By Phillip Talbot
In 1938 few american citizens knew approximately British-governed India or the nationalist pursuits then burgeoning there. Addressing this, a brand new York-based starting place, the Institute of present international Affairs, provided 23-year-old Phillips Talbot a fellowship to spend a number of years in India studying in regards to the state. This quantity is a set of Talbot s letters written among 1938 and 1950, at the buildup to the independence of India and Pakistan, and the early studies of the recent states. Talbot s letters and experiences from the sphere, awarded right here within the unique, contain his first-hand observations on pupil existence at Aligarh Muslim collage, neighborhood existence in a small Muslim group in Kashmir, a Vedic ashram in Lahore, Tagore s Shantiniketan, Gandhi s Sevagram, the Kodaikanal Ashram Fellowship, and Hindu and Muslim city groups in Lahore and Bombay, and Afghanistan. studying approximately Indian politics, Talbot attended the most important conferences of the Indian nationwide Congress, together with the Ramgarh Conclave at first of worldwide battle II, and the All India Muslim League s Lahore consultation at which the Pakistan answer used to be followed in 1940, in addition to different assemblies corresponding to the Asian relatives convention within the spring of 1947. He got here to understand Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Jinnah and different leaders. A informed journalist, Talbot stories with aptitude, even if he's recounting the Lahore consultation of the Muslim League, or describing a stroll with Gandhi in Noakhali district of East Bengal after "the nice Calcutta killing" of 1946, or his final interview with Gandhi a couple of weeks ahead of the latter s assassination. For anyone wishing to get a ground-level view of South Asian society in its decisive decade, those letters from an American observer will turn out to be an relaxing learn.
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Additional info for An American Witness To India's Partition
In summary they are, it appears, that Muslims get no fair deal under Hindus, that the Congress party is communal rather than nationalist, and that the Muslims are not a minority but a separate community. Such credos are the buttresses of the accepted Tory view in England that the British raj must continue to hold on in India if only to keep the peace. Also I have had a talk with Sir John Russell, director of the Roth Amsted Experimental Station near London and author of a report prepared in 1937 on the work of the Imperial Council of Agricultural Research in applying science to crop production in India.
Nor is it wise to make guesses from this scanty evidence regarding the ultimate nature of the proposed national plan. But the questions do suggest that the committee leaders are thinking along rather definite lines. They presumably conceive of the plan as an imposed program covering both the provinces and the native states. ” One large share of questions can be classified as essentially factsearching. These include inquiries into production in agriculture, forests and mines, cottage and large-scale industries, and services.
The Government of India Act of 1935 confers on India a measure of parliamentary democracy, a territorial selfgovernment built on Western models. To the Muslim League this is a disaster. Such a system in India, it believes, does not establish a government of the people, but creates a tyranny of numbers imposed by one nation on another. The League fears the Hindus are proceeding to take revenge for the thousand years they have been a subject people under Musalmans and British. The federal scheme envisioned by the 1935 Act includes so-called autonomous provincial governments—with strictly limited powers— and a central government in which the provinces and the Indian states will be represented.