Alipore Sessions Court

Alipore Sessions Court

Alipore Sessions Court

Alipore Bomb Case 

The 'Alipore Bomb Case' was "the first state trial of any magnitude in India". The British Government arrested Sri Aurobindo, a prominent Nationalist Leader at the time, Barindra Ghose, and many young revolutionaries. They were charged with "Conspiracy" or "waging war against the King" - the equivalent of high treason and punishable with death by hanging.

The case dragged on with preliminary hearings in the Magistrate's court, involving 1000 artefacts as evidence and 222 witnesses followed by a trial in Sessions Court, involving 1438 exhibits and 206 witnesses. During this period, the under-trial prisoners were illegally held in Presidency Jail under torturous conditions (including solitary confinement).

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Sri Aurobindo as under-trial prisoner in Presidency Jail

Sri Aurobindo as under-trial prisoner in Presidency Jail

Cosmic consciousness 

... When the case opened in the lower court and we were brought before the Magistrate I was followed by the same insight. He said to me, "When you were cast into jail, did not your heart fail and did you not cry out to me, where is Thy protection? Look now at the Magistrate, look now at the Prosecuting Counsel." I looked and it was not the Magistrate whom I saw, it was Vasudeva, it was Narayana who was sitting there on the bench. I looked at the Prosecuting Counsel and it was not the Counsel for the prosecution that I saw; it was Sri Krishna who sat there, it was my Lover and Friend who sat there and smiled. "Now do you fear?" He said, "I am in all men and I overrule their actions and their words. My protection is still with you and you shall not fear. This case which is brought against you, leave it in my hand. It is not for you. It was not for the trial that I brought you here but for something else. The case itself is only a means for my work and nothing more."

From Uttarpara Speech

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Defence Counsel Chittaranjan Das

Defence Counsel Chittaranjan Das

Barrister Chittaranjan Das

Afterwards when the trial opened in the Sessions Court, ... something happened which I had not expected. The arrangements which had been made for my defence were suddenly changed and another Counsel stood there to defend me. He came unexpectedly, - a friend of mine, but I did not know he was coming. You have all heard the name of the man who put away from him all other thoughts and abandoned all his practice, who sat up half the night day after day for months and broke his health to save me, - Srijut Chittaranjan Das. When I saw him, I was satisfied, but I still thought it necessary to write instructions. Then all that was put away from me and I had the message from within, "This is the man who will save you from the snares put around your feet. Put aside those papers. It is not you who will instruct him. I will instruct him." From that time I did not of myself speak a word to my Counsel about the case or give a single instruction, and if ever I was asked a question, I always found that my answer did not help the case. I had left it to him and he took it entirely into his hands, with what result you know.

Extract from: Sri Aurobindo > Uttarpara Speech

C.R. Das's Address

Ther defence counsel, C.R. Das made his final address on behalf of Sri Aurobindo in the Sessions Court over eight days. He concluded with an impassioned appeal:

Poet of Patriotism, Prophet of Nationalism, Lover of Humanity

My appeal to you therefore is that a man like this who is being charged with the offences imputed to him stands not only before the bar in this Court but stands before the bar of the High Court of History and my appeal to you is this: That long after this controversy is hushed in silence, long after this turmoil, this agitation ceases, long after he is dead and gone, he will be looked upon as the poet of patriotism, as the prophet of nationalism and the lover of humanity. Long after he is dead and gone his words will be echoed and re­-echoed not only in India, but across distant seas and lands. Therefore I say that the man in his position is not only standing before the bar of this Court but before the bar of the High Court of History.

The time has come for you, sir, to consider your judgment and for you, gentlemen, to consider your verdict...

Extract from: Alipore Bomb Case > Argument > Page 107

Sessions Court Judgement

Sessions Judge Charles Porten Beachcroft

Sessions Judge Charles Porten Beachcroft

Acquittal of Sri Aurobindo

I now come to the case of Arabinda Ghose, the most important accused in the case. He is the accused, whom more than any other the prosecution are anxious to have convicted and but for his presence in the dock there is no doubt that the case would have been finished long ago. It is partly for that reason that I have left his case till last of all and partly because the case against him depends to a very great extent, in fact almost entirely, upon association with other accused persons..."

The point is whether his writings & speeches, which in themselves seem to advocate nothing more than the regeneration of his country, taken with the facts proved against him in this case are sufficient to show that he was a member of the conspiracy. And taking all the evidence together I am of opinion that it falls short of such proof as would justify me in finding him guilty of so serious a charge.

Extract from: Bijoy Krishna Bose > Alipore Bomb Case > Page 154
Undertrial revolutionaries in the Alipore Sessions Court-yard

Undertrial revolutionaries in the Alipore Sessions Court-yard

They laughed at death... 

...After some time this resulted in a strange spectacle: the trial would be in progress with the fate of the accused convicts hanging 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, Vivekananda's Raja Yoga or Science of Religions, or the Gita, the Puranas, or books on European Philosophy.....

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Sri Aurobindo Memorial Court Room

  • Commemorative Plaque for Sri Aurobindo Memorial Court Room
    Commemorative Plaque for Sri Aurobindo Memorial Court Room

'Memorial Court Room'

  • Sri Aurobindo's Memorial Court Room - Pilgrimage Site
  • Sri Aurobindo's Memorial Court Room - Pilgrimage Site
  • Sri Aurobindo's Memorial Court Room - Pilgrimage Site
  • Sri Aurobindo's Memorial Court Room - Pilgrimage Site
  • Commemorative Marble Plaque at Alipore Sessions Court
    Commemorative Marble Plaque at Alipore Sessions Court
  • Museum of Memorable Case Records at Alipore Sessions Court
    Museum of Memorable Case Records at Alipore Sessions Court
  • Museum of Memorable Case Records at Alipore Sessions Court
    Museum of Memorable Case Records at Alipore Sessions Court
  • Museum of Memorable Case Records at Alipore Sessions Court
    Museum of Memorable Case Records at Alipore Sessions Court

Memorial Court Room at Alipore Sessions Court

 Directions

Address

Alipore District & Sessions Court
Judges Court Road, Alipore,
Kolkata, West Bengal.

Sri Aurobindo Memorial Court Room

The room is kept open for visitors from 3 pm to 5 pm on working days when the Court is in session.

 


All extracts and quotations from the written works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and the Photographs of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo are copyright Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry -605002 India.
All other Rights and Content Reserved - Copyright © Sri Aurobindo Institute of Culture (SAIoC).