Gandhi’s Ideological Father

Western-educated, impeccable English, and deeply religious, Sri Aurobindo is considered the moral founder of Hindu nationalism (as Jabotinsky is to Zionism).

He is also considered the forefather of Mahatma Gandhi, his generation being the first to boycott the British in the Swaraj (self-rule) movement. From the Wiki:

Swaraj lays stress on governance not by a hierarchical government, but self governance through individuals andcommunity building. The focus is on political decentralization. Since this is against the political and social systems followed by Britain, the concept of Swaraj laid stress on India discarding British political, economic, bureaucratic, legal, military, and educational institutions. –

It is assumed Gandhi is the father of Indian independence, in a sense, this is his grandfather. But far from the virulent, nativist ideology which infuses right-wing nationalism in India today, Aurobindo preached tolerance for all members of society. His attitude on the demand for Muslims to be a separate electorate:

“We do not fear Mahomedan opposition; so long as it is the honest Swadeshi [self-rule] article and not manufactured in Shillong and Simla, we welcome it as a sign of life and aspiration. We do not shun, we desire the awakening of Islam in India even if its first crude efforts are misdirected against ourselves; for all strength, all energy, all action is grist to the mill of the nationbuilder. In that faith we are ready, when the time comes for us to meet in the political field, to exchange with the Musulman, just as he chooses, the firm clasp of the brother or the resolute grip of the wrestler.

That time has not yet come. There is absolutely no reason why the electoral question should create bad blood between the two communities. […] We shall make it a main part of our work to place Mahomed and Islam in a new light before our readers, to spread juster views of Mahomedan history and civilisation, to appreciate the Musulman’s place in our national development and the means of harmonising his communal life with our own, not ignoring the difficulties that stand in our way but making the most of the possibilities of brotherhood and mutual understanding. Intellectual sympathy can only draw together, the sympathy of the heart can alone unite.” – Sri Aurobindo,  Karmayogi, June 1909 

On the validity of other religions:

[Hinduism] has many scriptures, Veda, Vedanta, Gita, Upanishad, Darshana, Purana, Tantra, nor could it reject the Bible or the Koran; but its real, most authoritative scripture is in the heart in which the Eternal has His dwelling.

I’ve found a key philosopher to what I’ve been looking for: the ancestor of my ancestors. Also see his writings in English: Sri Aurobindo – His Writings.

By AFarooqui

I write about the dichotomies present in religion, gathered mostly from discussions with average Jews, Christians, Muslims and atheists.

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