To all the south indians and especially tamils out there…CALLING ONESELF AS DRAVIDIAN IS THE SAME AS CALLING YOURSELF A DUMB AND PRIMITIVE LOSER
BBC Accepts that the Aryan Invasion theory is flawed
This is a very important article which calls the cloak off the most damaging theory concocted by the British and served to Indians. Most of the apparent differences that are seen in Indian society like the North-South Divide, Upper caste – Lower caste divides, language problems, can be related to the Aryan-Dravidian theory. I believe that this theory to be the most successful chapter of the British ‘Divide and Rule” policy. They employed Muller as part of Macaulay’s grand scheme to devalue Indian history. So much so, that today we have large sections of “educated Indians” who undermine their own heritage and consider that the British rule as a great chapter in India’s history.
One of the most controversial ideas about Hindu history is the Aryan invasion theory.
This theory, originally devised by F. Max Muller in 1848, traces the history of Hinduism to the invasion of India’s indigenous people by lighter skinned Aryans around 1500 BCE.
The theory was reinforced by other research over the next 120 years, and became the accepted history of Hinduism, not only in the West but in India.
But many people argue that there is now evidence to show that Muller, and those who followed him, were wrong.
Others, however, believe that the case against the Aryan invation theory is far from conclusive.
The matter remains very controversial and highly politicised. The article below sets out the case made by those who believe that the Aryan invasion theory is seriously flawed.
The case against the Aryan invasion theory
The Aryan invasion theory was based on archaeological, linguistic and ethnological evidence.
Later research, it is argued, has either discredited this evidence, or provided new evidence that combined with the earlier evidence makes other explanations more likely.
Some historians of the area no longer believe that such invasions had such great influence on Indian history. It’s now generally accepted that Indian history shows a continuity of progress from the earliest times to today.
The changes brought to India by other cultures are not denied by modern historians, but they are no longer thought to be a major ingredient in the development of Hinduism.
Dangers of the theory
Opponents of the Aryan invasion theory claim that it denies the Indian origin of India’s predominant culture, and gives the credit for Indian culture to invaders from elsewhere.
They say that it even teaches that some of the most revered books of Hindu scripture are not actually Indian, and it devalues India’s culture by portraying it as less ancient than it actually is.
The theory was not just wrong, some say, but included unacceptably racist ideas:
» it suggested that Indian culture was not a culture in its own right, but a synthesis of elements from other cultures
» it implied that Hinduism was not an authentically Indian religion but the result of cultural imperialism
» it suggested that Indian culture was static, and only changed under outside influences
» it suggested that the dark-skinned Dravidian people of the South of India had got their faith from light-skinned Aryan invaders
» it implied that indigenous people were incapable of creatively developing their faith
» it suggested that indigenous peoples could only acquire new religious and cultural ideas from other races, by invasion or other processes
» it accepted that race was a biologically based concept (rather than, at least in part, a social construct) that provided a sensible way of ranking people in a hierarchy, which provided a partial basis for the caste system
» it provided a basis for racism in the Imperial context by suggesting that the peoples of Northern India were descended from invaders from Europe and so racially closer to the British Raj
» it gave a historical precedent to justify the role and status of the British Raj, who could argue that they were transforming India for the better in the same way that the Aryans had done thousands of years earlier
» it downgraded the intellectual status of India and its people by giving a falsely late date to elements of Indian science and culture.
FROM THE MAILING BELOW, U CUD SEE THAT PRO-AIT RESEARCHERS WERE AWARDED THE PADMASHRI AWARD THIS YEAR BY CONGRESS LED GOVERNMENT.
Monday, December 05, 2005
witzel and pals to target BBC next after CA textbook debacle
here’s an earlier mail someone forwarded me from herr witzel, who is crowing — a little prematurely, perhaps. counting der chickens before zey are hatched?
i am so tempted to use all those comic-book words to demean him: schweinhund! achtung! alas, my german fails me: i only remember one sentence from my one-semester technical german at iit madras. “die chemische industrie produziert synthetische stoffe”. actually i remember one more: “gold und silber sind elemente”. i guess i actually know more yiddish than i do german: schmuck, schlemiel, shtik, schmooze, etc.
but it’s unfair to laugh at german for witzel being an ass. incidentally, vikram seth in his kqed forum interview said that he was so upset by nazi documents — he speaks fluent german — that he developed a visceral, if unreasoning, hatred for the language.
