The INDIAN ENIGMA
A plain-spoken appraisal of the causes of the conflict over Home Rule for India
F. FRASER HUNTER
The author, Lieut.-Colonel F. Fraser Hunter, before his retirement from the army, had two lengthy periods of service in India, first as Assistant Superintendent of Survey, later as Director of Map Publication. He was a valued officer of the Indian Intelligence Service.—The Editor.
WITHIN the space of a magazine article, to present adequately to Canada all the problems of presentday India is as difficult as it would be for the average Canadian to explain briefly to Indians the peculiar advantages to Canadian taxpayers of recent Canadian budgets or the unique financial virtues lying in Canada’s methods of developing her great national resources, particularly her water powers.
A few statistics and a brief historical retrospect may give the reader a perspective view of India’s problems.
The sub-continent of India covers an area of 1,800,000 square miles, being larger than Europe without Russia and twenty times the area of the British Isles. Forty-two thousand miles of railway carry 625,000,000 passengers and
100,000,000 tons of goods annually. Six hundred native states cover an area of 700,000 square miles and contain a population of 81,000,000 inhabitants—roughly one-third the area of India and one-quarter its population. Native states are not part of British India, but are under the suzerainty of the King Emperor. The states are ruled autocratically by their own rulers, who are allies of Great Britain with their rights and privileges protected by definite treaties which cannot be altered without the consent of the princes. They manage their own internal affairs, including taxation and the administration of justice, and many maintain their own armed forces. Their foreign affairs are managed by the Crown under treaty protection pledges. States range in importance from Hyderabad, wfith about 15,000,000 inhabitants and covering an area larger than England and Scotland combined, to Lawa with 2,700 inhabitants. Ten per cent of the population dwell in urban areas; the rest inhabit some 525,000 rural villages and are chiefly agriculturists. Most are in debt to money lenders for expenditures on feasts at birth, marriage or death; they plow the soil with bullocks, and use the .same kind of tools as those employed by their remote ancestors.
The population of Calcutta in 1932 was roughly 1,500,000, Bombay 1,250,000, and Madras 750,000. The airport Karachi in 1932 has about 275,000. The total population of India in February,
1931, was one-fifth that of the whole world, or 351,450,689. It increases about one per cent per annum.
Two hundred and twenty-two different languages and dialects are spoken in India. Two and a half million Indians can read and write English, or sixteen per thousand males and two per thousand females.
The population consists approximately of three-quarters Hindus and one-quarter Mohammedans.
Hindus have been divided for the past 2,000 years into some 2,300 irreconcilable castes, each constituting a class which through the ages has seized, or had forced upon it, rights and privileges, prejudices and duties which have become immutable. There are four chief castes in Hinduism, as follows: Brahmins, (priests and teachers); Kshatryas, (warriors); Vaishyas, (traders and peasants); Sudras, (untouchables).
All Hindus worship a pantheon of gods.
Next in importance come the Moslems—militant believers in the one God. Moslems and Christians believe in the equality of opportunity under the one God. while the whole system of Hindu polity is built up of segregation and special privileges for the few at the expense of the many. Both Mohammedanism or Islam and Christianity are an approach to a democracy, for before the one God both are a brother-
hood of equals. Nothing could possibly reconcile Islam to Hinduism.
Other religious followers of importance are Sikhs (reformed Hindus), a community of 4.000,000 highly intelligent and virile people with great military traditions who once ruled the greater part of Northern India. The Sikhs are always bitterly opposed to Moslems and have little respect for Hindus.
The remaining non-Hindu religions may be said to be Buddhism, which exists principally in Burma; Parseeism or Persian Zoroastrianism, and Christianity. There are 115,000 Anglo-Indians of mixed Indian and British blood, and 160,000 Europeans, mostly British, in India. Forty-live thousand of these are women, and the majority of the rest are in the Army (60.000) or Government Service. The Royal Air Force has some eight squadrons of ninety-six machines, and the Indian Army consists of twenty-one cavalry regiments and 134 infantry battalions, or 150.000 in all. A single province, the Punjab, sent 349,000 combatants to the Great War. There has lx‘en an average of one war per year in India since 1850.
There are 4.(XX) hospitals, treating
45.000. 000 patients annually, eighteen universities, and 200,000 schools with
10.000. 000 pupils. Fourteen per cent of the population can read and write in some language.
