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Full text of ""I accuse!" : from the suppressed statement of Manabendra Nath Roy on trial for treason before Sessions Court, Cawnpore, India"

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"I Accuse I" 

From the Suppressed Statement of 
hcndra Nath Roy cm Trial 
Treason Bel ore Sessions 
Court, Cawnpore, India. 

With an I 


"/ Accuse" 

From the Suppressed Statement of 

Manabendra Nath Roy on Trial 

for Treason Before Sessions 

Court, Cawnpore, India* 

With an Introdttttfon by 



Published for tJie 


New York Office 






The attention of the entire world has been centered 
upon the historic trial of the internationally famous 
Indian Communist, Manabendra Nath Roy, who stood 
charged under Section 121 A, I.P.C. ("conspiracy lo 
deprive the King of his sovereignty in India," in other 
words, treason), before the imperialist court at Cawn- 
pore (UP.). 

For more than twenty years Roy's name has been 
very closely associated with the revolutionary move- 
ment all over the world. In early days, he was one 
of the active leaders of the terrorist movement in 
Bengal. Several times-,, he was arrested and charged 
under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and 
ever since the year 1908, bis existence became legally 
impossible in this country. Just before the beginning 
of the great World War, when he was arrested for 
the last time, he managed to leave the Indian shores 
and eventually reached America. He devoted much 
of his time to an exhaustive study of the writings of 
Karl Marx, Friedrich Engcls and other authorities on 
social, political and economic sciences. Soon he was 
recognized as one of the leading Marxists in those 

While in America, Roy was arrested in connection 
with his political activities. Here too He managed to 
escape, when released on bail. Not long afterwards 
he was found in Mexico which was at that time In the 
throes of national revolution. Roy actively helped 
the Mexican movement, organized a Communist party 
and was its secretary. Moreover* he visited the Phil- 
ippines, Dutch Indies, Java, Sumatra, China, etc., where 
he actively participated in the revolutionary movement 
and tried to organize Communist parties. 

Just after the war, Roy decided to leave for Europe, 
He arrived at Berlin just two days before the outbreak 
of the German revolution. Later on he left for Moscow 
where he met Lenin. Roy became one of the trusted 


friends and comrades of Lenin and helped him to lay 
down the foundation of the Communist International. 
Roy was elected to the bench of the presidents of the 
Communist International (presidium) and was for nine 
years a member of its highest executive, the Political 
Buro. He was even elected to the executive of the 
Moscow Soviet. 

Ever since 1920, Roy carried on an intensive propa- 
ganda in favor of India's right to self-determination 
and for the Overthrow of the imperialist domination. 
He devoted much of his energy to the organization 
of the revolutionary party of the Indian working class 
(the Communist party) and has been able to lay down 
its ideological foundation. With this aim in view, he 
wrote a large number of articles as well as books and 
pamphlets, important amongst them being: "One Year 
of Non-Cooperation," "Aftermath of Non-Cooperation," 
"India In Transition," "India's Problems and Solu- 
tions," "Political Letter," "What Do We Want?" and 
"Future of Indian Politics." In these books and 
pamphlets, Roy heralds the birth of a new class (the 
working class) and lays down the basic principles and 
program of the national democratic revolution which 
the world is to witness in the near future. 

To a large extent as a result of his relentless pro- 
paganda and unceasing agitation, the revolutionary 
working class movement as well as the struggle of the 
Indian masses was rapidly developing. The imperialist 
government was alarmed. Obtaining the collaboration 
of the police of other capitalist countries, the British 
government got Roy expelled from France, Germany, 
Sweden, Italy, Holland, Switzerland, etc., thus violating 
the very international law of the bourgeois democratic 
world. In order to help the execution of the warrant 
issued by a magistrate in India, the first Labor Gov- 
ernment (under the premiership of MacDonald) went 
to the extent of persuading the French police to hand 
over Roy to the agents of the Scotland Yard. But 
the plan miscarried. Having been expelled from one 
country after the other, Roy could not legally stay 
in any country of the world except Russia. In spite 
of the brutal suppression of the trade union as well as 
national revolutionary movement by the government, 


the followers of Roy in India, with courage and deter- 
mination, carried on agitation and propaganda in favor 
of complete national independence of the Indian people 
and organized a large number of trade unions and peas- 
ants organizations. During the years 1926-1928, strikes 
broke out all over the country and the workmen began 
to join their respective class organizations in large 
numbers. The imperialist government took serious 
note of the situation and arrested, once again in the 
middle of 1929, a large number of trade union workers 
and anti-imperialist lighters and charged them under 
Section 121 A ("waging war against the King"). This 
"Meerut conspiracy" case has lasted over two years. 
Roy is a principal figure and has been described by 
the trying court at Meerut as the "source of all 

During the years 1926-27, the attention of the entire 
world was focused on the events in China. The revolt 
and heroic struggle of the Chinese coolies against the 
latest engines of destruction and warfare had chal- 
lenged the very existence of imperialism. At this 
critical juncture of China's history, Roy's services 
were demanded. Towards the close of the year 1926, 
Roy, as the sole delegate and representative of the 
C.I., left for China. By the time he arrived at Can- 
ton, the situation was changed. Counter-revolution 
was raising its head. Roy tried his best, with the help 
and cooperation of Russian and Chinese Communists 
(among them being the organizer of the Chinese na- 
tional revolutionary army, Galen), to avert the com- 
ing catastrophe. But in vain! China was plunged into 
a bloody counter-revolution. More than 35,000 Chi- 
nese Communists, workers and peasants, were merci- 
lessly murdered at the order of the "Nationalist" gen- 
erals like Chiang Kai-shek and, on the blood of the 
poverty-striken and downtrodden Chinese masses, the 
present monument of the "Nationalist" government at 
Nanking has been raised. 

Roy's rich experiences before and during the years 
1926 and 1927 in China are now published in the form 
of a large volume "Revolution and Counter-Revolution 
in China," printed in German and received in America 
and Europe as the outstanding contribution towards 


the proper understanding of the Chinese situation. 

