Copyright
Siddha Mohana Mitra.

Indian problems online

. (page 1 of 25)
Online LibrarySiddha Mohana MitraIndian problems → online text (page 1 of 25)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


/"\ I> = I %

OoLc *



M Ml

L T 1 1 5. s.






THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



The CELLAR BOOK SHOP

Box 6, College Park Sta.

Detroit 21, Mich. -U.S A






INDIAN PROBLEMS



INDIAN PROBLEMS



BY

S. M. MITRA



WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY

SIR GEORGE BIRDWOOD

M.D., K.C.I.E., C.S.I., LL.D.



Ra'iyat chu bikhand, u sultan darakht,
Darakht, ai pisar, bashad az bikh sakht.'

SAD i.

The people are the roots, the King the tree j
As are the roots, so strong the tree will be.



LONDON

JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W.
1908



TO

THE EAEL OF CROMEK,

P.O., G.C.B., O.M., G.C.M.G., K.C.S.I., C.I.E., LL.D.,

IN TOKEN OF REGARD AND ESTEEM

FOE

HIS GREAT SERVICES IN THE CAUSE
OF



TRUE IMPERIALISM - $tt>J-X*.>a >~Uu/v<5U71t



THIS VOLUME

IS,

BY KIND PERMISSION,
DEDICATED.



11GG592



PREFACE

WHAT would England be without India ? India
means the greatest customer of England ; India
means the greatest employer of the best of
English intellect and manhood ; India means
the noblest achievement of England. Again,
what would India be without England ? Who
would protect her from the Central Asian free-
booters ? Who would guarantee the internal
peace? Who would bring her deserts and
jungles under cultivation ? Who would give
her the benefits of modern science and modern
civilization ? The unity of England with India
is therefore a Divine dispensation for the good
of both the countries.

And yet there are people both in England
and in India who, through sheer ignorance,
make mischief between the English and the
Indians. The peripatetic demagogue who, on
the strength of a few days' acquaintance with
India, and without any practical knowledge of
her intricate social, economical, and political
problems, uses violent language against the
Government of India, may be inspired by the

vii



viii PREFACE

best of motives ; but nevertheless he is like a man ^
entering a powder magazine with a lighted
match in hand, and such an act is as much to
be deprecated in an innocent lunatic as in a
criminal incendiary. In his anxiety to do good
to his dusky fellow-subjects in India, Mr. Keir /
Hardie, for example, has let his zeal outrun his
discretion, and has done an amount of mischief
which will perhaps take Anglo-Indian statesmen
a whole generation to undo. It is on account of
the self-appointed and ill-equipped guardians of
my mother-land, India, that I have thought fit to
bring a few salient facts of British administration
in India to the notice of the British public.

The present unrest in India is due more to
the ignorance than to the want of sympathy of
the Government of India, aggravated by the
arrogance of some individual Englishmen.
England does a great deal for her Oriental
subjects, but, either through ignorance or inad-
vertence,, she does it with the maximum of irri-^
tation. Russia does very little for her Oriental
subjects, but does it with the minimum of
irritation. Russia conciliates those among her
subjects on whose loyalty depends her Oriental
Empire. England, on the other hand, con-
ciliates only those who succeed in making a
noise, neglecting the pillars of her Oriental
Empire. On the loyalty of the Native Chiefs
and the Native Army in India depends the
safety of the Indian Empire, yet these seldom



PREFACE ix

come within the scope of official conciliation.
Not a single Indian Chief though he may own
a country as large as France, may have his own
courts, own army, own mint, and many other
emblems of royalty is yet even an honorary
member of the House of Lords. There is not
a single Alikhanoff in the Native Army in India,
though from Lord Roberts downwards all British
commanders are loud in their praises of the
native soldier. Is it any wonder that the
British Government have failed to gain the
affection of the millions in India, though they
have extorted their admiration ?

