Sri  Aurobindo’s Message to Andhra University 
You have asked me for a message and anything I write, since it
is to the Andhra University that I am addressing my message, if
it can be called by that name, should be pertinent to your University,
its function, its character and the work it has to do. But
it is difficult for me at this juncture when momentous decisions
are being taken which are likely to determine not only the form
and pattern of this country’s Government and administration
but the pattern of its destiny, the build and make-up of the
Messages on Indian and World Events 499
nation’s character, its position in the world with regard to other
nations, its choice of what itself shall be, not to turn my eyes in
that direction. There is one problem facing the country which
concerns us nearly and to this I shall now turn and deal with it,
however inadequately,—the demand for the reconstruction of
the artificial British-made Presidencies and Provinces into natural
divisions forming a new system, new and yet founded on the
principle of diversity in unity attempted by ancient India. India,
shut into a separate existence by the Himalayas and the ocean,
has always been the home of a peculiar people with characteristics
of its own recognisably distinct from all others, with its own
distinct civilisation, way of life, way of the spirit, a separate
culture, arts, building of society. It has absorbed all that has
entered into it, put upon all the Indian stamp, welded the most
diverse elements into its fundamental unity. But it has also been
throughout a congeries of diverse peoples, lands, kingdoms and,
in earlier times, republics also, diverse races, sub-nations with
a marked character of their own, developing different brands
or forms of civilisation and culture, many schools of art and
architecture which yet succeeded in fitting into the general Indian
type of civilisation and culture. India’s history throughout
has been marked by a tendency, a constant effort to unite all
this diversity of elements into a single political whole under a
central imperial rule so that India might be politically as well as
culturally one. Even after a rift had been created by the irruption
of the Mohammedan peoples with their very different religion
and social structure, there continued a constant effort of political
unification and there was a tendency towards a mingling of cultures
and their mutual influence on each other; even some heroic
attempts were made to discover or create a common religion
built out of these two apparently irreconcilable faiths and here
too there were mutual influences. But throughout India’s history
the political unity was never entirely attained and for this there
were several causes,—first, vastness of space and insufficiency
of communications preventing the drawing close of all these different
peoples; secondly, themethod used which was themilitary
domination by one people or one imperial dynasty over the rest
500 On Indian and World Events
of the country which led to a succession of empires, none of
them permanent; lastly, the absence of any will to crush out of
existence all these different kingdoms and fuse together these
different peoples and force them into a single substance and a
single shape. Then came the British Empire in India which recast
the whole country into artificial provinces made for its own
convenience, disregarding the principle of division into regional
peoples but not abolishing that division. For there had grown
up out of the original elements a natural system of subnations
with different languages, literatures and other traditions of their
own, the four Dravidian peoples, Bengal,Maharashtra, Gujarat,
Punjab, Sind, Assam, Orissa, Nepal, the Hindi-speaking peoples
of the North, Rajputana and Behar. British rule with its provincial
administration did not unite these peoples but it did impose
upon them the habit of a common type of administration, a
closer intercommunication through the English language and by
the education it gave there was created a more diffused and more
militant form of patriotism, the desire for liberation and the need
of unity in the struggle to achieve that liberation. A sufficient
fighting unity was brought about to win freedom, but freedom
obtained did not carry with it a complete union of the country.
On the contrary, India was deliberately split on the basis of the
two-nation theory into Pakistan and Hindustan with the deadly
consequences which we know.
In taking over the administration from Britain we had
inevitably to follow the line of least resistance and proceed on
the basis of the artificial British-made provinces, at least for the
time; this provisional arrangement now threatens to become
permanent, at least in the main and some see an advantage in
this permanence. For they think it will help the unification of the
country and save us from the necessity of preserving regional
subnations which in the past kept a country from an entire
and thoroughgoing unification and uniformity. In a rigorous
unification they see the only true union, a single nation with a
standardised and uniform administration, language, literature,
culture, art, education,—all carried on through the agency
of one national tongue. How far such a conception can be
Messages on Indian and World Events 501
carried out in the future one cannot forecast, but at present it is
obviously impracticable, and it is doubtful if it is for India truly
desirable. The ancient diversities of the country carried in them
great advantages as well as drawbacks. By these differences the
country wasmade the home ofmany living and pulsating centres
of life, art, culture, a richly and brilliantly coloured diversity
in unity; all was not drawn up into a few provincial capitals
or an imperial metropolis, other towns and regions remaining
subordinated and indistinctive or even culturally asleep; the
whole nation lived with a full life in its many parts and this
increased enormously the creative energy of the whole. There
is no possibility any longer that this diversity will endanger or
diminish the unity of India. Those vast spaces which kept her
people from closeness and a full interplay have been abolished in
their separating effect by the march of Science and the swiftness
of the means of communication. The idea of federation and a
complete machinery for its perfect working have been discovered
and will be at full work. Above all, the spirit of patriotic unity
has been too firmly established in the people to be easily effaced
or diminished, and it would be more endangered by refusing to
allow the natural play of life of the subnations than by satisfying
their legitimate aspirations. The Congress itself in the days
before liberation came had pledged itself to the formation of linguistic
provinces, and to follow it out, if not immediately, yet as
