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Memorandum Addressed to the Right Hon’ble Edwin

Samuel Montagu P.C.,M.P., The Secretary of State

For India and to H.E. Lord Chelmsford, Viceroy

And Governor General of India,

Special Sind Provincial Conference Held at

Hyderabad Sind (3rd – 4th November 1917)

 

 

To,

 

The Right Honourable Edwin Samuel Montagu,

P.C., M.P.,

The Secretary of State for India

 

To,

His Excellence Lord Chelmsford,

P.C., G.M.S.I., G.C.M.G., G.M.I.E., & c.,

Viceroy and Governor General of India

 

Sir,

 

As authorized by the Special Sind Provincial Conference, held at Hyderabad, Sind, on the 3rd and 4th November 1917, I beg to submit on their behalf, the following Memorial relating to reform to be introduced in the Government of India and speciallay in system of administration obtaining in Sind.

 

2. Your Memorialists whole-heartedly support the Scheme of the Reform passed by the Indian National Congress and the All-India Moslem League at their session at Lucknow in December 1916 and subsequently endorsed by numerous political associations and meetings held in the country. The political reforms contained in that scheme, the Sind Provincial Conference regards as the minimum which can for the present satisfy the needs and aspirations of the people of India. For the last century and a half, although under the administration of the liberty-loving British Parliament, the people of India have not been permitted to have an effective voice in the administration of the their own country. The reins of power have been in the hands of a bureaucracy which has never sympathized with the aspirations of the people of the soil. The result has been that progress has been retarded in some spheres of activity of the nation and effectively blocked in others. Government have throughout all these years failed to tackle the question of education and discountenanced attempts to introduce the principle of compulsion for the education of the masses, now leading their lives in appaling ignorance and the evils consequent thereto. The machinery of legislation has been made use of for the enactment of repressive measures of which the Press Act is a typical instance. The Arms Act, despite persistent appeals by the people, still disfigures the Statute Book of India and has been responsible for the emasculation of the nation, the full effects of which can be realized only today, when, India is unable as it fain would, to hurl its millions against King’s enemies at all the fronts of the great war and help England to crush Prussian Millitarism. The galling sense of inferiority in their own country so keenly felt by the Indian educated community will necessarily keep relations strained between the representatives of the Indian nation and those of the English nation in India until the unless, the administration of affairs in all the domains of national activity, in peace and war, is subordinated to the will of the people, and the children of the soil are permitted to rise the top-most rung of the ladder in all public services and to attain to their full development as a first rank nation of the world, unimpeded by any direct or indirect limitations. Towards this end we regard as essential, the grant, as the first step, of a scheme of reforms which among other things provides for a substantial majority of the elected representatives of the people of India in both Provincial and the Imperial Legislative Councils, the reconstitution of the Executives on a partially elective basis, the subordination of that Executive to the people’s representatives, the grant of a substantial measures of provincial autonomy, the abolition of the reactionary Council of the Secretary of State, for India, and the approximation of the latter official to the position of the Colonial Secretary. The Memorialists hence accord their unhesitating support to the Scheme of Reforms adopted by the Indian Congress and the All-India Moslem League.

 

3. While supporting that Scheme in its entirety, the people of Sind are anxious to place before you and His Majesty’s Government in England, the result of their prolonged experience and deliberation as to the changes in the system of Government in Sind, which are absolutely necessary, if the proposal “to take Substantial steps in the direction of the progressive realization of responsible government in India as integral part of the British Empire,” as enunciated in the Declaration of the British Policy in India made in the House of Commons on the 20th August 1017, is to have any meaning and significance for the people of this province.

 

4. The Government of Sind has for the last seventy years been, in effect, an unqualified autocracy with all the disadvantages characteristics of that system. The Commissioner-in-Sind, deriving his numerous powers, partly by the unconstitutional process of successive inheritance form his ancient predecessor, Sir Charles Napier, the first and last Governor of Sind, mainly, by the frequent delegation to him of numerous powers of Local government by the Governor of Bombay in Council, under the Commissioner-in-Sind’s Act-V of 1868, and recently, by the specific reservation to him, in later Acts, of powers elsewhere reserved to the Governor-in-Council, has to-day become, in most respects, a local Government itself, without the check of an Executive Council.

 

5. This concentration of exceedingly wide powers in the hands of one man, without the simultaneous replacement of control by the people for control form above, has naturally resulted in the creation of despotic administration in Sind. We feel that the vesting of practically the entire government of a large sub-province in the hands of a single individual leads to the operation of personal opinions and predilections, and fluctuations in policy, involves the risk of the misuse of powers and militates against progressive liberalization of the administration. The effect is felt not only in the departments in which he has practically final control, but even in those matters in which, while technically he possesses no greater powers than the ordinary Divisional Commissioner, he yet has a greater voice and influence.

 

6. We also feel convinced, that by the present arrangement Sind is being practically denied the benefits of government by the Governor-in-Council. Questions, which, in the case of the other Divisions of the Presidency, after passing through the hands of the Divisional Commissioners, undergo elaborate criticism in the Bombay Secretariat, pass the close scrutiny of one of the members of the Executive Council who is conscious of his responsibility as a member of Government and which, sometimes, even run the gauntlet of a debate in the Executive Council itself, are in the case of Sind, disposed of practically finally, by the Commissioner-in-Sind, whose decisions are uninfluenced not only by the restraint due to the existence of a higher body with revisional powers, but also by the pressure of public opinion in the province.

 

7. Further, unlike the other Divisions of the Bombay Presidency, Sind, not being under the direct administration of the Government of Bombay, is deprived of the benefits of the statesmanship, liberality sympathy and broad outlook of a man trained the public life of England and the open mindedness and freshness of view of a new comer to India. The administration of those, who, Commissioners in Sind, hold sway over the affairs of this province, is, on the other hand, charactised by the irresponsible and bureaucratic spirit with which their long official career imbues them, Sind also keenly feels the degradation of her position in being ruled by a civilian Commissioner, whereas the other Divisions are directly under the Governor of Bombay in Council.

 

8. You Memorialists do not deem it desirable to detail here, at any great length, the many disadvantages under which the people of this province have laboured, as a result of its being administered by an irresponsible official, vested with almost all the powers of a Governor-in-Council, but they will content themselves by mentioning only a few glaring instances.

