Lahore, Sunday, November 21, 1920

‘The things that separate us’

WE have already noticed the passage in Sir Edward Maclagan’s recent speech at an informal meeting of the Punjab Legislative Council in which he told us that “the things that separate us are far fewer and far less important than the things that unite us,” and have said that the proposition is far from being acceptable. In this Open Letter to His Honour published in these columns yesterday, Lala Lajpat Rai gives a more detailed and emphatic reply to the observation. “The things that separate us are of far greater importance than the things that unite us,” he says, and by way of illustrating his proposition, which is the direct opposite of Sir Edward’s, he adds:-- “We want a free India, which the bureaucracy does not. We want a united India which few, if at all, among Europeans would like to see. We want a national army, which the bureaucracy does not. We want lesser salaries for the I.C.S., the I.M.S. and other Imperial services, which these services are opposed to. We want higher salaries for the subordinate ranks in Government service, which the heads of departments are not prepared to concede. We want fewer Europeans in the services, which you are not prepared to grant. We want the stoppage of industrial monopolies, which the Government in British India and the Native States are giving to Europeans. We want to nationalise education, which your official Universities prevent. We want a recognition of independent Trade Unions, which your railway administration is not prepared to give. We want the repeal of the Arms Act and the coercive laws which you are keeping on the statue book.” The list might easily be multiplied. It might be pointed out that the demand for the separation of judicial and executive functions, which thirty years ago was officially described as a counsel of perfection, is still far from being conceded.

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