Stop Tiptoeing Around Russia
It Is Time to End Washington’s Decades of Deference to Moscow
MODERN India is a study in contrasts. Its problems are continental in scope, and the varieties of its peoples in speech and in social custom make them as intricate as they are spacious. The pivot round which all these problems revolve is the struggle between tradition and change. The very use of the word "modern" implies that India in the twentieth century is different from historic or traditional India; and yet there are many competent observers who will deny that there has been any fundamental change. Pointing to the fact that the Indian way of life has remained unchanged for countless years, they maintain that the political ferment is a superficial phenomenon provoked by alien influence and that the true sources of Indian life are still untouched.
Now it may be true that the springs of Indian thought still flow from their ancient secret source; true also, that tradition still rules the daily life of the great majority; and manifestly true that, on the surface, many things are much as they ever were. If Asoka, the great Buddhist Emperor who reigned in India two thousand years ago, could return to Patna, or if Akbar, the Mogul contemporary of Queen Elizabeth, could emerge from his noble tomb at Sikandra, a still familiar India would greet their eyes. Indeed Akbar would find far less change in his India than Elizabeth would find in England today. He would recognize the India of Kipling's " Kim," for there life moves as it did in Akbar's time. The bullock cart still rumbles along the deep dust track; the wheels creak and the ox-bells tinkle as of old; the mendicant and the holy man still walk the roads of Hindustan, with crutch and begging bowl; the brown landscape spreads its fertile expanse under sun and rain; and over every village at nightfall the blue bitter dungsmoke still spreads its iridescent canopy. And despite the strange apparition of the railway train and the unwonted lines of telegraph wire flanking the road, Akbar would be able to say: "After three hundred years, my people are not changed. They speak and eat, they work and worship, much as they ever did."
But after a while he would be aware of a change, deeper and more subtle even than the difference between the bullock cart and the motor car. It is not something that can be seen by the eye or measured by the hand; but to the ear that can hear, it is like the rustle of distant trees in the wind, the murmur of waves on the flowing tide. It is the sound of a mind awaking. The mind of India is awake as it has never been before. And we are the cause of its awakening. When I say we are the cause of that Indian awakening which is called unrest, I do not mean to claim that we have set about deliberately to disturb the deep and mysterious waters of Indian life. It would be truer to say that we have been the agents of a process which has been going on all over Asia for years, but that we British feel a responsibility for India because the King is Emperor of India.
We have been taught to believe, however, that the Orient is the "Unchanging East," and those who would have us adhere to the dogma of Oriental inscrutability have much to justify their contention. Political novelty, let us admit, might be a mere passing fashion if it stood alone; but, as it does not stand alone, we must accept as a working hypothesis the possibility of fundamental change. For the political agitation which has turned Asia into a melting pot of constitutional experiment is accompanied by other significant phenomena. Popular education stimulates it; economic forces assist it in the assault upon established tradition; the emancipation of women makes a wide breach in ancient custom; and the prevailing spirit of renascence in Asia gives the whole movement the zeal of a crusade. In India, as elsewhere in Asia, we must acknowledge that, if this ancient land has not forsaken the past, her peoples have a vision of the future.
The most obvious signs of the change are material, and some of the greatest forces at work are economic, but the invisible spring from which they all flow is intellectual and moral. It is not by our industrial machines that we have created a new life in India, it is by our ideas. And the whole inwardness of the Indian problem today lies in the question: "Can our ideas, when put into practice, for instance in the form of democratic government, be transplanted to India and adapted to the needs of India?" To that question there is no quick and easy answer. The Viceroy in Delhi, the Indian legislator in the Legislative Assembly, the member of a district board struggling with the problem of water supply for his village -- all of them, often without knowing it, are helping to find the answer. And I think that all of us, whether British, Indian or American, may be surprised when we have found it: for we do not always remember that when you take an animal or an institution out of its natural climate, change its diet and adapt it to new circumstances, it does not remain the same. Loch Leven trout transported to the streams of New Zealand grow a monstrous size, become lazy and lose nearly all the qualities that make them trout. The European, migrating to the American Middle West, adds an inch to his height, lengthens his nose, softens his heart and becomes a rampageous and sanguine person. And, finally, the fish out of water dies.
Now, if all these transformations take place in the physical world, shall they not also take place in the political world? And, if so, must we not expect to find the Parliament which England has transplanted from the Palace of Westminster to the Plains of Hindustan becoming something different, something Indian? We do not yet know whether representative institutions in India are a fish out of water, or merely a creature which will change its color and its habits in its new surroundings. And it will be a long time before we can answer these questions.