It has been often said by officials that local self-government institutions are the training ground for national self-government, and yet, perhaps, nowhere else in India have less facilities been provided for that training than in our province. Act II of 1884 empowered government to introduce an element of election in the constitution of municipalities, and by the year 1886, six municipalities in Sind, namely those of Karachi, Hyderabad, Shikarpur, Sukkur, Jacobabad and Kotri were made partially elective. Since that date, while the municipal franchise has been widely extended in the other Divisions of the Presidency administered directly by the Governor-in-Council, in Sind, during this long spell of 30 years the progress has been literally nil. The figures for the Presidency proper and our unfortunate province show a very marked contrast. In the Northern Division of the Presidency there are 35 municipalities, and out of these as many as 30 enjoy the right of elected Councillors. In the Central Division no less than 51 out of 57 enjoy the right, and in the Southern Division 33 out of 37. In Sind, however, out of a total 25 municipalities only 6 enjoy the right of election, and those 6 are the same 6 municipalities which were established on the elective basis between the years 1884, and 1886. Again, while in the Presidency, in 25 municipalities (i.e. 5 in the Northern Division, 12 in the central Division and 8 in the Southern Division) at least two-thirds of the Councillors are elected, in Sind there are only 3 such municipalities. The same sad tale of unprogressive ness is told by the facts relating to the right of elective presidents. In the Northern Division 27 municipalities enjoy the right of electing their own President by a vote of a majority of two thirds of the councilors. In the central Division there are 44 such municipalities, and in the Southern Division 19. In our province, however, at the present moment, only 3 municipalities enjoy that right. Lately, in the case of 14 municipalities in the Presidency proper, the condition of a two-thirds majority vote was removed, the question of the removal of the same condition in the case of 6 municipalities haven been left, as usual in the similar cases, to the Commissioner-in-Sind. The result has been that none of the Sind municipalities has been permitted to elect its President by a bare majority of votes. Besides, the powers of introducing the elective principle in the Constitution of a municipality and in the appointment of its President, the Commissioner has been given, by the use of the Commissioner-in-Sind Act V of 1868, such extensive powers, of control over the town municipalities of Sind under the Bombay District Municipal Act, as prejudicially to affect the independence and powers of initiative of those Municipalities. The delegation, to the Commissioner in Sind, of almost all the powers of control over even the city municipalities has deprived them of the privileges enjoyed by such municipalities in other Divisions and in effect reduced them to the position of town municipalities. This is very clearly illustrated by two recent instances. While the Bombay Government issued a Resolution No.442 dated the 19thJanuary 1916, grating to several city municipalities of the Presidency proper the right of electing their own Presidents by a bare majority of votes, it left the question of taking a similar step in this province to the Commissioner-in-Sind, with the result stated above. Again, while laying down in 1909 that, in town municipalities to which the privilege of extended franchise has been conceded, the executive officer should be a government servant, the Governor-in-Council was pleased to direct, that the city Municipalities should be allowed a free hand in regard to the creation and filling up of the appointment of the Chief Officer. In spite of this very clear direction, the Commissioner-in-Sind imposed a government servant as its Chief Officer on the Shikarpur Municipality, one of the four city Municipalities existing in Sind. The position with regard to the district local boards is not different. In the Northern Division 5 out of 6 Boards enjoy the right. In Sind, however, not a single district local board out of 7 has been thought fit by the Commissioner-in-Sind for the grant of the right of having a majority of its members elected, and, further, while there are 2 districts local boards in Sind which have no elective element at all in their Constitution, there are none such in the whole of the Presidency proper. Recently, the Bombay Government, with a view to free the district local boards from excessive official control, appointed none-official Presidents on a few selected district local boards in the Presidency, but in Sind, we find that not one district local board has been adjudged by the Commissioner-in-Sind to be fit for the right, although competent non-official members have been elected on the boards who could worthily fill the place of a President.

Your Memorialists believe that by the blocking of practically all progress in these institutions of local self-government, the people of our province have been deprived of the opportunity of cultivating their public spirit and sense of local patriotism and have had no chance for that political and moral training which the exercise of elective franchise largely provides. Had the province of Sind been directly under the administration of the Governor-in-Council, it would have had the benefit of all the liberal measures of that Government and Sind would not have had to suffer the political and moral loss which it now has had to suffer. There would have been greater public spirit, greater independence and greater political experience among the people.

To take another instance, the control, at present exercised by the Commissioner-in-Sind over the judicial administration of the province, not only by the power of appointing subordinate Judges, but by various other powers under the Sind Courts Act XIV of 1866, the Civil Courts Act XIV of 1869 and other enactments, reduces the status of the Judicial Commissioner’s Court and weakens its independence.

The revenue administration of the province, almost exclusively under the final control of the Commissioner-in-Sind, has for years been regarded by the people as most illiberal and is carried on in disregard of the existing rights of the Zamindars. The land Revenue Code of 1879 has, in Sind, been modified by the the special circulars issued by the Commissioner-in-Sind. The remission rules framed by him are in conflict with the principles laid down by Lord Curzon in his famous resolution on the subject and ignore the higher cost of the cultivation and clearance in Sind. The procedure adopted in disposing of applications for remission is extremely dilatory and the existing system of donabandi or assessment of the crop most defective, so that the remission rules, in effect, give most inadequate relief to the Zamindars. The Commissioner’s special circular relating to water courses and the trees planted on them over-rides the rights of the Zamindars over the trees planted by them on their own water-courses and consequently the plantation of trees in the province is discouraged, for, since the cultivation in Sind is mainly dependent on inundated canals, the plantation of trees is impossible except on canals and water-courses flowing from them.

What your Memorialists regard as an aggravation of the whole case, is the absence of any attempt to differentiate between the delegation of criminal and revenue powers, and, in holding the view that anything which affects the life and liberty of the people should not be the subject of delegation by executive order, your Memorialists are supported by the competent official evidence tendered before the Royal Commission upon Decentralization in India. Extensive powers of Local Government have been conferred on a single irresponsible official in Sind both under the Criminal Procedure Code and the Bombay Distrct Police Act IV of 1890.

Withdrawing his own responsibility for the direct administration of Sind, the Governor of Bombay in Council leaves it to the Commissioner-in-Sind to inquire into and satisfy the needs and requirements of the province. As a typical and instructive illustration of the result of this action your Memorialists would draws your attention to the fact that the local authorities have shown no concern in the matter of construction of provincial roads and maintenance of communication in proper repair, although this is essential for bringing the mofussil under the civilizing influences at work to the cities. While there are 5118 miles roads in the Presidency properly maintained from the provincial revenues and Rs.21 lacs were spent on them, in 1915-16, in Sind only Rs.803 were spent in that year, the solitary provincial road being one about 5 miles long.

These are but a few of the many instances of the disadvantages suffered by the people of Sind as a result of the present irresponsible system of government prevailing in the province.

9. The reasons, which might even plausibly have at one time justified the reservation of very large powers in the hands of the Commissioner-in-Sind, have clearely no longer any force. While at the passing of the Sind Commissioner’s Act V of 1865 the only means of communication between Karachi, the capital of Sind, and Bomaby, othe seat of the Provincial Government, was by sea at the present times Sind is also linked up with Bombay by railway, which has brought Karachi and other parts of Sind nearer to Bombay than some other portions of the Presidency. The reason, that owing to the lack of communications and consequent delays in correspondence extensive powers should be delegated to the local executive, clearely does not hold good at the present day. The plea of the “undeveloped state of Sind” as justifying the concentration of wide executive powers in a single individual also cannot with any show of reason be advanced now. The Sind Commissioner’s Act was passed 50 years ago and your Memorialists refuse to believe that half a century of British rule has wrought no substantial improvement in the condition of things in our province. The advance made during the last half a century in the matter of railway communications, provision of irrigational facilities, extent of cultivation, and progress in education, have brought Sind practically in a line with the rest of the Presidency and made the devolution of the present unduly large powers into the hands of the Commissioner-in-Sind no longer desirable. The difference due to the “physical configuration of the province, the climate the modes of cultivation the racial characteristics, the manner and customs, domestic and agrarian, prevalent in Sind” have been most illogically relied upon as a justification for the exceptional position of the Commissioner-in-Sind. Similar differences exist, more or less in the same acute form, between the districts of the Mahrattas, the districts of Gujratis and the Sourthern Division of the Presidency, all administered by one common Government, and yet, no one has, on this account, proposed the delegation of the very extraordinary powers enjoyed by the Commissioner-in-Sind to the other Divisional Commissioners. In other parts of the India, also similar divergencies exist between the different sections of the people under one administration, without impairing the efficiency of that administration.

10. The Memorialists, therefore, venture to place before you, Sirs, their firm conviction, that if the introduction of responsible government in India is to have any reality for the three and a half million Indians, who have lived for over 30 years in Sind under a more autocratic system of administration than perhaps prevails in any other province of India, except the military provinces of Baluchistan and the North West Frontier, it is absolutely essential that until circumstances become ripe for the elevation of Sind to the position of an independent province with duly responsible executive and a Chartered High Court, the administration of the affairs of our province, should for the time being be placed directly under the Governor of Bombay in Council, hope that Sind is likely to realize large advantages from the Sukkur Barrage a generation hereafter.

 

 

Report of the Sind Reforms Committee on the Montagu

Chelmsford Reforms Proposals and

The Position of Sind

 

The Committee was appointed at the 5th Sind Provincial Conference of the Indian National Congress held at Karachi on 30th, 31st March and 1st April 1918 with the following Resolutions:

 

Resolution: “That in view of the Announcement of Reforms to be made by the Secretary of State as the result of his Mission to this country, a Committee be appointed to consider the said announcement, more specially with reference to Sind and submit its report to the Sind Provincial Conference to deliberate on the same.”

