Notes and Letters
to the Editor of Mother India
on Indian and World Events
I don't want Pakistan to endure, made perfectly clear. Division
must go — does not mean that division must be allowed to last in some form or other. Continued partition of India into two
Federations one Hindu and one Muslim even if somehow connected together is no part of my idea of the Union of India.
On the Commonwealth and Secularism
India can't remain in Dominion. It had decided to be a free republic and that can't be changed. On that basis it can have
relations with Commonwealth if it wants.
Spirituality cannot be affirmed in a political constitution.
You can add spirituality in a matter of the Spirit and not of constitutional politics.
On the Unity Party
The Unity Party, Sri Aurobindo says, cannot be said to
represent Sri Aurobindo's views [nor can it be said]1 that
its political programme is backed up by him. But perhaps without
committing yourself you can say there is a Party, especially in Bengal, which is working for Indian Unity
— apart from the
1 MS (dictated) or
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well-known Forward Block which has the same end in view though working on a different line.
On French India and on Pakistan
June 27 1949
I sent you a telegram asking you to withhold the spokesman's statement.2 It was not to be republished. The statement
does not adequately represent Sri Aurobindo's views. It overstresses one point and leaves out others which are as important,
but I see that you have already featured it in Mother India. Anyway Sri Aurobindo doesn't want anything further to be
written about his view on the French India question; what is done is done but in future he wishes to remain silent unless an
imperative need arises for a statement. Just now Sri Aurobindo does not want strong attacks to be made on the policy of the
Congress Government as by their action they have removed many of the difficulties of the Asram and all that it needs for
its institutions are coming in freely as a result of special orders given by the Madras Government so he does not want
to figure as their enemy or opponent. Certain things in their attitude may seem doubtful but he does not want them too
much stressed at present unless it becomes very necessary to do so.
About your Franco-India article, the main objection is that Mother does not want herself to be represented in that way
(or in any way) and she objects to figuring in any special way as a representative of France or French culture. The article is
inopportune at this moment. It contains many statements that would have to be modified or not put forward at all.
As for the contravention article Sri Aurobindo thought that
2 This letter, dictated by Sri Aurobindo, was sent over the signature of Nolini Kanta
Gupta. The "spokesman's statement" was an interview that Nolini gave to a press
agency on 14 June that was published in Mother India on 25 June. See Note on the
Texts, pages 604 5, for details. — Ed.
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one could wait to see what was the further action or attitude or inaction of the Government and whether what was meant
was a complete prohibition of any dealing with the Pakistan issue before you determined the paper's own attitude towards
all that and any extreme action. That does not mean that you will have to postpone indefinitely any necessary decision. If you
think it necessary to take advantage of Nehru's speech that can be done while avoiding committing ourselves to any conflict for
On Cardinal Wyszynski, Catholicism and Communism
As to your proposed article on [Wyszynski]3, it seems to me that it is better to drop the subject. It had and has no value except
as a stick with which to beat the Soviets and their allies. The sole question is in that case whether the man was justified in his
stand for liberty even in that restricted area of religious freedom and the freedom especially of the Catholic religion to be itself,
as every religion has a right to be in all civilised countries and whether it was worth while fighting out that question when the
real question is how to get rid, if now it is at all possible, of the Bolshevik monstrosity and the tyranny with which it threatens
the world. That can't be done by subtly philosophical and even metaphysical articles balancing the rights and wrongs on each
side and the relative wickedness of the Soviets and the Western nations. Many readers might even take it as a justification or at
least a partial condemnation of the prosecuting Government and the martyrdom it has chosen to inflict on the rebellious Cardinal.
And what is the pertinence of the past history of the Roman Catholic Church, especially at a time when we have one of the
most liberal minded Popes or even the most liberal minded Pope in Roman Catholic history? Even if it is only a fight between the
Holy See of Rome and the unholy See of the Kremlin the fight is between one centre of religious intolerance and another centre
of a still more damnable and intolerant religion, — for that is
3 MS (dictated)
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what Bolshevism is, — still why give any latitude to what is by far the worse of the two?
