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Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya has been one of the shining lights of the Constitutional Movement in India. He has attended nearly every one of its sittings since 1886, and has invariably spoken at every one of them on some of the most pressing public questions of the day. But the subject to which he devoted special attention and on which he spoke with his wonted knowledge and enthusiasm at every succeeding session of the Congress was in connection with the expansion of the Legislative Councils. Year after year Pandit Malaviya urged with his colleagues in the Congress for an adequate measure of political power for Indians in the governance of their country. A close student of constitutional questions, he formulated his views on the federal system of Government for India in his evidence before the Decentralisation Commission in 1908:


The unitary form of Government which prevails at present should be converted into the federal system. The Provincial Governments should cease to be mere delegates of the Supreme Government, but should be made semi-independent Governments. A similar proposal was, I believe, put forward before the Government about the time when Lord Mayo determined to invest Provincial Governments with a share of financial responsibility in order to minimise the evils of over-centralization. The Government of India should retain in its hands, as at present, all matters relating to foreign relations, the defences of the country, currency, debt, tariffs, post, telegraphs and railways. receive all the revenue and receipts derived from It should continue to heads which are at present called 'Imperial.' To meet the ordinary Imperial expenditure which will not be met by these receipts, it should require the various Provincial Governments to make a ratable contribution based on a definite and reasonable principle. Having secured this, the Government of India should leave the Provincial Governments perfect freedom in levying and spending their revenues as they may consider best in the interests of the people. It should exercise its power of imposing additional general taxation in any Province, only when it has to meet any extraordinary expenditure, and when the Province or Provinces concerned have refused to give the assistance required. very much needed and healthy check upon the This will impose a spending tendencies of the Government of India, and make it possible for the Provincial Governments to retain in their hands and to devote a fair proportion of their revenues to promote the well-being of the people.

Condensed from a sketch prepared for Messrs. Natesan's "Biographies of Eminent Indians Series."


THE MINTO-MORLEY REFORMS. Soon after, Lord Morley, of whom great things were expected, outlined a scheme of reforms which was published in the form of a despatch in 1908. It was well known that he was in constant consultation with the Viceroy and a few select and leading Indians, and when the proposals were actually published there were as usual divergent opinions on the adequacy or otherwise of the reforms. Pandit Malaviya along with other moderate leaders welcomed the scheme "as marking the beginnings of a new era." He wrote in the Indian Review for December of that year :

The people and the Government have both to be congratulated on the proposal of reforms which have been put forward by the Government of India and the Secretary of State. The reforms have been conceived in a truly liberal and praiseworthy spirit. They will, when carried out, mark the beginning of a new era, full of hope and promise for the future.

I have hopes that the reforms will be made still more liberal and beneficial before they take their final shape. The Government are to be particularly congratulated upon deciding to create a non-official majority in the Provincial Councils. I venture to say that they should have adopted the same course in regard to the Supreme Council. It would be quite safe and wise to do so. If, however, that must be postponed for the future, then the proposals of His Excellency the Viceroy to have an equal number of official and non-official members in his Council should at least be accepted.

The proposed reforms mark the second great triumph of the Congress movement-the first having been the passing of the Indian Councils Act of 1892. PRESIDENT OF THE LAHORE CONGRESS

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months before the Pandit had welcomed the proposals as truly liberal and comprehensive in spirit, yet his enthusiasm for the scheme like that of his fellow-workers in the Congress cause had been greatly damped by the rigour of the regulations by which it had been hedged round. After enumerating the various regulations framed by the Bureaucracy the Pandit made a memorable appeal which is well worth recalling even on the present occasion:

