OCCASIONAL NOTE

Sir Walter Buchanan’s report on last year’s jail administration in the Bengal Presidency shows clearly the reflection of the indifferent health conditions prevailing outside the jails on the health of those inside. The figure of deaths per mille of the jail population rose from the wonderful minimum of 15.8 reached in 1917 to the much higher figure of 21.3, representing 358 deaths in an average daily population of nearly 17,000. Even so, the average per mille is still lower in a bad year than was the general average for Calcutta – 23.8 per mille – in the good year 1917. It will also bear comparison with the dreadful figures of jail mortality in the fifties, when some 75 out of every thousand of the jail inmates died during the year. The wheat and rice diet selected by some three-fifths of the jail inmates as an alternative to the Bengal diet consisting of rice at both meals continues to give satisfaction. On this diet over 56 per cent of those consuming it gained weight and the percentage of the total number suffering from bowel complaints was considerably lower than among those fed solely on rice. Sir Walter Buchanan’s last report does credit to his regime as Inspector-General and suggests that the field is ripe for the new programme of advance that is likely to result from the labours of the Jail Commission now in Europe.

ALL EUROPE STRIKE

Plans for a general strike throughout Europe in protest against the Entente peace terms, for an anti-monarchist uprising in Italy and for a Soviet coup in CzechoSlovakia have been revealed in Berlin by Karl von Kreybig, a Hungarian nobleman, and his brother, a Colonel in the Hungarian army. Von Kreybig, son of the former Hungarian General, turned Communist when the revolution swept Hungary and is in Germany as an unofficial agent of the Hungarian Soviet Government. He is the author of Bolshevist literature and has become an active leader in the German Communist movement. English Labour leaders visited Berlin after the Entente terms were announced, Von Kreybig declared, and conferred there with Herr Haase about plans for a general strike to break out simultaneously in Germany, England, France and Italy. This statement is substantiated by Frau Joseph Grabisch, wife of the German author, who was present at some of the meetings.

FOOD SHORTAGE IN CEYLON

BOMBAY, JULY 11

A deputation consisting of Messrs. Somasundram, merchant, and Muthukrishna, journalist, sent by the Indian Association in Ceylon to interview the Indian Government in connection with the food shortage in the island, has been able to obtain some measures of relief for the seven lakhs of resident Indians the bulk of whom are labourers on tea and rubber estates. Famine in the Colony is said to be widespread and acute, and the success of the deputation is likely to enable the immigrant population to carry on until the local authorities are able to tap other food fields victualling the country. A temporary supply from Bangkok has been arranged for and encouragement is being given to production on most favourable terms to those desiring to carry out experiments. \

SUPPLYING CHEAP RICE TO THE POOR

Apropos of the project to supply rice to the poor at a low price, Mr. Hardat Roy Chamaria, a big merchant of Narayanganj, promised some time ago that he would finance the scheme without any interest and help in the distribution of rice by his own men, any loss thus incurred to be made up by public subscriptions. At a meeting of a few wealthy citizens of Dacca held at the Collector’s house on the 8th instant the question was further discussed and subscriptions were made which amount to nearly Rs 6,000. It was calculated that the total amount of deficit would be Rs 25,000 approximately, and out of this sum it was decided to raise Rs 15,000 for the present. The principal contributions promised are Rs 3,000 by Raja Srinath Roy, Babu Janakinath Roy and the Hon. Rai Sitanath Roy Bahadur of Bhagyakul, and Rs1,500 by Babu Ramanath Das. After the rice has been stocked the sale at Re 1 below market price will be commenced.

SOUTH AFRICA INDIAN TRADING BILL

MADRAS, JULY 11

At a meeting held this evening at the Gokhale Hall, the Hon. Mir Asad Ali Khan presiding, resolutions were passed protesting against the proposed enactment of the Asiatic (Land and Trading) Amendment Bill by the Union Parliament of South Africa, which, if passed, would, it was urged, affect the fundamental rights of British Indians of South Africa, expressing the opinion that the bill was based upon a misreading of the agreement arrived at by the settlement of 1914, and urging the Imperial Government to prevent the passing of the said law.