Bhimrao R. Ambedkar, Esq.
6850. ..."...(1) the most difficult and the most momentous question of Government (is) how to transmit the force of individual opinion and preference into public action. This is the crux of popular institutions." So says Professor A. B. Hart. But this is only half the definition of popular Government. It is therefore necessary to emphasize the other half, which is equal if not more in importance. As the Government is the most important field for the exercise of individual capacities, it is in the interest of the people that no person as such should be denied the opportunity of actively participating in the process of government. That is to say popular Government is not only Government for the people but by the people. To express the same in a different way, representation of opinions by itself is not sufficient to constitute popular Government. To cover its true meaning it requires personal representation as well. It is because the former is often found without the latter that the Franchise Committee has to see in devising the franchises and constituencies for a popular Government in India, it provides for both, i.e. representation of opinions and representation of persons. Any scheme of franchise and constituency that fails to bring this about fails to create a popular Government.
6851. ...(2) Success in this task will ultimately depend upon the accuracy of the de facto conception of the society which is to be given the popular form of Government. De facto India was well portrayed by Lord Dufferin when he described it as a—
“Population ...composed of a large number of distinct nationalities, professing various religions, practising diverse rites speaking different languages, while many of them... still further separated from one another by discordant prejudices, by conflicting sources of usages, and even antagonistic material interests. But perhaps the most patent characteristic of our Indian cosmos is its division into two mighty political communities as distant from each other as the poles asunder... On the one hand the Hindus... with their elaborate caste distinctions.... on the other hand, the Mahomedans... with their social equality. To these must be added a host of minor nationalities most of them numbering millions—almos as widely differentiated from one another by ethnological or politics distinctions as are the Hindus from the Mohamedans, such as Sikhs, with their warlike habits and traditions and their enthusiastic religious beliefs... the Rohillas, the Pathans, the Assamese—the Baluchis and other wild and material tribes on our frontiers—the hillmen dwelling in the folds of the Himalayas—our subjects in Burma, Mongal in race and Buddhist in religion—the Khonds, Mhairs and Bheels and other non- Aryan people in the centre and south of India—and the enterprising Parsees, with their rapidly developing manufactures and commercial interests. Again, amongst these numerous communities may be found, at one and the same moment, all the various stages of civilization through which mankind has passed from the prehistoric ages to the present days.”
6852. ...(3) Englishmen have all along insisted that India is unfit for representative Government because of the division of her population into castes and creeds. This does not carry conviction with the advanced wing of Indian politicians. When they say that there are also social divisions in Europe as there are in India they are amply supported by facts. The social divisions of India are equalled, if not outdone, in a country like the United States of America. Corresponding to those in the former, we have in the latter men banded together in a criminal conspiracy and trust or combinations that prey upon the public. Not only are there political sub-divisions but industrial, scientific, religious associations differing in their aims and their attitudes towards each other. Apart from political parties with diverse ends, social sets, cliques and gangs we find in the United States of America more permanent divisions of the population such as the Poles, Dutch, Swedes, Germans, Russians, etc., each with its own language, religious and moral codes and traditions. If social divisions unfit a country for representative Government, it should unfit the United States of America as much as India. But if with all the social divisions the United States of America is fit for representative Government, why not India? Ask the Indian politicians, so entrenched it is difficult to dislodge them, either to show that the social divisions of India are of a different kind or grant them their contention. Without these two there is no third alternative possible.
6853. ...(4) In my opinion their contention cannot be granted for the social division of India do matter in politics. How they matter can best shown by understanding when they don’t matter. Men live in a community in virtue of the things they have in common. What they must have in common in order to form a community are aims, beliefs, aspirations, knowledge, a common understanding; or to use the language of the Sociologists, they must be like-minded. But how do they come to have these things in common or how do they become like-minded? Certainly not by sharing with another as one would do in the case of Piece of cake. To cultivate an attitude similar to others or to be like-minded with others is to be in communication with them or to participate their activity. Persons do not become like-minded by merely living in physical proximity, any more than they cease to be like-minded by being distant from each other. Participation in a group is the only way of being like-minded with the group. Each Group tends to create its own distinctive type of like-mindedness, but where there are more than one group to be brought into political union, there would be conflict among the differently like-minded. And so long as the groups remain isolated the conflict is bound to continue and prevent the harmony of action. It is the isolation of the groups that is the chief evil. Where the groups allow of endosmosis they cease to be evil. For endosmosis among the groups makes possible a resocialization of once socialized attitudes. In place of the old it creates a new like-mindedness which is representative of the interests, aims, and aspirations of all the various groups concerned. Like-mindedness is essential for an harmonious life, social or political and, as has just been shown, it depends upon the extent of communication, participation or endosmosis. Applying this test to the division in India, we must pronounce upon them as constituting an obstacle in the path of realizing an harmonious political life.
6854. ...(5) The groups or divisons each with its set like-mindedness that are sure to be in conflict may be given as follows :— (1) Hindus; (2) Mohamedans; (3) Christians; (4) Parsees; (5) Jews, etc.
Except the Hindus the rest of the divisions are marked by such complete freedom of communication from within that we may expect their members to be perfectly like-minded with respect to one another. Regarding the Hindus, however, the analysis must be carried on a little farther. The significant fact about the Hindus is that before they are Hindus they are members of some caste. The castes are so exclusive and isolated that the consciousness of being a Hindu would be the chief guide of a Hindu’s activity towards non-Hindu. But as against a Hindu of a different caste his caste consciousness would be the chief guide of activity. From this it is plain that as between two Hindus caste-like- mindedness is more powerful than the like-mindedness due to their both being Hindus. Thus from within the Hindus, as from without, there is likely to be a conflict of like-minded persons. There are some who argue that this conflict runs through the whole gamut of the caste system- But this is protesting too much. From the point of view of communication the Hindus, in spite of castes, divide themselves into two significant groups—the touchables and the untouchables. The touchables have enough communication between them to enable us to say that the conflict of like-mindedness so far as they are concerned is not muc to be dreaded. But there is a real difference and consequent conflict between the like-mindedness of the touchables and the untouchables. Untouchability is the strongest ban on the endosmosis between them. Their complete isolation accounts for the acuteness of the difference of like-mindedness.
The real social divisions of India then are :— (1) Touchable Hindus.
(2)Untouchable Hindus. (3) Mohamedans. (4) Christians. (5) Parsees. (6) Jews.
6855. ...(6) It will not do to ignore these real divisions in devising a system of policy, if the polity is to take the form of popular Govt. But if the success of popular Government depends upon how well the constituencies and franchises transmit the social forces and how well do they secure personal representation, we must first study the form which the conflict between these groups will assume in an election.
