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Thursday, March 10, 2011



Tamil Nadu’s history remains a mystery till date, especially when compared to the extensive coverage that the rest of the country has received on the global plane. This can be largely attributed to the absence of the kind of activity that warrants attention (though Tamil Nadu has had its share of drama throughout). Tamil Nadu has always been away from the global glare due to its capacity to save itself the blushes by somehow sinking under the shell at the right time, be it the period of Mughal siege or the imperialist conquests by foreigners. The relatively conservative attitude of the land’s inhabitants continues to be one of the main reasons behind much of Tamil Nadu’s glorious history being under the wraps. I use the term “relatively” because Tamil history is definitely not devoid of instances highlighting intellectual exchange. Harmonious relations with Ceylon, references to Vedic deities in Sangam literature, Buddhist and Jain leanings in its rich heritage speak volumes about Tamil Nadu’s gregarious attitude. The footmarks left by aliens are far too obvious in Tamil literature and music.
Numerous factors like the aforementioned ones have contributed to Tamil Nadu’s downplayed image in the historical scene. Unfortunately for the people of Tamil Nadu, hearts that wished to take captive of a land plagued by a situation of political stalemate and monotony struck gold by fabricating an action plan, which was essentially an extension of the divide and rule policy employed by the British. The purely unfortunate negligence of Tamil history was dubbed as a devious outcome of northern, more appropriately, Aryan autocracy. Thus emerged loud separatist cries which pressed for a separate “Dravidian” Nadu; a demand that placed the illusionary concept of “race” right at the centre of the proceedings. And look at what we have today: two dominant “Dravidian” parties sweating it out and doing whatever it takes to ascend the throne. The Aryan-Dravidian question was killing me. I set out on mission “vetticism” again. As usual, textbooks and exams took a backseat.
So I glanced through history books with a TR style question in mind: “Yaaruya intha Arya?”! As I brushed through the pages of history, I came across finitely many references to the term Arya in the Rig Veda. But all citations to the word Arya as a racist term or as a term referring to a linguistic group elsewhere pointed fingers at one man: Frederich Max Muller!
The term Arya means “the noble one” and the credit for transforming a normal Sanskrit term into a term that’s defining today’s Indian politics goes to Mr Muller. The reason is simple: Muller, a Nazi revolutionary and a devout Christian other than being a talented scholar with specialisation in manipulation needed solid evidence to shrug off the rug of Jewish influences and initiations that was plaguing their religion.
Religious fanaticism can do funny things to the human mind. In Muller’s case, it inspired him to design a miracle theory which had an affair with expert marketing propelled by enviable funding by the East India Company. German nationalist-British funding: doesn’t seem right? The fuel was religion of-course. Religion unites the extremes!
To Muller’s credit, the theory he formulated seemed extremely believable, so much so that the absence of scientific and archaeological evidence has been bewilderingly ignored; so much so that it forms an unflinching part of the Indian high school history. He proposed that the Aryans were a central Asian Sanskrit speaking barbaric race that descended on India in second century B.C. They drove the aboriginal Dravidians to the southern parts of India and exhibited cunning traits of autocracy to take over India.
They composed the Vedas over a two hundred year period and forcibly enforced it upon the natives. The Aryans who migrated from central Asia were light skinned Europeans and hence the light skinned people who were ruling India before the British were Indo-Europeans who were restricting the growth of civilization. Hence the British introduced the theory of “white man’s burden” which professed that it was the white man’s duty to the civilize the uncivilized! The Aryan theory gave the Nazis an opportunity to discard the theory of Jewish origins.
