Lala Lajpat Rai.

Young India; an interpretation and a history of the nationalist movement from within online

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Dadabhai Naoroji









" The people of India are capable of administering
their own affairs and the municipal feeling is deep
rooted in them. The village communities, each of
which is a little republic, are the most abiding of
Indian institutions."

(Lord Lawrence, once Viceroy and Governor-
General of British India).




Copyright, 1916, by

Printed in U. S. A.









(OCTOBER 1912)






Mr. Lajpat Rai, the author of this book, is one of
the most widely known, most honoured and most in-
fluential public men in India. For more than twenty-
years he has been a leading member of the bar in
Lahore, the capital city of the large province of the
Punjab, and has long been prominent in public af-
fairs both local and national.

From almost the beginning of the National Indian
Congress he has been an active leader in that body,
which is the most important political organization in
the country. The last time I was in India (two and
a half years ago) I found that he was being widely
talked of for the Presidency of the Congress at its
approaching yearly meeting.

Conspicuous in Indian educational work and a
founder of the large and flourishing Anglo- Vedic
College in Lahore, he has for a dozen years or more
held the position of either Vice-President or Hon-
ourary Secretary of the College, and also that of
Lecturer in History.

He started The Punjabee, a leading paper in the
province, published in English, and has edited a
monthly magazine and a weekly paper printed in the
vernacular, besides writing for other Indian period-
icals and for reviews in London.

The Arya Samaj, an important, fast growing and


influential movement of religious reform in India,
which rejects idolatry and caste and is active in pro-
moting education, social reforms and the elevation
of woman, counts Mr. Rai among its honoured

He has organized relief work during periods of
famine in India, and has for some years led in an
extensive movement for the elevation of the " De-
pressed Classes," that is, the forty millions of " out-
casts " or " untouchables " whose condition is so
miserable. Several years ago I attended a National
Conference to promote this work, at which he pre-
sided and delivered a powerful address.

Mr. Lajpat Rai has made three or four extended
visits to England and three to America. In Eng-
land he has spoken in many cities as a delegate from
the National Indian Congress, for the purpose of
acquainting the British public with the real condi-
tion of things in India, and to urge upon the British
Government the granting to the Indian people of cer-
tain important political reforms. In America he has
made a careful study of our history and institutions,
our industrial and social movements, our political
and religious life, and especially our schools and uni-
versities, and our educational systems and methods.
He is impressed with the leadership which the United
States is attaining in the world of education, par-
ticularly education in scientific, industrial, techno-
logical and agricultural directions, and he finds much
here which he desires to see introduced into his own

From the beginning of the New National Move-


ment in India, Mr. Rai has been one of its most
prominent leaders. He is an ardent patriot, is proud
of his country, her civilization, her literature and her
great place in the world's history, and he believes she
is destined to have a great future, commensurate
with her great past. But now she is a subject land,
ruled by a foreign power, her own people having
practically no voice in the direction of their own
national affairs or the shaping of their future des-
tiny. This deeply grieves and galls him, as it does
a large part of the Indian people. The Nationalist
Movement, of which he gives an account in this book,
is a protest against present political conditions, and
a demand for larger freedom and independence.
Indeed, its aim is self-rule; not necessarily severance
of connection with the British Empire, but partner-
ship in the Empire, — home rule inside the Empire
like that enjoyed by Canada, Australia and South

The British Government of India frowns upon
this Nationalist Movement, tries to suppress it, and
places its leaders under ban. This is the way des-
potic governments always treat subject peoples as
soon as they grow restive in their bonds and try to
loosen them or throw them off. Mr. Lajpat Rai
has had to pay heavily for his patriotism. In 1907
he was seized by the Government and, without trial
or even being told what was his offence, was secretly
sent away to prison in Burmah, and kept there six
months. He was suspected of disloyalty and sedi-
tion, but not the slightest evidence was found against
him. His only crime was that he was a Nationalist,


and was working in perfectly open and legal ways
to secure greater liberty for his country. After his
release from prison, he brought legal suits against
two newspapers, one in India and one in London,
that had published charges of sedition against him;
and, notwithstanding the fact that the powerful
influence of the Government was on the side of
the papers, he won both suits, — so clear was his

