The new spirit in India

By Henry Woodd Nevinson

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Title: The new spirit in India

Author: Henry Woodd Nevinson

Release Date: May 24, 2023 [eBook #70847]

Language: English

Produced by: Bob Taylor, Peter Becker and the Online Distributed
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  Transcriber’s Note
  Italic text displayed as: _italic_



  NEIGHBOURS OF OURS: Scenes of East End Life. (Arrowsmith.)

  IN THE VALLEY OF TOPHET: Scenes of Black Country Life. (Dent.)

  THE THIRTY DAYS’ WAR: Scenes in the War between Greece and Turkey.

  Fulleylove. (Dent.)

  LADYSMITH: a Diary of the Siege. (Methuen.)

  THE PLEA OF PAN. (Murray.)

  BETWEEN THE ACTS: Scenes in the Author’s Experience. (Murray.)

  Pictures by Mr. Hallam Murray. (Murray.)

  BOOKS AND PERSONALITIES: Literary Essays. (John Lane.)

  A MODERN SLAVERY: An account of the Slave Trade in the Portuguese
  Colony of Angola and the Cocoa Islands of San Thomé and Principe.

  THE DAWN IN RUSSIA: Scenes in the Revolution of 1905-6. (Harper.)

  THE REVOLT IN THE CAUCASUS: Scenes in the Rebellion, 1906-7.
  (Harper’s Monthly, 1908.)

[Illustration: CONTEMPLATION.

(Statue of a SANYASI, by G. M. MHATTRE of Bombay.)





  [Illustration: Decoration]







  Summary of recent events—Lord Curzon appointed Viceroy, 1898—The
  currency—Calcutta Municipality—Famine of 1900—Punjab
  Land Alienation Act—Commission on Expenditure—Lord
  Kitchener as Commander-in-Chief—Delhi Durbar—Reduction
  of Salt Tax—Official Secrets Act—Universities
  Act—Alleged exclusion of Indians from office—National
  Congress in Bombay, 1904—Lord Curzon’s Convocation
  Speech—Partition of Bengal, October 16, 1905—Swadeshi
  movement—Lord Curzon’s resignation—Lord Minto appointed
  Viceroy—Mr. John Morley appointed Secretary of
  State for India—Trouble in Eastern Bengal—Sir Bampfylde
  Fuller resigns—“Coronation” of Mr. Banerjea—Disturbances
  in Eastern Bengal and the Punjab—Prosecution
  of Indian papers—Riot at Rawal Pindi—Arrest of six lawyers—Deportation
  of Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh—Public Meetings
  Ordinance—The Risley Circular—Appointment of two
  Indians to Indian Council—Proposed scheme of Reforms—Opium
  Agreement with China—Anglo-Russian Agreement—Seditious
  Meetings Act—Mr. Morley’s speech at Arbroath—Cases
  of supposed failure of justice—Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji
  retires to India                                                   1



  Festival of Diwali at Poona—The plague—Mr. Gokhale’s Society
  of “Servants of India”—His past history—Member of the
  Viceroy’s Legislative Council—Rules of the Society—Social
  and political aims—The British connection—Indians and
  Anglo-Indians—Criticism of proposed reforms—Mr.
  Gokhale’s suggestions—A Society dinner                            31



  Plague and rats—Previous attempts to check plague—The rat-flea—War
  on rats—Plague mortality—A plague hospital—Symptoms
  of plague—Course of the sickness—Descriptions
  of former plagues—Inoculation—A Government inoculator             48



  The custom of garlanding—The fortress of Singarh—Mr. Tilak—Religion
  and scholarship—Theory of the Vedas—His past
  history—Breach at Nagpur—His statement of his party’s
  aims and methods—“Self-reliance, not mendicancy”—The
  boycott—Growth of Indian unity—Quotations from Mr.
  Tilak’s speeches—His arrest and sentence in 1908                  62



  Mr. Junshi on family worship—His passion for statistics—“Statistical
  abstract”—Finance and population—Expenditure
  on Army, Education, and official Christianity—The Land
  Settlement—Its origin and proportion—Is it tax or rent?—Lord
  Salisbury’s opinion—How the amount is fixed—Mr.
  Vaughan Nash on the Settlement—The cultivator’s income—How
  he clings to the land, even without profit—The
  money-lender and the Government—Collection of assessment—Ryots
  and zemindars—Permanent Settlement of Bengal—Suburbs
  of Poona—Character of the Ryot—Government as
  protector of the poor—Forest Department—Grazing and
  timber—Arms Act and wild beasts—The tiger as scarecrow—A
  village petition—A sacrifice to education                         78



  The pride of Madras—Municipal labours—Decentralization Commission—A
  student of philosophy—The religion of the
  grave—The religion of healing—A temple of Vishnu—A
  family ceremony—Missionaries in Madras—The benefit of
  missions—Memory of good Governors—Sir Thomas Munro—Decline
  of Anglo-Indian manners—Causes of this—Distrust
  of British justice—Proposed separation of functions—Police—Drink
  question and revenue—Forms of Swadeshi                           103



  Meeting on Madras sands—Release of Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh—Song
  of “Bande Mataram”—Parody of Mr. Morley—Speeches—Audience—Absence
  of sedition—A Sanyasi’s
  speech                                                           125



  The country and government—Mountains, rivers, and plains—The
  great flood of 1907—Brown skeletons—Officials and
  figures—Settlement revision—Scene of flood and famine—Deposit
  of sand—Price of food—Chief sufferers—Village
  houses—Tax-collectors—Government action—Madhu Sudan
  Das—A call on an official—An official order—A Rajah’s
  breakfast                                                        134



  Pilgrims at Puri—Shrine of Juggernath—Legend of the car—Possible
  origin of the god’s fame—Benefit of equality—Brother
  and sister—Inequality in India—Its consequences on
  Indian and English manners—Possible growth of equality           152



  Eastern Bengal—Its rivers—Its fertility—Ancient weaving
  industry—Modern hand-looms—Growth of jute—Variable
  prices—Jute or rice?—Settlement and zemindars—Boycott
  on cotton and salt—Lord Curzon and the Partition—Alternative
  scheme—Useless protests against Partition—The
  Fast of Commemoration—Part cause of unrest—So-called
  sentimental objections—Separation from Calcutta—Sorrows
  of landlords—Conjunction with Assam—Fears of separation
  from Calcutta High Court                                         160



  Earlier forms of Swadeshi—The Swadeshi Oath—Effect of
  the movement—Encouraged by women—Various Swadeshi
  manufactures—Official encouragement—Congress resolutions—Boycott
  and picketing—The Volunteers—Origin in early
  Congresses—“Little Brothers of the Poor”—Protection to
  women pilgrims—Encouragement of athletes—Sufferers
  from boycott                                                     178



  Dacca—City anchorite—Nawab Salimulla—His history and
  position—Government loan—Support of Partition—Mohammedan
  against Hindu—Nawab’s palace—His conversation—Views
  on cooking, jewellery, women, and politics—His
  happiness and confidence in Providence—Belief in
  English education—Influence over Mohammedans—Characteristics
  of Mohammedans—A letter to Layard—Favour
  to Mohammedans—Petty persecution of Hindus—Espionage—How
  far amusing, how far mean—Memories of Eastern
  Bengal                                                           189



  The Kalighat of Calcutta—Worship of Kali—Her symbolism—Other
  temple of Kali—Ramakrishna Society—Moti
  Lal Ghose—His brother and religion—The _Amrita Bazar
  Patrika_—Moti Lal’s opinions—Surendra Nath Banerjea—Past
  history—Position in politics—Ripon College and the
  _Bengalee_—His power as an orator—Manner of eloquence—_Bande
  Mataram_—An Extremist paper—Arabindo
  Ghose connected with it—His past career—His policy
  of general Swadeshi and boycott of the Government and
  everything foreign—His gratitude for Lord Curzon’s rule—Growth
  of Indian nationality—Scheme for an Indian popular
  assembly—Advocacy of national courage—Macaulay’s
  accusation of cowardice—Religious tone of Bengali
  Nationalists—Extract from Arabindo Ghose’s address in
  Bombay—Violent language of Indian and Anglo-Indian
  papers—Examples of style from the _Asian_ and the _Times of
  India_—Insults to Mr. Keir Hardie and the Indians of
  Bombay                                                           206



  Journey to Surat—Dr. Rash Behari Ghose—Arrival at Surat—News
  of attempted assassination of Mr. Allen—Separate
  Extremist camp—Questions of the Calcutta resolutions—Attitude
  towards Bombay Moderates—Sir Pherozeshah
  Mehta—Lajpat Rai as peacemaker—Vain negotiations—First
  day’s meeting of the Congress—Demonstration against
  Mr. Banerjea—Suspension of meeting—Alteration of Calcutta
  Resolutions discussed—Crux of the Boycott resolution—Further
  vain negotiations—Second day’s meeting—Election
  of President—Mr. Tilak’s action—Storm in the
  Congress—The Mahratta Shoe—Meeting breaks up in disorder—Free
  fight in the pavilion—Meeting of Convention
  of Moderates next day—Lajpat Rai on the platform—Meeting
  of Extremists—End of the Congress—Temporary
  unpopularity of the Moderate leaders                             233



  Scene by the river at Benares—A pilgrim of the Ganges—How
  a man’s soul is absorbed into the universal soul—Whether
  the crowd desire such absorption—How indifference
  to this transitory life may be obtained—The benefit of
  symbolism even to the ignorant—The advantage of overcoming
  earthly desires—The example of Janaka—How far
  removed we of the common people are from it                      263



  Why an Indian official slept in the cold—Famine near
  Allahabad—Description of country—Wells and tanks—Sir
  John Hewett and relief—Sympathy of officials in famine—Test
  works—A state of famine—Wages and rations—Recruiting
  stations—Roads and dams as relief works—How
  dams are made—How the people lived—Sir John Hewett on
  numbers and loss—Financial Statement on the year’s famine—General
  increase of prices—Probable increase of poverty
  in certain classes—Various reasons attributed—Comparison
  of peasants and town workpeople—Peasant incomes—Village
  labourers and artisans—Wages of Bombay mill-hands—Conditions
  of labour and housing—Village conditions—Ignorance
  and monotony—Burdens on the land                                 270



  A Vedic service—The Samaj at Lahore—Its founder Dayananda—Growth
  and objects—Two divisions—Lajpat Rai’s
  connection with Samaj—His past history—Devotion to
  social and religious reform—Visit to England and America—Effect
  of Liberalism—Causes of neglect of India—He
  advocates self-reliance—Grievances of the Punjab—His
  deportation—Suspicion of Arya Samaj—Its avoidance of
  politics—The Gurukula near Hardwar—System of education—Isolated
  boyhood—Daily life—Study of Sanscrit—Method
  of teaching in India criticized—Cost of secondary
  education at boarding-schools                                    291



  The palace at Baroda—Vasantha—Maharajah and Resident—Honours
  to the Empire—Dust of flowers—Life of a Native
  Ruler—Administration of Baroda—Alleged errors—Measures
  of reform—Social reform—The Maharani                             312



  Our government of India—Danger of withdrawal to ourselves
  and India—Our probable successor if we withdrew—Signs of
  new spirit in India—Our contributions to new spirit—External
  causes of unrest—Suspicions of our justice and benevolence—How
  far inconsiderate—Plague, famine, and the drain of
  money—Where the Congress movement has failed—Our
  disregard of grievances has encouraged new methods—Extension
  of Swadeshi principle to all sides of life—The line
  of most resistance—To check “moral poverty”—But hopes
  of Moderate policy continue—Immediate reforms demanded—Change
  of heart essential but slow—Crisis calls for generous
  and definite reform—New spirit in India cannot be checked—Our
  own reputation for freedom at stake                              320


                                                          TO FACE PAGE

  CONTEMPLATION                                         _Frontispiece_

  A STREET IN POONA                                                 32

  MR. GOKHALE                                                       34

  A HEALTH CAMP                                                     50

  IN A VILLAGE                                                      50

  A VILLAGE STREET                                                  58

  A STREET IN PLAGUE                                                58

  MR. TILAK                                                         64

  THE RYOT’S HOME                                                   92

  CARRYING LEAVES FOR FUEL                                          92

  ON THE CAUSEWAY                                                   96

  A VILLAGE HEADMAN                                                 96

  A TEMPLE TANK, MADRAS                                            102

  A SERVANT OF VISHNU                                              106

  THE END OF MAN                                                   108

  OFFERINGS TO THE DEAD                                            108

  DANCE OF HIGH CASTE GIRLS IN MADRAS                              122

  HUNGER                                                           136

  MY ELEPHANT                                                      140

  A VILLAGE CROWD                                                  140

  THE TEMPLE OF EQUALITY                                           152

  ON THE BRAHMAPUTRA                                               160

  A TEMPLE TANK                                                    186

  A TEMPLE OF SHIVA                                                186

  A TEMPLE OF SIKHS                                                200

  A MOHAMMEDAN MOSQUE                                              200

  THE KALIGHAT                                                     206

  PILGRIMS TO KALI                                                 206

  ENTRANCE TO THE PANDAL AT SURAT                                  258

  THE LINE OF RETREAT                                              258

  THE SACRED RIVER                                                 262

  ON THE BANK                                                      264

  THE BURNING-PLACE                                                266

  THE RIVER WALLS                                                  266

  A PLACE OF PRAYER                                                268

  A BULLOCK WELL                                                   272

  GOING TO WORK                                                    274

  RELIEF SHELTERS                                                  274

  ON THE RELIEF WORKS                                              276

  SWADESHI WEAVERS IN BOMBAY AND MADRAS                            284

  WORKMEN’S DWELLINGS, BOMBAY                                      286

  BOMBAY MILL-HANDS                                                288

  LALA LAJPAT RAI                                                  296

  AN ARYA SAMAJ TEACHER                                            304

  A STREET IN HARDWAR                                              306

  HARDWAR STRAND                                                   306

  IN THE GURUKULA                                                  310

  MAKING YARN                                                      318

  A VILLAGE PANCHAYAT                                              318

  A DESERTED CITY                                                  334




Although politics are not the only subject of this book, it may be of
assistance if I summarize very briefly the chief political events of
the few years preceding the winter of 1907-8 when I was in India.

No hard-and-fast line can be drawn in history, but the arrival of
LORD CURZON AS VICEROY on December 30th, 1898, marks a fairly strong
and natural division. He had previously been Under-Secretary for
India (1891-92), and Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs (1895-98),
and he was well known for the distinction of his Oxford career and
for his travels in Central Asia, Persia, and the Far East. In the
House of Commons he had further won a high reputation for industry,
knowledge, and self-reliance.

The first year of his office (1899) was marked by a change in the
CURRENCY, by which a gold standard was introduced, gold and currency
reserves instituted, and a permanent rate of exchange fixed at
sixteen pence to the rupee, or fifteen rupees to the pound sterling—a
higher value than the rupee had reached in the fluctuations of the
five previous years. Before the closing of the mints, it had sunk to
13·1 pence.

In the same year Lord Curzon began his policy of efficiency by
reducing the CALCUTTA MUNICIPALITY from seventy-five to fifty,
cutting out twenty-five of the elected members, in spite of strong
protests on the part of the Indian electors.

He also began to earn an enviable unpopularity among certain classes
of Anglo-Indians for his characteristic vigour in denouncing a
British battalion, some privates of which were believed to have
outraged a native woman to death in RANGOON and remained undetected.

The year 1900 was a season of terrible FAMINE, especially in the
Central Provinces. About 5,500,000 people came on relief works, and
famine was followed by cholera.[1] At the same time the Punjab LAND
ALIENATION ACT was passed, forbidding the transference of land to any
but agriculturists, the intention being to prevent the expropriation
of peasants by money-lenders.

LORD WELBY’S COMMISSION on Indian Expenditure issued their reports,
but the majority report suggested no important changes of taxation
beyond the transference of charges amounting to £293,000 a year to
the Imperial Exchequer. Their recommendation that England should
contribute £50,000 to the expenses of the India Office was not
carried out.

In 1901 the NORTH-WEST FRONTIER PROVINCE was created, and in the
following year LORD KITCHENER was appointed Commander-in-Chief, the
Education Commission, presided over by Sir Thomas Raleigh, published
its Report (Sir Guru Das Banerjee writing a Note of Dissent), and the
POLICE COMMISSION began to sit under Sir Andrew Fraser (afterwards
Lieut.-Governor of Bengal).

In the same year Lord Curzon increased his unpopularity among the
class of Anglo-Indians above mentioned, by punishing the 9TH LANCERS,
because at Sialkot two privates were believed to have beaten to death
a native cook who refused to procure a native woman for them; they
remained undetected.

The next year (1903) opened with a great DURBAR AT DELHI, the
estimated cost of which was £180,000, and the real cost probably at
least £200,000, apart from the local expenses of provinces and Native
States. The TIBET expedition started in the same year.

More important than either of these events for the history of India
was the REDUCTION OF THE SALT TAX, or more properly, the reduction of
the price of salt under the Government monopoly. Between this year
and 1907 it was reduced from 2 rupees 8 annas per maund to 1 rupee (a
maund = 82·29 lbs.).[2]

Lord Curzon’s office was now renewed for a further uncertain term,
believed to be two years. But before his departure for six months’
leave in 1904, he had already reduced his popularity among the
educated classes of India. By the OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT, he extended
the Acts of 1889 and 1897 so as to include information upon civil
affairs and matters of fact among the offences, as well as military
secrets and newspaper criticism, “likely to bring the Government or
constituted authority into suspicion or contempt.” As the burden of
proof was thrown on the accused, and it was unnecessary to establish
criminal intention for conviction, this Act limited newspapers to the
supply of such information as the Government pleased.

In the same year an attempt was made to raise the standard of higher
education by the UNIVERSITIES ACT. The main object was to induce the
five Universities of Calcutta, Madras, Bombay, Lahore, and Allahabad
to undertake instruction and supervision as well as examination, to
which their function had been limited at first. It was laid down
that all students at a University must be members of an affiliated
college, and changes were introduced into the constitution of the
Senates, which were now to be largely composed of the Chancellor’s
nominees and _ex-officio_ members—High Court Judges, Bishops,
members of Executive Councils, the provincial Directors of Public
Instruction, and professors of Government and missionary colleges. It
was complained that these provisions destroyed the independence of
the Universities, and, owing to the increased expense, much reduced
the number of students able to compete for degrees. On the other
hand, it is maintained, and I believe justly, that the standard of
learning in its higher branches has been considerably advanced since
the Act among the affiliated colleges.

A few sentences may be quoted from Lord Curzon’s BUDGET SPEECH in
March of this year (1904), as showing his general attitude towards
educated Indians and their demands:—

  “I sympathize most deeply with the aspirations of the Indians
  towards greater national unity, and with their desire to play a
  part in the public life of the country. But I do not think that
  the salvation of India is to be sought on the field of politics
  at the present stage of her development.... The highest ranks
  of civil employment in India must as a general rule be held by
  Englishmen, for the reason that they possess, partly by heredity,
  partly by up-bringing, and partly by education, the knowledge of
  the principles of government, the habits of mind, the vigour of
  character, which are essential for the task, and that, the rule
  of India being a British rule, and every other rule being in the
  circumstances of the case impossible, the tone and standard should
  be set by those who have created and are responsible for it.”[3]

He further went on to maintain that on salaries of £800 a year and
upward, 1263 government servants were Europeans, 15 Eurasians, and
92 Indians; while on salaries between £60 and £800, there were 5205
Europeans, 5420 Eurasians, and 16,283 Indians. These figures were,
however, severely analysed by Mr. Gokhale in his Budget speech of

It was held by educated Indians that a Government Resolution of May
24, 1904, carrying this statement of policy into effect, tended to
exclude Indians from the higher branches of the service, and stood in
contradiction to QUEEN VICTORIA’S PROCLAMATION for India in 1858, in
which occur the following two clauses:—

  “We hold ourselves bound to the natives of our Indian territories
  by the same obligations of duty which bind us to all our
  other subjects; and those obligations we shall faithfully and
  conscientiously fulfil.

  “And it is our further will that, so far as may be, our subjects,
  of whatever race or creed, be freely and impartially admitted to
  offices in our service, the duties of which they may be qualified,
  by their education, ability, and integrity, duly to discharge.”

Accordingly, at the meeting of the National Congress in Bombay at
the end of this year, the first resolution was in protest against
the EXCLUSION OF INDIANS from the higher grades of the Service.
The other resolutions, showing the tendency of the time, included
protests against the increasing military expenditure, especially upon
the Tibet expedition, and demands for wider education, technical
schools, a Permanent Land Settlement, police reform in accordance
with the Commission of 1903, the separation of judicial and executive
functions throughout the Civil Service, simultaneous examinations
for the Service in England and India, and part payment by England
of the cost of the India Office in Whitehall. SIR HENRY COTTON,
Chief Commissioner of Assam from 1896 to 1902, was President of the
Congress that year, and he was deputed to lay the resolutions before
the Viceroy in person. But Lord Curzon refused to receive him.

On February 11, 1905, Lord Curzon addressed the CONVOCATION OF
CALCUTTA UNIVERSITY with a dissertation upon truthfulness and other

  “I hope I am making no false or arrogant claim,” he said, “when
  I say that the highest ideal of truth is to a large extent a
  Western conception. I do not thereby mean to claim that Europeans
  are universally or even generally truthful, still less do I mean
  that Asiatics deliberately or habitually deviate from the truth.
  The one proposition would be absurd, the other insulting. But
  undoubtedly truth took a high place in the moral codes of the West
  before it had been similarly honoured in the East, where craftiness
  and diplomatic wile have always been held in much repute. We may
  prove it by the common innuendo that lurks in the words ‘Oriental
  diplomacy,’ by which is meant something rather tortuous and
  hypersubtle. The same may be seen in Oriental literature. In your
  epics truth will often be extolled as a virtue; but quite as often
  it is attended with some qualification, and very often praise is
  given to successful deception practised with honest aim.”

The Viceroy, addressing his Bengali audience, went on to say that “he
knew no country where mare’s-nests were more prolific than here”;
and he warned them especially against flattery and vituperation, and
afterwards against eloquence.

  “In India,” he said, “there are two sets of people, the reticent
  and the eloquent. I dare say you know to which class the people in
  this part of the country belong. I am sometimes lost in admiration
  at the facility with which they speak in a foreign language, and I
  envy the accomplishment. All I say to you is, do not presume upon
  this talent.”

Towards the conclusion of the speech, he introduced the following

  “Learn that the true salvation of India will not come from
  without, but must be created within. It will not be given you
  by enactment of the British Parliament, or of any Parliament at
  all.... Be true Indians—that is the prompting of nationality.... In
  India I see the claim constantly advanced that a man is not merely
  a Bengali, or an Uriya, or a Mahratta, or a Sikh, but a member of
  the Indian nation. I do not think it can yet be said that there is
  any Indian nation, though in the distant future some approach to it
  may be evolved. However that may be, the Indian is most certainly a
  member of the British Empire.”[4]

Neither these contradictory remarks on nationality, nor the Viceroy’s
well-intentioned exposition of the national tendency to deceit, were
received by the audience and their friends in a properly chastened
spirit. But the _Amrita Bazar Patrika_, next to the _Bengalee_,
perhaps the most influential Indian paper in Calcutta, contented
itself with the following extract from Lord Curzon’s book, called
“Problems of the Far East” (p. 155 of the edition quoted), where,
writing of his conversation with the President of the Korean Foreign
Office, he said:—

  “Having been warned not to say I was only thirty-three, when he
  put me the straight question, ‘How old are you?’ I unhesitatingly
  responded, ‘Forty.’ ‘I presume you are a near relative of the Queen
  of England?’ (asked the President). ‘No,’ I replied, ‘I am not.’
  But I was fain to add, ‘I am, however, as yet an unmarried man,’
  with which unscrupulous suggestion I completely regained the old
  gentleman’s favour.”

The quotation was regarded as apt, but the passage was only a joke,
and it must be remembered that Lord Curzon had not claimed that
Europeans are universally or even generally truthful. He had called
that proposition absurd.

The speech itself would probably have been soon forgotten if it
had not been connected in the popular mind with the greatest and
most disastrous of Lord Curzon’s schemes for promoting his ideal of
efficiency—the PARTITION OF BENGAL.

It had long been evident that the Province of Bengal, if the
large outlying districts of Orissa, Behar, and Chota Nagpur were
included, was too large for one administration. It contained close
upon 80,000,000 souls. But of this amount Bengal Proper counted for
only 43,000,000. The next largest of the districts was Behar, with
21,500,000. Two things were possible and would have been gladly
accepted—either to form a new province out of the western districts
of Behar, Chota Nagpur, and Orissa, with a capital at Patna or
Ranchi, relieving Bengal of a population of about 33,000,000; or
to have elevated Bengal into a Governorship on the same standing
as Bombay and Madras, under a Governor appointed directly from
England instead of a Lieut.-Governor appointed out of the Indian
Civil Service; and at the same time to have organized the outlying
districts as Commissionerships, responsible either to the Crown, or
to the Governor of Bengal. Either of these two main schemes would
have been accepted without question by the enormous majority of the
inhabitants, and the chief principles of the second were favoured by
Mr. Brodrick (Lord Midleton), at that time Secretary of State for

Lord Curzon, however, was determined to cut Bengal Proper and
the Bengali-speaking community in two, giving 25,000,000 of the
population to the new Province of Eastern Bengal and Assam with a
new capital at Dacca, and 18,000,000 of the population to a Province
still to be called Bengal, with the old capital of Calcutta, and
bound up with the outlying districts of Behar, Chota Nagpur, and
Orissa, all of which differ from Bengal in race, language, and
civilization, as does Assam. Under this division, the populations of
the two new Provinces are approximately 54,000,000 in Bengal, and
31,000,000 in Eastern Bengal and Assam.[5]

When Partition on these lines was first proposed, it excited
strong protest, not only among the Hindu population of Bengal, but
among many Civil Servants and Anglo-Indian papers, also among the
Mohammedans of Eastern Bengal, who are Bengalis by race, but number
three-fifths of the population, and, therefore, might be expected to
welcome the change, especially as they were promised considerable
advantages under the new administration. Large numbers of public
meetings were held throughout Bengal to protest against the
measure, and petitions were sent to the British Parliament. As the
British authorities paid no attention to these representations, the
“Swadeshi” (literally “Our own Country”) movement was started for the
exclusive use of native productions, in the hope that a boycott on
British goods might at last induce public opinion in England to take
notice of an Indian grievance. As Mr. John Morley said, when speaking
as Secretary of State for India in the House of Commons, February 26,
1906: “I am bound to say, nothing was ever worse done in disregard to
the feeling and opinion of the majority of the people concerned.”

Nevertheless, Lord Curzon accomplished the Partition by an unexpected
PROCLAMATION from Simla on September 1, 1905, appointing Sir Andrew
Fraser Lieut.-Governor in Calcutta, and Sir Bampfylde Fuller
Lieut.-Governor in Dacca, both being entire strangers to Bengal. The
Partition came into force on October 16, 1905—a day observed as a
fast of humiliation and prayer throughout the Provinces.

In the same month MR. GOKHALE and LALA LAJPAT RAI came to England as
Congress Delegates, to lay the demands of the constitutional reform
party before English audiences. Lala Lajpat Rai also visited America.

Before the Partition was proclaimed, Lord Curzon had submitted his
RESIGNATION (August 12, 1905), owing to a difference of opinion
with Lord Kitchener over the appointment of a new “Military Supply
Member” to the Viceroy’s Council; and, in reality, over the position
of the Commander-in-Chief and the Military Supply Member with regard
to the Governor-General in Council. The difference does not concern
us, except that, as the Conservative Home Government supported Lord
Kitchener’s view, and thus drove Lord Curzon to resign, it was widely
believed that Mr. Brodrick accepted the Partition the more readily as
a salve to Lord Curzon’s feelings.[6]

The EARL OF MINTO was at once appointed to succeed, but Lord Curzon
remained to nearly the end of the year, partly in order to welcome
the Prince and Princess of Wales on their visit to India. In his
farewell speech at Simla (September 30, 1905) he said:—

  “If I were asked to sum up my work in a single word, I would
  say ‘Efficiency.’ That has been our gospel, the keynote of our

No one has questioned his industry and personal devotion. During his
seven years’ tenure, he instituted Commissions on plague, famine,
irrigation, universities, and police; he organized departments of
Commerce and Industry, and of Imperial Customs; he endeavoured to
introduce elasticity into the Land Assessment; he revolutionized
our Frontier policy; and he did more for the preservation of
Indian history, architecture, and ancient memorials than any of
his predecessors. All this in addition to the other changes and
undertakings mentioned above.

The appointment of MR. JOHN MORLEY to the India Office (December,
1905) was received with the utmost enthusiasm by the country, but,
unfortunately, Lord Curzon’s industrious devotion to efficiency,
without consideration of the prejudices or reasonable desires of
the people concerned, had sown the seed for the irritation and
disturbances of the next two years. The first signs of unrest
naturally appeared in Eastern Bengal, where the SWADESHI movement had
been instituted as a protest against the Partition. SIR BAMPFYLDE
FULLER found himself at once involved in difficulties about the
boycott of foreign goods, public meetings, and the participation of
schoolboys and students in the political questions that occupied
all minds. On April 14, 1906, the Bengal Provincial Conference
was dispersed with violence by the police at Barisal. Bodies of
punitive police and Gurkhas were quartered in several small towns
and villages at their expense. Schools were deprived of their grants
and the right to compete for scholarships. A circular was issued
curtailing the right of public meeting, and suppressing processions
and the cry of “Bande Mataram.” In another circular Sir Bampfylde
Fuller laid it down that a fixed proportion of Government posts
should be reserved for Mohammedans, and, until that proportion had
been reached, no qualified Mohammedan candidate should be rejected
in favour of a Hindu candidate, merely because the latter had
superior qualifications (May 25, 1906). Finally, owing to some petty
disturbances by schoolboys at Serajganj, in the Pabna district
(November 15, 1905), the Lieut.-Governor who had already severely
punished the two schools in the place, and posted punitive police
there, demanded that they should be disaffiliated from Calcutta
University. The Government asked him to reconsider the case, and he
resigned (August 4, 1906), being succeeded by Sir Lancelot Hare.

The next month was marked by a characteristic description of a
simple incident by Calcutta correspondents to the English press. On
September 5th MR. SURENDRA NATH BANERJEA, twice President of the
National Congress and now editor of the _Bengalee_ newspaper in
Calcutta, was honoured by a common Indian ceremony of “benediction”
in a private house. It was an affair of an umbrella, a chaplet,
garlands, and the recitation of verses from the Vedas. It is almost
impossible for even a casual visitor to India to escape a score of
very similar performances. Yet the correspondents on whom England
chiefly depends for Indian news described this as a solemn CORONATION
of Mr. Banerjea as India’s Emperor, as if to rouse the suspicions and
rage of the English people into sensational panic.

In the spring of 1907, local disturbances occurred in Eastern
Bengal and the Punjab. Meetings to protest against the Partition
had been continually held in Eastern Bengal, and in the first week
of March the Nawab Salimulla of Dacca visited the small town of
COMILLA in order to encourage counter-demonstrations on the part of
the Mohammedans, over whom he claimed great influence. During his
visit small riots took place between Hindu and Mohammedan crowds;
a Mohammedan was killed and one or two Hindus. By one means or
another, the report was circulated through the country that the
Indian Government was favouring the Mohammedan population and would
inflict no punishment for the looting of Hindu shops or the abduction
of Hindu women, especially widows. Accordingly, shops were looted,
Hindu widows abducted, and the cases of outrage upon women by gangs
increased in number.

In the third week of April further disturbances broke out at
JAMALPUR, another small town in Eastern Bengal, where the Hindus,
during a festival, were set upon by Mohammedan rowdies, who
desecrated a temple and maintained panic in the district for the next
few weeks.

The troubles that arose in the PUNJAB, about the same time, were
largely agricultural in origin. There had been a large increase in
the land-assessment, together with a sudden rise in the irrigation
rates, especially on the Bari-Doab canal. The Punjab Legislative
Council had also brought forward a COLONIZATION BILL altering the
agreements by which colonists held reclaimed land, especially in the
Chenab Colony, under the Act of 1893. Many relations of these tenants
were enlisted in Sikh and other Indian regiments, and ultimately
Lord Minto withheld his consent from the Bill. The question of the
irrigation dues was also postponed for a year.

Meantime, Indian opinion was constantly irritated by the abuse and
ridicule poured upon educated Indians in the “CIVIL AND MILITARY
GAZETTE,” the leading Anglo-Indian paper of Lahore. They were spoken
of as “babbling B.A.’s,” “base-born B.A.’s,” “an unhonoured nobility
of the school,” “serfs,” “beggars on horseback,” “servile classes,”
“a class that carries a stigma,” and so on. When petitioned twice to
put an end to this kind of journalism as stirring up strife between
the races, Sir Denzil Ibbetson, at that time Lieut.-Governor of the
Punjab, regretted the tone of the articles but refused to prosecute.

On the other hand, two Indian papers in Lahore were
prosecuted—“INDIA” for republishing a letter from America containing
a seditious appeal to the native troops, and the “PUNJABEE” for its
comments on a case of “Begar,” or forced labour, which was supposed
to have led to the death of two villagers compelled to work for an
official. In the case of _India_, the proprietor and editor, Pindi
Das, was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, and the printer, Dina
Nath, to two years. In the _Punjabee_ case, the proprietor, Lala
Jaswant Rai, was sentenced, on appeal, to a fine of 1000 rupees and
six months’ imprisonment, and the editor, K. K. Athavale, to a fine
of 200 rupees and six months’ imprisonment.

After the judgment of the Chief Court on appeal was given in the
_Punjabee_ case (April 16, 1907), the prisoners on their way to gaol
were met by an enthusiastic crowd, and there was some disturbance,
for which three young men were arrested.

This disturbance was followed by a more serious riot at RAWAL PINDI,
the greatest military cantonment of the north-west district of India
(May 2nd). In the previous February a young and then unknown Indian,
named AJIT SINGH, had started an “Indian Patriots’ Association,”
chiefly to deal with the agricultural grievances above mentioned.
Various meetings were held, and at Lyallpur (March 22nd) LALA LAJPAT
RAI, who had no connection with the Association, but was well known
in Lahore as a religious and social reformer in the Arya Samaj,
addressed an agricultural audience, in a speech in which he ventured
to declare that officials are servants of the public. Ajit Singh also
spoke, and this was the only occasion on which the two men were on
the same platform.

Meetings were held at Rawal Pindi, on April 7th and 21st. On the
latter day Ajit Singh made a violent attack upon the increase of
land assessment, calling on the peasants to cease cultivation until
the amount was reduced. Mr. Hansraj Sawhny, a prominent pleader, in
the chair, checked the speaker, who went away in a rage. But shortly
afterwards, Mr. Agnew, the Deputy Commissioner, summoned the chairman
and two other lawyers, for an enquiry into the matter. On the very
morning of the enquiry, the proceedings were postponed, owing to a
telegram from Sir Denzil Ibbetson, and the large crowd which had
collected, instead of dispersing, swept down a main road, destroyed
and burnt some furniture from a mission house and church, and damaged
some gardens and houses of Europeans, together with a Hindu workshop,
where the men were on strike. The police did not appear, but troops
patrolled the town later.

For this riot, six prominent lawyers were arrested and kept in gaol,
no bail being allowed, through the hot weather from May 3rd to
October 1st, when they were acquitted and discharged, the magistrate
declaring the evidence was fabricated. In consequence of this
unmerited imprisonment, one of them has since died.

About sixty other persons were arrested, and five were condemned,
three of them to seven years’ imprisonment for riot and arson. The
trial took place before Mr. A. E. Martineau, Sessions Judge of Delhi,
as Special Magistrate, and the terms of his judgment did much to
restore Indian confidence in British justice.

had been fixed by some Anglo-Indian journalists as the date for a
probable rising against the British, and, owing to their warnings,
preparations were made for withdrawing the British residents,
especially in the Punjab towns, into the forts. But in spite of all
that prophecy could do, no outbreak occurred.

However, on May 9th, Lala Lajpat Rai was suddenly DEPORTED from
Lahore without notice, charge, or trial, and conveyed to the fort in
Mandalay. Ajit Singh was similarly deported from Amritsar.

When questioned in the Commons as to this breach of “Habeas Corpus,”
Mr. John Morley pleaded the powers of deportation granted by a
REGULATION OF 1818, under which thirty-two persons were at the moment
detained in restraint.

On May 11th, Lord Minto issued a PROCLAMATION limiting the RIGHT OF
PUBLIC MEETING in parts of the Punjab and Eastern Bengal. Under this
Ordinance seven days’ written notice was required before a meeting,
the meeting might be prohibited by a magistrate, and the police were
to attend.

On May 27th, the Viceroy refused his assent to the Punjab
Colonization Bill above described.

Meantime, on behalf of the Home Department of the Government of
India, SIR HERBERT RISLEY issued a CIRCULAR with regard to the
political behaviour of schoolboys, teachers, students, and professors
(May 6th). It ordained that where schoolboys associated themselves
with political movements grants-in-aid should be withdrawn from the
school, and the privilege of competing for scholarships withheld;
universities were not to recognize the school, nor to admit its
candidates to matriculation. Schoolmasters were allowed by the
Circular “to have a right to their own opinions as much as any one
else,” but should be visited by “disciplinary action” if their
utterances endangered the orderly development of the boys, or were
subversive of their respect for authority. In the case of colleges,
students were allowed to attend meetings, but if they became active
in politics, the privileges of affiliation should be withdrawn.
Professors were permitted more latitude, but if they encouraged
students to attend political meetings, the university or the
Government should intervene.

The BUDGET for the year 1907-8 was estimated at £75,012,800 revenue,
and £74,238,100 expenditure, giving a surplus of £774,700. In his
Budget speech of June 6th, Mr. John Morley made the important
announcement that TWO NOMINATED INDIANS were to be added to the INDIA
COUNCIL in Whitehall, and gave the names of Mr. K. G. Gupta, as
representing the Hindus, and Mr. S. H. Bilgrami, as representing the

At the same time he announced a SCHEME OF REFORMS, proposed by the
Indian Government at Simla, to be submitted to the Local Governments
for criticism. In brief, the scheme included:—

(1) The institution of an “Imperial Advisory Council,” consisting of
about sixty members, all appointed by the Viceroy, including twenty
ruling chiefs, “with a suitable number of territorial magnates of
every province where landholders of sufficient dignity and status
are to be found.” This council was to be summoned at the Viceroy’s
pleasure, and to hold nothing but private, informal, and confidential
meetings, having no legislative powers of any sort.

(2) Provincial Advisory Councils—apparently seven—of smaller size,
but consisting of the local Imperial Councillors and representatives
of lesser landholders, industry, commerce, capital, and the
professional classes, all nominated by the head of the Local
Government; their functions also to be entirely consultative.

(3) The enlargement of the Viceroy’s Legislative Council from
twenty-four to fifty-three by the inclusion of more Viceroy’s
nominees, two representatives of the Chambers of Commerce, two
Mohammedans elected by rotation from Mohammedan districts, seven
landholders elected by the landed magnates, and seven instead of
four members elected by the non-official members of the Legislative
Councils. The last point may appear like a concession to popular
representation, but seven out of fifty-three is not so powerful a
fraction as four out of twenty-four.

(4) The enlargement of the Provincial Legislative Councils, but this
proposal was left vague, beyond a few suggestions.

Some miscellaneous points in the history of the year remain to be

The official return of deaths from PLAGUE during the first four
months of the year (1907) amounted to 642,000, and the total deaths
from plague since its first appearance in 1896 up to April, 1907,
were 5,250,000.

On August 7th, and again on October 2nd, disturbances arose in
College Square and Beadon Square in Calcutta, and in the same city a
popular speaker named BEPIN CHANDRA PAL was sentenced to six months’
imprisonment (September 11th) for refusing to give evidence in the
prosecution of the Indian paper, _Bande Mataram_. When summoned as
witness before the magistrate, Mr. Kingsford, he replied:—

  “I have conscientious objections against taking part in a
  prosecution which I believe to be unjust and injurious to the cause
  of popular freedom and the interests of public peace.” (August 26.)

Two special commissions were instituted in the autumn—a
DECENTRALIZATION COMMISSION, under Mr. Charles Hobhouse, at that time
Under-Secretary for India, and a FACTORY LABOUR COMMISSION, under Mr.
W. T. Morrison of the Bombay Civil Service. They sat in various parts
of India during the winter.

In July an agreement was announced with China, by which it was
ultimately arranged that China should regard 51,000 chests of OPIUM
exported from India as a standard amount, this amount to be decreased
yearly by one-tenth from 1908 till it disappeared in ten years,
provided that China made similar reductions in her produce.

On August 31st an ANGLO-RUSSIAN AGREEMENT was signed, dividing Persia
into Russian and British spheres of influence, with a neutral zone
between; Afghanistan was recognized as outside Russian influence,
and both Powers agreed not to send representatives to Lhassa. In
some quarters it was hoped that this Agreement would warrant a large
reduction in the military expenditure of India.

In October SIR GEORGE CLARKE, lately Secretary to the Committee of
Imperial Defence, arrived from England as new Governor of Bombay. In
the same month MR. KEIR HARDIE, ex-leader of the Labour Party in the
Commons, visited Eastern Bengal, where his private statements and
conversation were misrepresented by correspondents to the English
newspapers and agencies as seditious speeches.

On November 1st a SEDITIOUS MEETINGS ACT was passed by the Viceroy in
Council at Simla, giving Local Governments the power to “proclaim”
the whole or part of their provinces, in which case seven days’
notice in writing must be given of every public meeting, including
the assembly of twenty persons or over in a private house; the
District Magistrate, or Commissioner of Police was given power to
prohibit such a meeting, or to direct that police should be present.

Mr. Gokhale and Dr. Rash Behari Ghose spoke strongly in opposition
to the Bill as Indian representatives on the Council, and the Tikka
Sahib of Nabha, a Sikh representative of the Punjab, joined them in
voting against the measure, which was carried by a majority of nine
British against three Indians, no other members of Council being
able to attend, as the session was in Simla contrary to precedent
for important legislation.

The next week brought the full text of Mr. John Morley’s speech
to his constituents at Arbroath, in defence of his Indian policy.
I quote the following sentences on account of the attention they

  “Does any one want me to go to London to-morrow morning and to
  send a telegram to Lord Kitchener, and tell him to disband the
  Indian Army, and send home as fast as we can dispatch transports
  the British contingent of the Army, and bring away the whole of the
  Civil Servants?... How should we look in the face of the civilized
  world if we had turned our back upon our duty and upon our task?
  How should we bear the savage stings of our own consciences when,
  as assuredly we should, we heard through the dark distances the
  roar and scream of confusion and carnage in India?”

Speaking of Mr. Keir Hardie and one of his reported sayings in
Eastern Bengal, Mr. Morley said:—

  “I am not at all sure that he said this, but it does not matter,
  because many other people have said it—That whatever is good in
  the way of self-government for Canada must be good for India. In
  my view that is the most concise statement that I can imagine, and
  the grossest fallacy in all politics.... You might just as well say
  that, because a fur coat in Canada at certain times of the year is
  a most comfortable garment, therefore a fur coat in the Deccan of
  India is a sort of handy garment that you might be very happy to

A few sentences further on he added:—

  “I hope that the Government of India, so long as I am connected
  with it and responsible for it to Parliament and to the country,
  will not be hurried by the anger of the impatient idealist. The
  impatient idealist—you know him, I know him, I like him; I have
  been one myself. He says, ‘You admit that so and so is right, why
  don’t you do it? why don’t you do it now?’ Ah, gentlemen, how many
  of the most tragic miscarriages in human history have been due to
  the impatience of the idealist?

  “... You would not have me see men set the prairie on fire without
  arresting the hand. You would not blame me when I saw some men
  smoking their pipes near powder magazines—you would not call me an
  arch-coercionist if I said, ‘Away with the men, and away with the

In answer to those who said India was astonished at the licence
extended to newspapers and speakers, he continued:—

  “Orientals, they say, do not understand it. But we are not
  Orientals; that is the root of the matter. We English, Scotch,
  and Irish are in India because we are not Orientals.... We
  are representatives, not of Oriental civilization but Western
  civilization, of its methods, its principles, its practices; and I
  for one will not be hurried into an excessive haste for repression
  by the argument that Orientals do not understand this toleration.

  “Anybody who has read history knows that the Extremist beats the
  Moderate by his fire, his fiery energy, his very narrowness and
  concentration. But still we hold that it would be the height of
  political folly for us at this moment to refuse to do all we can to
  rally the Moderates to the cause of the Government, simply because
  the policy will not satisfy the Extremists. Let us, if we can,
  rally the Moderates, and, if we are told that the policy will not
  satisfy the Extremists, so be it; our line will remain the same.

  “... Some of them (the leaders of unrest) are angry with me. Why?
  Because I have not been able to give them the moon. I have got no
  moon, and if I had I would not give them the moon.

  “... I am not surprised that these educated Indians who read these
  great masters and teachers of ours (Milton, Burke, Macaulay, and
  Mill) are intoxicated with the ideas of freedom and nationality and
  self-government which these great writers promulgate. Who of us can
  wonder who had the privilege in the days of our youth, at college
  or at home, of turning over these golden pages and seeing that
  lustrous firmament dome over our youthful imaginations—who of us
  can forget the intoxication and rapture with which we made friends
  with these truths?... I only say this to my idealist friends,
  whether Indian or European, that for every passage they can find in
  the speeches or writings of these great teachers of wisdom, I will
  find them a dozen passages in which, in the language of Burke, the
  warning is given—‘How weary a step do those take who endeavour to
  make out of a great mass a true political personality!’”

After referring to a saying about Sir Henry Lawrence, that “no one
ever sat at his table without learning to think more kindly of the
natives,” Mr. Morley added:—

  “India is perhaps the one country—bad manners, overbearing manners
  are very disagreeable in all countries—India is the only country
  where bad and overbearing manners are a political crime.”

Towards the end of the summer there had been some local riots and
disturbances in Southern India because at COCANADA, on the coast
north of Madras, an Englishman was accused of having beaten a Hindu
boy for shouting “Bande Mataram.” He was sentenced to a small fine
(£10, including damages), and was acquitted on appeal. But this
autumn, unhappily, Indian opinion was further inflamed by the results
of two trials in private cases held before British juries in the
Punjab. In LAHORE a British journalist was accused of having shot his
bearer dead, after kicking him out of the house, revolver in hand,
and was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, the jury finding that
death was accidental. In the other case, at RAWAL PINDI, a British
assistant station-master and a Mohammedan porter admitted to having
in turn outraged a Hindu woman, who was waiting for a train and
was enticed into the stationmaster’s room by threats and pretended
information about a telegram. Both were acquitted by the jury on a
plea of “consent.”

In November of this year, Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji, veteran champion
of India’s cause before the English people, returned to spend his
last days in a quiet place on the coast near Bombay. Born a Bombay
Parsi in 1825, he had first gone to live in England just before the
Mutiny, but had often returned to official or other work in Baroda
and Bombay. He was a member of the first Indian National Congress
at its inauguration in Bombay (1885), and in the next year stood as
Liberal candidate for Holborn, on which occasion Lord Salisbury told
the electors he could not believe they would vote for a “black man.”
Nevertheless, he was Liberal member for Central Finsbury from 1892
to 1895, being the first Indian in the House of Commons. In 1892 he
was President of the Congress held at Lahore, and in 1906, in spite
of his great age, he consented to be President of the Congress held
at Calcutta, because it was felt that the reverence with which he
was regarded by all Indians would avert the danger of open rupture
between the moderate and extremist parties.

This bare summary of events may, perhaps, be useful for reference,
and I think it will enable readers of the following pages better to
understand the subjects of public interest that were occupying the
attention of educated Indians and of Anglo-Indians when I arrived
at Bombay in October, 1907, as correspondent for the _Manchester
Guardian_ and other papers.

I owe my hearty thanks to all Anglo-Indian and Indian officials
and friends who gave me ungrudging assistance during my visit, and
especially to Mr. S. K. Ratcliffe, lately editor of the _Statesman_
in Calcutta, for reading my proofs and giving me the advantage of his
exceptional knowledge.


[1] For an eye-witness’s account see “The Great Famine,” by Mr.
Vaughan Nash, at that time correspondent of the _Manchester Guardian_
(Longmans: 1900).

[2] The revenue from salt in 1907-8 was £3,336,900 against £4,362,706
in 1906-7, but the consumption of salt went up in 1907-8 to
44,289,000 maunds, compared to an average of 36,445,000 maunds for
the ten previous years.

[3] “Lord Curzon in India;” selection from his speeches; with
Introduction, by Sir Thomas Raleigh. Pp. 142, 143.

[4] “Lord Curzon in India,” pp. 491, 498-9.

[5] Figures in Lord Curzon’s Proclamation of July 19, 1905.

[6] “Lord Midleton, the Secretary of State at that time, made a
reference to the Partition of Bengal in one of his telegrams which
undoubtedly led to the inference in that country that that measure
had been thrown as a sop to soothe my wounded feelings rather than
on grounds of political propriety or expediency.”—Lord Curzon in the
House of Lords, June 30, 1908.

[7] “Lord Curzon in India,” p. 564.



It was the Indian festival of Diwali, held at Poona on Guy
Fawkes’ Day, and celebrated with innumerable flames, like our own
thanksgiving for the protection of King and Parliament. But, in
feeling, the Diwali comes nearer to Christmastide, for it has no
political significance, and the flames are not lighted as a defiance
to the Pope of Rome, but in honour of Lakshmi, the goddess of family
prosperity, who provides wealth sufficient for us, and holds a baby
to the breast above her heart.

So brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, cousins to the tenth
removal, were gathered together in the joy of a kinship that regards
the smallest trace of common blood as absolute and unquestioned claim
to lifelong support under a common roof. No Workhouse or Industrial
School for them! As long as one of the kin has pancakes and a cow,
there is always a certainty of a crumb and a sup of milk all round.
In honour of such riches and family love, the ceilings of the rooms
and the verandahs fluttered with pink and yellow flags; the windows
and doors were hung with festoons of orange marigolds on a string;
upon the entrance pavement neat patterns in whitewash were drawn
by hand-rollers; and, as the streets turned blue with evening, the
children, draped in all the gorgeous crimsons and golds their mothers
could afford, lighted the tiny oil lamps on window-sill and doorstep,
or threw the spurting fires under the very noses of sacred bulls that
wander for their living from shop to shop. To be sure, other helpful
powers beside Lakshmi have a share in the honour (for who can tell
under which form he loves God best?), and it is the temples of Durga
and Vishnu, of Siva and Parvati, lady of the far-off mountain snow,
that make the sacred hill of Parbati outside the city sparkle like an
illuminated birthday cake, for at least one night during the Diwali
feast of brotherhood.

[Illustration: A STREET IN POONA.

  [_Face p. 32._

The sad thing was that in the beautiful streets where Mahratta nobles
had built their simple palaces under the Peshwas a century ago, many
of the houses now stood dark and empty, in terror of the plague.
Hardly eleven years had passed since the pestilence first appeared,
imported from Hongkong as people thought, and in those eleven years
it had killed nearly six millions of India’s inhabitants. Six
millions out of three hundred millions may not sound very much; it is
only two in every hundred spread over eleven years. But the loss
was not equally distributed, and when I was told that within those
eleven years the inhabitants of Poona had been reduced to nearly
one-third, I knew why so many homes were dark on a night of lamps
and family affection. At the time, the plague was striking down from
twelve to fifteen, or at the highest twenty, so that its visitation
was regarded as light. But I remember the panic when a single case
was reported in London, or even at the more comfortable distance of
Marseilles, and so it was natural to find that many families had gone
to live on selected open spaces outside the city. There among rocks
and withered grass they kindled their little lamps and celebrated
family joy in any hut of wicker, matting, canvas, petroleum
tins, old boxes, boards, or branches which they and the Imperial
Government could manage to rig up between them. Many shopmen had even
transferred their little stores of grain, sweets, and cottons to this
countrified scene, and the general effect was like a scrappy Derby
Day without the races.

Having crossed a bridge, to the left of which thin columns of smoke
still rose from the smouldering bodies of yesterday’s dead, I passed
through one of these Health Camps, as official language fondly
calls them, and found before me a partly finished building of solid
stone—unfinished, but with something already monastic and grave in
its straight-roofed hall and line of cloistral habitations. It was
the rising home of the “Servants of India Society,” and in front of
his own small house the founder and “First Member” of the Society was
standing to receive me.

Mr. Gopal Krishna Gokhale is one of the very few Indians whose name
is known in England to a certain number of people outside the score
or two that pay attention to Indian affairs. Born a Mahratta Brahman
of the highest caste and of ordinary poverty in the small town of
Kolhapur, he threw away the caste and retained the poverty. While
a student at the Elphinstone College in Bombay, he came under the
influence of Justice Ranade, also a Mahratta Brahman and judge of
the High Court, famous already for social reform, and at that time
combining with others to establish the National Congress, which held
its first meeting in 1885. Mr. Gokhale had taken his degree the year
before. Lord Ripon had just left the country, honoured and regretted
among Indians as no other Viceroy has been, and the air was full of
schemes for political emancipation under the favour and encouragement
of British statesmen. Among the reformers of that time, when all
were moderate, Ranade was distinguished for moderation, and when Mr.
Gokhale in his student days chose him as his “guru,” or spiritual
guide, he fixed for life his own characteristics of moderation, and a
certain sweet reasonableness, not only of manner, but of aim.


  [_Face p. 34._

It is common to say of a dead politician that he was devoted heart
and soul to the service of his country, and, happily, it is sometimes
true, even though that devoted service has been crowned by honours,
fame, and riches. But of Mr. Gokhale who is still alive, I would
say that for every day of his manhood he has had no motive but his
country’s service, from the day of his appointment on a salary of £60
a year as teacher of history and economics at the Fergusson College
in Poona up to his retirement in 1902 on a pension of £20 a year, and
onward through the last six years of labour, vilification, and heated
controversy. Not a great speaker, and making no attempt at emotional
eloquence at a time when oratory counted for much more in India than
it does now—a man who has never even contemplated any popular arts
except his own inevitable politeness, he has won his influence upon
his country’s future simply by unreserved devotion and integrity of
life. At a moment of intense excitement during the plague riots in
Poona, when Mr. Rand and Lieut. Ayerst were shot by Damodar Chapekar
and his brothers as they drove into the city from Government House
(June 22, 1897), he, being then in England, published charges against
the method of plague-observation by British soldiers, which on his
return he discovered were not supported by the promised evidence, and
he offered an open apology to Lord Sandhurst and the Army. Amidst
an infuriated public opinion, which believed the charges to be not
only true, but below the truth, few could have lived down such a
retractation. But Mr. Gokhale lived it down.

