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Nistarini Devi, 

Moti Lai Ghose, 

Nritya Gopal Dutt, 

A I .it-tie Son Amiva Gopal, 


I cannot help a little egoism in this foreword. I was born 
under the roof where Babu Moti Lai Ghose was working on 
a day (28th October, 1897) exactly 50 years after he was born 
(28th October, 1847). I lived with him under the same roof 
upto his death (5th September, 1922), i.e., for 25 years. So, 
the first 25 years of my life were spent constantly with him. 
When I look back I find, besides my father, one outstanding 
figure who predominated over everybody during this period 
and this was Moti Lai Ghose. My earliest recollection is, 
perhaps, about Moti Lai Ghose. When as a boy of five I was 
standing on the roof of our house at Deoghur I saw him coming 
from Jashidi in a Trolly and stopping in front of our house. 
That is, perhaps, my earliest recollection of him. Since then, 
perhaps, not a single day passed when I did not remember 
him. He was at first my playmate, then a teacher, 
who taught me music, writing and morals, then a friend, 
philosopher and guide, and lastly I became his constant com- 
panion, an amanuensis, a Private Secretary and an attendant, 
rolled into one. Indeed, the little that I have learnt has been 
mostly from my father, the late Nritya Gopal Dutt and my 
grandfather, Moti Lai Ghose. The former taught me the 
language and the latter gave me the idea. These two were 
my gurus in the literary world. Moti Lai Ghose had a public 
life extending over nearly sixty years. The present generation 
may yet like to know something about a man who was one of 
the makers of modern Bengal and who made journalism in this 
land a power and not a mere profession. This is my apology 
for writing his biography. I wish it were in better hands. 
Nobody is more conscious of my failings than I am. Knowing 
them as I do I hesitate to come forward before the public. 
But the subject, I think, is a sacred one and the public, I hope, 
will receive it in that light. 


~ r , T 
Calcutta, ist January, 



, 1935. I 




I As A Boy In The Village ... ... I 

II From A School-master To A Publicist ... 8 

III A Budding Spiritualist ... ... 14 

IV Driven By Malaria From Country To City ... 19 

V A Famous Paper From An Infamous Place 29 

VI Early Acquisition of Friends In Calcutta ... 39 

VII From Bengali To English In One Night ... 45 

VIII The Ilbert Bill Agitation ... ... 50 

IX Evidence Before Royal Commission ... 54 
X More About Evidence Before Royal Com- 
mission ... ... ... 58 

XI Early Congress Activities ... ... 63 

XII How Charles Bradlaugh Was Drawn Into 

Indian Politics ... ... ... 67 

XIII From A Weekly To A Daily ... ... 72 

XIV An Election Affray ... ... ... 78 

XV "Hitabadi" Defamation Case ... ... 84 

XVI Bengal Provincial Conference ... ... 88 

XVII Evolution Of The Law of Sedition ... 95 

XVIII Matters Municipal ... ... ... 104 

XIX Fight Between Journalists ... ... 112 

XX More Quarrels Among Journalists ... 120 

XXI Road Cess And Public Works Cess ... 124 

XXII Defamation Case Against Moti Lai ... 127 

XXIII From A Writer To A Speaker ... ... 133 

XXIV Two Commissions (University and Police 

Reforms) ... ... ... 136 

XXV Moti Lai And The "Superior Purzon" ... 144 

XXVI Bearding The Lion In His Den ... ... 152 

XXVII Partition of Bengal ... ... ... 155 




XXVIII King George's Visit To India ... ... 160 

XXIX The Historic Barisal Conference ... ... 165 

XXX The Congress Split At Surat ... ... 170 

XXXI Moti Lai And Anglo-Indians ... ... 17$ 

XXXII Moti Lai on Jury System ... ... 182 

XXXIII Security Taken From The Patrika ... 186 

XXXIV Moti Lai And Lord Carmichael ... ... 193 

XXXV Urban Versus Rural Sanitation ... ... 199 

' XXXVI Public Services Commission Again ... 203 

XXXVTI The Amrita Bkzar Patrika Contempt Case ... 206 

XXXVm Moti Lai As A Public Man ... ... 215 

XXXIX The Great War ... ... ... 2 19 

XL Latter Life In Calcutta ... ... 223 

XLI White Versus Brown ... ... ... 226 

XLII Krishnagar Conference, 1915 ... ... 230 

XLIII Life Outside Calcutta ... ... 242 

XLIV Presidency College Embroglio ... ... 246 

XLV Home Rule Movement ... ... 255 

XLVI Contempt of Com Again ... ... 268 

XLVTI As A Bengali Writer ... ... ... 274 

XLVIII Humorous Articles ... ... ... 279 

XLIX The Amrita Bazar Patrika A Family Paper, 

Yet An Institution ... ... 283 

L Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms ... ... 295 

LI Home Rulers And Lord Willingdon ... 303 

LII Moti Lai, Tilak and Gokhale ... ... 310 

LIII Moti Lai And Lord Ronaldshay ... ... 313 

LIV After The War ... ... ... 318 

LV In Failing Health ... ... ... 325 

LVI Rivals In A Good Cause ... ... 332 

LVII Moti Lai And Gandhi ... ... 339 

LVm Boycott and Non-Co-operation ... ... 346 

LIX The Last Phase ... ... ... 35* 

As Others Saw Him ... ... ... 366 

Paramananda Dutt 




His Parents and Brothers Early Education Stories from Early Life 
The Village He Lived In Bengal in Olden Days The Great Bnrdwan 
Fever Malarial Havoc. 

Sj. Moti Lai Ghose, one of the founders of the Amrita 
Bazar Patrika, was born in a small village named "Palua 
Magura" (subsequently named "Amrita Bazar" according to 
the name of Moti Lai's mother) in the district of Jessore on 
Thursday, i2th of Kartik, 1254 Bengali era (28th Oct. 1847). 
His father, Sj. Harinarayan Ghose was in his time a prosperous 
pleader practising in the District Court of Jessore. Motilal 
was his fourth son 3 brothers and 2 sisters having been born 
before him. He was born along with a twin sister who, 
however, died very early. Motilal's grandfather Padmalochan 
was a famous Kulin of the time though not in very affluent 
circumstances. His father however, earned some money and 
had 'Durgotsav* and other festivities performed every year in 
his house with due rites. Motilal's mother Amritamoyee was 
a devout Hindu lady. Though means permitted the family 
to keep a cook, she did not allow them to keep one and like 
a true Hindu woman of the time she herself cooked food for 
the members of the household and looked after their comforts. 
The sole object of her life seemed to be to make her children 
happy. But in later life, she began to live a retired life 
spending almost the whole of her days in divine meditation. 

Motilal was a sickly child and had stomach complaints 
ever since his childhood. So he would often refuse to take 
any food, but his aunt (mother's sister) who used to look 
after him, would at such times force him to take food. Chid 
by his aunt he had to open his mouth for crying aloud and 


every time he did so she forced morsels of rice and milk 
down his throat. This was one cause of his dread of his 
aunt to which Motilal good-humouredly referred even in his 
later days. This was perhaps his earliest recollection. 

Motilal was very fortunate in his brothers. His eldest 
brother Basanta Kumar was of exemplary moral character. 
He it was who was responsible for the early education of his 
younger brothers and his character and erudition fitted him 
well for the task. The passion for knowledge was the pre- 
dominant element in Basanta Kumar's character and he 
implanted it into the mind of his younger brothers. His 
second brother Hemanta Kumar who was the eldest of the 
three brothers who founded the Amrita Bazar Patrika was 
highly religious minded even from his boyhood. He read in 
the Medical College at Calcutta in his youth and later took 
an important part in conducting the paper. His third brother 
Shishir Kumar, the second of the brothers who founded the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika, is too well-known to require any 
mention. Motilal had four younger brothers Hiralal, Ramlal, 
Binodelal, and Golaplal. Of these Hiralal died very early 
and Golaplal, who was a young boy when the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika was started, in his latter days became very famous 
as its editor. He breathed his last very recently. Basanta 
Kumar taught Motilal the three R's and also sowed in him 
the seed of a passion for knowledge which in his after-life 
made him a serious thinker. In his youthful days, Motilal 
burnt no midnight oil over big volumes but he went on doing 
his work as usual and gathered knowledge in the course of 
studies with which he used to utilise his spare moments. 

Motilal was a gentle boy, always afraid lest he should 
offend his stern and yet loving elder brothers. He finished 

1 his early education in the village 'Pathsala'. The chief 
characteristic of Motilal in his early youth was his submis- 
siveness to his elder brothers whom he always regarded with 
great veneration. It was this which later on developed into 
that peculiar trait in Motilal's character his complete self- 

j abnegation. He did not care for name or fame, he cared for 


solid, silent work work not for himself or even his family, 
but for his country which he loved more dearly than any- 
thing else. In later days, tears would trickle down his cheeks 
when he talked of the miseries of his countrymen and he did 
what lay in his power to allay their sufferings. Like the 
prompter in a theatre he had all along been working from 
behind the scenes and he never grudged those who performed 
their parts before the footlight. He was content with his part 
and he was conscious that he played it well. 

From the 'Pathsala* Motilal went for his education to the 
Krishnagar Collegiate vSchool, whence he passed the Entrance 
examination. Incidentally it may be mentioned here that 
though keeping an indifferent health, Motilal had been a great 
walker since his boyhood. In order to go to Krishnagar from 
his native place he had to encounter great difficulties as there 
were not good arrangements for conveyance in those days. 
From his native village to Krishnagar, a distance of 50 miles, 
Motilal had to walk on foot before and after his vacations. 
Once during the summer when he felt very thirsty while on 
his journey, he had to drink foul water from a drain as he 
could not find any pond or tank near at hand. On another 
occasion a violent storm came while he was on his way and 
he took shelter in the shop of a grocer who treated him to 
a feast of Chira and Dahi, (fried rice and curd). Even long 
afterwards Motilal did not forget the hospitality of the grocer 
and often referred to him in his stories about the good old days. 

Another of Motilal 's favourite stories which were number- 
less and which he would tell daily to the members of his 
family when taking his dinner was that of a man with two 
wives. Motilal was then a little child and he would go to 
the house of his neighbours. Now, oq one occasion as he 
went to the house of a neighbouring old man with two wives, 
he found these three quarrelling amongst themselves. The 
quarrel originated amongst the two wives when the husband 
was absent and each was invoking the wrath of God upon 
the other so that she might become a widow. At this time 
in came the husband, and one of the women, who had a 


broomstick in her hand, began mercilessly beating the husband 
and admonishing him for marrying her. When the other 
woman approached the husband, he fell upon her and laid her 
prostrate on the ground. All this time Motilal, a little child, 
was standing by, shaking with fear. The woman who fell on 
the ground now espied Motilal and exclaimed to him, "Moti, 
Moti, deto, bonti khana deto, Minsher gala kete felt", ("Moti, 
will you please give me the fish-knife that is lying there, I 
will chop off the head of this fellow.") This was too much 
for Moti, who at once fled from the spot and called the 
neighbours who separated the quarrelling trio. 

Motilal's boyhood was mostly spent in his native village 
"Amrita Bazar" in the Jessore District. It is situated on the 
river Kapatakshi, about five miles to the north of the 
Jhinkergacha Railway station. Of course in those days the 
Railway did not run up to Jhinkergacha and conveyance was 
not so easy as now. Perhaps that was the reason why the 
village "Amrita Bazar" like many other villages was then in 
a flourishing condition. But it was flourishing not in the 
sense that there were big buildings or a large number of rich 
men in this village but it was flourishing in this sense that 
men there lived a happy and contented life. The sort of life 
that people lived in the villages has been in more than one 
place described by Motilal. It pleases our fancy to imagine 
that while he gave the following description of village life 
in olden days in his Presidential Address delivered at 
Krishnagar at the Bengal Provincial Conference in 1915, he 
had his own village in his mind's eye. Said he : 

"Have you, my young friends, any idea of what 
Bengal was 60 or 70 years ago? There were then very 
few towns and Municipalities in the Province. The pick 
of the nation lived in rural areas. The result was that 
the bulk of the villages were furnished with all the 
necessaries of civilized life. They had an excellent 
system of drainage; and each of them posessed at least 
half a dozen tanks, one or more of which were reserved 
for drinking purposes, unless the village stood on a 
flowing river. No people were more cleanly; they rub- 
bed their bodies with mustard oil and bathed at least 


once during the day. They lived in well-ventilated 
houses, facing the south as a rule, and having large 
compounds. They had their disinfectant in cow-dung. 
Fields were specially set apart, far from human habita- 
tion, for latrine purposes. The people had thus pretty 
good knowledge of hygienic laws. 

"They had abundance of food and had good 
appetite. There was scarcely a family however poor, 
who had not one or more milch cows. Rivers, channels, 
khals, tanks and ponds abounded in fish. There was 
a pasturage and a village common attached to? every 
populated locality. Fruits were plentiful and so were 
fresh vegetables. Rice used to sell at an incredibly low 
price and all kinds of cereals were also very cheap. 

"Villages in those days thus teemed with healthy, 
happy and robust people, who spent their days in manly 
sports in wrestling and playing lathis and swords ; in 
swimming and climbing up tall trees ; in riding and 
running, not troubled by the bread question or the fear 
of being visited by any deadly pestilence or any 
emissaries of the C. I. D. In short, the people could in 
those days nourish their bodies properly with whole- 
some food and pure drinking water ; they could keep 
their villages dry by natural drainage ; they had not to 
struggle hard for their bread ; they had enough of cattle 
and unsilted-up waterways to furnish them with such 
nourishing food as milk and fish. They had also several 
other advantages which we do not possess now with the 
result that they were able to enjoy an idyllic life six 
or seven decades ago, which has passed beyond our 
wildest dreams to-day." 

If we go back 60 or 70 years from the year 1915 when 
the above speech was delivered we come to the years 1845-55. 
Motilal was then a mere boy. The speech reflects what 
Motilal had seen in those days. 

Motilal further said : 

"Litigation was unknown among our ancestors. . . . 
Our people once controlled the yarn industry of the 
country by the universal use of the Charka in every 
house, rich or poor. Not many generations ago, we 
made our own metallic utensils and vessels ; we made 
our goor and salt. 

"As regards economical living, well, our forefathers 
with the income of their small holdings not only led an 


' independent life, but a life of ease and comfort 

They held no Government appointments, yet they had 
competence ; and they were happy and contented because 
they knew how to lead an economical and healthy life." 

About the sanitary condition of Bengal in those days 
Motilal writes in his "Reminiscences" published in the Amrita 
Bazar Patrika in April 1921 : 

"What was the sanitary condition of Bengal villages 
sixty or seventy years before (1845-55) ? As far as I 
am aware no official enquiry has ever been held into 
this subject. The official and urban impression of the 
present day perhaps is that these villages were then as 
insanitary as or perhaps more insanitary than they are 
now. The reverse, however, is the case. This I say 
partly from my own personal experiences and partly 
from official reports. I was born and brought up in a 
village in the interior of Jessore which was generally 
known as a fever-stricken district. Yet sixty years ago 
(before 1860) there was very little of disease in it, and 
this was the case with most of the villages in Bengal. 

"It was in the months of September and October 
after the usual autumnal rainfall had ceased that the 
people as a rule were attacked with fever. They fasted 
or lived on low diet for seven days and were completely 
free on the eighth, there being no relapse of the fever 
afterwards. That was the general rule. Those who had 
enlarged spleens, however, suffered from periodical 
attacks of fever throughout the winter but they usually 
shook them off as soon as spring with southern breeze 
made its appearance. On rare occasions the fever would 
take a typhoid character and end fatally. 

"We had at that time plenty of mosquitoes, but no 
Malarial fever. Cholera was practically unknown. So 
were Phthisis and other respiratory diseases except 
Asthma. The dreaded Small-Pox now and then broke 
out in a virulent form, but the Tikadars or Small-Pox 
doctors treated the disease with wonderful success. 
What a pity that this race of specialists have now 
become extinct and their treatment is lost to the world ! 
The mortality in those days was necessarily small." 

Motilal has shown from official reports, and especially 
from the Report of the Epidemic Fever Commission that the 
deterioration of the Bengali race began with the outbreak of 
a kind of fever in an epidemic form in the sixties of the last 


century which is known as the "Epidemic" or "Burdwan" 
fever and which has now converted itself into Malaria and 
spread not only in this province but all over India. The 
Report of this Commission describes how Malaria destroyed 
many cities and villages like Gour, Gadkhali, Ula, Kanchrapara, 
Halisahar and Naihati within the ten years from 1860 to 1870. 
Motilal had also a personal experience of the havoc created 
by Malaria during this time. Writes he in his "Reminiscences" 
alluded to above: 

"As I have already said the great malaria fever 
first broke out in Bengal in the sixties of the last century. 
Perhaps it raged most furiously in 1864 in such districts 
as Hooghly, Burdwan and Nadia. I was at the time 
prosecuting my studies in the Krishnagar College. The 
horrible sight that I saw has ever been imprinted in- 
delibly upon my mind. There were no men in the 
town of Krishnagar to burn or bury the dead bodies. 
Cart-loads of them were thrown either in the Kharia 
river or in the bed of the dead river Anjana. Heart- 
breaking lamentations were heard almost in every house 
of the town and to add horror to the situation jackals 
in packs howled during the day after having feasted 
upon the dead bodies. Our College was closed and I 
returned to my native village, which was fifty miles 
distant from Krishnagar walking all the way on foot 
at a stretch. There was not a village in the District 
of Nadia I passed through where the disease had not 
entered and committed dread havocs. Cries of bitter 
agony assailed my ears when I reached home. I soon 
came to know the reason of this lamentation in my 
family a mischievous fellow had circulated the rumour 
that I had been carried off by an attack of Malaria." 


Student at Krishnagar As a Village School Master vl write Prabahini 
Precursor of Patrika A mrita Bazar Patrika startedEarly History of 
the Patrika- First Public Appearance Defamation Case Against Patrika. 

Fortunately or unfortunately Motilal could not prosecute 
his studies beyond the First Arts Class. For a time he read 
in the General Assembly's Institution. He read in the College 
at Krishnagar also where he had to reside at the College 
boarding house. 

In 1860 the great Brahmo leader Keshab Ch under vSen 
and some members of the family of Maharshi Devendra Nath 
Tagore went on a missionary expedition to Krishnagar which 
was at that time a stronghold of Christian missionaries. 
Keshab Chunder Sen's lectures defending Hinduism, in the 
sense in which he understood it, created a great impression on 
the local gentry and served as a check on the surging tide 
of the Christian propagandists. They gave him a hearty 
reception and the local Brahmo Samaj began to draw young- 
men in large numbers. When Motilal joined the Krishnagar 
College a few years afterwards the enthusiasm for Brahmoism 
was perhaps at its highest. Being naturally of a religious 
temperament he was drawn to the Brahmo Samaj which made 
an indelible impression on his mind. For, though he did not 
become an. out and out declared Brahmo he had in his religious 
views many things in common with the Brahmoes, and, 
though not an iconoclast, he could never become an orthodox 

It may be said here that Moti Lai's three elder brothers, 
Basanta, Hemanta and Shishir had about this time started a 
high school, a girl's school and a school for adult females in 
their native village. For this last-named school which was 
unthinkable in those days they had to suffer great persecution 
from the orthodox Hindu section of the village people to whom 
any body who wanted to bring about a social reform was a 


Christian. As a matter of fact they had been ostracised. But 
nothing undaunted, with a band of young and ardent followers 
they started a Hari Sabha, a Bhratree Sabha (Society of 
Brothers) and a Brahma Sabha (not Samaj), where religious 
lectures were delivered and divine services were held. These 
had also made a lasting impression on Moti Lai's mind, who 
next to God looked upon his brothers as the ideal to be followed. 

Naturally, therefore, while at Krishnagar Moti Lai regu- 
larly attended the prayers at the Brahmo Samaj and used to 
sing religious songs at the time of service. Motilal had a 
sweet and melodious voice and so his songs were a great 
attraction for the gentlemen of the place. Also he started 
along with the late Tarapada Banerjee and others a club for 
social service, which did much useful work at the time. He 
did not appear at the F.A. examination. Like all other boys 
Motilal also did not like his examination, and he has more 
th::n once said that examinations sapped the life of the youth 
of our country and even in his old age he would sometimes 
be oppressed in his sleep by the nightmare of examinations. 
He himself did not read much in his younger days and he 
did not like others also to read much. This may be an eye- 
opener to those who lay special stress upon University Degrees 
when considering the success or failure of a man. He did 
not bear the stamp of the University yet in knowledge and 
wisdom he was inferior to few of the great scholars of our 

When Motilal was still a youth, he had to give up his 
studies, probably due to financial stringency, his father Hari 
iCarayan Ghose having died in the year 1863 when Motilal 
was only a boy of 16. Instead of appearing at the F.A. 
examination he took up an appointment as Headmaster of a 
High English School at Piljong in Khulna district. This was 
the beginning of his brilliant and eventful career. Those who 
have read biographies of great men know that not a few of 
the world's greatest men had begun their career as school- 
masters and so MotilaPs beginning may not be said to be 
very unfavourable. He was a very successful teacher and the 


school-master in him was not dead upto his last days. For 
he was always fond of giving advice, and many perhaps have 
benefited by his advice, which was always sound and sober. 
Though mild and loving, yet something of the autocrat, of 
the "You-must-obey-my-command" attitude was ever present 
in the character of Motilal. He was very firm in his con- 
victions, slow to be convinced but once convinced it was 
very difficult to make him change his views. He would give 
a patient hearing before he was convinced, but once convinced 
he would not like to be argued with any further. 

But Moti Lai could not stay at Piljong for a long time. 
His health had all along been indifferent and it became worse 
while at Piljong. His elder brothers Hemanta Kumar and 
Sisir Kumar had been Income Tax Deputy Collectors and his 
eldest brother Basanta Kumar had started a Bengali paper 
named Amrita Prabahini which was published fortnightly. The 
Amrita Prabahini was the precursor of the Amrita Bazar Patrika. 
Unfortunately, however, the span of life of the Prabahini was 
not very long, and with the early death of Basanta Kumar 
the paper also ceased to exist. 

Sometime after the death of Basanta Kumar, Hemanta 
Kumar, Shishir Kumar and Moti Lai gave up their respective 
jobs and started a weekly newspaper in Bengali with the name 
of Amrita Bazar Patrika in March 1868. It was at first pub- 
lished in their native village and Hemanta Kumar, Moti Lai, 
Ananda Mohan Bose, Barrister, Jagabandhu Bhadra, Teacher, 
Jessore Zilla School and Moti LaPs brother-in-law Kishori Lai 
Sarkar, Vakil, High Court, were its writers. The struggle 
through which the Patrika had to pass was very great. Some 
years before his death Moti Lai himself wrote a sketch of the 
early history of the Patrika, in which he narrated how the 
three brothers started it as a Bengali weekly with a wooden 
printing press and a few founts of second-hand types, how they 
wrote the copy, set the type, prepared the ink, all by them- 
selves, how it fell under the displeasure of the officials, who 
tried to wreck it, how the Vernacular Press Act was passed, 
how in one night the paper was transformed from Vernacular 









into English, and how from a weekly paper it became a daily. 
The history of all these is the history of the brothers Hemanta 
Kumar, Shishir Kumar and Motilal. Much of what might be 
said of Shishir Kumar with regard to these achievements might 
equally and appropriately be said of Motilal also. The two 
brothers, to use a simile once used by Motilal himself, were 
two flowers in the same stalk, two bodies bearing the same 

About the relationship between the two brothers Moti Lai 
has written in the preface to Sj. Anath Nath Basu's Biography 
of "Mahatma Shishir Kumar Ghose." 

How sweet was the relationship between myself and 
Shejdada (Shishir Kumar) it is impossible to make others 
understand by words, spoken or written. For sixty 
years we lived together and discussed political and 
social affairs. Our bodies were separate but our souls 
were not. As my little soul was intertwined with the 
great soul of Shejdada no one had a greater opportunity 
of understanding him than myself. He was my guru 
and I was his pupil. 

Writes Babu Motilal in the sketch of the early history 
of the Patrika alluded to above : 

"An enterprising man living at a place near Calcutta 
had purchased printing materials to carry on printing 
business. He failed in his venture and died soon after. 
His widow thereupon wanted to dispose of them. These 
materials were purchased and carried to Amrita Bazar, 
a small village in the district of Jessore. The most 
valuable of these materials was the Printing Press, a 
wooden one, called the Balein Press which cost Rs. 32. 
It was set up with the help of the village carpenter, 
and the cases with worn-out types were placed on their 
stands. In this way a printing workshop was established 
at the village of Amrita Bazar. 

"Those who did all these had, however, to learn 
the business of printing in Calcutta ; and when they 
started the Patrika, they had to hold the composing 
sticks and set their articles in type and also to print 
the sheets themselves. In short even when a few men 
of the village had been trained the proprietors them- 
selves had to do the works of compositor, pressman and 
editor, so long they remained at Amrita Bazar, which 
was their native village. 


"Besides holding the composing sticks and pulling 
the press for printing the journal they had to cast rollers 
and types, prepare matrices and manufacture ink. In 
paper making they failed but they manufactured fine 
ink. The matrices and types were poor products, though 
they were utilized in times of urgent need. 

"The paper they started was a weekly in the Bengali 
language. It came out in March, 1868 consisting only 
of 2^ small (crown) sheets of paper. They named it 
the Amrita Bazar Patrika Amrita, meaning nectar, 
Bazar, market and Patrika journal, that is to say, the 
A. B. P. was a paper which distributed nectar or honey. 
Amrita has, however, another significance, namely, 
aconite or poison. So the Amrita Bazar Patrika was a 
paper which in the opinion of its proprietors purveyed 
both nectar and poison, nectar to the right-minded and 
poison to the wrong-headed people." 

Within a few months of its publication the Amrita Bazar 
came to enjoy a circulation of 500. Its fearless tone and 
exposure of official abuses, however, offended the local autho- 
rities, though it earned a seat for itself in the hearts of the 

The first public appearance of Motilal was when he was 
a young man of 21 years. We have said before that before 
he reached his teens he had been a very gentle and quiet boy. 
But that does not mean that he was dull or unintelligent. The 
real fact is that his intellect did not find any opportunity or 
occasion for expressing itself. In the first year of its existence, 
to be precise, within four months of its birth, the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika found itself involved in a prosecution. A case was 
brought against the editor and printer of the Patrika for criminal 
defamation by an English Sub-Divisional Officer, Mr. Wright, 
in consequence of some sharp criticism of his actions published 
in its columns. Motilal was cited as a prosecution witness. 
The prosecution wanted to prove through him that Shishir 
Kumar was the editor of the paper and that a certain other 
gentleman was the writer of the article in question. In a 
previous case Motilal had said that his uncle was the proprietor 
of the press. 


The Magistrate asked Motilal Who is the proprietor of 
the Amrita Bazar RAtrika? 

Motilal It belongs to the public. 

Magistrate How is that? In a previous case you said 
that it belonged to your uncle and now you say it belongs to 
the public. 

Motilal I am quite correct. In my previous statement I 
said that my uncle was the proprietor of the press and not the 
paper. The press and the paper are not the same thing. 

The Magistrate grew angry and said Who is the editor 
of the Patrikal 

Motilal Well, the paper has been started only recently. It 
has not yet been settled as to who should be its editor. 

Magistrate. But do not people think that Shishir Kumar 
is the editor? 

Motilal. Yes, they do, because they think that Shishir 
Kumar can write very well. 

Magistrate. Do you think that Shishir can write English 
well ? 

Motilal. Yes, very well and better than many fat-salaried 

This was too much for the trying officer. But he in vain 
tried to elicit from Motilal the story as to who the writer of 
the article in question was. So that Motilal came out victorious 
and Monmohon Ghosh, Barrister, who was defending the 
Patrika, shook hands with Motilal and said that the like of 
Moti was not to be found anywhere. He said that "it is 
difficult to get this Moti's (jewel) peer." 

The reader will understand from the above story how 
shrewd and intelligent Moti I<al was and when necessary he 
could rise to the occasion. 

The case dragged on for eight months and though the 
brothers came out victorious, their exchequer had been com- 
pletely swept away. The printer and the writer of the article 
in question (Raj Krishna Mitter) were convicted and sent to 
jail, the former for six months and the latter for a year. 


Moti Lai as a Medium Spirit of His Brother Appears A Healing 

The members of Moti Lai's family interested themselves 
in spiritualism as early as 1866, that is, two years before the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika had been started. It happened in this 
way. Motilal's father Harinarayan Ghose breathed his last 
in the year 1863. A little more than two years after this, 
that is, in 1866 Moti Lai's next brother Hira Lai committed 
suicide. He was a very sentimental youngman and would 
often say, "What's the use of my life, if I cannot allay the 
sufferings of mankind?" He hanged himself to death in a 
fit of melancholia, which he used to get from time to time. 
An hour before his death he began to cry and repeatedly asked 
Motilal as to what would be the lot of mankind and other 
living beings in this world. Moti Lai tried to console him 
as best ^as) he could, but all his efforts were of no avail. 

His death, following so close upon that of his father, gave 
a great shock to the bereaved family ; specially Moti Lai and 
his mother became very much overpowered with grief. Moti 
Lai's elder brothers had come to learn that certain processes 
had been discovered in America by which one could talk with 
the dead and books had also been published detailing these 
processes. Their mother's grief naturally knew no bounds 
and in order to console her, they thought of procuring these 
books. Shishir Kumar came to Calcutta with a view to get 
them if he could. While in quest of these books he met the 
late Peary Chand Mitter, the then Secretary of the Calcutta 
Public Library and learnt from him how to conduct seances. 

Said Babu Moti Lai Ghose as President of a meeting in 
Calcutta held on the 23rd November 1916 in memory of the 
late Peary Chand Mitter: 

"For some domestic affliction my late lamented 
brother, Shishir Babu, thought of starting for America 


to learn the modern art of occultism direct from the 
spiritualists there. He met Peary Chand Babu in the 
Calcutta Public Library in order to consult him. Peary 
Babu gave him some verbal instructions as to how to 
form circles. He also gave him some books to read and 
advised him that it was not necessary for any person to 
go anywhere outside India for the purpose but they 
could succeed if they practised here in India." 

The late Peary Chand Mitter was very much impressed 
with the conversation of Shishir Kumar and at his instance 
the latter became a member of the Calcutta Public Library and 
read the books on spiritualism which were available in those 
days and learnt how to sit in a seance and conduct it, how to 
mesmerise others, how to invoke the disembodied souls and 
many cognate matters. Peary Chand Babu who had been 
studying the subject from before also gave general instructions 
to Shishir Kumar so that when he returned to his native village 
Amrita Bazar he was thoroughly competent to conduct seances. 

Immediately on returning home Shishir Kumar began con- 
ducting circles. Just at dusk around a round table sat Basanta 
Kumar, Hemanta Kumar, Shishir Kumar, Moti Lai and their 
mother and sisters, their fingers touching each others. 
The room was purified with sacred water, and the main door 
was closed so that no outsider could enter the room when the 
seance was being conducted. They prayed to God and sang 
devotional songs. In the beginning they did not get much 
response beyond some rapping noise. But gradually they got 
very good result.* As to this I take the following from 

* Spiritualism was first brought to this country by ourselves. The 
first circles held were in our native village. When the 'accounts of these 
seances were made known to some of our Calcutta friends, the latter 
published them in the newspapers (Indian Daily News), with the result 
that an immense sensation was created throughout the length and 
breadth of the country. The news spread from town to town, from 
hamlet to hamlet, from house to house that the Amrita Bazar people 
Amrita Bazar being our native village have succeeded in talking with 
the dead. Thus circles began to be held in every family in this country. 
The Hindu Spiritual Magazine (1908). 


Srijut Mrinal Kanti Ghose's newly-published book in Bengali,. 
Paroloker Katha: 

"On the third day at the appointed time they sat in 
a circle and began to sing the name of God with all 
their heart. At this time Moti Lai felt as if his whole 
body was being paralysed and a feeling of some kind 
was collecting in his mind. Gradually his hands began 
to quiver a little, it appeared to him as if some unseen 
force was gradually over-mastering his body and mind, 
so much so, that he was gradually losing his power of 
thinking or doing anything. Then his breath became 
very deep, his hands began to be thrown aside with 
force and he was about to lose his consciousness. At 
last his mental feeling became so intense that he went 
on weeping in a suppressed way. 

"Then Shishir Babu said 'Most probably some 
spirit has possessed Moti. For it is to be found in books 
on spiritualism that when a spirit enters into a medium 
his condition becomes exactly like this'. Then he asked 
'Who are you ?' 

"From Moti Lai's appearance it seemed as if he 
was trying to say something. But he could not utter a 
a single word. As a result his mental feelings were 
augmented. At this others became somewhat unnerved 
and tried to bring him back to consciousness. Doors 
and windows were opened at once, showers of water 
were applied to his face and he was fanned and at last 
he came back to his former self. 

"When Moti Lai had completely come round he was 
asked as to how did he feel in his unconscious state. 
He replied 'At first I felt my body to be under . a 
weight ; but I could not understand why it became so. 
Gradually I felt that some one had fallen on my neck 
and was weeping in a painful manner. On hearing him 
weeping I could not also control myself but went on 
weeping. At last it seemed to me that the unseen being 
was trying to speak, but was unable to do so. At this 
my mind was very much agitated and I was on the point 
of losing consciousness.' 

Continues Srijut Mrinal Kanti Ghose in his book named 
above : 

"On the fourth day after the seance had sat for a 
time MotilaPs right hand began to quiver a little. 
Experience of these few days showed that some spirit 


had come down upon him and it seemed he was trying 
to write something. A pencil was put into his shaking 
fingers and his hand began to move very quickly and 
some heiroglyphics were written on the paper. After 
a time the name of Hiralal was written on the paper 
rather indistinctly. On seeing HiralaPs name every- 
body was moved and they began to cry. 

"At this time as Moti Lai's hand began to shake 
more quickly the pencil fell from his hand and his 
breath became very quick. He was then wholly uncons- 
cious. In that state he encircled his arms round his 
mother's neck and panted and sobbed, and said, 'Mother, 
I am Hiralal/ and went on weeping. 

"All this time Moti Lai's eyes were closed and he was 
semi-conscious ; in that state when in the exact voice 
of Hiralal and exactly with Hira Lai's manners he said, 
'Mother, I am Hiralal', it seemed to everybody that 
it was Hira Lai who was speaking. 'Then Hira Lai 
still exists' all of them thought and were beside them- 
selves with joy. It is impossible to describe their mental 
feeling when in that semi-conscious state Moti Lai was 
drying with his hands the tears of their eyes. As if 
they had got back their lost treasure, whose existence 
was not altogether gone and it was he who had come 
and had been consoling them this was their impression, 
the weight of their grief was minimised and they seemed 
to have got back life and heaved a sigh of relief." 

When the medium had become a bit composed, several 
questions regarding the next world were put to him and he 
gave his answers. He described the place as a far better one 
than this world. He said that he had not as yet come across 
God or any disemobied soul who had come across Him, and so 
forth and so on. Moti Lai and his brothers went on sitting 
in circle. Gradually his elder brother Hemanta Kumar became 
a medium. His faculty as a medium went on increasing till at 
last through his mediumship spirits of a very high order made 
many many valuable revelations regarding the next world, the 
world where men, women and children go after they have 
shuffled off their mortal coil and thus the undiscovered country 
from whose bourne no traveller ever returneth was discovered 
by the earnest efforts of the Ghose brothers of Amrita Bazar. 

Shishir Kumar was a great healing medium. Like 


Moti Lai also had developed great powers as a healing medium. 
This fact has been testified to by Shishir Kumar himself, who 
writes in the Hindu Spiritual Magazine: 

"Here is a personal experience of mine, which 
whenever I think of it, gives me a thrill. I had taken 
some indigestible food, and that made me sick. I com- 
mitted another outrage while suffering from acute 
diarrhoea ; and this time found that I had brought upon 
myself cholera, the real disease. I felt that I was going 
to faint away from exhaustion and griping of the 
stomach. My pulse was then sinking rapidly. My 
younger brother Moti Lai, who was with me sitting 
apart, had no idea of the danger which had overtaken 
me. I called him to my side, told him to sit behind 
ray back, so that I could lean upon him. He did as 
he was bid. I told him with great difficulty that I had 
got cholera ; and a strange thing happened immediately 
after. His hands and limbs began to shake, and he 
showed by other signs that he was beside himself. It 
seemed that he had been suddenly overtaken by con- 
vulsion. I was so surprised that I could not utter a 
word, even to ask what the matter was with him. He, 
however, soon after regained some control over himself, 
and then he began to make passes on my back with his 
right hand. I then perceived that lie was making 
mesmeric passes and doing this while in an unconscious 
state himself. I had practised hypnotism, but he had 
never done so. I realised then what the matter was. 
It was this : I was in danger, and a good spirit was 
trying to nip my disease in the bud by these mesmeric 
passes. My brother was a good medium ; a good spirit 
possessed him, so that he became unconscious for the 
time-being and was in that state while making the 
passes to cure me. Every pass of his was followed by 
relief immense relief. I felt as if by these passes my 
brother was infusing into me new life, nay, strength 
and ecstacy. A little before I was going to faint from 
fatigue and divers sorts of uneasy sensations ; two 
minutes after I felt strong, happy and disposed to go 
to sleep. I addressed, not my brother but the spirit, 
'Thanks, I am all right', and then fell asleep under an 
uncontrollable influence, from which I awoke quite 
refreshed & new man. I know that God and his angels 
take care of us.'* 

It will be seen from the above that had Moti Lai been 
engaged in regularly cultivating his power of mediumship he 


might have developed into a wonderful healing medium. But 
as fate would have it he had to direct his activities through 
other channels. Hence, though upto his last days he was a 
strong believer in spiritualism and took great interest in it 
he could not keep on practising mediumship. The work of 
conducting the Amrita Bazar Patrika and attending to 
numerous public duties was heavy enough not to allow him 
to practise and develop still further his powers as a spiritualist. 


Motilal's marriage an interesting episode First years of "A. B. 
Patrika." Early Helpers Malaria Rpidemic Flood Follows Fever 
4 'Amrita Bazar Patrika" Removed to Calcutta. 

Motilal and his brothers were a family of musicians. Their 
father was a musical genius and they had inherited the gift 
from him. The musical talent developed in an extraordinary 
manner in Shishir Kumar even when he was a mere boy. 
Motilal who possessed an extraordinarily melodious voice was 
his pet pupil and when these two brothers sang together, 
either secular or religious songs, their elder brothers Basanta 
Kumar and Hemanta Kumar would fall into ecstasies. Occa- 
sionally they performed Jatras and other dramatical or musical 
performances in their house. 

I find in an issue of the Hindu Spiritual Magazine: 

"They had their occasional Jatras or dramatic per- 
formances, in which their neighbours were made to join. 
Indeed, the whole village was at that time turned into 
something like Brindaban with celestial music and 
dancing. Rai Dinabandhu Mitra Bahadur, author of Nil 
Darpan, was an intimate friend of the brothers and came 
to see them now and then. He called them the 'happy 
family* and in one of his dramas introduced characters 
to illustrate the life of simplicity and love that they led." 
But unalloyed happiness is not the rule of the world 
it is against the law of nature. Truly has the poet described 


Happiness and Misery as twin brothers wherever the one 
goes the other stealthily follows and they rule the day by 
turns. While happiness was reigning supreme in the Ghose 
family misery shot his arrows to strike the members of 
that family. Happiness also tried to maintain his ground. 
First their father died, then died their brother Hiralal they 
felt miserable enough, but found great solace through spiritual 
seances. The brothers who loved each other as dearly as their 
lives had to separate themselves and take service in different 
places, but were re-united when the Amrita Bazar Patrika was 
started. The defamation case against the Amrita Bazar Patrika 
went on for eight months and completely swept away their 
small exchequer but they gained the sympathy of the people, 
as the latter realised that the Ghose brothers had been the 
victims of official wrath simply for going to fight the people's 
cause. Scarcely had the Ghose family recovered from the 
strain on their persons and purses on account the Defamation 
Case when came Malaria and almost everybody in the family 
was down with fever, so much so that they were compelled to 
leave Amrita Bazar, the land of their birth, practically for 
good. But of that later. 

Some time after the Amrita Bazar Patrika had been 
started, when Motilal was about 22 years old, he was married 
with Srimati Nistarini Devi, daughter of the late Haran 
Chandra Sarkar, then Sheristadar of the Dacca District Court, 
whose native place was at Kumarkhali. There is an interest- 
ing episode about the marriage. At the time when negotia- 
tions were going on Motilal and his brothers had been swept 
away by the then current of Brahmoism flowing through the 
country. As a matter of fact they had formed a Brahmo 
Sabha and a Bhratri Sabha in their native village where 
prayers were held and sermons were delivered in right royal 
Brahmo style. A sister of Motilal had also been married 
according to the Brahmo rites in the Brahmo Samaj Hall. 
Though they had not yet been able to make up their minds 
as to whether they would sign any declaration confirming 
themselves to be Brahmoes, they were in close touch with the 


then Brahmo leaders and preachers. All this had given rise 
to the impression in the orthodox Hindu circle in the 
neighbourhood (and they were perfectly justified in drawing 
the conclusion) that they had become Brahmoes. In those 
days of conservatism, to the orthodox Hindu the line of 
demarcation between a Brahmo and a Christian was very thin. 
Thus they argued that because the Ghoses had become 
Brahmoes they had become Christians also, and since they 
were Christians they were beef-eaters. If confirmation was 
needed there was no want of eye-witnesses who could swear 
in the name of all that was holy or dear to them that they 
had seen a big bull enter the house of the Ghoses in their 
native village but it was never seen to have come out. So 
the Ghoses must have eaten it up. Rumours spread like wild 
fire and this story about the vanishing of the bull (a cock 
and bull story in the real sense of the term) was no exception. 
It travelled, in spite of the difficulties of transport in those 
days, all the way from Jessore to Kumarkhali and from 
Kumarkhali to Dacca. Negotiations for Motilal's marriage 
with Nistarini had been concluded and a date had also been 
fixed for the marriage. In the mean time the story about the 
bull reached the ears of the female members of Motilal's 
would-be father-in-law's family. There was bitter anguish in 
their hearts and by way of precaution they sent Motilal's 
would-be brother-in-law Babu Asutosh Sarkar (afterwards a 
District Judge) to the village Amrita Bazar to make a local 
enquiry into the matter. When he returned to Dacca his 
relatives enquired of him if he had examined the compound 
of their would-be bride-groom's house. "Well, did you not 
find," they asked, "even a single bone of a bull in their 
garden?" "No, not a single bone," was the reply, and there 
was laughter and merriment in the house again. The incident 
formed the subject matter of joke in the two houses and we 
have personally heard it repeated even after long years have 
gone by. 

The marriage took place at Kumarkhali and the local 
people said at the time of the marriage that they had not seen 


a fairer or more beautiful bridegroom at that place. Indeed, 
Motilal in his youth was very handsome. He was of medium 
height and his stature was proportionate. He possessed a fair 
complexion which was rare in a Bengal village in those days. 
All these combined with his sweet voice when he sang some 
Kirtan songs made a great impression. 

Motilal was fortunate in his wife Nistarini. She was an 
ideal Hindu lady of the old type. Throughout their lives she 
had been a noble and affectionate partner and she outlived 
him by a few years only. The way in which she nursed him 
whenever he fell ill is possible only in a Hindu lady. Indeed 
it seemed to be inimitable. As a matter of fact her life 
appeared to be dedicated to him. So much so that she 
regarded him not only as her husband but also as her guru 
(spiritual preceptor), for she had taken her mantra (religious 
initiation) from him. Strangely enough she took a great 
interest in Indian politics and unable to read and write English 
she was a regular reader of the vernacular papers and 
magazines, and greatly enjoyed the antics that the late 
Panchkari Bannerji wrote about her husband in the columns 
of the vernacular daily, Nayak. Motilal had only one child 
by her, my mother Srimati Sajalnayana, who was born in 
Dacca in the year 1876 and inherited all the characteristics of 
her parents. 

To return to the Amrila Bazar Patrika. It has already 
been said that the Amrita Bazar Patrika was first published 
as a Bengali Weekly paper in 1868 from the village Amrita 
Bazar in the District of Jessore. Since then it was published 
from that place till the Durga Puja holidays of the year 1871, 
i.e., for about three years and a half the paper was published 
from the village. After the Puja vacation of that year the 
paper began to be published from Calcutta. 

On the 1 7th February 1870 the Amrita Bazar Patrika 
launched upon its third year of existence. In issue number 
one of that year can be found the following editorial remarks 
in Bengali : 

"By the grace of our kindly God we have just 


launched our feet upon the third year of our existence. 
We offer hundreds upon hundreds of thanks to those 
noble-hearted gentlemen who have helped us by money 
or otherwise. . . . We have become comparatively free 
from troubles now-a-days." 

The Amrita Bazar Patrika was at this time printed at the 
village Amrita Bazar in a Press which was called the "Amrita 
Prabahini Press." It was published once a week every 
Thursday. Each issue contained eight pages. The size of 
the pages was also much smaller than now being about the 
foolscap size. Some of these pages were in Bengali, while others 
were in English. There was no fixity as to how many pages 
would be in Bengali and how many in English. Each issue 
contained both news and editorial remarks ; besides, there 
were some advertisements also. Its annual subscription if 
paid in advance was five rupees only and if paid at the end 
of the year it was rupees seven only. 

Many men of light and leading of those days were con- 
nected with the Amrita Bazar Patrika. To name a few of 
them, Babu Kedar Nath Ghose, Pleader of Jhenidah, Babu 
Tarapada Banerjee, Pleader of Krishnagar, Babu Haralal Roy, 
Teacher of Hare School of Calcutta, Babu Umes Chandra 
Ghose, Muktear of Cossipore (24-Perganas), Babu Durga Mohan 
Das, Vakil of Barisal and Babu Krishna Gopal Roy of Bogra 
were the agents of the Amrita Bazar Patrika in their respective 
places of business or residence. Subsequently Babu Devendra 
Chandra Ghose, Vakil of the High Court of Calcutta, Babu 
Kishorilal Sarkar, Vakil of the Calcutta High Court, then 
practising at Krishnagar, Babu Akshoy Chandra Sarkar, 
Pleader of Berhampore and Babu Dinabandhu Sen, Teacher 
of the High English School at Gauhati also became agents of 
the Amrita Bazar Patrika in their respective places of business. 
Now these were men having some position in their respective 
circles and their words carried weight. They supplied news 
to the Amrita Bazar Patrika, wrote out comments, secured 
subscribers for it and helped it in times of danger in several 
ways and thus contributed not a little to its success. All of 


them have now gone to eternity and the Amrita Bazar Patrika 
can now only pray for their souls. 

Besides the persons named above there were thousands 
upon thousands of others who helped the Patrika, most of 
whose names it is not possible to ascertain and publish. The 
Patrika must remain ever grateful to these unnamed persons. 

The Amrita .Bazar Patrika reached its fourth year in 1871. 
It was in that year that the great epidemic of Malaria referred 
to above broke out at village Amrita Bazar and marred its 
idyllic serenity. In the Bengali portion of the issue of the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika of igth August of that year we find: 

"There is no doubt about it that Jessore is now 
in the grip of an epidemic of fever the like of which 
has not been witnessed for long, if ever. Anyone who 
is attacked is suffering from fever without any break 
for 4 or 5 days and some times even for 10 or u days. 
And again one who has been down with fever is getting 
a relapse even after he has been completely cured. In 
this way some have suffered from fever twice, some 
thrice and some again have suffered even for a greater 
number of times. Whenever there is a relapse the fever 
comes with renewed vigour. The fever is making 
people thinner and thinner. Up till now there were 
not many fatal cases. But of late fatal cases have begun 
to occur. God knows what is in store for Jessore this 
year. It is not the Bengalis alone who are suffering 
from fever. Many Sahebs (Anglo-Indians) have also 
been attacked with fever and some of them have had 
two or three attacks. Before the epidemic takes a more 
serious turn, the Government ought to have recourse to 
such methods that we may get away from this imminent 
danger. The Government does not take any curative 
measures unless a disease spreads itself in a very 
dangerous way. This not only does not benefit us in 
any way but also causes immense financial loss to the 
Government for nothing." 

What havoc the epidemic fever created at that time 
becomes apparent from the following passage extracted from 
the Bengali portion of the Amrita Bazar Patrika of the 26th 
August, 1871. 

"Milk and ghee have become difficult to obtain. 
Whereas formerly the Goala quarters of village Amrita 
Bazar daily produced about 4 maunds of milk, now we 


can get there only 8 or 9 seers. Men here have not 
seen ghee for a good length of time. It is not that 
things have taken such a turn here in this village only ; 
we understand many places have fallen into a similar 
sorrowful plight. In Magura Sub-Division of Jessore 
District milk used to sell at half or one pice a seer. 
We have recently been informed that milk is not at all 
available there now. On enquiry we are told by the 
Croalas that on account of want of fodder cows have 
become mere skin-and-bone and so they are not giving 

In the Bengali portion of the same issue of the Amrita 
Bazar Patrika (26th August, 1871) we find: 

" There is almost none who has not been attacked 
with fever and one, who is once down with fever, 
becomes unable to rally. All cases are now becoming 

remittent If the fever attacks any member 

of a family, almost all the members of the family are 
getting contagion. Even not a single member is found 
free from fever to give water to the patients to quench 
their thirst." 

Misfortune, they say, never comes alone. Village Amrita 
Bazar was no exception to this rule. To fill up her cup of 
misery came a great flood which put the whole of Bengal under 
water for a considerable length of time. Regarding this we 
find in the Bengali portion of the Amrita Bazar Patrika of 
the 7th September, 1871: 

"A great deluge has come. Even very old men are 

saying that they have never seen such floods 

A gentleman from Narail writes, 'We are floating on 
water ; on whichever side we cast our eyes we find a 

vast sheet of water like a sandy desert We 

cannot estimate as yet as to how much cattle will be 
lost. 1 " 

The floods did not spare the village Amrita Bazar. In 
consequence we find the following amongst the editorial 
remarks in the Amrita Bazar Patrika (Bengali portion) of I4th 
September, 1871 : 

"We are in the midst of a great trouble. Many of 
our employees working in the press have fallen ill. This 
is not a town, where one may for the mere wish get 
people who can work at the machine. Hence there has 
been great dislocation in our work. The floods have 


added to our trouble. We cannot move about without 
a boat. This is not a watery country ; so boats are not 
easily available. So we are facing danger at every step. 
We can understand that we are not serving our 
constituents properly ; but we hope that they will realise 
the situation and excuse us for any irregularity." 

It is clear from the above passage that it became very 
difficult to run the Amrita Bazar Patrika from village Amrita 
Bazar. The town of Jessore was only ten miles away from 
the village of Amrita Bazar and if the proprietors of the paper 
so wished they could bring out their paper from the town 
of Jessore. But then, thanks to fevers and floods, Jessore was 
in no better way than Amrita Bazar. Hence with great 
difficulty the Amrita Bazar Patrika was published from village 
Amrita Bazar upto the 4th October, 1871. That was the last 
issue of the paper published from its village of nativity. Thus 
from March 1868 to October 1871, for a brief span of three 
years and a half the Amrita Bazar Patrika was published from 
Amrita Bazar. 

In the issue of the Amrita Bazar Patrika of the 4th 
October, 1871 (Bengali portion) we find: 

"We take our usual Puja holidays from this number. 

The water has again begun to increase. It 

seems everything is now going to be destroyed." 

When the paper was issued on the 4th October, 1871 from 
Amrita Bazar village, little did its proprietors imagine that 
that was going to be the last number of the paper issued from 
that village. They however got some respite and thought out 
their future plan. They found that it was absolutely impos- 
sible to run the paper any more from their native village. 
So they decided upon going to Calcutta. In the meantime 
there had been another criminal case against the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika and Shishir Kumar had been prosecuted on a charge 
of concealing evidence as he did not produce the original 
copy of the article written by the late Raj Krishna Mitter 
which was the subject matter of the previous criminal case. 
In this case also Motilal was examined as a witness. This 
time also he was severely cross-examined and at last even 


threatened, but to no effect. The proprietors of the paper 
thus escaped this time also. 

The successive criminal cases caused enormous financial 
loss to the proprietors of the paper and when they were about 
to start for Calcutta they found that their coffers were almost 
empty. In order to pay off their employees and meet sundry 
liabilities of the press they sold away their press along with 
all the printing materials to a gentleman who resided at 
Jessore. After meeting the liabilities they became absolutely 
short of funds. Hence they borrowed Rupees 100 at a high 
rate of interest from a money-lender named Bakta-Jamal 
Biswas. Motilal had made a saving of Rs. 200 from his pay 
when he was acting as the Headmaster of a High English 
School at Piljung in Khulna District and was also serving 
as private tutor to some students there. Uptill now he had 
kept this money with himself, but now that the whole family 
was in dire need he had to part with that money and throw 
it into the common coffer. The Ghose family had thus only 
Rs. 300 with them and with this paltry sum in their pocket 
Hemanta Kumar, Shishir Kumar and Motilal set out for 
Calcutta with about thirty members of their family most of 
whom were women and children and had been suffering from 
Malaria to boot. 

Towards the end of October 1871 they came to Calcutta, 
a place then practically unknown to them. They rented a 
house at 52, Hidaram Banerjee Lane, Bowbazar and put up 
there with their whole family. They immediately set upon 
re-start'ing the Amrita Bazar Patrika with indefatigable energy. 
They again purchased a small hand press for printing and on 
the 2ist December, 1871 they brought out without much 
flourish or ado the first issue of the Amrita Bazar Patrika from 
the city of Calcutta. We find the following editorial observa- 
tions in the Bengali portion of that issue: 

"Henceforth the Amrita Bazar Patrika will be 
published from Calcutta. We had all along desired to 
make a gradual improvement of our paper. But we 
could not make much headway in that direction in the 


mofussil. Yet on account of some personal reasons we 
could not leave village Amrita Bazar. Amrita Bazar 
is situated on the bank of the river Kapotakshi, whose 
water is very clear. We used to fish in that river and 
as there is no fear of crocodiles there we used to swim 
in that river to our heart's content in the summer and 
the rainy seasons. At times we got together about a 
hundred men and went out to hunt hares or porcupines. 
There we used to pluck fruits from the trees and eat 
them on the spot, and milked cows to drink their milk. 
We could not leave these and come to Calcutta, we 
were pained at the very idea of doing so. If we came 
to Calcutta on some errand we felt ourselves to be in 
hell and could find no relief till we had gone back 
to our native village and breathed its pure air. Oh ! 
what a pity we have now to reside in that Calcutta ! 
Men of Jessore had all along shown us great favour ; 
we pray to them that they may not stop the flow of 
their favour. What more shall we say, we had to shed 
tears for leaving Jessore. Krishnagar has become nearer 
to us now. Hence if Krishnagar was benefited through 
us it may still be benefited. We take our readers 
into our confidence and say that though in the past we 
had suffered much and had spent much money for the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika latterly it had grown into a 
profitable concern. None removes a profitable concern 
like this for nothing. We have done so at great financial 
loss only with a view to improving the paper. One 
word to those who may think that because we have 
removed the paper from a village to a city there will 
be a change in its editorial policy. The Patrika is in 
the hands of the very same men who conducted it 
before there has not been the slightest change. But 
we are in some trouble. Our expenses have multiplied 
a hundred-fold. If the general public show us a little 
favour and the people of Calcutta view us with a little 
kindness, then and then only will the paper nin, other- 
wise the Amrita Bazar Patrika is doomed." 

Lest there should be any misapprehension in the reader's 
mind that as the passages from the Amrita Bazar Patrika quoted 
above have been quoted in connection with the biography of 
the late Motilal Ghose they were all written by him, I must 
tell him at the outset that Hemanta Kumar, Shishir Kumar 
and Motilal all three were now writing in the editorial 


columns of the Amrita Bazar Patrika and hence it is difficult 
to determine at this distant date as to which wrote which. 

The Ghose brothers were absolutely strangers in the city 
of Calcutta. The reader can easily imagine what a bold step 
they took in publishing the Arnrita Bazar Patrika from the 
city so soon after coming to Calcutta. 

From 2ist December, 1871 to 25th March, 1874 the Amrita 
Bazar Patrika was published from Hidaram Banerjee Lane, 
Bowbazar, Calcutta. Afterwards Hemanta Kumar, Shishir 
Kumar and Motilal removed with their family to No. 2, 
Ananda Chatterjee Lane, Baghbazar, Calcutta and the first date 
on which the Amrita Bazar Patrika was published from that 
house was the 2nd April, 1874. 


Early Rise into All-India Fame No. 2, Ananda Chatterjee Lane. 

As I have already stated the Amrita Bazar Patrika was 
first published from premises No. 2 Ananda Chatterjee Lane, 
Baghbazar, Calcutta on the 2nd April, 1874, *- e - six years after 
it had been started at the village Amrita Bazar. It was the 
seventh year of the life of the paper. It was still bilingual 
a part of it was printed in Bengali for the people of the province 
of Bengal and the rest was in English for the benefit of readers 
of other provinces in India, such as Madras, Bombay, the 
Punjab, etc. From the list of names published from time to 
time in connection with acknowledgment of subscriptions it 
is found that the paper was gradually getting an all-India 

How the Government of the day viewed the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika will become apparent from the following curious note 


regarding the paper which appeared in the Bengal Administra- 
tion Report published in the year 1872 : 

"The Amrita Bazar Patrika is believed by some to 
be more extensively read than others. The language of 
its articles is occasionally rough, but it has the merit of 
discussing social and agrarian subjects both from the 
tenant's as well as from the landlord's point of view." 

The Amrita Bazar Patrika came to be appreciated in 
England also. Towards the beginning of 1872, Babu Girija 
Sankar Sen, who was then in England wrote to his father in 
Bengal : 

"Please ask the proprietors of the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika to send their paper to the East Indian Associa- 
tion (London). Many people here may subscribe to the 
paper. I have seen many extracts from the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika in London papers." 

In an article on "Representative Government in India" 
written by Colonel Osborn as early as 1883 is to be found an 
extract from the Amrita Bazar Patrika in support of a state- 
ment of his to the effect that the officials in India disliked 
public criticism but liked gagging Acts instead. Colonel 
Osborn referred to the Amrita Bazar Patrika as "the most 
influential native paper in India." 

About the Amrita Bazar Patrika' s early rise into an all- 
India fame the following observations by Mr. K. Subba Rao 
of the Hindu in his recently published book "Revived 
Memories" will be interesting. 

Speaking about the period from 1876 to 1881 Mr. Subba 
Rao writes : 

"It was during this period that I was attracted 
irresistibly to the weekly edition of the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika which had established an undying reputation 
for unsurpassed independence. It was recognised as the 
staunchest friend of the Indian States and as the most 
fervent admirer of all that was Indian. Its spirit of 
fearlessness was often illustrated by the funniest 
anecdotes then current among students that the two 
brothers who were editing the paper Babu Shishir Kumar 
Ghosh and Babu Motilal Ghosh were alternately in jail 
for sedition or defamation all round the year!" 


Referring to the early attainment of an all-India reputa- 
tion by the Amrita Bazar Patrika Mr. Subba Rao writes: 

"The Hindu, early in its eventful career, under the 
able and absolute guidance of S. Subramania Iyer, 
secured an all-India reputation. The Amrita Bazar 
Patrika was the first to acquire it and next came the 

Such early attainment of fame in the life of a journal is 
very rare. A newspaper or journal must have reputation with 
the public, for, its very existence, not to speak of gradual 
improvement, depends on public support. The public must 
have the impression that the paper is run not for the petty 
personal interests of its handful of proprietors but for the sake 
of the good of the general public. The public will support a 
paper only so long as they will believe that the paper is sup- 
ix>rting their cause. In this respect the Amrita Bazar Patrika 
was very fortunate. Whoever came in touch with its pro- 
prietors became at once convinced of their idealism it did not 
take him long to realise that its proprietors were not so keen 
for making money and living a life of ease and comfort as 
for serving their country. Their personal wants were few and 
so whatever the Amrita Bazar Patrika brought was spent in 
improving it. The proprietors were, therefore, not much 
troubled about the finances of the paper. 

The Amrita Bazar Patrika had thus one peculiarity 
throughout its long career it was very fortunate so far as its 
finances were concerned. This is due in a great measure to 
the fact that its proprietors had always lived an exemplarily 
simple life. Plain living and high thinking was the motto 
which they not only preached but practised also. And they 
practised it not only in their private lives, but in their business 
also. They did not require much money for conducting the 
paper. For long they did not employ outsider writers Babus 
Hemanta Kumar Ghose, Shishir Kumar Ghose and Motilal 
Ghose, they themselves wrote copies, corrected proof-sheets for 
their paper and looked into the financial side and the manage- 
ment of the business. At first they had to pay only Rs. 40 
as rent for their Baghbazar house, though gradually of course 


it rose to an abnormal figure. They had practically no 
furniture in the beginning. A friend of theirs (Mr. P. Ananda 
Charlu of Madras) had an establishment in Calcutta and he 
presented to the Ghose brothers his table and some chairs 
when he gave up his Calcutta establishment. They also got 
a long dining table which was disjointed and converted into 
three smaller tables which can be seen in the Patrika office 
even to-day ; the arms of some of the chairs were broken but 
they were not repaired. Some khatias (charpoys) were requisi- 
tioned Which served the double purpose of a bed at night and 
a seat at day time. If the window panes were broken, pieces 
of paper cut according to measurement were pasted to keep 
off the sun and the rain and the bitter wintry wind and waste 
papers were utilised to serve the purpose of carpets. The 
Ghose brothers were not vain people. They were poor and 
they knew it ; and they did not want to pass off as rich. 
Herein lay the secret of the fact that the Amrita Babar Patrika 
had paid its expenses from the very month it was started. 

How economical (bordering on being miserly) the Ghose 
brothers were will become apparent from the condition of their 
house at 2, Ananda Chatterjee I/ane. Amongst their numerous 
friends who paid visits to them from time to time in this house 
was the late poet Nabin Chandra Sen, the renowned author 
of "Palashir Juddha" (Battle of Plassey) and a good many 
other books of poem. In his famous "Autobiography" written 
in Bengali he has given a very interesting description of this 
house. Following is an English rendering of the same : 

"At the northern end of Calcutta, i.e., at Baghbazar 
they (Shishir Kumar and Motilal) have a big two-storied 
house with a courtyard inside it. Perhaps the building 
has not been repaired for a century. In the ground 
floor and first floor of the outer appartments of this 
house are strewn about at random here, there and every- 
where various unseemly commodities of a printing press. 
The whole place is dirty, filthy and full of refuses. Not 
only is the wooden staircase narrow, but it is broken in 
many places. Neither the rooms nor the staircase had 
any touch of the broomstick for several years. In a 
verandah (on the first floor) there is a dirty little camp 
table, on one side of which on a broken chair is sitting 


with his chin sandwiched in between his knees a short- 
statured man Motilal Ghose of immeasurable strength 
who strikes terror into the very heart of the British rule. 
With some ordinary papers and a pencil in hand he is 
forging political weapons of a superior order. In his 
person he has a dirty thick red-bordered common dhoti 
and a white dirty shirt without any buttons. Before 
him, on the other side of the table, is an ordinary bench 
and on his left there is another old chair 'an abode of 
bugs' one of whose arms had been lost during the 
battle of Plassey. On the other side of the table is a 
dirty wall. You will not be able to swear that it had 
ever been white-washed. By the side of this editorial 
sanctum is a place for washing one's face and there you 
will find a bowl, a napkin and other necessary articles 
to please your eyes. On the other side of the aforesaid 
wall there is a big room or 'hall'. Who can tell the 
number of years for which dirt, cow- webs, sputum and 
ink-spots have been adorning the ceiling and the walls 
of this room? A 'durrie* is spread throughout this 
room over which there is a bed-sheet and on one corner 
there are two or more small bolsters. These also have 
been marked with various marks like the walls of the 
room. They seem to be saying: 

'Eman bibidh dage degechhe kapal dhuile na yabe 
dhoya jiba jatakaV (Bengali). 

"Our foreheads have been marked with such various 
kinds of marks that they cannot be washed away, so 
long as we live. 

"Really the bed-sheet and the bolsters can take a 
solemn oath and say that they have never been indebted 
to anyone of the washerman class. There is not a 
single big man in India the dust of whose feet and the 
smell of whose body cannot be found in this bed-sheet 
and these bolsters. They are fit to have a place in the 
Curzon Memorial or Victoria Memorial Hall of Lord 
Curzon. Such is the condition of the outer appartments 
of our brothers. I have heard that the condition of 
their inner appartments is more deplorable. There is 
a tank behind them. I have heard that the Health 
Officer of Calcutta has spotted out this tank to be the 
Khas-Mahal of all the Malaria-carrying mosquitoes of 

One may think that in the above description there has 
been some exaggeration or the poet has drawn upon his 
imagination. Those who have seen the house in question will 


at once understand that what the poet has said is almost 
sixteen annas true. It may be mentioned here that the tank 
referred to above has since been filled up. 

At the time of the Anti-Partition Agitation when the 
whole of Bengal was under a deep gloom Mr. Ramsay 
MacDonald the present Prime Minister of England who was 
still an ordinary member of the House of Commons paid a 
visit to India. High offices had not yet metamorphosed him 
and his heart was still weeping for the poor and distressed. 
So immediately on his arrival in Calcutta he found out Motilal 
in his place at Ananda Chatter jee Lane. In this connection 
Mr. Ramsay MacDonald has left a description of the house 
in his book, 'Awakening of India.' He has described this 
> house as "an old crumbling place of many rooms where a 
joint family dwelt in ancient style." Writes Mr. Ramsay 
MacDonald in the "Awakening of India": 

"I had an interview with one of India's trouble- 
some editors. I sought him in the native part of the 
city amongst those torrents of beings which bewilder 
and dumfounder the European. I found him in a place 
that might have been an Italian palace. There was an 
ample courtyard, carved screens and balustrades, shady 
stairs. But decay spoke from every stone. As I 
entered, the red gleams of the setting sun struck its 
top and threw its bases into dark shadow. I seemed 
to have made tryst there with night. 

" 'Here* said he whom I had come to see, ushering 
me into a wide room bare of furniture saving for a 
table and a chair or two, 'Here we worship. Let us 
talk of the things of the spirit.' " 

From the descriptions of 2, Ananda Chatterjee Lane given 
above it will be understood how outsiders regarded this house. 
The greater portion, if not the whole of Motilal's active life 
was spent in this house. The "Pall Mall Gazette" of London 
wrote about this house : 

"Motilal Ghose publishes his paper in a huge 
rambling warren of a house in North Calcutta where 
he lives with a swarm of relatives and dependents in 
patriarchal fashion. Babies cling about the editor's 
bare legs as clad in a scanty piece of linen, he writes 
torrents of fierce abuse with a most benevolent smile." 


Indeed, it was very difficult to think the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika office of those days at No. 2, Ananda Chatter jee Lane 
to be an office at all. When Motilal was sitting in the 
verandah in his broken chair day after day writing articles 
for his paper to read which the whole of India was waiting 
with anxiety, in the hall beside that verandah at the very 
same time when he was writing, the members of the family, 
composed of women and children were singing Kirtan songs 
as loudly as they could. Motilal was writing and if he found 
that there was some error in the songs or a wrong note was 
struck he would at once stop writing and enter the hall and 
teach the tune till those who were singing would be able to 
sing it properly. It was only then that he would return to 
his verandah and begin writing again. It often happened 
that when he was writing, the members of his family were 
giving a rehearsal of a Jatra or playlet on Lord Krishna in 
the adjoining hall or little boys of the family were playing at hide 
and seek under his table or around it, and quarrelling amongst 
themselves or running about here and there in the verandah. 
But Moti Lai would remain so much absorbed in his writing 
that he would not pay the slightest attention to these but would 
go on writing for hours together at a stretch. In this way when 
he got tired of sitting he would often stand up and go on 
writing with the piece of paper in his left hand. Such con- 
centration of mind is rare. Latterly his backbone had become 
slightly curved on account of his constantly sitting in a bent 
way for hours together from day to day when he would be 
writing for his paper. 

It has already been narrated that Hemanta Kumar, Shisir 
Kumar and Moti Lai came to Calcutta from their native village 
with a very paltry sum in their pocket. How they gradually 
rose to acquire name and fame is an object of study. It is not 
difficult for a wealthy man to leave his native village and to 
settle in Calcutta and prosper in business. There is a proverb 
in our country that water accumulates only where there is 
water, which means that wealth has a tendency to go to wealthy 
persons. It is well-known also how difficult it is for men 


devoid of wealth to acquire it. It is difficult to earn and more 
difficult to make a saving. Whoever will look at the present 
condition of the Amrita Bazar Patrika will at once realise that 
the Ghose brothers had performed a miraculous task. They 
started with an ordinary wooden printing press worth Rs. 30 
and in course of about half a century their press became 
equipped with numerous modern and up-to-date equipments 
and all this time they had to maintain a big and growing family 
consisting of many dependants. I have heard, and I speak 
subject to correction, that among the newspapers it was the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika which first used a Linotype machine in 
Calcutta its proprietors were enterprising no doubt. 

One has to think deeply over the gradual rise of the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika. To my mind it seems there were two 
reasons for this rise one was the earnest desire of its 
proprietors to serve the country and the other was their simple 
mode of living. Hemanta Kumar, Shishir Kumar and Moti 
Lai were devout Vaishnavas. They not only worshipped 
Sri Gauranga, the God incarnate of Navadwip, but also 
preached and practised his teachings. The fundamental 
principle of their religious creed was thus the Vaishnava 
dictum of jibe day a name ruchi Vaishnava sevan, i.e., kindness 
to animals, love for the name of God and the service of 
Vaishnavas. They did not take Vaishnavas in the narrow 
sense to mean the worshippers of Vishnu only but they took 
the term in its wider sense to mean everything created by 
Vishnu, i.e., not only men, but animals, birds, insects, etc. 
They thought that the service of these was the main purpose 
of their life, and to serve the people of the country and to do- 
good to them they founded the Amrita Bazar Patrika. They 
did not view politics differently from religion. As a matter of 
fact, politics to them meant service of the country and so they 
took up politics as a sacred duty. Many Englishmen either in 
their individual capacity or as Government officials, came in 
touch with them and they at once realised their honesty of 
purpose and hence it is that on many occasions though there 
were breaches of the law, if viewed strictly, these were winked 


at by the powers that be. For, they regarded the proprietors 
of the paper as honest men who were honestly trying to serve 
their country. 

The other reason for the rise of the paper, as I have said 
already, was the plain and simple mode of life of its proprietors, 
who never cared for outward show either in dress, or in food, 
or in the furniture of their house. There was a remarkable 
lack of grandeur of any sort. About the furniture of those 
days I have already spoken. About their dress I may say that 
it exactly fitted with their surroundings. Shisbir Kumar's 
peculiar dress, dhoti and shirt with a hat on his head, has 
been referred to in many places. Though Moti Lai had no 
such idiosyncrasies about his dress, yet it was very simple and 
he seemed to be quite unmindful of what he was wearing. 
Ordinarily he wore a shirt and dhoti; on ceremonial occasions 
also he wore these, only they were cleaner. He had no use for 
golden studs, rings or watch and chain. The cloth he wore 
was also sometimes very short and he had been using these 
short dhotis long before the use of loincloth as a means to 
cutting down expenses on clothes had been advocated. For 
long years he slept on a temporarily provided tyled hut on the 
roof of the house at 2, Ananda Chatter jee Lane, with no other 
furniture than an ordinary cot and an earthen pitcher and a 
glass in the room. 

One of the characteristics of the Amrita Bazar Patrika in 
its earlier days was that it took up isolated cases of official 
vagaries or non-official oppression and went on exposing them 
in series of articles. A certain official had pulled an employee 
of his by the ear, a certain official had whipped a passer-by in 
the public road or a certain white business magnate had kicked 
a coolie to death, the little sparrow whispered the information 
to the editors of the Amrita Bazar Patrika and at once they 
took up their pens in favour of the weak and the oppressed. 
They did not indulge in vague generalities or high-sounding 
shibboleths and catch-words of Political Philosophy, neither did 
they parade their wisdom to an unsophisticated world by 
discussing subtle economic theories mainly borrowed from the 


West. They had intelligence enough to understand the mental 
capacity of their readers. Education or rather the art of 
reading had not yet spread to a very considerable extent and 
expansion of the railways, posts and telegraphs, motor cars, 
aeroplanes, wireless, etc., also had not brought the different 
parts of India together. So that the ordinary villager had no 
interest in the affairs of a distant place, he had not yet developed 
an all-India craze (which makes even three men in a village in 
the remotest corner of a country composing a society prefix an 
All-India before its name) and the fulfilment of his immediate 
needs was his only desideratum. If he found food and clothing 
and was not oppressed by the strong, official or non-official, and 
could take part in the innocent amusements of the village-folk 
he considered himself extremely fortunate. But there were 
occasions when he could hardly get even these small mercies. 
The Amrita Bazar Patrika pleaded that the villagers might not 
be deprived of the elementary needs of their life. 

Political ideas had not yet developed. India had no 
politics of course we cannot say if we have any now. There 
was, however, what might be called village politics, arising out 
of caste-prejudices and cognate matters in the brains of idle 
people who, having nothing for themselves to do would poke 
their noses into other people's affairs. If, for example, a 
person of a higher caste took such foods as rice, dal, fish-curry, 
etc., touched by a person of a lower caste, the former would be 
ostracised, but there was no objection to a higher caste person 
taking sweetmeats, kachuri, singara (preparations from flour, 
ghee, potato, etc.) or dahi (curd) from a lower caste person. 
If a girl in a family was not married within the marriageable 
age, which was then much lower than now, the girl's parents 
had to face the odium of society, but if a man lived with women 
of questionable fame it was taken as a matter of course. It was 
against such social evils that the editors of the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika took up their pen. 

The Amrita Bazar Patrika also brought to light instances 
of differential treatment between Indians and Englishmen in 
the administration of the day. The conclusions that the editors 


of the paper arrived at Were reached by the process of what may 
be called inductive reasoning. They did not start with a 
general proposition and derive conclusions from it. On the 
contrary they started with individual cases and established the 
general rule. For example, their reasoning was never like 
this : Foreign rule is bad, the present rule is a foreign rule, 
and therefore the present rule is bad a method of reasoning 
which is resorted to very glibly by the armchair politicians who 

see the villages through their books. Mr. A is an English 

official, he has done an act of oppression, Mr. B , though 

an Indian, is serving under the English authorities, he has 
misbehaved himself with the people who are in his charge and 
his superiors in office are protecting him, and so forth and so 
on ; and they drew the conclusion or left the readers to form 
their own conclusions which were irresistible. In this way 
they taught the people by "putting the finger into their eyes'* 
as the Bengali phrase runs and made them acquainted with the 
affairs of the day. 


Ghose Brothers and Raja Digambar Mitra Maharaja Sir Jatindra Mohan 
Tagore Some other Friends The Indian League. 

One of the most important things to which the proprietors 
of the Amrita Bazar Patrika paid their attention on removing 
to their Baghbazar house in the seventies of the last century 
was the work of acquisition of friends. People, great and 
small, began to see the conductors of the paper in their office 
and they in their turn began to pay return visits. Their sweet 
and lovable nature, and above all their free and frank talk and 
childlike simplicity combined with deep insight into things soon 
captivated those who came in touch with them and acquaintance 
took no time to ripen into friendship and friendship soon 


matured into intimacy. With the gradual increase in the 
importance of the paper the number of people who visited them 
increaseed and their number of friends also went on increasing. 
Sometimes their visits were highly illuminating. The con- 
ductors of the paper were still young and many of the persons 
who came in touch with them were hoary-headed people 
carrying years of experience along with them ; they had much 
to teach the young journalists in course of their conversation. 
As a matter of fact, all sorts of people with all sorts of informa- 
tion almost every day poured iiAo the Amrita Bazar Patrika 
office and so, in the course of a few years the conductors of 
the paper acquired encyclopaedic knowledge and information 
not by burning midnight oil over page after page of printed 
matter, but through their conversation with men who were 
vastly read or who had otherwise made their mark and were 
competent to teach others. The poet Nabin Chandra Sen in 
his "Autobiography" has justly remarked that there was not 
a big man in the country who had not visited the Ghose brothers 
in the Amrita Bazar Patrika office. 

In this way the proprietors of the Patrika acquired 
innumerable friends and some of them immensely rich too, but 
they never went to them for pecuniary assistance though they 
were no doubt helped in other ways by them. Many of them 
became subscribers of the paper and those who had businesses 
advertised their businesses in it. An incident may be recalled 
in this connection. When the Amrita Bazar Patrika wrote 
something in support of a proposal for a memorial to the late 
Raja Digambar Mitra a Dacca paper which did not look with 
much good grace on the late Raja Digambar, on account of his 
serving in the Select Committee on the Road Cess Bill inspite 
of his strongly opposing the principle of the Bill on its being a 
direct violation of the Permanent Settlement and on other 
grounds, wrote that the Amrita Bazar Patrika was moving for 
a memorial to the Raja because he had rendered "material 
assistance" to the Amrita Bazar Patrika during its "struggling 
days," the suggestion being that the Raja had helped the paper 
with money with a view to stop criticism. The Patrika gave a 


spirited reply to this in which it disclosed the relationship that 
existed between Shishir Kumar and Moti Lai on the one hand 
and the Raja on the other. The Patrika said that it was one 
Ram Gopal Sanyal who was responsible for circulating the 
canard that the Patrika had taken money from the Raja. The 
friendship between the Raja and Shishir Kumar and Moti Lai 
grew in this way. After the Amrita Bazar Patrika had been 
removed from village Amrita Bazar to Calcutta, Babus Shishir 
Kumar and Moti Lai had one day been singing Dhrupad songs 
in a friend's house. Raja Digambar Mitra who happened to be 
there heard them singing and was very much pleased at Shishir 
Kumar's skill and Moti Lai's charming voice. They were 
introduced to the Raja who invited them to his house at Jhama- 
pukur to hear their song. They soon became friends though 
there was a great disparity in age between the Raja and the 
Ghose brothers. The Raja became a well-wisher of the Amrita 
Bazar Patrika and felt deeply that it deserved the support of the 
country. So he wrote to thirty -eight gentlemen of Calcutta 
asking them to give the paper a trial. The Raja was very 
much respected and the subscription of the Patrika was then 
only Rs. 5 per annum. Thus, his request was complied with 
by thirty-six only two having declined. Of these thirty-six, 
thirty-five continued to subscribe, but one viz., the late 
Babu Paran Krishna Mukherjee of Tallah wrote a very angry 
letter to the Manager of the Amrita Bazar Patrika for its support- 
ing the Income Tax and discontinued subscribing the paper. 

The late Babu Bhola Nath Chunder, the biographer of Raja 
Digambar Mitra wrote as early as 1893 : 

"His (Raja Digambar's) love for free ventilation of 
thought disposed him to come to the aid of the Amrita 
Bazar Patrika. There was the Hindu Patriot occupying 
the field in autocratic supremacy. It professed to be a 
big gun, but which always fired with blank cartridges. 
Its milk and water editorials, without salt or sauce, had 
become extremely insipid to the native community. *The 
Amrita Bazar Patrika came to the rescue from the tyranny 
of the Hindu Patriot, at about the same time that the 
Indian Association became 'a brother near the throne of 
the Turk' of the British Indian Association/' 


Babu Kristo Das Pal was at that time editing the Hindu 
Patriot and there was a tussle between the Patriot and the 
Patrika over the Income Tax question. Raja Digambar being 
a common friend the conductors of the Patrika and Babu Kristo 
Das Pal met at his house and after a long discussion Babu 
Kristo Das Pal agreed to write in support of the Income Tax. 
He did so and a few days later he wrote to the Ghose brothers 
complaining that by supporting the Income Tax he had lost 
a dozen subscribers! At that time, as we think even now, it 
required courage to support the Income Tax the Tax that hits 
the rich but absolves the poor. Alas, very few do realise how 
iniquitous are the indirect taxes, say, on salt or kerosene, when 
compared with the direct tax on Income ! The Patrika of those 
days tried hard to impress this on the public of the day. 

Besides Raja Digambar Mitra the Amrita Bazar Patrika 
had another great friend. This was Maharaja Sir Jatindra 
Mohan Tagore Bahadur, a great personal friend of Babu Motilal 
Ghose. The two would often meet and hold conversations for 
hours together on various political and social topics. An 
incident narrated during one such interview is, I think, worth 
recounting. I have heard the story many a time from Motilal 
himself. One day the Maharaja was driving in his old-fashioned 
carriage and pair accompanied by Motilal when the Maharaja 
told him about a magician named Hussain Khan who had come 
to show some tricks to the Maharaja. In course of conversation 
Hussain Khan begged to have from the Maharaja a beautiful 
betel-nut case set with jewels which he had seen in the 
Maharaja's drawing room. The Maharaja said with a smile, 
"Yes, you will get it if you can bring it here from another 
room just now by virtue of your black art." "Are you 
serious? Will you really give it to me if I can bring it 
here just now?" inquired Hussain Khan. "Yes, I am serious," 
replied the Maharaja. "Then I am bringing it," said Hussain 
Khan. Two of the Maharaja's men covered the betel-nut case 
with a handkerchief and held it tightly in an adjoining room. 
Hussain with his face turned towards the sky and with folded 
hands began to cry in an imploring tone, "Hazrat, de diay," 


"Hazrat de diay" (O, Lord, give it to me; O, Lord give it to 
me)." After he had cried in this way for some time, lo and 
behold ! the betel-nut case was in his hand. True to his word 
the Maharaja had to part with the valuable betel-nut case. 

Another story regarding the Maharaja, which I have heard 
from Motilal is worth repeating. Now, Motilal in his old age 
was suffering from Dyspepsia which prevented him from taking 
delicious dishes. On more than one occasion when a delicious 
dish was placed before him he would say, "Why, have you 
given such a dish to me? I cannot take it. My condition is 
like the late Maharaja Jotindra Mohan Tagore's." And he 
would narrate how on one occasion when a friend of the 
Maharaja presented some delicious mangoes to him he burst 
into tears and said that he was then so ill that he could not 
digest mango ; he was living on sago only and the only way in 
which he could take mango was by dipping a portion of it in 
the sago-water to give it a smell of the mango. 

Mr. W. C. Bonnerjee, Barrister-at-Law, was another of 
MotilaFs friends to whose place he was often invited to dinner. 
Needless to say Moti Lai benefited greatly by his association 
with Mr. Bonnerjee. The two were co-workers in the Congress 
field and they attended many Congresses together and worked 
side by side in many public functions. Rajas Sita Nath Roy 
and Janoki Nath Roy of Bhagyakul who lived in Shovabazar 
were also his friends. Amongst other old friends of Motilal of 
whom he often spoke in his latter days mention may be made 
of Lai Mohan Ghose, Mon Mohan Ghose, Ananda Mohan Bose, 
Reverend K. M. Banerjee and others, all intellectual stalwarts 
of their times. 

But it is very difficult to give a comprehensive list of the 
friends and acquaintances of Motilal. I will not even make an 
attempt to do so ; for, it is impossible for me to perform the 
task. Their number was legion and they consisted not only of 
men of Bengal, but men of other Provinces also ; nay, there 
were many Englishmen also who associated with Motilal on 


intimate terms. There was one peculiarity in Motilal's 
character, viz., that though he criticised the officials relentlessly 
in his paper, in his private dealings with them he was very 
cordial and they also reciprocated with him in this matter. 
The names of many of these friends, Indian or Englishmen, 
will be mentioned as and when the narrative advances. 

, After spending a few years in Calcutta the proprietors of 
the Amrita Bazar Patrika found that in order to create public 
opinion, with a view to carrying out the mission of service to 
the country, the newspaper alone was not quite sufficient for 
them. They realised that associations were also necessary 
throughout the country where men of light and leading might 
meet and exchange their views. No doubt there was the British 
Indian Association which had been started in 1851 where men 
interested in the uplift of the country might meet ; but its 
subscription for membership was so high that it was practically 
confined to the aristocracy and the big zemindars who only 
participated in the deliberations or activities of this association. 
What was needed was an association with branches in various 
places where men of ordinary means might meet. The Indian 
League was thus started in the year 1875 to serve as such an 
association with Babu Sambhu Chandra Mukherjee, who had 
worked for some time in the Hindu Patriot and had conducted 
some other papers also, as President, Babu Kali Mohan Das, 
Vakil, Calcutta High Court, as Secretary, and Babu Jogesh 
Chandra Dutt and Babu Shishir Kumar Ghose as Joint-Secretary 
and Assistant Secretary respectively. 

When Babu Surendra Nath Banerjea started his Indian 
Association in July 1876 the Indian League had already been 
in existence for some months. At the inaugural meeting of 
the Indian Association Babu Kali Churn Banerjee, the foremost 
Indian Christian leader of his time and a member of the Indian 
League opposed its formation on the ground that a similar 
association had already been in existence for some time. 
Surendra Nath replied to his opposition and staunchly advocated 
the formation of a new association with the result that the 
Indian Association was formed inspite of the opposition. 


After referring to this incident Surendra Nath writes in his 
book "A Nation in the Making" : 

"The Indian League did useful work. Babu Shishir 
Kumar Ghose of the Amrita Bazar Patrika, Dr. Sambhu 
Chunder Mukherjee of the Reis and Ray yet, and Babu 
Moti Lai Ghose, were its moving spirit." 

The Indian League, however, could not live long. It died 
a premature death after a short but useful career. 


Vernacular Press Act Shishir Kumar And Sir Ashley Eden Origin 
of the Act A. 1?. Patrika's feat. 

How the Amrita Bazar Patrika was converted in one night 
from an Anglo-Bengali journal to a wholly English one is a 
matter for history. In the seventies of the last century the 
writings in the Amrita Bazar Patrika and a few other vernacular 
newspapers had exasperated the authorities in Bengal. They 
had incurred serious displeasure of the Government for their 
unsparing criticism of Government measures. So, in the year 
1878 the Government was determined to control these papers by 
some new law giving the authorities greater powers than 
before. Lord Lytton was then the Viceroy and Governor- 
General and his Government took up the question of controlling 
the vernacular papers in right earnest. They argued that the 
vernacular papers wrote for the half-educated and ill-educated 
village people, who were naturally more inflammable than 
the educated and intelligent persons who read the news- 
papers written in English. Hence greater care and caution 
ought to be taken so far as the vernacular papers were 
concerned and a special law was required for them more 
stringent than the then existing laws which governed news- 
papers in general. 

At this time one fine morning (i4th March, 1878) some 


official papers in Calcutta were published in which could be 
seen a notice to the effect that a new Bill would be introduced 
that very day in the Governor General's Council for the better 
control of the vernacular press. One of the objects of this Bill 
was to place newspapers published in the vernacular languages 
of India under greater control and in order to effect this the 
Bill sought "to furnish the Government with more effective 
means than the existing law for the purpose of punishing and 
repressing seditious writings which were calculated to produce 
disaffection towards the Government in the minds of the 
ignorant population." The Bill empowered any District 
Magistrate or Commissioner of Police in a Presidency town 
within the local limits of whose jurisdiction any newspaper in 
oriental language was published, to call upon the Printer and 
the Publisher to give a bond for such sum as the Government 
might think fit not to print or publish in their newspaper any 
words, signs or visible representations likely to excite disaffec- 
tion to Government established by law in British India or 
antipathy between any persons of different races, castes, 
religions, or sects in British India. The Act also empowered 
the Local Government to forfeit the security and seize the 
newspapers, plants, etc. There were other provisions also in 
the Act by which the publication of matters that were con- 
sidered objectionable by the authorities might be prevented and 
their printers and publishers might be brought to book. The 
measure was thus a preventive as well as a punitive one. 

It did not take long for the conductors of the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika to realise that the Bill was the handiwork of Sir Ashley 
Eden, the then Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, between whom 
and their paper no love was lost. They also understood that 
it was the Amrita Bazar Patrika at which the Bill was mainly 
aimed. Moti Lai, who was then the right hand man of 
Shishir Kumar, at once ran to the meeting of the Governor 
General's Council and was present in the Visitor's Gallery 
when the Bill was being discussed. To his great disappoint- 
ment he saw the Bill passed into law in one sitting. The 
Vernacular Press Act, 1878 for so it was named was appli- 


cable to newspapers published in a vernacular or partly in a 
vernacular and partly in English. The Amrita Bazar Patrika 
was then a weekly paper. It appeared partly in Bengali and 
partly in English and hence it came under the purview of the 
Vernacular Press Act. But the proprietors of the paper were 
quite equal to the Government of Sir Ashley Eden they 
quietly abandoned the Bengali portion and next week on the 
2ist March, 1878, the conductors of the Amrita Bazar Patrika 
sprang a surprise upon the Government just as the Government 
had sprung a surprise upon them. They brought out their 
paper wholly in English, so that the Government looked on 
agape and the newspaper-reading public of the day laughed a 
hearty laugh. 

