Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sri Aurobindo On Gandhi's Ahimsa/Satyagraha

28th November, 1940
Letters from Kabul and from Ella Maillard; change in attitude to Gabriel; effective representation of Ella. Gandhi's will – or political will was read (brought by Abhaya Deva) distributed to Gandhi Seva Sangh – spoken orally and taken down; after hearing the whole letter Sri Aurobindo said :
Something in him takes delight in suffering for its own sake. Even the prospect of suffering seems to please him though he puts in a lot of ethics with his justification, the fact is that something in him enjoys suffering.
2. Secondly, if he knows that to the British Government 50 Gandhis would not matter – what does he propose then to achieve politically by his fast? He even knows that the British people are not even going to consider the possibility of Ahimsa!
Page – 295
It is the Christian idea that has taken hold of him. Besides he seems to think that after him his theory and creed of non-violence would continue. I don't think so. A few people would be there but anything like a wide scale influence like that of his personality does not seem possible.
+ + +
I don't object to the world-order but I object to Hitler's world order. "Psychology" would remain unpublished so long as the war lasts because I must known whether Hitler goes up or goes down.
All European publications have been stopped on account of the war.
My contribution to the war fund was not my taking part in politics. It was in view of much wider issues which I have spoken of in my letter, – the issues of human culture and individual and national liberty; and as the English are the only race that stand up for it, I support them.
"Justice" – Englishmen won't be acting according to justice, why should they? Which nation acts on the principles of justice? Why should we expect them to fulfill a standard which we ourselves can't satisfy.
Indian problem has been very badly bungled by Jinnah, and Congress and Mahasabha. They have not been able to play their cards well. That is why they are losing the game.
What is justice after all? To the Socialist denial of all property, liquidation of capitalism is justice. To the capitalist something else is justice.
Congress is asking for freedom of expression but it does not give its own members freedom to express their ideas, if they are against their official policy.
Page – 296
Two ways of securing freedoms by force, by revolution – that cannot succeed so long as we have Jinnahs etc. The only other course is compromise. There you have to give and take, – know your opponent. Generally, the English do not want to go to the extreme or to be continuously repressing. After a time they like to come to a compromise. Generally they arrange the bargain in such a way that they gain in the compromise. They want to be respected. They don't like to be called bad.
Fast and Satyagraha changing the heart of the opponent is absurd. What it can do is to exert pressure and secure some concession.
But it can't succeed if it challenges the very existence of the other force. For instance, Gandhi succeeded in settling the labour question because the capitalists did not want to earn public obloquy. So they gave concession to his demands. But suppose instead of some demands of amelioration he had asked them to hand over the mills to the workers then he would not have succeeded.
All the talk of change of heart is absurd. If it changes anything, it may change only the mind – not the heart. The man may not like to face the consequences and so would give in without changing the heart.
The English have also some constitutional mind. So once they give, they don't go back upon their word. They don't want anyone else to walk into India when they walk out of it. They are afraid of that happening if they leave India now. It would certainly mean civil war and any other power can walk into India. They have proclaimed that they would grant Dominion Status which amounts to Independence except one or two matters like defense and foreign affairs.
Page – 297 ....

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