Sri Aurobindo: His Political Life and Activities: compiled and edited by Anurag Banerjee. Published by Overman Foundation, Kolkata. Price—E-copy: Rs. 200. (Hard-copy: Rs. 450).
“Sri Aurobindo: His Political Life and Activities” by Anurag Banerjee presents to the reader a well researched account of Sri Aurobindo’s life as a nationalist, a political revolutionary, an educationist in the truest sense, and an inspirer of the youth and countrymen to awaken to the call of the motherland. The compilation provides an insight into the brilliance and determined effort of the son of India to free his country from the clutches of foreign domination as a true patriot. The many events and happenings in pursuance of the goal of complete freedom forIndia have been carefully detailed by Anurag Banerjee in this book. The freedom of the nation was of utmost priority to Sri Aurobindo but it was not his only aim. Sri Aurobindo has brought to us the supreme idea of a liberated humanity. He has shown to us through his writings that liberation is a continuous process in itself. We need to work towards attaining liberation from self interest, fear, ego and separativity at the social, religious, cultural, national or international level. This is why he had deep concerns about the educational system inIndiaof which we find a meticulously detailed description in this compilation by Anurag Banerjee. Of notable concern is Sri Aurobindo’s speech to the students of Bengal National College on August 23, 1907. We find that Sri Aurobindo’s advice to the new generation is not limited by any timeframe, context or institutional boundary but is of immemorial significance to all. The character sketches and reminiscences of Sri Aurobindo by some of his contemporaries which have been included as Appendices in the book are particularly interesting and provide insight into the magnanimous and elegant personality of Sri Aurobindo. I would like to quote a few lines from the character sketch of Sri Aurobindo by Bepin Chandra Pal, p. 418 of the book. “He knew that the foundations of national independence and national greatness must be laid in a strong and advanced system of National Education. He had a political ideal, no doubt: but politics meant to him much more than is ordinarily understood by the term. It was not a game of expediency but a school of human character, and, in its turn, reacting upon it, develop and strengthen the manhood and womanhood of the nation. Education could be no more divorced from politics than it could be divorced from religion or morals.” These lines lead us to relook at the prevalent educational system in the country to assess if it is capable enough to bring out individuals strong in character and values to liberate the nation from the grip of corruption in values and practices. Are we not missing out on passing on the wealth of words spelling wisdom, idealism and strength by the great men ofIndialike Sri Aurobindo to the young learners? This dedicated work by Anurag Banerjee which enlightens its readers on the exemplary life and work of Sri Aurobindo, does lead us to think.
About the Author: Ms. Deepali Gupta is a Faculty Member at Disha Bharti College of Management and Education, Saharanpur. She teaches courses on ‘Human Values and Professional Ethics’, ‘Business Ethics’ and ‘Information Technology.’ She has been working in the field of education and training for over eighteen years now. She is pursuing a doctoral programme in Sri Aurobindo Studies from SACAR (Sri Aurobindo Centre for Advanced Research, Pondicherry). The subject of her research pertains to integrating Sri Aurobindo’s thoughts with contemporary Management Education. Her papers have been published in New Race, a journal of Integral Studies, published by SACAR and in the proceedings of an International Conference. The published works are titled as “Knowledge Societies and Sri Aurobindo’s Vision for the Future”, “The Integral Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo describes the ultimate unifying principle of life”, “Individual and Corporate Well-being”, and “Organizations in the New Millennium—Challenges and Opportunities.”