maybe witzel, poor fellow, was dropped on his head as a child. that might explain his hatred for hindus. especially considering that he’s supposed to be an expert on sanskrit. sort of kalidasa-ish, in kalidasa’s pre-enlightenment self : he was known for sawing off the branch he sat on. a rather dangerous occuption, of course.
anyway, here’s the rogues’ gallery. i am surprised to see kenoyer’s name in there. note in particular the indians. parpola is the leading ‘dravidianist’ around, and goldman, once upon a time rather a decent person, has turned coat as well, it appears.
oh, and witzel now has plans to attack the bbc website that i remarked on some time ago — it has actually said that the AIT is bunkum. expect the bbc to jump eagerly into witzel’s hot little embrace: they’re just waiting to do their usual india and hindu-bashing.
================= witzel mail ================================
Fra: Michael Witzel [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sendt: 26. november 2005 17:26
Til: Peter Zoller; Garrett G. Fagan; Alexander Vovin; Patrick Olivelle; Boris Oguibenine; Phyllis K Herman; carendreyer Dreyer; Frederick Smith; Lars Martin Fosse; Rajesh Kochhar; Richard Meadow; Stanley Wolpert; Dwijendra Jha; Georg von Simson; Madhav Deshpande; Frank Southworth; Hiroshi Marui; Sudha Shenoy; Asko Parpola; Mohammad Mughal; Don Ringe; S. Palaniappan; Wim van Binsbergen; Homi Bhabha; huang9; David Stampe; Hideaki Nakatani; Jonathan Mark Kenoyer; Stefan Zimmer; Romila Thapar; Muneo Tokunaga; Shereen Ratnagar; Michael Witzel; Sheldon Pollock; Dominik Wujastyk; Parimal G. Patil; Steve Farmer; Robert Goldman; falk Falk; jkirk Kirkpatrick; agnes korn; Scharfe; Kalpana Desai; email@example.com ; Patricia Donegan; Shingo Einoo
Kopi: Arlo Griffiths; Raka Ray; Leonard van der Kuijp; Michael Witzel; John Brockington
Emne: Next step: California Comm. vote on Hindutva changes
success! It seems that we were successful; more details will follow as soon they become available. Here the initial, partial report from people present at the meeting of the California State Board of Education:
This afternoon the California Board of Education voted to approve the school books for adoption in California schools;
seven of eight publishers’ programs were approved (Including the initially rejected Oxford U.P. one, it seems without adding in any of the Hindutva material).
Below, I attach our joint letter for your reference. We had planned to send it to you earlier, but all the back and forth yesterday in preparing for today’s (Wednesday’s) meeting prevented me.
Luckily, we had a California historian of india, Prof. J. Heitzman (UC Davis), present at the meeting who also used a letter written by Prof. Wolpert.
Hence, some more detailed news about the meeting of the California State Board of Education:
The meeting was to decide whether to adopt the changes that have already been suggested, collected in a book containing the massive number of changes.
Comments from the audience: each one to speak for TWO MINUTES each.
The first cohort of speakers included representatives of the Vedic Foundation, who all urged adoption of the changes.
The next major group consisted of a number of Sikh speakers who urged non-adoption of the changes until after the insertion of additional material on Sikhism.
Prof. Heitzman, speaking for us all, then alluded to the “Standards for Evaluating Instructional Materials for Social Content,” section:” Religion; Indoctrination”, urging the Board not to “encourage or discourage belief or indoctrinate the student in any particular religious belief.”
Pointing out that we represent thousands of high-level scholars from all religious backgrounds dedicated to the academic study of South Asian history and culture, he stated that we have two main objections to the current draft that cause us to oppose its adoption:
(1) the consulting base, i.e. Dr. Bajpai, is too narrow for a problem of this complexity; and (2) we “impugn the credentials” of the Vedic Foundation and other Hindu groups to speak competently on issues of South Asian history and religion.
These groups project, either overtly or subconsciously, policies known as Hindutva or “Hinduness” that portray South Asian and specifically Indian identity as Hindu. Their program has ravaged the social studies textbooks of India for the last ten years.
He urged the Board not to allow a religious chauvinism of India to become the policy of the State of California, which would provoke an academic and international uproar. He volunteered the services of the university community specializing in the analysis of South Asia for evaluating the edits and additions proposed for the California textbooks: “We are ready to earn our pay; let us help you.”
Sincere thanks to Prof. Heitzman and to all of you ! This shows how concerted action, even if it comes as late as ours, can be successful.
