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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. June 26, 1907

The “Statesman” on Mr. Chowdhuri

The Statesman is naturally delighted with Mr. A. Chowdhuri’s1 declaration in favour of leaving politics out of our programme. Here at least, cries the Friend of India, is a leader after our own heart. No doubt it would be extremely convenient for the Friend of India and its countrymen if Indians did give up their political aspirations and leave Anglo-India in undisputed possession of the field, but we do not think the friendly yearnings of the Statesman are likely to be gratified. Mr. Chowdhuri’s2 message fell flat even in his own Pabna. At the same time our contemporary seems hardly to have taken the trouble to understand the speech of his new protege. He fastens on the powerful indictment of the present system of education which is the most striking portion of Mr. Chowdhuri’s3 address, and warmly approves of it. But he mildly rebukes the speaker for pinning his hopes on the new system of National Education which is gradually spreading throughout Bengal and advises him to transfer his affections to the old University. National Education will be a failure, says the Chowringhee prophet; Indians are too selfish and unpatriotic to make it a success. What then is to be done? Why, give up agitating for political reform since our agitation is so obviously a failure and begin agitating for educational reform. It is a luminous idea. After having wasted a century begging the British government to reform their administration, we are to waste another century begging them to reform their educational system,– with equal futility. The Government cannot give us a reformed and modern system of education for obvious reasons. It would mean the growth of highly-trained specialists who would immediately demand to be employed in preference to aliens, and either the bread of so many Europeans would be taken out of their mouths or there would be a fresh cause of discontent. It would equip Indians to oust the white man from his lucrative monopoly of commerce and trade and kill British trade in India by the development of indigenous industries. It would mean the transformation of our people into a highly-trained and well-equipped nation who would certainly not submit to Mr. Morley’s personal and absolute British control. Anything short of this would not meet Mr. Chowdhuri’s4 ideal; but anything like this the bureaucracy could not give us without committing suicide. The Statesman has not, as we said, cared to understand Mr. Chowdhuri5. He is for dropping politics, but he is also for self-help and denounces mendicancy. We fear the Statesman will have to look farther for its ideal Bengali leader. Why not try Sankharitola6?


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: Chaudhuri’s


2 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Chaudhuri’s


3 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Chaudhuri’s


4 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Chaudhuri’s


5 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Chaudhuri


6 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Sankaritola