The question
of Indian indentured labour in Fiji, British Guiana, and some other
smaller colonies is of lesser importance, though Indians have been
deeply moved by stories of ill-treatment inflicted upon them by European
planters, and indenture itself is held nowadays to connote a state
almost of servitude incompatible with Indian national self-respect.
There the Government of India has a remedy in its own hands. It can
stop, and is stopping, the export of Indian labour to those colonies.
Far graver is the situation that has only recently been created for
Indians in the Crown Colony of East Africa, known since the war as
Kenia. Indians were settled in that part of Africa even before British
authority was ever established there, and Mr. Churchill, now Secretary
of State for the Colonies, himself admitted some years ago, after his
travels in that part of the world, that without the Indians the country
would never have reached its present stage of development and
prosperity. Whilst if in the case of a self-governing Dominion the
British Government can at least urge, as an excuse for its acquiescence
in the disabilities imposed upon Indians, that it cannot override the
constitutionally expressed will of the Dominion people, it can plead no
such excuse where a Crown Colony is concerned over which its authority
is absolute and final. This is indeed the point on which the Government
of India laid stress last winter in a long and closely reasoned despatch
elaborating the view already formally enunciated by the Viceroy that in
a Crown Colony Indians have a constitutional right to equality of status
with all other British subjects. That right has, it is contended, been
violated in Kenia in regard more especially to the three major questions
of franchise, segregation, and land ownership. At the very moment when,
in India, elected assemblies have been created under a new constitution
on the broadest possible franchise, the Legislative Council of Kenia,
with a population of 35,000 Indians and only 11,000 Europeans, is so
constituted that it has only two Indian members out of fourteen, whilst
of the remaining twelve, eleven are European and one represents the very
backward Arab community. Land ownership in the uplands has been reserved
exclusively for Europeans on the plea that the climate of the lowlands
to which the Indians are relegated is more suitable for them than for
Europeans. Yet the climatic argument is itself disregarded when, even in
the lowlands, racial segregation is enforced in areas reserved there too
for Europeans alone. The representations of the Government of India have
commanded the attention they deserve, and the Colonial Office has sent
out instructions to the Kenia authorities to suspend all segregation
measures. The whole question will, one may hope, be reopened and settled
on a new basis of justice for Indians. The British settlers will surely
themselves recognise, on further consideration, that their interests
cannot be allowed to override the far larger obligations of Great
Britain to the people of India.

The question of the treatment of Indians in the Crown Colonies is one
that has to be settled between the British Government and the Government
of India, and it could not therefore come before the Imperial
Cabinet--or Conference--recently attended by the Prime Ministers of all
the Dominions assembled in London. But in regard to that question in the
Dominions, Mr. Srinivasa Sastri, one of India's representatives, laid
down in their presence firmly and plainly the principle on which all
Indians are at one:

     There is no conviction more strongly in our minds than this, that a
     full enjoyment of citizenship within the British Empire applies not
     only to the United Kingdom but to every self-governing Dominion
     within its compass. We have already agreed to a subtraction from
     the integrity of the rights by the compromise of 1918 to which my
     predecessor, Lord Sinha, was a party--that each Dominion and each
     self-governing part of the Empire should be free to regulate the
     composition of its population by suitable immigration laws. On that
     compromise there is no intention whatever to go back, but we plead
     on behalf of those who are already fully domiciled in the various
     self-governing Dominions according to the laws under which those
     Dominions are governed--to these peoples there is no reason
     whatever to deny the full rights of citizenship--it is for them
     that we plead, where they are lawfully settled, that they must be
     admitted into the general body of citizenship, and no deduction
     must be made from the rights that other British subjects enjoy.

In commending the matter to his audience for earnest consideration and
satisfactory settlement, Mr. Srinivasa Sastri spoke with the added
authority of his position as a member of the Indian Legislature and one
of the ablest leaders of the Moderate party. "It is," he said, "of the
most urgent and pressing importance that we should be able to carry back
a message of hope and of good cheer." He will have to report to the
Legislature on his mission when he returns to India, and no part of his
report will be looked for with more anxiety or more closely scrutinised.

Indians have already demonstrated their willingness to recognise
accomplished facts and to accept in practice any reasonable settlement
which does not strike fatally at the principle laid down by Mr.
Srinivasa Sastri, not only on behalf of his fellow-countrymen, but in
the name of the Government of India, which here again has acted as a
national Indian Government. South Africa, it may be, will nevertheless
persist in subordinating to a narrow conception of her own interests the
higher interests of Imperial unity, which, if it ever ceased to include
India, would assuredly be a much poorer thing. It is all the more
essential that if India's faith in the Empire is not to be, perhaps
irretrievably, shaken, South Africa should remain, in her refusal to
honour the pledge of partnership given to India on behalf of the whole
Empire, a solitary exception amongst the self-governing Dominions, and
that the United Kingdom, whose responsibility to India is most directly
involved, should insist that the pledge be redeemed to the full in the
Crown Colonies which are under the immediate and direct control of the
Imperial Government.

FOOTNOTES:

[4] August 1921.



CHAPTER XV

THE INCLINED PLANE OF GANDHIISM


Those who have persistently derided the "Non-co-operation" movement and
announced its imminent collapse have been scarcely less wide of the mark
than Mr. Gandhi himself when he began to predict that it would bring
_Swaraj_ to India by a date, not always quite the same, but always less
than a year distant. The original programme of "Non-co-operation" has
hitherto failed egregiously. Only very few lawyers have abandoned their
practice in "Satanic" law-courts at his behest, still fewer Indians have
surrendered the distinctions conferred on them by Government. A
mischievous ferment has been introduced once more into Indian schools
and colleges. Some youths have foolishly wrecked their own future, or
seen it wrecked for them, by attempts to boycott and obstruct the
examinations on which their career so often depends. But neither have
Mr. Gandhi and his followers destroyed the schools and colleges against
which they have waged war, nor created in anything more than embryo, and
in extremely few places, the "national" schools and colleges that were
to take their place. Even Rabindranath Tagore, whose poetic imagination
was at first fired by Mr. Gandhi's appeal to renounce the title of
knighthood awarded to him in recognition of his literary genius, has had
enough practical experience of education, as he himself has conceived
and carried it into execution on his own quite original lines, to be
driven at last to admit that Indian youths are asked to bring their
patriotic offering of sacrifice, "not to a fuller education, but to
non-education." With his craving for metaphysical accuracy of
expression, he has even denounced the "no" of "Non-co-operation" as "in
its passive moral form asceticism, and in its active moral form
violence." The conclusion wrung from his reluctant idealism is one at
which the large majority of sober-minded Indians arrived long before the
poet. They gave effect to it as voters at the elections in defiance of
Mr. Gandhi's boycott, and their representatives gave effect to it in the
legislatures which Mr. Gandhi no less vainly boycotted.

Yet in spite of Mr. Gandhi's repeated failures "Non-co-operation" is not
dead. It has a widespread organisation, with committees in every town
and emissaries particularly active in the large villages and in many
rural districts. It had the enthusiastic support at Nagpur of the large
assemblage that still retains the name, but little else, of the old
Indian National Congress. It does not lack funds, for Mr. Gandhi
professes to have gathered in the crore of rupees which he asked for
within the appointed twelvemonth. It controls a large part of the Indian
Press, though mostly of the less reputable type, more vituperative and
mendacious, in spite of all Indian Press laws, than anything conceived
of in this country where there are no Press laws. Mr. Gandhi himself
goes on preaching "Non-co-operation" with unabated conviction and
unresting energy, the same picture always of physical frailty and
unconquerable spirit, travelling all over the country in crowded
third-class carriages, worshipped by huge crowds that hang on his
sainted lips--and pausing only in his feverish campaign to spend a short
week at Simla in daily conference with Lord Reading. That the new
Viceroy should have thought it advisable almost immediately after his
arrival in India to hold such prolonged intercourse with Mr. Gandhi is
the best proof that the Mahatma is no mere dreamer whose influence is
evanescent, but a power to be reckoned with. The Simla interviews did
not seem to have been entirely fruitless when Mr. Gandhi extracted from
his chief Mahomedan lieutenants, the brothers Ali, a disavowal, however
half-hearted, of any intention to incite to violence in certain speeches
delivered by them for which they would otherwise have had to be
prosecuted. It looked as if he had made a more effective stand than on
other occasions against the importation of violence into
"Non-co-operation," and proved the reality of the influence which he is
believed to have all along exercised to curb his Mahomedan followers who
do not share his disbelief in violence. But Simla only deflected him for
a short time from his dangerous course.

