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India Under Ripon

India Under Ripon

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Excerpt from India Under Ripon: A Private Diary

I ought perhaps to have named this volume "The Awakening of India," because it describes the condition of Indian things at the time of Lord Ripon's viceroyalty, which was in truth the awakening hour of the new movement towards liberty in India, the dawn of that day of unrest which is the necessary prelude to full self-assertion in every subject land.

The journey it records was made under circumstances of exceptional interest at an exceptional moment, and should be instructive in view of what has happened since. It contains a foreshadowing of events which are under our eyes to-day, and suggests a solution of problems which, after long waiting and with a timid courage, is gradually being accepted as official.

The political situation in Lord Ripon's time was as follows: Mr. Gladstone, when he came into office in 1880, found himself at the head of an immense majority in the House of Commons, pledged to ideas of liberty in the East of which he had himself been the foremost preacher. With regard to India he had formulated the Liberal creed in a single sentence: "Our title to be in India," he had said, "depends on a first condition, that our being there is profitable to the Indian nations; and on a second condition, that we can make them see and understand it to be profitable."

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