MANY are familiar with Barindra Kumar Ghose as Sri Aurobindo’s younger brother and fellow-accused in the Alipore Bomb Case of 1908–9. He was convicted in that trial and sentenced to death, a sentence that was later commuted to transportation for life in the Cellular Jail in the Andamans. After his release under a general amnesty in January 1920, Barin, as he was popularly known, returned to the mainland, where he took up the work of editing several journals and periodicals. He also wrote more than twenty books. We introduce in this issue a reprint of his autobiographical prison narrative The Tale of My Exile, the story of his twelve years in the Andamans along with six others convicted in Alipore Bomb Case. Barin describes the brutality and humiliation of life behind bars but he usually tempers his descriptions with humour, and always affords us a view of the underlying good nature and spirit of these young revolutionaries imprisoned along with criminal types and subject to very harsh conditions. In this excerpt he describes the back-breaking labour demanded of the inmates in the Cellular Jail:
     About this time a veritable comet arose in the heavens of our destiny in the person of a new Superintendent. Our fate was sealed. Immediately after his coming he ordered some of us to be engaged in oil-grinding.…Each had to turn out per day either 10 lbs. of mustard oil or 30 lbs. of coconut oil. Even robust and stalwart fellows get prostrated in turning an oil-mill. It passes words to describe what became of people like us. Two Pathan petty officers were the supreme authority in that part of the jail where oil was ground. As soon as we entered the region, one of them held his fist upon our nose and explained with vehement emphasis that our nose would be flattened out with blows, if we did not work properly. We had to run up to the third storey, each with a 50 lb. sack of coconuts on the back and a bucket in the hand and start immediately the work. It was not work, it was regular wrestling. Within 10 minutes, our breathing became difficult, our tongues got parched. In an hour, all the limbs were almost paralysed. We cursed the superintendent in our wrath, but all that was useless. Once I thought that I would find relief if I could only weep at the top of my voice. But I felt ashamed to do even that. When we got down at 10 o’clock to take our meal, we saw that our hands were all bruised, our brains reeled, the whole world danced before our eyes. The first object that attracted my attention was Hemchandra [one of the seven Alipore Bomb Case prisoners] sitting quiet in a corner….There was non equal to Hemchandra for bearing pain and suffering with a smiling face, for calmly determining the future in the very thick of terrible struggle and difficulty. When some of us were so much overwhelmed with suffering that they were up to doing anything, it was he who infused into them his calm strength of mind and kept them back.

     Originally written in Bengali, the book was translated by Nolini Kanta Gupta and published in 1922. The text in English and in Bengali has been out of print for a very long time. This new edition contains an introduction and several photographs, including some of the Alipore Jail in Calcutta and the Cellular Jail in the Andamans.

     Barin and his fellow political prisoners exemplified the spirit of sacrifice that ignited the freedom movement in those days. One of the most potent sources of inspiration for the young Bengalis who became revolutionaries was Bankim Chandra Chatterjee’s book Anandamath. This well-known historical novel is based on the Sannaysi Rebellion in Bengal during the late eighteenth century and, after its publication in 1882, became a stirring patriotic and political symbol for the nationalist movement. The next book introduced in this issue is a reprint of an early English translation by Sri Aurobindo and Barindra Kumar Ghose. Sri Aurobindo translated the Prologue and the first thirteen chapters of Part I of Bankim’s Bengali novel and published them in the Karmayogin between August 1909 and February 1910. All the remaining chapters were translated by Barin Ghose, and the entire book was later published.

     Sri Aurobindo admired Bankim’s work on many levels. In 1894, soon after his return to India and shortly after Bankim’s death, Sri Aurobindo wrote seven essays on the life and work of Bankim for the Indu Prakash, a weekly Marathi-English newspaper of Bombay. Some years later, for the April 1907 issue of the weekly newspaper Bande Mataram, he wrote the article “Rishi Bankim Chandra”, in which he called Bankim a “seer and nation-builder”. The ideas of complete self-sacrifice and devotion to the work of national liberation, the need for self-discipline and organisation in this work, and an intense feeling of religious patriotism are all themes which find expression in Anandamath. Sri Aurobindo wrote in the 1907 essay on Bankim that “of the new spirit which is leading the nation to resurgence and independence, he is the inspirer and political guru.”

