OCCASIONAL NOTE

In his Introduction to his new Oxford History of India, Mr. Vincent Smith makes some interesting remarks on the influence of geography upon history. He quotes a saying by Richard Hakluyt that “Geographic and Chronologic are the Sunne and the Moone, the right eye and the left eye of all history.” In former days most of the notable events of Indian history occurred in one or other of the three great regions separated from each other by natural barriers – Hindostan, the Deccan, and the far south. But the rapid progress of science last century overthrew the boundaries set by nature. The Indus and Ganges are now spanned by railway bridges as securely as a petty watercourse is crossed by a six-foot culvert, and the No Man’s Land of Gondwana no longer hides any secrets. The modern science that has destroyed the political and strategical value of the natural barriers offered by mountains, rivers and forests has also rendered useless the ancient fortresses that were considered impregnable and that were more often won by bribery than by assault. “Royal command may decree that the official headquarters of the Government of India should shift from Calcutta to Delhi, but no proclamations can make the inland city of the Moguls the real capital of India, so long as the empire is ruled by the masters of the sea. The claim to the first place may be disputed between Calcutta and Bombay. No rival can share the competition.”

COMPULSORY EDUCATION

POONA, FEB 10

For some time past there has been considerable discussion in Poona of the question of free and compulsory primary education. Opinion is sharply divided in the municipality, one party favouring compulsion only for boys and the other insisting upon compulsory education for both boys and girls. The question is to come up for discussion in the municipality on Thursday and each party is making vigorous efforts to educate public opinion. The party which advocates compulsion for children of both sexes is headed by Professor Kanitkar and is backed by Principal Paranjpye. The other party is headed by Mr. N.C. Kalkar and Mr. Savatt. The former party is of opinion that by reducing the school day to three hours and-a-half the expenditure on school building and the teaching staff can be reduced to nearly one-half.

LABOUR UNREST IN INDIA

BOMBAY, FEB 10

In the course of an address to the students of the Sydenham College of Commerce, Mr. N.N. Wadia remarked that industrial peace was of the utmost importance if India was to progress industrially. Referring to the two big cotton mill strikes within a year Mr. Wadia declared that though education and better housing would increase the material prosperity of labour that could not prevent strikes. As labour became more educated it would claim to have a share in the prosperity and progress of the industry. Speaking from his own knowledge of the cotton trade, Mr. Wadia thought it could not be difficult to pick out representatives who had risen to responsible posts in the cotton mill industry from humble beginnings.

THE NEW BOARD OF INDUSTRIES

DELHI, FEB 10

It is understood that formalities have been completed for the starting of the new organisation of Government under the title of the Board of Industries and Munitions. Under the new conditions the Ordnance Factories, and possibly the Army Clothing Factories, which are at present under the control of the Munitions Board, will be transferred to the Army Department. The new Board, which will consist at present of a President and two members will start work without further delay, with Sir Thomas Holland as President and Mr. T. Ryan as member, and it is quite likely that Mr. A.C. Chatterjee will join the Board as a member. The programme of work with which the Board will start has been clearly chalked out.

NEW ARMY EDUCATIONAL SCHEME

ALLAHABAD, FEB 10

In connection with a cable published by a contemporary from London stating that under the new army educational scheme a college similar to Woolwich and Sandhurst is o be established in India, the Pioneer understands that it is inaccurate and that the statement has apparently been made owing to a misunderstanding of the objects and scope of the scheme. The idea is to afford educational facilities for the troops as has already been done in the case of the army of occupation of the Rhine. The scheme provides among other things for an officer and sergeant being attached to each unit as instructors, and for the establishment of libraries for the use of the troops.