6856. ...(7) In a territorial constituency, which will group together voters belonging to the above groups, a majority of votes will declare a candidate to be a representative for the constituency in question. Now the question arises : is such a candidate a true representative of the groups covered by the territorial constituency? Is he a true mirror of the mind of the constituency? Is he a representative of all the interests in the constituency? To be concrete, will a Hindu candidate represent Mohamedan interests? At this stage it must be recalled that the various divisions described above are held together by a community of interests which are non-secular or purely religious. We cannot say that each division is held together by a community of interests which are secular or material. If so, then for secular purposes the groups will be broken up. From the point of view of material interests there are no such people as Mohamedans, Parsees, Hindus, etc. There will be in each of these groups landlords, labourers, capitalists, freetraders, protectionists, etc; oach of the groups having community of interests which are material, will be composed of Hindus, Mohamedan, Parsees, etc. Consquently, a Hindu candidate can very well represent the material interests of the Mohamedan and vice versa. There is thus no conflict of material interest in the main among the communities as such. If we suppose that religious interests in future will occupy a subordinate place in the affairs of men, the secular interests of a group can be well represented by a candidate from another group.
6857. ...(8) From this point of view a territorial constituency will be sufficient for a popular Government. A little more consideration will show that it will be sufficient for only one-half the definition of popular government. How true it is will be shown presently. In an electoral fight between the various groups in a territorial constituency the voters will discriminate in favour of a candidate with whom they are in sympathy. But with whom they will be in sympathy is determined for them in advance. Given two candidates belonging to different groups but purporting to represent the same interest, the voters will mass their votes the person belonging to the same community. Any group yielding a large number of electors will have its own candidate elected. This discrimination on the part of the voters, though it may not leave unrepresented the interests of the members of the minor groups, leaves them without any change of personal representation.
6858. ...(9) To those who are busy in devising schemes for the proper and adequate representation of interests and opinions, dilating on the importance of personal representation is likely to seem idle. But personal representation is not therefore unimportant. In recent times "Government for the people” has claimed more attention than “Government by the people” In fact there are instances to show that “Government for the people” can exist in the best sense of the phrase without there being a “Government by the people". Yet ail political theorists will unanimously condemn such a form of Government. And the why of it is important to know. It will be granted that each kind of association, as it is an educative environment, exercises a formative influence on the active dispositions of its members. Consequently, what one is as a person is what one is as associated with others. A Government lor the people, but not by the people, is sure to educate some into masters and others into subjects; because it is by the reflex effects of association that one can feel and measure the growth of personality. The growth of personality is the highest aim of society. Social arrangement must secure free initiative and opportunity to every individual to assume any role he is capable of assuming provided it is socially desirable. A new rule is a renewal and growth of personality. But when an association— and a Government is after all an association—is such that in it every role cannot be assumed by all, it tends to develop the personality ol the few at the cost of the many—a result scrupulously to be avoided in the interest of Democracy. To be specific, it is not enough to be electors only. It is necessary to be law-makers; otherwise who can be law-makers will be masters of those who can only be electors.
6858. ...(10) Territorial constituencies are therefore objected to, and rightly, on the ground that they do nothing to prevent this absurd outcome. They erroneously suppose that electors will vote on the programmers of the candidates without any regard for their persona. As a matter of fact the electors before they are electors are primarily members of a group. The persona of the candidates does matter with them. Naturally, therefore, as members of a group they prefer the candidate who belongs to their group to another candidate who does not belong to their group though both of them claim to represent the same interest. As a result of this preference the electors of a large group are destined to rise to a higher position of becoming eventual law-makers, while the electors of a smaller group for no fault of theirs are doomed to a lower position of remaining electors. One crux of popular Government is the representation of interests and opinions. The other crux is personal representation. Territorial constituencies fail to create popular Government because they fail to secure personal representation to members of minor groups.
6860. ...(11) If this is a correct analysis as to how the social divisions operate to the prejudice of the political life of some communities, never was a more improper remedy advocated to meet the situation than proportional representation. Proportional representation is intended to give proportionate representation to views. It presupposes that voters vote for a candidate because of his views and not because of his persona. Proportional representation is ill-suited for the purpose in hand.
6861. ...(12) We have therefore two possible methods of meeting the situation : either to reserve seats in plural constituencies for those minorities that cannot otherwise secure personal representation, or grant communal electorates. Both have their usefulness. So far as the representation of the Mohamedans is concerned, it is highly desirable that they should participate in a general election with seats reserved for them in plural constituencies. The angularity of the division that separates the Hindus and Mohamedans is already sharp and communal representation, it may be urged, sharpens it the more. Communal election however seems to be a settled fact so far as the Mohamedans are concerned and nothing is likely to alter it even though alternation is likely to be beneficial.
6862. ...(13) But this argument is mainly intended to concern itself with the representation of the Hindus in general, and of the untouchable Hindus in particular. The discussion of the representation of the Hindus may be best introduced by a quotation which expresses the newer consciousness that has arisen in the various Hindu groups. It is said :
“A community may claim representation only on the ground of separate interests which require protection. In India, such interests are of three kinds only: either they arise out of religious antipathies which are pretty strong in India, or out of the backward state of a community in educational matters, or out of the socio-religious disabilities to which a community may be subject. Confining ourselves to the Hindu communities there are certain communities who, besides being very backward, are suffering under a great social tyranny. The untouchable classes must have their own men in the Council Hall to fight for the redress of their grievances. The non-Brahmins as a class are subjected to the social and intellectual domination of the Brahmin priesthood and may therefore rightly advocate separate representation."
6863. ...(14) From this it will be seen that the new consciousness among the Hindus while acknowledging the separate interests of the untouchables does not accept the position that the touchable Hindus orm a group by themselves. The new consciousness insists on dividing the touchable group into Brahmins and non-Brahmins each with its own separate interests. Separate electorates or reserved seats in mixed electorates are demanded for the three groups in which the Hindus are divided. Before dealing with the problem of the representation of the untouchables something will be said on the question of the Brahmins and non-Brahmins.
6864. ...(15) That the non-Brahmins are “backward in educational matters" cannot be said in any way to be their special interest. It is the general interest of all even of those Brahmins who are educationally backward. "The intellectual and social domination of the Brahmins" is not a matter that affects the non-Brahmins alone. It affects all and it is therefore the interest of all. What remains then as a special interest for the non-Brahmins to require their protection?
The case for separate representation for non-Brahmins fails because they cannot prove to have a common non-Brahmin interest.
6865. ...(16) But do they fail to secure personal representation? This can be best shown by reference to figures.
Group - I
(1) Caste of Local Board voters.
(2) Number of voters for the Local Boards of the Districts of Belgaum, Bijapur & Dharwar.
Group - II
(3) Total population of the three districts.
