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Chapter 1

A Hindu Nation but not a Hindu State

1.1 Rashtra and Rajya
In Arthasastra, the Hindu science of statecraft, rashtra implies
both territory with well-defined borders, and its inhabitants.
Hindus comprise 83% of Indias population, but when colonial
rule ended in 1947, despite being a nation of Hindus we failed
to establish a Hindu rajya (polity) enjoined and empowered to
protect sanatana dharma and the dharmi, that is, the Hindu
dharma and the Hindu people
. This failure to establish a
Hindu rajya may be attributed to the fact that

Both the British Raj and the Indian National Congress
(INC), which assumed control of the freedom
movement in its decisive last phase, discredited and/or
ruthlessly put down all Hindu expressions of resistance
and rebellion.

Gandhi and his doctrines of passive resistance and
non-violence occupied the public space vacated by
Tilak, Aurobindo and Savarkar (towering Hindu thinkers
and votaries of armed resistance); Gandhi de-
legitimized Hindu anger and all expressions of Hindu

Nehru inherited the mantle of leadership from Gandhi
and was acutely hostile to everything Hindu.

No significant leader of the freedom struggle, neither
Tilak nor Aurobindo or Gandhi, explicitly articulated or
delineated the concept of Hindu rajya as the ultimate
objective of the freedom movement.

After the advent of Gandhi and the ascent of Nehru,
with the exception of Savarkar, there was no sense of
conscious Hindu political objectives to the freedom
movement in general and to the Indian National
Congress in particular, as there was no collective and
conscious realization of the nature of a Hindu rashtra

Words Hinduism and Hindus wherever used in the book connote Hindu
dharma and Hindu people
and the objectives of Hindu rajya, and hence no
intention or determination to achieve them.

Currently pluralism and secularism are the internationally
legitimate themes of statecraft and even intelligent Hindus
have failed to distinguish between Hindu rashtra and rajya and
their mutual inter-dependence and have compounded this
failure by equating Hindu rashtra with Hindu rajya, and
associating both with an Abrahamic religion-driven or
controlled theocratic state. As the non-Abrahamic and
Abrahamic faiths have vastly differing perceptions about the
purpose of human life and the moral worth of the individual
and society, the social and political theories arising out of their
respective worldviews are not readily interchangeable. The
political theories of the dominant colonial power however,
have been superimposed upon a dormant colonized people,
and their silence mistaken for acquiescence.

Kautilyas Arthasastra
accorded primacy to Rajya as the most
important and ultimate, if not sole, instrument to protect and
enforce dharma. Rajya has seven components (prakritis)
Svamin (King), Amatya (Minister), Rashtra (Nation), Durga
(Capital), Kosa (Treasury), Danda (Armed forces) and Mitra
(Allied kings and kingdoms). Some earlier texts list the
seventh component as bala, which connotes not only the
enforcing authority of the king but also the military or armed
forces. In Kautilya however, bala is implicit in danda which
Kangle translates as armed forces.
Hindu rashtra is thus
clearly a constituent of Hindu rajya (polity); it follows that
while Hindu rajya derives from rashtra, the rashtra can be
protected and defended only by the rajya. As evident,
contemporary English-language political lexicon offers near-
equivalents of the constituents of rajya.

The above constituents of rajya are not listed in order of
relative importance as all are equally important, though some
gain precedence in times of peace and some in times of crisis.
Kautilya makes the exemplary point of the relative importance
of the components of Hindu rajya and if we accept this as the

All quotations and references henceforth to Kautilyas Arthasatra in the book
are from the monumental work in three volumes, The Kautiliya Arthasatra
(TKA) by RP Kangle, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited, 1963
The king, the minister, the country, the fortified city, the treasury, the army
and the ally are the constituent elements (of the state), Book 6, Chapter 1,
Sutra 1, The Kautiliya Arthasastra (TKA), Part II, page 314
yardstick to judge the state of well-being of the nation and its
rulers, we can easily find examples from contemporary history
of the conditions described by him:-

A king endowed with personal qualities endows with
excellences the constituent elements not so endowed.
One not endowed with personal qualities destroys the
constituent elements that are prosperous and devoted
(to him).

Then (that) king not endowed with personal qualities,
with defective constituent elements, is either killed by
the subjects or subjugated by the enemies, even if he
be ruler up to the four ends of the earth.

But one possessed of personal qualities, though ruling
over a small territory, being united with the excellences
of the constituent elements, (and) conversant with (the
science of) politics, does conquer the entire earth and
never loses

Even a cursory glance at the acute problems confronting the
nation will serve to show that almost all of them have
assumed threatening proportions not just because the leaders
of the Hindu nation suffered from one or all of the weaknesses
listed above but also because even political-minded Hindus
have failed to grasp the critical importance of a Hindu rajya
and Hindu society therefore failed to throw up such a leader
during the critically important period between 1890-1947; this
notwithstanding the fact that Tilak, Aurobindo and Savarkar,
all had great intellectual and organizing capability. Hindus are
failing even now to put the Hindu rajya in place because of
their incapacity to produce a Hindu visionary political leader
with the stamina to stay the course. Gandhis untested
mahatmahood gave him a ready constituency but he declared
that neither he nor the INC represented Hindu interests.

1.2 Problems confronting the Hindu nation
1. Almost total de-Hinduising of Indian polity, resulting in
politics of minority-ism and Hindu inability to influence
the polity.

TKA, Book 6, Chapter 1, Sutras 16, 17, 18, Part II, page 317

2. Cavalier attitude to territory and failure to understand
the need to monitor and keep under constant
surveillance the character of the people living in the
territory, and hence supreme indifference/ignorance
about the critical importance of rashtra.

3. De-Hinduised and/or virulently hostile anti-Hindu state
structures and administration.

4. Growing Muslim and Christian population percentage.

5. Aggressive evangelization with the open support and
endorsement of White Western nations as instruments
of their foreign policy.

6. Intensified jihad against Hindus and Hindu territory,
unchecked infiltration of Bangladeshi Muslims into India
constituting a significant threat.

7. Growing power of anti-Hindu Marxist/Maoist/Naxalite

8. The increasing possibility of a significant segment of
overseas Indians People of Indian Origin (PIOs) and
Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) being used as agents
against the Indian State and/or her people.

9. Indias total isolation in the region and political
unwillingness to deal resolutely with neighboring
countries lending their territory for anti-Hindu terrorist

10. The persisting inability of Hindus to consciously come
together as Hindus.

11. Absence of a powerful Hindu leadership with the ability
to grasp the critical importance of rajya to deal with the
above-mentioned problems, and

12. The inability of Indian polity to resist and challenge
western political idioms and theories, which have by
default received universal and international status.

1.3 Hindu determination to protect Hindu territory and
The British Government in India used state power to brutalize
and break the spirit of Hindu nationalists to discourage all
thoughts of armed resistance and political independence. Post-
independence Indian polity continued with use of state power
to quell Hindu nationalism because Hindu nationalism
threatened to dismantle the shaky edifice of the bogus but
highly remunerative secular polity which sustains politics of
minority-ism and their votaries. Hindus may be cowed down
and disempowered today by state power but they were not
always so dispirited.

In the Indian tradition, the principal rajadharma
or the responsibility of the State in India is the
preservation of Dharma. Srimad Bhagavadgita
teaches that Dharma samsthapana
(preservation of dharma) involves both
protection of society Paritrana and destruction of
its enemies Vinasa.

In the first millennium of the so-called historical
period, during 5
century BC to 6
century AD,
Indians successfully repulsed all major invasions
of Persians, Greeks, Sakas and Hunas.

Indian civilization and Sanatana Dharma faced a
major challenge during the Islamic invasion
(635-1190) and subsequent Islamic domination
of large regions of India during 1200-1700.

The great kingdoms and armies of the
Chalukyas, Karkotas (Kashmir), Gurjara-
Pratiharas and the Rashtrakutas and the
Rajputs, rose to the occasion and successfully
prevented the Islamic forces, which had
spectacular success elsewhere in Asia, Africa
and Europe, from establishing themselves in the
Indian heartland for nearly six centuries during

When the Islamic forces conquered North India
and invaded South India, they were thwarted by
the establishment of the major Hindu empire of
Vijayanagara (1336-1565). In fact, most of
South India, Orissa, and Assam could not be
brought under Islamic rule for any significant
period of time.

Thus, during the height of Mughal rule
1600 (and after nearly four centuries of Islamic
domination) it was estimated that only about
one-sixth of the Indian population (in the
regions that constituted the Mughal Empire) had
become adherents of Islam.

From about the middle of the 17
people all over India, especially the Marathas,
Sikhs, Jats, and the Bundelas created powerful
military organizations that shook the Mughal
empire. By the 18
century, the Mughal Empire
had collapsed and the indigenous rulers were in
the process of establishing themselves
everywhere in India.