Soon serious differences arose in the Communist In- 
ternational on a large number of important questions. 
The Indian Communists were called upon by the Com- 
munist International to fight for the dictatorship of 
the proletariat and the establishment of the Soviets 
while Roy maintained that the Indian Communists * 
should prepare the masses for national liberation, which 
would pave the way for the establishment of a socialist 
society- The majority of the Indian Communists, as^ 
realists and present on the spot, supported Roy's point 
of view and until today they are working on the same 
line. As a result of the strong criticism of the official 
Communist point of view on all questions of strategy 
and tactics, a large number of Communists all over 
the world were expelled and there exist Communist 
parties and groups in opposition to the new line of 
the C.I. Mtoreover, there exists an international body 
under whose banner all the oppositional Communist 
organizations are mobilized and from the numerous 
writings of the outstanding leaders of the Communist 
Opposition, like Roy, Thalheimer, Brandler and Love- 
stone, it is very clear that the International Commu- 
nist Opposition is working for the correction of the 
mistakes committed by the present leadership of the 
C.L, for the defense of Soviet Russia and for building 
up and strengthening of the Communist International. 

In the year of 1930, Roy issued his famous Manifesto 
which urged upon the members of the revolutionary 
trade union movement in India to organize and pre- 
pare the oppressed and exploited masses of India for 
a revolutionary fight against British imperialism and 
for the assertion of their right to self-determination. 
It further called upon these elements to organize the 
much needed revolutionary party of the Indian working 
class (the Communist party) and to carry on a re- 
lentless agitation for the election of the National Con- 
stituent Assembly as the only sovereign authority of 
the oppressed and exploited classes. Ever since the 
publication of this Manifesto, the trade union move- 
ment, which had been totally ruined and crushed dur- 
ing the year 1929-30, was once more revived. Roy's 
followers in India worked with double vigor and 


energy and the program and principles of the national 
democratic revolution, as advocated by Roy, were en- 
dorsed by a large number of organizations of the op- 
pressed and exploited masses, and attempts in the 
direction of building up the much needed political 
party of the Indian proletariat continued. 

Once again the mighty imperialism was alarmed. 
The thin upper stratum of the Indian people too was 
bewildered. Acting on the rumor that Roy had arrived 
in India, the Indian police out of nervousness arrested 
a number of persons at Bombay, Calcutta, Benares, 
Lucknow, Faizabad, etc., suspecting all of them of 
being M, N. Roy. For a time, Roy was like a ghost 
hovering over the Indian police. 

It was to organize and participate in the movement 
for national liberation of the Indian people that Roy 
took the great risk in coming to India, It was on 
June 21, 1931 that Roy was arrested in Bombay on a 
warrant issued seven years ago in connection with 
the "Bolshevik conspiracy" case of 1924. Early in 
the morning in the neighborhood of the working class 
area, the Bombay police raided a house in which he 
was staying. All the police officers rushed into the 
room with pistol in hand to arrest an unarmed sleeping 
man. He was detained in custody for more than eleven 
days, during which a large number of arrests were 
made all over the country on the charge of harboring 
Roy. Innumerable houses were raided and a large 
number of persons were harassed during those nervous 
ten days. Amongst those arrested on the charge of 
harboring Roy were officials of the AlMndia Con- 
gress, trade union officials, members of the execu- 
tive committee of the Bombay Nawjuwan-Bharat-Sabha 
and a Swiss lady, Mrs. Geissler. 

While in police custody, Roy was not allowed to see 
any one nor communicate with any one outside. Even 
his lawyers were not allowed to see him. The working 
class and the nationalist rank and file were not slow 
to protest against Roy's arrest. Mass meetings, huge 
demonstrations, were the order of the day. Thousands 
of people demonstrated before the police station where 
Roy was detained. Thereupon Roy was secretly re- 
moved by the police up to Cawnpore where the case 


of 1924 was tried. The movement of protest and for 
Roy's unconditional release led by the Trade Union 
Congress and other allied bodies, Nawjuwan-Bharat- 
Sabha and the Youth League, spread thruout the coun- 
try and defense committees were formed in almost 
every town and city in India. This even spread be- 
yond seas and thruout Europe, America and other 
countries, demonstrations and meetings were organized. 
To put it shortly in the words of Eduard Fuchs, the 
world famous German historian, "the arrest of Roy 
and the campaign for his unconditional release brought 
the Indian question more prominently and clearly be- 
fore the entire world than before." At Hamburg 
more than twenty thousand workers demanded Roy's 
release by addressing an open letter to the British 
consulate. The demand for Roy's release was devel- 
oping with momentum all over the world. The world 
famous scientist, Professor Albert Einstein, cabled to 
the Round Table Conference in London and demanded 
of the British government that Roy should be set free. 

But imperialism had no regard for world opinion. 
Roy was placed before the magistrate on August 1, 
1931. Here, too, Roy was not allowed to sec any one 
or communicate with any lawyer. He applied to the 
magistrate for trial. He argued the application himself 
in the open court which was surrounded by strong 
armed police guards to keep away people assembled 
to greet the prisoner of the British Raj. Seeing the 
popular feeling in favor of Roy, the magistrate got 
nervous and transferred the court to jail. Roy's tele- 
grams and letters to Ramsay MacDonald, the Lord 
Chancellor, Fenner Brockway, James Maxton, Lans- 
bury, all members of the British Parliament, were 
withheld. He was not permitted to write letters to 
the president of the National Congress and to the 
leader of the opposition in the Assembly. All inter- 
views, even by the secretary of the defense committee, 
were not allowed by the government. Pandit Jawaharlal 
Nehru was not allowed an interview with Roy. More- 
over, he was placed in a damp and dirty cell under 
iron blockade and Indian newspapers and books (which 
came from America) were not allowed. All these 
unprecedented restrictions were placed upon a prisoner 


under trial on the plea that the government was con- 
vinced that Roy "wanted to use his trial for seditious 
and revolutionary propaganda." On this specious pre- 
text even representatives of the nationalist dailies were 
refused admission to the court and only a represen- 
tative of the semi-official agency, the A.P., was ad- 
mitted. A strong censorship was kept on the news 
about the treatment of Roy in prison and on important 
declarations and pronouncements of the accused, thus 
preventing them from getting abroad. 

