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No. 3414 December 11, 1909
1. The Situation in India. By Sir Andrew Fraser, K. C. S. I.
CONTEMPORARY REVIEW 643
The Reminiscences of Carl Schurz.
A Memorial to Charles Lamb. By E. V. Lucas
A Dead City of the Renaissance.
By E. T.
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THE SITUATION IN INDIA.
Recent events have directed serious attention to Indian affairs. It is well that the grave conditions with which Governments in India have recently had to deal should be known at home, and that the natural consequences of the language, sometimes abusive and sometimes seditious, in which some writers and speakers indulge, should be recognized. At the same time, it is not in the interest of India that the attention of people at home should be drawn to her concerns by crimes characterized by cruelty and ungrateful folly. This must tend to suspicion of and contempt for the Indian peoples; and it is to the credit of Englishmen that their justice and commonsense have overcome this tendency, and that there has been so little of harsh generalization and unjust judgment. It is no doubt largely due to Lord Morley's influence, and to the confidence reposed in him, that the English public and Press have abstained from any exhibition of a bitter or unfriendly spirit.
We have, recently, had violent and reckless agitation in India, much that has been almost universally recognized to be unwise, and much to be selfish and unscrupulous. It has been characterized by unbridled vituperation of the Government and of the British generally, and by strenuous effort to stir up race hatred and bring British rule into contempt. This mischievous agitation has, perhaps, produced more serious results than it might otherwise have done, partly on account of the reluctance of the Government of India and the Secretary of State to interfere with the liberty of the Press, and still more on account of their desire to prove the inadequacy of existing methods for preserving the peace before introducing new methods. This attitude, though sometimes, perhaps, irksome to the lo
cal Governments concerned, is entitled to the respect and sympathy of all right thinking men. It must ever be remembered that the too ready and eager resort to severity and repression is evidence of weakness or panic rather than of strength. Though all that is necessary, in the opinion of some who are entitled to be heard, may not even yet have been done, it cannot surely be denied that Lord Morley and the Government of India have now shown that, when the necessity has been established, they will not shrink from taking the requisite action to preserve the peace. They recognize this as the paramount duty and responsibility of the rulers of India; and they have put suitable weapons into the hands of their officers and encouraged them to use them as necessity demands. This is matter of sincere congratulation.
The mischievous agitation has produced most deplorable results, results which have startled some even of the agitators themselves. Among these have been wicked attempts to remove prominent officers of Government by means which recklessly endangered many lives, Indian as well as European; but these attempts to wreck trains and use bombs in public places have generally failed. There have also been attempts at assassination; and one or two officers, marked out for attack on account of their earnest discharge of their duty, have been murdered or placed in deadly peril. These crimes have, until quite recently, been condoned or apologized for by men from whom better things might have been expected; and perverted views of the moral character of such acts have been publicly set forth. Young and immature students have been incited to rioting and violence, and ignorant and excitable mobs have given trouble, under
the influence of the race hatred which has been fomented by unscrupulous agitators. Suspicion and unrest have led to measures of repression, which, though necessary, have been most reluctantly and regretfully adopted. The effects of the mischievous propaganda have not been confined to ordinary citizens. They have extended to a quarter where anything like sedition would be even more serious. Lord Kitchener, in his recent farewell order to the Indian army, has plainly stated that it has passed through a time of trial. Attempts, he says, have been made to corrupt its loyalty and seduce it from its allegiance. He adds that, under the guidance of British and Indian officers, it has remained unaffected, and has earned the gratitude of the Sovereign for its loyalty, bravery and devotion.
All these facts constitute a very serious situation. It is well that its difficulties and requirements should not be under-estimated, but should be clearly and determinedly faced. All who know India know that it is a place where such a situation may suddenly, at any moment, involve great danger to the whole community, and where to trifle with such a situation may be disastrous. On the other hand, the gravity of the situation ought not to be exaggerated. The extent of the unrest and disaffection is distinctly limited. Lord Kitchener's statement that the Indian army is unaffected by the efforts made to corrupt it, is encouraging, and may be accepted. The common people generally are contented and loyal; and except when moved, as they undoubtedly often too easily are, by specious and malicious falsehood, they are distinctly well disposed to the officers of Government, both British and Indian, and especially to the former. The vast majority of the leading Zamindars, or landowners, and of all classes who have any stake in the
country, recognize the high character and advantages of British rule. They have too long stood aloof and left Government to deal with the situation alone; but recently they have spoken out with no uncertain sound in associations and in local councils. Some who have even appeared to be sitting on the fence have been impelled by recent events to leap down and take their place manfully on the side of law and order. Ruling chiefs also have, not only in word but in deed, given the clearest evidence of their loyalty to the throne and appreciation of the benefits of British rule.
