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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. May 21, 1907

Silent Leaders

We have been waiting day after day in the hope that the men who profess to be the leaders of the people would give out no uncertain instructions to the country as to how it could best meet the violent frontal attack which the bureaucracy has made upon the Nationalist agitation. We can quite understand that nothing hasty or impatient should be done and that a few days should have been taken for careful consideration before any lead was given to the nation at a peculiarly critical juncture. But it seems that the only thing our leaders can think of to do is nothing. The struggle we are engaged in is of the nature of a battle and in a battle a quick eye and a prompt decision are of the first importance. It is not a big judicial case or a Bill in the Legislative Council in which slow decision or none is called for. We fear our leaders have been demoralised and the harsh and terrible reality, with which they are suddenly brought face to face, has frightened all the energy and volition out of them. If so, they are not the leaders for us. Men without courage, men who cannot hurl themselves upon the confronting danger when they see the crown of success beyond, or men whose eyes are blinded by selfish terror to the vision of the crown, these are not the men for times of revolution such as the present. We will look no longer to them for leading but take our own line and let those who have the courage go with us, and let them who have not, crouch in the temporary safety purchased by inglorious cowardice until the storm breaks upon fighter and trembler alike and sweeps away those first who thought to save themselves from its violence. Once more and for the last time we call upon these leaders of ours to give us the word for the battle. Where are they, these men who claimed to be our great men and our captains? Why are they hiding their heads in the hour of danger? Already murmurs are spreading among the rank and file and those who were once spoken of with honour are being called vile and shameful names. They must speak at once if they would save their reputation and influence.


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