Mass demonstrations, public meetings and trade 
union organizations, along with radical nationalist and 
working class leaders like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru 
and R» S. Ruiker (president of the T.U.C.) protested 
against the barbarous treatment meted out to Roy and 
demanded public agitation against such a medieval 
policy of a government pretending to be civilized and 
modern. But the imperialist rulers of our country have 
practically no regard for public opinion. The magis- 
trate (as ordered by superior authority) did not allow 
Roy to make a statement and merely committed him 
to sessions court for trial. The magistrate declared 
frankly: "I will not allow the accused (Roy) to make 
seditious propaganda," 

The trial in the Court of Sessions began on Novem- 
ber 3, 193L Roy refused to appear before a court 
sitting behind the prison walls. But by order of the 
imperialist judge, he was brought to the court by force. 
In this barbarous and most medieval fashion the trial 
went on. The judge (again as ordered) declared that 
he would not allow Roy to make any statement. (In 
all the political cases the accused is asked to make a 
statement and Roy was privileged to do so.) No 
defense witnesses were allowed nor was the defense 
allowed to argue the case. 

The mighty imperialist rulers of India were nervous. 
They were too anxious to close the prison gates on 
Roy, so that they would be secure and sitting tight in 
the saddle of the established order. With the approach 
of the new year Roy's fate was to be decided. On 
January 9, 1932, the imperialist court awarded him the 
most inhuman and brutal sentence of twelve years 


Roy, dressed like a convict and fettered heavily, was 
secretly removed from Cawnpore jail to Berilly Cen- 
tral jail by a well guarded armed police van. At pres- 
ent he is languishing in the District Jail at Berilly 
(U.P.), carefully segregated from all political pris- 
oners, kept in solitary confinement in a small, dirty 
cell and deprived of all facilities ordinarily granted to 
political prisoners. 

The readers of the following pages of Roy's masterly 
statement which was not allowed in the sessions court, 
will find that the defense of Roy is not his personal 
defense but that of the right of the Indian people to 
self-determination and national freedom. Basic con- 
stitutional issues affecting the people of this country 
are raised in the course of this statement. In the 
history of the entire colonial peoples, no one has yet 
put such a courageous and bold defense, completely 
disregarding one's individual self. 

Altho Roy is confined today behind the four walls 
of the prison, the seeds that he has sown will grow as 
the harbinger of the coming social order, overthrowing 
the imperialist domination over India, freeing her from 
colonial slavery. The supreme tribunal of the Indian 
masses, for whose prosperity and progress Roy has 
worked relentlessly for more than twenty years, will 
vindicate him, will liberate him from the imperialist 
prison and will hail him as the father of modern and 
free India, which is in the process of making. 

January, 1932, 




"The statement which I was not allowed to make in 
the Sessions Court, Cawnpore U, P." 

M. N. ROY 

As I have been able to gather, the sum and substance 
of the evidence against me is: 1- That I have advo- 
cated the right of the Indian people to be free of the 
present foreign domination; 2. that I have tried to 
organize a political party with the object of asserting 
this right; 3, that I have held that India cannot be 
really free unless separated from the British Empire; 

4. that I have advocated the application of force as the 
means for attaining the goal of national freedom; and, 

5. that in all this I have acted as the agent of the Com- 
munist International. 

The crux of the prosecution case is that force and 
violence are advocated in the documents which are 
alleged to be written by me. But force is force. The 
moral philosophy of the ruling power is that force be- 
comes criminal when directed against it but that it is 
an instrument of virtue when employed for the preserva- 
tion of the ruling power. In other words the mer- 
cenary army with which the sovereignty of the British 
is maintained in a foreign country is an instrument of 
moral, or virtuous, force. The rifles employed in 
putting down the pauperized peasants of Malabar or 
Burma are the arms of God. But the same weapons in 
the hands of the oppressed people of India fighting for 
freedom are instruments of crime. Airplanes bombing 
the Frontier tribesmen are vehicles of virtue, teaching 
those depraved people a moral lesson, but any resist- 
ance on the part of the latter is "criminal." 

The oppressed people and exploited classes are not 
obliged to respect the moral philosophy of the ruling 
power. The sovereign right of the Indian people is 
usurped by foreign power and as the foreign usurpers 


maintain themselves in power by force, the Indian 
people are obliged to use force to recover their sov- 
ereign right. A despotic power is always overthrown 
by force. The force employed in this process is not 
criminal. On the contrary, precisely the guns carried 
by the army of the British government of India are 
instruments of crime. They become instruments of 
virtue when they are turned against the imperialist 
state. Weapons in the hands of the oppressed masses 
of India will be so many hammers to break the chain 
of a colonial slavery binding one-fifth of the human 

I am justified in holding this view on the authority 
of the great English philosophers. Bentham is of the 
opinion that: "Despotism is veiled under some happy 
and ingenious phrases as the great power of our ethical 
system bears witness/' Such "happy and ingenious 
phrases" are used by the British government of India 
to justify its despotism — "rule of law," "the public 
security," etc. 

Hume is of the opinion that: "In case of enormous 
tyranny and oppression it is lawful to take arms even 
against the supreme power and that, as government 
is a pure human invention for mutual advantage and 
security, it no longer imposes any obligation either 
moral or natural when once it ceases to have that 

I hold that the British government of India has been 
an "enormous tyranny and oppression" for the Indian 
masses and that it has never been of any advantage 
for them. So, according to Hume, the national philoso- 
pher of England, the people of India are fully justified 
to take up arms against the present government. In 
doing so they will not be employing "criminal force"; 
on the contrary, the force is moral and virtuous only 
when employed for the conquest and defense of free- 

* * * 


By their very nature, cases like this in which I am 
involved represent so many attempts to suppress the 
strivings of the Indian people for freedom. By what 


principle of legislation and government are these at- 
tacks upon the popular will raised to the dignity of 
the administration of justice? Has the present gov- 
ernment of India any constitutional basis? Was the 
law under which the people are being persecuted made 
with popular consent? How did the British King 
acquire his sovereignty in India? When did the Indian 
people swear allegiance to the British Crown? 

