Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Aryan Myth

  • The first point to note is that the idea of the Aryans as foreigners who invaded India and destroyed the existing Harappan Civilization is a modern European invention; it receives no support whatsoever from Indian records - literary or archaeological.

  • The same is true of the notion of the Aryans as a race; it finds no support in Indian literature or tradition. The word 'Arya' in Sanskrit means noble and not a race.

  • The word Dravida in the Rig-Veda (III.61.6) means treasure or prosperity. In Atharva-Veda (XVIII.3.1), the word dravina alludes to property or wealth. Progressive societies rarely expel their wealthy citizens and it seems illogical that Aryans should have expelled Dravidians.

  • As far as ancient India is concerned, one may safely say that the word Arya denoted certain spiritual and humanistic values that defined her civilization. The entire Aryan civilization - the civilization of Vedic India - was driven and sustained by these values.

  • The word Arya, according to those who originated the term, is to be used to describe those people who observed a code of conduct; people were Aryans or non-Aryans depending on whether or not they followed this code.

  • The idea of the invading Aryan race can be traced to the aspirations of eighteenth and nineteenth century Europeans to give themselves an identity that was free from the taint of Judaism.The Old Testament gives the traditional history of mankind. It is of course a Jewish creation. The New Testament is also of Jewish origin.

  • Many scholars such as Kant and Herder began to draw analogies between the myths and philosophies of ancient India and the West. In their attempt to separate Western European culture from its Judaic heritage, many scholars were convinced that the origin of Western culture was to be found in India rather than in the ancient Near East.

  • The British ruled India, as they did other lands, by a divide-and-conquer strategy. They promoted religious, ethnic and cultural divisions among their colonies to keep them under control. One of these ideas is that India is a land of two races - the lighter- skinned Aryans and the darker-skinned Dravidians - and that the Dravidians were the original inhabitants of India whom the invading Aryans conquered and dominated.

  • Europeans thinkers of the era were dominated by a racial theory of man, which was interpreted primarily in terms of color. They saw themselves as belonging to a superior 'white' or Caucasian race. They had enslaved the Negroid or 'black' race. As Hindus were also dark or 'colored', they were similarly deemed inferior. The British thus, not surprisingly, looked upon the culture of India in a similar way as having been a land of a light-skinned or Aryan race (the north Indians), ruling a dark or Dravidian race (the south Indians).

  • Europeans Vedic interpreters used this same racial idea to explain the Vedas. The Vedas speak of a battle between light and darkness. This was turned into a war between light skinned Aryans and dark skinned Dravidians. Such so-called scholars did not bother to examine the fact that most religions and mythologies including those of the ancient American Indians, Egyptians, Greeks and Persians have the idea of such a battle between light and darkness (which is the symbolic conflict between truth and falsehood), but we do not interpret their statements racially. In short, the Europeans projected racism into the history of India, and accused the Hindus of the very racism that they themselves were using to dominate the Hindus.

  • As Huxley pointed out long ago, there was never any scientific basis for the Arya race or their incursion. It was entirely a product - and tool - of propagandists and politicians. Giving it a linguistic twist was simply an afterthought, dictated by special circumstances and expediency.

  • The idea of Aryan and Dravidian races is the product of an unscientific, culturally biased form of thinking that saw race in terms of color. There are scientifically speaking, no such things as Aryan or Dravidian races.

  • Biologically both the north and south Indians are of the same race, only when closer to the equator the skin becomes darker, and under the influence of constant heat the bodily frame tends to become a little smaller.l

  • The grammar of Sanskrit and it's highly systematized alphabet also had little to do with any "Aryan" invasion. Sanskrit is a highly structured and methodical language, optimized for engaging in rational debates and expressing mathematical formulas. And it's skillfully organized alphabet bears little resemblance to the rather random and arbitrary alphabet of it's European cousins.

  • Well before the 1857 uprising it was recognized that British rule in India could not be sustained without a large number of Indian collaborators.Recognizing this reality, influential men like Thomas Babbington Macaulay, who was Chairman of the Education Board, sought to set up an educational system modeled along British lines that would also serve to undermine the Hindu tradition.

  • Religious conversion and colonialism were to go hand in hand. As Arun Shourie has pointed out in his recent book Missionaries in India, European Christian missions were an appendage of the colonial government, with missionaries working hand in glove with the government. In a real sense, they cannot be called religious organizations at all but an unofficial arm of the Imperial Administration. (The same is true of many Catholic missions in Central American countries who were, and probably are, in the pay of the American CIA. This was admitted by a CIA director, testifying before the Congress.)

  • It was Max Muller as much as anyone who popularized the notion of Arya as a race. Max Muller, though a scholar was an agent of the British government paid to advance its colonial interests.The British hired Max Muller to use this theory to turn the Vedas into an inferior scripture, to help turn educated Hindus into Christian collaborators.

  • The people who resided at Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, and other sites were culturally Aryan is thus confirmed by the decipherment of the Harappan script and its identity with Sanskrit family.
  • There is no solid evidence that the Aryans belonged to a nomadic tribe. In fact, to suggest that a nomadic horde of barbarians wrote books of such profound wisdom as the Vedas and Upanisads is nothing more than an absurdity and defies imagination.

  • "Everything has come down to us from the banks of the Ganges - astronomy, astrology, metempsychosis, etc." Voltaire

  • "Our archaeologists' dreams of India being full of dark-eyed aborigines, and the bright Aryans came from - the Lord knows where. According to some, they came from Central Tibet; others will have it that they came from Central Asia. There are patriotic Englishmen who think that the Aryans were all red haired. Others, according to their idea, think that they were all black-haired. If the writer happens to be a black-haired man, the Aryans were all black-haired. Of late, there was an attempt made to prove that the Aryans lived on Swiss lake. I should not be sorry if they had been all drowned there, theory and all. Some say now that they lived at the North Pole. Lord bless the Aryans and their habitations! As for as the truth of these theories, there is not one word in our scriptures, not one, to prove that the Aryans came from anywhere outside of India, and in ancient India was included Afghanistan. There it ends..." Swami Vivekananda.