In the whole of this strange movement nothing is more mysterious than
the hold which Mr. Gandhi has over Mahomedans as well as Hindus, though
the wrongs of Turkey, which are ever in his mouth, touch only very
remotely the great mass of Indian Mahomedans, whilst the old antagonism
of the two communities is still simmering and bubbling and apt to boil
over on the slightest provocation. Collisions are most frequent during
religious festivals, especially if they happen to be held by both
communities at the same time. The chief stone of offence for Hindus is
the sacrifice of cows, the most sacred to them of all animals, without
which the Mahomedans consider their great annual festival of _Bakar-Id_
cannot be complete. Mahomedans, on the other hand, to whom musical
instruments as an accompaniment to religious worship are abhorrent, are
often driven wild when Hindu processions pass with their bands playing
in front of a mosque. Only four years ago, when the compact between the
National Congress and the Moslem League was still quite fresh, riots
broke out simultaneously during the _Bakar-Id_ over a great part of the
Patna district, which were only suppressed after a large tract of some
forty miles square had passed into the hands of the Hindu mobs, when a
considerable military force reached the scenes of turmoil and disorder,
for the like of which, according to the Government Resolution, it was
necessary to go back over a period of sixty years to the days of the
great Mutiny. It would be of little purpose to enumerate many other
instances of disorders on a lesser scale that have occurred since then
in connection with cow-killing. When staying for a few days last winter
in Nellore, a small town in the Madras Presidency, _i.e._ in a part of
India noted for its quietude, I had a pertinent illustration of the
often trivial but none the less dangerous forms that the persistent
animosity between Hindus and Mahomedans can assume. In Nellore, itself a
very sleepy hollow, the Mahomedans are not quite in such a hopelessly
small minority as they generally are in Southern India, for they number
about 6000 out of 30,000 inhabitants. The few "Non-co-operationists" in
the place, Hindu and Mahomedan, professed to have formed a
"Reconciliation Committee" to prevent their co-religionists from flying
at each other's throats. Their efforts were not, however, sufficient to
relieve the local authorities from the necessity of putting some of the
police on special service for the protection of respectable Hindu
traders of the same caste as Mr. Gandhi himself in their daily comings
and goings through certain quarters of the city against the more unruly
of their Mahomedan fellow-citizens. The usual bad feeling had been
exacerbated by an affray, already the best part of a year old, when one
of the Hindu processions from the four great temples of the city
perversely altered its accustomed route and passed down the streets
leading to the chief mosque with bands defiantly playing, and a party of
Mahomedans lying in wait for them rushed out and assaulted them with
brick-bats, until they were dispersed by a few rifle-shots from the
police. Apart from such major provocation, each side indulges in minor
pin-pricks that keep up a constant irritation. It is an old custom at
both Hindu and Mahomedan festivals for youths to dress up as tigers and
lions, who add an element of terror to the pageant by roaring to order.
Of late years each community has tried to deny to the other the right
to introduce this element of frightfulness into its processions, and
these harmless wild beasts have frequently been made to repent of their
disguise with bruised bodies and broken heads. In one large village in
the Nellore district serious trouble arose over an attempt on the part
of the Mahomedans to halt their procession for the purpose of
distributing "jaggery" water in close proximity to an enclosure set
apart by the Hindus for the nuptials of their god and goddess at an
annual marriage festival, and the _Taluk_ magistrate had to issue a
formal order, enforced by policemen on special duty, forbidding the
Mahomedans to place the objectionable pot of water within twenty feet of
the wedding enclosure. In all such cases both sides appeal promptly for
help to the authorities, and one of the chief and not least wearisome of
the British administrator's tasks is to be for ever on the watch in
order if possible to avert, by timely suasion and measures of
precaution, the serious trouble that may at any moment arise out of
trifles which to the European mind must seem grotesquely insignificant.
Indians themselves admit that it is an even more difficult task for
them, as Indian-born officials must almost always belong to one or other
of the two communities, and their impartiality be therefore congenitally
suspect to one side or the other.

There can be no worthier purpose for either government or public men or
private individuals to pursue than a real reconciliation between two
great communities estranged, not only by fundamentally different
religious beliefs and traditions, but by enduring memories of
century-long conflicts and of the very often oppressive domination of
Mahomedan rulers over conquered Hindu peoples held down in spite of
their numerical superiority by the sheer weight of superior force. There
may have been Englishmen who, believing in the shallow maxim _Divide ut
imperes_, have relied on that estrangement to fortify British rule; but
such has never been the principle of British policy. It has constantly
sought, on the contrary, to prevent and suppress as far as possible
disorders which, whenever they break out afresh, inevitably revive and
quicken the ancient antagonism, and to attenuate it, slowly but
steadily, by the exercise of even-handed justice and the pacifying
influences of education and the rule of law.

Has the alliance between Mr. Gandhi and the Ali brothers or the fusion
between the Congress and League Extremists, Hindu and Mahomedan, proved
more effective? How far down has this Hindu and Mahomedan fraternisation
really reached that is based above all on common hatred of a "Satanic"
Government? How far has it even temporarily checked the instinctive
tendency of the masses in both communities to break away from their
allies and go for each other rather than for that common enemy against
whom "Non-co-operation" bids them combine? Frequent outbreaks continue
to reveal from time to time the _ignes cineri suppositos doloso_. They
mostly follow the same course. _Khilafat_ agitators terrorise the
law-abiding population, extorting subscriptions for _Khilafat_ funds,
compelling shopkeepers to close their shops for _Khilafat_
demonstrations, and so forth, until they are driven to appeal to the
authorities for protection. Then an attempt is made to arrest some of
the ringleaders or to disarm the _Khilafat_ "volunteers," who, when they
have no more modern weapons, know how to use their _lathis_ or heavy
iron-tipped staves with often deadly effect. Rioting starts on a large
scale to the cry of "Religion! Religion!" the small local police force
is helpless, and very soon the whole fury of the Mahomedan mob turns
against the Hindus, as at Malegaon, in the Bombay Presidency, where they
set a Hindu temple on fire and threw into the flames the body of an
unfortunate Hindu sub-inspector of police who had been vainly attempting
to save a Hindu quarter from arson. Troops are hurried up from the
nearest military station, and usually as soon as they appear order is
restored with the employment of a minimum amount of force. Numerous
arrests are made, and a few of the local firebrands are ultimately
prosecuted and convicted. But at "Non-co-operation" headquarters the
_Khilafat_ propaganda goes on undisturbed, and all the appearances of
Hindu-Mahomedan unity are ostentatiously kept up. Mr. Mahomed Ali
preaches to Hindus as well as to Mahomedans that it will be their duty
to give the Ameer of Afghanistan every assistance in their power when he
descends with his armies to rescue India from her foreign oppressors. An
All-India _Khilafat_ Conference announces that, if the British
Government fights openly or secretly against the Turkish Nationalists at
Angora, the Indian National Congress will proclaim the Republic of India
at its next session, and meanwhile declares it unlawful for any
Mahomedan to serve in the Indian army, since a "Satanic" Government may
at any moment use it to fight against Mustafa Kemal's forces at Angora.
It is impossible to believe that on such lines "Non-co-operation" can
bring Mahomedans and Hindus permanently together, or can drag the bulk
of the sober and conservative Mahomedan community away from its solid
moorings, but the effect of such appeals to the turbulent and fanatical
elements, more numerous and more easily roused amongst Mahomedans than
amongst Hindus, spreads and grows with the impunity conceded to them.

If, on the other hand, the Hindus may be on the whole less prone to
violence than the Mahomedans, with whom the sword is still the symbol of
their faith, the grave agrarian disturbances which have twice this year
resulted from the "Non-co-operation" campaign in the United Provinces,
and other disorders of a similar kind on a less serious scale in other
provinces, show that Hindus too are not proof against temptations to
violence. Mr. Gandhi may go on preaching non-violence, and he may
himself still disapprove of violence and refuse to believe that his
teachings, as interpreted at least by many of his followers, are as
certain to produce violence as the night is to produce darkness; but
that "Non-co-operation" more and more frequently spells violence is
beyond dispute, and more and more faint-hearted--to put it very
mildly--are his reprobations of violence.

The most threatening feature of the "Non-co-operation" movement, now
that it has failed so completely in its appeal to the better and more
educated classes, is that it is concentrating all its energies on the
ignorant and excitable masses. If one takes a long view of India's
progress under the new dispensation, it may well be a source of
satisfaction and encouragement that the insane lengths to which
"Non-co-operation" has gone have served at least to drive in a deep
wedge between the Moderates and the Extremists. But in the immediate
future "Non-co-operation" may prove not less but more formidable
because, except with a few eccentrics, it has lost whatever hold it may
have had for a time on the politically minded _intelligentsia_, and
feels, therefore, no longer under any restraint in addressing itself to
hungry appetites and primitive passions amongst the backward Hindu
masses as well as amongst Mahomedans. That it has not appealed to them
in vain there are increasingly ominous indications in such wanton
destruction as the firing of immense areas of forest in the Kumoon
district of the United Provinces. For the gods to be worshipped in fear
and trembling are the gods that revel in, and can only be placated by,
destruction. Wherever there are local discontents--and such there must
always be in a vast country and amongst vast populations that too often
have a hard struggle for bare existence--"Non-co-operation" is at once
on the spot to envenom the sores. Economic conditions aggravated by the
great rise in prices for all the necessaries of life since the Great War
press heavily on the most helpless classes. The vitality of the whole
population has been depressed for years past by the ravages of the
plague, now fortunately much abated, which have carried off about eight
million lives within the last two decades, and by the still more
appalling ravages of two epidemics of influenza which in 1918 within
one twelvemonth carried off some six or seven millions of lives, mostly
in their very best years, and left many more millions of lives either
older or younger wretchedly enfeebled. Add to all this the many direct
and indirect reactions of the general unrest which in so many different
forms has spread over the whole face of the globe, and of the particular
forms of political unrest which have kept India in periodical ferment
since 1905, constantly fed by violent speeches and by a still more
violent vernacular press. All these discontents "Non-co-operation" has
set itself to link up to a common purpose by inflaming racial hatred,
stirred as never since the Mutiny by the story, bad enough in itself and
unscrupulously distorted and exaggerated, of the events in the Punjab
which has been for two years the trump card of the Extremists, with an
additional appeal to the religious fanaticism of the Mahomedans in the
alleged wrong done to their faith by the Turkish peace terms.
Consciously and unconsciously Mr. Gandhi has lent his saintly
countenance to all these menacing features of the "Non-co-operation"
movement, and given them a religious sanction which captures many who
would not have succumbed but for their faith in a Mahatma who can do and
say no wrong.

