OF THE ARYAN DRAVIDIAN DIVIDE
Dravidian divide is a modern political-missionary creation
with no scientific or historical support.
Science on Aryans and Dravidians-
Even fifty years after independence, it is unfortunate but
true that most educated Indians continue to view themselves
and their history through colonial glasses. The education
system for the most part continues to be based on the Macaulayite
This is especially so in subjects like history, which include
long discredited theories like the Aryan invasion and the
Aryan-Dravidian conflicts. What is the truth? Here is what
science has to say.
A recently published study comparing the genetic composition
of Western Eurasian and Indian populations shows that the
supposed Aryan invasion of India 3000 to 4000 years ago
postulated by historians in the nineteenth century, and
still found in many textbooks is contradicted by
In articles that appeared in the British journal Current
Biology, T.R. Disotell, T. Kivisild and their coworkers
observe that the "supposed Aryan invasion of India 3000
4000 years ago was much less significant than is generally
A key mitochondrial DNA of the Western Eurasian strain
accounts for at most 5.2 percent in Indian populations as
compared to 70 percent in Europe. This rules out a recent
common origin as postulated by the 'Aryan invasion'. Any
split that occurred from a common population must have taken
place more than 50,000 years ago, according to the study.
This is in agreement with other genetic data, showing that
there were major migrations out of Africa into Southeast
Asia at approximately the same time. It is worth noting
that according to a widely accepted theory, humans evolved
in Africa and spread into other parts of the world beginning
perhaps 200,000 years ago.
This was during the last Ice Age, when much of the
Northern Hemisphere was uninhabitable due to extreme cold.
The Puranas also record that during an extended cold period,
people from all parts of the world sought shelter in India
in caves and rock shelters. This goes to explain the presence
of ancient cave- and rock art at places like Bhimbetka in
Here is something really interesting. The authors of the
genetic study note that this West Eurasian strain is not
only insignificant, but also present in roughly the same
proportions in North and South India. This means that there
is no correlation between the languages of the population
and their supposed Eurasian origin.
The 'Aryan invasion' theory holds that ancestors
of speakers of 'Aryan' languages like Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali
and others were Eurasian invaders, whereas speakers of 'Dravidian'
languages of South India were the original inhabitants of
India. The genetic study contradicts this by showing both
to have the same insignificant proportion of the West Eurasian
DNA strain. So, according to science, there is no Aryan-Dravidian
The recent decipherment of the Indus script shows
that these findings are in agreement with findings from
archaeology. Jha and I have read more than 2000 Harappan
seals and they show that the Vedic literature already existed
by 3000 BC. The literary evidence of the Rigveda also contradicts
any invasion from Eurasia. Some recent attempts to place
the Rigvedic land in Afghanistan are seriously misguided.
The Rigveda describes an established maritime society in
which references to the ocean, ships and navigation are
very common. It is not easy to see how such a society could
flourish in land-locked Afghanistan. All in all both science
and literature shatter the notion of any Aryan invasion.
It is one of the aberrations of scholarship that belongs
to what the great physicist Irving Langmuir called pathological
science. Let us next look at its history and politics.
Aryans according to themselves-
The first point to note is that the idea of Aryans and Dravidians
as separate, even mutually hostile people is of very recent
origin. It is a creation of European scholars of the colonial
era, having no basis in Indian history or literature. The
Amarakosha, the authoritative lexicon of the Sanskrit language
(5th century AD) defines Arya as mahakula kulinarya sabhya
This means that an Arya is one who hails from a distinguished
family, and conducts himself with decency and gentleness.
According to the Rigveda the children of Arya follow the
light, meaning they seek enlightenment. It has nothing to
do with race, language or nationality. (Sanskrit has no
word for race.)
This fact that the Aryan-Dravidian theory was of recent
origin was noted by Dr. Ambedkar also. As he wrote:
All the princes, whether they belonged to the so-called
Aryan race or the so-called Dravidian race, were Aryas.
Whether a tribe or a family was racially Aryan or Dravidian
was a question that never troubled the people of India,
until foreign scholars came in and began to draw the line.
This is supported also by the Manusmriti, another
ancient authority. It tells us that Dravidians (in the geographic
sense) are also Aryans who at one time had fallen from the
Aryan fold when they stopped following certain Vedic practices
and rituals. (Was this the reason that Sage Agastya went
south of the Vindhyas, taking Vedic knowledge with him)
The Manusmriti has been revised many times to reflect changes
in society and practices. In one particular place it describes
Arya Desha as: The land bounded by the mountain of Reva
(Narmada), the Eastern Sea (Bay of Bengal) and the Western
Sea (Arabian Sea) is Arya Desha. This is the land where
black-skinned deer roam freely.