In 1760, the Maratha Samrajya exercised
control over a very large part of India , including
Northern Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat,
Rajasthan, Punjab, Western and Southern Uttar
Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh,
Jharkhand and Orissa. There were also
important Hindu Rajyas in Mysore,
Thiruvananthapuram, Assam, Nepal and Jammu
at that time.

When Hindu society was unable to mount effective military
challenge to Islamic and Christian-colonial invaders, it
responded with great religious activity to strengthen sanatana
dharma in a manner not easily amenable to destruction by
invading Muslim or Christian hordes. Having drawn appropriate
lessons from the massive devastation of temples, great
acharyas wrote intellectually enthralling bhashyas
(commentary) created new and powerful streams of panthas
(denominations within Hindu dharma), composed elegant and
immensely elevating songs and poetry of bhakti (devotion), all

I personally prefer the word Islamic because to Hindus, it matters little if
the jihadis were Arab, Turk, Mongol or Persian
Indian response to the challenge of Islam and Christianity, Center for Policy
Studies, Chennai, December 2006

of which continue to inspire and motivate Hindu society to
respond to continuing challenges to the survival of their
dharma and way of life.

The politically paralyzing and defeatist role played by Gandhi,
and Aurobindos comprehensive failure to stay the course,
must be seen against the backdrop of complete
disempowerment and disarming of the indefatigable martial
spirit of Hindus who have ever picked up arms to defend dharti
and dharma against all threats. It is largely because of
Aurobindo and Gandhi that we did not set Hindu rajya to
protect the rashtra as the goal of the freedom movement
during its last phase between 1890 and1947.

1.4 Origins of current Hindu powerlessness The Indian
National Congress
We are concerned here with the twin issues of Hindu
powerlessness to influence Indian polity and the need for
conscious Hindu state power. The Hindu community has been
victimized by an Indian polity powered by the phony mantra of
secularism and the bogey of Hindu communalism. For
decades, Indian polity has successfully disempowered Hindus
and rendered them incapable of organizing themselves to
demonstrate strength, anger and resolve when confronted by
a hostile State or other provocations. And on occasions when
Hindus gathered together to exhibit their collective will or
anger, Indian polity used ruthless state power to quell all such

While the Muslim League government in the Bengal
province used state power to fuel jihad against Hindus
in response to Jinnahs call for Direct Action in August
1946, the Congress government in Bihar used police
and military power to quell the Hindus who reacted
violently to the jihad in Bengal. Over 200 Hindus were
killed in police and military firing alone.
The Central Government in Delhi and the state
governments of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh arrested all
important leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the
Vishwa Hindu Parishad at the height of the
Ramjanmabhumi movement in October 1990. These
governments were headed by Hindus. In November

The recent determined and well-organized protest by the Hindus of J ammu
and the displaced Kashmiri Hindu community as embodied by the Amarnath
Sangharsh Samiti has been the exception to the established rule and is a portent
of things to come.
1990, over 50 Hindu bhaktas or karsevaks were killed
in police firing in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.
Over 200 Hindus were killed in police firing in Gujarat,
in March 2002 during riots that followed the burning
alive of 58 Hindu pilgrims by jihadis in Godhra, Gujarat
in February 2002.
The Tamil Nadu government arrested and jailed 6
Hindu activists under the draconian National Security
Act in 2006 for attempting to remove the statue of a
violent, anti-Hindu dravidian iconoclast, placed with
state support in front of a revered Hindu temple in
Srirangam, Tamil Nadu.

Since 1947 secular Indian polity has been consciously anti-
Hindu; it proactively promotes politics of minority-ism to the
detriment of the Hindu faith and Hindu way of life. However,
the aspect of Hindu powerlessness which manifests itself as an
inability to demonstrate strength or outrage needs clinical
analysis in the light of recent history. This malaise can be
specifically attributed to the last phase of the freedom
struggle, to the Indian National Congress and the INC leaders
who abdicated their responsibility to the Hindu nation at a
critical time, particularly, in our view, Gandhi and Aurobindo.
We will substantiate our claim through extensive quotations
from the hitherto largely ignored corpus of writings and
speeches of these two towering personalities.

The first war of independence was a serious challenge to
British supremacy in India, the first warning to the British that
Indian society could throw up leaders with the capacity to
translate the seething anger of the people into organized and
sustained armed attacks against their rule. The much-
publicized catalyst for the revolt, the alleged use of animal fat-
smeared cartridges was just that a catalyst; for the Hindus,
the widespread rebellion in the armed forces in 1857 which
soon spilled over into society and spread across the country
was in a sense, the culmination of widespread Hindu anger
and protests against intensified cow slaughter under the Raj
while Muslims were fighting to re-establish Islamic rule over
the Indian nation. The Muslims knew what they were fighting
for and what they were fighting against; for Muslims and
Christians the ultimate goal of their respective religions is
political to establish the universal Dar-ul-Islam and Christian
Kingdom of God on Earth.

Indian Muslims, to the last man considered Christian colonial
rule as temporary defeat and eclipse of Islamic rule over Hindu
India; Hindu India was just one theater in the unrelenting war
that the two Abrahamic faiths were waging around the world
for ultimate annihilation of the other and the final victory
culminating in total control over the earth. Under the
circumstances, the strategy of Indian Muslims in 1857 was to
seek Hindu co-operation in a superficial bonding on the basis
of race to challenge the Whiteman. The ploy worked, even if
only minimally within the British Indian Army; but outside, the
fierce resistance of the Mahrattas to the growing menace of
the East India Company, which was using trade and Church to
tighten its political grip over the country, was yet another
chapter in the ceaseless and determined, centuries-long
civilisational struggle of the Hindus against both Islam and

The anti-cow slaughter movement by local Gosamrakshana
Samitis (Gosamrakshana Movement, 1860-1920) was led by
Hindu sadhus and community leaders, and spread across the
country. The British Raj perpetrated cow slaughter on a
horrendous scale in order to keep the British Army and
establishment supplied with beef. Strangely and as a portent
of things to come, the intense Hindu anger at increasing cow
slaughter was viewed with strong distaste by Gandhi in Hind
In what was to become his trademark style, Gandhi,
instead of confronting the British establishment and its allied
Muslim community on the question of cow slaughter, de-
legitimized Hindu anger.
Indeed, he did not even formally
hold the British fundamentally responsible for the scale of cow-
slaughter at the time, but made it a Hindu-Muslim issue and
laid the onus for cow protection completely on the Hindus:

I myself respect the cow, that is, I look upon her
with affectionate reverence. The cow is the
protector of India, because it, being an
agricultural country, is dependent on the cows
progeny. She is a most useful animal in

Henceforth all references to and quotations from Hind Swaraj are from,
Gandhi Hind Swaraj and Other Writings, (HS) Edited by Anthony J Parel,
Cambridge Texts in Modern Politics, Cambridge University Press, 1997
An unbiased reading of Gandhis huge corpus of writings will show
consistent lack of sympathy towards the legitimate civilisational concerns of
Hindus and excessive accommodation towards their tormentors
hundreds of ways. Our Mahomedan brethren will
admit this.

But just as I respect the cow, so do I respect my
fellow-men. A man is just as useful as a cow, no
matter whether he be a Mahomedan or a

When the Hindus became insistent, the killing of
cows increased. In my opinion, cow protection
societies may be considered cow-killing
societies. It is a disgrace to us that we should
need such societies. When we forgot how to
protect cows, I suppose we needed such

Who protects the cow from destruction by
Hindus when they cruelly ill-treat her? Who ever
reasons with the Hindus when they mercilessly
belabour the progeny of the cow with their
sticks? But this has not prevented us from
remaining one nation

We shall later go into greater detail about Gandhis peculiar
views and questionable attitudes on several issues in Hindu
dharma and tradition besides cow slaughter. It is, however,
pertinent to note that Hindu powerlessness is a recent
phenomenon, in complete contrast to the combative history of
the previous twelve centuries, when Hindus displayed fierce
and consistent determination to protect their territory and
dharma. Indeed, the war of 1857 was a continuation of the
organized resistance of hundreds of years to desecration and
destruction of temples, to cow slaughter, and thus an
extension of Hindu societys resistance to the Islamic invasion
of Hindu territory and destruction of the Hindu way of life.

