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iii. The Moderartes' Manifesto.
The Hon. Sir Dinshaw Wacha, the Hon. Babu Surendranath Banerjea, the Hon. Mr. V. S. Srinivasa Sastri and other prominent Moderate leaders have issued the following Manifesto:
"While strongly condemning the Rowlatt Bills as drastic and unnecessary, and while we think we must oppose them to the end, we disapprove of the passive resistance movement started as a protest against them and dissociate ourselves from it in the best interests of the country, especially in view of the Reforms Proposals which are about to be laid before Parliament in the form of a bill."
iv. A Madras Manifesto.
Sir P. S. Sivaswami Aiyar and twenty seven leading men of Madras issued the following manifesto on the 18th March :
The following is a summary of Lord Willingdon's recent speech in London :
Debates in Parliament in past years had been marked by sparse attendance and apathetic interest. This had a very bad effect on public opinion in India. It was extremely difficult for those who were administering or endeavouring to administer that country to assure Indians that the Mother of Parliaments was alive to its responsibilities in regard to the affairs of the Indian Empire. He expressed the earnest hope that in the new Parliament this sense of responsibility towards India would develop, and that honourable Members would appreciate to the full the fact that political reform of a very serious kind was absolutely necessary in India at the present time. He thought that those of them who had administered India had in the past made too much of "efficiency": they had been too keen about keeping the administration efficient and had not sufficiently realised that they must give Indians some responsibility in their local affairs, He
Whilst, however, strongly disapproving of the Rowlatt legislation and the manner of its passage through the Imperial Legislative Council, and whilst recognising the need for continuous agitation to secure its repeal, we consider the movement in favour of Passive Resistance highly inexpedient and injurious to the best interests of the country.
The only course immediately open to us to get rid of the legislation is to secure, if possible, its
LORD WILLINGDON ON BRITAIN & INDIA
hoped very much that before many weeks were over his right hon'ble friend would be in a position to introduce a Bill in conformity with the 1917 declaration of policy and which would utterly` overthrow all refuge for the extreme politicians who were always affirming that the brutal bureaucrat was keeping all good things to himself and not giving anything to the aspiring Indian.
For many years a great many people in this country were anxious in respect to Indian unrest. The Germans thought, five years ago, that India would be an extremely fruitful field for their nefarious operations. He was thankful and delighted to say that they were extremely disappointed at the result. It should never be forgotten that India had stood staunch and steadfast to the British Empire for long years, and never so staunch and steadfast as during more than four years of grave peril (Cheers). They might fairly say that India had done her part right well throughout the war and had assisted in winning the great victory of the Allies, "I
would trust India," he went on to say, "I would treat her generously, I would show her that we believe in her high destiny and look upon her as a sister nation amongst the great dominions under the Crown, I would take risks in legislation for India-a progressive policy must mean taking some risks—and above all things I would give up what has seemed like our policy in the past the policy of doing as little as we possibly could, except as a concession to agitation."
By way of explaining this point, Lord Willingdon said in 1915 some of the authorities in India were very strongly of opinion that some declaration of the goal of our policy in India as that of responsible government, should be made, partly that they might be in a position to deal adequately with, and answer, any political aon that might arise. They were informed, how that any proclamation of that sort was impossand undesirable in the circumstances. What pened? The Home Rule League started, ver well organised, very well run and very active. So strenuous were its labours that it gained many adherents. At last, on the 20th August, 1917, the declaration of policy came, and, subsequently his Right Hon'ble friend went out to India and took the most tremendous trouble to find out the true facts of the political situation. But the Extremists argued that these concessions had been dragged out of an unwilling Government by their political agitation. We needed to show, and he felt sure we should show in the future that we were really willing and anxious to help forward India for India's good, and to get out of the minds of Indians once for all that the country was being regulated for the benefit and advantage of these islands. (Cheers.)
country. I know that this is a very difficult subject to talk about—a thorny, prickly subject not very suitable for an after dinner speech. But after nearly six years in India, I feel so strongly that 50 per cent. of the bitterness and ill-feeling would disappear altogether if we could improve our social relations with Indians, that I am bound to say one or two words on the topic. In my experience (and I think gentlemen who have lived in India will agree with me) the Indian is the quickest person in realising the English gentlemen when he meets him that I know of. I would like to urge in the strongest possible fashion on any young Englishman proceeding to India, whether for the civilian services, the army, or business, that he should always deal with the same courtesy and the same good feeling with the Indian as I am glad to know he treats the Indian when he comes on a visit to our country." (Cheers).
