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Title: India for Indians - Enlarged Edition
Author: Das, C. R. (Chittaranjan), 1870-1925
Language: English
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[Illustration: C. R. Das.]




With Foreword by Babu Motilal Ghose

(Editor, A. B. Patrika.)

Ganesh & Co., Madras.

The Cambridge Press, Madras

First Edition     November, 1917
Second Edition    May,      1918
Enlarged Edition  April,    1921



  Foreword                                                          i-vi

  Hindu-Mahomedan Mass Meeting, Calcutta                               1

  Public Meeting at Mymensingh                                         8

  A Great Meeting at Decca                                            28

  Home Rule Meeting at Barisal                                        53

  Protest against Internments                                         88

  Indian Deputation to England                                        97

  Premiers Appeal                                                    106

  Self-Government                                                    112

  The Great Transformation                                           118

  The Great Denial                                                   143

  Advice to Students                                                 164

  The Battle of Freedom                                              168

  Address to Students                                                172

  Non-Co-operation                                               176-192



When the Publishers asked me for a Foreword to this small volume of
Speeches by Mr. C. R. Das, I readily acceded to their request, both
from personal and public considerations.

Personally I have known Mr. Chitta Ranjan Das from the days of his
youth. His father, the late Babu Bhuban Mohan Das was a friend of
mine. Bhuban Mohan was a well-known Attorney of the Calcutta High
Court. For some time he was connected also with Bengalee journalism. As
editor, first, of the _Brahmo Public Opinion_, and subsequently of the
_Bengal Public Opinion_, he made a very high position for himself among
Bengalee journalists. His style was very simple, and he spoke with a
directness that was rather rare in our more successful English weeklies
of those days. Babu Bhuban Mohan was a sincere patriot, and though
like good many English educated Bengalees of his generation, he threw
himself heart and soul into the Brahmo Samaj Movement, in his personal
life and more particularly in his dealings with his Hindu relatives, he
belonged to the old Hindu type, and spent whatever he earned,--and he
earned a lot--for the support of his poorer relatives. Indeed he spent
upon them more than his finances allowed and consequently got involved
in heavy liabilities that forced him, during the closing years of his
professional life, to take refuge in the Insolvency Court.

Chitta Ranjan was educated, I think, in the London Missionary College,
Bhowanipore; and subsequently in the Presidency College, Calcutta
whence he took his B.A. degree and went to England to qualify
himself for the Indian Civil Service. I do not remember if he actually
competed for the I.C.S. He joined the Inns of Court and was called to
the Bar in the early Nineties.

Chitta Ranjan gave considerable promise of exceptional literary and
oratorical gifts even when he was a student in the Presidency College,
Calcutta. While in England he made some political speeches, in
connection I think, with the Electioneering Campaign of Mr. Dadabhai
Naoroji, and some of those speeches were very favourably noticed by the
English and the Indian Press.

Upon his return home, and within a short time of his joining the
Calcutta Bar, he took upon himself the responsibility of all his
father's debts; an act that forced him at the very commencement of his
professional career, to join his father in seeking the protection of
the Insolvency Court. It was not only a filial duty, but a point of
honour, with Chitta. Ranjan to share this indignity with his father.
He was very seriously handicapped, both in his professional and in his
public life, by this insolvency. But for it, Chitta Ranjan would have
long ago publicly thrown himself into all our political and patriotic
movements and won the position of leadership to which he was entitled
by his capacity and his devoted love for his country.

Though his exceptional abilities were universally recognised, from
the very beginning of his career as a member of our High Court Bar,
he could not secure adequate scope for them for a good many years;
pecuniary struggles forced him to abandon the chances of a successful
practice in the High Court for the mufassal practice which is more
profitable to a junior Barrister.

The celebrated Conspiracy Case against Srijut Aravinda Ghosh, in which
he appeared as Aravinda's Counsel pushed Chitta Ranjan into the fore
front of the Calcutta Bar. Great was the sacrifice that he made in
undertaking this defence. For more than six months he was engaged in
this case, and the fee that he received was not sufficient to meet even
all his household expenses during these months; and he had to incur a
large debt for this purpose. The acquittal of Aravinda at once raised
the reputation of his Counsel, and from the very day that Chitta Ranjan
came back to take up the broken threads of his High Court practice, he
found himself on the high road to both fame and wealth. This reminds
me of the saying of Sree Bhagavan in the Geeta--that the doer of good
never comes to any grief.

As soon as he found his position in this profession secure, Chitta
Ranjan's first thought was to remove the stain of insolvency from his
father's name and his own and he started to pay off every pie of those
old debts. This is the first time, as Mr. Justice Fletcher declared,
that a discharged insolvent publicly accepted his old liabilities and
applied for a formal discharge of his insolvency. This act of unusual
fidelity to his financial obligations, at once raised Chitta Ranjan Das
to the position of a great moral hero.

Having secured his discharge from his insolvency, Chitta Ranjan found
himself free to freely and openly join all our public activities; and
as the new National Life in Bengal, denied free scope and outlet in
politics by the restrictive legislations of Lord Minto, had commenced
to seek and find expression in a variety of literary organisations.
Chitta Ranjan threw himself into this Nationalist Movement, and soon
found himself among its great leaders. In 1915 he started a new
Bengalee Monthly, the _Narayana_, which secured for its contributors
some of the highest literateurs of Bengal, including Maha-Mahopadhyaya
Hara Prasad Sastri who has an European reputation, and Babu Bepin
Chandra Pal. Chitta Ranjan's entry into Bengalee literature dates from
1894 or 1895 when he published a volume of Bengalee lyrics, called
_Malancha_ which introduced a new element of freedom and realism
into our modern lyrical literature. During the last two years, two
more volumes of Lyrics have been published by him. The last annual
Literary Conference of Bengal, in recognition of his literary services,
nominated Chitta Ranjan as the President of its Literary Section while
the political leaders of the Province offered him an equal recognition
by asking him to preside over our last Provincial Conference.

The speeches collected and published in this volume are the latest
pronouncements of Mr. C. R. Das upon some of the pressing political
problems before us. They have already attracted considerable notice
from the Anglo-Indian press, and the virulance of these criticisms
are themselves a _prima facie_ proof of their worth and importance. I
will not try any criticism of these here. The reader will be able to
judge of their value himself. Students of current political literature
in this country will find in these a freshness of ideas and a freedom
of treatment which are so much needed just now for the formation of a
sound and healthy public opinion among us.

Mr. C. R. Das, though yet young, is already an esteemed and prominent
leader of Bengal. His patriotism is genuine; his abilities are
unquestioned. Self-seeking is not in his line. He tries to serve his
motherland according to his light, not for his own aggrandisement but
for her welfare alone. He is above official frowns or favours--his
independence is fearless. He is not a pushing man yet his talent has
pushed him forward to a foremost place both in his profession and the
political field. He earns a good deal of money but perhaps spends more.
His charities are many though the general public know very little of
them. He has a fine heart, which is ever ready to help a fellow in
distress, even at a considerable personal sacrifice. If he does not
convert himself into a mere money-making machine like many worthy
members of his profession, he is bound to prove a tower of strength to
the national cause. He is a Home Ruler and a democrat of democrats,
every inch of him. To me he is specially dear, as he is a devotee
of Sri Krishna and Sri Gauranga. As his father's friend, I have the
privilege of passing benediction on him. May God grant him a long and
healthy life and enable him to devote it unselfishly to the service of
man and his maker.

  AMRITA BAZAR               }
  _12th November, 1917_.     }



_On the 7th October 1917, an enthusiastic Mass Meeting was held at
Calcutta, when Mr. C. R. Das as Chairman of the meeting spoke as

Gentlemen,--When this morning Mr. Akran Khan called upon me to request
me to preside over this meeting, I felt it was a call of duty to which
I must respond. My heart is filled with gladness to find that on this
platform and at this meeting Hindus and Mahomedans of Calcutta have
met together to fight their common battle. Indeed in the days of the
Swadeshi movement in 1905, I knew--and my friend Mr. Bipin Chandra
Pal will bear me out--we knew that the day was not far distant when
the Hindus and the Mahomedans will fight shoulder to shoulder in the
cause of their country. I did not then know that the time was so near.
While I must give expression to this feeling I feel at the same time, a
sense of deep loss. I refer to the death of my friend Mr. Rasul. How I
wish he had been here to-day to fight this battle with us shoulder to
shoulder, how I wish his presence had animated us to-day. Gentlemen,
on the morning of the day that he died, I felt this loss but I feel it
overwhelmingly to-day in this vast assembly. There is no man in Bengal,
Hindu or Mahomedan who was more respected by the whole Bengalee race.
There is no man in Bengal who fought so much, who exerted himself to
such an extent to bring about the union between Hindus and Mussalmans
of this country and if I may be permitted to say so, he was almost
the pioneer amongst Mahomedans, the first who felt that the interest
of the Hindus and the interest of the Mahomedans is the same in spite
of religious differences. Gentlemen, we have met to-day to protest
against the policy of internment and to ask for the release of the
gentlemen who have been interned. Who are the persons who are specially
mentioned in your notice? I am sure you will agree with me that these
are names which are respected by Mahomedans and Hindus alike. The name
of Mahomed Ali is a household word in India. I had the honour of his
friendship. We met together often when he was in Calcutta and I can
tell you that there is no more sincere and ardent patriot in the whole
of this country than Mr. Mahomed Ali. Mr. Shaukat Ali, I do not know
personally but I have heard accounts of him from many of my friends
which show that this gentleman is an unselfish patriot. This gentleman
had been engaged in the work of union between Hindus and Mahomedans all
over India and certainly such a man is worthy of esteem and honour.
The last name is that of Sham Sunder Chakravarty. I have had personal
acquaintance with him. I have been bound with him by ties of friendship
and I can assure you, gentlemen, that Sham Sunder Chakravarty is
incapable of having done anything which deserved his internment. I have
given you the honoured names which are mentioned in this notice. But
over and above these few names I can tell you there is hardly a home
in East Bengal from which one or more persons have not been interned.
Every home in East Bengal is filled with sadness to-day, because these
people have been snatched away from their homes and imprisoned without
trial or without proof. I protest on your behalf against this policy
of internment. I say this policy is un-British, is opposed to all the
time honoured traditions upon which the British Empire is based. It
is opposed to all rules of common sense and prudence and uprightness
and the sooner this policy is abrogated the better for the peace and
prosperity of the empire.

Gentlemen, at a time when the British Government in its wisdom has
declared its policy that Home Rule in some shape or other must be
granted to this country that some sort of responsible Government is
necessary for the foundation and preservation of the empire; at a
time when His Excellency the Viceroy has advised us to preserve an
atmosphere of calmness; I ask, is it wise to detain these men against
popular opinion, against the universal desire of the Indian people.
And why should they be detained? May we not tell those who are
responsible? You detain them under an Act which has been characterised
by the highest authorities in England and in this country to be illegal
and ultra vires. You have detained these men and other persons on
political considerations which are outside the purview of the Defence
of India act under which you claim to detain them. Gentlemen, I wish to
read to you a passage from the judgment of one of the greatest judges
in England--I may say that the Act in England is similar to the Act
under which these gentlemen have been snatched away from society and
kept imprisoned. This learned Judge, Lord Shaw than whom a nobler judge
there is not in the whole of England says--You remember, gentlemen,
in England persons of German origin have been sought to be detained
in this way and His Lordship says:--"But does the principle, or does
it not, embrace a power not over liberty alone but also over life?"
His Lordship says that if by the stroke of a pen you can take away the
liberty of a man, does it not also follow that by the stroke of a pen
you can take away his life also? His Lordship goes on to say:--

"If the public safety and defence warrant the Government under the Act
to incarcerate a citizen without trial, do they stop at that, or do
they warrant his execution without trial? If there is a power to lock
up a person of hostile origin and associations because the Government
judges that course to be for public safety and defence, why, on the
same principle and in exercise of the same power, may he not be shot
out of hand? I put the point to the learned Attorney-General, and
obtained from him no further answer than that the graver result seemed
to be perfectly logical. I think it is. The cases are by no means hard
to figure in which a Government in a time of unrest, and moved by a
sense of duty, existed, it may be, by a gust of popular fury"

in this case the Anglo Indian fury

"might issue a regulation applying, as here, to persons of hostile
origin or association, saying, 'Let such danger really be ended and
done with; let such suspects be shot.' The defence would be, I humbly
think, exactly that principle, and no other, on which the Judgments of
the Courts below are founded--namely, that during the war this power to
issue regulations is so vast that it covers all acts which, though they
subvert the ordinary fundamental and constitutional rights, are in the
Government's view directed towards the general aim of public safety or

"Under this the Government becomes a Committee of Public Safety. But
its powers as such are far more arbitrary than those as of the most
famous Committee of Public Safety known to history."

This is what one of the greatest of English Judges has said. Now,
gentlemen, we next come to these particular cases. Mr. Mahomed Ali,
as you all know--and if I have said more of him, you will pardon me,
because he was a friend of mine,--he was asked to give an undertaking.
He gave it but he said: "Subject to the injunctions of my religion."
They are all the facts which have appeared in the letter of his mother
whom judging from her letter, we all hold in deep veneration? Judging
from that letter it seems to me that Mr. Mahomed Ali was not released
because he would not give an unconditional undertaking, because he did
not say, "What ever the injunctions of my religion may be I give an
undertaking, the undertaking which you want." Well, gentlemen, I pause
for one moment and I ask you to consider according to what right or
what principle does the Government of this country or any government in
the world, ask a man to give up his opinion and his religion? Ought he
to submit to it? Is it not his duty to say at once, "I do not care what
you do but it is my religion, I stand on it and here in this sphere I
am a free man, You may hold my body imprisoned but my soul is in the
hands of God." Now gentlemen, exactly, that illustration was given by
this great judge in his judgment. His Lordship goes on to say:--

No far-fetched illustrations are needed; for, My Lords, there is
something which may and does move the actions of men often far more
than origin or association, and that is religion. Under its influence
men may cherish belief which are very disconcerting to the Government
of the day, and hold opinion which the Government may consider
dangerous to the safety of the realm. And so, if the principle of this
construction of the statute be sound, to what a strange pass have we
come! A regulation may issue against Roman Catholics--all, or, say,
in the South of Ireland, or against Jews--all, or, say in the East of
London,--they may lose their liberty without a trial. During the war
that entire chapter of the removal of Catholic and Jewish disabilities
which has made the toleration of British famous through the world may
be removed not because her Parliament has expressly said so, but by
the stroke of the pen of a Secretary of State. Vested with this power
of proscription, and permitted to enter the sphere of opinion and
belief, they, who alone can judge as to public safety and defence,
may reckon a political creed their special care, and if that creed be
socialism, pacifism, republicanism, the persons holding such creeds
may be regulated out of the way although never deed was done or word
uttered by them that could be charged as a crime. The inmost citadel of
our liberties would be thus attacked. For, as Sir Erskine May observes,
this is "the greatest of all our liberties--liberty of opinion."

Gentlemen, is life worth living if we have not that liberty of opinion?
You may differ from me, I may differ from you--you must be allowed to
hold your own opinion, I must be allowed to hold mine. Members of the
Civil Service may hold one opinion, I may hold another opinion. His
Excellency the Viceroy may hold another opinion. His Majesty the King
Emperor personally may hold one opinion and I may hold the contrary
opinion--but is opinion a crime? Has it ever been a crime in the
history of civilization? We hoped that the dark ages have gone but it
seems that it still lingers. Now, apart from the opinion of this great
judge, I rely,--I venture to think I have got the right to rely--upon
the gracious Proclamation of 1858. Let me quote to you, gentlemen, the
passage which has been often quoted and which we regard as our Magna
Charta. It says this;--

"Firmly relying ourselves on the truth of Christianity and
acknowledging with gratitude the solace of religion, we disclaim alike
the right and the desire to impose our convictions on any of our
subjects. We declare it to be our royal will and pleasure that none be
in anywise favoured, none molested or disquieted, by reason of their
religious faith or observances, but that all shall alike enjoy the
equal and impartial protection of the law; and we do strictly charge
and enjoin all those who may be in authority under us that they abstain
from all interference with the religious belief or worship of any of
our subjects on pain of our highest displeasure."

Gentlemen, I venture to think, that the Government, His Excellency
the Viceroy or the Members of Council whoever may be responsible for
it, has absolutely no right to demand an undertaking which in any
way goes against the dictates of his religion. I hold in my hands
the Magna Charta, I hold in my hands the very words used by Queen
Victoria Empress of India, viz., "all those we charge and strictly
enjoin, who may be in authority" and in this case the Council here
is in authority,--"that they abstain from all interference with the
religious belief or worship of any of our subjects on pain of our
highest displeasure." His Excellency should know and the Council should
know that by this act they are going against the Proclamation of 1858,
according to which they would incur the displeasure of His Majesty
the King. It is not we who are against the King, it is not we who are
going against the principles upon which this Empire is based. It is
those who Snatch away our liberty without just cause, without trial.
Now, gentlemen, all these considerations might have been placed before
the Government--I am sure the Government would have listened and done
justice--but there is a difficulty in our way.

The difficulty is the European Association. We are used to the
tricks of the European Association. In the days of the Ilbert Bill
Agitation, we saw what the Anglo Indians can do. But then, public
opinion had hardly been born in this country. To-day, again when the
British Government has recognised the policy of self-Government we
hear the same uproar. These people who come here to make money, who
come here penniless and when they retire, take away thousands and
thousands--these people pretend to talk in the name of India when
they say that these gentlemen, these honoured gentlemen should not
be released because they knew that if they are released, they will
strengthen the party which seeks Self-Government, because they know
that when Mr. Mahomed Ali comes out, when Babu Sham Sunder Chakravarty
comes out, they will fight shoulder to shoulder for the cause of
Self-Government in this country. And if Self-Government is granted
what about the policy of these merchants? If Self-Government is
granted the authority of Magistrates and Collectors in every district
will be lessened--and then what would happen to these gentlemen who
write letters to Collectors saying,--my dear so and so, will you see
this done and will you see that done? It is a notorious fact in this
country--and I have heard complaints from many Indian Merchants engaged
in the coal trade--that they cannot get waggons at a time when English
merchants are fully supplied with waggons. These are the advantages
which they get by this country being ruled not by the people of this
country but by a bureaucracy. That really is the reason of this
Anglo-Indian agitation.

I must refer to the speeches made by these knights of Anglo-India
against the interests of this country and against the policy of
Self-Government. I will first of all refer to the foolish speech of
Arden Wood. This gentleman is reported to have said: "If racial feeling
is to be dominant in Indian politics the time will come, when we,
the British will either have to leave India or reconquer it." Now,
gentlemen, it is difficult to take this speech seriously. They may
leave India if they find it unprofitable to stay in India. They may
stay in India if they find it profitable to do so but the tall talk of
reconquering India is a comical statement. It reminds me of the bravery
of the valiant Pistol and Corporal Nymph. If this gentleman does not
know, he ought to know that India was never conquered. India was won by
love and won by promise of good government. India was never conquered
and God willing, it will never be conquered for all time to come. India
will impress her ideal, her civilization, and her culture upon the
whole world. The work has commenced to-day. It will go on increasing
till the world will listen to the message of India.

Some of the other speakers made very angry speeches. One gentleman
is reported to have said that if there is a government by the people
and for the people then there will be no security for life and
"prosperity." Mark the word prosperity. I do not know whether the
printer's devil is responsible for this but if he is, this devil has
got a perfect knowledge of the internal affairs. The apprehension
of this speaker is that if there is Self-government, there will be
no security or prosperity. Whose prosperity may we ask? Is it the
prosperity of India, is it the prosperity of the teeming millions
of our country or is it the prosperity of Sir Archy Birkmyre? Whose
prosperity? If the granting of Home Rule to this country means the
poverty of Sir Archy Birkmyre, let it be so, but still Self-government
must be granted. India does not live for Sir Archy Birkmyre or the
petty traders who come here and rob us of our money. India lives for
herself--she has lived for herself for centuries and she will live
in herself and for herself for all time to come. There is another
statement made by this angry speaker, which takes my breath away. He
says that this agitation of the European Association is to assert the
rights of the British in India. The rights of the British in India!
The little-minded traders who at a time when the Government enjoins a
calm atmosphere, hold a meeting and proceed straight away to denounce
the whole country; and abuse the people and all the ideals for which
they fight and in which they live and move and have their being--these
men claim the right to represent the British. The British indeed! When
His Majesty's ministers say that there should be Home Rule, there
should be Self-Government, that the people of this country should be
granted equal partnership with the people of England in the Empire, who
are these traders who claim to represent British interest in India?
Gentlemen, I will not take you through the many comical statements
made by this entertaining band of players, Jones-Birkmyre Company.
They are used to many tricks. I will refer to some of the 'Statesman'
newspaper, which used to pose as the Friend of India at one time. I
think it has given up all that pretence now. This "Statesman" came
out one day with a furious article on the Extremists of Bengal and
praised the Moderates and the next day it said that there did not seem
to be any difference between the Extremists and the Moderates. Well,
the reason for that is quite clear. There is in fact, no difference.
This distinction was invented by the "Statesman" newspaper some years
ago. We can frankly tell the Anglo-Indian community that there are no
Extremists among us, no Moderates. The Hindus and Mahomedans of Bengal
are all Nationalists--they are neither Extremists nor Moderates. I may
tell you who are the Extremists. It is those Anglo-Indian Agitators
who are the worst Extremists. You talk of a calm atmosphere! Who broke
that calm? It is you Anglo-Indian Agitators. It is Sir Hugh Bray,
it is the Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab, it is the speakers who
spoke at the meeting of the European Association. These people broke
the calm. I ask them to consider the position and beware. The days of
the Ilbert Bill agitation have gone by. These are the days of rising
Democracy in this country. We will no longer tolerate that sort of
vapourings, that kind of abuse. If, in spite of that, they persist
in their wicked agitation, we shall soon know how to deal with them.
We are fighting in the best interests of the Empire, we are fighting
for the ideal expressed by the King's ministers, we are fighting for
carrying out that very policy which has been declared in England by His
Majesty's ministers, and by His Excellency the Viceroy in this country.
If you dare stand against that, we will know how to deal with you. Be
assured, we Indians do not deny your legitimate share whatever may be
the extent of that share in the Government of this country. We know
what you mean when you say that Self-government is no good, because
Self-government would be against the interests of the teeming millions
of India. We know the hollowness of that hyrocricy. But we can tell
these gentlemen, so far as I am concerned, at any rate, I am perfectly
clear,--that we shall accept no Self-government, no Home Rule unless it
recognises and includes within it the teeming millions of India. When
I ask for Home Rule, for Self-Government, I am not asking for another
bureaucracy, another oligarchy in the place of the bureaucracy that
there is at present. In my opinion, bureaucracy is bureaucracy, be that
bureaucracy of Englishman or of Anglo-Indians or of Indians. We want no
bureaucracy, we want Home Rule, we want Self-government by the people
and for the people. We want Self-government in which every individual
of this country, be he the poorest ryot or the richest zemindar--will
have his legitimate share. Every individual must have some voice. We
want Home Rule, broad based on the will of the people of India. Now,
gentlemen, this is our objective. Do they still say or can they, in
reason, say, that we are not asking Home Rule on behalf and in the
interest of the teeming millions of India? If they say we have got no
right to ask for it in their interest, my answer is we have a thousand
times greater right to ask for them than you who never know them or
care for them. India has always been tolerant towards those people,
whatever their religious creed or faith may be, who have made India
their Home--every one of them is my brother and I embrace him with
open arms. The history of India has made it abundantly clear. We have
the Parsis in India. They adopted India as their home and to-day we
embrace them as our brothers. We have had hosts of Mahomedan invaders
who came to this country as conquerors but they made this country their
home and to-day we embrace them with open arms. If these Anglo-Indians
want to make India their home, let them do so and we will work hand in
hand with them in the interest of the Indian Empire. But, if they come
here to make money and all their interest is how best to make it, I say
they are no friends of India, they have got no right to call themselves
Indians, they have got no legitimate right to oppose the granting of
self-good to the people of India. I say to them. "Come here if you
want. Make money if you can. Go away in peace if you want to do so."

I said that our difficulty is, the mischievous working of the European
association. Let us be united, gentlemen. Let us assist the Government
against this selfish and unreal agitation. I feel sure the victory is


_A large meeting of the people of Mymensingh was held in October 1917,
at the Surjakanta Hall, under the presidency of Babu Anathbandhu Guha
to formulate a scheme of responsible Government for India, when Mr. C.
R. Das addressed as follows_:--

Mr. Chairman, and gentlemen--I thank you heartily for calling upon me
to address you to-night. This is my first visit to Mymensingh. Before I
arrived here, I really did not know that I had so many friends amongst
you. My friend Mr. Guha has referred to my unselfish activities. I am
sure I do not deserve that praise. But this I will claim for myself
that whenever the interest of the country required my services, I
have never lagged behind. I might not have always adopted the right
course--I might have been wrong, every one of us is often wrong but I
have always honestly tried to place the interest of the country above
all considerations. With me work for my country is not imitation of
European politics. It is part of my religion. It is part and parcel of
all the idealism of my life. I find in the conception of my country the
expression also of divinity. With me nationality is no mere political
conception borrowed from the philosophy of the west. With me a nation
has to grow because a nation must grow. God's universe teems with
varieties of life. Every nation is one unit of such life. Every nation
must grow, to the evolution of life. The nation to which I belong must
also grow, only we must help in its growth. I value this principle of
nationality as I value the principle of morality and religion. The
service of country and nationality is service of humanity. Service of
humanity is worship of God.


