Venue: Pondicherry University Inauguration Date: August 15, 2019 Exhibition Dates: August 15-25, 2019
“India must have Swaraj in order to live for the world, not as a slave for the material and political benefit of a single purse-proud and selfish nation, but a free people for the spiritual and intellectual benefit of the human race.” (Sri Aurobindo)
On the occasion of 73rd Independence Day of India, a special poster exhibition titled “Sri Aurobindo and Indian Freedom Movement” was inaugurated at Pondicherry University. The exhibition conceived, designed and presented by Sri Aurobindo Foundation for Indian Culture (SAFIC), Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry was inaugurated by Prof. Gurmeet Singh, Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor, Pondicherry University, on August 15, 2019 at the Bharat Ratna Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Administrative Building.
The inaugural event was preceded by the hoisting of Indian national flag by Hon’ble VC. Many prominent scholars and faculty members from various departments of the university, administrators, and students attended this event. Several members of SAFIC team, headed by its director, Dr. Sampadananda Mishra were also present. A group of school children visiting from the USA, currently studying about Indian knowledge systems and cultural heritage at SAFIC also attended this event.
The exhibition, which continued till August 25, 2019, highlighted the momentous role Sri Aurobindo played in the early years of Indian freedom movement. A specific time period, 1893 to 1910, was selected to weave together a narrative to highlight the most important ways in which Sri Aurobindo participated in some significant political and revolutionary events. The year 1893 is chosen because that is when Sri Aurobindo returned to India after spending 14 years of student life in England.
The period of 1893-1906, or the Baroda years, highlights the key revolutionary work of Sri Aurobindo – primarily done through the might of his pen as a writer whose words could stir up deep emotions of patriotic fervour and zeal among his contemporaries. Sri Aurobindo’s political writings continue to stir the soul of all Indians who love their motherland. Much of his political activity also happened behind the scenes, which included his being the force in bringing together different revolutionaries working toward India’s freedom. The exhibition also provides a few interesting details on some of the other nationalistic leaders of the time, particularly those with whom Sri Aurobindo worked closely.
The years from 1906 to 1910 include the time Sri Aurobindo spent in Bengal, where he actively participated in political activities, including speaking at several public events and rallies. The exhibition also highlighted his arrest in 1908 in regard to the famous Alipore bombing case, and his eventual acquittal exactly a year later. The primary narrative of the exhibition ends in the year 1910, when Sri Aurobindo left for Pondicherry.
Walking through the forty beautifully designed posters, which included relevant quotes and passages from various sources including Sri Aurobindo’s political and autobiographical writings, one could get a very clear picture of the immense contribution Sri Aurobindo made toward India’s freedom struggle. While throughout the exhibition, one could get a sense that Sri Aurobindo’s political work was guided by his deeper vision for India’s future and her destined work as a free and independent nation toward the betterment of the world and humanity, the last few posters of the exhibition brought this point home more emphatically.
SAFIC has been working closely with several departments of Pondicherry University, developing and offering various educational programmes based on selected insights and perspectives from the larger vision and thought of Sri Aurobindo. This is their second exhibition designed for Pondicherry University; the first one titled ‘Nari Shakti: Woman, an Indomitable Spirit’ was organised on the occasion of International Women’s Day in March 2019.
The exhibition “Sri Aurobindo and Indian Freedom Movement” was open for all from August 15 to August 25, 2019.
The inauguration ceremony was covered by the media. A report in The Hindu can be accessed HERE.
Report prepared by SAFIC