Act VII, Scene 7

(On reading Sarojini’s appeal in the Bande Mataram of 18 August 1908, for funds for the defence of Aurobindo, two patriots are walking to Sarojini’s residence, at 6, College Square, Calcutta.)

FIRST PATRIOT: We must not rest satisfied with our own contributions. The expenses are large and the whole country must meet them along with us.

SECOND PATRIOT: That is my feeling, too. We most work our hardest to collect funds from door to door.

FIRST PATRIOT: There is no other way of contacting the people face to face.

SECOND PATRIOT: We have to plan an organised effort.

(Enter the two patriots and greet Sarojini.)

PATRIOTS: We have brought in our humble mite. (Each handing to Sarojini a hundred-rupee note.) We are planning a door-to-door collection.

SAROJINI: That’s all to the good. So far I have received less than half the sum required. Sixty thousand, that’s the estimate of legal experts. The amount so far received is twenty-three thousand.

(Enter a Punjabi postman.)

POSTMAN (handing a ten-rupee note to Sarojini): Mataji, please accept this poor man’s offer. Aurobindo Babu is our god. We pray for his victory.

(Enter a bearded Muslim cabman.)

CABMAN: Baji [elder sister], Babuji has used my cab many, many times. I have received higher and higher Bakshis every time. I have wept and prayed to Allah for his release. Allah, Allah, help him out of the trouble! Kindly take this petty sum for his defence.

(Handing a five-rupee note to Sarojini, with a salaam he goes out. Enter a street coolie of Oriyan origin. Tears rolling down from his perspiring face.)

COOLIE (placing a half-rupee coin on Sarojini’s table, with folded hands): This wretched coolie has nothing more to give. Jagannath Prabho, save our country’s jewel.