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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. June 5, 1907

Preparing the Explosion

The Simla Government has again opened wide its mouth of thunder and another Resolution has issued from its capacious jaws. This time, as we had expected, it is aimed at the Press. The Resolution is full of sound and fury signifying little. It has been decided to institute, if necessary, a campaign against the liberty of the Press and throttle it as effectually as the Liberty of speech has been throttled by the Coercion Ordinance. But the Simla Government seems to be ashamed of having to do all this repressive work with its own viceregal hands and therefore it gradually1 retires behind the curtain and asks the local governments to take the stage. That is all. At the same time, the Press is a necessity to the foreign rulers and the Platform is not; they are therefore unwillingly2, we take it, to apply the same absolute gag to the Press as they have applied to the Platform. They are trying first the effectiveness of the threat of prosecution. “Look, there is the policeman Andrew, (or the policeman Denzil, as the case may be). Mind you behave yourself. He has orders to run you in if you don't.” This is a fair translation into vernacular English of Sir Herbert Risley's latest literary effort. We hardly think it will have much effect on the tone of the Press, unless our publicists are cursed with a much greater timidity than we give them credit for. A crop of Press prosecutions may therefore be confidently expected. If that is not sufficient, other measures will be used. And when they have silenced the Press and the Platform, Anglo-India will no doubt exult over its victory and avow wonderingly how easy it was to quell this absurd agitation. There is not enough statesmanship among these heaven-born rulers to perceive that they are playing into the hands of the most revolutionary section of opinion in India. Ajit Singh in his exile may rejoice, for his work is being done for him far more effectually than he could have done it himself. National feeling is like certain explosives which need resistance in order to be effective; unresisted they explode harmlessly and mildly into the air, but resisted, repressed and confined, they become devastating forces and annihilate the substance that resists and confines them.

 

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.

1 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: gracefully

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2 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: unwilling

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