The Radical Humanist - ARTICLE A book backed by massive research and massive scholarship Sri Aurobindo: A contemporary Reader: Book Review by R.M. Pal [Sri Aurobindo: A contemporary Reader, edited by Professor Sachchindananda Mohanty Price Rs. 325/-]
This is a book for Sri Aurobindo admirers, especially for those who have no time to read or do not have access to the complete works of Sri Aurobindo. My late friend Shri Girilal Jain, the illustrious editor of The Times of India, was a great admirer of two great Bengali revolutionaries, Aurobindo Ghosh and M.N. Roy. I once asked him what was there in Aurobindo who was at one time dismissed by Gandhi for giving his opinion on the Cripp’s plan for
India’s . Independence
I have learnt a lot, Girilal said, from Aurobindo’s foundations about Indian culture, a free and united
India, ’s mission and destiny, Indian nationalism. All important Indians like Bipinchandra Pal, Subhash Chandra Bose & Rabindranath Tagore saluted Aurobindo. Only Gandhi refused to recognize in him the great revolutionary and the great intellectual. India
It is in this background that I wanted to read the writings of Sri Aurobindo, who was at one time our hero. Apart from the general introduction by Prof. Mohanty, which is scholarly, I quote below the editorial note (editor’s prologue from the chapter ‘Foundation of Indian Culture’) which contextualizes Sri Aurobindo’s thoughts concerning Indian culture. (143) […]
As I have mentioned above Sri Aurobindo’s appeal to congress leaders to support British war efforts in that connection he sai a special messenger Advocate Duraiswamy of Madras to Gandhi to speak on behalf of Sri Aurobindo to support British was efforts in order to defeat the enemy of human culture & human civilization Hitler & the Axis Powers. Gandhi summarily dismissed Aurobindo’s plea who is Aurobindo he has left politics. It is most regrettable that Gandhi did not know even though Sri Aurobindo was not an active revolutionary now & choose to lead a spiritual life he did not cease to take interest in
’s affairs. The book under review refers to a number of instances when Sri Aurobindo gave his opinion on affairs relating to India . India
NOTE: At the Outbreak of the World War II in 1939
took a strong stand in favour of full Indian support to British War effort. Based on his position on two arguments 1) that Fascism was the greater evil and all forces should be rallied against it and that the British would emerged so exhausted after the War that it would have to grant independence to Roy . India Roy was convinced that the end of the war would be quickly followed by Independence for . Shri Aurobindo also had the more or less same view with regards to Fascism. Sri Aurobindo and Roy both supported that Cripp’s offer and yet what is surprising is that Sri Aurobindo and India did not knew one another’s views. Sri Aurobindo had known to early Roy (Narendra Bhattacharyaji) of the revolutionary days in Roy Bengal. There was at least one revolutionary, Amarendranath, who is a devotee of both Ray and Aurobindo We know from Prof. Mohanty’s book that Sri Aurobindo congratulated Amarendranath on his work on the anti-fascist front. Amarendranath was an active member of the RDP & naturally in 1942 was engaged in anti-fascist activity as per RDP resolution.
If M N Roy knew that Sri Aurobindo was none other than Aurobindo Ghosh who sends a special emissary Mr. Duraiswamy to Gandhi recommending acceptance of Cripp’s offer and Gandhi’s summary dismissal of emissary saying that Aurobindo is no more in politics. Why should he take interest in political affairs?
would have defiantly informed leaders of the congress like Nehru, Patel and others that Aurobindo’s opinion should not be dismissed. So emissary things might have different in 1942. One hopes Prof. Mohanty will one day do some research on this aspect to find out why this two leaders did not know one another’s views on the question of support to British War efforts and their almost identical views on the dangerous posted by fascism. Roy