Animal evidence (was Re: Indigenous Aryanism)
Edwin F Bryant
efb3 at columbia.edu
Wed Dec 18 03:45:26 UTC 1996
On Mon, 16 Dec 1996, Dominik Wujastyk wrote:
> As far as I can see, almost everything Frawley says in this passage is
wrong, as are his far-reaching conclusions based on his errors.
Fair enough--and I can find plenty of arguments from the Indig. Aryan
school that are far worse (and wackier) than that. However, three
comments (my apologies to RISA members for any repetition):
1) We should not forget the excesses of philological speculation that
was accepted by Western Aryan Invasionists for decades. A good example
was the translation of the word anaasa, used once in the Rig in
conjunction with the daasas. This was construed as a-naasa (noseless).
The daasas were thereby depicted as noseless aborigines and the Aryans, by
extension, as straight nosed. Sayana construes the word as an-asa
(mouthless, that is, devoid of fair speech, uncouth). But this was not as
appealing to 19th century racial theorists. The same could be said for
other racially interpreted passages relating to the Daasas.
2) Some of the scholarship of the Indig. Aryan school is puerile,
completely uncritical, or distastefully Hindutva oriented. But there are
some very serious voices who are sincerely trying to reexamine the way
their ancient history has been reconstructed for them by their erstwhile
colonial masters. And there is plenty that needs reexamining. Different
genres and standards of scholarship should not all be simplistically
stereotyped and lumped into one comical category, or automatically
demonized as 'nationalistic'--though some of it (but by no means
all) blatantly is.
3)I have personally found, since I examine all these different genres,
that even someone who makes a wacky, uncritical or even bigoted
(however unpleasant these can sometimes be) statement in one place, can
make quite a convincing point in another.
Best Wishes, Edwin Bryant
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