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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. 20 August, 1906

Our Rip Van Winkles

The development of sounder political ideas and the birth and growth of a new national energy has been so swift and wonderful that it is not surprising to find a number of our older politicians quite left behind by the rising tide. Stranded on their desert islands of antiquated political ideas, they look forlornly over the heaving tumult around them and strive piteously to imagine themselves still in their old carefully sheltered arena of mimic political strife and safe, cheap, and profitable patriotism. But the walls of the arena have been washed away, its very ground is being obliterated, and a new world of stern reality and unsparing struggle is rapidly taking its place. In the fierce heat of that conflict all shams must wither away and all empty dreams be dissolved. The issue has been fairly put between the Indian people and the alien bureaucracy. “Destroy or thou shalt be destroyed”, and the issue will have to be fought out, not “it may be a century hence”, but now, in the next two or three decades. We cannot leave the problem for posterity to settle nor shift our proper burdens on to the shoulders of our grandchildren. But our Rip Van Winkles persist in talking and writing as if Partition and Boycott and Sir Bampfylde Fuller had never been.


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.