1.5 Why the British manufactured the INC
As Gandhi wielded enormous clout in the INC owing to an
allegedly successful political sojourn in South Africa, as a
result of which he received the sobriquet, Mahatma, we shall
examine the following issues:

Hind Swaraj (HS), Chapter X, The condition of India (cont.): the Hindus and
the Mahomedans, pp 54-55

The purpose and timing of Hind Swaraj which many
consider Gandhis seminal work.
The not-so-well-known aspects of Gandhis career in
South Africa.
Gandhis interpretation of satyagraha and ahimsa
Gandhis limited and even flawed understanding of
contemporary issues and events, and his skewed
understanding of the Bible and the Bhagwad Gita.
Gandhis leadership qualities.
Gandhis judgment of White civilization, the British
Empire, and the Muslims.
Gandhis moral authority, which put his every word
and action beyond the pale of critical scrutiny and thus
thwarted all attempts at objective assessment of his
political legacy; and
The consequences for Hindus of the Gandhian legacy in
the Indian polity.

The Muslim League was set up in December 1906 as a
creature of British inspiration, just as the Indian National
Congress was conceived in 1885. Both initiatives aimed to
weaken intensifying Hindu armed resistance to colonial regime
and to politically dis-empower the Hindus vis--vis the
Muslims. The timing of the move to create both the Congress
and the Muslim League is significant. Allan Octavian Hume,
father of the INC
, was a Scotsman posted as Collector in
Etawah at the time the conflict broke out in 1857. Hume
repulsed the advance of Mughal prince Feroze Shah into
Etawah from Rohailkhand. His contribution to colonial victory
in the Central Indian Campaign of the war earned him the
Order of the Bath, because this was a campaign that was
fought over the widest area in terms of length and breadth as
compared to all the other campaigns of 1857. It took the
British longer in terms of time to suppress the rebellion in
Central India as compared to all other regions involved in the
, not the least because they had to confront a
determined Rani Laxmibhai of Jhansi and the formidable and
extremely skilled Tantia Tope.

The First War of Independence alarmed London, which saw
intense Hindu anger and Hindu skills at armed resistance,
including guerilla warfare, unleashed by Tantia Tope. Yet

Hindus seem to have a father obsession; Gandhi was designated father of
the Nation and Tilak the father of Indian Unrest.
London learnt to its advantage that Hindus could be pressured,
bribed, beguiled or flattered to betray their own. It must have
amused the British that a section of Hindus fought fiercely not
only to defeat the East India Company but to reinstate Muslim
rule over India; a stated objective of the war was to make
Bahadur Shah Zafar the real power in Delhi once again!
Having learnt several important lessons from the war, London
moved decisively to retain the jewel in the British Crown at
any cost.

The Queen promptly wound up the East India Company and
brought all territories controlled by it directly under the British
. Having unleashed ruthless State power to
pacify the natives, the British soon afterwards played their
masterstroke by weaning away important sections of society
from armed resistance and opposition to their rule with the
offer of political participation through self-governance.

This task was entrusted to Allan Octavian Hume, and in 1885
he founded the Indian National Congress, touted by
motivated historians as the ultimate vehicle of Indian
nationalism. The ideologically inept Hindus were enchanted by
the ruse and the best Hindu minds, conditioned by English
education, were entranced by the thought of being dark-white
partners (dark in skin, white in thinking) of the British Raj. The
British, however, made of sterner stuff, sought to ensure that
the natives did not entertain original ideas of independence
and initially planted their own countrymen as INC Presidents.
Later they relied upon other tactics to execute their unstated
agenda of neutralizing all Hindu resistance and weaning the
Hindu intelligentsia away from revolutionary objectives and
away from Hindu society, culture and roots. The Indian
National Congress was set up by A.O. Hume to make Indians
willing and/or unwitting collaborators of the Raj. Gandhi, in
1909 happily pranced to the tune of the British piper
Reader: Do you consider that a desire for Home
Rule has been created among us?
Editor: That desire gave rise to the National
Congress. The choice of the word National
implies it.

It is surprising that we have failed to draw upon this single fact to demolish
the myth that the East India Company came to India just for trade and was
accidentally drawn into her domestic affairs. If that were indeed so, then
European trade would never have metamorphosed into colonialism and the
consequent enslavement of colonised nations
Reader: That surely is not the case. Young
seems to ignore the Congress. It is
considered to be an instrument for perpetuating
British Rule.
Editor: That opinion is not justified. Had not the
Grand Old Man of India (Dadabai Naoroji)
prepared the soil, our young men could not have
even spoken about Home Rule. How can we
forget what Mr. Hume has written, how he has
lashed us into action, and with what effort he
has awakened us, in order to achieve the
objects of the Congress? Sir William Wedderburn
has given his body, mind and money to the
same cause.

Aurobindo may not have bluntly articulated the British
subterfuge behind founding the INC but while he politely
welcomed its creation, he was also aware of its serious
deficiencies. Aurobindo wrote a series of nine scathing articles
about the INC, titled New lamps for old, in Indu Prakash, a
Marathi-English Bombay daily, when he was only 21 years and
the INC barely eight years old!
In the last part of the series
written on March 6, 1894, Aurobindo uses the English
language effectively to describe what he thought of the
Service to which Hume belonged. Hume as mentioned earlier
was an officer of the Indian Civil Services (ICS).
And when one knows the stuff of which the
Service is made, one ceases to wonder at it. A
shallow school-boy stepping from a cramming
establishment to the command of high and
difficult affairs can hardly be expected to give us
anything magnificent or princely. Still less can it
be expected when the sons of small tradesmen
are suddenly promoted from the counter to
govern great provinces. Not that I have any

Young India the Indian revolutionaries associated with India House
(1905-9), London, referred to themselves as the Young India Party. The
name had its origin in Mazzinis concept of Young Italy. Young India was also
the name of the weekly newspaper Gandhi edited in India from 1919-1931.
(Editor Parels foot-note to the above excerpt from HS, Chapter I, page 14)
HS, Chapter I, The Congress and its Officials, page 14
Excerpts from Aurobindos writings reproduced in the book, unless
otherwise specified have been sourced from Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary
Library Deluxe Edition, Vol. 1, Published by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram,
Pondicherry, 1972
fastidious prejudice against small tradesmen. I
simply mean that the best education men of
that class can get in England does not
adequately qualify a raw youth to rule over
millions of his fellow-beings.

Aurobindos criticism of the Indian National Congress and its
leaders was just as blunt and as unsparing.
I am quite aware that in doing this, my motive
and my prudence may be called into question. I
am not ignorant that I am about to censure a
body which to many of my countrymen seems
the mightiest outcome of our new national
life...and if I were not fully confident that this
fixed idea of ours is a snare and a delusion,
likely to have the most pernicious effects, I
should simply have suppressed my own doubts
and remained silent.

I say, of the Congress, then, thisthat its aims
are mistaken, that the spirit in which it proceeds
towards their accomplishment is not a spirit of
sincerity and whole-heartedness, and that the
methods it has chosen are not the right
methods, and the leaders in whom it trusts, not
the right sort of men to be leaders; in brief, that
we are at present the blind led, if not by the
blind, at any rate by the one-eyed

Like the best laid plans of mice and men however, some
elements in the INC were neither pliant nor compliant. The
economic rape and plunder of India began to be documented
(Poverty and un-British rule in India by Dadabhai Naoroji) and
the anger against the colonial government soon became a
war-cry. Yet Dadabhai Naoroji, like Gandhi later in Hind
Swaraj, blamed the British only partially, indeed, half-
heartedly. Naoroji understood that the predatory Raj was
responsible for Indias gross impoverishment and economic
deprivation, yet he defined this rapaciousness un-British!
Gandhi picked up this theme readily -

New lamps for old, Indu Prakash, March 6, 1894, pp 52-53

New lamps for old, Indu Prakash, August 7, 1893, page 15

New lamps for old, Indu Prakash, August 28, 1893, page 15
It is my deliberate opinion that India is being
ground down not under the English heel but
under that of modern civilization.

The true remedy lies, in my humble opinion, in
England discarding modern civilization which is
ensouled by this spirit of selfishness and
materialism, is vain and purposeless and is a
negation of the spirit of Christianity.

Gandhi in Hind Swaraj and Other Writings attributed the evils
of colonial administration to modern Western civilization,
ignoring the Christian roots that drove this civilization to
plunder and exploit most of Asia, Africa and America.
Aurobindo saw the roots and exposed them.
Under the stimulus of an intolerable wrong,
Bengal in the fervour of the Swadeshi
movement parted company with the old ideals
and began to seek for its own strength. It has
found it in the people. But the awakening of this
strength immediately brought the whole
movement into collision with British interests
and the true nature of the Englishman, when his
interests are threatened, revealed itself. The
Swadeshi movement threatened British trade
and immediately an unholy alliance was formed
between the magistracy, the non-officials and
the pious missionaries of Christ, to crush the
new movement by every form of prosecution
and harassment.

