Lion Even In The Cage
The cells in the jails in those days were actual,
The dark cell measured just 13 square feet, and the prisoner could not even turn from one
side to another. The blanket was full of worms. Mosquitoes were innumer able. The bugs in
the bed sucked the prisoners' blood as if to prevent the mos- quitoes from flying away
with the prisoner. The bread was mixed with sand. The clothes were coarse. Officers
whipped the prisoners and merci lessly set them to work.
Tilak had to make rope and mats from coir and his fingers got blisters. The fingers that
wrote 'Orion', which won praise from great scholars like Max Muller, were made to do
dreadful tasks which made them bleed. Tilak lost 30 pounds in weight in just four months.
In the little leisure he had he read and wrote. His book 'The Arctic Home in the Vedas'
written in the jail, is a priceless work.
Scholars and statesmen from all over the world appealed to the government to release
Tilak. The government in sisted on two conditions to release him: he should not attend any
reception arranged in his honour and he should not criticize the government. Tilak was
ready to accept the first condition as he did not desire anything for himself. But he
would rather live as an outlaw in the Andamans than live as a coward in Maharashtra,
admitting that he had done something wrong when he had no t done so. So he rejected the
second condition. Finally the government reduced his sentence from one and a half years to