The Case For India/Chapter III/II

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Tests of Efficiency.[edit]

The Secondary Reasons for the present demand for Home Rule may be summed up in the blunt statement: "The present rule, while efficient in less important matters and in those which concern British interests, is inefficient in the greater matters on which the healthy life and happiness of the people depend." Looking at outer things, such as external order, posts and telegraphs—except where political agitators are concerned—main roads, railways, etc., foreign visitors, who expected to find a semi-savage country, hold up their hands in admiration. But if they saw the life of the people, the masses of struggling clerks trying to educate their children on Rs. 25 (28s. 0-1/4d.) a month, the masses of labourers with one meal a day, and the huts in which they live, they would find cause for thought. And if the educated men talked freely with them, they would be surprised at their bitterness. Gopal Krishna Gokhale put the whole matter very plainly in 1911:

     One of the fundamental conditions of the peculiar position of
     the British Government in this country is that it should be a
     continuously progressive Government. I think all thinking men,
     to whatever community they belong, will accept that. Now, I
     suggest four tests to judge whether the Government is
     progressive, and, further, whether it is continuously
     progressive. The first test that I would apply is what measures
     it adopts for the moral and material improvement of the mass of
     the people, and under these measures I do not include those
     appliances of modern Governments which the British Government
     has applied in this country, because they were appliances
     necessary for its very existence, though they have benefited
     the people, such as the construction of Railways, the
     introduction of Post and Telegraphs, and things of that kind.
     By measures for the moral and material improvement of the
     people, I mean what the Government does for education, what the
     Government does for sanitation, what the Government does for
     agricultural development, and so forth. That is my first test.
     The second test that I would apply is what steps the Government
     takes to give us a larger share in the administration of our
     local affairs—in municipalities and local boards. My third
     test is what voice the Government gives us in its Councils—in
     those deliberate assemblies, where policies are considered.
     And, lastly, we must consider how far Indians are admitted into
     the ranks of the public service.

A Change of System Needed.[edit]

Those were Gokhale's tests, and Indians can supply the results of their knowledge and experience to answer them. But before dealing with the failure to meet these tests, it is necessary to state here that it is not a question of blaming men, or of substituting Indians for Englishmen, but of changing the system itself. It is a commonplace that the best men become corrupted by the possession of irresponsible power. As Bernard Houghton says: "The possession of unchecked power corrupts some of the finer qualities." Officials quite honestly come to believe that those who try to change the system are undermining the security of the State. They identify the State with themselves, so that criticism of them is seen as treason to the State. The phenomenon is well known in history, and it is only repeating itself in India. The same writer—I prefer to use his words rather than my own, for he expresses exactly my own views, and will not be considered to be prejudiced as I am thought to be—cogently remarks:

     He (the official) has become an expert in reports and returns
     and matters of routine through many years of practice. They are
     the very woof and warp of his brain. He has no ideas, only
     reflexes. He views with acrid disfavour untried conceptions.
     From being constantly preoccupied with the manipulation of the
     machine he regards its smooth working, the ordered and
     harmonious regulation of glittering pieces of machinery, as the
     highest service he can render to the country of his adoption.
     He determines that his particular cog-wheel at least shall be
     bright, smooth, silent, and with absolutely no back-lash. Not
     unnaturally in course of time he comes to envisage the world
     through the strait embrasure of an office window. When perforce
     he must report on new proposals he will place in the forefront,
     not their influence on the life and progress of the people, but
     their convenience to the official hierarchy and the manner in
     which they affect its authority. Like the monks of old, or the
     squire in the typical English village, he cherishes a
     benevolent interest in the commonalty, and is quite willing,
     even eager, to take a general interest in their welfare, if
     only they do not display initiative or assert themselves in
     opposition to himself or his order. There is much in this
     proviso. Having come to regard his own judgment as almost
     divine, and the hierarchy of which he has the honour to form a
     part as a sacrosanct institution, he tolerates the laity so
     long as they labour quietly and peaceably at their vocations
     and do not presume to inter-meddle in high matters of State.
     That is the heinous offence. And frank criticism of official
     acts touches a lower depth still, even lèse majesté. For no
     official will endure criticism from his subordinates, and the
     public, who lie in outer darkness beyond the pale, do not in
     his estimation rank even with his subordinates. How, then,
     should he listen with patience when in their cavilling way they
     insinuate that, in spite of the labours of a high-souled
     bureaucracy, all is perhaps not for the best in the best of all
     possible worlds—still less when they suggest reforms that had
     never occurred even to him or to his order, and may clash with
     his most cherished ideals? It is for the officials to govern
     the country; they alone have been initiated into the sacred
     mysteries; they alone understand the secret working of the
     machine. At the utmost the laity may tender respectful and
     humble suggestions for their consideration, but no more. As for
     those who dare to think and act for themselves, their ignorant
     folly is only equalled by their arrogance. It is as though a
     handful of schoolboys were to dictate to their masters
     alterations in the traditional time-table, or to insist on a
     modified curriculum.... These worthy people [officials] confuse
     manly independence with disloyalty; they cannot conceive of
     natives except either as rebels or as timid sheep.