One of the weapons of "Non-co-operation" which Mr. Gandhi has lately
sharpened up is the boycott of British imported goods, now reiterated
and clearly defined in relation first of all to British textiles. Not
only must the Indian wear nothing but home-spun cotton cloth, but the
Indian importer must cease to do any business with British firms, and
Indian mills must forgo their profits in order to help the boycott. Mr.
Gandhi has inaugurated the boycott by presiding over huge sacrificial
bonfires of imported cloth on the seashore at Bombay, amidst the
acclamations of vast crowds all wearing the little "Gandhi" white cap
which is the badge of "Non-co-operation." This is the same mad form of
_Swadeshi_ that Mr. Tilak preached over twenty years ago in the Deccan,
and the Anti-Partition agitators over fifteen years ago in Bengal. It
failed in both cases. Is it less likely to fail to-day when post-war
economic conditions both in England and in India militate still more
strongly against its success, however much it may for a time appeal to
Indian sentiment and to the disgust of Indian traders with Government's
currency and exchange policy? Mr. Gandhi admitted it was impracticable
unless carried out in the spirit of religious self-sacrifice for the
Motherland, which impelled him even to veto the suggestion made by some
of his own followers that the existing stocks of imported cloth, instead
of being burnt, should be given away in charity to the poor. He may
himself really dream of an India from whose face the busy cities built
up by European enterprise, and the railways, the telegraphs, and every
other symbol of a Satanic civilisation shall have disappeared, and
Indians shall all be content to lead in their own primitive villages the
simplest of simple lives clad only in the produce of their handlooms,
fed only on the fruits of their own fields, and governed only by their
own _panchayats_ in accordance with Vedic precepts and under the
protection of their favourite gods. But how many Extremists who shelter
behind his name are not already speculating on the failure of the
_Swadeshi_ movement to which their dupes are committed, in order that
when disillusionment comes it shall add to the area of popular
discontent in which racial hatred is most easily sown? Non-payment of
taxes is another of the weapons which "Non-co-operation" has threatened
to use, and it includes non-payment of the land-tax which would directly
incite the whole agricultural population to lawlessness, and an attack
upon excise revenue which in the shape of a temperance movement, in
itself perfectly commendable, has already led to many cases of
indefensible violence, chiefly in the urban industrial centres. He has
not yet committed himself openly to "civil disobedience" on the scale
for which many Extremists are already clamouring, but he has started on
an inclined plane along which he may not have the power, or even the
will, to arrest his descent. Much will depend on this year's monsoon. If
the rains are good and the harvests abundant, the peasants, relieved for
the time from the pressure of the economic struggle, will be less
inclined to take--even at his behest--the risk of refusing payment of
taxes. Should there unfortunately be another bad season following on
last year's partial failure,[5] the temptation may prove irresistible if
reinforced by the religious exaltation which Mr. Gandhi knows so well
how to call forth. Deep down, too, there is always the latent antagonism
of all the irreconcilable elements in an ancient civilisation of which
British rule no more than Mahomedan domination, and in still earlier
times the spiritual revolt of Buddhism, has shaken the hold upon the
Hindu masses.

By a strange fatality the confidence of the inarticulate millions upon
which we have hitherto prided ourselves has been turned into bitterness
and hatred hitherto unknown amongst large sections of them at the very
moment when we have for the first time regained in a large measure the
confidence of the _intelligentsia_, and we have to reckon with the
possibility of popular disturbances which may call for strong action
just when on broad grounds of policy any resort to force must be
specially undesirable. One of the retributions which always overtake
such mistakes in the manner of employing force as were made two years
ago in the Punjab is that the actual employment of force, however
legitimate, becomes discredited. The Government of India realises--and
no one probably more fully than Lord Reading after his visit to
Amritsar--that with the Punjab fresh in their memories, even Indian
Moderates must require very strong evidence before they give any willing
support to the employment of force, even if circumstances arise to make
it inevitable for the mere maintenance of public order which no
government can allow to be wantonly imperilled. Such evidence is
accumulating only too fast. When the time comes for action, the
existence of a responsible body of Indian opinion, constitutionally
organised, and constitutionally represented in the new Legislatures,
will give Government the moral backing and the moral courage which
failed it with disastrous results in 1919.

It is sad to see a man of Mr. Gandhi's immense power for good drifting
into such deep waters. Mr. Gokhale, who had given him his enthusiastic
support in South Africa, warned him on his return to India that methods
of agitation and passive resistance which were permissible there under
great provocation, and had been used by him with considerable success,
would be quite unwarranted in India where they would only lead to
disaster. Mr. Gokhale died soon afterwards and Mr. Gandhi has
disregarded his advice. At times he has given signs of profound
discouragement and talked of retiring to the Himalayas to spend the rest
of his days in meditation, as pious Hindus not infrequently do. At times
in a more worldly mood he seems to be playing for a crown of martyrdom,
and he was perhaps bidding for it when soon after a series of interviews
with the Viceroy, conducted on both sides with perfect courtesy, he
replied to the official announcement of the impending visit of the
Prince of Wales to India by proclaiming it to be the duty of Indians to
boycott the heir to the Throne in the same way in which he had exhorted
them last winter to boycott the Duke of Connaught. He must certainly
have been bidding for it when in the course of a raging and tearing
temperance campaign in Bombay he declared, it seems, that liquor shops
must be closed even if it cost rivers of blood. Government has so far
wisely shrunk from adding to his halo as a saint that of a "confessor
and martyr." But he may yet force Government's hands.[6] For there must
be limits to the impunity granted even to a Mahatma who professes and
preaches the doctrine of _Ahimsa_, but whose footsteps are dogged by
violence which is the negation of _Ahimsa_.

FOOTNOTES:

[5] Later reports promise a far better monsoon than was at first
indicated.

[6] Whilst these pages are going through the press, reports are coming
in of a Moplah rising on the Malabar coast, far more ominous than any
of the disturbances already referred to in this chapter. The Moplahs
are an extremely backward and unruly race, with an infusion of Arab
blood, always notorious for their fierce Mahomedan fanaticism, wrought
up to a white heat by a recent visit from the two Mahomedan firebrands
of "Non-co-operation." The murder of Europeans, the burning and
looting of Government buildings, the tearing up of railways and
telegraphs, recall the worst excesses committed by Indian mobs two
years ago in the Punjab. But on this occasion there has been no
Mahomedan-Hindu fraternisation. The Moplahs have vented their
_Khilafat_ fury equally upon the helpless Hindu populations of the
whole district, who have been slaughtered and plundered or forcibly
converted to Islam as in the earliest days of Mahomedan domination.
Hindu members of the Legislative Assembly, realising that their
co-religionists owe their safety only to the military forces which are
being rushed up by a Satanic Government to arrest a campaign of sheer
murder and rapine, may well ask, as Mr. Jamnadas Dwarkadas has just
done, how long such men as Mahomed and Shaukat Ali are to be allowed
to go on preaching the doctrines which the Moplahs have so effectively
carried into practice. However local this outbreak may remain, it is
only another and a more sinister symptom of the widespread upheaval
against all constituted authority into which "Non-co-operation" has
degenerated under the leadership of Mr. Gandhi and his Mahomedan
allies.



CHAPTER XVI

THE INDIAN PROBLEM A WORLD PROBLEM


A great constitutional experiment, of which the expressed purpose is to
bring a self-governing India into full and equal partnership with all
other parts of the British Empire, has been courageously launched in
deep waters still only partially explored, and it has resisted the first
onslaught of a singular combination of malignant forces. It is too early
yet to speak with absolute assurance of its enduring success. For
success must depend upon many factors outside India as well as within.
All that can be said with confidence is that it has made a far more
promising start than might have been looked for even in less
unfavourable circumstances, and many Englishmen, and Indians also, who
disliked and distrusted the reforms and would have preferred to stand in
the old ways, are coming round to the belief that in their success lies
the best and possibly the one real hope for the future. Faith is
naturally strongest in those who see in the experiment the natural and
logical corollary of that even bolder experiment initiated nearly a
hundred years ago when we introduced Western education in India. That
was the great turning-point in the history of British rule. We had gone
to India with no purpose of seeking dominion, but circumstances had
forced dominion upon us. With dominion had come the recognition of the
great responsibilities which it involved, and having imposed upon India
our own rule of law we imposed it also upon the agencies through which
we then exercised dominion--a self-denying ordinance for ourselves, for
Indians a pledge of justice. Dominion pure and simple made room for
dominion regarded as a great trust. But when we introduced Western
education, we placed upon our trusteeship a new and wider construction.
We invited Indians to enter into intellectual partnership with our own
civilisation, and for the purpose, admitted at the time but afterwards
sometimes forgotten, of training them to a share in the responsibilities
of Indian government and administration. Many Englishmen from that
moment contemplated intellectual partnership as the means to political
partnership as the end. That was indeed--nearly a century before Mr.
Asquith coined the phrase--"the new angle of vision." The Mutiny
distorted it, and it remained obscured when the great experiment was
found to result, like all human experiments, in the production of some
evil as well as of much good. If the tares may have been sometimes more
conspicuous than the wheat, we should ask ourselves whether our own lack
of vigilance and forethought did not contribute to the luxuriant growth
of tares in a soil naturally congenial to them. After many hesitations,
and some tentative and half-hearted steps, we at length recognised that
intellectual partnership however imperfect must lead towards a closer
political partnership. It became, indeed, impossible for us to refuse to
do so without being untrue to the principles that had governed not only
our own national evolution long before the war, but all our declared war
aims and all our appeals, which never went unheeded, to Indian loyalty
and co-operation during the war.