I maintain that the people of India owe no allegiance 
to the British Crown t Therefore the law under which 
1 am charged has no force of law in the modern civil- 
ized sense of the term. Indians are forced to obey it 
altlio they have had nothing to say about its promulga- 
tion. The British government of India holds no power 
of attorney from the Indian people. It is an instru- 
ment of predatory imperialism foisted upon this coun- 
try by violence. There can be no progress, prosperity 
and liberty for the Indian people until this foreign 
domination is overthrown. The charge against me is 
absurd. This trial is a form of violence. 

The charge against me hinges on the assumption 
that the British King has sovereign right over the 
Indian people. The substance of the offense I am 
alleged to have committed is to dispute this assump- 
tion. If I can show that the assumption is groundless, 
that the British King has no constitutional position in 
India, the absurdity of the charge against me will be 
palpable, the invalidity a»d the worthlessness of the 
law under which the charge is made will be proved. 
Searching the entire history of India's unfortunate 
relation with Britain, one does not find the least evi- 
dence to establish the assumption. 

The British Crown acquired its domination over 
India in a rather singular way. It was not even by 
conquest that the valuable acquisition was made. It 
was more like quiet appropriation of stolen or robbed 
property in return for the help given to the robbers 
in their depredation. For a hundred years the British 
East India Company held political power in India, 
nominally as a vassal of the Moghul Emperor, At the 
same time the East India Company owed its existence 
to charters granted by the British Crown thru the 
Parliament. Towards the end of its existence, the 


Company practically ceased to be a trading corporation 
and became a department of the British government; 
that is, thru the instrumentality of trading company, 
actual political power passed gradually from the titular 
Moghul Emperor to the British Crown. The people 
of India had nothing to say about the transfer of the 
power to rule them, nor was the power transferred 
voluntarily by the Moghul Emperor. All along, the 
East India Company, as the administrator of India, 
theoretically derived its authority from its vassalage 
to the Moghul Emperors, while on the other hand 
it was accountable not to them but to the British Par- 
liament So, there were two supreme authorities: one 
theoretical and the other practical. This dualism typi- 
fied the entire history of the administration of India 
by the British East India Company. 

In the middle of the nineteenth century, according 
to its own law officers, the British Crown had no con- 
stitutional authority over India and therefore could 
not claim from the Indians any allegiance. The fact 
remains that the Indian people never swore allegiance 
to the British Crown. The Queen's proclamation did 
not have as its counterpart a reciprocal proclamation 
on the part of the Indian people. When James II was 
deposed from the throne of England and his place 
occupied by a Dutch prince, the change took place on 
the initiative and authority of the British Parliament. 
An act of the British Parliament made a foreign prince 
the King of England. The Queen of England was not 
made the Empress of India by any such authority of 
the Indian people. 

Even the theory of acquiescence cannot be advanced 
in support of the constitutionality of the position of 
the British Crown in India. What might appear as 
acquiescence on the part of the Indian people is silence 
imposed by fear. 

In his principles of legislation, Bentham completely 
explodes the theory of acquiescence as the basis for 
constitutional authority. He writes: "Can a few vague 
acclamations really be accounted an act of individual 
and universal concern? Can such a contract really bind 
the multitude of individuals who never heard of it, 
who were never summoned to ratify it, and, above all, 


who could not have refused assent without risking 
their lives and estates?" So, in the opinion of the 
father of modern English principles of government 
and legislation, the demonstrative loyalty of the para- 
sitic upper classes of India does not lend constitu- 
tionality to the British domination. 

The only justification of the British rule over India 
is that it has been a successful act of usurpation. 
In denouncing the tyrants of ancient Greece, Plato 
argued that "usurpation is not justified by success." 
Other Greek philosophers, Aristotle, Xenophon, etc., 
those spiritual powers of modern European civilization, 
all held similar views. Discounting the time factor and 
the resulting change of conditions, the British conquest 
of India was very, similar to the rise of the despotic 
monarchy on the ruins of the city republics of Greece. 
In both cases, the aggressors took advantage of 
troubled conditions to establish their despotic sway. 
According to Grote, the English author of the splendid 
History of Greece, the philosophers and law-givers of 
that cradle of modern civilization regarded "the despot 
as among the greatest criminals; the man who assas- 
sinated him was an object of public honor and reward 
and a virtuous Greek would have seldom scrupled to 
carry his sword in myrtle branches for the execution 
of the despot." 

* * * 


Drinking deep in the fountain of the teachings of the 
ancient Greek philosophers that it was no crime bui 
honor to destroy a despot, the founders of the modern 
democratic states of Europe passionately preached the 
sacred right of revolt. The English philosophers, John 
Locke and David Hume, were among the illustrious 
pioneers who preached the sacred right of revolt. It 
was in England that the right was first asserted. A 
king was beheaded and another deposed in the process 
of that great revolution in England. I am accused 
of having advocated the freedom of Indian people thru 
a revolution. But we read in the work of Lord John 
Russell, The British Constitution, the following sen- 


tence; "The revolution of 1688 is the mighty stock 
from which all other revolutions had sprung," 

Demanding the trial and execution of Charles I, Lud- 
low exclaimed: "The war has been occasioned by in- 
vasion of our right and open breach of our law and 
constitution on the King's part/' Charged as I am, any 
Indian would be justified to retort in these memorable 
words of Ludlow, which constitute a very important 
landmark in the history of England. 

If the English people were justified in beheading a 
king and deposing another to assert their sovereign 
right, by no law can the Indian people be deprived of 
the right to overthrow the domination of a foreign 
king. To subject Indian people to laws not given with 
their consent is usurpation of powers by those hiding 
behind the unconstitutional legislature. The usurp- 
ers of political power cannot claim the protection of 
law any more than a robber or a thief can. I chal- 
lenge the legality of the British government of India 
and the pretension of the British King to any sovereign 
right in this country on the authority of Bcntham. He 
wrote: "Not even the age of a Nestor could suffice to 
secure a usurper in the wages and spoils of his lawless 
seizure. Why should there ever come a time when the 
wrongdoer shall be at rest; why should he enjoy the 
fruits of his crime under protection of the very law he 
has violated?" 

