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X7 

Accession No.^C. 

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CaH No. 



RURAL BENGAL. 

( Her Needs and Requirements ) 



By 
H. S. M. ISHAQU& B. So. ( Alig. ), M. Sc. 

OF THE 

'INDIAN CIVIL SEEVICE. 



Wiih a foreword by 

The Hon'ble Mr. H. S. Suhrawardy, 

M. A. (Oxon), B. O. L., Bar-at-law 
Minister, Labour and Commerce* 
Government of Bengal. 



Published by- 
Mr. Gauriprasanna Biswas, M. A., B. T. 

.Aogsfytant Headmaster, Govt-aided 
IfJJL. H. B. School, Sirajganj ). 

Member-in-charge 

Primary School Teachers' short-course Training, 
'THE CENTRAL RURAL DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL. 

SfJRAJGANJ ( DISTRICT PABNA, BENGAL ) 



First Published, January, 1938. 



POINTED BY 



MOULVI A. M. ELAHI BUKSH. 
at the Nur-E-EUhi FreM. 
SIRAJGANJ. 



'Price B9. 21- 



TO THE CAUSE OF THE POOB. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER. - PAGK 

FOREWORD BY THE HON'BLE MR. H. S. SUHRA- 

* WARDY, M. A. (OXON), B. C. L., BAR-AT-LAW, MINIS- 
TER, LABOUR AND COMMERCE, GOVERNMENT OF 
BENGAL. 

AUTHOR'S PREFACE i 

PUBLISHER'S NOTE < v 

I. RURAL DEVELOPMENT (GENERAL.) 1 

Various aspects of the expression R. D. Its scope and 
limitation features of R. D. programmes in various 
districts and provinces. Voluntary effort in R. D. 
Sir John Anderson's definition definite meaning 
for continuity of programme. Need of fixing primary 
functions of R. D. worker his limitations. Work 
done elsewhere in Bengal personal explanation. 
How the ideas were evolved at Sirajganj reference 
to the 4 addresses on : 

(1) U. Bd. (2) Debt Conciliation, Agriculture and 
Industries. (3) Education & (4) Rural Develop- 
ment what U. Bds. can do. 

II. RURAL INDEBTEDNESS. 10 

Chief economic problems how to lighten the burden 
of debt, and augment sources of income. Indebted- 
ness risk of socialistic revolution. Debt soncilia- 
tion a moratorium Rural population and the 
Mahajan need of limiting power of exploitation 
and providing alternative sources of credit. Money- 
lenders' Bill Earning power of rural population. 



(H) 



CHAPTER. PAGE. 

Debts analysed productive and unproductive debts. 
5% quite enough for village Mahajan. Productive 
debts for seed, cattle or purchase of land. Result 
of economic enquiry held in Sirajganj last year-- 
Co-operative's inability to pay the current demand 
of interest. .Debts a necessity and Mahajan to get 
profit. Agriculturist countries of the world special 
legislation for cultivators* debt ^-legislation needed 
for Bengal peasantry. 

III. CO-OPERATION. ... ... ... ... 18 

Review of the Co-operative movement in Bengal. 
Critical analysis Indebtedness Co-operative spirit- 
high rate of interest Mahajan and Co-operative 
Bank. Co-operation the need of developing new Co- 
operative system to suit Indian conditions need of 
co-operative propaganda. Need of improving sources 

of income of co-operative debtors by improving Agri- 
culture and Industries. Supervisors to be qualified 
agricultural experts rate of interest 5% from socie- 
ties saving to be made compulsory creation of edu- 
cation fund, medical help etc. 

Provincial Bank to charge 4% from Mofussil banks, 
The theory of high rate of interestindependent so- 
cieties a moratorium for arrear interest, the su- 
preme ethics of saving the peasantry. Co-operative 
debt and Debt Conciliation suggestion need of 
reviving the movement Co-oparative banks in each 
Thana how to proceed. Development of Agricul- 
ture and industries debt of the cultivators Debt 
Conciliation Boards. 

IV. AGRICULTURE. ... ... ... ... 38 

General condition of Agriculture Indian Agriculture 

need of demonstration warning. Limited resour- 
ces of the State self-help. Suggestion a Demons- 
tration Farm in each Union. Need of developing 
new crops and orchards. Farms to be developed to 
nurseries. How to start work Sirajganj experi- 



(ii ) 



CHAPTER. PAGE. 

ment the initial difficulties. Funds responsibility 
of Central Boards, District and Union Boards 
their willingness qualified Agricultural demonstra- 
tors practicability of the idea. Departmental de- 
monstrator Thana Farm under Thana Co-operative 
Banks direct supervision of Co-operative staff train- 
ed in Agriculture. How to train them. Farms as 
paying concerns cattle breed, lead of H. E. the 
Viceroy stud bull s their maintenance pasture 
lands in Bengal silted up beels and river banks for 
grazing grounds grazing cess. Holding and the Agri- 
cultultural Debtors' Act fragmentation criticism 
of the Act. Suggestions. Minimum size. 

V. COTTAGE INDUSTRIES. 51 

Cottage Industries, a potentiality in rural economics. 
Weaving provision of employment. Difficulties 
competition of mill-made and foreign goods. Pay- 
ment of duty policy of protection increasing duty 
on coarse cloth. Petty cottage industries. Sirajganj 
Scheme combination of capitalism and co opera- 
tion combination of business and training centres 
factory school. Distribution of shares business 
organiser and share-holders. Training school, a part 
of factory. The scheme and solution o? several pro- 
blems of industry. Chief defects of the present wea- 
ver. Revival of the industry merits of Sirajganj 
scheme training in new method facilities for pur- 
chase and sale weaving, a supplement to Agricul- 
ture solution of Bhadrolok unemployment. 

VI. EDUCATION. - 63 

Introduction 4 broad heads Primary, Secondary, 
Female and Adult. 

SECTION I. PRIMARY EDUCATION. 64 
Primary Education Act, Lack of interest and clash 
of interest Educated unemployed Leaders of thou- 
ght, the universities and illiteracy. Need of making 



(iv) 



CHAPTER. PAGE. 

education free and compulsorySir Nazimuddin's 
Education Act. Funds and reduction of middle 
man's profit Duty of the State education cess. 
Distribution of schools necessity, the criterion 
the ideal Reasons wastage in education sub- 
jects to be taught religious education Standard- 
condition of present Schools efficiency of teachers 
Sirajganj Teachers' Training Scheme results 
need of provincialization ( vide Appendix I. ) 

SECTION II. ( SECONDARY EDUCATION ) 79 
Bias against H. E. School school education 
wrong ideal the service craze. Vocational educa- 
tion schools and ppecialisation in cne of 3 subjects, 
Trade and commerce, technical education and indus- 
tries, Agricultural Farming schools to amalgamate 
if necessary education -elf-paying, lumber and 
distribution of H. E. Schools Smiles radius need 
of changing the ideal of education, means and 
ability test its advantages. Training of teachers in 
Agricultural short course practical training Siraj- 
ganj scheme ( vi'fe Appendix II. ) 

SECTION: ill. (FEMALE EDUCATION) 85 
The fair sex and freedom her nature and constitu- 
tionproper sphere the ideal of female education. 
Economic independence for women middle educa- 
tion equivalent to Matriculation and this latter 
equivalent to Graduation for girls One High school 
in each subdivision. Prime ry and middle schools for 
girls utilisation of existing primary and Middle 
school building a special course the good daughter, 
the good sister, the good housewife and the good 
mother classes ( vide Appendix III ) 

SECTION iv. (ADULT EDUCATION) 93 

Adult education Western model Indian masses 
three R's Adult Education Committee of Bengal's 



(v) 



CHAPTER. PAGE. 

programme, A conception mass literacy for all male 
adults majority to be educated in 5 years element 
of compulsion the symbolical illiteracy tax. Night 
school in every village accommodation and 
finance mushti bhiksha and U. Bd grants a C. O. 
for every 8 Unions D. B. to contribute for lamps. 
Adult population and children. The special course 
and its contents -re-capitulation and details. 

APPENDIX I. i vii 

Syllabus of Primary School Teachers' short-course 
training. 

APPENDIX IT. viii-x 

A scheme for opening Agricultural garden or farm in 
H. E. and M. E. Schools. 

APPENDIX III xlxvi 

Syllabus of a four years' course of Girls' Education. 

VII. THE UNION BOARD. 103 

Union Boards their role in rural uplift common 
defectslow assessment U. S. 37 (b) inequalities in 
assessment reasons chronic ills. Main function of 
Union Boards statutory obligation, other duties of 
Union Boards. Need of high assessment U. S. 37 (b) 
discussion of the position need for action U. S. 40 
V. S. G. Act how tax on increasing incomes should 
be levied success in Sirajganj, difficu! ties- reme- 
dies classification minor reforms. Expenditure on 
education how to increase it to finance night 
schools. Boards controlled by indisciplined Bhadra- 
loks need of vesting Executive Officers with powers 
to control part II of Union Board budgets. Step not 
antidemocratic practice of nomination to local bo- 
diesExecutive Officer his authority from popular 
Government. Majority of Boards composed of sen- 
sible men. Example of Sirajganj. 



(vi) 



CHAPTER. PAGE. 

Vide Appendix IV. (at the end of the book) i iv 
(0 Classification of U. B's system of marking mea- 
sure of efficiency. 
(it) U. B. Assessment jurisdiction of Civil Courts 

anomaly litigation suggested remedy. 
VIII. RURAL DEVELOPMENT (proper). 124 

SECTION I. 

Introduction short history start in Sirajganj in 
October 1936 questionnaire to leading men. The 
conference organisation a Newspaper, the Palli 
Prodip R.D. circulars results. The brightest side 
new spirit of self-reliance service to fellow-beings 
qualities in a public worker aims and objects to edu- 
cate to improve sanitation to build better Bengal 
self-help. Programme sanitation communication 
sports and education need of common clubs in India. 
Use of existing school building for girls, boys, adults 
clubs in the night new sheds by subscribed bamboos 
and straw. A night school for every village Mushti 
Bhiksha and U. Bd. grants. 

SECTION II. 134 

Organisation constitution of village committees, 
Union Societies, Thana association Central R. D. 
Council organisation at Sirajganj the results of 
experience members-in-charge separate portfolio 
systemhow to guide the workers in the council 
selection of right type of men their essential quali- 
ties the oat'i its effects. Reorganisation after test 
future worker. 

SECTION ill. uo 

Finance general R. D. programme self-help how 
to finance various items of the programme Dist. 
Bds. and Co-operative Banks and U. Bds., grants 
etc. - their co-ordination U. Boards, R. D. workers 
road programmes funds U. Bds. to finance 
adult education its advantages. 



(vii) 



CHAPTER. PAGE. 

SECTION IV. 143 

Amusement village life night schools strain 
remedies gramophones instructive music practi- 
cability of the idea expenditure and D. Eds. Brata- 
chari movement its connection with R. D. pro- 
gramme. 

SECTION V. 147 

Inspection and encouragement mass meetings B. 
D. days end weeks Sources from which workers 
should be collected for the purpose diaries to 
Union and Captain Secy's R. D. Circulars 
care in dealing with U. Bds. Recognition challenge 
cup and Medals challenge shield for best village in 
each Thana and in the whole Subdivision Medal to 
Union Secretaries, Presidents and worker?. The basis 
of decision the competition scheme, The Judges, 
Concluding remarks. 

Vide Appendix IV A. ( at the end of the book) v x 
(0 Additional sources of funds for R. D. Ixwar 
Britti & merchants suggestions regulation 
of collection. 

(ii) Inspection of R. D. work a new agency. 

(Hi) R. D. Diary Form. 

(iv) Propaganda officer with magic lantarns, cinema, 
gramophones, wireless pet a weekly news- 
paper circulation. 

IX. ECONOMY IN PUBLIC SERVICES. 154 

SECTION I. 154 

False notions about the high ray of Government 
Officers, the correct angle of vision to look at offi- 
cers the true line of economy. 

SECTION II. ... 157 

Suggestions,- amalgamation of S. R.'s., S. I/s. of 
Schools, Special Officers and C.O/e. short history of 
the proposal, reasons criticism of the pro;osal by 



( viii ) 

CHAPTER. PAGE. 

Divisional Inspector of Schools. D. S. Officers their 
jurisdiction waste of time in duplication of journeys 

by various officers. 8-Union-area Charge or Unit 

Officers practicability reference to statements 
short course training in inspection work saving of 
3,50,000/- for the whole province easy control; 
Collector to act under D. P. I., conclusion. 

SECTION III. 171 

P. W. D. t District Engineering staff the saving 
utilised. 

Vide Appendix V. (at the end of the book) 

Summary of statements A E containing data to 
illustrate Sec. II, Chapter IX cost, savings, reduction 
and absorption of the surplus staff. Suggestions for 
the recruitment of the new services responsibilities 
of the present Executive. 

X, RECAPITULATION AND THE FUTURE. 174 
Money-lenders capitalists humanity debtor State 
co-operation credit voluntary effort Executive 
the necessary will safeguarding the interest of 
castes & communities mutual accommodation con- 
clusion. 

Appendices IV & IV (A) - ix 

Appendix V ixi 



Foreword. 

I consider it a privilege to be asked to write a 
Foreword to this book. It will hardly be an exaggera- 
tion to state that it is only rural reconstruction work 
taken up in real earnest that can to-day save the peo- 
ple of Bengal. The first and the most important step 
consists in awaking the people from their lethargy, in 
arousing* in them the consciousness that it is their duty 
to co-operate with each other to improve their own 
condition, and that they have in themselves enough latent 
resources which, pooled together, can solve most of the 
problems of the countryside. The needs and require- 
ments of different areas may vary, but only within narrow 
limits: some places miy.be usually affected by drought, 
others by flooJs ; some areas may have been decimated 
by malaria and in others the onditions miy not have 
deteriorated tj thab extent. Tliara are, ho waver, certain 
requirements which are common to all the rural areas. 
Ic is unnecessary for me to enumerate them, as they 
have been to a very large extent dealt with in this 
most admirable book, and once the people of each area 
begin to think out their own requirements and the ways 
and means of improving their condition, they will un- 
doubtedly find more and more subjects to engage their 
attention. There appaars, however, to ba an inherent 
weakness in this kind of work, viz : that a great deal 



(H) 



depends upon the personality and the drive of an indi- 
vidual officer who inspires and directs the operations. 
Theie is therefore great danger of a lack ofj continuity' 
in the Work and of a relapse, not only on the depar- 
ture of that particular officer, but due ta the diminution 
irt enthusiasm tin tire part of workers, Who are being 
called ripon to take up arduous duties through purely 
altruistic motives. It is therefore imperative, firstly, 
to arouse the consciousness of the people so as to make 
them independent of external influences, to educate them 
in tbfe principles of self-helpfth education which will 
be greatly accelerated when they see before them the 
fruits of their own self-help, and, secondly, to create a 
permanent organisation linked up in some form or other 
with Ibcal self-governing institutions, which will thus 
give to it a degree of continuity. Mr. Ishaqiie Ins suc- 
ceeded admirably in doing both. The achievements of 
Ixis Organisation ttifchin the last year have been so stu- 
pendous and magnificent that they have exceeded all 
possible expectations as to the potentialities of self-help 
and have ripeiied a new vista with illimitable prospfects. 
The peoplfe have been aroused fi'dtn their lethargy ; 
futile petitions f'ir grants and subvefations have given 
way to the spirit of self-sacrifice hitd of co-operation, 
and, Rescued from the tiarkiiess of despair* they noW 
lotok forwtard with ifoflte to , new d&\vn, Which will 
k'i-pfeu ih due course to the brightness of a n f $on-d>ay sun, 
TlVe Sui)dMsiottal (irg%ni$&ti<m feas it^ foundations itt vil- 
oi-g'Aiiisationd, And welftit^ Work lias pervaded 



all the departments of rural activity. The Education pro- 
gramme is ambitious, -but the success already achieved is 
almost incredible. The aim is to establish night schools 
for' adults in -every village and a Boys' and a Girls* 
School for every one square mile of area, and a Middle 
English School for every 12 square miles. Already 1500 
mght schools, 500 new girls' scho >ls, 750 boys 1 schools and 
15 Middle English schools have been established. There 
are training camps for teachers and public libraries with 
play-grounds and clubs have been attached to the exist- 
ing school buildings. It would indeed seem that if each 
locality attempted to solve its own educiti>nal problems 
through its rural reconstruction organisation, it could do 
so with little outside assistance. Tn the department of 
agriculture 21 model farms have been opened ; improved 
ploughs and seeds have been supplied ; demonstrators have 
been appointed for each of three circles to guide and 
advise the cultivators, and it is expected to open a dozen 
more farms. Persons have been induced to donate ten 
stud-bulls. Weaving factory schools have been established 
for training unemployed youths with a small share capi- 
tal subscribed by the villagers themselves. Jungles have 
been cleared ; waterhyacinth destroyed ; stagnant pools 
filled up; drainage improve!; new roads laid down and 
old- roads reclaimed. There is also a weekly paper which 
carries to the villagers the message of hope and gives 
them information regarding the work that has been 
done,, that can be done and that should be done. These 
are wonderful achievements, but, greatest of all is the 



(iv) 

achievement of having inspired a band of selfless workers, 
with unbounded and ever-increasing enthusiasm, who in 
their turn have infused new life and vigour and hope 
amongst the public. They have falsified tje theory that 
the Indian cultivator is conservative and is not prepared 
to improve his condition. Given the right direction and 
the right inspiration, he is ready to take every advantage 
of facilities for improving his condition. If 'he has not 
done so up till now,' the fault has not lain with him. 

There is jus.t one other problem that needs con- 
sideration, viz : how to ensure the constant guidance and 
supervision and impetus so necessary for this work. A 
sub-division is perhaps too big a unit through which to 

control the manifold activities of rural reconstruction so- 

' t 

ciety. It is only an exceptional person, a man not only 
brilliant but hard-working and self-annihilating, a man 

prepared to undertake the work in a spirit of fanaticism 

i 
who can sufficiently guide and control all the activities. 

It may indeed be considered desirable to create smaller 
administrative units and adjust and re-distribute the duties 
of the officers of Government. 

I have the greatest pleasure in commending this 
book to the consideration of all persons interested ita 
the welfare of India. It is replete with 'ideas and sug- 
gestions; it embodies the practical results of the work 
61 an officer -who has given his best to this work and 
has made it the greatest interest of his ;life- It has the 
nierit of being practical, and the greater merit of -success, 



(v) 



I have every hope that the work which is being done 
in Serajganj under the guidance of Mr. Ishaque will be 
a valuable guide to rural reconstruction work in general. 



Calcutta, 

The 10th January I 



1938. 



H, S. Suhrawardy* 



Errata 



68, / 20 

x, I 8 

2, I 12 

75, I 20 

115, f 3 



for "word in" //* read 



"difficn'.t problen" 

"everyithing" 

"To" 

"46%" 



"difficult problem** 
everything" 
"Two" 



. Chap.VII "Kural Development" 
1*4, f ^.^ (General)" > 

"times" . 

before Vice President, 



caption 
146, 1 12 
151, last para, 



Appendix V\ 
Page VII 3 



"Junnior" 



"Rural Develop- 
ment (Particular)" 

"items" 
President. 

"Junior" 



Preface. 



On the 26th July, 1937, I was sitting in the 
Shazadpur Dak Bungalow when one of my favourite 
workers, Mr. Abdul Hye, M. A., Circle Officer, Shazadpur, 
came in to discuss some points regarding the rural deve- 
lopment movement. After he had gone I felt that the 
time had come when the programme and instructions 
contained in my Rural Development addresses and 
circulars should be consolidated in the form of a book- 
let. The urge to write took me to the desk. The 
introduction took a general trend and I found I had 
got into a mess of ideas. I could not, however, make 
much progress that day. More urgent public duties 
awaited my attention. 

Next day I tried again but for the same reasons 
could not make much headway. Things continued in 
this way and it was after a whole week had passed that 
I could get to the end of the first chapter. 

In the meantime my wife who kept a very close 
watch on the amount of work J did every day, went 
away home leaving me free to indulge in *as much 
hard work as I desired, particularly on topics that inter- 
ested me so much and for which official duties never 
spared me peace and leisure. Even then the heavy 



(H) 



programme of meetings at head-quarters in the first 
fortnight with all the routine work on top, hardly spared 
me time for concentrated thinking. Then there is the 
limit of 24 hours and one must keep fit to work. Still 
I added another three chapters by the 16th. 

On the 17th August I went out on tour for 
a week in the launch, and though I had a heavy pro- 
gramme to go through, I found more leisure than 
at headquarters, and^ in these 7 days I have written 
tbe remaining 6 chapters which occupy more than two* 
thirds of the book. I have, ofcourse, made a rather 
liberal use of the material I already possessed, my 
several addresses and notes, but this could be hardly 
helped as I was so very much pressed for time. 

To-morrow the 24th I hope to give away these 

sheets to the typists and, I have no doubt they will 

make a mess of the composition. But I cannot possibly 

spare time to look into the typed copies. On the 

28th I hope to go away on a short holiday to Kashmere 

and before that all the works pending in the office 

must be disposed of. But even when due allowance 

has been made for all these difficulties, the book may 

have many faults. Many useful ideas may have been 

omitted, and discussions * left incomplete. The language 

may lack polish that a second reading could give. I can 

only hope that considering the pressure of work and 

the hurry with which the book has been written my 

readers will not take these defects too seriously. My 



1 '.' \ ' 

(ill) 

trusted colleague and friend Babu Gauri prasanna Bis- 
was, M. *., i?. T., has very kindly undertaken to 
publish it and it is now for him to make it what it 
would be. If the book is found readable the credit 
would be mostly his. 

My object in writing this book is nothing more 
than to throw some light on the real problems of 
Rural Bengal and to indicate the possible and practi- 
cable lines of improvement in a concrete form. I do 
not claim finality for my findings and proposals. But 
however insignificant, I am a worker, and have tested 
most of my ideas. This has naturally given me enhanced 
confidence and my expressions may have, at times, be- 
come too strong. It is, therefore, possible that in places 
my observations may appear pungent to those with 
whom I have differed, even though they are directed 
neither against any particular individual nor against 
any particular class. I may have, for instance, ques- 
tioned the honesty of the so-called champions of the 
rural masses ; I may have, at times, described them as 
mere dreamers or platitudinists whose solicitude for the 
masses is confined to fiery speeches and active opposition 
to all practical and useful activities. The expressions 
have their justification, but they are not meant to an- 
tagonise any one. Even if only a few would imbibe this 
new spirit, I would consider myself very lucky indeed, 
and my labours amply rewarded. 



(iv ) 

In conclusion let me hope the book will make a 
useful contribution to the cause of rural uplift in India 
and particularly in Bengal. It may also be of some help 
to those who have been entrusted with the task of 
moulding the destinies of the country. Here and there 
touches of skepticism will be observed, but in reality I 
am a bold and confident optimist. I have faith in man's 
constructive genius, howsoever bad the material, and I look 
forward, very confidently to see Bengal develop into a 
brighter and happier country ere long. I wish to see 
her champions burn down all their personal jealousies and 
class interests in a new flamp, the passion of raising and 
uplifting Bengal's down-trodclen and neglected masses. I 
wish to see her avowed spokesmen search their hearts 
for truth and sincerity and face the realities in an hone&t 
and truly patriotic spirit. Let the spirit of democracy 
be translated into practice. Let her vitalising rays brighten 
not only the homns of the rich, but also the broken ham- 
lets of the poor. MAY THAT GLOKIOUS DAWN 
BREAK EARLY. 



SIRAJGANJ, 

The 23rd. August, 1937. ^' * I. 



Publisher's Note. 

The following few pages contain the history of the 
Rural Development Scheme inaugurated by the author in the 
Subdivision of Serajganj (District Pabna, Bengal) together with 
some of his ideas of educational and economic reforms which 

to 

may give the reader enough food for thought and provide 
enough guidance for workers engaged in similar activities. 

Villages, specially in an agricultural country like India, 
are the life-centres of the nation ; but the vibrations of life are 
hardly palpable there partly due to poverty and partly due to the 
appalling illiteracy that prevails. The best methods of utilising 
the resources at their disposal are unknown to the villagers. 

Now that India is at the threshold of a constitutional 
Renascence under a people's government, her villages need a 
special treatment if she is to be led abreast of her racing sister 
countries. The villagers must be made to outlive their torpor of 
by-gone days. They must be given a lead to make the most of 
their present situation. The bickerings and factions of the 
present which are more imaginary and evanescent than real and 
permanent must be given an immediate burial. In the words of 
Mr. F. L, BraynB, one of the accredited pioneers in the sphere 
of Rural Reconstruction in the Punjab, "Capitalist and agri- 
culturist, rural and urban, official and non-official, landowner 
and tenant, instead of abandoning the land while they fight to 
get the most out of -each other, must all work together to get 

the most out of the land Self-help and mutual help are 

the only remedies for our difficulties and these must be born of a 
knowledge that a better, happier and healthier life is possible, 



( "vi ') 

and of a firm desire and intention to achieve that higher 
standard of life if it is 'humanly possible to do so." 

The same is the ideal held up by the author before 
the workers in this subdivision though the methods may 
differ. In the midst of multifarious administrative activities 
his sole consuming passion is 'rural uplift' to make the sub- 
division jpf Serajganj better to-morrow than to-day. He has 
made a studious and extensive survey of the economic, agri- 
cultural and industrial possibilities of the subdivision and has 
launched an elaborate scheme of rural reconstruction which, 
unlike the sporadic and scattered attempts made in this 
direction elsewhere, is original and most comprehensive. I 
cannot do better than append hereto the Government commu- 
nique issued last October which gives a correct estimate 
of what has so far been achieved. The Editor of the States- 
man thought it fit to write a long leader on Rural Develoi>- 
ment work in Serajganj ( The Statesman of the 19th 
October, 1937. ) 

The author did not have sufficient time atad opportu- 
nity, as will appear from his own preface also, to arrange his 
notes and writings and it was with difficulty that the copyist 
and the publisher could catch him and keep him to the pace. 
Further, the book had to be hurried through the press in an 
unusually short space of time and so defects in the printing 
and get-up were inevitable. But we do hope that if the gentle 
reader bears us to the end of this volume, we shall feel our 
humble labours amply rewarded. 



SERAJGANJ (Bengal), 

The 22nd December, 
1937 



PUBLISHER. 



With compliments to 

THE PRESS OFFICER, 

GOVERNMENT OF BENGAL, 
WRITERS'_BUILDINGS, 

Press-note, dated, Calcutta, the 7th. October, 1937. 

i 

( T&UE COPY ) 

RURAL UPLIFT IN SIRAJGANJ SUBDIVISION. 

With "Better home3 and villages" as the motto and 
the spirit of self-help and co-operative voluntary efforts as 
principle of operation a movement has been started for the 
improvement of rural areas and the amelioration of the condi- 
tion of the people in the subdivision of Sirajganj. The 
movement initiated only about a year ago by the Subdivisional 
Officer Mr. H. 8. M. Ishaque, I. C. S., and organised by him 
with the assistance of a few selfless official and non-official 
gentlemen, has achieved * remarkable results in a surprisingly 
short time. He did not proceed to act haphazardly on hastily 
conceived schemes. He formulated a comprehensive scheme 
after a careful survey of the condition of the rural population 
and their needs. A Conference of the members of the Union 
Boards and other leading gentlemen of the Subdivision was 
then called where his scheme was thoroughly discussed and 
the programme of work and the lines of action were 
determined, 



( viii ) 

Dissemination of literacy amongst the illiterate masses 
was the principal item on the programme, as it is bound to be in 
any scheme of rural uplift. The other important items on the 
programme are the development of agriculture and industry, of 
communication and the improvement of sanitation and 
drainage. 

To implement the scheme rural development organisa- 
tions, composed of voluntary workers only, have been esta- 
blished all over the subdivision. There is a Central Rural 
Development Council at the headquarters station of the subdivi- 
sion guiding and regulating the activities of a heirarchy of sub- 
ordinate organisations established iu each thana, Union Board 
and village. A band of earnest local workers having a flair fur 
social uplift work is at the helm of these organisations. 

For the liquidation of illiteracy the organisation aims 
at establishing a night school for adults in every village and a 
boys' and girls' school for every one square mile of area and 
a Middle English School for every twelve square miles. 1500 
night schools have already been opened where 50,00 adults are 
receiving!education. 500 new girls' schools and 750 new Boys' 
schools have been started attended by about 35,000 children. 
15 middle English Schools have already been opened and 9 more 
are shortly expected to be opened. In many of the villages 
girls are taught in the morning, boys during the day and 
adults at night in the same building. Attempts are also being 
made to improve the existing primary schools. 

For improving the standard of teaching, training camps 
under the supervision of qualified teachers have been opened in 
different centres and so far 300 teachers have been trained in 



six centres. This training scheme cost Rs. 3000/- in the first 
session. This expenditure was met partly from Union Board 
contributions and partly from District School Board grant. 
The Principal of the David Hare Training College, Calcutta 
visited some of the camps and was impressed with the efficiency 
with which the teachers were being trained in their camps. 

In order to create an atmosphere conducive to the 
spread of education a large number of public libraries with 
attached play grounds and clubs have been started in the exist- 
ing school buildings. The desideratum of the organisers is to 
make primary education compulsory in the area not with the 
sanction of any law but by the pressure of public opinion. 

For the improvement of agriculture 21 model farms 
have been opened. Improved ploughs and seeds have been 
supplied to these farms. The subdivision has been divided into 
3 circles and a demonstrator appointed for each circle to look 
after the farms and to guide and advise the cultivators. 
About a dozen more such farms are expected to be opened 
shortly. 

For the improvement of live stock, 10 stud bulls have 
been purchased at a cost of Rs. 160Q/- donated by some chari- 
table people of the subdivision. The bulls have been distributed 
in different areas and placed in charge of responsible persons. 

Attempts are being made to revive the weaving industry 
for increasing the income of +he agriculturists by affording 
them subsidiary occupation. 7 weaving factory schools have 
been started for training unemployed youths in the villages. 
Each such weaving factory school has been formed into a 
co-operative society or joint stock company with a share capital 
of Rs. 1200/- to Rs. 1500/- subscribed to by the villagers 
themselves. 



(*) 

Particular attention is being paid to the sanitary impro- 
vement of the villages. The village organizations are pushing 
on with the work of jungle clearance and destruction of water 
hyacinth, A large number of insanitary stagnant ditches have 
been filled Tip and the existing pools joined together along the 
natural slope Of the villages. Many khals have been excavated 
in "different parts of the subdivision to drain off stagnant water. 

Communication is a difficnlt problen in the subdivision 
as during a great part of the year the whole area is submerged 
under water. To rembve this difficulty, 500 new roads with a 
mileage of about 500 miles have been constructed and an equal 
number of old and disused roads with a mileage of about 350 
miles have been reclaimed. This has proved a great boon to the 
people. 

To encourage the wDrkers and also "with a view to 
accelerate the progress of the whole scheme a number of prizes 
for the best workers and shields forthe best villages have been 
declared. This is expected to give a great impetus to the move- 
ment. A weekly organ devoted to the cause of villagers and 
their welfare has been started' under the auspices of fhe Rural 
Development Council, 

It must be said to the credit of Mr. IsTiaque and liis 
associates that before launching the scheme, they were 'neither 
deterred nor thwarted by the financial liabilities involved in 
implementing the scheme an^. the most remarkable thing 
about the movement is that it is being carried on practically 
without any monetary assistance from outside, No great 
cost has* however, to be incurred as the villagers themselves 
voluntarily and readily perform all the work that they can 
possibly do themselves, Necessary funds are raised 'from the 



(xi) 



villagers themselves by Musti-collection and by contributions 
from Union Boards. 

Material results, considerable though they have been 
already, are not the only or the principal achievements of 
the movement. Its most outstanding achievement is the 
general awakening it has succeeded in creating amongst the 
lethargic and indifferent masses and the lesson that it is 
slowly and steadily instilling into their minds that they can 
improve their lot by their own efforts. 



Uii) 

A note from the President, R. D % Council, 
Sirajganj. 

" I would be failing in my duty if I do not record the names 
of.the most prominent champions of the Rural Development Scheme 
at Sirajganj but for whose sincere and untiring efforts the scheme 
could not have achieved the success it has. The list has, however, 
to be very brief as there are hundreds of brilliant and devoted 
workers particularly in the rural areas and to mention the names 
of all would be to attempt to do too much. I have, therefore, con 
fined myself to the few most steady of the chief executives of the 
Rural Development Council only. 

1. Maulvi Saadat Hossain Choudhury, B. A., Deputy Magistrate, 

Vice-President. R. D. Council. 

2. Maulvi Osman Goni, Chairman, Local Board, Member in charge 

of Organisation. 

3. Mr. Gauriprasanna. Biswas, M. A., B. T., 

Member in charge of Teachers' Training (Publisher) 

4. Maulvi Abul Hossain, Retired Inspector of Police, Member 

in charge of Adult Education. 

5. Maulvi Amir Hossain, B. L., Member in charge of Secondary 

Education. 

6. Babu Naresh Narayan Choudhury, M. A., B L., Member 

in charge of Agriculture. 

7. Maulvi Khaliluddin Talukder, Member in charge of Cottage 

Industries* 

8. Maulvi Zahurul Islam, M. A., Editor of the "Palli-Prodip." 

9. Babu Sasi Lai Roy, B. L., Secretary, B. L. School, Member in 

charge of Female Education and Joint-member 
In charge of Cottage Industries. 

10. Maulvi Abdul Hye. M. A., Circle Officer, Shahazadpur. 

11. Maulvi Mohammad Mohsin, B. A., Circle Officer, Sirajganj. 

12. Babu Saileswar Singh Roy, B. A., Circle Officer, Ullapara. 

S. M. J. " 



Rural Development. 

( GENERAL. ) 



The expression "Rural Development" has been applied 
to such a variety of activities and has been given such a 
diversity of interpretation by different persons that I am 
tempted to discuss at some length its manysided aspects 
and its scope and limitations. The Government of India 
Rural Development grant of 1935-1936 was spent chiefly 
on : 

(1) Water supply, (2) Play grounds, (3) Dispen- 
saries, (4) Agricultural farms and (5) Libraries. The 
1937-40 grant has been earmarked for the first two heads 
to which two new items, namely, (6) Cattle improvement 
and (7) Communication and drainage have been added. The 
distinctive features of the Punjab Government programme 
as far as memory helps, seems to be consolidation of 
holding and co-operative activities. The Official R. D. 
programme of the Government of Bengal consists mainly 
of jute restriction and debt conciliation only. 

Individual officials working independently have 
added still more variety. Some have paid concentrated 
attention to water hyacinth clearance, some to commu- 
nication and jungle-cutting, while some others have 
tried to set up model villages equipped with their own 



Rural Bengal. 



dispensary, post office, school, parks, broad ways and so 
on, presumably with a view to stimulate ideas and to 
realise the dream of a Utopian countryside. 'Joint effort 5 
has formed everywhere the basic principle, and consider- 
able amount of useful work has been done by voluntary 
labour in many places. The most conspicuous monument 
of this kind is the Brahmanbaria Khal which demons- 
trated with abundant success an:l literally regenerated 
the power of self-help in Bjngil. But what is the scale 
of values with which the importance and utility of each 
class of activity should b3 ju.lgel is still very much 
in the dark. Should anything and everything likely to 
help the villagers come uader Rural Development or 
should the expression be given some particular and 
definite meaning ? This is the question I propose to 
answer. His Excellency Sir J. Anderson, Governor of 
Bengal, has very rightly laid emphasis on voluntary 
effort in Rural .Development work, and I suppose to 
make his statement complete and sufficiently comprehen- 
sive, and has also added, if I remember aright, that every 
department of the Government is concerned directly or 
indirectly with 'Rural Development. 

His Excellency's statement is literally true and 
leaves little to be added. But if I may be permitted 
to say so, I fear such a definition is liable to suffer from 
its own strength, its conprehensiveness which may lead 
to mean everything in general and nothing in particular. 



Rural Development 



I do not deny that conditions will differ from province 
to province, from district to district, nay, from village 
to village and it is only fair that each village should 
be left free to evolve its own schemes suited to it$ own 
peculiar needs and requirements. But we can hardly 
forget that the calibre of the E. D. worker, if the 
movement is to penetrate the villagers, will remain Very 
low for a considerable period of time and too many things 
may not be gooi for him. Besides, it is ; an undeni- 
able fact that in activities of this nature, it is only one 
or two individuals, usually one the executive head of 
a Dis*-. or Sub-division, who gives -life and sh.ipo to 
these activities and to whom the people look for guid- 
ance and encouragement. 

For the officers themselves it is a splendid thing. 
It provides them a unique opportunity to exercise initia- 
tive, test their own capacities and render useful service to 
the people. But in the absence of any well-defined and 
chalked-out programme, it also suffers from lack of 
continuity and cohesion and, may be, that for one year 
the people of a Sub-division or District may be found 
swimming all over the pond 3 after water hyacinth and in 
the next year, all their energy may have to be devoted 
to jungle-cutting or road-making or dancing or sports or 
something else. Thiis has happened and will continue to 
happen and is not, after all, a very uncommon experi- 
ence. It is therefore obvious and highly desirable that 
eiferts should be made to systematise the E. D. movement 



4 Rural Bengal. 



at least in respect of such essentials as may appear to 
be common factors all over the province of Bengal. 

This leads me into the question of what these 
common factors can be, and may form the essential 
minima that the expression Rural Development should 
signify in Bangal. Bat before I proceed to discuss the 
merit of each point, I should like to make it clear 
first that, in my opinion, some activities, howsoever 
useful and urgent, e. g., water supply, agriculture and 
industries will, in practice, be found too heavy for the 
power of the oriiniry villag3 worker anl should never 
ba thrust upon him. Not that I mean to suggest that 
these important activities should ba excluded from the 
field of Rural Development, but that they will demand a 
higher grade of worker anl will have to be tackled in 
the main by state departments anl other local bodies 

as at presant, with, of course, increase! vigour and 
vitality derived from the reaction of the new spirit and 

the new life and activitiy that the movement is expected 
to infuse in the people. 

