Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A third attempt

In the constitution of the U.N.O. an attempt was made, in principle at least, to escape from these errors; but the attempt was not thorough-going and not altogether successful. A strong surviving element of oligarchy remained in the preponderant place assigned to the five great Powers in the Security Council and was clinched by the device of the veto; these were concessions to a sense of realism and the necessity of recognising the actual condition of things and the results of the second great war and could not perhaps have been avoided, but they have clone more to create trouble, hamper the action and diminish the success of the new institution than any- 1 thing else in its make-up or the way of action forced upon it by the world situation or the difficulties of a combined working inherent in its very structure.
A too hasty or radical endeavour to get rid of these defects might lead to a crash of the whole edifice; to leave them unmodified prolongs a malaise, an absence of harmony and smooth working and a consequent discredit and a sense of limited and abortive action, cause of the widespread feeling of futility and the regard of doubt the world at large has begun to cast on this great and necessary institution which was founded with such high hopes and without which world condi­tions would be infinitely worse and more dangerous, even perhaps irremediable.
A third attempt, the substitution of a differently constituted body, could only come if this institution collapsed as the result of a new catastrophe: if certain dubious portents fulfil their menace, it might emerge into being and might even this time be more successful because of an increased and a more general determination not to allow such a calamity to occur again; but it would be after a third cataclysmal struggle which might shake to its foundations the international structure now holding together after two upheavals with so much difficulty and unease. Yet, even in such a contingency, the intention in the working of Nature is likely to overcome the obstacles she has herself raised up and they may be got rid of once and for all. But for that it will be necessary to build, eventually at least, a true World-State without exclusions and on a principle of equality into which considerations of size and strength will not enter. These may be left to exercise whatever influence is natural to them in a well-ordered harmony of the world's peoples safe­guarded by the law of a new' international order. A sure justice, a fundamental equality and combination of rights and interests must be the law of this World-State and the basis of its entire edifice.

The real danger at the present second stage of the progress towards unity lies not in any faults, however serious, in the building of the United Nations Assembly but in the division of the peoples into two camps which tend to be natural opponents and might at any moment become declared enemies irreconcilable and even their common existence incompatible. This is because the so-called Communism of Bolshevist Russia came to birth as the result, not of a rapid evolution, but of an unprecedentedly fierce and prolonged revolution sanguinary in the extreme and created an autocratic and intolerant State system founded upon a war of classes in which all others except the proletariat were crushed out of existence, "liquidated," upon a "dictatorship of the proletariat” or rather of a narrow but all-powerful party system acting in its name, a police state, and a mortal struggle with the outside world; the fierceness of this struggle generated in the minds of the organisers of the new state a fixed idea of the necessity not only of survival but of continued struggle and the spread of its domination until the new order had destroyed the old or evicted it, if not from the whole earth, yet from the greater part of it and the imposition of a new political and social gospel or its general acceptance by the world’s peoples.
But this condition of things might change, lose its acrimony and full consequence, as it has done to some degree, with the arrival of security and the cessation of the first ferocity, bitterness and exasperation of the conflict; the most intolerant and oppressive elements of the new order might have been moderated and the sense of incompatibility or inability to live together or side by side would then have disappeared and a more secure modus vivendi been made possible. If much of the unease, the sense of inevitable struggle, the difficulty of mutual toleration and economic accommodation till exists, it is rather because the idea of using the ideological struggle as a means for world domination is there and keeps the nations in a position of mutual apprehension and preparation for armed defence and attack than because the coexistence of the two ideologies is impossible.
If this element is eliminated, a world in which these two ideologies could live together, arrive at an economic interchange, draw closer together, need not be at all out of the question; for the world is moving towards a greater development of the principle of State control over the life of the community, and a congeries of socialistic States on the one hand, and on the other, of States co-ordinating and controlling a modified Capitalism might well come to exist side by side and develop friendly relations with each other. Even a World-State in which both could keep their own institutions and sit in a common assembly might come into being and a single world-union on this foundation would not be impossible.
This development is indeed the final outcome which the foundation of the U.N.O. presupposes; for the present organisation cannot be itself final, it is only an imperfect beginning useful and necessary as a primary nucleus of that larger institution in which all the peoples of the earth can meet each other in a single international unity: the creation of a World- State is, in a movement of this kind, the one logical and inevitable ultimate outcome. Page-561 Location: Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > Social And Political Thought Volume-15 > A Postscript Chapter

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sri Aurobindo carried this message of the spirit from Bombay to Bengal, from Baruipur to Kishoreganj

