Lahore, Tuesday, July 13, 1920

Who was Responsible for Terrorism?

WHILE, as we have said, Mr. Montagu’s statement on the issue between the school of terrorism and the school of liberty was clear, forcible and honest, he was gravely mistaken if he thought that Dyer was the sole or even the most eminent representative of the former. As a criminal, Dyer is naturally the worst of the whole lot, because no one else was directly or immediately responsible either for a massacre on such a scale as the Jallianwala Bagh massacre or an order like the Crawling order, of which His Majesty’s Government itself says in its despatch that it violated civilised behaviour. But the policy of terrorism did not originate with him; nor was he anything else than a more than usually brutal instrument for its execution. The man with whom it originated was, of course, Sir Michael O’Dwyer. He was the man who from the very commencement of the outbreak down to the moment when he laid down the reins of his office acted on the theory of terrorism and on no other. He was the man who from first to last was anxious to teach the Punjab a lesson. He was the man who declared in a semi-public manner that he was going “to ferret out all the scoundrels” and who, when this mad policy had produced its inevitable effect, is widely believed to have said that the Punjab had blasted him and he would blast the Punjab. Lastly, he was the man from whom every officer in the Province, whether civil or military, drew his inspiration. Nor was the theory, in his case, the result of a momentary impulse. He had consistently acted on this very theory during the whole of his administration, and it was by acting on this theory that he had created the situation which at length resulted in the outbreak. He had acted on this theory because he did not believe in any other theory.

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