The experiment can only succeed if it secures the steadfast and hearty
extension to new purposes of the co-operation between British and
Indians to which the British connection with India has owed from the
very beginning, as I have tried to show, its chief strength and its best
results. One may feel confident that amongst the British in India there
will be few to deny their co-operation, though scepticism and prejudice
may die hard and social relations may prove even harder to harmonise
than political relations. The new Constitution was inaugurated under
Lord Chelmsford's Viceroyalty. If he perhaps failed, especially at
certain gravely critical moments, to rise above a somewhat narrow and
unimaginative conception of his functions as the supreme depositary of
British authority in India, and was too apt to regard himself always as
merely _primus inter pares_ in a governing body, peculiarly liable from
its constitution to hesitate and procrastinate even in emergencies
requiring prompt decision, Lord Chelmsford was as upright, honourable,
and courageous an English gentleman as this country has ever sent out as
Viceroy, and India will always gratefully associate his name with the
reforms which have opened up a new era in her history. His place has now
been taken by another Viceroy, Lord Reading, whose appointment at a time
when so many Indians were smarting under a deep sense of injustice has
been all the more heartily welcomed as, apart from many other
qualifications, he went out to India with the special prestige of a
great justiciary who had exchanged for the Viceroyalty the exalted post
of Lord Chief Justice of England. Lord Reading's own liberalism is a
sufficient guarantee that he will apply himself with all his approved
ability to the carrying out of the new reforms. But, if anything more
had been needed, the revised Instrument of Instructions under Royal Sign
Manual which he took out with him for his guidance prescribed both for
the Government of India and for the Provincial Governments the utmost
restraint, "unless grave reason to the contrary appears," in any
exercise of the emergency powers still vested in them in opposition to
the policy and wishes of the Indian representative assemblies. "For,
above all things," His Majesty concluded, "it is Our will and pleasure
that the plans laid by Our Parliament for the progressive realisation of
responsible government in British India may come to fruition, to the end
that British India may attain its due place among Our Dominions."

That in carrying out those instructions Lord Reading will be able to
rely on the full support of the British members of his own Executive
Council and of the Provincial Governments the most practical proof has
been already given in the wise and conciliatory attitude displayed by
them during the first session of the new Legislatures in Delhi and in
the Provinces, in marked contrast to the sense of impregnable authority
too often made manifest when autocratic power was still entrenched
behind official majorities voting to order. To the credit of the public
services, and not least of the Indian Civil Service, I should add that,
if I may venture to judge by the great majority of those I know best,
there is now a genuine desire to make the reforms a success, however
apprehensive some of them may have formerly been. The change
unquestionably often involves considerable sacrifices of power, and even
sometimes power for good, as well as of old traditions and prejudices,
and such sacrifices come hardest to those whose habits of life and mind
are already set, but they are worth making. It is far easier for the
younger men who have more recently joined to realise that their
opportunities of service to India and to the Empire will, if anything,
be greater than before, though they will call for somewhat different
qualities, as their influence will now depend more upon capacity to
persuade than to give orders. To the non-official British communities
the European-elected members of the new Assemblies have already given an
admirable lead by the cordiality of their personal relations with their
Indian colleagues, as well as by such public manifestations of goodwill
and sound judgment as their unanimous vote in support of the Indian
resolution on Amritsar in the Legislative Assembly. One of the greatest
obstacles to fruitful co-operation is racial aloofness, even amongst the
best-disposed Indians and Europeans, and every Englishman can on his own
account and within his own sphere do something to overcome it.

The visit of the Duke of Connaught last winter to India for the express
purpose of representing the King-Emperor at the opening of the new
Councils in the three great Presidencies, and of delivering a Royal
Message of unprecedented import to the new Indian Legislature in the
Imperial capital, bore perhaps its happiest fruits in the personal
appeal, prompted by his old love and knowledge of the Indian people, in
which he sought to dispel "the shadow of Amritsar" that had "lengthened
over the face of India," and did in fact do much to dispel it. The
Prince of Wales is to follow this winter not only in the Duke's recent
footsteps, but, as heir to the Throne, in the footsteps of his royal
father and grandfather. Even if opinions are divided as to the political
expediency of his visit before the clouds that still overhang the Indian
horizon have been dispelled, we may rest assured that his personal
qualities will win for him too the affection and reverence which the
Indian people are traditionally and instinctively inclined to give to
those whom the gods have invested with the heaven-born attributes of
kingship.

That Indian co-operation will not fail us if we persevere in ensuing it,
not only in the letter of the great Statute of 1919 but in the spirit of
the King-Emperor's messages to his Indian people, is an assumption which
there is much to justify us in making. But, for the present, it cannot
be much more than an assumption. In support of it we can rely not only,
one may hope, on the continued support of large if inarticulate masses,
and of the old conservative interests that have been content to stand
aloof from all political agitation, but also on the fine rally of the
great majority of the politically minded classes in India whom
intellectual partnership has to some extent prepared for political
partnership. They still form, unfortunately, but a very small numerical
minority. But their influence cannot be measured by mere numbers. If it
grew in the past even when we were showing more impatience than
sympathy with its aspirations, it may be expected to grow still more
rapidly in future under new conditions that give it more recognition and
more encouragement. In all countries the impulse to progress has always
proceeded from small minorities, and in India the small but active
minority from which it has proceeded has been essentially of our own
making, since it owes to us all its conceptions of political freedom and
national unity and the very language in which it has learnt to express
them. Out of the ancient world of India we have raised a new Indian
middle class, with one foot perhaps still lingering in Indian
civilisation but with the other certainly planted in Western
civilisation. It has long claimed that its leaders were fit to be the
leaders of a nation. We have now conceded that claim. It rests with
those leaders to make it good. They have already given proofs of both
political wisdom and courage; for it is they who bore the brunt of the
battle against the wreckers of the new Constitution during the elections
and won it, and it is they who, forming the majority in the new
assemblies, have shown sagacity and moderation in the exercise of their
new rights and the discharge of their new responsibilities as the means
to closer co-operation between Indians and British. But the opposing
forces arrayed against co-operation, as I have shown in the previous
chapter, are still formidable. They assume many different shapes. They
exploit many different forms of popular discontent. If they have failed
to lay hold of the better and more educated classes, they have captured
in some parts at least the masses that were never before anti-British.
They have inflamed the racial hatred which untoward incidents helped to
stir up. In Mr. Gandhi they have found a strangely potent leader who
appeals to the religious emotions of both Hindus and Mahomedans to shake
themselves free from the degrading yoke of an alien civilisation, and
implores them to return to the ancient and better ways of India's own
civilisation.

It is just there that Mr. Gandhi strikes a responsive chord in many
thoughtful Indians who repudiate him as a political leader. For their
faith in either the material or moral superiority of Western
civilisation is, one must admit, far less general and deep-seated than
it still was only a generation ago. The emergence of Japan and her
sweeping victories on land and water over the great European power that
tried to humble her dealt the first heavy blow at their belief in the
material superiority of the West. Just as severely shaken is their
belief in its moral superiority, even with many whose loyalty to the
British cause never wavered during the Great War and who still pride
themselves on India's share in its final victory, when they see how the
world of Western civilisation has been reft asunder by four years of
frightful conflict which drenched all Europe with blood and left half of
it at least plunged in black ruin. We have preached to Indians, not
untruly, but with an insistence that seems to them now more than ever to
savour of self-righteousness, that our superior civilisation redeemed
them out of the anarchy and strife which devastated India before British
rule brought her peace and order and justice. Now they ask themselves
how it comes, then, that the Western civilisation which they are told to
thank for their own salvation has not saved Europe itself from the chaos
which has overtaken it to-day. Still more searching are the questions
that they ask when they see the great powers that have been fortunate
enough to emerge victorious from the struggle still postulating the
superiority of Western civilisation as sufficient grounds for denying to
other races who do not share it or have only recently come under its
influence the right to equal treatment. Their gorge rises most of all
when Western civilisation actually bases its claim to superiority not on
ethical but on racial grounds, and nations that profess to be followers
of Christ, Himself of Asiatic birth and descent, carve out the world
which He died to save--not for the benefit of one race alone--into
water-tight compartments, from some of which the Asiatic is to be
excluded by a colour-bar, but to all of which the white man is to have
access for such purposes and by such means as he himself deems right. If
the British Empire stands for a merely racial civilisation of which the
benefit is reserved for the white man only, what, they ask, is the value
of a promise of partnership in it when Indians are _ipso facto_ racially
disqualified from partnership?

