शुक्रवार, 28 नवंबर 2014

Full text of "Journalism In India"




Mr. Pat Lovett as an individual was 
little known outside his circle of friends. 
It must, however, be added that his friends 
were many, and that he was lavish in his 
affections and none too particular, so long 
as the recipient could boast of a touch of 
amiable and piquant eccentricity in some form 
or other. Pat Lovett lived a life in which the 
sole criterion of excellence in a man was his 
capacity to share a good, hearty " joke " and 
the sense of humour, thank God, is found in 
such unlooked-for places that Pat Lovett was 
at ease more completely in a homely, convivial 
environment than in high-brow society. If the 
latter did come in at times in the tenor of his 
life, the all-essential test must needs be ful- 
filled. There was thus this, limit, but no other, 
to the range of his friends. 

But Mr. Pat Lovett as the 'Ditcher' 
in the columns of the Capital was known 
universally ; no limitation of any kind 
applied to his popularity ; his sway was 
acknowledged in all the far-flung provinces of 
the country. Week after week, the Capital 


came out with his Diary ; and week after week, 
the Diarist's comments sometimes caustic, 
uniformly spicy and always penetrating were 
broadcasted "throughout the length and 
breadth of the land " (as the saying goes) by 
a goodly number of the provincial and local 
papers. To Mr. Gandhi's weekly observations 
in the Young India should be given the pride 
of place in regard to the honour of being exten- 
sively extracted by other journals ; the Ditcher 
assuredly came in second for that honour. 

The newspaper-reading public in India are 
familiar with the Ditcher, but the vogue of the 
" pen-name " was so great, and the repute 
attached thereto so dazzling that the Ditcher 
eclipsed Pat Lovett. The former appealed to 
the heart and impressed the imagination of 
hundreds and thousands of readers who scarce 
bothered themselves to divine something of 
the personality of the man as distinguished 
from the writer. It follows then, that, as is 
true of every writer of merit, the study of Pat 
Lovett emphatically resolves itself into a study 
of the Ditcher. 

The Ditcher's Diary has been the "star" 
feature of the Capital for over fifteen years. 
As a good portion thereof is a commentary 


upon passing events, there arises the need 
of editing it before publication so as to 
preserve all that is of abiding and universal 
interest. This task must involve time and 
labour ; and the publication of the Ditcher's 
Diary in a book-form, which, I hope, will be 
undertaken sooner or later rather sooner than 
later may not appear for sometime to come, 
Meanwhile, however, it has been found pos- 
sible to make available in this brochure two 
outstanding literary productions of the Ditcher 
the first being the lectures on Journalism in 
India which he delivered at the invitation of 
the Calcutta University, and the second, 
An Outsider's Odyssey, which was printed 
early in this decade for ' 'private circulation 
only." The plan of Journalism in India is 
that it should be a kind of historical survey ; 
it would, however, be truer to say that it is at 
least as autobiographical as it is biographical 
of Indian journalism. By the same token, the 
Odyssey was intended to be a kind of personal 
reminiscences ; but it would be equally true to 
say that it is no less historical than autobio- 
graphical. In other words, the dividing line 
between personal history and the history of 
journalism in these writings is thin indeed, 


and almost imperceptible. The explanation 
for this is simple enough. The Ditcher was 
less a human personality than an out-and-out 

"It is only in journalism that the Celtic 
Irish achieve distinction, for journalism is pri- 
marily a matter of gossip and the Celtic Irish 
can talk well" states St. John Irvine in a 
monograph on Parnell. This somewhat ribald- 
ish ipse dixit applies with great force to the 
Ditcher. A good talker, an accomplished 
writer, he was also an attentive listener. A 
mere talker is also otherwise called a gossip- 
monger ; a mere writer can never achieve any- 
thing of note ; a mere listener may possibly 
suit a bore. But a combination of the three 
characters is rare ; and it is such a happy and 
harmonious blend that accounts for the uni- 
queness of personality which is the source of 
the perennial charm and the universal appeal 
of the Ditcher's writings. 

Above all, the Ditcher typified that broad 
humanity and urbane outlook which journal- 
ism fosters when professed in the true spirit. 
What if another sit beneath the shade 
Of the broad elm I planted by the way, 
What if another heed the beacon light 


I set upon the rock that wrecked my keel, 
Have I not done my task and served my kind ? 
Be it said, that Pat Lovett did his task, as he 
alone could have done it, and served his kind 
with all the spontaneous, almost reckless, 
generosity he was capable of. 




Journalism in India, Gentlemen, derives 
from journalism in England, and in spite of 
faults and shortcomings is a credit to the 
parent stock. Patris est fdius, more espe- 
cially in maintaining the most cherished 
English tradition that it is the duty of the 
political journalist to publish his opinions even 
at the risk of fine and imprisonment ; there is 
also another strong family resemblance in 
making the leading article a potent factor in 
shaping public opinion. In any historical 
sketch of the newspaper Press in India, such as 
my lectures must necessarily amount to, this 
cardinal fact should inform both narrative and 
criticism. True though it be that even the 
most widely read newspapers in this country 
cannot pretend to anything like the circulation 
of the great London or English provincial 
papers, it would be silly affectation to pretend 
that the influence they wield is inconsiderable, 
even in this paradise of bureaucratic authority, 
the gates of which are opening slowly and 

* First AdAarchandra Mooktrjet Lecture, delivered at the Asutosh 
Building, Calcutta University, on Apr! 10. 1926. 


published monograph on Parnell, that "it is 
only in journalism that the Celtic Irish achieve 
distinction, for journalism is primarily a 
matter of gossip and the Celtic Irish can talk 
well/' I belong to the race so contemptuously 
dismissed, but if I can only justify this partial 
and not quite honest ipse dixit in my address 
to you, I will forgive St. John Irvine his 
Orange bigotry and narrow vision. 

In order to illustrate the advance made in 
journalism in India in the last forty years I 
cannot do better than to sketch its condition 
when I enlisted as a private in the ranks. On 
15th October, 1883, a date of blessed memory 
a capital feast in my life's calendar I 
joined The Times of India as an apprentice. 
I had no journalistic training or experience 
behind me ; so that my only equipment was 
a good education, a stout heart, buoyant 
youth, and perhaps that flair of the Celtic Irish 
to which I have already referred ; but I was 
lucky in my choice, for The Times was then, 
as now, a leading Anglo-Indian daily, and 
maintained a high tradition of literary 
achievement of the utmost value to a neophyte 
who regarded his profession as a profession 
and not as a trade. It was a tradition estab- 


lished by Dr. George Buist, a Scotch scholar 
and scientist of eminence, and consolidated by 
Colonel Nassau Lees, a famous Orientalist, 
whose memory is still green and sweet with the 
Moslem literati of Bengal. The latter was 
sole proprietor when I joined the staff ; in fact 
it was he who recruited me. Although at that 
time he had definitely retired from India and 
lived in England he still kept a hold on the 
policy and conduct of the paper ; to his ex- 
ample and bent was due a scholarly elan which 
distinguished The Times of India among the 
dailies of the country. Henry Curwen was 
editor from 1880 to his death in 1892. I was 
under his influence during the whole of my 
apprenticeship of five years, and as it was 
exerted with tutorial directness and solicitude 
it powerfully affected my conception of the 
whole duty of a journalist. From the start he 
impressed on me the futility of literary toil 
unless my aim was a complete mastery of my 
profession. "Journalism/' he would say, "is a 
severe and a jealous mistress, who will not 
brook a rival in any shape or form. You must 
give to her your days and nights and the best 
that is in you. Her reward will not be mate- 
rial wealth but the supreme joy of a great duty 


well done/' 

Curwen was a poet before he became a 
journalist. He was related distantly to 
William Wordsworth, the Lake Poet par 
excellence. Before coming to> India he pub- 
lished under the title of "Sorrow and Song" a 
book of sympathetic studies of the literary 
struggles of some famous poets. The poetic 
imagination never left him in all his years of 
practical journalism, but instead of handicap- 
ping his progress it assisted his success, for 
when he died the paper he still edited and 
partly owned was securely founded in a posi- 
tion in which it favourably compared with so 
important an English provincial paper as The 
Manchester Guardian. In the midst of his 
editorial and proprietorial turmoil he found 
relaxation in the writing of three novels of a 
romantic character which appeared week after 
week in serial form, adding not a little to the 
popularity of the paper. 

With all his romance and mysticism, how- 
ever, Curwen was true to type in business. He 
was a representative of the British Plantation 
with very little use for Indian political aspira- 
tions. Lord Reay, the advanced Dutchman, who 
governed the Bombay Presidency, from 1885 


to 1890, was Curwen's bete noir. The editor 
could see nothing good in the Gladstonian 
who gave to the Municipal Corporation of the 
city of Bombay a liberal constitution which 
for long years was the envy of every other city 
in India. He concentrated in a farewell leader 
the bitterness of soul which for five weary 
years had been nursed by the British Planta- 
tion against the statesman who was among the 
earliest of the foreign satraps to perceive and 
admit that, in the famous phrase of Parnell, 
it was not possible to put bounds to the march 
of a nation, and in accordance with this con- 
viction, to give reality to Lord Ripon's solemn 
promise of self-government. The Parthian 
outburst of sustained vituperation was clever 
but dishonest, yet it so accurately interpreted 
the feelings of the dominant race that the full 
text was cabled to London by Reuter and re- 
produced by The Times and other organs of 
English opinion. Curwen died less than two 
years later without retracting a single article 
of the faith so patristically expressed. He left 
it to his successor as his last will and testa- 
ment. Such is the irony of things that that 
successor proved to be Thomas Jewell Bennett 
who had hitherto been the right-hand man of 


Grattan Geary, editor and proprietor of The 
Bombay Gazette, the gallant champion of 
Lord Reay's policy. Curwen had detected 
with unerring instinct the Marian strain in the 
young man from Bristol, who, before joining 
Geary, had won his spurs by leader- writing for 
The Standard, the London Conservative organ. 
But Lord Reay did not monopolize all the 
antipathy of the editor of The Times of India 
and the constituency he represented ; a very 
large share was reserved for Gladstone after he 
had committed himself to the principle of 
Home Rule for Ireland. Parnell was a dirty 
dog, odious and infamous. I myself got into 
sad disgrace on the night that Reuter 
announced the results of the General Election 
of 1885 at which 86 Irish Nationalists were 
returned under the leadership of the Squire of 
Avondale, the "Uncrowned King of Ireland/' 
I was living at a hotel whose proprietress was 
Irish but whose customers were mostly mili- 
tary officers and Government officials. I 
rushed into the dining-room where the com- 
pany was assembled at dinner and proclaimed 
the glad tidings. There was an ominous 
silence, broken after a few tense moments by 
the vicious snarl of a senior Civilian : " You 


want a few more Phoenix Park murders I 
suppose." I became a social pariah from that 
night out. 

Grattan Geary, who owned and edited 
The Bombay Gazette, was an Irishman and 
a Home Ruler at heart, but he had to be very 
circumspect in his comments on the burning- 
question of the hour. His tepidity was exas- 
perating and it was vain ; it did not save him 
from the hatred and malice of European 
Society which would not allow him, although 
he was President of the Bombay Corporation, 
to present the address of welcome to Prince 
Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence, at the landing 
at the Apollo Bunder, the Gateway of India, 
in 1890. He had, it was dishonestly alleged, 
shown sympathy with the Fenians, which was 
enough to damn him in the eyes of every 
British patriot. 

