Puslapio vaizdai

the choice lay between friendship and public good according to his ideas. Mr. Ray was a close student of every phase of public life in the country -politics not excepted. More often than not we meet him as a critic in his letters and conversation, and as a critic he was original and independent.

He was no less independent in service, and he came in conflict with the Government several times in life for this particular trait of his character. I shall refer to one incident he himself described in a Bengali magazine. He was for some time a Settlement Officer somewhere in the district of Burdwan. In a certain case pending in his court, he stood by the tenants and gave his decision against the Government setting aside a plea for increment of rent. The decision was set aside by the District Judge on appeal to him, and the Government increased the rents accordingly. Sir Charles Elliot was then the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, and the case attracted his attention. He called for the papers and severely condemned the action of Mr. Ray. Mr. Ray, however, defended himself vigorously, but the only answer the Lieutenant Governor gave him was that he had been a Settlement Officer himself, and that he was well versed in settlement regulations. Conscious of the justice of the cause he represented, Mr Ray, however, did not yield, and he retorted by saying that His Honour. had been a Settlement Officer


HE third Conference of Ruling Princes and Chiefs assembled at Delhi in the Imperial Legislative Council Chamber on January 20, H. E. the Viceroy presiding. Over forty of the Ruling Chiefs of Feudatory India were present. His Excellency opened the proceedings with an address of welcome to the Princes who had come from far and near. He deplored the death of the Maharajas of Jodhpur, Rewa and Faridkot, the Maharana of Dungarpur, the Nawab of Palanpur, and the Raja of Khairagarh since the Princes assembled last. He then paid a handsome tribute to the magnificent services rendered to the

the Feudatory States and their Rulers for the cause of the Empire and referredat some length to the recommendations embodied in the Montagu Scheme of Reforms. The first recom

in the Punjab and not in Bengal, and that there was a great deal of difference between the regulations of the two provinces. On this, the Lieutenant Governor issued a Resolution and Mr. Ray's promotion was stopped. The case, however, went to the High Court, and the decision of Mr. Ray was upheld. In another case, the Resolution of Sir Charles came in for severe criticism at the High Court, and thus the triumph of Mr. Ray was complete. This however intensified the wrath of the Lieutenant Governor, and he remarked in the Calcutta Gazette that Mr. Ray was not an industrious officer. To the eternal credit of Mr. Ray's European superior, it must be recorded here that he came to the aid of Mr. Ray at this juncture, and protested against the unjust aspersions of the Lieutenant Governor in his report. He wrote that Mr. Ray's work was a 66 monument of industry and ability.

The fact that he published his stirring plays at the time of the great political ferment in Bengal offers abundant testimony of this side of Mr. Ray's character. There are few Government officers in these days who would venture far less.

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Independence, liberality, moral zeal, and an ever waking eye for public good marked him out as man, and it was due to these qualities that he uttered nothing base. The least that can be said of him is that his memory will be enshrined in the heart of Bengal for many a year to come.

mendation, said His Excellency, is that with a view to the future improvement of relations between the Crown and the States, a definite line should be drawn separating the Rulers who enjoy full powers of internal administration from others. While discussing the methods of such classification, His Excellency pointed out "that the Government of India are concerned to safe-guard the rights, privileges and interests of their relatively small States no less than those of their larger neighbours, and welcome their rulers equally as partners and co-workers."

The next recommendation is that with "the consent of the rulers of States their relations with the Government of India should be examined, not necessarily with a view to any change of policy but in order to simplify, standardise and codify existing practice for the future."

His Excellency added that he would welcome

any general observations which any of Their Highnesses might desire to make during the conference, either on the subject of the infringement of treaty rights or in regard to the possibility of revising treaties or simplifying and standardising custom and practice.