Modern Intellectual History, 4, 1 (2007), pp. 129–144 C2007 Cambridge University Press
doi:10.1017/S1479244306001089 Printed in the United Kingdom

the spirit and form of an ethical polity: a meditation on aurobindo’s thought
sugata bose, Harvard University
Until the end of 1907 Aurobindo’s exhortations to the youth were balanced in his articles by the application of a razor-sharp intellect. Charged with sedition, he stepped down as principal of the Bengal National College with a parting advice to his students to serve the motherland: "Work that she may prosper; suffer that she may rejoice."19 While the sedition case was going on, Aurobindo wrote three important articles in Bande Mataram entitled "The Foundations of Sovereignty", "Sankharitola’s Apologia" and "The Unities of Sankharitola" that were masterpieces of political polemic. Already in his pieces on passive resistance, he had identified the need for a central authority to guide the movement.
He now answered those who contended that the diversity of races in India doomed the prospect of national unity. "One might just as well say", he wrote, "that different chemical elements cannot combine into a single substance as that different races cannot combine into a single nation".20 His more nuanced studies on Indian unity belong, however, to a much later phase of his writing career.
In 1908 Aurobindo’s rhetoric was elevated to an altogether different spiritual plane. In January of that year he spent a few days practising yoga under the direction of Bishnu Bhaskar Lele in Baroda. When he rose to speak before the BombayNationalUnion on 19 January 1908, "he seemed to the audience as one in the grip of a trance".21 Bengal had once judged all things through "the imperfect instrumentality of the intellect", but the work of "unaided intellect" was now done. "What is Nationalism?" he asked. "Nationalism", the answer came, "is not amere political programme.Nationalism is a religion that has come from God. . .Nationalism is immortal. . . God cannot be killed, God cannot be sent to jail." The country could not be saved merely by boycott, national education or Swadeshi.
In place of the pure intellect, the need of the hour was faith of which another name was selflessness. "This movement of nationalism", Aurobindo clarified, "is not guided by any self-interest, not at the heart of it . . . We are trying to live not for our own interests, but to work and die for others". The third name for faith and selflessness was courage which came not from being "a Nationalist in the European sense, meaning in a purely materialistic sense", but from a realization that "the three hundred millions of people in this country areGod in the nation".22
Aurobindo carried this message of the spirit from Bombay to Bengal, from Baruipur to Kishoreganj. He spoke of faith and the dispelling of illusion through suffering, but he was no traditionalist, which is why he is probably so misunderstood today by neo-traditionalists like Ashis Nandy. Speaking to the Palli Samiti of Kishoreganj, he accepted the virtues of village upliftment, but was not ensnared by the mirage of self-sufficient village communities. "The village must not in our new national life be isolated as well as self-sufficient", he advised, "but must feel itself bound up with the life of its neighbouring units, living with them in a common group for common purposes". The unity that he urged was not of opinion or speech or intellectual conviction. "Unity is of the heart", he was convinced, "and springs from love".23
Aurobindo’s spiritual fervour deepened further during his nearly year-long stay in Alipur jail during the bomb-case trial of late 1908 and early 1909. There he read the Gita and saw visions of Sri Krishna as his protector and guide. He gave a vivid description of his experiences in jail in his famous Uttarpara speech delivered immediately after his release from detention. It is a speech hugely misunderstood by historians thoroughly imbued with the secular ideology of the postcolonial Indian state. "I spoke once before with this force in me", Aurobindo declared near the conclusion of this speech, and I said then that this movement is not a political movement and that nationalism is not politics but a religion, a creed, a faith. I say it again today, but I put it in another way. I say no longer that nationalism is a creed, a religion, faith; I say that it is the Sanatana Dharma which for us is nationalism.24
Sumit Sarkar cites these lines disapprovingly in his book on the Swadeshi movement indicating an inversion fromthe cultivation of religion as "a means to the end of mass contact and stimulation of morale" to religion as "an end in itself ". The implication here is that the instrumental use of religion for the purpose of mass nationalism can perhaps be condoned from the secular standpoint, but the protection of religion as a goal of the campaign for swaraj—an end sought by anti-colonial leaders from Aurobindo to Gandhi—cannot.
Dipesh Chakrabarty has been right in pointing to "the remarkable failure of intellect" and, one might add, imagination not only in Sarkar’s book in particular, but in works by secularist historians in general, in dealing with the question of religion in public life.25 Sarkar sees the Uttarpara speech as the product of amoment of "strain and frustration" without caring to delve into what Aurobindo might have meant by sanatan dharma.
The speeches Bepin Pal and Aurobindo Ghose gave in Uttarpara after their release from Buxar jail and Alipur jail respectively in 1909 were certainly different in tenor from Surendranath Banerjee’s Uttarpara speech on Mazzini in 1876. Both spoke of their realization in jail "of God within us all". "I was brought up in England amongst foreign ideas", Aurobindo recalled, "and an atmosphere entirely foreign". He had believed religion to be a delusion and when he first approached God he had "hardly had a living faith in Him". But now he not only understood intellectually but realized what it was to "do work for Him without demand for fruit". The sanatan dharma that Aurobindo invoked in his Uttarpara speech was no narrow or bigoted creed, but as large as "life itself". It was that dharma that had been cherished in India for "the salvation of humanity". India was rising again not "as other countries do, for self or when she is strong, to trample on the weak"; she was rising "to shed the eternal light entrusted to her over the world". "India has always existed for humanity and not for herself", Aurobindo contended at Uttarpara, "and it is for humanity and not for herself that she must be great".26
The inversion of the humanistic aspiration in Hinduism and Islam alike to a parody called communalism is the signal achievement of our secularist historians, not of Aurobindo.
18 Aurobindo, Doctrine of Passive Resistance, 81, 83–5, 87–8.
19 Speeches of Aurobindo Ghose (Chandernagore: Prabartak Publishing House, 1922), 7.
20 Iyengar, Sri Aurobindo, 149–50.
21 Ibid., 160.
22 Speeches of Aurobindo Ghose, 10–12, 15, 27, 35–9.
23 Ibid., 65, 70, 75.
24 Ibid., 108.
25 Dipesh Chakrabarty, "Radical Histories and the Question of Enlightenment Rationalism: Some Recent Critiques of Subaltern Studies", Economic and Political Weekly, 8 April 1995, 256–80, 753.
26 Speeches of Aurobindo Ghose, 86–7, 90–93, 100–1, 108.
the spirit and form of an ethical polity