The charter of slavery is no law for the slave. When 
all the avenues of normal and peaceful progress are 
blocked by the established order of things, its violent 
overthrow becomes a necessity for human welfare. 
We learn again from the English jurist and moralist, 
Bentham, that "to condemn all change is to condemn all 

The despotic fundamental law of the Indian const!- 
tution limits the perspective of Indian political progress 
to "self-government within the British Empire." Those 
who are not satisfied with this limited perspective auto- 
matically come under the sweeping jurisdiction of Sec- 
tion 121A of the Indian Penal Code. Therefore, com- 
plete independence of the Indian people inevitably be- 
comes conditional upon the overthrow of the sovereign 
power assumed illegally by the British Crown. As 



the British, on their part, are not likely to abdicate 
their ill-gotten and unconstitutional power in India, the 
Indian masses are obliged to get rid of them by force, 
unless they are prepared to remain enslaved forever. 
Therefore, the "separation of India from imperialist 
Britain thru a violent revolution" is an obvious neces- 
sity in the interest of the masses of the Indian people. 
It is not my personal desire; I have no personal grudge 
against the British King. Let Britain cease to be an 
imperialist power exploiting the masses of the Indian 
people to helpless pauperization and the necessity of a 
violent clash between her and the Indian people will 
disappear. Let there be no violent oppression and ex- 
ploitation of the Indian masses and there will be no 
occasion for a violent revolution. Otherwise, all the 
repressive laws, all the ruthless force in their admin- 
istration, all the instruments of imperialist terror, will 
not be able to retard the march of human progress. 
In 1797, commenting on the situation in Ireland, Lord 
Chatham wrote: "There was ambition, there was sedi- 
tion, there was violence; but no man shall persuade 
me that it was not the cause of liberty on the one side 
and tyranny on the other." 

These words characterize the situation in India today. 
We hear men like Mr. V. J. Patel, the ex-president of 
the Legislative Assembly, sounding the alarm. Speaking 
in London the other day, he said cautiously: "I am con- 
vinced that India is heading towards a revolution and 
if the government does not concede the Congress de- 
mands I do not know what will happen to it. I know 
that today between revolution and India stands Gandhi 
and the government must concede India's demand for 

But the demand for the freedom of the Indian people 
cannot be conceded by the British government, because 
this demand, if seriously meant, challenges the very 
existence of the British government in India. As a 
matter of fact, the law under which I am charged makes 
such a demand punishable. Complete independence of 
India means her secession from the British Empire, 
which inevitably implies the overthrow of the British 
King's sovereignty in India. Had the Lahore resolu- 
tion of the National Congress not been hedged in b. 


the old creed, it might be legally construed as an 
offense against the slate punishable under section 121 A 
I.P.C. Even the old phrases would not save the Con- 
gress should the government decide to proceed against 
it for declaring in favor of complete independence. The 
unwritten law of the constitution of India under Brit- 
ish rule binds her perpetually to the Empire. A decla- 
ration in favor of complete independence, which means 
separation from the Empire if it means anything, com- 
mits the organization making such a declaration logical- 
ly to "unconstitutional," "illegal" and "violent" action. 
Thus the organization comes under the cruel jurisdic- 
tion of Section 121A, I.P.C, "conspiracy to deprive the 
King of his sovereignty of India." 

The only law for the oppressed and exploited people 
of India is the law of revolt— the majestic law of revo- 
lutionary struggle for freedom. The imperialist rulers 
of India violate every day the only law that the people 
of India can observe under the present conditions. My 
arrest and trial represent an instance of such violation 
of our law. To accuse me of any offense is to add 
insult to injury, I stand here not to answer any such 
absurd charge and insolent accusation, I stand here to 
indict the British government of India at the bar of 
the civilized world for wanton aggression against one- 
fifth of the human race, for robbing our land, for ob- 
structing our progress in every sense. 

* * * 


The English philosopher, David Hume, who greatly 
influenced modern political thought thruout Europe, 
testifies to the legality of my indictment against the 
British government of India. I have already quoted 
his opinion to that effect. He held that the people 
were justified in overthrowing a government when it 
had ceased to perform the function of guarding the 
welfare of the community- India has not derived any 
benefits from the British government. The latter was 
never established with any such purpose. It was not 
set up by the people of India to advance mutual inter- 
ests. On the contrary, it was established with the 


purpose of oppressing and exploiting the people of 
India. It has mercilessly done so for nearly two hun- 
dred years. Consequently, the Indian masses today are 
sunk in the lowest depth of economic ruin and cultural 

The disastrous consequences of the British rule are 
depicted in many a document exhibited in this case as 
evidence of my guilt. These very documents (I refer 
particularly to Chapters II and V of my book, "India 
in Transition," Exhibit B) prove my case that the 
present regime is exceedingly harmful for the masses 
of the Indian people and therefore must be overthrown 
in their interests. In support of my case, I shall pro- 
duce the testimony of an English authority on Indian 
economic affairs. Mr. Findlay Shiraz, in his latest 
publication, "Certain Economic Facts in regard to 
India," estimates the annual per capita income of India 
at about forty American dollars (that is, slightly over 
Rs. 100). In his opinion it is the lowest figure of all 
the civilized countries, being one-twelfth of that in 
the U- S, A. According to the report of the Depart- 
ment of Commercial Intelligence, the purchasing powei 
of the Indian peasants, that is, of 73% of the entire 
population, declined 50% last year. According to other 
English authorities, the total indebtedness of the Indian 
peasantry is Rs. 700-1,000 Crores. According to the re- 
port of the Whitley Commission, the wages in India 
are lower than in any other modern industrial country 
and the condition of labor is incredibly bad. Nearly 
forty-six millions of people are perpetually unemployed 
in India. Still the Royal Commission of Labor recom- 
mends a 10-hour working day, while in all other civil- 
ized countries the 8-hour day has been introduced long 
since and the workers now are demanding its reduction 
to seven and six hours. In one country, in the Soviet 
Union, in the land of "bloody" Bolshevism, the attempt 
to introduce which in this country is my crime, people 
work seven hours a day for five days a week. 

