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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. April 2, 1908

Oligarchy Rampant

The Indu Prakash, commenting on the Poona District Conference, again raises the note of dissension. It draws attention to the conflicting nature of the reports telegraphed respectively to the Hindu from Nationalist sources and to the Tribune from a Moderate correspondent. The Poona Conference had passed a resolution in favour of an united Congress, and the telegram in the Hindu represents this as a fiat to the Congress leaders, the telegram to the Tribune as a pious wish meant only to operate if the leaders chose to agree. The Indu resents the speech of the President and the Nationalist interpretation of the resolution as a threat to the leaders menacing them with the intervention of the nation if they refuse to compose their quarrels. Whatever may have been the circumstances under which the resolution was passed, the speech of the President was unmistakable; it asserted the sovereignty of the nation, the purely delegatory character of the power of the leaders and the right of the former to dictate to the latter. The Bombay organ of Moderatism resents the claim of the nation to dictate to the leaders; it holds that it is the leaders who ought to dictate to the nation. In our articles on the Congress Constitution we described the present constitution of the Congress as an oligarchy and we hear that some of our Moderate readers resented this description. We ask them whether this attitude of the Indu is not the very spirit of oligarchy? Can any more narrow and exclusive claim be set up for a small circle of men than this that the nation shall have no right to dictate to them their course in a crisis when the whole future of the country depends on their action? The Indu says that an united Congress shall only be held if the leaders were willing to hold it. Again pure oligarchy! It does not matter what the nation thinks, but because Mr. Gokhale and Mr. Tilak cannot get on together, or because Sir Pherozshah Mehta or Dr. Rash Behari Ghose are of a different opinion from Srijut Bepin Chandra Pal, the nation has to see the Congress broken asunder for ever. And such considerations are to rule the destiny of a great people!


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