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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. April 19, 1907

The “Englishman” as a Statesman

The Englishman has a confused and wordy article in yesterday's issue which it considers especially fit “for such a time as this”; but the meaning is a little difficult to disentangle. Our contemporary has a dim perception that there is a “crisis” in the country, the nature of which it is unable to determine; but it is a very terrible sort of crisis, anyway, a monster horrible, shapeless and huge. “When it matures, influences may be shot forth into the country, and possibly also in Asia, if not also back into Europe through Russia, whose final issues no man can foresee.” It acknowledges that there “are some hopes” in the hearts of the people “which it would be fatuous to mock, madness to ignore.” So far as we can make out, the Englishman has discovered a very original way of respecting and recognising these hopes. It proposes to satisfy them by appointing a large number of non-official Europeans in Mr. Morley's new Legislative Council1 along with the Nawab of Dacca and any other equally rare specimens bureaucratic research can discover among the “manlier races of the North who, if they grew turbulent, might prove more troublesome than populations of another class from further South, who, if more effeminate, are also more contented”. The meaning of this extraordinarily slip-shod rigmarole is that the Englishman has been frightened by the disturbances in Lahore which followed on the final conviction of the Punjabee and is also a little uneasy at the prospect of unwelcome changes in the Legislative Councils. Hence its unusual and unsuccessful attempt to overcome its customary “fatuity” and “madness”. For our part, we prefer the Englishman fatuous and mad to the Englishman trying in vain to be sensible. In its natural state, it is at least intelligible.


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: Councils