Lahore, Thursday, September 15,1921

Racial Inequality in the Statute Book

ACCORDING to a Simla telegram, Mr. Samarth’s resolution in the Legislative Assembly for the removal of distinctions between Indian and European members of the Indian Civil Service in regard to criminal jurisdiction over European British subjects was postponed to a Government day at the request of Sir William Vincent. The question which Mr. Samarth proposes to raise is part of a larger question, the solution of which has long been overdue. In the eighties, Lord Ripon’s Government took up this important question and attempted a partial solution. The very section of the European community, which is never so happy as when it can twit others with supposed disloyalty for the least exhibition of independence on their part, was at once up in arms, and both by its wild talks of White mutinies and otherwise, made things impossible for one who has since been universally acclaimed in India as the greatest of Indian Viceroys. More than thirty five years have passed since then, but the inequality in the effacement of which a beginning was made by Lord Ripon still remains. Happily, Indian opinion is to-day much stronger than it was in Lord Ripon’s time, and European opinion itself has so far changed for the better that the European who imitated the ill-mannered agitators of those days would be set down as a crank. We shall, indeed, be very much surprised if the proposal evokes any opposition as a matter of principle, though there will be Europeans who will probably try to thwart it on other grounds. But be the opposition what it may, the duty of the Government is plain. It is already committed, both through the mouth of the Viceroy and otherwise, to a policy of absolute equality between Europeans and Indians, and all talk of equality is a hollow mockery so long as any trace of inequality is suffered to remain in the statute book.

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