There lies the rub. The argument may have been stated in an extreme
form, but it has to be faced, for it goes home to many Indians who would
not be moved by Mr. Gandhi's cruder abuse of a "Satanic" civilisation.
The overshadowing danger, and not in India alone, may be to-morrow, if
not already to-day, that of a racial conflict. Is there any other way to
avert it than by a frank recognition of racial equality in the sense of
equality of rightful opportunity for both races, Asiatic and European?
It is only in that sense that racial equality, like the equality already
recognised of all men born to our common British nationhood, can have
any meaning. For in the strict sense of the word no two men are born
equal, either physically or intellectually, any more than there is
complete equality in the family and social surroundings in which they
are brought up. All that the citizens of the freest countries are
entitled to claim is that there shall be no denial of right to them on
the score of birth to equal opportunities for bringing their own
individual qualities by their own effort to the largest possible
fruition within the lawful limits prescribed to prevent injury being
done to others or to the community at large. Does not the same hold good
for nations and for races? The principle of equality thus understood
must clearly prevail between Asiatics and Europeans in India, for all
racial discrimination between them has long been ruled out by our own
statutes, and now more than ever by a Constitution which calls India to
partnership in the British Empire. It is, however, one thing to lay down
a principle, and another to put it consistently into practice. There
are questions in front of us in India which it will be difficult to
solve if Indians and Englishmen approach them in a spirit of racial
antagonism. They should not be insoluble if approached on the lines of
equal opportunity for both races. Other and still more difficult
questions are likely to produce divergencies of views and interests
between India and other parts of the Empire, including the United
Kingdom itself. The questions that affect the status and rights of
Indians in the Dominions and Colonies go to the root of racial
discrimination. When such questions arise their solution, in a sense
that will give even the barest and most undeniably legitimate
satisfaction to Indian views and Indian interests, will not be achieved
merely through the co-operation of the Government of India, or of every
Englishman, official or non-official, in India, however heartily these
may identify themselves with Indian views and Indian interest. Their
solution will rest with the British people all over the Empire. Will the
British Government and the Dominion Governments and the free peoples
behind them approach all questions in which India is concerned in the
same spirit which they have already learnt to bring to bear upon
questions in which not India but other partners of the Empire are
concerned? Will they be prepared to approach them in the same spirit in
which India was welcomed in times of stress and storm to the War
Councils and Peace Councils of the Empire? That spirit was the spirit of
equal partnership in a common danger, of co-operation on equal terms in
a common struggle, of equal opportunities of sacrifice in common. It was
nobly conceived in the womb of war. Will it have died with the war? Or
will it survive and be extended to the discussion of Imperial questions
already preoccupying the Indian mind in which competitive rather than
common interests will have to be reckoned with--fiscal questions,
questions relating to India's share in the defence of the Empire and of
India's right to develop and control her own military and perhaps some
day her own naval forces, questions affecting the common rights of
British citizenship and the organic constitution of the Empire?
Obviously in none of these questions can India expect her views and
interests always to prevail. What she claims is that her voice be heard
and listened to, not as that of an inferior supplicating for boons but
with the deference and the desire for an agreed settlement by mutual
consent to which the promise of equal partnership already, she holds,
entitles her. That claim she will press, too, in questions affecting the
status and rights of her people in the Dominions and in the Colonies
with the insistence born of a new sense of nationhood which has
intensified a much older race-consciousness. Heavy will be the
responsibility of those within the Empire who meet her with an
uncompromising assertion of the white man's superior rights and
interests as the _suprema lex et suprema salus Imperii_.

It is not, indeed, the future of India alone that is at stake. If we
look beyond India to the rest of the great continent of Asia, and beyond
our own Empire to the great American Republic with which we have so much
in common, recognition or denial of racial equality lies close beneath
the surface where burning questions still threaten the world with war.
The British people have made in India the first bold attempt to rob the
issue of its worst sting. If we persevere and can succeed we shall not
only strengthen immeasurably the foundations of our far-flung Empire,
but we shall enable it to play an immeasurably useful part in averting a
world danger. For the British Empire with its Western and Eastern
aspects, with its great Western democracies and its oriental peoples,
more advanced than and as gifted as any Asiatic people, seems to-day to
be providentially so constituted that it may act more effectively than
any other power as a link between the great Asiatic and the great
Western powers of Europe and America, between the races and the
civilisations which they represent.

We may restore in India, and through India all over Asia, a new and
reinvigorated faith in the British Empire's mission, if we do not shrink
from putting into practice in our dealings with her the principle of
partnership in rights and duties on which our Imperial Commonwealth of
Nations has been built up. We have enshrined that principle in the new
constitutional charter we have of our own free will bestowed upon India.
But if we pay only half-hearted homage to it, and our own people,
whether at home, or in other parts of the Empire, or in India itself,
whether statesmen or soldiers, or administrators or merchants, succumb
to the temptation of trying still to combine with it in practice a
disingenuous survival of the old idea of domination of one race over
another, after we have so solemnly repudiated it, we shall drift the
more rapidly and disastrously on to the quicksands of racial strife and
chronic disorder which, though they may fail to overthrow British rule,
would steadily weaken, and perhaps paralyse, its power for good that is
after all its one enduring justification. If, on the other hand, we
fulfil that which we have always recognised, and to-day with renewed
clearness of vision, to be our mission in India, by reconciling the best
elements in Indian civilisation and our own, and if we can convert our
commonwealth of free British nations into a commonwealth of free Western
and Eastern nations on a basis of real equality, we shall set an example
of no less value to others than will be to ourselves our own
achievement. The failure in its latest and most crucial stage of the
great adventure upon which we entered three centuries ago, not, let us
for the moment assume, through lack of Indian co-operation or of the
desire on the part of the British in India to co-operate with Indians,
but through the inability of the British people as a whole and
throughout the Empire to rise to so great an opportunity, would react
far beyond the confines of India. The tide of racial hatred which may
yet be stemmed would rise and perhaps not only undermine the present
fabric of our Empire, but strew East and West with the wreckage of
disappointed hopes and embittered animosities.

There are some who hold that the British Empire has made its last if
most glorious effort in the Great War, and that in it Western
civilisation proclaimed itself bankrupt and committed suicide. That
cannot be. The cause for which the British people fought and made such
appalling sacrifices was not unworthy of them or of our civilisation.
Heavy clouds hang over the future and obscure the paths of the nations.
But in India, where East and West meet as nowhere else, Britain has
lighted a beacon which, if she keep it burning, will show to both the
way of escape from a more disastrous conflict than that from which the
West has just emerged battered and bleeding--a conflict not between
nations but between races.



INDEX


Abyssinian victory over Italians, 112

Acworth, Sir William, 260

Adawa, battle of, 112

Afghan invasions, 3, 61-2

Aga Khan, the, 136, 282

Age of Consent Bill, 1891, 95-6, 113, 236

Agra and Oudh, _see_ United Provinces

Agrarian questions, Indian, 197-201

_Ahimsa_, doctrine of, 170, 175, 188, 192, 298

Ahmed Shah Durani, 61

Ahmed Shahi dynasty, 53, 54

Ahmedabad, 50, 53-5; outbreak in, 176-7, 273

Ahmednagar, 50

Ajatasatni, King, 28

Akbar, Emperor, 3, 5, 51, 53, 56, 57-61

Ala-ud-Din Khilji, 48

Alai Darwazah, the, 48

Alexander the Great's invasion, 27, 28, 33

Ali brothers, the, Mahomed and Shaukat, 140, 188-9, 191, 197, 288, 291,
297 _n_.

Aligurh, Mahomedan College at, 135-6, 197

Allahabad outbreak, 177

All-India Moslem League, 136, 138, 145, 147, 173

All-India Trades Congress, 272

Altamsh, 36, 47

Americans in Tata Company, 248, 253

Amritsar: outbreak, 175-6, 183;
  Jallianwala Bagh, 177-9, 211;
  British Government's despatch, 180-82;
  Duke of Connaught on, 228, 303;
  Resolutions on, 209, 228-30, 302

Annexation policy of Dalhousie, 81

Arya Somaj, 95

Aryan races, 15, 22, 31, 35;
  social system, 22-3, 42-3, 217, 219

Asiatics' Trading and Land Act (South Africa), 281

Asoka, King, 2, 27, 29-32, 35

Asquith, Rt. Hon. H.H., on a "new angle of vision," 141, 300

_Asvamedha_, the, 2, 4, 32, 37, 40

Aurungzeb, Emperor, 61

Australia and Asiatics, 282


Baber, Emperor, 3, 56

Baghavat-Ghita, the, 35, 113

_Bakar-Id_ festival, 288

Bana, the Brahman, 39

"_Bande Materam_," 115

Banerjee, Sir Surendranath, 118, 204, 207

Basu, Mr. Bupendranath, 145

Baz Bahadur, 53

Behar and Orissa, 8, 129

Benares University, Gandhi and, 197

Bendusara, King, 29

Bengal Presidency, 69, 71, 72, 114
  elections in, 202-4
  "Non-co-operation" fails in, 203-4, 208
  Partition of, _see_ Partition
  permanent settlement in, 199-200

