Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908
Bande Mataram. June 4, 1907
A Consistent “Patriot”
Even Homer nods, and even the Hindu Patriot makes slips at times. Referring to the endeavours of the Kashmir Darbar1 to suppress “sedition” the Patriot wrote on the 22nd May: –
“The Maharaja of Kashmir's demonstration of fidelity is worthy of note. After upsetting the old law of the State against European settlements and earning thanks from the Masonic brotherhood for the great concession made to them, His Highness is extirpating from his dominions all sorts of ‘undesirables’ in a right autocratic spirit. But his brother chiefs do not seem ready to follow his noble example, and excepting the ‘enlightened’ Maharaja of Mysore, they may not care to do so. The Maharaja of Kashmir, however, is in right earnest. He has prohibited public and even private meetings of a revolutionary character and is the pet of the bureaucracy for playing this sort of masterly activity.”
But this attempt to imbibe the spirit of the age, perhaps, got a rude shaking from some quarter, and the Patriot seized the first opportunity to rectify its “mistake”. On the 30th it again referred to the subject and remarked: –
“The Maharaja of Kashmir's loyalty and anti-sedition measures have elicited from the Viceroy a tribute of warm appreciation. A grand Darbar2 was held at Srinagar to proclaim the Viceroy's message of thanks. Sir Francis Younghusband, late of the Tibet Mission, delivered a sombre sermon bristling with references to the efforts of the Maharaja to keep down sedition, and overflowing with advice and good words which no doubt went straight and deep into His Highness' heart and found a comfortable lodgment there. The Maharaja was so greatly affected that he could barely3 find words to give vent to his feelings. He was able only to say that the tradition of his house was loyalty to the British Government. This is as it should be.”
This indeed is as it should be. And it reminds us of the Hindu Patriot's sudden change of opinion in the matter of the site for the proposed Victoria Memorial Hall and other instances of the remarkable versatility and impressionability of this great organ of private opinion.
Later edition of this work: The Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo.- Set in 37 volumes.- Volumes 6-7.- Bande Mataram: Political Writings and Speeches. 1890–1908 .- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 2002.- 1182 p.
1 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Durbar
2 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Durbar
3 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: hardly