Speeches & Writings
The following is the full text of the speech delivered by the Hon. Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya at the meeting of the Imperial Legislative Council held on September 1917, on the question of simultaneous examinations :-
Sir I beg to move that:-
This council recommends the Governor-General in Council that the Government of India should move the Secretary of State to arrange that the examination for the Indian Civil Service should hence forth be held simultaneously in India and in England, successful candidates being classified in the list according to merit.
"As we all know, Sir, this question is an old one. In 1793 there was the East India Company Act passed while appointments under the East India Company were limited to certain members who had the sole right of conferring employments in the higher civil appointments in the service of the company. But when the Charter Act of 1833 came to De framed, a clause was introduced recognizing the natural right of Indians to employment in the higher Services of their country. That clause was described by Macaulay as that wise, that benevolent that, noble clause. It recognized that though India had come under the dominion of England, it was the natural birth right of Indians, that if they were qualified by education and character they should be employed in all the higher offices under the crown. In the course of the discussion that arose on the bill which subsequently became law, many excellent sentiments were expressed; but I will invite the attention of the council to only one utterance vis., that by Sir Charles Grant in which he said :-
"If one circumstance more than another could give me satisfaction, it was that the main principle of this Bill had the approbation of the House and that the House was now legislating for India and the peoples of India on the great and just principle that in doing so the interests of the people India should be principally consulted and that the other interest of wealth of commerce and of revenue should depend upon the legislature promoting the welfare and prosperity of that great Empire which providence has placed in our hands."
When this great and first principle was recognized that the interest of the people of India should be principally consulted in all arrangements for the administration of this country, it was to be hoped that the employment of Indians in the higher service would come about, put not a single Indian had been appointed. When in 1853, a renewal of the charter of the company came to be discussed in Parliament, Mr. Bright, Lord Stanley and other gentlemen drew prominent attention to the fact, and it was hoped some remedy would be forthcoming; it was not however until 1854, that the system of competitive examinations was introduced for the civil service. Hailbury College was abolished in 1855, competitive examinations were held in 1855 Indians were still not able to compete after the Mutiny after the Crown took the direct control of the Government of India, the pledge of 1833 was repeated and reaffirmed by the Proclamation of the Queen and in the House of Commons, that Indian subjects of Her Majesty would be entitled to hold any post if they were qualified; we all know the gracious words of the Proclamation on which I need not dwell. It was hoped after the proclamation that at any rate the claims of Indians would not be ignored but nothing came of it. In 1860, a committee was appointed by the secretary of State to suggest the best means for admitting Indians into the service. The committee considered two proposals. The first was to allot a certain portion of the total number of posts declared in each year to be competed for by Indians in India, and the second was to hold simultaneously two examinations for the Indian Civil Service one in India and one in England candidates sitting for either examination having to answer the same papers to be examined by the same examiners, and to be classified in one list in order of merit. It is important to draw attention to the Report of this Committee which consisted of Sir J. Willoughby, Mr. Mangles, Mr. Arbuthnot, Mr. Macnaughten and Sir. E. Perry, all of whom were all well acquainted with India. They reported, as follows :-
'Two modes have been suggested by which the object in view might be attained. The first is by allotting a. certain portion of the total number of appointments declared in each year to be competed for in India by natives, and by all other natural-born subjects of His Majesty resident in India. The second is to hold simultaneously two examinations, one in England and one in India both being, as far as practicable, identical in their nature and those who compete in both countries being finally classified one list, according to merit, by the Civil service Commissioners. The Committee have no hesitation in giving the preference to the second scheme as being the fairest, and the most in accordance with the principles of a general competition for a common object. In order to aid them in carrying out a scheme of this nature, the Committee have consulted the Civil Service Commissioners. The Civil Service Commissioners do not anticipate much difficulty in arranging for this.
This Report was unfortunately not acted upon; it was not even made public so far as I am aware, until 1876. In the meantime, in 1867, Mr. Dadabhar Naoroji took up the question, and with the help of the East India Association agitated the question in Parliament. Mr. Fawcett moved a Resolution in the House of Commons urging that examinations should be held simultaneously in London, in Calcutta, Madras and Bombay. He urged that unless this was done the people of India would not have a fair chance of competing for these appointments; that if some scheme like that he urged was not carried out the promise held out in toe Charter Act of 1833, and in the Proclamation of 1858, would not be faithfully fulfilled.
