Discovering Aryan and Dravidian in British India

A tale of two cities*
Thomas R. Trautmann
University of Michigan

1. Introduction Aryan and Dravidian, the keywords of my title, have ancient antecedents in Sanskrit, but in their current meanings they are modern constructs that were invented in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. To examine their genesis and mutual influence I began, not in my usual way, with a trip to the library, but as my students are teaching me to, with a keyword search on the Internet. The outcome was quite revealing. For Dravidian I found a modest number of books listed on the American Book Exchange, most of them about Dravidian languages and linguistics, a few

* This essay is an attempt to sketch a large terrain, that of a project on ‘Languages and Nations’ I have been engaged in for several years, concerning language analysis in early British India, and the ways in which it is an emergent product of interactions between two traditions of language study, European and Indian. What can here only be sketched is put in greater detail in my book, Aryans and British India (Trautmann 1997), chiefly about IndoEuropean and the Calcutta Orientalists, and a book manuscript in progress, chiefly about the Dravidian proof and the Orientalists of Madras, in which many of these matters are more fully explored and referenced than they can be in the short space of an article. The framing of the essay around the keywords Aryan and Dravidian was due to the conference for which it was first written, “‘Arier’ und ‘Draviden’: Genese und Wechselwirkung zweier interkultureller Deutungsmuster und ihre Relevanz für die Selbst- und Fremdwahrnehmung Südasiens”, held at the Franckesche Stiftungen, Halle, 4–5 October 1999. It was published, in German, in “Arier” und “Draviden”: Konstructionen der Vergangenheit als Grundlage für Selbst- und Fremdwahrnehmungen Südasiens ed. by Michael Bergunder & Rahul Peter Das (Halle/Saale: Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftungen, 2002). I have made a few alterations in the original English version. I am grateful to Kevin Tuite of the Université de Montréal and an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments and suggestions, and to the editor for his sage and thoughtful editorial help.

Historiographia Linguistica xxxi:1 (2004), 33–58. issn 0302–5160 / e-issn 1569–9781 © John Benjamins Publishing Company

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about the Dravidian political movement in Tamil Nadu, and one or two works of anthropology, all of them about South India and Sri Lanka. Western knowledge of the Dravidian, in short, is largely confined to scholarly books on India. A keyword search for Aryan, by contrast, found a larger number of books, most of them falling into two very distinct types: scholarly works about India (mostly linguistics) on the one hand, and, on the other, works propagating or analyzing the politics of racial hatred in the West, from 19th century beginnings through the Nazis to groups such as Aryan Nation which, unfortunately, flourish today in my own country. Though the scope of the Dravidian concept is largely confined to the study of South Asia, it is a striking aspect of the Aryan concept that it belongs to two quite different narratives, in which it has quite different meanings and functions. I will call these narratives “the story of knowledge” and “the story of ethnic politics”, by which I mean especially the story of the politics of racial hatred. The story of knowledge has to do with the discovery of the Indo-European family of languages, adumbrated by Sir William Jones before the Asiatic Society at Calcutta in 1786 (Jones 1786), anticipated by many and put on a sound basis by Franz Bopp beginning with his famous Conjugationssystem (Bopp 1816). Jones’ pronouncement on Indo-European figures in histories of linguistics as an epochal moment leading to the formation of Comparative Philology. The IndoEuropean concept was a real breakthrough of scientific linguistics, linking languages widely separated in space, forming two blocs, an eastern one of Persian and Indic languages and a western, European bloc, separated from one another by Semitic and Turkic languages. The Indo-European concept was anything but obvious — the idea, that is, that the two blocs of languages, so distant from one another, are nevertheless related to one another. Its discovery by Jones and others not only created a new science of language but it radically reordered existing ideas about the relations among different nations or races of peoples. Moreover it created new knowledge of such interrelationships in the deep past of which the surviving ancient literatures, such as those in Latin, Greek or Sanskrit, preserved no distinct memory; and for peoples who had no written literatures, such as the American Indians (cf. Tooker 2002), it became a new key to ethnological history. The discovery of the Dravidian language family was less spectacular in its geographical reach, but similar in its attending circumstances. In these and other cases philology made durable additions to knowledge that remain in force among the experts to this day. The story of ethnic politics is the more powerful and urgent narrative about the appropriation and political deployment of the new ethnological ideas,

