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pillars on which rests the Indian Empire are (1) the Native Princes and (2) the native army. Lord Morley's recent reforms do not touch either of them. The reforms have very little to recommend them to the hundreds of millions of the Indian peasantry-the backbone of the Indian population.
The Native States are the most important factors in the political as well as economical development of India. But, unfortunately, both Lord Morley and the Indian National Congress' forget them. There are more than 600 Native Princes in India. The Native States comprise three-sevenths of the area of India, and in population represent one-fifth of the entire population of India. The Native Princes are much greater factors in the Indian Empire than the British territorial nobility are of the Government in England. The highest aristocracy in England enjoys no royal prerogatives. Some of the Indian Princes, unlike the Lords in this country, have their own army, their own mint, their own courts, their own postal department, and other emblems of royalty which appeal to the imagination of the Indian millions. A man who would suggest a scheme for the government of this country minus the estates of the Lords would perhaps be considered fit for a particular asylum. Yet British statesmen are engaged in right earnest in building up an Indian nation without the cream of Indian aristocracy--the Native Prince. To have conquered India is no doubt a grand achievement, but to weld the British territories and the Native States into a single and harmonious whole would be an exploit of the highest statesmanship. As Sir Charles Dilke points out in Greater Britain, 'the course best adapted to raise the moral condition of the natives is to mould Hindustan into a homogeneous empire, sufficiently strong to stand by itself all attacks from without.' It may be taken for granted that Lord Morley's recent reforms are an attempt to teach the Indian people how to direct the administration of India-India as a whole. But is it ever possible to consolidate the Indian people without the co-operation of the most powerful of them -the Native Princes?
Let us look at it from the Imperial point of view. Th, Indian Mutiny has conclusively proved that the Native States are a source of strength to England. In the words of Lord Canning,' those patches of native government served as a breakwater to the storm, which would otherwise have swept over us in one great wave.' Statesmen who are acquainted with India, and who look ahead, know the danger of neglecting the powerful Native Princes. Lord Morley, in his first Indian Budget speech, on the 20th of July, 1906, said :
-I sometimes think we make a mistake in not attaching the weight we ought to these powerful Princes as standing forces in India. ... It is a question whether we do not persist in holding these powerful men too lightly.' These were most significant words. But, so far as the public are aware, Lord Morley has done nothing to make the Native Princes, as &
class, feel that though they do not agitate they are not forgotten by the British authorities. On the other hand, a great blunder was made only the other day. What made Lord Minto read out the KingEmperor's Proclamation after fifty years of Crown rule in the small State of Jodhpur, instead of at Calcutta, is beyond one's comprehension. It was an act of thoughtlessness, nevertheless, a great blunder. What would the people of England have said if Mr. Asquith read out for the first time a Royal Message affecting the House of Lords in the house of a Viscount in Scotland, where he might at the time be grouse shooting? Of course Lord Minto had no more idea of the gravity of the blunder than Lord Curzon had when he fixed the elephant procession of the great Delhi Durbar during the Mahomedan fast of the Ramazan. It is blunders like these which affect his sentiment that irritate the Oriental more than any slight addition in taxation. But somehow or other the Anglo-Indian bureaucracy fails to see the true significance of such acts and omissions when they affect 'mere sentiment.' With the upper ten, in every country, sentiment plays a great part. Their attention is not diverted by having to provide for their daily wants. It is therefore only natural that they should find time to indulge in the luxury of sentiment. The Anglo-Indian official should therefore try not to minimise the far-reaching effect of ‘ mere sentiment.' The native princes are the most important factors in India. Their territories are inextricably interlaced with British territories in India. Imperial measures, political or economical, directly or indirectly affect the Native States, and vice versa. Therefore the more the Native Princes are drawn towards the British Government, the better for the cause of the peace of India. An attempt should therefore be made to let the Native Princes share the responsibilities of the British Indian Government, as they share the glory.