1.6 Manufacturing the Muslim League
The Swaraj and Swadeshi movement masterminded by
Aurobindo, Bhupendranath Dutta, Barin Ghosh and
Chittaranjan Das, among other Bengali luminaries, was akin to
the go-samrakshana (cow-protection) movement of the
nineteenth century, in that it was a spontaneous eruption of
Hindu society, except that it made economic and broader
cultural issues central to its concerns, and was a spontaneous

HS, Chapter VIII, The condition of India, page 42
Supplementary writings (HS), Gandhis letter to Lord Ampthill, London,
October 30, 1909
Lessons at J amalpur,, Bande Mataram, September 1, 1906, page 21.

and determined reaction to the partition of Bengal.
Swaraj and Swadeshi movement which came to be known
even at that time as Boycott, aimed at total political
independence from the British and not merely self-
governance, Home Rule, or Dominion Status, which would
keep Indian people in serfdom within the British Empire. Their
Swaraj was self governance as obtained not in the colonies of
the Raj but in the Raj itself. Aurobindo demanded self-rule, not
like that of Canada but like that of the United Kingdom. As
articulated by Tilak and Aurobindo, Swaraj and Swadeshi
meant total and complete political independence and therefore
entailed the total boycott of all British goods, government
schools and the judiciary. Boycott or Swaraj and Swadeshi,
was only passive resistance or satyagraha, which post-
independence Indian polity, for vested interests, continues to
propagate as a Gandhian principle and virtue. Between April
11 and April 23, 1907, Aurobindo in Bande Mataram under the
general title New Thought wrote a series of brilliant articles on
Passive Resistance, after reading which Gandhis exposition
on Satyagraha or passive resistance seems vacuous by
There was little that Gandhi could add to
Aurobindos discourse on passive resistance but in typical
Gandhi vein he does not give credit where it is due in Hind
Swaraj, considered by Gandhians to be his seminal work. The
comprehensive boycott of British goods, British schools and
the judiciary had such an inspirational impact on the nation at
large that in spite of the fact that it was neither well-organized
nor directed by any individual or group, its fire spread outside
of Bengal and frightened both the imperial government in
London and the British government in India. Aurobindos
passive resistance movement triggered a series of chain
reactions which culminated tragically for Hindus in 1909. This
period saw the meteoric rise of intellectual stalwarts like Tilak,
Aurobindo and Savarkar, their tragic eclipse, and fading away
from the political arena.

The first partition of Bengal, which the colonial regime claimed
was undertaken for administrative purposes, was intentionally
crafted on communal lines, viz., Muslim majority East Bengal
and Hindu majority West Bengal, a measure which Aurobindo
declared -

Lord Curzon announced the partition of Bengal in 1903 and elaborated it in
Excerpts from Aurobindos phenomenal exposition on passive resistance is
reproduced at the end of Chapter 4.
Was no mere administrative proposal but a blow
straight at the heart of the nation. That it is
something far other than this (administrative
purpose), that the danger involved far more
urgent and appalling, is what I shall try to point
out in this article.
Unfortunately, to do this is impossible without
treading on Lord Curzons corns; and indeed one
of the tenderest of all the crop. We have
recently been permitted to know that our great
Viceroy particularly objects to the imputation of
motives to his government and not
unnaturally; for Lord Curzon is a vain man
loving praise and sensitive to dislike and
censure; more than that he is a statesman of
unusual genius who is following a subtle and
daring policy on which immense issues hang and
it is naturally disturbing him to find that there
are wits in India as subtle as his own and which
can perceive something at least of the goal at
which he is aiming.

The British met with a fierce and violent backlash from Bengal
Hindus; Muslims in general and Bengali Muslims in particular
were delighted with the move. This period saw Bankim
Chandra Chatterjis Vande Mataram acquiring high Hindu
nationalist overtones which inspired some of the most brilliant
writings of Tilak and Aurobindo along with widespread, nation-
wide Hindu armed resistance to the partition.

It seems reasonable to infer that alarmed over the fierce
Hindu backlash to the partition and encouraged by the
absence of Muslim anger with the government on any issue
(as evidenced by the scarcity of Muslim presence in the INC),
the British took measures to strengthen, if not Muslim support
for the Raj, at least their non-cooperation with the INC, by
widening the rift between Hindus and Muslims. Viceroy Mintos
inspired meeting with important Muslim leaders in Shimla in
October 1906, wherein the demand for separate electorate for
Muslims, proportional quotas in government employment,
appointment of Muslim judges to the High Courts, and Muslim
members in the Viceroys Council, was a critical link in the
series of measures planned to this end. Indeed lady Minto had

Incomplete and undated article titled, The Proposed Reconstruction of
Bengal Partition or Annihilation, pp77-78
this to say about this far-sighted move by the British
Very very big thing had happened today; A work
of statesmanship that will affect India and
Indian history for many long years. It is nothing
less than pulling back 62 millions of people from
joining the ranks of the seditious opposition.

Two months after the Shimla conclave, in December 1906, the
Muslim League was set up as a counterfoil to what was
perceived as a Hindu INC. Its mandate was to fulfill the
incomplete agenda of 1857; the partition of Bengal was seen
as the first step towards the return of Muslim rule over
Hindustan; with hindsight, it was also the precursor to the
vivisection of 1947. It seems logical to deduce that just as the
British created the INC to wean away important Hindus from
opposition to British rule and particularly armed resistance,
they sponsored the Muslim League to counter the Swaraj and
Swadeshi movement, to Jugantar, a Bengal revolutionary
organization and to the nation-wide anger over the partition of
Bengal. In the immediate aftermath of the partition of Bengal
and British appeasement of the Muslims, Aurobindo observed:

The idea that by encouraging Mahomedan
rowdyism, the present agitation may be put
down, is preposterous; and those who cherish
this notion forget that the bully is neither the
strongest nor the bravest of men; and that
because the self-restraint of the Hindu,
miscalled cowardice, has been a prominent
feature of his national character, he is absolutely
incapable of striking straight and striking hard
when any sacred situation demands this

The British government conceived the Muslim League as a
thorn in the flesh of the Hindus. State power made an
ascendant Islam possible by undermining Indias Hindu
community. A striking feature of the evolving Indian polity at
this time was that while the Raj exploited the gullibility of the
English-educated Hindu political leadership of the INC and

Majumdar RC, History of Freedom Movement in India, Ed. 2, Vol. 2, Firma
KLM Pvt. Ltd, Calcutta, 1975, page 216
Partition of Bengal, Bande Mataram, 4 September 1906, in Sri Aurobindo Birth
Centenary Library, Vol 27, Supplement edition, p. 21.
planted British officials within the party besides getting one of
them to create it in the first place, the Muslim League
steadfastly resisted White penetration while playing ball with
the regime, wringing as many concessions and benefits for the
Muslim community as government was prepared to concede in
separate but parallel attempts to check the rising tide of Hindu

Aurobindo astutely perceived the dangers of the British ruse of
empowering Muslims to weaken Hindus, but erroneously
concluded that this was happening because the INC did not go
out of its way to include Muslims in the movement. He averred
the INC must be an all-inclusive organization drawing upon all
sections of Indians in order to transform itself into a national
movement; the critical flaw in this argument was that he
assumed Muslims shared the Hindu sense of nationhood and

The true policy of the Congress movement
should have been from the beginning to gather
together under its flag all the elements of
strength that exist in this huge country. The
Brahman Pandit and the Mahomedan Maulavi,
the caste organisation and the trade-union, the
labourer and the artisan, the coolie at his work
and the peasant in his field, none of these
should have been left out of the sphere of our
activities. For each is a strength, a unit of force;
and in politics the victory is to the side which
can marshal the largest and most closely serried
number of such units and handle them most
skilfully, not to those who can bring forward the
best arguments or talk the most eloquently. But
the Congress started from the beginning with a
misconception of the most elementary facts of
politics and with its eyes turned towards the
British Government and away from the people.

To their great satisfaction, Indian Muslims had learnt in 1857
that their ploy to seek racial convergence with the Hindus
against the British found resonance not only among sections of
ordinary Hindus but even among the English-educated
leadership of the Indian National Congress. Aurobindo and

By the Way Lessons at Jamalpur, Bande Mataram, 1 September, 1906, p.145.
Gandhi exemplified the success of the Muslim ploy. Decades
later, Subhash Boses Indian National Army (INA) would
traverse the same path.

1.7 Armed resistance and British response
Jugantar, a revolutionary off-shoot of the Anusilan Samiti and
one of the earliest armed Hindu resistance movements of the
twentieth century came into being in the early 1900s. The
partition of Bengal, British appeasement of Muslims by Viceroy
Minto, and the creation of the Muslim League added an edge
to the resistance, which also influenced a section of the INC.
Tilak and Aurobindo, among others, refused to allow the INC
to serve as implementing agency of British intent. As a
definitive response to the Muslim League and Muslim
appeasement policies of the colonial power, and as a response
to the meek leadership of the INC which neither responded
effectively to the creation of the League nor opposed the
British successfully, the INC, under the Presidentship of
Aurobindo split vertically in December 1907, just one year
after the League was born, with Tilak and Aurobindo leading
the nationalist faction
. The Nationalist section soon began
to be pejoratively labeled as Extremist, while the faction led
by Surendranath Banerjea and Gopal Krishna Gokhale was
termed Moderate.

