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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. 12 September, 1906

By the Way

The Englishman has been making all sorts of remarkable discoveries recently; its activity in this field is stupendous. Recently, it discovered the respectability of the Congress. Yesterday, it suddenly found out that Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji is an angel. A comparative angel, of course, but still an angel. He is pardoned all his wild and whirling speeches, his fiery denunciations of British rule, his immeasured expressions of condemnation; for will he not keep out Mr. Tilak from the Presidential Chair of the Calcutta Congress? Why is it that the very name of this man, with his quiet manner of speech, his unobtrusive simplicity and integrity, his absence of noisy and pushing “patriotism”, is such a terror to Moderate and Anglo-Indian alike? Far more tactful and measured in speech than Mr. Naoroji, the idea of him yet causes them an ague. It is because he is the one man among us who sees clearly and acts. The man of action in the Presidential Chair of the Congress! The Anglo-Indian envisages the idea and sees in it the very image of his doom. Of course, it is the appearance of that wild new species, the “extremist”, that is responsible for Mr. Naoroji's angelic transfiguration. There is a delightful flexibility about this word “extremist”. It is imbued with a thoroughly progressive spirit and never stands still. Once quite within the memory of man, Babu Surendranath Banerji was an “extremist” but his scarlet coat is growing quite a dull and faded pink in these latter times. Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji was once denounced as a blatant extremist that was the day before yesterday. But now that Mr. Shyamji Krishnavarma and his Home Rulers raise their wild heads above the terrified horizon, Mr. Naoroji is on a fair way to being admitted into the sacred fold of the “statesman-like” and “moderate”. A still worse species of fire-breathing monster has recently turned up in the Bengal extremist. And we look forward with blissful hope to the day when the Englishman will learn to respect the “notorious Bepin1 Chandra Pal” and embrace him tearfully as the sole remaining bulwark against more anarchic monsters than himself. The upshot is that India progresses.


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: Bipin