The Regulations framed to give effect to them have unfortunately departed, and widely too, from the spirit of those proposals, and are illiberal and retrogressive to a degree. Educated Indians have been compelled to condemn them. They have done so more in sorrow than in anger. Let the Government modify the Regulations to bring them into harmony with the spirit of Lord Morley's proposals, and in the name of this Congress, and, I venture to say, on behalf of my educated countrymen generally, I beg to assure the Government that they will meet with a cordial and grateful reception. (Cheers.) I do not ignore the fact that there is an assurance contained in the Government's Resolution accompanying the Regulations that they will be modified in the light of the experience that will be gained in their working. That assurance has been strengthened by what His Excellency the Viceroy was pleased to say in this connection both at Bombay and Madras. But I most respectfully submit that many of the defects pointed out in them are such that they can be remedied without waiting for the light of new experience. And I respectfully invite both Lord Morley and Lord Minto to consider whether in view of the widespread dissatisfaction which the Regulations have created, it will be wise to let this feeling live and grow, or whether it is not desirable in the interests of good administration, and to fulfil one of the most important and avowed objects of the Reforms, namely the allaying of discontent and the promotion of goodwill between the Government and the people, to take the earliest opportunity to make an official announcement that the objections urged against the Regulations will be taken early into consideration.


Pandit Malaviya was by this time recognised as one of the few leading men of the Congress and alike by his services in the United Provinces Legislative Council and to the country at large deserved his elevation to the Viceregal Council. Since 1910 he has continued to sit in the Imperial Legislative Council without interruption and taken part in every important debate with his accustomed zeal.


Almost one of the earliest of his speeches was in connection with the passing of the Press Act. He and the Hon. Mr. Basu were the two non-official members who strenuously opposed the bill and voted against it too. "My Lord," said the Pandit on the occasion, "when the Press is left at the mercy of the Local Government, when it is left to the Local Government by merely issuing a notice to demand a security, I submit, the freedom with which newspapers have expressed their criticisms of the acts and omissions of Government is very much likely to suffer." The subsequent procedure adopted by some of the Provincial Governments against some of the spirited newspapers and journals have but lent support to the Pandit's apprehension.


The thorough independence that has always characterised the attitude of the Pandit was evident again when during the discussions on the Seditious Meetings Bill of 1910 he spoke with his accustomed fervour against the measure. The Hon. Mr. Jenkins had introduced the Bill to provide for the continuance of the Seditious Meetings Act, 1907, and made a feeble attempt to justify the measure. Two striking passages from the Pandit's speech are worth quoting :

Not only has no necessity been shown for the measure before us, but there is also the fear, as my friend the Hon'ble Mr. Gokhale has pointed out, that a repressive measure may itself, by being abused in its working, lead to promoting the evil which it was intended to cure. The Seditious Meetings Act and the Press Act have both already given illustrations of the truth of the old adage that the sight of means to do ill-deeds often makes ill-deeds done. Look for instance at the action of the authorities in Eastern Bengal in suppressing three District Conferences and the meeting which sought to help the depressed classes. I venture to doubt if the said Conferences or the said meeting would have been stopped if the Seditious Meetings Act had not been in existence. Look again at the action taken in several places under the Press Act in contravention of the pledge given by the Government when it was going through the Council, and think of the irritation which the abuse of its provisions must cause in the public mind. So long as the Government will keep these two measures on the Statute-book, I regret to say, but I feel it my duty to say it, so long will all

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Another subject on which his voice was more than once raised was in connection with the question of Indentured Emigration. In 1910 Mr. Gokhale had pleaded in vain for the abolition of this "monstrous and iniquitous system." During the regime of H. E. Lord Hardinge, Pandit Madan Mohan raised his protest against the iniquities of the system and urged its immediate abolition. He rightly characterised it as "an unmitigated curse." His European colleagues in the Council must have greatly felt the force of his arguments when he said:

European labour is employed all over the world, but nowhere are such degrading restrictions attached to it as those that attach to Indian labour. And although the European labourer is far more capable of judging of his own interests than the Indian labourer, the greatest care is taken to ensure that he has understood the exact terms of his contract. And then the contract which is always for a very short period, is a purely civil contract, and can be cancelled if the labourer can prove in a Court of Justice before a magistrate of his own race that unfair advantage was taken of his ignorance.