The problem here described is the chief matter of interest in the operation of the Indian Constitution. It was my privilege to describe certain features in the political evolution of India in a recent issue of this review.[i] I propose here to carry the account then given a little further.
The Preamble to the "Government of India Act, 1919," (the law passed by the Imperial Parliament after the war to reform the Indian political system) declared the purpose of Parliament thus:
". . . to provide for the increasing association of Indians in every branch of Indian Administration, and for the gradual development of self-governing institutions, with a view to the progressive realization of responsible government in British India as an integral part of the empire:
"And whereas progress in giving effect to this policy can only be achieved by successive stages, and it is expedient that substantial steps in this direction should now be taken:
"And whereas the time and manner of each advance can be determined only by Parliament, upon whom responsibility lies for the welfare and advancement of the Indian peoples:
"And whereas the action of Parliament in such matters must be guided by the coöperation received from those on whom new opportunities of service will be conferred, and by the extent to which it is found that confidence can be reposed in their sense of responsibility:
"And whereas concurrently with the gradual development of self-governing institutions in the Provinces of India it is expedient to give to those Provinces in provincial matters the largest measure of independence of the Government of India, which is compatible with the due discharge by the latter of its own responsibilities:
"Be it therefore enacted. . . ."
This is the most comprehensive declaration of a policy made by the British Government since the famous Proclamation of Queen Victoria in 1858. It heralded a new departure towards a definite goal, laying down a broad line of advance and prescribing standards by which success in each stage of progress may be measured. The goal is Indian self-government, the line of advance is found initially in the Provinces, the rate and the character of progress are to be determined largely by the sense of responsibility with which successive new opportunities of service are employed and also by the spirit in which India coöperates with England for the common good of the Indian Empire. The Act was passed in 1919, it came into effective operation with the Indian General Election of 1920, and its operation will be examined by a Royal Commission not later than 1929. It is possible, and even probable, that this Commission may be appointed before that date, for the Secretary of State for India, Lord Birkenhead, has described himself as "no slave of dates" and has been careful to leave the door open to earlier action if the circumstances warrant it.
The Preamble to the Act declares that the future action of Parliament will be guided by the coöperation received from those upon whom new opportunities of service have been conferred. It is therefore important to appreciate the meaning of "Non-Coöperation" and to disengage the constructive and coöperative effort of contemporary India from the destructive activities of Mr. Gandhi's movement. In my previous review of the situation I endeavored to make a judicial estimate of the good and evil of Non-Coöperation, and was led to conclude that "the net sum of it is not evil and goes to the credit of its creator." But, judged in political terms, it was a refusal to coöperate; and if it had achieved its aim in 1920 there would be no constitution in India today offering an opportunity for the gradual development of self-governing institutions. It failed; and its very failure, writ large upon the face of India today, is no small part of the proof that, as the merits of the reformed Constitution become better known, an ever increasing body of political Indians was prepared to coöperate with Government in working the new institutions for the benefit of India. Moreover, even if Non-Coöperation had retained its early power, there would still be evidence of Indian coöperation to satisfy the criterion of the Preamble. The new legislative bodies came into being and weathered the storms of the first three years because enough just men were found in Sodom to man the ship, even at the worst moment. We have pointed out before that India owes a very large debt in about equal measure to the government of Lord Reading for its fortitude and forbearance under severe trial and to those Indians who, at much personal and political risk, entered the new Councils in 1921 and by thus accepting our good faith enabled England to keep her word. Some of these men no longer survive to see the fruit of their labors, others have been driven from public life by an ungrateful people, but there are many still left; and I rejoice to see that one of them, the liberal young Rajah of Santosh, now has his reward for good service performed under fire in his election the other day by a substantial majority to the Chair of the Bengal Legislative Council.