There was no Indian-edited English daily 
at Bombay in those far off days, but Malabari 
published as a weekly The Indian Spectator, 
which in excellent English took an Indian 
survey of men and matters. His views on 
female education among Indians were received 
with respect, but in matters of general policy 
he did not count for much. Effective journal- 


Grattan Geary, editor and proprietor of The 
Bombay Gazette, the gallant champion of 
Lord Reay's policy. Curwen had detected 
with unerring instinct the Marian strain in the 
young man from Bristol, who, before joining 
Geary, had won his spurs by leader- writing for 
The Standard, the London Conservative organ. 
But Lord Reay did not monopolize all the 
antipathy of the editor of The Times of India 
and the constituency he represented ; a very 
large share was reserved for Gladstone after he 
had committed himself to the principle of 
Home Rule for Ireland. Parnell was a dirty 
dog, odious and infamous. I myself got into 
sad disgrace on the night that Reuter 
announced the results of the General Election 
of 1885 at which 86 Irish Nationalists were 
returned under the leadership of the Squire of 
Avondale, the "Uncrowned King of Ireland/' 
I was living at a hotel whose proprietress was 
Irish but whose customers were mostly mili- 
tary officers and Government officials. I 
rushed into the dining-room where the com- 
pany was assembled at dinner and proclaimed 
the glad tidings. There was an ominous 
silence, broken after a few tense moments by 
the vicious snarl of a senior Civilian : "You 


want a few more Phoenix Park murders I 
suppose/' I became a social pariah from that 
night out. 

Grattan Geary, who owned and edited 
The Bombay Gazette, was an Irishman and 
a Home Ruler at heart, but he had to be very 
circumspect in his comments on the burning- 
question of the hour. His tepidity was exas- 
perating and it was vain ; it did not save him 
from the hatred and malice of European 
Society which would not allow him, although 
he was President of the Bombay Corporation, 
to present the address of welcome to Prince 
Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence, at the landing 
at the Apollo Bunder, the Gateway of India, 
in 1890. He had, it was dishonestly alleged, 
shown sympathy with the Fenians, which was 
enough to damn him in the eyes of every 
British patriot. 

There was no Indian-edited English daily 
at Bombay in those far off days, but Malabari 
published as a weekly The Indian Spectator, 
which in excellent English took an Indian 
survey of men and matters. His views on 
female education among Indians were received 
with respect, but in matters of general policy 
he did not count for much. Effective journal- 


ism was practically confined to The Times of 
India and The Bombay Gazette until the 
Guzeratee dailies, The Bombay Samachar 
and the Jame-e-Jamshed, challenged the 
monopoly. Their attacks were so insistent 
and well-directed that their English rivals 
thought it wise to retain Parsee reporters to 
translate elegant extracts. In Calcutta and 
at Madras Indian journalism employing the 
medium of the English language made an 
earlier start, and at the time of my narrative 
The Hindu Patriot, The Indian Mirror, 
The Bengalee and The Hindu had already won 
their spurs and become antagonists to be 
reckoned with by the Bureaucracy and its 

After this historical divagation I will, 
with your permission, hark back to the 
domestic economy of the typical newspaper 
which made a real appeal to the general reader 
forty years ago. The literary staff of The 
Times of India, consisted of an Editor, an 
Assistant Editor, a Sub-Editor, a Chief 
Reporter (all imported from England), and 
four reporters recruited locally, two of whom 
were Parsees. The menage of The Bombay 
Gazette was similar. I was an extra an 


experiment with no counterpart in the rival 
shop. There was a nondescript mob of press- 
readers of all sorts and conditions, the same as 
we see to-day even in the most elaborately 
equipped newspaper offices. The indifference 
of the average newspaper proprietor to the 
quality of the proof-correctors is a puzzle of 
Indian journalism. Any old has-been or 
down-at-heels is good enough for the job 
provided he has sufficient English to pass 
proofs so as to drive the unfortunate sub- 
editor to distraction. In most offices, yea even 
in this year of grace, the sub-editor is also 
the chief reader, and one of his most trying 
duties is to make sense out of the " clean 
proofs " (save the mark!) served up by half- 
educated men whose wages are so lean that 
they have to live on the smell of an oil-rag 
and thus become the recognized tramps of the 
newspaper world. Strange as it may tell to 
posterity, the trial of the sub-editor has become 
heavier since the introduction of type-setting 

The average Indian compositor of the Old 

Law understood little, in most cases nothing, 

of the sense of the copy he was hand-setting, 

but he was wonderfully accurate in his combi- 



nation of types to print a word he had 
deciphered with uncanny wizardy. I have had 
a, first proof at three o'clock in the morning, 
just before going to press, of copy given to the 
compositor half-an-hour before, which con- 
tained hardly a mistake, literal or grammati- 
cal. It was an extreme case I admit, the 
compositor in question being a rare star of the 
first magnitude ; but it is no exaggeration that 
the general run of Indian compositors, in the 
days before the advent of the linotype, formed 
a Milky Way of glittering gems before whose 
magnificence the lino-operators of to-day pale 
their insignificant fires. Few of the old 
brigade are left, and soon the species will be as 
extinct as the dodo. When I remember how 
their talent and conscientiousness made 
amends for the incurable vices of the vagrant 
readers I regret the passing with a personal 

Rotary presses were unknown in India in 
the Eighties ; there was therefore less haste in 
getting the paper ready for the press but more 
leisure to attend to its literary content. When 
an outstanding public man made an important 
speech late in the evening or after dinner on a 
subject that was keenly agitating the public 


mind, the reporters did not spoil the effect by 
rushing a garbled summary into the compos- 
ing room to be set up for the next morning's 
paper; they had the good sense to agree to 
print just a short note announcing the delivery 
and value of the speech with a promise of a 
full report on the following day. The practice 
had advantages which to my mind are not 
counterbalanced by the modern method in 
which fulness and accuracy are often sacrificed 
to speed of publication. At any rate the 
author of the speech was flattered and the 
public who looked up to him for light and 
leading was satisfied that the newspapers had 
given him a fair chance. Agnosco veteris 
vestigia ftainmce. I am sadly conscious that 
it were vain to attempt to restore the early 
dispensation, but when one compares the 
summary of a great debate in the Legislative 
Assembly on the Reforms or the Bengal 
Ordinance given by his pet daily paper the 
morning after the event with the official report 
appearing a fortnight later, he is prone to sigh 
for the days when editors thought less of what 
the Americans expressively call a " hunch/' 
and more of a fair deal to all parties in the 


During the years of my apprenticeship 
the proceedings of the Bombay Corporation 
were carefully reported in both English dailies, 
specially qualified reporters being put on the 
job. They were not hurried ; a 24 hours' delay 
in the appearance of their scrip made no 
difference to the editor or his clientele ; the 
consequence a true and unbiased account of 
what had really taken place. By this means 
the press materially assisted the municipal 
reforms for which the citizens clamoured ; 
further it encouraged that high sense of civics 
for which Bombay has been distinguished 
throughout the ages. Both Curwen and 
Grattan Geary exacted from their reporters an 
equipment which would, in these degenerate 
times, be considered unconscionable for the 
wages paid ; and wages were much lower then. 
Although the purchasing power of the rupee 
was greater in the last quarter of the Nine- 
teenth Century than in the first quarter of the 
Twentieth, newspapermen in India, forty years 
ago, could boast with Sydney Smith that their 
motto was : Tenui musam meditamur avena 
" We cultivate literature upon a little dal 
bhat." Ability to take a verbatim shorthand 
note was sine qua non even in the most junior 


member of the staff, and the latest recruit was 
allowed six months to qualify. I hated the 
mechanical drudgery of shorthand, but there 
was no help for it. I had to devote to the 
acquirement of a speed equal to the swift 
torrential eloquence of Pherozeshah Mehta 
laborious days and nights in which I could 
have learnt, colloquially at any rate, four of 
the chief Indian vernaculars. Public meet- 
ings were always well reported in the Bombay 
papers in those days, so also cases in the High 
Court. In addition to this the papers alter- 
nately provided the official reporters of the 
proceedings of the Legislative Council. As 
any member of the reporting staff might be 
called upon at any moment to perform any of 
the duties I have enumerated you will easily 
understand how essential and logical was the 
editorial exaction. I laid the balm to my 
tortured soul that I derived much good from 
the severe mental discipline, but I can honestly 
say that my memory was ever quicker than my 
fingers and far more reliable. Soon after my 
apprenticeship was over I blossomed into an 
editor, and I immediately made a joyous bon- 
fire of my shorthand note-books. On the other 
hand many a contemporary gloried in his 


manual dexterity to the end of the chapter ; 
and who am I to say that his was not the 
greater distinction ? 

In lines other than verbatim note-taking 
reporters were encouraged to specialize. 
Politics were above their sphere, and beyond 
an editorial note on some law suit or pubilc 
meeting they were not expected to ruffle the 
tenor of the leader page. That was the 
mysterious demesne of the Editor and the 
Assistant Editor, helped by regular and 
irregular contributors who belonged mostly to 
the Indian Education Service, with odd Indian 
Civil Servants and Military Officers thrown in. 
The idea of an Associated Press had not then 
been conceived, so there were many openings 
for Special Correspondence, the editors being 
liberal in that direction. I was fortunate to 
develop a faculty of writing popularly on 
sports of all kinds, and in the last three last 
years of my connection with The Times of 
India I travelled the length and breadth of 
the country describing race meetings, pig- 
sticks, and polo tournaments, yet these were 
not all the ingredients of my olla podrida. The 
writer of the article on newspapers in the 
eleventh edition of the Encyclopaedia Britan- 


nica mourns the passing from English 
journalism of the old-time war correspondents 
like William Russell and Archibald Forbes ; 
with equal justification I mourn the passing 
from Indian journalism of special correspon- 
dents like Kipling, Rattray, Arnold Wright, 
and most brilliant of all, poor Frank White. 
The Associated Press does not, perhaps can 
not, make good the deficiency, and the news- 
papers have lost in consequence ci lustre 
which made them attractive to men of educa- 
tion and taste. 

I have mentioned the association of the 
Indian Education Service with journalism. 
At Bombay it was intimate. The Elphinstone 
College, the counterpart of the Presidency 
College in Calcutta, was the workshop in 
which were forged countless leaders that 
appeared in The Times of India and The 
Bombay Gazette, each of which had its 
partisans. Professors Wordsworth and Forrest 
affected the conservative organ ; Professors 
Kirkham and Oxenham its liberal rival. It is 
eternally true that no man of action can be so 
consistently and cynically an advocate of 
brutalism as your man of letters, and the 
writers I have named in no way belied this 


characteristic when their blood was roused to 
fulminations ex-cathedra, the splendour of 
which dazzled the professional journalist and 
left him lamenting his own incompetence. But 
on the whole this " Educational " connection 
was to the good ; it imparted to the columns 
given to the guidance of public opinion a 
literary excellence and a sense of history and 
logic which are certainly not salient qualities 
of the commercialized journalism of to-day. 
We used to race for sport in the Eighties and 
early Nineties ; the horses were our pride and 
skilful horsemanship our consuming desire 
They race for big stakes nowadays and the 
horses are mere pawns in a corrupt and debas- 
ing gambling game. Commercialization 
again ! It has entered every department of 
life. Journalism in India could no more resist 
the invasion than journalism in England or 
elsewhere in the British Empire, for it had to 
be recognized that the modern newspaper 
depended for its financial success primarily 
upon its receipts from advertisements ; and 
blatant puffing, however crude in expression, 
is dearer to the advertiser's heart than grace 
of style. 

The first signal triumph of the Indian 


National Congress was the Indian Councils 
Act of 1892, the first election under which was 
held in the following year. This Act en- 
franchised some recognized public bodies and 
constituencies, and gave the members of the 
Supreme and Local Legislative Councils the 
right to put questions to Government on 
matters of administration ; also the right to 
discuss the annual budget. It is significant 
of the slow and toilsome march of democracy 
in India that no advance on this restricted 
measure of Home Rule was made until the 
Minto-Morley Reforms came into force fifteen 
years after. But such as it was the Lansdowne 
Act was a white stone in the progress of 
journalism which has since proceeded part 
passu with the expansion of political freedom. 
The debates in the central legislature acquired 
a new zest for the leading newspapers of India 
which had consequently to be enlarged and 
produced at a heavier cost. The day of the 
modern manager had dawned and he has never 
looked back. In a great newspaper, published 
not a thousand miles from College Square, the 
actual concrete manager is a far bigger man 
than the misty editor in his many and 
embarrassing manifestations. Until nearly 


the last year of the Nineteenth Century the 
editor was supreme, but now, when editorial 
possibilities depend on financial resources, the 
manager who owes allegiance to the advertisers 
is apt to call the tune. Like the rest of us I 
have had to move with the times and bow the 
knee to Mammon ; nevertheless I look back 
with pride to the days of my apprenticeship 
when our inspiration and incentive sprang 
from the thought so beautifully expressed by 
Rudyard Kipling : 

When only the Master shall praise us, and only the 

Master shall blame ; 
And no one shall work for money, and no one shall work 

for fame; 
But each for the joy of working, and each, in his 

separate star, 
Shall draw the Thing as he sees it, for the God of Things 

as They Are. 