I think that the story of knowledge is really about an intellectual encounter of Europe as a whole and India as a whole. sometimes the story gets framed as a specifically German story (Poliakov 1974). The story of politics is not. of course. Aryans and British India (Trautmann 1997). first by Alexander Hamilton at Paris. In spite of all that has been written about them. creating indeed a mania for India and Sanskrit. to which German scholars made such brilliant contributions. and then in the Germanies. For a couple of decades Calcutta enjoyed a virtual monopoly as producer of a new. and which continues in a book in progress on the discovery of the Dravidian language family. Much remains to be clarified about the relation of the story of Orientalist knowledge and that of ethnic politics.Discovering Aryan and Dravidian in British India 35 especially in the West. it is a story of civilizations brought into close connection by colonial rule. The monopoly of Calcutta ended when the means of learning Sanskrit were brought to Europe. our understanding both of the formation of modern knowledge about Indo-European and Dravidian. at length the British-Indian . We need to allow the evidence itself to speak more loudly. and of the rise of modern ethnic politics in the West and in South Asia. at other times (Said 1978) in a quite different direction as a Foucauldian story of Orientalist knowledge produced and tainted by colonial power. which has been forgotten and neglected. it is my hope to contribute through the investigation of the genesis of the modern Aryan and Dravidian concepts in British India — work which I have begun in a book. Both narratives are sometimes merged into a story of guilty knowledge. The British Orientalists are interesting as an aspect of that European encounter. British-Indian Orientalism based on knowledge of Sanskrit that was avidly consumed in Europe. Thus one of the greatest scientific accomplishments of the modern world is linked with the event which defines for us the ultimate of human evil. are far from complete. finding early causes for late consequences by evacuating lapsed time between distant horizons. My reasons for concentrating on the British Orientalists to the exclusion of those of other European nations are not national at all. Without pretending to be able to complete the work that needs doing. as the British enthusiasm waned. under the strongly directional light and shadow thrown from one theoretical perspective or another. in any sense. an aspect. but also in South Asia. separable from the story of knowledge and the two are connected in ways that need to be examined and explained. moreover. and much harm comes from concluding too quickly. The shadow of the death camps of Nazi period Germany darkens the aspect of the scientific breakthrough represented by Indo-Europeanist comparative philology.

overshadowed by German and French accomplishments in and enthusiasm for Orientalist scholarship. Indeed I am interested in the story because it has been lost. In all these instances the historical relations newly uncovered by comparison of languages had left no imprint in the collective memories or written documents of the peoples in question. Marsden’s early paper comparing the Gypsy language with Hindustani makes him one of the co-discoverers of its Indian origins. Jones was a celebrity in his own day and remains well known for his role in the development of the Indo-European concept. where he is identified as an Orientalist and numismatist. is only the most well known. The discovery that the language of the Roma or Gypsies of Europe was not in fact Egyptian. and all of them were employees of the East India Company. Trautmann contribution came to be forgotten by the British themselves. so that the new discoveries amounted to a revolution in ethnological knowledge. both among Indians and Europeans. The discovery that the languages of India and Persia were related to those of Europe. how right he was may be seen from his entry in the Dictionary of National Biography. as I shall explain shortly. 1785). and his striking achievements concerning Malayo-Polynesian and the Gypsy . results that quite overturned prevailing views and revolutionized the deep history of the globe. where some of his philological works were translated.36 Thomas R. John Leyden (1775–1811) and Francis Whyte Ellis (1777–1819) were involved in these discoveries. before Comparative Philology became a German science in British eyes there had been several important British contributions to linguistic ethnology. was likewise against expectation. but Indo-European and more specifically Indo-Aryan. but not derived from Sanskrit in spite of many Sanskritic loans. William Marsden (1754–1836). went against the grain of received beliefs. uniting languages from Madagascar to the Easter Islands. and that he was better appreciated on the Continent. was astonishing in its terrestrial reach. the problem of guilty knowledge. Only by recovering this story can we hope to complete the stories of knowledge and of ethnic politics and address the problem of their interrelation. He also made important identifications of words in the Romani or Gypsy language with Sanskrit (Jones 1786). and he also published the first demonstration of the Malayo-Polynesian family (Marsden 1781. The discovery of the MalayoPolynesian language family. And yet. Sir William Jones (1746–1794). than at home (Marsden 1834: 1). Marsden felt that his own accomplishments had been thrown into the shade by Jones’ celebrity. The discovery that the Dravidian languages of South India are historically related inter se. as the name they have been given implies.

