THE first session of the Round Table Conference in London concluded upon a note of sober optimism. No one among those who participated in its deliberations, whether British or Indian, could shut his eyes to the formidable character of the difficulties which lay ahead. Nevertheless, it was with legitimate satisfaction that the majority of the delegates cast their minds back to the steady tale of work accomplished.

At the time when the Round Table Conference met, the political horizon had been indeed overcast. The Indian National Congress had boycotted the Conference; and as a result of their deliberate defiance of the law, many thousands of Indian political leaders were in jail. Among these were included several at least who for the last quarter of a century had won the respect alike of Englishmen and of their fellow countrymen as earnest workers for India's political uplift. Furthermore, even those representatives of India's political opinions who had made up their minds to attend the Round Table Conference were pessimistic as to the possibility of any real achievement. There was a frankly-expressed distrust of the intentions of Great Britain. On the British side also, there was in many quarters a hardening of opinion, amounting almost to impatience, due to the impression that India would be satisfied with nothing which fell within the bounds of practical politics.

As the Conference proceeded, however, the sky gradually cleared. The representatives of India were genuinely impressed by the friendly atmosphere with which they were surrounded in London. They soon came to realize that there was an earnest desire on the part of British parliamentary and public opinion to understand the Indian point of view, and to meet it as far as possible. But the most powerful instrument of change was the procedure of the Round Table Conference itself. Indians are notoriously quick to seize upon the essential spirit of any gathering; and they quickly found that in the Conference they were not in the position either of suppliants demanding justice or of accusers arraigning an unjust judge, but of responsible statesmen, possessing a mandate which no one questioned, sitting down with their British colleagues in an endeavor to find the solution of a number of problems of joint concern to their own country and to Great Britain. In other words, they realized that they were not expected to argue in defense of their rights; their rights were tacitly admitted. What they were expected to do was to demonstrate how the exercise of those rights could be reconciled with the hard facts of the conditions of their country. And if British public opinion learnt to appreciate, perhaps for the first time, the strength and universality of the feeling, common to large classes of Indians, that they should be masters in their own house, Indians for their part began to realize that the difficulties inherent in the situation in their country were not mere bugbears, erected by Britain for the purpose of deterring Indian Nationalism from its chosen path, but real and solid dangers which must be faced and met. Accordingly, reluctant as were the representatives of India to admit the existence of any sphere of governmental activity which must for the moment be withdrawn from their own complete control, there was a general recognition that in the interests of India no less than of Great Britain the scheme of responsible government adumbrated by the Conference must be accompanied, for the present at any rate, by certain reservations and exceptions.

If the problem of a self-governing India were indeed the simple and straightforward proposition that some of the critics of Great Britain's policy imagine it to be, the Round Table Conference would unquestionably have pursued a different course. But the hard fact remains that India possesses the spirit of nationalism, without being a nation; and any form of self-government entails an adjustment of differing, and in certain cases directly conflicting interests. This presents a puzzle as complicated as it is dangerous. On the question of the safeguards designed to satisfy the needs of external security and internal tranquillity, the Indian delegates, with certain exceptions, thought alike. They admitted the necessity of reservations; but they desired them to be as unobtrusive as possible. The same is broadly true in regard to the safeguards designed to preserve India's financial credit; although here there were evidences of an incipient rift between India's moneyed interests and other sections of the population. Nor did the formidable problem caused by the existence of the semi-autonomous Indian States, which had loomed so large before the eyes of the Simon Commission, present the difficulties which had been feared. For the representative Princes who participated in the work of the Round Table Conference made it clear, from a very early stage, that they were perfectly prepared to enter an All-India Federation, provided they were assured of certain concessions to the peculiar position of their States.

But it was in regard to the problems of the so-called minority communities, the Mohammedans, the Sikhs, the Anglo-Indians, and the depressed classes, that the general unanimity on matters of principle seriously broke down. The Mohammedans made it perfectly clear that they would agree to no form of responsible government which did not provide what they regarded as adequate safeguards for the preservation of the culture, and the maintenance of the rights, of a community which has traditionally held itself aloof from the mass of the Hindu population. Indeed, towards the end of the Conference, the pronouncements of the Mohammedan representatives assumed a certain asperity of tone. For it must be regretfully recorded that they had acquired the impression, rightly or wrongly, that His Majesty's Government of Great Britain was more interested in Hindu aspirations than in Mohammedan apprehensions. The closing declaration of the Prime Minister, in other respects so gratifying to them as Indians, left them as Mohammedans with the feeling that insufficient attention had been paid both to their wishes and to their power to make those wishes effective.