The Lansdowne Act, you will allow me to 
so call it for the sake of brevity, fundamentally 
affected the Indian-edited Press by a decom- 
position of primitive ideas and caused a clearer 
appreciation of values not only among Indian 
publicists but among their critics also, more 
especially the Bureaucracy which had now to 
"sit up and take notice/' as the common 
phrase goes. A Press Act of the Lytton 


pattern was no longer feasible, and the right 
of interpellation by members of the Legislative 
Councils encouraged Indian editors openly to 
assume the mantle of Elijah and whip with 
scorpions a Government whose policy they 
denounced as unsympathetic and coercive. 
I had to wait until 1897, when I finally 
migrated from Bombay to Calcutta for keeps, 
to get into intimate touch with Indian journa- 
lists who employed the English language as 
the vehicle of aspiration and polemic. Bombay 
sported no important daily edited by an Indian 
in the national interest. Soon after the birth 
of the Congress, Pherozeshah Mehta, Thomas 
Blaney and other liberal-minded citizens 
assisted the foundation of an evening paper 
called The Advocate of India, which pro- 
mised to become the organ of the Congress 
party, a promise never fulfilled for reasons it 
is unnecessary to enumerate at this distance of 
time. At the instance of Jehanghir Murzban, 
who had become its sole proprietor, I took the 
editorship in 1892. Its fortunes were at the 
lowest ebb, and as an organ of political opinion 
it counted for nothing. The only one of the 
original promoters who took any interest in it 
was Thomas Blaney who wrote unceasingly on 


municipal affairs, reproducing and emphasiz- 
ing the ipse dixits he had already let off at the 
two weekly meetings of the Bombay Corpora- 
tion of which he was a prominent and 
influential member. His views on hygiene, 
water-supply, and civism generally were sound, 
and such were his services to the city that a 
grateful community after his death com- 
memorated him by a statue erected in front of 
the municipal buildings. He could write good 
plain terse Anglo-Saxon, but his knowledge of 
polite literature was sadly to seek, and for this 
ignorance I was more than once the butt of a 
rival's satire. I had a small and limited staff : 
myself, and two reporters who covered the 
police and the law courts. It was difficult in 
the circumstances to be meticulous in the 
work of redaction. The humour of the situa- 
tion was thrilling when, as on one occasion, I 
rescued my poor repute from the very brink of 
precipice. Communal riots had broken out 
between Hindus and Muhammadans, and as 
there had been much bloodshed the city was 
placed under martial law. The opportunity 
for an evening paper to snatch a scoop was too 
good to be lost ; so for the nonce I deserted the 
editorial sanctum (spare the pieces !) for re- 


porting adventure, leaving the busy proprietor, 
who had other things to think about and 
manage, to send in the leaders for the day. I 
got back from the stricken field somewhat late 
one afternoon to find that the leader page had 
been set up and was waiting only for the press 
order. Having been through some stirring 
scenes during the day I was in a fine frenzy to 
rush my impressions into copy, but thank my 
lucky stars I controlled my impatience to 
glance through the first leader in which 
Blaney made a scornful attack on The 
Pioneer for daring to sneer at his beloved 
Corporation. The Pi had the impudence 
to say that a certain debate, in which Blaney 
took part, reminded it of the famous colloquy 
in which Sir Toby Belch and Sir Andrew 
Aguecheek participated to the mirth of all the 
world for all time. "Who cares a hang," 
exclaimed the irate Blaney, "for the opinions 
of two obscure knights, probably ap-ke-waste 
wallahs who got their titles for sitting on the 
steps of Government House/' This sort of 
thing was hilariously exciting but it was not 
business, and soon Blaney ceased to write for 
The Advocate owing, he averred, to my 
professional jealousy which prompted me 


either to reject his articles or to make a hash of 
them. I was sorry to lose his co-operation, 
and I have no doubt many missed his preach- 
ments on the ideals of civism ; but then as 
now, to adapt the famous apothegm of 
Gladstone, the Press in India was the privilege 
of the educated classes, not the patrimony of 
the people, and an editor who valued the 
reputation of his paper had to be careful of the 
character of its literary contents. 

To popularize The Advocate of India 
and increase its circulation, which was 
decidedly tenuous, I made a strong feature of 
sport, and as the town had gone nearly mad 
over cricket, especially over the international 
matches between the Europeans and the 
Parsees, my brain-wave carried me on its crest 
to unexpected success. On the other hand, I 
catered for the more intellectual of my readers 
by writing twice a week a humorous skit on 
the meetings of the Corporation ; but haute 
politique I neglected almost entirely. The 
National Congress doctrines had no direct 
representation in the daily papers of Bombay 
which were printed in English ; Indian 
national aspirations, however, were lucidly 
expounded and trenchantly defended by 


Dinshaw Wacha in the English section of the 
Guzeratee weekly, Kaiser-i-Hind. The Indian 
Spectator was a law unto itself. Malabari was 
amenable to no discipline but that self-imposed, 
and he was utterly contemptuous of a party 

When I came to Calcutta in the fall of 
1897 to join The Indian Daily News of 
happy memory, I discovered a hive of news- 
paper industry of the existence of which I had 
hitherto been ignorant. Not only were news- 
papers more numerous than at Bombay, but 
the field covered was far more extensive. 
Both Anglo-Indian and Indian interests were 
fittingly represented, and there was a strong 
weekly Press, social, political, and technical, 
such as did not exist in any other town in 
India. The Englishman was admittedly 
the leading Anglo-Indian paper with probably 
the largest, but certainly " the most influen- 
tial" circulation in Bengal. It sturdily 
proclaimed without reservation the sentiments 
of the Europeans to whom Lord Ripon was the 
Devil incarnate. Its style was downright 
what the poet Blake might have called " naked 
beauty displayed " exactly what its clientele 
demanded. It was still in the sole possession 


of the Saunders family, and the most able of 
the "J.O.B.'s" rode in the whirlwind and 
directed the storm. His editor, Macdonald, 
was a man after his own heart. The 
Englishman was the first newspaper in 
Calcutta to instal linotypes in the printing 
room, but never at any time did its technique 
approach that of its formidable rival, The 
Statesman, which owes its admirable order 
and array to its founder, Robert Knight, who 
was also responsible for that other inspiration 
of genius, the Sunday issue with its wealth of 
" Special Shorts/' In those days the Chow- 
ringhee oracle was the direct antithesis of the 
Hare Street thunderer ; it fostered Indian 
political aspirations with Non-conformist 
conscientiousness and tentation, but when 
S. K. Ratcliffe, the Fabian, was installed in 
the editorial caserne, it became more Indian 
than the Indian papers themselves. This 
Augustan age lasted for three years, begin- 
ning with the Curzonian Durbar which was 
held at Delhi ostensibly to commemorate the 
accession of Edward the Seventh to the 
Imperial gadi. Ratcliffe was a slashing 
leader-writer, bursting with all that pomp and 
gallantry of a journalism which arrogates to 


itself the right to govern the world. Many 
people who did not agree with him liked to read 
him : but furtively and shamefacedly. He left 
India in 1906, and in 1911 the paper he edited 
so ably in the Indian cause performed a 
complete volte face. After that, in the hands 
of J. A. Jones, the most uncompromising of 
Anglo-Indians, it became the most widely 
circulated paper in the whole of India, and the 
best advertising medium. Jones was one of 
the seven omniscient British journalists who 
in 1907 signed a letter which appeared in a 
prominent place in The Times (London), 
in which they scorned the gross insinuation 
that there was anarchism or revolution in 
Bengal in consequence of the Partition ; but 
like the other signatories he had been 
hypnotized by Ratcliffe, the author of the 
effusion ; as soon as the personal magnetism 
of the Fabian was withdrawn Jones returned 
to the normal mentality of a countryman and 
disciple of Lloyd George of " Steel Frame " 
renown. But all the glory of the change in 
the fortunes of The Statesman did not 
appertain to Jones ; a very substantial share 
belonged to H. E. Watson, a capable Manager 
of the modern type. He was imported to 


control a big rotary press and its concomitants, 
chief of which was a page of illustrations after 
the style of the big London dailies. He 
exploited the advertisers with fearless con- 
fidence and advanced the rates to a figure that 
made them gasp but yield. The Statesman 
is now a very valuable property. According to 
the ideas of the proprietors themselves its 
market value is a crore of rupees. You may 
legitimately deduct 50 per cent, for swelled 
head, but even then you get a price extra- 
ordinary for a newspaper in India which has 
little or no job-work to support it. The 
Times of India and The Pioneer possess 
lucrative job presses, and the former has 
struck oil with The Times of India Illustrated 
Weekly, the fruitful idea of Coleman who 
came to Bombay from The Times (London) ; 
still the magnates of Chowringhee very 
recently declined to join a newspaper combine 
in India unless it was given a 75 per cent, 
superiority over the other partners in the deal. 
Had The Statesman remained for all time "The 
Friend of India" of its founder's imagination 
and Paikpara's hope, it would not have climbed 
to the eminence of which it is so justly proud. 
This truism suggests the melancholy reflection 


that the Indian intelligentsia do not adequately 

support the papers which 

national cause. To so 

zation I must put in a caveat 

Madras where The Hindu, which 

impress of the genius of 

has the biggest circulation an 

influence, having left the Anglo 

Mail lumbering far in the rear. 


its proud and comfortable position that 
Bengalee to which Surendra Nath Banerjea 
gave his best years and his most glittering 
talents. Then weep ye sons and daughters of 

To hark back to 1897, The Indian Daily 
..News, then practically owned and actually 
dominated by David Yule, held a position 
midway between the ultra Conservative 
Englishman and the tentatively Radical 
Statesman. It gave much space to commer- 
cial news and was well thought of in Olive 
Street. Its political views were liberal. In 
the description and criticism of sports of all 
kinds it easily outstripped its rivals. It might 
have become the most popular paper in 
Calcutta if Yule had not refused working 
finance just when the prospect was roseate. It 


then passed into the possession of William 
Graham, a clever lawyer with a ready and 
sarcastic pen, and held its own under the 
editorship first of Everard Digby and second of 
K. K. Sen, until it was purchased by C. R. Das 
and absorbed by Forward, the Swarajist 
defender of the people's rights. Just before 
the An ti- Partition, Fraser Blair, for some time 
editor of The Englishman, added an evening 
paper to Calcutta journalism. The start was 
brilliant but staying power was lacking. Its 
founder and editor is now on the staff of The 
Statesman, and although it has been twice re- 
incarnated it presents the tawdry appearance 
of a has-been who is constantly missing the bus. 
The weekly Press is a distinguishing 
feature of Anglo-Indian journalism in Calcutta, 
for nothing approaching its distinction and 
power exists in any other city of India. In 
1888 Shirley Tremearne, business-man who was 
also a practical lawyer and an industrious 
writer to the Press, founded Capital, a weekly 
journal of commerce and finance. He gave it 
form and temperament with such shrewd 
insight that it jumped at once into the front 
rank where it stands four-square to all the 
winds that blow. Much about the same time 