In the discussions that will follow, my own ideas 
anl conceptions of Rural Davelopmant and the experi- 
ence g lined from working the scheme on an extensive 
scale in the Sirajgunj Sub-division will naturally have 
an important bearing on my findings. I should, there- 
fore, confess, at the outset, my shortcomings and draw- 
backs in this respect. Newspaper reports indicate that 



Rural Development, 



considerable amount of good work has been done and 
is being dpne in Bogra, Khulna and many other centres 
in Bengal. But I am very much in the dark whether 
these attempts have been sporadic in their nature or 
any effort to systematise the work and to carry the 
spark into every village has been made. Of what has 
been done elsewhere outside the province I know very 
little indeed. Quite apart from the fact that what holds 
good in the Punjab or U. P. may not hold good in 
Bengal, and blind imitation may be useless. I do not 
get much leisure to read and even when I do get 
some, I do not always find foreign models very help- 
ful. Not being a respecteV of persons I do not accept 
things on their face *alue. I must be convinced. I 
have, therefore, to depend mainly for all my ideas and 
inspirations upon the school of experience and have to 
test them in the laboratory of observation and personal 
reasoning. It helps. If nothing more, it saves me from 
going 'nationalist' and gives a practical touch to most 
of my ideas and schemes. 

One word more before this personal explanation 

is closed. Sporadic efforts and disconnected bits, how- 

^ 

ever bright, have no appeal for me. Beiftg an optimist 
I have a tendency to plan on a comprehensive scale. 
In the TJ. Bd. and E. D. conference, held at Serajgunj 
in October, 1936, which I had the privilege to convene, 
the delegates were welcomed in the following terms : 



6 Rural Bfengal. 



"Such Conferences have been held elsewhere and 
are being held every now and then. But it is not 
every Conference that leaves a permanent impression on 
those who are . called upon to attend it, nor does every 
Conference prove fruitful of results. Let us hope ours 
will not fall into that class. On the contrary, it will 
as I have visualise!, mark a new era in the history of 
an all-round development of the Sirajgunj Sub-division." 

Another passage from the same address may be 
quoted. If nothing m )i*o, it will clearly explain the method 
of work and the mind of the worker in Sirajgunj. 

"I feel I should not only run the administrative 
machinery, but must also contribute substantially to the 
shaping of the destinies of the people under my charge, 
This, as you can easily appreciate, is a tremendous respon- 
sibility and imposes severe checks on any careless meddling 
with the existing order of things. The S. D. 0. cannot 
recklessly start off with preconceived ideas or jump to con- 
clusions in a nonchalant way. He cannot afford to make 
mistakes or run the risk of pushing up things which may 
"ultimately prove to be of doubtful validity. He must 
r circumspect an! circumspect very cautiously. He must think 
and think hard with all the available materials and data 
before him. He must feel sure of every inch of the ground 
before he takes one step forward. But once he is satisfied 
and his mind made up, he should give complete freedom 
to his adminstrative genius. He should march on boldly 



Rural Development. 



and, not only that, I should say, go headlong with 
maximum speed and enthusiasm until all the obstacles 
have been met and the goal reached. 

But officers are individuals and differ in their 
temperament and outlook. There is the type of officer 
who is content with making here and there a model for 
the rest to follow. This is an effective policy for immediate 
results but limited in scope and utility. 

The other type is not content with scattered bits 
here and there but treats the subject as whole. He 
looks at things with a much wider angle of vision and 
plans out on a comprehensive scale, redistributing, where 
necessary, and creating new ones where nonexistent, so 
that every piece is so placed and linked up with the 
others as to give a complete system comprehending one 
and all. Seldom does this scheme bear immediate results ; 
but if and when it does, it effects a substantial improve- 
ment. It is to this latter type that I have the privi- 
lege or otherwise to belong. 

Before this Conference was called, an elaborate 
questionnaire was issued to all the leading men and organisa- 
tions to find what, in their opinion, the Subdivision really 
needed for its all-round development. The replies were 
examined, statistics collected and further enquiries made 
to find how far my solutions and ideas could stand the 
test of practical application. The findings have been 
embodied in 4 Addresses on (1) Union Boards, (2) 



8 Rural Bengal. 



Rural Indebtedness, Agriculture and Industries (3) Educa- 
tion and (4) Rural Development. These addresses are 
still useful and will make interesting reading for any one 
in Bengal who cares to look into them. 

In the chapters that will follow, the importance 
of each subject, its relation to and bearing on Rural Develop- 
ment and the limitations and capacity of various Rural 
Djvelopment organisations in tackling these problems 
will be discussed at some length. For the present it 
is enough to say that experience has only confirmed 
my original ideas and I do think that the expression 
"R. D.," though literally it may mean many things, 
should be given some more definite and particular mean- 
ing so that the village worker may know exactly what 
his primary duties are and may thus be in a position 
to concentrate on his work. 

It is needless to observe that the condition of 
the rural areas of Bengal is most deplorable. Yet I 
vividly see signs of a new life and refuse to believe 
that the difficulties deny solutions. In fact, I feel more 
and more hopeful every day and see a bright future 
ahead and not very remote either, if statesmen can 
bring sufficient vision and determination to bear upon 
the problems. The greatest curse of rural Bengal, as 
really of the whole of India, is the burden of debt. 
The recent legislation abont Debt Conciliation, I am 
sure, will bring about a substantial relief for the time 



Rural Development. 9 



being. Next in importance is the improvement of Agri- 
culture and the development of cottage industries. Both 
these problems admit of easy and practical solutions if 
attempt is made on the right lines and redtape is given 
a good shake. Considerable economy can be effected in 
many directions to find money for these activities on a 
practical scale. 

Education, the keynote to all other improvements, 
can be tackled effectively if the system is reorganised 
and a little more push and go put into it. Every 
body seems ' anxious to give it, every body wants it 
and I see no reason why the province should find it 
beyond its means or beyond tlio means of the people 
who must have it. I might be guilty of talking platitudes 
or of being a visionary, but I honestly believe that in 10 
years half of the population bi Bengal can be given con- 
siderable amount of literacy. The Union Boards can be 
developed to their fullest capacity if we really know how 
to do it and they can successfully tackle medical help 
and water supply and can also contribute substantially 
towards mass eudcation. The problem of improving village 
sanitation and drainage, village * communicator!, mass 
education, and the development of healthy, social and 
corporate- life:;i& the village mainly by voluntary labour 
and joint, ejfort.. should remain exclusively- the province 
of tlja Rural Development worker. 



CHAPTER II. 
Rural Indebtedness. 

Agriculture & Industries. 

The economic problems of this Sub- Division as of 
most other places resolve themselves into two heads, viz, 
(1) how to lighten the burden of the heavily indebted 
peasantry (2) how to improve and augment his sources 
of income. 

There is no doubt that the agriculturists and the 
generality of the rural population of India are over head 
and ears in debt, and this burden has become so heavy 
that it can no longer be ignored if they and their future 
generation are to be saved from perpetual serfdom. Agri- 
cultural produce have fallen in price, and the cultivator 
can no longer make both ends meet and yet pay something 
to his creditor. The rates of interests have been exorbi- 
tant and the loans have multiplied themselves rapidly 
with the result that, in most cases, even the sale of the 
landed property of the cultivator cannot redeem his debt. 

Thus some of cultivators have become mere labourers 
and the process continues unabated. What would be the 
inevitable consequence of this, one shrinks to think, and 
yet it would be folly to ignore the fact that soct&fi6i<3 



Rural IndebtedneM. 11 



propaganda is rapidly penetrating into fhe villages and 
a feeling is growing amongst many of the rural populace 
to-day that they would like to start with a clean slate, 
It is a subject I would rather have not discussed, had 
not the sense of duty impelled me to do so. The situation 
is very alarming indeed and I must put the pros and 
cons before you clearly and frankly, India is not Russia 
nor is India a country inhabited by a homogeneous people. 
It is a proverbially conservative country and the people 
are sharply divided between their one hundred and one 
religions and creeds. Any attempt to change the existing 
order by a drastic up-heaval as some of the great leaders 
seem to aim at, will, if it ever comes, in no time 
resolve itself into warring factions based on religious 
differences. A period of serious strife will follow and 
ultimately the whole thing will end in a disaster. It 
will be a tremendous tragedy which will have few parallels 
in History. No one will gain and the enthusiasts and 
obstinate of both sides will suffer most. So look ahead 
and learn while there is yet time to accommodate each 
other's situation and points of view. You have to live 
together and you must look upon each other as one 
brotherhood. The creditors and debtors both must change 
their minds and meet: together as friends and evolve 
a new basis of settlement of their old debts to save 
their motherland from the risk of a serious catastrophe. 

Thanks to the timely action of the Government 
of Bengal and to the genius of a member of the I. 0. S. 



12 Rural Bengal. 



who introduced the system of Debt Settlement Board 
in Bengal also, the Bengal Agricultural Debtors' Act 
has been passed into law. Debt Conciliation Boards 
have been formed and offer both the creditors and the 
debtors an equal and fair opportunity to sit together 
and come to an amicable settlement of their debts. The 
Sub-Divisional Board will enforce this settlement if and 
when necessary. The boards thus give you a splendid 
opportunity to rebuild your shattered economics if you 
take advatange of them. 

But when all this has been done and your debts 
amicably ftxed up and settled, do not forget for a moment 
that, after all, this debt settlement is something like an 
insolvency procedure and does not add a penny to your 
income or in any way increase your national wealth. 
It is at best a moratorium, nn emergency measure, 
introduced for a short time. Within five years, you may 
find yourselves indebted again to the same extent. So 
you must be on your guard and explore, side by side, 
the avenues of increasing your source of income. Your 
productive power must increase. This is the real thing, 
the problem of all problems. Let us see- if we can 
do something. 

The above extract, taken from my address on 
Debt Coricilation, Agriculture and Industries, written 
about this time last year, clearly embodies my view on 
the subject. I do believe that Debt Conciliation is 
easily the most useful piece of legislation that was enaclted 



Rural Indebted*. 13 



in the last few years. It has not come a minute too early. 
The moratorium could not be delayed another moment. 
It will not only give immediate relief to the peasantry 
but will also save the country from the risk of a 
socialistic revolution which some of the great nationalist 
socialists seem to have been aiming at, without probably 
realising fully how the country would reach to it after 
the first wave of enthusiasm had subsided. However, this 
was by the way. The thing that really matters is that 
Debt Conciliation, as above, will not go very far or for 
very long. 

The rural population can never do without bankers 
and Mahajans and it is clear that something more, some 
limitation to the powei of the banker to exploit the 
masses and some alternative machinery to meet the 
financial demands of the people have immediatly to be 
set up. The Money Lenders' Bill, passed by the out- 
going legislature does not, in my opinion, offer enough 
protection to the peasantry. 10% per annum is far too 
high a rate of interest for the impoverished cultivator to 
pay in spite of the groat fertility oE tli3 Bengal soil. 
There is hardly any organised farming in the Province, 
and the holding, in the majority of cases, are so small 
that the annual yield is barely enough to meet the 
cost of living and cultivation, A good percentage of 
the rural population is altogether landless and has to 
work for an average of -/4/- a day, and that too is 
seasonal. A salary of Rs. 12/- per annum with food is 



14 Rural Bengal. 



considered pretty good for grown-up boys between the 
ages of 14 and 18. In fact, if a fully grown-up 
earning member of a family can earn, all told, a sum of 
Rs. 50/- in the whole year, he considers hismelf pretty 
well-off. If this be the case, is it conceivable that a culti- 
vator who falls into the misfortune of incurring a debt 
will ever in his life time be able to pay up the princi- 
pal at 10% interest and secure freedom from the perpe- 
tual bondage of debt ? 

Let us go a little deeper into the question. Debts 
are either productive or unproductive. If unproductive, 
as is normally the case, with the peasantry it is obvious 
that, in 99 percent cases, ine individual incurring the 
debt must be in very straitened circumstances. May 
be that, off and on, a few cultivators might indulge in 
debts for the sake of luxury or for fun. But such 
instances have become so rare in recent years that 
only those who cannot get out of a rigid groove of 
obsolete ideas, will attach, any importance to them, 
he majority of debts are incurred, not for fun, but to 
keep the body and soul., together during the dull sea- 
sons, to give a piece of cloth to the half-naked wife, 
to arrange the funeral of a dead body or to save 
the land from being auction-sold for non-payment of 
rent. It will be found that in all these cases the 
annual income of the family would fall far short of its 
bare needs of subsistence and if, on top of that, a 
debt has to be incurred at an annual interest of 10%, it 



Rural Indebtedness 15 



would be nothing short of of a calamity. The debt would 
bring in a permanent liability never to be satisfied and never 
to be cleared. A part of the interest may perhaps be paid, but 
the principal will never be touched, and will remain as 
before only to multiply at every stage of limitation. 
This is, of course begging the question. "Why any 
interest at all, why any debt even ?" My reply is that 
sensible men choose the lesser of the two evils, and try 
to minimise its evil consequence as .much as pratical difficul- 
ties permit. Debts cannot be avoided, and the lesser 
the interest, the better for those whom circumstances 
compel to borrow. As for the money lender, well, I 
honestly believe that in a country like India, where 
the standard of, living is so miserably low, and where 
capital has * still to discover new and better avenues 
for higher profit, a village Mahajan should have no 
reason to grumble if he gets a profit of five for every 
hundred in the year. 

Let us now examine the position with regard to 
the other class, the productive debts. As pointed out 
before, there is very little organised farming in this 
country and productive debts, if they can be so called, 
are incurred either to purchase seed and cattle or to 
take settlement or buy new lands. If seed and cattle, the 
observations made in respect of unproductive debt will very 
rarfely apply to these cases also. The average yield 
per bigha of land seldom exceeds Rs. 15/- per annum 
and this does not include the huge cost of cultivation 



16 Rural Bengal. 



which the peasantry do not realise, partly because 
labour and energy is cheap an I partly because everything is 
done by the cultivator and his family f hemselves who 
have no other use for their time. On an average, Rs. 
2/- per bigha has to be paid to the landlord leaving a 
balance of Rs. 13/- per bigha. The size of the average 
holdings seldom exceeds 5 to 6 bighas which would 
bring about Rs. 6/8/- p. mensem or an income of 
Rs. 78/- per annum. An averaga family consisting of 
husband an I \vifo anl oiu or two children would need 
at least Rs 8/- p. m, at the rate of Rs. 2/- per head 
per month for their maiutorrince-a deficit of Rs. 6/- per 
year. How is the peasant going to pay an interest of 
10%, not to spoak of the principal ? 

If the debt has been incurred to take s ettlcment of 
land or to buy land which is very nearly the same, 
each bigha, on an average, will cost about Rs. 75/-. 
At 10 per cent the annual interest would come to Rs. 
7/8/- leaving a balance of Rs. 7/8/- to meet rents, 
price of seed and cattle and a whole year's labour of 
the cultivator. Will he be able ever in his life to get out 
of this debt ? Can he ever clear the principal ? I wonder. 

Lest my observations should be challenged, I may 
add that about this time last year, I had instituted an 
elaborate economic enquiry into the conditions of the 
Co-oporativo debtors men of the upper middle class .in 
the peasantry. About 1500 familes were examined all 
over the Sub-division. The statistics only reveal the. 



Rural Indebtedness. 17 



obvious at least it has been so to me for a long time- 
that the annual income of the debtors minus cost of 
living falls far short of the demand of the annual interest 
due from them. As for the principal, of course, they 
do not hope to pay ini this life. 

I repeat once again that sensible men choose the 
lesser of the two evils. Debts have been incurred in the 
past and will continue to be irjcurred in the future. 
It is an unavoidable evil and we cannot have them 
without making the business sufficiently paying for the 
moneylender. . But it should be proportionate and in 
consonance ; with the .circumstances of the .debtor, the 
profit he makes and the prevailing conditions in the 
country. Very much better off and very much more 
highly organised countries, where agriculture is considered 
a staple industry, have enacted special legislation for 
the debt of the agriculturist. If the statesmen of the 
country mean to do something tangible and are really 
anxious to save the peasantry from perpetual serfdom, 
they cannot avoid similar legislation for the cultivator 
of Bengal. 5% interest is not a very small margin of 
profit for the village moneylender to look for. 

In the next chapter I will discuss how and what 
alternative system of providing credit to the peasantry 
should be set up which would riaturally lead me into a 
discussion 6f the Oo-operative movement in Bengal* : < 



CHAPTER III. 



Cooperation* 



In January 1936, I had occasion to address a con- 
ference of the Go-operators of Patuakhali Sub-Division. 
The general observation made in that address applied 
then and apply to-day to the whole co-operative move- 
ment in Bengal. It will save me time if I quote rele- 
vant portions. 

"The Co-operative movement has completed 15 
years of its existence and it is time that its position 
was critically reviewed both with respect to its short- 
comings as well as with respect to the success it has 
achieved. 

From small beginnings the movement has slowly 
and steadily expanded, but it must be remembered that 
it has had no smooth sailing, In its onward march the 
movement had to pass through many difficult periods 
and receive many setbacks. It is however gratifying to 
note that it has survived them all and has at last emerged 
alive and iq tact, even out of the longest and most 
distressing economic depression that our country ever 
had to face in recent times. 



Co-operation. 19 



The dangers are however not over yet. More are 
still ahead. In fact it seems to me that the movement 
is, at present, faced and very lightly too, with a problem 
which threatens its very existence. Stripped of its early 
charm of novelty the movement lies open to-day to the 
critical examination whether it is really worth the pains 
that have been taken for it, whether it has really 
fulfilled any of the hopes and expectations that its early 
promoters promised, whether it has effected, to any 
appreciable degree, the colossal indebtedness of the rural 
population, whether it has developed to any reasonable 
extent the ideal of self-reliance, mutual help, the habit 
of frugality and saving, whether it has not merely 
provided an additional attractive source of cheap loans 
without their necessary counterparts, the redemption of 
other loans and put a check to extravagance and lastly 
whether it is not thoroughly rotten from inside and 
looks healthy on the surface only. 

This is the ordeal which the movement has to 

pass through. If it does succeed, it will deserve to be 

maintained, patronised and expanded. If it fails, it will 
have to go and be doomed. 

These are, then, the problems that I want you, 
gentlemen, to apply your minds to. The ordeal is not 
an easy one and it should not be so. But no reason 
to lose heart. There is always somewhere silver line 
behind the dark clouds, a ray of hope and there will 



20 Rural Bengal. 



be no dearth of guides and men to show you the path 
if you have the- mind, the determination and the 
energy to follow and keep pace. I am one of those 
who will be willing to place their services at your 
disposal and with this object I wish to discuss with you 
to-day, as a preliminary measure, what is wrong with 
your co-operative movement and what can be done to set 
it right, give it vitality and make it healthy, lively, use- 
ful and true to co-operative ideals. 

There are altogether about 4000 membeis of 
co-operative Societies and the p&r vaptiti indebtedness will 
approximately cmne to be Rs. 1 OO/- per co-operator. 
This huge rate of indebtedness of the co-operators 
which takes no account of other borrowing and which, 
for all ohat I know, may be of the same proportion 
as that of the non-members, is nard to justify. Let us 
weigh the possible considerations, 

(a) That by this debt the members have boon 
substantially benefited anl that it has savci their lauds 
and properties which would have been altogether lost 
otherwiss, or that this debt was absolutely inevitable and 
is only a lesser of the t\vo evils. 

(b) That hut for the Co-operative movement 
these members would have been either much more 
heavily indebted to the exacting moneylenders or would 
have become paupers. 



Co-operation. 21 



(c) That tlie Co-operative movement has helped 
them in othbr ways, say in building up their financial 
position, in improving their agriculture and increasing 
their produce, has developed in them habits of frugality, 
saving, mutual help and so on. In other words, ic has 
trained them to become better citizens and made better 
men out of them. 

Experience has made me very sceptic. With regard 
to point (a), I believe that, more often than not, money 
has been lent . to men who were already fairly well-off 
but whose greed to purchase more lands could not be 
satisfied. The price of land in this part of the country 
varies from Bs 400/- to Rs 500/- per kani or T5 acres. 
The rate of interest to be paid on this borrowing was 
fixed by the Societies at Ss 16/-% per annum. . Thus 
each kani of land was purchased at an annually accruing 
interest of Bs 64/- plus the principal. Now, if the rent 
and cost of cultivation are excluded, one kani of land 
does not produce enough to meet the charge of interest 
on its capital value at this rate and thus it was initially 
impossible for any debtor to clear up the principal. 
Several experts of the Co-operative movement in Bengal 
tell me that this was a well-thought-out course. By 
leaving a big margin of profit usually 3|% in the hands 
of the rural Societies they piously intended to make the 
Society independent of outside creditor and thus self- 
sufficient. Besides, they say, and I do not dispute that 



22 Rural Bengal. 



the prevailing rates of the moneylender in the locality 
were much higher than this and so this was a real relief. 
I have already said that it was inherently impossible 
for the debtor to clear up his principal. The only thing 
that could happen was, and that subject to the debtor 
paying all that he could get out of the land regularly 
without consideration of good or bad year, that the society 
in about 30 years' time could become independent of the 
out-side creditor but without having a penny in hand. 
The position of the original debtor, however, would have 
remained unchanged. But a few percent less would havo 
brought the demand within his paying capacity and would 
have made all the difference to him. : 

"With regard to the moneylender's rates, it may bb 
said that though the rates are high, the cultivator has his 
own .way of dealing with them too. Often ho flouts the 
demands and succeeds in remaining where he was, inspifce of 
all the civil court decrees. When cornered beyond any 
chance of escape, he transfers his rights and gets a relief 
by becoming a tenant or under-tenant and so .on. In other 
cases the moneylender merely comes and goes. Legally 
it may sound bad, but it, nevertheless, remains a fact. 

The Co-operative debtor, however, cannot afford to 
do this. He has to face a well-run machinery privileged 
with authority and armed with summary powers. His 
peace lies in resignation to pay on and on, year in and 
year out and go on without a murmur believing that he 



Co-operation. 23 



is much better off than he would have been otherwise. 
The least th^t I can say is that the movement was ill- 
planned and ill-administered. 

With regard to (b), not being in possession of facts 
and figures I prefer to leave the matter to speculation. 
I would have been, however, happier to see the co-opera- 
tors less indebted than what they are or at least less than 
those others who are not co-operators. Besides, as I have 
said before, I am not quite sure if the co-operators are 
not indebted to other creditors over and above that to 
the rural societies, more or less to the same extent as 
the other average individuals are. But with regard to 
(c) I am quite positive tnat Co-operative movement has 
done nothing of the sort. Apart from the fact that 
there are altogether only about 4000 members which 
roughly gives 1/2% of the total population which means 
that the movement* does not touoh more than a fringe 
of the problem, even the 400 members have learnt noth- 
ing, saved nothing, and got nothing out of the so-called 
Co-operative movement. The word Co-operation has no 
other significance to them than that it is a kind of 
moneylending system, in which the so-called low rates 
of interest prevail. No body seems to have bothered 
very much to give them even the minimum of the 
advantages and benefits of real co-operative organisation. 
In my opinion, sira, the movement has been a hopeless 
failure here and has done no good, whatsoever to any 



24 Rural Bengal. 



one except perhaps to few financiers and creditors who 
have found a profitable and safe source of investment in 
the so called Co-operative Banks. Not a single old debtor 
to my knowledge, has been able to become, through 
Co-operation, the present or the future depositor of the 
parent Society. A lot is made of economic depression 
and so on, and though I do not deny their influences, it 
seems to me that the whole thing has been a mere form, 
a blind imitation of a western pattern without the requi- 
site atmosphere or foundation and thus inherently rotten 
and doomed to failure. 

* Can anything be done now ? !? is naturally the 
next question. Let us first of all understand what is 
Co-operation proper. We co-operate or voluntarily unite 
ourselves into groups on terms of equality: for the develop- 
ment of our economic resources and with the object 
of protecting ourselves and other members from the clut- 
ches of profiting moneylenders or business men. This 
implies, amongst other , things, a dominating sense of 
mutual help and protection amongst the members, brother 
hood irrespective i: of caste and creed and a community of 
interest. 

"The object is to organise and associate together 
in the best interest of the economic welfare of the 
members, to put small bits of resources together in order 
to lend to interprising ones at low rates for their economic 
and productive activities and to develop amongst the 



Co-operation,; 25 



members the habits of economy, frugality, reliance, sacri- 
fice and joint effort, for commoii cause, to acquire self- 
sufficiency and independence in credit as far as the ordi- 
nary requirement of the members would demand and to 
arrange joint production, joint marketing and purchasing 
where advantageous and practicable. To these can be 
added many more, e. g., educational provision for the 
children of the members, arrangements for employment 
of doctors and other experts for the common and mutual 
benefit and so on. 

Now I ask you, gentlemen, if you are aware of 
or have ever striven in the whole life history of^the 
Co-operative movement in yotir Sub-division for any of 
this objects ? As far as I know, I am afraid, I have 
to pronounce a most emphatic "No*. The only thing 
you have been doing is either to lend and receive 
annual interest in a care-free way or to pay for* the debt 
you have incurred. That is all. It is, however, never 
to late too mend or to take a good turn. It is open 
to you to provide and create all that is essential for 
the movement's growth, the requisite atmosphere, the 
necessary foundation and the association of the right type 
of men to work it up. The movement in our country has 
not boon a development from within but an imposition 
from without, and therefore, its needs and requirements 
should be carefully studied and watched as they arise. 

They will be different from, those prevailing in other 
countries. 



26 Rural Bengal. 



SUGGESTIONS 

"Let those from agmongst you whose interests are 
involved and those who may be. actuated by a desire pf 
service to their fellow beings , and those who, though not 
directly concerned, may be privileged to know the rudi- 
ments of co-operation and are gifted with a certain 
amount of imagination and initiative, come forward and 
form a "Co-operative Welfare and Propaganda Associa- 
tion" and let this 'association, created exclusively for the 
purpose, take up the work of propagating co-operative 

ideals which should have been done long ago by the 

* * 

C. C. Bank itself. Let the Association draw : iip a pro- 
gramme of work, of meetings; lectures and shows and 
of using pamphlets , and handbills and of carrying ff on the 
propaganda continuously and incessantly. Year in and 
year out, go on hammering it in, undaunted and deter- 
mined, true to your object and never to stop until the 
object, the requisite atmosphere for your movement had 
been achieved". 

"To make your propaganda effective, you have to 
make the movement attractive and useful to the co-opera- 
tors or w6uld be co-operators. It is your business to 
see to the improvement of their economic condition and 
resources and take up schemes which they cannot afford 
individually. They are agriculturists primarily and yours 
is a paddy-growing district; but I can assure you, on 



Co-operation: Suggestions. 27 



the strength of my experience and experiments, that the 
land is capat^e of producing almost every thing you can 
wish. Tobacco, ground-nuts, sugarcane, gram, mustard, 
til, vegetables and what not, every thing can grow and 
grow well. If a cultivator takes up these crops for which 
he has both leisure and opportunities in addition to his 
paddy, his income can easily be increased by 25%. What 
he wants is persuasion, expert advice and guidance,, and in 
early stage, loan in the form of seeds, and these the 
movement should supply. 

It is, therefore, indispensable that the Supervisors 
be trained and converted into well-trained expert agricul- 
tural demonstrators also. This work along with other 
duties should bo made part and parcel of their normal 
functions and they should bo rewarded for good work 
and punished for neglect. 

All this is not only possible but easy to manage. 
There is no reason why from next year no supervisor, 
either permanent or temporary, be retained in service 
until he has qualified himself fully both for Co-operative 
work as well as for Agriculture. At best, they will 
require study leave at half pay for some months and this 
the C. C. Bank can certainly afford to pay. 

Thus you will obtain, free of much additional fcost, 
services of 6 to 8 officers of the C. C. Bank for the 
propagation of Co-operation ideals and for the development 
of Agriculture by improved methods and new crops. 



28 Rural Bengal. 



The rate of interest, charged by the C. 0. Bank and 
by the rural societies in their turn, are exce3sive and far 
high to be co-operative in any sense. In fact, as I pointed 
out above, they leave no margin for paying more than 
the interest demand only and tend to reduce the debtor 
to a state of lifelong bondage. This must stop. The 
maximum rate should be 8% in the case of C. C. Bank, 
and 10% in the case of the Society members. Without 
this the co-operative movement will cease to be of any 
attraction or permanent value. Particularly so, when the 
the legislature has already passed the Bengal Agricultural 
Debtors Bill, and though provision has been made there- 
in for the exclusion of Co-operative debts from the scope 
of the bill, it is bound to react on the whole movement, 
and there is no reason why it should not. As I have 
already said more than once, 16% per annum is an intolerable 
rate. The unfortunate debtor who has this rate of inte- 
rest on his neck will never become solvent in his life and 
for him the movement will only be a different name of 
the exacting moneylender. The rates must be reduced 
as suggested (My views have since changed ; 4% from the 
societies and 5% from the members is the maximum 
that can possibly be paid by them ). 

" The development of the habit of frugality and 
putting by a little for the rainy day is another important 
function of the Co-operative movement. The members of 
the rural Societies should be persuaded, appealed to and, 



Co-operation: Suggestions. 29 



if necessary, coerced, as long as they retain memberships, 
to put by a certain amount every year. Loans are 
supposed to be advanced to cover only 1/2 of total finan- 
cial capacity of the individual member concerned and he 
can, in his own interest, be made to deposit, say, an 
amount equal to 8% of his liability. This will be a com- 
pulsory saving demanded over and above the society's 
dues and thus when the rent is cleared, he will find 
himself the master of a small fortune. 

"The Bank should immediately proceed with a pro- 
gramme of forming new Societies. At least another 164 
should be formed bringing up the total to 300. This 
programme may be spread over a period of 5 years. 
I consider this step absolutely necessary and strongly 
advise you to take it. If the movement is going to be 
really effective, this should be considered absolutely the 
minimum. The object should be not merely the remo- 
val of rural indebtedness but also the raising, in every 
locality, of groups of individuals who will serve as exam- 
ples and guides to others. The membership will have 
to vary according to circumstances, but should never be 
much greater than 24 in any case. 

"No money should be lent to any individual unless 
and until majority of the members are satisfied that the 
debt is being incurred for the redemption of heavy inte- 
rest, loan or for an unavoidable and emergent liability 



30 Rural Bengal. 



or for making such improvement in the method of produc- 
tion as would justify the expenditure, 

"Further, I want to suggest that just as the depo- 
sitors have agreed to pay the compulsory -/I/- per rupee 
interest for the purpose of technical education, so should 
the members of rural societies subscribe or concede -/8/- 
a year to be deducted as a compulsory tax from pay- 
ments made to. their societies. This will bring about 
2000/- a year and may be called the "Rural Societies 
Education Fund". Out of this, repayable scholarships of 
varying amounts and terms should be given to the children 
of the members of the rural Societies and their award 
may be decided upon either in a properly convened meet- 
ing of the representatives of the societies or by the 
Welfare and Co-operative Propaganda Association. 

"Lastly, let me suggest that the Co-operators 
should t be given medical help at half the usiial cost. 
That is to say, some reliable medical practitioners should 
be chosen to attend to the health of the members, when 
called to do so, who will be entitled to accept only half 
their rates of fees from the members. The other half 
or one third according to arrangements should be met 
out of the profits of the Co-operative Bank. This will 

serve as an additional attraction and will be in the best 



interest both of the co-operators as well as the movement. 
I am sure, many doctors will be willing to accept reduced 
rates of fees on a monopoly basis. 



Co-operation: Suggestions. 31 



"In conclusion, let me tell you, gentlmen, that your 

Sub-division is exceptionally fertile both in men and 

* ' f ' 
brains; but. alas, ignorance rein6 supreme over you. 

Lack of activity an# co-ordination of resources di j e your' 
short-comings. And Co-operation will show the way and 
give the, necessary stimulus and orientation to your acti- 
vities. ,,^ake up and learn the habit of putting your 
minds , and resources together and work with singleness 
of purpose for a joint cause ; if you do, the future will be 
yours..- 

Remember, gentlemen,., your wealth does not depend 
upon your resources, but upon your men and their 
vitality, energy, and initiative and it is this that you 
should develop and strive for by Co-operation." 

The above extracts contain my analysis of of the 
Co-operative movement. 

I have .only to add a few words in respect of the 
rate of interest proposed two years ago. The C. C. Bank 
of Patuakhali was placed entirely and exclusively .under 
my personal supervision with r the result that collection 
rose to about 3 times that in the year preceding. The 
defunct Land Mortgage Bank was saved from virtual 
collapse and Is found that my own w6fk had put me in 
an unenviable position and I- could no more ask the 
depositors . to reduce the rate of interest to the extent 
I would have liked them to. The experience and 
reasoning have, however, proved beyond dispute, as briefly 



32 Rural Bengal. 



mentioned in the preceding chapter, that any thing above 
5% interest will be quite beyond the capacity of the 
agriculturist to pay and that if the Co-operative Bank 
cannot offer credit to the peasantry at this rate, they 
may as well be closed down. In any case it could be 
sheer misnomer to call them co-operative. They do not 
try to help the peasantry to become solvent at any 
stage of their life ; on the contrary, they tried to widen the 
scope of the Creditors' power to purchase life-long serf- 
dom of the debtors under a better organised and more 
powerful system. In fact, the difference between Co- 
operative Bank and the Mahajan is only a matter of 
degree and it is really disputable which one of the two 
is preferable to the peasantry. 

The department will, of course, never admit that the 
movement has been placed on inherently false calculation. 
One patent argument has always been discussed in the 
extracts quoted above. The other is "Yes, very good 
the lesser the interest, the better; " but the mistake has 
been committed and now how are we to meet the demad 
of the depositors of the Provincial Co-operative Bank 
who threaten to withdraw their deposits if the rate is 
reduced ? How to face this danger of a collapse ? I 
believe in "where there is a will there is a way". If 
the niofassil bank depositors could reduce their rates of 
interest from 8% to 3 or 4%, I see no reason why the 
Provincial Bank depositors could not be persuaded to 



Co-operation : Suggestions. 33 



follow suit. What could they do if the mofassil banks 
stopped payment and the Provincial Bank had collapsed ? 
Shrewd financiers know well enough that it is better 
to forego part of the profit if the capital itself is in 
danger. They also know when to resist and when to 
give way. They know well enough that civil suits and 
cases could not go very far to help them. Apart from 
this, the economic depression of the last few years had 
made capital so cheap that the department with the help 
of the State could easily find as much loan as it wanted 
at 3% to meet the threatened demand. A long term 
loan could have been floated with provision to convert 
Provincial Bank deposits Into the new loan and it 
would have been found Mi at in actual practice very few 
depositors would have insisted on withdrawing their 
deposits. The prestige of the B. P. Bank would have 
been enhanced, the co-operators saved from financial 'ruin, 
and the movement regenerated and revitalised. All this 
may look like a dream. It is nevertheless a practical 
proposition for those who believe that man is more power- 
ful than circumstances. 

However, it is no use crying over the past, the 
point to see is, can anything be done now ? 

Happily the Bengal Provincial Co-operative Bank 
has recently reduced its rate of interest to 5%. This 
is saddled with half a dozen conditions which it si 
difficult to comply with and the result is that in actual 
practice no mofassil Bank can take the risk of reducing 



34 Rural Bengal. 



its rate of interest substantially. But even if these 
conditions are withdrawn, it is at least !% too high. 
The first thing to do, therefore, is to recface the rate 
to 3-|% and insist that no Co-operative Bank will charge 
more than 4% on loans to the Rural Societies. The 
Rural Societies, in their turn, should keep their rate at 
5% ftiiJ not more. 



In the pages that have preceded, I have clearly 
shown that the theory of a big margin of reserves in 
the hands of the En nil Societies was based on misun- 
derstanding and false notions about the productivity of 
the soil. In fact I doubt if this factor was at all 
taken into account. I am more inclined to think that 
the early organisers were more or less exclusively guided 
by the prevailing rates of interest charged by the money- 
lenders, They thought they were providing really cheap 
credit, which was not the case. It was certainly very 
much cheaper than that offered by the money-lender, but 
the difference was only a matter of degree and not sub- 
stantial enough to lead to solvency. The result obtained 
will bear out my views. The number of indepenedent 
societies will hardly be more than a fraction of the total 
set up, and even these societies have failed to build 
any actual cash reserve. If at all, it exists on paper 
only and is a doubtful quantity. 

The next thing to do is to call a Moratorium to arrear 
interest that accrued according to the old rates of interest. 



Co-operation : Suggestions. 35 



The creditors have enjoyed enough of the high rates of 
profit which the debtor has paid for years and years 
and under most pressing circumstances and in terms of 
his life-blood. If r they cannot accommodate him even 
now, they can hardly distinguish themselves from the 
exacting money-lender, and I am confident they would. 
All the mofassil depositors have agreed to 3% or 4% 
and the Provincial $ank depositors cannot be very 
much different. If they insist, the state should come to 
the rescue. The Agricultural Debtors Act should apply. 
It will not be a breach of promise. It will only mean 
compliance with the new ethics that has dawned on the 
nation, the ethics of greatest good to the greatest 
number, the ethics of performing the supreme national 
duty of relieving the peasantry of its life-long serfdom. 

In this connection T cannot help observing that the 
position of co-operative debts is rather anomalous in relation 
to the Agricultural Debtors Act. The condition of taking 
permission of the Registrar or Assistant Registrar before 
the award is made, is a perfect nuisance and will only 
lead to enormous amount of delay and wastage of 
energy in unnecessary correspondence. Besides, the Co- 
operative Bank staff itself is soon going to find itself in 
a mess, when half a dozen D. S. Boards, sitting simul- 
taneously in different Unions, will notice them to appear. 
And the assets will fluctuate daily and with so much 
uncertainty that the Banks will need a new system of 
mathematics to cope with the situation. Over and above this, 
I am afraid, a deadlock is inevitable in the collection 
of dues as soon as debt settlement becomes more popular. 

The obvious and proper course, therefore, would be 
to write off completely and at once all the arrear interest 
and reduce the current interest to 5% in the case of 



36 I Bngal. 



Society members. The Registrar can then legitimately 
insist that except in insolvency cases the principal will 
not be reduced and that after deductions for rent, cost of 
cultivation and living have been made from the debtor's 
income, the co-operative debt will have the first charge 
in preference to all other debts. 

