Lahore, Sunday, October 17, 1920

“There is no historic parallel.”

ANOTHER argument against the alternative scheme is that there is no instance in history of a people in our position having, in order to win its freedom, actually set up a non-official Parliament working side by side with the official Parliament. The argument might have had some force a couple of years ago, but has none today. Ireland is not yet free, but everybody knows that she has not only set up a Parliament but practically a State of her own, which in important departments of life has actually ousted the official State. Do you say that the cases are distinguishable? Of course they are, but then are there any two cases in history which are not? And is there any case in history which is not? And is there any case in history which can be said to be an exact or even a substantial parallel to our case? The plain fact of the matter, as the late Mr. Gokhale once said, is that history has not yet closed its pages, and that we in India are this moment making history, just as so many other peoples are making it. At such a time, while the lessons and warnings of history are undoubtedly valuable to us, as they ever are to all peoples with a properly developed histories sense, nothing can be idler or less profitable than to pause at every step in our onward march and ask ourselves whether there is a historic parallel to the action we propose to take. Again, if there is no precedent in history for the scheme propounded by Pandit Malaviya, is there any precedent for the scheme of universal non-co-operation propounded by Mr. Gandhi? Egypt has tried it, we knew, but not only are the cases at least as distinguishable as those of India and Ireland—in fact they are far more so—but in Egypt, the scheme of non-co-operation has been tried on anything like the scale on which it is proposed to be tried in India. Lastly, it is a necessity that must now as ever, in our case as in all others, be the mother of invention.

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