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The first; edition of fchis book was brought oufc in 
September, 1915. Advantage has been taken by the 
author of the issue of this second edition to add more 
incidents in connection with the origin and early stages 
of the Congress Movement and to bring the book itself 
up to date i.e. down to the last Congress at Lucknow of 
which the author, the Hon. Mr. Amvica Charan Muzum- 
dar was the President. 

The publishers are gratified at the ready welcome 
accorded by the public to the account of the national 
movement from the pen of one of the oldest of the 
congress veterans. 

It is hoped that this new and revised edition will 
meet with equal success. 

November, 1917. . The Publishers, 



Sometime in August 1913 at the instance of some 
friends I undertook to write a few articles for a 
magazine on the Eise and Growth of the Indian 
National Congress, the most important and pheno- 
menal movement in the political history of new 
India. After only a few pages were written, it was 
discovered that such a subject could not be properly 
dealt with in the spare columns of any magazine in 
the country without taxing its capacity to an unrea- 
sonable extent and that for a much longer period 
than was perhaps consistent with the sustained 
interests of such a review. The idea was, therefore, 
abandoned. In January following while turning 
over some of the materials which I had collected 
and arranged for the articles, it occurred to me that 
these might be published in the form of a pamphlet 
so that they may be of some use to any one who may 
be disposed to write a well-digested history of this 
evolutionary movement. That is the origin of the 
little volume which is now presented to the public. 
The book was fairly completed by July 1914 when it 
was partly handed over to Mr. G. A. Natesan of 
Madras, who kindly undertook to illustrate and 
publishit. In August the great War broke out and 
as the book necessarily contained occasional criticisms 


of Government, it was deemed proper and expedient 
to defer its publication until the War conditions 
were fairly settled. Those conditions having passed 
the doubts a^nd uncertainties, as well as the excite- 
ment, of the preliminary stage and taken a definite 
shape as also a favourable turn, the book is now 
issued to the public. 

My most grateful acknowledgments are due to my 
esteemed friend and chief, the Hon'ble Mr. Suren- 
dranath Banerjea, who not only readily supplied me 
with whatever information I wanted from him, but 
also in the midst of his multifarious duties, kindly 
went through a considerable portion of the manu- 
script. I am also deeply indebted to my esteemed 
friends, Mr. D. E. Wacha and Mr. G. Subramania 
Iyer for a lot of valuable information v/hich they 
from time to time gave me regarding their respective 
Presidencies. To Sir William Wedderburn I 
am no less deeply indebted for the kind permis- 
sion which he gave me for the free use of his 
excellent memoirs of Allan Octavian Hume, 
though I was precluded from using any of his 
private correspondence. Mr. G. A. Natesan of 
Madras materially helped me with a number of his 
valuable publications bearing on the Congress ; 
while to the Education Department of the Govern- 
ment of India I feel deeply obliged for the courtesy 
and readiness with which they supplied me with 

the Educational Statement of March, 1914. 
Mr. Satyananda Bose, the energetic Secretary of 
the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee, was 
good enough to supply me with the papers relating to 
the Surat incident which will be found in an appen- 
dix. Lastly, I am highly indebted to my friends 
Mr. Amrita Chandra Ghosh of the Bipon College, 
Calcutta, and Mr. Prithwis Chandra Ray, late Editor 
oi the Indian Tl^orM, who kindly undertook to read 
my proofs when my eyes being affected I was 
incapacitated from dealing with them myself. 

I am perfectly conscious of the many defects 
which will be noticed in these pages mostly written 
at intervals of a protracted and distressing illness. 
These defects may, however, stimulate others to write 
a more careful and exhaustive book on the subject. 
If in the meantime these imperfect and desultory 
notes will attract the attention of my young friends 
of the rising generation and direct them to a careful 
study of the Indian Problems and of the Indian 
Administration, I shall deem my humble labours a s 
amply rewarded. 

Faeidpore,! ^^YlKk CHARAN MAZUMDAR. 

Sept. 1915.\ 



Hume — Dadabbai — Wedderburn ...• 1 

W. C. Bonnerjee, President, 1885 ... 1 

Lord RipoQ ... ... ... 16 

John Brigbfc ... .. ... 36^ 

Henry Fawcefcfc ... ... ... 17 

Charles Bradlaugh ... ... 17 

Dadabbai Naoroji, President, 1886, 1893 & 1906 ... 64 

Budruddin Tyabjee, President, 1887 ... 65 

W, Wedderburn, President, 1889 and 1910 ... 144: 

George Yule. President, 1888 ... ... 145> 

Sir P. M. Mehta, President, 1890 ... 145 

Alfred Webb, President, 1894. ... 160^ 

Eai Bahadur P. Anandacharlu, President, 1891. ... 160 

R, M. Sayani, President, 1896. ... 161 

Babu Surendranath Banerjeo, President, 1895 & 1902. 161 
Hon. Sir Dinshaw Edulji Wacha, Presic^ent, 1901... 208 

Hon. Sir C. Sankaran Nair, President, 1897 ... 208 

Romesh ChunderDutt, President, 1899 ... 209 

Sir N. G. Chandavarkar, President. 1900 ... 209 
Hon. Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya, President, 1909. 224 

Sir Henry Cotton K.C.S.I., President, 1904 ... 224 

Lai Mohan Ghose ... ... 226 

Pundit Bishen Narain Dhar ... ...- 226 

Gopal Krishna Gokhale, CLE., President, 1905 ... 288 

Ananda Mohan Bose, President, 1898 ... 288 

Eao Bahadur R.N. Mudholkar, President, 1912 ... 289 

Hon. Nawab Syed Mahomed, President, 1913 ... 289 

Hon. Babu Bupendranath Basu, President, 1914 ... 400' 
Dr. Sir Rash Behari Ghose, President, 1907 & 1908.. 400 

Hon. Sir S. P. Sinha, President, 1915. ... 401 

Hon. Babu A. 0, Mazumdar, President, 1916 ... 401 



Introductory ... ... ... 1 

The Genesis of the Political Movement in India... 4 

The Early Friends of India ... ... 8 

The Indian Press ... ... ... 20 

The Gathering Clouds ... ... ... 25 

The Clouds lifted ... ... ... 34 

The Dawning light ... ... ... 40 

The Inauguration and the Father of the Congress. 45 

The First Session of the Congress ... ... 57 

The Career of the Congress ... ... 65 

The Surat Imbroglio and the Convention ... 99 

The Work in England ... ... ... 127 

—The Congress : A National Movement ... 140 

The Success of the Congress ... ... 161 

-The Partition of Bengal ... ... 199 

The Indian unrest and Its remedy ... ... 225 

The Depression ... ... ... 264 

Keorganisation of the Congress ... * ... 282 

The Reconstruciiion of the Indian Civil Service ... 302 

Indian Representation in British Parliament ... 322 

Jndia in Party Politics ... ... ... 336 

The Edueational Problem ... ... 341 

Indian Renaissance ... ... ... 373 

The Aim and Goal of the Congress ... ... 391 

Conclusion ... ... ... ... 406 


India and the War ... ... ... 410^ 

The New Spirit and Self-Government for India... 430 


CoDstitution of the Indian National Congress ... i 

Hules for the conduct of meetings ... ... x 

Tentative P^ules for' the Congress ... xvii 


The Convention ... ... 

The Extremist's Version 
Mr. Gokhale and the Extremists' Version 
Extremists' Version Contradicted 
Bengal Protest 






The Presidents of the Congress from 1885 to 1916. Ixviii 

Congress League Scheme ... ... Ixix 









A FULL and crifeical account of the origin, progress 
and developDQenfc of an epoch-making political 
event in any country is always a very delicate and 
difficult task ; for, the secret and sometimes silent origin 
of such a movement, like the many-sided meandering 
course of a deceptive rivulet at its source, is often 
shrouded in the mazes of imperfect records and con- 
flicting reports ; while the subtle influence of jealousy 
and spite on the one hand, no less than that of suspi- 
cion and distrust on the other, leading to misrepresenta- 
tions and exaggerations, serves not a little in its onward 
course to obscure the vision and warp the judgment 
of contemporary minds. Then the effects of divergent 
views and colliding interests have also to be reckoned 
with to no small extent. Even the histories of such 
great events as the birth of American Independence 
and the establishment of the French Republic, not to 
speak of the Great Revolution, have not been altogether 
free from doubts, difficulties and contradictions. But 
if the histories of revolutions are sometimes so varying 


and divergent; in their accounts, the history o! 
an evolution must be sfcill more obscure and defec- 
tive in its narratives. There a much larger area of 
time and space is covered by the slow and silent 
trend of gathering events which in their noiseless pro- 
gress at first naturally attract much less attention and 
are more tardily recognised than the sensational and 
dramatic developments of a revolution, and then by 
the time the tangible results of these events begin 
to be realised much of the historical accuracy of the 
process is lost, if not actually sacrificed, to the extrava- 
gant demands of either individual or sectional pride 
and egotism. The history of the Indian National Con- 
gress is the history of the origin and development of 
national life in India, and a bare epitome of that his- 
tory would involve a cribical analysis of the diverse 
phases of that life in its different baarings and with all 
its recommendations and its lapses, as well as its suc- 
xjesses and its failures during che past thirty years. The 
object t)f this book is not, however, to attempt such 
a venturesome task, nor has the time probably fully 
arrived for a complete and well-digested history to be 
written on this great evolutionary movement. Its 
humble aim is to record a few contemporaneous events 
s,ud impressions which, in the peculiar shortness 
of Indian memory on matters historical, are already 
fast drifting towards the realm of faint traditions, and 
thus to rescue them from possible oblivion, so that they 
may be of some use to the future historian. tEa¥~a 
correct and adequate appreciation of the movement, it 
would, however, be necessary to recapitulate, though 


'Very briefly, the condition of the country immediately 
preceding its inauguration, as well as the circumstances 
which gradually led up to its inception. 

The Indian National Congress marks an important 
-epoch in the history of British Rule in India. Apart from 
the questions of reforms with which it is immediately 
-concerned, it is engaged in a much wider and nobler task 
iot which it has already laid a fairly solid foundation 
— the task of i^ation-building in India after the model' 
-of modern Europe. Coming in contact with Western 
people and Western culture the Indian mind could not 
fail to expand in the direction of Western ideas and insti- 
tutions. It is as impossible for one civilization, whether 
superior or inferior, to come in touch with another civili- 
zation without unfolding its own characteristics, as it is 
impossible for one vessel to throw its search-light upon 
another without exposing its own broad outlines to the 
gaze of the latter. A barbarous race may become extinct ; 
but two civilized people coming in close contact are 
in spite of all their differences and conservatism bound to 
coalesce and act and react upon each other. The 
superior may dominate the inferior ; but cannot trans- 
form it altogether : while the latter, however vigorously 
it may struggle to maintain its peculiar identity, is 
bound gradually and even unconsciously to imbibe and 
assimilate, either for the better or for the worse, some 
of the properties of the former. The Indian National 
Congress and the evolution which is slowly working 
its way through almost every phase of Indian life, are 
the natural and visible manifestation of such a contact. 


The Genesis of Political Movement in India. 
Raja Ram Mobaa Roy, the recognised progenifcor 
of raodern India, was the ficsfc apostle of a politi- 
cal creed based upon constitutional agitation in tbis 
country. But the political gospel which his versa- 
tile genius preached was, under the circumstances of the 
country very properly subordinated to the prior claims- 
of religious, social and educational reforms, and like 
all gospels of truth, which have revolutionised human 
society whether in ancient or raodern times, it natu- 
rally took time to establish its hold upon the public 
mind and present any tangible results. His mission 
to England in 1832 was no doubt a political one; but 
the remarkable evidence which he gave before a com- 
mittee of the House of Commons attracted more atten- 
tion in England than in India, and although that 
evidence was largely responsible for some of the reforms 
effectad in the Indian administration shortly after his 
death the Indian public were very little influenced by 
it at the time. It was not until the fifties of the last 
century that with this Pawning light of Western Educa- 
tion, of which the pioneer Indian Reformer was perhaps 
the greatest champion of his time, the public mind 
began to expand and political ideas and activities began 
to manifest themselves in one form or another in diff- 
erent parts of the country. Since then an association 
here andean association there sprung up, like a few 
cases in the desert, some of which no doubt possessed* 


a degree of vitaliiiy, but mosfe of which were of ephe- 
meral existence. The Brifcish Indian Association in 
Bengal and the Bombay Association in the Western 
Presidency were almost simultaneously started about 
the year 1851, the former under the guidance and ins- 
piration of stalwarts like Mr. Prasanna Kumar Tagore, 
Dr. Rajendralal Mitra, Mr. Ramgopal Ghosh, Raja 
Digamvar Mitter, Mr. Pearychand Mitter and Mr. 
Harish Chandra Mukherjea, the pioneer of independent 
Indian journalism ; while the latter owed its origin to 
the patriotic labours of Mr. Jugganath Sankersetfe, 
who was tha first non-official member of the Bombay 
3Jegislat}ive Council established in 1863, and of that 
^venerable political Rishi who, thank God, after a 
-strenuous active life extending over half a century, now 
sits in his quiet retreat at Versova as the patron saint 
of the Indian political world silently watching and 
guarding its interests and occasionally cheering it with 
messages of hope and confidence — Mr. Dadabhai Nao- 
roji. " As the genius of Mr. Kristodas Pal ultimately 
raised the British Indian Association to a power in 
Bengal, so the Bombay Association owed not a little 
of its usefulness to its subsequent acquisition of the 
services of Sir Mangaldas Nathubhoy and Mr, Naoroji 
Furdunji who for his stout and fearless advocacy of the 
popular cause received, like Ramgopal Ghosh and 
Kristodas Pal in Bengal, the appellation of the *'Tri- 
bune of the People" in connection with his many 
^ghts in the Municipal Corporation of Bombay so 
graphically described in that excellent book which has 

• DiedonJmie 30,1917. 


recently been written by Mr. Dinshaw Edulji Wacha on* 
*' The Eise and Groivth of Bombay Municipal Govern- 
ment.'''*' But wbile the British Indian Association has 
vigorously maintained a useful existence for more than 
half a century, the Bombay Association did not survive 
more than a decade, and although it was revived in 1870^ 
and galvanized into fresh life by Mr. Naoroji Furdunji 
in 1873, it shortly became practically extinct in 
an unequal competition with the East India Asso- 
ciation which again in its turn fell into a moribund 
condition in the early eighties. The Southern Presi- 
dency jvas still more slow in developing its public life ; 
there was an old association called the " Madras Native 
Association," chiefly worked by some officials, which' 
possessed very little vitality and had practically little or 
no hold upon the public mind in Madras. Madras was 
first vivified into life by that able and independent 
journal. The Hindu, which was started in 1878 un5er 
the auspices of a galaxy of stars in Southern India 
composed of Ananda Charlu, Veeraraghavachari, Ean- 
giah Naidu and G. Subramania Iyer (alas ! all of whom 
have now vanished into space). At Poona the Bar vajanih 
Sahha was started towards the middle of the seventies 
under the management of Rao Bahadur Krishnaji Laxa- 
man Nulkar, Mr. Sitaram Hari Chiplonkar and several 
other gentlemen of light and leading who gave the- 
first impetus to public activities in the Deccan. 

These were practically all the important public 
bodies in the country between the fifties and the early 

* Tlie Rise and Growth of Bombay Municvpal Govermnent. 
By D. E. Wacha. G. A. Natesan & Co., Publishers, Madras.. 


seventies of the last century which, though exercising 
no inconsiderable influence within their limited spheres 
of particular activities, were but the general exponents 
of particular interests and for a long time devoted 
mainly to occasional criticisms of important ad- 
ministrative or legislative measures affecting their 
respective provinces. Constructive policy they had 
none, and seldom if ever they laid down any programme 
of systematic action for the political advancement of the 
country. In fact the idea of a united nationality and of 
national interests ; the cultivation of politics in its wider 
aspects as the fundamental basis of national progress- 
and not merely as a means to temporary adminis- 
trative make-shifts; the all-embracing patriotic fervour 
which like the Promethean spark has now made 
the dead bones in the valley instinct with life ; 
and, above all, the broad vision of political eman- 
cipation which has now dawned upon the people and 
focussed their energies and has directed their operations 
towards a definite goal and common aspiration, throw- 
ing all local and sectional considerations largely into 
the background — these were still very remote though 
not altogether foreign to the aims and objects of these 
Associations. But from this it must not be inferred 
that it is at all suggested, that these conceptions were 
the sudden evolution of a single year, or the revelation 
of a single evangelist who saw them in an apocalypse 
and proclaimed them to a wondering people at a single 
session of the Congress in the blessed year of 1885. 
Great events always cast their shadows before. Prior 
to 1880 even the semblance of a political status the 


people had none, while their economic condition was 
becoming more and more straitened every day. Indian 
wants and grievances were accumulating with the rapidly 
changing conditions of the country, education was ex- 
panding Indian views and aspirations and Indian 
thoughts from various causes had been for a long time 
in a state of ferment vainly seeking for some sort of 
palliatives for the complicated diseases from which the 
-country had been helplessly suffering in 'almost every 
direction. Many were thus the causes at work which 
contributed towards forcing the educated Indian mind 
into new channels of thought and action. 


The Early Eribnds of India. 

It must be gratefully recorded that while India was 
thus struggling in a sub-conscious state, alternat- 
ing between hope and despair, painfully alive to her 
sufferings, yet quite helpless as regards any appropriate 
and effective remedy, she was not a little comforted by 
the fact that even among Englishmen, who were held res- 
ponsible for the situation, there were men who, though 
they belonged to a particular nationality, were men 
born for justice and fairness towards suffering huma- 
nity. Since the time of Edmund Burke scarcely a 
voice had been heard in England in favour of the 
*' voiceless millions " of India until John Bright sounded 
bis warning note against the injustice systematically 


'done to this country. In 1847 Bright entered Parlia- 
ment and he was not long in the House of ComnQons 
i^efore his generous impulses turned his attention to 
India. From 1847 to 1880, amidst his multifarious 
duties as a British politician and cabinet minister, he 
worked for India as none had worked before him. In 
the famous debate on Sir Charles Wood's India Bill of 
1853, Mr. Bright entered a vigorous protest against the 
system of Government established in India and cate- 
gorically pointed out nearly all the defects of that 
system some, if not most, of which are still applicable 
to the present-day arrangement. In his passionate 
eloquence he called the attention of the House to the 
extreme inadequacy of Parliamentary control over the 
administration of India which both sides of the House 
formally agreed in proclaiming as a " solemn sacred 
trust", though neither side raised its little finger even 
to treat it as more than a grazing common. He held 
that there was no continuity or consistency of any 
settled policy with regard to India, while everything 
was allowed to drift, there being no real disposition to 
grapple with any difficulty ; that Indian opinion was 
unanimous in calling for a constitutional change and 
in complaining of the delay and expense of the law 
courts, the inefficiency and low character of the police 
and the neglect of road-making and irrigation ; that 
the poverty of the people was such as to demonstrate 
of itself a fundamental error in the system of Govern- 
ment ; that the statute authorising the employment of 
Indians in offices of trust was a dead letter ; that 
the continuance of the system of appointments and 


promotion by seniorifcy in the covenanted service was a- 
great bar to a nauch wider empIoynQent of the 
most intelligent and able men among the native popu- 
lafcion ; " that taxation was clumsy and unscientific 
and its burden intolerable to a people destitute of 
mechanical appliances ; that the salt-tax was unjust 
and the revenue from opium precarious ; that the 
revenue was squandered on unnecessary wars ; that the 
Civil Service was overpaid ; that there was no security 
for the competence and character of the collectors 
whose power was such that each man could make or 
mar a whole district; that Parliament was unable to 
grapple fairly with any Indian question ; that the people 
and Parliament of Britain were shut out from all con- 
siderations in regard to India, and that " on the whole 
the Government of India was a Government of secrecy 
and irresponsibility to a degree that should not be toler- 
ated." In the peroration of this remarkable speech 
referring to the Indian people John Bright said : — 

" There never was a more docile people, nerer a more tractable 
nation. The opportunity is present, and the power is not wanting. 
Let us abandon the policy of aggression and confine ourselves to a 
territorj' ten times the size of France, with a population four 
times as numerous as that of the United Kingdom. Surely, that 
is enough to satisfy the most gluttonous appetite for glory and- 
supremacy. Educate the people of India, govern them wisely, 
and gradually the distinctions of caste will disappear, and they 
will look upon us rather as benefactors than as conquerors. And 
if we desire to see Christianity, in some form professed in that 
country, we shall sooner attain our object by setting the example 
of a high-toned Christian morality, than by any other means we- 
can employ." 

Again in 1858 when the question of the reconsti- 
tution of the Government of India came up for 


discussion in Parliament; after the Mutiny, John 
Bright submitted a scheme of his own for the better 
Government of India embodying many a liberal principle 
which have not yet been fully accepted. He contended 

" The population of India were in a condition of great impove- 
rishment and the taxes were more onerous and oppressive than the ■ 
taxes of any other country in the world. Nor were the police 
arrangements, administration of justice, the educational policy and 
the finances in a satisfactory condition." 

And he urged that what was wanted with regard to 
the administration of India was ** a little more dayliglat, 
more simplicity and more responsibility." It may not 
be generally known that, although Lord Derby had a 
just tribute paid to him for the drafting of the Great 
Proclamation of 1858, its original inspirer was John 
Bright. In the celebrated speech to wkich reference 
has just been made, he said : 

" If I had the responsibility of administering the affairs of ' 
India there are certain things I would do. I would, immediately 
after the Bill passes, issue a Proclamation in India which should 
reach every subject of the British Crown in that country and be 
heard of in the territories of every Indian prince or rajah,'' 

Much of what he suggested was actually embodied^ 
in the Greart Proclamation and almost in the form and^ 
style in which the originator of the idea put it. Accord- 
ing to Bright's biographer, the opportunity of *' adminis- 
tering the affairs of India " was actually offered to him 
by Mr. Gladstone in 1868, but unfortunately for India 
he did not see his way to accept the Indian port- 
folio, not only because the task was too heavy 
for his delicate health, but also because he thought 


thafc public opinion in England was not sufficientily 
advanced to allow him to adopt his views with regard 
to the Government of India. But although he declined 
to be the Secretary of State for India he never lost 
sight of India during his active Parliamentary career 
which extended down to 1886. So great was his genuine 
sympathy for the Indians, that when on a certain 
occasion a responsible member in the House of Com- 
mons made certain unparliamentary observations with 
regard to the people of India Mr. Bright indignantly 
observed: — 

'' I would not permit any man in my presence, without 
rebuke, to indulge in the calumnies and expressions of contempt 
which I have recently heard poured forth without measure upon 
the whole population of India." 

And in that last great speech, which he made touch- 
ing India in the House of Commons, he poured forth his 
genuine love for the Indian people in the following 
pathetic strain : — 

*• All over those vast regions there are countless millions, helpless 
and defenceless, deprived of their natural leaders and their ancient 
chiefs, looking with only some small ray of hope to that omnipre- 
sent and irresistible power by which they have been subjected. I 
appeal to you on behalf of that people. I have besought your 
mercy and your justice for many a year past : and if I speak to you 
earnestly now it is because the object for which I plead is dear to 
my heart. Is it not possible to touch a chord in the hearts of 
Englishmen, to raise them to a sense of the miseries inflicted on 
that unhappy country by the crimes and the blunders of our 
rulers here ? If you have steeled your hearts against the natives, if 
nothing can stir you to sympathy with their miseries, at least have 
pity upon your own countrymen." 

It may be interesting to learn that the great Indian 
-orator, the late Mr. Lai Mohan Ghose, was a political 


disciple of John Bright; and the masterly diction and 
atyle which he commanded in his orations he inherited 
from his great master. The one great lesson which he 
learnt from John Bright, as he himself once said to the 
writer of these pages, was to make as few speeches aa 
possible, but always to make those few speeches telling 
and effective — a lesson which the apt Indian pupil 
religiously enjoined upon himself with rather too much 
austerity in his after-life. 

Next to John Bright, Henry Fawcett was one of 
the greatest and truest friends of India in England. 
He was a trained financier and economist and entering 
Parliament in 1865, he soon found ample materials to 
direcifc his attention to the Government of India which 
soon earned for him the sobriquet of " Member for 
India " by his close vigilance and unremitting attention 
to the Indian finance. Mr. Fawcett always maintained 
that " the natives of India should be given a fair share 
in the administration of their own country" and that 
the ablest among them should be provided with 
** honourable careers in the public service ". In 1868 
he accordingly moved a resolution in the House of 
Commons for holding the Civil Service Examination 
simultaneously in Calcutta, Bombay and Madras, as 
well as in London. It was precisely the same resolution: 
which 25 years later Mr. Herbert Paul moved and 
carried in the House to be only ignominiously consign- 
ed ultimately into the dusty upper shelves of the India 
Office. He bitterly complained of the culpable apathy 
and indifference of the British Parliament towards the 
grievances of the Indian people. Twitted in !^riiament 


and not unoften charged outside it with neglecting the 
interest of his own constituency, Fawcett fought for 
India single-handed with a resoluteness of purpose, sense 
of justice and mastery of facts which extorted the 
admiration of even his worst critics. Addressing his own 
constituency of Brighton in 1872, he said : — 

" The most trumpery question ever brought before Parliament, 
a wrangle over the purchase of a picture, excited more interest than 
the welfare of one hundred and eighty millions of our Indian 
fellow-subjects. The people of India have no votes, they cannot 
bring even so much pressure to bear upon Parliament as can be 
brought by one of our Railway Companies ; but with some 
confidence I believe that I shall not be misinterpreting your wishes 
if, as your representative, I do whatever can be done by one 
humble individual to render justice to the defenceless and 

While on another occasion speaking from his place 
in the House of Commons he boldly said, that all 
the responsibility resting upon him " as a member 
of Parliament was as nothing compared with the res- 
ponsibility of governing 150 millions of distant sub- 
jects." In 1870 Fawcett vehemently protested against 
the orthodox practice of introducing the Indian 
Budget at the fag end of a session to be silently 
debated before empty benches. He maintained that 
India was a poor country and complained that the 
British public failed to appreciate the dangerously 
narrow margin upon which the mass of the population 
lived on the verge of starvation. In 1871 it was at his 
instance that a Parliamentary Committee was appointed 
to inquire into the financial administration of India, he 
liimself being elected as its President. All this time 
India was keenly watching the movements of the one 
«ian who^was single-handed, fighting her cause against 


•tremendous odds, and in 1872 a huge public meeting 
in Calcutta voted an address to Fawcett expressing 
India's deep gratitude towards him and urging him to 
continue the fight in defence of her dumb and helpless 
•millions which he had voluntarily and so generously 
expoused. At the general election of 1874, Fawcett, like 
•many other Liberals, lost his seat for Brighton and for 
the first time in those days, India seemed to have prac- 
tically risen to the exigencies of the situation. A sub- 
scription was at once started in this country and a 
sum of £750, in two instalments, was remitted to 
England to enable Fawcett to contest another seat at 
the earliest opportunity, and soon after, Fawcett was re- 
turned member for Hackney. In 1875 Fawcett vigor- 
ously opposed Lord Salisbury's well-known ball to the 
Sultan of Turkey at the expense of India. Fawcett was 
not satisfied with his specious plea and pointedly 
asked Lord Salisbury how he could *' reconcile it to 
himself to tax the people of India for an entertain- 
ment to the Sultan " in Bogland. It was on this 
occasion that Fawcett coined that smart expression 
which has since become so familiar in English phraseo- 
logy. He described the bail as an act of * magnifi- 
cent meanness '* which in later years Lord Morley by 
slight embellishment converted into " magnificent 
melancholy meanness " on the occasion of the Suakim 
Expedition. The " magnificent meanness,*' the first 
of a series, was committed in spite of Fawoett's spirited 
protest and was soon followed by the Abyssinian war 
when the member for India again stood in defence of 
the dumb Indian tax-payer, and it was owing to his 


repeated protests that at last the cost of that unrighte- 
ous and abortive war was divided between England and 
India. Fawoett again protested when the Duke of 
Edinburgh's presents to the Indian princes were also 
debited to the Indian account, and violently opposed 
another proposal for display of " naagnificent mean- 
ness " by debiting the entire expenses of the Prince 
of Wales' visit to India to the Indian revenues, and 
as a result of this protest poor India escaped with 
the payment of £30,000 only, making the maqni- 
ficence of the meanness still more visible. In 1877 
he denounced Lord Lybton's unjust and indefensible 
sacrifice of the cotton import duties for the sake 
of party interest in England and raised, though 
ineffectually, his loud voice against the uncons- 
cionable extravagance of the Delhi Assemblage in the 
midst of a terrible famine. Lord Lytton's Afghan War 
also came under the searching examination and 
scathing criticism of Fawcett who, in 1879, brought 
forward another motion asking for the appointment 
of a Select Committee of the House to enquire into the 
working of the Government of India Act. In 1880 
Fawcett had the satisfaction of seeing at the end of a 
series of extravagance of a dark and dismal administra- 
tion the dawn of a bright morning ushered by. the 
appointment of the Marquess of Ripon as Viceroy and 
Governor-General of India. 

Last but not least there was Charles Bradlaugh, 
the poor errand boy, who had by the sheer force of his 
character raised himself into a power in British poli- 
tics of the nineteenth century. Born of the people 




his attention and sympathies were naturally directed' 
towards the people. Charles Bradlaugh was however 
slow in developing his sympathy for India ; but 
having once developed that sympathy he became the 
staunchest friend of the Indian people. It has been 
truly said that * slow rises merit when by poverny de- 
pressed," and added to that this freedom of conscience 
proved a serious obstacle from his early career towards 
his advancement in public life. But even in the 
midst of the deadly struggle in which he was 
engaged, with very few friends to back him up* 
and a host of enemies to put him down, in his legiti- 
mate way to Parliament, he never ceased to study Indian 
problems. His prominent attention to India was drawn 
by the Ilbert Bill agitation of 1883. The man who in hia 
early career had espoused the side of 'Republican 
France against Imperial Germany, the man who 
had enlisted his sympathies for the Italian patriots. 
Garibaldi and Mazzini and congratulated Signior 
Castela upon the establishment of a republic in Spain^ 
was not likely to tolerate the grossly selfish and insen- 
sate opposition raised against a measure which aimed 
at nothing more than the removal of an unjustifiable 
stigma on the Indian judiciary in the administration 
of their own country. Mr. Bradlaugh's subsequent 
labours in the cause of India relate to a later period and 
will be noticed in their proper place. 

These three remarkable British statesmen were 

among the early pioneers of Indian reform in the British 

political field. Most of their projects no doubt failed, 

as they were bound to fail in a cold atmosphere of 



ignorance, apathy and indifference : bufe they largely 
succeeded in drawing the attention of the British ^public 
to the affairs of India and in impressing them with the 
idea that there was at least something rotten in the 
state of Denmark. They also by their example served 
in a large measure to conciliate Indian feeling and 
inspire the Indian mind in the seventies and early 
^eighties with the hope that all may still be well. There 
were many in those days to twit these political 
philosophers and brand them as visionaries ; but the 
^ime may not be far distant when they will be fully 
^recognised by all parties concerned as the truest friends 
of both India and England. 

Following in the footsteps of this distinguished 
"triumvirate there were also a few other fair-minded 
Englishmen who interested themselves in Indian affairs 
at this early stage. Among these may be mentioned 
Sir James Caird, Sir William Hunter, Lord Dalhousie, 
Mr. R. T. Reid, M. P., Mr. Slagg, M. P., Mr. Baxter, 
M. P., and last but not least that extraordinary English- 
woman who,, having passed through different phases in 
her life and undergone persecutions of no ordinary 
<jharacter, has at last made India, her home and her 
special interest — Mrs. Annie Besant. In 1878 when 
Benjamin Disraeli was the Premier and Lord Lytton the 
Viceroy of India, Mrs. Besant, who was then the friend 
and co-adjutor of Charles Bradlaugh, wrote a little book 
entitled England, India and Afghanistan exposing 
the misrule in India in such fierce and bitter language 
that it has been truly observed by a shrewd writer 
that "if ii v^ere published by an Indian at the 


'presenfi time be would likely enough strand himself 
into difificulties of a highly serious character." Lord 
IRipon's sympathies for India even after his retirement 
were too well-known to require any mention. If the 
•utterances of these early friends of India in England failed 
to render any immediate practical good to India, they 
at all events served to inspire men of light and leading 
in this country with the hope and confidence that if they 
could organize themselves and carefully formulate their 
grievances, men would not be wanting in England to 
defend their cause either on the floor of Parliament, or 
at the bar of public opinion in Great Britain. 

In India and among the Anglo-Indian officials, 
Mr. A. O. Hume was for a long time noted for his 
strong sympathies for the Indian people. His kind 
and considerate treatment of the people of Etawah during 
the dark days of the mutiny endeared his name through- 
out the Punjab and led the people of the country justly 
'to regard him as a friend and as a rare officer truly worthy 
of the administration of Clemency Canning. Sir Henry 
Cotton in Bengal and Sir WilliamWedderburn in Bombay 
also developed their love for the Indian people from an 
-early stage of their Indian career, and both of them suffer- 
ed not a little in the hand of the bureaucracy for their 
remarkable independence and strong sense of justice 
and fairness. These three Anglo-Indians were regarded 
as the most sincere friends of the people and the brightest 
ornaments of the Indian Civil Service. 


The Indian Press. 

While the public associations were thus slowly bub 
steadily inoculating the educated comnaunity in the 
country with political thoughts and ideas, and the 
early friends of India in England persistently, though 
ineffectually, drawing attention of the British public 
to Indian affairs, there was yet another and a more 
powerful agency at work silently moulding and shap- 
ing public opinion on a much larger scale throughout 
the country. The Indian Press, which, like the public 
Associations, was founded after the Western model, 
was with the rapid spread of education steadily gaining 
in strength and rising into power. The early history 
of that Press does not date back earlier than 1780 
when the Bengal Gazette was started in Calcutta. 
From that time to the first decade of the nineteenth 
century it was practically an English Press conducted 
in English and managed and edited by Englishmen 
only. The Indo-English and the Vernacular Press 
were of much later growth and strange as it may 
sound, the Vernacular Press preceded its Indo-English 
comrade. The Vernacular papers were at first few and 
feeble and not much given to politics. The Sambad 
Kaumudi of Eaja Mohan Koy, the pioneer of pure 
Indian Journalism, sometimes purveyed but rarely 
criticised the acts of the administration. It was 
generally devoted to social, religious and educational 


<qu88fcions, although ifc must be conceded that as the Raja 
was the founder of the Bengali Press he was also the first 
and foremost advocate of the liberty of the Press in India. 
From 1799 to 1834 the Press in India was kept under 
strict censorship and instances were neither few nor 
far between where European editors sharply criticising 
the Government were visited with deportation to 
Europe. In 1835 the Government of Sir Charles 
Metcalfe restored the freedom of the Press and it was 
irom this time that the Vernacular Press began to make 
rapid strides and the Indo-English Press gradually came 
into existence. The FrobhaJcar of Iswarchandra Gupta 
was probably the earliest Vernacular paper in the country, 
which ventured to tread on political grounds though not 
without a faltering step and quivering hand. The 
Gagging Act of Lord Canning, necessitated by the exi- 
gencies of the Mutiny in 1858, was in force only for a 
year and did not much interfere with the normal 
expansion of the Press. The Hindiv Patriot, the Hur- 
Icura, the Indian Mirror, the Amrita Bazar PatriJca, 
which was at first an Anglo-Vernacular paper, the 
Brahmo Public Opinion which, under the name of Bengal 
■Public Opinion, was subsequently incorporated with the 
Bengalee, the Eeis and Bayet, the Somprokash, the 
Nababibhakar, the Sulabh Samachar, a pice paper, the 
Sanjibani, the Sadharani and latterly the Hitavadi and 
several others in Bengal ; the East Goftar, the Bombay 
Samachar, the Indu PraJcash, the Jam-e-Jam^hed, the 
Maharatta and latterly the Bnyan Prokash and the 
Kesari in Bombay; the Hindu, the Sta7idard, the 
Swadesha Mitrau and several other papers in Madras, 


and laterly the Tribune in Lahore, the Herald in Behar: 
and the Advocate in Lucknow became powerful instru- 
ments of political education for the people and exercised 
considerable injQuence over the public mind up to the< 
eighties of the last century. In spite of all that was said, 
written or done against it, fche growth and development of 
the Indian Press was almost phenomenal, so that in 1875 
there were no less than 478 newspapers in the country the 
bulk of which were conducted in the vernacular languages 
and freely circulated broadcast throughout the country* 
In Bengal particularly quite a number of cheap news 
sheets, written mostly in the Bengali language, purveying 
all sorts of informations and criticisms, sometimes ill- 
informed and sometimes over-balanced, but seldom losing: 
touch with the new spirit, rapidly sprung up, and 
congregations of dozens of eager, illiterate listeners to a 
single reader of these papers at a stationery stall or a. 
grocer's shop in the leisurely evening became a common 
sight. Thus from the petty shop-keeper to the princely 
merchant and from the simple village folk to the- 
lordly landed aristocracy all were permeated with the 
spirit of this Press. The Anglo-Indian Press, though 
now naturally jealous of its formidable rival, was in- 
those days sometimes conducted in a more liberal 
spirit and contributed not a little to the diffusion 
of western methods of criticism and the expansion o^ 
the political views of the people. It is not contended 
that a section of this Press was not altogether amenable 
to the charge so often levelled against it, that it was as 
inefficient as it was ill-informed and injudicious ; but ife 
can hardly be denied that on the whole the much-abused 


Indian Press acted nofe only as a powerful adjunct to- 
wards popular education, but might have with a little 
more sympathetic treatment been easily turned into a 
useful guide to a more popular administration. John 
Bright, speaking of the Indian Press of the time, once 
made the following trenchant observation : — 

" There are two sets of newspapers, those first, — which are 
published by Englishmen,, and these being the papers of the 
services, cannot, of course, be in favour of economy. They assail 
me every time I mention India in a speech, if it is even only in a 
paragraph, and no doubt they will do the same for what I am 
saying now. Then there are the native papers ; and although 
there are a great many published in the native languages, still 
they have not much of what we call political influence. The 
Government officials look into them to see if they are saying, 
anything unpleasant to the Government— anything that indicates, 
sedition or discontent, but never for the purpose r t being influenced 
by the judgment of- the writers and editors. Tne actual press of 
the country, which touches the Government is the press of the 
English ; and that press, generally, has been in favour of annexa- 
tion of more territory, more places, more salaries and ultimately 
more pensions." 

What a mastery of facts relating to India which he 
had never visited and what a remarkable insight into 
its internal administration with which he was never 
connected ? It would perhaps be no wonder if Indian 
youths of the present generation, who know nothing 
about the situation in the seventies and eighties of 
the last century, were to regard the above observation 
as only a prophetic pronouncement of the present- 
day condition of the Indian Press clothed only in the 
language of the past. Lord Lytton. like Lord Welles- 
ley, became nervous and, at the instance of an impatienfr 
bureaucracy, gagged the Vernacular Press in 1878. 
Four years later the Vernacular Press Act was repealed 


by Lord Eipon as an early instalment of his noble policy 
of conciliation. The subsequent history of the Indian 
Press is well-known and though not altogether irrelevant, 
it seems hardly necessary to pursue it for the purpose of 
this narrative. Suffice it to say, that with all its 
defects and lapses, as well as its numerous disadvant- 
ages, difficulties and disabilities, the Indian Press 
has played an important part in the evolution of the 
national life, and its chequered history is no mean 
•evidence of the sustaining energies of a growing people. 
It has suffered in the past and is passing through a 
severe ordeal at the present moment. Erom the proud 
position of the Fourth State it has been reduced since 
1910 to a humble suppliant before a district officer with 
the halter tight around its neck, and yet there is no know- 
ing when that halter will be either removed or relaxed to 
enable it to breathe more freely. But there is no 
cause for despair. The Indian Press Act of 1910, with 
its drastic provisions for security, forfeiture and prosecu- 
tions without any remedy and the almost arbitrai-y powers 
vested in the magistrates, is no doubt a serious menace 
to the healthy growth of public opinion in the country 
and has practically paralysed for the moment all honest 
and independent criticism ; but all violent measures defeat 
their own end and the vitality of a national life gathers 
strength not so much from easy indulgence as through 
violent; repression. Liberty is always nurtured on the 
lap of Persecution and '* action and reaction " is the law 
of Progress in all living organisms. 


The Gatherinc^ Clouds. 
Those who confidently indulge in lavish criticisms 
of the present unrest as a sudden and unprecedented 
development of public agitation in this country would 
do well to remember, that it is not altogether a new 
organic change in the body politic, but only a recrudes- 
cence of the malady, though somewhat in an aggravated 
iorm, from which the country has suffered in the 
.past and is likely to suffer still more for some time 
at least in future. The Government of the East India 
Company was largely tainted with corruption, and 
the trial of Warren Hastings and the judicial murder 
of Nund Goomar were only typical illustrations of 
the kind of administration established in this country 
since the batole of Piassey. The military rising of 
1857 was a protest against that scandalous administra- 
tion, although for the time being religion was the 
ostensible compelling force. Though the people wisely 
and loyally dissociated themselves from that protest, 
there are enough evidence on record to show that there 
was as much discontent among them as there were 
insecurity, inequality and injustice prevailing in the 
country. The transfer of the sovereignty of che country 
from the Company to the Grown in 1858, therefore, led 
not a few to suppose that a millennium was at last in 
sight and the change was hailed by the people with a 
deep sigh of relief ; while the great Proclamation simul- 
taneously issued to the princes and the peoples of 


India filled the public mind with high hopes of reform 
and progress. But a few years' experience greatly 
disappointed them. For, although peace was restored 
and substantial measures were adopted for the improve- 
ment of the administration of justice and three Univer- 
sities were established in the three Presidencies for the 
spread of education among the people, the political 
aspect of the defunct administration remained alto- 
gether unchanged, if it did not in some respect become 
even more retrograde. The Secretary of State for 
India became a more autocratic and irresponsible sub- 
stitute for the Court of Directors without, however, a 
Board of Control to supervise his action ; vrhile the 
control of Parliament which used periodically to enquire 
into the affairs of India upon the renewal of the Com- 
pany's charter at the end of every twenty years — a 
salutary check faithfully exercised since 1773 — was prac- 
tically wholly removed. A whole nation was disarmed 
and the entire administration was vested in a bureaucracy 
which with all its recommendations became in its gradual 
development as imperious in its tone and as unsympathe- 
tic in its attitude as it was saturated with the principles 
and prejudices of autocratic rule. That bureaucracy was 
no doubt at times and within certain limits, generously 
disposed to grant patronage and extended favours of 
a minor description to any native of the country 
who might successfully court them : but as regards any 
material advancement and participation in the ad- 
ministration, the entire population were jealously kept 
at arm's length and the slightest indication on their 
part of a desire to enter even the border land of its q\os& 


preserves was resented as an intolerable and dangerous 
trespass. In fact no better expression than " benevolent 
despotism" could be coined honestly to denote the form 
of administration established in the country. The vast 
mass of the people were suffering from abject poverty and 
practically living on "one meal a day"; while at recurring, 
intervals of few years they were decimated not by hund- 
reds or thousands, but by hundreds of thousands, through 
famine and pestilence. The indigenous industries of 
the country were ruined and the bulk of the population 
driven to the soil to eke ou\; a precarious subsistence 
as best as they could and left wholly without any sub- 
stantial means to keep the wolf out of the door. The- 
people had neither any share nor any voice in the ad- 
ministration which was conveniently allowed to drift 
according to the current of events and circumstances.. 
The feeble and ineffectual complaints from time to time 
made either by the public Associations, or by the Press, 
and the failure of the spasmodic, though perfectly 
honest, efforts made by Government towards a super- 
ficial treatment of these organic deseases caused a deep 
and widespread commotion among a patient and docile 
people until a strong tide set in to swell the wave of 
popular restlessness and discontent. The invidious 
distinction sharply drawn along the whole line between 
the ruling race and the ruled, and the repeated instances 
of glaring and irritating miscarriage of justice in cases 
between Indians and Europeans — a most deplorable 
phase, if not a foul blot, still extant — served as a cons- 
tant reminder to the educated community, which every 
year received fresh accessions to its strength, weight and. 


imporfcance, that some solution must be found for this 
highly unsatisfactory, if not intolerable, situation. That 
situation however reached its climax during the weak and 
extravagant Viceroyalty of Lord Lytton who in his 
innate love for the romance came with a light heart 
to play the role of an administrator in a country fabled 
for its romances. The military ruled, while a selfish, 
short-sighted bureaucracy found it convenient to 
pander to the extravagant tastes and designs of a 
modern Dupleix without} however the consummate 
powers and abilities of the great French adventurer. 
The costly and gigantic farce of the Dalhi Assemblage 
was enacted in 1877 while a terrible famine was com- 
mitting havoo among millions of helpless population in 
'Southern India whose dire effects were severely felt 
even in Bengal and the Punjab, and which led an intre- 
pid veteran journalist in Calcutta openly to declare that 
"Nero was fiddling while Kome was burning." The 
wanton invasion of Cabul , the massacre of Sir Louis 
Cavagnari, and his staff followed by the Second Afghan 
War ; the large increase of the army under the hallucina- 
tion of the Russian bugbear ; the costly establishment of 
a " scientific frontier " which afterwards did not stand 
the test of even a tribal disturbance, the complete dis- 
arming of an inoffensive and helpless population, 
although the Eurasians were left untouched ; the gag- 
ging of the Vernacular Press as a means to stifle public 
voice against all these fads, which led another indomit- 
able journalist in Bengal to convert in one night a 
Vernacular paper into an English journal ; the sacrifice 
of the import cotton duties as a conservative sop to 


Ijaneashire, and the unmerifced and undignified rebuff 
adminisfeered by fche Viceroy personally to a leading 
association in the country which had the temertiy to 
raise its voice against this iniquitious naeasure and 
which was deeply resented by the entire Indian Press 
not altogether unsupported even by a section of the 
more fair-minded Anglo-Indian journalists, followed in- 
quick, bewildering succession ; and at last a reckless 
bureaucratic Government, as bankrupt in its reputation 
as in its exchequer, sat trembling upon the crumbling 
fragments of a " mendacious budget" on one side and 
the seething and surging discontent of a multitudinous 
population on the other. The theory of the dis- 
appointed place-seekers " and the " microscopic mino- 
rity" of the educated community was invented to mini- 
mise the importance of the growing unrest. The edu- 
cated community in the minority in every country, but 
nonetheless it is everywhere the mouthpiece of the 
majority and the exponent of the popular voice. His- 
tory does not perhaps present a single instance 
where the mass has been actively associated in any 
evolution, although it has everywhere been largely in 
evidence in a revolution. Besides, if any evidence were 
needed to show that the discontent had sunk deep into 
the mass, enough of such evidence w as furnished to an 
unbiassed mind by the mass- mee tings held at Jhinger- 
gacha, Salem and other places where the people attend- 
ed in their thousands to ventilate their grievances 
though they were unable to formulate any remedy. 

It was about this time that the Indian Association 
was established in July 1876 with the object of 


organising a system of active political propaganda 
throughout the country and to rouse the people to a sense 
of political unity and concerted activity. As the British 
Indian Association was mostly composed of tho landed 
aristocracy, the Indian Association became the centre 
of the educated community in Bengal. Its moving spirit 
was Mr. Surendra Nath Banerjee who had, luckily for 
himself and for the country, been recently discharged 
from the Civil Service and whose talents and abilities, 
but for this incident, would in all probability have remain- 
ed buried among the dusty shelves of either a Divisional 
Office or a Secretariat and entirely lost to the country. 
In the establishment; of the Indian Association, Mr. 
►Banerjee was associated with that brilliant star of 
Eastern Bengal, Mr. Ananda Mohan Bose, and assisted 
by a band of energetic men among whom the late Mr. 
Dwaraka Nath Ganguly, Mr. Bama Charan Banerjee, 
the brother of Mr. Justice Pramada Charan Banerjee 
and the founder of the Ufcterparah Hitakari Sabba, Mr. 
Bhairab Chandra Banerjee, cousin of Mr, W.C. Bonnerjee, 
and Mr. Jogendra Chandra Vidyabhushana who was one 
of the early pioneers of practical social reform and a 
remarkably independent member of the subordinate 
Judicial and Executive Service, are worthy of particular 
-mention. The first president of the Association was that 
eminent jurist, the author of the Vyadastha Darpan. 
Mr. Shama Charan Sarkar who was shortly after- 
wards succeeded by the illustrious savant and linguist, 
the Kev, Dr. KM. Banerjee. The first secretary was Mr. 
.A. M. Bose both on account of his high attainments as 
well as probably because it was not deemed expedient at 


the oufcsefc to place a "dismissed servanfc of Government" 
at the executive head of a newly established political 
■association. That "dismissed servant of Government " 
has however long outlived that dreaded disqualification 
which was not only voluntarily removed by^ a Lieutenant 
-Governor, but acted as no bar to his being twice elected 
by his countrymen as president of the great National 
Assembly, four times as their trusted representative in 
the Bengal Opuncii and at last as a prominent member 
of the Supreme Lagislative Council. The Indian Associa- 
tion was hardly a year old when the Government of 
Lord Salisbury reduced the age-limit for the Civil Service 
examination to nineteen years. Strong and emphatic 
were the protests raised throughout the country and 
none stronger or more emphatic than that entered by 
Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji, a host in himself, through the 
columns of the English Press. The new Association 
however went upon a somewhat different plan. It at 
first organised a representative meeting held at the 
Calcutta Town Hall and armed with its mandate opened 
-a political campaign, the first of its kind throughout the 
country. Mr. Surendra Nath was chosen as the first 
missionary to undertake this active political propaganda. 
Ha made his first tour in the summer of 1877 all through 
Northern India from Benares to Bawalpindi. The 
principal questions raised in this campaign were (l) the 
raising of the age-limit for the Civil Service examination 
which a conservative Government had reduced to such 
an extent as to practically shut out all Indians from 
admission into that service, and (2) the establishment 
of Simulaneous Examinations held both in England and 


in India for the recruitment of the service. Meeting* 
were held and adressed by the rising orator at Benares^ 
Allahabad, Lucknow, Cawnpore, Meerut, Agra, Delhi, 
Aligarh, Amritsar, Lahore and Rawalpindi, at all of 
which he was listened to with breathless attention which 
led Sir Henry Cotton to make pointed reference to this 
significant incident in his New India. At the Aligarh- 
meeting Sir Syed Ahmed himself presided and strongly 
supported the proposed Simultaneous Examination, 
though for reasons best known to him, as a member 
of the Public Service Commission, he afterwards resiled 
from that position. The great meeting at Lucknow 
was held in the historic Burdtvari palace and was 
attended, as at Aligarh, by a large number of respect- 
able Mussalmans who form such an influential majority 
in that city. On his return journey Mr. Banerjee 
stopped at Bankipur and addressed a meeting there. 
The tour was a grand success and, as remarked by Mr. 
Nam Joshi of the Poona Sarvajanik Sabha, fully 
demonstrated that educated India, despite all racial and 
linguistic differences, could easily be brought upon a 
common platform on political ground. It will be re- 
membered that Mr. Banerjee also attended the Delhi 
Assemblage as the representative of the Hindu Fatriot,. 
Men like Sir Jamsefcji Jeejeebhoy, the second baronet 
of that name, Mr. Viswanath Narain Mandlik, Sir 
Mangaldas Nathubhoy and Mr. Naoroji Furdoonji 
with many others from different parts of the country 
witnessed the brilliant function. It must have struck 
these men of light an^^ leading, that if the princes and 
the nobles in the land could be forced to form a 


pageant} for fche glorificafcion of an autocratic Viceroy, why 
could not the people be gathered together to unite 
themselves to restrain, by constitutional Daeans and 
methods, the spirit of autocratic rule ? Mr. Banerjee 
personally gave expression to a similar sentiment on a 
subsequent occasion which will be noticed in its proper 
place. The idea worked and was freely, though some- 
what vaguely, discussed in the Associations,. as well as 
in the Press. The platforms had not up to this time- 
come into such prominent use as now for the discus- 
sion of political subjects. Verily good often cometh 
out of evil, and if the idea of a united India was pre- 
sented by a spectacular demonstration, the Delhi Assem- 
blage of 1877 was, in spite of its extravagance, truly a 
blessing in disguise. Mr. Murdoch gives currency to 
an opinion that *' the idea of a Congress was suggested 
by the great International Exhibition" held in Calcutta 
in 1884. But the more generally accepted and consistent 
theory seems to be that it had its inspiration from the 
Delhi Assemblage of 1877. The Exhibition might have 
supplied an immediate impulse to put the idea into 
execution, but if ever there was an object lesson,, 
as contemporary testimony bears out that there was, for 
the great movement, that lesson could only have been 
furnished by the Assemblage and not the Exhibitios, as 
the one could appeal only to the passive admiration of 
the people for the economic and scientific development 
of the world ; while the other was calculated directly to 
force their attention to the political aspect of it, and as 
the country secretly resented the useless display, the 
princes on account of their humiliation and the people 


for its paicful exfcravagaace, id is not unnatural to 
suppose that it created a general desire to draw some 
honey out of the sting. Besides, the object-lessons pre- 
sented by the Assemblage could not be wholly lost upon 
the mind of a quick and imaginative people. Encouraged 
by the success of his first tour Mr. Surendra Nath 
Banerjee undertook a second tour in the following year. 
In 1878 he travelled through Western and Southern 
India holding meetings at Bombay, Surat, Ahmedabad, 
Poona and Madras, and as a result of this campaign an 
All-India Memorial was presented to the House of 
Commons on the Civil Service question. 


The Clouds Lifted. 

Whether it was a mere accident, or the part of a 
settled policy, a progressive and broad-minded statesman 
of the School of Bentinck and Canning followed a short- 
sighted and reactionary administrator of the Dalhousie 
type : Lord Lytton was succeeded by Lord Ripon. Ha 
was evidently chosen by the Government of Mr. 
Galdstone to save the situation, and inspired by a 
genuine desire for the permanent good of England and 
India, Lord Ripon came holding the olive branch 
of peace, progress and conciliation for the people. 
Landing in Bombay in January 1880 the first words 
which the noble Marquess uttered were; — " Judge me by 
my acts and not by my words." And judged ha was by 


%i8 various acfcs of beneficence and high stafeesraan- 
ship which, in spite of the systematic attempts of suo- 
-cessive administrations to stunt, stint and starve, if 
not actually rescind them, stand to this day as the 
strongest cement which not only successfully averted 
at the time the severe shock of a lowering storm, but 
still holds a discontented yet grateful people recon- 
ciled to the unpopular methods of a bureaucratic ad- 
ministration. Few Englishmen in this country prob- 
ably even now realise and appreciate what and how 
•imuch they owe to that large-hearted nobleman and 
far-sighted statesman whom they were not ashamed at 
the time foolishly to hoot and insult even under the gates 
-of Viceregal palace. Lord Ripon at oace pat au end to 
the Afghan War and further development of the Scientific 
Frontier which with the reckless expenditure of the 
pageant show atDalhi had drained the public Exchequer 
to such an extent as to compel the author of these 
-extravagances ultimately to submit to bhe humiliation of 
iaaving recourse to a secret loan raised at the metropolis 
with the tielp of a plastic lieutenant and through the 
good offices of a prominent leader of the people who acted 
as a non-commissioned broker in the transaction. Lord 
Ripon concluded an honourable treaty with the Ameer 
which has since proved a much stronger bulwark against 
Russian invasion than the fortifications in the Khyber 
aiud Bolan Passes. Lord Ripon understood that the most 
effective defence of India lay in the construction of a 
■rational interior rather than of a scientific frontier broad- 
\imed upon the contentment, gratitude and loyal co- 
operation of a prosperous people, and one of the first 


acts of his greafe adminisferafcioa was tihe repeal of fehe* 
obaoxious and invidious Vernacular Press Aofc amidst- 
the rejoicings of a whole nation when nob a few of 
those who had sfcood at the baptismal front to anneuncS' 
themselves as its godfather eagerly came forward with 
their " shovelful of earth " to bury the ill-starred 
measure. Then came the inauguration of Local Self- 
Government throughout the country, the greatest measura^ 
ever inaugurated by any Viceroy either before or after 
him. It was the first step taken towards the politi- 
cal enfranchisement of the people. In foreshadowing; 
the future of the measure the noble Viceroy courageously 
observed that " Local Self-Government must precede- 
National Self-Government." With all its drawbacks^ 
and difficulties it has initiated the people in the art of 
local administration and supplied a nucleus and a basis- 
for the recent expansion of the Legislative Councils. 
It may not be known to many that Lord Bipon also- 
contemplated a tentative reform of the Indian Legisla- 
tive Councils. But there was yet another measure of 
his reign which further stimulated the political activities 
of the people and roused their national self-respect. 
in evolution the highest successes are often achiev- 
ed through reverses and the Ilbert Bill turned a signal 
defeat into a decisive victory. Lord Ripon made a despe- 
rate attempt, even at no small personal risk, to remove 
the racial bar which he found to be one of the foulest- 
blots in the administration of criminal justice in this 
country. The matter was initiated by a spirited note 
submitted by Mr. B. L. Gupta to the Government of 
Sir Ashley Eden in 1882. In the autumn session of 1885^ 
the Hon. Mr. O.P. Ilbert, as Law Member to the Council' 


dnfcroduced a Bill whick afterwards wenfe by his name 
with the object of removing the improper disqualifi- 
cation attaching to the Indian Magistracy in the trial 
of European and American offenders. It was a spark 
thrown into a powder magazine, and the entire Anglo- 
Indian community, both official and non-official, at 
once rose in arms headed by a rebellious Liautenant- 
•^Governor to oppose the innovation, not so much from a 
real sense of actual danger as through pride and vanity of 
a ruling race coupled with a feeling of practical immunity 
which they enjoyed under the existing system. Lord 
Eipon stood alone having his own Council, including the 
Commander-in-Chief, divided against him, with only the 
nominal support of the framer of the Bill and of Major 
Baring, now Lord Cromer. We have it on the authority of 
Mr. Buckland that ** a conspiracy had been formed by a 
number of men in Calcutta who had bound themselves in 
the event of Government adhering to their projected legis- 
lation to overpower the sentries at Government House, to 
put the Viceroy on board a steamer at Chandpal-Ghat and 
send him to England via the Cape." The existence of 
this conspiracy, it is said, was known to the Lieutenant- 
Governor of Bengal and also to " the responsible officer' 
who subsequently gave this information to the author 
of ''Bengal under the Lieutenant-Governors." The 
"Europeans have taught many a lesson to the Indians, 
but, thank God, they forebore to teach them this one 
lesson of supreme folly. An Anglo-Indian Defence 
Association was hurriedly organised and at its instance a 
wanton and savage attack was made upon the natives of 
»the country by a rising English counsel in Calcutta, 


which was followed by an equally viriilenfc rejoinder 
from an eminent Indian member of the same bar, and 
the estrangement of the two communities was complete. 
But while the opposition to the Bill was so well' 
organised, the support given to it by the Indian 
community was certainly very weak and extremely in- 
adequate. The agitation stirred up the public mind only 
in Bengal and Bombay. An influential public meeting 
was held in the Bombay Town Hall which voiced Indian 
public opinion in the Western Presidency and several 
demonstrations were held in Bengal in support of the 
measure. But the agitation produced little or no effect in 
Madras, while the N.W. Provinces and the Punjab were 
perfectly silent. Practically most of the agitation was con- 
fined to violent recriminations in the columns of the Press. 
Lord Ripon's just and generous attempt practically 
failed and a concordat was arrived at towards the close 
of the year 1883 upon a bare recognition of the prin- 
ciple in the case of the District Magistrates and the 
Sessions Judges only. A section of the Bengal public 
saemed at first irreconcilable to the ** Compromise"' and 
it was feared that it was going to " throw native Bengal 
into a fury *' making the position of the great Viceroy 
still more critical. Bombay discovered the rock ahead 
and promptly issued a manifesto counselling the 
country to stand by the much -abused Viceroy. This 
timely action successfully baulked the Anglo-Indians 
and their organs of their secret desire to see the 
Viceroy suffer as much in the hands of the Indians as 
he had suffered at their own. But though the measure 
failed, it opened the eyes of the people to two cardinal 


points in the case. It was recognised that the failure 
was largely owing to the want of adequate, vigorous and 
united support throughout the country to counter- 
balance the spirited and well-organised opposition of 
the Anglo-Indian community, and it was further felfc 
that if political advancement were to be achieved ife 
could only be by the organisation of a national assembly 
wholly devoted to wider politics than hitherto pursued 
in the different provinces independently of each other. 
The Ilbert Bill agitation thus went a great way towards 
impressing the Indian races, that in the political world 
success did not depend so much upon men as on 
organized efforts and so paved the way to united and 
concerned action. It aleo proved an eye-opener to those 
talented and highly educated Indian gentlemen who 
having returned from England and adopted English 
habits and manners had lost nearly all touch with their 
countrymen and were apparently seeking to form a class 
by themselves in the vain hope of assimilating themselves 
as far as practicable with the Anglo-Indian commu- 
nity. Forces were thus at work driving the people from 
different points of the compass to a common fold and to 
concentrate their thoughts, ideas and activities to a 
common focus for the attainment of the political rights 
and privileges of the people who being under a common 
rule, it was understood, could have but a common goal 
and a common destiny. All the time the Indian Press 
throughout the country was incessantly urging the people 
to unite under a common standard. 


The Dawning Light. 

Almost simultaneously with the close of the 
Ilbert Bill agitation, the new idea, as indicated above, 
forcibly burst forth into the minds of the people? and 
Bengal, Bombay and Madras set to work to put their 
own houses in order and prepare themselves for the 
coming struggle. In Bengal, a new institution was 
started in 1884: which, in its constitution, as well as in 
its "aim and object, bore unamisbakable testimony to the 
fact that the old orthodox associations of the previous 
generation were also caught in the rising tide and had 
considerably drifted away from their original moorings. 
The National League was established under the leader- 
ship of Sir Joteendra Mohan Tagore, who was then the 
first citizen in the metropolis and one of the central 
pillars of the British Indian Association, with the ques- 
tion of representative institutions for India in the fore- 
front of its programme. 

Bat there was yet another movement in Bengal 
^hich seems to have anticipated the Congress by two 
years and in a large measure prepared the ground for 
the great national assembly. At the instance of the 
Indian Association a National Conference was held in 
Calcutta in 1883 with almost the same programme 
which was subsequently formulated by the first Con- 
gress held two years later in Bombay. The Conference 
was held at the Albert Hall, opposite the old Hindu and 


'Sanskrit Collegos on the south and the new Presidency 
College buildings on the west. It is a historic place 
associated with the Koyal family and other memories 
and a wise and thoughtful government has recently 
saved it from a threatened destrucfcion. It was an un- 
precedented gathering attended by a large number of edu- 
cated men from difterent parts of Bengal and in which 
old men like the venerable Ramtanu Lahiri rubbed their 
shoulders with a much younger generation headed by 
Messrs. Ananda Mohan Bose and Surendra Nath Baner- 
jee. It was an unique spectacle and the writer 
of these pages still retains a vivid impression 
of the immense enthusiasm and earnestness which 
throughout characterised the three days' session of 
the Conference and at the end of which everyone 
present seemed to have received a new light and 
a novel inspiration. It was in his opening address 
at this Conference that Mr. Surendra Nath Banerjee 
referring to the Delhi Assemblage exhorted the audience 
to unite and organise themselves for the country's cause. 
It is worthy of note that Mr. Wilfred Blunt and 
Mr. Saymour Keay, M. P., were present at the Con- 
ference. Mr, Seymour Keay spoke at the meeting, while 
Mr. Blunt has left a pointed notice of this significant 
movement in his personal memoirs. In the following 
year, when the great International -Exhibition was 
held in Calcutta, the Conference could not some- 
how be organised ; but this year Mr. Surendra Nath 
made his third tour visiting this time Multan and other 
places in the Punjab where he preached the importance 
of national unity and the necessity of establishing a 


national fund for the systematic carrying out of a politi- 
cal propaganda. 

In Madras the old " Madras Native Association" 
which, in the words of Mr. G. Subranoania Iyer, dragged 
on for sonae years only " a spasnaodic life" died a natural 
death with its last feeble gasp over the Self-Government 
Kesolution of Lord Ripon's Government. But the quiet 
and steady people of the Southern Presidency at 
this stage organised a more powerful and energetic 
political association to keep themselves abreast of the 
sister presidencies in the coming struggle. The" Madras 
Mahajana Sahha " was established early in 1884 
under the auspices of those thoughtful and saga- 
cious publicmen who had started the Hindu in 1878. 
This new association was invested with a truly popular 
and representative character and it naturally very soon 
enlisted the active sympathy and co-operation of almost 
all the culture and public spirit of the presidency. As the 
popular Viceroy could not arrange to pay a parting visit 
to Madras before leaving for England at the close of a 
most brilliant and beneficent reign, the Mahajana Sabha 
sent a deputation to Bombay to bid farewell to Lord 
Bipon whose departure from this country was marked by 
an outburst of popular demonstration simply unparal- 
leled not only in India but also probably in the history 
of any other civilised country. Before the deputation 
started there was also a Provincial Conference held in 
Madras. Both in the capital city as well as in the districts 
of the Presidency several active and energetic men came 
into prominence and began to work harmoniously 
under the guidance of the Hindu and the "Mahajana 


Sabha " for public weal. Ife seems worthy of remark: 
that though was rather slow , in developing. 
her public life, she has been most forward in associating 
herself with the work of the Congress since its 
establishment. Not only in the first session but in 
almost all the subsequent sessions of the Congress, she 
has, despite her distance and other inconveniences,, 
both climatic as well as social, contributed a larger 
contingent of delegates than any other province, the 
particular province where each session was held being 
of course excepted. 

A great development also took place at this junc- 
ture in the politicial Mfe of Bombay. Every since the 
collapse of **the old Bombay Association" that great 
city of light and leading had no popular political orga- 
nisation to join hands with the sister presidencies in 
undertaking any common political movement. But 
fropa this it is not to be understood that she was alto- 
gether a Sleepy Holloiu. Apparently cold, calculating 
Bombay was usually immersed in business taking 
tilings quite easy under ordinary circumstances, but 
when the wind blew high she at once put forth all 
her sails and was seldom found to lag behind any of 
the provinces in any public movement, although the^ 
occasion and its turmoil over, she again relapsed into 
her ordinary calm. But this was not a condition which 
was permissible in the coming contest. " Even five 
years before, " wrote a political Rishi in 1885. " the 
country was wont to set its eyes on Calcutta and take • 
its inspiration more or less from her." "The luminous 
intellect," he added, '* and the spirit of eloquence which. 


the Babu carries aboufe him wherever he goes, as if it 
were his natural birth-righfc, gave him a vantage ground 
• over the rest of India." But the new situation demanded 
all the provinces not only to rally under one common 
standard, but also to share equal responsibility and to as- 
sume equal cojnmand. Bombay was equal to both. A pub- 
lic meeting of the citizens of Bombay was convened on the 
■ 31st January, 1885, at the Framjee Cowasjee Institute 
in response, to an invitation from that distinguished 
triumvirate who largely controlled the public life of the 
Western Presidency, the Hon. Mr. Budruddin Tyabjee, 
Mr, Pherozeshah Mancherjee Mehta and the Hon. Mr. 
Kashinath Trimbak Telang. The meeting was pre- 
sided over by the distinguished Parsi baronet Sir Jam- 
setjee Jejeebhoy, and the present " Bombay Presidency 
Association" was ushered into existence under very 
happy auspices and with imposing ceremony. Mr- 
Pherozeshah Mehta, the Hon. Mr. K. T. Telang and 
Mr. Dinshaw Eduljee Wacha were appointed Joint 
Secretaries, a position which the last named gentleman 
still holds with no small credit to himself and to the 

Another incident, as narrated by Mrs. Annie Besanfe 
in her admirable book, Hoiv India Wrought for Freedom 
took place about this time. In December 1884 there 
•came a number of delegates from different parts of the 
tjountry to the Annual Convention of the Theosophical 
Society at Adyar, After the Convention was over 
seventeen prominent Indians met in the house of Dewan 
Bahadur Eaghunath Rao in Madras. They were the 
'Hon'ble Mr. S. Subramania Iyer, Mr. P. Rangiah Naidu 


and Mr. P. Ananda Charluof Madras, Messrs. Norondra 
Nafch Sen, Surendra Nath Bannerjee, M. Ghosh and^ 
Charan Chandra Mitter of Bengal; the Hon'ble Mr. V.N. 
Mandlik. the Hon'ble Mr. KT. Telang and Mr. Dadabhal 
Naoroji of Bombay; Messrs. 0. Vijiaranga Mudaliar and 
Pandurang Gopal of Poona ; Sirdar Dayal Singh of the 
Panjab ; Mr. Haris Chandra of Allahabad; Mr. Kaliprosad 
and Pundit Lakshminarayan of N.W.P., and Mr. Shri^ 
Ram of Oudh. These seventeen *' good men and true" 
met and discussed various problems affecting the interest 
of the country and probably supported the idea of a 
national movement started at the Calcutta Conference 
of 1883. 



The country was thus fully prepared both in men' 
as well as materials for the construction of a national 
organisation. It only required the genius of an expert 
architect to devise a suitable plan and lay the foundation 
stone truly and faithfully. That architect was found* 
in Allan Oxjtavian Hume, now known as the *' Father 
of the Indian National Congress." Mr. Hume, who- 
was Secretary to the Government of India in the 
Home Department in 1870 and then in its newly created 
Department of Revenue, Agriculture and Commerce from 
1871-1879, had closely followed the trend of events 


particularly during the Viceroyalfey of Lord Lyfcfcon and 
anxiously watched the gathering clouds which were 
slowly but ominously rising above the horizon. The 
naore he watched and studied the situation the more 
he became convinced that some definite action was 
called for to counteract the growing unrest. When there- 
fore in 1882 he resigned service Mr. Hume settled at 
Simla and began to apply his great and almost inexhausti- 
ble energies and his intimate knowledge of the people, as 
well as of the Government, to the task of directing the 
popular impulse into a channel of constitutional agitation 
for the common beneiSt of both. As the worthy son of 
the founder of the Radical fearty in England, Mr. A. O. 
Hume was essentially democratic in his instincts, but 
as a shrewd Scotchman he was also fully conscious of 
the limitations which must be imposed ,on and the safe- 
guards 60 be provided against democratic institutions ia 
.a country governed like India. The first step he took 
towards the realisation of his plan was shadowed forth 
in an open letter dated the 1st March, 1883, which he 
addressed to the " Graduates of the Calcutta Univer- 
sity" as largely representing the educated community 
in the country. In its deep pathos and fervid elo- 
quence, no less than in ius burning zeal and warm 
sympathy, this remarkable letter reads like St. Paul's 
epistle to the Romans. For a full and adequate 
a,ppreciation of this spirited appeal to educated India 
reference is made to Sir William Wedderburn's excellent 
memoir of Mr. Huma which has recently been published 
by T. Fisher Unwin, London. The writer of the present 
article cannot, however, resist the temptation of quoting 


the concluding porfeion of this memorable letter which 

runs as follows : — 

""And if even the leaders of thought are all either suoh poor 
creatures, or so selfishly wedded to personal concerns that they 
4are not strike a blow for their country's sake, then justly and 
rightly are they kept down and trampled on, for they deserve 
nothing better. Every nation secures precisely as good a govern- 
ment as it merits. If you, the picked men, the most highly 
educated of the nation, cannot, scorning personal ease n>nd. selfish 
objects, make a resolute struggle to secure greater freedom for 
yourselves and your country, a more impartial administration, a 
larger share in the management of your own affairs, then we» your 
friends, are wrong and our adversaries right, then are Lord Ripon's 
noble aspirations for your good fruitless and visionary, then, at 
present at any rate all hopes of progress are at an end, and India 
truly neither lacks nor deserves any better government than she 
enjoys. Only, if this be so, let us hear no more factious, peevish 
complaints that you are kept in leading strings and treated like 
children, for you will have proved yourself such. Men know how 
to act. Let there be no more complaints of Englishmen being 
preferred to you in all important offices, for if you lack that public 
spirit, that highest form of altruistic devotion that leads men to 
subordinate private ease to the public weal, that patriotism that 
has made Englishmen what they are, — then rightly are these pre- 
ferred to you, rightly and inevitably have they become your rulers. 
Arid rulers and task-masters they must continue, let the yoke gall 
your shoulders never so sorely, until you realise and stand prepared 
to act upon the eternal truth that self-sacrifice and unselfishness 
are the only unfailing guides to freedom and happiness." 

This passionate appeal did not go forth in vain. Man 
who had already waked up and were only looking for a 
modus operandi mustered from the different provinces 
at the trumpet call of a beloved friend and a trusted 
guide and the " Indian National Union " was formed 
towards the close of 1884 which, however, like the 
proverbial crab died immediately after the birth of its 
issue. A lot of correspondence passed between Calcutta 
and Bombay, though it is now difficult to trace theni 
•accurately with the exception of one addressed by Mr. 


Telang fco Mr. Surendra Nafch Banerjee enquiring aboub' 
mafcters conoected with the National Conference of 1883. 
In March 1885 it was decided by the Union to hold a 
meeting of representatives from all parts of India at the 
forbhcoming Ohristmas in Poona which was considered 
the most central and convenient place for the purpose, 
and in April the following manifesto was issued and 
circulated throughout the country : — 

" A Conference of the Indian National Union will be held at 
Poona from the 25th to the 31st December, 1885." 

" The Conference will be composed of delegates— leading poli- 
ticians well acquainted with the English language from all parts of 
Bengal, Bombay and Madras Presidency." 

" The direct objects of the Conference will be — (1) to enable all 
the most earnest labourers in the cause of national progress to be- 
come personally known to each other, (2) to discuss and decide upon 
the political operations to be undertaken during the ensuing year." 

" Indirectly this Conference will form the germ of a Native 
Parliament and, if properly conducted, will constitute in a few 
years an unanswerable reply to the assertion that India is still 
wholly unfit for any form of representative institutions. The first 
Conference will decide whether the next shall be again held at 
Poona, or whether following the precedent of the British Associa- 
tion, the Conference shall be held year by year at different 
important centres." 

" This year the Conference being in Poona, Mr. Chiplenkar 
and others of the Sarvajanik Sabha have consented to form a 
Reception Committee in whose hands will rest the whole of th& 
local arrangements. The Peshwah's Garden near the Parvati 
Hill will be utilised both as a place of meeting (it contains a fine 
hall, like the garden, the property of the Sabha) and as a residence 
for the delegates, each of whom will be there provided with suit- 
able quarters. Much importance is attached to this since, when all 
thus reside together for a week, far greater opportunities for 
friendly intercourse will be afforded than if the delegates were (as^ 
at the time of the late Bombay demonstrations) scattered about 
in dozens of private lodging houses all over the town." 

" Delegates are expected to find their own way to and from 
Poona, but from the time they reach the Poona Railway Station 


until they again leave OTerything that they can need, carriage 
accommodation, food, &c., will be provided for them gratuitously.'* 

" The cost thus involved will be defrayed from the Reception 
Fund which the Pood a Association most liberally offers to provide 
in the first instance, Jjut to which all delegates whose means 
warrant their incurring this further expense will be at liberty to 
contribute any sum they please. Any unutilised balance of such 
donations will be carried forward as a nucleus for next year'§ 
deception Fund." 

" It is believed that exclusive of our Poona friends, the 
Bombay Presidency including Sindh and the Berar will furnish 
about 20 delegates, Madras and Lower Bengal each about the 
same number and the N. W. Provinces, Gudh and the Punjab 
together about half this number." 

Mr. Hume was wisely and appropriately placed at 
the head of the movement and the task of framing an 
organisation and settling the details naturally devolved on 
him, A preliminary report was issued to the members of 
the Union, that ** so far as the Union was constituted 
there was absolute unanimity that unswerving loyalty to 
the British Crown was the key-note of the institution," 
and that the Union was also " prepared when necessary 
to oppose by all constitutional methods all authorities, 
high or low, here or in England, whose acts or omissi'ons 
are opposed to those principles of the Government of 
India as laid down from time to time by the British 
Parliament and endorsed by the British Sovereign." As 
has already been stated, Poona, the capital of the DeccaH, 
was selected as the place of the meeting and the historic 
place of the Peshwas, the Heerabag standing on the lake 
at the foot of the famous Parvati Hill from the 
windows of whose sacred temple the ill-fated Peshwa 
Baji Rao witnessed the fatal battle of Khirki, was 
chosen both for the Conference as well as for the resi- 
dence of the delegates. Those who attended the eleventh 


fleasion of the Congress held afc Poona in 1895 must havo 
visited this interesting spot. As stated in the manifesto 
quoted above, the " Poona Sarvajanik Sabha," the most 
important and influential public body in the Deecan, 
generously undertook all the necessary arrangements 
including the feeding of the delegates ; in fact it assumed 
all the functions of the latber day Raception Committee 
to the Congress. When all the preliminaries were thus 
settled, Mr. Hume left for England^ consult friends and 
particularly with the object of guarding the British 
4)ublic .against all possible misrepresentation, suspicion 
vand distrust to which the new organisation was natu- 
rally exposed. Like the shrewd Scotchman that he was, 
Mr. Hume cautiously cleared his way in this country 
also before leaving for England. He saw Lord Dufferin 
.and explained to him the scheme which had been settled. 
We have it on the authority of Sir William Wedderburn, 
based upon Mr. Hume's own notes, that *' whereas he 
(Mr. Hume) was himself disposed to begin his reform 
propaganda on the social side, it was apparently by Lord 
Duiferin's advice that he took up the work of political 
organisation as the matter first to be dealt with. Lard 
Dafferin seems to have told him that " as the head of 
the Government he had found the greatest difficulty in 
ascartaini'ig th? rnal wishes of the people, and that for 
purposes of administration it would be a public benefit if 
there existed some responsible organisation through which 
the Government might be kept informed regarding 
the best Indian public opinion." His Lordship is said 
to have further observed, that owing to the wide differ- 
ences in caste, race and religion, social reform in India 


'required local fereafcment, rather than the guidance of 
a national organisation. There is a further corrobo- 
ration of this interesting episode from no less an 
authoriny than the late Mr. W. C. Bonnerjee than 
-whom no oth^r Indian perhaps ever enjoyed a closer 
touch and greater intimacy with Mr. Hume. AVriting 
for the Indian Politics issued by that enterprising 
publisher Mr. G. A. Nafcesan of Madras in 1898, Mr. 
'Bonnerjee recorded his testimony as follows : — 

"It will probably be news to many tkat the Indian National 
■Congress as it was originally started and has since been 
carried on, is in reality the work of the Marquess of Dufferin and 
Ava when that nobleman was the Governor- General of India. 
Mr. A. 0. Hume, 0. B , had in 1884 concaived the idea that 
it w'oilid be of great advantage to the country if leading Indian 
politicians could be brought together once a year to discuss social 
matters and be upon friendly footing with one another. He did 
not desire that politics should form part of their discussions, for 
.there were recognised political bodies in Calcutta, Bombay, 
Madras and other parts of the country, and he thought that these 
bodies might sufier in importance if, when Indian politicians from 
different parts of the country came ' together, they discussed 
politics.. His idea further was that the Governor of the Pro- 
vince where the politicians met should be asked to preside 
over them and that thereby greater cordiality should be estab- 
lished between the official classes and the non-official Indian 
politicians. Full of these ideas he saw the noble Marquess 
when he went to Simla early in 1885 after having in December 
previous assumed the Viceroy alty of India, Lord Dufferin took 
great interest in the matter and after considering over it for 
some time sent for Mr, Hmme- and told him that in his 
opinion Mr. Hume's project would not be of much use. He said 
there was no body of persons in this country who performed the 
functions which Her Majesty's Opposition aid in England. The 
newspapers even if they really represented the views of the people 
ivere not reliable, and as the English were necessarily ignorant of 
what Was thought of them and their policy in native circles, it 
would be very desirable in the interests as well of the rulers as of 
the ruled that Indian politicians should meet yearly and point out 
to Government in what respects the administration was defective 
and how it could be improved ; and he added that an assembly 
such as he proposed should not be presided over by thff local 


Governor, for in his presence the people might not like to speak 
out their minds. Mr Hume was convinced by Lord DufEerin's 
arguments, and when he placed the two schemes, his own and Lord 
Dufferin's, before leading politicians in Calcutta, Bombay, Madras 
and other parts of the country, the latter unanimously accepted 
Lord Dufferin's scheme and proceeded to give effect to it. Lord 
Dufferin had made it a condition that his name in connection with 
the scheme of the Congress should not be divulged so long as he 
remained in the country and this condition was faithfully main- 
tained, and none but the men consulted by Mr. Hume knew 
anything about the matter . ' ' 

And it is an open secret that Mr. W.O. Bonnerjee was 
one of the men who were associated with Mr. Hume in 
organising the new movement and who were consulted. 
by Mr. Hume on the subject of this important and* 
interesting interview. Those who at a later period 
openly charged the Congress as being an unsavoury 
political organization fraught with dangerous conse- 
quences might well have profited by the information, . 
that though the main idea was that of Mr. Hume and 
his co-adjutors its immediate political aspect was due to 
the suggestion, though not the actual initiation, of a 
responsible Viceroy and a statesman of no ordinary 
distinction who had added a territory of over 150,000 
square miles to the British Empire. The subsequent 
change which apparently took place in the attitude of 
the great Viceroy and of which so much was at »one 
time made by the critics of the Congress will be noticed 
in its proper place. 

In the meantime encouraged by the success of the 
first National Conference of 1883, the three leading Asso- 
ciations in Calcutta, the British Indian Association, the 
Indian Association and the National Mabomedan Asso- 
ciation conjointly invited and organised the second i 


Nafcional Conference which met in the spacious hall of the 
British Indian Association on the 25th, 26th and 27th 
ol December 1885. Nearly all the districts including 
many of the sub-divisions and even important villages 
of Bengal v^ere represented at the Conference. Nor did 
the other provinces go wholly unrepresented. Bombay 
was represented in the person of the Hon. Rao Saheb 
Viswanath Mandlik and Behar in the person of His 
Highness the Maharaja of Darbhanga as the President 
of the Behar Landholders' Association. Delegates also 
• came from such distant places as Assam, Allahabad 
Benares and Meerut. Among the distinguished visitors 
present there were His Excellency the .Embassador of 
Nepal, Mr. H. J. S. Cotton, I.C.S. and Mr. Ameer AH. 
-All the representatives of the ancient houses of the 
Ghosals of Bhukailas, the Singhs of Paikparah, the 
Mookerjees of Ufcterparah, and the Tagores, the Mallicks 
and the Laws, as well as the Marwaris of Gulcutta were 
there ; while the intellectual aristocracy of Bengal 
was fully represented in the persons of Dr. Gooroodas 
(afterwards Sir Gooroodas) Banerjee, Messrs. Kali 
Mohan Dass, Mohesh Chandra Choudhury, Peary 
Mohan Mookerjee, Surendra Nath Banerjee, Kali 
Charan Banerjee and Dr. Trailokya Nath Mitter. Mr. 
Ananda Mohan Bose was at this time touring in 
Assam in connection with the political mission of the 
Indian Association. There were nearly 200 delegates 
to the Conference, while the visitors densely crowding 
the back of the hall, the cort^idor and all the passages 
from where a glimpse of the assembly could be secured 
.numbered over a thousand. It was a grand spectacle 


where the old and the young vied wifch one another" 
in their eafehusiavStic zeal and patriotic fervour under 
a new inspiration, Oa the first day Eajah Durga 
Gharan Law, the merchant prince of Calcutta presided, 
on the second day that half-blind astute statistician,. 
.^-Jkir. Joykrishan Mukherjee, who was not inaptly called 
the Indian Fawcett, and on the third and last day 
Maharaja Narendra Krishna, the heir and successor to' 
the historic Nabakrishna, occupied the chair. The- 
Conference in its three days' labours discussed and 
passed six resolutions on (l) the RecQnstitution of 
Legislative Councils, (2) the modification of the Arms 
Act, (3) the retrenchment of public expenditure, (4) the 
Civil Service Question, (5) the separation of the Judicial 
from the Executive functions and (6) the Reconstitution 
of the Police. It will be seen later on that the pro- 
gramme of the Conference was practically the same as- 
that of the first Congress, with this noticeable difference- 
that while the Congress did not, the conference did, take 
up and thoroughly discuss the important question of the' 
separation of the Judicial and the Executive Func- 
tions in the Criminal Administration of the country. 
It is worthy of remark that Mr. H. J. S. Cotton (now 
Sir Henry Cotton) who at the time was on active service- 
not only attended the Conference sls Amici curie, but 
also took part in its deliberations. Speaking on the 
important and foremost question of the reform of the- 
Legislative Councils, Mr. Cotton saidi: — 

*■ Even in India amongst members of my own service and out- 
of it, I do not think many will be found who deny that a change 
must now take place in the constitution of our Legislative Councils. 
iAnd I am quite certain that in England aU liberal politicians will' 


"be found to take this view. The view of Lord Ripon, as he him- 
self told me when discussing it with me last summer, was almost 
identical with that stated to you by the mover (Mr. S. N, Banner- 
jee), and there can be no doubt that he would use his powerful in- 
fluence in England in assisting any proposal which the natives of 
this country may make in this direction." 

The CotfcoDS and the Wedderburns, who have for 
three generations served India, have always been among 
her best and truest friends whether here or in England, 
and Mr. H. J. S. Cotton in speaking of the naembers of 
his own service could only speak of the Cottons and 
the Wedderburns, but not of naany others of his service. 
The^ conference was a great success, and on the last day 
on receipt of an infornaation that on the following day 
the First Indian National Congress was going to noeet ia 
Bonabay, the whole assembly went into a rapturous 
acclamation, andajpoessage was despatched from tha 
Conference welcoming the birth of the long expected 
National Assembly. Both the Conference and the Con- 
gress were thus the simultaneous offshoots of the same 
movement ; but the Bengal leaders wisely and patrioti- 
cally merged their mcvement in that of the ore inaugu 
rated at Bombay, as it had indeed no necessity for 
separate existence except to the detriment of the other,^ 
or possibly of both. 

To return however to the main topic and to Mr. 
Hume. In England Mr. Hume saw Lord Eipon, Mr. 
John Bright, M. P.. Mr. R. T. Reid, M.P„ (now Lord 
Loreburne who has figured so prominently in connection 
with the Home Rule agitation in England), Lord Dal- 
housie, the heir and successor of the renowned Indiaa 
Governor-General, Mr. Baxter M.P., Mr. Slagg, M.P.» 
and many other friends of India. He explained to them 


tho critical nature of the situation, the aims and objects 
of the new organisation, its constitutional character and 
the dangers which it was intended to forestall. Under 
the advice of Mr. Reid he saw nearly 150 members o^ 
the House *of Commons and succeeded in obtaining 
from them a promise, though not a pledge, that they 
would pay some attention to Indian affairs, and also 
made arrangements for the reception and publication 
of the Union's messages by a section of the Liberal 
Press. Having fortified himself with these measures 
and assurances, Mr. Hume returned to India in Novem- 
ber when he found all the arrangements complete, 
but a discussion was going on as regards the name by 
which the new organisation was to be baptised. Some 
were for calling it the National Union, some National 
Conference, while the majority were for christening it 
as the Congress, though not a few of them were afraid 
that it might carry a bad odour in certain quarters. 
At last it was decided thai} it should be styled as the 
Indian National Congress. It may be remembered 
that early in 1885 a deputation was sent to England 
composed of Mr. Manomohan Ghose of Bengal, Mr. 
Narayan Ganesh Chandavarkar of Bombay and Mr. 
Sivalaya Ramaswami Mudaliyar of Madras. They were 
called Delegates and to distinguish from them it was 
further decided that the members of the Congress should 
be called Representatives. It may not be known to 
many at this distance of time, that it was at first actually 
proposed to ask Lord Reay to preside at the first Con- 
gress. Lord Dufferin was approached on the question, 
but the Viceroy, while welcoming the proposal ** as 


shewing the desire of the Cougress to work in conciplete 
harnaony with the Governnaent " considered such a step 
inadvisable as naany difificulties might arise both for the 
people as well as for the Government if a high official 
were to preside over such an assembly. The proposal 
was therefore dropped. But nevertheless the first Con- 
gress received official sympathy in an unstinted measure. 


The First Session of the Congress. 

When all the arrangements were thus complete an 
untoward circumstance happened. Several cases of 
cholera appeared in Poona and it was considered unsafe 
and inadvisable to put the representatives coming from 
long distances and under fatiguing journey to any risk or 
possible danger. To the infinite disappointment of the 
good and patriotic people of Poona it was decided to 
change the venue of the session from Poona to„,^gmbay. 
It was thus that the beautiful and romantic island city 
on the Malabar Coast with the Arabian Sea perpetually 
leaving her feet and the sombre Ghat Mountains mount- 
ing guard over her from behind acquired the honour of 
being the birthplace of the Indian National Congress. 
The newly established Presidency Association readily 
supplied the place of the "Sarvajanik Sabha,*' and the 
authorities of the Gokul Dass Tejpal Sanskrit College 


came forward to sanctify and immortalise their institu- 
tion by lending its grand buildings, as well as its boarding^ 
houses, for the meeting and the accommodation of the' 
representatives. The place is situated on the Gowalia 
Tank Road of the city and any one feeling interested on 
the subject may yet visit the sacred hall where the- 
brave band of 72 Representatives met and discussed the- 
first programme of the first National Assembly of 

By the morning of the 27th December the Represent- 
atives from different parts and provinces began to arrive 
and were duly conducted to the Gokul Dass Tejpal 
College. In the evening some of the leading official and 
non-official gentlemen came to the College to meet the 
Representatives. Nearly two hours of the evening were 
devoted to the reception of the Hon'ble Sir William 
Wedderburn, the Hon'ble Mr. Justice Jardine, Colonel 
Phelps, Professor Wordsworth and a large number of 
other distinguished citizens of Bombay who came to the 
College to welcome the Representatives and express their 
sympathy with the work on which they were about to 
enter. '* During the whole day," says the official repor- 
ter, *' and far into the night of the 27th, informal discus- 
sions were carried on between the Representatives and 
the proceedings of the next three days were settled. The^ 
number of Representatives registered was 72, distributed 
as follows : — Calcutta 3, Bombay 18, Madras 8, Karachi 
2, Viramgam 1, Surat 6, Poona 8, Agra 2, Benares h 
Simla 1, Lucknow 3, Allahabad 1, Lahore 1, Amballa 1,, 
Ahmedabad 3, Berhampore (Madras) 1, Masulipatam 1, 
Chingleput 1, Tanjore 2. Kumbakonum 1, Madura 1. 


Tinnevelly 1, Coimbafcore 1, Salem 1, Cuddapah 1, An- 
anfeapore 1, and Bellary 1. The Bengal contingent was 
numerically weak owing, as the president said, to a 
series of misfortunes arising from death, illness and the 
like, but perhaps chiefly on account of the National 
Conference which was almost simultaneously holding, 
its second session in Calcutta. Nearly all the promi- 
nent men of Bombay and Madras were present, while 
Bengal was represented by Mr. W. C. Bonnerjee, 
Mr. NorendraNath Sen and Mr. Girijabhusan Mukherjee 
whose premature death was a heavy loss to the- 
Bengal public. That silent and devoted votary of the 
Congress who never missed a single session of it, although 
seldom taking any prominent part in its deliberations in 
any, Mr, Janaki Nath Ghosal, came from Allahabad 
while Mr. Bamkali Choudhury represented Benares. 
It seems worthy of note that Mr. Hume although coming^ 
from Simla appears to have sat as a representative for 
Bengal probably as it would seem to make up consider- 
ably for the weakness of her numerical strength. 

The first meeting of the Congress took place at 12 
o'clock noon on Monday the 28bh December 1885 in the 
Great Hall of the Gokuldass Tejpal Sanskrit College 
where all the Representatives were assembled amidst a 
distinguished, though somewhat limited, gathering of 
ofi&cials and leading citizens of Bombay. It was a 
solemn and imposing spectacle where all were animated^ 
both the representatives and the visitors, the officials as 
well as the non-officials, with intense interest and in^ 
spired with noble enthusiasm on the birth of a new epoch. . 
There sat Mr. Woomesh Chandra Bonnerjee, the*^ 


Doyen of the Calcutta Bar and the firat Indian Stand- 
ing Counsel in a Chartered High Court, in his tall 
^nd graceful figure with broad forhead and beaming eyes 
calmly awaiting in his firm attitude and sober dignity the 
great and unique honour which all the provinces were 
about to confer in his person upon their eldest sister pro- 
vince of Bengal. There was that slim but godly figure 
shining like a chiselled marble statue, short in stature 
but colossal in intellectual equipments, whose national 
turban considerably made up for his height and in whom 
nature seemed to have wonderfully blended the dwarf and 
the giant, the Grand Old Man of India, — Mr. Dadabhai 
Naoroji. There sat that intrepid journalist in his flowing 
hairs reaching down to his broad shoulders and with the 
fixed glare of a bull-dog countenance which quailed not 
even under Viceregal palace, the brave editor of the 
Indiayi Mirror — Mr. Narendra Nath Sen. There were 
those two out of that bright constellation of the three 
rising stars of the Western Presidency, who formed a 
happy conjunction combining patriotism with sobriety, 
enthusiasm and moderation of three different races, — 
Messrs. Kashinath Trimbak Telaug and Pherozeshah 
Mancharjee Mehta, while the position of the third was 
not unworthily filled by another luminous member of 
his race, Mr. Eahimatulla Sayani. There sat beside 
the Grand Old man that well-posted statistician and 
indefatigable worker who has never flagged in his zeal 
and devotion during the lifetime of a generation in the 
service of the Congress, — Mr. Dinshaw Bduljee Wacha. 
'There was that unostentatious, silent worker who was 
-behind almost every public movement in the United 


Provinces, bufc whose modesty seldom pushed him to- 
the forefront in any, although grown grey in the service 
of his country — Mr. Gangaprasad Varma ; while from the 
Punjab there was that quaint and caustic critic whose 
familiar face has seldom been missed in any of the subse- 
quent Congresses, — Lala Murlidhar. There also sat that 
level-headed, sober yet keen-sighted veteran lawyer, 
Rangiah Naidu, the respected President of the Mahajana 
Sabha, supported by that noble band composed of Messrs. 
Subramania Iyer, Ananda Charlu, Veeraraghavachariar,. 
G. Subramania Iyer and Sabapathi Mudaliar of whom 
Madras has been ever so justly proud. There came from- 
Poona Krishnaji Luxman Nulkar, the President and 
Sitaram Hari Chiplonkar, Secretary of the Sarvajanik 
Sabha, who but for the unfortunate accident already 
noticed would have had the honour of being the host to 
the delegates to the first session of the Indian National 
Congress ; and above all, there sat the ** Father of tha 
Congress ;" who had refused a Lieutenant-Governorship 
to serve a people, beaming with anxious joy and hope at 
the birth of his own child and inspiring and moving all 
with the magnetic current of his own ardent soul, — 
Mr. Allan Octavian Hume. Among the distinguished 
visitors there were men like Mr. D. S. White, President 
of the Eurasian Association, Dewan Bahadur Raghu- 
natha Rao, Collector of Madras, the Hon. Mahadev 
Govinda Ranade, Judge, Small Cause Court, Poona and 
a member of the Bombay Legislative Council, Lala 
Baijnath of Agra, Professor Abaji Vishnoo Kattawatha 
of Ahmedabad, Professor Kadambi Sundararaman of 
Aroot, Professor R. G. Bhandarkar of theDeccan College 


and matiy others who, with fe WO nofcable excepfciona, skfc 
as Amici Curie only to listen and advise. 