Very few people in this country have a clear
idea of India. The area of the Dependency is
about 1,870,000 square miles, and the population
,300,000,000. This is equal to the combined
population and areas of twenty-one European
countries viz., England, Scotland, Ireland,
France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria,
Hungary, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Denmark,
Italy, Switzerland, Holland, Turkey, Greece,
Roumania, Servia, and Bulgaria. India is a vast
continent. The inhabitants of Hindustan proper
outnumber the whites residing in the United
States ; the Bengalis are twice as numerous as the
French ; and the 'fighting castes' in India number
about 125,000,000, or more than the population of
the Roman Empire ! Neither Greece nor Rome
could boast of a third of the number of our
King-Emperor's subjects in Asia. There are



x PREFACE

more Mahomedans in India than are to be
found in the Mahomedan countries of Turkey,
Persia, and Afghanistan put together. The
Holy Land of Buddhism, to which no less than
750.000,000 of the human race owe allegiance,
is in India. The present awakening of Asia is
due to the rise of Japan, and Japan owes its
religion to India. Religion in the East means
more than it means in the West.

The political opinions expressed in these pages
have resulted from prolonged experience of in-
digenous Indian rule, and from close comparison
of the native system of Government with the
methods adopted by the British administration.
Such a comparison alone can bring out the
general problems and difficulties of Eastern
administration, and by such comparison alone
can one really understand the difficulties in-
volved in reconciling the various differences due
to caste and traditions of the East, which, being
transmitted through centuries, have acquired
the rigidity of race characteristics. No country
in the world can possibly offer a more fascinating
field for investigation to the students of politics
and sociology than India.

Less than 1,000 Englishmen are employed in
the superior Civil Government of India. A single
Englishman generally is responsible for the life
and property of about 300,000 human beings,
and is entrusted with jurisdiction over an area
of about 1,200 square miles. Such being the



PREFACE xi

case, is it not the duty of every Englishman to
know how his countrymen are discharging their
sacred trust ?

By a constant unity of purpose, with a
Government that can boast of great flexibility
as well as mechanical precision, the English have
been successful with the teeming millions of
India, in making them, to a certain extent,
think for themselves, and in developing the indi-
viduality of the people. The Oriental hatred
for change is well known. The complexity of
interests in India presents difficulties varying
in character as well as in magnitude, the solution
of which is hard and unromantic work. But the
success of the British- Indian administration has
been little less than marvellous. Most of the
officials work with the precision of machines
and the enthusiasm of Crusaders. They have
had serious obstacles in their way. The Hindu,
indifferent alike to life and comfort, to whom
even the grand whip, hunger, fails to teach
much, is separated from the rulers by a gulf of
thoughts and aspirations. In the East thought
is stronger than armies :

' The East bowed low before the blast

In patient, deep disdain ;
She let the legions thunder past,
Then plunged in thought again.'

The so-called critics, like Mr. Keir Hardie,
M.P., make the problem of British administra-



xii PREFACE

tion even more and more difficult. It is a great
pity that with such critics on Indian affairs
a sound knowledge of the history of the country
is hardly considered essential before the forma-
tion and public utterance of decided opinions.

Nothing in the world is perfect, and I do not
for a moment say that the British administration
of India is not capable of great improvements.
The immense inert mass of the peasantry has
a firm faith in the Sir/car (Government), and
shows a willing submissiveness to a strong and
consistent Government ; and not all the harangues
of the agitators have as yet been able to influence
the current of devotion to the person of the
Sovereign, and belief in the benignity of his rule.
But the profound, possibly unconscious, indif-
ference of English statesmen to Indian affairs,
if much longer continued, is likely to break the
spell of British prestige in India, especially as
now certain faddists systematically indulge in
the luxury of ferreting out isolated instances of
alleged, or possibly real, injustice, and are trying
to shape formless and sporadic discontent into
a single and continuous outcry against imaginary
widespread oppression. Sometimes English fad-
dists unwittingly fan the flames of discontent
for the mere love of party applause, which has
risen among some of them to the height of a
passion. With others it is the hunger for cheap
distinction. They have evidently no time to



PREFACE xiii

give a thought to the serious nature of their
utterances. They forget that modern India is
the most striking achievement of the white
people in the East. The French in Indo-
China, the Dutch in Java, or the Americans in
the Philippine Islands, have not been half as
successful as the English in India.