Bengalees:
  unrest among, 12, 114-115, 203
  Western education and, 8, 205-7

Bentinck, Lord William, 79, 80, 98

Besant, Mrs., 146, 148, 150, 159, 161

Bhuvaneshwar temples, 38

Bidar, 50

Bijapur, 50, 55

Bikanir, Maharajah of, 141

Bimbisara, King, 26, 27

Bolpur, school at, 254

Bombay, 6
  city improvement, 271
  cotton mills, 270, 271
  labour troubles, 270, 273-4

Bombay Presidency, 69, 71
  elections in, 194-6

Bonnerji, Mr., 92, 93

Boycott movements, 4, 113, 294.
  See _Swadeshi_

Brahmanas, the, 16, 17-18

Brahmans:
  Akbar and, 60
  supremacy of, 17-18, 23, 27, 37-8, 41, 44, 45, 84, 190, 219-220,
  221-4;
  Buddhism and, 27;
  Gandhi and, 190
  temple, 11

Brahmo-Somaj movement, 80, 95

British, arrival of, in India, 3-4, 5, 62, 66-7, 220

British administration, share of Indians in, 12-13, 97, 101-10, 132-5,
163-4

British Army in India, 275-7

British Empire, India's partnership in, its implications, 164, 306-10

British rule:
  co-operation the principle of, 12-13, 66-8, 74, 204-8, 300-301
  education and, 79-82, 299-300
  evolution of, 66-83. _See_ Crown sovereignty, East India Company,
    Parliamentary control
  Gandhi and, 191
  goal of, 12-13, 76-7, 79, 149, 162-4, 301-2

Bubonic plague appears, 88

Buddha, 25, 26, 27-8;
  bones of, discovered, 34

Buddhism, rise and fall of, 27, 29-34, 39-40
  Hinduism and, 31, 34-5

Budget deficit, 268-9


Calcutta, 6-12
  capital removed from, 128, 129
  co-operation revived in, 204-5
  labour conditions in, 271
  Supreme Court created, 72
  Western-educated women in, 8

Calcutta University, 8, 114, 205-6

Canada and Indian immigrants, 211, 282

Canning, Lord, 82-3, 91

Cape Colony, Indians in, 280, 281

Carmichael, Lord, 207

Caste system, the, 23, 43-5, 64, 107, 215-19, 224
  Akbar hostile to, 58, 60
  Gandhi and, 169, 186-7, 219
  reform attempted, 236

Central Provinces:
  caste system in, 215-19
  "Non-co-operation" campaign in, 214-15, 218-19

Chamber of Princes, the, 1, 2, 158, 239, 241-5

Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Austen, 144, 150

Chanakya, 29

Chandavarkar, Sir Narain, 171

Chandni Chauk bomb outrage, 129-30

Chandragupta I., 37

Chandragupta II., 37, 38

Chandragupta Maurya, 28-9

Charnock, Job, 10

Chatterjee, Mr. B.C., 206

_Chawls_, 271

Chelmsford, Lord, 143, 144, 145, 172, 301.
  _See_ Montagu-Chelmsford reforms

Chinese travellers in India, 24, 25, 26, 33, 38, 39, 40

Chintamani, Mr., 202

Chitawan Brahmans, 113

Christian converts, training of, 218

Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston, 283

Civil Service, _see_ Indian Civil Service

Clive, Lord, 68, 70, 86

Coal mines of Tata Company, 251

Community representation, 127, 157-8, 193, 211, 223-4

Connaught, H.R.H. the Duke of,
  inauguration ceremonies and speeches by, 1, 2, 4, 185, 228, 243, 303
  boycott of, 4, 6, 12

Co-operation, the principle of British rule, 12-13, 66-8, 74, 204-8,
300-301

Cornwallis, Lord, 199

Cotton imports duty, 147-8, 247, 269

Council of State proposed, 155

Crewe, Lord, 134

Crown colonies and Indians, 277, 282-5, 306-8

Crown sovereignty over India, 73, 86

Currency and exchange policy, 262, 263-7

Currency Committee, 264-5

Curtis, Mr. Lionel, 157

Curzon, Lord, 103, 114-15, 120, 246
  and Indians in Transvaal, 281
  Partition of Bengal by, 103, 114-15
  Universities Act of, 120

Curzon-Wylie, Sir W., murdered, 122


Dalal, Mr. D. Merwanji, 265

Dalhousie, Lord, 8, 80-82, 246

Defence Force Bill, 148

Defence of India Act, 140, 141, 171

Delhi, 1, 2, 3, 4, 47, 49, 56, 57, 61
  capital restored to, 4, 5, 128
  Durbar, 4, 128, 129
  Fort, 1, 3
  George V. at, 4, 128, 129
  _Hartal_ in, 4, 6, 173, 175

Dharma, 22

District Officers, 102

Dominion Home Rule for India, 143, 149, 163-4, 301-2

Dominions, _see_ Self-governing Dominions

Dravidian races, 63, 64, 217, 219

Duff, Dr. Alexander, 78

Dufferin, Lord, 93, 94

Dwarkadas, Mr. Jamnadas, 229, 297 _n._

"Dyarchy," 156-7, 238

Dyer, General, 177-9, 180-81, 182, 185, 229


Eastern Bengal, 114, 129, 137

East India Company, 62, 66, 67-8, 69-70, 86
  Crown control of, 73
  Indian co-operation with, 74, 77
  monopoly surrendered by, 74
  Parliamentary control of, 68-73

Economic factors in life of India, 246-7, 268-9;
  industry, 247-256;
  railways, 256-62;
  currency and exchange, 262-7

Edward VII., 4;
  visits India as Prince of Wales, 115

Elections:
  Non-Brahman success in, 223-4
  "Non-co-operation" campaign and, 193-6, 201-4, 208-9, 214-215, 219,
  224-6, 287
  under Councils Act (1909), 130-31

English language, benefit of, 4, 111

Esher, Lord, 230

Esher Committee's Report, 230-231, 262

Europeans and Indians, relations between, 98-101, 204-8

Extremist party, 118, 123, 135, 142-3, 144-5, 266, 267
  campaigns during elections, 195, 196-7, 201-4, 208-9, 214-15, 219,
  224-6, 287
  Congress captured by, 145-7, 150
  labour troubles and, 269, 273-274
  Moderate party and, 118, 135, 160-61
  Montagu-Chelmsford reforms and, 150, 159-60
  Native states and, 240-41
  Rowlatt Acts and, 172-3


Fa-Hien, 25, 38

Factory legislation in India, 274-275

Faizi, Abul, 59

Family system, Hindu, 20-21

Farquhar, Dr. J.N., 95 _n._, 121

Fatehpur Sikri, 58-9, 61

Fazl, Abul, 59, 60

Fell, Sir Godfrey, 229

Firishta, 53

Firuz Shah, 48-9

Fiscal policy, 147-8, 268-9

Fort William, Calcutta, 7

France, war with, and British rule, 67, 69, 70

Franchise qualifications, 193-4


_Gadr_ conspiracy, 211

Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchamd, 4, 6, 12, 161, 165-75, 177, 185-192, 203, 304
  caste system and, 169, 186-7, 219
  Hinduism of, 5, 13-14, 169, 190
  Indians in South Africa and, 166-8, 169, 170, 171, 278-9
  labour and, 274
  "Non-co-operation" movement of, 4, 13, 165, 185-6, 191-2, 197, 215,
  286-7;
  election campaigns, 195, 200, 201, 202, 204, 224-5, 226
  Reading, Lord, and, 165, 287-8
  _Swadeshi_ organised by, 294-5
  _Swaraj_ as conceived by, 170, 189-90, 295
  violence opposed by, 170, 175, 188, 192, 292-3, 294, 297-8

Ganj Bakhsh, tomb of, 54

Garnath pillar, 30

"Gate of Victory" inscription, 59

Gaur, 50

George V., King-Emperor:
  in India (as Prince of Wales), 115-17, 125;
  (as King), 4, 128-9
  message of (1920), 1, 162-3, 228, 303

Ghijas-ud-Din, 52

Ghose, Mr. Arabindo, 203

Ghridrakuta mountain, 26

Ghulam Kadir, 62

Ghuri dynasty, 51-3

Gokhale, Mr., 98, 118, 120, 134, 146, 168, 235;
  Gandhi and, 169, 297

Gol Kumbaz, the, 55

Golconda, 50

Gordhays, Mr., 252

Gour, Dr., 237

Government House, Calcutta, 7

Government of India Act, 1919, 162-3, 164, 203, 233, 235

Governor-General, post of, 71, 72, 73, 86

Great War, the:
  Gandhi and, 169, 170
  India's part in, 138, 139-41, 147, 262, 264, 282
  Western civilisation discredited by, 305, 310

Gujerat, Indian culture in, 53

Gupta dynasty, 37-8, 43


Hailey, Mr., 232, 233-4, 268

Hamilton, Lord George, 249

Hardinge, Lady, 129, 130

Hardinge of Penshurst, Lord, 128, 129-30, 141, 142, 143;
  and Indians in South Africa, 142, 168, 281