which tracks the sudden explosion of dictionaries and grammars in early colonial Calcutta. published little beyond the Dravidian proof. following military victories that extended British rule inland (the battle of Plassey in 1757. Orientalism in British India Colonial power has played a large role in the production of linguistic ethnology in British India. and the defeat of the Marathas in 1819). I have myself made the argument that the onset of intense British interest in acquiring mastery of the Indian languages followed the transition from a merchant operation on the Indian coast to an colonial government ruling over the agrarian interior (Trautmann 1997). on an expedition to Java. Cohn’s justly famous article sums it up in its title: “The Command of Language and the Language of Command” (Cohn 1985). Ellis. There is no mistaking the cause-effect relation of colonialism and the formation of bilingual dictionaries and grammars of the Indian languages. whose ambition to overtake the reputation of Jones was cut short by an early death. and institutions for the teaching of Oriental languages to the newly arrived civil service recruits. Orientalist societies were founded at each of the three capitals of British India.Discovering Aryan and Dravidian in British India 37 language are not even mentioned. In the course of the 19th century British people themselves forgot the contributions of their countrymen. looking upon Friedrich Max Müller as its celebrity scholar and translator into English. Edward Said’s argument about colonial power and orientalism. an extension . whose shy brilliance demanded the highest standards of himself. founded before the Maratha conquest (1804). he and Ellis were distant friends. and then died of accidental poisoning at age 41 or 42. and of Comparative Philology as a German science. B. He had made a vow not to publish till he was a well-ripened scholar of 40 years. the defeat of Tipu Sultan in 1799. the creation of these scholarly and educational institutions followed the transition at each city from a purely mercantile to an imperial function. and it is easy to show that government support for the writing of grammars and dictionaries follows this temporal profile. with the acquisition of political power over the agrarian interior. They came to think of enthusiasm for Indian antiquities a puzzling attribute of Continentals. Except for the Literary Society of Bombay. by fever. John Leyden was a linguist of extraordinary facility. 2. The transition occurred first at Calcutta. S. then at Madras and last at Bombay. from Jones and the founding of the Asiatic Society to Sir George Grierson (1851–1941) and the Linguistic Survey of India.

This way forward. Trautmann of Foucault’s mutual entailment of power and knowledge. Irschick 1994). Investigating the interchanges of European scholars and Indian pandits seems clearly the way forward. and while the argument of the surplus does seems feeble before the fact of power. of the new learning. Many scholars recently have begun the exploration of the production of this knowledge as a form of dialogue or a conversation. Orientalists’ reactions to Said have taken the form of arguing that there is a surplus beyond colonial utility in the works of Orientalist scholarship that is left unexplained. an infinity in fact. then. and what of that bracketed-out infinity that increasingly impresses itself upon my attention is the linguistic theories and projects the British and the Indians brought to the creation of new knowledge about the Indian languages and the Indian people. This counter-argument has seemed to me a kind of special pleading that refuses the main point. I shall attempt a sketch of the inputs..g. . not a dialogue between equals to be sure but nevertheless one with mutual inputs and diverse outputs (e. Halbfass 1988. In this form. Said’s widely-read work was effective in bringing power back to center stage of the examination of Orientalism. at the same time as it declined to engage with the actual content of Orientalist scholarship — a less than satisfactory aspect of this very successful polemic work. quarrels) between hitherto distant forms of knowledge attaching to distinct intellectual traditions and yielding plural outcomes. there is another surplus in the case that neither the Saidian argument nor its critics consider. at a time when there were still vocal critics of empire in England. whose efficient causes lie elsewhere. but in a somewhat similar way to Cohn makes the imperatives. British and Indian. That said. colonialism remains a cause. which went into the discovery of the Indo-European and the Dravidian language families in British India. but it is a material cause. Fewer and fewer scholars are any longer satisfied with a notion of Orientalism as a Western imposition upon the East. is not about India or language directly. without the agency of those it imposes upon. Any argument must bracket out a great deal of reality to make its problem manageable. the way that many people seem to be taking just now more or less spontaneously. self-delusions and projections of colonial power the causative agents of Orientalism (Said 1978). has the tendency of turning what had been proposed as a question of colonial knowledge into one of dialogues (conversations.38 Thomas R. What has so struck me about the early British Orientalists is that every one of them is a frank supporter of empire in India. arguments. In what follows. the massive involvement of colonial power in these forms of knowledge.

