Free Speech
[C.S. Bharati]
(Note: The following paragraphs were directly suggested by the strange and arbitrary conduct of the U.P. Government regarding the Abhuudaya journal owned by Pandit Malaviya. But, later the good news has been received that Sir James Meston has seen the wisdom of rectifying an injustice and has withdrawn his ill –advised order on the Pandit. It was a nice act, and we are all thankful to Sir James. But what of the other journals, the Hamdard and the Utkal Star etc.? Is there going to be a distinction of treatment? If so, based on what? Will any Englishmen in India answer me that question? – C.S.B.)

Englishmen in this country are not popularly supposed to offer much encouragement to advocates of Indian freedom, venturing to give wholesome and useful advice to the Government. And yet it is such advice that should be prized most by the Government. All right-minded English people will agree with me that only those Indians who live and strive for Indian autonomy are the true sons of the Motherland – not those others who deify titles and higher salaries. And the thoughts that true patriots are thinking today will materialize into national facts tomorrow. Those who desire to cultivate friendly relations with India must learn to respect and, if possible, immediately satisfy the legitimate and reasoned demands of Indians seers and creators.

And the first thing that modern India demands of England to-day is that none may interfere with free speech in India. Free speech is the truest ally of every sensible government. When you stifle men’s voices, you embitter and harden their hearts. And this world is based on the mind: “Thoughts are things.”

An old Indian writer says that the wise king should care more for the respect of a hundred thoughtful men than the blind allegiance of a million fools. And the first condition for any sort of State to be respected it to permit free speech in all things and to all parties.

Of course Englishmen know these things quite as well as we do. But, all the same, we sometimes feel constrained to restate them, “lest they forget.”


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