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Mr. Keir Hardie, M.P.,on India4


Mr. Keir Hardie, M.P.,on India4 LECTURE AT ABERDARE. On Sunday evening, Mr. J. Keir Rar M.P., delivered a lecture on "India" at the Market Hall, Aberdare, illustrated with views, many of which were taken by himself on THA occasion of his visit to that country The view* were shown by the aid of Mr. Hagar's Bioscope There was an excellent attendance. Mr. Stanton (miners' agent), who presided, expressed the pleasure they all had in again WEL* coming Mr Keir Hardie among them. AL- though the cloud which had gathered over tili4 coalfield had not quite d'speraed, tre WA4 every prospect that all would be well verI. soon. In any case, he was sure that Socialists would srive a good account of themselves, AND he hoped that durmg the coming year a great deal of propaganda work would be undertaken in that district, and as a result thousands of conversions brought about (hear, hear). Mr. Keir Hardie, who was enthusiastically received, said that when, three and a hafl yearS ago, he was ordered a long sea voyage and a long rest, he originally had no intention of visiting India, but about that time the Eng- lish newspapers were filled with tales of horror, sedition, etc., from India, and at the last moment he decided to include India in his tour, with the view of finding out for himself th. truth about India. It had been the fashion oJ late to say that his tour had given rise to th* sedition, whereas it was because of the sedition that he visited India at all at that time. lIe reminded his audience that the people of India were neither Hottentots nor savages, but were Aryans, like those of this country, and had *11 the characteristics of the people of the Western Continent, with some added, which it would be well if we had. India had a population 01 300,000,000, compared with 45,000,000 in the British Isles. The predominant religion—the Hindoo religion—was practised for at least 2,500 years before the Christian era, the old hymn-book, the "Rig Veda," having been re- duced to writing 2,500 B.C. Those hymns showed that even at that early ae-e India waS highly civilised, having knowledge of arts, metal work, carving, etc. The women of India* 4,500 years ago, were free and equal to tbø men, and, in his opinion, the surest test oi civilisation was the way a nation treated ITS women folk, and where, as in India, woIDed were free and equal to men, they had a peo- ple of very high civilisation. They had NOT landlordism in India, the land being the pro* perty of the people. India was governed by ltø own villages, each village having its oWJl council, and land granted to any cultivator by the head man in each village-who in tlúJ country would be called the mayor. Rent waA paid, being a certain proportion of the produce. He showed how this had been altered undef British rule. What was called sedition in Indi5 was the demand of the people to have a certain say in the government of their country. quoted largely from documents issued by the leaders of the national movement in India. to prove this, and also dealt- with the repressive measures whicb were introduced bv the Goverl14 ment, adding that as long as that kind of thing went on anywhere under the British flag, B* for one would protest against such REPRESSION (loud applause) He had no sympathy with crime, but unconstitutional repression ever led to crime. He then paid a compliment to Lord Morley for tho measure of reform WhlC he had introduoed as a beginning, and deal with the poverty of the Indian peasant. Dur" in- his visit to India, he had the advantage of being brought into contact with the official from Lord Minto. the Viceroy, to tho lowest administrator, and he did not at ad blame t individuals, but the system. It was not t men, but the system, and this was illustrated in Ireland, as well as in India. At this point Mr. Hardie introduced a seriel of slides showing the places he visited as W travelled. The first was Quebec, in Canada, whence he travelled through the Dominion to Vancouver, and thence to Japan, via the Behring Sea. Yokohama, in Japan, was tbeO thrown on the screen, as well as Shanghai, 1Ø China. Hong Kong was the next point, where he was the guest of the Governor, as well sØ Singapore and Calcutta. Scenes in Easter" Bengal also were shown, as well as the 1\:1aha." rajah of Mymensyngh, whose guest he oocupying the same suite of apartments as LORJ* Curzon did. When this became known in CAJ* cutta, they thought he was getting OD too WAP in India, and some "Scallywags," who ran *J paper in India, invented a. deliberate misstatf; ment of what he had said, and cabled it to thll: country; and until it was cabled back frons: England to India, no one in India. had EVFICJ heard anything about it ("Shame") He tbe, showed a map of and on that traced route, pointing out that he spent ten weeks all in that country. The scenes he showed SUL* sequently dealt witfr the methods of agricul" ture. of burial by burning and otherwise, incidentally he quoted certain hymns, showing the beliefs 111 immortality held by the Indian^ Scenes illustratinsr the famine in India were also shown on the screen, as well as a num of the temples, etc.; these being followed by number of Japenese views. Mr. Hardie pOlnt-l ed out that for six weeks after the lying ments he had referred to had been cabled to this country and back again to China, he øø the guest of the various officials in INDIA* spending one whole afternoon with the VICEROY (Lord Minto) as his guest. Was it likely, if had been preaching sedition, that HE have been so treated and not one word of pro- test made? (cheers). The men who made these assertions were either very ignorant or V&T biassed. He had, since his return from INDIA* taken part in the Indian debates, and to shape the Indian Reform Bill, and th was noi a single member in the House had dared to say that he had been guilty 0 preaching sedition in India (applause) JØ spite of all that, that stale old story once mor- did duty during the recent contest in Mid-Gla morgan. He hoped that the result of t address would be to induce them to take mr. interest in the affairs of India, and to realist their responsibility in reference thereto applause). A vote of thanks TO' Mr. Haggar and TB» operator brought the meeting to A close.

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