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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. April 17, 1907

A Vilifier on Vilification

Our Bombay contemporary, the Indu Prakash, is very wroth with the Nationalist Party for their want of sweet reasonableness. He accuses them of rowdyism “which would put the East End rowdy to shame”, and adds, “Their forte seems to be abuse, vilification, impertinence and superlative silliness, and these are exhibited alternately.” It strikes us that the Indu Prakash has been guilty of “abuse, vilification, impertinence and superlative silliness” not alternately, but in a lump within the brief space of these two sentences. This sort of phraseology is, however, part of the ordinary Moderate rhetoric which is usually the reverse of moderate in its temper. Unable to meet the Nationalists in argument, they make up for it in invective, denouncing them as “maniacs”, “rowdies”, mere1 school boys”. We have already answered the charge of rowdyness2 and we will only add here that violent personal attack is not confined to one party. But the moderates have their own methods. They attack individual members of our party behind their backs or else in meetings in3 which the public are not admitted, like those of the Subjects committee, but not usually in public. They vilify them in the correspondence columns of their papers and ignore them or only abuse the party generally in the leading articles. Then4 they call this the5 decency and “high dignity of public life”. We prefer to call it want of straightforwardness and courage. The Indu thinks that personal attacks and violent outbreaks of temper have no part in English politics. This is indeed a holy simplicity; and it is not for nothing that the Bombay journal calls itself Indu Prakash, “moonshine”. It is true, of course, that English politicians do not carry their political wranglings and acerbities into social life to anything like the extent that the Continental peoples do or we do in India; and this is a most praiseworthy feature of English public life. We do not agree with the Indu that the differences which divide us are smaller than those which exist between English parties; but small or great, we agree that they should not generate hatred, if it can be avoided. But if the moderates are so anxious to avoid the acerbation of feelings, why should they not set the example? Let them avoid autocracy and caucus tactics, frankly recognise the Nationalists as a party whose opinions must be consulted, be conciliatory and constitutional in their procedure; and what the Indu misterms “Extremist rowdyism” will die a natural death.


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: merest


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


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


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


5 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: the