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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. April 30, 1908

Leaders and a Conscience

We find it difficult not to sympathise with one passage at least on Mr. Khare's letter to the Dhulia Reception Committee. “Moreover,” he says, “I don't know who the leaders are. I for instance cannot specify any such, nor can I give my conscience into the keeping of anyone.” We cannot follow Mr. Khare in his ultra-judicial ignorance of the personality of the party leaders, and it is certainly hard on Sir Pherozshah and Mr. Gokhale that a new recruit should so bluntly express his inability to specify them as leaders. But the concluding sentiment is unexceptionable and we think the Dhulia Reception Committee made a mistake in calling on the leaders to unite instead of referring, as the Pabna Conference did, to a definite authority. The time has gone by when a few leaders could play a quiet game among themselves with the destinies of the country. Mr. Khare was once taken for a Nationalist of a sort, and we are glad that he preserves in his new camp so much at least of Nationalist robustness as to keep possession of his own conscience. We Nationalists too, like Mr. Khare, decline to give our conscience into the keeping of anyone, be it a leader or a knot of leaders, or the whole Congress itself in session assembled. For this precise reason we refuse to sign or verbally swear to any creed imposed on us from outside.


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.