To-night I wish to say a few words to you about the present political
situation in our country. Do not imagine gentlemen, that your political
situation is detached from other matters which belong to our country.
Political activity is part and parcel of your culture; it is the
practice of your patriotism; it is the expression of your religion. I
never believe in watertight compartments of human culture. There are
people of this country, who try to divide the whole field of human
life into so many compartments or divisions. With them politics is
one thing, religion, education--these things have nothing to do with
politics. With them religion is a different branch altogether. Neither
politics nor education has anything to do with it. They forget that
human soul is one, they forget that the individuality of human beings
is one complex whole covering many activities. As the individual soul
is one, so the national soul is one. I do not desire to deal with the
political situation of to-day in any narrow spirit or in a spirit which
is borrowed from the politics of Europe,--much as I venerate European
culture, much as I love and much as I acknowledge my indebtedness to
the education which I had in Europe, I cannot forget that Bengal stands
for something higher than that. I cannot forget that our nationality
must not rest content with borrowing things from European politics--and
I repeat what I said elsewhere, that Bengal has a message to give to
the world. When you will find that infant nationality has grown and we
have developed according to our light our country will deliver that
message and the world will listen.


Now, gentlemen, what is the predominant note in the political situation
of to-day. I refer the many attempts which are being made to introduce
in this country some kind of Self-government. Some people call it
Self-government, others call it Home Rule, others again Swaraj--but
we need not quarrel with words, they all mean the same thing. I would
much rather you should give your attention to the thing itself than the
name with which you want to call that thing. Now, what is it which is
necessary in the interest of our race--not only in the interest of our
race (but in the interest of the world at large)--for no race can have
its self-interest fulfilled in the highest degree without at the same
time contributing to the interest of the empire and of the human race.
So I ask you to consider what is necessary for you to have by way of
Self-government. It is abundantly clear that the highest authorities
in England have come to the conclusion--our politicians and many other
persons who have devoted their time and energy to the cause of the
country have also come to the conclusion--that we must have some form
of Government which may be described as Government by the people and
for the people.


Now gentlemen, I desire to point out one thing clearly here. It has
been said by Anglo-Indian newspapers and Anglo-Indian agitators that
our politics consist in abusing the Government. Well I deny that
charge in toto. Our politics consists in this that we want some
kind of Government which may be described as responsible Government
according to the principles of constitutional law. We want some sort
of Government in which the Government officials will be responsible to
the people whom they govern. We have no quarrel with individuals. If
a civilian official does some wrong in some place we feel we have to
criticise his actions. But my objection will not be met by replacing
the whole of the Civil Service by Bengalees. My quarrel is not with
individuals, my quarrel is with the system--it is an evil system. It
might have been necessary at one time. It has done its work and is no
longer necessary. It hampers our growth at the present moment--anything
which stands against our growing nationality, I have no hesitation in
describing that as an evil. The time has come when this system should
be cast away as a 'creed outworn.'


Gentlemen, if you have once made up your mind that you want some kind
of Government which will be responsible to the people, the next point
to consider will be, what kind of Government is it that you want. We
cannot forget that we live in the midst of an empire, the largest and
the most glorious empire in the history of the human race. We cannot
forget that our interests are bound up intimately with the interest of
England. We cannot forget that our interests are also bound up with
the interests of Australia and South Africa. All of us live and grow
under the sway of the same Empire. If you consider the geographical
magnitude of this Empire, the different races, the different creeds,
the different cultures, the different religions which this empire
represents, you will find that here is a glorious opportunity for
federating so many human races, with so many distinct interests,
distinct nationalities, different cultures, different religions and
in that way for contributing to the ultimate federation of the whole
human race. That is the philosophy of nationalism to-day. Therefore
first of all, we must get a government which will be autonomous in so
far as it will be government by the people and for the people. The
different provincial governments are to be connected together by some
sort of central government and then again that central government is to
be connected up with the different parts of this vast empire. That is
the sort of Government for which the time has come for which to make a
definite scheme.


The proclamation of 1858, impliedly promised some such free autonomous
representative government. Years rolled by, we passed through many
changes, we had many different promises on different occasions, but
these promises had never been redeemed. The other day, His Majesty the
King-Emperor came to this country and from his lips, we had the message
of hope. Though we have been disappointed over and over again, the time
has come when these promises must be redeemed. In connection with the
political situation of the present moment, I ask you to consider first
the statement of the Secretary of State for India, which was published
on the 20th August last (1917). I invite your particular attention to
the words of that statement. I will read out to you certain portions
which are significant of what is to come.

 "The policy of His Majesty's Government etc., etc., is that
 of increasing the association of Indians in every branch of
 administration and the gradual development of self-governing
 institutions with a view to the progressive realization of responsible
 government in India, as an integral part of the British Empire etc.,

I draw your particular attention to the words "Progressive realization
of responsible government in India, as an integral part of the
British Empire." That is the ideal which the Secretary of State has
sketched out. What is the deduction from this? What is it that we
have got to hope for from this statement? It is this: that there will
be several representative institutions and that these institutions
will be responsible institutions and that these institutions will
form the Government of India, which will be an integral part of the
British Empire. Now, what does that mean? It means that there should
be autonomous governments in every province that these provincial
governments are to be responsible and autonomous, that is to say,
responsible not to the Government of India, not to anything which
is above them, but to the people, the electors who would elect the
representatives to these autonomous legislative bodies. That is the
doctrine of responsible self-government as it is understood in politics
and in constitutional law. Now, therefore, you get these provincial
governments which are responsible to the people, i.e. the members
being elected by the people and you get these autonomous governments
connected with the Government of India and again the Government of
India connected with the Empire. How that connection will be served
has been described by certain political thinkers in England but I do
not desire to deal with it because before it is declared as the policy
of Government, we have no right to take those utterances as part of
any statement by the Government. Having sketched out this ideal, the
Secretary of State goes on to say; "They have decided that substantial
steps in this direction should be taken as soon as possible etc., etc."

Therefore, gentlemen, you get two things perfectly distinct in this
statement and I appeal to you that you should not lose sight of
these two, viz. the ideal of responsible government which will be
representative in the highest sense of the word and which will be
connected with the empire and secondly, some steps should be taken
immediately in that direction. That is the declaration of policy made
by His Majesty's Government. We have, therefore, a right to expect that
some definite steps will be taken soon towards the practical attainment
of that ideal.


The next thing to which I wish to refer is the speech of His Excellency
the Viceroy, delivered on the 5th of September. I will only refer to
that part of it which deals with this ideal of self-government. His
Excellency says:--

 "I now turn to the third task, viz., constitutional reforms. At
 the very first Executive Council, which I held as Viceroy and
 Governor-General, I propounded two questions to my Council: (1) What
 is the goal of British Rule in India? (2) What are the steps on the
 road to that goal? We came to the conclusion which, I trust most Hon.
 Members will agree, was inevitable, that the endowment of British
 India, as an integral part of the British Empire, with self-government
 was the goal of British Rule, and His Majesty's Government have not
 put forward in precise terms their policy, which we may say that
 we as the Government of India regard in substance as practically
 indistinguishable from that which we put forward, etc., etc."

Having said what the goal is, His Excellency proceeds to say that the
first road to that goal is in the domain of local self-government,
village, rural, town or municipal.

The second road is in the domain of more responsible employment of
Indians under the Government. Referring to the third, His Excellency

 "We come now to our third road, which lay in the domain of Legislative
 Councils. As Hon. Members will readily appreciate, there is no
 subject on which so much difference of opinion exists, and with
 regard to which greater need is required for careful investigation
 and sober decision. I may say frankly that we, as the Government of
 India, recognise fully that an advance must be made on this road
 simultaneously with the advances on the other two, etc., etc."

I draw your attention to this. We, therefore, have got the right to
hope that not only will this work of local self-government commence
but simultaneously, along with that, work in the other two domains must
also commence, His Excellency says:--

 "And His Majesty's Government, in connection with the goal which they
 have outlined in their announcement have decided that substantial
 steps in the direction of the goal they define should be taken as soon
 as possible."

I say, therefore, gentlemen, that we have got a right to expect that in
the near future some substantial steps should be taken for granting to
the people of this country that government which is responsible, which
is representative and which is an integral part of the British Empire.


After these declarations were made, difficulties began. On the one
hand, it filled us with hope that many of us, I must confess, did not
examine this statement minutely and critically and had only a vague
impression as to what was going to be done and were unduly suspicious,
but on the whole, it has made us hope for the realization of that which
we have been fighting for, for the last 50 years. On the other hand,
it gave rise to despair in other people. I would ask you to mark the
dates. The statement of the Secretary of State was made on the 20th
of August. On the 13th of September the memorable pronouncement was
made by His Excellency the Viceroy. On the 20th September, Sir Hugh
Bray and Mr. Hogg spoke in the Indian Legislative Council; and they
at once made it clear that it was nonsense to think of any kind of
Self-government so far as India is concerned. I ask you to note that
fact because I shall ask you to consider what followed, in the light
of that interesting event which took place on the 20th September. I
am referring to the speeches made by Sir Hugh Bray and Mr. Hogg. Now,
Sir Hugh Bray, apart from criticising the political activities of the
people of this country--I will not retaliate by abuse for abuse--made
it perfectly clear by saying this: "It is not we who wanted a change
in the method of Government." So, Sir Hugh Bray does not want a change
in the method of Government. The European Association, 6 days after,
declared that they did not want a change in the method of Government in
this country.


Is it a wild inference to draw from these two significant events
that these people did not want a change in the method of Government
in this country, because they know the present system of Government
is the most profitable to them? If any one draws that inference, is
he to be characterised as a violent speaker? I say the dates and the
speeches speak for themselves. It is idle to say afterwards we were
not against changes, we wanted our interest to be safeguarded. The
fact is they did not want a change and why should they? If I had been
an Anglo-Indian merchant, I should not have wanted a change. They say
that they have sunk capital in this country. I do not know the exact
extent of that capital. My impression is--I speak from my impression
and I am subject to correction, but I think I am right--that for
whatever capital they invested, they have taken out a great deal more
in the shape of profits. But granting that they have sunk capital in
this country, what right does it give them to dictate to the people of
this country that the method of this particular Government is not to
be changed. British capital has been invested in America, France and
Germany. Does any British Merchant ever dream that they have got the
right to dictate to the American, French, or German Government about
the method of their particular Government? Why is it that the sinking
of capital should have such a different effect on the soil of this
country? The reason is perfectly clear. In America, they would not
stand such nonsense, in France they will be asked to keep quiet. But it
is only in this country that these merchants who have sunk capital--I
am assuming that they have and that it still remains unrealised--can
put forward the claim that the Government of this country should be
run in their interest and not in the interest of the people of India.
They see the absurdity of their position and because they see the utter
absurdity of this illogical and extravagant claim which they make in
furtherance of their self-interest they have to say that they are the
real representatives of India. They say: "We are speaking not only on
our behalf but on behalf of the teeming millions of this country. You
are professional agitators," I do not understand what they mean by
"professional agitators"--nobody pays me or Mr. Surendra Nath Banerjea
or any of my friends for making speeches. However, what they mean is
this: that the speakers belong to a particular profession (?) I happen
to belong to law. Many of my friends who have to make speeches belong
to the medical profession or some other profession. But these speakers
of the European Association also belong to some profession or trade.
Sir Archy Birkmyre has also his trade to ply, the other merchants I
suppose make their profits, Mr. Jones of the "Statesman" gets his
wages--and even the fire-eater of the Lamartinaire College must draw
his pay. Mr. Pugh I do not think forgets to send in his bills of costs.
That is not what they mean. They have got to find out some ground of
abuse. Therefore they say "Oh those professional agitators, these
wicked agitators, do not listen to them for one single moment. The
teeming millions of this country do not want them." No, gentlemen, our
countrymen do not want us. They want Mr. Jones of the "Statesman" and
the other celebrities who exhibited their eloquence at that meeting!
These worthies next proceed to demonstrate the utter absurdity of any
idea of self-government for us.


Mr. Jones in his speech says that out of a total of 315 millions of
people in this country only a very few know how to read and write.
I take it that he asks us to infer from that people who do not know
how to read and write are worthless--they have got no conscience of
their own they do not know what is good and what is bad--they cannot
choose between Mr. Jones and Mr. Surendra Nath Banerjea. Well, I deny
that proposition. I do not know what it is in Europe but so far as the
teeming millions of our country are concerned, I have very often come
across men who are called illiterate, but I can assure you that great
many of them are shrewd men of business. They are certainly competent
to judge as to who could look after their interest better whether it is
Sir Archy Birkmyre or any one of us. They are certainly in a position
to judge that. But if they are illiterate, may we ask why have they
remained so? What has the Government done, if at the close of a hundred
and fifty years, so many in this country have remained illiterate, and
in such a state that they cannot choose their own representatives?
That itself is the surest condemnation of the present method cf
Government. It has got to be changed and I can assure you if some kind
of self-government is granted to us in the near future within the
next twenty years there will not be one single illiterate man in this
country. I throw out this challenge: let them put us in that position,
give us power to work out our own good and I am sure that before many
years are over the people in this country will be better than people of
most countries. The illiteracy of our people is one of the strongest
grounds upon which we put our claim for Home Rule. We say that we are
not being allowed to develop. We say that our infant nationality is
being choked. We are the inheritors of a great culture. We are the
stewards of a spirituality which must be presented to the world. We
must rekindle that fire. That which is dormant must be brought to life
and light. Self-government alone can do that. Gentlemen, be he European
or Indian, who stands for self-government in this country stands
for Humanity and God. Our Anglo-Indian friends have this glorious
opportunity. The other day in Calcutta I criticised their speeches.
To-day I wish to refer to some of the statements made by Mr. Jones of


You remember, gentlemen, we had some differences in the Reception
Committee. We have made them up. I do not wish in the least degree
to refer to any of these disputes, but these are disputes which must
occur in every healthy community, in every political organization,
which is not absolutely lifeless. As soon as these disputes occurred,
the "Statesman" was in high glee. What did it say? "Oh the extremists,
you have been found out; oh, the good moderates, do not mix with the
extremists, we will embrace you. Don't you make that mistake." Articles
were written, crying down the extremists and heaping abuse upon them.
If any Indian speaker had used half those expressions, he would at
once have been denounced by the "Statesman" as a wild agitator. But
the "Statesman" is not wild, it is very tame and in that tame way,
it tried to accentuate the differences between the two parties. Our
disputes were settled as they must be settled. If they had not been,
both parties would have accepted the decision of the All-India Congress
Committee. Directly the disputes were settled, the "Statesman" thought
of the stories of Alphonso and it tried to be jocular. In one of the
stories, the "Statesman" said, it is said that kids do not eat up
wolves but it is the wolves who eat up kids; and the wolves of the
extremists have eaten up the kids of the moderates. However, the
revelation came upon Mr. Jones not after many years but in the course
of a few days that there were no Moderates in India. I entirely agree
with him; only I wish to add a rider that there are no Extremists
either. We are all Nationalists.

After a few days the question of the internment of Mr. Mahomed Ali
arose and I had the honour of presiding over a meeting in Calcutta of
both Hindus and Mahomedans to protest against the internments. The
next day, the "Statesman" published long accounts of Bakr-Id riots and
said that Hindus and Mahomedans in this country could never unite. That
is the policy of the "Statesman." Do you believe that the "Statesman"
newspaper ever thought that there was any possible distinction between
the people whom it characterised as Extremists and those whom it
characterised as Moderates? Does the "Statesman" not know that the
interests of Mahomedans and the interests of Hindus are identical? of
course, it knows but it chooses not to say so because it has got its
own interests to serve. I wish to call some gems from Mr. Jone's speech.


He says: "Because I am satisfied that in this country the struggle
will be very hard, possibly fruitless"--oh, the pathos!--it breaks my
heart--"and that our real course of action lies in bringing the cant
home to the people of England and impostures with which they have been
stuffed." Cant and imposture with which the British people have been
stuffed--that is the general proposition I quote from Mr. Jones:

"The next imposture, the next abuse of political terms is connected
with these words Legislative Councils. There are Legislative Councils
in the Colonies which are really and truly Legislative Assemblies
corresponding to our Parliament."

Nobody has any doubt about that!

"Now, a Legislative Council in India is a very different thing."

Exactly so! That is our grievance, we complain that our Legislative
Councils are shams. They are without power, without responsibility. But
let us see how he makes that out to be an imposture;

"But the trick played is to confuse the two and to make out to the
British people that a Legislative Council in India is just such a
representative body as one of these Colonial Parliaments."


Have you ever heard anything like that? Yet this is said by Mr. Jones.
He says that we Indians have said in England that our Legislative
Councils are exactly like those in the Colonies. Is not it too
ridiculous for words? We say that our Legislative Councils are shams
because they are not representative. We ask for such a grant of Home
Rule that our Legislative Councils may be like those in Australia.
But Mr. Jones says that we have deceived the English people by saying
that our Legislative Councils are truly representative bodies. Does
he think that he was doing some conjuring trick? Well, that is the
sort of imposture with which he fed his audience. I will give you one
other sample and finish with Mr. Jones. You have read those speeches
and noticed that when the name of the Secretary of State was mentioned
by one of the speakers the audience hissed aloud. If any speech could
bring the Government into discredit and contempt, it was the speech
of Mr. Jones. The people who become violently immoderate in speech and
sentiment when their selfish interests are attacked are the people who
lecture us to be moderate in our expressions. I ask you to say if I am
not right in calling these agitators as extremists. I said elsewhere
there are no moderates or extremists among us, but the real extremists
are those people who by their actions and by their words have betrayed
the Government of this country and also the people of this country.


Our whole attitude on the question of self-government is to hold to
the banner of the moirs. Our attitude has been loyal throughout and
as I read out to you the statements of the Secretary of State and the
Viceroy you have found that our demands are based on the words and the
spirit of those statements. We are for the empire, they are for selfish
interests of their own. We are for a great ideal, they are for their
money. That is the difference between the Anglo-Indian agitators and
ourselves. Well, gentlemen, do not be troubled by these agitators. Let
them go on in their way. They ought to realise that the days of the
Ilbert Bill agitation are dead and gone and buried for ever. They have
no right to dictate anything to the Government.


The Government of the country has openly declared its policy and the
people of this country are in sympathy with that policy; they will try
to assist the Government in carrying out that scheme. And if these
Anglo-Indian Extremists should come in the way, they should be told
once for all that India is not their home, India is our home--our
fathers have lived here for thousands of years. The dust of this
country is sacred to us. Every incident of its history is part of our
Scripture. Who are you who have come here to make profits, who are you
to stand between us and the Government?


I say again the message of hope which His Majesty the King-Emperor gave
us is about to be redeemed. The banner of the empire is uplifted. Let
us close our ranks; let us be united. Let us put forward a definite,
and reasonable and sufficient scheme. Let us not be timid. Let us not
be foolhardy. Let us fight this battle for the honour of this country
and for the glory of the empire.


_A meeting of the citizens of Dacca was held in the spacious room of
the Bar Library on the 11th October 1917, Babu Ananda Chandra Ray,
Dacca, presided, when Mr. C. R. Das spoke as follows_:--

Mr. Chairman and gentlemen,--I thank you very much for calling upon
me to address you to-night on the question, which of all questions
is agitating the mind of all of our countrymen to-day. Whatever the
Anglo-Indians may say, I believe, I am speaking the truth when I say
that there is hardly an educated man in the country who is not to-day
thinking of self-Government. And I say further that every educated
man in this country has a right to think of Self-Government. If you
consider the history of the public events for the last five years,
you cannot but come to the conclusion that the time has come when the
educated community of this country, taking such assistance from their
uneducated brethren as they can, must think out clearly and rationally
as to what form of Self-Government they might expect and they insist


Gentlemen, I begin with the King-Emperor's Message of Hope which His
Majesty personally delivered to this country before he left the shores
of India and his voice still rings in our ears. We did not know then
what that message was but this we know that the great question which
had been agitating the mind of our countrymen for many years had also
left some impression on the minds of our rulers. Gentlemen, after that,
many proposals have been put forward for the introduction of some kind
of Home Rule or Self-Government in this country.


But it was only the other day, I believe on the 20th of August, that
the statement of the Secretary of State was published. I do not know,
gentlemen, whether you have read that message clearly and carefully.
You will find in that statement an indication that the message of Hope
which was delivered by His Majesty personally is about to be fulfilled.
You will remember what the Secretary of State says in that statement
that some kind of responsible government is to be granted to this
country. Gentlemen, I will not deal with that in detail, as I had dealt
with it yesterday at Mymensingh.


But I cannot help repeating one thing before you _viz._, that precisely
the same message, the same indication is to be found in the speech of
His Excellency the Viceroy which was delivered in early September.
There, His Excellency clearly lays down that there are three ways in
which the work of Self-Government in this country must be commenced.
The first method is the institution of Local Self-Government. Now when
any question of local self-government is discussed, and we are apt to
ignore its importance; it does not catch our imagination; we do not
attach that interest to it which the question deserves. And whatever
the kind of self-government you succeed in obtaining--and I am sure we
will obtain some substantial measure of self-government--be sure that
our national work for the next 20 years to come will be in the field
Of local self-government more than any other. The second road, His
Excellency said, must be the filling up of the public offices in this
country with more Indians and the third road was by the introduction
of some kind of responsible Legislative Councils--and gentlemen, to
allay your suspicions--I must confess, we are somewhat suspicious at
times--His Excellency said clearly that all this work is to be carried
on simultaneously. So, gentlemen, according to His Excellency, you
will not be relegated merely to Local Self-Government for many years
to come but along with the development of local self-Government you
may expect, according to the message of His Excellency, a Legislative
Council which is at once representative and responsible.


Do not forget, gentlemen, that the word, "responsibility" has got
a technical meaning in politics. It does not imply merely moral
responsibility. It means that the Government must be responsible to
the people of the country, to the electors, i.e., the Legislative
Councils will be elected by the people of the country--whatever the
extent of the franchise may be, that is a matter of detail which has
got to be discussed and no doubt considered carefully. But whatever be
the electorate, it is that electorate which will elect members of the
Legislative Councils and the Executive Councils will be either elected
or taken from the Legislative Councils and the Executive Councils will
be responsible not to any outside authority but to the Legislative
Councils from which they will be taken and thus ultimately to the
people. These are the indications that I find in the statement of the
Secretary of State as also in the message of the Viceroy.


I say, therefore, that the people of this country has got the right
now, to expect some kind of responsible self-government in this country
and the time has come when we must shake off our apathy and devote
our entire energies to the consideration of the question as to the
precise form of self-government that we want in this country. The
question is a very difficult one and has got to be discussed from a
great many points. We have got to consider it from the point of view
of our nationality, I mean provincial nationality. We have got to
consider this question from a wider outlook. We cannot forget that we
live and have been living for many years in the midst of an empire.
We cannot forget that the different provinces in India are gradually
coming closer to one another and a new nationality which expresses not
only the different provinces but the whole of India is growing up in
our midst and we cannot forget that our interests, even our selfish
interests, our hopes, our ambitions are indissolubly connected with the
interest of the empire. These are all the considerations before us.
When we sit down to frame a scheme we cannot lose sight of any one of
these points.


If you consider what is the kind of self-government which is exactly
necessary for us, what is the first point which suggests itself to
you! I will tell you what suggests itself to me. The first thing is
provincial autonomy. I desire to explain that expression clearly as
far as I understand it, because that expression has been used by many
Government officials and by great thinkers in Europe. But I desire
you to approach this question not at all from the European point of
view, so far as conception is concerned, but from our own national
standpoint. What is the exact meaning of provincial autonomy? I say
that the meaning of that expression is that people who have for
hundreds and hundreds of years been living in Bengal have come under
the sway of a particular culture, have been animated by a particular
genius and the provincial government which will be established in
Bengal must give the fullest expression to that ideal. I mean that the
Hindus have, for several centuries been living in Bengal and amongst
them there have grown up a very great culture which has made itself
felt in the domain of science, philosophy, religion, literature and
art. It has got a cast of its own; it has got a spirit of its own; it
has got a distinct individuality.

When I am speaking of the Hindus of Bengal, I am at once reminded
of the Mahomedans of Bengal. They have also lived in Bengal; they
have lived with us, by our side and have been surrounded by the same
environments and whatever our religious differences may be, there can
hardly be any question that their interests and our interests, in point
of education, in point of culture, and in point of nationality are the
same. When I am speaking of provincial autonomy, I am not forgetting
any community or the members of any particular religion. I want to
include the whole of them and I say, taking the whole of them, there is
a distinct individuality of Bengal. It is on that individual nature
that we must take our stand.

Now, gentlemen, provincial government must be so formed that it will
not lose the particular interest which that individuality requires.
The people of Bengal must realise that the whole of their political
enfranchisement must be based upon their ancient ideals and traditions,
enlarged no doubt, developed no doubt, modernised no doubt, but still
based on those ancient ideals.