The imports into India in 1931 were approximately valued at $945,000,000, and the exports at $1,238,000,000.
BRITAIN’S first contact with India was in 1600, when Queen Elizabeth granted a charter of The Elast India Company. The first British trading post was established in 1612. In 1857 occurred the Indian Mutiny, and in 1858 the authority of The East India Company was transferred to the Crown. In 1877 Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India. In 1919 the MontaguChelmsford reforms were put into effect, Continued on page 87
Continued on page 37
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granting the people of India a limited measure of self-government. Previous to this date India had been governed by the British House of Commons, acting through the Viceroy, who was the supreme authority for the whole of British India. In 1927 the Simon Commission was appointed to review the progress toward self-government under the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms and to make recommendations for future political advance. On the recommendation of this Commission in 1929, Lord Irwin, the Viceroy, announced that dominion status, similar to that enjoyed by Canada and South Africa, was the goal toward which India was marching. With this end in view, in 1930 and 1931 two round table conferences were held in London for the purpose of building a democratic constitution for India. At the present moment, committees from the last round table conference are continuing its work in India, trying to reach an agreement upon the great controversial issues which could not be settled in London.
The foregoing statistics and historical facts have been taken largely from the Daily Mail Blue Book on the Indian Crisis.
When, in 1858, following the Indian Mutiny, political power in India was transferred from The East India Company to the Crown, Queen Victoria by proclamation guaranteed the people of India: Territorial integrity, maintenance of the rights of the native princes; religious liberty; the right to hold government office irrespective of race or creed, and preservation of traditional customs.
To the present day these guarantees have been scrupulously fulfilled. No territorial extensions of territories under British suzerainty have occurred. Since 1858, India, for the first time in her history, has been protected effectually from all invasions. Britain has seen to it that no native state has encroached upon the rights of another; she has been blamed by her enemies for always upholding “the rights, dignity and honor of native princes.” In other parts of the Empire, Britain has continuously championed the rights of her Indian subjects. In face of the ages of religious intolerance inherent within the peoples of India, the maintenance of religious liberty has been one of Britain’s most onerous responsibilities. That Indians have been freely admitted to office is evidenced by the fact that in a population of nearly 360,000,000, administered by 227,450 Government servants, but 3,400 are of European birth, or less than one to each 100,000 inhabitants. This total includes 1,400 police officers and sergeants. Of Indian Civil Service officials of the upper grades there are but 630, or less than one for each half million of the people they rule. With the rapid Indianization of the Service now in progress, within a few years the European personnel will have all but disappeared from the administrative Service.
Majority Prefer British Rule
OF THE British garrison of 60,000 European troops, one-half is required to safeguard India from foreign invasion from the North and Northwest, and but 30,000 are available for internal securityone British soldier to about 12,000 Indians. Were India seething with revolt, as a small but very noisy minority of malcontents would have the world believe, this handful of troops and sprinkling of Civil officials could easily be swept out of existence. But the real India, consisting of from ninety-five to ninety-eight per cent of the inhabitants, is keenly alive to the benefit which British rule has conferred upon it, and the sincere co-operation of that real India with its British rulers, now that home rule is about to become a fact, is of increasingly daily manifestation. In other words, India wants British rule and that is why India has British rule..
It is not proposed to mention all the progressive measures leading toward home rule taken by Great Britain since 1858. Each was a step forward, and each apparently accentuated the practical impossibility of real progress toward full political responsibility. Political consciousness among the educated classes has steadily grown, but has never yet succeeded in attaining a higher plane than a struggle for the fleshpots of office. Contemporary Indian political history may, however, be said to have begun with the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms of 1919.
E. S. Montagu, then Secretary of State for India, and Lord Chelmsford, the Viceroy, in pursuance of the promises made by Queen Victoria in 1858 and in continuation of many previous advances in political progress made in the interval, in August. 1917, “were charged with the duty of devising substantial steps in the direction of the gradual development of self-governing institutions.” Mr. Montagu, in voicing his proposals, stated that they were intended to arouse the Indian masses “from their placid, pathetic contentment.” In the light of various implements of the promises of 1858. and irrespective of the rhetoric with which Mr. Montagu, a visionary Semitic, saw fit to surround his recommendations as a necessary corollary to the Morley-Minto Reforms of 1909, a further advance in political freedom in 1919 was inevitable; hence the Montagu-Chelmsford proposal. No question of reward to India or payment to her for her services in the Great War entered into the Reforms, which had become in 1919 a logical and imperative part of British policy.
