MR. MONTAGU AND SELF-GOVERNMENT : The Tribune India

Lahore, Saturday, December 9, 1922

MR. MONTAGU AND SELF-GOVERNMENT



MR. Montagu’s latest speech on India shows that he has not changed since he ceased to be Secretary of State for India. He is still the champion of Indian self-government that he was when he accepted the office of Secretary of State, and the self-government that he champions is still the “inadequate, unsatisfactory and disappointing” thing which he initiated in 1917 and for which he obtained the sanction of Parliament and the assent of the Sovereign in 1919. To him the attainment of self-government by India is nothing but the growth and logical outcome of 150 years of “British effort in India, and can only be a gradual process and no sudden departure from the principles and the policy of the past.” This is what distinguished him from the majority of his countrymen in India and the Reactionaries and Diehards in England, and what makes his scheme unacceptable to the nationalist party in India, except merely as an additional weapon with which to carry on their fight for self-government. He would not let India continue to be governed on the old “wooden, iron and inelastic” lines. Nor would he, on the other hand, give her the bread of liberty by which alone a nation can live. He gives her something between the two, which is unacceptable. The fact is that Mr. Montagu’s idea of self-government is fundamentally wrong. He evidently does not see that the difference between what he has given India and self-government is not merely quantitative but qualitative, not a difference of mere degree but of kind; and that there can be no such thing under any more natural law of the evolution of one from the other.

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