Non-Official Anglo-Indians.[edit]

The problem becomes more complicated by the existence in India of a small but powerful body of the same race as the higher officials; there are only 122,919 English-born persons in this country, while there are 245,000,000 in the British Raj and another 70,000,000 in the Indian States, more or less affected by British influence. As a rule, the non-officials do not take any part in politics, being otherwise occupied; but they enter the field when any hope arises in Indian hearts of changes really beneficial to the Nation. John Stuart Mill observed on this point:

     The individuals of the ruling people who resort to the foreign
     country to make their fortunes are of all others those who most
     need to be held under powerful restraint. They are always one
     of the chief difficulties of the Government. Armed with the
     prestige and filled with the scornful overbearingness of the
     conquering Nation, they have the feelings inspired by absolute
     power without its sense of responsibility.

Similarly, Sir John Lawrence wrote:

     The difficulty in the way of the Government of India acting
     fairly in these matters is immense. If anything is done, or
     attempted to be done, to help the natives, a general howl is
     raised, which reverberates in England, and finds sympathy and
     support there. I feel quite bewildered sometimes what to do.
     Everyone is, in the abstract, for justice, moderation, and
     suchlike excellent qualities; but when one comes to apply such
     principles so as to affect anybody's interests, then a change
     comes over them.

Keene, speaking of the principle of treating equally all classes of the community, says:

     The application of that maxim, however, could not be made
     without sometimes provoking opposition among the handful of
     white settlers in India who, even when not connected with the
     administration, claimed a kind of class ascendancy which was
     not only in the conditions of the country but also in the
     nature of the case. It was perhaps natural that in a land of
     caste the compatriots of the rulers should become—as Lord
     Lytton said—a kind of "white Brahmanas"; and it was certain
     that, as a matter of fact, the pride of race and the possession
     of western civilisation created a sense of superiority, the
     display of which was ungraceful and even dangerous, when not
     tempered by official responsibility. This feeling had been
     sensitive enough in the days of Lord William Bentinck, when the
     class referred to was small in numbers and devoid of influence.
     It was now both more numerous, and—by reason of its connection
     with the newspapers of Calcutta and of London—it was far
     better able to make its passion heard.

During Lord Ripon's sympathetic administration the great outburst occurred against the Ilbert Bill in 1883. We are face to face with a similar phenomenon to-day, when we see the European Associations—under the leadership of the Madras Mail, the Englishman of Calcutta, the Pioneer of Allahabad, the Civil and Military Gazette of Lahore, with their Tory and Unionist allies in the London Press and with the aid of retired Indian officials and non-officials in England—desperately resisting the Reforms now proposed. Their opposition, we know, is a danger to the movement towards Freedom, and even when they have failed to impress England—as they are evidently failing—they will try to minimise or smother here the reforms which a statute has embodied. The Minto-Morley reforms were thus robbed of their usefulness, and a similar attempt, if not guarded against, will be made when the Congress-League Scheme is used as the basis for an Act.

The Re-action on England.[edit]

We cannot leave out of account here the deadly harm done to England herself by this un-English system of rule in India. Mr. Hobson has pointed out:

     As our free Self-Governing Colonies have furnished hope,
     encouragement, and leading to the popular aspirations in Great
     Britain, not merely by practical success in the art of
     Self-Government, but by the wafting of a spirit of freedom and
     equality, so our despotically ruled Dependencies have ever
     served to damage the character of our people by feeding the
     habits of snobbish subservience, the admiration of wealth and
     rank, the corrupt survivals of the inequalities of
     feudalism.... Cobden writing in 1860 of our Indian Empire, put
     this pithy question: "Is it not just possible that we may
     become corrupted at home by the reaction of arbitrary political
     maxims in the East upon our domestic politics, just as Greece
     and Rome were demoralised by their contact with Asia?" Not
     merely is the reaction possible, it is inevitable. As the
     despotic portion of our Empire, has grown in area, a large
     number of men, trained in the temper and methods of autocracy,
     as soldiers and civil officials in our Crown Colonies,
     Protectorates and Indian Empire, reinforced by numbers of
     merchants, planters, engineers, and overseers, whose lives have
     been those of a superior caste living an artificial life
     removed from all the healthy restraints of ordinary European
     Society, have returned to this country, bringing back the
     characters, sentiments and ideas imposed by this foreign

