Friday, August 21, 2009
The Cripps Mission and the Partition of India
In view of the controversy generated by the latest book of former External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh on the role of Jinnah at the time of the Partition of the subcontinent, it is interesting to read what Sri Aurobindo said five years earlier when the Cripps Mission visited India.
It is clear from Sri Aurobindo's declaration that India missed the boat in 1942. Later, bitterness increased and positions hardened, when Sri Aurobindo pointed out to the golden opportunuty, Gandhi, Nehru and other Congress leaders were not ready to listen. India is still paying today for the short-sightedness of its leaders. I have collected a few documents on Sri Aurobindo's intervention at the time of the Cripps Mission. Click here to see the documents.
To quote Nirodbaran, Sri Aurobindo's attendant: "Duraiswamy went with India's soul in his "frail" hands and brought it back, downhearted, rewarded with ungracious remarks for the gratuitous advice. Sri Aurobindo even sent a telegram to Rajagopalachari and Dr. Munje urging them to accept the Proposals. Dr. Indra Sen writes, "We met the members individually and the sense of the reactions were more or less to this effect: Sri Aurobindo has created difficulties for us by his message to Cripps. He doesn't know the actual situation, we are in it, we know better... and so on." Cripps flew back a disappointed man but with the consolation and gratified recognition that at least one great man had welcomed the idea. When the rejection was announced, Sri Aurobindo said in a quiet tone, "I knew it would fail." We at once pounced on it and asked him, "Why did you then send Duraiswamy at all?" "For a bit of niskama karma," was his calm reply, without any bitterness or resentment. The full spirit of the kind of "disinterested work" he meant comes out in an early letter of his - (December 1933), which refers to his spiritual work: "I am sure of the results of my work. But even if I still saw the chance that it might come to nothing (which is impossible), I would go on unperturbed, because I would still have done to the best of my power the work that I had to do, and what is so done always counts in the economy of the universe."