(4) Number of voters for the Local Boards of the districts of Ratnagiri & Kolaba.
(5) Total population of the two Districts.
Table 1 (To see table click here)
6866. ...Reducing the above figures to the basis of a thousand we have the following interesting result.
Group - I
(1) Names of Castes.
(2) Proportion of population of a caste to every thousand of the population covered.
(3) Proportion of voters of a caste to every thousand of the population of the same caste.
(4) Proportion of voters of caste to every thousand of voters.
(5) Proportion of population of caste to every thousand of the population covered.
Group - II
(6) Proportion of voters of a caste to every thousand of the Population of the same caste.
(7) Proportion of voters of a caste to every thousand of voters.
Table 2 (To see table click here)
6867. ...So arranged, the conclusions to be drawn from these figures are highly important.
(1) The Brahmins, given a uniform franchise for all, though a small minority so far as numbers are concerned becomes a majority so far as the total of voters is concerned as is the case in Group II.
(2) Though with an uniform franchise the non-Brahmin communities like the Lingayats and Marathas do not fail to figure on the voters’ list, the proportion of their population to their voters is insignificant as compared with the proportion which the Brahmin population bears to the Brahmin voters.
6868. ...(17) The proportion of the Brahmins to their voters is really extravagant. It is justified neither by faith in them nor by their own numbers. The Lingayats though they can legitimately complain that the proportion of their voters is small will succeed in securing personal representation. The Marathas though larger in numbers than the Brahmins besides the very small proportion of their voters suffer on the voters’ list and very likely will fail to secure personal representation for themselves.
6869. ...So argued, the case for special provision of the Marathas can be sustained and should be admitted.
6870. ...(18) The question is what form the provision should take. In my opinion such provision instead of taking the form of separate electorates of reserved seats should take the form of a low pitched franchise. The franchise for the non-Brahmin should be lower than that for the Brahmin. By this arrangement the Marathas would improve their position on the voters’ list and the altogether favoured position of the Brahmin would be equalized. It is in the interest of all that the Brahmin should not play such a preponderant part in politics as he has been doing hitherto. He has exerted a pernicious influence ion the social lile of the country and it is in the interest of all that his pernicious influence should be kept at a minimum in politics. As he is the most exclusive he is most anti-social.
6871. ...(19) Even the authors of the report on constitutional reforms are not in favour of a limited or uniform franchise. They say “we consider that the limitations of the franchise, which it is obviously desirable to make as broad as possible, should be determined rather with reference to practical difficulties than to any a priori considerations as to the degree of education or amount of income which may be held to constitute a qualification. It is possible that owing to unequal distribution of population and wealth it may be necessary to differentiate the qualifications for a vote not merely between provinces, but between different parts of the same province”. (P. 147) To this I should like to add that we should differentiate the qualifications for a vote not merely between provinces or parts thereof but between communities of the same province. Without this differentiation some communities with a small but wealthy or educated population will secure more votes than a large community consisting of poor and uneducated members. Uniformity in franchise should be dispensed with. An important result will be that communa representation or reservation of seats for some non-Brahmin communities who are now clamouring for it would be avoided.
6872. ...(20) The untouchables are usually regarded as objects of pity but they are ignored in any political scheme on the score that they have no interests to protect. And yet their interests are the greatest. Not that they have large property to protect from confiscation. But they have their very persona confiscated. The socio religious disabilities have dehumanized the untouchables and their interests at stake are therefore the interests of humanity. The interests of property are nothing before such primary interests.
6873. ...(21) If one agrees with the definition of slave as given by Plato, who defines him as one who accepts from another the purposes which control his conduct, the untouchables are really slaves. The untouchables are so socialized as never to complain of their low estate. Still less do they ever dream of trying to improve their lot, by forcing the other classes to treat them with that common respect which one man owes to another. The idea that they have been born to their lot is so ingrained in their mind that it never occurs to them to think that their fate is anything but irrevocable. Nothing will ever persuade them that men are all made of the same clay, or that they have the right to insist on better treatment than that meted out to them.
6874. ...(22) The exact description of the treatment cannot be attempted. The word untouchable is an epitome of their ills and sufferings. Not only has untouchability arrested the growth of their personality but it comes in the way of their material well-being. It has also deprived them of certain civil rights. For instance, in Konkan the untouchables are prohibited from using the public road. If some high caste man happens to cross him, he has to be out of the way and stand at such a distance that his shadow will not fall on the high caste man. The untouchable is not even a citizen. Citizenship is a bundle of rights such as (1) personal liberty, (2) personal security, (3) rights to hold private property, (4) equality before law, (5) liberty of conscience, (6) freedom of opinion and speech, (7) right of assembly, (8) right of representation in a country’s Government and (9) right to hold office under the State. The British Government by gradual growth may be said to have conceded these rights at least in theory to its Indian subjects. The right of representation and the right to hold office under the State are the two most important rights that make up citizenship. But the untouchability of the untouchables puts these rights far beyond their reach. In a few places they do not even possess such insignificant rights as personal liberty and personal security, and equality before law is not always assured to them. These are the interests of the untouchables. And as can be easily seen they can be represented by the untouchables alone. They are distinctively their own interests and none else can truly voice them. A free trade interest can be voiced by a Brahmin, a Mahomedan or a Maratha equally well. But none of these can speak for the interests of the untouchables because they are not untouchables. Untouchability constitutes a definite set of interests which the untouchables alone can speak for. Hence it is evident that we must find the untouchables to represent their grievances which are their interests and, secondly, we must find them in such numbers as will constitute a force sufficient to claim redress.
6875. ...(23) Now, will a general territorial electorate provide for the adequate return of the untouchables to the law-making body ? Referring back to the figures we find that the untouchables (represented in the table by the Mahars), though they formed 69.4 in every thousand of the population, did not claim even a voter from their class. Under such circumstances it is impossible for them to elect their own man in a general electorate. On the other hand they must despair of any votes being cast by the touchable Hindus for an untouchable candidate, — The gradation of castes produces a certain theological basis which cuts the untouchables both ways : in the minds of the lower orders it creates a preference for the higher orders while it creates a contempt for the lower orders in the minds of the higher orders. Thus the ascending scale of preference and the descending scale of hatred and contempt beggars the untouchables both ways. Without giving a single vote to the untouchables the touchables are sure to make a large draft on the already meagre voting strength of the untouchables.