In his foreword to the book "A Step in the Steamer" 
containing the speeches of Lokmanya Tilak, published by 
Messrs. Tulzaparkar and Patwardhan, Moti Lai thus describes 
the origin of the Vernacular Press Act : 

"An autocrat of autocrats, Sir Ashley sought to rule 
Bengal with an iron hand. The Amrita Bazar Patrika 
was, however, a thorn in his side. He, therefore, con- 
ceived the idea of winning over Babu Shishir Kumar 
partly by kindness and partly by threats. He had 
managed to make Babu Kristo Das Pal, Editor of the 
Hindoo Patriot his ardent admirer, and his next move 
was to entrap and muzzle Shishir Kumar Ghose. So, 
Sir Ashley sent for him one day, gave him a cordial 
reception when he came, and offered him a 'share of the 
Government* if he would follow his advice. Here is the 
purport of what His Honour proposed: 'Let us three, 
I, you and Kristo Das govern the province. Kristo Das 
has agreed to conduct his paper according to my direc- 
tion. You will have to do the same thing. I shall contri- 
bute to your paper as I do to the Hindoo Patriot. And 
when you write an article criticising the Government, you 
will have to submit the manuscript to me before publi- 
cation. In return the Government will subscribe to a 
considerable number of your paper, and I shall consult 
you as I consult Kristo Das in carrying on the adminis- 
tration of the Province. ' 

"Babu Shishir Kumar was at the time a poor man. 
His position in Calcutta society was not high. The 
tempting offer came from the ruler of the province. Many 


another man in his circumstances would have succumbed 
to his temptation. But he was made of a different stuff. 
He resisted and did something more. He thanked His 
Honour for his generous offer, but also quietly remarked, 
'Your Honour, there ought to be at least one honest 
journalist in the land.' The expected result followed. 
Sir Ashley flew into an unconquerable rage. With 
scathing sarcasm he told Babu Shishir Kumar that he 
had forgotten to whom he was speaking, that as supreme 
authority in the province he could put him in jail any 
day he liked for seditious writings in his paper, and that 
he would drive him back to Jessore bag and baggage 
from where he came in six months. It was not a vain 
threat. The Vernacular Press Act owed its origin to 
this incident. It was to take his revenge on Babu Shishir 
Kumar that Sir Ashley Eden persuaded Lord Lytton to 
pass this monstrous measure at one sitting. The blow 
was aimed mainly at the Amrita Bazar Patrika which 
was then an Anglo-Vernacular paper and fell within the 
scope of the Act. But Babu Shishir Kumar and his 
brothers were too clever for Sir Ashley. Before the Act 
was put in force they brought out their paper in wholly 
English garb and thus circumvented the Act and snapped 
their fingers at the Lieutenant Governor ; for, a journal 
conducted in the English language was beyond the juris- 
diction of Lord Lytton's Vernacular Press Act. Sir 
Ashley was a very outspoken man and he did not conceal 
his chagrin and bitter disappointment at the escape of 
the Patrika from several of his Bengali friends. He told 
them that if there had been only one week's delay on 
the part of the proprietors to convert the Patrika into 
English, he would have dealt a deadly blow at it by 
demanding a heavy bail-bond from them." 

We find the following in the issue of the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika dated the 2ist March, 1878: 

"It is with deep regret that we part with our Verna- 
cular columns. The step has been forced upon us by our 
friends and patrons upon whose judgment and patriotism 
we have confidence. We tried to start the paper in this 
shape from the beginning of this year ; but for reasons 
it is needless to mention we could not make all the 
necessary arrangements till this week. Whether this 
change will benefit our country or not, Heaven alone 
knows, but we think an absolutely independent paper, 
conducted in the English language, is just now a great 
necessity. We have passed through many trials and we 
are over-powered with gratitude when we recollect the 


sympathy that was extended to us, and we hope, if we 
deserved it Heaven will move our countrymen to grant 
it once more." 

The reader will observe how cunningly any reference to 
the Vernacular Press Act being the cause of converting the 
paper into English has been altogether omitted. 

Immediately after the Act had been passed Motilal had 
occasion to go to Dacca, where at his instance a big public 
meeting was held protesting against the Vernacular Press Act. 
Babu Kali Prasanna Ghose, Babu Ananda Chandra Roy and 
many other leading gentlemen of Dacca were present in this 
meeting. Protest meetings were held in Calcutta and other 
places also. In the House of Commons Mr. Gladstone criticised 
this measure severely. It may be said in passing that action 
was taken under the Vernacular Press Act against one news- 
paper only, viz., the Som Prakash of Changripota, in the 
suburbs of Calcutta, then a very influential paper edited by 
Babu Dwarka Nath Bidyabhushan which had to stop publica- 
tion for a period. There were no other prosecutions. The 
measure was repealed during the incumbency of Lord Ripon 
as Viceroy and Governor General of India. 

After the passing of the Vernacular Press Act and when 
the Patrika was being published in a thoroughly English garb 
Mr. (afterwards Sir) Lethbridge was appointed a Press Com- 
missioner. He was a medium between the Government of India 
and the Indian Press and his function was to correspond with 
the latter on public matters and supply them with official news. 
There was a very small incident between him and the Patrika 
which, I think, may be of some interest to the reader. In those 
days the Russian Government used to subscribe to a copy of 
the Amrita Bazar Patrika and having translated, that is mis- 
translated, its articles, published them in the Russian Press to 
discredit British rule in India. The Indian Government 
naturally got annoyed and Mr. Lethbridge brought the matter 
to the notice of the then conductors of the Amrita Bazar 

The conductors of the Patrika wrote to Mr. Lethbridge in 


reply that they were not responsible if the Russian Government 
were not fair in their translation of the articles of the Patrika. 
They were helpless in this matter. All that they could do was 
to stop the paper of the Russian Government and they wanted 
to know if the Government of India wanted them to do so. 
But then they also said that if such was the intention of the 
Government they could stop the paper of the Russian Govern- 
ment only on one condition they should be compensated for the 
loss of a good subscriber like the Russian Government which 
always paid their subscriptions to the Amrita Ba'zar Patrika 
in advance. No further communication came from the Press 
Commissioner and the matter dropped there. 


An Example of Anglo-Indian Ix>yalty Governor-General Insulted. 
Motilal on Anglo-Indians. 

The most outstanding event in the political history of 
Bengal that took place within a few years after the passing of 
the Vernacular Press Act of 1878 was the agitation over what 
was known as the Ilbert Bill. The agitators this time were 
not the 'natives' of the soil or 'native* papers, but it was the 
Anglo-Indians and the Anglo-Indian papers that carried on the 
agitation. The trouble arose in this way. About the year 1882, 
Government wanted to introduce legislation subjecting 
'Europeans' to the jurisdiction of 'native* magistrates in a 
manner which had jiot been previously authorised by law. The 
Bill which purported to effect some changes in the Criminal 
Procedure Code was published in the official papers along with 
a statement of Objects and Reasons subscribed by Sir C. P. 
Ilbert the then Legal Member of the Council and was therefore 
called after him. 

Now, Chapter VII of Act X of 1872 which dealt with the 
subject of the trial of European British subjects was reproduced 
in the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1882. So that, in that 


year the position in which Indian members of the Govern- 
ment Civil Service found themselves was rather anomalous. 
For, the jurisdiction to try European British subjects in the 
mofussil was limited to officers who were themselves European 
British subjects, the Indian members of the service having no 
authority to try them. Mr. B. L. Gupta, a member of the 
Indian Civil Service, drew the attention of the Government of 
Sir Ashley Eden, the then Lieutenant- Governor, to this matter 
and subsequently the Bill in question was prepared, introduced 
in Council and circulated for opinion. 

The Anglo-Indians (at that time better known as Europeans) 
were at once up in arms. They began to shout that if a 
European, even if he be a criminal, were tried by an Indian, 
then the prestige of the whole European community would be 
at stake. A public meeting of the European (Anglo-Indian) 
community was held in Calcutta( ?) in February, 1882 where 
the Europeans mustered strong and amongst great excitement 
the following resolution, proposed by Mr. J. J. J. Keswick and 
seconded by Mr. J. H. A. Branson, Bar-at-Law was passed : 

"That in the opinion of this meeting the Bill for 
the amendment of the Criminal Procedure Code is un- 
necessary in the interests of justice ; uncalled for by any 
administrative difficulty ; based on no sound principle ; 
founded on no experience; whilst forfeiting a much- 
valued and prized and time-honoured privilege of 
European British subjects, it confers no benefit upon 
natives ; whilst imperilling the liberties of European 
British subjects, it in no way affords any additional pro- 
tection to natives ; it will deter the investment of British 
capital in the country by giving rise to a feeling of 
insecurity as to the liberties and safety of the Europeap 
British subjects employed in the mufassil and also of 
their wives and daughters ; and it has already stirred up 
on both sides a feeling of race antagonism and jealousy, 
such as has never been aroused since the Mutiny of 

For a whole year the Anglo-Indians went on agitating 
against the Bill and in the cold weather of 1883-84, the matter 
went so far that Lord Ripon, who was then Viceroy and 
Governor-General, was personally insulted by some members of 


this community at the gate of the Government House in 
Calcutta while returning from outside. A gathering of Anglo- 
Indian tea-planters assembled and hooted at him at a railway 
station while he was returning to Calcutta from Darjeeling. 
As a matter of fact a number of Anglo-Indians had formed a 
conspiracy according to which they bound themselves, if the 
Government adhered to their proposed legislation, to over-power 
the sentries at the Government House, put the Viceroy on 
board a steamer at Chandpal Ghat, and send him to England 
via the Cape of Good Hope. The existence of the conspiracy 
was known to some officials including the Lieutenant Governor. 
A concordat was, however, subsequently arrived at between 
the Supreme Government and the representatives of the Anglo- 
Indian community. The battle was virtually won by the latter. 
For in the words of Sir John Strachey : 

"The controversy ended with the virtual though not 
avowed abandonment of the measure proposed by the 
Government. Act III of 1884 extended rather than 
diminished the privileges of European British subjects 
charged with offences, and left their position as excep- 
tional as before." 

The Ilbert Bill agitation and subsequent developments were 
commented upon in a series of articles in the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika. Even long after this affair Motilal often referred good- 
humouredly to the Ilbert Bill agitation when the question of the 
loyalty of the Anglo-Indian community in India was raised. 
The Ilbert Bill agitation was one of the many perennial subjects 
with which Moti Lai often confronted the Anglo-Indian com- 
munity in India. The subject of St. Andrew's Day Dinner was 
another to which I may refer afterwards. The materialism of the 
West was another of the subjects with which he embellished his 
banters against the Europeans. The Europeans, he wrote, were 
prospering in every way, but it was an undeniable fact that they 
had pulled down God from His throne and had set up Mammon 
in His place. They went to the church not for religion but for 
display. They were far advanced in scientific discoveries, but 
these instead of being conducive to the good of humanity were 
rather destructive of the peace and harmony of mankind and 


were utilised by the strong and the powerful in order to keep 
the weak and the oppressed under subjugation. 

There were many other matters in which Moti Lai twitted 
the Anglo-Indians of India in his inimitable way. For 
example, he often referred to the hard and struggling life that 
they had to live in this country, especially in the months of 
April, May and June when the heat in this country was intense. 
He twitted them on their tenaciously sticking to their thick and 
coarse coat and trousers even in this grilling weather ; and 
advised them to live in India like Indians, by dressing them- 
selves in the dhoti and chaddar and taking the plain and simple 
Indian diet. Instead of jam, jelly and pork and ham he advised 
them to take dal, bhat (rice) and sweets like rasagolla and 
sandesh, which latter he would call a celestial food. He could 
not admire the wisdom of the Europeans who left their con- 
genial shores in the, prime of their lives and spent the best part 
of their days amidst what appeared to them to be most uncon- 
genial and unhealthy surroundings and under most trying con- 
ditions, amassing enormous wealth, only to return home and 
die rich. He opined that if the Englishmen were well advised 
they ought not to have come to this country at all. 

There was a vein of humour permeating almost all his 
writings concerning the Anglo-Indians and perhaps that is why 
he was very much liked by individual Anglo-Indians, official 
or non-official though he criticised them en masse. Indeed, * 
when one finds column after column of what has been called 
in some quarters as "vitriolic vituperation against the European 
community" in the writings of Moti Lai one is not a little 
surprised to find that he had a large number of friends among 
the European community in this country, both official and 
non-official. The reason for this seems to be that though he 
was an unsparing critic of the activities of the European com- 
munity in this country, individual Europeans, who came in 
touch with him, were convinced that neither did he bear any 
malice or grudge against them nor had he any personal axe to 


Some Dirty Disclosures Vagaries of the Postal Department Post Office, 
a family preserve European Etiquette. 

A Royal Commission on Public Services in India was 
appointed in 1887 to enquire into the conditions of the services 
and suggest ways and means for their improvement. Babu 
Moti Lai Ghose gave his evidence before the Committee on 
the 3Oth March of that year. It brought him at once into 
prominence before the public eye. Moti Lai selected the Post 
Office for exposing the thorough ostracism of the Indians from 
that department. When all special departments of the Govern- 
ment had been taken possession of by the Anglo-Indians there 
was left for the people only one the Postal Department. 
There was ample reason for doing so. It was found after 
repeated experiments that the Postal Department could not be 
organised and its work carried on satisfactorily without the 
help of the natives of the soil. The history is interesting. 

Though the Dak system existed in this country before the 
advent of the British rule, it was not so well-organised. A 
system of Dak on an organised scale was introduced in India 
for the first time on the ist December 1855. A low and 
uniform rate of postage was put in force and the whole of the 
then existing system was re-organised and considered under 
the Postal Act of that year. The pre-payment of letters by 
means of stamps in lieu of cash was introduced, as well as a 
double charge on unpaid letters. A Director General of Post 
Office was found necessary and one Mr. Riddel was appointed 
to the post. 

At first Mr. Riddel appointed a large number of Europeans 

to help him, but he soon discovered his mistake. He found 

>that these European subordinates were of no use to him, and 


he had to dispense with their services. He appointed Indians 
in their place and in course of a few years the system was 
completed. That the children of the soil possessed a vast 
power of organisation was clearly demonstrated. Without the 
help of such men as Babus Saligram, Dinabandhu, and Suryya 
Narain and a host of others the postal system in the country 
could perhaps have never been brought to a state of high 
efficiency. Under the circumstances it was but fit and proper 
that Indians should reign supreme in this Department. As a 
matter of fact the Government of the day had recognised it. 
So the Indian Postal Act laid down the following : 

"No person other than a native of India can be 
appointed to any office in the Post Office Department. 
A 'native of India* was defined as any person born or 
domiciled within the dominions of Her Majesty in India 
or within the territories of Indian Princes tributary to 
or in alliance with, Her Majesty, of parents habitually 
resident in India and not established there for temporary 
purposes only'." 

But in course of time this rule was flagrantly violated. 
When Moti Lai appeared before the Sub-Committee of the 
Public Services Commission he pointed out this rule and 
showed how it was being honoured more in the breach than in 
the observance. For instance, the Director General of the Post 
Office was not only not a "native" of this country, but was a 
Civilian. So was the Deputy Director General. The Post 
Masters General of all the Provinces with perhaps a solitary 
exception were European Civilians. The first Assistant to the 
Director General, the Comptroller of Post Offices, the second 
and third Assistants to the Director General, the Presidency 
Post Masters and their Deputies and the Deputy Post Masters 
General were all "natives" no doubt, though not of India 
but of England. In Bengal out of 15 Superintendents eight 
were Europeans. In the Railway Mail Service out of 14 
officers getting Rs. 150 and upwards per month, 10 were 
Europeans. In Behar Circle, of the five Superintendents four 
were Europeans. The children of the soil were thus completely 
ostracised from the higher appointments in the service in the 


face of the distinct provision on the subject, though nobody 
had the hardihood to deny their thorough fitness for these posts. 

Moti Lai showed by incontrovertible facts and figures that 
not only was the Post Office a family preserve of the heads of 
the departments but that jobberies of every kind were practised 
in it. In short the departments had been filled by the sons, 
sons-in-law, brothers and cousins of some of the chief officers, 
all Europeans, though they had no right to be there as they 
were not "natives of India." This exposure created such a 
scandal that the matter formed the subject of an interpellation 
in Parliament by Mr. Bradlaugh with the result that Mr. Hogg, 
the then head of the Post Office, was compelled to resign. The 
evidence of Babu Moti Lai did not go in vain. It secured for 
the children of the soil many of the high offices in the Postal 
department from which they had been shut out and which 
had been the monopoly of European interlopers. 

Though to all intents and purposes Moti Lai had been 
assisting his illustrious elder brother, Shishir Kumar, in dis- 
charging his editorial duties of the Amrita Bazar Patrika since 
its very inception at their native village, it was perhaps for the 
first time during the session of the Public Services Commission 
in 1887, i.e., nearly twenty years after the paper had been 
started that he appeared before the officials as the Joint-Editor 
of the Amrita Bazar Patrika. 

An incident happened while Moti Lai was giving his 
evidence before the Committee which though a trifling one 
is worth mentioning because his detractors and more especially 
persons who were hit by his evidence wanted to make great 
capital out of it. The Committee consisted of Justice Sir 
Charles Turner, the Hon'ble Maulavi Abdul Jubbar, Mr. Kisch 
{Post Master General) and others. The incident is as follows. 
After Moti Lai had been examined for sometime before the 
Committee he happened to eructate and this was the cause of 
the incident. But let me describe it in the language of Moti 
Lai himself. Writes Moti Lai giving a summary of his evidence 
in the Amrita Bazar Patrika: 

"At this time, an incident occurred to which I 


would have never alluded if it had not been made a 
capital of by the Indian Daily News reporter. I hap- 
pened to eructate. Of course I was not aware that it 
was a dreadful sin in the eyes of Englishmen to yield 
to this natural action of the stomach. But the following 
remark from Sir Charles Turner roused me. 'You did 
it once/ said Sir Charles, 'but I passed it over. Well, 
you must know, this is against English manners/ I, of 
course, could not understand him, and I whispered into 
Hon'ble Maulavi Abdul Jubbar's ears to know what was 
it. He explained the thing to me, and it was with 
difficulty that I could repress a smile. I, however, said 
that I could not but do what I had done and begged to 
be excused. Justice Turner then began to lecture me 
on the rules of etiquette, and, I heard him with meek- 
ness. I must admit, however, that his manner of re- 
proving me was very gentle, and coming from a man of 
his position and age. I took it in an excellent spirit." 

This incident occurred in the midst of his examination 
and after the examination was over Moti Lai parted company 
with Sir Charles Turner "who rose to see him off and expressed 
a wish that he would come again and give evidence, specially 
on the Education Department." 

The Indian Daily News report to which reference was 
made by Motilal had however given a garbled version and 
a gentleman wrote the following letter criticising that report 
to the Editor of the Indian Daily News which was published 
in ts issue of 4th April, 1887: 

"Sir, I regret to see your reporter has dwelt 
much upon an irrelevant matter in reporting the evidence 
of Babu Motilal Ghose, Joint-Editor of the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika. He reports that Babu Motilal was rebuked by 
Sir Charles Turner as he twice eructated before him. 
Sir Charles, no doubt, made some remarks on the 
subject, but that was done with a patriarchal feeling 
and with great courtesy and gentleness. Indeed, the 
attitude of Sir Charles was courteous throughout and 
he rose when Babu Motilal took leave. The reporter 
also might have mentioned that Sir Charles asked 
Babu Motilal to come again and give evidence on the 
subject of education. But why so much fuss about 
such a trifling matter? If Babu Motilal had gone to 
Maharajah Jotindra Mohan Tagore, the first citizen in 


Calcutta, and had committed this breach of English 
manners, and if the Maharajah had remarked it, he 
would have simply said, 'You seem tired ; shall I 
provide you with some refreshment?' What if a Hindoo 
gentleman does not know English manners? What if 
an English gentleman does not know Hindoo manners? 
It would be absurd on the part of a Hindoo to laugh 
at a European guest if he is found to eat with forks 
and spoons, as it would be absurd on the part of a 
European to laugh at his Hindoo guest if the latter is 
found to eat with his hands. I notice this fact at all 
because the prominence given in your columns about 
the eructation business will injure the reputation of 
such a good man as Sir Charles Turner more than that 
of Babu Motilal. It is quite true, however, that Babu 
Motilal's evidence has made ugly and damaging dis- 
closures about the jobberies committed in the Postal 



Commotion in Postal Department Anglo-Indian Manners Press Com- 
ments on the Evidence. 

The evidence of Babu Motilal Ghose before the Royal 
Commission on Public Services in which he disclosed the 
vagaries of the Postal Department created a great commotion 
in the Postal Department. Searching enquiries were at once 
started by interested persons to find out the parties who had 
supplied him with the damaging facts and Mr. Hogg, Director- 
General of Post Offices, telegraphed to the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika Office asking for copies of the Amrita Bazar Patrika 
containing the summary of his evidence. 

In the meantime Babu Motilal Ghose received an anony- 
mous letter. The hand-writing, however, was of a European 
or Eurasian. The following is the copy of the letter: 

"Motilal Ghose. The bosh you were good enough 


to communicate before the Public Service Commission 
the other day gives to all readers very fair idea of what 
you black-guard natives (Bengalees) are and what the 
likes of you are capable of saying and doing. It is a 
wonder that the European gentlemen present there did 
not apply the toes of their boots to your back side, as 
they should have done to you for your display of 
Bengali manners and customs. Surely you must have 
eaten poor beef that morning for your breakfast to 
make you belch forth and expel impure gas, which 
during this warm weather must have reached the boiling 
point in connection with the steam from boiled rice, 
and found its way out of your black mouth, instead of 
its proper channel your backside. You Bengalees are 
the most degraded race on this earth, and you should 
read Macaulay. It is the English Government only that 

tolerates you, sons of ; but now you and the likes 

of you must go to Upper Burmah, where the Burmese 
will put you through in a very short time. You have 
done more to damage your cause than all the Bengali 
forgers, thieves, and rogues that we read of in the daily 
papers, almost every day." 

The above letter was adorned by a marginal couplet which 
omitting certain words was as follows : 

Tumara jovoo ke 

Tumara gooshti ke 

The Amrita Bazar Patrika published the above letter along 
with the marginal couplet and commented on it as follows : 

"We have very little doubt that the above is the 
production of a European or a Eurasian postal officer. 
If it be so, the couplet properly belongs to his patron 
who gave him his appointment, and we therefore make 
a free gift of it to him." 

In fairness to the Anglo-Indian (then known as Eiiropean) 
community be it said here that a gentleman of this community 
(whose name I have not been able to ascertain) wrote a letter 
to Motilal with reference to the eructation incident in a very 
sympathetic manner which showed that there was at least one 
Englishman who could feel for a Hindoo. The Amrita Bazar 
Patrika also had the fairness to publish an extract from this 
letter with approval. Following is the extract: 

"I have often thought that one cause of frequent 
misunderstanding between the two races is a want of 


knowledge of the social customs and ceremonies, modes 
of address, etc. on the part of each. Nay, I have some- 
times thought of compiling a short account of these 
with the help of some native friends. What may seem 
rude on either part may arise simply from not under- 
standing the spirit of an action or expression. For 
instance, one of the best intentioned Europeans in 
Calcutta once told me in great distress, that a native 
gentleman had taken great offence at his mode of 
addressing him. I asked him what he had said. He 
replied, C I spoke to him as I should to you or any other 
gentleman. I addressed him as you just as I do to 
you now.' I told him that he should have used the 
honorific f Ap\ He was astonished and said he did not 
know, but certainly he would have been the last man 
in the world to intentionally give offence. Such 
instances in speech and action are doubtless common, 
and each race probably forbears to seek communication 
with the other lest there should be some step in speech 
or action not in accordance with received custom. If 
the spirit of social intercourse were explained with 
reasons for the modes adopted, I have a strong impres- 
sion that communication would take place with more 
ease and confidence and less of embarrassment in the 
sense of doing wrong. " 

Commenting on the evidence of Babu Motilal the Behar 
Herald remarked : 

"Of the branches of Public Service for which the 
people are eminently fitted the Postal Department is one 
about which there can hardly be two opinions. But 
their exclusion from the higher grades of it was all but 
complete. This fact was brought into prominent relief 
in the evidence of Babu Motilal Ghose, Joint-Editor of 
the Amrita Bazar PaMka before the Sub-Committee of 
the Public Service Commission. This testimony must 
have caused a strange flutter in the dovecots of the 
department, as it was full of so many ugly disclosures 
that Sir Charles Turner hesitated to accept it without 
a thorough cross-examination. Mr. Kisch, the present 
Post Master General who happened to be present was 
asked, however, to contradict the witness, if he could, 
but he did not venture to do so." 

MotilaPs evidence before the Public Service Commission 
was followed by a series of articles in the Amrita Bazar PaMka 
exposing the jobberies of the Post Office. Numerous 


instances were quoted and irrefutable facts and figures were 
given, so that all attempts of the Postal authorities to shield 
their action proved fruitless. Space does not permit me to 
repeat the whole thing. So I take one point at random. 
There was a rule in the Post Office Manual to this effect : 

"It is essential that a Superintendent should have 
a thorough practical knowledge of every detail of Post 
Office work and be competent to instruct his sub- 
ordinates. It is important also that he should know 
the prevailing vernacular language of the circle in which 
he is employed." 

The Amrita Bazar PaMka quoted this rule and went on : 
"Let us now mention the names of some of the 
Superintendents who were appointed direct from outside* 
and the ages in which they were appointed : 



L. A. Massa ... ... ... 19 

H. C. Ronsack ... ... ... 19 

E. A. Doran ... ... ... 19 

A. J. Faichnie ... ... ... 18 

G. W. Schoeneman ... ... ... 18 

M. C. Byrne ... ... ... 19 

A. R. Ammon ... ... ... 19 

A. Bean ... ... ... 18 

H. C. Sheridan ... ... ... 17 

N. G. Wait ... ... ... ig, 

C. C. Sheridan ... ... ... 18 

E. R. Kellner ... ... ... 20 

T. Corbett ... ... ... 19 

W. A. Kelly ... ... ... 20 

J. C. Koddy ... ... ... 18" 

The Patrika further commented : 

"It is hard to conceive how these young people 
some of them could be styled lads could have qualified 
themselves for the duties of a Superintendent, unless 
we accept the supposition that they came out of their 
mothers' womb like our Astabakra, fully competent to 
teach the world and to do anything and everything. 
Astabakra remained twelve years in his mother's womb 
and learnt everything while there from what his father 


taught to his disciples. Perhaps these young lads 
acquired all the necessary qualifications of a Superin- 
tendent while flying their kites near the Post Office 

Mr. Hynes, First Assistant to the Director-General of 
ft>st Office gave evidence before the Committee of the Public 
Services Commission and tried to meet or refute some of the 
statements of Babu Motilal Ghose, but he hopelessly failed to 
achieve his end. 

The Indian Patriot thus commented on the statement of 
Mr. Hynes: 

''The carefully worded replies of Mr. G. J. Hynes, 
First Assistant to the Director-General of Post Office to 
the statements of Babu Motilal Ghose, Joint-Editor of 
the Amrita Bazar Patrika before the Public Service 
Commission at Calcutta must prove disappointing read- 
ing to everyone outside the Eurasian and Anglo-Indian 
community and even to many in that community. ..." 

The Shorn Prakash, which was in its time regarded as a 
leading paper in the country, wrote: 

"When the Public Service Commission held its 
sitting at Calcutta, the 'patriots' fell fast asleep and it 
was only Baboo Motilal Ghose, the Joint-Editor of the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika that satisfied the members of the 
Commission, citing innumerable instances he came to 
know of, after a good deal of search, that the natives 
of the country are gradually losing their privilege to 
enter Government offices." 

MotilaPs evidence before the Public Services Commission 
was the subject matter of discussion in the Press for several 
months together and brought him very prominently before the 
public eye. 

It took a year for the Public Service Commissioners to 
prepare their Report. As regards the Postal Department the 
Commission made the following recommendations: 

"Postal Department: That in order to enable 
Natives to compete on equal terms with Europeans and 
Eurasians for appointments which require higher educa- 
tional qualifications and greater physical energy than 
are necessary for efficient service in the lower posts, a 
certain number of appointments from Rs. 80 to Rs. 100 
a month should be filled by competition, the successful 


candidates being admitted on probation and being 
trained in Head Offices, after which they should be 
employed as Inspectors, and if found qualified selected 
for the grades of Superintendent. 

"That of the seven highest appointments in the 
Departments at present filled by Covenanted Civilians, 
not less than three should be ordinarily filled by 
promotion within the Department." 

It, therefore, appears that Motilal's evidence did not go 
in vain. It succeeded in introducing the competitive system 
of recruitment for certain posts and succeeded in snatching 
away at least three out of the seven highest appointments from 
foreigners to the children of the soil and set the ball of 
Indianisation rolling. 


Norton's Reminiscences Fourth All-India Congress Simultaneous 
I. C. S. Examinations in England and India Fifth Congress Legisla- 
tive Reforms. 

The name of Mr. Eardley Norton, Barrister-at-Law 
is well-known in this country. He practised at the Madras 
High Court for a time and later joined the Calcutta High 
Court where for a considerable time he ruled the day. He was 
counsel on behalf of the prosecution in the famous Maniktala 
Bomb Case in which Sri juts Aurobinda Ghose, Barindra Kumar 
Ghose and others were prosecuted and Mr. C. R. Das took the 
defence side. Long after this case in another famous trial 
the trial of Sj. Nirmalkanto Roy, who was charged with 
murdering a Police Officer in a street in CalcuttaMr. Norton 
was on the defence side and succeeded in saving the young 
man from the jaws of the gallows. 

Mr. J^orton in his younger days took some interest in 
Indian politics. He attended some sessions of the Indian 
National Congres and took an active part in them. 


We find in Mr. Norton's Reminiscences published in the 
(now-defunct) Looker-on of March 8, 1919 that Babu Motilal 
Ghose was one of those who attended the fourth session of 
the All-India National Congress held at Allahabad in 1888 
under the presidentship of Mr. George Yule, President of the 
Calcutta Chamber of Commerce. Amongst those present were 
Messrs. W. C. Bonnerjee, Telang, Monmohan Ghose, Pheroze 
Shah Mehta, Ranade, Surendra Nath Banerjea and others. 
"Moti Lai Ghose," says Mr. Norton, "was wrapped in an 
ancient chudder" and when Rajah Sewprasad of Benares moved 
a hostile resolution he "declined to call him bhai (brother)". 

Says Mr. Norton: 

"Next morning was to inaugurate the Resolution 
on simultaneous examinations in England and in India 
for candidates for the Civil Service. Dear old Moti Lall 
Ghose had given notice of his intention to divide the 
Congress on the Resolution. He objected to successful 
Indian candidates being sent to England for a two years* 
training. His o(rthodoxy was up in arms. England, 
he said, spelt whisky and women for tender Indian 
youths. He objected to a nautch-girl in India on prin- 
ciple, but to the fair-haired Amaryllis clothed in black 
silk 'undies', rouge and wanton smiles he was determined 
to offer an opposition relentless and interminable. Let 
the Heavens fall, let the Amrita Bazar Patrika be mis- 
taken for the Pioneer, no decent Indian woman's brother 
should be exposed to the wiles of Club No. I, and the 
denizens of Pimlico or St. John's Wood. So he blew 
his bugle and the clans mustered. It was up with the 
banners of Moti Lai Ghose, and though the sages of 
the Congress pleaded with Moti to fall into line with 
their more liberal views he said nothing but sat like 
a Sphinx, mute as the Fates, inexorable as death. We 
sent him to bed at three and attacked him again at 
six. He was harder and colder than ever. There was 
no fire in his tent and he had frozen to an iceberg ; and 
so he won his point. A compromise was arrived at, 
and Monmohan Ghose was elected to move it at the 
full meeting. Caine, the 'general ruffian' of the House 
of Commons, was there as a visitor, and he told me 
afterwards how deeply impressed he was with the 
manner in which it was adopted. In a letter to a London 
newspaper he described the incident and its determina- 
tion as 'worthy of the Front Bench at Horn**." 


The following comment on the fourth All-India National 
Congress held at Allahabad in December 1888 was published 
in the Amrita Bazar Patrika. As Moti Lai personally attended 
the Congress and was also editing the paper at this time we 
may presume this to be from his pen or at least written at 
his instance : 

"Many earnest people who had gone as delegates 
to the Congress at Allahabad had to leave the place dis- 
appointed. They had many things to say and to do, but 
they had no opportunity of doing any good to the 
Congress except swelling the number of delegates. The 
complaint is just, but it is common to all large gather- 
ings. It is certain, however, that this year a large 
amount of anxious thought was bestowed upon the pro- 
ceedings to be followed than it was done at Madras last 

In the Allahabad session Mr. John Adam of Madras moved 
an amendment which wellnigh threatened a split in the 
Congress camp. His amendment was to the effect that simul- 
taneous examinations should be accompanied with compulsory 
residence of the India-passed candidates in England. It was 
nearly half-past five when Mr. Adam moved his amendment 
and so the discussion was reserved for the next days' meeting. 

It was only a very few of the delegates who were seated on 
or near the platform who heard Mr. Adam's amendment or 
paid any serious attention to it. Moti Lai who was one of 
these gentlemen at once saw the grave consequences that 
would follow if the amendment were passed or accepted by 
the Congress. He said that if the amendment were carried, 
considering the state of the Hindu society at that time the 
Congress would be at once characterised as a non-Hindu orga- 
nisation by its opponents and then the whole Hindu nation, 
which was then much more orthodox than now, would disavow 
the Congress, for they would not be able to subscribe to the 
resolution for sending their children to England for education 
or for fitting them to hold employments in their own country. 
Such men, for example, as the Maharajah of Durbhanga, the 
premier land-holder of the Province of Bengal or Maharaja 



Jatindra Mohan Tagore, the premier citizen of Calcutta, he 
ieared, would at once cut off their connection with the Congress 
if the amendment were successfully carried. So he considered 
the amendment to be greatly injurious to the cause of the 
country. Immediately after the meeting he saw Mr. Hume 
(the father of the Indian National Congress) and Mr. Norton 
and spoke to them on the subject. He explained to Hume 
the danger involved in the amendment. Hume realised the 
danger, became anxious and asked him to secure votes against 
the amendment. It was then nearly half past nine in the 
evening and Moti Lai then went to Norton who on hearing 
about the danger involved in the amendment not only assured 
him that he would oppose the amendment but promised to go 
out next morning to canvass for votes against the amendment. 
Moti Lai then saw Captain Banon, who had influence with 
the Punjab delegates. The Captain also assured him that the 
Punjab votes would go against the amendment. 

Early next morning Norton was seen going out and secur- 
ing votes. He forgot his morning tea, he forgot his breakfast 
and was busily engaged in canvassing votes. Moti Lai also 
induced other leaders to inform the delegates of the danger 
that awaited them and the alarm spread like wild fire from 
tent to tent. So before the day's meeting began it was 
apparent to everybody that Mr. Adam's amendment would 
be lost. Ultimately a compromise resolution was passed which 
on the one hand appreciated the concessions proposed by the 
Public Services Commission, but on the other hand stated that 
full justice would never be done to the people of this country 
until open competitions for the Indian Civil Service were held 
simultaneously in England and India. 

The fifth All-India Congress was held at Bombay in 
December 1889 under the presidentship of Sir William 
Wedderburn. The most outstanding figure in this session of 
the Congress was Mr. Charles Bradlaugh, M.P., who had been 
surnamed the "Member for India". When Moti Lai who was 
attending the Congress as a delegate from Bengal met 
Bradlaugh, the latter while referring to the warm reception 


that was accorded to him remarked with a smile, "I was well- 
nigh killed by your people, the crowd was so great." 

The most important question before this session of the 
Congress was the Bill for the reform of the Legislative 
Councils. Bradlaugh had drafted a Bill on the subject. Before 
the question was finally taken up for settlement in the open 
Congress it had been referred to a select body of delegates 
to devise, if possible, a uniform scheme which would apply 
to all parts of India. This body sat for two days and threshed 
out a scheme with the help of Bradlaugh which was ultimately 
adopted by the Congress with some minor alterations. 

Now, three schemes were placed before this select body 
of delegates. One of these was known as the Bengal or Amrita 
Bazar Patrika scheme. It had appeared in the columns of 
Amrita Bazar Patrika some time before and was placed by 
Moti Lai before the Congress. Bradlaugh remarked that of 
the three schemes this was the best. In fact, he said that it 
was the scheme which he liked most. But he was sure that 
as it was based on direct representation the whole body of the 
Conservatives in Parliament would object to it and give it no 
chance of success. A scheme from Madras, fathered by Norton, 
based upon indirect representation was finally adopted. The 
other scheme which was not accepted had originated in 



Some English friends Caine, Bradlaugh and Digby Kashmir Affairs 
Interview with Bradlaugh Taking up Kashmir Cause Questions in 

Though Moti Lai was a severe critic of the British admi- 
nistration in India he bore no ill-will against Britishers in 
general or any individual Britisher. And it was partly 


owing to this fact, if not also to his frankness of speech and 
suavity of manners, that he could count among his personal 
friends many an Englishman of power and position. One of 
these was the late W. S. Caine, Member of Parliament. -Very 
early he formed the acquaintance of Caine who had come to 
India to preach against intoxicants, and acquaintance soon 
ripened into friendship. Caine who possessed a very liberal 
heart was moved by the pathetic appeals that Moti Lai made 
to him to induce him to enter the field of Indian politics with 
a view to agitate the grievances of India in Parlament. And 
it was at Moti Lai's instance that Caine became the London 
correspondent of the Amrita Bazar Patrika and raised several 
Indian questions in Parliament in the eighties and nineties of 
of the last century. 

In the year 1889 the late Charles Bradlaugh M.P. came 
to India. He was putting up at Bombay when the fifth 
session of the Indian National Congress was going on. Motilal 
had also gone to Bombay as a delegate to the Congress from 
Bengal. He met Bradlaugh and with his persistent appeals 
moved him to take up the cause of India. Bradlaugh at first 
refused to intercede on behalf of India on the ground that 
he was not aware of facts and figures regarding India. But 
Motilal assured him that there would be no difficulty in this 
matter as Bradlaugh could get all information regarding India 
from Mr. William Digby, who was collecting materials for 
his book "Prosperous British India," and who was a great 
personal friend of Motilal. In this book, Digby, though an 
Englishman himself, showed from facts and figures quoted 
from official records what English rule had done in India, 
he proved to the hilt the poverty of the Indian people, their 
heavy taxation, the terrible and ceaseless drain from India to 
England and the responsibility of England for famines in 
Ifadia. Motilal and Digby often met each other and they must 
have held long discussions on these matters. 

At this time Maharaja Pratap Singh of Kashmir had lost 
his guddee owing to the machinations of some -mischievous 
persons. A series of articles were published in the Amrita 


Bazar Patrika feelingly describing the wrong that had been 
done to the Maharaja. A letter of his describing the affair 
was also published which created a great sensation in official 
circles. When Bradlaugh agreed to take up the Indian cause 
Motilal cited the dethronement of the Maharaja as a case in 
point and wanted Bradlaugh to take up the question to 
Parliament for redressing the grievance. Pandit Gopinath of 
Lahore and two other representatives from the Maharaja of 
Kashmir had come to the Congress at Bombay. At the instance 
of Motilal these three representatives saw Bradlaugh with a 
memorial on behalf of the Maharaja and Bradlaugh promised 
to take up the cause of the Maharaja. At first he refused to 
raise in Parliament the question of the Magistrate and the 
Political Agent being off their heads, but Motilal insisted on 
the matter being raised and Bradlaugh had to agree. 

Here is a summary of the very interesting interview, that 
took place between Motilal and Bradlaugh, taken from the 
former's private diary : 

When I proposed to Mr. Bradlaugh to take up the 
case of the Maharajah of Kashmere, he seemed to be 
very much -annoyed. His reply was, 'I have already 
disposed of two gentlemen who saw me with the same 
mission. One of them was a Pleader and the other an 
Engineer of the State who had the boldness to offer me 
some silver vessels as presents. I am sorry you too 
want to drag me into this business. Well, I have 
resolved not to meddle with it.' 

I Why, may I inquire? 

Mr. B. I have been advised by Mr. Hume not to 
meddle with this matter as the people might then 
charge me with having taken money from the Maharaja. 

I But are you really going to be bribed? 

Mr. B. Of course not. 

I Has not Mr. Bradlaugh this reputation that he 
never cares for what the world says about him so long 
as he is satisfied that the case he advocates is a just 

Mr. B. Well! 

I You know you are not going to be bribed, and 
if I can convince you that the Maharaja has suffered 
gross wrongs at the hands of the Government, why 


should you not protect him? Is it because he had the 
misfortune of being born a Prince? 

Mr. Bradlaugh was non-plussed. 

He however sought to wriggle out of his position 
by declaring that he was willing to defend the Maharaja 
provided he appealed to him openly. 

I pointed out that that was an impossible condi- 
tion. For, in that case the Government would make 
his life simply unbearable. 

Mr. Bradlaugh replied that Parliament was superior 
to the Indian Government, and the latter would not" 
dare to oppress a man when he was under Parliamentary 

I told him what he said was theoretically correct, 
but as a matter of fact, living six thousand miles away, 
it was impossible for a Member of Parliament to give the 
Maharaja any shelter if he fell under the displeasure of 
an irresponsible and bureaucratic Government. 

Mr. Bradlaugh reflected for a moment and then 
said in a resolute tone : My decision is made. I will 
not take up the matter if the Maharaja does not j-lace 
his papers directly in my hands. No more on this 
subject, Mr. Ghose. 

It was now my turn to be non-plussed 
A happy idea, however, flashed in my mind. I 
asked Mr. Bradlaugh if he would not admit that the 
subjects of Kashmir were as much interested as, or even 
more interested than, the Maharaja himself in the pre- 
servation of the integrity of the State. Suppose, these 
subjects were to approach him for help, how could he 
refuse it? If they were to tell him that granting the 
Maharaja's alleged misgovernment was true, why should 
they, innocent men, be punished by the annexation of 
their State for his fault? What answer would he give 
to them ? 

Mr. Bradlaugh was again non-plussed I 
He said that in that case it was his duty to serve 
them. He then grew warm and with a tremendous thud 
on the table with his gigantic hand, he assiired me he 
would do his very best, that he would raise a debate in 
the House, that he would expose the whole scandal to 
the world, but our facts and figures must be absolutely 
correct and his briefs must be prepared by Mr. Digby in 
whom he had absolute confidence, to all of which I 
readily agreed. 


The sequel is interesting. Three gentlemen had come 
from Kashmir to Bombay as delegates to the Congress. Motilal 
told them the purport of his conversation with Bradlaugh and 
enquired if they were prepared to wait in deputation on him 
and appeal to him for his help. They were quite ready to do 
it. They then presented a formal address to Bradlaugh pray- 
ing for his protection and he gave them in public an assurance 
of his support to their cause. One of these gentlemen was 
Pandit Gopinath of Lahore. 

Bradlaugh fulfilled his promise to the very letter. Digby 
prepared a brief for him based on the articles in the Amrita 
Bazar Patrika and the official papers relating to the subject. 
On the 3rd July 1890 Bradlaugh gave notice of a debate in 
Parliament on the Kashmir affairs in these words: 

"I beg to ask leave to move the adjournment of the 
House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of 
urgent public importance, namely, the taking away by 
the Government of India from the Maharaja of Kashmir 
the government of his State and part of the revenue 
while refusing to allow any judicial or Parliamentary 
enquiry into the grounds for such action against a great 
Feudatory Prince." 

Considerably over forty members having risen in their 
places, Bradlaugh made a powerful speech of considerable 
length in which he proved conclusively the wrongs that had 
been done to the Maharaja. The motion, of course, was 
defeated, the Government having a large standing majority, 
but it did its work. The Maharaja was restored to the guddee 
though many of his powers were taken away. Some of these 
powers, however, were restored as late as 1921. 

In course of the above conversation Moti Lai made 
another request to Bradlaugh to which also he at first declined 
to accede. It was that he should be pleased to ask questions 
in Parliament about the high-handed proceedings of the 
members of the Indian Civil Service and the Political Agents 
attached to the Courts of the Indian Princes. Bradlaugh not 
only came round to the views of Motilal when the latter 
described the doings of some of the Magistrates and Political 


Agents but grew warm and declared with a strong thump on 
the table that he too had some personal experience of the high- 
handedness of some of the Magistrates in England and that 
he quite sympathised with the position of the Indians. As a 
matter of fact his interpellations on the conduct of some of 
the Magistrates in Bengal, such as Mr. H. A. D. Phillips, 
Mr. Beams and others created a good deal of terror among the 
members of the Indian Civil Service. 


Age of Consent BillHan Haiti's Case Popular Feeling Against the 
Bill Protest Meetings Necessity of a Daily Paper Patrika Converted 
From A Weekly To A Daily. 

While the sixth Indian National Congress was sitting in 
Calcutta at the end of December, 1890, the rumour spread from 
mouth to mouth that Lord Cross, the then Secretary of State 
for India, had directed the Government of India to introduce 
the Supreme Council a Bill to raise the Age of Consent 
ten to twelve years. The whole country was indignant. 
The general body of Hindus, who were then much more 
orthodox than now, took it to be an affront to their religious 
and social custom. The system of early marriage was ingrained 
in them and they thought that by raising the age of consent 
the marriage of girls would naturally be deferred and vices of 
European society would gradually creep into the Indian homes. 
Moreover they argued that if any reform in their society was 
needed it should be carried out by themselves and not thrust 
upon them by a foreign body. 

Now, the Age of Consent Bill originated in this way. One 
Hari Haiti had intercourse with his girl wife and the wife 
died of bleeding. It was proved by medical evidence that 
Hari Haiti had previous intercourses with his wife who was 
a well-developed girl. It was also proved that it was of her 


own accord that she came to her husband on the day she died 
of bleeding. Though it was a case of accident pure and simple 
Hari Maiti was sentenced to two years' rigorous imprisonment. 

There are in every age and in every clime classes of 
persons who always think that a reform is needed. If they 
cannot bring about a reform of the strong and the obdurate 
they will exert their energies to achieve this end with the 
weak and the yielding. At the time when the above incident 
occurred the Congress and politically-minded people of India 
were trying to bring about an enlargement of the existing 
legislative Councils on a representative basis. But another 
class of "Reformers'* thought that the Government was a hard 
nut to crack. So they directed all their energies towards 
reforming the society of the country. They made much capital 
out of Hari Haiti's case. The Government took up the cue. 
Thus the Age of Consent Bill was introduced by the Govern- 
ment and it fell among the Indian people like the apple of 
discord and created disunion among their rank and file. 

The Amrita Bazar Patrika at once took up the gauntlet. 
It warned the people that if they paid all their attention to 
this Bill they might forget other important matters ; for 
example, "they were likely to forget the danger that was 
hanging over their head in the shape of the Police Reform," 
which proposed to increase the number of European Magistrates 
and give greater powers to the District Police Superintendents. 
But cool calculation was of no avail. The popular passions 
had been roused. Even men like Maharaja latindra Mohan 
Tagore, Raja Rajendra Lala, Sir Romesh Chandra Mitter, 
Mr. W. C. Bonnerjee and other leading members of the Hindu 
society arrayed themselves against the Age of Consent Bill, and 
inspite of its earlier warnings to the people the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika itself was subsequently carried away by the tide of 
popular opinion and began violently to oppose this piece of 
social reform. As early as January 1891, when the Age of 
Consent Bill had been formally introduced the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika suggested that "a public meeting must be held at once 
in Calcutta to consider the Age of Consent Bill before the 


next meeting of the Legislative Council .... and a memorial 
must be submitted by the public of Calcutta on or before the 
day of the debate. " 

Gradually, the feeling against the Bill became very intense 
in the country and especially in Calcutta. It became the 
subject matter of talk everywhere in the town. Hawkers 
began to sell pamphlets in the streets for one or two pice 
criticising and caricaturing the Bill. Some of these bore 
inscriptions like "Great Danger to Hindu Religion," "Dohai 
Maharanee our religion in Danger" and so forth and so on. 
Meetings were held here and there and everywhere in the 
town. The British Indian Association under the Presidentship 
of Raja Rajendra Narayan Deb Bahadur and Secretaryship of 
Maharaj-Kumar Benoy Krishna Dev of Shovabazar, took up 
the matter in right earnest. Raja Peary Mohan Mukherjee of 
Uttarpara who presided over a meeting of an association named 
Sabitri Sabha gave expression to his opinion that the action 
of the Government was improper. Maharaja Jatindra Mohan 
Tagore of Pathuriaghata said that the introduction of the Bill 
was a great blunder. The Hon'ble Sir Romesh Chandra Mitter 
opposed the Bill in the Legislative Council. The columns of 
the Amrita Bazar Patrika were filled up with opinions of men 
opposing the Bill and week after week its leading editorials 
were directed against the measure. 

On the 22nd January, 1891 a public meeting was held 
at the residence of the late Maharaja Kamal Krishna Dev 
Bahadur at Shovabazar (Calcutta) to protest against the Bill. 
The attendance was not only very large, but hundreds 
of people had to go away disappointed owing to want of room. 
The spacious quadrangle of the Rajbari was crowded to suffo- 
cation. Not only Hindus, but several Mussulmans were also 
present in the meeting. Telegrams sympathising with the object 
of the meeting which were read out showed that they came 
from persons like Maharani Swarnamoyi, Maharaja Jagadindra 
Nath Roy Bahadur of Natore, Maharaja Girijanath Roy 
Bahadur of Dinajpur, Raja Suryya Kanta Acharyya Bahadur 
of Muktagacha, Raja Haronath Roy Chaudhury Bahadur of 


Dubalhati, Raja Gyanada Kanta Roy of Jessore, Maulavi 
Mahammad Nazimuddin Khan Bahadur of Madras, Mahamaho- 
padhyaya Ram Dikhit Apte of Poona, the Maharaja of 
Durbhanga and others. Mahamahopadhyaya Bhuban Mohan 
Bidyaratna, a renowed Pandit, was proposed to the chair by 
Maharajkumar Nil Krishna Dev Bahadur and Syed Abdul 
Sobhan, a Mahomedan gentleman, one of the biggest Zemindars 
of Bogra seconded him. So, here was a matter in which 
leading Hindus and Mahomedans were of the same opinion 
and thus they combined in their protest against the proposed 

Babu Kalinath Mitra moved the first resolution which ran 
as follows : 

That this meeting, while thanking the Government 
for its benevolent intentions, deprecates all social re- 
forms by the Legislature as at present constituted, and is 
of opinion that under present circumstances, any reform, 
affecting our society, to be useful and permanent must 
come from within, and not be forced by the present 
system of Legislation. 

He opposed the Government measure in a vehement 
speech. When he said that the Government were introducing 
this measure on the opinion of a few Babus who had been 
to England and returned to their mother country with new- 
fangled ideas, Moti Lai interposed and said that he was, 
however, glad to say that Mr. W. C. Bonnerjee was opposed 
to this measure. 

Babu (afterwards Raja) Sitanath Roy moved the second 
resolution opposing penal legislation in a matter affecting 
religious ceremony. A Standing Committee was formed at the 
meeting with a view to carry on agitation against the Bill 
and in a few days' time the Committee submitted a long 
memorial to His Excellency the Viceroy (Lord Lansdowne) 
giving point by point the objections against the proposed 
legislation supported by the opinions of a large number of 
medical practitioners of Calcutta and signed by 10,000 persons. 

Very soon after this a public meeting was held at the 
Calcutta maidan to protest against the Bill where a lakh of 


men assembled. No one presided and 12 different speakers 
addressed the meeting simultaneously standing apart from one 
another in different places of the maidan. 

It was at this time that Indians had to witness the peculiar 
spectacle of the daily papers boycotting the public. Some 
papers of Madras, Bombay and Calcutta refused to publish 
letters from eminent persons opposing the Government measure. 
At this critical moment the Hindu Patriot regretted the want 
of a Hindu daily paper to safeguard the religion of the Hindus. 
The Indian Mirror supported the Bill and it was characterised 
by the Hindu public as a Brahmo paper. The result was that 
great pressure was put on the conductors of the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika to convert their paper from a weekly to a daily one. 

- igth February, 1891, ought to be a red-letter day 
in the history of journalism in India. I do not know whether 
according to the Hindu calendar that was an auspicious day 
or not, but later events seem to testify that certainly that was 
an auscipious day, at least, for journalism in India. It was 
on the igth February, 1891, that the Amrita Bazar Patrika 
made its appearance for the first time as a daily. I have 
already said that at that time the Government and the country 
had gone mad over the Age of Consent Bill. When this mad- 
ness had assumed its greatest height the people of Bengal 
found that they had no suitable daily organ to take up their 
cause and agitate over the matter. They were not satisfied 
with the pleadings of the Patrika once a week and they insisted 
on the proprietors of the paper to convert it into a daily. 

But the proprietors were not very well off at this time and 
geat pressure was brought to bear upon them to take this 
hazardous step. Various deputations from the people and 
from friends and admirers now began to wait upon them and 
they threatened to make their life miserable if they did not 
change their paper into a daily. At last they had to agree and 
though they had not much printing materials with them they 
took a leap into the dark. The country now knows very well 
if 'they had been rewarded for this bold step. 

From this time Moti I*al had to labour hard very hard. 


The difference between the labour of conducting a weekly 
paper and that of conducting a daily paper is very great, and 
the difference grew all the greater as the change was a sudden 
one. Moti Lai and his brothers who not only owned the 
paper but had also its management in their hands had now to 
undergo great financial difficulties, but they tided over all 
obstacles by dint of their innate sense of economy and unique 
capacity for adapting themselves to surrounding circumstances. 
Within a week of the Amrita Bazar Patrika's conversion 
into a daily "a densely crowded and representative meeting" of 
the leading members of the Hindu community was held at the 
residence of Babu Ramanath Ghose in Pathuriaghata, Calcutta, 
to protest against the Age of Consent Bill. Almost all the 
elite of the city and many distinguished Pandits from Nava- 
dwip, Bhatpara, Bikrampur and Orissa were present in that 
meeting. Raja Rajendra Narayan Deb Bahadur presided. In 
the report of the meeting published in the Amrita Bazar Patrika 
(Daily Edition) of the 2ist February, 1891 we find that Moti 
Lai attended the meeting as Editor of the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika. A Committee was formed in that meeting to 
draw a memorial to Lord Landsdowne, the then Viceroy and 
Moti Lai was one of the members of that Committee. Let it be 
said here that in spite of the agitation in the country the Age 
of Consent Bill was passed, and people know what good or 
bad it has done either to the Government or to the country. 
Since then the Sarda Act, called after Rai Harbilas Sarda 
Bahadur has further increased the Age of Consent. The 
Heavens have not fallen down, nor has the Ganges been on 
fire. The fact is that the Age of Consent affecting the age of 
marriage has ceased to be a social or religious matter, if ever 
it was such ; it has now become a purely ,.""' ^u*w*m*l^^*9&- 


Moti Lai, A Candidate For Election To Calcutta Corporation Supported 
by the Press How Friends Were Parted Election Tactics Moti Lai's 

In the year 1892 Moti Lai was attacked with a serious 
disease which often attacks public men, he fell a prey to 
the importunities of friends and thus got election fever. He 
stood as a candidate for election as a Commissioner of the 
Calcutta Corporation. In this connection he issued the follow- 
ing appeal to his constituency : ~ 


Amrita Bazar Patrika Office, 
January i3th, 1892. 


The Electors of Ward No. I. 

Dear Sir, 

I beg to offer myself as a candidate for one of the 
Commissionerships in Ward No. I, at the forthcoming 
General Election of Commissioners. I venture to hope 
that you will kindly approve of my candidature . 

Yours faithfully, 


Editor, 'A. B. Patrika'. " 

While announcing his candidature the Statesman wrote: 

"We observe that our old friend Mr. Motilal 
Ghose, the Editor of the Amrita Bazar Patrika has been 
induced to offer himself as a candidate for one of the 
vacancies in Ward No. I at the forthcoming General 
Election of Commissioners. The city is in need of a 
few more men of the sterling honesty and sturdy 
independence of Moti Lai Ghose to manage its affairs 
at the Municipal Board, and it is to be trusted his 
candidature will prove successful." 
In this connection the now-defunct National Paper said : 

"The announcement of the new election has pro- 
voked both worthies and unworthies to stand for elec- 


tion. We are glad to learn that the Editor of the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika has been induced by the rate- 
payers of Ward No I to stand for the election. The 
promoter of the Municipal Elective system ought to have 
a place on the Board." 

The Bengalee in supporting Moti Lai's candidature 
wrote : 

"The electors of Ward No. I would be well- 
advised in returning Babu Motilal Ghose as Commis- 
sioner for their Ward. Babu Motilal Ghose is an 
experienced journalist, a man of letters and of great 
public spirit. He would be an acquisition to the Muni- 
cipal Board." 

The Guardian had the following: 

"A notable candidate in these days of flunkeyism and 
apkawastism among most of the Commissioners on the 
Municipal Board, it is refreshing to see the name of 
Babu Motilal Ghose offering himself as a candidate at 
the forthcoming general election. In sturdy indepen- 
dence of character, unflinching tenacity of purpose, 
ready grasp at intricate subjects and the last though 
not the least, in genuine patriotism, he has few equals 
in India. If such a man stands for any Ward, it is 
simply doing honour to such a constituency. We con- 
gratuiate the rate-payers of Ward No. I to have per- 
suaded Moti Babu to stand as a candidate for the same." 

In the beginning there were eight candidates from Ward 
No. I for two seats. But Moti Lai's rivals in the election 
were really two, and they were formidable candidates, Rai 
Pasupati Nath Bose and Babu Bhupendra Nath Basu. The 
former belonged to a well-known aristrocratic family, he was 
a big zemindar, having a palatial house in Calcutta, perhaps 
the largest in the northern quarter of the town and he had 
a large number of friends and relations in the Ward in which 
he lived for generations and which he sought to represent at the 
Corporation. Bhupendra Nath Basu was then a rising Attorney. 
His later career is too well-known to require any mention. 
Needless to say both these candidates were personal friends of 
Moti Lai. At first the candidates took the election fight with 
a good grace. But gradually high feelings were aroused and 
supporters of rival parties began to call each other all sorts 


of names and tried to belittle the heroes of their rivals in 
various ways. 

The following extract from a description of the situation 
as given in a leading editorial of the Amrita Bazar Patrika of 
some date in February, 1892 will be interesting: 

"We read in books that something like madness 
seizes the people at the period when an election takes 
place in a country. At such times they lose their proper 
senses and not only throw stones at each other but dead 
cats, rats and dogs. Though it is only a Municipal 
election, yet the people in Calcutta seem to be in a state 
of frenzy. 

* * * * 

Ward No. I is not only the first according to the 
Municipal division of the town but first also in its frenzy 
which, as we said above, usually seizes the people during 
the period of election in all countries. . . . Ward 
No. i is a Kayastha quarter of the town. Of these 
Kayasthas it has been alleged that Maharaja Yama 
(Pluto) himself, the Lord of Death and the Giver of 
punishment and reward, could not carry on his avoca- 
tions until he had appointed Chitra Gupta, the Kayastha 
for his Prime Minister. So there must be something 
extraordinary in a quarter inhabited by Kayasthas even 
in a Municipal election. 

The three candidates who have presented themselves 
this year (from Ward No. I) for the honour of a seat 
on the Municipal Board are all Kayasthas. Now these 
Kayasthas like others marry and give in marriage and 
thus form relationships. In Ward No. I, therefore, the 
Kayasthas, as a rule are related to each other. 

When therefore (would-be) Commissioner No. I 
appears in the field his affectionate father-in-law as a 
matter of fact canvasses for him. The spectacle fires the 
relations of other candidates with emulation and they 
thus plunge themselves into the vortex of the whirlpool. 
The voters and candidates being all Kayasthas are related 
to each other. The voter who is the uncle-in-law 
of a candidate is the grand-father of another, and thus 
the candidates find themselves in the midst of voters, 
who are generally their relatives. 

The usual rule for candidates in all countries is to 
base their appeals to voters upon their own merits. In 
Ward No. I it is based, with very few honourable 
exceptions upon relationship. One candidate pleads to 


a voter : 'Is not my brother your son-in-law?' and thus 
secures the support of a voter. This voter is imme- 
diately after beseiged by another candidate, who tries 
to convince him that the brother of a son-in-law can 
never have so much claim as the brother of a maternal 
uncle, which relation he bears to him. When such is 
the way the votes are canvassed for, it is no wonder 
that the candidates and voters should all lose their 
proper senses. 

It was very calm in the beginning. At that time 
the candidates met and shook hands like friends. This 
was succeeded by squibs, lampoons and satires. And 
now it is foul abuse abuse which fouls even the mouth 
of a fisherwoman. 

It was very dull in the very beginning, when the 
candidates and their friends bowed to each other when- 
ever they met, formally and politely. It was very 
exciting and exhilarating when lampoons and satires 
were hurled upon rivals. Now that abuses have been 
resorted to the matter has become more nauseating than 
putrid human flesh. 

During the lampooning stage one candidate and his 
friends issued a squib in which his opponent was des- 
cribed as a 'Jessore plague*. Now this is very good and 
unobjectionable. A squib on the other side was also 
amusing and unobjectionable. Thus, one candidate 
bears the name which can be rendered into 'lord of 
brutes'. His opponent bears a name which means 
'pearl*. Taking advantage of the names of the candi- 
dates the friends of the latter enquire, 'How can brute 
appreciate a pearl' ?" 

Commenting on the methods of canvassing in Calcutta 
the Behar Herald wrote: 

A good deal of excitement is reported to be pre- 
valent in Calcutta over the impending Municipal elec- 
tions that come off on the I5th March, on which day 
all the offices are likely to be closed. It would appear 
from what we have learnt that the Chamber of Com- 
merce and the Trades Association are not over-anxious 
to exercise their privilege ; but the Indian constituency 
are all up and doing. Canvassing is warmly going on, 
but why there should be need for canvassing for such 
men as Babu Motilal Ghose of the Arnrita Bazar Patrika, 
and Babu Durga Gati Banerjee Rai Bahadur, Collector 
of Calcutta, is what we do not understand. It is enough 


that such men offer themselves as candidates. Let not 
Calcutta illustrate by the rejection of these men as 
Municipal Commissioners that it cannot appreciate real 
worth. The metropolis of India which ought to be the 
strongest hold of local self-government in the country 
cannot afford to be said of its taste, 'Pearl before the 

The 1 5th of March was fixed for the polling of votes. 
On the i4th of March before Mr. Justice Trevelyan in the 
Calcutta High Court, Mr. Hill, Counsel on behalf of Babu 
Pasupati Nath Bose, rival candidate of Babu Motilal Ghose, 
applied under Section 45 of the Specific Relief Act for the 
issue of a rule on Mr. Lee, Chairman of the Calcutta Munici- 
pality and Babu Motilal Ghose to show cause why Motilal's 
name should not be struck off the list of candidates for election 
in Ward No. I. Mr. Hill argued that Motilal could not stand 
as a candidate because he did not pay any rates or taxes to 
the Corporation individually in his own name, but that he 
was the member of a joint family and he could not be a voter 
or a candidate. There was a lengthy discussion after which 
His Lordship delivered judgment holding that the registration 
of Motilal's name had been done according to the provisions 
of the Calcutta Municipal Act. 

Great excitement prevailed on the i5th March. The 
Metropolitan Institution premises (now Shyambazar Vidyasagar 
School) formed the election booth. Goondaism prevailed and 
voters were physically restrained from voting. So that, ulti- 
mately mounted police had to be requisitioned. Moti Lai, 
however, was defeated and his rivals Pashupati Nath Bose and 
Bhupendra Nath Basu won the field. Never again throughout 
his eventful life did Moti Lai contest any election. 

A fortnight after the elections were over a meeting was 
held at the Albert Hall under the auspices of the Calcutta 
Students' Association under the presidency of Babu Surendra 
Nath Banerjea. Babu Satish Chandra Bose in a vigorous 
speech moved for the raising of the Municipal franchise in 
Calcutta "owing to the failure of the last election." To show 


how the election had failed he referred to the defeat of Moti 
Lai in Ward No. I. Said he : 

"Babu Moti Lai Ghose, the Editor of the Amrita 
Bazar Patrika who was supported by the entire Press as 
a man of sterling ability, unquestionable honour and 
sturdy independence was rejected not on political grounds 
but because his canvassing was not up to the mark. 
This gentleman's illustrious brother Babu Shishir Kumar 
Ghose has laid the rate-payers under a debt of immense 
endless gratitude by persuading Sir Richard Temple to 
confer upon them the invaluable boon of election. They 
ought to have sought to discharge in part at least the 
debt they owe to Shishir Kumar by returning his brother 
who is so worthily wearing his mantle and following so 
faithfully in the path of duty he chalked out for him." 

Babu Nabo Kumar Ghose in seconding the resolution 
said : 

"Babu Moti Lai Ghose was not returned because he 
failed to promise sumptuous feasts to the voters 
because he had not the meanness to buy off votes 
because it was the Patrika that by its powerful advocacy 
secured to the people of Bengal the privilege of electing 
their own men as Commissioners." 

Babu Nirode Chandra Chatterjee, B.A., moved an amend- 
ment "to extend the privilege of voting to the poorer but more 
educated classes." 

Babu Surendra Nath Banerjea spoke in favour of the 
amendment. He regretted with the mover that Babus Nagendra 
Nath Ghose and Moti Lai Ghose had not been returned and 
admitted that they would have been valuable acquisitions to 
the Municipal Board, but that was no reason, he said, why 
they should find fault with the elections. He, however, con- 
fessed he could not understand why Babu Moti Lai Ghose was 


A Year of Strifes Bengal Papers Abusing Each other Sj. Krishna 
Kumar Mitter on MotiLal's Conduct Poet Nobin Sen's Version Mott 
Lai and Surendra Nath United For A Time. 

The year 1896 97 was a year of strifes. The famous 
Hitabadi Defamation Case in which Pandit Kali Prasanna 
Kavya-Visharad, editor of that paper was prosecuted for 
libelling a Brahmo educationist's wife in the columns of that 
paper took place in that year. While this case was going on 
a series of articles were being exchanged between Moti Lai 
Ghose in the Amrita Bazar Pdtrika on one side and Surendra 
Nath Banerjea in the Bengalee and Narendra Nath Sen in the 
Indian Mirror on the other hand. The fact is that Surendra 
Nath as a member of the then Legislative Council had agreed 
to certain taxation clauses in the Drainage Bill. The Amrita 
Bazar Patrika opposed it. Surendra Nath ascribed this opposi- 
tion to personal jealousy. The result was that for days together > 
if not, for months, the Bengal papers went on abusing each 
other. The controversy attracted the attention of newspapers 
of other Provinces. The Congress was to sit in Calcutta. So, 
many persons taking interest in public matters tried to bring 
about peace between the fighting parties "to save the Congress/' 
Many of them called upon Moti Lai to intervene and he did 
his part but failed to bring about any compromise. In this 
connection the following letter written to the Editor of the 
Indian Mirror by Babu Krishna Kumar Mitter, (editor of 
Sanjibani) and published in that paper will be interesting : 

"To The Editor of The Indian Mirror, 

"Sir, Babu Surendra Nath Banerjee's organ, the 
Bengalee, has been grossly abusing Babu Moti Lai Ghose, 
the Editor of the Amrita Bazar Patrika since the day 
when he had the boldness to oppose the Suakin resolu- 
tion moved by Babu Surendra Nath at tfce last Provincial 


Conference and to praise two Bengali members of the 
Legislative Council in connection with the Drainage Bill 

* The latest charge, which has been brought against 
Moti Babu, is that he has identified himself with the 
Hitabadi defamation case. The charge is utterly false. 
Babu Moti Lai Ghose came to me more than once to 
request me to have the case compromised. He also went 
to Pandit Mahesh Chunder Nyayaratna to induce him 
to exert his good influence to settle the case out of 
court, but the defendant did not think it proper to go 
to his place to settle the terms of apology. For all this 
trouble what has been the reward of Moti Babu? 
unmitigated slander and vilification. 

Yours etc., 

Poet Nabin Chunder Sen in his "Autobiography" has 
described at length the rivalry that existed between Moti Lai 
Ghose and Surendra Nath Banerjee on the eve of the Calcutta 
Congress in 1896. He has also described in detail the famous 
Hitabadi defamation case. In this connection he has also 
described how in this case Surendra Nath sided with Kavya- 
Visharad and Moti Lai was against him. Indeed he has gone 
the length of characterising Moti Lai as being the "chief 
instigator" of the Brahmo Professor, which means that it was 
at his instigation that the Professor brought the case against 
Kavya-Visharad. I am constrained to remark that the Poet's 
memory perhaps failed him when he wrote this part, at least, 
of his reminiscence. It will be clear if we compare the portion 
of his reminiscence dealing with this matter with his evidence 
before the High Court Sessions in that case. Following is an. 
English translation of what he writes in his " Autobiography. " 
(Volume V, p. 175) : 

"At the outset brother Moti of the Amrita Bazar 
brought a soiled copy of an issue of the Hitabadi to 
my house and made me understand that there was a 
'gross libel* in it. He had underlined many a time a 
certain word 'this* or something like that. He said 
that this word was fatal. I was about to smile. After- 
wards I heard from him that Kavya-Visharad was 


formerly a doll in his hands and that he had shaped 
him. But now that doll had not only gone over to the 
hand of Suren Banerjee, but was showering bitter 
banters on him by calling him 'Ghosh-nandan' every 
now and then in the columns of the HUabadi. Brother 
Moti had therefore made a firm determination to teach 
a lesson this time to this ungrateful wretch. I cannot 
vouch for its truth. I heard it afterwards that it was 
he who was sacrificing the poor Brahmo (complainant) 
and he was the chief instigator of this libel case. 

"He had tried to convince another 'famous' man 
who wrote about it to one of my friends. When 
inspite of my prayers to Surendra Nath my name was 
not removed from the list of witnesses, I tried to induce 
brother Moti to bring about a compromise. On one 
occasion I spent the hours from evening to 10 o'clock 
at night at the Ganges side near his Baghbazar house 
discussing this matter. But 7 found that he 'was not at 
all willing to have a compromise. No gentleman could 
offer the type of apology that he wanted to be given. 
When I showed that to Surendra Babu he said that 
Kavya-Visharad would never agree to that." (Italics are 

But in his evidence in court we find a different story. 
Babu Nabin Chandra Sen, the poet, who was then Personal 
Assistant to the Commissioner of Chittagong had been examined 
on behalf of the defence when the HUabadi defamation case 
had come up for hearing before the High Court Sessions. In 
course of cross-examination by Mr. Garth, the well-known 
Barrister, he had said: 

"I never contribute to newspapers. I have known 
the accused (Kavya-Visharad) for three or four months, 
since a few days before the publication of this poem. 
He was introduced to me by the Hon'ble Babu Surendra 
Nath Banerjee in his Office, as the Editor of the HUabadi 
of which I was a subscriber. I am personally interested 
in this case in so far as I tried to compromise this case. 
I was asked to compromise this case first by Babu Moti 
Lai Ghose, Editor of the Amrita Bazar Patrika ; and 
also by Babu Surendra Nath Banerjee and the Hon'ble 
Mr. A. M. Bose. Babu Moti Lai Ghose on behalf of 
the complainant asked me to compromise the case." 
(Italics are mine). 

It will thus be seen that the two versions of Moti Lai's 
conduct as given in the poet's Autobiography and his evidence 


before the Court are not only different from each other but 
quite contradictory. Judging from Babu Krishna Kumar 
Mitra's letter the version given before the Court by the poet 
i.e., the earlier version seems to be the correct one. I have 
often wondered what led the poet to give a different version 
in his Autobiography. 

All differences between Moti Lai and Surendra Nath due 
to the Hitabadi case were however made up, at least till the 
holding of the Congress Session. They began paying com- 
pliments to each other. In the Congress Surendra Nath was 
to move a resolution on the famine that was then troubling 
the country. As Surendra Nath was entering the tent at the 
Beadon Square where the Congress was being held Moti Lai 
handed over to him a packet containing photographs of the 
emaciated figures of men, women and children who were 
starving in the poor houses of Jubbulpore and in the roads 
and streets there. Surendra Nath referred to these photo- 
graphs in his speech and paid a tribute to the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika f " which has done admirable service in this connection, " 
in which W. S. Caine, M.P., who was present in the Congress, 
also joined. Moti Lai thus complimented Surendra Nath in 
return in the columns of the Amrita Bazar Patrika : 

"The most important resolution before the Congress 
this year was decidedly the one relating to the present 
famine. No one was more fitted to deal with this all- 
important and all-absorbing topic of the day than that 
distinguished orator, the Hon'ble Surendra Nath 
Banerjee, and it is needless to say that he did the fullest 
justice to the subject. He not only poured out his 
fervid eloquence when speaking on the resolution but 
also brought forward evidence of an unimpeachable 
character to prove that, at least in the Central Provinces, 
thousands of people were being decimated by famine in 
consequence of the apathy of the rulers. And what was 
the nature of this evidence? Well, the evidence con- 
sisted of facts and figures which were published in the 
official Gazette of the Central Provinces and the photos 
of famine-stricken people taken at Jubbulpore and other 
places. Surely these photos, and facts and figures cannot 
lie ! How we wish Lord Elgin and Mr. Lyall had come 


and heard the speech of Babu Surendra Nath and the 
others who followed him !" 

Throughout their lives Moti Lai and Surendra Nath fought 
with and complimented each other by turns. A collection of 
these events would make very interesting reading. I shall have 
occasion to refer to some of them. 


District Associations Necessity of Provincial Conferences On Way to 
Madras Congress- Some Stories Moti Lai's Food First Years of the 
Conference Nator ConferenceThe Great Earthquake of 1897 Views 
on Death. 

Before ' the advent of the National Congress, Provincial 
questions were taken care of by local Associations. Every 
district in Bengal had its Association, and almost all these 
public bodies were full of life and vigour. The leading men 
of the districts considered it a duty and honour to join these 
associations, and there was not a question, affecting the 
interests of the country, which did not engage their serious 
attention. When Sir George Campbell introduced his Municipal 
measure, the whole of the Province of Bengal rose to a man 
to oppose it. Similarly the Public Works Cess Bill of Sir Ashley 
Eden and the Gagging Act of Lord Lytton were opposed 
tooth and nail by public meetings brought about by these 
associations. On the other hand the Local Self-Government 
measure of Lord Ripon was popularised throughout the 
Province by means of these local bodies. But with the advent 
of the Indian National Congress most of the District Associa- 
tions died a natural death or became moribund. The Congress 
superseded their influence and they soon lost their prestige 
and usefulness and languished away for want of popular 
support. The impression soon got hold of the minds of the 
people that the Congress would be able to remove their 


grievances which the district associations had not been able 
to do, and thus they began to neglect the local bodies. 

But before long it was found out that the Congress could 
take up only all-India questions and any programme chalked 
out by the Congress could not be easily carried into practice 
in the Provinces. Hence arose the necessity of holding 
Provincial Conferences, which were primarily concerned with 
provincial matters. The Provincial Conference sat for the first 
time in the year 1888. Since then up to 1894 it was held in 
Calcutta. But in 1895 the venue was for the first time trans- 
ferred to a mofussil town Berhampore. Since then it has 
been held in many mofussil towns. 

The Bengal Provincial Conference was held at Nator in 
June 1897. The Conferences for the previous two years were 
held at Berhampore and Krishnagore. Previous to that the 
Conference was held in Calcutta year by year. The Amrita 
Bazar Patrika suggested from time to time that Provincial Con- 
ferences should be held in the mofussil towns where people 
would be able to concentrate their attention on local and pro- 
vincial matters, whereas the Congress would deal with matters 
concerning the whole of India. Going backwards the Provincial 
Conference of Bengal as distinguished from the Congress was, 
really speaking, inaugurated in 1888, in deference to the opinion 
expressed by the Bengal delegates assembled at Madras on the 
occasion of the National Congress held in that town in the 
previous year. Moti Lai had been one of the delegates from 
Bengal to the Congress at Madras in December 1887 who was 
keen on holding the Provincial Conference. 

Speaking of the Madras Congress I am reminded of an 
incident to which Moti Lai often referred in his later life. The 
delegates from Bengal went to Madras by a steamer from 
Calcutta which was specially chartered for the occasion. Among 
the delegates there were several England-returned gentlemen 
who predominated the Congress in those days. They were 
accustomed to take their meals in the right royal English 
fashion. They not only used the dining table and spoon and 
fork, but their courses were also as much in imitation of the 


English dishes as possible. Now one of these delegates, pro- 
bably Mr. W. C. Bonnerjea, who happened to be very intimate 
with Moti Lai requested him to sit by him at dinner. When 
the first course, which was a soup, arrived Moti Lai inquired 
of its ingredients. On being told that it was prepared with 
tongues and tails of young calves, Moti Lai refused even to 
touch it, far less drink it. At first his friend sang a panegyric 
on the young calves' tongues. One's life, he said, was in vain 
if one did not take these delicious things. Gradually he grew 
cross. But Moti Lai sat like a statue with his hands up. 'I felt 
nauseating when I found that my friend also took raw oysters 
in his dinner,' said Moti Lai when narrating this incident in 
after life. And yet Moti Lai had never been very orthodox 
about his food, though he was a teetotaller all his life and took 
only one or two pans (betel-leaf) only after his meals. 

Once in his life he had taken ham or rather hog's meat. It 
was while he was yet in his teens in his native village Amrita 
Bazar (then called Palua Magura). But let me tell it in his own 
language as far as I can. Said he while narrating this affair : 

"In my native village Palua Magura there lived a 
band of people of the Bedia caste who cultivated lands and 
tended hogs. Off and on Bedias came to our place and 
begged of this and that thing. Now one day a Bedia came 
to our house and begged of my mother a little quantity 
of mustard oil. 'Good Mother,' said the Bedia, "will you 
kindly give me a little quantity of mustard oil ? I have 
killed a hog and will roast it with oil.' Mother gave 
him some quantity of mustard oil and inquired, 'You 
Bedias take hog's meat, how does it taste?' Instead of 
directly answering the question the Bedia put a question 
to my mother, 'Mother, have you taken muri (fried rice) 
with small pieces of cocoanut?' 'Why not? Certainly I 
have taken muri and cocoanut and enough too.' 'That's 
all right,' said the Bedia, 'you know the taste of hog's 
meat, for it is exactly like that.' 'Rama, Rama,' cried 
my mother." 

Perhaps, it was this incident which subconsciously acted 
within his mind and prompted him to taste hog's meat as soon 


as the first opportunity arrived. But to go on with the story. 
Said Moti Lai: 

"Not long after this a Bedia rcriyat (tenant) of my 
father's came to our place and pleaded that he would 
not be able to pay his rent. In place of rent he offered to 
give a hog. Father of course refused to take it. When 
the raiyat had gone somewhat away from our house I and 
some of my brothers met him and asked him to give the 
hog to us. He not only agreed but also killed it himself 
and helped us to cook it in a garden in the outskirts of 
our village and we partook of it, though not with 
much relish." 

The above incident was narrated by Moti Lai to the members 
of his family and to many of his friends in my presence more 
than once. This was perhaps the only occasion when Moti Lai 
took any forbidden food. Though a devout Vaishnava Moti 
Lai had no fad about food. He took fish regularly and almost 
daily, though not in a large quantity, and meat on very rare 
occasions. I have seen him taking chicken soup also under 
medical advice. If I remember aright, in a certain law-suit 
when he was put a question by the Barrister of the opposite 
party, probably Mr. (afterwards Sir) N. N. Sircar, as to whether 
he took fowls or not he admitted that he did so under medical 
advice. Throughout his life Moti Lai was very regular and 
moderate in his diet, which always included milk or dahi (curd) 
twice or thrice a day. A cup of milk on returning from morning 
walk, a cup of milk along with the mid-day meal and a cup of 
milk with the night-meal were a regular feature of his diet.; 
This enabled him to do an enormous quantity of brain work 
and though he was frail in body his capacity to do brain work 
was extraordinary. He was a valetudinarian throughout his 
life, but always working. He was rarely laid up in bed for 
long and could work even though he was ill. Latterly he had 
given up milk on account of wind trouble in his stomach and 
took dahi in its stead regularly along with his morning and 
night meals. If he could be said to have any fad about his food 
it must be dahi, for without it he would feel very uncomfortable 
and would rarely go without it. He took tea very sparingly, 
but latterly he had given it up altogether. While we were 


at Koilwar in the year 1918-19 myself and my younger brother 
Atulananda took tea several times in a day. It was very cold 
there and we relished it. We tried our utmost to persuade 
him to take tea at least once in a day, but he did not agree. 
He would say, "Now that I have given it up I am not going to 
take it again." In its place he would take cow's milk or malted 
milk. Under medical advice he had taken Laudanum (Tinctura 
Opii) for years, but latterly he had given it up also and would 
not take a drop of it even if requested by some of his medical 
advisers to do so. Ordinarily he was very much constipated 
and for years he had to take enema and douche ; and he recom- 
mended the latter to many of his friends when they complained 
of constipation. He took fruits and fruit-juice regularly, but 
his constipation never left him. But this is a digression. 

The first Provincial Conference of Bengal was held at the 
British Indian Association rooms in Calcutta. Representatives 
from 28 districts of Bengal attended. Dr. Mahendra Lai Sircar, 
the famous doctor, to whose munificence is due the Indian 
Association for the Cultivation of Science presided. It was in 
the year 1888 ; since then annual Conferences on similar lines 
were held till 1895, when a departure was made. Before that 
the Conference was held annually in Calcutta. It was dis- 
covered that as the Conference dealt with questions affecting 
Bengal it would be better if it were moving from town to town. 
Thus 1895 saw the Conference at Berhampur where it was invited 
by the late Baikuntha Nath Sen, so well-known for his activities 
in connection with the Congress and for the welfare of the 
people. Next year it was held at Krishnagar in the historic 
hall of the Maharaja of Nadia. In 1897 it was presided over 
by Mr. Satyendra Nath Tagore, retired I.C.S., and held at 
Nator under the patronage of the descendants of Rani Bhowani. 

Tfye Nator Conference was held in a specially improvised 
pandal. More than 200 delegates and 3000 people were present. 
The pandal could accommodate more than one thousand people; 
so, many had to wait outside or go away for want of seats. 
Amongst those present were Messrs. W. C. Bonnerjee, A. M. 
Bose, Maharaja Jagadindra Nath Roy, Babu Tarapada Bannerjee 


of Krishnagar, Babu Akshoy Kumar Moitra of Rajshahi, Raja 
Sashisekhareswar Roy, Babu Baikuntha Nath Sen, Babu Hari 
Prosad Chatterji of Krishnagar, Babus Moti Lai Ghose, 
Bhupendra Nath Basu, Guru Prasad Sen, Hirendra Nath Datta 
and others. 

For two days the Conference went on smoothly, but on the 
third day, the i2th of June 1897 happened an incident which is 
still remembered in Bengal. There was a great earthquake at 
about five o'clock in the afternoon all over Bengal. The shock 
lasted for about 5 minutes. In Calcutta a large number of 
buildings collapsed or were damaged and the earthquake created 
a havoc with houses in many other towns. The Conference 
had almost come to its closei when the earthquake began. Moti 
Lai who was inside the pandal has given a description of the 
scene from which I quote: 

"It was at about 5 p.m. on Saturday last when the 
Conference had nearly concluded its deliberations, that 
the first intimation of the earthquake was received by the 
delegates assembled in the pandal. There were about 
five hundred men collected outside the pavilion, and it 
was they who first raised the alarm by the usual cry of 
Haribole, uttered during such visitations. Two or three 
minutes before, the atmosphere had become so oppres- 
sively hot that the Hon'ble Babu Guru Prasad Sen had 
to leave the meeting, saying that he could not bear it any 
longer. Within a few seconds of the announcement of 
the earthquake, the terrific nature of the shock was per- 
ceived by everybody. Mr. W. C. Bonnerjee now stood 
up, and, with his loud and sonorous voice, asked the 
assembled gentlemen not to leave their seats but to keep 
quiet; though he himself was reeling like a drunkard. 
There was thus no rush, to the credit of the delegates ; 
but as thfe pandal began to rock to and fro, literally like 
a vessel in a tempestuous sea, every one sought refuge in 
the open air. Very few, however, could stand on their 
legs. Some fell flat on the ground, while others were 
obliged to be unsteady like drunken men. 

"Perhaps the severest shock was felt about four 
minutes later on. It was then that the horrible character 
of the visitation was realised. It seemed to everybody 
that the earth was sinking. The alarm was raised that 
we were being engulfed ! As a matter of fact, fissures 
were seen all around us ; and water, sand and some other 


substance which smelt something like sulphur, were 
being forced up through these rents. The prospect 
before us was awful indeed. We all were going to be 
buried alive ! 

"The severity of the shock, however, gradually 
abated and it ceased completely after six minutes. Then 
we passed through a unique experience. A rumbling 
sound like that of a distant thunder passed underneath 
the ground where we stood, and the atmosphere assumed 
a peculiar stillness and oppressiveness, indicating that 
something, more awful than what we had witnessed, 
was in store for us. The rumbling noise ceased, and 
immediately the ground began to rend and send forth 
water and a peculiarly black substance. A large piece 
of ground, about one hundred cubits in length and 
nearly as much in breadth, lying close to the beautiful 
garden house of Raja Jogendra Nath Roy where we 
had put up, immediately sank down and was converted 
into something like a little tank ! 

"Half-an-hour after the occurrence though yet in a 
state of agitation, the delegates sat down again to 
transact the portion of the business of the Conference 
which had been left unfinished 

"Raja Jogendra Nath and Maharaja Jagadindra Nath 
were in the pandal when the earthquake took place. They 
at once ran to their respective houses, the former to find 
that his palace was lying in a heap of ruins, and the latter 
to find that his newly-built palace had been considerably 
damaged. Fortunately no lives were lost, though the 
wife of the Maharaja of Natore had fainted away, and 
it was feared at first that she would not survive. The 
loss of Raja Jogendra Nath was immense, but what 
affected him most was the destruction of the cele- 
brated Joy Kalee temple and the image of the Goddess 
itself. Between three to four hundred of hungry people 
were daily fed in this temple. Some two hundred and 
fifty people had finished their meal, and another two 
hundred were about to sit to dinner when the catastrophe 
took place. They all fled and saved their lives, except 
one old woman who was killed on the spot." 

Moti Lai also described how an evening party that had been 
arranged that day to meet the delegates at the palace of the 
Raja of Dighapatia had to be abandoned. 

In the above description of the earthquake we do not find 
any mention of an episode which I have found him narrating 


on many occasions. It is this. When the earthquake took 
place Moti Lai along with several other delegates came out of 
the pandal and five or six of them arm in arm began to reel 
to and fro as if they were dancing. Moti Lai felt very much 
amused and began to laugh and dance. At this a venerable 
gentleman whose arm he was holding and who had shown much 
courage in the beginning suddenly broke down; he began to 
cry aloud like a little child when he found that a portion of the 
land behind them had gone down. He began to say, "We 
are dying, dying, our end is near." The more Moti Lai laughed 
and danced in joy, the more the gentleman wept. Moti Lai 
never feared death. He had all along treated death as an 
ordinary event, an event that would happen in due course and 
about which one should not make much fuss. "Death" he 
held, "is a blessing to those who have sorrows of their own and 
who have no worldly prosperity to leave behind. Death is 
dreadful to those who have worldly prosperity and are bewitched 
by it. Dear friend death is a fine leveller; and when he comes, 
the heedles being who laughs at others' sorrows and who never 
expected his presence, weeps in turn." 


India In Famine's Grip Lokamanya Tilak's Conviction Tilak's letter 
Justice Strachey On Sedition Newspaper Comments The Sedition 
Bill Protests From All Sides Natu Brothers' Plight. 

The year 1897 was a bad year for India. The whole 
country was in the grip of a terrible famine on account of suc- 
cessive failures of crop and exportation of a large portion of 
what was produced in the land. Famine Relief Societies were 
established and they did what they could but it is not possible 
for private organisations whose resources are limited to do any- 
thing substantial and on a large scale on such occasions unless 
Government with their unlimited resources come forward to 


help. From time to time the Amrita Bazar Patrika published 
gruesome descriptions of the sufferings of the famished people,, 
how men, women and children were lying on roadsides with 
bodies which consisted of mere skin and bone, how the wealthy 
people had become so much accustomed to such sights that they 
had ceased to be moved by them. And along with such des- 
criptions the Patrika appealed to the Government and the people 
to do what they could for the famine-stricken people. 

The Indian Relief Society of Calcutta which consisted of 
men like Raja Benoy Krishna Dev, Mr. A. M. Bose, Babu 
Guru Prasad Sen, Rev. Kali Charan Banerjee, Babu Moti Lai 
Ghose, Babu Sitanath Roy, Ray Parbati Sankar Chaudhury, 
Rai Yatindra Nath Chaudhury, Babu Hirendra Nath Datta, 
Babu Amrita Krishna Mallik, Mr. C. R. Das, Babu Kishori Lai 
Sarkar and others, now moved the Government for advancing 
money to the distressed raiyais. 

The articles in the Amrita Bazar Patrika and the appeals 
of the Relief Society had some effect on the Government which 
not only advanced money to the suffering people but also made 
large concessions providing for a remission of a portion of the 
money advanced. 

Plague followed famine and scarcity. If the disease itself 
was terrible and created consternation among the people the 
measures taken by the Government at the direction of their 
medical advisers were no less so. People fled from cities more 
for fear of these measures than fear of the disease. The segre- 
gation camps to which all the members of a family, any member 
of which was attacked with plague, were taken were anything 
but habitable places. They were certainly not safe for ladies 
of bhadralok families to live in. There was one such camp at 
Khana near Burdwan and several specific cases were published 
in the Amrita Bazar Patrika describing the treatment meted out 
to bhadralok ladies in that camp. Pandita Rama Bai of Bombay 
narrated her experience of some of the plague hospitals and 
segregtion camps of Bombay in the columns of the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika which were sickening to a degree. 

It was a bad year for journalism also. Several prosecutions 


were launched against newspapers for writing strongly against 
measures taken by Government to cope with the plague. The 
conductor of a Bombay paper named Prdtada was sentenced 
to transportation for life for the fault of publishing a para- 
graph which was held to be seditious. Two brothers known 
as Natu brothers were deported under Regulation III of 1818. 
There were several other convictions also, the most famous of 
them being that of Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak in con- 
nection with some articles in his paper the Keshari. 

Now Tilak and Moti Lai were deeply attached to each 
other. So, as soon as the news of the arrest of the great 
nationalist leader reached Calcutta Moti Lai tried his best to 
help him in his distress. It was not possible to get good 
counsels at Bombay as all the leading counsels of that province 
had already been engaged by the Bombay Government. So, 
Lokamanya Tilak 's Bengal friends among whom mention may 
be made of Moti Lai Ghose, Bhupendra Nath Basu and Babu 
Hirendra Nath Datta, raised funds for his defence and helped 
him substantially. 