When the National Congress met at Benares in December, 1905, just
after the partition of Bengal, he was elected President as the safest
guide in a crisis of extreme difficulty and increasing indignation.
Mr. John Morley had just received his appointment to the India
Office, and a few lines from Mr. Gokhale’s presidential address may
be quoted to show the hopes and fears of the time:—

  “Large numbers of educated men in this country feel towards Mr.
  Morley as towards a Master, and the heart hopes and yet trembles.
  He, the reverent student of Burke, the disciple of Mill, the friend
  and biographer of Gladstone, will he courageously apply their
  principles and his own to the government of this country, or will
  he too succumb to the influences of the India Office, and thus
  cast a blight on hopes which his own writings have done so much to
  foster? In any case his appointment indicates how favourable to our
  cause the attitude of the new Ministry is.”

For two or three years past Mr. Gokhale had represented the
Presidency of Bombay as one of the elected Indians upon the Viceroy’s
Legislative Council, and when I first met him at Poona, as I have
described, he had just returned from the Council at Simla, in
which the Seditious Meetings Bill was approved.[8] Before the
Viceroy and the rest of the British majority, he had opposed the
Bill with a restrained but overwhelming plea for the common rights
of freedom, as English people understand them. In one significant
passage, after referring to “the malignant activity of certain
unscrupulous correspondents” who had recently been trying to lash the
British public into a panic by false versions of events and private
utterances, he added:—

  “The saddest part of the whole thing is that the Secretary of State
  for India has fallen a victim to these grievous misrepresentations.
  Possessing no personal knowledge of the people of this country,
  and overwhelmed with a sense of the vast responsibilities of his
  office, he has allowed his vision to be obscured, and his sense of
  proportion to be warped. From time to time he has let fall ominous
  hints in the House of Commons, and more than once he has spoken as
  though some great trouble were brewing in India and the country
  were on the eve of a dark disaster. My Lord, in these circumstances
  the passing of a Bill like the present, and in such hot haste,
  is bound to have the effect of confirming the false impression
  which has been already created in England, and this cannot fail
  to intensify and deepen still further the sense of injustice and
  injury, and the silent resentment with which my countrymen have
  been watching the course of events during the last few months.”

Here, on the edge of the rocky country west of Poona, close beside
the Fergusson College for Indians, with which he had been so long
connected, he had laid the foundation of his “Servants of India
Society” two years before, and in the two-roomed cells about a dozen
Knights of the Order were already living. They were men prepared,
in the language of the Society’s rules, “to devote their lives to
the cause of the country in a religious spirit, and to promote,
by all constitutional means, the national interests of the Indian
people.” The object of the Society is to train the Servants as
national missionaries, ready to visit any part of India at the order
of the First Member and Council, in the hope of creating a deep
and passionate love of the country, organizing political teaching,
promoting goodwill among the different races, assisting education,
especially of women, and raising the people who live below even the
lowest caste.

Each Servant of India remains under close training for five years,
but out of the five years he spends two in visiting various parts of
India, so as to know the people’s needs at first hand. Even when his
novitiate is complete, he is required to live two months every year
in the Headquarters, and, like the Monastic Orders, all the members
take vows—to give their best to the service of the country; to earn
no money for themselves and seek no personal advantage; to regard
all Indians as brothers, without distinction of caste or creed; to
engage in no personal quarrel; and to lead a pure personal life. In
this Order, as in other similar societies throughout India, there
is a growing tendency to celibate consecration, like the Roman
priesthood’s. But the last vow does not exclude marriage. In fact,
there is a provision that every member under training shall have his
personal expenses borne by the Society, but be granted £2 a month
for his family, if he has one, and that after his novitiate the full
member shall bear the expenses of himself and family out of a grant
of £3 6_s._ 8_d._ (Rs. 50) a month, with an extra allowance for the
insurance of each child as it comes.

The merely learned side of the Order is represented by a large
library, already containing rows on rows of the many great books
that Indians and Englishmen have written on India, together with a
selection from the history of liberty in all countries. That is the
library’s distinction. Beginning with England herself, and passing
right down the glorious roll to the Russia of 1905, it has here
collected the long record of man’s gradual and hard-won conquest of

Social reform is certainly one side of the Society’s work. To
free the laborious peoples of India from the bondage they lay on
themselves in harassing ritual, immature marriages, exclusion from
life’s decencies of some fifty millions, who eat dead animals and
think they commit mortal sin if their shadow touches a Brahman—to
free the common people gradually from these obsolete ways, and to
spread among them the first inkling of knowledge, for which the
Government does not yet afford the money—these are objects common to
most Indian reformers, and natural under the tradition of Ranade.
Such purposes are missionary in the ordinary sense, like the efforts
of our missionary societies or university settlements. Only those who
are dubious about all missionary efforts could criticize them. I am
dubious myself, only because no one has ever deliberately missionized
me without driving me further into sin, if only as a relief from his
presence. For I keep in my mind that saying of Thoreau’s:—

  “If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with
  the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life as
  from that dry and parching wind of the African deserts, called the
  simoom, which fills the mouth and nose and ears and eyes with dust
  till you are suffocated, for fear I should get some of his good
  done to me—some of its virus mingled with my blood.”

But I think the cause of all this peril and terror really lies,
not in the good that might be done to myself, but in a certain
disintegration in the missionary nature, an over-maturity or
staleness of virtue that rots the good before I get it. If it were
possible for the missionary spirit to move on the same insecure plane
of pitfalls with me, unconscious of any salutary purpose beyond its
own difficult salvation, one might possibly escape its virus without
running in the opposite direction.

That is why the frankly political side of the Society is so welcome.
Politics, being less intimate to the soul, appear less dangerous for
a teacher than social reform or philanthropy, in which some kind of
moral or class superiority is nearly always assumed. Regarding the
Society’s attitude towards the British Government, I had better quote
from its own little book of rules:—

  “Its members frankly accept the British connection, as ordained,
  in the inscrutable dispensation of Providence, for India’s good.
  Self-government on the lines of the English colonies is their goal.
  This goal, they recognize, cannot be attained without years of
  earnest and patient work and sacrifice worthy of the cause.”

Many have smiled over that “inscrutable dispensation of Providence.”
Naturally, I took it for irony myself, though I felt that irony was
out of tune with the Society’s regulations. But it is not irony.
Mr. Gokhale’s nature is too direct, his purpose too simple in its
intensity, for the ironic bypaths.

I was dining that night with such of the Servants of India as had not
gone home for the family festival. Mr. Paranjbye was there too—Senior
Wrangler of his year, Fellow of St. John’s, present Head of the
Fergusson College close by, famous among European mathematicians, and
almost tolerated in the Anglo-Indian society of Poona for his skill
at lawn tennis. Mr. Kelkar had come as well—editor of the _Mahratta_,
a leader in the Extremist camp, Mr. Tilak’s vigilant captain. And
a few more Brahmans and others sat with us, not too sacrificial
in purity to eat beside a carnivorous European. That “inscrutable
dispensation” was discussed amid laughter, but Mr. Gokhale retained
his accustomed serenity. He had written the words with entire
seriousness. The dispensations of Providence were inscrutable, but
still he believed the British connection was ordained for India’s
good. It had secured various things which any one could count, but
above all it had instilled into the Indian nature a love of freedom
and a self-assertion against authority that Indians used to lack, but
English people often possess in enviable abundance.

I remember quoting the common opinion that Anglo-Indians have lost
sympathy with Indians because they no longer make India their home,
but keep one eye on England and are always on the flit. But Mr.
Gokhale disagreed. He thought it an advantage that fewer English
people now settled in the country. The fairly permanent residents,
like shopkeepers and planters, were as a rule the worst mannered
and most domineering, and they took hardly any part in public life.
The standard of manners in general, he thought, had gone down. It
might be that, in old days, the Englishman found it easier to be
sympathetic with natives whom he could treat as dear good things. But
educated Indians had come to detest such sympathy as only fit for pet
animals, and both races were beginning to notice the change. For his
part, he thought that since Lord Ripon left India in 1884, the type
of Englishman that came out had slowly been declining.

  “It is unfortunate,” he said, “that our Congress movement should
  have coincided with the past twenty-two years of violent reaction
  and Imperialism in England. You can hardly imagine how intolerable
  our life became at the time of the Boer war. The insolence of
  Anglo-Indian papers, like the _Englishman_ or the _Civil and
  Military Gazette_ towards our people goes beyond all bounds. Yet
  the _Civil and Military Gazette_, which is the worst offender, has
  only received a mild remonstrance from the Lieut.-Governor of the
  Punjab, while the editors of Indian papers are in gaol.[9] Such
  treatment, however, is the inevitable penalty of a conquered race,
  and, I think, within the last year manners have mended a little.
  Lord Minto, at all events, is very much the gentleman himself.

  “During the last three years of Lord Curzon’s time,” he continued,
  “we were kept in a state of perpetual irritation. Then came our
  high hopes from the Liberal Party, and our violent disappointment.
  The worst of all is that many people are beginning to lose faith
  in English integrity and sense of justice—the two main qualities
  that could be used for the maintenance of your power. It is a new
  thing, but our young men are beginning to ask what is the good
  of constitutional agitation if it only results in insult and the
  Partition of Bengal? That is how Extremists are created. There are
  two schools of them now, one here in Poona, the other in Bengal
  itself, and Anglo-Indians are always calling upon us to denounce
  them. But we are not likely to denounce a section of our own people
  in face of the bureaucracy. For, after all, they have in view the
  same great object as ourselves.”

For himself, I discovered many months afterwards that Mr. Gokhale
hated the name of Moderate, as, I suppose, all beings of flesh and
blood needs must. But, for brief, one has to call by some such name
the party which continues in patience and hope to believe that
appeals to justice and reason may still induce the English people to
grant reform.

For the Simla scheme, recently put out by Mr. Morley for
criticism,[10] no Indian whom I met had anything to say, except Mr.
Gokhale alone, who thought he detected one or two minor points that
might possibly be of advantage. He condemned the Imperial Advisory
Council entirely, as sure to produce a body of half-educated ruling
chiefs and territorial magnates, powerless to stand against any
Government proposal, and unlikely to be summoned except to discuss
a royal visit, a statue, a famine, or the plague. But from the
Provincial Advisory Councils he thought something might possibly be
gained, if at least half the members were elected on a high franchise
and were bound to meet for the discussion of definite local subjects
so many times a year.

The attempt to clutch at any possible chance of good was
characteristic of the man. With all his power he repels the
temptation to sulky aloofness, always a strong temptation to
enthusiasts in opposition. It is true he could find nothing to say
for the Simla proposal of enlarging the Viceroy’s Legislative Council
from twenty-four to fifty-three, by packing it with representatives
of Chambers of Commerce, Mohammedans, and landowners. Such a scheme
was too obviously only an attempt to crush down the influence of the
education which has been one of England’s greatest gifts to India. It
was a reversal of all British policy, which had hitherto set itself
to depress the landlord gentry and men of wealth who “have a stake in
the country,” and to stand as protector of the poor. The whole thing
was too evidently framed in the spirit of fear and not of progress.
But nevertheless, in Mr. Gokhale’s own scheme of reforms, an
enlargement of the Legislative Councils is a prominent clause. That
and some genuine control over the Budget by representative Indians on
the Viceroy’s Council would start the reform of political machinery.
In other departments the old cry for complete separation of judicial
and executive functions must be listened to, so that even the lower
officials in districts should never act both as prosecutor and judge.
In the same public services, Indians should be granted an improved
position in accordance with Queen Victoria’s Proclamation,[11] and,
above all, the teaching of children should be gradually extended till
it became free and compulsory, even in villages. There were a few
other points in Mr. Gokhale’s programme of immediate reform. But in
none could I discover a trace of that vagueness and impracticable
demand, that “crying for the moon,” of which Mr. Morley and other
critics of Indian demands were then complaining.[12]

I met Mr. Gokhale many times again—in Poona itself, Surat, Bombay,
and London—and his reasonable and open-hearted personality will often
re-appear in this record. But to myself I still picture him on that
Diwali evening in the refectory where the Servants of India were
gathered round him, together with friends from both the main Parties
of the time. In concession to my outlandish habits, I was allowed
a table, chair, and spoon at dinner. But the sons of the country
sat on boards level with the floor, their backs against the walls,
and in front of each of us was laid half a plantain or banana leaf,
neatly studded round the edge with little piles of rice, beans and
other seeds, flavours, sauces and other condiments, together with
thin wheaten cakes. Which when we had eaten, and drunk clean water
from round brazen vessels such as all Indians carry when they walk,
we washed up by burning the plantain leaves, rinsed our hands, and
continued the discussion over pomegranate seeds, orange cloves, and
pan-leaves concealing beetel-nut and various spice. Serene, modest,
definite in aim and in knowledge, he continued to discourse with us,
until the full moon rolled westward, and under her obscure silence
I returned to the city of the plague, where the oil lamps were now
extinguished, and the children asleep.


[8] See Introduction, p. 25.

[9] See Introduction, p. 17.

[10] Introduction, p. 22.

[11] Introduction, p. 6.

[12] Introduction, p. 28.



The bubonic plague, as I said, had been known in India for only
eleven years, but from the first the common people had noticed its
connection with rats. The sight of a dead rat in a house spread
terror, and when rats crept out upon the floors, regardless of man,
and lay panting to death, it was early recognized that the plague was
at hand. The unlearned observed these warnings, but no one detected
their full significance, and for many years the pestilence was
attributed to bad water or overcrowded and insanitary houses.

In Poona it was thought there was too much water about, and the
officer of health undertook the remedial measure of draining a rather
nice pond that used to be behind the Deccan Club, and converting it
into as malarial a marsh as I have ever seen outside West Africa.
The authorities, in their perplexity, also set about cleansing the
quarters and homes of the Indian population, who, I suppose, are, on
the whole, the most scrupulous about washing and cleaning of any
working people in the world. They tried disinfectants, and poured
thousands of pounds in the form of chemicals down drains, ditches,
and streets. Sometimes, by mistake, they poured things that do not
disinfect, and still the plague went on. They tried “segregation.”
They divided the city into compartments under military guard, and
sent British soldiers into the homes to examine men, women, and
children, and take them off to isolated hospitals if there was a
sign of plague. The symptom from which the plague takes its name of
“bubonic” is the swelling of the great glands in the groin into hard
lumps. No greater profanation of the Indian reverence for home and
women could be imagined than this forcible entrance and examination
by men—by soldiers of another race. No matter how kindly and decent
and respectful our men were, no virtue on their part could prevent
their presence and action from infuriating any population, especially
in an Asiatic town. Riots broke out, and when I was in Poona, a small
stone was put up to mark the spot on the country road to Government
House, where the Chairman of the Plague Committee had been murdered,
together with a young officer who happened to be with him. When the
youth who conceived the deed was sentenced, he said to the judge,
“You may hang me to-morrow, but my soul will at once pass into
another body, and in sixteen years it will be fighting against the
English again.”

The kindly zeal, the strenuous measures, the fatherly concern, the
haste to do something, the utter inability to understand another
point of view, are alike characteristic of our Government and of the
elephant that sat on the orphaned eggs to hatch them.

From that time, I believe, arose a peculiar bitterness and feeling
of distrust towards our rule that slowly permeated the country, and
are still particularly strong in Poona itself. But their origin is
distant now, and when I was there all our old methods had long been
abandoned. There was now no examination for suspected cases, and no
military searching of houses. The people were not “segregated,” and
general disinfection was given up. Inoculation and “health camps”
had become the Government methods now. The object of inoculation
was the same as similar processes in other diseases, like small-pox
or typhoid; the object of the “health camps” was simply to separate
human beings from rats.

[Illustration: A HEALTH CAMP.]

[Illustration: IN A VILLAGE.

  [_Face p. 50._

That old connection between rats and plague had lately been examined
afresh, chiefly by Dr. Turner, the Public Health Officer in Bombay,
and the theory of the rat-flea had sprung into science. Contemplate
a dead rat lying on your floor in the day-time, and you will find
numerous fleas leaping up and down upon his body. If you are wise
and prudent, you will rapidly pour kerosene over him from a distance,
and then set him alight. For if, having seen him brewing in the air,
you do not thus nip him in the bud, you are likely to fall a victim
to the plague after sunset. A rat’s fleas are not the harmless,
homely insects that we know. This species of flea has a special
predilection for rats, and they will not leave their favourite home
if they can help it, at all events by day. At night, when the rat is
dead, they have to go, and then, as a last resort, they will take
refuge on a human body for want of better sustenance. But with them
they bring the germ that has killed the rat.

Whether they themselves infect the rat in the first instance, or
whether they only transmit from him a bacillus which the rat has
developed from other origins, I have not discovered; but I suppose
the latter. Nor am I quite sure whether the fleas die of plague
themselves or remain immune. Anyhow, the theory is that when once
they have passed the germ into a human being’s blood, the plague
is assured. In a climate like India’s the most careful and cleanly
people can never be secure against fleas, for, wash as they will,
some insect or other is pretty certain to be biting them every minute
of the day and night, and it is difficult to distinguish one bite
from another. A further terror is that the little grey squirrel
with paler stripes, which draws no distinction of race or riches,
and swarms throughout India, even on the roofs of the wealthiest
bungalows, is quite as much a favourite with the fleas as any rat
could be. While I was in Poona they were climbing over my verandah
and scampering across my floor by dozens, and I took a peculiarly
personal interest in their health, which happily appeared excellent.

The British Government was, at the time, buying rats alive at some
fraction of a farthing a head. They had already purchased 25,000 in
the town when I was there, and everywhere one met industrious Hindus
carrying rats in cages to the official rat-collector. Whether the
price was high enough to induce industrious Hindus to breed rats for
the British market, I do not know. But I believe it was found that
the reduction of the rat population gave the survivors such increased
vitality that never had such active and powerful specimens of rat
been seen before.

There is no very strict rule about the season for plague. Sometimes
it comes in the rains, sometimes in the drought. Usually it is worst
at the end of winter, but in 1907, when nearly 70,000 people died in
a week in the Punjab, it was approaching the height of summer. As a
rule the season lasts three months, and in bad seasons at Poona the
cases go up to 100 a day. While I was there, the rate, as I said
above, was comparatively low—only 12, 15, or 20 cases a day. But in
the Presidency of Bombay, as a whole, people were dying by 7000 a
week, and that seems a good deal, even though the population of the
provinces is 18,000,000, including Scinde. The British Isles count
for more than twice that number, but if we began dying of plague by
7000 a week, I dare say there would arise such a commotion for escape
as when you stir up an ants’ nest with a stick.

In Poona the Government had erected rows of tin huts as a hospital on
some vacant ground just beyond the railway station, and there I was
able to observe cases of the pestilence in every stage. There were
from 80 to 100 men, women, and children admitted as patients, and
the men and women were laid in separate rows. But otherwise not much
difference could be made between the patients as to caste and habits,
though some of the Brahmans had their food sent in from outside when
they were recovering, like first-class misdemeanants in our prisons.
It is rather peculiar that the Brahmans offer least resistance
to the disease, and this the Sister-in-charge attributed to the
strictness of their vegetarianism for ages past. To Europeans it is
less fatal than to any Indians, but, next to Europeans, the lowest or
“sweeper” caste, who will eat anything anyhow, almost like Europeans
themselves, are the best patients, and show the most recoveries.
There may, however, be other reasons for this difference besides
the food—I mean the natural hardiness of the labouring class, and
the natural tendency of all highly organized and sensitive beings to
collapse under fever.

Each patient in hospital lay in a separate cubicle, and mothers
or other relations were allowed to visit and sit there. A
plague-stricken mother might, I believe, even bring a young child
with her, so great was the confidence in the new theory of infection
and in the absence of rats. The stories of instant and unavoidable
contagion in other plagues, such as the plague of London, seem to
separate those diseases in kind from this bubonic plague; but very
likely the stories were not true, or what was considered to be
contagion was in reality an underlying common origin.

It was some comfort to a mother to be allowed to watch her thin,
bright-eyed child panting its life away, but the absorbed intensity
of her watching, as a rule, had not to continue long. The disease
begins with violent headache and a rapidly increasing temperature;
the breath becomes terrible, and the tongue chalky white or bluish.
There is a strong objection to taking food or drink, and milk is
often spat out by a spasm in the throat, as in hydrophobia. Delirium
supervenes about the third day and usually lasts to the sixth, when
most patients die. During the delirium there is an extreme desire to
get up and walk about, so that many patients have to be strapped down
to their beds. Far the most important thing is to keep the patient
absolutely still, as death most frequently comes from collapse of
the heart, and recovery depends almost entirely upon the patient’s
constitutional power of heart action. An English lady, who had come
through the disease, told me that even during the delirium she seemed
to be dimly conscious of the strain on the heart; but this memory may
have been only suggestion. I think the delirious patients that I saw
would be incapable of remembering anything of those three days, even
if they recovered.

Meantime, in their benign efforts to work off the poison in the
blood, the glands have from a very early stage developed into hard
lumps that usually suppurate and have to be incised, but sometimes
absorb without operation. When I touched the glands in the groin,
they felt like walnuts under the skin, and it is, as I said,
the presence of this obvious symptom which gives the plague its
characteristic name of “bubonic,” from the Greek word for groin.
After incision, the patient’s temperature often goes down rapidly,
but, in any case, the pain from the glands is usually very great;
indeed, I think it is the chief cause of such pain as the plague

Next to heart failure, the commonest cause of death is lung
complication after the crisis of fever is passed. The prostration
when the temperature begins to decline is usually extreme, and
some patients whom I saw were so emaciated that they appeared to be
parodies of famine—legs and arms like sticks, back and ribs like
frameworks of bone. It is true that probably they were not very fat
when they went into hospital. The delirium often leaves the patients
silly, and if I had been in Central Africa again, I should have said
at once that several of them had sleeping sickness in the third or
fourth month—the time when, in sleeping sickness, the control over
the emotions begins to fail. The nurses in the hospital were Indian
women, under the direction of a European Sister.[13]

While I was still in Poona, Sir George Clarke, the new Governor of
Bombay, who was already winning the confidence and respect of Indians
in all parties by his straightforward ways and his freedom from
official routine, issued a proclamation giving the actual statistics
of the plague, and calling on the people to submit themselves
voluntarily to inoculation as the only means of defence yet
discovered. The proclamation was read about the streets in Mahrati,
the people listening patiently, and then reflecting. Many Indians
have a feeling against inoculation, just as thousands of English
people have. They regard it as some sort of contamination, even when
it is voluntary, and the memory of an old error in the serum that
poisoned a village dies hard.[14] There is also a certain amount of
national and even religious prejudice on the subject. The thing is
European; it does not fit in with Hindu tradition, and Mr. Tilak, the
most powerful political and religious force in Poona, was known at
that time to oppose it. Still, it had been proved that, as a rule, no
great harm was done, and, on the off-chance that it might save their
lives, many took it. For inoculation there was the further inducement
of sixpence bestowed on each patient by a considerate Government, so
as to tide over the two or three days’ gentle illness that usually
follows the operation.

[Illustration: A VILLAGE STREET.]

[Illustration: A STREET IN PLAGUE.

  [_Face p. 58._

It naturally occurs to one that many a poor but dishonest man would
gladly be inoculated every day of his life for sixpence, or would,
at all events, induce his wife and children thus to contribute to
the family budget. Very likely that happens from time to time in the
case of far-seeing people who are resolved to avail themselves fully
of the Government’s prophylactic measures. But some real check upon
this form of prudence is imposed by the appearance of the arm, and an
official check is also kept by an elaborate system of finger-print
records—one of the most official farces I have ever seen. Even more
embarrassing, however, than the thrifty man is he who, feeling rather
unwell, hastens up to be inoculated, and is found to be developing
the plague already. Of course, nothing will persuade him that his
visit to the inoculator was not the cause of the disease, and much
suspicion is spread in this way among the people. It is, in any
case, extremely difficult to induce women to take the inoculation.
Everything possible is done to shelter their feelings; a most
discreet curtain is hung to protect them from sight and make them
feel at home; one of their own people is the operator, and only an
inch or two of arm is exposed, whereas they never have the slightest
objection to walking in the crowd with legs and waist quite bare at
any hour of the day. Yet the whole traditional instinct of Indian
womanhood, from the day of Sita, Rama’s wife, rises up in protest
against such a profanation.

At four separate points of the native city the Government had set
up stations where all comers might be inoculated free—not only
free, but with that sixpenny reward. In the midst of the central
market-place, where elderly bangle-merchants, with the help of soapy
powder, were squeezing gorgeous glass bangles from China over women’s
hands, and men and women were squatted on the stones, chaffering
over little heaps of queer vegetables and fruit, I found a native
apostle of science and fatherly Government preaching the terrors of
plague and the glory of redemption by serum. Before him was fixed
a little spirit stove, on which boiling vaseline simmered. At his
side was a glass saucer containing scraps of cotton wool dipped in
strong carbolic. One hand gesticulated the truths of nature, the
other held a little glass syringe, with a long, sharp beak, and any
one could see that the syringe was half full of yellow salvation.
Under the mingled influences of rhetoric and fear of death, a man
stepped forward from the listening half-circle. With the carbolic
wool the expositor washed the dust from the thin brown arm, told the
patient to admire an imaginary bird in the opposite direction, just
like a Margate photographer with a child, and plunged the sharp-nosed
syringe first into the boiling vaseline and then under the brown
skin. Instantly it was withdrawn, but a drop or two of the yellow
salvation had gone, and for three or four months—say, for the length
of one plague season, but only for that—the man was fairly safe. The
crowd sighed its satisfaction, as when a rocket bursts. The place on
the arm was wiped with carbolic wool. “Take his thumb mark, give him
the paper of instructions, pay him his six annas,” said the apostle
of bacillary science in Mahrati to a subordinate, and the labour of a
fatherly Government struggling with adversity went doggedly on.


[13] For the sake of comparison it may be of interest to quote a few
of the symptoms given in descriptions of other plagues. The account
by Thucydides (ii. 49) of the plague in Athens, 430 B.C., is the
most detailed: “All of a sudden,” he says, “people who were quite
well before were seized with violent pains in the head, together
with redness and inflammation of the eyes; the throat and tongue
became blood-red, and the breath strangely disagreeable. Sneezing and
sore throat ensued, and after a short time the lungs were affected
and there was violent coughing. When the disease settled in the
stomach it caused great disorder, with every known kind of purging
of bile, accompanied by severe pain. Most patients suffered from an
empty retching, with violent spasms, that sometimes gave relief at
once, sometimes only after a long time. The surface of the body was
not very hot to touch, nor was it pale, but suffused red or livid,
covered with small spots and ulcers. But the internal heat was so
great that the patients could not endure even the lightest clothes or
muslins, but insisted on being naked, and longed to throw themselves
into cold water. Many who were not looked after actually jumped into
wells, overcome with unquenchable thirst; but it was just the same
whether a patient drank much or little. All through the illness they
were unable to keep still or get any sleep. Whilst the fever was at
its height the body did not waste away, but resisted the disease
beyond all expectation, so that most patients died from the internal
fever on the seventh or ninth day with a good deal of strength still
left; or, if they survived the crisis, the disease descended to the
bowels, where it set up ulceration and such violent diarrhœa that in
most cases death ensued from weakness.”

The chief symptoms given by Boccaccio in the Introduction to the
“Decameron,” where he describes the plague in Florence (1348),
are: “At the beginning of the disease both men and women developed
swellings in the groin or under the armpit. These swellings grew to
the size of a crab-apple or an egg, sometimes larger, sometimes less,
and the common people called them ‘gavoccioli.’ In a short time this
deadly sore began to spread to all parts of the body, and the nature
of the disease gradually changed into black or livid spots, which
appeared on the arms and thighs and other parts, sometimes large and
scattered, sometimes minute and thick together.” He goes on to speak
of the entire inability of doctors to deal with the plague, and of
the readiness with which the smallest association or contagion spread
it from one to another.

Defoe wrote only at secondhand about the plague of London (1665),
but such symptoms as he gives of that “spotted fever” were probably
taken from eye-witnesses with whom he had conversed. He mentions
violent pains in the head, vomitings, and spots on the thighs; also
“swellings, generally in the neck and groin, which, when they grew
hard and would not break, grew so painful that it was equal to the
most exquisite torture.... In some these swellings were made hard,
partly by the force of the distemper, and partly by their being too
violently drawn, and were so hard that no instrument could cut them,
and then they burnt them with caustics, so that many died raving mad
in the torment, and some in the very operation. In these distresses,
some for want of help to hold them down in their beds, or to look to
them, laid hands upon themselves. Some broke out into the streets,
perhaps naked, and would run directly down to the river, if they were
not stopped by the watchman or other officer, and plunge themselves
into the water, wherever they found it.”

[14] In 1902, nineteen died from this cause at Mulkowal, a village
in the Punjab, and the Punjab Government abandoned the hope of
inoculation for the time.



I knew it would come. Till I had been some time in Bombay, I did not
realize the custom, but the moment I realized it, I felt there was no
escape. As often happens with forebodings, it came unexpectedly in
the end. I was visiting the simple house, workshop, and garden, in a
main street of Poona, where the two Extremist papers are published.
Both appear weekly—the _Mahratta_ in English, the _Kesari_ or
_Lion_ in the Mahrati language. Both are owned and directed by Mr.
Tilak, the acknowledged leader of the Extremists in India, but the
_Mahratta_ was edited by Mr. Kelkar, an intellectual, keen-tempered
Brahman, who accompanied me over the printing office and showed me a
courteous friendliness all through my stay in Poona. Both papers have
obtained what is thought a large circulation in India—the _Mahratta_
selling 11,000 a week, the _Kesari_ close upon twice that number. In
outward appearance, the _Mahratta_ is very much like the _Spectator_.
The _Kesari_, with lions in emblem defiant on each side of the tide,
is on cheaper paper of eight folded pages. Its language is said to
be more violent than the _Mahratta’s_, which as a rule is carefully
moderate in expression.

In the cool and quiet of the editor’s room, among bookshelves
mildewing like most Indian libraries, I was listening to the history
of the papers when I observed a crowd of brown printers, deferential
but eager, at the door. In their hands they bore strange objects,
such as I had never before seen, but at a glance I knew the moment
had arrived. Advancing to my chair they hung around my neck a thick
festoon of orange marigolds, picked out with the silvery tinsel
which decorators of our Christmas trees identify with fairy rain.
They encircled both my wrists with orange bracelets to match, and
in my right hand they placed an arrangement of variegated flowers
and spangles, stiff and formal as the sceptre of the Tsar. So I
sat enthroned, and if only a correspondent from Calcutta had been
present, the broadsheets of London that evening might have screamed
with scare-heads of “Sedition!” Even in the midst of my friendly
embarrassment, I could not but regret a journalistic opportunity lost.

Embarrassing, certainly it was, but only to my British ignorance
and shyness. To complete the Imperial ceremony, my dusky subjects
sprinkled me with delicate odours from silvern vessels; they soused
my handkerchief in scent; they rubbed spikenard and aloes on the back
of my hands. Then, standing at a distance, they contemplated their
handiwork with kindly satisfaction, while I laboured to express my
august gratification in an Imperial tongue they could not understand.
Every one present knew, and I knew myself, that they would have
honoured in the same way any visitor who had come to their works in
a benignant spirit. Even when, hung with fillets like a sacrificial
victim and bearing the floral sceptre upright in my hand, I issued
from the front door into the full blaze of the public street, the
passers-by looked at me with admiring interest, but without a trace
of laughter. These things are merely habit, and before I left India I
lived to dread garlands as little as my bed. But that first time—with
what shamefaced horror the consciousness of my British trousers
and khaki helmet filled me! Suddenly, with an inexplicable pang, I
remembered that I had once rowed two in the Christ Church torpid, and
if any of my own countrymen had gone down the street at that moment,
I think I should have got under my cart instead of into it.[15]

[Illustration: MR. TILAK.

  [_Face p. 64._

Thus ornamented by a graceful hospitality, I drove away, some sixteen
miles south-west of the city, through an irrigated and fertile
land of terraced rice-fields, draining the abundant water that rice
flourishes in from one level into another. Slowly we drew near a
great blue mountain, conspicuous from Poona among the other hills
for its height and flat-topped outline. It is the mountain fortress
of Singarh, famed in Deccan history. Unknown peoples had made it
their rock of defence, Mohammedans had reigned there, Mahrattas took
it by storm. Finally the British, some ninety years ago, bombarded
the place till it could stand no more, and now all that afternoon
I had watched a British helio on its summit blinking messages to
the Poona cantonment. There is a long, steep climb before the old
fortifications that run round the edge of the cliffs are reached,
for the top is as high as Ben Nevis. But passing through a western
arch in the walls we entered on the broad grassy plateau while still
the low horizon was brilliant with sunset, and against the sunset a
red-turbaned, white-clad figure, upright but using a long staff, came
to meet me.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak appeared to be about ten years older than Mr.
Gokhale, but it is difficult to tell his age, for if ever he takes
off his Mahratta turban, one sees his head shaven to the back, where
the hair grows in a long, black tuft, as is the fashion of his race
or caste. His full, brown eyes are singularly brilliant, steady with
daring, rather aggressive But his general manner is very quiet and
controlled, and both in conversation and public speaking he talks
in brief, assured sentences, quite free from rhetoric, outwardly
passionless even in moments of the highest passion, and seldom going
beyond the statement of facts, or, rather, of his aspect of facts at
the time. His apparent calmness and self-command may arise partly
from courageous indifference to his own future, partly from prolonged
legal practice at his own trials. At first one would say, his was
the legal mind, subtle, given to fine distinctions, rather capable
of expressing thought than of thinking, and quick to adapt both the
expression and the thought to the audience of the moment. But there
is much in his life and energies that seems to show that his natural
bias was towards religious speculation and scholarly traditions.

Among the leading reformers of India, he is probably the most
orthodox Hindu. He professes a devout belief in progressive Hinduism
and in successive reincarnations of Krishna at epochs of India’s
greatest need. But in practice his Hinduism often reacts against
the forces of progress, and serves him as an ally in resisting the
materializing notions imported from the West. In scholarship, he is
known among all Sanscrit scholars as one of the closest and most
original. His book on “The Arctic Home of the Vedas” maintains from
internal evidence that the Sacred Books of India originated among a
glacial people inhabiting the region of the Arctic Circle, or some
land equally chilly. I cannot say what the value of the theory may
be. Possibly the book is as fantastic as it is learned. But to me
it is significant because it appeared in the midst of the author’s
direst persecution, when money, reputation, influence, and everything
were at stake, and few men would have had the courage to spare a
thought either for Sacred Books or Arctic Circles.

It is said that he is embittered. One of the highest and best of
English officials in India told me he admired Mr. Tilak, and would
gladly know him personally, but was afraid of inviting him for fear
of a rebuff, so irreconcilable was the man reputed. Yet when the
meeting did take place, by a kind of accident some weeks later,
there was no rebuff, but only courtesy and openly expressed esteem.
Certainly, if a fine nature can ever be embittered, Mr. Tilak has
had enough to embitter him. Early in the ’eighties he was imprisoned
for speaking against the Diwan or Prime Minister of a Native State,
whom he accused of cruelty to the Raja. In September, 1897, he
was sentenced to eighteen months’ imprisonment for attacks in the
_Kesari_ upon the Bombay Government when the population of Poona
was frenzied at the plague regulations. After a year in gaol he was
released, but soon afterwards he became involved in a private suit
concerned with his trusteeship for a widow named Tai Maharaj and her
adoption of an heir. The Bombay Government took up the case, and the
trial, with appeals, dragged on for nearly two years, Mr. Tilak being
condemned by one magistrate to a long imprisonment and heavy fine.
“The paths of scholarship,” was the _Pioneer’s_ comment, “lead but to
the gaol,” and in Court Mr. Tilak was publicly handcuffed. Finally,
in March, 1904, his appeal came before the High Court of Bombay,
represented by Chief Justice Sir Lawrence Jenkins and Mr. Justice
Batty; the conviction and sentence were quashed and the fine was
ordered to be refunded.

This judgment confirmed the common Indian opinion that British
justice can best be looked for in the High Courts of Bombay,
Calcutta, and Madras, because the judges appointed directly by the
Crown can maintain the law without being unconsciously prejudiced
by long service under the Anglo-Indian routine. But, unfortunately,
owing to Mr. Tilak’s past record, and his connection with the
Extremist papers, the ruinous action taken against him had the air
of persecution, and laid the Bombay Government open to a charge
of vindictiveness. It was during these proceedings that Mr. Tilak
displayed his fine unconcern by issuing his treatise on the origin
of the Vedas, and in the end, when his innocence was finally
established, he found that a leader’s greatest advantage of having
suffered for his cause was indefinitely increased.

When I met him that evening on the mountain top, another crisis
of his fate was just being decided, but nothing could surpass his
outward calm. He was living in one of the dilapidated bungalows
thinly scattered over the plateau. I was put to lodge in another
empty one, because, belonging, as he does, to the same high caste
as Mr. Gokhale, and to the same subsection of it, he refuses, as a
strict Hindu, to emancipate himself from the caste obligations and
live or eat with mere Europeans. All that night the wind roared
over the mountains, but with the first sun he came to lead me round
the elaborate ruins of the fortifications, and, as though he had no
interest in the world except as tourist’s guide, he showed me where
the British guns had battered, and where, in the time of the Mahratta
hero, Shivaji, two hundred and forty years ago, his own ancestors
crept up the precipice at night and scaled this very wall, aided by
a great lizard that was trained to carry a string up the surface and
hold tight with its claws till a man could climb. So at this dizzy
spot the party had climbed; then killed.

It is easy to perceive the marvels of the past, and belief in them is
unimportant. But to realize the strange significance of the man at
my side, and to understand the things he believed in at the moment
was a different matter. He continued to discourse about the villages
half hidden in the deep valleys below, and narrate their sufferings,
hopes, and varying prosperity as if he had no further thought on
earth beyond their cattle and their rice. But I knew that at Nagpur
in the Central Provinces, things had just been happening which deeply
involved himself and his party. The annual meeting of the National
Congress was to have been held there at Christmas. The Reception
Committee had met to appoint a President, and the Moderates of the
majority chose Dr. Rash Behari Ghose. Thereupon, the Extremists,
insisting upon their majority in the Central Provinces and in the
Executive Committee, chose Mr. Tilak. He in turn proposed Mr. Lajpat
Rai, as a compromise; but, with his usual chivalry, Mr. Lajpat Rai
refused to stand rather than risk a division among the reform party,
or an open breach between the Congress and the Government. To be
sure, deeper questions of principle or of method lay behind these
personal disputes, but on the personal question of the President the
Nagpur meeting had just broken up in disorder. The Moderates had
determined not to hold the Congress at Nagpur at all, but to accept
the invitation of Surat, only a few hours’ journey north of Bombay,
which was the headquarters of the strongest section among them.

Compared to the wild adventures of his Mahratta ancestry, or to
the economic conditions of the peasants far below us, one might
have supposed from his manner that Mr. Tilak regarded these party
differences as beneath all notice. Perhaps he did so regard them,
and, if he did, he was partially right. But still, at the moment, the
party difference was the thing attracting most attention in India,
and it was sure to grow in importance. Mr. Tilak’s own thoughts might
have been occupied with the situation all day, but it was only in
the afternoon that he came quietly into my empty bungalow alone, and
began to discuss it in his concise and definite way. When I published
a careful abstract of this conversation shortly afterwards, many
Moderates and Extremists alike supposed that he had dissembled his
true intentions, and told me only what he wished to be known. As he
did not ask for secrecy, certainly I never supposed he was telling
me things he did not wish to be known, and I think it very likely
that he enjoyed giving himself the pleasure of appearing as Moderate
as possible. But in the evening I read over to him the notes I had
taken of the conversation just as it was afterwards published, and he
approved of what I wrote. In studying his speeches and writings of
recent years, I have also found the lines of his policy laid down in
almost the same words as he used to me, and I am inclined to think
that his statements resembled his beliefs rather closely.

His first object was to show that, as to their immediate purpose,
Extremists and Moderates did not differ in aim:—

  “It is not by our purpose, but by our methods only,” he said, “that
  our party has earned the name of Extremist. Certainly, there is
  a very small party which talks about abolishing the British rule
  at once and completely. That does not concern us; it is much too
  far in the future. Unorganized, disarmed, and still disunited, we
  should not have a chance of shaking the British suzerainty. We may
  leave all that sort of thing to a distant time. Our object is to
  obtain eventually a large share in the administration of our own
  country. Our remote ideal is a confederacy of the Indian provinces,
  possessing colonial self-government, with all Imperial questions
  set apart for the central government in England. Perhaps our Home
  Rule would take the form of Provincial Councils of fifty or sixty
  members, nominated or indirectly elected at first, but elected by
  popular vote as education became more general.

  “But that ideal also,” he went on, “is far ahead of us—perhaps
  generations ahead. What we aim at doing now is to bring pressure
  on the bureaucracy; to make it feel that all is not well. Of late
  the attitude of our British officials has greatly changed for the
  worse. They no longer speak of educating us up to freedom, as the
  great Englishmen like Elphinstone did in the past. They appear to
  agree with the _Times_ that our education in subjects like English
  history must be checked, because it is dangerous for ‘natives’ to
  learn anything about freedom. Your present statesmen seem to take
  the old Roman Empire as their ideal, and even in that they follow
  the modern school of Oxford historians, who trace the fall of the
  Empire to the concession of citizenship to the provinces.

  “I know the worst that you can say about the Russian bureaucracy;
  but even that bureaucracy does, according to its lights, seek to
  maintain the honour and prosperity of Russia, because Russia is its
  own country. Our bureaucracy administers a country not its own for
  the sake of a country far away, entirely different in character and
  interests. Our bureaucracy is despotic, alien, and absentee.”

Mr. Tilak then referred to the well-known complaints brought against
our Administration by nearly all students of Indian economics—the
“drain” of some £30,000,000 to £35,000,000 a year to England in the
shape of various payments from an impoverished country; the ruin of
Indian trades and manufactures, first by duties against her exports,
and now by customs dues within her own borders, deliberately imposed
for the advantage of British, Austrian, and American firms; the
reduction of very nearly the whole population to a subsistence on
a starving agriculture; and the unexplained increase of malaria,
famine, and plague.

  “The immediate question for us,” he continued, “is how we are to
  bring pressure on this bureaucracy, in which we have no effective
  representation, but are debarred from all except subordinate
  positions. It is only in our answer to that question that we differ
  from the so-called Moderates. They still hope to influence public
  opinion in England by sending deputations, supporting a newspaper,
  and pleading the justice of our cause. Both parties, of course,
  have long ago given up all hope of influencing Anglo-Indian opinion
  out here. But even in England we find most people ignorant and
  indifferent about India, and the influence of retired Anglo-Indians
  at home is perpetually against us. When Lord Cromer said the other
  day that India must be no party question, he meant that Liberals
  should support the bureaucracy as blindly as Tories. The history of
  the last year has proved to us how unexceptionably they fulfil that

  “Under these disappointments we Extremists have determined on other
  methods. It is a matter of temperament, and the younger men are
  with us. Our motto is ‘Self-reliance, not Mendicancy.’

  “Besides the ordinary Swadeshi movement, we work by boycott and
  passive resistance. Our boycott is voluntary. We do not advocate
  picketing or compulsory prevention from the purchase of foreign
  goods. And in passive resistance we shall simply refuse to notice
  such measures as the Seditious Meetings Act. But we do not care
  what happens to ourselves. We are devoted absolutely and without
  reservation to the cause of the Indian peoples. To imprison
  even 3000 or 4000 of us at the same time would embarrass the
  bureaucracy. That is our object—to attract the attention of England
  to our wrongs by diverting trade and obstructing the Government.
  Without in the least intending it, England has promoted the idea
  of Indian unity—by railways, by education, and the use of a common
  official language. The mere pressure of the British domination upon
  us makes for unity. Our unity will not be complete, perhaps, for
  generations yet, but it is the goal to which our faces are now set,
  and we shall not turn back.”

As I said, many have suspected that, in this statement of his party’s
aims and methods, Mr. Tilak was playing down to an Englishman’s love
of moderation. To some extent that may have been true, but only, I
think, with regard to the distance in time at which he placed India’s
realization of self-government. On January 4, 1907, Mr. Tilak had
addressed the students in College Square, Calcutta, upon the “Tenets
of the New Party,” and I extract a few sentences dealing with this

  “There were certain points,” he said, “on which both parties were
  agreed. The object both parties had at heart was the same; it was
  self-government. The present system of administration was ruinous
  to the country both materially and morally.... There were some,
  indeed, who still believed that the continuance of the British rule
  was necessary for some centuries in order to raise them to the
  level of civilized nations. Those who held such views obviously
  could not follow his arguments, and they must agree to differ and
  part as friends. But most of them were agreed that the present
  system must be mended or ended as soon as possible. Their object
  being the same, it was with regard to their methods that the
  difference arose.

  “... The New Party’s conclusion was that it was impossible to
  gain any concessions by petitions and prayers. This was the first
  difference between the Moderate and Progressive parties. He did
  not believe in the philanthropy of British politics. There was
  no instance in history of one foreign nation ruling another for
  the benefit of the other and not for its own profit. The rule of
  one nation by another was in itself unnatural. He granted the
  efficiency of the British Government and the excellence of its
  methods for its own purpose, but these methods and that efficiency
  did not work for the interests of the people of the country. A
  good foreign government was less desirable than an inferior native

On the question of revolution and revolutionary violence, the
following passage occurred in Mr. Tilak’s address during the Shivaji
Festival in Poona, June, 1907:—

  “It is true that what we seek may seem like a revolution; it is
  a revolution in the sense that it means a complete change in
  the theory of the government of India as now put forward by the
  bureaucracy. It is true that this revolution must be a bloodless
  revolution, but it would be a folly to suppose that if there is to
  be no shedding of blood, there are also to be no sufferings to be
  undergone by the people. These sufferings must be great. You can
  win nothing unless you are prepared to suffer. An appeal to the
  good-feeling of the rulers is everywhere discovered to have but
  narrow limits. Your revolution must be bloodless, but that does not
  mean that you may not have to suffer or to go to gaol.”[17]

When I left the mountain’s summit, Mr. Tilak accompanied me back to
the limit of the dark and ancient walls. I recognized in him the
personal attraction that Extremists always have—the freedom from
hesitation and half-measures, the delight in conflict, the reckless
disregard of self. When to this attraction his own people could add
his personal and intimate acquaintance with all classes among them
down to the poorest villagers, and his steady maintenance of all that
they held most dear in religious belief and customary observances, I
could not wonder at his influence among them. So he stood surrounded
by the ruins of empires built by his own and other races, while, with
the merriment and ironic humour I knew so well, our soldiers of the
helio party folded up their instruments among the rocks close by and
prepared for night.[18]


[15] Compare the Attis of Catullus LXIII. 50. “Patria o mei creatrix,
patria o mea genetrix.... Ego gymnasei fui flos,” etc.

[16] Report in Mr. Tilak’s paper, the _Mahratta_, January 13, 1907.

[17] Report in the _Mahratta_, June 30, 1907.

[18] On June 24, 1908, Mr. Tilak was again arrested for alleged
sedition contained in an article of the _Kesari_, commenting on
the suppressive measures introduced after the discovery of bombs
in Calcutta. He was tried in Bombay before Mr. Justice Davar and a
special jury of seven Europeans and two Parsis. The jury was unable
to agree, but the judge accepted the verdict of guilty from seven
against two, and Mr. Tilak was sentenced to six years’ transportation
and a fine of 1000 rupees (July 22, 1908).



Several times in Poona I met a Mr. Junshi (as I will call him),
who lived in one of the beautiful houses the Mahrattas used to
build while their Peshwas still reigned. He was an oldish man, for
an Indian, but thin, bright-eyed and alert, and from his mouth
statistics flowed like water from a fountain statue. One day I called
on him, and was shown into the open courtyard of old marble and teak,
round which the main building rose in three stories; but beyond I
could see another courtyard, more beautiful and cooler still, where
lived his wife, his sons’ wives, his nieces, and other ladies of
the blood, and beyond that again there was a glimpse of leaves and
brilliant flowers.

“We require flowers,” he said, “for the worship of our idols. We
worship our idols here in the house every morning and evening,
hanging garlands round their necks and placing bunches of flowers
before them. You, I believe, worship only once a week.”

I told him I had been brought up on family prayers that never failed
in regularity, even when we were at the seaside, and this pleased him
very much.

“However,” he went on, “I think we have an advantage in acknowledging
so many gods in our pantheon that each of us can choose which
he likes best. For each of our idols is a symbol of some divine
attribute, and helps the worshipper to fix his thoughts upon the
attribute he most desires to worship.”

“But some of us also,” I said, “find it helpful to contemplate images
representing the attributes of motherly love, chastity, compassion,
or courage in the face of evil; and we offer flowers to them.”

This pleased him too, but when we reached his long room upstairs we
turned from idols to the main interest of his life. On bookshelves
round the walls, and heaped upon the floor and tables, were hundreds
of volumes and pamphlets crammed with figures. It seemed as if the
owner had collected every book and essay ever written upon the
economics of India, and year by year had filtered them into his mind.
He had the instinct for averages which I take to be the economist’s
instinct. He thought of women and children in terms of addition; he
saw men as columns walking. He watched the rising and falling curves
of revenue, expenditure, and population as others watch the curves
of beauty. Any line of figures was welcome to his spirit, and though
he had made his living by teaching little Indians to read “Robinson
Crusoe,” his chief study seemed to lie in the scripture called the
“Statistical Abstract relating to British India.” Upon this careful
piece of literature he meditated day and night; or, if his mind
required a change, he relaxed it on theology.

I have called the “Statistical Abstract” literature, and to him it
was so. To him it was as pleasing as a poem to know that under the
heading of “Priests and others engaged in religion,” the number of
“total supported” was 2,728,812, among whom 178,656 females were
classified as “actual workers”; or that the total supported by
“indefinite and disreputable occupations” was 737,033, and in this
class alone the male and female “actual workers” were approximately
equal. He liked to meditate on the daily average of prisoners in the
various provinces, and on the infirmities of population according
to residence and according to age. It was good to know that there
were about 6,000,000 more males than females in the country, but
18,000,000 more widows than widowers, and 391,000 widows under
fifteen. These were the lyrics or realistic ballads of his reading,
but he took higher interest in the figures that move with something
of epic grandeur. To him there was a splendour and æsthetic
satisfaction in knowing that the total of India’s population,
including the Native States, was 294,361,056 in 1901, and that of
this number 207,050,557 were Hindus like himself; while agriculture
supported 191,691,731—close upon two-thirds, or 65·16 per cent., as
he put it—and 15,686,421 (including nearly 1,000,000 females) could
write and read, a total of 1,125,231 being “literate in English.”

But I think, after all, it was the great passage headed “Finance”
that he enjoyed with the most delicate appreciation for style.
Perhaps it depended on his mood whether he more admired the lines
of the “Gross Revenue and Expenditure” or of the “Net Revenue
and Expenditure.” It was sonorous as a hexameter to read aloud
that the total gross revenue in India and England for 1905-6 was
£84,997,685, and the total gross expenditure charged to revenue was
£82,905,831. But the net statements of revenue at £48,539,680, and
expenditure at £46,447,826, were trim as a sonnet. It was a dubious
point, but for details he certainly preferred the gross, thinking
them more realistic, and his favourite passage was that beginning,
“Principal heads of Revenue, Land Revenue, £18,862,169, for 1905-6.”
Against this he would set, as a kind of antiphone, the gross
expenditure on army services (excluding Marine and Military Works) of

There were two passages also from which he appeared to derive the
kind of savage pleasure most men seek in tragedy or satire. One was
that the gross expenditure on education by the Government of India
amounted to less than £1,700,000 in 1905-6, and he worked out the
State expenditure for education for the current year (1907-8) at
1½_d._ per head in India, as against 5_s._ 4_d._ per head in France.
The other was that the Hindus, Mohammedans, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists,
and Animists contributed out of their labour during the year of grace
which we had just survived (1906-7) the sum of £125,906 in order
that the British residents might not be devoid of the consolations
of religion as represented by Bishops and Anglican chaplains, Roman
priests, Presbyterian divines, and cemeteries.

For myself, there was, of course, a certain ironic interest in the
endowment of an Anglo-Indian’s Christianity by the natives around
him, and for the first time I was inclined to favour a system of
payment by results. But, in regard to Finance, all such things are
insignificant in comparison with the one main question of the tax
upon the cultivator.[20]

An immemorial custom in India, consolidated in the Laws of Manu,
gave the ruler a share in all crops—a fraction fluctuating according
to the soil, but not higher than one quarter. Probably this was a
tribute levied upon the village community in return for protection,
or simply as a penalty for conquest. It was paid in kind, so much
grain from so much crop, and as the proportion was always the same on
the same ground, the peasant did not feel the variation in quantity
much. But having inherited the custom, the British rulers found it
more convenient and uniform to collect the tax in cash, and to levy
the rate, not in proportion to each year’s crop, but on a valuation
that remains unaltered for long terms of years—usually thirty years
in Madras and Bombay, but twenty years in other places, for instance
in the Punjab. This process of valuation is called the Settlement,
and Settlement Officers are almost continually engaged in drawing
up a kind of progressive Doomsday Book upon the fields, pastures,
woods, and wells of each village. It is hardly possible to ascertain
the exact proportion of value fixed by the Settlement Officers as
the tax. Throughout India there is a general understanding that
“about one-half of the well-ascertained net assets should be the
Government demand.”[21] This income tax of ten shillings in the pound
is, however, in reality a fairly steady minimum, and the tax often
goes higher, to say nothing of the “cesses” or local taxes nominally
levied for roads and education.

Whether the money is called tax or rent, would not seem at first
sight to make much difference; for it has to be paid and the people
who pay it have no voice in its levy or in its expenditure. If it
is a tax, it is a large income tax on land, fixed for some years
and collected from the smallest landowners as well as the largest.
If it is a rent, the system is partial land-nationalization without
national control and without economic freedom. But as a matter of
practice, the difference in the use of words is vital, and it cannot
be put more plainly than in the Minute written by Lord Salisbury when
he was Secretary of State for India in 1875:—

  “If we say that it is rent, the modern Indian statesman will hold
  the Government in strictness entitled to all that remains after
  wages and profits have been paid, and he will do what he can to
  hasten the advent of the day when the State shall no longer be
  kept by any weak compromises from the enjoyment of its undoubted
  rights. If we persuade him that it is revenue, he will note the
  vast disproportion of its incidence compared to that of other
  taxes, and his efforts will tend to remedy the inequality, and to
  lay upon other classes and interests a more equitable share of the
  fiscal burden. I prefer the latter tendency to the former.”[22]

The average Indian official does not agree with Lord Salisbury. He
prefers the rent theory to the tax theory, and when the cultivator
has been allowed his subsistence off the holding, together with what
the official estimates as profit, the rent is taken in the name
of revenue, but under the excuse of rent, and I have often heard
officials urge the theory of land nationalization in their defence.
It is, however, as I said, a nationalization in which the conditions
of political and economic freedom are absent.