But clearly this cannot complete the whole story. 
The main function of the Co-operative Bank is still to 
bej stated. The Banks have ceased to advance money 
and they cannot continue this policy any longer, if the 
peasantry is to be saved from relapsing into old order. 
The Banks must multiply and advance money where ne- 
cessary. There should be one Bank for every Tbana of 8 to 9 
Unions. A lac of rupees from the Bengal Provincial Bank 
at 8-J% plus local deposits at, say 3% and I am sure 
there will be no dearth of local deposits in due course, 
should be a fair capital to start with. One Government 
officer of the department, to work as Inspector as well as 
Auditor, one" Supervisor and one clerk at Rs. 25/- p. m. 
each and one peon should suffice for these Thana Banks. 
The cash should be kept in a safe embedded in the 
Thana premises for safe custody. The Bank Office should 
stand in the centre of an Agricultural Farm. All these 
men should be well-up in the principles of Co-operation 
and must invariably have had iirst class practical train- 
ing in Agriculture. They must also be able to take 
charge of the development of cottage industries, items 
about which more will be said hereafter. For the 
present, suffice it to say that the Bank should run 
as living institutions and the staff must^develop a per- 
sonal touch with the villagers. The Bank should 
advance loan to them only when they really need it .and 
should see if it cm be repaid. The .Bank 



Co-operation : Suggestions. 37 



gradually buy off, at a profit all such old debts of the 
cultivator as he would be liable to pay to other, money- 
lenders in 15 or 20 instalments fixed under a debt set- 
tlement award. The latter, I am sure, will thank their 
stars if they can sell off those assets to the Bank even 
at ^ of the capitalised value of the instalments provided 
they are saved the uncertainty and botheration of wait- 
ing for 20 years to recover their dues in r small frag- 
ments of a risky and doubtful nature. One third of 
this capitalised value should be paid to them in cash 
if they like and two- thirds kept as deposit in the Bank 
for sometime. This fraction of actual casb payment and 
the additional safety of the rest will make the bnrgain 
attractive for them and they will jump at it. The Bank 
can lighten the burden oi the peasantry still further by 
reducing, say, another 50% of the awarded amount, thus 
scaling down the total rlebt by 75% assuming that the 
awards are rightly made and fixed at not more than 
50% of the total original debt. The peasantry will then 
have only one creditor, the Bank, to de.il with, which 
would at least partially be a state concern and thus 
in a position to accomodate them when necessary. The 
money-lender will go completely out of the picture and 
so far as he is concerned the debt would really have 
been reduced to 16^%. This is incidentally the solution 
of the great problem of the colossal indebtedness of 
Indian peasantry that I have to offer. I may be guilty of 
being dogmatic, but I will bow down to any one who can 
suggest anything better and more practical without dis- 
turbing the existing social order. 

But even all this will not do. We must increase 
the productive power of the cultivator. This is the pro- 
blem of all problems which I propose to deal with in 
the [ next two chapters. 



CHAPTER IV. 



Agriculture. 



I Lav been in toucli with Agriculture for some 
years and a few paragraphs from my address delivered 

in October, 1937, will be interesting as an introduction. 

"It need hardly be questioned that Agriculture is 
and will remain the back-bone of the economic system 
of our country and any scheme of economic prosperity 
must be based, first and foremost, on the improvement 
of this industry. Agriculture must, therefore, occupy the 
first place of importance in our programme and should 
get the very best attention we can pay. 

Strange as it may appear, it is nevertheless a fact, 
an irony of fate, that India, inspite of being predominantly 
agriculturist, remains notoriously backward and old-fashi- 
oned in [the field of agricultural development and in the 

invention of new and improved methods of Agriculture. 


The same old plough, hardly cutting 3 inches deep, the 

same pair of half-starved and rickety bullocks and in Bengal 
even cows, still provide the only means of tilling the land, 
the same primitive system of sowing and the same ancient me- 
thod of reaping and thrashing, reminiscent of the Stone Age 



Agriculture. 39 



still continue, as if India wilh all her philosophy and cul- 
ture, was incapable of thinking and evolving anything 
better or that her Aryan rulers and thinkers so proud 
of their lofty imagination, could never spare a moment's 
thought on the vast humanity engaged in the low pur- 
suit of tilling the soil. Worst of all, the Indian culti- 
vator, true to his national tradition, still refuses to admit 
that his art is imperfect and that he does not know 
enough about it. 

However, these are only some of those indispen- 
sable commonplaces that cannot be helped. We have 
heard them before and know very nearly all that has 
to be done. The cultivator will not pay any heed to 
our easy-chair deliberations nor to our platform speeches. 
He wants sympathetic guidance and training by demon- 
stration. The problem is ln>\v to proceed and how to 
finance and give effect to our pious wishes. 

A word of caution. It has been customary for 
our countrymen to look to the Sate for everything that 
is to be dona. We seem to think that the coffers of 
the State are inexhaustible. I have observed elsewhere 
and repeat again that this is a very false notion. We 
forget that the resources of the State are limited and 
that the primary duty of the State is to maintain law 
and order and provide for the administration of justice. 
But even" if we take a more modern view and say that 
the State must concern itself and be held responsible 



40 Rural Bengal 



for providing for general economic prosperity of all 
her people, it is a sheer impossibility for any State in 
the world to meet the one hundred and one special and 

local needs if her constituents at one or within a short 
time. The State must play its part, but it will take 

years before it can provide every locality with all that 
it may need. We must, therefore, help ourselves and 
stand on our own legs to march on and keep pace 
with a progressive world." 

What is tht solution and what are the practical 
steps to be taken- is the problem. There can be hardly 
two opinions on the point that the first requirement of 
-Agriculture is Demonstration Farms -not one in each 
District as at present, where, ,vith the exception of few 
District Officials or superior Officers of the Department, 
few cultivators ever get a chance to go, but one in each 
union without exception. No doubt the general level of 

Bengal is rather lo\v and this creates additional difficul- 
ties. Also true that jute and paddy will remain the 
staple crops and cover the major portion of the land 

during the rains. But it is also n fact that during the 
cold weather a variety of new and highly paying crops, 
e. g., sugarcane, ground nut, castor oil and otht r seeds, 
potato, chillies, termeric, ginger, and most of the English 
vegetables can grow splendidly all over the province, 

Orchards deserve special mention and extensive 
development. Mangoes will do well in a number of 
districts if they are properly cultivated. This crop has 



Agriculture. 41 



tremendous potentialities. It will have a market iiot 
only in India but f may be, all over the world. Lemon 
and bananas are other important fruits which can hate 
a bright future and a world market. Bengal soil is 
eminently suitable for their luxuriant growth and Bengal 
should be able to supply enormous quantities. These 
must be developed in the Demonstration Farm in the 
Union, and the peasantry convinced of the profit they 
can yield. In the early stages, grafts and plants will 
have to be imported at s6me cost, but in the course 
of 4-5 years, each farm should be able to serve as a 
nursery, not only for improved seeds of paddy and jute 
but also of the various orchards proposed to be deve- 
loped. The cultivators will never be slow to pick., up 
anything that will pay. 

Coming now to the question of how this idea can 
be worked out in actual practice, I can say from per- 
sonal experience both at Patuakhali and at Sirajganj that 
it is not difficult to obtain blocks of 7 to 8 acres of 
suitable land in almost every Union without exception 
and any one who doubts is welcome to see the farms 
opened in Sirajganj under tlie Rural Development Scheme. 
The R. D. Council of Sirajganj engaged 3 demonstra- 
tors each of whom- was placed in charge of 8 or 9 
farms situated within a circle of 5 to () miles radius. 
More could be started, but it was decided not to extend 
the schema all at once, .'primarily' because the demand 



42 Rural Bengal. 



on my time and energy was becoming a little too heavy. 
The initial difficulties were, of course, many. In some 
cases the cultivator thought that the Government would 
make the land Khas and had to be persuaded out of 
his false notions. The demonstrators did not know what 
to do, what to grow and when to grow. The depart- 
ment of Agriculture, inspite of the best efforts of the 
District Agricultural Officer, was slow to get out of its 
red-tape and "Sanction." The seeds which the depart- 
ment kindly supplied came rather late and were not 
always of the best and dependable quality. Inspite of 
all this the experiment has been anything but a failure. 

Labour and cattle were provided by the farmers. 
Improved seeds of jute and paddy and of many other 
new crops such as, Joar, Maize, Oil-seed, Fodder crop, 
were supplied partly by the Department and partly by the 
B. D. Council, In the next cold weather, robi crops, will 
be tried and a beginning made with fruit and orchards. 

I have often been asked how did you get the 
funds ? My reply is that given necessary imagination 
and will, funds should never stand in the way of pro- 
gress. In the course of t\yo years and a quarter at 
Patuakhali it was possible for me to get 60 or 70 tanks 
excavated, a dozen and a half beautiful schools, and 
half a dozen dispensaries set up, and with the exception of 
some grant from the Govt, of India for this last item, 
-a fraction of the whole expense, the rest was raised 



Agriculture. 43 



through the local bodies and from, the local people. In 
Sirajganj, also, so far I have had no difficulty, nor do 
I expect any. The D. B. have contributed, the Co-ope- 
rative Bank can contribute and the Union Boards are 
willing to contribute, if desired. In fact, the U. Boards 
of Sirajganj have budgetted Rs. 2000/- for Agricultural 
development in the current year and did the same last 
year though I did not feel the necessity of asking them 
to pay anything. 

To be more exact, the proper source to tap for 
the funds required is the D. B., and if at all necessary, 
the Union Board. If each District Board spends a sum 
of RP. 5000/- to 1000G/- in the year on Agricultural 
Development, I for one, will never agree that it 
will be improper. But we must know and observe 
economy. The demonstrators will have very little work 
to do, after the crops have been grown. For about six 
months their service would be wasted and this is to be 
avoided if we can claim to know the meaning of economy. 
Unfortunately this is lost sight of and few people realise 
the wastage of time and energy which is happening in 
many services under the bogy of "Specialisation" "depart- 
mental man" and "efficiency." 

I do not, however, propose to pursue this subject 
here. I will come to it later in a separate chapter. 
For the present, I suggest that one or more Supervi- 
sors of the Co-operative Bank should be men who are 



44 Rural Bengal. 



also fully qualified Agricultural Demonstrators. The 
period of collection of Bank dues will correspond with 
the period of harvesting when there will be little work 
to do in the Agricultural Farms and similarly the .sea- 
son of cultivation and sowing will correspond with the 
period when there will be nothing to collect. The 
Supervisor will, therefore', be able to look both to collec- 
tion and Agricultural^ Farms. The system should work 
splendidly and I cannot really think of a more , satis- 
factory, and mo^e feconhmical arrangement to meet the 
situation., ..,1- -propose *'to give it a trial at Sirajganj and 
I am confident it will be a success as it ought to. 

As to the departmental Demonstrators, they can 
either ;be withdrawn or their services transferred to the 
Co-operative Bank. It - is a waste of money to employ 
them for the litte work they'lrfo now. The savings, 
effected and the grants made bjr the i). B., should go 
to the execution of the /programme already chalked out. 

One District Agricultural Fariri'iriay continue and the 

- r -* v -" k ' ' 
District Agricultural Officer nia'de responsible for the 

Agricultural development work of the Co-operative Bank. 
If there be one Bank at each : Thana, as suggested in 
the previous chapter, the arrangement would need little 

.. '.' . vJ 

to be added. : 



A word about the Thana Farms. The Farm at 

.. ; 

the Thana headquarters should be run on lines slightly 
different from those in the Unions. The land for 



Agriculture. 45 



the Thana Farms may be either acquired or taken lease 
of. The landlords can and Should help. These farms 
should be run under the direct supervision of the depart- 
mental-Auditor Inspector who should possess necessary 
qualification not that ,of a research Scholar, but, say, 
parsed in one year's course in practical Agriculture and 
horticulture. 1 The clerk am}. Supervisor under, him should 
likewise possess similar qualification, Three months' prac- 
tical training in r a .District Farm. i 



These farms /'must run, as a paying concern and 
they hbuld, a* tliere will be little overhead, charges, 
^h^y must serve as nurseries both for improved, and new 
seeds Li and after a few years for grafts and fruit plants. 
The staff will' still 'Tiave heaps of times to look to other 

11, '' ' > ' : *'" - ' ' I ' " ' '' * 

needs to'Vh&h'I will" come later. 

a I3 -., ,ij.. * " v 

:'/\ ' '.'-' ' 

Second in im.;portance is* the need of improving 
the notoriously impoverished cattle breed of the province. 
Indian. Agriculture uis l v^y r . much dependent upon cattle. 
Withput ^a.gQodif^lpair^ of f bullocks u a heavy and deep- 

.,!** * ./ ^| r .. 

cutting, v ^ plough 'cahtot be usetf^ and" the" soil cannot be 
tilled , to its best advantage. - lj This problem has to be 
attacked seriously. /^-'h' : " 



Thanks to the jiplendid lead that His Excellency 
the '^present. Viceroy has taken in this direction, the 
matter is engaging due attention and I do really think 
that this move of His Excellency's will go dtfwn as an 



46 Rural Bengal. 



epoch-making event in the History of Indian peasants' 
prosperity. 

To begin with Stud bulls have to be provided, 
at least oiu or tvo, in every Thana. Later on, selected 
cross breeds should be provided for every Union and 
new blood importedj every year. 

The difficulties of maintaining these Stud bulls in 
good health will be a problem in the early stages. Last 
year I imported ten bulls from Rohtok and obtained two 
of the same breed from other places. My experience is 
that it is really a very tough question to keep them in good 
health without incurring considerable maintenance cost. 
The live stock expert of Bengal insisted that they should 
be given over to selected cultivators to be maintained 
by them free of all charges and that the keeper should 
be allowed to charge -/8/- for each service and thus 
recover maintenance cost. I yielded under protest and 
have learnt with grief that it was a blunder to accept this 
advice. The health of several bulls deteriorated rapidly 
inspite of our best efforts, simply because the bulls were 
not properly fed and looked after. Bengal peasants 
treat their cattle as a necessary evil . and feed them 
only on paddy straw. During the rainy season the land 
goes under water and the bull has to stand tied in the 
cow-shed. The other cattle have some work, but he 
has none and no body to see to his feed, bath and 
exercise. I maintain with due respect to the experts 



Agriculture. 47 



that at least in the early stages until cattle sense develops; 
maintenance of Stud bulls will require expense. A parti 
time servant will be necessary and the bulls will have 
to be fed on something more in addition to paddy straw. 
When Co-operative Banks are opened in each Thana, 
one or two bulls should be kept in these Agricultural 
Farms. But until this is done, maintenance of bulls will 
present a problem. Perhaps the Chaukider and parti- 
cularly those of D. B. Dak Bungalows, where available, 
may be of some assistance. 

So much about the Stud bulls, but what about 
the rest of the cattle which, more or less, starve. The 
system of taking herds out f8r grazing in open fields is 
almost unknown in most* Districts even .'duing the dry 
months and there are reasons for it 

The pressure on the soil of Bengal has become 
really very heavy. Not an inch of dry land is left 
uncultivated and grazing grounds and pasture lands are 
completely non-existent. Where are the cattle to graze 
and what are they to graze ? The position has beconieJ 
untenable if the cattle breed of Bengal is to be improved. 
What is to be done ? 

Surely when the Permanent Settlement* was made, 
all the land included in a Zamindari or Taluk was not 
culfcurable to the same extent as it is now. Hundreds 
of Beels ard marshy lands have since dried up and very 
little enhancement of revenue has been made on that 



48 Rural Bengal. 



score. The process still continues in many places and 
if the State can intervene, as in my opinion it ought, 
something can be done. All Beels and marshy lands that 
are gradually drying up can be made Khas and reserved 
exclusively for pastures. In fact, it will be no hardship 
if restrospective effect for the last 20 years is given 
to this proposal. There will certainly be difficulties. 
Tenants have been settled and cannot be ejected. But 
special circumstances will require special treatment. 
Hundreds of holdings are sold for non-payment of rents 
and exchange of holdings can be made. Time may be 
allowed and a difinite period fixed. Special legislation 
may be enacted, and option given to surrender other 
lands in exchange, if dried Beels cannot be spared. In 

i. 

any case, if the problem is to be solved something will 
have to be done and difficulties faced. It is, by no 
means, too much to say that every village should have 

;. 

2% of the culturable land reserved for pastures and it 
should be made obligatory on the landlord or landlords 
to provide these pasture lands in the course of 3 years. 
Cattle play an important part in rural economics and 
deserve propdr treatment. They must get some place to 
graze. If the grazing ground is free, as it ought to be, 
. well and good ; but even if the cattle-owners are 
forced to pay a small grazing ground cess, say a pie for 
a rupee, of .rent, it would pay them in the long run. 

A word about the size of holdings before I close 
this Chapter. The size of average holdings -in Bengal 



Agriculture. 49 



is extremely small and leads to a terrible wastage of 
energy and time in cultivation. No improvement can 
be effected until the holdings are enlarged to a paying 
size. Besides, the present average size of the holding 
is a potential danger and tends to create a very un- 
fortunate class of people who are neither agriculturists 
nor non-agriculturists. The small holdings prevent them 
from following other pursuits whole-heartedly and they 
can neither depend upon agriculture alone nor give it 
up and do something else. Amicable consolidation of 
holding, as has been done in the Punjab, does not seem 
to be a practical proposition i"n Bengal. The land tenure 
system is too complicated to allow this. Unfortunately 
the position is going to be worse very soon. The 
Agricultural Debts Act is going to break the already 
small holdings into still smaller fragments. Sec. 22 of 
the Act, in particular, seems to have fixed the size of 
a holding definitely at 3-Bighas which is about one 
acre only. I submit with respect to the framers of the 
Act that though it is a saving clause, some thing better 
than nothing, it does not really save enough to be of 
much help. One acre can hardly yield more than Rs. 
50/- to 60/- in the year and will create a class which 
will be neither agriculturist nor non-agriculturist. These 
people will never be happy. So, if we want to build 
a better future, let us at least attempt to build a good 

one. The minimum holding, which would yield enough 
to sustain a family of four, should measure at least 5 



50 Rural Bengal. 



Bighas which would give an income of ajbout Re. 100/- 
a year and that will mean only Bfl. 2/- per person 
per month. This holding should be protected against 
all debts and against further fragmentation. The Law 
of Registration can perhaps help in stopping the pro- 
gress of undue fragmentation of holding. The scale of 
fees can be regulated to deter fragmentation beyond a 
minimum size. Details may appear complicated, but can, 
nevertheless f be worked out after consideration, of all 
the issues involved. 

This proposal will, of course, increase the number 
of the landless. An altogether landless class will, I 
think, be happier than one who is neither the one nor 
the other. 



CHAPTER V* 



Cottage Industries. 



My experience of cottage industries is rather of 
recent date. It was only last year at Sirajganj that 
I seriously applied myseli to the study of this impor- 
tant problem. The object and reason and the findings 
have been set forth in my address on the subject from 
which I will quote where necessary. Expansion of cott- 
age industries is an indijpensable necessity and I firmly 
believe that rural economics cannot possibly be built up 
without taking account of this potential item. 

Obviously, the most important of the group is 
weaving. Food and cloth are the two primary needs of 
civilized life. Every man and woman requires cloth 
after hunger has been satisfied. Every cultivator has to 
spend about two rupees at least per person per annum 
for clothing and this is not a small demand. It can 
provide employment for hundreds and thousands of the 
landless as well as the Bhadralok unemployed, if they 
shake off the idea that there is anything inherently 
derogatory in taking up a loom and earn Bs. 20/- p. m. 
working inside their homes. I do not deny that it is 



52 Rural Bengal. 



difficult to fight against such deep-rooted social preju- 
dices but they will go. Difficulties of finding suitable 
markets raise further complications but they also admit 
of satisfactory solutions. 

A great stumbling-block, however, is the compe- 
tition with mill-woven and foreign-made cloth. This is 
entirely a problem for the State to tackle. Indian mills 
are capitalistic institutions, owned and financed by a few 
financiers. They produce or try to produce cloth accor- 
ding to the same line of business management as do 
the foreign mills. But while the foreign mills have to 
pay sea-freight on their exported goods to India, the 
home mills have to pay ujiie. The Indian mills, there- 
fore, do not deserve, at any rate, as far as I can see, 
any treatment in preference to the foreign ones. They 
have in their favour the margin of sea-freight and such 
export duty as foreign mills may be paying to their 
Home Groverments and this should be enough to make 
up for their lack of experience and efficiency. To be 
clear, I see little justification for a policy of protection 
in the case of Indian Mills. They should, in rny opinion, 
pay the same home duty as the foreign mills pay import 
duty. True, they employ home labour ; but that is so 
small a fraction of the total population, a few million 
workers, that it hardly deserves any serious consideration. 
As to Indian capital, it does not interest the peasant 

and the villager and it is he who is a problem to-day 
and not the few mill-owners and capitalists. 



Cottage Industries, S3 



In any case, there is no intention to close down 
the mills. All that is desired is to recover from them 
what they do not deserve recover for the State the 
property of the mill-owners, the capitalists, as trell as 
that of the peasant and leave them free to compete with 
foreign mills. That is the way efficiency is developed. 

The cultivator and the villagers, who form bulk of 
the population of the province, require cloth as cheap as 
possible. High duties on goods they use will, of course, 
mean more burden on their impoverished purse. But if 
this high duty can revive home production of the 
particular goods they use by developing handloom indus- 
try, they do not stand to lose in the long run. Much 
of it will remain in the village and will go to their own 
kith and kin. Handloom-woven cloth is not likely to 
be exported in considerable quantities, and the net result 
would be a gain to the State from the shares of the 
mill-owners, both foreign and home. The State is theirs, 
be it this or that Government, and any addition to the 
income of the State, howsoever small it may be, is 
income to the villagers, to the home-mill-owners, to the 
capitalists and to every body else in the country. 

As to other cottage industries, none else stands 
comparison with weaving. Jute-weaving comes a good 
second, followed by coir industry in some districts as a 
third. Both will have at a least a good local market 
and deserve to be developed. Poultry has good scope 



54 Rural Bengal 



and there are both home and foreign demands for it. 
Tanning is unlikely to be a success, as a cottage industry, 
but it can be developed in a few suitable centres. 
The raw material is abundant all over the province. 

As to the rest like carpentry, smithy, basket-mak- 
ing, umbrella-handle-making, cutlery etc,, they are good 
only for the fancy to please. They will neither have a 
market nor pay. The fate of shoe-making, the only 
other industry, capable of expansion as a cottage indus- 
try, has been sealed for good by cheap foreign goods 
and it will be useless to waste money over it or fight 
against great odds and deprive the villager of the rare 
luxury of purchasing cheap shoe. 

The problem of weaving has been tackled by me 
at Sirajganj in practical forms, and as the requirements of 
the next important cottage industry of jute-weaving will 
be the same, I quote below extracts from my address 
on the subject which will indicate how an attempt to 
meet the situation can be made. 

Let me take up the question of supplementing 
agricultural income by means of other cottage industries, 
a step which must be taken up immediately and in right 
earnest. The replies to the questionnaire, issued on the 
subject, disclose a great diversity of opinion. To mention 
a few, some have suggested basket and mat-making 
others have suggested smithy, carpentry, jute-weaving 
and so on. Only cloth-weaving is common to all sugges- 



Cottage Industries. 55 



tiona. I must, therefore, content myself with what seems 
to me the best and surest, and that is weaving only 
which I consider to be highly useful for the economic 
betterment of the subdivision as a whole. 

The competition with foreign and mill- woven cloth 
is and will continue to remain very acute; but I think 
there is still sufficient market for hand-woven cloth and 
this market is not likely to shrink in the near future. 
On the contrary, the general trend of events in the 
world as well as in India, induces me to think that the 
future of the individual artisan and craftsman is definitely 
brightening up. Moreover, I want the expansion of this 
cottage industry primarily as a supplement to agriculture 
and not as the only or the main industry. I wish to 
see weaving taken up by every cultivator including 
Joteders aud Talukders in their spare moments during 
the busy season, and for whole time during the periods 
they have practically no work to do. Besides, it will pro- 
vide occupation for their inmates, and many poor and 
infirm and otherwise useless people would find in it a 
suitable source of earning. 

The main point is how to work up and finance 
the scheme. At present there is a certain amount of 
antipathy towards weaving amongst the "Grihasto" cul- 
tivators and "Bhodraloks". They consider it below their 
dignity to take up the weavers' job. This must go and 
I think it will. In these hard days of economic struggle, 



56 Rural Bengal. 



such whimsical notions, once we set our minds to break 
through them, will not last long. 

The more difficult and serious problem, however, 
is the question of giving necessary training. For this 
we have to open schools and training camps and this 
needs funds. Besides, what shapes these schools should 
take, is another question which needs examination. 

I think weaving schools, pure and simple, will 
not go very far. It is difficult to finance them and still 
more difficult to run these with permanent results. A 
large percentage of the pupils, partly due to lack of 
fuuds and party due to lack of necessary atmosphere, 
never utilise their training winch goes waste. 

To avoid this wastage and to create the requi- 
site atmosphere of a living business and industry, these 
schools should be combined with a weaving business. 
In other words, each school should be combined with 
a weaving factory department. To speak frankly, my 
views on this point are mostly based on the successful 
working of the Shahzadpur and Enayetpur factory 
schools. They furnish very good model to adopt all 
over Bengal. 

But it is difficult to find men willing to finance 
these factories, and even if we do, we run the risk 
of passing entire control to one single individual which 
may or may not suit public temperament and future 
developments. Supposing we choose the alternative of 



Cottage Industries. 57 



finding a factory on co-operative basis. Here we have to 
face the stern problem of lack of interest and leadership 
which self-interest alone can create and the lack of 
which has been the most powerful and impregnable 
argument against co-operative business and the chief 
cause of failure of Imost of the co-operative business 
efforts. We must therefore, find a via media. Experts 
tell me that such factories, to be started on a modest 
but workable scale, will require Ks 2000/ or near about. 
Efi 700/ will be required for the construction of builds- 
ing and other necessary equipments for dyeing etc. 
Rs 400 for purchase of looms to be leased .out to 
workers on hire-purchase system. Bs500 for purchase 
of yarns and about Rs 400 to be kept as fluid 
resource with which to purchase the finished product 
and carry on business. Let this sum of Rs 2000/- be 
broken into at leasfc 15 shares of Rs 100 each and one 
share of Us 500. Let the share-holders elect a Mana- 
ging Committee consisting of the C. 0. and the S. D. 0., 
whose main business would be to audit the accounts 
every now and then and guide the committee where 
necessary. Let the capital-shareholder who should be 
a man, possessed of capacity and business sense, be 
appointed Superintendent of the factory and get, over 
and above his proportionate share-profit, a further 
commission of 25% of the total profits made by the 
factory department as cost of supervision. The weaving 
school department should be run by a trained teacher 



58 Rural Bengal. 



who should get a monthly pay, say of Rs. 15-1-30 plus 
10% of the total profits made by the factory department. 
This will keep him interested in the business side of the 
work and would be his legitimate remuneration for the 
services he would render to the factory department. 

The factory department should reserve another 10% 
for the school department as the legitimate share of the 
school section which will train up the workers of the 
factory department. Let the balance of 55% after nece- 
ssary deductions for reserve fund and sinking fund have 
been made, be proportionately distributed on the share- 
holders. 

The school section will require a sum of Rs. 700 
for capital expenditure. It should not be difficult to 
raise this fund in the following way : 

(a) Rs 100 per school to be contributed by the 
Central Co-oparative Bank concerned. 

(b) Rs 50 to be contributed by the Union Board 
where the school will be located. 

(c) Rs 25 each to be contributed by the 2 adjoining 
Union Boards. 

(d) Rs 300 to be borrowed from the Department 
of Industry. 

(e) The rest to be raised by local subscription. 
As regards the recurring expense which would be 

about Rs 30 p. m., the department of industries should 



Cottage Industries. 59 



be approached for a monthly grant of Rs 15 p. m. for 
each school. The balance of Rs. 15 should be contributed 
by the District Board. 

No fees should be charged from the pupils, but 
as a rule, within 2 months, every pupil will begin earning 
2 to 3 annas a day and a deduction at the rate of 2 
annas per rupee earned should be made for the school 
fund to cover the cost of yarn spoiled and other depre 
ciation charges. 

The teacher should be allowed to work in his leisure 
time and after* school hours to enhance his income by 
weaving if he so desires, provided that he does not sell 
a single piece of cloth under any circumstances to any 
one except the factory." 

The Scheme which is being tried at Sirajganj in 
7 or 8 centres under the R. D. Council aims at solving a 
number of problems of the handloom industry simulta- 
neously. The chief drawbacks of the weavers of this 
country is the lack of adaptability to modern conditions 
and the demand of changing tastes and fashions. This 
has its own reasons. The weavers like the rest of the 
village population are traditionally conservative. They 
lack contact with town life and get no ideas. They 
get no facilities for training in improved methods of 
weaving, and above all, have little facilities for a speedy 
and satisfactory sale of their products. Barring a few 
centres of improved weaving, the bulk of the weavers 



60 Rural Bengal. 



still stick to their time-honourd old-fashioned loom. 
Their rate of production is extremely low when inspite 
of every thing time economy is a potent factor. Their 
choice of design is limited. They can produce either 
plain coarse cloth or Saris and Napkins of a certain type 
only, which have no market except with the poorest of 
the villagers themselves. They have no organisation of 
their own for the purchase of yarn at nearly wholesale 
rates or for the satisfactory sale of their finished products. 
Each individual has to purchase singly and attend the 
markets with his goods individually. This again involves 
huge waste of time and energy and compels them to 
indulge into cut-throat prices, when the goods must be 
sold for any price to avoid starvation or a collapse of the 
family finance. The result is a disaster. The weavers 
as a community have lost their purchasing and earning 
power and have been, more or less, completely eliminated 
from the local market. The profession has ceased to be 
a paying concern and thousands of them have joined 
the list of landless labourers. 

But the community has not yet completely died 
out nor has the industry lost all its potentialities of 
expansion and development as a potent factor in build- 
ing rural economics. There are hundreds of thousands 
of them still alive in most Districts and will be well 
occupied if really earnest efforts are made to revive the 
industry. Men of the landless 'Grihastha-Chashi 9 class 



Cottage Industries. 61 



will fall in if it pays, and I see no reason why it should 
not do so. 

The factory schools out-lined in the preceding 
pages provide the most satisfactory solution I can con- 
ceive of. The weaver can learn the use of the new 
type of semi-automatic machine and can see in practice 
what difference it makes in the rate of production. He 
can then go in for one if he can afford or take one on 
hire-purchase system from the factory where he has 
learnt its use. He would be well-informed of \vhat the 
market is likely to demand and what patterns and de- 
signs will have the best sale. He can purchase yarn 
from the factory or until he can afford that, ho can 
work in the factory itself and earn suitable wages. He 
will not be required to waste his time and go to every 
ha't nor have to wait for days. These goods will be 
purchased by the factory any day of the week and 
though he may have to remain content with a little less 
than what he would have got in an open market, he 
will soon realise that, in the long run, it pays and saves 
him lot of time and energy. The factory will have its 
own markets and whole sale and retail dealers, and will 
automatically keep a-breast of the demand in the market. 

As I have mentioned before, if every cultivator 
takes up weaving as part-time profession at least for 
some time till division of labour in the village takes a 
more definite and satisfactory shape, he will find in it 



62 Rural Bengal. 



a very substantial supplement to his agricultural income. 
And it would be day to \ day a great thing indeed for 
the agriculturists. The Bhadroloks, educated and unedu- 
cated, can follow suit. I can assure each one of them 
an income of Us. 20/- per month at least, free from all 
botheration. They can learn the art in the school and 
work inside their homes. 

The factory will be there to purchase their 
products, and they will not have to wander from ha't 
to hat to sell them. Thus weaving provides really a 
very fair solution of the problems of the Bhadrolok 
unemployed about whom e\ery body seems to be going 
crazy. 20 rupees a month is not too small and there 
is nothing inherently derogatory in the weaver's job 
unless, of course, the Bhadraloks think that they belong 
to a different class of humanity whose only function is 
to rule and lord it over others a feeling which is 
unfortunately not uncommon amongst the educated. They 
have received high education, and therefore, must hold 
a post of responsibility or blow out the word in the 
belief of many. This leads me into the system and 
ideals of education with which I will deal in the chapter 
that follows. 



CHAPTER VI. 



Education. 



It is difficult for me to summarise in a short 
compass all that I feel apd think about the various 
aspects of Education. I have already written two 
addresses on this subject covering more than 100 print- 
ed pages and if any .one feels interested in my analysis 
of these problems, he will do well to read them, parti- 
cularly the one, delivered last year at Sirajganj. In 
this chapter I will confine myself only to a few broad 
principles of general interest. My criticism may some- 
times appear pungent and unpleasant to those with whom 
I may differ. I do not want any one to take offence 
and nothing would be intended to do so. It will be 
merely due to my weakness, the habit of talking straight. 
I have been trained in the school of science and though 
I have managed to forget almost everything of that, 
I have retained the scientist's attitude of mind. Neither 
Plato nor Aristotle nor any one else can ever be a 
Gospel for me. I must challenge and test and weigh 
every thing in the balance of experience before I 
believe it to be a fact. I want and hope my readers will 



64 fcural Bengal. 



do the same. For the sake of . facility I will deal with 
education under 4 broad heads, viz: 

1. Primary Education for boys. 

2. Secondary Education 

3. Female Education. 

4. Adult Education. 

I will now take them one by one in the order 
indicated above 



SECTION. 1. 

1. Primary Education. 

Though a good deal has been heard about Primary 
Education during the last fe\v years the fact remains 
that this subject has not been given one-tenth the 
.attention it deserves. With the exception of the free 
compulsory Primary Education Act 1930 which, I believe, 
was the only honest effort made to meet the situation, 
but which for some reson or other, be it the economic 
depression, be it the dread of opposition, or be it lack 
of sufficient interest, remained more or less ^shelved. 
Nothing of any practical value seems to have been done. 
The percentage of literacy which is already pretty low 
has actually gone down in the last census and yet the best 
Ibtrains of the country and the leaders of public opinion 



Education. 65 



have paid little serious attention to this primary need 
of civilized humanity, unless, of course, we include as 
material service, their stock-in-trade arguments used in 
debates against political opponents. The reasons are not 
far to seek and only reflect the clash of interest that 
exists between the various strata of society. Primary 
education does not interest those whose children will 
get education wherever it may be had. those who need 
it are not very keen. The champions of their cause, 
who are never tired of talking of the "dumb millions" 
I am afraid, desire that the longer these "dumb millions* 
remain "dumb millions", the better for the champions. 
"Unemployed Bhadraloks, highly educated youths, sitting 
idle and the streets of Calcutta packed with vagrant 
Matriculates" seems to be on the lips of every body. 
Commissions are sitting, great leaders of thought are 
conferring together and discussing ways and means for 
evolving a solution of the 'national problem 9 of educated 
unemployed. But what is their number ? Hardly more 
than % a million in a population of 50 millions ! What 
about the rest whom proverty has deprived completely 
of the facilities of learning even the art of the three 
R's. ? What about the the huge mass of population who 
barely get enough to eat ? Why does not their condition 
stir the champions of the nation to the same extent ? 
If the great spokesmen of democracy believe in 'one for 
each and two for none', why does not the bulk of the 
population move them to the same pitch of anxiety ? 



66 Rural Bengal. 



Educated youths are certainly valuable assets, the cream 
of the upper middle class. But inspite of unemployment 
they do not starve. They do not belong to that class 
of humanity which has to remain content often with 
one meal a day only. Most of them possess as much 
land as half a dozen families of average cultivators do. 
Why can't they go back to their land to work, to 
organise their village life and to teach rudiments of 
knowledge to their neighbours ? Have the great centres 
of learning and high education and have the great thin- 
kers of Bengal ever tried to infuse this ideal of service 
to humanity at large and have they ever thought about 
it seriously ? Have the students of great Universities 
been taught to reform and educate their villagers 
without distinction of caste and creed ? I must be really 
very ill-informed if I am told "yes." 

Not that I do not know that even if really sincere 
efforts had boon made in this direction the result would 
not have been frightfully important ; but has any sincere 
attempt boon made ? Anyway it is no use weeping over 
the past. There are still hundreds and thousands who 
on the platform, proclaim to lay doAvn their life for the 
sake of the nation and the country, who claim that they 
can't see any distinction between a Hindu and a Mussal- 
man, between a Brahmin and a Namasudra. Let them 
realise that they can't build a nation composed of race 
ponies and starving goats. Let them know that it does 



Education. 67 



not suit them to talk big and pretend to be friends of 
the masses without passing through the ordeal of stern 
realities. No use pretending tfo be sincere when you 
are not. It does not take long to- find out. Face the 
realities and enter into the arerna of actual' s6rvi6e to 
the masses. Deserve by merit of actual work before you 
desire to champion the cause of tlie' dumb * millions. 
Much easier to lose one's liberty in the chorus of app- 
lause and appreciations by the whole nation. Far taore 
difficult to remain out, work quietly and solidly, unnoticeci 
and unheard-of, in the teeth of discouragement and "clisf 
appointment. I look forward to see service rendered 
and if my criticism can induce even a small minority 
of the really sincere to work for the cause of building 
a bigger and happier Bengal, I would consider myself 
very lucky indeed. 

I regret that the above discussion took me off 
the tntck anl tendeJ to become nearly irrelevant to 
the miin issue, the question of Primary Education. 
Bengal needs Primary Elimtion for every child, male 
anl female, and for every adult, and it is hopeless to 
think that it can be imparted without being made free 
and compulsory. It is for this reason that I say that the 
Hon'ble Sir NazirnuJdin's Education Act of 1930 is the 
only outstaniing and hiaest effort made to meet the 
situation. I am told it had had a tough sailing in the 
council which only bears out my argument set forth above. 