He wound up his great speech on that occasion with the following telling appeal:

The system has worked enough moral havoc during 75 years. We cannot think, my Lord, without intense pain and humiliation of the blasted lives of its victims, of the anguish of soul to which our numerous brothers and sisters have been subjected by this system. It is high time that this should be abolished.

The appeal this time did not fall on deaf ears. H. E. Lord Hardinge announced that he and the Secretary of State for India had decided that the system should be doomed for


It is unnecessary to dwell at length on the many topics which formed the subject matter of his speeches in the Imperial Council during the last eight years. Suffice it to say that in all subjects he gave expression to the people's will. Nor need we refer to his speeches in connection with the passing of the Hindu University Bill which in a way may be said to constitute his life-work. On the termination of H. E. Lord Hardinge's regime he spoke in just appreciation of His Excellency's administration, his great services to the people of this country and his jealous regard for the honour and self-respect of India and her millions. Again during the discussions on India and the War he warmly supported the rally of India to the Empire and though unable to see eye to eye with some of his colleagues on the capacity of this country to bear the increasing financial obligations entailed by constant contributions towards the war, he urged with Mr. Gandhi for increasing participation in the actual fighting at the front.


It is now necessary to go back to the Pandit's work in connection with the Congress demand for Self-Government. From the days of the Lahore Congress the demand for Self-Government on Colonial lines became more and more pronounced. The outbreak of the European war and India's unbounded enthusiasm for participating in the burden and glory of the Empire quickened her conciousness of strength, while the generous utterances of British statesmen not merely on India's substantial help but also of the great ideals of freedom and self-determination fired her imagination to the possibilities of a quicker transition. The Congress accordingly passed resolutions demanding SelfGovernment and the Muslim League soon followed suit. It was the Pandit's privilege to expound the scheme to numerous audiences. In October 1916 Pandit Malaviya signed along with other non-official members of the Imperial Council what is now known as the famous Memorandum of the Nineteen. The Lucknow and the Calcutta Congresses

confirmed the Self-Government Resolutions of the previous Sessions. But any scheme devised by the wit of man is liable to be misunderstood, and the Congress-League scheme was no exception. Some went too far and demanded in the name of the Congress and the Moslem League what to others. appeared altogether without warrant in the terms of the scheme. The Hon. Pandit now went on a tour round the country expounding the demands of the Congress, and the propaganda work was in full swing on either side when at the top of it all came the sudden internment of Mrs. Besant.

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The Congress-League scheme is a natural and rational advance upon the lines under which political institutions have been working so far in this country. It is therefore no good telling us that our scheme does not fit in with the schemes formulated in other countries. The Congress-League scheme is suitable to the conditions in India. Some of our critics tell us that responsible government means a government which is responsible to the representatives of the people and removable at the pleasure of the representatives. I wish these critics showed a little more consideration, a little more generosity, in dealing with us and credited us with a little more common-sense. Self-Government means that the Executive is responsible to the people. When we spoke of Self-Government we spoke of Self-Government on colonial lines. In the Colonies the Executive is responsible to the Legislature. That being so it is entirely wrong to say that in asking for Self-Government we are asking for something less than responsible Government. It is said that we might have put into our scheme a little more generosity and a little more enthusiasm but you must remember that when they put it forward they had not only to think of you and me, but of the bureaucracy and all those who are represented by Lord Sydenham, and the framers were probably wiser in couching it in a language which may not satisfy us,

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He urged that the Indian public should take steps to see that the Montagu-Chelmsford proposals should be expanded and modified.