On;the motion of Mr. Hama (Bengal), seconded by 
the Hon. Subramaaia Iyer (Madras) and supported by 
the Hon. K. T. Telang (Bombay) Mr. W. G. Bonnerjee 
was unanimously elected and duly installed as President 
of the Congress, *' the wise and firm hand that took the 
helm when the good ship was launched." The Eeception 
Gommittea audits Chairman's address which has now 
assumed such indordinate proportions, probably beyond 
its legitimate scope, have been a later development, and 
consequently the first Congress opened with the inaugural 
address of the President of the Congress. That speech 
though condensed and short was fully worthy of . the 
man and worthy of the occasion. Mr. Bonnerjee, who 
was eminently a practical politican, after graphically 
describing the represectatiive character of the gathering, 
laid down the objects of the Congress with great force 
and sober dignity which drew the unstinted admiration 
of all sections of the Press. The address concluded with 
the following pregnant and pithy observation : — 

"She (Great Britain, had given them order, she had giveu 
them railways and above all she had given them cha inestiimable 
blesising of Western Education. Bat a great deal still remained to 
-be done. The more progress che people made in eduaatiom and 
.material prosperity the greater would be the insight into political 
matters and the keener their desire for pDlitioal advancement.'* 

He thought their 

** desira to be governed according to the ideas of Government 
prevalent in Europe was in no way incompatible with their 
thorough loyalty to the British Government. All that they desired 
was that; the basis of the Government should ba widened and that 
ihe people should hav© their proper and legitimate share in it." 


The proceedings of fcbe meeting ' were marked by 
•sobriety, judgment and firmness and the speeches 
characterised by dignity, independence and deep study 
of the subjects, which have probably been seldom 
>surpassedin any subsequent session of the Congress. 
The subjects discussed were ; — (l) Enquiry into the 
working of the Indian Administration by a Boyal Oomr 
mission, (2) the abolition of the Council of the Secretary 
of State as at present constituted, (3) the reform and 
expansion of the Imperial and the Local Legislative 
Councils, including the right of interpellation and the 
submission of the Budgets to the Councils, (4) the 
gimultanequs Examination for the Civil Service, (5) the 
reduction of Military Expenditure, (6) the re-imposition of 
the import cotton duties and extension of the License 
Tax, together with an Imperial guarantee to the Indian 
debt and (7) separation of Burma from the Indian Vice- 
royalty. It was also resolved that the foregoing resolu- 
tions of the Congress ba forwarded to all the political 
associations in the country with request to adopt such 
measures as may be calculated to advance the settlement 
of the various questions dealt with in those resolutions. 
It was decided that the next Congress should re-assemble 
in Calcutta. 

Among the official visitors, that intellectual giant 
of the Deccan, the Hon'ble Mahadev Govinda Eanade, 
who did not find it impossible for him boldly to attend 
many a session of the Congress, and whose loftly patrio- 
tism combined with honest loyalty always bore him 
-straight, was the only person who could not forbear 
from adc^ressii^g the meeting on, the sacoad day qpota 


the hotly debated question of the proposed abolition of 
the Council of the Secretary of State ; while Mr. D. S. 
White, the President of the Eurasian Association struck 
a most important note which although somewhat lightly 
treated • at the time has now assumed considerable 
importance in connection; with the labours of the Royal 
Commission which is now conducting its investigations 
and particularly in the light of the opinion which has 
been so forcibly expressed by that staunch friend of 
India, Sir Henry Cotton, through the columqs of the 
Contemporary Beuieiv on the question of the reconstitution 
of the Indiau Civil Service. 

After the three day's labours the Congress wa^ 
dissolved with the customary vote of thanks to the 
president which he more than deserved for the great 
tact and judgment with which he had tackled many 
a knotty point during the debates and for his *' very 
able conduct in the chair:" This was followed by 
** three cheers" for Mr. Hume which the ** Father of 
the Congress" ever since received as an annual tribute at 
every session of the Congress until his death, and by an 
outburst of loyaJ demonstration when Mr. Hume called 
for "three times three cheers" for Her Majesty the Queen 

Here closes the narrative as regards the origin of 
the great national movement. Twenty-nine sessions of 
the Congress, with one lamentable break, have since 
been held in different centres of British India, the his- 
tory of which is well preserved in the records of the 
Congress which may be said to form a most valuable 
compendium, if not a library, of the modern Indiaa 

PRESIDENT, 1886, 1893 & 1906. 



•political literature of more than a quarter of a century. 
It is perhaps not necessary to agree with all or 
any of the conclusions arrived at in these voluminous 
records to form a just and adequate estimate of the 
encyclopedic character of the mine of informations 
which they contain, the vast amount of thought and 
reflection on various subjects which they embody and 
the awakening of self-consciousness among a rising 
-people, as well as the trend of popular ideas and 
aspirations, which they disclose at a momentous period 
of transition in a world of rapid changes and transfor- 
mations. All these materials are there for the future 
political historian of India. But a brief survey of the 
various phases through which the Congress has passed, 
the trials and tribulations it has undergone, the difficulties 
4t} has overcome, the success which has so far attended 
its labours and the prospects it has opened for future 
progress, may not be altogether out of place and without 
^some interest. 


The Career of the Congress. 

It was Mr. George Yule who, in his presidential 

•address at the fourth session of the Congress held at 

Allahabad, said th^t there are three phases through 

^hich all important movements have to pass : — that of 



"ridicule," abuse,*' and "partial coDcession," whicb 
with a slight modij&cation might be termed the stages of 
Ridicule, Opposition and Surrender. It was truly a^ 
prophetic pronouncement which is fully illustrated in 
the history of the Congress. At first the movement was^ 
ridiculed by its critics as a fantastic dream which they 
confidently hoped would shortly meet the fate of 
Alnasker's glass-wares. The first stage was, how- 
ever, quickly got over : for, although Anglo-India at 
the outset pooh-poohed the idea of a United India, it 
was shortly disabused of its delusion and impressed^ 
with the serious nature of the business to which th& 
educated community had solemnly and deliberately 
put its hand. But the second stage was a rather pro- 
longed period during which the Congress was engaged^ 
in a desperate struggle against calumny and misrepre- 
sentation on the one hand and the difficulties of defeat 
and despair on the other. The stubborn opposition of' 
a powerful bureaucracy, backed by the Anglo-Indian 
Press and coupled with the growing despondency of the 
people themselves, made the position of the Congress- 
at times almost critical. The leaders, however, learnfe 
to ** labour and to wait " with the fullest confidence in 
the justice and righteousness of the cause and in the 
ultimate triumph of British statesmanship until, as a 
reward for their honest perseverance, the third and the 
last stage of " partial concession " may fairly be said to 
have at last dawned upon the country. 

Although the Congress was born in JBombay its real 
baptism took place with all the formal rites and cere- 
monies in the following year in the metropolis of the 


Empire under the high prelacy of fehe Nestor of India^ 
Mr, Dadabhai Naoroji. la the Calcutta Congress of 
1886, a Eeception Committee was formed with that 
illustrious savant and antiquarian, Dr. Eajendralal Mitra, 
who was then the President of the British Indian 
Association, as its chairman, and the representatives 
(henceforth styled delegates) were formally elected 
either by established associations, or at duly organised 
public meetings held throughout the country. The 
representation thus secured was naturally much larger 
and more thorough than at the first Congress. The 
number of delegates rose from 72 to 406 and included 
all that was best in the land whether in point of intel- 
lect, wealth or influence. An opening address by th© 
Chairman of the Reception Committee welcoming the 
delegates was introduced, and for its graceful language^ 
fervid eloquence and patriotic zeal, no less than for its 
political insight, the spirited address delivered by the- 
learned doctor on the occasion stands to this day as a 
model for the Reception Committee's address of welcome 
to the delegates. The Presidential Address of the Grand 
Old Man, embodying the results of a lifelong study of 
Indian problems and the direct experience of English 
politics, was listened to with reverent attention by an 
assembly of over four thousand educated people. The 
meeting was at first arranged to be held in the hall of 
the British Indian Association where 'the National Con- 
ference had been held in December previous ; but judging 
by the number of the registered delegates, as well 
as the vast number of expected visitors, it was wisely 
removed to the Calcutta Town Hall with the Hooghly 


decked with its splendid shipments on one side and 
the grand maidan with the imposing Fort William 
and the beautiful Eden Gardens on the other. The 
historic hall was densely packed to its utmost capa- 
city and a small temporary platform had to be impro- 
vised for che President in the middle of the southern 
side of the spacious hall, as he would have been 
otherwise lost to view amidst the sea of faces around 
him. The large dais which now adorns the eastern 
«nd of the hall was not then in existence. The subjects 
discussed at this session were also more comprehensive 
and better digested than at the first Congress and 
included the important question of the separation of 
Judicial from Executive functions in the administration 
of criminal justice in the country. As a practical step 
towards the working of the Congress, Provincial Com- 
mittees were also established throughout the country. 
The session marked throughout by unabated enthusiasm 
•and earnestness as well as by animated debates, some of 
which had to be settled in committees, was a grand 
success and staggered not a few among the Anglo-Indian 
Community who had lightly indulged in a belief of the 
effervescent character" of the movement. At the close 
-of the session, Lord Dufferin very courteously received a 
deputation from the Congress headed by the President. 

If the Congress of 1885 was little more than an 
experiment, and the Congress of 1886 marked a period 
of vigorous adolescence, the Congress of 1887 *' bore 
every appearance of its having become a permanent 
national institution." The third Congress held in 
Madras evoked still greater enthusiasm and the 


number of delegates rose fco over 600, of whom fully 250 
hailed from outside the Madras Presidency. The bulk 
of the Bengal delegates, numbering about 80, chartered 
the B and I Company's S. S, Nevassa which, starting 
from Calcutta and after experiencing a severe gale 
continuously for three days and three nights in the Bay,. 
at last landed the delegates from Bengal in Madras 
amid the hearty cheers of a vast and expectant crowd 
awaiting the distressed vessel on the magnificent beach 
of which Fore St. George is so justly proud. It was in 
Madras that for the first time a special pavilion was 
constructe«l for the meeting of the Congress, which 
in Tamil was called Pandal, and this term has since 
been accepted by all the provinces for the pavilion at 
all successive sessions of the Congress. Thatj veteran 
statesman who, after a long and distinguished career 
as the Prime Minister of three of the most important 
independent principalities of Travancore, Indore and 
Baroda, each and all of whom owe their advancement 
in no small measure to his genius, had retired into 
private life, was drawn from his seclusion in his old 
age to assume the function of Chairman of the Recep- 
tion Committee ; and the masterly address with which 
Baja Sir T, Madhava Rao cordially welcomed the dele- 
gates may even to this day be read with much profit 
both by the members of the Congress as well as its 
critics. Referring to the latter, he said : 

"Judged most unsparingly, the worst feature of gatherings of 
this description might be super-abundance of enthusiasm and 
youthful impetuosity. Buc, as a great thinker has said, men 
learn to run before they lekrn to walk ; they scagger and stumble 
before they acquire a steady use of their limbs. What is true of 


individuals is equally true of nations ; and it is uncharitable to 
forna a forecast of the future from the failings and weaknesses, if 
any such should exist , incidental to a nascent stage." 

Addressing the members of the Congress, he coun- 
selled moderation and forbearance. ** It is the character 
of renovated youth," he saidi "to be carried away by 
excessive zeal, Steer clear of such shoals and quick- 
sands. Discuss without prejudice; judge without bias ; 
and submit your proposals with the diffidence that must 
necessarily mark suggestions that are tentative in their 
character." The President of the Congress this time 
was the Honourable Mr. Budruddiu Tyabji, at that 
time a distinguished member of the Bombay Bar and 
the first and foremost Mahomedan who if he failed 
actually to attend the first Congress yet heartily sup- 
ported the movement from its very inception. It was 
at this session that a constitution was also sought to be 
provided for the 'institution. A committee was formed 
which drafted a set of tentative rules, and an attempt 
to adopt these rules was repeated from year to year 
without any dacision being arrived at until it was over- 
taken by a catastrophe twenty years later. But for 
the vacillation and indecision of the leaders, who had 
been repeatedly warned of the dangers to which such a 
huge organisation was naturally exposed in the absence 
of fixed rules and regulations defining its constitution 
and laying down a procedure for its working, that catas- 
trophe might possibly have easily been avoided. 

For a closer touch among the delegates some sort 
of social entertainments were coijtrived from the begin- 
ning of the Congress. In Bombay, the Kepresentatives 


besides being housed afe one and the sanae place were 
"taken to a visit of the celebrated cave temples at 
Elephanta. In Calcutta, although the large number of 
delegates did not admit of their being accommodated 
in one and the same house, a magnificent steamer party 
was organised by Mr. Moheschandra Choudhury, a 
(leading vakil of the Calcutta High Court and a promi- 
^nent member of the Congress, in which several promin- 
ent officials, including the Hon'ble Mr. Justice, after- 
wards Sir. Chunder-Madhav Ghose joined ; and pleasant 
entertainments were combined with serious business as 
some of the matters referred to a Committee of the Con- 
gress were discussed and settled on board the vessel as it 
glided along the Hooghly, decked with hundreds of flags, 
amidst the playing of bands on the flats on either side 
and the cheerings of thousands of spectators who lined all 
iihe way up along the shores. At Madras, it was under- 
-stood that Lord Conuemara was personally desirous of 
attending the Congress ; but Lord Daiferin thought it 
would be preferable for the Governor to receive the dele- 
gates. Lord Connemara accordingly first attended the 
magnificent reception given by Mr. Eardley Norton and 
on the following day, himself received the delegates at 
Government House in a manner befitting his exalted 
position and fully worthy of the occasion. It was a 
brilliant function in which His Excellency freely mixed 
and conversed with the delegates and gave unmistakable 
evidence of his sympathies with the movement. 
Sumptuous refreshments were also provided for the 
delegates and the Governor's own' band was in atten- 


But here the curtain dropped over official sympathies 
for the Congress and the fourth session at Allahabad 
witnessed a complete change in the official attitude to- 
wards the movement. The Anglo-Indian ccBomunity and 
their organs had from the beginning ridiculed the idea 
of a United India and although the Indian Civil Service 
made no secret of its dislike for the movement it was 
precluded from manifesting any open hostility to it 
owing to the sympathies evinced by the heads of the 
administrations. It is a significant fact that the first 
and the third Congresses were held within Presidency 
Governments and although the second was held within 
the territories of a Lieutenant-Governor, it was held in 
the capital of the Empire where his presence was com- 
pletely overshadowed by the higher personality and 
influence of the Viceroy. Thus it was not until the- 
Congress removed its seat to within an independent 
Lieutenant-Governorship that the official circle found a 
free scope to vent its antipathy towards the new move- 
ment, A few perfectly harmless leaflets, such as ** the- 
Old Man's Hope," written by Mr. Hume, a catechism in 
Tamil written by Mr. Veeraraghava Chariar and a 
parable in the form of a^ dialogue between one Moulvie 
I'ariduddin and Eambuksh, circulated among the people- 
for attracting public attention to the movement, were 
regarded in official circles as savouring of the practice 
of the Anti-Corn Law League in England ; acrd the 
Beception Committee of the Fourth Congress headed by 
that enthusiastic congressman and recognised leader of 
public opinion in the United Provinces, Pundit Ajudhya 
Nath, experienced considerable difficulty in procuring a 


suitable site for the Pandal. They were driven from 
pillar fco post both by the civil and the military authori- 
ties until that patriotic nobleman of Behar who was a 
Gothic pillar of the Congress, Maharajah Sir Luchmes- 
war Singh Bahadur of Dhurbunga, came to the rescue. 
He hastily purchased Lowther Castle just opposite- 
Government House and at once placed it at the disposal- 
of the Eeception Committee saying, that the first 
use to which the newly acquired property was to 
be dedicated was the service of the motherland. Sir 
Aucjiland Colvin left Government House and went out 
on tour shortly before the sitting of the Congress. The 
interest and enthusiasm of the people however rose in 
proportion to the opposition which they received, and 
Pundit Ajudhya Nath with his characteristic genial 
good-humour bulletined from day to day the large 
number of delegates who were pouring in by almost 
every train into the city. There were two prominent 
men at this time who rose to greater prominence by 
their opposition to the Congress : one was Sir Syed' 
Ahmed Khan of Aligarh and the other Eajah Siva 
Prasad of Benares. Rajah Siva Prasad, apparently 
bent upon attracting pointed attention of the authorities • 
by openly denouncing the Congress, managed to secure 
a representation from the Benares division, which how- 
ever was strongly repudiated by the other delegates 
from that division as a fraud, and personally attended the 
Congress. His fellow-delegates from Benares though 
submitting to the decision of the Congress authorities 
declining for several reasons to exclude him from the 
meeting, had to be partially reconciled by allowing him. 


a seat outside the delegates' enclosure and far away 
from their block. It may be noted here that the practice 
of arranging the delegates in groups or blocks according 
to provinces was started at this session and Rajah Siva 
Prasad chough admitted as a delegate had to be provided 
with a separate seat close under the presidential platform. 
The Rajah though appearing in the garb of a delegate 
took advantage of his position to pronounce, like Balaam, 
an anathema on the movement which so much exasperat- 
ed the vast assembly that at the end of the day's pro- 
ceeding he had to be sent to his quarters under a strong 
escort supplied by the Reception Committee. All 
the leading men of all the provinces wore present at 
this session which besides being held at the most 
central city in India also carried with it the additional 
attraction of a sacred place of great antiquity and the 

just pride of a spot where the Great Proclamation of 
the ' White Queen" was announced to her Indian sub- 
jects in 1858. The Presidential Address of Mr. Yule, 
who as the recognised leader of the European mercan- 
tile community in Calcutta was a tower of strength to 
the Congress and whose association with the movement 
was a powerful vindication of its legitimate character, 
was a masterly document unsurpassed by any in the 
annals of the Congress either in manly dignity, sober 
judgment, or fearless independence. The vigorous cor- 
respondence which followed between Sir Auckland 
Colvin and Mr. Hume, the former attacking and the 
latter defending the Congress is well-known to the 
public and need not be re-capitulated here. The Anglo- 

ilndian Press, which had from the beginning showed 


'DO sympafchy, active or passive, towards the move- 
ment, now began to manifest symptoms of open suspi- 
cion and distrust of it. The Fioneer led fche cry against 
the Congress and the whole Jingo Press yelled out 
in a responsive chorus denouncing the movement and 
its methods as resembling Irish Fenianism and strongly 
savouring of a lurking seditious organisation devoid 
of representative character and substance. It was, 
however, a significant feature of the situation that 
the supreme head of the administration, the Viceroy, 
imbued with the spirit of the British constitution and 
accustomed to the methods and practices of public 
agitation at Home, never winced, and although sur- 
rounded by bureaucratic influences that supreme 
authority was generally found to regard the move- 
ment as perfectly constitutional. It is perhaps a^ true 
of the moral as of the physical world that the higher one 
mounts, the purer becomes the atmosphere. Lord 
Dufferin who courteously received the delegates to the 
Second Congress openly said that the proposal for the 
separation of the Judicial from the Executive func- 
tions was a ' counsel of perfection " to which he was 
ready to subscribe, though on a subsequent occasion 
the same strong Viceroy appears to have succumbed to 
his stronger environment and characterised the Con- 
gress party as a "microscopic minority" and their 
ultimate ambition as a big jump into the unknown." 
He apparently forgot his early conversations with Mr. 
Hume and his own share in the business, though it 
must be said to the credit of the leading congressmen 
who were in the known that they could hardly be 


persuaded even under exfjreme provocation fco abuse the- 
confidence reposed in them. The affcer-dinner speech of 
Lord Dufferin was however promptly met by a most 
caustic rejoinder from Mr. Eardley Norton, whose " open 
letter" to His Lordship was received with the utmost 
gratification throughout the country and created a sensa- 
tion in the official circle. The whole Indian Press joined 
in the protest in some cases even bordering on disrespect 
to the high authority from whom the unfortunate observa- 
tions emanated, as it formed also the subject of not a 
few severe though well-restrained comments at the next 
session of the Congress. But there was yet another and 
a more powerful man possessed of " a frame of adamant 
and a soul of fire" who stood co defend the Congress 
and its propaganda against these light-hearted stric- 
tures. Charles Bradlaugh's attention was drawn by a 
report in the Times to Lord Dufferin's speech delivered 
at the St. Andrew's Dinner in Calcutta on November 
30, 1888, and the "Member for India" in a great 
speech made at; Newcastle at once replied to Lord 
Dufferin's criticisms with such driving force and con- 
vincing arguments as made the latter unreservedly to 
climb down, if not actually come down on his knees, 
before his powerful antagonist. Lord Dufferin forth- 
with wrote to Mr. Bradlaugh explaining himself. In 
his letter Lord Dufferin assured Mr. Bradlaugh : 

" That he bad not misrepresented the Congress, that he neither 
directly nor by implication suggested that the Congress was 
seditious, that he always spoke of the Congress in terms of 
sympathy and respect, and treated its members with great personal^ 
civility, that he was always in favour of Civil Service Reform, so 
that Indians might obtain more appointments in it, as proved by 


.his appointment of the Indian Civil Service Commission and that 
he himself v^^as in favour of such a reform of the Provincial 
•Councils m India as he (Mr. Bradlaugh) appeared to advocate." 

Then after his retirement frona the Viceroyalty of 
India at Lord Dufferin's special request an interview 
was arranged and held in London between the two, in 
which Lord Dufferin further explained himself ; while 
in writing to Mr, Bradlaugh after his appointment as 
-Ambassador in Home, Lord Dufferin said : — 

•' I think our efiorts should be applied rather to the decentra- 
lisation of our Indian Administration than to its greater unifica- 
tion, and I made considerable efforts in India to promote and 
expand this principle. In any event, I am sure the discussion 
which you will have provoked will prove very useful, and I am very 
glad that the conduct of it should be in the hands of a prudent, 
wise and responsible person like yourself, instead of having been 
laid hold of by some adventurous franc tireier whose only object 
might possibly have been to let ofE a few fire-works for his own 

As regards his " big jump into the unknown," he 
had no doubt his defence as well as his explanation ; but 
if the conqueror of Burma had been living to-day, he 
would certainly have had the gratification to find how 
.grievously mistaken he and his advisers were and that 
in spite of his and their warning at least an initial step 
towards the " big jump " has been taken without the 
Government either in England or in India being any the 
worse for it. 

The moat brilliant session during the first period 
^f the Congress was however that of 1889, commonly 
known as the " Bradlaugh Session,*' held in Bombay 
under the presidency of Sir William Wedderburn. The 
cumber of Delegates who attended the session was 1889 


a figure strangely coinciding wifch fche year, and ife has 
been the highest on the record up to this day. It was a 
historic session which attracted an unusual number of 
people, including even officials in disguise, to see and^ 
hear the great corcnaoner, the hero of a hundred fights on 
the floor of the House of Commons and one of the early 
friends of India in the pre-Gongress period, who by his 
unswerving conviction and dauntless courage, as well as 
by his sympathies for poor suffering humanity, had' 
created a name known throughout the civilized world 
and which was almost a household word among the edu- 
cated community in India. 

Although the question of the Congress-constitution 
was repeatedly postponed from year to year, an import- 
ant rule was passed at the fifth session of the Congress 
by which the number of representatives returnable from 
each Congress circle was limited to five per million of 
its total population. This salutary provision was found 
necessary party to avoid disproportionate representa- 
tion of the various provinces and partly to check the 
enormous size to which the assembly was growing ; but 
this rule seems never to have been strictly observed 
except at two or three sessions of the Congress. 

Speaking of the Congres of 1889 it is impossible 
to avoid a passing reference to an important debate 
which took place at this session on the Bill which the 
" member for India " himself had drafted for introduc- 
tion in the House of Commons for the reform of the 
Indian Councils. One of the objects of Mr. Bradlaugh's 
coming out to India was, as he himself, said, personally 
to ascertain the views of the Indians on the spot as^ 


regards the provisions of his Bill, and he had the pleasure 
of listening to a full dressed debate on the subject. 
How that Bill was superseded by a tinkering noeasure of 
Lord Cross and the cherished hopes of the Indian 
Nationalists deferred for another decade is well-known 
to congressmen. But if a kind Providence had spared 
Charles Bradlaugh for another ten years he would have 
had the satisfaction of seeing that his own Bill was- 
accepted as the substantial basis for the reform and^ 
expansion of the Legislative Councils in India at the 
hands of a future Secretary of State. At the conclusion 
of the proceedings of the session an address was pre- 
sented to Mr. Bradlaugh from the Congress, and quite- 
a pile of addresses in silver and gold caskets as well as 
other presents from different parts of the country were 
laid covering the large presidential table, which could 
only be taken as read. Mr. Bradlaugh then delivered 
an address which in its earnestness, sincerity, as well as 
fervid eloquence, made a deep impression on the minds 
of the audience, which comprised also a section of the 
European population of Bombay. In his deep, resonant 
voice, which held the vast assembly spell-bound, the 
great friend and champion of India said : — " For whom 
should I work if not for the people? Born of the 
people, trusted by the people, I will die of the people." 
Here was a man who was a fearless advocate of truth 
and justice, -who '* never dreamed, though right luere 
worsted, wrong coidd triumph ; " and when shall Eng- 
land and India have such another ! 

The next Session of the Congress held under the 
leadership of Sir Pherozeshah Mehta in 1890 in the 


cifcy of Calcutta was distinguished no less for its 
splendid organization than for its enthusiasm. It 
thoroughly exposed the secret antipathy of the bureau- 
cracy and at the same time established its own claim 
and position as a legitimate representative institution. 
The amusing incident which drew this important 
declaration from the Government of India is quite 
illustrative of the temper and attitude which the Civil 
Service has throughout maintained towards the national 
movement. On the eve of the sixth session of the 
Congress in Calcutta the public were surprised by a 
notice which appeared in the various Anglo-Indian 
newspapers in the metropolis which ran as follows : — 


"The Bengal Government, having learnt that tickets of ad- 
-mission co the visitors' enclosure in the Congress Pavilion have 
been sent to various Government officers residing in Calcutta, has 
issued a circular to all secretaries and heads of department 
subordinate to it pointing out, that under orders of Government 
of India the presence of Government officials even as visitors as 
such meetings is not advisable, and that their taking part in the 
'proceedings of any such meetings is absolutely prohibited." 

And this was followed by a characteristic reply from 

Belvidere to the Secretary to the Congress Keception 

^Committee, who had with respectful compliments sent 

some cards for the use of His Honour the Lieutenant- 

Governor and his household : — 

"Belvidere, 25th December, 1890. 
*'Dear Sir, 

"In returning herewith the seven cards of admission to the 
visitors' enclosure of the Congress pavilion which were kindly sent 



by you to my address yesterday affeernoon, I am desired to say 
that the Lieutenant-Governor and the members of his household 
oould not possibly avail themselves of these tickets, since the 
orders of the Government of India definitely prohibit the presence 
of Government officials at such meetings." 

This communication, which was read by fche 
Anglo-Indian Press as a highly gratifying snub adminis- 
tered to the Congress, was over the signature of Mr. P. 
0. Lyon who was then the Private Secretary to Sir 
Charles Elliot and who in his subsequent distinguished 
career found much ampler and freer scope for associat- 
ing his name with circulars and manifestoes which, 
though no longer extent, have acquired a historic fame. 
This strange correspondence formed the subject of a 
heated discussion in the Congress in course of which 
that level-headed typical Scotchman, Mr. George Yule, 
described it as the production of "some Dogberry 
clothed in a little brief authority" and characterized 
it as "a piece of gross insolence" offered to a body of 
men who were perhaps in no way inferior to any official 
in the land either in their honesty of purpose," or 
"devotion to the Queen." Mr. Yule visibly waxed red 
when he said from his place in the tribune, "any 
instructions, therefore, which carry on their face, as 
these instructions do in my judgment, an insinuation 
that we are unworthy to be visited by Government 
officials, I resent as an insult and I retort that in ail 
the qualities of manhood we are as good as they.'* A 
reference was made to H. E. the Viceroy who at once 
declared that the Belvidere interpretation of the order 
of Government of India was based upon a clear misap- 
prehension, that in the opinion of Government tha 


Congress Movemenfc was ''perfectly legitimate in itself,'* 
th^t ihe '' Government of India recognise that the Con- 
gress Movement is regarded as representing in India 
what in Europe would he called the more advanced Libe- 
ral Tarty, as distinguished from the great body of 
Conservative opinion which exists side by side with it,** 
and that the real attitude of the Government zvas one 
^f perfect ''neutrality in their relation to both parties^ 
The Private Secretary to Lord Lansdowne while clearly 
indicating that it was only participation in its proceed- 
ings from which Government officials were necessarily 
<iebarred concluded this important letter, addressed to 
the General Secretary to the Congress, with the follow- 
ing observation : — 

"la reference to a specific question which you addressed to 
His Excellency, I am to say, that the orders apply only to those 
who are actually, at the time oeing, Government Servants but not 
to pensioners and others who have quitted the service of the 
Government for good." 

A pointed reference to this passing incident has 
been deemed necessary not only to exemplify the 
secret disposition of the Indian bureaucracy towards 
popular institutions, but also to remove, if possible, the 
lurking suspicion which, having regard to that dispo- 
sition, yet prevails in certain quarters and particularly 
among a class of Indian officials, that the Government 
is really ill-disposed towards the Congress and that it is 
not safe for pensioners or even retained Government 
advocates to express any sympathy for the Congress 
movement. It cannot, however, be denied that athough 
the Supreme Government has been generally quite 
Irank and intelligible in the exposition of its vie ws 


^about the Congress, the ideas of the subordinate ad- 
^ministrations in their practical application have seldom 
*been free frona a distinct bias against it ; and those who 
bad from an early stage of the Congress looked through 
the rose-tinted official spectacles and could never 
discern the rock ahead regarded the movement with 
positive jealousy and suspicion, and ever since the 
fourth Congress at Allahabad a systematic campaign 
was kept up not only to discredit the organization, but 
also to oaluminate it before the British public. The 
bureaucracy as a whole was like Narcissus of old so 
enchanted with the loveliness of its own shadow that it 
had neither the leisure nor the inclination to contem- 
plate beauty in others: while those placed high in 
offices resented all suggestions at improvements as a 
direct reflection against them. 

It was at this session of 1890 that a decision was 
arrived at for holding a session of the Congress in 
.London in 1892. Owing, however, to the impending 
general election in 1891 the proposal was subsequently 
postponed and never afterwards revived owing to a 
difference of opinion as regards the relative advantages 
and disadvantages of such a venturesome step. In 1892 
^Sir Charles Elliott's notorious Jury Notification was 
published and the whole country was convulsed by the 
threatened abrogation of a valued, vesbed right. Bengal 
naturally led a violent agitation; butthe country was no 
longer a congeries of disintegrated peoples and the 
Congress at once took up the question in right earnest. 
-A Jury Commission was appointed and in the end not 
only was the obnoxious notification withdrawn, but a. 


disfcincfc advance was secured towards a furfcher, though* 
limited, extension of that system. 

Another brilliant session of the Congress was that- 
held in 1893 in the historic capital of the Punjab. 
Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji, M. P., who recently returned to 
Parliament by the British constituency of Central 
Finsbury was the first Indian that sat in the British 
House of Commons, was again unanimously elected as 
President of the Congress this year. The tremendous 
ovation which he received from the warm-hearted and 
chivalrous people of the land of the Five Rivers 
resembled more the triumphal entry of a conquering 
hero than a customary ceremonial demonstration : 
and a conquering hero it was who had not only 
opened the gate of the Mother of Parliaments to the^. 
Indian people ; but also came out triumphant with the 
famous Resolution of the House of Commons of the^ 
2nd June on the important question of the Simulta- 
neous Examinations (or the Indian Civil Services. 
Mr. Dadabhai also brought with him the welcome- 
messages of good will and sympathy not only from hia> 
own constituency, but also from the Irish Labour and 
Radical members of the House, who through their 
accredited mouthpiece? Mr. Davitt, charged him on 
the eve of his departure from England, — ''Don't for* 
get to tell your colleagues at the Congress that every one of 
Ireland's Home Rule members in Parliament is at your 
bach in the cause of the Indian People.*' A session of 
the Congress held under such happy auspices and undec 
the leadership of such a man was bound to be a most. 


•unqualified success both in form as well as in subsfcance. 
9[t wa? afc this session that the question of the 
Medical Service, of which the late lamented Dr. 
Sahadurji of Bombay was such a staunch advocate, 
received the earliest attention of the national assembly, 
and the important question of the Separation of Judicial 
and Executive functions assumed a practical shape 
in the appointment of a Committee of the Congress 
to formulate definite schemes for the proposed reform. 
But perhaps the highest interest evoked at this session 
was embodied in the protests which the Congress entered 
against the closing of the Indian mints to private 
coinage of silver, whereby the people were subject- 
ed Go a further indirect taxation and some of the 
most important trades and industries in the country 
seriously disorganized and injured, as also against a 
system of State-regulated immorality practised in the 
Indian cantonments which had been dragged into light 
•by a Purity Society in England specially under the 
indefatigable exertions of Mrs. Josephine Butler, whose 
thrilling revelations were at first stoutly repudiated by 
Lord Koberts, then the Commander-in-Chief in India, bufc 
were ultimately fully confirmed by a Departmental Com- 
mittee appointed by the Secretary of State to indepen- 
dently investigate into the matter. It must be said to 
the credit of Lord Roberts that when the odious 
<5harge was proved beyond question, the gallant soldier 
'voluntarily forward to offer his unqualified apology 
ito Mrs. Butler and her colleagues among whom were 
>included two American ladies who were also members 
of the Society and had taken a prominent part in the 


shameful disclosures which, in the words of Mr. D. E. 
Wacha who with his characteristic force of facts and* 
figures moved the resolution, at last " unmasked the 
organized official hypocrisy of those in India who had 
so long successfully misled the British public.'* 

The Madras Congress of 1894 under the presidency 
of Mr. Alfred Webb, M.P., was marked by considerable 
excitement over the questions of two fresh imposts 
, proposed to be laid on the already overburdened Indian 
taxpayer : one was called a countervailing excise duty 
on India^ cotton manufactures evidently introduced 
under pressure from Lancashire ; while the other was 
the levy of an arbitrary penalty in the shape of costs- 
of punitive police forces quartered in disturbed areas 
under an amendment of the Indian Police Act of 
1861. The excise duty has done its best to cripple the 
infant textile industries of Bombay, while the police- 
penalty has ever since fallen heavily on the guilty and' 
the innocent alike and* is most sorely resented by a 
suffering people as being due solely to the incompetency 
of tke ordinary police to preserve peace and order in tbe- 
country. It is felt and regarded by the people as one 
of those avenging thunderbolts, too common in India,, 
■which are visited on the Indian peasant when Jupiter 
himself is in the wrong. 

Another most successful session of the Oongress- 
was that held at Poona in 1895. Having lost her first 
opportunity the capital of the Deccan had to wait for 
ten long years to secure her turn in the yearly expand- 
ing cycle of the gigantic movement. Mr. Surendranatb 
Banerjee, whose name was a signal for popular 


enthusiasm, ^as the President at this session and the 
remarkable address which he delivered extempore for over 
two hours and a half was a masterpiece of eloquence 
combining facts with rhetoric. The country was at this 
time threatened with another reactionary measure of 
far-reaching consequences to the national movement. 
The legal practitioners formed the bulk of the indepen- 
dent educated community, who led public opinion and 
guarded popular rights and privileges in the country. 
Being directly under the authority of the High Courts 
they were comparatively free from the nightmare of 
local official influence, and in 1894 a Bill was intro- 
duced in the Supreme Legislative Council, an the in- 
stance of a bureaucracy which was never shown to devise 
means for striking at the root of the rising. spirit, to 
amend the Legal Practitioners' Act of 1879, by which 
the provincial legal practitioners were sought to be 
completely subordinated to the District Judges nnd the 
Revenue Commissioners. Bengal again led the opposi- 
tion which the other provinces soon joined, and the 
Congress, of 1895 entered a vigorous protest of the 
united country against this mischievous measure. The 
High Courts generally and the High Court at Forfe 
William in particulfir here supported the people and as 
in the case of the Jury Notification so in the case of 
the Legal Practitioner's Bill a threatened danger was 
turned into a signal success. The legal practitioners 
were not only saved from the clutches of the bureaucracy ; 
but the dignity of their position was further enhanced 
by the repeal of the degrading provisions in the exist- 
ing law as regards imprisonment in certain cases of 


professional misconduct;. In 1897 the people were 
rudely apprised of the existence of three riisty but 
deadly weapons in the armoury of Government to 
summarily dispose of the liberty of a British subject. 
The Sirdars Natu brothers were deported by the Bom- 
bay Government under Bombay Eegulation XXV of 
1827 without a trial and without their offence being 
made public, and the Congress of the years entered a 
vigorous protest against the use of an obsolete Regula- 
tion which was expressly intended to meet the circum- 
stances of a time when British power was hardly esta- 
blished in the country and was positively threa»tened 
wich internal commotions of no ordinary magnitude. 
The Congress also urged for the repeal of the three 
cognate measures for the three Presidencies which, like 
the three Gorgon Sisters, had but one eye and one 
object to terrorize the people — the Bengal Regulation 
III of 1818, the Madras Regulation II of 1819 and 
the Bombay Regulation XXV of 1827. Unfortunately 
however a nervous bureaucracy was unwilling to part 
with even the most indefensible of the offensive weapons 
in its possession, and neither the religious nor the 
social reformer, nor the educationist, nor the political 
demagogue has since escaped their ruthless operation ; 
while the barbarous measures are still suspended like 
the proverbial sword of Damocles over the heads of a 
devoted people living in Bribish territories. It was in 
this year also that the initial step was taken towards 
widening the scope of the law of sedition by amending 
Section 121-A of the Indian Penal Code against the 
pledge of the expert political juggler, Sir James Fitz 


Japaes Stephen, and the first foundation laid for the 
suppression of liberty of speech and freedom of the 
Press. The Congress at once raised its voice against 
this dangerous innovation in the law of the land, but 
that voice went altogether unheeded in the rising 
temper of the bureaucracy with what result is now 
well-known to the country. The Congress of 1901 
under the presidency of Mr. D. E. Wacha was re- 
markable for the interest it evoked in the question 
of immigration in Assam and the " melancholy mean- 
ness" to which the Government of India had submitted 
in postponing the very small relief which Sir Henry 
Cotton had fought so hard to grant to the inden- 
tured labourers in the tea-gardens. It was at this 
Congress also that, with a view to meet the deficit of 
the expenses of the Congress organ Lidia and of the 
British Committee in England, the " delegation fee '* 
was raised from Rs. 10- to Rs. 20 with effect from 1902. 
This increase was to no small extent responsible for 
thinner attendance of delegates at some of the subse- 
quent Congresses and continued to be a source of bitter 
complaint until the Bankipur Congress of 1912, when 
it was remitted to its former incidence. 

The Bombay Congress of 1904 under the presi- 
dency of Sir Henry Cotton and the Benares Congress of 
1905 under the leadership of the Hon'ble Mr. Gopal 
Krishna Gokhale were also among the remarkable 
sessions of the National Assembly. The former dealt 
with the reactionary policy of Lord Curzon's adminis- 
tration as evidenced by the Indian Universities Bill, 
the Bengal Partition Scheme and the Official Secrets 


Bill ; while the latter witnessed the first manifestation' 
of the new spirit evoked by the recently established 
Swadeshi movement consequent upon the Partition of 
Bengal, which will be separately dealt with later on. 

It has been already observed that whatever the 
attitude o{ the Anglo-Indian bureaucracy was that 
supreme head of the administration had throughout 
maintained an attitude of perfect neutrality between 
that bureaucracy and the people as represented by the 
Congress. It was, however, reserved only for Lord 
Curzon to thoroughly identify himself with the bureau- 
cracy and to treat the Indian National Congress, as 
iudeed everything Indian, with positive discourtesy. He 
refused to receive a deputation which proposed to wait 
upon His Excellency under the leadership of Sir Henry 
Cotton with the resolutions of the Bombay Congress of 
1904. The refusal though meanly discourteous was 
not altogether unexpected. The Congress of 1904:- 
had not -only entered its protests against the officiali- 
zation of the Universities and the newly hatched 
scheme of the Partition of Bengal, two of the most 
cherished fads of the Indian Kaiser, whose chief 
enemy according to the Times was his own tongue- 
next to his manners ; but it was this time presided* 
over by a man whose pro-Indian tendencies had been^ 
long known to the bureaucracy, a man whose stern 
opposition to any scheme of dismemberment of a pro- 
vince, which he was proud to call the land of his 
adoption for which he earned the sobriquet of the 
" White Babu " from the demoralized members of his 
own service, was pronounced as long ago as 1896 and* 


whom fchQ "Superior Person" had nofc only treacherously 
thrown to the wolves for his benevolent efforts to add 
an eight anna silver piece to the hard lot of legalized 
slavery in the tea gardens of Assam, but had actually 
removed out of his way by effectually barring him from 
the Satrapy of Bengal even at the risk of sacrificing 
another valuable life, and above all a man, whose im- 
mense popularity in the country could by no means 
have been pleasing to the proud Viceroy, was perhaps 
not the man whom his Magnificence could have con- 
sistently with his high dignity and higher insolence 
admitted to his august presence. Sir Henry Cotton, 
however, presided at a huge anti-partition demonstra- 
tion held at the Calcutta Town Hall and then went to 
Assam the closing scene of his distinguished official career 
in India. Such was the demoralisation of the bureaucracy 
that there too he had to encounter a worthy lieutenant 
of a worthy general. His successor Mr. J. B. (after- 
wards Sir Bamfylde) Fuller treated him with such 
gross discourtesy as was utterly repugnant to the 
ordinary rules of hospitality in Eastern countries, and^ 
people were not wanting who actually gave expression 
to a supposition that the Chief Commissioner acted 
either under inspiration, or through intution. But 
Sir Henry had his ample compensation in the unique- 
hearty reception which the people of Assam gave him 
on the occasion to the infinite chagrin and mortification 
of the future hammering Lat, who to avenge a supposed 
insult thus offered by the people completed the triumph 
of his magnificent meanness by ordering the removal 
of a silent portrait which a grateful people had presented 


to the Gowhati College whose name however he was 
unable to efface. In 1902 when Sir Henry Cotton 
left Assam he received such an ovation as had never 
been accorded to any administrator of that planter- 
ridden province, and so great was his popularity in 
Bengal that a whole district town came with a farewell 
address to receive him at a railway terminus on the 
sandy banks of the Ganges where he first touched the 
soil of Bengal on his return journey, while the warm 
reception given to him in the metropolis of the. empire 
was second only to that of the Marquis of Kipon in 
1884. The people had, under the inspiration of the 
Congress, learnt to rise above the frown of official dis- 
pleasure, learnt to respect themselves and learnt to 
honour those to whom honour was justly due. 

But perhaps the most brilliant session of the 
Congress held since the Bradlaugh Congress of 1889 and 
undoubtedly the most stormy session that came to a 
successful termination was that held in Calcutta in 1906 
under the third and last presidency of Mr. Dadabhai 
Naoroji, It was at this session that the long pent-up 
resentment of the people at the apathy and indifference 
of the Government towards popular demands, inten- 
sified by an avowed policy of reaction and retrogres- 
sion along the whole line, burst forth into a blaze 
and the Congress was for the first time threatened with 
SL split which only the strong and revered personality 
of Dadabhai averted for the time being. In this 
Congress the four famous resolutions were passed which 
embodied the spirit of the time and afterwards became 
cat least the ostensible cause of a most regrettable 


schism in the Congrees camp." Ife wag afc fchis Congress 
thafc Mr. Dadabhai in his Presidential Addregs used 
that historic expression siuaraj, which was subsequently 
used as a watchword by a section of the Nationalist 
Party leading ultimately to an ugly development of the 
new situation. These will be noticed in detail later on.. 
Such is the short summary of the strenuous career 
of the national movement during the first twenty-two- 
years of its life. All the twenty-two sessions were 
marked by unflagging zeal and earnestness and by a 
spirit of self-sacrifice which alone could have kept tbe^ 
fire burning in the midst of the frosty atmosphere by 
which its path had been throughout surrounded. The 
abortive session of 1907 opened a new chapter in the 
history of the movement which with its subsequent 
career is reserved for separate treatment. If only a few 
of the sessions have been selected for special reference 
in this report it is simply with a view to direct the 
attention of the young student of Indian politics to 
those landmarks which may serve as a useful guide 
to a careful study of some of the important stages^ 
through which the Congress has passed in its evolution 
of the national life. Among the various subjects, 
embracing nearly all the political issues, material to 
the development of that life, which have received tha 
attention of the Congress during this period, the reform 
and expansion of the Legislative Councils the separa- 
tion of Judicial and Executive functions, simultaneous 
examinations for the Indian Civil services, the reduction 
of Mihtary Expenditure and a fair adjustment of account 
between the Indian and the British Exchequers, the^ 


larger employment; of fcbe children of the aoil in the 
Public Services and the maintenance of strict economy 
in the most costly, if not the most extravagant, 
administration in the world, the reform of the Executive 
Councils of the Governor-General and of the Secretary 
of State by the admission of qualified natives of India 
into them, the position of Indians in the Colonies of 
Great Britian, the expansion and improvement of Edu- 
cation in all its branches, and the economic develop- 
ment of the country as a means to prevent periodical 
visitations of famine, and a fair reduction of the heaviesfc 
of taxations upon the poorest of people in the \vorld have 
been the most important and common to all the Con- 
gresses, although new facts have been adduced and fresh 
lights thrown on almost each of these questions at every 
succeeding session. The many-sided activities of the 
movement, together with the vast amount of thought it 
has given to nearly all the grievances of the people, the 
means which the collective wisdom and patriotism of 
the country have been able to formulate for their remedy 
and above all the path which it has so clearly and defi- 
nitely laid out for che ultimate attainment of the 
salvation of the country, will be found writ large 
in the pages of the Congress records and it will be 
for the future historian to critically analyse and sift them 
for the student of Indian politics. 

The history of the Constitution of the Congress of 
which so much has been made in latter years may also 
be briefly noticed here. It was at the third Congress 
held at Madras in 1887 that a Committee was appoint- 
ed to frame a set of rules for the guidance of the 


Congress. The Committee submitted a set of well-devised 
rules which the Congress from year to year put off for 
the consideration of each succeeding session. In fact 
«ome of the leading members, pointing to the unwritten 
•constitution of some of the most advanced representative 
institutions in the world, vehemently opposed the for- 
\mulabion of a hard-and-fast constitution for the Con- 
gress. In 1898 the matter being closely pressed, the 
Oongress passed a resolution asking the "Standing 
Oongress Committees" appointed by the Second Con- 
gress in 1886 to form " Central Committees" in their 
respective provinces and appointed another Committee 
to consider the Draft Constitution circulated by the 
Reception Committee of Madras. In the following year 
when the policy of procrastination could be carried no 
further, the Congress at last passed eleven good rules 
defining the object of the Congress, though somewhat 
loosely expressed, as being the " promotion by consti- 
tutional means of the interests and the well being of the 
people of the Indian Empire." The other rules provided 
for the establishment of a Committee styled "The 
Indian Congress Committee,'* afterwards known as 
the "All-India Congress Committee*' and the appoint- 
ment of " Provincial Congress Committees" at the 
capitals of the different Provinces. It was at this 
Congress also that the nomination of the Congress 
President as well as the drafting of the Resolutions 
were formally made over to the Indian Congress Com- 
mittee. The maintenance of the British Committee in 
England was also made obligatory on the part of the 
Congress. Then there was a lull until 1906 when the 


rules were further extended and revised. This time* 
the Standing Congress Conamittee was fully organised 
by a fair re-distribution of its members among the 
various provinces, the rule for the selection of the 
President made still more circumscribed and the deci- 
sion of the Standing Congress Committee on the nomina- 
tion of the President-Elect made final to avoid an ugly 
discussion on the subject at any session of -the Congress 
a tendency which had manifested itself at some of the^ 
preceding Congresses. For several years past some 
difficulty had been experienced in forming a properly 
representative Subjects Committee and one of the rules 
now framed not only limited the number of members 
for the Subjects Committee, but also distributed the- 
number fairly among the different provinces. The Con- 
gress broke down in 1907 and the next step taken by 
the Congress was the comprehensive and codified regu-^ 
lations provided by the Allahabad Convention of 1908. 
Mr. Hume was the General Secretary of the Congress 
from its very beginning. It was several times proposed 
to install him once in the Presidential Chair ; but 
the " Father of the Congress" could never be persuaded 
to exchange the sword for the crown and so he con- 
tinued to be its Secretary till his death in July 1912. 
In 1890-91 Pundit Ajudhyanabh and in 1893 Mr. 
Ananda Charlu acted as Joint General Secretaries. 
Mr. Hume left India in 1894, and Mr. D. E. Wacha 
was appointed Joint General Secretary to act for him 
in India from 1895, Mr. Gokhale being appointed 
Additional Secretary from 1903. Since 1912 Mr. D. E. 
Wacba and Mr. G. K. Gokhale were Joint Secretaries. 


Mr. Wacha still holds his appointment, but Mr. Gok- 
hala was succeeded by Mr. Daji Abaji Khare in 1908. 
The birthplace of the Congress has long maintained 
the executive leadership of the organisation ; but it 
has recently been transferred to Madras. In 1889^ 
Messrs. W. C. Bonnerjee, Pherozeshah Mehta and 
Ananda Charlu were appointed Standing Counsel of 
the Congress to advise the Secretary in all matters of 
importance, an arrangement which afterwards ceased to 
be necessary under the subsequent Constitution of the 
Congress. In point of organising spirit evoked by the 
Congress, Bombay again heads the list among all the 
major provinces. While it has been so far possible 
for Bengal and Madras to hold their turn of the Con- 
gress Sessions only in the two capital cities, and for the 
United Provinces in three places, Bombay has held the 
Congress at five different centres within the Presidency 
with equal zeal and enthusiasm. 

Upon a careful examination of this eventful career 
of the Congress movement, it will appear that its one 
object has been the upbuilding of an Indian National life^ 
and to that end it has throughout laboured to generate^ 
forces for the fusion of a heterogeneous population into 
a homogeneous mass and then to direct its weight and 
impetus to operate against the stubborn resistance of 
an impregnable bureaucracy as strong in its organiza- 
tion as it is conservative in its instincts and traditions. 
The various questions, to which the Congress has. 
drawn attention, are all supplementary to that one 
great object, and although they are apparently inde- 
pendent of one another, they form as it were close linka 


in a chain which drawn like a cordon converges to a 
oomoaoD poinfc encircling a common centre. lb is some 
times argued that the Congress might have done better 
by concentrating its attention only to a few important 
points instead of dissipating its energies over an 
immense area. But it is as often overlooked that such 
^ selection is only possible where the contending forces 
are fairly matched, and both sides command a base for 
their respective operations. Here the entire ground 
being in the effective occupation of one party, the other 
side was bound to deliver an attack everywhere to gain 
a footing somewhere. The work of the Congress at the 
outset was more of new creation than of normal develop- 
ment. It had to produce men as well as materials and 
to devise plans for the execution of its uphill work. 
There was not a single ground upon which the people 
could stand on their legs. Every avenue in political 
life was closed against tbem, while the people themselves 
were disintegrated congeries without any clear perception 
of the various disabilibes under which they laboured and 
without any locus standi anywhere in the administration 
of the country to press for their solution. They were 
practically Utilanders in their own native land. Besides, 
where a body suffers from serious complications of a 
number of acute maladies, it is difficult to prescribe or rely 
upon a single specific as a panacea for all the complaints. 
The Congress was therefore, fully justified, at all events 
in its initial stage, to draw attention of both the people 
as well as the Government to all the grievances from 
which the country suffered, and which were its avowed 
object to remedy by constitutional means and methods. 



Twenty Sessions of the Congress were held in per- 
ffect peace and patience supported only by an unswerving 
confidence of the people in the strong sense of British 
justice and the ultimate triumph of British statesman- 
ship of which it was confidently affirmed that if it 
bad blundered in many places, had failed nowhere - 
at the end, although within this sufficiently long 
period the only concession of note obtained was a 
half-hearted measure of nominal reform of the Indian 
Councils under a Parliamentary Statute of 1892 which 
the Government of India took precious good care still 
further to restrict in its application as an experiment. It 
was a reform to which the Congress had attached the 
greatest importance from the very beginning and for 
which it had made no small sacrifices both here as well 
as in England. In 1890 Charles Bradlaugh on behalf of 
the Congress at last introduced in the Commons a 
"Bill for this reform and the Government of the day, 
true to its conservative instinct and tradition, seeing 
that a change was inevitable adroitly wrested away 
the proposed legislation from the hand of a private 
radical member and introduced a Bill of its own which 
was a perfect counterfeit, both in form as well as 
rsubstance. In vain Mr. Gladstone expressed the hope 
;that in its practical operation it might carry some value 
with the people and Lord Cross' so-called reform maasura 


fell flat upon fche country. As regards the other com- 
plaints of the Congress and the people not even a courte- 
ous reply was vouchsafed to any of them. A feeling was 
thus gradually gaining ground in the country, in spite 
of the robust optimism of its leaders, that the Govern- 
ment with all its commissions and committees, as well^ 
as its elaborate minutes, despatches and resolutions, 
was not disposed to make any real concessions to the 
people : that its settled policy was to keep the people 
under perpetual tutelage and govern the country by its 
annual pyrotechnic displays of honours and titles and 
by occasionally throwing, when absolutely necessary, a 
morsel here and a morsel there to the children of the- 
soil in the public services and above all by steadfastly 
clinging to the postilental doctrine of divide-et-empira,. 
The feeling was perhaps somewhat exaggerated and not 
fully justified ; but there it was among a considerable 
section of the people who sincerely believed that the 
authorities were, as a whole, strongly opposed to the 
slightest modification of the vested rights and privileges 
of the bureaucracy upon whose inviolable strength the 
safety of the Empire was supposed to be based and that 
as such they were fully prepared to treat Indian publie 
opinion as voiced by the Congress, as well as the Press^ 
with perfect indifierence if not with absolute disregard 
and contempt. Men were not indeed wanting even in 
high places who decisively snapped their fingers at the- 
suggestion of driving discontent underground. The 
regrettable feeling became further intensified during the 
weak Viceroy alty of Lord Elgin, when the bureaucracy 
attained its highest ascendancy and secured a complete^ 


masfcery over the adminisferafeion. When King Log was 
succeeded by King Stock the position of the Congress 
^became still more critical. No Viceroy ever came out 
to India with brighter prospects of success and left 
it with greater unpopularity than Lord Curzon. The 
retrograde policy which he so vigorously and un- 
reservedly initiated in all directions culminated in a 
series of unpopular measures which successively mark- 
ed the unfortunately extended period of his Viceroyalty. 
The Official Secrets Act, the Indian Universities Act 
and last of all the Partition of Bengal followed in quick 
fiucoession and the wave of popular discontent began to 
surge from one end of the country to the other. He was 
'reported to have actually proposed the appointment of 
a permanent Viceroy for India, and whether he had an 
eye on himself or not it was a most fortunate circums- 
tance both for India as well as England that such an 
•extravagant proposal was not entertainable under the 
British constitution. The effects of the Congress during 
this period were almost paralysed, and the bulk of the 
.people nearly lost all confidence in its propaganda. 

Towards the end of 3905 the Liberals came into 
power with Mr. John Morley as Secretary of State for 
India. The people who had the utmost confidence in 
Mr. Morley's liberalism fondly hoped that with the 
change of government a change would also be perceived 
in the policy of the Indian administration. In this 
they were painfully deceived, and a section of the 
.Nationalist party, as represented in the Congress, feeling 
themselves tired of what they called the '* mendicant 
^policy " of the movement wanted to divert it on new 


lines. This the sober leaders, backed by an overwhelm- 
ing majority in the Congress and the country, stout- 
ly resisted and the result was that the people were- 
divided into two camps, the Moderates and the Extre- 
mists — terms invented by the official organs since 1904, 
but which are used in these pages in no offe»nsive sense. 
The earliest symptom of this difference appeared at 
the Benares Congress of 1905, and the first open rup- 
ture manifested itself in the Calcutta Congress of 1906< 
when a small body of these Extremists finding them- 
selves unable to have their own way rushed out of the 
Pandal leaving, however, no perceptible void in the 
densely packed assembly of over sifexeen hundred 
delegates and five times as many visitors. It was no 
doubt true that the whole country had grown dissatis-"^ 
fied with the stolid indifference and immobility of the- 
Government and that an overwhelming majority of the 
educated community had taken deep offence at th& 
constant flouting of public opinion and the deliberate- 
substitution of a policy of reaction in almost every 
branch of the administration. Moderates and Extre- 
mists alike and with equal emphasis protested against 
the attitude of the Government and with equal firmness 
deprecated an ignominious begging spirit and urged 
the people to take their stand more upon justice than 
upon generosity and upon their own just rights more^ 
than upon concessions of Government. There was 
however this difference, that while the majority of the- 
Nationalist party knew what they were about, the 
minority hardly knew their own mind and in a spirit 
of exasperation lost their balance. At this memor- 


able session held under the third and the last 
distinguished presidency of the Grand Old Man of 
India, the Congress unanimously passed four important 
resolutions which bore unmistakable evidence of the 
spirit of the times, confining itself however within the 
strict limiDs of constitutional agitation and in keeping; 
with its original constitution as well as its past tradi- 
tions. These were Self-Government on the Colonial 
lines, National Education, Swadeshi and Boycott of 
foreign goods. The first had been the avowed object 
of the Congress almost from the very beginning. It 
was now laid down with precision and firmness as the 
ultimate goal of the National Assembly. The second 
resolution was felt astnecessitated by the offioialization 
of the Universities and the threatened curtailment of 
Education under the policy inaugurated by Lord 
Curzon ; the third was deemed imperatively necessary for 
the protection and 'encouragement of the dying indus- 
tries of the country ; while the fourth and the last 
was intended as a protest against the systematic 
flouting of public opinion in the country, as also to 
draw the attention of the British public and Parlia- 
ment to the grievances of the Indian people. The 
first resolution was announced by the Extremist 
press as the Swaraj resolution though the dubious word 
Siuaraj was to be found nowhere in the resolution itself, 
and was used only once by the President in his inaugural 
address, of course, in a perfectly legitimate sense. The 
separatists evidently smarted under a sense of wrong 
and throughout the year that followed kept up an 
agitation through the columns of their papers as well a» 


upon the platforms decrying the Congress and preaching 
the "utter futility" of the Congress propaganda ; although 
what other propagandum there was to present to the 
-country, they were able neither to fornaulate nor to 
indicate. Theirs was apparently a work of destruction 
and not of construction. 

The next Congress was to have been held at 
Nagpur, but some serious local differences arising, the 
All-India Congress Committee had to change the venue 
of the session from Nagpur to Surat which was the 
rival candidate for the honour at the previous session 
of the Congress. Early in November 1907 a rumour 
was circulated by some mischievous or designing people 
that the Twenty-Third Session oi the Congress would 
have nothing to do with the four new resolutions of the 
preceding session and this canard was persistently kept 
-up till the 24th and 25th December when all the dele- 
gates to the Twenty-Third Indian National Congress 
arrived at Surat, although no one, when asked^ was able 
precisely to refer to the source of his information. It 
was evidently like the proverbial story of the ghost 
whom every one had heard of, but none had seen. 
The Extremists under the leadership of that remarkable 
man, Mr. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, encamped themselves at 
a place three miles distant from the Congress camps, and 
many were the rumours afloat that something serious 
was going to happen at this session of the Congress. The 
baseless accusation about the exclusion of the four reso- 
lutions was again repeated ; but it was at once refuted 
i50t only by the verbal assurances of the responsible 
.authorities of the Congress, but also by the subsequenfc 


'productiioD of an agenda paper containing those reso- 
lutions. The oppositionists then laid hold on the 
question of presidentship and urged that Lala Lajpat Eoy 
and not Dr. Rashbehary Ghose should have been nomi- 
nated as president-elect. The patriotic Lala however cut 
the Gordian knot by publicly declining to stand as 
candidate for the presidential chair. Upon this another 
person was mentioned as a probable candidate for the 
post. It seemed rather difficult to ascertain what really 
the motive was in all these manoeuvres ; but people were 
not wanting in the Congress camps who actually believed 
that the speech of Dr. Ghose, the president-elect, had 
somehow leaked out and that the extreme section of the 
Congress party having discovered that there were certain 
caustic observations regarding them and their ideals in 
that speech they were determined at all hazards to pre- 
vent that speech from being delivered at the Congress. 
However that may be, the Congress met on the 26th 
December at about 2-30 p.m,, on account of the sudden 
death of a Sindhi delegate, in the grand pavilion 
-constructed by the Reception Committee in the old 
historic French Garden, which had been converted 
into a pretty little town for the occasion. Full 1,200 
delegates and over 5,000 visitors were assembled in the 
Pandal. Every face was beaming with enthusiasm and 
as every prominent man passed on to the dais he was 
lustily cheered. At last the president-elect entered the 
hall in a procession aud'he received such a tremendous 
ovation that the last shred of doubt and suspicion about 
the success of the session seemed at once to have 
vanished from the hall. No sooner calm was restored a 


whisper was however heard going round a very limited 
block that all was not well and that an untoward 
incident was brewing somewhere ; but not a few among 
the robust optimists 'confidently hoped, that the lowering^ 
cloud would instantly pass away and the session prove 
a brilliant success. The rest of the painful and humili- 
ating episode may, however, be narrated, for merely 
historical purposes, in the words of an impartial observer. 
The following telegraphic report, under date the 26th 
December, from the special correspondent of the States- 
man, appeared in that paper and was reproduced in the 

Pioneer of the 30th idem : — 

The twenty-third National Congress met on Thiirsday after- 
noon in the grand pandal at Surat at a place known as the French 
Garden. The pandal is a large square with seating capacity for 
over 7,000, and the whole place was filled to its utmost capacity. 
Long before the President-elect, the Hon. Dr. Ghose, arrived the 
delegates and spectators had taken up every available seat and 
some of the busy Extremist leaders took occasion to harangue- 
their followers. Mr. Khare, an Extremist leader of Nasik, intimated 
to a group of Mahratta Extremists that the Congress should be 
asked to include the resolutions on boycott, swaraj, and national 
education in the year's programme and if this was not considered 
favourably, Mr. Tilak was to oppose the motion formally voting 
Dr. Ghose to the presidential chair. This announcement was 
received with approval and applause by the Poona Extremists, and 
also elicited approbation from the feeble racks of the Madras Ex- 
tremists. There were appeals made to the excitable spectators by 
irresponsible and mischievous preachers in the pandal, with the 
result that for over an hour before the President's arrival, the 
scene was one of excitement among the Extremists and intenae 
anxiety among the Moderates. 

Meanwhile the leading Congressmen from several parts as 
they arrived were received with ovations. Lala Lajpat Rai's arri- 
val was the occasion for the greatest enthusiasm, demonstrated in 
a most unmistakable manner. He was conducted to the platform 
and took his seat between Dr. Kutherford and Mr. Surendra Nath' 
Banerjee. Sardar Ajit Singh also received some demonstrations. 
The long platform at the western end of the hall was occupied by 
a distinguished gathering of the principal Congressmen and visi- 


tors. There were among those present at the Congress, leaders 
like Sir Pherozeshah Mehta, the Hon. Mr. Gokhale, Sir Balchandra 
Krishna ; merchant princes like ihe Hon. Vithaldass Damodar 
Thake-rsey, Lalubhai Samal Dass, Ibrahim Adamji Peerbhai from 
Bombay ; patriots like Surendra Nath Banerjee and Bhupendra 
Nath Basu from Calcutta ; and Punjab leaders like Lai Harkiseii 
Lai andLajpatRai from Lahore, and the Hon'ble Krishnasami' 
Iyer and Govindaraghava Iyer, N. Subha Rao and others from 
Madras ; also Extremist leaders, Messrs. Tilak and Khaparde. 

Dr. Ghoae arrived, accompanied by Sir Pherozeshah Mehta 
and other members of the Congress executive, and was welcomed 
with loud and prolonged cheering* not unmingled with stray 
shouting of " Shame" from some of the Extremists. 

As soon as Dr. Ghose took his seat the Chairman of the 
Reception Committee (Mr. Thribhuvandas Malvi), delivered his 
address of welcome to the delegates, in the course of which he 
referred to the great historic antecedents of Surat and its sub- 
sequent downfall as a commerical centre, and in consequence, tlie 
rise of Bombay, He also dealt with the good work which the 
Congress had done in the past in the cause of the country, and 
hoped that it would continue its policy of moderation, loyalty, 
firmness and unity. 

This statement roused the fire of the Extremists, who hissed 
and cried " No, no" and otherwise attempted to interrupt him 
whenever they heard him preach moderation. 

When he sat down Dewan Bahadur Ambalal Sakar Lai Desai 
proposed that Dr. Ghose do take the presidential chair, in a short 
speech in which he extolled his patriotic services, and he, too, was 
again interrupted by cries of "No, *o" from' the Extremists. 

Then Mr. Surendranath Banerjee rose to address the assem- 
bly. It was hoped that be would be able to command the audience 
with his powerful voice and compelling eloquence ; but the moment 
he uttered the first word the Extremists were determined to give 
him no chance. The greatest disturbance proceeded from the 
front rows of the Madras and Deccan blocks of delegates which 
were nearest the , platform, and the rowdy section among the 
Extremists made a determined effort to obstruct the proceedings. 
They called loudly for Mr. Tilak and Lajpat Rai, and would have 
none of Mr. Banerjee ; but the Moderates urged him to go on 
and he made repeated attempts to make himself heard, but 
scarcely a word could be heard above the r.oisy clamour of the 
Extremists. They were only about 30, the majority of these 
coming from Madras. At this stage the Chairman of the Recep- 
tion Committee stood up and warned the Extremists that, if they 
kept up like that, the sitting would be impossible, and he would 
be compelled to suspend the Congress. Even he was not heard. 


Mr. Banerjee made another futile attempt aiad was obliged lanally 
to retire, giving rise to great shouts of triumph on the part ot the 

Meanwhile some parleying went on among the leaders and a 
movement in the direction of Messrs. Tilak and Khaparde was 
noticed with a view to persuade them to intervene. This attempt 
was unsuccessful. Either they did not intervene, or only did so 
in an equivocal manner, so that their following could not under- 
stand them. Meanwhile the Bengalis in particular, and the audi- 
ence in general, resented the insult ojSered to the *great Bengali 
leader and orator, and would not hear any one in preference to 
him. Tbe rowdies, however, continued their noisy demonstration 
aud the Chairman was compelled to declare the Congress suspead- 
ed for the day, and the leaders retired. But for long afterwards 
tbe Extremists held possession of the pandal, men of both parties 
crying " Shame" against each other. 

It is obvious that the disturbance during the afternoon was 
the result of a deliberately pre-concerted plan of action on the part 
of the Extremist leaders. These seeing that they and their party 
were in a hopeless minority were determined not to take defeat 
on the industrial resolutions before the Congress and so resolved 
- to make the situation impossible at the outset and wreck the 
Congress, The ostensible pretext of the Extremists in support of 
their conduct is the alleged omission of the Congress authorities 
to include resolutions on boycott, swaraj, and national education, 
which turns out to be absolutely unfounded, A statement 
denying the rumours set afloat by scheming Extremist leaders 
was circulated over the signature of tbe Secretary, but appar- 
ently they were spoiFing for A split, and they have succeeded in 
creating an impasse. 

Telegraphing on the 27th the same correspondent 
added : — 

'' Since last night a manifesto has been issued over the signa- 
tures of about twenty leading Congressmen of all parts of the 
country appealing to the delegates. Tbe manifesto is signed for 
each province by the respective leaders and runs as follows : — 

■ ' Babu Sureudra Nath Banerjee, who was to second the pro- 
position moved by Dewan Bahadur Amba Lai Sakar Lai Desai, 
for the election of Dr. Ghoseas President of the Congress has been 
prevented from speaking against the established practice of the 
Congress and violation of old traditions. The session of Gongrass 
has had to be suspended for the day. If similar obstruction 
continues it might be necessary to close the session of Congress, 
• a situation which is humiliating for all delegates and an event 


which will bring disgrace to the country. It is requested that all 
delegates to the Congress of all shades of opinion will express their 
differences in a proper constitutional manner and it is hoped that 
all will use their influence towards this end." 

The Congress assembled at 1 p. m«, a large number of visitors 
and delegates were present. The proceedings began where they 
were left yesterday by voting Dr. Ghose to the Presidential chair. 
This was supported and declared carried. Dr. Ghose stood up, but 
before his address began Mr. Tilak went up on the platform. The 
audience would not hear him and cried **Shame." Great con- 
fusion then ensued. Mr. Tilak would not leave the platform des- 
pite pressing requests from eminent men, including Dr. Ruther- 
ford. Dr. Ghose then proceeded with his address whereupon Mr. 
Tilak appealed to his followers, who were considerably excited and 
rushed up to the platform and attacked every one with sticks with 
which they were armed. The ladies were removed in safety. Confu- 
sion still reigns supreme. The police came in and made arrests. 
The Magistrate of Surat on the afternoon of the 27th, telegraphed 
to the Government of India that, "Indian National Congress 
meeting to-day became disorderly blows being exchanged. The 
President called on the police to clear the house and the grounds 
which was done. Order now restored. No arrests. No one re- 
ported seriously hurt. No further hurt anticipated." As a matter 
of fact some arrests were made, but the Reception Committee de- 
clining to proceed the prisoners were at once released by the police. 

The foUowiDg official statement was issued on 
the 28th Friday evening by the Hon. Dr. Rash Behari 
Ghose, President, Mr. Tribhuvandas N. Malvi, Chair- 
man of the Reception Committee, and Mr. D. E. Wacha 
and Mr. G. K. Gokhale, Joint General Secretaries of the 
Indian National Congress : — 

" The twenty-third Indian National Congress assembled 
yesterday in the Pavilion erected for it by the Reception Com- 
mittee at Surat at 2-30 P.M. Over sixteen hundred delegates were 
present. The proceedings began with an address from the Chair- 
man of Reception Committee. After the reading of the address 
was over Diwan Bahadur Ambalal Sakerlal proposed that the Hon. 
Dr. Rash Behari Ghose having been nominated by the Reception 
Committee for the office of President under the rules adopted at 
the last session of the Congress, he should take the Presidential 
chair, ks soon as the Dewan Bahadur uttered Dr. Ghose's nan*, 
some voices were heard in the body of the hall shouting **No, no " 


and the shouting waa kept up for some time. The proposer, 
"however, somehow managed to struggle through his speeoh ; and 
the Chairman then called upon Babu Surendranath Banerjee to 
second the proposition. As soon, however, as he began his speech 
— before he had finishod even in his firsi sentence — a small section 
of the delegates began an uproar from their seats with the object 
of preventing Mr. Banerjee from speaking. The Chairman 
repeatedly appealed for order, but no heed was paid. Every time 
~Mr. Banerjee attempted to go on with his speech he was met by 
"disorderly shouts. It was clear that rowdyism had been determin- 
ed upon to bring the proceedings to a standstill, and the whole 
demonscrations seemed lo have been pre-arranged. Finding it 
impossible to enforce order, the Chairman warned the House that 
unless the uproar subsided at once, he would be obliged to suspend 
the sitting of the Congress. The hostile demonstration, however, 
continued and the Chairman at last suspended the sitting for the 

The Congress again met to-day at 1 P.M., due notice of the 
meeting having been sent round. As the President-elect was being 
escorted in procession through the Hall to the platform, an over- 
whelming majority of the delegates present greeted him with a 
most enthusiastic welcome, thereby showing how thoroughly they 
disapproved the organised disorder of yesterday. As this proces- 
sion was entering the Pandal a small slip of paper written in 
pencil and bearing Mr. B. G. Tilak's signature was put by a 
volunteer into the hands of Mr. Malvi, the Chairman of the 
Reception Committee. It was a notice to the Chairman that after 
Mr. Banerjee's speech, seconding the proposition about the 
President was concluded, Mr. Tilak wanted to move " an amend- 
ment for an adjournment of the Congress." The Chairman 
considered a notice of adjournment at that stage to be irregular 
and out of order. The proceedings were then resumed at the point 
at which thay had been interrupted yesterday, and Mr. Surendra- 
nath Banerjee was called upon to conclude his speech. Mr Baner- 
jee having done this, the Chairman called upon Pandit Motilal- 
Nehru of Allahabad to support the motion. The Pandit supported 
it in a brief speech and then the Chairman put the motion to the 
vote. An overwhelming majority of the delegates signified their 
assent by crying "All, all" and a small minority shouted "No, 
no." T*he Chairman thereupon declared the motion carried and 
the Hon. Dr. Ghose was installed in the Presidential chair amidst 
Houd and prolonged applause. While the applause was going on, 
and as Dr. Ghose rose to begin his address, Mr. Tilak came upon 
the platform and stood in front of the President. He urged that 
:as he had given notice of an *' amendment to the Presidential 
-election," he should be permitted to move his amendment. 


Thereupon, it was pointed out co him by Mr. Malvi, the Chairman 
of the Reception Committee that his notice was not for "an amend- 
ment to the Presidential election," but it was for "an adjournment 
of the Congress," which notice he had considered to be irregular 
and out of order at that stage; and that the President having been 
duly installed in the chair no amendment about his election could 
be then moved. Mr. Tilak then turned to the President and began 
arguing with him. Dr. Ghose in his turn, stated how matters stood 
and ruled that this request to move an amendment about the 
election could not be entertained. Mr. Tilak thereupon said, * 'I will 
not submit to this. I will now appeal from the President to the 
delegates." In the meantime an uproar had already been commenced 
by some of his followers, and the President who tried to read his 
address could not be heard even by those who were seated next to 
him. Mr, Tilak with his back to the President, kept shouting that 
he insisted on moving his amendment and he would not allow 
the proceedings to go on. The President repeatedly appealed 
to him to be satisfied with his protest and to resume his seat. 
Mr. Tilak kept on shouting frantically, exclaiming that he would 
not go back to his seat unless he was " bodily removed." This 
persistent defiance of the authority of the chair provoked a hostile 
•demonstration against Mr. Tilak himself and for some time, no- 
thing but loud cries of "Shame, shame" could be heard in the 
Pandal, It had been noticed, that when Mr. Tilak was making his 
way to the platform some of his followers were also trying to 
force themselves through the volunteers to the platform with 
sticks in their hands. All attempts on the President's part either 
to proceed with the reading of his address or to persuade Mr. 
"Tilak to resume his seat having failed, and a general movement 
among Mr. Tilak's followers to. rush the platform with sticks in 
their hands being noticed, the President, for the last time, called 
upon Mr. Tilak to withdraw and formally announced to the 
assembly that he had ruled and he still ruled Mr. Tilak out of order 
and he called upon him to resume his seat. Mr, Tilak refused to 
obey and at this time a shoe hurled from the body of the Hall, 
struck both Sir Pherozeshah Mehta and Mr. Surendranath Baner- 
jee who were sitting side by side. Chairs were also hurled towards 
the platform and it whs seen that Mr. Tilak's followers who were 
brandishing their sticks wildly were trying to rush the platform 
which other delegates were endeavouring to prevent. It should 
be stated here that some of the delegates were so exasperated by 
Mr. Tilak's conduct that they repeatedly asked for permission to 
eject him bodily from the hall ; but this permission was steadily 
refused. The President, finding that the disorder went on growing 
and that he had no other course open to him, declared the session 
of the 23rd Indian National Congress suspended sine die. After the 


lady-delegateg present on the platform had been escorted to the- 
tents outside, the other delegates began with difficulty to disperse,, 
but the disorder, having grown wilder, the Police eventually came 
in and ordered the Hall to be cleared." 

The heavy Deccau shoe which hit; Sir Pherozeshah 
Mehta and Mr. Surendranath Banerjee may be sfcill 
in the possession of the lafefcer and if its fellow could 
be found it might well have been preserved by the^ 
former also, and both might have left them either as a 
trophy or as a memento from their countrymen for their 
lifelong services to the country. On the evening of the 
26th the bulk of the Bengal delegates issued a manifesto 
protesting against the proceedings of the day and the 
insult so gratuitously offered to Mr. Banerjee ; while 
the leading delegates from all the provinces belonging to 
the moderate camp issued an appeal to all the delegates 
imploring them to use their influence to effect a settle- 
ment and avert a catastrophe. But all was in vain ; the 
Congress was broken up. Statements and counter-state- 
ments were subsequently issued by both sides each 
presenting its own view of the case, for a better under-^ 
standing and fair judgment on the merits of which all 
these papers are published in an appendix. 

On the evening of the 27th after the Congress was 
suspended sine die, the leading delegates met and dis- 
cussed the situation, and on the 28th nearly 900 of th& 
delegates in the presence of a large number of visitors,, 
who had been greatly excited over the disorderly pro- 
ceedings of the previous day, again met in the Congress 
pavilion and adopted a manifesto calling upon the 
country to subscribe to an article and revive the 
Congress under convention. A committee was formed 


to frame a well-defined consfeitubion for the Congress 
and ifc was decided thafe this commifctee should meet 
afe Allahabad in April next;. After this a few speeches 
were made by some of the prominent speakers present 
for the satisfaction of the Surat people and with a view 
to alleviate to some extent the grievous disappointment 
a.nd mortification of the Eeception Committee who had 
worked so hard and incurred so much expense for the 
session ; but no business of the Congress was or could 
be transacted and the meeting dispersed in solemn 
silence as on a mournful occasion. 

Thus ended the Twenty-Third Session of tho 
Indian National Congress which had promised to be 
one of the most brilliant sessions of the National As- 
sembly. The Anglo-Indian Press of the time while gene- 
rally deploring the incident could ill-disguise its secret 
satisfaction at the threatened collapse of the national 
movement. One paper used the incident as a most power- 
ful argument, as it thought, for its invincible contentioc, 
that the Indians were un$t for representative institu- 
tions and that if the Indian Legislative Councils wera 
made elective they would soon be converted into so 
many bear-gardens, conveniently forgetting of course 
that even graver incidents not infrequently occurred in 
the British House of Commons and French Chamber of 
Deputies, although these two were the highest exponents 
of democratic evolution in modern European civilization. 
The great Liberal organ of the London Daily News, how- 
ever, with its charcteristic firmness and frankness observed 
that it " hoped that the fiasco at Surat may do good, and 
that the failure of the Moderates was due to the slow 


pace and grudging scope of British reforms," and ifc urged 
the " adoption of a policy of restoring faith in British 
wisdom and justice.'* In closing this lamentable incident 
it should however be remarked, whether it is very material 
or not, that there seemed to have arisen considerable bona- 
fide misapprehension either on the one side or the other as 
regards the actual purport of Mr. Tilak's missing slip to 
the Chairman of the Beception Committee, and that 
however deplorable the action of the rowdies was afid 
however mistaken Mr. Tilak may have been in assuming 
the attitude which he ultimately did assume on the 
platform, it is hardly conceivable that a man of Bal 
<jrangadhar Tilak's position and patriotism could have 
knowingly and willingly associated himself with any plan 
of action calculated to wreck the Congress. Whatever 
may have boon his actual share in the business Mr. 
Tilak has since paid heavier penalties for his courage of 
conviction and undergone severer trials and tribulations 
for his rare freedom of thought and expression, and it is 
very much to be hopud that his services to the country 
will not be lost for ever. 

Agreeably to decision arrived at Surat, over a hundred 
delegates from the different provinces met at Allahabad 
in April 1908, and at two long sittings held in the Town- 
Hall of that city on the 18th and 19fch April, discussed 
and settled a constitution for the Congress and passed a 
set of rules and regulations for its management. The 
object as set forth in the constitution was commonly 
known as the inviolable creed of the Indian National 
Congress to which every member was required uncondi- 


^tionally to subscribe before he could take his seat in the 
-assembly. It may be here remarked that the Bengal dele- 
gates, numbering no less than 38, supported by a few 
-delegates from the other provinces, strongly urged that the 
Eules and Eegulations so passed by the Convention Com- 
mittee should be submitted to a whole house of the 
Congress at the next session. The proposal, however, 
did not recommend itself to the majority of the 

The first Congress under the Convention was held at 
Madras in December 1908 with Dr. Rash Behary Ghose 
•as its president and under the happy auspices of Lord 
Morley's Reform scheme. How sad h is to contemplate 
^that if these reforms had been inaugurated one year earlier 
the deplorable split among the Nationalists, nor the yet 
■more deplorable consequences which have since flowed 
from it, might have happened. Born at Bombay and 
buried at Surat, the Congress attained its resurrection 
at Madras, purged and purified through years of perse- 
cutions, trials and tribulations, it rose from its grave in 
triumph vindicating the truth of its gospel and restor- 
ing public hope and confidence in the ultimate success 
of its mission. It was a red-letter day in the history 
of the country when after twenty-two years of patient 
and persistent knocking, the barred gate was at last 
opened unto the people. Though attended only by 
the conventionists, the Session of 1908 was a most 
-enthusiastic one, at which nearly all the veterans of the 
^Congress were present. The masterly address of the 
learned presid«at enlivened by his forensic skill and 
dSashes of caustic good humour, n:0 less than by its 


manly dignity and incisive arguments, presented a most- 
grapliic account of the origin aud character of the pre- 
vailing unrest which at the time engrossed the attention 
of the GrDvernment and the public. The Madras Con- 
gress of 1908 was recorded as the 23rd Congress, the 
people having like Alexander Selkirk in crossing the 
burning Equator lost a day in their political almanac. 
Although the Bengal proposal was rejected by the Con- 
vention Committee, the Rules and Regulations passed by 
it were formally laid on the table of the Congress of 1908' 
and duly adopted at the Calcutta Congress of 1911, 
whereupon Mr. A. Rasul, than whom a more ardent 
lover of his country's cause was scarcely to be found on 
either side of the Nationalist party, with a few others 
rejoined the Congress. These Rules and Regulations 
with certain amendments were again, submitted to and 
re-affirmed by the Einkipore Congress of 1912 ; but the 
rest of the separatists have still held out although upon 
what reasonable ground it is difficult to appreciate."^' 

In 1909 Lord Morley's reform of the Legislative 
Councils came into operation and the Hon'ble Mr. S. 
P. Sinha was appointed as the first Indian member of 
the Viceroy's Executive Council and the Right Honour- 
able Mr. Ameer Ali as a member of the Privy Council ;: 
but the Congress while fully appreciating these liberal 
measures of reform had the misfortune to enter its 
emphatic protest * against the Council Regulations 
which in a large measure neutralized the effects of 
these wholesome changes. In the following year 

* The NatioDalists have since joined the Congress. 


:Sir William Wedderburn, who came oub for a S03ond 
time as President of the Congress, made a vigorous effort 
for a rapprochement between the Mahomedans and fcha 
other communities so fully represented in the Congress, 
and long and earnest were the debates which fcook place 
in Committees on the Council Regulations' in course of 
which prominent Tvlahomedan leaders frankly admibbed 
the unfair and disintegrating tendencies of the regula- 
tions and the anomalous distinctions introduced by them 
in the composition of the Councils. The Congress of 
1911 witnessed a complete change in the political 
atmosphere of the country. The King personally 
appeared on the scene, modified the Partition of 
.Bengal and sounded the watchword of hope and 
contentment throughout the country. The long-deferred 
policy of conciliation was at last substituted for 
the policy of repression which had been tried for 
seven long years and found wanting. With the dawn 
of the fresh bright morning, the great Mahomedan 
community also awoke to a consciousness of their situa- 
tion, and in 1912 the Moslem League under /the guidance 
of that distinguished and patriotic Mahomedan leader J 
Sir Ibrahim Rahimtullah, openly accepted the Congress 
ideal and the Congress programme for the realization of 
the inter-dependent, inter- woven, and inseparable destinies 
of the diverse communities owing allegiance to a common 
Mother-land. The Congress this year was appropriately 
held under the guidance of another patriotic Mahomedan 
■leader in the new Province of Behar, where thew Hindus 
and Mahomedans had lived for generations in perfect 
^peace, amity and concord, and it laid the foundation 


for the re-union of the two great communities which* 
was materially advanced twelve months later in the* 
rising capital of Guzerat under the presidency of 
Nawab Syed Mahomed of Madras. 

Upon a careful examination of the political situation 
of the country during the last six or seven years it will 
appear that the Surat incident marks a turning point in 
the history of the Indian National Congress. It has 
given a definite shape and form to that movement and- 
marked out a, well-defined course of action for the Indian 
Nationalist. It has also dispelled some of the crudest 
and most fantastic misconceptions with which its aima 
and objects were shrouded at the hands of its oritics-- 
ever since its birth. If it has to some extent thinned 
the ranks of the Nationalists, it has, on the other hand, 
strengthened the movement by laying its foundation 
upon a sure concrete basis and by investing it with the- 
unassailable character of a constitutional organization 
completely divested of all wild fancies and feverish- 
excitements of impatient idealism. Every great move- 
ment has its ups and downs, its successes as well as sit 
reverses. All evolutions in human society are marked 
by a 'continuous struggle between divergent currents 
of thought and action, and a virile people ought only 
to gain and not lose by occasional differences of opinion 
in its rank, when such differences are inspired not 
by any sordid motive, but by a common impulse towards 
its general advancement. In England the political fields 
is held by a number of factions arrayed in hostile camps 
and representing different shades of opinion and interestt 
These divergent forces at times seem to shatter the 


consfcifcufeioD, but in reality they serve only to strengthen it. 
The Tories and the Whigs, the Liberals and the Conserva- 
tives, the Eadicals and the Unionists, and the Labourites 
and the Socialists are all but the diverse manifesta- 
tions of two grand evolutionary forces tending towards 
the maintenance of an equilibrium which is so essen- 
tial to the growth and preservation of the entire system. 
If one of these two main opposing forces were to be 
either destroyed or removed, the other would fly off 
at a tangent leading either to anarchy or despotism. 
No honest differences of opinion in politics can, there- 
fore, be either unwelcome or undesirable, provided 
they are all constructive and not destructive in their 
tendencies and are sincerely prompted by a healthy 
patriotic impulse for the common good of the com- 
munity. If the separatists at Surat had, instead of 
attempting to wreck the Congress, started a counter 
organization with a definite policy and programme, 
they might well have established their position either 
as progressives or conservatives in Indian politics ; 
and if even after the regrettable incident they had 
openly and earnestly 'placed a legitimate scheme 
before the country instead of sulkily retiring to their 
tents and dissociating themselves from all practical 
politics, they would not have been charged with com- 
mitting ** political suicide," and they could have in all 
probability gained and not lost by their opposition. 
Healthy opposition is the highest stimulant of political 
life, and if both parties to a question can honestly carry 
on their propaganda beyond the range of mere destruc- 
tive criticism, the direct result of such contests can only 


tend towards the invigoration of both and the ultimate 
attainment of their common object. 

Upon the Reform of the OouQcils the force of 
reactionary policy was supposed to have spent itself, 
•and it was confidently hoped, that the tide would now 
roll back removing one by one some,.if not all, of the ugly 
stains which that policy had engraved on the adminis- 
tration as well as on the national character, healing the 
wounds it had inflicted upon the public mind and res- 
toring peace and confidence in the future administration 
of the country. But here again the people were doomed 
to considerable disappointment. Lord Morley's reform 
was no doubt a substantial measure of improvement, 
though by an irony of fate the Rules and Regulations 
'framed by the Government in this country considerably 
neutralized its effects and largely frustrated its objects 
by providing watertight compartments for the Councils, 
unfair distribution of seats, differential treatment of 
classes and communities tending towards a disintegra- 
tion of the national units and 'by placing the educated 
community which had fought for the reform under 
considerable disadvantage. People were, therefore, 
not wanting who openly indulged in the belief, that 
when the long discussion over the reform of the Coun- 
cils was nearing its conclusion and a change in the 
constitution could no ^longer be deferred, the bureau- 
cracy at first attempted to divert it by certain fantastic 
proposals for the establishment of Advisory Councils 
of Nobles and Princes to the practical exclusion of the 
People ; but when this idea of creating an irresponsible 
House of Lords without a representative House of 


CommoDS for the Indian admiaistrafcion was afcoufcly 
opposed by the people and a Liberal Government was 
found ill-disposed to repeat a blunder in India which they 
were bentupon rectifying in the constitution at Home,that 
bureaucracy apparently summoned all the resources of 
its ingenuity to devise means for the maintenance of its 
own threatened prestige, for accentuating racial differences 
by dangling the bait of communal representation before 
certain classes and above all for avenging themselves upon 
those who were primarily responsible for these disagree- 
able changes of far-reaching consequences. There was no 
doubt the other side of the shield ; but in their positive 
distrust the people were ill-disposed to turn to it. Lord 
Minto succeeded to a legacy of serious troubles left him 
by his predecessor, and though his administration was 
marked by a series of repressive and retrograde measures, 
it must be admitted that he had to deal with a situation 
of enormous difficulties for which he was hardly respon- 
sible, except for the extreme remedies with which he was 
ill-advised to combat it. The violent dismemberment of 
Bengal and the other reactionary measures of Lord 
Ourzon still rankled in the heart of the people who were 
goaded to desperation under the relentless operation of a 
number of repressive laws, recklessly driving discontent 
underground, when the hydra-headed monster of 
anarchism at last reared its grim head in a country 
where its existence was wholly unknown and unsus- 
pected. The hammering lieutenant, whom the real 
rauthor of this ugly development had left in charge of the 
new province and whose unhappy allusion to his ** two 
wives" disgusted the Hindus and Mahomedans alike, 


weDfc on with fad after fad unfeil Lord Miniio was com- 
pelled fco take him up in hand and send him away bag: 
and baggage fco England. But even Lord Minfco ulti- 
mately succumbed fco the irresistible influence of the 
bureaucracy and in an evil hour lent his sanction to 
fche forging of the most indiscriminate and drastic 
measures for the treatment of the situation. Con- 
ciliation was regarded as a sign of weakness although 
fche fear of being regarded as weak was perhaps a much 
greater weakness, and the situation without being in the^ 
least improved began fco grow from bad fco worse. During, 
this period the Congress was driven to a position very 
nearly between the devil and the deep sea. On fche one 
hand there were fche forces of disorder which very much 
weakened its position and hampered its work, while on 
fche other an unrelenting bureaucracy found ample oppor- 
tunities of attacking it with redoubled violence and fury. 
The Congress, however, went on urging its demands with 
calmness and moderation laying particular stress on the- 
adoption of a policy of conciliation. While strongly 
denouncing lawlessness, it clearly pointed out that 
conciliation and not repression was the true remedy for 
fche situation. But the Government turned a deaf ear 
fco ifcs advice and went on forging one after another a 
series of repressive measures muzzling fche press, closing, 
fche platforms and placing even the colleges and schools 
under surveillance. In an apparent display of ifcs undis- 
puted power and strength fche Government betrayed in 
no small degree the nervousness from which it 
suffered. The plainest suggestions for peace were re- 
garded with suspicion and the most friendly warnings. 


were mistaken for covert threats. In 1910 the vexed 
question of Separation of Judicial and Executive func- 
tions, which was at the root of most of the troubles, was 
taken up for decision and it was indeed understood that 
a despatch was also sent to the Secretary of State- 
with definite proposals on the subject. But again a 
nervou§ bureaucracy stood in the way and taking advan- 
tage of the alleged disturbed state of the country 
succeeded in shelving the measure in the India Office.. 
All measures of progress were stopped, the spirit of 
repression was rampant and even the genius of British 
justice seemed for a time to stand in a state of sus- 
pended animation. The advent of a strong Chief Justice- 
for the High Court of Judicature at Fort William in 
Bengal at this juncture was the only redeeming feature 
of the desperate situation. If Lord Morley has estab- 
lished his claim to the lasting gratitude of India by his 
reform of the Indian Legislative Councils, he will also- 
be long remembered for his most judicious appointment 
of Sir Lawrence Jenkins at the head of the highest 
tribunal in the most disturbed province at this critical 
time. The chartered High Courts in India form the only 
palladium for the protection of the rights and liberties of 
the Indian people and constitute the sole counterpoise ta 
an absolute, autocratic rule in the country. But even 
the High Courts, being only the expounders and not the 
framers of the law, were hardly able to maintain the 
balance in a position where the Legislature was practi- 
cally a machinery in the hands of the executive to decree 
and register the fiats of a bureaucratic administration- 
Thus matters went on from bad to worse until 1911 


when the King, who in a single previous visit bo this 
country appeared to have studied the people far more 
accurately than his responsible officers during the long 
tenure of thoir service, at last personally appeared on 
the scene and with the single stroke of a policy of con- 
ciliation, for which the Congress had so long vainly 
pleaded, dispelled all the figments of sedition^nd dis- 
loyalty and restored peace and order, pouring oil upon 
troubled waters and reviving faith and confidence in 
British justice. 

