3 OCTOBER 1947, Page 2

Dark Outlook in India

The shadow of chaos lies over the whole of India, and to minimise the threat to the whole subcontinent by arguing that only a small part of it is so far directly affected is hardly realistic. There has been no sensational deterioration in the communal conflict for some days now ; but a lull—all too probably a temporary lull—in the large-scale massacres is no evidence that the Government of either Dominion has the situation in hand. Little is reliably known in Delhi or Karachi, still less in this paper-rationed country, of what is really happening in the disturbed areas ; how fast, how far, and on what casual pretexts this terrible fire may spread from the Punjab is anybody's guess. Meanwhile, Pakistan has appealed to the Governments of its fellow-Dominions for friendly advice and help in dealing with a tragic situation. This demarche, needless to say, has been taken in the Dominion of India (where the Hindu Press seems to have been behaving with its usual irresponsibility) as combining trickery with a sense of guilt. It does not, in fact, seem to be a useful or impressive move. Pakistan—whose appeal is,

of course, receiving sympathetic consideration in all the Empire capitals with the probable exception of Delhi—asks for advice and help. To do so within six weeks of achieving Dominion status is not a good augury for autonomy ; and no amount of advice, however good, can implant in the Indian peoples those fibres of responsibility, the lack of which—almost complete in the mob and perceptible throughout virtually the whole leadership and administration of both Dominions—has in less than zoo days brought death to thousands. famine almost inevitably to millions and the threat of failure to the biggest and boldest experiment in the history of Asia. "

diately after getting our freedom," said Pandit Nehru earlier this week, " we have started fighting among ourselves in a most dishonour- able manner." That is a plain statement of a tragic fact, and it is now up to the Indians to stop this insensate strife. Nobody else can.