3 August 1949
On the Kashmir Problem
Now let us come to your article. All you have written up to the X mark against the beginning of a para is very good and needed
to be said; but after that there are certain things to which I have to take objection. For instance, why suggest a slur on the whole
Mohammedan population of Kashmir by speaking of "fanatic spell of the name of Allah"? This cannot apply to the Kashmiris
who follow Abdullah and who are in a large majority, they are for his idea of a secular state. The others in Gilgit and elsewhere
are not actuated by religious fanaticism but by political motives. The rest of the sentence should be modified accordingly; the people in the districts who have been rescued from the grip of the rebels have shown strong gratitude for their release and it would
be quite impolitic to ignore by such doubts the sincerity of this gratitude. I am not enamoured of your idea of an understanding
between Pakistan and India, it is not likely that the Pakistan Government will consent to any understanding except one which
will help to perpetuate the partition and be to their advantage. It would be most dangerous to forget Jinnah's motive and policy
in establishing Pakistan which is still the motive and policy of the Pakistan leaders,
— although it would not be politic to say
anything about it just now. If you keep what you have written it should be with the proviso, if there is a change of heart and
if Pakistan becomes willing to effect some kind of junction with India or some overtopping Council of cooperation between the
two federations. But the most amazing thing is your disastrous suggestion of a coalition Government between the loyalists and
the rebels in Kashmir. That would give a position and influence and control over all the affairs of the State to the supporters of
Pakistan which they can never hope to have under the present circumstances. They would be able to appoint their own men
in the administration, use intimidation and trickery in order to press people to vote against their will and generally falsify
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the plebiscite, and they certainly would not hesitate to do all that they could for that end. It might very well knock all the
good cards out of Abdullah's hands and smash up his present predominant chances of a favourable issue of the plebiscite.
There is a passage in your article containing a trenchant suggestion which has puzzled me. You seem to say that India
has been beaten on the military ground in Kashmir and there is no hope of her keeping it or clearing out the invaders; her last
chance is the plebiscite and that is the reason why she is insisting on the plebiscite. Is that at all true? It would mean that Indian
military strength is unable to cope with that of Pakistan and then, if she cannot cope with it in Kashmir in spite of her initial
advantage, can she do it anywhere? If she gives up Kashmir because of her military weakness that encourages Pakistan to
carry through Jinnah's plan with regard to the establishment of Muslim rule in Northern India and they will try it out. I don't
think this is really the case. It was for political motives, I take it, and not from a consciousness of military weakness that India did
not push her initial advantage, and she insisted on the plebiscite, not because it was her last or only chance but because it gave
her the best chance. In a plebiscite on the single and straight issue of joining either Pakistan or India she was and is quite
confident of an overwhelming majority in her favour. Moreover, she does not cling to the plebiscite from motives of ideological
purity and will even refuse it if it is to be held on any conditions other than those she has herself clearly and insistently laid down.
She is quite prepared to withdraw the case from the cognizance of the U.N.O and retain Kashmir by her own means and even,
if necessary, by fight to the finish, if that is unavoidable. That Patel has made quite clear and uncompromisingly positive and
Nehru has not been less positive. Both of them are determined to resist to the bitter end any attempt to force a solution which
is not consistent with the democratic will of the Kashmir people and their right of self-determination of their own destiny. At the
same time they are trying to avoid a clash if it is at all possible.