I am not one of those who will borrow all our ideals from Europe. All
my life, I have protested against it, I protest against it again and I
shall protest against it so long as I live. I am not unmindful of the
great culture of Europe. I am not slow in recognising my indebtedness
to it but I cannot forget my own individuality. I cannot forget the
spirit of Bengal which pervades every thought that I entertain, every
hope that I cherish, every fear that I have, and so long as I live,
I promise before you to-day that I will devote my life to work out
the salvation of the ideal of Bengal. The soul of Bengal had been
sleeping for years but directly Self-government is given to us, that
soul, while living in an atmosphere of freedom, will make its enormous
claim to give the fullest expression to its ideal. I feel sure that
the Government cannot but grant us that opportunity--as I hope, the
Government will. Gentlemen, I believe that Bengal has a message to
give. I feel sure that the day is not distant when the message of
Bengal will be delivered and the world will listen.


Now, gentlemen, this is the ideal of provincial autonomy and how has
this ideal to be worked out in practice? We must not rest content with
expressing our ideal. We must at once sit down to work to execute that
ideal. How do you propose to do it? Different schemes have been put
forward. There is the scheme of the 19 members, there is the scheme of
the Congress and the Moslem League. There is the scheme of the late Mr.
Gokhale. I do not desire to criticise those schemes because it is the
universal desire of all our leaders that every district ought to form
its own committee to frame its scheme and there should be a conference
in Calcutta, where the representatives from all these districts will
meet to discuss and deliberate on those schemes, and finally the scheme
which is to be presented to the Congress and the League and to the
Secretary of State, should be adopted.


I do not propose to discuss that in detail at all, but I desire to
impress upon you that whatever the scheme you may be pleased to frame,
you must not lose sight of what is called parochial politics. From
time immemorial the village has been the unit of our national life.
You must consider the reconstruction of our village life, you must
consider the education of our villagers. You must consider the question
as to how they may be represented in the district association, which
will be formed with representatives sent by them and you must so frame
your scheme--I am merely telling you as to what my individual opinion
is--you must so frame it that the interest of what is called parochial
government may not in any way suffer from what may be called the
interest of the provincial government. Let the village be so connected
with the province that it may not be felt as an obstruction but as
a real and integral part of the province. Then in considering the
representation to the Legislative Council, you will try to so frame
your scheme that the interest of the poorest villager as well as that
of the richest zemindar may be equally represented; and the interest of
the minority may not be neglected.


Gentlemen, it has been said, and often said by Anglo-Indians that the
great majority of our people are so ignorant, are so illiterate that
they cannot be trusted with votes. I do not know, gentlemen, what
conclusion you will arrive at, but so far as my own view is concerned,
I do not at all agree with that. I do not think that illiteracy and
want of education are exactly the same thing. As I know my villagers, I
know this that they may be trusted, with the duty of electing persons
to represent them in the Legislative Councils. You are more in touch
with the villagers than I am--I have seen some of it, but I feel sure
that you have got a far more intimate knowledge. I ask you to say
whether this is correct that our villager is so ignorant, though he
may not be able to read or write, that he does not know between a bad
man and a good man, between a man who will be able to represent his
interests properly and a man who will not. I do not think so. And in
any scheme which you may draw up, you must make that perfectly clear. I
am speaking to this because there is a danger. I do not desire that the
mistakes of English history should be repeated in this country. There
is no necessity for it. There is no necessity for starting with a very
limited franchise and then extending it or having to extend it by civil
war afterwards. The history of the Reform Bill in England ought not to
be repeated in this country. So, your scheme should be so framed that
it must carry within itself the possibility of improvement.


That is, roughly speaking, my idea of the provincial government. I said
that the first thing which should strike us is provincial autonomy.
But do not forget that there is a wider interest to consider. These
provincial governments must be bound together by a Central Government.
I believe it was John Bright who said that the future of India was the
United States of India. So far as idea is concerned, it is a grand idea
and the idea of provincial autonomy to which I have referred is part
of that ideal. But John Bright went further; he said that the several
provincial governments should be connected with the British Parliament.
To that view I do not assent because the result of that would be that
the wider interest of Indian nationality would be overlooked. So we
want a central government. What the character of that government is
to be, must also be considered i.e. how they could have most fully
represented all the provincial governments.


Gentlemen, the third need which you must not forget is the need of
another Imperial Federated Government to which all the governments of
the empire should belong--a Government to which the English Government
should belong as one unit, the Indian Government should belong as
another, the Government of Africa, Australia and Canada should belong
as other units. It will be a sort of federated Parliament. I ask you
to consider the grand ideal which is contained in that proposal. I do
not think in the history of the world there ever was another instance
of an empire so vast of an empire, in which so many different races and
nationalities and creeds were represented. When you consider all this,
you will find what a grand opportunity there is within the British
Empire of fulfilling that yet still grander ideal of the federation
of the human race. If the federation of the human race is not always
to remain the poet's dream, if it is ever to be fulfilled, I feel sure
that fulfilment will come through the federation of this vast empire,
to which we have the honour to belong.


Well, gentlemen, that is the ideal I put before you and I ask you to
consider all this in the scheme which you will frame. But there is one
thing to which I desire to draw your attention and it is this; that
in framing this scheme you must not be swayed by a feeling that the
Government will not grant this, the Government will not grant that.
What the Government will grant and what the Government will not grant,
that is the business of the Government. We have got only to consider
what is necessary for our national well-being. We have no doubt got
to consider the question of our capacity, but we have got to consider
what is necessary for our national well being and if you find that
certain steps are absolutely necessary for our national development, do
not fail, gentlemen, to put that down in your scheme out of timidity.
I ask you not to be timid. Do not be foolhardy, but there is no
necessity of being afraid of putting forward the whole of your scheme
before the Government. People who are afraid to ask do not deserve.
Why should we be afraid to tell the Government that a certain scheme
of self-government is necessary for our well-being. The Government
invites your opinion. The British Government has declared its policy;
the Viceroy has asked you to consider the scheme and do not, for God's
sake, spoil that by timidity. Say, there are five items, all of which
we want; but let us not ask 2 or 3 of these because the Government
will not grant all. I say it is no business of ours and I do not think
that at the present moment when the Government is full of that truly
imperial idea, when the King's ministers have declared the policy
of the Government to grant to this country some kind of responsible
self-government, I do not think any scheme which is reasonable, any
scheme which is necessary will be refused.

What, if it is refused? Have we not to carry on this fight from year to
year, supposing the whole of it is not granted to-day. Have we not to
place that scheme before the public--have we not to fight for it year
to year, giving the whole of our attention, devoting the whole of our
energy to that, and go on fighting till victory is ours? I have seen
a great many schemes fail because of our timidity. I ask you to be on
your guard because the present is the most opportune moment, because
the Government has invited your opinion and in giving your opinion
do not think that we ought not to put this or that down because the
Government will not accept this.


Let us fight for the whole of our ideal. Let us start with this that
every cultivator here in this country has got the capacity to judge as
to who his representative is going to be. Let us start with this that
we can if we only try, if we will only shake off our apathy, do the
work of local self-government without the intervention of Government
officials. Let us think of this that we are in a position to so form
our Legislative Councils, by sending Proper representatives there, that
they will carry out our mandate, that they will carry out our ideal and
they would elect such an executive that they will do the work which the
country requires. Indicate in our scheme how the Provincial Governments
will have to be connected with a Central Government. But so far as
provincial autonomy is concerned, so far as the different departments
of the Executive Government in Bengal are concerned, I should not
hesitate to ask for the whole of those powers being transferred to the
people of Bengal. Naturally, the Indian Government will retain some
powers and I admit it is right that they should retain some powers
now at this stage for the task of uniting the different provinces in
imperial matters for the purpose of directing the foreign policy and
military affairs of the country. But I insist upon you, I implore you,
that whatever scheme you may frame, you will not lose sight of the idea
that we are capable of governing Bengal, we are capable of carrying on
the work which the Executive Council in Bengal does.


Gentlemen, our requirements will not be met by the introduction of a
few more of our countrymen into the Civil Service. My quarrel as I said
elsewhere, is not with individuals. There are Civil Servants who are
honourable men, good men, true men; there may be again those who are
not so good--but that would happen in every community. My quarrel is
not with the individual at all. My quarrel is with the system. It is
the system which is responsible for the bad government of this country.
Why is the system bad? It is for this--that there is no responsibility.
An English friend of mine has pointed out that. What are the Civil
Servants to do? They are not responsible to the people. They have to
take their orders from the Executive Council of Bengal. To whom are
the members of the Executive Council responsible? Not to the people.
They have got to take their orders from the Government of India. To
whom is the Government of India responsible? Not to the people. They
have got to take their orders from the British Parliament. Has the
British Parliament got any time to devote to India? Or to make that
responsibility real? No. My English friend says: they have not. They
have neglected India not out of apathy but because their own interest
required it--they are to discuss so many questions which are of far
greater importance to England than the question of India. So you get a
state of things in this country, where the Civil Service, the Executive
Council, the Government of Bengal and the Government of India are not
responsible to anybody. And under such circumstances, good government
is impossible. That is why the Bureaucracy has failed and that is
why the Bureaucracy has got to be removed by the introduction of
some sort of responsible government--that is why the British Cabinet
has suggested the introduction of responsible government. There is
no further any question of the failure of the Bureaucracy--that is
accepted as a fact, accepted as a fact by people who have the right
to know, by people--not ourselves--but people who have the capacity
to judge, by people who have political insight and wisdom to come to
a correct conclusion. We ought not to waste our energy any more in
discussing the question whether this Bureaucracy has succeeded or
whether it has failed. It is an accepted fact that it has failed.

The question now is what is the Government that we ought to have. What
is the exact character of the representation which we ought to obtain
and, gentlemen, I also ask you to consider another thing carefully. In
framing the scheme, do not be carried away by mere clamour. It does
not matter at all whether your Legislative consists of 100 members or
whether it consists of 300 members. It does not matter at all whether
the Executive Council will contain two more Indians. What is necessary
to consider is how to make the Legislative Council responsible to
the people, how to make the Executive Council responsible to the
Legislative Council and how to make this responsible government express
the true ideal of the people of Bengal.


_A largely attended meeting, presided over by Babu Nibaran Chandra Das
Gupta, was held at the Raja Bahadur's Haveli, Barisal, on 14th October
1917, when Mr. C. R. Das spoke as follows:--_

Mr. Chairman and gentlemen,--I thank you very much for the kind words
that have been said of me this afternoon. I wish I could say that I
fully deserve all the kind things which have been said about me by
your worthy Chairman. But I will not waste your time by expressing
my modesty. I accept this welcome in all humility. I feel in a way
to-night which I never felt before.


When I stand here before you, I feel I am standing on a sacred soil.
To every Nationalist of Bengal, Barisal is a place of pilgrimage. Here
it was that our friend and guru Babu Aswini Kumar Dutt (cheers) has
passed the best years of his life in the service of the people of this
country and in awakening within them the spirit of nationality in
the true light of spirituality. Here it was, gentlemen, that we met
at one of the most memorable conferences that took place in Bengal, I
mean the Provincial Conference in which we came into conflict with the
Executive. I cannot efface from my mind the memory of that meeting. The
song of Bande Mataram had been sung before in Bengal but never in that
significant way as it was done on that memorable occasion. I remember
the conference vividly, the march from this very place to the hall
of the conference, the illegal orders that were passed, the illegal
arrests that were made, and the voice of the people triumphing over all
those illegal attempts on the part of the Executive. Gentlemen, that
surely was a landmark in the history of Nationalism and if I have come
before you to-night to speak of the most momentous question which is
agitating the whole country, it is only meet that you should remember
the struggles, the glorious fight, the unselfish work and activities of
our leaders which have brought us to this state.


Now, gentlemen, the question of all questions which we desire to
discuss and consider is the question of Self-Government or Home
Rule or Swaraj. Both these are mere names. Bombay may call it
Swaraj; Madras may call it Home Rule and again Bengal may call it
Self-Government--but all these expressions mean the same thing, the
same ideal. Once we understand the ideal clearly there will be no
further differences as to what it means and what it implies.


But before we try to understand the ideal of Self-Government it is as
well to take a bird's eye view of the modern history of Bengal which
bears upon that momentous question. I shall not weary you by a detailed
analysis of that history. But I shall place before you as briefly as I
can the landmarks, as it were of that history within which Nationalism
was in the making, within which our self-consciousness was growing and
which has led us to the present day when the whole country is demanding
in one voice, as it were, some sort of responsible self-government.
If you do not understand the trend of events and incidents which have
led up to this consciousness of nationalism, I am afraid you will
miss much that is important to know. Gentlemen, when we talk of the
modern history of Bengal, we have to begin with Rajah Ram Mohan Roy
(cheers). He was from that point of view, the founder of modern Bengal
although I admit that the life work of this great man has got to be
re-estimated, revalued, re-understood and reinterpreted. There is no
doubt that he was the first who held before us the ideal of freedom.
He was the first to sound the note of freedom in every department of
life and in all different cultures that have met to-day in India. It
may be, we have to modify that, it may be we have to analyse that more
carefully and more in details for the purpose of scientific study
but it is enough for our purpose to say that he inaugurated many
reforms--you might call that reforming activity. He inaugurated the
reforms which again, in turn, gave rise to reaction which, again, gave
rise to further reforms which made the nation turn on itself till at
last, it began to be self-conscious. I do not admit that in the days
of the Rajah the nation was self-conscious, but he put before us just
the sort of thing which would have helped the immediate awakening of
the national consciousness. We cannot but pay homage to that great
genius, who, first of all, sounded the note of freedom in politics as
well as in other spheres of life. After the death of Rajah Ram Mohan
Roy, the work of reform was naturally taken up by the Brahmo Samaj
and although a section of our educated people followed the movement,
it was principally led by the Brahmo Samaj. That movement was nothing
but sounding the same note of freedom, though the ideal of freedom and
culture was borrowed from European culture and civilization. With Ram
Mohan Roy it was the extension and the Europeanisation of our cultural
systems. The same ideal was applied by the Brahmo Samaj to different
parts, different provinces of our society.


Side by side and almost in parallel lines with that, was another
activity which is to be found in the literature of Bengal and
principally I refer to the writings of Bankim. You will find that
whereas our activity in the domain of reforms followed the European
ideals and was a great deal more and more European in its tendencies,
the writings of Bankim Chandra Chatterjee shows a different tendency
altogether: (A voice: of Bhudeb?)--and, as I am reminded, also in the
writings of Bhudeb--in their writings an attempt was made, though it
was not perfect by any means, still an attempt, an honest and sincere
attempt was made to discover the soul of Bengal. In that period of
our literary history you will find the glorification of Bengal.
Bengal was held up as mother and with him. Durga was nothing but the
personification, as it were, of Bengal; and in other writings of
his you will find an attempt is made to depict though in a somewhat
superficial way our national life, to dive deep into the history of
our people, into the instincts and culture of our people and find
out that which is truly Bengalee and not that which is imported from
Europe. All this was in the literature, brewing as it were, and growing
in the literature of Bengal but the activities, political and social,
were of a different character. I do not know whether it is the result
of that literature but gradually it gave rise to an agitation which
it is difficult to describe--I mean the reactionary agitation of
Sashadhar and his friends. That was a blind movement, an irrational
movement it may be, but none the less it was a landmark in the history
of the progress of Nationalism. There also you will find the nation
began to turn on itself, the nation began to criticise the wealth of
culture which was brought from Europe.--Look at it carefully, keenly
and try to judge its real value to the people of this country. It was
not a rational movement--it started with a hatred of things European,
irrational hatred of everything European--but none the less it was a
genuine and sincere movement. I desire to be very brief because I am
afraid I am tiring you out (Cries of No. No.)


That movement again in its turn gave rise to the movement of the late
Swami Vivekananda. All that was narrow in the movement of Shashadhar
was widened, a more liberal note was sounded. The national spirit
of which the first note was heard in the movement of Sashadhar, was
developed by Swami Vivekananda and in his hands it became a trumpet,
I am not saying that the message of the Swami was the final word in
our nationalism. It was somewhat abstract in so far as it was more
Indian than Bengalee. But it was tremendous--something with an undying
glory all its own. If you read his books, if you read his lectures,
you are struck at once with his patriotism, love of country, not that
abstract patriotism which came to us from Europe but of a different
nature altogether a more living thing, something which we feel within
ourselves when we read his writings.


I now pass on to another phase of this national history, that is, the
great Swadeshi movement. It really began in 1902. It was intensified in
1905; it went on and I believe, it is still going on. That movement was
inaugurated by the same spirit of nationalism made broader, perhaps a
little selfish--all national claims begin in national selfishness but
made more real. Bengal, for the first time, in those days, realised the
great soul within her. At that time we became fully conscious so far
as Bengal is concerned. We turned to the country, the whole of Bengal
became to us the symbol of the soul of Bengal. Many of you, gentlemen,
must have lived through that period, must have taken part in the many
activities of that period and I ask you to say if you ever felt the
pulse of the people of Bengal beat so clearly as you did in those days.
(Hear, hear) I say before that movement all other movements were more
or less borrowed because before that the soul of Bengal was hidden from
us. For the first time in the history of our national life that soul
began to reveal herself and we were struck with the glory and majesty
of it. This period of our national life is remarkable for the writings
of Rabindra Nath Tagore (Cheers) and of Bepin Chandra Pal, of D. L. Roy
(Cheers) and many others. But at that time our idea of nationalism was
centred in Bengal. We never looked beyond Bengal, we were looking at
Bengal, we were drinking of Bengal, as it were; and of course, we were
enraptured, as all lovers are.

Now, gentlemen, the nationalism of to-day is wider than that. We have
lived to grow and we discover that although the soul of Bengal must
direct all our activities that although the soul of Bengal must find
its fullest expression in every work in which we engage yet there is a
wider outlook which cannot be neglected.


Before I come to deal with that I should draw your attention to
another significant fact and that is, the gradual awakening of
the consciousness of the Mahomedan community of Bengal (cheers).
At the time of the Swadeshi agitation we were held apart. The
self-consciousness which grew within us--the soul of Bengal which
revealed herself to us, did not reveal herself to the Mahomedans and we
found that they were banded together against this national activity;
but, gentlemen, do not be disappointed. You have to view the awakening
of the political consciousness of the Mahomedans in Bengal in its true
historical perspective, otherwise you will lose sight of much that is
important. If you will allow me, I will tell you very briefly something
about that history. The literature which would show the wonderful
activities of the Mahomedans of Bengal has not yet been unearthed but
I have not the least doubt that one day you will find that literature
in which both Hindus and Mahomedans joined. Hindus writing in Urdu
and Bengalee Mahomedans writing in Sanskrit--I have seen one or two
such manuscripts and I am sure there are many such--and when all that
literature is unearthed, you will find a wonderful history of Bengalee
civilization. In the days of Ram Mohan Roy when English education was
introduced in this country, the Mahomedans did not accept it. I am
not sorry for that. The Mahomedans did not accept it and they were
waiting for a ruder shock. They had forgotten what their forefathers
had done in the way of national development. They did not accept
English education and at the same time they were divorced from the
culture which their fathers had advanced. The result was that whereas
the Hindus got on in life, got into government employment, got many
things which people value in life, the Mahomedans were left without
it and gradually there came to be a sort of estrangement between the
two nationalities at the time of the Swadeshi movement. They kept
away from that movement and even fought with their might and main
against it. Now, gentlemen, I told you I am not sorry for that. I do
not remember how I felt it then but now I see that the very attitude
which the Mahomedans had taken, that very opposition was the result of
their national awakening. We used to deprecate the work of the late
Nabob Salimulla in those days because he had organised the Mahomedan
opposition to the Swadeshi movement in Bengal. I do not do that now
because whatever the form of that activity might have been, Nabob
Salimulla succeeded in organising the Mahomedans (cheers). The spirit
of nationality spoke amongst the Mahomedans at that time. Once the name
is roused I do not care how it is roused. Let it be roused once and
then all its narrowness will pass away. All that is true forms part of
the national consciousness. What is the result to-day? I went to Dacca
and the Mahomedans invited me to an informal conference. When I went
there what did I find? Not that estrangement but an intense anxiety
on their part to side with the Hindus to combine with the Hindus,
(cheers) to fight shoulder to shoulder with the Hindus for working out
the real salvation of Bengal (Loud applause). If the Swadeshi Movement
was the first step in our national self-consciousness so far as Hindus
are concerned, I say it was equally the first step of Mahomedan
self-consciousness. Its appearance was against the nation, but its
reality was in our favour.


Gentlemen, the message of nationality, as I said before has a wider
outlook to-day. We cannot forget that we are living within an empire,
perhaps the vastest, the largest and the most glorious empire in the
history of mankind. We cannot forget that however truly national we may
be--and we ought to be national--under no circumstances should we be
divested of our own individuality and I say the Hindus and Mahomedans
of Bengal, living together side by side for so many generations,
imbibing each other's culture, surrounded by the same atmosphere,
the same climate, influenced by the same culture, the two together
form the real Bengalee nation. Although we should not lose our own
individuality, the spirit of isolation is not the best thing in
national life and philosophy.


We ought to stand on our own individuality in all the glory which that
individuality implies but at the same time we must emerge from that
and with the fullest consciousness of ourselves we should reach out to
the world. That is the true philosophy of our nationality, and if we
are living in an empire to-day, we ought to see that we do not live
self-centred, in the splendid isolation of our own individuality. We
ought to give the fullest expression to our individuality but we ought
to do something more than that. We ought to reach out to the world
and how do we reach out to the world? It is by taking our legitimate
part in the empire. We should hold fast to this that our individuality
should be kept absolutely distinct, I should not give that up for the
whole world for if we give that up, we cease to be ourselves, (hear,
hear.) But stand on that as we must, we must stretch out our hands
across to the world. That we can only do by taking our legitimate part
in the activities of this great empire.


Gentlemen, the first step in the region of ideal is perfect provincial
autonomy. Let us take Bengal. Any form of self-government that we can
demand from this point of view must be a government which will secure
the autonomy of the Bengalee nation. Then you must not forget that
apart from the individuality of Bengal, India as a whole has got a
special individuality of its own.


We cannot forget that the different nationalities of India, although
there are differences between them, although they differ from each
other in many respects, yet spiritually and historically they are
bound up as so many links in the chain of one living national
individuality. We ought not to forget that Bengal, Madras, Bombay
and the Punjab are all dominated by one great central culture. The
epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata are epics of not only the Punjab,
of Bombay, of Madras but also of Bengal and the rest of India. The
great religious institutions are common--I am speaking of the Hindus
only--to all the provinces, Each province has got a speciality of its
own, I admit, but over and above that all these different provinces are
bound together in one common culture. If we are to hold fast to our
provincial individuality, we must also see that the great individuality
of India is not lost. At one time the idea was to develop the different
provinces, making the provinces autonomous and to connect these
different autonomous provinces with the British Parliament. That will
not work out our ideal--that ideal will not allow the great Indian
nationality to develop and much as I love Bengal and much as I love
my own individuality, my own provincial individuality, I should be
sorry indeed if any kind of Self-Government is sought to be introduced
into this country which will greatly injure that great ideal of Indian
Nationality. If the whole of the Hindu races are bound up in that way,
you must also realise that the whole of the Mahomedan races all over
India is also similarly bound up together and you must not forget that
the two great cultures must meet together, and the result will be a
great culture which is not purely Hindu, not purely Mahomedan but
something which is made up of the contact of these two great races.
And that is the ideal of Indian Nationality which must be preserved
and developed to the fullest extent. If you ask me if I get provincial
Self-Government in Bengal, why I should trouble myself about this
Indian Nationality.


In answer I say if I have understood the lesson of Indian history
correctly, I consider that from ages past there was a movement of
unifying the whole of India and I think through the many vicissitudes
of Indian history, in the time of the Hindus, in the time of Mahomedan
rule and now English rule, throughout the many vicissitudes that
one idea stands out prominently viz., with each success, with every
failure, India was growing more and more and becoming herself. I do not
believe that in the old times in the ancient history of our country,
there ever was one united India--India was never one whole under the
Hindus at any time. I hold in great reverence and veneration all the
activities of ancient India. India was great, but the great Indian
nationality was in the making. We have profited by what was done in the
ancient days, we have inherited all their culture but it is for us to
widen that culture for the evolution of the great Indian nation. That
day, gentlemen, is fast approaching. I ask you to consider critically
the history of India.


Can you point your finger to any period of Indian history in which
there was an united India? I have failed to discover it. Take the
Magadh Empire--that great empire which was built up and which perished
in course of time. That empire did not bring out Indian unity to the
fullest extent. Take the Mahomedan Empire--it did not--it strove for
that and I fully appreciate that, that is the tendency of the Indian
history from the earliest time to the present day. (A voice: in the
time of Asoke?) Even in the time of Asoke there was not one whole
united India; it was the domination of one country over the rest of
India. The great Indian nationality of which I am speaking was not born
then. I am not for belittling the glory of the culture of India under
those empires--I have the deepest veneration for them and I say the
purpose of Indian history is that throughout the ages, through every
success, through every failure, through every battle which was won,
through every battle which was lost, the history of India was working
out her destiny and turning out the great Indian nation. To-day we
see the vision of that glory (cheers). That which could not come to
pass under the Hindu kings, that which was not brought about under the
Mahomedan gentlemen, it is for us to consider now were we who represent
modern India, whether it will be our glorious task to accomplish that
if we fail--what of that?--others will come after us who will achieve
this. But achieved it must be (Hear, Hear). The message of India must
be given to the world.

