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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. May 27, 1907

The Gilded Sham Again

The Statesman on Sunday came out with the startling fact that Mr. Morley has “finally formulated a workable scheme giving prominent natives a larger representation on the various bodies having effective control of Indian affairs”. This is, we presume, the last and most authoritative of the special cablegrams with which the Statesman has been regaling us, for want of more substantial fare, ever since Mr. John Morley became Chief Bureaucrat for India. For, we are told, Mr. Morley will make an important announcement when introducing the Indian budget. We would call the attention of our readers to the wording of this portentous cablegram. There is going to be a larger representation on the bodies having effective control of Indian affairs, viz., the Legislative Councils and, perhaps, the Executive in which “natives” are at present unrepresented. Indians are not to be allowed any control over Indian affairs, they are only to be more largely represented on the bodies which have that control. They are to have a larger voice, but there is to be no guarantee that the voice will be at all effective. The share of Indians in the government has up to now been vox et praeterea nihil, a voice and nothing more, and in the future also it is to be a voice and nothing more. We notice, moreover, that it is not the country, not the people of India which is to be represented, but only “prominent natives”. We shall have a few more Gokhales, a few more Bhupendranath Boses, a few more Nawabs of Dacca on the Councils and there an end. There will be a little manipulation of light and shade, an increase in the number of dark faces, and Mr. Morley and the Statesman will triumphantly invite us to rejoice at the “important advance that has been made in the direction of self-government”. A hint has been given from another source that there will actually be a non-official majority of elected and nominated members. In other words, Mr. Apcar, Mr. Gokhale and the Nawab of Dacca multiplied several times over will form a non-official majority in the Council. Is this the reform for which we are invited to give up Swadeshi, Nationalism and our future? Mr. Morley and the Statesman are grievously mistaken if they think that the newly-awakened spirit of Indian Nationalism can any longer be put off with a gilded sham.


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.