6876. ...(24) So situated, the untouchables with the largest interests at stake will be the greatest sufferers in a general territorial electorate. To give them an opening special provision shall have to be made for their adequate representation. But before a scheme can be outlined it is necessary to see how much is the untouchable population in the Bombay Presidency. The Census Report for the Bombay Presidency for the year 1911 gives the following figures for castes which “cause pollution" :—
Table 3 (To see table click here)
6877. ...The following figures give the distribution of the untouchables by districts :—
Table 4 (To see table click here)
6878. ...(25) The total population of the Bombay Presidency by the Census of 1911 (British districts only) is 19,626,477. Of this the untouchable population is 1,627,980 or 8 percent of the total. Assuming for the present the Bombay Legislative Council to consist of 100 elected members, the untouchables should have 8 representatives to represent them in the Council. If we distribute one representative to every 200,000 of the people (which is just the ratio of 100 representatives to the 20 millions of the population), then the untouchables can by right claim 8 representatives to themselves. But the untouchables of the Bombay Presidency may be allowed to elect 9 members in all. The election of one additional member will be justified later on.
6879. ...(26) Allowing them to elect 9 members, the constituencies which are to elect them should be as follows :-
Table 5 (To see table click here)
1. The various districts of the Presidency except the City of Bombay and the Province of Sind should be grouped together on a linguistic basis as follows :— (To see table click here)
6880. ...The following then should be the constituencies of the untouchables and the number of representatives which each constituency should elect :-
(To see table click here)
6881. ...(27) These 9 elected members should form a constituency to elect one member from among themselves to represent the untouchables of this Presidency in the Imperial Legislative Council.
6882. ...(28) It may be objected that though 8 representatives are not in excess to the untouchable population it may be in excess to the voting strength of untouchables. That the untouchables are a poor community and that under the same franchize they yield per thousand a smaller proportion of voters than other communities is a fact. But if the grave position of the untouchables is admitted instead of restricting their number of representatives, the aim should be to increase the number of their voters, i.e., we must aim at lowering the franchize so far as the untouchables are concerned.
6883. ...(29) What the franchize should be is a very important question. There is a line of argument which urges that franchize should be given to those only who can be expected to make an intelligent use of it. As against this view it can be said in the words of Prof. L. T. Hobhouse that it is true that “the success of democracy depends on the response of voters to the opportunities given them. But conversely the opportunities must be given in order to call forth the response. The exercise of popular Government is itself all education...enfranchisement itself may precisely be the stimulus needed to awaken interest... The ballot alone effectively liberates the quiet citizen from the tyranny of the shouter and the wirepuller. An impression of existing inertness alone is not a sufficient reason for with-holding responsible Government or restricting the area of suffrage.” Taking into consideration that suffrage is an education and that there are groups with unequal distribution of wealth and education among them and that these groups are not sympathetically like-minded, the authors of the reports rightly argue that the case for uniformity of franchize cannot be sustained.
6884. ...(30) But in the case of the untouchables there are as few reasons for curtailing the number of their representatives as the reasons for widening their electorate are many. If under a given franchize the untouchables do not muster strong as electors, it is not their fault. The very untouchability attached to their person is a bar to their moral and material progress. The principal modes of acquiring wealth are trade, industry or service. The untouchables can engage in none of these because of their untouchability. From an untouchable trader no Hindu will buy. An untouchable cannot be engaged in lucrative service. Military service had been the monopoly of the untouchables since the days of East India Company. They had joined the Army in such large numbers that the Marquis Tweedledale in his note which he submitted the Indian Army Commission of 1859 wrote to say-: “It should never forgotten that India was conquered with the help of the low-caste men." But after the mutiny when the British were able to secure soldiers from the ranks of the Marathas, the position of the low-caste men who had been the prop of the Bombay Army became precarious not because the Marathas were better soldiers but because their theological bias prevented them from serving under low-caste officers. The prejudice was so strong that even the non-caste British had to stop recruitment from the untouchable classes. In like manner, the untouchables are refused service in the Police Force. In a great many of the Government offices it is impossible for an untouchable to get a place. Even in the mills a distinction is observed. The untouchables are not admitted in Weaving Departments of the Cotton Mills though many of them are professional weavers. An instance near at hand may be cited from the school system of the Bombay Municipality. This most cosmopolitan city ruled by a Corporation with a greater freedom than any other Corporation in India has two different sets of schools... .one for the children of touchables and the other for those of the untouchables. This in itself is a point worthy of note. But there is something yet more noteworthy. Following the division of schools it has divided its teaching staff into untouchables and touchables. As the untouchable teachers are short of the demand some of the untouchable schools are manned by teachers from the touchable class. The heart-killing fun of it is that if there is a higher grade open in untouchable school service, as there is bound to be because of few untouchable trained teachers, a touchable teacher can be thrust into the grade. But if a higher grade is open in the touchable school service, no untouchable teacher can be thrust into that grade. He must wait till a vacancy occurs in the untouchable service!!! Such is the ethics of the Hindu Social life. Under it if the untouchables are poor, the committee, it may be hoped, will not deny them representation because of their small electoral roll but will see its way to grant them adequate representation to enable the untouchables to remove the evil conditions that bring about their poverty. At present when all the avenues of acquiring wealth are closed it is unwise to require from the untouchables a high property qualification. To deny them the opportunities of acquiring wealth and then to ask from them a property qualification is to add insult to injury. Just what sort of franchise and just what pitch are required to produce sufficient voting strength from the untouchables? In absence of data, I leave it to the Committee to decide. It would be better to pitch the franchise so low as to educate into political life as many untouchables as possible. They are too degraded to be conscious of themselves. I only wish to emphasize that in deciding upon the representation of the untouchables the Committee looking to their interests at stake will not let the extent of the electorate govern the number of representatives, but will rather let the number of representatives govern the extension of the electorate.
6885. ...(31) In this connection it would not be improper to remind the Committee of Lord Morley who is reported to have said that “the object of Government was that the Legislative Councils should represent truly and effectively with reasonable approach to the balance of real social forces, the wishes and needs of the communities concerned. This could not be done by Algebra, Arithmetic, Geometry or logic but by a wide outlook. He saw no harm as to a compromise that while numbers should be the main factor in determining the extent of representation modifying causes might influence the number of representatives”. It is therefore proposed that the untouchables of the Bombay Presidency should be allowed to elect 9 members through the constituencies made up as above. These 9 members will further form a constituency to elect one member from among themselves to represent the untouchables in the Imperial Legislative Council leaving 8 members to represent the untouchables in the Bombay Legislative Council.
6886. ...(32) Besides communal electorates there are other schemes in the field for the representation of the untouchables. It would not be proper to close this statement without a word of comment on those Schemes.
