A hundred years ago July 9, 1921 Archives

From the Archives (July 9, 1921): The Viceroy’s Speech

There is little in Lord Reading’s speech on the Indian situation, which we published yesterday, to indicate either that His Excellency has appreciated the Indian point of view or that he is prepared to recognise that a bold stroke of statesmanship is necessary to ease the Indian situation. A repetition, for a third time or more, of age-long and empty platitudes is calculated only further to deepen the wounds and we are unable to see in the Viceroy’s speech anything more than a repetition of his favourite platitudes. The Punjab wrong, His Excellency still thinks, is to be a closed chapter not to be reopened. Sir William Vincent’s references in a dark corner of his speech to “official excesses” whose effects he cleverly extenuated by drawing a lurid picture of the disturbances are considered by the Viceroy as sufficient apology for the great wrong. Such an attitude on the part of the Viceroy is not calculated to enhance his reputation for taking a “sternly just” view of things. It is an abuse of language to state that the butchery at Jallianwalla and the subsequent barbarity which left wounded men in the field to the passers-by, if there were any, were mere “excesses,” comparable to the isolated excesses of the mob. It is deliberate callousness to the loss of Indian lives for which the Government have yet to answer to the people of India.

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