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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 May 1908


An Open Letter
to Those Who Despair of Their Country

To the sons of our mother Bharat who disclaim their sonhood, to the children of languor and selfishness, to the wooers of safety and ease, to the fathers of despair and death greeting.

To those who impugning the holiness of their Mother refuse to lift her out of danger lest they defile their own spotless hands, to those who call on her to purify herself before they will save her from the imminent and already descending sword of Death, greeting.

Lastly to those who love and perhaps have striven for her but having now grown themselves faint and hopeless bid others to despair and cease, to them also greeting.

Brothers, for whether unwise friends or selfish enemies of my Mother, you are still her children, there is a common voice among you spreading dismay and weakness in the hearts of the people; for you say to each other and to all who would speak to you of their country, “Let us leave these things and look to our daily bread; this nation must perish but let us at least and our children try to live while live we can. We are fallen and depraved and our sins grow upon us day by day; we suffer and are oppressed and oppression increases with every setting of the sun; we are weak and languid and our weakness grows weaker and languor2 more languid every time the sun rises in the east. We are sick and broken; we are idle and cowardly; we perish every year from famine and plague; disease decimates us, with every decade poverty annihilates family after family; where there were a hundred in one house, there are now ten; where there was once a flourishing village, the leopard and the jackal will soon inhabit. God is adverse to us and ourselves our worst enemies; we are decaying from within and smitten from without. The sword has been taken out of our hands and the bread is being taken out of our mouths. Worst of all we are disunited beyond hope of union and without union we must ere long perish. It may be five decades or it may be ten, but very soon this great and ancient nation will have perished from the face of the earth and the Negro or the Malay will inherit the homes of our fathers and till the fields to glut the pockets and serve the pleasure of the Englishman or the Russian. Meanwhile it is well that the Congress should meet once a year and deceive the country with an appearance of life; that there should be posts for the children of the soil with enough salary to keep a few from starving, that a soulless education should suck the vigour and sweetness of body3 and heart and brain of our children while flattering them with the vain lie that they are educated and enlightened; for so shall the nation die peacefully of a sort of euthanasia lapped in lies and comforted with delusion4 and not violently and in a whirlwind of horror and a great darkness of fear and suffering.”

With such Siren song do you slay the hearts of those who have still force and courage to strive against Fate and would rescue our Mother out of the hands of destruction. Yet I would willingly believe that matricides though you are, it is in ignorance. Come therefore, let us reason calmly together.

Is it indeed...



Later edition of this work: The Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo.- Set in 37 volumes.- Volumes 6-7.- Bande Mataram: Political Writings and Speeches. 18901908 .- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 2002.- 1182 p.

1 An incomplete piece of writing found among the early manuscripts, probably belonging to a period before 1905.


2 2002 ed. Vol. 6-7: and our languor


3 2002 ed. Vol. 6-7: sweetness out of body


4 2002 ed. Vol. 6-7: delusions