Henceforth the Congress found itself upon a much 
firmer ground' and in a more secure position. The 
royal message of good-will and confidence which the 
Congress of 1911 received in return for its loyal welcome 
to His Majesty set as it were a royal sanction to its 
perfectly legitimate character and constitution; while 
the outburst of stupendous ovations which spoiataneous- 
ly greeted the royal progress throughout the country 
at once hushed the insensate cry of sedition into 
silence. Fortunately also there was a strong and far- 
sighted statesman at the head of the Indian Government 
at this time. Lord Hardinge, who was primarily res- 
ponsible for the modification of the Partition of Benal, 
firmly took the bull by its horns and impressed upon the 
bureaucracy that despite its long legend of infallibility 
and inviolable prestige, its orthodox practices and tactics 
of mutual admiration and whitewashing must have a 
limit prescribed to them. The firmness with which he 
was understood to have handled the local authorities in 
connection with a serious riot in course of which the 
metropolis of the Empire was disgracefully allowed for 


three days to be in the hands of an organized niob 
before the eyes of the ambassadors of the civilized world, 
and which was supposed to have compelled another 
bureaucrat to retire before his time, and the bold 
magnanimity and keensighted statesmanship with which 
he rectified the bunglings of an incompetent Executive in 
a most regrettable dispute over a mosque in defence of 
which half-a-dozen unarmed people lost their lives, clearly 
marked him as the strongest of Viceroys who had come to 
rule India in recent years ; while the extraordinary forti- 
tude with which he bore a most dastardly attempt on his 
own life, which under another Viceroy since Lord Eipon 
would 'undoubtedly have set in motion the most dras- 
tic of punitive measures, and the calm and self-sacri- 
ficing spirit with which he faced the situation without- 
budging an inch from the declared policy of trust and 
confidence in the people, filled the country with a 
thrill of gratitude and admiration unparalleled in the 
history of British rule in India since the dark days of 
the Mutiny of 1857. 

In higher politics Lord Hardinge's famous despatch 
of August 1911 contained the first recognition of the ^ 
ultimate aim of the Congress and foreshadowed the future 
destiny of India in the evolution of her national existence- 
As a preliminary step towards ths solution of that pro- 
blem, Lord Hardinge took up the thorny question of the 
position of Indians in the colonies of Great Britain. The 
question had engaged the attention of the Congress ever 
since 1894 when delegates from Natal and other South 
African colonies first joined the national assembly and 
explained the barbarous treatment accorded to the 


Indian settlers in South Africa. The Government of 
England, although it referred to the Indian question as 
one of the grounds justifying the Boer War, again relapsed 
into its normal apathy and indifference when that war was 
ended and the Union Government established. The 
Indians in South Africa were not only not allowed the 
ordinary rights of citizenship, but were actually treated as 
helots burdened with disabilities and penalties of the most 
outrageous description, while the colonists themselves 
were free to emigrate to India and enjoy all the rights of 
British citizenship in this country. The question was at 
last brought to a head by a resolution moved by Mr. Gok- 
hale in the Supreme Council and which was accepted by 
the Government of Lord Hardinge restricting Indian 
Emigration to South Africa. But the Union Government, 
in its utter disregard for all consideration of justice and 
fairness, went on forging the most humiliating and exas- 
perating conditions against the Indian settlers whose 
services they could not dispense with, but whose per- 
sonal rights and liberties they would neither recog- 
nise nor respect beyond those of hewers of wood and 
drawers of water. One brave Indian like Hampden at 
last rose against this selfish confederacy of burghers 
whom a conquering nation had in its generosity granted 
an aufconomus Government over a territory four 
times the size of their original country. Mr. Mohandas 
Karamchand Gandhi, assisted by a band of noble-minded 
Englishmen among whom Mr. Polak was the most noted, 
•organized a fierce passive resistance in course of which 
hundreds of men and women with dauntless courage 
^suffered incarceration rather than submit to the indig- 


Tiities of legalised slavery in which even the sacred ties 
of marriage rights were not respected. In this struggle 
Lord Hardinge, as the responsible protector of the 
Indian people, threw the whole weight of bis authority 
with the registers and by his firmness, no less than by 
hi? tactful intervention, in the face of not a little hostile 
■criticism even in England, at last succeeded towards the 
beginning of 1914 in bringing the question of the South 
African imbroglio to a temporary solution and thus 
paving the way to a final adjustment of the Indian 
question in all the British colonies on the basis of per- 
fect reciprocity. It undoubtedly marks an important 
landmark in the evolution of Indian National Life. 


It has already been stated that early in 1885 Mr. 
Hume visited England and in consultation with 
Mr. Reid, Mr. John Bright and other parliamentary 
friends of India arranged for a Congress propaganda in 
Hngland. The first step towards the establishment of 
a Congress organisation in England was taken by Mr. 
Dadabhai Naoroji who volunteered to act as a Congress 
agent before the British public. But nothing import- 
ant was done until 1888 when Mr. W. C. Bonnerjee 
and Mr. Eardley Norton joined Mr. Dadabhai and 
succeeded in enlisting the sympathies of the great labour 
leader, Mr. Charles Bradlaugh, who witk the consent 


of his constituency of Northampton openly assumed 
the title of *' Member for India.'* A British Commit- 
tee of the Indian National Congress was established in 
July, 1889, and it was confirmed by the Congress of 
that year held at Bombay which voted Es. 45,000 for 
its maintenance. Now the chief difficulty in the suc- 
cessful working of the Committee lay in the Council of 
the Secretary of State which, composed mainly of 
the veterans of the Indian Civil Service, always present- 
ed a roseate view of Indian affairs in the House of 
Commons and thus prevented the British Committee 
from obtaining a fair hearing either in the House 
or from the British public. This led to the organ- 
isation of an Indian Parliamentary Committee in 1893 
chiefly through the exertions of Sir William Wedderburn 
and Mr. W. S. Caine both of whom were members 
of Parliament at the time. The apathy and indiffer- 
ence of the authorities in India who had not evinced 
the slightest inclination within a period of nine years 
towards meeting even in a small degree the crying 
demands of the people, or for removing any of their 
long-standing grievances, fully convinced the leaders 
of the movement that there was no hope of success in 
India unless pressure could be brought to bear upon the 
Indian Government by the British public and the 
British Parliament. Mr, Hume accordingly finally 
left India in 1894 and threw himself heart and soul 
into the working of the British Committee of the Con- 
gress and the India Parliamentary Committee in the 
House of Commons. Towards the close of the session 
DO less than 154 members of the House joined the Indian 


Parliamentary Committee and for a time the star of 
India seemed to be in the ascendant. The result was at 
once manifest. With the support of this formidable 
array of members, among whom were included men 
like Messrs. Jacob Bright, W.S. Caine, John Ellis,. 
W. A. Hunter, Swift MacNeil, Herbert Paul, C. E. 
Schwann, Herbert Eoberts, E. T. Reid, Samuel Smith, 
Sir Wilfred Lawson, Sir William Wedderburn and many 
other friends of India, the British Committee of the 
Congress was able in 1894 to address Sir Henry Fowler,, 
then Secretary of State for India, pressing for a search- 
ing enquiry into Mr. Westland's Budgets under the weak 
Vieeroyalty of Lord Elgin. This led to the famous debate 
in Parliament which resulted in Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji's 
motion for a Parliamentary Enquiry and eventually 
obliged Sir Henry Fowler to appoint a Royal Com- 
mission, known as the Welby Commission on Indian 
Expenditure. Then for nearly nine years the Conservatives' 
were in power and the Indian Parliamentary Party 
gradually thinned away. At the General Election of 
1906, the Liberals again came into power and Sir 
William Wedderburn, who has been the most steadfast 
moving spirit of the Congress movement in England, 
lost no time in resuscitating the Indian Parliamentary 
Committee under the leadership of Mr. Leonard (after- 
wards Lord) Courtney. Nearly 200 members of the 
House joined the Committee, and among the new 
members there were distinguished men and sincere friends 
of India like Sir Henry Cotton, Sir Charles Dike, 
Dr. Rutherford, Mr. Ramsay Macdonald and many 
others. The invaluable services which they rendered 


particularly at a most trying and troublous situation are 
ail recorded in the Parlianaentary proceedings of the 
period and are well-known to the Indian public. Though 
the Liberals are still in power, the Indian Parliamentary 
Party gradually became very much weakened by the 
retirement from the House of devoted and ardent workers 
like Sir Henry Cotton, Sir William Wedderburn and 
Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji, and by the death of powerful 
friends like Charles Bradlaugh, W. S, Caine, Schwann, 
John Bright, Sir Charles Dike and Lord Ripon, and has 
now practically ceased to exist. 

In England no reform, whether social, economic or 
political, can be achieved without the aid of the Press 
which has thus come to be recognised, along with the 
two Houses of Parliament, the Church and the Sove- 
reign, as the Fifth Power of the State. In the earlier 
stages of the Congrees the British public were found 
densely ignorant of the real state of things in India, 
while the natural pride, so common even in individuals, 
which makes people loath to believe in their own short- 
comings, often prevented even enlightened Englishmen 
from easily crediting any story of injustice or wrong 
perpetrated by their accredited agents ten thousand 
miles away and who were besides invariably supported by 
the minister in charge with a council mostly composed 
of retired Anglo-Indian fossils whom it may be no disres- 
pect t© describe as King Arthur's Knights of the Round 
Table. An incident fully illustrating this ignorance, 
apathy and indifference of the ordinary British public 
was not long ago quoted in an English paper. Two 
average Englishmen, says the paper, were one day travel- 


^ing in a railway carriage. It; was fehe day following the 
■death of Lord Northbrook, late Viceroy and Qovernor- 
><5eneral of India. One of them looking through the 
news columns of. the paper in his hand quietly asked, 
** Who is this feller Lord Northbrook that snipped off 
yesterday?" ** Who knows," replied his equally indifferent 
companion, " may be some relation of Lord Cromer/' 
Whether Lord Northbrook was a relation of Lord Cro- 
>mer, or Lord Cromer was a relation of Lard Northbrook, 
-the pathetic humour of this simple incident was quite 
characteristic of the pi-evailing temper and attitude of 
the British public in general towards Indian affairs. 
To acquaint that public, who are the virtual makers of 
the House of Commons and of the Ministers of the 
Crown, with the actual state and condition of 
Indian administration was the first and foremost duty 
of the national party in this country. It was early 
recognised that the battle of India must be fought, 
if it has to be fought, on British soil, and in that fight 
the British Press must be our ally to guide and direct 
the operations if not actually to deliver the frontal 
attack. The journal India was accordingly started 
by the British Committee in 1890 for a correct and 
faithful statement of India's complaints and with a view 
to popularise Indian thoughts and aspirations in England, 
as also to interest the British public generally on Indian 
questions. It was at first conducted by Mr. William 
Digby and is now edited by Mr. H. E. A, Cotton, that 
worthy son of a worthy father who ever since his return 
home has been closely following in the footsteps of his 
illustrious parents in watching and serving the interests^ 


of India. The Cotfcons have for three generations- 
steadfastly served India and loved her devotedly, as 
only few Englishmen have done, through good report 
and evil report and often at no saiall personal sacrifioe. 
Ig is a great pity that so few people in this country 
have even now fully realised the importance and 
necessity of maintaining the British Committee and the 
journal India in an efficient condition. True it is 
that a lot of money has been spent upon them and 
there may or may not be any just ground for the dis- 
appointment felt in some quarters at the present work- 
ing of these agencies. But it was clearly understood 
at the very outset that it was an uphill work and 
the country must ba prepared to make enormous 
sacrifices both in money as well as in patience for 
it. Then it would be quite unfair to deny that both 
the Committee and the paper have advanced the 
Congress cause a good deal in England. It must 
be gratefully acknowledged that all the prominent men 
in the British political field and a large number of 
influential men outside Parliament now know more and 
discuss more seriously about the Indian polity, and 
India is no longer that Terra Incognita, that region of 
romance and " barbaric gold," which it used to be even 
fifty years ago ; nor is England so profoundly apathetic 
to-day towards the Indian administration as she was 
even twenty years before. India has now become an 
important factor in the policy of the Imperial Govern- 
ment, and she looms very much larger in the eyes of 
British statesmen on either side of both the Houses. 
Jndian grievances, which sometimes fail to attract the' 


-attention even of the local administrations, do now go 
seldom unnoticed in the House of Commons. An act of 
oppression in a tea-garden, a gross insult offered to an 
Indian gentleman in a railway carriage, the mal-prac- 
tices of the police and the bunglings of the Executive, 
though these scarcely find a remedy, now all find 
their way into Parliament, and indirectly exercise a 
chastening influence upon the Indian administration. 
The questions of the separation of Judicial from Execu- 
tive functions, of simultaneous examinations for the 
^Civil Services, of the expansion of the Councils and of 
the admission of the children of the soil into the ad- 
ministration of the country, as well as the other 
reforms formulated by the Congress, are now all nearly 
as familiar to the enlightened British public as they are 
in this country. India now finds greater notice in the 
British Press and there is now a marked disposition on 
the part at least of the thinking portion of the British 
public to know more of the country which really con- 
stitutes the British Empire. All this has been the 
work of the British Committee and its organ India. 

After years of stress and storm the tide seems to 
have at last set in for India, and it would be not only 
deplorable, but simply disastrous, if Indians should at 
this opportune moment give up their oars and cry out 
in despair, that they have worked at them hard and 
long and can now work no more. If they give up now 
the agencies which have been established at such im- 
mense sacrifice, they simply lose the money they have 
spent as well as the opportunities which they have 
created. Even in ordinary life no substantial business 


can be carried on wifchoufc suitable and pro- 
perly equipped agencies ab all important centres and; 
particularly without necessary advertisements and 
reliable quotations of its principal market. There may 
be occasional lapses and failures of such agencies ; but- 
no prudent man can dispense with them unless he means 
to close his business and go into voluntary liquidation. 
The Moslem League is quite a recent case in point. If' 
it had not its Loudon Branch, the Mahomedan commu- 
nity in India could hardly have made one-tenth of the 
progress it has made during the last few years. If the' 
British Committee of the Congress is no longer as active 
as it used to be at one time, the true remedy lies not in 
either abolishing or starving it, but in improving or, if 
necessary, in reconstructing it and galvanising it into- 
fresh life again. These remedial measures may not be 
altogether free from practical difficulties ; but they have 
to be boldly faced, discussed and solved if the labours of 
a generation are not to be thrown away in a fit of vexa- 
tion or distemper. 

People are not wanting who, in their earnest desire- 
to hurry up, simply retard progress. With them the 
work of the Congress in England though a foreign 
agency is practically at an end and other means should' 
be devised to give it a fresh start. It is vaguely urged 
that we must stand on our own legs. Standing on one'& 
own legs is undoubtedly a counsel of perfection, pro- 
vided it is not used as a pretext for sitting altogether 
idle. Besides, until the legs are sufficiently strong it 
would not do to throw away the crutch because it fails 
to help us in running. Noble things are better said^ 


than done, and nothing seems easier than to talk of 
putting in ''fresh blood" in a long-standing publie 
institution ; but it ought to be remembered, that true 
blood, whether fresh or old, is always thicker than water 
and that there can hardly be enough of superfluous 
blood to be gratuitously spared for us in an alien country 
and by an alien people ten thousand miles away. The 
idea of placing the management of the British Com- 
mittee and of the paper India in "Indian hands" 
may be refreshing ; but let us first arrange for the- 
hands and then there will be enough time for arranging 
the management. There was not perhaps an abler or 
more generous " Indian hand*' than Mr. W. C. Bonner- 
jee practically settled in England, or one who has 
more freely sp3nt his blood as well as his purse in the 
Congress cause, and yet he did not feel himself equal to the 
task of directly managing either branch of the agency. 
As to the suggestion made in certain strange quarters for 
managing the Committee or editing the paper Indian 
either from Calcutta or Bombay — well, that is an idea 
which does not strike very forcibly the average Indian 
intellect however tempting to its ambition it may be. 
If the British Committee were to be discarded like an 
opera house that fails to produce fresh sensations every 
night, or the organ India either discontinued or 
supplanted by a " live paper " because it has yet failed 
to fit up an Argonautic expedition in search of the 
*' golden fleece," it is very much to be doubted if the 
Indian Nationalist will ever achieve any more progress 
than present the same texture every day and count his 
time like the faithful Penelope unraveling by nighfe 


what is woven by day. The work of destrucfcion is 
always much easier than the process of construction 
and the people are not wanting who in the name of the 
one contribute simply to the other. It is want of proper 
nourishment more than any organic disease that often 
causes anaemic condition in a system. The Congress 
agencies seem to be all right. Give them sufficient food 
and exercise, or to be more explicit, put sufficient money 
into their pockets, and the necessary blood will come of 


Another means adopted by the Congress for popu- 
larising its propaganda in England and acquainting 
the British public with the wants and wishes of the 
Indian peaple was by sending from time to time depu- 
tations of competent men to England. The earliest of 
such deputations, since the time of Rajah Rammohau 
Roy, was that sent under fche auspices of the Indian 
National Union in 1885. It was composed of three of 
the ablest public men of the time, viz : — Mr. Mono- 
mohan Ghose of Bengal, Mr. Ganesh Narayan Chanda- 
Tarkar of Bombay and Mr. Sivalaya Ramaswami Muda- 
liar of Madras, They formed as it were the advance 
guard of the Congress mission. The first Deputation 
formally appointed by the Congress was in 1889 and it 
was composed of Mr. George Yule, Mr. A. 0. Hume, Mr. 
J. Adam, Mr. Eardley Norfcon, Mr. Pherozeshah Mehta, 
Mr. Surendranath Banerjee, Mr. I^fonomohan Ghose, 
Mr. Sharfuddin, Mr. R. N. Mudholkar and Mr. W. C. 
Bonnerjee. The work done by this deputation was 


dimply invaluable ; for wbile Messrs. Bonnerjee and 
Norton succeeded in thoroughly establishing the 
Congress agency, Mr. Surendranath Banerjee made 
a profound impression upon the mind of the British 
public by his able and eloquent exposition of the Congress 
propaganda. It was on this occasion that Mr. Hume 
saw Mr. Gladstone and urged him to support Mr. Brad- 
laugh's India Bill, when the great Commoner was 
reported to have said, "I wish your father were present 
to-day." Mr. Bradlaugh's Bill forced the Government to 
introduce a Bill of their own- and the historic speech 
which Mr. Gladstone made on the occasion of the 
passing of that Bill is well-known to the public. He 
asked the Government to construe that half-hearted 
measure in a liberal spirit and clearly foreshadowed the 
real reforms that were demanded and which sixteen years 
later were carried out by his friend and biographer. 
The next deputation appointed by the Congress was in 
1890 and it was composed of Messrs. George Yule, 
Pherozeshah Mehta, W. C. Bonnerjee, John Adam, 
Monomohan Ghose, A. O. Hume, Kalicharan Banerjee, 
Dada-bhai Naoroji and D. A. Khare. It should be 
gratefully recorded that Mr. W. C. Bonnerjee and Mr. 
Dadabhai Naoroji, both of whom practically settled 
themselves in England in the service of the country, 
were among the strongest pillars of the movement, as 
they were among its original founders, and neither 
grudged their time, energies or money in the sacred 
cause to which they had consecrated their lives. In 
1889 Mr. D. E. Watcha, Mr. G. K. Gokhale and Mr. 
Surendranath Banerjee were deputed to give evidence 


before the Royal Commission on Expenditure and the- 
remarkable evidence which they gave not only fully 
justiiBed the confidence reposed in them, but also vindi- 
cated the character and weight of the political organiza- 
tion started in India. The next Congress deputation in 
1904 consisted of Mr. G. K Gokhale and Mr. Lajpat 
Rai. Mr. Gokhale was again sent in the following 
year and on both the occasions he made such an im- 
pression as to mark him as one of the foremost politi- 
cians in India. For careful study, lucid marshalling of 
facts and incisive arguments, no less than for his 
unassuming manners and devotion to duty, Mr. Gokhale 
stands out a most prominent figure in the Indian poli- 
tical world. If Mr. Surendranath Banerjee towers head 
and shoulder over his colleagues in his stupendous ener- 
gies and matchless eloquence, Mr. Gokhale* also appears 
to be unsurpassed in his mastery of facts and close rea- 
soning for which Sir Guy Fleetwood Wilson went so far 
as to compare him with Mr. Gladstone. But through a 
strange'irony of fate, for which India is not at all respon- 
sible, neither of th ese trusted leaders of the people has 
yet been found worthy of a place in the bureaucratic 
administration of the country. The last deputation 
sent by the Congress was that authorised by the Karachi 
Congress of 1913. It was composed of Mr, Bhupendra 
Nath Basu (Bengal), Mr. Sarma (Madras), Messrs. 
M. A, Jinnah and N. M. Samarth (Bombay), Messrs. 

* Since these pages were sent to the press Mr. Gokhale haa 
been out ofi in the prime of his life, and both the Government 
and the country have now come equally to mourn the irreparable 


S. Sinha and Mazhar-ul Haque (United Provinces and 
Behar) and Lala Lajpat Rai (Punjab). In one sense it 
was a most unfavourable time for an Indian deputation, 
as the British public were almost distracted over the 
Irish Home Rule Bill introduced in Parliament and which 
obliged the King to make an extraordinary step of 
summoning a conference of all the leading politicians in 
the country ^o avert a civil war with which it was threat- 
ened ; while on the other hand it was a most momentous 
occasion for India when Ijord Crewe introduced in the 
Upper House a Bill to amend the constitution of the 
India Council in Whitehall, The extremely unsatisfac- 
tory composition of that Council was fully discussed by 
the first Congress in 1885 T^Hiich passed a resolution for 
its absolution in the form in which it stood at the time. 
Lord Morley, along with his Reform Scheme, consider- 
ably liberalized the constitution of the India Council by 
an informal admission of two Indian members into its 
composition. Lord Crewe proposed to go a step further 
by giving a statutory sanction to the Indian element- 
of the Council and by providing a system of nomination 
for this element out of a panel of forty to be elected by 
• the various Legislative Councils in India. It was of 
course not a measure of perfection, while its proposal 
for instituting a departmental system of administration 
by the Council was certainly open to grave objection. 
But the Bill contained germs of great potentiaFities and- 
if passed through the Lords might have undergone fur- 
ther improvements in the Commons, and there is an» 
overwhelming body of opinion in this country that there 
was a great tactical blunder committed in allowing Lord- 


<>urzon and others of his school feo be able to lay hold on 
Indian opinion, of whatever character or complexion, as 
an additional weapon of attack in their opposition to 
the proposed legislation. It is to be deeply regretted 
that in this, as in not a few other cases, India has 
inadvertently played into the hands of her shrewd 
adversaries. It is, however, no use crying over split 
milk. Attempts should now be made to ^ have a Bill 
introduced in the Commons at an early oppor- 
tunity to deal with the question. If one thing has 
been made clearer than another by the failure of Lord 
Crewe's Bill it is the fact, that there should be some 
Indian representative in England to work in conjunction 
with the British Committee, to stimulate British sym- 
pathy and to take time by the forelock at every oppor- 
tunity to further the interests of Jndia at the seat of real 
power. Such were the works which ,were at one time 
done by Messrs. Dadabhai Naoroji and W. C. Bonnerjee 
and means should be devised to install at least one such 
Indian representative in London. 



For a long time the claim the Congress to be 

[styled a national movement was strenuously, if 

? not quite seriously, disputed by its critics. Some 

Iv^derisively called it a *' Bengalee Congress,*' although 

the Bengalees had clearly no more hand in it, either 

vin its inception or in its development, than the Parsis, 

THE congress: national movement. 141 

the Maharafefeas, or the Madrasis,] and the Bengalee* 
would have been simply proud fco accept; the doubtful 
conapliment paid to them if only it were the barest 
truth ;jothers, professing to be a little more catholic 
dubbed it as a " Hindu Congress*" as if the Hindus were 
altogether a negligible factor in the country and that 
such a disqualification was sufficient for its disparage- 
ment in the estimation of the public and to discredit 
its weight and importance with the authorities : while- 
the more adroit among these critics denounced it as an 
organization of the "Educated Minority" in the coun- 
try/ ks though it were an established fact, that the re- 
cognized political associaJions in all other civilized 
countries were, as a rule, composed of their illiterate- 
majority and that where such an element failed an 
organization, however . strong in its moral, intellectual 
or material equipment, must stand forfeited of all claims 
to be recognized as a national institution.? The truth,. 
however, seems to be, that early exiled from the healthy 
public life of their own native land, trained in all the 
ways of a dominant race in a subject country and 
nurtured in the traditionary legends of their racial 
superiority, the Anglo-Indian community naturally re- 
ceived a rude shock at the first appearance of the new 
spirit and taxed all the resources of their ingenuity to- 
nip it in the bud. These captions critics, to whom 
history apparently furnished no logic of facts, had the 
catching expression of " microscopic minority " coined 
for them by a high authority, while they themselves 
were not slow to invent a few more smart phrases to 
discredit the movement in this country and prejudice 


.public opioion in England. No abuse was deemed too 
strong and no criticism too severe for the condemnation 
of the new movement whose aims and objects were re- 
garded not only as a threatened invasion of their pres- 
criptive rights and privileges rendered indefeasible by 
long enjoyment, but also as a serious disturbance of the 
established order of things permanently sanctioned by 
-custom, usage and tradition ofithe country. "Dreaming 
idealists," "impotent sedition-mongers," " self-constitut- 
,ed delegates," "disappointed place-seekers," "pretentious 
body of irresponsible agitators," and many other elegant 
phrases of the same description were among the weapons 
offensive and defensive forged* by these critics to dispose 
of the members of the Congress and to discredit the 
movement. But if the movement was really as nothing, 
it is rather difficult to appreciate why so much powder 
and shot were simply wasted for destroying such a ciny 
gnat and why such severe attention was paid to a 
handful of political somnambulists. It was, however, 
not found Dossible to sustain these reckless charges for a 
long timo^ as quite a different verdict was pronounced at 
an early stage both here as well as in England establish- 
ing the claim of the Congress to represent the enlightened 
views of the Indian public without distinction of caste 
or creed, colour or race. It maybe perfectly true, that 
all the communities in the country have not equally 
•distinguished themselves on the Congress platform ; but 
it can hardly be denied that the better minds of every 
vcommunity have been throughout in perfect agreement 
with its aims and objects and have never dissented from 
its programme/^ 


It has already been pointed out, that so far back 
as 1890, when the Congress was but five years old, the 
Government of Lord Lansdowne recognised that the 
Oongress was regarded as representing the advanced 
Liberal Party in India as distinguished from the power- 
iul body of conservative opinion ruling the country, 
8ince»then Lord Morley, Mr. Justin McCarthy, Sir 
William Hunter, Sir Charles Dilke, Lord Randolph Chur- 
chill, Mr. Herbert (now Lord) Gladstone, Sir Eichard 
Garth and many other distinguished and responsible 
authorities have from time to time admitted the charac- 
ter of the Congress as a national assembly fairly repre- 
sentative of the Indian people. Speaking in 1890 Sir 
Charles Dilke said : — 

" Argument upon the matter is to be desired, but not in- 
vectives, and there is so much reason to think that the Congress 
movement really represents the cultivated intelligence of the 
^country that those who ridicule it do harm to the imperial interests 
of Great Britain, bitterly wounding and alienating men who are 
justified in what they do, who do it in reasonable and cautious 
form and who ought to be conciliated by being met half-way." 

There is the testimony of Mr. Herbert Gladstone who 

said that : 

"The national movement in India, which has taken a purely 
constitutional and loyal form and which expresses through the 
Congress the legitimate hopes and requirements of the people, is 
one with which I sincerely sympathise. I should consider it a 
ibigh honour in however small a degree to be associated with it." 

Sir William Hunter, than whom there is hardly a 

more experienced Indian authority, observed : 

" The Indian National Congress is essentially the child of 
British rule, the product of our schools and universities. We had 
created and fostered the aspirations which animated the Congress, 
and it would be both childish and unwise to refuse now to those 
■aspirations both our sympathy and respectful consideration,'* 


Lord Morley, speaking from bis placaia the Housq' 
of Commons as'the responsible minisfcer for India, said: — ' 

" I do not say that I agree with all that the Congress desires; 
hut speaking broadly of what I conceive to be at the bottom of the 
Congress I do not see why any one who takes a cool and steady 
view of Indian Government should be frightened." 

The Bighfc Hon. Sir Richard G&rth, Kt, Chie^ 
Jusfcice of Bengal, writing in 1895, said: — 

,. ,';* It seems to me that so far from being in any way objec- 
tionable, the Congress afiords an open, honest and loyal means 
'of taaking the views and wishes of the most intelligent section of 
the Indian people known to the Government," 

And, above all, Hig Imperial Majesty George V, was 
himself pleased to accord his recognition to the Congress 
by accepting its message of welcome and thanking it for 
its loyal devotion to the Throne on the occasion of his 
auspicious visit to India in 1911. \ It seems unnecessary 
to multiply further evidence in support of the official as 
well as the popular verdict in favour of the claim and 
character of the Congress as a representative institutionJl 
It may simply be added for the satisfaction of those who 
may still continue to be at heart dissatisfied with that 
verdict, on the ostensible ground of the mass of the 
population not being in evidence on the Congress plat- 
form, that the microscopic minority '* in every country,, 
whether in the East or in the West, have always 
represented the telescopic majority, and that, nowhere 
have the inarticulate mass of a people spoken except 
through the mouth of the educated few. Then as 
regards the old, orthodox and favourite argument of the 
Anglo-Indian comoaunity based upon the assumed 
diffe^rences between the classes and the masses it were 

GD litOc2di>aij2_j2L&SO^i/1k? ■■ 

PRRSrD13N-T, 1889 & 1910. 



W 00 




well to remember, that even in the aeventies of th& 
century that has just closed over us John Bright 
had to complain that the Parliament of Great Britain 
was not after all a " transparent mirror of publia 
opinion" and that the Labour party in that Parlia- 
ment representing the masses of England is only oi 
very recent growth and as yet furnishes but a wholly 
inadequate representation of its immense working popu- 
lation. It may be no mere disputatious argument ta 
advance, that if the Mother of Parliaments, which in 
its origin was no more than an assembly of a handful 
of " wise men," and which even in its later developments 
was composed of a hereditary aristocracy and a few 
hundred chosen representatives drawn only from tho^ 
ranks of advanced enlightened communities could 
have constitutionally governed for centuries the destinies- 
of the greatest empire in the world, it would hardly 
be decent to put forward any pretext based upon 
a question of class interest to dispute the represent- 
ative character of an advisory political organization 
without any legal origin or statutory constitution. 
Nobody contends that the Congress is a " transparent 
mirror of public opinion" in India ; but if it ia 
not so transparent as the Parliament of Great Britain,, 
or the Chamber of the French Republic, is it really very 
much more opaque than the Duma of Russia, or even 
the Reichstag of Germany, as far as reflection of public 
opinion is concerned ? If there has been no objection ta 
the National League representing the cause of Ireland 
for more than half-a-century, with one of its four divi- 
sions in open arms against it, the title of the Icdiao 


National Congress, with only one pi its many communi- 
ti6a partially standing aside as neutral and passively 
watching the fight, may not be deemed so extravagant 
as to form a point in a serious discussion on such general 
issues as are involved in this great movement. The Con- 
gress is not even thirty years old, and if within this short 
period it has established its claim to be the mouthpiece 
of the teeming millions of India even in some respects 
and has never done anything to forfeit their tacit confi- 
dence, then nobody need fairly grudge its just and 
legitimate aspiration to be called a National Assembly. 
It is certainly not the essential condition of a 
national institution that every member or even every 
■community of the nation should be actively associated 
with it ; for if it were so, even the most thoroughly 
representative of Parliaments would cease to be a na- 
tional insbitution.r^An institution is quite national if 
it possesses in the main a representative character, 
embodies the national spirit and is guided by aims and 
objects of national advancement. It may sometimes 
fail to be a transparent mirror of public opinion parti- 
cularly where such opinion is in such a nebulous con- 
dition as to be unable to cast a distinct reflection even 
on the most powerful camera ; but it Js always expected 
faithfully to reflect an interest whicb once itS^-^e- 
sented in proper shade and light, at once catches the 
Attention of the public and attracts the national sym- 
pathies and energies towards its attainment. In this 
way national organizations have everywhere preceded 
national awakening in its widest sense, and sometimes 
a single individual gifted with extraordinary vision has 


o'evolufeionized an entire national life, y^ajions are not 
born but naade, and the highe8t evolution of national, 
like individual, life ia attained throu gh a slow and 
'laborious process of organized e^qjcts^ Jud ged bv the 
above test the claim of the Congress to be recog- 
^nized as a national assembly could hardly be dis- 
puted by any but the most perverse critics. If 
Mr. Disraeli, Lord Hartington, Mr. Joseph Chamber- 
lain, Mr. Balfour and other millionaires could represent 
the labouring classes of England, because a percentage 
of them were able to exercise their forced votes in their 
favour, then surely men like Dadabhai Naoroji, W. C. 
Bonnerjee, Pherozeshah Mehta, Surendranath Banerjee, 
Rash Behary Ghose, Kashinath Trimbak Telang, Bud- 
ruddin Tyabjee, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Abdul Rasul, 
Ananda Charlu, Krisbnaswami Iyer, Sirdar Dyal Singh, 
Lajpat Rai, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Muzur-ul-Haque, 
Hasan Imam and many others, men all born of the 
-people, might well have been depended on to voice forth 
more faithfully the wants and wishes of the voiceless 
millions of India than the editors of the Pioneer, the 
Civil and Military Gazette, the Englishman^ the 
Statesman and other birds of passage of nearly the same 
feather, whatever their pretensions may be in the 
position which they occupy in the administration of the 

Among the Indians themselves the Parsis as a 
community were no doubt for a short time wavering 
in their attitude ; but the great personality of Mr. 
Dadabhai Naoroji and the firm attitude of men like Sir 
Pherozeshah Mehta and Mr. Dinshaw Edulji Wacha 


settled the question, and that inoportant community 
bodily cast in their lot with the national movement- 
The Eurasian community, having its stronghold in 
Madras, did not fail to realise its true position during 
the Ilbert Bill controversy and having wisely stood aloof, 
at least in the Southern Presidency, from that controversy 
it heartily joined the new movement under the leadership* 
of Messrs. W. S. White, and W. S. Gantz ; while Captain 
Banon from the Punjab. Mr. Howard, the President of 
the Anglo-Indian and Eurasian Association at Allahabad,. 
Captain Hearsay from Dehra-Dun, Mr. Crowley of the 
firm of Messrs. Crowley & Co., and Mr. George Yule- 
from Bengal with many other Europeans and Eurasians 
of note from time to time joined and strengthened the 
rank and file of the organisation. 

An artificial and mischievous manoeuvre was en- 
gineered by a section of the Anglo-Indian Press which 
with the active support of a shortsighted bureaucracy 
doted on the mean policy of Divide- et-impera and 
captured the great but backward Mahomedan commun- 
ity who were taught the unworthy tactics o^ lying in 
wait for the other communities to draw the chestnuts 
out of the fire, so that they might comfortably mounch 
them without burning their fingers in the fire of ofiicial 
displeasure. At the first Congress in 1885 Mr. Eahim- 
tullah Sayani was the only Mahomedan present, and 
the Anglo-Indian Press of the time complacently re- 
marked that even he did not take any active part in its 
deliberations. But it would appear from the subse- 
quent presidential addresses of both Mr. Budruddin 
Tyabji and Mr. Eahimtullah Sayani that they were- 


• fhearti and soul wifch the movement from the very begin- 

ning. In the Second Congress the number of Mussal- 
man Delegates was 33, while at Madras in 1887 their 
•number rose to 81. At the fourth Congress at Allahabad 
the Mahomedan Delegates numbered 221 out of a total 
of 1,248 Delegates. Thus the interest of that great com- 
munity in the national movement, in spite of the syren 
song of the Anglo Indian press, was steadily and rapidly 
increasing- But since the Allahabad Congress, when the 
attitude of the authorities become more pronounced, the 
Mahomedans began to secede, and their *' approved 
loyalty", which some silly persons on the other side 
irreverently called " oilty ", was turned into a "valuable 
asset" by certain designing people. 

Iti is no doubt true, that in the fifth session of the ^ 
^Congress held at Bombay the number, though not the 
.percentage, of Mahomedan Delegates rose higher than at/ 
the preceding session at Allahabad. There were 254 
Mahomedans out of a total of 1,889 Delegates. But it 
should be remembered that it was a historic session com- 
monly known as the *' Bradlaugh Congress '* which, as 
has been already pointed out, attracted an unusually 
large number of people, including even officials in secret 
to see and hear the great champion of democracy, and 
that a large majority of these Mahomedan Delegates 
attended from the Bombay Presidency where the 
Mahomedan community, though numerically smaller, 
has been until very recently ever more progressive 
'than in the rest of India. It is however worthy o£ 
vDotice that two of the Mahomedan Delegates at this 


very Congress, one hailing from the Punjab and fche ofeher- 
from the United Provinces noade no secret of their racial 
opposition to the Congress proposal as regards the 
reform of the Legislative Councils. Besides, the remark- 
able dearth of Mahomedan Delegates at all subsequent^ 
sessions of the Congress, until the last sessions held at 
Karachi, conclusively proved that the official reporter of 
1889 was quite premature in his forecast of growing 
Mahomedan interest in the national movement. It is 
doubtless true that advanced Mussalmans like Mr. Abdul 
Kasul in Bengal and Mr, Comuruddin Tyabji in Bombay 
not to speak of stalwarts like Messrs. Budruddin 
Tyabji and RahimtuUah Sayani, never swerved from 
their allegiance to the national cause ; but the bulk of 
the Moslem community were led astray and successful- 
ly kept back for a long time from joining the movement. 
Several unfortunate incidents also contributed towards 
widening the breach between the two main communities- 
in the country, while their separation from a common 
platform served not a little to make the'relation between 
them more and more strained utider the continuous 
fanning of the Anglo-Indian community who scarcely 
made any secret of their policy of playing one against 
the other. But the game has happily been almost played 
out. The intelligent Islamic community, with the rapid' 
growth of education, are gradually awaking to a consci- 
ousness of the ignominious position into which they have 
been led and are steadily pressing forward to cake their 
legitimate place by the side of the other communities,, 
fighting shoulder to shoulder for the attainment of their- 
jcommon destiny. 


The Moslem League, whatever the object; of its 
founders and the attitude of some of its early members 
may have been, has, in the dispensation of an inscrutable 
providence, done for the Mahomedans what the Congress 
had done much earlier for the other communities in the 
country. It has slowly imbued them with the broad 
vision of national interests and inoculated them with 
ideas of common rights and responsibilities, when at the 
last Session of the League they openly embraced the com- 
mon political faith so long preached by the Congress. If 
men like Mazur-ul-Haque, Hassan Imam, Wazir 
Hussain, Ibrahim Rahimatullah, Jinnah, Mahomedali 
and last but not least the present Agah Khan could have 
appeared in the Eighties and joined hands with Messrs. 
Budruddin Tyabji, Rahimatullah Sayaui and Abdul 
Rasul the history of the Indian National Congress might- 
now have been written in an altogether different style. 
But it must be said to the credit of the Mahomedan 
community, that although for a long time they kept 
themselves aloof from the Congress, they never could be 
persuaded to start any active^movement to counteract ita 
progress. The fictitious counter-agitation was kept up- 
only by the selfish Anglo-Indian press at the instance of 
a narrow and nervous bureaucracy in the ostensible- 
name of the Mahomedan community, and there is suffi- 
cient reason to believe that intelligent Mahomedans were 
not wanting who saw through the bluff and thoroughly 
understood in whose interest the agitation was really 
engineered, though from prudential considerations they 
were unable openly to denounce it. The great sage of 
Aligarh, who during his lifetime was the recognized leader 


of the community, did nob fail frankly fco acknowledge 
that; the Hindus and the Mussalmans in India ** were 
like the two eyes of a fair maiden" and that " it was 
impossible to injure the one without affecting the other," 
and, he might well have added, without disfiguring the 
maiden altogether. It is worthy of remark, that the 
Oongress from an early stage took care to safeguard the 
interests of all minorities and with a view to remove all 
possible misapprehension from the minds of the Mussal- 
mans distinctly provided, that when any community in 
the Congress being in the minority should appear to be 
€ven nearly unanimous in opposing any motion such 
motion shall be dropped. Besides, it is an incontrover- 
tible fact that the Congress has up to this time never 
passed a single resolution advocating the interests of any 
particular community, or of the classes against those of 
the masses. On the contrary it has throughout recogniz- 
-ed that the future destiny of the country largely, if not 
«olely, depended upon the harmonious co-operation of 
all the communities and the amelioration of the condition 
of its huge working and agricultural population, and has 
as such persistently urged for educational facilities for 
the backward communities in the country. Education 
18 the only leaven that can leaven the whole lump, and 
the Congress has never failed to realize that as education 
advances the apparently heterogeneous elements in the 
country are bound to coalesce and solidify into a 
homogeneous mass. 

In the meantime, however, in the midst of the 
perennial controversy that raged between a jealous 


bureaucracy and a diaferusfcful public and in spifce of fche 
opposition, calumny and misrepresenfeafcion which never 
ceased feo dog its foofcsfceps, the naovemenfc went on gaining 
strength both in volume and intensity every year. In 
its majestic march it swept away all obstacles presented 
by differences of creed and caste, of language as well as 
of customs, habits and manners, and the process of uni- 
fication went on apace rounding off those local and racial 
angularities which stood in its course and bearing down 
those treacherous shoals and bars which the opposition 
fondly hoped would wreck it one day. It has passed 
through many trials and tribulations and tided over many 
dangers and difficulties which lay in its way. Many 
were the "candid friends" who in season and out of 
season raised their warning voice against what they 
deemed its ** mad career " ; but the collective wisdom of 
a renovated people under the guidance of a higher inspir- 
ation has gone on working in the sacred cause with 
•stout heart and sincere devotion. The acuteness of the 
opposition has now nearly died out ; while with the falsi- 
^cation of the ominous prophecies of the ** birds of evil 
presage " their shrieks are heard growing fainter and 
fainter as the day of the inevitable seems to be approach- 
ing. It is no less an authority than Sir William 
Hunter who has borne his ungrudging- testimony to the 
■fact that '* the Indian National Congress has outlived 
the early period of misrepresentation ; it has shewn that 
it belongs to no single section of the population " ; while 
it may be fairly remarked, that Hindus, Mussalmans, 
Parsis and Christians, all have been proud of the honour 
of occupying the presidential chair of the Congress as the 


highesfe distinction in the gift of the country and its^ 

It is however still argued, that although the Congress 
may be a national assembly it can never hope to attain 
its chimerical object in view — the establishment of an. 
Indian nationality ; for there are said to be four essential 
conditions for the constitution of a nation, in that there 
must be a common race, common government, common 
tongue and a common religion, and that India being a 
congeries of people lacking in all these essential elements 
can never hope to evolve a nationality out of a Babel of 
confusion into which she has been hopelessly plunged 
by centuries of revolutions and changes unparalleled in 
the history of the world. These are all plausible argu- 
ments no doubt ; but not one of them will probably 
stand the test of careful examination in the light of 
modern political evolution of the world. The race 
question, strictly speaking, is more or less of a larger 
or smaller formula of ethnological classification. The 
modern Indians are broadly divided into two races, 
the Hindus and Mussalmans, the former having larger 
and sharper sub-divisions than the latter ; but both 
descended from a common Aryan stock, more agnatic 
in their relation to each other than most of the 
European peoples. The Hindu anthropology indeed 
traces them to one common descent within the legendary 
period of ancient history. However that may be, the 
question is, does this difference in races constitute 
a permanent bar to their so uniting as to constitute a 
political unit or nation ? Without going far back into 
antiquity it may be confidently asked, is there any^ 


nation of modern tiroes which is not composed of distinct 
and different racial units which have been welded 
together by forces other than those of mere ethnology ? 
The Plots and the Scots, the Angles and the Saxons, the 
Celts and the Welsh are all incorporated in the great 
British nation, although they one and all still retain 
distinctive racial characteristics of their own to no small 
extent. In Germany the Teutons and the Slavs, the 
Prussians, the Bavarians and the Silicians and in that 
curious Dual-Monarchy of Austria-Hungary the Germans, 
the Magyars or Hungarians, Czechs, Poles, Slavs, Serbs, 
Croats and Roumanians are all distinct racial units 
consolidated into a national federation of no ordinary 
solidarity and strength. So it is idle to contend that 
racial differences in India can by themselves stand as an 
insuperable difficulty in the way of the Hindus and 
Mussalmans, with an intermediate link of the Parsis 
between them, coalescing and forming a political unit. 
The process has already started and it is only a question 
of time when they will become completely fused into a 
consolidated national organization. 

As regards religion, it must be admitted, that 
although in the early stages of social evolution and 
even down to the end of the middle ages religious faiths 
constituted the strongest cement of national unity, 
a mighty cnange has taken place in modern times all 
over the world, With increased facilities of com- 
munication, both through land and water, and ever 
increasing expansion of trade and commerce a rapid 
diffusion of people throughout the world has taken 
place converting every civilised country into a congeries 


of people, each with distinct habits, manners and 
religious beliefs, The ancient territorial distributions on 
the basis of religious ties have all been broken up and 
with the advancement of science and development of 
materialism a nation has received the connotation more 

• of a political organization than of a religious confeder- 
acy. Freedom of conscience and religious toleration 
have revolutionized every country and every society, 
and different and even divergent faiths no longer count 
against the forces of a national evolution. Even 
education has been secularized throughout the world, 
and the spirit of Ijlartin Luther's reform, which first 
effected in Europe a permanent divorce of Education 

ifrom Religion has permeated the entire civilization of 
the world and considerably weakened, if not complete- 
ly shattered, the influence of the church and clergy of 

• every creed in moulding and shaping the destinies of 
nations. A nation therefore is now more a political 
unit than a religious organization. The differences 

<i between the Saivas and Vaishnavas and SaJctas, or 
for the matter of that between the Hindus and the 
Buddhists, the Jains and the Sikhs are not more 

» marked than those between the Catholics and the Protest- 
ants, tne Methodists and the Greek Ohurch, Then 
are there not Unitarians and Positivists, Free-thinkers 
and Non-conformists side by side with members of the 
Orthodox Churches in every country in Europe and 
America forming integral parts of one, indivisible 
nation ? No man now cares more about the religious 
convictions of his neighbour than of his private character. 
It is now the public life of a people, as reflected in 


public interest and public opinion, combined with a 
singleness of purpose and unity of aims and objects 
which constitutes the national spirit. It is not at all 
suggested that other moral and spiritual qualities do not 
go far to exalt the individual as well as the nation ; but 
these higher attributes are not among the inseparable^ 
accidents of national life. 

Common government and common language no 
doubt form the basis of a national organisation, the one 
furnishing articulate expression of common interests and 
common sentiments and the other translating them into 
action. In India the English language has become 
the lingua franca of the educated community whose 
number is daily increasing and whose ideas, thoughts 
and actions are purveyed to the rest of the population 
lihrough the medium of a number of allied dialects air 
derived from a common source, and it is no more diffi- 
cult for the people of the different provinces to under- 
stand each other than it is for the mass of the Irish, 
Scotch and Welshman to understand the Englishman,. 
A common script for all the Indian languages would 
undoubtedly facilitate, as it has facilitated in the ease 
of Europe, the study of the various dialects in this 
country ; but even if that is not possible the difficulty 
may be solved by introducing some of these languages 
in an interprovincial curriculum of the departments or 
universities at certain stage of the educational system 
of the different provinces. The Bengalee, the Hindus- 
tani, the Mahrattee and the Telugu are the most 
important among the spoken and written languages in the 
country and if these are taught in our schools or colleges 


of all fche provinces the linguisfcic connecfcioD between 
the different races may be satisfactorily established. 

As regards government, the Indian peoples occupy 
a still more favourable position. For the evolution of a 
national life it is absolutely necessary that the entire 
population of a geographical unit, whatever differences 
there may be in their racial, linguistic or religious com- 
position, should be under one and the same rule. 
Where this condition fails there is disintegration even 
among people belonging to the same race, speaking the 
same language and professing the same faith, and each 
integral section under a separate rule forms a distinct 
nation. As has already been said, a nation in the 
modern acceptance of the term is now a political unit 
formed out of community oi^ interest, community of 
laws and community of rights and responsibilities. 
These are all created and conserved under the guidance 
^nd inspiration of a force which is generated by a 
common rule whether it be monarchical, democratic or 
republican in its character. There was a time when 
the Bengalees, the Punjabis and the Mahrattas form- 
ed distinct nations, as the Prussians, the Bavarians and 
the Silicians on the one hand and the Bohemians, 
the Magyars, the Czechs and the Slavs on the other 
did atone and no distant time. But being brought 
under the same rule, subject to the same laws and 
invested with the same rights and responsibilities, 
emanating from the same fountainhead, the Bengalee, 
the Panjabi and the Mahratta are now but different 
factors of one and the same political unit or nation. 
Thus the Parsi or the Mahomedan in India no 


longer owes any fcenaporal allegiance to the Shah 
of Persia or the Sultan of Turkey, nor do they belong 
to the Persian or Turkish nation. They are both in- 
corporated in the body of the vast Indian Nation. 
The Government is the cement of a national organi- 
zation and without such a cement even the most ad- 
vanced countries in the world would fall to pieces 
like a house of cards. It is quite true, that under the 
existing conditions it is simply impossible for India to 
aim at sovereign independence and yet maintain its 
natiionalism ; for no sooner such an attempt is made it 
must stand split up into its racial factors, the cement 
would be gone and the vast fabric of its national orga- 
nization tumble down entirely broken up. There may 
be then a Bengalee, or a Punjabi, or a J^ahratta State, 
but no longer an United-India, or an Indian Nation. 
For the higher evolution of such a nationality the 
Indian National Congress from the very beginning 
set up an ideal on the permanent basis of a great 
confederacy under a common rule such as was 
furnished by the paramount authority of Great Britain. 
The Congress certainly aims at freedom ; but not at 
separation. On the contrary it is the freedom of 
the different members of a body which while they are 
perfectly free to discharge their respective functions 
independently are at the same time dependent upon one 
another for their vital existence as a whole, and which 
in their mutual relation imply no subjection, but enjoin 
•equality and interdependence. It is in this conception 
that lies the true inwardness of ludian nationalism and 
it is this ideal which constitutes the just claim of the 


Indian Nafeional Congress to be styled a national move- 
ment. Lord Hardinge's famous despatch of the 25th 
August 1911 gives a correct expression to the spirit of 
that movement and clearly indicates the only legitimate- 
development of a^ permanent British rule in India. 
However much British diplomacy may turn and twist 
the plain terms of that important document to wriggle 
out of an inevitable situation, it is bound to work out 
its peaceful solution at first in the formation of a confe- 
deracy of autonomous units within the country and at 
the consummation in the evolution of a larger, stronger 
and prouder unit, self-contained, self-adjusted, self- 
reliant, and standing side by side and co-operating with 
the other self-governing limits of the Empire. Such a 
conception miiut no doubt take time to materialize 
itself ; but it is by no means a fantastic dream. Besides, 
the world has always dreamt before its waking and 
evolved its sternest realities out of its wildest dreams. 
But even without indulging in dreams it is permissible 
to read the signs of time which in its onward and 
irresistible march is visibly arraying the moral forces 
of humanity for a thorough revision and re-adjustment 
of the destinies of the world from which India alone 
cannot be excluded. If the Philippinos in the Pacific, 
the Poles in Central Europe, and even the Negroes of 
Liberia have succeeded in evolving their destinies as 
self-governing people, the claim of India for an equal 
partnership in the federation of the British Empire may 
be neither so extravagant, nor so remote and visionary 
as to be altogether beyond the range of practical politics. 





<J3 O 

« s 




<t3 r-» 


;5 Q 




Human nafcure, says Hobbes, is a afcrange admixiiure of 
contrarieties. It is always dissatisfied with the present, 
and while thB 6ternal law of progress iticessantly impels 
it to court the futui'e, it seems never tired of its la- 
mentations for fehie '* good old days " which it has deli- 
berately changed' and which never can return. If such 
inconsistency is only an aberration of human nature in 
general, it is the' marked characteristic of the Indiaii 
temperament. To the Present it can hardly be recon-^ 
ciled until it has vanished into the Past, while its 
feeble attraction for the Future looses all its force even 
as it makes a new approach to the living Present. 
While the robust living nations of the world, believing 
as they do in its perpetual evolution, generally look to 
the past only to receive inspiration for the future, old 
decaying people like the Indians, whose only pride is 
in their past, regard the moral progress of that- 
world as having long passed its meridian and 
as now being on its descending node. They have no 
faith in the world's resurrection until its annihilation 
and as such very little confidence in its future. Centuries 
of revolutions and changes have made nhem sceptical of 
the justice and conscience of a materialistic world, while 
the teachings of a mystic philosophy, which represents 
that world as a delusion, furnish them sufficient. 


consolation for patient submission to " the slings and 
arrows of an outrageous fortune." Like hopeless bank- 
rupts they fondly dote upon the legends of their vanished 
glories and while 'bitterly oomplaining of the present they 
are more inclined to suffer the evils which they know 
than fly to others which they know not. Their 
loyalty and devotion to time-honoured institutions and 
■established order of things make them generally averse 
to a change and naturally dispose them to drift. Their 
<5ontact with Western culture has however gradually 
changed the angle of their vision and from the dream- 
land of their mystic philosophy they are slowly awaken- 
ing to the realities of a living world. The Congress 
working on Western ideas and ideals has been largely 
instrumental in breaking down this inertia and in infus- 
ing a spirit of useful activity in the national character. 
It has dissipated the wildest fancies of a people who, in 
their philosophical contempt for this life, seemed to have 
«.cquired more intimate knowledge of the unknown than 
of the known, more of the next world than of this. It 
has inspired them with a living consciousness which has 
diverted their mind from the dead past to the living 
present and fixed their attention on the coming future 
with hope and confidence. But though the conscious- 
ness has come, the latent poison in the system seems 
not to have entirely lost its deleterious effects. In the 
Indian temperament a moral aversion to fight and a 
habitual love of repose act in the first place as a deter- 
rent to the assumption of an aggressive attitude for the 
assertion of any right, and when force of circumstances 
constrains it to take the defensive, or to seek for a 


change, fchat temperament cannot keep up a long and 
sustained struggle and naturally demands a speedy 
solution. One score and eight years are nothing in the 
life of a nation, and yet within this short period there not few people who seem to have become tired of 
the fight. It is besides a strange feature of the situation, 
that those who have rendered the least active service 
are the most sceptical of success and in their inert 
pessimism despondently, if not derisively, ask what has 
the Congress done for a quarter of a century ? But a 
4ittle reflection would show that the Indian National 
Congress has done more for India in twenty-five years 
than what the National League with all its superior 
advantages did in about fifty years for Ireland. 

Next to the national consciousness which it has 
awakened the first and foremost work done by the 
Congress is the unification of the various and diverse 
races inhabiting this vast country. It has moulded a 
vast heterogeneous population into a homogeneous whole. 
If the Congress had done nothing else, this one achieve- 
ment alone would have justified its existence for twenty- 
five years. A generation ago the stalwart and turbulant 
Punjabi,' the intelligent and sensitive Bengalee, the 
orthodox and exclusive Madrassi, the ardent and astute 
Maharatta, the anglicised Parsi and the cold, calculating 
• Guzerati, were perfect strangers to one other, and if 
they happened to meet anywhere they learnt only to 
■despise each other. Their hereditary tradition was one 
■ of mutual distrust, while their past history was marked 
ooly by internecine feuds, pillage and bloodshed. But 


whafc are they to-day ? They ara now all united by a> 
strong and indissoluble tie of brotherhood, overriding: 
all distinctions of caste and creed, and inspired by 
mutual appreciation and common fellowship. Hatred has 
given place to love and callousness to sympathy. In the 
prophetic words of Dr. Kajendralala Mitter " the scatter- 
ed units of the race have coalesced and coma together." 
The 'geographical expression" has become a political 
entity and the " congeries of people" have come to 
form a nation. The descendants of the Burgis ara now 
among the fastest friends of the Bengalees and many a 
young man now in the Gangetic delta wonder why there 
ever was such a thing as the Maharatta Ditch, or how 
the sweet lullaby with which the Bengalee baby is com- 
posed to sleep was ever invented by the matrons of an 
earlier generation.' A magnetic current has been esta- 
blished from Norbh to South and from Bast to West and 
a common pulsation now vibrates throughout the land. A 
Land Alienation Bill or a Colonization Bill in the Punjab, 
a revision of Land Settlement in Bombay or Madras, a 
territorial redistribution in Bengal and a mosque dispute 
in the United Provinces — now all strike the national 
chord and the whole country resounds in unison, and 
whatever administrative measure injuriously effects one 

* As the Germans are niok-named by the French as Boches, 
so the Maharattas who used to carry on depredations in Bengal 
and levy the chouth were called Burgis by the Bengalees. The 
doggerel to which reference is made may be rendered as follows: — 
*'My baby sleeps ; the neighbours have gone to rest ; but the Burgis 
Jbiave come ; the locusts have destroyed the crop, and whence shall I 
ay^tbe chouthT^ The Burgi at one time was the Bona of India.. , 


'province is now sorely felt; and aufcomafcically resented by 
^the other provinces. India is no longer a menagerie of 
wild and disoordenfc elements and its peoples can now 
hardly be used as game-cocks to one another. They are 
now imbued with a national spirit and are daily growing 
in solidarity and compactness. The Congress has thus 
laid the, first concrete foundation for the colossal work 
of nation-building and the establishment of an united 
Indian federation under the aBgis of the British 


During the last thirty years the national character and 
•characteristics have also undergone a remarkable change. 
As under the breath of the new spirit the popular mind 
has expanded and narrow communal sentiments have 
•broadened into wider visions and conceptions, so the 
national character has also acquired a corresponding hue 
of healthy tone and complexion. Ideas of self-respect, self- 
reliance and self-sacrifice, though not yet fully developed, 
are quite manifest in almost every grade of society and 
in nearly every phase of life ; while greater love of truth, 
courage and straightforwardness, sometimes bordering 
even on impertinence, are among the notable traits in 
the character of the educated young men in the country. 
I'The sense of humiliating dependence even in domestic 
^ relation is fast dying out, while in some places even the 
time-honoured corporate character of the family, the 
special feature of Indian social organisation, has become 
f?o much loosened as to be almost threatened with a 
•collapse. Individualism is the most marked characteristic 


of fcbe educated community and whether young or old^ 
they are all animated by a manly desire to think and^ 
act for themselves, although this tendency is too often- 
carried to extravagant excess, on the one hand through 
blind, indiscreet attempts to enforce implicit obedience, 
and on the other hand from inordinate conceit and 
impatience of control. It is in fact in this development 
of their character, even more than in their higher con- 
ceptions of future hopes and aspirations, that the 
educated community as a whole have come into direcfe 
contact and conflict with the notions and traditions of an 
orthodox bureaucracy which, unable to divest itself of 
its long-standing prejudices, starts at every change and 
suspects every fresh development to be a malignant 
growth. A claim for better treatment, a tendency to^ 
resent gratuitous insults and resist forced exactions of 
homage, so long enjoyed as abwabs by a dominant race^ 
and above all a demand for justice and fairness are the 
natural outcome of the education which the people have 
received and the new consciousness to which they have 
awakened. Whether in official or public life there is na 
longer in the country that heavy atmosphere of cringing 
servility which provoked Lord Macaulay's highly colour- 
ed picture of the Indian character towards the middle of 
the last century, and if the noble lord had been living 
to-day he might well have been surprised to find, that 
while the people themselves have so largely shaken off 
the moral weaknesses with which they were so lavishly 
charged, there are those among his own countrymen 
who secretly regret the change and would fain perpetuate- 
in this country the spirit which he so strongly an^ 


eloquently condemned. Ife naay be said with pardon- 
able pride that in uprightness and integrity, in honesty 
of purpose and devotion to duty, in fortitude and patience 
no less than in their intelligence and aptitude for work^ 
Indians in the inferior ranks of the public services, ta 
which their lot is generally confined, fully hold their 
own against Europeans who are sometinaes very much 
their artificial superiors in position, authority and influ- 
ence ; while as regards the larger body of the educated 
public it may be no exaggeration to say, that with all 
their defects and shortcomings, they are on the whole 
now a manlier race imbued with higher ideas of public 
duties and responsibilities in the discharge of which 
their own patriotic impulse supplies the only motive 
power and for the fulfilment of which they neither 
claim nor expect a higher reward than the appreciation 
of their countrymen and the approbation of their own 
conscience. Whether it be a disastrous flood or 
a decimating famine, an awful outbreak of pestilence 
or an overwhelming pressure of a vast religious con- 
course, everywhere they are ready bravely to face 
the situation and make the necessary sacrifice?. Even 
in anarchism, the ugliest development of the pre- 
sent situation, which is regarded in this country not 
simply as a social crime but as a mortal sin, there 
is a spirit of wreckless courage which, if directed in 
proper channels, might have proved a valuable asset- 
towards a higher development of the national life, and 
many a young man like Kanayelal Dutfc might have 
under better guidance and with proper opportunities 
died as martyrs, rather than as murderers, in the service 


of their King and tbeir country.* Ifc is not at all sug- 
gested that this national character is above reproach, or 
has become even properly developed. On the contrary 
it still suffers from many a serious defect which severe 
training and systematic discipline alone can eradicate. 
It lacks that vigour and tenacity, patience, and per- 
severance, and above all that stiffness and elasticity 
which constitute the backbone of a people and make 
human nature proof aj^ainst reverses and despair. 
People still want that confidence in themselves and 
trust in others which respectively form the asset and 
credit of the corporate life of a nation. However un- 
palatable and humiliating the confession may be, if 
we are only true to ourselves, it must be frankly recog- 
nized that one of the darkest spots and weakest points 
in our national character is jealousy. Many years ago 
in course of a private conversation, a European friend, 
who subsequently rose to the position of Commissioner 
•of a division, asked the writer of these pages, — What 
was the distinguishing feature between the Inditi.n and 
European character which made merit rise so slow in 
India and so fast in Europe ? The writer began by 
referring to the superior intelligence, sagacity and 
industry of the European ; but before he could proceed 
further his friend interrupted him saying, that he was 
mistaken and going in a wrong line, as the real expla- 
nation lay in another and in quite a different direction. 

• The present European war has opened such an opportunifcy. 
Indeed the French who are nothing if not original in everything 
have formed regiments of their " criminal heroes " who are giving 
good account of their desperate character and a similar experi- 
ment in this country might prove equally successful* 


The average European, he said, was not more intelligenii 
than the average Indian, while as regards industry he 
had always found to his surprise that the ill-paid 
Indian ministerial officers worked more assiduously 
and with greater devotion than any European officer 
could be expected to work under similar conditions. 
The real answer to his question according to him was 
to be found in the national trait and not in any indi- 
vidual characteristic of the two races. "In a Western 
country," he said, "when a man shows signs of any 
extraordinary talent in any direction the whole com- 
munity rushes in to push him up ; but in India the 
;geueral tendency is to pull him down." Although 
there are other material differences in the circum- 
stances of the two races and much may be said 
against a generalization of this kind, it seems im- 
possible to deny that there is considerable force in 
this observation. The Indian character has no doubt 
attained, as has already been observed, a higher level 
in many directions ; but it can hardly be denied that 
even now public men have more detracters than admir- 
ers and that appreciation of public services, which is 
the most potent incentive to public action, is yet very 
feeble and inactive in this country. If we are really 
anxious to elevate ourselves in the scale of nations we 
must not deceive ourselves by putting the flattering 
unction to our soul. True patriotism does not consist 
either in blind, idolatrous veneration of a dead past, or 
in subtle ingenuity to extract metaphysical secrets out 
of metaphorical aphorisms for the gratification of vanity 
and egotism. A thoughtful writer has somewhere 


observed, thafc "there are natures which can extract 
poison from everything sweet," and it will be found upon- 
close examination, that a spirit of captious criticism 
wanting in due appreciation of merit, whether in a friend 
or an adversary, is a mental disease which in its chronio 
stage works as a slow poison to the understanding a& 
well as to other mental faculties and in the end termin- 
ates fatally to the moral nature also. There are alwaya 
two sides to a question, and a cultivated mind ought 
carefully to weigh the pros and cons before pronouncing 
judgment on it. A well-regulated, disciplined character 
is the first requisite of a national development. Aa 
license is not liberty, so arrogance is not independence. 
Leadership is not a privilege but a responsibility, and one 
must learn to follow before he can aspire to lead a 
community where everybody is ready to command and 
none to obey must be either a Babel, or a Bedlam, or a 


Next in order of importance is perhaps the inau- 
guration of social reform and industrial development to 
both of which the Congress has so largely contributed. 
It will be remembered that at the outset many were the 
''candid friends" who advised the movement to be 
directed towards social and industrial reforms rather than 
towards premature political activities. The members of 
the Congress, however, neither overlooked nor under- 
estimated the importance of these reforms, as they were 
perfectly conscious that in the process of an evolution 
all the three were handmaids to one another, although it 


was equally clear to feheai that with all the diversities of 
EQanners, customs, habits and eveo laws and religions of 
the various races inhabiting such a vast continent, it was 
not possible directly to bring all the people together ex- 
cept upon a political platforno. As the three refornos 
were inter- dependent, moving on a common axle, they 
understood that if a force could be imparted to one of 
the wheels the other two also would automatically move 
with it, •Itjs^a well-known fact, that it was largely the- 
members and the supporters of the Congress who indivi- 
dually and in their respective spheres of influence start- 
ed social and industrial movements which gradually 
spread throughout the country, the Congress itself being 
the centre from which the forces emanated in different 
directional The Social Conference started in 1888 
and the Industrial Conference inaugurated in 1904 
were two important bodies, which, like two satellites 
revolving each on its own axis, have moved round 
the Congress in its annual course and contributed not 
a little towards social and economic advancement of 
the country. The Hon'ble Mahadev Govinda Kanade- 
on the social and the Hon'ble Rao Bahadur R. N. 
Mudholkar on the industrial side are two of the outstand- 
ing figures of the Congress whose services to the cause 
of these reforms must be acknowledged with gratitude-^ 
and respect. The Congress as a huge deliberative body 
cannot, as a matter of course, concern itself with the 
details of these reforms which depend upon different i 
conditions in different provinces, but it cannot fairly bej 
denied, that it has always acted as the pivot of all the] 
public movements and the mainspring of all the activities! 


which are now at work in all directions and throughout 
the country Whether it be the question of sea-voyage 
or of the " depressed classes," whether it is the cause 
of marriage reform or scientific education, the actual 
working bodies may and must be different ; but the 
motive impetus generated and manifested in all these 
directions may easily be traced to one common source — 
the spirit of national consciousness evoked by the 
Congress. It has roused a slumbering people from the 
lethargy of ages and vivified them into new life. The 
Indians have drifted too long ; but they are no longer 
disposed to drift. Conferences, associations and organiza- 
tions have become the order of the day, and whether it 
be literary or historical researches, or scientific studies, 
or the resuscitation of decaying arts and industries, or 
the solution of knotty social problems, everywhere there 
is the manifestation of a new spirit. The restlessness 
and commotion which are observable almost in every 
walk of life, the zeal and earnestness which characterise 
the activities of almost all classes acd communities for 
bettering their btatus and prospects in life and the high 
ideals which animate the people, are all symptoms of 
a mighty evolution that is noiselessly working its way. 
Id the ferment of this evolution some objectionable 
things here and there have no doubt come to the surface, 
but this was unavoidable. It is impossible to extract 
the crystal without bringing the impurities of sugar on 
the surface in the boiling cauldron. (The Congress no 
doubt is primarily a political organisation ; but its social 
and economic aspects cannot also be disputed/ Mr. 
Hume in his celebrated reply to Sir Auckland Colvin 


clearly enunciafced the real aim and objecfc of the move- 
ment. They were, he said, at that early stage of the ins- 
titution, "the regeneration of India on all lines, spiritual,, 
moral, social, industrial and political." "The main body 
of the Congress," he added, **was directed to national 
and political objects upon which the whole country was 
able to stand on a common ground." But, as was 
pointed out, " the social requirements varied according 
to race, caste and creed, so that they had to be dealt by 
separate organizations suited to each province or 
community.*' Thus while the actual working machi- 
neries were different, the electric installation which 
supplied the motive power for all of them was one and 
the same, which led Sir William Wedderburn to poinfe 
out that as a matter of fact ** the workers for political 
progress were the most active friends of social reform," 
and, he might well have added, that they were also among 
the early pioneers of the industrial movement and the 
founders of not a few of the small industries which made 
such marked progress during the last few years. Some of 
these enterprises have no doubt suffered a serious collapse ; 
but these occasional lapses are almost incidental to 
a nascent stage. Children stagger and stumble before 
they acquire a steady use of their limbs. Want of train- 
ing and absence of sound knowledge and experience 
and possibly some lack of moral strength also are at 
the YOotM these failures which, however deplorable in 
ti^emselves, afford no just ground either for alarm or 
despair. The South Sea Bubble in England and the 
Panama enterprise in France were far greater disasters ; 
hut both the British and the French people have long. 


outlived these misadventures. A spirit of enterprise 
once created cannot die ; but fanned by its own wings 
Phoenix-like it is bound to rise out of its own ashes. 

The UQUch-abused Swadeshi movement has a his- 
tory ©f its own. Bombay was earlier in the field of 
industrial development with modern appliances and 
-machineries ; but Bengal and Madras had an indigenous 
textile industry on a more extensive scale which was 
practically extinct under foreign competition. The 
situation was everywhere viewed with grave anxiety, 
though nowhere, except in the Western Presidency, 
any active effort was made to grapple with it until 
a cry for the revival of the indigenous industries was 
'raised in Bengal where the immortal patriotic song of 
Mr. Mon Mohan Bose, the founder of the now defunct 
Swadeshi Mela, is still heard with thrilling interest. 
The necessity for preferential treatment of indigenous 
article was vigorously pressed at some of the earlier 
Provincial Conferences in Bengal, notably at Burdwan 
in 1894, and also on several other occasions where 
ardent Congressmen drew prominent attention to the 
growing poverty and helplessness of the people for want 
of sufficient encouragement of indigenous industries. 
A formal proposal for preferential treatment of home- 
made products was for the first time submitted to the 
'Subjects-Committee of the Congress held at Ahmedabad 
in 1902 ; but owing to a divergence of opinion ^it failed 
to pass through the Committee. In 1905, the people 
of Bengal exasperated by a violent disruption of the 
province adopted a general boycott of all foreign arti- 
•cles. On the 7th of August, a huge and unprecedented 


demonstration was held at the Calcutta Town Hall in 
which at a modest calculation over thirty thousand people 
took part in three different sections, two in the upper 
and lower floors of the historic hall and the other 
and by far the largest section in the spacious open 
maidan in front. So intense was the feeling that the 
spirit of the movement marched like wild fire and the 
contagion spread in no time from Lahore to Tuticorin 
and from Assam to Guzerat. It was generally based 
upon economic grounds ; but it cannot be denied that 
the movement had its origin in Bengal as a protest 
against the Partition. The Congress, while not coun- 
tenancing the boycott, gave formal sanction to the 
Swadeshi in 1906 and enjoined the people to give 
preference to indigenous articles "wherever practicable 
and even at a sacrifice." With all its lapses and 
indiscretions, which are almost inseparable from all 
movements which have thair origin in tremendous 
popular excitement^^^the^Siisiadeshi movement must be 
admitted to have given a great impetus to the develop- 
ment of indigenous industries in this country. That 
development may not yet have been very remarkable ; 
but it is doubtless gratifying that it has revived the 
weaving industry and directed the energies of the 
people into new channels of activity. For soap and 
scent, shoes and trunk, nib and ink, socks and 
vests, pottery and cutlery, as well as various kinds 
of woollen and sflken stuff, the country can now 
well afford to stand, though not in the best style, sub- 
stantially on its own leg ; while the Bengal Chemical 
^nd Pharmaceutical Works started under the initiative 


and guidance of fchafe eminenfc Indian scienfeisfc, Dr. P.C- 
Eoy. have elicited bhe unstinted admiration of even 
those who are disposed to draw a sharp distinction 
between true and false Swadeshi. 

Above all the patriotic labours of Mr. Jamsetji 
Nesservanji Tata have created an epoch in the indus- 
trial regeneration of India. Bombay received her early 
initiation in Industrialism from the American Civil War 
of 1861-65 when her attention was drawn to her 
opportunities in cotton trade. Although Bombay has 
never ceased to complain about the arbitrary and ex- 
acting system of her land settlement under the opera- 
tion of which the fruits of the agricultural labours are pe- 
riodically shorn off like the proverbial sheep to meet the- 
demands of the State, she may yet find sufficient consola- 
tion in the thought that the industrial activities and en- 
terprises of her people may be due in no small measure to 
the depressing conditions imposed in their case upon agri- 
cultural pursuits which appear to have so largely absorbed 
the comparatively indolent population of the permanent- 
ly settled provinces ; while her own people driven from 
the fields to the factories have found ample compensa- 
tion for the precarious doles of nature in the larger boun- 
ties of arts and industries. The first cotton mill in Bombay 
was started in 1855 by Cowasji Nanabhoy Davar who was 
followed by a noble band of equally enterprising indus- 
trialist among whom the names of Koychand PreriiCh^and,. 
Sir Jamsetji Jejeebhoy and Sir Dinshaw Manekji 
Petit are known throughout the country. But the 
greatest and brightest of this galaxy of stars who usher- 
ed in the industrial renaissance of modern India wa* 


perhaps Jamsetji Nasservanji Tata. Full of patriotic 
ideas and sentiments Mr. Tata established in 1886 a 
new cotton mill which he appropriately styled the 
*' Swadeshi Mills." But the greatest work of Mr. Tata 
which will ever enshrine his name in the grateful 
memory of his countrymen is the Scientific Besearcb 
Institute for which he made a princely donation 
of 30 lakhs of rupees and which planned and matured 
during his lifetime was subsequently established, with 
the help and co-operation of the Government of India 
and of Mysore, by his worthy son Sir Dorab Tata at 
Bangalore within the territories of the latter. Mr. Tata's 
Vulcan Steel and Iron Factory recently established at 
Sakchi within the territories of another Indian prince, 
the Maharajah of Morbhunj in Orissa and his Electric 
Installation at Bombay for utilizing the waters of the 
Western Ghauts, are colossal projects which bear testi- 
mony not only to his extraordinary genius and enterprise, 
but also to the vigour and robustness of the industrial 
renaissance which has dawned upon the country with the 
first awakening of its national consciousness. Truly has 
the biographer of Mr. Tata remarked that he " was a 
Swadeshi of Swadeshists long before Swadeshism was 
boomed in Bengal." 

^he Co-operative Movement, i which has made such 
rapid strides during the last few years throughout the 
country and particularly in Bengal? is another evidence 
of the spirit of self-help which has come to animate the 
national character and of the aptitude which the people 
have acquired for the management for their own affairsT^ 
It is indeed a matter of as much regret as of gratificatioir; 


that in all this healthy developments the people had so 
little to count upon the active help and co-operation of 
the State and so largely to depend upon their own 
resources. With the notable exception of the Tata Iron 
Works there appears to be no industrial project in 
which che Government has as yet either taken the 
initiative or generously extended a substantially help- 
ing hand. Whether for training men in scientific 
and industrial education in foreign countries, or 
in starting new industries at home, the people have 
had practically to depend upon their unaided efforts and 
their extremely limited resources ; while the examples 
of Japan and China in the East and of the Philippines 
in the West have served only to tantalize and mortify a 
people proverbially the poorest in the modern civilized 
world. The patriotic efforts of Messrs. Norendra Nath 
Sen, Jogendra Chandra Ghose in Bengal and J. N. Tata 
in Bombay for giving technical education to our young 
men were movements in the right direction ; but for want 
of adequate support and encouragement they practically 
oollapsed after a short but very useful career of existence. 
It may be remembered, that even in the seventies and 
eighties of the last century it was almost a fashion in 
certain quarters to twit the people with their universal 
hankering after services under the State which it was 
truly impossible for any Government to satisfy ; but 
now that the people have realized their mistake and 
turned their attention to industrial and other develop- 
ments, men in authority are not wanting to remind 
them that "India is essentially an agricultural coun- 
try," and that as such their hands should be directed 


to the plough and not to the steana-engine : while a 
responsible member of the Supreme Government, being 
recently driven almost to a corner on the question of 
State aid to some of the crippled industries in the 
couptry, plainly said, thafc India need not care about 
her industrial development when there was England to 
supply all her requirements. What a frank confession 
and a bitter disappointment! If England could have 
supplied all the wtnts of India it would not have been 
possible for Germany to swamp her market. Besides, 
where is the Ordinance of Nature which has made this 
•classification among mankind and provided that some 
people must not learn to govern themselves, but be 
content with being well-governed, and that some coun- 
tries must extract only raw materials from Mother Earth 
leaving others to convert them into more valuable 
(finished articles ? Providence certainly has nowhere 
prescribed these conditions and sanctioned this division 
of labour. True it is that all people are not at all 
times equally trained and equally competent to parti- 
cipate in the blessings of arts and sciences ; but it 
should be the highest aim of a benevolent Government, 
whether foreign or indigenous, to foster and stimulate 
as far as lies in its power the energies and activities of 
the people committed to its care in every right direction 
for the advancement and amelioration of their economic 
condition. Even free and resourceful countries like 
'Germany and Japan have had to count upon state 
-bounties and subsidies for their economic development, 
and India cannot fairly be expected to work out her sal- 
vation through more enquiries, reports and exhibitions. 


The presenti European war has opened a vast field for 
the expansion and development of Indian industries. 
The extensive trades of Germany and Austria have been 
driven out of the Indian market and if prompt measures 
could be tp.ken to replace them by indigenous produc- 
tions, the economic problem of the country might be 
easily solved and at the same time the position of Gov- 
ernment materially strengthened. But the Government, 
seems hardly to realize the importance of this oppor- 
tunity which has arisen as a unique good coming out- 
of a dire evil. The Congress at its last session as well- 
as the Indian public, earnestly pressed the question 
on the attention of Government, nor has the European 
mercantile community altogether failed to express its 
views on the subject. Mr. Ledgard, as Chairman of the* 
Upper InSia Chamber of Commerce, is reported to have- 
pressed at its last annual meeting " the importance of 
vigorous preparations for stepping into Germany's shoe& 
in the matter of trade" and regretted that the "Govern- 
ment had not been able to give any indication of a 
policy of assistance towards industrial enterprise that 
might enable the country to take advantage of the- 
situation." It may, however, be hoped that it is not yet 
too late to indicate that policy, so that the precious- 
opportunity may not be entirely lost. 

Local Self-Government and Eeform of 
Judicial Administration. 

The efforts of the Congress towards the expansion 
of Local Self-Governmenfc and the reform of the Judicial 


Administrafcion have nofc. ho wever, mefc w it h any en- 
<;ouraging success. Nearly thirty years have elapsed 
since Lord Ripon introduced the principle of Self- 
'Government in the administration of the local affairs 
of the people in the ardent hope that it might prove the 
stepping-stone towards their attainment of National 
Self- Government in the higher administration of the 
<50untry. But within this period the institution has 
not advanced one step forward and it is still held in the 
«ame leading string with which it was started, though 
it seems doubtful if in certain directions its tether has 
not been even appreciably shortened. The number 
of the municipal corporations, which are properly 
speaking the really self-governing bodies in the country, 
has undergone no perceptible increase, while their 
powers and privileges have clearly not been enhanced, 
although in not a few cases they have been ruthlessly 
<;urtailed. As regards the larger bodies of District and 
Local Boards, these have been practically converted 
into a department of the District Administration 
directly under the District Officer, and it certainly looks 
sdrange that not a single District has been found 
within the life-time of a generation fib to be entrusted 
with a non-official Chairman for this institution. Times 
without number has the Congress pressed for a provi- 
sional experiment which the law expressly provides, 
and at least one Commissioner of an important division 
in Bengal strongly recommended such a trial. But a 
consideration of the official prestige of the District 
Officer, who must be provided octopus-like as it were 
with a number of tentacles ^to enable him to maintain 


his posifeion and dignity, has apparently overridden all 
claims of justice and fairness, and perhaps it would be no- 
exaggeration to say that the Local Seif-Government Acts 
of the different provinces are, to all intents and pur- 
poses, a misnomer and the institutions themselves have- 
become fossilized without any possibility qf growth of 
development, though they may of course be liable to 
further decay. There can be no reasonable complaint 
against legitimate control. But if the Government ha& 
a responsibility in supervising the workings of these 
popular institutions, it is also not without its cor- 
responding obligation to foster, develop and improve 
them. Control without co-operation is only another 
name for obstruction. It is in the air, that it is in 
the contemplation of Government also to officialize the 
Go-operative Credit Societies which the people have 
evolved and worked out partially to relieve their eco- 
nomic pressure. It is to be hoped that a powerful 
government will not lay itself open to the charge of 
assuming the sponsorship of institutions in whose 
baptism it had little or no hand, and however justly 
responsible it may feel for safeguarding the honesty 
and integrity of these institutions, it may be fully 
expected that nothing will be done either to stunt their 
growth, or to alienate popular sympathies and confidence 
from them. 

As regards the reform of the Judicial Adminis- 
tration, the first principle enunciated by the Congress is 
practically admitted, and it is no longer disputed that 
the administration stands in need of revision ; but here 
also, as in the case of Jjocal Self-Government, th& 


morbid bugbear of official prestige stands in the way. 
The Decentralization Commission simply evaded the 
question ; but the present Public Service Commission 
will have to decide it either one way or the other. 
Various palliativets have been suggested by those who 
are no longer able to defend the existing system, but are 
at the same time unwilling to part with it. But these 
are mere makeshifts which can only defer and not solve 
the question. The question has considerably matured 
itself and the Congress will have to start a fresh campaign 
in the light of the Eoyal Commission's pronouncements- 
to drive the discussion to a satisfactory conclusion. 

Parliamentary Enquiries. 

As has already been observed, the last Parliament- 
ary enquiry into Indian affairs was made in 1854, and 
ever since the transfer of the rule to the Crown 
in 1858 both Parliament as well as the Government^ 
whether Liberal or Conservative, were alike indifferent 
to the Indian administration which was complacently 
left into the hands of a close bureaucracy. The very 
first Congress of 1885 vigorously protested against this 
indifference and pressed for a Royal Commission ta 
enquire into the Indian administration. In 1897 the 
Welby Commission was appointed, and since then there 
have been the Decentralisation Commission in 1902 and 
the Chamberlain Commission and the Islington Com- 
mission which are now carrying on their investigations* 
The Government of India also instituted the Education 
Commission of 1882 and the Police Commission of 1902. 
The results of these Commissions may not have so far 


come up to fehe fullest expectations of the people and may 
have in some cases proved even disappointing to them. 
But they bear undoubted testimony to the growing 
interest felt both in England, as well as in this country, 
in the increasingly important and complicated adminis- 
tration of India. It is in the nature of all bureaucratic 
rules to accord a readier acceptance to retrograde 
suggestions than to progressive recommendations ; but 
the Indian Nationalist need not despair. However 
cautious or dilatory the Government may be giving 
effect to the various wholesome recommendations of these 
Commissions, it can never hope to set them aside. There 
they are among the permanent archives of the Govern- 
ment laying down policies and principles which may be 
carried forward, but upon which it would be difficult, 
if not absolutely impossible, to go back. Stern, neces- 
sary changes may be deferred, but cannot be averted 
when they are pressed by the irresistible force of time 
and circumstance. 

Public Men and Public Spirit. 

The vitality of a nation is gauged by its power of 
producing capable men at all critical stages of its life. 
Mazzini and Garibaldi in Italy, Thiers and Gambetta 
in France, Yungshi-kai and Sun-Yet-Sen in China, Enver 
Bey and Izzat Pasha in Turkey, — all have proved, that 
though passing through the severest ordeal of their 
national existence, neither the Italians nor the French, 
neither the Chinese nor the Turks were among the 
dead nations of the world. The Indian National Con- 
gress, though dealing with a subject race, labouring 


under enormous diflficulties and disabilities, has produced 
a class of self-sacrificing, self-relianfc, resourceful, robust 
and patriotic men some of whom, at all events, 
under more favourable circumstances might well have 
taken their places by the side of some of the foremost 
men in European politics. Their lot might have forbid- 
den them from commanding the applause of the politi- 
cal world and consigned them to the strictures and 
captious criticisms of an orthodox and inflated bureau- 
cracy ; but there are men among them who, if their 
; Sovereign had commanded, might have formed a cabi- 
net or held a portfolio. The most obdurate of pessi- 
mists will probably admit and the most cynical of 
critics acknowledge, that with all their shortcomings 
these men are not altogether unworthy products of 
the modern Indian renaissance which has dawned 
under the aagis of the British rule. They have at all 
events conclusively proved that most of the Indian 
races sciii possess sufficient vitality and moral stamina 
to aspire to a place in the comity of civilised nations in 
the world. The public men whom the Congress has 
produced and the spirit of self-help which it has evoked 
are perhaps among the most valuable working capital of 
the country. 

The nineteen eminent Indians who have so far 
adorned the presidential chair of the Congress will, no 
doubt, go down to posterity as among the pioneers of 
Indian nation-builders. They are all men who have 
made their mark in Indian History. But besides these, 
the Congress has produced a galaxy of men of whom 
any country might be justly proud. Dr. Eajendra Lala 


Mifera, Eajah Peary Mohan Mukherjee, Sir Eomesh 
Cbander Mitfeer, Sir Goorudas Banerjee, Mr. Mono- 
mohan Ghose, Mr. Norendra Nafeh Sen, Mr. (now Mr. 
Justice) Ashufeosh Ghoudhury, Mr. Baikunta Nath Sen,. 
Dr. Eabindra Nath Tagore, Mr. A. Basul, Mr. Motilal 
Ghose, Mr. Kalicharan Bannerjee and Mr. Bhupendra^ 
Nath Basu * in Bengal ; Maharajah Sir Luchmeswar 
Singh, Mr. (now Mr. Justice) Hasan Imam, Mr. Dip, 
Narain Siogh, Mr. Guruprasad Sen, and Mr. Mazar-ul- 
Haque in Behar ; Pundit Ajudhya Nath, Pundft 
Biswambhar Nath, Dr. Sunderlal, Mr. Ganga Prasad^ 
Varma and Kaja Rampal Singh in the United Pro- 
vinces; Sirdar Dayal Singh Mejhatia, Lala Lajpat Rai 
and Mr. Mahomed Ali in the Punjab; Mr. M.G. Ranade, 
Mr. K. T. Telang, Mr. Daji Abaji Khare, Mr. Luxman 
Nulkar, Mr. Hari Ghiplankar, Mr. Bal Gangadhar 
Tilak, Sir Ibrahim Rahimtullah, Dr. Bhandarkar, Mr. 
Setalvad and Mr. Mahomedali Jinnah in Bombay ; and 
Mr. Krishnaswami Iyer, Mr. G. Subramania Iyer, Mr. 
Veeraraghava Achari, Mr. Ramaswami Mudaliar, Sir 
Subramaniya Iyer and Mr. Veejararaghava Achari in 
Madras,— all rank- among the shining li^1;s of thi^ 
period. Many of these distinguished men would ere 
long have taken their places in the illustrious roll o£ the 
Congress Presidents but for premature death which 
seems to be the prevailing curse of India. The public 
services of some of these men have also been recognised 
by the Government, while all of them occupy a high 
position in the estimation of their countrymen as their 

trusted guides a nd leaders. 

* Since elected President of the Madras Congress of 1914. 

the success of the congress. 187" 

The Public Services. 
From the very beginning the Congress has per- 
sistently urged the larger admission of the children of 
the soil into the public services of the country, and a 
mere glance through the pages of the Civil Lists will 
at once shov7 what substantial advancement the coun- 
try has made in this directio^. Even up to the Sixties 
of the last century the average people were under the 
impression, that the Principal Sudder Ameen on the one 
side and the Deputy Collector on the other were the 
highest appointments open to the children of the soil and 
the idea of a native of India sitting as a Sessions Judge 
or as a District Ofi&cer appeared only as a dream. The 
first Indian Civilian who was a Bengali was not appointed 
to his own province ; while the distinguished trium- 
virate, also Bengalis, who followed in the next decade, 
received an ovation upon their return in 1871 which is 
now seldom accorded to the Governor of a province. 
Whole Calcutta went to the Seven Tanks Gardens in 
the Belgachia Villa to witness as it were an exhibition 
of a curious specimen of speaking lions brought from 
Europe ; while no less a sober person than the venerable 
Dr. K. M. Banerjee in his patriotic pride and exultation 
cried out at a public meeting that the event was the 
** second great battle of Plassey fought on British soil." 
Many a "battle of Plassey" of the same description have 
since been fought and won without attracting much atten- 
tion. Compare the earlier picture of the public services 
with the present and there will be no difficulty in realis- 
ing the actual measure of the inwardness of that robust 
optimism which possess the minds of the veterans of 


the Congress as regards the future prospects of the people 
in the administration of the country. Even so late as the 
Eighties of the last century none dared seriously entertain 
the faintest hope of seeing Indians on the Council of the 
Secretary of State, or in the Executive Councils of the 
Governnaents in this country, or even in a Provincial 
Board of Eevenue. Yet all these are now acconaplished 
facbs. The Indians have now fully established their 
claims from the chartered High Courts and the Execu- 
tive Governments downwards to almost every branch 
of the Civil administration, and the question now 
is only one of percentage, regard being had to 
alleged efficiency of the services and exigencies of the 
State. There is still a sharp distinction drawn between 
what are called the Imperial and the Provincial Services 
in the general administration, as well as in the Educa- 
tion, Medical and almost all other departments of the 
State; but this is a shallo'w, artificial devise to keep up 
a monopoly which cannot, however, be long maintained, 
and a systematic vigorous campaign is all that is neces- 
sary to break down thf^ racial and colour-fencing 
which still bars the people's entrance into the inner 
sanctuary of the administration. But as the irritating 
and invidious distinction cannot be defended on any 
rational principle and as breaches have been effected 
at certain points, the surrender of the strongholds of a 
close, selfish bureaucracy can only be a question of 
time. Attempts may be made, as are not infrequently 
made, to repair these breaches, but the ultimate fall of 
these citadels is inevitable. It is, however, a matter 
of great regret, if not of surprise, that men are not 


wanting even among people of this country who having 
thenaselves risen high in the rung of the public 
services as the result of persistent public agitation 
should be among those who denounce such agitation 
lest further agitation . might interfere with their 
future prospects. There is a grim humour about such an 
attitude which is not unlike that of a belated railway 
passenger who, before he reaches his station, eagerly 
wishes that the train might be a little late ; bufc 
as soon as he has comfortably secured his own berth 
begins to grow impatient that it should be any more 
late in starting. Apparently with a view to cover their 
own selfishness these good people confidently assert, 
that public agitation has stopped the right of public 
meeting and necessitated the Press Law. But can these 
critics picture even in their own mind a public meeting 
without some sort of agitation behind it ? Or, can they 
conceive of any use of the valued right of the freedom 
of public meeting and of speech if it were to be divorced 
from agitation either for the removal of existing griev- 
ances, or for the acquisition of fresh rights? Public 
meetings cannot be always confined to singing requiem 
to an ex-judge or a retired magistrate however brilliant 
his career may have been, nor does the salvation of 
the country wholly depend upon the success of a few 
subservient officers who seem to have learnt the art 
of 'kicking the ladder behind" almost to gymnastic 
perfection. As for the new Press Act, or the other 
repressive measures which the Government has latterly 
introduced, it is the grossest ignorance that can attribute 
these to public agitation which the British constitution 


Dofc only allows, but also encourages. Even fche 
authors of fchese reactionary measures did nofe afcferibufce 
them to public agitation, but to some other condition 
too well-known to require any particular reference. It 
is healthy agitation that invigorates public life in every 
civilised country; and it is a well-recognised fact that 
it is opposing forces which, in their resultant action, 
keep up the vitality of a system, and serve to 
maintain and strengthen it. Those who are afraid of 
agitation and enamoured of the calm repose of an 
easy-going, smooth, indolent life ought to remember 
that the stagnant water of a pool, though transparent 
and tempting to the naked eye, is always full of noxi- 
ous germs and injurious to the system : while the 
muddy water of the running stream is not only whole- 
some to drink, but is also fertilising to the ground 
which it inundates. 

The Young Men Volunteers. 

