Monday, June 16, 2008

Sri Aurobindo had definitely anticipated what a historian like Trautmann would conceptualize a century later

Title: A dead end for Aryan Invasion Theory"s Racism - Part II
Author: ka Date: Sat, 14 June 2008 20:43:59

However, an even more systematic refutation of the charges of racism against the ancient Aryan Indian came from Sri Aurobindo in his "Secret of the Veda". He contends that the dasyus have been identified with darkness and the Aryans with light and the light of the sun in the veda is called the Aryan light in contradistinction to the dasyu darkness. The Dasyus are powers of darkness and ignorance who oppose the seeker of truth and immortality. The gods are the powers of Light, the children of Infinity, forms and personalities of the one Godhead who by their help and by their growth and human workings in man raise him to the truth and the immortality Vashishta speaks of the Aryan people being jyotirgrah, led by the light! [VII.33.7]

His final conclusion is "The indications in the veda on which this theory of a recent Aryan invasion is built, are very scanty in quantity and uncertain in their significance. There is no actual mention of any such invasion. The distinction between Aryan and non-Aryan on which so much has been built, seems on the mass of the evidence to indicate a cultural rather than racial difference. The language of the hymns clearly points to a particular worship or spiritual as the distinguishing sign of the Aryans - a worship of light, and of the powers of light and a self evidence based on the culture of truth and the aspiration to immortality. There is no reliable indication of any racial difference."

Sri Aurobindo had definitely anticipated what a historian like Trautmann would conceptualize a century later.

Even K D Sethna, a contemporary of Trautmann in his "The Problem of Aryan Origins" published over 25 years ago consistently disapproved of the racial theory. Basing his theory on the Aurobindonian vision he discovers in Rik V.14.4 the master clue as to the real nature of the dasyus in general..agnir jato arochate ghnan dasyun jyotisa tamah avundad ga apah svah [Agni born shone out slaying the Dasyus, the darkness by the light..he found the cows, the waters, the saw.] All dasyus are here identified with the darkness and Agni the god of fire brings about their destruction through the advent of light! But unfortunately Trautmann seems to be also unaware of Sethna"s work.

Trautmann can of course take heart in the fact that the Aryan theory had several native Indian Historians in its support. B R Ambedkar, the dalit leader denounced the Aryan theory to be a hoax and its continued propagation as a Brahmanical conspiracy. In recent times, Romila Thapar in "Early India" uses the same argument, while Dilip Chakrabarti in "Colonial Indology" quotes a vast array of nationalist Indian Historians like R C Dutt, Majumdar, Nilakantha Shastri, Pandey who all upheld the Aryan Invasion theory. But even he would agree that they were all without exception ready to reconsider the AIT in the light of fresh evidence and were generously open to new ideas on the subject. One may add it is only the Marxists and dalit historians who remain rudely recalcitrant in rejecting their unconcealed love for the AIT until today.[6] The queerly querulous tones of Thapar et al are definitely sounding sanctimonious to me.

In the History and culture of the Indian People, Volume I, the Vedic Age; Majumdar presents briefly the opposite view of autochthonous origin of the Aryan but admits his inability to side with it in the light of extant evidence but is willing to wait for the decipherment of the Indus script, which if proved to be Sanskrit would definitely overthrow the AIT. Even the others, hardly ever considered the Aryan to be a persecutor of the native and instead suggested them to be migrants, and their interaction with the former leading to a cultural fusion or synthesis. We are certain that the majority did not believe the Aryans to be the torch bearers of civilization in India especially after the discovery of the Indus valley civilization. Panikar in his "Survey of Indian History" is most explicit on this account.

The differences between Aryan and Non Aryan subsisted according to them in cultural and not necessarily racial differences, although unlike Vivekananda and Aurobindo they were not wholly emphatic on this point. One should be sympathetic and not discount the burden of Western scholarship which they were pitted against and the mere ring of unorthodoxy could sound the death knell of professional careers through academic apartheid. One may add that in the absence of modern genetic, anthropological and archaeological evidence they were compelled to rely on colonial experts on the same who more often that not were subject to their own racial biases, and sometimes had a distinct political axis to grind. These racial sentiments were acutely perceived by Indian Historians of the day like Majumdar who in his preface to Ancient India in 1927 wrote with observation with respect to the writings of Vincent Smith "These sentiments which are echoed in other books, are not only uncalled for and misleading, but are calculated to distort the vision and judgment of modern readers."

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