At this juncture some friends of Lokamanya Tilak sug- 
gested to him to make up his quarrel with the Government 
by making an apology. But when this proposal reached Tilak 
he was deeply pained. As a matter of fact Moti Lai in con- 
sultation with some of his friends thought of approaching 
Government to persuade them to drop the case against Tilak 
as they had done in the Bangabasi case. So, Moti Lai wrote 
to Tilak about this matter. In this connection Lokamanya 
wrote a letter to Moti Lai from which is given the following 
extract : 

"The other side expects me to do what amounts to 
be pleading guilty. I am not prepared to do so. My 
position amongst the people entirely depends upon my 
character : and if I am cowed down by the prosecution 
in the heart of my hearts I know the case for the 
prosecution is the weakest that was ever placed before 
a Jury I think, living in Maharashtra is as good as 
living in the Andamans. On the merits of the case 
I am confident of success, though I cannot in this letter 
and in the present state of my health give you all my 



reasons. I am afraid only of a non-Maharatta-knowing 
Jury and not of justice. You as well as I know that 
we are incapable of nourishing any sinister feeling 
against British rule, and it is thus impossible for any 
of us to be convicted of such a heinous charge as 
sedition. Such risks, however, we must take if we 
dabble in politics. They are the risks of our profession, 
and I am prepared to face them. If you all advise, 
I am prepared to go only so far as this: 'I don't 
think that the articles are seditious, but the advisers of 
the Government think otherwise. I am sorry for it.' 
But this will not satisfy the Government. Their object 
is to humiliate the Poona leaders, and I think in me 
they will not find a Kutcha reed as they did in Professor 
Gokhale and the editor of the Gnyan Prokash. Then 
you must remember, beyond a certain stage we are all 
servants of the people. You will be betraying and dis- 
appointing them if you show a lamentable want of 
courage at a crucial time. But above all as an honest 
and honourable man, how can I plead guilty to the 
charge of entertaining sedition when I had none? If 
I am convicted the sympathy of my countrymen will 
support me in my trouble." 

But it is well-known that Lokamanya Tilak was convicted 
and sentenced to 18 months' rigorous imprisonment. The 
article in question was written in Marathi. The most curious 
feature of the trial was that though three of the jurors who 
knew the Marathi language found him "not guilty," six 
British Jurors who did not know a word of Marathi found him 

Lokamanya Tilak's conviction cast a deep gloom over 
the whole of India. The short-lived Press Association of 
Calcutta, which consisted of some leading journalists met at 
the rooms of the British Indian Association and a resolution 
was passed to the effect that as a mark of their sorrow and 
sympathy for the misfortune which had overtaken Tilak all 
the papers represented in the Association should appear in 
black, at least, for one day. So, on the 25th of September, 
1897 the Amrita Bazar Patrika appeared in black lines and a 
three-column long leading article, rather unusual for the 
Patrika, was published. It showed a depth of feeling which 
was possible only in a great personal friend. A series of 


articles followed criticising the charge to the Jury given by 
Mr. Justice Strachey and assailing his exposition of the law 
of sedition. But all this was nothing more than knocking 
one's head against a stone wall. 

It was soon realised by Indian leaders that the interpreta- 
tion put by Mr. Justice Strachey upon the law of sedition as 
embodied in Section I24A of the Indian Penal Code would 
seriously affect the liberty of the Press and the freedom of 
speech of the people. So, a Committee was formed by the 
Indian Relief Society to raise funds for proceeding with an 
appeal to the Privy Council and within a fortnight the requisite 
sum of Rs. 12,000 was raised. Amongst others the following 
gentlemen were in the Committee: Mr. T. Palit, Sj. Gaga- 
nendra Nath Tagore, Rai Yatindra Nath Chaudhury, Mr. J. 
Chaudhury, Mr. J. Ghosal, Sj. Moti Lai Ghose, Sj. Hirendra 
Nath Datta, Mr. Guru Prasad Sen, Sjts. Bhupendra Nath 
Basu, Rabindra Nath Tagore, Surendra Nath Banerjea and 

It may be said here that even Anglo-Indian papers like 
the Indian Daily News and the Statesman were not satisfied 
with the interpretation of the law as given by Mr. Justice 
Strachey. The former said, "it was not fair and not wise." 
The Morning Post of Delhi, a paper conducted by Englishmen, 
also characterised the proceedings as "unjust" and "vindictive." 

In the Bangabasi case Sir Comer Petheram had explained 
the term "disaffection" occurring in Section 124 A of the 
Indian Penal Code as "contrary to affection" but Mr. Justice 
Strachey in his charge to the Jury had gone one step further. 
He explained "disaffection" as "absence of affection" and 
thus widened the scope of the sedition section of the Penal 
Code. The meaning of the word "disaffection" was thus not 
limited to any positive feeling like hatred, ill-will, etc., but 
it was extended to mean the absence of affection or indifference. 
The English Press did not support the judgment. The Liberal 
Press, without exception, condemned the line of argument 
taken by Mr. Justice Strachey and many Tory editors also 
took the same view. Of course the great Jingo group, the 


Mail, Globe, St. James and Pall Mall, were delighted at the 
conviction. Commenting on the judgment the Daily Chronicle 
wrote on September 16, 1897 : 

"There is one aspect of the 'sedition' trials in India 
which must not be lost sight of and that is the new 
definition of 'disaffection' enunciated by Mr. Justice 
Strachey, according to whoin 'disaffection' may be 
seditious even though it be simply strong disapproval 
of some omission on the part of the Government. We 
feel confident that such an interpretation of the law 
would not be tolerated in England, and if not speedily 
over-ruled, may produce grave mischief in India." 

The Privy Council, it is well-known, did not admit Tilak's 
appeal. More than thirty-five years have since gone by ; but 
the law of sedition in India still stands in the same position 
in which Mr. Justice Strachey put it in the face of strong 
public opinion and it was only recently that Justice Sir Charu 
Chandra Ghose said from the bench of the Calcutta High 
Court in a case in which proceedings were drawn up against 
the Amrita Bazar Patrika: 

"It is said that the writer has contravened the rule 
laid down by Mr. Justice Strachey. I would point out 
that what was considered seditious under Section 124 A 
I. P. C., in 1897 may not necessarily be held to be 
so in 1932 ; one cannot shut one's eyes to changes in 
political conceptions due to the march of events and to 
the declared objectives of the Government of the day." 
After the conviction of Lokamanya Tilak an amendment 
was sought to be made in the definition of the word "dis- 
affection" in the Sedition Section of the Indian Penal Code. 
The Hon'ble Mr. Chalmers who was in charge of the Amend- 
ment Bill introduced four vague words. They were hatred, 
contempt, enmity and ill-will. The word disaffection was not 
given a clear meaning, but was made to include these things, 
i.e., disaffection was made to include things which it did not. 
This gave rise to a volley of protest from the Indian press. 
The Amrita Bazar Patrika published many a leading article 
criticising the measure and indulged in a good deal of banter, 
ridicule and lampoon. Protest meetings were held in various 
places asking the Government not to proceed with the measure. 


Towards the end of January, 1898 a Conference was held at 
the rooms of the British Indian Association, Calcutta, to 
protest against the Sedition Bill. The pick of the then 
Calcutta society was there and Maharaja Sir Jatindra Mohan 
Tagore was in the chair. Those were days of meetings 
and memorials, they knew not other forms of protest. So, 
a draft memorial was read before the Conference, which, 
however, was not satisfied with the memorial and appointed 
a Sub-Committee consisting of Mr. W. C. Bonnerjee, Rajah 
Peary Mohun Mukherjee, Mr. J. Chaudhury, Mr. W. C. 
Madge, Babu Moti Lai Ghose and Babu Kishori Lai Sarkar, 
with Ray Raj Coomar Sarbadhicary Bahadur as Secretary for 
the purpose of recasting the memorial. Towards the middle 
of February a big public meeting was held at the Town Hall 
under the Presidentship of Mr. W. C. Bonnerjee in which 
amongst other resolutions the memorial to the Viceroy as 
recasted was adopted in which it was said : 

"That your memoralists further humbly pray that 
Your Excellency in Council may be pleased to sanction 
the insertion in Section I24A, a definition of "disaffec- 
tion" in the sense in which it was explained by the 
Indian Law Commissioners, to sanction the omission of 
the vague and uncertain words "hatred", "contempt" 
and "enmity" and of any provision throwing upon a 
person accused under Section 505 I. P. C. the proof 
of the absence of the intent charged or dispensing with 
the proof of the intent and to limit the scope of that 
section to what is false, and to sanction the omission 
from the Bill to amend the Code of Criminal Procedure 
of any provision enabling Magistrates to adjudicate upon 
offences under Section I24A of the Penal Code, etc." 
Babu Moti Lai Ghose was one of the organisers of this 
meeting and amongst those who took part in the proceedings 
were Rai Amrita Nath Mitter Bahadur, Mr. C. E. Grey, 
Barrister-at-Law, Babus Surendra Nath Banerjea, Narendra 
Nath Sen, Baikuntha Nath Sen, Kali Charan Banerjee. Babu 
Rabindra Nath Tagore also addressed the meeting in Bengali. 
In spite of protests from all sides of the country the 
Sedition Bill was passed into law. There was nothing surpris- 
ing in it ; the people had got accustomed to their opinion 


being flouted by the Government. There were five hundred 
.petitions against the Age of Consent Bill and they were dis- 
posed of in seven words by Sir A. Scoble, "we have read and 
considered the objections." Mr. Chalmers who was in charge 
of the Sedition Bill played a similar part. "I freely admit 
that our proposals have met with a good deal of criticism,"' 
he said and he brushed aside everything and passed the Bill 
into law. The arguments advanced by the Calcutta Bar, the 
Defence Association, the Chamber of Commerce and many other 
Associations and individuals were thus smashed into pieces by 
the Law Member of the Government of India. Sir Alexander 
Mackenzie, Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, was brutally frank 
in his speech in support of the Bill. He enunciated the 
curious principle that: 

"The first duty of every Government, especially of 
a foreign Government, is self-preservation." 

As if the preservation and welfare of the people may safely 
be relegated to the back-ground. And he quoted with approval 
Sir Fitz James Stephen's dictum : 

"Men must be content to take the risks incidental 
to their professions. A journalist must run the risk of 
being misunderstood, and should take care to make his 
meaning plain. If his intentions really are loyal, there 
can be no difficulty in his doing so. If not, he cannot 
complain of being punished." 

Another of the matters which kept the Indian journalists 
bitterly complaining against the administration of India in the 
year 1697-98 was the arrest and detention without trial of two 
brothers named Natu in Bombay under the rusty Regula- 
tion III of 1818. They were at first charged with having had 
a hand in the murder of an official named Rand, who had 
made himself very unpopular on account of his activities in 
connection with the Plague quarantine in Bombay. It may 
be remembered that Lokamanya Tilak's conviction was also 
connected with the murder of this Rand, the charge against 
him being that his writings in the Keshari had excited the 
murderer. The Natu brothers were arrested on the 2oth July, 
1897. Since then they were detained without trial in spite 


of great popular agitation throughout India. Ten months 
after the arrest, i.e., in March 1898, Mr. W. Redmond, a 
Member of Parliament, put the question in Parliament as to 
whether even after this long detention the Government intended 
to bring the Natu brothers to an open trial, to which Lord 
George Hamilton, M.P. on behalf of the Government replied : 

"No sir, if there were any evidence to justify their 
being put on a criminal charge, recourse would not 
have been had to this Act." 

A frank confession as to why Regulation III of 1818 
is used ! 

The parallel of such a reply was found only the other 
day (1933) by the writer of this when he was on a chance visit 
to an Honorary Magistrate's Court when the officer was trying 
a case. Two persons were hauled up before the Magistrate by a 
police constable on a charge of disorderly conduct in a public 
street. The accused put a question to the constable, "You 
did not arrest us and were not on the scene when we were 
arrested ?" The constable replied, "No, I did not arrest you. 
But another did it under my command. I was standing at a 
distance. 1 * When the accused pleaded not guilty the Magistrate 
observed, "But why were you arrested at all? There are so 
many men in this country, but they are not arrested. Since 
you have been arrested, you must be guilty. I sentence you 
to pay a fine of Re. i/- each." The pleader went on pleading 
even after this. The Magistrate then observed, "Well, I think 
your clients are not guilty. Therefore I have fined them 
Rupee One only. If I had thought that they were guilty I 
would have fined them Rupees Five each." 

The Amrita Bazar Patrika published a large number of 
leading articles and paragraphs protesting against the detention 
of the Natu brothers. 

Commenting on the above interpellation in Parliament the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika wrote as follows: 

"Lord George Hamilton frankly confesses that there 
is no evidence against the Natus. What the Government 
did was to tell the Natus that they had committed a 
certain offence for which there is no evidence ! If the 


outside public asks what the charge is, the Government 
refuses to answer. Never was the British Government 
placed in a more awkward position than what the incar- 
ceration of the Natus suggests. l^t us put the Natus 
and the Government face to face. 

"The Natus: Why do you detain us? 
"The Government: Because you have committed 
an offence. 

"The Natus: Then prove it in a Court of law. 
"The Government: That we cannot do, for, there 
is no evidence against you. 

"Now that is the situation ! 

"The Natus were at first charged with having had 
a hand in the murder of Mr. Rand. The ground was 
shifted when Damodar Chapekar came forward to 
extricate them. Next their detention was justified 
because one of the brothers had played tricks. Now 
we are assured that they committed a certain offence 
though the nature of it, Lord George Hamilton does 
not know." 

There were many such paragraphs and leading articles in 
the Amrita Bazar Patrika on the Natu brothers. These and 
the numerous articles and paragraphs on Lokamanya Tilak had 
one effect they exasperated the authorities but endeared Moti 
Lai to the hearts of the people of Maharastra. The Natu 
brothers were released after being in detention for more than 
two years but during the period of their incarceration they were 
never told what were the charges against them which up to the 
present day remain a sealed book to the public. 


Elective System in Calcutta MunicipalityMackenzie Bill The Reason 
Behind Patrikafs Criticism Protest Meetings A Funny Story Commis- 
sioners Resign Bengal Act I of 1917. 

The elective system was introduced into the Calcutta 
Municipality in the year 1877. Since then the people of 


Calcutta had been enjoying this elective system. But it was left 
for Sir Alexander MacKenzie, before he had been scarcely one 
year in the gadi of Bengal, to discover that the Calcutta Muni- 
cipality had "no constitution at all" and that in the Calcutta 
Municipality "everything was fluid and indefinite . His utter- 
ances in the Bengal Council relating to the Municpal 
Bill in the year 1898 created a great sensation. The elective 
system had been tried in the Calcutta Municipality for twenty 
years, but he now sought to take away the powers of the elected 
Commissioners and reduce them to the position of so many 
dummies. Nay more. Through these dummies the rate-payers 
were to be taxed, while the proceeds of the taxes were to be 
placed at the absolute disposal of the official Chairman and 
twelve favourites of the Government, "a Working Committee 
of twelve, elected and appointed so as to represent the three 
chief interests in Calcutta the Government, the commercial 
community, and the residents." (speech of Sir A. MacKenzie). 
The elected Commissioners were to have no control over the 
doings of the executive officers. Sir Alexander MacKenzie 
did not take it into his consideration that since the elective 
system was first introduced in Calcutta five Lieutenant 
Governors had found it suitable. Sir Richard Temple, Sir 
Ashley Eden, Sir Rivers Thomson, Sir Stewart Bayley and Sir 
Charles Elliott every one of them was satisfied with the work 
of the elected Commissioners, though Sir Ashley had at first 
threatened to smother the whole system. 

The real reason why this revolutionary measure was intro- 
duced was that the Hindu Commissioners in the Calcutta Cor- 
poration outnumbered the English ones, and the Government 
wanted to take away the powers of the Hindu Commissioners 
and place them in the hands of persons the majority of whom 
would be Englishmen or apkawastes and jo-hukums, "basket- 
catchers" of the Government. 

The Amrita Bazar Pairika at once saw through the game. 
It detected that the shibboleth of better administration was all 
bosh and nonsense and wrote in March 1898: 

"If the Bill be passed as it is, then adieu to local 


Self -Government in the capital city of the Empire. In 
short what is proposed is to practically revive the old 
days of Sir Stuart Hogg and place the Municipal Funds 
at the absolute disposal of thirteen men of whom only 
four are to be the representatives of the people. It 
is for the rate-payers of Calcutta to decide whether they 
prefer the proposed arrangement to the present order. 
They have now got fifty of their representatives with 
some powers to watch their interests on the Municipal 
Board. They can now appoint their own Vice-Chairman, 
Health Officer, Collector, etc., and control the Budget. 
They can now check the high-handedness of the 
Executive Subordinates through their respective Ward 
Commissioners. But under the proposed law all this 
will be changed. Their representaives, if they return 
any, will be mere cyphers. They will not possess the 
power of even a Municipal peon. If the money of the 
rate-payers is wasted before their eyes, they will not be 
able to check it. The rate-payers can now compel their 
representatives to get their grievances redressed ; but 
under the proposed Act, they will be at the absolute 
mercy of the executive who will have everything in their 
own way. If they consider the Bill a retrograde one 
and we cannot conceive how it can be regarded other- 
wise they must be up and doing. They must let 
the Government know, in firm but respectful language, 
that they do not want the measure ; if the Government 
heeds them not, let them then ask the rulers to do away 
with the farce of the elective system altogether and 
convert the Municipal administration of Calcutta into a 
department of Government." 

Very soon the whole of Calcutta was in a ferment over the 
Calcutta Municipal Bill. Meetings protesting against the Bill 
were held in different quarters of the city and on the 3ist 
August, 1898 a monster meeting was held at the Town Hall 
under the presidentship of Rajah Benoy Krishna Dev Bahadur 
of Sovabazar. Moti Lai was one of the organisers of these 
meetings, but generally he worked from behind and did not 
come before the footlight as a speaker. 

Towards the beginning of the next year a public meeting 
of the citizens of Calcutta was held at the Classic Theatre to 
protest against the Municipal Bill. Moti Lai in taking the 
chair said : 

"I am not a so-called political agitator and have 


never taken a prominent part in any public meeting, 
partly because my business is with the pen and not with 
the tongue, and partly because I have no need. I had 
been asked on several occasions to preside over meetings 
but had escaped by securing competent men. A Chair- 
man is as essential in a public meeting as a bridegroom 
in a marriage ceremony. But the recruiting field for 
Chairmen has become very much narrowed for two 
reasons ; first, there have already been some two dozen 
public meetings to protest against the Municipal Bill, 
each meeting having had its new Chairman, and secondly 
a number of leading Indian gentlemen have kept them- 
selves aloof because of the allegation of some mis- 
chievous persons to the effect that the movement is 
their work and that it is to serve their private and 
personal interests that they have set on foot this 

Amongst other things Moti Lai referred to a particular 
clause of the Bill relating to the payment of fees of the 
members of the proposed General Committee. Said he : 

"The Europeans would not work in the Munici- 
pality ; hence, to tempt them, the authors of the Bill 
have to hold a bait in the shape of a fee of Rs. 32 per 
sitting. The object of this provision is plain it is to 
transfer power from the hands of willing guardians to 
those of unwilling aliens and thus to Europeanise the 
Corporation. The arrangement is unnatural and what- 
ever is unnatural is bound to fail. If a child is taken 
away from its w mother and placed under the care of a 
paid nurse, it "is bound to suffer." 

Moti Lai then gave a graphic description of how the then 
existing elective system had been introduced in the Calcutta 
Municipality a little more than 20 years ago and said that if 
this system was to be abolished and the one proposed by the 
MacKenzie Bill introduced it would mean everlasting disability 
for Indians and the aspiration for Self-Government in India 
would become a delusion and a mockery. He said that the 
MacKenzie Bill was going to re-introduce the official system 
in a more aggravated form, which prevailed before 1876, and 
was universally condemned, and which failed so miserably as 
to lead Indians and Europeans to combine and demand its 
demolition and pray for the introduction of the elective system. 


By the bye, I may here mention one thing. Many of our 
public meetings are often marred by third-class speakers posses- 
sing the house and speaking on without caring how the audience 
are taking them. They often speak beside the point and bore 
the audience who have to go away disappointed. Unfortunately 
in public meetings in this country the Chairmen generally give 
great indulgence to the speakers who go on rambling. Such 
rambling speakers are very rarely called to order either by 
the Chairman or the audience. It often happens that the 
Chaiman and the assembled gentlemen feel impatient and are 
tired and yet they calmly surrender to the torrents of irrele- 
vant nonsense spit forth by an ignorant speaker. Moti Lai 
was very much against these speakers and always opposed 
such speeches. Thus in one of the articles in the Amritct Bazar 
Patrika on the eve of a meeting at the Calcutta Town Hall to 
protest against the Municipal Bill it was suggested that the 
speeches should not be long and should be confined to the 
point. This had a very good result. The Hon'ble Mr. Ananda 
Charlu, who, as I have already said, was a great personal 
friend of Moti Lai, good-humouredly referred to this and said 
in the meeting : 

"One of your newspapers, the autocrat of the city 
of Calcutta, the Amrita Bazar Patrika, has told us in a 
leader this morning that the present is not an occasion 
for long speeches and that is a fiat which I have to bear 
in mind, as otherwise I might come in for a good 

But to return to the Municipal Bill. Sir John Woodburn, 
the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal was determined to pass the 
Municipal Bill. In trying to destroy the representative 
character of the Calcutta Municipality Sir Alexander MacKenzie 
was simply carrying out the wishes of his late master Sir Ashley 
Eden. But before Sir Alexander MacKenzie could accomplish 
his task, fate drove him away from this country and he had 
to leave his pet measure to the fostering care of his successor 
Sir John Woodburn, who took up the task of carrying through 
this measure at the cost of his reputation simply to please his 


predecessor. Sir John, said the Amrita Bazar Patrika, was 
sacrificing himself for the sake of his predecessor. The Amrita 
Bazar Patrika explained this by a funny story. Thus it wrote : 

"This noble sacrifice reminds us of the hen-pecked 
King who had learnt the languages of beasts, birds, nay, 
of insects. Two ants were quarrelling over a grain of 
cooked rice which had fallen from the royal plate, and 
the high words that they exchanged elicited a smile from 
the lips of the King. For as stated above the lucky 
sovereign had got the gift of understanding the language 
of even insects. Seeing the smile on the royal lips his 
consort wanted to know the reason. Now, the King 
had acquired the gift under one awful condition, 
namely, that he must not disclose what he heard 
creatures speak, for, if he did so he would lose his life 
immediately. So, he could not explain to his wife the 
cause of his smile, for were he to do so he would forth- 
with fall down dead. He, therefore, begged to be 
excused, but the queen would not hear of any excuse, 
even when the King said that the penalty of the dis- 
closure was to be the loss of his life. The Queen, not 
wholly believing this, said, 'Very good, I don't care. 
If you die, I don't mind. I must know the reason 
why you smiled.' The hen-pecked King seeing that 
he had no help in the matter, agreed to disclose every- 
thing. 'My dear', said he, 'if I die I must die, like 
a good Hindu, in the bosom of the Ganges, for my 
salvation. So come, follow me, let us go there.' Thus 
saying the King entered the sacred river, and the Queen 
stood on the bank to hear why the King had smiled. 

"But just then a strange thing happened. An ewe 
and a ram were grazing on the bank, the former being 
in an advanced state of pregnancy. She saw a bundle 
of green grass being swept away by the current of the 
river and she requested her husband to fetch her the 
bundle as her tongue was watering for it. The ram 
said in reply that he did not venture to do so, for, he 
might be carried away by the current and drowned. 
But the wife would take no denial. She began to scold 
him in the bitterest terms, for his ungallantry, his 
heartlessness, his unmanliness and so forth. 'Why did 
you take a wife', said she, 'when you cannot satisfy 
her wishes?' 

"The ram bore all the taunts of his wife with 
patience for some time, but at last he found that the 
more he submitted the sharper became the tongue of 


his wife. So, he said, 'You see, wife, I am willing to 
do anything reasonable for you. But I am not a fool 
like that king who is sacrificing his life for the whims 
of his wife. That ass with a human shape has come 
to give his life. If he had only the sense to see that 
instead of sacrificing himself, he ought to have given 
his wife the cut of a horse-whip, she would have long 
ago desisted from tormenting him. Take note, wife, 
if you again tease me with such selfish and unfeeling 
requests, I will give you such a push with my horns 
that you will remember it all the days of your life. 1 

"The ewe seeing that her lord had assumed the 
natural position immediately gave in. The King, as 
we said, could understand the language of all animals 
and so he understood all that the ram told his wife. 
And a new light dawned on him. He came out of the 
river and let his wife know that he would not submit 
to her whims. Seeing the threatening attitude of the 
King the poor Queen fell at the feet of her husband 
and pitifully begged pardon of him. Since then she 
felt greater respect for the King than she had ever done 
before/ 1 

The above was a very favourite story of Moti Lai's and 
I have heard him narrate this on more than one occasion. 

Now, what Sir John Woodburn was advised to do was 
to follow the example of the ram. He was by no means bound, 
said the Patrika, to sacrifice himself for the sake of Sir 
Alexander MacKenzie. But Sir John did not pay any heed 
to the advice. A series of meetings were held by the 
public protesting against the Bill, but the Government turned 
a deaf ear to them. Ultimately out of the fifty elected Com- 
missioners 28 resigned their offices in a body, for, they had 
realised that when the MacKenzie Bill would be passed 
they would be divested of all their powers. Amongst those 
who resigned were Babus Bhupendra Nath Basu, Narendra 
Nath Sen, Radha Charan Pal, Srinath Dutt, Deva Prasad 
Sarbadhicari, Surendra Nath Banerjea, Ramtaran Bannerjee, 
Surendra Nath Roy, Raj Chunder Chunder, Kumar Manmatha 
Nath Mitra and others. The Bill was however passed in utter 
disregard of public opinion, a thing not at all unusual in 


In course of time the MacKenzie Act was found wanting 
and seventeen years after it had been passed, i.e., in 1916 it 
was sought to be replaced by another Act, whose provisions 
were also considered to be halting by the public. A public 
meeting of the citizens of Calcutta was held in this connec- 
tion in the Town Hall of Calcutta in January, 1916, to con- 
sider the proposed changes in the Constitution of the Calcutta 
Corporation. The Hon'ble Maharajadhiraj Bijay Chand Mahatab 
Bahadur of Burdwan, who took interest in public life in 
Bengal in those days, presided and the Hon'ble Raja Reshee 
Case Law moved the main resolution which ran as follows : 

That the office of the President of the Corporation 
should be separated from that of the head of the 
Municipal Executive and that both the President and 
the head of the Municipal Executive should be elected 
by Municipal Commissioners, the election of the latter, 
if the need be, being subject to confirmation by the 

That with a view to give the rate-payers an 
effective voice in the control of their Municipal affairs, 
at least three-fourths of the members of the Corporation 
should be elected by the different wards. 

That the authority of the Corporation should be 
supreme and that all proceedings of the Executive and 
of Committees should be liable to revision by the 
Corporation as under the Acts of 1878 and 1888. As a 
necessary sequel the system of co-ordinate authorities 
should be done away with. 

In support of this resolution Moti Lai spoke in his usual 
humorous vein as follows : 

"They were progressing very fast indeed in Municipal 
work ; they were progressing no doubt, but not upward 
but downward. Their progress could be likened to the 
progress of the cow's tail. The cow's tail goes down 
and not up. In 1876 they were fit to manage civic 
affairs. Forty years passed since then and they were 
now unfit. They all knew the story of the mouse being 
created a lion and then the lion again reduced to a 
mouse. They were once a lion, but now they are a 
mouse again, rather a dead mouse. They must, however, 
fight the battle. They should hold hundreds of meetings 
in Calcutta if necessary. They must exert all their 


energy in getting back what they had and more than 
what they had." 

The Bengal Act I of 1917 was passed into law in spite 
of popular opposition. But its span of life was very brief. 
It was repealed by the present Calcutta Municipal Act, Bengal 
Act III of 1923, which is considered to have conferred 
autonomy or self-government to the civic body. It is left to 
posterity to judge whether autonomy has been really conferred 
or not. 


Differences Between Moti Lai And Surendra Nath Some Defamation 
Cases Kaliprasanna Kavya-Visharad Versus Ghose Family Dina Nath 
Roy Versus Kavya-Visharad Moti Lai Versus Kavya-Visharad A 
Lesson For Journalists. 

The disfranchisement of Dacca was hotly discussed in the 
Calcutta press towards the middle of 1899 and there was a 
regular quarrel over this matter among the press-magnates, 
which degenerated into personal recriminations and mutual 
fault findings, and the old differences between Moti Lai and 
Surendra Nath were revived. 

The quarrel began in this way. The Amrita Bazar Patrika 
vehemently opposed the disfranchisement of Dacca. As 
Babu Surendra Nath was the principal supporter of the dis- 
franchisement the criticism of the! Amrita Bazar Patrika affected 
him and his followers at once flew into a rage. As the Patrika 

"This incensed his followers, two in number, who 
began, not to discuss the question, but to abuse us and 
call us thieves, liars and what not. While they were 
engaged in vilifying us in this way, Babu Surendra 
Nath began to pose as the much-injured simple man 
who was wronged by us, simply because we did not 
love him. Of course, we could not notice the abuse 


levelled at us by the supporters of Babu Surendra Natft, 
for the simple reason that we are not dogs. But we 
warned him that such support will not help him, but 
injure him much more than it would injure us. The 
Indian Nation offered precisely the same advice to him, 
and so did the Indian Empire. We further assured 
Babu Surendra Nath Banerjea that we could have no 
personal motive in meddling with this question of dis- 
franchisement, because we never aspired to the honour 
of a seat in the Council." 

As a matter of fact Babu Moti Lai Ghose never attempted 
to have the honour of a seat in the Legislative Council. He 
always wanted to keep aloof of the Council Chamber. He 
explained this attitude by saying that he did not want to go 
to the Councils not because he had adopted the life of an 
ascetic, but because he felt that the only object of a man to 
go to the Council should be to be of service to his country. 
He felt that being in charge of a journal it was open to him 
to do as much good to his country as he desired to do. "That 
being so," said he, "for us to occupy a seat in the Council 
is to deprive a worthy man, who has no such opportunity of 
being useful to his country." 

This was met by some of the friends of Babu Surendra 
Nath saying that "if Babu Moti Lai Ghose had stood against 
Babu Surendra Nath Banerjea he (Moti Lai) would have 
been nowhere." 

The now defunct Indian Empire edited by Babu Amrita 
Krishna Mullick took up the cudgels on behalf of Babu Moti 
Lai Ghose and wrote as follows : 

"The organs of Mr. Surendra Nath Banerjea want 
to know the means of some of the gentlemen who would 
have proved formidable rivals to the Government 
nominee, we mean Mr. Banerjea if they had competed 
the Presidency Division seat with him. Now, if they 
had sought this information from some of the Munici- 
palities in the Presidency Division they would have got 
the right answer immediately. For instance, the most 
important Municipality in the Division is the Cossipur- 
Chitpur and it commands the largest number of votes. 
All these votes were entirely at the disposal of Babu 
Moti Lai Ghose, if he had cared to stand for the 



Presidency Division. As a matter of fact the majority 
of the Commissioners insisted on his coming forward as 
a candidate, but he would not. At the meeting of the 
Cossipur-Chitpur Municipality, held to elect a delegate, 
a Commissioner openly declared that he had gone to 
the Editor of the Patrika to request him to contest the 
Presidency Division seat, and, 'he had no doubt if 
Mr. Moti Lai Ghose, chose to stand as a candidate he 
would have got all the five votes at the disposal of the 
Cossipur-Chitpur Board, and he hoped that the Chairman 
would agree with him in the view.' We quote these 
words from the report of the proceedings of the meeting 
submitted to the Magistrate. Nobody contradicted the 
statement of the Commissioner and the Chairman would 
have never embodied it in his official report, if that were 
not the sense of the meeting. Now, backed by the 
biggest Municipality in the Division, would it have been 
really very difficult for Babu Moti Lai to oust Mr. 
Surendra Nath Banerjea from the field in a fair fight. 
Babu Surendra Nath Banerjea has fallen and Babu Moti 
Lai has risen in public estimation ; it is thus reasonable 
to suppose that most of the Municipalities in the Division, 
like the Cossipur-Chitpur, would have declared for the 
latter, if he were early in the field, and if the former 
had not demoralised many of the constituencies by 
presenting himself to them as Sir John Woodburn's man 

Mr. Banerjea extorted pledges from many 

Municipalities, weeks before the Election Resolution was 
published in the Calcutta Gazette ; yet we think he 
would have found it very hard, though backed by the 
Government, to secure the seat, if Babu Moti Lai Ghose 
and for the matter of that, Mr. A. M. Bose, had made 
up their minds to contest the seat." 

The newspapers and periodicals of the time were thus 
divided mainly into two groups, one supporting Moti Lai and 
criticising Surendra Nath and the other supporting Surendra 
Nath and criticising Moti Lai. Many of the writings in this 
connection were not only personal but scurrilous too and they 
showed to what depth of degradation journalism, one of the 
noblest of professions, may sometimes descend. 

There was a crop of defamation cases against newspapers 
in 1898-99 in Calcutta. Other Provinces also had their shares. 
The Standard and the Hindu of Madras were in trouble during 
this period on account of defamation cases against them and 


there was a case against the Times of India of Bombay in 
which Mr. Bal Gangadhar Tilafc was the complainant. Defama- 
tion cases seem to be contagious, for, one case often brings 
about other cases, either in its trail or unconnected with it. 

In Calcutta the curtain had hardly been rung down over 
the Brahmo lady defamation case and people had hardly been 
fed up with gossips about this unfortunate but interesting 
affair when three defamation cases came up in quick succession 
in which the proprietors of the Amrita Bazar Patrika and the 
Hitabadi, a vernacular weekly were implicated. 

The first case was brought by Kali Prasanna Kavya- 
Visharad against Moti Lai Ghose and others, the second was 
brought by Dina Nath Roy, Assistant Manager, Amrita Bazar 
Patrika against Kali Prasanna Kavya- Visharad and others and 
the third was brought by Moti Lai Ghose against Kali Prasanna 
Kavya- Visharad . 

Now, who was this Kali Prasanna Kavya-Visharad who 
figured in all the three cases? It is not known how or whence 
he got the title Kavya-Visharad. He belonged to the respect- 
able Haldar family of Kalighat and was for some years a 
proof-reader in the Amrita Bazar Patrika office and Assistant 
Secretary to the Indian Relief Society in which Moti Lai took 
a leading part. Subsequently he became the editor of the 
vernacular paper Hitabadi and became a very powerful writer, 
but his writings were often rather scurrilous and he often 
indulged in unsavoury personal attacks. He defamed the wife 
of a well-known Brahmo Professor of Calcutta in his paper and 
had to pay the penalty. He was sentenced to 9 months' 
imprisonment. But it seems this did not act as a corrective 
and he went on vilifying people in the same manner as before. 
He was a close follower of Babu Surendra Nath Banerjea and 
Babu Moti Lai Ghose was one of his targets. For 2 or 3 years 
Kavya-Visharad vilified Moti Lai through the columns of the 
Hitabadi to his heart's content. The matter at last came to 
a head and friends and well-wishers of Moti Lai advised him 
to sue Kali Prasanna for defamation. Kali Prasanna however 
anticipated him and brought a case for defamation against 


Moti Lai in the Alipur Police Court before Moti Lai had taken 
any steps for suing him. 

As soon as the proprietors of the Patrika came to learn; 
that Kali Prasanna had brought a case against them the late 
Dina Nath Roy at their instance brought his case against Kali 
Prasanna and immediately after that Moti Lai also brought his 
case in court. These two cases were like a double-barrelled 
gun aimed at Kali Prasanna in order to make a sure shot. 

The case brought by Kali Prasanna arose in this way.. 
Two articles headed "Why Bengali papers are unreadable" 
and "A Conference of Bengali-editors" had appeared in the 
Ananda Bazar Patrika, a vernacular weekly then owned by 
the proprietors of the Amrita Bazar Patrika, criticising the 
vernacular papers Basumati and Hitabadi for publishing 
scurrilous articles and thus degrading vernacular journalism in 
the eyes of the reading public. On the ist September, i.e., 
only two days after the publication of the above Kali Prasanna 
Kavya-Visharad, who then edited the Hitabadi, filed a case for 
defamation against Babus Shishir Kumar Ghose, Moti Lai 
Ghose, Golap Lai Ghose, Mrinal Kanti Ghose and Piyush 
Kanti Ghose, alleging that they were editors and proprietors 
of the Ananda Bazar Patrika and also against the printer Babu 
Keshab Lai Roy. He complained that he had been defamed' 
as a journalist by the publication of the aforesaid articles. 
Mr. P. L. Roy, Barrister-at-Law, who appeared for the Ghose 
family, in applying for their personal exemption from Court 

"The first-named petitioner (Babu Shishir Kumar 
Ghose) to the knowledge of the complainant (Kali 
Prasanna Kavya-Visharad), is in feeble health and is 
over 60 years of age and it is common knowledge that 
he has retired from all worldly affairs and is leading 
the life of a religious recluse at Deoghur. No man is 
more respected among all sections of the community for 
high character, profound learning and deep piety than 
Babu Shishir Kumar Ghose who has perhaps done more 
for the country than all our public men put together 
have been able to do. The second petitioner (Babu 
Moti Lai Ghose) who is well-known from the manner 
in which he is conducting the Amrita Bazar Patrika,. 


is also in indifferent health. The fourth petitioner 
(Babu Piyush Kanti Ghose) is a student reading for the 
B.A., examination in the Metropolitan College and he 
has no connection with any paper. " 

The Ghose family was of course allowed to appear by 
agents. Kali Prasanna Kavya-Visharad then tried to have 
search-warrants issued for the original copies and proof-sheets 
of the articles, but the Magistrate did not grant his prayer. 

In the meantime the defamation case referred to above was 
instituted by Babu Dina Nath Roy, Assistant Manager, Amriia 
Bazar Patrika against Babus Upendra Nath Sen and Debendra 
Nath Sen, Proprietors of Hitabadi, Kali Prasanna Kavya- 
Visharad, editor and Aswini Kumar Haldar, printer of the 
Hitabadi in the Sealdah Police Court. Dina Babu's grievance 
was that the Hitabadi had defamed him by falsely and 
maliciously publishing that he had given false evidence in a 
case at Saugor. 

Moti Lai brought his case against Kali Prasanna, as he 
said, not on private ground only, but on public grounds as 
well ; for, Kali Prasanna through the columns of the Hitabadi, 
according to him, was libelling people right and left. 

The first charge against Kavya-Visharad was with regard 
to a case at Kalighat known as Golab Roy's temple case. 
Hitabadi charged Moti Lai with having taken money from 
Golab Roy for supporting him in a quarrel over a temple that 
arose between Golab Roy on the one hand and certain people 
known as Chetties on the other side. As a matter of fact 
Moti Lai and Golab Roy were strangers and he supported 
Golab Roy's case not for money, but because he found the 
case to be just. The real fact is that in supporting the Chetties 
who opposed Golab Roy's constructing a temple of Radha- 
Krishna at Kalighat Babu Surendra Nath Banerjea had spoken 
about the Hindu gods and goddesses in the Calcutta Corpora- 
tion in a manner which was taken exception to by Hindus, 
Moti Lai's articles were written more with a view to criticis- 
ing Surendra Nath for thus speaking about Hindu gods and 
goddesses than with a view to supporting Golab Roy. 


The second charge against Kavya-Visharad was that with 
the pretext of correcting some mistakes appearing in a paper 
called Power and Guardian he had through the columns of 
the Hitabadi circulated the false and libellous statement that 
Babu Moti Lai Ghose had misappropriated the sum of Rs. 500 
paid by Raja Jogendra Nath Roy Bahadur of Natore to the 
Congress. The fact is that this money was not paid to the 
Congress, b\it to some other association for which it was meant. 
As Moti Lai said in his evidence before the Magistrate : 

"There is a British Committee (of the Congress). 
This is in England. The Committee's finances are 
raised in this country. 

"Messrs. Bradlaugh, Digby, W. C. Bonnerjee and I 
started the Indian Political Agency. The British Com- 
mittee only countenances or advocates what the Indian 
National Congress takes up and nothing more. The 
Indian Political Agency aimed at taking up other 
questions affecting individuals. The Agency was main- 
tained by subscriptions raised here from among private 
friends. Rajah Jogendra Nath Roy Bahadur is a friend 
of mine. I wrote to him to contribute to the Indian 
Political Agency fund and his late Dewan Babu Girish 
Chandra Lahiri sent me Rs. 500 in currency notes with 
a letter which I have lost. It was given in 1888 or 1889. 
Neither the Indian National Congress nor the British 
Committee of the Congress had anything to do with this 
money. I sent the Rs. 500 to Mr. Digby." 

The third charge against Kavya-Visharad was that he had 
published in the Hitabadi an article about the election of 
Babu Baikuntha Nath Sen, Vakil, of Berhampur to a seat in 
the Bengal Legislative Council in which it was falsely and 
maliciously stated that Moti Lai had been at first secretly 
working against Baikuntha Nath by writing letters and sending 
round a protege of his named Satya Charan, but latterly either 
through fear of Baikuntha Nath or through affection for him, 
Moti Lai did not scruple to cancel his previous letters and 
write letters of a different character. It was also stated that 
Moti Lai had borrowed Rs. 2,000 from the Kasimbazar Raj 
with which Babu Baikuntha Nath was thickly connected, and 
Moti Lai supported him only in order to avoid being dragged 
into Court for this money. 


Babus Golab Roy and Baikuntha Nath Sen and some other 
witnesses were examined who supported Babu Moti Lai Ghose's 
evidence and proved that the allegations against him were 

On the 22nd of December, 1899, Mr. T. A. Pearson, Chief 
Presidency Magistrate of Calcutta, committed Kali Prasanna 
Kavya-Visharad to the Calcutta High Court Sessions to take 
his trial there. 

In the meantime the other two cases, at Alipur and 
Sealdah went on, and some witnesses were examined. 

Ultimately, however, through the intervention of common 
friends all the three cases were compromised on honourable 
terms. Moti Lai was very unwilling to compromise, but he 
was forced to do so by his friend Bhupendra Nath Basu, who 
wrote to the editor of the Hitabadi in course of a letter asking 
him to publish an apology : 

"You know how very unwilling Moti Babu was to 
settle, we had literally to force it upon him." 

Journalists ought to take a lesson from this fight between 
AmrUa Bazar Patrika and Hitabadi. Pleaders in court fight 
each other, but the moment a case is over and they are out 
of court, they are friends again. Parliamentarians also do the 
same thing. Why should not the journalists follow a similar 
course ? If they have to fight they ought to do so through the 
columns of their respective papers. The Press is the Fourth 
Estate of the realm, and those in charge of the Press should 
remember that by rushing to court they lower the dignity of 
the Press. As a rule when criticising each other they ought 
to keep within the bounds of law as much as practicable. It 
is, however, not always possible to do so and hence minor 
transgressions on either side are inevitable and as such they 
ought to be overlooked. Unless there is a flagrant defamation, 
which is repeated again and again a journalist ought not to 
go to court against a brother journalist. Men living in glass 
houses should not throw stones at one another. 


Provincial Conference at Bhagalpur (1900) Criticism Leads to Quarrels 
A Suit that was never Brought Surendra Nath versus Moti Lai. 

The Bengal Provincial Conference was held at Bhagalpur 
towards the beginning of the year 1900. It was very severely 
criticised by Babu Moti Lai Ghose in the columns of the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika. He had all along wanted to make the 
provincial conferences more democratic and less confined to 
orators and editors. The Bhagalpur Conference, he wrote, was 
a failure in this respect. This was followed by a bitter attack 
on Moti Lai in the leading columns of the Bengalee and the 
Basumati, and for a pretty long time the Amriia Bazar Patrika 
and the Bengalee, which had then become a daily paper, were 
seen exchanging shots at each other. Much of the criticism 
on either side, it must be said with regret, was personal and 
has perhaps no interest for posterity. Vigorous attempts were 
made at this time by the proprietors of some rival journals to 
annihilate the Amrita Bazar Patrika. As a matter of fact they 
formed an association for the purpose and began vilifying the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika and its editor Babu Moti Lai Ohose right 
and left. 

Commenting on the situation the Indian Nation, now 
defunct, observed: 

"There is a regular tug-of-war, for, there is no 
doubt that Greek has met Greek. Two mighty patriots, 
veterans both in the art of agitation, have been flying 
at each other's throat and there is no doubt that they 
are terribly in earnest." 

Wrote the Indian Empire, also now defunct, in reply : 

"An impression has been sought to be created that 
there was a free fight between the Patrika and the 
papers noted above. We must aver that the idea is 
absolutely false. The Patrika has not exchanged hot 
words with any or all of them. It is precluded from 


doing so because of the position it occupies. Personalities 
it can never descend to. It has to be on the defensive. 
We therefore take exception to the remark of the Indian 

Nation Our contemporary must have noticed 

with pain and humiliation the libellous attacks of the 
Bengalee and its personal abuses of Babu Moti Lai Ghose 
for some time past. We ask him to point out a single 
instance of an exchange of abuse in the Patrika." 

Throughout the year shots were thus exchanged not only 
between Moti Lai and Surendra Nath but also between their 
lieutenants. I may mention in this connection the name of 
Babu Amrita Krishna Mullick, Vakil, Small Causes Court of 
Calcutta who then edited the Indian Empire and firmly sup- 
ported Babu Moti Lai Ghose in his quarrels with Babu Surendra 
Nath Banerjea. Subsequently the relationship between Moti 
Lai and Babu Amrita Krishna developed into a very sweet one 
and I shall have occasion to refer to this. 

In December 1900 the following editorial paragraph 
appeared in the Amrita Bazar Patrika: 

"We said that the declaration of Lord Curzon, 
namely, that he liked to be judged by his works, is an 
excellent security for his good behaviour. The Pioneer 
has furnished another such security by his attack. We 
are glad to see that the Indian papers universally have 

accorded their support to the Viceroy It is 

true the Bengalee supported the Pioneer in the beginning 
but we are glad to see that it corrected its mistake 
afterwards. Indeed, an alliance of the Indian journals 
with such a paper as the Pioneer is impossible. Babu 
Surendra Nath Banerjea in an unguarded moment formed 
an alliance with that paper in urging the Government 
to pass the Press Message Bill. He was then subscrib- 
ing to Renter's telegrams and he no doubt thought that 
if the measure was passed he would secure an advantage 
for his paper over most other Indian journals. If he 
had however succeeded no paper would have suffered 
more than his own, if the statement, were true that he 
had ceased subscribing to Reuter. Indeed, by joining 
with the Pioneer on that occasion he was not only led 
to injure the interests of all other Indian papers but also 
to lay a knife across his own throat " 

On the appearance of the above paragraph in the Amrita 
Bazar Patrika, Babu Surendra Nath Banerjea consulted his 


lawyers and sent a Solicitor's letter to Babu Moti Lai Ghose 
in which he said that the publication of the above paragraph 
harmed his "reputation as a journalist" and he called upon the 
editor of the Amrita Bazar Patrika to "retract the statements/' 
offer him a "suitable apology " and "publish the same" in the 
editorial columns of the Amrita Bazar Patrika. 

The Solicitor's letter was also published in the columns 
of the Bengalee, then edited by Surendra Nath Banerjea, with 
the following remarks : 

"The Patrika has for some time past been per- 
sistently trying to injure us by giving currency to the 
false report that we do not subscribe to Renter's 
telegrams. It has done so in its correspondence columns, 
and the same falsehood now finds place in its editorial 
paragraph. But falsehood never pays in the world." 

Commenting on the above the 'Indian Nation wrote a 
paragraph which will be of great interest to the journalists: 

"The Patrika in one of its issues: 'He (Mr. 
Surendra Nath Banerjea) was then subscribing to Reuter's 
telegrams, and he no doubt thought that if the measure 
(the Press Message Bill) were passed he would secure an 
advantage for his paper over most other Indian journals. 
If he had however suceeded no paper would have suffered 
more than his own, if the statement were true that he 
had ceased subscribing to Reuter.' Immediately after 
this the Hon'ble Mr. Surendra Nath Banerjea instructed 
Babu Bhupendra Nath Basu as his Attorney to write a 
letter to the Editor of 'the Patrika r demanding an apology 
and an withdrawal of the statements made. We always 
knew Mr. Banerjea to be the reverse of thin-skinned, 
and we are much surprised at this display of sensitive- 
ness. Do not all of us including Mr. Banerjea write 
like this? 'Mr. X is reported by a correspondent to 
have made an unwarrantable assault upon a post office 
peon, snatched his letter bag and forced it open. The 
charge is a serious one if it is true and ought to be 
inquired into.' Mr. X would not, we believe, take any 
action for defamation with regard to the statement if 
it is false. If it is true it would not be prudent 
to take any action. Well now, when the Patrika says, 
'if the statement were true,' should the statement be 
received in any other light than that against Mr. X 
in the hypothetical case? Surely a proposition with 
an 'if' is not an affirmation, and if it exposes the news- 


paper to all the risks of a categorical statement none 
of us will be safe in publishing any sort of a report or 
rumour which contains anything in the nature of an 
The Amrita Bazar PaMka, however, declined to make an 

apology to Babu Surendra Nath Banerjea and in doing so 

wrote : 

"Our paragraph is not susceptible of the construc- 
tion put upon it by Babu Surendra Nath. We are used to 
virulent attacks, every week, all the year round, by a 
vernacular paper, the editor of which is a warm supporter 
of Babu Surendra Nath and his paper. But the method 
one journal taking legal proceedings against another is 
a more serious affair and was unknown in Indian 
journalism. It was, however, for the first time inaugu- 
rated by the friend of Babu Surendra Nath alluded to 
above, in regard to our journal; and on the present 
occasion he, Babu Surendra Nath himself, has come for- 
ward with an Attorney's letter to us. Such conduct on 
the part of a journalist has the effect of demoralising the 
the whole press and setting an example which is suicidal. 
Surely Babu Surendra Nath cannot blame a journalist 
if he, feeling aggrieved by his conduct, should follow 
the example set by himself and his friend, and take 
legal proceedings against them. And such an incident 
is not unlikely. 'People living in a glass house should 
not pelt stones at others' is an English proverb. We 
have, however, a more expressive one, namely, 'a man 
being drowned in a well of his own digging.' " 

Fortunately, however, good counsel prevailed and the 
matter did not go to court. To quote the Patrika "the Bengalee 
announced to the world with a flourish of trumpet that all the 
differences between Babu Moti Lai Ghose and Babu Surendra 
Nath Banerjea had been made up." But it is well-known 
that the truce between Moti Lai and Surendra Nath was only 
a temporary one. 


Bengal Provincial Conference of 1901 Moti Lai's Speech on Road Cess 
and P. W. CessUnequal Distribution of Collection CostsSir Edward 
Baker's Reply Moti I^al's Hopes Realised. 

The Bengal Provincial Conference was held at Midnapur 
in May, 1901. In this session Moti Lai moved the following 

"That this Conference is of opinion that the 
Government should be moved to take steps that the 
money realised on account of the Road Cess may not 
be spent for any purposes other than those for which 
it was originally levied, namely, 

(1) the construction and maintenance of village 
roads and local paths, 

(2) the sinking and improving of wells, tanks and 
other works of irrigation affecting comparatively small 
areas of land and other similar purposes, so that the 
benefits to be derived from the road cess may be brought 
home to the cess payers' doors and may be palpable, 
direct and immediate. 

"That with a view to secure the above objects 
the District Boards be directed to keep a separate account 
of Road Cess funds showing for what purposes the 
same are spent. 

"That this Conference specially begs to draw the 
attention of the Government to the fact that the charges 
for maintaining the joint establishment for realising the 
Road and Public Work Cesses should be borne equally 
by the Boards and the Government respectively." 
In moving the resolution Moti Lai delivered a lengthy 
speech in course of which he traced the history of the imposi- 
tion of the Road Cess. He said that when the Road Cess was 
sought to be imposed there was some difficulty because it was 
thought to be a flagrant violation of the pledge given to the 
Zemindars of Bengal by the Permanent Settlement of 1793. 
But this difficulty was overcome by giving an assurance that 
the money realised by the imposition of this Cess would belong 


not to the Government but to the people themselves and the 
entire proceeds from this cess would be placed at their disposal. 
This was clearly mentioned in the Despatch of the Duke of 
Argyll as Secretary of State for India and reiterated by Sir 
George Campbell who said in his proclamation: 

"The Road Cess money shall be distributed and 
spent by local men trusted by the inhabitants who shall 
be selected or elected for the purpose." 

But alas, all these pledges were subsequently violated. 
Sir Ashley Eden showed the way by passing a "law" in 1880 
enacting that the objects of the Road Cess were other than 
those for which it was originally imposed and in 1895 Mr. Risley 
Secretary to the Government declared that no such thing as the 
Road Cess Fund existed and money raised through the Road 
Cess might "legally* be spent on any purpose according to 
the sweet will of the Government. 

Through the Press and the Platform Moti Lai agitated 
for years for the return of the people's money to them and for 
the fulfilment of the pledges given by the Duke of Argyll when 
the Road Cess was first imposed. 

As early as 1889, if not earlier, we find the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika taking up the question of the collection of the Road 
Cess and the Public Works Cess. At that time both these 
cesses were collected by the same establishment. The collec- 
tion charges therefore should have been borne equally by both 
the departments. But the Government had fixed the ratio at 
two-third and one-third between the Road Cess department and 
the Public Works Department. This was done apparently 
because the Government took the Public Works Cess to be its 
own, while the proceeds of the Road Cess, which were in the 
hands of the District Boards belonged to the people. At least 
that was what the people contended. The Amrita Bazar Patrika 
urged that this alleged wrong which began as early as 1879 
should be removed by making both the departments share 
equally the establishment charges. 

The matter was brought to the notice of Sir Edward Baker, 


then Finance Secretary to the Government of Bengal, through 
a series of articles in the Amrita Bazar PaMka. Sir Edward 
gave a reply during the Budget discussion in the Bengal Council 
in April, 1899. He spoke ex tempore, very rapidly, but in 
a rather low voice, so that the reporter of the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika could not catch all of what he had said and brought 
only a summary of the speech to Moti Lai which was so con- 
densed as to be almost unintelligible. Moti Lai thereupon 
wrote to Sir Edward Baker requesting him to be so good as 
to supply him with a copy of his speech. In reply Sir Edward 
said that he could not comply with his request as he had 
neither a copy nor any notes of his speech. He was however 
good enough to revise the report prepared by the reporter 
of the Patrika and this was published in the Patrika. Sir 
Edward gave the Government view of the question ; he admitted 
that the Government had accepted the principle of paying 
one- third of the cost, "but it was ordered that in order to 
avoid a fresh adjustment every year a fixed lump sum should 
be assigned to each district and paid every year." "As regards 
the proposal that Government should pay one-half the charges 
and not only one-third, " Sir Edward continued to say, "that 
is what the Government actually did. It undertook to pay 
one-half the gross charges including the cost of the superior 
supervising staff, and that is in effect paying one-third of the 
direct joint charges plus the cost of the superior staff." Sir 
Edward thus did not see his way to accept the contention of 
the Amrita Bazar Patrika and act upto it. 

Moti Lai now wrote a private letter to Sir Edward Baker 
earnestly soliciting his careful attention to the subject. In 
reply Sir Edward said that he had kept his mind perfectly open 
and if he were convinced of the correctness of the position 
taken up by Moti Lai he would do his best to help him in the 
matter. After this there was some correspondence between 
the two and in course of a year Moti Lai's hopes were realised 
in place of the fixed sum of Rs. 46,800 the grant of the year 
1900-01 was raised to Rs. 1,04,000 that is by Rs. 57,200. 


Babu Ananda Mohan Bose who was then a Member of the 
Council wrote in a letter on the subject : 

"I am delighted to see the Government has decided 

at length to bear its fair share This means a 

gain of about Rs. 60,000 per annum to the District 
Boards. Our thanks are due to the Government of Sir 
John Woodburn and to the Hon'ble Mr. Baker in parti- 
cular but they are also due to the Patrika for the very 
effective manner in which it has agitated this important 
question and drawn public attention to it." 
Like the Road Cess question the question of rural water 
supply was another matter for the improvement of which Mod 
Lai devoted much of his time and energy. I shall have occa- 
sion to refer to his activities in this connection later on. 


Trial of a "White" Cooly Emigration Agent Incorrect Report in Patrika 
and Other Papers Moti Lai Tried for Defamation His Defence Con- 
viction by Magistrate Press Comments on the Conviction Observations 
of the Maharatta and the Hindu Acquitted By High Court Statesman's 
Comments on the Case. 

A very sensational criminal case that took place at 
Allahabad in the year 1901 was what was then known as the 
Hoff case. In this case one B. E. Hoff, a cooly emigration 
agent of Cawnpur and two of his men were charged with 
having robbed a Marwari woman named Ram Piyari of her 
gold ornaments and sent her adrift penniless after having 
detained her at the cooly depot for seven or eight days. They 
were tried at the sessions at the Allahabad High Court and 
after ten days' hearing the jury who were all Englishmen 
acquitted them, six being in favour of acquittal and three in 
favour of conviction. The Judge Mr. Justice Aikman agreed 
with the minority but curiously enough did not order a retrial 
on the ground that experience had shown him that a retrial 
would have a similar result and would also cause inconvenience 


to witnesses. The case formed the subject matter of comment 
in almost all the leading papers, the Amrita Bazar Patrika being 
no exception. It commented on the case in its usual sarcastic 
style. After analysing the judgment critically the Patrika 
observed: "Or, in other words, his Lordship means that a 
European jury will never convict a European accused, so it 
is useless to order a retrial." 

In an issue of the Amrita Bazar Patrika of some date 
before the actual hearing of the case a report had appeared 
in the telegram columns where it was stated that the woman 
had brought three charges against Hoff of wrongful confine- 
ment, robbery and outrage. As a matter of fact however there 
was no charge of outrage and the Pioneer of Allahabad pub- 
lished a paragraph stating that there was no such charge. As 
soon as the attention of the conductors of the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika was drawn to it "they expressed their regret for having 
unwillingly done Mr. Hoff any injury by the publication of 
the said report." The Bengalee and some other papers had 
also published a similar report of outrage by Hoff. Hoff was 
not satisfied with the expression of regret and brought a case 
against the correspondent of the Amrita Bazar Patrika at 
Cawnpur, who settled the case by offering apology to Hoff and 
paying him a compensation of Rs. 500. The Panch Bahadur, 
a vernacular paper of Bombay, which had also published a 
similar news and had been threatened by Hoff with prosecu- 
tion compromised the matter by paying him Rs. 500. So the 
case instead of being a curse to Hoff became a boon to him. 

Naturally temptation grew and Hoff now proceeded 
against Moti Lai Ghose as Editor and Ashu Tosh Dey as Printer 
of the Amrita Bazar Patrika. He instituted a criminal case 
for defamation against them in the Joint Magistrate's Court 
at Cawnpur in May 1901 and in course of a fortnight or so 
had the following notice served on Moti Lai : 

"Sir, my client Mr. B. E. Hoff has just filed a case 
against you under* Sections 500-109 I. P. C. for defaming 
him in a most scandalous and unjustifiable manner in 
the issue of your paper dated 26th April 1901 headed 


a 'Shocking Case*. The case is fixed for zgih instant 
in the Joint Magistrate's Court. 

Besides the above proceedings I may mention that 
my client intends suing you for heavy damages which 
he assesses at one lakh of rupees. You can take this 
as a notice before going to Court. Unless this amount 
is paid up by the end of the month the matter will 
be forthwith put into Court. 

Yours, etc., 
(Sd.) Alfred Harrison, 
Advocate, H. C., N. W. P. 
Counsel for Mr. B. E. Hoff." 

When the criminal case against Moti Lai was taken up 
at Cawnpur the redoubtable Kali Prasanna Kavya-Visharad, 
whose sole aim in life for some years seemed to have been to 
lay Moti Lai low, ran all the way from Calcutta to Cawnpur 
with a view to prove Moti Lai's editorship of the Amrita 
Bazar Patrika ; but in doing so he got himself entangled in 
a case under Section 174 I. P. C. Moti Lai in his written 
statement before the Magistrate admitted that "he was the 
editor of the Amrita Bazar Patrika, that he wrote the leaders 
and the leaderettes and that he had nothing to do with the 
other portions of the paper such as telegrams, correspondence, 
reprints, selections, etc." 

Mr. Wallach, Barrister-at-law, who defended Moti Lai, 
pointed out that great caution had been taken by the autho- 
rities of the Patrika in publishing the news in question which 
was done in absolute good faith and with proper care and after 
due enquiry. He contended that the London Times could 
not be more careful. He also pointed out that it was proved 
by evidence that when the matter complained of was published 
Moti Lai was not in Calcutta but was in his native village 
Magura (Amrita Bazar). This was proved by a post card 
written from Magura and bearing the post mark dated 24th 
April in which an employee of Moti Lai wrote to another 
employee of his at Calcutta "that Moti Lai was to leave 
Magura at midday of 25th arriving in Calcutta in the evening 
and that his carriage should be sent to the Sealdah station to 



receive him." No responsibility could be attached to the editor, 
said Mr. Wallach, unless he was the writer and publisher. But 
Mr. A. P. Charles, the trying Magistrate, was imbued with the 
traditions of the class he belonged to. He did not believe that 
Moti Lai was absent from Calcutta at the time of the publication 
in question, because all his witnesses were Kayasthas. He 
convicted Moti Lai under Section 500 I. P. C. and sentenced 
him to pay a fine of Rs. 1,000, the highest fine that the law 
empowered the trying Magistrate to inflict, half of which was 
to be paid to Hoff for expenses incurred in the case. The 
Printer was acquitted. 

A similar case was brought by Mr. Hoff against Babu 
Surendra Nath Banerjea, Editor of the Bengalee for publish- 
ing a similar paragraph. Surendra Babu also pleaded alibi 
and counsel for Hoff did not press the case against him so 
much. Surendra Nath was more fortunate than Moti Lai. In 
his case the Magistrate, the same Magistrate who tried the 
case against Moti Lai, believed that at the time the offending 
paragraph was published he was at Simultala and not in 
Calcutta, and thus let him off. 

The conviction of Babu Moti Lai Ghose on such a flimsy 
ground made the Indian press furious and many of them 
strongly commented on the judgment of the trying Magistrate. 
One paper dwelt on the difficulty of conducting daily news- 
papers if such bona fide mistakes were to be penalised, another 
referred to the ignorance of law on the part of the trying 
Magistrate, another went one step further and said that 
personal bias could override all evidence in a Mofussil Court 
and so forth and so on. I cannot resist the temptation of 
quoting in extenso the comment of the Maharatta, which, I 
believe, was then edited by Mr. Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Said 
the Maharatta: 

"Babu Moti Lai Ghose, the famous editor of .the 
A. B. PaMka, will have, we have no doubt, the 
sympathy of the whole Indian public in the failure he 
lately was unfortunate enough to sustain in contesting 
the case for defamation instituted against him by 


Mr. Hoff, a planter's agent who lately passed the ordeal 
of a sessions trial on very serious charges and was 
acquitted by a majority of jury of his countrymen. 
Babu Moti Lai was fined Rs. 1,000 by the trying 
Magistrate whose judgment shows that he was prejudiced 
against the former. The case is sub judice, waiting 
the decision of an Appellate Court ; and so we do not 
wish to comment upon the merits of the case. But 
we take the opportunity to say that Babu Moti Lai who 
has spent his whole life in righting the wrong, befriend- 
ing the oppressed, and exposing the frauds, the 
humbugs, the snobs in the society as well as in the 
political administration of this country, hardly needs to 
be told that an adverse judgment of an Anglo-Indian 
Magistrate against him, is a thing quite expected by the 
world. It is a small reverse which only serves to 
heighten the merits of the life of self-sacrifice which he 
is leading as a true patriot. The public estimation in 
which he is held will be only increased by the recent 
event and the whole Indian public share the feelings 
and sentiments of his Jubbulpore admirers, for instance, 
who the other day gave him splendid ovations when he 
had been to that place." 

The Hindu of Madras remarked that the way in which 
the Magistrate had disposed of the plea of alibi 

"did not present the Magistrate as an ideal judicial 
officer. This great judicial dignitary has not even the 
common courtesy to put 'Mr.' before the name of the 
accused gentleman though he mentions it frequently in 
his judgment. A Joint Magistrate is not after all such 
a superior person that he need dispense with the com- 
mon courtesies observed among gentlemen and in his 
relation to the Amrita Bazar Patrika his superior air 
could only be of momentary duration." 

It may be observed in passing that this peculiar habit of 
omitting 'Mr.' or 'Babu' from the names of respectable Indian 
gentlemen, who may have the misfortune to be in the position 
of an accused in a criminal case or may be parties to or 
witnesses in a civil suit or criminal case, is not peculiar to 
the lower courts only, but the highest judiciary in the land 
has sometimes been found to be lacking in this common 
courtesy. One has only to search some law-reports to find 
cases where any Tom, Dick or Harry has been honoured with 
the appellation of 'Mr.', but highly respectable Indian gentle- 


men have been deprived of the title of 'Mr.' or the more 
unambitious, but certainly not less respectable, 'Babu'. 

An appeal was of course preferred against the Magistrate's 
judgment to the Court of the Sessions Judge at Cawnpur. 
Babu Satya Charan Mukherjee, an eminent Vakil of the 
Allahabad High Court, argued the appeal on behalf of Moti 
Lai. He spoke eloquently and feelingly for three hours and 
his address made a deep impression on those who heard him. 
Mr. H. Dupernex the Sessions Judge in acquitting Moti Lai 
held that the publication of the alleged libellous matter at 
Cawnpur had not been strictly proved. Moreover, he believed 
in Moti Lai's plea of alibi which was rejected by the trying 
Magistrate on a very flimsy ground. According to the state 
of law then in force an editor would not have been liable for 
any publication in his paper if it could be shown that at the 
time of the publication he was absent from office and had left 
the paper in charge of a competent person. Since there has, 
however, been a great change in the law and at the time of 
writing this (1934), an editor's name has to be printed in every 
issue of the paper and I do not think he can escape liability 
by proving alibi. 

The judgment of the Sessions Judge wais received with 
jubilation by the Indian press and Moti Lai's acquittal 
afforded one more opportunity to them to make a lashing 
criticism of the trying Magistrate. Even the Statesman of 
Calcutta said: 

"The reasoning of the Joint Magistrate (in disbeliev- 
ing the plea of alibi), to say nothing of the impertinence 
of the phraseology employed by him, is, indeed, so 
palpably perverse, as to cast considerable doubt on his 
judicial capacity." 

In this connection the Statesman of November 3, 1901 
came out with an article forcibly criticising the provision of 
law which enabled any one who may feel himself aggrieved 
by any publication in a newspaper to choose his forum in 
any remotest corner of the country and punish the editor of 


the paper extra- judicially by dragging him to that place. The 
Statesman concluded by saying that 

"justice, commonsense and public policy alike 
require that a suit for libel against a newspaper should 
lie only in the jurisdiction in which the place of 
business of the paper is situated." 

We do not know if the Statesman still holds the same 
view, but the law has not been changed and justice, common- 
sense and public policy seem to have been thrown into the 
Ganges water. 


Reception At Jubbulpur At Madras Entertainments In His Honour. 

From Cawnpur where Moti Lai had to go in connection 
with the Hoff Case in the year 1901, he went on a casual visit 
tp Jubbulpur where his eldest sister Srimati Sthir Saudamini 
was living with his son the late Tarit Kanti Buxy, M.A., 
Professor of Chemistry, Robertson College. Sthir Saudamini 
was an exceptionally intelligent and highly cultured lady. She 
used to spend the summers mostly in Calcutta with her 
brothers and now that it was winter and she was at Jubbulpur 
Moti Lai thought that he would have some rest there and 
recover from the strain of a day to day working life. He 
went there incognito with the intention of passing a few days 
quietly and aloof from the public gaze. But his presence was 
soon discovered by some of the leading members of the local 
society headed by Rai Bahadur Ballava Rao, a public-spirited 
local millionaire, who at once called on him. Very soon a 
public reception in honour of Moti Lai was arranged at the 
bungalow of Mr. Ganesh Vasudeo Sane, another patriotic and 
public-spirited gentleman. Long before the appointed hour 
Mr. Sane's house was packed to the full and Moti Lai was 
loudly cheered when he arrived. Moti Lai who had a dread 


of speechifications had agreed to come to the party only on 
condition that there would be no speeches. But the enthusiasm 
of the assembled gentlemen was so intense that one of them 
stood up and delivered an ex tempore address of welcome. 
This was more than Moti Lai had anticipated. But he had 
no other alternative than to reply. He began by saying that 
he was not prepared for the mine of surprise that had been 
sprung upon him in the shape of the welcome address that 
had been given to him. His friends knew that he did not 
like to open his lips before the public, he was only a writer 
and not a speaking machine, and so forth and so on. In 
spite of his not being an orator he delivered a lengthy speech 
mostly dwelling on the financial condition of the people. He 
deplored the gradual disappearance of the higher classes of 
people and enjoined on them to live a strictly economical life. 
"If you earn- Rs. 50 a month," he said, "spend Rs. 40 and 
save at least Rs. 10." 

The audience were greatly impressed to hear him speak. 
He did not assume the theatrical attitude that many speakers 
adopt, but he spoke in a perfectly natural way and every 
sentence that he uttered went home to the hearts of his 
hearers ; indeed, his speech was heard with rapt attention and 
the unanimous verdict was that it was "as enthralling as it 
was useful and practical." 

Prom the place of Mr. Sane Moti Lai was conducted to 
the Oriental Club where he was entertained with light refresh- 
ment and music and introduced to all the leading men of the 
station. It had some how or other oozed out that Moti Lai 
could sing very well and he was pressed so hard by his newly- 
acquired friends that he had to yield. When he had ceased 
singing a gentleman remarked that it was they who had come 
to entertain Babu Moti Lai Ghose but instead of their entertain- 
ing him it was their guest who had entertained them with 
delicious music. 

The Bengali gentlemen of Jubbulpur and the local Madrasi 
community also arranged parties for him. He could stay at 
Jubbulpur for a short time only. He had gone there with the 


object of finding a little rest but he got parties and public 
receptions in stead. 

Eleven years later when Moti Lai went to Madras he was 
given a similar reception. Various sections of the Indian 
community of Madras held entertainments in his honour. He 
was given a hearty welcome not only as the editor of the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika but also as the delegate of the Bengal 
Government to the All-India Sanitary Conference, a curious 
combination indeed. On the evening of November 16, 1912 
a large number of zemindars headed by the Hon'ble the Rajah 
of Kuruppam, the Rajah of Ttmi, the Rajah of Jodporle, the 
Rajah of Tiruvnr, the Rajah of Bhadrachellam and such 
leading members of the Indian community as the Hon'ble Mr. 
T. V. Seshagiri Iyer, Mr. S. Kasturiranga lyengar, editor and 
proprietor of the Hindu, and Mr. K. V. Rangaswami lyengar 
of Trichinopoli held a party in honour of Moti Lai at the 
house of the Rajah of Tiruvnr where he was entertained with 
music and refreshments were provided for the gentlemen 
present. They thanked Moti Lai for his eminent public 
services and he in his turn appealed to the zemindars to take 
their position as natural leaders of the people and serve their 
motherland to the best of their abilities. 

On the morning of the igth November the Madras 
Cosmopolitan Club entertained him to a social gathering where 
many leading members of the Indian society were present. 
They had also provided music and refreshments for the 
honoured guest. The gentlemen present having expressed 
their wish to know something of the late Governor of Madras 
Moti Lai told them how popular Lord Carmichael had already 
been in Bengal and how His Excellency had assured him that 
Lord Pentland would also prove a good and noble-minded 
governor. Babu Moti Lai Ghose was then garlanded and 
photographed with the members present and the gathering 

The same afternoon Babu Moti Lai Ghose was entertained 
by the members of the Pachayappas High School Literary 
Society where he made a little speech to the young men present 


advising them to lead a good life and also to learn to love 
God. Here also there were music, recitation and refreshments 
after which the gathering terminated with the ceremony of 
garlanding Babu Moti Lai Ghose. 

In the evening of the same day the Madras Mahajana 
Sabha held a party in honour of Babu Moti Lai Ghose and 
Rai Bahadur Ganga Prasad Varma. Mr. T. Rangachariar, a 
leading vakil welcomed the guest in a neat speech in which 
he enumerated some of the immense services which the Amrita 
Bazar Patrika had done to the country. Moti Lai made a 
suitable reply in the course of which he said that he had 
always sought to work from behind and that he would take 
the liberty of giving the advice to the younger generation that 
they should always try to serve their country by extinguishing 
their self as much as possible ; for, it was then only that God 
would bless their efforts with success. 

Here I have given at random some instances of receptions 
held in honour of Babu Moti Lai. There were numberless 
such receptions held from time to time at different places and 
if they were described in detail they alone would have filled up 
this volume. 


University and Police Reform* 

Recommendations of the University Commission Stress on Secondary 
at the Cost of Primary Education Popular Protest Police Commission 
Moti I^al Gagged His Written Statement on Police Reforms His 
Scheme Wanted Separation of Police and Magistracy How A Magistrate 
May Be A Real Blessing To The Country Alternative Schemes Divest 
Magistrates of Judicial Powers Opinion of the Bar on Moti LaVs Written 
Statement Separation of Judicial and Executive Functions. 

In August 1902 the University Commission submitted its 
report. The recommendations clearly wanted to take away 
the control of the popular element from the Universities and 


officialise them. Sir Guru Das Bannerji, a Judge of the 
Calcutta High Court, who was one of the members of the 
Commission was opposed to the recommendations of the 
majority and he appended a learned note of dissent to that 
effect. The majority of the Commissioners laid special stress 
on secondary education at the cost of primary education and 
this was considered objectionable by all who had the interest 
of the children of the soil at their heart. At the same time 
the Commissioners recommended an enhancement of College 
fees which meant a closing of the doors of higher education 
against poorer boys. It was suggested in Indian circles that 
Lord Curzon had supplied the points and the Commission had 
only elaborated them. He had succeeded in placing the 
Calcutta Municipal Corporation under official control and it 
was now his desire to transfer the control of the Calcutta 
University from the hands of non-official Indians to official 

Immediately after the report of the University Commission 
had been published a public meeting was held at the Town 
Hall in Calcutta protesting against its recommendations. The 
enthusiasm displayed at the meeting which was attended by 
students in large numbers showed that young Bengal was no 
longer prepared to take things lying down but was trying to 
raise its head. 

When the agitation over the reactionary recommendations 
of the University Commission were still going on another Com- 
mission was holding its sittings the Indian Police Commission. 
The Hon'ble Mr. Fraser, I.C.S. (afterwards Lieutenant Governor 
of Bengal) presided over the Commission which was composed 
of two Indian and six British members. 

The Police Commission examined a large number of 
witnesses in Calcutta in November, 1902. Most of them, 
however, were British members of the services, there being 
only a sprinkling of non-official Indian gentlemen. Amongst 
the Indian witnesses were Raja Peary Mohan Mukherjee, Raja 
Kissori Lai Gossain, Mr. A. Chaudhuri, Barrister, Mr. R. C. 
Dutt, I.C.S. and others. Moti Lai who had submitted written 


replies to the questions sent to him by the Commission was 
to have been examined. But the public who were anxiously 
looking forward to his examination were not a little surprised 
when on the last day of the Calcutta session of the Commission 
its President declared that Babu Moti Lai Ghose's written 
replies were "clear and explicit and it was therefore unneces- 
sary to examine him orally." 

Commenting on the personnel of the Commission the 
Calcutta correspondent of the Hindu had written to that 
paper : 

"The editor of the Patrika would have been the 
right man as Bengal's representative member on the 

Police Commission That the Government 

feared to appoint a people's man as a member of the 
Commission is a circumstance that naturally gives rise 
to misgivings." 

It may now very well be understood that people were 
looking forward to his evidence with some interest. As a 
matter of fact on the 22nd November, 1902 Moti Lai got the 
following letter from the Police Commission : 


The Police Commission having perused your replies 
to the questions desire to examine you orally and I am 
to invite you to attend for that purpose at noon on 
November 25th at the Council Chamber in Writers 

But two days afterwards he got another letter which 
countermanded the request contained in the previous letter. 
It ran as follows : 


Upon further consideration of your replies to the 
questions issued by the Police Commission, the President 
and Members are of opinion that your answers are 
sufficiently clear and explicit and that it is not necessary 
to ask you to appear for oral examination 'in order to 
elucidate your views. They will not trouble you there- 
fore to attend tomorrow as requested in my letter of 
the 22nd instant." 


It soon became known to the public that "Babu Moti Lai 
was the only witness who would not be orally examined" and 
anxious enquiries began to be made of him as to why he was 
thus singularly treated. People formed their own conclusions. 
Some were of opinion that the object of leaving him out of 
cross-examination was simply to spoil the effect of his written 
evidence, leaving it to be construed that he preferred discre- 
tion to valour and dared not face the cross-examination of the 
Commissioners and therefore failed to turn up. Others held 
quite a different view. * They were of opinion that the Com- 
missioners feared many ugly disclosures and therefore avoided 
him. They held that Moti Lai should have pressed his claim 
of being cross-examined. The President of the Commission 
however declared that Babu Moti Lai Ghose was not orally 
examined because it was not necessary as his written state- 
ments were "sufficiently clear and explicit." Whatever might 
have been the reason Moti Lai was practically gagged and 
that at the eleventh hour. 

In his written answers to the questions sent to him Moti 
Lai had drawn a scheme of Police reform. In the first place 
he had suggested a separation of the Police and the Magistracy 
the Magistrates might maintain their judicial powers but 
they should give up the control of the Police. "The main 
defect in the constitution," he had said, "is the union of the 
Police and the Magistracy ; and what is needed is a separation 
of the two. The District Magistrate is the head of the District 
Police and thus there is a very intimate relation between the 
two. The result is that the Police supports the Magistrate and 
the Magistrate supports the Police." He had then narrated 
how Deputy Magistrates were influenced by the Superintendents 
of Police through the District Magistrates, on whom depended 
the promotion of the Deputy Magistrates. He had also cited 
some concrete cases amongst which mention may be made of 
the case of Babu (afterwards Rai Bahadur) Atul Chandra 
Chatterjee, Deputy Magistrate, who had incurred the displea- 
sure of the Government of Sir Charles Elliot for his quarrel 
with the Police Superintendent and the Magistrate of Backer- 


gunje for having refused to convict certain men sent up by the 
Police an incident which had formed the subject matter of 
an interpellation in Parliament. 

In his written statement Moti Lai had also described in 
his inimitable way how a Magistrate might be a real blessing 
to the country if he were relieved of Police duties. He had 
written : 

"What a world of good the District Officer might 
do if he were relieved of his Police duties ! He is the 
ma bap of the District ; yet the people rarely see him. 
He might travel from village to village and help the 
inhabitants in one hundred and one ways. He might 
preach peace and good will to them. He might ask 
them to give up litigation and live in friendly terms with 
one another. He might teach them how they should 
improve their agriculture and save their decaying indus- 
dustries. The ignorant villagers know not many of the 
ordinary sanitary laws. He might instruct them how 
they should preserve their health. Malaria and Cholera 
are often times produced by the drinking of foul water. 
He might make the inhabitants of every village in his 
jurisdiction excavate a tank at their own cost and keep 
it separate and unsoiled for drinking purposes only. The 
ryots often cannot sell the produce of their land at a 
profit for want of good markets. He might create these 
markets for them. Bag houses ruin themselves by litiga- 
tion. The Magistrate might intervene and save many 
such houses. Indeed, the Magistrate has enough of good 
work in his district. Let him give up the Police and 
earn the gratitude of lakhs of people entrusted to his 
care by improving their condition material, intellectual 
and moral. In this way he will not only earn the 
fervent gratitude of his district people but make himself 
far happier than he now is, by helping the Police, no 
doubt unconsciously, to send both guilty and innocent 
men to jail." 

Moti Lai had given alternative schemes also. If his first 
suggestion as to the complete separation of the Police and the 
Magistracy could not be accepted then the Magistrate might 
retain the control of the Police but should be divested of his 
judicial powers and the Sub-Divisional Magistrates and other 
subordinate Magistrates possessing judicial powers should be 
placed under the District and the Sessions Judge. As a third 



alternative he had also suggested the appointment of Magistrates 
with first class powers to try "only police cases, " who should 
be not under the official control of the District Magistrate but 
should be under the control of the District and the Sessions 

As regards the then existing method of investigation of 
cases Moti Lai had suggested that investigation should be con- 
ducted, as a rule, by a better class of officers and it should 
be impressed upon them that "it is far better that crimes should 
remain undetected than that innocent men are harassed." 

In his written statement Moti Lai had also dwelt largely 
on the duties of the Chowkidars he had described how they 
abused their power and position and he had also suggested what 
reforms were needed so far as the village police were concerned. 
If the separation of the Judicial and the Executive functions 
could be introduced in the mofussil as it had been done in the 
case of Calcutta much improvement, Moti Lai was of opinion, 
might be made in the mofussil Police system. 

Space does not permit us to give in full the evidence of 
Moti Lai before the Police Commission. Regarding this 
evidence "A well-known member of the Calcutta Bar" wrote 
as follows to the Indian Daily News : 

"With regard to the minutes submitted to the 
Police Commission by our worthy townsman and veteran 
journalist, Babu Moti Lai Ghose, and published in all 
the important newspapers of this city, I have had on 
several occasions, conversations with some of the leaders 
of the Calcutta Bar, and all of them, specially one 
European Barrister who is justly noted for his indepen- 
dence, are of opinion that those minutes are the best 
ever said or written on the subject of Police Reform, and 
deserve the consideration of every body interested in the 
matter. I think it is my duty to inform you, and 
through you the public, what is thought of those minutes 
by those who are impartial and fully competent to pass 
an opinion on the subjects dealt with by the minutes." 

Moti Lai's scheme of Police Reforms which could be carried 
out without any appreciable change, was supported by the 
Englishman on the one hand and such stalwarts as Mr. Romesh 
Chunder Dutt, I.C.S., Raja Peary Mohan Mukherjee and Rai 


Bahadur Atul Chandra Chatterjee (who had formerly been on 
the Provincial Service) on the other hand. But things have 
not much improved since then. Many of the suggestions that 
Moti Lai made in his memorandum to the Police Commission 
may with profit be yet carried out. 

This was not the only occasion when the question of sepa- 
ration of the Executive and the Judicial functions had been 
mooted by Moti Lai. Indeed he had long been harping on 
this subject and had never lost an opportunity of giving publi- 
city through his paper to the numerous injustices done to the 
innocent people owing to the union of these two functions in 
the Magistracy. Off and on when he got the opportunity 
he advocated the separation of these functions from the platform 

To take an instance at random. A crowded meeting of 
Hindus and Mahomedans was held at the Town Hall of Calcutta 
on Friday the i8th April, 1913 to consider the question of the 
separation of the Judicial and the Executive functions in India. 
The meeting was thoroughly representative, the audience con- 
sisting of members of the legal profession, zemindars, teachers, 
merchants, etc. A large number of Mahomedans also attended 
the meeting and several of them took part in its deliberations. 
Among senior European members of the Bar Messrs. Eardly 
Norton and St. John Stephens joined the meeting. Dr. Rash 
Behari Ghose, the veteran jurist, presided. Amongst the 
speakers were Messrs. Byomcase Chuckerbutty, Barrister ; Moti 
Lai Ghose ; Abdul Rasul, Barrister ; J. N. Roy, Barrister ; 
Pravash Chunder Mitter, Vakil (afterwards Member of the 
Executive Council of the Governor of Bengal) ; Fazl-ul-Huq ; 
J. Chaudhury, Barrister ; C. R. Das, Barrister ; Surendra Nath 
Bannerjea ; Rai Yatindra Nath Chaudhury and others. 

The Hon'ble Mr. Byomcase Chuckerbutty moved the first 
resolution of the meeting which ran as follows : 

"That in view of the urgency of the reforms and the 
definite pledge given by Sir Harvey Adamson as Home 
Member that the Government of India have decided to 
advance cautiously ajnd tentatively towards the separa- 
tion of judicial and executive functions in those parts 


of India where the local conditions were favourable this 
meeting urges the Government speedily to carry out this 
much-needed reform." 

Moti Lai seconded this resolution. In course of his 
rather lengthy speech he quoted the following words of 
Rai Atul Chandra Chatterjee Bahadur, a distinguished retired 
Deputy Magistrate, who in his evidence before the Police 
Commission had said : 

"Rightly or wrongly the subordinate Magistracy 
labour under the impression, which is largely shared by 
the general public and to which, in many instances, colour 
is given by injudicious action on the part of the District 
Police Superintendents, that they would please the 
District Magistrate by convicting and displease him by 
acquitting in police cases or where acquittal was impos- 
sible by pursuing a 'laissez faire* policy in respect of the 
misdeeds or shortcomings of the police as disclosed by 
the evidence." 

Moti Lai also quoted Mr. R. C. Dutt's observations on 
similar lines and then said : 

"The impression on the public mind is that, as a 
general rule, a subordinate Magistrate cannot hold the 
balance of justice even when he has to try a case sent 
by the Police; for, he may thereby offend the District 
Magistrate, the head of the Police, and injure his future 

Moti Lai suggested that 

"a Magistrate with first class powers should be 
specially set apart, both at district and sub-divisional 
head-quarters, for the purpose of trying only police cases 
and be placed under the District Magistrate having no 
official connection whatever with him." 

If the series of leading articles that were published in the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika from time to time are published in a 
book form the case for the separation of the judicial and the 
executive functions which unfortunately has not yet been 
effected will undoubtedly receive a great impetus. 


Lord Curzon's Convocation Speech His Lecture on Journalism Patri ka's 
reply Curious Interviews With Lord Curzon and Sir Walter Lawrence 
The Korean Lie Patrika's Scoop Press Comments Protest Meetings. 

Though a life-long opponent of the Government Moti Lai 
was on intimate terms with many individual Government 
officials. But there was no love lost between him and Lord 
Curzon. Lord Curzon's improvements upon the "Calcutta 
Municipal Bill, which officialised the Calcutta Corporation, and 
his educational policy, by which he tried to officialise the 
Calcutta University were severely criticised in the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika. Lord Curzon smarted under the criticism and the 
Convocation of the Calcutta University in February, 1902 gave 
him an opportunity to vent his spleen. To the young graduates 
present there he read a lecture on journalism and specially on 
the "Native Press* % which he characterised as something which 
cannot be depended upon and which made foolish exaggerations. 
He asked the would-be journalists amongst the audience not 
to impute motives and be sparing in their invectives against 
the Government, etc., etc., as if the "Native Press" were 
always engaged in doing these. 

The Amrita Bazar Patrika at once took up the gauntlet 
and wrote: 

"Lord Curzon began by stating that he wanted to 
teach ; and he based his claims as a teacher, not upon 
the fact of his being the Chancellor but that he is past 
forty and therefore competent to teach. In India fifty- 
five, however, is the age which entitles a man to pose as 
a sage." 

It may be said in passing that Moti Lai was now exactly 
fifty-five years old. 

Just as the Viceroy had read a lecture on journalism the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika also read a lecture on "What a Viceroy 


should or should not do!" In course of a leading article on 
the subject it wrote: 

"First of all, as the Viceroy of India represents 
Emperor Edward, Lord Curzon ought to have four eyes, 
two before and two behind. 

"Talking of eyes, the Viceroy, whoever he may 
be, should never use spectacles. If he has jaundice, he 
should try to conquer it, the Viceregal throne is no place 
for one with jaundice. 

"As hostile criticism, however bitter, or a lampoon 
or a satire or sarcasm does not carry murder with it, 
Lord Curzon as the ruler of an alien race which has no 
votes and no representatives in the Government machi- 
nery, should welcome it and not try to suppress it 
either by material or moral force." 

As was usual with the Amrita Bazar Patrika it wrote article 
after article bantering the Viceroy's Convocation speech. For 
a pretty long time the readers enjoyed these but the authorities 
only smarted. 

But Lord Curzon was a shrewd politician. Hence, 
though the Amrita Bazar Patrika attacked his policy so very 
fiercely, he valued the opinion of Moti Lai. There was, 
however, no direct and personal meeting between Moti Lai and 
Lord Curzon. Indeed, Moti Lai never came face to face with 
His Lordship, who, to quote Moti Lai, was "too superior a 
purzon to talk directly with a plebian like him." Lord Curzon 
granted interviews only to a few Rajas and Maharajas. He 
would not meet even Sir Chunder Madhav Ghose, though a 
Judge of the High Court. It is said that the only occasion 
when they met they quarrelled and Sir Chunder Madhav never 
again crossed the threshold of the Government House so long 
it was in the possession of Lord Curzon. 

Though Moti Lai and Lord Curzon never met each other 
Lord Curzon now and then sent for Moti Lai and conversed 
with him from behind a purdah through his Private Secretary. 
Moti Lai has left descriptions of such interviews from which 
I take the following. His Lordship, says Moti Lai, was in 
the audience hall and Moti Lai sat with the Private Secretary 
in the letter's room. The Private Secretary carried his 



message either spoken or written to His Excellency and His 
Excellency in his turn sent back his replies generally in words 
to his visitor sitting only a few yards away from him, only 
a purdah, more correctly speaking a wall intervening between 

Lord Curzon was on the eve of his departure for East 
Bengal to discuss the partition question with its people. His 
mind, as he said, was still open on the subject and he had 
sent for Moti Lai to ascertain his views about the partition. 
But let the story be told in Moti Lai's own language : 

"Sir Walter Lawrence had then left the Viceroy 
and either Colonel Pinheaor or a Civilian was his Private 
Secretary. The Private Secretary took down the points 
on a slip of paper which he carried to the All-High and 
the latter sent back replies to each of them in pencil 
writing. Two of these points may be mentioned here. 
One was that His Excellency should make no difference 
between Hindu and Mussalman leaders of East Bengal, 
that if he dined at the place of the Nawab of Dacca, 
he should also show the same honour to the Maharajah 
of Mymensingh. 'Yes*, was the reply. Another point 
was that it would be impossible for Bengal to find 
money for the maintenance of two separate Governments 
if it were divided. The reply was to the effect, 'Mr. 
Ghose need not trouble himself about the cost. My 
Government has enough money in its coffer to meet it.' " 

But alas, Lord Curzon did not listen to the sane advice 
of Babu Moti Lai Ghose, whose prophecy was fulfilled to the 
letter. For, one of the main reasons for the annulment of 
the Partition of Bengal was the fact that the East Bengal 
Government proved a veritable white elephant to the Govern- 
ment of India. 