Pat Doyle, a Civil Engineer, started Indian 
Engineering which, during his life time, was a 
scientific publication of great merit. It will 
interest you to know that Asutosh Mukerjea, 
before he became world-famous as an educa- 
tionist, contributed to its columns articles on 
the higher Mathematics which attracted the 
notice and received the approbation of scholars 
in Europe and America. The light of other 
days has faded and all its glory gone ! Indian 
Engineering still lingers, a ghost of its former 
self, but the profession prefers the guidance of 
The Eastern Engineer in all technical matters. 
The big war of 1914-18 gave the quietus to 
two weeklies of old standing which we could ill 
afford to lose. These were The Asian, a purely 
sporting paper, and The Indian Planters' 
Gazette, familiarly known as The Pig which 
added a sporting supplement to its budget of 
planting and general news. The Asian was the 
creation of an Australian journalist named 
Targett, the first in India to realize the now 
generally accepted canon that advertisements 
must pay the whole cost of a paper and more, if 
financial success is to be achieved. In the last 
quarter of the Nineteenth Century sport was a 
consuming interest of the European Plantation ; 


naturally The Asian became an imperial 
authority and was read everywhere. The Pig 
catered for a more restricted congregation with 
a debonair virility which was always a refresh- 

In 1904, I was offered and accepted the 
editorship of The Indian Planters' Gazette, 
and finally broke away from daily journalism 
to which I had given twenty-one of the best 
years of my life. It was a wrench for I had 
been very happy battling in the storm and 
stress for a place in the sun. A journalist's 
portion was not all beer and skittles in that 
time ; for one thing he was generally considered 
" no class " by European High Society. I recall 
a lurid illustration of this snobbery in a hotel 
in Madras in 1889. Rudyard Kipling's inimit- 
able letters, "From Sea To Sea" were appearing 
in The Pioneer, and one night at dinner they 
became the theme of discussion. An R. A. 
Colonel, who held the post of Inspector-General 
of Ordnance, was sitting at the head of the 
table and was obviously bored. At long last he 
chipped in with a question addressed to the 
company at large : " Have you met any of these 
writing fellows in the flesh ? They are the 
most awful bounders imaginable, and I am 


sure this chap Kipling is no exception." I 
felt moved to protest and disclose my profes- 
sion, but I recollected in time the classical 
story of Rabelais and the Pope. If Kipling, 
the pride of The Pioneer, was treated with 
such disparagement by a bureaucratic high 
priest, what would be the fate of an obscure 
freelance like myself who professed an un- 
popular religion and was an Irish Nationalist to 
boot ? There was a time, not so very long ago, 
when a Civil Servant, who acted as the Census 
Commissioner, in his official report, bracketed 
journalists with soothsayers and circumcisers ; 
that was the exact measure of the esteem in 
which the average journalist was held by the 
Higher Bureaucracy. Recently there has been 
a change in the attitude from contempt and 
suspicion to respect and appreciation, not 
because the profession has attracted men of 
greater culture and respectability than for- 
merly, but simply because the foundations of 
bureaucratic arrogance and prejudice have 
been sapped by the democratic tide which is 
slowly but surely flooding the country. Since 
the War we have seen journalists, European and 
Indian, knighted for their services to the State 
and to the public ; we have also seen Indian 


journalists appointed Ministers of the Govern- 
ment, and what is more, they have been 
justified by their works. This triumph over 
the powers of darkness is something to be proud 
of and to be thankful for, but you will forgive a 
scarred veteran for saying that the waiting time 
was the hardest time of all. Yet believe me, 
Gentlemen, the broad humanity which journa- 
lism fosters when professed in the true spirit 
enables me with all sincerity to end my first 
lecture with the sentiment enshrined in some 
favourite lines of Oliver Wendell Holmes : 

What if another sit beneath the shade 

Of the broad elm 1 planted by the way, 

What if another heed the beacon light 

I set upon the rock that wrecked my keel, 

Have I not done my task and served my kind ? 




In my first lecture I attempted to trace the 
influence of The Indian National Congress on 
the development of journalism in this country ; 
in this lecture the World War and its conse- 
quences will form the staple of my evolutionary 
theme ; but before spinning the texture of 
another chapter in the history of progress 
what Herbert Spencer would i*ave called 
another stage in "the passage from un- 
organized simplicity to organized complexity " 
it is meet to hark back to an event arising 
out of the Anti-Partition agitation which can 
justly be claimed as a triumph for Indian 
journalism. The arm and burgonet of that 
campaign against bureaucratic reaction was 
the editor of The Bengalee, the late Sir 
Surendra Nath Banerjea, who organized public 
opinion with a skill as rare as it was efficient. 
The Minto-Morley Reforms may not have been 
the absolute consequence of the passionate 
revolt against the Partition of Bengal, yet it is 
undeniable that the upheaval caused by Lord 
Curzon's obduracy and Sir Bamfylde Fuller's 


superciliousness hastened the gift of demo- 
cratic pottage, which, though meagre in all the 
essentials of representative government, still 
gave promise of a more substantial measure by 
acknowledging the right of Indians to the entry 
into the hitherto sacrosanct Councils of the 
Viceroy and the Secretary of State for India. 
Two years later the Partition, Lord Morley's 
"Settled Fact/' was annulled by King George V 
himself at the Royal Durbar at Delhi, and 
Eastern and Western Bengal were reunited to 
form one presidency under a Governor in 
Council. It was a famous victory won at great 
cost, for Calcutta was dethroned from her long 
metropolitan ascendancy among the cities of 
British India, in order that Delhi might 
become the official capital of the Government of 
India. It looked like bureaucratic revenge for 
the failure of coercion of the worst type to 
muzzle the Press and intimidate Indian 
Nationalism. The Indian Press of Bengal bore 
the brunt of the battle with dauntless courage. 
" The first in glory, as the first in place/' 

It was in these boisterous years that the 
Associated Press of India was born, and as it 
has revolutionized the news half of journalism 
in India a short sketch of its origin and growth 


is essential to my thesis. In the old days, before 
the Curzon Durbar in 1903, the three English 
owned dailies of Calcutta maintained Special 
Correspondents at the headquarters of the 
Government, their busiest time being when 
those headquarters were at Simla. This was a 
tactic of self-defence against the monopoly of 
The Pioneer, then to all intents and purposes 
the official organ. It was served by a capable 
journalist, Howard Hensman, who was persona 
grata to all the deii majores, civil and military. 
Hence it came about that the front page of 
'The Pi' was practically an official gazette the 
contents of which were pirated and broad- 
casted on publication. At Simla The English- 
ynan was represented by Mr. A. J. Buck ; The 
Statesman by Mr. Everard Coates, and The 
Indian Daily News by Mr. Dallas who depended 
for tit-bits from the departmental arcana on 
his Bengalee assistant, Mr. K. C. Roy, the 
cleverest news-ferret and "Scoopist" Indian 
journalism has produced. He is much more 
now, but that is another matter. Single- 
handed none of these pickers-up of un- 
considered trifles was a match for Hensman ; &o 
it occurred to them to pool their resources to 
prevail against the common foe. Buck and 


Coates were the first directors of the Associated 
Press with Roy, a kind of maid-of -all-work. 
When the news agencies were organized in all 
the important cities in India, Roy demanded a 
directorship which was refused ; he promptly 
cut away from the old moorings and started 
on his own with his faithful henchman, U. N. 
Sen. The Associated Press could not with- 
stand the opposition of the Press Bureau and 
the directors capitulated on the conditions 
imposed by Roy who, they had to acknowledge, 
was the mainspring of the comprehensive 
machine. Later on Coates was bought out by 
Reuter, and now the foreign and domestic in- 
telligence published by all the "live" dailies is 
supplied by the same agency which also enjoys 
a certain amount of State patronage and 
support. Recently a diminutive Richmond 
has appeared in the field to challenge its title. 
He flaunts a banner with the bold device, 
" Free Press." His success depends upon the 
support he can get from the Indian Nationalist 
papers which are more numerous than those 
English-owned, but not so wealthy. He is 
making a brave struggle against tremendous 
odds and if only as a corrective of the growing 
officialism of the older agency deserves to 


succeed. The Associated Press has destroyed 
the old monopoly of The Pioneer, but at the 
same time it has smothered original enterprise 
and adventure in news-getting both at Home 
and abroad. The rates for Press telegrams and 
cables are still so high that even the most 
widely circulated papers are capable of no more 
than merely spasmodic efforts to supplement 
the service of the general intelligencer, which 
on the whole deserves our applause for ' a brave 
office set up to enter all the news of the time 
and vent it as occasion serves/ Its story might 
appropriately borrow for its caption the title of 
Ben Jonson's merry comedy The Staple of 
News. From this bare outline it is not hard to 
appraise the influence of Mr. K. C. Roy in the 
development of the modern newspaper in 
India. He has never been an editor, nor, in 
spite of the important part he has taken in 
politics since the Montagu Reforms came into 
action, has he been a political writer of emi- 
nence ; nevertheless his instinct, it would be no 
exaggeration to call it genius, for the staple of 
news has proved a more potent factor in bring- 
ing Indian journalism up-to-date according to 
Western notions than any editor in the last 
forty years. 


Another event which calls for more than a 
passing word before I come to the World War 
was the foundation by Sir Pherozeshah Mehta 
of The Bombay Chronicle in 1913, with 
Mr. Benjamin Horniman, late of The States- 
man, as editor. Sir Pherozeshah's original 
intention was to purchase The Bombay Gazette 
to counteract the sinister influence of The 
Times of India, which, during the editorship of 
Lovat Fraser, had assisted Mr. Harrison, 
I.C.S., Accountant-General of Bombay to 
manoeuvre a caucus to hurl him from his gadi 
in the Municipal Corporation of whose liberal 
constitution he was the real author. He was 
frustrated by Sir Frank Beaman, one of the 
directors of The Bombay Gazette, who still 
lives to oppose with a vehement pen the aspira- 
tions of Indian Nationalists. Undaunted bv 


the rebuff, Mehta set to work to collect funds to 
start a brand new daily paper, which, after the 
fashion of Minerva, should issue from Jove's 
head fully equipped. When I met him at the 
Royal Durbar at Delhi in December, 1911, he 
told me that he had at last obtained the where- 
withal and asked me to get him a manager 
whom he could send to London to purchase 
machinery. I did not know then that it was 


his intention to offer me the editorship ; he 
seems to have taken it for granted that I would 
come at his call whenever it was made, a far 
from unreasonable presumption considering 
how closely he and I had been connected during 
my career in Bombay. In the absence of a 
direct offer I fixed up, on my return to Calcutta 
from Delhi, with the proprietor of (Capital, the 
late Mr. Shirley Tremearne, who appointed me 
editor, a position I still hold. In March, 1912, 
came Sir Pherozeshah's call which alas I had to 
refuse. He was deeply hurt, for he never wrote 
to me again, and he died before I could see 
him and explain. I have not ceased to regret 
this sad ending of a friendship of thirty years. 
We were both the victims of those cross pur- 
poses which the spiteful Fates are so fond of 
contriving to plague poor mortals. Under the 
guidance of Sir Pherozeshah Mehta, Horniman, 
accomplished journalist, made The Bombay 
Chronicle a power in the land. When the guid- 
ance and restraint of the wise and moderate 
Gamaliel were withdrawn, Horniman's 
impetuous politics brought him into conflict 
with the Government of Bombay which went to 
the extreme of deporting him in April, 1919. 
The Fourth Estate gasped, but refrained from 


active agitation against the tyranny. Horni- 
man's friends in the Legislative Assembly 
more than once attempted to force his recall 
from banishment, but the Government was 
inexorable. Some months since the exile 
defied the powers of darkness by returning 
without leave. The Government took no notice 
in spite of public ovations at Madras and 
Bombay. " The Public Danger " of seven years 
agone was treated like an extinct volcano, 
which was worldly wise. 

