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As one of those who took a prominent part in the preparation of the Memorandum containing a scheme of Reforms that was presented to the Viceroy in 1916 by nineteen elected Members of his Legislative Council, and which formed the basis of the scheme formulated by the Indian National Congress and the Moslem League, and as one who was a Member of the Functions Committee in 1918-19 which considered the question of the separation of functions between the Central and Provincial Governments and of the division of Reserved and Transferred subjects in the Provincial Governments, I feel a peculiar pleasure in being associated with this publication which gives a faithful outline of the new constitution as inaugurated by the Government of India Act 1919. I will beg of my countrymen, specially the educated and thinking portion of them, to study the Reforms and realize the extent of power immediately placed in the hands of the representatives of the people and the possibilities of a still further extension of those powers in the near future. Complete self-Government is now laid down by Statute as the goal to be attained as early as possible and it rests with us by a wise and fearless exercise of the responsibility placed upon us to ensure the early realization of the goal. In the Provinces, most of the departments of administration which concern the people intimately and which are capable of development for the public good are now placed in the hands of Ministers controlled by an overwhelming elec tive majority in the Legislative Councils. It is true that there is no responsibility given in the Central Government, but even there the Legislative Assembly with its large elective majority and the Council of State also with an elective majority, are in a position to exercise effective control over the administration. During the few months that these Legislatures have been working, they have been able to accomplish a good deal. They appointed Committees to consider the Press Act and the various repressive laws. The Committee on the Press Act has recommended its total repeal and this Act against which the public have been vainly crying ever since its enactment in 1910, will soon be removed from the Statute-Book as the result of the power and influence wielded by the Legislative Assembly during the first few months of its existence. The Rowlatt Act which the Government of India passed in the teeth of united Indian opinion and which it has maintained so long even at the risk of grave discontent resulting in bloodshed, will now disappear in consequence of the authority and pressure exercised by the Assembly. Similarly, it is expected it will be able to secure very shortly the repeal of many of the repressive laws which public opinion, though strongly expressed, was unable to achieve before the Reforms. My countrymen will also remember that under the Reforms Scheme with elected majorities in the Central Legislatures, India gets fiscal autonomy which will lead to its early industrial, and economic regeneration. will ask them to study carefully the reply recently given to the Manchester Chamber of Commerce Deputation (which protested against the enhancement of import duties on English cloth ) by the present Secretary of State whose broad sympathy, large vision, and above all, honesty of purpose, and courage have mainly secured for India the present Reforms and the real value of whose services will, I am sure, be gratefully recognised by future generations.
I do hope and trust that, my countrymen will realise that the real progress and advancement of India and the early attainment of her proper position among the civilised countries will be achieved not by impatient idealism and short cuts leading to disaster, but by a proper appreciation of the realities of the situation and our infirmities and shortcomings and by patient hard work, by sober, solid, logical, thinking, and by self-reliance and self-restraint. I earnestly trust that they will also remember that it is the contact with Britain, the impact of Western education, the ideals engendered by the study of English History and English free institutions which it is now the fashion to decry, that have created and made possible the idea of nationality, patriotism, yearning for freedom which is everywhere visible and which, if properly directed and not misused, must lead us safely to the goal we have all in view. That goal, I may be permitted to say, will not be achieved by isolation, by rejecting Western civilisation because it is Western, and by creating race hatred and antipathies. If educated Indians and their leaders do not lose proper perspective, and realize their grave responsibility of leading the masses on the proper path of ordered progress, I have no doubt about creating very early a regenerated and strong India politically, industrially, economically, and morally. This publication, as it helps towards a proper understanding of the stage of political progress reached under the Reforms, should command careful study and encouragement at the hands of all patriotic citizens.