Speech at the Hughly Conference

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Speech at the Hughly Conference  (1909) 
by Sri Aurobindo
Delivered at the Bengal Provincial Conference, held at Hughly, Bengal, on 6 September 1909. First published in the Bengalee on 7 September.

Mr. President and Members: — I desire to say two words before I say anything further — I entreat you to hear me out without expressing or giving any sign either of approval or dissent; I pray you to hear me in perfect silence. This is a resolution which nobody can oppose. It is not my intention to bring any amendment with regard to it, but I have simply to make a brief statement without argument of any kind from the standpoint of myself and those who are of the same way of thinking as myself. You are aware that we have a certain theory of politics, a certain view with regard to political action in this country. We hold that as we have no effective share in the administration of this country, and our position is such that there is no means of having even our prayers and petitions listened to, therefore the only effective course for us to take is, as far as possible, to withhold our co-operation from the Government, until they give us some effective control over the administration and some constitutional means by which we can bring the voice of the people and the weight of public opinion to bear upon the management of the affairs of this country. We hold that in these circumstances we ought to put forward the interests of the country partly by a movement of self-help and so far as we have power to deal with the Government by means of passive resistance, peaceably and within the law. And this passive resistance we do not wish to confine merely to commercial boycott. We hold that it can and should be extended to other kinds of boycott. ("Hear, hear") We don't hold that it should be done with absolute thoroughness but so far as is possible and rational and so far as is wise in the interests of the country. Last year at Pabna a resolution was passed which gave room for our view of politics and it was our intention to press this resolution upon the Subjects Committee. But we found that by pressing the point on the Committee the hope of a United Congress and the unity of Bengal and this Provincial Conference might be seriously imperilled. Now we are extremely anxious for the unity of the Congress. We are anxious we should throw no obstacle in the way of any hope of union, therefore we have decided not to press that amendment in the Subjects Committee, nor to bring forward our full amendment with regard to the reforms. At the same time we want it to be clearly understood that in taking this course we are not for a moment receding from the policy and line we have taken up, and we consider for obvious reasons that it is absolutely necessary for us, especially at this time, to make it clear that we have not receded so far as the resolution goes. We thoroughly support it. But at the same time we wish it to be understood that we keep our position and we adhere to our policy of a boycott — of a boycott movement without any qualification, as a measure of policy for this country, as a political weapon, and as a measure of economical protection. ("Bande Mataram.")


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The author died in 1950, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 60 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.