December 12, 2007

Dress rehearsal at Midnapore in December 1907

In the meantime, as if it was meant to be a dress rehearsal of the coming Congress session, the Nationalists and Moderates of Bengal clashed at Midnapore where the District Conference was held from 7 to 9 December 1907. The imprisonment of some of his principal co-workers in Bengal, the exile or disappearance underground of some others, and the publicity that the Bande Mataram case had given to his work, all compelled him [Sri Aurobindo] openly to lead the Nationalists at Midnapore.

Surendranath, who led the moderates, was unable to persuade Sri Aurobindo to agree to a resiling towards the moderate position. In the open session, there was a “vehement clash” between the two parties, and the Moderate leaders called in the police to restore order. After the clash, the Nationalists held a separate conference with Sri Aurobindo as President, and thereby gave a lead to Bengal and a warning to the stage-managers of the Surat Congress. The Lokamanya was overjoyed and asked Sri Aurobindo to bring as many Nationalist delegates as possible to Surat so that their cause might not suffer by poor representation.

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