The Proudest Day: India's Long Road to Independence

By Anthony Read; David Fisher | Go to book overview

7
'No Bombs, No Boons'

By the spring of 1907, Minto and his officials had completed their report on Morley's reform proposals, which were to form the basis of a new Indian Councils Act. As always, the proposals fell far short of Indian demands, but Morley had insisted on taking them further than Minto and the machine wanted. As a mark of his liberal intentions, while the new Act was still being drafted and debated, he appointed two Indian members to his council in Whitehall: a Hindu, K.G. Gupta, who had been an official on Calcutta's Board of Revenue, and a Muslim, S.H. Bilgrami, who had served the Nizam of Hyderabad and was a member of the Muslim League. Gokhale and the Congress moderates applauded the gesture, though not the choice of two such undistinguished individuals — Morley himself admitted that 'their colour is more important than their brains'. 1

The Moderates were grateful for the proposed reforms. Gokhale, indeed, had helped to draft them during his discussions at the India Office in London, and he knew what could and could not be achieved. He trusted and admired Morley, 'the one friend fighting night and day in our interests'. 'If only our countrymen will have a little more patience, for, say, six months more,' he wrote, 'they will have no cause to regret their confidence in the present Secretary of State.' 2 He believed the new Act would be a significant advance towards eventual self-rule, as indeed it proved to be. The Extremists, on the other hand, dismissed the proposals contemptuously, and the division between the two wings of Congress began to widen alarmingly.

Tilak's Extremist wing had been growing in strength since 1905, and had formed itself into a separate body within Congress, calling itself the New Party. It was led by 'Lal, Bal and Pal' as the militant students liked to chant — Lala Lajpat Rai, the Arya Samaj leader from the Punjab, Bal Gangadhar Tilak himself, and Bipin Chandra Pal, a militant Bengali youth leader, founder and editor of the emotively named journal Bande Mataram. They and their followers now regarded

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The Proudest Day: India's Long Road to Independence
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Proudest Day - India's Long Road to Independence *
  • Contents *
  • List of Illustrations *
  • Glossary *
  • Maps *
  • Acknowledgements *
  • Prologue *
  • 1 - In Quiet Trade *
  • 2 *
  • 3 *
  • 4 *
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  • 30 *
  • Epilogue *
  • Source Notes *
  • Bibliography *
  • Index *
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