That is to say, the Manusmriti identifies Arya Desha as
none other than Peninsular India, which includes Dravidians.
It also tells us that the inhabitants of this country are
exemplary Aryans, worthy of emulation by all.
What this means is that the terms 'Arya' and 'Aryadesha'
were assigned to people and their habitat depending on their
conduct and culture and not race or language. This also
means that the assignment could change depending on whether
the people had lapsed from their expected standards of behavior.
So at the time when this passage in the Manusmriti was composed,
the people of Peninsular India were considered exemplary
Aryans. And this was because of their conduct not language
Race science- Colonial-missionary politics
.The notion of Aryan and Dravidian as separate races, though
a colonial European imposition continues to influence intellectual
discourse in India. This is unfortunate because it rests
on scientifically discredited beliefs.
Writing as far back as 1939, Sir Julian Huxley, one of the
great natural scientists of the century, observed: In England
and America the phrase Aryan race has quite ceased to be
used by writers with scientific knowledge, though it appears
occasionally in political and propagandist literature. In
Germany, the idea of the Aryan race received no more scientific
support than in England.
Nevertheless, it found able and very persistent literary
advocates who made it appear very flattering to local vanity.
It therefore steadily spread, fostered by special conditions.
Huxley was referring of course to the rise of Nazism around
the notion of the Aryan race.
It should make one suspicious of the motives of the English,
who, while denouncing racial theories in Europe, continued
to classify their Indian subjects along racial lines. It
was simply a politically convenient tool in their divide
and rule strategy.
They appealed to the vanity of one group to make them feel
superior to others (but still inferior to the English).
They knew well that it had no scientific basis, but found
it a convenient tool for use in India!
The British were by no means the only colonists to indulge
in such propaganda in the name of science. This idea of
conquered people in the name of
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race science was a standard ploy of colonial officials and Christian missionaries.
Much of the bloodletting in ethnic conflicts in Africa
today is due to such mischief. Speaking of the
recent Hutu-Tutsi conflicts, the French anthropologist
Jean-Pierre Langellier wrote: The idea that the Hutus
and the Tutsis were physically different was first aired
in the 1860s by the British explorer John Speke.
The history of Rwanda [like that of much of Africa] has
been distorted by Pere Blancs [White Fathers] missionaries,
academics and colonial administrators. They made the Tutsis
out to be a superior race, which had conquered the region
and enslaved the Hutus. Missionaries taught the Hutus
that historical fallacy, which was the result of racist
European concepts being applied to an African reality.
At the end of the fifties, the Hutus used that discourse
to react against the Tutsis. Sound familiar. The Aryan-Dravidian
conflicts are a carbon copy of the same racist divide,
or the convert and conquer policy.
Fortunately that there is enough indigenous scholarship
in India to fight and refute such political charlatanism,
though it did succeed in dividing the people into mutually
hostile camps. This was mainly due to the patronage extended
to them by the ruling authorities first the British and
then the Marxist dominated Congress.
Better sense is now beginning to prevail, though much too slowly. To their
eternal disgrace, the Secularist and Marxist historians of India and their
political allies continue to peddle this racist nonsense. Having lost
much of their political influence, they have turned to pseudo-science,
seeking to find support in genetics. They shall live in infamy.
The basic problem with these race theories is that
they are based not on any laws of nature, but man-made
classifications that use externally observable features.
As one scholar put it: The race concept has no scientific
Given any two individuals one can regard them as belonging to the same
race by taking their common genetic characteristics, or, on the contrary,
as belonging to different races by emphasizing the genetic characteristic
in which they differ.
As an illustration, instead of choosing skin- and eye color as defining
parameters, if one were to choose height and weight, one would end up
with African Zulus and Scandinavians as belonging to the same race. Noting
such anomalies, Luigi Cavalli-Sforza, widely regarded as the world's foremost
human geneticist, observed that such external features simply indicate
changes due to adaptation to the environment.
He points out that the rest of the genetic makeup of the human family
hardly differs at all. The latest data from genome research that humans
share at least 99 percent of their genes in common. In fact, some scientist
say that it might be as high as 99.9 percent!