It is better,' says Machiavelli, 'to follow the real truth of things than an imaginary view of them. There is no denying the fact that the equalising forces of the West will, for a long time to come, beat in vain against the ramparts of Hindu Caste. It must also be admitted that at the base of all Hindu indigenous social and political systems lies Caste. It represents the customs and beliefs ingrained in the Hindu. Education and Christian-Mission enterprise have, no doubt, put forward trenches against the outworks of Caste, but have not been able to break through the stronghold of centuries. In India Caste is a central knot of most administrative problems. The millions in India believe in Caste and in the Native Princes. The faith in the latter is so strong that, as every careful student of Indian history knows, the Hindu rebel fought during the Indian Mutiny in 1857 for the Mahomedan descendants of the King of Delhi. The Native Prince has at least one great advantage over the Anglo-Indian officials. He knows his people. He is in daily touch with them. His own mental psychology is the same as that of the millions in India. He tests their
actions by their standards, and not by standards foreign to them. He knows that the Western logic of words does not always correspond with the logic of Oriental facts. He knows that the modes of thought of the millions in India cannot possibly change with the indirect bidding of votes silently cast into the ballot-boxes in a distant island. He can never be induced to try a hasty compromise between Anglo-Indian bureaucracy and British democracy. And, what is most important, the millions in India would any day accept without murmur a despotic Rajah rather than a despotic Anglo-Indian.
Lord Morley has given us his assurance that a native of India will be appointed on the Executive Council of the Viceroy. There is an impression in Bengal that the first native member of the Viceroy's Executive Council will be a Hindu lawyer. There is no denying the fact that the subtle Hindu makes as good a jurist as any Englishman. But in readjusting the administrative machinery in India great care should be taken to balance Oriental peculiarities with Occidental characteristics; otherwise the gulf between the rulers and the ruled is bound to be more widened to the detriment of both. The Advocate General at Calcutta is a Hindu. Should the law member of the Viceroy's Executive Council be also an Indian ? Is that likely to preserve the balance ? Would it not be therefore better that one of the two legal advisers at Calcutta should be an Englishman, with the traditions of his race for justice behind him? But a native of India in the Viceroy's Executive Council will appeal to the imagination of all India and make the British Government more popular. Such a practical illustration of true statesmanship is likely to undo some of the mischief caused by the neglect of 'mere sentiment.'
One of the most responsible natives of India should be selected for such an important post. And who is a more responsible native of India than a Native Prince ? Such an appointment, as I have already' pointed out, would make the Indian Prince a greater personality, and thereby increase his utility as a means of communication with the mass of the people in India. The number of the Councillors could easily be increased to admit of an Indian Prince, without a salary and without the charge of a particular Department. Unpleasant Imperial measures might, perhaps, be less objected to by the Indian millions when they know that one of their natural rulers had a voice in the matter. In these days of unrest in India—and the bombshell which was thrown in Bengal after the announcement of Lord Morley’s reforms shows that there is unrest, notwithstanding the chorus of approval of Lord Morley's reforms-any courtesy shown to the Native Princes will go a great way towards making the millions satisfied. It will also please the native army. The native army fights side by side with the Imperial Service Troops of the Native Princes. The British sepoy takes advantage of the opportunity to
· Indian Problems (John Murray), p. 348.
discuss with the Rajah's sepoy the merits—from their point of viewof the British and the Rajah's service. He finds that there is a difference in their treatment. And that difference is not in favour of the British sepoy. Let us take the case of two brothers who start in life as military men. The one who joins the army of the Native Prince may in time become the commander of the army; the other, who joins the British service, with all his medals and clasps and hoary beard, will have to spend his days under the youngest English subaltern. He may render exactly the same service as his British comrade has done, but on account of the colour of his skin he is debarred from getting the much-coveted Victoria Cross. The British sepoy has no newspaper and no ‘National Congress' to agitate his grievances. Therefore the British public think that he has no grievance at all. The same with the poor Indian peasant. He is the backbone of the Indian Empire, but he receives very little attention. An occasional globe-trotting M.P. shows him some courtesy. He offers him selfgovernment on the Colonial line !