68 Rural Bengal. 



You can't educate Bengal's millions without finding 
money for it. It is not going to rain from the sky. 
It has got to come out from some source, touch some 
body's pocket. Conditions during the last 150 years have 
changed so considerably and cultivation has developed so 
extensively that the agreement made so long ago can 
not hold good any longer to the great detriment to the 
State and the people. The demand on the resources of 
the State has multiplied, but not its income in the 
same proportion. The State is obliged to provide for 
many more facilities today than it used to, 150 years 
ago, and it is, therefore, logically entitled to demand 
more. I see no breach of ethical laws involved in this 
enhanced demand and no justification why the unearned 
income of the middle man should not be reduced by 
25% at least. 'Greatest good to the greatest number' is 
the one ethics I believe to ba most logical and sound. 
The State has a great task ahead, the supreme duty of 
civilising its nationals. If it is to function efficiently 
as a modern State, it cannot avoid performing this 

primary duty. The proposed reduction of the middle- 
man's profit is the only source to tap. I believe it 

will bring in about Rs. 3 to 4 crores. This should be 
utilised exclusively for giving free compulsory education 

to the rural population. Incidentally it will provide sub- 
stantial relief towards the .problem of the educated 
unemployed. 



Education. 69 



If anyhow this suggestion does not find favour 

with the leaders of thought, the education cess should 

be imposed. If the worst comes to the worst, I would 

honestly prefer far the starvation of the masses in order 

to educate them rather than allow them to continue as 

so many helpless sheep at the mercy of the protected 

wolves. It is totally wrong to say that the present 

regime is based on the survival of the fittest. It is 

survival of the fittest only to a very limited degree 

the field of intellect. Bat man is not wholly inballeot. 

He is a combination of physical self and intellect. 

Nature allows free scope to both components ; normal 

civilized life only to one. 

The question of funds, the chief obstacle disposed 
of, I now come to a few points of details. For the last 
two years elaborate enquiries and calculations have been 
made as to the number and distribution of schools in the 
rural areas. I am quite sure that limitation of funds 
has had a deciding influence on these findings. One school 
to every 3' 12 sqr. miles area has been suggested. In my 
opinion all these calculations have no logical basis what- 
soever, barring, of course, the question of funds, and are 
wholly arbitrary. Examples of the Punjab and other 
provinces have been quoted in support. But though I 
have been in Bengal only for the last 5 years, I think 
I can safely say that a distance of one mile is far too 
long for young children of this province. The Punjab 



70 Rural Bengal. 



is dry and jungles are very rare. But in Bengal, it is 
difficult to go two furlongs without meeting a ditch and 
having to pass through jungles and fields. What holds 
good in the Punjab does not hold good in Bengal. A school 
in the Punjab may be visible from a distance of two 
miles and more unless inhabited villages intervene, but it 
will not be so in Bengal where jungles and trees will cut 
off the view even on every two furlongs and this factor 
has a driving influence on the psychology of young children 
as well as their parents. If schools are made so sparse, 
number of children attending is bound to fall. Besides, 
Bengal is very thickly populated and if each village 
can produce 100 children, there is no logic in compelling 
them to go one mile. The true criterion is necessity 
and nothing more. 

But I am prepared to admit that for the sake of 
systematic distribution so that the schools may serve 
the greatest number, some uniformity of distribution 
should be observed. I would say yes, one Primary school 
to every sqr mile of inhabited area of Bengal and one 
middle school for every 12 sqr miles. Anything less 
than this will not do. 

A great deal is now-a-days being talked about 
'wastage' in Primary Education. This is often advanced 
as another argument for having a few good schools 
rather than too many bad ones. I do not know how 
far the reasons of this wastage are understood. The 



Education. 71 



chief cause of wastage is that after a child has grown 
to a certain age, the parents can ill afford to spare 
him for the luxury of attending a school. The child 
has to accompany the father to the field and help him 
in cultivation work. Sometimes a child has to be with- 
drawn from the school, because parents cannot afford 
to pay the school fees in the upper classes. This is the 
long and short of the wastage. Make education free 
and compulsory and wastage will, more or less, disappear. 

Coming now to what subjects should be included 
in the curriculum, what should be the standard of Pri- 
mary Education in India, I will content myself with 
quoting a few paragraphs from previous addresses. 

The following is a quotation from my Address on 
Education delivered two years ago. 

"I should confess frankly that generally speaking 
denominational institutions never had any appeal for me 
nor will probably ever have. 1 maintain that all Govt. 
and aided schools should be compelled to make provision 
for the cultural and religious education of Muslims and 
non-Muslims alike. Such a step will open facilities to 
parents of both the major communities to educate their 
children in the best and most efficient institutions of the 
country without depriving the children of a religious 
grounding. It will, at the same time, facilitate contact 
and exchange of religious ideas which would ultimately 
lead to the development of a more liberal attitude." 



72 Rural Bengal. 



I note with satisfaction that the Department of 
Education has ultimately adopted this view. 

With regard to the standard a passage from last 
year's address on Middle Education will be helpful. 

Some how or other I cannot suppress the lessons 
that my personal observation has taught, inspite of 
eminent opinions to the contrary. I firmly believe that 
in India where communication is still bad, club-life non- 
existent, newspapers few and news-reading habit undevel- 
oped, and wireless still in the imagination only, Primary 
Education by itself as it is imparted in our primary 
schools today, to a great extent, goes waste. In the majo- 
rity of cases it does but little to develop the mind of the 
child to any appreciable extent or give it a direction, and 
whatever little is learnt is forgotten in the course of a few 
years in the stagnant and conservative atmosphere of the 
village. It does not seem to create any appreciable change 
in the out-look of the so-called educated child and it seems 
to me that all we get in result is more or less a mere statis- 
tical satisfaction. I cannot, therfore, but repeat what I 
had the privilege of placing before an eminent authority 
on the subjeet 2 years ago, thut in India, middle standard 
of Education will, for years to come, remain the mini- 
mum ; and while, due to the paucity of funds, we may be 
compelled to content ourselves with the minimum "something 
better than nothing," we should not at least lose sight 
of this hard fact and should not discourage Middle Educa- 
tion where voluntary efforts can provide for it. 



Education. 73 



As regards converting M. E. into M. V. schools, 
it is enough to mention that M. V. Schools, in preference 
to M. E. Schools, seem to have no chance whatsoever, 
and experience has definitely sealed their fate. Any 
attempt to revive them will be so much energy wasted. 
Besides, I do not know how Bengal proposes to remain in 
touch with the rest of India and the outside world with- 
out some knowledge of a universal language like English. 

I have now only a few words more to add about 

the condition and the staff of the existing Primary schools. 

The condition of the existing Primary schools is simply 

miserable. The economic depression, of course, is to some 

extent responsible for the unhappy state of things and 

the! unemployment of the highly educated has led to 

further discouragement and deterioration, But this is 

not all. There are other causes perhaps more important. 

The generality of parents being illiterate themselves do 

not take interest. They have no idea of the need of 

educating their children nor do many of them insist, 

even when funds permit, that their children must go to 

school. The schools are ugly and unattractive and often 

repulsive, most of the staff, poorly paid as it is, are 

thoroughly inefficient. The teachers do not know how 

to make the school attractive and enjoyable for the young 

children, so that once they have breathed the school 

atmosphere, they may refuse to leave it inspite of their 

parents' opposition. Most of the teachers have no idea 



74 Rural Bengal. 



of child psychology and are incapable of arousing any 
interest in the lessons they teach. 

Obviously the first 'step to take is to improve the 
village school sheds and premises. The school should 
be so many beauty spots in the villages, with a little 
open space and gardens of their own, places children 
would like to swarm around. The school and its up-keep 
should be a matter of pride for every one in the village. 
It should be considered the dearest public property, the 
place where future generation will take shape. 

As regards the teacher, you cannot have a good 
staff without paying goal salaries nor can one expect 
efficiency an:l good result until most of them are trained. 

The child is a very delicate subject with an ex- 
tremely receptive mini. It is liko a soft mould which 
will take any shape the builder would like to give it. One 
word of encouragement at the right moment, one moment's 
patience when the results have been disappointing and 
one twist in words to arouse interest in things, make 
all the difference to its susceptible mind. Besides, children 
of the same age will differ in their inherent faculties 
and in their degrees of mental development. The per- 
son who has to deal with such a delicate material must 
know his job well and have the patience to accommo- 
date the inherent or acquired defects and deficiencies of 
individual children. He must know the psychology of 
the child and must also know the art of adapting him- 



Education. 75 



self to meet the idiosyncracies of his pupils in order to 
mould and develop them to their best. He must know 
how to arouse their interest in their lessons and how 
to amuse them and send them home happy and anxious 
to return again. 

However, this is all commonplace. The point is 
that the number of trained teachers is low and the 
rate of production extremely slow. There are a few 
Gruru Training schools in the province, turning out, I 
believe, on an average 40-50 Gurus in the year. At 
this rate I think it will take a century before all the 
Primary schools are staffed with trained hands. 

The subject has lately occupied a good deal of 
my attention and thought and I have evolved a system 
of training Primary school teachers which aims at train- 
ing all the untrained teachers of this subdivision in the 
course of the next two years. I had referred the mat- 
ter to some eminent experts on the subject and they 
have agreed with me. What I propose to do is this : 

To gool M. A. B. T v 's or B. A. B. T. 's should 
be engaged and a training camp opened in an H. E. 
or M. E. School in a convenient centre. 50 untrained 
teachers of the neighbouring Primary schools and maktabs 
shouU bs carefully selected to form a batch. A special 
course of training for 8 weeks should be prepared. 
The course should be such as would give an easy and 
practical insight into the psychology of the child and 



76 Rural Bengal. 



essentials of teaching according to the most modern 
and accepted theories. It should give the teachsrs a 
grip of the practical side of the equipment they need 
and a good idea of what their responsibilities and 
duties are. 

In a nut shell, what I contemplate is a short 
term course of training of an easy, theoretical and con- 
centrated practical nature such as would equip the 
teacher with necessary knowledge of his art and would 
also create the necessary psychological awakening in his 
mind of the great part he has to play in the mould- 
ing and developing of children of tender age. 

If possible, a few interesting lectures on Health 
and Hygiene, First Aid, Co-operation, and Rural Deve- 
lopment may also be delivered. At the end of 8 weeks 
an examination should be held and certificates granted. 

The only other point to be considered is, how 
will the work of schools, from where teachers will be 
drawn to the training cirrip, be run in their absence ? 
Where there are two teaoliors, as far as practicable, 
only one at a time should be trained so that one may 
run the school. But if it is found that the next camp 
will be too far off and there will be difficulty in board- 
ing and lodging, both the teachers may be trained at 
one time and temporary arrangement for substitutes 
made by the toachers concerned. Where there is only 
one teacher a substitute will be indispensable and the 



Education. 77 



permanent teacher will have to pay half of his salary 
to him. 

The scheme is now open to you for examination 

and criticism. I do not think I need add any thing 
more except that the time has definitely come when 
India should shake off her usual torpor and infuse a 
little more go in her activities. I do not say that these 
camp-trained teachers will be more efficient than those 
trained under the orthodox scheme. Nor do I say that 
these camp-trained teachers should not go in for the full 
course training when they get the opportunity. But 
the expense involved in training under the orthodox 

system is too high and consequently the rate of progress 
is too low to meet India's need. Besides, I refuse to 
believe that the conternpLted 8 weeks' camp-traing will 
be ineffective and the petty sum of Rs. 8000 spent in 
two years will be wasted. I am convinced that at least 
this "some thirfg" will definitely be very much better 
than "nothing." 

This scheme has been tried at Sirajganj and 300 
teachers have already been trained. Experts of the 
Education Department have held inspection and every 
one seems to be satisfied and eager to adopt it. The 
course prepared and taught is attached as Appendix I. 
It was prepared by my trusted colleague Babu G.P.Bis- 
was, M,A.B.T., and discussed in a conference of some 
leading Head Masters and B.T. teachers of the sub- 
division. Some outside experts also examined and 



78 Rural Bengal. 



approved it. The Gurus were given a good tiffin after a 
regular course of physical exercise according to the Bucha- 
nan and Bratachary system every day. They gained in 
health and felt rejuvenated. The camp life proved ex- 
tremely interesting and exciting for them. There was 
a rush of candidates at the beginning of every session. 
Candidates were taken in after a preliminary test and 
scores went back disappointed. 

In the beginning the elders trained in the old 
school of thought ridiculed the idea. In a moment of 
zealous excitement I had once to pull them up and say, 
"Under-rate it as much as you like, but I will make 
it a success and see it provincialised." Results have borne 
me out and I am confident it will have to be provin- 
cialised to solve a great problem of Primary Education 
in the province. # 

* The reader is referred to Govt. of Bengal, Education Depart- 
ment, Res: no. 1037 Edn. dated the 9th March, 1937, issued by the 
Hon'ble Khan Bahadur M. Azizul Hoque, L\ I. E., Minister in- 
charge, P.4, para 1, 

" The large majority of prpils who enter the guru training 
schools to be trained as teachers have bet- n educated up to class 
viii or ix in a high school. There cannot ba any satisfactory solu- 
tion of the problem of Primary education which does not provide 
for better qualified teachers Unfortunately the present economic 
situation in Bengal and the magnitude of the task which has to be 
faced do not permit the initiation of any scheme which would be 
entirely satisfactory from this point of via w. Nevertheless, an attempt 
must be made to ensure tint our Primary school teachers are not 
only better paid but better qualified for their work. It is proposed 
that the newly trained teachers to be employed in Primary schools 
shall in future be matriculates and shall be trained in one of the 
present new type guiu training schools or have undergone anew 
type of training which it is proposed to initiate. The new type of 
training will bj a continuation course following Matriculation, and 
it should be possible to develop certain high schools as special 
training institutions for these teachers." The Primary school 
teachers' short-course training instituted by Mr. Ishaque is a very 
near approach to this new type of training. Publisher. 



Education. 79 



SECTION II. 

2. Secondary Education. 

In my address of January, 1936, some passages 
occur which will make useful introduction to this subject. 

"I feel that, of late, there has been a general 
tendency to discourage H. E, Schools. There seems to 
be too swift a swing of the pendulum against them and 
many of us have been unconsciously discouraging what 
is initially good, but defective only in matter of details. 
It is not the huge number of Graduates and Matricu-, 
lates that should give cause for anxiety. It is the 
wrong ideal of education, the service craze, that should 
be blamed and needs change. I hope statesmen will 
concentrate more on rectifying this defect than destroying 
the foundation of civilization and culture. 

"A word about vocational education. Vocational 
education is needed, not merely for its own sake, but 

for the spread of education itself. Schools have convert- 
ed hundreds of Agriculturists' sons into weaklings and 
babus and some thing must be done to check it. There 
would .be, therefore, a very good thing indeed if one of 
the following subjects, namely, 1. Trade and commerce, 
2. Technical Education and Industries. 3. Agricultural 
Farming, is made a compulsory part of the curriculum. 
Each school should be made to specialise in one or 
more -of those subjects, and where there are too many, 



80 Rural Bengal. 



half-starved schoools, they may be compelled to amal- 
gamate with one another to make the scheme possible 
and financially practicable. If this is done, I am con- 
fident, we shall not feel the necessity of discouraging 
High Schools any more, nor shall have to face the after- 
effects of misdirected education. 

The easiest to start with will be Agricultural 
Farming. Apart from the improvement of Agriculture, 
it will improve the finance of the school and will create 
the habit of manual labour amongst the boys. It will 
give them good training to work at home and help their 
parents. It will make provision both for schooling fees 
and boarding house expenses for many poor students 
who are at present compelled GO beg for Jagirs and lose 
much of their self-respect and dignity. In general, it 
will change the entire out-look of the student commu- 
nity and lead to the development of a much heal- 
thier and superior type of students both in body and 
character." 

A brief mention of the number and distribution 
of schools may profitably be made. I think most of the 
boys of H. E. School-going age should be able to walk 
or cycle 3 to 4 miles without difficulty. So if we take 
the radius of 3 miles round the school each school will 
have an area of about 28 sqr. miles to serve. At this 
calculation the existing H. E. schools will not be found 
to be too many in most places. But, of course, the 



Education. 81 



schools must make an honest effort to create a new 
ideal of educauion amongst the pupils. The service craze 
must go and a new conception, education for education's 
sake for the training and development of mental facul- 
ties for making a man a civilized being brought into 
existence. I will quote a passage from another address 
of mine on this point, "Teachers should make it a point 
to speak on this subject both in the class and outside 
and weekly debates in school hours should be held on 

the subject of 'Careers. 1 This will open the eyes of 
the boys while they arc still young and save them lot 
of disappointment in later life. If this is done systema- 
tically and regularly, and no reason why it should not 
l>e done, most of the blaire that is laid on H, B School 
education for the acute unemployment it is supposed to 
have led to a perfectly natural phenomenon in the nor- 
mal course of events which like most other countries 
India is and will have to face, whatever her system of 
education will soon and completely disappear. 

But it is undoubtedly true that our education is 
more academic than our circumstances justify. Our schools 
devote too much attention to book learning and too 
little to character-building and to the development of 
other potential talents. In fact, I honestly dispute if 
it is proper to engage the boys for six periods on book 
work. I think 4 ought to be quite enough and 2 should 
be devoted to stimulate other faculties and for the prac- 
tical application of the training that the mind has received. 



82 Rural Bengal. 



To give these ideas a still more definite and prac- 
tical shape I would suggest that every Middle School in 
the rural areas should be asked to open an Agricultural 
Farm under a trained teacher and after a boy has passed 
the sixth class, an 'ability* and 'means' test should be 
held before he is allowed to join the H. E. School. 
Under head 'ability' the capacity of intending pupil for 
higher education should be thoroughly and carefully 
tested and under head 'means' it should bo ascertained if 
it will be possible for him and his parents to afford 
higher education. Those who pass both the tests may 
be allowed to concentrate on academic subjects alone 
taking one of the technical subjects as optional if they 
so desire. For those who fail, a technical subject should 
be made compulsory and they should be required to 
pass through in the same way as they have to do in 
any other compulsory subject like Mathematics, English 
etc. If they can shine in the academic side also in spite 
of this, well and good. They will deserve to be pushed 
up to the University if they can afford. The rest 
will automatically drop out and be absorbed in the various 
.pursuits for which tho school has trained them. In any 
case they will have the requisite bias and training to 
enable them to take to Agricultural Farming, Weaving, 
Business and other careers. They will not find themselves 
at sea and life will not appear a complete void. 

The teachers who are to train students in Agri- 
culture or other technical subjects mentioned;- would 



Education. S3 



naturally require training for themselves before they are 
able to train others. Personally I am strongly in favour 
of short-course practical training classes for teachers in 
preference to high degrees. In fact, I have prepared 
a scheme for Agricultural training of school teachers 
which seems to me both sufficient and effective. Above 
all, it will enable most of the schools to get trained 
teachers in the course of a year or two. There will 
be still another advantage. These teachers will be free 
from the common weakness of a high degree-holder who 
is all too conscious of his ability and theoretical know- 
ledge to be of much practical use. But we do not want 
research in school farms. We want practical work f 
practical training and practical rural bias, and I hope 
to give it a fair trial in Sirajganj nnxt year. The 
rural M. E. Schools in Sirajganj are slowly equipping 
themselves with necessary land and all the 16 new M. E. 
Schools, started this year under the Bural Development 
Movement, possess the necessary land for the proposed 
Agricultural Farms. I hope to be successful. ( Vide 
Appendix II )' 

I close this section with the remarks that there 
is really no reason for a great anxiety about the future 
educated. Things are already taking a good turn. 
Whatever has so far happened was really unavoidable 
and natural being inherent in the very conception with 
which the country took to High English Education. But, 



$4 Rural Benga 



in reality, there i& nothing seriously wrong with the 
system of education itself. There will, of course, always 
remain room for improvement, but to say that the 
system is totally defective would be, talking sheer 
nonsense. 



Education. 85 



SECTION lU. 



Female Education. 

Ours is an age of women. The old school master 
used to tell us stories of how the great knights of the 
past used to roam about staking their lives in order to 
protect and champion the cause of the fair sex. The 
great Scot and other novelists of his period give us the 
impression that the age of chivalry really passed away 
with them. But is it true ? I wonder. 

The man of to-day may not go in battle for the 
fair sex because it is not needed. He may not bow 

before them in the same fashion and may not show the 
jarne traditional courtesy because it is no more liked and 

appreciated But he does more. He gives them free- 
dom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of action 
freedom to meddle with every affair of his, things that 
the grand knights would have shuddered to dream of. 
He allows them to parley with him in heated debates. 
He allows them to fight with him in political assem- 
blies, to interfere in state business and war, to combat 
as obtrusive advanced guards in political agitations. He 
allows them to compete with him in schools and colleges, 
in competitive examinations and even to throw him out 
of employment and usurp his means of livelihood. Yet 
he loves them, he adores them, he worships them. And 



86 Rural Bengal. 



the fair sex demand it as a matter of right. Could man 
really do more, could he really become more, chivalrous ? 

But I wonder if the fair sex appreciate it. They 
argue that they have gained ground by sheer strength 
of inherent ability : that the biased and prejudiced age 
of the past kept them down by sheer brute force : that 
their intellectual ability was never given a fair chance : 
that they have entered in the field rather late and that, 
given equal opportunities they will, in time to come, 
hold their own against man in every walk of life. Their 
great champions argue, have not the fair sex produced 
a Madame Curie, a Sarojini Naidu, a Joan of Arc and 
an Amy Johnson, has not this or that girl topped the 
list in this or that exarninatior ? Yes : they are great 
names indeed, but only exceptions that prove the rule. As 
to the other argument it should be remembered that the 
processes of mental development in the case of women 
take place far more rapidly than in the case of man. A 
girl of 20 is fully grown up both mentally and physically 
and has reached maturity, A boy of 20 is only a kid. 
He has yet to develop his best and when he does, few of 

the best amongst the fair sex will stand comparison with 
him. In the sustained effort that the struggle for exis- 
tence demands at every step at every moment, they are 
left miles behind. It is no fault of theirs. It is nature 
which is to blame. I wish the fair sex would realise the 
obvious. Certainly have the best and all the freedom you 
want, but do not blunder into over-confidence against 



Education. 87 



the dictates of nature itself. Don't let inferiority 
complex get the better of your discretion and judgment. 
The fair sex has her own special department to run 
and an exclusively reserved function to perform in the 
scheme of nature, the home, the family and the bringing 
up of the future generation a function important enough, 
difficult enough and sacred enough to entitle her to 
the greatest esteem and respect that man can command. 
This is what the fair sex should know and should feel 
proud of. The rest is all rough and inferior. Leave 
that to man. 

This might appear a little off the track; but it 
will be helpful in understanding my views on female 
education. I really believe that if the elites and the 
delights know a little of what their respective spheres 
of duties are, the world would be happier. Below is a 
paragraph from one of my previous addresses on the 
same subject. 

It is extremely gratifying to note that during the 
last decade the country has made satisfactory progress 
in this direction. While in 1921 the number of literate 
women per thousand was 15, the census of 1931 return- 
ed 21. But we should not forget that this progress 
has brought up the percentage from 15 to 21 only. 
The number of Primary schools for girls is still very 
small. However, you need at least as many Primary 
schools for the girls as for the boys. 



88 Rural Bengal. 






But before further attempt in this direction is 
made, the question whether female education is a necessi- 
ty, and if so, to what extent and of what standard, 
should be clearly understood. 

The need of educating the future mothers of the 
nation can neither be disputed nor over-emphasised. 
But the question how far it should go and what 
should be its aim and ideal is a matter deserving more 
serious consideration than people are apt to give it. 
There is a craze for female education and I have known 
many enlightened people who have been educating their 
daughters and sisters in High Schools and even Univer- 
sities in the vain hope of securing their economic 
independence. I wish I could enter into a detailed dis- 
cussion of the problem and place the pros and cons 
side by side, but it will take long. I, therefore, con- 
tent myself with giving you my advice and warning. 
Economic independence for women in India is a perfectly 
rotten and thoroughly impracticable idea. Eve has not 
been created for that purpose and simply will not do 
in that line. Her proper sphere is home and the 
bringing up of children, a heaven-assigned task for 
which she is admittedly fitted by nature herself. In 
other lines she will simply make a mess. A few genius- 
es may rise, one out of a million, who may shine as 
such but in comparison with men they sink into insig- 
nificance. Eve cannot and will not stand against man. 



Education. 89 



Nature itself seems to have ruled out her standing at 
par with her stronger and superior life-partner, the man. 

But supposing she does and succeeds in pushing 
out all the men from their offices and occupations 
what would be the result ? Who will look after tile 
family and what will happen to those who would go 
on the unemployment list ? It will add to the misery 
of the country. 

So I would say that sending the girls to the! 
University and other Higher Institutions is so much 
money and energy wasted at the cost of their health 
and neglect of their home. TLeir Matriculations should 
be equivalent to the Middle schools and their gradua- 
tion to the present Matric. Their course of studies 
should be distinctly different and should include more 
of what they really need for the home than for the rest. 
To give them the same courses as to the boys which 
are to heavy for their delicate constitutions is to give 
them more than is good for them and can only lead to 
waste of national energy. So please think carefully be- 
fore you go crazy after higher education for girls. At 
best you can have one High School for every sub-divi- 
sion which you parhaps need not only for the gradua- 
tion of your daughters fand sisters but incidentally for 
producing female teachers. A High School should pro- 
vide for the highest standard of education that the 
people may reasonably look for. 



90 Rural Bengal. 



Begarding M. E. and Primary education I think 
you should have many more girls 5 schools than you 
have at present, provided you do not forget that the 
curriculum for girls should be short and quite different 
from that for boys. But your poor country cannot 
afford separate schools for girls and boys and separate 
buildings and equipment. Even if it could, I think it 
would be a misuse of national wealth. You should uti- 
lise the existing M. E. and Primary school buildings 
for girls' schools also whi'sh should sit from 7 to 10 
A. M. Three hours ought to be quite enough and 
should make female education an easy and practical 
proposition for all those who want to educate their 
children both male and female. 

The question of building and equipment having 
been solved, where necessary, by further improvement of 
buildings, the question of recurring cost for the sala- 
ries of the teachers A\ill not be difficult. Thice hours 
between 7 to 10 A. M. will allow many philanthropic 
gentlemen engaged in other occupations to work on 
small allowances and honorarium and so the maintenance 
cost will not be heavy. 

The only point to be considered is that there is 
no such course at present as will be suitable for girls 
and fit in with the three hours scheme. This is 
not difficult to prepare. The University and other 
authorities, of course, may not recognise it, may not 



Education. 91 



grant certificates and diplomas. But if you work it out 
and go ahead, I am quite sure the University also, 
sooner or later, will be compelled to do so. Even if 
it does not, what will be the harm ? You stand to 
lose nothing. You require useful education for your 
girls and not certificates to send them out a-hunting 
jobs. 

I have now only a few words more to add 
about this course. I think, in the case of girls, a 4 
years 9 course .should be more than enough, and I 
would name the four classes, not class I, II, III, IV, 
but the good daughter, the good sister, the good 
house-wife and the final to be the good mothers 9 
class. I would teach them mostly what they should 
know and will actually require in later life the various 
stages of a house-holder's life and home science. This 
they will remember and actually put into practice. 
Rudiments of general knowledge should certainly be 
taught, but without losing sense of proportion. I have 
tried to actually prescribe this course in consultation 
with my colleague Mr. Gr. P. Biswas, M. A., B. T., and 
some others and if possible it will be attached to this 
chapter as Appendix III. 



92 Rural Bengal. 



SECTION IV. 

4. Adult Education. 

Adult education is rather a new subject. In fact 
when I sat down to write out my address last year 
I could get no information and no guidance from any 
quarter. Nor have I been able to discover anything 
since. Recently a friend of mine Prof. Tripurari Chakra- 
verty, M. A. f of the Calcutta University presented me 
a copy of the Calcutta Review in which an address 
of Dr. Amarnath Jha of IT. P. on Adult Education 
was published. I read it with excited interest, but 
found it only a tame descriptive second-hand. Dr. 
Jha has described the system of Adult Education intro- 
duced in America, Germany, Italy, and Polk schools of 
Holland. He has invited the attention of educationists 
to the peculiarly different problem of the Indian 
masses. But he has no suggestion to make and stops 
exactly at the point from which I want to begin. The 
continental models are run on the basis of existing 
foundations, meant for those who have already acquired 
the rudiments of knowledge. But the problem that I 
have set my mind to face is different. There is noth- 
ing like existing foundation in the case of the masses 
of India. They have to be taught first these rudi- 
ments the three R's as they are called; and the pro- 
blem is how to do that. I cannot, therefore, blame 



Education. 93 



the Education Department if my views took them by 
surprise. The idea was entirely my own and at least 
novel if not altogether foreign. Since then things have, 
however, changed. An Adult Education Committee has 
been set up. Some reference has been made by the 
committee to the work being done by some professor 
of Shanti Niketan. I 'am not in possession of all the 
details, but my impression is that here again the wes- 
tern model has been introduced with the same object 
to refresh and enlarge the scope of knowledge of those 
who, due to lack of contact, are rapidly forgetting 
whatever they had learnt and are deteriorating. 

The Adult Education Committee referred to are 
contemplating to make use of the services of the Sub 
Registrars and such other local officers and non-officials 
as may be able to spare some time for occasional 
visits to the centres of adult education. They are to 
read and lecture on topics likely to be of use to the 
rural population. But, in my opinion, this will neither 
work nor go much deeper. The organisation will be so 
limited and the work so occasional in character that it 
will never touch the core of the problem. By way of 
some-thing-is-better-than nothing, the scheme may be 
admirable but considering the vastness of the problem 
and the thick veil of illiteracy that covers the whole 
countryside, it will hardly be more than an eye-wash. 

The conception of adult education that I have in 



94 Rural Bengal. 



mind is Primary education of the illiterate adult popu- 
lation of the country. I do not propose to attack the 
problem of adult females for good reasons, but I firmly 
believe that the male population consisting of the adole 
-scent, the youths, the middle-aged and even the very 
old will respond to treatment and I am not prepared 
to brush them aside as 'bad boys. 5 Some of them, the 
very old perhaps, may appear reluctant, but I do not 
like to let even these escape not a single individual 
howsoever infirm. Difficulties will, of course, arise and 
exceptions will have to be made but that will only 
prove the rule. The mass of Bengal must be educated 
and it is my firm conviction that the majority can be 

made literate and sufficiently educated in the course of 
five years. The statement may appear stalling, but I 
know exactly what I am talking and I emphatically re- 
peat that I mean it. A will and a determination is all 
that is wanted. The rest will follow. 

But such a task, I must clearly state at the out- 
set, cannot be performed by mere pious wishes and 
preachings. A certain amount of compulsion is indispen- 
sable and cannot possibly be Avoided if the dumb millions 
are to be educated. The birth-right to remain illiterate 
is to be refused totally. 

There is, however, no intention that any oppre- 
ssion be committed on them or any harsh punitive mea- 
sures taken against any one. They will not be necessary. 



Education. 95 



It would be quite enough if along with extensive prea- 
ching and propaganda a responsible officer like the cir- 
cle officer of whom I want one for every 8 Unions in 
Bengal, is empowered to impose a symbolical illiteracy tax 
on those only who, in spite of being provided with rea- 
sonable facilities, would insist on remaining illiterate. 
Let the public servants of a democratic Government 
be treated with more confidence and vested with a 
little more authority to impose this symbolical illiteracy 
tax, a few annas not exceeding Rupee one per month 
in very rare cases, as exemplary punishment. Let them 
have a little more say in part II of the Union Board 
Budget ( Education and other works of public utility ) 
and then proceed on with a night school in every vill- 
age, financed by Mushtibhiksha (doles) collected from 
amongst the villagers themselves and supplemented by a 
grant of Bs. 2/- per month from the Local Union 
Board. A total sum of Es 5/- to Rs. 7/- per month 
is enough to run a night school as efficiently as you like. 

And this is all easy and practicable. In fact the 
state need not bother about financing the night schools 
at all. They will look after themselves. An official 
like the C. 0. with only 8 Unions to supervise a demand 
\vhieb, I will prove in a later chapter, can and should 
be fulfilled without additional cost should and will be 

able to see if the state insist that the system works 
smoothly. There will be no dearth of teachers and no 
difficulty of accommodation where there is a nicely and 



96 Rural Bengal. 



conveniently situated school inside the village itself and the 
Night school will sit in the same premises. Where there 
is none, the villagers can themselves snbscribe bamboos 
and straw and can build a neat and open shed with 
voluntary labour. No further cost will be necessary to 
incur. Ditmar lamps can be contributed as donation 
from the D. B., 6s. 5/- per village, for 'two lamps' is 
certainly not very much considering that for a whole 
District like Fabna the total cost will not exceed Ss. 
15000/-, If a road project has to be kept in abeyance 
for that reason f let it remain so by all means. The 
country needs education far more than anything else. 
It is the adult parents more than the inherent capaci- 
ties of the children that will decide what the future 
generation will be and it is they who count in the world 
of the present. The children do not matter so much 
just now. They have still to grow and become adults 

before their voice can be heard- Let the adults be 
treated first. 

As to what should be the special course for the 
adults, I have discussed the details in my address 
from which I would presesntly quote. I propose to di- 
vide it into 6 parts- each to continue for six months. 
The 1st would consist of alphabets, simple reading and 
writing, a little knowledge of weights and measures and 
such other elementary arithmetic as the villagers need 
and must know. The 2nd part would consist of the 
rudiments of general and useful knowledge necessary 



Education. 97 



for rural population. The 3rd, a little higher and so 
the 4th, 5th and the 6th. The language should be 
simple. The subject matter * should be dealt with in 
short and simple stories and should contain as liberal 
a sprinkling of humour as may be practicable and 
possible. Parts I and II of the series have been com- 
pleted at Sirajganj though I cannot say how far the 
member in charge of the adult course, Moulvi Abul Hossain, 
Hony. Magte. and retired Inspector of Police, who has 
edited them, has been able to keep to rny instructions 
and ideals. The rest will be composed of selections 
from other authors. The following is a quotation from 
my address which will recapitulate and throw additional 
light on .the subject, 

"In a country like India where the percentage 
of literacy never seems to have exceeded 6 or 7 %, the 
need of adult education can hardly be questioned. To 
think that our adults will not respond to systematic 
teaching is to be absurd. It contradicts all experience 
and observation. Just as in the case of children so in the 
case of adults, individuals will differ in their mental 
capacities and make-up. Some are quick and some are 
slow and the reaction and the response to teaching 
must naturally be different with different individuals. 

But properly handled and coached, the adult will 
learn and derive the same benefit as does the child, if 
not, as I personally think, greater. 



Rural Bengal. 



Some may, however, argue that funds being 

limited it is a sounder investment to educr-te tlje chil- 



dren who will form the adult nation of the future or 
that given equal opportunities the illiterate adults of 
to-day who did not avail themselves of the chance 
offered to them before, have forfeited all claims to be 
tried again. It seems to me that both these arguments 
are open to challenge. No doubt the child is the 
father of the man and so deserves very great attention. 
But with the exception of a few individuals here and 
there who have risen to the top without depending on 
the training and influence of their parents, it is absurd 
to deny that normally it js the parents who make what 
the children would be. It is they who infuse in the 
children the desire to learn. It is they who give 
them training and build their character. It is they 
who send them to school and decide how far they will 
read and what, if any thing at all. It is obvious then 
that until the state takes complete charge of bringing 
up children and education becomes free and compulsory, 

the influence of the parents and their attitude towards 
education and other allied matters will continue to play 
a deciding part in the general make-up of the future 
generations. 

As for the other argument, there is really no 
sense in saying, at least in India, that all the illiterate 
adults had had their opportunities. But even if some 
of them had, it is an admitted fact that man's mental 



Education. 99 



development does not follow any rigid scale with rela- 
tion to his age. Some develop quickly and others 
take years and many a dull boy at the school has 
proved how meritorious he can be when fully matured. 
I, therefore, do not see any reason whatsoever why 
adult education should not get the same attention > as 
the education of the child. The only explanation that 
I can suggest of our present neglect seems to be our 
usual adherence to whatever our ancestors have thought 
or done before and have laid down for us to follow. 

But, of course, the handling of adults will naturally 
have to be quite different from that of the child and so 
would be the curriculum and the system of coaching. 
The adult, carrying the worries of life and the burden 
of the family on his shoulder as he does, will need very 
much more amusement also. His school will have to be a* 
recreation hall where he can sit, talk, smoke and enjoy; 
and yet learn regularly and systematically with keen inte, 
rest. A course of simple but interesting and instructive 
lectures, so arranged and graded with respect to their 
subjects as to arouse the interest in the adult mind, will 
have to be prepared. Script should, of course, form part 
of the training, but it is not in my opinion an indispen- 
sable qualification of an educated man. There have been 

scores of highly educated men who did not know the art 
of reading and writing and it should not be lost sight 
of that literacy is not education. It is only a means to 
an end, the education of the mind. 



100 Rural Bengal. 



An eminent authority on education has remarked 
that in his opinion adult education is something built 
on the existing foundation. I do not dispute this, but 
with due respect I differ to go a step further. India's 
95% illiterates cannot be ignored any longer particularly 
as I have said before when this ratio seems to have 
become permanent, nay, is getting worse. Of course 
there are practical difficulties on the score of funds. 
But how will the funds come if we do not even appre- 
ciate the position and make the people realise it and 
help themselves by voluntary efforts ? Progress made un- 
der the present system of teaching children only has 
been, by no means, encouraging and some thing more must 
be done in addition to it. 

Perhaps there are ways out of difficulties. In 
my opnion the Village school should be the place to 
be concentrated upon and improved to serve as the 
village school, village hall and every thing. As I have 
mentioned in my address on rural development, it 
should be a girl's school 7-10 A. M., boy's school 
11 A. M. - 4 P. M., Night school and club 6 - 9 P. M., 
It can easily serve all fhese purposes and India can 
ill-afford to waste these opportunities. 

As to how the illiterate adult should be taught 
it is a matter that experts should discuss and decide. 
I have only a few suggestions to make which are as 
follows : 



Education. 101 



A Rough programme for the education of the illi- 
terate adults. 

Part I. 

1. Alphabets, reading and writing. 

2. Numbers : 1100. 

Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and t)i vision; 

3. English Numbers : 1100. 

Roman 1 12. 

Part II. 

1. (i) Simple anatomy of the human body, 
(ii) Physiology. 

(iii) Care of the body, infection and disinfectioli. 
(iv) How do epidemics of Cholera, Small-pox, 

Malaria, etc spread ? 
Their prevention, 
(v) Injection and vaccination. 