Under the Morley-Minto Reforms of 1909, Lord Morley had declared:
“If it could be said that this chapter of Reforms led directly or indirectly to the establishment of a parliamentary system in India, I for one would have nothing at all to do with it.”
In 1917 Mr. Montagu recommended that “the policy of His Majesty’s Government is that of increasing association of Indians in every branch of the administration and the gradual development of selfgoverning institutions, with a view to progressive realization of responsible government in India as an integral part of the British Empire . . . Progress in this policy can only be achieved by successive stages. The British Government and the Government of India . . . must be the judges of the time and measure of each advance.”
Notwithstanding Lord Morley’s opinion, the Montagu-Chelmsford report of 1918 “recommended the gradual realization of provincial autonomy on a parliamentary system, with a view to eventual control by the people of India of the Government of the whole country.” The intentions of the authors of these Reforms were as follows:
“Our conception of the eventual future of India is a sisterhood of states selfgoverning in all matters of purely local or provincial interest . . . Over this congeries of states would preside a Central Government, increasingly representative of and responsible to the people of all of them: dealing with matters, both internal and external, of common interest to the whole of India; acting as arbiter in interstate relations, and representing the interests of all India on equal terms with the selfgoverning units of the British Empire. In this picture there is a place for the native states.”
Before this conception was made public the British Cabinet, realizing that the time for enunciating such a rapid advance had possibly not arrived, practically left the final decision of approval or disapproval to the great ex-Viceroy, Lord Curzon. then Foreign Minister. Overwhelming preoccupation in questions arising from the war such as the Versailles Peace Treaty, demobilization, reconstruction, etc., absorbed all the serious attention of the British Cabinet of
the day. Since Lord Curzon had been an outstanding Viceroy of India and was most fitted to decide such a momentous change in policy, the final decision was tacitly left to him.
Lord Curzon was at the time attempting to guide the Treaty of Peace with Turkey through its pitfalls of defiance by the Turks and opportunism by the Greeks and French and, being faced alone with the onus of failure of the negotiations, was not in a position to give his undivided attention to India. Toward the close of his illustrious career Lord Curzon had recently suffered a grievous humiliation at the hands of his Party, for Mr. Baldwin and not himself had been selected to succeed Mr. Bonar Law as Premier. Lord Curzon brooded bitterly over this apparently inexcusable slight to his pride and great services. That he fully realized the colossal consequences of Montagu’s precipitate proposals there can be no doubt, but why he gave them his reluctant consent will probably never be known. Curzon could have, and should have, saved India and Great Britain from many years of disastrous misunderstanding and bloodshed, and the British Empire from a continuous strain which may yet prove too great for it.
That the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms, put forward by two men with insufficient experience of India and its history, were premature, the progressive deterioration of the past thirteen years has proved beyond question. The details of the reforms themselves defeated their own object, for “dyarchy,” as the system or lack of it was known, was neither fish, flesh nor good red herring. It whetted the appetite of inexperienced politicians for the fleshpots of office, vastly increased the cost of government, and did not lead to a sense of responsibility among those Indians who were entrusted with the “gradual development of self-governing institutions.” Any matter of vital importance was “reserved” to the Central Government, in which all real power still is vested. Military matters, foreign affairs, customs and railways, post and telegraphs, income tax, currency, public debt, commerce and shipping, civil and criminal law, were “reserved;” while minor matters such as local self-government, education, health and lands, public works, land revenue, famine relief, agriculture, forests, magistrates and police, were entrusted to the Provincial Governors and their Legislative Councils.
Only one-tenth of the population was granted a vote, and. since even that small proportion proved itself incapable of exercising the franchise, no real representation of public will emerge. Some members of council, for instance, have been elected on as few as half a dozen votes. Separate electorates had to be provided to cope with communal differences, and minorities with no chance of election were nominated by Government. The total result was a marked fall in efficiency in all administration, together with the birth of graft, nepotism, jobbery, sale of justice and an almost revolutionary growth of a demand for real power by all articulate Indians. Fierce quarrels and massacres occurred between the various classes who hoped to fall heir to the ¡»wer which they soon began to believe Great Britain was no longer capable of wielding.
