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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. April 1, 1908

Religion and the Bureaucracy

The measure of the panic into which the new movement has thrown the bureaucracy can be taken from its interference with the religious life of the people. Time was when the rulers shrank from any interference with religion lest it should arouse what they were pleased to call the fanaticism of the people. But one ghost drives out another, and the old fear of fanaticism has given place to the greater fear of the new Nationalism, just as the fear of the Mahomedans has given place to the more tangible terror of the resurgent Hindu community. The expulsion of a religious preacher from Travancore is significant of the direction in which the fears of the bureaucracy are tending. That this act of tyranny was not the work of the Maharaja goes without saying, since no Hindu prince would dream of interfering with the religion of his subjects. The dictation of the Resident is the only explanation of this political act. Whatever activity may help the growth of national spirit or foster self-respect in the people, is now suspect to the rulers and will be stopped wherever possible, impeded where direct prohibition cannot be exercised. The famine relief work of Lala Lajpat Rai is being interfered with as seditious, and the religious preaching of the Madras Brahman1 has been vetoed because it calls on the people to revive the spiritual glories of ancient India. The struggle will soon overpass the political limits; for the next stage in Swadeshi will be a return of the nation to its old spirituality and active habit of philanthropy with the revival of the nation as its motive. When the bureaucracy interferes with this development as it will be driven to interfere by the instinct of self-preservation, as it has already begun to interfere, the true struggle will begin, the Avatar will be ready to manifest himself and the end will come.


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: Brahmin