Another achievement of which the Congress may 
justly be proud is the healthy and vigorous impetus 
which it has given to the development of moral courage 
and discipline of the Indian youths. The system of 
" Volunteers," which was first introduced in connection 
with the Second Congress held in 18B6 and was more 
fully organised in Madras in the following year, was a 
very useful institution for the training of our young 
men not only for the immediate object with which it 
was started, but also for preparing them to become 
proper and efficient citizen-soldiers for the battle of life. 
These " Volunteers " no doubt came to carry a bad 


odour with the authorifeies afe a subsequent stage and in 
connection with a situation for which no one perhaps 
deplored more deeply or suffered more grievously than 
the Congressmen ; but the Indian public have never 
been able to divest themselves of the belief that the 
" Congress Volunteers" were really more sinned against 
than sinning and that they had a bad name given to 
them only to justify their being afterwards hanged for 
it. If their open and occasional services to the Con- 
gress really could have anything to do with the secret, 
abominable practices of a disreputable gang of fanatics, 
why, then, the drilling and the gymnastic exercises 
in the schools and even the laboratories in the 
colleges, for which the Government itself so amply and 
generously provided, might with equal, if not greater, 
propriety have been held responsible for these untoward 
and disgraceful developments. It seems to have been 
well remarked by a shrewd Frenchman that " when 
John Bull begins to suspect he generally begins at the 
wrong end." This suspicion has no doubt succeeded in 
a large measure in segregating the youths of the coun- 
try, not sparing even young men in colleges, from the 
sphere of all political activities; but no reasonable 
explanation is forthcoming as to how beardless boys 
are strangely developing criminal instincts and disposi- 
tions being practically confined within what may not 
be improperly called as insecure goals under a strict 
politico-educational surveillance. In a laudable anxiety 
to protect the boys the schools have been practically 
converted into plague camps where, completely cut 
off from the bracing atmosphere of healthy public 


influence, these unsuspecting and inapressionable inno- 
cents fall easy prey to the insidious, pestilential spirits 
which are abroad and which, working in secret, find 
anaple opportunity to penetrate into the closest recesses 
to misguide these immature lads under grossest mis- 
representations and allure them to their ultimate ruin.. 
It seems extremely doubtful if the moral nature of 
man can be entirely governed by physical laws and 
regulations. Stunt that nature in its normal develop- 
ment in one direction, it 'will burst out in a malignant 
growth in another. Besides, there are to be found a 
few black sheep in almost every flock to poison the rest. 
Thus schools may be barricaded and students segregated 
and circularized ; but there seems to be no island 
of Juan Fernandez where a resourceful mind may 
not devise means for its occupation and ultimately 
escape out of it. It seems a grievous mistake to exclude 
impressionable young minds altogether from the chas- 
tening influence of public opinion and try to turn 
useful citizens out of cloisters and dormatories. The 
public is a great monitor and a force, and if it 
sometimes misleads, it oftener exercises a healthy 
influence in shaping and moulding social life. What- 
ever that may be, the Congress Volunteers practically 
discharged from the Congress service have found scope 
for more active occupation in other and more useful 
directions. Mr. Gokhale's ''Servants of India" in 
Bombay and Mr. Krishna Kumar Mitra's " Irregulars " 
in Bengal are highly useful bodies whose invaluable 
services in time of distress and difficulty have not 
failed sometimes to elicit the unstinted approbation 


and admiration of even responsible oJGficers of Govern- 
ment;. They may nofc yet; be recognized as occasional, 
useful adjuncts to the administration ; but they are 
undoubtedly a most valuable help to the public on 
many a pressing occasion. On the whole these insti- 
tutions are a training academy for the Indian youths 
which have made them ever so manly, so enduring, so- 
courageous, so resourceful and so self-sacrificing itt 
their life and conduct. 

The Expansion of the Legislative 

Among the many minor reforms effected at the in- 
stance of the Congress may be mentioned the increase 
in the taxable minimum for the Income Tax ; the rais- 
ing of tha age-limit for the Civil Service Examination ; 
a further extension of Trial by Jury though on a very 
limited scale ; a partial redress of forest grievances ; the 
re-imposition of fche import duties on cotton, though with 
a countervailing excise duty on the indigenous products 
which practically operates as a protecbion to Bribisb 
manufactures, and the repeal of the English duty on- 
Silver plates, for all of which the Congress carried on a 
persistent agitation both in this country as well as ii> 
England. But by far the greatest political achievement 
of the Congress is perhaps the reform and expansion of 
the Legislative Councils and the appointment of Execu- 
tive Councils for the major provinces in which at least 
one Indian member has found a place. All the provinces* 
and administrations, whether under Lieutenant-Gover- 
nors or Chief Commissioners, are provided ^wlth iooai' 


Legislatiive Gouncils of fcheir own. The namber of mem- 
hers for the Councils has been increased and the area of 
representation considerably widened./jfie right of inter- 
pellation with the power of putting supplementary ques- 
tions and the right of moving resolutions and introducing 
^iils, are all important privileges secured, the value 
of which cannoc be under-estimated. The Congress* 
49trenuoualy fought for these reforms ever since 1885, 
and it is these substantial privileges, which were 
partially conceded in 1892 and more fully granted in 
1910, tlaat have led many an alarmist to cry * halt * and 
to urge that the Congress having achieved its main 
object has no just ground for its further existence. To 
the Indian Nationalist, however, it is only the thin end 
of the wedge, and if ever there was a time to strike 
vigorously that time has now arrived. The Congress 
has never made any secret of its ultimate goal, and 
while that goal is yet faintly looming in the dim, distant 
future, it cannot afford to rest on its oars, nor regard its 
mission as even partially fulfilled. If the attainment 
of national Self-Government within the Empire is 
its aim, if India is to throw off the yoke of a Depen- 
dency and acquire the status of a Dominion, then it 
must be admitted that the Congress has only just 
•entered on a career of useful existence and that these 
reforms mark only the beginning and not the end of its 
arduous task. It is no doubt a matter of rejoicing that 
a breach has at last been effected in the outer ramparts 
of a benevolent Despotism ; but if the inner citadel be 
the real objective it would be simply foolish to pass the 
li¥e-long day in only dancing and revelling over that 


'fceach. Besides, whafc are the reforms that have 
^really been effected? Without being guilty of want of 
ijroper appreciation it geems quite permissible to point 
out that these reforms are mere faint adumbrations of 
a rough political sketch, the full representation of which 
in its true colours has yet to be evolved, It is only the 
shadow and not the real substance which has been thrown 
on the screen. The representation granted is still very 
inadequate and the electorates highly defective ; the 
majority is still with the Government and where it 
'^as been conceded to the people it is simply nominal 
And illusory. The representatives of the people have 
yet no control over the finances and the resolutions 
which they are privileged to move, and upon which 
they are entitled also to divide the councils, too often 
prove to be the proverbial Dead-Sea Apple that crum- 
bles to the touch. They have yet no binding force and 
cannot influence the policy^of Government. As regards 
the substantial modification introduced in the composi- 
tion of the Executive Councils of both the Imperial and 
the Provincial Governments it has to be noticed, that 
public opinion does not count for anything and popular 
representatives of unquestioned ability, judgment and 
independence, who fought for the reform, are carefully 
excluded from the list. Men like Sir Pherozeshah 
Mehta, Mr. G. K. Gokhale,* Mr. Surendra Nath Baner- 
jee and Dr. Eash Behary Ghose have no place in these 

* Alas 1 Mr. Gokhale is no more ! Since these pages were sent 
>to the press the saintly politician has passed away leaving a void 
An this ill-fated country which i8>ot likely cto be soon filled up. 


Councils, and the people cannofc be very much blamecb 
if they still labour under the inapression that th&- 
bureaucracy are ill-disposed to admit their equals and' 
that there is still a marked tendency to take away 
with one hand what is given with the other. The- 
voice of the people thus still continues to be practi- 
cally the same cry in the wilderness that it used^ 
to be before, with this difference that, that voice has 
found a channel for its articulation and cannot now 
be stifled. People are not therefore wanting who 
honestly think, that the present Councils are at?, 
best counterfeit representations of representative insti- 
tutions as understood in the British constitution. They 
certainly bear a striking family resemblance to not a 
few of the mimic reforms which have found their way 
in this country and among which mention may be 
made of the system of trial with the aid of assessors. 
with which a renowned political juggler, more than 
thirty years ago, hoodwinked the people of this coun- 
try as being a fair substitute for Trial by Jury. From- 
this, however, it must not be inferred that these reforms 
are altogether discounted. In fact they are neither 
such shams as some hyper-critics among us would 
represent them to be; nor are they the very quintes- 
sence of British statesmanship as Sir Valentine Chirol 
and others of his school would have us believe. They 
undoubtedly mark a distinct advance in Indian poli- 
tics and constitute a substantial instalment of poli- 
tical enfranchisement of the people. If they hava 
done nothing else, these reforms must be admitted to- 
iiave furnished the people with powerful weapons for 


♦Glearing the ground before fchem, while they are not yet 
out of the wood. Lord Morley'a imagination may not 
'be able to pierce through the prevailing gloom to catch 
the faintest glimpse of India's future destiny ; but all the 
^same he may have been the unconscious instrument in the 
hand of an inscrutible Providence to work out her 
salvation, and it may be the proud privilege of the 
future historian to reckon him as the Simon de Mont- 
fort of an Indian Parliament. The Congress from the 
very outset pressed either for the abolition or for 
•the reform of the Council of the Secretary of State. 
-Although no statutory reform has yet been introduced, 
the appointment of two Indians to this Council has gone 
:a great way towards a fair recognition of the principle of 
representation in this Council so persistently advocated 
'by the Congress; while the recent attempt of Lord 
'Crewe for the reform of this Council was an augury of 
•considerable importance towards a satisfactory solution 
•of the question, though unfortunately that attempt has 
■proved abortive at least for the present. 

Such is the brief survey of the work done by the 
dongress during the last twenty-eight years of its 
existence. With all its lapses and shortcomings, it must 
he fairly conceded even by its worst critics, that this 
is no mean record of its achievements ; while its friends 
will readily admit that the Congress has worked out 
almost a revolution in the country unprecedented in the 
history of a subject people under an alien rule. Apart 
from its political aspects the Congress has been the 
tiountain-head and mainspring of not a few of the activities 
^hich have manifested themselves in various directions 


during the lasfc quarter of a century and inspired the- 
people with ideas of a nobler, naanlier and healtheir life. 

The Native States— -An Object Lesson. 

It may not be in the recollection of many at this 
distance of time, that at one of the early stages of the 
Congress a question was actually raised and discussed 
in the Press as to whether the sphere of the movement 
should not be extended to the independent Native 
States. It was, however, wisely decided that the sub- 
jects of these States should be left to themselves and 
the work of the, Congress confined to British India only. 
But the blessed contagion did not take much time in 
crossing the frontiers and spreading far beyond the 
British territories when the echo of the Congress was 
also heard in some of these independent principalities, 
although it was there the Princes rather than the People 
who took time by the forelock and adopted the initiative 
in advanced administration. The enlightened rulers of 
Baroda, Mysore and Travancore have set an example 
even to the paramount power, the significance of which 
cannot} be lost upon the minds of the more advanced 
British subjects. Much has been said and written on 
the supposed differences between the East and the West 
and where logic has failed, fallacies have been invoked 
to support the contention that India is constitutionally 
unfit for the advanced institutions of the West and that 
no attempt can therefore be made to cultivate them even 
in a hot-house in this country. But these Indian 
Princes have, among other things, conclusively proved 
that representative iastitutiona are not altogether foreigtb 


to Indian insfeinofcs and that) there need be no nervousness 
about either the introduction of free and compulsory 
education among the masses, or in the separation of the 
judicial and the executive functions of a State. What a 
sad commentary this to the vacillating policy of a mighty, 
distrustful bureaucracy ! 


The Partition of Bengal. 
There are cerfeaio paradoxes which the accumulat- 
ed experience and the collecfeive wisdom of ages have 
accepted as established fcrufchs all over ttie world, and 
" good Cometh out of evil " is one of them. Of all the 
blessings in disguise, which ever fell to the lot of the' 
Indian people, the Partition of Bengal by Lord Qurzon 
was perhaps one of the most remarkable in the history 
of British rule in India. If the Ilbert Bill agitation 
first opened the eyes of the Indian people to the utter 
helplessness of their position and forced their attention 
to the real source of their national weakness, in th& 
Partition of Bengal and its sequel .the y receive dthe 
first open challen^ ^QLJl-JLI ^^ Q^ the_moral strength 
which they had steadily developed during the past^ 
twenty years under the guidance and discipline of 
the national organization. The Congress has made 
the dry bones in the vally instinct with life and 
breathed a new spirit into them under the spell of 
which the ** scattered units of the race" had coalesced 


and come to realize that in national evolution unity 
was the main cement and that in the race of life firm- 
ness, determination and perseverance were the only 
passports to success. Little perhaps did the vigorous 
author of this violent measure and his advisers calculate, 
that although hammering was one of the orthodox 
methods of effecting division and disintegration, it 
served sometimes also to beat soft metals into solid, 
bard lumps. They were also probably unaware of the 
real extent to which the Congress had worked towards 
infusing fresh vitality in the people, in unifying them 
for common action and in stiffening their backs against 
reverses. It was apparently overlooked that the India ^ 
-of 1903 was no longer the India of 1883, and that 
within a single decade the force of a new spirit had 
completely transformed the caterpillar into the butter- 
fly. New ideas had burst upon the eyes of the people 
and new ideals had taken possession of the public 
mind. In the new cult preached by the Congress the 
people had received a higher revelation under the 
inspiration of which they had renounced individualism 
and embraced nationalism as their common article of 
iaith. Twenty years had wrought a great transforma- 
tion, if not a complete revolution, in the country, and 
a people who in 1883 scarcely knew how to organize 
themselves even in support of the Government were 
now fully prepared to oppose that Government in 
•defence of their just rights and were certainly not dis- 
posed to take lying down any outrage upon the 
<5heri8hed ideas and sentiments of a growing nationa- 
lity. The history of the ill-starred measure of the 


Partition of Bengal and the various phases through 
-which it passed may not strictly appertain to this 
narrative ; but a brief survey of its origin, the part 
played in it by the Congress and the influence it exer- 
<;ised on the national character may not be deemed 
irrelevant and out of place. 

Although the project of dividing an indivisible j 
people was entirely his own, the idea of territorial! 
redistribution of Bengal did not originate with Lord 
Curzon. The proposal to dismember the largest and 
premier province of the Empire sprang from a very 
small beginning. In 1874: the two districts of Gachar 
and Sylhet, which formed part of Bengal, were for 
administrative convenience transferred to Assam. There 
was hardly any public opinion at the time and the 
■severance of two frontier districts did not attract much 
public attention. In 1891 a small conference between 
the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, the Chief Com- 
missioners of Burma and Assam and a few military 
authorities was held to consider measures for the 
greater protection of the North-Bastern frontier. It 
was then proposed to transfer the Lushai Hills as a 
lurther addition to Assam coupled with a recommenda- 
tion that the Chittagong Division might also go with 
them. In 1895 Sir William Ward, who was then the 
Chief Commissioner of Assam, submitted an elaborate 
scheme for the transfer of the Chittagong Division 
and expressed, in a general way, a hope that the 
two districts of Dacca and Mymensingh also might 
eventually be given to Assam. It was precisely the 
old story of the camel and the tent-keeper. Fortun- 


afcely, however, just afc this time Sir Henry OofcfeoD' 
suoceaded Sir Williaai Ward and the broad-minded 
adoainistrator, who could never be persuaded to sacrifice 
the interest; of jusfcioe and fairness to an aggrandisenoent' 
of his own power and authority, lost no time in nippicg 
the project in the bud. With his intimate knowledge of 
. Bengal and the Bengalees, with whose legitimate aims 
and aspirations he always sympathised, Sir Henry Cotton- 
Opposed the scheme of his predecessor and condemned 
(ihe idea of severing the Chittagong Division and the two 
important districts of Dacca and Mymensingh and 
thereby emasculating a rising people. The result was 
that only the'LushailHills, which were mainly inhabit- 
ed by a number of wild tribes, were made over to 
Assam and the "question of the transfer of the Chittagong- 
Division and the'two trans-Gangetic districts of Bengal 
was entirely dropped. 

Then came the vigorous administration of Lord 

Curzon who was nothing if not original in everything.. 

Full of the idea ithat the past administration of India 

was a series of blunders he was reported to have come 

! with " twelve problems " in his pocket with which he^ 

I was resolved to overhaul every branch of that adminis- 

' tration and recast it in a new mould. In course of this 

Herculean adventure a series of reactionary measures 

were passed which naturally produced widespread 

alarm in the country. The first ordinary period of his 

Yiceroyalty, though not quite sensational, sufficiently 

disclosed the original bent of his mind. In 1899 when 

ha assumed charge of his exalted office he began his^ 

I policy of efficiency by reducing the elected members 


of fehe CalcuttiA Corporation to half bheir original num-4 
ber and pracfcically vesting the administration in ai 
General Committee in spite of strong protests on the 
part of the electors. This was followed by his honest 
denunciation of a British battalion in Bangoon, some 
privates of which were believed to have outraged a 
native woman to death, but could not be detected owing 
to a conspiracy of silence among the members of the 
battalion. This gave umbrage Go a section of the 
Anglo-Indian community with whom the honour and 
life of a native woman were apparently not of much 
consequence when compared wifeh the position and 
prestige of the British soldier in India. In the follow- 
ing year Lord Curzon increased his unpopularity among 
the same class of Anglo-Indians by punishing the 9th 
Lancers because at Sialkot two other privates were 
charged with having beaten a native cook to death for 
having refused to procure a native woman for them and 
who likewise remained undetected. In the same year 
Lord Curzon carved out tlie North-West Frontier Pro-V 
vince, and the last year of his administration of this 
period was signalized by a costly Durbar at Delhi 
which bore striking resemblance to the Imperial Assem- 
blage ofU877 in that it followed upon another terrible 
famine which decimated the Central Provinces in 
1900-1. Unfortunately for India, as well as for his 
own reputation, Lord Curzon obtained an extension to 
his Viceroyalty and it was within this extended period that 
were crowded almost all the violent, reactionary mea-\ 
sures with which his efficient administration is so largely \ 
associated. In all these measures the Indian public 


paw nothing but a deliberate reversal of the generous 
.policy which, laid down by the Proclamation of 1858, 
had been the recognized guide of successive administra- 
tions and which if not uniformly observed in practice had 
never been openly violated in principle. Lord Curzon 
•began by laying the axe at the root of Local Self-Govern- 
pment and emasculating the premier corporation of the 
metropolis of the Empire. Then the oJQficialization of 
the Universities, the curtailment of high education, the 
abolition of open competitive tests for the Provincial 
Civil Services, the penalization of the civil official secrets 
followed in succession, and nowhere were these retro- 
grade measures more keenly resented, or more sharply 
-criticized, than in Bengal which the official baro- 
meter always pronounced to be the centre of political 
disturbances in the country. Lord Curzon determined 
to break this centre to facilitate the progress of his 
policy. He turned up the old records which had been 
consigned to the upper shelves of his Secretariat and 
ransacked them to reopen the question of the territorial 
readjustment of Bengal, and on the 3rd December 1903 
there appeared the famous Resolution of the Govern- 
ment of India over the signature of Mr, now Sir., 
Herbert Risley, then Secretary to the Home Department, 
announcing the intention of Government to revive the 
question of the transfer of the entire Chittagong Division 
and the two districts of Dacca and Mymensingh to Assam, 
Without any complaint from the local Government, 
without any suggestion from any quarter and without a 
warning. Lord Curzon proceeded to relieve the Govern- 
ment of Bengal of its heavy burden, and his proposal 


fell like a bomb-shell among the people. But the 
people though surprised were not staggered and the very 
announcement of this Resolution was the signal for an 
outburst of opposition throughout the Province which, 
in its magnitude, volume and intensity was simply 
unprecedented in the history of public agitation in 
this country. It stirred the public mind in Bengal to- 
its very depth, and the rich and the poor, the prince^ 
and the peasant, the educated and the uneducated all 
rose as one man to oppose the violent dismemberment 
of their ancient province, and with it the dissipation of 
their cherished hopes of forming a united nation. Fron> 
December 1903 to October 1905 over 2.000 public 
meetings attended by 500 to 50,000 people were held 
in the two parts of Bengal at which Hindus and Maho-i'2«-^ 
medans with equal zeal and earnestness joined in the 
protest. The late Nawab Sir Salimullah of Dacca at an 
early stage of the agitation was reported to have 
denounced the scheme as a " beastly arrangement,*^ 
though at a later period he seceded from the opposition 
for reasons well-known to the public. 

As the agitation began to increase Lord Curzon- 
grew more and more nervous ; while public criticisms- 
both in the press as well as on the platforms gradually 
made him more and more relentless. In February 
1905 Lord Curzon made his famous speech at the Con- 
vocation of the Calcutta University in which he would 

not tread, as he said, on the *' dusty fields" of educa- 
tion ; but read a homily on the difference between 

Eastern and Western ethics and wantonly charged the* 


orienfeal character with want of veracity, He had evi- 
dently drawn his inspiration from Macaulay, but had 
failed to study the character of the people who had 
'long outgrown Macaulay's over-drawn picture. The 
\Amrita Bazaar Patrika at once met this sweeping 
denunciation with an equally scathing retort. An 
ugly incident from an account of his lordship's early 
travels in the Far East was unearthed out of its for- 
gotten pages with which he was rudely reminded 
of the trite old saying, that it was unwise for one who 
lived in a glass house to pelt stones at others. This 
was followed by a huge demonstration at the Calcutta 
'Town Hall where on. the 11th March 1905 the people 
of Bengal met to* protest against the utterances and 
proceedings of the Viceroy which had irritated the 
people beyond all measure of endurance. The meeting 
was presided over by Dr. Eash Behary Ghose who, deeply 
immersed in his professional business, had so long held 
himself aloof from all political discussions in the country 
and whom the sjaeer necessities of the situation forced 
to throw himself into the vortex of the agitation. The 
meeting after reviewing the entire administration of 
Lord Curzon passed a Resolution condemning all his 
retrograde proceedings culminating in the proposal for 
the disruption of an advanced province and of an 
extremely sensitive people passionately attached to their 
country. This was the first time when the people met 
openly to pass a vote of censure upon a Viceroy. This 
was, of course, too much for an equally sensitive Viceroy 
to tolerate and, descending from the proud pedestal of a 
Wiceroy, Lord Curzon assumed the role of a political 


•agifcafcor which he had so strongly condemned in his con- 
evocation speech. Fully resolved to crush this new spirit 
by dividing the people against bhenaselves, Lord Curzon 
proceeded to East Bengal and there at large meetinga 
of Mahornedans, specially convened for the purpose, ^ / 
explained to them that his object in partitioning Bengal / 
was not only to relieve the Bengal administration, ' / 
but also to create a Mahomedan province, where Islam 
would be predominant and its followers in the 
ascendancy, and that with this view he had decided 
to include the two remaining districts of the Dacca 
Division in his scheme. The Mussalmans of East Ben- 
gal headed by Nawab Salimuilah of Dacca saw their 
opportunity and took the bait. Henceforth the Mabome- 
daoe of Eastern Bengal forgetting the broader question 
^f national advancement and ignoring the interests of 
their own community in Western Bengal deserted the 
national cause and gradually be^an to secede from the' 
anti- partition agitation. It is, however, only fair to 
admit that the most cultured and advanced among the 
Mussalmans did not tiiinch and speaking at the Congress 
of 1906. Nawabzada Khajah Atikullab, the brother of 
Kawab Salimuilah openly said, **I may tell you at 
once that it is not correct that the Mussalmans of 
Eastern Bengal are in favour of the Partition of Bengal. 
The real fact is that it is only a few leading Maho- 
rnedans who for their own purposes supported the 
measure." The Central Mahomedan Association in 
Calcutta, in submitting its opinion to the Government 
through its Secretary, the late Nawab Ameer Hossain, 
CLE,, observed : — **.My Committee are of opinion tha^ 


no porfcion of the Bengali-speaking race should be 
separated from Bengal without the clearest necessity for 
such separation, and they think in the present case- 
such necessity does not exist." 

The agitation, however, went on in course of which 
hundreds of raenQorials wery submitted to Government 
as well as to the Secretary of State, one of which was^^ 
submitted over the signature of 70,000 people of 
Eastern Bengal. But the Government maintained an 
attitude of mysterious silence until July, 1905, when a. 
Government notification suddenly announced that the 
Secretary of State had sanctioned the Partition with 
effect from the 16th October 1905 and that the new 
Province was also to include the six districts of 
Northern Bengal. The people of Bengal would not 
however yield and took courage from despair. The idea 
of protecting indigenous industries had been long 
before the country, and now the people in different 
places began to discuss the question of eschewing 
British articles, when that devoted and unostentatious 
worker, Mr. Krishna Kumar Mitra, openly advocated a 
general boycott in the columns of his well-known paper 
the Sanjibani. About a dozen of the leaders in Bengal 
met to discuss the situation at the Indian Association 
and after solemn deliberation resolved to boycott all 
foreign goods as a protest against this act of flagrant 
injustice. And on the 7th August was held the^ 
memorable meeting which inaugurated the Swadeshi 
Movement. Such was the intensity of feeling created 
and such the stubbornness acquired by the national 
character, that on the fatal day of 16th October ther 










scene in BeDgal became one of wild demonaferations 
unparalleled in the hiabory of fehe country. As on thof 
day of the execution of Maharajah Nund Goomar the- 
people of Calcutta rushed to the banks of the Ganges^ 
and bathed themselves in its sacred water as an expia- 
tion of the sin they had committed in witnessing for the^ 
first time a judicial murder in the land, so from the early 
morning of the 16th October, 1905, corresponding to the' 
30th Aswin 1312 of the Bengalee Era, the people in 
their hundreds- and thousands in every city, town and 
village marched in solemn processions bare-footed and 
bare-bodied chanting, as dirges, national songs and 
repaired to the i' nearest channel or stream and after 
performing their ablution tied the Rakhi, the silken- 
band of unity and fraternity, round one another's. 
wrists when amid the deafening cries of Bandemataram- 
took the solemn vow in the name of God and Mother- 
land, that united they stood and no earthly power 
should divide them, and that so long as the Partition 
was not undone they would eschew as far as practicable, 
all foreign articles. , They fasted the whole day during, 
which all shops were closed and business and amuse- 
ments stopped, while many were the towns which even 
according to official reporters . wore the appeara^nce of 
the city of the dead. Men, women and children all 
joined in the demonstration. So intense and widespread 
was the outburst of this unprecedented upheaval of the^ 
popular, sentiment that the authorities had to take, in 
many places, particularly . in the several districts, ex- 
traordinary measures in anticipation of breach of the- 

peace. But the leaders had strictly resolved upork 



passive resisfeance and consfcitufcional agifcafcion anci every- 
thiug passed off wifchout aay hitch anywhere. In their 
utter dislike of the Partition the people nicknamed 
the new Province as Ebassam and to accentuate their 
solidarity paradoxically designated the two severed Pro- 
vinces as United Bengal. For seven long years the 
people persistently carried on the struggle and every 
year with renewed vigour and energy observed the 7t}h 
August as the day of national rejoicing and the 16th 
October as the day of national mourning. 

Thus the Partition of Bengal was forcibly carried 
out in the teeth of a most frantic opposition, and 
although Lord Gurzon appeared to have been fully 
justified in his bold assertion that, as far as the British 
public were concerned, the opposition would end in a 
blank volley of " a few angry speeches " on the floor of 
Parliament, he was entirely mistaken in his calculations 
that the last words on the subject would be heard in tde 
House and that the people would after a short struggle 
quietly submit to the inevitable accepting his decision as 
a final' settlement of their destiny. As has already been 
said Lord Gurzon was reported to have come to India 
with " twelve problems" in his pocket : but whatever 
the other problems were, the three which he had 
put forward on Local Self-Government, Education 
and Administration were sufficient to convince the 
people that he came with a veritable Pandora's Box and 
let loose all the forces of disorder in the country, Hope 
alone remaining. Even the Anglo-Indian Press which 
was ever so loyal to the bureaucracy found itself unable to 
support his extravagant measures which, in the name of 


•€fl5ciency, aimed afc a complefce revision, if not a revolu- 
tion, of the entire gystem of Bribish rule in India. The 
Times of India remarked : — 

" One might well wish that Lord Curzon had not returned to 
India for the second time, for he oould not have ohosen a more 
effective way of wrecking his reputation than he has done." 

Another Anglo-Indian paper observed, that : — 

" Beat of the measures (of Lord Gurzon's administration) 
against which public criticism has lately been directed are design- 
-ed to check a dev-slopment which has at once been the conscious 
aim and the justification of British rule in India, and the worst 
of Dhem are noching more nor less than deliberate steps in^reaction, 
opposed in method and in character, to those traditions which 
underlie what is commonly allowed to be, not only the greatest 
•experiment, but the most remarkable attempt towards the govern- 
Hient of an alien people of which the modern world has any 

The Englishman, writing shortly after the Town 
Hall Meeting of the 7fch August, 1905, said : — 

"The change which is threatened has been determined upon 
in the teeth of a practically unanimous public opinion. There 
is no reason to suppose that this public opinion will become silent 
or non-existent as soon as the Partition is carried into eSeot. The 
situation will therefore be this : An administrative Coup d' etat 
without precedent will have been carried out. The people who 
will have to live under its results will be dissatisfied and uneasy. 
JNow all governments, even the most despotic, are obliged to rule 
in the long run in accordance with the wishes of the governed, or 
.at least to refrain from governing in direct opposition to those 
wishes. The difficulties of the Governor of the new province 
under the peculiar circumstance of its emergence would, one 
ffears, be extreme, if not insuperable." 

The Statesman of Calcutta wrote : — 
" There never was a time in the history of British India when 
•public feeling and public opinion were so little regarded by the 
Supreme Government as they are by the present administration. 
.In this matter of the Partition of Bengal the force of public 
opinion has been remarkable. It could not indeed be otherwise, 
for in spite of their parade of consulting the * legitimate interests' 
of the districts involved m the proposed separation, the Govern- 
ment is well aware that its scheme is a direct attack upon tha 


solidarity and the growing political strength of the Bengali race,. 
• • * The Government may or may not choose to give weight 
to the outburst of feeling on the subject of the Partition, but it- 
will necessarily recognize the new note of practicability which the 
present situation has brought into political agitation and it will 
sooner or later realise, that just as religions thrive on persecution, 
80 there is nothing half so effectual as the systematic disregard of: 
public opinion for fostering political discontent." 

The following is taken from a leading arfcicle which' 
appeared in the London Daily Neios : — 

"Very little is known in this country concerning the scheme 
for the partitioning of Bengal as to which our Calcutta corres- 
pondent addresses us. Even the India Office is so much in the 
dark as to the merits and demerits of the proposal t.hat it was 
unable to provide Mr. Brodrick with an intelligible brief when the 
question was raised by LIr. Roberts a week ago in the House of 
Commons. In India the announcement eeems to have come as a 
complete surprise. In 1903 Lord Curzon was compelled to bow 
to the storm of criticism aroused by a much smaller readjust- 
ment of areas, and positive consternation has been created by the 
present proposal under which twenty-five millions of the people 
of Bengal are without a word of consultation to be handed over 
to a new local administration. . . . The inhabitants of Bengal< 
contain a large proportion of educated persons, very many of 
whom occupy positions of influence and responsibility. What 
?was there to prevent Lord Curzon taking counsel with the leading 
/citizens and ascertaining the views of the localities concerned 
before enacting this tremendous change? We are afraid the 
only answer is, that Lord Curzon well knew the views of the 
people, but declined to argue with them, or to endeavour to 
persuade them. . . , That re-consideration is desirable, is obvious- 
from every point of view. It cannot be good statesmanship to 
launch these new provinces in a condition of seething discontent,, 
or to alienate a third of our fellow-subjects in India. There is no 
suggestion that the matter is a pressing one, and whatever elements 
of good the scheme may contain are likelier to be appreciated if a 
truce is called for the present than if Bengal is incontinently 
hurried up. The cost of the new administration, which is put in 
some quarters at nearly three millions sterling, calls for special' 
attention at a time when India is suffering from heavy additional? 
charges. We are convinced that Mr, Brodrick would greatly adol 
to the service which he has already done to India if he couldt 
call a halt in this matter of the Partition," 


Such was the verdicfc pronounced upon the efficient 
administration of the brilliant Viceroy who after seven 
-years of vigorous rule found his unpopularity to be so 
tiniversal that he advisedly left India as it were by the 
backdoor without paying even the customary farewell 
visit to the Metropolis where the liistorio Viceregal 
Palace recalled to him, as he himself said the memories 
of his baronial castle at Keddlestone. 

The Congress usually dealt with questions affect- 
ing the wbole country ; but it also occasionally 
interested itself in matters of special local importance. 
Although the Partition of Bengal was apparently a pro- 
vincial grievance, in its wider aspect it was regarded 
-us a national question of the gravest significance, and as 
.«uch the Congress took it up at its very inception in 
1903, and year after year persistently repeated its pro- 
test in different centres until the whole country re- 
sounded with the voice of that protest. Apart from 
the special grievances of Bengal the measure involved 
a question of far-reaching consequences which was in 
-conflict with its propaganda and threatened its ulti- 
mate aim of nation-building and national evolution 
with a collapse. The whole country, therefore, took this 
flagrant act of high-handedness as a most outrageous 
flouting of public opinion and a mosc callous disregard 
of the feelings and sentiments of the people. Besides 
it was pointed out that if such could be the fate of 
Bengal, what guarantee was there that a similar fate 
might not in future overtake the other provinces also ? 
While, pointed reference was made to Sindh as a prob- 
iable factor in the not too unlikely contingency that 


might arise in the case of Bombay. Thus the Parsi, 
the Maharatta, the Madrasi, the Sindhi and tha^ 
Punjabi rose as one man with the Bengali to undo the 
" settled fact." Speaking at the Congress of 1908, the^ 
Hon'ble Mr. Krishnan Nair of Madras feelingly observ- 
ed, ** the Partition of Bengal affects the whole country 
like a deep, bleeding and unhealing wound. So long- 
as such a wound exists in the human body it is 
dijfficult, if not impossible, for that body to know peace 
or enjoy repose." Severe unrest prevailed throughout 
the country, while a most distressing development of the- 
situation manifested itself both in Bengal as well as in 
the Deccan. The contemptuous treatment of public 
opinion by the authorities and their absolute indifference 
to every proposal of the Nationalists became the theme 
of public discussion both in the Press as well as on the 
platforms throughout the country ; while a series of 
repressive measures inaugurated by the Government of 
Lord Minto in quick succession to one another instead 
of providing a remedy for the situation served only to- 
intensify the popular discontent. Advantage was taken 
of an old obsolete Eegulation to deport, without a trial,, 
men whose only fault lay in stubbornly opposing the 
"settled fact." Sober and dispassionate men like 
Mr. K. N. Mudholkar from theBerar and Mr. Subba Eao 
from Madras earnestly appealed to Government for a 
modification of the ill-starred measure, and none more 
passionately joined in the appeal than that young lion 
of the Deccan, Mr. Gopal Krishna Gokhale, who from 
his place in the Supreme Legislative Council, addressing- 
the Viceroy, said, " My Lord, conciliate Bengal." But 


in an atmosphere of prejudice and passion, the fetish of 
Prestige was in the ascendant and all the protests and 
appeals went unheeded. Mr. Gokhale went to England 
as an accredited representative of the Congress in 1905 
and 1906, and on both the occasions he used his great 
powers of persuasion to impress the authorities as well as 
the public in England with the extreme inadvisability of 
persisting in the unpopular measure adopted by the 
Government of India. Mr, John Morley, who wa& 
then the Secretary of State for India, was by no meana 
satisfied with the performance of Lord Curzon. But. 
although he found that the Partition had gone ** wholly 
and decisively against the wishes of the majority of the 
people concerned," and openly characterised it as not 
being a sacrosanct, he dismissed the question as being, 
a" settled fact." His predecessor in office Mr. Brodrick 
(afterwards Lord Middleton) had also in a spirit of 
half-heartedness, while not fully approving of Lord 
Curzon's proposals, sanctioned the Partition, and all 
the voluminous representations submitted to him, 
including the one containing over 70,000 signature* 
from Eastern Bengal, went for nothing. It haa 
always been like this in India. She has suffered for 
things for which she could be hardly held responsible. 
Mr. St. John Brodrick had to provide an unguent 
for the wounded pride of a meddlesome Viceroy in 
the Ourzon-Kitchener controversy ; while Mr. John 
^forley, the author of Compromise, had to pilot 
his Reform Scheme through both the Houses of 
Parliament. There never was perhaps a better case 
so aummarily dismissed in all its stages. People 


in this country who had all their life worshiped " honest 
John " with almost idolatrous veneration lost all con- 
iSdence in him, while men were not wholly wanting who 
actually went so far as to regard British Liberalism, so 
far as applicable to India, as a meaningless creed. Men 
like Sir Henry Cotton, Mr. Hebert Paul and Mr. Keir 
Hardie, however, kept up a continuous fire over the 
burning question in the Lower House and it is believed 
that it was this incessant heckling over Indian questions 
which was responsible for Mr. Morley's translation to 
■the calmer region of the Upper House and his ultimate 
resignation of the Indian portfolio. In the Lords also 
the noble Marquess of Ripon in his old age raised his 
trembling voice against the infamous measure ; while 
Lord Macdonald openly denounced it as ** the hugesfc 
blunder committed since the battle of Plassey." And 
Lord Curzon finding that there was "none so poor as 
to do him reverence " attempted to throw the responsi- 
bility, like a hot potato, on Lord Ampthill and Lord 
Ampthill on Mr. Brodrick. But although the measure 
was thus denounced on all hands and there was none so 
bold as to claim its authorship, it yet seemed to possess 
a charmed life. At last Lord Morley was succeeded by 
Lord Crewe and in May, 1911, Mr. Bhupendranath 
Basu was deputed by the Indian Association, Calcutta, 
to represent the case of Bengal to the new Secretary of 
"State, as it was felt that the forthcoming Coronation Dur- 
bar in India might be a fitting occasion for a satisfactory 
solution of the situation. No better selection could 
have been made and the trained lawyer and astute 
f)Dlitician performed his mission in an eminently 


satisfactory manner. With the help of Lord Reay Mr. 
Basu obtained an interview with Lord Crewe about the 
end of June and explained to him, with a degree of 
fulness and clearness hardly possible except in a per- 
sonal interchange of view?, the intolerable situation 
which had been created by the Partition and the 
remedy suggested by the people which was calculated 
not only to mend that situation, but which also afforded 
the most legitimate solution for the administrative 
diflQculty of the vast Province. Lord Crewe gave 
him a patient and sympathetic hearing. This was the 
first practical step taken by the people since the 
Partition was effected towards the solution of the thorny 
question which had set the country ablaze and let loose 
such harrowing miseries and disquietude through- 
out the country as even the Councial reforms of Lord 
Morley were unable to remove. At this juncture* 
happily for India, as wall as for England, Lord Hardinge 
succeeded Lord Minto with the rich legacy of a multi- 
tudinous population driven almost mad by a violent 
disruption of an ancient province and exasperated by a 
series of repressive and retrograde measures which a 
bold Indian jurist, enjoying at the time no less confi- 
dence and respect of the Government than of the 
people, openly denounced as "lawless laws." It has 
been truly said that history repeats itself ; and Lord 
Hardinge like Lord Ripon came at a critical moment 
holding the olive branch of peace, sympathy and con- 
ciliation for the people. Lord Hardinge assumed office 
in November, 1910, and the leaders of Bengal at once 
organised a fresh campaign of anti-partition agitation. 


Arrangemenfcs were made some time in May following^ 
for holding a demonstration of. United Bengal in the- 
Calcutta Town Hall as a signal for a fresh agitation 
under a new Secretary of Sfcate and a new Viceroy. A 
police officer was at this time assassinated in the streets 
of the metropolis evidently by an anarchist ; and Lord 
Hardinge at once sent for Mr. Surendranath Banerjea 
and asked him not to create further public excitement 
at such a juncture, adding at the same time that if the^ 
object of the proposed demonstration was to draw atten- 
tion o^the Government, then the best course for the people 
was to submit their case quietly to the Government of 
India, and he assured Mr. Banerjea that such representa- 
tion would receive his most careful consideration. The 
proposed campaign was accordingly dropped and a 
memorial was drawn up briefly reviewing the history of 
the disastrous measure and narrating the grievances of 
the people as well as the disturbances which had flowed 
from it. The memorial also dealt with the financial 
aspect of the question which the author of the partition 
had studiously avoided in the formulation of his scheme= 
and ' finally, among several alternative suggestions, it 
earnestly prayed for a re-union of the several provinces of 
Bengal under a Governor in Council as in Bombay and 
Madras. The 'memorial concluded in the folio wing words: — 

"In oonclusion, we beg to submit that for the first time in 
the history of British Rule in India His Majesty the King of 
England will be proclaimed Emperor of India on Indian soil, 
and His Majesty's loyal subjects in this great dependency look 
forward to the auspicious occasion with the sanguine hope that 
it will be marked by some substantial boons to the people. 
We venture to assure your Excellency, that as far as the bulk 
of the Bengalees are concerned, no boon will be more warmly 


appreciated or more gratefully acknowledged than a modification 
of the Partition of Bengal." 

It may be here mentioned that previous to the 
adoption of this memorial a private conference of some 
of the leaders of Bengal and of Behar was held at the 
Indian Association where it was found that Behar 
could not subsGjribe to any proposal which did not 
seek for her divorce from Bengal. The memorial 
was accordingly drawn up on Bengal's own account, 
signed only by some of the leading men in the two 
provinces of Bengal and quietly submitted to the 
Viceroy on the 12th June, 1911. This was the 
last representation of the people on the subject. 
A copy of this memorial was also despatched by one 
of the members to Sir William Wedderburn as Presi- 
dent of the British Committee of the Congress which 
reached him at a most opportune moment as Sir 
William had already arranged for an interview with 
the Secretary of State on the subject. Sir William 
Wedderburn met Lord Crewe with this memorial and 
like an honest advocate and a dispassionate media- 
tor laid thci whole case before him. It was a most 
important interview, although Sir William with his 
characteristic reserve could hardly be persuaded to 
disclose more than an oracular version of what actually 
transpired at it. It is to be highly regretted that 
much of the valuable service actually rendered by 
him at this juncture must go unrecorded. It was, 
however, broadly understood in this country that as 
a result of all the deputations, interviews and the- 
discussions which took place in and out of Parliament^ 


the authorities in England and the Liberals in parti- 
cular were fully convinced of the grave injustice 
which had been done to an innocent and inoffensive 
people and of the severe unrest for which this ill- 
advised measure was mainly, if not solely, responsible. 
It) was also believed, that although the question was not 
free from difficulties, there was no cause for absolute 
despair and that after all if the people could prevail 
upon the Government of India to reopen the question 
and suggest a modification, neither the present Secre- 
tary of State, nor the Cabinet would stand in the way 
of a revision and fresh settlement of the "Settled fact." 

It was a strange case of retributive justice both 
in procedure as well as execution. As in 1905 the 
partition in its enlarged shape and form was hurled 
'like a bolt from the blue without a warning to the 
jpeople who ever since their last representation to the 
Secretary of State were living in a Fool's Paradise fondly 
clingiug to the hope, that nothing so violent could 
be done by British statesmanship as to go so decisively 
against the cherished wishes and aspirations of the 
people concerned ; 80 in 1911 the Indian bureaucracy 
having a few public buildings hurriedly constructed in 
"the ruined city chosen to be the capital of the new pro- 
vince firmly believed, that the new administration was 
built upon a rock and that any further struggle on the 
part of the people was bound to be sheer waste of ener- 
gies, if not a risky pursuit after a phantom which could 
afford them no relief, but could only tempt them to 
greater danger and disaster. In the secrecy of its plan 
.and the abruptness of its execution, the partition met , 


tbe same fafce at its exit as at its entrance and was 
equally dranaatic at its both ends, with this difference 
that opening with tragic scenes of thrilling interest it 
ended in a comedy exposing a series of errors productive 
of the gravest consequences. It would appear that Lord 
Hardinge had carefully studied the case even before he 
came out to India and that ever since he received the 
memorial of the 12th June he was busy working out his 
scheme for a satisfactory solution of the vexed question- 
and for the restoration of peace and order in the country. 
This scheme was embodied in a secret despatch, dated' 
the 25th August, 1911, recommending formation of a 
Presidency Government for re-united Bengal, a sepa- 
rate Lieutenant-Governorship for Behar and Orissa 
and the transfer of the Imperial Capital from Calcutta 
to Delhi, with the dominating idea of gradually 
extending autonomous administration to all the Pro- 
vinces. All this was, of course, kept a dead secret 
from August to December. But although nothing 
definite oozed out, there was persistent rumour 
throughout the country that a final pronouncement 
would be made, either one way or the other, on the forth- 
coming occasion of the Eoyal visit, the balance of Indian 
public opinion being of course in favour of a possible 
modification of the Partition, though the official circle 
generally scouted such an idea as being a dream and a 
violent improbability, if nob an actual impossibility,. 
The mystery was however soon cleared and it came as a 
stunning surprise to Anglo-India, both official and un- 
official, which firmly believed in its prescriptive right 
to be in the know in every administrative measure of 


imporfcance. The proaouneemenfc, however, did not 
appear in the ordinary garb of a routine work ; but was 
ushered in with quite a dramatic effect. On the me- 
morable 12th December, 1911, at the Coronation Durbar 
at Delhi, m the midst of an imposing ceremony and in 
the presence of a gorgeous assembly, His Majesty 
<j8orge V personally and through his Viceroy an- 
nounced one after another all the boons which were 
granted on the occasion to the people of India ; but 
there came no response to the wail of Bengal, and the 
vast crowd of Bengalees, who had gone to Delhi in the 
earnest expectatiion of hearing their sore grievance 
removed, became despondent. At last when the King 
was about to leave the pavilion upon the close of the 
-ceremony, he stood and said : — 

" We are pleased to announce to our people that on the advice of 
our ministers and after consultation with our Governor -General-in- 
GounciU we have decided upon the transfer of the seat of the Govern- 
ment of India from Calcutta to the ancient capital of Delhi and 
simultaneously i as a consequence of that transfer j the creation at as 
early a date as possible of a Governorship-in-Council for the 
Presidency of Bengal, of a new Lieutenant- Governorship-in-Council 
administering the areas of Behar, Chota Nagpuf and Orissa and 
of a Chief -Commissioner ship of Assam, with such administrative 
changes and redistribution of boundaries as our Governor -General- 
in-Gouncilf with the approval of our Secretary of State for India - 
in-Council, may in due course determine* It is our earnest desire 
that these changes may conduce to the better administration of India 
and the greater prosperity and happiness of our beloved people.^* 

The gracious announcement was at once received 
wibh tremendous acclamation in which even those who 
could not be very well pleased with the changes made 
lustily joined not undersbanding of course what the 
fl-nnouncement really was. Oae Bengal officer after- 
vvards humourously said, that he did not know that ha 


was cheering his own death -knell. So great was the 
joy and enfehusiasoa created by the announcement 
that after the King left a number of young men, mostly 
Bengalees, rushed in and kneeling before the throne 
reverently kissed the footsteps from which the an- 
nouncement had just been made. The glad tidings 
were dashed throughout the country and was the 
•signal for an outburst of loyal and enthusiastic demons- 
tration throughout Bengal which was as genuine 
as it was unprecedented. By a subsequent notification 
United Bengal was raised to the status of a Presidency 
Government from the 1st April, 1912, with Lord Carmi- 
chael as its first Governor who was specially chosen by 
the King to take the helm of the new administration. 

Thus the single stroke of Lord Hardinge's concilia- 
tory policy, as by a magic wand, at once dispelled the 
severe unrest which half a dozen repressive measures of 
his predecessor were unable to cope* with. It must 
here be acknowledged that though Bengal had no doubt 
fought bravely for six long years under the indomitable 
.leadership of Mr. Surendranath Banerjea, the un- 
stinted moral support which sbe received from the 
whole councry through the Congress, as well as from its 
individual members, in the hour of her trials and tribu- 
lations, not only largely sustained her in her great 
struggle, but also added considerable weight and im- 
portance to the anti-partition agitation. Bat for the 
support which the Congress and the country lent her 
it seems doubtful if Bengal unaided could have either 
sustained the agitation, or brought it to a suc- 
-cessful termination upsetting a settled arrangenuenb 


within such a comparatively short period. It should 
also be gratefully ackaowledged, that the support 
accorded to it by sympathetic Euglishmen, in and 
out of Parliament, was materially helpful in bringing: 
the issue to a successful termination. Nor should it be 
forgotten that when the matter was discussed in the 
Cabinet prior to His Majesty's departure for India, Lord 
Morley did not stand in the way of the proposed un- 
aettlement of his " settled fact." 

The anti-partition agitation was not only a suc- 
cessful test of the strength of the cameut which the 
Congress had created for its work of nation-building ; 
but it has also signalised the triumph of public opinion 
in its trial of strength with a strong bureaucracy. It 
has resloved India's faith in British justice and her 
conJ5dence in the ultimate success of constitutional 
agitation under British rule. It has also inspired the 
Indian mind with a firm conviction in the strength of 
public opinion properly organised, wisely directed and 
zealously carried on within the scope and limits of the 
British constitution. That constitution yields to no 
other force but that of moral pressure and answers to 
no other call than that of public opinion. *' Open 
Wheat" and '* Open Barley" would be of no avail. It 
is the '* Open Sesame" of persistent constitutional agi- 
tation which alone will throw open the door of its 
conscience. If the history of the Partition of Bengal 
has one lesson clearer than another for the Indian 
Nationalist, it consists in the weight and importance of 
public opinion which is the irresistible and unresisted 
master of the British constitution. 















w w 

O Q 






The unresfe in lodia has been fche theme of earnest 
and' persisfeent discussioos during the pasfc few years 
bofch here as well as in England. Whether it be the 
customary pronouncement of an administrator, or the 
oflficial report of any branch of fche administration ; 
whether it be the criticism of a publicist, or the harran- 
gue of the political agitator on the public platform, 
and whether it be a debate in Parliament, or the acadep 
mic diseussion in' an Indian Legislative Council, nothing 
passes : without, at least, a parting shot at the Indian 
unrest and without every one in his own way recom- 
mending his own specific for its treatment. The unresfe 
is admitted ; but while the bureaucracy would fain 
attribute it to a. sudden -restlessness among the people 
owing tO: an ; unwholesome development of . certain 
extravagant ideas in their minds, the people with, equal 
emphasis, though not with equal authority, would lay 
it at the door of that bureaucracy who unable to adapt 
themselves to the altered state of the country, have losfc 
all sympathy for their legitimate wishes and aspirations 
and are evidently determined not to guide and control, bub 
simply to curb and crush the rising spirit of a renovated 
people with old, antiquated methods of reaction and 
repression. It is, however, a patent, circumstance that 
in a dependency governed like India the people have 
nothing to gain but everything to lose by unnecessarily 

irritating the authorities : while an autocratic rule, such 


as is firmly established in this country, has very little 
to care about and certainly nothing to fear from any 
sullen discontent of the people. It is a common saying 
among the people in this country, which even the 
meanest among them accepts as a rule of conduct in 
daily life, that even the lunatic understands his own 
interest, and agitation which always involves heavy 
sacrifice of time and energy cannot be a pastime with an 
Oriental people nurtured upon a philosophy which 
represents this mundane world as a delusion and guided 
fey religious faiths which preach only eternal peace and 

It was Edmund Burke who speaking even of free 
countries said, that whenever there was a friction be- 
tween a people and its government it was invariably 
the case that the former was in the right and the latter 
in the wrong, lb has always been conceded even by 
their worst critics that the Indians are, by nature, as 
well as their religious instincts, an extremely docile 
and a tractable people and that whatever the other 
defects and blemishes of their character may be it is 
generally free from the taint of ingratitude. The 
Indians have always recognised the manifold blessings 
of the British rule, notably the security of life and 
property it has secured, the administration of justice it 
has established and the education it has fostered and 
extended throughout the country. As regards the 
development of the internal resources of the country 
and its economic condition there is no doubt considerable 
difference of opinion ; but there is an absolute consensus 
of opinion as well as of feeling throughout the country, 


that bufc for the British rale it would have been impos- 
sible for the various races inhabiting this vast continent 
to have attained the peaceful progress it has attained in 
tmany directions within the last hundred and fifty years. 
dBven the most unrelenting critic is forced to admit, that 
if India has paid a heavy price for that progress, her gain 
also has not been inconsiderable, and that plus and 
minus the balance of advantage is still on her side. On 
the other side it is hardly disputed that India was not, 
'Correctly speaking, conquered by the sword, but won by 
the willing allegiance of a people who were unable to 
•govern themselves. If that is so, the question naturally 
arises, how is it that the Indians have, after a peaceful 
»43eneficent rule of more than one and a half century, 
•suddenly developed such a spirit of restlessness and dis- 
-content ? Oan ib be Sedition — an earnest desire on the 
part of the people to overthrow the British Government 
and establish their absolute independence ? If that were 
so, any attempt on the part of the people to shake oif 
the British yoke would have proved as disastrous a 
failure as the maintenance of settled Government by 
Britain herself even for a year despite her naval and 
military strength. The cry of Sedition was as false as it 
was senseless and impolitic. There never was in these 
•years a movement anywhere to subvert British rule in 
India, nor was there a single overt act lending colour to 
a possible tendency towards such a movement, besides 
some insane, meaningless, incoherent, inflammatory 
-effusions contained in a few anonymous pamphlets or 
leaflets which some mischievous urchins might circulate 
' /for creating either a fun or a senseless sensatioa in tha 


country. If a dastardly attempt on the life of Czar- 
Nicholas, or the murder of King Humbert, or the assassi- 
nation of President Carnot could not be construed into- 
an attempt to overthrow the Russian Empire, or the- 
Italian Monarchy, or the French Republic, it seems diffi- 
cult to conceive how the secret manufacture of some bomba 
in a private garden, the assassination of a few police 
officers, the secret murder of a Magistrate, or even the- 
daring attempt on the life of an innocent Lieutenant- 
Governor at a public place, however atrocious these acts- 
may be, can be regarded as any evidence of sedition or 
treason, or how any people outside an asylum could ever 
dream of driving away the British from India with the 
help of some bundles of bamboo sticks, a few ounces of* 
picric acid, a few packets of gunpowder, or even of a 
few dozens of old, rusty smuggled revolvers. The 
idea is simply quixotic. To whatever lengths human 
ingenuity may go to strain and stretch the definition of- 
sedition or high treason, common sense must always 
refuse to believe that a handful of misguided young 
men, wifch no other instruments than these in their 
possession, could really have thought of " waging war 
against the King.'* However seriously the situation 
may have been taken by a bureaucracy placed in a 
distant foreign land, even the most ardent loyalist ia 
the country regarded the panic as quite mistaken and 
exaggerated beyond all proportion. 

The Indian bureaucracy, particularly the section of 
it belonging to the Indian Civil Service, may be disposed 
to regard every member of it as a limb of the Sovereign 
authority and as such misconstrue every serious offenca 


MBLgainsb any such member to be tantamounf; to an 
offence against lese majeste, z.e., high-treason. But the 
Eastern mind draws a sharp distinction between the 
^Crown and its servants, and between an impersonal 
♦Government and its personal officers, how highsoever 
they may be. The expression " Eepresentative of Gov- 
ernment" is loosely extended, even sometimes in official 
documents, to officers whom the people regard as no 
jnore than ** public servants." A good deal of the 
misunderstanding seems to be due to an oversight o^ 
this distinction on the part of a governing class, every 
member of which carries in him the natural pride of 
■being a ruler of the country. The late Mr. Kristodas 
Pal most forcibly and faithfully drew out this distinction 
prevailing in the Indian mind in his celebrated contro- 
<versy with the Government of Sir George Campbell who 
was not inaptly called the Tiberius of the Indian Civil 
Service. Having been charged, as Editor of the Hindic 
Fatriot, with " ill-will towards Government," the great 
Tribune said : — 

"The words * ill-will to Government* are not however 
• explicit. Is the word Government in the phrase intended to mean 
the Queen's Government or the Local Administration? — the 
ruling power, or the executive agency ? — the Sovereign Mistress of 
■the Empire, or her officers in the country ? None is better aware 
than His Honour that the Supreme Power and the administrative 
authority are quite distinct ; and nowhere is this distinction made 
so broadly and clearly as in England, When, for instance, 
Mr. Disraeli denounced the other day the present Government of 
Her Majesty as " blundering and plundering," it would be a gross 
.perversion of language to interpret this imputation into ' ill-will 
to Government,' that is, Sovereign authority, the Queen herself. 
And yet I fear the charge brought against the Patriot involves 
this misuse of words. It would be impertinent in me to remark 
lihat if criticisms of public men and measures be construed into 
* ill-will to Government,* there is not a single journal in this 


country, with the slightest pretence to independence, which would? 
not be open to this charge. Constituted as the British Govern- 
ment in India is, in which the governed millions are utterly 
unrepresented and which is administered by aliens in birth, 
religion, habits^ sentiments and feelings, the Press is the only 
channel for the communication of the views and wishes of thfr 
people, — the safety-valve, so to speak, of the political steam* 
working in the body of the masses. None is better aware than 
my humble self that the Native Press has many shortcomings ;; 
that it has much to learn and unlearn ; but nothing, J respect- 
fully submit, could be more unjust than to ascribe to it ' ill- 
will to Government,' because it considers it its duty to criticise 
the proceedings of the local administration, or particular officers- 
of Government." 

If Krishtodas Pal had been liviDg to-day he would 
have not only found the charge more lavishly and indis- 
criminately laid against his countrymen, but also a 
more forcible illustration for the disfcinction and the 
defence ; when it has been permissible in our own times 
for Orangemen, under the organized leadership of a man- 
whom even the King was not precluded from inviting to- 
a conference, to rise in armed rebellion against; the 
established Government of the country without however 
forfeiting their allegiance to the Sovereign under the^ 
constitution. Sedition in the sense of treason really 
existed nowhere in the country except perhaps in the- 
wild hallucination of a panic-stricken bureaucracy hypno- 
tised by an unscrupulous Jingo Press, and the cry of 
Sedition was only either a blind man's buff, or a wild 
goose chase in the country. If an occasion should ever 
arise to put India's loyalty to a real test it will then be 
realized how silly and injudicious it was to cry '*the 
wolf" when there was actually no wolf in the fiald.* 

• The recent war in Europe has furnished such an occaaion 
and such a test. Whole India has enthusiastically risen iu 


A question thus arises, what then was this unresfc 
and why was there such constant friction between the 
people and the Government ? And again the dictum of 
Burke comes to the reply. If it be true as Lord Glad- 
stone has said on a very recent occasion in South Africa 
that "convulsions could not happen unless there wa& 
something gravely wrong," then the cause of the unrest 
in India was not perhaps too far to seek. As has already 
been pointed out the stolid indifference and unsympa- 
thetic attitude of Government towards popular aims and 
aspirations, the imperious tone of the bureaucracy and its 
marked disposition towards opposing even the normal 
growth and development of the political rights and pri- 
vileges of the people, the repeated instances of flagrant 
miscarriage of justice in cases between Indians and 
Europeans and the recurring famines had long created a 
deep-seated and widespread feeling of dissatisfaction, — 
but not disaffection unless want of gushing affection is tan- 
tamount to it as Justice Strachey would have us believe 
— throughout the country. The thinking portion of the 
people laid all these preventible grievances at the door 
of the Government, while the ignorant mass attributed 
them to their invisible Kismat or inscrutible Provi- 
dence — the last great argument of the Eastern mind 
which reconciles it to all worldly sufferings. But the 
feeling was there every year gaining in its volume a& 
wellasinits intensity. Then there came a lull, like 
the short interlude in a tragi-comic drama, during 

defenoe of the Empire and there is now not a man in England who 
seems to entertain the shadow of a doubt as regards India's devo- 
tion 10 the Imperial connection. 


which fehe people caught fitful glimpse of a struggling ray 
of hope ; but again the clouds thickened and darkened 
4jhe atmosphere, when at last a strong, reactionary 
Viceroy appeared on the scene, who by his rigorous 
policy put a severe strain upon the patience of an 
already discontented people, and all discussions of 
jaublic questions, not only in Bengal but in the other 
Provinces also, assumed a new tone and complexion. 
With the Partition in Bengal, the Colonization Bill in 
the Punjab and the Official Secrets Act, the Press Mes- 
sages Act and the Universities Act for the whole country, 
the Indian people were exasperated beyond measure, 
and a section of the Press also began to give vent to 
the feeling in the country with a degree of warmth and 
licence which the authorities construed into Sedition. 
In the prevailing temper of the bureaucracy repression 
was prescribed as the proper remedy for the situation, 
and the Government of Lord Minto went on forging a 
series of drastic measures, such as the further widening 
of the Official Secrets Act, the Public Meetings Act, the 
Press Act, the Sedition Law, the Explosives Act, the 
Seditious Meetings Act and a number of ordinances and 
circulars by which the right of free speech and free 
criticism was practically abrogated ; while quite an 
army of inefficient and unscrupulous man under the 
name of C.I.D. officers was let loose upon society, whose 
impertinent attention did not spare Members of Councils 
or even of Parliament travelling in the country. Some 
old, obsolete Eegulations, whose existence was nearly 
forgotten till the Bombay Government discovered it, 
were brought out of the dusty armoury of Government 


•a.nd several men of note, some of whom were fully 
'believed by the pepole to be quite incapable of any 
offence, were deported without a trial. In Bombay the 
Natu Brothers were thus dealt with in 1897 ; in the 
IPunjab Mr. Lajpat Rai and Sirdar Ajit Singh were 
deported in 1907 ; while in the following year, out of a 
long list of eligible candidates in Bengal, the following 
nine persons were selected to receive the compliment ; 
'viz., — Messrs. Krishna Kumar Mitra, Aswini Kumar 
Dutt, Sbyamsunder Chuckravarty, Subodh Chandra 
Mullik, Sachindraprasad Bose, Satish Chandra Chatter- 
jee, Pulin Behary Das, Monoranjan Guha and Bhupesh 
Chandra Nag. All of these men were evidently ready 
to make whatever sacrifices were demanded of them for 
the country's cause and a few of them were probably 
also not a little proud of the advertisement thus given 
to them. Press prosecutions, proscriptions and confis- 
cations also became very frequent. The Bandemataram, 
the JugarUar and the Sandhya, a most intemperate and 
scurrilous paper in Bengal, and several papers in the 
other provinces were suppressed. Mr. Tilak as Editor 
of the Mahratta was sent to prison ; Bromho Bundhab 
Upadhya, Editor of the Sandhya, died in hospital, and 
Mr. Aurobinda Ghose, the supposed Editor of the Ba?ide 
mataram sought refuge in French territory. Police-raidSj 
house-searches and espionage became the order of the 
day ; while conferences and public meetings were forcibly 
broken up and suspended in many places, particularly in 
Eastern Bengal. Even the Education Department so long 
held almost sacred in the estimation of the public was 
pressed into a secret service with the " little barbarians '» 


in the schools as polifcical suspecfcs. Like the red rag feo- 
the bull, the innocent expression Bande mataram became 
almost intolerable to a certain class of officials. Some 
interpreted it to mean 'seize and beat the monkey,' others 
suspected it to be a secret watchword for committing 
violence; while in point of fact the harmless expression 
coined by a novelist more than a decade before meant 
nothing but — *I salute thee, my motherland.' Even the 
sacred Geeta was not spared, and in many a house-search 
where nothing incriminating 'could be laid hold on the 
Geeta was eagerly seized and carried away as an import- 
ant find. The people became incensed and that was but 
natural. The Swadeshi-Boycott was rightly or wrongly 
started as the first open protest against this high-handed 
administration. But to add fuel to the fire the fanatical 
Mahomedan mass were incited by a class of designing 
people against the Hindus, and several cases of riot, 
pillage, desecration, sacrilege and outrage upon women 
took place in Eastern Bengal and the Punjab. People 
were not wanting even in official circle who exultantly 
cited these instances as a foretaste of what might be in 
store for the Hindus if the strong hand of the Govern- 
ment were either withdrawn or even relaxed; while the 
bureaucracy generally were not slow complacently to 
refer all these disturbances to the Swadeshi Boycott 
movement and the '* National Volunteers," as if when 
that was said all was said against these acts of lawless- 
ness. A suspicion arose in the minds of some people- 
that all these were parts of a settled policy to put down 
the new spirit and that the Swadeshi movement was 
made only a scapegoat of that policy. Impartial and^ 


independent officers were not, however, altogether want- 
ing to speak out the truth. In Eastern Bengal one 
European Magistrate, who is now a naember of the 
Bengal Government, openly said that the Boycott 
was not the cause of the disturbances," as it could not 
possibly be since that movement inured more to the 
direct benefit of the poor low-class Mussalmans who 
formed the bulk of the weavers and shoemakers in the 
country ; while another Special Magistrate, a Maho- 
medan gentleman of culture and independence, trying 
a batch of these Mussalman rioters, remarked in his 
judgment that " there was not the least provocation for 
rioting ; the common object of the rioters was evidently 
to molest the Hindus." In another case the same 
Magistrate observed : — 

"The evidence adduced on the side of the prosecution shows 
that on the date of the riot the accused (a Mussalnican) read over a 
notice to a crowd of Mussalmane and told them that the Govern- 
ment and the Nawab Bahadur of Dacca have passed orders to the 
effect that nobody would be punished for plundering and oppres-- 
sing the Hindus. So, after the Kali's image was broken by 
the Mussalmans, the shops of the Hindu traders were also 

Again another European Magistrate in his report on 
another riot case wrote, that ** some Mussalmans pro- 
claimed by beat of drum that the Government has per- 
mitted them to loot the Hindus;" while in an abduction 
case the same Magistrate remarked that "the outrages 
were due to an announcement that the Government had 
permitted the Mahomedans to marry Hindu widows in 
Nika form." There was, however, yet another and a 
more disgraceful incident. In 1910 the Metropolis itself 
was in the hand of a Mussalman mob and for three 


days and nighfca the rich Marwari jewellers of the city 
were plundered with the Lieutenant-Governor himself at 
-Belvedere and an indignant though powerless Viceroy 
at Government House. And what was still more dis- 
.graceful and demoralizing, the Lieutenant-Governor 
iost no time after the riot was over in coming out 
with a long winded rigmarole manifesto defending and 
whitewashing the police. That weak Governor, one of 
the best in the service, no doubt, soon paid the penalty 
of his weakness at the hand of a strong Viceroy; but 
the painful impression produced in the mind of the 
■ community by these incidents had its baneful effect. 
The true explanation, though not the real interpreta- 
tion, of these harrowing disturbances was, however, to 
be found in what was called the "Red Pamphlet," 
which was written by a Mussalman and circulated 
broadcast among the Mahomedans of East Bengal. 
This inflammatory leaflet had not the faintest allusion 
• either to the Swadeshi or the Volunteer movement ; 
'but it deliberately incited the Mussalmans against the 
Hindus on racial and religious grounds and upon the 
supposed bias of Government in favour of Islam ; and 
strange to say, that the man who preached this Jehad 
was tardily brought to trial long after the mischief had 
Taeen done and only bound down to keep the peace for 
one year ! While instances were not altogether rare 
where Hindus for writings of less graver description 
were sentenced to transportation. No sensible Hindu 
of course believed in the so-called Government Orders, 
but apparent bias of the local authorities naturally alien- 
ated the bulk of the Hindus who were chafing under a 


sense of unredressed wrongs if nofe actually " burning 
with resentment." All this was in Bengal ; while in 
the Punjab, six lawyers of position were placed on their 
trial at Rawalpindi as political offenders who, accord- 
ing to the alarmist crowd of Sedition-mongers, had by 
their inflammatory speeches incited violent riots. For ■ 
six long months these respectable professional men were 
detained in prison and ultimately they were all honour- 
ably acquitted, the special Magistrate trying the case 
holding that the evidence for the prosecution was 
"suspicious if not fabricated." 

It is a significant fact that these tactics were 
largely in evidence in the two provinces where the lower 
elements of the Mussalman population were in the majo- 
rity. The attempts of the inferior officers of Government 
to whitewash themselves and make their occupation 
smooth and easy by referring these disturbances to the- 
leaders of the people, who were nearly all Congressmen, 
constituted another blunder which went a long way 
towards alienating the public, and people were not want- 
ing who actually argued that if the popular leaders could 
be accused of inciting one community to commit distur- 
bances, with equal propriety the local officials could be 
charged with indirectly fomenting violence among the 
other community. The natural leaders of the two com- 
munities and indeed the upper classes of both throughoufc 
maintained their longstanding friendly relation in the 
least unaffected by these disturbances. If the volumes of 
confidential reports and cypher messages which came 
very largely into use at this period could see the light of 
day, it might be possible to make a fair apportionment 


of the respoDsibilities of the situation thus created 
between the bureaucracy and the people ; but to all out- 
ward appearances the former made a grievous mistake 
in making an indiscriminate attack upon all the parties 
afifected — the masses and the classes, the aristocracy 
and the gentry — and the moderates and the extremists. 
They were all made the common target of oiBficial criti- 
cisms and subjected to one sweeping condemnation. In 
the Swadeshi movement the Mahomedans were actively 
associated with the Hindus in several places; but they 
-generally received a differential treatment. Anyhow 
the tension between the Hindus and the bureaucracy 
became strained almost to the breaking point and even 
sober, impartial Mahomedans were not wholly wanting 
who felt that the policy of divide and rule could hardly 
'have been extended more openly or more aggressively 
in certain direction. A number of thoughtless but 
impressionable young men were taken of their feet 
under the influence of some violent speeches and writ- 
ings of a few enthusiasts and these running amock 
committed several dastardly outrages which furnished 
the Government with a legitimate excuse for a series of 
repressive measures unheard of in this country since 
the dark days of the Mutiny. The grim spectre of 
anarchism at last reared its head in a country noted 
for its piety and overscrupulous tenderness even for the 
insects and the worms. Secret murders and assassina- 
tions took place in towns as vyell as villages and some 
secret societies for the commission of crimes were also 
discovered in the country. In panic the bureaucracy, 
ifanned by a hysterical press, cried out that the country 


-was on feha verge of a mutiny. Ab this crifcical situation 
^tha Indian National Congress and its members rendered 
a service to the State as well as to the country which, 
in the heat of passion and prejudice, may not have 
been properly recognised by either ; bub which the 
impartial future historian of this gloomy period will 
be bound ungrudgingly to record. In a strong ad- 
verse current the natural leaders of the people as 
'represented in the Congress stood firm and by their 
example as well as their influence kept the public under 
.control. Not a few of them on critical occasions flung 
themselves boldly in the midst of seething disturbances 
and where the police failed with their regulation lathies 
succeeded in maintaining peace and order by their 
moving sympathy and persuasive eloquence. But for 
the firmness and the restraining influence of the Con- 
gress and the much-abused Congressmen, the country 
might have been involved in a much wider and a more 
-serious conflagration. If they were unable to do more, 
it was more on account of want of confidence in them 
than any want of earnestness on their part. Unfortu- 
nately, however, all the reward that they earned for 
their services was unmerited calumnies and aspersions 
on the one hand and wanton insults and opprobrium on 
the other, and when all was over, the bureaucracy in- 
dulged in mutual admiration of the valour, tact and 
resourcefulness of its members in having successfully 
averted the repetition of a second chapter of the affairs 
of 1858. 

Unrest had no doubt reached an acute stage and 
iihe deadly spirit of anarchism and lawlessness was 


undoubtedly stalking the streets of cities and towns 
even in broad daylight ; and it was also true that the 
situation became such as not only to justify but also to 
make it incumbent upon a civilized Government ta 
take stringent measures for the preservation of peace- 
and order and for the security of life and property. No 
one could reasonably complain of any legitimate and 
adequate measure that Government might adopt for 
the suppression of these heinous crimes. The differ- 
ence lay only in the means and methods employed. 
Measures were introduced which made no distinction 
between the innocent many and the guilty few and in 
their operation the guity and the innocent were in- 
volved in one confusion. In fact, in some cases the 
rigours of these bad laws were visited mostly upon the 
peaceful citizens, while the criminals escaped scot-free.. 
For instance, in the case of the Press Laws, the peopl© 
were perfectly at a loss to understand how the muz- 
zling of a public press could help either in the sup- 
pression or in the detection of the dark deeds of the 
anarchist who moved in secret, hatched his plans in 
secret and carried them out in secret. In a situation- 
like this the forces of public opinion should have been 
rallied on the side of the bureaucracy ; but they were< 
simply alienated. It was complained, not without some 
show of reason, that the people withheld their co- 
operation from the Government ; but it was evidently 
overlooked that Government itself made hearty co- 
operation practically impossible. Sentiments are often 
reciprocal, and it is confidence that begets confidence. 
When the Government evidently distrusted the people- 


and was busy continuously forging fetters for them 
without distinction it was idle to expect any active co- 
operation from the people. It is always a bad policy 
to burn the candle at both ends. 

Aoarchism was soon followed by another serious 
crime — Bobberyt The truth, however, seemed to b& 
that a section of the bureaucracy were unable to divest 
themselves of their erroneous impression that both 
anarchism and robbery were the outward manifestations 
of an undercurrent of treason. It has been truly 
observed that when John Bull begins to suspect, ha 
generally begins at the wrong end and that even when 
the other end forces itself upon his attention he refuses 
to retrace his step. A little reflection would hav& 
shewn dhat the real objective of the anarchist and thd 
robber in this country has been the police, the approver 
and the witness, and in one case only it was also the 
Magistrate in a criminal trial. None but an anarchist 
need defend anarchism. The anarchist is the common 
enemy of God and man, and in every age and every 
climate civilized humanity has refused to recognise 
the brotherhood of the secret murderer and the dast- 
ardly assassin. But anarchism is not one of those 
tropical diseases which a European need study and 
investigate in a tropical country at the expense of a 
tropical people, Its therapeutics ought to be well 
known to him. Anarchism like plague has undeniably 
been imported into this country, one from the Far East 
and the other from the West. They were the unavoid- 
able concomitants of free trade and free ccmmunica- 
tion, and it is the characteristic of both that wherever 


they find their way they come to stay until the poison 
has spent itself. A civilized Governoaent is no doubt 
bound to fight out both ; but in either case the opera- 
tion should be carefully confined to the rat and not 
indiscriminately extended to the cat and the kite as 
well. No sensible man will burn the curtain to get rid 
of the bug. In this country, however, laws are some- 
times made more with a view to make the administra- 
tion easier than to meet the actual necessities of a 
situation. The laws of rioting, of accomplices and of 
conspiracy, all woven with the imaginary thread of a 
legal fiction, are so many arbitrary inventions for 
running the administration on convenient lines though 
at considerable sacrifice of the best interests of justice 
and fairness, not to speak of the individual rights of 
free citizenship. One false step imperceptibly leads to 
another and the law permitting, for the ends of justice 
in extreme cases, the conversion of an offender to a 
witness has in recent years been carried too far, parti- 
cularly in the so-called political trials, at the instance of 
a police as notorious for its inefficiency as for its 
corruption. The practice has assumed the proportion 
'of such a scandal as to attract the notice of Parliament 
and a proposal is actually on foot to amend the law on 
the subject. The anarchists in this country will gene- 
rally be found associated with gangs of robbers and 
secret assassins with no ulterior political object in view. 
They are a revised edition of the Thugs and Goondals 
of a previous generation with this difference that they 
have ascended a little higher, in the scale of society and 
have taken to more refined weapons of destruction. 


'Whatever their means and methods may be, their aim 
generally is the police and the approver — the man who 
manipulates evidence against them and the man who 
either betrays their secrets, or securely perjures himself 
-against them. To invest these pests of society with the 
title of political offenders is to inspire them with an idea 
of false martyrdom and to indirectly set a premium upon 

It has been pointed out that the unrest in India 
cannot logically be traced to a really seditious or trea- 
sonable movement in the country. It is the visible 
'-manifestation of a deep-seated and widespread discon- 
tent which has gradually accumulated through years of 
unsymoathetic bureaucratic administration and which, 
*in its latest development, is only a rigorous though 
ill-advised protest against that administration. It may 
be disaffection; but with due deference to the Indian 
Legislature and the Indian Judges it is neither Sedition 
nor Treason. The origin and growth of this unrest and 
'the causes underlying it may be summed up as follows :^ 

The extremely slow and over-cautious movement of 
the Government and its inability to keep pace with the 
^general advancement of the people to which it at the 
same time largely contributed may be regarded as the 
primary cause of th& deplorable tension that has arisen 
-^between the two parties. The termination of the mis- 
rule of the East India Company at the dnd of a greafc 
military rising and with the establishment of a settled 
<}overnment directly under the Grown marks a turning 
tpoint in the history of British rule iu India. Tha 


Queen's Prbclamation of 1858 following a drastic- 
change in Government filled the people's mind with the 
ardent hope of nob only peace and prosperity but 
also of steady progress and consolidation of their poli- 
tical rights and privileges as British citizens. Peace 
wa? restored and justice was firmly established ; hut 
the free citizenship was still withheld from them. On 
the whole, the Government up to 1898 was no doubt 
a progressive one ; but its motion was eo slow that for 
all practical purposes the people regarded it as a fixed 
body and its immobility became a byword in the coun- 
try. A complete generation passed away and every 
reform from time to time proposed or promised proved' 
a source of fresh disappointment ; while the occasional 
shortening of their tether in one direction or another 
made the people completely distrustful of the adminis- 
tration. This wane of confidence led to misunderstand- 
ing, and misunderstanding to irritation and discontent., 
The next cause which more than any other aggra- 
vated the situation, was the racial distinction manifested 
in the administration of criminal justice. From the 
trial of Maharajah Nund Ooomar down to the latest 
prosecution of a European upon a charge of murder of a 
native of the country, the people were never able ta 
divest themselves of the belief that there was invariably 
a gallirag failure of justice in cases between Indians and 
Europeans. Apart from the numerous cases of indigo 
planters and tea planters, there was hardly to be found 
a single instance where a European, whether a soldier 
or a civilian, voluntarily causing the death of a defence- 
iess Indian did not escape with the payment of a fina> 


<not exceeding rupees one hundred only, tbe usual scale 
v"being fifty. A man dragging a live fiah or breaking 
^he legs of a crab wag somefcimes fined Rs. 50 and the 
spectacle of a European causing tbe death of a human 
being and the penalty being the same amount was 
neither edifying nor conducive to cordial relations 
between the governing classes and the governed how- 
ever fragile and enlarged the Indian spleen might be. 
The Fuller Minute of Lord Lyttoo, the Resolutions of 
Lord Curzon in the cases of tbe Rangoon and Sialkote 
battalions and the proceedings of the O'Hara case in 
Bengal may be read to form only an imperfect estimate 
of the depth of feeling with which the people generally 
regareled these cases between Indians and Europeans, 
and, what was still more regrettable, man were not 
altogether wanting who would quote old Manu to justify 
lihese proceedings at the present day. 

The third and immediate cause of the unrest must 
he referred to the reactionary policy which asserted 
itself in the councils of the Empire in recent years. 
It has been truely remarked by Mr. Henry Nevinson 
that " although no hard-and-fast line can be drawn in 
history, the arrival of Lord Curzon as Viceroy on 
December 30, 1898, marks a fully strong and natural 
division." During the forty years that elapsed between 
1858 and 1898 the Government in its oscillatory motion 
going backwards and forwards on the whole marked a 
steady though slow progress. It was Lord Curzon 
who set back the hand of the clock and reversed the 
;<policy into a complete retrograde one. It may be 
^that he was in hia own way right in thinking thafe 


the policy of 1858 was wrong ; bufc that policy havings 
been accepted and worked upon for nearly half a 
cenfcury with fehe fullest consciousness of its ultimate 
results, Lord Curzon was hioaself in the wrong in trying 
to change it at this distance of tinae when the people 
had outgrown the old system, and as Lord Macaulay had 
fully anticipated, were with the expansion of their minds, 
aspiring to institutions, rights and privileges with which 
that policy had naturally inspired their minds. It was 
too late. This retrograde policy which sharply manifest- 
ed itself in almost every branch of the adminis- 
tration and which was received with a chorus of 
applause by a notoriously Conservative Bureaucracy 
supported by an equally Conservative Press gave a rude 
shock to the popular mind and the discontent which 
had long been brewing in the country burst into a 
flame. Lord Curzon evidently struck by the magni- 
tude of this discontent attempted to throw the responsi-^ 
bility on his successor saying that there was no distur- 
bance so long as he was in this country ; but the popular 
verdict was unatiimous that it was his policy which set 
the house on fire, though he was just lucky enough in 
successfully making his escape before the smoking fire 
blazed out. i 

The repressive policy which Lord Minto adopted 
to cope with a situation for which he was not himself 
responsible, was a mistaken remedy and served only to 
aggravate the situation. The various measures with 
which he sought to restore peace and order in the coun- 
try wore the appearance more of a newly conquered 
territory than of a settled country. The suppression o^ 


free speech, the muzzling of the press, espionage, house- 
searches and police surveillance from which even th& 
most respected in the land were not exempted, became the^ 
order of the day ; while quite an army of C. I. D. officers 
mostly recruited from among the refuse of society and 
who acted more as spies than as detectives made the 
situation still more intolerable and completely alienated 
the public. These so-called C. I. D. officers were regard- 
ed with distrust both by the people as well as the- 
regular police who, with all their defects, were immensely 
superior to them both in point of ability as well as^ 
efficiency. They in fact served no other useful purpose 
than that of exasperating the people and in making the 
situation still more strained which it was the avowed 
object of the Government to smooth and improve. 

A fifth cause underlying the unrest was the sup- 
posed policy of stirring up racial jealousy and setting 
one class against another in the administration of the 
country. That policy was once tried in favour of the 
Hindus and against the Mussalmans at an early period 
of the British rule and was again repeated now only» 
the order being reversed. Whether in the public ser- 
vices, or in the Municipal and Local Boards, or in the 
Legislative Councils, the people perceived the working of 
this racial bias and although the Government was nob 
altogether without some justification in certain cases, 
the majority of the people were not slow to attribute 
its actions to the working of a settled policy. 

The overbearing and imperious conduct of the 
bureaucracy was also not a little responsible for the 


growth of this unrest, Every one cried peace when 
very few by fcheir act and conduct contributed towards 
peace. There was more talk than act of living sym- 
pathy between the local authorities and the people ; 
while as to mutual trust and confidence both sides 
were aware that they were simply conspicuous by their 
fibseoce. In fact to such an extent was official suspi- 
cion carried that it sometimes interfered with natural 
affection and violently disturbed domestic relatiouship. 
Gases were neither few nor far between where brothers 
were forced to break up from brothers and fathers from 
their sons. While such was the state of things enferc- 
•ed by the condition of the services, the feeling of dis- 
-confcent naturally grew from day-to-day and spread 
from family to family. 

Another cause which has largely contributed to 
the growth of this unrest was the constant and syste- 
matic flouting of public opinion by the authorities in 
this country. The practice of treating Indian public 
opinion with perfect indifference and of running counter 
to such opinion on almost all questions of public 
importance was often carried to such irritating extent 
that the average people came to regard it as part of a 
settled policy. Indeed bitter experience had shown 
that to anticipate the decision of Government in any 
important question, one had only to spin out all con- 
ceivable arguments against the trend of public opinion 
and the result of such a process seldom turned out to be 
incorrect. This not infrequently led cynical publicists 
sarcastically to suggest that the engine should be re- 
versed and that the very opposite of what the people 


wanted should be tbe fcheme of fche public plafeform and 
of fche public press. Public censure of an officer often 
acted as a passport to this advancement and; instances 
were neither few nor far between where the sharp criti- 
cism of the acts of an unpopular officer happened to be 
met by his almost immediate promotion. The popu- 
larity of an officer counted only for disqualification. 
All this was said to be due to the fetish of official 
prestige. The prestige of a Government is no doubt its 
most valuable asset ; but true presbige does not consist 
in riding rough-shod over public opinion and in in- 
spiring dread into public mind, but in securing the 
allegiance and approbation of the popular voice and in 
enlisting the confidence and co-operation of the people. 
Jt is despotism that trusts on its iron will ; but a con- 
stitutional government is always founded upon the bed- 
rock of popular ideas and sentiments. 

In the majority of cases where anarchism has 
developed into robbery and other crimes affecting pro- 
perty, it will be found on careful examination that they 
are more economic than political in their origin, 
although the authorities find it more convenient to 
group them all together with the so-called political 
offences. The poor but respectable people who gene- 
rally pass by the name of bhadralokes are bit the 
hardest by the economic condition of the country. 
'They are nobody's care and their position is being 
gradually more and more straitened. Whether in fche 
Legislature or in the administration their condition 
receives very little attention ; while driven alike from 
•4ihe soil and the services they have long been a standing 


menace to society, and ife is these people who are novr 
largely in evidence in the dacoities that have become^ 
rampant throughout the country. They no doubt resort- 
to political cants ; but this they do as much to divert 
official attention from them as to facilitate recruitment- 
of unsuspecting immature youths in their ranks. 

The last cause which aggravated the unrest must 
be traced to the intemperate writings and wild vapour- 
ings of a section of the people who found ample oppor- 
tunities in the unsympathetic attitude of the authori- 
ties to foment the irritation which rankled in the- 
minds of the public. These people did not hesitate- 
either to distort facts or to exaggerate situations and 
create sensation more for self-advertisement than for 
any real remedy for the actual situation which was bad 
enough even without them. 

Whether this ugly development was due to bureau- 
cratic methods or to a malignant growth in the body 
politic, or to the economic condition of a certain class 
of population, its appearance was undoubtedly a grave- 
menace to society and a serious obstacle to orderly pro- 
gress. Whatever might be the true genesis of these 
sporadic instances of moral depravity, tbe question still 
remained to be considered whether general repression 
was the proper remedy even in view of a possible out- 
break of such a malady. The true remedy for anarchy^, 
says Burke, is conciliation and not coercion ; for 
coercion, however drastic, always leaves room for 
coercing again. If therefore these disturbances were no 
more than abnormal developments of crimes the arm of 
the ordinary law of land was surely long and strong. 


enough fco reach and pufe down these criminals ; but; if on 
fche ofcher hand they were connected with any political 
condition in the country, the remedy applied was singu- 
larly inappropriate. The first manifestation of this unrest 
was admittedly political and the present condition of the 
country amply illustrates the truth of Burke's dictum. 
It has been admitted even by Sir Valentine Chirol that 
the Indian political atmosphere has been largely cleared 
up by the inauguration of a policy of conciliation, 
which had been so darkly clouded by a policy of re- 
pression. If Lord Curzon was primarily responsible 
foi; the outbreak, two methods were open to his successors 
to deal with it, and both the methods were tried one- 
after the other. Lord Minto was advised to resort to 
repression, and he tried it to the fullest extent, but 
failed ; while Lord Hardinge took to the other method, 
of conciliation and at once succeeded. That is a practi- 
cal demonstration whose visible result can neither be- 
disputed nor ignored. A question, however, still arises, 
— has the unrest been completely dissipated and do we 
now live in perfect "sunshine ? Are the people and the 
bureaucracy fully reconciled, and is there no cause for 
further anxiety? In justice to truth and frankness 
these unpleasant questions must be answered in the 
negative. Undoubtedly the situation has vastly im- 
proved : but in spite of the prevailing calm and cheering,, 
signs of peace all round there is the sore still rankling 
in the bosom of both the bureaucracy and the people. 
The loud talk of official sympathy, with which the offi- 
cial documents and utterances resound and which for 
ought we know, may be perfectly genuine and undefiled: 


afc itis founfeain-source, seems however to touch the 
heart of the country very lightly. The tension between 
the executive officers and the educated comnaunity is 
not yet relaxed to an appreciable extent ; while in 
some places the habit oi disbrusG and suspicion and the 
dogging of the innocenhs se^m to be still in operation. 
The policy lias no doubt changed ; but the practice has 
not fully moved out of its old groove. The repressive 
measures still stand on the statute book, while occa- 
sional reminders are not altogether wanting to apprise 
the public that there is no intention of even treating 
them aq dead letters. The higher officials have yo 
doubt became in many places more polite and courte- 
ous ; but it seems extremely doubtful if any real cordia- 
lity has been established between the official hierarchy 
and the leaders of public opinion in the country. Even 
the serene atmosphere of the legislative assemblies is 
not sometimes free from the flying dusts of the streets. 
If the situation is to be radically and permanently 
improved mere superficial treatment must not be 
depended on and a more searching 'enquiry should be 
made into the real causes of discontent and a genuine 
effort made to remove them root and branch, though it 
may involve some sacrifice and a little loss of official 

As regards the remedy it should be borne in mind 
that although every doctor, and specially the authorized 
house-surgeon in a hospital, is entitled to his own pres- 
<iription, the disease really requires but one treatment, 
and that no surgeon however skilful should resort to 
Caesarian operation until all the ordinary rules of mid- 


wifery have failed. If the most drastic methods hifcherfco 
employed have failed to produce the desired result, 
there must he other methods which ought at least to 
have a fair trial. And above all, a correct diagnosis of 
the situation should be attempted without any bias or 
prejudice. There are, as has been pointed out by an 
eminent authority, a number of forces at work in the 
Indian polity . at the present moment which must be so 
regulated and co-ordinated that their resultant force may 
make for progress on the line of least resistance or 
friction. These forces are, — Ist, the Parliament, the 
central body, from which ail the other forces radiate and 
to which all powers, when once created, are supposed to 
gravitate and which is the ultimate authority controlliog 
the entire system ; 2ndly, the Secretary of State or the 
Minister for India, the seat of Parliamentary power, 
who holds all the threads of the Indian administration 
in bis hand and directs all its operations from Whitehall, 
being nominally responsible to Parliament ; 3rdly, the 
Viceroy and the Government of India, the lever which, 
with the assistance of the local administrations like 
so many flywheels, works the entire machinery on the 
spot; 4:thly, the Anglo-Indian Bureaucracy, a compact 
hierarchy dominating the entire administration from 
top to bottom and mounting guard over every passage 
and avenue leading to the inner sanctuary of that 
administration ; 5thly, the Indian People as represented 
by the Indian National Congress, the howling pariah 
dog that barks out the thief all night to receive in the 
morning occasional lashes for disturbing the master's 
sleep with a few crumbs from the refuse of the morning 


and the evening meals as the reward of his thankless, 
gratuitous services, and 6thly and lastly, the growing 
spirit of crimes and lawlessness, the anarchist and the 
robber, a direct challenge to force No. 4, which being 
primarily responsible for exercising this evil spirit is 
now unable to bottle it and in its just endeavour to 
control it largely tends towards general mischief though 
in a different direction. 

To pursue these points a little further, the first is 
no doubt the highest and the most important of these 
forces; but it travels such an immense distance and 
passes through so many media that its real power is 
better understood than felt in this country. The 
parliamentary control over Indian affairs was consider- • 
ably weakened after the transfer of the sovereignty of 
the country to the Crown, and it would perhaps be no i 
great exaggeration to say that it has gradually been 
reduced almost to a vanishing point. "The nearer 
the Church the farther from faith," is a trite old saying 
which seems to apply with equal force to the great 
Mother of Parliaments as any other institution ; for as 
far as India is concerned that august body now sits 
almost quiescent like the great cosmic force in Hindu 
philosophy which is supposed to have existence without 
action and consciousness without volition, a mere silent 
witness to the wondrous creation around, which how- 
ever cannot go on without its metaphysical existence. 
Instances are not wanting where this supreme authority 
has been not only treated with scant courtesy, but its 
solemn decision also over-ruled with perfect impunity 
by authorities admittedly subordinate to it. This has 


B very unwholesome effect upon Indian oiinda which 
regard the British Parliament as a palladium of justice 
and the final arbiter of the Empire's fate. In the vast 
and varied organisation of an Empire like that of Great 
Britain delegation of authority is certainly unavoidable ; 
but delegation is not surrender., any more than that 
an agent can be an irresponsible substitute for the 
principal. Abdication of power without the safeguard 
of necessary control is the surest passport to abuse, and 
where a helpless subject people at a distance is concern- 
ed it is a free license to injustice and corruption. It is 
doubtless true that the British Parliament has- not by 
any statute divested itself of its supreme authority ; 
but in point of practice its interest in Indian affairs 
appears to be so feeble and so transitory, that the Indian 
public are seldom inspired with any great confidence in 
the justice of its action, or in the earnestness of its 
intention. At the bar of the House the Indian bureau- 
cracy should be ordinarily considered as put upon its 
trial ; but the position is more often than not reversed, 
the bureaucracy appearing as the prosecutor and a totally 
unrepresented people as the accused, and the judgment 
of the House generally goes ex parte against them. 
The general result of questions and debates in Parlia- 
ment regarding matters Indian, therefore, produces a 
•very unfavourable impression upon the people, who are 
thus not unnaturally driven to the conclusion that 
there is hardly any remedy against the vagaries of the 
Executive out in this country. The first step towards 
any improvement of the present situation would, 
therefore, be for Parliament to assume greater control 


over the Indian administration and to exercise closer 
supervision over its cQanagement. The theory of the^ 
** noan on the spot" has been carried to extravagant 
excess and it is high time that it were thoroughly 

The Secretary of State is the real seat of power 
under the present arrangement. He is assisted by a 
Council of 9 to 15 retired veterans of the service ; but 
he is, in practice, though not under the statute, a perfect 
autocrat, although one of the greatest autocrats that 
India hasever seen since the days of Aurangzeb has at last 
openly confessed that " anything which has a suspicion 
of autocracy in a case lilre that of India" should be care- 
fully avoided and he humbly submitted to the House 
that in India autocracy " would not only be a blunder 
but almost a crime." That crime, however, has been an 
outstanding feature of the Indian administration since 
the battle of Plassey. The India Council is mostly 
composed of a number of retired Anglo-Indian officials 
grown grey in Ango-Indian prejudices and strongly 
saturated with the instincts and traditions of an almost 
irresponsible Anglo-Indian autocracy. The first Con- 
gress in 1885 urged for the abolition of the Council 
which only worked for mischief by stiffening the Sec- 
retary of State against any substantial reform of the 
Indian administration, and five years after, the sixth 
Congress also repeated the charge. The only change 
that has since taken place in the constitution of this 
Council is the introduction of two Indian members into 
it by Lord Morley without however any statutory recog- 
nition. Lord Crewe attempted to give this improvement 


the force of a legal provision and make it a permanent 
feature of the institution ; but Lord Crewe's India 
Council Bill of 1914 has been rejected by the House 
of Lords. The Bill was not a measure of perfection ; 
but yet it contained some germs of reform which once 
accepted might have in fufcure years paved the way 
towards popularizing the Council of the Secretary of 
State. The proposed nomination of the two Indian 
members out of a panel of forty elected persons was no- 
doubt a curious invention, although such inventions, 
like the mock creations of Visiuamitra of old, were- 
not altogether foreign to the British Indian adminis- 
tration. In the establishment of Trial by Jury Sir 
James Fitz James Stephen introduced a system of trial 
with the aid of assessors which was a pure mockery 
neither sweet nor sour. Then in the reform of the 
Councils under Lord Cross' Bill of 1892, a system of 
election was introduced whicli was subject to the con- 
firmation of Government. Again in the domain of 
education a novel principle has recently been enun- 
ciated by Sir Herbert Eisley, which still governs the 
Educational policy of Government, that ** it is not in 
the interest of the poor (in India) that they should 
receive high education." India is a proverbial land of 
Surprises, and it has never been her lot to receive a 
full loaf at a time. It is gravely contended that her 
soil, her climate and her traditions stand in the way 
of her normal expansion and development. However that 
may be, the statutory position of the two Indian members 
being once secured, it would not have been difficult 
to remove the panel afterwards. The Conservatives 


fully grasped the situation, and it is a great pity 
that they were able to lay their hand on some Indian 
opinions also in support of their arguments. Thus a 
great opportunity has been lost for the improvement 
of the real seat of power in the administration of the 
country, which may not recur within another decade. 
Whenever that opportunity comes, it shall be India's 
<jase, that although the Viceroy and the Government 
of India should never be subordinated to any member 
or department of the India Council, the constitution of 
that Council should be materially altered, so that not 
less than one third of its members may be Indians, 
another third taken' from among tried politicians in 
England totally unconnected with the Indian adminis- 
tration and the rest selected from among a certain 
class of retired Anglo-Indian officials of experience. 
Thus there will be one section of the Council faithfully 
representing the Indian view, another section the view 
of the bureaucracy, while the third will hold the 
balance evenly between the two. The present arrange- 
ment «nder which bureaucracy has an overwhelming 
preponderance in that Council practically sitting in 
judgment over its own actions may be convenient for 
the administration, but can never be good for the people. 
It is not enough that the real seat of power is just ; 
but it is also necessary that its justice should be felt 
^nd understood in this country and its people inspired 
with confidence in the justice of the administration. 