     Another new book is an annotated compilation from the writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother titled Spiritual Heritage of India: Past, Present and Future. The excerpts highlight Sri Aurobindo’s insight into India’s spiritual heritage, his analysis of critical problems faced by a modern India and the world, and his and the Mother’s shared vision for India’s role in the spiritualisation of the human race. And to conclude, we draw attention to the new title in Arabic, a translation of Integral Healing, a compilation from the writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Notably, this is the first time that Sri Aurobindo Ashram has published a book in Arabic.



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ENGLISH

coverThe Tale of My Exile

Twelve Years in the Andamans
— Barindra Kumar Ghose
ISBN: 978-81-7058-991-4
Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Publication Department, Pondicherry
Binding: Soft Cover
Pages: 143
Price: Rs 95

Barindra Ghose, Sri Aurobindo’s younger brother, was sentenced to death in 1909 in the Alipore Bomb Case, a sentence later commuted to transportation for life in the Cellular Jail at Port Blair in the Andamans. He was released from there in January 1920 as part of a general amnesty. Told with honesty and humour, this book is the story of his imprisonment with some of his fellow revolutionaries, from the Alipore Jail to the hold of the SS Maharaja to the Cellular Jail and a hard life of deprivation, forced labour, and humiliation by the prison authorities. Translated from the original Bengali into English by Nolini Kanta Gupta and first published in 1922, this new edition includes an introduction and editorial notes.

coverAnandamath

— Bankim Chandra Chatterjee
ISBN: 978-81-85289-13-7
Publisher: Ashir Prakashan, Saharanpur
Binding: Soft Cover
Pages: 203
Price: Rs 200

The famous Bengali novel Anandamath was first published in 1882. It is set in Bengal during the famine of 1770 and tells the story of an armed band of Sannayasis who lead a rebellion against the British East India Company. The book later became a symbol for the struggle for independence and its well-known hymn Bande Mataram a rallying cry for the freedom movement. Bankim’s writing was much admired by Sri Aurobindo, and his translation of the Prologue and the first thirteen chapters of Part I of Anandamath first appeared in the Karmayogin. The rest of the work was translated by his brother Barindra. This book is a reprint of an earlier edition which contained both their translations.

coverSpiritual Heritage of India

Past, Present and Future
— An annotated compilation based on the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother
ISBN: 978-81-88847-44-0
Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Delhi Branch Trust, New Delhi
Binding: Soft Cover
Pages: 127
Price: Rs 65

The selections in this compilation, drawn primarily from the writings of Sri Aurobindo, are brief indicators to the much deeper considerations of India’s spiritual heritage on which Sri Aurobindo wrote with such insight. The extracts highlight his constructive approach to the past, gleaning the essential truths of Indian philosophy and culture, and applying them to an analysis of modern-day sociological ideas. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother envisioned a reshaping of the Indian spirit in new moulds, a renaissance that will lead the way in the spiritualisation of the human race.

coverSignificance of Death

— Selections from the Works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother
ISBN: 978-81-7060-316-0
Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry
Binding: Soft Cover
Pages: 40
Price: Rs 30

ARABIC

coverAlshifaa Almotakaamel

— Mosanaf men Aamaal Shriaurobindo wal Om
ISBN: 978-81-7058-989-1
Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Publication Department, Pondicherry
Binding: Soft Cover
Pages: 276
Price: Rs 230

Arabic translation of Integral Healing

This book of selections from the writings and talks of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother presents their insights into the causes and cure of illness. It examines the mechanism of illness primarily from a psychological point of view, taking into account the whole of our being including much that is beyond the range of our normal awareness. It explores how the hidden causes of physical disorders can be uprooted by discovering and utilising one's inner power and participating consciously in the accelerated evolutionary process known as Integral Yoga.

The book is divided into 4 parts, "Psychological Causes of Illness", "Cure by Inner Means", "Cure by Spiritual Force" and "Medicine and Healing".

BENGALI

coverJeeban-Mantra

— Satadal
Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Sthan, Kolkata
Binding: Hard Cover
Pages: 111
Price: Rs 200

coverPramatha Chowdhurir Patrabali

Suresh Chandra Chakraborty (Moni) ke
— Sankalan o Sampadana Supriyo Bhattacharya
Publisher: Indiana, Kolkata
Binding: Hard Cover
Pages: 142
Price: Rs 130



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