It is a little hard on the I.C.S. that they should be foreigners here, and then, when they return to their native land, find that they have become foreigners there by the corrupting influences with which they are surrounded here. We import them as raw material to our own disadvantage, and when we export them as manufactured here, Great Britain and India alike suffer from their reactionary tendencies. The results are unsatisfactory to both sides.

The First Test Applied.[edit]

Let us now apply Gokhale's first test. What has the Bureaucracy done for "education, sanitation, agricultural improvement, and so forth"? I must put the facts very briefly, but they are indisputable.

Education. The percentage to the whole population of children receiving education is 2.8, the percentage having risen by 0.9 since Mr. Gokhale moved his Education Bill six years ago. The percentage of children of school-going age attending school is 18.7. In 1913 the Government of India put the number of pupils at 4-1/2 millions; this has been accomplished in 63 years, reckoning from Sir Charles Wood's Educational Despatch in 1854, which led to the formation of the Education Department. In 1870 an Education Act was passed in Great Britain, the condition of Education in England then much resembling our present position; grants-in-aid in England had been given since 1833, chiefly to Church Schools. Between 1870 and 1881 free and compulsory education was established, and in 12 years the attendance rose from 43.3 to nearly 100 per cent. There are now 6,000,000 children in the schools of England and Wales out of a population of 40 millions. Japan, before 1872, had a proportion of 28 per cent. of children of school-going age in school, nearly 10 over our present proportion; in 24 years the percentage was raised to 92, and in 28 years education was free and compulsory. In Baroda education is free and largely compulsory and the percentage of boys is 100 per cent. Travancore has 81.1 per cent. of boys and 33.2 of girls. Mysore has 45.8 of boys and 9.7 of girls. Baroda spends an. 6-6 per head on school-going children, British India one anna. Expenditure on education advanced between 1882 and 1907 by 57 lakhs. Land-revenue had increased by 8 crores, military expenditure by 13 crores, civil by 8 crores, and capital outlay on railways was 15 crores. (I am quoting G.K. Gokhale's figures.) He ironically calculated that, if the population did not increase, every boy would be in school 115 years hence, and every girl in 665 years. Brother Delegates, we hope to do it more quickly under Home Rule. I submit that in Education the Bureaucracy is inefficient.

Sanitation and Medical Relief. The prevalence of plague, cholera, and above all malaria, shows the lack of sanitation alike in town and country. This lack is one of the causes contributing to the low average life-period in India—23.5 years. In England the life-period is 40 years, in New Zealand 60. The chief difficulty in the way of the treatment of disease is the encouragement of the foreign system of medicine, especially in rural parts, and the withholding of grants from the indigenous. Government Hospitals, Government Dispensaries, Government doctors, must all be on the foreign system. Ayurvaidic and Unani medicines, Hospitals, Dispensaries, Physicians, are unrecognised, and to "cover" the latter is "infamous" conduct. Travancore gives grants-in-aid to 72 Vaidyashalas, at which 143,505 patients—22,000 more than in allopathic institutions—were treated in 1914-15 (the Report issued in 1917). Our Government cannot grapple with the medical needs of the people, yet will not allow the people's money to be spent on the systems they prefer. Under Home Rule the indigenous and the foreign systems will be treated with impartiality. I grant that the allopathic doctors do their utmost to supply the need, and show great self-sacrifice, but the need is too vast and the numbers too few. Efficiency on their own lines in this matter is therefore impossible for our bureaucratic Government; their fault lies in excluding the indigenous systems, which they have not condescended to examine before rejecting them. The result is that in sanitation and medical relief the Bureaucracy is inefficient.

