Studies in History, Vol. 23, No. 1, 93-133 (2007) DOI: 10.1177/025764300602300103© 2007 SAGE Publications Negotiating Nationalisms Representations of Ireland in the Political Thinking of Sri Aurobindo Ghosh Arpita Sen Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan
In an interview given to Henry W. Nevinson in December 1907, Aurobindo Ghosh had spoken about his purpose regarding the Swadeshi Movement which, he explained, was the Irish policy of Sinn Fein—a universal swadeshi not limited to goods but including every phase of life. Many of his articles written between 1894 and 1910 and comments after 1910 also contain allusions to Ireland and its freedom struggle in different contexts. However several years later, sometime between 1943 and 1946, by which time Aurobindo had become a mystic, at his ashram in Pondicherry Aurobindo took recourse to an entirely different position. This article is an attempt to find out answers to the contradictory stand taken by Aurobindo in regard to Ireland and its freedom struggle by analysing his political writings, interviews and comments which contained references to Ireland and its freedom struggle.
In the larger context, this article attempts to analyse the conflict inherent in the personality of a Western-educated Bengali. This article argues that Aurobindo had knowledge of the developments in Ireland and was influenced by them to a certain extent, which in turn shaped his representations of Ireland that shifted over time. Aurobindo's representations of Ireland were determined by his changing experience of the two worlds, Occidental and Oriental, and suggest that liminality and hybridity are necessary attributes of the colonial man and as such colonial identities are always a matter of flux and agony. Full Text (PDF) References Articles by Sen, A.