Of the proposal to establish a permanent Council of Princes, His Excellency said:

I desire at this point to make it quite plain that the institution of the Council of Princes will not prejudice the relations of any individual Durbar with the Government. It has already been said in paragraph 306 of the Report that the direct transaction of business between the Government of India and any State would not, of course, be affected by the institution of the Council, but it is important to emphasise this in the clearest possible terms. The durbar of a very important State, in their written memorandum, have said in this connection that it would be more desirable to have a properly constituted deliberative assembly with defined powers to deal with matters applicable to all the States generally as well as questions of common interest between the States and British India. The assembly could be vested with defined powers unless the Rulers who compose it are willing in some measure to entrust to a corporate body rights which they at present enjoy as individuals. Such delegation of powers is apparently deprecated by the Durbar, because they say later that the preservation of the right of dealing direct with the Government of India should in fact be an absolute sine qua non of the working of any such general Advisory Council.

Lastly, His Excellency urged them to bear in mind an essential point:

We on our part are glad to develop means whereby Your Highnesses may maintain your rights and peruse your Izzat. You on your part will not forget that the British Government is the paramount power in India and that this fact must colour its relations with your Highnesses in respect of the institution and proceedings of this Council as in other matters.

The Viceroy then dwelt on the need for the appointment of Star ding Committees and Com missions of enquiry and concluded with a reference to the propos d Council of State and its joint deliberation with the Council of Princes

Such joint deliberation would take place only at the instance of the Viceroy, and it will be obvious that in making use of the provision the Viceroy would attach the greatest weight to any wishes which Your Highnesses might from time to time express in the matter. The arrangement would be permissive only, and at the outset I suggest that simplicity and freedom from restrictions will be a supreme merit of a scheme which rightly used may well hold a rich store of benefit for this great country, which we all love and in which the Princes and Chiefs have a joint heritage with the peoples of British India.

On the conclusion of the Viceroy's address, H. H. the Maharaja Scindia of Gwalior thanked His Excellency for opening the proceedings.

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That the Ruling Princes of India assembled in this Conference request His Excellency the Viceroy kindly to transmit to His Imperial Majesty the KingEmperor the respectful but warmest congratulations on the glorious termination of the War, coupled with an assurance of their abiding loyalty and attachment to His August Person and Throne. They also desire to seize the opportunity of paying a collective tribute to the brilliant achievements of the Imperial and Allied Naval, Military and Air Force on all fronts, which have so completely crippled the enemy power and resistance and have brought the prospect of an enduring peace within measurable distance.

This was seconded by H. H. the Maharaja of Bavanagar and supported by the Jam Saheb.


The Conference concluded its sittings on the 25th instant. His Highness the Maharaja of Gwalior explained that the Banquet as announced in the original programme was dropped owing to the mournful event in the Royal Family.


His Highness then requested H. E. the Viceroy to prevent a Sword to H. H the Maharaja of Patiala on behalf of his brother Princes, in recognition of the "dignity and self-restraint with which he exercised the functions of a representative of the States at the Imperial Conference." His Excellency then presented the Sword to the Maharaja of Patiala,


The Maharaja of Jaipur then moved the following Resolution :

"This Conference of Ruling Princes and Chiefs desires to express its sincerest gratitude to H. E the Viceroy and the Right Hon'ble the Secretary of State for India for the solicitude shown by them in their report on the Indian constitutional reforms for promoting the welfare of Ruling Princes and Chiefs and safeguarding their interests. They are especially grateful for the assurance that no constitutional changes which may take place will impair the right, dignities and privileges secured to them by treaties, sanads, and engagements. This Conference also desires to place on record its deep sense of appreciation of H. E. Lord Chelmsford's noble endeavour in bringing together the Ruling Princes and giving them an opportunity for free and frank discussion and friendly exchange of views with their brother-princes and the Government of India in all matters affecting their States. They are specially grateful for the confidence His Excellency reposed in them where questions of Imperial interests were concerned, thus bringing the

Princes and Chiefs of India in closer touch with the Imperial Government and encouraging them to take an active interest in the problems not only of India, but of the whole Empire."

H. E. the Viceroy thanked His Highness for the cordial words in which he moved the Resolution and promised to communicate its terms to the Secretary of State.