Then comes the Viceory, the supreme head of all 
the local administration and the real representative of 
the Crown on the spot. He is generally a British 


^fcatesman of dis&inction and comes out to India appa- 
-gently without any bias or prejudice. But once he 
^aaumes office he fiadg hinaself isolated, or more correct- 
t.!y speaking, hemmed in on all aides by bureaucratic 
influences which it is his duty to control, but to which 
''he is often bound to succumb. Experience is no doubt 
a valuable asset in every worldly concern ; but keen 
insight and sound judgment based upon a dispassionate 
survey of both sides of a question are of far greater 
♦importance towards the success of a great administra- 
tion. An exaggerated importance seems always to have 
been attached to local knowledge both in regard to the 
Council of the Secretary of State as well as the Execu- 
tive Council of the Governor-General : but in both these 
cases it is apparently overlooked that local knowledge 
and experience may often be a bundle of prejudice, 
begotten of one-sided study of the people and the country, 
of natural pride of superiority, as well as of the bias of 
jealousy and selfishnesss. Familiarity often breeds con- 
tempt, while class interest sometimes unconsciously 
magnifies our preconceived notions and ideas. So that 
*' the man on the spot)' has his advantages as well as 
his disadvantages, Nature has its counterpoise in all 
its arrangements, and so long as the Council of the 
Governor-General, no less than that of the Secretary of 
State, is not well proportioned and evenly balanced 
in its bureaucratic as well as popular influences, the 
best intentioned and the strongest of Viceroys must fail 
to give effect to his noblest ideals and projects, and the 
legitimate aspirations of the people must remain indefini- 
.tely postponed resulting inevitably in irritation and 


discontent;. If the adnainistration is to be popularized as- 
a means to secure the real co-operation of the people and 
thereby shift a portion of the responsibility as well as 
its unpopularity from the Government to the people, 
the overwhelming preponderance of the bureaucracy 
in the Government of India as well as in the Locals 
Governments, must be redilced to a minimum. 

The fourth power of the State, the bureaucracy, 
is the real power felt and understood by the people in 
every day life in this country. By it the entire weight 
of the administration is measured and its quality both^ 
in tone and character determined. The theory of 
efficiency has of recent years been carried to extra- 
vagant excess, reducing the administration to a lifeless 
machinery without the initiative of any sentient being. 
And the working of this machinery is entirely vested 
in one train of officials all of whom are cast in one mould,, 
trained in one uniform standard and all revolving as it 
were on a common axis and regulated by a common 
impulse. Their discipline is exact and praiseworthy and 
their cohesion almost metallic. It seems impossible 
to touch this train at any one point without an instan- 
taneous response being transmitted thoughout the 
entire system. Such a system no doubt secures smooth- 
ness of routine work and uniformity in its outturn ;, 
but can hardly be progressive. Its power of resistance 
to innovation is both natural and enormous. Then 
again, it is not simply the great departments of the- 
State, but also the occasional enquiries into these- 
departments when initiated in this country, are prac- 
tically vested in the members of the bureaucracy •. 


If Ganabis Indica be really a " concenfcrafced food " and as 
such a remedy for Indian famine, ife seems fairly 
•intelligible why a member of fche Indian Civil Service 
should be selected as fche President of a Ganja Commis- 
sion ; but what special qualification there is for a 
member of that service to preside over a Sanitary 
Committee, or an Education Commission or a judicial 
enquiry, it is rather difficult to appreciate. This centrali- 
sation of all authority in one particular service has a 
distinct tendency towards creating a rigid official caste 
system, which like all caste systems presents a dead 
wall against any change and works only for mischief. 
The result is, that as the bureaucracy generally looks 
with disfavour upon any proposal of reform advanced 
by the people, so the people view with distrust any 
measure inaugurated by fche bureaucracy. The first 
step towards effecting a cordial rapproaGhme?it, bet- 
ween the two, must therefore be to strike a golden 
imean where each may meet the other half way, and 
this can only be done by breaking down the official 
caste system which is rapidly crystallizing itself and 
gradually alienating fche people from fche Government. 
The subject forms the crucial point of the administra- 
tion and will be more fully dealt with in a separate chap- 

The next great force is that of public opinion as 
represented by the Indian National Congress to which 
the Moslem League is also rapidly coverging. Vox 
Populi Vox Dei may not be fully true of a subject 
tpeople in a dependency; but no Goveroment however 
-strong or despotic can afford completely to ignore public 


opinion in the matter of its administration. The voices 
of the people may not be sometimes wise ; but it may 
often be irresistible ; and to keep it within reasonable 
bounds it becomes necessary to conciliate it by sympathy 
instead of exasperating it by show of violeoce or open 
disregard. Public opinion in this country is. not yefc^ 
sufficiently vigorous to assert itself; but it is gaining- 
strength every day both in volume as well as intensity 
and is sufficiently pretty strong not to be treated as 
an altogether negligible quantity. Various grounds 
may be urged by a stereotyped bureaucracy why 
every Government cannot be by the people, but even' 
the most cynical bureaucrat has not l^een bold enougb 
to dispute the proposition that a civilized Government 
can only be for the people. It therefere follows that- 
in order that a Government may be for the people it 
must to a large extent conform itself to the views- 
and wishes of that people. A regular tug of war in 
which the people pull in one way and a close bureau- 
cracy in another, may be an exciting trial of strength ; 
but it always acts as a dead weight to progress and orderly 
Government ; while persistent flouting of public opinion* 
must inevitably let loose forces of disorder in society. 

This brings us to a consideration of the sixth- 
and the last force which having recently come into 
painful operation has been greatly exercising the 
administration of this country : the force of disorder 
and lawlessness. Without entering into any discussion 
as to the orgin of this ugly development and without 
making any attempt towards an apportionment of tha- 
responsibility of the situation between the people and' 


the bureaucracy, it may be pointed out that this new 
phase is as nauch a slur upon the administration as it is 
upon the character of the people themselves. Th& 
sinister spirit of heinous crimes seems not to have wholly - 
died out and sporadic cases of assassination and robbery 
are still reported from different parts of the country. 
They are mostly actuated either by motives of self- 
preservation, private grudge, or avarice ; but what is 
most deplorable is, that fehey are not confined to the^^ 
habitual criminal population of the country. People 
who happen to belong to poor but respectable families^ 
and who have some pretention to education also, hav& 
been drawn into these dark and dismal ways, while 
even schoolboys in some places appear to have been 
inveigled to join their ranks under fctlse hopes and 
absurd misrepresentations. This is a most distressing 
phase of the situation. Various attempts have been made 
for the protection of these boys. Education has been 
officialized, schools have been barricaded and school- 
boys segregated and placed under surveillance. Under 
the ban of political association these boys have been 
completely dissociated from healthy public influence^ 
with the result that they now deem themselves some- 
times absolved even from their natural allegiance to 
their parents. It is the trite old story of "from th& 
frying pan into the fire." To save the youths of the 
country from the hands of the much abused political 
agitators these innocents have been driven into the 
folds of desperate criminals. It is, however, no use 
crying over spilt milk and abusing one another. 
Attempts should be made in all earnestness to eradicate- 


the evil > even the latent germs of which unless care- 
fully weeded out, are bound to grow and spread like a 
catching contagion. Of all the difficulties in practical 
life the greatest is perhaps that of admitting our own 
errors and divesting ourselves of our prejudices. The 
methods hitherto adopted for dealing with this new 
spirit of crimes have admittedly not succeeded, yet 
there seems to he no disposition to try other methods. 
Of the forces mentioned above, the first, second, third 
and the fifth should be combined and arrayed against 
the fourth and the sixth, both of wbich make for mis- 
chief though in different lines. The true remedy for 
the situation does not lie in new inventions, but in 
proper control and regulation of the forces that are 
already in existence. It is no doubt the common 
object of all the other forces to put down the last : but 
the operation is left entirely to the discretion of one, 
i e., the fourth, while the other forces stand almost 
paralysed. Public opinion is wholly discounted except 
ior the purpose of abase, and the controlling powers 
are practically led by that one force which dominates 
the entire administration. 


The Depression. 
It is sometimes complained, though not altogether 
without some show of reason, that the enthusiasm 
lor the Congress is on the wane and that ever since the 


^Surafc imbroglio the response to the call of the 
national assembly has been growing fainter and fainter 
every year. This no doubt is painfully true to some 
extent. But without directly connecting it with the 
Surat incident it is possible to trace this depression to 
other causes also. It may be borne in mind that such 
a state of temporary depression is almost unavoidable 
in a continued struggle extending over the lifetime of 
an entire generation. Human nature, says Smiles, 
•cannot perpetually sustain itself on high pressure, or 
continue to be indefinitely in an elevated plane of 
existence without occasional breaks in its career. There 
are ups and downs in national as well as individual life, 
and an unbroken line of progress is seldom vouchsafed 
to either. Then it is also clear that upon attainment 
of some signal success after a protracted struggle human 
nature seeks some rest for recouping ita lost energies. 
It is apparently with the object of recommending this 
spirit of relaxation that Sir Valentine Chirol has neively 
remarked that since the reform of the Legislative 
Oouncils has been effected, the Congress has no just 
ground for its further existence. The Indian public 
cannot, however, endorse such a view ; nor has the 
success of the Congress probably been such as to justify 
its members in winding up their business and go into 
voluntary liquidation. In fact the advantages which 
they have at last secured ought on the contrary to 
stimulate them in pursuing those advantages with 
greater vigour and energy. If they have so far groped 
their way through the darkness of defeat and des- 
i)air, they have now to push on with the cheering 


light of dawning success before them. The promised 
land is, however, yet far off, and those who have deli- 
berately undertaken to lead a wandering people, 
through a dreary desert cannot afford to cry out in 
despair, "How long! Oh, how long is the way to 
Canan !" 

There is another aspect of the depression which,, 
paradoxical as it may seem, may be distinctly traced 
to the gradual expansion of the movement in different 
directions. The Congress has in its progress directed 
the attention of the public to the social, educational 
and economic developments of the country which have 
claimed not a small share of the national energies and 
thus contributed not a little to divert a considerabla 
volume of the public enthusiasm which originally 
flowed through the main channel. As in irrigation 
the rushing current of a mighty river is often reduced 
both in volume as well as intensity by heavy drains on 
its resources for the requirements of wet tracts on 
either side of it, so the superabundance of enthusiasm 
flowing through the main political bed of the Con- 
gress movement has, in its onward course, turned into 
other channels and found its way into other fields of 
national activities. This was fully expected and cannot 
in any way furnish a reasonable ground for regret. In 
the evolution of a national life all these developments 
are but hand-maids to one another, and it would be a 
foolish, if not a futile, attempt on the part of the people 
to confine their energies exclusively to the political 
aspect of the situation leaving all other fields of necessary 
activities as barren, uncultivated wastes. All th» 


phases of a nafcional life are infeerdependenfc and no 
substantial progress can be made in any one of them 
to the total neglect of the others. Tbey are the- 
different factors of a single* problem in the correct 
solution of which not one of them can be either ignored 
or eliminated. Tbe relative importance of all these 
phases may be different and circumstanced as the 
country is, the political aspect of the situation un- 
questionably dominates the consideration of all the other 
issues. It is in fact the main current, if not the fountain- 
bead, through which the other channels of activities 
receive their supply, force and vitality, and while such a 
diversion is to certain extent unavoidable, public feelings 
and sentiments must occasionally be dredged so that the 
main current may not suffer stagnation leading not only 
to its own depletion, but also to a serious detriment of 
tbe subsidiary channels which it feeds. 

Much of tbe present depression therefore is due tcy 
tbe many-sided activities which the Congress movement 
itself has created, supplemented by the vexations and 
disappointments brought about in weaker systems by 
the extreme slowness of progress and severe moral 
exhaustion. The situation is not unlike that of a 
chronic patient who having really lost confidence in 
himself as well as in his doctors always seeks for 
new remedies without giving a sufficient trial to any. 
There is, however, really no lack of enthusiasm in the 
country. It is more a case of want of self-confidence 
and of restlessness and impatience. It is a significant 
fact that public men and measures now receive wider 


and closer, if also a somewhat; more irreverenfc, afeten- 
tion than they ever did before: Pablic criticism is 
undoubtedly on the increase, and it is not only the 
public associations which are yearly growing in numbers, 
but even the boarding-houses, restaurants, counting- 
houses and even railway carriages present the appearance 
of teeming bee-hives buzzing with discussions of public 
interest. Conferences and congregations of various 
denominations are the order of the day, and throughout 
the country and in every grade of society there is a 
manifest upheaval of no ordinary magnitude or character. 
The whole country is in a ferment of agitation undergoing 
as it were a process of foaming and frothing preliminary to 
refinement in a boiling cauldron. Unfortunately, however, 
there is too much of gas and dissipation as are sometimes 
unavoidable in a period of transition in national evolution. 
There is more of destructive than of constructive methods 
in these diverse movements which sometimes counteract 
one another and not unfrequently tend to hamper and 
neutralize all of them. There are apparently more 
men busy each in his own way for discovering the 
Philosopher's Stone than for patiently and persistently 
drudging at the ore for the true metal. In this state 
of things a temporary and partial relaxation in one 
direction to supplement the supposed requirements of 
another seems almost inevitable, and it is pretty 
certain that until the malcontents are made to realize 
that there is not only no antagonism between these 
diverse movements, but they are absolutely inter- 
•dependent on one another, the quarrel between the 
different members of the body politic will not cease 


and fche idle sfcomach continue to receive its proper 

Perhaps it may be useful also to bear in noind that 
the Congress has now worked incessantly for nearly 
thirty years, and a new generation has sprung up to take 
the place of those whose rank and file are gradually thinn- 
ing frona death, disease and infirnaities of age. The 
difference in the spirit and temper of the two elements 
is due largely to the difference of conditions and circum- 
stances in which they are placed. In the estimation of 
those who have weathered the storm in a dark and dis- 
mal night the progress made is sufficiently marked to 
inspire them with robust optimism and confidence in the 
future ; but a younger generation who have awakened 
with the dawning light of the grey morning without any 
experience of the night's adventure and with the vast 
immensity of heaving expanse still darkly stretching out 
before them, cannot be expected to be equally impressed 
with the difficulties that have been overcome, the 
distance which has been covered and of the ultimate 
success of the voyage that has been undertaken. This 
difference in the perspective accounts in no small 
measure for the scepticism of the younger generations 
and their want of confidence in the methods which have 
been so far employed by their more experienced elders. 
In the race of life foresight is no doubt a great virtue : 
but the habit of intently looking too much ached regard- 
less of the obstacles that lie immediately in front of 
one's steps, is the surest way of courting a disastrous 


People are nofc also wanting who unable to bear the 
strain of the fight as well as of the immense sacrifices it 
necessarily involves, seek repose in quietly taking a 
defeat and to cover their own weakness dilate on the 
utter futility of political agitation in a subject country. 
These people are generally too precise in their vision to 
waste their energies in the vain pursuit of unattainable 
objects and are always ready to dissuade others from 
•^oing so. They seem to know more of the future 
than of either the past or the present and in their 
innate love for the original, are always busy pres- 
cribing their own patents for the treatment of the 
situation. They apparently forget that an uphill 
ascent is always a tedious and weary task, and that the 
higher one ascends the greater becomes the exhaustion 
and the slower the progress. As there is no royal road 
to learning, so in practical politics there can be no arti- 
ficial lift to carry up a people to its destination by a 
mere switch of the button. 

Apart from all natural causes this temporary de- 
pression may be referred to some other sources. There 
are several classes of critics who, in spite of their best 
intentions, have indirectly contributed not a littte to 
the growth of this depression. Some of them have 
preferred to attack the Congress from the flank and 
the rear, the frontal attack delivered by the Anglo- 
Indian community having been successfully repulsed. 
They apparently forget that by so doing they are 
indirectly playing in the hands of their adversaries. 
It has almost grown into a fashion with some of these 
critics to indulge in a flow of correspondence through 


the columns of the press on the eve of every session of 
the Congress earnestly appealing to the *' leaders" to 
remove all " sources of irritabion" and to make it pos- 
sible, as they say, " for all classes and parties to meet 
and join hands once again on the Congress platform." 
What those sources of irritation are, nobody how- 
ever chooses expressly to state, although a vague 
reference is invariably made to the Surat incident, as 
well as to the thrice- told tale of the "Convention 
Congress." There is, of course, no doubt as to the 
honesty of purpose and sincerity of intention of these 
critics; but if half the number .of- people who seem 
never tried of indulging in these cants either in public 
or private life had actually rejoined the Congress, much 
bf the so-called " sources of irritation " would have at 
once disappeared and the outstanding differences easily 
solved themselves. But no, the practice has been to 
keep this real or supposed " irritation " afresh like the 
proverbial wound of the tiger by constantly licking it. 
Nobody is able to point out that there is any thing 
really objectionable either in the creed or in the con- 
stitution provided for the Congress in 1908. All that 
is still urged is, that these were the workings of a Con- 
vention whdch never received the sanction of the Con- 
gress. As a matter of fact they were placed before the 
Congress in 1908 and bodily passed by a whole House 
in 1911 and again re-affirmed with certain modifica- 
tions at the Session of 1912. But then the cry is, 
that they have passed only through a ** Convention 
Oongress " and not through a free Congress, whatever 
that may mean. It is only fair bo note, that before 


* setting out for the Allahabad Gonvention the Bengal 
delegates, at all events, aiade it perfectly clear that they 
would solidly vote for whatever constitution the Conven- 
tion might adopt being formally submitted to the 
judgment of the whole House at the next Session- 
of the Congress, and they accordingly earnestly request- 
ed their colleagues to attend the Convention in sufficient 
strength to carry the day. It is also well-known that 
at the meeting of the Convention they lost only by a 
couple of votes. Now if only three of these critics had, 
instead of sulkily keeping themselves aloof, taken the 
trouble to go to Allahabad, they might easily have scored 
a victory at the outset and much of the powder and 
shot, which they have since wasted, usefully saved. 
Then in spite of the initial nervousness of some of the 
provinces the creed and the constitution provided by 
the Convention have ultimately passed through the 
Congress, call it " Convention Congress " or whatever 
you choose. They could not have been submitted to 
another bear-garden without running the risk of demo- 
lishing the Congress altogether. Besides, what practi- 
cal difference would it have made in the situation even 
if such a risky experiment could have been successfully 
carried out ? Do the non-Conventionists mean to sug- 
gest that it would have been wiser for their friends, 
even if they agreed with them in some of the issues 
raised, to have seceded from the Congress because the 
majority did not concede to their views and thereby 
obviously wrecked an organisation which was the result 
of the labours of a generation and for which such enor- 
mous sacrifices had been made ? It is presumed 


thafc DO same man who has the country's cause at heart 
would have approved of such a course. What then in 
the name of good sense and patriotism is the objection 
to join the Congress now on the score of old sores- 
which have practically been healed up, the cicatrices 
only remaining to remind the combatants of a past 
conflict of opinions ? Such conflicts aye sometimes 
unavoidable even in a well-governed family, and must 
they eternally rankle in the breast of those who have 
pledged themselves to fight out a great common cause? 
If the non-Gonventionists are truly inspired by a patrio- 
tic impulse, as some of them unquestionably are,, 
there seem to be no insurmountable difficulties in making 
up their sentimental differences and bodily returning to- 
the common fold for the purposes of strengthening, 
a common cause. If it has been possible for the- 
Ulstermen and the Irish Nationalists to sign a truce to a 
civil war at their country's call, surely there ought to be- 
no diffiojilty for the Moderates and Extremists of the 
Indian Nationalists Party to bury their petty domestic 
quarrels and re-unite on a common platform. A. 
rapproachmenc may easily be made by mutual surrender 
. of some fanciful positions on either side, unless these 
positions are sought to be maintained as a mere pretext 
for carrying on a suicidal controversy. In practical 
politics in every country and under every popular 
constitution it must always be a question of majority 
as well as of expediency, and where differences arise 
the policy must be one of give- and- tahe. Where 
there is a practical agreement in aim and object, a mere 
difference in procedure ought not to divide those whose 


uuifcy is their only sfcrengfch. A man's principles are 
DO doubt his religion ; bub it were well to remember 
that principles, like religion, carried to excess are some- 
times apt to degenerate into bigotry and fanaticism. 
It is all very well to talk of fighting for principles ; but 
it seems allowable even without going the actual length 
of saying with the shrewd French philosopher, that 
prejudices and principles are sometimes merely inter- 
changeable terms in controversies between parties of 
opposite views, to point out that even in the case of 
people more favourably circumstanced than ourselves 
accepted principles have not unoften to conform them- 
selves to practice and expediency according to the 
exigencies of a situation. 

Then as regards the contemptuous expression 
" Convention Congress," any one acquainted with the 
history of the Congress must know that it had its being 
in a Convention and that the Constitution of 1908 was 
not an innovation, but only a repetition and amplifica- 
tion of the original Constitution with which it was 
started in 1885. As has already been pointed out, early 
in 1885 a Union was. established by a dozen leading 
people under the name and style of the National 
Union, and it was this National Union which called 
the Indian National Congress into existence with the 
following express declaration of its object and its 
method, viz : — (l) That " unswerving loyalty to the 
British Crown shall fee the keynote of the institution," 
and (2) that ** the Union shall be prepared, when 
necessary, to oppose by all constitutional methods all 
authorities high or low, here or in Eoglandi whose acta 


•and omissions are opposed fco those principles of the 

^Government of India as laid down from time to time 
by the British Parliament and endorsed by the British 

Sovereign." Now let any honest critic say if the Con- 
stitution framed by the Convention of 1908, after a 
most regrettable incident, was anything new or retro- 
grade in its character or whether those who had been 
thoroughly loyal to the Congress down to 1906 had 
any just cause to secede from it since 1908? The 
declaration and subscription to the creed was a mere 
matter of form necessitated by the exigencies of a painful 
situation and adopted with a view to ensure the due 

'Observance of the Constitution. If that Constitution be 
accepted in principle, it is dijBficult to conceive where the 

-shoe pinches, or what reasonable objection there ma,y be 
to signify that acceptance in writing. The misfortune 
is, that there is too much logic in this country and 
particularly in Bengal. No practical people, much less 
a subject race, can afford to live in the dreamland of 
Utopia, or indulge in fighting upon bare theories wholly 
divorced from practice. The country has admittedly 
reached a stage of its evolution, where all its strength 
and available resources should be concentrated and 
brought to bear upon decisions of issues which are as 
momentous in their character as are the contending 
forces with which they are confronted stubborn aod 
irresistible. At such a grave situation for a weak and 
helpless people to flitter away their energies in fruitless 
controversies and academic discussions over mere theo- 
ries and procedure seems to be little short of reckless 
^isaipatioa altogether unworthy of men who have pu^ 


their hands into serious business and are responsible for 
the future of the country. It is high time that these 
unseenaly squabbles were ended and as practical men 
all parties in the country presented a solid, united front 
sinking all their dilBferences in the name of the Mother- 

There is another class of critics who with equal- 
vagueness urge the Congress to be directed on " prac- 
tical lines." They maintain with perfect sincerity 
that the Congress should now devote its energies to 
the ptactical development of education, sanitation and^ 
various kinds of industries. This no doubt in the 
abstract is a ** counsel of perfection " ; but is it also 
practical within the scope and capacity of the Con- 
gress ? These critics apparently forget that the Con- 
gress is essentially a huge deliberative body of a vast 
continent which can and does formulate ideas, gene- 
rate impulses and also indicate the lines on which, 
the energies and activities of the people may be 
directed for the amelioration of their condition. It can 
and does also urge upon the country as well as the 
Government to adopt measures which in its opinion 
are calculated to foster education, improve sanitaion 
and develop indigenous industries. But it has neither 
the means, nor the organisation, to establish schools, 
open drains, provide watter-supply or build industries,, 
and cannot possibly be asked to undertake any of 
these operations, throughout the country. It can, as it 
always does, enunciate principles and lay down lines 
upon which the national energies are to be directed 
AKid the methods by which they are to be guided. 


faod controlled. It also allows petitions and representa- 
tions to Government ; but it is a gross mistake to 
• characterize its policy as mendicant. Its prayers are 
all demands based upon rights and its appeals to the 
people are exhortations to them to stand on their own 
rlegs in defence of such rights, The Petition of Eights 
is the strongest bulwark of fche liberties of the British 
people, and the highest function of the Congress is to 
initiate the people into the secrets of those means and 
methods by which that people has acquired its valued 
rights of free citizenship. The Congress is a great 
school for the national education of the people and its 
practicability can no more be questioned than those of 
the other educational institutions in the country. But 
(beyond these, what practical measures are actually opeo 
to the Congress it is difficult to conceive. Even in 
politics the Congress can only formulate the legitimate 
rights and privileges of the people and press for the 
removal of their grievances and disabilities. The Con- 
gress is a great force-centre where the united intellect 
and moral strength of the country generate steam and 
give the impetus necessary to norove the body politic; 
but there must be other machineries and appliances to 
utilise these forces and turn them into proper account. 
The Congress seeks to represent the entire country 
with its diverse races and communities, and beyond 
indulging in vague generalities and vaguer platitudes 
DO one has yet suggested how it may be possible for 
such an organisation to go into practical details for 
working out sanitary, educational or industrial 
«retorma applicable to each particular community or 


province. Perhaps an afcfcempfe in that direction, evert 
if ife were possible, would only lead to a disintegration 
of the units which the Congress has so far laboured to 
coDcihine. After all, if those who find fault with the 
Congress as not being practical were to cease firing at 
a long range and come to close quarters with a view to - 
associate thenaselves with itj and submit any practical 
scheme of work suited to its constitution, there is no 
reason why they should not receive a patient hearing 
and respectul consideration. 

There is yet another class of critics of the Congress 
who would kick the ladder behind them. They seem to 
fancy that if the Congress had any use, it was for their 
individual or class advancement and when that is satisfied 
it has no more claim to its earthly existence. Most of 
these arm-chair critics come from the official rank who • 
owe no allegiance to the Congress, but seem to have the 
largest claim to its services. Outside the official circle 
these crifcics are mostly like the cynic Diogenes walking 
in broad daylight with the lamp of their own unerring 
intellect in the vaia quest of a single capable man 
in the country. They have neither the sincerity 
nor the earnestness of the other two classes of critics 
and are ready at all times to indulge in tirades 
and raphsodies which are as inflated as they are violent 
and sweeping in their denunciations. They represent 
the destructive and not the constructive element of 
society ; and not having taken any part in building it 
up, they are for the most part for demolishing the- 
Congress altogether. In their impotent vanity and 
conceit these cynics regard the Congress as perfectly 


** useless " and *' almost unnoticeable ** and denounce 
the Indian leaders as **no politicians,*' but as noere 
" mimic actors on the political stage." They would 
take exception even to Mr. Montagu or Mr. Asquith 
denominating them as "bad politicians," for to be a ''bad 
politician '* one must first of all be ** a politician." 
Erostratus acquired a lasting notoriety by burning tbe 
temple of Ephesus on the birthday of Alexander the 
Great and all incendiaries may v?ell imitate the example^ 
of their prototype to leave their names in history. Sharp 
criticism of notable men and measures is no doubt one of 
the cheapest methods for mediocre intelligence getting 
into prominent notice; but such wild effusions as those 
above noticed can serve no other useful purpose than 
that of a hawker's advertisement. It seems high time 
that these flambuoyant critics were disabused of the^ 
impression, which was at one time rather too common in- 
this country, that such advertisements also pay. Sir 
Chareles Dilke has neatly disposed of these traducers oi 
the Congress in his own trenchanc style. In his 
" Problems of Great Britain " that shrewd statesman 

observes : — 

"Argument upon the matter is to be desired and not invec- 
tive, and there is so much reason to think that tbe Congress 
movement really represents the cultivated intelligence of the 
country that those who ridicule it do harm to the imperial 
interest of Great Britain, bitterly wounding and alienating men 
who are justified in what they do, who do it in reasonable and 
cautious form and who ought to be conciliated by being met 
half-way. The official class themselves admit, that many of the 
natives who attack the Congress do so to ingratiate themselves with 
their British rulers and to push their claims for decorations." 

Now, whatever these various classes of critics may 
or may not say, it seems as useless, as it is harmful, to 


<3iaguise the fact;, that there has come some sorb of 
-depfessioD in the country which is necessarily reflected 
in its national assembly. The fault is not in tha 
shadow, but in the substance behind it. Whether it 
be due to the despicable tyranny exercised by the 
dastardly proceedings of a few gangs of unhinged fana- 
tics, or the result of unremitted hammerings of a series 
of repressive measures unknown in this country even in 
the dark days of the Mubiny, the popular mind has 
visibly received a rude shock from which it is bound 
to take some time to recover. The bureaucracy may 
rejoice over this set-back ; but it cannot fail to create 
some anxiety in the minds of responsible statesmen. 
For, the norm*al growth of a people cannot be stunted 
with impunity by any violent artificial process, and 
when under any abnormal pressure national life 
begins to stagnate, the forces of disorder must gain 
strength and become rampant in society. Id is a danger- 
ous exneriment which has had its fair trial in almost all 
despotic governments, whether in ancient or modern 
times, and invariably ended in disastrous results. It 
is not the Congress alone that is likely "to suffer by this 
inanition, but the general state also stands the immi- 
nent risk of falling into a deadly relapse. As for the 
Congress itself, it has to be borne in mind that the 
rank of its veterans must be thinning away every year 
from death, illness and infirmities of age ; while some 
of its best members are occasionally taken away to the 
services ; but fresh recruits are neither so adeq uate, 
nor sufficiently strong to supply their deficiency. It is 
ttlmost the same old familiar faces that are seen on fche 


'^Congress plafcform every year. Politics is a science 
which requires careful sfcudy, deep thought and strong 
practical conamon sense. It embraces a much larger 
area than any other practical science and commands a 
keener insight and broader vision of the social as well 
as economic condition of a people. It fact, as the Lord 
Mayor of London once felicitously observed, there is 
scarcely a phase of life where politics does not in one 
•shape or another play an important part. Then with a 
people circumstanced like ourselves progress must 
necessarily be slow and inadequate, and consequently 
there must be sufficient asset of patriotic impulse and 
spirit of self-sacrifice to counterbalance all our losses, 
defeats and disappointments. It is for our young men 
to study soberly the political as well as the economic 
condition of the country, to indulge less in platitudes 
and to have greater faith and confidence in their leaders. 
A spirit of honest enquiry is good, but a tendency towards 
hair-splitting arguments is a positive evil. Original ideas 
in this world are not so plentiful as blackberries, so that 
any one who passes by may pick them up. No one 
deprecates fair criticism, but captious criticism is a kind 
of dissipation which weakens the intftllect and inebriates 
the mind. Besides, it cannot be too carefully borne in 
mind that in depreciating great men and measures we 
may sometimes unconsciously indulge in arguments 
simply to cover our own incapacity to follow them, or as 
a pretext for our inability to make necessary sacrifices. 
Every generation has its common succession of rights and 
responsibilities, and no generation can therefore safely 
indulge in intellectual profligacy without serious prejudice 


to tihe general estate and ultimate ruin and bankruptcy^ 
to its posterity. Tbere are no doubt almost irresistible 
moments of depression in the life of a nation as of an indi- 
vidual ; but it is also as true of the individual as of the 
nation, that the correct test of its strength does not 
consist in never falling, but In rising every time it falls. 
As this depression often proceeds from physical as well as 
mental and moral exhaustion, a rising people should be 
the quickest in shaking it off lest it should supervene in 
a collapse, The means by which the national life may 
be cured of its present depression and galvanized into 
fresh activities may be cpnsidered separately. 


Reorganization of thk Congress. 
A little reflection on the narrative as given in the 
foregoing chapters will probably shew that the history 
of the Congress so far roughly divides itself into four 
periods. The first three sessions held in Bombay, 
Calcutta, and Madras may be taken as the period of its 
inception during which the Congress propaganda was 
formulated and submitted/ to the judgment of the 
country. From 1888 to 1896 was the period of its 
development during which that propaganda was, with 
the sanction and approval of the country, actively 
preached both in India as well as in England, the British 
Committee was established, an Indian Parliamentary 
Party organised and its organ India started. In India. 


the movemenfe was properly organised by the esbablish- 
menfc of provincial comnoittees and a network of district 
organisations all working under the control and 
guidance of a central body known as the All-India 
Congress Committee. It wa^ a period of vigorous 
adolescence marked by the zeal and earnestness of a 
rising spirit during which all the national forces and 
energies, were unfolded and brought to bear upon the 
realization of the ideal which had dawned upon the 
minds of the people. Roused to a full consciousness 
of the situation and with a comprehensive view of the 
endless restrictions and entanglements by which their 
normal growth and expansion as a nation were found 
closely barred, the people rapidly sunk all their differen- 
ces and eagerly rallied under a common standard. In- 
fact, many of the older institutions and associations 
were readily merged and absorbed in the swelling cur- 
rent of the new movement. It was a period of incessant 
activities in course of which the movement extended and 
received fresh reinforcements from every direction both 
here as well as in England. It was a sacred task for 
which no labour was deemed too exacting and no sacri- 
fices either too onerous or too burdensome. This period 
was certainly not marked by any appreciable success, 
but the people were still borne up by unbouftded hope 
and confidence. 

The next decade from 1897 to 1908 was a pro- 
longed period of a deadly struggle marked by the' 
stubborn resistance of a reactionary government 
and the growing discontent of a people almost 
driven to despair by a series of violent, retrograde- 


measures designed fco curb febe new spirit;. Lord Gurzon 
came fco rule fcba counfcry wifch an iron band and set 
back fcbe band of progress in every direction. Begin- 
ning with fcbe enactment of a fresh law of Sedition 
and a curbailraent of Local Self-Goveroment by the 
emasculation of the premier Municipal Corporation in 
the iVIefcroDolia and ending with the officialization of 
the Universities and the dismambarment of the fore- 
most province of the Boaoire, the Earl of Keddlestone 
gave clear notice to the people that he was not going 
fco colerafce she new spirit, and then as the situation 
became more and more acute with the inauguration of 
still more drastic repressive measures under the govern- 
ment of Lord Minho and the appearance of anarchy and 
lawlessness in the country, the people and the 

-Government were almost at the parting of their ways 
and the Congress found itself placed between the 
devil and the deep sea. It, however, sat tight at the 

-helm steering clear of all shoals and sands until 
superior British statesmanship was roused to a sense of 
the impending danger when at last there appeared like 
a silver lining in the threatening cloud the reform 
scheme of Lord Morley, which marked the first mile- 
post in the fourth sfcage of the progress of the national 
movement, l^rom 1908 starts a new chapter in the 
history of the Uoti- ^goao. — $W--refz5rm of the Councils 
was not however altogether a voluntary concession, and 
as it was practically wrung from Government it natural- 
ly lacked that generous and ungrudging support from 
the local authorities which alone could have ensured 
its full measure of success and secured an adequate 


appreciation of its benefits from the people. It has 
been truly said that even *' rich gifts wax poor when 
givers prove unkind." Ever since then the policy of 
Government has been one of oscillation swinging for- 
ward and backward and attempting to treat the situation 
as it were with alternate dozes of concession and 
repression — a curious application of heat and cold as in 
a Turkish bath. That is the stage at which the 
movement has arrived after thirty years of patient 
labour. The duty of the Congress at this juncture is 
neither to fall back, nor to relax its energies; but to push 
forward with renewed zeal and earnestness to arrest this 
vacillation of Government which once removed it is 
bound to maintain a steady course of uniform progress. 
Whether the success so far attained by the Congress 
be regarded as either gratifying or disappointing, it 
must be fairly conceded that the great task of nation- 
building in which it is engaged has been fairly started. 
It cannot be gainsaid, that if its progress has been 
slow and tedious, it has so far fairly succeeded in 
collecting men and materials, laying out a proper plan 
and in digging out a concreate foundation for the 
superstructure. It would be as grievous a mistake to 
regard its past labours as a wholesale failure, as to 
count the few outpost skirmishes it has won as complete 
victories. With the reform of the councils it may be 
said to have only driven the thin end of the wedge, and 
it is the duty of its members, however exhausted they 
may feel themselves, to screw up all their strength and 
strike ever more vigorously than before if all their 
past labours are not to be thrown away. With the 


■changed sifeuafcion ifes plan of action must however be 
somewhat; modified to meet its altered condition. The 
old desultory method of the Congress was not without 
its use ; but it has done its work for the preliminary 
stage of its operation by rallying the people under a 
<;ommon standard and mobilizing them for a regular 
campaign. It is now time for the movement to 
organize and direct the forces it has created to a regular 
and systematic course of action continuous in its 
nature, persistent in its character, and vigorous in its 
policy. It has now got to create fresh enthusiasm for 
its new operations and to galvanize itself for its future 
activities. The Congress must, therefore, be now re- 
organized on a permanent and substantial working 
basis. Its annual session must no doubt be maintained : 
but it should only be in the nature of an anniversary 
where it will review its year's work, take measure of 
the distance it has covered and then provide for the 
next stage of its advance. As at present carried on 
the annual session practically constitutes its sole exist- 
ence. The AU-India Congress Committee is no doubt 
a very useful organization ; but from the very nature 
of its constitution it is adapted only to the requirements 
of a purely deliberative assembly without however an 
efficient executive agency behind it. That Committee 
can take no initiative, carry out no programme of 
action and discharge no function besides that of doing 
the work of a post office throughout the year and* if 
required ultimately, selecting a president for the 
Congress. But such a constitution is no longer permis- 
sible at the present stage of the national movement. 


If tihe Congress is to make further progress and fulfil 
its naission, ifc must now be provided with a strong 
Executive Council with a fixed headquarter and an 
efficient staif regularly and systematically working oufe 
its programme all the year round. From an annual 
effervescent display the Congress should now be con- 
verted into a permanent living organization constantly 
at work and perpetually in session. The Congress has 
already got a complete network of territorial organi- 
zations in the Provincial Committees and the District 
and Taluka Associations established in all the provinces 
and throughout the country. Most of these have re- 
lapsed into a moribund condition, and it is high time 
that they were again galvanized and once more put into 
active operation to further the work of the Congress. 
The annual session of the Congress having formulated 
its programme of action, it should be the duty of the 
proposed Council or Committee, by whatever name ifc 
may be designated, to give effect to this programme by 
moving from time to time both the Government as well 
as Parliament, by organizing agitations whenever neces- 
sary, both here as well as in England with the help 
of its established agencies, by publishing tracts and 
leaflets circulated broadcast among the masses not only on 
matters political, but also bearing on social, educational, 
economic as well as sanitary improvements for the 
country, by establishing a regular mission for the spread 
of the Congress propaganda and by adopting such other 
means as may from time to time be found best calculated 
to further the cause of national development in ail 
directions. Having the foregoing observations in view» 


the following practical suggestions naay be noade for a 
fresh revision of the Congress organization. There is no 
claim to any originality for any of these suggestions ; nor 
is perhaps much of originality needed for an organization 
which has stood the test of nearly thirty years' experience. 
It has already been pointed out in an earlier chapter 
that much of the lost enthusiasm for the movement is 
attributed by a section of the people to the hard-and- 
fast constitution provided for it by the Convention 
of 1908. Whether such an assumption is correct, or 
how far a relaxation of this constitution is likely to 
conduce to a substantial improvement of the situation, 
is a point on which there is ample divergence of 
opinion. For, while the non-Conventionists still main- 
tain that their secession from the cause is due to that- 
constitution, the bulk of the nationalist party hold that 
the constitution was necessitated by a wave of reaction 
which had already set in to wreck the movement and 
which has not as yet fully spent itself. Whether the 
Convention was really the cause or the effect of the 
waning of genuine enthusiasm in the cause is a perfect- 
ly unprofitable discussion in which no one need now 
indulge. Those who lightly indulge in threats that 
unless the rules and regulations of the Congress are 
modified the movement is "destined to die a natural 
death,*' ought to remember that there are those who 
are not so much afraid of a natural death as of a 
violent deskth for the movement. However there seems 
to have arisen during, the last few years a genuine 
desire for a rappi'oachment bet-WQen the two parties^ 
There seems to be no longer any difference of opinioa 


as to the main article of the constitution communiy 
called the creed of the Congress. The point of differ- 
ence now seems to lie only in certain rules which 
though somewhat relaxed by subsequent Congresses are 
pressed for a further modification to meet the scruples- 
of the Separatists. The first of these objection refers- 
to the subscription to the creed and the second to the 
electorates of the Congress. The first is no doubt a 
purely sentimental objection, since the creed is 
admitted on all hands to be perfectly legitimate and 
unquestionable. But here the wishes of the non-Gon- 
ventionists can easily be met by a provision to the 
effect that any one accepting a delegation to the 
Congress shall be deemed to have stibscribed to the 
constitution in all its details. There seems to be no 
charm in a pen and ink signature unless there is 
sufl&cient guarantee in the personal honesty and 
character of a delegate ; for there is nothing else to 
prevent a delegate from signing a declaration on the 
back of a six-inch piece of printed; form and then after 
securing his admission into the pandai treat it as 
a scrap of paper used only as a passport. .The real 
check, however, seems to lie in the electorates, and it is 
sufficiently safeguarded by the rules which limit the 
franchise to recognized associations and public .meet- 
ings organized at the instance of such associations. 
This is sufficiently wide to admit of the election of 
everybody who is anybody in the country honestly 
to associate himself wifch the deliberations of the 
Congress. To ensure a proper observance of the last 
, clause of this rule it may be necessary to make the 


convening of such public meetings compulsory on the 
requisition of certain number of residents within a 
certain area, provided that not more than one such 
meeting shall be held for any such area and not more 
than a fixed '?um^^r of delegates shall be elected at 
such a meeting. To throw open the election of dele- 
gates to every association or any kind of public meeting 
might not only expose the organization to further dis- 
memberment, but would evidently take away much from 
the weight of its representative character. Anyhow if 
there is a reasonable spirit of mutual concession on both 
sides, a re-union does not appear to be at all difficult at 
the present stage, and it is a consummation which is 
devoutly to be wished for at an early date. The 
material gain of such a step may not ultimately prove 
to be very marked, but the moral gain will undoubtedly 
be quite considerable. 

Another point which deserves earnest attention of 
the Congress is the development of its strength in 
another direction. It must have occurred to every 
thoughtful observer of the situation that the bulk of 
the landed aristocracy in the country have largely 
■suffered a most deplorable relapse in their enthusiasm 
for the ilational movement. In the early stages of the 
movement they were inspired as any other community 
with a remarkable zaal for the advancement of the 
common cause. Maharajah Sir Lachmeswar Singh 
Bahadur of Durbhanga, the princely houses of Paik- 
parah, Bhukaliash, Sova-Bazar and Utterparah, the 
Maharajah of Natore, the lineal representative of the 
historic Rani Bhavani, Maharajah Suryakanth Acharyee 


IBahadur of Mymenaingh and Maharajah Manindra 
Chandra Nandi of Goasimbazar and many other naag- 
nates in Bengal ; Bajah Rampal Singh and the scions 
of not a few of the other historic Taluqdars of Oudh ; 
Sirdar Dayal Singh of the Punjab ; the Kajah of 
Ramnad, the Zamorin of Calicut in whose territories the 
Parsis first found a hospitable refuge, Rajah Sir T. 
Madhava Rao and many others in the Southern Presi- 
dency, and last not the least, the merchant princes of 
Bombay, were all bodily with the national movement 
during the first period of its existence. It was since 
the Allahabad Congress of 1888 that like the Mahome- 
dans they began gradually to secede from the move- 
ment, and the causes which led 60 their defection were 
very much similiar to those in the case of the Mussal- 
mana. They were taught to think that their interests 
did not lie in the popular movement, although they 
were dubbed with the title of the " natural leaders" of 
the people. The more astute among them no doubt 
clearly saw through the game ; but there were other 
sinister influences at work which in their peculiar cir- 
cumstances they were unable to resist though they 
heartily resented them. If the stories of some of these 
cases could be unearthed and brought to light there 
might be such a revelp.tion as would probably scanda- 
lize a civilized administration and compromise not a 
few among the responsible authorities in the country. 
If the people were openly repressed, the landed aristo- 
cracy felt not a little the pressure of secret and subtle 
coercion. The case of the *' conduit pipe" which is so 
well-known was only a typical iHuatration of many such. 


cases which have gone unrecorded. Any how fehe bulk 
of this important community have fallen back, and it 
should be the earnest endeavour of Congressmen to- 
strengthen their position by recovering their powerful 
help and co-operation. These fortunate possessors of 
wealth and influence ought also to remember that in a 
country where happily there neither is nor can be a 
permanent hereditary aristocracy any attempt on their 
part to establish after the Western model and artificial- 
class by themselves is a delusion and a snare. Their 
legitimate position is at the head of the people itom* 
whose rank they rise and into whose rank they 
fall, and with whom they are indis^olubly linked 
in blood and society. With all its defects there is 
in the mechanism of Indian social organization a 
democratic force which it is not possible even for the- 
strongest to overcome. Besides, these wealthy men 
ought gratefully to acknowledge that the position of 
real power and authority, to which they have been 
recently admitted in the higher administration of the 
country, they owe primarily to the exertions of the 
people, and it may be no disparagement to them to say 
that these privileges, like the rich heritage which' 
they enjoy, are practically unearned acquisitions for 
which injustice to themselves and to the country they 
ought to make a fair contribution to the common stock. 
The material help rendered by them as a class towards^ 
the beginning of the movement, is well-known and 
fully recognized ; and if their stake in the country is 
much greater than those of others they cannot fairly 
jefuse to make; at least proportionate sacrifices for the- 


•common cause. They must have had suffieienb experi* 
ence of the insecurity of their isolated position and if they 
want really to safeguard their own interests they must 
cast in their lot with the people and abandon their 
ostrich-like policy. Many of them are men of culture 
and education, and they must know the difference that 
exists between marching in manly dignity at the head 
of one's own people and being dragged at the tail of 
guilded equipages for the glorijQcation of other and 
stronger men with however no other recognition than 
that of a side glance with a smile or an empty title 
•for all the indignities to which they are sometimes 
•subjected. The British people with all their defects 
are a manly race and nothing is really more repugnant 
to their ideas and instincts than cringing servility 
:and fawning hypocrisy. 

It has already been observed that the movement 
stands in need of a readjustment and revision of its 
method of working. It is no doubt a deliberative body 
and it cannot be altogether divested of its deliberative 
character. But it has also a practical side in which it 
has to preach its propaganda, educate the mass, generate 
Iresh enthusiasm and take definite steps towards 
the attainment of its objects. For doing all this in an 
efficient manner it must be provided with a permanent 
active organization working all the year round and 
throughout the country. If it is to have an active 
propaganda, it must have a permanent mission to carry 
it on. It ought to be provided with a permanent office 
at a fixed centre and a sufficient establishment regu- 
iarly to carry on its work. The establishment must be 


paid. Honorary duties lack in vigour and persisfeency 
and carry no sense of respoosibilifcy wifck khem. It; may 
be found useful to attach this ofi&ce to the Airindia 
Congress Conoimittee, which should have a responsible 
paid executive secretary working under the guidance 
and control of the Joint General Secretaries assisted 
by the General Comnaittee. The Joint General Secre- 
taries may be elected every year from the province in 
which the Congress is to hold its next session ; but the 
Executive Secretary must be a whole-time permanent 
officer. From this office and under the sanction and 
authority of the All-India Congress Committee, approved 
tracts and leaflets translated into the vernacular 
languages of the country should be issued and circul- 
ated broadcast among the masses bearing on political,, 
social, economic, sanitary and educational problems 
engaging the attention of the Congress and thereby 
a strong healthy public opinion should be created in 
the country on all the phases of the national life. 
Much may be done through these publications to 
direct a campaign against anarchism and other acts 
of lawlessness which are not only a stigma on the 
national character, but have also proved serious 
impediments to many a reform of the administration. 
Above all, there ought to be a systematic missionary 
work carried on in all the provinces explaining and 
impressing upon the public the real nature of the work 
upon which the Congress is engaged and upon a proper 
solution of which the future destiny of the counbry so 
largely depends. It has almost grown into a fashion 
among a certain class of people to decry the art of 


speaking. The cry is a meaningless, naischievous canfc. 
Word without action may no doubt be useless likO' 
powder without shot ; but the shot is equally ineffective 
without the use of the powder. Practical politics cannot 
be taught in Deaf and Dumb Schools by mere signs and 

This missionary work cannot, however, safely be* 
entrusted to immatrure and irresponsible agencies. It 
should be undertaken, at all events, at the outset by the 
leaders themselves. Each Provincial Committee may be 
left to choose or elect its own missionaries with their 
jurisdictions or circles defined and allotetd to tbem through 
which they must make occasional tours holding meetings- 
and conferences for the dissemination of the Congress 
propaganda. If properly arranged, this need not very 
much interfere with the ordinary avocation of the 
missionaries themselves, while it is sure to bring them 
into closer touch with the people and secure for them a 
stronger hold upon the popular mind. While our 
public men are ever so justly persistent in their com- 
plaints against the aloofness and the unsympathetic 
attitude of the executive officers of Government, they 
cannot themselves consistently with their protestations 
live in a state of splendid isolation from their own 
countrymen. None of the leaders, not even the tallest 
among them, should consider himself above this work 
and grudge whatever little sacrifice it may involve, if 
the flame which they themselves have lighted is to be 
kept burning. The annual session of the Congress 
should thus become an anniversary of the movement 


at which the works done during the year by the entire 
organization should come under review and the opera- 
tions of the next year carefully planned and laid before 
the country. Without being guilfcy of pessimism i^ 
seems permissible to draw the attention of the leaders of 
the movement even more pointedly to the future than 
to the present. The assets of a national life cannot be 
the subject of a free gift or a testamentary bequest : 
They must be the heritage of natural succession. Every 
generation of a nation succeeds to the acquisition of its 
past and, whether augmenting it with its own acqui- 
sitions or depreciating it by its own extravagance, is 
bound to transmit it to the next. The training of a 
succeeding generation is also an imperative task in the 
work of nation-building which cannot be accomplished 
in a single generation. If Rome was not built in a day, 
the Roman nation was not built even in a century. 
Those who have laid the foundation of a new structure 
in this country upon the shapeless ruins of its departed 
glories and upon whom the shadows of the evening are 
deepening may well pause for a moment and seriously 
consider whether they have sufficiently trained those 
upon whom their mantle will shortly fall. Of course 
'* there may be as good fishes in the sea as ever came 
out of it "; but those who have spent cheir life-blood 
in the undertaking cannot batter close their career 
than with a clear knowledge and confidence that they 
are leaving the work to successors who will carry on the 
work, raise it higher and if they cannot themselves 
•complete it will at all events leave it far advanced for 
those who will come after them. 


The next sfcep in the reorganization of the move- 
ment must be directed to its work in England, The 
British Parliamentary Committee which after a brilliant 
career has ceased to exist should be restored. The 
euphimistic platitude that every one of the Six Hun- 
dred and odd members of the House, including of course 
Sir J. D. Rees, was a member for ladia, was only a para- 
phrase of a sounder and truer dictum that very man's 
business is no man's business, and Congressmen cannot 
forget that India received the largest amount of at«ten- 
tion in England when the Parliamentary Committee 
was at its highest strength. In a Liberal House of 
Commons there are no doubt apparent difficulties for the 
maintenance of such a special body ; but where both 
sides of the House can conveniently agree to treat 
India as being outside the scope of party politics, the 
existence of such a body, to watch the special inter- 
ests of India, cannot be deemed either superfluous 
or anomalous. On the contrary, its abseaoe is sorely 
felt in this country when the Liberals are apparently 
disposed to take long holidays under the spell of a 
nominal improvement of the situation which needs 
not only consolidation, but is also threatened with a 
reverse from underground sapping and mining opera- 
tions in this country. In this as in every other 
•operation at the main theatre of the struggle in 
which the Congress is engaged, its British Committee is 
its principal ally and no sacrifice can be deemed 
4500 heavy to maintain it in an efficient condition. 
That Committee ought also to be strengthened from 
45ime to time by the addition to its roll of prominent 


Eoglishmen who evince a genuine infceresfc in Indian 
problenQS. Sir William Wedderburn who has so long 
been the moving spirit of the Committee as well as of 
the Parliamentary Party and who has ever so freely 
and ungrudgingly sacrificed his time, energies and 
resources for the cause of India would probably be 
only too glad to undertake both these reforms if only 
the Indians themselves could make up their minds 
to supply him with the sinews of the operations. 
Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji, Mr. W. C. Bonnerjee and Mr. 
R. C. Dutt, practically settled in England, proved a 
tower of strength to the British Committee, and an 
earnest attempt should again be made to instal st 
couple of well-posted Indians at the seat of power ta 
pilot the course of that important body. And lastly the 
paper India which is the sole organ of the Congress in 
England ought to be considerably improved and popu- 
larized in both countries. It must of course be con- 
ducted in England and by an Englishman thoroughly 
conversant with British politics and in full touch with 
the trend of British public opinion ; but to make it 
more interesting and serviceable a few Indian publi- 
cists either as sub-editors or contributors ought regu- 
larly to co-operate with the editor in purveying Indian 
views on all important questions and making its 
columns more weighty and attractive to the British 

Another remedy, though of an adventitious charac- 
ter, which suggests itself from some of the foregoing 
observations, refers to the concentration and co-ordina- 
tion of all the public movements among which all the^ 


national .forces are now disfcribufced. The social and 
the industrial conferences are already closely associated 
with the Congress movement. But there are many 
other organizations which have sprung up in the 
country which are all crowded within the Christmas 
week at different places in absence of more convenient- 
occasions. If it is not possible to deal with all of' 
them, the Moslem League at all events should be- 
held every year at the same centre and if possible in 
the same pavilion where the Congress is held either on- 
successive or on alternate days. By this means not only 
all the communities may be brought into closer touch' 
with one another but a greater enthusiasm may be 
secured for all of them. Since the League has already 
come into a line with the Congress, such an arrangement 
may not be at all difficult if the leaders of both the- 
organizations will put their heads together and work out 
the details of the scheme. 

It may be said that the above suggestions form a^ 
very large order ; but large or small, some such order 
must be substantially complied with if the struggle is to 
be continued and further success achieved. To carry 
out a scheme of action which has for its object the 
regeneration of a nation through a process of evolution 
in which all the moral and intellectual forces on a- 
subject people have not only to be called out and harmo- 
nized, but also arrayed against the colliding interests- 
of a powerful dominant race, is no light work and 
cannot be approached with a light heart. The first 
and foremost condition of such a scheme is that of 
ways and means. A national organization must have- 


at ifcs back a national fund. As no sustained move- 
ment is possible without a well-defined organization, 
so no organization can subsist for any length of time 
without the sinews of war. If there is any depression 
in the movement it is largely due to the stagnation 
with which it is threatened in the absence of such an 
effective organization. It is no small surprise to 
many, that the movement has not collapsed within 
this sufficiently long period without a solid financial 
foundation for its basis. For thirty years it has fought 
out its way on a precarious dole annually voted to it 
and its agencies, the tardy realization of which has not 
a little hampered its progress. Its vitality is no doubt 
•due to the intense patriotic sentiment that has been 
its underlying motive power ever since the movement 
was started ; but even patriotism requires a healthy 
nourishment unless it is to degenerate into a spasm 
of fitful excitement and then die out like a flame 
fed only on straw. So early as 1889 it was proposed 
to establish a Permanent Congress Fund and a sum 
of Rs. 59,000 was voted to form the nucleus of such 
a fund. Out of this a small sum of Rs. 5,000 only 
was realized and deposited with the Oriental Bank 
which was then considered as the strongest Exchange 
Bank in India. In the Bombay crisis of 1890 the bank 
however went into liquidation and the small sum thus 
^credited to the fund was lost. Ever since then no 
serious attempt has ever been made to re-establish 
this fund, and the undignified spectacle of one of the 
leaders at every session stretching out his beggarly 
'*Brahminical hand " and the Congress going out hat 


in hand for a precarious subaistance allowance towards 
the maintenance of its British agency and its office 
establishment has contributed not a little to the- 
bitter sarcasm of its critics, as much as to the mortifi- 
cation and discouragement of its supporters, The^ 
messages of Sir William Wedderburn alternately coax- 
ing and threatening for financial help every year for the 
work of the British Committee seem to have lost their 
sting, and the whole business is carried on perfunctorily 
in an atmosphere of uncertainty and despondency. 
Complaints are often heard that the British Committee- 
is no longer as efficient as it used to be. But whose 
fault is it if it has really fallen off from its pristine 
vigour and energy ? It has certainly not deteriorated 
either in form or substance. Its weakness lies in its 
financial embarrassment created by our own inability to 
regularly meet its requirements for useful action. 
It is a bad policy to try to cover one's own failings 
by throwing dirt upon others. It cannot be denied 
that although the Congress has many critics, it is at 
present maintained only by the devotion and self- 
sacrifice of a small band of its supporters, who have 
always borne the brunt of the action, and strange as it 
may seem, its loudest detractors are to be found generally 
among those who have been least disposed to make any 
sacrifice in its cause and at the same time most exacting 
in their demands for its account. If the members of 
the Congress seriously mean, as they no doubt mean, to 
carry on its work and not throw away the immense 
labour and sacrifice of an entire generation, they should 
lose no more time in providing it with a permanent 


working organisation and investing it with a solid 
permanent fund sufficient to carry on the work before it 
efficiently and in a thoroughly methodical and business- 
like manner. The work before the Congress is much 
stiffer than its work in the past, and its present equipment 
must necessarily be of a more efficient and substantial 
character. If the Congress has so far successfully 
carried on a guerilla campaign it has now arrived at a 
stage where it must be prepared to fight the real issue 
involved in the struggle at clo3e quarters, and for this 
no sacrifice in money or energy can be too great. In a 
country where fabulous sums are still available for a 
memorial hall, or a ceremonial demonstration, surely 
a decent contribution for the emancipation of a 
nation ought to be so difficult a task as to be 
beyond the capacity of genuine patriotic self-sacrifice. 
It would be a stigma and a reproach on our national 
character and a sad commentary on our patriotic 
fervour if after having advanced so far the national 
energy were to break down at this supreme moment 
with all tbe sacrifices made, grounds gained and the 
.prospects opened lost for ever. 



Having so far cursorily dealt with the past career 
of the national movement and glanced over its present 
-condition, a brief survey of the difficult task which 


awaits its future labours may not be deemed altogether 
out of place. Following the question of the reorganisa- 
tion of the Congress, there is another very serious 
question which must sooner or later press itself upon 
the closest attention of its members : It is the question 
of the Indian Civil Service in which is vested the 
actual internal administration of the country. The 
Congress has so long discussed the questions of simul-^ 
taneous examinations for the recruitment of that service, 
its age-limit, and the comparative importance of the 
various subjecGS of that examination from the Indian 
point of view. But these are all side issues forming, as 
it were, the mere fringes of the real crux of the case, 
which, divested pf all shuffling and circumlocution, 
resolves into the plain question, — Is the Indian Civil 
Service, as at present constituted, to be the permanent 
basis of the Indian administration, or whether the time 
has not long arrived when thaii service should be 
thoroughly overhauled and reconstructed not only with 
reference to its own defects, but also in the light of the 
vast changes which the country has undergone and the 
enormous difficulties which have grown round the 
Indian administration ? A little consideration of only 
three of the most vital points upon which the Congress 
has so far directed its main operations may afford a 
sufficient clue to the right investigation of this import- 
ant question. 

At the outset, the leaders of Indian public opinion 
appear to have strongly believed that the real remedy 
for nearly all the grievances of the people lay in the 
reform of the Legislative Councils and in that view 


fcheir energies were largely directed towards the expan- 
sion of these Councils on a representative basis. Lord 
Gross' reforms of 1892, though it would be quite unfair 
to characterize them as mere lollypops, practically turn- 
ed out to be very unsubstantial; while, eighteen 
years after, the very substantial reforms initiated by 
Lord Morley, also met with a similar fate. Although 
^Lord Morley most gratuitously taunted the Indian 
public at the time with asking for " the moon," a 
prayer which they in their senses could never venture 
to make even to any one who may be supposed to be 
nearer that orb, yet people are not altogether wanting in 
this country who only after five years' experiment have 
come to regard his great reforms of 1910 as no more than 
mere moon-shine. The failure of these reforms, 
manacled and maimed in their operations by a set of 
Regulations framed in this country, has revealed 
the fact that there is one powerful factor which haa 
to be seriously reckoned with in dealing with any 
real reform of the Indian administration. That factor 
is the strong, stereotyped Indian bureaucracy which 
stands between the Government and the people and caa 
always make or mar the prospect of peaceful develop- 
ment of the country. The object of the best-intentioned 
legislative enactment may easily be defeated by those 
who must be ultimately entrusted with its practical 
application, and so the most generous measure of the 
British Parliament granted after full half a century of 
cool and collected deliberation has been allowed to be 
practically stranded on the bed-rock of bureaucratic 
opposition in India. *Tho Councils, upon which tbe- 


people builfe their hopes and pinned their faith, have 
been reformed and the popular representatives in much 
larger numbers armed with powers of interpellation, as 
well as of moving resolutions and dividing the Councils 
upon them ; but the cry still is that these privileges 
have proved quite disappointing if not altogether illu- 
sory. The debates in these councils still retain their 
academic character, the results being generally a foregone 
conclusion. The most modest prayers of the represen- 
tatives are sometimes summarily rejected and their 
most reasonable resolutions treated with scant courtesy 
or consideration ; while, with a highly inadequate repre- 
sentation of the interests of the educated community 
on the one hand and a mischievous communal repre- 
sentation on the other, the real strength of the non- 
ofiicial members of these Councils has been reduced 
almost to an irreducible minimum. 

Again, on the vexed question of the separation of 
judicial from executive functions, although there was 
apparently none to oppose the much desired reform, 
while every one seemed to be unreservedly in favour 
of it, a mysterious force has in spite of all the authorita- 
tive promises and pronouncements succeeded in shelving 
the proposal with the flimsiest of excuses and evasions 
which cannot deceive even the most credulous of 

Then there is yet another question of vital import- 
ance upon which the Congress has directed its energies 
ever since its beginning : The admission of the children 

of the soil into the higher offices of the State having 


regard to their fitness and capacity for such appoint- 
ments. It would be uncharitable not to recognise the 
fact that Governnaent has in recent years shown a 
laudable disposition to admit, though very sparingly, 
the just and natural claims of the Indians to participate 
in the administration of their own country. But here 
again the galling injustice manifest in almost every 
department and which is the root cause of the popular 
dissatisfaction may easily be traced to a common source 
from which mainly flow all the other grievances of the 
people and the unpopularity of the administration. 
What is that source of mischief and where lies the 
remedy ? Upon a closer examination of the situation, 
it will be found that the real obstacle to all substantial 
reforms in this country is the bureaucracy. It is the 
same narrow, short sighted and close-fisted official hier- 
archy which crippled Lord Eipon's early measure of 
Local Self-Government by a set of model Eules, practi- 
cally over-riding the spirit if not the letter of the law, 
that has again successfully defeated Lord Morley's great 
scheme of national Self-Government by a set of Regu- 
lations circumscribing and barricading the measure in 
such a way as to render it almost important in sub- 
stance though not in form. And it is this bureaucracy 
which in its nervousness, no less than in its blind 
selfishness, has stood bodily in opposition to the judicial 
reform and the admission of the children of the soil into 
its close preserves to which it believes to have acquired 
an exclusive and indefeasible right by virtue of its 
prescriptive enjoyment. The Indian Oivil Service forms 
the citadel and the stronghold of this bureaucracy, and 


'thafe service is so deeply saturated with selfish prejudices 
-and so highly inflated with the legend of its natural , 
•superiority that it cannot heartily entertain any propo- 
sal of reform which necessarily militates against its 
vested interests and which if forced upon it by higher 
statesmanship naturally excites its secret opposition. 
The entire administration from the Government of 
India down to the smallest district charge, is practi- 
cally vested in one train of officials who belong to 
this Service and who as such form a compact fraternity. 
They are, with honourable exceptions, traditionally 
<5onservative in their ideas and exclusive in their habits 
and manners, while their systematic training in the arts 
of autocratic government leaves little or no room for 
the development of those instincts which might go to 
^curb their insular pride and inspire confidence and 
respect for those whom they are called upon to govern. 
In vain would one try to find a single instance in which, 
with very rare exceptions, the members of this Service 
have supported any great measure of reform of the 
administration which they as a body naturally regard 
either as an infraction of their status or as a reflection 
upon their capacity for good government. They appa- 
rently do not believe in the dictum of their own states- 
men who have repeatedly held that no good government 
can be a substitute for a government by the people 
themselves. Very well-intentioned British statesmen 
■coming out as Viceroys or Governors find themselves in 
the hands of the veterans of this Service and however 
strong they may be, they can hardly be sufficiently strong 
*to overcomQ the deep-rooted prejudices and the all-per- 


vading and overpowering influence of the bureaucratic 
atmosphere into which they are placed. Unless and 
until that atmosphere is cleared, it would be useless^ 
to expect any great results either from any parlia- 
mentary measure or from the ablest of Viceroys and 


Governors whom England may send out for the admini- 
stration of her greatest dependency. 

Nobody denies that the Indian Civil Service has^ 
a brilliant record in the past. It was eminently 
adapted to a period of consolidation when by its firm- 
ness and devotion to duty it not only established peace 
and order, but also inspired confidence in its justice and 
moral strength. But an archaic institution is ill-suited' 
to a period of development in an organised administra- 
tion and is an anomaly in an advanced stage of 
national evolution. The Indian Civil service has long- 
outlived its career of usefulness, and however benevolent 
may have been the patronising methods of its adminis- 
tation in the past, those methods are neither suited to- 
the present condition of the country nor are they 
appreciated by the people. Besides, people are not 
wanbin;4 who honestly believe that the halcyon day of 
the Indian Civil fc'ervice has long passed away, that it 
no longer commands the characteristic virtues of the 
sturdy Anglo-Saxon race and has largely degenerated 
into a mutual-admiration-society, demoralized to no- 
small extent by the unrestrained exercise of its exten- 
sive powers and the extravagant adulations lavished 
upon it in season and out of season and sometimes- 
beyond all proportion. It is no wonder that in the^ 
circumstances under which they are trained from youth' 


to age in bureaucrafcic methods, the members of the 
Service should become obstinate, conceited and impa- 
tient of criticism. It is the system, more than any indi- 
vidual, that seems to be responsible for the decadence of 
this once magnificent Service. In point of compactness, 
the Service has been organised into a rigid caste system 
where it is impossible to touch it even in its remotest 
extremities without} exciting the susceptibilities of the 
entire system. From the Lieutenant-Governor to the 
rawest assistant magistrate there seems to be establish- 
ed a magnetic current which is responsive to the. mildest' 
touch on the hereditary prerogatives of the service, and 
the highest demands of justice and fairness are some- 
times cruelly sacrificed on the altar of a blind prestige, 
the maintenance of which appears to be the paramount 
consideration of the administration. Instances are not 
wanting where a young civilian insulting an Indian 
gentleman of position for no other offence than that of 
intruding upon his august presence without taking off 
his shoes, or walking before him with an open umbrella 
in his hand, is broadly justified by the head of a pro- 
vincial administration ; while the forcible ejection of an 
Indian member of a Legislative Council from a first class 
compartment in a railway carriage is hardly considered 
sufi&cient to call even for a mild rebuke. On the 
contrary, such is the idolatrous veneration for the fetish 
of prestige and so undisguised is the contempt dis- 
played towards public opinion, that a stronger public 
censure passed upon the vagaries of an erring member 
of the Service has come to be regarded almost as a 
passport for his advancement rather than as a drawback 


in his ojBficial career. YouDg men just above feheir teens^^^. 
who are probably bad enough for the Home Service and 
nofe good enough for fche Colonial, are generally supposed 
to be drafted for the Indian Civil Service and, placed in 
important positions of trust and responsibility, they learn 
more to depend upon the extensive powers, privileges and 
immunities attaching to that Service than upon the art 
of governing well. Whip in hand, they learn only to 
sit tight without acquiring the easy grace of an 
accomplished rider. They are often placed when 
only a few months in the country in charge of sub-dis- 
tricts some of which are larger than an English county 
and as they rise with the official tide, they carry with 
them the accumulations of their earlier training.. 
They generally seem to have a peculiar ethics of their 
own in which conciliation is tabooed as a sign of week- 
ness and popularity as a disqualification. They love 
more to be dreaded than to be respected. Such is the 
obstinacy of their infallibility that once a suspect always 
a suspect. A man may be honourably acquitted by 
the highest tribunal in the land ; but if he is fortunate- 
enough not to be rearrested upon some other charge as 
soon as he leaves the dock, he is sure to be dogged 
all the rest of his life until that life becomes a burden 
to him and he is goaded to desperation. The success^ 
and delight of the administration seem to consist 
more in chasing the criminal than in reforming the- 
society. In every civilised country, the courts of jus- 
tice have the last word on every difference between an 
administration and the people ; but here in India the 
bureaucracy seems to have very little scruple to sit at 


times in judgment over His Majesty's judges, and 
committees and commissions of the members of the 
Service who are ordinarily subordinate to them are 
sometimes appointed to review the decision of even the 
highest tribunals in the land. The spectacle is neither 
decent nor dignified which slowly undermines all respect 
for the administration of justice in the country. All this 
constitutes what is termed the efficiency of the adminis- 
tration. These may be called little accidents ; but 
they mark the trend of a decaying Service and point 
to the source of the unpopularity it has so largely earned. 
The greatest loss which England has suffered in 
her connection with India is perhaps the moral de- 
terioration she is silently undergoing in the manly 
dignity of her national character in exchange for her 
material gains. It is neither army nor commerce, but 
it is moral greatness, that constitutes the most valuable 
and enduring asset of a nation, and if England has to 
fear from any quarter it is mostly from the ** voluntary 
exiles" who having passed the best portions of their 
lives in the enervating climate of India and getting 
themselves practically divorced from lofty British prin- 
ciples, every year go to swell the colonies at Chelmsford 
and Bayswater. 

It is persistently claimed for the Indian Civil 
Service that it is the best Service which human 
ingenuity has ever devised for the administration of any 
country in this world. The Indians have, however, na 
experience of any other system, and as such they are 
equally precluded from either implicitly accepting or 


summarily rejecting such a strong verdict;. It seems, 
however, incomprehensible to the average Indian intellect 
what peculiar charm there may be in any particular stiff 
examination in certain subjects, which are taught all 
over the civilised world, so as to make every one 
successfully passing that examination proof against all 
lapses and failures in practical life. It cannot be argued 
that there is anything mysterious in the method or 
manner of that examination which necessarily sifts the 
grain from the chaff in British society and turns out 
what is best or noblest in British life. And where is 
the evidence that any other system of recruitment for 
the Indian Civil Service would not have served the 
purpose equally well if not better ? Is the Civil Service 
in Great Britain less efficient because it is not trained 
in the methods of a close bureaucracy ? Then what 
becomes of the hollow fallacy underlying this boasted 
claim for the Indian Civil Service when the open 
competitive examination for the Subordinate Civil 
Service was found after a brief experiment not to be 
congenial to the Indian administration? Probably it 
will be urged that what is sauce for the goose is not 
sauce for the gander. 

The real crux of the case, however, appears to be 
this: The Indian Civil Service, however glorious its past 
record may be, is, after all, one of the services of the 
State and it ought never to have been allowed to usurp 
the function of the State itself. The duties of a service 
are to carry out the policy of a government and to dis- 
cbarge with efficiency and devotion the functions 


•entrusted to it in the general distribution of work of 
the State. In the Indian administration the covenanted 
CJivil Service not only administers the work, but also 
dictates the policy, distributes the work and supervises 
it. In short, the State is merged in the Service and all 
distinction between the Service and the State has 
practically disappeared. The best candidates who 
successfully pass the Civil Service Examination every 
year are generally retained for the Home Service and 
yet they are nowhere in the Government and have no 
hand in determining the policy of the State. In India, 
however, the term Service is a misnomer : for the Service 
^and the State are interchangeable, or, more correctly 
speaking, the one is entirely lost in the other. Wherever 
such a condition prevails, principles of constitutional 
government fly through the windows and the establish- 
ment of bureaucratic rule becomes an imperative 

The most orthodox argument invariably advanced 
in support of the Indian Civil Service is that experience 
has shown that it is best suited to the condition of the 
<}ountry and that its past achievements are a guarantee 
to its future success. But in this it is apparently 
ignored that the country itself has undergone stupendous 
changes in point of education, political training and 
economic development. An entirely new generation, 
has come into existence inspired by a lofty sense 
■of duties and responsibilities, as well as of the rights 
and privileges, of true citizenship ; while there is no 
d-earth of men who, by their education, training and 


characiier, are quite capable of holding their own against 
the best men in the Service. The ideas of rights and 
liberties, as well as of self-respect, of this new genera- 
tion of men is quite different from those of their 
predecessors who were content to eke out their exist- 
ence purely under official patronage. The overdrawn 
picture of Lord Macaulay has not the slightest resem- 
blance to the present condition of the country and its 
people, who have undergone a complete transformation 
within the last half a century of which the British 
nation ought to be justly proud instead of being either 
jealous or nervous. And is it to be supposed that, 
amidst all these changes and evolutions of time, the 
one Service in which the Government of the country 
has been vested since the days of Tippoo Sultan and 
Lord Cornwallis is to remain immutable and unchange- 
able ? Granting that the Indian Civil Service has a 
splendid record behind it and admitting that it has 
produced in the past excellent public servants whose 
"devotion to duty is unparalleled in the history of the 
world," do not the marked changes which both the 
people and the Government have undergone during the 
life-time of two generations call for even a revision o^ 
that Service ? The Indian Givil Service was organised 
in 1858, and can it be decently contended that any 
human institution, particularly an administrative 
machinery, can be so perfect as not to admit of some 
modification in more than fifty years at least to adapt 
itself to its shifting environments ? It would evidently 
be a most extravagant claim even for a scientific inven- 
tion or discovery. 


The indictments thus preferred against the proud 
Service, which fornas the pivot of the Indian adminis- 
trative machinery and v^hich a recent Eoyal Commis- 
sion has been asked to recognise as the accepted basis 
of its investigation, may be regarded in some quarter 
as rather too strong. But whether strong or mild, the 
indictments are not perhaps an unfaithful reflex of the 
Indian view of the situation ;- and if Government is 
really anxious to ascertain public opinion on the merits 
of its administration, they may not be regarded as 
either offensive or altogether gratuitous. Then, these 
charges do not appear to be altogether unsupport- 
ed by facts and arguments to which competent 
opinions, other than Indian, have also from time to 
time subscribed in no uncertain language, Mr. 
D. S. White, the late president of the Eurasian and 
Anglo-Indian Association, who but for his premature 
death would have certainly adorned, like Mr. George 
Yule, the distinguished roll of the Congress presidents, 
was present among the distinguished visitors at the first 
Congress held in 1885. Speaking, however, on the 
question of the Indian Civil Service which was being 
hotly discussed by the delegates, Mr. White said : — 

"The proposition contains an application for raising the 
competitive age in England of candidates for the Civil Service, and 
for holding examinations simultaneous in India. On both the 
points I differ. I do not think the remedy is in raising age, but in 
procuring the gradual abolition of the Civil Service. What we 
need, I think, is that the future importation of boys should be put 
a stop to. The real education of these boys takes place in India 
and the State is put to enormous expense in connection therewith, 
while there is no need for the expenditure. The State now has at 
hand indigenous talent, educated at its own expense, either locally 
or in England and should take advantage of it, and if it requires 


special talent from England it may import it just as men ready- 
made are imported for the Educational Department, For the 
Judicial Service, the Bar in India oSers itself, and why boy- 
civilians should be paid for years to learn to become judges is a 
matter not easily understood." 

Mr. White was clearly of opinion that the compe- 
titive system should be abolished and that *' men of 
eminence and skill alone, in any profession, should be 
brought out on limited covenants." This was said 
thirty years ago by a man who was universally respected 
for his sobriety of views and dispassionate judgment. It 
cannot be disputed that both India and the Government 
of India to-day are as different from what they were 
in 1885 as the butterfly is from the catterpillar, and yet 
how strange that methods, arrangements and conditions 
which were considered ill-adapted even to the rearing 
► of the larva are sought to be applied without any amend- 
ment for its nourishment in its full-grown form. Sir 
Henry Ootton, who with just pride recalls that for 
a hundred years his family have been members of the 
Indian Civil Service and himself a most distinguished 
member of that service, who by sheer force of his 
character and abilities rose to the position of the 
head of a provincial administration, has quite 
recently again brought the question prominently to 
the notice of the public. It is now nearly thirty years 
that Sir Henry with his characteristic frankness and 
intimate knowledge of the Indian administration raised 
his warning voice that " the Indian Civil Service as at 
present constituted is doomed." Then in 1888, while 
giving evidence before the Indian Public Service 
•Commission, ho formulated a reconstructive policy ; 


bufe he was brushed aside as a "visionary." Now that 

another Royal Commission has been appointed to 

enquire into the Indian Public Services, Sir Henry 

Cotton has again returned to his charge. Writing in 

the Contemporary Bevieio and commenting on the- 

terms of reference to the Commission, which apparently 

assume the existing constitution as the permanent basis 

of Indian administration, Sir Henry Cotton says : 

" But what is wanted now is no scheme for bolstering up the • 
decaying fabric of a Service adapted only to obsolete conditions 
which have passed away and never can return." 

Calmly considered, without passion or prejudice, 
the question would appear to be^ no longer one of 
repair, but of reconstruction. A sudden drastic change- 
may, however, be found as impracticable as it may 
be inexpedient. At the same time it should be recog- 
nised that any attempt to revitalize a system which 
has long run its normal course by means of a variety 
of make-shifts, proposed by those who are naturally 
interested in anyhow preserving the ancient monu- 
ment to which they are deeply attached by tradition 
and sentiment as well as by the supreme instinct of 
self-love, is bound to be a costly failure. The in- 
adaptability of that system to the present condition of 
the country is writ large in almost every page of the 
records of an administration extending over the life- 
time of a generation, and 'instances are neither few nor 
far between where a truly benevolent Government has 
often incurred unnecessary odium owing chiefly to its 
lingering affection for a spoilt service. That affection 
has now practically grown into a blind superstition 


under the spell of which none dare take any serious 
step towards its correction. Speaking of the morale of 
the administration, Sir Henry Cotton frankly observes : 

** When once the sacred name of prestige hag been sounded as a 
•civilian war-cry by such a bureaucracy as we have in India, with 
vested interests clamouring for protection, it is no simple matter 
to solve any problem of reconstruction. No Viceroy has hitherto 
been strong enough to deal with the question." 

For thirty years the people have cried hoarse for the 
separation of judicial from executive functions. Succes- 
sive Viceroys and Secretaries of State have repeatedly 
declared themselves in favour of this "counsel of per- 
fection." But successfully has the Indian bureaucracy 
resisted the proposal upon the sole ground that it would 
impair its prestige, the only other plea of double expense 
having been neatly disposed of by the various practical 
schemes formulated by the different provinces for an 
effective separation of the two functions. This prestige, 
•however, the Indian public understand as meaning 
nothing more than the immunity which the bureau- 
cracy enjoys in the exercise of its arbitrary powers and 
the protection which the unholy combination affords 
against its incompetency to carry on the administration 
in the ordinary way. Nowhere is this incompetency 
more glaringly disclosed than in the judicial adminis- 
tration of the country. If the queer experiences of 
practising lawyers in the country could be collected 
and published it would form a very amusing, though 
somewhat grotesque and humiliating, catalogue of the 
strange vagaries and colossal ignorance of the young 
civilian judges as regards the law and procedure of the 


oounfery ; and these young civilians are as a rule called 
upon not only to control the subordinate judiciary, but 
also to sit-in judgment over the decisions of veteran 
Indian officers of established reputation and long experi- 
ence. The disastrous result of such a systena may easily 
be imagined. 

*' The Bar in ladia," says the high authority just quoted, " is 
• daily beooming strooger than the bench, and the ignorance of law 
and practise exhibited by junior civilians who are called on to 
, preside over the judicial adnainistration of a district — not to speak 
of the executive tendencies which are the inevitable accompaniment 
of their earlier training — has become a source of danger which 
will not be remedied by a year's study in a London barrister's 
chamber, or by passing the final examination at an inn of court.'* 

Like all old orthodox institutions, the Indian Civil 
Service has become saturated with strong prejudices 
against all popular aspirations and even the rawest 
recruits for that Service are not often free from con- 
ceited notions of their superiority and importance much 
above their desert. It may be no exaggeration to say 
that like Narcissus of old that Service is so enchanted 
with the loveliness of its own shadow that it has neither 
the leisure nor the inclination to contemplate beauty in 
others. Its devotion to duty may be unquestioned j 
but its superstitious veneration for its own prestige is 
much stronger. It is generally opposed to change and 
is always afraid of being regarded as weak. It has 
acquired all the characteristics of an antiquated insti- 
tution which, unable to adapt itself to its modern 
environments, is always great in the worship of its great 
past. " The Indian Civil Service," says Sir Henry Cotton, 
" is moribund and must pass away after a prolonged 


period of magnificent work to be replaced by a more 
popular sytem which will perpetuate its efl&ciency while 
avoiding its defects." Kightly understood, there is no- 
censure or disparagement in this ; for every human 
institution has its rise, its progress and its decay and the 
world is ever marching onwards through a process oi 
changes and evolutions. 

It is admitted on all hands that the Indian ad- 
ministration is the most costly and elaborate in the' 
world and unless means are devised for an early revi- 
sion of this huge and expensive machinery it stands- 
the risk of being threatened with a collapse. The most 
obvious remedy lies in the reconstruction of the entire 
Civil Service, by gradually replacing the Covenanted 
Service by uncovenanted indigenous materials which 
may be found cheaper and not less efficient. There is- 
no longer any dearth of such materials in the country 
although the bureaucracy is naturally ever so loud in 
their disparagement and in the advertisement of its 
own superior stuff. There is scarcely a department of 
the civil administration where, given the opportunity, 
the Indians have not proved their fitness and capacity 
to hold their own against foreign competition. Of 
course where any special qualification or expert know- 
ledge may be needed it may be imported on a limited' 
covenant ; but surely no country can be in such an awful^ 
plight as to be unable to do for a century without an 
army of covenanted officers on extravagant salaries with 
Exchange Compensation Allowances for the administra- 
tion of its domestic concerns. 


If; is suggested that as a firsfe s|j^p towards the- 
reconstruction of the Indian Civil Service, the Judicial 
branch should be completely and effectively separated 
from the Executive branch of the service and the 
former recruited from the Bar as in England, though 
other sources must also be availed of at the experi- 
mental stage to avoid violent disruption as well as 
possible injustice to existing vested interests. Tha 
subordinate civil Judiciary is no doubt at present 
primarily recruited from the Bar, though it is after- 
wards crystallized into a rigid orthodox body beyond 
the charmed circle of which its members cannot move. 
But the original recruitment being mostly from among 
the inferior and inexperiencd elements of the Bar, 
the subsequent outturn of the present system neces- 
sarily fails, with of course honourable exceptions, 
either to command the respect and confidence of the 
public, or adequately to satisfy the demands of the 
public service. The subordinate criminal judiciary^ 
as at present constituted, is still more unsatisfactory. 
The competitive examination which annually used to 
introduce into the service a fair leaven of distinguished 
graduates of the Universities having been abolished, 
for reasons widely known throughout the country, 
that service is now entirely founded on the patronage 
of the bureaucracy naturally leading to a state of 
demoralization which has practically reduced the rank 
and file into three-quarters executive and only one- 
quarter judicial officers of the State. As a preliminary^ 
therefore, to the reorganisation of the Indian Civil Service 
the judicial service being completely separated and re- 


consferucfced OQufche lines indicated above, the entire 
Judicial administration should be vested in the High 
Oourts, which to be worthy of the British constitution 
should be at once freed from the trammels of bureaucratic 
provincial administrations. The administration of British 
justice, more than the British arms, has been the bulwark 
of the British Empire in the East, and they are the 
greatest enemies of that Empire who either direct- 
ly or indirectly work towards undermining that basal 
strength of its greatness. If the Indian Nationalist wants 
to make definite progress and to secure himself against 
disappointment even after a victory, he must go to the 
roots of the question and boldly face the situation 
however stiff the fight may be. The Indian National 
Congress has at last arrived at a stage when it can no 
longer burke the question of the reorganisation of the 
Indian Civil Service, and if it has necessarily to proceed 
step by step, it cannot afford to loose sight of its real 
objective and avoid the great struggle as well as the 
^reat secrifioes to which it has committed itself and 
the nation. 



The reform of the Legislative Councils is no doubt 
justly regarded as a great triumph of the Indian 
National Congress. It has for the first time recognised 


?fch6 elective principle in the government of this coun- 
try and invested these councils with the form, though 
not the substance, of representative institutions. Bub 
although it may be somewhat premature to hazard an 
opinion as to the probable outcome of this scheme, the 
comparative ease and freedom with which it has been 
allowed to be circumscribed, mutilated and crippled in 
its operation at the hands of a nervous bureaucracy, 
have furnished no small excuse for the disappointment 
and scepticism evinced by a section of the people as 
regards the ultimate result of such an experiment. 
Apart from its immediate results, the value of which 
need not be either under-rated or over-estimated, it 
seems fairly permissible to these critics to ask, whether 
any further expansion of these councils, on the only 
lines upon which such expansion appears to be possible 
■ in the existing temper of the bureaucracy, can be very 
much counted upon to lead to a substantial reform of 
the administration, or to any appreciable development 
of the political status of the people ? That the reform 
scheme pointed to such an aim there can be no mistake, 
and that it was fully intended to operate towards that 
end there need be no doubt. But the point is, does the 
reform scheme, as actually carried out, really provide a 
constitution which in its normal development is likely 
to bring about the desired improvement either in the 
one or the other ? Lord Morley quite superfluously 
observed, that he could not give us the moon; for no 
one in this country ever asked for the moon. But has 
his Lordship ever enquired, whether the great scheme 
«of reform which he took so much pains to carry through 


both the Houses of Parliament has or has not been^ 
practically converted into stone when the people cried 
for bread ? Supposing, for instance every district in a 
province were allowed, in course of a gradual expansion 
of this reform, to return a member to the local council 
and the number of members for the Supreme Oouncil 
were raised from 75 to 750, would the people gain, 
or the bureaucracy lose an inch of ground under such 
an expansion if the official element were always to 
maintain its corresponding level proportionate to this 
increase ? Then again the right of interpellation and 
the right of moving resolutions are no doubt valued 
rights ; but even if the representatives of the people- 
were to be armed with the right of moving a 
vote of want of confidence in the Government? 
would these rights mean much unless they were 
capable of influencing the policy of the administration ? 
A resolution carried is as good as a resolution lost 
when it carries no binding force with it and all the 
animated discussion in a council serves only the purpose 
of letting out a quantity of extra steam or of gratifying 
a Governor's admiration for eloquence. If the power 
of the purse is ever to remain a forbidden fruit to the 
people, of what earthly good is it for their representatives 
to annually enter into a mock-fight over the budget ? 
The whole atmosphere of the reformed councils as they 
stand is one of unreality and largely of dramatic interest. 
The normal expansion and development of such rights 
and privileges for any length of time cannot, therefore, 
be calculated very much either to advance the status of 
the people, or to popularize the administration. A. 


iproper exercise of such rights may no doubb occasionally 
produce a certain amount of moral pressure ; but moral 
pressure by itself is of very little consequence in prac- 
tical politics, particularly such politics as are commonly 
practised by a bureaucratic administration in a subject 
■country. Lastly, the incalculable mischief which the 
Regulations have done, by providing water-tight com- 
partments in representation and creating vested inter- 
ests, is a serious blow to the national development from 
which the country is not likely to recover either very 
soon, or without the united efforts of the people. 

The wholesome changes initiated by Lord Morley's 
Act of 1909 and the impetus it has generated in 
the body politic in this country must, therefore, be 
supplemented by other forces not only to counteract 
the retrograde policy of the Regulations, but also 
to prevent the reforms granted, like so many other 
reforms neutralised almost in their inception, from 
relapsing into a lifeless, rigid official formula to be 
mechanically repeated for another generation without 
any variatioii and in compliance with the letter 
without the spirit of these reforms. The most effective 
of these forces must no doubt come from within and not 
without. The people must train themselves in the art 
of evolving constructive policies and nob merely indulge 
themselves in destructive criticisms. They must learn 
oalmiy to weigh the two sides of a question and take the 
most practical and not the most dramatic view of a 
situation. And, above all, they must be thoroughly 
characterised by honesty of purpose and firmness of 
-determination and inspired by a spirit of lofty, patriotic 


self-sacrifice which is calculated fco sink all differences^ 
and nierge all personal considerations into the common 
well-being of the nation. Proper discipline is as much 
needed in national development as in military organisa- 
tion, and the Indian bureaucracy furnishes the most 
striking object-lesson of the value of such discipline. The 
evolution wrought by the national movement during the 
last thirty years is no doubt very remarkable ; but it 
would be a grievous error not to recognise the serious 
defects which still underlie our national character and 
constitute its weakness. A robust, healthy public 
opinion, divested of prejudice and passion and founded' 
upon impartial observation and careful study, carries with 
it not only a highly educative effect ; but is the most 
potent safeguard against national demoralization. It 
is the only censor of all lapses and aberrations in 
public life. It is as useless, as it is harmful, to dis- 
guise the fact, that the public in this country are stiir 
much given to carping criticism and abuse. Self-confidence 
is indeed a virtue, but self-conceit is a vice which, like 
a slow deleterious poison imperceptibly undermines 
the intellectual and moral constitution of an individual' 
as well as of a nation. The habit of thinking the 
oneself is indeed to be diligently cultivated ; but the 
practice of immature young men sitting in judg- 
ment over the decisions of veteran public men and 
lightly formulating chimerical ideas of which they can 
have no clear conception is very much to be deprecated 
in their own interest as well as in the interest of the 
public of whom they are the future asset. Honest emula- 
tion is indeed to be desired, but not arrogance. True^ 


patriotism is not a mere passive sentiment, but an 
active energy which in its proper exercise strengthens 
the nerves, stimulates the will, broadens the vision and 
purges nature of all its dross. It is the most valuable 
asset of national existence. With the loss of this one 
supreme virtue, India had once lost nearly all the glo- 
ries of her past and with its revival dawns her present 
regeneration. At this renaissance there is indeed no 
lack of bright examples of patriotic devotion to duty ; 
but it cannot be denied, that there is also no want of 
cracked coins still in circulation in this country. These 
false currencies are not only a deception but also a sure 
token of the moral trupitude of a nation. In an enlight- 
ened community thoroughly imbued with a stern sense 
of public responsibility, it should be practically 
impossible for all milksops and blotting papers to 
secure public trust as a means to their personal 
advancement at the sacrifice of public interest. For all 
these, the people themselves must be held responsible^ 
and the pace of their progress must be graduated by 
the scale of their development of these national virtues. 
But while it is perfectly true that most nations get 
as good a government as they deserve, it cannot be disput- 
ed that the conditions of a subject people are materially 
different from those of a free country, and that as such 
the development of both cannot be governed precisely by 
the same rules. In a free country the government itself 
is based upon public opinion and cannot but be guided by 
that opinion in its adaptation to the demands of public 
interest which is the very essence of its existence. In a 
subject country, particularly where the overning 


olass and the governed are perfect aliens to each other, 
there is always some anaount of colliding interest which 
naturally precludes a fusion of the two elements and 
thus deters the progress of the people which accord- 
ingly becomes more largely dependent on the sup- 
port of the Government. Where the State is per- 
fectly independent of the people, the political advance- 
ment of the latter becomes almost an impossibility 
without proper facilities and opportunities afforded by 
the former. The people must, therefore, look to the 
supreme authority from which has emanated the pre- 
sent reforms for their future growth and expansion. 
It is the British Parliament which must apply the neces- 
sary force to correct the defects of the present system 
and remove the various impediments which have been 
thrown to arrest the progress of its future development. 
The British public are mostly ignorant of the actual 
state of affairs in this country, while the British Par- 
liament is naturally disposed to content itself with the 
thought that when a reform has once been granted, it is 
bound to take its usual course and that the administra- 
tions in India may be fully depended upon loyally to 
carry out its policy. Unfortunately, however, such is not 
the case, and the Indian public are driven to the neces- 
sity of constantly knocking at the gate of the House 
which is always so carefully guarded by some well-trained 
Cerberuses, not a few of whom have fattened themselves 
upon the salt of India, but owe no allegiance to her, that 
their most reasonable complaints are easily drowned in 
the howling raised by these watch-dogs. But the people 
must knock and knock, until the gate is opened to them. 


f f India is fco be redeemed through British connection, 
the battle of India must be fought on British and not 
Indian soil. It is to the British public and the British 
OParliament that India must look for her ultimate 

The best means therefore of having Indian's voice 
•heard in England is to have some persons directly 
to represent her in Parliament. As has already been 
pointed out, Henry Eawcett was the first to assume the 
title of '"Member^ for India,'* although he too had to 
apologise to his constituency for devoting some portion 
of his time and attention to the affairs of India. Next 
•came Charles Bradlaugh, to whom the title was 
conceded by his colleagues more as a nickname than as a 
-genuine compliment. But perhaps the highest representa- 
tion which India ever obtained in the House of Commons 
was through the Parliamentary Committee which was 
-so successfully organise/^ mainly through the efforts of 
the much-abused British Committee of the Congress. 
This Committee at one time counted upon its roll no less 
■than 200 members of Parliament, and a careful student 
of Indian politics will have no difi&culty in finding that 
they were a tower of strength to India and that the 
persistent agitations which they kept up in the House 
were at the root of most of the reforms which have 
recently been inaugurated in the administration of this 
country. Those were the halcyondays of the Congress- 
iBut that Committee has been dissolved and it has 
naturally ceased to exist under a Liberal Parliament and 
is not likely to be fully revived even under the next 
^Conservative Government. 