The new assessment, which in Bombay lasts for thirty years, depends
almost entirely on the discretion of the Settlement Officer. His
decision is supervised by higher authorities, but it usually stands,
and the only fixed rule for his guidance is that he may not increase
the revenue of a Taluka (group of villages) by more than 33 per
cent., nor that of a single village by more than 66 per cent., nor
that of a single holding by more than 100 per cent. This leaves
him plenty of margin, and in fifteen large districts of the Bombay
Presidency we find that the average increase was 30·4 per cent. at
the last assessment (1899).[23] This increase is assessed, not on
the yield of the ground, but on the “capabilities” of the ground,
and “capabilities” are calculated upon the quality of the soil,
the average rainfall, the market, the railway, and other elements
of “unearned increment.” Mr. Vaughan Nash’s account of the matter
expresses what happens:—

  “The officer appointed to value the land and fix the assessment
  has made his shot—I use the expression advisedly—at the average
  crop, and has determined the demand which is to hold for the next
  twenty or thirty years; and in theory it is understood that the
  cultivator is to enjoy not less than half the profits of his farm,
  beside the privilege of subsisting on its produce.... At the end
  of the assessment period the authorities make another shot; and
  now mark what happens. They find that since their last valuation
  prices have advanced, new railways have been made, cultivation has
  been intensified—or might be intensified, under a little pressure;
  and, after the due application of tests of all kinds, geological,
  botanical, hydrographical, meteorological, arboricultural, etc., it
  is discovered that land and farmer can bear an extra 30 per cent.
  or so on the old assessment.”[24]

We may assume the Settlement Officer to be a scrupulously honest
and painstaking public servant. Let us assume that his knowledge of
agriculture and local conditions is equal to his devotion. Still his
responsibility is almost too great for the wisest and most zealous
official. It is his official duty to raise as much as he decently can
for the Government, whether he calls the sum tax or rent or share
of profits. Against his decision there can be no resistance and no
practicable appeal. The cultivator is not in reality a free agent in
the new bargain, and if he protests that the payment is beyond his
income, he is informed that, being incapable of cultivating his own
land to the highest advantage, he must learn better or go.

Usually he does neither. In most cases he has no opportunity for
learning better, and he cannot, or does not, go. He borrows. An
anonymous writer once attacked me with scorn for saying that a large
proportion of cultivators in Bombay were receiving no net income, no
profits for themselves at all; they were simply existing on their
land, and for their few clothes, medicines, and family festivals they
were trying to get outside work, selling their family bangles, or
appealing to the money-lender on the off-chance that a “bumper crop”
might enable them to pay something some day.

  “According to Mr. Nevinson,” cried this anonymous writer, “the
  ryots in the Presidency are such simpletons as to go on cultivating
  land, their income from such cultivation being always equalled
  by their cultivation expenses. Why, then, do they cultivate at
  all, when obviously by abandoning the land and its profitless
  cultivation they could at once better their position by devoting to
  other work the time and labour they now expend on cultivation.”[25]

The question is worthy of the old professorial economists, who never
went beyond books for knowledge, and settled the affairs of human
nature in their studies by their own conceptions of reason. They
used to tell us that, when one trade failed, the labour devoted to
it became absorbed in other occupations. I have often wondered, if
their trade of theorizing failed, in what other occupation their
labour would become absorbed. A large number of our Indian officials
spend nearly the whole of their time dealing with abstractions and
cases on paper, their feet under their writing-tables. The increasing
pressure of the daily routine drives them further and further from
reality, and one might suppose that this anonymous writer had never
been face to face with a peasant in his home, or known anything of
the peasant’s clinging to the land, or ever been thrown out of work
and compelled to face starvation for a single day himself.

What I said was perfectly accurate. The Indian cultivator will cling
to his land even when he makes no profit beyond his subsistence wage.
I believe the same to be true of peasant proprietors or small holders
in nearly every country; certainly it is true in France, Russia,
and Ireland, for I have known cases in all three countries. So the
Indian cultivator, when he makes no profit and is called upon for
increased assessment or his daughter’s marriage, does not at once
set off to Bombay and become a watchmaker or a docker, as economists
think he ought. As I said, he borrows. Usually he goes to the village
money-lender (banya or sowkar), and receives advances at 12 to 30
per cent. per annum, according to his character in the village. In
reality, I think, the money-lender speculates on the chance of a
“bumper crop” every few years, but in the last resort he may sell up
the cultivator through the civil courts in Bombay, or convert him
into his own labourer to work the land for him on a subsistence wage.
In hopes of saving the ryot from this extortion, the Government has
devised agricultural banks and other schemes for advancing loans at
the reasonable interest of 5 per cent., and in course of time this
benefit will probably increase. But at present the economists, as
usual, have made the mistake of omitting the uncertain element in
man, and he yet continues to prefer his familiar old money-lender
to the most advantageous Government loan. In some districts I have
heard there is a national feeling about it, but I suppose the chief
reason really is that the Government claims its interest down on the
nail for a fixed day, whereas the village money-lender can often be
cajoled, bribed, frightened, or persuaded, like a reasonable tailor,
to put off the dreaded moment of demand.

The actual cash amount of the assessment is not such an important
question to the cultivator as its proportion to his income. The
figures given for Deccan villages by Mr. Vaughan Nash in his “Family
Budgets,” show an assessment of about two shillings an acre.[26]
Many of the villages I visited were probably poorer, being in the
mountains, but the average assessment tax in them appeared to be
only a little over one shilling an acre, and sometimes as low as
fivepence, on an average holding of twenty acres. The assessment, as
I said, has now to be paid in cash on a certain day, often while the
crop is still growing. If payment is not made, everything the peasant
possesses can be seized and sold by the Revenue authorities—house
and land, plough and oxen, bedding and cooking pot. That is the
money-lender’s opportunity, and in practice it is usually the
money-lender who hands over the cash. If he refuses a further
advance, the Government is compelled either to cancel the debt (which
is now often done in famine seasons), or to suspend the debt till
next harvest (which is frequently done, but only puts off the evil
day), or to sell the peasant up, which usually yields a very small
price, and sometimes produces serious disturbances, as in the Deccan
riots of 1875, when the money-lenders were burnt out and driven from
the village.[27]

As is well known, nearly all the land in the Bombay Presidency, and
far the greater part of Madras, is held on this “ryotwari” system,
or peasant tenantry to the State, there being no intermediary at law
between the Government and the cultivator, though the money-lender
often acts as such. In many other provinces the land is owned
by landlords, or “zemindars,” much as in our own country, and
the revenue is taken from them, though it is ultimately paid by
the cultivator. In Bengal the zemindars were granted a Permanent
Settlement in 1793, which fixed the demands of the State so that
no further assessment has been instituted, and revenue stands at
an almost constant figure. The Rent Acts of 1859 and 1885 aimed at
protecting the cultivators from the usual abuses and extortions of
the landlord system, but whether the Permanent Settlement, which, of
course, involves a great loss of revenue to Government, is justified
or not by its results—whether the greater prosperity and intelligence
of Bengal arise from the moderation and fixity of the assessment, or
are due to climate, race, and enterprise, is one of those questions
that are argued between officials and educated Indians with a kind of
perpetual motion. A similar Permanent Settlement for the whole of
India was proposed by Lord Canning just before his death in 1862, but
finally abandoned twenty years later, after laborious discussion.[28]

[Illustration: THE RYOT’S HOME.]


  [_Face p. 92._

On leaving even small and beautiful cities like Poona you pass
through a zone where the inhabitants enjoy the health and suffer
from the scrappiness of suburbs. Here they live partly by gardening,
partly by burning lime or working in the town, and their houses
have a touch of urban refinement. The ceilings and the tops of the
walls, for instance, are hung with those garish pictures of religious
subjects—the adventures of Krishna, and other scenes—which would
provide so suitable a market for German art. But the suburbs are
short, within a few miles you enter the heart of the country, and in
his primeval village are brought face to face with the ryot—the
cultivator of the soil, the basis of the Indian Empire, the one man
for whom, or at least by means of whom, all the rest of the intricate
machinery exists, from the splendours of Simla down to the office of
the “Remembrancer of Legal Affairs,” and the “Finger-print Bureau,”
in Poona’s residential quarter, or to Lord Kitchener’s reviews in the
Poona cantonment.

In my various journeys within a circle of twenty miles round the
city, I found the ryot much what I had expected—gentle-mannered,
patient, hardy, and incredibly thin, living with his family in a
clean but dusty hut, furnished with little beyond a few brass pots
and dishes. All day he was working in his field, and he gathered for
converse at evening—“cow-dust time,” as they call it—on the steps of
the village temple, in which a vague red image represents the idea of
helpful strength—something like Hercules or the Archangel Michael;
for it is the same Maruta who helped Rama on his wandering search for
the beloved Sita.

I have never heard even the most frigid official speak evil of the
ryot. As the best patronizers in the world, we find in the ryot a
most suitable object for our characteristic capacity. Hard-working,
sober, and reverential beyond the dreams of country parsons, he is
exactly the sort of being to whom we enjoy extending the kindly and
protective sympathy due from a squire to his villagers. Just as in
Natal or Nigeria every one is ready to commend the untutored savage
and pat his curly head provided he remains savage, so in India even
the Anglo-Indian will admit a distant affection for the poor dear
ryot, and regrets the good old times when hardly an Indian of them
all made pretence to further education or equality. But education and
equality are the two things that undermine our accustomed pedestal,
and the thought of a time when we might no longer be required to
exercise our national function of patronage fills us with dismay.

The crop and the assessment are the two kindred and vital points
in the ryot’s earthly life, as distinguished from the life of his
spirit. In the Deccan, as in all parts of India, the crop is simply
a matter of opportune rainfall, and when I was in Poona there had
been no good crop for fifteen years. That autumn the prospect was a
little worse than ordinarily poor, though the main famine district of
the year was in the United Provinces, far away north. Preparations
for a serious famine had to be made already, for, as Sir William
Hunter estimated, one-fifth of India’s population—say sixty million
souls—are perpetually living on insufficient food, apart from
famines; and, partly owing to the export-trade, the villagers no
longer store grain to meet an evil day, nor do they possess cash to
purchase grain from other parts of the country. So when the pinch
of scarcity comes, the land-owning or land-taxing Government alone
stands between them and starvation; and, indeed, the Government
prides itself at all times upon its service as protector of the
poor, especially against other landlords and money-lenders. There is
always a good deal of justice in the claim, even when the Government,
having first tempered the wind, proceeds to shear the lamb. But
famine is the special opportunity for Government beneficence. All
officials then vie with each other in the thankless labour of holding
the bodies and souls of thousands together, and within a month of
his landing as Governor of Bombay, Sir George Clarke had all his
preparations ready for relief works, terracing of hills, sinking of
wells, and remission (not merely suspension) of the year’s assessment

Of the assessment and of famine I had heard and read a great deal
before, but one set of grievances, closely connected with both,
was new to me. It arose from the Forest Laws—a subject we hardly
consider in England unless we are thinking of William Rufus or the
game-preserves of kilted City Fathers in the Highlands. The present
strict system of forest preservation was, I believe, instituted
after the terrible famine of 1877-78, with the admirable intention
of restoring the rainfall. In old times the village communities
maintained a tract of communal forest for grazing and fuel near
each village, just as they did formerly in England, and still do
in Russia. An ancient Indian custom set aside an acre of grazing
for every acre of cultivated land. But under our rule the influence
of village communities was to a great extent destroyed, because we
remembered nothing like it in England, and the plough was suffered to
encroach upon the forest till there was a real danger that no forest
would be left and the rains would cease. Nothing could be better
than the intention of the Forest Department in checking the process
called “denudation,” but instead of restoring the control of forests
to the villagers themselves under definite rules of maintenance,
they centralized the managements as bureaucrats will, declared
uncultivated land to be Government forest, prohibited wood-gathering
or cattle-grazing without payment, let out the grass and timber by
auction to contractors, and entered the proceeds to the advantage
of the Department. There is no denying the benefits to Government
and the contractors. The destruction of forest is checked, hay and
fuel are supplied to the cavalry cantonments and cities, and the
Department (including Burma) contributes a net sum of about £800,000
a year to the Indian exchequer.[29] Could anything be more desirable?

[Illustration: ON THE CAUSEWAY.]

[Illustration: A VILLAGE HEADMAN.]

“But how about my buffalo?” cries the thin ryot of the valley. As
Mr. Vaughan Nash said in his book on the Famine, the buffalo is
quite as necessary to the Indian peasant as a boat to a fisherman.
Buffaloes are necessary for work on the fields, manure for the soil,
and milk for the family, to say nothing of fuel and flooring. No one
who, like myself, has lived much in Kaffir huts with cow-dung floors,
or has cooked on the veldt for weeks together with cow-dung as fuel,
will make light of such uses. But still, when wood is to be had, only
a fool uses cow-dung for cooking or even for flooring. In the Indian
forests, wood is to be had, but the Forest Laws forbid the people to
use it, and they are driven to floor and cook with the cow-dung that
ought rightly to go as manure for the fields.

But the grazing is the chief difficulty, now that the old communal
lands are being swallowed up by the Forest Department. The villagers
may earn a few pence by cutting grass for the contractor who carts
it away to the city, but the hungry buffaloes look up and are not
fed. Even where a grazing allotment is made, it is too small, and I
was in a village fifteen miles from Poona where the twelve families
could afford to keep only one buffalo between them, and they had to
pay rent to the Forest Department for the right of grazing that one
buffalo and a few goats upon little patches of the vast hillsides,
all of which they regarded as the common lands of the village for
centuries past. The rent, no doubt, was very small, probably only
a few shillings a year for the buffalo and goats, but the village
income was very small too.

From the bureaucracy’s well-intentioned schemes, other peculiar
results arise which perhaps did not occur to those who framed
the laws. One case, for instance, was mentioned to me by several
villagers as a kind of typical or proverbial absurdity. A waggon
broke its wheel and the owner began to mend it. The village police,
hearing the hammer, arrested him under Section E, paragraph 109 (or
some such clause) of the Forest Laws, upon the charge of practising
carpentry within a mile of the forest limit. In his innocence, he
asked what he ought to have done to get his waggon home over the
few hundred yards to his door. He was informed that he ought to
have walked into Poona, twenty or thirty miles away, discovered the
office of the Forest Department, waited till the proper official,
who would very likely be in the country, returned to town, stated
his case, and asked for a legal certificate authorizing him to cut
timber for the repairs of his wheel on the spot. Then, with good
luck, within a week or ten days from the accident, he might have
found himself in a position to drive his waggon home in accordance
with bureaucratic regulations. I believe, however, that this rule has
now been modified, and that the man would only have to hunt a forest
ranger for permission. But take another grievance, which recalls
childhood’s memories of the Norman Conquest. The ryot’s little
wealth of crop and stock is continually exposed to wild beasts—deer,
wolves, panthers, and boars—just as our farmers’ crops are exposed to
hares and rabbits. But under the Arms Act, the ryot has little chance
of killing them himself. His duty is to walk into the nearest town
and report the presence of a wild beast to the police. The police
look round for an Englishman who wants something to kill. Frequently
they advertise for one in the local papers, and usually they have not
to wait very long. Off goes the Englishman—rifle, tiffin-basket, boy,
bedding, and all. But in the meantime it is not improbable that the
wild beast has walked away, or founded a whole new family even worse
than himself. At the best, it is just possible that the Englishman
may miss him.

While I was in India a movement was started for the protection of the
helpless ryot from deer. In many parts of the country, especially in
Rajputana and the Central Provinces, you may frequently see herds
of deer and antelopes browsing upon the standing crops, to the
great loss of the cultivator. It was alleged that the increase of
deer was due to the gradual reduction of tigers (which are nature’s
own corrective), and the proposal was to discourage the slaughter
of tigers by withdrawing the Government reward of £3 6_s._ 8_d._ a
head, or even to forbid the sport of shooting tigers unless they
were proved by experience to be man-eaters. Personally, I think
the latter regulation would be good, for the deer would be reduced,
the crops protected, and the tigers increased. But I am not sure
how far a ryot, in the interests of agriculture, would approve of a
regulation that allowed one tiger one man.

The main grievances of the ryot against the Forest Department may be
seen briefly stated in a memorial presented to the Governor of Madras
by the cultivators of eight villages in the Salem district, April,
1908. The Forest Department proposed to reserve the Anurath Hills
in the neighbourhood of the villages, and the memorial protested
that already there was not much waste land for grazing, and hardly
enough land even for cultivation. To reserve the hills would also
deprive the villagers of wood and fuel, and inflict a kind of double

  “You settle our lands,” said the memorial, “every thirty years
  and raise the assessment. To pay this assessment we ought to
  cultivate our land with the aid of good manure. To have manure we
  must maintain sufficient stock of cattle. When we enter the forest
  to procure fodder, you demand permit fees; thus you demand double
  payment (one in the shape of land assessment and the other in the
  shape of forest fees) for the lands we cultivate.”

The memorial went on to say that, owing to the rigour of forest
administration, the villagers, to protect themselves, had to bribe
the subordinate officials of the Forest Department, and it concluded
with the words:—

  “We lead a peaceful life. It is the policy of the Government to
  keep every ryot in a contented and happy state. But in order
  to secure additional forest revenue, if you permit the Forest
  officials to enclose an additional reserve against our wishes,
  you will create much heart-burning and discontent against the

But let us put things at their best. Let us suppose there is neither
drought, nor famine, nor plague. Let us assume that the assessment
has been paid without borrowing, and the Forest Laws observed or
evaded, that wild beasts have been killed, and yet the deer have not
damaged the crops. Let us suppose that the ryot’s income reaches
the highest possible average, which Lord Curzon calculated at £2 a
year per head of the population, including all the rich merchants,
bankers, and landowners. It is next to impossible that the average
income in any village could be as much as that, but let us assume it
is. Still it remains at only half what is spent per head in England
every year on drink alone. It represents a standard of poverty which
we can hardly conceive—a level where every fraction of a farthing
counts. And yet I found within twenty miles of Poona a group of
villages where the ryots clubbed together of their own accord to hire
a schoolmaster at a salary of eight shillings a month. In face of
a sacrifice so astonishing it appeared to me that all the outcries
about the dangers of education in India that were then filling
the speeches of our statesmen and the columns of the _Times_ and
Anglo-Indian papers, might with good hope be accounted vain.

[Illustration: A TEMPLE TANK, MADRAS.

  [_Face p. 102._


[19] The total military expenditure for India, including Marine,
Military Works, etc., was £21,586,086 for 1906-7, but this was
reduced in the following year to £20,520,500. See “Government of
India, Financial Statement, 1908-9,” p. 16.

[20] Of the many books on the Indian Land Revenue, one may consult
Mr. Romesh Dutt’s “India in the Victorian Age,” “Famines and Land
Assessment,” and “The Economic History of British India”; “Land
Revenue Policy,” an official reply to Mr. Dutt’s criticisms, issued
by Lord Curzon in 1902; some chapters in Sir Henry Cotton’s “New
India”; some pamphlets by Sir William Wedderburn, “The Indian Ryot,”
“The Skeleton at the Jubilee Feast,” etc.; “Indian Problems,” by
Mr. S. M. Mitra (strongly on the official side); and Mr. Sidney
Low’s “Vision of India,” containing in chapter xxiii. an interesting
account of the Settlement Officer’s work in camp. Mr. Theodore
Morison’s “Industrial Organization of an Indian Province” (1906), is
also mainly occupied with the land question in the United Provinces
of Agra and Oude.

[21] “Land Revenue Policy” (1902), p. 13.

[22] Quoted by Mr. Vaughan Nash in his chapter on the Land Revenue
System: “The Great Famine and its Causes” (1900).

[23] “India in the Victorian Age,” by R. C. Dutt, p. 491 (2nd

[24] “The Great Famine,” pp. 240-2.

[25] Letter from “A Poona Resident” to the _Glasgow Herald_, December
14, 1907.

[26] “The Great Famine,” p. 62 ff.

[27] See “The Skeleton at the Jubilee Feast,” by Sir William
Wedderburn (1897), p. 9.

[28] The whole question of land-ownership and the Settlement is very
lucidly discussed in Mr. Theodore Morison’s “Industrial Organization
of an Indian Province,” chapter ii. His general conclusion is that
the Indian system of land-tenure is something intermediate between
complete nationalization and absolute private property. “To the
extent of one-half the State is able to appropriate that unearned
increment in rental incomes which is due to the development of the
country. But, except for this contribution to the public exchequer,
the economic position of the landlord is not affected by the land
revenue laws. He receives rent for the use of the national and
indestructible properties of the soil, and he raises that rent when
the growth of population and the development of the country makes it
profitable to bring poorer lands under cultivation.” In saying this,
Mr. Morison is, however, obviously thinking only of a zemindar or
landlord district, such as the United Province, with which his book
chiefly deals.

[29] The net profit on Forest Revenue for 1905-6 was £824,748. In the
four previous years it had risen by nearly £100,000 a year, but in
1907-8 it dropped to £756,100, chiefly owing to a fall of price in



Madras, the most Oriental of the great Indian cities, is well known
to English people as the first foothold of Elizabethan merchants,
the fortress of Clive, and the coral strand where little English
boys used to convert their patient bearers. But apart from these
associations, the mother city of Southern India has a peculiar
character of her own. Her reformers talk with confidence of the dry
light of reason in Madras. They pride themselves on the logic and
unimpassioned judgment of her mind. They point to the neighbouring
State of Mysore to show what Southern Indians like themselves can
do in the way of political advancement, and to Travancore as the
most highly educated part of India—the State where women have most
freedom, both to gather knowledge and to enjoy their home or leave
it. The whole of South India, but especially the city of Madras
itself, they regard as a reserve of intellectual force, always ready
to support the new spirit that has appeared in the north and west,
and destined ultimately to take the lead in the general movement of

Certainly I noticed signs of a practical intelligence that might be
called dry. Hour after hour, on a steaming afternoon, I listened to
the Madras members of the municipal corporation arguing in protest
against the English members and officials about the position of
standpipes, and the adulteration of ghee with oil, and of rice with
sand, while the President, in the broadest Scots, kept calling on
them to address the chair, or declaring their motion lost. When
I was in Madras also, the Decentralization Commission, under Mr.
Charles Hobhouse, at that time Under-Secretary for India, began its
session, and the educated citizens followed the chaotic windings
of its questions and evidence with minute accuracy, all the more
eager, perhaps, because Mr. Romesh Dutt, the national authority on
Indian economics, was among the Commissioners. It was even more
significant that Madras, the devoted home of Hinduism and of Vishnu’s
worshippers, should have steadily chosen her leading Mohammedan
citizen as her representative upon the Viceroy’s Council. One may
call this a sign of practical intelligence and the dry light of
reason, because they could not have chosen a better member than Nawab
Syed Mohammed, descendant of our old enemy Tippoo Sultan, and their
deep sense of religion did not deter them from the choice. Calm,
modest, and generally silent but for a few definite words thrown into
a discussion, he seemed an ideal member for any Council.

Yet, though the boast of reason’s dry light is justified, the
pervading tone of Madras, and probably of all Southern India, is
not practical logic, but imaginative religion. One sometimes finds
the two things in attractive combination. I had gone out one early
morning to visit the god in his beautiful temple at Mailapur, not
very far from the widespread “compounds” of park and garden, where
the happy English and a few rich Indians reside, two or three miles
inland from the sea and the jumbled “Black Town” of crowded natives.
There, as I stood by the edge of the temple tank covered with the
lotus, I came upon an elderly Hindu reading at the door of his modest
home. The verandah was partly arranged as a stable for the sacred
cow, partly laid with mats for beggars, wanderers, or religious
teachers who might be seeking a shelter for the night. The man had
bathed in the tank and washed his only garment of a long cotton
cloth, as he did every morning himself, following the cleanly and
chivalrous Indian custom. He was a schoolmaster, with a fixed salary
of £3 6_s._ 8_d._ a month. Upon this he mainly supported his sons and
their wives and children, all of whom lived in his house, under the
direction of his widowed mother, who arranged which of the married
couples should occupy the married quarters in turn, as there was
not room to supply married quarters for all. In gratitude for her
services, and in reverence for motherhood, “which is the centre of
human life,” he told me how every morning members of the family
washed the widow’s feet and covered them with flowers, as though they
were the feet of a divinity.

The day being a religious holiday—a festival of Shiva, destroyer
and healer—he was spending the quiet hours in meditating upon God,
and reading a large volume of Professor William James’s “Principles
of Psychology.” In religion he was inclined to the Monist view that
the spirit of man is identical in essence with the spirit of God,
but admitted that he felt no violent enmity towards the Dualists,
who maintain a difference in essence. He wore on his forehead the
three strong lines of white and vermillion, which represent the
footprint of Vishnu, the maintainer of existence, and pronounce the
wearer to be a reverential servant to the god’s commands. But, here
again, he felt no enmity towards the worshippers of Shiva, who draw
three parallel lines in grey or yellow earth across their brows. His
true interest lay in the region of philosophy, and as a Monist his
conception of the universe hardly differed from Spinozism, unless
it be said that he went beyond Spinoza in his belief in a universal
Consciousness, the subtle waves of which he could himself universally
perceive if only his mind were not too gross an instrument of
perception. All through his life he had striven to purify and
etherialize that instrument by clean feeding and the practice of
concentration. He had never touched flesh or strong drink or tobacco.
By practising for an increasing time every day, he had been able
to fix his mind on eternal truths with such absorption that the
transitory things no longer disturbed his meditation, and he had
acquired new and subtle powers, enabling him dimly to perceive a
consciousness in the air and so-called inanimate objects. He could
sometimes even feel the impalpable workings of Karma—the influence of
man’s reputed good or evil deeds working upon his own destiny, and
affecting even the infinitesimal atoms of the universe.

[Illustration: A SERVANT OF VISHNU.

  [_Face p. 106._

He now longed to retire from the world, to lay aside his sacred
thread—the triple thread of Brahmans—and devote to contemplation the
few years left. But the size of his patriarchal household, and the
necessity of making that 16_s._ 8_d._ a week restrained him, and, of
course, his motives were laudable. Nevertheless, as usually happens,
it would have been better for himself and his family if he had flung
away his obvious duties and followed the call of his higher thoughts
alone. For as I came away after receiving sour milk, and the usual
pan leaf enclosing a bit of spice and beetel-nut to chew, one of his
sons—an inferior telegraph clerk—stole after me to ask my advice
about £2, which he had forwarded to a swindling Trust Company that
plays the confidence trick with Congo Bonds and other ludicrous
impostures. It was pitiful to think that the £2, now probably
greasing the dirty works of Belgian brothels and gambling-hells,
might have secured the philosopher nearly three weeks’ leisure
from his school-teaching for the contemplation of the Monistic
Essence, and but for his sense of family duty his son could not have
squandered it.

[Illustration: THE END OF MAN.]


  [_Face p. 108._

But among the common multitudes of the city, the dry light of this
philosophic spirit is not conspicuous. It has never arisen, and the
religious fervour of their existence remains misty, dark, and warm.
Relics of far older beliefs mingle with their Hinduism. In one of
their burning-grounds I met a little procession carrying milk in
brazen bowls to wash the bones of the dead burnt yesterday, and to
pour an offering for the spirit’s consolation. Round another grave a
group of mourners were seated, offering yellow flowers, and pouring
water on the dust that was alive last week. Two of them beat cymbals,
and at long intervals a man raised a large white conch-shell to
his lips and blew a melancholy note. Why will not the dead listen
when they are called? Why will they not give one word of answer to
trumpet, prayers, and love? And all the while, one of the mourners,
regardless of the world, swayed to and fro chanting the undying
truth that man must die, for life is a shadow, and he vanishes;
those who stand beside a grave know this truth undying; they know
that they too shall vanish like a shade, yet they go back to the
city and sin, and sin again, forgetting that they too shall vanish
like a shade. So the lamentation went on, the water was poured, the
milk was offered, the conch-shell sounded its last vain summons, and
the living returned to their life of numbered days. In the middle
of Africa I have witnessed a yearning ceremonial exactly the same.
It was the same that brought Electra out to Agamemnon’s tomb. It is
the same that one may still see on All Saints’ Day, in any primitive
region of Europe, and in the cemeteries of Paris herself. For it
springs from the common longing of all mankind not to be forgotten,
and, if only it were possible, never to forget. The same truth has
been beautifully expressed with regard to the Bulgarian villagers of
Macedonia by Mr. Brailsford in his book upon that country:—

  “The real religion of the Balkans is older and more elemental than
  Christianity itself; more permanent even than the Byzantine rite.
  It bridges the intervening centuries and links in pious succession
  the modern peasant to his heathen ancestor, who wore the same
  costumes and led the same life in the same fields. It is based on a
  primitive sorrow before the amazing fact of death, which no mystery
  of the Resurrection has ever softened. It is neither a rite nor a
  creed, but only that yearning love of the living for the dead which
  is deeper than any creed.”[30]

In the service of the living, the fervent religious spirit of the
South takes other forms, some of adoration, some only ritualistic.
Now and then it turns to practical utility—the hope that religion
will bring some temporal good to the worshipper. There is a belief
almost universal, I suppose, in our own country and in Europe
that religious thoughts, prayers, and observances ensure outward
well-being, health, protection, or prosperity of some kind. In the
East it is probably not so common, for religion is there elevated to
its proper sphere of the inmost soul, where the comforts and external
advantages of life disappear into insignificance compared with the
glory that is revealed. But, deeply religious as the Hindu mind can
be, I found the people in the streets of Madras directing religious
ecstasy to the rather trivial object of healing disease, much as
though they had been mere Faith-healers or Christian Scientists.
The festival of Shiva lasted three or four days, and at any hour of
the burning sunlight, one could meet little processions parading
through Black Town with some sort of shrine or image, accompanied by
pipes and drums, dancing and praying crowds. The sick were caught up
from the doors into the pious orgies and with holy revelry danced
themselves into a state of ecstatic self-forgetfulness which was
unquestionably wholesome. Few diseases, I think, could stand against
such treatment, provided only that the patient survived. It might
be tried with miraculous results in the streets of our bath-chair
watering-places. But if the triumph and proof of religion depended on
mere miracles of healing the sick and raising the dead, it would be a
pity to waste a minute’s thought upon the subject.

Far more fruitful was the unmixed and disinterested adoration that
thronged the temples in the evening. One night I found myself at a
beautiful temple in the southern part of the town. It is a Vishnu
temple: here is his tank, here his chariot. But the people there
were celebrating the festival of Shiva all the same, and among the
deep orange columns of the external portico, dim figures in white or
Indian red moved silently about, hardly revealed in the purple night
by rare lanterns and tiny lamps. Being accompanied by a Brahman who
was guardian of the temple, I was admitted through brazen doors into
a vast courtyard leading up to the inner shrine on which no alien
may look. Here the worshippers stood in an almost continuous crowd,
silent, slowly moving in dubious obscurity. I caught one gleam of
yellow light on prostrate forms among columns beyond, but a priest
led me quietly into a vast chamber at the side, where were stabled
the mystic figures of a dragon large as life, a flying kite and an
elephant, all awaiting the great day when the god takes to his car
and moves in glory through the streets, seated beneath the mystic
tree, which also was standing there. From a hidden and cavernous safe
the priest then displayed a flashing wealth of emeralds and rubies,
unnumbered as the Milky Way and, possibly, surpassing their own value
by their holiness. Disappearing for a while, after shutting the safe,
he returned with a pink garland, thick as a liner’s hawser, and hung
it round my neck, where already two white garlands hung, for I had
been received with honour by a political club just before I came. But
this new pink garland nearly touched my feet. It had been an offering
to the shrine, and came to me cold from the neck of the god himself.

Thus sanctified and adorned, I passed back into the throng of
worshippers in the temple court, and presently felt among them a
peculiar stir of excitement, which I naturally attributed to my
unusual appearance, just visible in the darkness. But when I was
conducted by the Brahman to a large private house overlooking the
precincts, for the first time in India I failed to receive the usual
Hindu welcome. The rooms and courtyards glimmered with little lamps.
Seated in the verandah before the door, a band of pipers, blowing
as they pleased, drove dull care away—far away, one hoped, for her
sake. Gods, kites, and elephants of painted alabaster were arranged
in neat rows upon the table of an inner room, and little girls,
dressed in the gorgeous silks and embroideries of Southern India,
tended them with lights and flowers. But the master of the house,
himself a temple guardian, politely expressed an unwillingness to
receive the foreigner, and when I turned back among the excited crowd
that swarmed round me under the temple colonnade, I heard for the
first time the wild shout of “Bande Mataram! Bande Mataram!” (Hail
to the Motherland!) rising on every side. If a Brahman had not been
my guide, I should have supposed the outcry to be due to religious
indignation. He told me afterwards it was in compliment to my Liberal
opinions. But I think it was not in compliment to my English clothes,
which were far more conspicuous than my Liberal opinions.

There is no part of India where the anti-English feeling was less to
be expected than in Madras. Here the Hindu is seen at his mildest,
here he asks least of this fleeting world, and accepts destiny with
the gentlest quietude. If ever there was a country easy to govern,
it should be Southern India; and in time past no part of India has
surrendered itself more unreservedly to British rule or trusted
more confidently to British justice. Much of this friendliness
has been due to the influence of our missionaries, represented by
some very remarkable men in Madras. I do not know their statistics
of conversion: I think they must be very low, especially as the
Bishop of Madras, during my visit, was expressing his despair of
ever converting educated Indians, and was urging his clergy to pay
attention only to the lowest castes. But the missionary influence
upon education itself has been very large. It has created one famous
and excellent institution, and a popular restaurant besides. It is
chiefly the cause, I suppose, of the widespread knowledge of English
among all classes in the city. More than this, I found that in Madras
and other parts of India, as I had seen in Nigeria, Central Africa,
and South Africa—even in Macedonia and Armenia also—the missionaries
do maintain a certain standard of justice to the credit of the “White
Man,” or “European,” and that the oppressed and destitute, even among
the classes below the protection of any caste, do actually turn to
them with the assurance of finding a quality of mercy and sympathetic
understanding not very remote from their profession of brotherhood in
Christ. It is easy to join in the taunt about “Famine Christians,”
and to point to the curve of conversions varying directly with the
price of food. But if we were starving, I suppose most of us would
gladly profess any religion in the world for a prospect of regular
meals, and the important thing is that by the missionaries no class
is neglected or left to feel itself outcast from humanity—not even
the poor fishers on the sands south of the town, or the dwellers
in savage huts that let at fourpence a month, and are sublet among
different families.

Missionaries have done much, and so has a succession of good
governors, from the time of Sir Thomas Munro, to whose memory the
temple bell still rings a special chime before service. Our own
people have forgotten him for three generations now, but I have
seen the Hindu women drop their baskets and bow their heads as they
passed his equestrian statue on “the Island”—an honour seldom paid
to equestrian statues at home. He it was who reduced the taxes and
watered the land and executed justice; and so his memory lives.
Taught by his example, the people used to recognize that there were
some things we English could do: we could organize drainage, and
build bridges to stand, and decide quarrels without taking bribes.
So they were content to leave these comparatively unimportant
concerns in our hands, while they devoted themselves to the only two
occupations that matter much—the growth of food and the worship of
God. If their faith in our peculiar powers is declining, and they are
themselves making new claims upon government and public life, the
change is due to underlying causes, which are affecting the whole of
India in varying degrees, and have already produced a new sense of
unity in opposition.

Unhappily, the grievance of Anglo-Indian manners is not peculiar
to Madras. The attitude of the vulgar among Anglo-Indians towards
the people of the country would be incredible to any one who had
not seen it, and the vulgar are a large and increasing class. They
increase by a kind of infection, and the deterioration of a new-comer
who has been sent out with the usual instincts of our educated
classes in favour of politeness and decency, is often as unconscious
as it is rapid. The pressure of his social surroundings is almost
irresistible. If he does not wish to cut himself off altogether from
the society and amusements of his own people, he will be driven to
conform to the code of insolence established among them. To stand
alone against feminine dislike and masculine views of good-form
requires a toughness of character and an indifference to personal
reputation or advancement which one cannot expect from many of the
young Englishmen and Englishwomen who come out. These usually spring
from a caste bred upon rather rigid observances, and they look to
the opinion of their own caste almost entirely for the sanction of
conduct. At first they are astonished that Anglo-Indian opinion not
only permits but imposes so ill-bred a manner in intercourse with
“natives,” but the astonishment soon wears off, and the infection
of arrogance catches them as a matter of course. The Governor of
Bombay once told me it was impossible to convert “bounders” into
gentlemen by Act of Parliament, and, unfortunately, that is true;
else we might enjoy a more enviable reputation in the world. But I
was astonished to find how easily an apparent gentleman may become
entirely the opposite if he finds himself set up as one of a superior
race among a polite and gentle people, always too much inclined to
submit to rudeness with reverential astonishment.

Dr. Lefroy, the Bishop of Lahore, who for a quarter of a century
has striven with constancy and some success to restore the higher
tradition of our race, has said that, but for railways, all might
be well. And it is quite true that the commonest and most flagrant
instances of Anglo-Indian vulgarity are to be found in trains. But
that is chiefly because it is most often in trains that the two races
meet on terms of nominal equality. On almost every railway journey
one sees instances of ill-manners that would appear too outrageous
for belief at home. But it is the same throughout. In hotels,
clubs, bungalows, and official chambers, the people of the country,
and especially the educated classes, are treated with an habitual
contumely more exasperating than savage persecution. I gladly admit
that in every part of India I found Englishmen who still retained the
courtesy and sensitiveness of ordinary good manners. But one’s mere
delight in finding them proved their rarity. Anglo-Indians tell us
constantly that our first thought must be to maintain our national
prestige, and if arrogance will do it, our prestige is safe. But when
I watched the Anglo-Indian behaviour towards Indians themselves, I
often wondered whether prestige is really to be secured by manners
such as we should hardly find among “bounders” at home. For myself,
I should have thought Lord Morley was right when he said that “bad
manners, overbearing manners, are very disagreeable in all countries,
but India is the only country where bad and overbearing manners are a
political crime.”[31]

Unhappily, the justice of Indian complaints on this subject was not
new to me, when I came to Madras. Every one finds proofs of it from
the moment of landing in Bombay, and, in fact, even on board ship.
The social estrangement between the two races rapidly increases
after Port Said is left. But in Madras I found another cause of deep
dissatisfaction. In spite of all I had heard about injustice in
particular cases, in spite of the old demand for police reform and
the separation of the judicial and executive functions now combined
in the District Magistrate, it was disconcerting to discover a
prevailing and uneasy suspicion that British justice could not safely
be trusted. Certainly, much disquietude had recently been roused
by a few special instances, at Rawal Pindi, Lahore, and elsewhere.
“Killing no murder, outrage no crime, when Indians are concerned and
Englishmen the culprits”: that was the common conclusion, and it was
not unnatural.

But the suspicion arose from more general and permanent causes
as well. There remains the standing sense of wrong, because an
Englishman has the right to a different form of trial from an
Indian. A magistrate with power to inflict a two years’ sentence
on an Indian, may inflict only six months on a European. No Indian
may try a criminal case against a European, and in criminal cases a
European may claim a jury, with a majority of Europeans on it. Lord
Ripon’s attempt gradually to modify these distinctions is one of the
well-remembered events of his famous Viceroyalty—one of the many
reasons which have endeared his name to India as no other Viceroy’s
is endeared—but his endeavour was thwarted.

As to the separation of functions, the Viceroy’s Council, through Sir
Harvey Adamson, has lately (March, 1908) promised an experiment with
this purpose in Eastern Bengal; but in India generally the District
Magistrate who tries cases himself, or arranges for their trial by
his subordinates, also controls the police, and in nearly all cases
the police bring the charge. The injustice of this arrangement, with
all its opportunities for official influence on legal decisions, has
long been so obvious that one would have thought the cost of the
change was the only obstacle to it. But while I did not hear much
about the danger of increased cost, I heard a great deal about the
danger of diminished dignity, if the District Magistrate lost either
half of his functions. After a battle of over half a century, we may
hope, however, that this grievance is now to disappear.

On the other hand, I found that the old scandals about the police had
survived Sir Andrew Fraser’s commission of inquiry (1902). Promotion
still went in practice by the number of convictions obtained, and
convictions too often depended on evidence derived by the police
from the accused themselves—so-called “confessions,” extorted by
means which, rightly or wrongly, were spoken of with horror among
the people, and even among Anglo-Indians. Between his arrest and
his sentence the prisoner was left in the hands of the police, and
at their mercy, thus giving them the opportunity of compelling him
to give evidence to his own detriment. Wherever I went in India I
heard the same complaint of the unscrupulousness and corruption of
the police. Some of the British police officers with whom I became
intimate, appeared to be experienced and sympathetic men, struggling
rather hopefully on the side of reform. But the pay of the ordinary
native policeman is so ludicrously small (from 8_s._ to 10_s._ a
month), even when the low scale of wages in India is considered,
that the constant temptation to extortion can hardly be resisted,
especially among a population so indifferent to this world and so
deferential to authority, that even the innocent will volunteer
bribes in hopes of being left in peace.

The drink question in Madras is much the same as in the rest of
India. In a sense, it is worse even than in England, for we see one
of the most temperate and frugal populations of the world gradually
taking to drink as a new habit.[32] The increase of drink is largely
due to education, largely to the example of Europeans and of Indians
lately returned from Europe; partly, in Madras at all events, to
Christianized Indians who claim the right of casting off all the old
restrictions of Indian behaviour. As in England, the Government does
not escape its share of blame, owing to the large revenue derived
from the drink trade. The Excise or “Abkari” Department sells the
licences by auction, the bidding is keen, and it is difficult to
prevent the purchaser of a licence from setting up business in the
most lucrative position he can find. By a series of resolutions
in February, 1890, the Government of India declared its intention
of reducing the drink traffic, especially by the restriction of
shops. Nevertheless, the traffic has very largely increased, and
if the number of shops has not increased in proportion, they have
been opened near market places, bathing ghats, schools, hospitals,
temples, factories, and other places of common resort, where, as Sir
Frederic Lely has said, they serve as “veritable traps to catch the
weak, the thirsty, and the tired.”

It is difficult to define how far the most paternal of Governments
is responsible for the excesses of its children, to whom it refuses
the common rights of grown men. The evils of the drink traffic in
India were not to be compared with the evils I had seen in West and
Central Africa, nor were they so pronounced in Madras as in Calcutta.
But the growth of the drinking habit—mainly European in origin—must
be added to the other more prominent causes of unrest, even among a
population so peaceful and backward as Madras is considered to be in
comparison with Poona. Hatred of drink as something equally deadly
and foreign was one of the causes why the Swadeshi movement, starting
from Eastern Bengal, had spread in less than two years throughout the
whole country. Of that movement I had already seen many evidences.
In Bombay I had seen the Indian cotton-mills working against time to
meet the demand for _saris_ and _dhotis_ (women’s and men’s cloths)
free from the taint of foreign profit. And now in Madras I found the
Swadeshi movement very strong. “None but Swadeshi goods,” “Buy our
Nationalist cottons,” “Try our Bande Mataram cigarettes,” were the
most telling advertisements a shop could write up or insert in the
native newspapers, which are particularly strong and excellent in


  [_Face p. 122._

One wealthy Hindu had ventured even in manufacture to follow the
extreme party which said: “Let the English go their way. We will ask
no share in their government and take none. We will neither appeal
to their law courts nor accept salaries as their officials. We must
pay their taxes, but otherwise we will forget that these foreigners
are among us at all.” He had determined to set up a cotton works
without the aid even of imported machinery. Collecting members of
the old weaving caste, he erected a bamboo factory of hand-looms,
where they were turning out the beautiful fabrics of Indian work,
little more expensive than the English machine-made stuffs and four
times as durable. The experiment is exposed to some of the dangers of
conscious revivals—the dangers of “Arts and Crafts.” But hand-loom
weaving still retains a quite natural life in many parts of India,
in spite of the British manufacturers’ long endeavours to kill the
Indian weaving industry. When I visited his simple factory among the
palms north of Madras, he told me he could not keep pace with the
demands of the Hindu women. And if the women who buy cotton cloth for
their _saris_ and children’s bits of clothing are willing to give a
few farthings more for native and national work, in a district where
they have to toil all day for a wage of twopence, it shows that
the national spirit, even in philosophic and devotional Madras, is
reaching far beyond the limits of the class that our own most highly
educated classes taunt and sneer at as “educated Indians.”


[30] “Macedonia,” by H. N. Brailsford, p. 75.

[31] Speech at Arbroath, October 21, 1907.

[32] This increase is probably shown in the rapid increase of the
Excise Revenue, which rose from £3,742,800 in 1897 to £5,687,820 in
1906. Of the latter sum “country spirits” yielded nearly £3,000,000,
and “toddy” (the popular drink made from the toddy palm), £874,000.



It was evening, and the sky was full of the deep and ominous colours
of an Indian sunset in the rains. A hot wind blowing in from the
sea threw the waves in heavy surf upon the sand. Up and down the
long “Marina,” or esplanade, bordered by a few vast public offices
and a few fishermen’s hovels, the last carriages were bearing home
Anglo-Indian ladies or youths comfortably wearied with their polo
and other games. But on the broad, dry sand, between the esplanade
and the surf, a vast circle of people was gathered round a little
platform and chair. They were seated by hundreds on the sand—between
four and five thousand of them altogether—and round the outer edge of
the seated circle hundreds more were standing upright, like the rim
of a flat plate.

When the meeting began their dark and eager faces could still be seen
in the sunset light. The faces disappeared, and only the brilliant
white turbans and white draperies were visible by the flicker of
a big lamp they had fitted upon the platform. The waning moon rose
late and shapeless among heavy clouds, and the dark faces reappeared,
outlined in silver; but still the crowd sat on.

All were men, and most of them were young. They had assembled to
show their joy at the release of Ajit Singh and Lajpat Rai—both
inhabitants of the far-off Punjab, one till lately an unknown youth,
the other till lately hardly known to any one in Madras, and only
known anywhere as a reformer of Hindu superstitions, a man of austere
private life and inexhaustible liberality to his own people.[33] Now
both had been raised by their deportation and imprisonment without
trial to the position of heroes and martyrs, and their recent release
(Nov. 11, 1907) had been greeted with joy throughout the country,
though not with gratitude; for there is no great cause for gratitude
when a wrong-doer undoes the wrong.

Through the middle of the crowd came a line of white-robed students
carrying a yellow banner with a strange device. “Bande Mataram!
Bande Mataram! Hail to the Motherland! we bow before our mother!”
rose the familiar cry from the thousands seated there. But there was
no wild gesticulation, no frantic excess, such as we might imagine
in a fanatical East. A Trafalgar Square crowd is more demonstrative
and unrestrained. Nor was a single soldier or policeman visible,
though the occasion had been publicly announced as a meeting of the
Extremists. In the audience I was of course the only European present.

A little boy with head half shaven and a long tuft of black hair at
the back stood up before the platform, and amid complete silence sang
in his native Tamil the Bengali song of “Bande Mataram,” which has
now become the national song of India. The music is of that queer
Eastern kind, nasal, quavering, full of turns and twists, such as
one may hear from the Adriatic to Burma, and very likely beyond. In
origin I believe it to be Persian; at all events I have heard it
in highest perfection on the Persian frontier and sung by Persian
musicians. Usually—in Greek for instance—the words are rendered
difficult to distinguish owing to the twists and long-drawn phrases,
but in this boy’s singing the words were fairly distinct, and the
repeated cadence gave a certain solemnity.

The words of the song were by a Bengali poet, Bankim Chandra
Chatterji, who introduced it into his historic novel called
“Anandamath,” or “The Abbey of Joy,” a romance upon the rebellion
of the austere Sanyasi Order against the decaying rule of the
Mohammedans in Eastern Bengal when Warren Hastings was the real
power. The best-known translation is by Mr. W. H. Lee, late of
the Indian Civil Service. It is fairly close, but English cannot
reproduce the compression of the original Sanscrit and Bengali mixed:—

    “My Motherland, I sing
     Her splendid streams, her glorious trees,
     The zephyr from the far-off Vindyan heights,
     Her fields of waving corn,
     The rapturous radiance of her moonlit nights,
     The trees in flower that flame afar,
     The smiling days that sweetly vocal are,
     The happy, blessed Motherland.
     Her will by seventy million throats extolled,
     Her power twice seventy million arms uphold;
     Her strength let no man scorn.
     Thou art my head, thou art my heart,
     My life and soul art thou,
     My song, my worship, and my art,
     Before thy feet I bow.
     As Durga, scourge of all thy foes,
     As Lakshmi, bowered in the flower,
     That in the water grows,
     As Bani, wisdom, power;
     The source of all our might,
     Our every temple doth thy form unfold—
     Unequalled, tender, happy, pure,
     Of splendid streams, of glorious trees,
     My Motherland I sing,
     The stainless charm that shall endure,
     And verdant banks and wholesome breeze,
     That with her praises ring.”

It is obviously too tender for a stirring “Marseillaise.” There is
not enough march and thunder either in words or tune to enflame the
soul of trampling hosts. The thunder comes in the cry of “Bande
Mataram!” But the tenderness, the devoted love of country, and the
adoration of motherhood are all characteristic of the Indian mind.

When this national anthem was finished, the Tamil poet of Madras
recited a lament he had written for Lajpat Rai at the time of his
deportation. It was the common lament of exiles—the fond memory of
home, the deep attachment to the land of childhood, the loneliness
of life among strangers and unknown tongues—all very quietly and
simply told. Then by a sudden change, the poet turned to satire,
and described a dialogue between Mr. John Morley and India, on the
subject of Swaraj or Home Rule:—

  “You are disunited,” says Mr. Morley; “what have you to do with
  Home Rule? You don’t speak the same language, you haven’t got the
  same religion; what have you to do with Home Rule? You cannot
  fight, you are too fond of law, you are the victims of education;
  what have you to do with Home Rule? You are born slaves, you
  prostrate yourselves before the Englishman: what have you to do
  with Home Rule? You are seditious, you are a prairie on fire, you
  are a barrel of gunpowder, you cry for the moon, you are not fit
  for a fur coat; what have you to do with Home Rule?”[34]

To which India makes firm and dignified reply. She has tasted
freedom, she has learnt from England herself what freedom is; even
John Morley has been her teacher, and she will not cease to labour
for Swaraj. Having drunk the nectar of freedom, can she turn back to
the palm-tree “toddy” of a Government shop, or cease to labour for
Swaraj? She claims the right of other nations, the rights for which
England herself has fought; she claims the same freedom of person and
of speech, and she will not cease to labour for Swaraj. From north to
south her people are becoming united, from east to west the cry of
“Bande Mataram” goes up, and slowly the sun of freedom is arising: it
may rise slowly, but India will not cease to labour for Swaraj.

The chairman rose, and the darkening air glimmered with the petals of
flowers thrown in handfuls, as the custom is. Round his neck heavy
garlands were hung, pink and white, to match the lesser garlands
which surrounded the photographs of the two national heroes on the
table. He spoke in English, like all the subsequent speakers till
the last. One felt at once how great a contribution to Indian unity
the English rule makes in the gift of a common language which all
educated men can understand, while even in Madras alone four distinct
native languages are spoken. He summarized the history of the last
year of suspicion, repression, deportation, imprisonment, flogging of
boys and students for political causes, and the Seditious Meetings
Act. It was all done without passion or exaggeration, and he ended
with a simple resolution calling on the Government to repeal the
deportation statute as contrary to the rights which England had
secured for herself under the _Habeas Corpus_.

Four speakers supported the resolution, and all spoke with the
same quiet reasonableness, so different from our conception of the
Oriental mind. But for clapping of hands, and occasional shouts
of “Bande Mataram!” or “Jai!” (literally “Victory!” or “Long live
So-and-so!”), the immense crowd remained equally calm. There was
no frenzy, no disorder, no excitement, beyond intense interest and
desire to leave no word unheard. If a speaker was just a shade too
emotional the crowd laughed a little scornfully, just as an English
crowd does. They laughed when one speaker—a well-known writer and
journalist of Madras—just overstepped the limits in recalling,
with tears in his voice, those happy days when as a student he had
sucked the enthusiasm for freedom from John Morley’s own books,
and had learnt to regard him as one of the gods of literature and
liberty, in the same great pantheon with Mill and Burke and Milton.
The crowd knew the man was in earnest, and they applauded, but they
laughed just a little scornfully. For the rest, the speaking was
average straightforward stuff, free from flowers, and even free from
quotations, which are the besetting tendency of many Indian minds.
Indeed, I remember only one quotation—just a hint at a parody on
Mark Antony’s speech, with John Morley and the Liberal Government as
the honourable men.

Only Anglo-Indians could have called the speeches seditious. To a
common type of Anglo-Indian mind any criticism of the Government, any
claim to further freedom, is sedition. But though this was avowedly
a meeting of Extremists, the claim in the speeches was for the
simple human rights that other peoples enjoy—the right to a voice
in their own affairs, and in the spending of their own money. As
to the increased suppression and persecution now overhanging them,
they might well be driven to despair. Other grievances they had long
known, and ever since Lord Curzon came to India their complaints
had been augmented. But they had always kept a belief in England’s
respect for personal rights and freedom, till Mr. Morley, of all
statesmen, came to overthrow it. What was left to hope for now?

So the meeting went on, till four speakers had spoken long, and
the late moon was moving up among the clouds and stars. Then a new
speaker rose—tall, dark, and aged, with clearly cut features, and a
shaven head. His dress was of deep salmon-coloured cotton—saffron,
with a tinge of red—and in one hand he held a wanderer’s staff,
symbolic of control over thought, speech, and action. Once he had
been a rich man, a barrister, a councillor, a leader of public life.
Now he had given away all he possessed. He had discarded the mark
of worship and the sacred thread. Having said farewell to family
and friends, to business, politics, and all transitory things, he
had set off with only a staff to wander through India, begging his
bread and teaching the divine realities, on which he meditated
day and night. To this meeting he had come, not to discuss mortal
justice or the British rule—things that hardly throw a shadow on
the radiance of eternity—but only to say that in his wanderings he
had met with Lajpat Rai, and had found in him a saintly human soul,
simple-hearted, austere, and regardless of possessions. He spoke in
his childhood’s Tamil, and when he had finished speaking he went upon
his way, while the meeting dispersed, and dying shouts of “Bande
Mataram!” mingled with the roaring of the surf.


[33] Introduction, p. 20.

[34] See Introduction, p. 26 ff., Mr. Morley’s speech at Arbroath.