Effect of Reforms
UNDER the Government of India Act of 1919, the Montagu-Chelmsford proposals were put into effect. This Act maintained in all essential matters the paramount authority of the Viceroy, who could not be removed and remained responsible to the Secretary of State, but, according to Sir Wm. Morris, it gave to the main chamber of the Central Legislature a strong elective majority which could force the Viceroy, on matters of supply and vital legislation when he could not obtain the consent of the Legislature, to fall back upon “Emergency Powers;” and as democratic political tradition throughout the British Empire and elsewhere is far too strong to permit fre-
quent use of emergency powers, these quickly became an embarrassing safeguard which the Government of India was most reluctant to use because they promoted anti-British sentiment in all classes.
In the provinces, too, the system of “reserved” and “transferred” subjects w'as soon found to place the two branches of Government in a much more interdependent position than was contemplated, and encouraged imperfection and dissensions and antagonism toward the w'hole process of progress in self-government. Seventy per cent of these legislatures were elected and thirty per cent nominated; but, chiefly ow'ing to Moslem refusal to vote in open constituencies with Hindu majorities, separate electorates had to be provided, and this concession was also perforce extended to other minorities. No other solution of communal differences has yet appeared, and since the system of separate electorates is directly opposed to the whole democratic principle, if they are retained, India’s political future cannot follow Western lines.
The Government of India Act provided for the appointment by the British Government of a Statutory Commission to conduct “a searching review' into the working of the political reforms at ten-year intervals, and to make proposals for the future at the end of the first ten-year period.” The discussion upon, and inauguration of reforms, convinced India and its adjacent country that the power of the British Raj w'as w’aning, and this idea immediately resulted in disorders, riots, massacres and political assassinations. In 1919 the Afghans invaded India and the quelling of Sikh riots and murders in Amritsar occasioned General Dyer’s use of magazine rifle fire. In 1920 Gandhi started his non-co-operation movement, resulting in 1921 in horrible massacres of Hindus by the Moplahs of Malabar. The Moplahs, who are Mohammedans, understood that the Gandhi Raj had supplanted the British Raj and that self-government meant freedom to slay all Hindus, which they promptly proceeded to attempt. Insults were hurled at the Prince of Wales (then touring India) and strikes and the boiling of police in oil led to the imprisonment of Gandhi, the chief instigator. Lord Irwin’s announcement of dominion status w'as read as a confirmation of Great Britain’s weakness, and the Viceroy and the Legislative Assembly were both bombed.
While the First Round Table Conference was sitting in London, Gandhi encouraged open defiance of the Government of India. He exhorted the peasantry of India to refuse to pay taxes or rent, and publicly led expeditions for the purpose of breaking the salt laws. Insurrections took place in w'idely distributed centres such as at Chittagong, near Burma, and Peshawar on the Afghan border. The Congress Party announced absolute independence as its aim. Gandhi was rearrested, and a vicious campaign of terrorism through assassination of British officials in Bengal and elsewhere was instituted. Gandhi w'as released on excuse of bad health. English women and children were murdered, governors of provinces wounded, high British officials assassinated, and a boycott of British goods was declared. Violent riots took place all over India, and all these disorders were unquestionably traced to the instigation of Gandhi’s “nonviolent” Congress Party.
Lord Irw'in in 1930, seeing clearly that as a consequence of the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms, a very much larger measure of selfgovernment than she possessed must be granted to India, exhausted his physical pow’ers in an endeavor to attract all opposing factors into an atmosphere favorable to that object. He knew and took all the risks with his eyes open, hoping and believing that in the end his own sincerity and high purpose would win over his opponents. His courage was unquestioned and, had he different material to deal with, he might have succeeded. In 1930 he concluded a peace pact with Gandhi, but this had little or no effect upon the disorders, assassinations and massacres. At Cawnpore, as a reprisal against the Moslems for refusing to join the nonco-operators and as revenge for the Moplah
massacres of Hindus, and notwithstanding the peace pact, a brutal slaughter of Moslems by Hindus took place. One thousand dead and from 5,000 to 10.000 horribly mutilated men, women and children were numbered among the victims.
While Lord Irwin’s policy had no success with the irreconcilable and irresponsible Congress Party, it did convince the world in general that Great Britain meant to stand by every pledge given to India and to lead her to further advances toward full political freedom. Lord Irwin succeeded in convincing most of India that Britain could be trusted to fulfill her promises. When Gandhi and the Congress Party made a mockery of Lord Irwin’s transparent faith and honesty, he concentrated his efforts upon keeping open the door toward conciliation by insisting upon Gandhi attending the Second Round Table Conference in England.