Here, then, is the first and perhaps the most significant evidence of coöperation. Nor does it stand alone; for that sense of public duty which enabled my first colleagues in the Legislative Assembly to face the unpleasant music of 1920 carried them through many a test of responsibility in the ensuing three years. They shouldered manfully a burden of taxation which was more than doubled by the odium which it entailed; despite the pressure of a rampant popular movement outside, they maintained (with some oscillations and abberations) a fairly steady course of action in all the chambers; they resisted the temptation to curry favor with violent men by demanding the release of the firebrands of Non-Coöperation; and they succeeded, amid the depression of budget deficits and the allurements of political agitation, in devoting some time to genuine social reform. Moreover, all these things were achieved without leadership and in great measure without organization. India today has no Parnell, no Garibaldi, no Cavour, no Kossuth. She is singularly poor in men; and individuals are very apt to be disloyal to their own friends. With these defects, the political conduct of the Indian parliamentarians in recent times has only been the more remarkable. They were not paragons of political virtue, and sometimes both the sense of responsibility and the sense of humor deserted them. They were often unable to see the wood for the trees, and would throw away substance for shadow at the bidding of patriotism. But what nationalist has ever seen eye to eye with the philosopher in this matter of the "best political good" and the best means to acquire it? Plato did indeed say that no nation would ever be justified in slaying its rulers; but he did not say that our rulers should be immune from hard words or even sharper reminders of their human frailty. And in contemplating the political acts of India, let us never forget that the men under observation are ardent patriots face to face with an alien government.
The growth of a sense of responsibility is perhaps not so evident in all this: but it will be obvious to the careful reader that, if this account offers proof of "coöperation," it also indicates "responsibility." Indeed it is impossible to distinguish one from the other. At the same time, and before we proceed to examine the contemporary record, let us be quite sure what we mean by "a sense of responsibility." When we say that the Prime Minister of Great Britain is a responsible person we use the word in two senses. He is responsible to Parliament, as the representative of the nation, for the good conduct of all national affairs and for the general character of his own policy. In the true constitutional sense he is the personal climax of responsible government and is presumed to act with a due sense of this constitutional responsibility. But in an individual sense also, his is a responsible person: for, as Stanley Baldwin and not merely as Prime Minister, he acts with the knowledge that he must bear the consequence of his action, and does not, in usual fact, seek to evade those consequences. Now, in the larger sense, the Indian (and especially the Hindu) is brought up in the belief that, while he must bear the consequences of all his acts, both the acts and the consequences are part of a fore-ordained scheme of human affairs which is beyond his power to change, and the knowledge breeds in him a certain irresponsibility of fatalism. He therefore sets out on his political voyage from a different homeland of character and belief, feeling within himself a motive of responsibility less virile than that which animates other men in other parts of the world.
There can be no question here of the ultimate superiority of either type, for no ultimate question is involved. All that is at stake is the peculiar blend of political qualities necessary for the particular enterprise of representative government. Moreover, experience proves that these qualities, even when not innate, are none the less within the reach of those who would develop them. It is not true that this sense of responsibility is like the poet, born not made. Rather it is like the appetite which grows by what it feeds on, and those who have watched the Indian political scene for the last six years will be the first to acknowledge that "responsibility" breeds a "sense of responsibility."
This development of responsibility is a phenomenon which you may observe in India today, provided you take a steady view of the whole Indian panorama and refuse to judge the whole by any of its parts. If you were to see India through the windows of Bengal your conclusions might be unfavorable; if you saw it through the eyes of Lord Willingdon -- one of the successful operators of diarchy -- you might wax too sanguine; but if, after a survey of all the provinces and an inspection of the Government of India at close quarters, you were to draw your own picture, you could hardly fail to see that the main stream has been flowing in increasing volume in the direction indicated above. The Swaraj Party is often held up before the world as a pattern of irresponsibility and has only too often justified its detractors; but it is an excellent example of the tendency to which I have endeavored to draw attention. Its birth was a good omen, for it broke away from Gandhi because Gandhi had become "politically impossible." Its first manifestoes, disingenuous as they often were, sounded the first note of sanity in the Indian revolution since the war. Its decision to enter the legislative bodies was a constructive act, though veiled by a profession of obstruction. And its course of action in these chambers has brought it, by a converging path, ever nearer the main road of coöperation. It is not a "coöperator" yet, and perhaps it will never profess the full-blooded faith of the true coöperator; but it is no longer a "non-coöperator," and if it often looks back with regret to the forsaken Gomorrah, even if the Providence should turn it into a pillar of salt (of which it runs some risk), it has shown India the way out of the condemned city of non-coöperation -- which, in itself, is a form of "coöperation" if not of "responsibility."