6887. ...(33) The Congress has denied communal representation except in the case of Mahommedans and it also denies the extensive use of nomination; the only way then left open to the untouchables is to fight in a general electorate. Now this is as it should be if all were equally free to fight. To educate the untouchable by shastras into pro- touchables and the touchables into anti-untouchables and then to propose that the two should fight out at an open poll is to betray signs of mental aberration or a mentality fed on cunning. But it must never be forgotten that the Congress is largely composed of men who are by design political Radicals and social Tories. Their cant is that the Social and political are two distinct things having no bearing on each other. To them the social and political are two suits and can be worn one at a time as the season demands. Such a psychology has to be laughed out because it is too interested to be seriously taken into consideration either for acceptance or for rejection. As it pays to believe in it, it will die a hard death. Starting from this unnatural premise the Congress activities have been quite natural. Those who attend the congress do not care to attend the National Social Conference held in the same Pandal. In fact those who attend the Congress had once started a campaign to refuse the use of the pandal to the Conference which was once refused the pandal in the city of Poona, the roosting place of the intelligentsia of our Presidency. As the Congress is a non-national or anti-national body, its views on communal electorates are worthy of no serious consideration.
6888. ...(34) The moderates in their separate meeting have been more kindly than just. They proposed the reservation of seals for backward communities in plural constituencies. They have not specified the number of seats for the untouchables. But the general sense of many enlightened moderates and others kindly inclined is that one or two representatives of the untouchables in the Legislative Council would suffice. It is impossible to agree with these gentlemen though they are entitled to gratitude for this much sympathy. One or two representatives of the untouchables are as good as having none. A Legislative Council is not an old curiosity shop. It will be a Council with powers to make or mar the fortunes of society. How can one or two untouchables carry a legislative measure to improve their condition or prevent a legislative measure worsening their estate ? To be frank, the untouchables cannot expect much good from the political power to be given over to the high caste Hindus. Though the power may not be used against the untouchables and one cannot be altogether sure of this, it may not be used for their betterment. A Legislative Council may be sovereign to do anything it like but what it will like to do depends upon its own character. The English Parliament, we may be certain, though it is sovereign to do anything, will not make the preservation of blue-eyed babies illegal. The Sultan will not, though he can, change the religion of Mahomed just as the Pope will not, though he can, overthrow the religion of Christ. In the same way legislature, mainly composed of high caste men, will not pass a law removing untouchability, sanctioning intermarriages, removing the ban on the use of public streets, public temples, public schools; in short, cleansing the person of the untouchables. This is not because they cannot, but chiefly because they will not. A legislature is the product of a certain social condition and its power is determined by whatever determines society. This is too obvious to be denied. What may happen in future can be guessed from what has happened in the past. The high caste men in the Council do not like any social question being brought before the legislature, as may be seen from the fact of the Resolution introduced by the Honourable Mr. Dadabhoy in 1916 in the Imperial Legislative Council. That it was adversely criticized by many who claimed to evince some interest in the untouchables is too well known to need repetition. But what is not well known is that though the resolution was lost the mover was not pardoned; for the very moving of such a nasty resolution was regarded as a sin. At a subsequent election the mover had to make room for the Honourable Mr. Khaparde, who once wrote in an article : "Those who work for the elevation of the untouchables are themselves degraded.”
6889. ...Isn’t this sympathy of the higher castes for the untouchables sympathy with a vengeance?
6890. ...(35) Those who tell that one or two members would suffice for the untouchables fail to grasp the true import of political right. The chief import of a political right though technically summed up in the power to vote does lie either in voting upon for laws or those who make laws; neither does it consist in the right to speak for or against a certain measure nor in being able to say “yea or nay” upon roll-call; to be able to put into a ballot-box a piece of paper with a number of names written thereon is an act which, like those mentioned above, of itself possesses no value which stamps it as inherently superior to many of the most ordinary transactions of daily life. They are educative but as much as any transaction is. The chief significance of suffrage or a political right consists in a chance for active and direct participation in the regulation of the terms upon which associated life shall be sustained. Now the terms upon which the associated life between the touchables and untouchables is carried on today are the most ignominious to the former and highly detrimental to the latter. To make effective the capacities of a people there must be the power to fix the social conditions of their exercise. If the conditions are too obdurate, it is in the interest of the untouchables as well as of the touchables that the conditions should be revised. The untouchables must be in a position to influence the revision. Looking to the gravity of their interests, they should get their representation as proposed in proportion to their population. One or two is only kind but neither just nor sufficient. As Lord Morley says in an earlier quotation, 'needs not numbers should govern the extent of representations.'
6891. ...(36) Recently there is brought into the forefront a rival scheme for the representation of the untouchables by the Depressed Class Mission. The scheme is known as co-option. The scheme proposes that the representatives of the untouchables should be nominated by the co-option of the elected members of the Council. Whether one should laugh or cry at the solicitude of the mission for the untouchables it is rather difficult to decide. To cry is to believe that such a silly scheme would ever be adopted. The best way is to laugh it out. From the scheme can be easily seen that what is sometimes called benevolent interest in others may be an unwilling mask for an attempt to dictate to them what their good shall be, instead of an endeavour to agree them so that they may seek and find the good of their own choice. The mission it must be said, was started with the intention of improving the condition of the Depressed classes by emancipating them from the social tyranny of their high caste masters. But the mission has fallen on such bad times that it is forced to advocate a scheme by which its wards or their representatives will be bounden slaves of their past masters. The masters and the mission have thus met and evolved a scheme which will keep the Depressed eternally Depressed without any hope of deliverance. Such tactics do not deceive the untouchables ignorant as they are; much less will they deceive the Franchise Committee. From another point of view the scheme of the Mission is unacceptable. It is aggravating to see the Mission proposing a scheme for the representation of the untouchables while persistently refusing to admit an untouchable in its governing council. Interested and officious as it is, its scheme must be rejected.
6892. ...(37) Nomination even though by Government, in itself to be preferred to the former kind of nomination, is to be objected to from the stand-point of the untouchables. Apart from restricting the freedom of the representatives it fails to give political education which is the urgent need of all communities, much more of the untouchables.
6893. ...(38) At this stage we must consider the argument against communal representation. The first argument raised by the authors of the report is to the effect “that the history of self government among the nations who have developed it is decisively against" communal representation. But on an earlier page the authors say that the difference of caste and creeds must be taken “into account as presenting a feature of Indian Society which is out of harmony with the ideas on which elsewhere in the world representative institutions rest” (p. 97). In writing the former the later analysis of the situation must have vanished from their minds, else we must say that the authors could hold two opposing views at the same time. Presented in juxtaposition, the authors must be expected to agree to communal representation on the score of an exceptional remedy required to meet an exceptional situation.
6894. ...(39) Another and chief argument against communal representation is that it will perpetuate social divisions. The fun of it is that those who uphold the social divisions are the loudest in their expression of this adverse argument. The committee will please note that those who are the opponents of communal representation on this score are also the staunchest opponents of Mr. Patel’s Inter-Caste Marriage Bill as a caste-breaking bill. The sincerity of those who bring forward this argument is seriously to be doubted. But as even the authors of the report have put it as a second count against communal representation, this particular argument must be met if possible.