The holy region of Orissa, where stand the temples of Juggernath,
“Lord of the World,” and of Tribhuvaneshwar, less famous but “Lord
of Three Worlds” all the same, needs what wealth of holiness it has
got, for its earthly fortunes are small. The ancient Uriya people
live there, speaking a strange and separate language, though it is
said to be near akin to an ancient Sanscrit form, and using a script
like wire netting or a series of circles in a row. In the southern
district near Ganjam they are still counted as part of the Madras
Presidency, but all the rest of their country is now limited to
Bengal, and its officials are responsible to the Lieutenant-Governor
in Calcutta. The greater part of the land is held by Tributary
Chiefs and Rajahs, under the control of a Political Agent, but a
good deal is owned by ordinary zemindars or landlords who sublet
to peasants much in the usual way, come under the authority of the
usual Commissioners and Collectors of the Civil Service, and about
two-thirds of them pay a land-tax or rent to Government, nominally
fixed every thirty years, because they are not included in the
Permanent Settlement of Bengal. There are also a few cultivators
holding direct from Government.

So far the peasants of Orissa are not worse off than other people
who have to live at the mercy of landowners. Their special hardship
comes from the nature of the country and from “visitations of God,”
as they are called; though why God’s visitations are regarded only
as evil it is difficult to understand. Looking inland from the
coast, one can see the beginning of mountain ranges running far into
the interior, and it is there that the Tributary Chiefs and Rajahs
have their territories, there that hill-tribes live, and wandering
elephants abound. But between the mountains and the sea lies a broad
belt of alluvial plain. It is under British control, but permeated
by uncertain and changeable rivers that issue like wild animals
from the mountains and refuse control of any kind. Such rivers are
the Byturni, a sacred stream, where millions of pilgrims bathe on
their way down the Grand Trunk Road to the shrine of Juggernath; the
Brahmani, also sacred as its name denotes, but the chief cause of the
present profane disasters; and the Mahanadi, which threatens the old
capital city of Cuttack, and is sometimes a desert of sand, sometimes
a sea.

In August rain had fallen on the mountains for fifteen days and
nights without ceasing. Foot by foot the water in the sacred rivers
rose. The islands disappeared, the broad miles of sand disappeared,
the water reached the edge of the steep mud banks. Forty years before
it had done the same, and old people began to awake their appalling
memories. At a point called Janardan Ghai, not far from Jenapur, upon
the Brahmani, the embankment had then given way. The breach had never
been properly repaired; only lately a rubble “bund” or break-water
had been constructed, and now on August 20th, in the middle of the
night, it gave way again. In a dark torrent, bearing sand and stones
with it, the irresistible river streamed over all the lower lands
around, covering the crops and melting the mud villages away like
ant-heaps. The land is flat, but in the confusion and darkness the
people crowded up any little slope for safety, or climbed into trees;
and one woman had her baby born as she supported herself among the
branches. When morning came, eight feet of turbulent water lay over
their homes and crops. In November I could still trace the tidemark
of the flood by tufts of dried grass and drift-wood sticking in the
trees high above my head, as you may do in early summer on the banks
of the Severn.

[Illustration: HUNGER.

  [_Face p. 136._

When I reached Orissa, the first sign I saw of the calamity was a
band of thirty or forty brown skeletons crawling towards me as I
stood in a garden at Cuttack. They said they had walked from their
ruined homes beside the Brahmani, looking for work or food, and
hundreds were wandering over the country in the same way, even as
far as Calcutta, which they counted a fortnight’s walk from there.
Probably they had heard of my arrival, and collected in the vague
hope of some kind of assistance, or perhaps simply from the instinct
that makes most people fling their misery before any human being for
sympathy. Very likely some were habitual beggars, worn thin by man’s
want of charity, and taking the advantage of extra numbers to impress
me. A man of stone would have been impressed. There is no need to
describe a brown skeleton—the projecting ribs and spiny backbone, the
legs and arms like withered sticks, the deep pits at the collarbones,
the loose and crinkly skin. But when a party of brown skeletons fling
themselves flat on the ground before you, with arms outstretched
beyond their heads and faces rubbing in the dust, when they take your
feet in their bones and lay their skulls upon your boots, what are
you to do? What are you to do when there are fifteen hundred men,
women, and children only waiting to catch sight of you that they may
make the same irresistible and hopeless appeal?

I went to the officials. The Collector, under whose immediate charge
the problem of relief came, was away, but I had a long interview with
the Commissioner in his beautiful home, built on an ancient stone
embankment that protects the town from the river, then hardly visible
in the wide expanse of sand. In the case of both officials I observed
the same difficulties that I found in official life wherever I came
across it in India. Both I believe to have been entirely honourable
and conscientious men, devoted to their rather monotonous but
responsible work, from which they could gain no great glory beyond
the usual steps of promotion, ending in retirement to the obscurity
of some English golf-links. One of them, as I heard afterwards,
had a high reputation among his colleagues in the Service for his
solicitude on behalf of the people under his charge. He studied
their language and customs with enthusiasm, and on one occasion had
displayed conspicuous gallantry in defending them from a gang of
pillaging outlaws, whom he captured single-handed. Yet he was not
the more popular of the two; and though both were, I think, rather
exceptional public servants, they were regarded with more hostility
than veneration. The curse of ordinary officials is that reform
means change, and change means trouble. But a conscientious official
has the further curse that, under the constant pressure of work, he
is compelled to spend most of his time among papers, statistics,
and abstractions. To preserve his sanity under these conditions,
the Indian official is forced to the Club, where he can relax his
mind among his own people, speak his own language, and follow the
pursuits that really interest our race, and so, little by little,
the people of the country, for whose sake alone he is supposed to be
there, appear to him only under the form of cases or numbers—inhuman
subjects, to be avoided in polite conversation.

The Commissioner, from among his barricades of reports, abstracts,
and regulations, gave me the official figures of distress, as far as
was ascertained at the end of the third month after the disaster.
They showed an estimated area of 460 square miles affected by the
flood, with a peasant population of over 300,000; also so many houses
swept away, so much loss in cattle and horses, so many deaths from
cholera after the flood (nearly 2000), and so many rupees already
distributed in relief. From what 1 saw and heard afterwards, I should
put the numbers reduced to a skeleton condition at about 5 per cent.
of the 300,000 population. That does not sound very much, but if you
work it out, it gives 15,000 brown skeletons close to the touch of
death by hunger.

For myself, I cannot think in thousands. I trust economists and
officials to do that for me. But there was one phrase in the official
statement that appeared quite comprehensible even to me: it was,
“Deaths from starvation, nil.” Nothing could well be more explicit,
yet even that simple assertion began to look as elusive as other
economics when I went out into the villages and saw the bony corpses
and was told the official cause of death is always some innocent and
unavoidable sickness like cholera or “bowel complaint,” and that the
official mind has a rooted objection to starvation.

First I went up the line to a place called Balasore, and late at
night visited two Settlement Camps, where a revision of land-titles
was slowly going on, in view of the next great Settlement which was
to take place in twenty years’ time. It was a recent idea of Sir
Andrew Fraser, Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, who with Scottish
providence aimed at thus reducing the work that would await his
fourth successor in office for the year or two before the next
Settlement came. It is true that the present revision would require
further revisions before then, but that did not matter. With this
laudable object, Indian officials were seated in their tents, and
just visible by lanterns a crowd of forty or fifty small holders from
neighbouring villages were gathered round them, all clutching their
precious title-deeds to their bosoms. For six days they had been
waiting there from nine in the morning to eleven at night, just at
the time when harvest needed them most. An official told me it took
about a month to complete the revision in a circle of twenty-one
villages, and the work never stopped but for the rains. Outside
one tent an enterprising shopkeeper had opened a little store of
plantains, rice, and cakes to feed the patient crowd. Some were
little boys whose fathers had died, some represented widows. So under
the dispensation of Scottish providence they waited, and one can only
hope that the officials of eighteen or nineteen years hence will
think of them kindly while enjoying the far-off interest of their

[Illustration: MY ELEPHANT.]

[Illustration: A VILLAGE CROWD.

  [_Face p. 140._

Next day I returned to Jenapur, and mounted a large elephant, which,
sad to say, could heartily enjoy a daily meal that would keep any
Hindu in prime condition for six weeks. As upon a watch-tower, for
the next few days I passed up and down the long line of flat country
that had been flooded beside the Brahmani, sometimes crossing over
into the basin of the Kharsua, another of the uncertain rivers
that alternately save and devastate the land. Where it was not
devastated, the country was thickly cultivated in little fields
of rice, pulse, and a kind of millet, and the numbers of planted
mango-trees gave it much the same look as an elm-row part of Essex or
the Midlands. Throughout the district rice was certainly the staple
crop, because, though it is so risky and wants so much water, its
yield is magnificent when it yields at all; and it was one of the
ironies of India that, while here the land had been ruined by the
deluge of rain, on the way up from Madras I passed through miles on
miles of rice fields where the crops stood dying of drought, or were
already cut as straw for thatch or as fodder for the sacred cow.
Even here the drought had been so severe since the flood that the
inferior crops of grain and pulse had failed and could not be used to
alleviate the distress.

But in many of the villages that I visited neither flood nor drought
will matter for many years. Sand like the seashore had covered crops,
and fields, and boundaries, and homes in one indistinguishable
desert. At the first village I came to after my elephant had waded
through the numerous shallow channels into which the river had now
sunk, a crowd of naked people—two or three hundred, I suppose—had
assembled round a Government agent who was issuing little doles of
rice. Similar doles had been issued soon after the disaster three
months before, but otherwise the people had received nothing from
a fatherly Government, because rain was officially due, and they
ought officially to have lived on the subsidiary crops nurtured by
the rain. But the heavens did not comply with official expectations;
cholera came instead, and now the people were dying, not, of course,
from starvation, but from “bowel complaints.”

At sight of me upon the elephant, the people left their doles and
flung themselves prostrate upon the hot sand which had ruined them.
Some brought hoes, and digging three feet down, they showed a few
withered blades from what had once been a rice-field. To that
thickness the sand lay over acres and miles of country along the
low land beside the river, and now on the top of the sand the hungry
villagers flung themselves flat in their appeal. Surely a man who
rode an elephant and wore a helmet, and was white by courtesy, could
save them! What could I do? There were 15,000 living skeletons ready
to join in that prayer, and I had one pocketful of coppers. Rice was
selling at 1½_d._ a pound; it takes two pounds a day to feed a man
decently, and the full wage for a working cultivator was twopence in
ordinary times. Where is charity when things are like that? And where
are economics?

As usual, it was the hangers-on to life who suffered most. Weavers
are useful people, and the village weaver with his wooden hand-loom
can hardly be called a hanger-on in a land where every man and woman
wears several yards of woven cotton, and washes the garment at least
once a day. But how can a weaver live unless women buy his stuff? And
how can a woman buy his stuff when she has just sold her doorposts
and the family brass dish to buy food for her children, or to pay the
police tax for the protection of property? She makes her old rags
do, and the weaver starves. There were starving weavers in all the
villages, and some it seemed impossible to save even with the food
represented by a gift of twopence.

It was the same with the landless labourers who worked under the
ryots for wages. It was the same with the village blind, the village
idiots, and the lepers. No one could afford to employ labour now or
to give alms. In one village a labourer had scooped a little hole in
the ground, and fitted a plantain leaf neatly into it as a bowl for
gifts. But charity was as dry as the heavens, and no alms fell. I saw
the plantain leaf still vainly appealing, but the man had died of
hunger. In another village they were carrying a body to the fire, and
they laid the poor, naked thing down for me to see. It was a woman’s
body, a labourer’s sister, shrivelled and spiky with hunger, like the
skeleton of a starved cat found under the slates. In defence of her
brother, the labourer himself, I must say that he was dying of hunger

The village houses in this part of Orissa, as in most parts of
India, are built of mud plastered on to a bamboo framework, with
wooden doorposts and rafters. They are thatched with rice straw or
palm branches. At the first rush of the flood, the houses dissolved
like children’s castles in the tide, and I saw flat and bare plots
of land where they had stood. Even the houses that had escaped the
water were almost as bare, for the people had been obliged to sell
the scanty stock of furniture that Hindu villagers possess—brass pots
and plates, a corn bin, cooking vessels, and perhaps a bed—in order
to pay the rent which the zemindars or landlords continued to exact,
though I was told the officials had ordered a suspension.

The native official “tahsildars,” acting as village tax-collectors,
had also compelled them to sell everything they had, even to their
wooden doorposts, as I said, for paying the “chaukidari” tax (or
“tikut,” as they call it) which supports the village police. It is
a small tax, paid quarterly, and running from a halfpenny up to
1_s._ 4_d._ a month per house, but the police pay used formerly to
be raised from special plots of land set apart in each village for
the purpose, and the imposition of a hut-tax for the purpose ten
years ago had always been regarded as a grievance. Nor does it matter
whether a tax is great or small when you have to sell the family
plate, valued at eighteenpence, to pay it. Just before my journey
through the country, this tax had also been officially remitted,
but it was collected up to a day or two previously, and was always
mentioned by the people as one of their most irritating grievances.
No one loves a tax-collector, but in time of famine there is
something particularly galling in selling one’s property to feed the
police for preserving it.

In Orissa itself and in Calcutta the British officials were being
rather angrily criticized for negligence, but apart from the
necessary failure of a system which tries to administer welfare
through foreign rulers who live completely isolated from the people,
I do not think the officials were to blame. They had given a little
relief at first. When the rains that ought to have fallen did not
fall, they gave a little more. They remitted a tax, and called on the
zemindars to remit rent. They did not discourage a band of Indian
volunteers, some of whom belonged to a reforming Vedantic Order
in Calcutta, from distributing private relief. Sir Andrew Fraser,
Lieut.-Governor of Bengal, who was then on progress through Orissa,
and spent a day in the famine district, told me relief works were
just going to be undertaken, and the Government expected to spend
about £20,000 on the business of keeping alive and starting again.
He probably knew as much about starvation in the abstract as any
official could, for he was in control of the relief in the Central
Provinces during the terrible famine of 1900.[35] The officials had
also made the usual advances, called “takavi” loans, to holders of
two to ten acres for the purchase of new seed and stock upon the
security of their holding.

On the whole, the violent personal attacks upon the officials
appeared to arise chiefly from the habit of all peoples who are
compelled to submit to a fatherly despotism. Being themselves
excluded from a voice in their destiny, they turn savagely upon the
Government whenever distress or disorder supervenes, and the only
real hope I could see in the situation was the appearance of the
little bands of volunteers who in true Swadeshi spirit were spreading
the conception of self-reliance throughout India. Sir Andrew Fraser
and the higher officials welcomed their efforts, but the average
Anglo-Indians and the journalists of Calcutta either treated them
with contempt, or shrieked “sedition!”

Whatever blame lay with the authorities seemed to arise from the
usual official tendency to make light of distress for fear of
increasing difficulties, and to temper benevolence with bad manners.
I think both tendencies were interestingly combined in a Bengali
Deputy Magistrate, who was superintending the relief in one of the
larger villages. I was myself travelling with Mr. Madhu Sudan Das,
a resident of Cuttack, highly educated on European lines, the only
Uriya graduate of Calcutta, and a man well known throughout India
for his unlimited generosity and devotion to his own people, whose
rights he had often vindicated against aggression. From early manhood
he had been a Christian, though perhaps not a very dogmatic and
ecclesiastical Christian, his faith being founded entirely upon his
heartfelt admiration of Christ’s prayer, “Father, forgive them, for
they know not what they do.” “The man who could utter that prayer
while dying under torture was divine,” he often said to me. “The
moment I heard the prayer, I recognized that truth, and I have never
doubted it since.”

But Christian though he was, and though his daughter had studied in
Cambridge, and now lived in Cuttack like an English lady without a
shade of “purdah,” he was almost worshipped as the saint of Orissa
by the poor among his countrymen. I have seen a man with a frightful
running sore entreat Mr. Das to lend him the eighth of a penny that
he might touch the sore with it and be healed. Another came with a
brass bowl and implored Mr. Das to dip his finger into the water that
his wife might be delivered from her dangerous labour, and the moment
he dipped his finger into the water, the child was safely born.

Unhappily, in spite of his Christianity and saintly reputation, Mr.
Das appeared to act on official minds much as a hedgehog would on a
naked man who found one rolled up in his bed. On arriving one night
at a dak-bungalow or rest-house, we found that two of the three rooms
were occupied by a Bengali magistrate and a colleague. So having
arranged that Mr. Das, who was oldish and invalid, should have the
other room while I slept in the free air like the elephant, we sent
in our names to the Deputy Magistrate and were invited to enter.
Knowing Mr. Das well by reputation, he had evidently determined not
to fall below the standard of European dignity. Consequently he
received us with his legs on the long arms of his deck-chair—an
attitude which, I suppose, he had observed as customary among English
officials when they receive “natives,” and I could not correct his

Mr. Das began by requesting him to hear the petitions of three or
four widows who stood lamenting outside the door because their
husbands had died of starvation. Entrenched behind his legs, the
official refused to comply, stating that he had already heard their
cases, and had proved to his own satisfaction that the men had not
died of starvation, but of something else. Mr. Das then went through
a number of other cases, in most of which the official said he
thought he had made examination, but could not be sure. Anyhow, all
charges of neglect or harshness against the officials were absolutely
false, and he was not there to be cross-examined. With prickly
insistence, Mr. Das continued his interrogations upon the complaints
of the villagers, till at last the Deputy Magistrate, irritated past
human endurance, refused to say any more, and waving good-night to
his boots we left the room.

On our return journey, a day or two later, we discovered that he had
sent out orders by the _chaukidars_ or village police to all the
villages round, commanding the people not to come out to meet us
under threats of unknown penalties. So great is the terror inspired
by officials and police under a bureaucracy, that very few came of
the hundreds who had before thronged our path in hopes of winning
some assistance, or merely of seeing the elephant and their national
favourite. The few who did come told us the truth with fear, and
perhaps we should never have got at the real facts if we had not
found a chaukidar in one village actually going round from house to
house with the order. Yet Mr. Das was a man whose assistance in such
a crisis any one but an official would have been delighted to secure;
for the people trusted him absolutely, in spite of his foreign
religion, and no one living understood them better. It was only that
he was the kind of man who perturbs tabulated columns.

Most administrators would find it much easier to appreciate a Rajah
or Tributary Chief who lived about twenty miles from Cuttack, and
expended, as I was told, £335 on a breakfast which he expected
to offer the Lieutenant-Governor with the usual trimmings of
dancing-girls, fireworks, and other delights. At such a breakfast
cases of starvation could hardly occur, and nothing would interrupt
the cheers, loyalty, and goodwill, such as Simla and the Anglo-Indian
papers were expecting from the proposed Advisory Councils of
Notables. Yet £335 did seem a largish sum to consume at one meal in
the midst of a starving people. Perhaps the Lieutenant-Governor
thought so too, for I believe he continued his progress without
accepting the entertainment. One would like to know how that meal was
ever consumed. Perhaps the elephants were called in to help.


[35] “The Great Famine,” by Mr. Vaughan Nash (Longmans, 1900).



From every part of India, by day and night, the pilgrims come,
and the roads to the great temple, by the sea at Puri, are always
open and always thronged. The pilgrims come from behind the white
mountains, and from the purple lands of the south, and across the hot
plains from the other ocean. The train that shot me out upon the sand
amid a crowd of dim white figures at three o’clock one morning raises
a high dividend from religion. Hundreds come by it every day, for it
saves time—and under British rule even devotion goes by time. But
worshippers still think it more religious and purifying to make the
whole journey on foot, visiting other sacred temples upon the road,
bathing in holy rivers, and turning at every dawn towards the rising
sun, as all mankind instinctively turn for worship, just as for love
we turn towards the sunset. To take years upon the journey only
extends the glory of expectation, and if you have the holy patience
to travel the Grand Trunk Road, measuring every two yards of its
thousand miles by prostrating your body along the dust, what is
space, what is time, when you are on the way to God?


  [_Face p. 152._

Children and young mothers come if the entire family sets out for
holiness, but the best time for the great act of worship is late in
middle-age, when for many years the field has been sown and reaped,
the buffalo fed, the taxes paid, the children tended, the cotton
garment daily washed. Then the present career upon this visible
world is almost over, the shadowy gate to the next stage upward is
almost in sight. Then men and women long to go on pilgrimage, and,
untouched by the cares of fortune, family, or any transitory things,
they travel forth in calm elation of soul, their thoughts fixed only
on the lasting realities of eternity, till they hear the thud of the
long waves upon the sand, and before them rises the great white tower
of the Lord of the Universe, surmounted by its wheel and flag. There
stands at length the beatific vision, there the end of all these
labours, the revelation of the Divine Essence for which they had
waited so many years of repeated seasons in the fields.

It is the ancient temple of Juggernath, “Lord of the World,” to
which they have come. Yes, our old friend Juggernath, of childhood’s
stories and journalistic tags—the God in the Car, before whose
bloodstained wheels the benighted heathen were driven by deceiving
priests to fling themselves shrieking down, before the days when
enlightened missionaries and British rulers combined to clean up
India’s coral strand. Since then, as is well known, such extremity of
devotion has been prosecuted as the law directs, and the guide-book
tells us that “of recent years much has been done to improve the
sanitation of the place.” Both signs of progress are good. But, after
all, it is only an Englishman whose first thought is of sanitation
when he approaches the divine presence, and the British missionaries
who first told that weary old tale of the car were as incapable of
understanding the divine passion that, even at the cost of life,
yearns for union with eternal powers, as they would have been of
understanding the passion of a woman whose grandson described to
me how, with proud bearing and joyful face, she walked from her
chamber and sat down in the midst of the flames beside her husband’s
body till their ashes lay indistinguishably commingled. Sanitary
appliances and the “Merry Widow” appeal more successfully to our
Western minds.

The fame of Juggernath may be due, as scholars say, to some ancient
attempt to conciliate under his symbol the new Buddhistic reformers
with the primeval Hindu worship. It seems to be certain that his
temple as it stands shows the trace of Buddhistic influence—the
teaching of Buddha who made the great renunciation, Buddha who
received the poor and all mankind beneath his blessing. It is a
shrine of peace and conciliation, perhaps the one place in India
where former generations saw some hope of acquiring the new purity
and kindliness of life, without rejecting the sacred traditions of
immemorial wisdom brought by unknown ancestors from lands of bitter
cold. And it may have been this bright hope of peace that first
established the unaltering rule of Juggernath’s worship, that before
his sight all castes and ranks and riches are equal, and the woman is
equal with the man.

Lions and monsters guard the four gates of his enclosure, but when
once they are passed, all the earthly distinctions of mankind fall
away, and only the naked soul remains to worship. Within that oblong
wall, Brahman may eat with sweeper, and warrior with the retail
seller of flesh for carrion Europeans. Along the inner side of the
south wall are simple kitchens, where the god’s four hundred cooks
daily prepare the sacred food for pilgrims, beggars, and all who
come. One is served with another, and all may eat from the same
dish, side by side, without contamination. Thousands of monks in the
service of the god carry the food far through the country, and the
pilgrims themselves take some of it home in their brazen vessels, so
that the villagers and children left behind may taste of wisdom, and
share the blessings of pilgrimage. For wherever the sacred food is
eaten, worldly differences disappear, and soul stands bare to soul.
It is the sacrament of equality, the consecration of mankind.

Side by side with Juggernath, within the dark and secluded shrine,
upon which no alien may look, stand his brother and little
sister—quaint figures all of them, hideous as gollywogs with
symbolism—the round and staring eyes of eternal vision, the atrophied
hands and feet of eternal meditation. Every year new cars are built
for them, and every twelve years the gods themselves are made anew of
wooden blocks, while their old forms are sunk into a pit to perish.
This was told me by the treasurer and chief trustee of the god’s
vast estate, who traced to this renewal the well-known story of the
physicians appointed to minister to the deity’s health, and put him
to bed if he ails. He informed me this was a popular error, but there
is a Rajah who is hereditary guardian, and also hereditary sweeper of
the temple, and he, as I understood, had rather frequently to be put
to bed by his physicians, so that possibly the two cases have become

It would be, perhaps, too curious to identify the little sister
of Juggernath with Liberty, and his brother with Fraternity. But
Juggernath, “Lord of the World,” has beyond question the attribute
of Equality, and it seems possible that it is just this glorious
attribute, and no deeper metaphysic reason, which gives his temple
its place as the most worshipped fane of India, and inspires the
common people with a passionate desire even to touch with one finger
the painted board of which he is made. Many people worship what most
they fall short of, just as in England we struggle to worship Christ,
whose character and manner of life differed so entirely from our own.
And of all great virtues the Indians, perhaps, have been most wanting
in the sense of equality. Their whole system of existence is based on
inequality, inevitable and permanent. The man who is born to study
the Vedas will continue to study the Vedas, and so will his son. The
man who is born to carry sewage will continue to carry sewage, and so
will his son. Nor could the daughter of a millionaire ever hope for
marriage with a man of learning, since wisdom lies beyond the dreams
of avarice.

This ancient basis of inequality has made the Indian people the
easiest in the world to govern. It lies also, I think, at the bottom
of their almost excessive politeness, their reverential manners,
their courtly deference to any one who appears to have been born of
higher station, or with higher advantages. No one denies the charm
of such qualities. It is an education in behaviour to pass from a
Scottish or American crowd to the streets of an Indian city. The
obligations of high caste—such things, I mean, as cleanliness in food
and life, intellectual alertness, and disregard of wealth—are as
valuable as any obligations laid on Europeans by noblesse. The only
weakness about both is that they are restricted to caste or class,
and are not considered universally binding, as such principles must

There is much to be said for reverential manners; but take a race
which has very little notion of manners of any kind—a race not very
sensitive, not very imaginative or sympathetic, trained from boyhood
to think little of personal dignity, and nothing at all of other
people’s feelings; take such a race and set its most characteristic
members from the well-to-do middle classes, with the help of rifles
and batteries, to dominate an entirely different people, among
whom reverential manners are ingrained by birth, and see what evil
effects for both races will result! Watch the growing arrogance of
the dominant people; watch their demands for deference, their lust
for flattery, their irritation at the least sign of independence,
their contempt for the race whose obeisance they delight in, their
rudeness of manner increasing till it becomes incredible to the
relatives they left at home, and would once have been incredible to
themselves. Then turn to the subordinate race, and watch the growing
weakness of character, the temptation to cringe and flatter, the loss
of self-respect, the increasing cowardice, the daily humiliation.
In that hideous process—that degeneration in manners of two great
races, each of which has high qualities of its own, we recognize the
true peril which has been advancing upon Indians and ourselves for
the last ten, or, perhaps, fifty years of Indian history. It is not
a question of loss of power, or loss of trade. It is a question of a
much more serious loss than these.

But what if all this so-called unrest is only the beginning of
another great humanistic reform, another incarnation of that “Lord
of the World” whose attribute is equality? Throughout India we are
witnessing the birth of a new national consciousness, and with it
comes a revival of dignity, a resolve no longer to take insults lying
down, not to lick the hand that strikes, or rub the forehead in the
dust before any human being, simply because he wears a helmet and is
called white. Like pilgrims bound for the shrine of Juggernath in
an ecstasy of devotion, the leaders of India are inspired by that
longing for equality which is always springing afresh in human minds.
If any one chooses to say that equality is like Juggernath’s Car,
crushing everything equally flat, he is welcome to his little jest.
But as I saw the white-robed pilgrims passing into the temple, there
to partake of equality’s sacrament, I knew that these outward things
were but the symbols of an invisible worship, which may renew the
face of the Indian people, and save ourselves from a threatening and
dishonourable danger.



The plains of Eastern Bengal have been formed grain by grain from the
washings of the dividing range of Asia brought down by melted snow on
its way to the sea. Rivers that rise not very far apart on opposite
sides of the Himalaya here unite at last after their thousand miles
of circuit, and finish their course by broad and quiet streams, which
lose the sacred names of Ganges and Brahmaputra. Some of the rivers
also spring from the hill-country of Assam and the ranges where the
pleasant station of Shillong offers a summer residence for the new
Lieut.-Governor of Eastern Bengal as comfortably isolated from his
capital at Dacca, as Simla or Darjeeling is from Calcutta. Thus the
whole country is intersected with vast waterways and streams as slow
and curling as the Ouse. Railways are built only in short sections,
as it were to connect the rivers, and continuous roads must be very
few. Everything goes by water, and the only trouble is that the
rivers sometimes change their course, owing to an earthquake or
other natural caprice. Their channels, too, are continually silting
up, so that the course of the steamers upon their broad surface is
always a little dubious, and, in spite of its slip of railway, the
new capital of Dacca is even now being cut off from the world.

[Illustration: ON THE BRAHMAPUTRA.

  [_Face p. 160._

But for the square-sailed junks that the Indians use, and for the
long black boats with pointed prow and stern pitched high in air, the
rivers form a fine system of traffic; and if the water takes a fancy
for a new passage through miles of cultivated land the owners of the
fields simply stake out their claims upon the surface, confident
that in God’s good time the river will withdraw, leaving the soil
to future generations only the richer for its deposit. The whole
country is, indeed, one of the richest parts of India, and the rivers
pass between flat lands of mangoes and palm trees, jute or yellow
rice. At times the size and stillness of the streams reminded me of
the Oil Rivers of Southern Nigeria; but how different here are the
firm and fruitful banks from those gloomy creeks and forests of the
slime! When they are not busy in their sunny fields, the people are
chiefly engaged in washing themselves, their babies, and their brazen
vessels. Large numbers are also occupied in fishing, especially for
a bony fish like a gigantic perch, which they drive into the nets
with tame otters, captive in long leashes. Others live by converting
the clay of the banks into enormous potting jars that serve as
stores for grain, _ghee_ (clarified butter), and other food. The
waterways also still carry a certain amount of the country’s ancient
industries—the gold and silver work, the bangles and ornaments cut
from white conchs, and, above all, the hand-woven muslins for which
Dacca was once celebrated throughout the world.

Since England killed the Indian cotton industry for the benefit of
Lancashire, first by imposing duties on imports from India, and
then by the present excise of 3½ per cent. upon Indian cottons
manufactured for India itself, that ancient fame is chiefly found in
museum specimens of past splendour, and in lingering words like the
French “Indienne” for calico print. Even in Dacca the very finest
muslin, such as the cows used to lick up with the grass, feeling
no difference between it and gossamer, is no longer made. It has
fallen out, partly owing to Manchester, partly because there are no
longer enough rich Indians to buy it. But still the great caste of
weavers have clung to their hand-looms as fondly as starving ryots
cling to the land. There is hardly any difference of race in Bengal,
but it so happens that nearly all the weavers are Mohammedans,
descended from the old Hindu families who changed their religion to
please their conquerors in the days when Dacca itself was an Islam
capital of empire. In the last three years, the Swadeshi movement,
which officials have told Lord Morley is specially abhorrent to
Mohammedans, has enormously increased their industry. It has revived
the ancient craft just as it was dying, and so I found the weavers
in every town and village sitting on the floor, with legs stuck
under the wooden loom, plying their thin-spun thread with hereditary
skill—plying it sometimes under water, so that a woman’s skin should
hardly feel a stuff so fine and soft.

But one can never be sure how long a handicraft, no matter how
beautiful, can hold its own against the mills. Even under Swadeshi
the hand-looms will probably disappear, and the main produce of
Eastern Bengal is no longer the most delicate fabric in the world,
but the roughest. It is jute. It is not literally true that this
dark and fibrous plant, something between a mallow and a flax, grows
only in East Bengal, but it grows best there, and almost all that
is used in the jute factories of Dundee is imported from this land
of rivers. I believe it was through the Dundee shippers, not more
than one generation ago, that jute first came to the Tay, but since
then the prosperity of the jute wives on the Tay has varied with the
prosperity of the peasant wives on the Ganges, and, unhappily, it has
often varied inversely.

It is very doubtful whether the immense increase of the jute crop
has been of real benefit to the peasant. The price is variable. In
1906, for example, it went up to 14_s._ 8_d._ a maund (82 lbs.), and
all the peasants laid down their land in jute, thus creating such
a scarcity of rice that its price went up more than double—from an
average of 5_s._ 4_d._ to 12_s._ a maund. In some districts rice rose
to more than three times its normal price. Drought and flood combined
to increase the scarcity, and a terrible famine ensued. Of course, it
ought not to have been so. Economists would say that the sale of the
jute and the export of the rice should bring in money with which the
peasants could purchase food. The trouble was that reality refused to
support the economic doctrine.

Jute, like flax, is a very exhausting crop, yet I have seen it
actually planted on the same field with rice, and at the same time,
because it grows quicker, and can be harvested while the rice is
green and short. Nothing but a deluge can restore the soil so
treated, and, at the best, jute wants more room and more labour.
Then there are the middlemen to be considered—the British and Jewish
middlemen who swarm at the centres of the jute trade, where the heavy
wooden junks lie thick as a town upon the rivers. Lastly, there is
the zemindar or landowner. He comes under the Permanent Settlement
of Bengal, and his rent or tax to Government is fixed for ever. But
within limits he can raise the rent on the cultivator, and it is
in the nature of landlords to raise the rent. They are not rich
themselves, these zemindars. Throughout Bengal I heard lamentable
stories of their genteel but increasing poverty that reminded me
of the distressed Irish landlords of twenty years ago. Like the
French, they have the custom of dividing the land equally among the
children, and the Mohammedans endow their daughters in the division,
which is very nice of them, but only hastens the family ruin. Unless
a zemindar family launches out into other forms of labour beyond
eating its rents, the number of hangers-on to small parcels of land
increases, and their condition is often pitiable. All the more
because, though the Settlement is permanent, the cesses or rates
nominally levied for roads and District Boards, but really applied
to all manner of other purposes, are continually increasing, and the
curse of malaria, which saps the vitality and rots the brain, appears
to be falling with peculiar virulence upon the zemindar class.

It is a question whether jute and the export of rice have benefited
any one except the merchants and middlemen. Owing to the fall in
jute, the peasants were growing quantities of rice again when I was
there; but next year the rice might go down and jute up, and so they
live in a gambler’s uncertainty, and lay up no store of food, as the
custom used to be, against the evil day. They sell everything as it
grows, and with the money buy Rangoon rice which makes them sick.
Many paternal officials, though bred on our university economics,
told me that to save the people they would even prohibit jute, tax
exported rice, and abolish the cotton excise.

So far we may say the contest lies between Dundee and Eastern
Bengal, but though I believe it to be a vital matter, that contest
is tranquil and slow compared to the dramatic battle raging between
Eastern Bengal and the British cities of Liverpool and Manchester.
Liverpool stands for salt, Manchester for cotton, and Eastern Bengal
has taken a solemn vow not to touch either their salt or their cotton
till the burning wrong of Bengal is redressed. By the burning wrong
they mean the Partition of the Bengali people into two separate
and unconnected governments, Bengal proper to contain 18,000,000
of the race, and Eastern Bengal to contain 25,000,000. With the
addition of the outlying and alien provinces of Behar, Chota Nagpur,
and Orissa, Lord Curzon estimated the population of Bengal under
the old capital of Calcutta at 54,000,000, of whom 9,000,000 would
be Mohammedans; while, including the outlying and alien province
of Assam, the population of “Eastern Bengal and Assam” with a new
capital at Dacca would come to 31,000,000, of whom 18,000,000 would
be Mohammedans. Throughout the whole of Bengal, whether East or West,
it must be again remembered that the people are homogeneous, both
Mohammedans and Hindus belonging to the Bengali race, speaking the
same language, living in amity side by side for generations past, and
only divided in religion because some of their number, chiefly of the
lower and less educated castes, had long ago embraced Islam for the
most persuasive of reasons.[36]

Various schemes for sharing out the administrative burden of the vast
province with its dependencies had been discussed for at least twelve
years before, and there were obvious ways in which it could have
been done—by creating the three contiguous districts of different
race into a new western province with the capital at Patna, or by
placing them under Chief Commissioners, while in either case Bengal
should be raised to a Presidency under a Governor in Calcutta,
enjoying the same privileges as Madras and Bombay. By the Charter
of 1833 we promised a Governorship for Fort William (Calcutta), and
the promise was renewed by Lord Dalhousie in 1853. It is hard in
England to understand the difference that Indians feel between a
Lieutenant-Governor trained in Anglo-Indian routine and a Governor
appointed from among the leading men of England, and coming to
their country free from the narrowing routine of the Service and
Anglo-Indian society. But a very short time in India shows what that
difference means.

Far from carrying out these pledges or following a smaller scheme
of devolution favoured by Mr. Brodrick (Lord Midleton), at that time
Secretary of State for India, Lord Curzon determined to split the
Bengali people roughly in half and give them two Lieutenant-Governors
instead of one—with a view, of course, to “greater administrative
efficiency”; for, as Mr. John Morley somewhere remarked, “the usual
excuse of those who do evil to other people is that their object is
to do them good.” The first sign of Lord Curzon’s purpose was Sir
Herbert Risley’s letter of December 3, 1903, announcing a Partition
in the name of the Government of India. The scheme then proposed
was instantly met by a storm of opposition throughout Bengal, among
Mohammedans and Hindus alike, and to the credit of Anglo-Indians it
must be said that the opposition of the Bengalis was supported by
many of the officials and by the leading Anglo-Indian newspapers,
though the worldly success of officials and newspapers largely
depends on Government favour.

Always impatient of criticism, Lord Curzon hastened through Eastern
Bengal, lecturing the Hindu leaders and trying to win over the
Moslems. With the Moslems, by one means or another, he partially
succeeded, but the opposition among the bulk of the Bengal population
continued as determined as ever. Hundreds of indignation meetings
were held; I believe about two thousand in all. Great petitions
were presented; one with 70,000 signatures attached was sent to
the Home Government. But it was all in vain. The English people
paid no attention; they were not sure where Bengal was; most of
them had never heard of it apart from tigers, and did not care what
Partition meant. The Home Government perhaps had its own reasons for
“letting Curzon down gently.” The scheme was hustled through almost
in secrecy, and almost avowedly against his better judgment, Mr.
Brodrick gave his assent. The fatal “Government Resolution on the
Partition of Bengal” was issued from Simla on July 19, 1905; it was
followed by the Proclamation of September 1st, and a blow was given
to the credit of our country and to her reputation for justice and
popular government, from which it will take us long years of upright
administration and reform to recover.[37]

On October 16th of the same year the Resolution took effect, and
the Partition became what Mr. Morley in an unhappy moment called “a
settled fact.” The anniversary of that national wrong has now become
the Ash Wednesday of India. On that day thousands and thousands of
Indians rub dust or ashes on their foreheads; at dawn they bathe in
silence as at a sacred fast; no meals are eaten; the shops in cities
and the village bazaars are shut; women refuse to cook; they lay
aside their ornaments; men bind each other’s wrists with a yellow
string as a sign that they will never forget the shame; and the whole
day is passed in resentment, mourning, and the hunger of humiliation.
In Calcutta vast meetings are held, and the errors of the Indian
Government are exposed with eloquent patriotism. With each year the
indignation of the protest has increased; the crowds have grown
bigger, the ceremonial more widely spread, the fast more rigorous.

Such was the Partition of Bengal, prompted, as nearly all educated
Indians believe, by Lord Curzon’s personal dislike of the Bengali
race, as shown also by his Convocation speech of the previous
February, in which he brought against the whole people an indictment
for mendacity.[38] The Partition marks the beginning of the “unrest”
in its present form. I think some kind of unrest would have been
developed within the next few years in any case. It arises from all
manner of deep-lying causes—from the success of Asiatic Japanese in
war against a great European power, from the general communication by
railway, the visits of even high-caste Brahmans to Europe, the use of
English as a common tongue, the increasing knowledge of our history
and liberties, and the increasing study of our great Liberal thinkers
and John Morley’s works. Add to these things the growing alienation
of the subject races, owing to notorious cases of injustice in
the law courts, ill-mannered arrogance on the part of certain
Anglo-Indians, abusive incitements to violence by Anglo-Indian
newspapers, and a system of espionage by the police and postal
officials. It would be a wonder indeed if any people with a grain of
self-respect left in them had remained unmoved. But beyond question
it was the Partition that directly occasioned the present outbreaks
of distrust and hostility. When their petitions remained unanswered,
and their public meetings had no effect, when the Partition was
carried out with despotic indifference to their feelings and
interests, the Bengali people, and through them the vast majority of
educated Indians, unwillingly became convinced that England no longer
cared what happened to them or their country, provided they paid the
revenue and kept quiet. It was a dangerous conviction to which they
had been brought. England as a whole neither knew nor cared anything
about it. She thought she had done enough when she had entrusted Lord
Curzon and the Home Government with the duty of knowing and caring.

All advocates of the Partition, from Sir Harvey Adamson downwards,
have continually sneered at the Bengali objection to having their
country cut in half as “sentimental.”[39] By “sentimental” I find
that this sort of people always understand an emotion that does not
bring in sixpence. For instance, if we love our country because of
her reputation for justice and freedom, they call us hysterical
sentimentalists; but if we love our country because trade follows
the flag, they call us sound supporters of the Empire. In accordance
with this despicable standard, we may say that the chief objection
to the Partition is one of sentiment. It is none the less strong on
that account. It is the same kind of sentiment as would set Scotland
ablaze with indignation if an English Prime Minister drew a jagged
line from Thurso to Dumfries, and announced that in future Scotland
would consist of two separate provinces, with one government in
Edinburgh and the other in Glasgow, and no connection between them.
A Scotsman’s chief objection might be described as “sentimental”
by people of Sir Harvey Adamson’s mind, but I think “unrest” would
hardly be the word for what would follow.

Yet that is exactly what England has allowed to be done in Bengal.
The root of the indignation is a sentiment—an emotion that does
not bring in sixpence. It is the sentiment of a patriotic and
progressive race cut in two by an action which they believe to have
been arbitrary and suggested by pique. And just because it is a
sentiment, no material advantage or convenience of administration
can ever serve as compensation for the wrong. But even if outraged
national feeling could be set aside as a sentimental complaint,
the other grievances are strong. Calcutta is justly claimed by all
Bengalis for their own capital, as well as the capital of India. It
is the centre of their culture and trade, of justice and government.
It has the best Indian newspapers; it is the home of the best social
intercourse; its University sets the standard of knowledge; its High
Court is regarded with confidence by all Indians as a sure appeal
against injustice. To be separated from Calcutta and compelled to
look to poor, ruinous, decrepit old Dacca as their capital is for
Bengalis an intellectual and material loss. Dacca was a good enough
Mohammedan capital three centuries ago, but now it is difficult to
get at; its river, as I said, is silting up; it has not a single
newspaper worthy of the name; it has no University, no High Court,
and its new Lieutenant-Governor lives for months together far away
at Shillong, almost inaccessible in the hills. It is true that
Government has bought a lot of land north of the town and has laid
out foundations for residences and offices where future officials can
enjoy themselves in comfort. The existence of those foundations is a
common argument against reversing the Partition even among the many
officials who recognized its error. But to the Bengalis it only makes
the thing worse, for their wretched country will now have to pay fora
double set of buildings, a double set of high and low officials, and
a double set of questionable police.

There are other points. No one but landlords feels much disturbed
at the woes of landlords, who suck their livelihood off the land
like ticks off a sheep. But even sheep-ticks have their feelings,
and in Eastern Bengal the zemindars also have a certain use in
the world, especially when hunger drives them to cultivate their
land themselves. To the zemindars the Partition has been a loss
and hardship, increasing their legal expenses, and reducing such
amenity as life afforded them. Naturally, their sufferings are worst
when the line of partition passes straight through their land and
exposes their flanks to double lawyers’ fees from right and left.
An Englishman whose ancestral estate had been thus divided between
the two provinces, told me his existence had been rendered almost
intolerable. He had always been accustomed to go to Calcutta for
business connected with the estate, and as he was a celebrated
polo-player and took an intelligent interest in horse-racing, his
business visits to the capital were both frequent and pleasing. But
now for more than half his business he had to travel far away to
dingy Dacca—no horse-racing; no polo renown! This was no imaginary
or sentimental grievance like the indignation of a proud and ancient
race split in two for the satisfaction of its rulers, and I felt sure
that if only such a case could be brought home to the sportsmanlike
governors of our Empire, they would persuade Lord Morley to regard
his “settled fact” in a more pliable spirit.

The Eastern Bengalis also object to being bound up with the backward
province of Assam, whose people they regard as semi-barbarous, and
for whose improvement they alone will now have to pay, whereas the
cost was formerly shared by all India. “Are we to be Assamese for
ever?” is the scornful question of even Mohammedan peasants when they
meet the sort of man who knows the news. Equally significant was
a small Assamese deputation which came to me in Calcutta, because
they had heard I was a Liberal, and they supposed that a Liberal
Government would listen to Liberal principles. Their petition was for
help in removing the yoke which now binds them to Eastern Bengal,
where the progressive and educated population are too clever for them
by half!

But of all material grievances—of all grievances other than the
central crime of cutting a nationality in half—I think the Eastern
Bengalis most fear their threatened separation from the Calcutta
High Court. It is true that the blow has not yet fallen, but it
is almost certain to fall, and the Government has refused to give
any pledge against it. When I consulted Sir Andrew Fraser, the
Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, upon this subject, he very kindly
referred me to Sir Herbert Risley’s answer to the Bengal Chamber of
Commerce, which had from the first petitioned against the change.[40]
In Sir Andrew Fraser’s opinion, “Lord Curzon’s Government there
placed clearly on record their view that nothing less than a High
Court could ever be established in the new province,” but he appears
to me to have misread the document. In the main sections of his
reply, Sir Herbert Risley carefully guards the Government three times
over from making any guarantee as to the future. He states it as the
Government’s opinion:—

  “That it is most unlikely that in the event of the existing
  judicial machinery being found inadequate for the service of
  the two provinces and of public opinion then demanding the
  establishment of a Chartered High Court, any tribunal occupying a
  position of less authority and influence would either be proposed
  by the Government of India or sanctioned by the Secretary of State.”

But he refuses to bind the future Government either to maintain the
present connection between Eastern Bengal and the Calcutta High
Court, or to establish a new High Court at Dacca in its place. The
fear of the Eastern Bengalis is that in place of a High Court, which
is regarded throughout India as the embodiment of true British
justice uncontaminated by Anglo-Indian prejudice and tradition,
they may be put off with a Chief Court, in which the judges have
been trained under the distorting influence of that prejudice and
tradition. It is hard for us, accustomed to regard all our Courts
as fairly equal in the dispensation of justice, to realize what
that difference implies to Indians. But it is exactly parallel to
the difference they recognize between most Anglo-Indians and the
Englishman straight from home.


[36] See Introduction, p. 10 ff, and for the history of Eastern
Bengal see Mr. Bradley Birt’s “Romance of an Eastern Capital,” _i.e._

[37] See Introduction, p. 12.

[38] See Introduction, p. 7 ff.

[39] Sir Harvey Adamson’s speech at St. Andrew’s Dinner in Calcutta,

[40] Proceedings of the Home Department, Simla, October 2, 1905.



The Partition led to Swadeshi. Of course, there was nothing new in
an attempt to encourage Indian industries. For thirty years past
the true friends of India, like Sir William Wedderburn, had been
insisting that the solution of her economic miseries lay partly
in diverting some portion of her agricultural population to the
industrial work for which she used to be celebrated till England
stamped on her manufactures and determined to use her only as a farm
for raw material and a market for Lancashire. Artistic people had
also attempted to realize the same object, for it did not require
a politician’s eye to perceive the immense superiority of Indian
fabrics in point of beauty. But the true Swadeshi movement dates
from the year of the Partition. I believe it was first suggested by
Mr. Krishna Kumar Mitra in his paper _Sanjibani_, when he declared
that India’s one sure means of drawing England’s attention to the
Partition and other wrongs was the boycott of British goods. The
movement, however, did not become public till a great meeting held
in Calcutta Town Hall on August 7, 1905, to protest against the
Partition. A form of oath was then drawn up by Mr. Surendra Nath
Banerjea, Principal of Ripon College, Editor of the _Bengali_, and
probably the most prominent leader of the Congress party in Bengal,
and the oath ran as follows:—

  “I hereby pledge myself to abstain from the purchase of all
  English-made goods for at least a year from this date. So help me

Thus a movement which had been entirely economic for some twenty
years suddenly became political, and the boycott was added to
Swadeshi. The growth of the new phase was rapid. It spread like a
gospel through both provinces of Bengal. Within a few months the
reports of our Commissioners were full of it.

  “The Swadeshi movement has contributed largely to the development
  of the cotton cloth industry in all the districts of this
  division,” writes the Commissioner of Burdwan in Western Bengal
  (1906-7), “except Bankura, where the inclination of the people to
  use country-made things is not pronounced and consequently the sale
  of Manchester goods has not much decreased.”

In the _Indian Trade Journal_ (July 25, 1907), published by the
Government, the Magistrate of Hooghly is quoted:—

  “It appears that while formerly the weavers had to take advances
  from the middlemen, they are now very much better off, and, if
  anything, the middlemen are sometimes indebted to them.... There
  cannot be any doubt that, on account of the Swadeshi movement, the
  weavers as a class, who are a stay-at-home people, have distinctly
  advanced. Fly-shuttle looms arc being largely used, and the people
  are said to appreciate them.”

In the Report on the Land Revenue Administration of the Lower
Provinces (1906-7) we read—

  “It is reported that on account of the demand for country-made
  cloths, weavers working with the fly-shuttle can make as much as
  Rs 20 (£1 6_s._ 8_d._) a month” (about double the average earnings
  of the class) “and that the demand for their services is daily
  increasing ... some prospect of improvement in their material
  condition is held out by the present Swadeshi movement, in so far
  as it may induce the younger generation to devote themselves to a
  technical rather than a literary profession.”

In the “Report on the Administration of Eastern Bengal, 1905-6,”
we find that eleven factories had been added in the year to the
seventy-one already existing, the foreign imports showed a decrease
of 16 per cent., and “Liverpool” salt had declined by 6000 tons. It
has been the same with “imported liquors,” though apparently the
great decrease in them does not mean a decline in drinking, but an
increase in “country” or Swadeshi spirits. The Collector of Dacca,
a strong opponent of Swadeshi, or at all events of the boycott,
remarked in his Report for 1906-7—

  “Even the public women of Dacca and Narainganj took the so-called
  Swadeshi vow and joined the general movement against the use of
  foreign articles. People formerly addicted to imported liquor took
  to country spirit.”[41]

Such facts prove how widely the movement prevails among the common
people. It is necessarily a woman’s movement, because women wear most
of the cotton and do most of the housekeeping. They are the thrifty
sex, because they and the children are generally the first to suffer
from want. If they sacrifice cheapness to political conviction, it
shows the conviction is strong; and though now the coarse hand-woven
_sari_ or woman’s garment of the greater part of India (at two to
three shillings a pair) is almost as cheap as Manchester stuff, and
much more durable, the sacrifice has been something. I will add only
two further proofs of the movement’s strength. In reviewing the
English exports in cotton piece-goods for May, 1907, the _Times_
remarked: “India took less by 42,492,500 yards;”[42] and sitting by
her mother, a child of Eastern Bengal was heard to ask, “Mother,
is this an English or a Swadeshi mosquito?” “Swadeshi,” the mother
answered. “Then I won’t kill it,” said the child.

Such was the movement which I had found speeding up the eighty or
ninety cotton mills in Bombay, because, work as they might, they
could not keep pace with the demand from Bengal. It is true that
English manufacturers were said to be adopting the simple device of
stamping their Manchester stuff with the Swadeshi mark, but I did not
discover how far their deceit was successful.

The movement was spreading to all kinds of merchandise besides
cotton. In Calcutta they had started a Swadeshi match-factory, in
Dacca soap-works and tanneries. In all Indian towns you will now
find Swadeshi shops where you may buy native biscuits, cigarettes,
scents, toys, woollens, boots, and all manner of things formerly
imported. Nearly all the trade advertisements in Indian papers are
now Swadeshi. The officials whom I consulted, from the Governor of
Bombay and the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal downwards, professed
sympathy and admiration for the Swadeshi movement. It would be almost
impossible for them to do anything else, considering the economic
salvation it may bring to India if it is maintained. Their interest
in this economic development is quite genuine, and I am told that,
though under official management, the Swadeshi stalls from Eastern
Bengal during the Calcutta Congress of 1906 were the success of the
exhibition. But the officials are in a very difficult position.
With all their love for India, they do not like to stand by and see
British trade ruined, neither does the word “boycott” delight the
official mind.

The Indians themselves have made an attempt to separate Swadeshi
from boycott, and again to separate the economic boycott from the
political boycott. At the Calcutta Congress (December, 1906) two
resolutions were adopted that were to have a critical influence on
the stormy Congress in Surat a year later. They ran—

  “(1) Having regard to the fact that the people of this country
  have little or no voice in the administration and that their
  representations to the Government do not receive due consideration,
  this Congress is of opinion that the boycott movement inaugurated
  in Bengal by way of protest against the Partition of that province
  was and is legitimate.

  “(2) This Congress accords its most cordial support to the Swadeshi
  movement and calls upon the people of the country to labour for
  its success by making earnest and sustained efforts to promote the
  growth of indigenous industries and to stimulate the production
  of indigenous articles by giving them preference over imported
  commodities, even at some sacrifice.”

The first resolution sanctioned the political boycott, and was passed
after much controversy, and mainly to avoid an open rupture under
the presidency of the veteran Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji; for, unless the
resolution had been admitted, the Extremists would have left the
Congress. The second resolution was for the encouragement of economic
Swadeshi, and was accepted almost without question.

It appears very doubtful whether the Swadeshi movement could have
been carried on without a boycott of foreign goods; and as to
political boycott, the Swadeshi remained an impotent and æsthetic
concern till the political movement gave it driving power. Swadeshi
is now so strong that it would probably hold its own even if all
political grievances were removed. But its true origin was political,
and hitherto it has been impossible to separate it from its political
motive—the protest against the Partition of Bengal.

In any case, it was the political motive which spread the Swadeshi
vow like a beacon light through Eastern Bengal. In towns and villages
young men formed themselves into associations to preach Swadeshi and
the boycott. Shops that continued the sale of foreign goods were
surrounded by youths who implored customers for the sake of their
country to depart without purchasing. Boys threw themselves prostrate
in supplication before the customer’s feet. This form of picketing
was never violent, and I think it was not often prosecuted. It is
true the officials regarded it with disfavour, and at Barisal Sir
Bampfylde Fuller personally compelled the leading men of the town
to withdraw a Swadeshi appeal they were issuing to the villages
(November 16, 1905), and through the District Magistrate and Police
he broke up a Provincial Conference which was being held in the same
town (April 15, 1906). But in some places the boycott took the form
of destroying British goods, especially “Liverpool salt,” and the
goods were not always paid for first, though usually they were. In
one case, four youths destroyed foreign sugar, valued at is 1_s._
2_d._, and were sentenced to three and four months’ imprisonment,
with heavy fines. As is usual when political offences are savagely
punished, the victims triumphed as heroes in the popular mind.

