Friday, October 7, 2011

The Role of Allan Octavian Hume (contd-1)

In March 1885, Hume and his friends drew up a plan for an Indian National Union. The Union would take the form of an annual conference to be attended by  leaders of various provincial associations, and decide upon political, social, economic and educational reforms to be undertaken in the coming year. The conference would be associated with the Government and used as a  sounding board enlightened Indian public opinion. Officials would be encouraged to take part in the conference and the Governor or Lieutenant-Governor-of the province hosting it would be requested to preside over it. B.Martin has aptly remarked that "the key to the entire plan rested upon official sanction and participation".After his return to Simla in May 1885, Hume placed his plan before Viceroy Lord Dufferin for his support. 
Dufferin evinced considerable interest in Hume's plan and welcomed it, as it would furnish the Government with something like an authoritative statement of the views and wishes of the educated and intelligent Indians throughout the country. But he objected to the idea of an official link with the Union as its activities would certainly involve a criticism of the acts or policies of the Government and formulation of demands which, probably, it would be impossible for the Government to grant. In a letter to Lord Reay, Governor of Bombay, dated 17 May, 1885, Dufferrin advised him not to serve as the president of the conference. He felt that it would be a mistake if there was any official identification either with the reforming or the reactionary enthusiasts.
About a year before the end of the Viceroyalty of Lord Lytton Hume obtained the very definite information from voluminous secret police reports to which he had access as a high official about the explosive situation in India, caused by the economic sufferings of the masses and the alienation of the intellectuals.