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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. April 23, 1907

Passive Resistance in The Punjab

We are glad to find that Passive Resistance is being boldly carried into effect in the Punjab. The recent demonstrations at Lahore which followed the Punjabee conviction have evidently come as a shock upon the white population. So long as the political ferment created by the new spirit was mainly confined to Bengal, Anglo-India comforted itself by saying that the Bengalis were an unwarlike race unlikely to cause real trouble. Their main uneasiness was lest the agitation should spread to the martial races of whom alone they are afraid and whom they lose no opportunity of flattering and trying to separate from the Bengalis. Englishmen respect and fear those only who can strike and, being a race without imagination or foresight, they are unable to realise that national character is not immutable or that the Bengalis, who could once fight both on sea and land, might possibly revert to the ancient type and put behind them their acquired timidity and love of ease. Now, however, their fears are being realised. Anglo-Indian journals had already begun to perceive the truth that there is a real unity in India and that “Lahore has become a political suburb of Calcutta”. The Lahore demonstrations have carried the conviction home. Accordingly we find the Englishman groping about in an intellectual fog in search of such novelties as concession and reform, while in the Punjab itself the panic is taking the form of incipient terrorism. Sirdar Ajit Singh of the Lahore Patriot's Association has been doing admirable work among the masses. His most recent success has been to induce the Jat peasantry to boycott the Government canals as a protest against an iniquitous water-tax. As a result the Deputy Commissioner in imitation of the Fuller Administration, published this remarkable order, “Ajit Singh of Lahore is forbidden to address any public meeting in Multan district. If he disobeys, he will be arrested.” The only result was that Sirdar Ajit Singh addressed a meeting of 15,000 men in defiance of this ukase and the police stood helplessly by. We pointed out in our last article on Passive Resistance that Government by ukase would always be one of the methods the government must instinctively resort to in order to snuff out our resistance and that it was the imperative duty of every patriot to resist such arbitrary orders. We are glad to see that the Punjab has promptly taken up the challenge thrown down by the bureaucrat.


Later edition of this work: The Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo.- Set in 37 volumes.- Volumes 6-7.- Bande Mataram: Political Writings and Speeches. 18901908 .- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 2002.- 1182 p.