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Both secularist and subalternist histories have contributed to misunderstandings of Sri Aurobindo’s political thought

Modern Intellectual History, 4, 1 (2007), pp. 129–144 C2007 Cambridge University Press
doi:10.1017/S1479244306001089 Printed in the United Kingdom
the spirit and form of an ethical polity: a meditation on aurobindo’s thought*
sugata bose Harvard University
This article elucidates the meaning of Indian nationalism and its connection to religious universalism as a problem of ethics. It engages in that exercise of elucidation by interpreting a few of the key texts by Aurobindo Ghose on the relationship between ethics and politics in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Both secularist and subalternist histories have contributed to misunderstandings of Aurobindo’s political thought and shown an inability to comprehend its ethical moorings. The specific failures in fathoming the depths of Aurobindo’s thought are related to more general infirmities afflicting the history of political and economic ideas in colonial India. In exploring how best to achieve Indian unity, Aurobindo had shown that Indian nationalism was not condemned to pirating from the gallery of models of states crafted by the West. By reconceptualizing the link between religion and politics, this essay suggests a new way forward in Indian intellectual history... *An earlier version of this essay was given as the Sri Aurobindo Memorial Oration at the Centre for Human Values, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, on 12 August 2005.

Friday, October 5, 2007

There is no justification in calling the Mahatma ‘the Father of the Nation’

Indian Independence and Gandhi Remembering the patriots
barin chaki 4 Oct 07 10:29:36 AM - 16 Views
Recently, we observed the sixtieth anniversary of the Indian Independence Day. We, the Indians, must always rejoice on the Day, the fifteenth August. We remembered both Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri on the 2 nd day of October. Sixty years back, the British left India and declared its Independence . India , thereafter, officially became the Republic of India and a sovereign country.

The people of India had battled long against the British Empire for complete political independence, which began with the Rebellion of 1857. The Indian Rebellion of 1857 consisted of armed uprisings against the colonial authority of the British people in India between early 1857 and mid 1858. The period and events are also called the First War of Indian Independence.

Thereafter, in course of time, several movements were organised. The Indian National Congress came into existence in 1885. And there arrived on the political scene of India the great personalities Lal-Bal-Pal [Lala Lajpat Ray, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bepin Chandra Pal] and Sri Aurobindo.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak was the first Indian nationalist who embraced Swaraj as the destiny of the nation. He said : “Swaraj is my birthright, and I shall have it.” This utterance inspired the Indians.


During the period from 1905 to 1910, Sri Aurobindo became a leader of the Indian nationalist movement, and His younger brother Barin was directly involved with the extremist activities of the group, known as Jugantar, an underground revolutionary organization. Sri Aurobindo was one of the founders of the said organization. During the period, He was also the editor of a nationalist Bengali newspaper Vande Mataram and, consequently, came into frequent confrontation with the British administration. In 1907, he was already regarded as the new leader of the Indian nationalist movement.

Sri Aurobindo was arrested on 2 nd May 1908 in connection with the trial of Alipore Bomb Case. And He was acquitted on 5th May 1909 . For one full year He was in prison.

In 1908, in Bengal , there was an outburst of public anger against the British administration, causing civil unrest. A nationalist campaign was carried out by several groups of revolutionaries, led by Sri Aurobindo and others. The British took hard steps against the activists and the consequences led to an event on April 30, 1908 , as two revolutionary disciples, Prafulla Chaki and Khudiram Bose, attempted to kill an ill-famed judge. However, the bomb thrown by them missed its target and instead killed two British women in a horse carriage.