Agricultural Development. The census of 1911 gives the agricultural population at 218.3 millions. Its frightful poverty is a matter of common knowledge; its ever-increasing load of indebtedness has been dwelt on for at least the last thirty odd years by Sir Dinshaw E. Wacha. Yet the increasing debt is accompanied with increasing taxation, land revenue having risen, as just stated, in 25 years, by 8 crores—80,000,000—of rupees. In addition to this there are local cesses, salt tax, etc. The salt tax, which presses most hardly on the very poor, was raised in the last budget by Rs. 9 millions. The inevitable result of this poverty is malnutrition, resulting in low vitality, lack of resistance to disease, short life-period, huge infantile mortality. Gopal Krishna Gokhale, no mischievous agitator, repeated in 1905 the figures; often quoted:

     Forty millions of people, according to one great Anglo-Indian
     authority—Sir William Hunter—pass through life with only one
     meal a day. According to another authority—Sir Charles
     Elliot—70 millions of people in India do not know what it is
     to have their hunger fully satisfied even once in the whole
     course of the year. The poverty of the people of India, thus
     considered by itself, is truly appalling. And if this is the
     state of things after a hundred years of your rule, you cannot
     claim that your principal aim in India has been the promotion
     of the interests of the Indian people.

It is sometimes said: "Why harp on these figures? We know them." Our answer is that the fact is ever harping in the stomach of the people, and while it continues we cannot cease to draw attention to it. And Gokhale urged that "even this deplorable condition has been further deteriorating steadily." We have no figures on malnutrition among the peasantry, but in Madras City, among an equally poor urban population, we found that 78 per cent. of our pupils were reported, after a medical inspection, to be suffering from malnutrition. And the spareness of frame, the thinness of arms and legs, the pitiably weak grip on life, speak without words to the seeing eye. It needs an extraordinary lack of imagination not to suffer while these things are going on.

The peasants' grievances are many and have been voiced year after year by this Congress. The Forest Laws, made by legislators inappreciative of village difficulties, press hardly on them, and only in a small number of places have Forest Panchayats been established. In the few cases in which the experiment has been made the results have been good, in some cases marvellously good. The paucity of grazing grounds for their cattle, the lack of green manure to feed their impoverished lands, the absence of fencing round forests, so that the cattle stray in when feeding, are impounded, and have to be redeemed, the fines and other punishments imposed for offences ill-understood, the want of wood for fuel, for tools, for repairs, the uncertain distribution of the available water, all these troubles are discussed in villages and in local Conferences. The Arms Act oppresses them, by leaving them defenceless against wild beasts and wild men. The union of Judicial and Executive functions makes justice often inaccessible, and always costly both in money and in time. The village officials naturally care more to please the Tahsildar and the Collector than the villagers, to whom they are in no way responsible. And factions flourish, because there is always a third party to whom to resort, who may be flattered if his rank be high, bribed if it be low, whose favour can be gained in either case by cringing and by subservience and tale-bearing. As regards the condition of agriculture in India and the poverty of the agricultural population, the Bureaucracy is inefficient.

The application of Mr. Gokhale's first test to Indian handicrafts, to the strengthening of weak industries and the creation of new, to the care of waterways for traffic and of the coast transport shipping, the protection of indigo and other indigenous dyes against their German synthetic rivals, etc., would show similar answers. We are suffering now from the supineness of the Bureaucracy as regards the development of the resources of the country, by its careless indifference to the usurping by Germans of some of those resources, and even now they are pursuing a similar policy of laissez faire towards Japanese enterprise, which, leaning on its own Government, is taking the place of Germany in shouldering Indians out of their own natural heritage.

In all prosperous countries crafts are found side by-side with agriculture, and they lend each other mutual support. The extreme poverty of Ireland, and the loss of more than half its population by emigration, were the direct results of the destruction of its wool-industry by Great Britain, and the consequent throwing of the population entirely on the land for subsistence. A similar phenomenon has resulted here from a similar case, but on a far more widespread scale. And here, a novel and portentous change for India, "a considerable landless class is developing, which involves economic danger," as the Imperial Gazeteer remarks, comparing the census returns of 1891 and 1901. "The ordinary agricultural labourers are employed on the land only during the busy seasons of the year, and in slack times a few are attracted to large trade-centres for temporary work." One recalls the influx into England of Irish labourers at harvest time. Professor Radkamal Mukerji has laid stress on the older conditions of village life. He says:

     The village is still almost self-sufficing, and is in itself an
     economic unit. The village agriculturist grows all the food
     necessary for the inhabitants of the village. The smith makes
     the plough-shares for the cultivator, and the few iron utensils
     required for the household. He supplies these to the people,
     but does not get money in return. He is recompensed by mutual
     services from his fellow villagers. The potter supplies him
     with pots, the weaver with cloth, and the oilman with oil. From
     the cultivator each of these artisans receives his traditional
     share of grain. Thus almost all the economic transactions are
     carried on without the use of money. To the villagers money is
     only a store of value, not a medium of exchange. When they
     happen to be rich in money, they hoard it either in coins or
     make ornaments made of gold and silver.