The history of India is working out--is bringing out gradually the soul
of India and the time will come--we may not live then, our children
may not live then,--but I say the day will come when India will stand
before the whole world in all her glory of spirituality. The unity
of the Hindus and the Mahomedans and of all sects and creeds will be
bound together in one great cultural ideal and will influence the
civilization of the world (Prolonged cheers). Well, gentlemen, as I am
dealing with Self-Government, the point of practical importance which
arises is this; that is a scheme of self-government not only should
there be perfectly autonomous provincial government but along that such
a scheme should be made that all these provincial governments may be
united in one central Indian Government because in this our desire for
provincial autonomy, we are apt to forget the spirit of the history of
India. That is the spirit of nationalism to-day.


But what of the nationalism of to-morrow?--You have to think of the
whole human race, and gradually, some sort of a federal government
must be established. It may not be in a few years. It may be a long
time yet but some sort of Government must be established, which may
be called the Federal government of the whole empire, a government
to which the British Parliament will send their representatives, a
government to which the Indian Government, after it is federated and
after it is nationalised and after it is made responsible, will also
send her representatives,--a government to which Australia will send
her representatives--a government to which Africa will also send her


That is the future federal government of the British Empire and I say
that as an ideal, we should cling to that and cling to that because
we must not forget that the ultimate goal of human activity in every
country is what the poet has described, a Parliament of nations, the
federation of the world. That is an ideal which has got to be worked
out. The time is coming when a definite scheme should be framed to work
out as far as possible this great ideal.


Gentlemen, many of you may have read the declaration of Policy issued
by the Secretary of State the other day and may also have read the
speech of His Excellency the Viceroy made with reference to that.
Reading these two statements together, it is clear that the time has
come when every educated man in this country should set about earnestly
to frame a scheme for the introduction of self-government keeping in
mind the ideal which we have before us and keeping in mind also the
standard of practical politics. Now, gentlemen, if you have to frame
a scheme like that, you will of course take into consideration the
first point, _viz._, of provincial autonomy _i.e._, of each province.
Let us think of Bengal at the present moment, Bengal must have a
government which is representative that is to say, the people of Bengal
will be the electors and they will elect their representative to this
Government and the legislative Council is to regulate and control the
executive. The Government officials that there are at the present
moment, will be under the control of that Executive Department or in
other words, every office and the government itself will be responsible
to the people of this country. That is the first point you will have
to consider. You will have to consider how you can bring about these
things, the particular method according to which this must be worked
out. Now, gentlemen, the second thing that you have to consider is
how to federate these different provinces and connect them with the
Central Government. These are the two important points which you have
got to think about at the present moment and I invite your attention
to a scheme which you must formulate amongst yourself. I have given
you what my views are but you are not bound by these; you must form a
committee of competent men to frame such a scheme and I think all the
representatives of the districts should meet in Calcutta some time in
November to discuss the scheme of self-government. We shall then adopt
one scheme for Bengal in which the interests of the Hindus and the
interests of Mahomedans will all be considered and we, the Hindus and
Mahomedans of Bengal will present this scheme to the Secretary of State
when he arrives here in November or in December.


Gentlemen, I have told you what the ideal is according to my view, and
I ask you to set about working it out. But you must not be negligent
of the difficulties that lie in your way. And the first and foremost
of these difficulties is the agitation of the Anglo-Indians who have
formed themselves into the European Association for the purpose of
trying their best to defeat the noble object of the Government of India
(Shame, shame). Gentlemen, so far as the Government is concerned,
it has declared its policy openly and clearly and if the European
Association sets itself against this noble desire of the Government
of this country it would be our clear duty to stand against the
mischievous activity of the Association. (Hear, hear.) Gentlemen, I
have dealt with their speeches and the absurdly exaggerated claims
which they have made, at other places. I do not desire to repeat them
again but you will find that these speeches are all couched in violent
language and sobriety and judgment is conspicuous by its absence in
almost all the utterances made at that meeting in Calcutta.


They have started this agitation by vilifying our leaders and attacking
both the ideal and the method of the Home Rule movement of this country
and I charge that the result of that is racial rancour which I say,
it ought to be the endeavour of every honest citizen, be he Indian or
be he European, or be he Anglo-Indian, to avoid. Gentlemen, I desire
to give you just one or two specimens of that. This is how Sir Archy
Birkmyre speaks of the activities of the people. I quote from his

 "We should have been content to treat this agitation (i.e., our
 agitation) with the contempt it deserves, but we are confronted with
 the alarming fact that the Government is hauling down its colours
 before these lawless agitators."

Gentlemen, this statement professes contempt not only for the
activities of the people, the unselfish and honest activities of the
leaders of the people of this country but it also professes contempt
for their own Government, (Cries of shame) as it refers to the actions
of the Government, the noble actions of the Government in these words;

 "But we are confronted with the alarming fact that the Government is
 hauling down its colours before these lawless agitators."


Gentlemen, our agitation is described as the agitation of lawless
people. I read through these speeches very carefully and I challenge
any one of the speakers to find out a single utterance in Mrs.
Beasant's speeches on the question of Home Rule, in her many pamphlets
on this subject which may be characterised as violent. I challenge
them to find out a single sentiment in any one of these utterances of
Mrs. Besant which stands for lawlessness. I have read them carefully;
these Anglo-Indian agitators have not. I have read them carefully and
I say that Mrs. Besant has laid down clearly and emphatically that the
agitation for Home Rule must be carried on lawfully and by the use of
argument not by the use of methods which are against law. She has laid
that down so often in her speeches that anybody who refers to that
agitation as lawless has no excuse for such ignorance.


I will now give you another bit from the same speaker:--

"Most of you are aware of the quality or the language used by the
Indian agitator when he wishes to libel British rule."

The quality of language used by the Indian agitator indeed! Well,
gentlemen, you have read the speeches of these Anglo-Indian agitators
and you have read the speeches of Indians who have addressed the
country from time to time on the question of Home Rule. I ask you
to compare the tone of these speeches and I ask you to say who are
violent--they or we? I will give you one choice bit from Mr. Wigett. He

"Can any one here say that in releasing Mrs. Besant the Government
of India has exercised that power in a matter that we have a right
to expect.... It is a direct invitation to further noisy and blatant
upheavals of violent passion."

Well, that is the language of moderation. I shall pass by that without
a comment.


I will give you another from this gentleman's speech. Referring to the
writings of Indians on the question of Home Rule and in support of our
claim for Home Rule, this gentleman says:--

"Such writings do not represent the feelings of the people of Calcutta,
or anything indeed but the splenetic bitterness of a political sect."

That is very choice language, gentlemen, "splenetic bitterness of a
political sect." That is very moderate language indeed! I shall pass by
this also without any comment. I come now to Mr. F. W. Carter.


Referring to our activity, he says:--

"Unscrupulous methods and audacious claims of a few noisy agitators."

Mark the words--"unscrupulous methods and audacious claims." Our
claims are audacious because we want to govern ourselves because we
say that for the last 150 years there has been a bureaucratic form
of government--bureaucracy has been tried and found wanting. This
is an admitted fact now, admitted by politicians in England and by
politicians in India--admitted by implication in the statement of
the Secretary of State and the speech of His Excellency the Viceroy.
That the Bureaucracy will no longer do and because we saw that the
bureaucracy must be replaced by some sort of government which is
self-government and which is responsible to the people of this country.
We are told of the unscrupulous methods and the audacious claims
of a few noisy agitators. That again is language of moderation and
calculated to create (A voice: and preserve)--yes and preserve a "calm
atmosphere." The idea of these Anglo-Indian agitators is this: that
when they speak of us they can use the most violent language, they can
incite racial bitterness, they can say whatever they like with the most
perfect impunity but if any agitators, if any Indian patriot refers in
the slightest degree to the evils of bureaucratic government in this
country, they are at once a noisy lot who must be punished by the


I give you another passage from Sir Archy Birkmyre again:--

"Of the loyalty and devotion of the fighting races of the Punjab,
Sir Michael Odwyer has spoken in terms which everyone of us in this
room will cordially endorse. But the spirit of the Punjab has not
been manifested in other provinces." Gentlemen, so far as Bengal is
concerned--and this speaker was speaking amidst Bengalees, so far as
Bengal is concerned, I say, for anybody to charge that Bengal has not
contributed to the war by money or by manpower is a libel on the whole
Bengalee race. I say it is adding insult to injury. When did you allow
the Bengalees to wear arms? When was it for the first time that you
called upon them to wear arms and to go and fight our enemy? It was
only the other day. Do you expect, does any reasonable man who wants
to put forward reasonable argument expect that a whole people who have
suddenly been called upon to take arms and march against an enemy,
that they will at once, as if by a magic, turn out a very large army?
Whose is the fault? Is it the fault of Bengal that to-day you do not
find thousands and thousands, lacs and lacs of Bengalees fighting for
the empire? Whose is the fault? You deprive them of their arms, you
tell them that they are enemies (shame, shame), you declare to the
world that they were never fit for military service and when suddenly
you call upon them to take arms and fight, can anybody say that Bengal
has not responded to the call sincerely, earnestly and if I may say,
valiantly? I say a speech of this description is adding insult to
injury. That is what these speakers say of the people of Bengal. Let me
now place before you one or two passages which show their attitude to
the government of this country when the government has resolved upon
doing justice to the people of this country.


I quote from the speech of the Hon. Mr. Ironside. It is rather a long
quotation but I am afraid that I must place this before you to bring
out the quality of Anglo-Indian agitation. I hope you will bear with
me. He says:--

"At any rate, we don't want any from the House of Commons, and I would
commend this remark to Mr. Montagu, for we distrust them root and
branch. At this distance we watch the unhealthy game which proceeds at
Westminster and to honest men it is enough to make one weep for one's
country; and I think, you will agree with me, gentlemen, that we have
none of it here. This is no time for meddling, least of all from a
representative of a Ministry who one and all by their words and deeds
brought the old country to the verge of internal ruin, vilified honest
men and patriots slithered into unprepared, and having made a mess of
everything have hung on to their self-elected posts like limpets until
a second time the destruction of the empire was nearly effected. We are
not taking the same risk here. Mr. Montagu, I believe, started in a
department created for the definite purpose of helping to win the war.
Had it been of any use, I presume, he would have stayed there but being
one of a party of meddling muddlers, he has found his way back to the
Indian Office."

This is language of moderation applied to the Secretary of State for
India who is entrusted by the British Parliament with the government of
this country. I can assure you gentlemen if anything half as violent
as that had been said by any one of us, this gentleman would have been
furious and would have exhibited his fury ten times more; and the
"Statesman" newspaper would have said that speakers who make use of
such language should be punished by the State so that their speeches
may not create disaffection. But when you call the Secretary of State a
meddling muddler, I suppose that is allowable. When you heap contempt
upon the whole of the British Parliament, I suppose it is allowable. If
only an Indian says that the bureaucratic Government has been found to
be wanting, it has failed in its duties, it has failed in its charge of
the administration of this country, it is such violent language that
the State must put down.


Then the same speaker goes on to say:

"You must remember that we have to teach the House of Commons before we
can gain their ear and support."

I hope the House of Commons will be enlightened by the lessons which it
gets from speakers of this description. (Loud laughter).


To turn again to Mr. Wigget--he says:--

"What an extraordinary spectacle!" referring to the release of Mrs.
Besant and the regret expressed by Sir Michael O'Dwyer,

'Of a sentimental weak-kneed Government'

If this is not showing contempt for the Government I do not know what
contempt is. This is not all: there is an alarming fact expressed in
some of these speeches. Some of the speakers have stated that the civil
servants and the military officers are entirely in sympathy with them
in their resistance to any kind of self-government being granted to
this country.


Gentlemen, I shall place before you one passage from the speech of Mr.
Carter and another from the speech of Sir A. W. Binning.

Mr. Carter says:--

"I appeal, therefore, to the Government on behalf of all Europeans
whether engaged in trade and commerce or serving in Government
employment.... I assure the Government that they are here in spirit."

Gentlemen, the Civil Servants were present in spirit at this meeting
according to the statement of Mr. Carter! (Laughter).

And the other speaker says this:--

"Our claims, as put forward at present, will have the silent, but none
the less effective, support of the Indian Civil Service and Military
officers whose lot is cast in this country and who equally with us,
view with grave apprehension the measures which we fear, on effort will
be made to force on us."

Now, gentlemen that is absolutely startling. For myself, I refuse to
believe this. I refuse to believe that the members of the civil service
and the military officers who are servants of the King should so far
forget themselves that they should express their sympathy with these
Anglo-Indian agitators, express their views to them against the policy
which has been declared by His Majesty's Government. I say, I refuse to
believe this because if it were true, it discloses an alarming state
of things. It shows this: that whatever the policy of the British
Government may be, whatever the policy and the declaration of His
Majesty's Government may be, His Majesty's servants in India may so
combine and may so actively oppose people who stand up for that policy
as perhaps to render that policy nugatory. I say, if it is true, it
discloses an alarming state of things and I hope the Government will
take note of the speeches and make an enquiry into this and if there is
any truth in this statement, I ask the Government why should they allow
their own servants to so conduct themselves as to represent unnecessary
opposition to the declared policy of the Government, (Hear hear).


Now, gentlemen, I have referred to the speeches to show to you how
unreasonable in spirit, how violent in language those speeches were.
But what is their claim? Why is it that just after the declaration
of this policy by the Secretary of State in August and the speech of
the Viceroy in September that they should assemble in a meeting and
oppose that policy tooth and nail. The declaration contained only this:
that some sort of responsible government is to be introduced in this
country--nothing beyond that. Why is it that all the Anglo-Indians
gathered together and began to denounce that policy before the details
are published or worked out? What is the claim which they make? I shall
read to you from the speech of Sir Archy Birkmyre which puts forward
what that claim is. This worthy gentleman says:

"The greater part of the commerce of India the basis of her prosperity
is controlled and financed by Britishers."

Mark the word gentlemen, "Britishers" not the Anglo-Indian community
alone but the Britishers. He goes on:

"All the progress that India has made in recent generations is due
almost entirely to British direction, British capital and British
enterprise. The men who are responsible for the vast interests created
by the British in India cannot sit down voiceless and idle when the
danger confronts us that these interests will be sacrificed to appease
the political appetites of mob orators and Home Rulers."

Does it stand to this that the introduction of any kind of
self-government in this country, however safeguarded the different
interests may be, means such a disregard of the interests of these
Anglo-Indian Agitators that the Government must be forced to give
up its honest desire of introducing such a government? I ask in all
seriousness does the claim go so far as this?--The Anglo-Indian claim
which is put forward at this meeting does it go so far to insist
that no kind of self-government, however limited it may be, however
safeguarded the different interests in the country may be, that no
kind of self-government is to be introduced at all into this country
because these Anglo-Indians brought money in the shape of capital to
this country--a statement which requires examination--because they
brought capital to this country that India must forever be destitute,
must forever be deprived of any measure of self-government? If this is
their claim, it is so preposterously unreasonable that it requires no
refutation at all. But gentlemen, the claim is curiously worded.


It is not a claim put forward on behalf of Anglo-Indians alone but it
is a claim put forward on behalf of the Britishers, it is a claim by
the people of England. I deny these Anglo-Indian agitators' right to
represent the people of England. I deny that they have got any right
to say anything on behalf of the people of England. If any plebiscite
is taken to-day in England, I feel sure that there would be a vast
majority in favour of the introduction of Self-Government to this
country (Hear, hear.)


If this claim is based on the mere fact of their introducing capital
in this country, you have to consider whether they have not been
sufficiently profited by the introduction of such capital. Does it mean
this then that because people bring capital to this country, because
they find it profitable to do so, they would have the right to say
to the Government: you shall not introduce Self-Government in this
country? Have they the right to tell the people: look here, we have
brought capital to this country, therefore, you shall not have any
desire to quarrel with these Anglo-Indian agitators. We do not regard
politics from that utterly selfish point of view from which they regard


I am free to admit in any scheme of Self-Government which is framed and
which is accepted by the people and the Government of this country,
these Anglo-Indian merchants ought to be allowed to be represented,
that is to say, I do not desire that any scheme should be framed
which would disregard the interests of any class of people, whether
Hindu, Mahomedan or Anglo-Indian, whatever the basis of the franchise
may be. But I say that these people have got no right to dictate to
the Government of India and to the people alike that they shall not
have Self-Government. I ask my Anglo-Indian friends to consider this
question from a little higher point of view. They must see that India
cannot ever remain without Self-Government. They must see that at some
time or other the voice of the people is bound to be heard and if they
do their duty by this country, by which they have been profited to a
very large extent, they ought to help in this work of Self-Government
rather than oppose it. I call upon them again to stand on a higher
platform and consider the question of Self-Government not in this way
but more seriously and with more consideration for the interest of the
people of this country.


Now, gentlemen, there is another difficulty to which I must also
refer. When there are so many conflicting interests in this country it
may be that particular classes of people will be instigated to stand
up against Home Rule. I blame no one in particular but I am placing
before you a possible difficulty. Interested people may stir up the
Namasudras and tell them "Look here, you are hated and oppressed by
the people, the Hindus of Bengal, why should you assist them and help
them to bring in Self-Government because if Self-Government is granted,
the Hindus are bound to oppress you all the more?" Advisers may be
found who will go to my Mahomedan brethren and tell them: "you are as
yet backward in education, if Self-Government is granted to Hindus why
they will be more powerful than you and they will look down upon you
and oppress you." Endeavours of that description unfortunately are not
uncommon in this country and at such a momentous period of our history
the same attempts might be repeated. Gentlemen, it is your duty, under
these circumstances, you who are educated to go to your less educated
brethren, Hindus or Mahomedans and to expose before them the fallacy of
any such argument.


You ought to tell them that self-government does not mean the
Self-Government of the Hindus; Self-Government does not mean the
Self-Government of the Mahomedans; Self-Government does not mean the
Self-Government of the Zemindars; Self-Government means Government by
all the people of Bengal in which all interests are to be represented
and if there are any classes who are depressed or oppressed, they
ought to be told that the sooner self-government is introduced into
this country the better for them (Hear hear): they ought to be told
that we have no desire to restrict the franchise in any manner at all
to the disregard of any such interest and if any kind of responsible
government is introduced into this country, which is made responsible
to the people, they will have the power in their hands to oppose any
oppression or injustice in every possible way. They will have the power
to return their friends to the Legislative Councils they will have the
power to tell the people who oppose them: if you want to oppress us,
if you go on in that way, it would be against the work of national
development and you shall not have the power to do that. We are asking
for putting the power into the hands of the people and are we to be
told that these people for whom we are fighting in whose interest we
are fighting for the last 30 years, that we are likely to disregard the
interest of these people?


If we are not fighting for the teeming millions of India, can anybody
tell me whom we are fighting for? Am I fighting for myself? If I am
selfish, why should I bother about self-government? Why can I not
attend to my profession, make money and go home and sleep? Why should
I go all over the country and demand Home Rule which is the only means
of uplifting the teeming millions of our country if I have not their
interest at heart? If anybody says that the Nationalists who are
fighting for Home Rule are doing so in their own interest I fling the
lie to the slanderers teeth. I say we are engaged in a noble task and
we shall not rest content unless such a kind of self-government is
granted to this country which will keep alive the interest of every
community, which will regard and safeguard the interest of every class
of people in Bengal. We belong to the same race. They are of us. God
give us strength to fight their battle! (Prolonged Cheers.)

  (_Amrita Bazar Patrika._)


_Under the Presidency of Mr. Chakravarty, there was an enthusiastic
meeting of the citizens of Calcutta, in the Town Hall, on 5th March,
1918 when Mr. C. R. Das spoke as follows:--_

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, I feel thankful to you for giving
me this opportunity to raise my voice in protest against this arbitrary
and unjust piece of legislation. Indeed I feel at this moment that no
argument is necessary to convince you of the injustice of this measure.
Mr. Chakravarty has dealt with it so fully and elaborately and has
put before you all the considerations with reference to this matter
with such force and lucidity that it seems unnecessary to continue
this argument. I will therefore take up the resolution which has been
entrusted to me and place it before you with a few observations which I
have to make. The resolution consists of 5 clauses. (Mr. Das then read
the resolution.)

I will deal with the third clause first, because it admits in my
opinion of no discussion at all. Take all the arguments which had
been advanced by His Excellency's government; accept them all. And
even then there can be no justification for the present policy of
the Government. (Hear, hear.) Either there is evidence against these
interned persons or there is no evidence. If there is no evidence
against them there is an end of the matter at once. And if there is
evidence against them, what justification can there be in not bringing
them to trial? It only makes people suspicious that there is not
sufficient evidence against them. If there is sufficient evidence what
justification can there be, I repeat, in not placing them instantly
before a court of justice for trial? The argument that the present
machinery of justice is insufficient is an argument which no body
believes. I say it will be a dangerous thing if the idea goes abroad
that people are kept in jail, in police custody without being brought
to trial, while the Government has evidence against them. I say it will
be a dangerous thing if this idea goes abroad, because people will at
once come to the conclusion that probably there is no such evidence
which can secure conviction in a court of justice. I cannot conceive of
a more dangerous consequence.

Let me now deal with the other clauses of the resolution. I am one of
those who never believe in tinkering in the matter of legislation.
Either this measure is just or unjust. If it is unjust, there can be
no ground for keeping it on the statute book. The Chairman has put
this case very clearly before you. He describes this Act as "lawless
law." (Hear, hear). I want you to fully realise the meaning of that
observation made by the distinguished chairman. I say that, behind
that observation lies the fundamental objection which we have got
against the Act. What is "lawless law"? Any law which is not based
upon justice, of which the object is not to serve and secure that
justice upon which the stability of society depends, must necessarily
be "lawless law." It is something which is put forward under cover of
law, which is not law, which offends again every principle of justice,
which is a negation of justice and therefore negation of law (cheers,).
We protest against this Act because it offends the fundamental rights
of man. (Hear, hear). To be taken and kept in custody for an indefinite
period of time without being told what evidence there is and without
being brought to justice according to the law of the land ('shame,
shame') is a denial of the primary rights of humanity. (Hear, hear.)
This is "lawless law" (prolonged cheers.)

You must realise what this Act is. I desire to read some portions of it
to you, because many of you are not lawyers and probably do not know
what grim injustice lies behind the apparently innocent expressions
which you find in this Act. It is called the Defence of India Act--an
Act for the public safety and yet public safety is nowhere defined. It
is a vague generality (Hear, hear.) The public denounce it (hear, hear)
people do not want it (hear, hear.) Is it to be forced down the throat
of the public--this Act which is based upon grievous and intolerable
injustice? (Cries of 'no' 'no'--loud cheers).

Let us follow the text of the law still further. This Act gives power
to certain officials "civil or military,"--when in the opinion of such
authority there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that any person
has acted, is acting or is about to act in a manner prejudicial to
the public safety to direct that such persons shall not enter, reside
or remain in any area specified in writing by such authority or that
such person shall reside and remain in any area so specified or that
he shall conduct himself in such manner or abstain from such act,
etc., etc. How beautifully vague! (Hear, hear.) These are admittedly
innocent words; and when the Act was passed was there any one amongst
us present here to-day who had the slightest idea of the use to which
this Act might be put? Who at that time ever dreamt that this Act would
be used for taking away young lads from their homes, keeping them in
prison for days and months, keeping them in solitary cells and for
putting them to indignity after indignity? Was this the intention of
the legislature when it was passed? One can understand a war measure,
one can understand that drastic legislation is necessary at the time of
war when the enemy is at the gate. But is it just to take away young
lads from their homes, from their mothers' arms, as it were (shame,
shame) and keep them imprisoned ('shame,' 'shame') without telling
them why, without bringing them to justice ('shame,' 'shame'--loud
cheers)? Is any argument necessary to demonstrate that such an act
is oppressive and must be abrogated? (Hear, hear--loud cheers). The
answer is necessity, which Lord Morley has characterised as the old
familiar plea of tyrants, (shame, shame, hear, hear--loud cheers). Law
is necessary for the preservation of society (Hear, hear,) but not this
thing which you call law (Cheers). Could any law be more arbitrary,
more unjust than this Act? (Cries of 'no.') I ask you to consider this
plea of necessity again. Surely it is not for defending India against
the enemy, not for defending Bengal which has suffered most under this
oppressive legislation (Cries of 'shame,' 'no,' 'no'). People who
suffer and groan under this repressive legislation may easily misread
and misunderstand your real object and think that it was intended to
crush that hunger for liberty, which no bureaucratic government can
tolerate for one single moment (loud cheers).

This policy as the Chairman has reminded you began in 1905 with those
illegal circulars which you may remember. Those circulars then, as
you all know, led to a good deal of misunderstanding. There were
circulars against the shouting of 'Bandemataram' and various circulars
directed against students. Some people thought that the object of these
circulars was also to prevent our self-development and to suppress
our growing hunger for liberty (loud applause). I ask the Government,
can you blame the people who suffer from such injustice, if they
misunderstand your object and misconstrue your action? (loud cheers.)