The local police immediately arrested Sri Aurobindo and his brother Barin, along with many other activists and the revolutionaries. Sri Aurobindo was arrested on charges of planning and supervising the attack and was imprisoned in solitary confinement in Alipore for one full year. He was acquitted in 1909, though several others were imprisoned for longer periods or awarded the capital punishment. Khudiram was hanged, while Prafulla Chaki died during chase by the Police, in a mysterious way. During the trial, what Sri Aurobindo’s advocate Deshabandhu Chittaranjan Das said is an immortal speech:

“My appeal to you is this, that long after the controversy will be hushed in silence, long after this turmoil, the agitation will have ceased, long after he is dead and gone, he will be looked upon as the poet of patriotism, as the prophet of nationalism and the lover of humanity. Long after he is dead and gone, his words will be echoed and re-echoed, not only in India but across distant seas and lands. Therefore, I say that the man in his position is not only standing before the bar of this Court, but before the bar of the High Court of History…”


The Indian National Congress (INC) has a long and illustrious history. Great persons such as Gopalakrishna Gokhale, Lala Lajpat Rai, Gandhi and Bose served on its presidency before the Independence . The Congress was split into two groups in1967 : INC (Organization) and the New Congress, which later came to be known as the Congress(I), named after Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister. The Congress (I) as it is known today in India , is an important political force — an organization continued under the leadership of the Nehru/Gandhi family. Eventually, the Congress (O) later merged into the newly formed Janata Dal.

After the Sepoy Mutiny or the First War of Indian Independence (1857), Sir Allen Octavian Hume and some other Englishmen in India , with a view to build a harmony between the ruling English and the lndian people, founded the Indian National Union, which turned into the Indian National Congress (INC). Sri W C Banerjee was the first President thereof.
The birth of INC marked the entry of new educated middle-class into politics and transformed the Indian political horizon.

However, in 1919, there was an opening of fire on a peaceful protest rally in Jallianwala Bagh. That was indeed an act of savagery, unparalleled in Indian History. The firing was opened, under the command of Brigadier Reginald Dyer, on an unarmed gathering of men, women and children. The firing continued for about 10 minutes and 1650 rounds were fired. The number of death as per official sources was 379. But according to an unofficial sources, it was more than 1000, with more than 2000 wounded.

The freedom movement then took a violent turn against the acts of cruelty and repression of the British Empire . New extremist and revolutionary leaders emerged, like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai and Subhas Chandra Bose.


Surya Sen, a teacher in a national school in Chittagong in Bengal , had actively participated in the Non-Cooperation Movement. Along with others from the local Congress members and several young recruits, Surya Sen organized a small-scale rebellion to show that it was possible to challenge the armed and mighty British empire in India . They planned to assail and seize the two main armories in Chittagong and seize the arms, with an aim to form an armed unit of four large bands of revolutionaries. In a fierce fight in April, 1930, eighty British soldiers and twelve revolutionaries were killed. The armed revolutionaries dispersed into the rural area of Chittagong . The Chittagong Armoury Raid had tremendously impressed the people of Bengal and inspired numerous other actions of armed resistance. Surya Sen was eventually arrested and hanged in 1934. Many of his colleagues were also caught and imprisoned for long terms.


In 1928, a commission under John Simon was formed by the British Government to report on the current political situation in India . As no Indian was included as its member, the Indian political parties boycotted the commission, with protests all over India . During the commission’s visit to Lahore on October 30, 1928 , Lala Lajpat Rai led the protest in a silent and non-violent march. But the police violently beat up Lala Lajpat Rai severely and he expired. Bhagat Singh was an eyewitness to this event. He vowed to take revenge and along with Shivaram Rajguru, Jai Gopal and Sukhdev Thapar assassinated Saunders, a Deputy Superintendent of Police. Bhagat Singh quickly left Lahore in a disguise to escape the police.

The Defence of India Act was passed by the British Government under an ordinance to give more power to the police, with a view to combat revolutionaries. In reaction, Bhagat Singh and his friends planned to explode a bomb in the central assembly. As decided, on April 8, 1929 , Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt, another revolutionary, threw bombs in the Central Legislative Assembly in New Delhi . None got killed or injured, because it was not the intension. The British forensics investigators found that the bomb was not powerful enough to cause injury or death and that the bomb was thrown away from people. Singh and Dutt gave themselves up for arrest after the bomb. The Assembly Bomb Case trial followed. Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were hanged on 23rd March 1931 by the British in spite of tremendous popular opposition. Bhagat Singh turned into a household hero, and the incident led to an outpouring of grief and sorrow all over the nation.


One of the most popular, charismatic idealistic and prominent leaders of the Indian Independence Movement against the British Rule was Subhas Chandra Bose, who was generally known as Netaji [the Leader]. Many regard his sacrifice for the nation to be the maximum, unparalleled.

