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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. May 15, 1907

An Old Parrot Cry Repeated

The Hindu Patriot claims to have grown wise with age, and tries to argue us into serfdom. Happily oblivious of its younger days when it had not yet been prompted by senile prudence to sell itself to the alien lords, it comes forward to justify its backsliding and aim a few ineffective blows at the Swarajists. This is how it analyses the present situation:

We want food for our nourishment; we want education; we want new outlets for the employment of our sons. But they give us none of these. They would make us swallow the bitter pill of autonomy even at the point of the bayonet and preach the Gospel of “Swaraj”. It is to be our food, our raiment and the panacea for all our evils. Everything else they would throw overboard.

It would scarcely have called for notice had not this view been shared even now by a small section of the so-called educated community. The Patriot tries to establish what has been disproved by our experience during the last quarter of a century. We had been trying patch-works and half-measures with what effect the Patriot knows as well as ourselves. It was only when we discovered that we had begun at the wrong end, that the ever-increasing drain on the country with its necessary accompaniments plague and famine could not be stopped so long as the people were left to the tender mercy of the foreign overlord, that the cry of Swaraj went forth, and people began to take politics more seriously than before. It is exactly because we cannot get food for nourishment, nor proper education nor even “employment for our sons”, so long as we have to depend for these things on our unwelcome guests, that we have begun to think of managing our household, and surely it can serve no useful purpose to ignore our own experience and repeat the political farce over again. Are Englishmen here to give us food and education and provide fat berths for our own children? The whole political situation has been misunderstood, and where the very premises are wrong, the arguments can but lead astray.


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