Moti Lai was on very intimate terms with Sir, Walter 
Lawrence, Private Secretary to Lord Curzon and the two 
would often meet at the Government House. In his book 
"The India We Served" Sir Walter has left descriptions of 
their meetings. He has described Moti Lai as the "frail, fiery, 
but most attractive editor of the Amrita Bazar Patrika." 
Writes Sir Walter: 

"I used to have long talks with him when I was 
with Lord Curzon, and he once told me how the 


Bengalis were a brave, manly people, addicted to deeds 
of violence. He spoke almost with tears in his voice 
of their skill as highway robbers, of the songs which 
were written of the Robin Hoods of Bengal. 'And now 
you twit us as unmanly and unwarlike, and you say 
that there is not a single Bengali in the Indian Army !' 
Then he would impress on me the fact that the British 
had got into India on the shoulders of the Bengali. 
'Who were the right-hand men of Warren Hastings 
and the old Governors ? Who did your work of penetra- 
tion in the North-West and the Punjab nay, even to 
Kabul? And then when you had overrun the North- 
West and the Punjab, you threw off your old friends, 
the Bengali, and took to your hearts the Northerners. 
Look at that map of yours on the wall, showing the 
spread of education, and I will point out one simple 
fact to you. Bengal shows the greatest spread and 
your map grows lighter, and the Punjab is the lightest 
of all. Study the colour and you will see this, that 
misery, peculation and corruption follow the Provinces 
as they are shaded, and you have deserted your old 
friends, the honest and honourable Bengalis, whom you 
call Babu-s, and gone to Provinces where education is 
only beginning and where corruption is rampant.' " 

In another place of the same book he writes : 

"Once a great Indian publicist, who used to pay 
me surreptitious visits in Calcutta (his influence with 
his people would be gone if it had been known that he 
had been inside the Government House), was talking 
to me about the great question of Home Rule of India. 
He had a genuine admiration for Lord Curzon, for his 
justice, strength and energy ; he dreaded his craving 
for efficiency ; for, said this most interesting and 
patriotic Hindu, 'Every step in efficiency is another 
rivet in the shackles in which we are bound. We do 
not ask for Home Rule now, nor in ten years, nor in 
twenty : but all we ask is that he will not shut the 
door of hope on us. Ask him to say that perhaps in 
fifty years India may be self-governing.' I was so 
moved by the sincerity and eloquence of his words that 
I went into the next room, where Lord Curzon passed 
his days and long hours of his nights, and told him of 
my friend's plea. He listened with attention, for he 
had a high opinion of my visitor, who owned and edited 
the best Indian paper of that time. After long thought 
the Viceroy said : 'No I will say nothing, for it might 
embarrass my successor if I raised any hopes or 


expressed any opinion as to when self-government will 
come.' I urged that it must come some day, and that 
it seemed cruel to close the door of hope. But Lord 
Curzon replied : 'It will not come in my time, and I 
cannot say what may happen in the future. 1 So I 
returned to my friend and told him that the oracle was 

The oracle, however, spoke at last but long afterwards 
and when feelings had been embittered. A declaration by 
Lord Curzon that Home Rule was India's goal and that she 
would get it in fifty years might have calmed the Indian unrest 
to some extent. Later official declarations have named the 
goal, but the time limit is yet to be fixed. 

Lord Curzon 's speech as Chancellor of the Calcutta 
University delivered on Saturday the nth February, 1905 fell 
like a bomb-shell on the elite of Calcutta who had assembled 
to hear him at the annual Convocation of the Calcutta 
University. It created a sensation among the Indian public. 
But a greater sensation was created throughout the whole of 
India when, two days afterwards, that is on Monday the 
1 3th February the following appeared in the editorial columns 
of the Amrita Bazar Patrika: 


Address in Convocation. 

February n, 1905. 

"Untruthfulness consists in saying or doing any- 
thing that gives an erroneous impression either of one's 
own character or of other people's conduct or of the 
facts and incidents of life 

* * * * * 

"I say that the highest ideal of truth is to a large 
extent a Western conception 

* * * * * 

"Undoubtedly truth took a high place in the moral 
codes of the West before it had been similarly 
honoured in the Bast 


"Flattery may be either honest or dishonest. 
Whichever it be, you should avoid it. If it is the 
former it is nevertheless false, if it is the latter it is 
vile " 

BY GEORGE N. CURZON Pp. 155 156. 

"Before proceeding to the royal audience, I enjoyed 
an interview with the President of the Korean foreign 

office I remember some of his questions and 

answers. Having been particularly warned not to admit 
to him that I was only thirty-three years old, an age 
to which no respect attaches in Korea, when he put to 
me the straight question (invariably first in an Oriental 
dialogue), 'How old are you?' I unhesitatingly 
responded 'Forty.' 'Dear me,' he said, 'You look very 
young for that. How do you account for it?' 'By the 
fact,' I replied, 'that I have been travelling for a month 
in the superb climate of His Majesty's dominions.' 
Finally ... he said to me, 'I presume you are a near 
relative of Her Majesty the Queen of England.' 'No,' 
I replied, 'I am not.' But observing the look of disgust 
that passed over his countenance, I was fain to add, 
'I am, however, as yet an unmarried man,' with which 
unscrupulous suggestion I completely regained the old 
gentleman's favour." 

After quoting the above passages the Patrika said that 
this latter passage containing the interview of Lord Curzon 
with the President of the Korean Foreign Office had been 
discreetly omitted from the then last edition of the "Problems 
of the East," a book written by Lord Curzon, though it had 
appeared in the first edition. 

The above extracts along with the editorial notes thereon 
created a sensation among the reading public not only of this 
country but of other countries as well. 

The Statesman characterised it as "the most delightful 
comment upon Lord Curzon 's speech on the occasion of the 

In a private letter a distinguished English gentleman 
wrote to Moti Lai, "I feel I must congratulate you upon your 
magnificent 'scoop' about Lord Curzon and Western sincerity.** 


A great sensation was caused even in England. Another 
gentleman wrote as follows from England: 

"The Westminster Gazette observed that the appear- 
ance of the 'clever retort* in the Amrita Bazar Patrika 
caused an instant change in the public temper. The 
whole of India shook with laughter. Something like a 
similar result was produced in England. The most 
pronounced supporters of the Viceroy had to admit that 
Lord Curzon had been fully answered and that by a 
native paper. Hundreds of newspapers took notice of 
the paragraph and most of them in a spirit of sympathy ; 
and, for two days the Viceroy's attack on the Indian 
character and the clever retort of the native paper 
formed the chief topic of conversation in England." 

The then London correspondent of the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika (probably Mrs. Annie A. Smith) congratulating Moti 
Lai wrote : 

"Congratulations, Mr. Editor, on the distinction 
ably and smartly won by the Amrita Bazar Patrika in 
so completely turning the tables on the Viceroy when 
he launched his cruel indictment against the people of 
India with regard to truthfulness. No more effective 
way could have been devised of exposing the fallacy 
that the highest ideal of truth is a western conception 
than that which the Patrika so cleverly took up, namely, 
to convict the Viceroy himself of the sin he denounced 
so strongly in Orientals. It was a happy thought, and 
smartly carried out, and has brought the Amrita J}azar 
Patrika to the notice of thousands and thousands of 
readers of British newspapers. Many of your contem- 
poraries here have referred to the convincing way in 
which you dealt with the Viceroy's remarks and your 
'clever retort' is admitted by all, even by those most 
devoted to extolling the wonders of your wonderful 

The Daily News, the Morning Leader, the Daily Mail, 
the St. James' Gazette and many other papers quoted the 
Korean incident from the Amrita Bazar Patrika and admitted 
that it was really a 'clever retort.' 

One of the most amusing paragraphs appeared in the 
Weekly Times of i2th March, 1905. It quoted the Korean 
incident as published in the Amrita Bazar Patrika and remarked 
that Lord Curzon's "admiration for truth was perhaps acquired 


later on in life, under his wife's management. It is pre- 
eminently a Yankee quality." The article in the Weekly 
Times concluded with the following verse: 

"Oh, it sticks in the gorge 
Of truthful George, 

Likewise Na-than-i-el, 
That the nigger beast 
Of the wily East 

Should taradiddles tell. 

"For this 'man without guile* 
Went many a mile, 

In the days of candid youth ; 
And always did well, 
Taking care to tell 

Naught but the naked truth. 

"That is, you all know, 
What seemed to him so, 

Or likely to pass as such. 
If a little white lie 
You boggle at, fie! 

He was only talking Dutch !" 

Lord Curzon's observations created a stir throughout the 
country and a monster public meeting was held at the Town 
Hall of Calcutta presided over by Dr. Rash Behari Ghose, the 
eminent jurist, emphatically protesting against the aspersions 
cast upon the character of the people of India and upon their 
sacred literature by the Viceroy in his address before the 
Calcutta University Convocation. Moti Lai took a leading 
part in organising this meeting. The Calcutta correspondent 
of the Bombay paper Times of India wrote to that paper that 
"the Town Hall protest meeting was organised by Moti Lai 
Ghose, Surendra Nath Banerjea and Narendra Nath Sen" 
and wanted to minimise the importance of the meeting by 
comparing it with the activities of the famous "three tailors 
of the Tooley Street." Moti Lai replied by saying that it 
did not matter whether the meeting was organised by three 
or three hundred men, the pick of the Indian community 
responded to the call. 


Following in the wake of Calcutta a meeting was held 
At the Victoria Town Hall, Madras towards the end of March, 
1905. The gathering was very large, perhaps unprecedented 
in the town of Madras. Mr. N. Subba Rao took the chair 
and amongst others a resolution protesting against Lord 
Curzon's "unfounded reflections cast upon Indian characters 
and sacred literature" was passed. 

Men in high position ought to be very careful about what 
they say and write. They ought to remember that their 
writings and utterances, unlike those of a man of straw, are 
closely watched and followed by the people. Unfortunately, 
however, the history of the present administration in India 
discloses that highly-placed men have not always been as 
cautious as they ought to have been and this has only resulted 
in embittering racial feelings. 


Sir Edward Baker and Moti Lai The Ruler and the Ruled Is the 
Patrika Seditious? Sir Edward's Opinion Moti Lai's Protest Deporta- 
tion Order against Motilal Cancelled. 

Though Moti Lai was one of the popular leaders in Bengal 
and always criticised the Government unsparingly, he was 
held in esteem by almost all the rulers of the Province who 
faiew him personally. He was on friendly terms with many 
of them. But he was rather thick and thin with Sir Edward 
Baker, even before he had become Lieutenant Governor of 
Bengal. It may be said here that from Sir George Campbell 
to Sir Richard Temple all the rulers of Bengal, with the 
exception of Sir Richard Temple and Sir Stuart Bayley, were 
hostile to the Amrita Bazar Patrika. In the beginning of 
his term of office Sir Andrew Fraser showed some regard for 
Moti Lai, but afterwards he became his sworn enemy on 
account of the active and prominent part he took in the 


Swadeshi movement. To his successor Sir Edward Baker he 
left a disagreeable legacy. It was to carry out the deporta- 
tion order with regard to some of the leaders of Bengal includ- 
ing Moti Lai. When Sir Edward assumed office as Lieutenant 
Governor Moti Lai had gone to Deoghur in the Sonthal Parganas 
for a change of air, where he used to go almost twice a year. 
One morning he was startled to hear the news that Babu 
Aswini Kumar Dutt and some other leaders of Bengal had 
been arrested and deported. Moti Lai was anxiously waiting 
for his turn when instead of a warrant he received a letter 
from his friend Sir Rameshwar Singh, the late Maharaja 
Bahadur of Durbhanga, asking him to come down to Calcutta 
and see the Lieutenant Governor as early as possible. 

When Moti Lai came back to Calcutta the Private Secretary 
to the Lieutenant Governor wrote to him appointing an inter- 
view and he duly saw the Lieutenant Governor. Now, Sir 
Edward was in very good humour at this time and by his 
quaint way of putting things Moti Lai made him several times 
laugh very vociferously. Moti Lai then asked him more in 
joke than in earnest if what he wrote in the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika was seditious. But let me quote the following from 
Moti Lai's private diary : 

"When I asked him if the writings in the Patrika 
were seditious or what, his face brightened up, and 
with a wicked smile in his face, he replied, 'Well, well, 
you have done well by broaching this subject. I shall 
frankly give you my opinion. No one has been a more 
studious reader of your paper for the last two decades 
or more than I, and in my opinion, its policy is that 
of Lord Randolf Churchil, who when in opposition, 
would oppose Government whether it did a bad thing 
or a good thing. Oppose, oppose, oppose was the rule 
with him. The Patrika would similarly oppose Govern- 
ment whether it did a good or a bad thing. And your 
writings show that you regard us as so many unwelcome 
interlopers and that the sooner we leave the country 
the better for you. The Patrika, I fancy, has very little 
love for the Government.' And he seemed to be very- 
merry over his own remarks. 

"I replied, C I strongly protest against what you say. 
I shall prove in a few words that Your Honour's 


observation is unwarranted. I freely admit that the 
Patrika has several defects, but it is not a donkey. 
You say it opposes even when Government confers a 
boon. That is the work of a donkey. We can praise 
as well as censure. If we censure as a rule it is because 
you give us so few opportunities to praise! And, Sir 
Edward, are you not on a higher platform than we? 
Have you any idea of our sufferings? No, none what- 
ever I submit. For you are in the position of a 
ruler and we that of the ruled. You are to command 
and we are to obey implicitly. And, suppose, we from 
a sense of wrong, real or imaginary, say or write some- 
thing which we should not, have you not a little bit 
of generosity in you to forgive us for the same, con- 
sidering our unhappy position? Your opinion is that 
what we write in the Patrika is sedition, and my prayer 
is that when you find it necessary to hand us up for 
this offence give us some time so that we may make 
our last will.' 

"Sir Edward's face became very small. He 
stammered out apologetically that that was the impres- 
sion made in him after reading the Patrika for years 
together. 'As for making your last will,' he said 
smilingly, 'I shall give you ample time for it.' I 
pointed out to him that he being an official and we a 
severe critic of the Government it is very natural that 
he should form that kind of opinion. But if he can 
forget his prejudices he will find that the Patrika is 
not such a bad paper as he thinks." 

It required great strength of mind for a man of Moti Lai's 
position against whom a deportation order was pending to 
speak to Sir Edward Baker in the way he had done. It is 
an open secret that Sir Edward struck off the names of Moti 
I^al Ghose and Surendra Nath Banerjea from the list of 
deportees which Sir Andrew Fraser had left for him. 


Effects of English EducationAwakening of Patriotism Lord Cnrzon's 
Partition Scheme Country Thrown into a Conflagration Extremists and 
Moderates Patrika Office, the Citadel of Extremists Moti Lai's 
Extremist Friends. 

From 1906 to 1908 Bengal was passing through a troublous 
time. The troubles started with the Partition of Bengal. 
English education and the teachings of European history and 
particularly British history had opened new vistas to our 
educated youngmen. Those who had travelled abroad and had 
tasted the sweets of freedom in other countries brought with 
them new ideas and ideals and were saturated with a new 
life. They felt themselves in India like birds who were 
"cribbed, cabined and confined" and wanted to break the bars 
of the iron cage of dependence that shut them in. They 
were quickened to a new spirit of freedom and patriotism and 
their contagion soon spread far and near. The whole of India 
and more specially Bengal was surcharged with a deep feeling 
of humiliation and resentment at her political subjugation. 
She was like a store house of gunpowder and a spark was 
only needed to set her on fire. Lord Curzon supplied the 
spark to this storehouse of gunpowder. It was his Partition 
of Bengal which threw the country into a great conflagration. 
A general patriotic ferment was already seething in our 
schools and colleges, when the policy, acts and utterances of 
the "Superior purzon" drove practically the whole country 
into an open defiance of these. The demagogues began to 
throw their invectives at the Government of the day from all 
sorts of platforms ; and the Press took up their trenchant pen 
to prove that their weapon was mightier than the sword. 
Students of the schools and the colleges, especially the younger 
ones, fell an easy victim to their teachings. Patriotism which 


was hitherto almost limited to the arm-chair politicians began 
to be practical and men learned to suffer for their country. 
Regardless of consequences they took up the cry of Bande 
Mataram or "Mother, I bow to thee," mother being symbolical 
for the motherland. The student community learned to impose 
upon themselves self-denying ordinances, such as fasting or 
going about with bare-foot on special days, attending 
political meetings, joining processions and singing national 
and patriotic songs in the public streets and meeting places 
in violation of official orders. They were persecuted, but 
persecution only whetted their appetite for freedom. 

The Province of Bengal as it stood during the days of the 
earlier Lieutenant Governors consisted of Bengal, Behar, 
Orissa, Chota Nagpur and Assam, by far too large a territory 
for one administrative head. So, as early as 1874 Assam was 
separated from Bengal and placed under a Chief-Commissioner. 

Lord Curzon, who has been described and must have con- 
sidered himself as a "Superior Purzon" came, to India as 
Viceroy and Governor-General in December 1898. It is said 
that he had the map of Bengal constantly before his eyes. 
He found that a national consciousness was awakening in 
Bengal. The writings of Bankim Chandra and Vivekananda 
were producing their effect on the literary mind of the Bengali 
speaking race, and the newspapers conducted by Indian owners 
by their day to day appeals were drawing men away from 
other fields to the political one. The solidarity of Bengal at 
such a time was certainly not a very desirable thing for those 
who wanted to lord it over Bengal. Here were two sections 
of the population of Bengal, the Hindus and the Mahomedans 
who might with advantage be set against each other. No 
doubt the Province of Bengal was big ; but surely there were 
other ways of managing it than by dividing it into two halves 
in such a way that the two communities would be constantly 
fighting with each other. But Lord Curzon did not find any 
utility in such ways. The proposal to divide Bengal was at 
first confined to the taking away of the Chittagong Division 
and the districts of Dacca and Mymensingh from Bengal and 


tacking them on to Assam which had been separated long: 
ago. The volume of protest against this form of separation 
of Bengal was so intense that Government could not ignore 
it ; but instead of improving matters Government proposed a 
change which only worsened the situation. Lord Curzon 
consulted the Mahomedans of East Bengal headed by the 
Nawab of Dacca and improved his plan by including the whole 
of Dacca Division and the six districts of North Bengal in 
the new Province of Eastern Bengal and Assam. 

The Partition scheme was disclosed to the public by a 
Government Notification in July, 1905. It was to come into 
operation on the i4th of October, corresponding to the soth 
Aswin. Hence it is that the soth of Aswin was for years 
celebrated as the Day of Rakhibandhan, on which date Hindus 
and Moslems of West Bengal and East Bengal tied a coloured 
chord (called the Rakhi in Bengali) to one another's wrist 
thereby signifying that they would not be separated from one 
another but would tie themselves with the bond of love and 
affection even if the Government wanted to separate them. 

There was a storm of protest against the proposed Parti- 
tion. The best brains of Bengal regarded the administrative 
convenience as a ruse only and they held, rightly or wrongly, 
that Lord Curzon's motive behind this Partition was to set 
the Hindus and the Mahomedans against each other. 

Meetings were held in almost every village protesting* 
against this measure. And the agitation by no means kept 
itself confined to the four walls of Bengal. It soon became 
an all-India question and other provinces sympathised with 
Bengal in her trouble. The policy of the powers that be 
was condemned from a thousand platforms. The Amrita Bazar 
Patrika and other nationalist papers began to write from day 
to day exposing what they deemed to be the evils that would 
be brought about if the Partition Scheme were adhered to. 
People who had never before cared to take interest in politics 
lost their sleep and appetite and wanted the Partition to be 
annulled. They would find no rest till the Partition which 
had been described by Mr. Morley as a "settled fact had 


been made "unsettled." In their eagerness they sought for 
an organisation from where they might with one voice express 
their resentment and demand an amendment of the Partition. 
In the Indian National Congress they found such an organisa- 
tion. The Congress which had uptill now been regarded by 
many people as being a plaything in the hands of a few holiday- 
makers now attracted their attention and they wanted to make 
it expressive of the real will of the people. Hitherto the 
"Moderate" leaders had been conducting the Congress ; the 
"Extremists" now wanted to have it under their control with 
a view to making it a weapon for fighting the Partition. In 
Bengal Babu Surendra Nath Banerjea, then editor of the 
Bengalee was the leader of the Moderates, and Babu Moti Lai 
Ghose, editor of the Amrita Bazar Patrika was the leader of 
the Extremists. It may be remarked in passing that the two 
parties led by these gentlemen never called themselves 
Moderates or Extremists. As was rightly observed by 
Sj. Robindra Nath Tagore in 1908 "the distinction between 
Extremist and Moderate is not of our making it is the 
Britisher's black mark which draws the line, and we know not 
always when and where it is placed, or for what purpose." 
But then though the party led by Babu Surendra Nath 
Banerjea did not relish the idea of being called "Moderates" 
yet it delighted in calling the party led by Babu Moti Lai 
Ghose as "Extremist." Similarly though Moti Lai's party 
was not willing to be called "Extremist" it had a peculiar 
satisfaction in dubbing Surendra Nath's party as "Moderate." 

While men like Babus Surendra Nath Banerjea, 
Bhupendra Nath Basu, Krishna Kumar Mitter, Ambika Charan 
Mazumdar, Kishori Mohan Choudhury, etc., composed the 
Moderate Party in Bengal, the Extremist Party was composed 
of men like Babu Moti Lai Ghose, Mr. Byomkesh Chucker- 
barty, Babu Hirendra Nath Datta, Rai Yatindra Nath 
Choudhury and others. 

The Amrita Bazar Patrika office at 2, Ananda Chatterji 
Lane became die citadel of the Extremist Party. Meetings, 
formal or informal, were held here from time to time and not 


to speak of the political leaders of Bengal, the great political 
leaders of other provinces did not consider their visit to Calcutta 
of any use to them if they did not see Moti Lai in the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika office. The great Maharatta leader Bal 
Gangadhar Tilak made the Amrita Bazar Patrika office his 
Calcutta residence. On many occasions when he came to 
Calcutta he used to put up with Moti Lai. In a verandah on 
the ground floor of the outer house Tilak cooked his food himself 
and slept in the same room with Moti Lai. Some times they 
even shared the same bed. Tilak's Maharatti slippers with the 
big curl in front and Khaparde's twenty-two yards long turban 
were objects of admiration to the little boys of the family 
nephews and grandsons of Moti Lai Ghose. Sj. Aurobindo 
Ghose's curled hair, Sj. Bipin Chandra Pal's stentorian voice, 
Sj. Panchkari Banerji's biting wit and last, but not the least 
of all, Lala Lajput Rai's lion-like head did not fail to impress 
the urchins of the family including the writer. Rai Yatindra 
Nath Choudhury and Babu Hirendra Nath Datta, and last but 
not the least Babu Amrita Krishna Mullick were familiar 
every day figures at the Patrika office. If at a stated time in 
the afternoon a figure loomed large at the corridor of the 
Patrika office where Moti Lai generally used to sit and write 
for his paper the chances were ten to one that you could say 
without seeing the person of the figure that it was no other 
than that of Rai Yatindra Nath Chaudhury of Baranagore, a 
great personal friend of Moti Lai whom he loved as dearly 
as his brother and who in his turn reciprocated it. If it was 
late in the night and his near and dear ones were awaiting 
Moti LaPs home-coming it was sure that he could be found 
closetted with Babu Hirendra Nath Datta in the latter's house 
at Cornwallis Street. Babu Amrita Krishna Mullick, Vakil, 
Small Cause Court, Calcutta was another of Moti Lai's intimate 
friends with whom he would have his constitutionals at the 
Ganges' side or at the Hedua (Cornwallis Square). Moti Lai, 
Hirendra Nath and Amrita Krishna formed a trio and I, who 
have been closely associated with Moti Lai ever since my 
childhood, found Moti Lai keeping company with these two 


gentlemen more than with any other man. I have often 
wondered what was the common tie that bound this trio 
an Editor of a newspaper, a Solicitor of the Calcutta High 
Court and a Vakil of the Small Causes Court of Calcutta t 
Perhaps, love of the motherland. 

To return to my narrative, Moti Lai was one of the guiding 
spirits of the agitation against the Partition of Bengal. Just 
as leaders came in streams to the Patrika office to take their 
inspiration from him, processionists singing national songs 
made it a point to make the Patrika office one of their halting 
places. The white-bearded Moulavi Leakut Hossain who cap- 
tivated the heart of the student community in those days would 
daily attend the Patrika office simply for the sake of attending 
it. The series of articles on the Partition of Bengal that were 
published in the Patrika from time to time produced an electric 
effect on the popular mind. I have been told by a person who 
happened to be a hero of several platforms in those days that 
he committed these articles to memory and his extempore 
speeches in connection with the national movement were 
nothing but reproductions of what appeared in the editorial 
columns of the Amrita Bazar Patrika. This gentleman did 
what many other demagogues also did at the time. Thousands 
were thus permeated with the ideas preached by Moti Lai 
through the columns of his paper, and kept on the agitation 
against the Partition of Bengal till it was annulled. 



Sir Henry Cotton's Disclosure Moti lull's Description of the Interview 
A Novel Way of Reception Sympathy of the Rulers Wanted. 

King Emperor George V, during his visit to India as 
Prince of Wales was graciously pleased to grant an interview 
to Moti Lai in Calcutta in the beginning of January, 


1906. The incident was sought to be kept a secret ; indeed, 
except a few intimate friends nobody knew anything about it. 
Sir Henry Cotton, however, got the information somehow or 
other and in his Bengal Partition speech delivered in Parliament 
thus referred to the matter : 

"A gentleman whose name would be unknown to 
this House, but which was house-hold word in his own 
country, who had for forty years been one of the leaders 
of the political progress, and who had unsparingly 
criticised men and measures and who was in consequence 
regarded with suspicion by the administration, that 
gentleman was brought into contact with His Royal 
Highness, and somewhat to his surprise was introduced 
to him. He fell upon his knees and with folded hands 
and in faltering accents protested his loyalty and devotion 
to the Crown and to this country. That action on the 
part of one who was unjustly charged with disloyalty 
was a very remarkable one, because it was the strongest 
evidence of the goodwill and loyalty which lay at the 
heart of the educated Indian people. The Indian people 
were loyal and grateful for the education with which 
they had been endowed and for the liberty they enjoyed 
and they were grateful for their immunity from invasion; 
but that gratitude was tempered by the feeling that the 
pledges held out to them by the late Queen Victoria 
and the various Acts of the Legislature had not been 

At the time when His Royal Highness visited India a report 
was circulated to the effect that an official conspiracy had been 
formed to protect him from the evil influence of three daily 
papers of Calcutta namely the Amrita Bazar Patrika which 
was then under the editorship of Moti Lai and the Bengalee 
and the Statesman then under the editorial management of 
Babu Surendra Nath Banerjea and Mr. Ratcliffe respectively. 
It was further alleged that some of the Indian authorities had 
at first made every attempt to prevent the Prince from coming 
out to this country and seeing the situaion for himself. Failing 
in that attempt, the report went on, they resolved to keep a 
strict watch over the surroundings of the future Sovereign so 
that, no appeal from India might reach his ears. Of course 
I could not vouch for the correctness of the above report. 
But all the same I must say that it was believed to be true 



by the general public. Moti Lai also believed it to be true and 
it occurred to him to defeat, if possible, the object of this 
alleged or supposed conspiracy and thereby confound the 
enemies of India, real or imaginary. 

It so happened that Sir Walter Lawrence, Private 
Secretary to the Prince of Wales, was an old friend of Moti 
Lai and it was through his intervention that Moti Lai could 
have an interview with the Prince. But let me narrate the 
incident in the words of Moti Lai himself. In course of an 
article describing the incident Moti Lai writes: 

"Sir Walter Lawrence was an old friend of mine, if 
I may have the privilege of claiming the friendship of 
such a highly-placed Englishman. He treated me as he 
would treat a countryman of his in whom he had 
absolute confidence and for whom he had friendly 
regard. I also found after a short acquaintance with 
him that he was by nature a noble-hearted gentleman 
and a sincere friend of India. Indeed, like Sir Dunlop 
Smith, the Private Secretary of the Viceroy, he enter- 
tained the idea that an Anglo-Indian official was much 
indebted to India, and, therefore, he was bound, at 
least from a sense of gratitude, to serve the interests of 
the people of this country to the best of his ability. 

"I came to know that not only was Sir Walter a 
regular reader of the Amrita Bazar Patrika but he also 
placed copies of it regularly before His Royal Highness 
which enabled him to acquaint himself with the. views 
and aspirations of the educated Indian public as expressed 
through this organ of theirs. Information also reached 
me from a reliable source that the Prince of Wales was 
intelligent, far-seeing and sympathetic and what was 
more, he was desirous of knowing the people first-hand 
and for that purpose was making the fullest use of the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika, perhaps the only Indian paper to 
which he had access. Subsequently I heard from Sir 
Walter in reply to a letter of mine welcoming him to 
this country that he would, inspite of his multifarious 
duties, make it a point to see me in Calcutta. 

"Sir Walter was able to keep his word. Though 
over-whelmed with work and having scarcely any 
breathing time he asked me to see him on the day the 
Prince of Wales intended to go to Barrackpur. His 
Royal Highness and Sir Walter were then staying at the 
Government House and when I met the latter he most 


feelingly and sincerely sympathised with the sorrows of 
Indians caused by the Partition of Bengal. I felt at the 
time if Sir Walter had remained here as Private Secretary 
to Lord Curzon, the latter would not possibly have 
thrust the needless measure upon the country and con- 
vulsed it in an unprecedented manner ; at least, Sir 
Walter would have done his best to deter his chief. 

"While in the midst of his conversation, Sir Walter 
all on a sudden asked me, 'Would you like to see the 
Prince of Wales?' It took some moments for me to 
understand what he meant. For a representative of a 
paper of forty years' standing which is supposed to be 
regarded with unfriendly eye by a considerable section 
of the officials, to be brought face to face with the 
future Sovereign surely that was a joke ! But it was 
no joke ; Sir Walter was quite serious. 

"Though I had been taken by surprise and given 
no time to think of the situation my mind worked rapidly 
and I at once determined what course to follow. I 
thought a set speech would not do ; it would not do also, 
on coming face to face with the august personage, to 
relate to him the grievances of India, neither would it 
do to greet His Royal Highness with a few complimen- 
tary phrases. I was aware that the Prince had been a 
regular reader of the Amrita Bazar Patrika and there- 
fore fully acquainted with the burning questions of the 
day affecting the Indian people. A speech describing 
our needs and wrongs was therefore not felt necessary. 

"I also felt that perhaps one of the reasons of grant- 
ing me an audience was that by reading the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika His Royal Highness had come to feel real 
sympathy for the people and therefore wanted to convey ' 
some assuring words to them through my journal. What 
I then did has been described with substantial correct- 
ness by Sir Henry Cotton in his speech in Parliament. 

"Instead of shaking the hands which the Prince had 
graciously extended towards me I humbly submitted b 
that that was not the Indian way to show respect for 
one who was to be their future Sovereign. I knelt 
down and addressed these few words with folded hand 
and choking voice : 

" 'May it please Your Royal Highness, Humble as I 
am, I am greatly honoured by this interview. I shall 
ever remember it with gratitude. I am now in the 
presence of our future King Emperor. Permit me to 
say that poor India is in a bad way. It needs protection 
at Your Royal Highness's hands, for you are our future 


Sovereign. Pray don't forget the Indians, but remember 
that they are as much yours as the forty millions of 
England. What they need most is the genuine sympathy 
of their rulers.' 

"His Royal Highness appeared to be very much 
affected, and so was Sir Walter Lawrence who stood 
close by. In an earnest manner the Prince asked me to 
rise and when he did so he was graciously pleased to 
address these words to me in a tone which deeply touched 
my heart : 

" 'I am very pleased to come across you. You want 
an assurance from me that I will not forget the Indians. 
Well, I assure you, I shall not and cannot forget the 
Indians. I shall ever remember them and make it a 
point to tell my father how immensely gratified I have 
been with the magnificent reception your people have 
given me. It shall also be my pleasant duty to tell my 
father that you are in need of a wider sympathy. I carry 
with me very happy impressions about India.' 

"The Prince of Wales thus left a very hope inspir- 
ing message for the people of India, and he also redeemed 
this promise by telling his august father and the people 
of England in his famous Guild Hall speech that 'the 
task of governing India would be made easier were the 
rulers to infuse into it a wider element of sympathy'." 

In the year 1911-12, when King Emperor George the V 
again came to India in connection with his coronation ceremony 
and was staying at Belvedere, Moti Lai was lying seriously 
ill at his residence at Baghbazar. Being unable to pay his 
personal homage to the King Emperor he conveyed his greet- 
ings and expression of loyalty to His Imperial Majesty through 
a letter. The King Emperor was graciously pleased to send 
him the following touching and extremely kind letter through 
His Majesty's Private Secretary, Lord Stamfordham : 

"4th January, 1912. 

"Dear Sir, 

The King Emperor was graciously touched in reading 
your letter of the third instant and also the newspaper 
cutting from your paper the Amrita Bazar Patriha which 
accompanied it. 

His Imperial Majesty has a wry pleasant recollec- 
tion of seeing you here six years ago and much regrets 


your health does not admit of your giving him the 
opportunity of again receiving you. His Imperial 
Majesty sincerely trusts that you may soon be restored 
to health. 

Yours very faithfully, 


Cry of Bande Mataram Prohibited Delegates Assaulted Surendra Nath 
Arrested Moti Lai and Others Offer Themselves for Arrest Civil 
Disobedience in Embryo. 

The reader will certainly feel interested to know that Civil 
Disobedience was practised at Barisal in Bengal in 1906 at the 
historic Bengal Provincial Conference held in that town and 
that Surendra Nath Banerjea and Moti Lai Ghose took the 
leading part in it, though the name of Civil Disobedience was 
then unknown or not very well-known. It happened in 
this way. The Conference was to have been held on the i4th 
and the isth April. A large number of educated and influential 
gentlemen from all sides of Bengal went to Barisal to attend 
the Conference and Moti Lai was one of them. Mr. Abdul 
Rasul, a well-known Mahomedan Barrister of the Calcutta 
High Court, was to have presided. When the Conference was 
about to be held the Government of Sir Bampfylde Fuller, the 
first Lieutenant Governor of the newly-created Province of 
East Bengal, prohibited the cry of Bande Mataram in pubKc 
streets. When the delegates assembled at Barisal on the i4th 
of April a public meeting was held there to settle whether they 
should cry Bande Mataram in the public streets or obey the 
orders of the District authorities. On the morning of that 
day some Police officers had gone to the house of Babu Aswini 
Kumar Dutt, leader of Barisal and Chairman of the Reception 
Committee! and told him on behalf of the Magistrate that the 
delegates would be allowed to cry Bande Mataram only from 


Brojo Mohan College buildings to the Conference hall, which 
were very close to each other. Babu Aswini Kumar replied 
that the delegates had already passed a resolution that they 
would cry Bande Mataram while escorting the President from 
the Raja Bahadur's Haveli to the pavilion of the Conference 
and they would do so. The Police officers then said that in 
that case the delegates would be arrested and if they resisted 
they would be taken by force. Aswini Kumar replied that 
they would not resist arrest and if any delegate were arrested 
he would readily surrender himself to the Police ; and that 
was the decision of the meeting also. 

Now, when the question was being discussed at the 
meeting as to whether Bande Mataram should be uttered or 
not in the public streets some of the foremost leaders of the 
time were trying to damp the spirit of the more ardent patriots. 
Moti Lai to whom the question was referred for final decision 
stood up and said, "I shall utter Bande Mataram in the public 
streets even if it were to cost me my head, which, perhaps, 
is not a very valuable commodity. But at the same time I 
would ask my friends not to resist the Police on any account 
if they attempt to arrest us." This decisive declaration 
rendered further discussion unnecessary and the meeting 
resolved to cry Bande Mataram and undergo any sacrifice 
necessary for doing so. 

On the day when the Conference was to meet a number 
of policemen were found stationed in different parts of the 
town with regulation lathis. In the Police lines facing the 
Raja Bahadur's Haveli the number of these policemen armed 
with deadly lathis was the largest. Besides, dozens of guns 
were placed near the Police lines so that the public might 
have a clear view of them from the road. Reports were also 
circulated throughout the town that the Police would fire and 
shoot down those uttering Bande Mataram. To create further 
alarm Mr. Kemp, the District Superintendent of Police, 
stationed himself near Raja Bahadur's Haveli and the Assistant 
Superintendent of Police who was described by the Amrita 
Bazar Patrika as "a young lad who had scarcely got over his 


kite-flying age and should be at school now if he has any 
brain," was on horse back with a 'cris' hanging by his side. 
He was majestically riding here and there apparently to over- 
awe the delegates and the by-standers. 

In the meantime, in order to conduct the President of the 
Conference to the pandal where the Conference was to be held, 
Babus Moti Lai Ghose, Surendra Nath Banerjea, Bhupendra 
Nath Basu and many other delegates assembled in the private 
compound of Raja Bahadur's Haveli. From there the President 
started in a carriage for the pandal. The Assistant Police 
Superintendent now placed his horse at the entrance of the 
gate of Raja Bahadur's Haveli and sought to prevent the 
delegates from coming out, one-half of whom had already been 
in the street. A number of policemen also entered the com- 
pound with their big lathis and began to apply them indis- 
criminately upon the delegates who attempted to come out. 
Some of the members of the Anti-Circular Society who 
happened to be there were brutally assaulted by them. 

When the news about the assault reached the leaders 
Bhupendra Nath Basu went to look for the assaulted persons. 
Moti Lai and Surendra Nath were on foot in a row following 
the carriage of the President Mr. A. Rasul, who was accom- 
panied by Mrs. Rasul, an English lady. Policemen now came 
from different directions making high jumps and displaying 
their lathis. Surendra Nath and Moti Lai then turned back 
to see what was going on, when Mr. Kemp, District Super- 
intendent of Police approached the former and gave him to 
understand that he had been ordered to arrest him. Surendra 
Nath said that he was at his disposal. Moti Lai now came 
forward and said, "Arrest me also." But Mr, Kemp's reply 
was that he had no orders to arrest him. Subsequently Babus 
Aswini Kumar Dutt, Bhupendra Nath Basu, Bipin Chandra 
Pal and other leaders also offered themselves for arrest, and 
they also got the same reply from the Superintendent of Police. 
Not a single policeman met with the slightest resistance or 
opposition at the hands of the indignant crowds which but 


for the sincere desire of the leaders to keep the public peace 
at any cost might have gone out of hand any moment. 

Surendra Nath was immediately taken to the Magistrate's 
house where he was summarily fined Rs. 400, Rs. 200 for 
being member of an unlicensed procession and Rs. 200 for 
contempt of court. The Conference met as usual and broke 
up in the evening. When the delegates were returning home 
they again shouted out Bande Mvtaram which had been pro- 
hibited by the authorities. This was much more than what 
the authorities could bear with impunity and so when the 
Conference sat again on the next day an order under the 
much-abused Section 144 Criminal Procedure Code was served 
on those who were holding the Conference as they were not 
willing to give an undertaking that they would not cry Bande 
Mataram in the public streets. As soon as the order was 
served inside the Conference pandal the delegates peacefully 
dispersed shouting all through Bande Mataram, an innocent 
slogan which means nothing more than 'Mother, I bow to thee', 
mother being taken here to mean the motherland. 

I/ong after the above incidents had happened, to be precise 
in the year 1921, when Mahatma Gandhi had started his non- 
co-operation movement and was preparing the country for 
civil disobedience an article appeared in the Statesman of the 
xoth November which referred to the part played by Moti Lai 
in the Barisal Conference. It said that "the invidious dis- 
tinction of inaugurating both non-co-operation and civil dis- 
obedience belongs not to Mr. Gandhi but to Babu Moti Lai 
Ghose." It quoted from the Amrita Bazar PaMka a descrip- 
tion of the incidents leading to Babu Moti Lai Ghose's offering 
himself for arrest to the police and continued: x 

"It will thus be seen that the civil disobedience was 
actually practised first at Barisal in Bengal in 1906 and 
that Babu Moti Lai Ghose was the father of the idea. 
Not only this. The cult of non-co-operation was also 
first preached by Babu Moti Lai Ghose at the very same 
time at Barisal. 

"The Conference assembled after the incident 
mentioned above and the first resolution asking the 


people to cease to co-operate with the Government was 
moved by Babu Moti Lai Ghose. The following is the 
translation of the resolution as is embodied in the 
Bengali book 'Jajna Bhanga' (now out of print) by 
Babu Priya Nath Guha of Barisal: 

" 'The free and unrestricted use of lathis by the 
Police in broad day light under the orders of the District 
and the Assistant District Superintendents of Police on 
the delegates assembled to welcome Mr. A. Rasul, 
the President-elect, and the arrest of Babu Surendra 
Nath Banerjea, one of the leaders, without any reason 
"have conclusively proved that lawful administration has 
ceased to exist in the District of Barisal. Further, in 
view of the repressive measures that are being applied 
against the patriotic workers throughout Eastern Bengal 
and Assam, this Conference is of opinion that a proper 
and legal system of administration is no longer in 
existence in this part of the country. Therefore, no 
question the final settlement of which depends upon the 
workings of the present irresponsible Government will 
be discussed in this Conference and only those questions, 
the result of which can be obtained by the efforts of 
the people themselves, will be discussed.' 

"This resolution was seconded by the late Pandit 
Brahma Bandhab Upadhyaya, Editor of Sandhya and 
supported by Pandit Gispati Kabyatirtha, Editor of 
Howrah Hitaishi and carried unanimously. It will, 
therefore, be seen that the invidious distinction of 
inaugurating both non-co-operation and civil disobedience 
belongs not to Mr. Gandhi but to Babu Moti Lai Ghose. 

"It has already been stated in these columns that 
the idea of reviving the charka also emanated from 
Moti Babu in 1906 and he made strenuous efforts both 
through his paper and personal influence to give effect 
to it. His efforts did not go quite in vain ; for, the 
spinning wheel was introduced in a large number of 
bhadralok families in Bengal. Unfortunately the leaders 
who carried on the Partition agitation attached very 
little importance to the subject, mainly because their 
speeches on charka would not elicit as much shouts of 
applause as their strong criticism of the Government. 
We must, however, freely and frankly admit ^ that but 
for a grander personality like Mahatma Gandhi neither 
the problem of tbe revival of the charka nor the Question 
of civil disobedience would have materialised in tke way 
they have done and will likely take a more practical 
shape in the near future." 


Quarrels between Extremists and Moderates Origin of the Split Moti 
Lai's Efforts for a United Congress His Failure Conventionists and 
Non-conventionists Attempts at Reconciliation Conference at Patrika 
Office The Madras Congress (1914). 

The split in the session of the All-India National Congress 
at Surat in the year 1907 is now a matter of history. 
Dr. Rash Behari Ghose, who was the President-elect belonged 
to the party which was then popularly known as the Moderate 
Party. Lord Minto was then following the policy of repres- 
sion laid down by his predecessor Lord Curzon. So that the 
Extremists were in no peaceful mood. Somehow or other 
they got scent of the fact that the Moderates had decided upon 
giving up the fighting programme of the Extremists and 
dropping Swadeshism, Boycott, National Education and Self- 
Government from the resolutions they wanted to pass at the 
Congress at least that was what the Extremists apprehended. 
This was too much for them and they made up their mind 
to prevent such a scandal. Moreover the Extremists were at 
this time smarting under a sense of grievance at certain 
observations of the President-elect and were thus not well 
disposed towards him. Hence on the eve of the Congress the 
leaders formed two groups, one composed of men like Dr. Rash 
Behari Ghose, Surendra Nath Banerjea, Gokhale and Pheroze 
Shah Mehta ; and the other composed of Aswini Kumar Dutt, 
Moti Lai Ghose, Tilak, Aurobindo Ghose and others. Now 
each of the parties wanted to elect one of its own men as the 
President, and while Tilak was proposing Aswini Kumar Dutt 
to the chair, Dr. Rash Behari Ghose who was elected by the 
other side began to read aloud his Presidential ^address. Tilak 
insisted on his right to be heard, but a group of the audience 
who were bent upon breaking the Congress began to shout 
and hurl shoes, chairs, etc. at the leaders. The result was 


that the Congress ended in a fiasco and the session had to be 
abandoned. This is one version of the affair. Different 
versions were published in the Press and it is difficult to say 
which is exactly the correct one. 

Moti Lai, who had gone to the Congress at the special 
invitation of his dear friend Bal Gangadhar Tilak, gives a 
very interesting account of the incident in the foreward to a 
book on the late Mr. Tilak, named A Step in the Steamer. 
Writes Moti Lai: 

"The blame of the break up of the Congress at 
Surat in December, 1907 has been sought to be fastened 
on Mr. Tilak by his political opponents. He was nick- 
named as the 'Congress-breaker*. But in this matter he 
did not take one step without consulting me. He 
dragged me to Surat though I was then ill, and he and 
I and some other friends settled our plan of work. I 
remained in the back-ground and Tilak as the leader 
had to come to the front. All that the Nationalists 
wanted the Moderate leaders to do was either to with- 
draw some offensive expressions which the President- 
elect had used towards them in one of his speeches at 
a meeting of the Viceregal Council or to permit them 
to enter a protest against the same in the Congress. 
When this was proposed the Moderate leaders were 
furious. Sir Pheroze Shah Mehta was specially intolerant 
in his tone and behaviour, when we made an attempt 
to compromise the matter ; and later on he refused to 
see Mr. Tilak, when by appointment he went over to 
his place to have a further talk in this connection. The 
only course now left to the Nationalists was to record 
a formal protest against the election of a President who 
was not friendly to them at the time when he would be 
proposed to be elected. And Mr. Tilak gave a notice 
to the Chairman of the Reception Committee that he 
would move such a resolution. 

"If this legitimate request of the Nationalists were 
acceded to every thing would have passed peacefully, for 
they were in a minority and the motion was bound to 
be defeated. But both parties had then lost the balance 
* of their minds. Mr. Tilak was not permitted to move 
the resolution and he on his part was determined to do 
it and refused to leave the platform unless he was 
permitted to speak or removed by physical force. A 
number of men belonging to the Moderate Camp now 


lost all control over themselves, fell upon Mr. Tilak and 
began dragging him, when a Marathi shoe, meant, some 
say, for Mr. Tilak, while others aver, it was aimed at 
his enemies, struck Sir Pheroze Shah Mehta and brushed 
Babu Surendra Nath Banerjea's face and added confusion 
to the scene. The more excited partisans of the rival 
parties then commenced to throw chairs at one another 
and the sitting of the Congress was suspended. The 
disturbance was over in ten or fifteen minutes. 

"No Indian can contemplate this deplorable affair 
without a sense of shame and humiliation. Both parties 
were responsible for the incident, though each party 
thought that the other was in the wrong. Tilak was 
also in this frame of mind and a feeling of unmerited 
wrong was rankling in his breast, when accompanied by 
Ray Yatindra Nath Chaudhury I approached him with 
the following proposal. 

"I still remember the very words I addressed him on 
this occasion. I was trying my humble best to effect a 
reconciliation and have the Congress held on the follow- 
ing day though without prospect of success. Tilak knew 
it. I told him, 'L/ook here, Tilak, you alone can save 
the situation. But it means tremendous sacrifice on your 
part self -condemnation. Knowing you as I do, I am 
confident you are prepared for it. Now, here is a 
glorious work for you. They want your blood. Why 
not give it to them for the sake of the Congress? I 
know you are not the author of this unpleasant affair. 
They, however, want you to be gilletted to infamy by 
stigmatising you as such. Will you give me a written 
undertaking saying that you are willing to take the whole 
odium on your shoulders and make a public declaration 
to that effect if thereby the death of the Congress is 
averted? It would be a noble sacrifice on your part of 
which you might well be proud. Naturally you would 
feel that this would be doing violence to your honest con- 
viction, as you did not bring about the disturbance. But 
rather do this violence than allow this national organisa- 
tion to collapse.' 

"Mr. Tilak was moved. There was a hot discussion. 
Most of his adherents vehemently opposed the proposal. 
They would not allow him to be cruelly sacrificed. Tilak 
reflected for a while and then arrived at his decision. 
There was a sad smile in his face and he said, 'Here is 
the undertaking/ And he wrote a few fines to the effect 
'I undertake to take the responsibility of this unfor- 
tunate incident upon myself if the other party would 


agree to continue the Congress/ I do not remember 
the exact wording, but this was the purport of what he 
wrote. Ponder on the magnitude of the magnanimity 
and self-abnegation of the man. He cheerfully consented 
to humiliate himself between relentless enemies who 
would tear him to pieces if they could, though sincerely 
believing himself to be innocent. And fancy also the 
grave risk he incurred. Many of his bitter and un- 
scrupulous opponents availing themselves of this self- 
condemnation might seek to ruin his character and 
reputation in the eyes of his countrymen carefully con- 
cealing from their knowledge the noblest motive which 
had prompted him to resort to this course of self- 

"With this written undertaking in our possession 
I, Ray Yatindra Nath Ray Chaudhury and a few other 
friends ran to the Moderate Camp with a view to bring 
about a reconciliation, if possible, but we were simply 
howled out by -the Moderate leaders headed by Sir 
Pheroze Shah Mehta. They were all in high temper and 
it was impossible to reason with them." 

The break up of the Surat Congress gave much food to the 
Press and the Platform and for a whole year they cavilled at 
each other. Next year a meeting was held at the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika office in Calcutta where leaders from all the provinces 
in India assembled and a manifesto was issued showing the 
reasons why they were not willing to join the Congress. The 
meeting was attended by Moti Lai Ghose, Aurobindo Ghose, 
B. Chakravarti, Shyam Sundar Chakravarti, Kumar Krishna 
Dutt, Hirendra Nath Datta and Ray Yatindra Nath Chaudhury 
from Bengal ; Tilak, Kelker, Khaparde and others from 
Bombay and other representatives from other provinces. The 
party headed, by these leaders gradually came to be known as 
the Extremist party, and Moti Lai, perhaps the oldest of them 
all, was regarded with deep veneration. The Amrita Bazar 
Patrika office was thus at one time the citadel of Extremists of 

After the Surat split Surendra Nath became the leader in 
Bengal of the other party which went on holding the Congress 
and was known as the Moderate Party. This party wad more 
pro-Government than not and supported the Government in 


many matters in which the latter had not popular support. In 
Congress language the parties came to be known as Conven- 
tionists and Non-Conventionists. 

Forgetful of their country's cause these two parties fell 
foul of each other for some years and the Government chuckled 
in glee. Moti Lai was ever sorry for this division in the 
Congress camp and he always tried that the parties might 
again present a united front. With reference to this situation 
he said that "the split between the so-called Conventionists 
and Non-Conventionists has been responsible for a lot of 
mischief. The worst mischief it has done is to convert what 
was originally a highly useful body, we mean the Indian 
National Congress, into a perfectly life-less, soul-less and use- 
less body, and also to separate the people by driving an artificial 
wedge between them." 

Since the split at Surat several attempts were made in 
Bengal and some other provinces for a United Congress and 
if they failed it was due not a little to the temper displayed 
by some of the Conventionist leaders, at least this was the 
opinion of Moti Lai who belonged to and in fact was the 
leader of the Bengal group of Non-Conventionists. 

It was at the Bengal Provincial Conference held at Pabna 
in March 1908 that the question of a re-united Congress came 
to be first discussed. It was attended by the pick of the 
educated community of both East and West Bengals ; in fact, 
it was thoroughly representative. Moreover it had one 
advantage, it was presided over by the poet Rabindra Nath 
Tagore who belonged to neither party. 

Surendra Nath on behalf of the Conventionists suggested 
that the United Congress should be brought about through the 
Committee appointed by the Surat Convention. Moti Lai 
observed that if the Conventionists had a Committee, the Non- 
Conventionists too had a Committee of their own. He, there- 
fore, submitted two alternative propositions before the Subjects 
Committee of the Conference. One was that the Convention 
Committee and the Congress Continuation Committee should 
unite and arrange for a United Congress. The other was that 


the previous all-India Congress Committee or the proposed 
amalgamated Committees of the Conventionists and the Non- 
Conventionists should arrange for the sitting of the next 
Congress on an agreed basis. Moti Lai said that speaking for 
himself he preferred the former ; but if it were urged that the 
All-India Congress was dead he would say in reply that its 
Secretaries and Members were very much alive. Ultimately 
the following resolution was passed by the Conference without 
a single dissentient voice : 

"This Conference requests the Congress Secretaries 
and the Members of the All-India Congress Committee 
appointed in Calcutta in 1906 to arrange the holding of 
the National Congress on the lines settled at the Calcutta 

The Conventionists, however, ignored the demand of the 
Non-Conventionists and held their Congress at Madras. 

Further attempts were made from time to time for bring- 
ing about a compromise between the Conventionists and the 
Non-Conventionists. For this purpose an All-India Conference 
of Conventionists and Non-Conventionists was held at the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika office in November, 1908. Babu Moti Lai 
Ghose, Ray Yatindra Nath Chaudhury, Mr. M. R. Bodas, 
Mr. A. Rasul, Babu Anath Bandhu Guha and Babu Aswini 
Kumar Dutt were the chief conveners of this conference. The 
hall on the first floor of 2, Ananda Chatterjee Lane, which, 
by the bye, was the bed-room of Babu Moti Lai Ghose was 
converted into a meeting room. About sixty chairs were placed 
in that hall all of which were occupied. Dr. Sundari Mohan 
Das, the well known medical practitioner of Calcutta (since, 
Principal of the National Medical College) was voted to the 
chair and among those present were Messrs. M. R. Bodas, 
Pleader, Bombay ; N. C. Kelker of the Maharatta ; C. V. 
Vaidya, LL.B., Bombay (Retired Chief Justice of Gwalior) ; 
R. B. Deshpande, LL.B., Pleader, Ahmednagar ; B. S. Moonje, 
Nagpur ; Ray Yatindra Nath Chaudhury, Moti Lai Ghose, 
Shyam Sundar Chakravarti, Bhupendra Nath Basu, Narendra 
Nath Set, Amrita Krishna Mullik, Hirendra Nath Datta, Anath 
Bandhu Guha, Hemendra Prasad Ghose and others. At the 


suggestion of Babu Bhupendra Nath Basu the Conference 
agreed that the first article of the Conventionist constitution 
in which it was stated that Self-Government within the Empire 
was the goal of the Congress and constitutional agitation its 
method was to be signed absolutely by the Non-Conventionists, 
but at the same time the Conventionists should on their part 
agree to get the Constitution and the rules of the Congress 
framed by a representative Committee of both parties. Babu 
Bhupendra Nath Basu undertook to place the matter before 
the Conventionist leaders of other Provinces and use his 
influence with them in persuading them to accept it. He did 
his best, but Conventionists of other Provinces under the lead 
of Sir Pheroze Shah Mehta were not in a mood to compromise. 

In November 1914, Babu Bhupendra Nath Basu was 
elected as the President of the Congress to be held at Madras 
in December next. This gave a new fillip to the movement 
for a union of the two groups, Conventionists and Nan- 
Conventionists. For, Bhupendra Nath was one of those Con- 
ve&tionists who had all along desired a re-union of the parties. 
Moreover he and Moti Lai were very closely attached to each 
other. A small incident that happened in the presence of the 
writer may be re-called in this connection. When the news 
came of the election of Babu Bhupendra Nath as President of 
the Congress Babus Moti Lai Ghose and Hirendra Nath Datta 
were having a friendly talk in the corridor adjoining Moti Lai's 
room. I still remember Hirendra Babu in his characteristic 
way saying to Moti Lai, "This time you are sure to attend the 
Congress ; your friend has been elected President." To this 
Moti Lai replied, "Not only will I attend the Congress, but 
I will also see that a United Congress is held." 

And Mod Lai did his best to bring about a united Congress, 
He wrote about a dozen articles in the Amrita Bazar Patrika 
advocating the cause of a united Congress. Mrs. Annie Besant > 
who was then editing the New India also took up the matter. 
She came over to Calcutta and spent hours together with Moti 
Lai at the AmritcL BOSUHT Patrika office trying to devise ways 
aad means for bringing about such a union between the two 


parties who had separated at Surat. Besides writing in the 
Patrika Moti Lai was also personally influencing the members 
of his party for a union. At the instance of Mrs. Besant he 
also wrote a number of lengthy and spirited appeals for a 
united Congress and these were published under his name in 
the columns of the New India of Madras and the Leader of 
Allahabad in early December, 1914. So the ground for a 
united Congress was prepared. 

True to his word Moti Lai attended the Madras Congress, 
though not as a delegate ; he was precluded from doing so 
on account of his allegiance to his party, but he did so as a 
visitor. Moti Lai, Bhupendra Nath and Babu Krishna Kumar 
Mitter, the first one the leader of the Extremists of Bengal 
and the two other gentlemen, leaders of the Moderates started 
together from Calcutta for Madras. On their way an address 
was presented to Bhupendra Nath at the Rajahmundry Railway 
Station and in course of his reply he said : 

"As you have said in your address it is true I have 
been trying my very best to bring about a reconciliation 
between the two parties from the year 1908 ; and it is 
equally true, as you have said, that all efforts have so 
far failed. This year I shall use all tact and moderation 
to bring about the necessary reconciliation. It is with 
this object that I persuaded and prevailed upon my 
friend Babu Moti Lai Ghose accompanying me. How- 
ever, how far I shall succeed in this direction depends 
largely upon the attitude the other Provinces take up 
in the matter. As for Bengal there are no two parties 
and we are all united and one." 

Inspite of their efforts Moti Lai and Bhupendra Nath 
failed to bring about the desired for rapprochement at Madras. 
The fact is that the Moderates (or Conventionists as they were 
then called) dreaded that if the split was made up Bal Gangadhar 
Tilak might come forward and capture the Congress. Among 
the followers of Sir Pheroze Shah Mehta there were men who 
would rather have agreed to let the Congress die than make 
it over to Tilak. 

Referring to the failure of the Madras Congress to bring 
about a reconciliation between Extremists and Moderates a 



gentleman who had been to the Congress wrote to the Maharatta 
of Poona : 

"The veteran Congressman, Babu Moti Lai Ghose, 
who in his admirable appeal for a united Congress had 
said that 'either we must have a united Congress or 
none at air had gone to Madras in spite of his bad 
health with the 'olive branch of peace* in his hand. 
It was freely discussed in the Bengal camp that Babu 
Bhupendra Nath had given a definite promise to Babu 
Moti Lai Ghose to give all the; weight of his Presidential 
authority to pass the amendment (of the rules for the 
election of the delegates) with a view to widen the doors 
of election and that the veteran Congressman had taken 
the trouble to undertake the long journey in his weak 
health trusting on the promise of the President-elect, 
who all of a sudden changed his mind in deference to 
the wishes of the Bombay leaders and gave his 
Presidential weight to the side which wished to refer 
the matter to a Committee." 


Differences Between Indians and Anglo-Indians Attempts At Union 
Boycott Movement Aggravates Difference Articles on St. Andrews' Day 

The fact need not be disguised that Indians and Anglo- 
Indians are not generally speaking on the best of terms. Though 
there are many things in which their interests are identical an 
unreasoning race-feeling divides them and keeps them at arms 
length from each other. Through his writings in the Patrika 
Moti Lai tried on many occasions to impress on the Anglo- 
Indian community that there were many things in common 
between them and the children of the soil so that they should 
live and move freely among the Indians. Their interests were 
more akin to those of the children of the soil than those of their 
white masters, the birds of passage who had come to this country 
for petty pelf. They should, said Moti Lai, live among the 


Indians as a part and parcel of the Indian population, and their 
manners and customs and ways of living should be like those of 
the Indians. If they had followed this sane advice it would 
have been really advantageous for them. 

Moti Lai also suggested on many occasions that Indians 
and Englishmen should live in this country like frieods and 
not as enemies always trying to cut each others throats. An 
attempt, for example, for a union of Indians and Englishmen 
was made by the conductors of the Capital, Messrs. Tremearne 
and Luke ("Max") with the help of some Missionary gentlemen 
like the late Reverend Tomory of the Duff College. Taking 
advantage of the threatened partition of Bengal in 1905 which 
affected both Indians and non-official Englishmen in India 
"Max" through an article in the Capital suggested the possi- 
bility of formimg what he called the Bengal Provincial and 
Municipal League for the mutual benefit of the two communities. 
Wrote "Max" in the Capital: 

I have expressed my strong belief that the Partition 
scheme is dead, but lest there be any remnant of life left, 
let it get a finishing stroke. Let a great public meeting 
be called for the purpose of forming a Bengal Provincial 
and Municipal League, strongly representative of all 
classes in the community, Indian and European alike, 
for the purpose of promoting good government both in 
the province and in the municipalities of Bengal. The 
League can be incorporated for permanent work with a 
strong executive vigilant committee capable of watching 
over the trend of public affairs and of taking suitable 
action as occasion arises. The first and foremost action 
would be to ask the Government of India to suspend 
everything in connection with the Partition movement 
until the question has been threshed in the Imperial 
Parliament. And in the meantime the executive com- 
mittee could take ways and means in a very authoritative 
manner of letting Parliament know the exact state of 
feeling throughout the whole of Bengal in reference to 
the partition movement and the desire of the people for 
a more thoroughly equipped administration of the 
undivided Province under a capable Governor and a well- 
appointed Council." 

The Reverend A. Tomory of the Duff College took up the 
suggestion in right earnest and at his instance an association 


of the nature spoken above was sought to be formed with the 
name of The Bengal Citizens' League. Several preliminary 
meetings in this connection were held at the Capital office and 
they were attended by such men as Raja Peary Mohan Mukherji 
of Uttarpara and Babus Moti Lai Ghose, Surendra Nath 
Banerjea and Bhupendra Nath Basu and others on behalf of 
the Indian community and a number of Anglo-Indian gentlemen 
representing their community. The constitution and rules for 
the proposed public body were framed and a draft memorial was 
prepared for submission to Government praying for a Governor- 
ship of Bengal and the suspension of the Partition Scheme. 
In the mean time the fateful day arrived the i6th of October, 
1906 the memorable day when Bengal was formally parti- 
tioned, and the whole Province was thrown into convulsions. 
An estrangement sprang up between the Bengali and the Anglo- 
Indian leaders owing to the Boycott Movement, and the 
proposed Bengal Citizens' League died in its cradle, if not, 
before it was born. 

Several years later, after the second partition of Bengal, 
following the visit of King Emperor George V to India in 1912, 
Mr. Dudley B. Myers, an influential Anglo-Indian, wanted to 
form an Indo-European Association in Calcutta. This time also 
Moti Lai welcomed the idea and the Patrika wrote that the 
previous attempt, referred to above, at the formation of a society 
of Indians and Anglo-Indians had failed because the circum- 
stance viz., the Partition of Bengal which was to cement the 
union between the two communities affected the Indians much 
more than the Anglo-Indians. "But," continued the Patrika : 

"In the transfer of the seat of Government to Delhi 
and the separation of Behar from Bengal the Anglo- 
Indians and the Indians are equally affected ; so, if serious 
efforts are made just now by only half a dozen repre- 
sentative Europeans and Bengalis to start a common 
society for their mutual benefit they may be attended 
with the desired result." 

Non-official Englishmen, however, did not see their way 
to unite with the Indians even for a common cause. They may 
have their excuse for not doing so. But what on earth cm be 


the excuse of the Anglo-Indians, I mean not the birds of 
passage but those who have a real stake in the country and are 
as much children of the soil as Indians themselves, for following 
a similar course of action? It is strange indeed that they 
cannot convince themselves that their interests are more akin 
to those of the Indians than the Britishers in India who also 
go by the name of Anglo-Indians. One fails to find any 
community of interest between them beyond a mere similarity 
of names. It is a pity that they look to Britain in the same way 
as Mahomedans born and brought up in India look to Mecca 
or Medina. 

One of Moti Lai's favourite subjects on which he expatiated 
almost every year in order to castigate and at the same time 
regale Anglo-Indians was the St. Andrews' Day Dinner. 
Scotchmen in Calcutta celebrate their national festival every 
year on the 3oth of November. On this date they meet and 
invite some leading Englishmen and one or two Bengali 
gentlemen also with whom the local Scotch people may be in 
love. Now, Moti Lai often twitted the Scotch of Calcutta on 
inviting their masters the Englishmen to dinner and not the 
Bengalees who were their fellow subjects. He argued that the 
Bengalees and the Scotchmen were in the same position so far 
as the English were concerned ; for, Scotchmen had no separate 
existence as a nation and politically they were as much subject 
to England as the Bengalees. Sometimes he would comment on 
the foolishness of the Scottish people who spent money in giving 
dinners to the wise Englishmen who ate them. The haggis and 
the whiskey that were used in these dinners formed the other 
subjects of comment. Sometimes the speeches delivered on the 
St. Andrews' Day Dinner by the Governor or other men of 
position formed the text of the article in the Patrika. Indeed, 
he viewed this event from various angles of vision in different 
years and his writings on this subject in his inimitable humorous 
way were only characteristic of him. They evoked the admira- 
tion of the readers and they produced great mirth not only 
among Us Indian readers but among his English and Scotch 
readers as well. The Anglo-Indian newspapers sometimes gave 


replies to his writings on this subject but those only acted as 
spurs to Moti Lai to give replies to these replies. These replies 
showed his power of repartee. Indeed, in matters like these 
his inventive brain could find replies to whatever other papers 
might write, so that he would always have the last say in the 


Moti Lai As a Juror A Juror In A Better Position Than A Judge or 
Magistrate Plea For Extension of Jury System A Funny Incident. 

The following conversation between Babu Moti Lai Ghose 
and an Englishman, both of whom were jurors in a certain case 
will prove interesting. The story was narrated by him on many 
occasions. The conversation took place when the jury had 
retired after the charge of the Judge presiding over the Sessions 
in the High Court. 

The Englishman : I am for conviction. 

Moti Lai : Your grounds? 

The Englishman : Why , the prisoners have produced no 

Moti Lai : What for? 

The Englishman : To prove that they had not committed 
the assault. 

Moti Lai : How could they prove a negative ? 

The Englishman: I don't know that. They should have 
proved that the murderous assault was not committed by them. 
I convict them of culpable homicide. 

Moti Lai: But His Lordship charged us practically to 
convict the accused of grievous hurt. 

The English juror however would not budge an inch from 
his position. So he wrote dowa on a piece of paper something: 


to the effect that in his opinion the prisoners were guilty of 
culpable homicide and asked the other jurors to sign it. They 
however reminded him that the verdict of the jury is not taken 
down in writing and then he tore the paper into pieces. 

Moti Lai had served as a juror on numerous occasions and 
even upto a very old age. He claimed exemption from being 
called upon as a juror only when he was physically incapacitated 
from performing this onerous duty on account of his old age. 
His motto in life was, and he often advised others to bear it in 
mind, never take a man to be dishonest unless he proves himself 
to be so. 'If you suspect others you can never be happy,' he said, 
'you should never think any man to be dishonest unless the 
conduct of that man is such that it is a conclusive proof of his 
dishonesty.' In his capacity as a juror also he strictly followed 
this principle. It is but one of the basic principles of civilised 
jurisprudence that the guilt of the accused must be unquestion- 
ably established, that the evidence must be such that it would 
irresistibly lead to the conclusion that the accused is guilty, 
that there must not be any reasonable doubt as to the guilt of 
the accused before he can be convicted. Another basic principle 
is that whenever there is a reasonable doubt as to his guilt the 
benefit of that doubt should always be given to the accused. 
Moti Lai always kept these principles in view whenever he 
acted as a juror. He was a great advocate of the jury system 
and through the columns of the Amrita Bazar Patrika he not 
only advocated the extension of the jury system but also incul- 
cated upon the jurors the ordinary fundamental principles of 
criminal law. 

It was, in his opinion, impossible for Magistrates or Sessions 
Judges to dispense criminal justice impartially. They were 
human beings after all and had the weaknesses of human beings. 
Their promotion in many cases depended upon the way in 
which they dealt with criminal cases. In fact it was an open 
secret in the nineties of the last century that "No conviction 
no promotion" was the rule among the officers trying criminal 
cases. A series of leading articles were published in the Amrita 
Bazar Patrika under the above headline in which even official 


circulars and reports were quoted to prove the strength of this 
slogan. Indeed, in Crown cases sometimes it is too much to 
expect that the junior officers (Deputy Magistrates and Sub- 
Deputy Magistrates) will deliver a judgment against their 
employer. But a juror is in a far better position. He expects 
no frown nor favour from the Crown. Moreover, it is not 
recorded which juror has given what verdict, so that there is 
not the ghost of a chance of an individual juror's verdict being 
known either to the Government or to the public. Hence he is 
free to act according to his conscience self-interest does not 
stand in the way of his giving a verdict according to the funda- 
mental principles of civilised criminal jurisprudence. That is 
why a juror's verdict has a greater weight than the judgment 
of a judge and in many courts, such as the High Court, a Judge 
has no alternative but to abide by the unanimous verdict of the 

Let me quote here two passages from a leading article in 
the Amrita Bazar Patrika advocating the extension of the jury 
system into the mofussil written by Moti Lai. The Mss. of 
this article in his own hand writing still happen to be in my 
possession. I have selected it for that reason only. 

The first passage it : 

"The inhabitants of both the jury and non-jury 
districts have a duty in this connection. The latter 
should memorialise the Governor in Council direct for 
the introduction of the system in their respective districts 
under sections 26g Cr. P. C. To each memorial should 
be appended the names of individuals competent to sit 
as jurors. As to the districts in which the system already 
obtains they should also memorialise the Government to 
make those offences triable by jury which are now dis- 
posed of by the Sessions Judge with the help of 
assessors. They would do well to point out that there is 
not a single offence in the Penal Code which is not tried 
by the Jury in Calcutta where their verdict is final. The 
note of Sir Romesh Chunder would strengthen their 

The other passage is as follows : 

"The most important argument in favour of the 
extension of the jury system in every district of -Bengal 


is that this boon was conferred on all European residents 
in the mofussil in 1883. That was the outcome of the 
'White Mutiny* which the famous Ilbert Bill controversy 
brought about. The infuriated Anglo-Indian community 
seriously proposed to bombard the Government House if 
the Government of Lord Ripon would not yield to their 
claim and their triumph was complete. Not only did 
they extort the privilege of jury trial for themselves, 
when residing in the mofussil, unconditionally in the 
Sessions Court but also in the Court of the Magistrate. 
In their case the sufficient number of Jurors and Judges 
was not insisted upon ! Lord Ripon felt himself so 
humiliated and aggrieved at this invidious distinction 
made between the Indians and the Anglo-Indians that he 
gave a pledge in one of his speeches on behalf of the 
Government that like the latter the former would also 
be allowed to enjoy the privilege of Jury trial more 
extensively than they had hitherto done. But though 
three decades have passed away since then, with the 
exception of three or four districts all the others are in 
the same position in regard to this matter as they were 
in 1884." 

I may mention here that the Jury system has since been 
extended to a larger number of Districts in the Province. 

I cannot close this chapter without giving a very funny 
story often told by Moti Lai in connection with his jurorship. 
In a certain case after the jury had retired they were holding 
a consultation among themselves as to what verdict to give. 
Moti Lai was in favour of acquittal. All agreed. But one 
gentleman who was younger than him by a good many number 
of years was obdurate he was for conviction and he would not 
change his opinion though all were against him and pleaded 
with him for acquittal. At last Moti Lai, who almost lost his 
temper, shouted out to him, "If you don't give a verdict of 
not guilty, I will give a slap on your face." There was a 
loud uproar of laughter in the juror's room and it had its effect 
the gentleman climbed down and there was a unanimous 
verdict of "not guilty." 


The Press Act of 1910 Jagatshi Asram Affairs Patrika's Comments- 
Security of Rs. 5,000 Demanded from Patrika British Press Opinion. 

The majority of the non-official members of the Viceroy's 
Legislative Council led by the late Mr. Gokhale supported the 
Press Bill of 1910 inspite of the extremely wide and arbitrary 
nature of its provisions because they thought and wrongly 
thought that the anarchist movement was the result of violent 
writings in the Indian Press. The two or three papers in Bengal 
of the "Yugantar" type which preached the cult of violence 
and assassination had ceased to exist or had been already 
suppressed by the authorities when the Press Bill was intro- 
duced. Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya and the late Babu 
Bhupendra Nath Basu opposed the Bill ; but it was passed into 
a law only to aggravate the smouldering bitterness in the 
Indian Press by placing it under what may be called a 
Martial law. 

The real plague-spot of the Press Act of 1910 was Section 4. 
It was the operative section of the Act which armed the 
Executive Government with absolute powers over the liberty 
of the Press. The section provided that the local Government 
could hang a mill-stone round the neck of the keeper of a 
printing press in the shape of a security of Rs. 5,000, if the 
newspaper printed or published 

"Any words, signs, etc., which are likely or may 
have a tendency, directly or indirectly, whether by 
inference, suggestion, allusion, metaphor, implication or 
otherwise to bring into hatred or contempt any Govern- 
ment established by law or any class or section of His 
Majesty's subjects in British India." 

Sir Lawrence Jenkins, Chief Justice of the Calcutta High 
Court had said in his judgment in the "Comrade" case that 
the provisions of this section were "very comprehensive and 
the language was as wide as human ingenuity could make it. 
They would certainly extend to writings that might even 
command approval." 


Moti Lai had to carry on his paper with this Sword of 
Damocles constantly hanging over his head. He received 
warning after warning from the Government to remind him 
that there was such a thing as the Press Act lest he should 
forget it. The first warning came to him within a few weeks 
of the passing of the Press Act. Sir Edward Norman Baker 
was then the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal. Moti Lai 
inquired of him as to the matter and the nature of the offence 
for which the warning had been given. His Honour replied 
that it was a mere formal warning, which had been sent to some 
other papers also and that its object was to remind the Bengal 
Press of the existence of the new Press Act. 

The Government of Lord Carmichael had also sent some 
warnings to Babu Moti Lai Ghose. In one of these warnings 
which was in the form of a letter it was pointed out to 
Babu Moti Lai Ghose that certain mistakes had crept into an 
article on a Madras case and he was asked to correct them in 
the light of the facts supplied by the Government of Madras. 
This was done with an explanation that the article in question 
was based on the reply of the Madras Government to an 
interpellation on the subject, which was very vague and so the 
writer was not to blame in the matter. 

But the wolf at last did come. It was in May, 1913 and 
it came without a warning. The keeper of the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika printing press was served with a notice by the Govern- 
ment of Bengal asking him to deposit Rs. 5,000 the maximum 
amount provided by the Act with the Chief Presidency 
Magistrate of Calcutta as security under the Press Act. But 
why? That was of course not explained. The Government 
was good enough to state that it was in connection with an 
article on the notorious Jagatshi Police case in Assam that this 
action had been taken. No light was however thrown on the 
passage or passages or words to which objection had been taken 
by the Government. The article in question contained some 
comments on the report of a Divisional Commissioner of Assam 
on the Jagatshi Ashram affairs. In the opinion of some 
eminent lawyers there was nothing in the article which could 


be construed as preaching "hatred or contempt of any Govern- 
ment established by law." 

About the middle of 1912 sensation ran high throughout 
Bengal on account of certain incidents that happened at the 
village of Jagatshi, four miles away from Maulvi Bazar in 
.Sylhet. In this village was an abode of some religious people, 
named "Arunachal Asram" whose head was a Sannyasi named 
Dayananda Swami. Here Sankirtans (mass songs) were held 
on a lavish scale by the guru and his disciples in accompani- 
ment with khol f9 kartal f mridang and other musical instruments. 
Men and women freely took part in these religious perfor- 
mances, which was seriously objected to by some people in the 
neighbourhood who thought that such mixed dances and 
sankirtans were not sanctioned by the Hindu religion and 
-society and so if they were allowed to develop they would tell 
upon the morals of the local people. With this end in view 
they tried to stop these practices and took to various devices 
for doing so. On the 23rd March 1912 one of these persons 
filed a petition before the Sub-Divisional Officer of Maulvi 
Bazar complaining against Dayananda Swami and some other 
leading members of the Asram. It was alleged that the 
singing of songs, the beating of drums and the playing of 
instruments day and night which went on in the Asram were 
interfering with the sleep and causing injury to the health of 
the local public. Processes were issued against Dayanand 
Swami and others who put in a defence. In their written 
.statement they said : 

"We are trying to substitute liberal principles for the 
narrow and illiberal manners and customs of the whole 
of the present Hindu society. We are encouraging 
women to join Sankirtan in the proper manner and also 
trying to uproot the narrowness of caste distinction. 
The complainant, owing to prejudice, apprehending that 
our such action might bring about a revolution in the 
society is trying to oppress us in several ways and for 
that purpose has instituted this case." 

Dayananda Swami and his disciples were, however, fined 
3Rs. 10 each by the Sub-Divisional Officer. But the Sankirtans 


went on as usual and the orthodox oppositionists tried by 
petitions to the authorities and by other methods to stop these. 
On the aoth June a complaint was filed before the Sub- 
Divisional Officer of South Sylhet (Maulvi Bazar) that a minor 
boy named Sachindra had been kidnapped by the members of 
the "Asram". A warrant was issued for the production of 
Sachindra. A constable who went to the Asram to execute 
the warrant returned to the higher officers and reported that 
he was threatened by the members of the Asram. On the 6th 
July a party of Policemen headed by one Mr. Brown, Assistant 
Superintendent of Police went to the Asram but failed to 
recover Sachindra. On the 8th the aid of the Military was re- 
quisitioned and the Asram was attacked and what followed 
has been described in many quarters as the "Arunachal Asram 
War." On one side was arrayed a force of Police and 
Military armed with rifles and bayonets and on the other side 
stood the male and female inmates of the Asram known as 
Sevaks and Sevikas of the Asram with their drums, musical 
instruments and trisuls (tridents). The result can be better 
imagined than described. In the Amrita Bazar Patrika and 
other newspapers were published accounts of the gross atro- 
cities perpetrated. An enquiry was held by the Assam 
Government in response to the demand by the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika. The report of the enquiry, however, exonerated the 
officers concerned and vilified the Asram and its people. The- 
Asram was sought to be proved as an "impure, obscene, 
immoral and indecent institution, opposed to public policy and 
good morals." The incidents of the 8th July, 1912 which 
created a sensation throughout the length and breadth of the 
Province were described by the authorities as matters of course. 
To quote from the Resolution of the Chief Commissioner of 
Assam on the Report of the Officiating Commissioner: 

"It was impossible without employing force to effect 
the arrest of so large a number of people who refused to 
submit when called upon to do so. Only a few days 
before they had published their declaration of in- 
dependence of the British Government and had cir- 
culated, it to the newspapers. Their official historian had 


chronicled the events of the 6th July as a victory in the 
Arunachal war and that evening the drums of the Asram 
were heard in Maulavi Bazar four miles away. The 
Deputy Commissioner made every attempt to negotiate 
with Dayananda for a peaceful surrender, but without 
effect. On the morning of the 8th the Deputy Com- 
missioner gave the inmates of the Asram a final oppor- 
tunity of surrendering. He told them that he had a 
strong police force, but that he did not want to use the 
police, as, if this had to be done the women whom he 
knew to be in the Asram might get hurt. The only 
response to this appeal was that, as the small column 
drew near a party of naked women and almost naked 
men danced out to meet them. When the Deputy 
Commissioner and his force entered the Asram, the din 
was so over-powering that further parley was out of the 
question. No one would surrender and the arrests had 
to be forcibly effected. A certain amount of rough- 
handling of those who resisted was unavoidable, and 
it is unfortunate that two women accidentally sustained 
injuries. Those people within the houses who came out 
quietly were secured, those who refused to come out 
being dragged out. The Military Police used the butts 
of their rifles, but, as the Commissioner has found, the 
allegation that bayonets were used is absolutely false." 

After the publication of the above report the Amrita Bazar 
pointed out that "it was already admitted that the 
Police fired without orders 1 ' and "it was not denied that the 
Police used buckshots and bullets and thereby wounded so 
many as seven persons of whom Babu Mahendra Nath Dey, 
M.A., B.I,., died from the effect of a bullet wound." As to 
the "certain amount of rough handling" mentioned in the 
Report the Patrika wrote: 

"Why it was only the fracture of a few collar- 
bones, infliction of bleeding wounds with butts and 
bayonets, dragging by the hair, tying a human being 
to a bamboo and carrying him like a pig, et hoc genus 
omnel And all this was of course inevitable \" 

A series of trenchant articles followed in the editorial 
columns of the Amrita Bazar Patrika severely criticising the 
action of the police in Assam and of the Executive which 
tried to shield the conduct of the Police. The result, to quote 
the Patrika again was inevitable. 


The series of articles on the Jagatsi Asram affairs published 
in Amrita Bazar Patrika in 1912-13 was too much for the 
authorities to digest. Hence they demanded a security of 
Rs. 5,000 from the proprietors of the paper under the Indian 
Press Act of 1910. The news about the action of the Govern- 
ment and the security demanded from the Patrika was cabled 
to England and it created a stir in newspaper circles. Moti 
Lai's personality was too well-known to many editors and 
writers of English newspapers ; for journalists of that country 
on tour in India always made it a point to interview Babu 
Moti Lai Ghose and they were all impressed with his charming 

Wrote the Pall Mall Gazette: 

"The Government of India is no doubt amply 
justified in demanding security from the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika, a Calcutta journal printed in English, which 
has a wide circulation. It is understood to have been 
publishing some rather violent articles lately. At the 
same time, we should hardly regard its editor and chief 
proprietor, Mr. Moti Lai Ghose, as a danger to the 
community. He is a mild old gentleman with a pleasant 
smile, who sturdily refuses to adopt European ways or 

dress. His pen is vitriolic at times 

Moti Lai Ghose is not a revolutionary. He often writes 
wildly, but he does not neglect to pay friendly calls at 
Government House, and when some years ago he was 
presented to the King, then Prince of Wales, he was 
overcome with loyal devotion. He publishes his paper 
in a huge rambling warren of a house in North Calcutta, 
where he lives with a swarm of relatives and dependants 
in patriarchal fashion. Babies cling about the editor's 
bare legs as, 'clad in a scanty piece of linen, he writes 
torrents of fierce abuse with a most benevolent smile." 

The Pall Mall Gazette, it may be remembered, was not 
sympathetic or friendly to Indian aspirations. That it could 
pay such a tribute as the above to Babu Moti Lai Ghose is 
only explained by the fact that his personality left a lasting 
impression on those who came in contact with him. 

The Manchester Guardian which was well-known for its 
sympathy towards India wrote as follows: 

"There is nothing in India or out of it, like the 


Amrita Bazar Patrika, the Calcutta daily which has 
earned the distinction of being the first important organ 
of opinion to be dealt with under the coercionist Indian 
Press Act of 1910. It is emphatically a one-man show, 
representing its proprietor and editor, Mr. Moti Lai 
Ghose, and no other party or persons whatsoever. 
Ever since the Viceroyalty of Lord Lytton the paper 
has been recognised as the most characteristic product 
of Bengali journalism. It is full of curious knowledge 
and still more curious opinion. Its leading articles, 
you would say, are all from one hand, and that the 
inimitable hand of Moti Babu himself, wielding a whip 
of mercilessly stinging cords. 

"What has happened now is that the Government 
of Bengal demands security, probably of the maximum 
amount of Rs. 5,000 (^333), for the future good 
behaviour of the paper. In April it published three 
articles dealing with a Government enquiry into one of 
the most singular events of recent Indian history the 
suppression of a small sect in Assam, the members of 
which were accused of combining unseemly rites with 
seditious propaganda. The military police were accused 
of various brutalities in carrying out their task ; a 
Government Commissioner inquired into the affairs and 
found the local official blameless, and the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika thereupon went for the Government of Assam. 
The articles, it is said, were a masterpiece of satirical 
invective, but whether they justify drastic action under 
the Press Act is, of course, another matter. Moti Babu 
can quite easily provide the security, though he is 
understood not to be a wealthy man. He will, however, 
be quite sure to argue that he has not offended, and 
that the Government demand is unwarranted." 

It may be observed in passing that though the Govern- 
ment wanted to punish the proprietors of the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika by demanding the security they failed to achieve this 
end. For it only heightened the popularity of the paper and 
raised it higher in the estimation of the public, who thought 
the paper had not sinned but had, on the contrary, been 
sinned against. So, instead of being a punishment the security 
became a boon. 


Cannichael as a Governor Familiarity with Moti Lai Asked to Wear 
the Dhcti and rub Mustard Oil. 

The Government of Bengal, it soon transpired, had 
absolutely no hand in the matter of demanding the security 
of Rs. 5,000 from the Patrika in 1913. The Administration 
of Assam had got offended at its publication of some articles 
criticising the action of the police in connection with the 
Jagatshi Asram and they moved Government of India to take 
action against the Amrita Bazar Patrika. The Bengal Govern- 
ment was thus quite helpless in the matter. As a matter of 
fact, I have it on the authority of Babu Moti Lai himself that 
Lord Carmichael, who was then in the best of terms with 
Moti Lai, strongly protested. He was very unwilling to carry 
out the order of the Government of India and had to do so 
against his wish. He spoke to Lord Hardinge on two occasions 
to relieve the Patrika of the mill-stone round its neck, but 
Sir Reginald Craddock stood in the way. Mr. P. C. 
Lyon, Senior Member of the Executive Council of Lord 
Carmichael *s Government, sought twice to make the Patrika 
forfeit its deposit of Rs. 5,000, but Lord Carmichael over- 
ruled him. The Patrika owes a deep debt of gratitude to 
Lord Carmichael but for whose protection it would surely 
have been crushed by a member of his Council to whom the 
Patrika had been an eye-sore. Bengal was at that time under 
the special displeasure of the gods at Simla on account of the 
so-called anarchist movement of a few Bengali youths. Simla 
was bent upon punishing the Bengali press, which, it thought 
was responsible for disseminating anarchical ideas among the 
youngmen. Lord Carmichael who knew the real situation 
took a different view and had much sympathy with the Press 
and the people of the country ; but sandwiched as he was 
between the Simla gods on the one hand and the lesser gods 



of his own Province on, the other, he could not make his 
existence felt. 

The term of office of a Governor is short. Five years, we 
think, is too small a period for studying and haying a thorough 
grasp of the peculiar problems of a people and prescribing 
ways and means for their solution and carrying them into 
practice. The difficulty becomes almost insurmountable when 
the person who has to do this stupendous job is a foreigner 
and new-comer, and, even when he has come to this country, 
* 'lives, moves and has his being" mostly among foreigners 
who must naturally look to their own interests first and then 
to those of the children of the soil. If the Governor be an 
Indian we think he has one advantage, he has no time to 
lose in studying the situation as an alien Governor must 
do. Being born and brought up in India spade work 
has to be done by him even before he has ascended the 
"gadi." But a Governor coming from a foreign country, the 
manners and customs and the peculiar problems of whose 
people are quite different from those of ours, has to do much 
spade work even after his assumption of office. If he does 
not succumb to the surrounding official and secretarial 
influence, and can keep the I. C. S. at a safe distance from 
him and mix freely with the people of the country instead of 
the handful of his own countrymen of the privileged class, 
we think, he can then be in a position to understand the real 
grievances of the people and do something really beneficial to 
them. But then the irony of fate is such that when a good 
Governor has fitted himself for the task by his five years' 
schooling in this land his term of office expires and a new 
Governor is sent to rule in his place and he comes here and 
finds himself like a fish out of water. If the post of the 
Governor had depended on the suffrage of the people then 
surely the Governor would have at first to fit himself for the 
post and then have it and the Governorship of a Province in 
India would not have been the bed-rock on which many an 
intelligent Englishman have foundered. 

Now, Lord Cannichael was a Governor whose method of 


tackling Indian problems, at least the method followed by 
him during the first-half of his rule, is worthy of emulation. 
When he came to Bengal he came determined to do such a 
good turn to that country that he might be lovingly remem- 
bered by her people even long after he had left. With this 
end in view from the very beginning of his rule he consulted 
non-official Indians, who were known to hold views in opposi- 
tion to the Government of the day, whenever any new measure 
affecting the people was sought to be taken. He mixed freely 
with Indian gentlemen, gave friendly calls at their residences 
and sometimes he even put on the dhoti and the chadar to 
show that he had become one of them. Any sense of vanity 
as to the coat and trousers being his national dress did not 
stand in his way. In the midst of his multifarious duties he 
learnt the Bengali language and sometimes addressed the 
people in Bengali, and, quoted Sanskrit verses in his speeches 
instead of Latin and Greek. For instance, he replied in 
Bengali to the addresses presented to him by the Dacca 
Saraswat Samaj, the Pandits of Navadwip and the Calcutta 
Sanskrit Culture Convocation in 1913-14. By his close contact 
with the rural people of Bengal he came to realise that scarcity 
of drinking water was one of the crying needs of the rural 
people and the transfer of the Road Cess funds from the 
general coffers of the Government was largely due to his 
intervention. He also came to understand that India's economic 
salvation lay in her use of her indigenous manufactured goods 
and he was so large-hearted and conscientious a man that he 
not only attended Swadeshi exhibitions but took a leading 
part in their opening ceremonies. One can well imagine the 
volume of the official opposition to such conduct on the part 
of a Governor of a Province in India, and for Lord Carmichael 
the strength of mind of an Odysseus was required to save 
himself from the official siren-song. Ultimately, however, he 
succumbed to their influence and his subordinates became the 
masters of the situation. So that, inspite of his excellent 
heart he could do very little for the people. But that is 
another story. 