These changes in Swaraj Party tactics have been dictated to it by the general opinion which more and more demands practical policies if not positive results from the politicians. But all tactical movements notwithstanding, the Swaraj Party has on the whole failed to keep pace with the changing opinion of India. It has not dared to retreat rapidly enough from its first extreme position, and it now finds that the control of the main line of advance is falling into other hands. Pandit Motilal Nehru, the leader of the Party, speaking at Lahore on April 11, 1926, found himself in the predicament of having to proclaim the principle of "civil disobedience" (i.e. refusal to pay taxes, etc.) and to admit its invalidity in practice. "What we undertake to do," he said, "is to educate the country to resort to it, whenever it comes, it may be fifty or a hundred years hence." Meanwhile the general body of opinion asks to be told what he proposes to do, not a century hence, but tomorrow in the Legislative Assembly; and when he is seen in his seat in that chamber his very presence there is interpreted as a kind of pledge that he has now dropped civil disobedience. Moreover, when he and his Party walked out of the Assembly at the opening of the Budget debate in 1926 (a month before the above speech was delivered) the country saw in this gesture merely an electoral maneuver and decided that the Pandit could not eat his cake and have it. And definite expression was given to this judgment when the elections of 1926 deprived the Swarajists of their hegemony of political India.
It is not possible, at the time of writing, to give a complete and reliable table of the election results in detail, but the principal features of the polling are certain. The Party has lost 24 percent of its strength in the Legislative Assembly, mainly to the so-called Independent Congress Party led by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya (Benares) and Lajpat Rai (Punjab); it has barely held its previous meagre quota of seats in the United Provinces and in the Punjab; it has failed to improve its position in Bengal; it has lost heavily in Bombay; and has almost been wiped out of existence in the Central Provinces. Against this universal decline it has the satisfaction of a substantial victory (though not a majority) in Madras, where, however, Swarajist success is to be interpreted more in terms of the unpopularity of the "Justice" (or Non-Brahmin) Party than of positive approval of the Swaraj Party. But let us be wary interpreters! Where the Constitution has worked best, in Madras, there its professed enemies win. Where the Constitution came to deadlock by Swarajist action, there the Swarajists (decisively in the Central Provinces, equivocally in Bengal) suffer defeat. The truth is that personal feuds, provincial peculiarities, communal feeling, and, in a word, all those elements that give local color to the picture, are essential to a true estimate; and therefore a judgment based on a general review has to be safeguarded by accurate local knowledge. In the present case, it would appear that the Swarajists win seats in Madras because they are the opposition exposing Non-Brahmin misdeeds, and lose in Bengal (and more decisively in the Central Provinces) because they have brought progress to a standstill and have nothing to show for it. Finally, they go back to the Legislative Assembly in diminished numbers because they tried to make the best of both worlds and failed.
The parties who went to the Indian polls in December are more numerous than ever. In Bengal there were: the Swaraj Party, the Independent Congress Party, the Responsivists, the Bengal Muslim Party, the Independent Muslim Party, Europeans, and odds and ends. In Bombay they were as numerous, and their number creates an almost insoluble problem, as in French Cabinet making -- how to weld the fragments in a majority which will hold together in support of a ministry. The parties are not battalions in the army of principle, they are disorganized appetites; and nothing but the power of a commanding personality could melt their petty jealousies and fuse them into a tempered political instrument.
On the whole these results give cause for satisfaction to the friends of Indian progress. But in some cases it is not yet possible to say whether they will yield legislative bodies of a more constructive character than those which preceded them, nor is it easy to say where the balance of power will lie in any of them. Even where the Swarajists are strongest, as in Madras, they have no majority, and their pledge to refuse office of any kind is interpreted in different ways. It is notorious that some of their ablest leaders openly repudiate the authority of the Indian National Congress which attempted to impose that pledge anew upon the Party last December at Gauhati in Assam; and these men know that a Swarajist who consents to take office under the British Raj is no longer his early self, and that there is little to distinguish him from the Independent, the Liberal or the Responsive Coöperator. In a word, the Swaraj Party is moving towards the historic line of Indian political agitation which has only been broken by two men, Tilak and Gandhi, the former preaching open violence, the latter veiled violence, and neither making any substantial political gain thereby. The net result of it all is that we may contemplate two or three years of constructive work, uninterrupted by senseless violence, unhindered by financial stringency. In a sense, India has made a new start. On the very day (January 18, 1927) when Lord Irwin, Viceroy of India, opened the new Council House in Delhi, in a ceremony in which his own speech of impressive sincerity struck the highest note, the Bengal Legislative Council gave an unexpected and emphatic testimonial to the Constitution which it was wont to revile by asking for the revival of the defunct diarchical Ministry by 94 votes to 38. The Indian Constitution has defeated the Indian Revolution, and a period of comparative peace is assured.