The question of direct representation for India in- 
the British House of Commons therefore comes to the 
forefront of the future programme of the Congress. 
The question is not altogether a new one. It was first 
noticed by Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji in his presidential 
address at the Lahore Congress of 1893, But for ten 
years the Congress apparently took no notice of it until 
1904 when it unanimously adopted the following 
Resolution : — 

" That in the opinion of the Congress the time has arrived 
when the people of this country should be allowed a larger voice in 
the administration and control of the afiairs of their country by 
(a) the bestowal on each Province or Presidency of India of the 
franchise of returning at least two members to the British House 
of Commons." 

The Resolution was tacked on to the more imme- 
diate questions of the expansion of the Legislative 
Councils and the appointment of Indian members to 
the India Council as well as to the Executive 
Councils of the Government of India and the Presi- 
dency Governments of Bombay and Madras. It was 
again repeated in 1905 ; but owing partly to the 
immediate pressure of reforms nearer at home and 
partly because of the serious troubles into which the 
country was plunged since 1905 this important ques- 
tion was allowed to be dropped from the programme of 
all subsequent Congresses. But the spirit in which 
the expansion of the councils has been carried out 
and the manner in which effect has been given to the 
reform of the Executive Councils, from which popular 
leaders of exceptional abilities appear to have been 
carefully excluded for reasons which are not perhaps 


too far to seek and which the bureaucracy apparently 
does not care DQUch to conceal, would seem to call for 
the revival of the question wifeh all bhe the vigour and 
earnestness which it obviously demands. lb is the 
high pressure of Parliament which is absolutely needed 
to keep an obstructive bureaucracy abreast of the times 
and to enforce ungrudging compliance with its supreme 
mandates. And it goes without saying, that such a 
pressure oan be generated only by India's own repre- 
sentatives in the House. If it be true, that "it is not 
England's heart that is steeled against India, but it is 
her ear that is deaf to her cries," then it follows that 
the highest endeavour of the Indian nationalist should 
not be confined to the loudest cries raised in India, but 
directed towards their gaining access to the ear of 

The tremendous influence of Parliamentary repre- 
sentation may be judged from two sources. The 
labours of Sir Henry Cotton, Sir William Wedderburn 
and the other members of the unofficial Indian Parlia- 
mentary Committee are well known to the public and 
it must be remembered that they were all Britishers 
and constitutionally represented certain British consti- 
tuencies only. Mr. Dadabdai Naoroji was the first 
Indian who ever sat in a British Parliament. He too 
sat not for Bombay, but for Central Finsbury. But 
such was the moral influence of the presence of this 
" black man " in the House that it at once excited the 
jealousy a»d nervousness of a conservative premier and 
led to the hasty return of another black man who was 


none fche whiter because he was set up in the conser- 
vative interest. 

The other and the more potent example is 
furnished by Ireland. Ireland like India has been 
fighting for her national emancipation for a much 
longer time and with much greater determination and 
unquestionably with incomparably superior advantages 
on her aide. Yet Ireland, with Parnell on one side of 
fche Irish Channel and Gladstone on the other, was 
unable to make one-tenth of the impression which she, 
has now made upon Great Britain with Kedmond in 
'Ireland and Asquith in England. Nobody would ever 
venture to suggest that the present great leader of the 
Irish Party and the present distinguished premier of 
England are stronger personalities than the " uncrown- 
ed king of Ireland " and the *' Great Commoner " of 
England ; but nevertheless the success of the former is 
more decided and remarkable than the failure of the 
latter. It is the seventy odd Nationalist members in 
fche House who holding fche balance of power in their 
hands have turned fche scale and decided fche quesfcion 
of Irish Home Kule. It is practically the same question 
wich which the Indian Nationalist is concerned : — 
.It is National Self-Government within fche Empire, or 
Home Kule for India. And the Indian people must 
be armed with similar weapons to carry the struggle 
to a successful conclusion. If two dozens of Indian 
^ representatives were to be admitted into the British 
House of Commons, tbey would not only by themselves 
form an important factor in the House ; but a party 


would naturally grow round them which would undoubt- 
edly exercise considerable influence in shaping the 
policy of Governncienfc and doing adequate justice to 
India. It would then be impracticable for the- 
Indian bureaucracy to tamper or tinker with tha 
wholesome provisions of any Parliamentary statute or 
to impede the normal growth of Indian nationalism^ 
Bureaucracy may shudder at the prospect of such 
an innovation, but true statesmanship can hardly fail 
to realise that it would form a permanent cement and 
a bond of indissoluble union between England and 
India, the value of which, as the most precious assets 
of Great Britain, even the most blatant jingo would be 
bound to admit. It must be a process of gradual fusion 
and not of increasing dominance that will permanently 
secure British rule in India. 

India certainly desires British connection ; but ife 
is a connection of co-partnership based upon mutual 
trust and confidence and comradeship in rights and 
responsibilities but not of permanent subjection which 
she aims at. The kind of connection commonly 
known as liege-lordism was sought to be enforced by 
Western civilisation in America, Africa and in other 
dark corners of the world, and it led to the extirpation 
of the weaker races. But India possesses a civilisation 
and literature older than that of Greece and Eome and 
even older than that of Egypt and Phoenicia which are- 
still the admiration of the modern world. She still 
boasts of cities and towns which flourished before Baby- 
lon and Nineveh came into existence. She has with- 
stood the revages of time and revolutions of ages which 


have swept over her offcea leaving their deep scars upon 
her ; bub neither the one nor the other have succeeded 
in wiping her out of existence, or even in disfiguring 
her beyond identification. She possesses a wonderful 
vitality which has, on the contrary, assimilated and 
absorbed most of the civilisations which came in con- 
tact with her and which she was unable either to resist 
or counteract. And to-day she is the common home 
of the Hindu, the Mussalman, the Parsi, the Jain, the 
Buddhist and the Christian. Such a country may be 
conquered, but not held in prepetual bondage. None 
of her many conquerors succeeded in doing so, and it 
would be a grievous mistake if Great Britain should 
either intend or attempt to make such an experiment. 
Militarism can subjugate countries, but cannot enslave a 
civilised people. India, emancipated and consolidated 
into a federal unit, will constitute the strongest cement of 
the British Empire ; whereas emasculated, impoverished, 
distrusted and discontented, she is bound to be a standing 
menace to her true greatness and is likely to prove her 
greatest weakness in an hour of danger. England must 
be prepared to admit India into the Councils of the Empire 
if she is to be honestly treated as an integral part of 
that Empire. She naust cease to be her greatest 
Dependency and rise to the dignity of her foremost 
Dominion, and her people should be treated not as 
paying subjects but as privileged citizens of that Empire. 
The misfortune is that so few Englishmen know much of 
ancient Indian History and fewer still command an 
insight into ancient Indian civilisation and have, therefore, 
so little sympathy and respect for Indian aspirations. 


Eaverting to fehe immediate question of Parlia- 
^mentary representation, it may be pointed out that 
from the Qaeen's Proclamation down to the latest 
Royal declaration of George V, there was not a single 
authoritative pronouncement made which did not hold 
out the hope that the Indian people would be treated in 
all respects as " equal subjects " of Great Britain and 
entrusted with rights and privileges of British citizen- 
ship to which they by their position and education may 
be found entitled : and the people would naturally 
resent it as an evasion of these solemn pledges if, af ter ^ 
they have been tried and found not unworthy of repre- 
sentative institutions, they should be still debarred from 
their legitimate position of representing their country's 
interest in the supreme Legislative assembly of the 
Empire of which they form &uch an important factor. 
Besides, if France has found no difficulty in extending 
such an important franchise to her handful of Indian sub- 
jects and thereby recognising them as free citizens and 
oo-partners of the great Republic, it is no small or 
fancied grievance of the three hundred and odd millions 
of British Indian subjects, that they should stand care- 
fully excluded from a fair participation in the rights of 
the British Empire although they have to bear more 
than a fair share of its responsibilities. It cannot be, 
and will perhaps never be, contended that Ohandernagora 
is more advanced than Calcutta, Pondicherry than 
Madras, or Mahe than Bombay ; or, that French 
Government have lost either in strength or prestige or 
efficiency by reason of the admission of their Indian 
and African subjects, either in the army or in the 


Chamber of Deputies. Vigorous efforfcg should, there- 
fore, be made to secure proper and adequate repesenta- 
tion for India directly in the British House of 



There is another question of difficulty which must 
shortly engage the attention of the Congress and 
its members. As often as an important question 
of Indian reform is raised for discussion > a studied, 
stereotyped cry is invariably raised both in the British 
Parliament as well as in the British Press, that India 
must be kept outside the pale of party politics in Eng- 
land. This earnest solicitude can evidently mean 
one of two things : It may either mean that India 
is regarded as too '* great and solemn a trust of Provi- 
dence " to be entrusted to the wrangling and rancorous 
spirit of the two hostile political parties which 
decide the fate of the rest of the British Empire ; or ife- 
may mean, that India is a rich preserve in common 
held under a common agreement and ior the benefit of 
both the parties which cannot, therefore, be allowed to- 
be an apple of discord between them. Whatever may 
be the correct interpretation of the plea thus advanced, 
its one effect has always been to perpetuate India's 
wrongs and to defer Indian reforms by either party 


in England. The grim humour of the situation, how- 
ever, lies in the fact that India must alternately come 
under a Liberal or Conservative Government and be 
ruled by a Liberal or Conservative Secretary of State 
while the anomaly is sometimes allowed to assume a 
most awkward position when a conservative Viceroy 
is permitted to govern India under a Liberal Govern- 
ment in England. The result of such an arrangement 
has invariably been found to involve a partial surrender 
of Liberal principles and a consequent sacrifice of 
India's best interests. Individual members may hava 
occasionally nobly fought for justice to India; bufc 
seldom has Parliament risen to the height of such 
occasions for an adequate redress of her wrongs. The 
best of fights for India on the floor of the House has 
in recent years ended in a compromise where neither 
party has suffered any defeat and both parties have 
come out triumphant, as in a mock military tourna- 
ment, at the sound of the warning note of 'party poli- 
tics.' The story, however, is as old as the severeignty 
of the British Crown in India. In 1858, when Lord 
Palmerston introduced his first India Bill for the reform 
of the Indian administration, Mr. Disraeli, who was 
then the leader of the Opposition in the House of Com- 
mons, elaborately dwelt on the desirability of having 
** the representative principle applied to the Gove rn 
ment of India," and objected to the Bill on the ground 
that it did not provide sufficient check for the protec- 
tion of India's interest and for "that redress of the 
grievances under which she suffered which British 
protection ought to ensure." But soon after when 


upon the sudden defeat of Lord Palmerston, Lord Derby 
came into power, the same Benjamin Disraeli in intro- 
ducing his India Bill " regretted that the unsettled 
state of the country did not admit of a representation 
of the people in India," and both sides of the House 
complacently agreed to his dictum. The same process 
of " promising to the ear and breaking to the hope" 
has long been repeated with unfailing precision and 
uniformity by both parties in Parliament in dealing 
with India and the Indian people : and it was this 
painful display of a tragi-comic farce that led Mr. 
George Yule candidly to observe chat " the 650 odd 
members who were to be the palladium of India's 
rights and liberties have thrown ' the great and solemn 
trust of an inscrutible Providence' back upon the 
hands of Providence to be looked after as Providence 
itself thinks best." It was the same sophistry to which 
in more recent years Sir Henry Fowler gave utterance, 
when as the Minister for India he said that every one 
of the said 650 odd members in the House, whether 
liberal or conservative, was a Member for India," 
which (according to the trite old saying that everybody's 
business is nobody's business) in simple unsophisticated 
Indian phraseology, was as much as to say that as in 
a letter so in spirit there was absolutely no member for 
India in the British Parliament. These platitudes have 
led not a few Indians, however erroneous they may be, 
honestly to believe, that the British people are entirely 
liberal as far as Great Britain is concerned ; they are 
divided into liberals and conservatives when Ireland 
<jomes into question, and with few honourable exceptions, 


iihey close their ranks and stand solid as conservatives 
when the fate of India has to be decided. 

The question, therefore, whether India should be 
drawn into English party politics does not appear to be 
iree frona difficulties. Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji speaking 
so early as 1885 said, that " the Conservatives are not 
80 bad as that they will never do a good thing, nor are 
the Liberals so good that they never did a bad thing. 
In fact, we owe good to both and we have nothing to do 
with them yet as parties." This may be perfectly cor- 
rect ; but it seems equally clear that whenever the Con- 
servatives have done a good thing by India, they have 
mostly done so under pressure from the other side. It 
is also commonly pointed out that the great Proclama- 
tion was the gift of a Conservative Government, though 
subsequent acts and declarations of responsible minis- 
ters of the Conservative rank have shown, that it is 
hardly accepted by them as the gift of any Govern- 
ment, but that of a female Sovereign addressing her 
distant alien subjects upon her assumption of power 
after a great revolution, and it did not probably cost a 
Conservative minister much to draw up a liberal mani- 
festo in his '' inimitable style" under the express dic- 
tation of that Sovereign. If that Proclamation has 
ever been respected as a sacred document, it has been 
so done only by liberal ministers and administrators. 
Current of events in recent times has, however, brought 
home to the Indian mind, that although it may not 
matter much to India which of the two parties is in 
actual authority in England, it matcers a good deal 
whether the members who form the Government for 


either parfcy are or are not individually men of mor© 
generous instincts, wider sympathies and broader states- 
manship in dealing with the alBPairs of an Empire which 
covers nearly one-sixth of this habitable globe. It i& 
the saying of one of the greatest political philosophers 
the world has produced that " a great Empire and a 
little mind go ill together," Then India being a sub- 
ject country without any voice in her own affairs, it is 
only natural that those that are imbued with liberal 
principles and democratic ideas, " Little Englanders" 
as they are called, who are more likely to be in sym- 
pathy with her than the lordly Impearialist who unre- 
servedly talks of India having been conquered by the 
sword and who openly preaches that it must be 
retained by the sword. 

Lord Cromer, who was perhaps the first open advo« 
cate of this doctrine of Indian neutrality, bad no doubt I 
his reasons for the occasion when he asked the House- 
not to drag India into a party question ; but is India, 
really kept outside party politics ? Is it not a fact, that 
although Great Britain is alternately governed on 
Liberal or Conservative principles, India is permanently 
ruled on Conservative lines ? Parties rise and fall». 
ministers change and Viceroys come and go ; but the 
bureaucracy in which the Indian adminisitration is- 
permanently vested, is an essentially conservative insti- 
tution as unchangeable in its methods as it is unimpreg- 
nable in its policy. A time must, therefore, come when* 
the Congress will have to face the situation and decide- 
the question whether it should not openly cast in her 
lot with one of the political parties in England. 


The highest problem for solubion in the evolution 
of a nation is perhaps Education. As it is the essence 
of civilization, so it is the very backbone of progressive 
humanity ; while the force and stamina of a national 
life, as much as its longevity and capacity for action, 
are largely determined by the nature and extent of the 
development and expansion of its educational system. 
Education is the main stock-in-trade of a civilized 
people and the working capital ofits administration. 
In every well-regulated country, therefore, the State 
assumes the charge and control of public education as 
its paramount duty towards its subjects. Adminis- 
tration of justice and protection of life and property 
are no doubt among the primary functions of a 
Government; but these are discharged in one shape 
or another by every form of government that cares for 
its own existence. Even in early stages of society 
these elementary duties were fully recognised in all 
communal or feudal systems of administration where 
fehe educated few held the ignorant many in bondage 
in return for the peace and security guaranteed to 
them. It is, however, the highest aim of civilization to 
emancipate humanity from this forced subjection and 
restore to it the rights and liberties which are the 
common heritage of mankind. And education is the 
only means towards that end : It is the only weapon 
with which to j&ght out the intellectual slavery and the 


moral turpitude of a people. As ife is the sole test of a? 
people's fitness to participate in the management of its- 
own concerns, so* it is the only standard by which a 
civilized government is to be judged and justified in 
its assumption of authority to rule over its destinies- 
The highest claim of Britain to the gratitude of the 
people of this country is, therefore, not founded either 
upon its elaborate system of efficient administration, or 
upon its extensive railways or other means of communi- 
cation. Nor is that claim based upon the development 
of the country's resources and the expansion of its 
trade. All these are no doubt fully appreciated as th©^ 
blessings of a civilized and enlightened rule ; but the- 
people know and feel that these blessings are purchased 
not without the payment of a price for each and all of 
them. The real source from which that gratitude flows 
lies deeper and is to be traced to the Educational 
policy which the British Government solemnly under- 
took to carry out, and which it has to no small extent 
carried out in the administration of this country ever 
since the assumption of its sovereignty. In recent years 
the educational policy of the Government has admittedly 
undergone remarkable changes leading to a considerable 
divergence of opinion, as regards not only the aim, but 
also the effect of that policy upon the general educa- 
tion of the country. While the Government main- 
tains that these changes are intended to improve edu- 
cation, the people are unable to divest themselves of 
the belief that they are all retrograde measures calcu- 
lated seriously to restrict and hamper educational pro- 
gress. A brief survey of the history of that policy,, 


fcherefere, appears feo be uecessary for a clear under* 
standing of fche issues involved in the discussion, as also 
of the merits of the contention on both sides. 

It is a grievous naistake to assunae, as not a few 
among the Englishmen have rather too hastily assumed,! 
that when India passed into the hands of England she 
was found sunk deep in one unbroken darkness of 
ignorance and superstition ; that public education wa& 
foreign to the instinct and tradition of the people, and 
that educational institutions were imported from th» 
West with the advent of the British, India was neither 
South Africa, nor the West Indies. Older than Eome 
and Greece and even older than Egypt and Phoenecia^ 
India was in the dim and distant past the only on© 
bright spot when the rest of the world was enveloped 
in darkness. She was the cynosure of all eyes and in 
spite of all the fanciful attempts of modern researches 
to prove the contrary, she still stands out in bold relief 
as the centre of all the earliest culture and enlighten- 
ment of the world. Even in later periods Chinese 
travellers from the East, and Grecian and Koman 
travellers from the West bore eloquent testimony to the 
unrivalled advancement and civilization of the Indiaa 
people. Coming down to modern times the Mahome- 
dan historians have also ungrudgingly testified to their 
superior knowledge and culture. Since the Mahome- 
dan conquest, India made further acquisition of Arabic 
and Persian enlightenment, and it seems absurd to 
suppose that towards the middle of the eighteenth cen- 
tury all this civilization and culture of ages were sud- 
denly swept; away by some mysterious agency, leaving the 


country involved in one inapenetrable darkness. India 
"wifch her vanished glories still retained the hall-mark 
•of her proud and peculiar civilisation when she 
came in contact with the modern civilization of the 
West. She was even then rich in her Sanskrit and 
Persian literature, not to apeak of the various Verna- 
cular dialects of these classical languages, and though 
very much deficient in the knowledge of applied sci- 
ences, she possessed an indigenous system of education, 
both primary as well as secondary, spread throughout 
the country as the decaying fabric of the past — the 
crumbling relic of the vanished glories of her Nalanda 
and other Universities. We have it on the authority 
of the Education Commission of 1882, that prior to 1854, 
when the first Educational Despatch of Sir Charles 
Wood was issued, there were more than 900,000 or nearly 
a, million of boys in British India, receiving elementary 
education in reading, writing and arithmetic including 
surveying, mensuration, square and cubic measures 
as well as equation. These primary instructions were 
systematically imparted in Fatshalas and Muktabs ; 
while higher education in literature, philosophy, logic, 
theology, medicine and astronomy was amply provided 
for in Tols and Madrassas established throughout the 
country, unsupported by any State-grant and uncon- 
trolled by any State-agency, The customary recitation 
of the historical epics on festive and other occasions 
was another means of popular education. Medical 
science, including anatomy, surgery and chemistry, 
which is one of the highest products of civilization, had 
reached such a degree of efficiency, that in recent 


years with increased knowledge of ancient Indian 
45ivilization it has extorted the wonder and admiration 
of European scientists ; while, in the domain of astro- 
nomy, although the latter-day Indians had ceased to 
make any fresh discoveries, the precision and accuracy 
with which they were still able to utilise their old stock 
•of knowledge for the purpose of calculations and the 
many observatories which were in existence at Benares 
and other places down to the eighteenth century bore 
no mean evidence of the people's acquaintance with the 
wonders of the stellar world. Indian music still holds 
its place among the fine arts of the civilized world ; 
while India's architecture and sculpture, of which 
eloquent testimony is still borne by the Taj at Agra, 
so well described as a *' dream in marble, designed by 
Titans and finished by jewellers,** and the grand mauso- 
leum at Ghunar which Bishop Heber characterised as 
** embroidery in stone," and by the numerous caves 
and temples still extant in Orissa as well as in Central 
and Southern India, gave unquestionable evidence of 
her technical knowledge of no mean order. The futile 
attempts of Western pride to attribute these wonderful 
works of art to either European or Byzantine civiliza- 
tion only add to their matchless glory and unrivalled 
•superiority. India's maritime trade even in the six- 
teenth century was not inconsiderable ; while her far- 
iamed textile fabrics, particularly of cotton and silk, 
were largely in demand in the courts of Europe even 
in the eighteenth century. Scientific appliances she 
^had none ; but it was want of patronage, more than 
the competition of superior scientific machineries of 


Europe, which crushed her finer industries and over- 
powered her in the end. Such was the country that 
was practically ceded to Great Britain towards the 
middle of the eighteenth century by a people torn by 
internal dissensions, distracted by nautual jealousy and 
spite, and tired of the naisgovernment of a hundred 
inefficient principalities and administrations which had 
become accustomed to look more to their own pomp and 
grandeur than to the comforts and well-being of their 
subjects, and which had, as such, systematically neglect- 
ed public instruction as a State duty. Of course the 
system of education at the time was very* defective a& 
there was hardly any method in the system ; while the 
higher studies were generally of an unprofitable character. 
All this was due to the fact that there was no authority 
to guide or control education, and the people were left 
entirely to their own initiative and resource to edu- 
cate their children as best as they could and as the 
circumstances of the country either permitted or 
required. The genius and aptitude of the people for 
education was, however, never extinct. , 

The government of the East India Company,, 
which was mainly directed by purely mercantile 
considerations and from the highest to the lowest 
animated by a spirit of exploitation, naturally marked 
a very slow and slight advance in the direction of 
Education. The Board of Control from time to time 
no doubt urged for larger provisions being made for the 
education of the people, yet the largest grant ever 
made in any one year for education was not more than 
one lahh of rupees, which the Board strongly insisted 


on being put down in one of the Budgets of the 
Company towards the close of its administration. Full 
twelve years were taken in deciding the controversy 
which raged between those who were called the ' Orienta- 
lists' aud the 'Anglicists,' that is, persons who were 
opposed to the introduction of English education and 
urged for the encouragement of the study of the Oriental 
languages, and those on the other side, who advocated 
Western education and as such insisted on the 
English language being accepted as the medium of 
education in India. In this vital controversy, Rajah Ram- 
mohun Roy, strongly supported by David Hare, took; 
a leading part and threw himself heart and soul 
at tbe forefront of the Anglicist party. We may 
not at this distance of time fully agree with the* 
great Indian reformer in all that he said against the 
study of Sanskrit and Arabic languages which he 
strongly denounced as being barren and unprofitable 
studies, and we may even doubt if he actually antici- 
pated the remarkable changes which his mother-country 
would undergo in the next hundred years ; but that his 
prophetic vision clearly foresaw that India's future des* 
tiny lay in the acquisition of modern knowledge and that 
such knowledge could be adequately and efficiently 
purveyed only through the medium of a living Western 
language cannot certainly be disputed. The question 
was finally decided during the government of Lord 
William Bentinck, when by a Resolution dated the 7th 
May, 1835, it was declared that although elementary 
education was to be confined to the Vernacular 
languages, higher education in India must be imparted^ 


in the English language. It was a most decisive point 
gained which paved the way for the future evolution of 
Indian Nationalism by providing a common language 
for the whole country. The Company, however, 
still moved at a very slow pace towards the educational 
development of the country when, worried and wearied 
• by the systematic evasion of its mandates, the Board at 
the instance of Parliament at last laid down a definite 
policy of education to be pursued in India. The famous 
Despatch of the 19bh July of 1854, commonly known 
as the despatch of Sir Charles Wood, afterwards Lord 
Halifax, — then President of the Board of Control — 
was the first declaration of that Policy and it is justly 
regarded as the great charter of education in India. 
' The Despatch opened with an unreserved declaration of 
the Government accepting the responsibility of educa- 
tion of the people as a State duty. The declaration 
runs as follows : — 

"It is one of our most sacred duties to be the means, as far as in 

us lies, of conferring upon the natives of India those vast moral 

and material blessings which flow from the general difiEiision of 

iJinowledge and which India may under Providence derive from 

her connection with England." 

" The Despatch, after formulating its general scheme, 
went on to prescribe the following means for the attain- 
ment of its objects: — (i) The establishment of Univer- 
sities at the Presidency cities ; (ii) the constitution of a 
Department of Education for each Presidency ; 
(iii) the maintenance of the existing Colleges and High 

^Schools whose number was very small and the increase 
of their number; (iv) the establishment of middle 

> schools and of training institutions for teachers; (v) 


provisions for increased facilities towards the expansion 
of elementary education among the masses ; and (vi) 
the introduction of a grant-in-aid system for the deve-^ 
lopment of education. Provision was also recommended 
for a system of Sbate scholarships to connect the lower 
schools with the higher, and the higher schools with/ 
the colleges. 

It was a grand and comprehensive scheme, and' 
one now naturally feels inclined to inquire as to 
how far it has been carried out. Three years^ 
after this programme was taken in hand and imme- 
diately as the first university was established in 
Calcutta, the Mutiny broke out which again set in 
motion a retrograde policy and caused a set-back, 
in education. A party of Anglo-Indians, who were 
never so zealous in the cause of education, if they were 
not actually opposed to it from the very beginning,, 
came forward to denounce education as being mainly 
responsible for the attempted revolution. The question 
was neatly disposed of by Sir Frederick Halliday, the 
first Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, in a minute of 1858' 
on a letter of Lord Bllenborough, as President of the 
Board of Control, to the Court of Directors, who had 
found in the disturbance ample excuse for reverting to^ 
their old policy of inaction and issuing a peremptory 
order upon the Government in India not to *' sanction 
any increase of expenditure in any part of India in 
connection with Education '* without their authority 
previously obtained, yir Frederick Halliday wrote : 

" Oa the question of the connection between education and 
the rebellion, our wisdom, no less than our duty, is to persevere- 


in what we have begun and not to turn our backs upon Bihar 
or any other parts of our territory, because there is difficulty 
or danger in the path of improvement. It is certain, how- 
ever, that both the difficulty and the danger are exaggerated 
and look imposing only to those who keep at a distance from 
them and view them through the delusive mist of prejudice and 
mis-information. As to difficulty, the progress of Bengal, even 
within the memory of living witnesses, is a proof of the aptitude 
of the people and of their plastic docility. And though it is not 
uncommon in these days to attribute the recent mutinies to our 
educational operations, and even to propose to draw back from 
them for fear of similar consequences in future, the error of this 
opinion is like that of a man who after unwisely and incautiously 
exposing a barrel of gunpowder to all kinds of dangerous influences 
and having by good luck, and in spite of bad management, long 
escaped without an accident, should, at last, when the fatal and 
inevitable explosion takes place, olame neither the gunpowder nor 
his own rashness and indiscretion, but rather lay the whole 
mischief to account of some one of many little sparks flying 
about, and talk of limiting the use of fire and candle in future to 
'prevent similar occurrences." 

No more sfeatesmanlike view of fehe situation or 
crushing reply could have been advanced, and the Gov- 
ernment of Lord Canning made a firm stand against the 
insensate, hysteric cry of an alarmist crowd. It will be 
seen a little later on, that the same cry has again been 
raised in recent years and has contributed not a little 
to the shaping of the present educational policy of the 
•Government, with this difference that there is neither 
a Halliday nor a Canning to take a dispassionate 
perspective of the situation and boldly adhere to the 
noble policy of 1854. By Statute 21 and 22 Victoria, 
passed on the 2nd August, 1858, the weak and vacillat- 
ing misgovernment of the East India Company was 
brought to an end and on the 1st November of the same 
year, the great Proclamation was issued from Allahabad 
'notifying the assumption of the Government of India 


•directly by the Grown. That Proclamation is universally 
regarded as the Magna Gharta, of British India. 

The second great Despatch on Education was issued 
on the 7th April, 1859, shortly after the transfer of the 
'Government from the Company to the Crown. After 
reviewing the working of theearlier Despatch, the policy of 
which it whole-heartedly re- affirmed and accepted as the 
policy of the Crown, it went on to point out that although 
much had been done to stimulate a desire for education 
and the people had evinced a great aptitude for Western 
knowledge, the progress made was indeed very slow and 
inadequate; and while fully endorsing the policy of 
encouraging all indigenous efforts towards the expan- 
sion of education, the practice of educational officers 
demanding contributions from the people, which had 
largely come to a vogua as a condition precedent to 
the establishment of Vernacular schools, was declared 
both undignified and inexpedient. Doubts were also 
expressed as to the suitability of the grant-in-aid 
system for the supply of Vernacular education to the 
masses of the population, which, it was suggested, 
should be provided by the direct efforts of the State. 
The question of levying an educational rate for the 
provision of elementary education was also recommended 
by this Despatch of the careful consideration of the 

At this period, the Christian Missionaries acted 
as strong auxiliaries towards the spread of education, 
and though their primary object was to facilitate the 
propagation of the Christian Gospel, the schools and 
colleges which they founded in connection with the 


Universities became powerful adjuncts to the cause of 
secular education also. But by far the greatest efforts 
were perhaps made by the people themselves, particul- 
arly as regards secondary and high education, thougb 
they failed largely to co-operate with the Government 
in promoting elementary education among the masses, 
A number of enlightened Indian gentlemen, mostly 
inspired by the lofty teachings of Rajah Rammohun 
Roy, one after another took the field in different parts 
of the country which became soon studded with schools 
and colleges, some of which to this day stand as the- 
proudest monuments of their patriotic labours and 
self-sacrifice. The niames of Pandit Iswar Chandra 
"Vidyasagar, Prisonno Coomar Tagore, Gow Mohan 
Addy, Bhudev Mukherjee, Peary Churn Sircar, Maho- 
med Moshin, Maharanee Swarnamoye and many others 
in Bengal, of Dababhai Naoroji, Bal Gangadhar Shastri, 
Roychand Premchand and Mahadev Govinda Ranade 
in Bombay, of Sir Syed Ahmed in the United Provinces 
of Pachyappa Mudaliar and Gopal Row in Madras and- 
of the saintly educationist Dayananda Swaraswati in 
Benares are embalmed in the grateful memories of their 

The next landmark in our educational histhory 
was the Education Commission of 1882, appointed by 
the Government of Lord Ripon under the presidency of 
Sir William Hunter, wrhich reviewed the progress 
the country had made during a period of thirty years 
since the first Education Despatch of 1854. Although 
the province of Bengal was found to be much ahead of 
the other provinces, defects were noticed in the entire 


sysfeem which loudly called for the earnesfe afcfcenfcion of 
the Government. The number of schools and colleges 
was still found to be inadequate and the provision for 
education insufficient. It was recommended by the 
Commission that the support and cduntenance afforded 
by the Government to indigenous schools, whether 
of elementary or of higher instruction, and the encour- 
agement given to private enterprise by grant-in-aid rulea 
should be further extended ; that the Government 
should be reluctant to open Government institutions 
whenever private institutions could be expected or 
encouraged to do the work ; that more liberal rates of 
aid should be granted to private colleges ; and that 
primary education having been still very much neglected 
closer supervision and larger grants were needed for the 
e-ducation of the mass of the population. The Commis- 
sion proposed an increased expenditure of 10 lahhs of 
rupees a year for the promotion of primary education. 
All these recommendations were of course generously 
accepted on principle ; but only such effect could be given 
to them in practice as was possible under the eternal cry 
of financial difficulties, though of course neither the 
increase of the administrative machinery, universally 
admitted to be the costliest in the world, nor of the 
army, nor of the Home charges could afford, to wait for 
their periodical expansion in an unfailing progressive 
ratio. And the official reports almost invariably winded 
up with the euphemistic platitude that the recommen- 
dations of the Commission received the fullest attention 
compatible with the necessity of avoiding any consider- 
nhle increase of expendittcre." Comment upon the rhyme 


and reason of language like this is perfeciily super- 

Then came the Local Salf-Governmenb scheme of 
Lord Kipon, and the Government found an opportunity 
of relieving itself of the charge of primary education 
which, with certain petty and fluctuating receipts, was 
transferred to the Municipalities, the District, and the 
Taluqa Boards. This was no doubt a wise measure 
taken towards the development of elementary education ; 
but its efficiency was largely impaired by the crippled 
resources of the local bodies overburdened by an army of 
inspecting establishment which in some places swallow- 
ed up nearly 45 per cent. X>i the grants for education. 

Having thus largely relieved itself of the charge of 
Primary Education, the Government set to deal with 
higher education. A tendency had become manifest 
for some time past to view high education with a degree 
of suspicion and distrust and in certain quarters even 
with positive disfavour. It was the educated commu- 
nity which clamoured for increased rights and privi- 
leges and it was their agitation which was supposed to 
be responsible for the increased difficulties of the 
administration. The smoothness with which that 
administration was carried on from the middle of the 
eighteenth to nearly three-quarters of the nineteenth 
century was very much disturbed by the growing 
consciousness of a people who, in the prophetic words 
of Lord Macaulay, having their minds and ideas ex- 
panded by Western education, were aspiring to Western 
institutions and methods of administration. It was 


"^indeed fche dawning of fehe ** proudest day " of England 
though unfortunafcel3% however, the just pride of British 
•rule in India was at this stage slowly, though perceptibly, 
deteriorating into unworthy jealousy and spite, and 
.the lessons of broad statesnaanship gradually yielding 
to the dictates of a narrow, short-sighted policy. In 
1902 Lord Gurzon appointed a Universities Oommis- 
*sion, and the Universities Act of 1904 was the outconae 
•of the recent retrograde policy of education in India. 
With the ostensible view of securing efficiency, for 
which the government of Lord Gurzon stood in every 
department of the administration, the Universities 
were officialized and their gi-owth and expansion at 
•once curbed to suit the purposes of the general ad- 
ministration. While it was apparently intended to 
-secure a serene atmosphere of pure study, free from all 
^political influences, it was entirely a political move to 
checkmate the Nationalist party who were the bugbear 
of the Indian bureaucracy. The whole programme of 
•education was recast and the existing institutions were 
'forced to conform themselves to a set of Regulations 
which placed them, as it were, upon the bed of Pro- 
■crastes if they meant to exist. Some of the institu- 
tions died out on account of the stringent operation of 
*these Regulations ; while the growth of new ones was 
tightly fettered by their expensive requirements in a 
•country notorious for its extreme poverty. To justify 
the new policy, the aim of which was unmistakably 
fto reitrict high education, it was pointed out that 
education was expanding in area at the sacrifice 
•of depth and that in not a few cases it was conducted 


by private enterprise more as commercial business-- 
tihan as philanthrophic undertakings. Ifc was further 
urged that in the case of both the colleges as well as 
the high schools, the majority of the students lived 
in a suspicious atmosphere of uncontrolled and unres- 
tricted independence incompatible with the healthy 
growth of their moral and intellectual development. 
Above all, it was contended that the Universities stood 
in urgent need of thorough overhauling both as regards 
the subjects of studies as well as the conditions of affi- 
liation of colleges and recognition of high schools; while^ 
it was fairly proposed that if it was actually impossible 
to convert the existing Universities into teaching insti- 
tutions like those of Europe, it should be the aim of a 
sound policy gradually to impart such a character to- 
them by opening out fresh avenues for researches and 
post-graduate studies and establishing new chairs and 
professorships directly under these Universities. Most 
of these arguments were perfectly plausible, while some 
of them were simply unasssailabie ; and the sudden 
change in the educational policy of the Government 
would not have been unwelcome to the people and 
become subject to much adverse public criticism if it 
had not been evidently dictated by a political object to 
divest the Universities of their popular character and 
place them entirely under bureaucratic control, and to 
restrict high education and sap the growth of indigen- 
ous enterprise which had largely contributed towards^ 
the expansion of education in the country. The new 
policy was, to all intents and purposes, a retrograde 
movement, and behind its charming frontispiece there* 


•was fche same lurking STaspicion and disfcriist of education 
-and of fehe educated comnaunifcy which manifesfced fehem- 
fle.lves after fehe Mufeiny of 1857, wifeh this difference that 
while fche old servants of fche Oonapany, who were largely 
Tesponsible for fche outbreak, were fchen kept well in 
hand by superior British statesmanship, the servants 
of the Crown forming an invincible bureaucracy now 
got the upper hand ol that statesmanship, and under 
more favourable auspices succeeded in completely re- 
versing the policy of Government. It is not denied 
that in certain directions the policy of 1904. has achiev- 
ed remarkable progress, while at least one of the Uni- 
versities has, under the guidance of a very capable and 
energetic Vice-Ghancellor, aided by the philanthropy and 
patriotism of some of its noblest products, well-nigh 
risen to the rank of a teaching University of high 
order ; but in the estimation of fche public, these solitary 
ladvantages are completely overshadowed by fche sinis- 
ter spirit of that policy which seeks to improve by 
Teducfcion and foster by curtailment of education in a 
country whose educational requirements are admittedly 
«o vast and yet whose educational status is still indis- 
putably so weak and miserable, compared with fche rest 
of the civilized world. Under the policy of 1854 the 
^Government, fully conscious of its own weakness, was 
most anxious to supplement its efforts by offering all 
possible encouragements to private enterprise ; bub 
under the new policy of 1904 it assumed the full 
control of education not only without making any 
adequate provision for its progress, but by actually 
rforging serious restrictions to its normal expansioQ 


and development. If the earlier policy was purely 
educational in its character, the later policy has been^ 
politico-educational in its essence as well as sub- 
stance. Even the large subsides which it has in some 
cases forced upon private bodies and individuals hava 
been influenced rather by political than educational 
considerations* If the redeeming features of such a^ 
policy have failed to commend themselves to the 
appreciation of the people, it is more thedr misfortune 
than their fault. The improvements effected in certain 
directions are naturally re-garded in the light of the im- 
provised Ohinese shoes for the improvement of Chinese- 
beauty however maimed and crippled the subjects may 
be under its painful operations. 

The next important step, in the history of educa- 
tion in the country, was the creation of a separate port- 
folio of Education in 1910 with an independent 
minister in charge of it. Although the Despatch of 
1854 had established a separate Education Department} 
for each of the provinces, it occupied a subordinate- 
position where, in the words of Mr. Gokhale, " educa- 
tional interests rubbed shoulders with jails and the- 
police in the all-comprehensive change of the Home 
Department." For the first time in 1910, Education 
received its due recognition as an important and' 
independent department of the State. But the fullest 
results of the working of this department can hardly 
be expected until it is released from the fetters^ 
of the policy of 1904. Sir Harcourt Butler's Educa- 
tional Resolution of 1913 clearly emphasises the 
necessity at least of a partial revision and relaxation o^' 


thafc policy, and it is perfectly clear that if the creation 
of a new ministry for education is to have any meaning, 
the minister in charge must have a wider scope and 
greater freedom of action than the policy of 1904: appa- 
rently allows. 

Lord Hardinge's scheme for the. establishmewt of 
a residential and teac-hing University at Dacca is no 
doubt a movement in the right direction if the pro- 
posed University is to be conducted on the lines of the 
Universities of Great Britain. But if it is to have any 
territorial jurisdiction, however small, its usefulness 
will be considerably reduced ; while if its standard in 
any way becomes lowered, it is bound to act as a set- 
back rather than as an impetus to the advancement of 
high education in the country. The demand for high 
education is so great in the country that both the 
Hindus and the Mussalmans have come forward to 
found two independent Universities of their own. Their 
aim and scope have become the subject of considerable 
speculation among the people; but these attempts 
are a proof positive of the fact that the number of 
Universities in the country is too small to satisfy the 
demand of the people and that there is large room for 
additional adjuncts for the advancement of high educa- 
tion in the country. 

The above is a short summary of the history of the 
educational policy of British rule in India, the net 
results of which up-to-date may now be briefly discuss- 
ed. These results may broadly be considered under 
three heads : (1) High Education, (2) Secondary Educa* 
tlon, and (3) Primary or Elementary Education. The 


first; and second may be taken together as the one ig 
complimentary to the other. High education is imparted 
under the control of five examining Universities of 
which the first was established in Calcutta in 1857, the 
second and third in Madras and Bombay in 1858, 
the fourth at Lahore in 1882 and the fifth at Allahabad 
in 1887. The five Universities between them com- 
mand 128 Arts Colleges for males and JO Arts Colleges 
for females. These Colleges are fed by 1,278 High Schools 
for boys and 144 High Schools for girls. According 
to the statements furnished by the Hon'ble Member 
for Education in March, 1914, the number of scholars 
in the 138 Arts Colleges (both {or males and females) 
amounted in 1912-13 to 33,249, and the 1,422 High 
Schools counted on their rolls a population of 446,697 
pupils and students. As regards the products of the 
five Universities it will be found, counting only once 
graduates holding more than one degree, that the 
Calcutta University has so far turned out about 21,000, 
Bombay 3 2,000, Madras another 12,000 and the two 
youngest Universities of Lahore and Allahabad, about 
three to four thousand graduates in Art, Science, 
Law, Medicine and Engineering. The total number 
of graduates turned out by the five Universities 
during the last 57 years does not, therefore, come up 
even to 50,000. These figures standing by themselves 
may not appear to be altogether inappreciable ; but 
taken with the vast extent and population of a country 
which, compared with the countries of Europe, with the 
exception of Eussia, looms as large as a continent, they 
become practically lost to the view. Taking the total 


populatiion of the country under the last census at 255 
millions, the percentage of scholars in Colleges, elinainat- 
ing the odd figures on both sides, would be about '012. 
and that of the students in the High Schools 174: per cent, 
of the population ; while the percentage of graduates of 
more than half a century hardly works upto '018 only. 
This is the result of nearly 60 years' labours, and it has 
to be noticed that the highest increase in high education 
has been attained only in recent years. Now, in the face 
of this stunted growth and slow progress of the country 
in high education, can it be reasonably argued that the 
time has arrived for the application of the pruning knife? 
Pruning is good; but pruning before a plant has struck 
deep its roots and sufficiently put forth superfluous off- 
shoots and branches can only help in hastening its des- 
truction. So it has been with high education in India. 
With a total number of graduates which yields no per- 
centage to the population until it is pursued down to two 
places of decimal fraction, an alarm has been sound- 
ed that the country is swamped by an army 
of " discontented graduates" and that a remedy 
must be provided against the yearly influx of these 
disappointed place-seekers." To justify these retro- 
grade movements, a responsible minister of the Gov- 
ernment has openly enunciated a principle, which, in its 
originality no less than in its boldness, bids fair to mark 
a new departure in the history of the civilized world. It 
-is confidently stated that "it is not in the interest of a 
poor people to receive high education." It is gene- 
irally recognised in all civilised societies that poverty 
is no crime for which a special penalty need be provid- 


ed by any Government; ; while ife can hardly be dis- 
puted, that nob many centuries ago, most of the advance- 
ed countries in the West were as poor as, if not much 
jioorer than, India and that it is only through the 
falling off of education in the one case and advance- 
ment in the other that their eoonomic conditions have 
become reversed, Germany since her prostration at 
Jena and France after her crushing defeat at Sedan 
would not have been the Germany and France of to-day 
but for the expansion and development of high educa- 
tion, which made such rapid strides in these countries 
since the disasters which overtook them alternate- 
ly ; while the continued prosperity and strength oi 
Great Britain are to be traced primarily to her Oxford 
and Cambridge, Leeds and Bermingham, Edinburgh 
and Glasgow, and Sandhurst and Woolwich. Poverty 
and ignorance may be hand-maids to each other, but 
they are neither inherent in nor inseparable accidents 
of the climatic condition of a people : these are condi- 
tions imposed upon a nation by the invasion of ignor- 
ance or of superior knowledge and cul-ture. Besides, 
it would be the barest pretension on the part of 
any Government to evince such overwhelming anxiety 
for its poor subjects as not to further impoverish 
them by allowing them to have higher education without 
making adequate provision for their employment. 
Nobody expects the Government to make such a provi- 
sion for a multitudinous population even on temporary 
occasions of drought, famine or flood, and far less is it 
reasonable to hope that Government should be able- 
to absorb more than a very small percentage of th& 


educated communifcy into its limited services. Edu- 
cation has a value of its own, and even where it i» 
not sought for its own sake, it somehow solves the 
economic problem of its possessor. It may be use- 
ful to remember that more than two-thirds of the 
colleges and nearly four-fifths of the high schools 
are private institutions, and where the people are so- 
eager for education it is not for the State indirectly to 
impede its progress even if it cannot directly contribute 
towards its advancement. 

The School Final Examination, which has already 
been introduced in some of the provinces and is sought 
to be introduced in others, is another standing menace 
fco high education. It is already diverting a con- 
siderable number of boys from the Universities under 
the inducement of petty employments at small expense- 
and is working a double mischief. As it is on the on& 
hand weakening the colleges, so it is on the other hand 
impairing the efficiency of the minor services. The 
improvement of these services, which were at one time 
notoriously corrupt and inefficient, has been the work 
of generations during which the Government has 
systematically raised the standard of educational quali- 
fication and increased the value of the services, so that 
it is now the pride of not a fdw of them to count among 
their ranks graduates and under-graduates of the 
Universities. To discount the value of education and 
reverse the forward movement would be to undo a noble 
work done and demoralize the services as well as the 
people to no small extent. The people are afraid that^ 
with the restrictions already imposed on the expansion 


of high educafeion and fche school final thrown in as a 
sop to a poor people, acconapanied with a transfer' of 
the power of recognition of the high schools fronoi the 
Universities to the Education Departments of Govern- 
ment, fche prospect of high education may be regarded 
as sealed. Government has at no time like Japan or 
'China either very materially helped or encouraged the 
people in receiving higher education in foreign countries, 
while signs are not wanting that even in the British 
Universities, the Indian students are often regarded with 
racial jealousy and spite. How intensely the serene 
atmosphere of Education has become saturated with racial 
and political considerations may be judged from the fact 
that the colour bar still sharply divides even the educa- 
tional Service into what are called Imperial and Pro- 
vincial branches, and distinguished Indians whose fame 
for original researches and discoveries in the domain of 
•science has travelled to Europe and America are made to 
wear the badge of this invidious distinction apparently 
for no other otfence than the colour of their skira. Owing 
to a most regrettable manifestation of lawlessness among 
a certain class of misguided young men in the country, 
into which immature school-boys were treacherously 
decoyed in some places, the high schools have been 
placed under a state of surveillance, the effect of which 
is equally demoralising to the teachers as well as to the 
taught. On the whole, the serenity of the educational 
atmosphere has been disturbed, the growth and expan- 
sion of colleges and high schools impeded, and the entire 
^^ystem of education has been largeh subordinated to fche 
political exigencies of fche State. 


As regards Primary or Elementary Education, the 
subject was completely tbreshed out with remarkable 
ability by Mr. G. K. Gokhale in connection with the- 
famous Resolution which he moved in the Supreme^ 
Legislative Council in 1910 and the Elementary Edu- 
cation Bill which, in the following year, he introduced 
in the same Council. Himself a devoted educationist, 
who voluntarily sacrificed his high material prospects ^ 
to his ardent love for education and a saintly politician 
who to serve his country declined an unsolicited 
honour for which many may be secreo candidates 
and not a few would gladly sacrifice all that they 
possess if they could only attain it, Mr. Gokhale dealt 
with the subject so luminously and with such characteris- 
tic force that his remarkable exposition drew the unstint- 
ed admiration of the whole Council, while Sir Guy 
Fleetwood Wilson, then Finance Minister, went so far as 
to compare him with Mr. Gladstone in his mastery of 
facts and marshalling of figures. Mr. Gokhale pointed' 
out that in 1882 (the year of Lord Bipon's Education 
Commission) there were 85,000 Primary Schools recog- 
nised by the Department with about 2,150,000 pupils 
attending these schools, which, with another 350,000 
attending the unrecognised indigenous schools, gave a 
total of 2,500,000 of boys and girls receiving elementary 
education in the whole country at the time. That means- 
that only 1*2 per cent, of the entire population were at 
school in 1882. In 1910 the number of Primary Schools 
rose to 113,000 and the number of pupils in recognised 
schools to 3,900,000 which, with another 1,600,000 
Attending unrecognised schools, made the figure stand at. 


4,500,000 or only I'Q per cent, of the fcofcal population. 
Speaking in 1910, Mr. Gokhale had necessarily to take 
the census return of 1901 for the basis of his calculation ; 
but if the population of 1910 had been available to him, 
he could have shewn that this percentage was still less. 
However that may be, we are now in a position to 
consider the state of elementary education in the further 
light of the census of 1911 and the Educational State- 
ments of 1912-13 as furnished by the Member for 
Education in March, 1914. According to these state- 
ments, there are at present 113,955 primary schools 
for boys and 13,694 schools for girls giving a total of 
127,649 schools with a total strength of 5,261,493 
boys and girls receiving instruction in these schools. 
This works out to little over 2 per cent, of the entire 
population. There has been some slight improvement 
in the other provinces ; but in Bengal, the most 
forward province in point of education, there has been a 
steady falling off in mass education. Mr. Hornell's 
Report for 1912-13 shows a loss of 513 schools with a 
decrease of 17,292 boys and 2,974 girls among Hindus 
and 5,421 boys and 1,588 girls among Mahomedans. 
The proportion of pupils to children of school-going 
^ge (reckoned at 15 per cent, of the population) is little 
over 18 per cent. ; that is nearly five out of every six 
children are allowed to grow up in ignorance. That is 
how elementary education stands in the country after 
150 years of British rule in India, and yet Mr, Gokhale's 
modest Bill was thrown out with a few complimentary 


Now, taking the total number of scholars in 
public institutions of all grades (both for males and 
females), the figures stand at 6,488,824, and the grand 
total including unrecognised institutions amounts to 
7,149,669. This gives a percentage of 2*8 to the 
whole population of the country. This then is the net 
result of more than half a century during which the 
Crown has assumed the supreme control of education 
and systematically tried to foster it. It took neaijy 
thirty years to raise the percentage to 1'2 in 1882 and 
it has taken another thirty years to increase it by 1'6 
per cent, in 1913. Thus even with a normal increase 
in population, this rate of educational progress in 
the country must prove a veritable race between the 
hare and the tortoise to enable the one to overtake 
the other ; and how many generations must pass before 
even half the ipopulation can be rescued from absolute 
darkness ! Mr. Gokhale conclusively pointed out that 
whebher it be the extent of literacy among the pupula- 
tion, or the proportion of those autualiy under instruc- 
tion, or the system of education adopted, India lags far 
behind any other civilised country in the world. She 
occupies a worse position than even the Philippine 
Islands, which came under American rule only fifteen 
years ago, and Oeylon and the principality of Baroda, 
while the small State of Mysore may alse be shortly 
expected to beat her in the race. According to the 
last census, barley 7 per cenc. of the population of India 
are literate, while in Bussia, the most backward of 
European countries, the proportion of literates is more 
than 25 per cent. In the Philippines the proportion 


of children at; school ia 6 per cenfe. and in Ceylon ifc 
is 6'6 per cent;, of the entire population : while in 
India it is little over 2 per cent. only. In the State 
of Baroda in the year 1912-13 about 80 per cent. 
of the boys and 48 per cent, of the girls of school- 
going age were at school, as against 28 per cent, of 
boys and 5 per cent, of girls in Bricish India as shown 
in the statement of March 1914 referred to above. 
The Beport of Mr. Masani, Director of Public Instruc- 
tion, Baroda, on the educational progress of the 
State in 1913-14, reveals a sbill more remarkable 
advance made in all branches of education. During 
the year, as reported by the Bombay Chronicle, the 
educational institutions of all descriptions in ttie 
State rose from 3,045 to 3,088, the total number of 
pupils attending them rose from 207,913 to 229,903 
or an acquisition of 22,000 new pupils, which is a 
remarkable record indeed for a single year for such a 
small State as Baroda. Out of this total, 550 were in 
the Arts Colleges, 8,079 in the secondary schools, and 
the remaining 221,274 attending Primary Schools. Of 
th-e total number of children, 147,413 were boys and 
82,490 were girls. The number of Primary Schools 
increased by 39 and the number of pupils attending 
primary institutions by 21,680. The remarkable in- 
crease in a single year was mainly due to the raising 
during the year of the statutory age limit for boys to 
14 aPd that for the girls to 12 and the statutory stand- 
dard limit frdm the Fourth to the Fifth Standard. 
The result of this reform has been that "fully 93*2 per 
cent of the boys of the school- going age are attending. 


school to-day in Baroda," — a sbafce of things which 
is far, far in advance of the conditions in British India^ 
or any of even the naost progressive States. The State 
spent on education about 1'9 per cent, of the total 
revenues, which must be pronounced to be a fair, or even 
more than fair, proportion for spending on education^ 
What a sad commentary this to the state of things in 
British India ! 

As regards the State expenditure on education, Mr. 
Gokhale's statement showed that while Kussia spent 
^id per head^of population, the Indian expenditure 
was barely one penny. It must be admitted that in 
recent years educational grants have been largely aug- 
mented by the Government of India and the Education 
Member's statement quoted above, gives the total expen- 
diture on Education from all sources in 1912-13 at 
Es. 9,02,09,000, which would out work at about 4:d 
per head of the population, But with reference to this 
large increase it has to be borne in mind, that it has 
gone more towards the increase of inspecting establish- 
ments, improvements of school buildings and subsidies 
to existing institutions than to the increase of schools 
and colleges or to other extension of existing facilities 
for further development of education. The objects to 
which the bulk of these increased grants have been 
devoted may be perfectly legitimate ; but in a country 
where education is at such low level, every available 
income should be utilised more towards extension and 
expansion of education than towards the supervision 

of the inspecting staff and the improvement of 


'buildings, Indians are accustomed to receive instruc- 
tions even under the open sky, sitting in the cool shade 
of a village tree or temple ; and although a decent 
and well-ventilated school house is always preferable, 
India is in more urgent need of extended facilities than 
of improved but limited accommodation for education. 
Supervision is no doubt wanted''; but an army of 
inspecting officers, out of all proportion to the number 
of institutions and of the pupils, constantly in motion 
recording statistics and indulging in criticisms, each 
in support of his own fad, is a serious obstacle to real 
progress if not a positive nuisance. The whole system 
is working like a machinery without any life or spirit 
to inspire it to a higher ideal or nobler aim ; while 
underlying that system there seems to be a secret 
dread of higher as well as universal education for the 
people. Repeatedly has the Crown solemnly declared 
its policy of trust and confidence in the people and its 
earnest desire to sweeten their homes with the bles- 
sings of education, and at no time perhaps was such 
declaration marked by greater solemnity or inspired by 
more profound solicitude for the true well-being of the 
teeming millions of this vast country than when in 
December 1911, His Gracious Majesty George V 
announced from the Durbar Throne at Delhi, the 
choicest of his boons — the grant of 50 lakhs of rupees 
for the education of his Indian subjects. Unfortun- 
ately, however, whether it be the fault or misfortune of 
India, the veil of suspicion and distrust has never 
been wholly removed from her administration. Even 
conceding for argument's sake that there are dark 


»corDer8 here and there requiring to be carefully watched, 
it is clearly the duty of a wise Government to clear 
thena up by throwing in more light than to deepen the 
gloom by withdrawing all light from them. Education 
is certainly to the body-politic what light and air are to 
living organism. With the increase of education the 
Indians will no doubt clamour for greater rights and 
privileges ; but with the growth of education they are 
also bound to grow in their intelligent attachment to the 
British connection. It is the educated community which 
has a correct appreciation of British rule, which is in a 
^position to form a comparative estimate of the relative 
strength, status and genius of other civilized Govern- 
ments, and however unsparing or disagreeable its com- 
ments and criticisms at times may be, it is this commu- 
nity alone which can and does weigh the serious conse- 
quences of a change of hands in the Government of the 
country. It is the dictates of self-interest — the highest 
of impulses in human naOure — which draw the educated 
Indians towards the British connection. Theirs may 
not be love and loyalty in the sense in which an 
English man loves England and is loyal to her: 
but it is through the British connection that educat- 
ed India aspires to rise in the scale of civilized 
nations and rank herself as a component part of 
the Empire, united by common ties of partner- 
ship and consolidated into a federation with the other 
units of that Empire on terms of equal rights and 
responsibilities of British citizenship. She aims not 
at separation but union, not at indepehdence but amal- 
gamation. She indeed wants to throw off the badge of % 


Dependency but only to be ranked as a Donainion of the>» 
Brifcish Crown. Education is the only cement of that 
union, and if ever a crisis comes it will then be recognised 
how valuable an asset education is to British rule in 

Nor can the Indian National Congress have a 
nobler aim or a higher destiny than the educational 
regeneration of the multitudinous population, whose- 
interest and well-being it seeks to represent. Edu- 
cation is the problem of problems before it, and if 
the Congress can satisfactorily solve this one problem,, 
the other problems will solve out themselves in no 
time. It is the main engine which gives motion to 
all the other wheels, and according as it moves backward 
or forward, the entire machinery is bound to have either 
a retrograde or progressive motion. With the engine 
reversed, neither wind nor tide, however favourable, will 
enable the nation to reach its destination. It is neither 
a dream nor a phantom that is alluring Educated and 
New India ; it is the glorious vision of a reality that ins- 
pires her in the evolution which has already set in and 
is silently shaping her destiny in the noiseless march o& 



Although ifc has been found somewhat dijBficuIfc to 
tgive a precise definition of Renaissance, it has been 
aptly and significantly described as the spring-time 
of a nation's life. However different may be their dura- 
tions, as well as their intensities, in differect latitudes 
«,nd longitudes, every civilized nation has its budding 
spring, its bright summer, its leafless autumn and its 
•frosty winter. Again the description is also quite 
apposite in as much as the evolution of the world has 
not followed from the dawn of creation in one uninter- 
rupted line of progress ; but it has spun out itself 
in cycles of revolutions which have come and gone like 
waves of seasonal changes. The absurd hypothesis of 
'Christian speculation which assigned to creation a brief 
age of only four thousand years has long been 
-exploded even by Western scientific investigations, and 
it is now almost universally admitted that there were 
ancient civilizations which, having repeatedly attained 
a much higher elevation than many of the modern 
European States, had as often to pass through their 
autumn and winter, leaving their treasures hurried under 
the debris of a ruined past unknown to later ages, or 
ruthlessly destroyed by the rushing tides of ignorance 
and barbarism which have again and again flooded the 
world and enveloped her in the abyss of darkness. Egypt, 
darthage, Assyria, Phenoecia and Persia — all had their 


palmy days ; while the Celestial Empire, possessing the- 
greatest longevity among the living nations of the- 
earth, has undergone a succession of revolutions during 
a period within which the world has witnessed the 
meteoric rise and fall of hundreds of smaller nations on 
her surface. In Europe, Platonism was succeeded by 
the barren subtleties of the schoolmen, which were in 
their turn overthrown by Eoman civilization, which 
shed its lustre over the entire old world for centuriea 
until the great Empire itself was over-run by Teutonic 
and Celtic barbarism. Then there followed a dark and 
dismal period gradually developing into what is now 
known as the Middle Ages with its feudalism, its 
knight-errantry, its papacy and its monasteries, until 
the Reformation came before whose dawning light 
the 'misty twilight of the Middle Ages slowly faded 
away. It was the commencement of modern Euro- 
pean Renaissance, and since then Europe has step. 
by step risen to the pinnacle of her material greatness 
and established her supremacy over the four continents- 
of the habitable globe. She has no doubt long passed 
her vernal equinox ; but whether the shadows of autumn 
have begun to fall upon her, or she has yet to pursue 
a longer summer course to attain the solstitial altitude 
of her greatness, time and events alone can prove.. 
She has, however, evolved through Science a system 
of materialism, the resources of which seem to be 
almost inexhaustible, and as spiritualism appears to play 
such an insignificant part in this evolution, it seems 
extremely problematical if her attention will be readily 
directed to a higher evolution of her destiny until she? 


is overfcaken in her mad bub majesfeic career by some 
cafcastrophe which will open her eyes to fehe yawning 
gulf which lies immediately below the lofty precipice^ 
upon which she has taken her stand. 

India of all ancient countries has passed through- 
vicissitudes of changes perhaps unparalleled in the- 
history of mankind. She has, in her evolution, under- 
gone strange transformations through cycles of ages of 
which there is hardly any authentic or chronological? 
record besides such as may be gleaned through the^ 
pages of her vast and ancient literature and the silent 
testimony of her widely-scattered stone monuments. 
Beginning with the sublime revelations of the Upa- 
nishads and ending with the profound philosophy of 
the Geeta, it covered a glorious period of Aryan civili- 
sation. After the great War of Kuiukshetra, India 
was over-run by barbarism and her high civiliza- 
tion was almost wiped out by successive waves of 
vandalism such as in later years dismembered the 
Koman Empire. She again reared her head and attain- 
ed the highest summit of her material grandeur during 
the Buddhistic period, when her imperial sway not 
only influenced the Asiatic continent, but also ex- 
tended beyond the seas. It was the Augustan period 
of Indo- Aryan civilization. Her arts and commerce 
travelled far and wide, while her culture and civiliza- 
tion attracted to her courts Greek historians from the 
West and the Chinese travellers from the East. She 
was at this period the Queen of the habitable globe. 
But after nearly four centuries of her undiminished 


splendour, she had to suffer another relapse during 
which she gradually again sunk into the depths of a 
terrible degeneration, losing all her arts and sciences, 
her culture and civilization. It was at this period that 
a decadent people, unable to naaintain its pristine 
greatness, began, like the schoolmen in Europe, to 
revel in dogmas, absurd theories, crudities and sub- 
tleties, which, in absence of any chronological accu- 
racy, were in latter years jumbled up with the higher 
civilization of an earlier age. All this furnished easy 
and ostensible grounds for the ill-informed, hasty and 
egotistic antiquarians of the West summarily to dispose 
of one of the highest civilizations the world has ever 
attained as being only a confused conglomeration of 
dreamy ideas, phantasies, visions, inconsistencies, ab- 
surdities and monstrosities and to characterize the pro- 
foundest philosophy that human mind has yet evolved 
as ** the babblings of child humanity." The object of 
these remarks, however, is not either to establish the 
superiority of ancient Indian civilization or to encour- 
age vanity in a useless retrospect of its vanished 
glories. They are intended only to draw attention to 
the fact that the evolution of the world is not marked 
by one continuous line of progress in which each suc- 
cessive step has been an advance over the past ; but 
that it has been the result of a succession of alternate 
changes not unlike its diurnal course passing through 
darkness to light and light to darkness. India has not 
been an exception to this universal law of nature : She 
too had gone through several such revolutions before 
she came in contact with Western civilization for her 


<thircl or fourfch re-birfeh in fehe evolution of her nafcional 

Modern Indian Eenaissance naay be said to have 
oommenced from the time of Rammohun Roy. As in 
the morning of the world light travelled from the East 
to the West, so towards the beginning of the last 
■ century the returning light began to proceed from 
the West to the Bast. The present Renaissance of 
India is essentially a product of Western civiliza- 
tion. Every Renaissance has several aspects, — religious, 
social, literary, economic and political. Rammohun 
Roy primarily took up the first three for his pro- 
gramme. The first he attempted to build upon the 
sacred scriptures of the ancient Hindus, while the 
second and the third he would construct upon the 
model of modern Europe. Bub his one great idea was 
to ingraft and not to supplant. In the task of 
religious reformation he was closely followed by the 
saintly Maharshi Devendranath Tagore, Keshab 
Chandra Sen and Dayanand Saraswati, the founder of 
the Arya Samaj ; while on the social and the educa- 
tional sides his mantle fell upon the renowned Pundit 
Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, Prosonno Coomar Tagora, 
Mahomed Moshin, Sir Syed Ahmed? Roychand Prem- 
chand, Bal Gangadhar Sastri, Gopal Row and many 
other distinguished men who, in quick succession, took 
up and advanced the great master's work. But the 
Educational Renaissance was firmly established in 
the country with the creation of the Universities in 
1857-58, which, besides imparting Western knowledge, 
were largely instrumental in reviving the Vernacular 


languages and afcimulafcing literary acfcivifeies of remarkable' 
vitality and fecundity. The economic or industrial 
Eenaissance may be said to date from the time of the' 
American Civil War when, as has aire ady been 
stated, Bombay made a dashing attempt to turn^ 
the cotton crisis of the world to her advantage. She 
at first no doubt paid the penalty of her wreckless- 
misadventure ; but the energies of a renovated people 
succeeded in shortly rehabilitating their equilibrium 
and inaugurating an epoch of industrial enterprise^ 
which has seized the popular mind throughout the 
country. Madras, Bengal and the Punjab have all; 
awakened to a full consciousness of the economic pros- 
tration of the country and each in her own way is strug- 
gling to revive her trade and industry into fresh life and 
activity. The progress so far achieved may not be much' 
but the spirit evoked and the energies roused without; 
the legitimate support of the State are sufficiently en- 
couraging for a period of healthy and vigorous Eenais- 

The political Eenaissance of modern India is of 
later growth. Although clearly foreshadowed by the 
unerring vision of the great reformer of Modern India, 
and heralded by a number of political evangelists 
among whom may be mentioned men like Eamgopal 
Ghose, Hurrish Chandra Mukherjee, Kristodas Pal,. 
Digumbar Mitter, Juggonauth Sunkersett and Naoroji* 
Furdoonji, that Eenaissance did not clearly dawn until 
the birth of the Indian National Congress. The 
Congress has, as has already been pointed out, awaken- 
ed a new consciousness in the country, united ita. 


scattered units, infused into them a new life and spirit,, 
generated new forces and evolved a nationality out of 
a chaos. The Gospel it has preached has becomq^ the • 
accepted creed of a country ten times the size of 
France and containing five times the population of 
Great Britain and Ireland. Whatever the future 
destiny of the country may be, there can be no deny- 
ing of the fact that it has roused a slumbering people 
from the torpor of ages, opened out to their astonished 
gaze the world's panoramic progress towards Liberty, 
Equality and Fraternity, and sounded the trumpet-call 
to them to join in the march for a fair share in the 
common heritage of mankind. 

At this momentous period of transition, there are 
not a few dangers and difficulties which cannot be too 
carefully watched, nor too zealously guarded against. 
At a time of regeneration the fresh energies and the 
new impulses of a renovated people have in the 
exuberance of a new consciousness a tendency to 
run to excesses. Impatient idealism sharpens the 
imagination and soaring ambition warps the judg- 
ment of youthful minds. There are no more hidden 
rocks or drifting icebergs in the ocean than in the 
wide expanse of the political field. The slightest 
deviation from the charted line may gradually lead 
to the widest divergence in its course and ultimately 
end in disasters to even the stoutest national life. 
Unfortunately, however, at this early period of her 
Eenaissance, India was not able completely to avoid 
the shock of this impatient idealism. From" whatever 
causes it may be, an ugly development manifested itselfv 


in the country when a few bands of misguided young 
fanatics got out of hand, ran amock and gave way to 
violence and dastardly outrages. It was the spirit of 
anarchism imported along with many other commodities 
from the West. Like the mythical Bmpedocles, these 
political fanatics rashly attempted to leap into the flame 
in the false delusion of being returned to the gods, little 
reckoning that the gods in their wrath were capable of 
drawing the entire people to the crater and throwing 
them into the consuming fire. If they really had any 
political object in view they apparently overlooked the 
fact, that history does not present a single instance 
where a righteous cause has ever been advanced by un- 
righteous methods, and that, either anarchism, or nihilism 
has anywhere succeeded in achieving its desired end. 
These pests of society and avowed enemies of order and 
progress in the country were, however, promptly dug 
out like rats from their dens and their gangs broken up 
though not- without considerable damage done to the 
country and the people who innocently suffered in the 
•operation. There are now only the scattered remnaafca 
of these secret organisations which still haunt the 
people like plague and pestilence which die hard wherever 
they once find their way. 

Without entering into any unprofitable discussion 
about the genesis of this pestilential development, or 
-indulging in any apportionment of the responsibility 
•between the Government and the people, it may be 
^permissible to express some regret for the attitude 
which the bureaucracy still maintains towards the 
^perfectly legitimate political movement in the country 


and the eagerness with which it seizes every oppor- 
tunity to cry it down by ingenuously associating it with 
this ugly development. An official communique, a 
gubernatorial speech and a general administration 
report — all find in it a target for criticism and a wide 
mark for its indiscriminate fling. Recently a com- 
mittee of civilians was appointed to advice GoTernment 
upon its pre-arranged plan of partitioning some of 
the bigger districts in the re-united province of Bengal,. 
The Committee's report does not contain a single 
suggestion which was not a foregone conclusion, or 
which throws any new light on the administrative 
problems of the country ; but this District Administra- 
tion Committee, as it was styled, has made quite an 
original discovery that anarchism was confined to the 
Hindus. What secret satisfaction they derived from 
this ethnological analysis, or what connection it had 
with the geographical boundaries of a few districts, it 
is not possible for the outside public to discover ; but 
the propriety of raking up the dying embers of a contro- 
versy which was supposed to have been long buried may 
be seriously questioned. True statesmanship nobody 
expects from an old and effete bureaucracy of the kind 
and quality as is established in India ; but an exercise of 
bare common sense and discretion would have disclosed 
not only the absurdity, but also the mischievous cha- 
racter, of such a generalization. Because a handful of 
fanatics at one time and under a peculiar circum- 
stance belonged to a particular community, therefore 
that kind of fanaticism is the characteristic of that 
community, is a piece of logic which will probably be 


diffioulti for any other people outside the Indian Civil 
Service easily to swallow. Then was it historically true 
that anarchism in India was confined to the Hindus 
who had unfortunately fallen on evil times and upon 
evil tongues? Without intending in the least to cast 
the slighest reflection on any community, it may be 
pointed out that the first assassin who drew his dagger 
against a popular Chief Justice in the country was not 
a Hindu, nor the yet more desperate ^miscreant who 
assassinated a noble Viceroy. The Rye House Plot 
and the story of Guy Fawkes are matters of history, 
and were not three abortive attempts made within 
living memory even on the sacred life of the most vir- 
tuous Queen that ever adorned the British Throne? 
It is apparently overlooked that these anarchists in 
fact belong to no country, nationality or community. 
They are a race which stands by itself and is the 
common enemy of humanity throughout the world. 
^ They are monster-births and, whether owing to any 
abnormal condition in their phrenological structure, or 
any convolutions of their brains, they 'belong fco the 
destructive elements of nature. The deadly spirit may 
have travelled from the West to the East ; but these 
scourges of society are neither Europeans or Asiatics, nor 
Bengalees or Mahrattas. They are neither American, 
nor Italian, nor Indian in their origin. The Indian anar- 
chist belongs to the same stock to which the murderers 
of Garfield, Lincoln and Sadi Carnot belonged, and it 
would be positively as unfair to brand the Hindus, or 
the Bengalees and the Mahrattas, with anarchism as 
to charge the Christians, or the Americans and the 


Jfcalians, with its. Civilized humanity in all ages and 
in all countries has positively refused to recognise the 
j^jinship and brotherhood of secret murderers and dast- 
ardly assassins, and no men probably have greater 
reasons than the Indian public to deplore the present 
•situation which has not only cast a deep stain on their 
national character, but has also considerably reduced 
the security of their lives and properties and, above all, 
^cruelly blasted the splendid opportunities which they 
had created with patient labours and sacrifices of a com- 
plete generation for the orderly progress and development 
•of their national life; and those who lavishly indulge in 
indiscreet and light-hearted criticisms of that situation, 
wounding the feelings and alienating the people, simply 
-add insult to injury without serving any useful purpose 
-either to the administration or towards the proper solu- 
ftion of that situation. 

But if the people have their grievances they can- 
not divest themselves of the responsibility which 
belongs to them in helping the administration for 
effectively eradicating the evil which has secured such 
•a pestilential foothold in the country. There have 
been enough of complaints and protestations on both 
•aides. The authorities have not been tired of accus- 
ing the public of apathy, indifference and want of 
•co-operation, while the public have not been either 
slow or remiss in charging the authorities with want 
of sympathy, trust and confidence. Wherever the true 
line of demarcation may lie, it ought not to be at all 
difficult in laying down a via media where both sides 
may meet half way. The Government has certainly a 


right fco expecfc co-operation from the people ; but the- 
people have also a just claim to the ways and means 
which Government alone can supply towards successful 
co-operation. The people must be treated as useful 
adjuncts of the administration before they can be 
expected to co-operate for its success. Take the case of 
lawlessness which has become the ground of universal 
complaint. It is as ridiculous on the part of the authori- 
ties to urge the public to face armed gangs of desperate 
assassins and robbers with bows, arrows, brickbats and 
other primitive weapons of defence, as it would be 
extravagant on the part of the public to ask Government 
to divest itself of all legitimate control over the adminis- 
tration. A reasonable relaxtion and not the abrogation of 
the very stringent provisions of the Indian Arms Act seems 
to be urgently demanded by the exigencies of the situation. 
There are obvious objections to the granting of free and 
unrestricted licences to all people, and no reasonable man 
could ask for such a free hand in the matter. What, 
however, seems to be necessary is a reasonable modifi- 
cation and relaxation of the very strict rules under 
which licences are so very sparingly granted only to an 
extremely limited number of the people and that under 
conditions which practically operate as a wholesale 
disarmament of the public. But there seems to be no 
disposition either on the part of Government or of 
the authorities to treat the question with any degree 
of consideration. Real co-operation is begotten of 
mutual trust and confidence. It can never be the 
product of one-sided activity, nor can it be manu- 
factured to order. It seems as absurd to try to extort 


hearty co-operation where there is no conciliation, as 
an attempt to extract honey out of a hornet's nest. 
Probably what the Government really wants is not co- 
operation, but passive submission. All the same, the 
people are bound to reckon with the existing condition of 
things and try to make the best of the slender opportuni- 
ties presented to them to help the administration. In all 
their trials and tribulations, vexations and disappoint- 
ments, let them beware of desperate thoughts and let New 
India at this renaissance always remember that with all 
the progress they have made they have yet to travel very 
long distances through dreary moors and arid deserts before- 
the promised land can be in their sight and that the path 
is not free from the treacherous ignis fatuus or the delusive- 
mirage which can neither guide them to their proper destin- 
ation, nor afford them any shelter or relief, but can only 
tempt them to danger and disaster. 

There is another danger which requires careful 
circumspection at this period of Renaissance. The 
current of a rising national life, like that of a river, 
generally seeks its old bed. Every revivalism has a 
tendency to revert to old institutions and every nation 
that has a past tries to rebuild ifcs future on the ruins- 
of its departed greatness. This tendency has generally 
the effect of introducing the good with the bad, tha 
pure with the baser metal, infeo the composition of a^ 
revived national life. The temptation is too greac 
and the tendency too strong, and a conservative 
reaction has burst upon this country with all the force 
and impetuosity of youthful imagination. It would be 
absurd to claim perfection for any system of civilization. 


Besides, in India, suQcessive revolufcions have afc dif- 
lerenti fcimes introduced different forms of thought, 
observances, and practices, and all that should not be 
allowed to go down as the expression of the highest 
Indian culture and enlightenment. No attempt to 
revive all these dirts and filths of a dark and dismal 
period under ingenuous explanations and interpretations 
can by any means further the cause of progress or be 
credited to true patriotism. These attempts may feed 
vanity and pander to the boast of ancestry ; but can 
never conduce to legitimate pride or true national ad- 
vancement. On the contrary, such a frame of mind 
may run riot and serve to create a distaste for fresh 
investigation and a contempt for superior intelligence. 
At the present momentous period of transition, this 
tendency to reproduce the past without any amend ment 
appears to have been very excessive, and people are not 
wanting who would fain revive many of the objectionable 
practices which have grown like parasites round the 
civilization of the ancients and give currency to many a 
counterfeit in the great demand that has arisen for old 
coins in the country. Nothing should honestly be 
done to counteract the influence of the new spirit 
which has not only opened oat the political vision 
of a long disenfranchised people and inaugurated 
industrial enterprise in an exhausted and impoverished 
agricultural country, bat also silently worked out a 
revolution in their social organisation under the spell 
of which even the old hide-bound caste system has 
become considerably relaxed and the orthodox pre- 
judices of a conservative people are rapidly crumbling 


to pieces. Where the dead body of a Tili youth could 
he carried for cremation on the shoulders of Brahmins, 
Vaidyas and Kayasthas in a procession of thousands of 
people eager to do honour to real or supposed martyr- 
'dom and to defeat the last indignity of the law, the 
depth and intensity of the force of the new spirit 
may be easily conceived, and it would be neither wise 
nor patriotic to suppress or divert this rising spirit. 
Prejudices are said to die hard ; but they often die 
violent death in the hands of those who have long 
^harboured them. 

There is another class of people who in their 
imperfect knowledge of the world seem to believe that 
all the discoveries of modern sciences and arts were 
anticipated by the ancients. They are ready to prove 
that .electricity, magnetism, steam-engine and even 
wireless telegraphy and aerial navigation were not 
^uite unknown to the ancient Hindus. In fact, in 
their fertile imagination they are able to trace every 
invention, as it is advertised, to the genius of their 
-mythical ancestors. But what avail these academic 
disquisitions when we have to learn these mysteries 
■of nature either from the past or the present, unless 
their aim and object, as well as their tendency, be 
^to stimulate our energies to a fresh acquisition of 
their knowledge and use ? There are irrefragable 
<evidences that in certain branches of knowledge both 
the Hindu and Islamic culture had at one time attain- 
ed a high level of perfection. If, in some branches of 
useful knowledge, they had few their equals and none 
iheir superiors in the ancient world, it can by no meana 


be a reflecfcion on their genius that thousands of year&- 
after them, other people have added to the stock: 
of human knowledge and made fresh acquisitions in^ 
the domain of applied sciences. The higher philosophy 
of life evolved by the ancients still remains unexplored^ 
by modern culture, while many of their arts are admit- 
ted to have been lost. It is the world's evolution 
in course of which yet higher culture and nobler 
civilization must be the heritage of unborn ages. If we- 
are really anxious to elevate ourselves and participate 
in the world's progress, we must think more of the 
present and the future than of the past. A legitimate 
pride of ancestry is no doubt a noble source of inspira- 
tion : but no nation can be truly great only in the blinds 
worship of a great past. 

On the other hand, any attempt to Europeanize 
India would be a great disaster and a failure. Herbert 
Spencer's advice to the Japanese applies with equal, if- 
not greater, force to the Indians. Every great nation 
has a genius of its own, and its renovation to be 
permanent and effective must be based upon that 
genius. Materials may be imported from other 
sources and knowledge gathered from other people; 
but BO nation can be recast in an altogether new 
mould. Man is no doubt an imitative creature ; but 
imitation without assimilation produces a kind of 
mental and moral indigestion which gradually impairs 
and ultimately breaks down the national constitution. 
It is physically impossible for one people to divest itself 
of its esseniiial characteristics and completely assimilate 
those of another— born » bred and brought up under 


^different; climatic condifeions, nurtured for centuries on 
^different modes of thoughts, ideas and sentiments and 
acclimatized for ages to a different moral, intellectual 
and social atmosphere. Nature itself would be opposed 
to such a transformation. Foreign dress and style 
■may be adopted, certain habits and manners may be 
changed, and even some outlandish forms and fashions 
may be cultivated ; but it is no more possible to change 
the character of a people completely than to evolve 
•quite a new species of animal out of a different one 
by any process of culture. Besides, even European 
testimony is not wanting, that Western civilization, 
with all its recommendations, has failed in many respects 
particularly on the social and moral sides, and India 
•cannot wholly profit by a radical transformation even if 
it were possible. No doubt that which is really good in 
^European civilization and particularly those virtues 
which have made Europe what it is at the present day 
-ought to be cultivated by our people ; but they must be 
ingrafted on our national genius and made to grow on 
our ancient civilization. It is only those characteristics 
of Western culture which are of universal application 
and those traits of Western civilization which can be 
properly assimilated into our national system that are 
deserving of our closest attention, and we cannot be too 
-careful in sifting the grain from the chaff and the metal 
from the dross in all our importations from the West, 
Above all, in our craze for the cheap chemical manu- 
ifactures of European civilization, let us not throw away 
4ihe real gold that is in our own system because it does 
<Dot possess the lustre of a finished article. 


The present is no doubfc the age of European? 
supremacy, and in the wheel of fortune that has been- 
incessantly turning round since the dawn of tha 
world's civilization, Europe has admittedly come ta- 
occupy the uppermost position to-day and everything 
bearing the hall-mark of European civilization has 
therefore a charm and attraction for the rest of the- 
world. But where European civilization has admittedly 
f^iiled to satisfy the highest claims of human nature 
and in cases where even Europeans themselves, in the 
midst of their superior culture and enlightenment, have 
come to realise and proclaim the failure of their insti- 
tutions as a means to human progress and happiness, it 
would be a grievous mistake for the Indians to discard 
even that which is good in their own system and 
blindly adopt a garb which the Europeans themselves- 
after a fair trial would fain throw away. The true 
European is neither in the dress nor in the colour of 
the skin ; nor yet in his manners and customs ; but in 
those qualities of the head and heart which have made 
him what he is. These virtues are no monopolies o^ 
any climate, or new acquisition to humanity, but the- 
common natural heritage of mankind which, in the 
usual vicissitudes of time, have passed away from the 
East to the West. It is these virtues which should be 
cultivated, fostered and assimilated in our own system^- 
where, ingrafted on the spirituality of that system, they 
are bound to evolve a higher and nobler civilization 
not only for the regeneration of a fallen race, but also as 
a further step in advance towards that co-ordination of 
the Mind, Matter and Spirit which is so essential for the^ 


establishment of true Liberty, Equality and Fraternity 
throughout the civilized world. 


Again and again it has been asked both by friends 
as well as critics, — what is the ultimate goal of th& 
Indian National Congress and what is the final destiny 
of India which it seeks to attain ? Does the Congress 
aim at sovereign independence for India, or does it seek 
to secure only adequate peace, security, justice and pros- 
perity for the people as a permanent subject race? What 
there may be in the womb of invisible time and in the 
dispensation of an inscrutable providence no one can fore- 
tell : but again and again has the Congress declared in 
no uncertain voice, that neither the one nor the other is 
its final object in view. The real aim of the Congress is 
to attain Self-Government within the Empire and tha 
destiny of India which it professes to secure is a great 
Federal Union under the aegis of the British Crown, — the 
establishment of a United States of India as an indepen- 
dent unit and an equal partner of the British Empire. 
With a truly representative legislative assembly for each 
province, from which the lion's share by nomination shall 
be wholly excluded, and with a popular Executive- 
Council, not an autocratic official hierarchy which once 
created at once becomes the unaccountable and irresisti- 
ble master of the situation, but a representative Council 


strictly responsible to and controlled by the legislative 
tissembly, dealing freely and independently with their 
respective provincial concerns, the establishment of st 
federal Parliament holding the reins of the supreme 
Government by and for the people under the suzerainty 
of Great Britain is the ideal which the Indian nation- 
alist cherishes with pious hope and confidence. It is in 
this hope and confidence that he lives, works and 
suffers, and it is this hope and confidence which bear 
bim up in the great struggle into which he has deliber- 
ately plunged himself and solemnly committed his 

There have been " birds of evil presage " who have 
often shaken their heads and gravely observed that the 
idea is a dream and an impossibilifcy. But they appa- 
rently forget that there can be no dream without a 
substratum of reality behind it and that the history of 
the world bears repeated testimony to the fact that the 
dream of one age has been the reality of another. The 
Eoman Empire must have been a dream when Eomulus 
built his mud walls on the Palatine Hill, and was not 
the British Empire also a dream when the Anglo-Saxon 
Barons wrested the Magna Charta from an unwilling 
English sovereign on the field of Runneymede ? If more 
than a dozen principalities of Germany, with all their 
differences of laws, customs, constitutions and even of 
■dialects, could, after centuries of internecine strife and 
struggle coalesce and form into one of the strongest powers 
in modern times; if Canada inhabited by a people of 
Erench, Dutch and British descent could constitute a self- 
governing dominion in the new world ; if the Boer and the 


Triton could, even after a sanguinary conflict;, esfcablish 
a Union Government in the dark continent ; and, why 
go further, if England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, 
with their distinct and different nationalities, could after 
centuries of mutual jealousies and conflicts be blended 
into one Kingdom, perhaps the mightiest in the world, 
then is there any insurmountable difficulty why India 
— India of the Hindus, Mussalmans and Parsis — 
cannot be brought into a federation under a com- 
mon rule ? The Indian people have a common 
interest and are guided by common aspirations. In 
each province they already form an autonomous 
•entity and there is no reason why, with further 
spread of education, development of national ideas, 
growth of patriotic sentiments and the cultivation of 
mutual trust and confidence, they cannot form into a 
harmonious, if not a homogeneous, whole. If the ques- 
tion of Ulster can be solved, as it will be solved, by a 
grant of Home Eule within Home Rule, the solution of 
the Indian problem cannot be regarded as beyond the 
region of practical politics. 

The British Empire itself is a mighty federation ' 
of diverse peoples, and a strong tide has already set 
in for the autonomous and independent development 
of its component parts. It is in this far-sighted, 
vigorous policy that the British constitution proposes 
to differentiate itself from the Roman Empire and 
build itself upon a firmer basis. Once the Irish Home 
Rule is effected, the grant of Home Rule for Scotland, 
Wales and even England cannot be long deferred. If 
the whole of the Empire be thus spilt up into its separate 


autonomous units, can ife be reasonably contended 
that India alone will remain to a distant day a common 
pasture for the rest of Empire ? And then io which of 
the three parent states, supposing Home Kule is 
granted also to England, Scotland and Wales, will 
India form an appendage ? It must cease to be a khas 
mehal of all if it is to cease to be such to any one of 
them. If the immobility of the present stiff bureaucracy 
once breaks down and the short-sighted policy of 
divide- et-impera fails, as it is bound to fail at no- 
distant date, the blind superstition about the so-called 
eternal difference between the East and the West 
will be dissipated and the federation of British India 
under one union parliament will no longer appear as a 
nightmare in a dream. And what a glorious federation 
it would be, more glorious than South Africa and 
Australia and even more glorious than the Dominion of 
Canada, when with the vast and almost illimitable 
resources which she has at her command and with the 
inspiriting tradition which is behind her teeming millions 
to guide and stimulate their renovated energies, India- 
' would march towards the consummation of her destined 
goal to the eternal triumph of Justice and Truth, as well 
as to the glory of England. 

Bombay, the cradle of modern Indian industries^ 
and enterprise and the gate to the world's commerce* 
with the East ; the obscure island city, the gift of a 
marriage dower of a foreign princess, which within two 
hundred years has, from the collection of a few fishing^ 
hamlets, risen to the proud position of the " Star of th& 
East," and which, with its magnificent harbour and its- 


Splendid lagoons and causeways, is stronger than Boston 
and more beautiful than Venice ; the presidency which- 
is the honae of the wealthy Bhatia and the enterprising 
Guzerati, of the adventurous Parsi and the intellectual 
Mahratta and is justly proud of Poona, the centre of 
Mahratta activity and the capital of the Peshwas, of 
Surat, " the treasury " of the immortal Shivaji, of 
Ahmedabad, the industrial centre of the " garden of 
Western India " and of Karachi, the glory of Sindh and 
the future emporium of India, as also the probable 
terminus of the Trans-Persian Kailway connecting the 
East with the West; Bombay of Jamsetji Nusservanj Tata, 
Jamestjee Jeejaebhoy, Naorojee Furdoonji, Mangaldas 
Nathubhoy and Juggonath Sunkarsett ; Bombay of 
Dadabhai Naoroji, Kashinath Trimbak Telang, Budruddin 
Tyabji, Pherozeshah Mencharjee Mehta and Dinshaw 
Edulji Wacha ; of Mahadev Govinda Kanade, Gopal 
Krishna Gokhale, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Ibrahim Bahim- 
tullah, Behramji Malabari, Ramakrishna Bhandarkar^. 
Narayan Ganesh Chandavarkar, Balchandra Krishna, 
R. P. Paranjpye and last not least Bombay of Mohandas 
Karamchand Gandhi, the liberator of Indian Settlers in 
South Africa, — where can you find a province and a 
people so rich, so industrious, so practical,. so patriotic 
and so philanthropic ? 

If the Congress was born in Bombay and met ita- 
grave at Surat, it attained its resurrection in Madras — 
Madras where the first light came from the West ; where 
in modern times the Dutch, the French and the English 
contested for supremacy in India and where the first 


Brifeish flag was planfced within an enclosed factory builfc 
upon the first territorial possession of England in India 
and christened as Fort St. George ; sober and steady 
Madras , — Madras, the home of Ramanuja and Sankara 
and the land of temples and sanctuaries ; Madras of 
'Sir Salar Jung and Sir T. Madhava Rao, of Pachyappa 
Mudaliar and Gopal Rao, of Bhashyam Iyengar, 
Subramania Iyer, Ananda Charlu, Subba Rao, Krishna- 
swami Iyer, Sankaran Nair, Syed Mahomed, 
Sabapathi Mudaliar, Veeraraghava and Vijayaraghava 
Achariar, of Sivalai Ramaswami Mudaliar and of G. 
Subramania Iyer who turned the first sod on the Con- 
gress soil by moving the first Resolution of the first 
Congress; — where can you find a people at once so 
devoted and unostentatious, so firm and resolute, so 
• cautious, yet so steadfast and untiring in its onward step ? 
The Punjab, the sacred land of the five rivers, the 
ancient home of the Aryan settlers where the pilgrim 
fathers came chanting the Vedas and carrying the first 
implements of civilization in the early morning of this 
world ; Punjab of Guru Nanak and Guru Govind 
Singh who first preached the gospel of unity and 
fraternity in modern India, and organised a wonderful 
brotherhood, combining religion with politics ; the 
Punjab of the brave Pathans and the valiant 8ikhs ; 
Punjab of Prithwi Raj and the lion-hearted Runjeefc 
Singh, of Sirdar Dayal Singh Mejhatia, Lala Lajput 
Rai, Lala Murlidhar and Mahomed Ali ; Punjab of 
Kurukshettra and Panipat, of Indraprastha and Delhi, 
of Amritsar and Taxila ; Punjab of the Gurukul and the 
-Arya Samaj which have created a revolution in modern 


Hindu society and for the first; fcime broken fche charmed 
circle of an ancient exclusive religious organisation and 
evolved out of it a wide and comprehensive proselytising 
movement, reviving, as it were, the inspiration of the^ 
long lost treasures of the Vedic times ; Punjab hoary 
with her ancient glories and bearing testimony to therise^ 
and fall of countless dynasties ; — where is to be found 
such a cradle of the brave and the true ? 

The United Provinces of Oudh and Agra contain- 
ing the holy city of Benares, older than Babylon and 
Nineveh, the seat of a bygone University which 
Phoenix-like is about to rise out of its ashes ; Benares,, 
the centre of Hindu civilization and culture for untold 
centuries, and which sanctified with the memories of 
the learned and of the saints, that carry back human 
imagination to the dim and distant past when the rest 
of the habitable globe was involved in darkness, still 
holds its undiminished sway upon the life and teach- 
ings of one of the oldest, if not the oldest, branch 
of the Aryan family ; Benares, the heart of Hinduism, 
fche nursery of ancient philosophy, of the Vedas and 
fche Vedantas ; the province which is proud of one 
of the Seven Wonders of the World and other relics of 
Hindu and Moghul greatness ; a province which is justly 
proud of men like Dayanand Saraswati, Pundit Ajudhya 
Nath, Gangaprasad Varma, Sundarlal, Madan Mohan 
Malaviya and Wazir Hossein ; — where can you find a 
place and a people in whom loyal conservatism is so 
happily blended with robust liberalism in such strange^ 
harmony and co-ordination ? 


Behar the youngesfc of the self-contained provinces 
and yet one of the oldest in its traditionary greatness ; 
Behar the Maghad and Videha of the ancients, the 
birthplace of Buddha Goutam, the greatest and mightiest 
of inspired refornaers the world has ever produced, whose 
lofty teachings govern the lives of naore than one-fifth 
of the entire population of this planet of ours; Behar of 
Chandra Gupta and Asoka of the Mauryan dynasty, 
whose donainions extended beyond the seas and in whose 
court Megasthenes sat and Pliny wrote ; Behar of 
Pataliputra and Nalanda ; Behar which has in recent 
times produced men like Luchmeswar Singh, Mazr-ul- 
Haque, Tejoaraiu Singh, Ali Imam and Hassan Imam; 
— where can you find a province where Hindus and 
Mussalmans live in such amity and concord, working 
hand in hand for the common motherland? 