The absence of solid evidence in this regard has lead to misguidances and misinterpretations being passed off as reality and fiction being marketed as fact. But recently I stumbled upon certain rational “theories” (the stress on the word theory to make it clear that they’re inferences and extrapolations still, only more rationalist and sceptical unlike Muller’s) that claimed to be synonymous with the humbling of the mighty Goliath by the puny David. The Rig Veda describes the flourish of civilization on the banks of a river in full flow, the lost river, Sarasvati. But, by the 2nd century BCE, the Sarasvati was extinct! Hence the Vedas must have been composed much earlier and references in the Yajur and Atharva Veda date back to 6500 B.C. Therefore we can safely infer that the Vedas were composed over a longer period of time and the Aryan “race” never existed. There was never an invasion! We’re Indians: either all of us are Aryans or all of us are Dravidians. Let the separatists decide the convenient word!
Aurobindo also analysed the linguistics and etymology of Tamil and Sanskrit and discovered a striking similarity! The frequent references to Vedic terminologies and Buddhist ideologies in Tamil literature underline our long-lasting association. Indian mythology, laden with abstractions and symbolisms speak of an occasion where Shiva plays the cosmic drum. Tamil phonetics emerges from one end and Sanskrit sounds emanate from the other, signifying the common origin of both the languages.
My astonishment levels reached dizzy heights when I later learnt that Max Muller has never visited India! He is also said to have written a letter to his wife swearing to destroy the basis of Indian civilization: the ancient Indian text by controversial translation full of questionable interpretations; similar lines were uttered by the East India company heavyweight Thomas Macaulay!
So when the whole existence of the Dravidian race is questionable, where is the question of garnering votes on a Dravidian ideology? By swearing to protect the rights of the Dravidians, who are they referring to? The blatant practice of reductionism and separatism is evident! The Dravidian activists are not alone. Their hindutva counterparts, for their part, “created” a manuscript to establish the farce that Harappans were Vedic Aryans! The whole exercise of establishing a race as superior to another seems pointless to me! I wonder if anyone shares my feelings. The biggest joke though seems to be the fact that the ADMK, a leading “Dravidian” party is being spearheaded by an Aryan: an Aryan in Muller’s terms that is!
[References and further reading: Michel Danino’s “The invasion that never was”, “The lost river”;
David Frawley’s works]
I would also like to warn interested readers of the Vedic and “Hindu” pride that occasionally puts its head up in Michel Danino’s works. Nevertheless, his works are festooned with stunning detail and rationalism. The credibility of his works are beyond question, as it’s evident that they’re well researched pieces unlike Muller’s!

This article is a sequel to:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Elections are just around the corner in Tamil Nadu. Trust me, it takes a great deal of effort to convince lazy engineering asses to exercise the ultimate power given to them by the democracy. Jawaharlal Nehru would have been a proud man, had he seen the light of this day: his non-alignment principle seems to have gained a widespread acceptance. The lazy engineering students of today have totally dissociated themselves with the elections; they seemed to have lost faith in the system and hence have completely non-aligned themselves with the system. The common man’s incompetence at the political level and his impossibility to impose change in political domain is just another myth: after all, the Indian jigsaw will remain incomplete without myths, misinterpretations and a multitude of miscalculations and prevarications.
As a part of my “Vetticisms”, I have been conversing with a lot of foreigners. It’s a mere coincidence that most of the people I talked to haven’t visited India. So when I asked them what they knew about my country, the predominant answer was that India is a country of extreme poverty, irrational and illiterate people with religion as the ultimate priority in life. “Disgusting and unfair”, I thought. After a point, I couldn’t stand the mindless verbal butchering of the world’s most rationalist society armed with a glorious history of intellectually confrontational tradition. The gravity of the issue struck me only after I did further research; only to find out that India’s image is no different in the literate circles of the west, even after 60 years of independence, even after producing intellectuals like Swami Vivekananda and Jawaharlal Nehru, who spent a lifetime trying to improve India’s image in the west. It’s surprising that Katherine Mayo’s “Mother India”, Aravind Adiga’s booker winning “White tiger” and Danny Boyle’s Oscar winning “Slumdog Millionaire” have been more authoritative and instrumental in chiselling India’s image in the west.