in the all-important initial analytic move. Aarsleff 1982). kinship relations. Malayo-Polynesian and Dravidian language families and the identification of the language of the Roma with Indo-European — began from an apparently simple method. for there are some things for which every language must have words in its earliest formation. This essential core must include words for numbers. Gulya l974. which is the main tool of the emerging new science. Leibniz composed a list. moreover. the outer reaches of the lexicon. therefore. as well as abundant examples from India. being applied. and scholars understood that the comparison of words had to be followed to the comparison of “the roots of verbs and in the forms of grammar” as Jones said. which seems to have been a source for many of these often closely similar lists (Leibniz 1718. The vocabulary list. European and Indian ideas of language All the revolutionary new outcomes for the deep history of the world I have mentioned — the Indo-European.1782). To be sure. all over the world by Europeans and Euro-Americans in the 18th century and beyond. The simple-seeming vocabulary list had in fact a rather complex theory behind it which. captures the primitive core vocabulary and jettisons. under this conception. and there was a profusion of them. therefore. even in the 18th century the eliciting of historical relations among languages did not rest on word-lists alone.Discovering Aryan and Dravidian in British India 39 3. kinds of food. later. parts of the body. and of Thomas Jefferson to recover the history of the American Indians through comparison of their languages (Jefferson c. briefly. the comparison of vocabulary lists. for purposes of historical study. the ‘higher’ and often borrowed terms of art and science. more complex and advanced conceptions that may develop only with the progress of civilization and inhabiting. that is. which were thought to be the deeper levels of language than the lexicon. is as follows. is disengaged from the outer. published early in the 18th century. This theory sets up oppositions between core and periphery. foreign and learned accretions. Words borrowed from foreign languages. native and borrowed words. The simple-seeming word list embodies a work of far-reaching . Every language must have at its core the primitive vocabulary proper to that language. simple and complex conceptions. such as the project of Catherine of Russia. will be words of art and science. and so forth — words being understood as the names of classes of things existing in the world in this realist. It is this core that the standard vocabulary questionnaire attempts to capture. pre-Saussurian conception. Nevertheless word-lists were everywhere the starting-point of the study of genealogical relations among languages. for the Russian empire (published in Pallas 1786–1789). It is the machinery by which that primitive core is identified and.

Certain characteristic forms of colonial knowledge. This is the ‘surplus input’ that the colonial studies approach brackets out of the equation. fashioned at home. It is this project that Europe brings to the world it turns into its colonies. into what the anthropologists call a segmentary lineage of nations. To hold to the project of uncovering relations among nations through the comparison of vocabulary lists is to hold that languages have similarities among themselves in proportion to the closeness of their derivation. C. .40 Thomas R. 18th-century European ideas about the origin of language and its development are contained within the short. It now seems to me that the reason these projects come to fruition in the transition from a mercantile to an colonial enterprise in British India is that the transition brought a new stratum of welleducated. which is the substratum of the segmentary lineage of languages. not the Greek but rather the Biblical conceptions of the history of languages and nations. C.. and that makes the knowledge production of European colonialism so very different from that of the ancient Romans and Greeks. In a sense. The method of the comparison of vocabulary lists. It is this conception and the project which flows from it that Europeans took around the world in the 17th and 18th centuries. or rather with the more recent Confusion of Tongues at the Tower of Babel which occurred in about 2300 B. especially as concerns the study of foreign languages. They are further configured by the Genesis narrative of the descent of Noah. then. often university-educated. which among English speakers was thought to have begun with the creation in 4004 B. Trautmann abstraction by which the ancient core of a living language is disengaged from its periphery and made into a new object for the study of genealogical relations among other such abstracted core languages. follow from programs that had been developed in Europe much before the imperial expansion of Europe. was able to rewrite the history of the world because European imperial power made nonEurope accessible to European scholarship. civil servants and officers to British India that had been lacking in the mercantile phase. Biblical chronology of the world. a distinct component of it was directed to broadly philosophical or theoretical projects whose origin lies beyond immediate colonial utility. a kind of technology magnifying and making more effective the purposes of its user. Thus while much of the new interest in India’s languages was directly inspired by the needs of government. but it is a project formed ages earlier and formed around. (discussed in Trautmann 1992). the colonial expansion of Europe acted less as an efficient than as a material means.

