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THE PRESENT STATE OF INDIA,
AN APPEAL TO ANGLO-INDIANS.
A disloyal Parsee is as rare as a black turnip. The reason for this is not far to seek. The prosperity of the Parsees dates from the advent of the British rule in India, and it is feared that it will disappear, if perchance that rule is overthrown. Loyalty in their case is begotten of the instinct of self-preservation and selfadvancement. It is firm, genuine and lasting, although at times there is an outburst of resentment on the part of that Community against particular measures of Government. It is, therefore, unnecessary for me to give an assurance that the following remarks have been made in a spirit of loyalty and devotion to the British Raj.
Of late there has been a marked change in the feeling of the people of India towards Government. Instead of contentment there now seems to prevail discontent, and distrust and dissatisfaction appear to have, to a considerable extent, taken the place of confidence, esteem and good-will. The outward serenity is delusive. It is only by freely mixing with the people and encouraging them to speak their minds fearlessly and candidly that one can hope to ascertain the true state of things. I have talked with cultivators, artisans, tradesmen, and the educated and uneducated masses, and have found a feeling of bitterness and heart-burning pervading them all, with the only difference that the feeling is more strong among the educated than the uneducated people. This is a faithful portraiture, and he who doubts it betrays ignorance and lack of insight. Unfortunately, most of the Indians who have the ears of Government are not representative men of the people at all. Not a few of them, by reason of their wealth and position, are as far remote from the masses as the Rulers themselves. A few of them are too timid to be outspoken for fear of being suspected of disloyalty. Whereas a considerable portion of them are mere sychophants and flatterers, who, in their base desire to gain honours or high offices in the State, take care to reflect the views of Government only, and falsely represent to Government that their views have the approbation of the populace. Our Rulers are ordinary mortals after all, and what wonder is there if they show proneness in putting faith in them? A compliment is always more agreeable than unsavoury truth and goes down one's throat readily.
The causes which seem to have led to the present state of discontent may be summarized thus :
(a) A disregard of Native sentiment and Native
opinion expressed through the medium of the Native Press.
(b) Contempt and rudeness shown by Anglo
Indians as a class towards Indians.
An irrational and at times almost sinful distinction made between Europeans and Natives in Courts of Law and elsewhere.
(d) Efforts on the part of the Legislature to retrench
the powers of the High Courts.
(e) The exclusion of Indians from the High Offices
of the State.
Non-recognition of the political aspirations of the Indians.
(9) Apathy, if not antipathy, shown towards
education, especially higher education.
(h) The impoverished condition of the peasantry
due to heavy taxation on land.