'It was no doubt true, said he' that the natives of India might compete in these examinations, but as they could only do so by coming to London, at great expense, and then might be unsuccessful, to say that the examinations were practically open to them was an idle mockery.
His proposal was that there should be examinations at Calcutta, Madras and Bombay; 'there should be the same papers and the same tests as in London, and that the successful candidates, whether English or native, should spend two years in England. There would be no difficulty in carrying out the plan for the examination papers might be sent under seal to India, and the examination being fixed for the same day as in London, the candidate's papers might be sent, to England under seal and inspected by the same examiners, the name of the successful candidates at all four examinations being arranged in the order of merit.
The then Secretary of State expressed sympathy with the object of the Resolution, as has often been done in the case of questions affecting Indians, but he did not approve of the idea of holding simultaneous examinations; he stated that he was going to introduce a Bill by which a certain number of posts would be secured to Indians. Mr. Fawcett pointed out that would not satisfy the aspirations of Indians and would not do full justice to then but he agreed that the course proposed might be tried and withdrew his Resolution. After that the Act of 1870 was passed which empowered the Government of India to frame rules to admit Indians to a certain number of appointments in the Civil Service that proved unsatisfactory. In 1886 the Public Service Commission was appointed, and it went into the question of simultaneous examinations. A lot of evidence was given in favour of such examinations being held in India and in England but the Commission reported against it. In 1893 in co-operation with Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji, who was then a Member of the House of Commissions, Mr. Herbert Paul brought forward a motion urging the bolding of simultaneous examinations in England and India. The resolution was carried, but unfortunately the Secretary of State was not in sympathy with it. He sent it to the Government of India. Excepting the Government of Madras all Local Governments reported against it and the Government of India did not give effect to it.
Thus, we have the statute of 1833 in our favour, though we have the Proclamation of 1858 in our favour, though the committee appointed by the Secretary of State reported in favour of simultaneous examinations, and thought the House of Commons resolved in 1893, that such examinations should be held in the two countries, the proposal has never yet been accepted by the Government. The question of the larger employment of Indians was taken up in 1911 in this Council by my friend Mr. Subba Rao, who moved a resolution on the subject. In consequence of that, the Royal Commission on the Public Services was appointed in 1912. Unfortunately the Commission have reported against it and one more unfortunate circumstance to be mentioned in this connection is that while before the Commission of 1886, a number of European gentlemen, forty-nine of them were disposed in favour of simultaneous examinations, before the Commission of 1913 no European witness except one spoke in favour of it.
What is worse, and has pained us most is that a number of European witnesses, both official and non-official, seemed to delight in giving as bad a character to Indian as they could. The result is that the majority of the Commission have reported against the proposal. But, Sir, our conviction is that justice will not be done to the claims of Indians unless the examinations for the Civil Service are held simultaneously in India and in England. The result of the examinations being held only in England has been that up to 1910 only 80 Indians had succeeded in entering the service by the door of the examination as against over 2,600 Europeans. And out of 1,478 officers, who on the 1st April, 1917, held posts ordinarily reserved for the members of the Indian Civil Service including 72 Statutory Civilians and officers of the Provincial Civil Service holding listed posts only 146, or about 10 per cent appeared to the statutory natives of India. Surely this is not state of things which is consistent with or carries out the spirit of the Act of 1833 or the Proclamation of 1858. I think it was in the debate of 1853 one speaker had asked how many Englishmen would send their sons to India to compete the Civil Service Examination on the off-chance of getting admission on it. Speaking in London about 1878, Mr. Bright said that to hold the examination in England alone and tell the people of India that they had equal opportunities with Englishmen was skin to telling them that they must be eight feet six inches in height before they could be admitted into the Civil Service. In view of all that has been said above, the question is whether this recommendation of the Commission is one which the Government ought to accept. I submit most respectfully that it ought not to.