Netaji was elected as the president of the Indian National Congress for two consecutive terms but resigned from the post following ideological conflicts with Gandhiji. Bose was in favour of violent resistance against the British rule and believed that Mahatma Gandhi’s tactics of non-violence would never be sufficient. for India ’s independence, and advocated violent resistance. Gandhiji also declared : Pattabhi Sitaramayya’s defeat is my defeat. Netaji established a separate political party, the All India Forward Bloc and continued to call for the full and immediate independence of India from British rule. He was imprisoned by the British authorities eleven times.

With the outbreak of the second world war (1939 — 1945), he fled India and travelled to the Soviet Union , Germany and Japan seeking an alliance with the aim of attacking the British in India . With Japanese assistance he re-organised and later formed the Indian National Army, which consisted of the Indian prisoners-of-war and plantation workers from Malaya , Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia , and led it against British forces. He formed the Azad Hind Government in exile, formed and led the Indian National Army to battle against the British and the allies in Imphal & Burma during the World War II.

He is believed to have died on 18 August 1945 in a plane crash over Taiwan . However, contradictory evidence exists regarding his death in the accident, and Many do not believe the story of the plane crash.

Jyotsna Kamat says :
“The Indian people were so much enamored of Bose’s oratory and leadership qualities, fearlessness and mysterious adventures, that he had become a legend. They refused to believe that he died in the plane crash. The famous Red Fort trial, wherein Bose’s generals and the INA officers were tried, became landmark events. Initially, the British Government thought of a court-martial, but there was a countrywide protest against any kind of punishment. For common Indians, Axis and Allied powers hardly mattered, but they could not tolerate punishment of fellow countrymen who were fighting for freedom. The British Government was in no position to face open rebellion or mutiny and a general amnesty for INA soldiers was declared.

While Bose’s approach to Indian freedom continues to generate heated debate in the Indian society today, there is no denying of his burning patriotism, his tireless efforts to free India from inside and outside and his reckless adventures in trying to reach his goals. His exploits later became a legend due to the many stories carried by the disbanded INA soldiers who came from every nook and corner of our great country.
Had he lived, Subhas Chandra Bose could have given a new turn to Independent India’s political history. But he lives on eternally in the Indian mind, more famous after his death.”


Mohandas Gandhi’s taking helm of INC was a turning point in its history due to his enormous following, his spiritual approach and his non-violent means. Gandhi introduced the concepts of Satyagraha (rightful demand) and Ahimsa, which appealed to the common Indians.

Gandhi adhered to a strictly non-violent protest. Whenever a disturbing incident broke out, he suspended his actions, fasted and prayed for peace, And always he was successful.
INC launched the Quit India Movement in 1942. Gandhi reasoned that “... a few thousand British cannot control or govern millions of Indians”.

At the time of the Quit India movement, the Congress was undoubtedly the strongest political and revolutionary organization in India . The Indian National Congress was then surely the true representative of the Indian people.

India won Freedom on 15 th August 1947 . INC had played a very vital role in the Indian national movement.


Of course, the Gandhi-Nehru group of Congress has been given much credit for India’s independence and also her struggle for independence ; but it is a truth that India’s freedom movement was in fact a movement of the masses and there were a number of great leaders with intense and ardent patriotism and great visions who sacrificed their entire lives for the nation’s cause, prior to the coming Gandhi and Nehru on the scene, and even there were those who were his contemporaries. Not only political leaders, but also there were many great persons who have built several aspects of the nation, such as Raja Ram Mohan Ray, Ramkrishna Paramahansa, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Rabindranath Tagore, Subhas Chandra Bose and many others who are great souls. All of them have contributed in building this nation that had remained under the shackles of foreign rule for a long time.

Gandhi’s contribution is definitely very great. Besides being the leader in bringing the Freedom, he was a great moral force, an apostle of non-violence and he is relevant to every human being always, whenever he tries to surpass himself spiritually or morally or when he aspires to something great and seemingly impossible.


Gandhi was a great man, in the true sense of the term. He was one of the greatest, not only in India , but throughout the world, for a long, long time. He loved Truth. And he loved humanity and believed that God is existent in fellow human beings. Gandhi was a man of strong convictions, which gave him extraordinary power that he exerted over large numbers of people. He said: “My life is my message,” as he advised what he himself practised.
He wanted harmony and compatibility between one’s words and deeds. For him, there was no split between politics and spirituality. True spirituality is seen in one’s day-to-day activities, according to Gandhi.

Spirituality, for him, was an inner change. Hence a life, lived only for one’s own selfish aims, is not spiritual.

He is one of those few men who asserted the essential goodness within human beings. And he continues to inspire in us so that we can still change us and change this world into a better world.


But his attempts and endeavours to rise to a high moral perfection could not stop him to say that Pattabhi Sitaramayya’s defeat to Subhas Chandra Bose was his personal defeat.

And his extra-ordinary power and his inner goodness could not stop the Hindu-Muslim riots and the political difference that created Pakistan out of India .

