Thursday, May 07, 2015

Sri Aurobindo's experience in prison - The wisdom - Part 2

Part 1 of the wisdom here. The humorous extracts of his experiences are here, here and here.

 1. (p.74)
The ease with which the British legal system makes it possible for innocent persons to be imprisoned, sent to kalapani (transportation) or even served with the death sentence was demonstrated at every step of the case.

2. (p. 78)
But these young boys made one feel as if a different breed of large-hearted, puissant, dynamic men of a bygone era had re-emerged in India. That fearless, innocent look in their eyes, the dynamism inherent in their words, their delight and joy devoid of sentimentality, their unaffected brightness in the midst of this crisis, their cheerfulness and pleasantness, untouched by irritation, concern or grief, was completely uncharacteristic of the inertia-bound Indians of the time and seemed to herald a new age, a new race and a new stream of activities.

3. (pp. 78-79)
In the beginning, a few amongst the lot started bringing books with them. This practice was soon emulated by others. After some time this resulted in a strange spectacle: the trial would be in progress, the fate of about thirty to forty accused convicts hung in the balance, the outcome could either be death by hanging or transportation for life; yet those who could be affected, without so much as a glance at the proceedings, would remain absorbed in perusal of Bankimchandra's novels or Vivekananda's Raja Yoga or Science of Religions, or the Gita, the Puranas, or books on European Philosophy.[…] However one day Mr Birley's attention was drawn to this sight; such a practice was intolerable to him. He kept quiet for the first two days but then he could not exercise restraint and issued orders banning the access to books. It was indeed regrettable that people were reading books rather than paying attention to and appreciating Mr. Birley's remarkable dispensation of justice!

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