The air of exoticism and mysticism that surrounds India is proving to be its biggest undoing. Religion and spirituality being promoted extensively has resulted in a biased projection of the nation in the west. Yes, religion has and will always be our biggest strength. But what the western world fails to understand is that, the picture is much broader here. Religion here is just a way of life, a set of guidelines, a tool used to induce discipline into the society; just like judiciary and governance are tools to enforce a sense of obedience. Religion in India was what religion in the west wasn’t. India, in fact has never had a religion originally. The term “religion” entered the Indian dictionaries only after the process of intellectual give and take started happening, the inflow and outflow of ideas and thoughts with the western world started materialising. The foreigners found the term “Hindu” convenient to refer to the community that resides on either sides of the Indus. Sad that the India is being referred to as a “Hindu” nation today, sad that the term has become India’s identity.
Talking about India’s identity(ies), it has been the lack of the same or in seemingly contradictory terms, the over-abundance of the same. Before the separatist tendencies of religion started corrupting the subcontinent, India was a splendidly colourful garden that housed an unbelievably surprising co-existence of contrasting, contradictory and colourful ideas. Before secularism became an omnipotent political ideology, it was in practice in India. Christians, Muslims, Jews, Parsis, Buddhists and Jains happily traversed borders to discuss “religion” devoid of its separatist tendencies. In fact, Hinduism( I’m tempted to replace this term with Indianism or any other word that signifies Indian culture instead of calling it “Hinduism” which seems more reductionist to me) is what it is today purely because of foreign influences. Its tendency to welcome alternate thinking with open arms has been its highlight throughout. I pity the fate of the culture and the situation it finds itself in: the “Hindutva” activists are making mincemeat of it. Vegetarianism, a philosophy that dominates the Puranas and Hindu scriptures today is clearly a derivative from Jainism. Advaita, a mind-blowing ideology propagated by the legendary Adi-Sankara has been tremendously inspired by Buddhism. The Lokayata, Charvaka, Sankhya, Mimasa schools of thought are predominantly agnostic and atheistic. Jainism and Buddhism form the non-conventional sects of the Nastika branch of Hindu thought. Moreover, the influence of Buddha on the Indian society is too magisterial to consider ignorance. After all, the reference here is to a nation that was predominantly Buddhist at one point of time in history! The Ramayana and Mahabharata contain many unorthodox characters which are non-spiritual and obnoxiously materialistic! Christian and Muslim influences on modern India are obvious in our literature, music and architecture. The flexibility of our culture allows us to induct inspiring thought from any part of the world into our own. So in a way, the Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, Jews, agnostics, atheists etc from all over the world are Hindus. But such a blatant statement could result in the various communities of humanity separated by imaginary borders of religion taking offence to the same. Hence the message can be conveyed more diplomatically by quoting that the whole world is influenced by Indian culture!
In fact, the whole concept of an Indian nation owes its origination to two non-Hindu individuals and a non-Hindu community: Ashoka, Akbar and the British! All the three, through imperialist means have made the country realise the power of unity and have been influential in igniting the best minds of the country, peacefully or otherwise. I hereby infer that blaming external forces for disrupting Indian culture unity is pointless: because, it’s been a unanimous uniformity in Indian history.
Religion also leads to extreme fanaticism. I understand religion as a methodology adopted to direct people towards the path of Dharma. But a misinterpretation of the same pushing people to heights of barbarism is depressing. Salvation of religious pride seems to be the ultimate motive of most religious leaders today who seem to have forgotten the true motives of their religion, which turns out to be abolition of materialism and harmonious co-existence characterised by living in peace with oneself and the surroundings in most cases. Jihad, terrorism for religious reasons, manipulation of truth and history for religious and political reasons and in the name of civilization is one of the many problems plaguing the world today. India, with its spiritual over-abundance and cultural diversity has been thoroughly unsuccessful at escaping siege. I’ll write about one of the greatest farces that have penetrated Indian minds in my next blog. Stay tuned to this space for more!