Aravinda Ackroyd Ghose

Other names: 

Sri Aurobindo

Aurobindo Ghose


St Paul's School
Talgarth Street Hammersmith
London, W14 9DJ
United Kingdom
51° 29' 25.9548" N, 0° 12' 39.2076" W
King's College, CambridgeCB2 1ST
United Kingdom
52° 12' 15.588" N, 0° 7' 2.064" E
Date of birth: 
15 Aug 1872
City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Current name city of birth: 
Current name country of birth: 
Date of death: 
05 Dec 1950
Location of death: 
Pondicherry, India
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1879
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 



Although best known for his behind-the-scenes leadership of the Swadeshi protests against the partition of Bengal (1905-8), the anti-colonialist and Hindu revivalist Ghose was a pioneering Indian poet in English in the 1890s.  After his return to India, he published a collection of lyric poems, Songs to Myrtilla (1895), written while in England, and narrative poems based on Indian legends, Urvasie (1896) and Love and Death (1899).  At the same time he embarked on a sustained critique of the reformist Indian National Congress (INC), carried out in journal articles.

The son of a medical doctor, Ghose was brought to England in 1879 and left by his parents, with his two brothers, to study. He was educated privately at St Paul’s School, and then at King’s College, Cambridge, as a classics scholar. His brother was Manmohan Ghose, an 1890s poet associated with the Rhymers' Club (known for its aestheticism), and friend to English critic Laurence Binyon. Ghose passed the Indian Civil Service examination with Distinction but was unable to take up a position as he failed to appear for the riding test. He returned to India in 1892 whereupon he took up a post at Baroda College.

Back in India, Ghose became involved in Indian politics with his brothers. From around 1902 he had contacts with 'revolutionaries' in Bengal and was involved in a number of bomb plots against the British. Ghose was also a friend to Sister Nivedita (Margaret Noble), though this contact was forged in India in the early 1900s. He became editor of Bande Mataram in 1906. In 1910, Ghose left Calcutta for Pondicherry, to flee from prosecution, and became devoted to the practice of yoga. He became a spiritual leader and built up a popular ashram in Pondicherry, retiring from public view around 1926.


Manmohan Ghose (brother), Margaret Noble (contact in India in the early 1910s).

Published works: 

Bande Mataram: Early Political Writings (Pondicherry, 1972)

On Himself (Pondicherry, 1972)

As well as the work mentioned, 1900s articles for Bande Mataram which he edited, various yoga texts after 1910, and also translations, criticism and spiritual writings.

Contributions to periodicals: 

Bande Mataram

Secondary works: 

Boehmer, Elleke, Empire, the National and the Postcolonial (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002). 

Gandhi, Leela, Affective Communities (Delhi: Permanent Black, 2006)

Heehs, Peter, Sri Aurobindo: A Brief Biography (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1989)

Heehs, Peter, Nationalism, Terrorism and Communalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998)

Heehs, Peter, The Lives of Sri Aurobindo (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008)

Iyengar, K. R. S., Sri Aurobindo: A Biography and a History (Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1985)

Purani, A. B. Sri Aurobindo in England (Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1956)

Purani, A. B., The Life of Sri Aurobindo (Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1978)

See also Anita Desai’s novel, Journey to Ithaca, a fictionalization of the mother’s story

Archive source: 

Archive at Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry

Sri Aurobindo Collection, Baroda RO, Baroda