The Round Table Conference
GANDHI did attend the Second Conference, Lord Willingdon strongly seconding Lord Irwin’s policy in this matter. In London, surrounded by the other delegates from India, Gandhi was a complete failure in every respect and contributed nothing toward constructive statesmanship. To quote from the writer's words in a Toronto publication of January 30, 1932: “Gandhi was bared to the world as devoid of a constructive mind, and as one whose ideas were stupid and childishly contradictory and whose defective philosophy was anarchistic. The incoherence of his economics, his tirades against the practical facts of our machine age, his intolerant conceptions of food and drink, his shifty contradictions and bargaining, all contributed to the destruction of his halo.” His Congress Party was shown up to the world as a “caucus seeking to establish its own tyranny.” Gandhi’s associates, upon his return to India, compelled him to announce a renewed civil disobedience and boycott campaign, which was in part a criminal conspiracy that any Government would be forced to suppress and also a political movement which had for its object the destruction of all order in the state. The result of these tactics forced Great Britain to institute measures for upholding the law which swept Gandhi and his party, for the time being, from the scene.
The Round Table Conferences in London declared for a Federal India in which the native states should form a part. Unable to come to any useful conclusion upon the great issues such as communal differences, franchise and finance, the Conference was dismissed by the British Premier. Ramsay MacDonald, in December, 1931, under a definite pledge that “the British Government accepted the principle of a Central Indian Government with an executive responsible to the Legislature, subject to certain safeguards in respect of defense, external affairs and finance, and declared that an All India Federation offered the one hopeful solution of India’s constitutional problems.”
At the same time, small committees of the Conference were appointed to remain in tóng in India with which through the Viceroy the British might keep in touch to continue the work of the Round Table Conference until the major issues were solved. The Premier, some think very rashly, in the interests of speed, stated that if India could not solve its own difficulties and come to agreement upon them, he himself would undertake the task of making a temporary settlement. He warned India that in the event of failure to agree among themselves and calling upon him for a settlement, then the status of a free India in comparison with the other self-governing democracies of the world must inevitably be inferior.
The task of the Round Table Conference committees was tremendously complicated. It would be idle at this time to speculate upon what form the Indian Constitution wall eventually take, but, to illustrate the complexity of the problems which must be solved before autocracy in India can be
transposed into Federal democracy, let us glance at some of the subjects which are now being dealt with. When democratic institutions are suddenly applied to a mosaic of 360,000,000 people, representing, as Lord Irwin recently stated in Toronto, “nearly every division of thought and culture, color and language that the world has known.” with no previous experience of self-government, then the safeguards necessary to prevent utter chaos immediately become the first consideration. For example, are the high courts to be Federal or provincial? This question forces a review of the whole judicial system of the country, with a view to learning how possibly to function it under legislative instead of autocratic authority. The committees could not settle the question and passed it back to the British Government.
Six hundred loyal native states, willing to federate with British India, have hitherto had their rights carefully safeguarded by treaties with the British Crown. Are they to surrender those rights to the mercy of inexperienced, perhaps disloyal, legislative majorities in British India? Preservation of treaty rights under Federation immediately becomes the point in every native state. Some states wish to hedge their consent to Federation with conditions and restrictions which would paralyze all Federal authority and lead to disintegration. Strategic railways cross many states. The latter fear to entrust control of them to possibly hostile legislatures, and this leads to a consideration of the status of post and telegraphs, judicial authority, extradition and a host of other subjects having to do with state rights which have never before been considered.
The states think they have in confederacy or a union of states a solution which will permit them to join a Federal British India provided they are granted liberal representation in the Federal Legislatures— one-half in the Upper House and one-third in the Lower is the states’ demand—since, by acting as a unit, they could complement conservative elements in British India and serve as a stabilizing influence. The states know they cannot exist outside of, and alongside, a democratic Federal British India, but can they exist inside it? Some states—Travancore, for example—by timely measures of social and political advance are much fitter for federation with a democratic system than others. Again, even as regards the proposed confederacy, will not the large states swamp the small ones?
Having in mind the disastrous effect of political control upon the railways of South Africa and Canada, the committees are recommending a statutory railway board as part of the constitution, which would permanently place the railways outside of the control of legislatures. Regarding the franchise, how can it be extended in the face of illiteracy? Even with the present system, under which one-tenth of the population exercises the vote, symbols on the ballots frequently give place to names.