early asmay conveniently be,might well be considered thewisest
course. India’s national life will then be founded on her natural
strengths and the principle of unity in diversity which has always
been normal to her and its fulfilment the fundamental course of
her being and its very nature, the Many in the One, would place
her on the sure foundation of her Swabhava and Swadharma.
This development might well be regarded as the inevitable
trend of her future. For the Dravidian regional peoples are
demanding their separate right to a self-governing existence;
Maharashtra expects a similar concession and this would mean
a similar development in Gujarat and then the British-made
Presidencies of Madras and Bombay would have disappeared.
The old Bengal Presidency had already been split up and Orissa,
502 On Indian and World Events
Bihar and Assam are now self-governing regional peoples. A
merger of the Hindi-speaking part of the Central Provinces and
the U.P. would complete the process. An annulment of the partition
of India might modify but would not materially alter this
result of the general tendency. A union of States and regional
peoples would again be the form of a united India.
In this new regime your University will find its function and
fulfilment. Its origin has been different from that of other Indian
Universities; they were established by the initiative of a foreign
Government as a means of introducing their own civilisation
into India, situated in the capital towns of the Presidencies and
formed as teaching and examining bodies with purely academic
aims: Benares and Aligarh had a different origin but were all-
India institutions serving the two chief religious communities of
the country. Andhra University has been created by a patriotic
Andhra initiative, situated not in a Presidency capital but in
an Andhra town and serving consciously the life of a regional
people. The home of a robust and virile and energetic race,
great by the part it had played in the past in the political life of
India, great by its achievements in art, architecture, sculpture,
music, Andhra looks back upon imperial memories, a place in
the succession of empires and imperial dynasties which reigned
over a large part of the country; it looks back on the more recent
memory of the glories of the last Hindu Empire of Vijayanagar,
—a magnificent record for any people. Your University can take
its high position as a centre of light and learning, knowledge and
culturewhich can train the youth of Andhra to beworthy of their
forefathers: the great past should lead to a future as great or even
greater. Not only Science but Art, not only book-knowledge and
information but growth in culture and character are parts of a
true education; to help the individual to develop his capacities,
to help in the forming of thinkers and creators and men of vision
and action of the future, this is a part of its work. Moreover, the
life of the regional people must not be shut up in itself; its youths
have also to contact the life of the other similar peoples of India
interacting with them in industry and commerce and the other
practical fields of life but also in the things of the mind and spirit.
Messages on Indian and World Events 503
Also, they have to learn not only to be citizens of Andhra but to
be citizens of India; the life of the nation is their life. An elite has
to be formed which has an adequate understanding of all great
national affairs or problems and be able to represent Andhra in
the councils of the nation and in every activity and undertaking
of national interest calling for the support and participation of
her peoples. There is still a wider field in which India will need
the services of men of ability and character from all parts of
the country, the international field. For she stands already as
a considerable international figure and this will grow as time
goes on into vast proportions; she is likely in time to take her
place as one of the preponderant States whose voices will be
strongest and their lead and their action determinative of the
world’s future. For all this she needs men whose training as well
as their talent, genius and force of character is of the first order.
In all these fields your University can be of supreme service and
do a work of immeasurable importance.
In this hour, in the second year of its liberation the nation
has to awaken tomanymore very considerable problems, to vast
possibilities opening before her but also to dangers and difficulties
that may, if not wisely dealt with, become formidable. There
is a disordered world-situation left by the war, full of risks and
sufferings and shortages and threatening another catastrophe
which can only be solved by the united effort of the peoples
and can only be truly met by an effort at world-union such as
was conceived at San Francisco but has not till now been very
successful in the practice; still the effort has to be continued
and new devices found which will make easier the difficult transition
from the perilous divisions of the past and present to a
harmonious world-order; for otherwise there can be no escape
from continuous calamity and collapse. There are deeper issues
for India herself, since by following certain tempting directions
she may conceivably become a nation like many others evolving
an opulent industry and commerce, a powerful organisation of
social and political life, an immense military strength, practising
power-politics with a high degree of success, guarding and
extending zealously her gains and her interests, dominating even
504 On Indian and World Events
a large part of the world, but in this apparently magnificent progression
forfeiting its Swadharma, losing its soul. Then ancient
India and her spirit might disappear altogether and we would
have only one more nation like the others and that would be
a real gain neither to the world nor to us. There is a question
whether she may prosper more harmlessly in the outward life
yet lose altogether her richly massed and firmly held spiritual
experience and knowledge. It would be a tragic irony of fate
if India were to throw away her spiritual heritage at the very
moment when in the rest of the world there is more and more a
turning towards her for spiritual help and a saving Light. This
must not and will surely not happen; but it cannot be said that
the danger is not there. There are indeed other numerous and
difficult problems that face this country or will very soon face it.
No doubt we will win through, but we must not disguise from
ourselves the fact that after these long years of subjection and
its cramping and impairing effects a great inner as well as outer
liberation and change, a vast inner and outer progress is needed
if we are to fulfil India’s true destiny.

December 1948

Complete works of Sri Aurobindo Vol 36 p 498-504


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