The Political Situation in India
Publication:
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 12 Nov 1931, p. 258-274


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The Political Situation in India


Reference to yesterday's Remembrance Day. India and her problems. The difficulty of understanding India and her problems. Mark Twain's description of India. Some historical facts and background in order to understand the situation even in the most sketchy fashion. Recognizing India today as a vastly different thing to what it was when Britain first became associated with it. India when the British first arrived. Mr. Gandhi's view. The speaker's belief that the British have discharged their responsibility towards India better than any other nation would have done, and that the Indians think this as well. Ways in which the British have tried to give India good government and a better, healthier life. The main political question arising from the agitation by the Nationalist party in India for complete self-government to be granted immediately. A detailed discussion of this issue. Canada's wish for India. The different Dominions of our Empire having always had to agitate for autonomous status. The important part now being played by the Indian Congress, begun by an Englishman 45 years ago. The Simon Report and what it set forth in terms of India's period of evolution to responsible government. A hopeful measure of progress at the Conference held in London last winter. India today seething with political unrest. The role of the press. The importance of religion in the lives of the Indian people, whether Hindu or Moslem. The speaker's belief that Communism is responsible for much of the trouble in India. The rise of Japan as a great Asiatic power, and her defeat of Russia in 1904-5 providing much stimulus to the growth of the nationalist movement in India. Growing interaction with the West. Reasons why the best British opinion holds the view that complete self-government cannot be granted at once. Obstacles in the way of independence. The position of the Indian States ruled over by Indian Princes. The sticking point of every Conference: the interests of minorities must not be prejudiced. Hope that the Conference will not fail; that a way out of the difficulty will somehow be found. "India needs the British, and we need India."