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of his day's round. Ten days later the vanguard of the official world from Simla begins to arrive, and, so far as numbers go, is very easily accommodated by the present site, which is nothing more than that of the old civil station, plus the temporary camps and buildings thrown out on the plain on the other side of the Ridge. Presently this small society is augmented by a certain number of visitors on business and pleasure—there has always been a tourist season at Delhi ; and about the end of January appear the non-official Councillors, some thirty in number. Every attempt is made to give them a pleasant time; garden parties and receptions are the order of the day. The Legislative Councillor, thus made much of, generally proves to be a courteous, agreeable person. The best relations are established. There is no Bengali bounce here, but other tendencies make themselves apparent. In this small, sheltered society the debates of the Council assume a tremendous importance. Even if a motion for universal compulsory education, or some modest project of the kind, has been withdrawn, there will be a hum of conversation over the event; if the bold mover has insisted on a division, the thrill of excitement will be intense, even at official dinner tables.
In this little circle there is no room for rough passages. The Indian is intensely sensitive personally, and would look upon the manners of the House of Commons, not to say those of the Hungarian Parliament, as outrageous. Hence, if a member has brought forward some resolution which if adopted would mean financial catastrophe, the Government Minister who replies, while pointing out the regrettable obstacle, never forgets to compliment the mover on the singular ability and force of his speech; and this is often endorsed by His Excellency the President. It may seem to be an uncivil thing to find fault with excessive politeness, but there is no doubt that the effect of this kind of thing in perpetual repetition breeds insincerity. The admission of Indian members into the Executive Councils, Imperial and Provincial, tends in the same direction. These small and select bodies are entrusted with the arcana of Government; if they are to work properly, nothing should be hidden from them, nor should the members have any secrets from one another. Officially, no doubt,
we shall be told that the system remains precisely what it was; but one may nevertheless decline to believe that things are as they were, that there can be that full and unreserved communication between the members that the system postulates, when one of their number is looking to a return to the more than free atmosphere of a provincial Bar Library. The result must necessarily be reservations of opinion, withholdings of confidence, smoothings of expression, all helping to undermine the efficiency of the system. The tendency is no doubt acceptable enough to some individual Ministers, who get a freer hand thereby in the management of their own Departments. But these are small views, in comparison with the danger of a degeneration in the character of the Govern. ment as a whole; and the snare that besets the Govern. ment to-day is that of sinking upon an organised hypocrisy.
Many years ago Mr Nassau Senior, the political economist, said that there was only one Indian question -how to get well away from India. Many people since must have been tempted to come to a similar opinion. The Government of India, on the other hand, is in duty bound to stand to its own permanence; but, to judge by its acts, it seems to be penetrated with the opinion of Mr Senior. Every year, or every few years, one sees concessions granted to the Indian political classes, without heed apparently to any sort of guiding principle, but simply as an embarrassed man pays his creditors a bit here and there on account, to keep them quiet. An expedient in much request in these days is the appointment of a Royal Commission. For Royal Commissions which serve a real object, to collect information and opinions, beyond the reach of Government, upon a special subject, and to review this evidence with the impartial authority of competent men engaged in science or research, there is nothing but good to be said. Of this sort are the recent Commission on the Indian currency system and the Commission just appointed to enquire into the economic resources of India.
Of a totally different character were the Royal Commissions on Decentralisation and the Public Services, two great inquisitions inflicted on the country with hardly a breathing-space between. The prevailing idea in the constitution of these bodies would appear to be that, by
getting together a certain number of persons notorious for strong but different opinions on politico-social questions and tossing them, so to speak, into one sack, you would extract some useful composite conclusion on subjects with which the officials of the administration are perfectly familiar, and far more competent to decide than the Commissioners would be at the end of their proceedings. These Commissions have acted as might have been expected of them. They launch on their enquiries without a rudder, and rudderless they float round the Indian Empire from one province to another. Clouds of witnesses are examined where a single competent one would suffice. The proceedings are held in public before a gallery of spectators—an excellent way of preventing an Indian witness from saying what he really thinks. Presumably it is a common starting-point with the Commissioners that it is expedient that the British rule should be maintained, at any rate, for some indefinite time; yet they daily listen to witnesses whose views would lead up to the speedy disappearance of the British power, and this without their ever being asked whether this is what they have in mind. Nor is the question whether a proposal would make for good Government, i.e. for efficiency, economy, security and justice, often asked. Probably the Commissioners are too much divided on these fundamentals to raise such points; but, if so, what can be expected of the enquiry? The Commission pursues its way, retires to England for the hot weather to think, returns to India again, and eventually rolls ponderously off the stage to compile an oversized report. If this were all, there might not be so much to protest against. But in the meanwhile the Government, impressed by the froth and fluster that its proceedings have set up, has made up its mind that more concessions will be required; and long before the Commissioners have settled on their report the Secretariat will have been set to work to fix what is the least that in decency can be given. Thus is the process of random concession artificially stimulated.
