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Bande Mataram
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The “Statesman” in Retreat


           THE strong censures which the Statesman's article on the Bande Mataram Case has called forth from the Bengali Press in Calcutta, have forced that journal to enter into some explanation of its conduct. While professing to stand by every word it had written, it manages under cover of the plea that it has been misunderstood, to unsay much that it had said. The article was on the face of it a malignant attack on the Bande Mataram, an attempt to create the impression that this paper was either a journal managed on a dishonest, disreputable and impossible principle or else that its staff were a gang of liars and cowards with an Editor who made a false or practically false defence in order to avoid the responsibility for his political propaganda. We were told that from this dilemma there was no possible escape. The Statesman has now considerably altered its tone. In order that we may not be accused of wilfully misinterpreting our very Liberal contemporary, we will give his explanation of his own meaning in his own words and answer him point by point. "We maintained," he says, "that there had been in essence a miscarriage of justice in the Bande Mataram Case, since the trial had resulted in the conviction of the Printer, whereas the real offender — the author of the article or articles complained of — was not brought to book. We pointed out in the next place, that in England the person really responsible for the articles could readily have been found, for no attempt would have been made to evade the issue on the divided liability principle adopted in the Bande Mataram office, still less to make a scapegoat of an ignorant workman. We maintained, lastly, that unless every public journal had a responsible head of some sort, the liberty of the Press would degenerate into a licence under which no institution of organised society, no man's reputation would be safe." We do not for a moment deny that there was a very serious miscarriage of justice in the Bande Mataram Case, but we are cer-


Welcome Thought
When he watched the actions of J
When he watched the actions of Janaka, even Narada the divine sage thought him a luxurious worldling and libertine. Unless thou canst see the soul, how shalt thou say that a man is free or bound?

Sri Aurobindo

(108−Thoughts and Aphorisms)

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