Evelyn Holt Bohun COULCHER

COULCHER, Evelyn Holt Bohun

Service Numbers: Not yet discovered
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Not yet discovered
Last Unit: Australian Army Chaplains' Department
Born: Hythe, Kent, England, 10 August 1880
Home Town: Blackall, Blackall Tambo, Queensland
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Church of England Clerk of Holy Orders
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World War 1 Service

4 Sep 1918: Involvement Australian Army Chaplains' Department
4 Sep 1918: Embarked Australian Army Chaplains' Department, HMAT Bakara, Sydney

Interesting Lecture in 1930


'India' was the subject chosen by the Rev. E. H. B. Coulcher, Of the Oxford Mission, stationed at Calcutta when he gave an interesting discourse to members of the Moree Literary and Debating Society in the Moree School of Arts last Thursday evening. There was a satisfactory attendance of members and visitors, who listened with great attention to the remarks of the lecturer.The Rev. Coulcher spoke at length on the effect of British rule in India and gave his audience some idea of the difficulties to be met with in trying to govern a country with so many different classes of people, so many castes, and so many racial hatreds. The speaker's work carried him to places where he can carefully study the Indian situation and glean much valuable information. Thus his lecture was doubly valuable and full of knowledge gained, by practical investigation. Father Coulcher, in the course of his remarks, said that in dealing with the problem of Indian unrest, two or three fundamental things had to be borne in mind about India. 'The first,' he said, 'is that India is not a nation, but in India there are many nations, each with its own national way of looking at things, with its own language and customs. There are 315,000,000 people in India with 210 languages. When revolutionaries meet from all over India they talk English, as it is the one language that they can all understand. There are 70,000,000 Mahommedams, over 200,000,000 Hindus, and 60,000,000 outcastes, as well as 5,000,000 Christians, and 100,000 Parsees. These nations don't like each other, and no Hindoo is ever friendly with a Mahommedan. Secondly, we did not conquer by the sword. We came for trade, and employed Indians to fight Indians, and thus became the predominant power.

But we have not conquered all India.The native princes are still independent rulers, each bound by special treaty to the British Crown. The late Lord Birkenhead once said we conquered India by the sword, and we shall keep it/by the sword. Both statements are 'really untrue, and we only succeed in governing India by goodwill. Indian unrest is the result of the effort of the British Government, in the last century to give western education to the richer classes of India. University education has given an English training in democracy to about two per cent, of the population;
These are mostly in the big cities. Ninety-eight per cent, of the population remains still unlettered. The two per cent, is clamouring for more share in the Government of India. They want Home Rule, or, as they call it 'Swaraj,' which is an exact translation of 'Sinn Fein.' The English Government has replied by giving instalments of Home Rule, from time to time, which have not satisfied the Swarajists. a form of Parliamentary Government was set up, called the Assembly, election to which was by vote of a limited number of electors. But the Viceroy was still above the Assembly, and on his authority could issue edicts, and the army was outside the province of the Assembly. This naturally did not satisfy the revolutionaries, so they set up a congress of their own, which has all the form of parliamentary government!but has no real power, except among the revolutionaries. They have their own flag, called the Congress Flag, and they attempt to win over to themselves the Mahommedans, the Christian minority, and the other Hindoos, who do not agree with them, and they imagine that they represent India. In every trouble, or political crisis, they always influence the university students in all the big cities. Fortunately for the peace of India, there is no agreement between the Mahommedans and Hindoo on the subject of this congress. The British Government has definitely promised that they will grant Dominion status but not yet. It must come gradually, and by stages, as the Indian develops a more democratic sense and a deeper conception of public duty and public responsibility. There is in Indian character grave difficulties about allowing him democratic freedom all at once. His whole political outlook for thousands of years has been an autocratic one, and his civilisation is against all forms of democracy. The pace must be slow. The British Government's answer is always this: 'If you come to us with a policy upon which you and the Mohammedans and the minorities are agreed we will give it to you.' In fact, the government could not stop them; but racial and religious hatred is so great that agreement is impossible, and if ever the British left India Mahommedan and Hindoo would be at each other's throats, the Afghans would be in Punjab, the Italians would probably seize Bombay, and the Japanese might be in Calcutta. Meanwhile, India would be given over to civil war. Whatever the end of the unrest will be, one thing is clear. The British must remain in India to keep the peace, and prepare, by a more; general education,the whole people for democracy. The best minds in India are working towards this. Unfortunately the Swarajist no longer trusts the word of an Englishman. He is sick of being governed by a foreigner. He does not want to be told how to be good by a person whose civilisation is in every way different to his own. Also we have made blunders; we have not always kept our word. We have still to our account the tragedy of Amrits of, which the Indian has not forgotten; we have bled India white to build a new Delhi, which no one wanted, and which is looked upon by the Indian as a sure sign that our rule is at an end, for every conqueror of India has built at Delhi, and then his empire passed away. We should have spent the money on the beginnings of primary education. Ninety-five percent, of what the Swarajists want weare prepared to give, but not yet; andit is the 'not yet' that counts. At the present moment the unrest seems to be coming to an end. Ghandi, who has been a tremendous spiritual force in India, is now out of date politically, his last attempt at trying to break the Salt Tax (a tax so minute that one feels it, and which goes to pay for the defence of North India and a good deal of the civil service), has ended in failure. It brought a great deal of bloodshed, loss of property, and rioting, with a fresh revival of racial hatred between the Mahommedan and Hindoo. Ghandi is now in prison. He disclaims all responsibility, and calmly washes his hands of the affair. He has incurred a good deal of ridicule.The Swarajists have refused all advances from the government to join in a round-table conference and condemned the Simon Commission report without reading it. But now, the inarticulate classes, who are not educated on western lines, are beginning to attack congress and are telling them they will not listen to them. Moderate leaders are anxious to join in the conference, and return to sanity among the Swarajists. No one should harbor the notion that the Indian is an unpleasant person. He is not. He is intensely loveable and affectionate. His whole outlook is spiritual and religious. His civilisation is older than ours, and he has begun to think nationally. Most understanding minds sympathise with the Swarajist in his effort to attain Home Rule but it can only come in due time, when India is fit and ready and united enough to govern itself. It will require every ounce of British statesmanship to direct India along the right path. On the whole, the British Raj has been, and is, a very good thing. Peace has been made,and kept, throughout the length and breadth of India. Modern transport is universal, sanitation is in all the great cities, the health and number of the people have increased, and education has begun. India needs the British Government for some time longer— till she fits herself to become full and complete member of the British commonwealth of nations. At the conclusion of his address the Rev. E. H. Coulcher was accorded a hearty vote of thanks and answered a number of questions that were put to him by deeply interested members of the audience.

North West Champion Monday 13 October 1930 page 4

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