The Horniman episode is a painful 
reminder of the peril of the journalist in India 
who dares to be outspoken in his criticism of 
the Government, but candour compels the 
admission that there is far more liberty allowed 
to the British-edited newspapers than to those 
edited and owned by Indian Nationalists. If 
Mr. Horniman had remained a member of The 
Statesman's staff it is highly improbable that 
he would ever have been an object of the 
tender attentions of the Police. He was the 
reputed author of the articles headed 
"Hardinge must go" which appeared in The 
Statesman when the capital was changed from 
Calcutta to Delhi. They were "hot stuff," bu 
nothing happened to the paper in consequence 


As the editor of an Indian-owned paper which 
propagated an extreme nationalism he was, 
from the official point of view, in a different 
position entirely. The Indian Press has 
always been and is to-day, what the late Sir 
Surendra Nath Banerjea called, a "great instru- 
ment of propagandism ;" hence the vigilant 
antipathy of the Bureaucracy in marked 
contrast to the tolerance shown to the British- 
edited section. Professor Rushbrook Williams 
in India in 1919 indicates the reason for this 
difference when he writes, "Now, as a rule, if at 
any given moment the administration of India 
is seriously attacked in the Indian-edited 
Press, it can rely upon a certain measure of 
support from the English-edited Press." This 
is putting it very mildly, for the order to-day is 
that if an administrative measure is attacked 
by the Indian-edited Press it is the duty of the 
British-edited Press to defend it with all its 
ordnance. In the Dictionary of National 
Biography it is recorded of Lord Metcalfe that 
his greatest service to India, in his short ad- 
ministration of a year as acting Governor- 
General, was the Act of 15th September, 1835, 
which removed the vexatious restrictions on 
the liberty of the Indian Press. It would fill a 


bulky tome simply to enumerate the measures 
taken by many of his successors to undo the 
noble work of that "able and sagacious 
administrator, of unimpeachable integrity and 
untiring industry/' Only the other day the 
Government of India forged a new instrument 
of torture which even The Statesman could not 
approve, and forced the compliance of the 
Legislative Assembly by a strangle-hold. In 
Calcutta itself last month only the timely inter- 
ference of the High Court saved two important 
Indian editors from being imprisoned under 
the new Security Act for publishing what two 
such learned judges as Rankin (Barrister) and 
Chotzner (Civilian) described as a legitimate 
piece of news. Lord Metcalfe, in reply to a 
deputation which waited on him to urge the 
emancipation of the Indian Press, said : "We 
are not here in India merely to maintain order, 
to collect taxes and make good the deficit ; we 
are here for a higher and nobler purpose, to 
pour into the East the knowledge, the culture, 
and the civilization of the West/' To that 
sentiment the Bureaucracy has given lip- 
service in the intervening 90 years, but in its 
heart it still regards a free Press as an un- 
mitigated nuisance and an abomination in the 


sight of the Lord. The only journalist it has 
any use for is the sycophantic fugleman of its 
own brave deeds and shining virtues. I admit 
with delight that in my long career as a journa- 
list in India I have met scores of Government 
officials, many of them Civil Servants, who 
have expressed the highest admiration for a 
journalistic independence, especially when it 
issued in cultured satire and spicy comment. 
I happened to be at Bombay in the Yuletide of 
1917 when Mr. Samuel Montagu and Lord 
Chelmsford were there taking notes for their 
intended Reforms. I lunched with a Depart- 
mental Secretary one day and the conversation 
veered round to the official relations with the 
newspapers. After condemning Mr. Horniman's 
politics most heartily he admitted with the 
same warmth that it was a tonic to read his 
articles. Later on, a very much higher official, 
when discussing a certain ultra-official British 
editor, exclaimed : "He is very proper you 
know, but oh so dull/' Yet none of these broad- 
minded officials would condemn the vicious 
system which would emasculate the Press in 
India as an organ of public opinion. I wonder 
how long it will take the Bureaucracy to realize 
that the most ingenious way of becoming 


foolish is by a system. Readers of the articles 

on "The Press in India" which my friend Mr. S. 

C. Sanial contributed to The Calcutta Review 

more than 15 years ago which articles I am 

glad to hear are to be republished in book form 

shortly will remember that in the early days 

the Anglo-Indian Press was the victim of 

official zoolum. In April (a fateful month for 

journalists in India) 1823, Mr. John Adam, the 

Acting Governor- General, expelled from India 

Mr. James Silk Buckingham, the proprietor 

and editor of the Calcutta Journal because he 

dared to censure the abuses of the East Indian 

Company's administration. The paper was 

suppressed. These high-handed proceedings 

entailed great pecuniary loss, and redress was 

recommended by a Select Committee of the 

House of Commons in 1834 ; but it was not until 

long afterwards that the East Indian Company 

acknowledged the injustice of the proceedings 

by granting Buckingham a pension of 200 a 

year. I am afraid there is no such luck in 

store for Mr. Horniman, who, game to the end, 

is about to start another daily paper in the 

Indian Nationalist interest. Ardentum frigidvs 

A far-reaching consequence of the World 


War in the polity of India was the reform of 
the legislatures by inoculating them with the 
germs of representative government. It was 
a reward for the fine service to the Empire in 
the days of its heaviest trial by India's soldiers 
and India's taxpayers. It is a commonplace 
of military science that modern warfare no 
longer consists of isolated engagements 
between professional armies ; it means the 
mobilization of all the resources of the nations 
in conflict. India grasped the fact and rose to 
the occasion with splendid loyalty and 
enthusiasm. In the general effort the co- 
operation of the Indian-edited Press was in the 
last degree edifying, considering the tempta- 
tion and provocation it had received to sulk in 
a Cave of Adullam. The Bureaucracy, for the 
first time in all its history, went out of its way 
to propitiate this 'great instrument of pro- 
paganda/ Publicity Boards were established 
in diverse centres and clever officials were 
appointed to be nice to the men who not so 
long since were regarded as scum by the 
Secretariats. Tours were organized to enable 
Indian journalists to see what was going on at 
the battle fronts, and in many other ways their 
importance was officially flattered. I shall not 


easily forget the apotheosis of Panchcowrie, the 
gallant editor of The Nayak, in the quadrangle 
of Government House when Lord Ronaldshay 
was King of Bengal. That was a halcyon time 
for Indian editors, and although of short dura- 
tion its memory is sweet. There was, however, 
even then a fly in the ointment and strange to 
say it was discovered by the first British 
journalist whom the Government of India had 
knighted for meritorious service to the State 
through the medium of his paper. Sir Stanley 
Reed, editor of The Times of India, with sub- 
lime abnegation offered to place his talents and 
experience at the disposal of the Government 
for six months, free, gratis and for nothing, to 
be employed in the all-important work of 
publicity and propaganda. The offer was 
accepted with warm gratitude by the Viceroy, 
and he was put in charge of the Publicity 
Bureau at Simla. The enthusiasm of the Head 
of the State was not shared by the permanent 
officials offended by this slur on their omni- 
science. They took a mean revenge by denying 
the interloper the status and powers of a 
Secretary to Government which were the 
essentials of efficiency and success. Neverthe- 
less Sir Stanley Reed worked wonders with an 


inadequate equipment and proved to the 
chagrin of the sun-dried bureaucrats that given 
an equal chance he would have made just as 
good a statesman in India as Lord Harms- 
worth or Lord Beaverbrook in England. This 
brings me to a paradox which is bound to tickle 
the risible nerves of my audience. The British 
editor in India cannot become a favourite with 
officialdom unless he supports the Government 
through thick and thin. His motto irust be, 
"The Government right or wrong" ; on the 
other hand although he be the most egregious 
whole-hogger he cannot hope for a place in the 
Councils of the nation. An Indian editor can 
legitimately aspire to membership of the 
Viceroy's Council or to the ministry in a local 
Government, not so the Britisher. The reason 
why I cannot tell, but the fact remains. Nay, 
the invidious distinction goes farther. Indian 
journalists have been nominated by the 
Government of India to the Council of State 
and the Legislative Assembly, but British 
journalists look in vain for similar preferment. 
The Statesman, it is true, has provided from its 
staff two legislators, one imperial, one provin- 
cial, but both were elected by the European 
constituency of Calcutta, not nominated by the 


Government. The limit of official appreciation 
of the British journalist is a seat in a Municipal 
Corporation. He is good enough as a bumble, 
but as a mugwump bah. Yet such is the un- 
reasoning and dog-like fidelity of the British 
Press in India to-day that it shows no resent- 
ment but carries on the good work to which it 
has put its hand, namely, hot refutation of 
Indian criticism of administrative abuses. 
Robert Knight was the last of the advocati 
diaboli of the old regime. 

An unexpected result of the War has been 
a reduction in the number of British-owned and 
edited daily papers and more than a corres- 
ponding increase in those run absolutely by 
Indians. In Calcutta, for instance, we had 
before the War four of the former class, 
namely, The Englishman, The Statesman, The 
Indian Daily News, and The Empire. There 
are now only two, The Indian Daily News 
having been absorbed by Forward, the 
Swarajist organ, and The Empire having 
become an Indian property. At Bombay The 
Times of India stands alone for the British out- 
look. At Madras The Madras Mail occupies 
the same position of solitary grandeur. The 
slump in trade which followed close upon the 


hectic boom excited by the Armistice is the 
chief reason for this contraction. Advertise- 
ments fell off and circulations decreased, and as 
a British -edited paper is a much more costly 
business than its Indian counterpart the 
weakest went to the wall. In politics the 
British daily papers have come to represent 
one stereotyped view, so that more than one of 
them in any centre is an expensive super- 
fluity. The conditions of the Indian Press are 
markedly different. Politics and religion are 
so mixed that points of view are numerous and 
likewise the instruments of propaganda. 
Indian papers are not all self-supporting, but 
that is in most cases a secondary consideration 
with their owners. On the other hand no 
British individual or company would dream of 
running a paper which is a perpetual tax on 
his purse. It may seem a rash thing for me to 
say, but it is my considered opinion that with 
the evolution of representative Government, 
which cannot be checked in India any more 
than in other parts of the Empire, the influence 
of the Indian Press in politics and administra- 
tion will increase at the expense of the British 
fans. The future is for the Indian journalist, 
and his training is a paramount question which 


the universities of India will have to tackle in 
earnest. English is not only the common 
language of your intelligentsia I might with- 
out exaggeration call it their mother tongue 
it is also the common bond of Indian nationa- 
lity. Without any intention to belittle the 
value of the vernacular Press which caters for 
the commonalty, it seems to me self-evident 
that Indian journalism, which employs the 
English language as its vehicle of expression, 
will be the journalism that will count while 
Home Rule is being fought for and when Home 
Rule has been won. Now it is a truism that 
Indians, who are ready writers of expressive 
and grammatical English, are alumni of the 
universities ; when the system of secondary 
education in this country is revolutionized it 
may happen that there will be a number of 
young men, who, by gaining the school-leaving 
certificate, will also have acquired that facility 
of writing idiomatic English which is a sine 
qua non in an Indian journalist's equipment ; 
but that time is not yet. For a generation and 
more the universities must be the recruiting 
grounds for the Indian Press. In its history 
lawyers have taken the foremost place ; they 
are still in the forefront to-day. Whatever 


may be said of their casuistry and their 
propensity to forensic dialectic it must be 
.accounted to them for grace that they have 
established and maintained a very high 
literary standard in editorials bearing a close 
resemblance to the fine prose of the mid- 
Victorian Press in England. It is pretty 
certain that, as the development of democracy 
in India increases the power of the Indian 
Press, journalism will become more and more 
attractive to young lawyers, especially as the 
remuneration is bound to keep pace with grow- 
ing prestige. In the circumstances would it not 
be of the greatest value to the cause of Indian 
Nationality to raise journalism to the dignity 
of an academic career ? If journalism could be 
added to the system of Post-Graduate studies 
of Calcutta University I feel sure, to put it 
commercially, there would be a cent, per cent, 
profit on the stern persevering promotion 
necessary to overcome the obstacles in the way. 
Journalism would become a profession drawing 
to itself young men of brains and ability, and 
that is what is wanted in India. "The sugges- 
tion of a school of journalism at Columbia 
University in the U.S.A. came from a man of 
the people, Pulitzer, a journalist, who had to 


work for his own education, and in spite of the 
handicap made good to a phenomenal degree ; 
yet he was shrewd enough to realize that there 
should be a better system, so that those who 
were to take up a career fraught, when that 
career was a downward one, with so much peril 
to the public, should be trained under auspices 
that would tend to develop character." I 
quote Mr. George Henry Payne, the historian 
of journalism in the U.S.A. "We have no 
Pulitzer's in India, but there are among us 
millionaires to whom it would be a fleabite to 
endow a chair and found a school. They could 
not give of their abundance to a nobler cause/' 
In my long Indian career of forty-three years 
I have had to do with hundreds of Indian 
journalists, many of them intimately associated 
with me in the conduct of a newspaper. What 
struck me forcibly was the vast difference 
between those who wrote leaders and the work- 
ing reporters whose business was the collection 
of news ; the former were men of culture with 
scant knowledge of technique ; the latter 
devoid of culture but with a keen nose for a 
"story" and an instinctive sense of display. 
This contrast is to be found in an English news- 
paper office but not to such an amazing extent. 


