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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. 12 September, 1906

The Bhagalpur Meeting

The Englishman is very glad that Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji and not Mr. Tilak is going to preside at the National Congress, but it is also very glad of anything that can discredit Babu Surendranath Banerji. Its statement that the Bhagalpur meeting was very scantily attended while the Bengalee reckons 6,000 may be compared with the previous attempt of a correspondent in the Bengalee to prove that the population of Chittagong district was about the same as the computed audience of Babu Bepin Chandra Pal's mass meeting! Just as a Mymensingh adherent of petitionary politics declares that none of the leading men attended Bepin Babu's meeting at Mymensingh, so the Englishman declares that the Behari gentry and even the leading Bengalis held aloof from Babu Surendranath's Bhagalpur meeting. The Bengalee against the “extremists” and the Englishman against Mr. Banerji seem to be wonderfully unanimous! There is, however, one statement of the Englishman's which is significant: “Some Behari students apparently taking the cue set by Calcutta, it alleges, created a disturbance, protesting against the proceedings. They intend, we learn, to call an indignation meeting.” There is no breath of all this in the Bengalee which represents the meeting as crowded, enthusiastic and unanimous. We have seen some recent Calcutta meetings, very sparsely attended, which have been represented as numbering thousands. It is about time that some rein should be placed on the arithmetical imagination of reporters; otherwise we shall justify Lord Curzon's infamous attack by growing into a nation of exaggerators. We wish to know also whether there is any truth in the Englishman's report of opposition. If there is opposition in Behar, it is better to know its extent and reasons than to burke it by a disingenuous silence.


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