Compiled by London swaminathan
Date: 4 APRIL 2017
Time uploaded in London:- 10-30 am
Post No. 3787
Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.
Following are the excerpts from the book ‘Orient and Occident’ Written by Manmath C Mallik, Barrister at Law, London (Year 1913):-
Blood Boiling Anecdotes:
“Neither better- caste Hindus nor Bengalis of any caste would serve foreigners in any menial capacity; but the low class Hindu and Moslem are always available, and these may, by their timid and unintelligent ways, perhaps rouse the foreigner’s ire. Beating of servants is so common in European society outside Presidency towns that an employer that has been an exception to the rule is sometimes heard to brag that he has never thrashed his servants. The thrashing is indirectly encouraged by the judiciary and local police, who, on account either of backstairs influence or of fear of incurring the displeasure of superiors, let a culprit escape justice, except in very grave cases that cannot be hushed up, and even then the murderer is generally let off with a fine of twenty or thirty rupees (E1 5s. to €2), because European juries, composed of clerks and shop- assistants, cannot be persuaded to convict of grave offence a member of their own race.” It is, as a London paper once remarked, cheap homicide.” It is doubtless cheap for the criminal but it is far from cheap for the Government, for every such case undermines its authority and prestige and shakes the popular faith in its capacity to protect its subjects. By law the Government has power to appeal against acquittals or inadequate punishment to the High Court, and when this power is exercised in the more advanced provinces a conviction with a term of imprisonment generally satisfies the claims of justice. In these cases the poor witnesses, being of the class to which the victim belongs, are so browbeaten and frightened when giving evidence that they often contradict themselves in details. Such contradiction is made the excuse for acquittal or for a nominal punishment when a European is the offender; but on much flimsier evidence Indians charged with similar offences are severely punished or sent to the gallows.
Page 114 of ORIENT AND OCCIDENT
“A few cases may serve to illustrate the state affairs. In the first week of February, 1911, a Mohammedan member of the Viceroy’s Council was travelling in the only first-class compartment of a train. A European military officer, joining the train, felt himself too exalted to travel with a native,” and asked the Indian gentleman to leave the compartment, on his hesitating to move as there was no other first-class carriage, the officer forced him, by the threat of using his sword, to get out and to go into a second-class carriage. The Anglo-Indian papers did not report the promotion, usual in such cases, gained by this officer for his “imperial” attitude towards an Indian gentleman. This is by no means an isolated instance.
There is scarcely an Indian judge, Raja, or Councillor (not to speak of humbler mortals) that has not had, when travelling by rail, similar experience of this rude imperialism. In answer to a question in the House of Commons in April, 1911, the Under- Secretary for India stated a case in which a Mohammedan Councillor had left his servant in charge of his luggage in a first-class compartment while he was in the restaurant car. A European sub-engineer of the railway turned the servant out, and forced him to travel to the next station (43 minutes) on the footboard. It was stated that the “imperial” engineer was made to apologize to the Mohammedan Councillor, but it was not stated whether the apology was tendered in the presence of the servant, who was arrested by the police for breach of railway regulations by travelling on the footboard and for failing to commit suicide. The engineer doubtless became a hero in his community and received promotion for his imperial bearing. The treatment of third- class passengers by the lower type of Europeans, as well as by the railway servants generally, may be imagined.
One would have thought that after the beneficent influence produced by the Royal visit cases of assault at railway-stations on Indian gentlemen would be unknown. In January, 1913, a case is reported to have been heard in the second magistrate’s court at Bombay, in which an I.M.S. was charged with pushing and insulting at the Grant Road station a Hindu gentleman, who with his wife wished to get into a first-class compart- ment next to the one in which the I.M.S. was travelling. Hitherto “high-born” personages in East and West have objected to travel with smaller fry in the same compartment, but matters are advancing fast, and humble individuals must
116 ORIENT AND OCCIDENT
not wish to travel in the same train with the “imperial” breed. In this case the Hindu gentleman happened to be an ex-sheriff of Bombay. Although, being an athlete, he was strong enough to knock his assailant down, he preferred to lay a charge, at the hearing of which the culprit was let off with an apology.