The English reporter, as a rule, tries hard by 
study and observation to improve his style and 
obtain a grasp of affairs, not so the Indian 
reporter who is content to go to the end of the 
chapter as he began by pelting the long- 
suffering news-editor with valuable information 
in execrable language. The conditions which 
chiefly contribute to the perpetuation of 
groundlings in the lower ranks are the manus- 
cript eloquence of our public men aad the 
vicious co-operation of penny-a-liners destroy- 
ing originality and initiative. The only way 
to suppress these evils is to make journalism a 
profession instead of a trade as wooden and 
dishonest as a modi's or a kyah's. 

I have refrained, gentlemen, as much as 
possible, from loading these lectures with 
personal reminiscences of journalists, English 
and Indian, who figure prominently in the long 
vista of departed years which is the solace of 
my autumnal mood, for had I once begun I 
could not have ended within the compass of a 
fair-sized book. I may say at once that my 
memories of them are all happy. Rivalry and 
competition, hard knocks and swift retribu- 
tion I have experienced in abundance, but no 
sting to leave a festering sore. The prevailing 


spirit was regimental loyalty which might 
lead to temporary conflict but at the same 
time engendered mutual respect and profes- 
sional pride. Had I my time over again with 
a fairy godmother to give me a choice of voca- 
tions I would plump without hesitation for 
journalism which is the only life in spite of its 
strange vicissitudes, its bitter trials and its 
glorious poverty. To quote the American 
poetess, Mary Clemmer, 

To serve thy generation, this thy fate 
" Written in water," swiftly fades thy name; 
But he who loves his kind does, first and late, 
A work too great for fame. 



"Ut pueris placeas, et declamatio 
fas." JUVENAL. 



It was a saying of Napoleon that there is 
no such thing in life as accident ; what is 
commonly so-called is fate misnamed. The 
lesson of my own life inclines me to accept the 
philosophy, and without the slightest intention 
of making converts I proceed to the demonstra- 
tion in self- justification. 

My adoption of journalism as a means of a 
living often seemed to me the accident of an 
accident, but it is significant that once in I 
made no serious attempt to break away and 
engage in some other occupation less laborious 
and more remunerative, although opportuni- 
ties were not wanting. The position I 
eventually attained in the profession, after 
much picturesque vicissitude, compels the 
belief that it was fate which, in October, 1883, 
took me into the dingy office of The Times of 


India in search of employment. I was armed 
with a letter of introduction to the editor, 
Mr. Henry Curwen, from Mr. Mathew Starling, 
a leading barrister, who was for many years 
Clerk of the Crown in the Bombay High Court. 
I was engaged at once as a junior reporter, 
although I had not a scrap of journalistic 
experience to commend me. By the same 
token, neither Mr. Starling nor Mr. Curwen 
acted on the conviction that he was assisting me 
to my real vocation. The former merely dis- 
charged a family obligation by disposing of me 
without trouble or responsibility ; the latter 
wanted a hand, and as I was a well-favoured 
and well-educated youth he thought me good 
goods for the wages he was prepared to pay. 
In the five years I worked under him he never 
once encouraged the hope that by patient 
industry, or from a sudden awakening of 
dormant genius, I would get to the top, arid 
make a decent living by newspaper work ; on 
the contrary, after he had time to take my 
measure, he often and often urged me to 
employ the influence of men in position, whose 
favour I had gained, to obtain an appointment 
in which my abilities would have more scope, 
and my industry be rewarded with a salary 


sufficient to maintain the status of a saheb. 
Whether he thought I would never have the 
pretension to hold forth pontifically on public 
questions, or the lack of training in a news- 
paper office in England would always be a bar 
to my advancement in India, I know not ; this 
I do know : the left-handed encouragement I 
got from my first editor was well calculated to 
drive me out of journalism almost as soon as I 
had entered it. 

Having found me a billet, my benefactor, 
Mr. Starling, took no more notice of me. As a 
matter of fact I did not thereafter court his 
attention. I realized that I was very small 
potatoes and did not quarrel with the proposi- 
tion. My editor, also, did not unduly bother 
his head about my progress. He handed me 
over to the sub-editor, Mr. Arnold Wright, 
who, the Chief Reportership being in commis- 
sion, made up the Reporters' Diary. I was put 
through my facings, not by being shown how, 
but by being told to discover things for myself 
as soon as possible. The only advice I ever 
had from Mr. Wright was, "Read The Times 
and you won't go wrong/' I read United 
Ireland instead, much to the disgust of the 
editor when he heard it. There never lived an 



Orangeman who hated Irish Nationalism and 
its protagonist, Parnell, the god of my idolatry, 
so bitterly and so unreasonably as this kins- 
man of John Curwen, the panegyrist of 
American liberty. But in the early eighties 
and long, long after Home Rule for Ireland was 
an abomination in the sight of Anglo-Indian 
society, so that Curwen's ostentatious im- 
placability may have been no more than a pose 
to ravish a clientele he would have as his very 

My early development as a journalist was 
like Topsy's transition from infancy to girl- 
hood. "I specs I growed." Mr. Wright, who 
was not unduly inspiring or sympathetic, 
insisted on proficiency in shorthand, if I would 
make a passable reporter worth the pittance of 
4, which I received once a month. Pitman's 
Phonography then became a vexation worse 
than the French irregular verbs of my college 
days ; but I had to overcome my disgust of the 
grind or go into a wilderness where parental 
manna had ceased to fall. By dint of laborious 
hours in the law courts I at last acquired the 
dexterity to take a fair note, but as long as 1 
remained a reporter to the daily Press there 
was nothing I hated more than to have to 


record verbatim and reproduce the effusion of 
some riotous wind-bag, and the Lord knows 
the species swarmed in Bombay when I began 
my quest. 

It is a comfort that life is full of compen- 
sations. The Providence watching over the 
wandering Celt was more than kind to me in 
my tribulation. After the first year of my 
novitiate I had comparatively little short- 
hand work to do. The wide-awake sub-editor 
discovered my ability to write intelligently on 
all kinds of sport, and as there was no one in 
the covenanted staff who could do likewise, I 
was released from a drudgery I detested to 
engage in a labour I loved. Before I came on 
the scene outside experts were employed to 
provide accounts of horse-racing, jackal hunts, 
polo, cricket and football matches, and athletic 
meetings. They were, for the most part, 
amateurs of independent means and therefore 
expensive ; but the cost was not grudged, for 
sport was most important to a daily paper 
which catered for the sahebs, who made it the 
religion of their leisure. When he gave me 
charge of the department, the editor added 
two pounds to my screw, thus effecting a big 


I soon became well known in sporting 
circles, and for years my reputation in Indian 
journalism was of a writer on sport ; that and 
nothing more. When I left Parsee Bazar 
Street in October, 1888, Mr. Curwen, who was 
angry at my defection, was still good enough 
to certify that "I was a first-class reporter, 
quick and intelligent, and especially good at 
sport/' Hinc totam infelix vulgatur fama per 
urbem. None of my friends and well-wishers 
believed me capable of the heavy 'legitimate ;" 
none would have me anything else but 
"Doggy" the sporting scribe. Nevertheless T 
crowned my career by becoming the editor of 
Capital, a journal famous throughout the 
world for its authority in the economics and 
politics of India. It took me 28 years to reach 
that goal. I had to live down a reputation, 
than which there is nothing harder, especially 
if an undiscerning public decides that you are 
lucky above the common to have gained it, and 
in your vanity you hug the distinction. 



The Higher Commands 

The change that has taken place in 
Anglo-Indian journalism during the years of 
my experience is one of degree, not one of kind. 
It is remarkable that the daily papers that 
count are not more numerous to-day than in 
1883, and they are nearly the same. At 
Bombay, just before the War, a paper of liberal 
tendencies, once popular and influential, died 
of senile decay, but the gap has been filled by 
a radical sheet of hectic heat. The Old 
Brigade has, with one notorious exception, 
been true to tradition. The early characteris- 
tics remain, but there is evidence of vigorous 
growth. There is now far more enterprise in 
the collection of news, foreign and domestic, 
and photography is often empolyed to 
illustrate the letterpress. Greater attention 
is paid to technique and display, and with the 
introduction of the linotype and the rotary the 
printing is immensely superior. The commer- 
cial side of journalism is better understood ; 


advertisers and subscribers are sought for, 
often meretriciously. On the other hand the 
old literary standard has not been maintained, 

and there has been a contraction of influence. 

Now more than ever does a paper belong to the 
province in which it is printed and published ; 
beyond the confines it exerts no authority and 
excites little interest. The Pioneer of the 
eighties and nineties of the last century has 
ceased to exist ; we have only its ghost. The 
monopoly, which the higher bureaucracy and 
the military caste did their best to perpetuate, 
was killed by the ubiquity of the Associated 
Press of India, a twentieth century pheno- 
menon and also by a hardening of local self- 

At Bombay in 1883 two Anglo-Indian 
dailies divided the support of the English - 
reading public. "Divided' ' is perhaps too 
harsh a term to use in this connection, for the 
majority of subscribers were common to both. 
Those were the days of small circulation, little 
public curiosity, and happy tolerance of 
putting by for to-morrow what was incon- 
venient to print to-day. There was not much 
to choose between The Times of India and The 
Bombay Gazette in news-mongering ; neither 


was out for "scoops ;" the only real rivalry was 
in the manufacture of opinion. Every poli- 
tician and critic wished to read the leaders in 
both papers, so they bought both in order to 
compare blast with counterblast. There was 
no love lost between the editors who were in a 
high degree antithetical. Mr. Grattan Geary, 
who owned and edited The Gazette, had 
previously edited The Times and for a while 
had Mr. Curwen as an assistant. They dis- 
agreed in every particular. Mr. Geary 
purchased The Gazette from Mr. J. M. 
Maclean, who, by his outspoken criticism of 
the bureaucracy, had made it a power in the 
land. It stood for progressive liberalism with 
a marked sympathy for Indian aspirations. 
The new editor added a proclivity for 
Parnellism, and was contemptuously referred 
to in the Byculla and Bombay Clubs as "The 
Fenian/' the most opprobrious epithet then 
known to Anglo-India. The Times under 
Mr. Curwen became ultra conservative, an out- 
and-out-supporter of the bureaucracy, and an 
exponent of that extreme Anglo-Indianism 
which regarded any concession to Indian 
claims as treason to its own domination. It 
was the cult of the Orange Lodge translated to 


India. It will be easily understood how much 
sectarian bitterness there was between the 
high commands when with an Irishman's 
perversity or ill-luck I enlisted under the 
wrong flag. This feeling increased to rancour 
when Lord Reay, an advanced Radical, 
became Governor of Bombay in succession to 
Sir James Fergusson, an old-fashioned Tory. 
Mr. Geary supported with a heart and a half 
"The Dutchman" and his pro-Indian policy. 
Mr. Curwen flouted the degenerate Chief of 
Clan Mackay, and after five years of uncom- 
promising opposition, dismissed him with 
Canning's famous sarcasm : "The fault of the 
Dutch is giving too little and asking too 
much/' This vulgar ad captandum comment, 
though puerile, offensive, and maliciously 
untrue, tickled the gallery to which Curwen 
was playing with an unerring commercial 
instinct ; and Reuter cabled it to London to 
delight Printing House Square and the 
Unionist caucus. After Lord Reay came a 
long succession of Unionist Governors under 
whom The Times consolidated its position. 
Before Curwen died, in 1892, it was the most 
popular and powerful paper from Belgaum to 
Quetta. With his rival's increasing success 


Geary lost his head. Having run with the 
hare he attempted to hunt with the hounds 
and came an awful cropper. Before his death, 
some years after Curwen's, The Gazette was 
moribund. It was discredited even by the 
Indians to whom it formerly appealed. The 
educated native of Bombay, more especially 
the Parsee, has no use for the Vicar of Bray. 