2. Geography of the village, thana, district and pro- 
vince. Important cities of India, how to travel, leading 
on to elementary conception of the globe. 

3. Simple lessons and stories from Indian History 
leading on to Union Boards, Provincial Government, 
Government of India, Legislative Council and the vote. 

4. The need of education and the ideal of education. 

5. How can agriculture and cattle be improved ? 
How to supplement the income of peasantry, cottage 
industries. 



102 Rural Bengal. 



6. How is trade and business carried on ? How to 
succeed in business. 

7. Elementary 8010:1:53, Vapour, clouds, rain, storms, 
simple science of weather. 

8. The railway engine, telephone, telegraph, with re- 
marks leading on to wireless. 

9. Character, honesty, truthfulness etc. 

10. Co-operation what can it do ? How to co-operate 
for a common cause and improve life in the village 
clubs, social life etc. 

11. Current topics. 

12. Essential unity of religion: need of toleration. 

13. Islam : lives of great Muslims, 

14. Hinduism : Hindus. 

15. Any other useful subject. 

16. A daily or weekly newspaper, preferably non-politi- 
cal like "The Palli pradip" of Sirajganj. 

Lessons and teaching should be simple interesting 
and amusements such as music, humorous speeches, 
caricatures should intervene between the lessons. 



Appendix I. 



Syllabus for a two-month's course of Training for 
Primary School Teachers, Sirajganj. 



1. Educational Psychology : 

Education ; its aim ; child mind : its contents, growth and deve- 
lopment : instincts and how to sublimate them : apperception : 
Association : Interest : Attention : Causes of Inattention : Memory : 
Habits and their formation : The Playway in Education : Esprit 
de corps : Teacher's personality. 

2. Methocs of teaching different Subjects : 

(A) Bengali Literature : 

(i) Loud Reading: to be supplemented by pattern reading: 
special emphasis on ccirect pronunciation and proper intonation. 

(ii) Silent Reading under the supervision of the teacher. Ques- 
tions to educe what is read : Summarisation of paraghraphs. 

(B) Composition : Oial accounts of things seen, heard or 
leaint : invention of ftciies : expansion of ideas : Letter writing : 
Paragraph conduction : Punctuation : 

(i) Words cr hints may be drawn out from children by 
questions and put on the B. B. 

(ii) The same given by the teacher himself. 

(iii) The teacher to supervise by going round the tfass and 
helping the chi'dren with hints here and there : Individual 
attention. The best work to be pointed out and held before the 
class for emulation. The Teacher's attention to be concentrated 
on the slow boys through sympathy and help. 

Home work : proof sheet method of correction with red ink. 
Rewriting of tasks corrected : Testing how far the tasks are 
acquired by means of test questions. 



(ii) Rural Bengal. 



(0) (i) Spelling : Its recent reforms according to the memo- 
randum issued by the Vice-Chancellor, C. U. and committee : 
Correct visualisation of words : Defects due to mal-observation 
or non-observation. Words open to confusion to be written on 
the B. B., uttered and written several times over to ensure the 
correct forms : words to be illustrated in sentences. 

(ii) Dictation : (a) From the seen and intelligible. 

(b) unseen but intelligible. 

The teacher's stand in the class : Boys posture : correction 
by bjys by infc9rchang3 : Teacher's supervision : General mis- 
takes : their correction on B. B. Teacher's note-book containing 
the correct forms. 

(D) Bengali Grammar. 
Methods : 

(L) First examples : then to deduce IU!CF. 
(ii) Appreciation of literature or s^tory interest not to be marred 
by Grammar grinding. 

(iii) Reference to Grammatical interest sparingly through 
literature lesson : Old method and mcdein method of dealing 
with literature and Grammar : 

(E) Handwriting : Its importance in life: Specimens on 
B. B. Bcdi'y porture of boys : collect way of holding pencil 
and pen: Dented paragraphs: coirect spacing of words and 
lines: m ai gin ; letters with similar foiniations to be taken tcge- 
ther, such as (i) <a5r% ssj-f, \*^ \$r f ^ *p "sejs f "^ and FO on. 
(ii (In English) i u / /, m -it h p, n ti </ <?, c P and so on. 
(iii) Small letters English ^optional) to precede capital letters 
(iv) Oinamental capital letters to bo avoided at first. Letters 
with like cuivep, parallel stroke?, bends and pot-hooks to be 
taken together. 

First legibility and neatness, then beauty and speed. 

(F) Arithmetic and Shubhankari : Mental Arithmetic : The 
syllabus for the Primary Final Examination : Guess work, 
Mental drill with small practical examples : Deduction of Rules 
Shopping and everyday Arithmetic ; Aiithmetical proof of 
Shubhanker's methods. Correct use of Scale, Area by actual 
measurements, Reading of Dakhi.as ( Rent receipt), Writing 
of documents etc. 



Appendix I. in 



(G) History, Methods of teaching history ; the concentric 
method, Story element, Principal personalities of each era ; 
Details later ; line of time ; Sketch maps ; use of pictures and 

diagrams, Summarisation on B. B. The age-long memory work 

to be discarded ; effects of British Rule. The Legislative! 

Assemblies, Vot3, Franchise, Municipalities, D. B., TJ. B., L. B. 

etc. 

(H) Geography, Its d3finifcion 3tory of man in relation to 
his life on this earth nob a catalogue of names and places, 
Compass, shape and size of earth, its motion : day and night, 
chang-3 of seasons ; climates ; rainfall ; how to nnasura rainfall, 
spocial geographical features of India and specially Bengal ; 
Rajshahi Division and Pabna ; Railways of Bengal : Chief pro- 
ducts : Map drawing and reading ; Rs:. Any Text Bjok of 
classes III and IV. 

(I) Elementary Scienc3 ani Hygiene : 

Air, how it is rendered impure ; storm : Fire Brigade ; 
Thermometer ; water ; vapour ; mist ; cloud ; rain ; dew ; clean- 
linass : epidemics ; vaccination : foodstuff; vitamin; exercise : cheer- 
fu'n3ss ; van^ilation ; cYiidran's posture of sitting and standing; 
Fatigue ; recreation ; First aid. 

(J) (i) Drill anl Physical Esircisa : 

Exorcises ; free hand, of t'.ie trunk, neck, arms and legs : 
formation of ranks and fi'es : some 30 games : Hadudu and 
Dariabandha etc. Breathing Exorcise, Buchanan system to be 
followed. 

(ii) Bratachari Exercise ; History of Bratachari movement ; 
The Bratachari * >f1 " and " ^sjt^l " and Principles ; some action 
songs ; Kathi dance and Raibeshe dance (optional). Classes and 
Demonstrations to b? arranged by physical and Bratachari Ins- 
tructors of the attached H. E. School in consultation with 
the Head master according to the syllabus attached. 

3. English : 

Loud Reading : Conversation in simple questions and ans- 
wers. Explanation and summarisation in Simple Bengali ; Tran- 
slation of simple Bengali sentences into English. Vocabulary 
upto about 200 words. 



iv Rural Bengal. 

< 

Model in Dr. West's New method Readers, Primer 1A. 
Handwriting as in Bengali (above). 

4. School Organisation and Management : 

(a) School site, air and ventilation ; seating arrangement ; 
Parallel benches one behind the other preferable to the ordi- 
nary quadrangular form, uses of the B. B. and crayon, Time- 
Table ; School records, Teacher's duty outside class room ; 
co-operation with parents and guardians. 

(b) Discipline, Management of students under instruction ; 
Punishments and rewards ; How to dea] with bullies and 
absence, class drill. 

(c) Teaching ; c'a.ss and individual teaching : notes of 
lesson ; Teaching device ; maxims of mithod simple to comlex, 
known to unknown; fivo-step method. Curriculum, its usefulness. 

5. (a) D^moistration lesso.? : 1 le*s:m evory day in the 
morning by each Instructor i. e. 2 lessons by the 2 Instructors. 

fb) Criticism lesson : By the Teachers undor Training ; 4 
periods of 35 minutes each in each o!" two Pr. Schools. One teacher 
'will teach and his associate or partner will watch. In the noxt 
period the reverse thus in each of the v two schools 8 teachers, 
4 in each of the upper 2 classes in each school, will teach. 
Hence 16 teachers will bo occupied in the schools. The last 5 
.weeks will be devctad to Fract'cu Teaching. Every teacher will 
thus be required to deliver at least 6 to 8 lessons. The two Ins- 
truct )r,s to go round and supervise. For criticism lessons 
Monday to Friday 20 pericds. Saturday 2 peiicds 22 pericds 
ier .week. Hence in 5 weeks 22 x 5 110 peiicds available. 110 
.pemds 16 teachers (each day) 6 (at least). The remaining 
14 lessons may have to be dropped out for holidays, discussion etc. 



Appendix I. 



Rules and Regulations 

1. It is a twc-month's course of training and the teachers under 
training are expected to try their level best to derive as much 
benefit as possible by a steady and conscientious pursuit of the 
course. 

2. Instructors are to keep necessary records such as Attendance 
Register, criticism lesson Register, notes on Demonstration and 
criticism etc. 

3. Punctuality and sincerity should be insisted on. Strict camp 
discipline should be observed. 

4. Criticism lesson in the Pr. schools should be given accord- 
ing to the normal routine and text books of the respective classes. 

5. Teachers should provide themselves with a note book for 
each subject. 

6. Instructors should dictate notes where necessary. They should 
sign the notes of teachers every day to see that the trainees 
are in right earnest. 

7. Teachers shou'd try to provide themselves with copies of 
*Bibic' ha Bidhan" by 4ghorenath Adhikary and "Sikhsha Bijnan" 

by K. B. Abdur Rahman. 

8. Ordinarily no leave should be granted. Unnecessary absen- 
ces shcu'd te reported to the office. 

9. Head masters of local H. E. Schools will be requested to 
giv3 every possible help by way of lending B. B.'s, charts, maps 
and necossaiy apparatus, service of Physical and Bratachari 
Inptuictcrs etc. 

10. At the end of the course a short examination in two papers, 
cne written, and cne piactica), will te held and certificates granted 
to successful teachers. Teachers securing 60% marks or more 
wrl te placed in class I ; those that will secure 45% to 59% 
will te put in tfars II ; marks between 36% and 44% will be declared 
mere pass. 

11. All the teachers must take part in games and drill. They 
will te icquiied to take the drill and games classes. Their 



vi Rural Bengal. 



ability will be recorded as in the criticism lessons and general 
conduct. 

12. The training is meant to equip the teachers the better for 
their profession. Trained teachers will always have preference 
whenever any vacancy occurs. 

13. Untrained teachers or teachers who could profit little by 
this short course will have to leave in favour of trained and 
really capable ones. 

14. Teachers who profit by this training and are reported have 
grown in efficiency in their respective schools are sure to gat 
a higher remuneration. 

15. The successful completion of the course depends entirely 
on the skill and efficiency of *ho Instructors who are to see 
that o^y general ani most essential points are inculcated in 
the simplest and shortest possible way along the lines suggastad. 

16. Instructors are required to submit waokly reports on th3 
progress made and attend a monthly conference at the Head- 
quarters on a Sunday for discussion and guidance. 

17. Instructors may modify the routine, if necessary, with an 
eye to better progress and convenient working. 

18. At the commencsmont of the session, teachers will be re- 
quired to sit for an admission test and those who ara r<ucc3S3- 
ful will be admitted to the course preference being gi/en to 
passed matrics and teachers read up to the matric standard. 



Appendix I. 



(vii) 



PERIODS OF WORK. 



Morning -i 



7. 308. 10 

8. 108. 50 
8. 509. 30 



9 30-10 5 



Psychology 
Methods 

School organisation and manage- 
ment and Demonstration Lessons 
on alternate days. 
Demonstration lesson. 



Noon 



L 

Afternoons 
or 

Evening 



*12. 301. 5 

1. 51 40 

2. 2. 35 
2. 353. 10 



Criticism lesson in 2 or 3 Primary 
Schools, 
do 

do 
do 



3. 304. 10 Drill and games. Tiffin on the field. 
3. 404 20 

6 P. M. -7 P. M. General topics, Talks by Doctors, 
Educationists, amusement etc. 



As days lengthen with the change of seasons, the routine 
may be changed a little, morning session commencing earlier 
i. e. at 7 A. M. 



^Criticism lessons may commence later, at 1. 25 P. M. accord- 
ing to the discretion of the Instructors to suit convenience. 



Appendix II. 



A scheme for opening Agricultural gardens or 
Farms in H. E. & M. E. Schools. 



The departmental scheme contemplates the recruitment of 
Graduate Teachers from selected H. E. Schools for training at 
Dacca. Usually 15 teachers are selected every year from Bengal 
and are kept under training for two years. After they have 
qualified, they return to taair re3p3c!ive schools. The Government 
make capital grant of Rs 500/-- or Rs 2000/- for a garden or 
a farm as the case may be. They also pay Rs 10/- p. m. as 
allowance to the teacher. 

It is clear that a period of 50 to 100 years will be required 
before every school can get a chanca to avail itself of this 
opportunity. But why should so much time be lost ? What 
is the intention ? Do the results, where such gardens or farms 
have been opened justify this expense and delay ? 

Perhaps the intention is to give a good theoretical and 
practical grounding in agiicuHure to those who may choose to 
take to it as a career, I must cun c ess that the Jitt'e that I have 
seen of those gardens or farms has not impressed me much 
and what is worso sti'l, at least this is my observation, thsso depart- 
mentally trained agiicultural teachers seem to think that once 
they have obtained the certificates, there is litt'e o'se to do. No 
one can question that they are agricultural expeits and are 
capable of Tunning the farms if they want to, but unfortunate- 
ly they se'dom do. 

As I have said elsewhere, they seem to be too conscious 
of their theoretical knowledge to be of much practical usa. The 
question now is, do we desire to make school boys research 
scholars and expeit theoiists and can this hope mateiia'ise under 



Appendix II. { x 



the present system ? I am not sure. I think the few research 
institutes and colleges and the District Agricultural Farms only 
can meet this need and not the ordinary schools. 

In my opinion the main purpose of opening a garden or a 
farm in schools, is or ought to be the maintenance of the dig- 
nity of manual labour, introductoin of new and improved crops 
and to give the boys a healthier outlook on life. Manual labour 
shouM become part of the regular routine of every boy's life 
and he should be able to look back to the soil if other occu- 
pations do not suit him. He should be able to help his pea- 
sant father and should not shrink from driving the plough with 
him. It should save a cultivator's son from becoming a weak- 
ling and a 'Bnhu? 

For this, all we need is practical work and 'any teacher 
interested in rranual work and trained for three months in a 
District Agricultural Farm should do. 

Training camps can be opened in each District Agricultural 
Farm or one in two or three districts combined. A special 
course of study combined with actual manual labour and and 
hard work should be imparted ; 50 teachers can be trained in 
each batch every year and on return open gardens and farms 
on the definite understanding that 25% of the profit made by 
the farm will be given to them as their remuneration. 

The District Agricultural Officer can periodically visit these 
gardens and give further advice. 

This is, in a nutshell, the scheme I put forward before J. 
Bottomly, Esqr., I. E. S., Director of Public Instruction, Bengal, 
in 1935, who remarked, "This extract contains strong criticism 
of the Agricultural scheme which was carefully worked out by 
the Department of Agriculture and Education and this must be 
very carefully considered. There is no doubt that the existing 
approved scheme has not brought the success which was antici- 
pated and it is possible that (he alternative rchcire proposed by 
Mr. Ishaque will have a greater chance of success in Patuakhali 
( I see no reason why it should not succeed elsewhere also ). 
This must be gone into very carefully in conjunction with the 
Agriculture Department." 



Rural Benga 1 . 



Of course I do not say that research institutes, colleges and 
experts will not be required. They will be, most certainly, and 
still better arrangements should be made for that purpose if 
possible. But these two things are different and issues should 
not be mixed up. The time factor is a thing to be seiiously 
considered. We want actual work and progress at some rearor- 
able pace. 

Tote : ( Further detai's may be seen in my printed address 
to Tducation Conference held in Patuakhali in March, 1936 ). 



Appendix III. 



A four years' syllabus of Girls' Education. 

Good Daughter Good Sister Good Housewife- 
Good Mother. 



The above four divisions into which a syllabus of Girls' 
Education is proposed to be divided should not be taken to 
mean that each is an isolated and watertight one. In essence 
they overlap and extend from one to the other. The nomen- 
clature is based on the principle that both nature and social 
custom have created different spheres of function for the male 
and female and this shouM underlie any ideal syllabus of 
Girls' Education. This is, in a way, a distinct departure from 
the traditional parallel course of studies imparted to boys and 
girls alike with all the attendant evils. The proper sphere of 
womankind is the home and women should be taught, first and 
foremost, all that the home needs. This they would actually 
require in life and would make use of. It will equip them with 
what they should know and it would lead to the happiness not 
only of the home but of the nation as a whole. 

It is to be observed, however, that there is no intention 
to stop such of the fair sex from aspiring to become philoso* 
phers and scientists as have the aptitude and the opportunity 
to afford that luxury. The course prescribed here is intended 
to meet the need of the generality of the girls of our coun- 
try whose means are limited and whose time and energy, 
health and grace seem to be more or less utterly wasted in 
learning the existing course of studies. 



xii Rural Bengal 



The Good Daughter, the Good Sister, the Good Housewife 
and the Good Mother are the natural and chronological stages, 
often identical, in the life of a normal woman and the course 
prescribed attempts to take into account the general and the 
special needs of those different stages. 

It is suggested that this course should be taken up after 
the girls have acquired their alphabets which would approxi- 
mately mean classes I and II of the ordinary primary schools. 
There shou'd be no strict age limit but roughly 8 to 9 years 
fcge should be found suitable for entering into the Good 
Daughter's Class. 

Many grown-up girln, and mothers too, may be benefited 
by Undergoing this course if suitable arrangements are made. 

No finality is c 1 aimed for this course and expeits are wel- 
come to improve upon ifc. It is only a crux on the highroad 
of education pointing to the right way. 

PERIODS OF WORK. 
Morning Class. 

6. 156. 30 Prayer. 

6. 307. 5 1 period 

7. 5-7. 40 1 

7. 40-8. J5 .-. 1 

8. J5 g. 45 Recess & games for 20 mts. 

8. 459. 20 1 period 

9. 209. 50 1 

9. 50-10. 20 1 ' 



Total 6 periods of work including games 
foir about 20 minutep. 

Good Daughter ( Age 89 ). 

1. Vernacular (Bengali) : A text book with lives of some 
eminent men and women of Bengal : poems, especially suitable 
for small girls : some stories from Hitopodesh and JE^op's Fables: 
a book of 60 70 pages ; 6 periods in the week. 



Appendix III. xiii 



2. Arithmetic : Simple addition, Subtraction, Multipli- 
cation : simple mental Arithmetic : 6 periods in the week. 

3. History : Simple stories from Hindu and Islamic 
Epics and from the Bible : lives of some heroes of Bengal. 
A. text book of 4050 pages, copiously illustrated. 3 periods. 

4. Geography (of Bengal) : Lives of some explorers : the 
earth : rotation ; day and n'ght : natural .divisions : Subdivision" : 
P. 8. : District : Bengal : ( with maps, models and diagrams ), 
3 peiiods. 

5. Personal & Domestic Hygiene : 

Correct posture ; personal cleanliness : air : water : food : 
fly : floa : mosquito and other posts : how to dress small- brothers 
ani sisb3rs : guirdin^ against their play with pice, pins, marbles 
etc. 6 periods. 

6. Moral & Religious Education : Some slokas from Cha~ 
nakya : some stotras : muslim prayers and some texts from the Holy 
Quoran : (different for different communities) 6 pericds. 

7. Drawing & Needle work : Drawing from models, viz, 
kettle, tub, teapot : seme fruits and common birds ; 

Plain knitting : stitching of rents : letters on canvas : paper 
pattern of a chemise 6 periods 

Good Sister (Age 910). 

1. Vernacular (Bengali) : A text book with lives of 
eminent women of Bengal and other countries, of some heroes 
of Bengal, poems and stories from Hitopodesh and -^Esop's Fables, 
a book of 60- -70 pagep. 6 peiicdp. 

2. Arithmetic : Simple division : some accounts after 
Shubhankar's methods, (oral): cubit, yard, feet, inch, length, 
breadth, height, chhataks, seers, maundp, bigha, katha etc. 6 periods 

3. History : Seme heroes of Bengal and India in chro- 
nological order : Buddha, Christ, Hajrat Muhammad : Chaitanya, 
Asoka, Harsha. 3 periods. 

4. Geography : Dew, mist, clo d, rain, storm, earth-quake : 
seasons : products of Bengal and India ( chiefly cotton, silk, 
jute, tea coal, tobacco, metals, ) Railways and rivers of Bengal. 
6 periods. 



anv Rural Bengal. 



5. Hygiene (Domestic & personal) . Household wash : sun- 
ning of beds : ventilation : arrangement of cattle : disposal of 
refuse : ideals of household : play with brothers and sisters in 
the open air : cheap filters : focd value : vitamin 6 periods. 

6. Cookery & Household work : Ideal cutting of vegeta- 
bles : storing : cooking of rice, da/, bhaji, vegetable curry, bread 
and chapati, husking : sifting 3 periods. 

7. Moral & Religious Education : Reading portions of the 
Gita in Bengali and of some texts of the Holy Quoran in Bengali : 
domest'c worships : diniyat : some stotras and slokas : liberalism 
and catholicity : harmful superstitions 3 periods. 

8. Drawing and needle work : Drawing from models, of 
flowers, leaves, some fruits ; Black board drawing with crayon : 
cutting of pett r coats, blouse, baby's vest : use of colour box : 
decoration of the household and table 3 periods. 

Good Housewife (Age 1011). 

1. Vernacular (Bengali) : Some lives of eminent men : 
lessons on domestic economy and ob'igations to neighbours, 
landlords : duties towards members of the family, to chi-dren and 
servants : lessons on sacrifice, justice and temperanco a text 
book of 70 75 pages 6 periods. 

2. Arithmetic : Simple accounts : simple fractions : every 
day arithmetic : country measures and weights : money order, 
rules and rates of Postal Registration and book packets : house- 
hold budget : rent and rent-receipt 6 periods. 

3. English :~ Alphabets : number : Roman numbers : sim- 
ple sentences : vocabulary to about 200 words 3 periods. 

4. Hygiene : How to recognise fresh and good food : 
adulterants : disinfectants : preventives against epidemics : vacci- 
nation : balanced diet : defects in the cooking process : their reme- 
dy : first aid: bandaging : compress, fomentation : hemorrhage : 
high fever : cuts : burns : snake-bite and dcg-bite 6 periods. 

5. Cookery & Household work : Preparation of meat, 
polao, halua, ohatni, luchi etc. : Fruits and green vegetables 
in every day diet : defects in the general dietary : vitamin : 



Appendix III. xv 

kitchen garden and . its utility : utilisation of waste lands near 
the house : milking and foddering of cattle 6 periods. 

6. Drawing & needle work : Geometrical drawing ( of 
circle, cubes, squares etc ) : some limbs of animals and man : 
vests, chemise, blouse making with needle work : the spinning 
wheel : earning from weaving nets, comforters, netbags etc. 3 
periods. 

7. Elements of Midwifery & child rearing : 

The illiterate country Dhai* : ideal lying-in-room : the 
processes in the growth and development of the normal child : 
nursing of the mother : care of the child : its early education : 
effect of the sun, free air on the baby 6 periods. 

8. Moral & Religious Education : A little extension 
of the previous year's course. ( Prayer time ). 

Good Mother (Age 1112). 

J. Vernacular 1 ( Bengali ) & General Topics: 

(i) Lessons on some . scientific inventions such as Motor 
Car, Railway Engine, 'Aeroplane etc. 

(ii) Lives of some explorers. 

; (iii) Talks on the U. B., Vote, Assembly, village civics : 
evils OL party faccioni ; ind3b';3;ln333 Cj-op3ratiya credit socie- 
ties. 

(iv) Writing of Money Order forms, deed and documents, 
etc. 6 periods. 

2. English : Simple stories up to a vocabulary of about 
400 words 6 periods. 

3. Hygiene : Structure of tha human body: function of the 
organs : antiseptics : nursing l invalid diets ; reading the ther- 
mometer and taking the pulse. Evils of tobacco : some popu- 
lar and simple Ayurvedic and Hekim cures of worms, cough, 
fever, diarrhea, dysentery, boils, itches etc. Some Homeopa- 
thic medicines : preventive treatment of Malaria ; tuberculosis, 
small-pox : Cholera etc. 6 periods. 



xvi Rural Bengal. 



4. Elements of Midwifery & child-rearing : 

Continuation of previous year's course : how to treat 
pregnancy : superstitions : instincts of ohildern, their treatment : 
Mother School : Maternity and Child Welfare Movements 6 
periods. 

5. Cookery & Household work : How to prepare the right 
sort of breakfast for children and grown-ups : the popu'ar and 
cheap method : preparation of chira, muri % khai^ moorki, naru 
and cakes : economy and simplicity in feasts : reception of 
guests. 6 periods. 

6. Drawing & needle work : Continuation of the previous 
yeai's course : handlooms : cotton and jute-weaving : crnamen- 
lal drawings on scarfs, blouse etc. Alpanas 6 periods. 

6. Moral & Religious Education : Prayers : modes of 
prayers : purity of body and mind : devotional songs : stotras : 
Diniyat : texts from the Holy Quoran and the Gita : Lives of 
the Prophet and saints. 3 periods. 

Physical Training is to be imparted a ccording to a graded 
series and should include : 

(i) Right posture and walking. 

(ii) Running, jumping, marching, balance exercises and 
exercises of the head, neck, arms and trunk and games with 
balls, skipping ropes, beanbags etc. ( according to Buchanan 
system ). 

(iii) Bratachari action songs : marching songs : Brata, 
Jhumur and Kathi dances . 



CHAPTER VII. 
Union Board. 



My readers may ask why I should inflict on 
them a chapter on Union Boards. The V. S. G. Act 
is there, the elaborate rules are there and there are 
the Circle Officers, the Sub-divisional Officers and the 
District Magistrates to guide them. Why then this 
waste of time ? I do not dispute their arguments, but 
I cannot help. In my opinion Union Boards still 
need a great deal more to be said. Besides, in my 
scheme of rural uplift the Union Boards have to play 
a very important role indeed, and I have a further 
weakness to think that I am a specialist in the line. 
It has been the strongest side of my administration 
everywhere and somehow or other I feel that I can 
always manage to make the Union Boards jump in 
efficiency and do what I like with them. I crave for 
a little patience Avith confidence that my readers will 
not be sorry after having read the Chapter. 

I have dealt with the Union Boards of two Sub- 
divisions, Patuakhali and Sirajganj the first exceptionally 
backward and the second considerably, if not exception- 
ally, advanced. But in both places I found the same 



104 Rural Bengal. 



story; the Union Boards had not been given sufficient 
and effective guidance on fundamentals. Splendid ins- 
pection notes have been written. Every little detail has 
been carefully looked into. But very little has been 
done to see if the rate of union tax has been rightly 
fixed, if the assessment for works of public need on 
which the utility of the Boards primarily depends has 
been sufficient, and if the incidence of taxation is propor- 
tionate and equitable to the income of all the assessees. 

My experience is that the majority of the Boards 
do not know how to arrive correctly at the rate the 
incidence of taxation for Rs 100/- of income and it is 
only rarely that the assessment list is fair and equita- 
ble. More often than not, the old chaukidari tax with 
slight enhancement continues to be levied, irrespective 
of whether the income of any particular assessee has 
dwindled down to T x n th or has gone up by 20 times. 
There is another difficulty and that is the more serious 
of the two, that the average President and member, is 
a pradhan himself, and is, therefore, very reluctant to 
go for any change or enhancement as it would, in all 
probability, touch his own pocket, or in the alternative 
he is under the obligation of the substantial men of the 
locality and does not possess the necessary moral cour- 
age and stamina to touch the taxes of these substantial 
men, howsoever disproportionate the taxes they pay 
might be to their respective income. This state of 
things is almost universal and chronic and it is this 



Union Board. 105 



which presents the great obstacle in the way of proper 
development of the Union Boards. 

Luckily however, the Act has wisely vested the 
Chief Executive Officer in the District with powers to 
rectify these inequalities himself after due enquiry if he 
cannot make the Union Boards do the same. But how 
many officers take this trouble ? It involves unpopularity 
with those same persons who weild influence and whose 
voice counts. The poorer classes have little to say. In 
any case it does not matter. 

Coming now to the detailed working of the Boards, 
I will classify the main function as follows. 

(1) To make and collect the statutory asses- 
ment under sec. 37 (a) V. S. G. Act and to pay the 
Chaukiders regularly and punctually and to supervise 
their duties. 

(2) To assess and collect sufficient rates u. s. 37 
(b) V. S. Gr. Act and to spend it in the best interest 
of the rate-payers. 

(3) To administer justice where Bench and Courts 
have been set up and to keep the records in good 
order in conformity with the rules. 

I will first discuss the statutory obligation men- 
tioned under (1) above and would quote a paragraph 
from my last years address on the same. 

"Let me take up the subject of assessment u. s. 
37 (a) and the punctual payment of Chaukiders' salaries. 



106 Rural Bengal. 



This, as you already do know, is your statutory obli- 
gation and the first charge on Union Board Funds. 
This obligation must be faithfully discharged. The 
Chaukider is a very poorly paid officer and if you want 
to get the best value out of him, you must regularly 
and punctually pay him too. We all appreciate that 
the first part of the Bengali year is difficult for collec- 
tion of taxes, but I am sure it is possible and there 
are Union Boards who have proved it that taxes in the 
first quarter can be realised at least from the substan- 
tial people and the Chaukider paid punctually. However, 
thanks are due to our late Commissioner Mr. Robert- 
son who has introduced from this year the Reserve 
Fund a measure which I strongly put forward three 
years ago for Backerganj, but it was not accepted then. 
This reserve fund will be a great help and from next 
year you can have really no excuse whatsoever for 
defaulting in the punctual payment of the rural police 
throughout the year." 

But clearly this is not the main function for 
which the Chaukideri Union was converted into Union 
Boards. The Boards have a very wide sphere of duties 
to perform if they are made to realise them and have 
baen vested with sufficient powers and importance 
This is what I told them last year in the Union 
Board Conference. 

The conception of the Government has, during 



Union Board. 107 



the last quarter of a century, undergone considerable 
change. The states now have to concern and interest 
themselves with the general and economic welfare of 
the people very much more than they used to in the 
past. You also as autonomous and self-governing units 
can, therefore, no longer identify yourselves with the 
simple machinery of paying and maintaining rural police 
or erecting a few bamboo chars here and there. It is 
high time that you took keener interest in the social 
and economic advancement of your people. You must 
see how agriculture, still standing where it did 2000 
years ago, can. be improved and how you can develop 
your industries. You must look to your educational 
system and see what is wrong with it and what can 
be done to give it a new life an(J impetus. You must 
pay very much more attention to your sanitation and 
public health and consider what can be done to improve 
life in the village. In short, you have now to think 
of all such measures as are likely to lead to the moral 
and material advancement of your people." 

But it is obvious that all this rhetoric cannot go 
very far unless the Boards actually assess and collect 
the funds required for the various needs of the loca- 
lity. Even in an advanced Subdivision like Sirajganj 
the position till last year was anything but satisfactory. 
The Board assessed only RB 14000/- u. s. 37 (b) which 
was 11 '9% of that u. s. 37 (a). The amount collected 



108 Rural Bengal. 



made the position worse still. It was only 6'4%. For 
the sake of example I quote the paragraph dealing 
with the subject which will also indicate what should 
be done. 

"Let us now examine the position with regard to 
assessment u. s. 37 (b). The following statements taken 
from the official report on the working of the Union 
Boards in the year J343 B. S. will be instructive. 

Assessment, imposed. Realised. Cost of Net amount 

* * * Collection, available. 

U.S. 37 (a) 117374/- 115214/- 8411/- 106803/- 

U. S. 37 (b) 14972/- 8000/- 603/- 7397/- 

This shows that the percentage of assessment 
u.s. 37 (b) was ]1'8 per cert and the collection 6'4 
per cent only. The position will appear worse still 
when you will learn that the cost of clerical establish- 
ment and office expenditure of these Union Boards 
exceed Ba 14000/- 

Gentlemen, please reflect for a moment. Do you 
realise that the Panchayiti Union was discarded and 
Union Boards introduced primarily to give you the 
power to impose taxation n. s. 37 (b) and to develop 
your locality ? And do you honestly believe that you have 
made any genuine effort to discharge this great trust 
that Government has transferred to you ? Excuse me 
if I say you do not and have not done so yet. You 
know full well that you can do nothing without money. 



Union Board. 109* 



You also know and at least you should know that the 
present union rates are negligibly small to be felt by 
the people, the incidence of taxation being only fifteen 
annas per head of a family and that this talk of eco- 
nomic depression and the like, so far as union rates 
go, is absolute nonsense. But what you lack is courage. 
You are afraid of courting unpopularity because taxa- 
tion, howsoever small, is always resented and you do 
not appreciate that temporary unpopularity is the price 
that all great workers and genuine lovers of the people 
must pay. Do please realise that the public do not 
appreciate the indirect benefit of expenditure under sec. 
37 (a) and that if you want to make Union Boards 
really popular and useful you must assess heavy amo- 
unts under sec. 87 (b). The public, sooner or later, 
will appreciate the benefit they will drive from this assess- 
ment and forget to resent it and if you are not found 
guilty of nepotism you are bound to be far more popu- 
lar than any of you can be now. The assessment under 
section 87 (b) should be at least as much as the assess- 
ment under section 37 (a) if not twice or thrice more. 

\ 

Lest you should charge me of mere talking I 
have tried to set you an example. As you know 1 
have revised the assessment list of each and every 
Union Board under section 40 V. S. G. Act. It will 
be useful to reiterate the reasons that have led me to 
do so. 



110 Rural Bengal. 



To err is human and you will not, I hope, resent 
if I say that your assessment lists contained many 
glaring mistakes. I found instances where the income 
shown in the assessment list fell far short of the actual 
income of the assessee and naturally these assessees were 
highly under-assessed. In many other cases where correct 
income was shown, the rates imposed were grossly dis- 
proportionate. In fact, some Presidents admitted to me 
frankly that instead of calculating and imposing the rate 
on the basis of the actual income of the assessees they 
have calculated and shown the incomes on the basis of 
taxation made during the Panchayiti Union days. 

Obviously this state, of things could not be allowed 
to continue, and after persuasion had failed I had to use 
my power to the fullest extent to rectify matters. It is 
possible that some of you might have resented my action, 
but really you have no reason to do so. It is absolu- 
tely my duty to help and guide you in putting your 
affairs right, if necessary, with the use of that power 
which the law has for good reasons vested in me. 
However, the main thing to remember in this connec- 
tion is, first, that union rates should be imposed on the 
true income of the assessees concerned, and decisions about 
individual incrmcs should be arrived at after due local 
enquiries ; Secondly, that the rate of taxation must vary 
with the difference in income. If an assessee with an 
income of 3&. 100/- is taxed Re. I/- i. e. one per cent, 



Union Board. Ill 



that with the income of Rs. 1000/- must be taxed Rs. 
10/- plus, c?ay, (^ x 10) 5 annas, that with an income 
of Rs. 2000/- Rs. 20/- plus (1x20) Re. 1/4/- that an 
income of Rs. 3000/- Rs. SO/- plus ( 1 x 30 ) Rs. 2/18/- 
that with Rs. 4000/- Rs. 40/- plus ( 2 x 40 ) Rs. 5/- f 
with Rs. 5000/- Rs. 50/- plus ( 2 x 50 ) Rs. 7/13/- and 
so on until the limit of Rs. 84/- is reached. And in 
my opinion this maximum also is definitely low and 
should be increased to Rs. ISO/- at least, say, with the 
provision that all assessment above Rs. 100/- will be 
subject to the approval of some higher authority. If 
you agree with me you may resolve to move the 
Government. The amendment may have a difficult sailing 
in the Council, but that is no reason why you should 
not try if you are convinced of its utility." 

It now remains to review the results achieved in 
consequence of the efforts made during the last 12 months. 
The following is an extract from the official report 
submitted to higher authorities on the working of the 
Boards in the year 1936-37. 

"In discussing the general aspect of the working 
of Uninon Boards during the year under report, I 
propose to make a rather bold statement and claim that 
the Union Boards of the Sirajgauj Sub-Division have 
been very nearly revolutionised during the course of 
one year and this revolution is not a temporary phase, 
but has come to stay and develop more and more rapidly 



112 Rural Bengal. 



on perfectly sound lines. The Union Boards have been 
given a new orientation, and though some vesentmet was 
felt in the beginning of the year against certain steps 
taken, almost all the Union Boards have now come to 
realise that a new life has been put into them which 
cannot but grow and develop at a rapid pace. To be 
able to appreciate the significance of these observations 
it is suggested that the general remarks made in the 
report of 1936 already quoted be carefully remembered. 

The success of U. B. administration depends upon 
3 factors. (A) Proper and sufficient assessment u. s. 
37 (b). (B) Good collection of taxes within the year. 
(C) Public spirit amongst the Presidents and members 
of the Boards. 

All these 3 factors have been tackled simultaneous- 
ly and with conspicuous succees. A succession of Sub- 
Divisional Officers had been requesting the Union 
Boards to increase the taxation u. s. 37 (b), but to 
very little effect as the figures will clearly prove. The 

Presidents and members were unwilling to enhance the 
taxes, partly for fear of incurring unpopularity and 

partly for the reason that . it would touch their own 
pocket. 