Political peace in India is never long-lived, and the calm of to-day is but an armistice which will not last more than a year or two. Storms of emotion, now political, now religious, more often the latter exploited by the practitioners of the former, break over the Indian scene with an almost incredible ferocity, suggesting the onset of devastation which nothing can resist. But soon the storm abates, the disturbing emotion subsides, and who can say what result has been achieved? The tempest itself is to be seen as a protest, not as a purpose: it usually explodes by emotional pressure from within, not in order to break a resistance without. This is a historic truth, just as valid to-day as it has been any time these thousands of years. But there is a distinction to be drawn between the emotional crises of the past and the storm of Non-Coöperation. I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that, beginning with Tilak, a definite political motive is now playing a part for the first time in demonstrations hitherto mainly emotional in character. Moreover, it is vital to our purpose to take note of the significant fact that the political motive has outlived the emotional protest: for though Gandhi, the spearhead of the protest, is politically dead, the general body of opinion in India is politically more alive than ever. The growth of the political means must therefore keep pace with the growth of the political spirit. In a word, the comparative peace which now prevails -- we leave the Hindu-Mussulman feud on one side, but without forgetting it -- is no excuse for standing still. It is a breathing space to be employed in estimating the direction and magnitude of the next advance.
Now the estimate of the future, as we have seen, will depend upon the estimate of the past; and therefore the evidence now available regarding the general character of Indian politics since 1920 must be an important factor in the ultimate decision. On the question of "coöperation" and "sense of responsibility" we have already foreshadowed certain conclusions; but there is a mass of important detail in the Muddiman Report which has an equal though different validity. To it we now turn.
The Muddiman Committee was appointed in 1924: (1) to enquire into the difficulties arising from, or defects inherent in, the working of the Government of India Act and the rules there-under in regard to the Central Government and the Governments of governors' provinces; and (2) to investigate the feasibility and desirability of securing remedies for such difficulties or defects, consistent with the structure, policy and purpose of the Act. The first clause threw open the whole area to the scrutiny of the committee, but the second confined their proposals to changes within the structure of the Act. Against this restriction the minority, composed of four leading Indians, protested, and as the main purpose of their report was to emphasize the fact that no satisfaction could be found in minor amendments of the Act, they had to content themselves with certain statements of principle, of which the most important was that "the only cure (for certain admitted evils) was the replacement of the diarchical by unitary and responsible provincial government." The majority report, on the other hand, made a number of minor proposals which, valuable in themselves, are not such as demand examination here. The value of report lies, not in the proposals made in either section, but in the conditions revealed by the enquiry.
The Local Governments submitted reports of provincial conditions which varied considerably in character. The Madras Government reports "a considerable measure of success;" the United Provinces Government denies that the Constitution has broken down, but describes diarchy as "only a transitional expedient;" the Bombay Government says that some progress in Parliamentary Government has been made, but that it has been retarded by the weakness of parties in the Council and by the influence of Non-Coöperation outside; the Bengal Government is not optimistic, nor is the Government of Bihar and Orissa; the Punjab Government gives prominence to communal troubles, but concludes that the balance of the account is not discreditable to the Legislative Council. The bulk of the evidence shows that:
(1) The present Constitution has not broken down, but has worked with varying degrees of success -- with deadlock in some places, and genuine progress in others.
(2) It is universally regarded as provisional, and therefore the politicians tend to think more of the method by which it can be exploited with a view to early amendment, than of using it for constructive purposes in economic or social reform.
(3) It has failed to provoke the creation of genuine political parties, but has none the less contributed largely to the general political education of the legislators.
(4) The legislators have not made any general and effective effort to use the work of the Legislative Councils as a means of educating the electorate, and therefore the electorate itself does not play its proper part in the balanced mechanism of the Constitution.
(5) The difficulties and defects inherent in the Constitution "are quite incurable by any mere alteration of the Act or the Rules;" and, in the words of the Governor of the United Provinces, "concessions which fall short of complete provincial autonomy will placate no section of the opponents of the existing system."
These preliminary conclusions raise a forest of vital questions, of which the most characteristic and far-reaching are: first, the validity for India of representative Government in its British form; second, the federal relations of the Government of India and the Provinces; third, the problem of the electorate and the cognate problem of political education.