In addition to our natural claim to which I have already referred and which has been repeatedly supported by many high-minded Englishmen, we have now a different state of things. The Government of India, as it is constituted at present, has been described by a Member of the Indian Civil Service in a manner which brings out the disadvantages of the present system in very clear words. Sir Fredrick Lely wrote in 1906 as follows:-
'Perhaps the position may most vividly be brought home to our minds by imagining the same in England. Suppose that in England foreigners were ruling say the Japanese who committed the province to one of their statesmen who had never been in Europe before and surrounded him with a group of men of his own race who got their knowledge of the country chiefly from books and papers at Whitehall, who for the most part could not talk the English language, whose unreserved intercourse with Englishmen was limited to a few Japanese speaking callers in London, and who, when not in London, divided their time between the Scotch Highlands and the Riviera. What sort of Government would it be? it might seem admirable to the people of Tokyo but would it be to the men of Yorkshire and Cornwall ?'
I submit, Sir, that this is the result of practically refusing admission to His Majesty's Indian subjects into the Indian Civil Service. If the examination had been held in India, since 1855, I think it is not unreasonable to think that though our English fellow subjects have very great advantages in the way of educational facilities, and facilities for coaching, and in the fact that the examination is held through their own mother-tongue, I think it is not unreasonable to think that there would have been a far larger proportion of Indians in the Indian Civil Service than we have at present. When in 1833 the claims of Indians to the higher ranks of the services were recognized education had made but little progress. The famous minute of Lord Macaulay had not been written there were no colleges, no Universities but a few schools. In spite of that fact the Government of the day recognized that it was only fair that those Indians who could show that by their education, integrity and character they were qualified for admission, ought to be admitted into the higher ranks of the services. Since that time we have had universities established in several parts of India and they have turned out thousands of graduates. They have competed very successfully with their English fellow subjects in al1 walks of life to which they have been admitted. In the judicial line, Indian Judges have shown how high they stand both in point of character and ability; they have proved themselves to be the equals of their English brother Judges. In other directions also Indians have proved their capacity in high offices, under the British Government, in Native States, as heads of districts, as Commissioners, as members of Executive Councils, as Dewans of Indian States, those Indians who have had opportunities afforded to them or those who have been able to force admission into the service have shown that if they are given an equal chance they are able to render a very good account of themselves. All that we have asked for in this connection from the beginning is not that we should be put on a favoured footing but that we should be put on a footing of equality. We say that if two young men are to run a race, all fair rules of the game require that we should start both of them from the same centre, and not compel one to start several miles behind the other and yet expect the man who started several miled behind the other to succeed in the competition. We want that Indian youths should be subjected to the same test to which English youths are subjected. We do not want any differentiation in that respect. What we do say is that if Englishmen are allowed to sit for the examination in their own country, Indians should also be allowed to sit in their own country for the same examination. One might very well say that the more natural, the more reasonable, the more just course would be that examinations for admission into the Civil Services of India should be held in India alone but the time for it is not yet. In view of the present circumstances of the country, remembering how we are situated at present, in view of the difficulties that have hitherto lain in our path, and of the desire we all have that we, Indians and European fellow-subjects, should move together in brotherly co-operation, and with as little dislocation as possible one prayer at present is, as it has been for the last fifty years, that the examination for admission into the Indian Civil Service should be held simultaneously in India and in England.
Sir, the not holding of this examination in India has exposed us to great disadvantages, political, economics and administrative. The political disadvantages are obvious. Here we are discussing the question of self-Government, and of the larger admission of Indians into the higher services. We are told we have not held charge of high offices, we have not been dealing with large problems and it is not right that we should ask to be entrusted with these problems at once. Well, if we have been shut out from these advantages, from the exercise of these high functions the fault is not ours. I submit, Sir, that it is an unreasonable proposition that because we have so long been kept out of these advantages, therefore we should be kept out of them in future.
I need not refer again to the remarks of Mr. Gokhale to which my Hon'ble friend Mr. Sarma referred yesterday in which he pointed out that the moral evil of the present system was even greater and more serious than the political and economic disadvantages. The people of this country desire that they should be able to feel that they stand on a footing of perfect equality with their fellow-subjects in England and the United Kingdom. That is practically denied to them by the refusal to hold the examinations simultaneously which leads to the inevitable result that but few can enter through the door in London.
