Labour Monthly

Indian Problems

Review of The Problem of Population by Gyan Chand. Oxford Pamphlets on India (No. 19).
Tariffs and Industry by John Matthai, Oxford Pamphlets on India (No.20).
The Future of India by Penderel Moon, Pilot Press, 5s.
Reviews by Penderel Moo

Source : Labour MonthlyAugust 1945, p.256
Publisher : The Labour Publishing Company Ltd., London.
Transcription/HTML : Ted Crawford/D. Walters
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2010). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

Like their predecessors in this series, the “Oxford” pamphlets make a valuable contribution to sober understanding of the complicated problems that face India. And unlike most of those who write about the intricacy of these problems, these Indian experts see them, not as experts to democratic advance, but as problems that can only be tackled, or even intelligently discussed, in the light of Indian freedom.

Professor Gyan Chand briefly dismisses current absurdities and false theories about the birth rate. Whilst admitting that birth control in India today is made necessary by the social and economic set-up which perpetuates poverty and disease, the main stress of his argument is that the problem of population is qualitative, not a quantitative one. Restriction of population is no panacea for poverty; and poverty is the mortal disease from which India suffers. To overcome chronic want and disease, to ensure a happy and healthy population, requires a plan of social, economic, and industrial development that will produce a manifold increase in the standard of living. “It (the problem) has to be treated as a problem of the remaking of a nation, and not merely a problem of numbers” and “this cannot be done without the complete economic and political emancipation of the people.”

Mr. Matthai equally insists upon the urgent need for industrial development. But only a National Government can rectify the ill-balanced economy by the judicious use of tariffs. In so doing, however, the, author believes that India will in her own interest develop an international outlook and align her tariff policy as part of a World economic policy.

Mr. Penderel Moon was a member of the Indian Civil Service and, his publishers claim, he can therefore speak from first hand experience. There is no need to question the sincerity of his distaste for the results of British rule or his sympathies for India’s national aspirations. Moreover, his practical proposals for economic advance and social reform are excellent. But unlike Professor Chand and Mr. Matthai, he sees all the problems and difficulties, not as arguments for freedom, but as stumbling blocks, sources of possible anarchy, bogeys to make even the most progressive Civil Servant lie awake at night. For all his good intentions and his first hand official experience, he has succeeded in remaining curiously out of touch with the outlook and the mode of thought of India’s great peoples’ movements.

Michael Carritt