Lord Irwin’s administration had the effect of creating, for a time at least, in the minds of India and the world in general, a belief in the sincerity of Great Britain, but, in his own words, “this is the biggest thing in all our history we have tried to do, and the penalty of failure would be exacted far beyond our own time or territories.” The very complexity of the task which Britain has undertaken and the inevitable necessity for careful solution of each problem causes delay, and, as Lord Irwin said in Toronto, “In the meantime, suspense is causing dangerous tension among the various communities of the population.”
Lord Willingdon, the present Viceroy, has been compelled to reassure the native princes that their rights will be safeguarded under federation. Hindus, Moslems, Sikhs and other communities all put forward maximum demands, and each announced it would accept no less than the full concession of its claims. Whenever an impasse was reached in India the question was passed to Mr. MacDonald for solution. No matter what settlement he arrived at, it was certain to be rejected by one or perhaps all the communities. He was unable to grant one set of
demands without destroying another. This is, however, an Indian and not a British difficulty. Since the Indians cannot agree, there can be no question of full freedom for India. Large modifications of extreme demands had to be made or the government of self-governing India would be faced at its outset with a large part of the people in revolt. The Governments of Great Britain and India and the Round Table Conference have done their best to collect all the facts, but until some faint tissue of statesmanship in the matter of compromise is displayed by j Indians themselves there can be no question I of a new Government being brought into being except under British auspices.
The Provisional Award
' PO RELIEVE tension and settle endless disputes among Indian racial and religious leaders, in August, 1932, the British Prime Minister announced his solution of the communal difficulty in the form of a provisional award defining representation of all classes in the new Indian Provincial Legislature. The exact proportion of seats in these legislatures to be held by Hindus, Moslems, Sikhs, Indian Christians, AngloIndians, Europeans, women, Depressed Classes or Untouchables, and various special interests such as landowners and commercial groups claiming particular treatment, was laid down in the Award. The result, as predicted, was a perfect howl of protest from nearly all the groups. However, after much wrangling and letting off of steam, all groups but the Congress Hindu Irreconcilable Party accepted with bad grace the best of a poor business, realizing ; that the defects in the Award were due to j India’s own inability to come to any agree! ment. In September, 1932, as an indication of the extent to which tension had been relieved, an internal Government loan of ten million dollars was oversubscribed by Indians in less than four hours.
Premier MacDonald particularly emphasized that if within a reasonable time— possibly a year or two—India could put forward any better scheme upon which all Indians were in agreement, Great Britain was fully prepared to consider it, but that, failing such agreement, the Provisional Award would become part of the Statutory Constitution of India for the next twenty years.
It should be clearly understood that the i British Premier’s award was forced upon ■ him by the utter inability of the Indians to devise any scheme which would give reasonable security to all races and classes. It was not to be expected that such an important political decision could be made without the Irreconcilable Congress or Gandhi Party seizing upon it as new fuel for agitation. This group never had, and never will have, any constructive programme, for it does not want agreement but disagreement and ! chaos. The Congress Party Working Committee, in rejecting the Award, described it ! as “an ingenious device to prevent India from ever rising to the status of a selfgoverning nation.” The Brahmin hierarchy, which really controls all Congress activities, centred its animus against the British Premier’s proposal to grant separate franchise to the 40,000.000 Untouchables, who, if not thus protected, would continue to be at the mercy of the hideous social tyranny of the Brahmins.
All of the great plans for the progress of political freedom in India, surrounded as j they are by difficulties and tragedies, could not be expected to approach fruition without some element of comedy. For the past few months, India’s political fakir, Gandhi, has, to the relief of most of mankind, disappeared from the limelight he loved so well. In his obscure but safe retirement at Yeroda,
! he must have had leisure to consider how his megalomania might best lie appeased. No doubt, events in Shanghai and Manchuria have impressed him with the ! splendid opportunity for a “come-back”
! offered by MacDonald's communal award.
