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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. June 6, 1907

A Statement

Mr. John Morley has committed himself in the House of Commons to a trenchant and unqualified statement that the whole blame for the disturbances in East Bengal lies upon the Hindus who, by a violent and obstreperous boycott attended with coercion and physical force, have irritated the Mahomedans into revolt. Whether Mr. Morley made this statement out of a sweet trustfulness in the man on the spot or relying upon his philosophical judgment and innate powers of reasoning does not concern us at all. Everyone knows that the statement is untrue. The boycott was no doubt the final cause of the hooliganism in the East just as the Russian revolutionary movement was the final cause of the excesses of the Black Hundred, but it was in no way the immediate and efficient cause. It was the final cause in this sense that its first success compelled Sir Bampfylde Fuller to look about for a counteracting influence and he found it in the Nawab of Dacca and the use that could be made of the Nawab's position to help on a breach between the Mahomedans and Hindus. That is the whole and sole connection of boycott with the Mymensingh disturbances. The rest followed by a natural course of evolution. Sir Bampfylde favoured the Mahomedans and depressed the Hindus, the Nawab excited his co-religionists against their fellow-countrymen. There was no concealment about this policy, no pretences. Sir Bampfylde Fuller openly declared that of his two wives the Mahomedan was his favourite and his favouritism was gross, open, palpable. He flourished it in the face of the public instead of concealing it. The Nawab of Dacca has also openly preached to his co-religionists about the wrongs they have suffered at the hands of the Hindus and called upon them to separate themselves from that evil and injurious connexion. There has been no concealment whatever about his anti-Hindu campaign. After the disappearance of Sir Bampfylde from the scene of his exploits, the philo-Mahomedanism of the Shillong Government was no longer openly flourished in the face of the public but it was steadily continued in practice. The alliance of Anglo-India with the Nawab was from the beginning made the most of by the Englishman which for some time carried on a very active philo-Mahomedan and anti-Hindu crusade in its columns and did its best to stir up enmity between the two communities. So there came the first Mymensingh disturbances, the Comilla riots and finally the supreme conflagration that started from Jamalpur. That conflagration was brought about by Maulavis preaching outrage and plunder in the name of the Nawab of Dacca and the Government, an imputation which the Nawab of Dacca has made no attempt to repudiate, though, it is said, he has been challenged to do so in answer to his hollow professions of a desire to bring about amity between the two communities, while the Shillong Government has repudiated it only tardily and indirectly if at all, and only after the full mischief had been done. In all the incitements urged by the Maulavis and by the authors of the notorious Red Pamphlet, there has been no mention of a violent enforcement of the boycott on the Mahomedans, neither has any such connexion been established by any of the judicial proceedings which have hitherto been concluded. The theory of Mr. John Morley is therefore a dead thing and of no farther interest to any human being.

Of course the bureaucracy will go on playing with the bones of this dead scarecrow; it will wage war on Swadeshism on the plea that it leads to disorder; but that is only because, like all bureaucracies, it is sublimely indifferent to reason and fact and public opinion. It has served its turn by the fiction which it foisted through the mouth of Honest John on a loudly applauding though somewhat befogged House of Commons and it does not care even if the fiction is disproved a thousand times over. It will go on acting as if the fiction were a fact. We do not see therefore the utility of the statement which a majority of the Bengal leaders have published and which we hear is to be telegraphed or has been telegraphed to England. If the object is to set ourselves right in the opinion of the world, well, that is an innocent amusement. If it is to convince Mr. John Morley, it is a futility. It is absurd to suppose that Mr. John Morley at his age is going to allow himself to be convinced. He is far too old and wise to admit inconvenient facts. The statement contains a number of facts which all Bengal knows, which all India is sure to believe and all officialdom sure to deny. Beyond that the statement, a very able one in its way, merely encourages the consumption of stationery, patronises a printing-press, startles the Empire and enriches the Telegraph Office. Was it worth while?

 

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.