Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908
Bande Mataram. June 17, 1907
Slow but Sure
Commenting on Mr. Morley's Budget Speech, the Statesman remarks – “It is to be hoped that the new concessions will be received in no carping spirit, and that there will be a resolute determination to make the best of them. Under English rule wherever it is found, reforms are almost invariably slow and gradual. England abhors a revolution, or even the logical working out of a principle – unless it be very gradually. It proceeds by compromises and half-measures. But this cautious policy has been justified by results. The advance, if slow, is sure, and a persistent well-reasoned agitation seldom fails to achieve its end. An example of the success which rewards perseverance is to be found in Mr. Morley's announcement that a Committee has been appointed to examine the distribution of the costs of the Indian Army as between the War Office and the Indian taxpayer.”
So the Indian is asked to accept the so-called concessions in no carping spirit, nor1 to demand more like Oliver Twist, but to remember that beggars must not be choosers. But why should Englishmen interested in India be so anxious to confer concessions on Indians who in their present self-respecting mood are not likely to appreciate the generosity of the donors? New India – the India that has showed itself prepared to suffer sacrifices and brave dangers for political rights – has rejected as obsolete the methods of mendicant agitation and it is too late in the day to try to delude it with gilded toys and useless tinsel. Why waste your energy in granting “concessions” when none is wanted? After imparting this sage advice the Statesman proceeds to present a prose rendering of Tennyson's well-known description of England as the land
“Where freedom slowly broadens down
From precedent to precedent”.
In the case of countries conquered by England “reforms” slowly broaden down from Circulars to Ordinances. The bond is tightened and the lingering sparks of the spirit of self-help sought to be extinguished. It is useless to argue, for John Bull is – as our Friend admits – never logical. Yet we are advised to wait and suffer in silence till the millennium arrives and in the meantime to feel grateful for chance droppings from the basket of the bureaucracy. Let no Indian ask the inconvenient question – How long are we to wait? For that will be sheer impudence not to be brooked.
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: not