It is widely known that Lord Carmichael had much 
regard for Babu Moti Lai Ghose. He did not conceal it from 
anyone. At least during the first two years of his Governor- 
ship no Bengali gentleman was more in his confidence than 
Babu Moti Lai Ghose. As soon as His Lordship arrived in 
Calcutta from Madras he sought him out, evidently through 
the good offices of his Private Secretary Mr. W. R. Gourlay, 
with whom Moti Lai was on very intimate terms. As soon 
as they met they were closetted together in the Government 
House for nearly two hours, when Moti Lai gave his Lordship 
a vivid description of the condition of Bengal and its wants 
and grievances, and it made a deep impression on his mind. 
Moti Lai said that His Lordship would earn the fervent 
gratitude of the people of Bengal if he could do only two 
things during his tenure of office (i) improve the sanitation 
of the country, and (2) put the Police under check. His 
Lordship promised that he would do his best. 

When Lord Carmichael went up to Darjeeling Moti Lai 
wrote to Mr. Gourlay making some enquiries about the 
Governor. It brought the following autograph letter in reply 
from His Excellency: 

Darjeeling i8th May, 1912. 


Mr. Gourlay showed me a letter he had got from 
you about a fortnight ago, which interested and pleased 
me very much. I did not write to you at the time as 
I was very busy, and there was no real need to do so. 
But I hope you will forgive my trespassing on your 
time for a few minutes now. 

I want to tell you that I shall always be more than 
grateful to you, if you directly or indirectly let me 
know of anything to which you think I ought to attend. 
I dare say I shall often learn of such things from the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika. I have done so already. I am 
sincerely anxious to help any one who is trying to make 
Bengal a happier place for its people to live in. I 
know that many people must be disappointed with me. 


for I know I shall never be able to do as much as 
many people expect. They may even be angry with 
me. I shan't blame them, for people ought to expect 
more than is possible from every one put in authority. 
It is only by doing so that they are able gradually to 
get what is possible. And in the case of a Governor 
it is often I fancy only because he is blamed that he 
is able to get others whose advice he must often listen 
to even when sometimes he least trusts it to agree to 
try things he thinks worth-trying. But I do want to 
do all I can and that all must be greater or less accord- 
ing as those who know where the need lies tell me 
what they know. I do not suppose that even if a 
Governor came here full of local knowledge instead of 
coming here as I do ignorant of even the language of 
my neighbours he could do a tenth part of what he 
would like to do. There are many things to hamper 
one. Possibly it is right that for the present they 
should be there. Until they are removed the march 
of progress must seem slow ; especially is this the case 
in things to do with self-government and even with 
education or anything that depends for the most part 
on how men think. In every country men who realise 
what is good for their fellows have to fret and fret 
waiting for those who would benefit the most if they 
only knew it to realise the truth, and over and over 
again those who know what is best and want to take 
it have to take not even the second best or the third 
best but something which is hardly good at all, because 
their poor short-sighted neighbours can't see clearly. 
There are some things I hope which a Governor may 
fairly insist on doing when he sees his way, but in 
many things the most he can do and probably that is 
often better than what he would like to do is to try 
and persuade people to look at things from a different 
standpoint from what they have done. My great desire 
while here is that I may be able to lead all I can to 
widen their outlook and to look ahead as far as they 
can. But I won't waste your time, only thank you for 
your kind message and hope you are still getting 
stronger. Gourlay says he does not think you are likely 
to come up here, but if you do I hope you will let me 
know that we may meet. In any case though I hope 
we may meet in Calcutta. 

Yours very sincerely, 


Moti Lai gradually became very familiar with Lord 
Carmichael, he would be summoned by His Excellency every 
now and then to the Government House. The following 
incident narrated by Moti Lai will be interesting: 

"The writer of this (Moti Lai) one day in summer 
was summoned to the Government House by the late 
Governor of Bengal. It was very hot, and I found 
Lord Carmichael rather uncomfortable on account of 
the heat wave. I remarked, 'It seems your Excellency 
is perspiring. 1 'Yes, it is awfully hot/ said he. I said, 
'But why don't you take to our dhoti and shirt? Your 
Excellency can see that we are more comfortable in 
our light costume.' Lord Carmichael replied in a 
petulant tone, 'We don't use your dhoti and shirts 
because we are a stupid people.' " 

An Englishman, continued Moti Lai, would rather be 
roasted like a fowl by the Indian heat than give up his thick 
and heavy clothing. He further told His Excellency how the 
Indians kept their bodies cool during the hot season by 
rubbing them with mustard and other kinds of oil. But this 
is a luxury, which, he feared, it is not the lot of an English- 
man in India ever to enjoy. For, he will never agree to show 
his bare body to his Indian khansama and get it massaged 
by him. Indeed the idea is, Moti Lai said, so he was told 
by some Englishmen, that their prestige would be gone and 
they would be regarded as ordinary human beings by the 
"natives" if the latter came to see that their masters, when 
divested of their clothes, looked just like themselves! 

To Lord Ronaldshay also Moti Lai gave a similar advice- 
But of that later. 


All-India Sanitary Conference Moti I/al a Delegate Sanitation First, 
Education Afterwards Economic Improvement above All. 

The first All-India Sanitary Conference was held at 
Bombay in 1911. The second session was held at Madras in 
1912. Of the more than four scores of delegates who attended 
the Madras Conference only a dozen or fourteen were Indians 
and the rest were Englishmen. The Indians also were mostly 
officials or semi-officials, townspeople having very little or 
no experience of village life. The majority of the Englishmen 
were officials belonging to the Medical Service and the rest 
were Engineers. Babu Moti Lai Ghose who was selected as 
delegate through the intervention of Lord Carmichael was the 
only non-official member having actual experience of village 
life. So, while most of the delegates were anxious for con- 
tributing to the comfort and luxury of those living in the 
towns and cities, Moti Lai took up the case for the villages. 
"The townspeople," he said at the Conference, "can protect 
themselves from the inroads of various diseases without out- 
side help ; but the millions residing in the interior, must die 
like fleas or convert themselves into a nation of invalids unless 
they receive substantial assistance from the Government." 

It seems Moti Lai's efforts in this matter did not go 
in vain. For, in the third session of the Conference which 
was held at Lucknow in 1914 a separate section was devoted 
to rural sanitation presided over by Sir Harcourt Butler, 
Governor of the United Provinces. 

At the time when the Sanitary Conference was held in 
Madras the prevailing notion among medical and sanitary 
officers in India was that it was by spreading popular educa- 
tion in public health that the people of India could be saved 
from the clutches of the pestilence which was creating such 
a terrible havoc among them. It was assumed that they were 
utterly ignorant even of the elementary principles of hygiene 


and hence they brought various deadly diseases on themselves. 
At the Madras Conference a Medical Officer, Major J. G. N. 
Stokes, I.M.S., read a paper on this subject and submitted 
a proposal to the effect that school-masters, members of 
municipalities, vaccinators and policemen should be given a 
training in the rudiments of hygiene and they should be 
competent to impart their knowledge to the mass of the 

Thereupon Moti lyal observed that the people of India 
knew as much as the brilliant gallaxy of medical men present 
at the Conference did, that by drinking pure water or keeping 
their villages well-drained and free from jungle they could 
preserve their health better ; but if they did not do it, it 
was not because of their ignorance of simple hygienic laws 
but because they were too poor to improve their sanitary 
surroundings, and the Government was far from liberal in its 
help in this respect. If low class villagers were found to 
bathe, now and then, in the same tank with their buffaloes, 
as the President of the Conference had observed, it was due 
to the fact, remarked Moti Lai, that they had perhaps got 
only one tank for drinking, washing and other purposes and 
were thus quite helpless in the matter. So Moti I,al said 
that the real remedy against the decimation of the people by 
pestilential maladies did not lie in popular education in public 
health, though no doubt it had its great value, but in practical 
measures of sanitation such as supply of pure drinking water, 
good drainage, clearing of jungles, and above all, improvement 
of the economic condition of the bulk of the population. 

Indeed, the first and foremost duty of the powers that be 
should be to improve the economic condition of the people. 
If the people ^re economically independent, if they are not 
in a state of perpetual famine and constantly struggling for 
keeping their body and soul together but have enough money 
for their food and raiment and to spare, Governments will find 
that nine-tenths of their troubles are gone. Governments will 
find that such happy and contented people will not only look 
after their own sanitation and education but will also carry 


out many things which it is the function and the duty of the 
Government to do. If on the other hand the people are ever 
in want of money, far from being a helping hand to the 
Government they are a clog on the wheels of Government. 
For a people of a subject country poverty is the worst 
imaginable evil. Poverty brings about bad sanitation ; bad 
sanitation leads to ill-health ; ill-health stands in the way of 
education and leads to ignorance and weakness ; and ignorance 
and weakness are followed by poverty there is hardly any 
escape from this vicious circle. 

Dr. W. G. King, formerly a Sanitary Commissioner with 
the Government of Madras and Dr. W. J. Simpson, Professor 
of Hygiene, King's College, wrote a joint letter to the Times 
of London in January 1913 regarding the question of Indian 
sanitation. In that letter they complained that Reuter did 
not wire to the London papers Lord Pentland's address at the 
Madras Sanitary Conference and the part which Babu Moti 
Lai Ghose took in its proceedings. The doctors wrote that 
both His Excellency and Babu Moti Lai Ghose, who was a 
delegate from Bengal, pleaded that the sanitary condition of 
the rural population demanded greater attention than that of 
the urban, the latter urging that the people must first be 
saved from an appalling death-rate from preventible diseases 
and then educated. 

Following is an extract from the letter published in the 

"Sir We attempted in your issue of October 14 
to show the absurdity of a scheme advanced by the 
Government of India which would limit the executive 
sanitary service to municipalities, or 7 per cent, of the 
population, whilst the rural population, amounting to 
93 per cent, (or 227 millions) and admittedly suffering 
from an appalling death-rate from preventible disease, 
is, with a blind faith in academic methods, left to find 
salvation in education. 

"In your telegram of December 31, it is now 
reported that these opinions have evoked 'adverse 
criticism* in India. 


"It is, however, curious that in a telegram pur- 
porting to describe the Sanitary Conference at Madras 
and making special reference to 'adverse criticism' of 
our views, no reference is made to Lord Pentland's 
closing address, in which they were fully justified. He 
stated : 'In a country like this, where so large a 
percentage of the population live under rural conditions, 
there may be some danger that the clamant needs of 
the towns and centres of industry may over-shadow 
interests and wants. The importance of a pure water- 
supply and other essentials of health is as vital to the 
villages as it is to the large towns and cities.' 

"Further Babu Moti Lai Ghose, the editor of a 
well-known Indian journal, while stating that he yielded 
to none in his desire for spread of education, in assert- 
ing the rights of rural areas, twitted the President in 
an amusing parable of 'two wives' on his obvious dis- 
regard of the interests of practical sanitation, and 
appealed to him to 'show more substantial tokens of 

his love for his neglected wife Sanitation 

For, in one sense Sanitation demands more attention 
than Education.' He specially called attention to the 
unchecked loss of life as influencing adversely the 
economic advance of the country and he challenged that 
officer (the President) to show that Indians did not 
understand ordinary hygienic laws ; he maintained it 
was not academic ignorance of these laws which was 
at the root of the great mortality but the absence of 
practical sanitation as applied to communities. Such 
contentions but illustrate how deeply the Education 
Department has blundered in not distinguishing between 
personal hygiene and the sanitation of communities, and 
has aggravated this by insisting that the latter must 
wait for the development of the former at the hands of 
the school-master." 

It is certainly very gratifying to note that Babu Moti 
Lai's efforts in drawing the attention of the authorities to the 
sad condition of the rural population did not go in vain. 
Indeed all the points that he urged upon the President were 
more or less attended to. The necessity of supplying pure 
water and other essentials of health in rural areas was officially 
acknowledged in the Imperial and Provincial Budgets of the 
following year and considerable grants were made for the 
purpose. The Cess money was also transferred to the District 


Moti Lai's Note for Indianisation His Memorandum on the Services 
Press Opinion. 

A Royal Commission on Public Services in India came to 
this country in 1912-13. It was composed of Lord Islington, 
President ; Earl of Ronaldshay, Sir Murray Hammick, Sir 
Theodore Morrison, Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, Hon. Mr. W. 
C. Madge, Hon. Mr. G. K. Gokhale, Hon. Mr. B. Choubal, 
Mr. Justice Abdur Rahim, Mr. H. L. Fisher and Hon. Mr. 
P. G. Sly, Members. 

It may be remembered that it was the Public Services 
Commission of 1889 which had brought Moti Lai into promi- 
nence before the public eye. So it was expected that this 
time also he would take a prominent part. But in January, 
1913 when the Commission came to Calcutta Moti Lai had 
been lying ill and this prevented him from accepting the 
invitation of the Chairman of the Royal Public Services Com- 
mission to appear before the Commission in Calcutta for the 
purpose of giving oral evidence on the subject of the Indian 
and Provincial services. But in his written note and in the 
columns of the Amrita Bazar Patrika he emphasised the 
fact that in violation of Queen Victoria's famous Proclamation 
of 1858 Indians had been all but ostracized from all the higher 
appointments. He tried to impress upon the powers that be 
that there should be simultaneous examinations in England 
as well as in India for admission to the Covenanted Civil 
Service, that half the District Magistrateships and three-fourths 
of the District Judgeships should be reserved for the children 
of the soil, that two of the Secretaries to Government and all 
the Under-Secretaries should be Indians, that one of the 
Deputy Inspector-Generals of Police should be an Indian and 
that half the appointments of District Superintendents of 
Police should be reserved for our countrymen. 


Viewed from the modern political standpoint Moti Lai's 
demands appear to be too moderate, but in his time even these 
were considered as too much. 

Moti Lai submitted a lengthy memorandum on Indian 
and Provincial Civil Services to the Public Services Commission 
in 1913 when the Commission visited Calcutta. In his memo- 
randum he strongly supported simultaneous Civil Service 
examinations in England and India. He also suggested that 
if this measure could not be introduced the Statutory Civil 
Service should be revived on the competitive principle, that 
is, the method of recruitment should be open competitive 
examination, successful candidates being classified in one list 
according to merit and no difference being made between them 
and England passed Civilians in respect of pay, powers, 
pensions and status. 

Moti Lai also recommended a reduction of pay and number 
of Civilians. While arguing in favour of the reduction of pay 
he said that the highest pay of the members of the Ceylonese 
Civil Service was not more than Rs. 2,000 per mensem. He 
urged that India should be governed not only efficiently but 
also according to her means. He pointed out that the average 
annual income per head of the Indians was only between Rs. 24 
and Rs. 27 and so they were not fit to maintain such a costly 
public service as they were doing. He suggested that the 
crushing nature of the cost which the maintenance of the public 
services entailed on the people could be minimised by employ- 
ment of cheap indigenous talent more largely for carrying on 
the administration of the country, and by reducing the pay 
and number of foreign Civilians. He protested against the 
allegation of Civilian witnesses that the character of the Indian 
administration was English. He also said that English 
University education was not necessary to make good 
administrators in India. 

Moti Lai's memorandum created a flutter in official circles 
and it was heartily received by the Indian press. The Indian 
Daily News, then an influential Anglo-Indian daily paper 
published the memorandum in extenso and in course of its 


comments observed that "it gives the case for simultaneous 
examination as ably as we have seen it put." The Modern 
Review of Srijut Ramananda Chatterjee observed that "Babu 
Moti Lai Ghose's memorandum is a very able and convincing 
production." The Indian Patriot of Madras and the Indu 
Prokash of Bombay wrote long leaders in appreciation of the 
memorandum and Mr. D. E. Wacha of Bombay who was 
considered as an authority on most Indian questions wrote: 

"Babu Moti Lai has done rightly in going through 
the question. Mr. Dadabhoy has, I believe, written 
privately on this and pointed out how the drain arises 
and how it can be removed. Speaking personally for 
myself, I do say that the evidence of Babu Moti Lai 
is excellent, reasonable and elaborate." 

Moti Lai's memorandum, his answers to the questions and 
a long series of articles written by him on the subject and 
published as leaders in the Amrita Bazar Patrika, were after 
some time reprinted and sold in a book form. Within a few 
months of their publication all the copies were sold off. 

It seems Moti Lai's memorandum and articles in the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika had their desired effect to some extent 
at least. For in later years the principle of simultaneous Civil 
Service examinations in England and India was accepted by 
Government and at present the examinations for the Indian 
Civil Service are held both in England and in India. We are 
fondly looking forward to the day when the examinations will 
be held in India only. 


Barisal Conspiracy Case Police and C. I D. Criticised by Patrika Case 
Against Patrika for Commenting on Pending Proceedings Dismissed 
With Costs Anglo-Indian Press Comments. 

In May, 1913 appeared some editorial paragraphs and 
articles in the Amrita Bazar Patrika commenting on what was 
known as the Barisal Conspiracy Case in which as many as 
forty-four accused persons were charged under Section 121 A 
of the Indian Penal Code the comments were published at a 
time when the case was yet pending before the Additional 
Magistrate of Barisal. 

On the 1 2th May, 1913 Mr. Lionel Hewitt Colson, Special 
Superintendent, Intelligence Branch, Criminal Investigation 
Department, Indian Police Service, filed a petition of com- 
plaint in the Court of the Additional Magistrate of Barisal, 
alleging that one Girindra Mohan Das and forty-three others 
were guilty of offences under Section 121 A of the Indian Penal 
Code. The Magistrate, Mr. Nelson, examined the complainant 
on oath, recorded his deposition and directed certain warrants 
to be issued. In the meantime some editorial paragraphs and 
articles were published in the Amrita Bazar Patrika between 
i9th and 3oth May, commenting on the action of the Police 
in taking a photograph of one Narendra Mohan Sen, an 
accused in that case, while he was in the lock-up, refusal of 
the Court to give copies of the petition of complaint, sworn 
deposition of complainant and the Government sanction, to 
another accused named Sasanka Mohan Ghose, house-searches 
and arrests at Barisal and some other connected matters. 

Following are some extracts from one of the articles: 

"Three weeks ago we first heard of the alleged 
Barisal Conspiracy Case from a very high official. Our 
informant himself was not quite sure of the correctness 
of tis information which was based on rumour, though 


it seemed to him to be a well-founded one. He enquired 
of us if we knew anything about the matter, and we 
pleaded ignorance. We, however, told him that such 
a thing could not happen so long as Bengal was under 
the control of a Governor like Lord Carmichael ; for, 
His Excellency would never allow the peace of the 
province to be disturbed, which he has established by 
his tact, judgment and ardent sympathy. But it is now 
clear that we proved a false prophet ; and our deep 
disappointment at the institution of the case may better 
be imagined than described. 

"Fancy the sensational and terror-striking character 
of the present movements of the Criminal Intelligence 
Department. A number of the alleged accused were 
not hiding themselves like criminals but moving in 
society as honest people. One of them, we are told, 
is a Headmaster of a High School who was proceeding 
home to enjoy his summer holidays and was arrested 
in a railway train. Another, a school Pundit, was 
arrested while attending on his sick relations. A boy 
reading in the second class of the Sitakund School is 
also under Police custody ; and so is another boy who 
is a student of the Campbell Medical School living in 
Serpentine Lane, Calcutta. And so on. If these men 
and boys were really members of a dangerous conspiracy, 
it is reasonable to suppose that the fact would have 
oozed out and the school authorities or committees 
would have never permitted them to hold responsible 
posts or read in any Aided or Government schools. 
And why were they arrested clandestinely and put in 
hajat, without their or their friends knowing anything 
of the nature of the evidence the Police has got against 
them ? Such a procedure is bound to unsettle the public 

"Mark then the sense of proportion and propriety 
of the C. I. D. officials. The accused consisting of a 
few unarmed Bengalees, all under Police custody, were 
each of them surrounded by a separate batch of armed 
Gurkhas ! Was not this military demonstration perfectly 
unnecessary and quite ridiculous? We also learn that 
some of the accused were brought from Chittagong, 
Noakhali and other places to Barisal handcuffed and 
tied with a rope from behind. Why this needless 
cruelty? Are the suffragist conspirators being treated 
in this fashion in England? The only object it served 
was to strike terror among the people, which certainly 


is not calculated to evoke their affection for the 

"Fancy also the accused, including a school-boy 
reading in ther Second Class, charged with waging war 
against the King! Did they conspire to attack Fort 
William with Maxim Guns and Catlings? 

"Ponder, again, on the wide-spread nature of the 
alleged conspiracy. It extends from Chittagong to 
Calcutta. Houses in various parts of Backergung, 
Dacca, Chittagong, Noakhali and Calcutta have been 
searched, and we have no doubt other districts will in 
due course come in for their share of the trouble. And 
one wonders if a large number of people, if not the 
whole nation, will gradually be sought to be implicated 
in the conspiracy, and the whole country turned upside 
down ! 

"What is most incomprehensible to us is, why 
should the accused Bhadraloke dacoits be dealt with in 
a different manner from the professional dacoits. A 
dacoit is a dacoit whether he belongs to a respectable 
or a criminal class. The country is not sought to be 
convulsed by the display of military force or house- 
searches, when ordinary dacoits are hauled up by the 
Police ; nor are they tried by a Special Magistrate. 
Why could not this procedure be also adopted in regard 
to Bhadralokes, when they are charged with dacoity or 
any other serious crime ! And is it not unfair and 
unjust that an accused should be treated as a criminal 
of the worst type before he is put on his trial and con- 
victed? Why should the defendants in the present 
case, at least such of them against whom there is no 
positive evidence, be handcuffed, or refused bail, and 
made to rot in jail before they have been found guilty ? 

"We appeal to Lord Carmichael to go through the 
Police papers himself and study the matter with that 
serious and undivided attention which it deserves. 
Indeed, he has a grave responsibility in this connection. 
If His Excellency is convinced that a prima facie case 
has been made out, the accused must stand their trial. 
But in that case, every facility should be given to them 
to defend themselves. The odds are heavily against 
them. The prosecution will be backed by the unlimited 
resources of the Government ; but the poor wretches in 
the position of the defendants are not only without 
friends or funds, but their personal liberty has been 
taken away from them. The fight is thus most uneqttal, 
and the Government should give them every reasonable 


opportunity to clear their characters, if they are 
innocent. If we are correctly informed, in England the 
State provides legal help for undefended accused in 
important cases. Why should not our Government also 
follow the same generous policy by which it would raise 
itself in the estimation of the public?" 

The depth of feeling with which the above was written 
created a great impression. The public were indignant. 
Anglo-Indian papers fell foul of the Patrika and charged it 
with commenting on a case which was, according to them, 
sub judice and thus obstructing the course of justice ; and yet 
at the same time they justified the proceedings of the Police 
in arresting people and treating them like worst criminals, 
though they had not yet been tried and convicted. While the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika, in consonance with the principles of 
British jurisprudence, assumed the persons arrested as innocent 
till their guilt was established in a court of law and criticised 
the action of the Police for their treatment of these persons, 
Anglo-Indian papers which wanted the head of the Patrika on 
a charger defied those salutary principles of British jurispru- 
dence, assumed that the arrested persons were guilty and 
justified the action of the Police in treating the arrested 
persons in the way they had done. 

The authorities thought that they could not sleep over 
the matter. The Chief Secretary to the Government informed 
the editor of the Amrita Bazar Patrika that the report published 
in the paper alleging that a photograph was taken in the 
hajat of one of the arrested persons named Narendra Nath Sen 
was not correct. The letter of contradiction was published 
in the Patrika on the 24th May. 

Within a fortnight, to be more precise, on Friday the 
6th June, 1913 the Advocate General of Bengal (the Hon'ble 
Mr. G. H. B. Kenrick) with Mr. Buckland appeared before the 
Chief Justice (Sir Lawrence Jenkins) and Mr. Justice Asutosh 
Mukherjee in the Calcutta High Court and moved an applica- 
tion for the appointment of a Bench to hear an application 
for a rule to commit certain persons for contempt of court in 



respect of articles commenting on pending proceedings 
published in the Amrita Bazar Patrika. 

On Wednesday June 18, 1913 a Special Bench of the 
Calcutta High Court presided over by the Chief Justice (Sir 
Lawrence Jenkins), Mr. Justice Stephen and Mr. Justice 
Asutosh Mukherjee sat to hear the case. Babu Moti Lai Ghose 
as editor and manager and Babu Tarit Kanti Biswas as printer 
and publisher of the Amrita Bazar Patrika were called upon 
to show cause why they should not be committed to prison 
for contempt of court for publishing a series of articles com- 
menting on the case of Emperor v. Girindra Mohan Dass and 
others, better known as the Barisal Conspiracy case which was 
then pending before Mr. Nelson, Additional District Magistrate 
of Barisal. 

The Advocate General (the Hon'ble Mr. G. H. B. Kenrick) 
with Mr. Buckland represented the Crown. Mr. Jackson with 
Mr. St. John Stephen and Mr. K. N. Chaudhuri appeared for 
Babu Moti Lai Ghose ; Mr. B, Chakravarti with Mr. B. K. 
Lahiri, Mr. C. C. Ghose and Mr. J. C. Ghose represented Tarit 
Kanti Biswas. 

At the outset Mr. Jackson (popularly known as "Tiger" 
Jackson) wanted an adjournment till some day in the next 
week. "As a matter of fact," he said, "my client was served 
on Sunday in the train at Kurseong and I have not had time 
to look at anything. If your Lordships look at the array of 
books on the other side your Lordships will see that it is 
absolutely necessary that I should have time to look into the 
matter and prepare whatever is necessary to meet the 

The Advocate-General said that the whole of the proceed- 
ings were published in the Press on the 7th June and so Babu 
Moti Lai had information of the whole matter. He continued 
that on the isth June Babu Moti Lai Ghose was personally 
served. Clerks charged with effecting service came to know 
from the Calcutta office of the Amrita Bazar Patrika that 
Babu Moti Lai had gone to Darjeeling. So they went to 



Darjeeling and heard that he had left for Kurseong. They 
followed him to Kurseong and effected the service there. 

The Chief Justice said: I have had an opportunity of 
looking at your affidavits in this case and I cannot see any- 
thing which is legal evidence that Babu Moti Lai Ghose is 
the editor of the paper. 

Advocate-General : In the affidavit of service it appears 
that when they went to the office of the paper to enquire for 
Babu Moti Lai Ghose, the editor and manager of the paper, 
the sub-editor said, 'Yes, the editor and manager is in 

Chief Justice: That will not do at all. It is a very 
serious matter. I have noticed the petition and it did not 
occur to me that you rely on the petition as pledging the 
oath of the Legal Remembrancer that to his actual knowledge 
Babu Moti Lai Ghose was the editor and manager. 

Advocate-General : That is his information as it appears. 

Chief Justice: You cannot do that in a criminal matter. 

Advocate-General : I have got from the Registrar of 
Joint-Stock Companies the original Articles of Association of 
the Company which show that Babu Moti Lai Ghose is one 
of the Directors. 

Chief Justice : You got leave from us on a representation 
which was made in good faith that you have proof that Babu 
Moti Lai Ghose was the editor and manager. You have not 
got that evidence. 

Advocate-General : There were similar proceedings in 
this Court against Babu Moti Lai Ghose in which he did not 
deny that he was the manager. 

Chief Justice : You have got your leave on these! materials 
(pointing to the affidavits). If we find these materials do not 
justify that which is the essential fact in the case you cannot 
amplify that now. I am sure you do not want argument for 
that. That is elementary. 

Advocate-General: If your Lordships look at the affidavit 
of service it appears from the sub-editor himself. 


Chief Justice: Can you in a criminal matter use the 
information of a third party against the party impugned? 

Advocate-General: No. I agree with Your Lordship. 
I put it this way that having it on information that he is the 
editor and manager certainly it is for him to disprove that 
it is not a fact that he is the editor or manager. 

Chief Justice : How can a person be bound to deny that 
which is not evidence against him? 

Advocate-General: Your Lordships will allow me to put 
in a supplementary affidavit from the Registrar of Joint-Stock 
Companies with reference to Babu Moti Lai Ghose. 

Chief Justice: Nothing of that kind. 

Ultimately the motion as against Babu Moti Lai Ghose 
was dismissed with costs, the Chief Justice holding that 
"materials necessary to fasten responsibility on him were 
wholly wanting." The case against the printer and publisher 
was heard on its merits. That case also was dismissed with 
costs, the Judges holding that "in the present case no con- 
tempt justifying summary action on our part has been estab- 
lished." Justice Sir Asutosh Mukherjee observed, "In my 
opinion these articles plainly do not constitute a contempt of 
this Court." 

This case led to the introduction of the Contempt of 
Court Bill in the Supreme Legislative Council of India, which 
laid down that the name of the editor should be published 
in each issue of a journal edited by him. But before the Bill 
could be passed the Great War broke out and the matter was 
deferred till 1926. 

Though some of the Anglo-Indian papers had incited the 
Government to take action against the editor of the Amrita 
Bazar Patrika there were others who resented this. The 
Capital, then edited probably by the late Mr. Shearly 
Tremearne, wrote as follows on the result of the case : 

"Parturiunt monies, nasitur riduculus mus. No 
comment could be more appropriate than this old Latin 
tag to the failure of the official prosecution of the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika f for contempt for its articles 
deprecating the trial for conspiracy of certain bhadralogs 


of Barisal. Those articles were written in a heightened 
style, but we have within very recent times read articles 
in the London papers far more provocative of the worst 
passions of human nature and far more derogatory to 
the Government of the day. Of course it will be argued 
that India is not England and that what is inoccuous 
at Home is dangerous out here. Doubtless, but at the 
same time it must be remembered that the Indian Press 
is an offspring of the Press of Great Britain, and in 
the last degree imitative of the methods of its parents. 
Indian papers have learnt much from the way in which 
the journalistic opposition to Home Rule for Ireland 
has been conducted by Conservative papers in England 
and their Anglo-Indian gramophones. When these can 
curse and blaspheme with impunity, because they do 
not like a certain policy, which has the support of the 
majority in the House of Commons, and even go further 
and incite to armed rebellion, it is hard to blame an 
Indian paper for opposing with heated rhetoric a 
measure, which it rightly or wrongly, yet honestly, 
thinks will be subversive of the peace of the community. 

"We are delighted to accept as sound the law of 
the Chief Justice and his learned colleagues. It is a 
powerful vindication of the liberty of the Press, of 
which the Indian Bureaucracy are so jealous, and strive 
so hard to curtail. For all that we pity the journalist 
who would have the temerity to run an outspoken 
paper in Simla or Delhi as long as Sir Reginald Craddock 
remains in charge of the portfolio of the Home Depart- 
ment. It were better that he had never been born." 

The Indian Daily News, also edited by an Anglo-Indian 
commented on the case as follows : 

"The contempt case against the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika is of considerable importance to all newspapers, 
because it represents an oppressive method of procedure 

which has only been introduced of recent years 

This sort of legal bluff, as one may call it, began about 
the year 1903, and since then there has been' an incessant 
controversy between the lawyers and the newspapers as 
to what the lawyers called 'trial by newspapers.' The 
lawyers invented the idea that a twentieth century jury 
might be prejudiced by reading something whether 
true or not was immaterial about the prisoner. They 
proposed to stop all allusions to a current topic in the 

interest or supposed interest of justice The 

idea that publication in a newspaper of what everyone 
is saying is calculated to prejudice the trial or influence 


a jury or deter people from giving evidence is a relic 
of a time when the world was more ignorant than it is. 

Mr. Justice Phillimore ridiculed the idea 

of contempt and said that the world had gone mad about 
contempt. ..... We venture to say that the whole 

idea of 'trial by newspaper* is a legal fiction and that, 
in fact, neither the prisoner nor anyone else is ever 
injured by anything that is said. Juries are honest 
enough to see to that and the whole idea is based on 
improbabilities. " 

The Englishman, however, took a very adverse view of 
the judgment and wrote a long tirade against the High Court 
of Calcutta which according to that paper "had dealt a blow 
at the Government which had brought it into existence. " It 
considered the decision of the case as "heartening the 
Nationalists, and also the Extremists, who profit, naturally, 
from every victory won by the former." Wrote the 
Englishman, while commenting on this case : 

"The Amrita Bazar Patrika is certainly the best 
known among Europeans. It is considered both a bane 
and a blessing a bane, because, whether consciously 
or unconsciously, it seems to be always stirring the 
racial prejudice. But it is a blessing for two reasons. 
One of them, by no means to be neglected in a country 
which is wanting in humour, is its extreme pawkiness. 
There may be an appearance of mischief in its attacks 
upon the Government and upon official personages but 
these are generally delivered with so great a sense of 
the ridiculous and such a witty choice of language that 
even those who are hurt most cannot avoid laughter. 
The other reason why the Patrika is so largely read by 
Europeans is because of the violent honesty with which 
it is accustomed to reveal the faction fights and intrigues 
in the very party which it claims to represent. But for 
the Patrika the impression might have got abroad that the 
agitators were a united and formidable body under a strict 
sense of discipline and owing unquestioned obedience 
to a leader. Now we know that there is no discipline and 
no leader, and that petty jealousies and ambitions hamper 
the path of all the local Garibaldies. The Editor of the 
Patrika seemed to be a kind of mischievous sprite 
according to the High Court he is also a phantom without 
a name never so happy as when shooting arrows and 
quite indifferent whether he pierces friend or foe." 


The fact is that at the time when the Barisal Conspiracy 
Case and as a corollary to it the Amrita Bazar Patrika contempt 
case- were heard there was no law as now prescribing the 
name of the editor to be published in every issue of a news- 
paper, and as such the name of Babu Moti Lai Ghose did not 
appear anywhere in the paper as its editor, though as a matter 
of fact the public knew that he was the editor of the paper. 


Government's Educational Policy Moti Lai's Speech Public Activities 
Damodar Floods. 

In the middle of 1913 the Government of India wanted 
to introduce certain changes in the administration of the 
Calcutta University. The University Act of 1904 had set up 
the Executive Government above the body corporate of the 
Universities and had officialised them both in their inter- 
national constitution and external relations. A semblance of 
control and authority was left in the hand of the University 
under this Act of Lord Curzon. But in 1913 proposals were 
made for taking away from the University the little power 
that was left in its hand. It was proposed that the power of 
giving recognition to Secondary Schools be taken away from 
the University and the School Final be substituted for the 
Matriculation examination. The proposal raised a storm of 
protest in the country and meetings were held far and near 
disapproving of the proposed changes. 

In the columns of the Amrita Bazar Patrika it was 
written : 

"The new Educational policy means nothing but 
tightening the iron grip of officialdom and civiliandom, 
stunting of our manhood and disaster to the cause of 
the education of our children all along." 

On Monday the 28th of July a public meeting of the 
people of Bengal was held at the Town Hall of Calcutta to 


consider this new educational policy of the Government of 
India. Preparations for this meeting had been going on for 
long and protest meetings had been held in almost all the 
important districts and subdivisions of the presidency at which 
delegates were elected. On the motion of Dr. Rash Behari 
Ghose, Raja Peary Mohon Mukherjee of Uttarpara took the 
chair. Among the speakers there were Srijuts Bhupendra Nath 
Basu, Heramba Chandra Maitra, Byomcase Chakravarti, 
Ambica Charan Mazumdar, Surendra Nath Banerjea, Moti Lai 
Ghose, Hirendra Nath Datta, Dr. Nil Ratan Sircar and others. 
Several resolutions were passed protesting against the policy 
of thfi Government to exclude persons taking part in political 
movements from appointment as University professors, to 
interfere unnecessarily with the internal administration of 
the University and against other Government measures. 

Babu Moti Lai Ghose delivered a very highly interesting 
and humorous speech in seconding the resolution moved by 
Babu Surendra Nath Banerjea urging on the Government to 
abandon their scheme of transferring the power of recognition 
of Secondary Schools for the purposes of the Matriculation 
Examination from the University to the Local Government. 
He said : 

"The woman who professes greater love for a child 
than its mother is regarded as a witch. Is it not a 
queer phenomenon that alien officials should claim 
greater solicitude and greater tenderness for the welfare 
of our children than their own countrymen who are 
their natural guardians? We wonder how would the 
English people take it if a number of say Japanese 
officials were to tell them to place the education of 
English students in their hands and not in those of the 
English Universities. But everything is possible in 

Moti Lai's activities were now varied and multifarious. 
In the beginning of his career he was more or less confined to 
his desk and was averse to joining public meetings. But 
gradually he was dragged out of his editorial sanctum, and 
about the time of which I am writing he was associated with 
almost every matter in which the public were interested. Not 


only had he to attend public meetings and functions and speak 
to large audiences, he had also to serve in many Committees 
of public organisations or associations. It is not possible to 
describe in detail the functions which he had to attend or over 
which he had to preside. He was dragged from one end of 
the city to the other and had to visit the four corners of the 
city and its suburbs also in order to keep his public engage- 
ments. These included prize distributions in schools, anni- 
versaries of clubs, farewell or "at home" parties, educative 
lectures on social or political or other subjects, religious 
demonstrations, like Sankirtans, Puja, etc., demonstrations of 
physical feats and what not. The writer remembers to have 
attended many such functions with Moti Lai. One such func- 
tion which just comes up to my mind was held at Chandernagar 
where Moti Lai presided over the final game of the Bangiya 
Vel-dig-dig Pratiyogita or the Bengal Vel-dig-dig competition 
(V el-dig-dig or Hadu-dudu is an Indian game). And it was 
here that the writer who accompanied Moti Lai to Chander- 
nagar saw Moti Lai Ghose of the Patrika holding communion 
with Moti Lai Roy of the Prabartak (a Bengali periodical). 
Another such function (to mention one among a number) to 
which the writer accompanied Moti Lai was the demonstration 
lecture of Srijut Krishna Chandra Ghose Vedanta-chintamani 
on the subject of Sangiter Mukti Banam Sangiter Bandhan 
(i.e.,* Emancipation of Music Versus Confinement of Music). 
This was a lecture delivered at the pavilion of a Calcutta 
theatre by the above-named gentleman under the auspices of a 
society named Sangit-Parishad Vidyalaya, whose aim was to 
propagate classical Indian music amongst the Indian people. 
Moti Lai was a lover of classical music like Dhrupad and 
Kheyal, though he liked Kirtan also. And hence he was 
requested to preside over the meeting where this lecture was 
delivered. But space does not permit me to refer to many 
such meetings. I shall only refer to one incident during this 

The 8th of August, 1913 was a fateful day in the annals 
of Bengal. Owing to a sudden rise in the river Damodar 


there was a flood in Burdwan which rendered thousands upon 
thousands of men, women and children utterly destitute, 
railway lines were broken, cattle were washed away and houses 
collapsed in any number. So much so that the flood was 
described as an unprecedented one, it formed the topic of 
conversation in society, high or low, newspapers devoted 
column after column to the descriptions of the floods and 
appealed for funds for the relief of the distressed. Meetings 
were also held far and near with the object of raising funds. 
The floods created such a sensation that Matriculation and 
Intermediate examinees of the next term had essays written 
by their teachers on the subject and committed them to 
memory in expectation that they would be asked to write 
essays on the subject at their examinations. 

Relief work was undertaken vigorously by patriotic 
Bengalis. Babu Moti Lai Ghose wrote a series of articles on 
the floods in the Amrita Bazar Patrika appealing both to the 
Government and the people for giving succour to the flood- 
stricken. Several organisations were started for relief works 
and many existing organisations like, say, the Ramkrishna 
Mission took up the relief operations. A public meeting was 
held at the Town Hall of Bengal presided over by the then 
Governor of Bengal, Lord Carmichael. An Executive Com- 
mittee with Chief Justice Sir Lawrence Jenkins as President for 
raising funds in aid of the sufferers was formed. Moti Lai was 
one of the members of the Committee and spoke feelingly on 
the occasion appealing to the Governor to come forward to 
help the distressed. "May we hope," he asked the Governor, 
"that if we can raise one lakh of rupees the Government will 
be graciously pleased to add nine lakhs more to it from the 
public exchequer? My reply to those who say that the 
Government cannot spend the general tax-payers' money for 
such a purpose is ask the tax-paying public, take a plebescite 
among them, and I can guarantee that 99 per cent, of them 
will cheerfully permit the custodian of their money, the 
Government, to spend it freely for this good and noble cause.*' 
He also impressed upon the Governor the necessity of relax- 


ing the hard and fast rules of the sunset law in the case of 
the landlords affected by the flood. 

It may be said in passing that those were days when 
Governors and Chief Justices felt for the misery of the people 
whose destiny lay in their hands. They could freely mix with 
them and their leaders and in this respect Lord Carmichael 
and Sir Lawrence Jenkins were exemplary, so much so that 
Lord Carmichael opened the Swadeshi Mela at 172, Bowbazar 
Street on the 5th September, 1913 and in doing so delivered 
a long speech encouraging the use of Swadeshi goods. 


Moti L/al Co-operates with Government Recruiting Bengali Soldiers and 
Volunteers Braveries of Bengalis Recalled Disillusioned at the End 
of the War A Confirmed Opponent of Government. 

The Great War broke out in the middle of 1914. To be 
precise on the 4th of August, 1914 it was declared by His 
Majesty King George V that England was now at war with 
Germany. The whole of India was at once thrown into a state 
of excitement. The War became the chief topic of conversa- 
tion among all classes of people and the journalists were no 
exception to the rule. As a matter of fact it was through the 
newspapers that people came to know of the war and to the 
newspapers they went for knowing more and more about the 
day to day progress of the war. 

Within a fortnight after the declaration of the War a 
meeting of all sections of Indians, chief among whom were 
Hindus, Mahomedans and Parsis, residing in Calcutta and 
suburbs was held in the Calcutta Town Hall under the 
presidentship of Maharajadhiraj Bejoy Chand Mahatap Bahadur 
of Burdwan to give expression to their feeling of loyalty and 
offer their services in the defence of the Empire. 


The Raja of Kakina moved a resolution for co-operation 
with the Government in the defence of the Empire and asking 
Indians to enlist as Volunteers. Moti Lai, whose motto had 
been to oppose and oppose the Government, thought that this 
was an occasion when Indians ought to co-operate with the 
Government. So he supported the motion of the Raja of 
Kakina. He called upon the Government to permit Indians 
to be enlisted as volunteers. He said : 

"The reason why Indians were not allowed to enlist 
themselves as volunteers was not their unfitness but 
because they were not trusted. It was the Bengalees 
who first invited the present rulers to this country and 
it was with their help that the East India Company 
conquered Bengal and Behar. The rulers had, there- 
fore, no ground to suspect the Indians. Here was an 
opportunity for the wise rulers to establish the British 
rule permanently on the hearts of the people by con- 
ferring on them the privilege of enlisting themselves as 
volunteers for the defence of the Empire." 

The Government were slow to accept Babu Moti Lai's 
advice. They damped the enthusiasm of the people by 
refusing to allow them the privilege of being volunteers though 
they had wanted to serve as such. They, however, agreed to 
utilize the services of 2000 Bengali youths for an ambulance 
corps. It was after a good deal of agitation that good counsel 
prevailed and the Government consented to form a Bengali 

Babu Moti Lai Ghose was one of the members of the 
Executive Committee formed to invite recruits and take steps 
for the organisation of the Bengalee Double Company. Dr. S. 
K. Mullick who was the Secretary of this Committee often used 
to meet Babu Moti Lai and hold consultations with him 
regarding the work of recruitment. Dr. Mullick's indefatig- 
able energy resulted in the recruitment of a substantial 
number of Bengali bhadraloks who went to the actual war- 
front and proved that Bengal could help the Empire not with 
money but with men also. Recruitment meetings were held 
here, there and everywhere. Moti Lai addressed many of 
these meetings or presided over them. To give a hearty send- 


off to the first batch of Bengali soldiers and for recruitment 
of fresh batches a crowded meeting was held at the Star 
Theatre, Calcutta about the middle of September in 1916 under 
the presidency of Babu Moti Lai Ghose. The enthusiasm 
among the people was so very great that the seats were 
occupied long before the advertised hour and a few minutes 
before the proceedings commenced the spacious auditorium 
was over-crowded, there being not even standing room. Babu 
Moti Lai Ghose delivered a long speech. The letter issued 
over the signatures of Messrs. B. Chakravarti, C. R. Das and 
J. Chaudlmry inviting recruits began thus: 

"This is the first time in the history of British rule 
in India that the Government has decided to admit 
Bengalis into the army." 

This statement, said Babu Moti Lai, was not correct. He 
quoted Heber's Indian Journal (1824-25) to show that "that 
little army with which Lord Clive did such wonders was raised 
chiefly from Bengal.*' It was thus the Bengalis, who, he 
said, had played such ari important part in securing the Empire 
of India to the present rulers of the country. Moti Lai also 
quoted Walter Hamilton's Gazetteer of 1815, which said : 

"The native Bengalis are generally stigmatised as 
pusillanimous and cowardly ; but it should not be 
forgotten that at an early period of our military history 
in India, they almost formed several of our battalions, 
and distinguished themselves as brave and active 

If Bengal, continued Babu Moti Lai, could furnish in 
1765 "battalions which distinguished themselves as brave and 
active soldiers" there was no reason why she would not be 
able to do so in 1916. He quoted the instance of three brave 
Bengalees the late Babu Peary Mohan Banerjee, known as the 
fighting Munsiff, who did immense service to the British cause 
during the Sepoy mutiny as the leader of a military force he 
had himself raised, the late Babu Suresh Chandra Biswas who 
began as a Private in the Brazilian army and rose to the 
position of a Colonel for his bravery and heroism and last, 
but not the least, the Bengali youth Jogendra Nath Sen of 


Chandernagore who entered as a Private in a British regiment 
during the then present war and died in France in a trench. 
He exhorted the youngmen to follow the teachings of the 
Geeta and come forward to join the army in hundreds and 
thousands. At the end of his speech he quoted a passage from 
Colonel Leslie's address to the Eurasians in which he had cried 
shame upon that community for failing to find 240 Anglo- 
Indian recruits for His Majesty's forces and he declared that 
it were better that the whole Bengali race were drowned in 
the high sea than that such humiliating words should be 
addressed to them. 

Moti Lai was closely associated with Dr. S. K. Mullick 
in his activities in connection with raising volunteers from 
Bengal for going to the War. In fact he attended and 
addressed many recruiting meetings. Bengalees, he had all 
along maintained, had been a brave people, and here was, he 
said, an opportunity of proving this to the hilt. Like Mahatma 
Gandhi and many other Indian leaders he firmly believed in 
the assurances given from responsible quarters that if India 
helped Britain in her hour of need her services would not go 
unrewarded. He could never conceive that as the war would 
be over England would resume her own form, as the saying 
goes in Bengal, and, thus, he whole-heartedly co-operated 
with the Government in their activities in connection with the 
War. But, alas ! like many other leaders of India he was also 
subsequently disillusioned and his faith in the uttered avoca- 
tions of the Government was rudely shaken. He was at heart 
a non-co-operator with the Government from the very begin- 
ning ; for a time, during their days of distress, he co-operated 
with them whole-heartedly ; but when returning prosperity 
made them practically withdraw their promises, Moti Lai 
became a confirmed non-co-operator. Oppose, oppose and 
oppose the Government had been his motto and this he 
maintained to the last. 

In this connection I remember a very interesting conver- 
sation that I had with him. Once I asked him "Why do you 
oppose the Government at every step? Don't you think they 


can do any good to us?" "Circumstanced as they are, I 
don't think they can and hence I am for criticising all 
measures of the Government good, bad or indifferent," said 
he. "Criticise the bad measures by all means but why do 
you criticise even the good measures? Suppose, the Govern- 
ment decide upon opening a new hospital for Indians or a 
new bridge on a railway, which are manifestly good measures 
how can you criticise them?" 

"You have yet to learn," said he. "If the Government 
decide upon opening a new hospital we should be careful to 
see that it is not made for the purpose of providing employ- 
ment to British doctors and Anglo-Indian nurses or pushing 
in India medicines manufactured in Great Britain. Again, if 
the Government are going to construct new bridges or railways 
I can swear orders will be placed for materials to British firms 
providing employment for British engineers and contractors. 
I can never forget that Britain is governing India not for the 
latter's interest but in the interest of the British people. So 
measures appearing to be beneficial when viewed superficially, 
may be really injurious to our country." 


Moti Lai's Routine of Work Regular In Every thing Moti Lai and the 

Since 1914, young as I was, I had been the constant 
companion of Moti Lai. I was born (in 1897) in the house 
(2, Ananda Chatterjee Lane, Baghbazar) where he lived from 
1874 till his death and I was brought up in that house under 
his grand-fatherly care. I had seen him work day to day from 
morn till night. He did everything according to strict routine. 
In my younger days I had slept in the same bed with him. 
Latterly I slept in the same room with him. He used 


to go to bed very late in the night and before sleeping* 
would sit up in bed for long, as he suffered from Insomnia 
and sometimes from Asthma, and therefore he would get up 
from bed very late. But latterly he was not suffering from 
Insomnia and hence he went to bed early and would get up 
early in the morning and go to the banks of the Ganges and 
stroll about there for an hour. On returning home he would 
read the daily newspapers and before 9 A.M. he would begin 
writing articles for the Patrika. He would write upto 
10 or ii A.M. and then bathe and take his meal. He was 
a great advocate of walking and bathing. Before the bath 
he would carefully rub mustard oil over his body and to every 
European with whom he became intimate he recommended 
this along with the wearing of dhoti and chudder. 

After his morning meal though his home was his office 
he did not take any nap but would begin writing at once. 
In this way he would write upto 4 or 5 P.M. when he would 
go out either for a walk or for attending meetings. Through- 
out the day he was pestered with visitors and he was never 
"not at home." Though very busy he would give a patient 
hearing to everybody, rich and poor alike, who came to him 
for advice or assistance. He was never a rich man, but his 
wants were few. He had no luxury or hobby over which to 
spend money. He was a perfect teetotaler and took one or 
two betel-leaves only after taking his meals. 

Moti L,al's favourite resort in the evening was the Ganges 
side, but latterly it became too much crowded with people. 
So he changed his venue and in the evening would go either 
to the Cornwallis, College or Dalhousie Square or the Maidan. 
He would count the number of times he walked round the 
square so that he might know how many miles he had walked. 
Latterly, when for ill-health he could not go out to any of 
the squares or parks he would walk for hours on the verandah 
of his house. 

No one, they say, is a hero to his valet. So Moti I^al 
Ghose with whom I was associated from my birth in 1897 
to his death in 1922, t.e., for a period of 25 years, cannot be 


a hero to me. I had the opportunity of looking to his fail- 
ings as very few others had and so there were times when 
1 thought that he was an ordinary mediocre man. But in 
order to understand a man one must be either superior to 
him or at least equal to him in greatness and thus it was 
that I could not on many occasions understand him. I found 
him almost always deeply immersed in his work in connection 
with the Amrita Bazar Patrika. So, I was not a little 
surprised when on a certain day while I was reading aloud 
Spencer's doctrine of subspecie eternie from my text book for 
the B.A. examination he heard me for some time and explained 
the thing in a way which few Professors of Philosophy could 
have done. He was raised in my estimation. Since then 
while preparing his biography I had to study many of his 
writings and now I have come to realise how vastly learned 
he was and what a great thinker he was and it would be no 
exaggeration to say that I have come to regard him as a hero. 
I was his constant companion for many years : when boys 
of my age were playing football or tennis in the afternoons 
I was writing articles under his dictation or accompanying 
him to political meetings. Often I revolted, he saw through 
it and admonished me by saying, "If you are associating with 
me you are learning many things which will stand you in 
good stead in after life." A large number of his articles and 
correspondence were dictated to me. In fact a major portion 
of his speech at Krishnagar, of which I shall write afterwards, 
was written by me under his dictation. He dictated for a 
few hours daily for days together. On one occasion I revolted. 
I meekly submitted that I had some home-tasks given by our 
Professor of English and so had not much time at any disposal. 
"Have you no pity for this old man?" he flared up, "I don't 
require your help." I left my pencil and came away. But 
soon I was filled with remorse and went to assist him again. 


A Railway Incident "A Native Calls Me A Native" Black Swine and 
White Swine. 

I read with considerable interest and indignation the 
account published a few years ago in the Patrika of the way 
in which two highly placed respectable Indian officials were 
sought to be insulted by a white planter and his Manager at 
the Patna Railway Station. Incidents like the above were 
things of common occurrence in India and if all of them 
were reported newspaper columns would have been daily filled 
up only with these. The incident reminded me of a similar 
one in the life of my late lamented grandfather Babu Moti Lai 
Ghose of revered memory which like many other incidents 
of his life, significant or insignificant, had not been published 
anywhere. I had it treasured up in my breast as I heard him 
often narrate the story to his intimate friends, though he did 
not publish it in any paper. I published this incident in the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika sometime after his death. 

The story is this. It occurred within the last decade of 
Moti Lai's life. He was returning to Calcutta from Deoghur 
where he had gone for a change of air. At the Jasidih 
station (then named as Baidyanath Junction) he got into a 
Second Class compartment. He found it occupied by a middle- 
aged white man whom he took to be an Englishman and an 
old lady, apparently a relation of his. No sooner had he 
entered the carriage than the Saheb exclaimed, "Who are 
you? Why do you come here?" With his characteristic 
good humour Moti Lai replied, "I am a gentleman ; I have 
come to travel?" "Why have you come here? This is for 
Europeans only. You better go to the Inter Class,"- said 
the Saheb. Moti Lai answered, "Well, this compartment is 
not reserved for Europeans. Moreover when I have got a 
ticket for the Second Class why should I go to the Inter Class?" 


"Well, you won't go, then I shall chuck you out," said the 
Saheb gruffly. "Very well, I take my seat here, try to chuck 
me out if you can" with this Babu Moti Lai calmly took 
his seat on the bench. Now, imagine the situation. Moti 
Lai was a lean old man at that time. But his opponent was 
a man in the prime of his youth and white-skinned to boot. 
Considering the numberless precedents of poor Indians 
"possessing enlarged spleens which were always susceptible to 
rupture even from the least powerful stimulus" this throwing 
out of a challenge was a rather dangerous act for Babu Moti 
Lai. The Saheb however understood that at last he had caught 
a Tartar and did not make any more "golmal." 

But as ill-luck would have it at this time out came from 
the water-closet a young lady, apparently the wife of the 
Saheb, and finding Moti Lai in the compartment she looked 
askance at him and frowned and said, "Well, what brings 
you here?" Moti Lai replied, "Madam, I have come to 
travel." She asked, "How far are you going?" "I am going 
to Calcutta," was the reply. "To Calcutta! my goodness!" 
exclaimed the lady, "such a long distance with a native ! You 
better go to some other compartment." With a smile in his 
face Moti Lai said, "Madam, why do you hate me so much? 
If I am a native you are also a native." "What, what, 
a native! I am a native?" she shrieked out as if she had 
trodden upon a snake, "Well Jack, see, a native calls me a 
native." "Yes, Madam, what I have said is quite true. If 
I am a native of India you are also a native of England," 
said Moti Lai. "But, but," screamed out the lady moving 
her hand in the air, "but you are a black swine." "That 
does not make much difference ; if I am a black swine you 
are a white swine!" retorted Moti Lai characteristically. 

The train was all this time stopping at the station and a 
large number of men had assembled on the platform in front 
of the compartment. The European trio now found that it 
was difficult to fight with this Bengalee gentleman and they 
called aloud for the Station Master. When he came the 
European said to him that this Indian had insulted a European 


lady by calling her a "native." Moti Lai also complained 
against the European and his wife ; he said that the former had 
threatened him by saying that he would chuck him out and 
the latter had grossly insulted him by calling him a "black 
swine." The train was to have stopped there only for 
10 minutes ; but the hue and cry made her wait for some time 

By the bye, the Station Master, an Indian gentleman, 
knew Babu Moti Lai very well and was not only a constant 
reader of the Amrita Bazar Patrika which was then edited by 
him, but was one amongst his numerous admirers. He at once 
requested Babu Moti Lai to come and occupy a First Class 
compartment ; and after hearing the whole story from those 
who had assembled there he wired the substance of it to the 
Station Master of Madhupur. Before leaving the compartment 
Moti Lai asked the European tQ give him his name and address, 
but the Saheb had locked up his mouth for ever and did not 
utter a single word even when asked by the Station Master 
in his official capacity to give his name and address. 

Now when the train reached Madhupur, the station next 
to Jasidih, the platform was found packed with the Railway 
police and as soon as the train stopped the Station Master, 
a European, came to Moti Lai in his new compartment and 
inquired of him if he had any inconvenience there. "No, 
thank you," said Moti Lai, "that European lady's unwilling- 
ness to travel with a native has made me much comfortable 
here.*' But lo, what did the Station Master do? He at once 
went near the compartment in which the European gentleman 
and the two ladies were travelling and ushered a good many 
Indians into the compartment so that it was packed up and 
all were Indians there save and except the European trio. 
Many passengers had by this time understood what the matter 
was and many came to Moti Lai and requested him to go and 
see with his own eyes the plight of the trio, but Moti Lai 
politely declined to do so. He, however, requested some 
gentlemen to keep an eye on the European and try to get his 


name and address. But the Saheb would never disclose his 

At Burdwan the Saheb and the Memsahebs got down and 
were about to go away. On seeing this Moti Lai came out 
of his compartment and asked some gentleman to get the 
Saheb's name and address ; but the Saheb was silent as ever. 
Moti Lai noticed that when going out of the platform the 
European showed a pass-ticket to the ticket collector at the 
gate. At once he sent a man to the ticket-collector from whom 
it was ascertained that the name of the European was Mr. 
M D 1 and he was an employee of the East Indian Railway 

After coming to Calcutta Moti Lai wrote a letter in his 
characteristic humorous style describing this incident to the 
then Agent of the E. I. Railway, who after a sifting enquiry 
into the matter wrote in reply that the employee in question had 
been punished for his incivility. 

How I wish I had kept a copy of Moti Lai's letter to the 
Agent, so that I might give the whole story to the readers in 
his inimitable style ! 


Encomiums by Surendra Nath and S. N. Mukherjee Some Points From 
Moti Lai's Presidential Address A Programme of WorkAttitude of 
Indian Press How Our Ancestors Lived Some Crying Needs Moti 
Lai's Scheme And Non-Co-Operation Movement Compared Factory 
System Not Good For India The Humble Charka Versus the Magni- 
ficent Mill. 

In recognition of the services he had done to his country 
the people of Bengal elected Babu Moti Lai Ghose President 
of the Bengal Provincial Conference in April, 1915. Rai 
Prasanna Coomar Bose Bahadur, a leading member of the 
Krishnagar Bar and an old friend of Moti Lai, was the Chairman 
of the Reception Committee. 

When the conference assembled Babu Surendra Nath 
Banerjea proposed Babu Moti Lai Ghose to the chair. In doing 
so he said : 

"You who are now to occupy the presidential chair 
are one of the last survivors of the great race who have 
made Bengal what she is today. Your name will go 
down along with those of Monmohon Ghose, Lai Mohon 
Ghose, W. C. Bannerjea and others to remote posterity, 
as one of the founders of modern Bengal (cheers). In 
inviting you to occupy the presidential chair, we honour 
ourselves. The history of this time will place you in 
the front rank of our public men. 

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Babu Moti Lai Ghose is 
a veteran journalist, a greater veteran than myself. 
Render unto Caeser the things that are Caeser's. He 
is in the forefront of our public life. His grasp of 
public questions is phenomenal. His treatment of them 
is marked by a fervour of patriotism and keenness of 
insight that extorts the admiration of friends and foes 
alike. I was having a talk with one of the highest 
officials I am precluded from giving you the name but 
not the substance of the conversation I was having a 
talk with one of the highest officials and he told me 
my friend will feel a flush and glow of pride 'I read 
the Patrika very carefully ; I read it because the PaMka 

Moti Lai Ghose 


( To Face pafe 230 


sets forth the views from a standpoint very different from 
our own. We want to know exactly what the opposite 
side has got to say in matters of administration.' No 
greater praise could be bestowed upon a journalist. . . . 
In the critical position in which we stand today 
we need the wisdom and statesmanlike guidance of men 
like Babu Moti Lai Ghose." 

Babu Sachindra Nath Mukherjee, Vakil, Calcutta High 
Court in supporting the election of Babu Moti Lai Ghose 
delivered an eloquent speech, in course of which he said ; 

"Gentlemen, Babu Moti Lai Ghose would long ago, 
have been acclaimed, or for the matter of that he would 
long ago have become the President of the National 
Congress by the united suffrage of his countrymen, but 
what with his innate modesty, the sweetness and gentle- 
ness of his disposition that shrink instinctively from the 
dazzling glare of the footlights and his utter unobstru- 
siveness, it has been supremely difficult to draw him 
away from the cloistered seclusion of his editorial 
sanctum. The Council Chamber, the Municipal Board 
and other paraphernalia of our public life know him not, 
for he has never aspired to radiate in those spheres the 
sunshine of his sturdy and vigorous personality. He has 
too high a regard for, too lofty a conception of, his duty 
as a journalist, for in that capacity he is the every day 
counsellor of the Government, and what is more, the 
instructor of his people upon whose words hung 
thousands of his countrymen in respectful attention. He 
has identified himself whole-heartedly, with all the 
ardour of his being, the depth and intensity of his soul, 
with his paper, the Amrita Bazar Patrika, a name 
that is one to conjure with in the field of Indian journal- 
ism, which stands in the forefront in the rank of the 
accredited organs of Indian public opinion, that jealous 
and Argus-eyed guardian of popular privileges, that 
faithful exponent of popular views and aspirations, that 

stoutest champion of popular rights and liberties 

But Moti Lai Ghose is our political sage, whose inspiring 
words of advice and guidance keep the nation in the 
straight path of duty. He is again our scarred veteran, 
the hero of a hundred fights, whose brow is furrowed 
with lines of anxious care for his country, in whose head 
flow the silvery locks of mature judgment, the veteran 
fighter whose pen is, indeed, mightier than the sword 
and whose argument is more potent, more invincible in 
its effect than the javelin or the spear." 


In the course of his presidential address at the Bengal 
Provincial Conference held at Krishnagar in the year 1915 
Mod Lai said that in order to improve onr condition, we should 
give up internecine quarrels and party feeling which were the 
curse of our country. In free countries rivals fight political 
battles, but here we had no such necessity and our first duty 
was to put our own house in order. In stead of depending 
upon Government for the removal of our wants and grievances 
we should remove them ourselves. By so doing we would 
practically be free if only we gave up litigation and foreign 

He then suggested a plan of work for putting our house 
in order, i.e., educating people to have recourse to such means 
as would make them free. This was nothing but political 
agitation throughout the length and breadth of the country. 
As to how the agitation should be carried on he said : 

"Let each District carry out the following programme of 
works : 

(1) The spread of Swadeshi or National feeling ; the 

purchase of India-made things even at a sacrifice ; 
the encouragement and development of indigenous 
home industries and agricultural reforms. 

(2) Education of the masses by pamphlets, speeches and 


(3) The arrest and termination, as far as possible of 

internecine quarrels by arbitration courts as well 
as by the efforts of missionaries, honorary or paid, 
appointed for the purpose of preaching nationalism. 

(4) Education, both general and technical on national 

lines, as far as that is possible. 

(5) Sanitation. 

(6) Instructions for economical living. 

(7) Possible social reforms. 

(8) Promotion of good feelings between Hindus and 


Our attitude to the Government should be, he said, like 
that "inaugurated by such stalwarts as Messrs. Hume, Dadabhai 
Naoroji, W. C. Bonnerjee, etc., namely, constitutional opposi- 
tion, as a rule, and co-operation only when to the best interests 
of the country." 


As to the attitude of the Indian Press and other Indian 
public bodies towards the Government he quoted the following 
from the writing (in 1884) of a civilian, Sir C. C. Stevens 
(afterwards Lieutenant Governor of Bengal) : 

"The position of the Native Press must necessarily 
be peculiar. It must, from the nature of things, be 
always in oppsition. If we found a Native paper con- 
stantly expatiating on the blessings of English rule, on 
the unmixed advantages of western civilization, and on 
the administrative and private virtues of English officials, 
we think we should not respect the editor or his staff the 
more for it. We should think him a hypocrite who was 
playing what he considered to be a paying game, and we 
should look to see what reward he might obtain. Such 
a newspaper would neither interest, nor be respected by, 
Native or European readers. We must, therefore, look 
to Native writers for criticism of Government measures 
and of Government servants ; and it must not be a matter 
of surprise if we find them advocating Native interests 
and seeking fields for Native ambition. This being so, 
I think that all we have to expect of the Native Press 
is that it shall discharge the duties of an opposition 
honestly and with moderation ; that it shall refrain from 
malicious attacks ; that it shall not strain facts or argu- 
ments in support of foregone conclusions ; that it shall 
not throw itself open to be used for purposes of private 
revenge, and that care shall be taken to ascertain and to 
report the truth." 

He then appealed to the audience to return to the life of 
our ancestors, give up luxuries and be economical. He said : 

"Litigation was unknown among our ancestors ; why 
should we not then be able to at least minimise, if not 
altogether remove, its disastrous effects? If we are 
satisfied with the humble tenour of our life, we can do 
away with the necessity of depending upon foreign 
articles. Our people once controlled the yarn industry of 
the country by the universal use of the charka in 
every house, rich or poor. Not many generations ago, 
we made our own metallic utensils and vessels ; we made 
our own bangles ; we made our own goor and salt : why 
should we not be able to do all these and many other 
things again?" 
As to economical living he said : 

"For the regeneration of the country we must live a 
simple life and rely mainly on our own resources and 


exertions, which means that we must nationalise our 
mode of life as thoroughly as possible. Why do we use 
costly coats, boots and sometimes hats, when our fore- 
fathers, though shoeless, coatless and hatless, were far 
more healthy and robust than we are ? Luxury does not 
suit a poor and starving people. Similarly, we must 
nationalise all other important concerns of our domestic 
life, educational, industrial, sanitary and social." 

He then drew a picture of how prosperous Bengal was 60 
or 70 years ago (i.e., about 1845-55) and gave a dismal picture 
of our present and future. 

He gave a description of the havoc which the scourge of 
Malaria was doing in Bengal. "The very existence of the 
nation rests on the solution of the malaria problem. The im- 
provement of village sanitation, therefore, demands the first 
consideration of the people and the authorities." Poverty of 
the people and defective drainage, he said, were the main 
causes of Malaria. 

Rural Drainage, Water Supply and other sanitary improve- 
ments formed the next subject matter of his speech. "Sanita- 
tion first, education afterwards" he said : 

"No one is a more earnest advocate of mass educa- 
tion than my humble self ; yet I am compelled to say 
sanitation first and education afterwards under existing 
circumstances, though I am aware that education 
indirectly helps sanitation. For, who would enjoy the 
blessings of education if the people were dead or in a 
dying state? Education can wait, but not sanitation. 
Of course, it goes without saying that if we could have 
both together by our communal efforts and State aid, 
nothing could be better or more welcome." 

Indeed, unless one gets a good health what will one's 
education do to one? He thus urged for open-air schools and 
sanatoria for students. 

Some districts of Bengal were at this time going to be 
partitioned by the authorities ; he strongly protested against 
this. We were 'over-governed', he said, and the price we had 
to pay for the administration was almost crushing. If the 
districts were again divided we should have to undergo 
additional costs. 


He then went on to show how the money derived from 
the Road Cess and the Public Works Cess was being misspent 
and he suggested that they should be spent only for the purpose 
for which they were realised. 

He continued that the villagers should be given the right 
to use fire-arms to protect themselves from armed dacoits and 
wild animals. 

He then pointed out that it was high time that the Indians 
were given self-government. 

Moti Lai concluded his address with a spirited appeal to 
the younger generation of his countrymen to shake off their 
lethargy and be up and doing for the cause of the country. 

In an appendix to the speech he gave a history of the Road 
Cess in Bengal and showed that the Cess fund absolutely 
belonged to the people, and that the diversion of the fund was 
not legitimate. He also showed that the cesses were a violation 
of the pledges given by the Permanent Settlement of 1793. 

Anyone who peruses Moti Lai's Krishnagar speech will 
at once see that Moti Lai was a master of style and he knew 
how to appeal to his audience. Though a difficult one his 
subject matter was made easy by virtue of the plain language 
in which he wrote. His sentences were crisp short, well- 
balanced and devoid of involved constructions. Simplicity was 
his rhetoric. 

From this speech also it is apparent what a practical- 
minded man he was. He was not an idealist giving schemes 
which though theoretically sound very well are impracticable. 
On the contrary his scheme was definite and practicable. He 
had a thorough grasp of his subject and thus had not to ramble 
about. The main point of his speech was that it was useless 
to cry for help from Government. To do so would be to cry 
in the wilderness. So in stead of doing that the people should 
go on doing their own works. They should try to improve 
their conditions. They should not go to the law courts of 
the Government, but should settle their affairs out of court 
either themselves or through arbitration courts or punchayets. 


They should not drink intoxicants, and should improve their 
industries and agriculture. 

If we analyse the Non-co-operation Movement which 
Mahatma Gandhi inaugurated later on we find that the main 
points of this movement were : 

1. Boycott of Councils. 

2. Boycott of Law Courts and promotion of Arbitration 


3. Boycott of Government Schools and colleges and 

opening of national schools. 

4. Boycott of foreign goods, and especially cloth, and 

encouragement of indigenous home-spun (Khaddar) 
and other Swadeshi articles. 

5. Giving up of Honours and Titles, conferred by the 


6. Withdrawal from Police, Military and other Govern- 

ment services. 

7. Suspension of Taxes. 

If these, said Mahatma Gandhi, were strictly adhered to 
Swaraj would be near our hands. 

Now, what did Motilal say? If we compare the views of 
the two point by point we find a strange similarity between 

1. As to Boycott of Councils, when Moti Lai delivered 
his speech at Krishnagar no such question could arise. It was 
before the inauguration of the Montagu Chelmsford Reforms 
and strictly speaking there were no Councils at that time where 
people's representatives could sit. 

Later, however, when Mr. T. Prakasam of Madras and 
Mr. V. J. Patel (afterwards President of the Indian Legislative 
Assembly) came to see him in his sick bed and sought his 
opinion on the point he warned them against the "insidious 
poison" of the Council Chamber, which according to him was 
a delusion and a snare. Like Mahatma Gandhi he always kept 
himself away from the Council Chamber. 

2. Boycott of Law Courts time and again Moti Lai had 
advocated it. Not in his speeches only but in his paper the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika as also in private conversations he had 


all along been asking his countrymen not to go to the Law 
Courts. I quote the following from his Krishnagar speech : 

"As a matter of fact, we can secure almost our full 
personal liberty only by giving up litigation and foreign 
goods. When we are at home, we are as free as English- 
men themselves. But the moment we enter the precincts 
of a court house, we feel that we are in a different 
environment and we are breathing a different atmosphere. 
It is then that we are reminded of our utter helplessness 
and also of the lordly majesty of the Judge, the Magis- 
trate, the Police officers, nay, even of the constable and 
the peon, armed as they all are with more or less of 
punitive power. Indeed, the paraphernalia of the courts 
and offices are bound to produce a most chilling and 
emasculating effect even upon the stoutest heart. Why 
should we seek these demoralizing influences when we 
can avoid many of them by care and prudence? 
Similarly, on no occasion should we feel our worthless- 
ness more acutely than when we have to use an article 
of foreign manufacture. What could be more humiliat- 
ing than that we should have to go naked and eat our 
food without salt if Manchester were to cease sending 
us her cloths and Liverpool her salt?" 

Instead of the present Law Courts he suggested the re- 
establishment of our old punchayet system. 

3 & 4. As regards the next two items of the Non-co- 
operation Movement, viz., giving up Government schools and 
opening national schools, and boycotting foreign goods and 
clothes and encouraging indigenous produce and clothes, Moti 
Lai had been advocating these for a long time. 

He was also very much against the system of education 
which was followed by Government. He advocated the forma- 
tion of a non-official Committee to enquire into the conditions 
prevailing among the students. He said : 

"The first duty of such a Committee, then, should be 
to devise a system of examination that will, while effi- 
ciently testing the knowledge of the examinees, operate 
with the minimum of hardship on their delicate and 
debilitated physique. The dreadful system which makes 
one single final examination the sole arbiter of their 
academic destinies should, by all means, be abolished. 
This is the bugbear that robs their tender constitutions 
of half their sleep and appetite and almost all the recrea- 


tion necessary to keep the average human being in health. 
Even if all the toil and trouble of the anxious and over- 
worked examinee be crowned with success, it means a 
success purchased with more than its proportiqnate price 
of life-blood. If it ends in failure, it means an addition 
of disappointment and discontentment to physical exhaus- 
tion. Such a system, then, deserves to be replaced by 
one which is less dangerous and more rational and it 
will not be difficult to devise a suitable scheme, if the 
proposed Committee give their whole heart to the work. 

"As practical remedies against this dismal state of 
things I may suggest the starting of open-air schools as 
well as special sanatoria for students." 

Moti Lai had long been advocating the handloom and the 
Charka. He wrote several articles showing the usefulness of 
these and also pointing out how the Americans at one time 
made homespun fashionable. Of course Moti Lai did not use 
the word "Khaddar", which is not Bengali, but he used the 
expressions home-made, home-spun, etc., to express the same 

As to the revival of our indigenous industries he would 
often write and speak with feeling about how our cloth indus- 
try had been ruined, how heavy duties were imposed on our 
fine Dacca Muslins which were imported into Manchester, how 
the dealers had to pay heavy export duties when they were 
sending these cloths outside India, how even when these failed 
to ruin our cloth industry the thumbs of our expert weavers 
were cut off. He often wished that our weaving industry were 
revived and encouraged. 

Seven years earlier at a meeting at Parshibagan on the 7th 
August, 1908, to oppose the Partition of Bengal, Moti Lai had 
asked his audience to boycott foreign cloth, not to drink 
intoxicants and to avoid the law courts. "Follow the example," 
he said, "of the indigo ryots of Bengal and secure your salvation 
without hurting a fly." Those who have read the history of 
Bengal may remember how the indigo planters gave dddan 
(advance money) to the poor cultivators and oppressed them 
mercilessly to realise their dues. When matters became 
absolutely unbearable these cultivators in a body refused to 


cultivate indigo plant. "This hand," they said, "will never 
touch indigo again." Thus they proved successful. It was 
something like Passive Resistance. Moti Lai advised his 
audience to promise, that "This hand will never touch any 
foreign goods, so far that is possible." 

5. As to titles and honours Moti Lai had all along been 
saying that these had a very demoralising effect on the 
recepients. By giving titles and honours Government had 
bought up many of our promising leaders who from being 
unbending critics of the Government had been converted into 
ardent lovers of it since they had been dubbed with honours. 
Many of our rich men had pledged to the Government their 
lives without caring whether the Government was right or 
wrong simply in exchange of some paltry titles. 

5 & 7. As to the last two points, viz., withdrawal of police 
and military and other Government services, and suspension 
of taxes, I am not sure, if Moti Lai had said anything about 
these before the inauguration of the Non-co-operation Move- 
ment. Perhaps, in his time the country was not prepared for 
these. But there is no doubt whatsoever that he was preparing 
the ground for these by exposing how degenerated some people 
became on entering the Police service in India. He also exposed 
the cruel nature of some of the taxes and the mis-use of others. 

Thus from a perusal of Moti Lai's Krishnagar speech we 
find that he was teaching the country to be self-dependent and 
not to be dependent on England for the supply of its needs, or 
in other words it was economic independence that the country 
should strive for in the first instance. That independence does 
not require war or blood-shed and can come without disturb- 
ing the peace of the country. He also spoke for cultural 
independence which means a return to the Indian life of yore. 
If India be economically and culturally free, political freedom 
is bound to follow. 

Like Mahatma Gandhi Moti Lai was also very much against 
the introduction of the western conditions of life into India. 
He did not like the factory system of Europe to be introduced 
into this country. The greater portion of the Indian people were 


agriculturists and they worked mostly in the open fields. Their 
necessities were few and there was no luxury amongst them ; 
so they had not to produce articles of luxury ; their chief 
labours consisted in producing food and cloth. The women 
span yarn at home and the men tilled the fields. When they 
had no work in the fields those who were skilled artizans be- 
took themselves to their tasks, the potter took to his wheels, 
the blacksmith came to his furnace, the weaver went to his 
loom, and the shoemaker took his lash, and so forth and so on. 
Each worked independently and was his own master. This 
was the state of affairs in olden times. 

But look to the other picture. With the introduction of 
the western factories there has grown up a class of Capitalists, 
and the poor people no longer follow their independent pro- 
fession. They are now slaves, eternal slaves of their masters, 
the Capitalists. If they are thrown out of employment they 
know not how to earn their livelihood the potter has forgotten 
to turn his wheel, the weaver has forgotten to work his loom. 
They have learnt to work with a big machine which it is 
impossible for them to possess. They have lost their old handi- 
craft and have thus sold themselves to the Capitalist. The 
Charka has been replaced by the Mill and the free man plying 
the Charka has become a day-labourer in the Mills. 

Gentle reader, look to this picture. The man is working 
in the field, his sons are helping him, at noon-day his wife 
comes from home with their food. They stop their work, sit 
under a tree and enjoy their frugal repast. After taking rest 
for some time they work till evening and return home content 
with their day's work and in a prayerful mood. 

And look to the other picture. Tens of thousands of 
workers, men, women and children are working together in a 
big building where the lynx eyes of their superintendents are 
constantly watching over them to see if they are doing any 
work or not, where no work and no pay is the rule, where they 
do not care whether you are ill or disabled, where they are 
concerned with your work only, where the rooms are ill-venti- 
lated and damp, where they have to work before poisonous 


gases and with poisonous materials and sleep huddled together 
like swine, forgetful of the beauties of Nature or thoughts of 

Gentle reader, which is better? 

Science has led to the discovery of machinery which are 
avowedly destructive, such as the maxim guns, the poisonous 
gases, etc : Science has also led to the discovery of machinery 
which at first sight seem to be beneficial to mankind. But are 
they really so? They are beneficial no doubt, but only to the 
few and not to the many. In this connection Moti Lai's 
observations on the Charka may be interesting : 

"No country has suffered so terribly perhaps as a 
result of improvements in science and arts during the last 
century as India. Let us cite a few instances. It was 
the charka or the spinning-wheel which at one time 
made this country one of the richest in the world. It 
was with this humble contrivance that thread was spun 
in every Indian household and cloths of the finest 
quality woven out of it by the host of weavers. Even 
the ladies of royal houses were bound to have their 
Charka and produce a certain quantity of thread. In 
this way spinning was nationalised as it were in this 
country, and the out-turn of thread was so immense as to 
enable the weavers to meet not only the need of the 
whole nation, so far as cotton fabric was concerned, but 
that of many foreign countries also. 

"The Charka is a marvellous machine. It consists 
of a few pieces of ordinary wood so cleverly adjusted as 
to produce the finest of thread from the coarsest of 
cotton. A vast amount of money is being spent annually 
both in British India and the Indian States but in vain, 
to grow long stapled cotton. But the Charka needs no 
such superior cotton to spin out the best kind of thread. 
Still it gave employment to millions of poor widows, 
even in the early days of British rule. The weavers 
enriched themselves and their country immensely by 
producing the finest cloths out of them and selling them 
to foreigners. But the spinning machine which is a 
product of modern science and art, has stilled the hum 
of the Charka f and brought starvation to millions of 
Indian homes ! The invention has no doubt increased 
the wealth of some Western countries, but it has 
practically ruined the masses in India." 



Periodical Changes of Air Some Incidents At Deoghur, Balasore, Puri 
and Waltair. 

During the latter part of his life Moti Lai used to go 
outside Calcutta for a change of air almost every year. In 
course of his work as a public man and in connection with his 
paper he had travelled throughout India. Chief amongst the 
places where he went for change were Deoghur, Simultala, 
Madhupur, Balasore, Puri, Waltair, Darjeeling, Moosoorie, 
Koilwar and Benares. He also made several tours in East 
Bengal. Though he went for a change to these places his 
activities did not cease. Almost daily he would send leaders 
to the Amrita Bazar Patrika from these places and a large 
number of newspapers followed him in his sojourn which he 
daily read, re-read and digested. Wherever he went he soon 
acquired a host of friends big folk of the locality would come 
to him of their own accord. His manners were simple too 
simple, some times even provoking. He would make friend- 
. ship with little boys by pulling them by the neck from behind 
by the handle of his umbrella. His love of music found some 
satisfaction when he was outside Calcutta, because, though 
working there, he had there more leisure than in Calcutta and 
the evenings he would spend in singing Kirtan and Dhrupad 
songs along with his daughter, grandsons and other members 
of his family. He went to Puri in the year 1911. He was then 
about 65 years old. Still he would daily bathe and swim in 
the sea. Here, however, he contracted a stomach complaint 
which later gave him much trouble. 

During the Partition days he was for sometime on a change 
at Deoghur. At his instance many Swadeshi meetings and 
processions were organised there. In this connection I am 
reminded of an incident. A social gathering was convened at 


the Deoghur School premises on the occasion of the Vijaya. 
Babu Had Nath Ray, Judge of Calcutta Small Causes Court 
presided. Moti Lai was invited there to speak something. 
Now, a pleader of a District Court opened the proceedings 
and in doing so he began to deliver a speech in English. Up 
stood Moti Lai and protested against the speech being in 
English. He said that in social functions our speeches should 
be in Bengali. Moti Lai in his simplicity did not understand 
that the pleader had committed to memory a fine speech in 
English, and so unconsciously put him to an unenviable 
position and caused roars of laughter. With the permission, 
however, of Moti Lai and the president the pleader spoke in 
English. But all the other speakers including the president 
and Mr. S. K. Sen, Barrister-at-Law, then newly returned 
from England also spoke in Bengali. Moti Lai in his turn 
of course spoke in Bengali. He began by saying, "The 
speaker who opened to-day's proceedings seems to be a 
master in spoken English. I too have something to do with 
English. The only difference is that while that gentleman 
finds pleasure in speaking English I do so in writing." 

The love which Moti Lai bore for the Amrita Bazar Patrika 
was perhaps the greatest of all. He valued it more than his 
life. A story may be told in this connection. It was when 
he was at Balasore for a change. The members of his family 
had gone there in advance and he with his personal servant 
an Oriya named Purushottam, briefly called Puria, who 
accompanied him in many of his tours, was following them. 
But due to heavy rains there was a flood in the river 
Rupnarayan and there was every chance of the bridge giving 
way under the weight of the Railway train. So the trains 
were stopped on one side of the river and the passengers had 
to go to the other side over the bridge and get into the train 
which waited there. When the train in which Moti Lai was 
travelling stopped before the Kolaghat bridge it was night and 
only a few coolies could be had to carry the luggages. Moti 
Lai could secure no coolies perhaps, they had all been taken 
away by more fortunate passengers. So he left his servant 


in charge of his luggage, trunks and beddings, and took the 
bound volumes of the old files of the Amrita Bazar Pcttrika of 
which there were a good many with him, over his head and 
crossed the river. Next morning we found him at Balasore 
coming with his files of Amrita Bazar Patrika only. The 
servant and the luggages came much later, probably by the 
next train. 

On other occasions also whenever Moti Lai went out from 
Calcutta for a change he would carefully take a number of 
files of the Patrika with him. His dress and other things were 
taken care of by his family-members. All his attention was 
rivetted on these files. 

The Raja (Sree Raja Chintalapaty Suryanarayan Raja 
Bahadur Garu) of Tuni (Godavery District, Madras) came on 
a pleasure trip to Calcutta in September, 1915 accompanied 
by his priest Yogi Srinivasa Swami and Private Secretary K. V. 
Suryanarayan Chary a Sarma. He was introduced to Babu 
Moti Lai Ghose through a common Madrasee friend. Very 
soon the Raja became very intimate with Moti Lai, who also 
helped him in becoming known to many leading members of 
Calcutta society. When returning to Tuni the Raja Bahadur 
invited Moti Lai to come to Waltair where he had engaged 
a house which was now unoccupied. At his invitation Moti 
Lai with his family started for Waltair on May 7, 1916 and 
stayed there for about a couple of months with a view to 
recoup his health by enjoying the sea-bath and breathing the 
bracing sea-breeze. He was now an old man of about 70 years. 
His physique was never strong. Yet at this old age he used 
to take long walks by the beach and bathe in the sea regularly, 
the writer then a young man of 18 summers being his constant 
companion during these walks and baths. Five years before 
this (i.e., in 1911) Moti Lai had gone to Puri with his 
family. There also he used to bathe in the sea regularly. My 
humble self was then also with him and an incident is still 
fresh in my memory. We had gone to Puri in early Baisakh 
(middle of April) when the sea was very calm and a sea-bath 
was an easy affair. I was surprised to find that Moti Lai 


could swim in the sea even at that age and sometimes he did it 
even better than myself. But when the days went on and 
the rainy season came the number of sea-bathers was gradually 
reduced. On one occasion it rained continually for two days 
and we had to bathe at home. On the third day when the 
rains had stopped Moti Lai wanted to bathe in the sea. The 
water was no longer blue but had become grey or sand-coloured 
and the breakers also were very high and making a tremendous 
noise. I wanted him to desist from bathing, but he silenced 
me by calling me a coward. I had no alternative but to 
follow him. A Nulia (local fisherman) caught hold of one of 
his hands and I caught hold of the other. It was drizzling 
and there were very few bathers on the beach. The breakers 
were 10 or n feet high. As soon as we entered into the 
water a breaker came with tremendous force. Both the Nulia 
and myself had to let go our hands when the breaker lifted 
us up into the sky and smashed all of us on to the ground. 
I was under water for a few seconds and felt as if I was being 
trampled upon by an elephant. We managed to get up on the 
shore with some difficulty. Moti Lai remonstrated with us. 
He complained that we ought to have let go his hands earlier. 
He believed that had we done so he would not have been 
smashed to the ground like us. We, however, were not of the 
same opinion. Sea-bathing at Waltair was much easier than 
at Puri. Though there were some rocky places yet there Were 
places between the rocks where the sea was shallow and the 
breakers also were low. 

From Waltair Moti Lai used to write daily for the PaMka. 
The evenings were generally spent in music, in singing 
KMans and Hindi songs of Mian Tan Sen, the court musician 
of Akbar the Great. 


Distribution of Prizes to Hindu and Hare School Students Professor 
Oaten and Presidency College Students Leaders in the Partika 
Professor Oaten Assaulted Sri jut Subhas Bose and other Students 
Expelled Sj. Subhas Bose Meets Moti Lai. 

A distribution of prizes to the meritorious students of the 
Hindu and Hare Schools was celebrated with great pomp and 
grandeur in the maidan between the Presidency College and 
Hare School buildings on Monday, the xoth January, 1916. 
His Excellency the Governor of Bengal (Lord Carmichael) 
presided over the function. A shamiana was specially erected 
on the maidan and invited gentlemen assembled under it. 
Mr. H. R. James, Principal of the Presidency College, Rai 
Rasamay Mitra Bahadur (Head Master of the Hindu School), 
Rai Saheb Ishan Chandra Ghose (Head Master of the Hare 
School) and a large number of Professors and students attended 
the function. 

Several students of the Third Year Class of the Presidency 
College, who were ex-students of the Hindu and Hare Schools 
being invited went out to see the prize distribution ceremony 
in the College compound. They were, therefore, a little late 
in attending their class, which was to be taken by Professor 
Rabindra Narayan Ghose. As they were passing along the 
corridor of a room in which Professor E. F. Oaten was lecturing, 
he came out, obstructed them, caught one of them by the hand 
and ordered them to go away. What exactly happened it is 
difficult to say, as different versions appeared in the Press. 
According to the students' version they most becomingly went 
down with the intention of appealing to the Principal. In 
the meantime other students who were waiting in their class 
room for Professor Ghose also began coming down through 
the corridor as Professor Ghose did not turn up. They were 
met by Prof. Oaten on the corridor and he threatened to 


fine them five rupees each if they left their class room before 
the hour struck for doing so and sent them back to their class 
room. Then came Professor Ghose to his class and formally 
dismissed it and with his permission the students began to pass 
through the corridor again. This time also they were prevented 
by Mr. Oaten who, it was alleged, also gave some pushes to 
some of them. The students applied to Principal James 
narrating their grievance but he advised them to patch up the 
matter with Mr. Oaten personally. The students were dis- 
satisfied and went on a strike. After two days Mr. Oaten made 
an apology to the students and the classes were resumed. A 
written statement was prepared through the intervention of 
some other Professors of the College in which the students 
admitted that "some of them were technically wrong in 
remaining in the corridor" and Mr. Oaten on his part admitted 
that he "used some degree of force in insisting on the students 
to go to their class room" and expressed "his sincere regret 
for having done so." 

The next day, however, Mr. Oaten behaved in a quite 
different way. After entering the Third and Fourth Year 
(combined) History Honours Class he wanted those who were 
absent on the previous day to go away from the class. They 
left the class and represented the matter to Principal James, 
who, to their great surprise, declared himself quite helpless in 
the matter. 

To add a pinch of salt to the cut wound, as the Bengali 
adage goes, the Principal fined the whole body of the students 
of the College Rupees Five each for not attending their classes 
for two days. 

On the 1 5th of January a long leading editorial appeared 
on the subject in the Amrita Bazar Patrika in course of which 
it was said : 

"And lastly the Presidency College will not elevate 
itself, but lower itself in the estimation of the public, 
if taking advantage of this deplorable incident, in which 
a Professor is more to blame than the students, a sum 
of Rs. 5,000 is raised from them by one stroke of the 
pen. We trust Mr. James will reconsider the matter 


and refuse to be a party to an act which may cast a 
slur on the glorious traditions of an institution whose 
honour is now in his keeping. As far as we are aware, 
never was the whole college fined on any previous 
occasion. A sum of rupees five thousand is no doubt 
very tempting, but Mr. James is no doubt above such 
petty temptation." 

The article created a sensation in the student circle. They 
had been insulted by their Professor, they had gone to the 
Principal for redress, who far from making amends added 
injury to insult by trying to touch their pockets. The students 
were naturally hungering for sympathy and the spirit of 
sympathy which the above article in the Amrita Bazar Patrika 
evinced captured the imagination of the student community. 
When hawkers at the junction of College Street and Harrison 
Road were selling the issue of the Patrika containing the 
above article there was a great rush and after a few copies 
had been sold and read by the students the demand for the 
paper became so very great that a copy of the paper which 
is usually sold for one anna sold at four annas each and when 
the copies were almost exhausted the hawkers even demanded 
eight annas for a copy. 