We feel it is our bounden duty to raise our voice of protest against
this Act. The object ascribed is wrong. What is the real object? They
say "there is a vast conspiracy in the country." My answer is I admit
it I know and believe and I am sure of it as sure as I am standing here
to-night, that there is a revolutionary party in Bengal. But what then?
Do you think that you will be able to suppress that revolutionary party
in that way? Has revolution ever been checked by unjust legislation?
Give me one instance from history where the Government has succeeded
in putting down revolutionary movements by oppressive legislation.
I admit that the thing is an evil. I admit that the activity of
the revolutionary party is an evil in this country which has to be
eradicated. But what is the duty of the Government? Is it not their
duty to take such step as will effectually eradicate it? (Hear, hear.)
Does the Government really believe that the revolutionary party
wants any other foreign power in this country? (Cries of 'no''no').
I venture to think that they do not. If not, what do they want?
Has the Government ever enquired into the causes which led to that
revolutionary movement? From 1905 we have been hearing of it, up to now
repressive measure after repressive measure has been passed (cries of
shame, shame), but has any attempt of any kind whatsoever been made to
discover the real causes of this revolutionary movement? (Cries of 'no'
'no'). I may tell you as I have told many of those in authority that I
know more about these people than probably anybody else in this hall.
I have defended so many of the cases, and I know the psychology of
their mind, I know the cause of this revolutionary movement is nothing
but hunger for freedom. (Hear, hear.) Within the last 150 years what
have you done to make the people of this country free or even really
fit for freedom? Do we not constantly hear that we are not fit for
self-government ('shame' 'shame') that we are illiterate, that we are
not sufficiently educated? (shame, shame.) May I retort by asking "you
have been here for the last 150 years, with best of motives, with the
object of making us fit for self-government? Why is it then that you
have done nothing to this end?" (loud cheers).

This is the psychology of the revolutionary movement. Our educated
young men see that nations all over the world are free. They compare
their position with the position of other nations, and they say to
themselves "why should we remain so? We also want liberty." (Cheers).
Is there anything wrong in that desire? Is it so difficult to
understand their point of view? Do we not all know this hunger for
liberty? These young men burning with the enthusiasm of youth feel that
they have not been given any opportunity of taking their legitimate
part in the government of their country, in shaping the course of their
national development. Give them that right to-day, you will hear no
more of the revolutionary movement (loud cheers). "Give them that
right to-day, tell the people of this country here it is, we mean to
change the system of Government, the government will be yours (loud
cheers) government of the people and by the people, work for the good
of our country, build up your nationality, shape the course of your
history" (loud and prolonged cheers), and I guarantee that from the
next day the revolutionary party will cease to exist (Hear, hear,
loud and prolonged cheers). I have said this. Our leaders have said
this over and over again to those in authority, but we have not been
listened to.

On the contrary we are told that the only remedy is the Defence of
India Act. ('shame,' 'shame'). We have been told that political crimes
have decreased, since the passing of this Act. I say it is not so.
Overtacts are not the only measure of political crimes. How could
political crimes have decreased when disaffection has increased? (Hear,
hear). Members of the revolutionary party may remain grim and silent,
but I am sure every case of internment under this Act increases the
volume of discontent and disaffection in this country. Does not that
strengthen their hands? This is the real danger (Hear, hear). It is
acting like poison and eating into the vitals of our nationality
(Hear, hear). I protest against this Act as it is a menace to our
liberty (Hear, hear), I protest against this Act as it is a menace to
our loyalty to the empire to which we belong. (Hear, hear, loud and
prolonged cheers).

There are people in this country who will tell you that the Government
will never repeal this Act. So my countrymen I say, "Do not be
disheartened." (Hear, hear). I believe in my heart of hearts that once
the people of this country unite and raise their voice, the voice of
a united nation, there is no power on the face of the earth which
can resist it, (loud and prolonged cheers). Let us all say, "Repeal
this Act, we will not have it." (Hear, hear). Let this cry reach the
country, every village, every town; let this meeting be followed up
by hundreds and thousands, let us all be united in our demand for the
repeal of this Act and I say this Act shall be repealed, (loud and
prolonged cheers).


(Under the Presidency of Babu Motilal Ghose, a public meeting of the
Citizens of Calcutta was held on the 18th March, 1918, at Professor
Ramamurti's Pavilion, Bow Bazar Street, to support the Indian
Deputation to England, when, Mr. C. R. Das in moving the resolution
"That this public meeting accords its hearty support to and records
its full approval of the deputation, consisting of among others of
Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the Hon'ble Mr. G. S. Khaparade, Babu
Bebin Chandra Pal, the Hon'ble Mr. B. V. Narasimha Iyer, Mr. Manjeri
Ramier, Mr. Syed Hussain, Mr. G. Joseph, Mrs. Sarojini Naidu, Mr. N.
C Kelkar, Mr. R. P. Karandikar, Babu Jitendralal Banerjee and Pandit
Iqbal Narayan Gurtu," spoke as follows):--

Gentlemen,--There are two points which are involved in this resolution.
The first is about the fitness of the gentlemen whom we have selected.
I need hardly say that these gentlemen are in the highest sense the
representatives of this country and I have not the least doubt that if
the votes of our countrymen were taken--the votes of the uneducated and
the educated, of all classes and communities in this country,--there
cannot be the least doubt that every one of these gentlemen would have
been elected.

Then comes the question why are we sending these gentlemen to England
at a time when the journey is not safe. The answer to that question
is not very difficult. We are passing through a very critical period
in our history. We feel, every one amongst us who thinks of his
country feels, that self-government cannot be delayed any longer.
If self-government is denied to us it is certain that the growth of
our nationality, and the development of Indian manhood will all be
stopped. It is a matter of absolute necessity that within a short
time, I say within one year or two, we must have self-government
(cheers)--government responsible to the people--or we cannot exist
as a nation. Now, what are the impediments? We have found out in the
course of the last 30 years that the Bureaucracy in this country will
not grant us anything which is at all substantial. Gentlemen, on one
occasion I had the hardihood to say this before a high official and
I was asked why did I say it. I will tell you what my answer was. I
said and I repeat that within the last 30 years there never has been
a reform proposed which had not been opposed and defeated by the
Bureaucracy (hear, hear). If you consider for one moment the history
of the last 30 years what do you find? You find that the noble policy
of Lord Ripon was opposed by the Bureaucracy, you find that local
self-government for which Lord Ripon fought, although nominally
granted to us, was in reality denied to us. If you consider again such
a simple reform as the separation of the Executive and the Judiciary
what do you find? You find that Viceroy after Viceroy recommended it.
You find statesman after statesman in England recommended it; yet,
what is it which has prevented such a useful reform being put through?
My answer is, it is the Bureaucracy in this country. (Shame, shame).
Think again of Lord Morley's reforms which is called the Minto-Morley
reforms. I said to this high official that this scheme was something
when it left the shores of England, but it became absolutely ridiculous
when it got into the hands of the Indian Bureaucracy (Shame, shame.). I
was then asked why did I say so? My answer was and my answer is because
I have not got a vote under that scheme and I pointed out that Sir S.
P. Sinha, who was considered worthy enough to be appointed a member of
the Executive Council was not a qualified voter either (shame, shame.)
Under these circumstances are we not justified in saying that that
scheme was rendered absolutely ridiculous when it got into the hands of
the Indian Bureaucracy? (cheers.)

It is plain, therefore, that you may agitate as long as you like; you
may demand your right as you have a right to demand, but you will
not get the Bureaucracy in this country to support you. You must,
therefore, go to their masters. Our demands must be carried across the
seas to the great British Democracy (cheers). We want to be told why
is it that we are not fit for self-government? I have said on other
occasions that I do not ask for any particular kind of right which
requires any elaborate consideration. I want the right which every
nation on the face of the earth has--the right to build up our own
constitution (cheers). I do not care about the details of the scheme
just now. You can discuss them fully when the time comes. The question
at present is a very simple one. I want our representatives to go to
England, and tell the British Democracy that, we want nothing more,
nothing less, than, the right to build up our own constitution,--a
constitution which alone will enable us to secure the development of
our nationality, a constitution which is absolutely necessary for the
development of our manhood. Our representatives must go to England and
tell the British people that the men on the spot are no longer to be
trusted (hear, hear)--they must plead our case and they must insist on
our rights (cheers).

If we find that we are not to get self-government, we have at least
the right to get an honest answer. Let the British Democracy say if it
likes, that this war is a war of liberation of humanity, but liberation
of humanity does not include the liberation of India. If that is the
view of the British Democracy let them tell us so. We won't be content
with excuses and pretences. Gentlemen, when I consider the objections
put forward to the grant of self-government, I can hardly keep my
patience. What is it that they say? They say we are not educated
enough to get self-government. My answer is: whose fault is it? For the
last 150 years you have been governing this country, and yet you have
not succeeded in educating the people of this country to such an extent
that they may be fit for governing themselves. Do we not know that
Japan was made only in 50 years? You have had 150 years. Why is it that
at the end of that period we are told that we are not fit to govern
ourselves? The very statement fills us with apprehension. As days go
by, we will be rendered more and more unfit. No gentlemen, nobody
really believes that the time has not come. It is a matter of immediate
necessity and we must have it (cheers).

Then we are told, we are divided between many sects. We follow
different religions, we have got different interests to serve and so
on. Arguments are piled upon arguments in this way--it is always easy
to argue and we at any rate who belong to the profession of law, know
that it is always possible to argue. (Laughter). We all know that
though vanquished, one can argue still (laughter). But do we not know,
from the history of civilization, that directly you make people of
different classes, of different religions, and of different interests,
work together, work for a common good, do we not find that unity is
brought about more successfully from the very fact of having to work
together than by any other means? Therefore if you say that we are not
fit for Self-Government, because we are divided in our interests, and
in our religions, my answer is that self-government and self-government
alone is the remedy of that. (Hear, hear.)

Then we are told that there is a revolutionary party amongst us and
therefore we cannot be trusted with self-government. I have said
elsewhere and I say again that I am not one of those who deny that
there is a revolutionary party. But if you consider that question
for the moment, you find that the only remedy which is possible,
the only remedy which will effectually eradicate the revolutionary
movement, is, the grant of self-government (loud cheers). I say this
to the Government--you have been troubled over this revolutionary
movement for so many years now--you suspected it in 1905. Have you
ever made any effort to understand the psychology of that movement?
Have you ever appointed any commission to enquire into the causes of
this revolutionary movement? No. And yet, we have to take it that you
want to eradicate it by repressive legislation (shame). My answer is
that repressive legislation can never put an end to a revolutionary
movement--it is only by satisfying their legitimate desire, it is only
by satisfying their hunger, as I said the other day, for liberty that
you can put an end to it. If you understand that problem you will find
that the sooner self-government is introduced into this country it
is better. I say it is better not only from the point of view of us
Indians, it is better from the point of view of the British Democracy
also, and that is what I desire that our representatives should tell
them. It is the interest of India, it is the interest of England--it is
really the true interest of both countries which will be served by the
grant of self-government (loud applause).

If under ordinary circumstances, this deputation is necessary, I say
it is rendered more necessary now, that the Anglo-Indian agitation has
succeeded in starting a new association in England under the name of
the Indo-British association. Gentlemen, I must at once tell you that
the name is a misnomer. There is nothing 'Indo' in that association,
except this, that there are members belonging to that association who
have been benefited largely by India (hear, hear), that is the only
Indo about this association. There are no Indians but there are members
who have lived here amongst us--I do not desire to use any harsh
language--who have been profited greatly (laughter). We are told, we
should be everlastingly grateful to these people for coming over here
all the way and putting lots of money into their pockets and leaving us
to our fate. Well, gentlemen, these are men who represent the 'Indo'
part of that association (laughter).

I tell you gentlemen, there is nothing British about them either
(laughter). I cannot understand any association which has anything
British in it which stands up against the legitimate aspirations
of the people of a country (hear, hear). I refuse to believe that
England has sunk so low to-day that her sons will form themselves
into an association for the express purpose of crushing the
legitimate aspirations of the people of India (hear, hear). Therefore,
gentlemen, there is nothing "Indo" and nothing really "British" in
this association which was started expressly, as I say, to oppose all
reforms, to put down a whole people, so that their aspirations--their
just aspirations, may be crushed for ever. So, gentlemen, if this
deputation was necessary under normal circumstances, it has become
absolutely necessary for our representatives to go to England to
expose the vagaries of this association. If they have fed the British
public with falsehood after falsehood, surely it is necessary for
our representatives to meet them and expose the falsity of their
utterances. Our representatives will be able to convince the British
public that the grant of Home Rule is no longer a matter of gift (hear,
hear). It is no longer a matter of beneficence but it is a matter of
necessity which must be accomplished immediately (cheers).

They talk of progressive stages now. I say if you had started teaching
the people the art of governing themselves 30 years ago, if you granted
half a boon or even quarter of a boon at that time and went on granting
more and more why, by to-day we would have had complete self-government
in this country (hear, hear.) You have not done that. We have waited
and waited and our patience is exhausted (hear, hear). Our faith in the
man on the spot is gone (hear, hear) and nothing that you can do now,
no honied words of beneficence, no eloquent speech of England's duty,
no promise, no assurance will ever give us back that faith which you
have crushed; (cheers)--that hope which you have killed (loud cheers).

What is our duty? Our duty is clear. We must depend on ourselves
(hear, hear.) We must tell our own people to get ready for this great
constitutional fight. It has been going on for the last 30 years but
the time has come when its vigour must be doubled. We must put more
energy into it, we must go on, fighting here in this country till
we get what we demand. And in the meantime our representatives must
go to England and acquaint the people there with the true state of
affairs.--We want no favour. We have ceased to rely on beneficence or
generosity. What we want is our legitimate rights. And who in this
world has got the power of denying that which is ours, to claim, and to
deprive us of that which is undoubtedly our right? (Loud cheers).


_Under the Presidency of Mr. Chakravarty a largely attended meeting of
the citizens of Calcutta was held in April 1918, when Mr. C. R. Das

Mr. Chairman and gentlemen,--the resolution which has been entrusted
to me is in these words (Mr. Das read the resolution). It is hardly
necessary to commend this resolution to your acceptance by any lengthy
speech. The resolution speaks for itself. It is only because I have
heard of objections in some quarters that I have to say a few words in
support of the resolution. There are people amongst us who think that
it is not gracious at this time, in the face of the great danger which
besets us, to trouble the Government by asking for political rights
and privileges. Gentlemen, it is for the very success of the measure
that I am asking the Government to consider the resolution. My answer
to those critics is this: Do you think that a country where the people
have been fighting for political rights for so many years and where
every time their petitions and prayers have been rejected with scorn,
do you think that in such a country you will get a very large army in
Bengal to come forward unless you can create among them an enthusiasm,
unless you can make them feel that they are fighting their own battle
(hear, hear). Is it reasonable to ask the people of this country to
join the army when you have made it impossible for them to feel that
this is their country, when you have made it impossible for them to
feel that empire you speak of is their empire? Have they any share
in that empire? Is it possible for the people of this country under
these circumstances to respond to the call which you have made to-day?
After all, what are we asking for--is it an unreasonable request to
make to the Government--here are these young men, members of many
families of Bengal, whom you have interned, kept under imprisonment
and in custody--is it so much unreasonable to ask Government now, in
the face of a great danger, which threatens you and which threatens
us, also, to release them and make them feel that after all it is
their country, that there is a Government which feel for them (hear,
hear)--that they have a Government also which care for their rights
and privileges--is it an unreasonable request at this juncture to ask
the Government to consider this resolution? Call to arms has been
sounded--it is our duty--it is the duty of every one of us to respond
to that call; and I do say this, because I feel it my duty to tell
the Government, at this juncture that in order that that response may
be real--in order that that response may be fruitful that you ought
to consider the position of these prisoners who are detained in jail
and kept in custody without trial. I am not raising the question as to
whether they are innocent or guilty,--let that question wait till the
danger is over, I am asking the Government to release them, so that
they may respond to this call to arms. With these people interned, do
you think you can get thousands and tens of thousands in the army in
this country? Release them. What army do you want, which Bengal cannot
furnish? I take upon myself to give up my profession for six months
(loud cheers) and go over the whole of this country asking the people
to join the army in their thousands (cheers). I ask the Government to
make it possible for us to raise this army. Gentlemen, when I think of
our present position, while the danger is before us, and the attitude
and the relation, if I may call it, between the Government, I mean
the Bureaucracy, on the one hand, and the people on the other, I must
confess, I look upon this as a tragedy. The Bureaucracy suspects the
people.--Often and often have we told them, we have cried ourselves
hoarse--and I repeat this again--I know these people--I have defended
their cases--there is not one among the revolutionaries who wants to
bring a foreign power in this country--be that foreign power Germany
or Japan. I am prepared to prove it, if there is an enquiry--a proper
enquiry by impartial men. But all those requests have fallen on deaf
ears. Why? Because the Government distrusts the people. The result is
they misunderstand us and misinterpret our statements and utterances.
In the same way, we, the people mistrust them because they mistrust us.
(hear, hear). I am free to confess that we very often misunderstand
their declarations and mistrust them unjustly but the fact that we
misunderstand each other is there, and I say it is a tragedy. I can
assure the Government that I can prove it to demonstration, to whatever
political party an individual in this country may belong, there is not
one man in Bengal, who really desires that the English people should
lose all connection with India and that some other foreign power should
be brought here (loud cheers and hear, hear.) You do not believe that.
We want to justify ourselves and want to become ourselves. We want
to feel that this country really belongs to us--we want to feel that
we are a nation--that we have got our specialities. We want to give
expression to our ideals and we want to stand side by side with the
different nations of the world and we do believe that with the English
connection, it would be easier for us to do so than if we tried to
make the English connection cease. That is the real attitude of the
people. But the pity is, they will not believe us, with the result
that whatever they say on many occasions, we do not believe. That is
why I think it is a tragedy. I appeal to the Government again to come
forward. The Prime Minister has sounded the call to arms. It is not
only a call to arms but it is a call to duty (hear, hear). We are
here prepared to discharge our duty. Do you do your duty, in the same
spirit--come forward and forget your racial prejudices, forget your
sense of prestige.--Stand side by side with us.--Hold us by your hands
and you will find between the two of us we will raise such an army
in Bengal which will beat back all foreign aggression (loud cheers.)
If the thing were possible, I say to the Government again, if you
really think you can raise a large army in this country, if you can
show us that it is probable, though I am a Nationalist, I say, that
I am prepared to postpone our struggle for political privileges till
the war is over. If it were possible, do it by any means. Call for
any sacrifice and the people of Bengal will not be slow to respond to
that. If in the face of this great danger, I ask you to release the
political prisoners, it is because I feel that if you do that, that
which you want will be secured. If you think you can secure what you
want without releasing the political prisoners, do so. You will not
find me slow to do my part of the duty (cheers.) I am prepared to wait
if I see that the Government with our help can raise a large army in
Bengal to-day to face a great danger--if I see that and if I find that
such a course is likely to succeed, I am prepared to wait till the war
is over for the fulfilment of those broken pledges. I will be prepared
to wait and dream of to-morrow, of the future, when our ambitions will
be satisfied--and satisfied they must be--I will forget the history of
broken pledges, of dead hopes and crushed aspirations. I will wait in
silence and in patience. Do make it possible. Call for any sacrifice
and here we are at your service. We will wait till the war is over.--We
will look forward to a later date for the fulfilment of broken pledges
and the resurrection of our dead hopes and our crushed aspirations,
(loud cheers.)


_Mr. C. R. Das spoke--On the third day's session of the Congress held
in Calcutta in 1917._

Madam President, Ladies and Gentlemen. I have the honour to support
the resolution which has been placed before you. Brother delegates, at
the very outset I desire to refer to the song to which you have just
listened; it is a song of the glory and victory of India. We stand here
to-day on this platform for the glory and victory of India, (Cheers)
and I urge you that amidst the many discussions which have taken place
on the form of the resolution, you should not forget the essential idea
which runs through it and which stands behind it. It is a resolution
which has for its object the growth and the development of the great
Indian nation. We are all agreed about that. The question is how to
bring that about. Gentlemen, the Bengal ideal has been presented to
you to-day by my friend, Babu Bipin Chandra Pal. I accept that ideal
and if I thought that there was anything in this resolution which was
inconsistent with that ideal, I should not have supported it. I do
not think there is anything in this resolution which goes against
the ideal which Bengal has unanimously declared by its resolution at
the Bengal Provincial Conference. What is that ideal? That ideal is
firstly, Provincial Autonomy _viz._, that the Government of India must
have its sphere demarcated, its functions defined; all other functions
should belong to the Provincial governments of the particular province.
Gentlemen, is that an ideal which is foreign to that resolution? I ask
you to look into it carefully. I find within it a careful demarcation
of the sphere of the Government of India and those of the Provincial
governments. Therefore, so far as that ideal is concerned I do not
think that this is at all inconsistent with the resolution which I
have the honour to support. Now gentlemen, what is the next point in
the ideal of Bengal? And that is: that the functions of the Executive
Government must be made subordinate to the Legislative Council which
would represent the wishes of the people of the particular province.
Now is there anything in this resolution which goes against that? It
may be that Bengal has provided for that in one particular way and
in this resolution you have provided for that in another way, but
so far as the ideal is concerned, I say that there is absolutely no
difference between that of Bengal and that which is shadowed in this
resolution (Hear, hear.) You say in this resolution that the power of
the purse should be in the hands of the Legislature. Now, gentlemen,
just pause for one moment to think what that means. Let us take it
that your scheme is accepted by the Government. What does that mean?
That means that the Executive must be obedient to the Legislature. If
they do not obey the commands of the Legislature, the Legislature will
say we stop the supplies. It may be said that the British Parliament
will never grant you that; but are we considering that at present?
When they make a definite pronouncement as to what they are willing to
give us, it will be time then to meet again and formulate a definite
scheme as to the way in which that ideal may be given effect to. But
the time has not come to discuss about it, because I am afraid in the
discussion of it, the main ideal may get lost and I am most anxious to
keep up that ideal before you. But whatever happens to the drafting
of this resolution, the matter of drafting may be corrected,--I hope,
gentlemen, that whatever happens, you will stick to this; that the time
has come when the British Parliament must make up its mind to transfer
the powers from the hands of the Bureaucracy to the people of this
country. (Loud Cheers). We have had enough of the Bureaucracy in this
country. We have suffered and groaned under the misrule of 150 years
and not one day is to be lost in declaring our will and to see that our
wishes are given effect to--that the powers which are in the hands of
the Bureaucracy to-day are transferred to the people of the country.
(Cheers). Now, gentlemen, having regard to that ideal, I must say that
I do not see any inconsistency between what we want in Bengal and that
which is put forward in the resolution. But my revered friend, Mr.
Tilak said that this scheme is very much better than the Bengal scheme
or any other scheme. I am speaking of Provincial Governments--of the
scheme which relates to the ideal of the Provincial Governments and I
do not see any difference there. Mr. Tilak thinks it is not wise to
ask too much. I ask him to read the resolution again and he will find
in it that it does not claim one item less than the Bengal scheme--not
one item less. It claims the whole thing--it claims perfect responsible
government for India. I do not understand the power over the purse
to mean anything less than that. Without saying perfect responsible
government for the provinces as well as for the central government,
you may convey the same idea by saying: "I do not care what you do but
give me the power over the purse. But if you give me the power over the
purse I can have my own way. You, the executive, you say you will not
obey my command but I will stop your supplies. Where are you then? You
will have to obey my command." And if they obey your command what is
the good of saying that we have not asked for Responsible Government?
You have asked in an indirect manner, but as effectively as we have
done in Bengal. You have asked not only for full responsible government
for the provinces but also for the central government. Now it may be,
that this ought to be put in another shape, the words may have to be
changed, for this scheme does not pretend to be a perfect or an exact

I agree with my friend Mr. Jinnah who said: let the Government come out
with a definite pronouncement--the government declaration is vague--let
the government come out with its declaration--a definite pronouncement
as to what they are willing to give. It will be time then to sit over
this resolution again, to consider what words are to be used and what
words to reject or what new words are to be put in. I think we have
been fighting unnecessarily. We are all agreed as to the great ideal.
Let us gather strength to fight for it--let us fight for it with all
our might and let us not rest content till the whole thing is granted
to us (Hear, hear), viz., Responsible Government in the Provinces,
responsible Government in Imperial matters--till the whole of the
Government is put into the hands of the people. I rely on no dictum of
politicians--I rely upon my natural right (Cheers). I do not care what
the constitution of England or the constitution of Switzerland or that
of Australia is (Cheers). I want to build my own constitution. I want
the power to build my own constitution in a way which is suited to this
country and which afterwards will be referred to as the great Indian
constitution (Loud cheers). That is what we want and that is what we
must have. Do not engage in endless discussion in the meantime. Gather
all your strength and say with one voice all over India, in every
village, in every town, in provincial gatherings and in this Congress
that nothing less than the transference of the Governmental powers into
the hands of the people will satisfy us. It is our natural right, it is
the birthright of every individual to live and to grow (Hear, hear). It
is the natural right of every nation to live and to grow according to
its nature. (Loud cheers). We demand that right--that right has been
unjustly withheld from us--by excuses and pretences--by subterfuges--we
have discovered that. We were sleeping, but by God's grace, we are
awake and we claim our natural right. (Prolonged cheers).