Unfortunately for the country, a great and serious difference of opinion arose over the method and manner in .which the MontaguChelmsford Scheme was to be received by the country. In accordance with a resolution passed at the Calcutta Congress, a special session of the Congress was convened in Bombay in September 1918, to discuss the Montagu-Chelmsford Scheme. Despite the assurances of Mrs. Besant and her endeavours to make peace, moderate leaders throughout the country felt that the followers of Mrs. Besant and Mr. Tilak would assemble in large numbers at the special session, condemn the scheme and reject it altogether. In the view of the moderates such a step was most injurious to the best interests of India and the situation demanded that at least all the old and veteran workers of the Congress who believed that with all its imperfections, the Montagu-Chelmsford Scheme was a definite step in advance, should welcome it and criticise it in a constructive spirit. They therefore as a body abstained from the Special Congress and resolved

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to have a conference of their own. Among the ex-Presidents of the Congress, Pandit Madan Mohan was the solitary individual who attended the session, and tried his best to tone down the resolutions of the Special Congress on the Montagu-Chelmsford scheme. The presence presence of him and a

handful of moderates was not of much avail; for the Special Congress did pronounce the scheme as disappointing and unsatisfactory, while the Moderate Conference which was subsequently held in Bombay welcomed the scheme as a definite step in advance but made several constructive suggestions not altogether dissimilar to those passed at the Congress. A definite split had taken place and Pandit Madan Mohan did his best to induce the moderate leaders to reconsider their decision to abstain from the Congress. About this time Mr. Tilak had been declared the President-Elect of the Delhi Congress, and friends of the Congress who anxiously expected that the split would be made up felt that the election of Mr. Tilak blasted all hopes in that direction. On Mr. Tilak's voluntary resignation of his office in view of his departure to England, the majority of members of the All-India Congress Committee who were anxious that the two parties should once again unite at Delhi by an overwhelming majority, fixed their choice on Pandit Madan Mohan, as the most suitable president of the Delhi Congress.

A few days after his election, the Pandit made through the columns of the Leader an eloquent appeal to the public for united action.

His appeal was no doubt responsible for the presence of a few of the moderates at the Delhi Congress; and despite the absence of several of the veterans of the Congress the Delhi session was very largely attended, and for the first time at the special call of the President there were also present a large number of tenant delegates. Pandit Madan Mohan delivered a long and interesting address in which he laboured to point out that there was not much difference between the views of the Special Congress and those of the Moderate Conference, for on many vital

points of constructive criticism on the scheme there was a consensus of opinion. He then made an eloquent plea for India's right to self-determination. The following passage from his address is bound to touch the heart of every patriotic Indian :

Now the principle that runs through the peace ⚫ proposals is the principle of justice to all peoples and Nationalities and their right to live on equal terms of liberty and safety with one another. Each nation is to be given freedom to determine its own affairs and to mould its own destinies. Russia is to have an unhampered and unembarrassed opportunity for her own political development and National policy. Austria-Hungary is to be accorded the opportunity of autonomous development. International guarantees of political and economic independence and territorial integrity are to be secured to the Balkan States and to the independent Polish States which are to be created. Nationalities are to be assured security of life and autonomous development. In the adjustment of Colonial claims the principle to be followed is that, in determining such questions the sovereignty and interests of the population concerned are to have equal weight with the equable claims of the Government whose title is to be determined. How far are these principles of autonomy and self-determination to be applied to India? That is the question for consideration. We are happy to find that the Governments of Britain and France have already decided to give effect to these proposals in the case of Syria and Mesopotamia. This has strengthened our hope that they will be extended to India also. We standing in this ancient capital of India, both of Hindu and Muhammadan period-it fills me, my countrymen and countrywomen, with inexpressible sorrow and shame to think that we the descendants of Hindus who ruled for four thousand years in this extensive Empire and the descendants of Musalmans who ruled here for several hundred years should have so far fallen from our ancient state that we should have to argue our capacity for even a limited measure of autonomy and self-rule.

THE INDIAN INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION. We now pass on to his labours in another important direction. The Indian Industrial Commission was appointed by the Government of India on the 19th May 1916, with Sir Thomas Holland as President and Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya was appointed as a member of the Commission, obviously to represent the Indian non-official public, and his appointment was hailed with satisfaction. by the public at large. It concluded its labours at the end of the year 1918 and presented a report to which the Pandit contributed a long and interesting note pointing out his differences with his colleagues and suggesting many important measures to ena

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