Most of them lacked the moral courage that a 
public servant should possess. Persuasions failed to 
convince them as had happened in the past. It was also 
found that the Boards were miserably ignorant of the 



Union Board. 113 



rules and methods of assessment and the need of obser- 
ving fairness and equity in assessing big and small, rich 
and poor, fairly and equitably according to the means 
and income of each assessee. To fix a rate on which 
to calculate the taxes due from each individual was 
completely foreign to very nearly all of them. The old 
Chaukideri assessment based on custom and favouritism 
was being followed everywhere. Hundreds of assessees 
whose taxes should have been 10 times more than what 
they paid if their propeifcy and circumstances were 
considered, continued to pay the old chaukideri tax, that 
is only a fraction of the tax due. My first act, there- 
fore, was to teach the Board* the principle of fixing a 
rate and: calculating the taxes according to rules. But 
as the assessment list of the year of 1343 B. S. had 
already been prepared, I had to make simultaneously 
detailed enquiries about the income and circumstances of 
the under-assessed and exercise my power u. s. 40 V. S. 
G. Act, to bring about uniformity to certain extent at 
least. This yielded an income of about 20 thousand 
rupees under s. 37 (b) derived exclusively from a few of 
the under-assessed in each Union Board. The work was 
done by the 0. 0/s who examined the merit of each 
individual. 

As mentioned before, some resentment was felt in 

the beginning and agitators tried to make capital out of 
it by giving it a communal colour. Statistics have since 
been compiled and prove that quite apart from the fact 



114 Rural 



that communal considerations had never crossed my 
thoughts in this matter, the distribution of the assessees 
effected is 46% Mahomedans and 36% Hindus which is 
impossible to help since the proportion of substantial 
persons amongst the two communities is not uniform. 
And it should be noted that this has affected only a 
very small fraction of the total number of assessees. 
Luckily there is no resentment at present, as it was bound 
to be dispelled, having no legs to stand upon. 

The following figures have been given for the 
sake of comparison between the position in 1342 and 1343. 

1342 B. S. 1343 B. S. 

Assessment u. s. 37 (a) 117,374/- 13],838/- (Increase 

due to reserve fund) 
37 (b) 14.972/- 34,458/- 
Total demand including 

arrear of previous year 118,310/- 133,142/- 

25,865/- 42,237/- 
Total expenditure on 
works of public utility. 22,335/- 37,031/- 



The figures speak fo i themselves and I have 
only to add that the figures of 1344 B. S. will show 
a further substantial improvement without my direct 
interference. The ball has been set rolling with suffici- 
ent momentum to continue its progress for a pretty 
long time. 



Union Board. 115 



COLLECTION. 

In spite of the fact that enhancement of taxes 
u. s. 40 V. S. Gr. was resented by a large body of tax 
payers in the beginning, the collection of rates has been 
markedly satisfactory. 32 Boards effected cent per cent 
collection as against 17 in the year preceding and it is 
noteworthy that in spite of a severe epidemic of small 
pox, and cholera in Shahzadpur, 9 Boards of that circle 
effected cent per cent collection as against 1 in the year 
preceding. The number of Boards effecting cent per cent 
collection in 1312 and 1343 B. S. is given below; 

1342 B. S. 1343 B. S. 

16 32 

It will appear that the Boards of the Shahzadpur 
circle have shown marked improvement and for this, 
not only the Boards but also Miulvi Abdul Hye, C. 0., 
are entitled to a most well-earned and well-deserved 
credit. 

The total collection in the two years under sec. 
37 (a) and 37 (b) including arrears is as follows : 
1342 B. S. 1343 B.S. 

S. 37 (a) 115,701/- 181.926/- 

S. 37 (b) 14,064/- 33,106/- 

The percentage of collection for the whole subdivi- 
sion has been 90% in 1342 B.S. and 96% in 1343 B. S. 

One of the most important steps that have influen- 
ced the working of the Boards has been the introduction 



116 Rural Bengal 



of a definite scheme of classification of Union Boards. 
In previous years Boards were never classified in some 
circles and where attempt was made to do so, it was 
done haphazardly without any definite system and without 
any criterion for standard. 

I, therefore, prepared an elaborate plan of classi- 
fication which left no room for any favouritism and on 
the basis of which the Boards, so to say, can classify 
themselves. This scheme has introduced a spirit of com- 
petition for a high position not only in each thana and 
circle but also in the whole subdivision. I have no 
hesitation in saying that it has effected very considerable 
improvement and has given a powerful stimulus to the 
Union Boards of the subdivision. The scheme is attached 
as Appendix IV. 

Out of the several minor improvements effected, 
the detailed instruction regarding preparation of Budget 
and the allotment of funds in equal proportion on the 
3 important Budget heads, namely, ( 1 ) water supply, 
(2) Education, (3) Roads, may be mentioned. The allot- 
ment used to be very disproportionate; but this year the 
budgets have been very carefully scrutinised and controll- 
ed and it is expected that all the 3 heads will be 
properly served. 

A new Register recording date of receipt and date 
of submission of report in criminal enquiries referred to 
the Presidents, Union Boards, has been introduced and 



Union Board. 117 



maps on 4" to a mile scale with a suitable list of 
symbols have been obtained from D. L. R's office and 
prepared for every Union Board of the Subdivision. 

The number of Benches and Courts remained the 
same as in the preceding year, that is, 16. It has, 
however, been proposed and all the Union Boards were in- 
formed that unless specially adverse circumstances exist 
all the A class Boards will be vested with Bench and 
Court powers and I hope higher authorities will agree 
with me that Bench and Court powers should be the 
rule and not the exception as seems to have been the 
policy followed so far. Benches and Courts save the rural 
population from running iiito the net of pleaders and 
Mnkb tears and at the s*.me time bring considerable amount 
of money to the Union Board which can be utilised for 
useful work. The step proposed to be taken is perfectly 
logical and will meet a very legitimate and natural demand 
of the good Boards of this subdivision. 

The last thing that I propose to mention is the 
relation between Rural Development and Union Boards. 
Considerable amount of good work has been done by 
the Rural Development Societies, of whom the members 
of the Union Boards are ex-officio members and the 
President of Union Boards is the President. Hundreds 
of miles road work has been done by these societies 
without incurring any expense. A good deal of jungle- 
cutting, water hyacinth clearance and other sanitary 



118 Rural Bengal. 



measures have been taken and no less than 1500 night 
schools have been started. It is desirable that this work 
be recognised and connected with the efficiency of Union 
Boards and for this reason a certain number of marks 
has been allotted to this item in the classification scheme 
already mentioned. I understand that Government are 
contemplating to prepare a scheme of classification for 
the whole province. It is my earnest hope that the 
scheme prepared by me would be given the fullest considera- 
tion. Not a single item can be treated lightly or exclud- 
ed, even though there will always remain room for 
improvement. I close this report with the words that I 
feel proud of the Boards of my Subdivision." 

A few points more still remain to be discussed. 
In the chapter on Adult Education I had proposed 
that every night school should get a grant of Rs 2/- 
p. m. from the Union Board and I would like to 
explain how it can be provided. The 78 Union Boards 
of Sirajganj spent Bs 4706/- only on education in 1935 
-86. This gives an average of Rs 60/- per Board. In 
the year 1936-37 the Boards spent Rs. 778S/- which 
was nearly double of that spent in the previous year. 
This figure should have been very much higher but 
for the fact that the enhancement u. s. 40 V. S. Gr. 
Act was made after budgets had been prepared and 
there were lots of uncertainties and anomalies which 
the Union Boards could not grasp quickly. The bud- 



Union Board. 119 



get instructions were issued late and the Boards could 
not give the retrospective effect. 

The situation in 1937-38 would, however, be 
quite different. The Boards have budgeted on an 
average about Be 200/- per Board and in the year 
following, I should have no difficulty in getting an 
allotment of Bs 300/- per Board which would mean 
about Bs25000/- for the whole Subdivision. 

I have further in mind to vest the majority of 
the Boards with Bench and Court powers if I may and 
this would yield an additional income of Bss 200/- per 
Board making a total of Bs 500/- per Board or Bs 
39000/- for the whole Subdivision. 

It is found that on an average there are 20 
villages in each Union and there is an equal number 
of night schools. If the Boards make a grant of Bs 
2/- p. in. per night school they will be quite within 
their means. 

And what has been possible to do for Sirajganj 
will be found possble all over the province, at least in 
East Bengal. All that is required is to issue definite 
and clear instructions to the Executive Officers and 
Cii-cle Officers to see that no Board should get Bench 
and Court powers or District Board grant until it un- 
dertakes to spend Bs 500/- on education. The rest 
will be collected by Mushtibhiksha by villagers themselves 



120 Rural Bengal. 



and the State will have no necessity for spending any- 
thing whatsoever from the public exchequer. 

But it is possible that some Boards where the 
Bhadralokes have a majority may refuse to comply. 
Such Boards, in nine cases out of ten, will be found torn 
to pieces by internal factions and will be in a hope- 
less mess. Only a spirit of indiscipline which is some- 
times mistakenly called "Independence" will be conspi- 
cuous. The Executive Officers must be empowered to 
deal with such cases and should for this purpose be 
given at least concurrent control with the District Board 
over Part II of the Budget subject to final approval 
by the Board in cases of dispute. There is nothing anti- 
democratic in such a step It will only act as an 
antidote to the vagaries of a bureaucracy which has been 
given power without the necessary public spirit or 
sense of responsibility. It will save the money tf the 
poor rate-payers from bring thoroughly misused and 
often converted to the advantages of individual members. 
Instances are not wanting, but it is not necessary 
to quote. 

Apart from this it should be clearly kept in 
mind that the present Executive is a public servant in 
every sense of the word. He is merely an agent to 
carry out the policy of a popular Government and 
draws all his executive authority from that source. 
Government can, therefore, always interfere and pull 



Union Board. 121 



back any one who tried to go too far. After all, 
Self-Governrc3nt does not mean license. Every consti- 
tution has a saving clause and this would be nothing 
extraordinary. Man in civilised countries is not so in- 
dependent as the enthusiasts may think. Even his own 
life is not always his own property, not to speak of 
public funds. The Penal Code is there to punish every 
attempt to commit suicide. 

The very wise and useful provision for nomina- 
tion of members to the local bodies at least for another 
10 years until sense of public responsibility grows 
stronger should also be considered in the same spirit. 
The conflict between Government and the public has 
ceased to exist. The Government is no more so dis- 
tinct from the public as it might have been the case 
before the new Constitution came into force. Every 
attempt to weaken the hands of the Executive, who, as 
already pointed out, are no more than agents of the 
popular Government, will merely weaken the Government 
itself. Parties in local bodies will have leaning to the 
various political groups in the country. The Government 
whether they be a Government of the right wing or of 
the left, will have tremendous difficulties in executing 
their plans if the Executive is not well-equipped. 
Things have considerably changed. Theory and practice 
cannot always run parallel and a few kinks, here and 
there, will be found very useful in the long run. Any 
hasty decision may have to be repented. 



122 Rural Bengal. 



To recapitulate I suggest that the experience 
gained at Sirajganj, should be eommuni6*ated to other 
Officers in the province, with definite and clear instruc- 
tions to ensure that inequalities and injustices in the 
assessment lists are not allowed to continue any longer 
and that they are removed by the Boards themselves 
where possible, failing that by action u. s. 40 V. 8. 
G. Act. 

A Circle Officer for every 8 Unions should be 
provided a subject I propose to discuss at length in a 
subsequent Chapter. 

The tax limit of Rs. 84/- should be increased at 
least to Rs 150/-. 1 know cases whore the whole 
Union belongs to one person and there aro scores 
whose incomes from the Union may be Rs 25000/- or 
so. If the rate be Re. I/- per 100/-, will it be fair to 
tax a man with an iiieoue of Rs 8100/- and another 
with an income of R& 25000/- to the same maximum 
of Rs 



Sub-Divisional Officers and Circle Officers should 
be given concurrent control with District Board on 
part II of the Union Board budget subject to final 
decision of the Board in cases of disputes. Union 
Boards should be induced to have at least 50% taxation 
u. s. 37 (b) to that u. s. 37 (a) and classification scheme 
provincialised to encourage them. Union Boards should 
be freely vested with Bench and Court powers with 



Union Board. 123 



clear instructions that the income derived from the 
Bench and Court will be spent exclusively on Adult 
Education, and over and above that, the Board will 
provide at least Bs 300/- more for the same purpose 
being in no case less than of the total assessment 
u. s. 37 (b). The remaining two-thirds should go to 
water supply & communication and drainage, the last 
two items to be taken up in consultation with Rural 
Development workers which I will discuss in the next 
Chapter. I think I have said enough. I close this chapter 
with the remarks that the majority of the Boards are 
composed of very sensible and very good-natured men and 
I am sure that what I have propose!, can be introduced 
easily all over the province if the will to do so is suffi- 
ciently strong and if the move is made in the right way. 



CHAPTER VIII. 
Rural Development 

( GENERAL. ) 
SECTION I. 



Something of Rural Development as I understand 
it has been mentioned in the concluding paragraph of 
the first Chapter. In the pages that follow I will 
briefly trace the history of the movement since it has 
been launched in Sirajganj, followed by its aims and 
objects, programme, organisation, finance and other 
connected topics. 

The idea of starting a Rural Development move- 
ment in Sirajganj took formal shape in the U. Board 
and Rural Development Conference held in October, 
1936. Before calling the Conference I had issued an 
elaborate questionnaire to the leading men of the Sub- 
division with a view to consult and kno\v what in their 
opinion the country needed for an allround improve- 
ment. My findings were embodied in four elaborate 
addresses of which one was devoted exclusively to Rural 



Rural Development : General 125 



Development. These addresses are in print offering 
enough food for reflection and I will quote freely from 
them where necessary. 

A certain amount of preliminary work for selec- 
ting the R. D. workers had already been done in 
consultation with local officers and immediately Village 
Committees, Union Societies, Thana Associations were 
set up in all police stations and linked up with a 
Central Organisation at headquarters which took the 
name R. D. Council, Sirajganj. The delegates took up 
the idea with keen enthusiasm and started work forthwith. 
But it was impossible to anticipate and explain in a 
short address every little detail and all the difficulties 
that were likely to arise. So a series of R. D. Circu- 
lars was issued and widely published. A weekly news 
paper entitled the Palli-pradip was simultaneously set 
up with aims and objects which may profitably be 
quoted here. 

"It is our sincere desire to contribute our best 
towards an allround improvement of the subdivision syste- 
matically and methodically. Knowledge and thoughts are 
the essential pre-requisites of organised activity, and 
so before our desire can be translated into action it is 
necessary that a medium should be created through 
which our views and ideas and those of others willing 
to join hands with us can be carried into every nook 
and corner of the country. The value and importance 



126 Rural Bengal. 



of constructive propaganda cannot be over-estimated. 
Hence the need to bring into existence a weekly organ. 



ITS POLICY, AIMS AND OBJECTS : 

This will be a non-political, non-party, non-com- 
munal, and non-sectarian paper devoted exclusively to 
the cause of the welfare of the country and its people 
and in particular to the development amongst them of 
a sense of self-help, self-reliance and co-operative effort 
in tackling and solving their common problems. The 
paper will strive to awaken the latent powers and 
potentialities of the people and thus try to infuse a 
new vitality. It will put forward constructive schemes 
and suggetions for the improvement of the economic 
system, and in particular, explain and propagate the 
basic principles of the Rural Credit Societies and the 
Co-operative Movement. It will guide the people in the 
improvement of agriculture and cattle, in the expansion 
of cottage industries, in the better administration of 
their local self-governing inatitutions and in the better 
appreciation and up-keep of their schools and Maktabs. 
It will discuss on a broad basis what is good and 
what is bad in their social system and what views 
about State and Government they should hold and 
what they should not. Last, but not the least in im- 
portance, will be its duty to propagate the principles 



Rural Development : General 127 



of health and hygiene, the up-keep of homes and the 
sanitary planning of villages, the way to fight the pests 

and improve the drainage of each locality by intelli- 
gently studying the situation and by carefully co-ordi- 
nating voluntary efforts. In shirt, it will try to infuse 
inoro life, more light and still more light into them 
and thus to lead them to build better men, better 
homes and better countrysides." 

Thus the movement has slowly and gradually 
developed and has now reached every village and every 
nook and corner of the sub li vision. It can already 
claim about 2,000 night schools with not less than 
(50,000 to 70,000 adults attending thorn, a few hundred 
girls' and boys' schools, 15 new M. E. schools each 
\\ifch ]() Bighas of lanl for play-ground and agricul- 
tural farms, about 500 miles of road work, scores of 
klials and tanks, considerable amount of jungle and 
water-hyacinth clearance, 7 or 8 Weaving Factory 
schools, 21 Agricultural Demonstration Farms and many 
other things, all executed an! carried on by voluntary 
effort. But it is not these results that are the brightest 
side of the movement. It is the new conception of 
life the new ideal of self-help and self-reliance, the 
new spirit of self-dependence, the new man amongst 
the villagers that fascinates me. I see in them signs 
of a new life, a new vigour, a new vitality and an 
entirely new strength of self-confidence. It is these 
signs that I look for and look upon as the geatest 



128 Rural Bengal. 



achievement of the Rural Development movement and 
not the statistics of schools, roads >nd khals. Long 
live this new fire that has kindled their hearts. Every- 
thing else will follow. 

The spirit and the aims and objects were set 
forth in the same address. 

"Do not we call ourselves human beings and do 
not we boast of being gifted with intellect and 
talents ? If so, do we really and sincerely realise that 
to serve humanity is our duty ? Consonant with what 
every individual owes to himself and his immediate 
dependants, first and fcremost, should not we serve 
others also, our neighbours and countrymen not endowed 
with the same intellect and sense of responsibilities as 
ourselves ? Should not we educate them, help them and 
guide them to lead a better and happier life ? Cannot 
we do so ? Yes, most certainly and definitely and we 
must. But before we proceed we have to search in 
our heart of hearts for those essential qualities which 
go to translate such a desire into reality. What are 
these qualities ? Strong feelings Avith a burning desire 
to achieve what you want to, an irresistible sincerity 
of purpose and a persistent and active enthusiasm, a 
dogged determination with an indomitable patience and 
perseverance, a spirit of sacrifice that will rise above all 
considerations of personal gain and public applause, and 
last of all, a most scrupulous regard for honesty and 



Rural Development : General 129 



fair-mindedness in all public matters. These are, gentle- 
men, in my order of things, the minimum qualifications 
of a real worker. 1 * 

"Educate your people, both young and old f teach 
them the principles of health and hygiene by work and 
example, and clear away jungles and pests to save 
thousands of lives from poverty, disease and snakes. 
Fill, excavate and connect Dobas and ditches as neces- 
sary, to drain off dirt and filth and remove the home of 
diseases. Examine carefully and work to make every 
village of Sirajganj a model of perfect sanitation and 
drainage. 

Find your play grounds, find your village halls, 
find jour libraries and open night schools to educate 
your people. Then and then only you will be able to 
stand proudly to say that you are real patriots and know 
how to ; serve your nation and country. 

All this is not a dream. It is a'practical possibili- 
ty. [There is no dearth of materials. What you need is 
tlie sincerity of purpose to work, the grim determination 
to achieve and the power of organisation and personal 
magnetism which, without exception, every selfless, 
sincere and honest worker must find inherent in himself. 

Let us help ourselves and Gold will help us. 

The programme also will be quoted from the 
same address. 



130 Rural Bengal. 



" Let us now discuss what programme of work 

our R. D. organisation can take up. There are scores 
of things which may be handled, but it will not be wise 
to undertake responsibilities that may prove too heavy. 
For instance, we cannot do much to ease the economic 
situation nor can we proceed very far with improvement 
of agriculture and other industries, all of which need 
large funds. This we may leave to our Union Boards 
and the central organisation \tho will be better fitted to take 
up these items though there can be no objection if we, 
depending on our own voluntary resources, set up agricul- 
tural Farms and weaving schools as planned out from the 
parent organisation. But even when we leave that aside, 
there will be plenty of constructive schemes to handle, 
if we have the will to work. I think the following 
problems will provide the best and most useful field to 
apply our energy effectively to : 

1. Public health. 

(a) Health propaganda and social reform. 

(b) Improvement of village drainage and sanitation. 

(c) Remodelling of the village home. 

(d) Removal of jungles and other pests. 

2. (a) Organisation of village sports and recreation 
grounds. 

(b) Development of clubs and club-life. 

3. Adult Mass Education. 

The first will build a healthier people, a better 



Rural Development : General 131 



house, and a better village; the second, a better society, 
and the third a better and a more enlightened nation, 
an ideal programme, which, in my opinion, is suffi- 
ciently ambitious to attract and satisfy the keenness of 
even the most enthusiastic of the workers. As to 
how we should proceed in each case, it is a matter of 
detail to be worked out later and I cannot but make 
the briefest mention here. 

Health propaganda should be carried on by lec- 
tures and demonstrations, helped by hand-bills and booklets 
to be issued by the Central Executive Council. Magic 
lanterns should also be used in consultation with the 
health staff. 

Every Village Comuiittee should prepare its rough 
sketch-map of the village and study its drainage system 
011 the lines suggested in the note of Mr. Moazzem 
Hossain, District Engineer, Pabna, and attached herewith 
as Appendix V. Then workable schemes for filling up 
or connecting unhealthy ditches to the nearest khal or 
river, excavation of tanks and khals, where necessary, 
for clearing unhealthy jungles and pests should be 
thoughtfully prepared and executed by voluntary labour. 

A new model of village home which will allow 
sufficient light and air should be introduced and, where 
possible, attempt to remodel the whole village should be 
made. 

Similarly the common need and requirements of 



132 Rural Bengal. 



each village should be provided, play-ground created 
and sports organised. 

Defects in the prevailing social system should be 
attacked both by word and example and a sense of 
civic responsibility, and joint efforts and a spirit of 
liberal-mindedness and mutual toleration developed. 
Common clubs, not sectional clubs, should be founded, 
a matter on which I cannot help milking a few remarks. 
This unfortunate country of ours, divided into so many 
castes and creeds as it is, needs the development of a 
healthy common club-life more than does any other 
country in the world. Not only the ill-fed and ill-clad 
peasantry need a place where they can sit together 
and laugh out the day's drudgery, but also the various 
interests and classes 1 , the land -lord and tenants, the 
creditor and the debtor, and the Hindu and the Muslim 
must meet together on terms of equal footing and in 
an atmosphere of complete freedom to shake off that 
hidden and secret feeling of dread or hatred winch 
most of them possess in the secret corner of their 
hearts. I go a step further and say that all this talk 
of Hindu-Muslim unity and* all this fuss of untouch- 
ability has little chance to materialise until India makes 
up her mind to develop a healthy common club-life. 
It is never too late to begin a good thing and nothing 
is too difficult for those who have a mind and the 
will to work. 



Rural Development : General 



The first thing you need is a Hall. Where possi- 
ble, do builc your village hall by voluntary subscription 
and voluntary labour. But perhaps India is too poor to 
afford costly separate halls for every village. They 
should be constructed with subscribed bamboo posts and 
straw sheds by voluntary effort. Apart from that, in 
most cases you already possess one, if you begin to look 
at your village school from a new angle of vision. India 
can ill afford to waste her school houses for 18 hours 
of the day. The village school should be a Girls 9 School 
in the morning, 7 A. M. to 10 A. M., a Boys' School in 
the day, 11 A. M. to 4 P. M. and an Adult School and 
Social Club in the evening. The school building should 
become the centre of all social activity, the most impor- 
tant and attractive spot in the village, a badly needed 
and long-desired change of attitude towards the school 
which Avill incidentally lead to its improvement and 
development." 

The problem of adult education has already been 
discussed at length in a separate chapter. It will be 
enough to mention here that a night school is to be 
started in every village without exception, be it big or 
small, and every male member induced and compelled 
to attend. The night school house should be built in 
an open airy site as nearly in the centre of the village 
as possible and no other material ^than subscribed bam- 
boos and straw is to be used in its construction. Its 
necessary source of income will be two the Mushti 



134 Rural Bengal, 



Bhiksha and the Union Board grant of Ba 2/- per 
month. The total will come to Us 5/- or so and any 
teacher will be glad to work at this remuneration. 
Other details will be discussed along with the duties of 
the R. D. worker. 

SECTION II. 
The Organisation. 

A workable organisation composed of devoted work- 
ers is the key to the success of every movement. But 
while to set up a well thought-out system is a compara- 
tively simple task, to select the right sort of workers 
inspired with the same ideal and pulsating with vigour, 
and energy and burning with enthusiasm for the com- 
mon cause is a tremendously more difficult matter. It 
requires hard work and a keen insight into human charac- 
ter. Besides, the material is almost al \vays raw and it 
has to be converted and latent faculties aroused and 
developed. And yet without this, the machinery cannot 
function as a well-knit unicy. 

The unit of R. D. organisation set up in Sirajganj 
is the Village Committee composed of 25 workers un- 
der a Captain Secretary. The Captain Secretary in turn 
together with the 9 members of the Union Board forms 
The Union Society. The President of the U. Bd. is to 
act as ex-officio President of the Union Society and 



Rural Development : General 135 



the Secretary and an Assistant Secretary are to be 

elected from amongst the Captain Secretaries. Thus three 
office-bearers represent the Union on the Thana Commit- 
tee. The Thana Officer, the S. R. if any, the Inspector 
of Co-operative Societies if any, the Head master of the 
local H. E. and M. E. School and the C. 0. where 
there is one, will be additional and ex-officio members 
of the Thana Association. They would elect their own 
President, and Vice-President, a Thana Secretary and a 
Joint Secretary from everf set of 3 contiguous and ad- 
joining Unions excluding those three which will be direct- 
ly under the Thana Secretary. The Secretary and the 
Joint Secretaries are invariably to be elected from 
amongst the Union Secretaries and will each be held 
responsible for work done in the three Unions they 
represent and which are placed under their charge. 

The President and the Vice-President, the Thana 
Secretary and the joint Secretaries plus workers to be 
selected by the S. D. O. from the town will form the 
general body of the R. D. Council at headquarters. 
The S. D. 0. will be the ex-officio President and would 
select members from the town on the following basis : 

(1) 6 or 7 officials including C. O's, the chief Police 
Officer and such others as may be interested in the 
movement. 

(2) 7 or 8 non-official members to take charge of 
various departments. 

(3) As many members as there are Thanas to be in 



136 Rural Bengal. 



charge of the various Thanas on behalf of the Council 
( 8 or 9 ). 

(4) 5 to 10 supporters and sympathisers. 

This organisation though a little elaborate, is very 
nearly the best that I have been able to set up. It is the 
result of extensive experience even though this experi- 
ence is barely a year old. In the early stages K. D. 
Societies, independent of Union Boards, were formed and 
though every society included energetic members of the 
Union Boards, a certain amount of apathy due to jealousy 
soon became apparent and I had, therefore, to modify the 
organisation to meet these changed circumstances. But 
I do not think I shall have to make any further changes 
in the constitution. 

The persons to be nominated by the S. D. 0. under 
the 4 heads need some comments, The C. O.'s and one 
or two i)y. Magts. will always be helpful in carrying 
on the work in the absence of the S. D. 0. Members 
under the second head will be non-officials and will have 
to be the very best and the most outstanding R. D. 
workers available the pillars, and honour should always 
be conferred on the most tried and dependable enthu- 
siasts. In Sirajganj the various portfolios have been 
distributed as follows : 

1. Member-in-charge of Organisation. 

5. ,, Adult Education 

3. ., Secondary Education 

2. Primary Education 

4. ,, ,, Female Education 

6. ,, Training of Primary 

School Teachers. 

7. Agricultural Improvement 

8. ,, Industrial Development 

9. ,, Health Propaganda. 



Rural Development : General 137 



Men under the 3rd head would have no definite 
portfolio but -vill have charge of a P. S, and will be 
expected to run to their respective Thanas for propa- 
ganda or settling disputes wherever necessary. These 
men will be 2nd in grade as compared to the mem- 
bers-in-charge and may be raised to the 1st grade if 
and when they deserve and desire. Members under the 
4th head will be comparatively lower still in the lad- 
der those who cannot afford to devote much time & 
energy but volunteer occasioftal services for inspection 
and propaganda work in the interior. They also can be 
pushed up when occasion arises. 

But, as I mentioned, all this is simple. The real 
thing is the selection of the best workers. 

The following quotations will show how the 
workers were selected. 

''Ever since I took over charge of this subdivi- 
sion I have been keenly feeling the need and looking 
round to pick up from amongst the local people, the 
type of public man and worker who would conform to 
certain ideals and standards and whom I could unite 
into one body of genuine and ideal men. No man can 
be perfect and I do not claim to be an exception nor 
do I expect others to be. But there are certain essen- 
tial qualities, the bare minimum, that we must possess 
and look for in others. A selfless worker must possess 
strong feelings and desire to be of service to others. 



138 Rural Bengal 



You must not only feel but feel strongly enough to 
be moved to positive action. Your feelings have no 
value except in relation to the activity they promote. 
You must feel and act and awaken in yourself and 
others the necessary will to achieve the desired object. 
This spirit must be created. It is mostly for this 
reason that I propose to make it a condition, for every 
one who wants to join and work with me, to swear to 
himself before us all that he will remain true to these 
principles, and I do not think T need any apology. 
The first and most important thing I am anxious for 
is to build up the character of my workers. If I suc- 
ceed, the first important step will have been taken. 
Come forward, one by one, and SAvear that you will 
live and strive to live up to the ideals which I have 
placed before yon. I will give each of you an enframed 
piece of paper on which you will find the following 
inscription. 

**I most sincerely promise to myself and others 
in the presence of my fellow members and workers 
and swear on my word of honour that henceforth I 
will strive for and remain scrupulously honest to public 
interest and public property, sincere in my mission 
to render constructive service to my fellow beings to 
the best of my ability, work actively and steadily for 

the common good, with that burning zeal, that will 
never end and will give me no peace except in work, 
with that determination which will never flinch, and 



Rural Development : General 139 



with that stout perseverance which will and must 
overcome all obstacles. Remember "Life is a battle and 
not victory." This inscription has some meaning and 
purpose. It will be a constant reminder to your 
promise and you are advised to take it home and 
place it in a prominent place in your house so that 
you may look at it every now and then. Before long 
you will find that it has some effects." 

About 2500 workers f in Sirajganj have sworn 
this oath and though I cannot say it had bad its full 
effect, I am not prepared to admit that it went waste. 
Rome was not built in a day and a nation cannot be 
lifted in the course of a few months or years. But 
every step in the right direction counts and has its 
effect in the long run. The world may laugh if it likes. 
I am quite happy with what has been done. 

A good many of those who were attracted by the 
glamour of fame have since dropped out. This was in- 
evitable. But happily an enormous number of new 
adherents have come into the fold. The results have 
surprised and rejuvenated even some of the the most 
sceptic old bones. The Council and the various sub- 
ordinate organisations are being re-organised and the new 
lot will be composed of a far superior stuff those 
only who have passed through the hard test of one 
year's selfless service. The future is hopeful and 
bright. But a very powerful dynamo will be required 



140 Rural Bengal. 



to work up the machine continuously for some time 
before it can be left to look after itself. 



SECTION III. 
Finance. 

I am receiving queries every day how the whole 
thing is being financed. As I have already mentioned 
some-where before, given a sufficiently strong will and 
imagination, funds should never stand in the way. 
They simply follow. All that you need is to know 
your requirements, your resources and how to tap them. 
In any case the R. D. programme proper is based on 
self-help. This is the advice I gave to my workers. 

"Let me give you a timely warning. You will 
get no reward and no remuneration for your services. 
Yo must clearly understand that neither your central 
body nor even the Government itself will possibly be 
in a position to finance this extensive programme of 
village reconstruction. The central body will do its 
best to help and guide you in every difficult matter. 
But they will have very little funds, if any, at their 
disposal. The Government which you should learn to 
call your own, are doing their level best to provide 
rural areas with as much fund as is possible and .prac- 
ticable for them. But your Government, and for the 



Rural Development : General 141 



matter of that, no Government in the world, can at 
one time, meet all the one hundred and one require- 
ments of every part of the country. It will require 
years. As intelligent men, you must realise and apprer 
ciate this hard fact and must not waste your energies 
in thinking all the time that Government will or 
should do everything for you or that they are not 
doing enough. It ^ will take away your mind from 
construction to destruction which would be suicidal. 

Bengal has already suffered enough and wasted 
enough energy and fund in pursuing this ill-conceived 
and misdirected line of thought. You will get nothing by 
this perverted mentality. You must, if you have any 
sense of real heroism and patriotism, start to build and 
construct, with the resources and materials available rather 
than follow the futile policy of destruction. You must 
learn to stand on your own legs and begin to help 
yourself. You will find that it is not impossible to 
achieve what you want to. There may be difficulties 
and there will ba, bat I refuse to believe that they 
would be beyond your power to surmount. There will 
be no dearth of men to volunteer their services and 
work with you for a common cause and there will be 
no dearth of money either, to meet your reasonable 
common needs." But for the benefit of those who would 

still insist being inquisitive I will give the details. 
Agricultural Farms have to be financed "by the Co-ope- 
rative Banks, Dist. Boards and the U. Boards if 



142 Rural Bengal. 



necessary; Industrial Factory Schools by raising share 
capital; Training camps for gurus by the "Dist. School 
Board or where they do not exist, by the D. Bds. and 
Union Bds. ; Night Schools by U. Bds. and Musti Bhiksha 
raised by the volunteers of the village committee guided 
and supervised by their Captain Secretary. Jungle-cutt- 
ing, waterhyacinth clearance, and other sanitary mea- 
sures, and excavation of khals ani tanks will not require 
funds except for big projects. They require spirit and 
organisation. 

The same applies to Communication, but it will 
be very helpful if the Union S3cretary an:l Asst. Secre- 
tary are informally consulted by the U. Bd. before road 
programme is taken up. If the organisation works really 
well, it will be quite unnecessary for the Board to 
employ labour except in very special cases. The work 
can be done by the villagj committees of the respective 
villages under the leadership of the Union and Captain 
Secretaries. The money thus save I miy be distributed 
to the committees concerned for such needs as books, 
mats and other necessaries of the schools. A portion 
may, of course, be spent on a little sweets to be dis- 
tributed to members actually working. 

Similarly the U. Board should consult the Union 

and Asst. Secretary at the time of making grants to 

the night schools. Incidentally this will give the B. H. 

workers a sense of importance and prestige and woq$$ 



Rural Development : General 143 



be a legitimate recognition of their selfless services. 
Girls' and boys' Primary schools also have been opened 
because there is noticeable influx of new boys who 
sat idle at home so long. It is high time that the 
State took complete charge of financing the Primary 
Schools exclusively from its own funds leaving the 
U. Board allotment for education entirely at the dis- 
posal of the organisers of the night schools. The edu- 
cation of adults will thus become an independent 
department to be controlled and financed by the U. Bd. 
and the Union K. D. Secretaries. This would be 
another step helpful in stabilising the movement 



SECTION IV. 
Amusements. 

Life in the villages is at least dull if not posi- 
tively unhappy. The simple folks, no doubt, do have 
an occasional fit of enjoyment when they have leisure 
and energy. An occasional boat race on the way to 
the ha x t during the rains, an outburst of village balads 
and laughter during the dry months, a jovial observance 
of country festivals are certainly noticed here and there. 
But they are very rare. Foot-ball is, of course, slowly 
entering into the interior, but for most of the villages 
it is too much of a luxury to afford and is, therefore, 



144 Rural Bengal. 



exclusively limited to the upper middle class areas. 
Besides, the football season does not last very long and 
it does not touch the majority of the people who are 
too tired and worn-out after a hard day's labour. 
They require not so much exercise as mental recreation. 
Jazz music is what they actually need. 

The night schools that are proposed to be set 
up are going to put a further strain on the nerves, 
unless of course the subject matter is treated in the 
simplest and most humorous fashion as I have desired 
it to be. But this may not always be possible. In 
every case the work will demand concentration and 
attention and would none the less tax the wearied nerves. 
How to counteract this and incidentally make the 
school livelier and happier ? 

A wireless set would be the ideal, but for the 
present it is too expensive. A gramophone machine with 
a set of records of instructive musical compositions is, 
therefore, a remedy. An ordinary machine can be had 
noAV-a-days for Bs 25/- a piece. If some philanthropise 
business men could set up a national factory for turning 
out state gramophones at a low margin of profit, I am 
confident a machine will not cost more than Rs 20/-. 
Records containing either music and instructive speeches 
or instructive and vigorous music on both sides could 
be turned out at -/8/~ a piece. One machine and a set of 
10 records, all marked "State", with private possession 



Rural Development : General 145 



prohibited and made an offence as in the case of the 
Army rifles, could be provided to each night school. 
The total cost, say for a district like Pabna, will amount 
to about Rs 90,000/-. This is not, after all, such a terrib- 
ly big amount as to be prohibitive. The D. B. can 
afford this sum, if they like, conveniently by spreading 
the scheme over 3 years. It would make not only the 
night schools more pleasant, useful and inviting, but the 
whole village happier and delighted. Every record will 
provide a new source of joy a rare luxury for the 
common villagers of Bengal. The old school, I have 
no doubt, will laugh at it and ridicule the whole idea. 
Their most patent argument would be "Let us give 
drinking water first." I do not like to dispute this 
dictum as it stands. But I am prepared to take the 
responsibility and say that a little more education, a 
little more knowledge of health and hygiene and a little 
more joy and thrill in life will, in the long run, prove 
a far stronger bulwark against the ravages of disease 
than a few more wells and tanks. 

The Bratachari movement will also be of some 
use as a source of enjoyment and I hope to give it a 
lair trial. But with due respect to its great founder 
I must confess frankly that, as far as I have seen, very 
little attempt has been made to put its utilitarian ideals 

into practice. It is limited to school children only, and 
is treated as an additional item of school sports. But 
there again, I must say that some of the dances and 



146 Rural Bengal. 



cries strike me as positively inartistic things which the 
supreme artist in the nation's subconscious mind had 
rejected long ago by the natural process of elimination. 
They may be good as exercises, but they are not pretty 
to look at. Conception will, of course, differ and others 
may have different views. I am only putting down my 
own personal impressions. 

But I admit at the same time, that the music 
and the songs and some of the dances particularly the 
Kathi dance are very pretty indeed. The songs combi- 
ning Hindu and Muslim ideals, the welcome, the 
water-hyacinth clearance and some other times are 
very praiseworthy and deserve to be popularised all 
over the country. These items of the Bratachari 
movement will be included as a part of the R. D. 
programme, to help in the co-ordination and synthesis 
of the seemingly disruptive forces in the society. 