or in the more theoretically-driven interest in Sanskrit itself. in both its liturgical and its spoken registers. The rules of transformation were expressed in the form of highly abbreviated prose.Discovering Aryan and Dravidian in British India 41 In much of the world colonized by Europeans. This tradition. the science of phonology (Pratisakhya). The project of the ‘science of grammar’ (Vyakarana) ¯ » was to reduce the whole of the Sanskrit language. centering on the analysis of Sanskrit. would generate the ¯ entirety of the language. C. Nevertheless many of their analytical principals are conveyed in watered-down versions of Sanskrit grammar for schoolroom use that were available to the British in Calcutta. On the other hand. called sutras. For the analysis of the Prakrit languages that descended from Sanskrit the Vyakarana tradition developed second-order transformational rules to account ¯ » for the words of Prakrit by showing their derivation from the Sanskrit dhatus. indeed they are so difficult as to discourage all but those who are prepared to dedicate years to their study. Katyayana and Patañjali. But in India the British and other Europeans encountered a highly sophisticated and much longer tradition of language theory in its own right. indigenous knowledge of language was made to function largely as mere data in relation to the organizing structures of European theory. this residuum of unexplainable words consisted mainly of ‘country’ words (desya). Most writing systems today are descendants of the ancient Semitic script. which because they sacrifice intelligi¯ bility to brevity and rigor seem like anticipations of computer programs. is rendered very accessible through the scripts in which Sanskrit is written. who lived perhaps between the fourth and ¯ ¯ the second centuries B. But the Prakrits contain a residue of unexplainable words whose relation to the dhatus of Sanskrit cannot be shown. achieved precocious maturity in the work of Panini and his ¯» successors. those that were unchanged except for the addition of a Prakrit termination (called tatsamas) and those which had undergone internal modification (called tadbhavas). which Vyakarana presup¯ ´¯ ¯ » poses and which was already highly developed at the time Panini composed his ¯» text. originating in the Vedic period to serve the need for linguistic control of the sacrificial liturgy. and also purely local (gramya) or foreign ´ ¯ (antardesya) words. ´ The works of Vyakarana do not provide the easy access to Sanskrit and the ¯ » other languages of India that the British sought in the colonial project of acquiring command of the Indian languages. including the one in which this paper is written. so is the Brahmi script. to two things: a list of roots or ‘elements’ (dhatus) and a set of ¯ transformational rules which. ¯ These Sanskrit derivatives took two forms. that is regionalisms. since these scripts are deeply shaped by phonological analysis. when applied to the dhatus. most .

