Politics of Aryan-Dravidian Divide

Adithya Reddy at “Centre Right India Community Forum” made a post on the politics of Aryan-Dravidian divide [1]. He rightly points to how petty, opportunist politicians have hijacked academicians to make political capital.

Mr. Karunanidhi is scoring huge amongst the electorate with his forthcoming World Classical Tamil Conference in Coimbatore. He has positioned himself as the undisputed protector of the Tamil language and culture. Every time Mr. Karunanidhi talks of or does anything for Tamil, he makes it a point to establish a psychological divide in the Tamil mind. A classic example is his choice of Dr. Asko Parpolo, a Finnish Historian, for an award at the conference. Dr. Parpolo has been a leading proponent of the theory that the Indus valley civilization was Dravidian in culture. While it is perfectly possible that the Indus culture was similar to what was followed in South India, such theories are always used as tool to establish ‘Dravidian supremacy’ over ‘Aryan culture’.

Mr. Reddy astutely points to how such divisive (and false, as genetic evidence has time and again proven) Aryan-Dravidian political machinations only serve to act against country and civilization.

Why should there be any comparison? Can anybody from North-India deny that Tamil is of greater antiquity than most languages they speak? Equally, every Tamilian should claim proud inheritance to civilisational advancements that occured in the northern part of the country. The lack of a pan-Indian consciousness in the average Tamilian is not entirely his fault. He has been misled by leaders for political gain and it is unfortunate that the BJP is not doing enough to change this.

The whole Aryan-Dravidian divide is utter nonsense [2]. The Aryan invasion theory was a concoction of European colonial supremacists to propound their imagined racial superiority and to facilitate religious conversions. In the face of incontrovertible archaeological findings contrary to any invasion, the Aryan Invasion Theory has been morphed into the euphemistic Aryan Migration Theory. Opportunists, like some mentioned by Adithya Reddy, jumped on this bandwagon for political capital. Recent genetic research [3] has overwhelmingly debunked the Aryan hoax. Sadly, due to a near complete lack of any organized scholarship to coherently present this, the cabal of communist pulp fiction historians and their cohorts have been able to keep this hoax alive. Indologist Dr. Koenraad Elst made a very astute observation in this regard [4].

…I noticed how excellent Hindu historians and archaeologists were very successful at finding evidence, but rather poor in presenting a coherent picture of where exactly their findings fit into the argumentation…

The cabal of communist pulp fiction historians and their cohorts (both in India and the west) have made an art of distorting the truth without batting an eye. When confronted, they resort to ad-hominems using some standard adjectives such as “Hindu fundamentalist”, “communal”, “fascist”, “Hindutva’wadi”, etc. A common factor of these vested interests is their organized demonization of the BJP. Under these circumstances, I have to disagree with Mr. Adithya Reddy when he says that the BJP should felicitate or at least issue a statement appreciating the work of Reich et. al 2009 [5] [6].

All the tools of study used by people like Dr. Parpolo, as well as those who advocate an ‘Aryan’ origin to the Indus civilization are interpretative. Materials, artifacts, manuscripts and objects are collected and interpreted in one way or the other. However, every scientific study that has emerged on the topic in recent times has pointed to only one conclusion – for thousands of years India has had a common population. A joint study conducted by Harvard and Indian researchers found that there was no North-South divide in the Indian population. It was featured prominently in some national newspapers. Why can’t the BJP felicitate or at least issue a statement appreciating the work of these researchers?

Because if they do so, then the proponents of the Aryan hoax will immediately jump on their high horses and try to discredit the work of the genetic researchers using their time tested strategies of ad-hominems and “guilt by association”.

I also have to disagree with Adithya Reddy when he says that the BJP could use the genetic research for election campaigning in Tamil Nadu.

Why can’t the BJP use such research in election campaigning in Tamil Nadu?

In 2002, Indologist N. Kazanas published a sixty page article titled “Indigenous Indo-Aryans and the Rigveda” in The Journal of Indo-European Studies (JIES), vol. 30,Numbers 3&4 (2002), pages 275-334. The article argued that the speakers of Indo-Aryan languages did not enter the Indian subcontinent around 1500 BC, as the original Aryan Invasion Theory and its newer cousin the Aryan Migration Theory hold. Michael Witzel (who is married to the Aryan Migration Theory) engaged in a “debate” with Kazanas in succeeding issues of the journal. Independent commentators and lay historians made inputs in other forums as well, which I won’t dwell upon here. The point to be noted is that W allegedly made the accusation that Kazanas’s paper could be used by political parties (read BJP) in India. While that has absolutely no bearing on the scholarship of Kazanas and the academic veracity of his paper, that’s the sort of thing used by the proponents of the Aryan hoax to counter threats to their pet theories.
Mr. Reddy further says, and truly so,

The electoral implications of demolishing the Aryan-Dravidian divide are huge, especially in Tamil Nadu. The BJP needs to realise this. Also, the BJP’s failure to use such intellectual developments has limited the appeal of its ideology to the urban, educated Indian.

