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Sri Aurobindo

Autobiographical Notes

and Other Writings of Historical Interest

Part Two. Letters of Historical Interest

3. Other Letters on Yoga and Practical Life 19211938

To and about Public Figures 19301937

On a Proposed Visit by Jawaharlal Nehru1

Dilip Kumar Roy: Nehru may be here about the 17th of this month. What do you think of my asking him to spend the day (or two) at my flat? Then surely he would want to ask the Mother for an interview. Your force will do the chief thing, of course.

I am afraid what you propose is impossible. Jawaharlal is coming on a political mission and as president of the Congress, while we have to steer clear not only of politics but of the shadow of politics. If he put up in a house of the Asram, we would be in for it! A flaming report from the British Consul to Delhi to be forwarded to London and from London to Paris. Just now we have to be specially careful, as the friendly Governor is going away – perhaps to return in March, perhaps not. If the Colonial Minister there questions him about us, he must be able to give a spotless report in our favour. The future also may possibly be turbulent and the wash of the turmoil may reach Pondicherry – we have to be on our guard from now onwards. So don’t make Jawaharlal pray for an interview – it is not possible. Let us be patient and let things develop. If Jawaharlal is to be at all led forcewards, it is more likely to happen when he is less occupied with outer stress and turmoil.

Of course I will seem to do it on my own, so that it will look like I have invited him out of courtesy more or less as a friend to a friend.

That won’t go down with the Br. Consul and other watchers. He will neigh “Ah ha! Ah ha! Ahh! that’s their little game, is it?” Besides Nehru won’t come alone – he will have his retinue or his staff with him, I suppose. At least all Congress Presidents used to go about in that way in my time. Pondicherry besides is an unimportant place – they are not likely to let him tarry and dally here.

5 October 1936


1 India’s first Prime Minister (194764), Jawaharlal Nehru (18891964) was a leader of the Congress Party during the freedom movement, serving as its President four times. In 1936 Dilip Kumar Roy, a member of the Ashram who was acquainted with Nehru, proposed inviting Nehru to stay with him if and when Nehru came to Pondicherry. Sri Aurobindo jotted down these remarks on Dilip’s letter.