But when I was in Eastern Bengal, the time for that kind of boycott
had passed. Even the remotest villages knew the principle of Swadeshi
then, and the chief importance of the preaching movement among the
young men was the stimulus it gave to the so-called “Volunteers.”
In the previous summer (1907), the phrase “National Volunteers” had
roused alarm among sensationalists at home; but it was unknown in
Eastern Bengal, and I believe it to have been the sole invention of a
correspondent in Calcutta, who had at that time set himself to make
the flesh of the British public creep. The Volunteers were originally
organized in the ’eighties to act as stewards at the National Indian
Congress, but under the enthusiasm of the Swadeshi and national
movement, they have developed along many other lines. I met them
first in Orissa, relieving the distress from famine and flood there,
though Eastern Bengal was still their proper sphere. In Barisal,
the centre of the Bakerganj district, which was then the only part
of India proclaimed under the Seditious Meetings Act, I first met
one of the “captains,” a mere boy, who explained to me the peculiar
mixture of politics and philanthropy in their duties. In the Barisal
Braja Mohun Institution, whose Principal, Mr. Aswini Kumar Dutt, is a
notable Nationalist, the students had formed a society of Volunteers
called “The Little Brothers of the Poor,” for nursing among the
villages, especially in the commonest and most deadly plagues of
cholera and small-pox. The Oxford Brethren, who have a strong
settlement in that unruly place and, I think, the only beautiful
Anglican church in India, spoke of the movement as not unworthy of
its famous name, though they themselves refused to take any part in
the political controversies around them.

[Illustration: A TEMPLE TANK.]

[Illustration: A TEMPLE OF SHIVA.

  [_Face p. 186._

But the work of the Volunteers is not chiefly a matter of nursing
and poor relief. In Calcutta and other cities they arrange public
meetings and organize the course of the immense pilgrimages. At fairs
and the great festivals when Hindu women come from all over the
country to bathe in the sacred rivers, they act as their protectors
against the rowdy class of Mohammedans, who regard women as their
natural prey. When the Mohammedans, after the Partition, were induced
to believe that the Government would connive at any violence on their
part against the Hindu inhabitants, the Volunteers attempted a
defence of their homes and temples. They were generally beaten,
but they are doing their best to stiffen their courage and the
fighting qualities we all admire. Ever since Macaulay’s time the
Anglo-Indians have wasted much of their lives in sneering at Indians,
and especially at Bengalis, for effeminacy and unwarlike habit. By
athletics, gymnastics, by football with bare feet, and lathi-play
with the bamboo singlestick, the Volunteers are now seeking to wipe
off the disgrace, and Anglo-Indians suspect sedition. They cannot
have it both ways, and, for myself, I admire the Indian determination
to obtain bodily strength. For, without being advocates of war at any
price, we all know what moral force an argument gains when we feel
that, if sweet reasonableness fails, we could, if we liked, knock the
adversary down and break his bones!

Of course, some one has to pay for Swadeshi, and it is not always the
British merchant who suffers for Lord Curzon’s error. Late one night,
as I sat on a river steamer after two crowded days in a strongly
Swadeshi town, five or six dark forms were dimly seen to gather round
me with gestures of secrecy and peril. In other countries I should
have thought them assassins thirsting for blood, but they were only
Hindu merchants with an interest in Manchester piece-goods. Of these
they had a large store, I have forgotten how many thousand pounds’
worth, laid up in their warehouses; and, in consequence, they were
shunned by their kind. Barbers would not shave them, milkmen would
not bring them milk, friends would not come to their daughters’
marriages, acquaintances would not say good-morning. Such treatment
was distressing and inconvenient. Would I please use my influence
with the Home Government, and set everything right again? They
refused to throw in their lot with the Swadeshi movement; their goods
were too valuable to be sacrificed, and they preferred to stand and
die as martyrs in the cause of British commerce. I had no doubt
their statement was true, but what hope could I hold out to them?—I,
who had no influence with the Home Government, and, if I had been
an Indian, would have done my utmost to dissuade my countrymen from
buying any foreign goods at all till grievances had been redressed.


[41] See “Swadeshi-cum-Boycott,” by Hemendra Prasad Ghose; _The
Indian Review_, April, 1908.

[42] Quoted in the above article.



Dacca still wears something of a Mohammedan air, for Akbar’s long
arm reached to Eastern Bengal, and the inheritors of his empire here
built a fort, a palace, and a capital. Passing one day among its
enclosed gardens, mouldering lengths of wall, and dying mosques, I
had begun to imagine myself back in some Turkish town like Ochrida or
Monastir, when I was suddenly recalled to the streams of Brahmaputra
by the appearance of a large wooden cage under a tree in an open
court. It was bigger than the cages in which Louis XI. swung his
political opponents in the castles of Touraine. It would have held a
bull as well as an eagle, and was firmly set upon a base of stone,
daubed with vermillion, as is the Hindu way. Life in a cage has
always seemed to me so curious a choice when this nutshell of a
planet is itself so small, that I stopped to contemplate it, and,
observing my interest, the Brahman who accompanied me began to knock
with a stone upon a large wooden box, which occupied one corner of
the interior. The summons appeared to be recognized, like the call to
a menagerie’s wild beast at feeding time. There was a stir inside,
a lid opened, and presently a human head emerged shaggy as John the
Baptist’s, with black hair.

It was the city anchorite, whose sleep or meditation we had rather
rudely disturbed. But he took it in good part, as one accustomed
to allow for grosser natures, and, raising himself deftly from his
lair, he stood naked before us, contemplating this garish muddle of
a world with shy and melancholy eyes. Human speech was distasteful
to him, but he had come, he said, from a distant province, the name
of which did not concern a mind set upon infinity. All his life now
he meditated, not directly upon God, but upon the remembered words
of his Guru, or spiritual master, which in time might lead him to
the meditation upon God Himself. He was unwilling to say more, and,
being in haste, I gave him six annas (sixpence) as an endowment of
meditation, which appears to me far the most difficult achievement of
the human mind, and he crept back into his box to continue it.

I was in haste, because I had an appointment with the Nawab Salimulla
of Dacca, certainly the most influential personality in the city,
and perhaps in the province. For the population of Eastern Bengal,
though nearly all Bengali, is about three-fifths Mohammedan, and,
owing to his father’s wealth, wisdom, and public munificence, the
Nawab is regarded by the Mohammedans as their natural leader. It
is an instance of mankind’s touching belief in heredity, for the
present Nawab is not specially conspicuous for those three claims to
recognition. His munificence has been largely private, and, added to
certain peculiarities on the part of his guardian, it has so much
reduced his father’s wealth, that he has been compelled to hand over
the remainder to the Government Court of Wards, having publicly
declared himself a “disqualified proprietor,” incapable of managing
his own affairs. This cannot, however, in itself imply any lack of
wisdom, for since that public declaration the Government of India
has reappointed him a member of the Viceroy’s Legislative Council,
as one peculiarly capable of managing the affairs of an Empire. And,
indeed, with regard to the burning question of the Partition, he
has shown wisdom’s reasonable and open mind. When the Partition was
first suggested, he was as much opposed to it as any Bengali could
be, and I was told that, in his simple-hearted way, he described it
as “beastly.” But such prejudice was not proof against reason, and it
began to dissolve under the influence of Lord Curzon’s visit, and the
speeches in which he promised that the Partition “would invest the
Mohammedans of Eastern Bengal with a unity which they had not enjoyed
since the days of the old Mussulman viceroys and kings.”

Shortly after the Partition the Government of India advanced a loan
to relieve the Nawab’s private munificence from bankruptcy—a loan
amounting to about £100,000, at what was, for India, a very low
rate of interest. This benevolent action, combined with certain
privileges granted to Mohammedans, was supposed by many Hindus to
have encouraged the Nawab and his co-religionists in taking a still
more favourable view of the Partition itself.

Not only so, but priestly mullahs went through the country preaching
the revival of Islam, and proclaiming to the villagers that the
British Government was on the Mohammedan side, that the Law Courts
had been specially suspended for three months, and no penalty
would be exacted for violence done to Hindus, or for the loot of
Hindu shops, or the abduction of Hindu widows. A Red Pamphlet was
everywhere circulated, maintaining the same wild doctrines. It was
seen that a large proportion of Government posts were set aside
for Mohammedans, and some were even kept vacant because there was
no Mohammedan qualified to fill them. Sir Bampfylde Fuller said in
jest that of his two wives (meaning the Moslem and Hindu sections of
his province) the Mohammedan was the favourite. The jest was taken
in earnest, and the Mussulmans genuinely believed that the British
authorities were ready to forgive them all excesses.

Some two years after his departure from India Lord Curzon wrote to
the _Times_ that it was “a wicked falsehood” to say that by the
Partition he intended to carve out a Mohammedan State, to drive
a wedge between Mohammedan and Hindu, or to arouse racial feuds.
Certainly no one would willingly accuse another of such desperate
wickedness, but a statesman of better judgment might have foreseen
that, not a racial, but a religious feud would probably be the
result of the measure. What might have been expected followed. In
Comilla, Jamalpur, and a few other places, rather serious riots
occurred. A few lives were lost, temples were desecrated, images
broken, shops plundered, and many Hindu widows carried off. Some of
the towns were deserted, the Hindu population took refuge in any
“pukka” house (_i.e._ house with brick or stone walls), women spent
nights hidden in tanks, the crime known as “group-rape” increased,
and throughout the country districts there reigned a general terror,
which still prevailed at the time of my visit. Thus a new religious
feud was established in Eastern Bengal, and when Mr. Morley said in
the Commons that the disturbance was due to the refusal of Hindus to
sell British goods to Mohammedans, it was a grotesque instance of the
power that officials have of misleading their Chief.

The largest of the Nawab’s palaces, looking over the river, is
built in the French style of Louis XIV., but is not so old, having
been probably constructed by the present Nawab’s rich and prudent
father. Similarly, the large collection of knightly armour in the
entrance hall, recalling the onsets of Cressy and Agincourt, do not
suggest that the present owner’s ancestors were engaged in those
famous battles, as they would in an English millionaire’s house.
As a matter of fact, I believe the present Nawab’s grandfather or
great-grandfather came from peaceful Kashmir and established the
family fortunes originally on carpets. Since his time, while the
family fortunes have developed, the family taste has developed too,
and the enormous vaulted room into which I was shown was stuffed with
the expensive sweepings of European furniture shops. A huge armchair
in cut glass especially fascinated my gaze, and in spite of my haste
I had full time to be fascinated, because the Nawab was an hour and a
half late for his appointment, having been detained at another palace
where a wife dwelt to whom he was much attached—more attached, I was
told, than to any other.

So there was every excuse for his unpunctuality, and he made none,
but swept into the room with a smile of benign complacency. He was a
well-developed man of middle age—something of Falstaff’s prominent
personality, but preserving the childlike air of innocence and
candour which nursemaids call “engaging.” Round his large and serene
face, which smiled almost perpetually, hung a loose black fringe of
beard. He was dressed in little purple slippers, thin pyjamas of
white silk, a vest of exquisitely fine Dacca muslin “sprigged” (as
they say in the china trade) with delicate rosebuds, a copious turban
of the same, and a long purple coat or cloak of flowered brocade,
with a white border embroidered with passion flowers.

“My own design!” he exclaimed with justifiable pride, as soon as the
formal greetings were over, holding up the stuff for my inspection
and slowly turning round that I might enjoy its full effect.

I soon discovered that though his mind was much occupied with
Imperial politics, he retained a human interest in home life and the
domestic arts. Like the elder Dumas, he was particularly proud of his
skill in cooking, and he told me of many wonderful dishes he could

“You should taste my nougat!” he cried, and leaning forward like a
diplomat with a State secret, he added, “Only this morning I composed
a new almond toffee!”

I was not surprised that, with these natural gifts only waiting to be
recognized, he was keenly alive to a lack of sympathy in his family

“My wife,” (he used the singular, and sighed)—“you have no idea what
difficulty I have in getting my wife to try a new dish. With her it
is always mutton, mutton, mutton! She has been brought up on mutton,
and Indian women have so little enterprise. She will not try my

“Let us go hence, my songs; she will not hear,” I quoted in sympathy,
and he sighed again.

“Our Indian women are very backward,” he went on. “Now, there is my
retired groom, my livery man—what a woman his English wife is! How
finished! What pleasantness! How much nicer a home she makes for him
than I can ever get! I will show you the difference.”

He called an attendant who had been keeping his eye on me from behind
a glass door, and presently the attendant returned with heavy gold
ornaments—bracelets, anklets, and necklaces—thickly sprinkled with
small turquoises and pearls.

“I gave these jewels as presents to my wife,” he said. “They are my
own design too. I bought the pearls cheap when the plague was very
bad here, and people were glad to sell everything.”

I commended this one evidence of ancestral thrift.

“Then I took the pearls and turquoises and gold to Paris,” he went
on, “and drew out a design for the Parisian jewellers to follow. You
see the result. What grace! What finish I You cannot get finish in
the East. It is the same with our women. They are backward; they have
no finish.”

By a mere slip of the tongue I said I greatly admired what I had
seen of Hindu ladies, and added something about seclusion and purdah.

“Hindu ladies!” he cried indignantly. “They don’t understand what
purdah is. They might just as well live shamelessly in public. It
is only Mohammedan ladies who practise strict purdah, and seclude
themselves with absolute delicacy and refinement.”

I assured him I had supposed no less, and his aspect cleared again.
Resuming his lightsome smile, he continued—

“For myself I am singularly happy. I suppose even the Emperor can
hardly be happier than I am?”

He said this in a tentative way, as though appealing to my personal
acquaintanceship with King Edward. But as I could offer no opinion
upon the Emperor’s happiness, he went on—

“Every morning I feel like a bird. I wake after my sweet sleep, when
the birds are waking too. 1 like to hear them sing, because I know
that I am as happy as they can be. I have my troubles of course. I
never can induce the gardeners to water my flowers at the right time.
They will water them in the evening when the cool night is coming. I
tell them they ought to water in the morning, as a protection against
the hot days. They promise to obey, and next evening out they go
again with their water-pots, as their fathers did before them. There
is no science in the East, no progress, no reason.”

For an instant this lamentable truth depressed him, but he revived at
the recollection of his own assured happiness.

“I trust entirely to God,” he said. “I leave everything in His hands,
and all goes well. He has always helped me very much. Hitherto He has
helped me so that I hardly ever have to work. He has never let me
work very much, and I trust everything to His care. I think that is
why I am so happy, and feel like a bird in the morning after my sweet

I suggested that an easy conscience conduces to sleep and happiness,
and he agreed it was so.

He then turned to more general subjects, and, like Lord Curzon, he
much regretted the Bengali tendency to lying. It was corrupting even
the Mohammedans, and nearly all Indian children were brought up
in deception, usually to escape punishment or to give pleasure. I
remarked that even in Europe these motives sometimes lead to deceit,
but he had formed an ideal of English education, such as the Greeks
formed of Persian. English boys, he said, were taught to ride, shoot,
and tell the truth. It was a fine testimony from a man of education
so different from our own.

Of Hindus in general, and of Mohammedans who had lost their faith, he
expressed deep distrust, pointing the moral from the fate of a near
relation, who, through associating with women and Hindus, was now no
better than one of the lost. This grieved me very much, for I had
heard that relation highly spoken of in the town, and he had made me
various offers of kindness. But the Nawab was inflexible in virtue.

“You must fear God,” he said, becoming for a moment almost grave.
“There is no good in praying to God, for He needs nothing that we
could give Him in exchange for His gifts. But we know that He is
pleased with truth, and we must tell it.”

Then we discussed the Partition, and as I rose to go he exclaimed,
“Here in Dacca I have 10,000 men ready to die for me if I raise my
little finger. That is how I keep the peace.”

How far he expected to please God by that statement I do not know.
But probably he was quite sincere, for it is impossible to exhaust or
caricature the illusions of mankind.

One would like to discover the causes of a certain “quality” (as
country people say of gentlefolk) that appears common to nearly all
Mohammedans. I have felt it almost equally in Constantinople and
other parts of Turkey, in Asia Minor and Crete, in Morocco, and
on the West African coast, in Madras, in the North-West Frontier
Province, and even in the rather petted luxury of the Mohammedan
College at Aligarh. In all these places one finds a similar
pleasing gravity of manner, courteous address, and an impression of
straightforward dealing, which, perhaps, would be more trustworthy
if the Sultan were not a Mohammedan. This gentlemanly manner may
exist merely as the heritage of a conquering religion; for in all
these countries, as in Eastern Bengal, the Mohammedans have come and
stayed as conquerors, and it is easy to acquire fine and aristocratic
manners when you carry a sword and the other man does not. But at the
back of external behaviour there is a queer mixture of simplicity and
shrewdness more difficult to account for. It may arise naturally in a
mind reared upon a broad and unquestioned basis of belief, free alike
from the confusion of mythologies and the distracting details of
useful knowledge. There is a well-known letter, written to a friend
of Nineveh Layard by a Turkish Cadi, that exactly expresses the finer
side of Mohammedan ignorance. For that reason I quote it in the note
below,[43] and when to this disregard of unessential phenomena
in earth and sky is added an indifference to the controversies,
bare facts, and mechanical actions upon which most of us spend our
lives, we may look for a certain simplicity tempered by shrewdness.
That even in the Nawab, in spite of his Government loan and boasted
powers of design, cookery, and the control of men, I should still
have been conscious of both those qualities combined, is a remarkable
testimonial to the influence of Islam.

[Illustration: THE TEMPLE OF SIKHS.]


  [_Face p. 200._

Owing to these pleasant qualities, so attractive to Englishmen sprung
like myself from the public-school, country-house, and villa classes,
I have almost invariably found English officers and officials on
the side of the Mohammedans where there is any rivalry of race or
religion at all. And in Eastern Bengal this national inclination
is now encouraged by the Government’s open resolve to retain the
Mohammedan support of the Partition by any means in its power. It was
against the Hindus only that all the petty persecution of officialdom
was directed. It was they who were excluded from Government posts;
it was Hindu schools from which Government patronage was withdrawn.
When Mohammedans rioted, the punitive police ransacked Hindu houses,
and companies of little Gurkhas were quartered on Hindu populations.
It was the Hindus who in one place were forbidden to sit on the river
bank. Of course, the plea was that only the Hindus were opposed to
the Government’s policy of dividing them from the rest of their race,
so that they alone needed suppression. And certainly, after what I
had seen in the previous four or five years in Macedonia, Central
Africa, Russia, and the Caucasus, this kind of persecution might well
appear ludicrously small. But it was the beginning of a dangerous
road, to which one could not see the end, and the knowledge that our
own country was taking that road aggravated the sense of wrong.

It was the same with espionage. Personally I enjoyed being followed
by spies wherever I went. I enjoyed it much more than the spies
themselves. It was a pleasure to watch the open-hearted stupidity
which never left me in doubt as to their purpose, or to look them
tranquilly in the face and see their eyes drop in honourable shame.
It was a joyful moment when at Serajganj I turned in wrath upon a man
who had been following me all day long in the melodramatic disguise
of a black shawl and an umbrella, and watched the poor hired worm
grovel away, murmuring tearful appeals about superior orders. In
that case I was angry because I was visiting the schools—the same
over which Sir Bampfylde Fuller resigned—and it seemed to me unfit
that the schoolboys should see our Government’s habit of espionage
thus illustrated before their faces. But at another place where I
arrived in the cold of half-past three in the morning, and found that
the telegram to prepare for my arrival had been detained, there was
no alloy in the pleasure with which I seized upon the spy detailed
to dog me, and compelled him to procure a cart, conduct me to the
house where he knew I ought to have been expected, and knock up the
sleeping servants to receive me.

When I first landed in Bombay, it appeared to me a little undignified
that representatives of the British Government should set police
spies to question a Member of Parliament’s chauffeur every morning
and evening where he was going or had been, and with whom he
had conversed. Of course it made no difference to the Member of
Parliament, any more than the delightful spies in Eastern Bengal made
any difference to me. But what was a joke to us may be anything but
a joke to native Indians who are compelled to live permanently under
a system of official surveillance which reads their private letters,
detains their telegrams, and hires men to watch their actions. Far
worse than the mere annoyance involved is the indignant contempt
which our Government thus stores up against itself. Every now and
then by such means it may discover the trail of some seditious
movement. But the discovery of all the sedition in India would not
be worth the loss of reputation to which we expose ourselves by
resorting to methods that would exclude a man from any club in our

There is something about espionage that stirs indignation more deeply
than anything else in the world. But I do not wish to part from that
land of great rivers with a mere feeling of bitterness. When I recall
the quiet circuit of streams by which I slowly passed from Khulna
to Barisal, and on to Dacca; and from Dacca through Mymensingh and
Jamalpur and Serajganj and Goalundo, where the Ganges and Brahmaputra
are joined, to Faridpur, where trains run back to Calcutta,—I lose
the sense of bitterness, though there was plenty in the country.
I think only of the fertile land basking under an uninterrupted
sky, or of bright crowds of men in yellow, red, and white standing
upon the river bank and shouting their “Bande Mataram” against the
sunrise; or of long torchlight processions that conducted some leader
of the nation home in his carriage through the blue night; or of
little groups of schoolboys who had stayed on the platform till the
cold of morning to cheer a passing train, delighted even to shiver
for their country. “I fear we shall never meet again on life’s rough
sea,” said a student at one place, being naturally proud of such
beautiful English; and, certainly, one cannot hope to visit the
Brahmaputra every week-end. But even from a good month’s distance, as
London is, it seems impossible to believe that one petulant error can
for all time produce division and rancorous hatred in so excellent a
country and among a people so devoted to the same causes of freedom
and nationality that we so much admire.


[43] “My illustrious Friend, and Joy of my Liver! The thing you ask
of me is both difficult and useless. Although I have passed all my
days in this place, I have neither counted the houses nor inquired
into the number of the inhabitants; and as to what one person loads
on his mules and the other stows away in the bottom of his ship, that
is no business of mine. But, above all, as to the previous history of
this city, God only knows the amount of dirt and confusion that the
infidels may have eaten before the coming of the sword of Islam. It
were unprofitable for us to inquire.

“Oh, my soul! Oh, my lamb! seek not after the things which concern
thee not. Thou camest unto us and we welcomed thee: go in peace.

“Of a truth, thou hast spoken many words; and there is no harm done,
for the speaker is one and the listener is another. After the fashion
of thy people thou hast wandered from one place to another, until
thou art happy and content in none. We (praise be to God) were born
here, and never desire to quit it. Is it possible then that the idea
of a general intercourse between mankind should make any impression
on our understanding? God forbid!

“Listen, O my son! There is no wisdom equal to the belief in God. He
created the world, and shall we liken ourselves unto Him in seeking
to penetrate into the mysteries of His creation? Shall we say, behold
this star spinneth round that star, and this other star with a tail
goes and comes in so many years? Let it go. He from whose hand it
came will guide and direct it.

“But thou wilt say to me, Stand aside, O man, for I am more learned
than thou art, and have seen more things. If thou thinkest thou art
in this respect better than I am, thou art welcome. I praise God that
I seek not that which I require not. Thou art learned in the things I
care not for; and as for that which thou hast seen, I defile it. Will
much knowledge create thee a double belly, or wilt thou seek Paradise
with thine eyes?

“Oh, my friend, if thou wilt be happy, say there is no God but God!
Do not evil and then wilt thou fear neither man nor death; for surely
thine hour will come.

“The meek in spirit,


Layard’s “Nineveh and Babylon,” p. 663.



All know the crowded Kalighat on the muddy little branch of the
Ganges south of Calcutta. The little temple of the mother Kali stands
close by, where Hindus keep up an animal sacrifice something similar
to the classic and ancient Jewish rites. Many Europeans enjoy seeing
the heads of the wretched little goats sliced off by a priest’s sword
while the animals are still dripping from a plunge in the sacred
tanks. Many, like myself, have gone with the crowding pilgrims on
festival Sundays or weekday evenings and watched the people bathing
in the turbid water, and the Brahmans seated in the open portico
reading aloud the wanderings of Rama and breaking into song at the
impassioned parts. Or we have stood at the narrow entrance till the
door of the inmost shrine should open, allowing a glimpse of the
goddess herself, the Bengal Mother, symbolic of the strange Force in
nature, always moving irresistibly on its way with life and death,
blessing and damnation in its hands. Blue-black she is, with three
staring, scarlet eyes, one of them in her forehead. In her four
arms she holds the signs of happiness and of destruction. One foot
is planted on the body of a man, and from her mouth a golden tongue
protrudes. Her worshippers tell that in her career of destruction
through the universe, she was only stayed by the intervention of
her husband Shiva, who in the semblance of a dead man flung himself
before her feet to be trampled on. She is represented pausing in
horror at the discovery. To put out the tongue is the common gesture
of shame or horror among the Indian women, and if it seems a peculiar
expression of those emotions, watch an English country servant
whenever she drops a trayful of your best china on a stony floor, and
she will almost invariably do the same.

[Illustration: THE KALIGHAT.]

[Illustration: PILGRIMS TO KALI.

  [_Face p. 206._

How far this hideous collection of symbols is itself worshipped is
the problem of all imagery and symbolic art. A priest of Kali, who
had himself received a religious education in one of our missionary
colleges, told me that in the hour of prayer he found that the image
helped him to concentrate his thoughts upon that idea of universal
force. He admitted that some unlearned worshippers obscurely
connect a supernatural power with the actual image as it stands;
and the great desire of many to draw near, and even to touch the
representation of the god, seems to prove it, as one may see in all
temples and churches where symbolism prevails. It is rather strange
that Indians, with their beautiful sense of colour and design,
should content themselves with unusually hideous gods; for, grand
as the figure of Buddha in contemplation is, it stands alone in its
beauty, and now no longer appears in Hindu forms of worship. Yet the
adoration of the Mother Kali, even at the bloodstained Kalighat,
does not appear to be more horrible or debasing than the service of
other gods. In divine worship, devotion has never corresponded to
external beauty; and as to the blood sacrifice, that custom has been
too universal, and is still too recent even in the highest forms of
religion, to excite horror or disgust, except in the tourists who go
to enjoy the spectacle. It seemed to me that the Kali worship did not
suggest the violence of bloodshed, still less the common lust that
visitors are told to associate with it, but rather a certain heat
or fervency that pervades and sometimes obscures the Bengali mind,
taking the form in some of exaltation, in others of oratory, and now
and then of fluid speech.

All know this crowded Kalighat. But turn northward again; pass
the Lieutenant-Governor’s beautiful Residency at Belvedere;
pass the racecourse and polo-grounds, the old Fort where the
Commander-in-Chief has his headquarters, and the Strand where
steamers smoke on the river and the English drive slowly up and down
in the evening; pass the white Government House where the Viceroy
lives in winter, and the dull streets of English shops where they
sell things that are not quite good enough for England or quite bad
enough for the Colonies; enter the squalid chaos of the Indian city,
so ordinary and colourless compared to Bombay or Madras; pass through
mile after mile of crowded bazaars, and teeming slums, and factories
jumbled up with temples;—till at last the buildings begin, as it
were, to shake themselves loose, green reappears, and when you come
upon the river on your left, it looks almost clean and holy; palms
and other trees grow on the banks, and there is a sense of escape
in the air. There you will find another temple of Kali, spacious,
silent, and a home of peace.

Under a great banyan tree in this temple’s garden a religious teacher
sat for years, and gathered many disciples round him before his
death in 1886. He was known as Ramakrishna, but he had the names of
Deva and Paramahamsa as well, and there he sat expounding the things
of the spirit, like other Hindu teachers. But there seems to have
been an intensity of conviction about him that attracted unusual
disciples. Among them was a young Bengali named Norendra Nath Datta,
who took the more holy name of Vivekananda, and spread his master’s
teaching as far as Oxford and Chicago—cities so seldom associated
together in spiritual things. He too has gone from this world
now—he went in 1902, at the age of forty—but has left a school, a
kind of religion or Church, that proclaims a spiritual Hinduism to
all mankind without limitation of race or nation. Its proper name
is the Ramakrishna Society, but the members are generally called
Vedantists, because of their belief in the Vedas as the inspired
guides of man. They abjure images and sacrifice, except of flowers
and fruits, which I have seen them offer as symbols of thanksgiving
and praise to the spirituality of the universe in their bare but
sufficient little temple up a flight of steps. By their belief
in the Vedas they approach the Arya Samaj. But their more modern
advancement and universality bring them nearer the Brahmo Samaj,
or cultivated Unitarians of Hinduism, whose freedom of life and
social intercourse for men and women alike gives a peculiar charm to
Indian society in Calcutta. Small in number themselves, they stand
between these two main bodies of religious reformers—believers in the
Hindu scriptures, but preachers of a universal religion; free from
the caste restrictions of travel, marriage, and food, but strongly
national in their devotion to the country. Just across the river,
from that peaceful temple of Kali where their founder sat, they have
their little monastery for the training of about thirty Brothers, who
go out from their pleasant garden to teach all the world, and to save
their own Indian people in days of plague and famine.

It was in a small circle of these Vedantists that I first met Moti
Lal Ghose, one of the most peculiar figures of Calcutta life. He
is not a Vedantist himself, being a special worshipper of Vishnu.
Indeed, he follows the Bengali saint Chaitanya, or, as he prefers to
call him, the Lord GAURANGA, who proclaimed a purified and emotional
form of Hinduism about the time of Luther, and still has disciples,
especially among outcasts and downtrodden people, because he promised
the love of God to all without charity’s limitations to the thrifty
and deserving. But devoted Vaishnava as Moti Lal is, one would think
his guiding faith was a sort of clanship or family affection. They
say a hundred relations make their home in his rambling household
among the little streets of the Bagh Bazar, and that number would be
distracting enough for the most placid of mankind, which Moti Lal is
not. Almost every one seems to be Moti Lal’s relation, and as, like
many Hindus, he speaks of his cousins as brothers, and his nephews
as sons, the bonds of kinship seem as close as they are wide. But
the affection of his heart is reserved for his real born brother,
Shishir Kumar, who now has waved adieu to this carnal world and
lives in religious seclusion at Baidianath, a far-famed shrine of
Central Bengal, communing with spirits whose visitations among men he
chronicles in the _Hindu Spiritual Magazine_.

Both the brothers were brought up in the district of Jessore,
and they made their mother’s village famous by taking its name
of Amrita Bazar for the title of their paper, the _Amrita Bazar
Patrika_—_Amrita News_, as we should say. It so happens that the word
“Amrita” in Bengali means both “nectar” and “poison,” and no name
could have been invented to express the character of their paper more
exactly, for it can be sweet or venomous at pleasure, and is usually
both. Its quickness and satiric power have won it a unique place
among Indian newspapers. It has also a good service of news, and as
for enterprise, when Lord Lytton passed his Vernacular Press Act in
the ’seventies, while Sir Ashley Eden was Lieutenant-Governor of
Bengal, the _Amrita_ changed its language from the vernacular Bengali
to the alien English in its very next issue. Such a transformation
would have seemed impossible, if I had not seen the compositors in
Madras setting up my “copy” with hardly a mistake, though they did
not understand a word of English, and only guessed our letters by

Moti Lal is an oldish man now, as Bengalis go, but he stands thin
and erect, his mass of grey hair surmounting a face in which pathos,
humour, and subtlety are strongly mingled. It is difficult to class
him among the Indian parties. He often runs off on side issues, such
as his peculiar and personal indignation at the rational proposal
to separate the large and extraneous province of Behar from the
Calcutta government, so as to relieve the pressure of work which was
the nominal excuse for the Partition of Bengal. On most of the wider
questions of policy he would take a fairly steady “Congress” line,
with a tendency to the Left or Extremist position. But that tendency
may be suddenly interrupted by some queer cross-current, such as a
personal devotion to the Royal Family, because he was once introduced
to the Prince of Wales, and kissed his feet with a veneration that
might abash even Royalty’s sense of Divine Right. By means of his
paper he is undoubtedly a power among the party of nationality and
reform, but the general belief that in the past he has exercised a
certain influence even upon British officials is perhaps justified.
At all events, when he asked me to remind the Lieutenant-Governor
of a promise to restore the Road Cess to its proper purpose of
sanitation, I noticed that the petition was received in a friendly
spirit, and I was instructed to tell Moti Lal that the proposal had
not been forgotten, but was already embodied in a Bill.

Sanitation is one of those side issues which he follows with
peculiar zeal. Poverty and high prices, he says, are killing out
the educated classes in Bengal. But worse than the disappearance
of educated Bengalis, which many Anglo-Indians would regard as a
mercy of Providence, is the general ravage of malaria, plague, and
famine. The plague is still new, famine has been unusually frequent
and terrible in the last thirty years; but worse than either, in
his opinion, is the malaria which rots the country away. Like many
Indians he attributes the growth of the disease to the Government
railways, which have blocked or diverted the natural drainage of the
land. The theory sounds a little fantastic. To me it seems a far more
serious matter that the irrigation, which is often so lucrative, both
to the peasant and the Government, should be accompanied by increase
of fever. But whatever evil may arise in India, from a cesspool to
a famine, is put down to the Government, as always happens when the
people have no control over its powers and no experience of every
Government’s limitations. “There is no need to talk about driving the
English from India,” cried Moti Lal to me once: “In twenty years they
will be driven out by the stench of our rotting corpses!”

Humorous, sarcastic, vehement, probably a little peevish, a little
uncertain and unstable in his dealings with men and things, Moti
Lal moves as a strange and isolated figure in Indian life. He is
ageing and rather feeble now; when I asked him if he was going to the
Congress at Surat, he answered, “No, I cannot afford to die.” But
he went all the same. I suppose he might be called a Congress man,
but it seems unlikely that any one ever thought of him as a possible
President, or as anything else except the bitter-sweet editor of the
_Amrita Bazar Patrika_.

Very different is the editor of the other leading Indian daily in
Calcutta. Mr. Banerjea, whom every one calls Surendra Nath, is just
the ideal of a leader in Congress, and Poona made him President in
1895, Ahmedabad in 1902. He appears to be about sixty now, and in
the early ’seventies he was an assistant magistrate in the Indian
Civil Service, from which he was dismissed for a casual neglect of
duty that in the opinion of many English Civilians might have been
suitably punished with a sharp reprimand. Like most highly educated
people out of work, he took to teaching, lecturing, and journalism;
became Principal of Ripon College for the training of Hindu boys,
as he still is; was appointed editor of the _Bengalee_ by the
proprietors, who, I believe, are Indian physicians; and has for many
years maintained it in its position as the most prominent Indian
paper written in English.

From early days, when he was the first to originate tours of
political instruction, his influence has been very powerful, and no
one has opposed the partition of his country with greater vehemence
and persistency. In politics he has shown himself the fighting man
rather than the thinker, a better leader than guide. Such theory
as he has professed holds him to the Moderate and Constitutional
party, and till it comes to action he would cordially accept the
propositions of all reasonable and practical reformers. But his
instincts might carry him further than his creed, and in a moment of
crisis he would probably be found in the front almost out of sight of
his party. No matter how strongly reason and expediency disapproved,
he would be reluctant to hang back from any extreme position, or
to leave a devoted band of defenders there alone. That appeared to
mark him out as the best intermediary between the Extremists and
the Centre; for, while neither party would look to him for definite
political guidance, both might be supposed to know that he was at
heart their friend, and both could point to his past services in
the Bengal Legislative Council, the University Senate, and the old
Calcutta Corporation, before Lord Curzon destroyed it.

The same kind of divergence between reason and personality causes,
I believe, an uncertain attitude towards other affairs of life.
By education and habit he is Western in the things of society and
religion, and probably would have remained so without scruple of
conscience, but for the recent revolt against everything foreign.
Among the Extremists there is a kind of conservative reaction towards
Indian ways and Indian religion, prompted not so much by love of
those early marriages and Hindu gods as by the determination to
tolerate European things no more. Thus, you might find an Indian
graduate of Oxford worshipping Kali for the same reason as makes him
buy Swadeshi cotton, or pledging his infant daughter in marriage for
fear she should grow up like an English lady. From patriotism of this
sort Surendra Nath would not like to stand aloof, and, even if his
judgment hesitated, an impetuous nature would perhaps bear him on,
especially if he could thus assist his associates of the moment.

But his real function in life is as an orator, and his eminence has
been won by an extraordinary power of speaking. I do not know how
far his speeches in his own tongue might be effective, but he served
his political apprenticeship at a time when oratory was tested by
a knowledge of English, and I think he always speaks by choice in
our language. Certainly, his command over it is very remarkable.
Except for Mr. Gladstone, I have heard no speakers use the grand
and rhetorical style of English with more assurance and success. I
remember one afternoon there was a crowded meeting of many thousand
students and other young men in the great College Square at Calcutta.
There they stood, white-robed, bare-headed, as is the Bengali
custom, and when the “Bande Mataram” had been sung, Surendra Nath
rose. It was not a specially important speech. His object was only
to sketch out the general programme of the approaching Congress,
and to urge all parties to unite for the credit of their country,
which was being watched by jealous eyes ever ready to detect the
first appearance of a flaw. That was all his theme, but he expounded
it with a magnificence of phrase, and continuity of expression
that held me in wonder. Sentence answered to sentence, period to
period, thunder to thunder. There was no hesitation, no throwing
back, no wandering for ideas or words. Out the great language
rolled without a break and without a drop, each syllable in its
exact place and order, each sentence following some cadence of its
own, so inevitable that you could foretell the stress and rhythm of
its rise and fall far in advance of the actual words, just as you
can in Macaulay’s declamations. It was oratory such as, I suppose,
Cicero loved to practise, and Pitt, and Brougham—such oratory as
few living Englishmen dare venture on for fear of drowning in the
gulfs of bathos. But Surendra Nath loved it, as Cicero might. To him
it was evidently the sincerest pleasure of life to listen to the
beat of marching phrases, to advance from one to another with the
assurance that not one of them would fail, and to lead them out in
the martialled order of earth-shaking battalions moving shoulder to
shoulder on their front. It was to him the fulfilment of function,
and that way happiness lies. After him I spoke, and the meeting ended.

That evening I went to see a Bengali of still another type, but as
distinctive of the present crisis in the country as the satirist
or the orator. It had been arranged, as I supposed, that I should
meet some representatives of the young Nationalist party which form
the staff of _Bande Mataram_, a daily paper written in English
and maintaining Extremist views, but trying rather carefully to
keep within the law. In that respect it differed from the farthing
paper, _Sandhya_ (“Evening”), written in Bengali of the roughest
popular dialect, and deliberately going all lengths in virulence and
abuse. That had been the policy of its founder and editor, Pundit
Upadhya Brahmabandhab, who had died a few months before while under
trial for sedition. One of the Brahmo Samaj by training, he had
travelled much in Europe, had lectured in Cambridge, tried to become
a Roman Catholic but failed (so rare a failure!) and on returning
to Calcutta had startled the reformers of the Congress party by
a light-hearted violence that must have ended in gaol, had not
death anticipated imprisonment by release. In the same way _Bande
Mataram_ differed from the vernacular weekly _Yugantar_ (“New Age”
or “New Dispensation”), a revolutionary paper of a more gloomy and
solemn type than the _Sandhya_, but about equally open to charges of
sedition, to meet which it kept a staff of “prison editors” always
ready for the next prosecution. The first of them to go to gaol was
the youth Bupendra Nath Datta, a brother of the Swami Vivekananda,
who followed Ramakrishna. In the early summer of 1908 it was
prosecuted for the fifth time, its printer was fined about £67, and
sent to hard labour for twenty-three months, and after Lord Minto’s
new Press Act of June, 1908, it stopped regular circulation.

Mr. Arabindo Ghose was almost certainly not connected with the
_Yugantar_, but nobody seriously denied his connection with the
English-written _Bande Mataram_, though that paper also had a staff
of volunteers for prison.[44] When I reached the house in a large
square where the meeting was to have been held, I found it dark
and apparently empty. A Hindu servant let me in, and after a time
Mr. Arabindo Ghose himself appeared alone. He had not expected me,
because the letter about my coming had been stopped, no doubt by
the postal spies, as he said nearly all his letters were. He had no
special reason to complain of that, nor did he complain; for the
letters from one of the most respected public men in England to a
member of the Viceroy’s Council had recently been opened in Bombay,
and English people who were friendly with Indians in Calcutta told me
even their letters from home were tampered with in the same way.

He was a youngish man, I should think still under thirty. Intent
dark eyes looked from his thin, clear-cut face with a gravity that
seemed immovable, but the figure and bearing were those of an
English graduate. His parents had been half-anglicized, and had
never fully taught him his own language, so that he could not write
Bengali correctly, or make a speech in the only tongue, as he said,
that really went to the heart of the people. He had brought himself
up amid poverty in Manchester, St. Paul’s School in London, and at
Cambridge. Though he passed the Indian Civil Service examinations
within the first two or three, he failed to pass the riding test, and
was rejected. Having served the Gaekwar of Baroda for a time in the
education of that progressive State, he came to Calcutta, and was now
the leader of the Nationalists, or young Extremists who regarded even
Mr. Tilak as touched with the cautious moderation of the past. One of
his brothers, a poet of some standing in English, was Professor of
English Literature at the Presidency College in Calcutta University,
and I found him there teaching the grammar and occasional beauties of
Tennyson’s “Princess,” with extreme distaste for that sugary stuff.
Another brother was supposed to belong to a different branch of the

Arabindo’s purpose, as he explained it to me, was the Irish policy of
Sinn Fein—a universal Swadeshi, not limited to goods but including
every phase of life. His Nationalists would let the Government go its
way and take no notice of it at all. They hoped nothing from reforms;
all the talk about Legislative Councils and Indian members and
the separation of Judicial and Executive functions was meaningless
to them. They did not spend a thought upon it. In fact, the worse
the Government was, the more repressive it became, and the less it
inclined to reform, so much the better for the Nationalist cause. He
regarded the Partition of Bengal as the greatest blessing that had
ever happened to India. No other measure could have stirred national
feeling so deeply or roused it so suddenly from the lethargy of
previous years.

“Since 1830,” he said, “each generation had reduced us more and more
to the condition of sheep and fatted calves.”

He lamented the long peace, leading to degeneracy and effeminate
ways. Under it the ordinary people had sought only after prosperity
and material comfort, while the thoughtful men spent their time in
æsthetic circles, admiring Shelley and Swinburne, or imitating them.
The more English a man was, the more he counted himself successful,
and the life-blood of nationality had run thin. But all this torpor
and smug contentment had been rudely interrupted by the disguised
blessings of Lord Curzon’s errors. Indignation had again created
patriotism when apparently it was dead, and the new party’s whole
policy was aimed at carrying forward the work that Lord Curzon
had so successfully begun for the revival of national character
and spirit. For this purpose of building up a race worthy of a
great name they proposed to work on the three lines of a national
education, independent of Government but including the methods of
European science; a national industry, with boycott of all foreign
goods except the few things that India could not produce; and the
encouragement of private arbitration, in place of the law-courts, for
the settlement of disputes.

But behind these simple means a deeper spirit was at work. Arabindo
Ghose had already, I think, formed the project of developing out
of the Congress, or in place of the Congress, a nationalist and
democratic body that would prepare the country for self-government
and, indeed, act within limits as a true Indian Parliament quite
apart from the Anglo-Indian system. A few weeks later, a leading
article on the subject, probably written by Arabindo himself,
appeared in _Bande Mataram_—

  “Let us try the experiment,” it said, “of a self-governing popular
  assembly, so far as is consistent with the existence of an alien
  bureaucracy seeking to restrict our independent activities in every
  possible way. No growth is possible under perpetual tutelage. We
  must devise means for stimulating activities on the part of our
  people. This cannot be better done than by organizing a really
  representative assembly that in its annual or periodic sittings
  will decide on our course of action. It does not necessarily follow
  that such an assembly will come into collision with the powers that
  be. We have every right to organize ourselves independently. The
  agitators have so long been taunted with absolute dependence on
  the bureaucracy that people cannot reasonably try to repress an
  assembly for the offence of carrying out their own precepts....
  As they cannot see their way to giving us any real voice in the
  administration, even in a dim and distant future, we have no other
  course open to us. Let us relieve the bureaucratic administration
  of as much of its duties as we can by undertaking to govern
  ourselves in as many departments as possible.”[45]

Courage, he rightly saw, was the first thing to maintain or to create
in any people, especially in a subject people like the Bengalis, who
had so long been taunted with cowardice by one master after another.
The taunt of cowardice is like one of those prophecies that fulfil
themselves. It implants the cowardice that it derides, and if you
call a people timid they begin to shake. Ever since Macaulay wrote,
the Anglo-Indians had been brought up by their schools and coaches
to regard the Bengalis as the cowards of the world, and what was far
worse, the educated Bengalis had been taught to regard themselves as
the cowards of the world too, just because Macaulay had delighted
himself one morning with a brilliant passage of rhetoric.[46]

Where the consciousness of timidity exists among a people, the first
duty of a patriot is to remove it at all costs. So in the columns
of his paper and in his rare speeches Arabindo Ghose was insisting
especially on the necessity of courage:—

  “Courage,” said a leader in _Bande Mataram_, “is your principal
  asset. Heroism, says Emerson, feels and never reasons, and
  therefore is always right. If you are to work out the salvation
  of your country, you will have to do it with heroism. You have
  voluntarily cut yourselves off from outside help to develop
  strength from within. Darkness will hem you round, disappointments
  will cross your path, slander will pursue you from behind, but you
  are to depend on yourselves, and yourselves alone. You must press
  on and not allow yourselves to be dragged back by encumbrances in
  the name of unity. You have your only guide in the loftiness and
  spirituality that make their heaven in the thought of the wider
  light and purer happiness that you may bring to your country by
  long force of vision and endeavour. The rapturous contemplation
  of a new and better state for your country is your only hope. What
  great element is wanting in a life guided by such a hope?”[47]

There is a religious tone, a spiritual elevation, in such words
very characteristic of Arabindo Ghose himself, and of all Bengali
Nationalists, contrasted with the shrewd political judgment of Poona
Extremists. In an age of supernatural religion Arabindo would have
become what the irreligious mean by a fanatic. He was possessed by
that concentrated vision, that limited and absorbing devotion. Like a
horse in blinkers, he ran straight, regardless of everything except
the narrow bit of road in front. But at the end of that road he saw a
vision more inspiring and spiritual than any fanatic saw who rushed
on death with Paradise in sight. Nationalism to him was far more than
a political object or a means of material improvement. To him it was
surrounded by a mist of glory, the halo that mediæval saints beheld
gleaming around the head of martyrs. Grave with intensity, careless
of fate or opinion, and one of the most silent men I have known, he
was of the stuff that dreamers are made of, but dreamers who will act
their dream, indifferent to the means. “Nationalism,” he said, in a
brief address delivered in Bombay, early in 1908—“Nationalism is a
religion that comes from God”:—

  “Nationalism cannot die, because it is God who is working in
  Bengal. God cannot be killed, God cannot be sent to gaol. Have
  you got a real faith, or is it merely a political inspiration,
  a larger kind of selfishness?... You all know what Bengal used
  to be; you all know that the name of Bengali used to be a term
  of reproach among nations. What has happened? What has made the
  Bengali so different from his old self? One thing has happened,
  Bengal is learning to believe. Bengal was once drunk with the wine
  of European civilization, and with the purely intellectual teaching
  that it received from the West. It began to see all things, to
  judge all things, through the imperfect instrumentality of the
  intellect. When this was so, Bengal became a land of doubters and

  “The intellect, having nothing more to offer save despair, became
  quiescent, and when the intellect ceased to work, the heart of
  Bengal was open and ready to receive the voice of God whenever he
  should speak. When the message came at last, Bengal was ready to
  receive it, and she received it in a single moment. In a single
  moment the whole nation rose, the whole nation lifted itself out
  of despair, and it was by this sudden awakening from a dream that
  Bengal found the way of salvation, and declared to all India that
  eternal life, immortality, not lasting degradation, was our fate....

  “There came a time, after the first outbreak of triumphant hope,
  when all the material forces that could be brought to bear against
  Nationalism were gradually brought into play, and the question was
  asked of Bengal, ‘Can you suffer? Can you survive?’ The young men
  of Bengal were now called upon to suffer. They were called upon to
  bear the crown, not of victory, but of martyrdom....

  “It is not by any mere political programme, not by National
  Education alone, not by Swadeshi alone, not by boycott, that
  this country can be saved. Swadeshi by itself might merely lead
  to a little more material prosperity, and you might forget the
  real thing you sought to do, in the glamour of wealth and in the
  desire to keep it safe. In other subject countries also there was
  material development.... When the hour of trial came, it was found
  that those nations which had been developing materially were not
  alive.... The forces of the country are other than visible forces.
  There is only one force, and for that force I am not necessary, you
  are not necessary, he is not necessary. Let us all be thrown aside
  as so much waste substance, the country will not suffer. God is
  doing everything. When He throws us away, He does so because we are
  no longer required. But He is immortal in the hearts of His people.”

This fervour of nationality, which some would call fanaticism,
certainly appears to differ in degree from the religious fervour
with which we pray for the High Court of Parliament, “under our most
religious and gracious King at this time assembled.” But it would be
no compliment to ourselves to doubt that at the back of both there is
a unity of spirit.[48]

As to fanaticism of language and the violence that cannot keep
outside the limits of sedition, I have seen violent and bloodthirsty
passages translated from the _Yugantar_, the _Sandhya_, the
_Hitaishi_ (“Friend”) of Barisal, and other vernacular papers. Such
papers are fined, suppressed, have editors imprisoned, and under
the new Press Act may have their type confiscated. But in none of
them have I seen more deliberate attempts to stir up race hatred and
incite to violence than in Anglo-Indian papers which suffer nothing.
Take, for instance, this obvious instigation to indiscriminate
manslaughter by the _Asian_, an Anglo-Indian weekly in Calcutta (May
9, 1908):—

  “Mr. Kingsford has a great opportunity, and we hope he is a fairly
  decent shot at short range. We recommend to his notice a Mauser
  pistol, with the nickel filed off the nose of the bullets, or
  a Colt’s automatic, which carries a heavy soft bullet and is a
  hard-hitting and punishing weapon. We hope Mr. Kingsford will
  manage to secure a big ‘bag,’ and we envy him his opportunity.
  He will be more than justified in letting daylight into every
  strange native approaching his house or his person, and for his
  own sake we trust he will learn to shoot fairly straight without
  taking his weapon out of his coat pocket. It saves time and gives
  the elevation fairly correctly at any distance up to about ten or
  fifteen yards. We wish the one man who has shown that he has a
  correct view of the necessities of the situation the very best of

That was written certainly at a time of great excitement, when an
attempt had been made to assassinate the unpopular magistrate by a
bomb, which killed two ladies, not only innocent, but related to one
of those exceptional men whose sympathy with the people makes them
justly beloved. But two can play at the evil game of race hatred,
and if the Indian press is violent, the tone of the Anglo-Indian
press is almost invariably insolent and provocative. If “seditious”
only means “likely to lead to violence,” it is seditious too. There
are fine exceptions, like the _Statesman_, the _Indian Daily News_,
the _Empire_, and _Capital_, in Calcutta. Steadily supporting the
official side, though with great freedom of criticism, as was shown
in the case of Lord Curzon, the _Pioneer_ of Allahabad maintains
an honourable tradition. But as to Anglo-Indian papers like the
_Englishman_ of Calcutta and the _Civil and Military Gazette_ of
Lahore, it must have been difficult for any thoughtful Indian who
loved his country to read them during 1907 without cursing our race.
Even the _Times of India_, the best paper in Bombay, greeted Mr. Keir
Hardie’s arrival in the city with a whole column of insults, not only
to the Labour leader, but to the Indian people. Judging from the
style, I thought the editor must have bribed some poor, half-educated
Indian to do the thing for him; but I heard afterwards, through one
of the staff, that it was written by an Anglo-Indian, who was quite
proud of his achievement. What cause he had for pride may be seen
from a paragraph or two:—

  “Mr. Keir Hardie’s reception in Bombay was thoroughly in keeping
  with the rest of his experiences, and foolishly ebullient
  proceedings. All along the mountains have been in labour; to the
  disappointment of excited and expectant Babudom the mighty throes
  have never produced more than here and there the proverbial mouse.
  Fifty Hindus, and a couple of Parsis: what a deputation from the
  wealthiest and most progressive commercial city of the East, what
  a characteristic greeting from the great heart of Indian labour to
  the personification of the political labourite spirit! Even this
  bathotic manifestation of the deplorable fact that the Oriental is
  almost entirely devoid of humour, as completely so as the labouring
  man and his chosen apostle, must needs miscarry. The fifty Hindu
  schoolboys and their two Parsi companions cannot find the god of
  their idolatry. Perchance he sleepeth, and cannot hear, or will not
  hear the piping yell of ‘Bande Mataram’; at any rate look where
  they will in the compartments commonly occupied by their beloved
  agitators and demagogues, not a sign of this one is to be found.
  Topknots and draperies flying wildly to the winds, they race up
  and down chattering discordantly, baffled, desperate till at last,
  ‘proh pudor,’ they find him, not occupied in great meditations,
  not even spouting platitudes to the circumambient air, but
  prosaically strapping up his exiguous baggage, in a second-class
  compartment. ‘Cophinus foenumque supellex.’ A damper this and no
  mistake. Deputation from the dumb millions of India brimming over
  with enthusiasm and verbosity, subconsciously dominated by the
  traditional respect of the East for superior men, men to be looked
  up to, men on the summits, what to say to this essentially and
  markedly labelled second-class product!...

  “Does it not occur to this man of the people, uncultured,
  illiterate, with at the best a stunted and perverted imagination,
  does it not occur to him, and the astuter ones who are making
  him their cat’s-paw, that his enterprise is not only radically
  mischievous but overwhelmingly ridiculous? The appeal from masses
  to masses, the slogan of gutter to gutter, cementing all the forces
  of inferiority, inefficiency, and serfdom, preludes war against
  all that is best and sanest and strongest in life. It is the
  voiced concentration of hatred, the hatred which the sick and the
  feeble and the bad by some strange law of antagonism cannot help
  cherishing against the healthy, the great and the good. On the one
  hand Aristocracy, the rule of the best, on the other Democracy, the
  rule of the mob, that ‘bellua centiceps’ representing again by the
  inexorable laws of nature what for the time being is the worst.”[49]

And for the time being we certainly need not look, even from
Democracy, for anything worse than that!


[44] For Bepin Chandra Pal’s action during a prosecution of the
_Bande Mataram_, see Introduction, p. 23.

[45] _Bande Mataram_, January 21, 1908.