Next day also the Amrita Bazar Patrika came out with a 
leading editorial giving a reply to a letter which Principal 
James had written on the subject. The correspondence columns 
of the paper also contained several letters giving the views of 
students and guardians as also of supporters of Mr. Oaten ; 
and for some time these were published from day to day. 

On the soth January a paragraph appeared in the Patrika 
recalling two other occasions when there were troubles between 
students and Professors. One occurred when Professor J. W. 
Holme of the Presidency College pulled a student by the ear 
because of his inattention to his lectures. The whole class 
struck. Mr. Peake, then officiating Principal, compelled Mr. 
Holme to apologise and the matter was made up in course 
of a few hours. The other incident related to Professor 
Harrison of the same College who told the students, "you are 
chattering like monkies." At the intervention of Mr. James, 


who was then the Principal of the College, Mr. Harrison, who 
at first said that he would rather resign than apologise, did 
at last apologise to the students and the difference was made up. 
The Patrika re-called these incidents and commented: "It is 
a remarkable fact that there had never been any serious quarrel 
between the Indian Professors and the students in the Presidency 

Though the classes were resumed in the Presidency College 
and it appeared that normal order had been restored, feeling 
ran very high among the students. They were smarting under 
a sense of wrong. They thought that the imposition of the 
five rupees fine on each and every student of the College was 
a great injustice to them and they took it as something like 
"a massacre of the innocents" as a justification of the conduct 
of Professor Oaten and a censure on the student community. 
But Bengali students are submissive by nature, it is hard to 
exhaust their patience. Like the dust of the road they would 
ever remain under the feet of their masters. 

But the dust being kicked may rise to the sky and strike 
one's forehead. It exactly happened thus in the case of the 
students of the Presidency College. At 3 P.M. on Tuesday 
the 1 5th February Professor Oaten was severely assaulted by 
a number of students in a corridor of the College. 

The Amrita Bazar Patrika thus narrated the incident, so 
far as it was able to gather the facts in this connection, on 
the day following the assault : 

"It seems that after the dismissal of their class the 
First Year Chemistry Students were passing along the 
corridor by the only path which the students could avail 
of and in doing so, they had to proceed by a room in 
which Professor Oaten was lecturing. Mr. Oaten felt 
annoyed, came out of his room and is said to have caught 
hold of one of the students by the neck and called him 
a rascal. He then took him to the office room and 
fined him Re. i. 

"The student in question who is said to be barely 
1 6, thereupon lodged a complaint before the Principal 
and awaited decision. The Principal, however, instead 
of taking immediate action postponed the matter till 


3 P.M. Meanwhile the news spread all over the College 
and the students in general felt aggrieved specially as 
Mr. Oaten had behaved himself similarly on two former 

"Now sometime after the above incident when Mr. 
Oaten was coming downstairs and passing through a 
number of students who had collected in the corridor 
in front of the common room, he received a blow from 
behind, and as he turned to see his assailant another 
student who was standing close by sprang upon him 
and threw him on the ground. Thereupon several other 
students fell upon the helpless professor and committed 
a savage assault upon him. 

"After the incident the Principal made an enquiry 
into the matter, but the culprits, so far remain yet 

Two or three days after this the Government issued a long 
communique giving the version of Professor Oaten. It stated 
that when Mr. Oaten was lecturing in his class some students 
were going by the corridor and talking among themselves in 
contravention of the college rule. Said the communique : 

"Mr. Oaten .... went out of his room .... went 
up to the student who had spoken and took him gently 
by the arm and led him to the Steward's room which 
was close by, and had his name recorded for a fine of 
Re. i. Mr. Oaten considered it necessary to put his 
hand on the student to pick him out from the crowd of 
other students around him, but the youth did not resist 
and he employed no force in leading him to the Steward's 
room. Mr. Oaten states that he did not call the boy 
a 'rascal 1 as alleged by him." 

As to the assault on the professor the communique went 
on : 

"On reaching the bottom of the staircase he 
(Mr. Oaten) passed through the group (of students) and 
had taken only a few steps from the foot of the stairs 
when he was attacked from behind and knocked down 
on to his hands and knees. He was then struck and 
kicked by some 15 assailants while he was prevented by 
blows and pressure from regaining his feet. He was 
kicked about his head and all over the body. Then the 
assault suddenly stopped, his assailants ran away, and 
he found that Mr. Gilchrist, a fellow Professor, was 


standing by his side. He believes that the whole assault 
must have occupied about 40 seconds." 

By the bye, this was described in the Times of London as 
"a murderous assault" which was "symptomatic of a wides- 
spread evil." ! 

As a sequel to the assault on Professor Oaten, under the 
orders of the Government of Bengal the Presidency College was 
closed from Friday, the i8th February pending enquiry into 
the assault, and a Committee was appointed by the Government 
to enquire into the general condition of discipline in the Presi- 
dency College. 

On the aist of February Babu Ananga Mohan Dam, B.A., 
a brilliant student of the sixth year M. A. class in Philosophy 
of the Presidency College was expelled "for taking a leading 
part in the assault on Mr. Oaten." 

The following copy of a letter written to the Superinten- 
dent of the Eden Hindu Hostel by Mr. H. R. James was dis- 
played on the Notice Board of the Hostel : 

"Babu Ananga Mohan Dam who has been expelled 
from the College by the Governing Body is expressly for- 
bidden to re-enter the gates of the Eden Hindu Hostel. 
Boarders are forbidden to hold any communication or to 
speak with him except what is necessary (with the per- 
mission of the Superintendent) for forwarding his books, 
clothes and other property ; for the removal of these pro- 
perties every reasonable help is to be given to him. If 
money is required Principal will supply it. He is advised 
to start for home (Sylhet) this evening. 

(Sd.) H. R. JAMBS." 

In course of two or three days the Eden Hindu Hostel was 
also closed to all but 2nd and 4th year students. The residents 
were directed to return home. Sri jut Subhas Chandra Bose, 
then a student of the Third Year Class of the Presidency 
College, the idol of the students who knew him personally, 
was also expelled. In his case also the Governing Body of 
the College "resolved that Subhas Chandra Bose be expelled 
from the College for taking a leading part in the assault on 
Professor Oaten." 


Later on another student named Satish Chandra De was 
also rusticated for a year for giving his name as "X. Y. Z." 
when asked by Professor Gilchrist to give his name. 

The Committee appointed by the Government of Bengal 
to enquire into the Presidency College affair commenced its 
sitting on Monday, February 2ist, 1916 in Justice Sir Asutosh 
Mukherjee's Chambers in the Calcutta High Court. But the 
work of the Committee did not progress much. After three or 
four days a Communique was issued on the subject by the 
Government. It stated that as soon as Mr. James, Principal 
of the Presidency College, received information of the appoint- 
ment of a Committee to inquire into the affairs of the Presi- 
dency College, with a request that he would serve on the 
Committee, he paid a visit to the Hon'ble Mr. Lyon, Member 
of the Governor's Executive Council in charge of Education, 
and subjected him to gross personal insult. Mr. James had also 
sent to the Secretary of the Committee, with the request that 
it should be placed before the Committee, a copy of a letter 
which he had written to the Government accusing Sir Asutosh 
Mukherjee and Mr. Hornell, two members of the Enquiry 
Committee of bias against himself. From all these facts the 
Governor in Council considered that Mr. James had shown 
himself to be unfit to retain the post of Principal of the Presi- 
dency College. Accordingly Mr. James was transferred from 
that post and placed under suspension pending further orders, 
and Mr. W. C. Wordsworth, Inspector of Schools, Presidency 
Division (since, of the Statesman) was appointed Principal of 
the Presidency College in his place. 

It may be re-called in passing that previous to these 
incidents there had been a tussle between Mr. James and Mr. 
Hornell for the post of Director of Public Instruction. The 
Statesman wrote 571 columns of print (i) in favour of Mr. 
James, and (2) in derogation of Mr. Hornell ; and all these 
writings were believed in well-informed circles to have been 
the handiwork of Mr. James. Yet, Mr. James was a very 
successful Principal. Students had held him in great esteem 
and felt for him on account of his degradation. 


In due course the report of the Committee of Enquiry was 
published. As could be expected it exonerated Messrs. James 
and Oaten and laid the blame at the door of the students who 
were considered to have become very touchy. The funniest 
thing, however, was that the Press was dragged in and severely 
castigated. It was contended that the writings in the Press 
had been rather indiscreet and but for them there would not 
have most probably been any strike. No doubt by the Press 
here the Amrita Bazar Patrika was meant, for it had been most 
sympathetic to the students. A series of articles, humorous 
and argumentative, appeared in the leading columns of the 
Patrika criticising the observations of the Enquiry Committee 
which wanted to make the Press a scapegoat. The honour of 
the Press was vindicated and it was shown that the students 
did not deserve the hostile official and Anglo-Indian criticism 
which was frequently levelled against them. 

The incidents in connection with the Presidency College 
imbroglio have been narrated here at some length for more 
reasons than one. First of all, it created a sensation among 
the student circle which was perhaps unprecedented. The 
matter became the talk of the day in almost every circle. 
Students of other colleges in Calcutta and inofussil closely 
followed the developments of the Presidency College affairs. 
They were united with a view to vindicate the honour of the 
student community and were ready to help each other. It may 
be said that the seeds of the youth movement were now imper- 
ceptibly sown. Another reason why I have included this affair 
in these pages is that I happened to be a student of the Presi- 
dency College at that time reading in the Second Year Class ; 
and as no man can tread beyond his shadow, I must also do the 

But the last, and perhaps the most important reason, why 
I have included this matter in these pages is the fact that it 
was the Presidency College affairs which brought two great 
luminaries of the political firmament of Bengal together and 
into very close contact with each other, I mean, Moti Lai 


Ghose, the hero of a hundred battles in the past and Subhas 
Chandra Bose who had not yet taken his command but was 
destined to be a glorious fighter in the future. Moti Lai who 
had all along been a champion of the weak and the oppressed 
had almost always taken the side of the boys in a contest 
between the teachers and the students. He condemned the 
present system of education, he pitied the young hopefuls of 
the nation who, he said, were breaking down under the weight 
of books. The hours of study, according to him, were most 
inconvenient ; and he cursed the examinations, as being soul- 
killing, as so many nightmares constantly sitting on the chests 
of the student community. Even when he was passed sixty 
he used to say that "I still dream of examinations and they 
sit like a nightmare on my chest. " In fact, he had an 
unbounded sympathy for the student community. 

So when Sri juts Subhas Chandra Bose, Ananga Mohan Dam 
and Bepin Bihari De came to see Babu Moti Lai in connection 
with the Presidency College affairs, they had no difficulty. 
They were received by Motilal with open arms, and in fact 
much of what was written in the Amrita Bazar Patrika in con- 
nection with the Presidency College was done in consultation 
with them. There were some original contributions by them 

I remember an incident in this connection. Moti Lai asked 
B^pin Babu and Subhas Babu to give him in writing some- 
thing which they had just described to him. Subhas Babu 
(who was a student of the Third Year Class) looked at Bepin 
Babu (who was a student of the Sixth Year Class) and asked 
him to write it down. He seemed to say with his eyes, "Well, 
you are my senior, so you should write it." Bepin Babu said, 
"No, no, you must write ; when you are here I am not writing 
it." At last Subhas Babu agreed and with a pencil in hand 
he wrote out a number of pages with such great speed that 
we looked on agape. Since then Subhas Babu, Bepin Babu 
and Ananga Babu used to oome to Babu Moti Lai off and on. 


One day Moti Lai in course of conversation asked Subhas 

"Well, Subhas, can you sing?" 

"So, so," replied Subhas Babu. 

"Very well, then sing a song." 

Without much ado Subhas Babu at once began singing 
in a bass voice without even the aid of a harmonium, 

"Chintaya mama manasa Hari Chidghana Niranjana, etc." 

After finishing the song, Subhas Babu said, "This song was 
sung by the late Vivekananda Swami before Sri Sri Ramkrishna 
Paramhansa Dev." 

Moti Lai said, "You can sing very well. Do keep up the 


Mrs. Besant Home Rule League Moti Lai joins the League Lucknow 
Congress Mrs. Besant Interned Its After-effect Moti Lai and Internees 
Carmichael's Departure Advice to Ronaldshay. 

A unique personality that came into prominence in the 
political firmanent of India in 1916 was Mrs. Annie Besant. 
Hitherto she had been known as a theologist and social 
reformer. "Irish by birth, English by marriage and Indian 
by adoption", she had been in her younger days a co-worker 
of the late Charles Bradlaugh, M.P., and had suffered with him 
at the hands of the ruling authorities. Later she made 
India the land of adoption and devoted the rest of her life 
to the service of that country. She joined the Congress in 
1914 and gave a new life to it. Her efforts to bring about 
a union between Moderates and Extremists ought to be re- 
membered with gratitude. Srijut Hirendranath Datta, Attorney- 
at-law, of Calcutta, a theosophist to the very core of his heart, 


had a great admiration for Mrs. Besant. It was through his 
intervention that Mrs. Besant, who belonged to no political 
party but soon rose to the position of a leader among poli- 
ticians, came in close touch with Moti Lai who was leading the 
Extremist camp in Bengal. 

She paid several visits to Moti Lai at the time to negotiate 
a rapprochement between the two sections of the politicians. 
Sometimes crowds gathered in front of the Patrika office to have 
a look at her hoary head and silvery white silken habiliments 
when men of the locality came to learn that Mrs. Besant had been 
conferring with Moti Lai for a re-united Congress. At this time 
her popularity had risen to such a height that on one occasion 
when she was to deliver a lecture on the political situation at 
the Beadon Square at 5 p.m., the square was overcrowded at 
i p.m., in spite of the hot sun of Calcutta. 

About this time Mrs. Besant started her "Home Rule 
League" at Madras. The object of this League was to win 
Home Rule for India by constitutional means. The rules of 
the League were very simple. A group of persons in any place 
in India who agreed with the object of this League might form 
a league or society and choose one of their number as repre- 
sentative, through whom they might communicate with the 
General Secretary of the League at Madras. The members 
would have to pay Re. i (one) only as entrance fee and life 
subscription and copies of Home Rule literature were dis- 
tributed among them to educate them as to how to establish 
Home Rule or Self-Government. 

In December, 1915 when Mrs. Besant was organising her 
League, an informal meeting of a number of leading men 
was held at the house of the late Hon'ble Mr. Abdul Rasul 
under the presidency of Babu Moti Lai Ghose to consider the 
question. The result was the establishment of a Home Rule 
Association with the Hon'ble Mr. Fazlul Huq as Secretary, 
on the lines indicated by Mrs. Besant. A Committee was 
appointed to draw up a scheme for self-government and select 
men for preaching Home Rule in Calcutta and the Mofussil 
and some money was also raised for the purpose. Many 


members of the Indian Association who were present in the 
meeting also expressed their desire to act in concert with this 

Very soon Mrs. Besant started her Home Rule League 
with a great furore. "This League proposes to inform the 
British people of the real condition of things in India, that 
she may receive justice when the war is over .... To prepare 
the way quietly and peacefully, the League undertakes an 
educative propaganda, for, Britain only needs to understand 
in order to do right" : Thus said "Leaflet No. I What India 
thinks" published by the Home Rule League. 

When Mrs. Besant started her Home Rule League Moti 
Lai joined it at once. As a matter of fact Moti Lai had been 
long crying for Home Rule or Self-Government in India. 
There was, therefore, no difference between the ideals of Moti 
Lai and Mrs. Beasant. Moreover Babu Hirendra Nath Datta 
was a common friend and he did not a little in persuading 
Moti Lai to join the Bengal branch of the Home Rule League 
at College Square and accept its presidentship. The object 
of this League was to hold public meetings with a view to 
educate the people in political matters. To carry on agitation 
for reforms was no part of the business of this League. Moti 
Lai addressed many such meetings from time to time. In 
one of these meetings held at the College Square towards the 
end of 1916 Moti Lai concluded his speech thus: 

"Grand-children the weight of my years gives me 
the right to address you as such I advise you to do 
three things, love your motherland, love God and pray 
to God daily for the improvement of your country. 
Prayers from a hundred throats a thousand throats a 
million throats will reach the feet of the Almighty. 
The God of the weak will give you moral strength and 
bring you fulfilment of your hopes." 

There was keen competition between Mrs. Besant and 
Babu Ambica Charan Mazumdar for the Presidentship of the 
Congress which was held at Lucknow in 1916 ; the latter was 

The Lucknow Congress (1916) was a fruitful one. It was 
here that the so-called Moderates and Extremists closed their 


ranks and Hindus and Mahomedans agreed upon a common 
plan of political propaganda. Tilak attended the Congress with 
200 followers. They came in a special train bearing Home 
Rule flags and slogans. Sir Rash Behari Ghose and Mr. Bal 
Gangadhar Tilak who had a veritable tug of war at Surat in 
1908 shook hands with each other on the Congress platform. 
Babu Ambica Charan Mazumdar, who presided over the 
Congress and Mr. Jinnah, President of the Moslem League 
both demanded Home Rule or Self -Government for India. It 
appeared that the persecution of Mrs. Besant had not gone in 
vain. A scheme of Reforms was prepared by the Congress 
and the League. The Home Rule League also accepted this 
scheme and wanted to achieve the end by constitutional means. 

When the Lucknow Congress was in session Moti Lai was 
unwell and so he could not attend it. But he had been holding 
correspondence with Mr. Tilak, Mrs. Besant and other leaders 
about the policy to be followed at the Congress. Tilak wrote 
to Moti Lai that the Congress should send some leaders to 
England for carrying on political propaganda. Moti Lai 
approved of the plan. Immediately the Congress was over 
Mr. Tilak with his friends Messrs. G. S. Khaparde and V. G. 
Joshi came to Calcutta and put up with Moti Lai at the Amrita 
Bazar Patrika office. When Tilak came to Calcutta he 
generally put up with Moti Lai. They shared the same room 
and sometimes even the same bed. Tilak was very particular 
about his food. He did not take his food with Moti Lai nor 
did he take any food cooked in the family kitchen. In this 
matter he was very orthodox and would himself cook his food 
in a verandah on the outer appartments of the building in a 
very neat and clean way. For his fuel he did not use coal 
or coke but used wood instead. He was a vegetarian of the 
orthodox type. But that is another story. 

After the Lucknow Congress the agitation for Home rule 
became more keen than before. Besant, Tilak and Moti Lai 
Ghose put their heads together and meetings were held in 
quick succession to arouse the people from their slumber. 


They called themselves Home Rulers. And commenting on 
their activities the Statesman said: 

"Though the Extremists now masquerade under the 
name of Home Rulers, they are the same men, as violent, 
mischievous and impracticable as ever. They ousted the 
Moderates from the Subjects Committee of the Congress 
and the result is to be seen in the amazing resolution 
asking for self-government by return of post. The goats 
have returned to the fold, and the sheep are likely to 
suffer until they can be rescued." 

The Englishman, which breathed its last only recently, 
also began to fall foul of these leaders. This showed that 
they had been able to do some solid work for their country. 

In the meantime Mrs. Besant, whose activities in con- 
nection with the Home Rule League were gradually bringing 
her to the forefront of Indian politics, suffered great persecution. 
She was not allowed to proceed to Bombay by the local govern- 
ment. She had to deposit a security under the Press Act for her 
New India and tHe security was forfeited as she continued to 
write in her paper fearlessly even after deposit of security. The 
New India, had to suspend publication. And at last Mrs. Besant 
was interned in June 1917 along with his secretaries Mr. C. S. 
Arundale and Mr. B. P. Wadia. A wave of indignation 
passed over the whole of India and Mrs. Besant who was 
already worshipped as a guru by the Theosophists became 
apotheosised in political circles as well. The Home Rule 
Movement got an impetus and meetings protesting against the 
interment of Mrs. Besant were held in important places. Even 
Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya and Dr. Tej Bahadur Sapru 
who were well-known on account of their Moderate mentality 
came out with two-column long letters in the Press criticising 
the Government's repressive policy. "Mrs. Besant/' wrote 
the Patrika, "is no longer a personality ; but a principle. The 
blow dealt at her is a blow to the cause of Home Rule or 
Self -Government." A sword of Damocles was hanging over 
Babu Moti Lai Ghose's head at this time. A case for contempt 
of court against him was heard in the High Court and judg- 
ment was reserved. It was being freely talked about that he 


would be imprisoned. In spite of that he attended the public 
meeting held at the Indian Association Hall at Bowbazar. 
In protesting against the action of the Government of Madras 
in interning Mrs. Besant and Messrs. Arundale and Wadia 
he said that: 

"The only effective reply that they could give to 
the policy adopted by the Madras Government was that 
all of them should become Home Rulers. The leaders 
of other Provinces who had hitherto kept themselves 
aloof from the Home Rule movement had publicly and 
openly joined that movement and they should follow 
their lead. He thought that they in Bengal and 
especially their esteemed friend the President (Babu 
Surendra Nath Banerjea), he should say their leader 
should lead them in that matter. If hundreds and 
thousands of them declared themselves to be Home 
Rulers it would have a very great effect upon the 
Government. In that way and that way alone they 
could retard the policy of Government, a policy which 
Government had started to stop the progress of Self- 
Government.' ' 

It seems Moti Lai's appeal did not go in vain. For, 
immediately after the meeting was over a large number of 
people including Mr. C. R. Das, the Hon'ble Babu Bhabendra 
Chandra Roy, Babus Bijoy Krishna Bose, Basanta Kumar Bose, 
Gunada Charan Sen and others joined the Home Rule League. 

Babu Surendra Nath Banerjea and some of his followers 
however did not join the League. Mischief-makers wanted to 
show that there was difference between the Congress-League 
scheme of Reforms and the scheme of the Home-Rulers, but 
the latter maintained that there was no fundamental difference 
between the two schemes. In a speech at Gaya, Surendra 
Nath said that the Congress-Moslem League Scheme and the 
Home Rule League Scheme were identical. 

Mrs. Besant's internment made her so very popular that 
a movement was set on foot to make her the President of the 
ensuing Congress session and install her portrait on the 
Presidential chair in her absence. The climax was reached 
when the authorities prohibited the Calcutta Town Hall meeting 
-protesting against the internment of Mrs. Besant. 


A joint meeting of the All-India Congress Committee and 
the Moslem League was held at Bombay in July, 1917. 
Amongst others who attended from Bengal were Babu Mod 
Lai Ghose, Rai Yatindra Nath Chaudhuiy, Mr. I. B. Sen, 
Babu Bijoy Krishna Bose, who were all Home Rulers and 
Babus Surendra Nath Banerjea, Satyananda Bose, Provash 
Chandra Mitter, Krishna Kumar Mitter and Dr. Nil 
Ratan Sarkar. As soon as the order prohibiting the meeting 
to protest against Mrs. Besant's internment reached their ears 
they hurried back to Bengal. A conference of leaders was 
held in which powers were delegated to six gentlemen, viz., 
Sir Rash Behari Ghose, Babu Moti Lai Ghose, Babu Surendra 
Nath Banerjea, Mr. Byomkesh Chakravarti, Mr. C. R. Das 
and Mr. Fazlul Huq to chalk out a line of action. Some of 
them waited in deputation upon Lord Ronaldshay who was 
now at Dacca, explained the situation to him and appealed 
to him for cancellation of the order prohibiting the Town Hall 
meeting. In the meantime a meeting was held at the College 
Square in Calcutta under the auspices of the Home Rule 
League. Babus Bepin Chandra Pal and some other speakers 
addressed the meeting. Babu Moti Lai Ghose moved and 
Babu Hirendra Nath Datta seconded the following resolution : 

"That this meeting is of opinion that the detention 
of Mrs. Annie Besant and her colleagues under the 
orders of internment passed on the i6th June, 1917 is 
unjust and detrimental to the interests of India and the 
Empire ; and that they should forthwith be set at 

The Government showed a conciliatory attitude towards 
the deputation, probably because they wanted the famous 
announcement of aoth August, 1917 made by the then Secretary 
of State Mr. Edwin Samuel Montagu to have a warm recep- 
tion in the country, and permitted the meeting to be held 
at the Town Hall of Calcutta. 

Surendra Nath Bannerjea presided over the meeting <md 
delivered a lengthy speech protesting against the internment 
of Mrs. Besant and her colleagues. 


Moti Lai rising to propose a vote of thanks to Surendra 
Nath said that the idea of thanking the chair was foreign to 
the Indians, who did not thank but embraced and kissed to 
show their approbation. So Moti Lai wanted to embrace and 
kiss Surendra Nath. Surendra Nath at once stood up and 
Moti Lai embraced and kissed him amid loud applause. Next 
day the vernacular paper Nayak came out with a cartoon 
representing Surendra Nath as "Surendra" or Krishna and 
Moti Lai as "Srimati" or Radha, hugging each other. 

By the end of August, 1917 seven Provincial Congress 
Committees voted for Mrs. Besant for the Presidentship of the 
next Congress, though she was still interned at Ootacamond. 
But when the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee met under 
the presidentship of Babu Surendra Nath Banerjea, the Hon'ble 
Mr. Provash Chandra Mitter proposed that the Raja Saheb of 
Mahmudabad be recommended for the Presidentship. Mr. B. 
Chakravarti proposed that Mrs. Besant be recommended for 
the Presidentship. Mr. C. R. Das seconded him. The Raja 
Saheb obtained 34 votes and Mrs. Besant 30 votes. 

Then followed a momentous event, the Reception Com- 
mittee Meeting which brought Mr. C. R. Das to the forefront 
of public life in Bengal. The non-election of Mrs. Besant by 
the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee, which to all intents 
and purposes was a packed body, gave dire offence to the 
educated community of Calcutta. They took it as an insult 
and humiliation to the patriotism and intelligence of Bengal. 
"Bengal would be outcasted and held in contempt by the whole 
of India," said Babu Gaganendra Nath Tagore who belonged 
to no party. That was the uppermost feeling in the hearts of 
the intelligentsia of the town. Sir Rabindra Nath Tagore 
characterised the vote of the Bengal Provincial Congress 
Committee as "insolent." The result was that hundreds of 
them joined the Reception Committee in the course of a single 
day by paying the usual subscription of Rs. 25 and signing the 
Congress creed in order to set aside the decision of the Bengal 
Provincial Congress Committee and vindicate the honour of 
Bengal. Never before in the annals of the Congress was a 


meeting of the Reception Committee so numerously attended 
and such enthusiasm shown. The meeting was held in the 
Indian Association rooms. Rai Baikuntha Nath Sen Bahadur 
took the chair. When the report of the last meeting was being 
read by the Secretary, Rai Yatindra Nath Chaudhury pointed 
out certain inaccuracies and appealed to Babu Surendra Nath 
Banerjea, who was the Chairman of the previous meeting to 
say if what he was saying was correct or not. Surendra Nath 
got up and said he did not remember and could not bear out 
Rai Yatindra Nath. Thereupon Babu Hirendra Nath Datta 
stood up and was describing what had happened at the last 
meeting when Surendra Nath interrupted him. Some un- 
pleasant words were exchanged, after which Surendra Nath, 
Rai Baikuntha Nath Sen Bahadur and about thirty other 
gentlemen left the meeting. About 275 members remained. 
Moti Lai who was one of the Vice-Presidents of the Reception 
Committee was voted to the chair and the meeting unanimously 
elected Mrs. Besant as the President of the next session of the 
All-India Congress to be held in Calcutta. 

A keen controversy went on in the press as to whether the 
election of Mrs. Besant was constitutional or not and Moti Lai 
and Surendra Nath who were in a kissing embrace at the Town 
Hall only a week ago began to fight with each other like 
Kilkenny cats through the columns of their journals. 

The incidents that happened at the Reception Committee 
led some people to think that there had been a repetition of 
the Surat split. But split or no split the pulse of the country 
could be felt ; the "Moderates* ' were found wanting and the 
"Extremists" captured the Congress. Moti Lai who now led 
the "Extremists" got congratulatory letters from far and near 
on being able to get Mrs. Besant elected, thus vindicating the 
honour of Bengal. , 

The two parties in Bengal, one led by Moti Lai and the 
other led by Surendra Nath went on alternately quarrelling and 
making peace overtures. In the meantime the agitation against 
the internment of Mrs. Besant and her colleagues bore fruit. 
They were released towards the end of September, making it 


possible for Mrs. Besant to preside over the deliberations of 
the Congress at Calcutta. 

Mrs. Besant had been interned under an act which was 
named the Defence of India Act. 

The one important matter in regard to which public opinion 
in Bengal had gone constantly against Lord Carmichael's 
government had been the administration of the so-called 
Defence of India Act by His Excellency's Government. Lord 
Carmichael was ever anxious to take the responsibility of this 
matter upon himself. He had evidently been convinced that 
though the men interned in Bengal under this Act, as in other 
parts of the country, did not come before any regular court of 
justice and were not judicially tried, there could be no reason- 
able doubt in the mind of any one who had access to the 
secret dossiers which were prepared against them by the police 
regarding their direct or indirect complicity with the revo- 
lutionary propaganda in the Province. The general public 
however felt otherwise ; they thought that the cases prepared 
by the police could not be proved in a court of law. 

The avowed object of these internments was to suppress 
the so-called anarchical activities in the Province. But far from 
achieving this object the internments produced only a -contrary 
result. First of all, it was very doubtful if there were any 
anarchists in the real sense of the term. Then again even 
if they existed they were only a handful. The police were 
not able to touch even a hair of their body. On the contrary 
they interned a large number of innocent and sometimes even 
brilliant college students. The result was that not only were 
these youngmen irritated, but the sympathy of every member 
of their families was alienated from the Government. These 
internments directly or indirectly affected a very large number 
of families belonging to the upper and middle classes of 
Bengali society. Mothers and wives were deprived of their 
sons and husbands, who were mostly kept in places where their 
health was undermined. Sometimes earning members of 
families were taken away, leaving the dependants to look for 


themselves. The careers of many brilliant students were cut 
short and many of them became nervous or physical wrecks 
on account of the hardships that they had to bear at the places 
of their internment. 

The relations of these internees came in numbers to 
Babu Mod Lai Ghose for ventilating their pitiful tales through 
the columns of his journal. There were wives and sisters, 
brothers, parents and even minor boys who beseiged Moti Lai 
in his office. No time was fixed for them. They came in the 
morning, in the noon and at night. And whenever they came 
he gave them patient hearing and did what he could for them. 
He would speak about individual cases to Lord Carmichael or 
Mr. (afterwards Sir) H. L. Stephenson, the then Member of 
His Executive Council and if no good results could be got he 
would critically examine the cases point by point in his paper. 
The cause of the interned was very dear to his heart, for he 
believed that they were mostly innocent but had been im- 
plicated by the police or the C. I. D., anxious to justify their 
existence. His intervention proved successful in many cases 
and many were set free either owing to his private interviews 
or owing to his writings in the Amrita Bazar PaMka. Yet 
when Lord Carmichaers term was over and Lord Ronaldshay 
came in there were over eight hundred of internees in Bengal. 

Wrote the Amrita Bazar Patrika on the 26th March 1917 
commenting on Lord Carmichael's departure : 

"Bengal has made very little moral or material 
progress during the rule of the departing Governor. In 
some matters it is in a worse condition. It was at least 
free from the operation of the Defence of India Act when 
Lord Carmichael took charge of it. How disastrous are 
its effects ! Over eight hundred of our youngmen, some 
of them possessing brilliant talents, are either rotting in 
jail under Regulation III of 1818 or are interned in 
different parts of the country. We do not deny that 
a number of them were revolutionaries in their ideas or 
connected with some bhadralok dacoities ; hut it is 
equally true that the vast majority of them are mere 
police suspects. The general public regard them as 
innocent and they are justified in doing it, so long as 
their guilt is not established by a judicial trial. They 


are undergoing terrible punishments, uncharged, un- 
tried, undefended." 

It was at such a time that Lord Ronaldshay came as 
Governor. So, it can be well imagined in what a frame of 
mind Lord Ronaldshay found the people of Bengal. It could 
not be expected that he would be given a hearty reception. 

Moti Lai had a hearty welcome for Lord Carmichael when 
he was appointed Governor of Bengal. But when Lord 
Ronaldshay was appointed he viewed the appointment from a 
different angle. The fact that Lord Ronaldshay had been an 
A-D-C to Lord Curzon went very much against him. To add 
to this he had travelled in the East and had expressed his views 
on many topics of interest in this country. Like Lord Curzon 
he had also charged the Asiatic races with no regard for truth. 
He had also shown his special contempt for the Bengalees by 
calling them "sleek Babus". In his opinion Indian students 
were not fit to study the philosophy of Herbert Spencer or 
the ideals of John Stuart Mill. He had proclaimed that the 
Congress and the Indian Press were responsible for anarchy in 
the land. Moti Lai culled Lord Ronaldshay's opinions, pub- 
lished them in the Patrika and warned him through the leading 
columns of the Patrika that if he wished to prove himself a 
good Governor he would have to banish from his mind the 
unjust and unfounded prejudices that he had been cherishing 
against Indians. 

When Lord CarmichaePs term of office was about to be 
over Moti Lai and others, who had come to realise that he 
possessed a heart full of sympathy for India, organised a 
meeting at the Town Hall praying for an extension of his term. 
But before the date of the meeting the appointment of Lord 
Ronaldshay was announced and Lord Carmichael consequently 
asked the organisers of the meeting to abandon it, which had 
to be done. This was also responsible to some extent for the 
cold reception given to Lord Ronaldshay on his appointment. 

At this time Mr. Francis H. Skrine a retired Civilian wrote 
to Moti Lai from England that "it is not fair to exhume 
obiter dicta thrown off many years ago, in order to prove that 


the Governor elect was hostile to Bengalees. " Moti Lai replied 
that "it was a tragedy of errors on both sides". If Lord 
Ronaldshay had announced that he did not stick to his earlier 
views the Indian Press might not have commented adversely 
on his appointment. 

Francis H. Skrine was an I. C. S. of a rare type he was 
a class by himself. When he was in Bengal he mixed very 
freely with the people. He was very fond of Indian music 
and joined and encouraged the Indian jatra in the towns where 
he was posted and in the neighbouring villages. He had to 
pay the price of his long residence in unhealthy Bengal 
villages, he was attacked with Malaria which compelled him 
to return to England and retire from the service before his 
term. In later life he opened correspondence with Moti LaL 
His letters breathed deep sympathy for the people of Bengal, 
which is so rare among foreigners who have eaten her salt. 
Some of his articles on Malaria, the Great War and kindred 
subjects were published by Moti Lai in the columns of the 
Patrika. He wrote some beautiful letters describing the 
activities of the Bengali regiment in the field of war. 

It came to be known through some letters of Mr. Skrine 
and Lord Ronaldshay 's lecture at the East Indian Association 
that he no longer stuck to his former immature views regarding 
Bengal and her people. And wrote Moti Lai : 

"We have one request to submit to his Lordship. 
We hope he will find it possible, like his great prede- 
cessor, to throw off all official reserve, when conversing 
with his Indian visitors, and permit them in their turn 
to speak out their minds freely to him. We would also 
take the liberty of drawing his attention to another 
matter. No Governor should forget that his first duty 
is to exercise his independent judgment and not to be 
a blind or unconscious tool in the hands of his sub* 
ordinates, when the question of the 'liberty of the 
subject is concerned. " 

Lord Ronaldshay's handling of the Home Rule Movement 
though it was a perfectly constitutional one, did not show that 
he remembered or paid any attention at all to this advice. The 
Home Rulers were co-operators in this sense that they wanted 


to achieve Home Rule for India by constitutional methods. 
But the way in which this movement was sought to be 
repressed made the leaders give up all hope of co-operation 
and the more spectacular movement of Non-violent Non-co- 
operation (to be followed by Civil Disobedience of laws, if and 
when necessary) launched by Mahatma Gandhi caught the 
imagination of the people as soon as it saw the light of day. 
Under this movement the goal remained the same, Swaraj or 
Home Rule for India, but the methods for attaining that goal 
were different. Latterly, however, owing to causes which are 
well-known Swaraj has come to mean complete Independence 
for India. 


A Paragraph in the Potri feck-Comments on the Constitution of a High 
Court Bench Moti Lai and "Tiger" Jackson Hearing of Case before 
Full Bench Moti Lai Acquitted Press Comments. 

At about 10 o'clock on the night of the 2ist May, 1917 
when Moti Lai and my humble self were taking our meals 
together in a verandah near the one where he used to sit and 
work for the Amrita Bazar Patrika he was informed that a 
gentleman (whose name I do not mention for obvious reasons 
and who is now dead and gone), had come to see him in 
connection with certain matters regarding the Calcutta Improve- 
ment Trust. After finishing our meals we came out on the 
verandah. Moti Lai had a conversation with the gentleman, 
who told him something about the constitution of a bench of 
the Calcutta High Court to hear appeals from awards of the 
Improvement Tribunal. It is needless to say that the gentleman 
was a man of position in Calcutta he was not only a 
Rai Bahadur, but was also a Member of the Legislative 
Council, a Commissioner of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation 


and associated with a large number of public bodies in Calcutta. 
Moti Lai had great faith in him and he had on many previous 
occasions written paragraphs and articles in the Patrika. Oa 
this occasion he wrote out the following paragraph which 
appeared in the next morning's Patrika : 

"Something like consternation prevails on account 
of the proposed new constitution of the Appellate Bench 
of the Calcutta High Court before which appeals against 
the awards of the Improvement Trust are to be heard. 
It is known to the reader how this Bench was originally 
composed of Sir Ashutosh Mookerjee and the Hon'ble 
Mr. Justice Cuming ; and how latterly it has come to 
be presided over by the Hon'ble the Chief Justice and 
Mr. Justice Woodroffe. Rumour has it that for purposes 
of hearing Improvement Trust appeals the Bench is 
going to be strengthened by the appointment of Mr. 
Justice Chitty. Now, what neither the public, nor 
ourselves can understand is this special arrangement for 

such a special Bench Why should there 

be a special Bench of three and not a Pull Bench of 
five, on which at least two Indian judges could find 

seats? The withdrawal of Sir Ashutosh 

has given rise to rather unsavoury impressions in the 
public mind, since this proposed arrangement is to follow 
close upon the heels of his judgment in the case of 
Chandra Kanta Ghosh vs. The Improvement Trust . . ." 

In the above case Sir Asutosh had given his judgment 
against the Improvement Trust and the insinuation in the 
above paragraph was that he was removed from the Appellate 
Bench because of this. 

Little did it occur to the writer or Moti Lai that the above 
paragraph could be construed to show a contempt of the Court. 

There had been another article on the subject also and 
this paragraph and that article formed the subject matter of a 
contempt of court proceeding against Babus Moti Lai Ghose, 
Golap Lai Ghose, Mrinal Kanti Ghose, Piyush Kanti Ghose 
as Directors of the Amrita Bazar Patrika Ltd., Company and 
Babu Tarit Kanti Biswas as Printer. 

A Pull Bench comprising the Chief Justice (Sir Lancelot 
Sanderson), and Justices Woodroffe, Mookerjee, Chitty and 
Fletcher heard the case, which created a great sensation. 


Now Babu Moti Lai Ghose and Mr. Jackson, Barrister-at- 
Law were on the best of terms. Mr. Jackson delighted in 
defending accused in criminal cases and Moti Lai delighted in 
exposing the vagaries of the judiciary and magistracy. The 
protection of the weak and the poor was the common tie which 
bound them together, and so they regarded each other with 
love and affection. They were rather familiar with each other. 
I may narrate a small incident, which happened a few years 
before this case. Moti Lai and myself were walking on the 
Mall at Mussoorie on a very foggy day. Suddenly Mr. Jackson 
and Mr. M. Chatterjee, the then Master of the High Court 
appeared on the scene. After mutual greetings Jackson said, 
"It is quite a bit of London to-day. I had almost tumbled 
against you." "That shows," replied Moti Lai, "you are 
growing in years." "Really?" said Jackson, "but I thought 
I was growing younger. Perhaps you do not know that I have 
married lately." Moti Lai said, "But why did you marry so 
late?" Jackson replied, "Better late than never. Moreover, 
you know I was so busy with my briefs in Court that I could 
hardly find time for courtship." And they laughed a hearty 
laugh in which I also joined. 

So when the contempt proceedings were drawn up against 
Moti Lai he sought the help of Jackson. He was going to 
the Bar Library of the Calcutta High Court and met Jackson 
on the corridor. 

"Well... Moti Lai,... what brings you here?" exclaimed 

"I am in trouble," replied Moti Lai. 

Jackson exclaimed "There can be no trouble to my Moti 
Lai so long as I am alive," and he rounded his arm about 
Moti Lai's waist as one would do with one's brother. 

Jackson was briefed, of course without any fee, and he 
conducted the case in such a manner that it amply justified 
his popular name "Tiger Jackson." Space does not permit me 
to give a full description of the case. It is reported in the 
Calcutta Weekly Notes, Volume No. XVII. A detailed report 
was published in the Amrita Bazar Patrika and other papers. 


As soon as their Lordships took the seat said Mr. Jackson : 
I would ask your Lordships in what jurisdiction this Court 
is sitting? 

Chief Justice: I suppose sitting here we have every 

Mr^ Jackson : No, I submit you cannot sit in five jurisdic- 
tions at the same moment I want to know where I am. 

Chief Justice : You will know where you are in time. 

Mr. Jackson : Unless I know that I cannot put my points. 
Two of my next points depend on that. If you do not tell 
me in what jurisdiction it is the best thing I can do is to 
sit down. 

Chief Justice : You may assume this is a matter of a 
criminal nature. 

Mr. Jackson : Then I am entitled to know who is prosecut- 
ing I want to know who my opponent is, and what 

the charge is? Is it the whole Court or one Judge or two 
Judges or three Judges or some one wholly irrespective of the 
Court ? 

Chief Justice : Anything more on that point ? 

Mr. Jackson: No. In the absence of an answer to that 
point I cannot possibly proceed. 

Chief Justice: Why not? 

Mr. Jackson: Without knowing what the charge is how 
am I to meet it ? Is not this significant of cases of this descrip- 
tion? The fact is I hope the end of the War will see the 
whole of this sham disappear. 

Chief Justice: What sham? 

Mr. Jackson: The Court dealing with cases itself in 
which it is personally interested. I protest against going on 
further in this matter. 

Chief Justice: We don't think you are entitled to ask 
questions of the Bench in the way you have been doing on 
these points. But inasmuch as you assure us you will be 
hampered in your argument if you do not get certain informa- 
tion we think it only right to give it to you although we do 
not think you are entitled to it. With regard to the question 


of the Rule it was issued by me as Chief Justice of this Court 

after consultation with the learned Judges of the Court 

The articles contained a reflection on the Court in its adminis- 
tration. Among other things it contained a suggestion that 
the Court was constituted for the purpose of hearing certain 
appeals with the object of counteracting a decision which has 
been given on a similar point by two other learned Judges of 
the Court, namely, Justices Mookerjee and Cuming. 

Mr. Jackson contended that there was no legal evidence to 
connect Moti Lai Ghose with this publication. 

Mr. Justice Mookerjee: Do you deny that you are a 
Director ? 

Mr. Jackson: I am an accused person. Your Lordship 
will pardon me if I refuse to make any reply. 

Mr. Justice Fletcher : The statutory return shows he is a 

Mr. Jackson : That does not prove his connection with 
this publication. 

Chief Justice : What was the date of the return ? 

Mr. Jackson: March. This is June. It is no presump- 
tion that because you are married once you are married always. 
Is every Director supposed to be cognisant of everything that 
goes out of his office ? If you think that is legal evidence well 
and good, and I don't wish to address you further in the 

Mr. Jackson then addressed the Court on law points and 
merits of the case and submitted that there was no contempt 
in the two articles in question. 

Mr. Eardley Norton argued the case for the Printer, Mr. 
Byomkesh Chakravarti for Babus Mrinal Kanti Ghose and 
Kyush Kanti Ghose ; and Mr. C. R. Das for Babu Golap Lai 

This time also Babu Moti Lai Ghose narrowly escaped on 
technical grounds, as it could not be proved that he was 
responsible for the publication. He and the other directors 
were discharged. The Printer, however, was fined Rs. 300. 


The Chief Justice observed in his judgment that "the 
Legislature should provide for the registration of the Editor, 
or the person really responsible for the contents of a newspaper, 
so that the responsibility might be placed in the proper quarter 
without any difficulty or delay." 

The Amrita Bazar Patrika retorted : 

"If the Government approve the recommendation of 
the five wise Judges of the High Court who tried the 
recent Patrika contempt case and pass a law making it 
incumbent on every newspaper to register its editor, 
then, we are afraid, we may be obliged to entertain the 
services of a prison-going editor." 

It may be recalled here that at the time when this case 
was heard the law requiring the name of the Editor to be 
published in each and every issue of a journal had not yet 
been passed. 

The Statesman made biting comments on the case, in 
course of which it wrote : 

"According to the numerous counsel engaged for 
the respondents this newspaper (The Amrita Bazar 
Patrika) is a fortuitous concourse of articles and para- 
graphs which assemble from the void and present them- 
selves to a guileless printer who does not read them. 
It is a pretty conception which is not unworthy of the 
quaint fancy of Babu Moti Lai Ghose." 

The Patrika replied : 

"The Statesman, if it has at all followed the recent 
proceedings in the High Court, should know that the 
above paragraph is a travesty of the arguments of the 
eminent counsel who appeared for the respondents on 
the occasion. Mr. Jackson, than whom there is no more 
fair or conscientious advocate at the Bar, following the 
traditions of the English criminal jurisprudence enshrined 
in the reported judgments of very eminent English 
Judges, which our High Courts have followed in India, 
when questioned as to whether he admitted that his 
client was a Director, said that he was not bound to 
answer that question inasmuch as an accused person 
owed no duty except the duty of defending himself. 

The persons before the Court were only the 

Directors of the Limited Company which owns the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika, and they, under legal advice and 
in accordance with journalistic etiquette, were unable to 



give out the names of the writers of the articles in 
question which, it is common knowledge, were outside 

I have it on the authority of persons who were intimately 
connected with the case that during consultation among lawyers 
Moti Lai more than once wanted to take the responsibility of 
the articles on himself, but that the iron will of "Tiger" 
Jackson prevailed. "You must fight out the case," he said, 
and Moti Lai had to do so. Commenting on the case the 
Bengalee said : 

"Babu Moti Lai Ghose has rendered a great public 
service in fighting out the case against very heavy odds, 
for, after all, the ends of justice are dearer to all public 
men than mere private considerations." 


Early Bengali Writings On Vaishnava Religion, Literature and Saints 
A Jatra Party Views on Literature An Interesting Episode. 

Moti Lai was widely known as a journalist writing in the 
English language only. That he could, and as a matter of 
fact did, write in the Bengali language also, was, perhaps, not 
so very widely known. This is because of the fact that in 
latter days he scarcely wrote in Bengali. So much so that he 
thought that he* had almost forgotten to write the Bengali 
alphabet. One day, while he was writing an article he had 
to write a few lines in Bengali. When he came across a 
certain letter he suddenly called me and after having written 
the letter on the top of his paper he asked me if it had been 
correctly written. On my answering in the affirmative he said 
with a smile, "I have not written in Bengali for such a long 
time that I thought that I had forgotten to write it." 

And yet it was this Moti Lai who had been one of the 
writers of the Amrita Bazar PaMka when the paper was first 
started in Bengali in the year 1868. When with the passing 


of the Vernacular Press Act of 1878 the Amrita Bazar Patrika 
was converted into a wholly English paper, the Bengali portion 
of the paper was continued to be published separately with 
the name of the Ananda Bazar Patrika with the idea of catering 
to the Bengali-reading public. "At that time," to quote from 
an article written by Babu Ranjan Vilas Ray Chaudhuri, a 
nephew of Moti Lai, in the columns of the Ananda Bazar 
Patrika, "Shishir Kumar became the editor of the Amrita 
Bazar Patrika and Hemanta Kumar became the editor of the 
Ananda Bazar Patrika. Moti Lai, who was the right hand of 
both the brothers, became a writer in both the papers.'* 
Subsequently Moti Lai became the editor of the Ananda Bazar 
Patrika also, which position he held for a considerable time. 
The Ananda Bazar Patrika had to be closed down in 1886. 
But after a few years it was revived as Sri Sri Vishnupriya O 
Ananda Bazar Patrika. It became a religious and political 
paper combined in one. In this paper Moti Lai wrote articles 
not only on political subjects but also on Vaishnava religion 
and literature and lives of saints. He wrote several articles 
on the life of Thakur Narahari Sarkar, a devout Vaishnava, 
in which he gave a detailed and critical account of the "sweet 
form" of the worship of Sri Gauranga. These articles were 
remembered by Vaishnavas even after his death. He also 
wrote some articles on the life of Srila Ramtanu Bhagabat- 
bhushan which revealed their writer as a worshipper of Sri 
Gauranga in his duality, i.e., as combining Radha and Krishna 
in himself. Besides these he wrote a large xfumber of articles 
explaining the esoteric meaning of the Vaishnava religion 
and giving expositions of the subjects of Braja-leela, Man- 
bhanjan, Mdthurer paid, etc., which showed what keen interest 
he took in Vaishnava songs. These articles were highly 
appreciated by the Vaishnava public. After Moti Lai's death 
Srijut Hari Das Goswami of Navadwip referred to these articles 
and wrote in the columns of the Ananda Bazar Pdtrika that 
"Moti Lai was not simply a political leader. His heart was 
softer than a flower. Such religious-mindedness and modesty 
and sweetness befitting a Vaishnava as Moti Lai had, in spite 


of his being engaged in dry politics, could be found only 
among great men devoted to the Prophet of Nadia." It was 
only the other day (September 5, 1934) that Srijut Hirendra 
Nath Datta in a speech at a public meeting held in honour of 
Moti Lai at the Albert Hall in Calcutta said that "a prince 
among journalists Moti Lai detested politics which he called 
a dirty game. Yet he played a distinct role in Indian politics. 
But playing this role did not satisfy the heart of this Bhakta. 
Whenever, therefore, Moti Lai would find a Bhakta he would 
cry out, 'Bless me, so that I may be a recipient of the grace 
of Lord Sri Krishna.' " 

While on this subject I may be permitted to indulge in 
a little digression. Those who have read Vaishnava literature 
are well-acquainted with the fact that Sri Gauranga, the 
Prophet of Nadia whom the Vaishnavas worship as God 
Incarnate, was very fond of Jatra performances and as a matter 
of fact Himself held many such performances at Navadwip 
in his youthful days. Moti Lai and his brothers who were 
devoted followers of Sri Gauranga also held Jatra performances 
in their native village Amrita Bazar in imitation of their Lord 
in their youthful days. When they had removed to Calcutta 
and had settled there they revived their Jatra party, with 
several young boys of their native village. I have been able 
to gather information regarding this Jatra from my mother Sajal 
Nayana (Moti Lai's daughter) who still remembers all its songs. 
The performances were mainly on Sri Krishna and Radha, 
on Abhishar which dealt with the subject of Radha bedecking 
herself with all the ornaments that she could have and going 
out to meet her beloved Sri Krishna, on Man, which dealt 
with the subject of Radha's anger on account of Sri Krishna 
passing his night in the floral bower of Chandravali, another 
Devotee of his, and on Mathur, which described the lamenta- 
tions of the dwellers of Brindaban on Sri Krishna's leaving 
that place for the throne of Mathura. Almost all the actors 
came from the village of Amrita Bazar, and they were lodged 
in a house close to No. 2, Ananda Chatterji Lane. The idea 
of starting this Jatra party most probably originated from 


Shishir fcttoar, who w*$ very fond of sports, games, music 
aid other t-fccreations. Rehearsals were held almost daily at 
the hall of No. 2, Ananda Chatter ji Lane. The musical 
instruments consisted of the Harmonium, the Behala (violin), 
the Dhol (dmmlet), the Khanjani, the Khartal, etc. The songs 
were mostly of Govinda Adhikari, Joydev or other Mahajans ; 
many of these were adaptations from old Vaishnava composi- 
tions by Shishir Kumar. A youngman who played on the 
violin was the most intelligent among the group. Moti Lai 
taught him the songs and he in his turn coached the boys. 
Moti Lai also taught the boys as to how to dance and sing 
and play their respective parts. Sometimes he used to play 
on the violin also. The ladies of the family took great interest 
in the jatras and they dressed up the boys as Radha, Krishna, 
cow-boys, Gopinis, etc. The jatra party received some outside 
calls, amongst which mention may be made of their perform- 
ances at the houses of the late Raja Jotindra Mohan Tagore 
at Pathuriaghata, the late Raja Peary Mohan Mukherji of 
Uttarpara and the late Ray Yatindra Nath Chaudhuri of 
Barnagar. The party, however, was a losing concern to the 
Chose brothers who had ultimately to give it up. But they 
had a great love for the histrionic art and hence failing to set 
up a party on a permanent basis they not only encouraged 
others to set up some public theatrical parties but also attended 
their performances regularly. But the plays which they liked 
were mostly religious plays or social plays having a moral, 
i.e., those plays which aimed at the uplift of humanity. 

Moti Lai belonged to the old school of Bengali writers. 
His studies in Bengali were also confined to old writings, such 
as Vidyapati, Chandidas, Chaitanya Charitamrita, etc. I have 
never found him reading a Bengali novel, old or new. He 
was much averse to novel-reading. An incident comes up to 
my mind in this connection. Whatever might have been Moti 
Lai's views on the poems and writings of Rabindranath Tagore, 
as expressed in the columns of the Amrita Bazar Patrika, in 
private conversations he would never appreciate these. I had 
just passed the Matriculation examination when the poet got 


the Nobel Prize. I purchased a copy of the Gitanjali in 
Bengali, an English version of which had won the prize for 
him, learnt many of its songs and committed others to memory. 
I tried to convince Moti Lai as to the beauty of the poems, 
their fine sentiment and devotional spirit. I argued with him 
and wished him to read a few poems. He would not read 
them. On the contrary, he asked me to read the book of poems 
entitled KaLachand Gita, written by his illustrious elder brother, 
Shishir Kumar Ghose, which I did. At that time I was an 
ardent admirer of Rabindra Nath Tagore's poems. So, one 
day, while Moti Lai was preparing for his bath and a servant 
was rubbing oil over his body, I came to him and said, "Now 
that you are not busy may I read out a few poems of the 
Gitanjali'?" On his agreeing I read a few poems. I had a 
mind to read some more, but he threw cold water over me 
by saying, "Stop, stop, all this is nothing compared with the 
writings of Vaishnava poets they are far superior to these. 
Read the poems of Vidyapati and Chandidas and you will 
appreciate my remarks." I thought that he was biased or 
had some pre-conceived notions. 

After a few days Moti Lai brought two big volumes of 
the poems of Vidyapati and Chandidas, published by the 
Bangiya Sahitya Parishat and began to read them off and on. 
I also read them to find put if they contained even finer things 
than the Gitanjali. 

At this time appeared Rabindra Nath's Gharey Bahirey 
(At Home and Abroad), a novel in Bengali, which became the 
talk of the day. I had read it when it was appearing in the 
monthly Sabujpatra. 

Now, one day it happened that a gentleman connected 
with the Calcutta University and having something to do with 
Bengali literature came to pay a visit to Moti Lai. I was 
present all the time when they were talking with each other. 
The gentleman asked in course of conversation whether Moti 
Lai had read Rabi Babu's Gharey Bahirey. On his answering 
in the negative, he said, "O, Sir, what shall I say of the book I 
If books like this are read by our young boys and girls surely 


our society is doomed." "Is that so?" inquired Moti Lai. 
"Well, Sir, the book is such that it cannot be real aloud by 
father and son sitting together." I could keep my silence no 
longer and entered my protest against what the gentleman had 
said. Moti Lai inquired of me if I had read it. His face became 
grave when I answered in the affirmative. Apparently he was 
thinking as to what to say to me. But before giving him 
any opportunity to speak I said, pointing to the big volumes 
of Vidyapati and Chandidas lying on his table, "If father and 
son cannot read together Rabi Babu's Gharey-Bahirey then 
they cannot read together these volumes of Vidyapati and 
Chandidas also, and especially the volume of Vidyapati." 
Moti Lai flared up, "Why do you read these books? You have 
no adhikar to read these books." This silenced me. Then 
the other gentleman, who dabbled in Vaishnava literature also 
and Moti Lai went on discussing among themselves Adhikar, 
Brajalila and other esoteric topics of Vaisnavism and I was 
made to feel that though I was reading Shakespeare and Milton 
in College I was not able to understand the poetry of Vidyapati 
and Chandidas in spite of their being written in my mother 


Jam v. Sandesh Ali Brothers' Appreciation Secret of Moti Lai's Style 
Plain and Simple Language Sentiments Indian. 

In the middle of 1917 Babu Moti Lai Ghose wrote a 
leading article in the Amrita Bazar Patrika with the title of 
"Jam vs. Sandesh." The article was a very humorous one 
and was written in his characteristic style. This article was 
one among the innumerable articles which were dictated to 
me. In this article he regretted that Indians were gradually 
giving up indigenous sweets like Sandesh, which was a celestial 


food, and had been taking to ham, jam and jelly, etc., which 
Were foreign to the soil. After its publication he received 
Several letters from friends and acquaintances congratulating 
him on the article. But the most remarkable letter was the 
one that came from Maulanas Shaukat AH and Mahomed Ali, 
who were now lodged in the Chhindwara jail. It was a joint 
espistle, written on an "Exercise Book" running up to 32 pages 
or more. From beginning to end it was full of humour and 
one reading it could scarcely feel that it was written from inside 
a jail. "Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a 
cage." The Ali brothers were not personally acquinted with 
Moti Lai, but in their letter they opened their heart to him. 
With regard to the article they said that they relished it very 
much but they complained that Moti Lai had shown a bit of 
partiality towards the sandesh ; he should have mentioned the 
qualifications of the rasogollah as well. 

Moti Lai wrote a very charming letter in reply. He com- 
pared the affectionate relationship between the Ali brothers 
with the relationship that existed between himself and his late 
lamented illustrious brother Shishir Kumar and compared 
the love of Bi Amma, mother of the Ali brothers to the love 
of their own mother Amrita Moyee. He also wrote that he 
and his brother named their bazar and the paper according 
to their mother's name Amrita Bazar. My humble self was 
the amanuensis of Babu Moti Lai Ghose. I preserved the 
Ali brothers' letter for long, but it has been mislaid along 
with many other papers and letters of Moti Lai which I had 
preserved for a long time. 

There was some reason why I was preserving these letters. 
I often asked Moti Lai to make some publication in a book 
form of some of his important and interesting writings, espe- 
cially the humorous ones. As a matter of fact he had a 
personal diary in which the head-lines and dates of many such 
articles were noted down. On many occasions he referred to 
this diary with a view to finding out old articles for reference 
or with a view to refreshing his memory as to what he had 
written on a particular subject. He had also made a selection 


of articles. But somehow or other the publication never came 
out. First of all, he was not very keen on it, and then, I was 
at that time not grown up enough to take charge of the 
publication independently of him. 

The article Jam vs. Sandesh is but one of the innumerable 
humorous articles that were published from time to time in 
the leading columns of the Amriia Bazar Patrika. They were 
on a wide variety of subjects, such as Horse's Egg, Makar 
Dhokar Law, Hobu Chandar and Gobu Chandar, St. Andrews' 
Day Dinner, Bhagwan Bhut, My Dear Konstam, God-deposed 
Europe, Molists and No Molists, Gopal Bhanr Counting Stars, 
The Indian Hookka, "John You Cut Me", Animals Tried by 
Court Martials, Drink and Be Great, John Bull and Rama the 
Farmer, Heat As It Affects the Europeans, Moustache or No 
Moustache, Lady of Irritable Temper, The Story of a Man who 
Could Bark Better than a Dog, etc., etc., to mention a few 
among hundreds of articles. They showed what an inex- 
haustible fund of humour the writer possessed. But these 
were not simply entertaining articles written only for the sake 
of fun. They were highly instructive and in some cases they 
contained bitter criticisms of social evils or political tyranny. 

Moti Lai was an excellent humorist and in his time the 
Amriia Bazar Patrika was famous for its humour. Even the 
driest possible subject grew interesting at his touch. For 
example, his articles on such a dry subject as the Government 
Budget were captivating in all conscience as they were always 
illustrated with popular and interesting stories and written in 
a very interesting manner. Not only that ; he wrote them 
in such a Incid and simple style that even those who had only 
a smattering of the English language could understand what 
he wrote. I have seen letters written to him in appreciation 
of his articles by persons who could scarcely write two lines 
in English or failing even that wrote to him in Bengali. 

The reason for this popularity of Moti Lai's writings was 
the fact that he scarcely indulged in heavy articles ; and never 
did he write in an ornate style. He had very little acquaintance 
with English literature, and even if he had any acquaintance 


with it he was not fond of it, neither was he disposed to show 
his learning. So, his writings were not full of allusions 
or quotations like those of many others, who want to make 
a vain display of their learning ; and his thoughts and senti- 
ments were not coloured with Anglicism. Many Indians who 
have got their education in England or who have been educated 
in India on modern lines consider themselves fortunate if they 
can think more like Englishmen than like Indians. They 
write in English, they speak in English, they dress in the 
English fashion, and sometimes they even dream in English. 
But Moti Lai's education was mostly in the Indian style. In 
the village schools in those days students were still taught on 
the older lines and not on the present English-imitating 
method. So, though in later life Moti Lai wrote in English, 
his thoughts were those of a Bengalee. The language was 
English, and very good English too, but the ideas, the senti- 
ments, the thoughts these were purely Bengalee. His 
metaphors or similes were not taken from the mountains of 
Scotland or Switzerland, nor were his parables and anecdotes 
taken from the Bible or ^Esop's Fables. The unlimited 
resources of his own country supplied him with his materials. 
Above all, his humour was not borrowed from western litera- 
ture. He showed scant courtesy for Addison or Steele. They 
were not his masters. But it was the unwritten stories of his 
own motherland coming to the present day from generation to 
generation, from mouth to mouth, that taught him his lessons 
in humour. His quaint manner of illustrating his points with 
these stories and also others from our ancient literature, such 
as the Hitopodesha or the Panchatantra, was original. His 
stories of Hobu Chunder and Gobu Chunder were appreciated 
by all classes of readers, young and old. The Anglo-Indians 
also did not fail to appreciate him and on numerous occasions 
when he wrote a humorous article the Anglo-Indian dailies of 
Calcutta (especially, the Indian Daily News) used to reprint 
it with the head-line "The Amrita in Merry Mood." 

But a generation has passed away since these articles were 
printed and perhaps I am talking to persons who have read 


none of them. How I wish that some at least of these 
innumerable articles could be printed in book form for the 
benefit of the present generation and, perhaps, of generations 
to come ! 



The Ghose Brothers and Their Descendants Amrita Bazar Patrika con- 
verted into a Limited Company Outside Helpers Gradual Evolution 
of Machinery. 

It has already been said that Basanta Kumar, the eldest 
of the Ghose brothers died a few months before the Amrita 
Bazar Patrika was started in 1868. His next brother Hemanta 
Kumar, "the eldest of the brothers who founded the Amrita 
Bazar Patrika passed away to a better world" (to quote the 
Patrika) in March, 1892, just a year after the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika had been converted into a daily. Needless to say that 
it was a great shock to the Ghose family, the grief which the 
surviving brothers felt can only be imagined by those who 
knew the nature and extent of the affection in which the 
Ghose brothers held each other. The part which Hemanta 
Kumar played in the foundation and development of the 
Patrika was not an insignificant one, and I believe that if any 
of the three brothers who founded the Amrita Bazar Patrika 
did not exist or do his part, it would have been difficult, if 
not impossible for the other two to do theirs. The part which 
Shishir Kumar played is well known (Vide His biography in 
Bengali by Sj. Anath Nath Basu). The part played by 
Hemanta Kumar is not so well known to the public of the 
present day. His chief merits, I have been told by persons 
who were in the know, lay in acquiring friends and well-wishers 
for the Patrika. He was a devout Vaishnava and had a very 


Captivating heart, so that whoevfer came in touch with him 
soon became his friend and through him the friend of his 
fctothers and the Patrika. His literary contributions to the 
paper might not have been so extensive as those of his brothers 
but he rendered inestimable service to the Patrika by going 
about the town and sometimes into the moffussils also and 
paying visits to the subscribers and contributors and men of 
Kght and leading and gauging their feelings. On many 
occasions he would move about in the villages among the ryots, 
holding meetings and explaining matters relating to the welfare 
of the villages. 

Those were days of what might be called "Personal 
Journalism." The personalities of the editor and other con- 
ductors of the paper had much to do with its growth and 
popularity. The number of subscribers as well as the reading 
pfcblic was very small and unlike the present day the editor 
tad a very easy way of ascertaining what effect his writings 
had produced in the reader's mind. Mejadada, for so was 
Hemanta Kumar called, would on many occasions act as a 
Connecting link between the paper and the public. He was 
thus one of the main props of the paper and his loss was 

The death of such a brother was disheartening in all 
conscience. But the Ghose brothers were believers in 
Spiritualism they believed in the life after death. So death 
to them was not total annihilation it meant the passing away 
of the soul to a better world. Those who did good deeds in 
this life, they believed, had nothing to fear from death, but 
those who were addicted to bad deeds must suffer the conse- 
quence after death. "We are like caterpillars," Moti Lai 
often used to say, "and when we shall leave this dirty carcase 
of ours we shall soar higher and higher and fly about like 
butterflies in a garden of flowers." He referred to the human 
body as the dirty carcase in which the soul was enthralled. 
When such was the case it can be well imagined that however 
great the shock might have been the Ghose brothers bore it 
calmly and set about doing their daily work. 


Another great shock, perhaps the greatest shock, in the 
life of Moti Lai was the death of his elder brother in January, 
1911. "Babu Shishir Kumar Ghose, the chief founder of this 
journal," to quote the Amrita Bazar PaMka of the nth 
January, 1911, "left this for the other world yesterday (n-i-n) 

at the age of 71 his chief merit lay in the high 

spiritual life that he led during his later years. He was the 
chief editor of this journal for a quarter of a century : indeed 
it was he who gave shape, life and soul to it. The lingering 
and serious illness that led to the retirement of Babu Shishir 
Kumar Ghose from public life at the latter end of the eighties 
of the last century formed the subject of comment in all the 
leading papers of the day." 

Though in the latter part of their lives their activities lay 
through different channels, one wielding his pen in the field 
of religion and the other doing the same in the political arena 
of the day, Shishir Kumar and Moti Lai were very closely 
associated in their earlier days. To those who came to pay 
their condolence to Moti Lai on the former's death he said that 
he and his brother were like two flowers in the same stalk 
and now that one of the flowers had fallen the other would 
also wither away day by day. But let me quote what he 
wrote in the Amrita Bazar PaMka of i2th January, 1911 : 

"We haye no right to thrust our private grief upon 
others, specially when it is too deep, too sacred for 
utterance. All the same we are but human, and we 
cannot speak of him from whom we were separated on 
Tuesday (loth January) without being overwhelmed with 
sorrow. They talk of conjugal love ; parental love ; 
filial love ; to us a brother's love is the supremest gift 
of God the Fountain of all love. To lose a brother is 
to feel as if the heart were crushed out of shape. Babu 
Shishir Kumar Ghose, however, was not only a brother 
to us born of the same parents, but a life companion a 
constant, almost a daily companion of over sixty years 
to whom we owe every little good thing that we possess 
at whose feet we learnt the A. B. C. of politics and a 
higher life who taught us, not by precepts alone but 
by examples also that the highest destiny of man was 
to love God and love man. He was our temporal and 


spiritual guru ; how helpless, small and miserable we 
feel in his absence. The void caused in our heart by 
his translation to the other world will and can never be 
filled up so long we are here ; yet he lives and lives in 
a better and happier world, and the conviction, rather 
the knowledge that we shall meet him again in due 
course, will, we trust, God willing, enable us to sustain 
the heavy blow which it has been our unfortunate fate 
to receive." 

Since its very inception the Amrita Bazar Patrika had been 
a family concern. With the death of the eldest of the brothers 
Basanta Kumar who had founded the vernacular fortnightly 
Amrita Prabahini Patrika, his mantle had fallen upon his 
brothers Hemanta Kumar, Shishir Kumar and Moti Lai. 
Moti Lai and his brothers were eight in number, of whom 
Hiralal, who was next to Moti Lai died very young and two 
others Ram Lai and Benode Lai died almost as soon as they 
had completed their education. The youngest of the Ghose 
brothers Golap Lai joined the Amrita Bazar Patrika about ten 
years before the death of Hemanta Kumar. The gap created 
by the death of Hemanta Kumar in the management of the 
Patrika was filled up by Golap Lai though in another way 
and the trio, Shishir Kumar, Moti Lai and Golap Lai, after 
the death of Hemanta Kumar, went on conducting the paper 
as vigorously as before, Shishir Kumar contributing his 
superior intellect and advice, Moti Lai his industry and per- 
severance and Golap Lai his willing hand always extended to 
help his brothers whenever there was need. 

The part which Golap Lai played in the history and 
development of the Patrika is still too fresh in the mind of 
the reader to require any mention. The unique tribute paid 
to him by the Indian newspapers after his death in 1932 
reveals the nature of the work he had done in connection with 
the Patrika. He did the work of managing editor from the 
time he joined the Patrika, though the name of Managing 
Editor was, perhaps, then not in vogue and as such he was 
recorded in official papers as the Financial Manager. Through- 
out he rendered Moti Lai substantial help in the discharge of 


his editorial duties by assisting him in selecting subjects for his 
writing. Golap Lai's terse and illuminating paragraphs were 
quite in keeping with the traditions of the Patrika. Some time 
after Moti Lai's death he became the editor of the Patrika. 

Moti Lai (who avowedly had poor knowledge of mathe- 
matics) had to look to the financial side of the paper during its 
very early stages ; subsequently Hemanta Kumar did it for a 
time. After the death of Hemanta Kumar, Babu Mrinal Kanti 
Ghose and others looked to the management of the financial side 
of the paper, so that Moti Lai had since then very little to do 
with financial matters relating to the paper beyond being con- 
sulted as and when important occasions arose. Speaking about 
the management of the Patrika, I think I shall be accused of a 
glaring omission if I do not mention the name of the late Dina 
Nath Roy, who, though not a member of the family had none the 
less a great hand in the management of the paper. He joined 
the Patrika about the time when Hemanta Kumar died and soon 
established his usefulness, so much so that the proprietors of 
the paper left the financial matters to a great extent, if not 
entirely, to his hands. In this connection I must also mention 
the name of my father the late Nritya Gopal Dutt 
(Moti Lai's son-in-law), who was like a son to him and for years 
assisted him greatly by looking after his financial matters, both 
in connection with the Patrika as well as his zemindari estates 
in his native place in Jessore. Indeed I make bold to say that 
but for this relief it would have been very difficult, if not 
impossible, for Moti Lai to keep himself absolutely aloof from 
financial matters and devote himself entirely to the editorial 
work of the Patrika and other public works. While on this 
subject I cannot help stating (though it is a digression) that 
Moti Lai kept himself so much out of touch with monetary 
matters that he had not touched or seen a coin for several years, 
he had no personal financial account ; his income from the 
zemindari and his allowance from the Patrika office were taken 
and spent by my father during his life time and after his death 
in 1919 by myself and my brothers. As a matter of fact Moti Lai 
did not know what was his income and what was his ex- 


penditure. How detached he was from the monetary world will 
appear from the following incident. Long after the old silver 
2 anna bits had given place to the new nickel ones, one day 
Moti Lai suddenly called me and holding up a new nickel coin 
in his hand asked me, "What is this?" "Strange," said I, 
"You do not know what it is. It is a new 2 anna bit." Moti 
Lai replied, "Yes, yes, I had read of it, but had not seen it 

But to return to the subject of this chapter. Piyush Kanti 
Ghose, eldest son of Shishir Kumar, was connected with the 
Amrita Bazar Pdtrika in various capacities from his college days 
till his death in 1928. He rendered great help to Moti Lai in 
discharging his public duties, in fact in such matters he was 
said to be Moti Lai's right hand man. His bright and fasci- 
nating narrative and descriptive writings in the Patrika were a 
treat for the readers. The late Parimal Kanti Ghose, son of 
Hemanta Kumar, and the late Nihar Kanti Ghose, soil of 
Shishir Kumar, played their parts in the Patrika and were 
called into eternity rather early. Babu Mrinal Kanti Ghose, son 
of Hemanta Kumar is almost contemporaneous with Golap Lai. 
He joined the management side of the paper about the time 
when Golap Lai joined it, and inspite of his old age and weak 
health is still looking after the paper with the energy of a 
young man. At present he is the oldest member of the Ghose 
family and may he live for years serving as a connecting link 
between those who are and those who are no more. 

The Amrita Bazar Patrika was started in the year 1868 
as a family paper. Sixty-six years have since gone by. None 
of the original founders are living, but the proprietorship of 
the paper is still confined to the heirs of the original founders, 
all of whom without a single exception are now in the manage- 
ment of the paper. 

The Amrita Bazar Patrika was incorporated as a company 
in the year 1908. Before that it had been a joint family 
property owned and managed by the Ghose family. In that 
year the business of the printers and publishers along with all 
the. assets $ad liabilities was transferred by the then proprietors 


to the Amrita Bazar Patrika Limited Company, which was in 
reality a family business converted into a limited company, the 
shareholders being the members of the family themselves. 
Shishir Kumar Ghose, Moti Lai Ghose and Golap Lai Ghose 
were the first directors of the company and all the present 
shareholders and directors at the time of writing this (1934) are 
heirs and descendants of the original founders and their family. 
Deshabandhu C. R. Das at one time wanted to purchase 

the Amrita Bazar Patrika and as a matter of fact negotiated the 
matter with Moti Lai through a common friend and offered a 
very decent sum, but Moti Lai and other proprietors of the 
paper could not part with an institution which they had built 
up with their life-blood. The proprietorship of the Amrita 
Bazar Patrika is thus still confined to the heirs in the male or 
female line of the four brothers, Hemanta Kumar Ghose, 
Shishir Kumar Ghose, Moti Lai Ghose and Golap Lai Ghose, 
all of whom have been called into eternity. 

There was a time when Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak 
also wanted to convert the Amrita Bazar Patrika into a trust 
property for the country. Wrote the late Sri jut Shy am Sundar 
Chakravarti, editor of the now defunct Servant newspaper and 
formerly a colleague and helping hand of Moti Lai : 

"Men like Bal Gangadhar Tilak almost worshipped 
the Patrika and its patriotic traditions. We shall be com- 
mitting a treason to the memory of this great man if we 
do not give wide publicity to the feelings which he 
entertained for the Amrita Bazar Patrika. When we saw 
him last a little before his death at Poona, his first and 
foremost request to us was to approach Babu Moti Lai 
Ghose with the object of making the Patrika a trust 
property for the nation. He even offered to come to 
Calcutta and join us in putting pressure upon Moti Babu 
for the purpose if we felt the necessity." 

The matter however did not proceed far. 

By trying to convert the Amrita Bazar Patrika into a trust 
property for the country Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak was 
only trying to change its legal status. For, it is a de facia 
trust property, though not a de jure one. All, who have come 



in contact with the management of the paper or know some- 
thing of its inner circle, have seen that the paper is run more 
in the interest of the public than in the interest of the 
proprietors. The proprietors are intelligent enough to under- 
stand that the very existence of the paper depends upon its 
capacity to do service to the country. The country, they know, 
will love the paper only so long as it will be useful to the 
country. Hence they must look to the interest of the country- 
first, and then to their own interest. It is thus that the Amrita 
Bazar Patrika in a sense has ceased to be a private property. 
It has become an institution for the benefit of the general 

Among the men who assisted Babu Moti Lai Ghose from 
time to time in the discharge of his editorial duties in the latter 
part of his life, apart from the members of his family, I may 
mention the names of Babu Hem Chunder Dutt, Kali Prasanna 
Chatterji, Shyam Sunder Chakravarti, Manmatha Nath Mukherji 
and Bipin Chandra Pal (the list is by no means exhaustive), all 
of whom have left the land of the living. Hem Chunder Dutt 
mainly did the duties of a sub-editor, but occasionally wrote 
editorial paragraphs also. He had worked long in the Patrika 
office. We saw him working during the Partition of Bengal 
agitation days and even later. He was a lover of fineries. His 
elegant dress, well-combed hair, scented handkerchiefs and 
chudders and his gargara (hubble bubble) with a long and 
circuitous pipe attached to it were in striking contrast with the 
simple and plain, and verging sometimes on being niggardly, 
dress and teetootaller habit of his employers. He used to take 
his tea in the office room, which was considered a luxury. Tea- 
shops were not running rampant in those days and so a servant 
of his brought a kettle-ful of tea every day at about 4 o'clock 
in the afternoon. Hem Babu minus tea and tobacco is un- 
thinkable. But he did great service to the Patrika. Like tea- 
shops writers were also not as plenty as black-berries in those 
days. Hem Babu was a writer and hence his khatir can be 


Kali Prasanna Chatterji, a Bengali gentleman hailing from 
the Punjab, had not unfortunately a long connection with the 
Patrika. But his position in the office was very high. He was 
a writer of leaders and paragraphs and his (as well as Hem 
Babu's) name appeared in many official returns as the editor 
of the Amrita Bazar Patrika. 

The Partition agitation brought about the internment of 
Sri jut Shy am Sundar Chakravarti. Moti Lai tried hard to get 
the internment order cancelled and after long correspondence 
on the subject he succeeded in doing so through the inter- 
vention of Dr. Graham (I write from memory and subject to 
correction) of Kalimpong and Lord Cannichael. After his 
release Shyam Sundar joined the editorial staff of the Patrika. 
His flowing beard, deep deliberation and his Mss. with in- 
ordinately big letters covering page after page impressed us 
very much. But unfortunately we were not in a position then 
to assess the real merit or value of his work. His connection 
with the Patrika was not also very long. 

Babu Mamnatha Nath Mukherji, M.A., B.L., a pleader of 
Bhagalpur came after Sj. Shyam Sundar Chakravarti. I have 
heard Moti Lai saying that Manmatha Babu had given him 
substantial relief. He was happy to find that at last he had 
got a writer on whom he could fully depend. Manmatha 
Babu had been a regular reader of the Patrika since his school 
days. Hence his thoughts and ideas, nay, even his language 
also, were saturated with those of the Patrika. So, when on 
account of his ill health he left his legal practice at Bhagalpur 
and joined the Patrika staff, they gave him a hearty welcome. 
Manmatha Babu had a fine sense of humour {and a great 
command over the English language. Many of the humorous 
articles written by him under Moti Lai's direction created 
great fun among the readers. He excelled in entertaining 
articles. Generally he got his points from Moti Lai or had 
a discussion with him and then wrote down the articles in his 
own language. Moti Lai often said that he could now safely 
leave the paper in his charge. But as ill luck would have it 
Manmatha Babu who had all along been in indifferent health, 


breathed his last in the prime of his life in June, 1915, leaving 
Moti Lai once more to carry on the heavy responsibilities of 
the editor of a daily paper. Babu Bipin Chandra Pal's help 
was now requisitioned. For a time he wielded his pen un- 
grudgingly for the Patrika. He was a man of versatile genius 
and was an unspeakably rapid writer. He wrote for several 
newspapers almost at a time. Immediately after writing a 
leading article for the Patrika he would write a criticism of 
it for a rival paper with different views. But he could not 
pull on with the proprietors of the Patrika for long. There 
was difference of opinion between them over the Montagu- 
Chelmsford Reform Scheme and he considered it a "prostitution 
of his intellect" (to use the exact terms he used) to serve the 
Patrika any more. Then came Srijut Jitendra Lai Bannerjea, 
M.A., B.L. But the wide corridors of the Calcutta High Court 
and afterwards the spacious lecture halls of the Vidyasagar 
College had greater attraction for him than the then dingy 
little editorial room of the Patrika office. For a time 
Dr. Sasanka Jiban Roy, M.A., D.I,., came to the rescue. But 
he also did not feel tempted to leave the High Court. Babu 
Hemendra Prasad Ghose who had a long connection with the 
Patrika also contributed his bit from time to time. Several 
other gentlemen were tried but with no success. At last came 
Babu Mrinal Kanti Bose, M.A., B.I,., some time in 1918 and 
he found the Patrika office more attractive than the Jessore 
District Court where he had been practising before. He stuck 
to his gun and on May 25, 1922 when Moti Lai was ill he 
became the declared editor of the Patrika f so that at the 
time of Moti Lai's death a few months later he was the 
declared editor of the paper, which post he held till the i7th 
Sept., 1922 when Golap Lai Ghose was declared editor. 

In this connection I may mention that a large number 
of prominent public men often rendered voluntary assistance 
to the Patrika by contributing articles from time to time on 
various subjects. The names of some of them which just now 
come up before my mind (I am conscious that I am making 
glaring omissions, but I cannot help it) are Byomcase 


Chuckerbutty, C. R. Das, Bhupendra Nath Basu, I. B. Sen, 
K. N. Chaudhuri, Kamini Kumar Chanda, Kishori Lai Sarkar, 
Ray Yatindra Nath Chaudhury, Babu Bejoy Krishna Bose (of 
Alipur Bar), Mr. A. K. Ghose, Bar-at-law, Sri juts Hirendra 
Nath Datta, Amrita Krishna Mallik, Dr. Sundari Mohan Das, 
and Mr. Sukumar Haldar. 

A connected history of the gradual evolution of the 
printing presses, I mean the machinery for printing, of the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika from the starting of the paper in 1868 
down to the present time (1934) will certainly be interesting. 
But the preparation of such a history is beset with many 
difficulties, and it is almost impossible at this distant date to 
find out which machine was bought and set up on which date 
and how and when the older machinery were from time to 
time disposed of and machinery of the latest models gradually 
set up in their place. It has already been said that the first 
printing press which the proprietors of the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika set up was at their native village Amrita Bazar, also 
called Palua-Magura. It was purchased at Calcutta and taken 
to their native village. The Press was a wooden one, called 
the Balein Press, and it was operated by man-power. It cost 
them only Rs. 32 at the outset. This Press along with all the 
printing materials had to be sold off when the proprietors of 
the Patrika left Magura and came to Calcutta. Immediately 
on coming to Calcutta they purchased another small hand press 
for printing. It was set up at a house in Hidaram Banerjee 
Lane, Bow Bazar in 1871, and when in 1874 they removed to 
Bagh Bazar the press was shifted there, and located on the 
court yard of premises No. 2, Ananda Chatter jee Lane, where 
it was kept for a considerable time. Originally the paper was 
in Bengali ; then it became a bilingual paper, partly Bengali 
and partly English. But in 1878, with the passing of the 
Vernacular Press Act the Bengali portion was abandoned and 
the Amrita Bazar Patrika appeared wholly in English. It was 
still a weekly paper and remained as such up to 1891, when 
owing to importunities of friends and admirers engaged in the 
agitation over the Age of Consent Bill it was transformed into 


a daily paper. The Bengali portion was after some time revived 
as a weekly with the name of the Ananda Bazar Patrika. 
For a time the Bengali types were removed to a house at 
Haro Lai Mitter Street in the vicinity and separate sets of 
compositors were maintained for printing the Bengali paper. 
Afterwards they were removed again to a tiled hut in the 
garden of No. 2, Ananda Chatterjee Lane. 

A large plot of land in front of No. 2, Ananda Chatterjee 
Lane was acquired in course of time it was then numbered 
13, Ananda Chatterjee Lane. It is now numbered 12. The 
press and printing outfits were in course of time removed from 
2, Ananda Chatterjee Lane to a house built on this plot of 
land. The printing machine was originally run by man-power 
and compositors set up types with their hand to make up a 
format. In course of time Linotype machines were brought 
to replace the hand compositors and at first the Vacuum oil 
engine replaced the men moving the printing machine and 
then the Vaccum oil engine was also replaced by Electric 
motors. During Moti Lai's life time newer and newer models 
of printing machinery were one after another purchased, and 
their number also was increased. At the time when 
Mrs. Besant was presiding over the Calcutta Congress in the 
year 1917 the Patrika had attained the height of its 
popularity. Two Double Feeder machines in which the paper 
was then printed were unable to cope with the demand ; the 
town edition of the paper would sometimes be printed even 
up to the noon. To meet the situation orders for a semi-Rotary 
printing machine were placed during the life-time of Moti Lai. 
Unfortunately, however, he did not live to see this machine 
implanted. This machine also grew out of date ; and since, 
most up to date Rotary machine and a sufficient number of 
Linotype and Intertype machinery have been installed. 


Self-Govemment, the Goal of India Montagu's Declaration His Visit 
to India Moti Lai's Scheme of Reforms Press Comment Interview 
with Montagu Montagu's Diary Moti Lai, a Whole-hogger Story of 
a Rich Sudra and a Poor Brahmin Condition of the Villages of Bengal 
Government's Internment Policy. 

The history of the world shows that it is gradually 
throwing off the old or mediaeval form of Government, viz., 
Monarchy, and is step by step establishing what is known as 
the Democratic form of Government. But how far a real 
democracy, where the people are really governed by themselves 
and for themselves, has been established is still a question 
of doubt. And whether the change for the so-called democracy 
has been for the better or for the worse is also an open 
question. But many great thinkers and politicians agree on 
the point that self-government, which is another name for 
democracy, is better than good government and the terms self- 
government, autonomy, self-rule, home rule, sivaraj, etc., have 
become almost synonymous in the language of modern 

Now, within the last sixty years many minor powers of 
the world, who were either under some other stronger power or 
under a monarchical or autocratic form of government, have 
been able to secure democracy, either by dint of popular risings 
from within the country or by virtue of the intervention of 
some power or powers from outside. Great politicians have 
said that, in order that the world may be made safe for 
democracy, the subject nations in the world must be made 
independent and self-governing. Just as when a portion of 
space is rendered void of air, air comes from all sides and tries 
to occupy it, so if a weak power is to be found in the world 
the stronger powers from all sides are eager to overcome that 
power and occupy its place. India is one such weak spot in 


the world and she must be made independent and self- 
governing and must not be allowed to rot in her weak and 
imbecile condition, in order that the world may be made safer 
for democracy. 

For long years India had been claiming Dominion Status, 
Home Rule, Self-Government, Swaraj or by whatever name 
you call it meaning thereby that she wanted her children to 
be governed by themselves. There were several parties in 
India too some wanted severance of British connection, 
while others wanted to keep it. Their methods might be 
different from each other, they might differ also from each 
other in points of details, but fundamentally there was no 
difference amongst the parties. All, all of them, wanted self- 
government for India. But Great Britain had all along been 
turning a deaf ear to India's just demands. She was rather un- 
willing to forego her imperialistic policy and all along she 
wanted to keep India as a subject nation and exploit her. 

But when the Great War of 1914 18 broke out between 
England and Germany, the former found it absolutely 
necessary to take the help of India. Though many representa- 
tive Indians, including even Mahatma Gandhi, were for helping 
the British people at that time there were many on the other 
hand, who were not forgetful of the wrong done to them by 
their white masters and wanted an opportunity for severing 
their connection with the British Empire. Mr. Lloyd George, 
the British Premier, saw this and wanted to do something to 
allay this discontent. Thus on the 2oth August, 1917, the 
British Cabinet, through Mr. Edwin Samuel Montagu, who 
was Secretary of State for India from 1917 to 1922, made the 
famous declaration in Parliament that certain reforms would 
soon be introduced in the constitution of India with a view 
to taking her nearer to her goal which was Progressive 
Responsible Government. 

The next step of the Cabinet was to send Mr. Montagu 
to India to consult Indian politicians and prepare a scheme 
of reforms in the administration, in order to give effect to the 
above-mentioned declaration. Mr. Montagu invited schemes 


from Indian gentlemen as to the future constitution of India 
and like many other persons Moti Lai also gave his own 
scheme of reforms. At this time he also wrote a series of 
articles in the Amrita Bazar Patrika, advising Britishers, if 
they sincerely wanted to give self-government to India, to 
follow the method which the Americans had recourse to in 
order to give self-rule to the Philippine Islands. 

Under the Spanish rule the Philippine islands were 
horribly misgoverned. The United States conquered the 
islands from Spain in 1898. The islands were then under 
military government for two years only. The Americans, 
however, took upon themselves the task of educating the 
Filipinos and training them in the art of self-government. 

Within the short period of 15 years the Filipinos were 
given almost complete self-government. In these articles 
Moti Lai gave a history of the Filipinos from the time when 
they came under the control of the Americans to the time of 
his writing. Very soon he reprinted these articles and 
published them in the form of a booklet. 

The articles and the book were very timely publications. 
Whole India was now thinking of a scheme of reforms. 
Moti Lai drew the attention of the politicians to things and 
events in a country which was the mother of democracy. The 
scheme of reforms submitted by Moti Lai to Montagu and 
Chelmsford was published in full in an appendix to the 
Philippine booklet. 

The Englishman sarcastically commented on Babu Moti 
Lai's scheme. In course of a long editorial it wrote: 

"There is nothing restrained about Mr. Moti Lai 
Ghose's proposals. The new scheme is a whole- 
hogger responsible self-government straight away and 
the devil take the hindermost." 

But in this respect Moti Lai was not singular. Almost 
all the prominent Congressmen, who had interviews with the 
Viceroy and the Secretary of State, whether belonging to the 
so-called Moderate or Extremist party, expresed the same 
views they demanded the whole hog, the whole of the reforms 


at a time, and not reforms bit by bit, and that, at the sweet 
will or discretion of the British Parliament. 

Like many other gentlemen, Moti Lai had an interview 
with Mr. Montagu when he came to India in 1917 after his 
appointment as Secretary of State for India. The subject of 
the interview was mainly the Reform Scheme which Govern- 
ment was about to introduce. Moti Lai got hold of this 
opportunity and tried to impress upon Mr. Montagu the futility 
of Government's internment policy which was then running 
rampant. He also brought to his notice some other crying 
needs of the day. 