He agreed to support Nehru and others of the Congress, who preferred the partition of India to the swearing-in of Jinnah as the first Prime Minister of India, as a result of which India was divided, and millions of people suffered relentlessly.

It is said that the partition plan was approved by the Congress leadership as the only way to prevent a wide-scale Hindu–Muslim civil war. But what happened was worse than a civil war. But Nehru’s ambition to become the Prime Minister was fulfilled, amidst the bloodshed of millions.

It has been told by some that a New Nation was born. Unfortunately, the circumstances were such that ‘the Father of the Nation’ had to see and receive the New Born in a curtailed body. The New Born was cut to size; its two wings were cut off.

India , as we know, was older and greater than the present day Independent India. We will think about it. Both the Mahatma and the would-be premier Nehru yielded to the Divide and Rule policy of the British, and also Nehru’s desire to become the Prime Minister in place of Jinnah in an undivided India paved the way for dividing India .

Millions of Indians had to suffer. Massive exchange of the people took place between India and the newly created Pakistan . Following and just before the partition, about 14.5 million people crossed the borders. As per 1951 Census, 7,226,000 Muslims left for Pakistan from India , whereas 7,249,000 Hindus and Sikhs came to India from Pakistan , immediately after partition. Majority of the people who came to India became really penniless paupers. Just before and after the Partition, massive violence and homicide took place in India and Pakistan .

Estimates of the number of deaths, caused by the killings, may range from roughly 500,000, to the high estimates at 1,000,000.

During the last sixty years, Pakistan has practically been a constant headache for India .


It is said that Gandhi advised the Congress to reject the proposals of partition of India . It is said that the partition plan was approved by the Congress leadership as the only way to prevent a wide-scale Hindu–Muslim civil war. Congress leaders knew that Gandhi would oppose partition, and it was impossible for the Congress to go ahead without his agreement, for Gandhi’s support in the party and throughout India was strong. Gandhi’s closest colleagues had accepted partition as the best way out. A devastated Gandhi gave his assent.

On the day of the transfer of power, Gandhi did not celebrate independence with the rest of India , but was alone in Calcutta , mourning the partition and working to end the violence
It seems all the extra-ordinary power of leadership and all the moral and spiritual force, that Gandhi wielded, failed to work. Consent to the partition plan was an act of great irresponsibility and carelessness, it was a sort of an inhuman crime.


If we consider about the Indian history and the Indian culture and civilization, we will realise that India was NOT born as a Nation on 15 th august 1947 or even on the 26 th January 1950 , though these two Days deserve our maximum regard and repect from us. Indeed, the Indian nation has grown several millenuims back, even prior to the period of Harappa and Mohenjo daro, which approximately dates back to 3300 BC in the minimum. Especially the Rig Veda, the first of the Vedas, indicate that the Indian culture is even 20000 years old.

“ The actual date of these ancient scriptures is a nebulous topic. Yet, the description of an extremely cold climate leads some to believe that the Vedas are close to 20,000 years old, but there are some modern scholars who think that the number is exaggerated and should be about 5000. No matter what the age, it is the belief by many these texts were and are the oldest in the world. They express philosophies, realities and truths about life. The texts themselves show that the collection is the result of the work of generations of poets, extending over many centuries.” [Wikipedia Encyclopedia]

Therefore, if we respect India and the Indian culture and civilization, we cannot and should not say that India was born as a new Nation and that Gandhi was the Father of the Nation. There is no justification in calling the Mahatma ‘the Father of the Nation’.

George Washington is regarded as the Father of the Nation with regard to the US , as he really rebuilt the new Nation of American states. He was the first President and US had no past. He unified the US. But with India , the situation is just the opposite. And, alas, India was not unified , rather, it was split into three parts.

India is vast and great, spiritually, culturally and in civilization, and the Indian civilization is one of the most ancient ones, that the epithet clearly looks unjustified. India is so vast and great and so ancient that to call any one of the leaders with the said epithet will be a gross mistake. Any of the leaders, however great, does not fit in. That will mislead the future citizens of India to have a wrong understanding about the Nation that India is, the Nation that appeared as a Mother to Bankim Chandra and then Sri Aurobindo, who said : vande mātaram .

Barindranath Chaki
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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

This is the first truth that our creative zeal and aspiration have to learn

A perfected human world cannot be created by men or composed of men who are themselves imperfect. Even if all our actions are scrupulously regulated by education or law or social or political machinery, what will be achieved is a regulated pattern of minds, a fabricated pattern of lives, a cultivated pattern of conduct; but a conformity of this kind cannot change, cannot re-create the man within, it cannot carve or cut out a perfect soul or a perfect thinking man or a perfect or growing living being. For soul and mind and life are powers of being and can grow but cannot be cut out or made; an outer process or formation can assist or can express soul and mind and life but cannot create or develop it.
One can indeed help the being to grow, not by an attempt at manufacture, but by throwing on it stimulating influences or by lending to it one's forces of soul or mind or life; but even so the growth must still come from within it, determining from there what shall be made of these influences and forces, and not from outside. This is the first truth that our creative zeal and aspiration have to learn, otherwise all our human endeavour is foredoomed to turn in a futile circle and can end only in a success that is a specious failure.

