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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. 8 September, 1906

By the Way

The Mirror complains piteously that the country is in the hands of extremists on one side and ultra-moderates on the other, while the voices of sitters on the fence, like the Indian Mirror, go totally unheard. It is hard on our contemporary. But he should realise that a time has come in the history of the nation when men must take one side or the other, if they wish to count for anything in the making of the future. To preside at a boycott meeting and disparage the boycott is a course which the politician concerned may reconcile with his own conscience, but it is not likely to increase the weight of his influence with his countrymen.

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We are surprised to see the Pioneer join in the extraordinary can-can which the Englishman has been performing ever since the Fuller dismissal. We were accustomed to regard the Pioneer as a sober and well-conducted journal, though its political views are no less pernicious than the Englishman's; but it is surpassing Hare Street itself in journalistic high-kicks. “Beware, beware, Bengalis,” it shouts, “if you rebel, we will exterminate you with fire and sword, we will outdo the atrocities we committed during the Mutiny; we are tigers, we are tigers! Look at our claws.” All this is very bloody indeed and paints the Pioneer one red1. But it does seem as if Anglo-India had gone clean mad. Such a pitiful exhibition will not increase the respect of the subject race for its rulers.

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The Indian Mirror comes out with an article on the selfishness of Indian patriots. According to this self-satisfied critic Mr. T. Palit and the Indian Mirror are the only unselfish men in Bengal. Raja2 Subodh Mullick3 and Brajendra Kishore of Gauripore4 are notoriety-hunters who have chosen to pay heavily in cash and land for the titles of Raja and Maharaja. Babu Shishir Kumar Ghose is a humbug who poses as an Avatar; Babu Surendranath Banerji is a humbug who poses as a Martyr; there is a third patriotic humbug somewhere who poses as a Hero, we cannot fix this gentleman at present. The country does not want these gentlemen at all; it wants people who can dare and die for their country. Whether this dying is to come about by fire and sword, and the claws of the British tiger, as the Pioneer threatens, or by influenza, cholera or fright, is not clear. We gather, however, that Mr. Palit and Babu Narendranath Sen have entered into a league to dare and die for their country, and we rejoice to hear it. While waiting for this glorious consummation, we would suggest to the latter that he might expect his martyrdom with more meekness and, secondly, that if he has to attack people, he might just as well cross his t's and dot his i's instead of employing the method of half-veiled allusions. It is a method which some people might call cowardly.

The Englishman still pegs away at his portentous discovery of a secret society with the romantic name5. His knowledge about it increases every day. It is not a Chinsurah society, it appears, but a Calcutta affair which is especially active in Mymensingh. This ubiquitous monster seems to be under the direction of Tibetans: probably the Tashi Lama formed it when he came to Calcutta. For it appears that the word “Golden” is a piece of Oriental symbolism and is employed by the Tibetans to signify men who are sworn to die for this or that purpose. As a matter of fact, the word Sonar is an ordinary Bengali term of pride and affection no more mystic or symbolic than Shakespeare's “golden lads and girls”. The Englishman seems determined to supply the absence of a good comic paper in Calcutta. Apparently its descent to anna-price has not increased its circulation.

 

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 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Pioneer red

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2 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Rajas

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3 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Mallik

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4 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Gauripur

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5 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: name Sonar Bangla

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