Perhaps the clearest evidence that can be discovered of the reality of the proceedings of the first session of the Round Table Conference is supplied by the events of the last few months in India. For those problems in regard to which the Round Table Conference succeeded in arriving at an agreed principle, however formidable intrinsically they may be, are steadily but surely working themselves out in a hopeful manner. Let us take, for example, the general question of the satisfaction of Indian National sentiments. The Hindus have always been by tradition the vanguard of Indian Nationalism. Now in the Round Table Conference, as we have seen, the Indian National Congress, which represents the largest and best organized section of Hindu opinion, was entirely unrepresented. Would the Congress persist in its attitude of boycott? That it would do so seemed probable, more particularly as Mr. Gandhi and the majority of his lieutenants were still in jail. Furthermore, in many parts of India the local Congress Committees, owing to their professed policy of breaking the law, had been proscribed as illegal organizations. But towards the end of January, Mr. Gandhi and a number of his immediate followers were released. In response to appeals addressed to them by the Hindu leaders who had participated in the Round Table Conference, they agreed to take no definite line until they had had an opportunity of listening to the returning delegates.

On their arrival in India, Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, the Liberal leader, together with some of his colleagues on the Conference, hastened to Allahabad and initiated a series of lengthy conferences with Mr. Gandhi and his advisers of the Congress Party. We may conjecture that it was no easy task to convince the Congress stalwarts that the London Conference, which they themselves had boycotted, had in effect opened the road to the satisfaction of Indian Nationalist aspirations. Mr. Gandhi insisted that no truce with the British was possible without a recognition of the right to manufacture salt, to picket and to boycott foreign cloth, and to suppress the liquor trade. He also coupled with this some demands which astonish those who know India: the reduction of land revenue -- the main source of income of any administration -- by fifty percent; the abolition of the criminal police; the reduction of military expenditure by fifty percent; and the reduction of the rupee exchange rate from 1/6 to 1/4.

Yet it was gradually borne upon the mind of so shrewd a statesman as Mr. Gandhi that the proceedings of the Round Table Conference had caused little less than a revolution of world sentiment upon the general Indian problem. He could scarcely expect to command the sympathy of reasonable people if he rejected the opportunities which the Round Table Conference constitution would offer to the people of India to practice home rule. At the same time, an unquestioned acceptance of the results of the Round Table Conference would have amounted to a confession, such as no political party could afford to make, that the Indian Liberals had been right and the Indian Congress wrong. Somewhat naturally then, during the first few weeks which followed the release of the Congress leaders, Mr. Gandhi and his followers directed their attention to minimizing the results of the Round Table Conference, according precedence in their discussions to the questions in which they themselves were immediately interested, particularly the release of political prisoners and the general right of manufacturing salt. They also tended to place in the forefront of their demands a number of questions which were really only susceptible of solution after the main principle of a new constitution had been accepted; such as the examination of the total public debt of India, to determine what proportion of it had been incurred for "national needs," and what portion for purposes in which Great Britain was more directly interested.

Nevertheless, the Congress leaders soon began to realize that the foundations laid by the Round Table Conference were too solid to be ignored -- a realization encouraged by the hope that the Congress might build on these foundations a more impressive structure than the Liberals had been able to erect. Accordingly, the minds of Mr. Gandhi and his followers began to turn more strongly in the direction of possible negotiations with the Government. The Liberal leaders directed their efforts towards inducing Mr. Gandhi to seek an interview with Lord Irwin. They hoped that an understanding between these two men, so different in temperament and in training, yet so similar in the unselfish devotion to the truth which each perceives, would provide a bridge across which Congress opinion might move to a better understanding with Great Britain.

It was difficult at first sight to see how such an interview could be fruitful. Mr. Gandhi was prepared to set a high price upon any abandonment of the general campaign of civil disobedience; and certain of his demands, such as a general inquiry into the conduct of the Indian police, were quite outside the boundaries of practical politics. Further, the progress of the negotiations was not likely to be helped by Mr. Gandhi's habit, ruefully noted from time to time by some of his own followers, of treating all political problems as moral issues. But Britain was fortunate in having as Viceroy not only a statesman of the first rank, but also a man who by temperament habitually sets moral issues above everything else. And as the conversations between Mr. Gandhi and Lord Irwin were protracted day after day, it gradually became obvious to the world that they had succeeded in discovering at least a basis of mutual understanding. There was a dramatic quality about these interviews which appealed to common humanity in every country. The spectacle of the representative of a mighty Empire, clad with the power and prestige of a position almost unique in this workaday world, closeted for hours of the friendliest converse with the frail little ascetic who holds the majority of Hindu India in the hollow of his thin hand, was one at which all men who seek peace might thankfully marvel.