[46] As Macaulay is no longer thought generally necessary to
education, it may be worth while to recall a few sentences of his
indictment of a whole people nearly twice as numerous as his own. The
passage comes in his essay on Warren Hastings: “A war of Bengalis
against Englishmen was like a war of sheep against wolves, of men
against demons.... The physical organization of the Bengali is
feeble even to effeminacy. He lives in a constant vapour bath. His
pursuits are sedentary, his limbs delicate, his movements languid.
During many ages he has been trampled upon by men of bolder and more
hardy breeds. Courage, independence, veracity, are qualities to
which his constitution and his situations are equally unfavourable.
His mind bears a singular analogy to his body. It is weak even to
helplessness, for purposes of manly resistance; but its suppleness
and its tact move the children of sterner climates to admiration
not unmingled with contempt. All those arts which are the natural
defence of the weak are more familiar to this subtle race than to the
Ionian of the time of Juvenal, or to the Jew of the dark ages. What
the horns are to the buffalo, what the paw is to the tiger, what the
sting is to the bee, what beauty, according to the old Greek song,
is to woman, deceit is to the Bengali.” And so on, for many more
sentences of nicely balanced rhetoric.

[47] _Bande Mataram_, January 22, 1908.

[48] On May 3, 1908, Mr. Arabindo Ghose was arrested on the charge of
being implicated in a conspiracy to provide rifles and dynamite for
revolutionary purposes.

[49] _The Times of India_, October 26, 1907.



It was roses, roses all the way—almost all the way during the
forty-four hours in the train from Calcutta to Surat; and along the
last part of our journey every platform was crowded with eager,
smiling faces straining to catch sight of the future President of the
Congress, and the long-trusted leaders who accompanied him. Dr. Rash
Behari Ghose had been designated President by the Reception Committee
at Surat, in spite of stormy opposition in favour of Mr. Tilak at
a conference in Nagpur some two months earlier, and the subsequent
proposal of Lajpat Rai by Mr. Tilak himself. He stood smiling at
the carriage door, and answered with short speeches of thanks
and encouragement. Or he walked the platform, and sat at station
tea-tables while old men and youths hung long garlands of marigolds
and jasmine round his neck, presented him with bright bouquets of
flowers sparkling with “fairy rain,” or sprinkled his coat and hands
with Swadeshi scents from long silver bottles. Others were with
him—Mr. Surendra Nath Banerjea, the orator, Mr. Aswini Kumar Dutt,
the leader of Barisal, members of the Chaudhuri family conspicuous
in Calcutta, and many other well-known men who for years past had
tried to carry on the work of constitutional reform in the face of
Anglo-Indian ridicule, contempt, and hatred. A few younger men were
there also, men of another party, who had abandoned appeals and
petitions either to Anglo-Indian or British justice.

But the chief attention was centred on Dr. Ghose—Rash Behari,
as people called him—a large, spectacled man of sixty-two, with
strongly marked face and the general look and bearing of a European
judge. From his student days at the Presidency College in Calcutta
he had devoted himself to the law. He obtained the highest honours
the University gives, he lectured in law, he produced the standard
work on the “Law of Mortgage in India.” I suppose he was exactly
what people mean by a jurist. He prided himself also on a minute
acquaintance with the whole range of the English classics, and it is
almost impossible to read a page of his speeches without coming upon
memories of some great passage in our literature. For he belonged to
the time when education and capacity were estimated by a knowledge
of English, and he had besides a genuine delight in the form and
substance of words. But civil law was his life’s business, and in
the knowledge of it he was called unrivalled.

He had taken to public politics late, only when the pressure of
Government upon the growing national feeling appeared to him
dangerous. But the weight of his knowledge, and his influence as one
of the representative Indian members on the Viceroy’s Legislative
Council brought him quickly into notice, and in the previous December
(1906) Calcutta had chosen him Chairman of the Reception Committee
for the Congress, to which Dadabhai Naoroji had been brought from
England as President to preserve the peace. Like all lawyers, he
tended to moderation. He represented the spirit of the Congress as
it had been established for more than twenty years—the spirit that
had begun by hoping to win even Anglo-Indian consideration for its
programme of reform, and, after abandoning that hope, still did not
despair of influencing opinion in England, if only petitions and
proposals could be heard.

His danger was the danger of all students—of all whose life is
spent among writings that usually appeal to reason, and not among
men, with whom reason plays so small a part. When it comes to
action, such students are likely either to distrust themselves, to
hesitate between opposite courses, in both of which they perceive
advantages, and in hesitation finally to submit their wills to far
inferior intellects, out of a kind of awe towards men who have
really done something. Or else they may show a childish impatience
at disagreement, and suppose they have settled a controversy by
ending it, like shutting a book with a bang. I thought the judicial
hesitancy rather than impatience would be Dr. Ghose’s temptation, but
I was wrong, for he had, in fact, recently displayed a very decisive
vigour in joining with Mr. Gokhale in denouncing the Seditious
Meetings Bill on the Viceroy’s Council.[50]

So amid acclamation they travelled to the Congress—the
President-Elect and the other leaders.

On Christmas Day Surat was reached at last—a little old town on the
west coast, between Baroda and Bombay, where early traders from
England, France, Portugal, and Holland had built their “Factories,”
soon after Akbar’s death. The crowd round the station was so tightly
jammed that it was a long time before any one could leave the train.

By reasoning and entreaty the youthful bands of “Volunteers” in
khaki and forage caps at last cleared a space. A procession of
carriages was formed and began to advance step by step through the
shouting throngs of orange, crimson, and white-clad people. All the
windows and tottering balconies of the beautiful but decrepit city
that starves upon its past—even the galleries of Islam’s crumbling
minarets and the roofs of Hindu temples—were crammed with faces.
Women peeped through shutters or stood shamelessly beside their
children and brothers. Boys and girls thrust their heads through
holes in the ruinous walls. At every few yards more garlands were
offered, more bunches of flowers and sweet-smelling seeds. Thick fell
the showers of rose-water sprayed from silver bottles. On every side
rose the great cheer of “Bande Mataram!” From end to end the streets
were hung with strings of pink and yellow paper flags, and here and
there a triumphal arch uttered the universal welcome in Indian or
English words. The great Pandal, or Pavilion, for the Congress, and
the camp of tents pitched around it for the delegates from all India
stood by the river side beyond the town itself. The distance was not
much over two miles, and yet that journey took more than two hours to
accomplish, so high ran the enthusiasm of joy.

But, behind the shouting and the triumph, one heard the quiet voice
that whispers of mortality. In the grey light of Christmas morning,
as we came through some obscure junction in the train, we had heard
that Mr. Allen, the collector of Dacca, had been shot on the platform
at Goalundo in Eastern Bengal, and his life was despaired of. Mr.
Allen did in the end recover, but at the time recovery was said to be
impossible, and the news threw the same gloom and consternation over
the Indian party of reform as struck the Irish Home Rulers on the
news of the Phœnix Park murders. The month before there had been an
attempt to wreck Sir Andrew Fraser’s train as he was returning from
Orissa; but this was the first political assassination, and every
one knew that it would be answered by more repression, leading to
further outrages and more repression again. Nothing worse could have
befallen the party that still hoped for some sort of agreement in
reform and conciliation with the country’s far-off rulers, and the
mute despondency that fell upon the leaders in the train showed the
depth of their foreboding.

Even more ominous were the whispers of growing and violent division
that reached us at Surat. The Extremist or Nationalist party had
taken a new and decisive step in pitching a separate camp for
themselves in a distant quarter of the town. For the last two days
Mr. Tilak had been there, organizing and addressing them. The day
before they had held a full meeting of five hundred delegates, with
Mr. Arabindo Ghose in the chair, and Mr. Tilak had spoken at length
on the situation, especially denouncing the rumoured withdrawal of
the Moderate party from the previous year’s Calcutta resolutions upon
Self-government, Swadeshi, Boycott, and National Education. Such
a withdrawal was not to be endured. Rather than submit they would
oppose the election of the President himself, even though the chair
was waiting to receive him.

The resolutions were nowhere to be seen. Rumour said they had been
altered past recognition. The heading of a Draft Constitution for the
Congress was found. There it stood written that the ultimate goal of
the Congress was “the attainment by India of self-government similar
to that enjoyed by the other members of the British empire.” That was
Mr. Gokhale’s work! How inferior to the Calcutta resolution that “the
system of Government obtaining in the self-governing British Colonies
should be extended to India”! “Other members of the British Empire”
might mean Crown Colonies, Dependencies, anything! The Self-governing
Colonies must be the model, and nothing else! That the heading of the
draft implied nothing else,—that no one in his senses would apply the
word “Self-government” to a Crown Colony, did not matter. Undermining
ways were at work! The Calcutta resolutions were being tampered
with! the Moderates were capturing the Congress in the enemy’s
interest! It was not to be endured.

The whole air was full of suspicion. The mere choice of Surat for
the Congress after Nagpur was abandoned—how suspicious that was!
Surat, too close a neighbour to Bombay, the very stronghold of
“Bombay Moderates”—Parsis, mere Parliamentarians, unredeemed by the
fire of sacrifice, men who would make the best of both worlds, men
who took titles from an alien Government! It was in Surat that Sir
Pherozeshah Mehta had founded his fortunes. Now he dominated all
the west coast, all the Presidency of Bombay, and here he was seen
with Mr. Dinshaw Edulji Wacha, most statistical of Parsis, himself
President of the Calcutta Congress in 1901. All the other obedient
satellites were circling round him too, bent on conciliating a
Government that answered conciliation with titles or contempt. Was
a National Congress to be manipulated by mitred Parsis? It was all
very well to plead Sir Pherozeshah’s services to India in the past—in
the days when, as a disciple of Ranade himself, he had stood almost
alone against the bureaucracy, had displayed a courage equal to Mr.
Gokhale’s, an eloquence hardly second to Surendra Nath’s, a power of
sarcasm hardly rivalled by Moti Lal’s; had been chosen President of
the young Congress in 1890; had conquered for Indians the control of
the Bombay Corporation; had converted his city into a model of local
government; had swept away her slums and purged her administration.
To the suspicious Nationalist these things were nothing now. They
belonged to the past, to the scrap-heaps of dead reputations. The
crisis called for other arms, other methods. It was no longer a
battle of slums and water, no longer a thing of appeals for sympathy
and dear old Lord Ripon’s reforms. Even Sir Pherozeshah’s address at
the Bombay Congress only three years before was now suspect. He was
chairman of the Reception Committee, and one remembered the passage
which ran:—

  “My steadfast loyalty is founded upon the rock of hope and
  patience. Seeking the will of Providence, like Oliver Cromwell,
  in dispensations rather than revelations, seeing God’s will, like
  him, in the fulfilment of events, I accept British rule, as Ranade
  did, as a dispensation so wonderful—a little island set at one end
  of the world establishing itself in a far continent as different
  as different could be—that it would be folly not to accept it as a
  declaration of God’s will. But, as I have often said, when, in the
  inscrutable dispensation of Providence, this country was assigned
  to the care of England: the choice was offered to England as to
  Israel of old: ‘Behold I have placed before you a blessing and a
  curse; a blessing, if ye will obey the commandments of the Lord
  your God; a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments, but go
  after other gods, whom ye have not known.’ We cordially confess
  that, in the main, England has chosen wisely and well.... But the
  acceptance and announcement of a policy of righteousness is one
  thing, its application is another.”

To the suspicious Nationalist the time for such language was three
years past. Such compliments, such protests, all belonged to the
age of innocence, before the Partition of Bengal proved the real
character of England’s domination and the futility of protest and
of compliment alike. It was known that in a Provincial Conference
lately, here in Surat itself, Sir Pherozeshah had secured the
exclusion of the great questions of Boycott and National Education
apart from Government aid. All evidences pointed one way: the Bombay
Moderates were not the men for times like these; the Bombay Moderates
must go!

So in the Nationalist camp suspicion cried aloud, and indignation
grew on rumour. In the afternoon of Christmas Day, just before
the President-elect arrived in insecure triumph, Lala Lajpat Rai
himself went to the Nationalist camp—Lajpat Rai, the quiet, fearless
man, with all the honour of dishonour still upon him; a Moderate,
a close friend of Gokhale, but a patriot above suspicion, the man
put forward as President by the Nationalists themselves, had he not
refused to stand rather than hasten the dangerous breach. Surely
he, if any one, might serve as peacemaker. He proposed a conference
between the parties, five leaders aside. The Nationalists appointed
their representatives—Mr. Tilak, Mr. Arabindo Ghose, Mr. Khaparde
of Nagpur, and two others. On the bare hope of peace, Lajpat Rai
sought Mr. Gokhale at the station as the President-elect steamed in.
What a moment to arrange a conference! How could even Mr. Gokhale
appoint five leaders to represent sixteen hundred delegates? For
the twenty-two years of its existence the Congress had settled the
form of its resolutions by a “Subjects Committee,” which met for
discussion in the evening after the Presidential address. Why depart
from constitutional usage now?

So behind Rash Behari’s triumphal carriage, amid the shouting and
the garlands and the flags, death, distrust, and suspicion whispered
of mortality. That night few slept. Backwards and forwards, from
tent to tent and house to house, the leaders passed, discussing,
consulting, deliberating, full of uncertainty and apprehension.
Morning found them still apprehensive and uncertain. In a last effort
to secure Mr. Surendra Nath Banerjea, if not peace, Mr. Tilak,
Arabindo Ghose, and Mr. Khaparde went to his house with proposals.
Mr. Moti Lal Ghose, of the _Amrita Bazar Patrika_, went with him
as peacemaker, though that remarkable man had qualifications for
the task about on a level with a porcupine’s. To Surendra Nath
they proposed two conditions under which they would refrain from
opposing the President’s election: the four Calcutta resolutions
on Self-government, Swadeshi, the Boycott, and National Education
must be repeated in the same form as last year, and some “graceful
allusion” must be made by one of the speakers on the election of the
President, “to the desire of the public to have Lajpat Rai in the
Chair.” To make such an allusion graceful at such a moment might have
puzzled even Surendra Nath’s eloquence. But he was not the man to
abandon either party in their need. He undertook both conditions for
himself, and advised the Nationalists to seek an interview with Mr.
Gokhale or Mr. Tribhovandas Malvi, a Surat gentleman, chairman of the
Reception Committee, and supreme in the Congress till the President
was elected. They did not attempt to see Mr. Gokhale. Mr. Malvi could
not see them, because he was engaged in prayer.

One by one the fateful hours of the morning passed away. By noon the
Congress delegates and the vast audience who had paid for seats began
to gather in the Pandal. The meeting was to have begun at one, but,
to allow time for burning the body of a Scinde delegate who had died,
it was put off till half-past two. The delay was unfortunate. In that
enormous pavilion of striped canvas full ten thousand people were
already assembled. The architect had constructed it for something
over ten thousand, and every place was full. The delegates from all
the provinces of India, with a few to represent the Indian grievances
in the Transvaal, numbered perhaps sixteen hundred, of whom five
hundred might be called Extremists of one kind or the other. On
the platform sat some thirty to forty Indian ladies, Parsis, for
the most part, but Hindus and even Mohammedans as well, significant
of a deeper change than politics. The other thousands were the
indistinguishable audience who had come to listen, or perhaps do more
than listen. The whole interior, constructed on different levels so
that all might see, rose and fell in waves of brilliant turbans,
orange, crimson, gold, and white, according to the provinces from
which they came, and in a black and solid square sat the bare-headed
delegates from Bengal. Under the burning sun that pierced the roof
the whole of that vast crowd remained for hours, disputing, arguing,
exhorting each other in groups and districts, a dubious exercise of

The platform people began to arrive. Among the first came Dr.
Rutherford, Member of the Mother of Parliaments, now visiting India
in hope of understanding a little of her distress. At his side was
another of “the ruling race,” come for the same purpose. As they
advanced up the centre of the throng applause and shouts of “Bande
Mataram” received them, but under all the shouting one heard low,
penetrating hisses and angry cries of “Shame!” from men who no longer
endured a sign of British rule, not even in the way of friendship.
Then a quiet, white-turbaned figure, with sad determination in his
look, entered from the side. Like one man, the ten thousand sprang to
their feet. Cheer followed cheer; it seemed as though the cheering
would never cease. Who does not love the man that has suffered for a
cause? It was Lajpat Rai.

A few minutes afterwards the Volunteers were seen lining the central
passage again, and up the midst in a solid body came Dr. Rash Behari
Ghose, President-elect; Sir Pherozeshah Mehta, the mitred Parsi;
Mr. Wacha, the sane, unwearied master of statistics; Mr. Surendra
Nath Banerjea, the orator of Bengal; Mr. Gokhale, whom some were
tired of hearing called the Just; and other leaders of the Congress,
famous and trusted for twenty years. At the sight, opposition shut
its voice. The cheering rose, and rose again. In honour done to
patriots so long conspicuous and so tenacious against contempt
and failure, it seemed as though the day might yet pass without a
rupture. The platform was reached. Mr. Tribhovandas Malvi, Chairman
of the Reception Committee, rose to welcome the Congress in the name
of his native Surat, and there was silence. He told the history of
Surat, and passed on to the history of the Congress. People do not
want to hear history when they are making it. Moghuls, Mahrattas,
French Factories that stood on their very ground where now the Pandal
stood—what did all of them matter? King Shivaji, he was dead. The
early efforts of the Congress, the failures, the successes—all were
dead. But the present moment was alive and big with futurity. For
heaven’s sake, come to the present moment! So the assembly waited,
impatient, but in silence, save that at the word “moderation” a
breath of murmur stirred.

The address ended. Dewan Bahadur Ambalal S. Desai, late Chief Justice
of progressive Baroda, learned in law, in banking, and commercial
enterprise, rose formally to propose that Dr. Ghose, already
designated President, should now take the Presidential Chair. At the
name of Ghose, the deep murmur of dissent was heard again, and one
shrill voice cried, “Never!” But the moment the Dewan sat down, Mr.
Banerjea was seen standing in his place beside the table—Surendra
Nath, the hero of a hundred platforms, grey-bearded son of thunder,
youthful still in the service of the cause, by reason and temperament
friend and champion of both parties alike. He was to second the
proposal that Dr. Ghose should take the Chair. Hardly had his immense
voice uttered ten words when, like the cracking of thunder that
begins before the lightning ceases, the tumult burst, and no word
more was heard.

Waving their arms, their scarves, their sticks, and umbrellas, a
solid mass of delegates and spectators on the right of the Chair
sprang to their feet and shouted without a moment’s pause. Over their
heads was the label, “Central Provinces”—Central Provinces where
Nagpur stands and the Congress was to have been. “Remember Nagpur!”
they cried; “Remember Midnapur!” where, during the Bengal Provincial
Conference a week or two before, Surendra Nath had attempted to keep
the peace against the Extremists, and had actually sat on the same
platform with a District Superintendent of Police! White turbans
from Madras joined them. The whole ten thousand were on their feet,
shouting for order, shouting for tumult. Mr. Malvi, still half in the
Chair, rang his brass Benares bell, and rang in vain. Surendra Nath
sprang upon the very table itself. Even a voice like his was not a
whisper in the din. Again and again he shouted, unheard as silence.
He sat down, and for a moment the storm was lulled. The voices of the
leaders were audible, consulting in agitated tones—Dr. Ghose shrill,
impatient, and perturbed with anger; Mr. Gokhale distressed, anxious,
harassed with vain negotiation and sleepless nights. Already one
caught the word “suspension.” “If they will not hear Surendra Nath,
whom will they hear?” said one. “It is an insult to the Congress,”
said another. “An insult to Bengal!” cried a third. Again Surendra
Nath sprang on the table, and again the assembly roared with clamour.
Again the Chairman rang his Benares bell, and rang in vain. In an
inaudible voice like a sob he declared the sitting suspended. The
platform rose, Surendra Nath descended, the Indian ladies, who had
beguiled the long waiting by chanting the hymn of “Bande Mataram”
with quavering voice, filed out through a door at the back, and the
leaders of the Congress movement disappeared into tents prepared for

After twenty-two years of steady and regular procedure the Congress
had broken up in less than an hour. To the excited groups into which
the great assembly split it seemed incredible. As when a growing
child overturns the family routine and is astonished to find its
parents distraught and weeping, so the Extremists stood a little
amazed and dumbfounded at what they had done. Wild defence was met by
wild denunciation, but no violence followed. It was still a polite
and peaceful people, anxious to leave conciliation open. I conversed
with Mr. Kelkar of Poona, editor of the _Mahratta_, as Mr. Tilak’s
lieutenant. The outbreak, he said, was accidental and unexpected.
They had determined to oppose Dr. Ghose’s election, but not by
tumult; they would not even have opposed it had not the Moderate
offer of compromise come too late. I visited the Nationalist camp,
far across the town, and found Mr. Tilak himself, just returned from
his dubious triumph, sitting naked in his cloth. He gave me the same
assurance. The whole thing had been a mistake; it had all happened
because the undertaking to renew the Calcutta resolutions had reached
him too late—not till the Chairman had begun his speech. The
resolutions had then been handed to him by Mr. Gokhale, and he had
admitted he would himself have been satisfied if certain changes in
their wording had been removed and the original form restored. But by
that time it was too late to reassure his followers, or re-establish
his authority for peace.

It is hard to say how far this difficulty about the Calcutta
resolutions was vital, or how far a sincere desire for peace might
have explained it away. The mere delay in supplying them to Mr. Tilak
was accidental—the fault of a Surat printer. Mr. Gokhale has said
so, and his word is above suspicion.[51] But he admits that “slight
verbal alterations had been made in one or two of them to remove
ambiguity,” and it was left, as usual, for the Subjects Committee to
decide in what form they should finally be submitted to the Congress.
Unhappily, after the events of the day, there was no chance or
thought of a Subjects Committee meeting, and the disputed alterations
remained unsettled. Some were obviously unimportant, unless a
quarrel was desired on any straw. The change from “the system
of government obtaining in the self-governing Colonies” to “the
self-government enjoyed by other members of the British Empire” in a
draft constitution implied no change of meaning, but, hearing of the
criticism, Mr. Gokhale had himself inserted the word “self-governing”
before “members of the British Empire.” In the Swadeshi resolution,
the Calcutta version had promised “to stimulate the production
of indigenous articles by giving them preference over imported
commodities even at some sacrifice”; in the new draft this sentence
appeared as “to stimulate the consumption of indigenous articles by
giving them preference where possible over imported commodities.”
Here the omission of the words “even at some sacrifice” was due to
the inaccuracy of the newspaper copy, from which the resolution
was taken. In the Calcutta resolution about National Education
the clause proposing “to organize a system of education—literary,
scientific, and technical—suited to the requirements of the country
on national lines and under national control” had been altered in
the new draft to a proposal “to organize an independent system
of education—literary, scientific, and technical—suited to the
requirements of the country.” Mr. Gokhale defended the alteration
on the ground that it avoided the triple repetition of the word
“national,” was more restrained in form, and “more in accord with
what was being actually attempted in different parts of India.” In
the changes so far there was nothing to split a party determined to
preserve its unity.

The difference in the remaining resolution was vital. It went to
the very root of the difference between the parties, and for the
sake of it alone the proposed changes remain worthy of notice. In
the original Calcutta resolution the Congress was “of opinion that
the Boycott Movement inaugurated by Bengal by way of protest against
the Partition of that province was and is legitimate.” In the new
form proposed for discussion in the Subjects Committee the wording
ran, “This Congress is of opinion that the Boycott of foreign goods
resorted to in Bengal by way of protest against the Partition of that
province was and is legitimate.” All the difference between Moderates
and Extremists—just the one point which made genuine conciliation
impossible—lay implied in that small difference of wording. “Boycott
of foreign goods” was plain; it was a necessary part of Swadeshi,
whether used as a political protest or as an encouragement to Indian
industries. But “Boycott Movement” might mean the rejection of
almost anything—the rejection of foreign goods, of foreign justice,
foreign appointments, foreign education, foreign authority, taxation,
Government itself. Already it had been so interpreted, both at the
Calcutta Congress and frequently throughout the year. To yield on
this point would be to hand over the Congress to Extremists for ever,
to abandon the first principles of the Congress, which had been to
work out the salvation of India in association with the British
rulers, and endeavour, in spite of Anglo-Indian mockery and hatred,
to invoke the sense of justice which must somewhere surely lie in
the heart of so great and free a people as the English. If these
first principles were now to be abandoned, if the Congress was to
be pledged to call upon India to go her own way, regardless of the
English people and the English Government, the Congress as it had
hitherto existed might as well give up the pretence of existence,
and bequeath its effects to a new and different force. Here was no
half-way house, no common ground for compromise. The alteration in
the wording was vital.

On this difference at the root negotiation failed. The Boycott
resolution was perhaps not even mentioned, but at the back of men’s
minds the difference lay. Through the evening and night negotiations
continued. The Nationalists held another conference in their camp.
Unless the Calcutta resolutions were replaced in the original form,
they were instructed to oppose the election of Dr. Ghose, but to
allow all speakers a fair hearing and create no tumult. Envoys passed
between the camps; could not a joint committee of the parties meet
for discussion? Could not Mr. Gokhale and Mr. Tilak meet? Could not
Surendra Nath act as conciliator? Could not Dr. Rutherford, Member
of the Mother of Parliaments, be asked for the advice of historic
experience? Backwards and forwards the negotiation went, and during
that night also few slept.

The morning of December 27th again found them at variance, still
uncertain, their mood more fretted by sleeplessness and anxiety.
But a general anticipation of peace prevailed, because all foresaw
what the enemies of reform would say if the Congress collapsed. By
noon the Pandal was again full to overflowing. At one o’clock the
Presidential procession entered. Again Dr. Rash Behari Ghose bore
with him the printed copy of his Presidential address, which ought
to have been delivered the afternoon before, and had, unhappily,
appeared that morning in some of the Calcutta papers, with an attack
upon the Extremists still unaltered.[52] At his side, as before,
came the familiar Congress leaders, and amid stormy applause that
breathed defiance to interruption, they took their seats behind
the green table that stretched the whole length of the high-raised
platform, before which there was no railing, but only, as it were, an
escarpment for defence.

In the front row of the delegates, not in the place reserved for him
on the platform, Mr. Tilak was seated. As the procession entered he
sent a note to the Chairman by one of the boy Volunteers to say he
wished to speak on the election of the President after the seconder
had spoken. According to his own account, he added, “I wish to move
an adjournment with a constructive proposal,” apparently referring to
another special conference of delegates from both sides. According
to the Chairman and others who claimed to have seen the note, it
proposed “an amendment for the adjournment of the Congress.” It
was a difference much argued afterwards, but the note itself had
disappeared into chaos and could no more be recovered than the
Sibyl’s leaves that flitted round her cave.

In deliberate and expectant silence the proceedings began. Mr. Malvi
called upon Mr. Banerjea to take up his speech, seconding the
appointment of Dr. Ghose as President. Speaking with a chastened
exuberance, as of a hero rebuked by fate, Surendra Nath appealed to
the past achievements of the Congress, appealed to the necessity
of union for strength, and sat down amid silence, amid applause.
Mr. Motilal Nehru, wealthy barrister of Allahabad, circumspect and
respected, Moderate by nature in everything but generosity, said a
few sentences. Every one went delicately, moving on a crust of ashes.
In inaudible words Mr. Malvi proposed that Dr. Ghose should take
the Chair as President, and amid various shouting he declared the
motion carried. Heavy with years and knowledge, Dr. Ghose transferred
himself to the seat, and rose at once to deliver that thoughtfully
prepared address. “Brother Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,” he
began, “my first duty is to tender you my thanks for the signal
honour you have done me.”

Beyond his first duty he never went. As when lightning flashes in air
surcharged with storm, Mr. Tilak was seen standing straight in front
of the Presidential Chair itself, expostulating, protesting, all in
that calm, decisive voice of his, the voice of a man indifferent to
fate. He had given notice of an amendment, he was there to move it,
and there he would remain. “You cannot move an adjournment of the
Congress,” cried Mr. Malvi; “I declare you out of order.” “I wish to
move an amendment to the election of President, and you are not in
the Chair,” Mr. Tilak replied. “I declare you out of order!” cried
Dr. Ghose. “You have not been elected,” answered Mr. Tilak; “I appeal
to the delegates.”

Uproar drowned the rest. With folded arms Mr. Tilak faced the
audience. On either side of him young Moderates sprang to their feet,
wildly gesticulating vengeance. Shaking their fists and yelling to
the air, they clamoured to hurl him down the steep of the platform.
Behind him, Dr. Ghose mounted the table, and, ringing an unheard
bell, harangued the storm in shrill, agitated, unintelligible
denunciations. Restraining the rage of Moderates, ingeminating peace
if ever man ingeminated, Mr. Gokhale, sweet-natured even in extremes,
stood beside his old opponent, flinging out both arms to protect him
from the threatened onset. But Mr. Tilak asked for no protection. He
stood there with folded arms, defiant, calling on violence to do its
worst, calling on violence to move him, for he would move for nothing
else in hell or heaven. In front, the white-clad audience roared like
a tumultuous sea.

Suddenly something flew through the air—a shoe!—a Mahratta
shoe!—reddish leather, pointed toe, sole studded with lead. It
struck Surendra Nath Banerjea on the cheek; it cannoned off upon
Sir Pherozeshah Mehta. It flew, it fell, and, as at a given signal,
white waves of turbaned men surged up the escarpment of the
platform. Leaping, climbing, hissing the breath of fury, brandishing
long sticks, they came, striking at any head that looked to them
Moderate, and in another moment, between brown legs standing upon the
green-baize table, I caught glimpses of the Indian National Congress
dissolving in chaos.

Like Goethe at the battle of Valmy, I could have said, “To-day marks
the beginning of a new era, and you can say that you were present at

The Indian ladies vanished. The platform leaders withdrew rapidly
through a door at the back of the Pandal. Mr. Tilak was borne off
by his followers. But in the vast pavilion itself a combat raged
at large. Chairs, useless now except as missiles, flew through the
air like shells discharged at a venture; long sticks clashed and
shivered; blood flowed from broken heads. Group rushed upon group,
delegate upon delegate. Breathing slaughter, they glared for victims.
It was hard to tell friend from foe. Ten thousand men, all crowded
together among ten thousand chairs, no uniform, no distinction,
nothing to mark off Extremist from Moderate except the facial
expression of a temperament—it was a confused and difficult conflict
to maintain. Who would wish to fall to the bludgeon of a political
friend? Nor was a certain chivalry or politeness wanting. Standing
in the midst on a chair from which I could command the scene, I
watched two champions, beaked vultures from the North, belabouring
each other with murderous intent. By an adroit stroke one brought
his stick down on the other’s skull, and knocked his turban off.
Instantly a truce was granted till the many yards of long white
turban had been rapidly rolled tight again, and then with fresh fury
the contest was renewed.



  [_Face p. 258._

So with varied incident the combat swayed and raged and crackled.
Suddenly the police appeared—no mistaking them in their short blue
uniforms and the little clubs that made no political distinctions.
Only about thirty entered, but thirty men who know what they want
are to ten thousand who are not quite sure like a dog to sheep. With
them came their Superintendent, their Inspector—Scottish, small and
wizened as a prize jockey, calmly ordering here, ordering there,
protected in the roaring turmoil only by courage and a penny cane.
Bit by bit the tumult was driven out by the doors into the open.
Within an hour the vast Pandal, strewn with broken chairs, sticks,
and rags of raiment, stood empty as a banquet-hall deserted.

Even that night negotiations were again renewed. But suspicion had
now gone too deep, and, as in an instinctive quarrel, each attempt
at conciliation revealed a new distrust. Next day (December 28th)
opened with savage rumours of bloodshed, but two hundred police now
guarded the wreck of the Pandal, and there, in anxious and regretful
security, a convention of nine hundred Moderates met. They had signed
an agreement to preserve order, to promote reform by constitutional
means, and to aim at self-government similar to the self-government
existing in other parts of the Empire. Dr. Ghose was in the Chair,
some of the prominent leaders spoke, and a committee was appointed
to watch events. The most significant point in the meeting was the
presence of Lajpat Rai upon the platform, and his declaration that he
would continue to fight under the old banner of the Congress was at
such a moment worth a thousand men.

The Convention then turned to consider the woes of Indians in the
Transvaal, whose delegates had been wandering about in the chaos,
tearfully lamenting the vanity of human wishes. In the afternoon the
Extremists also held a convention, and also appointed a committee
to watch events. In the large courtyard of a private house they met
in silent crowds. Grave and silent—I think without saying a single
word—Mr. Arabindo Ghose took the Chair, and sat unmoved, with far-off
eyes, as one who gazes at futurity. In clear, short sentences,
without eloquence or passion, Mr. Tilak spoke till the stars shone
out and some one kindled a lantern at his side. He reviewed the
situation, accused the “Bombay Moderates” of seeking favour with the
Government and rejecting the Nationalist offers of compromise. He had
no wish to destroy the Congress, for its prestige was useful; but a
new spirit had entered Indian affairs, and unless the Congress was
permeated with the new spirit it had better die—it was dead already.
By the new spirit he meant self-confidence and self-assertion,
contrasted with the old methods of petitions for rights, appeals for
justice, and other forms of mendicancy which the British Government
answered with elusive promises, and the Anglo-Indians with scorn.

So, on that note of deep and perhaps irreconcilable divergence,
the twenty-third Indian National Congress ended. Many delegates
remained in Surat for a day or two, taking part in conferences upon
child-marriage, widow-remarriage, the education of women, Indian
industries, the drink problem, the revelations of the Divine Will,
and other questions of permanent interest for Indian life. But the
Congress was over. The work of the old Congress as it had existed
for all those years was rolled up and done. Re-union of Moderate
and Extremist in some form might still be possible; for a militant
party, a nationalist party, an Opposition is never long divided,
and oppression is a fine reconciler. But breach or no breach, all
felt the Congress would never be the same again. In the twinkling
of a shoe it had been changed, and a new spirit, a different and
difficult spirit, had indeed arisen in the country.

As I returned with the leaders of the Congress movement in the train,
each station rang with shouts of “Down with Rash Behari!” “Down with
Gokhale!” “Down with Surendra Nath!” Not a cheer, not a single cry of
“Jai!” That was on a Sunday, and on the Wednesday before no cheering,
no garlands had seemed enough. It had been roses, roses all the way.

[Illustration: THE SACRED RIVER.

  [_Face p. 262._


[50] Towards the conclusion of his speech came the following
characteristic sentences: “I oppose this Bill because it violates all
the traditions which have up to this time guided the Government. I
oppose this Bill because I wish to see the English Rule broadbased
on the people’s will, and not resting merely on the sword, whether
Indian or British. And, lastly, I oppose this Bill because it will
kill all political life in this country.... One word more. It is
unfortunate that the 1st of November should have been fixed for this
meeting. That day has always been associated in our minds with the
gracious Proclamation of Queen Victoria. It will now be associated
with the loss of one of our most cherished rights.”

[51] See Mr. Gokhale’s letters on the Breach in the Congress, the
_Bengalee_, January 13 and 14, 1908.

[52] The main part of the address was a sorrowful indictment of
Mr. Morley’s government during the year, an answer to the Arbroath
speech, and a criticism of the professed Simla reforms. It then
passed to the situation between the two parties in India, and
concluded with a strong repudiation of the Extremist position, and a
warning to Extremists “not to be beguiled by phantoms, nor to expect
they could end the British rule by boycotting the administration,”
whereas their only chance lay in co-operation with the Government in
every measure likely to hasten their political emancipation. At the
end of the copy which Dr. Ghose gave me, and which he intended to
read to the Congress, was a manuscript note expressing deep regret
at the murderous attempt upon Mr. Allen in Eastern Bengal, and the
following peroration, also in manuscript:—

“I call upon you to fight for your rights, resolved not to be beaten,
nor even knowing when you are beaten. To doubt of victory is to doubt
the justice of our cause. It is to doubt our courage and the strength
of our combination. It is to doubt the honesty and sincerity of a
great people who are bound by every obligation of duty to redeem
their pledges. It is to doubt the irresistible force of moral power
in the affairs of nations. We may be baffled for a time, our efforts
may be abortive, but I have faith in the justice of our cause, faith
in your patriotism, in the English nation, and in the sword of the
avenging angel. Let us then work, not in sorrow or despondency, but
in the joyful assurance that our cause will triumph and our country
take her rightful place in the Federation of the Empire.”



I had escaped to the Ganges, as myriads of transitory pilgrims
have escaped before. From the distractions of politics and the
dust of practical reforms I had come to the quiet river, sliding
under immemorial walls. The water was still white and dove-coloured
with morning, but already along the thin crescent of the shore,
white-robed men and women were coming down the steps with naked
feet, and silently approaching the edge. They threw long strings of
marigolds into the stream. Stooping down, they scooped up the water
in brazen pots, and set a marigold upon the mouth of each. Hung with
flowers, and bearing on their foreheads the triple mark of the god,
men settled cross-legged upon slabs of stone or wooden platforms, and
plunged at once into prayer, or, opening long and narrow books, began
to recite aloud the words of inspired ancestors. Men and women alike,
still draped in white, walked step by step down into the water, till
it passed over their heads, and then came back step by step, and
stood dripping in prayer. They raised water in their hands, splashed
it three times on their mouths and foreheads, and with arms lifted
to the risen sun, poured what was left back into the river. Covering
her face with her hands, one girl knelt upon the bare stone so long
in adoration that the sun dried her one white length of sari, and it
hung loose around her form again.

The common life of the holy city began, and the calling of
the milkmen, the cake-sellers, the fruiterers, and drivers of
bullock-carts mingled with the temple bells. They brought the dead
down to the river, hung with marigolds, and wrapped in cotton cloths
as when they lived. Pushing them feet forwards a little way out
from shore, they let them soak in the holy water until wooden pyres
should be ready to consume their deserted forms, happy in a double
purification. Washerwomen carried down their bundles of linen, and
swung each piece over their heads again and again upon flat stones
in the water, until it was cleansed, with the added advantage of
sanctity. Ascetics in brick-dust robes passed up and down among
the crowd, bearing long staves in memory of their vow to constrain
their thoughts, their speech, and their desires. Other ascetics,
dressed only in a transparent coating of ashes, sat in perpetual
contemplation, forgetful of the body and the world. One man I saw in
faded yellow robe, worn by sun and rain, passing quietly in and
out of the worshipping throng, as he followed the little footpath
by the water’s brink. He was of those who all the year long tread
the bank of the Ganges, from her source in the mountains to her
mouth among the forest swamps, and back again to her source in
the mountains. On that day’s walk he happened to be passing again
through her most sacred city, but that seemed hardly to interrupt his
contemplation of her holiness.

[Illustration: ON THE BANK.

[_Face p. 264._ ]

“Yours is the Order I should belong to by nature,” I said, giving him
a halfpenny, for which he had not asked.

“For you it would be easy and difficult,” he answered, in good
English, and led me up many steps and along galleries overhanging
a cliff of ruinous masonry to a cool courtyard, where Brahmans are
daily fed on boiled rice and salt, laid out upon a plate of stitched
banana leaves.

“Obviously it would be easy for you as for any one,” he went on as
we climbed up, after his meal, to the top of the flat roof where a
little shelter had been erected for shade and worship; “but for you
it would be difficult also, because you hang upon the world, and your
soul is entangled in illusions and desires. Like all your people, you
call the unreal things realities, and for reality you have no name.”

Having devoted himself for a while to prayer, he continued: “You see
this low parapet? Many years ago a boy was seated upon it reading
a Sanscrit book of wisdom, when, it is thought, a monkey, inspired
by the god, pushed him, and he fell. Look over and you will see
the projecting slab half way down which he broke as he fell. They
gathered up his shattered body, and laid it, almost alive, in the
Ganges. I cannot doubt that he attained at once to salvation, his
soul returning to the universal consciousness, as the space inside
a pot returns to universal space when the pot is broken. And in his
salvation I may claim a share, for I was his father.”

It was noon, and the sun blazed upon the roof. Green parrots flew
screaming among the trees of a garden far below us. The hum of the
city arose, pierced with loud cries, and over the far-off iron
bridge across the Ganges a train was slowly passing with prolonged
and shrieking whistle. But still the crowding pilgrims moved down
the steps to the water’s edge, and bathed and offered flowers, and
stretched up their hands in silent adoration, or recited ancient and
sacred words aloud.

[Illustration: THE BURNING PLACE.


  [_Face p. 266._

“It is possible for you,” I said, after a long time, “to desire
escape from the danger of rebirth, and to speak of being merged in
the universal consciousness as salvation. But how about these people
who come in millions to the river? All their lives they struggle
only to live. From day to day their thought is only to keep alight
their little glimmer of life, and hand it on to others who are
their children. How is it to be supposed that they come to the river
so wearied of existence as to pray only to be saved from being born
again? I myself, who am one of them, would walk in the opposite
direction if I thought the river was going to extinguish my life, and
for choice I should rather be born a mouse than nothing.”

“You remind me,” he answered, “of those worshippers of Vishnu, who
pray in great humility, ‘Let me be born a cat or dog, if only I may
love thee, O God.’ It is a great prayer, and you may join in it, for,
being a wanderer through the world, you can always hope to become a
religious man, avoiding the many-sided degradation of which people
tell me who have visited the West. I, too, was once engaged in common
business, managing large estates in this very city, and I know the
rich men in the streets, though they cannot now tell who passes
them so close. But each day I gave much time to contemplation, and
I took the vow of kindliness to every living thing, just as you see
those Jain monks there who are feeding ants with sugar, and would
not wittingly kill a cholera germ; or like those wandering Sisters
of the faith who wear a strip of white felt across their mouths lest
they should breathe a midge to death, and carry soft brooms in their
hands to sweep the place where they are about to sit, lest the weight
of their frail bodies should crush an irrecoverable life. By such
means, even in your present body, you may begin to penetrate the
illusions of existence, and at rare moments may perceive some gleam
from what one of your poets has called the white radiance of eternity.

“As for these pilgrims,” he went on, “they are like a woman who
lights her cow-dung fire at evening, not considering as she cooks
that the flame is composed of ten divisions, each symbolic of a
faculty of the soul. Or they are like a man who walks by the light
of sun and moon, not considering that sun and moon are nothing but
symbols of creative power, as are men and women, fire and water, heat
and cold. Or they are like the nautch girls who have a separate song
for every hour of the day and night, but do not know that their songs
are only the pulses of eternity. In cooking, in light, and in song,
each finds an ignorant joy, and in the same way these pilgrims have
a dim sense of righteousness and purification in the outward symbols
of truths that they will never learn in their present life. By such
means, for a few hours together, they may free themselves from the
illusions of existence, and in some cases even reach the state of
those highly religious men who devour putrid cats, to prove that in
their estimation all material things are alike, all being equally

[Illustration: A PLACE OF PRAYER.

  [_Face p. 268._

“But for people like you,” he continued with pity, “what can one say?
You are still ensnared by political anxieties, artistic interests,
and the desires of personality. You have far to go before, by
contemplation and hard discipline, you perceive how like happiness is
to its opposite—how accurately the joy of existence may be compared
to a fire-fly wandering in an unlimited vault of darkness, or to the
inch of cool shadow thrown by a snake’s head upon a burning desert.
Till you can reach that supreme state when birth, and life, and death
have no separate meaning, you have far to go. But there is always
hope for one who will begin by overcoming earthly desire. For, as you
may have heard, there has been one being and one alone who in this
flesh attained to salvation without death, and he was Janaka, the
father of Sita, Rama’s wife. He sat still, you remember, with one
hand in a blazing fire and the other upon a woman’s breast, showing
that to him the one was the same as the other, and both indifferent.”

We descended, and I went away in the rapid twilight, sorrowful
because I was not in the least like Janaka. But as I went, I came
to the courtyard of a temple to Shiva, the dissolver of existence,
and there in the darkness I found a lonely woman walking round and
round a sacred tree, driven by the blind desire to bear a child. So
untameable among the unlearned is the passion for life.



“Cold!” I said, just for something to say, as I came out of the
dak-bungalow into the thin January air before sunrise, and met an
educated Indian, who said “Good morning!”

“Yes, sir,” he answered. “You’d have thought it cold if you had slept
where I did.” And he pointed to a dusty place, where he had evidently
been lying in front of the house.

“Why on earth did you sleep there?” I asked; “there was plenty of
room inside.”

“I’m a Famine official, and I have been living inside for some nights
past,” he answered. “But when I got back at nine o’clock last night,
I found you were reading in one room and your boy had gone to sleep
in the other, so I stayed out here.”

“My boy!” I said. “Why, he sleeps everywhere! On the floor of my
room, at the door—anywhere! Why didn’t you come in?”

“Well, you see,” he answered, with hesitation, “I saw you were an
Englishman, and I knew that if I had come in, you’d have kicked me
out, and I didn’t want to be kicked out. That’s why.”

As I had been three months in India, I was not surprised, but as a
patriot I found it hard to reply, so I turned the conversation to
Famine and Relief.

We were in the United Provinces, where that season’s famine was
particularly bad. Mr. Theodore Morison has explained that in India
the word “famine” is now equivalent only to a “suspension of
agricultural industry.”[53] “Now that the relief of the unemployed
is undertaken by Government,” he says, “it is not a fact that
any considerable proportion of the people die of hunger when the
agricultural industry is interrupted.” In the United Provinces, then,
agricultural industry was suspended, and the cause of the suspension
was obvious. For close on four and a half months not a drop of rain
had fallen, and day after day the sun rose and set in a sky as clear
and hard as steel. Rain ought to have lasted well into October, and
in December to have begun again, and here was the second week in
January without a drop since August. The December harvest was lost,
and the ground so hard that scarcely a quarter of the usual crops had
been sown for the greater harvest due in March. The horror of past
famines is easily obliterated in India, for what would you expect of
a people to whom history is but a sleep and a forgetting? But men who
had known the course of Indian famines since the seventies told me
that unless rain came within a fortnight that year’s famine would be
worse than any that India had ever suffered.[54]

[Illustration: A BULLOCK WELL.

  [_Face p. 272._

Coming twenty or thirty miles south of the Jumna from Allahabad,
where the Jumna and Ganges join, I had passed through a country
that became continually more desert. It was nearly flat, and rather
thickly covered with isolated thorns and the heavy mango trees, which
yield a fruit much sought after by the villagers, but now regarded as
a chief cause of cholera in famine time. So far, the trees had not
been stript bare for fodder, as I afterwards saw them round Delhi,
and the cattle were still kept from the unholy butcher’s hands by
a diet of chopped millet stalks, with linseed for the milkers. The
land was divided into tiny fields, about the size of one to four
tennis-courts, marked off by earthen banks, along the top of which
there is a right of way. Round the mud villages, wherever the wells
still held water, some of these fields were green with potatoes or
young wheat, or a tall bushy pulse with yellow flower, and all
day long the ryots were busy distributing the precious water through
little channels among the crops. I suppose no form of irrigation
surpasses the wells in value, though very many of them are sunk only
temporarily in times of drought, on account of the expense of sinking
a “pukka” or masonry shaft. As in most parts of India that I visited,
the water is usually drawn up in one or two large bags by bullocks
harnessed to the end of a rope and driven down a steep incline. But
many of the wells were dry, and so were many of the tanks or public
ponds, which, having originally supplied most of the mud for the
village habitations, afterwards become the social centres of village
life. In fact, the only tank I saw with a plentiful supply of water
left was one that three crocodiles had wisely selected for their
home. They were not so large as the dragonish monsters I had shot at
in West Africa, but large enough to disturb the social centre of any
English green. Two or three hundred yards away from the village wells
the little squares and oblongs of fields were absolutely bare, not a
weed showing. For miles on miles the drab surface of the earth was
hard and barren as a brick pavement.

The famine in Orissa was due to flood—an unforeseen calamity—and
though the area was small in comparison, the horror of the starvation
was much worse than anything in the United Provinces. The effect of
drought can be foreseen, and it is one of the Government’s recognized
functions to keep people alive in famine. Preparations for relief
had begun in October, and at the head of the administration stood
Sir John Hewett, the Lieutenant-Governor, in whom all Indians felt
a peculiar confidence. But apart from his special influence, it is
in famine time, as I have noticed before, that the zeal and sympathy
of our officials are seen at their best. Men who in ordinary seasons
would treat all Indians alike with habitual contumely, are perfectly
willing to die for them in their distress, and once I travelled in a
cabin with a high legal official in Allahabad, not connected in any
way with relief, whose voyage out was made more and more miserable,
because at every port came the news of continued drought in the
province. Such sympathy from above is a memory of our old land-owning
traditions, a relic of noblesse and its obligations, and, as long as
our superiority is as undisputed as a captain’s or a curate’s, we are
particularly successful in exercising this devoted patronage.

[Illustration: GOING TO WORK.]

[Illustration: RELIEF SHELTERS.]

As no rain fell, “test works” were established in December. On test
works heavy tasks like road-making are set, and no payment is given
unless the work is done. Nothing but real poverty and hunger will
drive people to work of this kind, and so, when two thousand men
were found to be labouring at each of the test works, it was assumed
that hunger was general, and “a state of famine” was officially
proclaimed. A state of famine implies relief works on which the
Government pays a fixed rate of wages to all workers, and assistance
of some kind is given to every one—women, children, babies, and the
old, as well as the able-bodied workers. The rate is decided by the
Famine Commissioner according to his estimate of the price of grain.
In this case he had calculated the price of grain for the time being
at 18 lb. (9 seers) to the rupee (1_s._ 4_d._). By the “Wages Table
for Public Works,” which is as easy to work with and as indisputable
as a table of logarithms, this price gave the rate of wages at 2_d._
a day for diggers, whether men or women (but hardly any women consent
to dig), 1½_d._ a day for carriers of earth (chiefly women), 1_d._
for children, and ½_d._ a day for babies.[55]

A few exceptional cases are specially treated. Any woman, for
instance, who presents the works with a new baby is rewarded with a
special donation of 1_s._ 4_d._ down. The wages were paid out of a
guarded treasure tent every afternoon, and the people bought their
own food from local merchants, who generally conveyed the grain on
the backs of bullocks from Allahabad. The women ground it themselves,
and made it into a sticky paste with a little salt, and that was what
the families lived upon. Drinking water was served from kerosene
tins by Brahmans so that none might be defiled.

Villagers in want of the wage looked round the plain at sunrise
for a red flag hoisted on a long pole. That showed the “recruiting
station,” and there the families congregated in long rows, waiting
to be allotted to gangers chosen from their own number. If any
were already too starved for labour, they were fed up to working
point; but there were none of the brown skeletons here that I saw in
Orissa, because, as the disaster was not sudden, the relief had begun
while the people were still in good condition. When the gangs were
arranged, they were led out to some allotted portion of the works,
the fellow-villagers remaining together for the stimulus of public
opinion. In other districts the relief works took the form of new
roads, but where I was the engineers had designed two great bunds
or dams to catch the monsoon rains over a large and gently sloping
area. For a few months each year shallow tanks would thus be formed,
which could be tapped as required for the fields at a lower level,
and, when dry, would leave a surface enriched with silt and moisture.
The dams were called Garhaiya Kalan and Telghana from neighbouring
villages, and one was seven miles long, the other a mile and a half.
If these were not sufficient for the winter’s relief work, many
more might be constructed, and the Government could always hope to
recover part of the outlay by the increased value of the land, for
which the landowners (zemindars) would as usual have to pay about
half their income as revenue. And as I thought of it, I sighed for
the orgy of battleships and old age pensions which we should enjoy
if only our Government at home could scoop up the unearned increment
like that!

[Illustration: ON THE RELIEF WORKS.

  [_Face p. 276._

The process of constructing the dams was simple. Engineers had fixed
the required levels and breadths by upright poles with strings
stretched between them, and all that the workers had to do was to
pile up earth till the strings were just covered and disappeared
from sight. The earth was cut from both sides of the dam, and each
digger’s daily task, with the help of a woman carrier, was to clear
a plot of earth 13 ft. by 8 ft., and 1 ft. deep. A pick and hoe were
supplied by Government, but the natives refused the new English-made
tools, not from any Swadeshi prejudice, but because they were rotten
and would not cut. Women carried the earth in baskets made in the
gaols and threw it on the dam. Weaker women, cripples and children
broke up the clods, patting them rather gently with wooden implements
till the surface was fairly smooth and solid. That was all the work.
If the allotted task fell short, the payment of the whole gang of
fellow-villagers was reduced, so that each worker had an interest
in keeping all his friends up to the mark, and I did not hear any
complaints about reductions. What I did hear were the common
complaints of humanity that bellies were not full, that dealers
gave short weight, and that some parts of the ground were harder to
dig than others. By that time there were twenty thousand workers
on relief in this small district alone, and the numbers were daily
increasing. When people have to be saved by averages of thousands
together, how can you stop to give complete satisfaction? It is not
so that heaven is filled.

The hope was that, as the famine had been taken in time, the cholera,
which comes in the rearward of famine, might be avoided; and it was.
The only definite disease I noticed was a very common paralysis of
the knees, which crippled both men and women, but was not directly
due to famine. The people themselves attributed it to a kind of
pea they eat, and the pea had lately been forbidden to be sold on
Government works. I had seen the same kind of paralysis in the stone
quarries at Les Baux in Provence, where it was attributed to the
dust; but it seems hard to connect the two cases. Otherwise, the
people were as healthy as one can be on an average of 1½_d._ a day.
Most of them went back to their own villages in the evening. For
those who lived too far away tiny huts or coverts of bamboo frames
thatched with straw were provided. When the dams were finished, they
were to be “departmentally watched and maintained.”

When I saw Sir John Hewett a short time afterwards at Agra, he
told me he had over 150,000 workers on the relief works, and over
310,000 receiving relief of one kind or another. Owing to the famine
the yield of grain in his province was 3,500,000 tons below the
normal; rice yielded only a quarter of the average; and £4,000,000
had been lost on the sugar and cotton crops combined. To meet the
scarcity, Government had already suspended 120 lakhs (£800,000) of
land revenue, a large part of which would be permanently remitted,
and had advanced about £1,000,000 for relief, the purchase of seed,
and sinking of temporary wells. Speaking at Lucknow a few days later
(January 25, 1908) Sir John Hewett said:—

  “These measures have given heart to the people, provided occupation
  in the villages at remunerative rates of wages, and prevented the
  occurrence of crime. The people themselves have met the crisis in
  the most commendable spirit. Never was there a famine in which the
  people and the Government and its officers showed a more united
  front than the present one. The ryots have toiled early and late to
  prepare and sow their fields for the spring harvest, and they have
  not toiled in vain.”