For a full dozen years India has been seething
with unrest, seething with dissatisfaction over pres-
ent political conditions. During the past ten years
there has been not a little bomb throwing and not a
few signs of revolution. When the present Euro-
pean war broke out there were at once increased
outward expressions of loyalty; but the unrest has
remained. When the war is over what will happen?
That will depend, Mr. Lajpat Rai believes, upon the
course pursued by the British Government. If the
Government in a generous spirit meets India's just
demands, there will be no revolution. If the Gov-
ernment blindly and obstinately refuses, the worst
may happen.

While Mr. Rai is an ardent and uncompromising
advocate of the Nationalist Cause, he has always
counselled procedure by evolutionary and not by
revolutionary measures, by vigorous and determined
agitation and not by bomb throwing. Throughout
his entire career he has striven by every means,
through speech and the press, in India and in Eng-
land, to move the British Government to prevent
revolution, in what he believes is the only possible


way, namely, by inaugurating and carrying out hon-
estly a policy of justice to the Indian people.

There is in sight an Indian Renaissance. There
is a " New India in the Making." Indeed the stir-
rings of new life in India are hardly less marked,
less profound or less revolutionary, than in Japan
or China. Of this the book gives a vivid and re-
liable picture, — and, what is of great importance, a
picture from the inside.

We have many books which portray Indian condi-
tions as foreigners see them, — particularly as they
are seen by Christian missionaries and by the British
rulers of the country. At last we have a book which
gives us the life, the experiences, the wrongs, the
sufferings, the hopes, the aims, the motives, and,
what at the present time is most important of all,
the political ideals and ambitions of the Indian peo-
ple themselves, portrayed by one of their own num-
ber, a leader who has been in the very heart of the
struggle from the beginning, and who has felt it all
in his own life and his own soul.

It is a message to every man and woman in
America, and in Great Britain, too, who loves justice
and hates oppression, and who wants to know about
one of the most heroic struggles for liberty now go-
ing on in the world.

My own intimate acquaintance with India for
many years gives me a greatly increased sense of the
value of Mr. Rai's book. Perhaps nothing in the
volume will be found more surprising or more in-
teresting to Americans than the overwhelming evi-
dence of the dissatisfaction of India with her pres-


ent political condition, and the fact that the Indian
people want home rule, want it more earnestly than
they want anything else, and that probably nothing
less than this will keep them loyal to Great Britain.
This feeling, which had been growing fast for years
before the war broke out, has since sprung into a
passion. And we may be sure that the flame will
not burn with less intensity when the soldiers return
who have been risking their lives for Great Britain
in Turkey and Egypt and France, and who have
been learning new lessons of self-reliance, freedom
and independence from their contact with the great

It is hardly possible today to take up an Indian
periodical of any kind, Hindu or Mohammedan, secu-
lar or religious (I myself regularly subscribe for and
read nine, two of the number making a specialty of
a monthly summary of Indian press opinion), with-
out being brought upon some expression of this uni-
versal desire for self-rule. The people are dis-
posed to be patient and considerate, and make no
demands upon the Government that will be embar-
rassing so long as the war lasts. But everything in-
dicates that when peace comes they will be in no
mood to be treated like children and put off with the
usual vague and meaningless promises.

Since India has borne faithfully and loyally her
part in the war, one of the distinct stipulations in the
treaty of peace at the end should be the granting to
her of home rule. This is as much her right as is
autonomy the right of Belgium or Poland. This
right is recognized by not a few Englishmen; it


should be recognized by the whole nation, and put
into effect generously, freely, without waiting for
struggle and bloodshed. The advantage to Great
Britain would be incalculable. It would remove
from her as a nation her most threatening danger,
and it would give to her Empire a solidity and per-
manent strength such as it cannot otherwise secure.

