Defence must be aggressive

Sir John Woodroffe invites us to a vigorous self-defence.
But defence by itself in the modern struggle can only end in
defeat, and, if battle there must be, the only sound strategy
is a vigorous aggression based on a strong, living and mobile
defence; for by that aggressive force alone can the defence itself
be effective. Why are a certain class of Indians still hypnotised
in all fields by European culture and why are we all still hypnotised
by it in the field of politics? Because they constantly saw
all the power, creation, activity on the side of Europe, all the
immobility or weakness of a static inefficient defence on the side
of India. But wherever the Indian spirit has been able to react,
to attack with energy and to create with ´eclat, the European
glamour has begun immediately to lose its hypnotic power. No
one now feels the weight of the religious assault from Europe
“Is India Civilised?” – 1 63
which was very powerful at the outset, because the creative
activities of the Hindu revival have made Indian religion a living
and evolving, a secure, triumphant and self-assertive power. But
the seal was put to this work by two events, the Theosophical
movement and the appearance of Swami Vivekananda at
Chicago. For these two things showed the spiritual ideas for
which India stands no longer on their defence but aggressive
and invading the materialised mentality of the Occident. All
India had been vulgarised and anglicised in its aesthetic notions
by English education and influence, until the brilliant and sudden
dawn of the Bengal school of art cast its rays so far as to be seen
in Tokio, London and Paris. That significant cultural event has
already effected an aesthetic revolution in the country, not yet by
any means complete, but irresistible and sure of the future. The
same phenomenon extends to other fields. Even in the province
of politics that was the internal sense of the policy of the socalled
extremist party in the Swadeshi movement; for it was a
movement which attempted to override the previous apparent
impossibility of political creation by the Indian spirit upon other
than imitative European lines. If it failed for the time being, not
by any falsity in its inspiration, but by the strength of a hostile
pressure and the weakness still left by a past decadence, if its
incipient creations were broken or left languishing and deprived
of their original significance, yet it will remain as a finger-post
on the roads. The attempt is bound to be renewed as soon as a
wider gate is opened under more favourable conditions. Till that
attempt comes and succeeds, a serious danger besets the soul of
India; for a political Europeanisation would be followed by a
social turn of the same kind and bring a cultural and spiritual
death in its train. Aggression must be successful and creative if
the defence is to be effective.

VOLUME 20
THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SRI AUROBINDO p62-63

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