Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908
Bande Mataram. December 18, 1907
“Capturing the Congress”
We have asked the Nationalists all over India to muster strong at Surat during the Congress session. It is believed in some quarters that we intend to march upon the Congress and re-enact a Pride's Purge. Another insinuation is that we form a band of vain, petulant upstarts who delight in wrecking and breaking for its own sake. The Bengalee calls upon the people to repudiate these traitors, and the Tribune of Lahore, the Indu Prakash and Social Reformer of Bombay, the Indian People of Allahabad have by this time swelled that cry. The principle that underlay our attempt to get Lajpat elected to the Presidential chair has not been appreciated by the Punjabee, the Hindu and even Lala Lajpat Rai himself. Capital is being made of this fact and unworthy motives attributed to the Nationalists. Our enemies have got a splendid opportunity to discredit the Nationalist movement by saying that even those who are avowedly sympathetic towards the propaganda cannot support all its senseless manifestation. The emergence of a new school of thought, their vigorous and menacing activity and enthusiasm have always made the votaries of established order uneasy and vindictive. In the frenzied anxiety to retain all power, in a paralysing fear of change they raise a terrible clamour and try to play upon the timidity and the spirit of routine of the unthinking people. They cry for the blood of the new messengers without even patiently listening to their message. Even master minds succumb to this weakness. When Dr. Price delivered his eloquent sermon on the great impetus given to national freedom by the revolutionary propaganda in France, Burke became quite unnerved and was so much carried away by an unreasonable fear as to wreck his own reputation as a sedate and practical statesman by setting to work to write that hysterical diatribe against the French Revolution, which even his admirers could not help regretting.
It is no wonder therefore that the Nationalists should be assailed with the most unjustifiable vehemence in their attempt to awaken and organise the people and to shift the centre of power and authority to them. But while the Nationalists should pursue their line of action with unabated zeal, they are also to consider, in view of the fierce and vindictive opposition which they have provoked not only from the bureaucracy but also a section of their own countrymen, whether they should not work in their own way without coming into collusion with those whose ideals and methods of work render any concerted action hardly possible. We invite the Nationalists to Surat not so much to capture the Congress by violence, as our enemies maliciously put it, but to see that the Nationalist sentiment and Nationalist programme find their place in the deliberations and finally prevail. Many of us think that the Nationalists cannot pull on with the Moderates and Loyalists who are determined1 to baffle their patriotic activities to democratise the Congress by a cobweb of malicious misrepresentation and vilification. The Nationalists indulge in no vague charges against the Moderates. They expose their high-handedness with an unequivocal statement of facts. But these people do not meet us on the charges brought against them, but try to evade the real issue by irrelevant and senseless denunciations. Under the circumstances, some of us thought it wiser and easier for the Nationalists to have an organ of their own, without giving the Moderates and Loyalists a chance of misrepresenting and vilifying them. The experience of the Midnapur2 Conference shows that the delegates, young and old, all smart under the autocracy of the old workers, which is leading many to think a separatist movement preferable to a perpetual friction. But for the present we must put all such thoughts from us. It has been decided to continue the attempt to fight out the battle of Nationalism in the Congress Pandal until at last a majority of the delegates declare for our views. To that end we must now devote all our energies.
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: who determined
2 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Midnapore