which was rather quickly absorbed into European linguistic study. is a sketch of two traditions of linguistic analysis brought into intimacy by the colonial nexus. the journal of the Asiatic Society. The scheme builds. Burmese. In this way the very learning of the alphabetical order of the script for Sanskrit is a lesson in phonology. and changing the arbitrary alphabetical order that afflicts all the other descendants of the ancient Semitic script with a highly rational order reflecting that phonological analysis. ¯ ´¯ One immediate consequence of British exposure to Sanskrit. whose purpose was to make synoptic comparison possible and in doing so to serve the project of linguistic ethnology (Jones 1787). Persian. whose access to Panini was very limited. called “On the orthography of Asiatick words in Roman letters”. and through the study of Sanskrit in Europe by scholars of Indology and Comparative Philology. and other Asian languages in a single system. thanks to the acuteness of their phonological analysis. By these means Brahmi-derived scripts were devised for Tibetan. But in creating a system of writing the Indians. carrying with them a lesson in Pratisakhya. to which the same alphabetical order applies but with omissions of sounds not found in Tamil and the addition of a few Tamil sounds not found in Sanskrit. for the ultimate outcome of the exercise is the formation of a universal phonological notation. The same may be said of many features of Vyakarana analysis. Indian philological analysis was absorbed into Western phonology and generalized to the rest of the world’s languages. Jones. ¯ » This.42 Thomas R. from which modern scripts of India derive (Bühler 1898). published a ¯» paper on phonology for the first volume of Asiatick Researches. The Jonsean system of transliteration — “vowels as in Italian. Thai. Trautmann scholars believe. such as the Dravidian language Tamil. then. consonants as in English”. on Pratisakhya analysis of Sanskrit and we may say that through Jones’ article and ¯ ´¯ its successors in Europe Indian phonology was extended and universalized. Cambodian and other languages. then. was in the area of phonology. plus diacritic marks — was much used by missionary grammars in India and Africa. doubling the number of letters to achieve a close correspondence between the sounds of Sanskrit and the signs of the writing system. This article marks the beginnings of a search for a uniform scientific phonological transcription for distant languages among Europeans. . Arabic. By this means. the purpose of which was to devise a romanization that would render Sanskrit. This effect was also conveyed by other scripts derived from Brahmi. made profound changes in it. really. Now we turn to the tale of two cities of British India.

though not quite so forcible. for supposing that both the Gothick and the Celtick. But in addition to Jones the pioneer of science I found another Jones. When we reexamine the famous passage about Indo-European languages in this rational-Anglican light. yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity. though blended with a very different idiom.Discovering Aryan and Dravidian in British India 43 4. overlooked by previous writers. This combination of scholarly reason and Anglican religion provides the logic that drives Jones’ work (Trautmann 1997: 37–61. perhaps. of deriving the nations of Asia from the . showing Jones in a toga and bearing his translation of the Institutes of Manu. when we restore the passage to its context. Here is the text: The Sanscrit language. whatever be its antiquity. is quite real. and this is true enough. than could possibly have been produced by accident. (Jones 1786: 422–423) The astonishing modernity of the statement. myself included. more copious than the Latin. more perfect than the Greek. it remains a notable scientific achievement but shows more continuity with prevailing notions. For a brief moment Jones made Hinduism safe for Anglicans. than no philologer could examine them all three. both in the roots of verbs and in the forms of grammar. without believing them to have sprung from some common source. This Jones is captured in a colossal statue in the center of St. uniting Sanskrit with Greek. Latin. chap. the whole design of which expresses Jones’ project of finding independent confirmation of the truth of the Bible narrative of the flood in Sanskrit literature. who was hidden in plain sight. breaking through to a modern conception of language history. no longer exists: there is a similar reason. the president’s anniversary discourses to the Asiatic Society. Celtic and Persian and deriving them from a common language which no longer exists. and an answer to the skepticism of Voltaire. 74–80. see Lincoln 1999. London. The story of Calcutta The story of Jones and his famous pronouncement about what we call Indo-European at the Asiatic Society in Calcutta has been told many times by many writers. if this were the place for discussing any question concerning the antiquities of Persia. Gothic. so strong indeed. and more exquisitely refined than either. which. and the old Persian might be added to the same family. for a different interpretation. had the same origin with the Sanscrit. but as I have shown elsewhere (Trautmann 1997: 37–40). is of a wonderful structure. 11). Prevailing views of Jones depict him as a hero of linguistic science. Paul’s Cathedral. we see that the overall project is an ethnological one. which formed a set. On the pedestal there is a scene from the Puranic story of the churning of the milk ocean by the gods and demons.