We should be absolutely unsparing in our attack
on whatever obstructs the growth of the nation,
and never be afraid to call a spade a spade.
Excessive good nature, chakshu lajja [the desire
to be always pleasant and polite], will never do
in serious politics. Respect of persons must
always give place to truth and conscience; and
the demand that we should be silent because of
the age or past services of our opponents, is
politically immoral and unsound. Open attack,
unsparing criticism, the severest satire, the
most wounding irony, are all methods perfectly
justifiable and indispensable in politics. We have
strong things to say; let us say them strongly;
we have stern things to do; let us do them
sternly. But there is always a danger of strength
degenerating into violence and sternness into

Implicit in the term nationalist was Hindu nationalist.
ferocity, and that should be avoided so far as it
is humanly possible

Unnerved by the armed revolution of Jugantar and the rise of
votaries of armed resistance within the INC, the British
government, consistent with its response in 1857, employed
the full might of repressive State power against the members
of Jugantar and the nationalist segment of the INC, in order
to break the backbone of Hindu resistance. National sentiment
over the partition of Bengal, fuelled by the swaraj and
swadeshi movement soon spread to the Punjab, Central
Provinces, Poona, Bombay, Madras and other cities of the
country. It was a dangerous replay of 1857 and the Raj
reacted just as ferociously. Within two years, by the end of
1909, almost all the leaders of Jugantar, the nationalists in the
Congress including Tilak, Aurobindo, and Savarkar had been
hanged, deported, or arrested and confined in jails; some
opted for voluntary exile.

Savarkar was inspired by the three Chapekar brothers
Damodar, Balakrishna and Vasudev, who had been found
guilty of conspiring to kill and killing British ICS officer Walter
Rand on 22
June 1897, on Ganeshkhind Road, in Pune, when
Rand was returning from a party to celebrate the anniversary
of Queen Victorias coronation. The three brothers and their
close associate, Mahadev Ranade were hanged in Pune over a
period of 13 months between April 1898-99 and Lokmanya
Tilak was arrested and sentenced to 18 months rigorous
imprisonment for seditious writing which allegedly inspired
the Chapekar brothers to take up arms against an officer of
the British government. This act of great courage by the
Chapekar brothers and Ranade and their brave death left a
deep impression upon the teenaged Savarkar who too decided
to take up armed struggle against the British. To this end he
set up the Abhinav Bharat Society which preached only armed
resistance to British rule.

But in the two years between 1907 and1909 an enraged and
extremely frightened British government brutally crushed this
spontaneous and soon well-organized armed revolution by the
nationalist faction of the INC, by Jugantar, and Savarkar.
Aurobindo was first arrested in August 1907 and jailed for a

By the Way Bande Mataram, 13 April, 1907, page 257

month on charges of seditious writing in Bande Mataram; he
was arrested again in May 1908 in the Alipore Bomb Case,
Tilak was charged with seditious writing and jailed in Mandalay
in the then Burma
and Savarkar who was arrested in France
in 1910, following the killing of Sir Curzon Wyllie by Madanlal
Dhingra in London, was sentenced with transportation for life
and suffered confinement in the Cellular Jail in the Andamans,
a sentence unparalleled in the history of the British Empire; it
is significant that Vasudeo Balwant Phadke, Tilak and
Savarkar, all Hindu Nationalists were sentenced to
Transportation which in effect meant removing them from the
scene and from public consciousness with a view to denying
them martyrdom.

Aurobindo was arrested, tried and released in the Alipore
bomb case but when he was threatened again with fresh
arrest for seditious writing in Karmayogin; he decided
inexplicably to abandon politics and armed resistance. As in
1906, the British Government in 1909 again empowered the
Muslim community while simultaneously decapitating the
Hindu nationalist leadership. The Minto-Morley reforms of
1909 granted the Muslim League demand for separate
electorates for Muslims, and thus Muslim separatism acquired
a sharper edge. In more ways than one, the year 1909 was a
turning point in the political destiny of the Hindus.

Unable to cope with the barbaric use of British State power,
which left the nationalist movement in complete disarray,
Aurobindo, immediately after his release on May 6, 1909 in his
famous Uttarapara Speech delivered on May 30, 1909,
signaled his retreat from active politics and armed resistance;
justifying this abdication as deference to what he termed was
the call of his inner voice. To his own physical advantage but
to the detriment of Hindu nationalism, Aurobindo declared his

Tilak was sentenced to transportation and removed to Mandalay in Burma,
over 3000 miles away. The life expectancy of an average British male in 1908
was around 48 years while for an average Indian male living in conditions of
slavery would have been even less. The barbarity of British rule can be
estimated from the fact that Tilak was aged 52 years when he was sentenced to
transportation to Mandalay.
The very idea of Transportation, if it werent so tragic, would be
considered black humour. That invaders who were forcibly occupying territory
not their own, were actually transporting natives of that territory as
punishment, to alien lands surely belongs to the realm of the absurd. For details
of Savarkars trial and the sentence, see end of chapter.
intention to depart from Bengal, his political karmabhumi and
seek refuge in the distant French colony of Pondicherry down
South, beyond the reach of the British government and
henceforth work only for the spiritual uplift of the nation.
Relieved on this front, the British took further measures to
ensure that Hindu armed resistance from within the INC was
effectively neutralized. A part of this grand strategy was to get
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who had already positioned
himself against armed resistance, against the nationalists and
who always spoke with tremendous affection and awe of the
English, to quietly occupy the space vacated by the

1.8 The rise and retreat of Aurobindo
There is a stark difference in the style and content of
Aurobindos writings in the two distinct periods before and
after he left for Pondicherry, which accurately reflect his state
of mind and his life mission. From 1893 until mid-1908 when
he was arrested, his writings focus on the political
disempowerment of Indians; he is most scathing when he
attacks Western civilization and English education; and his
language is lucid and powerful; most importantly, he connects
Hindu dharma to national political objectives. Aurobindo
unambiguously articulated the contours and substance of the
Hindu rashtra, but the major lacuna in his thinking and writing
at this time and even later, was that while he bemoaned
Indias enslavement to shopkeepers and traders, he failed to
make the vital connection between Hindu rashtra and the
critical importance of Hindu rajya to protect and sustain the
rashtra. Then from mid-1909 when he was released from jail,
he made a deliberate disconnect between politics and
spirituality. Fatally for Hindu nationalism, he completely
renounced active involvement in politics and gave nationalism
an unconvincing, un-Hindu spiritual-only connotation. As this
detachment was against Hindu ethos, his writings became
ponderous, thoughts laborious, and language unnatural;
obviously neither Aurobindo nor his later writings inspired or
galvanized Hindus towards political action or towards

Inexplicably scholars have failed to note that Aurobindo and
his inner voice communicated with each other in poor
imitation of ponderous Biblical English, and that the voice
exhorted him in much the same manner as the Christian God
probably exhorted Jesus before sending him to earth on his
mission to establish the kingdom of god on earth.
If Thou art, then Thou knowest my heart. Thou
knowest that I do not ask for Mukti
, I do not
ask for anything which others ask for. I ask only
for strength to uplift this nation, I ask only to be
allowed to live and work for this people whom I
love and to whom I pray that I may devote my
life. I strove long for the realisation of yoga

and at last to some extent I had it, but in what I
most desired, I was not satisfied. Then in the
seclusion of the jail, of the solitary cell I asked
for it again, I said, Give me Thy Adesh
. I do
not know what work to do or how to do it. Give
me a message. In the communion of Yoga two
messages came. The first message said, I have
given you a work and it is to help to uplift this
nation. Before long the time will come when you
will have to go out of jail; for it is not my will
that this time either you should be convicted or
that you should pass the time, as others have to
do, in suffering for their country. I have called
you to work, and that is the Adesh for which you
have asked. I give you the Adesh to go forth
and do my work. The second message came
and it said, Something has been shown to you
in this year of seclusion, something about which
you had your doubts and it is the truth of the
Hindu religion. It is this religion that I am raising
up before the world; it is this that I have
perfected and developed through the Rishis
saints and Avatars
, and now it is going forth to
do my work among the nations. I am raising up
this nation to send forth my word.... When
therefore it is said that India shall rise, it is the
Sanatan Dharma that shall rise. When it is said
that India shall be great, it is the Sanatan
Dharma that shall be great. When it is said that
India shall expand and extend herself, it is the
Sanatan Dharma that shall expand and extend

Ultimate liberation from life and re-birth
The perfect union and harmony of mind and body
Directive or injunction
In Hindu religious tradition, the repositories of knowledge and wisdom
Earthly manifestation as some life-form of the Divine also known as
Ishvara, Brahman or Narayana
itself over the world. It is for the Dharma and by
the Dharma that India exists.