While India wants freedom to shape her own
affairs, her wisest minds do not desire separation
from England. They recognize many strong ties
between the two countries which they would not see
broken. While they are determined not much longer
to lie prostrate beneath England's feet, they would
gladly stand by her side, arm in arm with her, firmly
united for great ends of mutual welfare and mutual
strength. An Anglo-Indian Empire is one of the
splendid possibilities of the future, binding Britain
and her colonies and her great Asiatic possession
together into a powerful world-spanning federation
of free peoples. Something like this is the dream of
India's greatest leaders, as it is also the dream of
not a few of Britain's most far-seeing minds. •

When this world-revolutionizing war is over,
Great Britain must reshape after a larger and more
adequate pattern her whole scheme of Imperial Gov-
ernment. She must become a Federated Empire.
There must be self-government at home, not only
for Ireland but also for Scotland, Wales and Eng-
land. And there must be self-government abroad,
not only for Canada, Australasia and South Africa,
but, as not less imperative and not less wise, for In-
dia also, to be followed in time, as conditions can be


made favourable, by self-rule more or less complete
for all of Britain's more important dependencies.

The danger is that Britain may forget India or
thrust her aside, as in the past, to the position of a
mere dependency. If she does this she will plant a
cancer in the heart of her Empire, she will create a
volcano under her throne. It will take courage and
large statesmanship to give India home rule, as it
took large statesmanship and courage to give home
rule to South Africa. But the splendid venture must
be made. And, made in the right spirit, it will suc-
ceed as perfectly as it did in South Africa.

Has Great Britain statesmen sufficiently far-
sighted, with adequate genius and courage, to do to
India the splendid justice of giving her the home
rule which is her right, and then to create a world-
circling federation of free peoples with India a part-
ner in it, — a real Anglo-Indian Empire? It would
be the most brilliant, constructive and noble work of
statesmanship known to the modern world.

Now that Canadians, Australians, New Zealand-
ers and South Africans as well as Englishmen,
Scotchmen, Welshmen and Irishmen have fought
side by side with the soldiers of India, shedding
their blood in a common cause, why should they not
all gladly welcome those heroic and loyal men of
the East to a place by their side in the Empire which
they have helped to save ?

Need England shrink from the risk? This is
her path of least risk. Under present conditions
India is her peril. The one thing that will trans-
form India from a source of ever-increasing danger


to a bulwark of strength, is to trust her as South
Africa has been trusted. She is certainly as worthy
of trust as South Africa was. Thus to trust her,
and to lift her up to a responsible place in the Em-
pire, will appeal to India's pride as it has never been
appealed to, will create in her an enthusiasm of loy-
alty equal to anything seen in any of the self-ruling
colonies, will bind her to Great Britain with bands
of steel.

Is it said that India is incapable of ruling herself?
That was said of South Africa; that was said of
Canada; that was said of the American Colonies
when they broke off from Great Britain and set up
a Government of their own; that is what England
has long been saying of Ireland. That is what every
nation that loves power always says of every section
of its people that wants more liberty.

The truth is, the safest Government in the world
for every people of any intellectual and moral de-
velopment at all (and India is advanced, both in-
tellectually and morally) is self-government. No
rule so completely destroys the fibre of a nation as
rule by a foreign power. India can rule herself far
better than any foreign nation can rule her.

If India is incapable of self-government today,
what an indictment is that against England! She
was not thus incapable before England came. Has
one hundred and fifty years of British tutelage pro-
duced such deterioration? India was possessed of
a high civilization and of developed Governments
long before England or any part of Central, West-
ern or Northern Europe had emerged from bar-


barism. For three thousand years before England's
arrival in the Orient, Indian Kingdoms and Empires
had held leading places in Asia, and that means in
the world. Some of the ablest rulers, statesmen,
generals and financiers known to history, as well as
many of the greatest thinkers and writers of man-
kind, have been of India's production. How is it,
then, that she suddenly becomes imbecile and unable
to stand on her own feet or conduct her own affairs
as soon as England appears on the scene ?