"There is one reform about which I feel very strongly indeed which, I think, would make an enormous difference in the general position between Briton and Indian in India. I refer to the social relations between the two races in that
After remarking that though Governor-desig. e of Madras, he was prepared to take the risk
king frankly on the reform question, Loringdon laid down the proposition that no attern should be paid to the noisy clamour of agitators and extremists. He thought there had been too great a tendency to try to make terms with the extremist in the past. (Hear, hear.) They, who lived in the centres of political thought, knew very well that the Extremist agitator wished to get rid of British control. He might, he often did, by specious camouflage begin his speech by saying "God Save the King" and end it in the same way, but there was generally some very undesirable stuff in the middle. (Laughter.) What he wanted was democracy of his particular pattern without any control which was quite impossible if India was to make real progress. It was our duty in India to give every encouragement to reasonable men and also to those ruling Princes who had shown such splendid loyalty for many long years past (cheers) and
their subjects; but we should have nothing to do with the extremist agitation going on India at the present time. We should give the warmest encouragement and support to the Moderate Indian. Many of these, he knew, were very anxious to get responsible government as soon as they could, and in that sense most of them were Home Rulers-as he himself would be if he were in India—but they wished to remain in the British Empire and under the guidance of that Empire. They realised to the full that they needed a considerable amount of training before they achieved the great end in view. He had been captain of good many cricket elevens in his day; and he had always found that in order to win a match it was best to have a team which was absolutely united and playing entirely together in order to achieve the end that they wished for. It was his earnest hope that, when this Reform Bill was passed, he would find a team in Madras that was united and not divided. THE URGENCY OF DECENTRALISATION Coming to another point, Lord Willingdon declared that a bed rock principle of the reforms must be decentralisation (Hear, hear). They must have provincial autonomy, as far as it could be, ex. tended both in their administration and in finance. He did not think it was sufficiently understood in England that there was scarcely a province of India proper under a local Government that did not contain a population of some 20,000,000 persons, and that some provinces had populations equal to that of the United Kingdom; and yet they lived under an extremely centralised administration. The Local Governments had to make references to Simla or Delhi on most trivial matters. This was a fruitful cause of friction, and handicapped to a very considerable degree the development of the provinces. He felt that a Governor should run his province in his own way in regard to local affairs, subject only to an annual audit by the Government of India and the Secretary of State. His own ultimate outlook, though he perhaps cast his vision too far ahead, would be a federation of
Finally, Lord Willingdon spoke of the relation of the great services to reform. He had had peculiar opportunities of learning to appreciate most warmly the zeal and devotion of the services in Bombay. But he wanted to be perfectly honest in his views with regard to the future. There were many, too many people, who were inclined to look upon the question of reform from the point of view of how it was going to affect the great services. After all they were part of the machine and the real question was that of securing the greatest benefit for the great country of India. If they found that certain alterations had to be made in the machine, alterations affecting the services, they must not allow this to prevent the onward march. It was a fact recognised by the great service in very large degree that India had arrived at such a stage of development that she was ready for a considerable grant of responsible government at the present time. When she arrived finally at her goal of responsible government, this would be the consummation of the work of one of the most magnificent services by which any country had been administered, or which had ever been conceived. That was the way he would look at the question. He was perfectly certain that no Government would allow any member of any of those great services to be a loser if by any chance his services were curtailed owing to India having arrived at responsible government,
The views I give are those of one who takes the deepest possible interest in India and has a real affection for her people. I would deal generously with India; and I believe from the bottom of my heart that, if we do this, India will repay the British Empire a hundred fold.
SIR JAMES MESTON'S TASK
MR. R. W. BROCK
(Editor, Madras Times.)