Thus, Aurobindos inner voice
told him that he should not
allow himself, like others, to be convicted again and to spend
time suffering for his country in jail. Obedient to its call,
Aurobindo redefined his nationalism (unconvincingly) and his
mission. Aurobindos towering intellect accurately analysed the
nature of the monumental work nationalists had to undertake
to rejuvenate the nation. Hindu dharma and its adherents and
structures had been weakened by the ruthless use of state
power by successive Muslim rulers and Christian-colonialism;
Hindu society had been debilitated economically by the
organised rapacity of the East India Company followed by
British Crown rule, and assaulted culturally as foreign
missionaries ran amok pitting caste against caste. The result
was all-pervasive economic, spiritual and cultural deprivation,
and enervating tamas (inertia) in thought and action.

Tilak and Aurobindo failed to articulate the crucial point that
this all-pervasive weakening and deprivation was effected by
alien faiths which machinated within Hindu society with the full
backing of their respective state powers. Had they considered
and articulated this unambiguously in their writings and made
this the core of public discourse, its natural corollary would
have been for Tilak and Aurobindo to not only postulate total
and complete independence from colonial rule as the goal of
the freedom movement, which was the content of their
Swaraj in the early 1900s, but also to assert that Swaraj
was synonymous with Hindu rajya protecting the Hindu

Articulating such a demand would have entailed confronting
the reality that Hindu society had to unshackle itself from
Christian-colonialism and all its structures and institutions, and
acquire the capacity to thwart Muslim efforts to re-establish
Muslim rule in India after the departure of the British. The
political expositions of both Tilak and Aurobindo failed to

Excerpt from Aurobindos landmark Uttarapara Speech, May 30, 1909 Sri
Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, Vol. 2, page 1 (Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo
Ashram, 1972).

This was startlingly reminiscent of J esus too exhorting his disciples after his
Resurrection. Later, Gandhi also held his inner voice responsible for every
act of appeasement towards Muslims and of coercion of Hindus.
address the question of how Hindus could undertake all-round
rejuvenation of their society, religion and nation without state
power and with colonial structures and separatist Muslims in
their midst. Savarkar however confronted the issue frontally
and in his Presidential address at the 21
session of the Hindu
Mahasabha in Kolkata in 1935, stated his apprehensions
bluntly and with startling foresight
No realist can be blind to the probability that the
extra-territorial designs and the secret urge
goading on the Moslems to transform India into
a Moslem State may at any time confront the
Hindusthani State even under self-government
either with a Civil War or treacherous overtures
to alien invaders by the Moslems. Then again
there is every likelihood that there will ever
continue at least for a century to come a danger
of fanatical riots, the scramble for services,
Legislative seats, weightages out of proportion
to their population on the part of the Moslem
minority and consequently a constant danger
threatening internal peace.

Despite witnessing growing Muslim separatism and despite
their sound understanding of the substance and character of
the Hindu nation, Tilak and Aurobindo failed to grapple with
the potential consequences of Muslim hostility to a Hindu
polity, and its implications after the end of colonial rule. But
my line and intention of political activity would differ
considerably from anything now current in the field, said
Aurobindo, to justify his abdication of political responsibility to
the Hindus, though he never spelled out how he differed and
how he envisioned the course that Indian polity would have to
take to realise and protect the Hindu rashtra. This was his core
incompetence and failure.

Contemporary nationalists have an important lesson to learn
from 1909: in stark contrast to the manner in which Hindu
society had habitually confronted the onslaught of Islam over
centuries, English education and the tantalizing exposure to
western modernism eroded our spirit of resistance and
lowered our threshold for physical and mental pain. Perhaps
Aurobindos spirit was broken by the Rajs persistent assaults
upon his person and his physical and intellectual liberty, and
perhaps because he and other nationalists were physically
isolated from each other and rendered alone without support
from even the INC which fell under the complete sway of the
moderates; the truth however remains that Aurobindo
abandoned politics despite knowing that politics was critically
important at that time and sought personal solace in

Two important Congress leaders from Nagpur, Dr. Moonje and
Dr. Hedgewar, who would later be renowned as the founder of
the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), with a chilling
premonition about the tragic consequences which would afflict
the nation after the advent of Gandhi in India, persuaded
Aurobindo in 1920 to return to active politics immediately and
assume Presidentship of the soon-to-be-held Nagpur
Dear Dr. Munje,
As I have already wired to you, I find myself
unable to accept your offer of the Presidentship
of the Nagpur Congress. There are reasons even
within the political field itself which in any case
would have stood in my way. In the first place I
have never signed and would never care to sign
as a personal declaration of faith in the
Congress creed, as my own is of a different
character. In the next place, since my
retirement from British India, I have developed
an outlook and views which have diverged a
great deal from those I held at the time and, as
they are remote from present actualities and do
not follow the present stream of political action,
I should find myself very much embarrassed
what to say to the Congress. I am entirely in
sympathy with all that is being done so far as its
object is to secure liberty for India, but I should
be unable to identify myself with the programme
of any of the parties. The President of the
Congress is really a mouthpiece of the Congress
and to make from the presidential chair a purely
personal pronouncement miles away from what
the Congress is thinking and doing would be
grotesquely out of place.
The central reason however is this that I am no
longer first and foremost a politician, but have
definitely commenced another kind of work with
a spiritual basis, a work of spiritual, social,
cultural and economic reconstruction of an
almost revolutionary kind, and am even making
or at least supervising a sort of practical or
laboratory experiment in that sense which needs
all the attention and energy that I can have to
spare. A gigantic movement of non-cooperation
merely to get some Punjab officials punished or
to set up again the Turkish Empire which is dead
and gone, shocks my ideas both of proportion
and of common sense.

Divorced from politics, Aurobindos writings after May 1909
lacked the originality and inspirational fire characteristic of his
works between 1893 and 1908. More than anyone else in that
period, barring perhaps Savarkar, Aurobindo perceived that
the Moderates and Gandhi were leading the Congress and the
nation in a direction that would inevitably prove suicidal for
the Hindus. Hence his flight from the political arena in 1909
became the single most important cause for Gandhis entrance
and subsequent occupation of that space; Aurobindos
adamant refusal to return to active politics even after 1914
when Gandhi returned to India, pushed the nation inexorably
towards vivisection in 1947 and Hindu political
disempowerment thereafter.

Thus in 1909, barely three years after the creation of the
Muslim League, the stage was set for the ascent of Mohandas
Karamchand Gandhi on Indias political stage. His arrival was
timed to neutralize the powerful and growing influence of Tilak
and Aurobindo. Lord Minto considered Aurobindo the most
dangerous man we have to deal with at the present, whose
writings prior to and in Jugantar and Bande Mataram, together
with Tilaks fiery writings in Kesari and Mahratta, were
inflaming Hindu passions within the INC and among educated
Hindus. I attribute the spread of seditious doctrines to him
personally in a greater degree than to any other single
individual in Bengal, or possibly in India, Edward Baker,
Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, said of Aurobindo. There can
be no doubt that the raging fire of Swaraj and Swadeshi as
articulated by Aurobindo and Tilak in their writings and
speeches, threatened the British stranglehold on a restive
nation. Tilak was in jail; Aurobindo had abdicated, Bande
Mataram was closed down by the British in 1909; Gandhi and
Gandhis Hind Swaraj were ready to take over.

Aurobindos Letter to Dr. Moonje, August 30, 1920 Vol. 26, page 432.
1.9 Why Hind Swaraj
In 1906, Gandhi had just begun his satyagraha in South
Africa, two years after the fire of Aurobindos Boycott or
swaraj and swadeshi passive resistance had begun to rage in
Bengal. As a tool of engagement with the British government,
it had not been tested adequately or frequently enough
between 1906 and 1909 for its efficacy when Hind Swaraj was
written; nor had Gandhis own character been tested on the
crucible of consistency for his doctrine of satyagraha to
deserve elevation to the status of Indias sole symbol of moral
force. It is also pertinent to note here that the narrow
objectives of his struggle in South Africa, that of ending laws
discriminatory to Indians (alone), would not be achieved until

These facts need to be borne in mind considering that in
January 1915, when Gandhi returned to India for good from
South Africa via London, he arrived as de jure leader of the
freedom movement, even though he would not be nominated
President of the INC until 1918. This leadership position flowed
from Indians accepting the skillful propaganda that Gandhian
Satyagraha was an effective and morally superior tool of
engagement with the British Raj as opposed to Aurobindos
passive resistance. Satyagrahas moral superiority in turn
rested on the moral authority then vested in Gandhi, which in
turn rested on his public pronouncement of abstinence from
conjugal relations and the misinformation that ahimsa was the
primary dharma of Hindus.