Any one of these is formidable stuff to handle. For a Commission which must embrace them all, nothing short of a providential sagacity will suffice. Moreover the root of the whole problem lies deep in the obscure heart of India where the struggle between tradition and change is growing hotter every moment. India, let us remember, is not yet a political country. Politics are, no doubt, the all-absorbing interest of the educated classes, but even these classes are not politically minded. They are quick to learn the forms and phrases of political life, but have shown little aptitude for statecraft on a national scale. Throughout the ages India has been accustomed to accept government imposed from above; and the mind of her people has never till recently been stirred by political ambition. The literature of India contains no political treatise comparable with Aristotle's "Politics," Plato's "Republic," Machiavelli's "Prince," Montesquieu's "Esprit des Lois," Burke's "Essays and Speeches," Mill's "Liberty," or Alexander Hamilton's "Federalist." This shows that the habit of political thought has never grown in India. It is only another way of saying that India is a religious not a political continent. The rich soil of political theory in which the Greek States grew, and the massive work in political administration which gave Rome her predominance, provided Europe with a prepared field of statecraft which is almost wholly lacking in India. India has no such harvest of political experience.
Difficulties arise in various forms as we survey the Indian scene. There is a serious lack of leaders; the peninsula is the home of many diverse social elements separated by great distances and even greater differences of speech and social habit; the feud between Hindu and Mussulman gravely hampers progress towards unity; and the economic organization of the country is such that it is hardly an exaggeration to say that India is trying to operate a twentieth century constitution on the resources of the Middle Ages.
Moreover, in Indian minds the ultimate form of Indian self-government is uncertain, for they have rarely approached the problem with a constructive intention. Born and bred in the school of agitation, conceiving of politics solely as a game in which they are the bullet and the Government the target, they have never devised or proposed, they have remained content with criticism. Only in the most recent times has a new temper arisen; and here and there we may observe definite signs of a disposition to treat statecraft as a task which only disciplined and constructive labor can enable them to discharge.
With this awakening sense of responsibility there begins to be evident a resolve to treat constitutional and political projects on their merits. Even under the operation of the present Constitution, admittedly transitional and incomplete as it is, the Indian legislator has shown a concern for realities. He has begun to understand what government is and to see that theoretical designs, if divorced from human experience, remain sterile. The Legislative Assembly has not infrequently shown that it could appreciate the purpose of Government in proposing unpopular taxation, and was prepared to support other unpalatable measures which were necessary for the welfare and the security of the commonwealth; while the Legislative Councils in the Provinces -- or in some Provinces -- have displayed a similar disposition. The manner in which those new opportunities of service, of which the Preamble to the Act speaks, have been taken by the representatives of the Indian peoples offers no justification for a harsh judgment, and therefore I do not believe that, when the Constitutional enquiry is held, India need fear an unfavorable verdict.
The Indian of 1927 has the appetite for politics, has learned something of the meaning of statecraft, and assumes that this acquired knowledge is adequate to the political needs of his country. Most significantly, he believes so utterly in his power of comprehension and in his adaptability that he conceives it possible for India to leap over those long stages of preparation through which we have passed on our way to democratic self-government and to reach Home Rule by a royal road.
Hence his impatience: hence, too, our caution! We must remember that, if it be right for us to pronounce a not unfavorable verdict upon the Indian political record of the past six years, the evidence upon which this judgment is based refers only to a period in which England and India were coöperating in the tasks of Government; and, coöperating, moreover, under a Constitution which still assumes British leadership. It is not necessarily valid for a condition of affairs in which that leadership is removed or impaired. But if we assume that the personal leadership of a good British Viceroy -- or of British Governors in the Provinces -- is not likely to be removed for many a long day, and if we further assume, as I think we may, that as India takes an increasing share in her own responsible government she will seek voluntarily what she now has to accept under compulsion, namely, guidance from the greater political experience of Great Britain, then we may look forward with hope.
We do not, for one moment, forget the warnings born of past experience and of present difficulties. Indeed we shall ignore them at our peril. If Hindu and Mussulman cannot, or will not, establish a truce of God between their warring communities; if Brahmin cannot, or will not, release his less fortunate brethren from ancient tyranny; if, in a word, India shrinks from the task of purging herself of those evils which distress her, England will not abdicate the trust which she has assumed. But there could be abdication of that trust which would be no defeat. An India set free from evil would be an India that had prepared herself for her new political task. And to those of us who are or may be the instruments of England's new purpose in India, the obstacles that now beset the path are the material for reform; they reveal the magnitude of the task, but they do not foreshadow defeat.
[i] FOREIGN AFFAIRS, Vol. 4, No. 2.