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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. June 14, 1907

The Sphinx

Sir Henry Cotton has developed a sudden love for Lala Lajpat Rai. Though he has, like all Anglo-Indians official, or ex-official, condemned and condemned unheard Ajit Singh his love for Lajpat Rai knows no abating. He asked Mr. Morley to confirm his statement of the 6th June that Lajpat Rai's speeches had greatly dominated sedition in India and had been published broadcast, even on the floor of the House. The statement shows that Mr. Morley thinks he knows more about Indian affairs than we Indians do; and his reference, obviously, was to Members of the Parliament like Sir Henry Cotton who tease the Secretary of State for India with inconvenient questions about Indian subjects. With characteristic conceit, Mr. Morley replied that he should be very unlikely to make a statement without providing himself with fair and reasonable confirmation. It was surely such “fair and reasonable confirmation” that enabled him, the other day, to make an assertion about the proposed Victoria Memorial Hall which even the perverse ingenuity of the Anglo-Indian Press could not support. And it was surely such fair and reasonable confirmation that made him beat a retreat on the present occasion with the sage remark, that nothing would be more injudicious than to lay the facts on the table. Only deeds of darkness need be afraid of light. And people may be pardoned if they dare suspect that the fair and reasonable confirmation was as real as Mr. Morley's reforms so often advertised by himself as well as by the Statesman. Next, when Mr. Mackarness asked whether it was intended to formulate a definite legal charge against Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh and also what the length of their banishment and confinement would be, Mr. Morley said that he was unable at present to state the intentions of the Government of India. It seems that as far as questions on matters Indian are concerned, the British House of Commons is as good as the Indian Legislative Councils. The reason is not far to seek. The British public have absolute faith in the infallibility of the “man on the spot” in India to maintain India for their benefit and they are ready and willing to give them a free hand in their dealings with the people of the country. Had it been otherwise had the British taxpayers1 been guided by considerations other than those of advantage to Great Britain to take an intelligent interest in Indian affairs, the Sphinx would have found himself bound to speak. Yet to these people our deluded Moderate friends must go and spend the money of poverty-stricken India in the vain attempt to “educate” them with a view to get political rights and privileges! What shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue!


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: taxpayer