Vicious Debate

Ashish Chandra achandra at WNMAIL.WNDEV.ATT.COM
Wed Dec 2 16:44:46 UTC 1998

Lars Martin wrote :

I think the answer to your question is partly to be found in internal
Indian politics. I have been digging around in the little nationalisms that
India produced at the turn of the century and that partly are still there
(particularly Dravidianism), and it would seem that Indigenous Aryanism is
a knee-jerk reaction to some of the more Aryan-unfriendly ideas that turned
up in the South. (I think there are other reasons as well of a
non-scholarly nature).
* But this is really another debate. I have no doubt that the followers of
Indigenous Aryanism believe strongly in their ideas, and that we therefore
have to relate to I.A the way we relate to any other set of ideas. But it
is a puzzle that persons like Dayanand Saraswati and Tilak had no problems
accepting the idea that the Aryans came from outside India, whereas their
nationalist followers find this highly unpalatable. I would really like to
know when I.A. became a fixed part of the Hindutva nationalist ideology, or
for that matter, when I.A. "got started".

Dear Lars,

I am not really conversant with the existing debate here and elsewhere
about the origin of the Aryans. But I can easily point out to you that
Swami Vivekananda himself had debunked the Aryan invasion theory. In fact,
the Vedas themselves mention the word Arya and not Aryan, which means
noble, as I am sure you know.

As far as the current political scene in India goes, I think you have been
digging in futility as you are way off the mark. Dravidianism actually
started with the Justice Party in Tamil Nadu. In fact the word Dravid means
wealth in Sanskrit. Indian neo-nationalism, according to the so-called
nationalists, is ascribed to none other than Ramakrishna Paramhamsa then
Swami Vivekananda and then Sri Aurobindo Ghosh. All other recent
nationalistic organizations have taken inspiration from these great men. As
far as Dayananda Saraswati is concerned, I am not sure but Lokamanya Tilak
himself depended on a large part on the interpretation of Max Mueller who
interpreted that "darkness covered with darkness" actually meant that the
sun did not rise for several days. Lokamanya Tilak ascribed that to the
origin of the Aryans ( Indians ) being the Arctic region. Nowhere in the
history of Aryavarta (Bharat) has it been said that the Aryans had come to
India. Personally I don't consider either archaeology or linguistics to be
of any consequence. The word "Musa" in Sanskrit is "Mouse" in English : So
What ? But anyway, that's really beside the point. What you should know is
that nationalism is not a phenomenon of this century alone. It has existed
in some form or the other for the past 1000 years. There are ample examples
in the history of Bharat wherein men have sought to replace the tyranny of
the Mlechchas by the rule of Sanatan Dharma. Western historians as well as
our own have labeled them as  scattered rebellions based on self-interest.
Well, that is their opinion. What we as Bharatiyas should know is that
mindless text-torturing is irrelevant and undesirable. What's important is
not the origin of who wrote the Vedas but what is in them.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
Ashish Chandra

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