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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. March 31, 1908

A Strange Expectation

The Indian People of Allahabad writes in a tone of mingled pathos and disgust at the supineness of the Government in allowing the Extremists to gain ground in the country by its obstinate refusal to dance to Moderate piping. It depends entirely on the Government, says our contemporary, which party is to prevail; if the Government will only take the Moderate Party as the keeper of its conscience, it will be saved from the Extremist peril. We do not know which is to be most pitied, the Moderate Party or the Government. The former is, according to its own confession, a helpless puppet depending for its very existence on the actions of an external power over which it has no influence or control, for its popularity on the favour of the bureaucracy and for its continuance on the self-sacrifice of an official class which it invites to commit suicide in order to keep an opponent in existence. Such is the grotesque position of the party which boasts for itself a monopoly of statesmanship and sober wisdom that it has to depend for its continued existence not on its statesmanship and wisdom, but on the will of its enemy! And as for the Government, the only choice offered to it is either to fall into the Extremist fire or singe in the Moderate frying-pan. We would remind our contemporary that the English people have sufficient political intelligence to see that once they begin giving “substantial gifts” instead of the present “toys and rattles” and “shadowy and ridiculous reforms”, it is simply a question of time when they will have to part with the last vestige of their present absolute control. Whether the bureaucratic system dies a lingering death at the slow fire of Moderatism or is burned to ashes in the Nationalist conflagration, the choice is one to which the bureaucracy may be pardoned if it violently objects and even prefers to take the risk of the second alternative rather than the certainty of the first. The Nationalists do not expect substantial concessions from the bureaucracy not because they attribute to the present rulers a double dose of original sin, but because they believe them to have sufficient insight to see the danger of concessions but not the almost superhuman penetration which would show them the lofty magnanimity and real wisdom of a timely surrender.


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