This is Mahatma Gandhi's seventh speech at the Round Table Conference, the fifth before the Federal Structure Committee, delivered on November 19, 1931.
This speech by and large is the best guide to our study of Gandhi's sense of equity. He rejects the resolution on commercial safeguards passed by the First Round Table as being inimical to the vital interests of the masses of India. The two formulae laid down by Mahatma Gandhi are the quintessence of justice, equity and fair play: (1) there shall be no racial discrimination against foreigners; (2) no legitimate interest, not in conflict with the best interests of the Indian nation, shall be interfered with except in accordance with the law applicable to such interests.
These formulae guarantee the safety of European as well as Indian business interests; but they are so worded as to safeguard first and foremost the interests of the dumb, semi-starved millions of the land. As between the haves and the have-nots, the Mahatma sees no difficulty whatsoever in discriminating in favor of the have-nots, in favor of the famishing millions. Swaraj, says Gandhi, is to be won in order to alleviate the sufferings of the masses.
Commercial safeguards; control over the army, finance and foreign policy; special rights for Englishmen involved in lawsuits--these are new names for the vicious code of extraterritoriality, which is today the bane of the Chinese scene. So long as there is a single Congressman