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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. May 25, 1907

Mr. Gokhale on Deportation

We are glad to see that the Statesman does not happen to be the custodian of at least one prominent Moderate's conscience. Mr. Gokhale has written to the Times of India that “Lala Lajpat Rai has been sacrificed to a nervous apprehension that suddenly seized the Government.” The menace held out to the prospects of administrative reform had no effect on him and like a patriot who on no account can be persuaded to throw overboard his fellow-worker in the field, he has concluded his letter to the Times with the characteristic observation:

“Reforms which the Viceroy and the Secretary of State are contemplating will lose their meaning for us if they cannot be had without deportation out of India of such earnest and high-minded workers in the country's cause as Lala Lajpat Rai.” It was an insult offered to the patriotism of our Moderate countrymen to seek to bay their support for measures like the deportation of Lajpat by dangling before them the bait of administrative reform. In the eye of the law both the giver and the taker of a bribe are equally criminal. It is no doubt gratifying that our moderate countrymen do not lay themselves open to the charge of criminality, not to speak of self-betrayal. As for Mr. Morley's offering the bribe his reputation is too philosophic and literary to suffer shipwreck by such a single stroke of diplomatic unscrupulousness. Besides, the ordinary standard of morality has never been observed in the case of black races. To touch politics is to touch tar, said Cardinal Newman, and in dealing with dark people there is an additional inducement for using this black commodity. Mr. Gokhale's white-washing of his high-minded friend will be of no use to the colour-darkened vision of Mr. Morley it will be love's labour lost. All the same he has come out of the ordeal unscathed.


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