Therefore, statesmen possessing breadth of
view, mental balance, and a tolerant habit of
mind, should combine in lifting India above the
plane of party bickerings, and should insist on
making the sympathetic administration of this
great Dependency a duty of national importance,
and not a mere party cry.

If thoughtful people of this country show
their approval of the drift of these Chapters, and
thus stimulate public interest in the vast British
dominions in the East, the ' Indian Problems '
will have served a good purpose, and the writer
will have been amply rewarded.

I take this opportunity to thank Sir George
Birdwood, K.C.I.E., for his kindness and labours,
though suffering from ill-health, in writing a
brief ' Introduction ' to my work. My thanks are
also due to the Editor of the Asiatic Quarterly
Review for allowing me to make use of some of
my contributions to that magazine. I am much
obliged to Mr. J. A. Murray Macdonald, M.P.,
Secretary to the Cobden Club, for permission to
include in this work the Chapter on ' India and



xiv PREFACE

Imperial Preference,' which was originally written
for the Cobden Club.

In conclusion, I have to thank Mr. John
Murray for the personal interest he has taken
in the ' Indian Problems.'

S. M. MITRA.

THE ROYAL ASIATIC SOCIETY,
22, ALBEMARLE STREET,
LONDON, W.,
February, 1908.



CONTENTS

CHAPTER I

THE PRESENT TROUBLES

Is unrest subsiding? Attempt to murder the Magistrate
of Dacca Lord Minto on Sedition The Vernacular
Press Centralization versus Decentralization The
Prince of Wales's speech on want of sympathy in
Indian administration Hints as to practical sym-
pathy Indian Mutiny due to unsympathetic legis-
lation Murder of natives by Europeans not always
'adequately punished Mr. Theodore Morison's error
Education system defective An unpopular police
' Cow-killing riots ' due to the license of the
Vernacular Press Effect of party politics on India
Lord Lytton's Vernacular Press Act A Calcutta
newspaper urging the Sikh soldiery to mutiny
Mr. Morley's speech at Arbroath Lord Curzon's
strong sense of justice His disregard for Indian
sentiment European arrogance No native V.C.

CHAPTER II

ENGLISH WIRE-PULLING

Mr. Keir Hardie, M.P., in India The Bande Mataram
Its real significance Colonial Self-Government for
India an absurd idea Mr. Keir Hardie taken in
XV



xvi CONTENTS



PAOE



His mischievous utterances : ' Morley will yet yield'
Dog, in Oriental languages Reuter's telegrams
Hindu loyalty Mr. Morley's idealism Native
States free from rioting Hyderabad and Calcutta
compared Loyal manifestos and practical work
Cotton duties Sad end of the Indian National Con-
gress - - 64

CHAPTER III

DRINK

History of Drink Somarasa the ancient Indian drink
Drink mentioned in the Rig-Veda and various other
religious books of the Hindus The Buddha and
Manu's crusade against wine Hindu literature full
of references to wine Even Hindu ladies drank
in ancient times drink against the religion of
Mahomed But drink flourished in India under
Mahomedan Kings Quotations from Mahomedan
literature Megasthenes, Bernier, and Tavernier's
accounts England did not teach India to drink - 94