However, the Aryan migration theory (euphemistic version of the now discredited Aryan Invasion Theory) is still widely debated and in spite of overwhelming genetic evidence to its contrary is still considered mainstream. As such until this great Aryan hoax is trashed once and for all; which will eventually happen given the number of genetic research papers being published debunking the possibility of any Aryan migration [3]; its best that political parties let genetic researchers do their work. After all, the Aryan hoax being well and truly trashed is not about the BJP, Congress, CPI-M, or Thapar, Witzel and their ilk. It is about truth. It is about Bharatvarsh. Having said that, as of now, apolitical Dharmic organizations can definitely use the published genetic research papers to publicize the mendacity of the Aryan-Dravidian divide and help rid the great Tamil community from the clutches of opportunist, sectarian politicians.

One commenter named Balaji made some interesting remarks [7], which are partly reproduced here.

Aryan-Dravidian is a linguistic divide. not of race or people. just as some ‘Hindus’ perceive muslims as outsiders for persisting with the Arabic language and Arab way of life, many non-Aryans are uncomfortable with Sansrkit and the brahmanical religion. That Brahmanical religion is sanskritized is obvious – principal literature – vedas, ramayan etc. When the Brahmanical religion is presented in say Tamil (like in Nalayira divya prabhandam) it has found more takers.
Incidentally south-indians in early first millennium were much more receptive to eastern religions like Buddhism and Jainism despite their original works being written by Aryan speakers or equally distant (to tamils) Pali canon. All it took was for the buddhist/jain monks to present the literature in Tamil (thirukural, silappadikaram, manimegalai) to gain acceptance.
Even in the recent past, Tamilnadu and Kerala have had substantial conversions to Christianity. Mostly becos of over two centuries of Tamil/Malayalam literary contribution by Christian missionaries. Heard of Viramamunivar, G U Pope, Henry Kritinappillai?
as conservatives, the people @ centerright.in shud be familiar with preserving local cultures and languages against majoritarian onslaught. indian nationalism is a bogus concept. indians have had a much larger vision of ‘vasudeva kudumbagam’. India can accommodate aryan, dravidian, munda, tribal, perso-arabic and anglo literary and religious traditions with equal ease. stop painting us all with the same brush.

Balaji sought to imply that the Aryan-Dravidian divide is simply linguistic. Most proponents of the Aryan theory however associate it not just with a linguistic group but also with a racial group. One only needs to read the work of people like Thapar and Witzel who are married to the Aryan Migration Theory.

As Balaji says, it is true that India is a multicultural, multi-religious society. Historically as well as culturally India has always been very accommodating. However, that is so only because India has a Dharmic majority population. Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism/Hindu Dharma) is the only belief system that espouses tenets such as “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (The whole world is one family), or “Ekam Sat, Vipra Bahuda Vadanti” (Truth is one, the wise call it by many names). This philosophy of inclusiveness is at the very core of Hindu Dharma. It is this very inclusiveness that has allowed a whole tapestry of views, practices, traditions, etc. (some even contrary to others) to peacefully co-exist. It is this very inclusiveness that provided a safe heaven for Jews who found refuge in India 2,000 years ago, and Zoroastrians more recently, who flourished as ethnic minorities. To quote Dr. Nathan Katz, Professor of Religious Studies at Florida International University,

“The Indian chapter is one of the happiest of the Jewish Diaspora. The study of Indian Jewish communities demonstrates that in Indian culture an immigrant group gains status precisely by maintaining its own identity. Such is the experience not only of India’s Jews, but also of local Christians, Zoroastrians, and recently, Tibetan Buddhists.”

Readers will note that this inclusiveness in Dharmic philosophy and tradition is completely contrary to the dogma of assimilation in supremacist religious ideologies. In fact the less said about totalitarian, supremacist ideologies and their holier-than-thou, my-way-or-the-highway ethos, the better. Unfortunately, “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, et. al. notwithstanding, the danger of totalitarian supremacist ideologies that espouse exclusivity overwhelming inclusive Dharmic philosophies once they reach majority, is very real. One only needs to look at the change in the religious demographics of Pakistan and Bangladesh to see this already happen. One only needs to look at the change in religious demographics of South Korea to see this happening.

As Balaji mentioned, one reason for the success of Christian missionaries is that they translate their religious material and also (to their credit) add their own contribution to local languages wherever they go. While language is not the only divide, it is perhaps the biggest one. Perhaps, if some apolitical organization took the time to print some tracts in Tamil on genetic research debunking the Aryan-Dravidian divide, along with providing Dharmic scriptures translated into Tamil, that would be a start.


[1] http://diwan-e-aam.centreright.in/?p=47

[2] http://www.tattvaanveshanam.org/2010/06/15/exploring-the-aryan-myth/

[3] http://www.tattvaanveshanam.org/2010/06/15/genetics-and-the-aryan-myth/

[4] http://www.tattvaanveshanam.org/2010/08/06/elst-on-the-folly-of-hindu-historians/

[5] Aryan-Dravidian divide a myth: Study TNN, Sep 25, 2009, The Times of India

[6] Ancestral Populations Of India And Relationships To Modern Groups Revealed ScienceDaily (Sep. 24, 2009)Reich, David; Kumarasamy Thangaraj, Nick Patterson, Alkes L. Price, and Lalji Singh (24 September 2009). “Reconstructing Indian population history“. Nature 461: 489–494.

[7] http://diwan-e-aam.centreright.in/?p=47#comment-51


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