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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. 10 September, 1906

By the Way

The Indian Mirror sympathises with the strikers, but is quite opposed to the strike. Workmen should not combine to get their rights; they must, like good slaves, appeal to the gracious generosity of their masters! The spirit of the serf which governed our agitation in pre-Swadeshi days, still disports itself in the columns of the Mirror, naked and unashamed.

*

We confess the pother the Anglo-Indian press has raised over the matter has surprised us. A certain amount of ridicule we expected, but that the Kamboliatola affair should be magnified into sedition and by people calling themselves sane! We are informed, though we can hardly credit it, that Hare Street has been at the expense of telegraphing columns of matter on the subject to England, apparently in order to convince the British public that Bengal has revolted and chosen a King. Verily, the dog-star rages.

*

Hare Street, having failed to impress the public with that fire-breathing seditious monster of Chinsurah, “Golden Bengal”, turns sniffing round, nose to earth, for a fresh trail, and finds it in our own columns. We also, it appears, no less than Babu Surendranath and “Golden Bengal” have declared “open war” against King Edward VII; we wish to get rid of “British control”. Beside this the manifesto of “Golden Bengal” fades into insignificance. That Indians should openly express their aspiration to govern themselves and yet remain out of jail is a clear sign that the British Empire is coming to an end.

*

The Statesman has at last come to the rescue anent the moral belabouring of Babu Surendranath Banerji for his Shanti-Sechan indiscretion. The Statesman sees two dangers looming through the dust which has been kicked up over the affair. One is that the ignorant peasantry may imagine a King has been crowned in India to whom they must give their allegiance. We confess this alarming idea never occurred to us; and when we spoke of Surendra Babu as King of independent Bengal, we thought we were indulging in a harmless jest. The Statesman has opened our eyes. It is an alluring idea and captivates our imagination. But what has happened to our sober-minded contemporary? Has the madness of the Englishman infested even him that he should see such alarming visions?

*

The other danger is that the Anglo-Indian Journals in their wild career may discredit constitutional agitation and play into the hands of the extremists. The extraordinary demoralisation of the Anglo-Indian press has indeed been painfully evident throughout the affair; but the Statesman does not see his friend's point of view. To Hare Street Babu Surendranath Banerji is not a moderate and constitutional leader, but a dangerous and fiery red revolutionist charging full tilt at British supremacy in India, with other revolutionists more or less scarlet in colour rushing on before or behind him. Hare Street has gone mad and, as is natural to a distracted John Bull, sees everything red. Sedition to right1 of him, sedition to left2 of him, sedition before and behind him, and through it all the Englishman like a heroic Light Brigade, charges in for King and Motherland.

 

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: to the right

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2 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: to the left

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