Lahore, Friday, January 13, 1922

CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE

THERE is a difference of opinion between the non-co-operation leaders and the Government as to the character of the present activities on the part of non-co-operators. What the latter thinks of them we know from numerous official pronouncements, including speeches by the Viceroy and at least three Provincial Governors. It has been stated with force by our own Government in its latest communique on the subject. “Systematic and deliberate disobedience to a specific law,” says this communique, “is something different in character from the negative portion of the non-co-operation programme, and from the positive portion of that programme which merely advocates actions which are not contrary to law. It is the duty of Government to issue a solemn warning against the consequences of civil disobedience as a crime against the peaceful and orderly development of a whole people. Successful, it could only be an education of the criminally inclined among the population in methods which they would be naturally ready to put in practice against any kind of government, present or future. Unsuccessful, it could only throw back the course of progress and establish well-founded doubts of the political maturity of those who deliberately introduced so dangerous a poison into the veins of their Motherland.” This, as we know, is the usual official view of civil disobedience or passive resistance as a creed, and in putting forward this view in the present case the Punjab Government wishes it to be understood that in its opinion the activities of the non-co-operators are part of a general campaign of civil disobedience which has been adopted by them with a view to bringing about a change of government. Gandhi has said these activities are not to be confounded with the civil disobedience which was resolved upon first at Delhi and then at Bombay.

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