_A meeting held at Chittagong under the auspices of the local Home Rule
League on the 12th June 1918, under the presidency of Babu Jatra Mohan
Sen, when Mr. C. R. Das delivered the following speech:--_

Mr. Chairman and gentlemen,--I thank you heartily for the many kind
words with which your distinguished Chairman has introduced me to you
this evening and for the kindness with which you have received me. When
I set out for Chittagong I made up my mind to place before the people
of Chittagong my views and the views of our friends in Calcutta on many
of the important topics of the day. I am afraid I shall not be able
to do so as fully as I had intended after a long day's work in Court.
But I shall try to place before you in short the thoughts which are
agitating the minds of our friends in Calcutta. I mean those who have
worked with us the whole of last year and for many years before that in
support of the cause of this country.


Gentlemen, I need hardly tell you that the most important question of
the hour is the question of self-government. Upon the solution of this
question depends the solution of many other questions, upon which again
depend the full development of our nationality and if for the whole of
last year we have been putting forth our best energies and our earnest
efforts in the cause of Home Rule or self-government it is because we
feel--I feel and many of my friends feel--that unless and until we have
the government of this country in our own hands it is impossible to
carry on the work of nation building. (Hear, Hear). Gentlemen, we could
afford to be idle in the past when we hoped that the Government would
do everything for us. But now after 150 years of British rule, where do
we find ourselves? If you consider our position, the actual realities
of our position to-day after 150 years of British rule, you will at
once see that we are in a hopeless condition.


What have we got which we can call our own? If the enemy knocks at
our door have we got strength to fight him? Have we got the weapons
of warfare? Have we got even a lathi with which we can defend our
hearths and homes?--No. (Cheers) Have we got money?--No. (Cheers) Are
the people, the vast majority of the people of Bengal educated?--No.
One hundred and fifty years of British rule have passed by without
conferring real education on the people of this country. You need not
enquire into the causes. I am only trying to give you a picture of
the helplessness of our position to-day. We have not got anything--we
have not got money, we have not got arms, we have not got education.
Well, an analysis of our position to-day will tell you more eloquently
than any speaker can that the only solution of this question is
self-government. The very objections which are urged against the
granting of self-government are to my mind good reasons for granting
home rule to this country (Cheers). It is said that we do not deserve
Self-Government because the people of this country are not educated. My
answer to that is why have they remained uneducated so long? In other
countries education has been introduced and carried far within a period
of 20 years or 25 years--in some countries in less than that. But why
is it or how is it that within the last 150 years of British rule--the
bureaucratic government in the country has not succeeded in educating
the people of this country? Why is it so? It is not necessary for them.
It is not necessary for the bureaucracy to do that, but it is necessary
for the people of this country. It is necessary for the development of
our race. It is necessary for the very existence of our nationality.
Now, if you say that we are not fit for self-government because we are
uneducated, I say that is the very reason why you ought to give us
Home Rule, because if you do so we will succeed in educating the vast
majority of our countrymen in 20 year's time (Cheers).


Now, they say, well, it is only a few of you educated people who will
exercise the franchise, How can you represent the country? You will be
only an oligarchy. The Government, instead of being in the hands of the
bureaucracy, will be transferred into the hands of an oligarchy--of
another bureaucracy. My answer to that is that we do not want that.
I ask you particularly to consider that question, gentlemen, and to
realise its importance. My answer to them is that we do not want it.
We want the franchise to be extended far and wide--we want our ryots
and our cultivators to enjoy that franchise. We want them to exercise
their franchise. It is against our self-interest but we want that it
should be done because after all the difference between those who are
against the granting of Home Rule to this country and ourselves is
this: bureaucracy is against it because the granting of Home Rule means
death to the bureaucracy. The Europeans, the Anglo-Indian merchants in
Calcutta are against it because it is against their interest, because
they thrive well under the protecting shelter of this bureaucracy.
Our personal interest also lies in not getting the franchise extended
all over the country--but rather in keeping it confined within the
educated community, an insignificant portion of the Mahomedan community
and an equally insignificant portion of the Hindu community, a few
Brahmins, Baidyas and Kayesthas. If you grant franchise to all the
people of this country where shall we be? In saying this I remember a
conversation I had with an old friend of mine who shall be nameless.
This gentleman said to me, well, if you get Home Rule, what does it
mean? It means that the common people of this country will have a
voice--it means they will have power and we, Brahmins, Baidyas and
Kayesthas, where shall we go? I said to him in answer that they will go
to a very hot place where they deserve to go. Gentlemen, I want you to
realise this.


Gentlemen, we are not fighting for our narrow sordid self-interest--we
are not fighting for the interest of to-day--we are not fighting for
the betterment of myself or yourselves--of the present generation or
of the educated community. If there are any selfish ideals pursued by
any portion of our community, I stand dissociated from them and I say I
take my stand on this and nothing more--it does not matter what happens
to me--it does not matter what happens to the present generation--it
does not matter what happens to the educated community of to-day, but
what matters with me is the development of the nation (Cheers.) I look
forward to the time when the Bengalee nation will rise and stand in
all its glory. I do not care whether I am alive or dead at that moment
(Loud Cheers)--whether my children will be living then or not--but
the time will come when by God's grace, Bengalees as a nation will
make themselves felt and will stand in all their strength and face the
world. That is the ideal which appeals to me every moment of my life. I
feel within myself that that is my appointed task. I shall devote all
that I hold dear to the service of that cause and--if I die in that
attempt--what then? "Fail we alone"?--if I die in this work, I believe
I shall be born in this country again and again, live for it, hope for
it, work for it with all the energy of my life and with all the love of
my nature, till I see the fulfilment of my hope and the realisation of
this ideal (Loud Cheers).


Gentlemen, when we started this agitation--basing it on the ideal to
which I have just referred--ever since then we have been living under a
cross fire. The bureaucracy has been against us, as it is natural they
would be against us, as it is natural they should be against us. But I
am sorry to say that along with these there is a party of Bengalees in
Calcutta who also have set themselves against the fulfilment of this
noble ideal. When I read the criticisms which appear in the _Statesman_
or the _Englishman_ I feel glad because I know that we have succeeded
in exposing the illogical position which they take. But when I read
similar things in the _Bengalee_, I assure you, I feel a great pain
in my heart. I cannot understand it. Is this ideal to be pursued from
the consideration of purely personal question? We have been told that
the leaders of yesterday are the only people who can lead us. I do not
deny their claim to lead. But I am not one of those who would follow a
leader simply because he was a leader yesterday. I want him to lead.
Anybody who leads the real politics of the country at the present time
is a man whom I honour and I am prepared to bow down and take the dust
of his feet. But if a man comes to me and says: look here you will
have to do this--it does not matter what the people of Bengal want--I
am the leader of Bengal--this has been done by me--it has got to be
supported--well, my answer to him is: "thou imposter!" No one has got
that right. We stand or fall as we pursue or desist from the popular
cause. I am nothing. No leader is anything. The strength belongs to the
nation whose representative I am, whose representative every one of us
may become. It is not my own strength. It is the peoples' strength.
Take your stand on that and we will worship you as a leader, as a
martyr, as anything which you can claim but fall short of that ideal
once by a hair's breadth, your claim is no longer to be recognised. If
I have expressed myself strongly, believe me, gentlemen, it is because
I have felt deeply--I feel, I have been stabbed to the heart by this
attitude--this contempt of public opinion.


Now, gentlemen, you all know that we are expecting a scheme of
self-government from the British Parliament. What that scheme is I do
not know. No one has got the right to know but we are expecting some
scheme. We heard that Mr. Montagu had shown or talked about the outline
of that scheme to some Indian leaders--Mr. Surendranath Banerjea of
Bengal, Pundit Madan Mohan Malaviya of the U. P. and Mr. Shastri of
Madras and certain other gentlemen. I do not know if it is true but I
suspect it is. We are also told--it is not admitted--we are told that
some of these gentlemen had given a promise to the Secretary of State
that they would get the people of this country to accept that scheme. I
am not saying that this is admitted but that is what I have heard.


Now what do we find after that? A few days after Mr. Montagu's
departure, a confidential letter over the signature of Babu Satyananda
Bose was circulated and anybody who reads that letter will see that
the attempt is to give up what was decided in the Bengal Provincial
Conference for all Bengal,--to give it up, and to take whatever is
offered to us by the Secretary of State! Why was that circular issued?
Was it only Mr. Satyananda Bose who circulated this or was there a
party behind it? We know Mr. Satyananda Bose is a follower of Mr.
Surendranath Banerjea. Was it the attempt of only Mr. Satyananda
Bose or was it a subtle attempt made in the dark to throw out to the
people the suggestion that they ought to be satisfied with anything
which it may please Mr. Montagu to give, to prepare the ground for the
acceptance of Mr. Montagu's scheme? After that we heard that a special
session of the Congress would be held in Bombay.


It is after that that the secretaries of the Provincial Congress
Committee wrote this letter:

 "Dear Sir,--It appears that the Secretary of State for India will
 very soon make his announcement about the proposed Reforms. It is
 in contemplation to hold a special session of the Congress and of
 the Provincial Conference after the announcement. We have a duty
 to perform. The future of our country for at least a generation
 will depend upon the nature of the Reforms. You will therefore keep
 yourselves ready to hold public meetings, to attend the Congress
 (wherever held) and the Conference in very large numbers and to
 fearlessly criticise the proposals if they fall short of our ideal.
 We must make a united stand and see that they meet our legitimate

 Yours faithfully,--_I. B. Sen, Bejoy Krishna Bose, Secys."_

Now, gentlemen, you have heard the whole of this letter. Do you think
there is anything objectionable in this letter? What does the letter
say? It says merely that Mr. Montagu is going to make his pronouncement
and that we have to watch, if it falls short of our ideal and our
legitimate aspirations and if so we ought to fight against it, we
ought to attend in large numbers, the special session of the Congress
and conference to show a united front, and to criticise the scheme
fearlessly. Now, is there anything in this to which any Nationalist,
any person who has the good of his country at heart can take the
slightest objection?


I will read out to you what the _Bengalee_ says. Unfortunately we
cannot dissociate the Editor of the _Bengalee_ from the paper.
Otherwise I would have cast it into the waste-paper basket and would
not have thought about it. This is what the _Bengalee_ writes in its
editorial of June 6th;--

 "We confess that we have read the above with pain and regret, though
 not with surprise, for in a recent article, we pretty clearly
 indicated the constitution and the policy of the present Bengal
 Provincial Congress Committee. The old leaders are the men of
 yesterday and they of course should have no voice in the deliberation
 of the _New India_ which they have helped to build up. For we are
 always wiser than our fathers, and to acknowledge our indebtedness
 to them is to belittle our own importance which must always be a
 prime consideration. There is only one little risk which their policy
 involves and they may as well be reminded of it thus early, _viz_.,
 that they may be paid back in their own coins and with compound
 interest by those who come after them."

What is there in this innocent letter to call for this personal and
vehement attack? Are we to be condemned because we are asking the
people of this country to watch the pronouncement of the Secretary of
State? We are asking the people of this country to examine it and if it
falls short of popular demands to criticise it, fearlessly and to hold
meetings and to attend those meetings in large numbers. "Large numbers"
is italicised by the _Bengalee_. It is a crime, a new crime to hold
meetings where "large numbers" attend. It used not to be so in the past
but it has become a crime now! I will go on reading another passage
from this article:--


 "Let us now pass on to the consideration of the circular. The tone
 is pessimistic. It is even worse: it is that of the alarmist who
 raises the signal note of warning, as if we were on the eve of a great

Well, gentlemen, if I am to tell you the truth, I admit that I suspect
we are on the eve of a great danger and that grave danger is the
acceptance of a system of self-government which will not give us the
reality, which will give us self-government in name but not in fact. It
is the duty of every Nationalist to raise that alarm. It does no harm
to watch, even suspiciously watch what it is and if it does not satisfy
the people of this country, to reject it, to say that we do not want
it,--Take it back.

 "Our countrymen are asked to be ready to fearlessly criticise the
 proposals, if they fall short of our ideal."

Very wrong indeed! Now mark what follows:--

 "Brave words indeed coming with special aptness from some of those who
 ran away as fast as their legs could carry them when the Police broke
 up the Barisal Conference."

That is worthy of the leader of the Bengalee nation! To circulate--this
falsehood! It may be within the recollection of many of you (Jatra
Mohan Babu nods his head)--it is within the recollection of our
distinguished Chairman--this falsehood originated in Colootolla in
the year 1906 or 1907. The falsity of this was demonstrated then, and
now in the year of grace, 1918, we find the truthful Editor of the
_Bengalee_ newspaper referring to that lie and putting forward that lie
as an argument against the popular party.

 "We are told that we must fearlessly criticise the proposals, if they
 fall short of our ideal. But if they do not, what then?"

Well then, we accept it (Laughter). What is there to say about it? Then
it goes on to say:

 "The circular assumes that Mr. Montagu's proposals are bound to be
 unsatisfactory and that they will mean little or nothing."

Where does the Circular assume that? The Circular merely asserts that
if it is, it is our bounden duty to protest against that. Nothing more.

I need not read the rest of it. There is another passage which however
I must read to you:

 "Why then sound the tocsin of alarm and seek to create a prejudice
 for which so far as there is no warrant and against which there is a
 strong body of presumptive evidence. Why talk of fearless criticism
 and united front"?

This comes from Mr. Surendranath Banerjea! Surely we are fallen on evil


Then our editor goes on to say:

 "If they are satisfactory they should be welcomed; if they are partly
 satisfactory they should be welcomed to that extent."


And why?

 "For the British public would then feel inclined to drop them

To drop them altogether! Now, gentlemen, you have seen what that
article is. The letter which was written by the Secretaries of the
Provincial Congress Committee is merely put forward as an excuse.
What is put forward before the people of Bengal is this; if it is
satisfactory, of course, we should accept it. If not? In the article
which appeared the next day, he made his position clearer. He said
the difficulty is this: The Europeans are clamouring against it--the
Indo-European Association in England is fighting against it--and if
you, the people of Bengal say that you do not want it, why the British
people will say 'then drop it altogether.' My answer to that is: let it
be dropped if it is not satisfactory. Mr. Surendranath Banerjea admits
it in this writing--let me quote his exact words:

 "We quite admit that there have been many paper announcements in the
 past: and it is only too true that the pages of Anglo-Indian history
 are strewn broadcast with the fragments of broken pledges."

Let it be another fragment of broken pledge; but let not the people of
Bengal consent to that! If their position is this: we will give you
this and no further, let them give what they choose; but is it for us
to say what little of self-government you choose to give us is amply
sufficient for us at the present day? I venture to think that you will
not accept such a proposition as that (No, no). We want self-government
for a purpose. We do not want that self-government which some people
brought up in European politics want--we do not want simply a weapon
to fight against the bureaucracy--we have got tired of that and we
say for God's sake, let us have peace in Bengal. (cheers) Let us have
some sort of self-government which will enable us to look after the
agricultural, industrial interests of the country, and to take up the
work of education and sanitation which will enable us to work for the
real good of the country without being obstructed at every step. That
is why we want a change in the system of Government (cheers).


Now, gentlemen, supposing Mr. Montagu says you can't get all that,
take a little, just a little, a pinch. My position is this: I do not
know what others will say. I hope the people of this country will have
the courage to say: we want none of it, take it back: if we are to be
slaves of the bureaucracy, if all our activities in every direction
are to be controlled, and it may be, stifled at the sweet will and
pleasure of the bureaucracy, we want none of it. Take it back to
England (cheers). We do not want it here. We want courage to say that,
I admit. But what right have you to ask for Home Rule if you cannot
have the courage to say that--if you cannot have the courage to say to
the Government that we don't want it: it will not serve our purpose.
What is the good of giving something to the people which they do not
want. Now, gentlemen, that I am right in taking this position I shall
try to show to you, if you will bear with me--(go on) from one or two
extracts from the "Bengalee" newspaper, before a change came over the
spirit of its dreams. I will read to you just two or three extracts
from the "Bengalee"--not after March when the editor went to Delhi but
before that in November and December, 1917. I quote from the "Bengalee"
of November 2nd 1917:--

 "Mr. Montagu will not be deceived by these tactics (of the
 anti-Congress-League party). He will know how to appraise them at
 their proper value. The British Cabinet consisting of politicians of
 the type of Lord Curzon and Lord Milner have decided that India is to
 have responsible government and that a substantial advance is to be
 made in that direction as soon as possible. There is no going back
 upon this announcement. It must be accepted as a settled policy, from
 which there can be no departure. Mr. Montagu is coming out to discuss
 the details and how best this policy can be carried out. It is no use
 saying "we don't want responsible government; we are not fit for it."

This was Mr. Surendranath Banerjea on November 2nd 1917. He says:--

 "Those who breathe a word against it in this crisis of our national
 evolution are traitors to their country and their God."

This was Mr. Surendranath Banerjea on November 2nd, 1917. On 3rd
November, 1917, the mood still continues:

 "We want responsible government in full measure in connection with
 the Provincial Branches of administration, leaving untouched the
 Departments under the control of the Government of India in regard to
 which the Congress scheme should apply."

Therefore what he wanted is responsible government in full measure in
connection with the provincial branches. On the 11th November, the
"Bengalee" writes:

 "In Bengal the feeling is--and we think that Bengal reflects the
 feeling of all India in this matter--that a full measure of provincial
 autonomy should be at once given with the reform of the Imperial
 Legislative Council of the India office as recommended by the Congress
 and the Muslim League. Nothing short of this will satisfy educated

This was Mr. Surendranath Banerjea on November 11th. If he is a leader
of yesterday, let him remain true to that leadership (Hear, hear). As
for myself, standing on this platform to-day, I make a solemn promise
to follow this leader if he remains true to what he was yesterday
(cheers). I shall follow what Mr. Surendranath Banerjea said on
November 11th, 1917 _viz._, that nothing short of this will satisfy
educated India (loud cheers). Then on the 21st, November, he repeats
the same ideal:

 "Courage is the first and last quality of real statesmanship. It was
 the crowning quality of Akbar, the greatest ruler that ever adorned a
 throne. Let our rulers take courage in both hands and great will be
 their reward."

Courage is the first and last quality of real statesmanship! How have
the mighty fallen!


He follows that up by saying on November 22nd:

 "There must be no shams or shows or delusions. We have had too much of
 this commodity in the past."

No shams, no delusions. I follow the noble words of Mr. Surendranath
Banerjea. I love them so much that I am prepared to follow his
teachings. But if the Surendranath Banerjea of to-day does not follow
the S. N. Banerjea of yesterday is it my fault that I cannot follow
him? (laughter) I adore the Surendranath Banerjea of yesterday, but if
he cannot remain true to his trust I cannot be false to my faith. Hear
the leader of yesterday again:

 "The Minto-Morley scheme, if it was not a dead failure, did not
 satisfy popular aspirations and was behind the growing requirements
 of the times. We hope the mistakes will not be repeated in the coming
 constitutional changes. Provincial autonomy must be the basis of
 the reforms, not an emasculated, half-hearted, system of Provincial

Noble words again and I repeat them and I follow them.

 "but in full measure with a full share of responsibility. The time for
 half-measures is past and gone."

Then in the same article he goes on to say:

 "The counsels of caution are often the counsels of timidity."

Mark these words, gentlemen. Then he says:

 "If the Government will not make over the whole of the provincial
 administration to a popular Ministry responsible to a popular
 Assembly, let them at least, entrust to them such departments, as
 Education, Sanitation, Local Self-government, Police, etc."

Mark these words again. He includes the Police but I was told the other
day that we ought not to take the Police; it is a difficult department
to administer, (laughter).

Then on the 27th of November, the "Bengalee" writes:

 "The country is rushing at a giddy pace and Lord Morley's reforms have
 failed to meet the exigencies of the times which cannot be satisfied
 by anything short of a full measure of responsible government."


 "Any scheme that does not fully provide for this and secure full
 autonomous power for the provinces and falls short of the irreducible
 minimum put forth in the Congress-League scheme stands self-condemned
 and will totally fail to meet the wishes and requirements of the
 people and win their support."

But now he is urging the people of this country to support a scheme
which may fall short of his ideal and he says even if it is not
satisfactory we should accept it. Even on the 29th of November he says:

 "Any tinkering reform of a patch-work kind will not avail to meet the
 necessities of the situation but will rather intensify the present

Gentlemen, I will not weary you with any more extracts but I will quote
just two passages, for which I hope you will pardon me (go on, go on).


On December 1st, Mr. Surendranath Banerjea says:

 "Nothing less will satisfy the people of India or redeem the honour of
 England.... Real power must be given to us. No shams or delusions will
 satisfy us. We have had enough of them.... None of that taking away
 with the one hand what is given with the other."

Then on the 2nd of December, he says:

 "Let it be clearly understood that the Congress-League scheme
 represents the irreducible minimum which admits of no curtailment
 here or excision there and then which no more moderate demand can be
 conceived under the circumstances."

It seems to me, gentlemen, that a scheme more moderate than the
Congress League scheme can be conceived and Mr. Surendranath Banerjea
of to-day has conceived that (laughter). Then on December 12th, he says:

 "Too long have we been given the shadows of things--empty forms--which
 may please the infantile mind, but which the adolescent nation spurns
 away as a child's plaything.... Not only should justice be done, but
 that the people should be convinced of it, ... not only should the
 Government be satisfied, but that the people should be convinced that
 a substantial measure of responsible government has been granted."


Gentlemen, you will find similar expressions of his opinion in January
and one or two in February. In March, Mr. Surendranath Banerjea went
to Delhi and from that moment--well I am reminded of the "Rake's
progress"--I shudder to think of the last step--I think, we the
people of Bengal--we are entitled to ask for an explanation of this
phenomenon. We are entitled to ask Sir Surendranath--I beg your pardon,
gentlemen, I beg his pardon too--coming events cast their shadow before
and I was caught in that shadow just for a moment--I think, gentlemen,
we are entitled to ask Mr. Surendranath why is it that yesterday he
was determined not to have any measure of self-government which was
not satisfactory, which was not responsible, which was not wide in
its scope and why is it that to-day in the month of June, 1918, he is
of opinion that whatever scheme the Secretary of State puts forward
should be accepted by the people--if it is satisfactory it should be
accepted, if it is not satisfactory, even then it should be accepted
because if we did not accept it, the British people might not grant
anything at all. We want an explanation of this. He is the leader of
Bengal--he claims that. I am free to acknowledge that claim, but we the
people of Bengal who have loved him, followed him and honoured him, we
who had "learnt his great language" and "caught his clear accents," we
who had followed him with all the devotion of our hearts, we who had
lived "in his mild and magnificent eye" for the last 30 years, are we
not entitled to ask him to explain to us the inner significance the
deeper meaning of this change? (Hear hear,) It cannot be for "a handful
silver," we are told, it is not for "a riband to stick in his coat."
What is it then?


Was there anything in the atmosphere of Delhi which brought about this
change--was it something said, something done?--was it touch of hand
or turn of head? What was it? Was it the growing wisdom of old age?
Surely some explanation is due from him to the people of Bengal and as
for his reasons, I have told you and I repeat: as long as I shall live
I shall repeat that whether the people of England are willing or not
willing to grant us any reform, that will not induce me to accept it
unless it recognises my natural right--a real scheme of reform means
the recognition of the natural rights of the people of this country
(Loud cheers) I claim no favour. I stand on my right.


What rights can the British people give me if I have not the claim
within myself? Can man create rights? They can only recognise the
rights which I have within me, the rights which belong to me, the
rights which are given to me by God and rights which no man can take
away. Unless you can satisfy that, unless you can make good that
position, neither the British Parliament, nor all the Parliaments of
the world will be able to confer on you things which do not belong to
you. Strive for the thing which belongs to you. Say to them manfully,
"this is my right" and prove that assertion by the voice of the people,
the united voice of the nation (cheers). Prove that assertion and when
you have done that, is there any power in this world which can say,
you will not have that which belongs to you (cheers). They can only
keep it from you as long as you do not realise that it is yours. That
which you realise as your own cannot be taken away from you. The moment
you realise this is your own, that moment that right will have to be
recognised and not a moment sooner. No half-measures will create that,
no tinkering scheme of reforms has ever made a nation in the past and
will never make a nation in the future. Is it not Mr. Surendranath
Banerjea who has repeated times without number that nations are by
themselves made (Loud Cheers)?


We have to make ourselves. Is this the way? This way which Mr.
Surendranath Banerjea is now recommending, is this the way to make a
nation? It is a critical period in our political history: there was
no crisis in the history of India from the earliest times down to the
present which was more critical than this and at this critical time
for a leader of our people to say 'give us what little you think wise,
we, the people of this country will accept it.'--Is it politics? Is it
wisdom? Or is it madness? Surely an explanation is due to the people.

Well, gentlemen, take this to your heart to-day and make a solemn vow
that if you are fit for self-government, you have got to demonstrate
that. No words ever produced or created rights. Enactments are
nothing. They simply recognise rights which exist. The rights belong
to you if you only realise the position--they are not yours, if you
hesitate (cheers). If you hesitate, you are lost. If you are afraid to
realise that you have rights you are not fit for self-government. The
rights of nationality were never granted to a nation of cowards (hear,

I thank you again, gentlemen, for listening to me patiently. I had many
things more to say and if I find another opportunity I shall again
address you (cheers).


_At Chittagong on the 17th June 1918, under the auspices of the local
Home Rule League, a meeting was held under the presidency of Babu Jatra
Mohan Sen, when Mr. C. R. Das delivered the following speech_:--

Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I wish you had not insisted on my speaking
to-night as I am anxious not to spoil the effect of the brilliant
address (of the Hon. Mr. Fazlul Huq) to which you have just listened
(go on, go on). If I rise to respond to the call from the Chairman,
I confess it is not without some hesitation. Gentlemen, Mr. Huq has
dealt with the question of Home Rule from many points of view, with
considerable force and with great eloquence. I desire to say that I
am in complete agreement with everything that has fallen from him.