Patience and good will on both sides overcame the greatest difficulties; and in the early hours of the morning of March 4 the world learned that Lord Irwin and Mr. Gandhi had reached an agreement. The campaign of civil disobedience would be brought to an end; and the Congress was to participate in the constitutional discussions arising out of the Round Table Conference. The boycott of British goods as a political weapon was to be discontinued, although such picketing as fell within the limits permitted by the ordinary law might continue to promote the sales of Indian cloth. The inquiry into the allegations against the conduct of the police was to be dropped; for it had been realized that any such inquiry, even if practicable, would also have involved an inquiry into the conduct of some of Mr. Gandhi's "non-violent" volunteers -- conduct by no means always beyond reproach. The Government agreed to withdraw the temporary ordinances in connection with the civil disobedience movement; to release prisoners undergoing sentence for offenses other than those of violence; to remit fines which had not been realized; and to withdraw prosecution pending against those who had broken the law without being guilty of violent action. Moreover, those persons who resided in the salt areas were to be permitted to collect and make salt for domestic consumption, but not to sell it outside their villages.

The general equity of the agreement is perhaps best shown by the fact that sections of opinion, both in Britain and in India, did not hesitate to acclaim it as a victory for the other side. The true meaning of an event so outstanding cannot be accurately assessed save by the judgment of history. But some consequences are already apparent. A great change has already come over the general political atmosphere of India. Lord Irwin, it is plain, has done two things which of themselves would entitle him to take rank among the greatest Viceroys whom Great Britain has ever dedicated to the service of India. In the first place, he has raised to an immensely high moral plane the general spirit of Britain's dealings with Indian National aspirations. In the second place, he has gone far to demonstrate to the world that if these aspirations do not come to fruition, the fault will lie not in British intentions, but in the inherent difficulties of the Indian situation.

It is indeed among the tragedies of that situation that there seems almost no possibility of coming to satisfactory terms with one party in India without bitterly offending another. The successful issue of the Gandhi-Irwin negotiations filled the Hindus with triumph, and the Mohammedans with something like despair. For it must never be forgotten that although Mr. Gandhi has a certain number of loyal Mohammedan followers, he is essentially a Hindu, leading a Hindu movement. For all his endeavors to reform the abuses of the Hindu social system, that system is essentially the bedrock of his strength. It has shaped his attitude towards economic as well as towards political questions; it is responsible for his plainly expressed dislike of the propaganda of Christian missionaries.[i] It accounts for his abhorrence of the more material side of western civilization. Since Mr. Gandhi rose to unquestioned preëminence in Congress circles, Congress has become more than ever Hindu. To the anxious eyes of many Mohammedan leaders, the successful upshot of Mr. Gandhi's conversations with Lord Irwin represented a long step towards the creation of Hindu domination.

Relations between Hindus and Moslems have for some months been very strained in India. The apprehensions of the Mohammedans regarding the difficulties which they were likely to encounter in any self-governing constitution of the western type, in which the Hindu majority would necessarily be dominant, had, as we have seen, been strengthened in London. They now received additional confirmation from the successful upshot of the negotiations which had taken place, as it were upon equal terms, between the representative of the Hindus and the representative of Great Britain. But worse was to follow. Communal riots broke out in various parts of Northern India, but paled into insignificance in comparison with the terrible tragedy of Cawnpore. In this great town a small population of Mohammedans, mainly of the shopkeeper class, lived surrounded by many times their own number of Hindus. On March 24 the Hindu population desired to close the bazaars as a sign of mourning for the execution of certain Hindu anarchists for the murder of a police officer at Lahore. The Mohammedans refused, and serious rioting broke out. Amid a scene of unprecedented horror, which the small garrison of troops and the police could do little to restrain, the Mohammedan population was almost exterminated. The casualty list was popularly estimated at something like a thousand souls, including women and infants in arms. The survivors fled. The effect upon Mohammedan opinion all over India was immediate and profound. Communal feeling blazed to an unprecedented height. As a result the problem regarding which the Round Table Conference had been unable to arrive at an agreement, even in principle, revealed itself in all its stark magnitude, at the very moment when that other problem, reckoned by the world in general as so much more important, namely, the reconciliation of Indian National aspirations with the spirit of the British Commonwealth of Nations, was in a fair way to resolve itself.