The Indian peasant would feel more grateful if he was offered an extra loin-cloth, or his daily wages were raised to twopence-halfpenny. He is really worse off than the British sepoy. He has neither figured in the Indian Mutiny nor has he come to England to add to the grandeur of a Jubilee show. His only ma-bap (parents=protector), the District Officer of old, is himself paralysed under the present system. Is there any wonder that the educated classes,' with the modern weapons of a free Press, globe-trotting M.P.s, and catch phrases from Bentham and Mill, should monopolise the attention of Lord Morley and the British Press ?
In his speech on the 17th of December in the House of Lords Lord Lansdowne said : ‘I feel very strongly that it is necessary to strengthen the hands of the Government of India against the seditious Press of that country.' Of course Lord Morley does not like, and no one would suggest, to abolish the freedom of the Press.' But is there nothing intermediate between the licence of the Indian Press and its gagging? Is it not possible to regulate it? Is it against the fetish of the so-called free Press to direct it in proper channels, to the maximum benefit of the rulers and the ruled alike? Is it not desirable to secure a better class of men to take charge of the voice of India ? What objection would there be to requiring the deposit, say, of 2001. as a guarantee of respectability before anyone is allowed to start a newspaper in India ? It would in no way gag the Press. It would only secure a better class of men as the exponents of national and, let us hope, rational views. Even a Bengali editor would much prefer the mild curtailing of the liberty of his pen to the violent curtailing of the liberty of his person under the law of deportation. I am myself a Bengali and have been for years the editor of a newspaper in India. I have often discussed the matter with brother editors, both Hindu
and Mahomedan. There is no doubt that they would any day prefer the regulation of the Press to the so-called freedom of the Press, with a sword of Damocles hanging over their heads in the shape of Regulation III. of 1818, under which they may, without any warning, be locked up for an indefinite period without getting the chance of even a summary trial under the new law. The mixed, I had almost said muddled, procedure now in vogue in Bengal may be based on high statesmanship,' but certainly does not appeal to the psychology of the Bengali mind. And politics divorced from the psychology of the people can hardly be successful unless for a time at the point of the bayonet.
All India must feel grateful to Lord Morley for rebuking the Anglo-Indian for his arrogance against the natives of India. But is his Lordship not prepared to go a little further than rebuke ? No single cause is more closely at the root of the present unrest than the arrogance of a few individual Anglo-Indians. The native millions cannot and do not draw a line between the individual Anglo-Indian and the Anglo-Indian officials as a class. It is the arrogance of a few individual Anglo-Indians that brings into discredit the Government they represent. If Lord Morley would only rise to the occasion and order a return during his tenure of office of all cases of assault by Europeans on the natives of India, and make an example of even one European offender, he would receive more blessings from India than for all his reforms put together. The Regulation III. of 1818 is an excellent weapon in his hands. But unfortunately so far his Lordship has used it against the subject race only. In olden times this weapon was freely used against both Europeans and Indians. Lord Morley said in his memorable speech of the 17th of December that his great object is that the merits of individuals are to be considered and to be decisive, irrespective and independent of race and colour.' A A noble ambition no doubt. It would be nobler if his Lordship could also assure his 300,000,000 wards in India that the demerits of individuals will also be considered irrespective and independent of race and colour. Let Lord Morley bring one European offender within the range of his powerful weapon-the Regulation III. of 1818— and it would at once convince all India of impartial justice under the present régime. Even the strongest apologist of the Anglo-Indian must admit the existence of European offenders in India. Some of Lord Morley's Councillors in Downing Street will be able to assure his Lordship how they, as British Residents in Native States, had no other alternative left but to expel European offenders without trial.
S. M. MITRA.
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