In contrast to these facts, I shall quote another set 
of facts also given by Mr. Findlay Shiraz. They relate 
to the military expenditure of a number of countries. 
The facts cited above show that the masses of the 
Indian population are incredibly poor. Yet no less 


than 45% o£ the revenue, paid mostly by the Indian 
pauperized masses, is appropriated for the military 
budget over which the Legislature has no control. The 
expenditure on the same item in the budget of some 
countries much richer than India is as follows: Britain 
12.8%, U. S. A. 16.4%, Austria 4.5 %, Canada 2.4%, 
while the most militarized country of the present day, 
France, spends only 22% of the budget on this item. 

One more fact to give the finishing touch to the pic- 
ture. We have heard various theories about the British 
administration of the Indian trusteeship, the "white 
man's burden," the "civilizing mission," "protecting the 
minorities against the caste Hindus," etc. It is even 
made to appear that the British have no material in- 
terest in ruling India. The fact of the matter is, how- 
ever, that from India, Britain derives a net income of 
about 260 Crores a year. 

These few facts clearly prove that the British gov- 
ernment of India does not perform the function of a 
modern civilized government. Its concern is not the 
welfare of the governed. It is an instrument in the 
hands of foreign exploiters of the country. Again I 
shall rely upon the testimony of the famous English 
jurist and political philosopher, Bentham, to establish 
my contention. 

According to Bentham, the function of a government 
and law is "to provide subsistence, to supply abundance, 
to encourage equality and to maintain security." 

The British government of India cannot claim to 
have performed any of these functions except the last. 
It has established order in the country but the main- 
tenance of order has been a plausible pretext to sup- 
press all expression of the popular will. "Law and 
order" have become chains of slavery for the people. 
And the Indian masses have paid very heavily for this 
lesson. Poverty and pauperization of the masses have 
been their dear price, Let alone abundance, the great 
majority of the people are not provided with the barest 
subsistence by the British government, which is guided 
by the cardinal principle of English liberalism: "Great- 
est good for the greatest number." Its object has 
been to secure the greatest gain of the foreign ex- 


I have already cited the opinion of Hume that it is 
no crime to take arms against such an oppressive and 
tyrannical government as the British administration of 
India has proved to be. Now I shall quote the same 
authority holding that his verdict, cited already, is 
applicable even when a government is established con- 
stitutionally. He writes; 

"It is certain that the people still (that is, even after 
the establishment of constitutional government) retain 
the right of resistance since even in these governments 
(Hume is dealing with constitutional monarchies) the 
cases wherein resistance is lawful must occur often 
and greater indulgence must be given to the subjects 
to defend themselves by force of arms," 

What would the national philosopher of England 
say about trials like this and the law under which trials 
take place? On the authority of Hume, the Indian 
people have lawful right to rise up in arms against the 
British government of India, even if its claim to legal- 
ity were granted. From this it follows that, even 
after India has been granted eventually some fraudu- 
lent constitution by the British Parliament, the op- 
pressed and exploited masses will still have the right 
to resist it with arms. 

The right of the people to revolt against and over- 
throw any government is conclusively established by 
Hume in the following words: "It is gross absurdity to 
suppress in any government the right of resistance or 
declare that the supreme power is shared with the 
people without allowing that it is lawful for them to 
defend their share against invaders. Therefore, those 
who would deny the right of resistance have denounced 
all pretensions to common sense and do not merit a 
serious answer." 

Thus, according to Hume, the authors and the admin, 
istrators of the law under which I am prosecuted are 
devoid of common sense. This law is absurd, and the 
regime based upon such laws is lawless. The right of 
the Indian people to resist the established government 
with armed force if necessary can be contested only by 
denying the very basic principles of modern political 
philosophy that the supreme power is shared with the 
people. The British government of India does not 


recognize this principle. That means it is pure des- 
potism, and, therefore, it is all the more lawful for the 
Indian people to overthrow it by every available means. 
The attempt to overthrow the despotic rule of our 
own country by the foreign usurpers of power is no 
offense. It is an act for the assertion of popular liberty. 
Once again I cite Hume to testify in my favor. He 

*™When the chief magistrate (that is, the head of a 
government or government as a whole) enters into 
measures extremely pernicious to the public . . . it II 
allowable to resist and dethrone him tho such resist- 
ance and violence may, in general terms of law, be 
deemed unlawful and rebellions. Nothing is more es- 
sential to public interests than the preservation ot 
public liberty." 

The laws on the Indian statute book penalizing of- 
fenses against the state and the executive ordinances 
issued frequently on the specious plea of pubhc safety, 
are measures extremely pernicious to the public liberty 
because their sole object is to crush public liberty and 
defend the despotic regime. Indeed, every single ad- 
ministrative act of the government of India is such an 
extremely pernicious measure as to warrant its over- 
throw. For it does not rule with the consent of the 
people, by laws made by their representatives. Lven 
at this very moment, such measures are being taken. 
The new press law, for example, also justifies resist- 
ance to the extent of armed insurrection. In these 
enlightened days of the twentieth century, such an at- 
tack upon the press is intolerable. Then, there is the 
ruinous exchange policy maintained in the teeth of the 
unanimous opposition of the elected members of the 
Legislature. Finally, there is the certification of the 
budget imposing upon the starving masses new bur- 
dens of taxation. 

In England, revolutions have taken place on any one 
of similar issues. But in India, the government, set up 
by the British conqueror, rules with such measures. 
Still it claims to be established by law, and ruthlessly 
suppresses all opposition to its despotic sway. 

It is a well known lesson of history that revolutions 
are inherent in the process of political progress, that 


armed resistance to absolute monarchy and other forms 
of despotic government is the only way to the estab- 
lishment of a constitutional state. Indians are not 
bound to obey the so-called laws which would prohibit 
them from travelling the path of political progress 
travelled by all other civilized peoples. 

I am prosecuted because I have tried to help the 
Indian people learn from the lessons of history. In 
pointing out the inevitability of an armed revolution, 
I have only told an historical truth. 

The organization of the nobles who forced King 
John to sign the Magna Carta is glorified as the 
founder of the glorious British Constitution. But our 
efforts in India to organize a party of the workers and 
peasants with the object of securing national freedom 
are punishable as "conspiracy" to deprive the British 
King of his non-existent sovereignty of India. 