In 1883, Mr. Curwen's assistant editor 
there was only one such as long as I remained 
with the paper was Mr. Samuel Digby, 
brother of the famous Mr. William Digby, one 
of the idols of Indian Nationalism. If he was 
a Liberal in those days he certainly dissembled 
his love. The rank and file saw little of him, 
and the general impression was that he was a 
colourless second-in-command. He had suc- 
ceeded a man named Boyd, who, while acting 
as editor, ran the paper into a libel suit, a sin 
against the Holy Ghost, according to the code 
of the proprietor, old Colonel Nassau Lees. 
Boyd had to go, and Digby took warning. He 
left the paper at the end of 1886 and his faint 
footprint in the sand was soon obliterated. 
His subsequent career in London was so 
respectable, his den at the National Liberal 
Club so open to Indian Progressives, that 


there can be no doubt he was in the wrong 
caserne at Bombay. The only personal re- 
collection I have of him was his reception of a 
hot protest against the want of tact of the 
Chief Reporter, who, without consulting my 
inclination, had posted me to describe a 
lecture on "The Inquisition in Mexico" by an 
American Minister at the Methodist Church. 
I was the only Catholic on the reporting staff, 
and my militancy was the joke of my associates. 
The Chief Reporter's motive was therefore 
either malicious or mischievous. I was just in 
the mood to resent either. I had attended, 
before breakfast, the execution of a Persian 
gentleman with whom I had been familiar on 
the racecourse. I had spent a fagging day in 
the Sessions Court reporting and describing a 
murder case in which the accused was an 
Eurasian miner who had shot his wife ; in the 
evening I had played in a big football match. 
It was atrocious that I should have to end 
such a day listening to an ignorant diatribe 
against my own religion. But there was no 
getting in touch with the Chief Reporter who 
had gone to Bandora acourting. I had to go 
to the lecture (the Lord save us), and I 
returned to the office near mid-night simply 


furious. There was a light in the editor's 
room ; I made bold to enter without being 
announced. Digby, who was then acting for 
Curwen, was pouring over the proof of hi& 
leader. Without giving him a chance to 
resent my intrusion I poured forth my hot 
heart. I don't remember what I said or how 
I said it, but I do remember that he seemed 
highly amused. When I pulled up, he agreed 
that the Chief Reporter had been guilty of 
doubtful form, but he added quickly, "Why 
not go and .write exactly what you feel." "It 
would not be printed/ 7 said I, with something 
of a scoff. "Leave that to me," he replied 
kindly. I have often regretted that I did not 
preserve a cutting of my report. All I wrote 
did not appear, but even after Digby's 
judicious redaction it was fiery enough to 
excite the terrible wrath of the Reverend 
Mr. Gladwin, Editor of The Indian Watchman, 
the organ of the American Wesley an Mission. 
The polemical uproar that ensued was 
glorious balm for my wounded feelings. I 
was only 22 and dearly loved a row. 

To return to the staff. When Mr. Digby 
left The Times it seemed to us a matter of 
course that he would be succeeded by 


Mr. Arnold Wright, who had been with the 
paper from 1879. He was an able all-round 
journalist, industrious and conscientious. But 
Curwen had other views. He brought out 
from London a Mr. Romanes, a leader-writer 
of some note, and Mr. Wright left India, like 
many another faithful steward, unhonoured 
and unsung. Mr. Romanes did not stay long, 
the work was uncongenial and there were 
better prospects in England. Instead of pro- 
moting the sub-editor, Mr. Furneaux, Curwen 
again imported a superior journalist from 
London. He was a Mr. Mitchell. He could 
write vivaciously on most topics, did quite well 
as assistant editor, but came to grief when he 
was left in charge on Curwen going home on 
leave. Some critics were inclined to blame 
the grandmotherly interference of Mr. G. W. 
Forrest, the Elphinstone College Professor of 
English History, whom Curwen had asked to 
give an eye to things ; but I am afraid poor 
Mitchell would have wilted in any case. He 
was too Bohemian to carry corn. After him 
came Mr. Sarle, who was with the paper when 
Curwen died. I left Parsee Bazar Street a 
month or so after he arrived, but we became 
well acquainted when I was editor of The 


Advocate of India in the next decade. That 
reminiscence belongs to a future chapter. 

The first assistant editor I knew on The 
Bombay Gazette was a brilliant Irishman 
named Drury. His divorce was sudden, and 
according to rumour was due to incompati- 
bility of temper with the predominant partner, 
not an easy man to get on with. In 1884, 
Mr. Thomas Jewell Bennett came to The 
Gazette from the London Standard, and 
soon proved that he could accommodate 
himself to all circumstances. He remained 
with Geary for eight years, wrote leaders in 
favour of Lord Reay's pro-Indian policy, of 
Parnell and Irish Home Rule. But Curwen 
must have discovered in him an adroit and 
professional advocate, who could argue as well 
on the other side, for in his will he directed 
that Bennett should be offered the editorship 
of The Times with the option of buying his 
share, an opportunity the Gazette man did 
not let slip. 

So much for the Higher Commands. It 
will be gathered from what I have written that 
in the first lustre of my odyssey the rival 
editors completely represented their papers 
and shaped their destinies. Curwen left the 


commercial side of The Times to Mr. C. E. 
Kane, who laid the foundations of the splendid 
job press on which the great material prosperity 
of the whole enterprise rested. Geary quarrelled 
early with his manager, Mr. Jehanghir 
Murzban, and attempted to run the business 
himself. The result of this self-sufficiency was 
fatal. The Gazette is extinct ; The Times is 
probably the best newspaper property in 



The Rank and File 

The editors and assistant-editors of The 
Times and The Gazette, to whom I have given 
so much attention in the last chapter, were the 
sahebs of the Press. They could afford to join 
the leading social clubs, Byculla, Bombay, and 
Yacht ; and their covenant gave them a patent 
of respectability which was rarely disputed. 
Both papers imported their Chief Reporters 
from England, but on a minor covenant from a 
social point of view. These non-coms started 
on Rs. 250 per mensem, and, therefore, could 
aspire to nothing more expensive or toney 
than a second-rate hotel in the Fort, or a 
shabby-genteel boarding house in the Grant's 
Buildings, usually kept by a superior Eurasian 
widow and much affected by covenanted 
trades-assistants. If their luck was in they 
would in time become sub-editors on Rs. 500 
per mensem, but that was the limit of their 

As long as Curwen remained editor of 


The Times the rule held fast that a journalist, 
who came out to India as a Chief Reporter, 
could never become a real saheb. That pre- 
judice was at the bottom of his refusal to make 
Arnold Wright assistant-editor in succession 
to Sam Digby. I fancy that Geary, who was 
brought up in the same tradition as his rival, 
would have been as true to prejudice if he 
could have afforded the expense of importing 
an assistant-editor when Bennett left him. 
Mr. Plinston, who was then sub-editor, there- 
after combined the two offices until Geary's 
death. Under Mrs. Geary, the widow, who 
inherited the property, he became an editorial 
Pooh Bah, editor, assistant-editor, and sub- 
editor, all in one. The first ranker to obtain a 
commission on The Times was Mr. (now Sir) 
Stanley Reed, who came out as Chief Reporter 
in 1897. By that time the Bombay Gymkhana 
and Y.M.C.A. had greatly democratized 
European Society in Bombay, and the old 
gradations of caste had practically dis- 
appeared. For all that, Reed was extra- 
ordinarily lucky. Furneaux, a sub-editor oi 
the old school, retired soon after his advent 
and he got an early rise. Bennett, the editor, 
and Lovat Fraser, the assistant-editor, were 


like himself, Bristol journalists, who had risen 
from the ranks. All three fraternized. When 
Bennett left Bombay in 1901 on a vain quest 
of Parliamentary honours in England, he 
appointed Lovat Fraser editor, Reed being 
advanced assistant-editor in contradiction of 
all precedent. In 1907, the gadi, founded by 
Curwen, was for the first time mounted by a 
man, who began his service as a subordinate. 
I wonder if the founder turned in his grave. 
The stupid injustice of Curwen 's prejudice is 
glaringly illustrated by the fact that the 
ranker-editor has ruled with remarkable 
success for ten years, and given the gadi a 
lustre unqiue in the annals of Anglo-Indian 
journalism. The Glasgow University in 1909 
conferred on Mr. Reed the honorary degree of 
LL.D. Lord Hardinge made him a knight in 
1916. Poor Arnold Wright ! Reed's superior 
in every branch of journalism. 

Shortly after I joined The Tiw.es, Mr. J. 
H. Furneaux arrived from England to fill the 
vacancy of Chief Reporter. He became sub- 
editor in 1887, and Mr. R. D. Hughes was 
imported for the minor post. Neither was 
above the average. Of the former, I have 
already written ; the latter eventually gave up 



journalism for trade, and practically founded 
the Bombay Presidency Trades Association, of 
which he was the first secretary. The Gazette 
imported three Chief Reporters while I was 
with The Times Messrs. Williams, White 
and Flint son. All were a cut above the 
ordinary. The first-named, after a spell of 
sub-editorship, returned to England to join 
The St. James's Gazette. Frank White, one 
of the most brilliant youngsters to seek a 
fortune in Indian journalism, was drowned off 
Goa, having fallen overboard Lord Brassey's 
famous yacht, "Sunbeam/' After lingering 
on The Gazette to assist at its obsequies, 
Mr. Plinston became secretary of the Bombay 
Yacht Club in the green autumn of his days. 

In the chapter on Anglo-Indian literature, 
which Professor Edward Farley Oaten has 
contributed to the fourteenth volume of the 
Cambridge History of English Literature, he 
writes : "Anglo-Indian literature is, for the 
most part, merely English literature strongly 
marked by local colour/' The same may be 
said of Anglo-Indian journalism. No attempt 
has ever been made to rear a school racy of the 
soil, such as exists in Australia, South Africa 
and Canada. It is still an axiom that the 


journalist, who has not been trained in 
England, is not of much use. Journalism as 
a profession has not, therefore, attracted the 
best brains of the Domiciled Community. 
Eurasian editors and reporters of merit have 
not been numerous. Anglo-Indians, who, 
without Home training, have made successful 
editors, may be counted on the fingers of one 
hand. Educated Indians have not been en- 
couraged by the Anglo-Indain papers except 
as occasional correspondents and news- 
gatherers. Whether this is good or bad for 
the country, and for the prestige of journalism, 
I need not stay to discuss. 

Among the privates of the reporting 
staffs of The Times and The Gazette, there 
were both Indians and Eurasians. Each 
paper employed two Parsees. Mr. Nanabhoy 
Chichghar of the former, and Nanabhoy 
Masani of the latter, were cousins. They were 
well educated, but neither, if I remember 
rightly, had a university degree. They were 
expert shorthand writers and invaluable in 
reporting law cases and the proceedings of 
public meetings. Chichghar remained a 
journalist to the last, winding up with a 
Guzeratee paper of his own. Masani left the 


Press, before he reached middle age, for the 
service of the Bombay Corporation, which 
offered him an easy competency and a provi- 
sion for his old age. Both these amiable men 
were firm friends of mine, and I owe not a 
little to the introductions they gave me to 
leaders of the Parsee community, but for 
whom this outsider might never have reached 
a haven of rest. 

Two other Parsee reporters of my day 
died in harness. Mr. Cursetjee Screwallah of 
The Times was, what in Ireland we affec- 
tionately call, a "character." His knowledge 
of the English language was not profound, and 
he had a lofty contempt for Linley Murray. 
My first lessons in sub-editing were learnt in 
making ordinary English of his rhapsodic 
Carlylese. But he was an untiring ferret for 
news. He knew everybody and had the gift of 
the Paraclete. He could make even the 
taciturn Superintendent of the Detective 
Police talk like a gossip at a christening : 
'Tm Screwallah," he would say, "and I worm 
it out of them." Not bad for a junior reporter 
on Us. 60 a month. His greatest pride, how- 
ever, was that there was no reporter, in 
Bombay, who could fill the account of the 


arrival or departure of some swell with a 
longer list of names of those present. This 
was an asset of considerable value, for the 
vanity of publicity was rampant among 
Indians who hoped to bask in the sunshine of 
official patronage. 

