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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. December 3, 1907

Persian Democracy

The progress of democracy in the East will, if signs can be trusted, receive a powerful impetus from the creation of the Persian Parliament. In Persia the people are proving themselves too powerful for both the Crown and the Church and rapidly taking all power into their hands. When the second of Asia's Parliaments came into being, the European critics wrote, patronisingly or scornfully as the mood took them, about this new departure of these funny Asiatics who will not understand that it is only Europeans who are capable of self-government or fit for democracy and that God made Asia only to be civilised, exploited and ruled by white men, and they were liberal of prophecies that the Shah would re-establish absolutism by the sword before the world was many months older, or that Persia would be mis-governed by fanatical Mullahs. The prophets were evidently very much out of it, for the reverse has happened. The Shah is evidently being overwhelmed in the tide of democracy and the clergy who took the first step towards revolution find themselves, like the French noblesse after a similar step, already in the position of reactionaries threatened by the flood they set going. Democracy is not only the natural bent of Mahomedanism, but it is obviously the only hope of Persia where there is no wise and powerful aristocracy to lead and organise the people as in Japan. Only the fire of the democratic idea and the resurgence of the whole people, can save Persia from the European menace. Democracy is not merely the dream of “the young and ignorant” in Bengal, it is a rising force throughout Asia. Sir Harvey Adamson will have it that democracy is neither conceivable nor desired in India. Well, well, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and we will see by practical experiment whether you are right or we.


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