1 Student of all the tricks of histrionics, Borodin’s revival of “Sunyatsenism” after [the Chinese revolutionary’s death seemed
peculiarly worthy of exploitation. Eagerly, then, did Gandhi fall in with the Brahmin advertising campaign and resort to his “fast unto death” because “in the establishment of a separate electorate at all for the depressed classes” he sensed “the injection of a poison that is calculated to destroy Hinduism and do no good whatever to the depressed classes.” Gandhi, dead or threatening suicide, in clever Brahmin hands, might, even as Sun Yat Sen, excite a new religious fanaticism. British law has made civil disobedience unhealthy for the disobedient, and Gandhi’s type of disobedience was always anarchy carried out with an eye to “safety first.” Tolstoy, Lenin, Stalin have in the past been fitting material for Gandhi’s plagiarism—why not Borodin?
Twice in India’s history have the Untouchables, by assisting the enemies of their Brahmin tyrants, exercised decisive political influence; e.g., in the Greek and Moslem conquests. If now, in a free democracy, they are, through separate electorates, to shake themselves free from the degradation forced upon them by Brahminism, a dangerously weakening schism will threaten the dominance of the Hindu hierarchy over the Moslem and other minorities. Astute politician, Gandhi kills two birds with one stone. He assists his Brahmin masters to keep the Untouchables on the leash and once more regains his headlines in the smattering literature of hyperbole, which is accustomed to spell India as Gandhi. When the “fasting saint” comes to the task of making the Brahmin put his feet under the same table as the Untouchable, he will find that it will take much more than a five days diet of water to keep peace in the Hindu family.
Meanwhile law and order must be upheld, and any challenge to the authority of the existing Government must be stamped out or India will lapse into chaos. Repressive measures have been forced upon the Government of India by lawless elements, and the withdrawal of these measures is in the hands of the lawless, for the moment they agree to respect the law the measures are withdrawn. The Government of India “takes the view that the danger in the Indian situation does not lie in the civil disobedience and boycott campaign of the Congress Party, but in the certainty of bloodshed which will result from communal clashes incited by the wholesale defiance of the law. It denies that an ignorant peasantry can be taught to defy the law without departure from the ideal of non-violence.” Thinking Indians in these days, including many now or recently in prison, increasingly realize that self-government is impossible in an atmosphere of lawlessness. The contradiction in this realization by those principally responsible for the vogue for indiscipline is that they turn always for its correction to the British Government, which, they claim, must soon surrender its authority to a Federal India.
Self-Government is Progressing
TNDIA cannot be visualized as a whole;
provincial factors cannot become Imperial or Federal assumptions. For instance, the Province of Bengal must for years have special treatment because “the emotional qualities of its peoples, their suspiciousness and subjective factors within which lie the seeds of anarchy” must set Bengal apart. Terrorism in Bengal is being forced underground. The tribal and internal conspiracy in the Northwest frontier province which, under the name of the Red Shirts, was seeking to place Amanullah on the throne of Afghanistan and then, under new Moslem groupings, hand over Kashmir, the Northwest frontier province, and Afghanistan to the Russian Soviet, has been clipped of much of its power by the arrest of its leaders. It, however, remains a formidable menace to public order, and its control is a militaryquestion. Reforms in the Northwest frontier province were definitely completed in the middle of April by the election of a Legislative Council and the granting of a representative constitution to that province. The
dangerous no-rent or non-payment of taxes movement—to which the present Soviet regime in Russia largely owes its foundation —in the United Provinces has been subdued. Much to the delight and greatly to the profit of the rival City of Calcutta, the boycott campaign in Bombay has all but ruined its backers, the plutocratic Bombay mill owners and their Brahmin-Guzerati financiers. Where repressive measures are still in force they are subduing insurrectionary elements. Generally speaking, India is calm.
According to Sir Samuel Hoare, Secretary of State, the position in India in every respect, political or economic, is better today than in December, 1931. Trade balances, prices, production, traffic, markets, etc., all show improvement; disorder is no longer rampant, and steady progress is being made in pressing forward measures for selfgovernment. The fullest opportunity and support are now being given to the great Indian Civil Services which are engaged upon the main task of facilitating selfgovernment. These, in turn, are obtaining from the real India, constituting some ninety-eight per cent of the population, strong co-operation. The conference method, which has proved so futile throughout the world, has been given up in favor of expert committees working openly in public. The success of any conference depends entirely on the care with which experts prepare the agenda. The extraordinary interest shown by the Indian public in the labors of these expert committees is having a satisfactory effect in awakening political consciousness among the people. The Indian authorities are getting on with the job and may be trusted to see that the work is well done.
