12 APRIL 1940, Page 19


intervals during the past two and a half years I have had the privilege of interesting conversations about his country with a young Indian scientist. His course of study and research at an English university is nearly ended and his return to India will take place in a few weeks. It was deeply disturbing to learn with what pessimism and disillusionment about the relations between our two countries he is going back. He has made friends here, ac161owledges the individual kind- ness and comradeship he has met, and has been free to use every opportunity to question and discuss, in his sincere and tactful way, the problem of India's liberation.

He has found, out of all the many people he has talked to about it, only a handful who are unwilling that India should now be allowed self-government. He knows that we are a democracy ; that our will determines what our Government does or does not do. What, then, he asks in bitter disappoint- ment, has gone so wrong that the democratic machinery fails to work in this maaer of India's freedom? The British people were able to impel their Government to take a stand against

Nazi aggression in order to liberate Poland and C,zecho- Slovakia, and release Jews from concentration camps. Why have they forgotten India's right to be free from the yoke of alien domination, and her thousands of political prisoners who are concentrated in prisons? Why did they allow the irony of the Government's declaring war on behalf of India without consulting her people? Why bring Indian troops overseas to free Poles and Czechs while their own countrymen are in subjection? I share his puzzlement, but feel also shame and a tragic foreboding that we are going to lose the precious gift of a generous and warm-hearted partnership, such as Ireland once had to bestow, but which we clumsily and unimaginatively let go.

Is it too late to plead with the free Press of this country to give us facts—columns full of facts—until we are able to satisfy ourselves about the existence of this "internal dissen- sion" in India which is affording Westminster such plausible excuses? I should like my friend to go home believing that British justice was a reality, that we had a different view of race from the Nazis' and that our democracy worked.—Yours