[INDOLOGY] Nazi-ism, India,

koenraad.elst at telenet.be koenraad.elst at telenet.be
Mon Oct 15 19:21:47 UTC 2018

Dear Shyam, dear listfolk, 

" the development of ideas associated with National Socialism by those who took an interest in India"? That is the central thesis of Sheldon Pollock's paper Ex Oriente Nox, 1993, and this is my refutation: 


On " the racist reception of India in Europe (the friendliness to "Arya" or "Swastika" for instance) where India was treated as a kind of European prehistory": India was treated as a kind of prehistory of Europe during the first decades after the official annunciation of Indo-European unity in 1786. And even before, vide passing remarks in that sense by Voltaire, Kant and Herder. Details available in my (in other respects already dated) paper: 


And in my book Asterisk in Bhâropîyasthân, of which the relevant chapters are available on-line: 



As for the swastika: if Hitler, who repeatedly expressed his contempt for India and Hinduism (as opposed to Islam: martial and natalistic and thus an example to follow), would never have chosen the Swastika if he had associated it with India. In his view, Indians received the benefit of the Swastika from the invading Aryans from Europe. He was a Philhellene (Grecophile) and the Swastika was a common motif in Greece and Troy. It also existed marginally in the European Middle Ages, and especially, even till today, in the Baltic states. There, in 1919-20, German WW1-returned soldiers formed the Freikorps militias to fight off Soviet aggression, and they brought it home. Many of these combative nationalists flocked to the budding NSDAP. Hitler vaguely knew that the Swastika was popular in Asia, but he attributed that to importation by the invading "Aryans". The Nazis and all other Europeans at that time located the Homeland somewhere in Europe. Most favoured at that time was the Pripyet swamps in Belorus, but Germany, Scandinavia, the Balkans and also already the Pontic steppes were other candidates, and Heinrich Himmler's research instititute Ahnenerbe even thought of Atlantis; but at any rate not India. Nor Tibet, where the SS sent an expedition but found that the Tibetans had the broadest skulls of all, whereas Aryans were supposed to be dolichocephalic. 

In 1920, Hitler even explicitly formulated the Aryan Invasion Theory (references in one of the above papers), complete with upper-castes as mongrelized immigrants from Europe. Interestingly, some Indian AIT champions have recently revived this view, on the primitive assumption that the linguistic Homeland question can be solved by genetics, the more advanced form of the physical anthropology so dear to the Nazis. 

As for "Aryan", of course the substance of the word came from Sanskrit, but a century before Nazism started. The attributed meaning was already a reinterpretation. It never had a racial meaning (in the physical-anthropological sense), though it had a relative-ethnic meaning: "fellow tribesman", "us". Hindu apologists will tell you that it only means "noble", but that is already a derived meaning. See: 

http://koenraadelst.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-indo-european-vedic-and-post-vedic.html (please ignore the garbled chapter numeration) 

and (you might be surprised by the title, as I was when discovering this hypothesis): 


I have more stuff on this topic, all generated by debates with existing opposite viewpoints. There are many misconceptions and mystifications in this field (often deliberately kept alive for political reasons), yet you only need to read Hitler's brief but crystal-clear statements on Hindus and on Aryans to start pin-pricking them. 

Hope this helps. 

Dr. Koenraad Elst, non-affiliated Orientalist 

Van: "Indology" <indology at list.indology.info> 
Aan: "Indology" <indology at list.indology.info> 
Verzonden: Maandag 15 oktober 2018 18:23:58 
Onderwerp: [INDOLOGY] Nazi-ism, India, 

>I recall that in India and Europe, Halbfass discusses the development of ideas associated with National Socialism by those who took an interest in India. I'm wondering if there is anything classic on this topic. I'm trying to reference, in passing, the racist reception of India in Europe (the friendliness to "Arya" or "Swastika" for instance) where India was treated as a kind of European prehistory, and I'm not sure what to point to. I'm happy to point to Halbfass, though I was wondering if there was something specifically on this topic (a paper or book).< 

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