Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908
Bande Mataram. April 29, 1908
Whom to Believe?
The account of the Conference given by the Lucknow Advocate which we quote elsewhere makes curious reading. If we are to believe this apparently well-informed source, the reports of the great fight made by the Bengal Moderates are a tissue of exaggerations. There was no fight at all over the question of creed or objects, and indeed the difference of name is so trivial that the legend of this stout fight over a shadow has little verisimilitude. About the question of the subscription to the creed the only difference between the Bengal-Punjab Party and the Bombay-United Provinces Party was whether it should be obligatory to sign the creed or sufficient to swear verbally to it. That the clause should be binding and express acceptance obligatory as a condition of admission to the Congress, both parties were agreed. What becomes then of the story of Surendranath's gallant battle for the freedom of election and freedom of conscience in the Congress? It seems that the whole Committee was solid for exclusion. The other point of difference was whether there should be a new Congress called by the Convention or the adjourned Congress resummoned by Dr. Rash Behari Ghose. As this adjourned Congress would in any case be saddled with the creed and the Convention constitution, it would be in effect a new Congress. This subject of quarrel, too, like the others, turns out to be a distinction without a difference. According to the Advocate, then, Surendranath's Party and the Mehta Party were in entire agreement, only the Bengal members wanted to call the same things by other names. Not a creed but a statement of objects binding on every delegate; not a written subscription but a verbal oath of allegiance; not a new Congress without the Nationalists, but the old Congress without the Nationalists. If we are to believe the Advocate, the Bengal Moderates only succeeded in showing themselves consummate hypocrites and fencers with words. If this account be a libel on them, it should, we think, be authoritatively contradicted. Otherwise, the public will form their own conclusions.
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.