Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908
Bande Mataram. February 25, 1907
Yet There is Method in It
The “Moderate” Indian politician aspires to be an Imperial citizen. His ambition has at last been screwed up to the point of seeking equality with his “colonial brother”. His loyalty draws him towards the Empire and his politics draws him towards self-government and the resultant is self-government within the Empire. Colonies have been granted self-government within the Empire and it logically follows that if the Indians try, try, and try again, they too will gain their end because nothing is impossible to perseverance. Thus two birds will be killed with one stone. The ruling people, whose immense power can be turned against us any moment if they happen to be irritated, will be pleased with our desire not to break away from the Empire and, at the same time the spirit of independence which is constantly urging us to demand a greater and greater measure of self-government will have its full play. Such a compromise, such a smooth scheme of accommodating comprehensiveness is being welcomed everywhere as suddenly revealed to a political prophet who is going the round of the country with the inviting message: “Come to me, all ye that are heavy-laden, and I shall give rest unto you.”
The talk of this Colonial Self-Government or self-government within the Empire at a time they are going to have an Imperial conference of the Colonial Prime Ministers and have condescended to admit a representative of India to the same may very well entrap the unwary, especially1 when it comes from a personage who is said to have explained to the Secretary of State all that India needs in a five-minute interview. But the pretension of the frog to rank as a quadruped of the elephant class with the mere expression of a pious wish should receive a heavy shock on learning from Reuter that either Mr. Morley or his nominee will represent India at the coming Colonial Conference. This is quite in keeping with the system of representation that India enjoys.
This is a further extension of the sham which we see here in the local Legislative Councils. This is but the continuation of the farce which is known as the Local Board or Municipal Board representation.
It is a favourable sign that when some leading moderate politicians are trying fresh and big doses of poppy on our people for the offence of giving a slight indication of self-consciousness, these smart shocks for regaining self-possession are coming of themselves. The spurious politics that has so long lived only on the delusion of the people has very nearly been found out and thus elaborate preparations are going on to give it a fresh lease of life. But when the gods want to destroy a thing no human efforts can avail. Mendicancy is no longer consistent with the stand-up position the Indians have taken up. The beggar knows only begging and bullying but his day-dreams surpass even those of Alanschar. The imposing ideal of self-government within the Empire with which begging politics has been making its last attempt to catch the fancy of the people will hardly survive such disenchanting strokes as the representation of India on the Colonial Conference by the Secretary of State himself or his own nominee.
If India is to be India, if her civilisation is to retain a2 distinctive stamp and extend its spiritual conquests for the benefit of the world at large, it must be propped up with the strength of her own people.
To include India in a federation of colonies and the motherland is madness without method. The patriotism that wishes the country to lose itself within an Empire which justifies its name by its conquest – the colonies being no portion of the Empire in its strict sense – is also madness without method. But to talk of absolute independence and autonomy – though this be madness, yet there is method in it.
Later edition of this work: The Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo.- Set in 37 volumes.- Volumes 6-7.- Bande Mataram: Political Writings and Speeches. 1890–1908 .- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 2002.- 1182 p.
1 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: specially
2 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: its