Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908
Bande Mataram. March 26, 1908
The Comedy of Repression
The campaign of repression proceeds merrily in Madras. Srijuts Chidambaram Pillai and Subramaniya Shiva are to be prosecuted for sedition, (we notice, by the way, that Srijut Pillai was not allowed to see his Vakils in jail, a typical piece of bureaucratic “justice”) the Tuticorin lawyers are being bound down to keep the peace, and “it is reported that instructions have been issued to the Sub-Magistrate, Tinnevelly, to issue warrants for the arrest of persons shouting ‘Bande Mataram’ within the Municipal limits of Tinnevelly and Palancotta.” The bureaucrats of Madras are profiting by lessons in Russianism both from East Bengal and from the Punjab. Meanwhile the people crowd round the jail gates and line the roads to get a glimpse of the faces of their imprisoned leaders, and Chidambaram Pillai, agent of the Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company, whose name yesterday was little known outside one corner of Madras, is now a popular hero; his name will be a household word; his photograph will hang on the walls of private houses as one of the family gods; and when he comes out from the term of imprisonment which is now a foregone conclusion, he will be a man of mighty influence and, where he swayed thousands before, will sway millions of men throughout his native Presidency. It is the old story, so old, so hackneyed, so certain in its denouement that one wonders the despotisms of the world do not get tired of playing it.
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