Page:Speeches And Writings MKGandhi.djvu/233

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tion that this contract is to be just as binding as the contracts used to be under indenture. The report has the following humorous passage in it: "He will be, in no way, restricted to service under any particular employer except that for his own protection, a selected employer will be chosen for him for the first six months." This has a flavour of the old indentured system. One of the evils complained of about that system was that the labourer was assigned to an employer. He was not free to choose one himself. Under the new system, the employer is to be selected for the protection of the labourer. It is hardly necessary for me to point out that the would-be labourer will never be able to feel the protection devised for him. The labourer is further "to be encouraged to work for his first three years in agricultural industries, by the offer, should he do so, of numerous and important benefits subsequently as a colonist." This is another inducement to indenture, and I know enough of such schemes to be able to assure both the Government and public that these so-called inducements in the hands of clever manipulators become nothing short of methods of compulsion in respect of innocent and ignorant Indian labourers. It is due to the framers of the scheme that I should draw attention to the fact that they have avoided all criminal penalties for breach of contract. In India itself if the scheme is adopted, we are promised a revival of the much-dreaded depots and emigration agents, all no doubt, on a more respectable basis but still of the same type and capable of untold mischief.

The rest of the report is not likely to interest the public, but those who wish to study it will, I doubt not, come to the conclusion to which I have been driven, that the framers have done their best to strip the old