The Cawnpore tragedy occurred on the very eve of the meeting of the Indian National Congress at Karachi. It was obvious to all that Mr. Gandhi's difficulties would be considerable. Although he was the accredited spokesman of the Congress, and although in his negotiations with Lord Irwin he occupied the position of a plenipotentiary, there were many sections of his own followers to whom his agreement with Lord Irwin seemed something like surrender. The extreme left wing of the Congress Party, particularly the Youth League headed by Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru and Mr. Subhas Bose, had for some months been drifting in the direction of pure communism. Only the personal influence of Mr. Gandhi, only the thrill of participating actively in a campaign, even a non-violent campaign, against the existing government, had kept this section of opinion in line. Its adherents regarded constitutional activity as retrograde; they adopted Mr. Gandhi's doctrine of non-violence as a matter of expediency rather than as a matter of principle. The best of them were uncompromising idealists; the worst, political banditti. The calling-off of the civil disobedience movement threatened the loss to the one section of their chosen field of battle; to the other section, of their means of livelihood. Small wonder that they prepared a hostile reception for Mr. Gandhi at Karachi. More formidable, perhaps, was the feeling of a large body of orthodox adherents of the Congress that in calling off the civil disobedience campaign with its professed objects still unachieved, Mr. Gandhi had taken undue advantage of the discretionary power which the Congress had placed in his hands. Nevertheless, such is his prestige that no one seriously doubted his ability to secure, at least by a substantial majority, the ratification by Congress of his agreement with Lord Irwin. What was in doubt, however, was his ability to secure this ratification without splitting the Congress and without driving the left wing to secession, as had occurred once before in the history of that institution.

Faced with this crisis, Mr. Gandhi showed himself a superb tactician. He took full advantage of the fact that an over enthusiastic adherent of the extreme left wing threatened him with personal violence. The result of this attack was to rally around him all the most substantial elements of Congress opinion, and to deprive the left wingers of any reasonable chance of securing support for their views. At the same time Mr. Gandhi made the way easy for his more enthusiastic followers by expressing sentiments which, if accurately reported, seemed at first sight scarcely reconcilable, in the strict letter at least, with the spirit of his truce with the British Government. He himself moved a resolution extolling the bravery and sacrifice of the Lahore anarchists and expressing the opinion that their execution was an act of wanton vengeance and a deliberate flouting of the unanimous demand of the nation. He referred to the intact demand of the Congress for complete independence; he encouraged Indian commercial interests to hope for a privileged position, even within India, as compared with their British and foreign competitors settled in the country. His public pronouncements assumed a distinctly uncompromising tone. But while on the one hand he did his best to rally his followers by the means familiar to political leaders in every country, he also made it perfectly plain that he intended to fight vigorously for his compact with Lord Irwin. He stated that if the compact were not endorsed by the Congress he would retire from political life and starve himself to death.

The result of these adroit tactics was a signal victory. First the working committee, and then the general meeting of the Congress, fell more and more completely under the spell of Mr. Gandhi's personality. The opposition, even that of the extremists, became half-hearted. The crucial resolution was adopted by an overwhelming majority. It read as follows, and its terms are worth careful study: "This Congress, having considered the provisional settlement between Mr. Gandhi and Lord Irwin, endorses and desires to make clear that the Congress goal of Purna Swaraj [ii] remains intact. In the event of the way being open to Congress to be represented at any Conference of representatives of the British Government, the Congress Delegation will work for this goal, and in particular, for national control over the army, external affairs, finance, and fiscal and economic policy; the right of scrutiny through an impartial tribunal of the financial transactions of the British Government in India, and the right to examine and assess the obligations to be undertaken by India or Britain; and the right of either party to end the partnership at will, provided, however, that the Congress delegation be free to accept such adjustments as may be shown to be necessary in the interests of India. Congress appoints and authorizes Mahatma Gandhi to represent it at the Conference, with the addition of such other delegates as the working Committee may appoint to act under his leadership."

