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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. August 14, 1907

The Bloomfield Murder

The Bengalee seems to be much surprised and rather hurt at the unkind conduct of the Statesman in adversely criticising Justices Mitter and Fletcher for their judgment in the Bloomfield Murder Case. Our contemporary's invincible faith in the Statesman is really pathetic. One would have thought that the attitude of the Chowringhee paper with regard to Lala Lajpat Rai and its support of the policy of repression would have opened the eyes of the blindest. What does the Bengalee expect? The Statesman is a Liberal Imperialist organ wedded to the eternal continuance of the British control and all that it implies, but willing to concede unsubstantial privileges and a carefully modified liberty because that will make the task of the British ruler easier. It cannot be expected to sympathise with Swadeshi and Nationalism. No patriotic Englishman, Sir Roper Lethbridge has said, can support Swadeshi: no patriotic Indian can help supporting Swadeshi. The opposition of interests is complete and irreconcilable. When therefore the Bengalee and other Moderates took up Swadeshi, they forfeited all claim to the support of the Statesman. No patriotic Englishman again can support anything which can possibly injure the prestige, supremacy and exceptional position of the white community in India; no patriotic Indian but must desire to see that prestige lowered and that supremacy and exceptional position replaced by the equality of all communities before the law, as well as socially and politically. Cases like this Bloomfield murder raise, therefore, a crucial point. When the whole basis of a political system is the despotic rule of a small alien handful over the immense indigenous numbers, it is an essential condition of its continuance that the persons of the foreigners should be held sacred, that those who lay hands on them, no matter under what provocation, should be overtaken by the most terrible retribution the other conditions of the rule may permit. While therefore there may be two opinions among Anglo-Indians as to the advisability of allowing European murderers of Indians to go free, there can be no two opinions on the necessity of avenging every loss of a European life by the execution of as many Indians as the police can lay their hands upon. No matter whether the revenge be unjust or inhuman, no matter whether it be even monstrous. The principle it is sought to uphold is itself unjust and monstrous, and squeamishness about means is out of place. Terrorism is indispensable, whether it be the naked, illegal and unashamed terrorism of Denshawi or terrorism in the fair disguise of legal forms and manipulating for its own purposes the Criminal Procedure Code and the Evidence Act. It is not the fault of the Anglo-Indians but of their position, and it is that position which must be altered if such massacres as that which the calm judicial temper of Justices Mitter and Fletcher prevented in the Bloomfield Case, are to be rendered an impossibility.


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