Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908
Bande Mataram. May 9, 1907
By the Way
The Anglo-Indian Defence Association exists, we believe, in order to take up the cause of Anglo-Indians individually and generally, whether that cause be just or unjust, whether the individual be a good citizen or a criminal pursued by the law. It is not surprising that such a body should also be found championing the Mahomedan hooligans who, for the present, are the good friends, allies and brothers-in-arms of Anglo-India in its fight against Swadeshi. A certain Mr. Garth, said to be a son of the late Sir Richard Garth, Chief Justice and one of the cheap and numerous tribe of “Friends of India”, was the oratorical hero of the occasion. This gentleman was delivered in Mangoe1 Lane on Monday of a speech which runs to more than a column of insults and misrepresentations against Swadeshi Bengalis. He informed a wondering world that things in East Bengal were quite the opposite of what the Bengali press reported. We do not exactly understand this phrase. Does Mr. Garth mean that it is the Mahomedans who are being plundered, their men wounded and injured, their women outraged, while the officials give their assailants a free hand and are busy repressing any attempt at self-defence? That would be the opposite of what the Bengali papers represent.
But Mr. Garth then assures the world – which ought by this time to be quite dumb with awe – that he, Mr. Garth, is quite satisfied of the absolute falsity of the charges against the local officials. He does not pretend – this easily-satisfied Mr. Garth – that there is a single fact or the smallest fragment of evidence to disprove these charges which the officials impugned have not tried and the Anglo-Indian journals have not been able to disprove. No, the inner consciousness, the subliminal self of Mr. Garth has assured the outer barrister in him of the innocence of Messrs. Clarke, Loghman & Co., and they are acquitted. Mr. Garth is equally cocksure that the Mahomedans did not begin any of the recent riots so2 – it was the Hindus who went and compelled them to riot and plunder and worse – so anxious were the people of Jamalpur and Dewangunj to bring on themselves the worst outrages and insults. With such brilliant powers of insight and reasoning Mr. Garth ought to have come much more to the front as a barrister than he has succeeded in doing.
The case for the Mahomedans as presented by this brilliant special pleader is that they were goaded to madness. In order to prove his point, he makes no bones about falsifying history. The Hindus, he says, tried their hardest to get the Mahomedans to join with them but absolutely failed. When we remember the unanimity of Hindus and Mahomedans at the time of the Partition Agitation, we cannot but admire such fearless lying. Well, the Hindus failed and then they tried intimidation on the poor sellers of Bideshi articles who are all, if you please,– yes, one and all Mahomedans in Mr. Garth's pleasant romance. But still Mahomedans3 would not lose their angelic patience, still they would not listen to the pipings of Hare Street. But at last the Hindus began to form bodies of volunteers and learn stick-play and sword-play. This was the last insult which drove the Mahomedans to madness. That Hindus should learn sword-play and stick-play is enough, in Mr. Garth's opinion, to justify outrage, plunder, murder, mutilation, and the violation of women. After this, he says, no wonder the Mahomedans began to ask their leaders, “What is this?” All this tumult and violence, all these Armenian and Bulgarian horrors under British rule, are only the inoffensive, patient, loyal Mahomedan's gentle way of asking his leaders, “what is this?”
We have written the above in the very bitterness of our heart. It is clearer than ever that the unspeakable outrages inflicted on the Hindu community had4 the full moral support of the English in India. Officials allow them, Anglo-Indian papers sympathise with them, Anglo-Indian speakers defend them, and the speeches and writings in which they are defended, are full of intolerable insults to the whole Hindu population of Bengal. Yet we do not cease to buy the Englishman and Empire, we do not cease to give briefs to Mr. Garth and men of his kidney. We even hear that a prominent Swadeshi leader gave a brief to Mr. Garth the very next day after his speech, presumably as a reward for calling the whole Bengali Bar and Press a pack of liars. If it is so, we deserve every humiliation that can be inflicted upon5 us.
Later edition of this work: The Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo.- Set in 37 volumes.- Volumes 6-7.- Bande Mataram: Political Writings and Speeches. 1890–1908 .- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 2002.- 1182 p.
1 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Mango
2 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: no
3 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: still the Mahomedans
4 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: have
5 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: on