Of the last two years of Lord Hardinge's Viceroyalty -the war period—the time has not come to speak. The military record of the Government of India has certainly
not been a brilliant one. The capitulation at Kut in place of the capture of Baghdad, the deadlock in East Africa until the arrival of General Smuts and the South Africans, the jeopardy of Aden—these are the results that the Indian administration has to show in its own sphere of operations. An account must be demanded of them some day, but in fairness criticism must wait for fuller knowledge. The truly valuable contribution of India was the despatch of the Army Corps which under Sir James Willcocks arrived on the battle front in Flanders just at the moment when the British Commander-in-Chief was most sorely in need of reinforcements. It was a great and striking incident, which is the less reason that its bearings should be obscured by clouds of misplaced superlatives. The British troops in India, up to the very last limit of the indispensable margin, had to go. The urgency of their country made the call for them imperative; and the judge of that urgency was the British Government, not the Government of India. But, when India was being all but denuded of British troops, it would have been clearly impossible to leave the country in sole possession of the Native Army. There was, in fact, no alternative to the plan actually adopted of sending the troops, British and Native together, as they stood in the Army List, by local divisions and brigades. From much that has appeared on the subject, a stranger might be led to suppose that the Native regiments were a body of volunteers, who with magnificent public spirit had placed their services at the disposal of the Empire in the day of peril, rather than regulars whose only business was to obey their orders. Still, everyone must recognise that the Indian regiments, virtually without exception, were proud and eager to go, and were not in the least deterred by the thought that they were going forth to meet the most formidable Army in the world. The sepoy of the line can have had only the faintest idea of the merits of the war with Germany; and, in giving him full credit for his conduct and mettle, let us not forget that which is due to the British officers who have created this military spirit, and to the wise rule which has taught the classes who enter the army that they have a country which is worth fighting for.
The admirers of Lord Hardinge's administration lay great stress upon his personal popularity with the people of the country. It was, they tell us in the phrase of the day, a great asset' in the time of trial. It seems to be taking a somewhat low view of Indian loyalty to represent it as a thing that is here to-day and may be gone tomorrow. We prefer to think of it as a feeling whose roots go deeper and rest upon a more permanent basis. There is not the least reason to suppose
that at any
time during the last quarter of a century, had the call arisen, the response would have been different. The Indian Chiefs and magnates, by whom the tone of the country is mainly judged, did not develop the symptoms of loyalty yesterday; but on the other hand, though the expression of dissent is considerably hampered in time of war, there has been unfortunately ample evidence of the existence of very pronounced disloyalty. From North Punjab to Singapore, and even to the jungle divide between Burma and Siam, we have had conspiracies and mutinies, all more or less failures in the execution, but equally venomous in their aims. With these has come to be coupled a singular development of predatory crimes, gang burglary and murder, committed for the sake of obtaining funds for the support of the campaign of sedition. The Hardingite dismisses these manifestations as the work of an infinitesimal minority, having no more bearing on the general attitude than the crimes of Jack-the-Ripper on the general morality of London. So the same school persisted in minimising the signs of disloyalty in Ireland until it broke out in open rebellion ; and even after that event they continue wilfully blind. Few people who have any first-hand information as to the conditions of India can be inclined to take so easy a view of the case.
The remarks of Lord Carmichael, Governor of Bengal, to his Legislative Council at their final meeting at the beginning of last April seem to be conclusive. After mentioning that in the course of the year there had been twenty-six 'political' gang robberies in Bengal, four of them accompanied by murder, that eighteen persons had been murdered, five of them being police officers, by these political' conspirators, Lord Carmichael went on to say: 'It has been brought to the knowledge of Government in a
Vol. 226,-No. 448.