 

The Position of Sind in the Coming Reforms: With regard to the question of the position that Sind should occupy in the come Reforms and the change that should take place in the system of Government obtaining at present in Sind, the Committee has gone carefully into this question and the conclusion arrived at are embodied in the succeeding paragraphs. Soon after the appointment of the Committee by the Conference at Karachi, the subject was divided in different parts and members were invited to write notes on one or more of them. Some notes were written and published and sent to members for the study of the question. Subsequently, after the Report of Mr. Montagu and Lord Chelmsford on Indian Reforms was published, the Committee has met from time to time and delibereated over this question fully and come to these conclusion.

 

2. There have been four alternative proposals before the Committee, viz (i) the detachment of Sind from the Bombay Presidency and its amalgamation with the British Baluchistan to form one province under a Lieutenant-Governor with a Legislative Council; (2) the detachment of Sind from the Bombay Presidency and its amalgamation with Punjab to form one province under the Governor-in-Council; (3) The Continuance of Sind as a part of the Bombay Presidency, but under the direct control of the Governor-in-Council necessitating the repeal of all Acts and measures which authorizes delegation of power to the Commissioner in Sind over and above those held by the other divisional Commisioners; and (4) Autonomy for Sind.

 

3. But before considering any of these proposals the Committee likes to record its unanimous and most emphatic condemnation of the present system of Government of Sind, under which the Commissioner-in-Sind exercises most of the powers of the Governor-in-Coucil. Under the delegation Act of 1868, powers have been delegated to the Commisioner-in-Sind which are not enjoyed by the Commissioners of other divisions of the Presidency, with the result that Sind has been deprived of the advantages of Council Government and has been subjected to one man’s rule. This has naturally told upon the development of the province. Public opinion has been kept down under the heel of Officialdom; the growth of independence of character and civic responsibility have been hindered; there has been too much interference with local bodies with the result that Local Self Government is a greater unreality in Sind than elsewhere; benefits conferred upon the other divisions by the Governor-in-Council have been withheld from the people of this province by the Commissioner-in-Sind. Besides, that “One Man’s Rule” is against the very essence of responsible Government which is the goal of India, is amply recognised by Mr. Montagu and Lord Chelmsford, who in their report on Indian Reforms say: “ The retention of the administration of a province in the hands of a single man precludes the possibility of giving it a responsible character. Our first poposition, therefore, is that in all these provinces single-handed administration must cease and be replaced by collective administration.” With this proposition the Committee cordially agrees and is emphatically of opinion that one man’s rule in Sind must immediately cease.

 

4. As regards the proposal that Sind and British Baluchistan should be amalgamated to form one province, the Committee is positively against it. The Committee is so convinced of the harm that would result to Sind from its amalgamation with Baluchistan that it would have summarily rejected this proposal had it not been for the fact that it has been put forward on behalf of the Sind Mohamedan Association. The only advantage that has been pointed out in its favour is that, Sind would be a small province by itself if it is constituted autonomous and that as Baluchistan is so nearer to Sind, would help to extend its area and increase its population. It will be noticed that behind this agreement there is a desire for autonomy for Sind. But the Committee demurs to this argument and it is of opinion that Sind is quite big enough to be autonomous without any area being added to it. Moreover, Baluchistan does not form a part of India proper. Its civilization and the customs and habits of its people are entirely different. It is also very backward. Education has hardly made any headway. The system of Government in Baluchistan has for the last 40 years been military and more autocratic in character than in Sind, being under the irresponsible control of a Chief Commissioner who is an Agent to the Governor General. The revenues of the province are wholly inadequate for the cost of its administration and large subsidies are given to it by the Government of India even now. The taking on of such a very backward province to our own province will only act as a drag on our progress and will be absolutely unwarranted and positively harmful to our interests. Moreover, this proposal must be dropped as impossible of acceptance by the Government as made perfectly clear in the report of Mr. Montagu and Lord Chelmsford on Indian Reforms that “for reason of strategy the two frontier provinces (North-West Frontier Provinces and Baluchistan) must remain entirely in the hands of the Government of India”.

 

5. The proposal of detachment of Sind from the Bombay Presidency and its amalgamation with the Punjab has a fair amount of backing in the province. The Punjab is also amxious for it. It has been urged that Sind is essentially an agricultural province and as the river Indus is common to the Punjab and Sind, the agricultural and irrigational problems of the two provinces are common and therefore they will be developed better and more unformly under the common Government. The Committee recognizes the force of the argument but believes that the agricultural and irrigational interests of Sind can be adequately safeguarded and fostered if Sind gets its own independent Government in the federal Government composed of autonomous provinces which it is the aim of Indians to evolve for their country, it will be an essential condition that the interest of one province do not suffer by the clashing with the interests of another. If this condition is not observed there can be no harmonious working between the difference provinces with the result that the whole Indian Empire will be disintegrated and will not last. The different provinces will therefore take good care to see that the interests of their neighbours do not suffer in any way because of them. This will be amicably settled between them by the Government of India. The Government of the provinces themselves will also over keep a zealous and watchful eye over the interests of their provinces and will not let them suffer. The Committee therefore entertains no apprehension that, unless Sind is amalgamated to the Punjab, the Punjab will take away all the water of the Indus, and will let Sind starve. The Committee is further convinced that an autonomous Government of Sind will do its utmost to develop and foster agriculture and irrigation in the province to their fullest possible extent. It is further said that the people of Sind have got more in common with the people of Punjab in the matter of religion, language and customs than with the people of the Bombay Presidency and also that Sind is geographically connected with the Punjab whereas it is completely isolated from the Bombay Presidency. But the more important consideration in thismatter is not whether Sind is distinct from either, and that is a point in favour of autonomy rather than that Sind should be joined to the Punjab. One minor advantage that is pointed out is that if the two provinces, Sind and the Punjab, are amalgamated province will have a High Court and that will be a distinct advantage for Sind. But the committee sees no reason why each of the two provinces should not have agitate for that. On the other hand we have to bear in mind that the Punjab is more backward than the Bombay Presidency and it will be derogatory to Sind to be detached from an advanced province and attached to a comparatively backward province; and it will not conduce to its interests. Then the advocates of this proposal make it necessary condition of it that Karachi will be the full time or half time capital of the amalgamated province. The committee feels doubtful if the Government will consent to this as Karachi will be at the extreme end of the province, and the Punjab being so near to frontier of India the Government will naturally desire to have the capital more in the interior. The people of the Punjab also will raise strong objection to it. And finally any advantages that might accrue to Sind by its amalgamation with the Punjab are outweighed immeasurably by the advantages that could be secured by making Sind an autonomous province. But above all the amalgamation of Sind with the Punjab will be only a temporary make-shift since it is the ideal of the people of Sind that Sind should be sooner or later an autonomous province and since it is also the policy of the Government, as enunciated in the Report of Mr. Montagu and Lord Chelmsford that the present province are too large and cumbrous and should be broken up in smaller areas, as it indeed is natural and in the fitness of things. The Committee is emphatically of opinion that any supposed advantages of this amalgamation do not justify this temporary makesnift and cannot therefore support this proposal.

 

6. The third proposal, viz. the continuance of Sind with the Bombay Presidency, but directly under the control of the Governor-in-Council necessitating the repeal of all Acts and measures which authorize the delegation of powers by the Governor-in-Council to the Commissioner-in-Sind, has also a large measure of support. But the advocates of this proposals favour it onlyas a temporary arrangement until circumstances are ripe for Sind to become autonomous. They believe that Sind is backward with a large illiterate population, and that public life has not yet developed to that extent as would ensure in the people that independence of thought and action which is so necessary in an autonomous province, and are, therefore, of opinion that it would be of advantage of Sind to remain linked with the progressive province like the Bombay Presidency still for some time to come. But the Committee is of opinion that the cause of this backwarness of Sind is the neglect of Sind by the Bombay Government and the one man’s rule that prevails here at present, and that as soon as Sind is constituted as autonomous province and people are given responsibility of managing their own affairs this backwardness will disappear and Sind will soon fall in the lines with the other provinces. Also sooner Sind is put on the course of autonomy the better it is for it.

