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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. August 26, 1907

Our False Friends

The Englishman has been warning us against our false friends. We have been asked to avert our eyes from those Indian delegates who have asked the socialistic Conference at Stuttgart to liberate one-fifth of the human race from serfdom. The Englishman unblushingly calls these Indian delegates our enemies and perhaps points to himself as our only friend, guide and philosopher. With the Englishman for our friend, and the Civil and Military Gazette for our ally and the rest of the Anglo-Indian Press for our well-wishers it is no doubt sinful to long for a change for the paradise of universal brotherhood. India is the freest of lands, retorts the Hare Street Journal to the misrepresentation of our false friends in the above socialistic Conference. Here under British rule the people enjoy religious freedom, they are allowed to stick to their absurd social customs, they are not denied food, clothing and luxuries. What is there wanting to their freedom the Englishman is at a loss to discover. Does our contemporary seriously desire enlightenment on the point? Or is he indulging in a bit of Hare Street humour at our expense? Is it owing to this freedom of which we are the enviable possessors that he himself as well as his prototype in Lahore enjoy the monopoly of pouring daily vile abuses on us with perfect safety and immunity? Is it due to this freedom that we are threatened with imprisonment for republishing the articles of the Yugantar and they are supported and patronised for the very same offence? Is it for this enviable freedom that some innocent men of Comilla were very near being hanged and transported without a shred of evidence against them? Is it in consequence of this freedom that a highly respectable accused at Rawalpindi is taking his trial on a sick bed? Is it in the exercise of their rights as free citizens of the British Empire that Lala Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh have been deported without even the mention of the charge against them? This freedom is perhaps responsible for the banishment of an Arya Samajist from his country though the trying magistrate has declared him quite innocent of the charge brought against him. Is it a tangible demonstration of our freedom that we cannot keep our food grains for our own use even when there is a terrible famine in the land? Is it because we are free to think and act that the Partition of Bengal has been carried out in the teeth of an unanimous and protracted opposition? The disarming of a whole people is another incontrovertible evidence of their freedom. They are not allowed the use of arms because they are free. Their manhood is repressed because they are free. They are converted into so many harmless cattle because their Mother-country is the freest of all countries! If we had even a jot of freedom the Englishman could not have flung in our face such a mocking statement. The world has come to know of India's true condition, and these interested and shameless perversions of truth can deceive nobody.

 

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.