One thing which both Abdullah and the India Government
want to avoid and have decided to resist by all possible means
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is a partition of Kashmir, especially with Gilgit and Northern Kashmir going to Pakistan. This is the greatest danger but the
details and the reasons for the possibility of its materialising, though they are plain enough, have to be kept confidential or, at
any rate, not to be discussed in public. But if you take account of it, it will be easier to understand the situation and the whole
policy of the India Government. That at least is the stand taken by them and the spirit of the terms they have laid down for the
conditions of the plebiscite. These conditions have been just at this moment published in the newspapers and the whole course
of negotiations with the U.N.O. Kashmir Commission has been laid bare in a public statement. Practically, the Commission
representative has conceded on its part almost all the essential demands and conditions laid down by Nehru. All, however,
remains fluid until and unless the Security Council acquiesces in the arrangements proposed by their own Commission or else
take a different decision and until the plebiscite Administrator is appointed and makes the final arrangements. What will finally
transpire from all this lies as the Greeks used to say on the knees ¯
of the Gods, theon en gounasi keitai. It lies also with the reactions of the Pakistan leaders which are more easily calculable,
but may not show themselves until a possibly much later date.
In any case, it seems to me that our only course is to support
the India Government in the stand they are taking in regard to Kashmir and the terms and conditions they have made, so long
as they do not weaken and deviate from their position. Nothing should be said which would discourage the public mind or call
away the support which the Government needs in maintaining the right course. What I have written on Kashmir is only my
personal view at present based on the information I have and must be kept quite private. But it may perhaps be of some help to
you in determining what you may say or not say about Kashmir.
Since the above was written there has appeared Pakistan's interpretation of the Commission's arrangement for the plebiscite. It looks as if Lozano had made his statements
as smooth as possible to either party so that they got very different impressions of what was meant to be done. However
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there is only one important point and that is about the Azad armies. If these are allowed to remain in arms in the places they
now occupy the plebiscite will become a farce. But the India authorities seem to have received a definite promise from Lozano
that it will be otherwise. We shall have to wait and see what will be the definite arrangements and how the Commission will
get out of this imbroglio. But Pakistan in this matter is showing a mentality that makes one wonder whether it is worth while
your suggesting the possibility of an amicable rapprochement between the two parts of partitioned India such as you have
gone out of your way to elaborate in your article.
c. September 1949
On "New Year Thoughts"
Some of the statements in your article4 do not seem to me quite
convincing, as for instance, the suggestion that one cannot be highly ethical or exaltedly ethical without being religious or
highly religious or even a mystic without knowing it. The article is tremendously manysided and some readers might find it difficult to fit all the sides together; but I put this remark forward as an observation and not as an objection. Manysidedness is a
merit and cannot be regarded as objectionable. Finally I want my "face" in the last sentence to be left out of the picture. I feel its
appearance as an unexpected intrusion there; it had better retire into privacy. As for Nehru, I suppose the fling at him cannot be
regarded as offensive, but I would rather like it, for reasons of my own, if there came upon you a temporary amnesia about his
1 January 1950
Rishis as Leaders
The article can go as the editorial as you propose and the other
arrangements are all right. But I must insist that the last words
4 "New Year Thoughts on Pacifism", by K. D. Sethna. This article was published in
Mother India on 7 January 1951. The printed version incorporated changes suggested
by Sri Aurobindo in this letter. — Ed.
"till we put ourselves in the care of some Rishis among leaders"
shall go out. I do not know of course who may be acclaimed as the Rishi in question,
— the only one with a recognised claim to
the title is not likely to be called from Tiruvannamalai to Delhi and would certainly refuse his consent to the transfer. But it is
evident that the eyes of your readers will turn at once towards Pondicherry and consider that it is a claim for my appointment
either to the place filled so worthily by C. R. or the kindred place admirably occupied by Nehru. I am a candidate for neither office
and any suggestion of my promotion to these high offices should be left to other announcers and the last place in which it should
occur is Mother India. So out with the "Rishi". You may say if you like "till the eyes of India's leaders see more clearly and we
can take our place at your side" or any other equally innocent phrase.
On Military Action
Sri Aurobindo's information is that the India Government
cannot be justly taxed with unwillingness to take even the strongest action demanded by the situation. But there are difficulties in the way hinging on the [attitude]5 of the U.N.O. and the possibility of taking action which could from the military
point of view disable a successful prosecution of the necessary action involved in the step we want them to take. Certain means
are necessary for military success and we can have them only from America. So it is better not to write in haste or to get the
facts of the situation and base what you write upon that. This does not mean that the action has not to be taken but that it
cannot be lightly done; if by a little delay and some secrecy and caution the difficulty can be overcome or avoided, that may be
necessary however unpalatable.