These conditions are changing in consequence of the pressure of poverty driving the villagers to the city, where they learn to substitute the competition of the town for the mutual helpfulness of the village. The difference of feeling, the change from trustfulness to suspicion, may be seen by visiting villages which are in the vicinity of a town and comparing their villagers with those who inhabit villages in purely rural areas. This economic and moral deterioration can only be checked by the re-establishment of a healthy and interesting village life, and this depends upon the re-establishment of the Panchayat as the unit of Government, a question which I deal with presently. Village industries would then revive and an intercommunicating network would be formed by Co-operative Societies. Mr. C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar says in his pamphlet, Co-operative Societies and Panchayats:

     The one method by which this evil [emigration to towns] can be
     arrested and the economic and social standards of life of the
     rural people elevated is by the inauguration of healthy
     Panchayats in conjunction with the foundation of Co-operative
     institutions, which will have the effect of resuscitating
     village industries, and of creating organised social forces.
     The Indian village, when rightly reconstructed, would be an
     excellent foundation for well-developed co-operative industrial


     The resuscitation of the village system has other bearings, not
     usually considered in connection with the general subject of
     the inauguration of the Panchayat system. One of the most
     important of these is the regeneration of the small industries
     of the land. Both in Europe and in India the decline of small
     industries has gone on pari passu with the decline of farming
     on a small scale. In countries like France agriculture has
     largely supported village industries, and small cultivators in
     that country have turned their attention to industry as a
     supplementary source of livelihood. The decline of village life
     in India is not only a political, but also an economic and
     industrial, problem. Whereas in Europe the cultural impulse has
     travelled from the city to the village, in India the reverse
     has been the case. The centre of social life in this country is
     the village, and not the town. Ours was essentially the cottage
     industry, and our artisans still work in their own huts, more
     or less out of touch with the commercial world. Throughout the
     world the tendency has been of late to lay considerable
     emphasis on distributive and industrial co-operation based on a
     system of village industries and enterprise. Herein would be
     found the origins of the arts and crafts guilds and the Garden
     Cities, the idea underlying all these being to inaugurate a
     reign of Socialism and Co-operation, eradicating the entirely
     unequal distribution of wealth amongst producers and consumers.
     India has always been a country of small tenantry, and has
     thereby escaped many of the evils the western Nations have
     experienced owing to the concentration of wealth in a few
     hands. The communistic sense in our midst, and the fundamental
     tenets of our family life, have checked such concentration of
     capital. This has been the cause for the non-development of
     factory industries on a large scale.

The need for these changes—to which England is returning, after full experience of the miseries of life in manufacturing towns—is pressing.

Addressing an English audience, G.K. Gokhale summed up the general state of India as follows:

     Your average annual income has been estimated at about £42 per
     head. Ours, according to official estimates, is about £2 per
     head, and according to non-official estimates, only a little
     more than £1 per head. Your imports per head are about £13:
     ours about 5s. per head. The total deposits in your Postal
     Savings Bank amount to 148 million sterling, and you have in
     addition in the Trustees' Savings Banks about 52 million
     sterling. Our Postal Savings Bank deposits, with a population
     seven times as large as yours, are only about 7 million
     sterling, and even of this a little over one-tenth is held by
     Europeans. Your total paid-up capital of joint-stock companies
     is about 1,900 million sterling. Ours is not quite 26 million
     sterling, and the greater part of this again is European.
     Four-fifths of our people are dependent upon agriculture, and
     agriculture has been for some time steadily deteriorating.
     Indian agriculturists are too poor, and are, moreover, too
     heavily indebted, to be able to apply any capital to land, and
     the result is that over the greater part of India agriculture
     is, as Sir James Caird pointed out more than twenty-five years
     ago, only a process of exhaustion of the soil. The yield per
     acre is steadily diminishing, being now only about 8 to 9
     bushels an acre against about 30 bushels here in England.

In all the matters which come under Gokhale's first test, the Bureaucracy has been and is inefficient.

