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Aryan Invasion Debate

Aryan Invasion Debate


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Publicado porNalini

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Nalini on Aug 01, 2009
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Another example of how AIT champions impute to the AIT critics motives or presuppositions

which themselves imply the AIT, is this remark by Marxist columnist Yoginder Sikand:

It is

significant that while asserting the indigenous origins of the Aryans, the existence of the Dravidian
and other non-Aryan races native to India is not denied. After all, if it were asserted that all
Indians are Aryans, it would not be possible to justify the racist caste system. While
acknowledging the presence in India of non-Aryan indigenous races, their cultural contributions

are completely ignored in the discourse of Hindutva. (

) the Hindutvawadis now assert that the
Indus Valley civilization, which is generally accepted to be of Dravidian and pre-Aryan origin, was
built by the Aryans. By asserting the native origins of the Aryans, and by attributing all the finer
aspects of Indian culture to their supposed genius, the rich cultural legacy of the non-Aryan Indian

races is effectively denied.


We may forego discussion of Sikand

s obvious lack of knowledge of the present state of
research, e.g. his mistaken assumption that there exists any evidence for the oft-assumed
Dravidian character of the Harappan civilization.

The point is that he imputes to the AIT critics the desire to

justify the caste system

, the

consent to the common belief that the caste system has a


basis, the belief in a division



on the one hand and

Dravidian and other non-Aryan races

on the other,

and the denial of the

cultural contributions

of these

non-Aryan indigenous


. Underlying all this, and very conspicuous in Sikand

s discourse, is the assumption that

it is a


affair, an assumption emphatically criticized and rejected in practically all anti-AIT

publications of the past decade.133

Likewise, the specific theory of a


basis of the caste system has been denied by Hindu

and other nationalists from Dr. Ambedkar on down. That the AIT is criticized in a bid to


the caste system

, racist or otherwise, is not suggested by a reading of any of the AIT critiques

known to me, let alone any cited by Sikand, who doesn

t mention any of the recent and learned
critiques. Like a cowardly big boy picking fights with little boys, Sikand prefers to focus on Hindu

Nationalist ideologue (and non-historian) M.S. Golwalkar

s 1939 musings about the



of the Aryans having been in India before the earth

s polar axis shifted to its present


Much of his attention is also devoted to semi-literate pamphletists who argue that
everything worthwhile in the world has been created by Hindus, citing as evidence some silly

pseudo-etymologies like Jerusalem = Yadu Shalyam,

shrine of Yadu/Krishna

. But he bravely

avoids any confrontation with serious historians.

The only historian cited is Balraj Madhok, former president of the Jana Sangh, predecessor

(1952-77) of the BJP (01980):

He is of the view that the Aryans were the natives of the Sapta-

Sindhu region while various non-Aryan tribes inhabited the rest of India

. Though Madhok is by

no means a specialist of ancient history and the Arya debate, his view makes good sense; it is
one of the several possible interpretations of the evidence supporting the rejection of the AIT. Yet

Sikand calls him one of those who

care little for historical truth, academic objectivity and



The identification of


with the Indo-Aryan speech community of the northern

subcontinent and Sri Lanka, hence the conception of


as the opposite of



is also extraneous to the Hindu tradition. Many AIT critics emphasize that a Dravidian could be
classified as Arya while a speaker of Indo-Aryan languages could be an-Arya if he abandoned the
practice of Vedic tradition (e.g. by converting to Islam). Some of these critics, from Sri Aurobindo
to N. R. Waradpande and Subhash Kak, go as far as to question the linguistic concept of Indo-
European and Dravidian as distinct language families.135

I believe they are mistaken, but at any
rate, their views are strictly incompatible with the political programme of Aryans locking native
Dravidians into the racist caste system, which Yoginder Sikand imputes to them.

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