You will, however, permit me to-night to tell you a story--the story of
the great denial. The other day our distinguished Chairman said that
we are in the midst of a great crisis. I also said that the present
crisis of India is greater and more serious than any in her history.
But to-day I will tell you the story of the great denial. As a preface
to my story I shall ask you to recall to your mind the principal
incidents of our national history under British Rule. More than a
century and a half have passed by and at the end of it we find that
the people of Bengal, the vast majority of them at any rate, are not
educated and this want of education is put forward by the authorities
as an argument against Home Rule. I have given this answer before and I
repeat it again--if they are not educated, whose fault is it? What have
the authorities been doing here for the last 150 years if they have
not succeeded in educating the people of this country? What excuse is
there for this failure? Is there a national government anywhere in the
history of civilization, which after it took up the work of education,
did not finish and complete it within, say, 30 years? (Hear, hear).
Do you doubt for a moment that if we get self-government now, we will
be able to educate the people of this country in another 20 years?
But why has not this been done by the Government? Let the Bureaucracy
answer--This is a chapter in the story of the great denial (Hear, hear).


Now, gentlemen, take the question of agriculture in this country.
The Indian village-life was the envy of the world at one time. What
are our villages now? How does our agriculture stand to-day? Has the
Government done anything on that behalf during the last 150 years,
which is at all worthy of a great nation and a great Government?
(Cries of 'no,' 'no'). Yes, the answer must be 'no'. Why not? Because
agriculture does not directly concern the bureaucracy of this country.
It may be necessary to start a department and call it department of
agriculture in the interest of the bureaucracy. That has been done--one
or two colleges which are not suited to our requirements have been
established. But has agriculture improved? I do not know whether in
the interest of the Bureaucracy it is necessary that it should. But it
is necessary for us. It is a matter of vital importance to the nation
that the cultivators of Bengal should prosper and live better lives
(hear, hear). It is a matter of supreme importance to those who want
self-government or swaraj in this country (hear, hear). We must look
forward to the whole Bengalee nation. We must work persistently, we
must look forward to the day when the Bengalees as a nation, Hindus
and Mahomedans, all together, will stand before the world in all the
glory of nationality (cheers). I say therefore the question is of vital
importance from the point of view of the nation. Who are the people
of Bengal? Not we, who conduct cases in court, not those who sit as
magistrates and judges. But who are they? It is those who cultivate
the land--they are the real nation (cheers) and if ever this country
rises--by God's grace, rise it must--and takes its place amongst
the nations of the world (Loud cheers)--well, long before that, the
agriculture of this country must be improved. That is one of the
reasons why we want Home rule. This is another chapter in the story of
the great denial (hear, hear).


Now, gentlemen, what is the story of our commerce and industry? I do
not desire to begin from the beginning. I will not recall to mind or
help you to recall to your mind the history of the destruction of our
trade and the annihilation of our industries. Let the dead past bury
its dead. But what about the living? What has the Government done to
encourage Commerce and Industry in recent years? It is the crying
need of the hour--the peculiar circumstances of this country demand a
solution of this problem. Has the bureaucracy done anything in this
matter? It is the duty of every civilized government to lend a helping
hand and thus encourage the growth of Commerce and Industry. Can the
Bureaucracy lay its hand on its breast and say that it has fulfilled
its trust? The answer must be 'no'. That is another reason why we want
Home Rule, and gentlemen, that is another chapter in the story of the
great denial (hear, hear).

Do you want proof? For agriculture, the Government spends only 24 lacs
of rupees out of Bengal's share of land-revenue which is 1-1/2 crores.
What do the Government do with that money? The Bureaucracy says we
who want Home Rule are not fit to represent the people! What has the
Government done for them? They spend only 24 lacs of rupees or rather
misspend it. Have any improvements been effected? That is the test. It
is possible to have highly paid European agricultural officers without
agricultural improvements.

That is exactly what has happened!


Now, gentlemen, what about sanitation? Shall I tell you the story of
how the people are dying in this country for want of sanitation for the
last few years? Listen to these figures.

  In 1911-12--9 lacs of people died of malaria alone
  In 1912-13--9·59         "         "         "
  In 1913-14--9·65         "         "         "
  In 1914-15--10·61        "         "         "
  In 1915-16--10·64        "         "         "

So in five years we have had five million victims (Cries of Oh!) for
want of sanitation in this country. Five million men in five years!
More than the combined army of Great Britain and Ireland to-day! (Cries
of Oh!) We have had representations and opinions of experts and a few
experiments but what has really been done up to now? Are we to believe
that this fell disease could not have been eradicated if the Government
had taken active steps in that direction? Do you believe, gentlemen
that if the government is nationalised--effectively nationalised--we
cannot get rid of this disease? It is a matter of supreme importance
to us, to the growing nationality of Bengal. It means that every
year there is an increase in the number of deaths, it means want of
strength, it means decrease of national vitality, it means that at
not a very distant day we will be reduced to such a condition that it
will be impossible to regenerate us. (hear, hear). I have given you
only the number of people who die every year. But do we not see all
over the whole country malaria-stricken people living by chance as
it were--carrying on by some means or other, their miserable load of
existence? The whole of Bengal is full of these people and yet what has
the Government done? ('Nothing') Yes, practically nothing.


_Three Annas per Head per Year._

Let me give you the figures regarding education which is very
interesting. The average amount spent by the Government is 85 lacs of
rupees for education. The population of Bengal is 450 lacs, _i.e._,
5 persons per rupee per year. It means three annas per head per year
spent for the noble cause of education! (laughter) It means again
one pice per head per month! (Shame). And we are told that England's
duty in India is to spread education so that the degraded people of
the country may be elevated! (laughter) And three annas per head per
year is spent for this noble cause! But don't you think these are
purely educational expenses. It also includes the cost of building
(Laughter). It includes the cost of inspection which exceeds the pay of
the teachers (Shame). You can well imagine what is left for education
proper. Talk of education gentlemen? Who cares for education? Not the


With regard to expenditure on commerce and industry, well, you may say
very little, practically nothing is spent. I will simply quote to you
the observations of a member of the Indian Civil Service, Mr. J. Swan,
who has written a report on the industrial condition of Bengal.

"While the industrial development of the province must depend on
private enterprise I think the encouragement of Government might take a
more active form than it has hitherto done."

Encouragement of the Government might take a more active form! Well,
you cannot expect a member of the Civil Service to write more than
that. Then again:--

"Adequate capital is particularly necessary in case of industries run
by Indian capital and under Indian management owing to the reluctance
of banks and of firms to give them credit."


This is what Mr. Swan writes. You may gather therefore that very little
is done for industry and commerce. Now that is the position. This
state of things went on for years. We were sleeping. At the end of
every year we used to hold a meeting of the Congress and beyond that
we had no kind of activity. But from the year 1905, there was a great
activity in this country which we called the Swadeshi movement. And we
find from that time the Government indulged in a series of repressive
measures and I believe those repressive measures in their turn gave
rise to a party in Bengal, who are described by the Government
as anarchists but who are, I venture to think, not anarchists at
all--they are revolutionaries. I do not for a moment suggest that
the methods which they employ are good or ought to be encouraged but
they are not anarchists. It is not that they want to do away with all
Government--what they want to do is to change the system of government
(hear, hear). So far as I have been able to judge the object of these
so called anarchists is not different from the object of the Congress
or the Moslem League. The only difference lies in the method which
they pursue. They pursue methods which are subversive of law and
order whereas the Congress-League adopts methods which are legal.
This is the only difference. The methods they pursue are deserving
of severe condemnation but I think it is a great injustice to call
them anarchists. Be that as it may--I say that after these repressive
measures, one after another, in rapid succession--we have in our midst
a revolutionary party in Bengal.

Now, it has been often said that we are not fit for self-government
because of the existence of this revolutionary party. My answer is:
I do not deny that there is a revolutionary party. I admit it and I
say that no government which is not a national government will ever
be able to put a stop to this revolutionary movement. What do these
people want? They want freedom. They want to change the system of
government. I told you just now that their object is the same as that
of the Congress and the Moslem League. I go further and I say that
their object--not their methods--is now recognised as legitimate
by the British Cabinet. In August last year, the British Cabinet
declared that some kind of responsible government should be introduced
into this country. What does that mean? It means that the system of
government which obtains now, which is bureaucratic, should be changed
or otherwise it is an admission on the part of our masters--after all
it is the British Cabinet who are our masters and not the Bureaucracy
here--it is an admission on the part of our masters that a change of
government, of the bureaucratic system of government is necessary for
the welfare of India. I say the object of the so-called anarchists is
not only the same as that of the Congress and the League but it is an
object which is recognised and sanctioned by the highest authority in
England. Therefore, gentlemen, I say, as I have said elsewhere, that
the only way you can put a stop to this revolutionary movement is by
recognising that simple fact that the people of this country--they
are hungry for Freedom--should be given what they want and I say the
moment you give freedom to the people, there will be an end of this
revolutionary movement (hear, hear). It has been pointed out over
and over again, but the Bureaucracy will not listen. Gentlemen, that
is the position of affairs to-day. Our agriculture neglected, our
education neglected, sanitation neglected, industry and commerce not
seriously considered and along with that we have got a revolutionary
movement in this country. This is the present situation and it is upon
that that a memorable declaration was made by the British Cabinet
in August last year. Now, gentlemen, what have we to say to that? I
desire to place before you clearly what I mean: Your declaration goes
one way and your action goes another way. That is the real grievance
of the people of this country. Tell us, if you want, 'you are not fit
for self-government, we will not give you self-government.' I can
understand that position. I respect plain speaking. I am fond of plain
speaking. Let the bureaucracy say in clear terms 'we cannot afford to
give you responsible government. We want to have this government as
bureaucratic as ever.' 'You can get a little change here and there,
political lolipops with which you can amuse yourselves. But we will
not give you responsible government'--let them so declare, if they
like, and we will then drop this political agitation. Our difficulty
is this: We believe in the words of the Declaration and in that belief
we have been devising schemes, holding meetings to consider schemes
of self-government and to consider what would be the best form of
self-government, in this country and to help the Government with our
suggestions so that the British Parliament may consider this.


Now, gentlemen, when things were going on in that way we had another
declaration, a more memorable message from the Prime Minister, in
which the Prime Minister asked our help at the time of a great crisis,
asked us to avert a great danger which threatened England and which
threatened India. Now what did we do under the circumstance? We held
meetings again and we told the Government that at this juncture 'you
must have one united India, you must create an enthusiasm in this
country, real enthusiasm which will lead people to make every sacrifice
for the country and for the empire' and we asked the Government to do
away with the repressive measures, to release the political suspects
and the political prisoners (loud cheers). The whole country regards
that as an oppression. We said to the Government. Do away with that
oppression: Make a definite proposal about self-government and you
will have the whole country with you. You will have hundreds and
thousands of soldiers fighting for you, fighting for India, fighting
for the Empire--you will have the gold of the rich and the copper of
the poor--every sacrifice that may be required of the people will be
willingly, ungrudgingly, cheerfully made for the service of the country
and for upholding the glory of the empire (cheers). How was that
accepted by the bureaucracy? I must confess to a sense of hopelessness
that Government paid not the slightest attention to it. Shortly after
that there was the Conference at Delhi. Let me quote to you the words
of His Excellency the Viceroy, words in which he pictures the great
danger which threatens us:

"Germany has already thrown out into Central Asia her pioneers of
intrigue, her agents of disintegration. The lesson she has learnt from
the Russian Revolution that a stronger weapon than all the armaments
that money can buy or science devise is the disruption of an enemy by
his own internal forces."

Then later on,

"I have spoken of the cause. I have told you of the death-grip on the
western front and have unfolded to you the story of German machinations
in the East."

We were ready to help the Government when we were told that a great
danger threatened the whole of the British Empire and India. That
danger is admitted by His Excellency the Viceroy, it was suggested
by the message of the Prime Minister. It was admitted and if I may
have the impertinence of saying, clearly and eloquently described by
His Excellency the Viceroy. But what about our suggestions? Is it not
a fact that whenever we are anxious to give the bureaucracy in this
country good advice, sane advice, advice which is necessary for the
welfare not only of this country but of England also, the welfare of
the whole empire, that advice is received with scorn and contempt? What
does the Viceroy say? After describing the difficulty which threatens
us, His Excellency says:

"We can, I believe, best do so (help the Amir to keep his ship
straight) by showing our enemies first that India is solid as a rock."

I pause here for a moment. That must be done. It is admitted by His
Excellency the Viceroy that, at this juncture we must do something by
which we can present to the enemy a united India, an India which is
solid as a rock. How does he propose to do that? How can India be solid
as a rock unless she is strong in her rights, how can anybody expect
India to stand solid as a rock unless she has got the elementary rights
of citizenship, unless she can say 'I am one in this world'? (Cheers).
The Viceroy says:--

"We can, I believe, best do so by showing our enemies first that
India is solid as a rock, and that the lambent flame of anarchical
intrigue will find nothing inflammable in this country, nay, rather
will be smothered and extinguished forthwith should it approach, by the
deadweight of our unity of purpose."

Now, gentlemen, so far, there is nothing in the speech of His
Excellency the Viceroy from which we have any reason to differ. But in
the same speech His Excellency disposes of our suggestions in this way:

"But in these days of stress and strain it is idle to ask men to come
together who disagree on first principles."


I pause for a moment. Do we disagree--we the nationalists of India, do
we disagree from the Viceroy on any question of first principles? I
venture to think, not. What have we done? We have believed the Message
of Hope left to us by His Majesty the King personally--we have believed
that that message will be fulfilled--we have had the declaration of
the British Cabinet in that behalf and we believed that Responsible
Government would be introduced. We have had the message from the Prime
Minister asking for our help and sympathy, asking for help in men and
money. We have told the Government that in order to do this, the
repressive measures must be withdrawn, political prisoners must be set
free and a definite scheme of self-government must be put forward.
What were we trying to do? Were we not trying to give effect to the
message of the British Cabinet? Were we not giving a real response to
the message of the Prime Minister? (Cheers). Why should it be said
that we differ from the Viceroy on questions of first principles. What
are the questions of first principles? It is statements like these
which fill us with suspicion and alarm. Do they want that the King's
Message will for ever remain unfulfilled and unredeemed?--That the
Declaration of the British Parliament will remain a declaration and
nothing but a Declaration to the end of the chapter?--Does it come
to this: that whatever declaration is made the bureaucracy has made
up its mind not to let responsible government be introduced in this
country? What difference in first principles can there be, I ask, when
all our endeavours have been to give effect to the Message of the Prime

Then His Excellency goes on to say:

"While they are wrangling over those, while the house is burning, there
are those who would exploit England's difficulty. I believe that these
people gravely misinterpret India's attitude. I am sure that there are
none here who will countenance such a policy. There are those, again,
who would wish to bargain. Again I decline to believe that anyone has
come to this Conference in a huckstering spirit."


There are those who would wish to bargain, that is to say, when we are
suggesting to the Government in all seriousness that certain measures
are necessary for carrying out the Prime Minister's Message we are told
that it is bargaining, that we want to exploit England's difficulty!
What is England doing now? This is a simple fact and I do not wish to
conceal it. What is our interest in the war? Our only interest is our
country. What is England doing now? England asks us to help her in
this war. And why should we help her? If we are to help her, we must
first of all feel that this country is our own country (Cheers)--that
India has in fact and not in name, her rightful place in the British
Empire (Loud Cheers). That is what we say. That is what great statesmen
in England have said again and again. If this is your real intention,
tell the people so--tell them "it is your own country, manage your own
affairs and defend your own country" and you will then see what we
can do (Hear, Hear). The only thing that we want is to feel that this
is our country. If it is not our country, what does it matter to us?
(Cheers). If it is our country it affects us; it affects our personal
interests, it affects our selfish interests, it affects our future--and
we are ready for any sacrifice. You say that we want to exploit
England's difficulty. And if we say that England is exploiting at this
time our helplessness, that would at once be condemned as unwise and
unworthy. Those who wish to realise themselves, those who wish to make
the people of this country realise that India is their own country,
that India is a part, an integral part--not shadowy or imaginary but
a real part of the British Empire--well, they are to be condemned as
persons who would exploit England's difficulty (Shame). That is how the
Conference was held at Delhi.


From Delhi we come to Bengal. There again we have the speech of
His Excellency the Governor. His Excellency advised us--he did not
command--His Excellency advised us that we should stop all political
agitation at the present moment and he gave two reasons for it. One
reason is this:

"Now let me give you my first reason. We have always been slow as a
people, as in Great Britain and India to realise how closely the enemy
keeps his eye upon us how quick he is to note our actions, indeed our
very words, and what a difference it makes to his own morals whether
he sees arrayed against him the serried ranks of a united people or
whether he detects or thinks he detects in this part of the Empire or
in that some note of dissension, some indication of lack of unity of

Therefore, do not show that you are wanting in a unity of purpose. I
was thinking what His Excellency really meant because it seems to
me that we are in complete agreement with what His Excellency said.
That is the very reason for which we made the suggestions. Let not the
enemy think that England is not united in its purpose and that India is
not prepared to take its place in the fight. That is the very reason
for which we suggested that all causes which led to resentment of the
people of this country and drew them away from this united purpose
should be removed--that the people of this country should be allowed to
feel that India is their own country, that it is their birthright to
defend their own country, that it is their right, not right alone but
it is their proud privilege to fight the common enemy. His Excellency
said we should do nothing so that the enemy could think that we are not
united. My answer is: Make us united. It can be done with a stroke of
the pen to-morrow if you really want to do it (Hear, Hear). If you do
that, the enemy will detect no lack of unity of purpose. It is possible
to make it appear that there is no lack of unity of purpose.--Is it
not a hundred times more desirable that there should be real unity of


"If the Kaiser came to Calcutta what would all the talk of freedom of
individual, of the liberty of the subject, of the right of this people
or that people to self-determination, of this constitutional reform or
that constitutional reforms--what would be the value of all such talk
if the Kaiser came to Calcutta?"

Again, I say, we are in complete agreement with His Excellency, the
Governor of Bengal. I believe, if the Kaiser came to this country
to-morrow there would be no talk of liberty of the subject, of the
right of freedom of the individual and of constitutional rights and
that is the very reason why I am personally interested in not letting
the Kaiser come to Calcutta (Laughter) and that is the very reason why
we have been asking the Government again and again, why our leaders
have asked the Government repeatedly, to do away with these repressive
measures to call forth loyalty, not lip-loyalty but real and genuine
loyalty--not loyalty to the Bureaucracy but to the Empire. You cannot
call that up by sweet words alone, we want deeds--and as I say, this
can be done by a stroke of the pen to-morrow if you really want to do
it. (Hear, Hear and Laughter.)


His Excellency advanced another reason. It is this:--

"The British people have a temper of their own. Some people call
them a stubborn and a stiff-necked race. They are, I believe, a fair
and a just people. You can without difficulty reason with them, you
can without difficulty excite their interest, excite their sympathy
and above all, you can excite their gratitude. But they are people,
believe me, who resent, perhaps more deeply than any other people on
this earth any suspicion that anybody is bent upon making an attempt to
take advantage of them when their backs are against the wall."

Therefore, gentlemen, what does it come to? We must consider that
wicked capacity of the German people who are for ever on their watch
to find out a flaw in the constitution of this country. You must also
regard the temperament of the British nation, who will be angry if you
want your rights at this juncture, but the only people whose interests
and whose sentiments are to be set at naught are the Indian people
(Shame). We are not men! We are not a race! Our feeling need not be
considered--our sentiments are nothing! Our feelings must be those of
our masters. We must feel to order and suppress our real feelings!


Well, gentlemen, I must say that I have read this part of His
Excellency's speech with considerable pain. It is the duty of the
Government, here, to consult and to consider the sentiments of the
people. The people of this country are loyal to the Empire. They may
not like the bureaucracy and they do not. And the British Cabinet
has declared that the people are not wrong when they say that the
Bureaucracy has mismanaged matters. They do not like the Bureaucracy,
and for sufficient reasons; but they are loyal to the Empire. Again,
my earnest appeal to the Government is: "Take care, do not disregard
the people's sentiments. Do not wish to substitute obedience to the
Bureaucracy in place of the people's loyalty to the Empire. The people
of this country are impatient and they will not bear it."

"For God's sake let this be the last chapter in the story of the great
denial." (Loud Cheers).


_There was a huge meeting of students of Bangabashi and Ripon colleges
on the 14th January 1921, at Mirzapur Park, when Mr. Das said_:

Srijut Chittaranjan Das, who, on rising to speak, was given a very
hearty ovation said "I am unable to deliver any speech to-day. My heart
is full, and my voice is choked and I have not power and strength
enough to express the feelings that are surging in my mind to-day. God
has not given me power to express in language the happiness that you
have given me by coming out of your Colleges. I feel it in my heart of
hearts that, those of you who have come out, are greater than any of us
here, and I humbly bow to you--to the manifestation of strength that
you have displayed to-day. I want you to realise that,--to realise the
strength in you. It is not yours--it is not human, it is the will--the
divine will of the country and the God of our being. It is the will
of _Deshamabrika_ that has been manifested through you. What, she is,
I do not know, but she is the Goddess of our Nation. I now can say
with head erect--blessed be thy waters, Mother Bengal, blessed be thy
trees--blessed be thy sons.

I know people will call you mad. People call me mad too. But who are
mad really? Are not the merchants and traders who are running after
wealth and rolling in luxury--the lawyers and their clients who
spend their all and are ruined by litigation--is it not they who are
really mad? Whatever people may call you--you have got to realise the
truth that is in you. Do stand upon that and stick to it, whatever
difficulties may come or whatever sufferings may await you in the path.
Dark and difficult are the ways, but Divine Light will guide you. Give
up all weakness of the heart. Man can do everything. Remember we are
men determined to emancipate our Motherland from bondage. Should we not
be able to deliver her from the shackles that bind her?

We shall rather go ignorant than be educated in those schools and
colleges. We want to be educated according to our own standard of
living, keeping harmony with our past culture and tradition. I do not
know what Bolshevism is. We want to realise what is truth--what is
eternal--what is in our blood--for the salvation of our country. I want
that. I do not want Bolshevism--I do not want industrialism. In short,
I do not want Europeanism. I want to be a free man, and be myself
again. If that is truth, depending upon that truth, fear not.

Another word, and I have done. I promise before you all, to-day, that,
within fifteen days or utmost a month, we shall have a College--a
National College established, of which there is no equal here, and
where you will get your national education, where you will learn to
love your country and appreciate freedom. I want to see that edifice
standing on the road-side of Goldighi pulled down brick by brick."

He concluded by saying that even the Medical Students also must come
out. They would rather go, he said, without doctors than get the help
of those who come out of that Institution aided by the Government.

Mr. Achyutaram of Bangabashi College said that he hailed from Andhra
and they learnt all their national lessons at the feet of Bengal. When
they saw that Bengal had not been doing anything they were getting
disheartened. Now that Bengal was coming to herself again, he would
be able to tell his fellow-countrymen in Andhra that things were all
right in Bengal. Sriman Nagendranath Ghose said he was a student of
Ripon College 1st year sec. B. When they were holding their meeting in
the class about Non-Co-operation, a professor of the College remarked
that the students were going to listen to the advice of "damned."--The
students ought to strike for that if for nothing else.

The President, in bringing the proceedings to a close, said, that it
had been already announced that a meeting would take place in College
Square at 6 a.m. on Friday. A meeting would also be held at Mirzapur
Park, in the afternoon at 4-30 p.m. on the same day. He hoped that
on the following day all students from the remaining colleges would
come out. Medical Colleges and Engineering Colleges were not to be
made exceptions in this matter. The Carmichael Medical College also
should be emptied. If they could boycott the examination, the bankrupt
University would come down in a day. When Post-Graduate and Law
students were coming out, he felt convinced, that no one would attend
the convocation.



To-day I have to repeat the Message of Freedom. I have been often asked
"what is the meaning of this movement." To my mind, the meaning is
particularly clear. We want Freedom. We want to realise the right of
regulating our own lives. We want to realise the right of building up
the great Indian Nation. We want to compel the bureaucracy to recognise
that right.

It is unnecessary to refer to the past. It is not my desire to
perpetuate bitterness. It is my desire to strengthen our determination
to achieve our freedom.

I advocate the method of Non-Co-operation, as every other method has
failed. I want you to cling to this method, come what may. This is our
last chance and this, at least, will not be in vain.

Do you understand what Non-Co-operation means? You must withdraw your
help in moving the powerful machinery of the bureaucracy. Do you
realise how you can move this machinery? The bureaucracy works its
wicked will through the pleaders, through doctors, through clerks,
through their police officers and through Magistrates and Judges. And
you now see what the Calcutta University contributes. It contributes
all the strength upon which the strength of the bureaucracy depends.