Application of the Mosaic ethnology to Sanskrit yielded the surprising and unexpected conclusion that the English and the Indians were distant cousins — the ‘Aryan brethren’ theme of Max Müller. What he is saying is that the Indians. Jones argued that straight lines leading from a central homeland to the early Hamite civilizations would not cross if the center were placed in Iran — the near neighborhood. the Indians (and therefore their linguistic relatives) were sons of Ham. under the influence of the Vyakarana ¯ » doctrine of eternal. tree-like structure of what I wish to call the Mosaic ethnology derived from the book of Genesis provides the organizing principal behind Jones’ formulation of the Indo-European concept. In the generation that followed. The effect of those developments was to build up. Thus in Colebrooke’s important paper on the Prakrits. Ham and Japhet. and the exclusion of the Slavs. though other scholars favored Japhet as the Biblical substrate of the Indo-European or Aryan ethnos. making Calcutta the panoptical center of vision for the new Orientalist study of Indian languages. such as the inclusion. in this Hamitic precursor of the Indo-European conception. the Chinese and the Incas among others. segmentary. and with the establishment of the College of Fort William the languages of all of India were to be taught to newly-hatched civil servants. Jones also felt that. that is. although ninetenths of the vocabulary of ‘Hindavi’ of North India derived from Sanskrit. Romans. were the authors of civilization and of ancient paganism. and the coming of the Sanskrit-speakers from outside India. Trautmann three sons of Noah. for Jones. an Orientalist doctrine of the linguistic unity of India. including Slavs. Greeks. of the Egyptians. while the Semites were the preservers of true religion. universal Sanskrit. For his pandits the surprising and perhaps unpalatable parts would be both the derivation of eternal Sanskrit from an ancestral language. Calcutta Orientalism was under the lead of the brilliant Sanskritist Henry Thomas Colebrooke (1765–1837).44 Thomas R. the residue was perhaps the remains of a pre-Sanskritic language. and consistent with his Muslim interlocutors. of the Plain of Shinar where the Tower was built. (wrongly) asserts that . published at Calcutta in 1814. the Japhetites of nomadism. namely. The branching. he identifies the ten ‘polished’ languages of modern India with ten Prakrits derived from Sanskrit. In his system. Central Asians and the nomadic Indians of America. The Hamites. And William Carey’s (1761–1834) grammar of Telugu. Shem. aligned with the five Gaudas and five Dravidas of north and » ¯ » south India. Goths. Celts and Persians were descended from one and the same son of Noah. respectively (Colebrooke 1801). It also led to some of the very nonmodern errors in Jones’ scheme.

in other words. for example. which is excluded by a scientific definition of the linguistic object of such works. true to the principal that success has many fathers. What this amounts to is an Orientalist reading of the pandits’ doctrine of universal Sanskrit. hidden in plain view. It is worth adding to this brief sketch of the new Orientalism of Calcutta. Muslim writers on Indian antiquities did share this Mosaic frame with Christian writers from Europe. is that Jones has been seen as belonging either to the story of linguistic science or of Indology. that the Indo-European doctrine which was its greatest achievement would have been discovered — indeed was discovered — without the conjuncture of persons and institutions and conversations which made it possible. as it was to Jones and Coeurdoux. In truth. The censoring of this aspect of Jones’ project tells us that histories of linguistics find it difficult to come to grips with this continuing Biblical content. perhaps. and can be gotten from the published sources. and issue in a project of linguistic ethnology by means of word lists. largely had done so in a letter to the Académie des Belles Lettres. though mixed with desya words. .Discovering Aryan and Dravidian in British India 45 Telugu (actually a Dravidian language). a close relation of their own language with those of the Persians and the Indians would have been more immediately apparent. of the linguistic unity of India. but interest in languages did not take quite the same form. and the orientation of Vyakrana ¯ » was not such as to direct the attention of Indians toward highly theorized comparisons of Sanskrit and Greek. so to say. especially the works of Sir William Jones. as I have said. but true only within India — the doctrine. The story of Madras Much of the story of Indo-European is. is the Mosaic ethnology as an organizing frame. in fact they are central. The Indo-European discovery is the inevitable outcome of the project of linguistic ethnology that Europeans had taken around the world. What both lacked. virtually every nation of Europe has a candidate for the discoverer of Indo-European. At the same time this inevitability is missing in the ancient Greek encounters with India for whom.1768). and. the linguistic unity of the world. for both of which the central place of Biblical ideas in his project are an embarrassment. accepting this doctrine as true. as I see it. the Biblically-inspired genealogical trees that assisted Jones to his finding are still very much in use in historical linguistics. though his work remained unpublished until after Jones had made Calcutta famous for Orientalist knowledge (Coeurdoux c. What has kept it hidden. one would imagine. is ´ derived from Sanskrit (Carey 1814). Father Gaston Laurent Coeurdoux (1691–1779) of the Jesuits. 5.

