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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. October 7, 1907

A New Literary Departure

We have received from the publisher Srijut Abinash Chandra Bhattacharya, a small volume in Bengali, entitled Bartaman Rananiti or the Modern Science of War. The book is a small manual which seeks to describe for the benefit of those who, like the people of Bengal under the beneficent Pax Britannica, are entirely unacquainted with the subject, the nature and use of modern weapons, the meaning of military terms, the uses and distribution of the various limbs of a modern army, the broad principles of strategy and tactics, and the nature and principles of guerilla warfare. These are freely illustrated by detailed references to the latest modern wars, the Boer and the Russo-Japanese, in the first of which many new developments were brought to light or tested and in the second corrected by the experience of a greater field of warfare and more normal conditions. The book is a new departure in Bengali literature and one which shows the new trend of the national mind. In the old days of a narrow life and confined aspirations, we were satisfied with the production of romantic poetry and novels varied by occasional excursions into academic philosophy and criticism. Nowadays the heart of the nation is rising to higher things; history, the patriotic drama1, political writings, songs of national aspiration, draughts from the fountain of our ancient living religion and thought are almost the sole literature which command a hearing. There are signs also that books recording the results of modern science and the organisation of modern life in war and peace will ensure a ready sale if there are writers who can give the public exactly what they want. The new born nation is eagerly seeking after its development and organisation2 and anything which will help it and widen its sphere of useful knowledge, will deserve and gain its attention. Two years ago this small volume would have fallen still-born from the Press, today we have no doubt it will be eagerly sought after. It is perfectly true that no practical use can be made of its contents at the moment; but the will and desire of thousands creates its own field and when the spirit of a nation demands any sphere of activity material events are shaped by that demand in ways that at the time seem to be the wild dreams of an unbridled imagination. Our business is to prepare ourselves by all kinds of knowledge and action for the life of a nation, by knowledge and action when both are immediately permitted us, by knowledge alone for action which, though not permitted now, is a necessary part of the future nation's perfect development. When the earnest soul prepares itself by what Sadhana is possible to it, however imperfect, God in his own good time prepares the field and the opportunity for perfect Sadhana and complete attainment.

 

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: dramas

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2 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: organization

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