Mr. Gandhi thus acquired an entirely free hand. The important proviso authorized him to consider and discuss even those safeguards and reservations which had been suggested by the Round Table Conference constitution. No one was surprised when it was subsequently announced that Mr. Gandhi would himself be the sole representative of the Congress at the renewed sessions of the Round Table Conference. Having secured so complete a victory, Mr. Gandhi could afford to be generous to the younger and more enthusiastic section of his followers; and for some days after the successful termination of his negotiations with the Congress his public pronouncements were such as to cause alarm even to those sections of British opinion most favorable to the progress of Indian Nationalist aspirations. In the Declaration of Rights, which was passed in open Congress, there were distinct signs of extreme left wing ideas, expressed in phraseology which the world has learned to associate with the political program of the Soviet Government. Mention was made of the necessity of terminating "the exploitation of the masses;" of the limitation of all salaries to a maximum of £450 per annum; of reductions so drastic in land revenue, rent, and taxes that the resources of any future administration would stand in doubt. With these were coupled the demand for the full and entire control of India's finances, army, key industries, mineral resources and foreign affairs. It is worth noting that this far-reaching program excited a certain amount of adverse comment from the more orthodox members of the Congress, who felt that it represented rather the ultimate aspirations towards which a self-governing India might in the future direct its efforts than a practical plan of campaign for the immediate future.

With his position more impregnable than ever, Mr. Gandhi turned his attention to the communal question. The Mohammedans were in a very dangerous mood; and the meeting of the All-India Moslem Conference in the first week of April roundly attacked Mr. Gandhi himself. The British Government was accused of the most culpable weakness in pandering to Congress and to Hindus; and it was only with the greatest difficulty that certain of the Mohammedan leaders prevented the passage of a resolution, in the name of the Moslems of India, declining further coöperation in the deliberations of the Round Table Conference. The Conference declared unhesitatingly for communal electorates as a means of safeguarding the political position of the community. Indeed, some forceful criticism was directed against the Mohammedan representatives on the last Round Table Conference for their willingness even to negotiate in regard to this vital point.

It must unfortunately be recorded that Mr. Gandhi failed in his endeavors to placate Mohammedan feeling. He had previously announced his intention to attend a meeting with the Moslem leaders, armed with Swadeshi paper and a Swadeshi pen, with which to write the concession of whatever demands they might put forward. But when the time came he set his face against the concession of communal electorates, explaining that his own Mohammedan followers had warned him that they would not coöperate in the new constitutional organization unless all electorates were general rather than separate. The leaders of the All-India Moslem Conference were bitterly affronted, and roundly accused Mr. Gandhi of attempting to play off a small section of their community against the remainder. Indeed, there is reason to fear that, up to the moment of writing, Mr. Gandhi's interposition has made the communal position worse rather than better.

It is important to notice that the real crux of the problem of Hindu-Moslem adjustment lies less in the question of communal electorates than in the question as to where, in the new Constitution, the residuary powers shall lie. The communal electorates are regarded by the orthodox Mohammedan of India as a valuable safeguard; but if in the new constitution the residuary powers were allowed to vest in the federating units, rather than in the Central Government, the Mohammedans would feel that their position was to a great extent secure. For in the Provinces, if the system of checks and balances upon which the Mohammedans lay stress is to come into operation, they feel confident that they will be able to safeguard themselves. What they fear is domination by a federal center, which must, under any conceivable arrangement, reflect the preponderant position of the Hindu majority. The Hindus, on the other hand, are naturally unwilling to sacrifice the political advantage which, in their view, their numbers entitle them to assume; and they further cherish deep and not ill-founded apprehensions that the vesting of residuary power in the Provinces may lead to the break-up of such national sentiment towards the unification of India as exists at present. The real importance of this question as to where the residuary powers shall lie was revealed to careful observers by the sessions of the Mohammedan Nationalist Conference at Lucknow, which was intended by the Congress to offset the political effect of the meeting of the All-India Moslem Conference at Delhi. This Lucknow meeting, which consisted for the most part of four hundred Mohammedans who follow Mr. Gandhi and the Congress, while it duly served its appointed purpose in denouncing communal electorates and declaring the readiness of the Mohammedans to persevere along the road leading to complete Swaraj, proceeded to record an emphatic opinion that in the new constitution the residuary powers should vest in the federating units. Thus, along the most critical frontier of division between the Hindus and the Mohammedans, Mr. Gandhi's own Mohammedan followers are lined up with the rest of their co-religionists.

Here for the moment the matter stands. The outbreak of the communal troubles has gravely disconcerted the British authorities, both in England and in India. No pains have been spared by Lord Irwin to induce the leaders of the two communities to come to a common understanding. So far these efforts have not been successful. In the last important announcement which Lord Irwin made, at the termination of his five years of devoted labor for India, he said: "If there is one thing more certain than any other, it is that no political society can prosper or be at peace within itself unless the minorities are reasonably satisfied with their conditions. Therefore, it is no answer to say that the particular conditions which the minorities demand for their interests are inimical to the evolution of Indian nationhood. If, as I believe to be the case, there is a wide feeling of apprehension among the minorities, and, if I may offer a word of personal advice, I would say that the wisest course for the majority community is frankly to recognize these apprehensions and be prepared to give the reassurances desired and claimed until such time as of their own free will the minorities were prepared to let them go."