H. H. the Maharaja of Gwalior made a lengthy speech, in the course of which he dealt at some length with "certain epoch-making events" which by their importance, he said, "claim priority of mention." He referred to the armistice and the solidarity of the British Empire which made the victory inevitable. He next turned to the influence of His Majesty's personality which rendered perfect cohesion possible at a time when crowns are tumbling into the melting pot. Reverting to the subject of the reforms, he said:


These measures, which are irrevocably promised, will bring in their train enhanced loyalty and contentment in India, and the ampler they can be made with due regard for the conditions that are, and the quicker they can be enforced, the greater will be their certain result. I am not using the language of convention, but I speak from conviction, when I say that both amplitude and expedition are assured by the combination which we all regard to be of happy augury, viz., the continuation of Your Excellency's Viceroyalty, and the re-appointment to the Secretaryship of State for India of the Right Hon'ble E. S. Montagu. The recent elevation of our distinguished countryman, Sir Satyendra Sinha, to the Peerage and his appointment to an office in the British Government, is an example of true insight, great political imagination and what is even more important, of genuine honesty of purpose and we refuse to credit the libel from wherever it emanates that in this measure of simple justice to people, there is even the slightest taint of party or other questionable tactics. The recognition of India's rights is further emphasised by her direct representation in the Peace Conference, and in the inclusion of our illustrious brother, the Maharaja of Bikanir, amongst the delegates to Versailles, we recognise the determination to accord to the Indian States their rightful place in the fabric of the British Empire. For all this our heartfelt thanks are due to Your Excellency's insight into the existing conditions, Mr. Montagu's powerful support, no less than to the sympathy and sense of justice of the British Cabinet.

Referring to H. E. the Viceroy's opening address, His Highness emphasised that "the paramountcy of the British Government is a fact that is not open to challenge. "Alluding to the importance of a Council of Princes," he pointed out:

the States in such matters as affected them jointly with British India were exposed to the risk of being ignored. In addition, there were certain crying needs which it has now been sought to meet by the application of plain and direct remedies, and these remedies, such, for instance, as the appointment of Commissions of Enquiry for the purposes stated, and the placing of States in direct political relations with the Government of India are, I may say, so essential that their application does not admit of delay.

The absence of an organ for the collective expression of opinion was also responsible for bringing about a condition of affairs in which the interests of

Touching the relations between Native States and the Imperial Government, His Highness defined the scope of the old treaties :—

It will be admitted that no treaties are for ever comprehensive documents. Ours having drawn up to meet the conditions that existed at the time of their conclusion, and having had for their purpose the attainment of particular objects, they can cover but a very limited field. Their tenor, however, is unmistakeable, and their general clauses clearly indicate the enjoyment by the States of a status and position which, in the course of time, have suffered deterioration in practice. Therefore, what the States ask for is, that no measures inconsistent with this tenor and those clauses should be adopted by the Imperial Government and imposed upon the States. In any case, to all such measures as are likely to affect in any degree the internal autonomy of the States their free consent should be previously obtained.

His Highness concluded by recounting the result of the present Conference :

We have decided by a majority that a definite line should be drawn hereafter between the Sovereign States and others. As regards the question of the examination of treaties and the need of codifying and standardising past usage, we have appointed a Special Committee to thrash this question and make suggestion at our next meeting. We have unanimously decided in favour of the early establishment of an organisation of Princes, which is to be hereafter called by the name of "Narendra Mandal' in English "Chamber of Princes.") We have carried resolutions for the establishment of Commissions of enquiry and for the election of standing committees as outlined in the Montagu-Chelmsford report, but with slight modifications. We have cordially and unanimously supported the propositions of direct political relations between all the important States and the Imperial Government, A Committee has been appointed to deal with the question of precedence under Section 7. We have also decided that this Conference recommends that the consideration of the question of the means to be provided for joint deliberation between the Government of India and the Princes should be postponed until the Chamber of Princes and Chiefs has been established, and until the result of the proposals made for the introduction of the reforms in British India is definitely known.

The Conference closed with a reply from H. E. the Viceroy who assured the Princes assembled that the debates of the Conference would receive the most careful consideration of the Government.

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