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Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Tamil National ForumSelected Writings by Sachi Sri Kantha >  Mahatma Gandhi's "Crime" in 1922

Selected Writings by Sachi Sri Kantha

Mahatma Gandhi's "Crime" in 1922

November 1992

Seventy years ago (March 1922, to be precise) Mahatma Gandhi was arrested and put on trial before C. N. Broomsfield, the District and Sessions Judge. The charge sheet against Gandhi was (according to Sir J. T. Strangman, the Advocate General who prosecuted the case) "that of bringing or attempting to bring, into hatred or contempt or exciting, or attempting to excite, disaffection toward His Majesty's government, established by law in British India, and that Gandhi was guilty of these things because of three articles he had written and published in his weekly magazine, Young India, though indeed it could be proved, if need be, that the accused had begun preaching disaffection long before the publication of the said three articles" (vide, William Shirer's Gandhi: A Memoir).

To this charge sheet Gandhi's classic response was,

"I would like to state that I entirely endorse the learned Advocate General's remarks in connection with my humble self. I think he was entirely fair to me in all the statements he has made, because it is very true, and I have no desire to conceal from this court the fact, that to preach disaffection toward
the existing system of government has become almost a passion with me...".

He then challenged his accusers to give him "the highest, penalty that can be inflicted upon me for what in law is a deliberate crime and what, appear to me to be the highest duty of a citizen". Gandhi's defiance was impeccable. He never gave a quarter to his adversaries and always made sure to keep his opponents wrong footed.

The harassment of S. Sivanayagam, the founding editor of Tamil Nation by the current rulers of India on flimsiest grounds illustrates that nothing has changed in the land of Mahatma Gandhi for the past 70 years.



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