To be sure, at the time when England came, India
was in a peculiarly disorganized and unsettled state ;
for it should be remembered that the Mogul Empire
was just breaking up and new political adjustments
were everywhere just being made, — a fact which
accounts for England's being able to gain political
power in India at all. But everything indicates that
if India had not been interfered with by European
nations, she would soon have been under competent
Governments of her own again.

A further answer to the assertion that India can-
not govern herself — surely one that should be con-
clusive — is the fact that, in parts, she is governing
herself now, and governing herself well. It is no-
torious that the very best Government in India to-
day is not that carried on by the British, but that of
several of the Native States, notably Baroda and
Mysore. In these States, particularly Baroda, the
people are more free, more prosperous, more con-
tented, and are making more progress, than in any
other part of India. Note the superiority of both
these States in the important matter of popular edu-


cation. Mysore is spending on education more than
three times as much per capita as is British India,
while Baroda has made her education free and
compulsory. Both of these States, but especially
Baroda, which has thus placed herself in line with
the leading nations of Europe and America by mak-
ing provisions for the education of all her children,
may well be contrasted with British India, which
provides education, even of the poorest kind, for
only one boy in ten and one girl in one hundred and

The only ground at all that exists for the claim
that the Indian people are not able to govern them-
selves lies in the fact that the British Government
during all its history in the land has deprived them,
and still continues to deprive them, against their
constant protest, of practical experience in Govern-
ment management. They had such experience be-
fore the British came, but since that time they have
been robbed of it to their great injury. Of course,
under present conditions, if the British should leave
India in a day, with no body of men trained to take
their places, for a time there would be confusion,
just as there would be confusion in England if every-
body there accustomed to Government management
should leave that country in a day.

But the Indian people do not ask England to leave
India in a day, or to leave at all ; what they ask is
for England to associate with herself the competent
men of India in the government of their own coun-
try, and thus give them the experience in self-rule
which is their right and of which they never ought


to have been deprived. With such opportunities for
practical experience extended to them for twenty-
years, or even for ten years, they would be ready for
the full responsibilities of home rule.

Among the tens of thousands of India's educated
men, and men of natural capacity for leadership,
there is no lack of material to fill, and fill well as
soon as they are given experience, every kind of
official position. Many of the highest judgeships
are now filled with great efficiency by Indians. In
no department of the Government where Indians
have been adequately tried have they been found

The truth is, not one single fact can be cited to
show that India cannot govern herself well if given
a chance. It would not be difficult to form an In-
dian Parliament today, composed of men as able
and of as high character as those that constitute the
fine Parliament of Japan. India has public men
who, if they lived in England and belonged to the
English race, would unhesitatingly be adjudged not
only of Parliamentary but of Cabinet rank. For
twenty years before his recent lamented death Mr.
Gokhale was confessedly the equal in intellectual
ability and in moral worth of any Englishman in
India, not excepting the three Viceroys under whom
he served. It is no exaggeration to declare that
Mr. Justice Renade had qualifications fully fitting
him for the position of Viceroy, or if he had lived
in England, fitting him for the position of Premier.

This is only another way of saying that among
the leaders of the various States and Provinces of


India there is abundant material to form National
and Provincial Governments little, if at all, inferior
in ability and in moral character to the Governments
of the Western world.

J. T. Sunderland.
New York, June, 191 6.



Foreword, by J. T. Sunderland vii

Introduction I

I. The General Viewpoint of the Indian Nationalist 67

First Invasion of India 68

Chandra Gupta and Asoka 69

India Practically Independent Up to the Twelfth Cen-
tury 70

Muslim Rule 71

Muslim Rule in India not Foreign 73

India Under the British 76

Political Disqualification of the Indians 78

Indians May not Carry Arms 80

Loyalty of Ruling Chiefs 90

Middle Class Desires Political Freedom .... 92

II. India from 1757 to 1857 95

Conflict of French and English in India .... 96

How British Rule in India Was Established ... 96

Methods of Consolidation of British India .... 97

British Public Ignorant of Facts 98

Conquest of India Diplomatic, not Military . . . 100

The Great Indian Mutiny of 1857 101

How the Mutiny Was Put Down 102

III. India from 1857 to 1905 109

Part. I. From 1857 to 1885.

