Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
At the Feet of The Mother

VIII. NATIONALISM. The True Meaning of Freedom (IV)


Freedom is the goal of our political struggle, but there is a difference of opinion regarding the true meaning of freedom. Some say it is full autonomy, some say it is colonial self-government (Dominion Status), and yet others mention that it is ‘Swaraj’, full political independence. The Aryan Rishis used to designate the practical and spiritual freedom and its fruit, the inviolable Ananda, as ‘Swarajya’, self-empire. Political freedom is but a limb of Swarajya, self-empire. It has two aspects — external freedom and internal freedom. Complete liberty from foreign domination is the external freedom, and democracy is the highest expression of the internal freedom. As long as there is an alien government or ruler, no nation can be called a free nation possessing self-empire. As long as democracy is not established, no individual belonging to a nation can be deemed a free man. We want complete independence, free from the servitude to foreigners, complete authority of the individual in his own home. This is our political aim.

I shall describe briefly the cause of this yearning for freedom. For all people, subjection is a messenger and servitor of death. Only freedom can protect life and make any progress possible. Swadharma (self-law) or work and endeavour fixed by one’s own nature is the only path of progress. The foreigner in occupation of the country, even if he is very kind, and our well-wisher, will not think twice about putting the load of an alien dharma on our heads. Regardless of whether his intention is noble or wicked, this can never do us anything but harm. We have neither the strength nor the inclination to advance on the path suitable to the nature of an alien people; if we follow it, we may be able to imitate them well enough, ingeniously covering up our own degradation with the symbols and robes of progress of the foreigner, but during an ordeal our weakness and sterility, resulting from the pursuit of a foreign dharma, will become evident. We too shall die out because of that sterility.

The ancient European nations that were governed by Rome and that adopted her civilisation lived happily for a long time but their eventual plight was dreadful. The abject state to which they were reduced accounted for the loss of their manhood. Such a miserable condition and forfeiture of manhood are the inevitable outcome of a people who adore subjection. Death of the self-law of a people and adoption of an alien law provide the principal basis for the continuation of foreign rule; if even in our bondage we can protect or resurrect the self-law of our being, then the chains of slavery will automatically fall away from us. Therefore, if any nation loses its freedom by its own fault, an untruncated and full independence should be its first aim and political ideal. Colonial self-government is not independence. However, if full power is unconditionally given with it and the nation does not have to abandon its ideal and self-law of being, then it can be a helpful condition prior to full independence.

Now it is being said that to entertain any hope of independence outside the British Empire is a mark of arrogance, an incitement to treason; those who are not satisfied with colonial self-government must be guilty of treason and rebellion against the State and as such must be excluded from all political activity. But a hope or ideal of this nature has nothing to do with treason. From the inception of the British rule, many great English politicians have been saying that an independence of this kind is also the aim of the British officials and even now British judges openly proclaim that propagation of the ideal of freedom and lawful endeavour to attain it do not constitute a violation of the law, nor are they a crime. The solution to the question whether we should be independent outside the British Empire or within it, does not seem to interest the National Party. We want full independence. If the British were to organise such a united empire that the Indians, while remaining within it, could realise their full independence, why should we have any objection to it? We are struggling for independence, not out of spite against the British, but in order to save our country. However we are not prepared to show our countrymen the wrong path of false politics, the wrong way to protect the country by admitting an ideal other than that of full independence.

(Dharma, No. 8, October, 1909)

Related Posts

Back to
To be spontaneous means not to think, organise, decide and make an effort to realise with the personal will.
There is nothing sentimental in the true weeping that comes from the soul. All that you feel now is the blossoming of the psychic being in you and the growth of a real bhakti.