OPED Saturday, November 22, 2008 Pioneer.com 'God cannot be jailed' Rakesh Sinha
Though Aurobindo and his youthful followers suffered great hardship throughout the trial, they effectively converted the occasion into the first ever public display of patriotism
The emerging challenge before the nation on the economics front is how to decouple the Indian share markets from the sinking ones in the West. But, a far bigger and decisive challenge confronting the collective conscious is how to decolonise the Indian mind , trapped as it is by the shackles foreign notions. Indian 'secularism' is one of the dominant ideologies for the past 60 years. It is a borrowed social policy, without any relevance in India. Post-independent.
However, the essence of India has remained uncorrupted. The spiritual core of India has withstood invasions through ten centuries. It resisted the persecutions of the Mughals and the allurement to 'westernise' offered by Macaulayism. Except for a 'courtier class', the rest of the country paid no heed to anti-Indian intellectual trends. India's ancient culture is uncontrollable and unpredictable. It has ensured India's rebirth through many ravages.
This struggle has been a civilisational one. On the centenary of the Alipore Bomb Case, it is important to understand how the sight of 35 iologically motivated boys cheerfully embracing harsh imprisonment and courting death changed the course of the freedom struggle. The spiritual underpinnings of this came from Vedanta thought. Swami Vivekananda, Sister Nivedita and Aurobindo Ghose motivated a whole generation to venerate the Motherland as a Goddess and fearlessly play with fire to defend India's honour. The 'Mother' (Bharat), was depicted as 'humiliated' and therefore it became the duty of the son to defend give her back her honour even if it meant dying for it.
Sri Aurobindo distinctly defined the contours of Indian culture and nationalism. To him, the nation was "not a piece of earth, nor a figure of speech, nor a fiction of mind. It is a mighty shakti, composed of the shaktis of all the millions of units that make up the nation ..the shakti we call the India." The West derives the definition of a nation and its rise and fall with expressions over land and people, i.e. language, commerce, physical boundary, etc. It defines religion in terms of a divisive category of the people, which triggered off a ceaseless competition for acquiring superiority . Islam and Christianity, the dominant religions of the West, are essentially majoritarian ideologies. They tolerate non-believers only on their terms. Of course, in situations where they are in a minority, they demand (and in the case of India, extract) special treatment. But overall, they target global minorities with the help of their international networks. Obvious examples of this are 'global jihad' and the Vatican's call to make Asia (read India) fully Christian in the third Millennium of Christ.
Aurobindo said that nationalism "survives in the strength of God". It is not possible to crush nationalism, whatever the weapon brought against it. Nationalism cannot die and is hence immortal because it is another form of God. The message that the bunch of brave boys sent out from the courtroom in Alipore 100 years back this month is: "God cannot be killed, God cannot be sent to jail".
Aurobindo gave an unambiguous message to internal and external forces beyond the limits of time. He said: "This Hindu nation was born with the sanatan dharma, with it (India) moves and with it (India) grows. When the sanatan dharma declines, then the nation declines."
It is also a kind of madness. Aurobindo admitted to this when he said:
" My third madness is that other people look upon the country as an inert piece of matter, a stretch of fields and meadows, forests and rivers. To me She is the Mother. I adore Her, worship Her. What will the son do when he sees a Rakshasa sitting on the breast of his mother and sucking her blood? Will he quietly have his meal or will he rush to deliver his mother from that grasp? I know I have the strength to redeem this fallen race. It is not physical strength, it is the strength of knowledge… This feeling is not new, I was born with it and it is in my marrow. God has sent me to this world to accomplish this great mission."
Viewed in hindsight, few men would have been more unlikely to turn nationalistic than Aurobindo. His childhood was spent in England and he was totally Anglicized. He was sent to England at the age of seven and stayed there for 14 years. But England could not colonise his soul. His life story is one of continual growth up the ladder of ideological leadership of the evolving nationalism of 20th century India. Subash Chandra Bose considered him a pillar of the nationalist discourse in India. Dr K B Hedgewar , the founder of the RSS, went Pondicherry before the Nagpur session of the Congress in 1920 to convince him to rejoin politics. But he refused because after the Alipore case, he became convinced India's spiritual path is the true path.
Deshabandhu Chitaranjan Das, the famous barrister who represented him in the Alipore Bomb case, said that Aurobindo's voice should not go unheard even by the British. "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 writer is an Academician and Hony. Director, India Policy Foundation. The Search Results are given below using word ALIPORE BOMB CASE 'God cannot be jailed' 22 November, 2008 The bomb that shook an Empire 22 November, 2008 100 years of righteous terror 22 November, 2008 Politics of reaching out 11 October, 2008 Alipore bomb case to be exhibited at SC museum 12 May, 2006 11:16 AM