Further, it is not self-respecting for the people of Sind to say that they can not advance on their own merits but that they must advance because of their connection with Bombay and borrowed progressiveness of the latter. It is said that if the Act of 1868 is repealed and the extraordinary powers which the Commissioner-in-Sind enjoys at present are taken away from him many of the evils from which Sind suffers will be removed. In the first place the Committee feels very doubtful if Government will consent to the repeal of this Act, for all the enquiries that have been made by the Government in this matter in the past have in their view, confirmed the utility of this Act is as much as it relieves the Governor-in-Council of much of the work relating to Sind and helps to expedite the disposal of Sind matters. The decentralization commission was strongly in favourof this Act. The late Mr. Gokhale also supported it. Secondly the Committee does not believe that the remedy for the existing evils of the administration in the province lies in increasing the control from above but in the bringing to bear the pressure of public opinion of Sind directly upon the Government in Sind and making its administration responsible to the people of Sind and Sind alone. The Committee further sees many objections to Sind’s connection with Bombay. Sind has nothing in common with Bombay. Its history is different; its traditions are different; the customs and habits of its people are different; its economic problems are different; it is geographical isolated. It was merely an accident which brought on the linking of Sind with Bombay in the year 1847. Bombay was the westernmost Presidency under the British at that time and was the only convenient base from which the Government of Sind could be carried on. It is also a well known fact and this is our strongest argument, that the interests of Sind have been entirely neglected at the hands of the Bombay Government. The construction of the through railway connection between Karachi and Delhi and direct broadguage railway line between Karachi and Bombay have been put off through the dilatoriness of the Bombay Government. This is only one instance but many more could be cited. Not only that but owing to the natural rivalry between the city of Karachi and Bombay, the interests of Karachi are likely to suffer as they have done in the past at the hands of the Bombay.

An instance could be cited in the opposition of Bombay to the diversion of the English Mail to Karachi. The result has been that the trade of Karachi and the consequent prosperity of Sind have suffered enormously on account of the dilatoriness or selfishness of the Bombay Government. And this handicap on the development of Karachi will continue as long as Sind remains with Bombay. Finally, since the tendency of circumstances point inevitably in the direction of autonomy for Sind and as the interests of Sind also lie therein, the Committee sees no reason why the question of autonomy should be delayed any longer, rather sooner it is taken up the better it will be.

 

7. The Committee, thus driven to the acceptance of the last proposal, viz, autonomy for Sind, which indeed has the largest support in the province.

It is pointed out that Sind has been always separate in the past, with its own independent Government, geographically also Sind stands by itself at the westernmost extremity of the country. The people have got their own traditions, their own customs, and habits and their own language. They have got a distinct provincial nationality of their own, which it must be the endeavour of every patriotic Sindhi to preserve and foster. The interests of Sind will be best safe-guarded and developed if it has got its own Government under the control of its own people. All these facts are fully recognized and their value specially appreciated by the Committee. The objection is raised to this proposal that Sind is too small in area and has too small a population to constitute it a separate province but there can be no hard and fast rule that provinces which have a particular area and have a particular population can only be separated. The Committee does not believe that Sind is so small that autonomy for it is precluded. Sind has always been separated in the past and is bigger than many of the native states in India and some of the states in the United States, and even some of the European Kingdoms.

It is further said that the large bulk of the population is illiterate which has not yet developed independence of thought and action; and people who will get into power will be the tools of officials and therefore Sind is not yet ripe for autonomy and must be tied to the apron-strings of Bombay. The Committee sees the advantage of it but does not regard it as an insurmountable obstacle to autonomy and holds that putting such people in position of responsibility will develop in them that independence of thought and action which is lacking in them at present.

The objection on the score of finance has been raised that Sind has not sufficient revenue to enable it to bear the cost of the council administration. But the figures that have been collected on this subject conclusively prove that this objection is entirely fallacious and groundless. The total revenue of Sind at present is approximately two crores and 78 lacs of rupees of which one crore and 80 lacs is the provincial share and 93 lacs as the imperial share under the scheme as suggested by Mr. Montague and Lord Chelmsford in their report the revenue in Sind will be approximately 2 crores and 61 lacs, as shown under:-

Estimated according to figures of the year 916-17:- in thousands of rupees.

 

Land revenue 12120

Judicial stamp (approximately half of the

total revenue from stamps 555

Irrigation 9224

Excise 2425

Forest 534

Other heads (approximately) 1221

------------

Total Rs. 26080/-

 

This revenue is considerably more than the revenue of Assam which will be only one crore and 71 lacs of rupees. And Assam is to have full fledged Council Government under the scheme of Mr. Montagu and Lord Chelmsford. Thus all these objections that are raised against autonomy for Sind are in the opinion of the Committtee, unsatisfactory and un convincing and the Committee has no hesitation in recommending that Sind should be constituted an autonomous provinces, with its own legislative and executive, an executive which will be responsible to the legislature and legislature which will be responsible to the people in the measure recommended by the Committee in its scheme of general Reforms for the whole of India.

The Committee is of opinion that the question of the general Reforms for the whole of India is so immeasurably more important than the question of Sind, that all our efforts should be concentrated for the present on the them in order to secure reforms which will satisfy the aspirations of the people and will meet the requirements of the country. The question of Sind can be taken up at any time and autonomy of Sind secured for Mr. Montague and Lord Chelmsford themselves, in discussing the question of the redistribution of provincial areas in para 246 of their report state, “ We desire that it should be recognized as one the earliest duties incumbent upon all the reformed provincial Governments to test provincial opinion upon schemes directed to this end.” The Committee recommends that the question of Sind be deffered until the general reforms have got their final shape, when we shall be in a position to take the pros the cons of the situation and decide our course of action. In the meantime we should do our utmost to secure redical modification in the scheme of reforms of Mr. Montagu and Lord Chelmsford and get what we aspire for and what is absolutely essential for the country.

 

(Sd.) Durgdas B. Advani

Nihalchand U. Vaswani

R.K. Sidhwa

Naraindas Anandji

 

Separate Minutes

 

In my opinion it would be a short sighted policy to postpone the demand for autonomy. I do not admit that Sind is particularly so backward that its Government under any scheme of reforms would become oligarchic, but even if in the present circumstances autonomy would result in power being placed in the hands of “the tools of officials”, that would not be a good ground for postponement. The only sure way of making it nationally fit for self Government is to entrust it with self Government. The Resai evidence shows that the Sind Zamindar is not a pattern of subservience that he is made out to be. Besides, the elections are to be on a direct basis, and on as wide a franchise as possible. Hence the Legislative Assembly may be expected to contain a preponderating element of independent men.

 

(Sd.) Durgdas B. Advani

 

The Committee having made out a very strong case in favour of autonomy, I see no reason why this important subject should be allowed to be kept in abeyance. I am of opinion that the Act of 1868 empowering the Commissioner-in-Sind with the powers of the Governor-in-Council will not be repealed automatically, even after the introduction of the Parliamentary Act of Reforms; and it is absolutely necessary to have One Man’s Rule, which is so detrimental to progress and development of our province ended. It is only befitting on our part to urge for complete autonomy for Sind.

 

`(Sd.) R.K. Sidhwa

 

 

I agree in the conclusions regarding the question of Sind, but not in some of arguments.

(Sd.) Jairamdas Doultram

 

Sind’s Grievances

Provincial Conference’s Address to Mr. Montagu Claim to

Become an independent province

 

Curtailment of Commissioner’s Powers advocated .

Sind an unqualified autocracy

 

“Denial of the Benefits of Government.”

 

Tale of Muncipal Unprogressiveness

 

“Most Liberal” Revenue Administration

 

Unsatisfactory state of Provincial Roads and Communications

 

The people of Sind are anxious to place before you and His Majesty’s Government in England, the result of their prolonged experience and deliberation as to the changes in the system of government in Sind, which are absolutely necessary, if the proposal “ to take substantial steps in the direction of the progressive realization of responsible government in India as an integral part of the British Empire”, as enunciated in the Declaration of the British policy in India made in the House of Commons on August 20, 1917, is to have any meaning and significance for the people of this province.

