INDIA: Pinch of Salt

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(See front cover*)

Secretary Stimson is just two years older than Mahatma Gandhi, 61, and far more robust. Yet if Mr. Stimson had taken off all except a loin cloth when he landed at Southampton (TIME, Jan. 20, et seq.) and had walked barefoot the 80 miles to London, seeking thus to impress the World with his holy resolve to make the Naval Conference a success, Englishmen would have thought him mad.

In India, however, such is the way a statesman practices his profession. Nobody thought Mahatma Gandhi mad, fortnight ago, when he started to walk 200 miles from Ahmedabad to the sea (TIME, March 24). As he trudged along last week, at an average speed of 10 miles per day, Englishmen were not amused but desperately anxious.

Englishmen do their best not to be afraid of St. Gandhi, and English correspondents spend thousands of pounds every year cabling from India that his influence is "waning." But in 1922, the last time he placidly rampaged, the Englishmen at the top in India had the scare of their lives.

Anyone who doubts this should have a confidential Scotch & soda before the hearth with Baron Lloyd of Dolobran, who was Governor of Bombay (a major Gandhi bailiwick) from 1918 through 1923, and was later famed in Egypt for the iron, ruthless hand with which he ruled that "Independent" kingdom as British High Commissioner (TIME, Aug. 5).

"Gandhi gave us a scare," Lord Lloyd has confessed. "His was the most colossal experiment in world history, and it came within an inch of succeeding. But he couldn't control men's passions. They became violent, and he called off his program. You know the rest. We put him in jail."

At the time, wild horses could not have dragged such words from beneath the stiff upper lips of the English rulers of India. And last week upper lips were stiffening again. In Manhattan the chief executive of one of the two largest U. S. press services ruefully expressed his doubt that the Gandhi story can be covered now, while it is a story.

Correspondents must write their news in such form that it can pass over British wires. With the story just warming up last week, and while censorship was comparatively lax, they cabled that the showing of newsreels taken as St. Gandhi set out on his march is barred in all theatres in the Bombay Presidency. Soon the news gate too will slam shut—that is, if there is any trouble.

"Sell All Thou Hast!" The first axiom of western statecraft is that religion has no place in politics. "But if religion is not needed in politics," blinks Mr. Gandhi, "then where on earth is it needed?" Perfectly infuriating to Englishmen is this sort of thing, which they call "sickening cant."

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