Govt of Bengal issued notice to Modern Review for an article written by Tagore, entitled ‘On Russia’-1934


House of Commons

HC Deb 12 November 1934

vol 293 cc1496-7

Mr. RHYS DAVIES asked the Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that the Government of Bengal has given notice to the Modern Review of India that an article written by Rabindranath Tagore, entitled “On Russia,” which appeared in the Modern Review last June, is highly objectionable, and that the editor has been warned that such articles must not be published in future; and, in view of the fact that no objection was taken by the Government of Bengal when this and similar articles were published in book form by this author in 1931, will he state why this alteration of policy has taken place?

Mr. BUTLER It is the case that a warning was issued to the editor of the Modern Review in respect of an article written by Rabindranath Tagore. The article was taken from a book called “Letters from Russia,” which was published in Bengali by a local Press in 1931. This book attracted little public attention, and consequently no notice was taken of it by Government, but the translation into English of a particular chapter, which was clearly calculated by distortion of the facts to bring the British administration in India into contempt and disrepute, and its publication in the forefront of a widely read English magazine, put a wholly different complexion on the case.

Mr. DAVIES May I take it, therefore, that the article written by this very eminent gentleman could be published in the Review if it were not distorted?

Mr. BUTLER I have conveyed to my hon. Friend the view that this article gave a distorted view of the achievements of British rule in India, and that was the reason why this action was taken.

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