So far as the economic evils are concerned, they were again and again pointed out by the late Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji. I do not want to detain the Council by dealing with them at length, but I will refer to a few facts to show how serious the economic evil is. According to a return presented to the House of Commons; in 1892, excluding the rank and file of the British Army, the total of the salaries pensions and allowances received in 1889-90 by public servants and retired Government officials drawing salaries of Rs. 1,000 and over annually, amounted to about 18½ crores, while the real revenue was about 61½ crores. Of this only about 3 crores was received by, 17,000 Indians, while the remaining 15½ crores went to the pockets of 28,000 Europeans and Eurasians. That the lot of Indians has not improved materially since then is evident as my friend Pandit Hariday Nath Kunzru points out in his valuable pamphlet on the Public Services in India from the statistics published by the Government of India in 1912, which show that out of 5,390 posts to which monthly salaries of Rs. 500 and upwards were attached, no less than 83 percent were held by Europeans and Eurasians.
"Long ago, Sir William Hunter pointed out, that the salaries paid in India are very high, that Indian cannot afford pay at the high rate at which the services are remunerated at present. In his pamphlet 'England's work in India' he wrote :-
'The truth is that we have suddenly applied our own English ideas of what a good Government should do to an Asiatic country where the people pay not one tenth per head of the English rate of taxation. I myself believe that if we are to give a really efficient administration to India, many services must be paid for at lower rates even than at present. For those rates are regulated in the higher branches of the administration by the cost of officer's brought from England. You cannot work with imported labour as cheaply as you can with native labour, and I regard the more extended employment of the natives not only was an act of justice but as a financial necessity. The salaries of the covenanted services are regulated, not by the rates of local labour, but by the cost of imported officials. If we are to govern the Indian people efficiently and cheaply, we must govern them by means of themselves and pay for the administration at the market rates for native labour.'
You must recognize the fact that if you want to carry on the administration of India efficiently and cheaply, you must employ a larger number of Indians then have been employed hitherto; so that from the economic point of view it is obviously necessary that a larger number of Indians should be admitted into the Civil Service. Then Sir, there is the advantage of administrative experience which call only be acquired if Indians are admitted into the higher ranks of the service. Mr. Dadhabhai summed up the whole situation in his own inimitable manner in a few words. He pleaded for a beginning for self-Government being made by the institution of simultaneous examinations, in India and in England and he urged that beginning will be the key, the most effective remedy for the chief economic and basic evils of the present system.
'A three-fold wrong is inflicted, said he, upon us, i.e., of depriving us of wealth, work and wisdom, of everything, in short worth living for, and this beginning will begin to strike at the root of the muddle. The reform of the alteration of the services from European to Indian is the keynote of the whole.'
Of course Mr. Dadabhai did not mean that there should be an immediate or an early replacement of Europeans by Indians as a whole; what he urged was that a beginning should be made in order that Indians should be able to obtain an increasingly large share in the higher services of their country.
This, Sir, was the state of affairs before the war. What is the position of affairs now? The war, as Mr. Lloyd George has said, has changed things enormously; as one of the members of the commission has observed, centuries of progress have been effected by this war. Naturally in consequence of it, things have begun to be looked at, for a changed angle of vision; and we have been looking forward that our claims, which were solid and strong before the war and without any reference to the war will now be regarded as much stronger by reason of the part which Indians have had the privilege of playing in this great world war. I would like to quote here a few remarks from a speech of the Marquis of Crewe. In his speech at the Guildhall in London he said:-
'It is perhaps even more striking certainly no less gratifying, that those representing the various races in India races representing a civilization of almost untold antiquity races which have been remarkable in arms, and the science of Government that should in so whole hearted a manner rally round the British Government most of all round the King-Emperor at such a moment as this and I am certain that the House will desire to express through those who are entitled to speak for it, its appreciation of their attitude and its recognition of the part they have played.'
And Lord Haldane said :-
'Indian soldiers are fighting for the liberties of humanity as much as we ourselves. Indian has freely given her lives and treasure in humanity's great cause; hence things cannot be left as they are. We have been thrown together in this mighty struggle and made to realize our oneness, so producing relations, between Indian and England which did not exist before.'
