Авторы: 159 А Б В Г Д Е З И Й К Л М Н О П Р С Т У Ф Х Ц Ч Ш Щ Э Ю Я

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THE PRESENT SITUATION

As things stand at present, there is a remarkable lull. It would be futile to predict whether it will last. It is due

in part, as I have suggested, to general political weariness, in part to the drastic action taken against the

smaller agitating fry, in part to the depletion of the coffers of the extremists, in part to the fact that the

extremists are quarrelling amongst themselves as to their future programme. Some are for continuing a

boycott of the Councils; others are for capturing all the seats and dominating the legislature; others are for

re−beating the dead horse of non−co−operation. Meanwhile, with disunion in the extremist camp, the

Councils conduct their business on moderate lines, and, so far as one can judge, with marked temperance and sanity.

The work of the first Councils has indeed been surprisingly good, and augurs well for the future. India has not

yet, of course, by any means grasped the full significance of representative government. The party system is

still in embryo, although two somewhat vague and nebulous parties calling themselves the "Nationalists" and

the "Democrats" do exist. But these parties have no clear−cut programme, and they do not follow the lead of

the Ministers, who are regarded, not as representing the elected members of the Council, but as

newly−appointed additional members of the official bureaucracy. There will doubtless in time be gradual

sorting of politicians into definite groups, but there are two unbridgeable gulfs in the Indian social system

which must always militate against the building up of a solid political party system: first, the gulf between

Hindu and Moslem, which still yawns as wide as ever, and second, the gulf between the Brahman and the

"untouchables" who, by the way, have found their fears that they would be downtrodden under the new

Councils completely baseless.

There are and must be breakers ahead. Some we can see, and there are doubtless others still bigger which we

cannot yet glimpse over the welter of troubled waters. What we can see is this: first, there is a danger that

unless Government and the Councils together can before the next elections in 1923−24 take definite steps

towards the industrial development and the self−defence of India, the extremist party are likely to come in in

full force and to create a deadlock in the administration; second, unless the Councils continue to accept a

fiscal policy in accordance with the general interests of Great Britain and the Empire, there will be trouble.

The fiscal position is obscure, but it is the crux, for the Councils can indirectly stultify any policy distasteful

to them, and this too may mean a deadlock; third, there is a danger that the Indianisation of the Services will

advance much more rapidly than was ever contemplated, or than is desirable in the interests of India for many

years to come, for the simple reason that capable young Englishmen of the right stamp will not, without

adequate guarantees for their future, accept employment in India. Those guarantees can be given satisfactorily

by one authority alone, and that is by the Indian Legislatures voicing popular opinion. For a complex

administration bristling with technical questions, administrative, political, and economic, it is essential that

India should have for many years to come the assistance of highly−educated Britons with the tradition of

administration in their blood. The Councils will be wise to recognise this and make conditions which will

secure for them in the future as in the past the best stamp of adventurous Briton.

Finally, the Montagu−Chelmsford scheme, though a capable and conscientious endeavour to give gradual

effect to a wise and generous policy, has of necessity its weak points. The system of diarchy−−of allotting

certain matters to the bureaucratic authority of the Viceroy and of the Provincial Governors and other matters

to the representatives of the people−−is obviously a stop−gap, which is already moribund. The attempt to fix

definite periods at which further advances towards self−government can be considered is bound to fail: you

cannot give political concessions by a stop−watch; the advance will either be much more rapid or much

slower than the scheme anticipates. Again, the present basis of election is absurdly small, but any attempt to

broaden it must tend towards adult suffrage, which in itself would appear impracticable with a population of

over 200 millions.