The illiteracy of the Indian masses is pointed to by 
our foreign rulers as the sign of India's unripeness for 
political freedom. But the appalling mass illiteracy in 
India is a damaging commentary upon her civilized 
rulers and is a cogent reason for their overthrow from 
power. However, the point I want to make here. is 
that illiteracy did not prevent the founders of British 
Constitution from accomplishing their historic mission. 
The illustrious victors of Runnymede put their cross- 
marks on the Great Charter. They could not write 
their names. Inability to wield the pen did not hinder 
them from demanding and conquering political free- 
dom, as long as they could wield the sword. Force 
is the lever of all progress. It is the foundation of 
political freedom. Therefore, it is perfectly lawful for 
the oppressed and exploited masses of India to use 
force to resist and to overthrow their foreign rulers. 

There are but two alternatives before the Indian peo- 
ple: perpetual colonial slavery, which may eventually 
be somewhat gilded, or forcible overthrow of the for- 
eign domination. I recommend the latter course which 
will surely be followed by the oppressed and exploited 
majority of the Indian people who bear the burden of 

colonial exploitation. 

* * * 



The Indians have no reason to idealize the British 
idea of citizenship. They claim to do their own think- 
ing and have their own conception of freedom. There 
is no reason why the Indians should evolve a political 
constitution on the British model. In England itself 
her unwritten constitution has become obsolete. Even 
there forces are in operation to overthrow the pluto- 
cratic dictatorship hidden behind the veil of parliamen- 
tarism. A critical examination of the British constitu- 
tion does not inspire the Indians to idealize it. The 
British constitution is a bundle of anomalies and con- 
tradictions, veiling a modern plutocratic state with 
medieval monarchist formalities. 

Indians are asked to idealize this constitution of plu- 
tocratic dictatorship hidden behind the sham of par- 
liamentary democracy and the ugly ghost of medieval 

I represent those Indians who refuse this honor with 
thanks. Excepting those few whose fate is bound up 
with foreign imperialism, who are benefited by the 
colonial exploitation of the Indian masses, who have 
sold their national pride for a mess of pottage, the 
Indians want to work out their own destiny. They 
will give their country a political system better than 
the musty British constitution. They will not be sat- 
isfied with a puppet parliament at Delhi eventually set 
up by the dispensation of the sham parliament at 
Westminster. Nor will they recognize the sovereignty 
of the British Crown even if some day it will be exer- 
cised thru an Indian Viceroy. We will make our con- 
stitution not at any Round-Table Conference in Lon- 
don but here in India in the midst of the struggle for 
the assertion of our right to self-determination. The 
British Crown presumes to deprive us of this inalien- 
able right. So, the way to the establishment of a con- 
stitutional regime in India lies unavoidably thru a 
revolutionary war against the British King who has 
usurped power in India. We are not making the war. 
It is levied against the Indian people by the British 
King. The Indians must fight in self-defense. If the 
Indian people are to have democratic freedom and un- 


restricted progress in all branches of their national life, 
they must travel the road of revolution just as it has 
been done by all the peoples who stand at the van of 
modern civilization. 

The essence of the charge against me is that I have 
tried to organize a violent revolution for the overthrow 
of the British Government of India. The issue in- 
volved in trials like this is the right of the oppressed 
people to revolt against and overthrow the imperialist 
slate. The British King is but the emblem of imperial- 
ism which oppresses and exploits the Indian people. 
The theory of conspiracy is but a legal pretext. This 
trial is an expression of the conflict between popular 
will and the established law. The conflict must end in 
a violent clash, unless the established law is changed 
according to the will of the people. But laws of main- 
tenance of a given state are in their turn defended by 
the coercive machinery, namely the police, the court? 
and finally the army. The process of political ela- 
tion is inevitably subject to periodical violent outbreak, 
because of the resistance of the established order. 

"Revolutions," says the historian Gardner, "no less 
than smaller political changes, are to be accounted for 
as steps in the historical development of nations. They 
are more violent and of longer duration in proportion 
to the stubborn resistance offered to them by the insti- 
tutions which Stand in their way." 

The point of departure of all my propaganda and 
action is that foreign domination hinders the progress 
of the Indian people in every branch of life; therefore 
it must be destroyed. Whether the necessary separa- 
tion should be by violent or non-violent means does 
not depend upon the people wanting to be free. It 
depends upon the one that holds the other in subjuga- 
tion. Let the British gracefully withdraw from our 
country then there would be no need for using violent 
means for securing its separation from imperialist 
Britain. The people of India are obliged to employ 
violence in their struggle for national freedom and 
political and social progress, because British imperial- 
ism does not let them be free and advance peacefully 
In more than one document exhibited here, I have 
made it clear that we are not in favor of violence by 


choice, that the Indian people must adopt violent means 
by necessity unless they would remain in perpetual 
colonial slavery. 

I have proved that revolutions are periodical violent 
outbreaks inherent in the process of evolution in the 
sphere of social existence. So, it is but a logical state- 
ment that revolutionaries cannot believe in non-vio- 
lence as a principle. The basic principle-^ the party 
of the working class is the economic emancipation of 
the toiling masses. The parasitic possessing classes 
cannot exist and thrive except upon the product of 
labor of the producing classes, that is, pxr.ept hy ex- 
propriating the producers. Should the producing mass- 
es want to have the full value of their labor, they are 
sure to run up against the resistance of the parasitic 
possessing classes. They are entrenched behind laws, 
protecting their interests thru their courts which are 
at their disposal. Therefore, a party standing for the 
economic emancipation of the workers and peasants, 
demanding that the toilers should get the full value of 
their labor, cannot make a creed of non-violence. By 
its very nature, it is bound to meet the resistance of 
those who live and prosper upon exploitation and op- 

I have not tried to invent "a violent revolution" out 
of my perverse imagination or by acting as "agent" 
of the Communist International. Whatever propaganda 
I have made and action I have recommended are 
warranted by the objective conditions of the country, 

* * * 


The evidence proves that I pointed out the inevitabil- 
ity of a revolutionary change in the social and political 
conditions of India and that the welfare of the toiling 
masses was dependent upon the revolution. I have 
been working for the welfare of the Indian masses and 
have urged the elimination of all obstacles in the way 
to that goal. I tried to organize a working class party 
because it is necessary for the liberation of the masses 
from political slavery, economic exploitation and social 
degradation. The party is a historic necessity and has 
a historically revolutionary mission. It is neither a 



conspiracy nor a weapon in any conspiracy. The Brit- 
ish King, as well as any other power that stands in the 
way of the progress and prosperity of the Indian 
masses, must go. 