Now, Sir, in view of this momentous event, I submit the problem should be looked at in a much more sympathetic spirit than it has been heretofore. Our claim to have simultaneous examination for admission into the Indian Civil Service held in India as well as in England, was quite strong before the war, and without reference to the war; but the attitude of India during the war has given added strength to that claim. His Majesty's Government have recently announced the goal of British policy in India. In that announcement we have been told that.
"The polity of His Majesty's Government, with which the Government of India are in
complete accord is that of increasing the association of Indians in every branch of administration and the gradual development of self-governing institutions with a view to the progressive realization of responsible government in India as an integral part of the British Empire.'
His Excellency the Viceroy also in the memorable speech, to which it was our privilege to listen on the 5th of this month, told us that the increased association of Indians in the higher services was one of the matters which was close to his heart and to that of the Government.
We also have the statement of Mr. Montagu in the speech which he delivered a short time before he was appointed as Secretary of State, and which he reaffirmed after he had been appointed Secretary of State, in which he pointed out how necessary it is that the Government of India should be radically altered. I will not take up the time of the Council be reading large extracts from that important speech but I will draw attention to only one important passage in it where he says-
'Your executive system in India has broken down because it is not constituted for the complicated duties of modern government but you cannot reorganize the Executive Government of India, remodel the Viceroyalty and give the Executive Government more freedom from this House of Commons and the Secretary of State unless you make it more responsible to the people of India.'
Now that is the position that the Executive Government has to be made more responsible to the people of India. With the altered state of things which the war has brought about, the recognition of the comradeship of Indians and Europeans, in arms, the recognition of the free contributions and the loyal services rendered during the war, and above all with a full recognition of the fact that the present system has outgrown itself and must be altered, so that the Government shall be made responsible to the people of India, we have to approach this problems for solution. And I submit Sir, that of all the questions relating to Constitutional reforms there is none which is more important, which lies at the root of the problem, more than this question of instituting examinations for admission into the Civil Service simultaneously in India and in England.
There is one other aspect of the question which I think ought to ask the Council to bear in mind in this connection. Things have changed, they have changed greatly. The prayer for simple justice which we have gone on repeating and, I say it with regret repeating and, I say it with regret repeating vainly for fifty years, cannot be disregarded. Indians feel that, in-being excluded from the higher appointments of the service of their own country, they are being very unjustly dealt with. They find that the peoples of many other countries have made and are making great progress in all directions, that in many of them the systems of government have undergone a change to the great benefit of the people. They find that a new life has come over Japan.
In the last fifty years Japan has reorganized itself and has won a place amongst the foremost nations of the world. When they contrast the condition of Japan with what it was in the last fifty years, with the progress made in the condition of India during the last sixty years, since Proclamation of 1858, they cannot help drawing inferences and making comments which are unfavourable to the present system of Government. Indians clearly want to feel, they want to realize that in India, as subjects, of His Majesty the King-Emperor George V. and his successors, they can and they shall rise to the same height in thier own country to which the Japanese have risen under the Mikado. They feel that other countries, even Asiatic countries, have been making great progress and they find a difference in the treatment given to the youth of this country. The British Government have established Colleges and Universities in our midst and have given us good education. We feel grateful for it. But the Governments of other countries have done one thing more, which the Government of this country has not done to the same extent. After having educated the youths of those countries, they have opened all the portals of higher service to those youths. In this country these higher portals have been practically closed against us, and as has again and again been pointed out by several English writers, if you will not allow the advantages which ought to flow from the acquisition of higher knowledge to come to those who have received that knowledge, you will necessarily create dissatisfaction and discontent. Having regard therefore to the justice of our claim, to the entirely of the circumstances and considerations which have come into existence because of the war having regard to the circumstances of surrounding countries, and of the civilized world generally, the Government ought not to hesitate any longer in instituting simultaneous examinations for admission into the Indian Civil Service in India and in England.
The Hon'ble Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya :- "I am sorry, Sir, I was not conscious of it. The subject is one which touches the hearts of us all, and I hope you will kindly allow me just a few minutes more to bring my remarks to a close."