CHAPTER IV

DEPORTATION

The Regulation III. of 1818 Its History Passed while
Marquis of Hastings was Governor-General The
legality of the Regulation discussed by the Calcutta
High Court How the Regulation affects Habeas
Corpus, Magna Charta, and the Petition of Rights
Lex loci Acts XXXIV. of 1850 and III. of 1858,
21 Geo. III., and 13 Geo. III. The Diwani of
Bengal Warren Hastings inaugurated new system
Regulation applied to Maharaja Dhuleep Singh at
Aden Wazir AH, the ex-Nawab of Oudh, kept a



CONTENTS xvii

PAGE

prisoner before the passing of the Regulation
Englishmen, editors of newspapers, deported from
India British authority in India partly derived from
the Great Mogul Deportation from Native States ;
from Hyderabad Simple law suited to India Sir
Lepel Griffin's view Unrestrained speech and
assassination of Lord Mayo - - - 125

CHAPTER V

ASIA AND IMPERIAL COMMERCE

Anti-Asiatic legislation in the Colonies German rivalry
and British Commerce Imperial Conference of 1 907
Asia contains half of the human race Asia Eng-
land's best market Colonial indiscretions ' Asiatic
danger ' panic created by trading rings The Cape
House Assembly in 1876 British exports to India,
distributed by three million native middlemen
Trial of Europeans in Native States affecting British
trade Japanese solution of anti-Asiatic legislation
A system of Passports - - 148

CHAPTER VI

THE PARTITION OF BENGAL

An excellent Administrative act Cannot injure Bengali
Nationality The Bengali has nothing to complain
of The Bengali prospers everywhere Bengal
originally a Mogul province Warren Hastings, as
Governor, placed in charge of Bengal in 1772 In
1854 Bengal became a separate Province In 1874
Assam cut off from Bengal A want of symmetry in
Indian Provinces Bengal too unwieldy, according
to Sir Stafford Northcote (1868), Sir George Camp-
bell, and Sir William Grey Blue-book figures prove

b



xviii CONTENTS

PAGI

the statement Education, Trade, etc., neglected
Partition has made efficient administration practic-
able - 163

CHAPTER VII

THE BENGALI LANGUAGE

Bengali is a true daughter of Sanskrit The foremost
Indian vernacular Translations made from French,
German, Arabic, and Persian Herbert Spencer,
Mill, and Schopenhauer discussed Origin of the
Bengali language obscure Devanagri characters
Indo-Pali alphabet Magadhi Prakrit origin
Semitic words Bengali literature in the twelfth
century Jayadeva's ' Song of Songs ' Hindu Epics
translated into French and Italian Lord Chester-
field of Bengal First Bengali Grammar and Diction-
ary edited by Europeans Englishmen as Bengali
authors The Countess of Loudoun endowed a
Bengali school Scarcity of political expressions
Abundance of domestic expressions A spirit of
Hinduism pervades Bengali literature Sir George
Birdwood's views on the Bengali language Partition
of Bengal cannot injuriously affect the language and
literature of Bengal Mahratti language compared 187

CHAPTER VIII

INDIA AND IMPERIAL PREFERENCE

Mr. Chamberlain's scheme indefinite Colonial Confer-
ence of 1902 did not make it clear India not
treated fairly Duty on tea, coffee, tobacco, and
indigo Colonial Premiers: their interest 'Daughter
am I in my mother's house, but mistress in my own '
Indian army saved Natal, Legations at Pekin, and
Somaliland India's Imperial contributions British



CONTENTS xix

PAGE

trade with the Colonies and India India the best
customer Mr. Morley's Indian Budget speech,
July, 1906 India a debtor country India's
difficulties A catastrophe to India would react on
England Mr. Balfour admits India as a factor
Mr. J. Chamberlain's letter to the author Increas-
ing trade between Germany and India Russian
duty on Indian tea The Sugar Convention Its
effect on India Problem of Asiatic cheap labour
Views of Sir James Mackay - - 209

