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Studies in European Co-Operation, Vol. 2 (Classic Reprint)

Studies in European Co-Operation, Vol. 2 (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from Studies in European Co-Operation, Vol. 2

The object of my journey in Europe was to examine the manner in which European countries have handled certain problems confronting the small farmer, and in particular the need for a system of land mortgages. It is impossible to argue directly from European to Indian conditions. A device which has been found effective among a literate population, where public opinion emphatically supports a certain point of view and condemns certain practices, must be adapted to the circumstances of a generally illiterate population, among whom public opinion is weak in its condemnations and condones various laxities. At the same time, I have tried to bear the requirements of India and of the Punjab at all times in my mind, and to arrive at conclusions appropriate to them. As a co-operator I offer no apology for having arrived at co-operative conclusions. The differences between European and Indian society, to which I have referred, appear to me to present Co-operation, even more finally than in Europe, as the sole solution of the problems of rural India. My impressions have been derived not only from what I saw and heard in 1924 in the British Isles, the three Scandinavian countries and in Egypt, but also from my recollections and notes of a similar journey, undertaken as a co-operator and on behalf of the Punjab Government, in 1920 in Belgium, Holland and Italy.

I have to thank the staff of the British Legations in Scandinavia and of the High Commissioner in Egypt, and very numerous official and unofficial persons in all the countries mentioned for unfailing courtesy and assistance. In the course of my report I have abstained from quoting names, since the comments to which I listened were sometimes confidential, and often personal and frank; the opinions here expressed are my own. For the sake of convenience I have also been inexact as regards figures, rounding my totals and ignoring minor disparities in the currencies. Beyond this there will no doubt be errors of fact, which I deplore; it is extremely puzzling, when inquiring into a technical subject in a foreign tongue or a medley of several tongues. to grasp the exact truth and to avoid omissions.

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