The Government of Sind has for the last seventy years been, in effect, an unqualified autocracy, with all the disadvantages characteristics of that system. The Commissioner-in-Sind, deriving his numerous powers, partly, by the unconstitutional process of successive inheritance from his ancient predecessor, Sir Charles Napier, the first and last Governor of Sind, mainly, by the frequent delegation to him of numerous powers of local Government by the Governor of Bombay in Council, under the Commissioner-in-Sind’s Act V of 1868, and recently by the specific reservation to him, in later Acts of powers elsewhere reserved to the Governor-in-Council has to day become, in most respects, a Local Government itself, without the check of an Executive Council.

This concentration of exceedingly wide powers in the hands of one man, without the simultaneous replacement of control by the people for control from above has naturally resulted in the creation of despotic administration in Sind. We feel that the vesting of practically entire government of a large sub-province in the hands of a single and individual leads to the operation of personal opinions and predilections, and fluctuations in policy involves the risk of the misuse of powers and militates against the progressive liberalization of the administration. This effect is felt not only in the departments in which he has practically final control, but even in those matters in which, while, technically, he possesses no greater powers than the ordinary Divisional Commissioner, he yet has a greater voice and influence.

We also feel convinced, that by the present arrangement Sind is being practically denied the benefits of government by the Governor-in-Council. Questions which it the case of the other Divisions of the Presidency after passing through the hands of the divisional commioners, undergo elaborate criticism in the Bombay Secretariat, pass the close scrutiny of one of the members of the Executive Council who is conscious of his responsibility as a member of Government and which, sometimes, even run the gauntlet of a debate in the Executive Council itself, are, in the case of Sind, disposed of practically finally, by the Commissioner-in-Sind, whose decisions are uninfluenced not only by the restraint due to the existence of the higher body with revisional powers, but also by the pressure of public opinion in the province.

Further, unlike the other Divisions of the Bombay Presidency, Sind, not being under the direct administration of the Government of Bombay, is deprived of the benefits of the statesmanship, liberality, sympathy and broad outlook of a man trained in the public life of England and the open mindedness and freshness of view of a new corner to India. The administration, of those who, as Commissioner-in-Sind, hold away over the affairs of this province, is, on the other hand, characterized by the irresponsible and bureaucratic spirit with which their long official career imbues them. Sind also keenly feels the degradation of her position in being ruled by a civilian Commissioner, where as the other Divisions are directly under the Governor of Bombay in Council.

 

Backward Local Government

Your memorialists do not deem it desirable to detail here, at any great length, the many disadvantages under which the people of this province have laboured, as a result of its being administered by an irresponsible official, vested with almost all the powers of a Governor-in-Council, but they will content themselves by mentioning only a few glaring instances.

It has often been said by officials that local self-government institutions are the training ground for national self-government and yet, perhaps nowhere elese in India have less facilites been provided for that training than in our province. Act II of 1884 empowered Government to introduce an element of election in the constitution of muncipalites, and by the year 1886, six municipalities in Sind, namely those of Karachi, Hyderabad, Shikarpur, Sukkur, Jacobabad and Kotri were made partialy elective. Since that date, while the municipal franchise has been widely extended in the other Divisions of the Presidency administered directly by the Governor-in-Council, in Sind, during this long spell of 30 years the progress has been literally nil. The figures for the Presidency proper and our unfortunate province show a very marked contrast. In the Northern Division of the Presidency there are 35 municipalities, and out of these as many as 30enjoy the right of elected councilors. In the Central Division no less that 51 out of 57 enjoy the right, and the Southern Division 33 out of 37. in Sind, however, out of 20 total of 25 municipalities only 6 enjoy the right of election and those 6 are the same 6 municipalities which were established on an elective basis between the years 1884 and1886. Again, while in the Presidency, in 25 municipalities (i.e. 5 in the Northern Division, 12 in the Central Division, and 8 in the Southern Division) at least two-third of the councilors are elected in Sind there are only 3 such municipalities. The same sad tale of the unprogressiveness is told by the facts relating to the right of elective presidents. In the Northern Division 27 municipalities enjoy the right of electing their own presidents by the vote of a majority of two-thirds of the councilors. In the Central Division there are 44 such municipalities, and, the Southern Division 19. In our province, however, at the present moment, only 3 municipalities enjoy that right. Lately, in the case of 14 municipalities in the Presidency proper, the condition of a two thirds majority vote was removed the question of the removal of the same condition in the case of Sind municipalities having been left as usual in similar cases, to the Commissioner-in-Sind. The result has been that none of the Sind municipalities has been permitted to elect its president by a bare majority of votes. Besides the powers of introducing the elective principle in the constitution of a municipality and in the appointment of its president, the Commissioner has been given, by the use of the Commissioner-in-Sind’s Act V of 1868, such extensive powers of control over the town municipalities of Sind under the Bombay District Municipal Act, as prejudicially to affect the independence and power of initiative of those municipalities. The delegation to the Commissioner-in-Sind of almost all the powers of control over even the city municipalities has deprived them of the privileges enjoyed by such municipalities in other Division, and in effect reduced them to the position of town municipalities. This is very clearly illustrated by two recent instances. While the Bombay Government issued a Resolution No.442, dated January 9, 1916, granting to several cities municipalities of the Presidency proper the right of electing their own Presidents by a bare majority of votes, it left the question of taking a similar step in this province to the Commissioner-in-Sind, with the result stated above. Again, while laying down in 1909 that, in town municipalities to which the privilege of extended franchise has been conceded, the executive officer should a government servant, the Governor-in-Council was pleased to direct, that the city municipalities should be allowed a free hand in regard to the creation and filling up of the appointment of Chief Officer. Inspite of this very clear direction, the Commissioner-in-Sind imposed a Government servant as its Chief Officer on the Shikarpur Municipality one of the four city municipalities existing in Sind. the position with regard to the district local boards is not different. In the Northern Division 5 out of 6 Districts local boards enjoy the right of an elective majority, in the Central Division all the districts local boards and in the Southern Division 5 out of 6 boards enjoy the right in Sind. However, not a single district local board out of 7 has been thought fit by the Commisioner-in-Sind for the grant of the right of having a majority of its members elected and, further, while there are 2 district local boards in Sind which, have no elective element at all in their constitution, there are none such in the whole of the Presidency proper. Recently, the Bombay Government, with a view to free the district local boards from excessive official control appointed non-official presidents on a few selected districts local boards in the Presidency, but, in Sind, to be fit for the right, although competent non-official members have been elected on the boards who could worthily fill the place of a presidents.

 

No Chance for Political Training: Your memorialits believe that by the blocking of practically all progress in these institutions of local self-government, the people of our province have been deprived of the opportunity of cultivating their public spirit and sense of local patriotism and have had no chance for that political and moral training which the exercise the of elective franchise largely provides. Had the province of Sind been directly under the administration of the Governor-in-Council, it would, have had the benefit of all the liberal measures of that Government and Sind would not have had to suffer the political and moral loss which it now has had to suffer. There would have been greater public spirit, greater independence and greater political experience among the people.

To take another instance, the control, at present exercised by the Commissioner-in-Sind over the judicial administration of the province, not only by the power of appointing subordinate judges, but also by various other powers under the Sind Courts Act XII of 1866, the Civil Courts Act XIV of 1869 and other enactments reduces the status of the judicial Commissioner’s Court and weakens its independence.

 

Liberal Revenue Administration: The revenue administration of the province almost exclusively under the final control of the Commissioner-in-Sind, has for years been regarded by the people as most illiberal and is carried on indisregard of the existing rights of the zamindars. The land Revenue code of 1879 has, in Sind, been modified by the “special circulars” issued by the Commissioner-in-Sind. The remission rules framed by him are in conflict with the principles laid down by Lord Curzon in his famous resolution on the subject and ignore the higher cost of cultivation adopted in disposing of application for remission is extremely dilatory and the existing system of danabandi or assessment of the crop most defective, so that the remission rules, in effect, give most inadequate relief to the zamindars. The Commissioner’s special circular relating to water courses and the trees planted on them overrides the rights of the zamindars over the trees planted by them on their own water-courses flowing from them.