With regard to this interview Mr. Montagu writes in his 
book, An Indian Diary, under date Tuesday, December 4, 

"We had a long interview with Moti Lai Ghose, 
the charming old editor of the Amrita Bazar Patrika. 
He is a fine old boy, gentle in his manner, with a 
strong sense of humour, a devout Brahman, a fierce 
politician, thoroughly bitter, with a profound disbelief 
in public of our good intentions, though accepting them 
in private. He reminded me that five years ago he had 
told me that our Indian Empire was slipping away from 
us. He spoke fiercely of malaria, and expressed the 
belief that it is only the people themselves that can 
prevent the appalling death-rate, the frightful enlarged 
spleen condition, the decimation of the Bengal villages. 
Moti Lai Ghose has abandoned the Congress League 
Scheme, and goes for complete responsible government 
in the Provinces, with the Congress League Scheme for 
the Government of India. He is in a great hurry, and 
I begged him to be a little more patient ten years was 
a long stretch in the life of a man, but very little in 
the life of a country." 

There are certain inaccuracies in the above note. For 
example, it was never Moti Lai's view that only the people 
themselves could prevent the appalling death-rate from malaria. 
On the contrary, he had times without number expressed the 
view that the Government who raised taxes from the people 
should give up their laissez faire policy in regard to the sanita- 
tion of the country and spend more money for improving the 


economic condition of the people with a view to enable them 
to have sufficient food and strength to fight disease. 

Moti Lai has been described by Montagu as a devout 
Brahmin. But, as everyone knows, Moti Lai was a Kayastha, 
though he had latterly declared himself a Kshatriya according 
to the reforms inaugurated by the Bangadeshiya Kayastha 
Samaj and had allowed the young members of his family to 
take the sacred thread. No doubt he was a devout Vaishnava 
and had all the merits of a good Brahmin. But then there is 
some explanation as to why he was described as a Brahmin. 
In course of the interview with Montagu, Moti Lai illustrated 
India's demand for self-government by a story current in this 
country in which there was a reference to a Brahmin and this 
must have misled Montagu. 

Mr. Montagu sought to satisfy Babu Moti Lai by offering 
to India two such departments as Education and Local Self- 
Government. Moti Lai's reply was that India would not be 
satisfied till at least the Police Department was placed under 
the control of her representatives. For, said he, unless this 
department were made over to the people it would like the 
Military Department of the Government of India go on devour- 
ing the bulk of the Provincial revenues. Montagu was not 
willing to agree to place the Police Department in the hands 
of the people. He said, "No, Mr. Ghose, you can't get it 
just now. You must wait a few years more." Moti Lai's 
rejoinder was that this reminded him of the story of the hungry 
Brahmin and the rich Sudra, and he narrated it to Montagu. 
The story in a nutshell is as follows : 

There were once upon a time in a village a poor Brahmin 
and a rich Sudra. Now, everyday the Sudra would take dainty 
dishes and the Brahmin would take only some rice which he 
could procure by begging. But it is not possible for a beggar 
to get his food everyday and it happened that for some days 
together the Brahmin had no food and he was terribly hungry. 
But all this time the Sudra had been taking his usual hearty 
meals, which the Brahmin could see. At last the Brahmin 
thought he was dying of hunger and told the Sudra, "Well, 


brother, I am dying of hunger. Will you kindly give me some 
rice?" "Yes," said the Sudra, "I will. Open your mouth. I 
am giving you some rice." And he took a spoonful of rice- 
gruel and poured it into his mouth. "Ah !" said the Brahmin, 
"You have saved me ; but will you kindly give me some more?" 
"No, not today, but I may give you some more later on," was 
the reply. Poor Brahmin ! He exclaimed in the anguish of 
his heart that he had done a most foolish thing, for the spoonful 
of rice instead of appeasing his hunger had only increased it 
and at the same time he had lost his caste by taking a Sudra 's 

Moti Lai told Montagu that like the Brahmin he was not 
going to lose his caste by taking a spoonful of reforms only. 
India, he said, very badly needed Self -Government, and she 
would be wiped away from the face of the earth if she could 
not march along with the other nations of the world. England 
was prepared to give India only a spoonful of Reforms. How 
could she agree to accept it? "But", said Mr. Montagu, 
"This is the first instalment of Reforms, and rest assured you 
will get more hereafter." "Yes," said Moti Lai, "that is 
exactly what the Sudra said." 

No wonder Montagu should describe Moti Lai as a devout 
Brahmin and forget the moral of the story. 

Though Moti Lai had left his native village early in his 
life he never ceased to love village life and whenever he got 
any opportunity he pleaded for the improvement of the condi- 
tion of the villages. So, when he had an interview with 
Mr. Montagu and Lord Chelmsford in connection with 
Constitutional Reforms he availed himself of the opportunity 
of putting in a few words in favour of the villages. He actually 
suggested their visiting some Indian villages in the interior. 
He told them that it was their duty to do so as custodians of 
India's destiny, in order to see for themselves and realise the 
glorious results of bureaucratic rule during the last one 
hundred years and more. He said that only 70 years ago 
remember the interview took place in 1917 Bengal was one of 
the healthiest provinces in India. The pick of the nation then 


lived in rural areas and suffered very little from the effects of 
disease. And why? Because they had a sufficient quantity of 
healthy food and wholesome drinking water to nourish their 
bodies. There was then scarcely a family, however poor, who 
had not one or more milch cows to supply them with milk. 
Fish and fruits were plentiful. Rice and cereals sold at an 
incredibly low price. There was scarcely a village or hamlet 
which did not possess one or more tanks of pure water for 
drinking purposes. And now? It is desolation from one end 
of the province to the other. 

"Can you, sir, name one country in the world," Moti Lai 
inquired of Montagu, "where millions of people do not get a 
drop of pure water to drink during the hottest season in the 
year March, April and May? And what they drink is some- 
thing like diluted sewage ! And this has been going on for 
the last thirty or forty years." 

Montagu seemed to be very much struck by the descrip- 
tion of village life in Bengal and asked for the cause of such 
a state of things. Moti Lai then explained the situation in a 
few words. It is Malaria, which, he said, had already carried 
off more than half the population of Bengal and was yet 
decimating its fairest districts ruthlessly. When this deadly 
Malaria broke out in the sixties of the last century in a most 
virulent form and committed a terrible havoc among the people 
the then Government of Bengal appointed a Commission to 
enquire into its causes and suggest remedies. They found that 
the main cause of the outbreak was obstruction to natural 
drainage caused by railway and other embankments. If the 
Government had taken immediate steps to give effect to the 
recommendations of the Commission, Bengal would have been 
possibly free from this dread scourge within ten years, but 
nothing was done, and it has now taken such a firm hold of 
the country that it cannot be expelled without spending crores 
of rupees. But there is no money in the country to remove 
Malaria or even the annual water famine or scarcity. And 
people are dying! like rats or fleas from fever, cholera and other 
deadly diseases. 


Moti Lai sought to impress the fact on Mr. Montagu that 
the increase of Malaria and other diseases was an economic 
calamity which would rob a country of its most precious 
sources of wealth. If these fell diseases were to go on 
decimating the people or impairing their physical system in 
the way they were doing, where would the huge amount of 
money be coming from to maintain the costliest government in 
the world? He further pointed out that when such was the 
deplorable result of the last hundred years' bureaucratic system 
of administration, it was only fair that it should be replaced 
by Home Rule and the people given an opportunity to manage 
their affairs through their own representatives. 

To another thing also Moti Lai drew the attention of the 
Government, the Viceroy and the Secretary of State. It was 
the policy of interning political suspects, which he said, was 
a potential danger to the country. I have already said that 
when the War broke out some people in India who were deeply 
dissatisfied with the British rule thought of becoming completely 
independent and severing British connection altogether. But 
this was only a dream. They had neither the means nor the 
opportunity for realising their ideal. Thinkers of this class 
became the eye-sore of the Government, who passed a very 
severe measure, the Defence of India Act of 1915, and began to 
indiscriminately gag and intern nationalists in various places. 
Thus many old veterans and young hopefuls were cut off from 
society. Many of these had to undergo untold and unheard of 
sufferings. And instead of reforming them this repressive 
policy converted some of the youngmen into the worst 
enemies of the Government. Through articles in the Amrita 
Bazar Patrika Moti Lai drew the attention of the Government 
to the fact that instead of allaying the discontent this policy 
of repression would only aggravate it, the feelings of the Indian 
people would burn like fire under ashes and at the first 
opportunity a conflagration would spread which would be 
beneficial neither to the rulers nor to the ruled. In many of 
his articles Moti Lai exposed particular cases of torture of these 
internees and in some cases they produced good results, the 


internees being released before their time or their comforts 
partially looked to and grievances redressed. 


Tussle At Bombay 

Bombay Provincial War Conference Fling at Home Rulers Tilak 
Interrupted Home Rulers' Determination Fatrika's Caustic Comments 
on the Conference Home Rule League versus National Liberal League 
Tussle over Reforms. 

In June, 1918 a meeting of several prominent men of 
Bombay was held at the Bombay Town Hall under the auspices 
of the Government. It had the high sounding name the 
Bombay Provincial War Conference. Lord Willingdon who 
was at that time the Governor of Bombay presided. The 
Government of Bombay took special care to invite almost all 
shades of opinion and among the representatives present were 
Messrs. Tilak, Gandhi, Horniman, Kelker, Jinnah and others, 
who were either active members of the Home Rule League 
or had sympathy with the Home Rule movement. The 
gathering was representative. 

At the very outset Lord Willingdon explained the object 
of inviting representatives of the province which was to assist 
him in mobilising men and materials for securing victory to 
the British Empire in the Great War which was then going on. 
Referring to the attitude of the Home Rulers he said : 

"There are a certain number of gentlemen some of 
whom have considerable influence with the public. 
Many of them are members of the political organisation 
called the Home Rule League whose activities have been 
such of late years that I cannot honestly feel sure of 
the sincerity of their support until I have come to a 
clear understanding with them and have frankly 
expressed to them all that is in my mind. I do not wish 
in any detail to criticise their action or their methods 


in the past beyond saying that they have not given the 
help to the Government that I think I was fairly 
entitled to expect from them in these critical days. 
Indeed I must frankly say that their object seems to 
have been at every available opportunity to increase the 
difficulty and the embarrassment of Government wherever 
and whenever they could. I can claim that my Govern- 
ment have always felt that in every country where there 
is any public feeling, any political instinct, there must 
always be an advanced party, the extreme left of our 
political life which is generally opposed to Government 
but which must be like any other party given full 
freedom of speech, action and opinion provided it keeps 
within constitutional limits." 

Though Lord Willingdon accepted the disclaimer of the 
Home Rulers when they said that they did not want Home 
Rule at this juncture in a bargaining spirit, yet he did not think 
that their help would be of an active character. 

After Lord Willingdon had finished his address a resolution 
expressing loyal and dutiful response from the Bombay 
Presidency to His Majesty the King Emperor was moved. 

Mr. Tilak being called upon to speak on the resolution 
expressed deep loyalty of himself and all Home-Rulers to the 
King-Emperor. He said that they were all agreed to the first 
part of the resolution which was an expression of loyalty to 
the King-Emperor. But as regards the second part which 
contained an expression of the presidency's determination 
to do her duty to her utmost capacity Tilak wanted to explain 
how this was not possible under the existing conditions. This, 
he said, was a large appeal to make, but he was sorry to say 
that the Government had not proceeded on the right fashion 
to evoke enthusiastic response from the people. They were 
asking the people to give men and money, but Home Rule and 
Home Defence, he said, must go together. 

At this stage of his speech Lord Willingdon as Chairman 
of the meeting interrupted Mr. Tilak and reminded him that 
political matters could not be introduced into observations on 
the resolution before the meeting. After some discussion Tilak 
remarked that if he was not allowed to make observations he 
deemed it appropriate that he must stop his speech. Lord 


Willingdon adhered to the view expressed by him. Tilak did 
not finish his speech ; but immediately afterwards left the 

Mr. N. C. Kelker of Poona was then called upon to speak 
on the resolution. As soon as he began to make observations 
on the same line as Mr. Tilak he was called to order by the 
Chairman (Lord Willingdon). Thereupon Messrs. Kelker, 
Bomanji, Horniman and Jamnadas Dwarkadas left the hall. 
The original resolution was put to the meeting and carried. 

In connection with the second resolution there was a sharp 
passage at arms between Mr. Jinnah and Lord Willingdon and 
the former reproached the latter for saying that the Home 
Rule leaders were disloyal. 

As a sequel to these incidents Messrs. Jamnadas 
Dwarkadas, S. R. Bomanji, B. G. Horniman, Umar Sobhani 
and some other members of the Home Rule League who were 
signatories to a requisition for a public meeting to be held at 
the Bombay Town Hall to support the War Loan withdrew 
their names from the list of signatories. In doing so they wrote 
to the Sheriff of Bombay that though they sympathised with 
the object of the meeting they must decline to attend any 
meeting presided over by H. E. Lord Willingdon in view of 
the insulting remarks made in the Provincial War Conference 
by Lord Willingdon regarding the Home Rule League, of 
which they were members, unless and until His Excellency 
withdrew his observations and expressed regret for his 
unwarranted aspersions on the Home Rule leaders. 

The echo of Bombay was heard in Bengal. In course of a 
long editorial on the subject the Amrita Bazar Patrika 
observed : 

"Lord Willingdon himself first introduced political 
matters in his speech. Not only that ; he also charged 
the Home Rulers with thwarting him in every way in 
the matter of recruitment. And when Mr. Tilak sought 
to explain the true position of himself and his party, 
His Excellency would not allow him to proceed on the 
ground of his talking politics. What a nice position for 
the Governor of Bombay! He would pelt stones all 


others and when the latter rose to protest he would gag* 
their mouth !" 

In about a week's time the anniversary of the foundation 
of the Home Rule League was celebrated in Calcutta by 
processions passing through some streets carrying Home Rule 
flags and singing national songs. A meeting was held under 
the presidency of Mr. B. Chakravarti at Beadon Square. At 
this meeting Babu Moti Lai Ghose moved the following resolu- 
tion which was carried unanimously : 

"That this meeting of the citizens of Calcutta enters 
its emphatic protest against the uncalled for remarks of 
H. E. the Governor of Bombay at the recent War 
Conference, challenging the loyalty of the Home Rule 
Movement to the Empire and doubting the sincerity of 
the support of the members of the Home Rule Leagues 
in general to the various measures devised for its 
defence ; and it strongly condemns the treatment meted 
out by His Excellency to the Home Rule leaders of 
Bombay in refusing them an opportunity for explaining 
their policy and attitude after having openly and 
wantonly attacked these in his speech." 

In moving the above resolution Moti Lai said that it was 
not dignified on the part of a gentleman like Lord Willingdon 
to invite a number of respectable gentlemen and then to insult 
them under his own roof. 

Meetings were held in many places, such as Bombay, 
Lahore, Madras, Amraoti, protesting against the action of Lord 
Willingdon. It was at this time that Dr. Subramania Iyer, late 
officiating Chief Justice of the Madras High Court and Honorary 
President of the Home Rule League electrified the country by 
renouncing his title of K. c. I. E. 

In the middle of 1918 when the Montagu-Chelmsford 
Reforms were still on the anvil, Babu Surendra Nath Banerjea 
formed the National Liberal League of which he became the 
President. The Home Rulers saw through the game at once. 
Babu Moti Lai Ghose, Messrs. B. Chakravarty, C. R. Das, 
Huq, Ray Yatindra Nath Chaudhury and Babu 


Hirendra Nath Datta, who were all Home Rulers, issued a 
manifesto in course of which they said that 

"We have reasons to believe that efforts are being 
made in certain quarters to secure public support for 
the new reforms even if they should fall short of the 
popular demands." 

Babu Surendra Nath Banerjea and others of the newly 
formed National Liberal League also issued a manifesto saying 

"If this scheme will take us a long way towards 
the goal of responsible government we should give it 
our approval and support so far as it is satisfactory." 

In the meantime the Montagu-Chelmsford Reform Scheme 
was published. Babu Surendra Nath Banerjea blessed it by 
saying that "he was for accepting the scheme and pressing for 
more." According to him "a good deal of modification and 
expansion ought to be made in the scheme, but he had no 
doubt that it was the first definite stage in the road to 
responsible government." 

Babu Bipin Chandra Pal who was now assisting Babu 
Moti Lai Ghose in editing the Amrita Bazar Patrika wrote a 
series of leaders in that paper exposing the utter hollowness 
of the reforms. Babu Hirendra Nath Datta also lent his pen, 
more accustomed to draft plaints and written statements, to 
the editor of the Amrita Bazar Patrika for crushing the so^ 
called reform-edifice to pieces. 

The special session of the Bengal Provincial Conference 
soon met in the Indian Association Hall, Calcutta to discuss 
the scheme as framed by Mr. Montagu and Lord Chelmsford 
and on the motion of Babu Bipin Chandra Pal (as amended by 
Moulavi Abul Kasem) the Conference almost unanimously 
passed the resolution : 

"That this Conference is of opinion that the 
scheme of the Viceroy and the Secretary of State is 
disappointing, unsatisfactory and does not present any 
real steps towards responsible government." 

A good many of the members of the newly-formed National 
Liberal League attended the Conference and made a good fight 


for the Montagu-Chelmsford Scheme, but their leader Babu 
Surendra Nath Banerjea did not attend the Conference at all. 

Three days after this the National Liberal League met in 
the same place under the presidentship of Babu Surendra Nath 
Banerjea and on the motion of Sir K. G. Gupta (as amended 
by Sir Deva Prasad Sarvadhikari and Raja Kishori Lall 
Gossain) passed the resolution, 

"That while reserving our opinion at present re- 
garding the details of the scheme this Conference is of 
opinion that the Report on the Reform Scheme presented 
by His Excellency the Viceroy and the Right Hon'ble 
the Secretary of State presents a real and definite stage 
towards the progressive realisation of a responsible 
government in India and the Conference welcomes it as 
a first genuine effort towards the creation of a sisterhood 
of self-governing states with a Central Federal Govern- 
ment responsible to the people and representing the 
interests of India on equal terms with the self-governing 
units of the British Empire." 

For months together the "Moderates'* and the "Extremists' 1 
went on throwing mud at each other, either through the Press 
or through the platform. A special session of the All-India 
Congress under the presidentship of Mr. Hasan Imam was 
called at Bombay in the end of August, 1918 to consider the 
Reform Scheme. Babu Moti Lai Ghose attended with the full 
strength of his party, but Babu Surendra Nath Banerjea and 
his followers did not go and issued a manifesto declaring their 
intention not to do so. The Englishman wrote a leader on 
"Surrender Not" and the Patrika considered him a "Lost 
Leader". The Congress passed a resolution to the effect that 
the Reform proposals were "disappointing and unsatisfactory" 
and suggested some modifications. So, the Bengal Provincial 
Conference, which was the first to consider the Montagu- 
Chelmsford Report, was fully justified by the united and 
unanimous verdict of articulate Indian opinion on these 
proposals. The All-India Moslem League presided over by the 
Raja Saheb of Mahmudabad also passed the same verdict on 
the scheme of reforms. 


On their way back from Bombay, Babus Moti Lai Ghose, 
Bipin Chandra Pal, Mr. B. Chakravarty and Mr. C. R. Das 
were given a, grand ovation at the Nagpur Railway Station. A 
large crowd of Nationalists of Nagpur headed by Dr. B. S. 
Moonje requested them to break their journey, but they could 
not comply with their request owing to pressure of business 
in Calcutta. Babus Moti Lai Ghose, Bipin Chandra Pal and 
Mr. C. R. Das addressed the people assembled at the railway 
station from the train. Bipin Chandra Pal said that he would 
stand by the Indian Empire and would never support the 
bureaucracy. Moti Lai in a few words advised the people to 
prove worthy citizens by deeds and not by words and learn to 
make sacrifices for the mother country like Narayan Rao Vaidya 
and others. 

As a counter-blast to the Congress League resolution Babu 
Surendra Nath Banerjea moved the following resolution in the 
Indian Legislative Council, which was accepted, only two 
members Mr. V. J. Patel and Mr. Rangaswami lyengar voting 
against it : 

"This Council while thanking His Excellency the 
Viceroy and the Secretary of State for India for the 
Reform Proposals, recognise them as a genuine effort 
and a definite advance towards the realisation of 
responsible government in India." 

So, the views of Moti Lai and Surendra Nath on the 
Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms were as poles as under. Later 
history shows who was correct. 


Tilak's Conviction and Release Exchange of Letters Between Moti Lai 
and Tilak Meeting at Tilak's House Moti Lai and Gokhale. 

On the 23rd of July, 1908, Mr. Bal Gangadhar Tilak was 
sentenced to six years' imprisonment on a charge of publishing 
some seditious articles in his journal the Kesari. Eleven years 
earlier, in 1897 he had been sentenced to eighteen months* 
imprisonment on a similar charge. It may be mentioned that 
Tilak did not write the poem for which he was punished. It 
was written by another gentleman and Tilak showed unusual 
magnanimity by taking the responsibility of its authorship on 

When in 1908, Tilak was convicted once more at a time 
when! he was fifty-one years old and was rather weak in health, 
people gave him up for lost. So, there was great jubilation in 
the country when he was released from the Mandalay Jail after 
serving six years of imprisonment on Tuesday, the i6th of 
June, 1914. He was recalled to life, so to say. All the 
journals wrote on his release and the Amrita Bazar Patrika 
published several leading articles on Tilak and his activities. 
Moti Lai soon opened communication with Tilak and I flatter 
myself to recall that I acted as his amanuensis. The letters 
were long, sqpnetimes running up to 14 or 1 6 pages. In these 
letters they generally exchanged their views on current political 
topics. Now and then they wrote about extra-mundane affairs 
also. Portions of these letters were also utilised by Moti Lai 
in the articles and paragraphs of the Amrita Bazar Patrika word 
for word. 

In one of these letters, I still remember, Moti Lai compared 
human beings to caterpillars. We are in this world, he wrote, 
like caterpillars moving among leaves of grass or plants ; but 
when we shall leave this world and go over to the next we 


shall be like butterflies flying about from flower to flower and 
sucking honey from them. He was, he wrote, anxiously 
looking forward to the other world where there were no misery 
or pain or want or tyranny. 

Towards the beginning of September, 1918 at the request 
of Lokamanya Tilak, Babus Moti Lai Ghose, Bipin Chandra 
Pal, Basanta Kumar Bose and Messrs. B. Chakravarty, C. R. 
Das and I. B. Sen went to Poona with a view to hold a Home 
Rule meeting. They all put up in Lokamanya Tilak's house. 

A big meeting was held in the spacious quadrangle of 
Tilak's house. He was now under a gagging order ; so, though 
he presided over the meeting he was a silent president. His 
forced 1 silence seemed to be more eloquent than his speech. On 
the first day Moti Lai was ill and was confined to bed. The 
meeting was addressed by Messrs. C. R. Das, Bipin Chandra 
Pal and others. 

On the second day when the meeting assembled Moti Lai 
was feeling better and he came to the meeting leaning on 
Lokamanya Tilak. He was at that time more than seventy 
years old and the strain due to the railway journey and the 
days of Congress session at Bombay was too much for him. 
He was received with defeaning shouts of Bande Mataram when 
he rose to speak. But he could speak only a few words. He 
said that he looked upon Tilak as his younger brother and 
the way in which people honoured Tilak was extremely gratify- 
ing to him. They were, he said, passing through great 
difficulties, but just as a particular worm, after a time, turns 
into a beautiful butterfly they had a great and glorious future 
before them. 

Mr. Chidambaram Pillay who had been imprisoned for 
seven years on a charge of sedition in connection with the 
Tuticorin affairs had just come out of jail. He also addressed 
the meeting. Moti Lai had more than once written in his 
paper about the severity of the sentence on Chidambaram Pillay. 
Learning that Mr. Pillay was present in the meeting Moti Lai 
desired to see him and when he came up he gave him a warm 


In the evening of the same day Moti Lai unveiled the 
portrait of Tilak at the local Sarbajanik Sabha and in doing so 
lie said that none had suffered more for the country than Tilak 
and he prayed for a long life and greater service to the mother- 
land for Lokamanya Tilak. 

Tilak and Moti Lai met on several occasions. Their 
political views were almost identical and none of them took 
any important step without consulting the other. I have 
referred to Tilak in many places of this book and I do not 
think I should increase its bulk by a repetition. 

For long years Messrs. Tilak and Gokhale had been sturdy 
political opponents. Moti Lai and Tilak were life-long friends. 
Naturally therefore in, the field of politics though Moti Lai and 
Gokhale agreed in many matters, there was great difference 
between them in others. Gokhale was for co-operation with 
the Government, while Moti Lai was generally in opposition 
with the Government. But the divergence of the political 
methods to be followed did not take away a bit from their 
personal friendship. So, in private life Moti Lai and Gokhale 
were great friends though in public life they would often 
stand on different platforms or lead different political camps. 
The last time that Moti Lai and Gokhale met was in Calcutta 
when the latter came there as a member of the Public Services 
Commission. Gokhale, who was then suffering from fever, said, 
"I have absolutely no rest ; the only thought uppermost in my 
xnind is how to meet our opponents in the Commission. They 
are many, I am single-handed. The result is I am killing 
myself, but I must do my duty even if I have to die in the 
attempt." He continued in a mournful tone and said to the 
.effect, "I have no wife that is a blessing. But my two little 
daughters and the family of my deceased elder brother whom 
I looked upon as my father sit like a nightmare on my breast, 
for I have made no provision for them." How noble, how 
touching! Gokhale devoted his talents for the service of the 
^motherland and not in acquiring money for his family. 

During the unfortunate controversy over the Congress at 
Madras in 1914, about twelve days before his death Gokhale 


wrote a long letter to Moti Lai regarding a united Congress. 
On his death in February 1915, Moti Lai wrote, "There is no 
doubt he is now in a better and happier world this fact should 
console his sorrowing relations, friends and countrymen who 
are bitterly weeping for him." 

In a meeting of the residents of Calcutta held at the Town 
Hall on Tuesday, the 2nd March 1915 to express sorrow at the 
death of Gokhale, Moti Lai said in, course of his speech : 

"Twenty years ago, the great Ranade, who made 
Gokhale what he was, brought him one morning to our 
place and presented him to us as a young man of great 
promise who, he said, was destined to be one of the 
foremost men of India. Mr. Ranade's prophecy was 
fulfilled to the letter, but alas, our evil star was in the 
ascendant and so we lost a jewel of a man and that at a 
time when we needed his services most." 


Meeting With Ronaldshay Deferred Sir C. M. Ghose Memorial Meeting 
Moti Lai's Speech Governor Advised to Wear Dhoti Ronaldshay ' 

Though Moti Lai was on very intimate terms with Lord 
Carmichael and his Private Secretary Mr. W. R. Gourlay and 
though the latter became the Private Secretary of Lord 
Ronaldshay when he came as Governor of Bengal, Moti Lai 
had no interview with Lord Ronaldshay for a pretty long time. 
This was partly due to Moti Lai's adverse criticism of the 
appointment of Lord Ronaldshay and partly due to Moti Lai's 
not signing the "Visitor's Book" kept for the purpose in the 
Government House. There might have been other causes also. 
I make no secret of the fact that Moti Lai was very anxious 
to meet Lord Ronaldshay and in private conversation often 
expressed his disappointment for Lord Ronaldshay not inviting 
him. "And why does he not invite you?" enquired I. 


"Because, I have not signed the Visitor's Book. Those who 
do not sign the Visitor's Book are not generally invited." 

Moti Lai had given up all hope of meeting Lord Ronaldshay 
when an opportunity came unsought for. It happened in this 

Sir Chandra Madhab Ghose, whom Moti Lai looked upon 
as his elder brother and with whom he had spent many a 
pleasant day at Deoghur and at Darjeeling died in Calcutta on 
the 20th of January, 1918. A very largely attended public 
meeting of the citizens of Calcutta was held at the Dalhousie 
Institute in April, 1918 to do honour to the memory of the 
departed great. Lord Ronaldshay presided. After Lord 
Ronaldshay, Sir Gurudas Banerjee, Babu Surendra Nath 
Banerjea and others had spoken, Babu Moti Lai Ghose rose to 
thank His Excellency on behalf of the organisers of the 
meeting. In doing so he spoke in such a manner that Lord 
Ronaldshay was at once attracted to his peculiar personality. 

At this meeting Moti Lai asked Lord Ronaldshay to wear 
the dhoti like a Bengalee. 

Mr. R. D. Mehta proposed a vote of thanks to His 
Excellency. In seconding the motion for a vote of thanks 
Babu Moti Lai said : 

"I have much pleasure in seconding this resolution 
and can say frankly and unreservedly that His Excellency 
has conferred on us a great obligation by not only 
associating himself with this evening's function, but 
taking the principal part in its proceedings. The late 
Sir Chandra Madhab Ghose was a great man of whom 
we are all proud. It is but fit that the Governor of the 
Province should preside over his memorial meeting. If 
His Excellency could see his way to mix with us more 
frequently in such social functions, we might gradually 
forget that we were living under an alien rule. Why, 
in due course, who knows that His Excellency might not 
take a fancy for some of our national costumes and 
adopt the same to show his affection for his land of 
temporary adoption? Take for instance, the matter of 
wearing dhooti in this grilling summer heat. His 
Excellency might put it on and be more comfortable 
than he is under his heavy clothing and at the same time 


gratify our national pride. I proposed this very question 
to our late Governor Lord Carmichael. I found him 
one day in April almost perspiring in the Government 
House. I was in my dhooti and shirt. I asked, 'why 
does not Your Excellency take to our dhootit* 'Because, 
we are a stupid people', said he. I replied, 'No my 
Lord. If you don't take to our dhooti, it is not because 
you are stupid, but because you love your national 
costume so passionately that you would rather be roasted 
like a fowl by the summer and autumn heat than agree 
to give it up 1 . But the conduct of some of our eminent 
countrymen is really inexplicable. Born and brought up 
as Indians, why should they abandon their national 
dress and bring misery on themselves by adopting the 
costume of another people? And then, my Lord, we 
have another comfort in this hot season which I am 
afraid it is not the lot of Englishmen ever to enjoy. I 
mean the rubbing of our bodies with mustard oil. It 
keeps off the heat and cools the body and produces a 
peculiar sensation of pleasure during the process of the 
massage. I am sure if Your Excellency could associate 
with us more frequently, you would discover several 
things in our mode of living and social system which 
you might be tempted to utilise for your own pleasure 
and win the affection of the people. I will not dwell 
on the merits of the great man to commemorate whose 
memory we have assembled here this night. This has 
been done fully and ably by previous speakers. I will 
repeat once more that Your Excellency has done us 
great honour by presiding over this night's meeting. 
And may God enable Your Excellency to fulfil your 
great mission to this country, which is to make the tens 
of millions of people entrusted to your care happy and 
contented by your beneficient rule." 

The speech was delivered in such a serio-comic vein that 
the whole house was taken by surprise and there was a sound 
of muffled laughter coming from every corner of the hall. 
The usual practice in public meetings is that it is dissolved as 
soon as the vote of thanks is given to the Chairman. On this 
occasion Moti Lai's speech was so very impressive that Lord 
Ronaldshay had to speak a few words by way of reply. Said 
Lord Ronaldshay : 

"I cannot close this meeting without expressing my 
gratitude for the kindly words which you have used with 


regard to myself. Babu Moti Lai Ghose was good 
enough to say that if I attended meetings of this kind 
sufficiently often he might forget that he was living 
under an alien rule. Well, gentlemen, no man is 
responsible for his own birth ; it is not his fault that he 
is born in one country or in another country, but I can 
assure Babu Moti Lai Ghose that a man can have the 
best interest of the country of adoption for the time- 
being at heart and he can put himself into the position 
of a son of the soil. Babu Moti Lai Ghose twitted me 
about my heavy broad cloth. Well, there is something 
to be said for his point of view, but then again I can 
assure* him that one's heart may be true whether it beats 
under this broad cloth of my own country or within the 
more airy habiliments of Babu Moti Lai Ghose. 
Gentlemen, I thank you for the cordiality with which 
you have been good enough to receive this vote of 
thanks, and my last word should be that it is not I who 
should be thanked but it is you who deserve my thanks 
for giving me this opportunity of presiding at a gathering 
of this kind to commemorate the memory of so great a 

When the meeting was over Mr. W. R. Gourlay, Private 
Secretary to the Governor, met Babu Moti Lai in a corner of 
the meeting hall and told him that the Governor was very 
much impressed with his remarks and had asked him to enquire 
if he would agree to see His Excellency at the Government 
House. Moti Lai replied that the matter rested entirely with 
the Governor, for, if His Excellency summoned him to come, 
he was bound to go, but then he must have the liberty of going 
in his dhooti. 

Next morning Moti Lai received a letter from Mr. Gourlay 
informing him that His Excellency would be glad to receive 
him at the Government House and a date and time were fixed. 
The interview at last did take place. Besides current political 
topics they talked on Spiritualism and Indian Philosophy, in 
which subjects His Excellency showed keen interest. 

Since then Moti Lai and Lord Ronaldshay had several 
interviews with each other. But then Moti Lai could never 
become familiar with Lord Ronaldshay as he was with Lord 
Carmichael, apparently because Lord Ronaldshay had a touch 
<of the "superior purzon" like Lord Curzon. 


Moti Lai's remarks on the Governor's dress elicited the 
following comments from the writer of the "Here and There" 
column of the Statesman : 

"A correspondent writes : The exhortation given by 
Babu Moti Lai Ghose to Lord Ronaldshay to wear a dhoti 
and chadar moves me to break a silence which I have 
hitherto preserved out of respect for my esteemed friend 
the reputed editor of the Amrita Bazar Patrika. I meant 
to have spoken my mind to him when we last embraced, 
but my heart was too full. I then decided to await an 
invitation to his hospitable office to eat jellabies. But 
the invitation never came. I must, therefore, resort to 
the public press, not, I fear, a fit place to discuss purely 
personal matters. 

"Now, I yield to no one in my admiration for Moti 
Babu, for his wit, his rich and varied spiritual 
experiences, or his profound speculations on the defects 
of the British character. But, I say it with pain, he has 
one weak point. He is not fit to wear a dhoti and 
chadar. He does discredit to these garments. I appeal 
to all Bengali aesthetes on the subject. The dhoti and 
chadar if they are to be worn properly require a certain 
build, a swelling port, a touch of the swagger of a 
Roman Senator. If I want to see them carried majesti- 
cally I hang round some college whither Sir Ashutosh 
Mookerjee is to lead the University Commission. Ah! 
what a figure is that, what dignity ! But as for Moti 
Babu well, plain living and high thinking are doubtless 
good things in their way. All I say is they are not the 
regimen for a man who wishes to do justice to our 
national costume. Let me be frank. What my friend 
Moti Babu needs is a cassock or ulster something which 
will help him to cast a shadow." 

This was certainly a very good tit for tat. I have not been 
able to make out who the writer of the above was. Perhaps, 
it was Mr. A. J. F. Blair, a journalist who was a great friend 
of Moti Lai and who had no mean repute for humour. 


India's War Service Rowlatt Bills Town Hall Meeting Mr. Gandhi 
Disillusioned Martial Law in the Punjab Moti L/aFs Condemnation 
The Question of Turkey Patrika's Security Forfeited Fresh Security 
of Rs. 10,000 Demanded. 

The end of 1918 saw the end of the Great War in England. 
The beginning of 1919 saw the beginning of a new era of 
repression in India. The Montagu-Chelmsford reform scheme 
had succeeded in rallying the Moderates round the Government. 
But the Extremists were too wily or intelligent to be caught in 
the net. They carried on their agitation for Home Rule or 
self-government with greater vigour. Since the outbreak of 
the War they had suspended to some degree their demand for 
a better system of administration in India. The Home Rule 
League which was started during the War did not carry its 
agitation beyond educating the people. They allowed India to 
be bled white during the War and all the time expected that 
after the War was over their grievances would be redressed. 
India spared neither men nor money for helping Great Britain 
in the War and her services had been publicly recognised by 
the Premier, the Secretary of State for India and the Viceroy. 
All these had induced India to conjure up a bright future before 
her as soon as the War was over. 

But by a strange irony of fate things took an exactly 
opposite turn. The end of the War strengthened the British 
Government to flout public opinion in India. And hence in 
pursuance of the Rowlatt Committee's Report, which saw a 
spook in every bush, the Government of India which was only 
a handmaid of the Government of Britain brought two bills 
before the Indian Legislative Council, which made great inroads 
upon the freedom of the people. The public christened them 
as Rowlatt Bills, Black Bills etc. Under these Bills the 

' I 

t . 

Moti Lai Ghose 


( To Face page 319 


Executive were given the power to suppress any movement, 
political or otherwise, by imposing penalties upon whomsoever 
they pleased without any proper judicial trial ; the Executive 
were given additional powers to arrest a person without 
warrant and to imprison him for two years without any judicial 
trial ; and the detenues were placed entirely at the mercy of 
the Executive and might be punished by them without any 
judicial trial. And all this was to be done in the name of law 
and order ! 

The Rowlatt Bills were too bitter to be swallowed by India 
without protest. As soon as the public came to know of these 
bills they started an agitation against them comparable only to 
the agitation against the Partition of Bengal in 1905-06. The 
whole of India was convulsed and public meetings condemning 
and protesting against the bills were held in almost every 
important place in India. 

On the 3rd February one such monster meeting was held 
at the Town Hall of Calcutta under the presidentship of 
Mr. B. Chakravarti. Every intelligent Indian thought that the 
Bills if passed would mean a calamity to them while they were 
wanting greate'r freedom of speech and action for the people 
the Bills if passed would tighten the grip of the Execu- 
tive over them. So, Extremists and Moderates sunk their 
differences for a time and rubbed their shoulders on a common 
platform. The gathering was so very great that an overflow 
meeting had to be held outside the Town Hall presided over 
by Mr. C. R. Das. In spite of his old age and weak health 
Moti Lai attended this meeting. He felt it like a call of duty 
to be present at the meeting. Accompanied by his friend Ray 
Yatindra Nath Chaudhuri he arrived at the meeting a little 
after 5 P.M. The audience according to the lowest computation 
numbered 5,000. So it was an uphill task for him, a frail old 
man of over 70, to pass through the over-crowded stair case. 
But he was literally carried aloft over the heads of the people 
amidst cheers and placed on a chair where the other speakers 


were seated. Moti Lai moved the first and main resolution 

of the meeting which recorded an 

"emphatic protest against Bill no. i of 1919 which if 
passed into law would seriously interfere with the liberty 
of the subject and the fair trial of persons accused of 
sedition and other political offences, and against Bill 
no. 2 of 1919 which by permanently enacting the provi- 
sions of the Defence of India Act and by its other provi- 
sions will place in the hands of the Indian Executive 
and the Police such arbitrary and irresponsible powers as 
are inconsistent with the fundamental rights and liberties 
of the British subject and repugnant to all civilised ideas 
about the administration of law and justice. 

"This meeting is of opinion that having regard to 
India's whole hearted co-operation in the War and the 
peace and quiet now prevailing in the country and the 
absence of even erratic and sporadic political offences 
since some time past it is unnecessary, unjust, unwise and 
inexpedient to introduce such reactionary and repressive 
measures of legislation into the Imperial Legislative 
Council at the present moment ; and the meeting further 
urges that in view of the early introduction of responsible 
Government into India, the Government should refrain 
from' introducing the proposed Bills, or at any rate, 
should postpone them until the Legislature in India is 
reconstituted on a popular basis." 

Moti Lai was unwell and too weak to deliver a speech. 
He, therefore, asked Babu Bipin Chandra Pal, who was gifted 
with a stentorian voice, to read the Resolution for him. He 
was seconded by Babu Satyananda Basu. Babu Bipin Chandra 
Pal and Maulavi Fazlul Huq also spoke on the resolution and 
electrified the audienc^ with their eloquence. Sir P. C. Roy, 
who also spoke, said that this was an occasion which compelled 
him to leave his test-tube to attend to the call of the country. 

But the Government was obdurate and would not listen 
to words of good counsel. Mr. Gandhi who had helped the 
Government in recruiting soldiers for the War and hoped that 
Government would certainly be more humane to the Indians 
after the War was over, was disillusioned and became ready 
to fight the Black Bills with his non-violent weapon of 
Satyagraha or Passive Resistance. But inspite of all popular 
agitation and protest from every nook and! corner of India the 


Black Bills were passed into law as the Anarchical and Revolu- 
tionary Crimes Act on the i8th of March, 1919 to show to the 
Indians their utter helplessness and complete powerlessness to 
influence the Government of the country. The only Indian 
who voted for the Bill was Sir Sankaran Nair ; otherwise the 
Indians voted en bloc against the Bill. Mr. Jinnah resigned 
his membership of the Imperial Council and in doing so he 
wrote to the Viceroy a strongly-worded letter in course of 
which he said : 

"In my opinion a Government that passes or 
sanctions such law in times of peace forfeits its claim 
to be called a civilised Government." 

Mr. Gandhi called upon his countrymen to observe Sunday 
the 6th April as a day of prayer and fasting. Moti Lai Ghose, 
B. Chakravarti and other Bengal leaders issued an appeal to 
their countrymen to join Mr. Gandhi in his fasting and praying. 
Matters culminated in the arrest of Mr. Gandhi, serious dis- 
turbances in Calcutta consequent on the hartal following in 
the wake of his arrest and the declaration of Martial Law in 
the Punjab. 

The Martial law atrocities, the Jallianwalabagh massacres, 
the heavy sentences on respected popular leaders and the 
thousand and one indignities that the people of the Punjab 
suffered in the year 1919 under the regime of Dyer and O'Dwyer 
echoed and re-echoed from one end of the country to the 
other. When the people wanted a Royal or Parliamentary 
Commission of Enquiry, the Viceroy (Lord Chelmsford), in his 
speech in the Council on 3rd September, proposed a Committee 
(the Hunter Committee) with Lord Hunter as Chairman and 
five members of which three were Europeans and in the service 
of the Government of India. The Viceroy also proposed to 
introduce a Bill to indemnify the officers who might be 
responsible for excesses in the administration of the martial 
law in the Punjab. These proposed measures at once aroused 
the indignation of the people the one added insult to injury 
and the other gave a stone to the people when they asked for 
bread. The Nationalist Press and leaders all over the country 
raised a unanimous voice of protest. 



The great meeting that was held in this connection at the 
Town Hall of Calcutta was presided over by Babu Moti Lai 
Ghose. The enthusiasm of the people that was seen on this 
occasion recalled the meeting which took place at this very 
Town Hall for protesting against the Rowlatt Act. Long 
before the appointed hour the Town Hall was crowded to 
suffocation and an overflow meeting presided over by Mr. C. R. 
Das as the deputy of Babu Moti Lai Ghose had to be held 
at the steps of the Town Hall. Moti Lai was now old and 
infirm, but he had to respond to the call of the country. It 
was not possible for him to address the vast gathering. So, 
on taking the chair he said that as he was in feeble health 
he would request his young friend Srijut Jitendra Lai Bannerji 
to read the speech for him. In the overflow meeting Mr. I. B. 
Sen, Bar-at-Law, read the same speech. 

The speech was a strong condemnation of the policy of 
administration of Lord Chelmsford. With regard to the 
Viceroy's speech in the Imperial Legislative Council, Babu 
Moti Lai said : 

"It is admitted that hundreds of people, mostly 
innocent of all guilt, lost their lives during the recent 
events ; it is admitted also that hundreds of innocent 
and respectable people were put to all sorts of indignity 
and harrassment during the same disturbances ; but in 
the whole of His Excellency's speech there is not one 
single word of sympathetic reference to the fate of any 
of these people." 

He criticised the Hunter Committee as consisting of 
persons who were "in a position of utter dependence upon 
the Government of India." With regard to the proposed 
Indemnity Bill he said : 

"Evidently there is some perturbation in the official 
.mind some dim and hazy sense that things have been 
carried too far and with too high a hand and that 
perhaps the Privy Council may have some nasty things 
to say about the way in which the Military and other 
officials of the Punjab services have ridden rough shod 
over laws, regulations and recognised methods of legal 
procedure. Otherwise, why should there be this pre- 
mature talk about the Indemnity Bill? Would it not 


have been more seemly and decent to have waited till 
after the Committee of Enquiry had finished its investiga- 
tion and submitted its report?" 

At this time Turkey was going to be dismembered on the 
plea of territorial readjustment consequent upon the end of 
the Great War. She was considered to be an Asiatic power 
and as such it was thought fit that her possessions in the 
European continent which had been in her possession for more 
than 400 years should be converted into a separate and indepen- 
dent territory. But this was not the whole measure of injustice 
against Turkey. She was to be deprived of her Asiatic 
possessions also. Syria was to be handed over to France, 
Armenia was to be entrusted to America and Mesopotamia 
was to be appropriated to the British Government, Turkey 
being left confined to the high and arid plateau of Anatolia. 

Moti Lai entered a strong protest against this dismember- 
ment of Turkey in his presidential address at the Town Hall. 
He said : 

"While the world war was going on we heard much 
about the pious Christian and very virtuous motives 
with which it was waged. We heard that it was a war 
to end war and that there was no motive of territorial 
or military aggrandisement behind it. It seems to me 
that these cries have grown somewhat faint since the 
conclusion of peace." 

Amongst the other speakers in the meeting were Messrs. 
B. Chakravarti, C. R. Das, J. Chaudhuri, Jitendralal Bannerjee 
and Maulavi Akram Khan all of whom spoke in a similar 

In the mean time an article entitled "To Whom Does 
India Belong?" and another entitled "Arrest of Mr. Gandhi 
More Outrages" appeared in the Amrita Bazar Patrika in the 
second week of April, 1919. The articles contained nothing 
new or uncommon ; they spoke of things which had been said 
scores of times before in that paper and stronger language had 
been used both in the Supreme and Local Councils by Indian 
Councillors. And yet no action had been taken. But the 
Government were now in a mood and so they forfeited the 
sum of Rs. 5000 which the proprietors of the Amrita Bazar 


Patrika had deposited with them under the Indian Press Act 
of 1910. The Government thought that the articles were 
"likely and had a tendency directly or indirectly by inference, 
suggestion, implication or otherwise to bring into hatred the 
Government established by law in British India and excite 
disaffection towards the same Government." 

The next morning the Amrita Bazar PaMka made a great 
stunt in the field of Indian journalism by keeping its editorial 
column blank. It, however, gave a note to say that "under 
the present Press Act we find it impossible to avoid directly 
or indirectly wounding bureaucratic susceptibilities and at the 
same time offer honest comments on public events or policies." 
So, it wrote on "Potatoes" and "Plantains" and thought that 
this would now be a Model Newspaper in India. The Indian 
newspaper reading public were taken by surprise and could 
not resist a laughter even if in the midst of the gloomiest of 

As a sequel to the forfeiture of the deposit of Rs. 5000, 
the sum of Rs. 10,000 was demanded as security and deposited 
with the Government. The subscribers and well-wishers of 
the PaMka contributed this sum in no time thus showing that 
the paper had been able to earn a corner in their heart by 
its life-long service. 


Dumraon Raj Case Moti Lai a Witness Life at Koilwar At Benares 
Attacked with Paralysis Return to CalcuttaTwo Sides of His Character 
Mr. Ramsay MacDonald's Impressions A Consulting Politician 
Failing in Health. 

About the middle of 1917 the Maharaja Bahadur of 
Dumraon filed a suit in the Court of the Subordinate Judge of 
Shahabad against Rai Bahadur Harihar Prasad Singh of 
Dumraon for the recovery of possession of about 15,000 acres 
of land situate in Lower Burma and the Dewan House and 
the gardens and houses in front of the Dewan House at 
Dumraon. The suit was valued at 30 lacs of rupees. The 
Maharaja's case was that Rai Bahadur Jai Prakash Lai, father 
of Rai Bahadur Hari Har Prasad Singh was deputed by 
Maharaja Sir Radha Prasad Singh, predecessor in interest of 
the Maharaja to acquire lands in Lower Burma for him 
(Maharaja Radha Prasad), that the then Dewan Rai Bahadur 
Jai Prakash Lai took settlement of the lands in Lower Burma 
in his name, but for the Raj, and similarly the Dewan House 
and the gardens with houses were acquired, built and furnished 
with the Raj money. The case created a sensation throughout 
the district of Shahabad and many other districts in the 
Provinces of Behar and Bengal. Counsels were taken from the 
Calcutta High Court by both parties for conducting their cases. 
The case dragged on for years. Ultimately it went to the 
Privy Council and was decided there. 

In this case Moti Lai was cited by Rai Bahadur Harihar 
Prasad, commonly known as Hariji, as a witness. Since his 
taking charge of the editorship of the Patrika matters appeared 
from time to time regarding these properties in that paper. 
He was required to prove some of these and was examined 
on commission at his residence at Baghbazar. For about a 
month he was examined and cross-examined. All this time 


he had to do his work in connection with the Patrika as usual. 
Though an old man of over 70 years and not keeping a very 
good health yet he managed to go through his cross-examina- 
tion without giving way, and so long he was being examined 
he kept himself up through sheer strength of mind. 

When the case was over he began to feel its after effects 
and so went for a change of air to Koilwar, a small village 
on the river Sone in the Shahabad District. He left for 
Koilwar on the 7th October, 1919, with his family members 
including the writer of this. There he lived the life of a 
recluse, as it were, far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife. 
He took a good many religious and spiritual books with him 
which he now devoured to his heart's content. But that does 
not mean that he stopped writing in the Pdtrika. All the 
important newspapers would be daily read by him and almost 
daily he would despatch articles or paragraphs for the paper 
along with his instructions. But at Koilwar life soon became 
very monotonous for him. For a man who had spent the 
greater portion of his life in the hurly burly of the political 
arena of the country it was difficult to live in a place where 
not even an educated intelligent man could be found to talk 

After spending a few months at Koilwar Moti Lai along 
with his family went to Benares and used to live at a house 
on the bank of the Ganges. From here also he used to write 
for the Patrika and also wrote long letters to those who were 
then conducting the paper in Calcutta. Though he was now 
aging yet his spirits were like those of a young man and he 
still persisted in doing a considerable amount of brain work. 
The result was that he got an attack of paralysis in the left 
side of his body. But still he was indefatigable in his energy 
and would not cease writing. He would regularly send 
editorial paragraphs and leaders to the Patrika office from 
Benares and these were duly published in the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika. There was no competition amongst newspapers in 
those days for making the earliest comment and hence there 
was no difficulty. 


While Moti Lai was at Benares the Bengal Provincial 
Conference sat at Midnapur in April, 1920. As he could not 
attend it he wrote a letter to Babu Upendra Nath Maiti, 
Chairman of the Reception Committee explaining his inability 
to join the Conference. 

Mr. B. K. Lahiri who described Babu Moti Lai Ghose as 
"the great people's leader and worker" read out the letter in 
the open conference. It ran thus: 

"Tahirpur Raj House, 
Kedarghat, Benares City, 
Dated, ^ist March, 1920. 

"My dear Upendra Babu, 

I deeply regret my inability to attend the Conference 
as I am lying badly ill at Benares. It is one of the 
most important sessions of the Bengal Provincial Con- 
ference and I would have made it a point to attend if 
I could. I have, however, no doubt that my friends 
who will assemble in large numbers will not feel my 
absence as I am now in the retired list, and more an 
old fossil than anything else. 

Wishing every success to the Conference and God's 
blessings upon its noble work. 

Yours sincerely, 

After a few months' stay at Benares Moti Lai returned 
to Calcutta in the middle of 1920, but unfortunately he could 
not attend the Session of the All-India Congress which was 
held in Calcutta in the month of October, 1920 on account 
of his ill health. But just on the eve of the Congress session 
Lala Lajput Rai, the President-elect of the Congress paid a 
visit to him and discussed the political situation with him. 
It will not in the least be an exaggeration to say that leaders 
of other provinces in India whenever they came to Bengal did 
not think their mission complete until and unless they had 
paid a visit to Moti Lai and ascertained his views on the matter 
which they had taken up. When Mrs. Besant was elected 


President of the Congress in Calcutta she also came to Mod 
Lai and consulted him as to the topics of the day. Lokamanya 
Tilak's coming to Calcutta was synonymous with his visit to 
Mod Lai. Every time the late Maharaja of Durbhanga (Sir 
Rameswar Singh) came to Calcutta he would invite Moti Lai 
to see him. I had once to accompany Moti Lai in his old 
age to the palace of the Maharaja of Durbhanga in Calcutta 
and was present all through the interview. I expected that 
they would talk on this or that political subject, but to my 
utter surprise I found Moti Lai and the Maharaja talking of 
things of the spirit, of the Geeta and the Mahabharata and 
of Sri Krishna. Moti Lai also spoke to the Maharaja about 
the devotion with which his wife tended him and I could 
perceive tears of gratitude in his eye. 

I was led to think that Moti Lai had two personalities 
one his political self through which he was known to the 
public, and the other his spiritual self, through which he was 
known only to a few. His love for his country made him 
a politician, of the earth earthy, constantly criticising the 
action of the bureaucracy and racking his brain to devise ways 
and means to foil bureaucratic projects such as the partition 
of Bengal, partition of Midnapur, opening of a new university 
at Dacca, attempt to take over the control of the secondary 
education, imposing cruel taxes on the zemindars and the 
raiyats, extending railways for military purposes, increasing 
military expenditure, maintenance of a C. I. D., oppression 
by the Police, neglect of rural water supply and sanitation, 
passing of repressive laws like the Press Act or the Seditious 
Meetings Act, increasing the pay of the highly-paid officials, 
imposing prohibitive duties, carrying on a ruinous excise policy 
and so forth and so on. The life of a politician is extremely 
gross and unpoetical. Moti Lai had to live such a life. 

But there is, as I have said, another side of his character. 
It was his spiritual side, where he was actuated by his love of 
God. When he was prompted by his love of his country he 
saw that the Bureaucracy was doing a wrong to his country, 
but from his innermost heart his love of God would prompt 


him not to bear ill-will or hatred against the Bureaucracy but 
to reform it as best as he could. That is the reason why so 
many officials, from the Viceroy downwards, who ever came 
in touch with Moti Lai the man, and not Moti Lai the 
politician, became enamoured of him. Chief Justice Sir 
Lawrence Jenkins and Lady Jenkins were fast friends of Moti 
Lai, and I heard from him after they had an interview that 
they had a talk not on matters political but on spiritual seances. 
With Lord Ronaldshay also he talked of Hindu philosophy. 
People who knew him as a politician from a distance were 
startled when they came in contact with the man. When Mr. 
Ramsay MacDonald came to pay a visit to Moti Lai in the year 
1906 he talked of the "things of the spirit". 

Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, the present Prime Minister of 
England, was the London correspondent of the Amrita Bazar 
PaMka in his earlier days. He was then an ordinary member 
of the growing Labour Party and had not yet attained his 
superior position in the British Cabinet. When he came to 
India in 1905 1906 he paid several visits to Babu Moti Lai 
Ghose and in his book Awakening of India he has left an 
impression of these visits. Writes Mr. Ramsay MacDonald : 

"Another whom I visited in an old crumbling place 
of many rooms where a joint family dwelt in ancient 
style began by blessing me in the name of his gods, by 
telling me about his brother who had withdrawn from 
the world and who is in sorrow because the plaintive 
voice of India will intrude upon his meditations, and 
by informing me about their common family worship. 
I asked for books and pamphlets published by him, and 
he brought me the lives of saints and meditations on 
the Infinite. He told me that he longed to leave the 
things that are seen and distract, and plunge into that 
ocean of contemplation where men here seek to find 
oblivion. He edits one of the most detested Bengal 

Again writes Mr. MacDonald : 

"He (Moti Lai) embarked upon an extraordinary 
account of the worship of Shri Krishna, of whom his 
family were devotees. His brother had ceased to trouble 
about the things of life, and this one too longed for the 
time when he could lay down his pen, hand the paper 


over to another, and retire to be alone with his own 
being. He often took me by the hand as a father does 
a child and patted me as he told me of the tribulations 
which beset a man's feet through life, and of the sorrow 
that waited upon men. As I now write I can hardly 
resist the belief that in some way he saw the shadow 
that was then hanging over me. There were tears in 
his eyes as he spoke of India. Sitting thus at the long 
table, darkness fell upon us. Yellowish red patches 
appeared on the walls from the lights outside, and 
strains of music came in at the windows. We went out 
together. " Awakening of India." 

Many eminent persons who came in touch with Moti Lai 
have left their impressions about him to the public ; not all 
of them have been able to see his inner self as Mr. MacDonald 
has done. But people did not come to Moti Lai to hear a 
religious sermon. They came to him for facts and figures, 
for his help in removing their distress due to oppression or 
negligence of Government officers, for his views regarding the 
burning questions of the day. 

When due to his old age and infirmity he could not attend 
any meetings or participate in their deliberations the leaders 
would often come to his place and he became a "consulting" 
politician as it were. Mahatma Gandhi, Lala Lajput Rai, 
Pandit Madan Mohon Malaviya all, all the leaders would come 
and see him when he had ceased attending public functions. 

Since his return from Benares he had all this time been 
suffering from partial paralysis of the left side of his body. 
But though his frame was weak his mind was very strong and 
he would daily go to the Ganges side morning and evening 
in his carriage and walk there or sit there in an easy chair 
for hours together. In the noon he would read books and 
papers. He took particular interest at this period in Irish 
affairs and scrutinisingly read the pages of the Daily Herald. 
The books were mostly Vaishnava religious books and books 
on spiritualism. Gradually, however, his strength began to 
fail and he was confined to the four corners of his house. His 
contributions also became few and far between. About the 
middle of 1921 for a time his health became very bad. He 


was ill for some days and in July 1921 commenting on his 
illness the Statesman wrote : 

"The admirers of the Amrita Bazar Patrika, among 
whom are many Europeans, will learn with great satis- 
faction that the condition of health of Babu Moti Lai 
Ghose is gradually improving, though it cannot be said 
with certainty that he has completely recovered from the 
attack of paralysis that he recently had. Moti Babu is 
nearly 75 years of age." 

The Bengalee on the loth July wrote as follows: 

"We are exceedingly relieved to learn that Babu 
Moti Lai Ghose, who has been lying very seriously ill of 
late, is now out of danger. Babu Moti Lai Ghose is 
one of the most enterprising and brilliant journalist we 
have in Bengal, and his achievements and services would 
fill up a golden page in the history of Young Bengal. 
A man like Moti Babu would do honour to the journalism 
of any country, and Bengal can hardly afford to lose 
at the present moment the services of such a distinguished 
representative of the Press. We wish Babu Moti Lai 
Ghose a complete and speedy recovery and still many 
years of patriotic service." 

Moti Lai was again progressing favourably after being 
confined to bed for some time. 

In August, 192 1 at his instance some extracts from his 
private diary in connection with the case of the Maharaja of 
Kashmir and his interview with the late Charles Bradlaugh 
were published in the Amrita Bazar Patrika. His Reminiscences 
regarding the advent of Malaria in Bengal during the sixties 
and seventies of the last century had also appeared in the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika a few months back. These were very 
much appreciated by those who read them. Even the Statesman 
between whom and the Patrika no love was lost remarked : 

"The Amrita Bazar Patrika often publishes powerful 
passages from the diary of Babu Moti Lai Ghose. Some 
of these are very interesting reading both to Europeans 
and Indians. Moti Babu is now old and often very ilL 
Systematic publication of the reminiscences of a journalist 
and public man like Moti Babu would be both profitable 
and interesting reading to many. Cannot this be done ?" 

Latterly he made up his mind to contribute two signed 
articles every week in the columns of the Amrita Bazar Patrika, 


but was not able to carry out his plan. He had contributed 
only two articles when he fell seriously ill. The first article 
was on How Shankaracharyya Learnt Wisdom and the second 
was on Indian and European Yoga, published on the nth and 
i5th June, 1922 respectively. The article on Yoga was 
practically his last article in the Amrita Bazar PaMka though 
by no means his last contribution. But of that later. 


Moti I/al and Surendra Nath Their Views Compared An Interview at 
Simultala Their Personal Relations Comments in Their Papers. 

The name of Surendra Nath Banerjea is often associated 
with that of Moti Lai Ghose. Surendra Nath was perhaps the 
only man in Bengal who could at one time share equal 
popularity with Moti Lai. Both were journalists and at one 
time the papers which they edited the Amrita Bazar Patrika 
and the Bengalee vied with each oth|ir in doing service to 
their country, each in its own way. Though in later life they 
went towards diametrically opposite directions they were fast 
friends and co-workers in their younger days. It is not known 
at what time they first came in touch with each other. We 
find that when Surendra Nath was forced to resign from the 
Indian Civil Service in the year 1873 several paragraphs 
were written from day to day in the Patrika championing his 
cause. They must have come in touch with each other at that 
time. But later when Surendra ,Nath entered the field of 
politics differences grew up between these two stalwarts 
probably due to a feeling of rivalry. There gradually grew 
up a sharp difference of opinion between them, which later 
became as poles asunder. Often they fell foul of each other 
in their papers, but often again they complimented each other 
through their papers as well as in public meetings. Their 


alternate fightings and peace-makings were a source of great 
amusement to young and old alike being leaders of Bengal 
they were the cynosure of all eyes and their utterances and 
writings about each other were carefully watched by the people. 
While Moti Lai excelled in the press, Surendra Nath's forte 
was the platform. So, when the press and the platform were 
wrestling and embracing each other by turns it was a sight for 
the gods to see. 

Surendra Nath had early associated himself with the 
Congress. But the policy which gradually came to be advocated 
by the Congress, viz., a policy of representation, petition and 
deputation, was not always approved by Moti Lai who was a 
very strong and unsparing critic of the Government as well as 
of the leaders who managed the Congress at that time in the 
name of the people of India and who declared that their views 
were the views of the people. Hence, though a hearty 
supporter of the Congress in its infancy Moti Lai was during 
its period of adoloscence strongly opposed to it, and that is 
one of the reasons why he as well as Tilak were never selected 
as President of the Congress. Like many other politicians he 
did not lend his support to the party in power, but he always 
stuck to his own gun though by doing so he found himself 
in the minority amongst the then conductors of the Congress. 
His views were always in advance of the Congress of those 
days and the Englishman of Sept. 6, 1922, rightly observes 
that it is not an exaggeration to say that "modern Indian 
nationalism, except in so far as it has quite recently been over- 
laid by ideas originating *from Ahmedabad, has been entirely 
moulded by Mr. Ghose." Moti Lai had a very wide political 
outlook and he had attained the high water mark of his genius 
and was the supreme leader of political ideas in Bengal at a 
time when it was remarked that "what Bengal thinks to-day, 
the whole of India thinks to-morrow. " 

In this connection the Englishman also wrote that the 
spirit which pervaded Moti Lai was "of course hostile to the 
British Government and indirectly hostile to all Europeans." 


But this is giving a wrong interpretation to Moti Lai's 
character. If whatever is good for India is bad for the British 
then certainly Moti Lai's policy was hostile to the British, for 
Moti Lai aimed at nothing but the good of India. But if there 
could be any good to India without its necessarily being bad 
to Britain then certainly Moti Lai was not hostile to Britain ; 
for, as I have already said, Moti Lai aimed at the good of 
India and nothing but the good of India. He dedicated himself 
to his country ; and the country's cause was the dearest to 
him. If his country's cause was hostile to British interests he 
was hostile to British interests and if his country's cause was 
not hostile to British interests he too was not hostile to British 
interests. And there he differed from the Congress of the 
middle period. Its conductors were too punctilious to offend 
the sentiments of the Government. But Moti Lai did not care 
for that. In this respect he and Lokamanya Tilak sailed in 
the same boat. If they thought that something said or done 
by them would be of some good to their country but might 
displease the powers that be they never refrained from saying 
or doing that. 

Surendra Nath was not above his comrades in the Congress 
camp in this respect and the susceptibility towards offending 
Government which the advanced section of Indian politicians 
latterly found in him was in an embryonic state in him even 
when he was an out and out Congressman. However, Moti 
Lai and Surendra Nath would often meet and discuss political 
situations. I remember an incident in this connection. 
Surendra Nath and Moti Lai, both were on a change of air 
at Simultala some time after the historical Barisal conference 
of 1906 which was unhappily broken off by the Magistrate. 
They were discussing what attitude they would take at the 
Indian National Congress to be held at Surat and in course of 
conversation Surendra Nath said, "Well Moti Babu, believe 
me. I promise to you I will ever stand by you in case of 
difference amongst the leaders." Later history, however, 
shows that unfortunately Surendra Nath did not speak like a 
prophet on this occasion. 


When the above incident took place I was a boy of ten 
summers only and though nearly three decades have since 
gone by I vividly remember the interview between Moti Lai 
and Surendra Nath at Simultala. I had heard of Surendra 
Nath before. Moti Lai would very often talk about Surendra 
Nath and criticise his actions. Even while talking to the ladies 
and other members of the family he would cut jokes about 
Surendra Nath and both the ladies and he would enjoy these 
very much. I was anxious to see Surendra Nath. So, when 
he came to the place where Moti Lai was living with his 
family, his tall and stalwart figure, his semi-European dress, 
his flowing beard, his smart appearance, his thick walking 
stick and above all his resonant voice and his loud and hearty 
laughter deeply impressed us. I still find his words ringing 
in my ears. Every now and then he spoke in English ; but 
his words in Bengali which, I think, I can still remember 
were: "Well, Moti Babu, let anybody say or do anything, 
I shall never quarrel with you I shall always stand by you." 
Subsequently Moti Lai narrated this incident to many of his 
friends and felt very much delighted when doing so. 

Moti Lai, I am constrained to say, had all along a feeling 
of rivalry for Surendra Nath. He was a great admirer of 
Surendra Nath's memory and power of public speaking. On 
numerous occasions he narrated with genuine admiration how 
Surendra Nath as President of the Congress at Poona had 
delivered his long address ex tempore without looking into the 
printed copy of the speech. Though Moti Lai possessed a 
very good memory yet I have often heard him saying : "Oh, 
if I could only have a memory like Surendra Nath." Again, 
he would some times say, "If I had only the sonorous voice 
of Surendra Nath and could speak like him in public." Moti 
Lai admitted Surendra Nath's superiority as a public speaker, 
"but it is all foam and froth," he said. But he did not admit 
that Surendra Nath was superior or even equal to him so far 
as writing was concerned. He believed that his editorials in 
the Pdtrika were far superior to those of Surendra Nath's in 
the Bengalee. 


Many men would often come to Moti Lai and make 
derogatory remarks against Surendra Nath. I cannot say that 
this did not please him. Regarding the relationship between 
them the late poet Nabin Chandra Sen has told a nice story 
in his "Autobiography." In order to curry favour with 
Surendra Nath the very same men who came to Moti Lai and 
spoke ill of Surendra Nath would go to the latter and speak 
ill of Moti Lai. Here also I cannot say that this did not 
please Surendra Nath. I have heard from a venerable old 
gentleman who was closely associated with Surendra Nath for 
many years that he used to say that "Moti Babu is a good 
man, but it is his chelas and chamundas (followers and 
adherents) who are spoiling him." Great men have their little 
weaknesses ; Moti Lai and Surendra Nath were weaknesses to 
each other. 

Though Moti Lai and Surendra Nath criticised each other 
in their respective papers they would behave very friendly 
when they met either in public or privately. In the year 1908 
the Bengal Provincial Conference was held at Pabna. In the 
'Subjects Committee meeting it was proposed to form a Com- 
mittee composed of Babus Rabindra Nath Tagore, Surendra 
Nath Banerjea, Moti Lai Ghose, Jogesh Chaudhury and 
Hirendra Nath Datta to give effect to a resolution for raising 
money for the improvement of sanitation, agriculture, etc. 
Surendra Nath declined to serve on the Committee. Though 
he did not express his reasons, Moti Lai understood them and 
declared that he would not work in any Committee without 
Surendra Nath. He made a strong appeal to him that they 
should sink all private differences and act in concert. On 
hearing this appeal Surendra Nath heartily reciprocated and 
this happy result was received with loud and prolonged cheers. 

Though in private life they did not speak very highly of 
each other in numerous public meetings they paid great com- 
pliments to each other. For example on one occasion while 
proposing Surendra Nath as the Chairman of a certain meeting 
Moti Lai said that Surendra Nath was self-luminous like the 
sun and did not require to be introduced. On another occasion 


when Surendra Nath presided over a meeting at the Town Hall 
in Calcutta, during the Home Rule agitation days, protesting 
against the arrest and detention of Mrs. Besant and Messrs. 
Arundale and Wadia, Moti Lai proposed a vote of thanks to 
the Chair and in doing so he said that thanking a gentleman 
for his services to the country was a formalism introduced 
into this country by the West ; the Orientals showed their 
gratitude by embracing and kissing and he wanted to do the 
same with regard to Surendra Nath. As a matter of fact 
Surendra Nath stood up from his chair and Moti Lai hugged 
him and kissed him on the dais of the Town Hall before a 
packed house. Next morning the vernacular daily Nayak, 
then edited by the famous humourist Panch Cowrie Banerjee 
came out with a cartoon, representing Surendra Nath as Sri 
Krishna and Moti Lai as Srimati Radha going to embrace each 
other. For days together this incident became the talk of the 
day among the elite of Calcutta. 

The wit-sallies and repartees that passed between Babu 
Moti Lai Ghose, editor of the Amrita Bazar Patrika and 
Babu Surendra Nath Banerjea, editor of the Bengalee in the 
columns of their respective papers are ever-memorable. The 
following is taken at random from the Amrita Bazar Patrika 
of January 13, 1914: 

"The reader is aware that we had the misfortune 
to object to the Press Act Resolution of the Hon'ble 
Babu Surendra Nath Banerjea. Our brother thus seeks to 
take his revenge on us through his paper the Bengalee : 
'We find that a note of protest has been raised by 
the Patrika with regard to Babu Surendra Nath 
Banerjea's resolution on the Press Act. The Resolution 
has been declared useless and mischievous, and even the 
Resolution on the educational policy of the Government 
has been characterised as being more useful to the 
Government than to the people. We are informed Babu 
Surendra Nath Banerjea did not consult Babu Moti Lai 
Ghose in framing either of the Resolutions. If that be 
the head and front of his offence, we do not think the 
public will seriously trouble themselves about the 
matter. 1 

"That is the old mamoolee grievance of the Bengalee. 
Because Babu Moti Lai does not love Babu Surendra 



Nath, therefore the Patrika abuses the latter ! Is that 
a fact? Does Babu Surendra Nath believe it? It is 
unworthy of him if he nourishes such a petty idea in 
his mind. Our 4>rother says that the reason why the 
Patrika has come down on him is that he did not consult 
Babu Moti Lai about his two Resolutions. But he also 
did not take him into confidence when he moved his 
Resolution on Bengal dacoities in the Bengal Council. 
And yet the Patrika paid him high compliments for the 
splendid speech he made on that occasion. So, you see, 
consulting or no consulting Babu Moti Lai has nothing 
to do with the Patrika' s protest against Babu Surendra 
Nath's public acts. And may we inquire what was the 
harm if Babu Surendra Nath had consulted Babu Moti 
Lai in the matter of his Press Act Resolution? Surely, 
his hard-won Honourable now added to his name, would 
not have in that case dropped down." 

Throughout their lives Moti Lai and Surendra Nath thus 
wrote about each other in their respective papers. 

I cannot conclude this chapter without narrating a very 
funny incident. One of the persons who often came to Moti 
Lai and spoke to him about Surendra Nath was the editor of 
a number of volumes giving the histories of well-known 
families in Bengal. One day a few years before the death of 
Moti Lai when he was severely criticising Surendra Nath for 
accepting a Ministry with Rs. 64,000 a year in place of a life 
of self-sacrifice and service to the country this gentleman waA 
talking with him and in course of conversation he said, 
"Surendra Babu has asked me to carry a message to you 
he has said, what are you writing in the Patrikal You have 
got dotage (apanake bahattare dharechey Bengali)." Moti 
Lai was very much pleased and said with a smile, "Good, 
good, carry my message back to him. Tell him that as regards 
dotage, he has also got it. But there is this difference I can 
understand and admit that I have got it, whereas he cannot 
understand and so does not admit that he has got it." I was 
present when this conversation took place. Needless to say 
we laughed a hearty laugh. I do not know if the message was 
at all carried to Surendra Nath or what reply he gave. 


Moti Lai on Gandhi Meetings Between Moti Lai and Gandhi--Some 
Topics of Conversation The Last Interview. 

Moti Lai and Mahatma Gandhi were not very familiar 
with each other. The reason for this is that during the major 
portion of their lives they belonged to two different schools 
of politics. Mr. Gandhi belonged to the school of "Moderates" 
and was with Pheroze Shah Mehta and Gokhale, whereas 
Moti Lai belonged to the "Extremist* 1 school and was with 
Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak. But Mr. Gandhi was 
seldom, if ever, criticised in the columns of the Patrika ; on 
the contrary, his great services in South Africa were highly 
appreciated by the Patrika. 

On their way to Rangoon while on a tour in March, 1915 
Mr. and Mrs. Gandhi stopped for a few days at the house of 
Babu Bhupendra Nath Basu. They were given a magnificent 
reception by the Calcutta public. On Saturday the i3th March, 
a public demonstration was held on the grounds of the palace 
of Maharaja Manindra Chandra Nandy of Cossimbazar. Almost 
all the elite of the different sections of the Indian community 
were present to accord a hearty reception to the honoured guests. 
A spacious shamiana was erected for the purpose and the place 
was packed to its utmost capacity. On the motion of Babu 
Bhupendra Nath Basu, Babu Moti Lai Ghose was voted to 
the chair. Moti Lai in welcoming the honoured guest of the 
evening said : 

"My dear and beloved friend, I accord you, not on 
my own behalf alone, but on behalf of the whole of 
Bengal our heartiest welcome. The greeting comes from 
the very bottom of my heart. You are not aware how 
dear, how loved, how esteemed and how respected you 
are. Why so? Do you know my friend? Because, 
your sacrifice is of a unique kind. We people talk of 
sacrifice. But you have not preached self-sacrifice 


in mere words, but have shown it by your example, by 

your noble deeds There are people who call 

you a political sanyasi. These two terms do not agree. 
They differ as mongoose and serpent. There is not much 
of sublime spiritualism in politics. Spiritualise yourself. 
You have done it to a certain extent. But spiritualise 
yourself more and spiritualise humanity. Let that be 
your real mission. You are the fittest person for that. 
You know we are proud of our Avatar Sri Gouranga. 
His was the spirit of love to mankind. May you be 
saturated with that celestial spirit which filled the heart 
of Gouranga. May you preach that love. May you live 
long and end your days by working for the people so 
as to be able to turn them to the fountain of all blessings. 
May you be blessed both in earth and in heaven. May 
God's choicest blessings be showered upon you. May 
you long perform your mission, the mission to serve 
God and man." 

The Hon'ble Mr. Byomkesh Chakravarti who followed 
Moti Lai humorously referred to the frail and fragile figures of 
Moti Lai and Gandhi. "In their President (Moti Lai)/ 1 he 
said, "he did not see a hero physically. In their honoured 
guest (Mr. Gandhi) also he did not see a great hero physically. 
But there was such a thing as heroism free from bloodshed, 
heroism that did not inflict death on others." 

After the speech of Mr. D. P. Khaitan and the Hon'ble 
Mr. Surendra Nath Banerjea, Mr. Gandhi gave a reply. He 
said : 

"Mr. Chairman and friends, I do not know in what 
terms to return my thanks to you for giving me such a 
hearty welcome. You President, Sir, have blessed me 
and have entrusted a charge to me also. I hope I shall 
have deserved your blessing and I shall have power 
enough and willingness enough to carry out the charge 
you have entrusted. 1 ' 

There were several meetings between Mahatma Gandhi and 
Babu Moti. Lai. I give below accounts of some of them. 

Some time after the death of Mr. Gokhale, Mr. Gandhi 
paid a visit to Babu Moti Lai Ghose. Mr. Gandhi was then 
observing mourning on account of the death of Mr. Gokhale, 
whom he considered as his political 'guru'. He had come to 
the Patrika office before this ; but this was the first time that 


I saw him there. I still remember the figure of Mr. Gandhi, 
bare-footed, with a small coarse cloth to cover the lower part 
of his body and a most ordinary blanket to cover the upper 
part. His head was almost bald and his moustache was clean 
shaved. It was early in the morning and he talked with Moti 
Lai for more than half an hour. They talked mostly about the 
late Mr. Gokhale. I came to learn from their conversation 
that Mr. Gandhi was now living only upon fruits and milk. 

An interview took place between Moti Lai and Mahatma 
Gandhi at the Amrita Bazar Patrika office on the loth 
September, 1920. Mahatma Gandhi was accompanied by 
Srijuts Jawahar Lai Nehru, Giridhari Lai and Srimati Sarala 
Devi. When Mahatma Gandhi asked him as to his views on 
Council entry Moti Lai said: 

"I have been a non-co-operationist, for the last fifty 
years. As regards the Councils I have always regarded 
them as a farce, a delusion and a snare. I myself have 
never sought to enter any of them and have always 
counselled our public men not to enter them." 

Moti Lai then said that it mattered little whether a handful 
of title-holders gave up their titles or not, it was similarly of 
little importance whether some men joined the Councils or not. 
The question of questions was how to rouse the masse*. A 
combination like that of the Indian indigo cultivators in the 
sixties of the last century, he said, was now necessary. Moti 
Lai then narrated how the raiyats brought about their own 
deliverance. Said he: 

"It happened in this wise, the raiyats were groan* 
ing under the oppression of the planters. They came 
to see that their deliverance lay in not sowing indigo. 
So, a few intelligent people among them took a vow in 
some sacred temple that they would not sow indigo any 
more. Then they persuaded others to take the same 
vow. The cry was 'no raiyat should touch the indigo 
even if he was tortured to death.' And though they 
were tortured in a most brutal way by the planters they 
did not yield. When the planters failed the authorities 
interfered and coerced them both by threats and 
entreaties. They remained firm and said, 'Shaheb, you 
say you will put us in jail. Do it, but this hand shall 
never again *touch indigo.* 'Sow it/ they said, 'for this 


season only and you will be free to do what you like 
afterwards.' 'Shaheb, we have taken the vow in the 
name of God. We can never break it.' that was the 
bold and spirited reply of the down-trodden and illiterate 
ruyats. In this way six millions of people were united 
in course of six months and they achieved success in a 
way which has no parallel in history." 

Moti Lai then referred to the cry of "land" raised by 
Parnell which brought about unity among Irishmen and then 
said : 

"Dear friend, you should think of a common cry 
for the masses which will appeal to their heart directly. 
It seems to me there are two things which sit like a 
dread night-mare on the breast of both the masses and 
the educated class. One is the Police Zooloom and the 
other is the pitiless character of the criminal administra- 
tion. Can't these go to make a common cry?" 

Mahatma Gandhi said that he would think over the matter. 
They then exchanged their views regarding boycott of law 
courts, schools and colleges, etc. 

Since, Mahatma Gandhi has tried with the cry of "Salt 
Tax" and has now been experimenting with the cry of 
"Harijan". Time will show the result achieved. So far, our 
country, I am afraid, has not been able to find out a common 
cry on the basis of which all our countrymen may unite. 

Mahatma Gandhi and Maulana Mahomed Ali while on 
their tour through important places in India arrived at Calcutta 
from Patna on Wednesday the i;th August, 1921. They were 
on their way to Assam. They put up at the house of Srijut 
C. R. Das who was unfortunaely away at Arrah in connec- 
tion with the Dumraon Raj Case. The Mahatma and the 
Maulana paid a visit to Babu Moti Lai Ghose at the Amrita 
Bazar Patrika office. Moti Lai was now ailing. His left hand 
had been partially paralysed and though not confined to bed 
he could walk only wkh a stick. So they had a short con- 
versation with Moti Lai, who addressed them like his sons and 
invoked the blessings of God upon them and wished success to 
the great work of nation-building which they had taken in 
hand. He expresed his regret that he might not live till the 
completion of their great work as he might pass away any 


moment owing to his living under the grip of a dangerous and 
treacherous disease. All the same he hoped that if he were 
really taken to the other side of the world he would not forget 
India and her liberators and be happy at the freedom of his 
dear and beloved Motherland. 

Moti Lai took this opportunity to warn them that they must 
prevent all dissensions among the Nationalist party. He said 
that already there was a rumour of a threatened schism among 
the Nationalists in consequence of the alleged autocracy of some 
of the leaders. The Mahatma, he said, was the only person 
who could prevent such a rupture by nipping it in the bud by 
the sheer force of his personality, his intense patriotism and his 
wonderful tact. 

When Moti Lai said that it would not matter much if he 
were to depart from this world now, but that it was essential 
that Mahatma Gandhi and Maulana Mahomed Ali should have 
a long life to fulfil the great task which had been imposed upon 
them by Providence they said in reply that they could not 
afford to lose Moti Babu at such a critical moment when Swaraj 
was within sight. The Maulana further said that his mother 
was as old and weak as Moti Babu, but she always said that 
she would not die till Swaraj was attained. The same senti- 
ment, said he, should infuse Babu Moti Lai who should, like 
his mother, ask the angel of death not to approach him so long 
as India's freedom was not achieved. 

The ladies of Moti Lai's house greeted the illustrious 
visitors by blowing conch shells when they arrived. Scores of 
people who had assembled on the ground flour of the house 
cried "Mahatma Gandhi Ki Jai," "Maulana Mahomed Ali Ki 
Jai," when they left the Amrita Bazar Patrika Office. 

On his way back from Assam Mahatma Gandhi came to 
the Patrika Office again on Sunday the nth September 1921. 
I was present on this occasion also. I quote the following from 
my private diary written at that time and also published in the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika on a subsequent date. 

On Sunday the nth September, 1921, at about 3 P.M. 
Mahatma Gandhi and Moulana Mahomed Ali paid a visit to 


Babu Moti Lai Ghose, the editor of the Amrita Bazar Patrika, 
at the residence of the latter at Baghbazar. A cinema photo- 
grapher had somehow or other got scent of the fact that the 
Mahatma was coming and was seen adjusting his camera before 
the building at about 2-30 P.M. 

As soon as the motor car carrying the great personages 
stopped before the house some young members of the family 
who had been eagerly awaiting their arrival ran towards it 
and took the dust of their feet on their head as they were getting 
down. They then conducted their honoured guests to a 
verandah on the first floor of the building where Babu Moti Lai 
was reclining on his arm chair. Some members of the staff and 
some outsiders who had by this time assembled there now cried 
aloud, "Mahatma Gandhi Ki Jai," "Maulana Mahomed Ali 
Ki Jai." 

The Patrika Office is a place where you will always find 
perfect democracy there is little distinction here between the 
employer and the employee and sometimes you will find great 
difficulty in making out who is who.* Throughout the day all 
sorts of persons are coming to the Office and a hearty reception 
is given to all of them irrespective of caste or creed. Internees, 
as well as those who have interned them (that is the Police or the 
C.I.D.) find equal access to Babu Moti Lai and he always lends 
a hearing to all of them. Had not a gentleman belonging to 
the party of Mahatma Gandhi given instructions to a member 
of the staff not to allow outsiders to enter the editorial room, 
they would have most probably flocked there. Fortunately the 
enthusiastic crowd listened to the request not to go upstairs and 
waited patiently at the spacious courtyard of the building to 
have a darshan of the Mahatma. 

Though Moti Lai had lately been suffering from an attack 
of vertigo he was keeping sound health at the time. Besides 
whenever one talked politics with him he would at once become 
as energetic as a youngman of twenty. He would speak with 
a positive tone and if you did not agree with him he would not 

* This was written in 1921. Things have changed since then. 


rest satisfied till you were convinced. A man had to be coura- 
geous enough to contradict him before his face, for he was 
master of his facts and had a keen logical head. No amount 
of falacies would appeal to him. So I was surprised to hear 
Moti Lai admit when there was some difference between 
Mahatma Gandhi and himself that the argument was in favour 
of the Mahatma. 

Moti Lai had some questions to put to the Mahatma and 
these he had jotted down on a piece of paper. He talked with 
the Mahatma on these points for about an hour. 

The Mahatma had come, it appeared to me, to convince 
Babu Moti Lai of the necessity of the non-co-operation and 
Swaraj movement. He requested Moti Lai to write some 
articles in his paper supporting the movement and not 
opposing it. The Mahatma said that he was not sure that he 
would get Swaraj within a particular date, but he was sure 
that if they failed to get Swaraj within that date they must 
not stop, they must still be continuing the agitation. He said 
that he was sure that the actions which had been taken in 
connection with the movement by himself and his party were 
always justified and that had they not done so they would not 
probably have achieved the amount of success they had already 

The Mahatma requested Babu Moti Lai to write some 
articles in his inimitable way, eulogising the Charka, which, 
insisted the Mahatma, was an absolute necessity for the attain- 
ment of Swaraj. "I want you," he said, "to raise a sharp 
shrill cry in your paper that will go deep down into the hearts 
of the people." 

After their conversation was over they were garlanded by 
two little boys of the family and the ladies blew conch-shells. 

By this time the crowd in the courtyard had grown bigger 
and when the Mahatma and the Maulana came down there was 
a great rush among the people to take the dust of their feet. 
They were photographed when getting into the motor car. 

This was the last meeting between Mahatma Gandhi and 
Babu Moti Lai. 


In a conference of Bengal delegates held at Ahmedabad 
on the 2Qth December, 1921 during the session of the CVngress 
there Mahatma Gandhi addressed the Bengal delegates on the 
political situation and the task before them. He explained his 
doctrine of Non-co-operation. While speaking about the duty 
of the lawyers he referred to his interview with Babu Moti Lai 
and said : 

"I wish I could reproduce the conversation I had 
with Moti Babu. Of course I cannot describe to you in 
detail the conversation I had with him when I visited 
him in Calcutta last about lawyers and how he urged 
with me not to be harsh upon them. I know I have said 
many unpleasant things that could be proved and that 
were proper, and that too in no uncharitable spirit and 
certainly not with a view to estrange them from us. 
I was anxious that they should be dislodged from their 
leadership or sole leadership which they possessed. But 
there never was the slightest intention that they should 
be branded out of public service. On the contrary I 
endeavoured to harness every lawyer even practising 
lawyer with national service, because if he cannot fulfil 
the conditions, he cannot very well work officially in 
Non-co-operation Committees, etc., etc." 


Prince of Wales' Visit to IndiaMeetings For and Against Reception 
Moti Lai's Interview With King George V Recalled Moti Lai on 
Council Entry. 

In a previous chapter I have described the interview that 
Moti Lai had with King George V when the latter came 
to India as the Prince of Wales in 1906. When the present 
Prince of Wales (Prince Albert) visited India in 1921 a Recep- 
tion Committee was formed to give him a hearty welcome. A 
meeting of the citizens of Calcutta was held in the Dalhousie 
Institute on Wednesday the 24th August with a view to arrange 
the preliminaries in connection with the reception to be accorded 
to the Prince of Wales. The meeting was called in the name 


of the public and the Governor of Bengal (Lord Ronaldshay) 
was to have presided. 

Those were the days of Non-co-operation and Boycott. The 
Jallianwalla Bagh outrages were still fresh in the minds of the 
people, the sore due to the Khilafat wrong had not yet healed 
up, the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms had failed to satisfy even 
the most moderate-minded men among the advanced section 
of the politicians ; and the Congress and the Khilafat Committees 
had been advocating the boycott of schools, colleges, foreign 
goods and even social relations with the rulers. Naturally, 
therefore, the Congress and the Khilafat Committees decided 
that the Indian public should have nothing to do with the 
Prince of Wales' visit to India. All functions in that connec- 
tion were thus to be boycotted. 

So when the Dalhousie Institute meeting was called in the 
name of the public Congress and Khilafat leaders thought it 
their duty to oppose it and they mustered strong at the meeting 
with their followers under the lead of Mr. C. R. Das. Dr. 
Sasanka Jiban Ray, M.A., D.L., Advocate, Calcutta High 
Court moved the following resolution which was carried 
unanimously : 

"That in view of the resolution passed by the All- 
India Congress Committee this meeting of the citizens 
of Calcutta as convened by the Sheriff of Calcutta 
resolves that no reception should be accorded to the 
Prince of Wales on the occasion of his visit here." 

The original organisers of the meeting did not at all turn 
up at the Dalhousie Institute, but suddenly and secretly changed 
their venue at the eleventh hour and met at the Town Hall 
under the chairmanship of the Governor (Lord Ronaldshay) 
with a strong police guard. In that meeting Sir Lancelot 
Sanderson, Chief Justice of Bengal, than whom a better repre- 
sentative of the people of Bengal could not be found, moved 
the following resolution : 

"That an enthusiastic and loyal reception be accorded 
to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales by all sections 
of the community both European and Indian on the 
occasion of his approaching visit to Calcutta." 


Sir Surendra Nath Banerjea, newly-appointed Minister of 
the Bengal Legislative Council was one of the speakers and 
when he rose to speak he was greeted with thunderous cries of 
"shame, shame." With his fist aimed at the audience Sir 
Surendra Nath thundered forth in return : 

"It is a matter of unutterable shame on the part of 
the howling crowd to call out 'shame* when we are 
organising a demonstration of welcome in honour of our 
Royal guest." 

A General Committee and an Executive Committee were 
formed with a view to arrange for a reception of the Prince and 
the meeting broke up before the fixed time. 

Now Moti Lai's name was inadvertently included in one 
of these Committees. This made several gentlemen inquire of 
him as to whether he had joined the Reception Committee, and 
if so, then why. 

The following reply was published in the Amrita Bazar 

"We have received a number of letters inquiring 
if Babu Moti Lai Ghose has joined the Prince of Wales 
Reception Committee. In reply we have to say that he 
was nominated a member without his knowledge or 
permission. He has written to the Secretaries to the 
Committee expressing his inability to serve on it." 