As Europe is unthinkable without France, so India 
would be unthinkable without Bengal. If the people 
of the Western and Southern presidencies are more 
like the level-headed Britons, the people of the Gan- 
getic delta are more like the dashing French. In 
their passionate love and pride for their country, in 
their fiery impetuosity, id their originality of ideas and 
quickness of perception, in their fervid eloquence and 
glowing imagination and in their sensitiveness as well as 
fickleness, the Bengalees present a much nearer approach 
to the great Latin race than any other people of India. 
-Alert, keen-sighted, enthusiastic, acute, fiery, go-ahead 
Bengal is the fountainhead of ideas and the centre of 
patriotic inspiration, Bengal where six centuries before 
.Jimutvahana, the eminent Judge under the Sen kings of 


Bengal, rebelling againsfc the orthodox Mitakshara, the 
€ode de Napoleon of India, laid down advanced legis- 
lation ; where five hundred years ago Sri Chaitanya 
proclaimed the message of love, fratenity and equality 
from the Ganges to the Narbadda ; Bengal where the 
famous twelve chieftains made the last brave stand 
for independence against the great Moghul in the 
seventeenth century ; Bengal where the ruins of 
Oour bear testimony to her departed glories and where 
the " City of Palaces," homaged by the splendid 
shippings of all nations and guarded by the grim fortress 
of Fort William, reard her proud head as the Queen of 
the Bast ; Bengal where Gadadhar established the subtle 
Naya philosophy and Gangadhar resuscitated the rusted 
medical science of the ancient Hindus ; Bengal the 
-granary of India where Nature has poured her boun- 
ties from the highest mountains in the world and 
artistically laid a magnificent network of highways for 
trade and commerce ; Bengal of Ram Mohan Roy, of 
Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar and Mahomed Moshin, of 
Krishna Mohan Banerjee and Rajendralal Mitra, of 
Dwarkanath and Romesh Chunder Mitter, of Woomesh 
Chunder Bonnerjee and Romesh Chunder Dutt, of 
Devendra Nath Tagore and Keshab Chandra Sen, of 
Ramgopal Ghose, and Surendra Nath Banerjee, of 
Harish Chandra Mukerjee, Kristoda^ Pal and Shishir 
Kumar Ghose ; of Monomohan Ghose and Anand 
Mohon Bose, of Taraknath Palit and Rashbehary 
Ghose, of Gurudas Banerjea and Ashutosh Mukerjee, 
of Michael Madhusudan Dutt and Hem Chandra 
Banerjea, of Jagodish Chandra Bose and Praphulla 


Chandra Roy, of Ramkriahna and Vivekananda ;— 
where can you find a land so fertile and a people so sharp 
in intellect, so subtle in perception, so persuasive- 
in eloquence, so cosmopolitan in ideas and so sanguine 
in patriotic fervour ? With all her faults and frailties 
Bengal has always held the beacon-light to the rest of 
modern India and marched at the van of all movements — ^ 
religious, social and political. 

For a country possessed of such potential units 
and such vast and varied resources, both economic as 
well as moral and intellectual, a country which on 
a6count of its diverse physical features and climatic 
conditions, varying from the torrid to the frigid region, 
with its magnificent rivers and sublime mountains, 
before which the highest peaks in other continents 
appear like ant-hills, with all its products comprising 
the varieties of different countries and climates, has 
justly been described by competent authorities as an 
** Epitome of the World," the attainment of a political 
federation cannot be a dream or a phantom of hope. 
Whatever fanciful theories may be invented by interested 
politicians for the justification of unjustifiable wrongs, 
and however much obdurate pessimism may indulge 
in the convenient belief that the East is by nature' 
an uncongenial soil for the growth of democratic 
institutions, it cannot be denied that it is from the 
East that light travelled to the West and that it is from* 
Asia that civilization marched to Europe and thence 
to the rest of the world. If religion is the supreme test 
of a nation's moral and intellectual capacity, it cannot 
be honestly denied that both Islamism and Hinduisoo^ 




xfi ^ 



in fiheir essential conceptions are the most democratio 
religions the civilised world has yet evolved. The twa 
religions which have successfully moulded the life,, 
thought and conduct of its followers to a wonderful 
disregard of material prosnerity, levelling princes and 
peasants to a uniform standard of judgment and 
inculcating passive submission to temporal powers only 
as a means to .secure peace and order and not for 
conquest of territories or for extinction of other people 
but for the attainment of spiritual welfare and for 
the expansion of God's Kingdom on earth, ought not 
to be lightly condemned as being incompatible witb 
democratic ideas and institutions. If the followers- 
of these two religions have through centuries yielded 
ungrudging submission to the will of their despotio 
sovereigns, they have always offered greater allegiance 
to their saints who, in their humble cottages, have not 
unoften defied crowned heads in their fortified palaces; 
A merely superficial knowledge of the inner life 
and civilization of the Hindus and the MussalmanS,. 
coupled with the too hasty generalisations of a spirit of 
arrogance which marks the undisputed and indisput- 
able superiority of modern Europe in the physical worlds 
is largely responsible for the accentuation of a number 
of fallacies and sophistries which have grown up round 
a superstition about a supposed or assumed inherent 
difference between the East and the West. There can 
be no rational charm in the point of a circular compass 
where the East in one way is the West in another. 
Besides, where is the charter of Providence by which a 
monopoly of civic rights and institutions is reserved 


within cerfcain geographical limifes and circumscribed 
by either clitnatiio or racial considerations, or, for the 
OQatter of that, defined by the colour of the skin ? What 
was Europe before the fifteenth century when the 
whole Chrisfcendotn prostrated before the Pope and even 
the crowned heads trembled on their thrones for fear 
•of an autocratic Pontificate ? Where was democracy in 
the land of the Saxons or the Franks, of the Teutons 
or the Slavs, when the people stood absolved from their 
allegiance to their sovereign as the mandate of the Bull 
or Dispensation? Brahminical hierarchy, however galling 
it may appear to-day, was never half so tyrannical in 
the exercise of its arbitrary powers as the papacy of 
Europe up to the thirteenth century of the Christian 
era. Then, besides Great Britain and France, is there 
«,ny country even now in Europe where democratic 
instincts are better developed than in India ? What 
was Italy up to the middle of the eighteenth century ? 
The Germans who are supposed to be the most intel- 
lectual and progressive people in Europe are still a 
<5ongerie8 of nations living under the domination of a 
military despotism which does not admit of a civilian 
•citizen, no, not even of a civil judge or a magistrate, 
smiling at a subaltern in his uniform. In spite of her 
universities, her sciences and^her arts, there seems to be 
very little of true democracy in the constitution of 
Germany as has been amply demonstrated by the recent 
Zabern incident. That constitution still " turns hel- 
mets into crowns and sabres into sceptres." In point 
of fact, the supremacy of Russia, Germany and Austria 
<3on8ist8 not in any great democratic development of 


'those countries, but upon their material resources and 
-military strength. Tha defeat of the strongest power 
among them has raised the 'little Jap" in the estima- 
tion of the world and no achievement is now deemed too 
high for his brains or arms. If Ohina can successfully 
stand on her legs, the "heathen Chinee*' will also be 
recognised as fit for the highest form of democratic 

Then, where stands the false generalisation about 
the East and the West and the differentiation between 
'the coloured races and the white as regards democratic 
institutions ? Difference there is at the present 
moment between the Orient and the Occident, but 
«uch difference is due to difference in condition, 
training and opportunities, and not to any organic 
peculiarity. It may be the just pride of England that 
she has been training India in the art of self-government 
and that she has sown Che seeds of democratic institu- 
tions on an Eastern soil; but it seems a mistake to 
suppose that she is making a desperate experiment of 
cultivating them altogether in a hot-house, India is by 
no means a more uncongenial soil for the growth of 
free institutions than any other part of His Majesty's 
Dominions beyond the seas. There is the latest testi- 
mony of no less an authority than Lord Glastone who, 
/from his high place as the Governor-General of South 
Africa, recently oserved, that 

" He had made special study of Indian history and had later 
visited India. He wished more South Africans could go there, and 
by BO doing rise to the highest appreciation of what the Indiana 
were. They would then think less of India as a country which 
sends its coolies to the South African coast. In fact, India had. 


developed perhaps far above the line attained by some parts of the- 
British Empire in its civilization and efforts to rise to a higher- 

Nor ia it reasonable feo afctribufce the aspirations- 
of the Indian people to a want of proper apprecia- 
tion of the manifold blessings which the British rule- 
has already conferred upon them. Those aspirations, on 
the contrary, are an open acknowledgment of th© 
benevolent spirit of that rule and a declaration of' 
the confidence reposed in its justice and generosity. 
It is England which has deliberately created those 
aspirations in the minds of a people whose destiny 
a mysterious Providence is said to have committed^ 
to her care, and, however much she may tug and twisty,, 
she cannot wriggle out of a position into which sha- 
has thrust herself either voluntarily or in her absent- 
mindedness. Now the fate of India and of England- 
is indissolubly linked together, and it would be a futile- 
attempt) to maintain the existence of the one at the- 
expense of the other. Let England cheerfully rise to 
the height of her greatness which she owes in no small 
measure to her connection with India, and the horrid^ 
spectre which at times seems to haunt her imagination 
will at once vanish. King George, who appears to be^ 
a greater statesman than his party ministers, truly 
observed on a historic occasion that there is no people 
easier to govern than the Indians. Love, affection and 
gratitude play a more important part in the life and 
conduct of a people who are mystic in their ideas, 
romantic in their conceptions, and intensely spiritual in< 
their aims and aspirations. Those who lightly talk of 
*' driviag discontent underground" seem not tO' 



realise thafc ifc is England's moral greatness more than 
her military strength that laid the foundation of her 
f ndian Empire, and it is that greatness alone which can 
ensure its existence broad-based upon the love and 
affection of a contented and grateful people. 

To even a superficial observer it will appear thafc a 
world-wide current has set in throughout the four 
quarters of the habitable globe. Prom armed and 
aggressive Europe to the peaceful Philippines in the 
Pacific Ocean, everywhere there is a ceaseless struggle 
going on for existence, and every people is seized 
with a burning desire to assert itself in a world which 
is rapidly changing every day. The most despotic 
^governments which have withstood the ravages of 
immemorial ages are crumbling to pieces, and empires 
and monarchies which have stood the test of revolutions 
of centuries are in the course of a single revolution of 
4he earth in its diurnal motion quietly surrendering to 
vox populit the hereditary occupants of the thrones 
taking their exits as in a dramatic stage without a strug- 
:gle and without shedding either a tear or a drop of blood. 
The bloodless revolutions which have in recent years 
taken place in Spain and Portugal, in Norway and 
Sweden and above all, in Turkey, Persia and China, 
would have been unthinkable only a hundred years 
fligo, and it would be simply unreasonable to expect 
that India alone could have escaped being caught 
>in the current of this universal tide. Fortunately 
for India it is neither a bore, nor a sweeping rush of 
the sea ; but a slow rising tide quite normal in its 
»«ondition and unalarming in its volume or intensity. 


Thafc fcide has, however, entered every creek and esfcuary 

of Indian life, leading to answering movements in 
almost every direction. It is the duty of a wiso- 
government to place itself at the head of these move- 
ments and judiciously and sympathetically guide them- 
into proper and useful channels rather than imperiously 
command, '* thus far and no farther." 

It was prohably^the late Lord Salisbury who observ- 
ed that the success of a people who know how to wait 
was always assured. Patience is truly the secret off 
success, while impatience is another name for weakness. 
The Congress is well conceived and is being guided on 
right and sound lines. It is the duty of those on whom. 
its mantle now rests as well as of those who form its- 
rank and file to work harmoniously and vigorously to 
push on its work and extend its healthy influence to the 
masses with the gradual spread of education among them. 
The Mahomedans have been galvanized into life and they 
have awakened themselves to a sense of self-conscious- 
ness. They are visibly coming on in a line with thev 
Congress movement, and if the two great communities of 
the Indian people can unite, as they will and must unite 
at no distant date, ** there is no force on the surface of the 
earth," as Sir Ibrahim RahimtuUah observes, " which 
can resist its just and legitimate demands." It may be 
necessary for the Moslem League to work independently 
for some time for the consideration of the special require- 
Jments of its own community ; but in the meantime a. 


rapprochement between fehe Congress and fehe League 
should be sedulously fosfeered by the members of both 
the organisations on the basis of mutual goodwill and 
co-operation. It may be found useful to constitute a 
joint Board to settle all differences between the two 
communities which unfortunately still lead to occasional 
friction and misunderstanding. It is, however, a most 
humiliating spectacle for either of the communities 
to have always recourse to the authorities for the 
settlement of their social and religious differences and 
even to go so far as to apply for a legislative measure 
for their control. If a " Conciliation Board " is necessary, 
why not establish it among ourselves ? While it is 
difficult to gain an inch of ground in the political world, 
it is certainly nob expedient or politic to voluntarily 
abdicate our birthrights even in matters of our social 
and religious observances and ceremonies and call for 
official interference. What a commentary this on our 
claim for self-government and what a sharp weapon in 
the hands of our adversaries ! " United we stand and 
divided we all" is a trite old maxim which is never so 
strikingly illustrated as in the case of national evolution. 
It is through reverses that success is often achieved 
in this world and a people that has made up its mind to 
rise must *be prepared to take many a defeat before ifc- 
can make any tangible advance. It has been justly ob- 
served, that true greatness does not consist in never 
falling, but in rising every time we fall. It is only in 
the nature of weak people to be always highly 
calculating and where courage fails, to take shel- 
ter either under philosophic indifference or absolute- 


•hopelessness. Many people would fain pass for wise 
men and even as prophefes when in realifey they 
are unable manfully to grapple with dijQficulties of 
a. situation. If optimism sometimes errs in raising 
entravagant hopes and ideas, pessimism is largely 
responsible for creating depression and fostering scepti- 
cism by magnifying dangers and difficulties beyond 
their real proportions. With a virile people a defect 
only serves to stiffen their backs. It should be re- 
membered that in nature the struggle for existence is 
only a war of exhaustion and those that can endure 
the' longest are bound to triumph in the end. The 
Indian nationalists ought to know that the journey 
they have undertaken through a wilderness under a 
divine call is steep and long, and that the promised 
land must continue to be completely out of their sight, 
though they may be all the same advancing by 
-degrees, until they are within a measurable distance 
from it, and it would be a grievous mistake to abandon 
the march because at every step some faint outlines of 
its magnificent columns and spires are not visible to 
the naked eye to encourage them. Their sacred scrip- 
ture says — Thou only canst luorh and shalt live by worh ; 
and the Indian nationalists must be prepared devotedly to 
-work in the spirit of that scripture if the ultimate result 
13 to come to those who are coming after them as a 
reward for their labours. 

It was truly observed by the great " Father of 
the Congress" that *' every nation gets almost as good 
a government as it deserves." A civilised government 
•can and often does educate the people and stimulate 


-their energies towards a healthy developnaent of their 
iiational existence; bat the civic rights and liberties of a 
people have always to be acquired and can never be 
the subject of free gift from a Government. Under a 
despotic rule they are often attained through revolu- 
tion, while under a constitutional Government they are 
acquired through a process of evolution. But in both 
cases it is the people who must work out their owa 
destiny. Self-help is the key to success in individual as 
well as national life, and whether the weapon employed 
be active pressure or passive resistance, a people that 
wants to rise in the scale of nations must learn to 
-stand on its own legs. Above all, we must be true to 
ourselves. Those who are false to themselves can 
"never expect others to be true to them. Confidence 
in one's own self and trust in righteousness constitute 
^nearly half the success of a cause. However difficult 
the voyage may be, those who have launched out in the 
name of god and the Motherland cannot afford to turn 
back. Boiling and pitching, tempest-tossed and even 
with masts broken and riggings gone, they are bound to 
proceed onwards. Eesolute in their purpose, firm and 
4in8werving in their devotion and invincible in their faith, 
4ihey must be pledged to sacrifice themselves in the cause 
of the country, looking for no other reward for their 
labours than the blessing of God and the approbation of 
their own conscience. Mutual jealousy and spite, sus- 
i)icion and distrust, and envy and malice are the cankers 
of natioaal life, and these secret pests have to be care- 
fully guarded against, particularly in the early stage of 
its growth. To the Indian Nationalists, the country 


musfc be feheir religioio '*fcaughfc by no priests, bufe by 
the beating hearts," and her welfare their common 
faith '* which makes the many one.'* And the one 
prayer in ^ which they should aver join in a spirit of 
sincere humility is contained in the touching words of 
that pious divine who cheerfully sacrificed himself in 
the cause of suffering humanity : — 

"Lead kindly light amid the encircling gloom. 

Lead thou me on! 
The night is dark and I am far from home, 

Lead thou me on! 
Keep thou my feet, I do not ask to see 

The distant path, one step's enough for me.'* 



Since the foregoing chapters were mainly written- 
and partly placed in the hands of the publishers, a 
terrible war has broken out in Europe which in its deve- 
lopments has drawn all the five continents of the globe 
into the vortex of a titanic struggle unparalleled in the^ 
history of the world. As in the middle ages the Goths 
and Vandals overran the Roman Empire and towards 
the middle of the fifteenth century the Tartar hordes 
of Gzenghis Khan carried fire and desolation through 
Central and Southern Asia, so has German militarism, 
backed by a Teutonic confederacy, raised a world-wide' 


conflagrafeion in ifcs insabiable thirsfc for a world-wide 
Empire, Solemn treaties have been openly flouted as 
mere '* scraps of paper," sacred rights of inoffensive 
neutrality wantonly violated under the infernal maxim 
that " necessity knows no law" and a " chosen people," 
the boasted " salt of the earth," hurled into the fray,- 
like herds of dumb driven cattle, to sweep away centu- 
ries of civilization by the sheer dint of the * mailed- 
fist " and the *' shining armour." The shrieks of 
agonizing humanity and of outraged civilization all 
over the world have risen above the thunder of roaring 
guns and the clashing of steels, while land, sea and air 
are all filled with infernal engines of destruction, the 
proudest products of Western culture. European civili- 
zation which has ruled the world for centuries has at 
last stood unmasked in its grim nakedness. The out- 
standing figures of this terrible game up to the present 
form a rule of three K's — Kaiser, Krupp and Kultur — 
the unknown value of the fourth quantity of which has 
yet to be solved. England and France, while sharing in 
no small degree the gluttonous appetite of Europe for 
territorial aggrandisement and glory, are the only two 
countries which have ever stood in defence of Freedom's^ 
cause and the ju«t rights of other nations, and both of 
them have flung themselves at the brunt of this conflict 
as much in their own vital interest as in justice to 
universal humanity and for the peace of the world, 
India, true to her genuine devotion to the British con- 
nection, has, forgetting all her domestic differences, risen 
as one man in defence of the Empire. From the princes 
to the peoples all are animated by a spirit of chivalry,. 


self-sacrifice and patriotism, and as a result there has 
been such an outburst of loyal enthusiasm, throughout 
the country as has almost staggered the British public. 
That public had long been treated to highly coloured 
rigmaroles about lurking treason in India as a plausible 
justification of the repressive methods of its administra- 
tion. The absurdities of these stories were largely 
exposed during the King's visit to this country in 
1911, and what remained of bhe figments of these 
gross lies and libels have been completely swept away 
by the wave of enthusiasm which is now surging from 
one end of the country to the other. This spontaneous 
outburst of loyalty has not only for the time being 
silenced the Indian bureaucracy, but has come as a com- 
plete surprise upon the deluded British public. The grim 
humour of the situation is not, however, without its 
lessons. The reactionaries who had so long cried 
sedition to justify a repressive policy have now come 
forward singing hallelujahs over the efficiency and 
popularity of the Indian administration which it is now 
claimed to have evoked such gushing loyalty to the 
British Throne. When the cry of sedition could no 
longer be sustained, these resourceful critics cleverly 
turned round to say, lo and behold ! how much the 
bureaucratic rule in India has done to evoke such a 
seotimeot throughout the country ! They seem to be 
perfect adepts in the art of burning the candle at both 
ends and in playiog the well-known game of " head I 
win, tail you lose." But with the better minds of 
England the surprise must be not a little due to a 
^living consciousness, if not a sincere conviction, that 


4)0W little that admin istration has actually done ta 
produce such a thrilling vibration throughout the 
country. Even the Times, the leading organ of con- 
servative opinion in England, has been struck at thia^ 
unexpected demonstration and frankly admitted that 
the Indian problem must be henceforth looked at from 
a different point of view. "On our part," says the great 
journal, "when we have settled account wich the enemy,. 
India must be allowed a more ample place in the 
councils of the Empire," Men like Sir Valentine 
Chirol and Lord Curzon, who are so well-known ex- 
ponents of conservative policy and such staunch advo- 
cates of bureaucratic interests, have naturally become^ 
alarmed at the note sounded from such an unexpected 
quarter and have promptly entered their caveat, lest- 
judgment should hereafter go against them either by 
default or non-traverse. Evidently conscious of the 
weakness of their hollow claim for the success of the- 
bureaucratic rule they have also returned to their old,, 
favourite charge against the educated community as a 
second string to their bow, and have taken upon them- 
selves to inform the British public that that commu- 
nity have no influence with the masses (they should- 
have spoken with some reservation to conveniently meet 
some other contingency) and are altogether unaffected 
by the wave of the popular enthusiasm evoked by the 
war. These pronounced exponents of uncompromising 
imperialism are of course not insidious Gercuan spies ;, 
but their reckless utterances require to be as strictly 
Censored as those of the correspondents at the front- 
At a critical time like the present, every other 


consideration, whether present or prospective, should be 
subordinated to the supreme needs of the Empire, and 
any one indulging in foolish diatribes calculated to 
wound the feelings and alienate the sympathies of any 
section or community within that Empire must be 
guilty of a most unpatriotic conduct. Any honest man 
who has the slightest claim to Indian experience would 
readily admit that the distinction between the masses 
and the classes in India in matters political is not as 
sharply drawn as in Western countries and that the 
loyalty of the Indian masses who are densely ignorant 
is a passive sentiment, the active expression of which is 
furnished by the intelligent and educated section of the 
population. The masses know as much of the Germans 
as of the man in the moon, and if German militarism were 
to win, they would settle down as quietly under the 
'* mailed fist" as they are securely ensconced behind 
the British Lion. It is the educated community that 
know and understand the difference between the two 
and it is this section of the people alone who feel that 
the future destiny of India can only be attained under 
a democratic constitution and not under an inflated 
junker rule. If it is the educated men of India who 
adversely criticise the Government, it is because they 
alone are capable of appreciating the spirit of the 
British constitution and are desirous of improving the 
Indian administration by bringing it into line with that 
constitution and thereby securing a permanency for it. 
And at this time of imperial calamity it is these res- 
ponsible people who are keeping the masses straight, 
disabusing them of disquieting rumours, and inspiring 


them wifeh confidence in the strength as well as the 
justice of the British cause. The educated commu- 
nity in India is mainly composed of the middle 
classes, and it is these classes whom the war has hit 
the hardest. Yet these are the very people who 
have been most forward in not only offering their 
services to the Grown, but also in raising throughout 
the country as much war relief as was possible within 
the scope of their limited resources. The Hospital Ships 
iitted up by Madras and Bombay and the Ambulance 
Corps raised in Bengal for service in Mesopotamia are 
mainly the works of the educated community and of the 
middle classes. It is deeply to be regretted that men 
pretending to having a wide Indian experience and who 
ought to have known better should only to serve an 
ulterior object, come forward at this juncture to feed fat 
their ancient grudge against educated India. 

It is all very well for blind imperialists to flatter 
themselves upon their shortsighted and retrograde 
policy based upon old-world ideas of Government ; but 
it is a matter of no small gratifioatiion to learn that 
responsible British statesmanship is fully alive and equal 
to the situation. Both Mr. Montagu and Mr. Eoberts, 
as Under-Secretary for India, have from time to time 
expressed themselves in no uncertain voice as to the 
correct lines upon which the Indian administration 
requires to be revised and modified. Mr. Montagu's 
honest interpretation of Lord Hardinge's despatch of 
August 1911 is well-known ; while Mr. Roberts, speak- 
ing from his place in the House of Commons, has frankly 
acknowledged that with the intellectual classes in India 


this outbursfc of loyalty ia "a reasoned sentiment based 
upon considerations of enlightened self-interest," and haS' 
at the same time asked the British public to alter " the 
angle of vision " in their perspective of the Indian pro- 
blem. Following the Times, the Beview of Bevieivs, has 
in one of its latest numbers, fairly admitted that : 

" India to-day occupies a higher place in the Empire than^ 
ever before, and has materially advanced her claims towards self- 
government, and it is inevitable that, after the war her out- 
standing demands should receive the most sympathetic considera- 
tion." '* We have", the Revietv Skdds,'' made promises of self- 
government to Egypt, and it is inconceivable that we should deny 
the same privileges to India. At present India is not pressing her 
claim, but patiently awaits her just due, not as a reward, but as- 
a right which her conduct has shown her worthy of possessing." 

Lord Haldane, a prominent member of the last 

Liberal Cabinet, at a reception by the Indian students 

in England, said : — 

" The Indian soldiers were fighting for the liberties of huma- 
nity, as much as we ourselves. India had freely given her lives- 
and treasure in humanity's great cause, hence things could not be^ 
left as they were. We had been thrown together in the mighty 
struggle and had been made to realise our oneness, so producing 
relations between India and England which did not exist before. 
Our victory would be victory for the Empire as a whole ,and could 
not fail to raise it to a higher level." 

These pronouncements represent a correct apprecia- 
tion of the Indian situation, and in arriving at a real and 
correct solution of the phenomenal demonstration of 
Indian loyalty. England must first thoroughly disabuse 
herself of her pre-conceived prejudices, abandon an 
ostrich-like policy and direct her vision more to the- 
future than to the past. 

The demonstration proceeds from two causes both 
potential in their nature, though one is positive while^ 
the other is negative in its character. India's aims- 


and aspirations are indissolubly bound up with demo- 
cratic ideas and institutions, and the people are 
thoroughly convinced that it is the gradual developmenfe 
of these ideas and institutions which alone can enabla 
her to realise her destiny in the evolution of her national 
life. Starting frono this hypothesis, one of these causes 
is not far to seek. Before the outbreak of the war 
the world was full of admiration for German culture, 
German enterprise and German erudition ; but educat- 
ed India was not very much impressed with German 
democracy, The inability of Germany to conciliate 
and Germanize two of her conquered provinces equally 
civilized within a period of nearly half a century, and the 
disgraceful incident which recently took place at Zabern 
incontestably proved that amidst all her grandeur and 
greatness acquired since the war of 1870, Germany 
possessed little or nothing of popular liberty. Her 
Eeichsiag is only a mock imitation of the British Parlia- 
ment or the French Chamber end a little better than an 
enlarged edition of the Indian Legislative Councils which 
can freely indulge in academic discussions, ask questions 
and move resolutions, but for practical purposes can nO' 
more shape the policy of a despotic government than it 
can control the action of a still more despotic sovereign. 
The moral strength as well as the political status of a 
people must be extremely doubtful whom it is possi- 
ble to dupe in this age of reason and common sense by 
one man, how high his position and however strong 
his hold upon their imagination may be, by openly 
announcing that "the spirit of the Lord has descended 
upon him '* to lead his "^chosen people" to victory 


like the wandering Israilifcies of old and whose blas- 
phemous tongue is not afraid of declaring, as it is re- 
ported to have declared on the naemorable 3rd of 
August, that : 

"It is my imperial and royal intention to give consideration 
to the wishes of God with regard to Belgium when I shall have 
executed my imperial and royal will with regard to France and 
the pestilent and contemptible English." 

Vanity of vanities before High Heavens I His im- 
perial and royal Majesty may be perfectly free to 
execute, if he can, his imperial and royal will as regards 
the future of France and " contemptible England"; but to 
have the hardihood to say that it is his imperial and 
royal intention so to condescend as to vouchsafe his kind 
** consideration to the wishes of God " must be regarded, 
if the report ba true, as the height) of a mental derange- 
ment bordering on dangerous lunacy. It has been truly 
«aid bhab pride goebh before fall and vanity before destruc- 
tion. Even the great Napoleon, whose equal in military 
genius tbe world has noti yet produced, was never guilty 
of such arrogance not to speak of such profanation, 
although kingdom after kingdom, including Germany, 
fell prostrate before him and his invincible legions 
'with such astounding rapidity as the world has never 
witnessed whether in ancient or modern times. 
But after all what must be the morale and the status 
of a people who can believe in the superman, merge their 
existence into the State surrendering all their personal 
rights and liberties and ungrudgingly acquiesce in the 
methods of military despotism ? Question of barbarism 
apart, which seems to be no insignificant feature of 
German militarism, these facts constitute a severe 



nndicfcment of German culture and enlightenment;. Indian 
loyalty may not proceed from an affection for British 
'Tule, but it certainly proceeds from a dread of something 
very much worse under German militarism. Here lies 
the negative origin of the phenomenal demonstration 
which has taken place in this country irrespective of 
• colour, caste and creed. 

On the positive side, there is much to be said in 
^favour of the British constitution though not in favour 
ot the Anglo-Indian administration. It is of course 
•not to be supposed even for a moment that a people 
who have for the life-time of a generation bitterly 
complained against the methods of a bureaucratic rule 
have been suddenly transformed into an admiring crowd 
by the magic wand of a repressive policy. On the 
contrary, their opposition to the bureaucracy is only a 
milder reflex of their stronger hatred for German despo- 
tism. But the people are thoroughly impressed with the 
superiority of the British constitution and the morality 
vof.the British nation. That constitution, being essenti- 
ally democratic, naturally appeals to the sentiment and 
imagination of a people whose national evolution is so 
largely dependent upon the growth and development of 
democratic ideas and inscitutions, and which can only be 
fostered by a people who have themselves fought for 
.pergonal rights and liberties and tasted the sweets of free 
citizenship. Educated India knows and understands that 
with all its faults the British nation as a whole is inspired 
with a sense of justice and regard for truth. If in 
fcimes past tbere ever was ruthless spoliation in India, 
.it had also been occasionally followed by relentless 


impeachmepfc in England. If in tho roll of Indian^ 
Viceroys there have been reactionaries like Lord Dal- 
housie and Lord Gurzon, there have been also brilliant- 
names like thoge of Canning, Bentinck, Eipon and 
Hardinge. It is a nation for whom Milton wrote and- 
Sidney died not in vain, and in whom the spirit of 
Howard and Wilbarforce still works with undiminished 
sway. That nation cannot be fairly judged by the spirit> 
of the Indian bureaucracy or the Anglo-Indian press. 
If the repeated vexations and disappointments of India 
have been very great, her hope and confidence in England 
are still greater. The task of ameliorating her condition 
is not an easy one. What a mass of prejudices have 
grown round the policy of the administration of the 
country, what an accumulation of superstitions have 
found place in the tradition of the government, how 
many vested interests, not unoften incompatible with the 
true well-being of the people, have asserted themselves 
in places of power and authority, what an invincible 
entanglement of barbed wire-fencings have been drawn 
for the protection of those interests at every assailable 
point, what an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust has 
been created, how deep and wide trenches have been 
dug out to keep the people outside the pale of an offi- 
cial hierarchy, and above all, what a solid bureaucracy 
governing the body-politic from top to bottom hasnbeen 
firmly established. These enormous difficulties have to 
be overcome for a satisfactory solution of the Indian 
problem. The war has opened unforeseen conditions and 
a splendid opportunity for the solution of that problem. 
It has at once dissipated the dark and threatening.. 


•clouds of suspicion and disferusf; and cleared the vision 
•of fche British public. It has inspired the Indian mind 
wifch hope and confidence in the fraition of her long- 
deferred destiny within the Empire, and it is in this 
hope and confidence that a correct explanation has to 
be sought for the positive side of the Indian denoon- 
stration and not in the achievements of an effete and 
uopopular bureaucracy which has so far rather hindered 
than helped the growth of Indian attachnaent to the 
"British connection. Correctly understood, the present 
attitude of India is a strong and successful protest 
against the theories and principles of that bureaucracy, 
fjord Orewe apparently made a great mistake in addres- 
sing a number of young recruits for the Indian Civil 
Service in the old orthodox style that he did on a reeenfe 
occasion. The extravagant tribute he paid to that 
service was altogether wide of the mark and has given 
great offence to the people of this country. If he really 
believes that the unique outburst of loyalty which the 
•great war has called forth in India is due to the bureau- 
cratic administration, then his Lordship must have 
completely misread the history of the Indian adminis- 
tration during the last thirty years or more. The Indian 
princes are beyond the pale of the Indian Civil Service ; 
while during the whole of that period there has been a 
continuous stand-up fight between the people and the 
bureaucracy. Whatever merits that bureaucracy may 
claim as regards their efficiency in other directions, con- 
ciliation is certainly not one of them. Indeed they have 
never cared to conciliate the people and have always spo- 
iken contemptuously of driving discontent underground. 


They have fchroughoufc cried sedition and sought to represSo. 
Repression may coerce, but cannot manufacture loyalty 
and particularly such an outburst of that sentiment as 
is swaying the Indian mind at the present moment. 
For a responsible minister of the Crown, who holds in 
bis hand the reins of the Indian Government, to get 
Tip an unnecessary ceremony to compliment the bureau- 
cracy in such a style and at such a time was, to say 
the least of it, highly impolitic, and people are not want- 
ing who have received it as a great disappointment, if 
not as rude shock, to their sentiments. Taking the 
various pronouncements recently made in England both 
for and against their cherished hopes and aspirations 
and reading between them in the light of the fate of 
Lord Crewe's Bill for the reform of the India Council 
and of the Royal Proclamation for the establishment of an 
Executive Council for the United Provinces, the people 
are apt to take a somewhat gloomy and despondent view 
of the situation, and not unnaturally apprehend that it 
may all end in another repetition of what is known as 
breaking to the hope while promising to the ear. But 
after all the pronouncement of the Secretary of State 
may be nothing more than a conventional compliment- 
intended more to encourage a batch of young men in 
the honest discharge of their duty than to operate as a 
judgment on the pending issues between the people 
and the bureaucracy. People of the Chirol-Curzon 
School may no doubt enter their protests in antici- 
pation ; but the educated community in India who 
have studied the British constitution and closely 
followed the trend of the British democracy may yet- 


possess their souls in patience and confidently await a 
fair and impartial decision in their case when it is ripe* 
for judgment. 

Good often cometh out of evil and calamitous as- 
the war is, it is not without ics lessons for the future* 
of the world. It has dissipated the wildest dreams of 
the materialist for the establishment of universal peace 
upon the basis of international commerce and the 
fondest -hopes of the socialist to establish universal 
brotherhood by preaching against increase of armaments 
of war. Both these prescriptions have served only ta 
aggravate the war-fever and intensify international 
jealousy and spite. A system of armed neutrality was- 
devised under the cloak of which all the powers in 
Europe were running a constant race for political 
supremacy in the name of progress and enlightenment. 
Civilization, culture and even religion were made ta 
contribute to that one end, and while every one cried 
peace, all were intent on disturbing the peace of tha 
world. A fierce collision under such circumstance 
was inevitable and the armed powers of Europe have 
at last met to play the lasfc^ scene of the tragic drama 
which they had so long laboured to put on the stage. 
The war has revealed in a ghastly light the overwhelm- 
ing preponderance of barbarism which the world 
still retains, amidst all her progress and advancement, 
and has clearly demonstrated that both the conception 
as well as the ideal of modern civilization must* be 
thoroughly revised by those who profess to hold the 
future of the world in their hands if they really aim at 
peace, prosperity and happiness of God's creation. They^ 


must;, fco begin with, curb their consuming ambition and 
gluttonous appetite which have so far served to civilise 
the world largely by a pcoces'? of exploitation and ex- 
tinction and by substituting specimens of refined sava- 
gery for inoffensive barbarism of weaker people. Pillage, 
plunder, incendiarism, massacre and other unutterable 
-and shocking offences on women and children are as 
rampant in modern warfare as they were in the days 
of Alexander, and if the Thraoian robber had b^en living 
to-day he might well have hesitated to choose between 
the ancient Macedonian and the morlern Teuton. Looking 
from the standpoint of universal humanity and a higher 
ideal of human evolution it must be painfully admitted 
that modern science and civilisation have contributed 
more to the material than to the moral progress of the 
world; and if the present war succeeds in revealing to 
the West some of the higher aspects of the philosophy 
of the East, its appalling sacrifices in men, money and 
treasures of art will not have been incurred wholly 
in vain. 

The first outstanding feature of the war is the 
co-operation and fellowship of the different units of a 
<}onsolidated Empire. It has dissipated the longstand- 
ing colour prejudices under which Europe claimed an 
inherent and permanent superiority over the inhabit- 
ants of Asia and Africa and refused comradeship with 
them even in the grave. France, which seems to have 
developed the highest power of assimilation, has derived 
no small advantages from her solid possessions in Africa, 
as Great Britain has done from her vast territories in 
India. Turcos, Zuaves, Moors and the Senegalese have 


added as much weight; fco the French army as the Sikhs, 
the Gurkhas, the Jats and the Pathans have strengthen- 
ed the British Expeditionary Force to the Continent. 
Fighting side hy side with and against white races, these 
brave soldiers of Africa and India have incontestably 
proved that the colour of the skin is entirely due to 
climatic conditions and does not at all connote any essen- 
tial distinction in the physical, intellectual and moral 
fabrics of any race whether residing in the torrid or the 
tropical zone. Differences no doubt exist ; but they are 
mostly the result of forced conditions and artificial bar- 
riers irrespective of all considerations of latitudes and 
longitudes. For the first time in the history of Europe the 
martial races of India have been admitted into comrade- 
ship with the British and the colonial forces of the 
Empire and the entire population of India made to take 
a noble pride in the defence of that Empire. The war 
has made the Indian people recognise their position as 
well as their responsibility as a distinct unit — not merely 
a dependency, but a component part — of the huge fabric 
which goes by the name of the Brinish Empire. la 
fact, the imperial conception of that fabric is based 
upon the possession of India, and India naturally 
expects to be recognised as an equal partner both is 
the rights and liabilities of the Imperial Federation 
which the war is likely to bring about as the psycho- 
logical development and the highest strength of the 
British Empire. Without the cement of fellowship and 
equality no union can be either solid or lasting ; 
and weak in one point, whether at the base or in the 
superstructure, the hugest fabric devised by human 


skill is liable to collapse either in course of natural decays 
or whenever subjected to a test of its strength. 

In the next place it has to be considered that it is 
neither possible nor desirable for India to aim at sovereign 
independence at the present stage of her evolution, and 
whether such a state is or is not attainable at some 
remote future period need not very much concern us at 
present; while it seems extremely doubtful if consistently 
with her higher aspiration for the establishment 
of an All-Indian Nationalism, India can ever attempt 
at such a consummation without the disruption and 
disintegration of those forces with which she has set to 
work in building an Indian nation. It is no doubt 
along and laborious task requiring patience and perse- 
verance. In the work of nation-building every genera- 
tion has its appropriate task and if every generation 
were only to contemplate the carvings and mouldings 
for the finishing touch of the edifice, where would 
be the less attractive foundation underground and 
the barren anperstructure upon it? The work must 
be built up from the base to the top and no rational 
people can think of reversing the process. There may 
be revolutionaries who, in their inability to grasp 
this higher conception of an All-India Confederacy, 
dream of perfect independence as the goal of their 
nationalism ; while people ate not wanting who seem 
to indulge in the belief that in the fullness of time 
England herself will out of her free will retire from the 
field leaving the people to govern the country as a free- 
and independent nation. The idea is perfectly Utopiaa 
and if those who entertain it are at all sincere in their 


expression, they must be quifce misfcaken in fcheir views.. 
No nation in this world, whether in ancient or modern 
times, has ever shown such an example of philanthropy, 
and the British people cannot be expected to do that 
which is not in human nature. Besides, nations are 
not born, but by themselves are made. If the people 
of India do not by degrees learn to govern themselves, 
it is inconceivable that a time should ever come when 
the people of Great Britain will j5nd an opportunity of 
relieving themselves of the " white man's burden," or 
of fulfilling " the sacred trust of Providence" of which 
so much has been said and written. Freedom and 
independence cannot be the gift of one people to 
another. They have to be acquired and sometimes, 
also extorted ; but they can never form the subject of 
a voluntary conveyance. Given the opportunities 
presented by the situation created by the European 
War, it should be the highest endeavour of the Indian 
nationalists calmly and vigorously to press forward for 
an adjustment of their outstanding claims as well as 
for a fair apportionment of their liabilities and res- 
ponsibilities arising out of that situation. The highest 
statesmanship in England should also frankly recognise 
the necessities of that situation and be ready to consoli- 
date the Empire on firmer basis. The Government is 
certainly bound to proceed with caution and circumspec- 
tion ; but it is also expected to proceed with genuine 
trust and confidence in the people, It is not enough^ 
that justice should be done to them, but the people 
should be made to feel that they do not live under a 
foreign domination. One Indian administrator has told 


US that ifi would be incoasisfcenfe with Easbern characfeer 
and tradition feo expecti a. reward for humble and loyal 
services rendered at the present juncture. He has of 
course not gone the length of reminding us of the 
story of the Lion and the Crane ; but the appeal is 
quite characteristic of the bureaucratic sympathies for 
the hopes and aspirations of the Indian people. But 
what people are there in this world who do not naturally 
expects a reward for their services ? Besides, the claim 
of the Indians for self-government is not in the nature of 
a reward for their participation in the present war, bub 
as of right which they had advanced long before this war 
broke out. There may be people who are eager to seize 
every opportunity to work upon the spiritualism of the 
Indian character to turn its attention from the material 
aspect of a situation ; but they must be very much 
mistaken to think that the Indians of to-day can be 
made to reconcile themselves to their lot with the mere 
bribe of eternity. England must be prepared in her 
own interest to admit India into an equal partnership of 
the Empire. 

As words without thoughts never go to heaven, so 
promises without performance can never touch the hearfc 
of a people. In fact, in practical politics, promise un- 
redeemed is much worse than no promise at all. England 
has plunged herself into a desperate struggle for the 
honour and sanctity of a " scrap of paper." The Charter 
Act of 1833, the Queen's Proclamation of 1858 and the 
two gracious messages of Edward VII. and George V. all 
demand that they should not be allowed to be considered 
in any quarter as mere " scraps of paper." Now an 


opporfcunifcy has arrived for fehe redemption of the solemn 
pledges which have been so often repeated but never 
fulfilled. A great nation's word is its bond and England- 
cannot consistently with her honour and greatness resile 
from the position to which she has voluntarily 
committed herself. Judging however by the fate of Lord 
Crewe's India Council Bill and of Lord Hardinge's Pro- 
clamation for the establishment of a Council Government 
for the United Proviuces, not an inconsiderable section 
of the Indian people are getting nervous as to the ulti- 
mate result of the many promises held out to them 
recently in England. The "angle of vision" may be 
changed after the war ; but whether it is the angle of 
vision of the Indians or of the British people that may 
have to be altered, events alone can prove. If the former 
be the case, it may not require too much of the gift of 
prophecy to say that the result will be simply disastrous. 
Of course there are those who sincerely indulge in the 
belief that as India has been won by the sword so it 
mast be maintained by the sword, and that the grant of 
autonomy to India would be the first notice to quit 
given, to England. On the other hand, there are those 
who with equal emphasis, though not with equal 
authority, maintain that a permanent occupation of 
India by England is only possible upon grounds of 
perfect reciprocity as in the case of the colonies. History 
does not present a single instance where one nation 
however powerful has succeeded in permanently holding 
another nation under subjection except through a process 
of assimilation and amalgamation. The Dominion of 
Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia and the 


Union of Soufch Africa, which have now materially 
oonfcribufced to the strength of Great Britain, all 
furnish a striking contrast to the results of a policy 
of coercion which Edmund Burke in his prophetic 
vision so clearly foresaw and to avert which he vainly 
pleaded for conciliation of America. 


It has already been shewn that with the inaugura- 
tion of the reactionary policy of Lord Curzon, a New 
Spirit arose in the country. It is a serious mistake to 
confuse this new spirit with the ugly developments which 
took place about this time as a result of that policy. For 
a long time the people had lost confidence in the progres- 
sive character of the administration and a feeling was 
steadily gaining ground in certain quarters that the 
passive method of the Congress had exhausted all its 
resources. And no further result could be expected to 
flow from it. The futility of petitions and prayers was 
advanced as a strong argument to undermine the consti" 
tution of the Congress and weaken its hold upon the 
public mind. The position of the leaders at this period 
was one of extreme difficulty and embarrassment. On the 
one hand they had to contend against opposing forces 
working from within and on the other to repel incessant 
bureaucratic assaults delivered from without. The firm- 
ness and fortitude with which they however held their 
position at this critical stage bear remarkable evidence 


of their judgment;, political insight and capacity of 
no mean order. Although the Congress from its very 
inception had started with the basel idea of repre- 
sentative institutions for India, it began with the 
internal reforms of the administration hoping to build 
tip from the bottom to the top. For twecty years 
it was mainly engaged in spade work, clearing the 
ground pnd removing the roots and branches of all 
the thorny questions that beset the situation. The very 
indifferent and inadequate success which attended this 
labour coupled with an unsympathetic and reactionary 
policy naturally led to a state of unrest and largely 
contributed to tbe growth of the new spirit, which has 
now manifested itself in a clear and open demand for 
self-government. Those who complacently advise the 
people still to work at the base apparently forget that 
they want them to retrace their step and proceed upon 
a line which has long been tried and found infractuous. 
Congressmen have found to their bitter experience that 
all attempts at irrigating and fructifying the plain with- 
out securing the supply of the fountain-head and re- 
moving the impediments and obstructions to an un- 
interrupted flow of the stream are vain and delusive ; 
for strike as hard as you can and dig as long as you 
may choose, if the source spring will refuse its supply 
all your efforts are bound to end in disappointment. 
The constitution of a government is the only key to un- 
fold its internal administration. It is the "open sesame" 
to a bureaucratic rule whose iron portals will yield 
neither to " open wheat " nor " open Barley " however 
patiently and persistently u may cry it. 


The Congress which had so loug urged for an ex- 
pansion of the Legislative Councils now acquired a 
deeper insight and grasped a more delBuibe idea for the 
realization of its aims. In 1904 it formulated a resolu- 
tion for an effective Representation of the people in the^ 
higher administration of the country and this resolution 
was re-affirmed in the Congress of 1905. But it was 
not until the memorable session of 1906 that a formal 
demand for Self-Government within the Empire was- 
plainly and definitely put forward. The Partition of 
Bengal proved to be the last straw on the camel's back 
and the New Spirit burst forth throughout the country. 
Small section of fiery youngmen seized with the ideas of; 
the Irish Sein Fein got out of hand and a series of repres- 
sive measures followed in quick succession. The 
Congress, however, held on firm and unassailable. The 
split at Surat no doubt weakened its rank ; but the New 
spirit which was perfectly legitimate and quite as wide 
of any revolutionary ideas as the poles as under continued 
to gather strength both in and outside the Congress 
in spite of the many adverse circumstances which besefe 
it. It inspired both the moderates and extremists and 
recognised self-government as the only remedy for the? 
evils from which the country suffered. The waning 
enthusiasm for the Congress was however not due to 
the operation of the repressive measures but to two other 
causes both internal in their character. In the first 
place, it was the suicidal defection of one entire wing of 
the Nationalist part3^ and in the second place the serious 
aloofness which still possessed the important Mahome- 
and community. Attempts were however made from^ 


time to fcime both through the press as well as the 
platforms to reraova these causes until the Allahabad 
Congress of 1910 when Sir Williaoa Wedderburn made a 
vigorous effort not only to reunite both the wings of 
the Nationalists, but also to remove the wedge 
which had been driven deep to split up the Hindu 
and the Mussalman communities en bloc. The com- 
munal representation in the one case and the con- 
vention creed in the other were the two main stumbling 
blocks in the way of the settlement of these vexed 
questions. The labours of some of the advanced and 
patriotic Mahomedan leaders towards the solution of 
the Hindu-Mahomedan question were most helpful to 
the common cause. The first step towards an effec- 
tive rapproachnient was however not taken until 1915 
when the Congress under the presidency of Sir S. P. 
Sinha and the Moslem League under the presidency 
of Mr. Mazar-ul-Haque simultaneously held their 
session in Bombay. But though this was a decisive 
step in advance, an unforeseen incident for which 
neither the Hindus nor the Moslems were respon- 
sible advanced the cause of union still further. The 
local authorities, as is often the case with a short-sighted 
and nervous bureaucracy, most imprudently interfered 
with the proceedings of the League and this at once 
dispelled what remained of the fantastic delusion of 
the Moslem community for a separate and independent 
realization of their destiny. Both the League and the 
Congress now formed Committees to formulate a 
common scheme for the attainment of their common 
destiny within the Empire. 


Afc fehia sfeage a masterful personalifcy appeared on 
the scene. Mrs. Annie Besant who had long conse- 
crated her life to che services of her adoptive motherland 
now came out with her proposal for starting a Home 
Rule League for India. In 1915 she consulted a 
number of Congress leaders, many of whom approved of 
the idea and advised her not to launch it as a distinctly 
independent organization but only as supplementary to 
and working in harmony with the Congress movement. 
To this she readily agreed and a number of Congress- 
men, including the Grand Old Man, expressed their 
adherence to this plan of her campaign. There were of 
course some among the old Congressmen who regarded 
her as being extremely impulsive and viewed her 
method with distrust, although none questioned the 
honesty, integrity and sincerity of her purpose. 

The new spirit thus gained considerable strength 
from di^erent sources and directions ; while a devastat- 
ing war broadened its vision as regards the immediate 
future destiny of the country as a component unit of 
the Empire. Self-Government had long been the aim 
of the Congress as being the true remedy for the grave 
situation in this country. It now became its watchword 
and battle-cry in the bloodless evolution which was 
silently marking its progress upon the dial of its destiny, 

During the following year both the All-India Con- 
gress Committee, in consultation with its various Provin- 
cial Committees, and the representatives of the All-India 
Moslem League worked strenuously and after many a 
stormy debate arrived at a solution of the vexed question 
of communal representation which was raised in some 


of the Provinces and nowhere was this fchorny question 
more hotly contested or keenly debated than in the 
United Provinces. The whole scheme was finally sub- 
mitted to the decision of a joint Conference of the leaders 
of all the communities, which met at Lucknow on the 
eve of the thirty-first session of the Congress and the 
ninth session of the All-India Moslem League. 

In the meantime the Government of Lord Chelms-^ 
ford was understood to have arranged for a despatch to 
the Secretary of State for India touching some of the post- 
war reforms for this country and the non-ofiQcial mem- 
bers of the Imperial Legislative Council who were then 
at Delhi at once hastened to submit to the Government 
a memorandum based on the lines formulated by the 
various Committees of the Congress and the League. The 
finishing touch to this new movement inaugurated by a 
new spirit was however reserved for the next session of 
the Indian National Congress which was the most bril- 
liant session ever held since its birth. The 31st Indian 
National Congress held at Lucknow on the 28th, 29tb, 
30bh and 31st December 1916 was not only an epoch- 
making session, but it fully indicated its title as a truly 
national assembly. The Hindus and Mussalmans for 
the first time openly joined hands and the moderates 
and extremists who had parted company since the Surat 
split again closed their ranks to make a united demand 
for self-government under the aegis of the British Crown. 
Men like Sir Eashbehary Ghose, Surendra Nath Banerjee, 
Madan Mohan Malaviya, Bhupendra Nath Basu and 
N. M. Samarth sat side by side with Messrs. Tilak, 
Khaparde, Govinda Eaghava Iyer aud others ; while the 


indomifcable Mrs. AuDie Besacfc who had grown grey in 
fche service of her adoptive Motherland, came there 
accompanied by her trusted disciples Messrs. Arundale 
and Wadia and true to her Celtic blood raised the cry of 
*' Home Eule for India". Mahomedan leaders like the 
patriotic Rajah of Mahmudabad, Mr. Mazar-ul-Haque, 
Mr. A. Rusaul and Mr. Mahomed Ali Jinnah worthily 
^ represented their community. The two South African 
heroes, Messrs. Gandhi and Polak, were also there and 
then took an active part in its deliberations. Thu3 it was 
a unique session of the Congress in which all classes and 
communities, as well as every political school in the 
country, were fully represented. An entire day was given 
for the discussions of the Subjects Committee which 
finally settled the scheme of self-government formulated 
by the committees of the Congress and the League and 
very nearly the whole of a day was taken in the Congress 
by a full-dressed debate upon this vital question. The 
scheme was read clause by clause and almost all the 
leading men in the various provinces took active part in 
the discussion. At the close of the prolonged and interest- 
ing debate a resolution embodying the scheme which laid 
down the demands of the people to be given effect to in 
the readjustment of the Empire after the close of the 
war was unanimously adopted, the whole of the vast 
assembly of delegates and visitors standing in response to 
a call from the chair and cheering with repeated and deaf- 
ening shouts of Bande Mataram. On the following day 
this scheme was also adopted by the All-India Moslem 
League without a division. The Congress adopted a further 
resolution calling upon the various Congress CoDcpaittees 


and other organised bodies and associations to start 
propagandist work throughout the country to give effect 
to the scheme. The whole country at once caught the fire 
and rang with the cry of self-government and no province 
took up the question earlier or with greater earnestness 
than Madras under the auspices of the Home Eule 
League of which Mrs. Basant was the central figure and 
the guiding spirit. 

As in Bombay so at Lucknow an unpleasant incident 
took place which was quite illustrative of the nervous 
meddlesomeness of the Indian bureaucracy which like 
the proverbial tiger, has the habit of aggravating its own 
sore by constantly licking it. Shortly before the Congress 
week a most gratuitous and offensive letter was issued 
from the U. P. Government Secretariat warning the 
Chairman of the Reception Committee and its General 
Secretary against the use of any seditious speeches at 
the Congress and apparently so great was the anxiety of 
the authorities that a copy of this letter was served also 
on the Fresident-EIeot through the Government of 
Bengal. The Chairman and the Secretary gave a 
firm and pertinent reply to this uncalled for communica- 
tion, while the President took no notice of it. Judging 
from the recent strange proceedings of the Bombay 
and the Berar Governments prohibiting Mrs, Annie 
Besant from entering their territories many were the 
people who apprehended that this letter of the U. P. 
Government was only a prelude to a still more untoward 
development at Lucknow. The good sense of the 
Lieutenant-Governor, however, prevailed and averted 
any further unpleasantness. On the second day Sir 


James Masfcon accompanied by Lady Mesfcon and 
attended by his staff came to the Congress. The Presi- 
dent gave him a fitting welcome on behalf of the 
Congress and Sir James gave a most sympathetic reply, 
Thus the last lingering mist of suspicion and irritation 
which still hung over the delegates was at once removed, 
and the work of the Congress, as well as the League, 
fee which also Sir James Meston paid a similar visit, 
went off smoothly and without a hitch. 

The remarkable success of the historic session of the 
Congress was as far as its local interest was concerned 
largely due to the untiring zeal and patriotic devotion 
of two men — the Eajah of Mahmudabad, one of the 
premier Taluqdars of Oadh, and Mr. Gokaran Nath 
Misra, the energetic General Secretary of the Reception 
Committee, who stumped the whole province and roused 
the people to a pitch of enthusiasm unsurpassed in the 
history of the Congress. Mr. Bishen Narain Dhar who 
had been fitly selected as the Chairman of the Reception 
Committee suddenly died and Mr. Jagat Narain, another 
sound and silent worker in the cause of the Congress, at 
once stepped to fill the vacant chair and worthily 
did he fill it. Bat above all it was the ^ visible 
manifestation of the new spirit, which had taken a full 
decade slowly but steadily to develop itself amidst 
repeated defeats and disappointments that at last burst 
upon the country with a world-wide struggle between 
Imperialism and Democracy and raised the cry of con- 
stitutional freedom for India within the charmed circle 
of the great British Empire, as being the only rational 
solution of the Indian problem and the concrete basis of 


a permanenfe settlement of the indissoluble link between 
Great Britain and India. 

It ought to be fairly recognised that India disen- 
franchised, emasculated and discontented is a source of 
weakness to Great Britain. India is no doubt the most 
valuable asset of her imperial greatness ; but all her 
immense internal resources both in men as well as 
materials stand at present practically as a dead stock in 
her balance-sheet. A vast country like India with her 
teeming millions numbering five times the population of 
Germany should alone have furnished at the present 
juncture an effective reply to German militarism and 
closed all discussion about compulsory military service 
in Great Britain. These facts never received any serious 
consideration until the present crisis forced them upon 
the attention of responsible men in England. At a 
meeting of the Royal Colonial Institute presided over by 
the Ri^t Hon'ble Mr. Hobhouse, who was the President 
of the Royal Commission on Decentralization and not 
long ago a member of the Cabinet, Colonel Sir Francis 
Younghusband with his intimate knowledge of India 
and'the characteristic frankness of a soldier said, that 
** as regards the future of India it could safely be predict- 
ed that new conditions would arise, the old demand of 
Indiana for commissions in the army would ba 
pressed ; there would be demands for a more definite 
share in the Councils of the Empire, a larger part in 
the management of their own affairs, right to bear 
arms and to volunteer and a more equal social position." 
Then at a recent meeting held at Guildhall at the instance 
of the Lord Mayor, Mr. Asquith, the premier, and Mr, 


Bonar Law, the rest while leader of the Opposition and 
both now united in a coalition ministry, have given a 
joint pledge for the read] U8t;raQnt of India's position in 
the Oounoils of the Empire affcer the war is over. But, 
to quote the words of Mr. Bonar Law, why the thing 
should not be done *' while the metal was still glowing 
red-hot from the furnace of the war,*' and the promised 
rewards of India's comradeship and co-operation should 
be all relegated to the indefinite future and not one of them 
even shadowed forth in the present programme of the 
Imperial Government, seems to be inexplicable ; while 
here in India there seems to be not the slightest indica- 
tion of a disposition to treat the situation otherwise than 
as quite normal in its conditions and requirements. 
Sceptics are not, therefore, altogether wanting in this 
country who gravely shake their heads at the future 
prospects supposed to have been at last opened out by 
this terrible revolutionary war and warn the bulk of 
the people not to be over-sanguine in their expectations 
to avoid the rude shock of a bitter disappointment. 

The military career which after 30 years of vain 
but persistent efforts has recently been opened to the 
Indians is a great step in advance towards the forma- 
tion of a national militia and it would be a fatal blunder 
if the people notwithstanding all the defects, disabili- 
ties and discouragements of the system do not ungrudg- 
ingly seize this opportunity to establish their first claim 
to a legitimate and adequate "share in a responsible 
government for the country. 

Everything turns on the question of mutual trust 
and confidence. If England really believes in the fidelity 


of India and is more deeply inspired by a higher 
policy of prospective greatness than by any short- 
sighted consideration of immediate loss and gain, the 
dictates of self-interest alone will induce her care- 
fully to tend and nourish the goose that lays the golden 
egg. But if, on the other hand, her feeling towards 
India be such as to dispose her to hand her over even 
to her worst enemies rather than to the Indians them- 
selves, no amount of argument will satisfy her that 

she has not muddied the water and need not, therefore 


be condemned to the last penalty for her action. It is, 
however, only fair to presume that a nation that sacri- 
ficed millions upon millions for the liberation of enslav- 
ed humanity and which has always stood forth to defend 
freedom's cause wherever threatened by the vaulting 
ambition of military despotism, is not likely easily to 
go back upon its solemn pledges, falsify its best tradi- 
tions and stultify itself before the eyes of the world. 
Great Britain does not appear to have passed the 
meridian of her greatness and a nation in its ascend- 
ing node with all its lapses has always a motion up- 
wards. Besides, if the longivity of a nation, like that 
of an individual, is to be judged by its achievements 
and not simply by its earthly duration, the question 
easily yields to but one solution. Then if at some 
remote period in the fullness of time and in the dis- 
pensation of Providence the inevitable hour should come 
when Great Britain must fall, may she so fall fulfilling 
her ** divine mission" and covered with imperishable 
glory blazing forth through distant ages in the annals 
oi an emancipated people. Bande Mataram, 





{As adopted by the Congress of 1908, amended by the 

Congress of 1911, and further amended 

by the Congress of 1912.) 



The objects of the Indian National Congress are the attain- 
ment by the people of India of a systena of government similar to 
that enjoyed by the self-governing members of the British Empire 
and a participation by them in the rights and responsibilities of 
the Empire on equal terms with those members. These objects 
are to be achieved by constitutional means by bringing about a 
steady reform of the existing system of administration and by 
promoting national unity, fostering public spirit and developing 
and organising the intellectual, moral, economic and industrial 
resources of the country. 


Every delegate to the Indian National Congress shall express 
in writing his acceptance of the objects of the Congress as laid 
down in Article I. of this Constitution and his willingness to abide 
by this constitution and by the rules of the Congress hereto 


(a) The Indian National Congress shall ordinarily meet^ 
once every year during Christmas holidays at such town as may 
have been decided upon at the previous session of the Congress. 

(h) If no such decision has been arrived at, the All-India 
Congress Committee shall decide the matter. 


(c) An extraordinary session of the Congress may be sum- 
moned by the All-India Congress Committee, either of its own 
motion or on the requisition of a majority of the Provinoial Con- 
gress Committees, wherever and whenever it may deem it advisable 
to hold such session. 

(d) It shall be open to the All-India Congress Committee 
to change the venue of the Congress to some other town when 
such change is deemed by it to be necessary or desirable owing to 
serious or unforeseen difficulties or other contingencies of alike 



The Indian National Congress Organisation will consist of :— 

(a) The Indian National Congress. 

(b) Provincial Congress Committees. 

(c) District Congress Committees. 

id) Sub-divisional or Taluka Congress Committees affiliated 
to the District Congress Committees. 

(e) Political Associations or Public Bodies recognised by 
the Provincial Congress Committees. 

(/) The All-India Congress Committee. 
ig) The British Committee of the Congress ; and 
(h) Bodies formed or organised periodically by a Provin- 
oial Congress Committee, such as the Provincial or District Con- 
ierence or the Reception Committee of the Congress or Confe- 
rence for the year, 


No person shall be eligible to be a member of any of the Pro- 
vincial or District or other Congress Committees unless he has 
attained the age of 21 and expresses in writing his acceptance of 
the objects of the Congress as laid down in Article I. of this Con- 
stitution and his willingness to abide by this constitution and by 
the.rules of the Congress hereto appended. 



(a) To act for the Province in Congress matters and for 
organising Provincial or District Conferences in such manner as 
it may deem proper, there shall be a Provincial Congress Commit- 
tee with its headquarters at the chief town of the Province in each, 
of the following nine Provinces : — 


1. Madras. II. Bombay. III. United Bengal. IV. United 
Provinces. V. Punjab (including N. W. Frontier Provinces). 
yi. Central Provinces. VII. Behar and Orissa. VIII. Berar ; 
-and IX. Burma. 


Every Provincial Congress Committee will consist of : — 
(a) Such persons in the Province as may have attended as 
many sessions of the Congress as delegates as may be determined 
by each Provincial Congress Committee for its own Province. 

(o) Representatives elected in accordance with its terms of 
affiliation by every affiliated District Congress Committee. 

(c) As many representatives of recognised Political Associa- 
tions or Public Bodies* referred to in Clause (e) of Article IV. as 
each Provincial Congress Committee may think fit to determine. 

(d) All such ex-Presidents of the Congress or ex-Chairmen 
of Reception Committees of the Congress as ordinarily reside 
within the jurisdiction of the Provincial Congress Committee and 
may not have been enrolled as members of the said Committee in 
accordance with Clause (b) of Article VI. or by virtue of the 
provisions contained in any of the foregoing Clauses of this 

(e) The General Secretary or Secretaries of the Congress 
ordinarily residing within the jurisdiction of the Provincial Con- 
."gress Committee, such General Secretary of Secretaries being 

added as ex officio member or members of the said Committee. 


Every member of the Provincial Congress Committee shall 
^ay an annual subscription of not less than Rs. 5. 

District ok other Congress Committees or associations, 


The Provincial Congress Committee shall have affiliated to 
itself a District Congress (Committee or Association for each Dis- 
trict, wherever possible, or for such other areas in the Province as 
it deems proper, subject to such conditions or terms of affiliation 
as it may deem expedient or necessary. It will be the duty of the 
District Congress Committee or Association to act for the District 
in Congress matters with the co-operation of any Sub-divisional 
or Taluka Congress Committees which may be organised and 
affiliated to it, subject in all oases to the general control and 
^approval of the Provincial Congress Committee. 



Every member ol^the District} Congress Committee or Asso* 
ciation shall either bt^^ resident of the District or shall have a* 
substantial interest in the District and shall pay an annual sub- 
scription of not less than one Rupee. 


No District Congress Committee or Association or Public- 
Body referred to in Clauses (c) & ie) of Article IV. shall be entitle^ 
to return representatives to the Provincial Congress Committee- 
or Delegates to the Congress or to the Provincial Conference un- 
less it contributes to the Provincial Congress Committee such;^ 
annual subaoription as may be determined by the latter. 


Each Provincial Congress Committee shall frame its own- 
rules not inconsistent with the constitution and the rules of the 
Congress. No District or other Congress Committee or Associa- 
tion mentioned in Article IX shall frame any rules inconsistent 
with those framed by the Provincial Congress Committee to which, 
it is affiliated. 


The All-India Congress Committee shall, as far as possible, be- 
constituted as hereinbelow laid down : — 
15 Representatives of Madras. 
15 „ „ Bombay. 

20 „ „ United Bengal (including Assam). 

15 „ „ United Provinces, 

13 „ „ Punjab (including N, W. Frontier- 

7 „ „ Central Provinces. 

15 „ „ Behar and Orissa. 

5 „ „ Berar; and 

,2 l M „ Burma 

provided, a^ "far as possible, that l/5th of the total number of 
representatives shall be Mahomedans. 

All ex-Presidents of the Congress residing or present in 
India, and the General Secretaries of the Congress, who shall also 
be ex-officio General Secretaries of the All-India Congress Com- 
mittee, shall be ex-officio members in addition, 


The representatives of each Province shall be elected by its 
Provincial Congress Committee at a meeting held, as far aS 
possible, before the 30th of November for each year. If any 


Provincial Congress Committee fail fco elect its representatives, the 
-said representatives shall be elected by the delegates for that 
Province present at the ensuing Congress. In either case, the 
representatives of each Province shall be elected from among the 
■members of its Provincial Congress Committee, and the election 
shall be made, as far as possible, vyich due regard to the proviso 
in Article XIII, 


The names of the representatives so elected by the different 
Provinces shall be communicated to the General Secretaries. 
These together with the names of the ex ojfflcio members shall be 
announced at the Congress^ 


The President of the Congress at which the All-India Congress 
Committee comes into existence shall, if he ordinarily resides in 
India, be ex officio President of the Ail-India Congress Committee. 
In his absence the members of the All-India Congress Committee 
may elect their own President. 


(a) The All-India Congress Committee so constituted shall 
•hold office from the date of its appointment at the Congress till 
the appointment of the new Committee. 

(b) If any vacancy arises by death, resignation or otherwise 
the remaining members of the Province, in respect of which the 
vacancy has arisen, shall be competent to fill it up for the remain- 
ing period, 


(a) It will be the duty of the All-India Congress Committee 
ito taiie such steps as it may deem expedient and practicable to 
carry on the vfork and propaganda of the Congress and it shall 
have the power to deal with all such matters of great importance 
or urgency as may require to be disposed of in the name of and 
for the purposes of the Congress, in addition to matters specified 
in this constitution as falling within its powers or functions. 

(b) The decision of the AJl-India Congress Committee shall, 
in every case above referred to, be final and binding on the 
Congress and on the Reception Committee or the Provincial 
-Congress Committee, as the case may be, that may be afiected by 


On the requisition in writing of not less than 20 of its 
members, the General Secretaries shall convene a meeting of the 
All-India Congress Committee at the earliest possible time. 



The right of electing delegates to the Indian National? 
Congress shall vest in (1) the British Committee of the Congress ; 
(2) Provincial or District or other Congress Committees or 
Associations formed or affiliated as. hereinabove laid down ; (3) 
such Political Associations or Public Bodies of more than two 
years' standing as may be recognised in thac behalf by the 
Provincial Congress Committee of the Province to which the 
Political Association or Public Body belongs ; (4) Political Associa- 
tions of British Indians resident outside British India of more 
than two years' standing recognised by the All-India Congress 
Committee, and (6) Public Meetings convened by Provincial or 
District Congresp Committees or other recognised bodies. 


All delegates to the Indian National Congress shall pay a fee 
of Rs. 10 each and shall be not less than 21 years of age at the 
date of election. 



(a) The Provincial Congress Committee of the Province in- 
which the Congress is to be held shall take steps to form a Recep- 
tion Committee for the Congress. Everyone, who ordinarily 
resides in the Province, fulfils the conditions laid down in Article 
V. of this Constitution and pays such contribution as may be 
determined by the Provincial Congress Committee, shall be 
eligible to be a member of the Reception Committee. 

(b) No one who is only a member of the Reception Committee- 
but not a delegate, shall be allowed to vote or take part in the 
debate at the Congress. 

(c) The Reception Committee shall be bound to provide the" 
necessary funds for meeting all the expenses of the Congress as 
also the cost of preparing, printing, publishing, and distributing: 
the Report of the Congress. 


(a) The several Provincial Congress Committees shall by the 
end of June suggest to the Reception Committee the names of 
persons who are in their opinion eligible for the Presidentship of 
the Congress, and the Reception Committee shall in the first week 
of July submit to all the Provincial Congress Committees the 
names as suggested for their final recommendations, provided that 
such final recommendation will be of any one but not more of such. 


names, and the Reception Committee shall meet in the month of 
August to consider such recommendations. If the person recom- 
mended by a majority of the Provincial Congress Committees is 
accepted by a majority of the members of the Reception Committee 
present at a special meeting called for the purpose, thac person shall 
be the President of the next Congress. If, however, the Receptiou 
Committee is unable to accept the President recommended by the 
Provincial Congress Committees or in the case of emergency b^ 
resignation, death or otherwise of the President elected in manner 
the matter aforesaid shall forthwith be referred by it to the All- 
India Congress Committee, whose decision shall be arrived at, as 
far as possible, before the end of September, In either case, the 
election shall be final : 

Provided that in no case shall be person so elected President 
belong to the Province in which the Congress is to be held. 

(b) There shall be no formal election of the President by or 
in the Congress, but merely the adoption (in accordance with the 
provisions in that behalf laid down in Rule 3, Clause (6) of the 
"Rules " hereto appended) of a formal resolution requesting the 
President, already elected in the manner hereinabove laid down, 
to take the chair. 

SUBJECTS Committee. 

The Subjects Committee to be appointed at each session of 
the Congress to settle its programme of business to be transacted 
shall, as far as possible, consist of : — 

Not more than 15 Representatives of Madras. ' 

United Bengal. 
United Provinces. 
Punjab (including 

N. W. F. Province). 
Central Provinces. 
Behar and Orissa. 

British Committee of the- 
And additional 10 „ „ the Province in which 

the Congress is held. 
All the above-mentioned representatives being elected, in ac- 
cordance with Rule 9 of the "Rules" hereto appended, by the 
delegates attending the Congress from the respective Provinces. 

The President of the Congress for the year, the Chairman of 
the Reception Committee of the year, all ex-Presidents of the 


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M »J 


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" ii 


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Congress and ex-Chairmen of Reception Committees, the General 
Secretaries of the Congress, the local Secretaries of the Congress 
for the year, not exceeding six in number, and all the members of 
the All-India Congress Committee for the year, shall in addition 
be ex officio members of the Subjects Committee. 


The President of the Congress for the year shall be ex officio 
Chairman of the SuDJeccs Committee, and he may nominate 5 
delegates to the Subjects Committee to represent minorities or lo 
make up such deficiencies as he may think necessary. 

Contentious subjects 

^ AND 

Interests of Minorities. 

(a) No subject shall be passed for discussion by the Subjects 
Oommittee or allowed to be discussed at any Congress by the 
President thereof, to the introduction of which the Hindu or 
Mahomedan delegates, as a body, object by a majority of f ths of 
their number ; and if, after the discussion of any subject, which 
has been admitted for discussion, it shall appear that the Hindu 
or Mahomedan delegates as a body, are by a majority of fths of 
their number opposed to the resolution which it is proposed to 
pass thereon, such resolution shall be dropped ; provided that in 
both these cases the fths mentioned above shall not be less than a 
4th of the total numoer of delegates assembled at the Congress. 

(b) In any representations which the Congress may make or 
in any demands which it may put forward for the larger associa- 
tion of the people of India with the administration of the country, 
the interests of minorities shall be duly safeguarded. 

Voting at the Congress. 

Ordinarily, all questions shall be decided by a majority of 
votes as laid down in Rule 21 of the " Rules " hereto appended, 
but in cases falling under Article XXX. of this Constitution or 
whenever a division is duly asked for in accordance with Rule 22 
of the " Rules " hereto appended, the voting at the Congress shall 
be by Provinces only. In cases falling under Clause (1) of Article 
XXX, each Province shall have one vote to be given as determin- 
ed by a majority of its delegates present at the Congress. In 
all other cases of voting by Provinces, the vote of each Province, 
determined as aforesaid, shall be equivalent to the number of 
representatives assigned to the Province in constituting the All- 
India Congress Committee. 


THE British Committee of the Congress. 

The Receptioa Committee of the Province, in which the 
Congress is held, shall remit to the British Committee of the 
^Congress through the General Secretaries of the Congress half 
the amount of the fees received by it from delegates, subject to a 
'minimum of Rs. (3,000) three thousand. 

General Secretaries. 


{a) The Indian National Congress shall have two General 
Secretaries who shall be annually elected by the Congress. They 

.shall be responsible for the preparation, publication and distribu- 
tion of the Report of the Congress, and thev shall submit a full 
account of the funds which may come into their hands and a 
report of the work of the year to the All-India Congress Commit- 
tee at a meeting to be held at the place and about the time of the 
session of the Congress for the year ; and copies of such account 
and report shall be previously sent to all the Provincial Congress 


(6) The All-India Congress Committee shall make adequate 
provision for the expenses of the work devolving on the General 
Secretaries, either out of the surplus at the disposal of the Re- 

• ception Committee or by calling upon the Provincial Congress 

•Committees to make such contribution as it may deem fit to 
apportion among them. 

Changes in the Constitution of Rules. 

No addition, alteration or amendment shall be made (1) in 
Article I. of this Constitution except by a unanimous vote of all 
the Provinces, and (2) in the rest of this Constitution or in the 
" Rules " hereto appended except by a majority of not less than 
two-thirds of the votes of the Provinces, provided, in either case, 
that no motion for any such addition, alteration or amendment 
shall be brought before the Congress unless it has been previously 
accepted by the Subjects Committee of the Congress for the 




{As adopted by the Congress of 1908, 1911 and 1912,) 

1. The Indian National Congress shall ordinarily hold an> 
annual session at such place as may have been decided upon in 
accordance with Article III. of the " Constitution " and on such 
days during Christmas week as may be fixed by the Reception Com- 
mittee. An Extraordinary Session of the Congress shall be held at 
such town and on such days as the All-India Congress Committee 
may determine. 

2. Each Congress Session shall open with a meeting of the 
delegates at such time and place as may be notified by the R^ecep- 
tion Committee. The time and place of subsequent sittings of the 
Session shall be fixed and announced by the President of the 

3. The proceedings on the opening day and at the first sit- 
ting of each Congress Session shall, as far as possible, consist 
of :— 

(a) The Chairman of the Raception Committee's inaugural 
address of welcome to the delegates. 

(6) The adoption of a formal resolution, to be moved second- 
ed and supported by such delegates as the Chairman of 
the Reception Committee invites or permits, requesting 
the President elected by the Reception Committee or 
the All-India Congress Committee, as the case may be, 
to take the chair, no opposition by way of a motion for 
amendment, adjournment or otherwise being allowed 
to postpone or prevent the carrying out of the said 

(c) The President's taking the chair and his inaugural 


(d) Reading or distribution of the Report, if any, of the 

All-India Congress Committee and any statement that 
the General Secretaries may have to make. 


{e) Any formal motions of thanks, congratulations, condo- 
lence, etc., as the President of the Congress may choose 
to move from the chair, 

(/) The adjournment of the Congress for the appointment 
of the Subjects Committee and the announcement by 
the President of the time and place of the meetings of 
the delegates of the different Provinces for the election 
of the members of the Subjects Committee and also of 
the first meeting of the Subjects Committee. 

4. No other business or motions in any form shall be allowed 
at the opening sitting of the Congress Session. 

5. The Chairman of the Reception Committee shall preside 
over the assembly at the first sitting until the President takes the 
chair. The President of the Congress shall preside at all sittings 
of the Congress Session as well as at all meetings of the Subjects 
Committee. In case of his absence and during such absence, any 
ex-President of the Congress present, who may be nominated by 
the President, and in case no ex-President is available, the Chair- 
man of the Reception Committee shall preside at the Congress 
sitting ; provided that the Subjects Committee may in such cases 
choose its own Chairman. 

6. The President or the Chairman shall have, at all votings, 
one vote in his individual capacity and also a casting vote in case 
of equality of votes. 

7. The President or Chairman shall decide all points of 
order and procedure summarily and his decision shall be final and 

8. The President or Chairman shall have the power, in cases 
of grave disorder or for any other legitimate reason, to adjourn 
the Congress either to a definite time or sine die. 

9. The election of the members of the Subjects Committee 
shall take place at meetings of the delegate^ of the different 
provinces held at such place and time as may be announced by the 
President. Each such meeting, in case of contest shall have a 
Chairman who will first receive nominations, each nomination 
being made by at least two delegates, and then after announcing 
all the nominations he may ask each delegate to give in a list of 
the members he votes for, or he may put the nominated names to 
the vote in such order as he pleases, or if there are only two rival 
lists, he shall take votes on these lists and announce the result of 
the election and forthwith communicate the same to the General 
Secretaries of the Congress. 

10. The Subjects Committee shall deliberate upon and prepare 
the agenda paper for the business to be transacted at the next 


Congress sitting. The General Secretaries shall, as far as practi- 
cable, distribute among the delegates a printed copy of the agenda 
paper for each sitting before the sitting commences. 

11. At each sitting of the Congress, the order in which 
' business shall be transacted shall be as follows : — 

(a) The resolutions recommended for adoption by the 
Subjects Committee. 

{b) Any substantive motion not included in (a) but which 
does not fall under Article XXX, of the "Constitution" 
and which 25 delegates request the President in writ- 
ing before the commencement of the day's sitting to 
be allowed to place before the Congress, provided, 
however, that no such motion shall be allowed unless it 
has been previously discussed at 'a meeting of the 
Subjects Committee and has received the support of at 
least a third of the members then present. 

12. Nothing in the foregoing rule shall prevent the President 
from changing the order of the resolutions mentioned in Rule 11 

! (a) or from himself moving from the chair formal motions of 
thanks, congratulations, condolences or the like. 

13. The proposers, seconders and supporters of the Resolu- 
tions recommended for adoption oy the Subjects Committee shall 
be delegates and shall be selected by the said Committee. The 
President may allow other delegates to speak on the resolutions at 
his discretion and may allow any distinguished visitor to address 
the Congress. Nothing in the foregoing, however, shall prevent 
the President from moving from the chair such resolutions as he 
may be authorised to do by the Subjects Committee. 

14. An amendment may be moved to any motion provided 
that the same is relevant to the question at issue, chat it does not 
raise a question already decided or anticipate any question embrac- 
ed in a resolution on the agenda paper for the day and that it is 
couched in proper language and is not antagonistic to the funda- 
mental principles of the Congress. Every amendment must be 
in the form of a proposition complete in itself. 

15. When amendments are moved to a motion, they shall be 
put to the vote in the reverse order in which they have been 

* 16. A motion for an adjournment of the debate on a propo- 

sition may be made at any time and so also, with the consent of 
the President or Chairman, a motion for an adjournment of the 
House. The President or Chairman shall have the power to 
decline to put to vote any motion for adjournment if he considers 
it to be vexatious or obstructive or an abuse of the rules and 

f. regulations. 


17. All motions, substantive or by way of amendment, 
adjournment, etc., shall have to be seconded, failing which they 
shall fall. No motions, whether those coming under Rule 11 (6) 
or for amendment, adjournment, closure, etc., shall be allowed to 
be moved unless timely intimation thereof is sent to the President 
with the motion clearly stated in writing over the signatures of 
the proposer and seconder with the name of the Province from 
which they have been elected as delegates. 

18. No one who has taken part in the debate in Congress- 
on a resolution shall be allowed to move or second a motion for 
adjournment or amendment in the course of the debate on that 
resolution. If a motion for adjournment of the debate on any 
proposition is carried, the debate on the said proposition shall • 
then cease and may be resumed only after the business on the 
agenda paper for the day is finished. A motion for adjournment 
of the House shall state definitely the time when the House is to 
resume business. 

19. A motion for a closure of the debate on a proposition; 
may be moved at any time after the lapse of half an hour from the 
time the proposition was moved. And if such motion for closure 
is carried, all discussion upon the original proposition or amend- 
ments proposed to it shall at once stop and the President shall 
proceed to take votes. 

20. No motion for a closure of the debate shall be moved 
whilst a speaker is duly in possession of the House. 

21. All questions shall be decided by a majority of votes, 
subject, however, to the provisions of Articles XXVII. and XXX. 
of the "Constitution." Votes shall ordinarily be taken by a show 
of hands or by the delegates for or against standing up in their 
place in turn to have the numbers counted. 

22. In cases not falling under Article XXX. of the "Consti- 
tution" any twenty members of a Congress sitting may demand a 
division within 5 minutes of the declaration of the result of the 
voting by the President and such division shall be granted. 
Thereupon the delegates of each province shall meet at such time 
and place as the President may direct and the Chairman of each 
such m'ietin'g shall notify to the President the vote of the Province 
within the time specified by the President, 

23. Every member of a sitting of the Congress or of the 
Subjects Committee shall be bound {a) to occupy a seat in the 
block allotted to his Provinces, save as provided for in Rule 30 ; (6) 
to maintain silence when the President rises to speak or when 
another member is in possession of the House ; (c) to refrain from 
hisses or interruptions of any kind or indulgence in improper and- 
and un-Parliamentary language ; (d) to obey the chair ; (e) to withr 


draw when his own conduct is under debate after he has heard 
the charge and been heard thereon, and (/) generally to conduct 
himself with propriety and decorum* 

24. No member shall have the right at a Congress sitting to 
speak more than once on any motion except for a personal expla- 
nation or for raising a point of order. But the mover of a 
substantive motion (not one for amendment or adjournment) shall 
have the right of reply. A person who has taken part in a debate 
may speak upon an amendment or motion for adjournment 
moved after he had spoken. The President or Chairman shall have 
the right to fix a time-limit upon all speakers, as also to call to 
order or stop any speaker from further continuing his speech even 
before the time-limit expires, if he is guilty of tedious repetitions, 
improper expressions, irrelevant remarks, etc., and persists in 
them in spite of the warning from the President. 

25. If a person does not obey the President's or the Chair- 
man's orders or if he is guilty of disorderly conduct the President 
shall have the right, with a warning in the first instance, and 
without a warning in case of contumacious disregard of his 
authority, to ask such member to leave the precincts of the House 
and on such requisition the member so ordered shall be bound to 
withdraw and shall be suspended from his functions as a member 
during the day's sitting. 

26. If the President considers that the punishment he can 
inflict according to the foregoing section is not sufficient, he may, 
in addition to it, ask the House to award such punishment as the 
House deems proper. The Congress shall have the power in such 
cases of expelling the member from the entire Congress Session. 

27. The Reception Committee shall organise a body of such 
persons as it may deem fit for the purpose of keeping order during 
the meeting of the Congress or of its Subjects Committee or at 
divisions. There shall be a captain at the bead of this body and 
he shall carry out the orders of the President or the Chairman. 

28. Visitors may be allowed at the sitting of the Congress 
on such terms and conditions as the Reception Committee deter- 
mines. They may at any time be asked to withdraw by the 
President. They shall be liable to be summarily ejected from the 
House if they enter the area .marked out for the delegates, or if 
they disobey the Chair, or if they are guilty of disturbance or ob- 
struction, or if they are in anywise disorderly in their behaviour. 

29. The meetings of the Subjects Committee shall be open 
only to the members of that Committee and the meetings of the 
delegates of each Province at divisions shall be open to th-e 
delegates of that Province only, subject in either case to the pro- 
visions of Rule 27. 


30. The Ghairmaa of the Reception Committee and the 
President as well as the Secretaries may, at their discretion, ac- 
commodate on the Presidential platform : (1) Leading members of 
the Congress. (2) Distinguished visitors. (3) Members of the Re- 
ception Committee. (4) Ladies, '^vhether delegates or visitors, and 
(5) Members of the AU-India Congress Committee. 

31. The foregoing rules shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to 
the Provincial or District Conferences organised by the Provincial 
■Congress Committees as provided for in Article VL of the 




(Adopted at the Meeting of the Convention Committee held 
at Allahabad on the ISth and 19th April, 1908.) 

ARTICLES I-XXX. Same as in the Constifcufcion subse- 
quently adopted by the Congress and as set forth above. 

Transitory Provisions. 

(a) The Committee appointed by the Convention at Surat on 
28th December 1907 for drawing up a constitution for the Congress 
should exercise all the pov^rers of the All India Congress Committee 
till the formation of the latter at the next session of the Congress. 

(b) The Secretaries of the said Convention Committee shall 
discharge the duties of the General Secretaries of the Congress 
till the dissolution of the next session of the Congress. 

(c) 9'he President and Secretaries of the Convention Com- 
mittee should, in consultation with the Secretaries of the several 
Provincial Sub-Committees, arrange for the holding of a meeting 
of the Congress during Christmas next in accordance with this 

(d) For the year 1908, the Reception Committee, may in 
electing the President, consult the Provincial Congress Committees 
in the beginning of October, before the end of which month, the 
Provincial Congress Committees, on being so consulted, shall make 


their reoommendations and the rest of the procedure prescribed in- 
Article XXIII, should be followed and completed, as far as possible, 
before the end of November, 


President, Convention Committee. 
Hony. Secretaries, Convention Committee^ 

The rules for the conduct and regulations of the Congress aa 
framed by the Convention Committee were substantially the same 
as those subsequently adopted by the Congress and as set fortb 





[Framed by the Committee appointed by 
Resolution I. of 1887.) 


There shall be yearly, during the last fortnight of each Calen- 
dar year, a meeting of the delegates of the people of India which 
shall bear the name of The Indian National Congress. 


It shall from year to year assemble at such places and on 
such dates as shall have been resolved on by the last preceding 
Congress ; it being, however, left open to the Reception Committee 
(Rule XII.) (should any real necessity for this arise) to change, in 
consultation with the several Standing Congress Committees 
(Rule III.), the place fixed by the Congress for some other locality. 


There shall be, as resolved at the 2nd National Congress 
(XIII. of 1886), Standing Congress Committees at all important 
centres. These Committees are at present as in Appendix I., but 
the Congress may at any sitting add to or diminish the number of 
these Committees, or alter their jurisdiction. The delegates from 
any jurisdiction attending a Congress shall form the Standing 
Congress Committee for that jurisdiction for the ensuing year 
and they shall have power to add to their number and appoint 
their own executive. There is at present a General Secretary 
holding office at the pleasure of the several Congress Committees 
but henceforth a General Secretary shall be elected at each Con- • 
gress for the ensuing year. 


It shall be the primary duty of all Standing Congress Commit- 
tees to promote the political education of the people of their 
several jurisdictions throughout the year, and . to endeavour, by 
the circulation of brief and simple tracts and catechisms written 
in the vernacular of that people, by the holding of public meetings 


at important centres and by sending competent men round to 
lecture and explain these subjects, and by all other open and 
laudable means, to imbue the intelligent and respectable classes 
everywhere with a healthy sense of their duties and rights as good 
citizens. Care has to be especially taken to impress the people 
with a conviction, 1st, of the immense benefits that the country 
has derived from British rule, and of the sincere desire that 
pervades the British'nation to do the very best they can for the 
people of India ; 2ndly, with the same idea of the more important 
shortcomings of that rule, due partly to the unavoidable ignorance 
of the rulers of the real condition of the ruled, and partly to the 
failure of these latter to make known in a definite and intelligible 
iorm their wants and wishes, and 3rdly, with the knowledge that 
all defects in the existing form of the administration may surely, 
though perhaps slowly, be amended, if the people will only unite 
in loyal, temperate and persistent demands for the redress of 
■grievances through such perso.ns as they may choose as exponents 
of their views* 

To enable the several Committees to carry out his great work 
successively, they are empowered to create as many sub-committees, 
(to each of whom a definite sphere of action be assigned), within 
their jurisdictions, as may be necessary and possible, and they are 
further empowered to associate themselves with any existing 
Associations and work with them and through their various 
branches and sub-committees. 


Each year, each Standing Congress Committee shall report 
fully the work that it has done during the year, accompanying the 
same, as far as may be practicable, by English translations of all 
the tracts, leaflets and the like that it may have issued during the 
year ; such reports shall be in English, and shall be so despatched 
as to reach the Secretary of the Reception Committee (Rule XII.) 
on or before the 15th of December, and shall be laid before the 
Congress and duly considered thereat. 


It shall be the duty of all Standing Congress Committees, in 
consultation with their Sub-Committees, and as many of the lead- 
ing men resident therein as may be possible, to divide their several 
jurisdictions into such electoral circles as may to them seem to be 
most likely in the. existing state of the country to secure a fait 
representation of the intelligent portion of the community, with- 
out distinction of creed, caste, race or colour. Such circles ma7 


'be territorial, or where local circumstances require this, may each 
include one or more castes, or professions, or Associations of any- 
kind. Except in the cases of Associations, all delegates shall be 
elected at Public Meetings held for the purpose. In the of 
Associations, delegates shall be elected at General Meetings 
-specially convened on that behalf. 


Delegates may be of any creed, casfee or nationality, but must 
be residents in India and not less than 25 years of age, 


It shall be the duty of all Standing Congress Committees to 
-send out, three months before the date fixed for the Congress, 
special notices to each of their electoral divisions calling upon each 
to elect the number of delegates assigned under their scheme to 
such ^division, as also one or more provisional delegates who 
will, in case of the death or inability to attend to any of the elect- 
ed delegates, take the places of these without further election, and 
to forward to them — the Congress Committee — a full list of such 
delegates with all particulars in the form given in Appendix II. 
It will be the duty of the Standing Congress Committees not only 
to issue such notices, but see that they are acted upon, deputa- 
tions from their number proceeding, where necessary, to the 
centres of the divisions. Provided that in case any electoral 
division fails to elect the required" delegates, the Committee is 
empowered to cancel such division and create in its place another 
division more ready to do its duty. Each Standing Congress 
"Committee shall forward a complete list (in the form given in 
Appendix III.) of all delegates and provisional delegates elected for 
their entire jurisdiction to the Reception Committee, so that the 
same may reach the latter on or before the ISch of December, and 
it shall be the duty of the Reception Committee to remind the 
Standing Committee that they are due, and failing to receive 
these lists to telegraph for them persistently and to bring to tha 
notice of the Congress any serious neglect of this rule.^ 


It shall be the duty of each Standing Congress Committee, at 
least one month before the date fixed for the Congress, to ascertain 
the cheapest and best routes and modes of conveyance by which 
the several delegates of their jurisdictions can reach the Congress, 
the time that will be occupied in transit, and the cost of the journey 
by both 1st and 2nd class, single and return, and to notify 
the same to each of the delegates and provisional delegataa electecl 
within their jurisdiction. 



It shall be the duty of each Standing Congress Committee to- 
notify, so that such notification shall reach the Reception Com- 
mittee on or before the 1st of November, the subjects that the 
people of their several jurisdictions desire to see discussed. 
Provided that such subjects shall be of a national character, that 
is to say, of a nature affecting the whole country, and not provin- 
cial, and that in regard to each snhject the exact resolution which 
it is desired to pass be also transmitted, along with, whenever the 
latter is praoticaole, the names of the gentlemen who are prepared ^ 
to prcfpose or support such resolutions. 


The Standing Congress Committee of the jurisdiction in 
which the Congress is to be held shall, not less than six months 
before the date fixed for the Congress, associate with itself all the 
leading inhabitants of the place where the Congress is to be held, 
who may be willing to take part in the proceedings, and with' 
them constitute itself a Reception Committee. 


It shall be the duty of the Reception Committee (a) to notify 
to all the Standing Committees their appointment, and to invite - 
them to proceed to call for delegates and to send in before the 
appointed date the list of the subjects which the people of their 
jurisdiction desire should be discussed as required by Rule XI; (6) 
to collect and provide the funds necessary for the entertainment of 
the delegates and other purposes essential to the holding of the 
Congress ; to arrange for a suitable Meeting Hall ; for the suit- 
able lodgment of the delegates of other jurisdictions ; for the food 
of the delegates during their stay, due regard being had to the 
customs, local or religious, of each, and generally to arrange for 
everything necessary for their convenience and comfort, and (c) 
to maintain a constant correspondence with all the Standing 
Congrpss Committees, and generally, so far as may be, assure 
them^ielves that the necessary work is duly proceeding in all 


It shall be the duty of the Reception Committee to obtain^ 
from the several Standing Committees the list of subjects referred 
to in Statute XI. reminding them and giving them ample warning 
that lists not received by the 1st of November cannot be attended 
to, and on the 1st of November to proceed to consider such lists 


:and after eliminating all subjects (if there be any such) of a clear- 
ly provincial character, or unsupported by definite resolutions 
intended to be proposed in regard to them, to compile the rest 
into one list in the form given in Appendix IV, and print and des- 
patch the same by the 15th of November in sufficient numbers 
to the several Standing Committees to enable these to distribute 
copies to each delegate and provincial delegate, and the several 
^Standing Committees shall be responsible for their immediate 
^distribution accordingly. 


It shall be the duty of the Reception Committee, as soon as 
possible after its constitution, to select and communicate to the 
several Standing Congress Committees the names of those gentle- 
men whom it considers eligible for the office of President, and in 
correspondence with them to settle who shall be invited to fill 
that office, and thereafter when, and agreement thereon has been 
come to, to communicate with the gentlemen finally approved by 
all, or a considerable majority of the Standing Committees, and 
.-generally to do all that may be necessary to settle the question of 
•the Presidentship at least one month before the Congress meets. 


