How Swami Vivekananda Outwitted Police in the British Raj (Story 2)

by Pulkit Mathur, The Spiritual Bee

Enclosed is the second account of Swami Vivekananda’s encounter with police in the British Raj. As we have seen with the first incident; in the days of the British Raj of India, officials of the Raj were extremely distrustful of monks, suspecting them to be hatching conspiracies to overthrow the government. How Swami Vivekananda tackled his second harassment by the police is presented below, excerpted from the reminiscences of Swamiji’s college friend, Nagendra Nath Gupta.

A picture of Swami Vivekananda in his early days as a wandering monk, prior to his leaving for America in 1893.

A picture of Swami Vivekananda in his early days as a wandering monk, prior to his leaving for America in 1893.

Nagendra Nath Gupta: Vivekananda with some of his fellow-disciples was living in a suburb of Calcutta quietly pursuing his studies and rendering such small social service as came his way. One day he met a police officer who was a friend of Vivekananda’s family. He was a Superintendent of Police in the Criminal Investigation Department, and had received a title and decoration for his services.

He greeted Vivekananda cordially and invited him to dinner for the same evening. There were some other visitors when Vivekananda arrived. At length they left, but there were no signs of dinner. Instead, the host spoke about other matters until suddenly lowering his voice and assuming a menacing look he said, “Come, now, you had better make a clean breast of it and tell me the truth. You know you cannot fool me with your stories for I know your game. You and your gang pretend to be religious men, but I have positive information that you are conspiring against the Government.”

“What do you mean?” asked Vivekananda, amazed and indignant, “What conspiracies are you speaking of, and what have we to do with them?”

“That is what I want to know,” coolly replied the police officer. “I am convinced it is some nefarious plot, and you are the ringleader. Out with the whole truth, and then I shall arrange that you are made an approver.”

“If you know everything, why don’t you come and arrest us and search our house?” said Vivekananda, and rising he quietly closed the door. Now, Vivekananda was an athletic young man of a powerful build, while the police officer was a puny, wizened creature.

Turning round upon him Vivekananda said, “You have called me to your house on a false pretext and have made a false accusation against me and my companions. That is your profession. I, on the other hand, have been taught not to resent an insult. If I had been a criminal and a conspirator, there would be nothing to prevent me from wringing your neck before you could call out for help. As it is, I leave you in peace.”

And Vivekananda opened the door and went out, leaving the redoubtable police officer speechless with ill-concealed fright. Neither Vivekananda nor his companions were ever again molested by this man.

previous-2 Story 1: How Swami Vivekananda Outwitted Police in the British Raj – The first incident which captures Swami Vivekananda’s wit, humor and presence of mind, because of which he could escape persecution by the British.


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