What your memorialists regard as an aggravation of the whole case is the absence of any attempt to differentiate between the delegation of criminal and revenue powers; and, in holding the view that anything which affects the life and liberty of the people should not be the subject of delegation by executive order, your memorialists are supported by competent official evidence rendered before the Royal Commission upon the Decentralization in India. Extensive powers of Local Government have been conferred on a single irresponsible official in Sind both under the Criminal procedure Code and the Bombay District Police Act IV of 1890.

 

Lack of Roads: withdrawing his own responsibility for the direct administration of Sind, the Governor of Bombay in Council leaves it to the Commissioner-in- Sind to enquire into and satisfy the needs and requirements of the province. As, a typical and instructive illustration of the result, of this action your memoralists would draw your attention to the fact that the local authorities have shown no concern in the matter of construction of provincial roads and maintenance of communications in proper repair, although this is essential for bringing the mofussil under the civilizing influences at work in the cities. While there are 5118 miles of roads in the Presidency proper maintained from the provincial revenues and Rs.21 lacs were spent in them in 1915-16, in Sind only Rs.803 were spent on that year, the solitary provincial road being one about 5 miles long!

There are but a few of the many instances of the disadvantages suffered by the people of Sind as a result of the present irresponsible system of government prevailing in the province.

 

Curtailing the Commissioner’s Powers: The reason which might even plausibly have at one time justified the reservation of very large powers in the hands of the Commissioner-in-Sind, have clearly no longer any force. While at the passing of the Sind Commissioner’s Act V of 1868 the only means of communication between Karachi, the capital of Sind, and Bombay, the seat of the Provincial Government, was by sea, at the present time Sind is alo linked up with Bombay by railway, which has brought Karachi and other parts of Sind nearer to Bombay than some other portions of the Presidency. The reason, that owing to the lack of communication and consequent delays in correspondence, extensive powers should be delegated to the local executive clearly does not hold good at the present day. The plea of the “undeveloped state of Sind”, as justifying the concentration of the wide executive powers in a single individual also cannot with any show of reason be advanced now. The Sind Commissioner’s Act was passed 50 years ago, and your memorialists refuse to believe that half a century of British rule has wrought no substantial improvement in the condition of things in our province. The advance made during the last half a century in the matter of railway communications, provision of irrigational facilities, extent of cultivation, and progress in education, have brought Sind practically in a line with the rest of the Presidency and made the devolution of the present unduly large powers into the hands of the Commissioner-in-Sind no longer desirable. The deifferences due to the “physical configuration of the province, the climate, the modes of cultivation, the racial characteristics, the manners and customs, domestic and agrarian, prevalent in Sind” have been most illogically relied upon as justification for the exceptional position of the Commissioner-in-Sind. Similar differences exist, more or less in the same acute form, between the districts of the Mahrattas the district of the Gujratis and the Southern Division of the Presidency, all administered by one common government, and yet, no one has, on this account, proposed the delegation of the very extraordinary powers enjoyed the Commissioner-in-Sind to the other Divisional Commissioners. In other parts of India, also similar divergencies exist between the different sections of the people under one administration without impairing the efficiency of that administration.

 

Sind as an independent Province: The memorialists, therefore, venture to place before you, Sirs their firm conviction, that if the introduction of responsible government in India is to have any reality for the three and a half million Indians, who have lived for over 70 years in Sind under a more autocratic system of administration than perhaps prevails in any other province of India, except the military provinces of Baluchistan and the North-West Frontier Provinces, it is absolutely essential that, until circumstances become ripe for the elevation of the Sind to the position of an independent province with the duly responsible executive and Chartered High Court, the administration of the affairs of our provicve should for the time being be placed directly under the Governor of Bombay in Council, and all enhancements, and measures, which relate to the delegation of powers to the Commissioner-in-Sind be so amended or repealed as to place the Commissioner-in-Sind, on the same footing as other Divisional Commisioners, all the powers conferred on these latter being also retained by him, but not more. The Governor of Bombay should reside at Karachi during a few months of the year, and the members of the Executive Council should visit the province more frequently than theretofore and at least one of the sessions of the Bombay Legislative Council should be held at Karachi every year. The Daily Gazette, Friday, December 28, 1917.

 

Sind Politics: There is little that in (new with one minister exception that we refer to later) in the long series of resolutions passed by the Sind Provincial Conference at Jacobabad at the rate of one every five minutes or so. Most of them we have had before either in Sind or at Bombay or Congress centre. What we mah call outside or general resolutions therefore call for no comment. Probably their very text was transmitted by the central authority and ofcourse the conference swallowed them without stopping to think, or even talk. With many of the resolutions referring to Sind, such as the necessity for a High Court, roads, the Sukkur Barrage an Agricultural College and other educational measures we are in entire agreement and have indeed frequently advocated them in these columns. Other resolutions show that the Provincial Conference is the upholder of wealth and privilege against the interest of the poor. Thus there was a strong condemnation of the house-tax, which is stated to be in direct conflict with the wishes of “the people”, which of course means that very small section of the people which owns houses and enjoys for greater benefit from municipal amenfties than the poor classes who often live in kutcha huts and are made to pay a grossly unfair proportion of the municipal taxation through octroi or terminal tax. The conference also displayed great concern for the woes of the income Tax payer, a very small (in fact unduly small) patrion of the population now that income-tax limit has been raised. It is a curious fact that the Indian political extremist, while ready to rant about liberty and democracy on the slightest provocation, is the extremist conservatives when the pockets of the well-to-do are concerned. When representative government comes we hazard the prediction that the present extremists will constitute the most retrograde party in the country, conservative, unprogressive and fiercely jealous of the rights and privileges of the propertied classes. That is one reason why the attempts of the extremists to attach themselves to the coat-tails of the British Labour Party always afford us mild amusement. The Conference delegates are in favour of free and compulsory education in Sind municipalities, but, they have not the faintest intention of helping to pay for it, and if the politicians of this type manage to secure the entire control of the municipalities-what they describe humorously as “full popular control” – they will take very good care, that they never do pay unless just taxation is forced upon them as was done by Mr. Rothfeld in Shikarpur, which the Conference of course strongly condemned. We are sorry to see that the Sind Conference have followed the orders of their masters at Calcutta by expressing great concern about the Khalifate and the Holy places. This is an obvious political move, for the extremists could scarcely be expected to miss the opportunity provided by the Peace Conference and the downfall of Turkey to stir up feeling among the Muslims in anticipation of the inevitable decisions of the Peace Conference. Hindu agitators all over India are undoubtedly being coached to make the most of the situation. That is one reason why there has been such a parade of “Hindu Muslim unity” and we trust that both the Mahammands and the Government appreciate the inward bearings of this unwanted tenderness in religious matters which have nothing to do with the Hindus, and that steps are being taken to counteract this insidious manocuvre. Editorial of the Daily Gazette, Karachi, April, 23, 1919.

 

Voice of the Public

 

Letters from all quarters

 

Unrepresentative Conferences

(To the Editor of the “Daily Gazzette” )

 

Sir, -- In your issue of 14th inst, you have admirably described the character of political conferences in Sind and the elsewhere, particularly the Shikarpur Conference, in words with which every sensible man must concur. Two things about these conferences must strike a European in this land. One is the discussion of everything under the sun and the terrific hurry with which the subjects are handled in the “three days gathering” of congress or conference. You have yourself shown how the little Sind politicians discussed in the tiny town of Shikarpur, whose own local corporation is a disgrace to local self-government run by Indian gentlemen, gigantic questions like Home Rule in India, the reform of the India Council in London, indentured labour in Fiji and what not, Second is the capacity of those who discuss these great problems. You have rightly questioned the authority of those who came there as “delegates” and you quite justly asked their credentials.

In Sind like other places in India the delegates are chosen by the so-called local committees of the Congress, which only exist in name and are as a rule one man affairs. These august bodies, wake up at the time of congress or conference, when in a small meeting of friends, anybody and everybody is elected delegate, willingly, or unwillingly, whether he may have sympathy with the movement or may be a mere on-looker, for the simple reason that if he goes as delegate he would be well fed and looked after.