Englishmen then close to Gandhi, along with vested interests
in the Indian National Congress who were close to the Raj,
especially Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Pheroze Shah Mehta and
Surendranath Banerjea, were behind the motivated
propaganda that propelled Gandhi and his satyagraha
prematurely to undeserved heights. In the period 1906-1909,
none of Gandhis public writings suggested that he
contemplated returning to India in the near future to
participate in the freedom movement, let alone assume
leadership of the INC.

The question legitimately arises: why did Gandhi pen the Hind
Swarajin 1909? What is more, why did he personally translate
it post-haste into English in just a few months and publish it
with alacrity in 1910? From a confidential letter Gandhi wrote
in 1909 to Lord Ampthill, former Governor of Madras and Pro
Tempore Viceroy of India (discussed later), it is apparent that
by this time he had made up his mind (or he had been
persuaded to make up his mind) to play a decisive role within
the INC and the freedom movement. We can safely deduce
from the letter itself that the subject matter of Gandhis letter
to Ampthill would have been concealed from the general
Indian public of the time and even the leaders of the INC,
except perhaps Gokhale.

To quote Hind Swaraj
Had I not known that there was a danger of
methods of violence becoming popular, even in
South Africa, had I not been called upon by
hundreds of my countrymen, and not a few
English friends (emphasis added), to express my
opinion on the Nationalist movement in India, I
would even have refrained, for the sake of the
struggle, from reducing my views to writing.
But, occupying the position I do, it would have
been cowardice on my part to postpone
publication under the circumstances just
referred to

A reader would legitimately wonder what position Gandhi
claims to be occupying at this time in the struggle in South
Africa against the British Government. We shall, however see
later from the timeline of his sojourn in South Africa, that
between 1906 and 1909, Gandhi enjoyed easy access to
important officers of the British Government and Members of
Parliament in London. It is notable that at this time, well
before the outbreak of the First World War, the British Empire
was at it peak and regarded as invincible. It seems unlikely
that the Empire would smile benevolently upon a mutineer and
allow its highest officials to hobnob with an inconsequential
native posing a genuine challenge to the Empire in the
mineral-rich South Africa.

It seems logical to conclude therefore, that the INC leadership,
specifically Gopal Krishna Gokhale, then a member of the
prestigious Viceroys Council, Dadabhai Naoroji and Sir William
Wedderburn, took the initiative to promote Gandhi as future
leader of the INC with the British government. Within a month
of the extremely significant Calcutta Congress in September

Hind Swaraj, Preface to the first English Edition, J ohannesburg, March 20,

1906, Gandhi was in London on a deputation to meet with
important government officials. Also in London were Dadabhai
Naoroji and Wedderburn. Gandhi met them in London in
October 1906 and also with Winston Churchill no less!
Gokhales patronage fanned Gandhis political ambitions, first
kindled in South Africa, and gave them the thrust that took
him to the forefront of the INC in 1915, which after the exit of
Tilak and Aurobindo was leaderless and rudderless.

In retrospect, it seems likely that Gopal Krishna Gokhale and
Gandhis English friends asked him to write a prescriptive book
whose central theme would focus on how Indians should view
and deal with the colonial administration. Hind Swaraj was
written only to project Gandhi as a political theorist no less,
and as a contrast to Aurobindo and as Aurobindos intellectual
peer. The leadership of the Moderate section of the Congress
built up Gandhis Satyagraha as a foil to Aurobindos passive
resistance. Gokhale and Gandhis White friends may have
wished Gandhis Satyagraha to influence the INC with his
variation of passive resistance to put an immediate end to
and ultimately halt all violent attacks against British
government officials. The INC moderates favoured Gandhi
propagating his satyagraha as the only tool of engagement
with the colonial power in order to boost their sagging
relevance within the Hindu community and perpetuate their
status as sole representatives of the Indian people in all such
engagements, as the Raj was making major concessions to the
recalcitrant Muslim community with whose leadership it was
similarly engaged.

The British saw great merit in covertly promoting the view that
Gandhis Satyagraha was an effective tool, and in fact the only
legitimate tool of engagement for Indians with the British
government. Satyagraha was perceived as a guarantor of the
safety of British lives in the immediate present, and the
assurance of safe passage for the British while exiting from
India. Certainly the Raj was not short-sighted. When Winston
Churchill met the still inconspicuous Gandhi in London in
October 1906, the first steps in the plan to transport Gandhi
back to India had been taken.

1.10 Significance of Gandhis letter to Lord Ampthill
Prior to his appointment as Governor of Madras in 1901, Lord
Ampthill was Principal Secretary to Joseph Chamberlain, father
of future Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. In an extremely
private and confidential letter dated 30 October 1909, during
his second visit to London from South Africa, again on
deputation, Gandhi gave Lord Ampthill a preview of Hind
Swaraj and revealed his intention to play a major role in the
freedom movement. Discussing his politico-economic ideas
and the respective philosophies of the leaders of the freedom
movement, Gandhi positions himself to Lord Ampthill as a
possible future leader of the INC, as an alternative to the
extremist leadership for which he repeatedly expresses great
disdain, and as an alternative even to the Moderates.

As the British had ruthlessly persecuted and decimated the
nationalists in the INC, and as the Moderates were
projecting him as some kind of leader in 1909, it is
inexplicable and even indefensible that Gandhi secretly
positioned himself as a future leader by expressing negative
opinions about both sections of the INC to an influential British
Government official who had intimate knowledge of the
freedom movement and its leaders in his capacity as Governor
and later as Viceroy. Gandhi writes

Opposed as I am to violence in any shape or
form, I have endeavoured specially to come into
contact with the so-called extremists who may
be better described as the party of violence.
This I have done in order to if possible to
convince them of the error of their ways.

Let us not forget that Gandhi is actually speaking in this vein
to an important British government official about Tilak,
Aurobindo and Savarkar. He reveals to the colonial official the
seething anger of the people against the British, unmindful or
possibly uncaring about the fact that the administration might
consider his report as an authentic account of the mood and
sentiment of the people and may resort to even greater
repression against the INC leadership and the common

I have noticed that some of the members of this
party are earnest spirits, possessing a high
degree of morality, great intellectual ability and
lofty self-sacrifice. They wield an undoubted
influence on the young Indians here. They are
certainly unsparing in their efforts to impress
upon the latter their convictions.

An awakening of the national consciousness is
unmistakable. But among the majority it is in a
crude shape and there is not a corresponding
spirit of self-sacrifice. Everywhere I have noticed
impatience of British rule. In some cases the
hatred of the whole race is virulent. In almost all
cases distrust of British statesman is writ large
on their minds. They (the statesmen) are
supposed to do nothing unselfishly. Those who
are against violence are so only for the time
being. They do not disapprove of it. But they are
too cowardly or too selfish to avow their
opinions publicly. Some consider that the time
for violence is not yet. I have practically met no
one who believes that India can ever become
free without resort to violence (emphasis

This letter was written in 1909 and it is pertinent that just
three years previously, Lord Ampthill had served in India as
Governor of Madras between 1901 and 1906 and pro tem
Viceroy in India in the wake of Lord Curzons retirement and
would have been a man of great influence in London in 1909.
It would thus appear that the timing, tone and content of
Gandhis letter to Lord Ampthill would in contemporary slang
amount to squealing; he was, to put it politely, informing
Lord Ampthill, about his views regarding the Moderates, the
Extremists, and also the ordinary people of India. There is no
plausible reason why Gandhi should discuss the opinion of the
people of India about British rule and the British people, the
INC, and the nature of the freedom movement with Lord
Ampthill. Yet he constantly makes use of highly expressive
terms such as virulent, violence, hatred, selfish, and
cowardly to describe ordinary Indians. There can be no doubt
that Gandhi was presenting himself to an important British
government official as a non-violent pacifist alternative, and
was seeking British legitimacy and grace to assume the
leadership of the INC and the freedom movement!

Gandhi positions himself
Holding these views, I share the national spirit but I
totally dissent from the methods whether of the
extremists or of the moderates. For either party relies
ultimately on violence.

Gandhi signals his intention
I do not know how far I have made myself
understood and I do not know how far I carry
you with me in my reasoning (emphasis added).
But I have put the case in the above manner
before my countrymen. My purpose in writing to
Your Lordship is twofold. The first is to tell Your
Lordship that, whenever I can get the time, I
would like to take my humble share in national
regeneration and the second, is either to secure
Your Lordships cooperation in the larger work if
it ever comes to me or to invite your criticism.

