New Ideas in India During the Nineteenth Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 205 pages of information about New Ideas in India During the Nineteenth Century.

The same feeling of citizenship has been given recognition to in 759 towns, whose municipalities are now partly elected, the right of election having been greatly extended by the Local Self-Government Acts of 1882-84.  In these Municipalities even more than in the higher Councils the new educated Indian comes to the front.  According to the roll of voters, it is property that enjoys the municipal franchise; emphatically so, for a wealthy citizen of Calcutta might conceivably cast three hundred votes for his Municipality throughout the twenty-five wards of the city; but they are English-speaking Indians in all cases who are returned as members.  Politically, this is the day of the English-educated Indians.  Such is the stage of the recognition of this new idea of citizenship in India.  The idea represents a great advance during the British period, although, broadly speaking, it has not yet reached the stage of British opinion prior to 1832.  Nevertheless one feels justified in saying that in present circumstances the desire of the educated class for a measure of citizenship has been reasonably met.  Of course at the examination for the Indian Civil Service, held annually in London, the Indian competes on a complete equality with all the youth of the Empire.




    “Now do I know that love is blind.”


[Sidenote:  Cleavage of opinion—­European v. Native.]

An unpleasant aspect of the new idea is much in evidence at the present time.  On almost every public question, the cleavage of the public opinion is Europeans versus Natives.  Far be it from me to assert that the natives only are carried away by the community feeling.  A case in point is the violence of the European agitation over the “Ilbert Bill” of 1883, to permit trial of Europeans by native judges in rural criminal courts.  Our question merely is:  How has the new regime affected native ideas?  Given then, say, a charge of assault upon a native by a European or Eurasian, or the reverse—­a case by no means unknown—­the native press and the class they represent are ranged at once, as a matter of course, upon the native’s side.  Given a great public matter, like Lord Curzon’s Bill of 1903 for the necessary reform of the Indian Universities, immediately educated Indians and the native press perceive in it a veiled attempt to limit the higher education in order to diminish the political weight of the educated class.  The 1904 expedition into Thibet was unanimously approved by the Anglo-Indian, and as unanimously disapproved by the native press.  Educated India no doubt joined with the rest of the Empire in wishing success to Japan in the 1904-5 war with Russia, but the war presented itself primarily to the Indian mind as a great struggle between Asia and Europe.  Other

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