Scindhia, in what he calls "A message to my subjects," refers, in strong terms, to the support and help received by Gwailor from the British Government and to the "ties of the deepest obligation and sincerest affection to His Majesty's person and Government" by which His Highness feels himself bound and calls on his subjects to unite with him "in eradicating the rank growth of sedition and disaffection towards the British Government wher ever it may exist within the State." Just about the same time the Maharaja of Jaipur, a fine chief of the old school and universally respected, took advantage of a visit of the agent to the Governor-General in Rajputana to declare publicly his detestation of the murder of his "valued friend," Sir Curzon Wyllie, and to set forth his views on the situation. In regard to the latter, His Highness said:
"The lull in the anarchist activity had led to a hopeful feeling that the cowardly assassinations would not be repeated. It was hoped that the eyes of the foolish and depraved young men. who have been made the tools of the
designing and disloyal persons who preach seditious doctrines, had been opened to the utter futility of their methods and to the selfish wrongheadedness of their teachers; but poison such as this once set in circulation is not
easily checked. If I may venture to advise, stronger measures than those yet adopted must be taken both in England and India, before the anarchical and seditious campaign is crushed. Though I do not believe that there is any general conspiracy, yet there can be no doubt that in various parts of In dia there are many mischievous persons engaged in disseminating sedition and in inciting others to disaffection towards the British Government. There is much danger in allowing this state of things to continue; and I should consider myself unworthy of the traditions of my house if I did not point this out, and, while emphatically denouncing the pernicious movement, offer my heartiest co-operation to the British Government in assisting to extirpate this vile thing that has arisen in the land."
It would scarcely be possible to ex press better than this wise and loyal old chief has done the difficulty of counteracting the poison which has been sedulously circulated, the feeling among his countrymen that strong measures must be taken to crush anarchy and sedition, the limited nature. but undoubted danger, of the conspiracy, and the determination of loyal Indians to support the Government. The utterances of the non-official members of local councils and of the representative bodies and associations through out the country, show that the views expressed by these and other ruling chiefs, are shared by our Indian fellowsubjects generally. All this tends to indicate that the situation is far from desperate. That the country generally is loyal cannot be doubted; and the situation is full of hope.
There are clear signs, however, that the agitators do not all intend to cease from their efforts, and that the danger is not past. In a recent letter to me a Bengali friend who has for over a quarter of a century been a keen observer and courageous critic of events in Calcutta, writes, "The position of
the irreconcilables is the same as before, in spite of the Reform Scheme, though for certain circumstances they have ceased to make an open exhibition of their spirit of violence and disloyalty." A public and important indication of this was given in the "Boycott celebration," held in August, in Calcutta, on the fourth anniversary of the commencement of the boycott of British goods by Calcutta and Bengal agitators. Babu Bhupendranath Bose, who presided, was until recently a member of the Bengal Council. He is an able
He has sometimes shown that he sees further ahead than some of the other leaders of the agitation, and understands something of its dangers. But he is quite unable to free himself from the baneful association and influence of these leaders. He agreed at the eleventh hour to take the chair at the celebration in place of Babu Surendranath Banerjee, who has returned from his performance as an Imperialist in London to his old work of agitation in Bengal, but was unable to reach Calcutta in time for this meeting. No doubt Babu Bhupendranath Bose persuaded himself that, by agreeing to take the chair, he might shut out an Extremist of more pronouncedly seditious opinions. But the result is only that, while eloquently maintaining the obligation lying on the people to cooperate with the Government in the maintenance of law and order, he has declared himself in favor of the boycott, and offered justification of social pressure in enforcing it, and has thus strengthened the hands of the Extremists, whom he persuades himself that he desires to restrain. Such co-operation with the Government is worse than useless; and his action is only to be deplored. The boycott movement is responsible for much of the bitterness of race feeling. It has led to many scenes of violence and oppression, and has imbued the minds of many, espe