CHAPTER IX

A STRONG EXECUTIVE

The separation of the Judicial from the Executive
functions Mr. M. M. Ghose's memorandum Sir
Charles Elliott's reply Lord George Hamilton's
dispatch The Indian system of Administration ex-
plained The average area of a Bengal District
3,200 square miles Average population of a District
1,500,000 Criminal Law and Procedure set out in
Codes Lord Macaulay's Indian Penal Code Safe-
guards against injustice European British subjects
' Keenly interested ' District Sessions Judge
and subordinate Magistracy Revenue assessments
A civil action Civil courts stationary The
Indian Evidence Act Vakil Ke Raj Sedition
Practice in Native States Mr. Morley on the Peace
of India - - 229

CHAPTER X

FAMINES

Petition, dated December 20, 1900, to the Secretary ot
State for India by eleven retired Indian officials
Lord Curzon's reply Mr. Dutt to the front His

6 2



xx CONTENTS



PAGE



remedy Permanent Settlement His fallacy Pre-
British famines worse than modern famines
Account of a thousand years' famines Evidence of
Mahomedan historians In the Malwa and other
famines human flesh was eaten In Akbar's reign
children sold by parents Expenditure on Railways
and Irrigation up to the time of the Petition
Area under Irrigation in 1900 Ryotwari and Khoti
villages in the Bombay Presidency Report of the
Famine Commission of 1878 Now, in extreme
case, price of grain rises about six times In olden
days it rose 120 times higher than the normal
rates - -259

CHAPTER XI

INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT

Lord Cur/on on Industries Iron trade Foreign Capital
versus Native Capital Buried wealth True Swade-
shi Parsi enterprise Mr. Tata's scheme
American and English engineers consulted Mour-
bhanj ore 7,000,000 tons The extensive Raipur
ore The professional patriot His propaganda
libels every action of the Government Govern-
ment support true Swadeshi Sir J. P. Hewett's
speech on Tata scheme Tata's plant Two blast
furnaces 75 feet high by 17 feet Require daily
8,000,000 gallons of water All Directors Asiatics
Hydro-electric power scheme for Bombay Huge
reservoirs Total surface area of 5,000 acres
Storage capacity of 8,000,000,000 cubic feet, to work
cotton mills of Bombay Imperial Preference in
goods; no Imperial Preference in human beings
Japan and Indian trade Failure of the P. and O.
Company German encroachment Japan and Ger-
many study Indian requirements, which England



CONTENTS xxi



PAGE



neglects Trade - tips direct from Indians Caste
factor in trade 100 per cent, increase of German
exports to India Congress of Havana Hindustani
for English merchants Bengal Boycott Indian
Commercial Intelligence Bureau Sheep - breeding
Tobacco - 284

CHAPTER XII

THE INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS

Indian Congress is not a Parliament An annual picnic
In Parliament two Parties to discuss In the Congress
only one Party to dictate No Party to support
Government policy Pan- Islam in India a misnomer
A ' negative unity' in refusal to eat pork, just like
among Hindus a 'negative unity' in refusal to eat
beef Congress has no local habitation nor a Library
Inconsistency of Congress leaders Mr. Dutt
His views as Congress leader diametrically opposed
to his views as British official The Permanent
Settlement of Bengal, a panacea for all evils in 1900,
was in 1874 denounced as 'calamitous and ill-con-
ceived ' ' The Peasantry of Bengal/ published by
Mr. Dutt in 1874, when he was in the British service,
contradicts almost everything he says now as a Con-
gress Leader ' Poor Bengal ryot ! Hope for relief
from a handful of alien rulers of the country, but
from thine own countrymen, don't ' - 318

