A hundred years ago Sept. 12, 1919. Archives

From the Archives (Sept. 12, 1919: )The Punjab Affair.(From an Editorial)

If anything were wanted to intensify the absorption of the public conscience over the Punjab episodes, there is ample material in the proceedings of the Imperial Council on Wednesday. The bureaucratic mentality shone forth in all its pristine purity in the official replies to questions and speeches. These showed that the officials like the Bourbons have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing. In the circumstances the appeal the Viceroy made to let bygones be bygones and to fix one’s thoughts on the glorious future takes on a grimly ironical significance. The puerile insistence on the letter of the rules which the Home Member asked for and the Viceroy endorsed by refusing permission to Pandit Malaviya to amend his resolution in view of the altered circumstances, casts an illuminating light on the kind of mental atmosphere in which officialdom has its being. The occasion was a serious one, the proceedings were being watched by India with a painfully intense absorption , and yet the official mind could seriously insist on a rigid application of the rules of the Council. There have been occasions when the rules have been relaxed for far less important matters. The law of the Medes and Persians has so often developed an extraordinary elasticity to suit the official convenience that one is driven to the conclusion that the Home Member was inspired not so much by a commendable jealousy for the rules of the Council as by an unholy desire to embarrass the Pandit. If the last were his object he signally failed, for the Pandit moved his original resolution in a speech carefully adapted to the changed circumstances — a somewhat anomalous procedure, but one forced on him by the perversity of the official master of the ceremonies.

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