“FREE AND COMPULSORY EDUCATION”

To The Editor Of The Statesman

SIR, – There is now a general effort all over India for the introduction of free and compulsory primary education. Not only in the comparatively educated presidencies of Bengal, Bombay and Madras, but also in Orissa, agitation for the introduction of free and compulsory primary education is prevalent. The idea is good, there is no gainsaying the fact; but unless the position of India is improved, unless superstition which now so commonly prevails amongst all classes of people is removed, it is doubtful whether the movement may be successful. Those who strive for its achievement ought to know that “education is valued in India not so much because it is enlightening as because it is profitable.” Moreover the innumerable small villages, some 600,000 in number, is a bar to the introduction of free and compulsory education since these villages have at least 80 per cent of the population of India and it is very difficult “to bring educational facilities within the reach of every child of school-going age.”

B. MYSSER.

Sambalpur.

PASSIVE RESISTANCE AND THE RIOTS

To The Editor Of The Statesman

SIR, – The lamentable occurrences arising out of the “Satyagraha” vow or passive resistance movement of Mr. Gandhi must have convinced even its most ardent supporters of the great blunder committed by Mr. Gandhi and his followers in launching such a movement. The disinterestedness of Mr. Gandhi is beyond question but our respect for him should not blind us to the consequences that ensue from following his lead and advice. No one can deplore more than he the disastrous loss of life and property. The rousing of the passions of the people at a time when their minds have been exasperated by some cause or other is bound to have a deleterious effect. The unthinking, ignorant, and irresponsible mob, especially of the hooligan class, is apt to go out of control. The authorities responsible for the maintenance of law and order resort to the application of force, and the innocent largely suffer and the guilty escape.

RADHA CHURN PAL.

Baranoshi Ghose St.

Calcutta.

THE CONTROL OF SEDITIOUS JOURNALS

To The Editor Of The Statesman

SIR, – Will the Government of India have the courage to scotch the pernicious influence of the seditious Press by enacting and enforcing an ordinance, to be passed into a permanent law at the next meeting of the Imperial Legislative Council, before that august body is completely emasculated by the so-called reform scheme; whereby all papers shall be compelled to publish without delay in a prominent position any official contradiction or other communications regarding any false or misleading statement made by the paper concerned; all attempts to belittle such official communications being punished by at least a heavy fine?

COMMON SENSE.

Calcutta.

RAILWAY WHARFAGE RATES

To The Editor Of The Statesman

SIR, – I write to protest against the arbitrary rule recently introduced by the B. and N.W. Railway of charging two annas a day wharfage on every parcel or package booked by passenger train that is not cleared within 24 hours of arrival. I live about 16 miles from the railway; a bullock cart costs me Re 1-8 a day and a cooly six annas a day whenever I send for a parcel. Since the new rule was introduced I have sent a cart or cooly off immediately on receipt of the railway receipt. As often as not the parcel has not arrived and I have the pleasure of paying two or three days’ extra wages to the cart or cooly in consequence of the railway delay. I certainly think this arbitrary rule should be abolished or at least considerably modified in favour of consignees living outside a radius of, say, 5 miles from the railhead.

G.G.L.

Sursand.