To be or become something, to bring something into being is the whole labour of the force of Nature; to know, feel, do are subordinate energies that have a value because they help the being in its partial self-realisation to express what it is and help it too in its urge to express the still more not yet realised that it has to be. But knowledge, thought, action,—whether religious, ethical, political, social, economic, utilitarian or hedonistic, whether a mental, vital or physical form or construction of existence,—cannot be the essence or object of life; they are only activities of the powers of being or the powers of its becoming, dynamic symbols of itself, creations of the embodied Spirit, its means of discovering or formulating what it seeks to be.
The tendency of man's physical mind is to see otherwise and to turn the true method of things upside down, because it takes as essential or fundamental the surface forces or appearances of Nature; it accepts her creation by a visible or exterior process as the essence of her action and does not see that it is only a secondary appearance and covers a greater secret process: for Nature's occult process is to reveal the being through the bringing out of its powers and forms, her external pressure is only a means of awakening the involved being to the need of this evolution, of this self-formation. When the spiritual stage of her evolution is reached, this occult process must become the whole process; to get through the veil of forces and get at their secret mainspring, which is the Spirit itself, is of cardinal importance. To become ourselves is the one thing to be done; but the true ourselves is that which is within us, and to exceed our outer self of body, life and mind is the condition for this highest being, which is our true and divine being, to become self-revealed and active.
It is only by growing within and living within that we can find it; once that is done, to create from there the spiritual or divine mind, life, body and through this instrumentation to arrive at the creation of a world which shall be the true environment of a divine living,—this is the final object that Force of Nature has set before us. This then is the first necessity, that the individual, each individual, shall discover the Spirit, the divine reality within him and express that in all his being and living. A divine life must be first and foremost an inner life; for since the outward must be the expression of what is within, there can be no divinity in the outer existence if there is not the divinisation of the inner being. The Divinity in man dwells veiled in his spiritual centre; there can be no such thing as self-exceeding for man or a higher issue for his existence if there is not in him the reality of an eternal Self and Spirit.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Attainment of full humanity through the cultivation and harmonious development of physical and mental faculties

Bankimchandra: Development of Nationalism and Indian Identity
Dr. Anil Baran Ray
Bankimchandra knew that Europe was essentially political in character while India was intrinsically religious in nature and that the best and most efficacious way to move India and Indians was to appeal to the religious nature and sentiment of Indians. From this general truth Bankimchandra came to the conclusion that the most efficient way to instill in Indians a sense of nationalism was to mix it with religion, not as it was popularly understood, but as it could be. In order to appreciate how exactly he used religion to serve his purpose of rousing nationalism among Indians, it will be in order to explain first what he meant by religion by referring to the new interpretation that he gave it.
Bankimchandra took Auguste Comte’s prescription, as offered in the latter’s philosophy of positivism, that the ‘human deity’ be worshipped, but did not take Comte’s reasons for such prescription. Comte argued that since God could not be seen but only imagined and that since He was extra-cosmic and superior to humanity, man should devote himself rather to the worship of concrete humanity than an abstract God. Unlike Comte, Bankimchandra did not want to make a distinction between abstract God and concrete humanity. He wished to combine the abstract and the concrete by observing that God was the inmost essence of all human beings and that ‘worship’ of the one was worship of the other as well.
Having made God and humanity one, Bankimchandra next observed that the dharma of man lay in his attainment of full humanity through the cultivation and harmonious development (anushilan, as he termed it) of all his physical and mental faculties as also through the performance of dutiful actions in the selfless spirit of Krishna, who, in Bankimchandra’s opinion, represented the best example of full humanity in respect of both being and doing. Bankimchandra then went on to assert that man attained his full ‘maturity’ when, having developed himself after the anushilan dharma, he directed his devotion to God. God was in all beings. Therefore, devotion to God meant progressively extending one’s love for oneself and one’s family to one’s community to one’s country and finally to whole of humanity or the entire human race. Love for the whole humanity, however, was an ideal very difficult to realize in actual practice and so Bankimchandra advised his countrymen to take love for one’s country as the highest religion. As he put it, ‘Considering the condition of mankind, love of one’s own country should be called the highest dharma’ (199).
Religion of the Motherland
Bankimchandra had a purpose behind his preaching that love for the country or patriotism constituted the highest religion. But for such a theory, he could not inspire his countrymen to achieve that identification between the individual and his country which constituted the first essential element of nationalism. The religious theory of patriotism found its fullest bearing in another new coinage offered by Bankimchandra to this effect: that the motherland was every Indian’s mother herself, that she was a goddess to be worshipped, and that in such worship of the goddess or deity of Mother India lay the highest religion of the people of India. In putting forth his observation that the motherland that was India was every Indian’s mother and goddess as well, Bankimchandra asserted that such a goddess should be viewed as the combination of the three goddesses Durga, Laksh­mi and Saraswati, with Durga symbolizing national valour and conquest of evil, Lakshmi symbolizing plentifulness of national wealth and prosperity, and Saraswati symbolizing the abundance of the nation’s learning, know­ledge and wisdom. Such an imagery found its most beautiful illustration in the song ‘Bande Mataram’ (Hail Motherland), which Bankimchandra composed in 1875 (3) and later incorporated in his novel Ananda Math (The Abbey of Bliss), first published in 1882.

