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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. April 9, 1908

Love Me or Die

The Editor of the Urdu Swarajya has been warned to refrain from seditious writings. The Magistrate in conveying the warning unctuously remarked that “the Government never dissuades righteous criticism, it is only a disaffectionate feeling that it wants to check.” The heart of the bureaucracy is evidently in the right place; it is so anxious to be loved that it is ready to chop off the head of anyone who refuses to love it. The bureaucracy has sometimes been compared by editors with exuberant pens to the Emperor Nero, a comparison which it has resented by putting the writer in prison; but it is written in history that Nero suffered precisely from this amiable weakness. He wanted to be loved and anyone who had a “disaffectionate feeling” for him or criticised “unrighteously” his character or his flute-playing or his poetry or his acting, was in instant danger of being taught affection by the sword. Nero also did not want to dissuade “righteous” criticism, but then the judge of the righteousness of the criticism was Nero himself. The love-sick despot is a more difficult kind of animal to tackle than the more ferocious species. “Obey me or perish” is the attitude of the latter, and it is one which can be appreciated if not admired. But “love me or die”, is a principle of Government to which human nature cannot so easily accustom itself. It is too ethereal for the grossness of our base terrestrial composition.

 

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.