The same is true of misconceptions that lie at the root of the Aryan and
Dravidan linguistic divide. The idea that different languages of a family
branched off from a single root language sometimes called a proto-language
can be traced to the story of the Tower of Babel found in the Bible.
Biblical beliefs like the creation of the world
on October 23, 4004 BC have had great influence on the
interpretation of Indian history and culture by nineteenth
century Europeans. The great Max Muller himself admitted
this Biblical belief was the reason why he used 1500 BC
as the date of the Aryan invasion.
W.W. Hunter, another well-known Indologist from the same
period was even more candid when he wrote: "... scholarship
is warmed with the holy flame of Christian zeal."
It is a fact that even in linguistics, the study of Dravidian
languages has been dominated by Christian missionaries
from Bishop Caldwell in the nineteenth century to Father
Kamil Zvelebil today. As a result, theological arguments
rather than any scientific method is used in propagating
their beliefs. The following as an example.
Murray Emeneau, a prominent Dravidian linguist, wrote as recently as
At some time in the second millennium BC, probably comparatively
early in the millennium, a band or bands of speakers of an Indo-European
language, later to be called Sanskrit, entered India over the northwest
passes. This is our linguistic doctrine, which has been held now for more
than a century and a half.
There seems to be no reason to distrust the arguments for it, in spite
of the traditional Hindu ignorance of any such invasion. Such a statement
based on faith has no place in science. By no stretch of the imagination
can such scholars be called scientific or even objective.
differences: Culturally the differences that we find between North
and South Indian temples can be attributed to the historical experience
of the last few centuries. The Islamic onslaught destroyed centers of
learning in North India. Alberuni who accompanied Mahmud of Ghazni on
his campaigns in India wrote:
Mahmud utterly ruined the prosperity of the country, and performed there,
wonderful exploits, by which the Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered
in all directions. ... Their scattered remains cherish, of course, the
most inveterate aversion of all the Muslims. This is the reason, too,
why Hindu sciences have retired far away from those parts of the country
conquered by us, and have fled to places, which our hand cannot yet reach.
A historical fact worth noting that the last great school of Indian mathematics
flourished in far away Kerala in the 14-15th century, where Madhava and
his students worked on problems of Calculus and Infinite Series more than
two centuries before Newton and Gregory. India before the coming of Islam
had many great centers of learning.
Taxila, Nalanda, Vikramashila, Sarnath and many more used to attract students
from all over the world. Following the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate,
for the next six hundred years, not a center of learning worth the name
(I leave out Islamic theological centers.) It was only in the nineteenth
century that universities began to reappear. Even Jantar Mantar, the observatory
in Delhi, was set up by a Hindu prince and not the Moghuls.
It is a historical fact that the influence of Islam has been much greater
in the North than the South. This resulted in a loss of tradition and
skills, which had to be more or less re-acquired beginning in the 18th
The main influence in the north has been
of the Moghul Empire, while in the south it has
been that of the Vijayanagar Empire and its successors
like the kingdoms of Mysore, Travancore and Tanjavur.
It would be a serious error to project this back into
early history something like projecting back the Portuguese
influence on Goa into the remote past.
At the same time, the differences should not be exaggerated. For instance,
in Kashmir, priests are recruited from Karnataka, while temples in Nepal
have priests from Kerala. The very fact that Shakaracharya established
centers in all corners of India shows that he was not considered an outsider
by North Indians even in those days. Just as Agastya took Vedic knowledge
south, Sri Shankaracharya revived it in the north.
All this brings us back to politics as the main
contributor to the Aryan-Dravidian divide including linguistics.
The originator of the Dravidian language theory was Bishop
Caldwell, the author of the highly influential Comparative
Grammar of Dravidian Languages (1856, 1875). He placed
Dravidian languages in what he called the Scythian Language
When another linguist (Gover) criticized Caldwell for his unsound theories
about the Scythian family and Dravidian languages, it drew the following
response: It would have been well, if Mr. Gover had made himself sure
of perfectly apprehending Dr. Caldwell's Scythic theory before regarding
its refutation ... as not only of considerable moment from a philological
point of view but of vast moral and political importance.
By moral and political he obviously meant Christian missionary and British
colonial interests. To the disgrace of Indian education authorities and
secularist scholars, this is still the version of history taught in Indian
The Politics of History by N.S. Rajaram (1995), New Delhi:
Voice of India.The Vedic Dravidians in A Hindu View of the World by N.S.
Rajaram (1998), New Delhi: Voice of India.