Today's post will be long one :-) It is a publication by Princely State Government of Bikaner on return of Maharajah from his tour of Middle East Asia war front during WWII. It is a state gazette also called as "The Bikaner Rajpatra" in Hindi.
No. 79. - The following speech delivered by His Highness the Maharajah in reply to the Address of Welcome presented by the Citizens of Bikaner on his return from the Middle East War Front is published for general information.
SPEECH BY GENERAL HIS HIGHNESS THE MAHARAJAH OF BIKANER, G.C.S.I., G.C.I.E., G.C.V.O., G.B.E., K.C.B., A.D.C., L.L.D., ON THE 21ST DECEMBER 1941, IN REPLY TO THE ADDRESS OF WELCOME PRESENTED BY THE CITIZENS OF BIKANER ON HIS RETURN FROM THE MIDDLE EAST WAR FRONT.
I thank you very sincerely for the Address of Welcome which you have presented to me on my return from the Middle East War Front and I can assure you that the sentiments of loyalty and affection which you have expressed towards me and my family have touched me deeply.
As you know I am never so happy when I am in my own State among my own people; and I need hardly say that I am very glad to be back again in your midst.
Let me take this opportunity of once again saying how greatly I was moved by the wonderful manifestation of your love and devotion both when I left for the War Front and when I returned. These spontaneous demonstrations strengthen my belief that through the blessings of Providence I am fortunate beyond measure in the loyalty and affection of my beloved people.
You have indeed appropriately alluded to the courage and martial spirit shown by my elder grandson, Prince Karni Singhji, in accompanying me on Active Service; and I share with you the pride at his having proved himself so true to the traditions of the Kshatriya race and of our State.
Since my return from the Middle East I have had more than one occasion of speaking about the War, and particularly of the great gallantry and magnificent work done by our Indian Troops. Today, however, I propose to touch upon a few other matter of importance.
I have felt all along, from the moment that the present War started in September 1939, that it was bound to develop into a Second World War. But the present conflict has already proved itself to be a far greater War than the last one, having exceeded it both in intensity and extent; and it might well be said that it now covers the entire world from one end to the other.
This war has now reached the borders of India; and I would like in the first place to impress upon you that, in spite of the initial advantages which Japan has secured through treachery and the element of surprise - though at the cost of extremely heavy casualties in killed and wounded - and although in Wars of such magnitude there must inevitably be ups and downs, there is no cause of alarm. And you, our Seths and Sahukars, as great businessmen and financiers whose level-headedness and steadiness are proverbial, can be of great service to India under the present circumstances by avoiding panic and setting your face sternly against all measures which injure the financial credit of India.
I would, therefore, ask you to be calm and unruffled and to carry on your business in spite of certain dislocation and handicaps which must be expected in such circumstances and to beware of believing false information and alarmist rumours.
As I said the other day, it is true that Germany and Italy have received for the moment a certain accession of strength by Japan's entry into the War; but it should not be lost sight of that already mighty British Empire has gained a far greater accession of strength through the entry of the United States of America - a far more powerful country with far greater resources and much larger population - as our great Ally.
Russia too is our Ally, and in spite of the initial disadvantages which she had to face, is now securing undreamt of victories over Germany, whose forces have suffered tremendous casualties and who has lost a vast amount of war equipment.
Great Britain, which was so unprepared at the start of the War as compared with the Nazi preparedness, has in the past year and a half reorganised her Army, and thanks to its added equipments of all kinds, is now in a very strong position, as is evident from the series of victories which are now being achieved in Libya.
The theory of German invincibility has thus definitely been disproved once for all.
China too, which has so heroically stood against Japan's onslaught for the past 5 years or so, is now our Ally; and some of the other European Nations conquered by the Germans earlier in the War have now raised considerable Forces and are also fighting with great tenacity on our side. As instances I need refer only to the Poles and the Free French.
And do not, above all, forget that the mighty arm and the indomitable Navy of the British Empire are ever ready to defend India.
Thus there cannot be least doubt that the British Empire and its Allies, who form the greatest combination of Nations in the world opposed to the Axis Powers, will, under God's providence, win - and win decisively - putting finally to rest the sense of fear which has for so long haunted the world.
There is happily no need for me to appeal to any section of my people to do everything in their power to support the War efforts of the Empire. For I am well aware how all classes and communities of my subjects are united with me in rendering the utmost possible service to our beloved King-Emperor and the maximum assistance within our power and resources to the Empire.
But modern warfare is essentially a questions of resources. Great Britain alone is daily spending collosal sums of money on the War, whilst the people of Great Britain and other parts of the Empire have made tremendous sacrifices and most significant contributions. The contributions of India too, in spite of certain political differences, have been remarkable; and the Viceroy's War Purpose Fund has already reached many crores. My Government has contributed, is contributing and will continue to contribute, whole-heartedly for War purposes in various ways.
I am well aware of the munificent and loyal donations that so many of you have on various occasions made for work for a beneficent character in our State which have been of great advantage to the State and its people. I have, as in the past, already gratefully acknowledged these spontaneous donations which you so generously made at the time of the Golden Jubilee of my reign. In the face, however, of precarious and adverse conditions and other factors it was my hope, subject to the materialisation of a scheme which my Government had in view, and provided that the War was not to spread, to relieve you at least on this occasion and I had further hoped that our Government and, to a certain extent, I and my family would be able to shoulder your responsibilities. But such a scheme did not materialise. Thus though for such reasons, for which you Seths and Sahukars of Bikaner were in no way responsible, we have so far postponed making a direct appeal to the richer community in Bikaner - so renowned for their wealth and generosity - to make their due contribution towards the War, I am now confident that they, too, will give a good amount of themselves and uphold the honour and pride of Bikaner as the most loyal of the loyal States of India.
I would also like to say that it is not improbable that my Government may before long decide upon certain measures purely as prudent precautions against possible air raids, particularly in the Capital. But that should not cause any alarm to the general public nor be regarded as indicating the imminence of air raids on our Towns of which we have been told there is no great likelihood.
What you have said today in your Address about the Proclamation, which I issued on the eve of my departure on Active Service, is most gratifying to me, as I am sure it is to the Maharaj Kumar. You all know that I and my family are inspired by the most earnest desire to be of service at all times to the State and to all classes and communities of our people, and the issue of the Proclamation was another measure which I am confident will prove to be immensely beneficial to the subjects of the State and tend to their still greater contentment and well-being.
Gentlemen, I once again thank you very much for your loyal Address and, as ever, I pray that God's blessings may be upon you all and upon our State.
The War may come still closer to us. Parts of India may be bombed or bombarded. But put your faith in God and the British Empire; and never fear; we shall win.