financial statement occupying thirty pages of the Gazette of India, representing many months' work and study, and forming the combined effort of the entire staff of the Finance Department of the Government of India, with its specially trained personnel and unique sources of information, is not easy to criticise. That is, perhaps, a singular admission; it, nevertheless, is the plain fact. And experience indicates that, in practice, outside criticism exerts very little effect on official financial policy. Whether that be due to mere bureaucratic obstinacy; whether Press criticisms are usually ill-informed; whether the non-official criticisms in the Viceroy's Council are as futile, is little to the point. In his first financial statement, Sir James Meston has challenged non-official opinion at every turn. He certainly flouted commercial opinion, British and Indian, in taxing excess profits, for a more thoroughly unanimous and whole-hearted condemnation of any measure of taxation has not been known in this country in recent years. But Sir James Meston has gone his own road, ignoring opposition almost completely. He has made minor concessions, but his main proposals remain intact. I am bound to admit, too, that he has flouted popular opinion in minimising outlay on education and sanitation, etc. He has done so, no doubt, to permit of the more urgent outlay on railway improvement, but undoubtedly on this side he has disappointed public expectations. Similarly, regarding irrigation. And by so acting, the finance member has unfortunately made railway improvement politically unpopular. It is regrettable that so many Indian politicians and publicists decry outlay on railways. They possibly realise its pecessity but deem other outlay more urgent,
That is an understandable position, and, when normal conditions return, will probably find expression, quite rightly, in demands that revenue allotments for railway purposes should cease; in other words, railway outlay should rely wholly on loan income, preferably on rupee loans raised either direct by the State, or by the Railway Co.'s or by utilising both methods of finance concurrently. Adoption of this plan would incidentally lead to considerable increases in 'social reform' outlay, and for political reasons, as well as on the merits of the issue, it is the right policy for the commercial community to support such outlay, and, even to take the lead in urging its necessity. On the other hand, it is but fair that Indian politicians and publicists should be ready to recognise frankly these two important points: (a) railways, while needing considerable outlay, are yielding constantly higher revenues thus helping to keep down taxation (b) no real economic development can occur, unless railway improvement is liberally financed. These two facts are irrefutable, yet a denial of them runs through, and invalidates, a very large portion, especially of newspaper criticism of railway outlay.
After all, what are we aiming at? Primarily, at increased revenues. These larger revenues, however, cannot come to any extent from existing wealth; they must therefore be levied from new wealth; in other words, they can come only as the sequel to a vigorous policy of economic development. And what, in practice, does economic development mean? It means, as regards agriculture, heavier and more profitable crops, causing increased outward traffic, and swelling exports; it means, again, larger imports, in response to the increased purchasing power to which agricultural
improvement must give rise. Or again, it means movement of the heavy new traffic associated with industries, such as those now arising at Sakchi. It means, once again, new ports. It means, perhaps, sooner or later, the growth of an Indian mercantile marine. In any event, you get increased railway traffic. Surely this is incontestable. And then as regards the heavy grant this year, let us not overlook its origin. For my sins, I spent 5 years as assistant editor of "Capital", admittedly a business journal in close contact with commercial interests. The point I wish to make is, that in all those years, I do not recollect a single month, I do not recollect a single industry, without its complaint of inadequate transport. With that fact constantly forced on my attention, it is inevitable I should deem Sir James Meston's financial arrangement not merely unavoidable but intensely desirable. Many Indian critics, I am aware, take a different view,' but they are rarely business men. So, with Mr. Sarma's resolution. It was condemned most vehemently, not by the officials, but by Indian commercial representatives, such as Sir D. E. Wacha, (Bombay) and Mr. Sita Nath Roy (Calcutta). It is idle to assert that these two astute politicians were merely "playing up" to official prejudices or toBritish commercial interests. They see, on the contrary, that to overtake the enormous arrears of railway outlay is, in Indian commercial interests, essential, a plain business need, in short, a sound and necessary investment. Not only is it necessary to overtake arrears, prices have risen, and this is a source of large outlay in itself.
fulfilment. The procedure, I think, will probably be:-issue of railway loans in rupee form ;. gradual increase in local shareholders in the main railway lines; their rise to predominance; finally, their insistence on local directorates. But this will take time. Meanwhile, no advantage is lost and many advantages are gained, by sinking further sums in an extraordinarily profitable property.
Sir James Meston is too keenly conscious of the imperative need of educational advancement, and of bold measures of health conservation, of industrial development, and of banking extension, to permit of the belief that he is indifferent to or unconcious of the need for long steps forward in these directions, and I take it, he is "keeping something in hand" for next year. His first budget is, indeed quite evidently a transitional measure, and hardly a fair test. As he points out, he could not avoid large grants to railways; military outlay, at this stage, inevitably remains abnormal and uncertain; the currency situation offers points for anxiety; much temporary debt is maturing for discharge, and until the decks are cleared of these impediment a peace programme offers difficulties so great as to be temporarily insuperable. That, I take to be the real essence of his message. It is a position, necessarily conducive to impatience. There is so much scope for beneficial outlay; so little money to allot. But first things first. The paraphernalia of war cannot be cast aside in a day; Sir James Meston has consequently only been able to present a Demobilisation Budget. His personal outlook is indicated in the sentences:-"We shall, during the years ahead, have irresistable claims upon us to raise capital for internal development, railways, industries, forests and the like. And again, during the same period we shall have to launch into very heavy expenditure for the education and well-being of the people, without which our political progress would be largely