Give Indians a Chance.[edit]

All we say in the matter is: You have not succeeded in bringing education, health, prosperity, to the masses of the people. Is it not time to give Indians a chance of doing, for their own country, work similar to that which Japan and other nations have done for theirs? Surely the claim is not unreasonable. If the Anglo-Indians say that the masses are their peculiar care, and that the educated classes care not for them, but only for place and power, then we point to the Congress, to the speeches and the resolutions eloquent of their love and their knowledge. It is not their fault that they gaze on their country's poverty in helpless despair. Or let Mr. Justice Rahim answer:

     As for the representation of the interests of the many scores
     of millions in India, if the claim be that they are better
     represented by European Officials than by educated Indian
     Officials or non-Officials, it is difficult to conceive how
     such reckless claim has come to be urged. The inability of
     English Officials to master the spoken language of India and
     their habits of life and modes of thought so completely divide
     them from the general population, that only an extremely
     limited few, possessed with extraordinary powers of insight,
     have ever been able to surmount the barriers. With the educated
     Indians, on the other hand, this knowledge is instinctive, and
     the view of religion and custom so strong in the East make
     their knowledge and sympathy more real than is to be seen in
     countries dominated by materialistic conceptions.

And it must be remembered that it is not lack of ability which has brought about bureaucratic inefficiency, for British traders and producers have done uncommonly well for themselves in India. But a Bureaucracy does not trouble itself about matters of this kind; the Russian Bureaucracy did not concern itself with the happiness of the Russian masses, but with their obedience and their paying of taxes. Bureaucracies are the same everywhere, and therefore it is the system we wage war upon, not the men; we do not want to substitute Indian bureaucrats for British bureaucrats; we want to abolish Bureaucracy, Government by Civil Servants.

The Other Tests Applied.[edit]

I need not delay over the second, third, and fourth tests, for the answers sautent aux yeux.

The second test, Local Self-Government: Under Lord Mayo (1869-72) some attempts were made at decentralisation, called by Keene "Home Rule" (!), and his policy was followed on non-financial lines as well by Lord Ripon, who tried to infuse into what Keene calls "the germs of Home Rule" "the breath of life." Now, in 1917, an experimental and limited measure of local Home Rule is to be tried in Bengal. Though the Report of the Decentralisation Committee was published in 1909, we have not yet arrived at the universal election of non-official Chairmen. Decidedly inefficient is the Bureaucracy under test 2.

The third test, Voice in the Councils: The part played by Indian elected members in the Legislative Council, Madras, was lately described by a member as "a farce." The Supreme Legislative Council was called by one of its members "a glorified Debating Society." A table of resolutions proposed by Indian elected members, and passed or lost, was lately drawn up, and justified the caustic epithets. With regard to the Minto-Morley reforms, the Bureaucracy showed great efficiency in destroying the benefits intended by the Parliamentary Statute. But the third test shows that in giving Indians a fair voice in the Councils the Bureaucracy was inefficient.

The fourth test, the Admission of Indians to the Public Services: This is shown, by the Report of the Commission, not to need any destructive activity on the part of the Bureaucracy to prove their unwillingness to pass it, for the Report protects them in their privileged position.

We may add to Gokhale's tests one more, which will be triumphantly passed, the success of the Bureaucracy in increasing the cost of administration. The estimates for the revenue of the coming year stand at £86,199,600 sterling. The expenditure is reckoned at £85,572,100 sterling. The cost of administration stands at more than half the total revenue:

    Civil Departments Salaries and Expenses     £19,323,300
    Civil Miscellaneous Charges                   5,283,300
    Military Services                            23,165,900

The reduction of the abnormal cost of government in India is of the most pressing nature, but this will never be done until we win Home Rule.

It will be seen that the Secondary Reasons for the demand for Home Rule are of the weightiest nature in themselves, and show the necessity for its grant if India is to escape from a poverty which threatens to lead to National bankruptcy, as it has already led to a short life-period and a high death rate, to widespread disease, and to a growing exhaustion of the soil. That some radical change must be brought about in the condition of our masses, if a Revolution of Hunger is to be averted, is patent to all students of history, who also know the poverty of the Indian masses to-day. This economic condition is due to many causes, of which the inevitable lack of understanding by an alien Government is only one. A system of government suitable to the West was forced on the East, destroying its own democratic and communal institutions and imposing bureaucratic methods which bewildered and deteriorated a people to whom they were strange and repellent. The result is not a matter for recrimination, but for change. An inappropriate system forced on an already highly civilised people was bound to fail. It has been rightly said that the poor only revolt when the misery they are enduring is greater than the dangers of revolt. We need Home Rule to stop the daily suffering of our millions from the diminishing yield of the soil and the decay of village industries.