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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. May 16, 1907

What does Mr. Hare Mean?

Writes the Indian Mirror: “For one full week we have it constantly dinned into our ears, that Mr. Hare intends to visit the scenes of disturbance. Yet he has not left Shillong as yet, and disturbances are as rife as ever. What does Mr. Hare mean?”

Even Homer nods; and even Mahatmas are at times slow to understand the significance of events. Our contemporary declines to accept the Jamalpur affair1 as a link in a chain that has been forged by the people2 interested in the suppression not so much of Swadeshi and Boycott as of the spirit of nationalism. The Harrison Road case might have been a blow aimed at boycott, for at that time the new spirit had not made itself prominently manifest in Bengal and other parts of India. But the Barisal barbarities left no room for doubt. Then came the Comilla excesses. Are we to believe that the Moslem population of East Bengal has really been deluded into the idea that East Bengal belongs to Salimullah? Are we, again, to believe that the British Government which now sees wraiths even in wreaths of smoke, contemplates with a sense of security, if not satisfaction3 also, the growth of this idea in the truculent population of the province and the consequent growth of the influence and power of an ordinary Zemindar4? Are we then to believe that the British Government is too weak to check the spread of rowdyism in East Bengal and the distribution of the “red pamphlet”? Then comes the deportation of the Punjab leader by the Government in a manner which reminds one of the conduct of “Cunning old Fury” in Alice in Wonderland, who wanted to play the parts of judge and jury to convict the defendant in a case in which he himself was the plaintiff. The crowning act comes from Mr. Morley, once extolled by the Friend of India as the beau idéal of a man and a politician, who expresses his determination “not to strip the Government of India of any weapon or law for the suppression of native disorders”.

The Jamalpur affairs are only a link in the chain. Accept this view and the whole situation, as well as the attitude of the local officers will be clear. We need no longer fight shy of the real significance of things. Let us take things as they are and face the situation boldly irrespective of consequences to individuals in the discharge of their duties.


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: affairs


2 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: by people


3 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: not with satisfaction


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