Identical was the crisis that occurred during Usman’s regime and all but the same was his fate. The Salt Satyagraha and the Civil Disobedience struck their sanguinary path across his term of office. He put heart into the Police and they in their turn put the bullet into their muskets. The painful process of preservation of peace prolonged its agonising course through blood and broken limbs. Sir Mohamad Usman simply crossed the” t”s and dotted the “i”s of the man on the spot and contented himself with mouthing callous apologies. He served as a weapon both offensive and defensive in the hands of the Government. He was a massy club to hit with and a mighty shield to ward off. Tottering and rocking under the tremendous impact of the Opposition, the Treasury Bench was safely panchored and steadied by the titanic weight of his physique and tongue. Not that he carried conviction to the Opposition nor that he escaped conviction from posterity. But it is to Sir Usman’s credit that he so successfully played at Strafford in singularly trying crises.
He cultivated callousness as a fine art. Cart-loads of caricatures, columns-full of billingsgate and the cursing roar of the thousands never touched his complacent soul, not so much as disturbed his equanimity. Abuses ran off his person like water off the duck’s back. “They say, what they say, let them say” he mumbled.
Mr.Usman has apparently faith only in two things in the world: God and the Government, whatever be the character and colour thereof. “If you would govern man-kind you must be superior to them or despise them” said Disraeli, a great master of men. Sir Mohamad, obviously lacking superiorty affected to despise and govern men. His mind shied and contracted at the slightest contact of liberal policies and democratic ideas. He had built his trust rather too much on the reeking tube and the Iron shod and left out of calculation the invincible passions of men. He threw his whole weight against the acceptance of the liberal program of Mr.E.V. Ramaswami’s Party. He resisted every item of improvement that was sought to be introduced by the Justice Party’s Sub- Committee. His Ignorance of his countrymen is astounding and amusing. On the eve of the last general elections, he solemnly advised the leader of the Justice propaganda not to waste the money and energy on propaganda but to preserve them that the people could be easily made to vote for the Justice Party. “For whom else do you think” he asked the people would vote except for the Justice Party?”.
The moment the Justice Party was routed and had fallen on evil days, Sir Mohamad began to play for safety and desert his party. He was nominated to the Legislative Council and he naturally sat as the Leader of the Opposition. It was given to Sir Mohamad alone of all the members in the opposition, to have broken the traditions of Parliamentary Government by supporting every measure of the Government. As Leader of the Opposition he called. for a division over a Government measure” and he himself walked into the Government lobby. By a strange metamorphosis or a process of mental alchemy Sir Usman began to see eye to eye with the Congress, all of a sudden on the questions of compulsory Hindi, Prohibition and so on. This piece of treacherous “Opposition” naturally enraged the Party-men who would have certainly voted him out of the Floor Leadership but he himself gracefully vacated the post and is occupying the cross benches. Thus we have to-day the strangest phenomenon of the one time persecutor of the Congress acting as its over-zealous palanquin-bearer.
The world is a book in which the chapter of accidents is not the least considerable. And the chapter of accidents of Sir Mohamad’s life is the most considerable of all. Except on the hypothesis of God’s playful perversion, the mystery of his career is difficult to unravel. A challenge to the intelligentia of this province and a shock to the arrogance of the West End of Mylapore, Sir Mohamad life is a marvellous romance of the Dyarchic era. Success in him presents its passive front. His is a success without spendour and a song without music.
Source : The South Indian Celebrities – Volume II
by K.M.Balasubramaniam, From the Archive of Periyar Rationalist Library & Research Centre, Chennai..
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