The Hon'ble the Vice-President :- "I hope the Hon'ble Pandit will be as brief as possible."
The Hon'ble Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya :- "I was going to deal with the question of the character of Indians which has largely, it seems, influenced the decision of the majority of the Commission, but I will reserve it, if it should become necessary for me to do so, for my reply. But before concluding, Sir, I wish to make an earnest appeal to the Government to take up this question in an earnest spirit and to solve it. There ought to be no necessity for discussing it at any great length. We have got the authoritative opinion of the Parliamentary Committee of 1860, we have got the authority of the House of Commons of 1893, we have got the opinions of many gentlemen who appeared before the Public Services Commission in 1886 and of many more who appeared before the Royal Commission of 1912, in favour of simultaneous examinations. We remember that the Committee of 1860 pointed out that there could be no better way of honourably fulfilling the pledges which had been given than by instituting such examinations. I wish also to make an appeal to my friends, the members of the Indian Civil Service. My friend the Hon'ble Mr. Sastriar made an appeal to them yesterday. I wish, if I may, to support it, I would earnestly ask them to look at the question from the point of view that the honour of the English sovereign, the honour of the English Parliament, the honour of the English nation, is involved in the fulfillment of the pledges which have been given to us during the last eighty years. Many of your own statesmen have said that those pledges have not been faithfully fulfilled. Lord Lytton once said that they had been made a dead letter and Lord Salisbury cynically urged that there was no good in keeping up an hypocrisy. But I am sure the documents containing the pledges will not be treated by the great English nation as a mere scrap of paper. I am sure they realize that the honour of every Englishman the honour of every Britisher is involved in the honourable fulfillment of those pledges and that those pledges can only be faithfully fulfilled by the holding of examinations for admission into the Indian Civil Service simultaneously in England and in India. One of the members of the bureaucracy has appealed to the members of the Indian Civil Service to decide their duty with reference to this question. I feel that it lies with them more than with any other body of men to help us to realize what we believe to be our birth right. In concluding his book on bureaucracy Mr. Bernard Houghton says :-
The Hon'ble the Vice-President:- "The Hon'ble Member must not read quotation at this period of his speech. He has already exceeded the time limit."
The Hon'ble Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya:- "I will take only a minute, Sir." The Hon'ble the Vice-President:- "Very well, I will give you a minute more." The Hon'ble Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya :- "Mr. Bernard Houghton says :-
'And the members of the Indian Civil Service, easily the finest in the world, I am sure this will gratify the hearts of my friends, may recall with pride, even when handing over the scepter of supreme control they have wielded so-long, that their dominion in Indian has not been without its glories. To have replaced turbulence and disorder by peace to have established courts of impartial justice to have cast over the country a close network of roads and railways - all these are achievements which will ever redound to the honour of themselves and of England. But perhaps the greatest of boons, although an indirect one, which India has received at their hands has been the birth of a genuine spirit of patriotism. It is a patriotism which seeks its ideals, not in military glory or the apotheosis of a king but in the advancement of the people. Informed by this spirit, and strong in the material benefits flowing from British rule, Indian now knows at the portal of democracy. Bureaucracy has served its purpose. Though the Indian Civil Service were manned by angels from heaven, the incurable defects of a bureaucratic government must pervert their best intentions and make them foes to political progress.'
Not all of them, I am sure, Sir.
'It must now stand aside, and, in the interest of that country it has served so long and so truly, make over the dominion to other hands. Not in dishonour, but in honour proudly, as shipbuilders who deliver to seamen the completed ship may they now yield up the direction of India. For it is the inherent defects of the system which no body of men, however devoted, can remove, which render inevitable change to a new polity. By a frank recognition of those defects the service can furnish a supreme instance alike of loyalty to the land of their adoption and of a true and self-denying statesmanship.
I earnestly hope Sir, that my friends of the Indian Civil Service will approach this question before us in the spirit in which this appeal has been made to them by one of the former members of their Service, and I trust that, approaching in that spirit, they will help us to obtain such a solution for which we ask of this very important problem which concerns our welfare.