The next two works focus on the political side of Sri Aurobindo’s life. Tracts for His Times examines the unique influence of the English journal Bande Mataram, primarily written and edited by Sri Aurobindo from 1906 to 1910, on converting the mind and will of a people to a new political programme aimed at complete independence for India. While laying out his ideas to achieve political freedom through civil struggle, Sri Aurobindo exposed and challenged the repressive policies of the British Government in India and laid bare the weak-minded attitudes of the Moderates who were entrenched in the Indian National Congress.
In a similar vein, Alipore Conspiracy Case presents an overview of the history of the nationalist movement led by Sri Aurobindo and other political leaders, including the important role played by the publication of Bande Mataram. The book then narrows its attention down to the events leading to the arrest of the group of young Bengali revolutionaries living at Manicktala Garden, the subsequent arrest of Sri Aurobindo, and the ensuing trial popularly known as the Alipore Bomb Case. The drama of the trial that unfolds in the pages of this book and the numerous photographs of people, places, and events combine to form a history lesson in India’s early struggle for independence.
Some of the young men who, along with Sri Aurobindo, were undertrial prisoners in the Alipore Bomb Case:
Bijoy Kumar Nag
Sisir Kumar Ghose
Abinash Chandra Bhattacharya
Asoke Chandra Nandi
Lastly, Sri Aurobindo: A Legend joins the canon of biographies that attempt to shed light on the meaning of Sri Aurobindo’s life through an examination of his education in England, his early political and revolutionary activities, his years of silent yoga before the arrival of the Mother, his writings on philosophy, human and social development, yoga, poetry, the Vedas and the Upanishads, and the Gita. The author admits the difficulty of her task and therefore decides to focus on what she can glean of his inner life from a study of his writings: “His surface life apart, he lived and worked on another plane of consciousness, fathomable only as far as reflected in and through his works. Even then, these, when taken in chronological order, are mere ‘sign-posts’ to guide us through the journey of his life.”
Tracts for His Times
Bande Mataram and Sri Aurobindo's Anti-colonial Discourse
— Sabita Tripathy, Nanda Kishore Mishra
Publisher: Authorspress, Delhi
Binding: Hard Cover
Price: Rs 1600
The authors of this study set out to explore Sri Aurobindo's political thought and revolutionary ideas embedded in his early political writings and speeches, most notably in his articles for the journal Bande Mataram. Chapters are devoted to the germination of his patriotism and his early action in the political field, his critique of the moderate policies of the Indian National Congress, a study of his concept of nationalism, his strategy to achieve political freedom through civil struggle, his journalistic crusade to demand Swaraj as the natural right of his countrymen, his scheme for a national system of education, and an analysis of the rhetorical devices and unique narrative voice used by him as an offensive weapon against both the British Government and the Moderates of the Indian National Congress.
Alipore Conspiracy Case
An Outline of a Sensational Trial in the History of the Indian Independence Movement
— Niharendu Roy
Publisher: New House, Kolkata
Binding: Soft Cover
Price: Rs 150
Drawing on an array of resources, the author presents an overview of the history of the nationalist movement led by Sri Aurobindo and other prominent political leaders of the day. He recounts how the movement intensified as a result of the repressive stance of the British Government in India. The arrest of the group of young revolutionaries at Maniktala Gardens and the subsequent arrest of Sri Aurobindo set the scene for the Alipore Conspiracy Case, which is outlined in detail in this book. The valour and dedication of the young men is underlined by the short life sketches appended after the main narrative. Originally presented as an exhibition at a book fair in Kolkata, the book includes more than fifty pages of photographs of the people and events related to this historic trial.
Sri Aurobindo: A Legend
— Madhumita Dutta
Publisher: Avenel Press, Burdwan
Binding: Soft Cover
Price: Rs 300
The author of this biography terms it a study of Sri Aurobindo’s life and his transformation of consciousness told through the lens of his writings. Examined in tandem, his life and his writings become an integral study in literature, history, psychology, philosophy, and yoga. Combining historical context and with liberal quotations from Sri Aurobindo’s writings, she focuses on some important aspects of his political and spiritual life and the social and cultural background in which he lived and worked.
