Civilised Europeans and Savage Asians
|Written||14 April 1913|
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 19, pages 57-58.
The well-known English Social-Democrat, Rothstein, relates in the German labour press an instructive and typical incident that occurred in British India. This incident reveals better than all arguments why the revolution is growing apace in that country with its more than 300 million inhabitants.
Arnold, a British journalist, who brings out a newspaper in Rangoon, a large town (with over 200,000 inhabitants) in one of the Indian provinces, published an article en titled: “A Mockery of British Justice”. It exposed a local British judge named Andrew. For publishing this article Arnold was sentenced to twelve months’ imprisonment, but he appealed and, having connections in London, was able to get the case before the highest court in Britain. The Government of India hastily “reduced” the sentence to four months and Arnold was released.
What was all the fuss about?
A British colonel named McCormick had a mistress whose servant was a little eleven-year-old Indian girl, named Aina. This gallant representative of a civilised nation had enticed Aina to his room, raped her and locked her up in his house.
It so happened that Aina’s father was dying and he sent for his daughter. It was then that the village where he lived learned the whole story. The population seethed with indignation. The police were compelled to order McCormick’s arrest.
But Judge Andrew released him on bail, and later acquitted him, following a disgraceful travesty of justice. The gallant colonel declared, as gentlemen of noble extraction usually do under such circumstances, that Aina was a prostitute, in proof of which he brought five witnesses. Eight witnesses, however, brought by Aina’s mother were not even examined by Judge Andrew.
When the journalist Arnold was tried for libel, the President of the Court, Sir (“His Worship”) Charles Fox, refused to allow him to call witnesses in his defence.
It must be clear to everyone that thousands and millions of such cases occur in India. Only absolutely exceptional circumstances enabled the “libeller” Arnold (the son of an influential London journalist) to get out of prison and secure publicity for the case.
Do not forget that the British Liberals put their “best” people at the head of the Indian administration. Not long ago the Viceroy of India, the chief of the McCormicks, Andrews and Foxes, was John Morley, the well-known radical author, a “luminary of European learning”, a “most honourable man” in the eyes of all European and Russian liberals.
The “European” spirit has already awakened in Asia, the peoples of Asia have become democratic-minded.