Home Page | Workings | Works of Sri Aurobindo | Bande Mataram

Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. February 24, 1908

A Misconception

The Englishman is waiting with bated breath for the amendment of the Press Act. As soon as a sedition trial is concluded and savage sentence meted out to the supposed offender the Englishman feels the necessity of a stricter law providing for the extinction of the whole seditious lot, including the editor, contributors, printer, publisher and proprietor. The Englishman complains that in this respect the law in India is behind even that of China where all the different persons connected with the publication of a newspaper can be satisfactorily dealt with. The Englishman's idea of progressiveness in these matters is no doubt peculiar and does not call for any serious notice. According to our contemporary the Press Law will perhaps be perfectly modernised if provision is made to shoot down everyone found to be in possession of any of the alleged seditious prints. However, we are not much concerned with the curious notions of the bureaucracy and its advisers about freedom of speech. We want to remove one misconception both from the minds of our Anglo-Indian and Indian critics in this connection. Whatever may be the literary ability of the printers and publishers of these prosecuted papers they thoroughly understand their mission and willingly offer themselves as sacrifices in spite of dissuasion, to keep alive this sort of patriotic literature in the country. They come forward out of a strong patriotic impulse and offer to shield ability behind their heroism to ensure the continuity of propagandist work according to their own ideas and ideals. Printers or publishers, theirs is the moral and legal responsibility for the dissemination of the ideas which are sought to be put down. These men are really the prophets and martyrs and those for whose blood the Anglo-Indian Press and the bureaucracy seem to be so thirsty are merely the dressers of their ideas. The new batch of printers and publishers who are rushing to jail one after another are not mere mercenary instruments but young men fired with divine enthusiasm and heroic devotion to the cause of their country. Those who talk lightly of the printers and publishers of these alleged seditious papers should take note of this fact, and then judge if any severity of the Press Act can at all put an end to this sort of literature.


This work was not reprinted in the CWSA and it was not compared with other editions.