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Indian Nationalism and Sri Aurobindo – Part II (Continued from the previous issue) S´raddha- November 2016
Sabita Triapthy, Nanda Kishore Mishra
Sri Aurobindo believed that love has a place in politics, but it is the love of one’s country, — for one’s countrymen and for the service of the motherland. Appearing in an age of political turmoil when the nation was evolving in India, Sri Aurobindo gave a new dimension to the concept of nationalism not only to the Indians but to the world. His concept was neither political nor mechanical, but moral and spiritual. He wanted to show a new path to the world. For him, the essence of nationalism was the ideal of human unity. Like the Western theorists he was of the view that nationality in India did not depend on the “unity of language, unity of religion and life, unity of race.” He was a staunch critique of the ideas expressed by N. N. Ghosh in an article “Indian Nation” that diversity of race, religion, and language in India prohibited the possibility of creation of nationality. Sri Aurobindo pointed out that though Ghosh cited the example of the English nation that had been built out of various races, he forgot that these races even in those days kept their distinct individuality; and one of them tenaciously clung to its language. In a reference to the case of Switzerland, he said, there were distinct racial strains: people spoke different languages and practised various religions, yet they belonged to one nation without sacrificing their diversities. Austria is a congeries of races and languages. Sri Aurobindo supported the views of Herder, Anthony Smith, and Ramsay Muir, the Western theorists, that race, language and religion are helpful to the growth of nationality, but these are not the essential elements for formation of a nation. In this context he put forth the case of the Roman Empire that had created a common language, a common religion and life, and had crushed all types of racial diversities but failed to make a great nation. In an article, “The Foundations of Nationality,” Sri Aurobindo (1997: 50507) fully supported Ernest Renan’s contention already discussed earlier that the will of the people, the common interest, the psychic bond among them and the possession in common of a rich legacy of memories are the essential elements that constitute nationality. The most essential ingredients that help to form a nation are a common enthusiasm and a common interest: [...]
After his release from Alipore prison, politics became subservient to spiritualism. The new conception of Sanatan Dharma was strongly suffused with elements of messianism. His theory of the nation-soul and the concept of the nation as the self-evolution of the cosmic spirit bear lines of similarities with the concept of nationalism developed by Fichte and Hegel. In the Encyclopaedia of Eminent Thinkers: The Political Thought of Aurobindo (1998: 81-2) K. S. Bharathi traces some lines of similarities between Sri Aurobindo and Hegel: Both Aurobindo and Hegel are similar to the extent that they accept the manifestation of the WeltGeist in the historical process of the evolution of the nation. They accept that the spirit or the Geist provides the central dynamic force to the other diverse activities of the nation. He accepted the spiritual concept of the realisation of God in the nation and also, beyond the nation, in humanity. He conceived of nationalism as a pure Sattwic religion; so he stressed the necessity of spiritual and moral discipline both for the leaders and the followers.
[Nanda Kishore Mishra, Dr. obtained his M. A. in English literature in 1976 and Ph.D. on Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri in 1985 from Utkal University. He has authored five books both in Odia and English and edited two short story collections. As a bilingual writer, he has contributed many research articles to national and international journals and has completed three major Research Projects sanctioned by the U.G.C. on the writings of Sri Aurobindo. He has the teaching experience of undergraduate and post-graduate classes over more than thirty-five years. Sabita Tripathy, Dr., a Professor of English of Sambalpur University, has contributed a number of critical essays to national as well as international journals and executed many minor and major Research Projects in English sanctioned by the U.G.C. She is an accredited “A” grade drama artist of All India Radio, Sambalpur. She has thirty years of teaching experience.]