That speech was made, however, after blessed rain had fallen. When
I was at Agra, one inch of rain suddenly fell in one night, and I
shall not forget the joyful change upon the faces of the officials.
It must be remembered also that, excellent as the administration of
the famine relief was, and fully as the Lieutenant-Governor deserves
his popularity, the United Provinces is probably a district all the
easier to govern just because it is comparatively backward, and
out of its population of nearly 50,000,000 about 70 per cent. are
directly dependent upon agriculture for their living.[56]

In his Financial Statement to the Viceroy’s Council (March 20, 1908),
Mr. E. N. Baker, now Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, calculated that
the famine of the year had affected an area with a population of
about 49 millions. It had raised the price of wheat so high that
the export from India had almost wholly stopped, while the Burma
rice crop had been diverted to India to take the place of what was
lost. He estimated the amount of takavi advances, or village loans
for wells, seed, etc., for the preceding and present years together
at 4 crores of rupees (about £2,650,000), and the amount of revenue
suspended for the two years at nearly 360 lakhs (nearly £2,400,000),
of which a large proportion must be permanently remitted. The total
loss to the State by loss of revenue and increase of expenditure
combined he estimated at 985 lakhs (about £6,633,000) for the two
years. He added the significant comment:—

  “The distress caused by high prices has undoubtedly affected
  all classes, and has pressed with great severity on the urban
  populations, and on all who are dependent on small fixed incomes.
  But the more painful conditions which we associate with widespread
  famine in India—the emaciation, the aimless wandering, the
  disruption of social ties, and the increase of crime—are as yet
  so rare and exceptional as to be scarcely noticeable. The energy
  and determination with which the people have themselves faced the
  calamity have been observed on all hands, and we may reasonably
  hope that if the coming season is favourable the progress of the
  country will resume its normal course, without any such check as a
  famine on a similar scale would have caused in bygone times.”[57]

That sounds fairly simple, and, of course, its hopefulness was
justified; but the whole question of the famine brought one up short
against problems that may be common to all countries, but are perhaps
more difficult in India, because under our rule the economic stages
are becoming mixed together. What Mr. Baker, for instance, says about
the pressure upon urban populations and small fixed incomes owing to
the famine is true; but then the pressure appears to be permanent,
famine or no famine. The rise in price of ordinary provisions seems
to be continuous and general. I heard the same complaint in the
Deccan, in Eastern Bengal, Calcutta, Benares, Allahabad, Delhi, and
Lahore. Within twenty years wages may have doubled, but the cost
of common food has quadrupled. In Bengal, for example, Mr. Chunder
Nath Bose, Fellow of the Calcutta University, who knew the prices
as a boy, says they have gone up fourfold or even tenfold for the
staples of Bengal diet, such as rice, wheat, potatoes, brinjal, dal,
fish, and, what is worst, for milk and ghi (clarified butter).[58]
Many explanations were given me by English and Indian alike—the
export of grain, the growth of jute, the fixing of the rupee, the
increased circulation of rupees before 1893, and the transition from
payment in kind to payment in cash. Some of these explanations are
contradictory, and all of them have been vehemently contradicted. But
as to the result, there appeared to be no doubt: life is becoming
harder for all working people, especially for all workers on fixed
incomes, and the only people who do not notice the increasing burden
are the few with “rapidly expanding business” and those who could not
possibly eat up to their incomes if they tried.

It was still more difficult to discover the real condition of the
peasants and labourers in the country compared to the workpeople in
the towns. In villages near the relief works, the cultivators (ryots)
told me they paid sometimes one and sometimes ten rupees a bigha
(rather over half an acre) to the zemindar, but their average rent
appeared to be about two rupees a bigha (say 5_s._ 6_d._ an acre).
Some said they thought they made or saved ten or even twenty rupees
a year for marriages, births, funerals, ceremonies, and pilgrimages.
But nearly all of them said they saved nothing. They admitted,
however, that for a daughter’s marriage a ryot would sometimes
spend as much as two hundred rupees, borrowed from the zemindar
or banya (money-lender), and when I asked one of them what he
borrowed on if he had no savings, he replied that he borrowed on his
“respectability,” which is, I suppose, what most people borrow on.
At the back of the borrower’s mind, I think, is the continual hope
for a “bumper” crop that will start him free again, but as the rate
of interest without solid security was anything from 25 to 36 per
cent. both here and in the Punjab, the ryot often became little more
than a labourer in the employment of the money-lender, who advanced
him seed and stock and took the crop. In a village outside Lahore I
found the cultivators had agreed among themselves not to spend money
on marriages in future, though these village festivals had been their
only joy, and now, unless a juggler or reciter came round, they had
nothing whatever to break the monotony of toil upon the land—not even
a school. Neither were there any schools in the villages I visited
near Allahabad, nor in those near Delhi.

But though in many cases the ryot had become little better than a
labourer in the employment of a landowner or money-lender, there was
still a recognized class of landless labourers below him. In the
villages near the relief works the labourer (who is always paid in
kind) got 2½ lbs. of grain for a day’s work from dawn to dark with
two hours off, and he could count on work most of the year if the
rains were good. He also received one pair of shoes, one cloth, and
ground for his hut, which he built himself. Some of the labourers
told me of a further gift of three rupees a year (4_s._) which seemed
to be a kind of Christmas-box. If the wife worked she got 1⅛ lb.
of grain a day. Turned into money, at the village price of grain,
the labourer’s wage would thus be about 2_d._ a day, apart from his
wife’s earnings (say 1_d._) and the extras I have mentioned.[59]



  [_Face p. 284._

Beside the money-lender, the landowner, the cultivator, and the
labourer, I found in every village one or two artisans, though the
division of industry was not exact, and some of the artisans did
a little agriculture as well. Nearly all villages seem to have a
barber, a potter, a carpenter, “sweepers” or scavengers, and one or
two priestly families to perform the common rites that mankind wants,
to bless the harvest, foretell the weather, and control the local
ghosts. In some villages I also found the hand-loom weaver, and in a
Mohammedan village near Lahore the weaver told me he could make ten
yards a day, which he valued at five annas, his wife spinning the
yarn by walking to and fro as on a rope-walk. In the same village
the carpenter was specially employed on making water-wheels. But the
village artisans, as a rule, are not paid by the job but are allowed
a fairly regular income by the village, each family contributing so
many measures of grain at each of the two harvests for their support.
For instance, the village priest gets about 5 lb. of grain per plough
at harvest, but the potter gets 20 lb. per plough and the carpenter
50 lb.[60]

As far as mere money-value goes, it is not very hard to compare the
earnings of village labourers and artisans with the earnings of
workpeople in the towns. In the eighty or ninety cotton mills of
Bombay, for instance, the average man’s wages are 18 rupees a month,
or a little over 10_d._ a day; a woman’s highest wage is a fraction
under 7_d._ a day, and half-time children, nominally over nine years
old and under fourteen, get 2¾_d._ a day, which is more than the
average labourer’s wage in the village. At a mill in Delhi I found
the wages were less—12 rupees a month instead of 18 for men, and 6
rupees instead of 8 for boys; but the hours of labour were twelve
with one hour off instead of thirteen with (nominally) only half an
hour off. In reality, I think it would be quite impossible to get
Indians to do what Lancashire people would call work for twelve or
thirteen hours at a stretch, with only those little breaks. At all
events, it is not done.

By the measure of money, then, the Bombay mill-hand would seem to
be about five times better off than the village labourer of the
United Provinces. In so far as most people enjoy living in swarms
rather than in isolation, he is better off; but otherwise the lot
of both is perhaps almost equally unenviable. The hours in a Bombay
mill are spent in monotonous labour, among hideous noise, and in a
fluffy atmosphere, where there are no fans to decrease the dust, the
heat, or the smell. All round the factories, workmen’s dwellings, or
“chawls,” have sprung up, usually in galleries of single rooms along
the first floor above a row of open shops. The average rent is one
rupee (1_s._ 4_d._) a week for a room, and the whole family lives
in one room, in which, as a rule, there is no window but the door.
Most families are saved a lot of dusting and breakages by having no
furniture except a metal cooking-pot for the rice and dal—a sort of
split pea. These are cooked in cocoanut oil, and form the almost
invariable food, though in one black hole I did see a woman
cooking something that smelt like the ghost of a fish, and sometimes
a family launched out into a maize pancake. In one or two rooms there
were real decorations—portraits of Rama, of Krishna, or the King—and
for a week every doorway was hung with a string of dry leaves, ears
of rice, and little crimson flowers like knapweed, in memory, I
suppose, of some old village festival. All night long, under a waning
moon, the mill hands sat in the verandahs of these wretched homes,
beating drums, and chanting their barbaric scales—“praising God,”
as they said when we asked them; but what form of God, or for what
reason they praised Him, they could not explain.


  [_Face p. 286._

Villagers, of course, retained the usual advantages of country
life—fresh air, purer food, and greater bodily freedom and variety
in labour. But the inner conditions of life were otherwise much
the same. In furniture, even the fairly well-to-do cultivators
seldom went beyond a fireplace (usually outside), a grain store,
a plank bed, some rags, some brass pots and dishes, and in rare
cases a few silver ornaments on the legs and arms of the women as
the most convenient bank. All necessary architecture, even in mud
hovels, is beautiful, and so are all implements for human use,
but I never saw any attempt at decoration or conscious beauty. It
would be absurd to call the Indian peasants ignorant, for they
understand their own business quite as well as we understand ours,
and in their own knowledge they have little to learn. But in most
villages the isolation and absence of schools make them unnecessarily
superstitious and apprehensive of unreal dangers. Almost within sight
of Lahore, the women rushed away to the flat roof-tops with their
children for fear I should blight their souls, and the men could not
imagine what I might be, except a revenue collector, a pill doctor,
or an official come to poison the wells with plague. Near Delhi the
women turned their faces sharply to the wall at my shadow, and lived
in perpetual terror of “soldiers,” though for no definite reason. At
the foot of the Himalaya up from Hardwar, no one in the village had
heard of the Viceroy, or of the Congress, or of Lajpat Rai, though
it was little more than twenty-four hours’ journey from Lahore. Only
one man knew what a newspaper was, or had ever seen one, and neither
he nor any one else could have read a word of it. One old man said he
knew they were governed by England, but he had no notion what sort of
a thing England was. Another old man in a village within ten miles of
Delhi told me that, although he knew nothing about England, he was
grateful to the English because when he was a boy his grandfather
used to tell him of horrible murders and lootings, but there were
hardly any of such terrors now. And as that was one of the few nice
things I heard about ourselves in India, I will conclude with it.

[Illustration: BOMBAY MILL-HANDS.

  [_Face p. 288._

But the central problems remain untouched—the problems of the
famines, the rise in prices, and of the poverty, which is probably
increasing. Is the rainfall permanently growing less, and, if so,
have the alterations in the Nile anything to do with it? Is the
distress more terrible because the cultivators sell their grain,
largely for export, instead of hoarding some proportion of it? Or is
it true that they ever hoarded it? Is it want of money rather than
want of grain that is bringing ruin on the people? All these things
are said.[61] But I would point out one simple and obvious thing
about the famine district that I visited in the United Provinces. The
land there by its direct and immediate yield was expected to support,
in the first place, the Government, with its expensive army and civil
service; in the second place, the landowners (zemindars) who usually
did the same kind of work as our landowners at home—collecting rents;
in the third place, the farmers (ryots), who sold the crops, paid
the rent, and worked themselves when poverty compelled them; in the
fourth place, the labourers, who worked in good years and starved in
bad; in the fifth place, the artisans, who worked for civilization
and decency; in the sixth place, the priests, who worked for
religion and the soul; and in the seventh place, the money-lenders,
who scooped up an interest of about 30 per cent. when they could get
it. Patient as this old earth is, it seems to me that in parts of
India her patience is a little overburdened.


[53] “The Industrial Organization of an Indian Province,” p. 241. The
whole of that most interesting book on village life in the United
Provinces might be read in connection with this chapter.

[54] Mr. Theodore Morison thinks there is no evidence that famines
are more frequent now than in the past, and he gives a summary of the
very meagre records that have come down to us of eighteenth-century
famines: _ibid._ chap. x.

[55] If paid in grain the ration is 2 lb. 4 oz. for a man, 1 lb. 12
oz. for a woman, 1 lb. 4 oz. for a child.

[56] For the figures at the last census and the division of
occupations, see “The Industrial Organization of an Indian Province,”
chap. i.

[57] Indian Financial Statement, 1908-9, p. 4.

[58] “England’s Administration of India” (1907); the author, besides
describing minutely the growing poverty of small officials, etc.,
with fixed incomes, dwells on the dyspepsia and ill-health from
overstrain and unwholesome hours introduced by English habits, but
especially on the increasing devastation of malaria.

[59] For the condition of the landless class, see “The Industrial
Organization, etc.,” p. 191, where Mr. Morison, commenting on Mr.
Crooke’s Report of 1888, also comes to the conclusion that the
average value of a labourer’s wage is now about 2 annas (2_d._).

[60] William Crooke’s “Enquiry into the Economic Condition of the
Agricultural and Labouring Classes in the North-Western Provinces and
Oudh,” 1888: quoted by Mr. Morison, _ibid._, p. 179.

[61] Sir William Wedderburn has discussed these and similar problems
in his “Note on Sir Antony MacDonnell’s Famine Report of 1901,” and
in many other pamphlets.



It was evening service, at the hour when sunset is still bright, but
if you stare into the sky, you suddenly see the stars. A few score
of boys and young men were gathered round a small square pit, in
which a fire of dry sticks was burning with a yellow flame. They were
dressed in long cotton cloths of yellow or white, and, sitting in
rows, they chanted the ancient Vedic hymns in praise of God, with the
peculiar intervals and nasal quaverings of the East. In their midst,
by the edge of the pit, sat their Guru, or teacher, and from time
to time he ladled clarified butter into the fire, while youths from
each of the other sides of the square threw in handfuls of rice and
fragrant woods or herbs. Meantime the chanting never ceased, but with
a concentrated vehemence all raised to the air the eternal Sanscrit
words, revealed to the Aryan race before recorded history, so that
they might never be devoid of the holiest wisdom, but bear it with
them across mountains of ice and over sunburnt plains to the furthest
world. At the end, all stood up for the final evening hymn, and then
dispersed, leaving the fire burning as a symbol of man’s soul, and of
the divine power, and of the transfiguration of the spirit by flame
and purity.

That form of worship is celebrated every morning and evening by all
Vedic believers, whether assembled or alone. But I saw it first at
one of the students’ homes in Lahore, where a branch of the Arya
Samaj, or Aryan Society, has a school and an “Anglo-Vedic College,”
numbering about 1800 members together. Lala Lajpat Rai sat next
me, for it was to this branch that he had devoted all his labours
for social and religious reform, till injustice drove him to turn
aside into politics from the true objects of the Samaj. I speak of
a branch because, like most vital movements, the Samaj is divided
into parties, one holding its services inside the crowded old city
itself, the other just outside the ancient walls. As usually happens,
the two parties in the religion have split on unessential points,
for which they are prepared to die, though not to kill. But both
claim to follow the doctrines of their founder, Dayananda Saraswati,
who quitted this stage of existence at Ajmere in 1883, after a
wandering life of holy poverty given up entirely to the denunciation
of idols, caste restrictions, animal sacrifices, licentious rites,
the multiplicity of deities, and other accretions with which frail
humanity has surrounded the stern purity of the Vedic revelation.

Leaving his home as an outcast rather than submit to the carnal
marriage tie, Dayananda spent sixteen years of youth and early
manhood in walking from one holy place of Northern India to
another. Sometimes he passed into Kashmir, thrice he crossed the
snow mountains into Thibet, and, hungry for wisdom, he sought
everywhere for the teacher at whose feet he might enjoy it. At
last he found wisdom near at hand, in those very scriptures on
which he had meditated day and night, and full of reforming zeal he
turned to Benares and other seats of religious learning where he
might confute the Pundits, whose obscure minds darkened the hard
radiance of God’s Sanscrit word. In city after city public debates
were held before immense audiences, Dayananda in solitary knowledge
opposing the priestly hostility of all the teachers combined, while
as a rule, the local representative of the British Empire was
invited to take the chair and see fair play, or award the prize in
subtleties of theological controversy. The latter was a task for
which our public-school education does not specially adapt us, but
as a rule the British representative was spared the difficulty of
metaphysical decision by the Pundits themselves, who violently broke
up the meeting under consciousness of defeat. Perhaps unhappily
for his cause, Dayananda did not confine himself to the purgation
of Hindu superstitions and social abuses, but was equally vehement
in his attacks upon the unworthy additions and compromises that
have gathered round Christianity and Islam; and to his success in
interrupting the process of conversion among Hindus we may trace the
marked hostility with which Christian and Mohammedan missionaries
have always regarded the Samaj.[62]

The first branch of the society was established in Bombay by
Dayananda himself in 1875, but its real strength now lies in the
Punjab and United Provinces, in both of which together it numbers
about 250,000 members. The two parties into which the Samaj in Lahore
is to some extent divided, as I said, both unite in rejecting idols,
and in condemning the seclusion or “purdah” of women, the dangerous
prerogatives of the priesthood, and all restrictions of caste,
except such rights and obligations as are the due of character or
intellect. Both unite in maintaining the unity of God, the eternal
trinity of God, Soul, and Matter, and the universal wisdom revealed
for all races in the Vedas. The differences that divide them are,
perhaps, rather of temperament than of doctrine. The party that
worships in the city claims to be more democratic in its appeal,
to be stricter in life and discipline, but at the same time freer
from “purdah”; and, indeed, its women are allowed to attend divine
service in a gallery unveiled, while the women of the other party
have a service to themselves, with a woman preacher, whose sermons I
was, unhappily, unable to attend. The city party has been called the
Culture Section, in which name, I think, there lies a covert sneer.
But it briskly retaliated by calling the suburban party the Vulture
Section, in which the sneer is not covert at all, but palpably due to
a backsliding from vegetarianism.

Not that the extra-mural party itself dreams of backsliding. It
only aims at progress and increasing freedom in social life; for,
like other great movements of religious reform, it maintains that
the kingdom of heaven is not meat and drink. The differences, in
fact, have never been serious, though a few years ago there was the
same tender hostility as used to prevail between Newton Hall and
Lamb’s Conduit Street, when Positivists turned their criticism from
Christians to each other. But of late persecution, which makes all
its victims friends, has brought them together again, and few of the
outside world are now aware of any division. It was the deportation
of Lajpat Rai that gave the final touch to reconcilement. That a man
of austere and generous life, one who had given up great worldly
success for the service of the poor and unlearned, should be spirited
away without warning and without trial for venturing to criticize
official injustice—that was the touch to kindle the indignant fire
which welds men into one.

Lajpat Rai was one of those men into whose soul the wrongs of their
people enter. By nature averse from politics, he devoted himself to
those deeper questions which lie beyond the touch of governments
good or bad, and it was not till he was forty that the decisive
change came. It is true that he joined the Congress movement in 1888,
within two or three years of its beginning; but no one has more
severely criticized the Congress and its methods—its unwieldy size,
its holiday aspect, its failure to touch the poverty and ignorance
of India, and its mistaken confidence in the power of speeches and
resolutions for the redress of political wrongs.[63]

It was significant of his strength of character and indifference to
popularity, that after the breach in the Surat Congress, he gave
his immense influence to the Moderate party, and declared he would
fight under the old banner, as I have described. But it was still
more characteristic that, when the Congress had vanished, he remained
in Surat for the Social and Swadeshi Conferences, and organized a
famine-relief fund there, just as if nothing had happened.

Deeper things than can be reached by Government or speeches have
occupied his life. Born at Jaguran, in the district of Ludhiana,
where his father taught Persian and Urdu, he became a student at the
Government College in Lahore, and a Pleader in the Courts there
just at the time when the Arya Samaj was engaged in its earliest
struggle for religious and social reform.

[Illustration: LALA LAJPAT RAI.

_Photo by P. Girdhar Roy & Sons, Lahore._

  [_Face p. 296._

Under the influence of Hans Raj, now the Principal of the Anglo-Vedic
College, a direct and silent man of similar austerity and devotion of
life, he joined the Samaj and threw himself into its conflict against
idol-worship, child-marriage, girl-widowhood, caste subdivisions, and
the other abuses of orthodox Hinduism. Poverty, ignorance, and famine
appeared to him the chief outward and visible evils of his country,
and for many years, in the intervals of heavy professional work,
he lived the life of what one would call a philanthropist, if the
word had not gathered round it the inhuman associations of charity.
He directed orphanages, superintended education, helped to found
Swadeshi banks and mills long before Swadeshi became a political
weapon; he administered famine funds—with a side-glance at the
unhappy “famine Christians,” the Samajists say he rescued thousands
of souls from famine and conversion—and one of his great achievements
was the relief of the destitute in the Kangra valley after the
terrible earthquake of 1905.

But I think that year marked a change. So far, beyond attending the
Congress and publishing two vernacular pamphlets on Mazzini and
Garibaldi—dangerous themes, I admit, for a member of any subject
race—his action had not been political. In that year he went to
England, like Mr. Gokhale, to represent the cause of Indian reform,
and he also visited America. It so happened that he found England
on the verge of the greatest Liberal revival. She appeared to have
awakened from the ten years’ incubus of reaction and Imperialistic
misgovernment. Hopes of reform went hand in hand with hatred of
oppression. He noticed the movements of the unemployed, the devotion
of passive resisters, the sympathies with oppressed nationalities,
the rapid recovery from the fever of the Boer war. He noticed that
even on such a question as bringing the trams across the bridges
the Lords were threatened with a revolution in the ordering of the
State.[64] The same spirit of freedom appeared to be at work in other
parts of the world—in Ireland, Japan, Egypt, Persia, and especially
in Russia. It was natural that the ideal of winning for his own
people a true share in the government of their country should be

Unhappily, Lajpat Rai also observed in England that the people
were too much occupied with the overwhelming problems confronting
themselves to pay close attention to a subject so distant and
abstruse as Indian reform. He observed that in English politics
the cause of justice had no chance unless it were made a party
question, and the Liberal Party refused to make Indian reform a party
question, because, while it did not move the people at large, it
touched too many important interests. As to the upper classes, he
found, as Ruskin had found long before, that “every mutiny, every
danger, every crime occurring under our Indian legislation arose
directly out of our native desire to live on the loot of India.” Only
from the Irish and Labour Parties did his mission receive any real
encouragement, and, owing to the executive weakness of those two
parties, he concluded—one may still hope too hastily—that any appeal
to the justice and benevolence of Great Britain as represented by her
Parliament was vain:—

  “You can at times,” he wrote, “successfully appeal to the
  humanity and benevolence of individuals, but to hope for justice
  and benevolence from a nation is hoping against hope. The rule
  of a foreign democracy is, in this respect the most dangerous.
  The democracy is swayed by so many diverse interests that it
  is impossible to expect anything like unanimity or even a
  preponderance of opinion in dealing justly with a subject race,
  because justice to a subject race often clashes with the interest
  of some class of the ruling democracy. Whenever an attempt is made
  to do justice to the subject race, that class rises up, raises a
  storm, and prevents the Government from doing the right thing. Look
  at the history of the cotton duties in India, and every one will
  see the truth of this. How many times has the Government of India
  been overruled in the matter, simply because the Home Government
  cannot afford to risk the opposition of Lancashire and incur its

He returned to India convinced that the political as well as the
social salvation of the country rested only with the Indian peoples
themselves. As to means, he looked to anything that would promote
political knowledge, courage, and self-reliance. At one time he seems
to have contemplated a kind of Teaching Order, something like Mr.
Gokhale’s “Servants of India.”

  “Where are the political thinkers of the country,” he cried, “whose
  sole thought by day and night, sleeping or waking, would be how
  to initiate and carry on the struggle for freedom? Where are the
  political Sanyasis (wandering friars) whose sole work in life would
  be the preaching of the gospel of freedom? Were are the Vaishyas
  of the movement who will make money only for the struggle: who
  will live poorly and modestly and save every farthing for the
  sacred cause?... Where are the people who will raise agitation for
  political rights and liberty to the dignity of a Church and will
  live and die for the same?”[66]

He believed that the only way to win the consideration of England
for reforms was to prove the determination and self-reliance of the
Indians themselves.

  “The British are not a spiritual people,” he said. “They are either
  a fighting race or a commercial nation. It would be throwing pearls
  before swine to appeal to them in the name of the higher morality
  or justice or on ethical grounds. They are a self-reliant, haughty
  people, who can appreciate self-respect and self-reliance even in
  their opponents.”[67]

In a yielding disposition, a false prudence, a distrust of enthusiasm
and energy, he found the real dangers of the Indian temperament.

  “Our whole life from top to bottom smacks of fear,” he wrote,
  “deadly fear of losing in the estimation of those whom we in our
  heart of hearts believe to be only usurpers; fear of losing the
  sunshine of the smile of those whom we believe to be day and night
  engaged in the exploitation of our country and the spoliation of
  our people, fear of offending the false gods that have by fraud or
  force taken possessions of our bodies and souls, fear of being shut
  up in a dungeon or prison house, as if the freedom that we enjoy
  were not by its own nature one to be abhorred.”[68]

He was soon in his own person to prove the sincerity of his creed.
The condition of the Punjab during 1907 was particularly deplorable.
For thirteen years scarcity had prevailed almost without intermission
in the south of the province, and the increasing poverty was only
relieved by the hideous mortality of the plague. Just before Lajpat
Rai’s deportation, the official record of deaths from plague in the
Punjab alone rose to nearly 65,000 in one week, and the real number
was almost certainly higher. On the top of hunger and plague, which
we piously call the visitations of God, came the visitations of the
Government in a largely increased revenue assessment, increased
irrigation rates, the Colonization Bill threatening to break a
solemn promise made by Government to the Chenab settlers fifteen
years before, and the refusal of the Lieutenant-Governor to take
any steps against the leading Anglo-Indian paper of Lahore for a
series of abusive articles against Indians, whilst Indian papers
were prosecuted and condemned for articles containing certainly no
greater incitement to racial animosity.[69] The feeling in the Punjab
became intensely embittered. Local riots occurred at Lahore and Rawal
Pindi. Anglo-Indian journalists remembered that it was the fiftieth
anniversary of the Mutiny. Strange precautions were taken. English
people took refuge in the forts. In the haggard element of fear
anything may assume a terrifying shape, and without trial or charge
or warning, the most prominent member of the Arya Samaj was seized,
and sent to Mandalay.[70]

It was all a little ironic, this treatment of a sad, retiring,
clear-minded man, seeking neither advantage nor fame—one who had
freely given up his possessions, and worked for many years unknown
at the humblest duties. When I was at Peshawar, I ventured to ask
one in authority why a man of such high reputation as Lajpat Rai
should have been selected for attack, and in defence of the Punjab
Government, he said: “You see, it was just because he was so good
that they fired him. If he had been a rotter, they could have left
him alone.” I think it was as fine a compliment as any political
offender could hope for.

But it was not entirely for his personal excellence that the Punjab
Government struck at Lajpat Rai, nor for the wide influence of his
decisive eloquence. It was because they hoped to strike the Arya
Samaj at the same time. The authorities in Northern India, always
timid and suspicious owing to the neighbourhood of the Frontier
and the more warlike character of the peoples, had long regarded
the Samaj with special enmity. I have known a soldier, with papers
of the highest character, turned out of a Sikh regiment admittedly
for belonging to the Samaj. Much of this suspicion arises from
false information, such as is always supplied to officials who
remain isolated from the surrounding people. The editor of the
_Hindustan_, for instance, who had recently been sentenced to two
years’ imprisonment, was described as a graduate of the Anglo-Vedic
College, though he had hardly been there a month, and owed the rest
of his training to a Christian Mission School. In the same way
young Ajit Singh, who was deported on suspicion of tampering with
the native troops, was described as a prominent Samajist, though he
had never belonged to the Samaj at all. Some members of the Society
have turned to politics, because for the moment the attraction is
irresistible for many generous minds, and at such a time, as Disraeli
said in “Sybil,” “to be young and to be indifferent are no longer
synonymous.” But the Samaj as such has no concern with politics.


  [_Face p. 304._

It is a religious body—a Universal Church—bent only on religious
purification and the training of youth in accordance with Vedic
rules. One can understand the opposition of orthodox Hindus,
Mohammedans, and Christian missionaries, for in its religious
propaganda the Samaj is distinctly militant and gathers in many
converts. But the Indian Government is mistaken in regarding it
as a centre of sedition. The leaders of both sections—such men
as Hans Raj, Principal of the Anglo-Vedic College in Lahore, and
Lala Munshi Rama, Governor of the Gurukula, near Hardwar—have
steadily set their faces against political work of any sort, and
they discourage political discussion among the students as strictly
as the Risley Circular. It is useless, they say, to look for the
political regeneration of India while the character and intellect of
the people are unregenerate. I do not agree with them, believing, as
I do, that political freedom is essential for any regeneration
of the national spirit. But to accuse the Samaj of political aims,
to grasp at any forgery or lie which seeks to implicate the Society
in sedition, are only signs of ignorance fixed in its isolation
among a subject race. In the summer of 1907, Lala Munshi Rama wrote
a detailed defence of the Samaj on this point in the _Civil and
Military Gazette_ of Lahore—a defence so just and reasonable that
even the _Gazette_, conspicuous among Anglo-Indian papers for the
virulence of its anti-Indian feeling, described the “dignity of this
deeply pondered vindication” as commanding respect. In one passage he

  “It is an awful responsibility which these people undertake who
  try to set the Government against the Arya Samaj, a Society which
  is trying its best to uproot some of the evils of intemperance, of
  impurity, of child-marriage, of polygamy, of gambling, and a host
  of other vices—why, it is the Arya Samajists whom you find in the
  foremost rank of workers in the field.”

Six or seven years ago—in 1901 or early 1902—the writer of that
protest cleared a large open space in a pleasant jungle where in a
single day I have still seen many deer and monkeys, many wild boars
and jackals, the bone-strewn home of a tigress with cubs, the spoor
of a huge elephant, wild peacocks perching in the trees, and nearly
all the other delights of Eden, except Eve. A few miles away the
holy Ganges issues from the foot of the Himalayas into the great
Indian plain, and there stands the holy town of Hardwar, goal of
great pilgrimages and pitch of many religious beggars, who keep with
them deformed cows and other holy monsters to move the hearts of
worshippers to pity. On the open space in the jungle a quadrangle of
tin-roofed buildings has been raised to be a Vedic school and future
college. Over its gateway floats a red banner, inscribed with the
sacred symbol of “Om,” and its Brahmacharya, or holy discipline,
follows the lines laid down by primeval revelation.

Those lines are Spartan, or, at least, Platonic. The boys are
admitted at eight, and their parents take a solemn pledge not to
remove them or allow their marriage till they are twenty-five, the
lowest age fixed for a man’s marriage by the Vedic Scriptures.
During these sixteen years the Brahmacharies, or disciples, do not
go home, nor are they allowed to write letters or receive them; but
their parents may visit them once a month, and do, in fact, visit
them about twice a year. The great occasion for these visits is the
school anniversary, which happens to be St. Patrick’s Day, when over
sixty thousand Samajists come, including many thousands of women,
and encamp on the edge of the jungle in grass and wicker huts,
which were being prepared for them during my stay in the school.
Unlike the parents who come to see their sons on speech-days at our
public-schools, the pilgrim visitors bring their own supplies, and
they generally stay three days, that being all of family life the
boys ever know. And that is all they know of woman’s society, too,
for it is, as I said, an Eveless Paradise.

[Illustration: A STREET IN HARDWAR.


  [_Face p. 306._

Such isolation in the midst of our common and intermingled world
is, perhaps, dangerous. It comes too near the inhuman monotony
of workhouse schools. It is likely to exaggerate the desires and
curiosity of growing men, or to produce the hesitation of bashful and
secluded lives when confronted with the need for action. The entire
removal of home influence might appear harsh if we did not remember
the scores of men whom we have known ruined by their parents’
vulgarity or their mothers’ indulgence. But even if we grant that
most parents are quite unfit to bring up children, sixteen years
seems too long for any boy to remain in the same place, with the
same teachers and the same companions. Even the holiday excursions
to historic cities of India, which are arranged by the Governor,
and usually conducted by him, do not sufficiently break up the
one-sidedness of such a life; and think of the boy who is genuinely
unfitted for school and is compelled to remain unhappy for a quarter
of man’s existence!

Mr. Rama Deva, the young and highly educated head-master of the
school, and the other masters as well, met my scruples by urging
that in India the home influence is almost invariably dangerous
or softening. They said their only hope of preserving the boys
from child-marriage, maternal ignorance, and the evil of cities
lay in this monastic seclusion. In place of parents they have a
few Superintendents—about one to every twenty-five of the 220 boys
then in the school—who live with each class day and night, except
during school hours. The greatest difficulty of the school is to
find Superintendents worthy and willing, and I should have thought
it impossible. The three oldest boys in the top form have rooms to
themselves and no Superintendent. All sleep on plank beds, but are
allowed a warm covering in winter. All dress in yellow “dhotis”
(long cotton cloths) for schooltime, and in white “dhotis” for play.
They are allowed wooden sandals, held on by a peg between the toes,
but nearly all go barefoot, and with feet and legs bare they ride
bareback and play cricket, football, and an Indian form of prisoners’
base. The school belongs to the Culture Section of the Arya Samaj,
and is so violently vegetarian that I was not allowed to approach the
buildings in boots of murdered leather.

The boys get up at four in the morning, and attend Divine service
round the symbolic fire. Having taken the vows of obedience, poverty,
and chastity for sixteen years at their entrance, when two of those
vows can mean very little to them, they are further taught to speak
the truth, to practise concentrated contemplation for a period of
every day, and to subdue passion by the “yoga” of deep breathing
and holding the breath. They bathe in cold water before sunrise,
they climb the steep jungle mountains near, and all learn swimming
in the Ganges. Almost the only form of punishment is exclusion from
the games. The school hours run to about seven, divided into two
parts, and the chief subject taught is Sanscrit. There are the other
ordinary subjects—arithmetic and mathematics, history, science, and
English—and, unlike the Government schools, all teaching is given
in the vernacular Hindi, so that the boys understand the subjects
better, and can cover more ground, whereas in ordinary schools the
learning is continually hampered by the foreign tongue. But the
chief means of education is Sanscrit, just as in my old school it
was Greek. At least seven years are spent in getting that amazing
Sanscrit grammar off by heart, and in learning to read the Vedas.
Whether the Sanscrit literature is worth all that, I cannot say; we
spent much the same time over Greek, and it was well worth it to
about one in twenty. But in all the upper forms, though none of the
boys had yet approached the full age, they could already read and
write Sanscrit as fluently as a mother tongue, and that is more than
any of us ever did with Greek.

But the subject taught never matters much. The thing that does
matter is the manner of teaching, and nearly all the schools and
colleges I visited in India had the one common fault, that they tried
to force knowledge into the mind by giving information. They treated
the mind as a passive vessel to be filled through the channel of the
ears. The method was by lecture, not by dialectic, and I at least
have never learnt anything by being lectured. If the officials wish
to reform our system of education in India, here, at the very basis
of teaching, is where they might begin. They will find they are far
too late if they hope to stifle the national aspiration for liberty
by excluding the study of our own history and the works of Western
thinkers. Those are plants that we ourselves have generously set
in India, and they are too deep-rooted to be pulled up now. But to
transform the ordinary teaching into real education would be a change

The Gurukula (the word means The Master’s Home) that I have been
describing takes no Government grant, and submits to no Government
inspection; nor is it affiliated to a Government University, like
the Anglo-Vedic College in Lahore. In the boarding houses of the
Anglo-Vedic School and College a pupil’s total expenses come to 20
or 25 rupees a month. In the Gurukula the parents pay 10 rupees a
month (£8 a year) for the complete education, including clothes,
food, games, and all. But the cost for each boy is really
about £15 a year, and the deficit is made up by the subscriptions
of the Samajists. Fifteen pounds a year is a great deal for a
poverty-stricken country like India, but I wish our public schools
did not cost ten times as much. In the great Government school and
college for Mohammedans at Aligarh the Principal told me the parents
paid from 20 to 40 rupees a month according to the boy’s room (£16 to
£32 a year). But that is a home of luxury, and I believe the money
required to keep a son there often amounts to £45 or even £50 a year,
as much as a third of the payment at one of our own public schools.

[Illustration: IN THE GURUKULA.

  [_Face p. 310._


[62] “Life and Teachings of Dayananda Saraswati,” by Bawa Chaju Singh
(Lahore, 1903).

[63] Speech at Lahore before the meeting of the Calcutta Congress,

[64] “Our Struggle for Freedom: How to Carry it on”; see “Lala Lajpat
Rai, the Man in his Word” (Madras, Ganesh and Co., 1907), p. 134-145.

[65] _Ibid._, p. 197, “Indian Patriotism towards the Empire,” being
an answer to a circular order from the Director of Public Instruction
in the Punjab (May, 1906) requiring all schools to celebrate Empire
Day in a certain manner.

[66] _Ibid._, p. 141, “Our Struggle for Freedom.”

[67] _Ibid._, p. 184, “The Swadeshi Movement.”

[68] _Ibid._, p. 209, “The National Outlook.”

[69] See Introduction, p. 17 ff.

[70] For a full account of these events, see “The Story of My
Deportation,” by Lajpat Rai (The Punjabi Press, Lahore, 1908).



The mango trees were all in bloom, and the air full of their smell.
It has just the touch of turpentine in it that makes the mango fruit
so pleasant, and is so refreshing in an English room that has been
spring-cleaned with furniture polish. The mango bloom is the Indian
“may,”—the sign that spring has come indeed, and that was why all
the great Sirdars, or landowners, of Baroda were gathered in the
palace hall at nine o’clock one morning, and sat in thick rows of
white-clad figures, with Mahratta turbans of red and gold on their
heads, and curved swords glittering across their knees. The Maharajah
had summoned them in durbar, to celebrate the festival of Vasantha,
or the Spring, and on the inlaid pavement below their seats a
nautch-girl from Madras danced without ceasing, to the inspiriting
noise of three or four pipes and a little drum. All the instruments
sounded their peculiar notes together, but apparently with random
independence, though the girl seemed to know what varied emotions
they would express. For she danced forward with gestures that she
felt to be suited to some imperceptible motive, her jewels flashing,
and the heavy gold of her sash swinging over her knees. Then, having
reached her limit of advance towards the empty throne, she walked
quietly backwards, softly clapping her little brown hands to some
imperceptible time.

Suddenly from the palace garden came the sound of the tiny old
guns which the British Government allows Native Rulers to retain
for saluting purposes, or to batter the mud walls of an occasional
village, as evidence of their regal power. To the roar of this
artillery the Maharajah entered, and, keeping step at his side, came
the British Resident, conspicuous in civilization’s clothing. Behind
them, stiff with scarlet and gold, stalked the British officers
of a regiment quartered upon the State by the terms of an ancient
treaty. Passing up the pavement between the rows of Sirdars, the
Maharajah took his seat upon the purple velvet sofa, having the
British Resident side by side upon his right, while the British
officers settled into the topmost chairs, like a patch of poppies
in a daisy field. All the time the pipes and drum never ceased,
and the dancing-girl continued to advance and retire with various

Attendants appeared, bearing garlands and silver sprinklers, and
trim little bunches of flowers tightly tied up. The heaviest garland
was selected for the British Resident, and he bent his comely head
submissively to receive it on his neck. It was made of white jasmine,
picked out with silver “fairy rain,” which I have mentioned before
as beautifying our Christmas-trees. He was also presented with a
tight bunch of flowers, and lavishly sprinkled with scent from the
silver vessels. Similar but smaller garlands were then placed round
the necks of the British officers; similar but smaller bunches were
presented to them, and they were sprinkled with scent, but less
lavishly, as became their inferior position in the representation of
Britain’s might. When the most junior subaltern had been sprinkled,
the Maharajah and the Resident rose, and the British contingent
marched out of the hall, the garlands flopping against their thighs,
as when of old Greek bulls went adorned for sacrifice.

So the rulers departed, and again the feeble old guns did their
utmost to voice the honours due to Imperial grandeur. Then the
Maharajah returned to his sofa, and a sigh of relief appeared to
pass through the hall. I thought I could even hear it from behind
the carved shutters of the gallery, where ladies stood watching in
seclusion, like the ladies behind the grill of our House of Commons.
The attendants again bore garlands, bouquets, and sprinklers into
the hall. The Maharajah was garlanded first, and then his son, the
heir to the sofa, who received his honours with a superior smile
that told of Oxford’s contamination. The most peculiar part of the
ceremony came next, when silver plates were brought in, heaped high
with vermillion powder and with yellow, to represent the fertilizing
dust of flowers in spring, and this dust was thrown in handfuls over
the Maharajah and his heir, and then over each Sirdar in turn.

Suddenly the white chests of all those loyal counsellors blazed with
patches of scarlet and gamboge, while pipes and drum pursued their
own wild will, and the dancing-girl danced up seductively. Then
the Maharajah rose, and the whole assembly followed him from the
hall. The climax had been reached, and the ceremony of spring was
over, except that for the rest of the day the street boys rejoiced
in “all the fun of the fair,” throwing red and yellow powder over
the passers-by. And if they mixed a little oil with the powder, the
passer-by would recall the flowers that bloom in the spring whenever
he put those clothes on again.

You would suppose that such a ceremony was but the childish
consolation of some wretched prince, whom we allow to retain on
sufferance the pomps and vanities of barbaric splendour, just as
an idiot heir is allowed a rocking-horse and wooden sword by his
trustees. And that is partly true. It is in the spirit of interested
trustees for idiot children that the British Government gives the
Maharajah that artillery to play with, and arms his handful of
troops with ancient muzzle-loaders that I had despaired of ever
seeing in use. An ordinary and enfeebled ruler might thus solace
himself with pretty shows for a life of miserable impotence, just
as Napoleon’s son played at soldiers in the Austrian palaces. Such
is the end of most of those who are born to rule our Native States.
Fantastic palaces in every street, marble courts where fountains play
all the summer, bedizened elephants in lordly rows, bejewelled girls
beyond the dreams of Solomon, studs of horses ceaselessly neighing,
changes of golden clothes for every hour of the day and night, heaps
of golden coins piled high in treasuries, drink deep as wells,
exquisite foods selected from Paris to Siam—oh, but to be weak is

But the ruler of Baroda has the strength that conquers power out of
weakness. Brought up among the temptations of princes, cheated with
the mockeries of authority, distrusted as seditious for the very
excellence of his reforms, he has raised his little State of some
two million souls to become the most advanced and best administered
district of India, with the possible exception of Mysore. I know the
worst that can be said against him. His land-tax is rather above the
average of British India, but at all events his entire income of just
under £1,000,000 a year is spent in the country itself, and does not
go to cherish the annuitants in Cheltenham or Whitehall. Like the
English aristocracy, he is fond of building more houses than one man
needs to live in. Like the late Lord Salisbury and Mr. Kruger, he
displays an exaggerated solicitude in providing for members of his
family, beyond the requirements of laudable thrift. And, worst fault
of all, he has been sometimes suspected of imitating the Anglo-Indian
authorities in favouring Europeans at the cost of fully qualified
Indians. On one occasion also, I believe, he conducted a punitive
expedition, on almost British lines, against some troublesome
villagers. I know all this is said, and much of it is very likely
true, for even in a hovel it is difficult to live above reproach.
But I have also heard that in the foolish Durbar at Delhi, when
other native rulers salaamed and prostrated themselves to earth, the
Maharajah of Baroda went up to Lord Curzon like a man, and shook him
heartily by the hand; and I think that story as likely to be true as
the others.

It is now over twenty-five years since he entered upon his power,
after a few years of tutelage under the British Government, which
had deposed his predecessor for overstepping the latitude granted to
native rulers in everything but politics. In that quarter-century,
by the help of carefully chosen Ministers, such as Mr. Romesh
Chandra Dutt, he has realized reforms in government and daily life
that are continually called impossible by ourselves. Throughout
his whole State he has absolutely separated the judicial from the
executive functions—a reform that we have acknowledged for years
to be essential for India, but are boggling over still. He has
restored the ancient village Panchayat, or parish council, by the
men whom villagers can trust, whereas, in our passion for rigid and
centralized power, we have almost destroyed the last vestige of this
national training in self-government.

After a careful experiment for fourteen years in one district, he
has now made primary education compulsory and universal throughout
his State. Whereas in British India the Government expenditure
upon primary education still stood in 1906-7 at about £200,000, or
considerably less than £1 per thousand of the population, in Baroda
the proportion was about £1 to every fifty-five, and the State counts
more educated girls, for its size, than any other part of India.
The latest step in constitutional reform has been the admission of
genuinely elected members into the Legislative Council, which was to
meet that year (1908) for the first time in its more democratic form.
Such reforms as the Indian Government had at that time proposed for
its Legislative Council, were only intended to frustrate what shadow
of democratic principle then existed in them.

[Illustration: MAKING YARN.]

[Illustration: A VILLAGE PANCHAYAT.]

But it is much harder to change a social custom than to legislate,
and the Maharajah’s greatest triumphs lay in the prevention of
child-marriages, the emancipation of ladies from the “purdah,” or
curtained life, and the breaking-down of caste barriers. In all
this he had been aided by the encouragement and example of his
Maharani, who had stood by his side like one of the heroic queens
of Mahratta history. In all India I suppose there was not another
man and woman who had done more for the happiness and advancement of
their people, or done more to disprove the common Anglo-Indian charge
that Indians are incapable of carrying out even their own reforms.
For their very success they were suspected and maligned by officials,
who had not the courage to imitate their methods. But when official
torpor and private malignity had said their worst, the Maharajah and
his queen remained among the royal souls of India. They had once
more established the old Roman paradox that it is possible to follow
virtue even in a palace, and there was something almost Aurelian in
their proud service to the Commonwealth.[71]


[71] For the development of Baroda, see the admirable series of
annual Administration Reports prepared up to 1907 by Mr. Romesh C.
Dutt, C.I.E., Revenue Minister of Baroda, and since then by his
successor, Mr. Kersasp Rustamji.



Let it be granted, as a matter of bare fact, quite apart from any
wishes or opinions, that for many years to come we shall retain
military and administrative command in India. Rightly or wrongly, we
shall retain it, unless we are so overwhelmingly defeated at home
that we almost cease to be not only an empire but a nation. Probably
it is to our own advantage to retain it, because to withdraw before
India is strong enough to stand alone would degrade our national life
with a cowardly sense of failure. Personally I think it is to India’s
advantage also, because her peoples are so unarmed, undrilled, and
unorganized under our rule that if we withdrew our place would easily
be taken within a year by Russia, Germany, or Japan; perhaps by all
three in conflict. When the very worst that can be said against our
rule has been said, the substitution of Russia’s rule for ours would
be an incalculable disaster from which India might recover only after
many generations, just as Poland, the Caucasus, and Persia may. Nor
have Germany and Japan yet given proof of governing subject races
with success, much less with humanity. Till India is sufficiently
advanced in arms, unity, and knowledge to hold her own (which used to
be the hope of our statesmen), it is probably to her advantage that
we should retain the ultimate supremacy in government and war. We may
not do it particularly well, but the chances are that others would do
it incomparably worse. Let it be granted, anyhow, that nothing but
overwhelming national defeat will deter us from doing it.

But whilst we shall continue, as far as politics can foresee, to
superintend the administration of India and to protect her from
external attack, the danger is that our bureaucracy, always the
slowest form of government to realize change, should ignore the new
spirit arising in the country, or should seek to stifle rather than
guide it. It is the conviction of many that India is now standing on
the verge of a national renaissance—a new birth in intellect, social
life, and the affairs of state. There are unmistakable evidences of
this, not only among educated Hindus, but among educated Mohammedans;
not only among the educated classes, but throughout the masses of the
people. Many things have combined to create a new spirit, and we have
ourselves contributed much. The long peace that has made development
possible, the easy communication by railways, the wide distribution
of newspapers, the visits of highly educated Indians to England,
the use of English as a common tongue among educated people of all
races and religions, the increasing knowledge of our history and
our hard-won liberties, the increasing study of our great Liberal
thinkers—all these admirable advantages we have ourselves contributed
to the new spirit, and it is useless for startled reactionaries to
think of withdrawing them now. We must also take into account the
example set to all Oriental nationalities by Japan, and the awakened
stirring of Liberalism in England herself, and, no matter how feeble
its efforts and how bitter its failure, in Russia, Egypt, Persia, and

Most of these beneficent influences move slowly, with a deep and
gradual force, and, whatever happens, they will continue to move,
though to move slowly. But the outburst of the new spirit which we
call the unrest in India was occasioned by a different order of
things, for the most part, sudden, external, and pernicious. Such
things were the contemptuous disregard of Indian feeling in the
Partition of Bengal and Lord Curzon’s University speech upon Indian
mendacity; the exclusion of fully qualified Indians from public
positions, in contradiction to Queen Victoria’s Proclamation of 1858;
several notorious cases of injustice in the law courts, where English
criminals were involved; numerous instances of petty persecution
for political opinions since 1905; the well-known measures for
the suppression of personal liberty and freedom of speech in 1907
and 1908; the espionage of police and postal officials; and the
increasing insolence of the vulgar among Anglo-Indians, as shown in
ordinary behaviour and in the newspapers which represent their views.

All these obvious and external causes of complaint, crowded into the
space of very few years, have been sapping India’s confidence in
the justice of our rule and the benevolence of our people. Indians
have, no doubt, exaggerated both the injustice and the malevolence.
They have taken a few flagrant cases of injustice as typical of our
Courts; they have mistaken for malevolence what is only our reckless
indifference to far-off responsibilities. But we cannot wonder at
their mistakes. Nearly every one generalizes about foreign nations
from the one or two specimens he knows; and we, as foreigners in
India, must not hope to escape generalizations rapidly founded on
the behaviour of every man or woman who may represent us there
unworthily. As to our national indifference, I wish we could say that
this charge also was founded only on special and notorious instances.
But it is not. Our indifference to the Indian peoples, from whom
we are continually sucking so much of our wealth, is universal and
invariable. Or it is varied only at long intervals after outbreaks of
bloodshed and threatenings of revolt. No wonder that a growing party
in India believes that only by such means can England’s attention be
roused, and any permanent advantage for their country obtained.

Of course, they are inconsiderate. In spite of the ill-manners of
a certain type of Anglo-Indian, we are as a whole rather a polite
and kind-hearted people, and the mere shadow of injustice makes
us seethe with indignation, so long as it is not too far away. If
they charge us with indifference, they ought to consider that we
are faced with almost insoluble problems of our own; that we are a
very busy people, and that our knowledge of what goes on in India
is generally limited to one or two speeches which attract little
attention, a few Parliamentary questions, and the reports of official
or other journalists whose very existence depends on standing
well with the Anglo-Indian community. Indians are too apt not to
consider these mitigating circumstances. But it does not tend to
make people considerate when men, women, and children are dying of a
comparatively recent plague by hundreds of thousands every year; when
for fifteen years in succession famines have been almost regularly
recurrent; when increasing malaria is rotting the population away in
body and mind, and when thousands, or probably millions, of people
who used to have two meals a day can now afford only one. I do not
say these disasters are the fault of the Indian Government or the
British people. But it is obvious that they do not tend to make the
sufferers under them considerate towards the difficulties of rulers
who hardly suffer from them at all. They are likely to be the less
considerate because they know that, out of a revenue over which they
have no control, at least £20,000,000 a year is withdrawn from their
country to be spent in England, partly in the shape of interest on
serviceable loans, but largely in incomes, pensions, and other more
questionable forms; while, even against the better judgment of the
highest Anglo-Indian authorities themselves, the greatest Indian
industry is kept depressed by the countervailing excise of 3½ per
cent. imposed by the Cotton Duties Act of 1896 on cottons made and
sold in India, simply for the benefit of our Lancashire mills.

Considerate or not, the new spirit—the section of it that has time
and youth on its side—has begun to despair of further appeals and
petitions for English justice or assistance. In spite of the splendid
traditions of many noble Englishmen from Sir Thomas Munro down to
Lord Ripon, I suppose few representatives of our rule have been
popular among the Indian races. That was not usually the fault of
our representatives; their position made genuine popularity very
difficult, and it is impossible for one race to deny freedom to
another and rule it to the true advantage of either. But I think that
till lately the verdict of most Indians upon us would have been the
same as the schoolboy’s who called Dr. Temple “a beast, but a just
beast.” In their verdict to-day the compliment of that saving clause
would generally be omitted, and that loss of our high reputation for
justice, if it is to be permanent, is the worst loss we could ever
suffer—worst for ourselves as patriots who honour our country for
her justice, and worst for the Indians, whose position a sense of
permanent injustice will render intolerable.

The belief that petitions for the redress of grievances, whether
presented to the Indian Government or to the British people, are
equally vain, is not so serious a matter for us as the distrust of
our justice, but it contributed very strongly to the new spirit in
its extreme form. Our disregard of all the public protests against
the Partition of Bengal and all the persistent appeals for its
withdrawal; our disregard of the reasonable pleading of such men as
Mr. Gokhale and Dr. Rash Behari Ghose in the Viceroy’s Council, have
perhaps done more than anything else to discredit the methods of the
old Congress. I do not mean that the Congress has been useless. It
served as a training ground for political knowledge. It afforded a
centre for the growing unity of India, and without it the leaders
of Indian reform could hardly have formulated their own programme.
But in two avowed objects it has failed; it has had no influence
upon the action of the Indian Government, and no influence upon
English opinion at home. For twenty-two years it was a model of order
and constitutional propriety. It passed excellent resolutions, it
demanded the redress of acknowledged grievances, in trustful loyalty
it arranged deputations to the representatives of the Crown. By the
Anglo-Indians its constitutional propriety was called cowardice, its
resolutions remained unnoticed, its grievances unredressed, and the
representative of the Crown refused to receive its deputation. In
England, outside the half-dozen who take some interest in India, no
one knew where the Congress met, what language it spoke, what were
its demands, or what its object; no one knew, and no one cared.

The new spirit perceived that it was useless addressing pious
resolutions to the official waste-paper basket. The cry of
“self-reliance, not mendicancy” spread through the country. One
last effort to attract British attention to the grievance of India
was made by the Swadeshi movement and the boycott on British goods.
“Touch the pockets of our rulers, and they will listen”—that was the
hope. And the hope was partly realized, for owing to Swadeshi and
the local disturbances in Eastern Bengal, Calcutta, and the Punjab,
England during 1907 and 1908 has probably paid more attention to
India than at any time since the Mutiny.

