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(Sri Aurobindo in third person:) “The “Swadeshi” movement [was] prepared from 1902 – 5 and started definitely by Sri Aurobindo, Tilak, Lajpatrai and others in 1905. A movement for Indian independence, by non-cooperation and passive resistance and the organisation (under a national Council or Executive, but this did not materialise,) of arbitration, national education, economic independence, (especially handloom industry including the spinning-wheel, but also the opening of mills, factories and Swadeshi business concerns under Indian management and with Indian capital,) boycott of British goods, British law-courts, and all Government institutions, offices, honours etc. Mahatma Gandhi’s noncooperation movement was a repetition of the “Swadeshi”, but with an exclusive emphasis on the spinning-wheel and the transformation of passive resistance, (“Satyagraha”) from a political means into a moral and religious dogma of soul-force and conquest by suffering. The running of the daily paper, “Bande Mataram”, was only one of Sri Aurobindo’s political activities.”
(Sri Aurobindo in third person:) “The public activity of Sri Aurobindo began with the writing of the articles in the Indu Prakash. These nine articles written at the instance of K. G. Deshpande, editor of the paper and Sri Aurobindo’s Cambridge friend, under the caption “New Lamps for Old” vehemently denounced the then congress policy of pray, petition and protest and called for a dynamic leadership based upon self-help and fearlessness. But this outspoken and irrefutable criticism was checked by the action of a Moderate leader who frightened the editor and thus prevented any full development of his ideas in the paper; he had to turn aside to generalities such as the necessity of extending the activities of the Congress beyond the circle of the bourgeois or middle class and calling into it the masses. Finally, Sri Aurobindo suspended all public activity of this kind and worked only in secret till 1905, but he contacted Tilak whom he regarded as the one possible leader for a revolutionary party and met him at the Ahmedabad Congress; there Tilak took him out of the pandal and talked to him for an hour in the grounds expressing his contempt for the Reformist movement and explaining his own line of action in Maharashtra.”
(Sri Aurobindo:) “The Maratha race, as their soil and their history have made them, are a rugged, strong and sturdy people, democratic in their every fibre, keenly intelligent and practical to the very marrow, following in ideas, even in poetry, philosophy and religion the drive towards life and action, capable of great fervour, feeling and enthusiasm, like all Indian peoples, but not emotional idealists, having in their thought and speech always a turn for strength, sense, accuracy, lucidity and vigour, in learning and scholarship patient, industrious, careful, thorough and penetrating, in life simple, hardy and frugal, in their temperament courageous, pugnacious, full of spirit, yet with a tact in dealing with hard facts and circumventing obstacles, shrewd yet aggressive diplomatists, born politicians, born fighters. All this Mr. Tilak is with a singular and eminent completeness, and all on a large scale, adding to it all a lucid simplicity of genius, a secret intensity, an inner strength of will, a single-mindedness in aim of quite extraordinary force, which remind one of the brightness, sharpness and perfect temper of a fine sword hidden in a sober scabbard. As he emerged on the political field, his people saw more and more clearly in him their representative man, themselves in large, the genius of their type. They felt him to be of one spirit and make with the great men who had made their past history, almost believed him to be a reincarnation of one of them returned to carry out his old work in a new form and under new conditions. They beheld in him the spirit of Maharashtra once again embodied in a great individual. He occupies a position in his province which has no parallel in the rest of India.”
(Sri Aurobindo:) “What was done then by Mr. Tilak in Maharashtra, has been initiated for all India by the Swadeshi movement.”
(Sri Aurobindo in third person:) “After 1909 [Sri Aurobindo] carried on the political (Swadeshi) movement alone (the other leaders being in prison or in exile) for one year. Afterwards on receiving an inner intimation left politics for spiritual lifework. The intimation was that the Swadeshi movement must now end and would be followed later on by a Home Rule movement and a Non-cooperation movement of the Gandhi type, under other leaders.
Came to Pondicherry 1910.”
- ↑ Autobiographical Notes and Other Writings of Historical Interest, p.14
- ↑ Ibid., p.51
- ↑ Early Cultural Writings, p.647, “Bal Gangadhar Tilak”
- ↑ Ibid., p.645
- ↑ Autobiographical Notes and Other Writings of Historical Interest, p.15