5 MS (dictated) altitude
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The Nehru-Liaquat Pact and After
I am writing to explain the indications I had given of my view that a change has taken place in the situation owing to
the Nehru-Liaquat Pact making the position I took in the letter to Dilip6 no longer quite valid and necessitating a halt for a
reconsideration and decision of policy. I gather from what you have written that you are rather surprised by my view of things
and think that there is no change in the situation; you seem to regard the Pact as a futile affair not likely to succeed or to make
any change in the situation and foredoomed to speedy failure. I would like to know what are the grounds for this view if you
really hold it. I am quite prepared to learn that the situation is quite different from what it seems to be but that must be based
on facts and the facts published in the newspapers or claimed as true by the Congress leaders point in a different direction. There
seems to be something, initially at least, like a radical change in the situation and I have to face it, look at the possible and
probable consequences and decide what has to be done.
What was the situation when the Dilip letter was written and what is it today? At that time everything had been pushed to a point at which war still seemed inevitable. The
tension between Pakistan and India had grown more and more intolerable in every aspect, the massacres in East Bengal still
seemed to make war inevitable and the India Government had just before Nehru's attempt to patch up a compromise made
ready to march its army over the East Bengal borders once a few preliminaries had been arranged and war in Kashmir
would have inevitably followed. America and Britain would not have been able to support Pakistan and, if our information is
correct, had already intimated their inability to prevent India Government from taking the only possible course open to it in
face of the massacres. In the circumstances the end of Pakistan would have been the certain consequence of war. The object we
6 See the letter of 4 April 1950, published on pages 506 7. — Ed.
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had in view would have been within sight of achievement.
Now all this is changed. After the conclusion of the Pact,
after its acceptance by the Congress Party and the Assembly and its initial success of organisation and implementation, its
acceptance also in both Western and Eastern Pakistan, no outbreak of war can take place at least for some time to come and,
unless the Pact fails, it may not take place. That may mean in certain contingencies the indefinite perpetuation of the existence
of Pakistan and disappearance of the prospect of any unification of India. I regard the Pact as an exceedingly clever move of
Liaquat Ali to fish his "nation" out of the desperate situation into which it had run itself and to secure its safe survival. I will
not go elaborately into the reasons for my view and I am quite prepared for events breaking out which will alter the situation
once more in an opposite sense. But I had to take things as they are or seem to be, weigh everything and estimate the position and
make my decisions. I will not say more in this letter, though I may have much to say hereafter: you should be able to understand
from what I have written why I have reversed my course. Our central object and the real policy of the paper stands, but what
steps have to be taken or can be taken in the new circumstances can only be seen in the light of future developments.
Meanwhile I await your answer with regard to the question I have put you. Afterwards I shall write again especially about
the stand to be taken by Mother India.
On the Communist Movement
September 19, 1950
Naturally I am in agreement with the views expressed about Communism in the Manifesto,7 but before associating myself
fully with Masani's organisation and his movement I will have to wait and see how it develops in the field of practical politics.
7 "Manifesto for the Defence of Democracy and Independence in Asia", by Swatantra
Party leader Minoo Masani. — Ed.
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For similar reasons I might expect you as editor of M.I. to wait and see and in that case it would be logical to withhold your
signature while expressing your sympathy with the movement. Whatever is done must be something strong and effective, a blow
that can tell; otherwise, the Communist movement has become so powerful that it can feed upon the shocks one tries to give
it as one can see in the tussle that is going on in the UNO. As to Desai's objections, it seems to me that if any movement of
the kind is made it would be worth while to make it as widely representative as possible and in that case the Socialists like Jai
Prakash who distrust and are opposed to Communism would have to be included. There is such a thing as social democracy
which need not be confused with Communism as it has its own more manageable standpoints: of course I agree with Desai as
regards our standing on the side of Western democracies.
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