Does communal representation perpetuate social divisions? If you look upon communal representation as making electoral Colleges of social divisions, the criticism may be said to be valid. This is true only if it is presupposed that the divisions are no real divisions and that they don’t matter. This is as false a pre-supposition as that of an inviting India which is made when it is said that Englishmen are unsocial- Communal Representation is a device to ward off the evil effects of the divisions. To those who, while agreeing to this particular benefit of communal representation, object to it on the score that it perpetuates the divisions it can be shown there is another perspective from which it can be said that communal representation instead of perpetuating the social divisions is one of the ways of dissolving them.
6895. ...(40) While communal electorates will be coterminous with social divisions their chief effect will be to bring together men from diverse castes who would not otherwise mix together into the Legislative Council. The Legislative Council will thus become a new cycle of participation in which the representatives of various castes who were erewhile isolated and therefore anti-social will be thrown into an associated life. An active participation in an associated life, in its turn, will not leave unaffected the dispositions and attitudes of those who participate. A caste or a religious group to-day is a certain attitude. So long as each caste or a group remains isolated its attitude remains fossilized. But the moment the several castes and groups begin to have contact and co-operation with one another the resocialization of the fossilized attitude is bound to be the result. If the Hindus become resocialized with regard to their attitude towards Mohammedans, Christians, etc., and the Mohammedans, Christians, etc., become resocialized with regard to their attitudes towards the Hindu, or the touchable Hindus with regard to the untouchables, caste and divisions will vanish. If caste is an attitude and it is nothing else, it must be said to be dissolved when that particular attitude symbolizing the caste is dissolved. But the existing set attitude representing the diverse caste and groups will be dissolved only if the diverse groups meet together and take part in a common activity. Such changes of disposition and attitudes will not be ephemeral but will, in their turn, influence associated life outside the Council Hall. The more opportunities are created for such conjoint activities the better. The resocialization will then be on a larger scale and bring about a speedier end of caste and groups. Thus those who condemn communal representation on the score of perpetuating the existing divisions will welcome it, on reflection, as a potent solvent for dissolving them.
6896. ...(41) The importance and necessity of communal and adequate representation of untouchables is beyond question. The depth of emotion with which the untouchables speak on this topic must have been easily gauged when the untouchables of the Madras Presidency fold Mr. Montagu that there would be bloodshed if Home Rule for India was not accompanied by communal representation to the untouchables. The authors of the Report however are actuated by a faith in the intelligentsia to effect all reforms for the elevation of the untouchables from permanent degradation and ostracism. They say they find the educated Indian "organizing effort not for political ends alone but for various forms of public and social service.” As the authors have connived at the demands of the untouchables on this score it is but proper to investigate whether their faith is well grounded. On education and its social value the words of Joseph Addision are not too stale to be recalled. He said, "There can be no greater injury to human society than that good Talents among men should be held Honourable to those who are endowed with them without any regard how they are applied. The Gifts of Nature and the Accomplishments of Art are valuable but as they are exerted in the interest of virtue or governed by the Rules of Honour. We ought to abstract our minds from the observation of an excellence in those we converse with, till we have taken some notice or received some good information of the Disposition of their Minds, otherwise they make us fond of those whom our reason and judgement will tell us we ought to abhor.”
6897. ...(42) Statistics will show that the intelligentsia and the Brahmin caste are exchangeble terms. The disposition of the intelligentsia is a Brahmin disposition. Its outlook is a Brahmin outlook. Though he has learned to speak in the name of all, the Brahmin leader is in no sense a leader of the people. He is a leader of his caste at best, for he feels them as he does for no other people. It is not intended to say that there are no Brahmins who feel for the untouchables. To be just, there are a few more moderate and rational Brahmins who admit the frightful nature of the institution of untouchability in the abstract and perceive the dangers to society with which it is fraught. But the great majority of the Brahmins are those who doggedly deny the horrors of the system in the teeth of such a mass of evidence as never was brought to bear on any other subject and to which the experience of every day contributes its immense amount; who, when they speak of freedom, mean the freedom to oppress their kind and to be savage, merciless and cruel, and whose inalienable rights can only have their growth in the wrongs of the untouchables. Their delicate gentility will neither bear the Englishmen as superior nor will it brook the untouchable as equal “I will not tolerate a man above me, and of those below none must approach too near" sums up the true spirit of their social as well as political creed. Those who speak against the antisocial spirit of the Brahmin leaders are often cautioned that in their denunciation they do not pay sufficient regard to the existence of the first class of Brahmin leaders. This is no doubt the case. Noble but very rare instances of personal and pecuniary sacrifice may be found among them just as may be found to be tender in the exercise of their unnatural power. Still it is to be feared that this injustice is inseparable from the state of things with which humanity and truth are invoked to deal. The miserable state of the untouchables is not a bit more tolerable because some tender hearts are found to show sympathy, nor can the indignant tide of honest wrath stand still because in its course it overwhelms a few who are comparatively innocent among a host of guilty.
6898. ...(43) The trend of nationalism in India does not warrant us to believe that the few who are sympathetic will grow in volume. On the other hand it is the host of guilty that time is sure to multiply. With the growth of political agitation, the agitation for social reform has subsided and has even vanished. The Prarthana Samaj, the Brahmo Samaj with their elevating influence have become things of the past. The future has few things like these in store. The growth of education if it is confined to one class, will not necessarily lead to liberalism. It may lead to the justification and conservation of class interest; and instead of creating the liberators of the down-trodden, it may create champions of the past and the supporters of the status quo. Isn’t this the effect of education so far? That it will take a new course in future ceteris paribus, there is no ground to believe. Therefore, instead of their leaving the untouchables to the mercy of the higher castes, the wiser policy would be to give power to the untouchables themselves who are anxious, not like others, to usurp power but only to assert their natural place in society.