Before I close this section I hasten to admit that 
not being a Bratachari myself my knowledge of the subject 

is very meagre. So I apologise to my senior Mr. Dutt 
if I have made any ill-founded remarks. I am encourag- 
ing the movement particularly for primary school chil- 
dren for whom I believe it to be an attractive and useful 
substitute of the Boy Scout. * 

* Apart from certain pos3s in some of the danc3s, specially 
the Raibeshe which the author terms inartistic as being old and 
naturally eliminated in process of time, he has envisaged, from 
what he has seen of the demonstrations at Sirajganj, great 
possibilities of a national regeneration. Space does not allow of 



Rural Development : General 147 

SECTION V. 
Inspection and Encouragement. 

Such a vast programme of work as the R. D. 
movement contemplates cannot possibly be executed with- 
out a continuous and living source of encouragement 
and inspiration. The Captain Secretaries and other R. D. 
workers have to be kept at a certain pitch of enthusiasm 
which means frequent lectures, inspection and issue of 
posters. In the following pages 1 will deal with these 
few items. 



quotations from the valued opinions of Sir Francis Younghusband, 
Dr. Rabindranath, Sir S. Radhakriahnan and a host others of inter 
national fame. Alongside of the author's views it is pertinent to 
quote here a few lines from a recent speech (re-iterated very recent- 
ly by the Hon'ble Nawab Mahdi Yar Jung, Vice-Chancellor, 
Osmania University at Hyderabad where Mr. G. 8. Dutt with his 
party was invited to give a demonstration, Oct. 1937) delivered by 
the Rt. Hon'ble Sir Akbar Hyderi, Chief Minister of Hyderabad, 
at the Sixth All-Bengal Bratachari Training Camp, D urn-Dum, on 
27th. December, 1936. 

"... Today I see what Bengal is doing in order to strengthen 
the physique and the moral stature of the Indian people along lines 
which, I must say and can truly say, will really lead to a perma- 
nent national regeneration, because Mr. Dutt and his colleagues 
have tried to discover what has been handed down in our villages 
from times past and have shown how these should be adopted for 
our needs, for the needs of our students and for the needs of reviving 
the intellectual, spiritual and cultural life to which we were used in 
our past. ... I wish and pray that this movement may grow and 
grow until it spreads throughout the whole land of our Bharatmata 
and brings about that unity for which we are all longing, namely 



148 Rural Bengal. 



The Executive head of a Subdivision should 
arrange a programme of mass meeting to be held at 
least once a year in every Union and encourage the 
workers by inspecting one or two items of the works 
and joining hands with the local workers wherever 
possible. This will drag in the upper classes of society 
and enhance the dignity of labour. The C. O.'s should 
hold three or four, if not more, and should do the same. 
But even this will not do. Rural Development days 
and weeks should be organised at least 3 to 4 times 
every year, and the services of all the touring officers 
e. g. C. O.'s, Police Officers, Co-operative stuff, Sanitary 
Inspectors and others of the Health Dept. stuff should 
be requisitioned. The Special Officers for Debt Settle- 
ment, the S. I.'s of Schooli and the S. K.'s, about 
whose future existence I am sceptic a subject I shall 
deal with in the next Chapter, should also be utilised 
as long as they continue. The services of the staff of 
H. E. and M. E. schools and Junior Madrasahs should 
also be asked for. These institutions should each pro- 
vide at least two enthusiasts men with personality and 
power of speech whose services can be utilised. Over 
and above this, local Mukhtears & Pleaders, willing to 
co-operate, should also be asked to go out in the inte- 
rior, hold mass meetings, inspect schools and actually 
join hands in the works. They should be provided with 
R. D. diaries to keep notes in of what they saw and 
did in unions and villages visited. 



Rural Development : General 149 



The Thana Secretaries and Joint and Union 
Secretaries should likewise be provided with R. D. dia- 
ries for recording notes of their inspections. The Cap- 
tain Secretaries also should similarly keep notes of the 
work done in their respective villages. Frequent posters 
and R. D. Circulars, as have been actually issued in Siraj- 
ganj, should be published and carried to every Captain 
and Union Secretary through the Thana Officers, Chau- 
kiclers and Daffaders. A complete list of the Captain 
Secretaries and other R. D. workers should be kept, 
Union by Union, at each Thana. The Union Board 
would obviously be part and, for the matter of that, 
the most important part of the Union Society. But 
as the Captain and othe** Secretary will have some in- 
dependent position, every care should be taken to show 
the most scrupulous regard to the Union Boards lest 
they should feel overshadowed and start getting jealous. 
On the contrary, the members should be encouraged to 
have concurrent powers and jurisdiction over the Captain 
Secretaries in their Maids and should be requested to 
see that work goes on smoothly for which they get as 
much credit as any one else. If this precaution is 
taken, no difficulty will arise. The Boards must also 
be kept informed of changes and of everything else to 
be done in their jurisdiction. 

So much about inspection. Now I come to re- 
cognition and rewards the very spurs to activity. I 



150 Rural Bengal. 



propose the following items and this is what we have 
actually arranged at Sirajganj. 

1. A special badge has been prepared for every R. 
D. worker not below the rank of Captain Secretary. This 
design reflects the programme of the movement and 
3000 badges have been ordered for. 

2. There will be a challenge cup for the best vil- 
lage Committee in every Union. A medal to be retained 
will be given to the best Captain Secretary. 

3. There will be a challenge shield for the best 
village in every Thana. 

4. There will be one big-sized, challenge shield for 

the best village in the whole Subdivision. 

5. There will be two medals, one for the best Union 
Secretary and one for the best Union President ( R. D. 
work ) in every tlmna. 

6. 3 Medals for the best three Thana or joint Secre- 
taries in r the Subdivision. 

7. 3 Medals for the host Thana Presidents in the 
Subdivision. 

8. 6 Medals for the besu members-iii-charge of defi- 
nite departments or Tlmnas in the R. D. Council 

The cups and medals for Captain Secretaries 
have been subscribed by U. Boards, the Thana shields 
by honors and the rest by the Council. The basis of 
decision and the judges would be as follows : 



Rural Development : General 151 



Captain Secretaries are expected to keep records 
in their diary of the total number of houses in the 
village, total number of boys and girls of school-going 
age and illiterate adults_. Marks will be allotted accord- 
ing to the following scheme. 

(i) For good organisation and unity in the 
village 25 

(ii) For proper collection and account of Mushti 
BLiksba 25 

(iii) For high percentage of boys and girls induced 
to attend schools 25 

(iv) For high percentage of adults induced to 
attend night schools. ... ... ... 25 

(v) Improvement of sanitation jungle-cutting, water- 
hyacinth clearance, filling up of dirty ditches and 
Dobas. ... ... ... ... 25 

(vi) Improvement of communication village paths, 
roads & khals. ... ... ... ... 25 

(vii) Sports and amusements. ... ... 25 

(viii) Any work of special merit to be clearly 
described. ... ... ... ... 25 

Total. ~ 200* 
L Badges No decisions required. 

2. The best village will be selected by a committee 
of five consisting of the Vice-President and another 

member nominated by the Board for that purpose, the 
Union and the Asst. Union Secretary. 



152 Rural Bengal. 



In case of complaint the Thana Secretary, the 
President and the Vice-president and the Joint Secre- 
taries will visit and their decision in the matter will 
be final. In case of a tie the President or in his 
absence, the Vice-president will have a casting vote. 

3. The best village in each P. 8. will be selected 
out of the best villages in the various Unions by the 
last-mentioned body. 

4. The best village in the Subdivision will be selec- 
ted by a committee of five consisting of the President 
of the Council ( S. D. 0. ) or if he cannot go, the 
Vice-president, the member-in-charge of organisation, 
the Subdivisional Police Officer if any, and two other 
members of the R. D. Council to be nominated by 
that body. 

5. The best Union Secretary and the President will 
be selected by the Thana Association on the total of 
the works done in the various villages of the Union. 
Disputes will be decided by the body, mentioned above 

in 4, after enquiries. 

6 & 7. The best three Thana or Joint Secretaries 
and Presidents will be selected by the body mentioned 
under head 4 above on the repjrt of C. O.'s concerned 
and on the total of work done in the Thana. 

8. By the President ( S. D. 0. ) alone. 

The Cups and Medals to the village Committees 



Rural Development : General 153 



will be distributed in a mass meeting held in the 
Union on B D. days. The rest in the annual R. D. 
Conference held at head-quarters under the presidency 
of the District Magistrate, the Divisional Commissioner 
or, if possible, one of the Hon'ble Ministers. 

I have nothing more to add except that the 
movement has great potentialities and will go a long 
way to remedy the ills of Bengal. I had great diffi- 
culties to start with. I had nothing before me to 
guide, but others will have a model, however defective, 
to help them. What little has been done at Sirajganj 
can be done elsewhere also with greater success and 
the results will be far-reaching if the work can be 
stabilised and continued. The future is hopeful and 
bright if only a will and a sufficiently powerful dynamo 
as a perennial source of succour and sustenance, is plac- 
ed behind to work and keep it up. 



CHAPTER IX. 
Economy in public Services. 

SECTION I. 
Pay of the Services. 

A lot is being heard now-a-days about economy 
in public services and all criticism is focnssed on tlie 
salaries of Government Officers. What do the officers 
get ? Let us see. The Deputies and Sub- Deputies start 
011 ite 125/- p. in. The Munsiffs on a little more, 
and with the exception of a few fortunate men who arc 
promoted to the cadre of Collectors and District Judges, 
both the Deputies and Mil 11 sifts retire on Rs 800/- or 
so at the fag-end of their lives. And who are the 
men who constitute these services ? The cream of 
provincial Universities go to the cadre of Deputies and 
Sub-Deputies and the brightest gems of the Bar to the 
Judiciary. Even if we ignore the fact that their duties 
involve great responsibility, discretion and honesty, the 
officers do a terrible amount of work, particularly the 
Deputies. And this is not one day's affair. They have 
to drudge all through their lives and return every day 



Economy in Public Services. 155 



at dusk from offices with swollen eyes. The work ex- 
hausts them completely and when they retire;, at the age 
of 55, no signs of life are left in them. Tins i s the 
position. And yet irresponsible men would insist that 
the officers should^ get less than what they do now. 

The civilians, of course, get a little more. But 
who are these men ? The best product of British 
Universities and the cream of the Indian Continent 
men who topped the list in their schools, in their col- 
leges and Universities and the highest competitive exami- 
nation of the country. They start,, with Rs 450/- p. m. 

and have to retire on Bs 2,200/-% Each of them is 
a gem, if Lot a genius, in some line and often in 

many. They would make au impression and prove their 
worth in any walk of life and would, most probably, 
earn more in any branch of business. Their record 
fully justifies this expectation. As members of the Civil 
Service also, they have created traditions of their own. 
They have built up a reputation which has gone beyond 
the shores of this country. Their honesty and integrity 
has never been questioned. They put duty before every- 
thing else and consider Government interest dearer than 
life itself and they continue to maintain their proud 
traditions. Their work involves tremendous responsi- 
bilities and many of them hold charge of tens of 
millions worth of Government propeity. But they 
have never faltered and never failed. Is their pay too 



156 Rural Bengal. 



high 7 The officers are an asseb and should be looked 
upon from that angle of vision. They are pledged to 
render loyal service to the Government, be it respon- 
sible to the Crown or the public. Their services will 
be available to any Government, be it of the right 
wing or of the left. They would make the best use 
of their talents and experience for the execution of any 
policy that is thought best. The critics should further 
remeinbjr that these public servants do not enjoy the 
freedom of speech and they cannot retort. The privileg- 
es of a p.iblic mm aul the charms of public life are 
denied to them for good, and unwarranted criticism will 
only make them dissatisfied & unhappy. They went in for the 
I. C. S. when the country could offer nothing better 
and nothing higher. Things have since changed and many 
of them think they are ill-placed. They have lost in 
start and have lost ground which they cannot easily recover 
though they were not the loggers behind but the heads 
of their times. This should be realised before anyone 
enters into wholesale criticism of their merits and worth. 

The secret of economy in public administration 
does not lie in cutting down the pay of th officers. 
It lies in making the best use of their talents and services 
and here are a few suggestions, the results of careful 
thinking and deliberation. If these suggestions are followed, 
very scon the country will begin to feel proud of her 
services, and discover that .'they are not highly paid. 
They get only the reasonable minimum that it can afford. 



Economy in Public Services. 157 



SECTION II. 

Possible lines of economy in administration. 

Some three years ago I made a remark to Mr. 
Bottomley, Director of Public Instruction, Bengal, that the 
S. L's of schools are aVa&te. The matter was, however, 
dropped until it was revived last year. I was asked by 
the Department sometime ago to give my views in a 
concrete form and I submitted a note on the subject/* In 
preparing this note I found that it was impossible not 
to cover a larger field than I had intended. I l;ad 
even ti make casual remarks about the general policy 
of administration. I have since added another topic, the 
P. W. D. The suggestions have an important bearing on the 
rural problems of the country. There are heaps and heaps 
of officers and yet the COL tact between the Government and 
the govei ned is not sufficiently close, a matter of serious 
consideration if the problems of Rural Bengal are to 
be satisfactorily tackled. A Charge or Unit Officer for 
every block of 8 Unions seems to me indispensably 
necessary if any thing like an allround development and 
regeneration of the rural population is to bo attempted. 
As explained in this chapter and mentioned elsewhere, 
each block of 8 unions should have a Thana, a Co-ope- 
rative Bank, a Charge Officer and as at present, a 
Sanitary Inspector. There should be perfect harmony 



158 Rural Bengal 



and concord amongst them and they should be told 
clearly and emphatically that after due allowance* for 
their specific and special functions has been made, they 
all exist for the one greater and larger interest, the amelio- 
ration of the condition of the rural masses by every 
taieans possible aud practicable. 

The general remarks made at the end of the note 
have been taken over to the next chapter as a sum- 
mary of the various subjects discussed in earlier parts 
of the book. The statements attached to the note have 
been added as Appendix V after excluding such por- 
tions and arithmetical details as are unlikely to be of 
much interest to the general public. 

The Proposal : Proposed that lie 4 services, namely, the 
S. L's of Schools, the S. R^s, the D^ln Battlement Offi- 
cers, and the Circle Officers should be amalgamated into one 
service and that there should be only one officer to be 
designated as Unit or Charge Officer to net as S. It , 
Sub Inspector of Schools, Debt Settlement Officer and Circle 
Officer for a considerably curtailed and compact area. 
The genesis & In 1931 I had occasion to examine care- 
a short history fully the workiug of Primary Schools 
of the proposal, and Maktabs in the Patuakhali Subdi- 
vision. The results were embodied in my memorandum 
entitled "A Survey of the Vital Problems of Patuakhali." 
Part of this memorandum dealing with education has 
appeared in print in the inspection note, dated 28tb. to 



Economy in public Services. 159 



81st. January, 1936, of J. M. Bottomley Esq., I. E. S. f D. P. 
I. of Bengal and the rest in my address to the first 
Education Conference of Patuakhali held on the 2nd. 
March, 1936. My investigations had led me to the con- 
clusion that the work of inspecting Primary Schools 
should profitably be entrusted to the C. O's. In support 
I give the following reasons : 

S. I/s. of (i) That the area airier each S. I. of schools 
Schools. is too large to ba properly controlled. 

(ii) That due to difficulties of touring, their inspections 
are not sufficiently frequent and regular. 

(iii) That their opportunities of meeting the people 
are very limited and that they are seldom, if ever, heard 
and cared for by the public. Consequently, as a rule, 
their inspections go unheeded and wasted except in so 
far as petty irregularities of a technical nature ai*e con- 
cerned. 

(iv) That due to these difficulties often schools and 
Maktabs continue to be borne on the list and obtain 
departmental grants without having any real or regular 
existence. 

(v) That Union Boards, as a rule, do or should allot 
considerable amount of funds for Primary education. 
This expenditure in many places is controlled by the S. 
Ps. of Schools from a distance. It is, therefore, often 
very much resented. The auditing officer is the C. (Vs 



160 Rural Bengal. 



aiid it would lead to much better results if the C. O. 
also Worked as Sub Inspector of Schools. Iu is often seen 
that Union Boards do not pay the sanctioned amounts 
to the teacher and the m-itter has ultimately to be re- 
ferred to C. 0. for redress. 

(vi) That in all complicated and difficult matters con- 
cerning improvement of the schools, the help of the C. 
O. is indispensable and has invariably to be sought for. 

1, therefore, ask, why spend money on the S. I.'s ? 
Why allow this terrible amount of Avastage of nearly 
two-thirds of his time in covering long distances when 
another officer, i. e. the C O. taking the same journey 
for Union Board inspection can easily and conveniently 
do both ? Why not then train up the C. O's, generally 
men of superior mental equipment, in the art of school 
inspection and entrust them with this work ? This would 
be free from the evils of unnecessary duplication of 
of journeys and consequent wastage of time. I further 
hold that the C. O.'s would be not only cheaper but 
what is far more important, would make really effective 
Inspectors. They hold enormous influence over the pub- 
lic and their position as guides of Union Boards only 
lends additional weight to this argument. 

My suggestion, though only casually made in the 
memorandum, appealed to Mr. Bottomley and he said 
he would discuss the matter in a conference with the 
Divisional Commissioners. It is not known to me if he 



Economy in public Services. 161 



did. As for myself I was too busy with other serious 
problems to be able to find time for pushing this 
matter any further. But I did not forget. Experience 
only confirmed my observations and as time passed my 
conviction grew stronger and stronger. 

In the mean time experience had shown that there 
is another class of officers whose services for at least six 
months in the year are more or less completely wasted. 
The S. R.'s have precious little to do during the slack 
season even in the heaviest of .the Sub-Registry offices. 
And in offices which are termed "light" it must really 
be a problem for them all through the year what to do 
with themselves. 

These observations are not vague generalisations 
unsupported by statistics. Statement attached as Appen- 
dix will show that provincial average per office per year 
and daily average on the basis of 270 working days in 
the year have been calculated. It will further be seen 
that the average number of registration per office per 
day in the district of Pabna is a very close approxima- 
tion to the corresponding provincial figures. For this 
district every kind of statistical information relevant to 
the issue has been obtained and compiled. 

Tentative proposal In April, 1936, I was transferred to 
& Criticism. Sirajganj and soon after was asked 

to suggest subjects for discussion in the annual confe- 
rence of Divisional Commissioners. I put in the following 



162 Rural Bengal. 



ad one,- '^Decentralisation has proceeded too far in certain 
directions. S. I.'s of Schools are ineffective and should 
b'e dispensed -with. C. O.'s should be trained up in the 
art : of school inspection, their jurisdiction curtailed 
end number increased ; S. K.'s for six months in the 
year have nothing to do. They might also do some 
inspection work. In any case some .way for utilising 
their time should be found etc. etc. " 

Copy of this extract was sent to the D. P. I. also 
for information. The D. P. I. referred the matter to 
the Divisional Inspector, Rajshahi, who examined the 
proposal and declared it as "not practical," "absurd* 
''chimerical," etc. etc. 

In support he has said that the S. I.'s have not 
only to inspect but also to supply statistics, as if this 
cannot be donp by other agencies. To be frank I can 
allow for a certain amount of natural resentment on the 
part of the Divisional Inspector, but more than that, his 
criticism does not unfortunately merit any serious consi- 
deration. 

D. S. O.'s By the end of 1936, an entirely new factor 
had entered into calculation. Debt Settlement Boards 
were formed in a good part of the District and two 
Special Debt Settlement Officers were posted, one to each 
Subdivision to look after these new institutions. The 
Special Officers are supposed to afford some relief to the 
C. O.'s in debt .settlement work, but in practice it is more 



Economy in public Services. 163 



or less entirely ihfeir concern. Consequently they have 
jurisdiction concurrent with those of all the other C. O.'s. 
and have, therefore, to tour the length and breadth of the 
Subdivision. I do not deny that in theory, it is possible 
to make arrangements for avoiding a contingency of C, 
O. and Debt Settlement Officer having had to travel 
simultaneously to the saflte 1 Unibn, but in practice it does; 
happen and they do often travel and meet together in 
the muffasil, one to inspect his Union Board and the 
other to inspect his Debt Settlement work. The result, 
is that neither the C. O.'s have obtained any tangible 
relief nor is the Special Officer able to manage effectively 
so many Boards spread over a large area: 

Waste of time Long journeys involve enormous wastage 
by duplication of time and the point that is often for- 
of journeys. gotten is that it is not only the T. A. 
that matters much, but the time, the working hours of 
the day for which officers are paid. An officer may have 
to travel 24 hours to make an inspection which may not 
occupy more than an hour or so. 5 hours of the work- 
ing day have, therefore, been completely lost. Instruction 
can, of course, be issued to draw out programme from 
one Union to the next and so on. But in actual prac- 
tice things run as I have stated. Besides, officers are 
human beings. They have their families and their houses 
to turn to. They cannot legitimately be expected to 
remain cut off from their headquarters for more than 
a few days at a stretch. 



164 Rural Bengal. 



Communities. Another important point to consider is 
that communities and classes of people in rural areas 
are not so well-defined as in big towns. Whereas in 
a town like Calcutta we may have distinct groups with 
their own leaders and men to represent distinct interests ; 
in a villege, more often than not, there is only one set 
of people who represent all classes and interests. The 
choice of competent men in a village is extremely 
limited and the result is that, in nine cases out of ten, 
it is the same set who ha' 7 e to manage the school, 
if any, the same groups form the Union Board and a 
few of the same body form the Debt Settlement Board. 
Their character, their honesty and integrity are best 
known, if at all, to the Officer of the Circle and it is 
generally he Avho selects or influences the selection of 
the personnel of the various bodies. It i,, therefore, 
very anomalous that one should form the Boards and 
the other should run them. 

Position To illustrate the point further let us take the 
illustrated, case of a Union privileged with a Union 

Board, a D. 8. Board and one or two schools. Three 
officers start from headquarters to inspect the three 
different institutions. Let us also suppose, as it very 
often happens, that the members of the three bodies 
are the same persons. If the C. 0. wants the U. Bd. 
inspection to be made first, the other two officers must 

sit idle. Next comes the turn of the Special Officer. 
The S. I. has still another hour to wait to discuss 



Economy in public Services. 165 



matters with the members. 

Of course, I do not say that such a coincidence 
of inspection will happen very often, but the proposition 
does clearly show how absurd the present position has 
become. 

Position of proposal Against that, let us train up corn- 
is given effect to. potent officers in the arts of ins- 
pection of primary schools, of Unions and D. 8. Boards 
and make them responsible for all these works. The 
first question is whether it would be possible for an officer to 
manage so many things : I say, "Yes*. Let us curtail the 
area under his charge. Let us have blocks, say of 
80 100 sqr. miles area of 8 10 unions. Let the officer 
have his headquarters at or near about the centre, so 
that he may not find ihe farthest end of his jurisdiction 
more than 5 6 miles off. Let him work as S. R. for 
two days every week ( a proposal that has been proved 
to be a convenient possibility, vide statement "A." ) He 
will still have clear 16 days in the month to remain 
out on tour. Time occupied by the journeys will l>p 
reduced to an insignificant quantity and a young and 
honest officer will have no difficulty whatsoever in ins- 
pecting one U. Board, one D. S. Board, and one or two 
schools effectively every day. 

Every part of his jurisdiction would be easily and 
speedily accessible to him and every one anxious to meet 
him would find him easily available and all through the 



166 Rural Bengal. 



irtonth. He will have no difficulty in collecting informa- 
tions from any part and from the whole of his jurisdic- 
tion at 24 hours' notice nor will any important event 
pass unattended. This will then give us an ideal Unit 
Executive Officer in close and constant touch with the 
people and conversant with the whole field of public 
activity. The Unit officer will be in a position to play 
really and truly the role of a friend, philosopher and 
guide and I wonder if any one can dispute that this is 
what is urgently needed and will continue to be needed 
for a long time to come. 

Can the Unit It remains to examine if an average Unit 

Officer manage Officer will be able to discharge the 

all the depart* combined duties of an S. 11., an S. 

ments ? I. f a special I). S. Officer and a (-. 0. 

more effectively and still find some time and energy to 
spare for extra-departmental activities of nation-building. 
It has not been possible for me to collect all 
Bengal statistics for all the department? mentioned. But 
it has been possible to calculate, from I. G. R's. report, 
the number of documents registered per office per d&y. 
I find that the provincial average is approximately the 
same as the daily average for ihe offices of the District 
of Pabna ( statement A ). With regard to the work 
done by the S. I.'s, D. S. Officer and the C. 0., I can 
say from experience that the amount of work done by 
these officers in the district is approximately the same 
as that done by the same class of officers in other 



Economy in public Services. 167 



districts. So in order to illustrate my proposition by 
way of example, I have prepared elaborate and detailed 
statements for this District which give all the relevant 
statistical informations and averages. These statements 
throw light on many side-issues and contain many 
important and valuable observations. I, therefore, strong- 
ly advise that no opinion should be formed until the 
statements have been studied carefully and thoroughly. 
The statements. The 1st. statement (A) proves": 

(a) That the - S. K.'s. Lave very little work to do for 
a good part of the year. 

(b) That if the number is increased from 9 as at 
present (excluding District headquarters office) to 17 
as proposed and the jurisdiction properly fixed, say, 9 10 
unions covering approximately 80 100 sqr. miles ( and 
there will be no difficulty in doing this) the work will 
be reduced to not half, but really to less than one-third. 

(c) That it will be quite easy in spite of the expected 
increase due to registration of debt settlement awards 
to cut down the working days of a Sub-Kegistry office 
from 6 to 2. In other words it will occupy only rd, 
of the Unit Officer's time. 

The following 3 statements ( B, 0, D ) will prove 
that due to curtailment of area, easy accessibility of the 
various institutions to be inspected in one ' trip and the 
great economy in time at present wasted on journeys, 
the work done by the S. I.'s of schools will not occupy 



168 Rural Bngal. 



more than one-fourth of the Unit Officer's time. Similarly 
the work done by the Special Officer will occupy about 
one-ninth and that of the present 0. 0. will occupy 
about one-fourth. The Unit Officer will, therefore, still 
have a balance of 1 (i+4++l) or one-eighteenth. 
This fraction of the time saved, howsoever small it may 
be, is a net gain and will be available for other deve- 
lopment works. 

Efficiency. As regards efficiency I need hardly repeat 
that it would rise very high indeed. The Unit Officer 
will be able to inspect every U. Bd. and every D. S. 
Bd. at least once in the month, if not twice. He 
would remain in constant and close touch and how it 
will effect efficiency need hardly be mentioned. With 
regard to schools there can be no earthly reason why 
he should not be able to inspect at least 30 schools 
in the month. This will give 360 for the year and would 
come to about 4 inspections annually i. e. about 3 to 4 
times higher than is done at present. 

With Regard to the possible objection that S. I 's 
fei'6 B. TVs, I suggest that Unit Officers be trained for 
3 months in the essentials of school inspection. They 
will have* to 'deal with primary schools and these insti- 
tutions really need more common sense to deal with than 
H detailed knowledge of the theory of education. 

f 7 inahc& The next point to be examined is finance. 
Statement E, F, and G will show that even though the 



Economy in public Services. 169 



number of Sub-Registry Offices is proposed to be almost 
doubled, a proposal which would be highly appreciated 
by all sections of the public, many of whom have to 
travel miles and miles for getting their documents regis- 
tered, the combined cost of 17 Sub-registry offices, the 
pay and T. A. of U. O.'s, the pay and T. A. of their 
peons etc., will be much less than what Government 
spend now. The statements are open to examination. 
The proposal can effect a saving of about Bs. 3,50,000/- 
for the province. 

Disposal of A question may arise that the total num- 

surplus officers, ber of officers under the four groups, 
S. R's, S. I's, D. S. O's. and C. 9's. would be larger than the 
new service will absorb, say 24 against 17 in Pabna and 
if so, what will happen to the rest and what will the 
Government do with the surplus officers ? It is clear that 
service being a contract Government cannot discharge 
them outright. In that case Government cannot possibly 
make a saving either for some time. But they can be 
better used. In my statements I have advanced concrete 
suggestions how best they can be utilised to the great 
advantage of the department of education and general 
administration. If my suggestions are accepted many 
a knotty problem which seem to defy all solutions 
will be solved. Statement "IT will throw further light 
on this subject. 

Control. I may also discuss the question of control. 



170 Rural Bengal. 



It is obvious that the District Magistrate and under him 
the S. D. 0. will exercise the general supervision on 
the whole field of U. O.'s work. Even at present the 
District Magistrate is the District Registrar and in many 
places President of District School Board too. But to 
safeguard that no branch of the Unit Officer's duty is 
neglected, the TL 0/s can be instructed to send carbon 
copies of the extracts of their tour diaries regarding 
schools, direct to the District Inspector of Schools who 
will draw the attention of the District Magistrate or 
the S. D. 0., where and whenever necessary. District 
Sub-Registrars will continue for regular inspection of the 
Sub- Registry Offices as at present. 

Of course, some departments may feel that they 
would be deprived of the direct control that they are 
used to exercise on their special . departmental men. 
But this is unimportant. So far as registration is con- 
cerned the District Magistrate even now is the District 
Registrar and in the same way he can be made subor- 
dinate to the D. "P. I. As such there should be no 
difficulty for the heads of these departments to exercise 
full control over the U. O.'s through the District 
Magistrate. 

As for the purely sentimental side of the question, 
it can confidently be ignored. It will not be fair to 
apprehend that the head of any department will mind 
relinquishing direct control over a few officers in the 



Economy in public Services. 171 



face of such far-reaching consequences to the Government 
and the country as the proposal contemplates. 

I have now only to make a few general remarks 
more. My proposition is based on facts verified by 
personal experience and substantiated by statistical data 
such as I could obtain. I have confined myself to the 
practical side of problems and have avoided entering 
into theoretical arguments on the theory of centrali- 
sation or decentralisation of control. I have also avoided 
discussing such possible objections as did not appear 
to me material. So none need think that I am not 
prepared to go still farther to defend this proposal 
than I have within these pages. There u is no doubt 
that the proposal contemplates a radical change in the 
administrative machinery and I admit this charge if it 
is one, but I am not afraid of it. It is time we deve- 
loped a little self-confidence, and thought that what 
exists is not necessarily unalterable and that our great 
predecessors did not necessarily speak the last word on 

any subject. Not a few of us suffer from this complex 
and it 1ms made us lifeless, stereotyped and stagnant. 
I close the discussion with the remark that unless this 
proposal is adopted "Rural Development" will remain 
more or less a farce. 

SECTION III. 

So much about the S. I's. of Schools, the S. R's., 
the Special Officers and the 0. O's. But this does not by 



172 Rural Bengal* 



any means exhaust the list of departments where economy 
can be effected, I will mention only one case more. 
Take the P. W. D., one of the cheap jokes of the table- 
talker and the humourist. " Public Waste Department " 
is rather an old name and is giving place to more mis- 
cbievous interpretations. Even we officers have to hear 
this common gibe quite frequently in light conversation 
and let it pass off without protest. 

But the fact is that many of the serious-minded 
people also fail to appreciate the necessity of this depart- 
ment. It is said that Government must have its own 
staff to look after its huge buildings and constructions. 
But is Government property essentially different from 
that of the public? I doubt und if it is not, why can- 
not the Government entrust that same agency with the 
charge of looking after its buildings and constructions 
which deals with enormous amount of public funds and 
properties under the other public bodies ? Why cannot the 
services of the Dist. Engineers and D. B. Overseers who 
are equally qualified experts be utilised for looking after 
buildings and constructions of the Government also ? 
There is the Collector who is entrusted with tens of 
millions worth of Government property in every District. 

Why cannot he be trusted to look after a few offices 
and buildings more with the help of the District Engi- 
neering staff ? Let them get a small commission and 
work under the direction of the Collector. They will 
do it with pleasure and do it better and cheap. 



Economy in public Services. 173 



A few senior men may, of course, be kept at the! 
headquarters of the Government to examine every pro-, 
posal involving .expenditure above a certain limit, and 
to superintend the work of the Dist. Engineers. More than 
that does not seem to be necessary at all. To give a 
concrete instance of this waste I quote the position at 
Sirajgaiij. There is one P. W. V. Overseer at Sirajganj 
and a huge staff at Pabna, probably costing about a 
thousand rupees per month. I can say this with certain- 
ty that at least the man at Sirajguanj has not got 
enough work to occupy him for more than half an 
hour a day and yet he is there. 

And with all this I am often told that the P. W. 
D. are an awfully busy department. So much so that 
even if the Collector himself wants some urgent piece of 
work to be done, however small and petty, it will keep 
his office busy writing letters for six months. And this 
would really be rather quick work. 

Let the Collector have an additional clerk with the 
qualification of an Overseer and let all the P. W. i). 
buildings and lands be transferred to the Collectorate, 
Let the District Engineer and his staff take charge of 
the repairs and supervision. It will save a lot of money 
with which very many urgently needed offices and buil- 
dings :can be constructed. 



CHAPTER X. 
Recapitulation and the Future. 



In the chapters that have preceded I have dis- 
cussed almost all that appeared to me vital to the 
interest of larger Bengal. I have been frank, though not 
as much as I could be. Still 1 have not concealed my 
pronounced sympathy Avith the poor and the helpless. 
I cannot really help it. It has been the strongest 
passion of my life right from child-hood to the present 
age and will perhaps never leave. But I am neither a 
crazy socialist nor a Utopian dreamer. I face realities 
and try to* be a practical man. llo\v far I have suc- 
ceeded in my attempt, I leave the readers to judge. 

In places I may have betrayed a sense of dis- 
trust and dislike of the moneyed and the vested inte- 
rests. But in reality 1 am neither an enemy of the 
money-lender nor that of the capitalist. They are indis- 
pefisable pillars of society and have to play an impor- 
tant role in the body politic. Every individual wants to 
have complete freedom to develop his talents to the 
best and rise as high as he can. Society would be- 
come lifeless but for this powerful and legitimate ins- 
tinct of animal man. Life must grow physically, mentally 



Recapitulation and the Future. 175 



and intellectually. This is the supreme lesson that nature 
itself wants man to learn. But does man admit it ? He 
does not. He proclaims to be human and says he has built 
something of his own. He has evolved something he calls 
civilization. He considers himself the sole custodian and 
the torch-bearer ot this ne\v art. He differentiates him- 
self from the beast and insists on being called a 
human being. He has made laws, he has framed rules 
for the society to follow. He has prepared codes of 
human conduct. He calls them the great laws of truth, 
the fundamental principles of ethics. But does he re- 
alise that all his little toys are nothing but a different 
expression of the beast in him, a different name of the 
same eternal truth, ''the survival of the fittest ?" Does 
he realise that all this jugglery of codes and laws 
merely enforces the will of the stronger on the weaker ? 
Can he deny that the entire structure of society is 
based on the same primary instinct of exploiting the 
inferior bv the superior ? 

Yet he insists that he is different from the beast. 
He is a human being, an intellectual being. He< is 
the proud possessor of a civlization. He has developed 
culture. He has shaken off the beast in him. He 
breathes in the new and sublime atmosphere of an 
intellectual world. Is it radically different from the old ? 
Is it really new, I ask ? Is the mental agony of help- 
less poverty and starvation less painful than the agony 



176 Rural Bengal, 



of physical pain ? Is the inheritance of life-long bond- 
age to the wealthy and the mentally superor radically 
different from being born & slave ? Yes, he says, be- 
cause it is not sudden, it is prolonged, it is not felt. 
But what about man'* ethics and his morality ? What 
about the difference between the beast and the human 
being that man poses to be. Let him search his heart. 
Let him try to practise at least a little of what he is 
so anxious to profess and teach. Let there be capitalists, 
let there be money-lenders, let there be other vested 
interests. No <>ne will grudge. They are all necessary, 
useful and perhaps indispensable. But let them become 
a little more human, a little more reasonable, a little 
more merciful, a little more mindful that the intellec- 
tually inferior, the mentally less developed man is at 
least one of their own kind. However stupid he may 
be, lie is one of that same herd, one of that same 
species that they are so proud to belong to. Treat him 
well, treat him kindly, t re-it him :is a human being. 

This is my appeal to those whose interest will 
clash with that of the masses. Do have your interest, do 
have your profit ; you are entitled to it. You have 
collected money by the sweat of your brow. You have 
organised capital by hard woik. You had had your 
education, a favourable start, and perhaps inherent supe- 
riority of intellect. But do not let cupidity get the 
better of the human in you if there be any. Leave 



Recapitulation and the Futtwe. 177 



something for the debtor to enable him to become 
solvent. Leave something for the worker to enable him 
to live. Remember that in the scheme of nature life 
and labour have more value than capital. 

But will all these have any effect ? I do not know. 
I should not expect. But there are remedies. Let the 
same machinery that has for centuries protected the vest- 
ed' interest protect the poor. Let the State intervene. 
Let the crushing burden of inhei'ited debt be written off. 
Lst the rates of interest be scaled down and definitely 
fixed. Let the capitalist and the middle men pay more 
to the State to enable it to help and uplift those who 
never had a chance before. Let the new State take up 
the cause which could rot be taken up before. Let a 
searching account be taken of what has been done and 
what is to be done. 

What have we done with co-operation, I ask. 
Undoubtedly the movement was started with the best of 
intentions, but can it be challenged that it was ill-plan- 
ned and ill-executed from the start ? The theory of a 
high rate of interest from the members and the concep- 
tion of creating independent credit societies was funda- 
mentally defective. It has become definitely sour now 
to all co-operative debtors. The country got an oppor- 
tunity, the time when trade and business had reached 
its lowest water-mark to put matters rigLt, but it was 
not availed of. With one bold stroke a good deal 



178 Rural Bengal. 



could have been done. But none stirred and to-day the 
bountry has to see, at any rate that is what I think, 
the coffin of the movement being prepared with increas- 
singly greater pomp and glory. 

It beats my imagination to know why the co- 
operative staff could not help agriculture and cottage 
industries and \vhy they cannot or do not teach the 
cultivator to increase his earning capacity. Are they 
over-worked ? I am definitely certain they are not. 
Perhaps there is still time. The arrear interest can be 
written off. The true type of co-operative banks can 
be opened, say one at each thana headquarters and 
the co-operative staff trained to open agricultural farm, 
improve cattle-breed and develop cottage industries. 
The Agricultural Debtors Act would have done better 
by fixing a more economic minimum holding. In any 
case it needs a satisfactory credit and. banking machi- 
nery to supplement. This will re-establish credit, bring 
money iutb circulation and improve the condition of the 
country all round. 