The Bengalee Babu 109

Forces Resisting Denationalisation 114

Political Disappointments 115




Lord Ripon 118

Lord Dufferin 121

Part II. The Birth of the Indian National Congress.
Indian National Congress an English Product . . .122

Hume, a Lover of Liberty 124

Congress to Save British Empire from Danger . . 126
The Congress Lacked Essentials of a National Move-
ment 138

Hume's Political Movement 141

Congress Overawed 142

Congress Agitation in England 144

Causes of Failure of the Congress 145

Part III. The Birth of the New Nationalist Movement.

Swadeshi and Swaraj 148

Men Who Have Inspired the Movement . . . .152

Lord Curzon and Indian Education 156

Lord Curzon's Secret Educational Conference . . 158
Indians and Lord Curzon at Cross Purposes . . . 158
The Congress Deputation to England in 1905 . . . 159

The Congress of 1905 160

Object of the Passive Resistance Movement . . . 162

IV. The First Years of the Nationalist Movement 167

Partition of Bengal 167

Boycott of British Goods 167

Government's Reply 170

The Second Move of the Bengalees: The National

University 170

Arabinda Ghosh 172

The Nationalist Press 176

Military Measures against Boycotters 177

Lord Minto 179

Indian Press Gagged 180

Deportation of Lajpat Rai 181

Disaffection Driven Underground 183

Lord Hardinge Bombed 184



V. Types of Nationalists 187

The Extremists 187

A Few Nihilists 189

Religious Extremists 189

The Mother Worshippers 100

Vedantists 191

Advocates of Organised Rebellion 195

Har Dayal 195

Hardayalism : Advocation of Full Swaraj . . . 199

Political Freedom the First Condition of Life . . . 200

Arabinda Ghosh — Vedantist and Swarajist . . . 205

Ganesh Vinayak Savarkar 210

The Terrorists 211

Advocates of Constructive Nationalisation .... 212

Independence, but not at Once 212

Preparing the Nation for Freedom 213

Preparatory Work from Below 214

Brahmo Samaj ; Arya Samaj ; Ramakrishna Mission . 215

The Moderates 216

Gokhale 216

Congress Leaders 219

Passive Resisters 219

VI. Indian Nationalism and the World-Forces . . 221

Inspiration through European Nationalism .... 221
History of Modern Europe Tabooed in Universities . 221

Italian-Turko War 222

Interpretation of India to Western World .... 223
Tagorism 223

VIL The Religious and the Communal Elements in

Indian Nationalism 225

Mohammedan Revulsion of Feeling against the Brit-
ish 226

Disaffection arnong the Sikhs 228



VIII. The Future 230

Change in Indian Life and Depth of Nationalism . 230
Nationalism Fertilised by Blood of Martyrs . . . 232

Wave of Indian Nationalism is on 233

Propitiation and Petty Concessions Futile .... 234
Internal Division no Valid Plea for Continuance of

British Rule 235

Illiteracy the Fault of the British and no Bar to Self-
government 237

Internal Troubles 238

Unfitness of Orientals for Representative Institutions 238

Nationalism Has Come to Stay 238

Curzons, Macdonnels, Sydenhams, Responsible for
Bombs and Revolvers 240

A Short Bibliography of Books in English .... 241


Feudatory Chiefs Powerless 243

Gross Insults to Indians 243

Industrial Ruin of India; Gokhale 244

India a Mere Possession; Gokhale 244

Masses Starved; Sir C. A. Elliot, Sir W. W. Hunter,

William Digby 244

Seventy Million Continually Hungry People in Brit-
ish India; William Digby 245

Total Area under Cultivation 245

Famines of Money; not Food; Lord George Hamilton 245

Causes of Famines 246

Drain ; Montgomery Martin and Digby 246

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Online LibraryLala Lajpat RaiYoung India; an interpretation and a history of the nationalist movement from within → online text (page 1 of 18)