The operative part of the letter
The information I have given Your Lordship is
quite confidential and not to be made use of
prejudicially to my countrymen. I feel that no
useful purpose will be served unless the truth be
known and proclaimed.

This truth that Gandhi made known and proclaimed to an
important Englishman contained the reality of Gandhis views
and intentions, and also the truth about the mood of Indians
and the consequent nature of the freedom movement. Hence
it is against this backdrop that we must critique Gandhis
Satyagraha and ahimsa, and its consequences for the nations

Knowing what we now know, it seems safe to conclude that
Gandhi wrote Hind Swaraj to counter and neutralize the fiery,
inspirational writings of Tilak and Aurobindo, with the aim of
weaning the nation away from the methods pursued by
nationalists like the Chapekar brothers, Tilak, Aurobindo,
Savarkar and Madanlal Dhingra. Gandhis South African
satyagraha was to provide an alternative to Aurobindos
passive resistance, to armed struggle; and Hind Swaraj was
intended to be the definitive Word for Gandhis nascent cult of
satyagraha monotheists, with Gandhi as the Last Prophet. His
mandate was to douse the fire of Hindu nationalism, and as
leader of the Congress, to-direct the INC back to the path
desired by the Raj when it instructed A.O. Hume to create the

Interestingly, Hind Swaraj was originally titled Indian Home
Rule. The fact that Gandhi renamed it Hind Swaraj, seizing
the slogan of Tilak and Aurobindo, signaled to Indians and the
British his intention to challenge the political doctrines and
philosophy of Tilak and Aurobindo on their home turf. In Hind
Swaraj, Gandhi pays glowing tributes to Hume, Gokhale and
Naoroji, completely ignoring and dismissing with scant respect
Tilak, Aurobindo and Savarkar.



I Savarkar sentenced to a double term of Transportation
for life Fifty Years!
As retribution for the sentence of Transportation meted out to
Ganesh Damodar (Babarao) Savarkar, Veer Savarkars elder
brother and Dhingras martyrdom, the revolutionaries in
Nashik, Anant Kanhere, Karve and Deshpande conspired and
assassinated A.M.T. Jackson, the Collector of Nashik on 21
December 1909. Savarkar, in London at that time, developed
double-pneumonia and was shifted to Dr. Muthus hospital in
Wales to recuperate. In hospital Savarkar received a telegram
from Shyamji Krishnavarma informing him of Jacksons
assassination. Following Dhingras assassination of Sir Curzon
Wyllie, Savarkar was arrested at Victoria Station, London on
13 March 1910 when arriving from Paris on an Indian warrant,
charging him with sedition and inciting to murder in India.
The extradition of Savarkar was handled at the highest level.
On 29 June 1910, then Home Secretary Winston Churchill
issued the following order, Now I, the Right Honourable
Winston Leonard Churchill, do hereby order that the said
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar be returned to the Empire of
Accordingly, on 01 July 1910, Savarkar was made to board the
S.S. Morea to bring him to India. The Governor of Bombay Sir
George Clarke who played a major role in Savarkars
conviction had this to say, V.D. Savarkar, a Konkanastha
Brahmin, was one of the the most dangerous men that India
has produced. He was the leading spirit at the India House
when the murders at the Imperial Institute were planned, and
one of his satellites accompanied the wretched assassin
Dhingra to keep him to his fatal resolve. Savarkar sent twenty
Browning pistols, purchased in Paris, to Bombay and one of
them was used for the murder of Mr. Jackson at Nasik.
It was on 08 July 1910 while S.S. Morea was docked at
Marseilles that Savarkar made his epic leap into the ocean and
braving bullets, he swam to the French soil. His subsequent
arrest and handover to British Police on French soil caused an
international furore. The case went to the International Court
of Justice at The Hague.
Savarkar was lodged initially in Nashik and then in Yerawada
Jail, Pune. The British Government rejected efforts to stay his
trial till the international ramifications of his arrest by British
detectives on French soil had settled. Finally, the Government
of the French Republic and the Government of His Majesty,
having agreed by means of an exchange of notes dated
October 4 and 5, 1910, to submit to arbitration, on the one
hand the questions of fact and right raised by the arrest and
the taking back, on board the Steamship Morea on July 8
1910, at Marseilles, of the Indian Vinayak Damodar Savarkar,
who escaped from boat on which he was a prisoner, and on
the other hand, the claim of the Government of the republic
for the surrender of Savarkar agreed to an arbitration
In the meanwhile, Savarkars trial began at the Bombay High
Court on 15 September 1910 before a three-judge bench.
There were 37 co-accused in three cases running concurrently,
an unprecedented number for the trial of any revolutionary!
The following eight charges were slapped on all the accused in
the three cases:
1. Waging war against the King Emperor for a period of
three years till December 1909 in Nashik and other
places in India, and in London in the case of Savarkar
2. Attempt to wage such a war
3. Indulged in conspiracy to that end
4. Conspired to commit crimes under Section 121 of the
Indian Penal Code
5. Conspired to deprive the King Emperor of the
sovereignty of India
6. Conspired to overawe the Government of India or the
Government of Bombay by criminal force
7. Collected arms and explosives with the aim of waging
8. Concealed by illegal means the objective of waging war
The marathon trial lasted for 69 days. The sentence was read
on 24 December 1910. It said, We find the accused guilty of
abetment of waging war by instigation, by circulation of
printed matter inciting to war, the providing of arms and the
distribution of instructions for the manufacture of explosives.
He is therefore, guilty of an offence punishable under section
121 A of the Indian Penal Code. We also find him guilty of
conspiring with others of the accused to overawe, by criminal
force or show of criminal force, the Government of India and
the Local Government. Savarkar was sentenced to
Transportation for Life and forfeiture of all property.
On the very day (29 November 1910) the task of collecting
evidence in the Nashik Conspiracy Case was completed, the
Bombay Government sent a telegram to the Government of
India asking that a second trial of Savarkar on charges of
abetting the Jackson murder be started after the outcome of
the tribunal at The Hague. The Government of India replied
that it could not wait for the tribunal to give its verdict. On
behalf of the Government of I ndia, Lord Hardinge
opined, Savarkar is an extremely dangerous man and
would be regarded as a hero and his influence and
power for mischief would be greatly increased if set
free. Actually, Savarkar was in London when Jackson was
assassinated. The evidence of having sent pistols and
pamphlets had already been used in the first trial. However,
the Government was hell-bent on securing death penalty for
Savarkar. Hence it charged that the pistol used to kill Jackson
was one of the many sent by Savarkar. The charge-sheet said
that while in London in 1909, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
abetted the murder of A.M.T. Jackson on 21 December 1910
and was involved in the same and had thus committed crimes
under Sections 109 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code. For
this, Savarkar was sentenced on 30 January, 1911, to
Transportation for Life for a second time. On hearing this
sentence, Savarkar made the following remarkable statement,
I am prepared to face ungrudgingly the extreme penalty of
your laws in the belief that it is through sufferings and sacrifice
alone that our beloved Motherland can march on to an
assured, if not a speedy triumph.
NOTE: One Transporation for Life meant 25 years; thus two
sentences of Transportation for Life meant 50 years.
However, after a few years in the Cellular Jail, as per the Jail
manual, prisoners were allowed to stay outside the Cellular jail
and raise a family. Even this was denied to the Savarkar
brothers. In fact their release from the Cellular Jail did not
mean release from jail. They were imprisoned on arrival on
Indian mainland. Even when Savarkar was interned in
Ratnagiri district and prohibited from carrying out political
activities (1924), the stipulated period was five years.
However, the Government periodically extended this term so
that Savarkar was finally unconditionally released only in
Separation of the two brothers
The steamship Maharaja carrying the two Savarkar brothers
Babarao and Tatyarao (Savarkars nickname) from the
Andamans landed in Calcutta on 06 May 1921. From here, the
two brothers were separated. Tatyarao was sent to Alipore
Jail and then in utmost secrecy taken to Bombay. From there,
he was lodged first in Ratnagiri Jail where he was made to
undergo rigorous imprisonment (It was in Ratnagiri Jail that
Savarkar wrote his immortal and seminal book Essentials of
Hindutva; he also organized the shuddhi of a Christian officer
and his wife while in Ratnagiri Jail) and then in Yerwada Jail,
Pune. Babarao was initially lodged in Alipore Jail for a day or
two. From there, the two brothers were separated. Babarao
was sent to solitary confinement in the Belgaum Jail (May
1921 to January 1922). From there, he was lodged in
Sabarmati jail. It was only when the Government was
convinced that Babarao would surely die (they did not want a
martyr on their hands) that he was released in September
1922 (Babarao Savarkar was thus in jail from June 1909 to
September 1922).
Savarkar spent 11 years in prison in the Andamans, another
three years in Indian jails followed by over thirteen years
interned in Ratnagiri.