What have we done in the field of education ? 
Have we seriously thought over the appalling illiteracy 
of the Indian masses ? Have we seriously considered the 
continuous and rapid increase of our population and 
taken steps to meet the increasing demand ? Has any of 
our great thinkers and proved philosophers made any 
serious effort to evolve practical means for imparting 



Recapitulation and the Future. 179 



rudimentary education to the 95% illiterates and have they 
ever thought that it is a possibility to do so in the 
course of 10 years if we tackle the problem boldly and 
with confidence T Paucity of funds, imperialistic domina- 
tion and all the rest of it make only a poor excuse. 
Where is the desire and where is the will ? Have not 
the backward nations elsewhere demonstrated the possi- 
bilities ? Did funds rain through the sky over these 
countries T They did not. They carne out of the same 
half-clad and half-starved Illiterate masses on whom they 
were spent. The circulation has borne interest and has 
left the nation richer and wealthier not in terms of 
money only, but in terms of the true wealth, the im- 
proved individual and the higher type of nationals 
and citizens. 

A lot can be done by organisation and voluntary 
effort. The Rural Development movement can really go 
a long way towards the solution of many problems 
such as Sanitation, Communication and Mass Education. 
It seems inpertinent on my part to make bold state- 
ments. But I feel I have thought enough and worked 
enough to entitle me to do so. Let us have the requisite 
number of the 0. O's, as proposed. Let us develop 
and mike rail 1133 of ths mist potent instruments of 
nation-building that we possess the Union Boards. Let 
the C. O's, or Unit Officers have a little more statutory 
control over Union Boards budgets and assessments. 



180 Rural Bengal. 



Lefc them also have summary powers to impose a sym- 
bolical fine up to Re I/- only per month on those 
who would not become literate inspite of convenient 
arrangements having been made. Let these officers go 
ahead with a well-chalked-out programme of rural deve- 
lopment and account for results. Ten years seems to 
me really a long time to turn out over 50% literates 
in the rural areas even under the existing conditions. 

Tint these proposed powers will cut at the roots 
of democracy I am not prepared to admit. I do not 
dispute that democracy has a greater appeal to the 
average individual than any other form of Government. 
But in its present form it is not the last word and 
world events have definitely challenged this conception. 
In any case when the centre and controlling authority 
is national and democratic, there can be no reasonable 
objection and no real harm if the executive of a demo- 
cratic Government are equipped with such petty powers 
as I have suggested for the development of a nation 
which, barring a few platform nationalists, is still in its 
infancy and needs a good deal of driving and pushing. 

At the same time the out-look of the Executive 
also who so long concerned themselves primarily with 
the maintenance of law and order and the administra- 
tion of justice must be given a new orientation. As the 
only machinery available to a national Government, too 
poor to afford another, the Executive cannot, in mj opi- 



Recapitulation and the Future* 181 



nion, any longer confine themselves merely to the discharge 
of their imperative duties of maintaining peace. They 
must shoulder a wider sphere of responsibilities, the am- 
elioration of the rural masses who form the back-bone of 
the country. This has to be brought home to them more 
specifically than has been done so far. But it should 
not bd forgotten that they also have their difficulties and 
disabilities. These liave to be reckoned with and reme- 
died and their work in the sphere of nation-building 
systematically gauged and appreciated. 

Only a word more about the future. Where there 
is a will there is a Avay. Have the necessary will and 
everything else will follow. The condition of the masses 
of Bengal is appalling ihdeed, but it admits and responds 
to treatment. A few years is tco short an interval in 
the life-history of a nation but it counts and it will be 
criminal to lose a single moment more. The country 
cannot wait any longer. A new spirit of real service 
and patriotism must come into existence and that im- 
mediately. To attempt to make every one a pauper will 
not do. It does not appeal to practical minds and will 
never work. What is needed is a thoughtful co-ordination 
of the resources and energies of the various component 
parts in a spirit of reasonable sacrifice and give-and- 
take. Those who are ahead must stop to look back and 
pull up the the 1'est. It is only fair to expect them td 
do so unless they want to build a nation of their own. 



182 Rural Bengal. 



Those who have enjoyed and owned much and for so 
long must part with a little to enable their common 
State to do something for those who never had. 

The different castes and communities also have 
to be -accommodated in the same way. There are the 
Mussalmaiis, the Christians, the Hindus and the de- 
pressed classes. Their special interests must be safe- 
guarded. It will be idiotic to believe that the Mussal- 
maiis, for instance, will ever give up their strong reli- 
gious affinities anl all their national culture to merge into 
others. It is against their grain, against the basic prin- 
ciples of their faith, and against the lessons of history and 
they will never do it. The great Ataturk might have 
succeeded in carrying things a little too far ; but it should 
be remembered that the Turks never in their whole 
history imbibed the true spirit and the basic principles 
of Islam. And I do not know if Ataturk knew well 
what he did nor am I sure if he is not already repent- 
ing for some of the extreme steps taken by him. He 
311 ty coma rounl. The Mus^almans can combine with any 
other body and community with perfect sincerity ; but they 
will never willingly allow their religious susceptibilities 
to be hurt. It won't do to try it. 

The obvious need of the time, therefore, is to 
accommodate generously the special and particular interest 
of all these heterogeneous elements in the country, secure 
their -confidence, make them feel happy and contented 



Recapitulation and the Future. 183 



and tlins develop a genuinely solid nation in the country. 
The Namasudras also whose condition is usually the worst 
everywhere will deserve special treatment and push. It 
won't do to ignore these facts. They will never come 
up to the mark without special treatment. Let them 
have what has al ways been denied to them. 

But I am confident the time will come and very 
soon when this new phase will begin. There are sincere 
men everywhere and in every community. Bengal's 
past record, however tardy it might have been in some 
ways, is certainly VM-y bright in many others. Let the 
bright become brighter, more realistic, more accommodat- 
ing and more truly patriotic. The miseries will soon 
end and Bengal will emerge proud of its great achieve- 
ment. LET THAT GLORIOUS ERA BEGIN EARLY. 
LET THAT GLORIOUS MORN BREAK SOON. 




THE *^mjr END 



Appendix IV- 



Classification of Union Boards. 

( i ) The Union Boards df Sirajganj Subdivision halve reach- 
ed a 'certain stage of development and it seems highly desir- 
able^ that the comparative efficiency and worth of each Union 
Board be systematically examined on the basis of certain definite 
standards and the results made known to the public in gene- 
ral and to their constituents in particular. So far, there has 
been no criterion and definite standard by which to test 
and classify the Boards. In future and until revised, Union 
Boards will be classified according to the following scheme. 
The usefulness of Union Boards depends a great deal on their 
expenditure on works of public utility. This points out the 
need of a high percentage of assessment under 37 (b) and good 
collection of taxes. ^ of the marks have, therefore, been allot- 
ted to these two items. The scheme is sufficiently definite so 
as not to allow personal likings to interfere with it. It is 
as follows : 



A. Assessment U. S. 37 (b) Maximum marks * 100 

(i) If belows 25% of that Remarks. 

under 37 (a) 

(ii 25% -30% 25130 

(iii) 31% 50% 32270 

(iv) 51% 60% 733-100 

B. Collection. Maximum marks 100 
(i) Below 80% 

(ii) 80% 85% 251-30 

(iii) 86% 90% . 32240 

(iv) 91% 95% 44-48'* 

(v) 96% K0% 688100 



ii 



Rural Bengal. 



C. Regular payment of 
Chaukiders and payment 
of equipment charges. 



Maximum marks 40 

3 marks for each regular and punc- 
tual payment of Chaukiders. 4 for 
punctual payment of costs of Chau- 
kideri uniforms, making the total 40. 



D. Compliance with in- 
structions for preparation 
of assessment and budget 
allotment, 



Maximum marks 



30 



( For every deviation proportio- 
nate marks will be deducted unless 
such deviationjis covered by specific 
order. ) 

(i) H of assessment under sec. 37 (b) 
for education, H fr communication, 
and H for water supply ; expenditure 
to be incurred within the year. 15 

(ii) Neat Sherista work, punctual 
submission of budget and assessment 
list, regular check of vouchers by 
P, U. B. and members, good process 
service careful & faithful. 15 



E. Punctual submission 
of reports in criminal en- 
quiry and for high percen- 
tage of amicable settle- 
ment effect (5 marks for 
each kind of efficiency). 



Maximum marks 



10 



Ordinarily not more than 10 oases 
are referred to P, U. B/s for such 
enquiries annually. A register of 
enquiry is being supplied to each 
P. U. B. 



Where Bench and Court powers 
have been given these will apply to 
quick disposal of cases and general 
efficiency of Bench and Court. 



Appendix IV. iii 



General efficiency and any special work. 

F. e. g. Execution of any special 
work of development, assessment 
under Sec. -37 (b) exceeding 50% etc. 20 

Q .Rural Development, keen interest 
in education, agriculture, industries 
land other rural development works. 




1. The total of maximum marks is 350. All Boards 
securing 65% and above will be classed A, 50% and above, be- 
low 65% classed B and the rest classed C. 

2. Attempts will be made to invest each and every A 
class Board with Bench and Court powers unless there are 
special reasons. In the same way Bench and Court powers will 
be liable to be withdrawn from all B and C class Boards en- 
joying these powers at present. 

3. Members and Presidents of all A class Boards will 
be given precedence and preferential treatment in all Govern- 
ment and public functions. 

(ii) Matters regarding election of member to Union 
Boards, Local Boards and District Boards have been taken 
out of the jurisdiction of the Civil Courts. But matters regar- 
ding the assessment of Union rates continue to remain within 
the scope of the Civil Ccurts. On the other hand sec. 40 of 
the V. S. G. Act empowers the District Magistrate to revise 
on his own initiative cr at tin motion of the person concerned, 
the assessment of any assessee after making puch enquiries as 
he may deem fit to make. This position is an ^malous and it 
is extremely urgent and important that the matter be examined 
and Ujiion Board assessment taken out of the jurisdiction of 
the Civil' ^rurts. Otherwise there is no end of the harassment 
the Union "SBcards nre liab'e to be rut to irost easily. Whether 
the case isNflecreed in favour o c or against the Board, the 



Rural Bengal. 



long-drawn and troublesome litigation has a great demora- 
lising effect and very nearly brings the Board's work to a 
stand-still. And I fear that that people who do not like that 
the masses be developed will resort to this litigation at the slightest 
increase in their taxation. Such cases have actually occurred 
and in one the assessee has spent about Rs 300/- for a just 
enhancement of Rs 5/- only. He does not mind spending ano- 
ther sum of Rs 300/- as long as there is a chance to ruin the Board. 
The Board concerned had to spend more than hundred rupees 
for the case and got a decree in their favour, but it is not a 
gain nor can it be ; yet the Board had to challenge 
boldly to maintain its prestige and authority. The proper 
court for such cases to refer to should be the District Magis- 
trate, and after him the Hon'ble Minister in charge. I repeat 
that my suggestion is an important one, deserving careful 
attention. The Boards must be protected if they are to carry 
out the will of the nation. 



Appendix IV (A) 

Additional sources of funds fo 
Rural Development 

(i) Recently I had the privilege of meeting a group of 
M. L. A/s. together in Calcutta. Mr. Abdul Hamid of Pabna 
was one of them. He asked me to prepare a note on the 
possibilities of imposing a small tax of, say, one or two pice 
per maund of jute, fish and other commodities exported to 
Calcutta from the various centres in Bengal. He promised to 
supply me with the necessary data. Unfortunately I have not 
had the opportunity to obtain the necessary statistics either 
from him or from any other source. I cannot, therefore, risk 
any opinion. But I fear there will be complications. If the 
Steamer and Railway Companies only are asked to work as 
collection agencies, problems like the rail road and steamer 
boat competition will present difficulties and to counteract it 
paid collecting staff may have to be provided. Besides, other 
issues whether this burden will ultimately fall on the producer, 
or the middle man or the consumer will have to be carefully 
examined. This would need detailed study for which I have 
not enough leisure. 

The hint was, however, not lost altogether and led me 
to think of an easier and more practical solution. 

The merchant community have a system of collecting a kind 
of subscription called Britti from cultivators and petty sellers of 
raw articles such as jute, paddy etc. The rates vary, but 
usually it is 'one pice per rupee of articles purchased. The fund 
also called Jshivnr Britti comes to thousands of rupees and is 
supposed to be earmarked for charities to be decided upon by 
the merchant community or the individual merchant concerned, 
The purposes for which these sums are, as a rule, spent are 
Kalibaris, Akhras, Jatras arid in some places, grants to edu- 
cational institutions. 



Rural Bengal. 



But unfortunately it is not often that proper accounts 
are kept and I know instances where it is treated as the personal 
property of the individual merchant and disbursed entirely accor- 
ding to his own sweet will. More often it is converted to his 
private use and no body seems to take any notice of it. 

But this Britti is raised from the tillers of the soil and in 
all fairness belongs to them more than to any body else. Its 
proper use, therefore, would be the provision of such common 
needs of ihe localities as would benefit both the donors as 
well as the collectors or in the alternative in the ratio 
of 9 to 1. 

At a rough calculation, the average value of jute pur- 
chased by merchants of Sirajganj would be about Rs I5,00,000/- 
If Britti is collected @ one pice per rupee the total amount would 
come annually to about Rs 24,0"0/-. This is a little more than 
the Goyt. of India's R. D. grant for 1937 40. 

The collection of this fund does not seem to present 
any insurmpuntable difficulty. The number of merchants who 
stock jute is not large and I do not think it would be difficult 
for one or two special officers in each district to collect this fund. 

10% of this should be left in the hands of the merchants 
to be spent on such subjects, religious or charitable, as they 
may think best, subject to the condition that it is properly 
accounted for. The .rest, after meeting the cost of collection, 
should be earmarked, say for the following purposes : 

(i) \i for improvement of agriculture, specially of the 
stable commodity found in the Subdivision cr District. 

(ii) % on improvement of industries specially on cotton 
and jute -weaving. 

(iii) H fr providing facilities for sports. 

I think these suggestions are thoroughly pif cti cable and 
no question of infringement of civil liberties will be involved. 
The State has an inherent right to impose certain obligations on 
its subjects and this is hard'y mora than such simple obliga- 
tion. If the State can impose tax on incomes, it can also 
direct that certain compulsory subscription en the line of the 
road cess be collected by certain individuals. 

A simple act "To regulate the collection of Britti 9 ' is 
all that is heeded 



Appendix IV. vii 



The collection should be made obligatory and the E. D. 
Commissioner through the Collector should operate on the fund 
within the purpose specified. 



INSPECTIONS. 

(ii) Though the task of supervision and Inspection of 
B. D. worker of village committees has been entrusted to the 
Presidents and Secretaries of the Union R. D. Societies, it has been 
found in practice that this rfachinery is not always sufficient 
for keeping up the workers at the requisite pitch of enthusiasm. 
To meet this difficulty, the services of all the touring officers, 
namely the Sanitary Inspectors, the Sub-Inspectors of Schools, 
the Co-operative Bank staff, the Marriage Registrars, the Circle 
Officers and even the Police Officers have been enrolled and I 
am quite confident that the position will be improved very 
considerably. But this co-operation will, after all, have to be 
of a casual nature and though extremely desirable and nece- 
ssary cannot be depended upon for such items as the night 
schools. 

I am, therefore, developing a new Agency of inspections 

through the staff of H. E., Minor English and Junior Madrasas. 
There are 70 such institutions in this subdivision. The total 
strength is about 350 teachers. Most of these teachers live in 
villages spread all over the subdivision. If each individual is 
definitely given charge of half a dozen schools situated in a 
small block of. villages adjoining to his own, about 2000 
night schools can be inspected monthly and kept up regularly. 
The headmasters can collect fort-nightly reports from their 
teachers and after consolidation forward them, through the 
Mohalla Choukiders, to the Head master of the centrally 
situated High Eng'ish School. Then the report can be conso- 
lidated for the whole Than* and submitted to the R, D. Council. 



Rural Bengal 



R. D. DIARY. 

(iii) It has Leen found necessary to introduce an R. D. 
Diary Boook for the village committees as well as for the 
Union! Secretary and other inspecting staff. 

The following form is being followed. 

Form of Diary for the Union Secretary, Joint Secretary 
and other Inspecting Officers. Captain Secretaries are also re- 
quested to keep record of their activities in the above form. 

1. Serial No. 

2. Date of Inspection, 

3. Name of village inspected and by whom. 

4. Date of last inspection. 

5. Is the Union Secy, inspecting the society sufficiently 
frequently ? 

6. Adult population of the village ( Male ), 

7. Population of girls of school-going age. 

8. Population of boys of school going age. 

9. No. of students on the roll : (1) Adults, (2) Girls, (3) Boys. 

10. actually attending and average for the 
month, 

11. Any school house, its condition. 

12. Financial condition of the schools : 

(a) Amounts collected by Musti-bhiksha ; are the accounts 
properly kept ? Monthly average income. 

(b) Grant from Union Boards or District Board if any 
or from village subscription. 

. 13. Sanitary work : Brief description ; filling up of 
ditches and dobas, jungle and waterhyacinth clearance, tanks 
and khals, if any. 

^.Communication: Length of roads repaired or 
newly made. 

15. Value of work done under 13 and 14. 

16. Spoits : arrangements for playground, clubs etc. 
1,7. Whether Captain Secretary enjoys cpnfidence of his 

colleagues and keeps discipline, causes of party .faction if any 
and steps taken by inspecting officers to remove the same. 

18. Quality of organisation and class of society in A, 
B aud C as per instruction on the opening page. 



Appendix IV. 



PROPAGANDA. 

(Iv) It tfeems desirable that each Subdivision should have 
a Propaganda Officer primarily for R. D. These officers should 
be appointed by the Government and should work under 
their administrative control. Their service should, however, be 
lent to the D. Boards to be maintained as a permanent feature 
of D. B. establishment. The cost should be borne by the D. B.s' 
by payment of a fixed annual contribution. The officers should 
be supplied with magic lanterns, cinema outfit, gramophones 
and later on wireless sets. 

But even this will not do. Each village night school 
should be supplied with a weekly newspaper containing useful 
articles, a summary of week's important news and simple 
comments. Every village without exception must get this paper 
and each Union Board should contribute Rs 40/- to Rs 50/- 
annually for 20 to 25 copies for the villages within its juris- 
diction. Subscriptions may be credited to the Treasury and 
the circle officer should see A hat this is done. I see no object- 
ion to this. If the union can be compelled to maintain rural 
police for the protection of life and property of its constituents, 
it can also be compelled to see that the mental outlook of 
the people is not allowed to deteriorate. Acts and laws are 
made to lay down the rules of human conduct, and if and 
when they stand in the path of progress, they must either be 
changed or shattered. 

Realising this great need of propaganda through a news- 
paper the R. D. Council of Sirajganj started its "Pa Hi Pratiip" 
of which about 7 to 8 hundred copies are distributed in rural 
areas. A "Palli Prartip" for the whole province is needed and 
it should be printed in Calcutta under the supervision of a Board 
of Directors, The paper should be despatched to each Union 
direct in packets of 20 or 25 each. The Choukiders must 
deliver them within 24 hours to the respective villages. This 
will develop on one side close contact between the government 
and the governed and together with R. D. movement already 
discusseb at length, will raise in the course of a few years a 



Rural Bengal. 



nation which would be substantially literate and considerably 
free from malaria and other epidemic diseases. More than that, 
the new nation that will rise out of the existing logs of wood, 
though it will continue to remain a nation of paupers for some 
time more, will no more be a nation of slaves and beggars. 
It will be a nation of well -disciplined self-conscious and self- 
confident men vibrating with new life, new energy and new vita- 
lity. What Mussolini and Stalin can do in Europe can also be 
done by a band of workers in India, 



Appendix V. 



Suinmray of Statements. 



Statement "A" shows that S. R. f s have not got enough 
work to do and are more or less completely wasted for six 
months in the year. i. e. during the slack season. 

That the S. R/s register only 10'3 ( provincial . average 
is 10*5 ) documents par working day of a year of 270 days 
and issue 2*2 letters which is not more than one hour's work. 

That Thana jurisdictions and consequently S. R. office 
jurisdictions are very defective and need revision. That if 
this is done and number _f S. R. Offices increased, say to 
17 against 9 as at present in Pabna District, i. e. one per 
thana, the work in the S. R. Offices will be reduced not to 
i but to |th, and that it will be enough if the S. R. Office 
works only 2 days in heavy season and 1 day in the light 
season per week. 

Statement "B" shows the work done by S. I.'s of 
Schools. They have about 206 schools each spread in about 
300 sqr. miles to inspect. They cannot exercise effective 
control. 

If the number of inspecting officers is increased to 17 
they will have 85 schools each in about 100 sqr. miles area. 
Average number of letters per office would come to i letter 
a day. 

Statement "C ff shows charges of C. O/s and they have 
25 30 Unions spread over 300 sqr. miles. Major portion of 
their time is wasted in covering long distances and they can 
not effectively supervise the work. 



ii Rural Bengal. 

Statement "D w shows charge of Special Officers ; they 
have a whole Sub-division each i. e, about 80 D. S. Bds. in 
about 900 sqr. miles too big to be controlled effectively. 

Statement "E" (a), (b), (c) and (d) shows cost of the four 
services separately. Under (a) the cost of proposed 17 S. B. 
Offices including cost of establishment, rent, contingencies, pay 
and T. A. of peons has also been shown. 

Statement "F" shows cost of the proposed 17 Charge 
or Unit Officers with cost of 17 S. B. Offices under them, 
the pay, T. A. and house allowance of the officers have also 
been shown. The quality of the officers has also been 
discussed. 

Statement "G" shows consolidated cost of the existing 
four services and the cost of the proposed 17 S. B. Offices 
and Charge offices. It is found that the* proposal will effect a 
saving of about Bs. 3,50,000/- for the whole province. 

Statement **H" shows the services shouM be consti- 
tuted. How surplus officers caij be With advantage utilised 
for training Gurus and the rest used to give the much-needed 
relief to Executive oflfcnrs in the Districts and subdivisions to 
enable the executive officers to take greater interest in rural 
problems. 

Note : Suggested that at least statamants A, F, G 
and H should carefully be read. 



Statement "A" A Statement showing the amount of 
work done in the Sub Begistry offices in the District of Pabria 
with a few other important details. The statement has been 
compiled from I. G. B. f s Annual Beport and from replies 
received from the various S. B. Officas in response to my 
questionnaire issued on the subject. 



Appendix V. iii 



Note : The District Registry office at Pabna has not 
been included in the statement. There are 9 mofassil Sub- 
Registry offices in the District. 



The average annual total number of documents registered 
in these offices in 1933, 1934 and 1935 was 21,525. The average 
total no. of letters issued was about 5,000. 

If the number of working days in the year is taken to 
be 270(36552 Sundays and 43 other holidays) the average 
number of documents and letters issued per office per day 
wouM be 10*3 and 2'2 respectively. The provincial figure for 
1935 gives an average of 10'5 documents per office per working 
day. 

It is, however, seen that the number of documents is 
subject to seasonal variations. Broadly speaking, the period 
from November to April is considered the busy season and 
May to October the slack season. It appears from the 
replies received from Sub-Registrars that the average per day 
during the busy and the slack season is as follows : 

Busy season 13*5, slack season 5. 

Supposing the number of S. R. Offices is increased to 17 
(there are 17 Thana<* in tha District, one office psr Thana ) the 
average figure of documents registered during the bu<;y and Q'aok 
searons and the average number of letters per office per day 
wou'd work out at 7'1, 2'6 f & 1'2 respectively. 

It will appear from the figures showing distribution of works 
in the various offices that some oifices are heavy while others are 
light. Why ? Bacau^ tha jurisdiction o? ths various S. R. offic3s is 
based on the jurisdiction of the Police Thanas. The jurisdiction of 
the Police Thanas seems to me very unsatisfactory and haphazard. 
A glance at the map of not only Pabna but of ether districts 
also will show that Thana boundaries have been marked with 
little care and thought, or in the alternative, have been allowed 



iv Rural Bengal. 



to grow up according to natural process of expansion or 

reduction and no attempt to systematise them has been made. 

Neither facilities of communication and police control nor any 

unavoidable combination of revenue Mouza r density of 

population have played any part in these arrangements. The 

thana jurisdictions require drastic change and I do not think 

there is any insurmountable difficulty in doing so. All that 

is needed is a Conference between the District officers, his 

S. D. O/s and C. O.'s, the D. I. G. of Police, S. E. and 

Subordinate Police staff. The only difficulty that m*y arise 

in some cases would be about a few P. W. D. or Police Dept. 

buildings constructed for accommodating more Police Officers in 

one Thana and less in the other. I do not think this is really 

a serious problem. If the jurisdiction of the 17 thanas of 

Pabna are revised and redistributed into blocks of very nearly 

equal sizes ( slight variations will only prove the rule ) the 

question of heavy and light offices will more or less cease to 

exist. There may be one or two Thanas where the question of 

density of population may hav^e to be considered, but this will 

not arise in more than one tenth of the area. Of course these 

remarks apply to Subdivisions and Districts also, but that may 

safely be left to be taken up later on. 

Let us now examine how much time of the Sub-Registrars 
is occupied when a document is presented for registration. Not 
more than a few minutes. An S. R. in the heavy season can 
manage as many as 24 documents per day. This is roughly 4 
times the number of documents that each officer will be required 
to register during the heavy season if the number of offices is 
increased to 17 and their jurisdiction made more proportio- 
nate. In other words the number of working days can be reduced 
"L the ratio 4 to 1, i. e., from 6 days of the weak to 1^ day or 
very safely and without any unnecessary strain, to 2. The officers 
will then be freo 4 days every week. 

It may be said that documents presented in the office must 
be returned as early as possible after registration preferably 
within 3 or 4 days of presentation and this system may be inter- 
fered with. In my opinion there should not be any great 



Appendix V. 



difficulty about this either. But even if there is any, depart- 
mental instructions can be modified without any loss of efficiency 
to suit new conditions. 

During the slack season one day in the week ought to be 
quite enough. In other words I propose that (a) there should be 
a revision of thana and Sub-Registry Office jurisdiction, (b) there 
should be 17 Sub-Registry Offiices in the District of Pabna, (c) 
The S. R. offices should work on Fridays and Saturdays during 
the busy season ( Ncvember to April ) and only on Saturday 
during the slack season ( May to October ). 

Statement "B" showing work done by S. I.'s of Schools 
with observations : 

No. of officers ... ... f 

t 

Average No. of Schools per cfficer. ... 206 

If the number be increased to 17 the average would come 
to 85 schools and % a letter a day. 

I want to make two observations : 

(1) The area under each officer ( about 250 sqr. miles ) 
is too big to permit the ofucars to inspect the schools spread 
therein. Hth. of the working time is wasted in covering the 
distances. 

(2) The S. I/s of Schools have no connection with and no 
influence on the public and, therefore, greater part of their inspec- 
tions is not given effect to. 

Statement C and D showing charges of Circle Officers 
and D. S. Of f cers : 

This statement shows the number of Circle Officers of the 
District and other particulars. 

No. of C. O/s. ... ... ... 6 

No. of Unions under them ... - ... 25-30 

Area under each ... ... 300 sqr. miles. 

(1) No. of D. S. O/s ... ... 2 

(2) No. of D. S. Boards under each 70-80 

Remarks : (1) C. O/s and D. S. Officers have too big 
an area to be effectively controlled. Half of their time is wasted 
in touring. This can be avoided. 



vi Rural Bengal 



(2) Duplication of tours by 0, O/s. and D. S. Officers for 
the same purpose has no sense. 

If increased to 17 they will have about 8 to 10 Unions each 
in about 100 sqr. miles roughly and D. S. work will also be 
distributed. 

Statement "E" showing cost of each service in details. 

This statement shows the cost of the existing services 
namely: 

(a) 9 S. B. Offices (b) 7 S. I.'s. of Schools, (c) 2 Special 
Officers and (d) 6 Circle Officers. 

(a) S. R. Offices. 

The cost of the 9 S. R. Offices is as follows : 

(1) The average annual total cost of these 9 S. R. Offices 
in 1933. 1934 and J935 was Rs. 34,459/5/3 or say Rs. 35,000/- at 
the most. 

(2) Pay of the rf. R/s is Rs. 1800 x 12-21, 600/- approx. 

(3) Difference between (1) and (2) 35000/- - 2 1 600/- - !3,400/- 

(4) Average per offics : '^^==1488/10/0. 

y 

(5) If there are 17 o.ficas the total cost excluding pay of 
the S. R. is Rs. 25,356- '0-0. 

T. A. of the peons if they have to go out on tour, say 4 
or 5 day* a waak. This wui'd b? abouS 3 x 17 x I3 



Total : Rs. 25,968/L /- 

Note : The S. R. staff consist of at lea^fc one c'erk and 
MiYarir and om paon and ha toial cost shown for 17 
officag inc'udas all thasa plus offica rents, contingencies and cost 
of stamps. 

(b) S. I/s of Schools. 

There are 7 Sub-Inspectors of schools as per statement B. 
Total cost of the service including pay and T. A. of the officers 
minus contingencies and cost of stamps for correspondence is 
Rs. 14,640/- 



Appendix V. vii 



There are two special Officers who have been appointed at 
a monthly salary of Rs. 125/- per month each. They have been 
provided with peons and may have to be provided with clerks at 
Rs. 35/- p. ir;. also, very soon. The cost of the services will 
thus work out at Rs. 6,296/- 

(c) Circle Officer ; 

There are 6 Circle Officers each of whom is provided 
with a clerk ( though temporary for the present, they are 
bound to be made permanent ) and one peon. Their cost is 
Rs. 29,688/- 

(d) Cost of the proposed Unit Officers and 17 Sub-Regis- 
try Offices under them. 

Supposing the number K>f officers doing circle work is in- 
creased to 17 under the designation of Charge or Unit Officer, 
that is, one officer for each Thana covering about 100 sqr. miles. 
This area divided by II r 2 = IO), the radius of the circle of 
their jurisdiction would be approximately 5*5 miles. Their fixed 
T. A. can, therefore, easily and without hardship to them be reduced 
from Rs. 5/- to Rs. 25/- par month, Thair house allowance 
will remain as before and they may be given additional allow- 
ance of Rs. 25/- per month during the 4 months of the rainy 
season as at present. For facility of calculation, their fixed T. A. 
and house allowanca may be taken to ba Rs. 58/5/4 per month 
or Rs. 58/5/4 x 12 x 17 = Rs. 11,900/-. 

The Charge Officers will not require any peon or clerk 
as the same had been provided for in calculating the cost of 
the S. R. Offices. So the total cost of increasing the number 
of C. O/s to 17 would be : 

(a) Pay of 1 7 officers ( Sub-Dy. Collectors. ). Here I want 
to say that I am definitely of opinion that Officers of more than 
15 years' service should never be posted as Charge Officers except 
in very special circumstances. The duties of the C. O/s demand 
not merely tact and experience but energy, vitality and enthu- 
siasm. Senior Officers of the Junnior B. C. S. who have been 
superseded in matters of promotion, seldom if ever, possess those 
qualities. They carry out their routine duties merely as an un- 



viii Rural Bengal. 



avoidable necessity rather than something that should deserve 
intense absorption and supply a splendid field for exercising 
initiative. 

In my opinion direct recruitment to the B. C. S. should 
cease and the normal method should be the promotion of mem- 
bers of the junior B. C. S. The circle work should provide the 
training ground and the enterprising and competent officers should 
be promoted between the period of 10 to 15 years' service to the 
higher grades freely and liberally. Others should be transferred 
to Headquarters of Sub-division and District to work as Sub-De- 
puties - and pensioned off as early as possible. 

If this is done, seldom if ever, would any 0. O. draw 
more than Rs. 250/- p. m. in the grade of Rs. 125/--- 2 /-. 1 can there- 
fore put down the average pay of the C. 0. at Rs 200/- 

The cost of 17 C. O/s will thus work out at 200 x 
.12x17-.-. Rs 40,800/- 

(b) Fixed T. A. and house allowance of 17 C. O/s 
@ Rs 58/5/4 Rs 11,900/- 

(c) Cost of 17 Sub-Registry Offices including T. A. 
of peons etc Rs. 25,968/- 

Grand total Rs. 78,668/- 

Statement "G" showing consolidated cost of existing and 
proposed services and the net saving of Rs. 3,50,000/- that will 
be effected by the proposa 1 . 

The cost of the various services has been calculated. The 
following figures will give the details : 

(i) (ii) (ill) 

Name of services Pay & T. A. Establish- Total of Remark.s 

of officers. ment. (i) & (ii) 
(A). 

1. S. R/s. (9) 21,800,'- 13,400/- 3,50,00/- 

2. S. I/s of schools (7) '4,640/- 14,640/- 

3. D. S, Officers. 5,60' /- 1,296/- 6,296/- 

4. C. O/s (o) 25.800/- 3,888/- 29,68$/- 



Grand total of (I). (2). (3.) and (*) 85,6*4/- 



Appendix V. 



(B) lii the place of all above it is proposed that there 
should be 17 Unit Officers combining in themselves the duties of 8. 
R/s. f S. I/s of Schools, D. S. Officers and C. O's. The cost of the 
new service" as calculated before and including T. A. and 
house allowance of the officers and additional T. A. of the 
officers during the rainy season, T. A. of the peons aud cost 
of running 17 Sub-Registry offices under them comes to 
Rs. 78,668/- 

Difference between A & B = Rs, 85,624/- - Rs 78,668/- is 
Rs. 6,956/- 

In other words Government will save Rs. 6,956/- per 
annum in the District of Pabna alone. The savings for the 
whole province would be about Rs. 3,50,000/- 

Statement "H" contains suggestions about constitution 
of the New Service whether by absorption from the existing 
services or first recruitment with other suggestions of important 
nature. 

The number of S. R.'s, S. I/s of Schools, D. S. Officers and ' 
C. O.'s to be replaced is 9 + 7+2 + 6 = 24. The number of Unit 
or Charge Officers proposed is 17. Two questions arise : 

(1) How is the New Service going to be constituted 
i< e. whether the present incumbents of other services are 
to be discharged or absorbed to constitute the New Service ? 

(2) If absorbed, how is the surplus number ( 7 in this 
District ) proposed to be disposed of ? 

With regard to no. (1). the reply is clear. The New 
Service should be constituted by absorption from the existing 
services. The young, energetic and competent S. R/s, S. I.'s 
of Schools, D. S. Officers and 0. O.'s should fill the cadre 
of the New Service. There will be no serious difficulty in 
making a good selection* Almost all of them would be 
graduates & their past records would be a sure index of 
their competency and efficiency. 

With regard to no. (2) I have two suggestions (a) and (b) : 
(a) Every Sub-division should have two competent 
B. T/s to serve as Instructors of Primary School Teachers' 



Rural Bengal. 



Training Camp according to the scheme prepared at Sirajganj and 
informally approved and highly spoken of by the Department 
of Education. They would ba able to turn out 200 trained 
teachers every year in 5 sessions if this scheme i^ followed. If 
the training period is extended from 2 to 3 months the 
number would be perhaps 1*25 or so every year. The existing 
number of Guru Training Schools cannot solve the problem of 
Teachers' Training. This is not a vague statement, but the result 
of careful deliberations. Those who want to pursue this 
subject further should consult my Address on Education 
delivered at Sirajganj on 4. 10. 36. 

As these officers will not be doing ordinary inspection 
touring, annual average cost of this service ( 4 Instructors in 
the District ) works out at Rs. 7268/-, let us say Bs. 7556/- 
i. e. equal to the saving obtained by replacing the existing 
services with the new Unit or Charge Officers. 

(b) If the suggestions advanced under (a) above is 
adopted, 21 out of 24 officers would be absorbed and there 
would be a surplus of 3 only. With regard to these, one way 
of dealing with them is to. pension off those who are exhaust- 
ed and utterly unsuitable for the new work and this would 
not take very long to do. But if such a course is considered 
undesirable, and provided Government is prepared to spend a 
little more, they can be absoibed and for very good reasons. 

Eoutine works of the Subdivisions, and I presume, of the 
District offices, have increased by leaps ahd bounds during the 
last few years. The conversion of the Panchayet Union into 
Union Boards, the multiplication of educational institutions, 
the Debt Settlement Boards, . the Co-operative and many other 
movements unknown to the officers of a few years ago, all 
have contributed to put a heavy strain on the Sub-divisional 
staff in general and the S. D. O/s in particular. In fact I 
do not hesitate to say that every S. D. O. in Bengal is heavily 
overworked or ought to be heavily overworked if he is worth 
his salt. His field of work is so vast and so unlimited that 
he can avoid overwork only by shirking and by failing to do 
justice to his duties. 



Appendix V. xi 



This, of course, is not ordinarily detected. Ideas about the 
functions and responsibilities of S. D. O.'s continue to be stereo- 
typed and office records are all that is seen. This should change. 
There should be no place for officers in the cadre of S. D. O.'s 
whose only ambition is to keep their office in tiptop condition 
or do their magisterial work satisfactorily and let the rest look 
after itself. These are, of course, primary and most imperative 
duties. But along with these, something like the old traditions 
of the early Civilians has to be revived. Under a popular 
Govt. responsible to the legislature which would naturally desire 
to go beyond the duties of maintaining law and order, S. D. O.'s 
must take initiative in problems of general welfare of the peo- 
ple under their charge. In the present regime this is the 
prerogative or folly of those only who are both unusually energetic 
and have also put up an unusually high ideal of public service 
before them. But this cannot apply to an average individual 
and if anything of the kind I consider desirable and urgently 
required is expected of them, the S. D. 0/s have to be given 
substantial relief in matters of routine work. Each Subdivi- 
sion needs an extra Sub-Dei^ty. The old but efficient S. R/s 
or S. I/s of Schools ought to be able to fit in. Six months 
ought to be quite enough for them to become real Office 
Superintendents. 

It is obvious the cadre of Sub-Deputies will have to be 
increased, say by 3 Officers in Pabna. It will involve an ex- 
penditure of Rs 225/- x 12 x 3= Rs 8,100/-. The whole province 
will perhaps require Rs 4,00,000/- which will immensely compensate 
for increased efficiency and general development of the people.