6899. ...(44) This gigantic world war, however motivated, has yielded what is known as the principle of self determination which is to govern international relations of the future. It is happy to note that the pronouncement of the 20th August 1917 declared the application of the principle to India — a principle which enunciates the rule that every people must be free to determine the conditions under which it is to live. It would be a sign of imperfect realization of the significance of this principle if its application were restricted to international relations, because discord does not exist between nations alone, but there is also discord between classes from within a nation. Wittingly our Indian politicians in their political speeches and harangues hold to the de jure conception of the Indian people. By the de jure conception they conceive of the Indian people as by nature one and emphasize the qualities such as praiseworthy community of purpose and welfare, loyalty to public ends and mutuality of sympathy which accompany this unity. How the de jure and de facto conceptions conflict, it is hoped, the committee will not tail to realize. As an instance the following may be noted. The moral evil to the Indian people of their conquest and subjugation by the British is a theme which is very attractive to the Brahmin politicians, who never fail to make capital out of it. The moral evils were once portrayed by John Shore in his “Notes on Indian Affairs" written in 1832. The late Honourable Mr. Gokhale once voiced the same feeling when speaking about the “excessive costliness of the foreign agency.” He said :
“There is a moral evil which, if anything, is even greater. A kind of dwarfing or stunting of the Indian race is going on under the present system. We must live all the days of our life in an atmosphere of inferiority and the tallest of us must bend, in order that the exigencies of the existing system may be satisfied. The upward impulse, if I may use such an expression, which every schoolboy at Eton and Harrow may feel, that he may ‘one day be a Gladstone or Napoleon or a Wellington, and which may draw forth the best efforts of which he is capable, is denied to us. The full height to which our manhood is capable of rising can never be reached by us under the present system. The moral elevation which every self-governing people feel cannot be felt by us. Our administrative and military talents must gradually disappear, owing to sheer disuse till at last our lot as hewers of wood and drawers of water in our own country, is stereotyped."
6900. ...(45) I beg to invite the attention of the Committee whether these sentiments which have been voiced by a Brahmin ( a noble Brahmin to be sure) to the disgrace of the British bureaucracy cannot be more fittingly voiced by the untouchables to the disgrace of the Brahmin oligarchy? May it be said to the credit of the bureaucracy, that it has disproved the charge of being wooden and shown itself susceptible to feeling by proposing changes in the system of the Government which has dwarfed the personality of those for whom it was devised. But can the oligarchy claim anything half as noble? Their belief is that the Hindu social system has been perfected for all time by their ancestors who had the superhuman vision of all eternity and supernatural power for making infinite provision for future ages. This deep ingrained enthrocentrism has prevented a reconstruction of Hindu Society and stood in the way of a revision of vested rights for the common good A farce of a conference for the removal of untouchability was enacted in March 1918 in Bombay. Doctor Kurtakoti, the Shankaracharya of Kavir fame, though promised to attend, left for Northern India just a day or two before the conference met, on some urgent business. Mr. Tilak is credited with a short speech at the conference which has for the good luck of Mr. Tilak remained unreported. But this was only lip sympathy shown to hoodwink the untouchables for when the draft of the Proclamation Removing Untouchability was presented to Mr. Tilak, it is known on creditable evidence that he refused to honour it with his signature.
6901. ...(46) Here is disclosed a patent disharmony within a nation and therefore a proper field for the application of the principle of self- determination. If the advanced classes are clamouring for its application to India and if the powers that be have sanctioned it, however partially, to ward off the future stunting and dwarfing of the Indian people, may not the untouchables with justice claim its benefit in their own interest? Admitting the necessity of self-determination for the untouchables communal representation cannot be withheld from them, for communal representation and self-determination are but two different phrases which express the same notion.
Supplementary Written Statement of Mr. Bhimrao R. Ambedkar
6902. ...(1) The object of this supplement is primarily, to show how the scheme of representation which I have recommended for the untouchables of the Bombay Presidency in my previous statement can be fitted into the scheme of representation proposed by the Government of Bombay for the composition of the Legislative Council.
6903. ...(2) First I wish to propose certain changes in the number of seats assigned by the Government to the various main constituencies. The several changes proposed are indicated in the following table
Table 6 (To see table click here.)
6904. ...(3) As regards the method of election proposed for I, II, III, IV & V of the above constituencies, I agree with the Government.
6905. ...(4) The Government has reserved 3 seats for the Sind Hindus. I have proposed 4 for them, one of which should be earmarked for the untouchables of Sind to be filled by a communal electorate.
6906. ...(5) For the 6 cities I have reserved 17 seats. Of this I propose that Bombay should be given 10. Of the 10 seats the untouchables of the city should be given 1 seat, also to be filled by a communal electorate.
6907. ...(6) So far it is shown how the Sind untouchables and their fellows in Bombay can be provided for. In addition to these two seats the untouchables of the Presidency proper, excluding the city of Bombay, should be given 7 seats. The constituencies among which these 7 seats are to be distributed I have indicated on page 7 of my previous statement. It is in this fashion that the 9 seats for the untouchables of the Presidency should be carved out. The Government of Bombay finds difficulty in defining the Depressed Classes.
The difficulty is not a real difficulty, for, for all practical purposes, the untouchables and the Depressed classes are the same. Knowing fully well the degradation of the untouchables, the callousness of the Bombay Government is appalling. By refusing to make provision for the representation of the Depressed classes the Government have deliberately thrown the gravest of interests into the greatest of perils-a calamity which I am sure the Committee will avert.
6908. ...(7) Having taken out 7 seats from the 60, I propose to distribute the remaining 53 among the touchable population of the 26 districts as follows :—
(1) ...I allow, though cannot quite agree with the Government, that the 7 districts of Sind should elect 14 members on the basis of 2 per district. But in the case of the 19 districts which are outside Sind I feel that a two-member constituency will not suffice, principally because the touchable Hindu population is not homogeneous. In order to satisfy the aspirations of the subdivisions of the touchable Hindus we must at least in some cases give up the principle of a two-member constituency. [ 91 (2) ] To distribute the 39 seats among the 19 districts in question I should first group the districts on linguistic basis as follows
Table 7 (To see the tables click here.)
|Districts||Touchable Hindu Population|
Grand total of touchable Hindus in the 19 Districts concerned 12,018,907
6909. ...Of the 39 seats to be distributed I should give 8 seats to the Gujarathi, 23 to the Marathi and 8 to the Kanarese districts.
6910. ...The actual constituencies may be as under : -
Table 9 (To see the tables click here.)
(1) Belgam 1,411,639 XI 4
(3) Dharwar 1,193,202 XII 4
Total number of representatives for the 19 districts 39.
6911. ...The Principal advantage of such a grouping is that the demand of the Marathas and the Lingayats can be satisfied without resorting to communal representation. There is no sacredness about a district that can plead against transcending its boundaries for political purposes when such a transcending enables us to minimise the field for communal representation.
6912. ...(8) I have differed from the Government of Bombay on the number of representatives to be given to the Mahomedans. Of the two bases, population and the Congress Scheme, the Government of Bombay have preferred the latter without even making a show of reasoning. In doing so they have contravened the most considered opinion of the authors of the Reform Scheme who say that there is no basis other than that of negotiation for the proportion of Mahomedan representation fixed in the Congress League Scheme. It must be urged that looking to its composition the Congress is a body whose vicarious promises can never be binding on the vast population who have played no part in its deliberations.