‘Bande Mataram’ presents the core of Bankimchandra’s thoughts on nationalism on three counts:
1) It exhorts the Mother’s children - the people of the country - to think only of their motherland as their mother;
2) It exhorts them to view their ‘motherland-Mother’ as their be-all and end-all:
Thou art knowledge, thou art conduct,thou art heart, thou art soul,for thou art the life in our body.In the arm thou art might, O Mother,in the heart, O Mother, thou art love and faith,it is thy image we raise in every temple. (4)
3) Since the Mother represented the essence of the beings of her children, it was the sacred duty of all her children to give themselves up to the service of the Mother, to dedicate themselves to the Mother and sacrifice their all for the Mother. All in all, Bankim was making the point that the national self being the same as the divine Self, it was prior to the individual self and that it is only by raising his self to the level of the national and divine Self that the individual could realize his best self - his purna manushyatva (full humanity). We have already said that Bankimchandra identified the attainment of purna manushyatva as the goal of religion. Now, in bringing about a synthesis of the individual self and the national self through the concept of the ‘motherland-Mother’, Bankimchandra brought his philosophies of religion and nationalism to converge at a single point.

This point needs some elaboration. Bankimchandra’s purpose in initiating his countrymen with the mantra of bande mataram, in presenting before them the vision of the motherland as maternal and divine power, and in asking them to worship such a Mother with their lifeblood and with all that they could offer to her in worship was to tie his countrymen up with the same thread of nationality and give them thereby a sense of unity around a common concept. Bankimchandra was keenly aware of the fact that India was a diverse land and that his countrymen suffered from differences and conflicts issuing from the multiplicity of castes, communities, languages and religions. In order to find unity in the midst of such diversity, Bankimchandra gave his countrymen a mantra, to overcome thereby their differences and find in the same motherland-Mother the identification of their interests. After all, a mother could not but be well-meaning to her children and the children therefore must find their highest fulfilment in love for the motherland-Mother. Bankimchandra’s purpose was to inspire and teach his countrymen. It was his way of asking them to overcome their differences, find their commonness in the Mother and be a nation.

Commenting on the uniqueness of Bankimchandra’s teaching on this aspect of religion-based patriotic nationalism, Sri Aurobindo observes:

The new intellectual idea of the motherland is not in itself a great driving force; the mere recognition of the desirability of freedom is not an inspiring force. … It is not till the motherland reveals herself to the eye of the mind as something more than a stretch of earth or a mass of individuals, it is not till she takes shape as a great divine and Maternal Power in a form of beauty that can dominate the mind and seize the heart that these petty fears and hopes vanish in the all-absorbing passion for mother and her service, and patriotism that works miracles and saves doomed nations is born. To some men it is given to have that vision and reveal it to others.(5)...
Sri Aurobindo’s Bhavani Mandir was clearly a product of the inspiration he received from Bankimchandra’s Ananda Math. And that Bankimchandra inspired many revolutionaries of India to embrace the gallows with ‘Bande Mataram’ on their lips is a well-documented fact of history. Many have spoken against his theory of religious nationalism and criticized him for his failure to maintain the distinction between religion and politics, without realizing that, to him, the whole of life was religion and as per such a perception and philosophy of life, man’s spiritual and temporal lives were incapable of being distinguished. As Bankimchandra himself observed, ‘They form one compact whole, to separate which into component parts is to rend the entire fabric.’ (21)

Bankimchandra’s problem, however, was that at times he was a little too aggressive in his pronouncements on nationalism and that some of the characters in his novels occasionally made observations on other communities that were not in the best interests of communal harmony.

Indeed, Bankimchandra has been charged with communalism and Muslim-baiting by some critics. Bankimchandra’s defence is that his views on the issue should not be derived from his novels. Novels depict fictional situations and characters and are not necessarily representative of an author’s views on a particular subject. His essays, asserts Bankimchandra, are more representative of his views in this regard. ‘India could not develop truly as a nation so long as there was not equal and simultaneous improvement in the conditions of Hashim Sheikhs and Rama Kaibartas of the country,’ observes Bankim­chandra in an essay. (22) Only a man passionately committed to nationalism and an Indian identity, as distinguished from communal identity, could make such an observation.