Of course, our attempt to organize a party of the 
workers and peasants would be a Quixotic venture 
had the condition of the masses been really what the 
public prosecutor imagines it to be. In his opening 
address he told the assessors that the Indian peasants 
were happy in their misery and that I was trying to dis- 
turb their happiness for some sinister purpose of mine. 
I have already given a few facts and figures to show 
that "happy peasants" live only in the imagination of 
the public prosecutor, unless the gentleman would ven- 
ture to advance a theory that the less one eats and the 
more one toils the happier he is. 

In reality, the government is against the most harm- 
less economic program, for its enforcement would 
mean loss to imperialism and its Indian allies, the 
princes, big landlords and capitalists. Therefore, the 
realization of the program will necessarily mean viola- 
tion of the laws of the imperialist government. The 
function of the laws is to hold the masses on the star- 
vation level so that foreign imperialism and its native 
allies can grow rich, and to suppress the attempts of 
the masses to rise above the present conditions. 

I have not preached violent revolution. I have main- 
tained that revolution is a historic necessity. From 
time to time, surging forces of social progress reach 
the period of a violent outburst. This is caused by the 
resistance of the old to the new. An impending revo- 
lution produces its pioneers who force events and 
herald the maturing of the conflict. The task of the 
revolutionary vanguard is to expedite the historical 
process caused by objective necessity. They conscious- 
ly organize the forces of the revolution and lead them 
to victory. I have acted as a pioneer of the Indian 
revolution; but the revolution itself is not my invention. 
It grows out of the historical conditions of the coun- 
try. I have simply been one who perceived it earlier 
than others- 
Holding such a dynamic view of the revolution, I 
could not possibly be a conspirator. As a matter of 


fact, I have always maintained that revolution is not 
a conspiracy and that conspiratorial activities are not 
always necessarily revolutionary. Consequently, I 
have been opposed to secret activities and acts of indivi- 
dual terrorism. Political assassination has no place in 
my theory and practise of revolution. 

I have not tried to manufacture a revolution and to 
use the workers and peasants as raw materials for my 
sinister fabrication, nor do I believe that the secret 
association of a few individuals can serve the purpose 
of a revolution. My approach to the matter is not sub- 
jective. My propaganda and other activities have been 
based upon an analysis of the objective conditions in- 
evitably making for a revolution. Therefore, I could 
never be a conspirator. I am too much of a revolu- 
tionary to be a conspirator. 

The propaganda I carried on between 1921-24 was 
undoubtedly revolutionary, but it had absolutely noth- 
ing to do with conspiracy. I have maintained that the 
progress of the Indian people was conditional upon 
their freedom from imperialist domination. It is for 
my prosecutors to prove that it is not so, that im- 
perialist exploitation does not block the progress of 
the Indian masses. I have also expressed the opinion 
that the foreign conquerors would never leave our 
country voluntarily. Let the British government prove 
that my opinion is wrong, I have not, however, con- 
spired to deprive the British King of the sovereignty 
which he does not possess. His is the right of con- 
quest and usurpation. Ours is the right of revolt and 

The burden of the prosecution evidence is that I 
hold certain revolutionary political and social views, 
that I have propagated these views and that I have 
tried to organize a party of the working class with the 
object of putting those views into practise. I admit all 
this but I maintain that this does not establish the 
charge against me. My conviction would mean an 
attack upon the freedom of opinion, expression and 

I do not make a secret of my determination of help- 
ing the organization of the great revolution which 
must take place in order to open up before the Indian 


masses the road to liberty, progress and prosperity. 
The impending revolution is an historic necessity. Con- 
ditions for it are maturing rapidly. Colonial exploita- 
tion of the country creates those conditions. So, I am 
not responsible for the revolution, nor is the Commu- 
nist International, Imperialism is responsible for it. 
My punishment, therefore, will not stop the revolution. 
Imperialism has created its own grave-digger, namely, 
the forces of national revolution. These will continue 
operating till their historic task is accomplished. No 
law, however ruthless may be the sanction behind it, 
can suppress them. 

The very adjective "violent" is superfluous in the 
case of revolution, for revolution by its very nature 
implies violence. The object of a revolution is to over- 
throw the established social order buttressed upon a 
particular type of political state. The function of the 
state is to suppress and coerce all opposition to the 
established order. The essence of the state power is 
violence. A revolution, that is, a radical social and 
economic transformation of society according to the 
need of the given epoch, is therefore conditional upon 
the overthrow of the state defending the established 
order. Consequently, by its very nature, revolution is 
inseparable from violence. The resistance of the estab- 
lished order is responsible for it. 

The charge against me represents a gross violation of 
the Indian people's right to liberty, to set up their own 
government responsible to themselves in place of the 
present despotic foreign regime. In refuting the absurd 
charge, I have purposely not called in the evidence of 
foreign and frankly revolutionary authorities. I have 
relied exclusively upon liberal English thinkers and 
respectable constitutional lawyers to establish my case. 
I justify what I have held and done on the unchal- 
lengeable authority of Locke, Hume, Bentham, Bage- 
hot, Dicey and even Blackstone. You can not punish 
me unless you prescribe the writings of these political 
philosophers and constitutional lawyers as seditious, 
revolutionary and treasonable. I may be punished, 
nevertheless. I am the victim of a system which knows 
no other law than the law of coercion and violence. 


But I may warn this court in the words of another 
historian of the British constitution. Referring to the 
case of Hampden, Lord John Russell wrote; "The 
judges in Westminster Hall decided against him but 
the country was roused and overbalanced by their sym- 
pathy the judgment of a court of law."