Incidentally, the next thing to tackle is the BBC website. Let us discuss how to go about it. Please see this:
Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Harvard University
1 Bow Street , 3rd floor, Cambridge MA 02138
1-617-495 3295 Fax: 496 8571
direct line: 496 2990
An excerpt of european appropriation and discourse of world issues
This was one of the comments was posted on a blog in satyameva jeyate site on chomsky’s comments on kashmir. find the link to this very illuminating blog in the blogroll section of this site .
Rajiv Chandran said:
Unlike what many people believe, racism was the offshoot of european and christian imperial dynamics (there is no separating the two) not the other way around. European people went to other lands and claimed it as their own based on the doctrine of ‘christian discovery’ (in spite of not having any historical connections). This was also the rationale for the demonization and subjugation of the heathen and justification for economic exploitation, social dis-empowerment, co-option or subversion of traditions, and appropriation of resources and knowledge.
European historical grand narrative now states that the christian imperative gave way to ‘enlightened’ ideas. However despite liberal claims of finding colonialism abhorrent – it is surprising how fanatically attached most liberals are to the universality of their claims – even though these doctrines are located and born out of their own european, colonial and primarily christian experience. Liberal narrative obfuscates history, confuses issues, spreads blame and implicitly tries to downplay european colonial legacy.
For example a typically liberal enterprise – the current discourse on racism as color discrimination – is faulty, misleading and incomplete. Racism as a function of skin color arose relatively late in eighteenth century America, aiming to prevent newly converted christian blacks in eighteenth century America from escaping slavery. Yet this is the context in which racism is discussed amongst liberals even today – not the original christian religious context – which marginalizes and demonizes the ‘other’. These ideas about racism are then exported and implied to apply in all people – for example castes in India. Liberalism is a contrarian euro-centric narrative which is nevertheless co-opted into the western narrative framework. From this point of view their reluctance to fully deconstruct the Christian and Islamic impulse to convert and subjugate – is evident.
That brings us back to the topic of discussion. One of the important traits of the liberal / western secular narrative is to claim universality of european historical experience which is then used to spread blame. This is pretty evident in the western commentary on Indian society, culture and politics. This is why Chomsky, yourself and other liberals find automatic equivalence between what america did in iraq or what france did in algeria with what India is doing in Kashmir. The dishonesty, we claim is performed by historical sleight of hand and obfuscation of actual issues, use of skewed academic lenses and outright ignorance. It is alright for europeans ot continue with their beliefs but expecting us to believe, internalize and use european methods and worldviews, to condemn ourselves is to stretch things a bit too far.
American involvement in Iraq started in the 20st century, French involvement in Algeria in the 19th. Rest of India’s relationship with Kashmir (amongst many other Indian geographies) goes back ages – to her earliest literature. This is attested in the Puranas (which western historiographers have condemned to the realms of mythology) and the vedas. Kalhana’s Rajatarangini (Kalhana was a kashmiri prince, pundit and historian) – listing all of Kashmir’s dynasties and Kings going back to before 3000 BC (but going back to just under a thousand years or so according to western historians) – listed extensive connections and interrelationships with the rest of India. Many otherwise pure Kashmiri dynasties (including Kalhana’s own) claim descent from the Indian hinterland. Kashmir has been a fount of Hindu Shaivite and Buddhist religious thought – going really far back into history. Even India’s first prime-minister was a Kashmiri pandit. Hence unlke in the case of america and france there is no historical reason to think of India as an colonial presence in kashmir.
We don’t go out of our way to define other people’s identity for them. Yet we see how westerners – of all persuasions – constantly falling over themselves to define the same for us – be it ideas about our faiths, morality, political constructs, economy, social categories, and political borders of our country. Implicit in Noam Chomsky’s articulation of the problem (and your support of it) are assumed definitions of India, Indianity, regional identity etc, ie what India should be according to westerners rather than what she is. These may have nothing to do with perceptions on the ground. Your own previous postings admit your lack of familiarity with details of the case. kashmiri separatists demand a separate kashmir on the basis of religious identity of Islam. If secessionist demands are granted what rationale allows mainland muslims to continue staying on in India ? What about Kashmir’s Hindus and Buddhists ? What about Jammu and ladakh ? What about those muslims who do not want a separate nation.
Mere sloganeering without understanding these issues is intellectually irresponsible and dishonest. And that is exactly what Noam Chomsky (or his ghostwriter) has been