Lahore, Saturday, January 14, 1922


THE Punjab Legislative Council has done some very useful work. The most important was the debate that took place on the motion for adjournment of the House. It was initiated in an excellent speech by Mian Shah Nawaz. Having published that speech at length, we need not recapitulate the various arguments adduced by the speaker in support of his proposal. Suffice it to say that they covered the whole field, and made out an unanswerable case for a complete overhauling of the present policy. Unfortunately, with the single exception of Raja Narendranath and to some extent of Rai Bahadur Sewak Ram, no other non-official member appears to have lent support to the proposal by his speech. It was reserved for the official members, three of whom took part in the debate to supply the omission. These gentlemen exposed the weakness of the official case by relying upon arguments which were either fallacious on the face of them or which Mian Shah Nawaz and his supporters had already answered in anticipation. Thus the officiating Home Secretary once more referred to certain extracts from recent speeches at Lahore and Amritsar, and asked if the Government could allow such public speaking to continue. The Hon. Member made no attempt to meet the argument of the mover that it was unfair to deprive a whole population of their elementary right of public meeting, just because a handful of persons had abused the right. Similarly the Chief Secretary, referring to the mover’s suggestion that the Government in India should follow the policy adopted by Mr. Asquith’s Government towards Ireland, said that “in his opinion the wave of misery, arson and pillage that had followed in the wake of that policy in Ireland was directly traceable to Mr. Asquith’s failure to prohibit the activities of Lord Carson’s volunteers.”

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