OCCASIONAL NOTE

The Indian Witness contains a report of a valedictory sermon by Bishop J.E. Robinson, preached before the Central Conference of the American Methodist Episcopal Church at Lucknow. Dr. Robinson reviews the progress of the Mission during the forty-five years that have passed since he joined it. At the beginning of that period the Mission was almost confined to Oudh and Rohilkhand. Since then it has spread throughout India and beyond India to Malaysia and the Netherlands Indies. In regions where fifty years ago the Methodist Mission did not possess a rupee’s worth of property, it now records a valuation of over fifty lakhs of rupees in churches, parsonages, college and school buildings, industrial and medical institutions. There is now in southern Asia a Methodist Church community of well nigh 400,000 souls. Grateful for the past, the Bishop is also hopeful for the future. He does not think that the political changes which are taking place in India are likely to have an injurious effect on Christian missions. At first there may be friction here and there, and even a curtailment of some of the privileges, especially the financial privileges, which these missions at present enjoy, but the general effect may be to bring about a moral and religious awakening among the higher classes.

MADRAS LABOUR TROUBLES

MADRAS, FEB 4

As a result of further negotiations, a final letter has been received from the Tramway authorities stating that they are willing to make a final concession of an increase in wages. The men, it is understood, will resume work fully tomorrow morning. In reply to representations made to the authorities by the Madras Labour Union on behalf of the Buckingham and Carnatic mills workpeople for an increase of wages, shorter hours, etc., the manager of the mills has written to say that before they deal with the various points raised they should be supplied with more information regarding the constitution of the Union. In view of the labour trouble in Madras, it is proposed to establish a Board of Conciliation, and a special officer designated the Labour Commissioner will probably serve as the medium of communication between the parties in labour disputes.

FOREST PANCHAYATS

Forest panchayats were first started in 1914 as a result of the recommendations of the Forest Committee, but they have not been as successful as was hoped. In its latest review on the working of forest panchayats published in March last the Board of Revenue remarked that the good panchayat was the exception that many were passable while many were bad. Further, there are at present 210 forest reserves under the management of 353 panchayats but there are still under departmental management 222 reserves with a total area of over 500,000 acres which are of a lower class prima facie suitable for management by a panchayat. Probably therefore another 200 or 300 panchayats should be formed in connection with these reserves. It is also possible that panchayats may be formed in connection with the forest village and kancha grazing systems.

TEA COMPANIES AND INCOME TAX

At the meeting of the Committee of the Indian Tea Association, it was stated that the case which it had been arranged to submit on behalf of the tea industry in order to test the question of whether tea companies are liable to the payment of income tax had been drawn up by the Association’s solicitors as a special case for presentation jointly by Government and the industry. It was in due course presented to the Board of Revenue, but it was desired that separate statements should be submitted by the Government of Bengal and by the industry, and that the Board of Revenue would then base its reference to the High Court on these separate statements.

BRIBERY CASE

In Lahore High Court Mr. Justice Scott Smith heard petition in connection with bribery case from the Lyallpur district. The applicant was Nand Gopal, veterinary assistant attached to the Grantee Camel Corps at Lyallpur. He had originally been sent up for trial on charges of bribery, and convicted by the Magistrate and sentenced to two years’ rigorous imprisonment on each of two charges, with fines of Rs 25 and Rs 14 respectively, the sentences of imprisonment to run concurrently. On appeal the Sessions Judge upheld the conviction on the first charge but reduced the sentence to one of six months’ rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 25. His Lordship reserved judgment in the case.