OCCASIONAL NOTE

An interesting passage in Sir Jamsetji Jeejeebhoy’s speech to the shareholders of the Bank of Bombay related to the use of paper currency and its convertibility or inconvertibility. It is clear that last year’s experience in financing the jute crop in Bengal has had its counterpart in the cotton-growing districts. The currency authorities always insisted that the ryots would not accept paper money. In Bengal, when necessity forced the authorities’ hands, it was found that they and not the ryots were the intractable party. So in Berar. “The unexpected has happened,” said Sir Jamsetji, “as we find that in places like Berar, where the ryots had never seen currency notes until last year, these were taken freely after a few months’ trial.” This result was secured by the offer to cash notes up to Rs 100 from the currency chests in the local branches of the bank. By the end of the cotton season, the discounting of paper money had entirely ceased. The ryots had learnt their simple lesson. The consequence is, in Sir Jamsetji’s words, that “many of us would view inconvertibility with less apprehension than we did a few years ago.” It is a temptation to ask why this simple experiment was not tried four years ago. But for the stubbornness of the Indian currency authorities the world might never have been denuded of its silver to pay for India’s exports and the gold standard might have been maintained.

MAHOMEDAN EDUCATION

Sir Harcourt Butler speaking at the opening of the Halim Muslim High School, said he was glad again to testify his keen personal interest in Mahomedan education in the province. The last nine years had witnessed a remarkable awakening among Mahomedans and the pupils had increased by some 50 per cent and over 16 per cent of the school age population were now attending schools. In the higher institutions the outturn of Mahomedan graduates had increased by nearly 80 per cent. He believed a full progressive policy in education would be a policy of prudence, no matter what difficulties might intervene at the outset. He thanked the various donors for their contributions, and promised a lakh from the Government equaling the sum collected for the building grant.

A FALSE CASE

Mr. J.N. Mitter, Deputy Magistrate of Alipore, has disposed of a case in which Dilsapa Begum, a political pensioner of the Oudh family, was charged by her son-inlaw, Mohamed Sadek, with criminal breach of trust in respect of Rs 500. It was alleged that the complainant was interned in Germany for several years, and returned home after the Amistice was signed. Soon after his return he married Ahamadi Begum, the daughter of the accused, and deposited Rs 500 with the accused. Some time after, he demanded the money from the accused, but she denied all knowledge of it. Moulvi Golam Ahamed, pleader for the defence, submitted that the case against the accused was entirely false. The complainant was enamoured of the accused’s daughter and married her, professing to be a Shia Mahomedan, to which sect the accused belonged. The Magistrate, accepting this view, acquitted the accused, declared the case to be a false one, and ordered the complainant to pay to the accused Rs 25 as compensation.

THE RAILWAY BREACHES

ALLAHABAD, AUG 12

Details have now been received of the damage caused on the line beyond Jubbulpore and it has been discovered that this is the most serious breach of all. Between miles 112 and 113 no less than three quarters of a mile of embankment has been washed away. Fortunately no serious damage has been done to bridges. The force of the water was so strong that gaps of one hundred to five hundred feet in length have been scooped out of the embankment, which is twenty feet high in some places. The permanent way has been hurled off the embankment and thrown upside down. Outside fencing and all telegraph poles and wires in the vicinity have been swept away. The amount of rain which fell in the vicinity of Sutan was estimated to be seventeen inches.

BANSTUI RIVER FLOOD

The recent high flood of the Banstui river has caused serious damage to seven villages in the Muraroi thana, in the Birbhum district, washing away more than 150 houses and rendering the villagers quite helpless. Many had to run up to the Muraroi railway station to take shelter. The Sub-divisional Officer of Rampurhat and Mr. G.S. Dutt, District Magistrate of Birbhum, have arranged for immediate relief, with the help of boys and teachers of the local schools and others. A flood-relief committee has been formed, and subscriptions are being collected. The Government has sanctioned Rs 500 for the relief of the distressed people of the villages.