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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. March 4, 1908

The Strike at Tuticorin

The struggle at present in progress at Tuticorin is one of absorbing interest. This is not the first instance in which Madras has shown how deeply it is imbued with the spirit of a strong and enthusiastic Nationalism. But on this occasion there is a note of firm serious strength in the attitude of the people which is proof of a great advance on former outbreaks of Nationalist feeling. Why the authorities should have chosen to apprehend a miniature rebellion in Tuticorin, they themselves alone know. The people are conducting themselves with a marvellous combination of firmness and dignity, with quiet self-control and have given absolutely no hold to the excited local bureaucrats. We can only suppose that as the self-assertion of Indian labour has evoked the enthusiastic support of the people, so the menace to the despotic control of the labour market by British capital has been taken by the bureaucrats as a blow aimed at British rule. The identity of the interests of administration and exploitation of which Lord Curzon was the prophet is, no doubt, at the root of this unseemly alliance between the Coral Mills and the British Government. The people seem to have found worthy leaders in Sjts. Chidambaram Pillai and Subramaniya Siva and have so far held their own in the struggle. We await further developments with interest and with confidence in their courage and discretion.


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