Of the subjects circulated under Rule XIV, for information, 
•only those shall be brought forward and discussed at the Congress 
which shall brf finally approved by a committee (to be called the 
Subjects Committee) consisting of the President-Elect and one or 
-more representatives of each jurisdiction (selected by all delegates 
who may be thvin present at the Congress station) which shall 
meet on the day previous to the inaugural sitting of the Con- 
gress. Provided also that this Committee shall be empowered to 
add any subjects to those included in this list that may for any 
reasons appear to them specially deserving of discussion, framing 
at the same time the resolutions that they desire to see proposed 
>in regard to them, and further, to modify as may appear to them 
•necessary, any of the resolutions propounded in regard to the 
subjects included in the list which they have accepted for discus- 
sion. Provided further, that the Committee shall at the same time 
settle, so far as may be possible, those gentlemen who are to be 
invited to propose, second and support the Resolutions, and shall 
put themselves into commu;aication with them, and that they shall 
at once frame a list of the approved subjects and resolutions in 
the form given in Appendix V. and shall print the same so that 
a, copy may, if possible, be placed in the hands of each delegate at 
sthe inaugural sitting of the Congress. 



Ife shall be the duty of the Chairman of the Reception Com- 
mittee CO preside at the oommencement of the inaugural sitting, 
of the Congress, and after delivering such address as he and the 
Reception Committee may consider necessary to call upon the 
assembled delegates to elect a President and after such election to 
instal the said President in the chair of of&oe. 

From and after the installation of the President, he shall direct 
and guide the entire proceedings of the assembly, he being empower- 
ed in all cases, except as hereinafter provided, in which differen- 
ces of opinion arise or doubts occur, either himself, to rule what 
course should be taken when his ruling shall be final, or to take a 
vote from the assembly, when the decision of the majority shall 
be final. 

Until the subjects and resolutions approved by the Subjects 
Committee have been discussed (and this in such order as the 
President may direct) and disposed of by the adoption, rejection 
or modification of such resolutions, no other business shall be 
brought before the Congress. But after this, if there be time for 
this, any delegate who shall have given notice in writing at the 
commencement of the sitting to the President, of his desire to 
have a particular subject discussed, and definite resolution, which 
he sets forth, proposed shall have a right Eknd a delegate who at any 
time previous to rising shall have given such notice may, with the 
permission of the President rise and ask the President to take 
the sense of the assembly as to whether such subject shall be dis- 
cussed. No speaking at this stage shall be allowed. The Presi- 
dent shall simply read out the subject and the proposed resolution 
and make any such remarks as he considers essential and take a 
vote of the assembly as to whether the subject shall or shall not ba 
discussed. If the vote is in the affirmative the proposer shall then 
set forth the subject and the resolution be therein proposes with 
such explanations as he considers necessary, and then, after due- 
discussion, the question shall be disposed of in the usual way. If: 
the vote is in the negative, the subject shall be at once dropped. 



Ifc is to be distinctly understood that the Reception Committee 
cannot provide accommodation or food for any one but delegates 
and at most for one servant each for any delegates who absolute- 
ly require such attendance. All delegates who can do without a 
special servant of their own should do so, the Reception Committee- 
will provide attendance for their guests. If any delegate desires 
to bring with him friends or family or more than one servant he 
must notify the same at least 20 days before the Congress meets 
to the Reception Committee, stating the number of persons he 
intends to bring, the number of rooms or the kind of house he 
requires and the amount he is willing to pay for the same, and 
the Committee will endeavour to have the required accommodation 
ready. Unless such timely notice be given, the Committee, though 
they will still try to assist their guest's friends, can take no res- 
ponsibility in regard to them. Under no circumstances can any one 
not a delegate, or the one servant of a delegate, be accommodated 
in any of the quarters provided by the Reception Committee for 
the delegates. 

RULE XVl.— (Revised). 

Of the subjects circulated under Rule XIV. for information, 
only those shall be brought forward and discussed at the Congress 
which shall be finally approved by a Committee (hereinafter desig- 
nated the Subject Committee) consisting of the President-Elect, 
the General Secretary and one or more of the representatives of 
each jurisdiction which shall meet as early as possible on the day 
previous to the inaugural sitting of the Congress and with neces- 
sary intervals for food and rest continue sitting until the work 
is completed. It shall be the duty of each Standing Congress 
Committee to select specially and arrange for the despatch of one 
or more of its delegates, so that he or they may arrive in good 
time for and represent their views at the Subject Committee 
which besides these specially selected delegates may include a 
limited number of gentlemen selected by the other delegates 
present at the time, should the President-Elect consider this 
necessary to ensure an adequate representation of all seotioiis of 
the community. It shall not be open to any delegate or body of 
delegates or any Standing Congress Committee, not present or 
represented at the opening of the Subject Committee to question 
later on, its proceedings or demand that the work of selecting 


subjects be done over again, but it will be open to any and all who 
may be dissatisfied with the programme of the Committee to 
propose amendments to any or all the resolutions they have ap- 
proved, or when all the subjects approved by them have been 
disposed of, to move for the discussion for other subjects, as provided 
in other rules. The Subject Committee is empowered to add any 
subjects to those included in the last circulated under Rule XIV. 
that may for any reasons appear to them specially deserving of 
discussion, framing at the same time the resolutions that they 
desire to see proposed in regard to them, and further, to modify as 
may appear to them necessary, any of the resolutions propounded 
in regard to the subjects included in the list, which they have 
accepted for discussion. The Committee shall at the same time 
settle, so far as may be possible, those gentlemen who are to be 
invited to propose, second and support the resolutions, and shall 
put themselves into communication with them, and they shall, 
before separating, frame a list of the approved subjects and 
resolutions in form given in Appendix V. and shall print the same 
so that a copy may, if possible, be placed in the hands of each 
delegate at the inaugural sitting of the Congress. 

It is desirable that the President should have, sitting with him 
-on the platform, and constituting a sort of Council, that he can 
consult in case of necessity, one or more of the leading delegates 
from each jurisdiction. There are places on the platform accord- 
ing to the standard plan, for 22 such Councillors, and these shall 
be apportioned as follows to the jurisdictions of the several 
Standing Congress Committees, viz , to that of Calcutta 4 of 
Bankipore 1, of Benares and Allahabad taken together 2, of 
Lucknow 2, of Lahore 2, of Karachi 1, of Surat 1, of Bombay 
3, of Poona 1, of Nagpore 1, of Madras 4. The delegates of 
each jurisdiction present on the morning of the inaugural sitting, 
must elect these their representatives and notify their names be- 
fore noon on the day of §uch sitting to the Secretary of the 
Reception Committee. The Chairman of the Reception Commit- 
tee and a special Secretary, to be selected by the President, will 
also occupy the platform on the immediate right and left of the 


On or before noon of the day of the inaugural sitting, the 
President-Elect, in consultation with the Chairman of the Recep- 
tion Committee, shall nominate 8 or more gentlemen not them- 
selves delegates, as wardens of the assembly and shall invest them 
with a conspicuous badge and a wand of office. It shall be the 
duty of these wardens throughout the Congress to see that the 


• delegates take the places assigned to them ; that the pathways are 
i.kept clear, the arrangements of the Reception Committee rigidly 

respected and generally order maintained in all particulars. It 
shall DC the duty o| all delegates to comply at once and unhesitat- 
ingly with any requests made to them by the wardens, 
No one, not a delegate, shall be allowed to address the Cong- 
ress or vote on any matter before it, No delegate shall be allowed 
to address the assembly except from the platform. The Subject 
Committee will usually have arranged for proposers, seconders, 
and supporters, and at times for other speakers on each resolution, 
and these will, when no amendment is proposed, have precedence 
of other persons who desire to speak, but after these have spoken, 
these others shall be called on to speak in the order in which they 
onay have submitted their names (very clearly written in full, in 
ink) to the President. Provided that when it seems clear that the 

• Congress is of one mind on any subject and does not desire further 
speaking, the President may, at the close of any speaker's address 
take the sense of the assembly as to whether further discussion is 
necessary and proceed accordingly. "When one or more amend- 

v.ments have been duly notified, then after the proposer and 
seconder of the original resolutions have spoken, the proposers 
and seconders of the amendments shall be called on in the order 
in which the amendments were filed, and after this the supporters 
of the original resolution and the amendments shall speak in turn, 
.and after these, again, ail other speakers in the order in which 
their names have been registered. 

No original proposer of a resolution shall, without the express 
.permission of the President previously obtained, speak for more 
than 15 minutes. No other speaker shall, without the express 
'permission of the same officer previously obtained, speak for more 
than 10 minutes and, as a rule, speakers are expected to confine 
themselves to five minutes. The President will touch a gong once 
to warn each speaker when the time allotted to him is drawing to 
. a close, and he will touch it a second time when that period has 

• elapsed and he considers that the speaker should cease speaking, 
and when the President does thus a second time touch his gong, 
the speaker shall thereupon, then and there close his address and 
leave the platform unless called upon by the assembly generally to 
proceed. Each speaker on ascending the platform for the purpose 
of speaking shall give one card on which his name is very clearly 
written in full in English, as also the name of the jurisdiction to 
which he belongs, to the Short-hand Reporter employed by the 

'Congress and similar card to the President's Secretary, and the 
latter shall read it out distinctly to the assembly before the speech 


When considerable difference of opinion is proved, by the- 
course of the discussion, to exist in the assembly in regard to any 
question before it, the President may, at any time, temporarily 
suspend business and inviting to the platform such other delegates 
as he considers necessary, with these and his Goncillors, as a 
Special Committee, proceed to endeavour to work out a solution 
of the difficulty which will commend itself to all parties, or to the 
great majority of these. Should this prove impracticable he will 
resume business and take the sense of the assembly as to whether 
further discussion shall be allowed or the several amendments (the- 
last, first, and so on) put in the usual way. But should, as will 
generally be the case, a compromise be arrived at by the Special 
Committee, unanimously or by majority of at least t\to-thirds he 
shall, on resuming the chair, first read out the resolution thus 
arrived at and then either himself explain its bearings on the 
matters in dispute, or call upon some one else to do so, and after 
such explanation put this at once to the assembly. If it be not 
carried, he will proceed as above directed, but if carried, the dis- 
cussion will be considered closed and assembly will proceed to 
the next subject and resolution on the programme. Such resolu- 
tions will appear in the summary, as " Proposed by a Special 
Committee and carried by amajority unanimously, or, by acclama- 
tion" — as the case may be. 

Without the special permission of the President, which shall 
only be granted, when this appears to him eseentially necessary, 
no amendment shall be proposed, of which due notice in writing 
signed by at least five delegates shall not have been given to the 
President at the time of his taking the chair or before business 
commences, on the day on which the resolution which it is 
proposed to amend is discussed. The notice shall set forth the 
resolution, to which it is proposed to move an amendment, the 
exact words of the amendment, and the whole resolution as it 
would stand were the amendment carried. In introducing each^ 
resolution for discussion the President shall mention fully each 
amendment thereon of which he has received notice, so that all 
delegates may clearly realise the points which are to be in debate, 
and all including the proposers, etc., of the original resolution 
frame their speeches accordingly, 

To allow for the presentation of notices of amendment and 
the like, including general protests by all the Hindu, or Maho- 
medan delegates as a body against the proposing of any particular 
resolution, the President shall always take his seat one half hour 
before business commences. 



The President may at any time during a debate himself explain 
or call upon the proposer, or any other delegate, to explain more 
fully the whole or any portion of an original resolution, which 
appears t© him to be being misunderstood by the speakers or the 

Rule XIX— D. 

It may sometimes occur that in the hurry and heat of debates 
where but little time can be conceded to each subject, (especially 
where amendments on amendments are admitted by the President) • 
that the resolution actually passed by Congress, though perfectly 
clear and intelligible, are yet needlessly involved, tautological, or 
otherwise verbally defective. It shall, therefore, be the duty of 
the President, in consultation with the General Secretary, if pos- 
sible, day by day, otherwise at any rate immediately at the close 
of the session, to review most carefully each of the resolution and 
while preserving intact their meaning, to correct so far as may 
appear to him really necessary, all literary and verbal oversights, 
retaining in all cases so much of the exact original wording as ^ 
may be possible, consistent with the proper discharge of the duty 
above imposed upon him. 




(1) The Standing Congress Committee must, under the 
Tentative Rules, consist in the first instance of all those delegates 
who attended the last Congress, and these should associate with 
themselves all those gentlemen who attended as delegates at any 
previous Congress and all other leading members of the circle 
who sympathize in the movement. Of course the large body thus 
formed cannot be expected to work at details. The majority of the 
members have not the time to attend to a huge series of these. If 
any matter of great importance arises, they must of course assist 
with advice, and if required money also, but the regular routine 

* These suggestions are the result of the practical experience 
gained in working out the electoral system in Madras and must of 
course be only taken quantum valeant and open to such 
modifications as each Standing Committee finds necessary or • 


work, of which there will necessarily be a good deal, musfe be dona 
by a small number of real workers whom the committee must 
■ appoint: men whose circumstances permit to give a fair share of 
time and attention to the work, and who are so really and earnestly 
interested in this that they will not grudge either, 

(2) The first point, then for every Standing Congress Com- 
mittee, as soon as it is constituted, is to appoint a secretary or 
secretaries and a small^ strong, Executive Committee — all of them 
men of the class just referred to — with instructions to hold a meet- 
ing without fail, one every week, on a fixed day, at a fixed hour, 
at a fixed place, two to form a quorum. All work pertaining to 
the Standing Congress Committee to be disposed of by these 
weekly meetings, by such members of the Executive Committee as 
are at present. No one should afterwards be competent to question 

■■ such decisions on the score, that only 2 or 3 were present ; if 
more were not present, that is their own fault, and all must cheer- 
fully accept, and be bound by the decision of those who did take 
trouble to be present. 

(3) The most important work of the Executive Committee is 
to create (if this has not already been done) and consolidate the 

• electoral division. The electoral divisions must be so arranged as 
to cover every portion of the circle* and include every section of 
the community. One main object in elaborating them is to insure 
that delegates shall fairly represent every creed, class, race, and 

■- section of the community inhabiting the circle. This can only be 
achieved iu moat circles by constituting electoral divisions of two 

• classes, viz., first, territorial, each to include, (a) a portion of a 
city, or (6) a whole city or town (c) with a portion of district 
adjacent to it, or (d) a town with the entire district to which it 
pertains, or (e) in very backward portions of the country, a town 
together with 2 or more neighbouring districts, and, second, 

• sectional, each to include a special commanity or an association, 
or groups of either of tl^ese. A glance at the Appendix will show 
how this has been managed at Madras, it being noted that the 
divisions printed in Italics, though duly constituted, have not yet 
agreed to act, but letters have been addressed to them which with 
such replies as they may elicit, will later be published. 

Of course the divisions must, as a rule, be worked out in con- 
sultation with leaders in each, and these must be constituted Sub- 
Committees. The very essence of the scheme is that there should 
be a loorking local Sub-Committee in and directly rssponsible for 
each division, whether Territorial or Sectional, and as the divi- 

• sions are created so must there Sub-Committees be created. 

* The circle is that tract of country over which tht itanding 
' Congress Committee has jurisdiction. 


In consfeicufciug divisions, regard must be had to the men 
available for Sub-Committees. The smaller and more manageable 
the divisions, the better no doubt — but then it is no use constitut- 
ing a division unless you have in it men who will form a Sub- 
Committee and work the division. Very often, therefore, divi- 
sions will have to consist of entire districts at the headquarters 
of which aloDe can men of the requisite education and public - 
spirit be found. 

The divisions settled, the numbers of delegates that each 
should return as a minimum (which each is absolutely pledged to 
send, no matter how far off the Congress be held), should be 
fixed by dividing the total number for the circle (at 3 per million 
for the total population thereof) over the several divisions with 
due advertence to their relative importance and the advance that 
they have made in political and general education and then add- 
ing thereto as will be necessary in all metropolitan circles at 
any rate, such additional delegates as may be essential to secure a 
really comprehensive representation of all the interests embraced 
in the circle. 

It may be that some of the divisions such, for instance, as the- 
European Chambers of Commerce, the Jewish Community in 
Bombay, the Armenian Community in Calcutta, the European 
Planters in Assam, Sylhet and Cachar — the Universities (which- 
are to a great extent official, the fellows being nominated by 
Government, and not elected by the graduates as they should he), 
9tc., may decline to co-operate and act, but they must be none the 
less invited and pressed to do this and constitute divisions. Only, 
in the schedule, those declining to act must be printed in Italics. 

The schedule thus prepared should have the formal assent 
of the entire Standing Congress Committee, or if every member 
cannot, as .often happens, be got hold of, of a large majority 
thereof — a copy of it should then be sent to the General Secre- 
tary. This schedule will represent what the circle is pledged to ; 
it will be open to the circle, until at any rate the entire Congress 
rule otherwise hereafter, to send as many more delegates on any 
occasion it finds necessary or desirable. 

The schedule thus worked out, the Executive Committee next 
have to bring home to each Sub-Committee* its responsibility for 

* Each Sub-Committee can add to its numbers such leadings 
residents of its division as are willing to co-operate heartily in 
the work, and each must appoint a Secretary for correspondence- 
with the Executive Committee. 


its division making it clear to them that there are two main 
branches of their responsibility — {a) in regard to delegates, {b) in 
•regard to the education of the people. 

As to (a), they are answerable for causing the selection, not in 
a hurry at the last moment, but, during the year, after the consult- 
ation with all the most influential and intelligent of the inhabit- 
ants of their division of really suitable delegates to attend the 
Congress. They must in this selection weigh all matters ; they 
must look to position, influence, intelligence, education and 
unblemished character. They must try and have all combined ; 
but if this be not possible, they must remember that the last is the 
most important, the last but one the next most important, and so 
on, They must, of course, arrange either that the delegates select- 
ed are well able to bear the expense of the journey, etc., or that 
the necessary funds for the purpose are duly collected in the 

So far as may be possible all persons selected as delegates 
•should understand English sufficiently well to be able to take an 
intelligent part in the proceedings of the Congress, without the 
need of ^ny one to explain or interpret to them. 

Beside the 1, 2, or 3 delegates that they are required to send 
up from their division by the electoral scheme, the Sub-Committees 
should also always select one or more extra or provisional delegates, 
who, in case of death, sickness, or other restraining cause, pre- 
venting the attendance of any delegate, may be prepared at once, 
without further action, to take the defaulter's place. 

Of course, in all places where there are a good number of 
Mahomedans, they should endeavour to have at least one delegate 
a Mahomedan. 

As to (5) they should charge themselves with the political 
education of all the respectable inhabitants of their division. They 
need not, at present, trouble themselves with the quite ignorant low 
caste people, labourers, and the like, who have virtually no stake in 
the country, and no sufficiently developed intelligence to be as yet 
associated in the work ; but all respectable ryots, petty shopkeepers, 
-artizans, as well as the higher classes, should be made to under- 
stand something of their rights and duties as good citizens — some- 
thing of the leading political question of the day — something of 
the support that in their own interest they are bound to accord 
to those who are endeavouring to secure for their fellow-country- 
men and themselves, rights, privileges and power, that will enable 
them to do away with many of the chief grievances of which the 
■country now justly complains. 


Now they can do this partly by the wide circulation of ele- 
mentary tracts, and partly by^oing round their divisions and 
lecturing from place to place on^these matters. 

As to tracts, the Congress Catechism, in simple language, in 
all the vernaculars of the circle, will be provided for them by the 
Executive Committee, but they will have to realise and pay to this 
Committee the 10 or 20 Rs. that the 1,000 to 2,000 copies that 
they will need for their divisions will cost. As to lecturing they 
must enlist in the work every competent man within their 
divisions, and arrange amongst themselves, so that at least every 
town and village that contains 500 inhabitants and upwards is 
visited and lectured in by some one not less than once a year. 

These are the principal duties of the Sub-Committees but 
besides* this they must keep themselves in communication with 
the Executive Committee, and carefully carry out all subsidiary 
instructions that they receive from them. 

(4) The Executive Committee should arrange for holding a 
Conference at some suitable central locality of all the Sub- 
Committees and take care that these are all made to understand 
and realise thoroughly their duties and their responsibility to their 
country and countrymen for the due performance of these. 

(5) The Executive Committee must at once arrange for the 
translation of the catechism into all the vernaculars of its circle 
taking care that the language is simple, and adapted to the com- 
prehension of the ordinary ryot, and adding in the last two re- 
plies, all such local matter as they consider necessary for the 
guidance of their people. They must get these clearly printed, 
and as cheaply as possible (the cost ought not to exceed Rs. 10 
per 1,000. and they must then insist on the Sub-Committees 
speedily providing the funds for the number of copies requisite 
for their several divisions, which will range from one to two 
thousands, probably according to number and degree of advance- 
ment of their people. 

(6) Each member of each Standing Committee must 
contribute a small sum of Rs. 5 or 10 each, as may be settled 
locally, to the Executive Committee to put them in funds for 
printing these catechism and other papers, and where copies are 
obtained from other Executive Committees, paying for these. But 
as explained, the major portion of this will be recovered from the 
Sub-Committees, so that it will not often be necessary to apply to 
the Standing Congress and it is believed that no member of this 
will grudge this small donation once in a way. 

(7) The Executive Committee nhould *draw up a regular 
scheme so as to ensure every single electoral division being visited, 


at least once in every twelve months, by a competent member oV 
its own body or of the General Standing Committee, who should 
deliver one cr more lectures at its headquarters, and satisfy 
himself that the Sub-Committees are really doing their duty or if 
not, put them in the right way. If there be any difficulty in 
getting members, each to attend to, say one division once in the 
year, it will be a matter for deep regret. Every true-born son of 
India ought to be proud of the opportunity of thus promoting the 
enlightenment of his fellow-countrymen, and strengthening his 
country's cause, even at some minute sacrifice of time, comfort 
and convenience, such as the required work entails, 

(8) Farther the Executive Committee, in consultation from 
time to time with the members of the Standing Committee, must 
thoroughly mature a scheme for raising, when the time comes to 
make a call for this, a Permanent Congress Fund, at a rate of not 
less than Rs. 3,000 or more than Rs. 5,000 per million of popula- 

(9) It will be observed, that, realising the fact that the 
Standing Congress Committees will, in many places, mainly 
consist of leading public men already fully occupied, these sug- 
gestions contemplate relieving them of all detail work, and of all 
compulsory attendance (though each and all when able to do so^. 
can attend and take part in the regular fixed weekly meetings of 
the Executive Committee) at ordinary meetings. But it is expected 
of them that they shall, once in a way, when they can aJSord the 
leisure, satisfy themselves. that the Executive Committee are 
really carrying out the work efficiently that — they shall individu- 
ally be at all times ready to afiord to the Secretary, or the member 
of the Executive Committee, advice on any special point, or the 
support of their influence in any special matter — and that they 
shall at the outset make a small donation to place the Executive 
Committee in funds for their printing works. 

In the case of any really important matters having to be 
decided, a general meeting of the Standing Congress Committee 
will be called by the Executive Committee after personal enquiries 
from as many of the members as possible, so as to ensure the 
fixing of the most generally convenient date and hour. One such 
meeting will certainly be required some time before the next 
Congress takes place and possibly, one or two others, but the 
Standing Committee will be troubled as little as possible, only in 
fact when it is really necessary and when consequently none of 
them will grudge either the time or the trouble. 

If at any time any 3 of the members of the Standing Com- 
mittee consider, for any reason, that a general meeting ihould be 


called, they will notify the same to the Executive Committee, 
explaining their reason for the same in writing and the Com- 
mittee will arrange accordingly. 

On the 1st of May, and each succeedicg month, the Execu- 
tive Committee will report progress, succinctly circulaticg the 
report, which should be informal, confidential and as brief as pos- 
sible, to each member of the Standirg Congress Committee, who 
shall be answerable for reading and promptly sending it on. 

It is very desirable that a copy of this Report should be^ 
simultaneously sent to the General Secretary for record and foe 
the information, where necessary, of other oiroles. 



After the adjournmenfc of the 23cd Indian National Congress 
:sine die under the most painful circumsfcanoes on the afternoon of 
the 27th Deoember, a large number of the leading delegates met 
the same evening at about 4 p.m. in Sir P. M, Mehta's quarters 
to consider what steps should be taken to continue the work of 
the Congress. 

At this meeting it was unanimously resolved that a National 
Convention be held at Surat on the next day {28th Deo.,) and the 
following notice calling the Convention was issued : 

The 23rd Indian National Congress having been suspended 
sine die under painful circumstances the undersigned have resolved 
-with a view to the orderly conduct of future political work in the 
country to call a Convention of those delegates to the Congress 
who are agreed : — 

(1) That the attainment by India of Self-Governmant similar 
to that enjoyed by the self-governing members of the British 
Empire and participation by her in the rights and responsibilities 
of the Empire on equal terms with those Members is the goal of our 
political aspirations. 

(2) That the advance towards this goal is to be by strictly 
constitutional means by bringing about a steady reform of ex- 
isting system of administration and by promoting National Unity ^ 
fostering public spirit, and improving the condition of the mass 
of the people. 

(3) And that all meetings held for the promotion of the aims 
and objects above indicated have to be conducted in an orderly 
manner with due submission to the authority of those that are 
entrusted with the power to control their procedure, and they are 
requested to attend at I P.M. on Saturday the 28th December 1907 
in the Paaadal lent for the purpose by the Working Committee of 
the Reception Committee of the 23cd Indian National Congress. 

(Signed) Rashbehari Ghose. Pherozashah M, Mehta. 
Surendranath Banerjee. G. K. Gokhale, D. E. Wacha. 
Narendranath Sen. Ambalal Sakerlal Dasai, V. Krishnaswami 
Iyer. Tribhovandas N. Malvi. Madan Mohan Malaviya. Daji 


Abaji Khare. N. M.'Samarth. Gokuldas K. Parakh. Chimanlal 
9B. Setalwad. Hari Sibaram Dikshit. Ambioa Charan Muzumdar, 
A. Chowdhury. Ganga Persad Varma. Mulohand Fessumul, 
Abbas Tayabji. Tulsidas Shewandas. A. Nundy. 8, Sinha. 
Bhalohandra Krishna. Gokaran Nath Misra. Sangamlal. 
Govind Sahay Sharma. Teji Bahadur Sapru. V. Ryru Nambiar. 
Deora Vinayak. Hussain Tyabji. M. V. Joshi. R. N. Mudholkar. 
J. F. D'Mello. J. B. Petit. Ishwar Sha Ran, Parmeshvar Lall. 
N. Subba Ran. Krishna Kumar Mitra. J. Chowdhry. A. H. 
'Ghazanavi. L. R. Gokhale. 0. V. Vaidya. Ram Garudh. R. 
P. Karandikar and others. 


A Press Note containing an official narrative of the prooeed- 
"^^ings of the 23rd Indian National Congress at Surat has been 
published* over the signatures of some of the Congress officials. As 
this Note contains a number of one sided and misleading state- 
ments, it is thought desirable to publish the following account of 
the proceedings : — 


Last year when the Congress was held at Calcutta under the 
•presidency of Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji, the Congress, consisting of 
Moderates and Nationalists, unanimously resolved to have for its 
goal Swaraj or Self-Government on the lines of the Self-Governing 
Colonies, and passed certain resolutions on Swadeshi, Boycott and 
National Education. The Bombay Moderates, headed by Sir P. M. 
Mehta, did not at the time raise any dissentient voice, but they 
seem to have felt that their position was somewhat compromised 
by these resolutions, and they had since then been looking for- 
ward to an opportunity when they might return to their old 
position regardmg ideals and methods of political progress in India. 
In the Bombay Provincial Conference held at Surat in April last, 
Sir P. M. Mehta succeeded by his personal influence in exlcuding 
the propositions of Boycott and National Education from the 
programme of the Conference. And when it was decided to change 
the venue of the Congress from Nagpur to Surat, it afiorded 
the Bombay Moderate leaders the desiied-for opportunity to 
carry out their intentions in this respect. The Reception Com- 
mittee at Surat was presumably composed largely of Sir Pheroz- 
shah's followers, and it was cleverly arranged by the Hon. 
Mr, Gokhale to get the Committee nominate Dr. R. B. Ghosh 
to the office of the President, brushing aside the proposal 

* For this Official Note, see page 109. 


for the nomination of Lala Lajpat Eai, then happily re- 
leased, on the ground that " we cannot afEord to flout Govern- 
ment at this stage, the authorities would throttle our movement 
in no time." This was naturally regarded as an insult to the 
public feeling in the country, and Dr. Ghosh must have received^ 
at least a hundred telegrams from difierent parts of India request- 
ing him to generously retire in Lala Lajpat Rai's favour. But 
Dr. Ghosh unfortunately decided to ignore this strong expression- 
of public opinion. Lala Lajpat Rai, on the other land, publicly 
declined the hotiour. But this did not satisfy the people who 
wished to disown the principle of selecting a Congress President 
on the above ground, believing as they did that the most efiective 
protest against the repressive policy of Government would be to- 
elect Lala Lajpat Rai to the chair. 

The Hon. Mr. Gokhale was entrusted by the Reception Com- 
mittee, at its meeting held on 24th November 1907 for nominating' 
the President, with the work of drafting the resolutions to be- 
placed before the Congress. But neither Mr. Gokhale nor the 
Reception Committee supplied a copy of draft resolutions to any 
delegate till 2-30 P.M., on Thursday the 26th December, that is to 
say, till the actual commencement of the Congress Session. The 
public was taken into confidence only thus far that a list of the* 
headings of the subjects likely to be taken up for discussion by the 
Surat Congress was officially published a week or ten days before 
the date of the Congress Session. This list did not include the- 
subject of Self-Government, Boycott and National Education, on 
all of which distinct and separate resolutions were passed at 
Calcutta last year. This omission naturally strengthened the- 
suspicion that the Bombay Moderates really intended to go back 
from the position taken up by the Calcutta Congress in these 
matters. The press strongly commented upon this omission, and 
Mr. Tilak, who reached Surat on the morning of the 23rd Decem- 
ber, denounced such retrogression as suicidal in the interests- of 
the country, more especially at the present juncture, at a large 
mass meeting held that evening, and appealed to the Surat public 
to help the Nationalists in their endeavours to maintain at least 
the status quo in these matters. The next day a Conference of 
about five hundred Natianalist Delegates was held at Surat under 
the chairmanship of Srijut Arabindo Ghose where it was decided 
that the Nationalist should prevent the attempted retrogression 
of the Congress by all constitutional means, even by opposing the 
election of the president if necessary ; and a letter was 
written to the Congress Secretaries requesting them to make 
arrangements for dividing the house, if need be, on every contest- 
ed proposition including that of the election of the President, 


In the meanwhile a press note signed by Mr, Gandhi, as Hon. 
'Secretary, was issued to the effect that the statement., that certain 
resolutions adopted last yeat at Calcutta were omitted from the 
•Congress programme prepared by the Surat Reception Commit- 
tee, was wholly unfounded ; but the draft resolutions themselves 
were still withheld from the public, though some of the members 
of the Reception Committee had already asked for them some 
days before. On the morning of 2oth December, Mr. Tilak 
happened to get a copy of the draft of the proposed constitution 
of the Congress prepared by the Hon. Mr. G-okhale. In this draft 
the object of the Congress was thus stated ; "The Indian National 
Congress has for its ultimate goal the attainment by India of Self- 
Oovernment similar to that enjoyed by the other members of the 
British Empire " and etc. Mr. Tilak addressed a meeting of the 
delegates the same morning at the Congress Camp at about 9 A.M. 
explaining the grounds on which he believed that the Bombay 
Moderate leaders were bent upon receding from the position 
taken up by the Calcutta Congress on Swaraj, Boycott and 
National Education. The proposed constitution, Mr. Tilak 
pointed out, was a direct attempt to tamper with the ideal of Self- 
"G-overnment on the lines of the Self-Governing Colonies, as settled 
at Calcutta and to exclude the Nationalists from the Congress by 
making the acceptance of this new creed an indispensable condi- 
tion of Congress membership. Mr. Tilak further stated in plain 
terms that if they were assured that no sliding back of the Con- 
gress would be attempted the opposition to the election of the 
'President would be withdrawn. The delegates at the meeting were 
also asked to sign a letter of request to Dr. Ghosh, the President- 
Elect requesting him to have the old propositions on Swaraj, 
Swadeshi, Boycott and National Education taken up for reaffirma- 
tion this year ; and some of the delegates signed it on the spot. Mr, 
G, Subramania Iyer of Madras, Mr. Kharandikar of Satara and 
several others were present at this meeting and excepting a few 
all the rest admitted the reasonableness of Mr. Tilak's proposal. 

Lala Lajpat Rai, who arrived at Surat on the morning of that 
day, saw Messrs. Tilak and Khaparde in the afternoon and 
intimated to them his intention to arrange for a Committee of a 
few leading delegates from each side to settle the question in 
dispute. Messrs, Tilak and Khaparde having agreed, he went to 
Mr. Gokhale to arrange for the Committee if possible ; and 
Messrs. Tilak and Khaparde returned to the Nationalist Confer- 
ence which was held that evening (25th December). At this 
-Conference a Nationalist Committee consisting of one Nationalist 
-delegate from each Province was appointed to carry on the 
negotiations with the leaders on the other side ; and it was decided 


that if the Nationalist Committee failed to obtain any assuranoe^^ 
from responsible Congress officials about the status quo bein^' 
maintained, the Nationalists should begin their opposition from- 
the election of the President, For the retrogression of th& 
Congress was a serious step, not to be decided upon only by a 
bare accidental majority of any party, either in the Subj.ects 
Committee or in the whole Congress (as at present constituted), 
simply because its session happens to be held in a particular place 
or province in a particular year ; and the usual unanimous accept- 
ance of the President would have, under such exceptional cir- 
cumstances, greatly weakened the point and force of the opposi- 
tion. No kind ©f intimation was received from Lala Lajpat Rai 
this night or even the next morning regarding the proposal of a 
Joint Committee of reconciliation proposed by him, nor was a 
copy of the draft resolutions supplied to Mr, Tilak, Mr. Khaparde, 
or any other delegates to judge if no sliding back from the old 
position was really intended. 

On the morning of the 26th December, Messrs. Tilak, Khap- 
arde, Arabindo Ghose and others went to Babu Surendranath 
Banerjee at his residence. They were accompanied by Babu 
Motilal Ghosh of the Amrita Bazar Patrika who had arrived the 
previous night. Mr, Tilak then informed Babu Surendranath that 
the Nationalist opposition to the election of the President would 
be withdrawn, if (l) the Nationalist party were assured that the 
status quo would not be disturbed ; and (2) if some graceful fallu- 
sion was made by any one of the speakers on the resolution about 
the election of the President to the desire of the public to have 
Lala Lajpat Rai in the chair. Mr. Banerjee agreed to the latter 
proposal as he said he was himself to second the resolution ; while 
as regards the first, though he gave an assurance for himself and 
Bengal, he asked Mr. Tilak to see Mr. Gokhale or Mr. Malvi. A 
volunteer was accordingly sent in a carriage to invite Mr. Malvi, 
the Chairman of the Reception Committee, to Mr. Bannerji's resi- 
dence, but the volunteer brought a reply that Mr, Malvi had no 
time to come as he was engaged in religious practices. Mr. Tilak 
then returned to his camp to take his meals as it was already 
about 11 A.M. ; but on returning to the Congress pandal an hour 
later, he made persistent attempts to get access to Mr. Malvi but 
could not find him anywhere. A little before 2-30 P.M., a word 
was brought to Mr. Tilak that Mr. Malvi was in the President's 
camp, and Mr. Tilak sent a message to him from an adjoin- 
ing tent asking for a short interview to which Mr. Malvi replied 
that he could not see Mr. Tilak as the presidential procession was 
being formed. ,. The Nationalist Delegates were waiting in the 
pandal to hear the result of the endeavours of their Committee to 
obtain an assurance about the maintenance of the status quo from^ 


some responsible Congress ofiScial, and Mr. V. 8. Khare of Nasik 
now informed them of the failure of Mr. Tilak's attempt in the 


It has become necessary to state these facts in order that the 
position of the two parties, when the Congress commenced its pro- 
ceedings on Thursday the 26th December at 2-30 P.M., may be 
clearly understood. The President-Eleot and other persons had 
now taken their seats on the plateform ; and as no assurance from 
any responsible official of the Congress about the maintenance of 
the status quo was till then obtained, Mr. Tilaksent a slip to Babu 
Burendranath intimating that he should not make the proposed 
allusion to the controversy about the presidential election in his 
" speech. He also wrote to Mr. Malvi to supply him with a copy of 
the draft resolutions if ready, and at abut 3 P.M. while Mr, Malvi 
was reading his speech, Mr. Tilak got a copy of the draft resolu- 
tions which he subsequently found were published the very evening 
in the Ad^^ocate of India in Bombay clearly showing that the 
reporter of the paper must have been supplied with a copy at least 
a day earlier. The withholding of a copy from Mr. Tilak till 3 P. M. 
that day cannot, therefore, be regarded as accidental. 

There were about thirteen hundred and odd delegates at this 
time in the pandal of whom over 600 were nationalists, and the 
Moderate majority was thus a bare majority. After the Chair- 
man's address was over, Dewan Bahadur Ambalal Sakarlal propos- 
ed Dr. R. B. Ghosh to the chair in a speech which though evoking 
occasional cries of dissent, was heard to the end. The declaration 
by the Dewan Bahadur as well as by Mr. Malvi that the proposition 
and seconding of the resolution to elect the President was only a 
formal business, led many delegates to believe that it was not 
improbable that the usual procedure of taking votes on the pro- 
position might be dispensed with ; and when Babu Surendranath 
Banerji, whose rising on the platform seems to have reminded 
some of the delegates of the Midnapur incident, commenced his 
speech, there was persistent shouting and he was asked to sit down. 
He made another attempt to speak but was not heard, and the ses- 
sion had, therefore, to be suspended for the day. The official press- 
note suggests that this hostile demonstration was pre-arranged. 
But the suggestion is unfounded. For though the nationalists did 
intend to oppose the election, they had at their Conference held 
the previous day expressly decided to do so only by solidly and 
silently voting against it in a constitutional manner. 

In the evening the Nationalists again held their Conference 
and authorised their Committee, appointed on the previous day, to- 

^1 II. THE extremists' VERSION. 

further carry on the negotiations for having the status quo main- 
tained if possible, failing which it was decided to oppose the election 
of Dr. Ghose by moving such amendment as the Committee might 
decide or by simply voting against his election. The Nationalists 
were further requested, and unanimously agreed, not only to 
abstain from joining^in any suoh demonstration as led to the suspen- 
sion of that day's proceedings, but to scrupulously avoid any, even 
the least, interruption of the speakers on the opposite side, so that 
both parties might get a patient hearing. At night (about 8 P.M.) 
Mr. Ghuni Lai Saraya, Manager of the Indian Specie Bank and 
Vice-Ohairman of the Surat Recaption Committee, accompanied 
by two other gentlemen, went in his un-official capacity and on 
his own account to Mr. Tilak and proposed that he intended to 
arrange for a meeting that night between Mr. Tilak and Mr. Gokhale 
atthe residence of a leading Congressman to settle the differences 
between the two parties. Mr. Tilak agreed and requested Mr, 
Chuni Lai if an interview could be arranged to fix the time in 
consultation with Mr. Gokhale, adding that he, Mr. Tilak, would be 
glad to be present at the pla^e of the interview at any hour of the 
night. Thereon Mr. Chuni Lai left Mr. Tilak, but unhappily no 
word was received by the latter that night, 


On the morning of Friday 27Gh (U A.M.) Mr. Chuni Lai Saraya 
again saw Mr. Tilak and requested him to go in company with 
"Mr. Khaparde to Prof. Gajjar's bungalow near the Congress 
Pandal, where by appointment they were to meet Dr. Rutherford 
who was trying for a reconciliation. Messrs. Tilak and Khaparde 
went to Prof. Gajjar's, but Dr. Rutherford could not come then 
owing to his other engagements. Prof. Gajjar then asked Mr. Tilak 
^hat the latter intended to do ; and Mr. Tilak stated that it no 
settlement was arrived at privately owing to every leading Con- 
gressman being unwilling to take any responsibility in the matder 
^pon himself, he (Mr. Tilak) would be obliged to bring an amend- 
ment to the proposition of electing the President after it had been 
seconded. The amendment would be to the effect that the busi- 
ness of election should be adjourned, and a Committee, consisting 
of one leading Moderate and one leading Nationalist from each 
Congress Province, with Dr. Rutherford's name added, be 
appointed to consider and settle the differences between the two 
parties, both of which should accept the Committee's decision as 
final and then proceed to the unanimous election of the President. 
Mr. Tilak even supplied to Prof, Gajjar the names of the dele- 
gates, who in his opinion should form the Committee, but left a 
free hand to the Moderates to change the names of their representa- 


'tives if they liked to do so.* Prof. Gajjar and Mr. Chunni Lai 
undertook to convey the proposal to Sir P. M. Mehta or 
Dr. Rutherford in the Congress Gamp and asked Messrs. Tilak 
:and Khaparde to go to the pandal and await their reply. After 
half an hour Prof. Gajjar and Mr. Saraya returned and told 
Messrs. Tilak and Khaparde that nothing could be done in the 
matter, Mr. Saraya adding that if both the parties proceeded con- 
stitutionally there would be no hitch. 

It was about 12-30 at this time, and on the receipt of the 
above reply Mr. Tilak wrote in pencil the following note to 
Mr. Malvi, Chairman of the Reception Committee : — 

'* Sir, — I wish to address the delegates on the proposal of the 
election of the President after it is seconded. I wish to move an 
adjournment with a constructive proposal. Please announce me. 

Yours Sincerely, 
Deccan Delegate (Poona)." 
This note, it is admitted, was put by a volunteer into the 
%ands of "Mr, Malvi, the Chairman, as he was entering the pandal 
with the Preeident-Elect in procession. 

The proceedings of the day commenced at 1 P.M., when Babu 
Surendranath Banerji was called upon to resume his speech, 
seconding the election of the President. Mr. Tilak was expect- 
ing a reply to his note but not having received one up to this 
time asked Mr. N, C. Kelkar to send a reminder. Mr. Kelkar 
thereupon sent a chit to the Chairman to the effect that 
"Mr. Tilak requests a reply to his note," But no reply was 
received even after this reminder, and Mr. Tilak who thought he 
was allotted a seat on the platform was sitting in the front row 
of the delegates' seats near the platform-steps, rose to go up the 
platform immediately after Babu Surendranath, who was calmly 
heard by all, had finished his speech. But he was held back by a 

* The names given to Pro. Gajjar were as follows : — United 
Bengal — Babu Surendranath Bannerjee, A. Chaudhari, Ambika- 
charan Mazumdar, Arabindo Ghose, Ashwinikumar Dutt. United 
Provinces — Pandit Madan Mohan, Jatindranath Sen. Punjab— 
Lala Harkisenlal, Dr. H. Mukerji, Central Provinces — Roaji 
<jovind. Dr. Munje. Berars— R. N. Mudholkar, Khaparde. Bombay 
—Hon'ble Mr. Gokhale, B. G. Tilak. Madras— -V. Krishnaswami 
Iyer, Chidambaram Pillai ; Dr. Rutherford. This Committee was 
to meet immediately and decide on the question at issue. The 
names of the Nationalist representatives in the above list, except 
Mr. A. K. Dutt, were those of the members of the Committee 
appointed at the Nationalist Conference on the previous day. 

Xlii II. THE extremists' VERSION. 

volunteer in the way. Mr. Tilak, however, asserted his right tO' 
go up and pushing aside the volunteer succeeded in getting to the 
platform just when Dr. Ghosh was moving to take the President's 
chair. The Official Note says that by the time Mr. Tilak came- 
upon the platform and stood in front of the President, the motion 
of the election of Ghose had been passed by an overwhelming 
majority ; and Dr. Ghose being installed in the Presidential chair 
by loud and prolonged applause, had risen to begin his address. 
All this, if it did take place as alleged, could only have been done 
in a deliberately hurried manner with a set purpose to trick. 
Mr. Tilak out of his right to address the delegates and move an 
amendment as previously notified. According to the usual proce- 
dure Mr, Malvi was bound to announce Mr. Tilak, or if he con- 
sidered the amendment out of order, declare it so publicly, and to 
ask for a show of hands in favour of or against the motion. But 
nothing of the kind was done; nor was the interval of a few 
seconds sufficient for a prolonged applause as alleged. As 
Mr. Tilak stood up on the platform he was greeted with shouts of 
disapproval from the Members of the Reception Committee on 
the platform, and the cry was taken up by other Moderates. 
Mr. Tilak repeatedly insisted up on his right of addressing the 
delegates, and told Dr. Ghose, when he attempted to interfere, 
that he was not properly elected. Mr. Malvi said that he had 
ruled Mr. Tilak's amendment out of order to which Mr. Tilak 
replied that the ruling, if any, was wrong and Mr. Tilak had a 
right to appeal to the delegates on the same. By this time there 
was a general uproar in the pandal, the Moderates shouting at 
Mr. Tilak and asking him to sit down and the Nationalists 
demanding that he should be heard. At this stage Dr. Ghose and 
Mr. Malvi said that Mr. Tilak should be removed from the plat- 
form ; and a young gentleman, holding the important office of a 
Secretary to the Reception Committee, touched Mr, Tilak's 
person with a view to carry out the Chairman's order. Mr. Tilak 
pushed the gentleman aside and again asserted his right of being 
heard, declaring that he would not leave the platform unless 
bodily removed. Mr. Gokhale seems to have here asked the 
above mentioned gentleman not to touch Mr. Tilak's person. But 
there were others who were seen threatening an assault on his 
person though he was calmly standing on the platform facing the 
delegates with his arms folded over his chest. 

It was during this confusion that a shoe hurled on to the 
platform hit Sir P. M, Mehta on the side of the face after touch- 
ing Babu Surendranath Bannerji, both of whom were sitting with- 
in a yard of Mr. Tilak on the other side of the table. Chairs were 
now seen being lifted to be thrown at Mr. Tilak by persons on 
and below the platform, and some of the Nationalists, therefore,. 


rushed on to the platform to his rescue. Dr. Ghose in the 
meanwhile twice attempted to read his address, but was 
stopped by cries of " no, no" from all , sides in the pandal^. 
and the confusion became still worse. It must be stated that 
the Surat Reception Committee, composed of Moderates. 
had made arrangements the previous night to dismiss the 
Nationalist Volunteers and to hire Bohrah or Mahomedan goondas 
for the day. These with lathis were stationed at various places in 
the pandal and their presence was detected and protested against 
by the Nationalist Delegates before the commencement of the 
Congress proceedings of the day. But though one or two were 
removed from the pandal, the rest who remained therein now took 
part in the scuffle on behalf of their masters. It was found im- 
possible to arrest the progress of disorder and proceedings were 
then suspended sine die ; and the Congress officials retired in 
confusion to a tent behind the pandal. The police, who seem to 
have been long ready under a requisition, now entered into and 
eventually cleared the pandal ; while the Nationalist Delegates 
who had gone to the platform safely escorted Mr. Tilak to an 
adjoining tent. It remains to be mentioned that copies of an 
inflammatory leaflet in Gujrathi asking the Gujrathi people to rise 
against Mr. Tilak were largely distributed in the pandal before the 
commencement of the day's proceedings. 

It would be seen from the above account that the statement 
in the official note to the effect that Dr. Ghose was elected Presi- 
dent amid loud and prolonged applause before Mr. Tilak appeared 
on the platform, and that Mr. Tilak wanted to move an adjourn- 
ment of the whole Congress are entirely misleading and unfound- 
ed. What he demanded, by way of amendment, was an adjourn- 
ment of the business of the election of the President in order to 
have the differences settled by a joint Conciliatory Committee of 
leading delegates from both sides. Whether this was in order or 
otherwise, Mr. Tilak had certainly a right to appeal to the dele- 
gates and it was this consciousness that led Mr. Malvi and his 
advisers to hastily wind up the election business without sending 
a reply to Mr. Tilak or calling upon him to address the delegates. 
It was a trick by which they intended to deprive Mr. Tilak of the 
right of moving an amendment and addressing the delegates 
thereon. As for the beginning of the actual rowdyism on the day 
some of the members of the Reception Committee itself were res- 
ponsible. The silent hearing given by the Nationalists to Mr. 
Surendranath on the one hand, and the circulation of the inflam- 
matory leaflet and the hiring of the goondas on the other, further 
prove that if there was any pre-arrangement anywhere for the pur- 
pose of creating a row in the pandal, it was on the part of the 
Moderates themselves. But for their rowdyism there was every 

"Xliv II. THE 'extremists' VERSION. 

likelihood of Mr. Tilak's amendmenfcs being carried by a large 
majority and the eleodon of President afterwards taking plaoe 
smoothly and unanimously. But neither Dr. Ghose nor any other 
Congress officials seemed willing to tactfully manage the business 
as Mr. Dadabhai Naoro^i did last year. 

Dr. Ghose's speech though undelivered in the Congress pandal 
had been by this time published in the Calcutta papers, and 
telegrams from Calcutta received in the evening showed that he 
had made an inoffensive attack on the Nationalist party thereon. 
This added to the sensation in the Nationalist camp that evening, 
but the situation was not such as to preclude all hope of reconcilia- 
tion. Srijut Motilal Ghose of the Patrika, Mr. A. C. Moitra of 
•Rajshahi, Mr, B. C. Chatterji of Calcutta and Lala Harkisen Lai 
from Lahore accordingly tried their best to bring about a compro- 
^mise, and, if possible, to have the Congress session revived the 
next day. They went to Mr. Tilak on the night of 27th and the 
morning of 28th to ascertain the views of his party, and to each of 
them Mr. Tilak gave the following assurance in writing • — 

"Surat, 28th December, 1907. 

"Dear Sir, — With reference to our conversation and prin- 
cipally ia the best interests of the Congress, I and my party are 
prepared to waive our opposition to the election of Dr. Hash 
Behari Ghose as President of 23rd Indian National Congress, and 
are prepared to act in the spirit of forget and forgive, provided, 
firstly the last year's resolutions on Swaraj, Swadeshi, Boycott 
and National Education are adhered to and each expressly re- 
affirmed ; Secondly, such passages, if any, in Dr. Ghose's speech 
as may be offensive to the Nationalists Party are omitted. 

Yours &c.. B. G, TiLAK." 

This letter was taken by the gentlemen to whom it was ad- 
dressed to the Moderate leaders but no compromise was arrived at 
as the Moderates were all along bent upon the retrogression of 
the Congress at any cost. A Convention of the Moderates was, 
therefore, held in the pandal the next day where Nationalists were 
not allowed to go evefci when some of them were ready and offered 
to sign the declaration required. On the other hand, those who 
did not wish to go back from the position taken up at the Calcutta 
Congress and honestly desired to work further on the same lines 
met in a separate place the some evening to consider what steps 
might be taken to continue the work of the Congress in future. 
Thus ended the proceedings of the 23rd Indian National Congress; 



and we leave it to the public to judge of the conduct of the two 
parties in this affair from the statement of lacis hereinbefore 


G. S. Khaparde. 


31st December 



Appendix to the Extremists Version. 

HOW They Wanted To Go Back. 

THE Congress ideal. 

H. Mukerjee. 
B. c. Chatterjee. 

At the Calcutta Congress, 
under the presidentship of Mr. 
Dadabhai Naoroji, it was re- 
solved that the goal of the Con- 
gress should be Swaraj on the 
lines of the Self-governing 
British Colonies, and this goal 
was accepted by all Moderates 
and Nationalists without a single 
dissentient voice. The resolu- 
tion on Self-Government passed 
there is as follows : — 

" Self-Government : — This 
Congress is of opinion that the 
system of Government obtaining 
in the Self-Governing British 
Colonies? should be extended to 
India and that as steps leading 
to it, urges that the following 
reforms should be immediately 
carried out." (Here followed 
certain administrative reforms 
such as simultaneous examina- 
tions in England and India, re- 
form of Executive and Legisla- 
tive Councils, and of Local and 
Municipal Boards.) 

The Congress Reception Com-^ 
mittee at Surat did not publish 
the draft Resolution till th& 
commencement of the Congress 
Sessions : but a Draft Constitu- 
tion of the Congress, prepared 
by the Hon'ble Mr. Gokhale, 
was published a day or two 
earlier. In this draft the goal 
of the Congress was defined as 
follows : — 

" The Indian National Cong- 
ress has for its ultimate goal 
the attainment by India of 
Self-Government similar to that 
enjoyed by other members of 
the British Empire and a parti- 
cipation by her in the privileges 
and responsibilities of the 
Empire on equal terms with the 
other members ; and it seeks to 
advance towards this goal by 
strictly constitutional means, by 
bringing about a steady reform 
of the existing system of ad- 
ministration, and by promoting 
national unity, fostering public- 
spirit and improving the condi- 
tion of the mass of the people." 


" Those who acoept the fore- 
going creed of the Congress, 
shall be members of the Provin- 
cial Committee." 

" All who accept the foregoing 
oraed of the Congress . . • 
shall be entitled to become mem- 
bers of a District Congress 

"From the year 1908, dele- 
gates to the Congress shall be 
elected by Provincial and Dist- 
rict Congress Committees only." 

Remarks :— It will at once be seen that the new Constitution 
intended to convert the Congress from a national into a sectional 
movement. The goal of Swaraj on the lines of the Self-governing 
colonies as settled last year, was to be given up : and in its stead 
Self-Government similar to that enjoyed by other members (not 
necessarily self-governing) of the British Empire was to be set 
up as the ultimate goal evidently meaning that it was to be 
considered as out of the pale of practical politics. The same view 
is expressed by Sir Pherozeshah Mehta in his interview with the 
correspondent of the Times of India published in the issue of 
the Times dated 30th December, 1907. The Hon'ble Mr. Gokhale 
must have taken his cue from the same source. The reform of 
the existing system of administration, and not its gradual replace- 
ment by a popular system, was to be the immediate object of the 
Congress according to this constitution ; and further no one, who 
did not accept this new tsreed, was to be a member of provincial 
or district committees or possibly even a delegate to the Congress 
after 1908. This was the chief feature of retrogression, which Sir 
P. M. Mehta and his party wanted to carry out this year at a safe 
place like Surat. It is true that the old resolution on Self-Govern- 
ment was subsequently included in the Draft Resolutions published 
only after the commencement of the Congress Session. But the 
Draft Constitution was never withdrawn. 


The Calcutta Resolution on At Surat, the Draft Resolution 
the Swadesi Movement was as on the subject was worded as 
follows : — follows : — 

" The Congress accords its most " This Congress accords its 

cordial support to the Swadeshi most cordial support to the 
Movement and calls upon the Swadeshi Movement, and calls 



T)eople of the country to labour 
lor its suooess by making earnest 
and sustained eSorts to promote 
the growth of indigenous indus- 
tries, and to stimulate the pro- 
duction of indigenous articles 
by giving them preference over 
imported commodities even at 
-some sacrifice.' 

upon the people of the country 
to labour for its success by 
earnest and sustained efforts to 
promote the growth of indigen- 
ous industries and stimulate the 
consumption of indigenous 
articles by giving them prefer- 
ence, where possible, over im- 
ported commodities." 

Remarks: — Last year the words "even at some sacrifice" 
were introduced at the end after the great discussion and as a com- 
promise between the two parties, The Hon. Mr. Gokhale or Sir 
P.M. Mehta now wanted to have these words expunged, converting 
the old resolution into a mere appeal for preference for the 
indigenous over imported goods. 


The Calcutta Resolution was 
as follows : — 

"Having regard to the fact 
that the people of this country 
have little or no voice in its 
administration and that their 
representations to Government 
do not receive due considera- 
tion, this Congress is of opinion 
that the Boycott Movement in- 
augurated in Bengal by way of 
protest against partition of 
that province was and is 

The proposed Resolution at 
Surat was : — 

"Having regard to the fact 
that the people 'of the country 
have little or no voice in its 
administration and that their 
representatives to the Govern- 
ment, do not receive due con- 
sideration, this Congress is of 
opinion that the boycott of 
foreign goods resorted to in 
Bengal by way of protest 
against the partition of that 
Province was and is legitimate." 

Remarks : — This subject was not included in the list of sub- 
jects published at first but seems to have been subsequently inserted 
in the Draft Resolutions, when the first omission in the list 
was severely noticed in the press. The words Boycott Movement 
in the old Resolution have, however, been changed into Boycott 
of foreign goods. 

National Education. 

The Calcutta Resolution was 
as follows : — 

" In the opinion of this Con- 
gress the time has arrived for the 
people all over the country 
earnestly to take up the question 
of National Education for both 

The proposed resolution at 
Surat runs thus : — 

" In the opinion of this Con- 
gress the time has arrived for the 
people all over the country 
earnestly to take up the question 
of National Education for both 


boys and girls and organise a 
system of education — Literary, 
Scientific, Technical — suited to 
the requirements of the coun- 
try on National lines and under 
National control," 

boys and girls and organise an 
independent system of educa- 
tion, Literary, Scientific, Tech- 
nical — suited to the require- 
ments of the country." 

Bemarks : — The change is significant inasmuch as the word 

" on National lines and under National control" are omitted in the 

Surat draft, for "control" is the most important factor in this 

matter. The phrase "an independent system " does not convey all 

that is desired. 




The Extremist version of what occurred at Surat, which was^ 
under preparation has at last been published. It is full of gross 
mis-statements, some of which concern me personally, and these, 
with your permission, I would like to sec right in your columns. 

1. The version says : — " It was clearly arranged by the Hon. 
Mr, Gokhale to get the (Reception) Committee to nominate Dr. 
R. B. Ghose to the office of President, brushing aside the proposal 
for the nomination of Lala Lajpat Rai." Dr. Ghose had been 
nominated for the office of President by all the Provinces consult- 
ed except Berar. The overwhelming preponderance of opinion 
in the Reception Committee at Surat was also in his favor. The 
reason why I attended the meeting of the Reception Committee at 
which the nomination took place was that rowdyismhad been threat- 
ened to make its proceedings impossible as at Nagpur unless the 
proposal of the Extremists to elect Lala Lajpat Rai was accept- 
ed. The Reception Committee had barely a month at its disposal 
for making the required preparations, and any hostility to it on the 
part of a section however small would have meant abandoning the 
Congress Session at Surat. I went there as Joint General Secre- 
tary of the Congress in the interests of harmony, and for the tima 
may appeal to those who wanted to bring forward Lala Lajpat Rai's 
name proved effective. The harmony brought about lasted 
till Mr. Tilak's emissaries from Nagpur repaired to Surat and stir- 
red up trouble about a week after the meeting of the Reception 

2. I am charged with" brushing aside the proposal for th& 
nomination of Lala Lajpat Rai" on the ground that *' we cannot 
afford to flout the Government at this stage. The authorities would 
throttle our movement in no time." This unscrupulous distortion 
of stray sentences from a private conversation, taken apart from 
their context, has now been pushed to such lengths that it is neces- 
sary to put aside the feeling of delicacy that has hitherto restrained 
me in the matter. The conversation was with two Extremist gentle- 
men of Surat with whom I disoussed^the situation at some length 
prior to the meeting of the Recepsibn Committee on the 24th 
November. I pointed out to these gentlemen the unwisdom of 
bringing forward Lala Lajpat Rai's name for the Presidentship of 
the Congress, and this I did on three grounds : — 

First, that with only a month at disposal of the Reception 
Committee for making arrangements which, in other places, had 


taken at least three to four months, any division among the work- 
ers at Sura* was most undesirable as it was sur© to hamper the 
progress of their work. 

Secondly, that there was absolutely no chance of their carrying 
their proposal abouc Lala Lajpat Rai, their strength being only five 
or six out of abouc two hundred, who were expected to attend that 
afternoon's meeting and that the rejection of Mr. Lala Lajpat Rai's 
name would only be a painful and wanton humiliation forhim and 
thirdly and lastly, that though Lala Lajpat Rai had been 
-personally restored to freedom, the larger question of principle 
involved in his deportation had yet to be fought out, and it would 
best be fought out by keeping up the feeling of the country united 
and intact behind him, and that this feeling was sure to be divided 
if one section of the Congress tried to run him as a party candi- 
date. I next pointed out that there were other ways in which we 
could all honour Mr. Lajpat Rai, and then I added, "if your object 
48 simply to flout the Government, I can understand your 
proposal." To this one of the two gentlemen said, "Yes, even if 
we do nothing else, we want to show that we are prepared to flout 
the Government." I thereupon said, "I don't believe in such 
flouting. The Congress must, of course, express its condemnation 
of Government measures when necessary, but it has other import- 
ant work to do. We cannot do without the help and co-operation 
of Government in many matters at our present stage." The 
conversation then turned to what our goal should be, and what the 
•Congress should try to do. And the gentleman in question — a 
young man who had only recently returned from England. — urged 
on me his view that the Congress should work for absolute inde- 
pendence, and that it should try to teach the people of the country 
to hate the present foreign Government as much as possible. It 
was in reply to this that I said, " you do not realise the enormous 
reserve of power behind ifche Government. If the Congress were 
to do anything such as you suggest, the Government will have no 
difficulty in throttling it in five minutes." It is out of this 
-conversation that the story which has been kept going for some 
time past with a hundred variations has been concocted. There 
were about twenty people present when the above conversation 
took plaoe, 

3. " The Hon. Mr. Gokhale was entrusted by the Reception 
Committee at its meeting h*ld on the 24th November 1907, for 
nominating the President with the work of drafting the Resolu- 
tions before the Congress." 

This is not correct. No resolution whatever was passed on 
the matter at the meeting of the Reception Committee. About the 
beginning of December, when I went to Bombay from Poona, I 


iwas informed by one of the Secretaries of the Reception Commit- 
tee, Mr. Manubhai Nanabhai, thac the Working Committee had 
-decided to ask me to undertake the drafting of the Reso- 
lutions to be laid before the Subjects Committee. I was at that 
time pressed with other work, and so I suggested that the draft 
should, in the first instance, be prepared by either Mr. Manubhai 
himself or by his colleague Mr. Gandhi, and that I would then touch 
them up if required. Mr. Gandhi wrote back at once to say that 
that he could not undertake the work as he had no time. Mr. 
Manubhai began to collect the material necessary for drafting the 
resolutions, but he was so terribly overworked that he too could not 
give any time to the actual work of preparing the drafts, and at 
last about the 15th December, he told me that I should have to do 
the whole work in tha.t respect myself. 

4. "Neither Mr. Gokhale nor the Reception Committee 
supplied a copy of the Draft Resolutions to any delegates till 2-30 
iP.M. on Thursday, the 26th December." This was due to the fact 
chat printed copies were not till then available. On the 15th 
December, I settled the headings of the Resolutions in Bombay, but 
il could get no quiet there for the work of drafting, and so I went 
• to Poona on the 19th December to prepare the drafts. It whs by 
no means easy work. The Resolution that gave the greatest 
trouble was about the proposed reforms. I wrestled with it as 
well as I could in Poona, but I could not produce a satisfactory 
draft. When I arrived in Surat on the morning of the 24th, the 
Draft Resolution on the proposed Reforms was still not ready. I 
then gave the other drafts to Mr. Gandhi, Secretary of the Recep- 
tion Committee, in charge of this work, who immediately sent 
them to the press. 

For the draft on the Reform proposals I asked for a day more. 
There were, however, a thousand things to distract one's attention 
and though I gave to the draft all the time I could spare on the 
24th and the morning of the 25th I was not able to finish it. 
So, with much regret, I asked Mr. Gandhi to get the other drafts 
printed leaving a blank in the place of the Resolution on Reform 
proposals. Now Surat is a small place and its printing resources 
are not equal to those of Calcutta, Bombay or Madras, and the 
press took a day to give printed copies of the drafts to Mr. Gandhi. 
It was only when I went to the pandal at 2-30 P.M. on the 
i26th that I learnt from Mr. Gandhi that copies had arrived 
from the press, and the first printed copy which I myself saw was 
the one which I procured from Mr. Gandhi to pass on to Mr. 
Tilak who had just then asked Mr. Malvi for a copy. The copies 
were available in good time for the delibefations of the Subjects 
Committee which, in the usual course, was expected to sit that* 


afternoon and for whose use alone the drafts have always been' 

Three things must here be noted. First, though the Draft- 
Kesolutions have in previous years been published beforehand^ 
whenever there has been time to do so, it is ^ot true that they 
have always been so published. Last year, for instance, at Cal- 
cutta, some of the Draft Resolutions were not ready till the last 
minute, and this, in spite of the fact that our Calcutta friends 
had much more time at their dipposal than the one month in 
which Surat had to make its preparations. 

Secondly, never before in the history of the Congress was ai> 
attempt made as at Surat to attach an absurdly exaggerated im- 
portance to the Draft Resolutions. Everyone knows that these^ 
drafts bind nobody, and that they are merely material laid before 
the Subjects Committee for it to work upon. I don't remember a 
single Goneress at which the Subjects Committee did not make 
important and sometimes even wholesale alterations in the drafts 
placed before it by the Reception Committee. The final form in 
which Resolutions have been submitted to the Congress has 
always been determined by the Subjects Committee and the- 
Subjects Committee alone. 

Thirdly, no Reception Committee has ever in the past merely 
reproduced the Resolutions of the previous Congress on its agenda 
paper for the Subjects Committee. The Calcutta Reception Com- 
mittee of last year did not merely reproduce the Benares 
Resolutions, neither did the Benares Committee reproduce the 
Bombay Resolution. Every Reception Committee has exercised 
its own judgment as to the wording of the Draft Resolutions, and 
the Surat Committee or those who were working for it were 
merely following the established practice when they prepared their 
own drafts. 

5. "While Mr. Malvi was reading his speech, Mr. Tilak 
got a copy of the Draft Resolutions, which he subsequently found 
were published the very evening in the Advocate of India in 
Bombay, clearly showing that the reporter of the paper must 
have been supplied with a copy at least a day earlier." The report- 
er must have procured a copy from Mr. Gandhi as soon as copies 
arrived from the press and must have wired the Resolutions to his 
paper, or it is possible that he may have obtained a proof from 
the press before copies were printed. Certainly no printed copies 
were available to me till I went to the pandal on the 26th. I 
wanted to give a copy to Lala Lajpat Rai that morning, but 
could not do so as no copies had arrived from the press till then. 

I now come to the wording of the Draft Resolutions. 


Comiug to the wording of the Draft Resolutions, I would 
like to point out at the outset that the cry set up by Mr. Tilak in 
connection with these drafts was his third attempt to discredit 
the Surat Congress, since the middle of November, 

He began by denouncing the change of venue from Nagpur 
to Surat and by misrepresenting, beyond all recognition, the 

-proceedings of the All-India Congress Committee which decided 
upon the change — and this, without even the excuse of ignorance, 

•since he was personally present at the meeting of the Committee 
and knew exactly what had taken place. ^ 

When he found that he could not make much impression on 
the country by these attacks, he played his second card. He 
started his agitation to have the election of Dr. Ghosh set aside 
in favour of Lala Lajpat Rai. In this, however, he was foiled 
by Lala Lajpat Rai's own letter which put an effective extinguish- 
er on the agitation. 

Then the cry was raised that it was the intention of the Recep- 
tion Committee to drop certain resolutions altogether this year. 
'The ball was set rolling by a telegram from Poona to certain 
Madras and Calcutta Papers about a week before the meeting of 
the Congress that the Reception Committee had made up its mind 
to omit certain resolutions from its agenda paper and that there 
was intense indignation in the " Nationalist circles " in conse- 
quence. This manufacture of "Nationalist indignation" was pushed 
forward so energetically that, when I went to Bombay on the 22nd 
I^ecember, I found a considerable amount of feeling stirred up in 
certain quarters against the Reception Committee on this account. 
*0a that day I meD Lala Lajpat Rai and he asked me what the truth 
was about the resolutions in question. I told him that the resolu- 
tions were all there with slight verbal alterations made in one or 
two of them to remove ambiguity and that the Subjects Committee 
would decide in what form they should finally be submitted to the 
'Congress. I understand that Lala Lajpat Rai communicated the 
substance of this conversation that same evening to Mr. Tilak. 
In spite of this communication, Mr. Tilak definitely and deliberately 
stated at the Extremists' Conference at Surat on the 24th Decem- 
ber that the Reception Committee had decided to omit the resolu- 
'tions and this naturally caused great excitement among the dele- 
gates assembled ! Mr. Gandhi, the local secretary in charge of the 
resolutions, came to know of this in the evening and he immediately 
issued a Press Note contradicting Mr. Tilak's statements as wholly 

But the cry was kept up the whole of the next day, i.e., the 
^5th. On that day, in the afternoon, Lala Lajpat Rai, who was 
vgoing to visit the Extremist Camp, asked me if he might personally 

liv APPENDIX B. ^ 

assure the leaders on that side that they were under a mis- 
apprehension about the resolutions and that they would find theni) 
all on the agenda paper when it arrived from the press. I readily 
asireed and Lala Lajpat Rai went and gave the assurance. That same 
evening I addressed about 200 delegates in the Madras tent of the 
Congress camp, especially for the purpose of removing the mis- 
apprehensions and there I not only assured them that the resolu- 
tions were all on the agenda paper, but also mentioned the exact 
verbal alterations that had been made. About 11 P.M. that night 
I met Babu Ashwani Kumar Dutt of Barisal at the President's 
residence, and I repeated to him what I had told the Madras 
delegates and he expressed himself satisfied. The next day, i.e, 
on the 26th, on going to the pandal as soon as I heard of the copies 
having arrived from the press, I procured and gave one to Mr. 
Tilak as I have mentioned in my last letter. The Hon. Pandit 
Madan Mohan Malaviya was sitting by Mr. Tilak at the time and I; 
heard it afterwards from him that he asked Mr. Tilak if he was. 
satisfied that the resolutions were all there and Mr. Tilak had to 
admit that it was so. Only the slight verbal alterations that had 
been made would have to be amended. And now as regards the 
wording of the four Resolutions : — 

(a) Taking Self-Government first the Extremists' version says : 
*' At the Calcutta Congress, under the Presidentship of Mr. 
Dadabhai Naoroji, it was resolved that the goal of the 
Congress should be Swaraj on the lines of self-governing' 
British Colonies." This is not accurate. The word Swaraj 
was not used in any of the resolutions of the Congress 
last year though it was used by Mr. Dadhabhai in his own 
speech. Neither was there any mention of a goal in any of- 
last year's resolutions. What last year's Congress had done 
was to prefix a preamble about Self-Government to certain^ 
specific proposals of reform and that preamble was in 
these words : — '" This Congress is of opinion that the 
system of government obtaining in the Self Governing Colonies 
should be extended to India and that, as steps leading to 
it, it urges that the following reforms should be immediately^ 
carried out." Now a reference to this year's draft resolu- 
tions will show that the whole of this resolution, preamble 
and all, was reproduced by the Reception Committee on the- 
agenda paper with only a slight alteration in one of the clauses 
rendered necessary by the appointment of two Indians to the 
Secretary of State's Council, Mr. Tilak, however, compares last 
year's resolution on Self-Government, not with this year's draft 
resolution on the same subject, but with the preamble to an- 
other draft resolution — that on the constitution of the Congress, 
And he charges the Reception Committee with " a direct attempt 


to tamper with the ideal of Self-Government on the lines of the 
Self-Goveming Colonies as settled at Calcutta." Now the por- 
tion of the preamble to the proposed constitution referring to Self- 
Government was as follows : " The Indian National Congress has, 
for its ultimate goal, the attainment by India of Self-Govern- 
ment similar to that enjoyed by other members of the British 
Empire and a participation by her in the privileges and responsi- 
bilities of the Empire on equal terms with the other members." 
This is interpreted by Mr. Tilak as meaning that "' the goal of 
Swaraj on the lines of Self-Governing Colonies, as settled last 
year, was to be given up and in its stead Self-Government similar 
to that enjoyed by other members (not necessarily self-governing)- 
of the British Empire was to set up as the ultimate goal." I 
should have thought it incredible that any one with any pre- 
tention to a knowledge of practical politics could put such an 
atrocious misconstruction on the preamble of the draft consti- 
tution, but for the fact that Mr. Tilak has actually done it. 

Whoever talks of the form of Government obtaining in the 
Crown Colonies or Dependencies of the British Empire as Self- 
Government ? Whoever talks of their partcipating in the pri 
vileges of the Empire? However, as soon as Mr. Tilak's construc- 
tion was brought to my notice, I at once altered the expression, 
" Self-Government enjoyed by other members of the British 
Empire," to *' Self-Government enjoyed by the Self-Governing 
members of the British Empire," so as to leave no room for his 
ludicrous objection and it will be seen that the Convention after- 
wards used this wording for its creed. In this connection, I 
would like to observe that it is most curious that Mr. Tilak should 
charge me with a desire to abandon the idea of Self-Government, 
as in the British Colonies, being the goal of our aspiration. Ever 
since I began to take an active interest in the national affairs 
this has been a part of my political faith. In the prospectus of 
the Servants of India Society which was started in June 
1905, I have mentioned this goal in clear and explicit terms, 
*' Self-Government on the lines of English Colonies," the pros- 
pectus says, *' is our goal." Prom the Presidential Chair of the 
Congress at Benares in December 1905, I declared the same 
thing. " The goal of the Congress," I then stated, '* is that India 
should be governed in the interests of the Indians themselves 
and that, in course of time, a form of Government should be 
attained in this country similar to what exists in the Self- 
Governing Colonies of the British Empire." In 1906, in a Paper 
read before the East India Association in London, on '* Self 
Government for India" I elaborated the same idea. On the 
other hand, Mr. TilaK has not always known his own mind in 
this matter. After the Benares Congress, Mr. Shyamji Krishna- 


varma denounced me in his Indian Sociologist for my idea of 
Self -Government on Colonial lines and later on Mr. Tilak follow- 
ing Mr. Shyamji's lead joined in that denunication in his Kesari, 
Last year, however, Mr, Tilak veered round to the position that 
the goal of our political works was of equality for the English- 
man and the Indian in the British Empire, but this year again at 
the Extremists' Conference he coquetted with the views of the 
Bengal School of Extremist politicians and yet it is Mr. Tilak who 
attributes to me a desire to alter the resolution of last year on this 

(6) As regards Swadeshi, there never was the least intention 
to alter a single word in last year's resolution and it was by a 
mere accident that the words, " even at some sacrifice," happen- 
ed to be left out in the Reception Committee's drafts. It happen- 
ed this way. The report of the Calcutta Congress was not out 
when the draft resolution were prepared. So far the text of 
last year's resolutions I had to rely on a newspaper file. Now, the 
only file I had with me containing those resolutions was of the 
journal India which had published all the resolutions of last 
year in its issue of 1st February 1907. As no change of even a 
•word was contemplated in the resolution on Swadeshi, I had got 
one of my assistants merely to copy it from the India and include 
' it among the drafts. Unfortunately the text as published in 
India was defective and did not contain the words, " even at some 
sacrifice," as a reference to the issue of that journal of 1st Febru- 
ary, 1907, will show. 

And the omission, perfectly unintentional, remained un- 
noticed till the meeting of the informal Conference which followed 
the Convention when the words which had been left out were at 
■once restored. It is unnecessary to say that they would have 
been similarly restored if the Agenda paper had gone as usual to 
the Subjects Committee for consideration. 

(c) la the resolution on Boycott, the only verbal alteration 
made was to substitute the words " the boycott of foreign goods 
resorted to in Bengal " for the words " the boycott movement 
inaugurated in Bengal '* and the resolution was placed under 
Partition as the Boycott approved was " by way of protest 
against the Partition," The change in the wording had been 
rendered necessary by the unfair and unjustifiable attempt made 
by an Extremist leader from the Congress platform last year and 
by Mr. Tilak and others in the Press throughout the year to 
construe the phraseology employed last year as approving a 
universal boycott of all forms of association with the Government. 

(d) In regard to National Education the slight alteration 
made was only with the object of improving the phraseology with- 


out altering the meaning in any way. It noust be mentioned here 
that the wording adopted last year on this subject had not been 

' considered in the Subjects Committee, there being no time fordoing 
so. In last year's resolution, the word "National" appeared 
three times — national education on national lines and under 
national control. It appeared to me that the words, " a system of 
national education" suited to the requirements of the country and 
"independent of Government " really expressed all that had to be 

- expressed and that this phraseology was more restrained and more 
in accord with what was being actually attempted in different 
parts of India. It will thus be seen that, in drawing up its draft 
resolutions on the four subjects, the Surat Committee had not 
intended or attempted any alteration in meaning, though verbal 
changes had been made here and there to remove ambiguity or to 
improve the phraseology. I hava already pointed out that in 

>making such changes, it was only following the practice of previous 
years. Moreover, as I have stated in my last letter, there were 
only drafts that bound nobody and the Subjects Committee would 
have determined the final form in which they were to be submitted 
to the Congress. a11 the storm raised in connection with them was 
really more to discredit the Surat Committee than for furthering 

' any national interests, real or fancied. 

The Extremist Statement speaks of certain attempts made 
by certain gentlemen to arrange " a compromise " and it mentions 
three gentlemen as having undertaken to speak tome — Lala Lajpat 
Rai, Mr, Surendra Nath Banerjee and Mr. Chuuilai D. Suraya. 

• Of these, Mr. Chunilal never saw me in any such connection. 
Lala Lajpat Rai had a brief talk with me — it was on the 25th 
December in the evening at the Railway Station when we had 
gone there to receive the President — about a proposal made 
by Mr. Tilak that five men on his side and five men on the other 
side should meet together and settle the wording of the difier- 
ent resolutions. I pointed out to Mr. Lajpat Rai that it ^s the 
business of the Subjects Committee to settle the wording and 
that a Committee such as Mr. Tilak suggested had never been 
appointed before. Moreover it was easy for Mr, Tilak, whose 
followers were meeting in a Conference day after day to 
nominate five men to represent his side, but amidst the excite- 

i ment and bitterness of feeling then prevailing, what five men, I 
asked, could claim the authority or undertake the responsibility 
to act in the name of the other delegates ? And I said to him, 
"let the Subjects Committee meet to-morrow and let us see if any 
differences remain to be adjusted. And, if any remain, you can 
make this proposal to the Subjects Committee." Lala Lajpat Rai 
saw the force of this and did not press the suggestion further. 
Mr. Surendra Nath Banerjee mentioned to me on the opening day 


of the Congress, only a few minutes before going to the Pandal,, 
that he had had a conversation that morning with Mr. Tilak and» 
that Mr. Tilak had said to him that if he (Mr. Banerjee) and. 
myself guaranteed the passing of the four resolutions in the same 
form as last year, there would be no trouble in connection with* 
the President's election. I pointed out to Mr. Banerjee how Mr. 
Tilak had shifted his ground — how, till the previous evening, the 
cry was for an assurance that the four resolutions would be on the 
agenda paper and how he now demanded a guarantee that they 
would be passed in the same form as last year and I said, " it is- 
outrageous that Mr, Tilak should make such a demand and 
threaten now with trouble. How can any individual member with 
any sense of responsibility guarantee what would be done by 
Subjects Committee not yet appointed or by a Congress of sixteen 
hundred delegates ? These men denounce us in one breath for auto- 
cracy and, in the next, they ask us to take upon ourselves such an 
impossible responsibility." The conversation then ended. Before- 
passing away from this point, I would like to contradict here, 
in the most emphatic manner possible, the report to which such, 
wide currency has been given, that Mr. Tilak tried three times 
at Surat to see me and that every time I declined to see him. 
There is not a word of truth in this report. Mr, Tilak never 
gave me to understand directly or indirectly that he wanted to 
meet me at Surat. He never wrote to me or sent me word 
with any one to express such a desire. He never came to my 
place and to my knowledge he never tried to meet me anywhere 

Only one more matter in the Extremists' Statement concerns 
me personally. Ic is the version that it gives of what took place 
first between Mr. Malvi and Mr. Tilak and then between Dr. 
Ghosh and Mr. Tilak, when Mr. Tilak came to the platform to 
move the adjournment of the Congress. This version is in direct 
confiicrt with the official version issued immediately after the 
break-up of the Congress over the signatures of Dr. Ghosh,. 
Mr. Malvi. Mr. Wacha and myself. Now, all four of us had 
heard every word of the conversation that took place between Mr. 
Tilak on one side and Mr. Malvi and Dr. Ghosh on the other. 
On the other hand, though the Extremist version is signed by 
five gentlemen, four of the five were not on the platform and 
could not have heard a syllable of what was said, The conflict 
between the two versions thus means the word of us four is 
against the word of Mr. Tilak and there I am content to let it. 
stand. Here I must close and I would do so with one observation. 
The Reception Committee of Surat had not departed in a single- 
particular from the established practice of the last twenty-two 
years. It had made its arrangements for the holding of the Con- 


gress and for the comfort of the delegates in the usual way. It had 
prepared the agenda paper for the Subjects Committee in the 
usual way. It had elected the President under a special rule 
adopted loy the Congress itself last year. Having made these 
preparations in the course of single month, for which cities 
like Calcutta and Bombay have taken three to four months — 
having turned its nights into days for the purpose — it awaited for 
the Congress meeting and conducting its deliberations in the 
usual way. On the other hand, all the innovations were on Mr. 
Tilak's side. Tie set up a separate camp of his own followers. 
He harrangued them daily about the supposed intention of the 
Reception Committee and the high-handedness of imaginary 
bureaucracy in the Congress. He made from day to day wild 
and wreckless statements, some of which it is difficult to charac- 
terise properly in terms of due restraint. 

He created a pledge-bound party to vote with him like a 
machine, whatever the personal views of individual delegates 
might be. He demanded guarantees from individual members on 
the other side unheard of in the history of the Congress. On the 
first day some of his followers by sheer rowdyism compelled the 
sitting to be suspended. On the second day when the sitting was 
resumed there was no expression of regret forthcoming for the dis- 
creditable occurrence of the previous day and though one day out 
of three had been already lost, Mr. Tilak himself came forward to 
interrupt the proceedings again by a motion of adjurnment, 
Under the mildest construction this was a move of obstruc- 
tion, pure and simple, for as long as the rule under which the 
Reception Committee had elected Dr. Ghosh remained unrescind- 
ed, there was no possible way to get that election set aside. On the 
paltform. Mr. Tilak openly and persistently defied the authority 
of the Chair. Over the painful incidents that followed, it is 
perhaps best now to throw a pall. But in all this, I do not see 
where the responsibility of the Reception Committee comes in. 

13thJ^ary,''l908. ] »■ ^- GOKHALE. 



It is with great reluctance that I take up my pen to write oa 
an event, the tragical nature of which cannot be felt more acutely 
by any one than by those who for the last twenty years and more 
have been devoting their best energies to the one great national 
institution, which gave hope of a better future, and who struck 
steadfastly to it when the leaders of the newly arisen new party 
were trying to stab it by ridicule, misrepresentation and calumny. 
Having been an eye-witness of all that happened on the two 
memorable days, the 26th and the 27th of December, I thought 
that deplorable, disgraceful and utterly unworthy of gentlemen 
as those occurrences were, even those who had so far forgotten what 
they owe to themselves, to the country and to posterity as to have 
indulged in rowdyism and open violence, would, despite party 
passions, admit the real facts and express their sorrow for the 
^grievous mistakes committed by them. It is therefore humiliat- 
ing — nay, disgusting to see that men of education and position, who 
must be regarded as representatives, have shown an open disregard 
for truth which augurs ill for th3 progress of our motherland. 
Whatever room for misapprehension there might have been as to 
the intentions and plans of the Bombay leaders and whatever 
scope one or two unintentional acts or omissions might have afforded 
for criticism there could be those who would not wilfully disregard 
the evidence of their senses. No doubt the whole rowdyism, un- 
seemly squabbles and resort to sticks and physical violence, which 
disgraced the last session of the Congress, was due to the Extre- 
mists and that the responsibility for the fracas lies upon the lead- 
ers of that partv. It appears that Mr. G. Subramania Iyer has 
written to the Hindu stating that he has modified the views which 
he had first expressed. I have not seen the latter, but, if the criti- 
cism which the Indu Prakash makes on it is well based, I must 
say, it is curious if Mr. Iyer throws on the Moderates any responsi- 
bility for the disorderly scenes on the 26th and the attack of the 
27th, He was sitting next to me on the first day and when the 
din of cries, shouts and unparliamentary terms was raised against 
Mr. Surendranath Banerjee by some Nagpurians, Benarees and 
Madrasis, he became very angry and exclaimed excitedly; *' This is 
most disgraceful, most shameful. This is all due to Tilak andKha- 
parde. They are responsible for all this." He further said to me 
' "this is all the doing of your Central Provinces. Nagpur has brought 
troubles on the Congress." I felt that taunt and replied sharply 

IV. extremists' version contradicted. Ixi 

" your rebuke is, I must admit, sorrowfully true so far as men 
of my province are concerned , but are there not 8 or 10 Madrasis, 
who are even wilder than they?" On the 27th, he was, again, nob 
far from me and saw all the incidents and when we met again 
shortly afterwards he threw the whole blame on those same 
persons. On both occasions, the remarks were voluntarily made. 
On the following days, I remonstrated with several Berar Extre- 
mists and told them what Mr. G. Subramaniya Iyer had said, 
leader though he was till late of the Extremist party of the 
Madras Presidency. 

Every one, who has the least regard for truth, will unhesitat" 
ingly say that every word in the statement issued under the signa" 
turesof Dr. Ghosh and Messrs. Malvi, Wacha and Gokhale is 
true. It is now well known from what quarter the shoe came and 
that it was aimed at Sir P. M. Mehta. It is a wicked lie to say 
that it was aimed at Mr. Tilak. It can be proved by the testimony 
of hundreds of eye-witnesses that signals were gi^^en by prominent 
Extremists and that thereon a number of persons from the Central 
Provinces and Berar, some of whom were delegates and some 
visitors, rushed to the platform wielding big long sticks. "When 
Mr. Tilak was escorted, he was surrounded by more than 50 of 
his followers armed with these lathies. Is it usual for delegates or 
even visitors to carry about lathies? One fact throws a most lurid 
light on the affair. Among the Extremist delegates and visitors 
taken from Berar were gymnastic teachers, gymnastis. proclaimed 
touts, workmen from factories, fitters, oilmen, etc. Q'here were, I 
am told, barber delegates fromNagpur, who for the money spent on 
them, made some small return by shaving the Nationalist delegates. 
I These men are too poor to pay their travelling expenses, much 
less, their delegation fee. Who supplied the money and what was 
the object in taking such persons ? For, most of them do not 
know English and have never taken part in public matters. With 
my own eyes, I saw Extremist delegates, holding two degrees, 
brandishing long and powerful sticks or rushing wildly and franti- 
cally at the occupants of the platform. I myself stopped the 
progress of a chair which was hurled at either the President or 
Sir Pherozeshah. The man picked up another and I snatched it 
away from him. He was then thrown down by some Gujarati 
gentlemen. He was a visitor from these provinces. Why did he 
rush on the platform? I rebuked sharply some C.P. graduates who 
were rushing towards Sir P. M. Mehta, who was being taken out 
by the hind entrance. They said, " we have no grievance against 
you. We want to punish these Parsee rascals." What again is 
the meaning of Mr. Khaparde rushing to the platform with a 
thick stick uplifted? Only half an hour previously be had like 
Mr. Tilak declined to take his seat in the chair reserved 


.for him on the dais. Two Patels from the Akote Taluq 
who were staying in my quarters received on the 27ch at 
about noon a warning from two men of their caste who lived in 
the Nationalist camp that day there would be enacted scenes 
cfar worse than those of the previous day and advised them 
either to stay away or to occupy back seats. These gentlemen 
tried to communicate the warning to me but they could not suc- 
ceed, A well-known Extremist of these provinces has been taking 
credit that he sent me word " begging " me to leave the prominent 
seat I occupied on the platform The word never reached me 
and even if it had I would not have left my place. All the same 
the fact is significant. Then again scan the list of Nagpar dele- 
gates and their occupations and literary qualifications. Not that 
the educated graduates were behind the uneducated rowdies in 
creating disturbance. But the extraordinary advent of the un- 
ruly element leaves little room for doubt that the whole disturb- 
ance had been planned, organised and deliberately brought 

To me it is small comport that hooliganism was shown by 
Extremists and not by Moderates, and I would not have written a 
word for publication in regard to these disgraceful performances, 
but for the monstrous lies that are studiously being circulated by 
the foolish, misguided sinner and their culpable and designing 
leaders. Rowdyism and violence are bad enough but to add wick- 
ed untruthfulness to it is unfamous. The facts are all plain and 
lie on the surface and if people would only drive away the cloud of 
dust which the breakers of the peace purposely raise in order to 
conceal the real issues, there would be little room for doubt as to 
where the guilt lies. 

The campaign of vilification of the Moderate party was com- 
menced in the first fortnight of January last by Mr. Tilak at 
Allahabad where the people and especially the young men were 
exhorted to pull down their leaders and the high ideal was impress- 
ed upon them that morality had no place in politics. Mr. Kha- 
parde followed in a few days by a most outragous speech at 
Nagpur in which the Moderate leaders were called " infamous," 
" the most debased of human kind," etc., and the fraternity of men 
who ventured to hold views difierent from those of the "New 
School " was questioned. In about 4 weeks more came the meet- 
ing at Nagpur for the formation of the working Committee 
•when a respected old C. P. leader of 60 years of age was greeted 
with a shoe, burning powder was sent in a letter to the President 
of the meeting, Dr. Gour, and threatening letters were sent to some 
other prominent men. Simultaneously with this and four months 
after this, the Kesari at Poona and the Deshasewak at Nagpuc 

IV. extremists' version contradicted. Ixiii 

'Carried on a regular crusade against those members of the Moderate 
party whose opposition to Mr. Tilak's Presidentship was feared 
by them. Week after week and month after month men like 
Mr. Gokhale became the subjects of the foulest calumnies and 
XQOst wanton perversions of truth. It would be well if the articles 
in these papers and others of that school are translated word for 
word so that the whole Indian world might know how low have 
fallen those from whom much was expected. It is disspiriting to 

•see the literary and moral garbage on which the new generation of 
Maharashtra is sought to be brought up. 

The occurrences of 32nd September at Nagpur (which were 
the direct offspring of the spirit created and fed by these writings) 
are well known. The concerted rowdyism within the hall, the 
pre-arranged hooliganism outside and worse than all the shameless 
effrontery with which these proceedings are white washed and 
defended (which are the most distressing developments of the 
" New Spirit") need not be recounted. 

Then came the All-India Congress Committee's meeting in 
which after refusal by Messrs. Tilak and Khaparde to adhere to 
the compromise which thay had accepted only three or four hours 
.previously, the resolution was arrived at to transfer the venue 
of the Congress to Surat. And then followed the most vitriolic, 
venomous and bitter attacks on Sir P. M. Mehta, Mr, Gokhale and 
the Surat people, the language of which would put to shame even 
the street brawlers. It deservs to be noted that the Deshaseioak 
and other Tilakite papers distinctly used the threat that no efforts* 
would be spared to make a Congress at Surat impossible. 

First, a difficulty is sought to be created by dragging in Mr. 
Lajpat Rai's name against his expressed wishes. Even when he 
definitely and openly puts his foot down, attempts to prevent 
Dr. Ghosh from taking the presidential chair is persevered in and 
carried out. Finding that Mr. Lajpat Rai would not allow 
himself to be made a "catspaw the story is next invented and 
studiously spread that the Reception Committee wanted to go 
back on the propositions in regard to Self-Government, Swadeshi, 
Boycott in Bengal and National Education. On the evening of 
the 24:ih I told a number of delegates that there was no valid basis 
for this assertion and that propositions on the subjects substan- 
tially the >eame in spirit as those of last year would be put befora 
thB Subjects Committee. On the 25th at noon when Mr. N. C. 
Kelkar was at the place where I was putting up, I told him the 
same thing and begged that scenes and split be avoided. That 
day in the evening, Mr. Gokhale made a detailed statement to 
the delegates in the Congress Camp. About 150 attended and he 
itold them the exact wording of the Resolution drafted by him as 


the draftsman of the Subjects Committee. Mr. R. P. Karandikar 
of Satara and other friends of Mr. Tilak were present on the occa- 
sion. In spite of this conclaves were held in the Nationalist Camp- 
and the resolution arrived at to oppose the election of the 
President and other obstruction and organise rowdyism at every 
stage of the prooeediugs. On the 26th, when thousands were 
present in the Congress Pandal, Mr. Khare of Nasik went on 
shouting from blopk to block that Mr. Tilak had sent word that 
the election of the President was to be prevented. In the face of 
all these facts, can there be any doubt left that the rowdyism and 
voilence carried out had been deliberately planned and organised? 
It is admitted that before time for proposing the President 
came, Mr. Talik had in his possession a copy of the draft resolu- 
tions containing the ones on " Swaraj," *' Swadeshi," " Boycott," 
and " National Education." And yet the row was made, carried 
on and persisted in and not the least efforts made to check it. It 
is sickening to see the ignoble tactics and dishonourable methods 
adopted by the leaders of the rowdies, and the lies that were 
invented and busily spread, even after contradiction, so as to 
create prejudice against the Moderates in general and Mr. Gokhale 
in particular. 

One word and I shall conclude this already too long communi- 
cation. What is said in the Manifesto issued by the Extremist 
leaders or by their very "impartial" friend and ally Babu 
Motilal Ghosh, is suffioient to prove the main charge that these 
. people wanted to impose their will upon the Moderates who form- 
ed the majority and if that could not be done to create an uproar 
and to resort to the use of force. They only acted in obedience to 
a telegram which had been received from their headquarters at 
Calcutta : " Blow up if every thing else fails." 

January, 1912,} R.N. MUDHOLKAR. 


' After the rowdyism of the first day, the Bengal delegates met 
at Bose's Bungalow in the evening, when the following Resolution 
was passed on the motion of Mr.Didnarayan Singh of Bhagalpur: — 

"We, the undersigned delegates of United Bengal, deeply 
regret the unseemly demonstration made at the Congress Pandal 
to-day, when Babu Surendranath Benerjee was seconding, the 
resolution proposing the election*of the Honourable Dr. Ra^h 
Behari Ghosh, and say that we entirely dissociate ourselves from 
those that were guilty of such demonstration and irregular 


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