One may imagine what would have happened if the position of the parties had been reversed. Europeans of the type of the I.M.S. are better recruiting- sergeants for the extreme Nationalist Party than seditious preachers and writers, and yet the authorities proclaim their helplessness to control them or to protect the people under their care. While Europeans in India indulge in these pranks, Indian gentlemen, however exalted their rank, receive grudging obedience from their servants and scant courtesy from policemen and subordinate officials, who regard every European tag-rag as a greater personage than even Rajas and Nawabs.
At the racecourse at Calcutta the writer once witnessed the Chief of a Tributary State- an honoured guest at the King’s Coronation refused admission to the paddock by the European policeman at the entrance probably because he was dressed in ordinary Indian costume, while every foreigner was being admitted without showing a ticket. A steward luckily seeing from a distance the Maharaja
turned away , rushed to the spot and took him in. These unfortunate incidents are more frequent on railways, and the authorities, instead of punishing the offenders, seem by their inaction and by the approbation of the foreign Press to encourage rudeness in the same way as Colonial harsh treatment of Indians is condoned by the Imperial Government. It is a strange nemesis that so many Moslem gentlemen have recently experienced such rudeness, as if to prove to Moslems generally the falsity of the anxiety of reactionary officialdom to conciliate them at the expense of Hindus. Perhaps the apology is tendered when the offended party is Moslem, while no notice would be taken of insult to a Hindu. Reaction would display greater wisdom if it were to issue private instructions to the “imperial” breed to display their “high-born” manners towards Hindus alone and to conciliate Moslems at every opportunity.
So long as this attitude continues, Indian Nationalism has a substantial ground for its propaganda, and with increasing strength its cry will grow louder that the only security against foreign outrage is to deport the offender. There are people in Britain who object to travel in the same railway compartment with their humbler fellow-countrymen not so well groomed as themselves, and who object to go up in lifts with servants or postmen.
American Atrocities against Blacks
Matters in India have not yet come to the pass described in a book reviewed in a London Liberal journal in July, 1910, where it is stated that in parts of the United States, when a white man takes a dislike to a negro and shoots him dead, a false charge against the negro of attempting to kill him is pleaded as his excuse; that such charge is certified by other white men that were never near the place of outrage, and that on such evidence the murderer is acquitted, and the judge comes down from the bench to congratulate the accused and to express regret for putting him on trial.
In India, the people being meek and disarmed, the excuse of threatened assassination or outrage is not available but pretexts for assaults are often found and the criminal goes scot-free. Impartial justice is of prime importance in advancing contentment and national well-being.
“The Colonial claim is nothing but an arrogant assertion of superiority of a petted and pampered portion of the Empire, and of their ability to dictate to its rulers. The attitude of British statesmen is incomprehensible, since there is nothing to show that in the hour of need the Colonials will be more helpful to the Empire than Indians, or that they will claim no return for any service they may render to their sovereign In any case, if this civil strife is permitted to continue within the Empire, or to grow as it has been doing for some years, it is vain to expect peace and prosperity under the existing political conditions.
“Asiatics, if not permitted to give blow for blow, which alone will bring the uncultured Colonial to reason, will be driven to seek other means of rousing his conscience and of advancing the happiness of mankind. The British Empire or Dominions or Possessions- by whatever name it may please people to call the British territories in Asia-cannot be safe under present conditions. Until the people of India are fully trusted, and bold statesmanship removes all barriers from their paths of service to their sovereign and country, the British dominions will owe a good deal of their security to foreign alliances or to the goodwill of foreign nations”.
(Thousands of such incidents made Gandhi, Tilak, Netaji, Poet Bharatiyar and others to fight against the British rule in India)