Darashaw Chichghar of the Gazette did 
for his paper much the same work as Cursetjee 
Screwallah for us, but he was a different kind 
of man entirely. He had had a fair English 
education, was highly esteemed in his own 
community, and had private means, which 
made him independent of his salary. He took 
to journalism for the influence it gave him in 
the law courts and the Secretariat. He 
perfected a system of abbreviations, which 
made him almost equal to a master of phono- 
graphy. He was the pink of gentility, always 
carefully groomed and precisely habitted. 
Nobody could write so comprehensive an 
obituary notice of an Indian worthy, especially 
if he were a Parsee. 

Besides myself there was no other 
European junior reporter on The Times until 
the last year of my service, when Mr. David 
Finder joined. He is still on the staff. There 
was, however, a flamboyant Eurasian, named 


Thomas Holt ham, who had a local reputation 
as a poet, because he had parodied The 
Deserted Village. His powers of description 
and narrative were respectable, but he never 
made a serious study of affairs, and was happy 
in a riotous Bohemianism which eventuated in 
emigration to Australia. The Gazette had a 
smart local hand named Cyril Avron, who 
might have distinguished himself in the 
higher grades of the profession had he not died 
young from consumption. He had been a 
medical student before becoming a reporter. 
He was enterprising and ambitious, and by 
steady reading and observation was fast 
making up for the lack of a college education. 
A remarkable personality was common to 
both papers. We called him "Lundy," because 
he was lame and erratic. His full name was 
Lynn Pereira. He was an Anglo-Portuguese 
from Cochin. He belonged to a family which 
in the days of sailing ships had given many 
hardy mariners to the Indian Mercantile 
Marine. He himself had served for some 
months before the mast, but an unfortunate 
fall from a yard to the deck had permanently 
lamed him and compelled him to abandon the 
sea for a more precarious living ashore. He 


"did" the shipping, the hospitals, and the 
morgue for both papers. He was a most 
amusing raconteur when half seas over, and at 
all times a cheerful soul, who paid all debts to 
the masthead. 

Such were the privates of the Anglo- 
Indian Press in Bombay when I enlisted. No 
locally engaged reporter could hope to earn a 
salary of more than Rs. 200 a month, no matter 
how smart and capable. As in Government 
service so in journalism, nobody counted but 
the Covenanted. If a local man would find 
himself he must emigrate and gain fame. He 
might then return to some rival of his early 
love. That is how I became editor of The 
Advocate of India. In Calcutta and Madras 
the local prophet had more honour, but what 
was true of Bombay was generally true of the 
leading Anglo-Indian dailies of the rest of 
India. The condition persists to the present 
day. It has added another caste to this 
country of innumerable castes. In England 
and elsewhere approved merit is the only 
passport to distinction in journalism ; in India 
the outsider, who does not possess the cachet 
of a London covenant, has only a dog's chance. 



A few words will suffice to introduce the 
Indian and Vernacular Press of Bombay. In 
1883 there were no daily papers written in 
English and edited by Indians to proclaim the 
Indian point of view. There is none to-day. 
In this phase of the development of journalism 
Bombay has, so far, taken no part, which 
passivity is in strange contrast with the 
activity of Calcutta and Madras. The 
Advocate of India was started in 1886 with the 
blessings and, I believe, the pecuniary support 
of Mr. Pherozeshah Mehta and Dr. Thomas 
Blaney. Its mission was to keep Indian 
politicians in countenance, but it never 
became the accredited organ of the Bombay 
Presidency Association or any other political 
body. Its first editor was an Eurasian named 
Gomes, who had received his training on The 
Statesman of Calcutta. To conceal his 
Portuguese origin he was related to Madame 
Alice Gomes, the famous singer he assumed 
the name of Bailey ; his brother, also a journa- 


list, became Howell. Bailey came to Bombay 
as Chief Reader to The Bombay Gazette. He 
was the moving spirit in establishing The 
Advocate as an evening paper, but except his 
association with Mr. Robert Knight there was 
nothing to recommend him as an exponent of 
Indian aspirations. As a matter of fact he 
had very little knowledge of the policy of 
Young India, and less sympathy with the 
cause. Dr. Blaney wrote a good deal for the 
paper on municipal affairs and materially 
assisted the agitation for the reforms finally 
granted by Lord Reay. Bailey failed egre- 
giously as an editor, and returned to Calcutta 
to become a sub-editor on The Statesman, his 
old paper. Mr. Jehanghir Murzban bought The 
Advocate, after he quarrelled with Mr. Grattan 
Geary and left The Gazette. He also bought 
at nearly the same time the Jame-Jamshed 
from Mr. K. M. Shroff. The Advocate then 
became a liberal paper with an Indian political 
flavour. In 1894, when I was editor, 
Mr. Murzban sold it to Mr. F. F. Gordon, a 
reporter of The Bombay Gazette, who had 
made some money by reporting a notorious 
libel suit at Hyderabad. He soon dropped all 
pretension of liberalism and Indian nationa- 


lism, the paper became an aggressive supporter 
of the bureaucracy. The Indain National 
Congress had to wait until 1912 for an 
accredited organ at Bombay. Shortly after 
the Royal Durbar at Delhi in December, 1911, 
Sir Pherozeshah Mehta set seriously to work 
to accomplish his long cherished design of 
publishing an English daily paper at Bombay, 
to voice the political opinions of educated 
Indians, and at the same time to expose the 
increasing autocracy of the Indian bureau- 
cracy. He would have been glad to have it 
edited and produced solely by Indians, but 
this he found to be impracticable. He offered 
me the editorship, but I declined, for the 
editorship of Capital was then within my 
grasp, and besides I could not accept the whole 
of my life-long friend's political platform. He 
secured Mr. Benjamin Horniman as the first 
editor of The Bombay Chronicle. My refusal 
was providential, for I could never have done 
what Mr. Horniman succeeded in doing, and I 
would have fallen very short of the expecta- 
tions of my friends. Much water had flowed 
under the bridges since I left The Advocate of 
India in 1895. 

In the eighties there was at Bombay an 


excellent weekly paper edited by a Parsee and 
written wholly in English. I refer to the 
famous Indian Spectator, which propagated 
the gospel of Mr. Byramji Malabari, the 
messiah of female education in India. Another 
Parsee weekly, The Rast Goftar, published an 
English supplement, which was written by 
Mr. Kaikoshroo Kabrajee, a shrewd publicist,, 
who also had a big vogue as a novelist and 
dramatist of Parsee social life. Later on 
another Guzeratee weekly, the Kaiser-I-Hind, 
also published an English supplement which 
was written by Mr., now Sir Dinshaw Wacha, 
whose forte was finance and political economy. 
But this weekly Press was a thing apart from 
the life of the English reporter who met none 
of its representatives in association or con- 
flict. I had to become an editor before I 
realized its status and value. 

In my experience there has always been a 
vigilant and enterprising vernacular daily 
Press in Bombay, the best of the papers being 
edited and produced by Parsees, who use 
Guzeratee, the language of the market-place 
and rialto, as their medium. In 1883 the 
Bombay Samachar and the Jame-Jamshed 
had, as now, the largest circulations. Both 


were staffed by men who could write English 
&s easily as their mother tongue. Two 
reporters stand out in bold relief in my 
memory : Kapadia and Shastri, who hated 
each other like poison. The latter belonged to 
the priestly caste and always wore the white 
turban which distinguishes the dustoor, but 
he was a priest of the kidney of Father Prout, 
and many a merry junket I had in his com- 
pany. Kapadia might have passed for a 
village schoolmaster. He was snuffy and 
stuffy, but you had to get up early to steal a 
march on him. The Par see Press was intensely 
tribal, and although it has moved with the 
times in the collection and presentment of 
news, its appeal is still confined to the Parsees. 



In the first five years of my career politics 
in India were generally interesting ; often 
exciting. The last days of Lord Ripon, the 
best-beloved and at the same time the most 
hated Viceroy India has had since the Mutiny, 
were enlivened by the fierce racial tumult over 
the Ilbert Bill. The outstanding event of the 
Viceroyalty of Lord Dufferin was the birth of 
the Indian National Congress at Bombay. 
These were imperial matters affecting all the 
educated classes of the country. Of more local 
concern was the agitation for the reform of the 
constitution of the Bombay Municipal Cor- 
poration which at long last won to victory in 
1888. I would be wanting in candour to 
insinuate that I was at all impressed by these 
affairs of such far-spreading consequence. To 
the best of my recollection I did not even 
try to understand their purport or signi- 
flcance ; yet all the time I was following with 
the deepest anxiety the vicissitudes of the 
Irish struggle for Home Rule, pouring over 


every speech made by Parnell, Dillon, Healy, 
Sexton, and O'Brien, also the great orations of 
Gladtsone on a subject he had made his own. 
At this distance of time it seems strange to me 
that whereas the politics of my native land 
stirred me to the depths, those of the land of 
my adoption left me cold. But the reason is 
plain. I was very young when I entered 
Indian journalism not quite twenty years of 
age and my editor decided that my metier 
was sport. Politics were at a discount in the 
sporting circles in which I hunted, and it ife 
not unfair to say that they treated all the 
serious things of life with cavalier levity. I 
readily adapted myself to the environment and 
for three years my time was pleasantly, if not 
profitably, employed. 

It was not until the end of the epoch that 
the gravities of public life began to appeal tc 
me. I owed the new bent to a memorable 
association at Ahmedabad with the late Sir 
Pherozeshah Mehta, then, and until the close 
of his long and honourable career, the first of 
Indian statesmen. He was one of the counsels 
engaged in a cause celebre in which an Indiai) 
Civil Servant was tried by a commission of hit 
peers for a peculiarly sordid offence. I wa* 


the special correspondent of the Times of 
India; it was my first essay in an unfamiliar 
genre. There being no hotels at Ahmedabad, 
and as the dak bungalow was full of officials, 
many of those connected with the trial stayed 
at the Railway Station, where the waiting 
rooms were many and comfortable, and the 
catering of the Goanese bulter, Mr. Athaide, 
wholesome and satisfying. Gladstone's Home 
Rule Bill was then the burning question of 
English politics, and it was the inevitable and 
invariable topic at our dinner table. The dis- 
cussion was excellent refreshment after a long 
day in court. The Englishmen, to wit, Mr. J. 
D. Inverarity, the famous leader of the Bombay 
Bar, Messrs. Frank Chalk and Reginald 
Gilbert, solicitors as famous, were, after the 
manner of their kind, Unionists to a man. It 
was their delight to make me frantic by their 
clever perversions of Ireland's case ; I was no 
match for them, but when I was fit to cry with 
rage, Mehta would come to the rescue, and the 
combat of wits took on a different complexion. 
Cum duplicantur lateres venit Moses. The 
Parsee publicist had a complete mastery of the 
Irish question in all its aspects, historical, 
religious, and economic ; and his presentation 


was so lucid and forceful that my tormentors 
soon became listeners instead of disputants. 
What attracted me most of all was his adroit 
application of the logic of Gladstone to the 
conditions of India, in many cases similar to 
those of Ireland. This led me to study the 
grievances and aspirations of the Indian 
school of politics of which he was the most 
brilliant leader. It made me realize that 
sport was not the whole of life in India, but 
only its recreation. 

Printed and published for the Banna Publishing Co., 

5-#, Garstin Place, Calcutta, by Shadi Ram Monga, 

at Messrs. Lai Chand efc Sons, 76, Lower 

Circular Road, Calcutta. 

1 टिप्पणी:

  1. I admire with this article those who are uneducated people they don't be know about there right and duty. I am an advocate for sumreme court who always give suggestion to those people who don't be know about their right and duty. I would like to suggest to all advocate to explore their knowledge to uneducated people.

    जवाब देंहटाएं