But the principle of Swadeshi has now been developed by the new
spirit for purposes far beyond the immediate object proposed.
Swadeshi in manufacture and commerce is now followed for the great
economic purpose of restoring the Indian industries, threatened or
already ruined by England’s favoured competition. And even this
economic Swadeshi is seen to be only a part of a much wider movement
in self-reliance. On every side societies and orders are growing up
for the promotion of Indian ideals and the development of Indian
character, quite independently of our influence, and their members
are sometimes inspired by an uncalculating devotion like that of
the early Christians. Such are the Arya Samaj in the Punjab and
United Provinces; the Servants of India in Poona; the Brahmo Samaj
of highly educated Theists in Calcutta; the Order of Ramakrishna
on the Ganges above Calcutta; the Hindu College in Benares, with
which Mrs. Annie Besant’s name is so closely connected; the Order
of the Gangrath Institute near Baroda; to say nothing of the
whole Volunteer movement, the object of which is the renewal of
organization, courage, and physical power among the youth. None of
these movements is political in aim. Their work as societies lies in
social and theological reform. But both in aim and method all are
distinctly Swadeshi. They take little account of Government or of
the Anglo-Indian community. In some of them there is even a tendency
to react against reform, lest some taint of Western civilization
should be introduced into Indian life. But religious and social as
these movements are in origin and object, it is no longer possible
to exclude their keener members from politics; for, among educated
people, the events of the last few years have given to national
politics the place once held by theology, and even social reform
cannot now be entirely separated from political reform, since the
result of educational and other advance is inevitably an increased
demand for self-government.

The question immediately before India now is, which of two courses
with regard to ourselves the new spirit as a whole will take. On the
one hand, it may follow the line of most resistance. It may proclaim
throughout the whole country: “It is useless to trouble about any
reforms that these intruding foreigners will give us. Let them go
on their way with their Advisory Councils, their Notables, their
extended Legislative Councils, and other deceits. They have never
paid the smallest attention to our real demands. In Mill’s words,
they keep us as a warren or preserve for their own use, a place to
make money in, a human farm to be worked for their own profit. It
is for us to pursue our own course, disregarding their presence.
Beyond paying their taxes, we need have little concern with them.
If they imprison us, we will go to gaol silently; if they deport us
without trial, we will endure without protest; if they execute us,
we know that our souls will be at once re-incarnated to continue the
struggle. But we will not notice their Government either by sharing
in it or denouncing it. In religion, in education, in industries and
common life, we will follow our own national lines just as though no
foreigners were pretending to rule us. If enough of us combine, we
shall embarrass their position; perhaps we shall make it untenable
as well as ridiculous. But whether it is untenable or not, we do not
greatly care, till a common Indian nationality has the strength to
take freedom into its own hands.”

That is the line of most resistance, always a tempting line to take,
and many Indians are taking it now. The temptation must be almost
irresistible in a vast population like India’s, where a handful of
people from a distant country maintain a predominance unmitigated
by social intercourse, marriage, or permanent residence. All the
more because this predominance rests on so narrow a basis that for
its own maintenance it is inclined to deter the subject race from
all initiative, enterprise, or leadership, and so to reduce it to
what Dadabhai Naoroji has described as “moral poverty.” Any movement
to check this national deterioration must be welcomed on behalf of
the Indian peoples, except by those who openly desire those races
to remain as flocks of sheep, dependent on the good nature or
interested bounty of their appointed shepherds. But that is not
the ideal that the best of our statesmen in India have set before
themselves, nor is it an ideal that can any longer be maintained. The
new spirit has already overthrown it.[72]

But besides this tempting line of most resistance there is another
way, and, considering the external dangers that threaten India and
her own existing difficulties of race, religion, and inexperience,
this other way is probably the way of wisdom. The new spirit may
still endeavour to act in harmony with us for the common good,
acquiescing in our presence as on the whole tending to justice and
advancement, acknowledging the material advantages we have brought,
but at the same time persistently pressing for extensions of
liberty, taking every opportunity that offers, and never hesitating
to grasp at any chance of progress because it falls short of the
perfect ideal. I admit that to follow this course requires a sweet
reasonableness and a strength of character which few men in any
nation possess. But after the defeats of many years, Mr. Gokhale
still retains his hope; and after the outrage upon his own freedom
and the very basis of our liberties, Lajpat Rai still classes himself
with the Moderates. It depends almost entirely on ourselves whether
those who, in spite of recent disappointments, still believe in an
English feeling for justice and freedom shall be able to make their
voices heard. If only the more reasonable and hopeful party had
something to point to—some generous and ungrudging act of justice on
England’s part—they might still silence the counsels of despair. It
is not yet too late. Only, it is no good juggling with sham reforms
and half-hearted concessions. Our measures, as Burke said, must be

The nature of such measures is well known. They should include
a modification of the Partition of Bengal, by which the central
province would be united under one Governor, having the same status
as the Governors of Bombay and Madras, while the contiguous western
districts were collected into a new province, and Assam remained
isolated as it is by nature and race, under a Chief Commissioner
responsible either to the Viceroy or to the Governor of Bengal.[73]
They should include the appointment of at least one Indian on each
of the Executive Councils (a concession which in the case of the
Viceroy’s Council seems likely to be fulfilled), and an enlargement
of the Viceroy’s and other Legislative Councils by genuinely elected
members up to the number of half the Council. This would leave to
the officials a steady but narrow majority, the right of absolute
veto remaining with the Viceroy, Governor, or Lieutenant-Governor.
It might then be laid down that if a large proportion of the elected
members—say, two-thirds—were opposed to a certain measure, it
should be suspended for further consideration. Some similar control
should be granted over the expenditure of money, for at present
the representative members have no voice in the revenue that is
scraped off their people year by year, and the papers of protest
or suggestion, which they read as they sit round the Viceroy’s
council-table, might almost as well remain unread for any effect they
have upon the official policy.

These reforms could be followed by a gradual extension of primary
education, which might in the end cost us £5,000,000 a year, but
would be well worth the price, even if we had to save something off
the £20,000,000 now spent on the Army, and something off the other
public services. Owing to our present parsimony in education, the
census of 1901 reported that there were 104,500,000 males in India
who could not read, 826 boys out of every 1000 of school age who had
no school to go to, and only 1 in 10 males literate, and 7 in 1000
females. Further, we could be loyal to the late Queen’s Proclamation
and admit Indians without prejudice to the positions they had fitted
themselves for. We could make the position of the police such that
they would be no longer compelled to help out their livelihood by
corruption and false evidence. We could resolutely extinguish the
system of Begar or forced labour for the benefit of Civilians and
other Europeans. And we could make it illegal for any representative
of our Government to condescend to the baseness of opening other
people’s letters, even on the off-chance of spying upon sedition.

[Illustration: A DESERTED CITY.

  _[Face p. 334._

Such measures as these would be remedial. They would serve as an
earnest of our country’s goodwill, and of our determination to
maintain the principles of freedom and justice in our government.
They would cut the ground under the feet of those who, by proclaiming
perpetual distrust of our intentions, are fostering a fanatical
hatred against us. But I am aware that measures by themselves are
insufficient. What is wanted is the difficult thing that our fathers
called a “change of heart,” and no legislation can effect that. We
need a change that would transform our people’s arrogance towards
“natives”; a change that would prevent the ladies and gentlemen whom
we send out from degenerating into “bounders” where Indians are
concerned, and would make it impossible for an Englishman to display
towards Indians the outrageous manners that would exclude him from
decent society at home. Such a change must be extremely difficult
among ourselves of the upper and middle classes, for we are not
born very imaginative or sympathetic, we are educated on a plane
of patronizing superiority, and outside our class and nation any
claim to equality staggers us like a sudden blow. But there are one
or two quite simple points on which we might begin to practise for
the change. Except among the baser sort of Anglo-Indians, the word
“nigger” has died out, and I would suggest that the word “native”
might follow it. If the phrase “rulers and ruled” died too, and
if our social philosophers would cease to drone out their weary
ineptitude that “East is East, and West is West,” the situation would
be much eased. I have sometimes thought also that our reputation
would stand higher if English people who insist, quite rightly, on
the importance of our prestige, were to abstain now and then, for the
sake of our prestige, from games that develop neither courage nor
strength, and are regarded by Indians with contemptuous astonishment,
and from a mode of dancing which is regarded by Indians as an
indescribable abomination.

But the present crisis is too acute to allow of waiting for a change
of heart. Upon our immediate action will depend the terms under
which we must maintain our position in India: whether we are to hold
the new spirit fairly on our side, and to cooperate with it for
the progress of the country in enlightenment and self-government;
or whether we are to have our rule confronted by impenetrable
resentment, and our best efforts thwarted by indifference or
suspicion. In any case, India has a long and bitter road to travel.
The gulf between her educated and uneducated classes is wider
even than in our own country. She has many divisions of thought,
and caste, and race to overcome. But, as to the growth of her new
spirit, we need have no fear. It is one of the most hopeful signs
of our hopeful time. Every act of injustice on our part, and every
attempt at political suppression, have only promoted India’s sense of
unity and hastened her progress in self-reliance. If injustice and
suppression continue, their effect will be the same. Whatever course
our action may now take, the new spirit has already breathed a fresh
life into large classes of the Indian peoples, and it will continue
to afford a high motive for self-devotion, and for the moral courage
and love of freedom in which the Indian character has hitherto been
lacking. For India herself the present unrest holds out a promise
of the highest possibilities, no matter how much she may suffer in
realizing them.

But for us the brief interval left for decision is momentous. On our
decision it will depend whether, in contempt of the freedom we have
with such obstinate labour secured for ourselves, we shall sink, step
by step, from suppression into persecution, and from persecution
into atrocities that now we should shudder at; or whether we
shall display strength enough to welcome the spirit of freedom and
nationality which we have done so much to create, and strength enough
to advance with it hand-in-hand for the furtherance of India’s
welfare as a self-respecting country, and so to redeem our reputation
for the love of a freedom which others may enjoy, as we enjoy it.


[72] This subject of “moral poverty” was treated in a paper Prof.
C. F. Andrews of St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, read before the
Pan-Anglican Congress in London (1908), and published in “The Indian
Review” for June. The success of Prof. Rudra, a Bengali economist and
historian, as Principal of that College, with a staff that includes
First Class Cambridge men, one of them a Fellow of his College, is
one of the many disproofs of the theory that Indians are incapable of
initiative and leadership. Even Mohammedan men of learning are glad
to serve under him gratuitously.

[73] See Introduction, p. 10.


  Abkari, excise, 121

  Act, Land Alienation, 2;
    Official Secrets, 4;
    Universities, 4

  Adamson, Sir Harvey, 119-171

  Afghanistan, agreement with Russia about, 24

  Agnew, Mr., Deputy Commissioner, 18

  Agra, land question in, 83;
    effect of rain at, 279

  Agreement with China and Russia about Afghanistan, Lhassa, and
        Persia, 24

  Agricultural banks, 89

  Ahmedabad (Congress, 1902), 215

  Ajit Singh, founds “Indian Patriots,” 18;
    speaks at Lyallpur, 18;
    deported, 19, 304;
    released, 126

  Akbar, inheritors of, 189;
    land of, 236

  Aligarh, college at, 199, 321

  Allahabad, press of, 230

  Allen, Mr., Collector of Dacca, shot, 238;
    regrets for assault, 254

  _Amrita Bazar Patrika_, M. L. and S. K. Chore, editors of, 211-214

  Amritsar, deportations from, 20

  “Anandamath,” the Abbey of Joy, 127

  Anchorite in cage, 189-190

  Andrews, Prof. C. F., on “Moral Poverty,” 331

  Anglo-Indians, attitude towards Indians and Lord Curzon, 2, 187,
       261, 323, 327;
    outrages by, 3;
    in journalism, 17, 102, 171;
    protected, 17, 102, 171, 229;
    courtesy of, 30;
    exclusiveness, 42;
    lack of sympathy, 42;
    deterioration of, 43;
    Christianity of, 82;
    against education, 102;
    manners of, 115 _et seq._, 234, 335;
    under criticism, 132;
    oppose Partition of Bengal, 167;
    tone of press, 171, 230-231, 302;
    system, 223;
    unrepresentative, 324

  Anglo-Russian agreement, 24

  Arbitration _v._ law, 223

  Artisans, condition of, 284

  Arya Samaj, 18, 210, 291;
    founder of, 292 _et seq._;
    two sections of, 295, 308;
    leaders of, 304;
    struck at, 303;
    defence of, 305

  _Asian_, incites to manslaughter, 229

  Assam, included in E. Bengal, 11, 16, 166;
    backwardness of, 175

  Assamese, object to Partition of Bengal, 175

  Assessment, land, speeches on, 18 (_v._ land assessment)

  Athavale, K. K. (editor, _Punjabee_), fined and imprisoned, 17

  Ayerst, Lieut., shot, 35

  Baidianath, shrine of, 211

  Baker, Sir E. N., Lieut.-Governor, Bengal, financial statement of,

  Bakerganj, proclaimed, 186

  Balasore, 140

  “Bande Mataram” (Hail to the Motherland) forbidden, 15;
    prosecuted, 24;
    boy beaten for cry of, 29;
    at Vishnu’s Temple, 113;
    cigarettes, 122;
    heard in Madras, 126;
    national song, 127 _et seq._;
    at Surat, 237, 249

  _Bande Mataram_ newspaper, policy of, 219, 223;
    article in, 224-226

  Banerjea, Surendra Nath, honoured, 15;
    draws up Swadeshi oath, 179;
    sketch of, 215 _et seq._;
    position of, 216;
    as orator, 217, 218, 234;
    at National Congress, 243, 255-256

  Banerjee, Sir Guru Das, writes Note of Dissent, 3

  Banks, agricultural, 89

  Bankura, Manchester goods in, 179

  Banya, _v._ Money-lenders

  Bari-Doab Canal, rates increased on, 17

  Barisal, police disperse conference at, 14;
    Swadeshi suppressed, 184;
    Little Brothers of the Poor, 185-186;
    vernacular press at, 288-289

  Baroda, D. Naoroji at, 29;
    progress under Gaekwar, 221;
    Maharajah of, 313-316;
    reforms under, 316-318;
    policy of, 317;
    emancipation of women and education in, 318;
    courageous Maharani of, 319;
    administration reports of, 319

  Batty, Mr., Justice, released Mr. Tilak, 68

  “Begar” (forced labour), 17;
    abolition of, 334

  Behar, 10, 11, 166, 213

  Benares, National Congress at, 36

  Bengal, Partition of, 10, 11, 36, 44, 160-167;
    petitions against, 167, 168, 184;
    protests against, 167, 326;
    results of, 169-170, 178;
    “a settled fact,” 175;
    Lord Curzon’s influence on, 191-192;
      his letters to _Times_, 193;
    nominal excuse for, 213;
    turning-point in, 242;
    modification of, 332

  Bengal, population of, 10;
    Mohammedans in, 11;
    civil servants in, 11-12;
    public meetings in, 11-12;
    fast day in, 12;
    disturbances in, 14-17;
    proclaimed, 21;
    Morley on, 26;
    Extremists in, 44;
    permanent settlement of, 135;
    formation of, 160;
    richness of, 161;
    jute growing in, 163;
    war with Manchester and Liverpool, 166;
    Chamber of Commerce in, 176;
    High Court in, 176;
    spread of Swadeshi in, 178;
    Legislative Council of, 215;
    revival of, 227

  _Bengalee_ 9;
    editor of, 159, 215

  Bengali songs and poets, 127

  Bengalis taunted, 224;
    duty of, 227

  Besant, Mrs. Annie, 328

  Bilgrami, S. H. of India Council, 22

  Boer war, influence of, 43

  Bombay, 6, 10, 46, 68, 70, 77, 236;
    death rate in presidency of, 52-53;
    social customs in, 62-64;
    rates and taxes in, 83;
    Swadeshi in, 122;
    cotton mills, 182;
    corporation, 240;
    Moderates, 240, 242, 261

  Bomb-throwing, 229-230

  Bose, Chunder Nath, on prices, 281-282

  “Bounders,” Governor of Bombay on, 116;
    manufacture of, 334

  Boycott, K. K. Mitra on, 178;
    women’s part in, 181;
    justification of, 183;
    gives impetus to Swadeshi, 184;
    with destruction, 185;
    penalties for, 185;
    _v._ Hindu merchants, 188;
    _v._ national industry, 223;
    exclusion of, 242;
    legitimacy of, 252;
    limitation of, 253;
    a last effort, 327

  Brahmani, sacred river, 135;
    in flood, 136;
    after flood, 141

  Brahmaputra, 205;
    source of, 160

  Brahmo Samaj, 210, 219

  Brailsford, H. N., “Macedonia” by, 110

  Braja Mohun Institution, 186

  British prejudice and justice, 19;
    connection, benefit of, 42;
    policy in India, 45;
    rule, excuses for, 5-6;
    responsibility of, 6;
    Mr. Tilak on, 72-73;
    levies under, 83;
    officials, deterioration of, 72;
    domination, uses of, 74-75;
    officials criticized, 145;
    goods boycotted, 178;
    Government, promises of, 261;
    people criticized, 301

  Brodrick (Lord Midleton) and Partition, 11, 13;
    (Secretary of State), 167-168

  Buddha, 258

  Budget (1907-8), 22;
    control of, 45

  Buffalo, importance of, 97

  Bunds (_vide_ Dams), 276 _et seq._

  Burdwan, Commissioner of, 179

  Bureaucracy, slowness of, 321

  Burke, teaching of, 28, 131;
    on remedial measures, 332

  Burma, contributes to Exchequer, 96;
    rice crop of, 280

  Byturni, sacred river, 135

  Calcutta, municipality of, 2;
    correspondents, 15-16;
    disturbances in, 23;
    Congress, 30;
    High Court respected, 68, 175 _et seq._;
    meeting in, 75;
    extent of Lieut.-Governor’s authority in, 134;
    importance of, 173;
    Corporation, 215;
    papers, 229, 230;
    resolutions of, 239

  Canada contrasted with India, 26

  Canning, Lord, proposal of, 92

  _Capital_, 230

  Central Provinces, famine and cholera in, 2, 146

  Cesses, application of, 165

  Chaitanya, Bengali saint, 211

  Chapekar, Demodur, 35

  Chatterji, B. C., poet and novelist, 127

  Chaudhuri, 234

  “Chaukidari,” police tax, 145

  Chenab Colony, 17;
    a settler promise to, 302

  Chief Court, Lahore, _Punjabee_, appeal to, 18

  China, agreement with, 24

  Cholera, causes of, 2, 140, 186, 272

  Chota Nagpur, 10, 166

  _Civil and Military Gazette_, 17, 43, 230

  Clarke, Sir G., Governor of Bombay, 25, 57-58;
    prepares relief works, 95

  Clive, 103

  Cocanada, 29

  Collector and relief problem, 137

  Collectors (C. S.), 134

  College, Elphinstone, 34;
    Fergusson, 35, 37, 42;
    Ripon, 179, 215;
    at Aligarh, 199;
    Presidency (Calcutta), 221, 234;
    Anglo-Vedic (at Lahore), 292, 310;
    at Benares, 328;
    Delhi, St. Stephens, 331

  Colonists, 17

  Colonization Bill refused, 17

  Comilla, riots in, 16

  Commerce, Chambers of, 23, 45

  Commission, Lord Welby’s, 2;
    Education, 3;
    on famine, irrigation, plague, police, and universities, 3, 14;
    Decentralization, 24, 104;
    of inquiry, 120

  Commissioners, powers of, 25;
    Civil Service, 134;
    solicitude of, 138-139

  Committee of Imperial Defence, 25

  Congress, National, 34, 43, 79, 185;
    at Bombay (1885), 7, 30;
    at Benares (1905), 36;
    at Calcutta (1906), 182-183;
    at Surat (1907), 233 _et seq._;
    Reception Committee of, 235, 241;
    rift in, 239-240;
    Subjects’ Committee of, 243;
    “printer’s error,” 250;
    vital differences, 252;
    first principles, 253;
    adjournment of, 255;
    “note of discord,” 255;
    dissolution, 259;
    police at, 259;
    “a training ground,” 326;
    ignored by authorities, 326-327

  Congress, Bengal Provincial, dispersed, 14

  Constitutional agitation, 44;
    Reform Party, 12

  Convention of Extremists, 260;
    Moderates, 260

  “Coronation” of S. N. Banerjea, 16

  Cotton, Sir Henry, presides at National Congress, 7;
    refused hearing by Lord Curzon, 7

  Cotton and Swadeshi, 122;
    industry, 179;
    trade, _Times_ on, 181;
    mills, 182;
    failure of, 279

  Cotton Duties Act, 325

  Council, Viceroy’s, new members on, 13;
    held in Simla, 25-26;
    Mohammedan represents Hindus on, 104;
    of India (Whitehall), additions to, 22;
    Imperial Advisory, constitution of, 22;
    condemned, 44;
    Provincial Advisory, use of, 44

  Councils, Executive, reform of, 332;
    Legislative, reform of, 332-333

  Cromer, Lord, on India, 74

  Crops, valuation of, 83;
    holdings of, 135;
    failure of, 271

  Cultivators, pressure on, 87;
    persistence of, 88;
    resources of, 88;
    protection of, 91

  Currency, change in, 1-2

  Curzon, Lord, political career of, 1;
    policy of, 2;
    unpopularity of, 2, 3, 4;
    office renewed, 4;
    attitude towards educated Indians, 5;
    Budget speech (1904), 5;
    addresses convocation of Calcutta University, 7;
    refuses to see Sir H. Cotton, 7;
    explains nationality, 8-10;
    “Problems of the Far East,” 9;
    advocates “efficiency,” 10;
    divides Bengal, 10-12;
    proclamation of (October, 1905), 12;
    cause of resignation, 13;
    farewell speech, 13;
    resigns, 13;
    irritation under, 43;
    replies to Mr. Dutt, 83;
    grievances under, 132;
    his Partition policy, 167;
    dislike of Bengalis, 170;
    Government of, 176;
    promise to Mohammedans, 191;
    letter to _Times_, 198;
    Calcutta Corporation, 215;
    criticized by Anglo-Indian press, 230;
    at Durbar, 317

  Customs, Imperial, organization of, 14

  Cuttack, 135, 136

  Dacca, new capital of E. Bengal, 11, 166;
    Mohammedan encouraged in, 16;
    Lieut.-Governor isolated in, 160;
    muslins of, 162;
    ruinous condition of, 173;
    boycott in, 180;
    description of, 189 _et seq._

  Dalhousie, Lord, promise of (1853), 167

  Dams, construction of, 276

  Darjeeling, distance from Calcutta, 160

  Datta, Bupendra Nath imprisoned, 219

  Datta, Norendra Nath (Vivekananda), 209

  Davar, Mr., Justice, tries Mr. Tilak (July 22, 1908), 77

  Deccan Club, 48

  Deccan, The, rain in, 94

  Decentralization Committee, 24, 104

  Delhi, mill hands in, 285;
    terror in, 288

  Deportation Statute, 131

  Desai, D.B.A.S. (Chief Justice of Baroda), 241

  Deva, _vide_ Ramakrishna

  Deva, Rama (Vedic Schoolmaster), 307

  Disraeli on youth, 304

  District Boards, 165;
    powers of, 25;
    magistrates, functions of, 118-120

  Diwali, festival of, 31

  Drink question, 121;
    in Madras, 121;
    sale of licences, increase in Excise Revenue, 121;
    in Poona, 122;
    Swadeshi and, 122;
    traffic, 122

  “Dualist,” 106

  Dundee, jute trade with, 163-166

  Durga, temple of, 32

  Dutt, Aswini Kumar, notable Nationalist, 186-234, 243

  Dutt, Romesh Chandra, books on India, 82-83, 86;
    as economist, 104;
    minister of Baroda, 317

  Eden, Sir Ashley, Lieut.-Governor Bengal, 212

  Education Commission (1901), 3;
    raising standard of, 4;
    opposition to, 45;
    dangers of, 72-94;
    expenditure on, 82

  Education, national, 223;
    exclusion of, 242;
    system of, 251;
    defects of, 310;
    extension of, 333

  Elphinstone, Lord, 72

  _Empire_ (newspaper), 230

  _Englishman_ (newspaper), 43, 230

  Espionage, police and postal, 203, 323

  Excise (“abkari”), 121;
    privileges of, 334

  Extremists, 28, 42, 70;
    in Bengal and Poona, 44;
    leader of, 62;
    meeting of, 127;
    at Congress, 183;
    courage of, 225;
    warning to, 254;
    conflict with Moderates, 259

  Expenditure, Indian report of, 2;
    increase of, 173-174

  Factories, increase of, 180

  Factory Labour Commission, 24

  Famine (1900), terrible season of, 2;
    and finger-prints, 93;
    preparations for, 94 _et seq._;
    in Orissa, 136;
    effects of, 142-143, 278, 280, 281;
    cause of, 271-273 _et seq._;
    statistics of, 275;
    recurrency of, 324;
    official, 270;
    Commissioners, duty of, 275;
    district, 289

  Finger-print Bureau, 93

  Floods in Orissa, 134 _et seq._;
    statistics of, 139

  Food, increased cost of, 281-282

  Forests, Communal, importance of, 95;
    denudation and appropriation of, 96;
    Laws, 95;
    hardships of, 97;
    absurdities of, 97-98;
    Department, absorbs Communal lands, 96, 97, 99;
    Revenue, profit on, 96

  France, factories of, 236

  Fraser, Sir Andrew, Lieut.-Governor Bengal, 3;
    presides over Police Commission, 3;
    Lieut.-Governor Calcutta, 12;
    over Commission of Inquiry, 120;
    providence of, 140;
    on relief works, 146-147;
    on Partition of Bengal, 175;
    attempt on, 238

  Freedom, Library of, 39;
    claims for, 130;
    of speech suppressed, 323

  Frontier Province (North-West) created (1901), 3;
    Policy, revolution of, 14

  Fuel, scarcity of, 97, 99

  Fuller, Sir Bampfylde (Lieut.-Governor, Dacca), 12;
    difficulties of, 14;
    with Mohammedans, 15;
    resignation of, 15, 203;
    represses Swadeshi, 184;
    jest of, 192

  Ganges, source of, 160;
    description of, 263 _et seq._

  Ganjam, part of Madras Presidency, 134

  Garlands, use of, 112, 130, 313-314

  Gauranga, Bengali saint, 211

  Germany, rule of, 320-321

  Ghose, Arabindo, sketch of, 220 _et seq._;
    plan of campaign of, 223;
    on courage and nationality, 225-227;
    devotion of, 228;
    arrest of, 228;
    at National Congress, 238;
    as mediator, 242-243;
    presides at Extremist Convention, 260

  Ghose, Moti Lai, 211 _et seq._, 243

  Ghose, Prasad Hemendra, writer of “Swadeshi-cum-Boycott,” 181

  Ghose, Dr. Rash Behari, opposes Seditious Meeting Bill, 25;
    chosen President of National Congress, 70, 247;
    sketch of, 233 _et seq._;
    at National Congress, 256;
    attacks Extremists, 254-255;
    presides at Moderates Convention, 260;
    disregarded by Government, 326

  Gokhale, Gopal Krishna, and Curzon Budget, 6;
    in England as delegate, 12;
    opposes Seditious Meetings Act, 25;
    founder of “Servants of India,” 34 _et seq._;
    at Diwali, 46;
    in London, 46;
    denounces Sedition Bill, 236;
    position at Congress, 243-244;
    letter in Bengalee, 250-251;
    peacemaker, 257;
    unpopularity of, 262;
    reasonableness, 331-332;
    disregarded by Government, 326

  Government, excludes Indians from higher Civil Service, 6;
    posts reserved for Mohammedans, 15;
    intervention, 21-22;
    scheme of reform, 22;
    loans unpopular, 89-90;
    as protector of poor, 95, 142;
    discontent under, 100;
    exactions under, 164;
    buildings at Dacca, 173;
    “Court of Wards,” 191;
    responsibilities of, 214;
    independence of, 223;
    pressure under, 235;
    difficulty of, 325

  Grand Trunk Road, pilgrims on, 135, 152

  Grazing lands, 95;
    scarcity of, 97

  Gupta, Mr. K. G., on Indian Council, 22

  Gurkhas quartered in villages, 14-15, 202

  Gurukula (the Master’s Home), 310

  _Habeas corpus_, breaches of, 20, 131

  Hand-looms, dying out of, 162-163

  Hardie, Mr. Keir, misrepresented, 25;
    Morley on, 26;
    insulted, 230-232

  Hardwar, ignorance at, 288;
    goal of pilgrims, 306

  Hare, Sir Lancelot, succeeds Sir B. Fuller, 15

  Hastings, Warren, 127

  Hewett, Sir John, relief statistics by, 279

  High Courts, respect for, 68

  _Hindu Spiritual Magazine_, 211

  Hinduism, 108-109

  Hindus rejected, 15;
    shops looted, 16;
    rioting of, 16-17;
    outrages on, 16, 29;
    workshops damaged, 18;
    in Bengal, 166;
    exclusion of, 322

  _Hindustan_ prosecuted, 303

  Hitaishi (Friend), violence of, 228

  Hobhouse, Mr. Charles, Under-Secretary for India, 24, 104

  Holland, factories of, 236

  Hooghly magistrate on weavers, 179-180

  Hunter, Sir William, famine statistics of, 94

  Ibbetson, Sir Denzil (Lieut.-Governor of Punjab), refuses petitions,

  Imperialism and reaction, 43

  Imports, decrease in, 180

  _India_ (Lahore paper) prosecuted, 17

  India, reduction of expenditure in, 25;
    compared with Canada, 26;
    Morley’s vision of, 26-28;
    impoverishment of, 73;
    domestic life in, 78 _et seq._;
    education of, 129;
    limited knowledge of, 324;
    crushed, 325;
    unity of, 326;
    unrest in, 326

  “India in the Victorian Age,” by R. C. Dutt, 86

  India, Southern, disturbances in, 29

  India Office, expenses of, 3;
    Council, additions to, 22

  Indian, position in British Empire, 9;
    tendency to deceit, 9;
    Patriots Association, 17;
    defence of policy of idealists, 27;
    editors in, 43;
    economics, 73;
    unity promoted, 74;
    “Problems,” by S. M. Mitra, 83;
    “Ryot,” the, Sir William Wedderburn, 83;
    ignorance of, 88;
    Empire, basis of, 93;
    disabilities of, 119;
    _Trade Journal_ on weavers, 179;
    Parliament, 223;
    _Daily News_, 230;
    people insulted, 230;
    Province, industrial organization in, 271;
    “Patriotism towards the Empire,” by Lajpah Rai, 300;
    temperament, 301;
    _Review_ on “Moral Poverty,” 331

  Indians, exclusion of, 7, 322;
    irritated by Press, 17;
    educated, 30;
    occupations of, 161;
    degeneration of, 222;
    in Transvaal, 260;
    determination of, 281;
    in England, 322;
    exaggeration by, 323;
    incapability disproved, 331;
    contempt for Anglo-Indians, 335

  “Industrial Organization of an Indian Province,” by Mr. Theodore
        Morison, 280, 284

  Industries, ancient, 162

  Industry, organization of, 14

  Irish Home Rulers, comparison with, 238;
    Party, encouragement from, 299

  Irrigation, question of dues postponed, 17;
    rates increased, 17;
    results of, 214;
    methods of, 273

  James, Prof. William, 106

  Janaka, austerity of, 269

  Japan, rule of, 320-321;
    example of, 322

  Japanese War, effect of, 170

  Jaswant Rai, Lala, proprietor of Punjabee, 17

  Jemalpur, disturbances at, 17

  Jenapur, floods near, 136, 141

  Jenkins, Sir Lawrence, Chief Justice, 68

  Jessore, district of, 212

  Judicial and Executive functions, separation of, 46

  Juggernath, Temples of, 134 _et seq._;
    _v._ sanitation, 154;
    worship of, 155 _et seq._;
    equality before, 155;
    brother and sister of, 156

  Jute in Bengal, 163;
    prices of, 164;
    export of, 165

  Kali, worship of, 207 _et seq._;
    Temple of, 206, 209

  Kalighat, description of, 206, 208 _et seq._

  Kangra Valley, earthquake in, 297

  Karma, influence of, 107

  Kelkar, Mr., editor of _Maharatta_, 42, 62, 249

  _Kesari_ (Lion), Mr. Tilak’s paper, 62;
    attacks Government, 67, 77

  Khaparde, Mr., of Nagpur, chosen representative, 242

  Kingsford, Mr., judgment of, 24;
    incited to manslaughter, 229

  Kitchener, Commander-in-Chief, 3;
    differs from Lord Curzon, 13;
    reviews in Poona, 92

  Kolhapur, Gohkale’s birthplace, 34

  Krishna, adventures of, 92

  Labour Party, leader of, 25;
    (English), encouragement from, 299

  Lahore, press abuse and prosecutions in, 17-18;
    crime in, 29;
    injustice in, 118;
    poverty, 283;
    superstition, 288

  Lajpat Rai (Lala), in England and America as delegate, 12;
    speech at Lyallpur, deportation of, 19;
    as mediator, 70, 242, 243;
    release of, 126;
    lament for, 129;
    tribute to, 133, 233;
    popularity of, 246;
    and Arya Samaj, 292;
    influence of deportation, 295;
    addresses Moderates, 296;
    criticizes Congress, 296;
    nature of, 296;
    sketch of, 296 _et seq._;
    pamphlets by, 297-301;
    in England, 298;
    “Lala Rajpat Rai, the Man in his Word,” 298;
    “Story of my Deportation,” by, 302;
    reason for deportation, 303;
    with Moderates, 332

  Lakshmi, goddess of family prosperity, 31

  Lancers, 9th, punished, 3

  Land Act, 17;
    assessment, attempted reform of, 14;
      increase in, 17;
    remission of, 95;
      in Bombay, 85;
      limitation of, 85;
      increase in, 86, 99;
    reclaimed, 17;
    Revenue, books on, 82;
      Administration Report, 180;
    Question in Oude, 83;
    Tax, period of, 135;
    titles, revision of, 140;
    scenes at, 140-141;
    burden on, 289-290

  Landowners on Viceroy’s Council, 45;
    ruin of, 45. _See_ Zemindars

  Languages in India, 11, 130

  Lawrence, Sir H., good influence of, 28

  Layard on Mohammedan ignorance, 200-201

  Lee, W. H., translation by, 127

  Lefroy, Dr. (Bishop of Lahore), 117

  Legislative Councils (_see_ Councils);
    enlargement of, 23;
    disbelief in, 222

  Lely, Sir F., on drink traffic, 122

  Lhassa, neutralized, 24

  Liberal Party disappoints India, 43;
    Government satirized, 132

  Liverpool boycott in Bengal, 166;
    salt, decrease in, 180;
    destroyed, 185

  Local Government, functions of, 23;
    proclaimed districts, 25

  Low, Mr. Sidney, “Vision of India,” 83

  Lyallpur, meeting at, 17-18

  Lytton, Lord, passes Vernacular Press Act, 212

  Macaulay, influence of, 234-235

  MacDonnell, Sir Antony, Famine Report by, 289

  Madhu Sudan Das, 147-149

  Madras, standing of, 10;
    disturbances in, 29;
    High Court, 68;
    rates and taxes in, 83;
    petition to Governor of, 99-100;
    reformers and freedom in, 103;
    municipality of, 104;
    representation of, 104-105;
    religion in, 110;
    drink question in, 121;
    Swadeshi in, 122 _et seq._;
    meeting on beach, 125;
    languages in, 130;
    presidency, drought in, 141

  Magistrates, powers of, 25;
    manners of, 147 _et seq._

  Mahanadi, The, in flood, 135

  _Mahratta_ (Mr. Tilak’s paper), 42;
    reports in, 62, 76

  Mahratta Nobility, 32;
    Shoe, effects of, 233

  Mailapur, temple at, 105

  Malaria, inroads of, 213-214

  Malvi, Tribhovandas, 244-255

  Manchester at war with Bengal, 166;
    goods in Bankura, 179

  _Manchester Guardian_, author correspondent of, 30

  Mango fruit the cause of cholera, 272;
    blossom, the Indian May, 312

  Manu, laws of, 83

  Martineau, Mr. A. E., Sessions Judge at Delhi, 19

  Maruta, Indian Hercules, 93

  Mehta, Sir Pherozeshah, services of, 240-241;
    at National Congress, 257-258

  Midleton, Lord (Mr. Brodrick), on Partition, 13;
    favours devolution, 167

  Mill, J. S., 131, 329

  Mill hands in Delhi, 285;
    in Bombay, 286

  Milton, 131

  Minto, Lord, succeeds Lord Curzon, 13;
    refuses Colonization Bill, 17, 21;
    Proclamation of, 21;
    Indian opinion of, 43;
    Press Act of, 220

  Mitra, K. K., starts Swadeshi, 178;
    S. M., “Indian Problems” by, 83

  Moderates, J. Morley on, 27-28;
    G. K. Gokhale on, 44;
    conflict with Extremists, 257-259;
    unpopularity of, 262

  Mohammedan Revival, 192;
    Riots, 202

  Mohammedans favoured by Sir B. Fuller and Government, 15-16;
    and Hindus, 16, 17;
    nominated on Indian Council, 22,
    on Viceroy’s Council, 23, 45;
    in Bengal, 166;
    against Partition, 175;
    after Partition, 186;
    gentility of, 199

  Money-lenders (Banya), restriction of, 2;
    importance of, 87;
    speculations of, 89;
    opportunities of, 90;
    expelled from Deccan, 91;
    indebtedness to, 283

  Monist, faith of, 106

  Monsoon rains, importance of, 276

  Morison, Mr. Theodore, “Industrial Organization of an Indian
        Province,” 83, 92, 271-272, 281-284

  Morley, Lord, in India Office (Dec. 14, 1905), 14;
    Secretary of State, 12;
    on Partition of Bengal, 12, 175;
    defends deportation, 20;
    Budget speech and scheme of reforms, 22;
    speech to constituents, 26-27;
    on bad manners, 28, 118;
    criticized, 36-37;
    invites criticism, 44;
    complaints of, 46;
    satire on, 129;
    influence of, 131, 132;
    misrepresentations to, 163;
    study of, 170;
    misleading of, 193;
    policy of, 254

  Morrison, W. J. (Special Commissioner), 24

  Moti Lai Ghose (_see_ Ghose, description of), 212;
    petition of, 213;
    opinions of, 214

  Mourning customs, 109;
    in Macedonia, 110

  Mulkowal, serum poisoning in, 58

  Mullahs revive Islamism, 192

  Munro, Sir Thomas, popularity of, 325

  Mutiny, anniversary of, 19, 29

  Mysore, advancement of, 103;
    good government in, 316

  Nagpur, meeting at, 70, 233;
    Chota, 166

  Naoroji, Dadabhai (ex-M.P. Finsbury), sketch of, 29-30;
    presides at Calcutta Congress (1906), 183, 235;
    on “Moral Poverty,” 330

  Nash, Mr. Vaughan, “The Great Famine,” etc., by, 85-86, 90, 96-97

  Nath, Dina, imprisonment of, 18

  National Congress (_see_ Congress);
    unity, Curzon’s sympathy with, 5-6;
    renascence, 159, 222;
    education, 223;
    outlook, 301;
    societies, 328;
    deterioration, check on, 330

  Nationalism, definition of, 225-226

  Nationalist Cause, repression good for, 222

  Nationalists separate from Moderates, 238

  Nationality, Curzon’s explanation of, 8-9

  Nautch girl, dancing of, 313 _et seq._

  Nawab Salimulla of Dacca, 189 _et seq._

  Nawab Syed Mohammed on Viceroy’s Council, 104-105

  Nehru, Motilal at National Congress, 256

  Newspapers, restricted information of, 4;
    Anglo-Indian, protest against Partition, 11;
    English, misrepresentations in, 16, 25;
    unscrupulousness of correspondents, 37;
    Hindu, 215, 219;
    advantages of, 321-322

  North-West Provinces, 285

  Nurses, Indian, in hospitals, 56

  Officials, bribery of, 100;
    object to change, 138;
    remedies of, 166;
    zeal and sympathy of, 274

  Opium, regulation of traffic, 24

  Ordinance, Lord Minto’s, 21

  Orissa, in Partition, 10-11, 166;
    floods in, 134 _et seq._;
    peasantry of, 135;
    description of, 135;
    famine and drought in, 136, 142, 273 _et seq._;
    villages, 144;
    “Volunteers” at, 185

  Oxford Brethren, 186

  Pabna, district of, schools disaffiliated, 15

  Pal, B. Chandra, prosecution of, 24

  Panchayat (village council) restored, 318

  Paralysis from famine, 278

  Paranjbye, Mr. (head of Fergusson College), 41

  Partition of Bengal, lines of, 11;
    protests against, 16;
    effects of, 322

  Patna, in Partition, 10, 167

  Peasants, protection of, 2

  Permanent Settlement (1793), 91-92, 135;
    landowner under, 164-165

  Persecution, 202 _et seq._, 322

  Persia divided, 24;
    contrasted with India, 320

  Peshwas, rule of, 32

  Petitions to British Parliament, 12;
    uselessness of, 326

  Phœnix Park murders, comparison with, 238

  Picketing, method of, 184

  Pindi Das imprisoned, 17

  Pilgrimages, methods of, 152;
    time for, 153

  Pilgrims to Byturni, 135;
    Ganges, 263 _et seq._

  _Pioneer_ comment on scholarship, 68;
    honourable tradition of, 230

  Plague, deaths from (1906-1907), 23, 32;
    origin of, 32;
    terror of, 32;
    Government and, 32;
    introduction of, 48;
    in Poona, 48 _et seq._;
    theory of, 50;
    squirrels and, 51;
    rats and, 52;
    proclamations on, 58;
    finger-prints and, 59;
    inoculation for, 58-61;
    “Bubonic,” 49;
    vegetarianism and, 53;
    symptoms of, 54-55;
    after-effects of, 55-56;
    described by Thucydides, Boccaccio, Defoe, 56-57;
    statistics of, 58;
    official record of, 301-302;
    results of, 324

  Plague Committee, chairman murdered, 49

  Poland, comparison with, 320

  Police Commission under Sir A. Fraser, 3;
    quartered in villages, 14-15;
    scandals, 120;
    power of, 184;
    District Superintendent, 248

  Police spies, 203

  Political agent, control of, 134;
    freedom, importance of, 303-304

  Politics in India, 41

  Poona, festival at, 31;
    desolation of, 32;
    riots at, 35, 49;
    Extremists in, 44, 225;
    Gokhale in, 37-46;
    plague in, 48 _et seq._;
    hospital hats in, 53-56;
    newspapers in, 62;
    irrigation in, 65;
    “culture” in, 78 _et seq._;
    beauty of, 92;
    Finger-print Bureau in, 93;
    Kitchener’s reviews in, 93;
    education in, 101, 215

  Port Said, dividing line at, 118

  Potters, craft of, 161-162

  Poverty, increase of, 324

  Press, English, misrepresentations in, 15-16;
    (Indian) prosecutions of, 24

  Press Act (1908), 220;
    suppression under, 229

  “Principles of Psychology,” by Professor William James, 106

  Processions forbidden, 15

  Proclamation of Queen Victoria (1858), text of, 6;
    right of Indians under, 46, 236, 322, 333, 334

  Professors and Government intervention, 21-22

  Provincial Councils, Legislative, 22;
    Advisory, 22-23;
    and Home Rule, 72;
    Conference broken up, 184,
    at Surat, 242

  Public meeting, right of, curtailed, 15, 21, 25

  Punjab, Land Act in, 2;
    disturbances in, 16, 17;
    Legislative Council, 17;
    Colonization Bill, 17, 21;
    proclaimed, 21;
    the Tikka Sahib of Nabha, representative of, 25;
    press insolence in, 43;
    death rate in, 52;
    unpopularity of inoculation in, 58;
    rates and taxes in, 83;
    misery of ryot in, 283-284

  _Punjabee_, prosecuted in Lahore, 17

  Puri, temple at, 152

  Raj, Hans (Principal Anglo-Vedic College), 297

  Rajahs, 134, 135;
    extravagance of, 150

  Raleigh, Sir Thomas (President Education Commission), 3

  Rama, legend of, 93, 269

  Ramakrishna (Society of), 209.
    _See_ Deva and Paramahamsa

  Ranade, Justice (social reformer), 34;
    tradition of, 40

  Ranchi, in Partition, 10

  Rand, Mr., shot, 35

  Rangoon, British outrage in, 2;
    rice, 165

  Ratcliffe, Mr. S. K. (late editor of _Statesman_), thanks to, 30

  Rates, application of, 165

  Rats, spreaders of plague, 48 _et seq._

  Rawal Pindi, riots in, 17;
    meetings at, 18;
    arrests at, 18-19;
    death of prisoner at, 19;
    false evidence at, 19;
    outrages at, 29;
    injustice at, 118

  Reaction, uselessness of, 322

  Reasonableness of Indian speeches, 131

  Red Pamphlet (Mohammedan propaganda), 192

  Reforms scheme, 22, 34;
    promptness needed in, 335-336

  Regulations of 1818, deportations under, 20

  Relief Problem, 137;
    private, 146;
    Government, 271 _et seq._

  Religion, expenditure on, 82

  Religions of Hindus, 209 _et seq._

  Remedial measures, 332-335

  Remembrancer of Legal Affairs, 93

  Rent, 84, 144-145

  Rent Acts of 1859 and 1885, 91

  Revenue Authorities, seizures by, 90

  Revenue from land, 83 _et seq._;
    India, 325;
    control of, 333

  _Review, Indian_, Swadeshi-cum-Boycott, 181

  Rice, sacrificed to jute, 164;
    export, 165;
    failure, 279

  Riots in Poona, 49;
    in Deccan, 91;
    in Comilla and Jemalpur, 193;
    Lahore and Rawal Pindi, 18, 19, 302

  Ripon, Lord, regretted, 34;
    decline after, 43;
    attempts at reform of, 119, 241;
    popularity of, 325

  Risley, Sir H., issues Circular, 21, 304;
    announces Partition, 167;
    cautious reply of, 176

  River, nature and sanctity of, 135;
    boats on, 161;
    caprices of, 161

  Road Cess, 213

  Royal Family, devotion to, 213

  Rudra, Professor (Bengali economist), 331

  Rupee, values of, 2

  Rutherford, Dr., at National Congress, 245

  Russia, disastrous rule of, 320

  Russian bureaucracy, Tilak’s criticism of, 73

  Rustamji, Kersasp, Minister at Baroda, 319

  Ryot, burden on, 78;
    “The Indian Ryot,” by Sir William Wedderburn, 83;
    amiability of, 93;
    life of, 94;
    robbed of forests and grazing lands, 96;
    protection of, 98;
    grievances, 99;
    memorial, 99;
    income of, 100

  Ryotwari (peasant tenantry) in Madras and Bombay, 91

  Salem district, memorial from, 100

  Salimulla, Nawab of Dacca, 16;
    on Council, 191 _et seq._

  Salisbury, Lord, taunts Indian, 30;
    on land tax, 84-85

  Salt tax, revenue from, 4;
    reduction of, 34

  Sandhurst, Lord, apology to, 35

  _Sandhya_ (“Evening”), policy of, 219;
    violence of, 228

  _Sanjibani_ suggests boycott, 178

  Sanyasi Order, rebellion of, 127

  Saraswati, Dayananda, founder of Arya Samaj, 292 _et seq._

  Sawhny, Dr. Hansraj, at Rawal Pindi Meeting, 18

  Schoolmaster threatened, 21;
    communal, 101-102

  Schools deprived of grants and scholarships, 15

  Scinde, plague in, 53

  “Sedition!”, 147

  “Seditious,” meaning of, 230

  Seditious Meetings Act, 25, 130;
    protested against, 36-37;
    ignored, 74

  Segregation in Poona, 49-50

  Self-government, Colonial, 41;
    preparations for, 223;
    at Congress, 239;
    increased demand for, 329

  Serajganj, schoolboys punished at, 15;
    spies at, 203-204

  “Servants of India,” founder of, 34;
    rules of, 38 _et seq._;
    value of, 300

  “Settlement,” meaning of, 83-84;
    working of, 84;
    officers, discretion of, 85;
    duty of, 87;
    camps, 140

  Shillong, summer residence of Viceroy, 160, 173

  Shishir Kumar Ghose (editor of _Hindu Spiritual Magazine_), 211

  Shiva, temples of, 32, 269;
    festival of, 106, 110 _et seq._;
    legend of, 207

  Shivaji, Peshwa, heroism of, 69, 246

  Sikh regiments and colonization, 17;
    representative on Viceroy’s Council, 25;
    soldier’s dismissal, 303

  Simla, Partition proclaimed from (Sept. 1, 1905), 12;
    Curzon’s farewell speech at, 13;
    reforms proposed at, 22, 44-45;
    Council at, 25;
    isolation of, 160

  Singarh, fortress of, 65, 69

  “Sinn Fein,” universal Swadeshi, 221

  Sita, wife of Rama, 93, 269

  Small-pox, 186

  Spinoza and Monism, 106

  Spies, use of, 203-204;
    abolition of, 334

  Starvation, official report on, 139;
    deaths from, 144

  _Statesman_, 230

  Statistics of Indian life, 79 _et seq._

  Sugar, foreign, destroyed, 185;
    failure, 279

  Surat, chosen for Congress, 70, 183, 233 _et seq._;
    Christmas Day in, 236;
    decrepitude of, 237;
    Provincial Conference at, 242

  Surendra Nath Banerjea, influence, 215 _et seq._;
    refused hearing, 247;
    at Congress, 256-257, 262

  Swadeshi, beginning and reason of, 12-14;
    movement, 74;
    and temperance, 122;
    in Madras and Bombay, 122;
    true spirit of, 147;
    effect on hand-looms, 163;
    “Volunteers,” 178 _et seq._;
    meeting in Calcutta, 179;
    oath, 181;
    women and, 181;
    good effects of, 180 _et seq._;
    English traders and, 182;
    official admiration for, 182;
    shops, 182;
    payment for, 187;
    refused, 188;
    extension of, 221;
    limitations of, 228;
    foundation of, 297;
    a last effort, 327;
    development of, 328 _et seq._

  “Swadeshi Movement,” by Lajpat Rai, 301

  Swaraj (Home Rule), 129-130

  Tahsildars, 145

  Takavi (loans), 146

  Takka Sahib of Nabha opposes Seditious Meetings Act, 25

  Taluka (group of villages), 85

  Tamil singer, 127;
    poet, 129;
    orator, 133

  Tanks as social centres, 273

  “Tenets of the New Party,” 75

  “Test Works,” 274 _et seq._

  Tigers, slaughter of, 98-99

  Tilak, B. G., an adherent of, 42;
    opposed to inoculation, 58;
    as editor, 62;
    sketch of, 65 _et seq._;
    as author, 66;
    imprisoned, 67;
    sentence quashed, 68;
    Extremists’ leader, 70;
    attitude of, 71;
    statement of aims, 72;
    on bureaucracy, 73;
    policy of, 73-74;
    on moderation, 75;
    on “Efficiency,” 76;
    on revolution, 76;
    influence of, 76-77;
    arrest, trial, and sentence, 77;
    moderation of, 221;
    opposes Dr. Ghose at Congress, 238 _et seq._;
    on National Representation, 242;
    addresses Extremists, 260

  _Times_, the, against education, 102;
    Lord Curzon’s letter to, 193

  _Times of India_ insults Mr. Keir Hardie and Indians, 230-232

  Travancore, education in, 103

  Tribhuvaneshwar, temple of, 134

  Tributary chiefs, 134-135

  “Trust Company” swindle, 108

  Turner, Dr., theorizes on plague, 50

  Unearned increment, 277

  Unitarians of Hinduism, 210

  United Provinces, rainfall in, 92-94;
    agriculture suspended in, 271;
    tranquillity of, 280

  Universities, extension of faculties in, 4;
    changes in constitution, 5

  University, Calcutta, schools disaffiliated from, 15;
    senate, S. N. Banerjea’s services in, 215;
    brother of Arabindo Ghose on staff of, 221

  Unrest, cause of, 170 _et seq._;
    meaning of, 322

  Uriya people, antiquity of, 134

  Vasantha (Spring), 310

  Vedantic Order for distributing relief, 146

  Vedantists (members of Ramakrishna Society), 210

  Vedas, recitation from, 16;
    belief in, 210

  Vedic hymns and worship, 291;
    school, 306 _et seq._;
    discipline, 308

  Vernacular Press Act, 212

  Viceroy, Lord Curzon as, 1, 2, 8, 9;
    limits right of public meeting, 21;
    rejects Colonization Bill, 17;
    Legislative Council of, 23, 45;
    passes Seditious Meetings Act, 25;
    winter residence of, 208-209;
    “Veto” of, 333

  Viceroy’s Council, Military Supply member on, 13;
    disputes about, 13;
    promises of, 119;
    Nawab Salimulla on, 191;
    member’s letters opened, 220;
    Dr. R. B. Ghose on, 235;
    financial statement to, 280;
    Indians disregarded in, 326;
    reform of, 332

  Victoria, Queen, Proclamation for India (1858), 6

  Village communities, destruction of, 95-96

  Villagers, death through forced labour, 17;
    poverty of, 90;
    homes of, 287

  Villages, conditions in, 282-283

  Vishnu, Temple of, 32, 111-112;
    footprint of, 106;
    worship of, 211;
    prayer to, 267

  “Vision of India,” by Mr. Sidney Low, 83

  Vivekananda, follower of Ramakrishna, 219

  “Volunteers” in relief work, 146-147;
    in Swadeshi movement, 185;
    alarm at, 185;
    at National Congress, 237

  Wacha, Dinshaw Edulji, 240

  Wages Table for Public Works, 275;
    statistics of, 285

  Wales, Prince and Princess of, visit of, 13;
    devotion to, 213

  Warren Hastings, power of, 127

  Weavers, persistence of, 162;
    religion of, 162;
    increased prosperity of, 179-180;
    work and wages of, 285

  Wedderburn, Sir William, “The Indian Ryot,” by, 83;
    “The Skeleton at the Jubilee Feast,” 83, 91;
    Solution given by, 178

  Wells, expense of, 273

  Widows, abduction of, 193

  Women, education of, 38;
    examined by soldiers, 49;
    against inoculation, 59;
    freedom of, 103;
    in “Swadeshi,” 123;
    sufferings of, 143;
    use boycott, 181;
    guardians of, 186;
    backwardness of, 196

  _Yugantar_ (“New Age”), policy of, 219-220

  Zemindars (landowners) on Viceroy’s Council, 45;
    in Bengal, 91;
    subletting by, 134;
    ruin of, 165;
    hardships of, 174;
    increased taxation of, 277



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  Transcriber’s Notes

  pg 45 Changed: judicial and and executive functions
             to: judicial and executive functions

  pg 194 Changed: more attached, I I was told
              to: more attached, I was told

  pg 195 Changed: leaning forward like a diplomast
              to: leaning forward like a diplomat

  pg 231 Changed: find the god of their idolatory
              to: find the god of their idolatry

  pg 235 Changed: to which Dadadhai Naoroji had been brought
              to: to which Dadabhai Naoroji had been brought


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