CHAPTER XIII

THE NATIVE PRINCES

British policy : Freedom of the Press, but no Arms
Policy of Native Princes : Freedom in the use of
Arms, but Press under Regulation Mr. Morley
on Native Princes Over 600 Native Princes



xxii CONTENTS

PAGE

Three-sevenths of India under Native Princes
Political system of India Lord Curzon's and Lord
Canning's views Sir Charles Dilke Caste, central
knot of all administrative problems Murder of Mr.
Rand Political Utopias Every great Indian States-
man (Hindu or Mahomedan) hailed from Native
States The Congress and Hyderabad Imperial
Service Troops Imperial Cadet Corps Congress
and the Council of the Secretary of State for India
Native States Postal Department Ports in Native
States Comparative growth of Population in British
India and Native States Mr. Disraeli and Lord
Curzon on Oriental imagination Opinion of the
millions Native Princes in the House of Lords
Lord Lytton's letter to Mr. Disraeli Lord Lytton's
letter to Lord Salisbury - 339

i

CHAPTER XIV
A DIVINE UNION

Mr. Bryan's attacks on British rule in India Inspired by
Congress leaders India not getting poorer Testi-
mony of figures Export of grain Destitute poor
not more than in London Increase in native
officials Reduction in Salt tax Government of
India true to their trust Pressure of taxation
Is. lOd. per head Moral gain Anarchy to order
India not conquered by British sword Progress
since Indian Mutiny Various reforms The Ilbert
Bill Mr. Dutt on Hindu laws Female education
Census figures - - 357

INDEX 395



INTRODUCTION

THE Times of January 16, 1908, wrote (p. 18), on
' England's Work in India ' : * Government is re-
sponsible for allowing the masses [in India] to be
misled by seditious fanatics when it deliberately
avoids correcting untruths a thousand times re-
peated.' I would not belittle the blame of the
Government in the matter : but while educated
Indians, so well equipped with every implement
of political polemics as is the author of the present
volume, are ready to deal effectively with hysterical
agitators, there is the less need for the Govern-
ment to enter the inglorious lists against them.

In these fourteen Chapters Mr. S. M. Mitra has
subjected India, the brightest jewel set in the Im-
perial Crown of England, to the searchlight of
his keen and expert observation, and has ex-
hibited some of the problems presented by
that unparalleled possession of ours in aspects
novel and instructive to many of his readers.
His views, whether they may be acceptable or
not, are those of an Indian gentleman who, as a
practising advocate, and the editor of a news-
paper, at the Capital of His Highness the



xxiv INTRODUCTION

Nizam, has had opportunities of an unusual
kind for acquiring knowledge at first hand,
and forming opinions thereon, daily put to proof
in the fiercest strife of contending tongues.
As a citizen of British India he is well acquainted
with the British system of administering the
country ; and as a philosophical and scholarly
student of Indian politics, he has read widely,
and learnt to express himself with an ease and
accuracy many Englishmen might envy.

Mr. Mitra writes as a loyal Indian by convic-
tion. He sees that the maintenance of law and
order is the first duty of a Government, and that
in the absence of British rule anarchy and con-
' fusion would prevail throughout India and inter-
rupt the progress and development of his beloved
* mother-land.' He is therefore opposed to the
airy aspirations of the Indian National Congress,
which, in his opinion, is working on wrong lines,
and not in any way for the practical good of India ;
doing nothing, in spite of all the outcry about
Swadeshi, for the material interests of India, its
industries, trade, and commerce ; matters the
supporters of the Congress neither seriously
study, nor attempt to understand.

India, Mr. Mitra points out rightly and
forcibly, is invaluable to England. It imports
a large proportion of British manufactures ; affords
the best training-ground for British soldiers; and
provides worthy and stimulating employment
for a large number of the flower of our British



INTRODUCTION xxv

>

youth, both as officials and 'merchant adven-
turers.' England also is herself well aware
that she is doing good work in India in the
cause of humanity and civilization, and is not
now likely to abandon a country that has proved
so profitable a field alike for her industrial and
mercantile, and intellectual and moral energies.
The Pax Britannica, British justice, British
railways and telegraphs, British science in
famine relief and the suppression of diseases



Online LibrarySiddha Mohana MitraIndian problems → online text (page 1 of 25)