What Congress and Gandhi have Done to the Untouchables

What Congress and Gandhi have Done to the Untouchables





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“In 1892, there took place in England a new election to Parliament, in which the Conservatives headed by Lord Salisbury lost and the Liberals headed by Mr. Gladstone won. The remarkable thing about this election was that notwithstanding the defeat of his party at the polls. Lord Salisbury—contrary to Parliamentary convention—refused to surrender his office to the leader of the Liberal Party. When Parliament assembled, the Queen delivered the usual gracious speech from the throne containing the legislative programme of Lord Salisbury’s Government and the usual address to Her Majesty was moved from the Government side. Lord Salisbury’s Government was an illegitimate Government. It was a challenge to the fundamental principle of the British Constitution, which recognised parliamentary Majority as the only title deed for a Party’s right to form a Government. The Liberals took up the challenge and tabled an amendment to the address. The amendment sought to condemn Lord Salisbury’s Government for its insistence on continuing in office, notwithstanding the fact that it had no majority behind it. The task of moving the amendment was entrusted to the late Lord (then Mr.) Asquith. In his speech in support of the amendment, Mr. Asquith used the now famous phrase—” Causa finita est: Roma locuta est.” (Rome has spoken and the dispute must end). The phrase was originally used by St. Augustine but in a different context. It Was used in the course of a religious controversy and had come to be used as a foundation for Papal Sovereignty. Mr. Asquith used it as a political maxim embodying the basic principle of Parliamentary Democracy. Today it is accepted as the fundamental principle on which Popular Government rests, namely, the Right of a Political Majority to Rule. It told instantaneously against Salisbury’s Government and must tell against all parties who fail at the polls wherever Parliamentary Democracy is in operation.


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