Harsha, King, 39-41

_Hartal_ proclaimed, 4, 6, 12, 173

Hastings, Lord, 75

Hastings, Warren, 71, 72-3, 74, 78

Hathi Singh, temple of, 53

Hellenic influence in India, 33-4

Hemu, 57

Hindola Mahal, the, 52

Hindu architecture, 54, 55-6

Hindu family system, 20-21

Hinduism, 5, 13-14, 16-25, 35, 60, 95-6, 220
  Buddhism and, 31, 34-5
  enduring power of, 5, 13-14, 32, 42-3, 45, 63-5
  Gandhi and, 5, 13-14, 169, 190
  Mahomedan domination and, 5, 14, 45, 63-5, 220
  reform movements in, 80
  scriptures and doctrines of, 16-25
  social system of, 8-9, 23, 42-5, 64, 107, 215-20
  Western education and, 84-5

Hindus:
  Akbar and, 58, 59, 60, 61
  Mahomedans and, _see_ Mahomedans
  as revolutionaries, 119, 122

_History of the War of Independence of 1857_ (Savarkar), 85

Hiuen-Tsang, 26, 33, 39, 40

Holland, Sir Thomas, 148, 248

Home Rule for India, 145, 147, 148, 150

Horse sacrifice, see _Asvamedha_

Humayun, Emperor, 56

Hume, Mr., 93

Huns, invasion of, 38

Hunter, Lord, 179

Hunter Committee, 179, 181-2, 183

Hushang Ghuri, 51-2


Ilbert Bill, the, 91

Imperial Conference, Indian citizenship question in, 284-5

Imperial Legislative Council, 145, 147

Imperial War Conference, Indian representatives at, 141, 282

Indentured emigration stopped, 148, 283

India:
  Dominion self-government for, 76-7, 79, 143, 149, 163-4, 301-2
  economics of, _see_ Economic factors
  and Great War, 138, 139-41, 147, 262-3, 264, 282
  partnership of, in Empire, 142, 143, 164, 306-10
  population of, 88
  trade of, 88, 246-7, 262-4

Indian administration, Indian share in, 12-13, 86, 89, 97, 101-10,
132-5, 163-4

Indian Army, 68, 85, 89, 139;
  in Flanders, 139, 141
  expenditure on, 230-32, 262, 275-7
  Indians in, 89-90
  territorial, 276, 277

Indian Civil Service, position of Indians in, 97, 102, 134, 163, 302

Indian co-operation, _see_ Co-operation

Indian Councils Act (1892), 93-4, 118;
  (1909), 127-8, 130-31, 137, 157

Indian education, 75, 78-82, 89
  Commission on, 148
  Curzon conference on, 120
  defects of, 97-8, 119-20
  Montagu-Chelmsford Report on, 152-3

Indian finance, 230-34, 268
  currency and exchange, 262, 263-7

Indian fiscal policy, 88, 234, 246-7, 268-9

Indian industries, 88, 246-56, 269

Indian Legislative Assembly, 2, 155, 225-6;
  first session, 227-237, 302
  Royal Message to, 228, 303

Indian Local Government Act (1888), 93

Indian National Congress, 92, 95-96, 108;
  Surat, 118, 135;
  Bombay, 140, 145, 146, 160;
  Lucknow, 147;
  Nagpur, 190-191, 215, 240, 287
  All-India Moslem League and, 138, 173
  Amritsar Commission of, 183-4
  Extremists capture, 145-7, 150
  Mahomedans and, 92-3, 109, 135, 173
  Montagu-Chelmsford reforms and, 150, 160
  Sinha at, 140, 146

Indian Nationalism, 35, 111-13

Indian representation not actual control, 132-4

_Indian Sociologist_, the, 122

Indian taxation, 87, 232-4, 295-6

Indian War Loan, 141, 147, 262, 264

Indians:
  in administration, _see_ Indian administration
  Crown Colonies and, 277, 282-5, 306-8
  Europeans and, relations between, 98-101, 204-8
  in industry, 8, 253-6
  self-governing Dominions and, 142, 144, 166-9, 170-71, 211, 277-85,
  306-10
  travelling, 256-9

Indo-Mahomedan architecture, 54-5

Indraprasthra (Indrapat), 2

Industrial development of India, 88, 247-56, 269

Infant widowhood, 9, 21, 107

Iron and steel industry, 247-56

Iron Pillar, 2, 3

Irrigation, 87

Islington, Lord, 134

Islington Commission, 134


Jaganath, temple of, 64, 256

Jahaz Mahal, the, 52

Jaina school of architecture, 53, 54

Jainism, 27, 43, 53

Jallianwala Bagh massacre, 177-9, 211.
  _See_ Amritsar

Jamsheedpur, 248, 249-56

Japanese victories and Indian opinion, 112, 305

Jehanghir, Emperor, 59, 60

Jhansi elections, 202

Jinna, Mr., 191

Jodh Bai palace, 58

Jones, Sir William, 23


Kaikobad, 48

Kali, 9-12;
  temple at Calcutta, 119

Kali-Kata, 10

Kalidasa, 37, 38

Kanishka, 32, 33

Karma doctrine, 19, 20-21

Kauravas, 2

Kayastha caste, 122

Kenia, position of Indians in, 283-4

Khalifate of Islam, the, 136, 173-4

Khalsa College, 210

_Khilafat_ movement, 174, 175, 204, 208, 240, 291;
  rising, 297 _n._

Khilji dynasty, 48

Kitchener, Lord, 115, 128

Krishna cult, 63

Krishnavarma, Mr., 122

Kshatrya caste, 23

Kushan kingdom, 33-4

Kutub-ed-Din, 3, 47

Kutub Minar, the, 2, 47

_Kuwwet-el-Islam_ Mosque, 3, 47


Labour and Industry department, 274

Labour Bureau, 273

Labour problems and unrest, 269-275

Lady Hardinge's School of Medicine, 130

Lahore, 208, 210-11

Lake, Lord, 4, 62

Lal, Mr. Harkishen, 209

Land revenue questions, 199-201

Land-tax, 87, 199-200, 295-6

Languages, rivalry of, 37-8

Lansdowne, Lord, 93, 95, 113, 236

Lawyers, Indian, 8, 108-9, 202

_Letters to the People of India_ (Curtis), 157

Lloyd, Sir George, 271, 272-3

Lodi dynasty, 49, 56

Lord North's Act, 71

Lucknow Congress, 147

Lyall, Sir Alfred, 45

Lytton, Lord, 91


Macaulay's Minute, 79, 81

Macdonald, Mr. Ramsay, 134

MacLagan, Sir Edward, 209

Madras, mills in, 271

Madras Presidency, 69, 71;
  elections in, 219, 222-4

Magadha, kingdom of, 16

Mahabharata, the, 2, 25, 35

Maha-Kal temple, 36-7

Mahars, 216-19

Mahavira, 27

Mahmud Bigarah, 55

Mahmud of Ghazni, 3, 46

Mahmud Khilji, 52

Mahomed Tughluk, 48, 49

Mahomedan art and architecture, 50, 54, 55

Mahomedan College, Aligurh, 135-136

Mahomedan conquest and domination, 3, 5, 42, 46-9, 62, 220

Mahomedan kingdoms, 49-50

Mahomedanism, 64, 65

Mahomedans, 109, 197
  community representation of, 127, 137, 157, 193, 211
  Congress and attitude of, 92-3, 109, 135, 173
  Hindus and:
    antagonism between, 64, 65, 135, 188-9, 288-293;
    mingling of, 5, 50-51, 173, 174-5, 176
  Partition and, 114, 136, 137
  Turkey, position of, and, 137-8, 140, 173-4, 189, 190, 292

Mahrattas, 4, 5, 61, 62, 113, 214

Maidan, the, Calcutta, 7

Maine, Sir Henry, 237

Malabar Hill, Bombay, 6

Malegaon riots, 291

Mandu, 50, 51-3

Manu, code of, 22, 23-4, 38

Marriage, Hindu laws and, 9, 237

Mary, Queen, visits India:
  (as Princess of Wales), 115, 116, 125;
  (as Queen), 128-9

Maurya dynasty, 28-32, 43

Maya, 19

Megasthenes, 28, 29

Mehta, Sir Pherozeshah, 92, 93, 118, 120, 146

Mesopotamian Report, 149

Mihiragula, 38

Mimansa system, 19-20

Mining development in India, 88, 249-56

Minto, Lord, 117, 126, 128, 130, 136-7.
  _See_ Morley-Minto reforms

Miriam-uz-Zemani, 59

Mitter, Mr. B.L., 160-61

Moderate party, 118, 135, 150, 160
  election successes of, 196
  Extremist breach with, 118, 135, 160-61

_Modern Religious Movements in India_ (Farquhar), 95 _n._, 121

Moghul Empire, 3, 4, 5, 56, 57;
  fall of, 61-2, 67, 72

Montagu, Rt. Hon. E.S., 149, 150-51, 159, 161, 184;
  exchange operations of, 264-7

Montagu-Chelmsford reforms and Report, 149-50, 151-9, 161, 203, 246
  Act passed, 162-3, 203
  reception of, 159-62