6913. ...(9) The Mahomedans of this presidency form 20 percent of the total population. On the basis of population therefore, they are entitled only to 20 seats out of the 100 elective seats. But tempering population by need I think 24 seats ought to satisfy them. Any excess over this cannot be tolerated as it will be at the cost of the other communities. Of these 24, the 7 districts of Sind on the basis of 2 per district will return 14 Mahomedans. The other 10 seats may be distributed as follows:—
Table 10 (To see the tables click here.)
6914. ...I should prefer linguistic grouping to divisional grouping even in the case of the Mahomedans. I fail to see how a Mahomedan from Thana can have any affiliation with a Mahomedan of Surat though both the districts come under the same division. To group together for political purposes people who are ethnically different is absurd.
Mr. Bhimrao R. Ambedkar called and examined
6915. ...(Sir Frank Sly). He was a professor in the Sydenham College of Commerce. He graduated from the Elphinstone College, Bombay and was an M. A. of the Colombia University, New York. He was a Mahar by caste and his statement dealt largely with the depressed classes.
6916. ...So far as the Hindu community was concerned, he divided them into two classes, touchables and untouchables; a distinction which was unmistakable in practice and more convenient than a division by castes. He recognised also a distinction between Brahmans and non- Brahmins, but this was of less importance. The distinction between Brahman and non-Brahman would not make much difference as regards the attitude of voter to candidate, but the distinction between touchable and untouchable would make a very great difference.
6917. ...He did not think there was any necessity for communal electorates for non-Brahmins as, if three-member constituencies were granted according to his supplementary statement, non-Brahmans would get some seats. From the figures in para 16 of his written statement he intended to show that on a uniform property qualification, a community which might be in a minority with regard to population might be in a majority in respect of voting strength; some of the communities that he had mentioned might be minorities in the whole province, but majorities in particular districts. They should try to reduce the fever for communal representation as much as possible, and he therefore recommended three-member constituencies.
6918. ...He wanted a variation of the franchise for the untouchables, but if constituencies with more than two members were adopted, the lowering of the franchise became a matter of less importance. In the case of a small constituency, for instance, the Marathas, it might be desirable to group them.
6919. ...If a particular community had a majority of votes in a constituency, there was no need for that community to have separate communal representation. If the untouchables had a majority of votes in a particular constituency, he would not ask for communal representation. It was because they were in a minority and would always remain so on a uniform franchise that he asked for separate representation. His justification for asking for a low franchise was that as the result of being untouchable, the untouchables had no property; they could not trade because they could not find customers. He remembered a case in which a Mahar woman was taken to the police court for selling watermelons. He was not aware of the conditions outside the Bombay Presidency In the mills in the Bombay Presidency, the untouchables were not yet allowed to work in the weaving department; in one case an untouchable did work in the weaving department of a mill saying that he was a Muhammadan, and when found out, he was severely beaten.
6920. ...The definition of an "untouchable" as a person who would cause pollution by his touch, was a satisfactory one for electoral purposes. It was not the case that some castes were considered to be untouchable in some districts and touchable in others.
6921. ...According to his classification the untouchables amounted to about 8 per cent of the population, but he had proposed 9 seats which would make about 9 per cent. These seats should be filled by separate communal election.
6922. ...He was aware that the untouchable in his present state of development was in no way qualified to give a responsible vote. In the whole Bombay Presidency there were one B. A. and 6 or 7 matriculates among the depressed classes. The proportion of those who were literate in English was very small, but not much smaller than in the case of the backward classes. The depressed classes, especially the Mahars and the Chamars, were fit to exercise the vote. He would also give them the votes by way of education. He could find at least 25 or more men amongst them who had passed the 6th or the 7th Standards of a High School, and, although the number was not large, the 9 seats which he suggested them for the depressed classes could be filled from amongst them. Such a candidate in practical matters would be as good as a graduate although the latter might be able to express himself better.
6923. ...He was opposed to any system under which the representatives of the depressed classes were drawn from other classes. Representation by missionaries, for instance, would not be representation in any real sense of the word.
6924. ...He suggested large constituencies for the depressed classes, if such large constituencies had been accepted for the Muhamadans he did not see why they were not practicable in the case of the depressed classes.
6925. ...In order to obtain the required number of seats for the depressed classes he would reduce the number of seats suggested by Government for the Muhammadans, from 18 to 10. This reduction was justificable, as on the population basis the Muhammadans were only entitled to 20 per cent of the seats. He did not consider the Congress League compact as binding on all.
6926. ...(Mr. Hailey) Untouchables were persons to whom certain rights of citizenship had been denied. For instance, it was the right of every citizen to walk down the street, and if a man were prevented from doing so, even temporarily, it was an infringement of his right. Whether a man was prevented from exercising his rights by law or social custom, made very little difference to him. Government had recognised custom and persons belonging to the untouchable classes were not employed in Government service.
6927. ...He suggested the lowering of the franchise qualification in the case of the depressed classes, as it should be the object of the Government to improve the lot of the community.
6928. ...From an examination of the Census Report he would say that the problem of touchable and non-touchable existed in Sind, as although the greater proportion of the population there were Muhammadans, there were also Hindus. If special provision was going to be made for the Hindus in Sind, he did not see why special provision should not be made for the depressed classes also.
6929. ...(Mr. Banerjea) The depressed classes would be able to find 9 men who were able to speak English and who could represent their cause in the Council. The 6th standard was the class below the matriculation, and a man who had passed the 6th standard would be able to follow the debates in the Council. They had about 25 persons who had passed that standard.
6930. ...For political purposes there would be no difficulty in defining the depressed classes, who were the same as the untouchables. No one who was not a member of a depressed class would think of trying to make himself out to be such, though such a thing might occur in the case of the backward classes.
6931. ...He would accept 8 representatives as the minimum for the depressed classes, and they should be elected. Nominated representatives would not be in a position adequately to represent their interests.
6932. ...(Mr. Crump) He had no experience of the problem and conditions of the untouchable classes in Sind, and could not say anything with regard to the statement that there was only one such class, viz. the Bhangis, there. His information was that the total Hindu population in Sind was 837,426, and the total of the untouchable classes 135,224.
6933. ...(Mr. Natarajan) His view was that British rule in India was meant to provide equal opportunities for all, and that in transferring a large share of the power to popular assemblies, arrangements should be made whereby the hardships and disabilities entailed by the social system should not be reproduced and perpetuated in political institutions. As regards the exact position at present, he admitted that, for instance at the Parel school which was meant for the depressed classes, there were many higher-caste pupils, who came there because it was a good school. Similarly as a professor he being a member of a depressed class, had pupils of all classes and found no difficulty in dealing with his higher caste pupils. If the untouchable classes wore recognized by Government by the grant of seats, their status would be raised and their powers would be stimulated. He was not very particular about the number of their seats; all he wanted was something adequate.