A. B. Patrika, 8/9/21. 

Now, like all mortal beings even Moti Lai had his detrac- 
tors and this explanation offered a weapon to their hands. At 
feast two of the Moderate papers of Calcutta, viz., the Bengalee 
and the Sanjibani adversely commented on this conduct of 
Moti Lai and said that he behaved otherwise when King 
George V came to India as Prince of Wales in January, 1906. 
The Bengalee wrote that on that occasion he "measured his 
full length on the ground." The Sanjibani said that he went 
to the length of licking the feet of His Royal Highness. Now 
this was a vile exaggeration. To meet the charge brought 
against Moti Lai an article was published in the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika giving the correct version of the interview between Moti 


Lai and King George V as Prince of Wales and the following 
editorial note was published : 

"We would not have noticed these utterly false and 
malicious statements (of the Bengalee and the Sanji- 
banee), which presumably were manufactured by the 
editors of the two Moderate papers, evidently with the 
object of lowering Babu Moti Lai in the estimation of the 
public, if the writers of some of the letters to us had not 
been men of light and leading. As we have said above 
the statements are absolutely false. What happened at the 
interview was described by Babu Moti Lai himself in 
the Patrika in an article, which is republished in another 
column. We have no doubt it will be read with interest 
at this distance of time by a large number of our country- 
men. One will see that what Moti Babu did was this ; 
instead of shaking the hand of the Prince of Wales when 
he offered it to him, he went on his knees in the oriental 
fashion and requested His Royal Highness to remove a 
plague spot from the British Administration of India, 
which was a fruitful source of seething discontent in 
this country. The Prince far from being embarrassed 
by the attitude of Babu Moti Lai Ghose as the Bengalee 
says, seemed to be deeply impressed and gave Babu Moti 
Lai the promise that he would speak the matter to his 
father and he did redeem his promise. As a matter of 
fact as soon as he returned to England, he in his Guild 
Hall speech, pleaded strongly for wider sympathy on the 
part of the Indian officials towards the people of India. 
Lord Morley communicated the message of the Prince of 
Wales to the Government of India, but as usual it was 
shelved in the Secretariat, though it came practically 
from the late King Emperor himself. If B'abu Moti Lai 
knelt before the future Emperor of India, did he do it 
to serve himself or the country? Surely he did not do 
it to secure for himself a Knighthood or a Ministership 
carrying Rs. 64,000 per annum, like some of our public 
men, after casting all his life-long principles to the dogs 
and stabbing the country in its vital part." 

I think this reply also stabbed his critics in the vital part. 

One of the foremost questions that agitated the minds of 
the Indian leaders after the imprisonment of Mahatma Gandhi, 
Deshbandhu C. R. Das and other leaders of the Non-co-opera- 
tion movement in the last decade was the question whether 
Nationalists should go into the Legislative Councils or boycott 
them altogether. While Mahatma Gandhi was of opinion that 


the Indian Assembly and the Provincial Councils should be 
altogether boycotted there were others, chief among whom were 
Deshabandhu C. R. Das and Pandit Mod Lai Nehru, who were 
of opinion that the Assembly and the Councils should be 
entered, not with a view to co-operating with the Government 
but with a view to opposing and obstructing the Government 
at every step. Deshabandhu was now in jail and as a matter 
of fact Mrs. Das who echoed his views suggested the capturing 
of the Councils in her speech as President of the Bengal 
Provincial Conference at Chittagong. A split was threatened 
every moment between the followers of Mahatma Gandhi and 
Deshabandhu C. R. Das. It was at this time that Srijuts V. J. 
Patel, then General Secretary to the Indian National Congress 
and T. Prakasam saw Babu Moti Lai Ghose at the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika office. In this connection the following account from 
the Swarjya of Madras will prove interesting : 

A correspondent wired to that paper under date 24th April, 
1922 : 

"Sjts. V. J. Patel and T. Prakasam visited Babu 
Moti Lai Ghose, Proprietor of the Amrita Bazar Patrika 
at 3 P.M. yesterday in his house in Calcutta. Moti Babu 
has been lying in bed for over six months in a very weak 
state. Sjt. Patel told Moti Babu that they had come 
merely for darshan and that he should not attempt to 
speak in that weak condition. 

"Moti Babu answered : 'There is only one point on 
which I wish to talk. I have always been against 
entering the new Councils. When Mahatma Gandhi 
saw me last year (you were present then) I told him that 
anyone who goes to the Council is likely to be affected 
with the insidious poison that is there. There are 
unfortunately some in our own camp who favour the 
entry. There should be no split in the camp. 1 

"Sjt. Patel answered : 'It is no use talking about 
this matter now when we have sent twenty five thousand 
patriots including women to jail. We shall do our best 
to see that there is no split. The question if raised will 
be settled at the next Congress in December.' 

"Moti Babu was considerably touched when refer- 
ence was made to the sacrifice of leaders and other 
patriots. With tears in his eyes he looked up and said : 
'I never thought I would live to see such sacrifice and 
unity in our country. I am glad I am alive to see this.' 


"Sjt. Patel answered that Srijut Prakasam had said 
the same thing in his speech the day before. 

"Thinking that they might have already tired him 
Sjts. Patel and Prakasam got up to take leave, but 
Babu Moti Lai said : 'Sit, sit. You may not see me 
again. I am anxious to go to the other side. I am 
dying. I don't know if I could be of any service to 
you from there. God will bless you and our country 
if all this sacrifice means anything in His eyes.' 

"After a short conversation about the progress of 
the Swarajya, about the starting of which his valuable 
advice had been taken by Sjt. Prakasam six months ago, 
they both took leave of the grand old leader of the 

"Throughout the conversation he refused to recline 
on his bed though repeatedly requested to do so. Sitting 
tight on his bed and talking in a low and feeble voice 
he spoke like one inspired." 


Attacked by Paralysis Gradual Decline in Health Last Articles on 
Mohamudgara Stokas and Yoga Moti Lai's Last Letter to the Press 
His Faith in God and Spiritualism. 

When Sjts. V. J. Patel and T. Prakasam met Moti Lai in 
April, 1922, at his residence in Calcutta, he was ill, very ill, 
but not actually laid up in bed for any length of time. Since 
his partial paralysis of the left side he had never been com- 
pletely cured of it, but there had been some improvement due 
partly to the application of some oils supplied by Kaviraj 
Ram Chandra Mallik, who treated him for long, and partly to 
his own strength of mind. 

In spite of his left side being partly paralysed he used to 
go to the Ganges side on his horse and carriage and walk on 
the bank of the Ganges between Cossipur Steamer Ghat and 
the Hanging Bridge on the Maharatta Ditch almost every* 
morning and evening. He would walk on his stick and would 


resent any assistance given to him. If we wanted to catch 
hold of his arm when he was walking he would resist it and 
would not allow us to do so. I slept in the same room with 
him in a separate cot. I noticed that when he wanted to go 
to the verandah at night he got down from the cot and would 
crawl a distance of ten or eleven cubits. If I wanted to assist 
him he would chide me and ask me to go to bed. 

In spite of his ill health he kept himself in touch with 
current affairs. We accompanied him in his morning walk. 
A deck-chair used to be carried along with us in the carriage 
and when he had finished walking the deck-chair was placed 
on the road-side or on a jetty where he used to sit for hours 
together and we had to read aloud the Amrita Bazar Patrika 
from cover to cover. At noon also he would sometimes write 
articles or paragraphs for the Amrita Bazar Patrika whenever 
he liked to do so or would read books on spiritualism, dealing 
with the other world and the life beyond. 

When he could not go to the Ganges side he would walk 
on the verandah of his house for hours together with his stick 
in his hand. He had his second attack of paralysis when 
enjoying one such walk. He suddenly fell on the ground with 
a quivering immediately behind the chair where he used to 
sit, and became unconscious. Doctor Bepin Bihari Ghose, a 
renowned medical practitioner of the locality, was called in. 
He was still lying unconscious. The doctor cried aloud in his 
ear "Moti Babu, Moti Babu," for some time. At first he did 
not speak, but after some time he spoke something indistinctly. 
The doctor thought he was saying "^ ^?TC5 : I am feeling 
afraid" and said : "15* *FTO? ? ^*fr f You are feeling afraid 
there is no cause of fear." At this Moti Babu smiled a 
little and said without opening his eyes and in a very low 
and feeble voice 

I did not say that I was afraid ; I said I have 
got Vertigo." He snapped his fingers and added, 

f wfft TOTfr ** *ft ^Tl Why should I be afraid? 
Afraid of Death? I am not afraid of death." And he snapped 
his fingers again as if at Death. 


He was laid up in bed for some days after this, but he 
came round again and showed a decided improvement and 
took to work whenever he liked it. Of course he could not 
write the articles or paragraphs himself, but had to dictate 
them to an amanuensis. 

In the month of June, 1922, there was much improve- 
ment in the condition of the health of Babu Moti Lai Ghose. 
As a matter of fact not only we, laymen, but even doctors 
were surprised to find that he could now partially move the 
fingers of his left hand and partially close the palm, which 
were stiffened before due to paralysis. He had not written 
for the Patrika for some time. But writing for the paper was 
a passion with him, it was his life's main or sole occupation ; 
he could give up everything else, but writing for his paper 
he could not. So, though seriously ill and almost confined 
to bed he expressed his desire to contribute articles on diverse 
subjects to the Amrita Bazar Patrika every week. The 
first of these proposed articles, "How Sankaracharyya Learnt 
Wisdom" appeared in the Amrita Bazar Patrika on June n, 
1922. In this article which was published over his name 
Babu Moti Lai described how the soul of Sankaracharyya 
entered the corpse of a King with a view to learning and 
tasting the sweets of the world, how he forgot everything about 
his being an ascetic and how he was reminded of it only when 
the Mohamudgara Slokas, the first couplet of which means, 
"Life is as unsteady as a drop of water on a lotus leaf/' were 
repeated to him. 

His next article "Indian and European Yoga" appeared 
in the Patrika on the i5th of June. In this article he con- 
trasted the European practice of Yoga or concentration which 
enabled them "to make discoveries in arts and science, the 
improvements of society and other matters relating to this 
world" with that of Indian or rather Hindu Yoga the "object 
of which was the union of the mind with the Great Principle 
which gives life to the Universe." 

But who knew from before that the article on "Yoga" 
was to be Babu Moti Lai's last article in the Amrita Bazar 



Patrika with which he was connected throughout his life, ever 
since it was started in 1868 till his death in 1922, first as a 
joint-founder, then as a joint-editor and joint-writer, then as 
chief editor and lastly as a contributor? Kalidas described 
the Kings of the Raghu family of old as 

The Raghus were persons who in their childhood devoted 
themselves to studies, in their youth enjoyed the things of the 
world, in their old age adopted an ascetic life and in the end 
left their body through "Yoga." It pleases our fancy to 
imagine that having seen glorious days in his time and spending 
some days as a recluse, Moti Lai ended his brilliant journalistic 
and literary career with his article on "Yoga." 

The improvement in his health was like the sudden 
brightness of the flickering lamp that is about to be burnt 
down. He dictated these two articles and they must have 
caused him some strain. Any way, he was attacked with 
dysentery brought on probably by mental strain and had to 
give up the idea of contributing any more articles to the 

By the middle of the next month he was cured of dysentery 
under the treatment of Dr. Madan Mohan Datta and Kavirajes 
Jogindra Nath Sen and Gananath Sen, but he developed 
symptoms of dropsy and became very week. He also seemed 
to suffer from asthma which had at one time been chronic 
with him, but the physicians diagnosed the case to be an 
aggravation of dyspepsia. On Sunday the gth July he passed 
a very restless day and his breathing became so very difficult 
that the physicians considered his condition to very critical. 
At about midnight on Sunday Dr. P. Nandy was called in 
and he found him somewhat quiet and apparently asleep. 
On Monday morning his condition had improved to some 
extent and the improvement was maintained throughout the 


A note had appeared in the Amrita Bazar Patrika, the 
Englishman and some other papers on the condition of Babu 
Moti Lai's health on the nth July, 1922. Inspite of his weak 
health he would still insist on newspapers being read out to 
him and when he found the note concerning his health he 
dictated the following letter which was published in the Press 
on the i4th July, 1922. 



In noticing the state of my health in your issue of 
the nth July you have omitted one fact which I think 
it my duty to mention. I was not only under the treat- 
ment of the Doctors and Kavirajes mentioned by you 
but also under such distinguished medical men of the 
town as Sir Nil Ratan Sarkar, Dr. Bidhan Chandra Ray, 
Rai Bahadur Harinath Ghose and Dr. Prandhone Bose. 
I am specially obliged to Dr. Bidhan Chandra Ray who 
like others treated me several weeks not for money but 
for genuine love. 

I had apparently a foretaste of the death agony, 
from which no one, prince or peasant, saint or sinner, 
can ever escape. It was terrible indeed, having to 
6uffer from wind spasm, swelling in the body and want 
of sufficient breath and excruciating pain in the buttock 
and the back. The attending doctors with their best 
efforts could give me no relief. One matter was very 
vividly brought to my mind. It is how considerate and 
loving our good Father is. Howsoever the intensity of 
the grief may be it is accompanied by an amount of 
endurance which is inconceivable. As a matter of fact 
God had endowed man with a heart which is so elastic 
that it has the power of resisting any degree of misery 
which it may please Him to inflict. I could never 
dream that it would be possible for me to bear up the 
suffering which I sustained on the 9th instant and yet 
I did pass through the ordeal somehow or other. I may 
remark here that these sufferings are purely of typical 
character and last only for a short time. It has been 
scientifically established that there is absolutely no pain 
but positive pleasure when the real death takes place, 
that is to say when the soul separates from the body 
and goes up onward to its permanent home. I expect 
to have the experience of this new condition very shortly 


and what a pity I shall not be able to relate it for the 
benefit of humanity. 


About this time the writer's father-in-law Babu Lalit 
Mohan Ghose, Advocate, of Bhagalpur came to see Moti Lai, 
who loved him very much. Moti Lai had great confidence in 
him and asked him ta prepare his last Will, which he did. By 
virtue of this Will, Moti Lai bequeathed all hife properties to 
his three grandsons Satya Gopal Dutt, Paramananda Dutt (the 
writer of this volume) and Atulananda Dutt, subject to a 
substantial monthly allowance for his wife Srimati Nistarini 
and his only daughter Srimati Sajal Nayana. 

Up till now he had not been confined to bed. But 
gradually he grew very weak and by the middle of August 
the wind trouble in his stomach became very painful and made 
him prostrate and completely bed-ridden. On or about the 
i6th August his condition became decidedly worse. He got a 
sudden pneumonic attack and his heart became weak, though 
his brain was perfectly clear. From this time onwards he 
oould not rise from his bed and almost daily a note regarding 
his condition was published in the Patrika and some other 
papers. For days together he was worse some day and better 
some day, till on August 28 his condition seemed to have 
greatly improved after his attack of Broncho Pneumonia ; his 
heart and lungs showed a decided improvement, though he 
was still extremely weak and prostrate. The daily bulletins 
regarding his health were stopped and everybody thought that 
he would be spared to the country for some time more. But on 
Monday the 4th September he began to sink from the noon 
and breathed his last on Tuesday the 5th September, 1922, at 
11-35 A - M - surrounded by his near and dear ones singing the 
name of Hari. 

From Moti Lai's letter published above it becomes clear 
that he had no fear of death, and as a matter of fact he was 
longing for it. He had no fear of death, because he had a 
firm faith in God. Such faith in God as Moti Lai had is 





scarcely to be found among men. When my father (Babu 
Nritya Gopal Dutt) died on the 8th March, 1919 after suffering 
from a protracted illness my mother, grand-mother and brothers 
and sisters and myself were crying in sorrow, but Moti Lai 
who was in an adjoining room came to us and said calmly 
and in a dignified tone: "Why do you weep? Is this an 
occasion for weeping? No, certainly not. Rather rejoice, for 
he has gone to the abode of bliss. ( <^5T*RTl ^M* ^R, ^HFl Cf 
^fn^ffal f*tft(fl5[ )* His ideas seemed rather queer to me at 
that time ; but since then with the growth of years and after 
mature deliberation I have come to realise that it was possible 
for him to say such a thing at such a time only because he 
had firm faith in God and His goodness. 

Moti Lai had got only one daughter, my mother Sajal 
Nayana, and no son, and my father was thus more than a 
son to him. They were deeply attached to each other and 
when my father lived in Calcutta he lived mostly with Moti 
Lai. "He was a well-educated man, but what endeared him 
to all who came in contact with him was his sweet and pure 
character. As a husband and father he was dutiful and loving, 
and he was highly esteemed by his neighbours, friends and 
relations for his honourable dealings with them, so rare in 
these days," remarked Moti Lai on my father's death. 
His contact with Babu Moti Lai had made him a firm believer 
in modern spiritualism. He believed that there was life after 
death and men would soar higher and higher and approach 
God as they will be doing good deeds, but would have a 
downfall or remain stationary according as they did bad or 
indifferent deeds. He was a voracious reader and was very 
fond of History and English literature, but latterly he kept 
himself immersed in spiritual literature and spent his time 
mostly in reading, re-reading and digesting books on 
spiritualism. I need hardly say that this outlook on life was 
brought about by his association with Babu Moti Lai. 

Although he was confined to bed for a pretty long time 
before his death he rarely uttered a word of complaint. A 
few days before he passed away when he was visited by a 


relation of his, Dr. Sarasi Lai Sarkar, then Civil Surgeon of 
Khulna, and the latter remarked on his remarkable cheerful- 
ness in spite of his visibly wasting away he thus unburthened 
his heart: 

"You sec I have nothing to complain. I know I am 
dying by inches but I have attained to a tolerably good 
age. I have tasted the sweets of this world to the full. 
I have not consciously committed any sin. The place 
where I am going is full of bliss. Why should I not 
be happy?" 

He had profound faith in the goodness of God and in the 
existence of a better world beyond. No wonder therefore that 
had no terror for him. 

When we were weeping on account of his death Moti Lai 
in his characteristic way said : "Don't weep for him. Rather 
rejoice, for, he has gone to a better world." Moti Lai could 
say such a thing because death to Moti Lai did not mean total 
annihilation, but a change of environments for the soul, which 
is immortal. He believed in the doctrine of the Geeta: 

Men, he believed, lived even after death though it was 
not in this world. When a man dies in this world he is born 
in another world. Re-birth, he held, did not mean re-birth in 
this world but in another world. In this respect he was at 
one with the views of Dr. J. M. Peebles, a great Spiritualist 
and author of "Five Journeys Round the World," and his 
illustrious brother Shishir Kumar, one of the pioneers of 
Spiritualism in this country. Re-birth according to this view 
means nothing but to be born in another world. Progress is 
the law in this world. A man who has got the experience of 
this world has no need to come back again. One who has not 
may come but why should one who has? The theory of 
re-birth in the sense of man being born over and over again 
in this world, according to the Hindu Spiritual Magazine, 
which was edited by Shishir Kumar and after his death by 
Moti Lai, was a relic of Buddhism. 


The Vedas say that after death men grow in the spiritual 
world. There is not a word in the Vedas about re-birth in 
this world. And, therefore, the conductors of the Spiritual 
Magazine thought that subsequent mention of re-birth in many 
Hindu scriptures were interpolations in the light of Buddha's 

During the latter days of his life Moti Lai came in touch 
with several spiritualists and became a great believer in 
spiritualism. The chief tenet of the spiritualists is that there 
is no such thing as death the soul is immortal and it can 
never die but only undergoes certain changes of environment. 
The "I" of yesterday is the "I" of to-day and it will also be 
the "I" of to-morrow. This "I" will never die. I am 
immortal. What is ordinarily known as death is nothing but 
leaving this dirty carcase of ours for a world that is much 
more beautiful than this. We are like so many caterpillars 
feeding on leaves of trees, but, sooner or later we shall leave 
our dirty frame and shall be transformed into butterflies 
sucking honey from flower to flower. We are marching towards 
something which is better. Such optimism was Moti Lai's 
faith. Evil there is none, he used to say, we call it evil but 
viewed from the standpoint of God it is not evil. We possess 
a limited vision and therefore, we call it evil. We shall reach 
a position whence we shall find no evil but all good. This 
was his firm conviction. ., ^ 

, --..f 

With the younger generation coming in to help him in 
conducting the Patrika Moti Lai got some time and opportunity 
of reading books. Though he used to read almost all the daily 
papers yet the greater portion of his time was now spent in 
reading the books of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Oliver Lodge 
and other great spiritualists. He devoured their books and as 
days passed his conviction in spiritualism became firmer than 
before. Other books he read during this time were the 
poems of Vidyapati, Chandidas and other Vaishnava poets. 
"Chaitanya Charitamrita" and "Chaitanya-Mangal" were his 


Babu Golap Chandra Sarkar Shastri, an eminent Vakil of 
the Calcutta High Court and author of a well-known book on 
Hindu Law, was one of those whom Moti Lai could claim as 
an intimate friend. But with Golap Babu he did not talk of 
politics or things of this world. They talked of religious and 
spiritual matters. Some time before Golap Shastri's death 
when they were talking about things of the other world and 
discussing the theory of spiritualism as propounded by Sir 
Oliver Lodge, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, W. L. Stead and others, 
Moti Lai said to Golap Shastri, "Well, Golap Babu, you or 
I must die soon, for, both of us have grown old and infirm. 
So let there be a pact between us that whichever of us will 
die earlier will appear before the other after his death and 
communicate the things of the other world." Golap Babu 
readily agreed and since then whenever they met they reminded 
each other of the promise. Golap Shastri died in August, 
1915. Since then I had enquired of Moti Lai as to whether 
he had got any communication from Golap Shastri after his 
death. On his answering in the negative I tried to dispute 
the modern Western theory of Spiritualism and the existence 
of spirit after death or their capability of holding communion 
with the living beings in the manner in which they have been 
reported to be doing by Oliver Lodge, Conan Doyle and others. 
But his faith in spiritualism was unshaken. He said that it 
was not that each and every spirit could materialise himself 
and appear before living human beings and speak with them. 
It was only those spirits who had cultured this art that could 
materialise themselves, no matter whether they were good or 
evil spirits. Great efforts are necessary on the part of a spirit, 
he said, to materialise himself or herself, and it was not all 
spirits who could succeed. 

Though Moti Lai had been a life-long critic of the British 
administration in India he never entertained any ill feeling 
against any European in his personal capacity. I have more 
than once impressed this point on the reader. He did criticise 
Englishmen in their official capacity, but his writings never 
were against their persons. He criticised their opinions and 


particular actions, but he never spoke ill of them in their 
private life. In this respect he did not spare the Indians also 
who did anything or spoke or wrote anything which he thought 
would go against his country. Thus his paper was a constant 
dread to the official tyrant, be he an Indian or an Englishman. 
And no Englishman can complain that he was criticised by 
Moti Lai simply by reason of his being an Englishman he 
had no hatred for them. 

On the contrary, he loved many, a good many of them with 
whom he had very friendly relations. Aye, even with strangers, 
irrespective of colour, caste or creed he behaved in such a 
loving way that it sometimes puzzled them. Once in course 
of conversation my brother Atulananda, his youngest grandson, 
who was then reading in the St. Xavier's College, told Moti 

Lai that one of his professors, named, Father C would 

often speak to them as to how to improve the political con- 
dition of their country. Moti Lai was very glad to hear it 

and though quite a stranger he wrote to Father C a letter 

concerning the education of his grandson. Amongst other 
things he wrote, "Above all teach my grandson to become not 
God-fearing but God-loving." The significance of writing this 
was that there was one class of religious teachers who incul- 
cated into the minds of their disciples that God was a very 
terrible person before whom every man would be brought on 
the Dooms-day and who would like a severe Magistrate ask 
Christ if He knew them and accordingly dispense justice. 
But, no, said Moti Lai, God was not a severe magistrate. 
The relation that existed between God and Man was according 
to Moti Lai not like that between the Magistrate and the 
accused, but like that between the father and the son, or the 
husband and the wife. He has written: 

"God is of a very sweet nature, a very close relation 
of ours. His whole being is permeated with Love and 

He is jovial, fond of fun and flitting ( *Pre, C^Vjj^feft * 

5$9T ). He is always near us, yet outside the range of 
our sight. But with a little effort we can catch him. 
If any one is able to paint this picture of our Lord in 


his mind all his sorrow will vanish and he will float in 
a sea of joy." 

"God is very kind He is karuna mahasagar, an ocean 
of love, the dearest one to his devotee. He is sweet, very 
sweet and is like you or me." So said Mod Lai every now 
and then when he talked about God and the other world. He 
was a believer in a personal God. And though in his younger 
days he had been drawn by the glamourous tenets of 
Brahmoism as he grew in years the Nirakar Brahma (formless 
Infinite) lost all appeal for him. To him the Nirakar (formless) 
was a thing which it was not possible for any human being 
to grasp. According to him man is a limited being and it is, 
therefore, impossible for a man to understand the Infinite. 
We must take him as finite like ourselves if we are to under- 
stand him. In fact we must take him as an Ideal Man. Such 
was Krishna, such was Gouranga God as well as Man. 

Moti Lai believed that: 

"God is man plus something which marks Him 
out from the latter. This something is beyond the reach 
of man, for man can only conceive of one like himself 
and can never go beyond that. He may be described as 
the all-pervading Being, but the expression will convey 
no definite meaning to a man. This all-pervading God 
will still be a man to him. If, therefore, man tries to 
commune with God, he must commune with a God whom 
he can conceive with a God who is minus that some- 
thing which marks him out from men. So, if God appears 
before man or talks to him, He must be such as the 
latter can conceive a God who can be described as only 
a Grand Man. But has God ever spoken to man face 
to face ? The followers of Sri Gouranga contend that He 
has, in the person of Sri Gouranga." 

And Moti Lai was a strong believer in the divinity of 
Sri Gouranga. There had been, he maintained, other incarna- 
tions of God, but they were only partial. Sri Krishna in the 
olden times and Sri Gouranga only a four hundred years ago 
were the full incarnations of God. In fact, Sri Gouranga, he 
said, was the Purna Brahma Sanatan (the complete and eternal 
Brahma) and why should we go back to the prehistoric ages 
when we can find Sri Gouranga within our easy reach. 


I believe I am not disparaging Moti Lai when I say that his 
religion was not of the old orthodox type. As to image- 
worship he was quite indifferent he was neither reverent nor 
irreverent towards the images, he viewed them with a spirit 
of toleration. But his love and admiration for Sri Gouranga 
verged on fanaticism and I have heard him discuss with a 
priest at Puri and saying, "Who would have worshipped your 
Jagannath had not our Sri Gouranga come here and worshipped 
him?" At Benares also he was rather indifferent to the 
numerous temples there and spent his time mostly in reading 
and writing and walking by the river Ganges. 

I still remember a few words of advice that he gave ne 
on one occasion. It was at Waltair in the year 1916. We were 
living in a house named Kendulavari bungalow just on the 
beach. It was past evening, rather early hours of night fall 
the full moon had just shown its face above the sea and a 
mild and pleasant breeze was blowing. Moti Lai asked me 
to sing some of his favourite songs. I sang with my whole 
heart and with all the skill that I could command. The night 
was still and the place was lonely. I was then a young man 
of eighteen summers only and my voice reverberated on the 
verandah facing the sea where I was singing. When I stopped 
Moti Lai said "I am very much pleased to hear you sing. I 
feel a great remorse that I have not been able to give you any 
religious or spiritual training because of my time being mostly 
devoted to writing editorials for the Amrita Bazar Patrika. 
However I wjll tell you something in as few words as possible 
which you will do well to remember throughout your life. You 
may not appreciate them now, but you will do so as you 
advance in years. Always remember and believe that God 
exists and that He is all-merciful. If you simply have this 
faith you will never feel miserable in your life." 

The words are simple and have been said by other men 
on many other occasions. But I do not know why often, 
especially when I am in some difficulty, my mind recalls the 
picture of my old grand father Moti Lai Ghose reclining on 
the deck-chair in the verandah of a house at Waltair speaking 


to me solemnly and in an encouraging tone that "God exists 
and He is merciful." On many an occasion have those 
simple words instilled courage into my failing heart and given 
me strength to bear calamities with a placid* mind. 

There is a tone of pessimism in many of the articles of 
Babu Moti Lai and the charge has often been brought against 
him that he was very pessimistic, aye, sometimes even cynical. 
This is true in some respects. Numerous passages can be 
quoted from his writings to show that he was in the habit of 
seeing the dark side of things where if he had the eye of the 
youth he could easily have seen the brighter side. But this 
pessimistic nature is perhaps inherent in every critic. You can 
appreciate a thing, and also you can criticise it. A poisonous 
cobra ! how beautiful it is ! You may be charmed to see its 
hood swinging to the tune of the juggler, and you may also 
be terrified to think of the poison that is in its bite. The high 
sea it is so very charming on account of its possessing jewels 
and stones without any price, and yet it is so terrible on account 
of holding so many dangerous animals in its womb. Now, the 
optimist, whose business it is to appreciate, does not look to the 
dark side. He thinks whatever is is for the good. But the 
pessimist, the man whose business it is to criticise, is always 
quarrelling with his environments, he is never satisfied, he will 
always find some fault. Bring before him a beautiful picture 
he will say, "No, there are some defects in it." Sing before 
him a charming song, "No," says he, "the tune is wrong," 
and so forth and so on. It is true when the Government was 
concerned Moti Lai was not very hopeful about it and perhaps, 
I am right when I say that he did not believe in the least in 
the officials who were dipped in diplomacy, which is only 
another name for duplicity. Whatever an official said or did 
Moti Lai viewed it with suspicion. 

Just as materialists pay scant courtesy to spirit or after- 
life, Moti Lai, a spiritualist to the very bone was also some- 
what pessimistic about matter or earthly things. He did not 
see that earthly things had also their value and was thus very 
careless about them. Though the scriptures have described the 


human body as the temple of God he would refer to his body 
as "this dirty carcase", and would often show an eagerness to 
leave this for a better world. This may be due to his possessing 
a weak body on account of ill health or it may be due to his 
other-worldliness. As to the future the next life, the life 
after death, not in this world as the doctrine of re-incarnation 
would hold, but in some other world which was decidedly better 
than this he was very very optimistic. We are here grovelling 
in the mud, but after our death we shall soar higher and higher, 
according to our actions in this world. Those who love this 
world and worldly things will stay near about, those who do bad 
deeds will find it difficult to fly high ; those who love the other 
world and live in this world with their eyes constantly fixed 
on the other world and do noble works will find it easy to 
soar higher and higher. We shall find our dear relatives after 
our death and if we be good, along with our friends 
and relations who are good we shall march towards our Maker, 
our dearest of the dear, till at last we shall reach Him and 
spend our time in His presence in eternal bliss and beatitude. 
Such was his optimism such was his faith in the future. 
Though his body was in this world his mind was on the other 
world and during the latter part of his days the major portion 
of his time was spent in the contemplation of his coming ar,rihi- 
lation which would give him a new life. It was perhaps in 
one of these moments that he wrote a letter to the Press on the 
eve of his death, which is published in this chapter, in which 
he dwelt on the loving nature of God even when he was 
conscious that his death was drawing near. 


His Death, a Euthanasia References by Public Bodies Press opinion 
on his career Observations by friends and admirers Honoured by 
Public Associations. 

Moti Lai Ghose breathed his last on Tuesday, the 5th 
September, 1922, at 11-35 A.M. at 2, Ananda Chatterji Lane, 
Calcutta, where he had spent about fifty years of his life. 
One of his desires which he had expressed on more than one 
occasion was that his near and dear ones should sing the name 
of God when he would be dying. His end was now apprehended 
every moment and hence his near and dear ones surrounded him 
and went on singing the name of Hari. In this state he died 
very peacefully. He closed his eyes and all who were present 
were struck at the smile that seemed to linger on his lips even 
after his soul had left his body. It was a euthanasia in the true 
sense of the term. 

The news of his death soon spread throughout Calcutta and 
men, young and old, assembled at the Patrika office. His bier 
was covered with flowers and garlands from relatives, friends 
and admirers. The local Congress Committee sent a beautiful 
flowery present which was laid on his breast. The name of 
"Hari" (God) was written on his forehead with sandal paste 
and the bier was carried in procession to the Kashi Mitter 
Burning Ghat on the bank of the Ganges. The elite of Calcutta 
as well as men in the street assembled there to pay their last 
homage to the departed great. The obsequial ceremonies were 
performed by his eldest grandson Satya Gopal Dutt and in 
course of a couple of hours the mortal remains of Moti Lai 
Ghose were burnt to ashes, leaving a void in the country which 
can hardly be filled up. 

Reference was made to the death of Babu Moti Lai Ghose 
at the meeting of the Calcutta Corporation on Wednesday, the 

At The Burning Ghat 

5th Sept, 1922 

(To Face page 366 


6th September, and as a mark of respect to his memory the 
meeting of the Calcutta Corporation was unanimously adjourned. 
Sj. Bijoy Krishna Bose, Councillor, who moved the adjourn- 
ment resolution paid a glowing tribute to Moti Lai. He was, 
he said, one of those who subscribed to Babu Moti Lai's politics- 
Mr. Rustomjee seconded the resolution. Rev. B. A. Nag, in 
supporting the resolution said that though he did not agree 
with Babu Moti Lai's political views, he held him in the highest 
esteem and he thought that it was only right that their meeting 
should be adjourned. 

The next day all the newspapers came out with their 
remarks on the person and personality of the departed great. 

The Amrita Bazar Patrika observed : 

"The Nestor of Indian journalism has passed away. He was 
the heart and soul of the Patrika and the sense of personal loss 
with which we are overwhelmed to-day will not allow us to do 
justice to his memory. 

"Babu Moti Lai Ghose occupied a unique position among 
political leaders and journalists in India. The most mature in 
years among them he was looked upon as the maturest in judg- 
ment also. The most respected among the present day leaders, 
Mahatma Gandhi included, rendered unto him a degree of venera- 
tion which we doubt if it has been the lot of any political leader 
to enjoy. The foremost among Indian journalists looked upon 
him as their father and rendered unto him the homage of devoted 
sons. His position among his countrymen was that of the vener- 
able patriarch of olden days. There are many among his country- 
men who differed from him in political, religions and social ques- 
tions. But there is none among them, we are sure, who did 
not hold him in high regard. His admirers are not confined 
to his countrymen only. There are and were many Europeans 
even among high officials who delighted in honouring him and 
were proud of his friendship. Yet Babu Moti Lai did not win 
their friendship by deserting his countrymen or injuring the 
interests of his country. He was always in opposition to the 
Government as Lord Carmichael once said. And it is a unique 
tribute to the personality of an Indian that he was held in high 
esteem even by those of whose policy he was a most uncompro- 
mising and persistent opponent. 

"Sj. Moti Lai leaves behind him perhaps the longest and 
most brilliant record of public service. Yet, such service, great 
and unsurpassed as it is, does not wholly explain the unique 
position he held in the estimation of his countrymen and 


Europeans. There was something in him beyond his achieve- 
ments which attracted people towards him like a magnet and 

this was his heart It may be truly said of him, as it 

can be said of very few men, that he received strangers and left 
them friends 

The New Empire, an Anglo-Indian evening paper, now 
defunct, observed: 

"The death of Babu Moti Lai Ghose deprives India of one 
of her foremost political leaders and one of her veteran journalists. 
He was also one of those Indian leaders who are loved and 
respected by their countrymen irrespective of their political 
opinion. One need not agree to his political views but one could 
not fail to appreciate Moti Babu's unswerving loyalty and staunch 
devotion to the cause of his country according to his light and 
promoting it in the way in which he thought he could do it best. 
He was always firm and unostentatious and never forsook a cause 
which he regarded as just until he fought it to the finish. 

"The economic and sanitary condition of his countrymen were 
the chief concern of his life. How he felt for his impoverished 
countrymen is well demonstrated by only one remark which he 
made from the depth of his heart in his interview with 
Mr. Nevinson. Mr. Nevinson asked Moti Babn if it was true that 
he wanted to drive the English out of India. Moti Babn replied, 
'The English will be driven out of India in 20 years' time by 

the stench of the rotten corpses of my countrymen* In 

spite of our sharp differences of opinion, we pay our homage to 
the memory of this great Bengalee." 

The Bengalee wrote as follows : 

"We deeply regret to announce the death of Mr. Moti Lai 
Ghose undoubtedly the most veteran journalist of Bengal of this 
century. Moti Lai had all the instincts and equipment, the spirit 
of enterprise and native shrewdness of a great journalist, and 
was remarkably well posted with knowledge of public affairs and 
official secrets of all kinds. His fight with Sir Lepel Griffin was 
a memorable chapter in the history of Bengali journalism. He 
also fought equally strenuously with Lord Dufferin and Lord 
Lansdowne over many matters of momentous public interest " 

The Indian Daily News in course of a long editorial 

remarked : 

"Shishir Kumar, Moti Lai and the Amrita Bazar Patrika were 
inseparably mixed up. They grew together, prospered together 
and suffered together. With the aid of the Patrika they fought 
many a political battle. The fighters are now gone leaving the 
instrument behind. And everybody will closely watch how it it 
wielded by those who have stepped in. Moti Lai was a great 


Indian journalist and political leader and his countrymen owe it 
to themselves to go into mourning when his death has been 

The now defunct nationalist daily of Calcutta, the Servant, 
wrote a long leader on Moti Lai in course of which it observed : 

"The passing away of Deshamanya Moti Lai Ghose from the 
scene of his early labours removes out of sight one of the most 
interesting and stalwart figures of the Indian National 
Renascence. He was the last link connecting the old and the 
new in the National Evolution Movement. In fact he epitomised 
in his personality half a century's record of the fight for freedom 
and what was more he represented a spirit of ever-moving pro- 
gression. He never went back; he was not of those who hummed 
and hawed and recanted. He was always in the vanguard of the 
free man, sounding the trumpet blast and keeping the lights 

burning with a shining, clear transparency The 

life history of our Moti Babu is therefore really the history of 
the Patrika. The history of the Patrika is again the life history 
for half a century of a down-trodden nation struggling for freedom. 
Even to touch upon the salient features of it in an ordinary 
notice is an impossible task and we should rather not attempt 

it To think of Moti Lai apart from the 

Patrika is a very difficult task. Yet what an infinitesimal portion 
of the Divine in him has found expression in the Patrika. No 
one who has not heard from his lips the exposition of the 
Divine Love, which is knocking at the heart of every one to find 
a lodging, will be able to realise it. He who had not seen hi 
glowing face when talking of his country would not be able to 
appreciate what real patriotism means and stands for. Living the 
simple life of a true Vaishnava as the Karta of a large joint 
family he has vindicated the culture and traditions of his race 
alas I lately at a discount. 

"lie who has not heard him sing the Vaishnava Paddbalis has 
missed an education uplifting in itself. A great spiritualist him- 
self, he never believed in death. With his indomitable faith we 
pray that though his mortal frame is no more, his spirit may 
abide with us for ever. 

"May the face smiling through death when his last remain* 
were being carried away in the bier with thousands of his mourn- 
ing countrymen following him be proof positive that his blessings 
will be with us in the hour of our supreme struggle and a 
happy augury for the success of the cause which he held so dear 
and which he lived and died fighting for." 



The Englishman, an Anglo-Indian daily of Calcutta, since 
Sflefunct, wrote: 

"As a consequence of the death of Mr. Moti Lai Ghose a 
unique personality disappears from the Indian political world. 

During the greater part of his life Mr. Ghose 

was considered a very dangerous and sinister person by the 
European community, but the present is not the time in which 
one can enlarge on that side of his activities which so frequently 
brought him into collision with authority. What his worst 
enemies have to admit is that he was a man strangely gifted. 
One cannot achieve the tremendous reputation he obtained by 
merely sitting down to write scathing articles against the Govern- 
ment. Several thousands of people are doing it at the present 
moment and they are only numbered with the multitude. 
Perhaps the secret of Mr. Ghose's success is to be found in the 
courage he displayed not as against the Government, but against 
the other Indian political leaders when he believed they were 
going wrong. The rule amongst Indian leaders is always to 
support and encourage each other so that even when a man 
makes a bad break or conies forward with some preposterous 
proposal attempts are made to excuse and explain and modify. 
Moti Babu would not have this. If a leader were wrong in his 
opinion he wrote against him just as he would write against the 
Government and because he was the master of a very sarcastic 
style his criticisms were feared greatly by his own countrymen. 
We believe that it was chiefly due to Mr. Ghose's honesty of 
habit in this particular that he came in his later years to earn 
the respect of that very European community which he attacked 
so often and so bitterly " 

The Statesman wrote : 

"The death of Babu Moti Lai Ghose removes perhaps the most 
remarkable personality in Bengal. For more than half a century 
he carried on, through his paper the Amrita Bazar Patrika, 
what was neither more nor less than a journalistic vendetta 
against the British Government and against the English race. 
No incident was too trivial to be pressed into the service of his 
propaganda or to be twisted into some real or fancied grievance. 
Yet Moti Lai Ghose had a warm corner in his heart for individual 
Britons even while he insisted on regarding the majority of their 
countrymen as vampires. He was in many ways a genial soul 
which if it had not been warped by a fanatical hatred of every- 
thing British might have done a great deal to promote a mutual 
understanding between the two races." 

The Young India of Mahatma Gandhi wrote as follows : 

"A great spirit has thrown off its worn-out casement. Moti 

Babu brought truth, courage and love into our political thought 


and democratised it. He will bold an honoured place in the 
history of Indian freedom. He was one of those great men whose 
ability is equalled by the beauty of soul, and who extorted not 
only the admiration but the affection of the people. It is this 
touch of the Krishna spirit that distinguishes men like Mahatmaji 
and Moti Babn from other great men " 

The Bombay Chronicle wrote : 

"A valued friend who had the privilege of personally 
knowing the deceased patriot, related to us a memorable con- 
versation he had with Moti Lai during the special Congress 
Session of 1918. That was the last Congress Moti Lai attended 
and he had made up his mind on the subject. He was then 
in failing health and felt that the end was drawing near. But 
he attended the Congress, because it was meeting at a momentous 
juncture, and he cordially blessed the decision of the majority. 
He felt that for India to be self respecting and to possess a 
national status which would be beyond cavil, it was absolutely 
necessary that she should have self-government free from all 
humbug about it. He adhered to that view till the very last. It 
was a rainy evening when our friend drove with Moti Lai in his 
Taxi along Queen's Road in Bombay, and in the course of a rapid 
conversation asked Moti Lai the reason for Babu (now Sir) 
Surendra Nath Banerjea's sudden defection. Moti Lai's reply was 
prompt and unhesitating. "We (referring to himself and his 
brother of the Bengalee) are," he said, "both in our dotage, but 
my brother does not know it and thinks that he is still reflecting 
the true opinion of the country and presenting its true interests. 
I realise that dotage has already come on me and I have decided 
to retire from public life." On reaching his temporary residence, 
an inviting repast of fruit Moti Lai had then ceased taking any 
solid food at right lay on the table and while doing justice to it 
the conversation turned upon various matters, including the 
doings in the Subject Committee of the Congress and Moti Lai 
said that the reforms were a mere sop intended to 'deceive and 
divide* Indians and thus weaken their hands. His policy has 
come true " 

The Behar Herald observed: 

" Mr. Ghose was an unbending critic of the adminis- 
tration, but if it is true that the strongest critic is the best friend 
it must be acknowledged that the administration in India has lost 
its most valued well-wisher. Mr. Ghose 's pen was always ready 
on behalf of the oppressed and Bihar has particular reason to be 
grateful to the Patrika for never having failed to take up any 
cause that needed encouragement or to expose any wrong or 
oppression that was telling upon her people." 


In course of a long leading article the Maharastra of Poona 


"In his death Nationalist Maharashtra has lost a sincere and 
never failing friend in Bengal. Few other Bengalee leaders could 
understand and appreciate the Maharashtra mind and Maharashtra 
character so accurately as Babu Moti Lai did. This appreciation 
on his part was the result of his close and continued friendship 
with Lokamanya Tilak extending over 20 long years. Every 
Maharashtra Nationalist who visited Calcutta was bound to call 
at the Patrika office and pay his respects to Babu Moti Lai and 
was sure to meet with kindly treatment and help. This unique 
connecting link between Maharashtra and Bengal is now lost 
and will be missed for a long time to come." 
The Leader of Allahabad wrote as follows: 

"As a journalist he was for long a terror to the official hierarchy 
in Bengal and was the author of many journalistic coups, the 
most notable of which was the publication of certain official 
documents relating to Kashmir in Lord Curzon's time which 
created a great sensation. All the same he was respected by 
some of the highest officials in the land. Lord Curzon valued 
his opinions in spite of the Patrika's vigorous attacks on his 
policy. Lord Minto is said to have been so impressed by him 
that he had agreed to forward his scheme for the reversal of the 
partition of Bengal which was based on the Sindh system. Of 
the two men whom Lord Hardinge consulted when releasing the 
accused in the Khulna dacoity case Babu Moti Lai Ghose is said 
to 'have been one. It was at his instance that Lord Carmichael 
took up the sanitary and rural water supply question in Bengal 
and acknowledged the fact publicly at a conference held at 
Darjeeling in 1912. An orthodox Hindu Babu Moti Lai was a 
man of simple habits and closely stuck to Indian manners and 
customs. He was a devout Vaishnava and a follower of Shri 
Chaitanya. " 

Messages of sympathy poured in to the Amrita Bazar 
Pairika from far and near. I can mention but a few of them. 
Professor T. L. Vaswani wrote: 

"India loses a veteran knight of freedom. Moti Lai Ghose 
dies bravely in honour's field and bequeaths to us a struggle, a 
f faith, a hope. A soil impregnated with the martyred tears and 
ashes of men like Lokamanya Tilak and Babu Moti Lai Ghose 
is rich in promise of freedom's growth." (By wire). 
Babu Hirendra Nath Datta, M.A., B.I,., Solicitor, Calcutta 
High Court, who knew Moti Lai for more than thirty years, 

"I can truly say that the sordid business of politics was the 


least part of him. This was only the surface current ; but deep 
down in his nature there was the perennial flow of the under- 
current of a deep spirituality which greatly appealed to me. ..." 

Dr P. C* Roy wrote in the Young India : 

"The death of Moti Lai Ghose has left a void in the public 
life of Bengal which it will be difficult to fill up for a long time 
to come." 

Sir Surendra Nath Banerjea at a meeting of the Indian 
Association observed : 

"His was a life of prolonged devotion to the interests of the 
country, and in the discharge of what he deemed to be his public 
duties he often incurred great personal risks and sacrifices. His 
courage, independence and ardent zeal to serve the country arc 
qualities which he has left as a legacy to his countrymen and they 

must always inspire respect and admiration There were 

strong differences of opinion between him and myself. But all 
the same now that he is dead and gone and removed from the 
sphere of his activities we must render to hie memory the homage 
which is due." 

Babu Amvica Charan Mazumdar who was then known as 
the Grand Old Man of Faridpur, wrote as follows : 

"Lying in my sick-bed I have received the sad news of the 

death of Babn Moti Lai Ghose as a great shock The most 

prominent characteristic in his whole public career was his intense 
patriotic impulse which may have sometimes carried him to 
excess. But for all that he was a genuine and sincere patriot. 
His uncompromising attitude towards a bureaucratic rule and the 
piercing search light which he invariably brought to bear upon 
all dark spots in bureaucratic methods of administration made 
the Patrika at one time the terror of the Indian Civil Service. 
His quaint and caustic criticism of official high-handedness and 
the humorous vein in which he hurled his invectives against his 
opponents no doubt made him many enemies, particularly in the 
official circle but he never swerved an inch from what he con- 
sidered to be his paramount duty to the country in exposing the 
vagaries of the administration. He may have sometimes gone 
beyond his mark, but he seldom missed his aim. Babu Moti Lai 
Ghose belonged to a generation which is fast vanishing in the 
void; but the void which has been created by his death is not 
likely to be soon filled up in the public life of Bengal. May his 
soul after d life's hard struggle for half a century in the cause of 
the country now rest in peace." 

Sri jut Aswini Kumar Dutt of Barisal wrote: 

"I have been feeling as one left without shelter since I heard 
the heart-rending news. This country holds not another like him. 


Personally I can never forget the indication of his 

unceasing affection for me. He has been blessed in this world 
and the next by dint of his devotion to God and the Motherland; 
we pray that we may be privileged to follow in his footsteps. It 
will always remain a source of intense grief to me that confined 
to bed through illness I could not touch his feet with my head 
even for once at the last hour. 1 ' 

At a public meeting held at the Halliday Park, Calcutta 
Professor Nripendra Chandra Banerjee, then editor of the 
Servant, who presided, said: 

"The whole country from Cape Comorin to the Himalayas is 
in mourning at the death of the great Moti Lai Ghose. He was 
great both in heart and action. Undaunted at the frown of the 
powers that be, quite unconcerned at personal gain or loss Babu 
Moti Lai Ghose wielded his great pen with one object in view 
for the good of his countrymen, for the amelioration of the miseries 
of the country " 

Pandit Lakshmi Prasad Garde, editor of Bharat Mitra 
said : 

"Babu Moti I/al Ghose did yeoman's service for his country 
at a time when the people knew nothing but to worship their rulers 
and the ruling race. He knew not what fear was. Selfishness 
was a thing foreign to his nature. Personal gain was an undreamt 
of thing in Babu Moti Lai. He always took up the cause of the 
oppressed, no matter whether he pleased or displeased the 
oppressors. He always sided with those that suffered and was 
always a friend of the poor . . . ." 

A public meeting was held under the joint auspices of 
the Dacca People's Association, the Eastern Bengal Land- 
holders' Association, the Dacca Municipality, the District Board, 
the District Moslem Association and the District Congress Com- 
mittee in the Bar Library Hall of Dacca to express sorrow at the 
death of Babu Moti Lai Ghose. Babu Ananda Chandra Roy 
presided and Babu Priya Nath Sen moved a resolution placing 
on record the sense of the loss the country had suffered by 
Moti Lai's death. 

Mr. N. Gupta, himself a journalist of no mean repute pre- 
sided over a meeting of Bombay residents to express sorrow at 
Moti Lai's death. Mr. Gupta said: 

"Moti Lai believed his life to be a mission and his sadhana 
made him successful in life Moti Lai served his country 


with a sincerity of purpose and he became a leader of men. He 
was the prophet of Indian unity. He it was who made the 
perturbed feelings in Hindusthan among different communities 
better and urged them to rightly feel that India was their mother- 
land and that they were bound by fraternal bonds with each 
other " 

Mr- S. K. Ratcliffe, at one time the editor of the Statesman 
of Calcutta wrote a long article on Moti Lai in the columns 
of the New Statesman of London. Amongst other things he 
wrote : 

"Of how many writing men in the world, I wonder can it 
be said that they are known, by record and personality, to the 
entire body of their educated countrymen and to millions beyond 
the range of 'education* ? In England, certainly, (since the 
recent removal of a certain notorious editor) not one ; and perhaps 
not one in any western country. But in India this phenomenon 
is possible and it has been realised in the person of the most 
singular editor it has ever been my fortune to know in the East 
or West : Babu (no one ever called him Mister) Moti Lai Ghose 
of the Amrita Bazar Patrika, Calcutta. The mail of last week 
brought news of his death at the age of seventy seven. An epoch 

in Indian journalism comes to a close with him He had 

made for himself a unique position. The whole of India knew 

his name His editorial office was in a large Hindu 

family house in the Northern quarter of the City. There, a dozen 
years ago, Mr. Ramsay MacDonald found him in 'a place that 
might have been an Italian palace,' but with decay speaking from 
every stone. What Mr. MacDonald did not remark was that in 
the printing house adjoining, the linotype machines were at 
work. This queer Bengali had installed them years before they 
were adopted by his English contemporaries in Calcutta.* 1 

A large number of associations and public bodies in every 
part of India held meetings, passed condolence resolutions, 
closed their institutions for a day or otherwise showed their 
respect to the memory of the illustrious departed soul. 
Amongst them mention may be made of the following : 

Astanga Ayurveda College, Behala High School, Boys' Training 
Cottage, Bangiya Kayastha Samaj, Boys' Own Library and 
Youngmen's Institute, Bangiya Sahitya Parishat, Bangabani 
Sanmilani, Bengal Humanitarian Association, Chitta Ran j an 
National School, Calcutta University, Calcutta University Law 
College and Post Graduate Classes, Calcutta Literary Society, 
Calcutta Psychical Society, Darjipara Rashtriya Samiti, East 
Indian Railway Indian Labour Union, Employees' Association, 


Hatkhola Arat Samiti, Indian Orphanage and Rescue Home, 
Kalikata Vidyapith, Kapali Bandhab Library, Khelat Chandra 
Institution, Mahakali Pathsala for Girls, Maharaja Cassimbazar 
Polytechnic Institute, Moslem Youngmen's Association, National 
Educational Institute, Noakhali Sanmilani, Oriental Seminary, 
Presidency College Students, Postal Club, Ram Mohan Library, 
Ram Krishna Library, Saraswati Institute, Shahnagar Institute, 
South Suburban College, Town School, Viswabharati Sanmilani, 
Vaidyasastra Pith, etc. of Calcutta; 

The Bar Associations of 24-Parganas (Alipur), Sealdah, Bagerhat, 
Bogra, Bhola, Bhanga, Bongaon, Barisal, Berhampur, Burdwan, 
Dinajpur, Dacca, Feni, Jessore, Jamalpur, Knrigram, Karimganj, 
Krishnagar, Manikganj, Munshiganj, Meherpur, Mymensingh, 
Madaripur, Narail, Nilphamari, Purnea, Pirojpnr, Pingna, Purulia, 
Sylhet, Tipperah, Bhagalpur, etc. ; 

The Congress Committees of Andanallur (Trichinopoly) , Bom- 
bay Province, Bengal Province, Barabazar (Calcutta), Dera Ismail 
Khan (North West Frontier Province), Jhelum City (Punjab), 
Khagmaon Taluk (Berar). Utkal Province (Bihar and Orissa), 
Vizagapatam Town (Madras), etc.; 

The public associations, viz., Bansberia Public Library 
(Hooghly), Bangiya Puran Parishat (Santipur), Bon-Hughly Library 
(Alambazar), Gobardhan Sangit and Sahitya Samaj (Salkia), 
Murshidabad Association (Berhampur), Midnapur Sahitya Parishat, 
National School (Midnapur), New Hindu Hostel Union (Sylhet), 
National Institution (Karimganj), Peoples' Association (Bhatpara), 
Rajshahi Association (Rajshahi), Vidyamandir (Hooghly), Victoria 
Club (Serampur), Youngmen's Association (Baidyabati), etc. of 
Bengal; the Bengalee Settlers' Association (Moradpur), National 
School (Darbhanga), Maharani Lakshinivati Saraswati Academy 
(Laheria Serai), etc. in Bihar and Orissa; the Town Club (Mandla), 
Central Provinces; Gandharba Vidyalaya, Maharashtria Mofat 
Vachanalaya (Poona), National Union, Rashtriya Vidyalaya, Tilak 
Swarajya Sangha etc. in Bombay; the Kalibari Sahitya Mandir 
(Ambala Cantt.), the Indian Association (Basein) in Rangoon. 

It will thus be seen that people of all shades of opinion 
throughout India had a soft corner in their heart for Babu 
Moti Lai Ghose. And why ? Because they knew that Moti Lai 
Ghose lived not for himself but for the sake of his country ; 
he had nothing to enjoy in this life but his life was wholly 
dedicated to the service of his Motherland. 


(The names of books, periodicals, etc., are in italics). 

Acharyya, Suryya Kanta, 74. 
Adam, John, 65, 66. 
Albert, Prince, 346. 
Ali, Mahomed, 280, 342-345. 

Shaukat, 280. 
Amma, Bai, 280, 343. 

Amrita Bazar Patrika, 

Its founders, 1, 2; Started in a 
village (1868), 10; Early 
History (1868-71), 10-12, 22-27; 
Cases Against, 12, 26, 100, 115- 
119, 127-132, 206-215, 268-274; 
Removal to Calcutta (1871), 
27-29; Removal to No. 2, 
Ananda Chatter ji Lane (pre- 
sent office) (1874), 29, 32-35; 
Early Appreciations (1872- 
1881), 30, 31; Patrika office, 
32-34, 344; Gradual rise, 36; 
Early characteristics, 37-39 ; 
Converted into English (1878), 
45-49; Converted into a Daily 
(1891), 72-77; Quarrels with 
Bengalee, 120-123; Is the 
Patrika seditious?, 153, 154; 
Incorporated as a company 
(1908), 288; Security taken by 
Govt. (1913), 187, 191, 192; 
Security forfeited (1919), 323, 

Further security, 324. 

A family concern, 286. 

Some writers, 290-293. 

Machinery, 293- 294. 

Amrita Bazar Patrika, The, on: 

Arunachal Asram affairs, 190. 

Barisal Conspiracy Case, 206- 

Calcutta Municipal Bill (1898), 
105, 106. 

(its) Conversion from Bengali 
to English, 48, 49. 

Elections, 80. 

Extension of Jury System, 184, 

(its) First Publication in Cal- 
cutta, 27. 

Floods in Jessore, 25, 26. 

Lord Carmichael's regime, 265. 

Lord Curzon's Convocation 
Speech, 144, 145, 148, 149. 

Lord Curzon's Educational 
Policy, 215. 

Lord Willingdon's remarks 
against Home Rulers, 305. 

Malarial Fever in Jessore, 24, 

Moti Lai's Death, 366. 

Mrs. Besant, 259. 

Natu Brothers' Detention, 103, 

"No Conviction, No Promo- 
tion," 183. 

Postal Department Appoint- 
ments, 61. 

Presidency College affairs, 247- 

Prison-going Editor, 273. 

Sir John Woodburn's Sacrifice, 

Surendra Nath and Bengalee, 
121, 123. 

Surendra Nath and His Fol- 
lowers, 112, 113. 

Transfer of Capital from Cal- 
cutta to Delhi, 130. 

Union Between Indians and 

Anglo-Indians, 180. 
Amrita Bazar Patrika Ltd., 288, 289. 
Amrita Prabahini Patrika, 10, 286. 
Ananda Bazar Patrika, 116, 275, 294, 

Ananda Chatter ji Lane, No. 2, 
(A. B. Patrika office & residence 
of Moti Lai Ghose), 29, 32-37, 
158-160, 175, 176, 223, 276, 277, 
293, 294. 

A Nation In Making, 45. 

An Indian Diary, 298. 

Apte, Ram Dikhit, 75. 

Arunachal Asram, 187 & foil. 

Arundale, C. S., 259, 260, 337. 

A Step In The Steamer, 47, 171. 
Awakening of India, 34, 329, 330. 

Bai, Pandita Rama, 96. 
Baker, Edward Norman, 125, 126, 



Banerjee, Durga Gati, 81. 

Guru Das, 137, 314. 

Jitendra Lai, 292, 322, 

K. M,, 43. 

Kali Charan, 44, 96, 101. 

Panchkari, 22, 159, 337. 

Peary Mohan, 221. 

Ram Taran, 110. 

Surendra Nath, 44, 45, 
64, 82-88, 99, 101, 110, 
112-115, 117, 121-123, 
130, 158, 161, 165-174, 
216, 230, 260-263, 306-309. 
314, 332-338, 340, 348. 
Tarapada, 9, 97. 

W. C., 43, 64, 73, 75, 90, 
92, 93, 101, 118, 230, 232. 
Bangabasi, 97, 99. 

Bangiya V el-dig-dig Pratiyogita, 217. 

Banon, Captain, 66. 

Barisal Conspiracy Case, 206, 210, 


Basumati, 116, 120. 
Bay ley, Stuart, 152. 
Beams, 72. 

Bengal Administration Report 

(1872), 30. 

Bengal Citizens* League, 180. 
Behar Herald, 60, 81. 
Bengalee, 79, 84, 128, 130, 161, 274, 
331, 337, 348. 

*s quarrel with Patrika, 120- 

on Moti Lai, 79, 368. 

Bengal Provincial Conference, 88, 

89, 92. 

at Barisal, 165. 

at Bhagalpur, 120. 

at Calcutta, 307. 

at Krishnagar, 4, 230-239. 

at Midnapur, 124. 

at Nator, 92. 

at Pabna (1908), 174, 336. 

at Midnapur (1920), 327. 

Besant, Mrs. Annie, 176, 177, 255- 

264, 337. 

Bhadra, Jagabandhu, 10. 
Bidyabhushan, Dwarka Nath, 49. 
Bidyaratna, Bhuban Mohan, 75. 
Biswas, Suresh Chandra, 221. 
Tarit Kanti, 210, 269. 
Blair, A. J. F., 317. 
Bodas, M. R., 175. 
Bomanji, S. R., 305. 

Bose, Ananda Mohan, 10, 43, 86, 92, 

96, 114, 127. 

Anath Nath, 11, 283. 
Basanta Kumar, 260, 311. 

Bose, Bhupendra Nath, 79, 82, 93, 

97, 99, 110, 119, 158, 167, 

175, 176, 177, 180, 216, 293, 


Bijoy Krishna, 260, 261, 292, 


Mrinal Kanti, 292. 
Pasupati Nath, 79, 82. 
Pran Dhone, 355. 
Prasanna Coomar, 230. 
Satis Chandra, 82. 
Satyananda, 261, 320 
Subhas Chandra, 251, 254, 

Bradlaugh, Charles, 56, 67-71, 118, 

255, 331. 

Branson, J. H. A., 51. 
Brown, 189. 
Buckland, 209, 210. 
Butler, Harcourt, 199. 
Buxy, Tarit Kanti, 133. 

Caine, W. S., 68, 87. 

Calcutta Municipal Bill (1898), 106, 


Calcutta Municipal Bill (1916), 111. 
Campbell, George, 88, 125, 152. 
Capital, 179, 212. 

i Carmichael, Lord, 135, 187, 193-198, 
199, 246, 264-266, 313, 315, 317. 
as a Governor, 195. 
his letter to Mott Lai, 196, 197. 
presides over public meeting, 

218, 219. 

Cesses, Road and P. W., 235. 

Chakravarti, Byomkesh, 142, 158, 

173, 210, 216, 221, 261, 

262, 272, 292, 306, 309, 

311, 319, 321, 323, 340. 

Syam Sundar, 173, 

175, 289, 290, 291. 
Chalmers, 100, 102. 
Chanda, Kamini Kumar, 293. 
Chandidas, 277-279, 359. 
Chapekar, Damodar, 104. 
Charka, The, 233, 238, 240, 241. 
Charlu, P. Ananda, 32, 108. 
Chatterjee, Atul Chandra, 139, 142. 
Bankim Chandra, 156. 
Hari Prasad, 93. 
Kali Prasanna, 290, 291. 
Nirode Chandra, 83. 
Ramananda, 205. 

Chaudhuri, Ashu Tosh, 137. 

Jogesh, 99, 101, 142, 

221, 323, 336. 
Kishori Mohan, 158. 



Chaudhuri, K. N. 210, 293. 

Parbati Sankar, 96. 

Yatindra Nath, 96, 99, 
142, 158, 159, 172, 173, 
175, 261, 263, 277, 293, 
306 319 

Chelmsford, Lord, 300, 307, 321, 322. 
Choubal, B., 203. 
Chunder, Bhola Nath, 41. 

Raj Chunder, 110. 
Churchill, Randolf, 153. 
Civil Disobedience, 165. 
Clive, Lord, 221. 
Colson, Lionel Hewitt, 206. 
Comrade case, 186. 
Contempt of Court case against 

Moti Lai, 206-215, 268-273. 
Conventionists and Non-conven- 

tionists, 174-177. 
Cotton, Henry, 161, 163. 
Craddock, Reginald, 193. 
Cross, Lord, 72. 

Curzon, Lord, 137, 144-152, 155-157, 
163, 170, 266, 317. 

*s Convocation address, 144, 

on truthfulness, 148-152. 

Dey, Bepin Bihari, 254. 
Mahendra Nath, 190. 
Satish Chandra, 252. 

Dhoti, 37, 53, 195, 198, 224, 314, 317, 
Digby, William, 68, 118. 
Dominion Status, 
Doyle, Arthur Conan. 359, 360. 
Dumraon Case, 325. 
Dutt, Aswini Kumar, 153, 165-167. 
Atulananda, 92, 356, 361. 
Hem Chunder, 290. 
Hirendra Nath, 93, 96, 97, 99, 
158, 159, 173, 175, 176, 216, 
255-257, 261, 263, 276, 293. 
307, 336. 

Jogesh Chandra, 44. 
Kumar Krishna, 173. 
Madan Mohan, 354. 
Nritya Gopal, 287, 357, 358. 
Paramananda, 356, 363. 
Romesh Chander, 137, 141. 
Satya Gopal, 356, 367. 
Sri Nath, 110. 

Dwarkadas, Jamnadas, 305. 
Dyer, Gen., 321. 

Dacca Muslins, 238. 
Dacca Saraswat Samaj, 195. 
Daily Chronicle, 100. 
Daily Herald, 330. 
Daily Mail, 100, 150. 
Daily News, 150. 
Dam, Ananga Mohan, 251, 254. 
Damodar Floods, 217-218. 
Das, Chitta Ranjan, 63, 96, 142, 221, 
260-262, 272, 289, 293, 306, 
309, 311, 319, 322, 323, 342, 
347, 349, 350. 
Mrs. C. R., 350. 
Durga Mohan, 23. 
Girindra Mohan, 206. 
Kali Mohan, 44. 
Sundari Mohan, 175, 293. 
Defamation Case, 
Defence of India Act, 1915264, 

265, 302, 320. 
Deshpande, R. B., 175. 
Dev, Benoy Krishna, 74, 96, 106. 
Kamal Krishna, 74. 
Nil Krishna, 75. 
Rajendra Narayana, 74, 77. 
Devi, Amrita Moyee, 1, 14, 90, 280, 
Nistarini, 20-22, 328, 356, 357. 
Sajal Nayana, 22, 276, 356, 

Sarala, 341 

Sthir Saudamini, 133. 

Eden, Ashley, 46-48, 51, 88, 105, 125. 
Eden Hindu Hostel, 251. 
Elgin, Lord, 87. 
Elliot, Charles, 139. 
Englishman, The, 214, 259, 297, 308. 
on Moti Lai, 333, 370. 

Extremists, 158, 159, 170, 259, 308, 
318, 319, 339. 

Five Journeys Round the World* 


Fisher, H. L., 203. 
Flood-relief, 218. 
Fraser, Andrew, 137, 152, 154. 
Fuller, Bampfylde, 165. 

Gandhi, Mahatma, 168, 169, 222, 
236, 239, 303, 320, 321, 330, 339- 
346, 349, 350. 

Garth, 86. 

Geeta, The, 222, 328. 

George V, King, 160, 164, 219, 346, 

Moti Lai's interview with* 

160-165, 346, 348, 349. 
Ghosal, J., 99. 



Ghose, Akshoy Kumar, 293. 

Aurpbindo, 63, 159, 170, 173. 
Barindra Kumar, 63. 
Basanta Kumar, 2, 283, 286. 
Benode Lai, 2, 286. 
Bepin Bihari, 352. 

Charu Chandra, 100, 210. 
Chunder Madhav, 145, 314. 
Devendra Chandra, 23. 

Golap Lai, 2, 116, 269 f 272, 

286, 288, 289, 292. 
Hari Narayan 1, 9, 14. 

Hari Nath, 355. 
x Hemanta Kumar, 2, 8-11, 

15, 17, 19, 27-29, 31, 35, 36. 

275, 277, 283, 284, 286, 287. 
Hemendra Prasad, 175. 

Hira Lai, 2, 14, 17, 286.. 
Ishan Chandra, 246. 
J. C., 210. 
Kali Prasanna, 49. 

Krishna Chandra. 217, 

Lalit Mohan, 356. 

Lai Mohan, 43, 230. 

Mon Mohan, 13, 43,64, 230. 

Moti Lai, 

See Moti Lai Ghose. 

Mrinal Kanti, 16, 116, 269, 

272, 287, 288. 
Nabo Kumar, 83. 
Nihar Kanti, 288. 
Padma Lochan, 1. 
Parimal Kanti, 288. 

Piyush Kanti, 116, 117. 269, 

272, 288. 
Rabindra Narayan, 246-248. 

Ram Lai, 2, 286. 
Rama Nath, 77. 

Rash Bihari, 142, 151, 170, 

216, 258, 261. 
Sasanka Mohan, 206. 
Shishir Kumar, 8-20, 26- 

32, 35-37, 41, 44-48, 56, 83, 

116, 275, 283, 285, 358. 
Umesh Chandra, 23. 

Gilchrist, R. N., 250, 251. 
Gitanjali, 278. 
Gladstone, 49. 
Globe, The, 100. 
Gnyan Prakash, 98. 
Gokhale, Gopal Krishna, 98, 170, 
186, 203, 312, 313, 339-341. 

Gossain, Kishori Lai, 137, 308. 
Goswami, Hari Das, 275. 
Gourlay, W. R., 196, 197, 313, 316. 
Graham, Dr., 291. 
Grey, C. E. f 101. 
Gnha Anath Bandhu, 175. 
Priya Nath, 169. 

Gupta, B. L., 51. 
K. G., 308. 
Guardian, The, 79. 

Haldar, Aswini Kumar, 117. 

Sukumar, 293. 
Hamilton, George, 103. 
Hamilton's Gazetteer, 221. 
Hammick, Murray, 203. 
Harrison, Prof., 248. 
Heber's Indian Journal, 221. 
Hindu, 30, 31, 115, 131, 138. 
Hindu Spiritual Magazine, 15, 18, 

19, 358, 359. 

Hindu Patriot, 41, 42, 44, 47, 76. 
Hitabadi, 84-87, 115-118. 
Hornell, W. W., 252. 
Horniman, B. G., 303, 305. 
Hoff, B. P., 127-130. 
Holme, J. W., 248. 
Home Rule League, 256-261, 303- 

307, 318. 

Hossain, Leakut, 160. 
Howrah Hitaishi, 169. 
Hume, A. O. 66, 232. 
Hunter Committee, 321, 322. 
Huq, Fazl-ul, 142, 256, 261, 306, 

Hynes, G. J., 62. 

Ilbert Bill, 50, 185. 

Ilbert C. P., 5. 

Imam, Hasan, 308. 

Income Tax, 41, 42. 

Indian Association, 44. 

Indian Association for the Cultiva- 
tion of Science, 92. 

Indian Civil Service, 203-205. 

Indian Daily News, 15, 57, 99, 141, 

Indian Empire, 113, 120, 121. 

Indian League, 44, 45. 

Indian Mirror, 76, 84. 

Indian Nation, 113, 120, 121. 

Indian National Congrest, 63, 153. 

at Allahabad (1888), 63-66. 

at Bombay (1889), 66, 68. 

at Calcutta (1890), 72. 

at Calcutta (1896), 87. 

at Surat (1907), 170. 

at Madras (1914), 176. 

at Lucknow (1916), 257, 258. 

at Bombay (1918), 308. 

at Calcutta (1920), 327. 

at Ahmedabad (1921), 345. 
Indian Penal Code, sec. 124A, 99. 



Indian Political Agency, 118. 
Indian Press, 

Stevens C. C. on, 233. 
Indian Relief Society, 96, 115. 
India We Served, 146. 
Indigo Ryots, 238. 
Internments, 264, 302. 
lyengar, K. V. Rangaswamy, 135, 


S. Kasturiranga, 135. 
Iyer, Subramania, 306. 
T. V. Seshagiri, 135. 

Jackson, "Tiger," 210, 270-272, 274. 
Jagatsi Asram 

(see Amnachal Asram). 
Jajna Bhanga, 169. 
James, H. R., 246-248, 251-253. 
Jam v. Sandesh, 279, 280, 281. 
Jenkins, Lawrence, 186, 209-213, 

218, 219, 329. 
Lady, 329. 

Jinnah, M. A., 258, 303, 305, 321. 
Joshi, V. G., 258. 
Journalism, 119. 

Fitz James Stephen on, 102. 
Jubbar, Abdul, 56, 57. 
Judicial and Executive Functions 

Separation of, 142. 
Jury system, 182. 

Kalachand Gita, 278. 
Kavya-tirtha, Gispati, 169. 
Kavya-Visharad, Kali Prasanna, 84, 

115-119, 129. 
Kakina, Raja of, 220. 
Kasem, Abdul, 307. 
Kelker, N. C., 173, 175, 303, 305. 
Kemp, 166. 

Kenrick, G. H. B., 209-212. 
Keshari, 97, 102, 310. 
Keswick, J. J. J., 51. 
Khaitan, D. P., 340. 
Khan, Akram, 323. 

Hussain, 42. 

,, Mahammad Nazimuddin, 75. 
Khaparde, G. S., 159, 173, 258. 
King, W. G., 201. 
Kisch, 56, 60. 

Krishnagar Conference, 4, 225, 230- 

Lahiri, B. K., 210, 327. 
Lala, Raja Rajendra, 73. 
Lai, Giridhari, 341. 
Jai Prakash, 325. 

Lansdowne, Lord, 75, 77. 
Law, Reshee Case, 111. 

Lawrence, Walter, 146, 147, 182- 


Leader, 177. 
Lee, 82. 

Leslie, Colonel, 222. 
Lethbridge, 49. 
Lodge, Oliver, 359, 360. 
Looker-on, 64. 
Lyall, 87. 

Lyon, P. C., 193, 252. 
Lytton, Lord, 45, 88. 

MacDonald, Ramsay, 34, 203, 329, 

Mackenzie, Alexander, 102, 105- 


Madge, W. C., 101, 203. 
Magistracy, 140, 183. 
Maharatta, 130, 178. 
Mahatab, Bijay Chand, 111, 219. 
Mahmudabad, Raja of, 262. 
Maiti, Upendra Nath, 327. 
Maitra, Akshoy Kumar, 93. 

Heramba Chandra, 216. 
Malaria, 234, 267, 298, 301, 302. 
Malaviya, Madan Mohan, 186, 259. 


Mallik, Amrita Krishna, 96, 113. 

121, 159, 175, 293. 
Ram Chandra, 351. 
S. K., 220, 222. 
Manchester Guardian, 191. 
Martial Law, 321. 
Mazumdar, Ambica Charan. 158. 

216, 258. 
Mehta, Pheroze Shah, 64, 170-173. 

176, 177, 339. 
R. D., 314. 
Minto, Lord, 170. 
Mitter, Amrita Nath, 101. 
Digambar, 40-42. 
Dinabandhu, 19. 
Kali Nath, 75. 
Krishna Kumar, 84, 85, 87, 

158, 177, 261. 
Manmatha Nath, 110. 
Peary Chand, 14, 15. 
Provash Chunder, 142, 261, 


Raj Krishna, 13, 26. 
Raj Kumar, 34. 
Rasamoy, 246. 
Romesh Chandra, 73, 74, 

Moderates,' 158. 308, 318, 319, 339. 


Montagu-Chelmsford Reform, 307- 

309, 346. 
Montagu, Edwin Samuel, 261, 295- 

302, 318. 

on Moti Lai, 298. 
Moonje, B. S., 175, 309. 
Morley, 157. 
Morning Leader, 150. 
Morning Post, 99. 
Morrison, Theodore, 203. 
Moslem League, 261. 

Moti Lai Ghose, 

Early Life & Education : 

Birth and parentage, 1 ; as a 
boy, 1 ; his brothers, 2 ; Early 
education, 2; his "Remini- 
scences," 6, 7; influence of 
Brahmoism, 8; as a school- 
master, 9; starts Patrika, 10; 
first public appearance, 12, 
13; as a spiritualist and 
medium, 14-18; his marriage, 
20; his wife and daughter, 22. 

Removal to Calcutta, 27; as a 
writer, 33, 34; his concentra- 
tion of mind, 35; as a Vaish- 
naya, 36, 275, foil. ; his plain 
living and high thinking, 37; 
his dress, 37; acquisition of 
friends, 39-44; his food, 91; 
routine, 224. 

Evidence before Royal Commis- 
sion, 54-62; early Congress 
activities, 63-67 ; as a candidate 
for election, 78-83; rivalry 
with Surendra Nath, 85, 87, 
112-114, 120-123; at Nator 
Conference, 93 & foil; at 
Barisal Conference, 165 & foil. 

Defamation Cases against, 115- 
119, 127-133; contempt of 
Court case against, 206-215, 

As Extremist leader, 158; in the 
Partition agitation, 160; offers 
himself for arrest, 167; in- 
auguration of N. C. O. and 
C. D. movements, 169; at 
Surat Congress, 170 & foil., 
attempts for a United Con- 
gress, 176, 177. 

With the Officials: 
With Lord Curzon, 145-148; with 
Sir Edward Baker, 153; with 
King George V, 160-165, 348, 
349; with Lord Cartnichael, 
196-198; with Mr. Montagu, 
298-302; with Lord Ronald- 
shay, 313 & foil. 

In Various capacities : 

As a juror, 183; as a recruiter 
during war, 220; as a humor- 
ous writer, 281 ; as a speaker, 
134; as a journalist, 282; as a 
Bengali writer, 274; as a 
music-master, 276-277; as a 
Home Ruler, 256-266; presid- 
ing over Krishnagar Con- 
ference (1915), 230-240; as a 
spiritualist, 365 & foil. 

Moti Lai Ghose, on: 

Advantages of Jurors, 184. 
Anglo-Indian Life, 52, 53, 179, 


Braveries of Bengalees, 147, 221. 
British Committee of Congress, 

Calcutta Municipal Bill (1898), 

Calcutta Municipal Bill (1916), 

111, 112. 

Charka, 238, 241. 
Congress split at Surat, 171-173, 
Council Entry, 236. 
Cry of Bandemataram, 166. 
Damodar Floods, 218. 
Death, 95, 235 et seq. 
Dhoti and Englishmen, 198, 


Duties of Chaukidars, 141. 

Early History of Patrika, 11, 12. 

Economical Living, 134, 233. 

Enlistment of Indian Volun- 
teers, 220. 

Eructation Incident, 57. 

Extension of Jury System, 184, 

Financial Condition of Indian 
people ,134. 

Fourth National Congress, 65. 

God, 356, 357, 361-365, 366. 

Gokhale, 313. 

Governor's First Duty, 267. 

Heterodox Food, 90, 91. 

His Candidature, 78. 

His Chairmanship of a Meet- 
ing, 106, 107. 

His Interview with King 
George V, 162-164. 

His Interview with Lord 
Curzon and his Secretary, 

How a Magistrate may be a 
real blessing, 140. 

nbert Bill Agitation, 52. 

Indian Political Agency, 118. 

Industrialism of the West, 240. 

Internments, 260, 261, 302. 


Moti Lai Chose, on (Ccrntd.}: 

Jallianwallabagh affairs, 322. 
Jobberies in Postal Department, 


Jury System, 182 & foil. 
Kashmir affairs, 59, 70. 
Life after Death, 357-360, 365. 
Lord Curzon's Educational 

Policy, 216. 
Lord Cnrzon's superior attitude, 


Lord Ronaldshay, 266, 314. 
Lord Willingdon's remarks 

against Home Rulers, 306. 
Magistrates and Sessions 

Judges, 183. 
Maharaja Jotindra Mohan 

Tagore, 43. 
Malarial Havoc, 7, 234. 

Method of Investigation of 
Crimes, 141. 

Mrs. Besant's Internment, 260, 

Nator Conference and Earth- 
quake, 93, 94. 

Opposing Government, 222, 223, 
232, 233. 

Origin of Vernacular Press Act, 
47, 48. 

Peary Chand Mitter as a spiri- 
tualist, 15. 

Philippine Islands, 297. 

Police Reform, 139 & foil. 

Policy of the Patrika, 153, 154. 

Prayer for motherland, 257. 

Present System of Education, 

Public Services, 203-205. 

Reform Scheme, 299 et seq. 

Revival of Indigenous Indus- 
tries, 238. 

Road and P. W. Cesses, 124- 
126, 235. 

Rowlatt Bills, 320. 

Rural Sanitation, 199 & foil, 234. 

Sandesh, 279, 280. 

Sanitation Versus Education, 
202, 234. 

Separation of Judicial and 
Executive Functions, 141-143, 

Separation of Police and Magis- 
tracy, 139, 140. 

Shishir Kumar's Death, 285, 

Simultaneous I. C. S. Examina- 
tions, 64-67, 203. 

St. Andrew's Day Dinner, 181. 

Surendra Nath's Congress 
Speech, 87, 88. 

Moti Lai Ghoae, on 

Tilak's Magnanimity, 171-173. 
Titles and Honours, 239. 
Turkey, dismemberment of, 


United Congress, 176, 177. 
Vaishnavism, 275. 
Village sanitation, 199. 
Villages in olden days, 4-6, 234. 
Working from behind, 136. 

Moti Lai Ghose, 

Amrita Bazar Patrika on, 367. 
Banerjea, Nripendra Ch., on , 

Surendra N., on , 

230, 373. 

Behar Herald on, 60, 81, 371. 
Bengalee on, 79, 368. 
Bombay Chronicle on, 371. 
Dutt, Aswini K., on, 374. 
Hirendra N., on, 276, 


Englishman on, 333, 370. 
Garde, Lakshmi P., on , 374. 
Gupta, N., on, 375. 
Indian Daily News on , 368. 
Indian Patriot on, 62. 
Lawrence, Walter, on , 146, 


Leader on , 372. 
MacDonald, Ramsay, on , 34, 

329, 330. 

Maharatta on, 130, 178. 
Maharashtra on , 372. 
Manchester Guardian on, 191, 

Mazumdar, Ambica Ch., on , 

Mitter, Kumar Krishna, on , 


Montagu, E. S., on , 298. 
Mukherjee, Sachindra N., on . 


New Empire on , 368. 
Norton, Eardley, on , 64. 
Pall Mall Gazette on ,-34; -191. 
Ratcliffe, S. K., on, 375. 
Ray, Dr. P. C., on, 373.. 
Sen, Nabin, on, 33, 85/336. 
Servant on, 369. 
Shorn Prakash on, 78, 370, 
Vaswani, T. L., on, 372. 
Wacha, D. E., on, 205. , 
Young India on , 370. 
Mukherjee, Ashutosh, 209, 210.' 252. 
269, 272. ^ 

Manmatha Nath, 290, 

Peary Mohan, 74, 101, 
137, 141, 180, 216, 277. 



Mnkherjee, Sachindra Nath, 231. 
Sambhu Chandra, 44, 


Satya Charan, 132. 

Music, 9, 19, 22, 35, 41, 134-136, 156, 
188, 242, 245, 255, 276, 277. 

Nag, B. A., 367. 

Nair, Sankaran, 331. 

Nandy Manindra Chandra, 339. 

P., 354. 

Naoroji, Dadabhoy, 205, 232. 
National Liberal League, 3(4-308. 
National Paper, The, 78. 
Natu Brothers, 97, 102-104. 
Nayak, 22, 260. 
Nehru, Jawahar Lai, 341. 

Moti Lai, 350. 
Nelson, 206, 210. 
New India, 176, 177. 
Nil Darpan, 19. 
Non-co-Operation Movement, 236- 

Norton, Eardley, 63-67, 272. 

's Reminiscences, 64. 

Oaten, E. F., 246-253. 
O'Dwyer, 321. 
Osborne, Colonel, 30. 

Palashir Juddha, 32. 
Pal, Bipin Chandra, 159, 167, 261, 
' 290, 292, 307, 309, 311, 320. 

Kristo Das, 42, 47. 

Radha Charan, 110. 
Palit, Tarak Nath, 99. 
Pall Mall ~ 
Para* 'im&tJli&frW J3IL Ram- 

Piifcy, 'C*^ 1 * -. ' fill. 
Pioneer, 121, 128. 

Police Commission, 137-142. 

Moti Lai's replies to, 138-142. 
Police Reforms 

Moti Lai's Scheme of, 139-142. 
Power and Guardian, 118. 
Prakasam, T., 236, 350, 351. 
Presidency College, 246 et seq. 
Presidential Address of Moti Lai 

Ghose, 4, 232 et seq. 
Press Act, 1910, 186, 187, 337. 
Press, Indian, 233. 
Prosperous British India, 68. 
Protada, 97. 

Public Services Commission (1889), 

Moti Lai's Memorandum to, 

Purushottam (Puria), 243. 

Rahim, Abdur, 203. 
Railway Incident, A, 226-229. 
Ram Krishna Mission, 218. 
Ranade, 64, 313. 
Rand, 104. 

Rangachariar, T., 136. 
Rao, Ballav, 133. 

., K. Subba, 30, 31. 

N. Subba, 152. 

Rasul, Abdul, 142, 165-169, 175, 256. 

Ratcliffe, 161. 

Ray, Ananda Chandra, 49. 

Bhabendra Chandra, 260. 

Bidhan Chandra, 355. 

Dina Nath, 115-117, 287. 

Girija Nath, 74. 

Golab, 119. 

Gyanada Kanta, 75. 

Hara Lai, 23. 

Hara Nath, 74. 

Hari Nath, 243. 

Jagadindra Nath, 74, 92, 94. 

Janoki Nath, 43. 

Jogendra Nath, 94, 118. 

J. N., 142. 

Keshab Lai, 116. 

Krishna Gopal, 23. 

Lala La j pat, 159, 327, 330. 

Moti Lai, 217. 

Nirmal Kanto, 630. 

P. C., 320. 

P. L., 116. 

Sasanka Jiban, 292, 347. 

Sashi Sekhareswar, 93. 

Sita Nath, 43, 76, 96. 

Surendra Nath, 110. 

Ray Chaudhury, Ranjan Vilas, 275. 
Recruitment Meeting, 220-222. 



Redmond W., 103. 
Regulation III of 1818, 103, 265. 
"Reminiscences" of Moti Lai, 6, 7, 

4 'Reminiscences" of Norton, E., 64. 
Representative Govt. in India, 30. 
Revived Memories, 30. 
Riddel, 54. 

Ripon, Lord, 49, 51, 88. 
Ronaldshay, Lord, 193, 203, 261, 
266, 267, 313-317, 329, 346, 347. 
Routine, Moti Lai's 223-224. 
Rowlatt Bills, 318-322. 

Sanderson, Lancelot, 269, 347. 

Sandhya, 169. 

Sane, Ganes Vasudeo, 133. 

Sanitary Conference, All-India, 199. 

Sanitation and Education, 234. 

Sanjibani, 84, 348. 

Sapru, Tej Bahadur, 259. 

Sarkar, Akshay Chandra, 23. 

Ashu Tosh, 21. 

Haran Chandra, 20. 

Kishori Lai, 10, 23, 96, 101, 


Mahendra Lai, 92. 

Nil Ratan, 261, 355. 

N. N., 91. 

Sarashi Lai, 358. 
Sarda, Har Bilas, 77. 

Sarma, Suryya Narayan Charyya, 


Sarvadhikari, Deva Prasad, 110, 

Sastri, Golap Chandra, 360. 
Scientific Improvement, 241. 
Scoble, Alexander, 102. 
Sea-bathing, 242, 244, 245. 

Security from A. B. Patrika, for- 
feited, 323, 324. 
Sedition, Definition of, 99-102. 

Sen, Baikuntha Nath, 92, 93, 101, 
118, 119, 263. 
Devendra Nath, 117. 
Dinabandhu, 23; 
Gana Nath, 354. 
Girija Sankar, 30. 
Gunada Charan, 260. 
Guru Prasad, 96, 99. 
I. B., 261, 293, 311, 322. 

Jogendra Nath, 221. 
ogindra Nath, 354. 
Keshab Chandra, 8. 
Nabin Chandra, 32, 40, 85, 86, 

Sen, Narendra Mohan, 206. 
Narendra Nath, 84, 101, 110, 


,, S. K., 243. 
,. Upendra Nath, 117. 
Servant, The, 289. 

on Moti Lai, 369. 
Set, Narendra Nath, 175. 
Sewprasad, Raja, 64. 
Shorn Prakash, 49. 
Singh, Hari Har Prasad, 325. 
Pratap, 68-71. 

Radha Prasad, 325. 
Rameswar, 153, 328. 

Skrine, Francis H., 266, 267. 
Sly, F. G., 203. 
Smith, Dunlop, 162. 
Sobhani, Umar, 305. 
Sobhan, Syed Abdul, 75. 
Standard, 115. 

St. Andrew's Day Dinner, 52, 180, 


St. James' Gazette, 100, 150. 
Stead, W. T., 360. 
Statesman, 78, 99, 132, 133, 149, 

161, 168, 252, 317, 331. 
-on Home Rulers, 259. 
on Moti Lai, 78, 370. 
on Patrika contempt case, 273. 
Stephen, Fitz James, 102. 
Justice, 210. 

St. John, 210. 
Stephenson, H. L., 265. 
Stevens, C. C., 233. 
Stokes, J. G. N., 200. 
Strachey, John, 52. 

Justice, 99, 100. 

Swadeshi Movement, 155-160. 
Swami, Dayananda, 188, 189. 

Srinivasa, 244. 
Swaraj, 268. 
Swarajya, 350, 351. 
Swarnamoyee, Maharani, 74. 

Tagore, Debendra Nath, 8. .' 

Gaganendra Nath, 99, 262. 
Jatindra Mohan, 42, 43, 57, 

66, 73, 74, 101, 277. 
Rabindra Nath, 99, "lOl, 

158, 174, 262, 277, 336. 
Satyendra Nath, 92. 

Telang, Justice, 64. 
Temple, Richard, 152. 

Tilak, Bal Gangadhar, 47, U5 J 130, 
177, 258, 289, 303-305, 310- 
312, 328, 334, 339.' 



*s Conviction, 97, 98, 102, 104. 

at Patrika office, 159. 

and Surat Congress Split, 170- 


Times, 251. 

Times of India, 115, 151. 
Titles and Honours, 239. 
Tomory, Reverend, 179. 
Tremearne, Shirley, 179, 212. 
Trevelyan, Justice, 82. 
Tulzaparkar, 47. 
Tuni, Raja of, 244. 
Turner, Charles, 56-58. 

University Act, 1904, 215. 

Commission, 136, 137. 

Upadhyaya, Brahmabandhab, 169. 

Vaidya, C. V., 175. 

Narayan Rao, 309. 
Varma, Ganga Prasad, 136. 

Vernacular Press Act, 10, 47-50^ 
Vidyapati, 277-279, 359. 
Villages, 4-7, 199, 300, 301. 
Vivekananda, Swami, 156. 
Volunteers, 220. 

Wacha, D. E., 205. 
Wadia, B. P., 259, 260, 337. 
War, The Great, 219. 
Wedderburn, William, 66. 
Weekly Times, 150. 
Westminister Gazette, 150. 
Willingdon, Lord, 303-306. 

on Home Rulers, 303, 304. 

Woodburn, John, 108, 110, 127. 
Woodroffe, Justice, 269. 
Wordsworth, W. C., 252. 
Wright, 12. 

Yugantar, 186. 
Yule, George, 64.