This chapter focuses on Gokhale’s speech during the budget debate of the Imperial Council on 26 March 1902. Gokhale pointed out how, in the preceding sixteen years, the income tax, the salt tax, the excise duty, and the cotton duties had gone up; even the collections of land revenue had registered an upward trend at a time when drought and famine afflicted large parts of the country. He called for a relief in tax burdens, for a cut in the salt duty, and an increase in the taxable minimum for income tax to Rs 1,000 a year. The speech had an electrifying effect upon the Indian intelligentsia. Congratulatory letters poured in from his friends and admirers. Thoughtful Europeans, not blinkered by racial prejudice, were quick to perceive the talents of the youngest member of the Council.
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