It will be among the earliest tasks of Lord Willingdon, Lord Irwin's able and experienced successor, to endeavor to arrange some compromise between the two communities. There is little doubt that Mr. Gandhi will persevere in his own efforts. It is greatly to be hoped that these projects will succeed; for until a better understanding is arrived at, it is quite impossible to resume the deliberations of the Round Table Conference. This is the more lamentable in that general public opinion in Britain is more and more convinced of the equity of the broad general principles laid down in the first session of the Round Table Conference. Dissentients there are, both powerful and influential; but the immense majority of people in Britain are anxious for nothing so much as for a peaceful and contented India. At one time it was hoped by the British Government to reassemble the Federal Structure Sub-Committee of the Round Table Conference in London in the spring. This proved impossible. The latest idea seems to be that the Sub-Committee shall assemble in July and shall work for six weeks or two months, in preparation for the reassembling of the main Conference in the autumn. But nothing can be done until some sort of a modus vivendi is arrived at between the Hindus and the Mohammedans. The danger of delay is emphasized by the fact that the communal spirit is spreading. Outbreaks of violence have occurred in various parts of India between the depressed classes and the orthodox Hindus. Before long, a situation almost equally formidable may materialize from the religious quarter also.

It is satisfactory to notice that the decision of the representatives of the semi-autonomous Indian States to continue their exploration of the federal idea has been reaffirmed by an important session of the Chamber of Princes held in Delhi in March. The Chamber renewed the mandate of authority to its representatives to the Round Table Conference, and while making it clear that entry into the Federation must in the last resort be a matter for each individual state, did not hesitate to record its general approval of the progress hitherto achieved. In view of the sacrifices which a Federation will entail in regard to the jealously guarded autonomy of the individual states, it is scarcely surprising that a small section of the Princes still remains in doubt as to the wisdom of the projected policy. But the action of the Chamber in electing as Chancellor for this year the Nawab of Bhopal, a young, energetic, and enlightened Prince, who is a great exponent of the idea of federation, shows plainly the way in which the tide is turning. Incidentally, this election is of great interest in connection with the communal difficulties which have arisen in British India. For although the Hindu Princes are in a great majority, they did not hesitate at this critical juncture of their fortunes to accord their confidence to a Mohammedan Chancellor. Indeed, the enviable freedom of the Indian States from Hindu-Moslem conflicts is of itself a good augury for the success of the federal ideal in India. Within compact homogeneous areas the claim of citizenship can already override racial and religious divisions. Local autonomy, it is to be hoped, will provide a solution for communal troubles, as for several other of India's difficulties.

As to the genuine desire of the British people and of their representatives in India to assist the progress of Indian nationalism on the lines laid down by the Round Table Conference, there can be no doubt. But the events of the last four months show plainly how numerous and how difficult are the problems which must be solved before Indian nationalism can attain its full fruition. Granted the continuance of that healthy and honest coöperation between the best brains of Britain and of India, not one of these problems should prove beyond the possibility of solution. But it is becoming increasingly evident, even to the most ardent champions of Indian nationalism, that the principal obstacles to the realization of their ambitions lie not in British intransigence but in the conditions of their own country.

[i] In a recent interview Mr. Gandhi said: "If, instead of confining themselves purely to humanitarian work, such as education, medical services to the poor, and the like, they would use these activities of theirs for the purpose of proselytising, I would certainly ask them to withdraw. . . . India stands in no need of conversion from one faith to another."

[ii] A convenient expression which may mean, according to the pleasure of the interpreter, either "complete independence" in the international sense, or "complete self-government" in the Commonwealth sense, or "government of the self" in the moral sense.

You are reading a free article.

Subscribe to Foreign Affairs to get unlimited access.

  • Paywall-free reading of new articles and a century of archives
  • Unlock access to iOS/Android apps to save editions for offline reading
  • Six issues a year in print, online, and audio editions
Subscribe Now
  • L. F. RUSHBROOK WILLIAMS, Foreign Minister of Patiala State; formerly Professor of Modern Indian History in the University of Allahabad and member of the Legislative Assembly
  • More By L. F. Rushbrook Williams