Shikarpur did have many people, but it was very striking that most of those who came from Karachi were college students, who very proudly called themselves members of the “Home Rule League”, but not of the Indian Defence Force. A good many Hyderabad people were already at Shikarpur and Sukkur, owing to the plague at Hyderabad, and their pilgrimage to the Shikarpur Conference was more or less a holiday weekend excursion.

But, you have left out one important thing, and that was the absence of the Moslem community as a whole unlike the Karachi Congress and Larkana Conference when some Muslim leaders had joined. The whole of Upper Sind refused to participate in a political movement of that kind in these war times when everybody’s endeavourought be to bring the war to a victorious end. Lower Sind also followed in the same line.The Hon. Mr. Ghulam Muhammad Bhurgri, however, attended it, and another Mohammandan, who attended was a barrister from Karachi, Mr. Abdul Rehman, who it is said came more for a change than anything else. But, you cannot imagine the reception these so-called leaders got from their co-religionists at Shikarpur. They have had an ordeal which they dare not face again. Now, what sort of treatment these “demands”, put for ward by these holiday-makers of one community, which forms a great minority which is better off in every respect in this solid Muslim Province, ought to get from our rulers is a question which I wish to leave for your good readers to answer – Your etc.

A muslim Sukkur, April 23, 1917. The Daily Gazette, Karachi, April 27, 1917.


Sind Provincial Conference

Resolutions

 

1. Sir William Wedderburn

 

This conference places on record, its expression of deep sorrow at the heavy loss sustained by the Country in the death of Sir William Wedderburn, one of the Founders of the National Congress, whose Life Long services in the cause of the regeneration of India, rendered at immense self-sacrifice as a Member of the Indian Civil Service and after retirement as a Member of the House of Commons and President of the British Congress Committee, will ever be greatly remembered by the people of India. (From the Chair)

 

2. That the Conference prays the Almighty to grant success to Great Britain and his Allies in this Great War for Liberty and Justice.

 

3. Self Government

 

This Conference while appreciating the pronouncement made by His Majesty’s Secretary of State for India, on behalf of Imperial Government of India, that its object is the establishment of responsible Government in India, urges the Imperial Government to give the people of India, an effective voice with his Majesty’s Government and the Government of India in determining the measure and time of each advance towards responsible Government.

 

This conference strongly urges the necessity for the immediate enactment of a Parliamentary Statuate providing for the establishment of Responsible Government in the full measures, to be attained at an early date within a time limit to be fixed in the statuate itself.

 

The Conference is emphatically of opinion that the Congress League scheme of reform which is the irreduciable minimum that the people of India can accept, be immediately introduced by Statute as the first step in the process.

 

Proposer: Honourable Mr. Harchandrai V Seconder: R.B. Hirannad Kh.

Supporter: Mr. Ghulam Ali G. Chagla

“ Mukhi Jethanand Pritamdas R.B. Lokamal Ch.

“ Santdas Mangharam

“ Naraindas Motaram Dr. Choithram

“ R.K. Sidhwa Mr. Abdul Rehman

 

4. Curtis Scheme

 

The Conference is emphatically of opinion that the reforms outlined in Curtis scheme are mischievious, illusory and unacceptable to the people if India, and therefore, this Conference strongly condemns the suggestion that the scheme should be applied to Sind or in any other part in India.

 

Proposer: Mr. Jethumal Parsram

Seconder: “ Sri kishindas H. Lula.

Supporter: “ Nihalchand U. Vaswani

 

5. House Tax in Sind

 

This conference strongly condemns the action of Officials in brining under pressure on various Municipalities in Sind, to introduce the House Tax in the teeth of strong opposition of the people, and in particular emphatically disapproves of their high handed action in the case of Larkana and Manjhand Municipalities.

 

This Conference desires to bring to the notice of Government this high handed policy and violation of the principle of Local-Self-Government and urges the immense reversal of the same.

 

Proposer. Mr. Bhojsing Grudinomal

Seconder. “ Lalehand Navalrai

Supporter: “ Hotchand (Rohri.)

“ Issursing (Sukkur.)

“ Abdul Rahman.

“ Santdad Mangharam.

 

6. Thanks to Labour Party

 

This conference places on record its thanks to the Labour Party of England, for its warm hearted support to the cause of Home Rule for India, and for its pledge to render all assistance inside and outside Parliament towards the attainment of this subject. (From the Chair)

 

7. National Education

 

a). That this Conference records its deliberate conviction that education in India should be:-

1. Under Indian control

2. Based on Indian traditions.

3. Suited to Indian needs; and conditions

4. Such as would foster the spirit of independence, self respect, self sacrifice and other citizen virtues.

 

b). That this conference is of opinion that the existing system of education under Government control does not satisfy these necessary requirements and therefore until National Control is effectively secured over the educational system, voluntary organizations independent of Government control, should be started and developed for the purpose of founding and expanding schools, Colleges and for imparting general technical and Commercial education suited to the needs of the country.

 

c). That this conference records its warm appreciations of the labours of those patriots, who are responsible for the formation of the Society for the promotion of National Education under the Presidenship of Sir Rash Behari Ghose, and hopes that the public of Sind will heartily support this society and from branches of the same in every town.

 

d). That this conference is highly pleased to find that an institution called the Sind National College and the High School has already been started by the society for the promotion of National Education, at Hyderabad and hopes that the public of Sind will enthusiastically support institutions and soon start the similar institutions in other parts of Sind.

 

e). The Conference urges upon the Public of Sind and all public institutions in the Province necessity of helping the above society with generous donations and calls upon all patriotic Sindhis to work for the success of the National Education week.

 

Proposer: Mr. Santdas Mangharam Seconder: Mr. Jamshed N.R. Mehta

Supporter: Mr. Naraindas Vishindas.

“ Abdul Rahman

“ Lokamal

 

8. Compulsory Primary Education

 

The Conference while thanking Lord Willingdon’s’s Government for its support to Mr. Patel’s Act for Compulsory, primary education in Municipal areas, and urges on Government the desirability of extending the principle of the Act to rural areas and the necessity of increasing its grant in aid in primary education to 2/3rd of the total expenditure on that head in any Municipal area where compulsion is introduced. This Conference also calls upon the Municipal Councillors of the larger Municipalities in Sind to take immediate measures to introduce compulsory primary education and arrange to provide their share of the cost.

 

Proposer: Honourable Mr. Harchandrai V

Seconder: Mr. Chagla

Supporter: “ Moolchand Pesumal.

“ Naraindas Anandji,

“ Dipchand Chandumal,

Dr. Choithram

Mr. Narsinglal

 

9. The Press Act.

a). This Conference places on record its deliberate opinion that by reason of the wide and arbitary powers conferred by the Press Act of 1910 upon the present irresponsible executive and the unequal and partial manner in which it has been used in the case of the Indian and Anglo Indian Press the Act has proved a menace to the liberty of Indian press, and is opposed to British Traditions in England and the Conference urges Government to immediately repeal it.

 

b). This conference strongly condemns the recent action of officials in Sind in demanding securities under the Press Act from The New Times, The Home Ruler, The Trade Advertiser and The Hindwasi without any justifiable grounds.

 

Proposer: Mr. Durgdas B. Advani

Seconder: “ Santdas Mangharam

Supporter: “ Karamchand Gurmukhdas

“ Viroomal Begraj

 

10. Rasai

 

The Conference while thanking Government for having agreed to appoint a mixed Committee to enquire into the evils of Rasai, Lapo and Cherr deplores the unabated prevailence of these abuses in sind and strongly urges the appointment of a majority of Non-Official members of recognized independence of opinion on that committee. This conference further suggests to Government the great desirability of immediately issuing a Notification assuring the people that Government are anxious to know the truth and will see that witnesses are not harassed by officials.