Whatever measures are possible or necessary for the wise and sympathetic progress of India’s political future are now being taken by Lord Willingdon’s government. The great courage and patience displayed by his predecessor, Lord Irwin, has undoubtedly made Lord Willingdon’s task the easier. There is no occasion for alarm or concern regarding India’s political future; Great Britain and the Indian Government have matters well in hand. Sir Samuel Hoare within the past month has reiterated Britain’s pledges, and lias warned the people of India that the grant of self-government will be pushed forward with the utmost dispatch regardless of threats and timelimiting ultimatums. He advised India, pending a solution of the communal problem, that the leaders of the communities should concentrate their efforts in organizing their forces for the inevitable future elections. Meanwhile, he stated, no effective step to constitutional advance, either in the centre or the provinces, was possible without some kind of communal settlement. The British Government is not prepared to accept a deadlock. The great fact in India is that co-operation of the real India with its British rulers in the main task of constitution building is daily increasing. The Secretary of State has appealed to India to trust Great Britain now as it did last December, and to try and reach mutual agreement which would further the establishment of an All India Federation.
Burma has been successful in agreeing upon a separate constitution, for the unanimity of opinion among the Burmese constitution builders was striking. Safeguards for Hindu minorities and details concerning the franchise were the chief rocks encountered, but these have been surmounted. An election is to be held to decide whether Burma wishes to secede from India or to join the All India Federation. The question will remain in abeyance until tiie All India Federation takes a more definite form.
The Brahmin Enemy
NO REVIEW of the Indian problem would be complete if it rested upon present day indexes. It must reach back into history for first causes. Since the dim ages the Brahmin priesthood has controlled India’s destiny. Steeped in the power and privilege with which immutable, esoteric
religious law has endowed them, they look not forward but backward for their guidance. Caste is their castle, the primitive their stronghold. Through caste has Brahminism “firmly rivetted the limbs of every Hindu in India,” and through caste is India “bound to the wheel of a dead and dreadful past” which condemns millions and millions to the most hideous tyranny ever designed by man. Buddhism and flaming Islam have at times driven Brahminism underground, but, always waiting, watching and planning, the Brahmin has found opportunity to drive his own world “back to darkness and to hell” and to destroy the new order. Our Christian and Western civilization is now the deadly foe of the secret, silent, patient and relentless Brahmin, who works ceaselessly to destroy any future but that which would imitate the dim past. The Congress Party, Red Shirts, Gandhi, Boycotts, Revolutionary Terrorism and Nationalism all have as their background the hierarchy of Brahminism.
Who knows who lead in this ceaseless and deadly struggle against the forces which would destroy the power of Brahminism? British idealism is now the foe, but Britain has bound herself by Queen Victoria’s royal words that “None be in any wise favored, 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 Britain has, through her ignorance of Hindu law, tied her own hands “to abstain from all interference with the religious belief or worship of any of her subjects.” Hinduism, as evolved esoterically by the Brahmin priesthood, is and has been for 3,000 years the most immutable and obscene outrage against humanity ever known to the world’s history. Brahmins have ever been the guardians of this atrocity against all decency and intelligence. Phallic worship and caste are its roots, with their corollaries of infanticide, suttee, child marriage and kulinism. By these social crimes one-fifth of the world’s ]X)pulation is frozen into permanent enslavement to fourteen million Brahmins. Western civilization is now the deadly enemy of Brahmin privilege, and upon Britain, as its standard bearer, the Brahmin for years has concentrated his destructive plans. Gandhi, Nehru, Nationalism and other factors in the limelight are mistakenly regarded as the central figures in the struggle against British idealism. These are all mere cyphers, and, as “Punjabi” says in the London Graphic, “the occasion, not the cause.” Remove them all and the real foe to all progress the Brahmin—remains.
British honor and high purpose are bound irrevocably to the great moral issue of India, and the British people of all creeds and parties are determined to reach satisfactory formulas for the solution of India’s difficulty. They are firmly resolved to march hand in hand, in equal good will and citizenship under the British flag, with India’s people. Discarding confusions, passing over passions and events or bygone transgressions, they will keep the door to peace and co-operation always open. Whatever sacrifices may be required for the building of a free constitution for India, the British people “have set their teeth firm” to face them. The patience and sincerity of Lord Irwin, the firm courage and sym; pathy of Lord Willingdon, and the ceaseless ; efforts of the late and the present British I Governments, should prove to all the world I that until India is beyond question capable ; of ruling herself. Great Britain will continue to protect and guide her.
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