I appeal to you to take away your hands from the wheel of this
machinery. The first thing, therefore, is to come out of the Colleges.
I make no distinction between the Medical students, between the
students of the Engineering Colleges and other students. The problem
is not of education, but of Non-co-operation. If you have this in
view, how can there be any distinction between classes of students?
Is it not clear that all students contribute to the strength of the
bureaucracy? And is it possible to defeat this bureaucracy without
taking away that help? I have heard arguments based on humanitarian
ground; but every humanitarian ground must yield to the supreme
necessity of the moment. There is some inconvenience, some apparent
want of humanitarian consideration, in every great war. Is it possible
that this great war, based on peaceful method as it is, should steer
clear of all inconveniences? I do not believe that there will be any
the more suffering, because of the withdrawal of medical students. I
have given it my anxious thought, and my decision is clear. But even
if it does involve great suffering, I should welcome that suffering,
rather, than leave one stone in its place in the edifice of a monstrous
Education. No, my dear friend, do not delude yourselves. It is easy
to quote Scripture to cover your weakness. Believe me, it is not the
humanitarian ground which is keeping you away, but the imaginary
prospects of worldly advancement which are dangled before your eyes.
The method that I advocate is the method of sacrifice. If you have to
destroy what you consider your chance of success in life, remember, it
is only to defeat the bureaucracy, and to attain Swaraj. How can Swaraj
be attained unless you realise your own right clearly, unhesitatingly?
How can you compel the bureaucracy to recognise, that, which you
yourself do not realise?

Do not listen to those who make careful calculations and tell you that
this movement is bound to fail. I warn you against such doubts and
hesitations. Even if the students do not realise their rights and their
duty, the work of Non-co-operation will go on. But I admit that you may
make it more difficult by refusing to join us.

The Battle of Freedom has never been won in the history of the world
without sacrifice. The armed organizations of powerful bureaucracies,
all over the world, have made armed resistance well nigh impossible.
But the Soul is ever free, and he who is free in his mind can never be
enslaved. I want you to turn away your face from Europe and from the
organization which is of European character. I want you to concentrate
your vision on the things which truly belong to us. The very simplicity
of our life has become difficult of comprehension, because of the
tortuous and complex organization which European culture and education
have placed before us. Once you turn your face away from that, you
will have faith in methods which belong to us in standards which are
really part of our blood and of our bones. What is more simple than the
desire and the determination to withdraw your help from that which is
false and unrighteous? And yet why do you experience such difficulties
in forming that desire and in fixing that determination? The answer is
again the same, _viz._, that Monster of education which is rearing up
its head in defiance, as it were, of everything which belongs to us and
which is dear to our hearts.

I repeat again--Wake up, wake up, wake up. We have slept too long.
Realise the sense of your bondage and stand out boldly and firmly on
the road to Freedom.--_The Servant._


_A monster public meeting was held at Mirzapur Square on 21st January,
'21 after Mahatma Gandhi's address to the Students. Mr. C. R. Das, when
asked to speak, was given a great ovation and said:--_

Gentlemen, it is impossible for me, to-night, to make a speech to you,
as my voice has not yet recovered. I desire to say only this--that
there is but one duty before you at the present moment. Those of you
who have left your Colleges do not go back or you bring discredit on
the country, not only on Bengal but on the whole of India. Remember,
the success of this movement is in your hands. I said that, the
first day I addressed you, and that, I say to-night, again, that the
success of this movement is in your hands. We want non-co-operation,
we want all Government Institutions--educational or otherwise--should
be boycotted. The question to-day is of educational institutions. Do
not believe those who say that the Calcutta University is a National
University or can even become the National University of Bengal. Avoid
that reasoning because it is a false reasoning. The national character
of an educational Institution does not lie in the fact as to whether
the Professors are Indians or Europeans. The national character of
the educational Institutions, to-day, depends on one fact, whether it
is, or it is not, connected with the Bureaucratic Government of this
country. That is the only test. They lead you astray. I speak with
all the conviction there is in my heart, they lead you astray. Who
say, that this College, Science College or that College or the other
Colleges which are manned by Indians are National Institutions? They
are not. They are Bureaucratic institutions and before we attain Swaraj
this University, there, a few minutes walk from here, has got to come
down. The youths of Bengal must make that perfectly clear. They have
taken the first step. The second step is to continue in this boycott.

Then comes the question of National University. I told you the first
day that, it is not necessary for Swaraj to have national Universities,
but if you want them it is in your hand; and if you want them, and if
you come out, I promise you a national University. I am here to make
good that promise (hear, hear.) Nothing will deter me from fulfilling
my promise. But, if you expect me to carry out my promise, may I not
expect you to stand firm? (hear, hear). May I not expect you to be
brave, to be true to yourselves and to shun those institutions you have
set your face against?

Gentlemen, I am taking a list of two classes of students of those who
want to work for the country. The gospel of spinning wheel, which my
revered leader Mahatma Gandhi has given you to-day, is a Gospel which
India has heard before, but which, unfortunately for ourselves, India
has forgotten, and it is not without pride that I am able to tell you
to-day that, the curriculum which we were drawing up for the National
University, makes the art of spinning and weaving a compulsory subject
(hear, hear) for all students; but those who want to work for the
country must not only learn spinning and weaving, but they must also be
trained in that particular work and it requires, at least, two months'
training in the National University which I am anxious to build up on
your behalf.

I have, also, made a second list of students who had told me that
they want to continue their studies for whom I am providing or trying
to provide. Always, remember, when I say I am doing this, I mean you
are doing it. I told you the other day, my strength comes from your
strength. I am nothing if you are not prepared. I have got the strength
of a million men if you are ready.

What am I? I am at your hands to-day for establishing this National
University. But do not be under the impression that this university
will be a replica of that monster of education which rears up its
head over there. It is to be nothing like it; you will see that,
when you study that curriculum which we are preparing, you must not
expect luxuries. But I can assure that any student who studies in the
National University for two years or even three years--I do not propose
to have students in our institution for more than 3 or 4 or 5 years
beginning from the age of eight or seven--and those who come out from
our institutions, you will find, will be educated, will be recognizable
as Indians, will be educated as Indians should be educated and will not
be copyists of European maxims and European culture generally. That is
the standard which I desire to apply, but be sure the work of education
cannot stop; one year is nothing in the history of a nation--one year
at a time when we are at war, peaceful though that war may be, when
we are aspiring to the greatest, with the most powerful bureaucracy
in the world--one year is nothing at all in point of time: and can
anybody reasonably say that if you shun your books for that one year
and take up this battle of Swaraj, you are not doing your duty? May I
suggest that those of you who want to continue your studies will not be
doing your duty in the battle of Swaraj? But those of you who are in
the second, act in a manner true to yourselves, but whatever you do,
remember that it is a non-violent war (hear, hear) Remember that if you
go back to those colleges, after leaving them, you prove yourselves
cowards and unworthy of being engaged in this great and glorious war.

Gentlemen, allow me, again, to thank you on behalf of my revered leader
and my great friend Mr. Mahammad Ali (cries of "Bande Mataram.")


_Mr. C. R. Das, in moving the Non-co-operation resolution at the Indian
National Congress, Nagapur, 1920, said:--_

I rise to move the resolution on Non-co-operation. I shall presently
read the resolution before you; but before I do that, I ask you to
consider it very carefully, word by word, and line by line, because I
must emphatically deny the charge that the Non-co-operation resolution
which was passed in the Subjects Committee, is weaker, and not
stronger, than the resolution, which was passed in Calcutta. Let me
first read this resolution. (Reads resolution). Gentlemen, let me put
before you in a few words the scheme of it. We say that our wrongs,
including the Khilafat, and the Punjab wrongs--I do not enumerate
the wrongs because they are so many--that each wrong, so far as I
am concerned, is a cause of the attitude that I have taken up. We
declare that our wrongs are of such a nature that we must attain Swaraj
immediately (hear, hear). Then, we declare that all other methods,
which we have employed up to now, have failed and that, the only method
which is left for us, is, the method of non-violent non-co-operation
(hear, hear); and we declare that there must not be any mistake about
it that this Congress has resolved definitely, clearly and without any
ambiguity, that the whole of this scheme of non-co-operation shall be
put in force to secure our rights and to attain Swaraj; and we declare
further that, in the meantime, those things which we resolved upon at
Calcutta, are to continue but not only those things, we are to direct
our activities in other directions as well. Here I pause for a moment
to consider the question which, I regret, has been raised, namely,
that this resolution is weaker than the Calcutta resolution. May I ask
you to consider in what respect is it weaker? I claim it is stronger
it is fuller, it is more complete. In the Calcutta resolution, there
was no clear declaration that this National Congress has resolved
to put in force the entire scheme of non-co-operation down to the
non-payment of taxes although I believe with Mahatma Gandhi that that
may not be necessary. But still if that is necessary I want it to be
clearly stated that the people of India will not shirk from putting
that into force. Then we say that, in the meantime, till that call
is sounded--and you must remember, gentlemen, directly the call is
sounded, that call has to be obeyed by all sections of the community,
lawyers, students, trades-men, merchants, agriculturists, every body,
every section in the country must respond to that call (hear, hear)
and do you understand what that means. That means that this tyrannical
machinery of the Government is regulated--is driven, not regulated--by
whom, not by the Bureaucracy but by the Indians; and it means that the
moment that call is sounded, every Indian is to take his hands off that
machinery (hear, hear) and compel this Government to do what you like.
But ours are not the hands which will move your machinery (hear, hear).
That is putting in force the entire scheme. Then, let us consider what
we have got to do in the meantime. The Calcutta resolution was confined
to the students and lawyers and a general resolution about boycott of
foreign goods. Here we say we keep the same injunction with regard to
students but we differentiate between students under 16 and students
above 16. Then, with regard to lawyers, we keep not only the same
thing, we re-affirm the Calcutta resolution, but we say that we are
not satisfied with the way in which that resolution has been responded
to by lawyers; and we say that greater effort must be made to secure
that; and also we refer to the scheme of settlement of disputes by
private arbitration. Then comes the economic question, and we say that
the economic drainage is one of the greatest wrongs from which we have
suffered: and we say that a Committee of experts must be appointed at
once to form and organise a plan of boycott of foreign goods. Then we
come to the other question. We come to the boycott of Councils. We say
that it has succeeded, and we say further what naturally follows from
that, namely, that the men who are at present occupying those seats
are not representatives of the people of India (Hear, Hear). Not only
do we stop there, but we go further, that those people who pretend to
represent them do not represent them, and therefore we call upon the
voters not to take any political assistance from those people. And then
we appeal generally, for unity in favour of the depressed classes, in
favour of every section of the community which require protection and
development more than we do. This is the scheme of the resolution. In
what respect is it weaker? In respect of lawyers? I say 'no,' because
it re-affirms but it continues to call upon lawyers to act up to that
resolution. Is it weaker in any point? From the point of view of
students, I say 'no.' I have guarded against students coming out under
false sentiment. I think that it is right, that this greatest national
assembly in India should declare that those students who feel the call
of duty and conscience should immediately come out, regardless of
consequence (Hear, hear). Is it weaker in respect of the boys under
16 years? I say what is weakness, and what is strength? We make it
stronger by making it more just and more practical. Is it weaker in
respect of the economic question? I do not admit that, because in the
general resolution which you had and which Mahatma Gandhi himself was
to carry out, we have got a systematic plan of economic boycott and
a practical boycott--a boycott which will not only be spoken of but
acted upon by every Indian worth the name. I ask again,--where lies
the weakness of such a resolution? It is nothing but the result of
undue suspicion. I am making no appeal. I am making no personal appeal
in my favour; but I do ask you to remember that when I say anything I
mean it, and in my life on public questions I have never said anything
which I do not believe in. Some of you may suspect, but all I can
say, brother, ask me any question and I will answer, ask me what I
intend to do, I will answer. Beyond that I will not refer to personal
questions. I call upon you, in the name of all that is holy, to carry
this resolution without one single dissentient voice. I want you to
declare it to the nation and to the bureaucracy, and to the nation to
realise their God-given rights. The rights exist, but rights have got
to be realised. The rights exist because this is the eternal law of
life; but still every man and woman and every nation on earth has got
to realise those rights. Realise the fact that we have got those rights
and the moment you realise that the bureaucracy or any cracies in the
world cannot stand against you and I want you to tell the bureaucracy
that we have made up our minds to realise it, and we have made up our
minds to compel you to recognise that which we have got. May God grant
us strength not only to pass this resolution but to work upon this
resolution and to carry out the great idea of which this resolution is
the expression (loud cheers).


_A very largely attended meeting was held in Maulana Mazhar-ul-Haqu's
Compound on Friday, the 11th February 1921 at Patna when Mr. C. R. Das
addressed as follows:--_

My Friends, I must confess that it is somewhat difficult for me to
address you on a subject on which I have been talking for the last, I
don't know how many days. I am somewhat tired of making speeches. When
I came to Bankipore I thought I would simply listen to speeches and
that I shall have no trouble to address you. But I was prevailed upon
to address you. I have been reading several newspapers lately just
to understand the criticism against the policy of Non-co-operation.
I read speeches of public men and of Government, non-officials, and
of Governors. So I thought it might be hardly necessary for you to
deal with those things but it might be useful to clear the grounds of
principle and policy of the congress. I want to speak to you about the
principle of Nationalism. We have heard the word Swaraj so much that we
probably do not realise its full meaning. The principle of Nationalism
is also the principle of Swaraj. Swaraj is a convenient expression for
adopting a cause which would be of Nationalism. Long before this policy
of non-co-operation was started by Mahatma Gandhi, in fact in the year
1917, I remember what I spoke from the Congress platform at Calcutta.
You remember in those days there was a great deal of controversy as to
what would be the precise scheme of self-government. Bombay spoke the
one way and Bengal the other. There were many differences of opinion
as to what scheme of self-government there should be. Then I said it
is useless to discuss the policy; we want to govern our own country,
namely to govern ourselves and regulate our own conduct and develop the
nation in the light of our own experiences. I say we want to realise
that cause of nationalism. The moment we realise that, the moment we
realise the right that God has given us, that moment the bureaucracy
will be crushed under feet. The criticism which has been levelled
against the Congress is this, namely, that the Congress has not defined
what Swaraj is. Many people at Calcutta have taken this objection. My
answer to that is very simple. The very nature of Swaraj is such that
it is impossible to define it. Swaraj is that which you realise in your
heart to-day. How can you then define what sort of Swaraj you will get.
Realise your right, and the moment you realise that right, the moment
what you realise will become fact. If you realise less right you will
have less fulfilment, if you realise in complete and absolute right,
Swaraj you are bound to get. You cannot define it. India wants that
and the moment India realises that whole heartedly, I say that moment
Swaraj is ours. I care not whether you have Parliamentary councils,
whether legislative councils divided into so many compartments whether
you have upper house and lower houses in order to govern the country.
I want India to say in one voice that we will govern ourselves. That
is the right we have. No Government can deprive us of that right.
The moment you discover that, you will get Swaraj. Therefore, before
you think what kind of self-government we should have I want to tell
you that you should concentrate your mind, day in and day out over
the attainment of Swaraj. My justification for that is nationalism.
Do you understand what nationalism is? Many people, very genuine and
intelligent people say that they would not have nationalism because it
is antagonistic to humanity. They forget that in this God's creation
there are various nations and that India to-day pleads for her own
nationalism. Indian nationalism does not and cannot hurt humanity.
I understand by humanity several races that are inhabitants of this
earth, Indians, Europeans, Americans, Russians, and others that are
inhabitants of the globe and if I am pleading for nationalism of India
to-day how I am going against humanity and nationalism of the earth.
India's nationalism is according to her own traditions and principle,
"Live and let live" according to your right. We have no quarrel with
you but when you cut away our nationality and right, it is then we say
that we will not co-operate with you. You develop your nation in your
own way. You, Americans, you develop your nationalism in your own way.
But if you say that Indian nationalism must be fashioned in your own
way, killing our nationalism, that cannot be tolerated. Therefore you
find nationalism and Swaraj to be absolutely the same thing. Here I
give you an example. Take a garden. You see the beauty and glory of
God's creation all round the garden. But if a flower says to another
flower that it should not grow in its own way, is that possible? I say
that so far as the law of hidden nature is concerned it should go in
its own way. Each has got its own individuality, own nationality. This
nation has got an absolutely distinct individuality. Is this nation to
live according to European ideals? Do you think that an Indian can live
according to English traditions? Indian nation must grow according to
its own temperament in the light I have described. We have been trying
to build our own nation for the last 35 years, but we have discovered
to day that throughout the history of British rule every attempt made
for the development of nationality was crushed by the bureaucracy.
Wherever you strive for freedom there is every obstacle from the
officials. Therefore what happened in the Punjab became possible.
There was a Rowlat Act. It was to kill your nationalism and for that
whole of India protested. No Nationality can prosper which has got
a Government by bureaucracy of that character. Whatever you do they
will come and check you, and ruin that line for ever. Therefore it is
that the Congress has declared that every method which we had hitherto
applied has failed. At the Amritsar Congress Mahatma Gandhi was for
co-operation. I must confess I did not agree with that proposal. He is
a good-hearted gentleman.

He told me is it not better to follow faith while co-operation has
given such large promises. He thought that bureaucracy would change
its angle of vision. I said that we cannot do so. And few months
passed that Mahatma Gandhi was convinced that I was right. Congress
has declared now, having regard to what happened in the Punjab, what
happened to our Mohamedan brethren, and the passings of many oppressive
laws from time to time. Congress has declared with one voice, and all
provinces have accepted this time unanimously that the only method
which remains is that of non-co-operation. It has been explained
over and over again. Many people have asked me about that. I found
it easy to explain in Bengal. The other day I had to address a large
assembly of labourers of a mill near Calcutta. I told them that you
work at mills, you have seen machinery, well, who is it that drives the
machinery. Who is it that makes the machinery work and produce articles
and manufacture things. It is not that Burra Saheb who sits in a chair
lording over the whole business. It is you who move the machinery.
So many bags of papers come out because you move the machinery. I
told them that the huge Government is nothing but a machinery. Who
drives that machinery? It is ourselves. It is the students who read
in colleges, it is the pleaders who practice in courts, it is the
police officers, it is the Deputy Magistrates who decide cases, it is
the judges who administer laws. So in every way it is the Indian that
drives this machinery. A history of last 160 years shows explicitly
that your objects are not our objects. Our object is to foster our
development, your object is to crush our manhood. Therefore there is a
complete difference between the object of bureaucracy and ours. Think
what happened in Punjab and I cannot forget Khilafat either. These
instances you cannot forget. You remember there was a non-official
committee appointed by the Congress. Last year we all met at Benares
and we signed the joint report as non-official commissioners. The
report was drafted by Mahatma Gandhi. We examined that report and we
discussed the matter. We purposely put our demands very low. In fact we
put it so low that some of our countrymen were very angry. They asked
much more than that. And now I tell you, it is no more a secret. We had
made up our minds that we would put forward our demand and it ought to
be no more a pious resolution and we must insist upon the Government to
act up to our recommendation. Our legitimate demands were so low. Even
these demands were treated with scorn and the offenders were left scot
free. Subscriptions were raised for those villans. Ladies danced, I am
informed, to collect money for the upkeep of those villanous offenders.
We entered into a contract there in the holy city of Benares. It is for
this blunder that Mahatma Gandhi has started this non-co-operation.
His object is that their hands are polluted, therefore, whatever
their institution, no self respecting Indian can remain there. Every
Indian should take his hands off from that Government. No Indian who
has got any self-respect should go forward to help this bureaucracy.
Mahatma Gandhi started it and after that my friend Mr. Moti Lall Nehru
joined it. In Calcutta Congress I did not join it because there was
great difference of opinion. Few read my speech because I was against
non-co-operation at Calcutta. It is not a fact that I opposed that
resolution on the very ground of non-co-operation. Once I have made
up my mind to accept it, I must follow up to it. Afterwards I made
up my mind that this Non-Cooperation must be more complete from the
national point of view. I wanted to bring a more effective resolution.
So far as my practice is concerned I have not accepted a single new
case after the Calcutta Congress. I drafted another resolution. I
specially went to Benares and there discussed the resolution with
Mahatma Gandhi, with my friend Madan Mohan Malaviya, with my friend
Lall Lajpat Rai, I met again Mahatma Gandhi at Dacca and discussed
with him again and he agreed to it. Those who knew of the inner working
of Nagpur Congress might have known how I worked from morning till
night for that resolution and I tell you I succeeded. It made clear
that Non-Co-operation is that everybody should take his hands away
from the machinery of Government and that until the whole country is
not prepared for that we must go on stage by stage. That resolution is
fully satisfactory. Mr. Jayakar of Bombay opposed it. He did not join
us before. I do not know why. But I am glad to say that only the other
day he declared that he has given up his practice as a lawyer and has
become a non-co-operator. Therefore, every one who met at Benares and
took that vow in the holy city of Benares have become non-co-operators.
I have arrived at the conclusion that this life is not worth living
and I would rather much sooner die than lead a life of a slave in this
country. This country is ours given by God. We have to realise that
day and night. I say again that the moment you realise that right that
very moment Swaraj is ours. What is Swaraj? It is a right to carry
on your own right in your own way. There is another thing before I
have done. Mahatma Gandhiji's Charkha has caused much laughter before
the officials. People who are saying so are totally ignorant of our
slavery. Our slavery is more economic than political.

       *       *       *       *       *

I was telling you something about Charkha, I have been asked in several
places as to how Charkha could improve matters. How could Charkha
bring Swaraj. Do you know what the facts are. Swaraj means that we
must live within ourselves. We must be self-contained. I tell you
that we are great slaves to-day. Our economic slavery is greater than
political slavery. Exploitation is carried on by the bureaucracy.
The Non-officials and officials so far as Europeans are concerned
constitute the bureaucracy. One helps the other, so exploitation and
administration are the two chief policies of the Government. I say our
economic slavery is very great indeed and constitute the main factor
of our dependence. The facts at present are that if Manchester and
Lancashire stop sending cloth our women will have to go naked. That was
not the case in India before this bureaucracy came here. Our system was
not this. I speak of Bengal because I claim to know more about Bengal.
The system obtained in India was, that so far as our necessaries were
concerned we were self-contained. We never depended on any body in
India. We made our own clothes and were independent of any race in the
world. Now just consider what Charkha can do for you. From Manchester
comes 60 crores of rupees worth of cloth every year. You will not
have to pay these 60 crores of rupees which go out of India. If a
householder works by Charkha for one or two hours a day at the end of
the year he will find himself with all the necessaries of his family.
For a clerk who gets 40 or 50 rupees per month, and who weaves his own
cloth every day, it is a great deal of saving for him. It is very easy.
One ordinary tree will yield one to 3 seers of cotton, and 1/4th of a
seer is quite enough for one Dhoti. If you use Charkha only for limited
hours daily you will get sufficient cloth for a Dhoti. This Dhoti that
I am wearing to-day will last 4 times longer than that which comes from
Manchester. I tell you, you will solve it very easily. If the work
is carried on all this year by every student and every householder,
we will see the economic independence of India to-day. Along with it
you will achieve your political independence. It is only for one year
that we are asking for Charkha and after that you can regulate your
methods. You do not want any mills. It is only for one year. Many ask,
what about ship-building, what, about navy etc., I say for God's sake,
I do not want any thing for one year. If you once secure economic
independence, I venture to say that India's economic development cannot
be prevented by any power in the world. It will grow better and better
every year. I know there is a great deal of discussion about it and
personally I can tell you that I cannot for one moment be in favour
of European industrialism at all. I shall not at all be sorry if some
of the things that are manufactured in England are not made here. Do
what you should do, work a Charkha and you will realise the result. If
you do that you will without doubt get independence. Now, gentlemen,
one word more and I have done. I have told you that non-co-operation
is the only method to achieve freedom. I have also told you that the
work of non-co-operation is very difficult. It will be destroyed if it
is not kept by non-violent method. The whole work will be impeded if
it is not carried on non-violently. Every kind of violence mental or
physical is detrimental to the method of non-co-operation. Therefore
every non-co-operator's work must be strictly non-violent. He has to
face danger after danger. Every non-co-operator will be inculcated,
beaten, outraged but he should strictly maintain non-violence. You know
the ways and methods of bureaucracy in this country. They have got
so many sections in their Penal Code which they can use against any
preacher of non-co-operation. I do not for one moment, think that these
methods can ever root out non-co-operation. They know that the moment
non-co-operation succeeds that very moment bureaucracy will be crushed.
I know they will try to destroy the method of non-co-operation by using
their penal sections. They may go on using section after section. But a
non-co-operator should never indulge in violence.

Continuing Mr. Das said that he knew that proceedings have been started
against certain workers in the district of Muzaffurpur under sections
107 and 144 of the C. P. C for delivering violent speeches. They should
not give any excuse like that to the bureaucracy. But now that they
have been served with the notices they must comply with the section.
Let the action of the bureaucracy be as autocratic, as autocratic can
be. Let them break the law, and not the non-co-operators. If they
found that the authorities were using section after section unjustly
without any justification then the congress would have to declare civil
disobedience. Time would then arrive to break the law. But that moment
had not arrived yet. Their mission was the mission of law-abiding

If violence is used you will go against the Indian National Congress
and destroy this sacred method. You must know in your heart of hearts
the secret of Swaraj and that you will gain only by Non-co-operation.
The only feeling, the only intense desire which a Non-co-operator
should cherish, his only prayer to God, should be for the achievement
of Swaraj. Gentlemen, now I am tired. I wish our movement a success in
the province of Bihar.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

Inconsistencies in punctuation and spelling are as in the original.

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