A Rare Press Interview of the Mother

Dear Friends,

On 31 October 1954 the Mother had given a rare press interview on the eve of the merger of Pondicherry with India. This interview was published on 2 November 1954 in ‘The Times of India’. We are immensely thankful to Shri Sandeep Joshi who has collected this rare press coverage and send it to us.

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee

Founder,

Overman Foundation.

                                                       *

                         French Example for Portugal

                                       “MOTHER’S PLEA”

PONDICHERRY, October 31: The “Mother,” the principle disciple of Shri Aurobindo and head of the ashram inPondicherry, today declared: “If the Portuguese are reasonable they should follow the example of France.”

She made the statement in one of her rare press interviews.

In a special interview on the eve of the merger of Pondicherry, the “Mother” referred to the attitude of the Portuguese in regard to Goa.

Asked what steps would she suggest if the Portuguese refused to negotiate for a solution of the problem, she said: “Human beings succeed, even if they do the right thing only when the time appointed by the Divine arrives.

“In cases like this, people think and react with external feelings, and it is generally because of misunderstanding between people and between countries that they get hurt and do things that are not right but increase the troubles in the world instead of diminishing them. If nations answer one another in this violent manner, violence will never end.

“If the Portuguese can be on the side of truth, justice and goodwill, then grace will be theirs, and also Divine help,” the “Mother” said.

                                            “INDIANS ARE RIGHT”

“It is evident that Indians are right when they are seeking to have Goa integrated with their land. If they go on with faith and confidence in Divine grace which necessarily will be always on the side of what is true they will help in hastening conclusions of this issue in many ways. It may be that reason will come to the Portuguese. Such things do happen sometimes.”

The “Mother” called upon the people of Pondicherry“to be straight forward and have goodwill to one another.”

She was giving a message to the people of the Settlement on the eve of Independence Day.

The message said: “Be straight forward, be honest. Have goodwill to one another and do your best in life. Progress as much as you can and public affairs will go on all right.”

She was asked what part the Ashram would play to promote the best traditions of French culture in this area. She replied that the Ashram was already a centre of French culture in India and the International University Centre was its outer expression.

 

Advertisements

Anurag Banerjee awarded the Nolini Kanta Gupta Smriti Puraskar

Dear Friends and Well-Wishers of Overman Foundation,

 It gives us immense delight to announce that the Founder and Chairman of Overman Foundation, Shri Anurag Banerjee, has been awarded with the ‘Nolini Kanta Gupta Smriti Puraskar’ for the year 2011 for his contribution in the field of research and education. It is noteworthy that Shri Banerjee is the youngest recipient ever to receive this prestigious award given by ‘Srinvantu’ and Sri Aurobindo Bhawan, Kolkata.

 Under the guidance of Shri Banerjee, Overman Foundation has become India’s only online research institute dedicated to the mission of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. We take the opportunity to congratulate Shri Banerjee and wish him all the success in life.

 The Overman Foundation Team.

Rabindranath Tagore’s letter announcing the renunciation of his Knighthood

Dear Friends,

The year 2011 marks the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore. We adore him for his poems, songs, novels and short-stories which have enriched the Bengali literature. But we tend to forget that he was a great patriot as well. A colleague of Sri Aurobindo at the National Council of Education, he had renounced the Knighthood that was offered to him by the British Government as a mark of protest against the inhuman assassination of innocent people at the Jallianwala Bagh on 13 April 1919.

Today, as a mark of tribute to the great poet-patriot we take the opportunity of publishing Rabindranath Tagore’s letter to the then Viceroy of India, Lord Chelmsford, in which he had formally announced the renunciation of his Knighthood. This letter was published in ‘The Statesman’ on 3 June 1919.

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee

Founder,

Overman Foundation.  

                                                          *

Your Excellency,

The enormity of the measures taken by the Government in thePunjab for quelling some local disturbances has, with a rude shock, revealed to our minds the helplessness of our position as British subjects inIndia. The disproportionate severity of the punishments inflicted upon the unfortunate people and the methods of carrying them out, we are convinced, are without parallel in the history of civilised governments, barring some conspicuous exceptions, recent and remote. Considering that such treatment has been meted out to a population, disarmed and resourceless, by a power which has the most terribly efficient organisation for destruction of human lives, we must strongly assert that it can claim no political expediency, far less moral justification. The accounts of the insults and sufferings by our brothers inPunjab have trickled through the gagged silence, reaching every corner ofIndia, and the universal agony of indignation roused in the hearts of our people has been ignored by our rulers- possibly congratulating themselves for imparting what they imagine as salutary lessons. This callousness has been praised by most of the Anglo-Indian papers, which have in some cases gone to the brutal length of making fun of our sufferings, without receiving the least check from the same authority, relentlessly careful in something every cry of pain of judgment from the organs representing the sufferers. Knowing that our appeals have been in vain and that the passion of vengeance is building the noble vision of statesmanship in out Government, which could so easily afford to be magnanimous, as befitting its physical strength and normal tradition, the very least that I can do for my country is to take all consequences upon myself in giving voice to the protest of the millions of my countrymen, surprised into a dumb anguish of terror. The time has come when badges of honour make our shame glaring in the incongruous context of humiliation, and I for my part, wish to stand, shorn, of all special distinctions, by the side of those of my countrymen who, for their so called insignificance, are liable to suffer degradation not fit for human beings. And these are the reasons which have compelled me to ask Your Excellency, with due reference and regret, to relieve me of my title of knighthood, which I had the honour to accept from His Majesty the King at the hands of your predecessor, for whose nobleness of heart I still entertain great admiration.

Yours faithfully,

Rabindranath Tagore

Calcutta,
6, Dwarakanath Tagore Lane,

May 30, 1919

The Last Photographs of Sri Aurobindo

Dear Friends,

On 25 April 1950, the famous French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson took a number of photographs of Sri Aurobindo in His room. Udar Pinto, who accompanied Henri Cartier-Bresson to Sri Aurobindo’s room recalls:

‘…Mother called me and told me that She had permitted Henri Cartier-Bresson to take photographs of Sri Aurobindo. The Mother wanted me to help him with the handling of the equipment in the room and to assist him. She said, “Cartier-Bresson is going to take photographs. I am giving him permission. So you look after him. Do whatever he wants you to do.”… At that time we didn’t have such powerful lenses. And he said to Mother, “I regret that our present technology has not advanced so much to take a full beautiful picture in insufficient light. I’ll do the best I can.” And then he went to take pictures of Sri Aurobindo sitting in the chair. It was a wonderful and sweet experience, Sri Aurobindo sitting in the chair and I was by the side of the photographer. And he said, “Turn your head like this, look up, look that side, look this side…” Cartier-Bresson said he had never had a model like this who never moved or even blinked.’

Henri Cartier-Bresson too has recalled the experience of taking Sri Aurobindo’s photographs in the following words: ‘Mother was so helpful and She convinced Sri Aurobindo and I came to his bedroom with my camera. The room was so neat and tidy and impersonal. Sri Aurobindo did not blink an eye during the entire ten minutes. I was watching him, he did not seem to belong to that impersonal setting.’ And in a tribute paid after Sri Aurobindo’s mahasamadhi, he remarked: “…when I had the privilege of seeing Sri Aurobindo, I had the impression that he was beyond time…”

Today, we take the opportunity of sharing with you some of the photographs of Sri Aurobindo taken by Henri Cartier-Bresson. These are the last photographs of Sri Aurobindo taken when He was in His physical body.

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee

Founder,

Overman Foundation.