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Speeches On Indian Questions

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About the Book

Edwin Samuel Montagu was politician who played an important part in introducing the Government of India Act of 1919, a legislative measure that marked a decisive stage in India’s constitutional development. The present book contains speeches delivered by Montagu on Indian themes covered a wide range of subjects : economy, politics, judiciary, land policy and even trends of liberalism in the Indian context.


Edwin Samuel Montagu (1879-1924). Second son of Samuel Montagu (d. 1911), a Jewish banker and philanthropist who was raised to the Peerage as Lord Swaythling in 1907. Montagu entered Parliament as a Liberal in 1906 and became secretary to Herbert Henry Asquith, Prime Minster of Great Britain from 1908 to 1916 and leader of the Liberal Party. As parliamentary under-secretary to the India Office from 1910to 1914, he had the task of explaining Indian matters to the House of Commons. During the first years of World War I, Montagu held a number of minor posts, entering thecabinet in 1915 as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. As financial secretary to the treasury, he helped to popularize the first war loans and to set up voluntary war-savings organizations. He became Secretary of State for India in 1917 and began work on a declaration of British policy to provide for “progressive realization of responsible government” in India. As head of a delegation to the Indian provinces in the winter of 1917-18, he collaborated with the Indian Viceroy, Lord Chelmsford, in the preparation of the Montagu-Chelmsford Report on the Indian government and administration. Its main recommendations were embodied in the Government of India Act of 1919, by which, for the first time, control over some aspects of provincial government passed to Indian ministers responsible to an Indian electorate. Differences of opinion over Prime Minister Lloyd George’s policy towards Turkey forced him to resign in 1922.

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