Moplah rising, 297 _n._

Morley, Lord, 117, 125-7, 131, 132, 227

Morley-Minto reforms, 126, 127, 130-34, 142, 145

Munro, Sir Thomas, minute by, 76-7, 235

Murders, political, 119, 120, 121, 122

Mutiny of 1857, the, 83, 84-7, 99, 101, 124


Nadir Shah, 61

Nagpur Congress, 190-91, 215, 240, 287

Nair, Dr., 223

Nankhanda Saheb massacre, 212-213

Naoroji, Dadabhai, 92, 94

Natal and Indian settlers, 166, 167, 278, 279

Nationalism:
  European, 111;
  Indian, 35, 111-13

Native States, 68
  administration of, 239-41, 243
  constitutional reforms and, 158, 241

Nellore incidents, 289-90

_New India_, 147

Nivedita, Sister, 95

Nizam of Hyderabad, 240, 243

Non-Brahmans, increasing influence of, 223-4

"Non-co-operation" movement, 4, 13, 165, 185-6, 191-2, 197, 267, 286
  election campaign, _see_ Elections
  present dangers from, 287-8, 293-8

Non-payment of taxes, 295-6

North-West Frontier Province, _Khilafat_ movement in, 208


O'Dwyer, Sir Michael, 179, 182, 184

Oudh, annexation of, 81


Pal, Bepin Chandra, 112

Pandavas, 2, 4

Panipat, battles of, 56, 57, 62

Paranjpe, Professor, 196

Parliamentary apathy on Indian questions, 109-10, 158

Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry suggested, 159

Partition of Bengal, 103, 114, 117, 125, 129;
  agitation against, 110, 114-15, 118-20;
  revised, 129, 137
  Mahomedans and, 114, 136, 137

Pataliputra, 27, 28-9, 31

Pathan massacre of Sikhs, 212-13

Patna riots, 288-9

Perin, Mr. C. Page, 249

Permanent settlement, the, 199-200

Pitt's Act, 72, 73

Plassey, battle of, 68, 85

Polak, Mr. H.S.L., 166

Population of India, 88

Portuguese in India, 62

Prayaga, 39

Presidents, East India Company, 69, 71

Press, "Non-co-operation," 287

Press restrictions, 91, 93, 126

Prirthana Somaj, 95

Prithvi Raja, 3, 42, 47

Provincial Governments, 131, 133, 155-6, 237-8

Provincial Legislative Councils, 94, 131, 132, 237-9

Provincial representative government, 154, 155-8

Public services, position of Indians in, 12-13, 86, 89, 97, 101-10,
132-5, 163-4

Public Services Commission, 134-5

Punjab, the:
  elections in, 208-9
  outbreak in, and repressive measures, 173, 175, 176, 177-185, 228-30,
  282, 294, 296

Purana Kilat, 2

Puri, pilgrimages to, 256

Purushpura, 32;
  _stupa_, 33-4

Pushyamitra Sunga, 32


Queen Victoria Memorial Hall, Calcutta, 7


Racial equality, necessity of, 306-310

Rahu, Mr., 206

Railway Board, 261

Railways, Indian:
  1857-1905, 87;
  present condition, 256-262

Raja Bikram, 3, 37, 38

Raja Birbal, 59

Rajagriha, 25-6

_Rajasuya_ rite, 32

Rajput princes, 242

Rajput states, 41-2, 57, 61

Rakhina, Sultana, 58

Ramayana, the, 35

Ranadé, Mr., 92, 96

Ranee Sepree mosque, 55

Rawlinson, Lord, 229, 231

Reading, Lord, 301, 302;
  Gandhi's interview with, 165, 287-8

Reay, Lord, 93

_Recollections_ (Morley), 125

Representative institutions inaugurated, 1-2, 4, 228, 243

"Reserved subjects," 156, 157, 238

Ripon, Lord, 91, 93

River-confluences, worship of, 39-40

Robertson, Sir Benjamin, 248

Ronaldshay, Lord, 134, 207-8

Rowlatt, Mr. Justice, 171

Rowlatt Acts, 171-3

Roy, Ram Mohun, 80

Royalty, Indian attitude to, 128, 129, 303

Rup Mati, 53

Rupee, stabilisation of the, 264-6

Russian anarchism and Indian, 123

Russian menace to India, 89


Sadler, Sir Thomas, 148

Sakti worship, 63

Samadragupta, 37

Sankhya Darshana, the, 19, 27

Sanskrit, 18, 37-8

Sastri, Mr. Srinivasa, 196, 236, 284-5

Sasunaga dynasty, 16

_Sati_, practice of, 36, 60, 64, 80

_Satyagraha_, 172-3, 174, 176

Sawarkar, Vinayak, 85

Secretary of State for India, 73, 86, 126-7, 131
  Council of, Indians on, 126, 127, 163
  exchange operations of, 263, 264-7

Sedition Committee, 122, 171

Self-governing Dominions, treatment of Indians by, 142, 144, 166-9,
170-71, 211, 277-85, 306-10

Self-government, Indian, 76-7, 79, 145, 147, 148, 150, 163-4, 301-2

Sen, Keshab Chundra, 95

Senart, M., 44

"Servants of India" Society, 146, 196, 235-6

Seyyid Ahmed Khan, Sir, 135-6

Seyyid dynasty, 49

Shah Alam II., 62

Sher Shah, 56, 57

Shiva, cult of, 34, 40, 41, 63;
  and Uma, 36

Shivaji, 5, 61, 113

Shudra caste, 23

Sidi Dervish, 48

Sikh confederacy defeated, 81

Sikhism, reforms in, 210-12

Sikhs, 210-12;
  massacred by Pathans, 212
  Canada and, 282

Sinha, Lord (formerly Sir Satyendra), 8, 127, 140, 141, 146

Slave dynasty, 47-8

Smriti, 22

Smuts, General, 168, 279

Sonthals, the, 250, 254

South Africa, Union of, and Indian grievances, 142, 166-8, 169, 170-71,
278-82, 285

South African War, Indians and, 112, 167

Southern India, elections in, 214, 219, 222-6

Spooner, Dr., 34

Steel and iron industry, 247-56

Strikes, 269-71, 272, 273

Students, unrest among, 119-20, 122, 128, 286

Sultan of Turkey and Khalifate of Islam, 136, 173-4

Surat Congress, 118, 135

_Swadeshi_ movement, 12, 113, 119, 203, 247, 269, 294-5

_Swaraj_, 110, 119, 188-9, 191
  Gandhi's conception of, 170, 186-8, 192
  Royal Message and, 1, 4

Sydenham, Lord, 249-50


Tagore, Rabindranath, 254, 286

Tantras, the, 63

Tata, Jamsheedji, 249

Tata, Sir Dorab, 249

Tata Company, the, 248, 249-256

Taxation problems, 87, 232-4;
  non-payment movement, 295-296

Telang, Mr., 92, 96

Telegraph system, Indian, 1857-1905, 87

Temple, Mr., 252

Thanesvar, battle of, 47

Tilak, Bal Gangadhar, 95-6, 118, 139, 146, 147, 159, 161, 237, 295
  Gandhi and, 189
  imprisonment of, 113, 128

Timur, invasion of, 3, 49, 56

Tirupati, 220-21

Trade, Indian, 88, 246-7, 262-4

Trades Unions in India, 272, 275

"Transferred subjects," 156, 157, 238

Transvaal and Indian settlers, 166-7, 168, 279, 281

Tughluk dynasty, 48-9

Turkey, war with, and Indian Mahomedans, 137-8, 140, 173-174, 189,
190, 292

Turkish Nationalism, 137, 138


Ujjain, 29, 35-7

United Provinces:
  agrarian questions in, 196, 197, 201
  "Non-co-operation" campaign in, 196, 202, 292, 293

Universities, Indian, 82, 197

Universities Act of 1904, 120

"Untouchables," 216-19, 221

Upanishads, the, 16


Vaishya caste, 23

Vedantic system, 19, 27

Vedas, the, 16-17, 18

Viceroy, 86
  Executive Council of, Indians on, 94, 102, 126, 127, 235
  Legislative Council of, 132

Victoria, Queen-Empress, 4;
  proclamation by, 86-7, 89

Vijianagar, 55, 220

Vikramadytia, King, 2, 3, 37, 38

Vincent, Sir William, 229

Vishnu cult, 63

Vivekananda, Swami, 95


Wales, Prince of, Indian visit of:
  (Edward VII.), 115;
  (George V.), 115-17, 125;
  (present), 303

Wellesley, Marquess, 7

Western civilisation:
  Gandhi and, 14, 169, 304, 306
  Great War discredits, 305-6, 310

Western education, 8, 79-80, 97-8, 135-6
  Brahman monopoly of, 222-3
  Hinduism and, 84-5
  implications of, 152-3, 299-300

Western-educated classes, 4, 124
  co-operation by, 139, 202, 303-4
  Curzon and, 100, 114
  grievances of, 89-91, 97, 98-110, 134-5
  Montagu-Chelmsford Report on, 152-3
  social reform not attempted by, 107-8
  unrest among, 111-15, 123-4

White Huns, the, 38

Whyte, Mr. A.F., 227-8

Widows, _see_ Infant widowhood

Willingdon, Lord, 224

Women, Indian, position of, 8, 21, 64-5, 82, 236

Wood, Sir Charles, 81


Yoga system, 19

_Young India_, 192

Y.M.C.A., valuable work of, 206-7

Yudhisthira, 2

Yueh Chis, the, 33

_Yugantar_, the, 121, 203



THE END

_Printed by_ R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, _Edinburgh_.





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