OCCASIONAL NOTE

The speech delivered by Mr. Surendra Nath Choudhury as President of the Namasudra Conference held in Calcutta the other day gave a very forcible presentation of the case of those who dread an oligarchy of the higher castes under the Reform Scheme. The advocates of the Reform Bill in England are doing their best to minimise the caste difficulty. They would like to persuade both themselves and the public that the difficulty is on the wane and will disappear altogether before the rising sun of Home Rule. To the Namasudras, however, and others, the difficulty is a very real one, and under a reformed regime they expect it to be intensified, to their disadvantage. They dread the loss of the protection afforded by the “bureaucracy,” in which they have confidence, and they regard with aversion the prospect of finding themselves under the domination of those whom they look upon rather as natural oppressors than as the “bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh,” as Mr. Surendra Nath Choudhury in his glowing oratory would depict them. So the lower castes are making their voices heard, and perhaps this awakening of their political consciousness will be reckoned to the credit of the Reform movement. Reform never stops with its originators.

ALBERT VICTOR HOSPITAL

The Albert Victor Hospital at Belgatchia has been doing splendid work to meet a very real need of the country, but is greatly hampered for want of sufficient funds in ministering to patients when in a critical condition, in making adequate provision for special nursing in serious operation cases, in helping patients in a destitute condition, and in supplying babies born in the maternity ward with suitable clothes. To meet these urgent needs, which the hospital with its limited resources cannot adequately supply, and we now make this appeal to our countrymen, with full confidence that the sufferings of the patients in the hospital will evoke a ready response in every sympathetic heart. It is also desirable that a hospital library should be kept for literate patients, which might help to lessen the monotony of an invalid’s existence to a small degree. To meet the above requirements it will be necessary to raise a fund of at least Rs 300 per month.

WILD MELBOURNE SCENES

The peace of Melbourne was disturbed by a series of ugly riots. Nearly 8,000 repatriated soldiers, together with a mob of nondescript hooligans, sought an interview with Mr. Lawson, the Premier, in order to submit their grievances. Mr. Lawson at the time was in the public offices. The crowd forced an entrance and the soldiers threatened to drag the Premier outside, but Mr. Lawson quietly and fearlessly agreed to address them from a window, whereupon someone threw a heavy metal inkpot which cut a nasty gash in his head. The mob swarmed into the offices, looting and smashing. Mounted police charged and dispersed them. Later 5,000 collected in Russell Street, with the object of releasing soldiers in goal. The State Cabinet met Mr. Lawson subsequently and invited the citizens and repatriated soldiers to maintain the law. The hospitals are filled with persons injured in the riots.

AHMEDABAD TRIALS

The hearing of the Barajadi derailment case concluded today. Mr. Chimanlal Parekh, pleader for the accused Kassam, commenting upon the nature of the confessions of the accused, submitted that they bore the stamp of a common inspiration. The confessions if read together would clearly show that they were got up by the police and were absolutely false. Mr. Ardeshir Karakak, pleader for accused No. 9, argued also that the police had worked up the case. Mr. Binning, the Prosecutor, argued the case for four hours. He rebutted the defence contentions and said that the position and respectable stations of life of some of the accused ought not to weigh with the court. Judgment has been reserved.

RICE CONTROL IN BURMA

RANGOON, AUG 16

Reports of premiums being paid above the control price for paddy, in violation of the Financial Department’s notification , No. 99, of August 1, have become so frequent that, on specific cases reported to the Deputy Controller of Foodstuffs, he has approached the Local Government and asked that the provision of notification No. 51, of May 17, 1919, be brought into effect, and stocks of paddy held by those who refuse to sell at control prices and demanded a premium for their stocks, whether for paddy itself or makeshift of gunnies, etc., be commandeered. This has now been and wherever proof can be furnished that holders of paddy in a district have violated the notification the Revenue Secretary has issued a notice commandeering the paddy