 

11. Mohammad Ali & Shoukat Ali

 

This conference is of opinion that the internment of Messrs Mohammad Ali & Shoukat Ali in spite of the assurances given by them and several eminent leaders of the Mohammandan Community betrays a gross want of trust, in the people on the part of the Government and is a cause of serious discontent among the people. This Conference therefore strongly urges on His Majesty’s Government in England the desirability of issuing instructions for the release of those two leaders.

 

Proposer: Mr. Jamshed N.B. Mehta

Seconder: Jethmal Parsram.

 

12. Students in Political Meetings.

 

This conference is emphatically of opinion that the imposition of the present restriction on the attendance of students at political meetings is calculated to discourage the cultivation of patriotic spirit and therefore urges the Government to cancel the orders issued by it on the question. (From the Chair)

 

13. Release of Interned Sindhis

The Conference earnestly appeals to Government to set at liberty Professor Jawhermal, Mr. Abdul Majid and Maulvi Mohammad Siddik and all other Sindhis interned or incarcerated under the Defence of India Act or any other measure and pending their release. This Conference further strongly urges the grant of substantial allowance to all these interned Sindhis who do not now get it.

Dr: Choithram

Mr: Mohomed Khan

 

14. Propaganda Work

 

This Conference calls upon the various District Congress Committees, Home Rule Leagues and other political associations in the province to cary on throughout the year a vigorous propaganda in support of the Congress – League scheme and in condemnation of the Curtis scheme. (From the Chair)

 

15. Punjab orders against Messers Tilak and Pal

 

This conference condemns the continuance of the orders issued by the Government of the Punjab and Delhi prohibiting entry to Lok Balgangadur Tilak and Bepin Chandra Pal within their respective province as wholly unwarranted.

 

Dr. Choithram

Mr. Rewachand Vasanmal

 

16. Indian Additional Judicial Commissioner.

 

“This Conference is emphatically of opinion that at least one of the three judges now constituting the Court of the Judicial commissioner of Sind should be an Indian recruited from the Sind Bar. (From the Chair)

 

17. Income Tax

 

This Conference emphatically protests against the methods adopted by the Income Tax Assessing Officers in assessing the tax and against the undue interference by the Revisional Authorities in raising the tax after decision in appeals.

 

Proposer: Mr. Mulchand Pessumal.

Seconder: Lunindram Tikmdas

Supporter: Seth Chainrai virbhandas.

 

18. Hyderabad Municipality

 

The Conference while expressing its supprise at the ignorance displayed by the Bombay Government at the last session of the legislative Council with regard to the resolution urging the restoration of the Hyderabad Municipality passed at the special Sind Provincial Conference held at Hyderabad in November last, reiterates its demand for the immediate restoration of the Hyderabad Municipality as the present committee of Management has proved an utter failure and its continuance will be against Civil interest of the town.

 

Proposer: Mr. Gopaldas Jhamatmal.

Seconder: “ Mukhi Jethanabad

 

The Position of Sind in the Coming Reforms

 

This Conference is emphatically of opinion that the present system of Government in Sind under which the Commissioner-in-Sind exercises almost all the powers of the Governor-in-Council without the safequards afforded by an Executive Council, consisting thus a system of decentralization of powers without popular council is most detrimental to the best interests of the Province and has retarded its progress in many directions.

 

This Conference therefore strongly urges the imperatize necessity of repealing Act V of 1868 and all other measures authorizing delegation of powers to the Commissioner-in-Sind and of placing Sind under the direct control of the Government in Bombay.

 

That in view of the announcement of reforms expected to be made by the Secretary of State as the result of his mission to this country, a committee consisting of the following gentlemen be appointed to consider the said announcement more specially with reference to Sind and submit its resport to the Sind Provincial Congress Committee who should convene a special session of the Sind Provincial Conference to deliberate on the same:-

 

Honourable Mr. Harchandrai V.

“ G.M. Brugrai

“ Hirandand Khemsing

“ Murlidhur Jeramdas.

“ G.G. Chagla

“ Jamshed N.R. Mehta

“ Durgdas B. Advani

“ Gopaldas Jhamatmal

“ Santdas Mangharam

“ Lalechand Navalrai

“ Virumal Begraj

“ Virumal Kimatsing

“ Mulchand Pessumal

“ Bhojasingh Gurdinomal

“ Naraindas Vishindas

“ Lunidaram Tikamadas

“ Sri kishindas H. Lula.

“ R.K. Sidhwa

“ Nihalchand Vishwani

“ Jethmal Parsram

“ Naraindas Anandji

“ Jairamdas Doulatram

 

20. Translation of Sind Vernacular Papers

 

This Conference places on record its sense of extreme dissatisfaction at the attitude taken up by Government at the last session of the Bombay Council on the question of translation of vernacular newspapers of Sind in the office of the Oriental Translator at Bombay and is emphatically of opinion that there is no justification whatsoever for having independent arrangements in Bombay for the translation of Sindi paper. (From the Chair)

 

21. Ban on Newspapers

 

This Conference strongly condemns the present policy of officials to suppress all outspoken Indian newspapers of Sind by putting a ban on them and, is of opinion that orders of Government issued to registered libraries not to subscribe for the Hindwasi, the Larkana Gazette and the Sind Patrika are strongly justified and continue an interference with a legitimate attempt to educate public opinion on the rights of the people. This Conference therefore, strongly urges the reversal of the above policy and the withdrawal of the above orders.

 

22. Swadeshi

 

The Conference is emphatically of opinion that it is the duty of every son of India to strain his every nerve to encourage Swadeshism and therefore, this Conference calls upon the people of this Province to promote the consumption of Indian-made products even at the sacrifice by personal example by preaching the need of support to Swadeshism at all suitable occasions and opportunity and by endeavouring the start Swadeshi Stores in every town and village in Sind.

 

Proposer: Mr. Jamshed N.R. Mehta

Seconder: “ Sri kshindas II. Lula

Supporter: “ Lokamal Chellaram

 

23. Home Rule Deputations

 

This Conference congratulates the Home Rule Leagues on their sending deputation to England and wishes them complete success in their mission under the trusted leadership of Lokmanya Tilak.

The Conference authorizes the President to Communicate to Lokmanya Tilak an expression of its opinion that it has the fullest confidence in him. (From the Chair)

 

 

 

25. Passports

 

This conference strongly deprecates the difficulties experienced in obtaining passports in Karachi and in Upper Sind and urges upon the Government of Bombay so to modify passport rules as to remove all unnecessary restrictions. (From the Chair).

 

26. Remission Rules

 

This Conference regrets that the Commissioner-in-Sind in revising the remission rules has not taken into considerastion the bulk of the recommendations contained on the resolutions on the subject passed at the Shikarpur Conference. The Commissioner has raised the vales of the gross produce in the case of life lands from 2 assessments to three in order to entile a khatedar to claim remission of land reveue to the extent of 1/3rd the gross produce but this Conference is of opinion that this gives very little relief to the khatedar. The Conference therefore still insists that the revenue claim-able in back years should be limited to 1/6th the assessment. The Conference further strongly demers to the Commissioner-in-Sind’s statement that the remission is given as a matter of grace and not as a matter of right. It has been repeatedly admitted by Government in justification of the heavy rates of assessment that remission of land revenue in Sind is an integral pat of the regressional settlement. This Conference is therefore further of opinion that Rule 24 of the new rueles stands in need of modification. (From the Chair)

 

27. Fallow Rules

 

This Conference strongly urges the abolition of the rules under which a survey number lying fallow for five years is forfeited unless it pays assessment in the fifth year and that those provisions of the land Revenue Code and the rules thereunder which vest in Government the power of denying to the original occupant the proprietary right to fallow forfeited numbers or of regranting the same on restricted tenure or on short leases should be immediately repealed.

 

28. Constitution

 

This Conference adopts the rules of the Sind Provincial Congress Committee and the Sind Provincial Conference passed by the subjects Committee. (From the Chair)

 

29. Next Conference

 

That the next session of the Sind Provincial Conference be held at Jacobabad.

 

Proposer: Seth Ratanchand Topandas

Seconder: Mr. Sugianchand Kimatrai

 

The material/data/information can be provided on request

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