a few personal papers in the Bodleian Library and large amounts of material in the unpublished colonial record preserved at the Tamil Nadu State Archives in Chennai (Madras) and the Oriental and India Office Collections of the British Library in London. which was a Tamil text of Sankaraya’s on the settlement of Tondaimandalam by Vellalar warriorcultivators. and tended to consider his own work as lying in the more modern. A second reason for the obscurity of the Madras story is that the evident authority of Robert Caldwell’s (1814–1891) 1856 comparative grammar of Dravidian made it a standard work. Tamil and Telugu. Another crucial member of the circle was Sankaraya or Shankara Shastri. and must have worked closely together.46 Thomas R. translated and commented upon by Ellis. and not in the tradition of British-Indian Orientalism. found a substantial amount of his correspondence in the British Library and the National Library of Scotland. I have. Francis Whyte Ellis. and in the College as head English master. George which Ellis designed and supervised (as senior member of the Board of Superintendence) and at least a glimpse of its Indian personnel. Trautmann The story of Madras is much more difficult to recover. Ellis and Sankaraya knew Sanskrit. with accompanying inscriptions. and the scattering of his papers. This was not written for publication. especially its young secretary Alexander Duncan Campbell (1798–1857) and the headmasters of the College. From these sources it is possible to build up a quite detailed picture of the school of Orientalism Ellis briefly presided over at Madras. which eclipsed the memory of Ellis and his circle (Caldwell 1856). German-led school of comparative philology. Pattabhiraman Shastri (Sanskrit and Telugu) and Udaiyagiri Venkatanarayan (English). among them the untimely death of the principal. showing the ancient disposition of property rights in the Madras area. but as a report to the Board of Revenue which had asked collectors to investigate traditional land tenures in their districts. The colonial record especially gives us a clear view of the College of Fort St. but it was regarded as so very important that the Madras Government published it (Ellis 1818). who served at different times as Ellis’s sherishtedar or chief of Indian staff in his capacity as Collector of Madras. however. One comes to see that Ellis is not working alone but is the leader of a circle that includes the members of the Board. One result of their collaboration was published: the so-called Treatise of Mirasi Right. Caldwell does mention Ellis in his preface but gives only minimal credit. who supervised the work of the language teachers assigned to the junior civil servants: Chidambara Variar (Tamil). for quite different reasons. .

It was an achievement that emerged through conversations between British and Indian scholars in Madras. It was an impressive achievement. Telugu and Kannada which had been prepared for him by the teachers of the College. Campbell. that is. many Sanskritderived words in them. that the desya words constitute the pure Telugu speech — much as ´ Carey had cited his pandit in delivering his argument for the Sanskritic derivation of Telugu. and that they are closely related to one another.Discovering Aryan and Dravidian in British India 47 The Dravidian proof is found in an Introduction by Ellis to the Telugu grammar of A. Campbell. after the name of the district where it is found). In this simple. ¯ » there are grounds for saying so. The proof generalizes and extends arguments developed by Campbell from his pandits and in contradiction of Carey’s statement that Telugu derives from Sanskrit (Campbell 1816). quite astonishingly and correctly. Likewise the Dravidian doctrine was a completely new view of India for . Further on in the proof he extends these findings to Malayalam. but clearly there developed in that tradition no general view of the Dravidian languages in their relations to one another. with the implication that the whole analysis of a single South Indian language would require comparative study — the project. indeed. through parallel lists of dhatus for ¯ Tamil. Every one of these findings remain valid nearly two centuries later. and that the core is not Sanskrit-derived. He also correctly notes the influence of the South Indian languages on Sinhala and Marathi. D. which therefore constitutes the indigenous core. containing words ´ for numbers. Campbell’s argument amounts to saying that the non-Sanskritic character of Telugu was a view which is found within the Vyakarana tradition. though they have many. presented it as the view of the pandits — the view. in his argument against Carey. Tulu. a Dravidian language enclave in the Ganges Valley (he calls it Rajshahi. that not only do the desya or non-Sanskrit words of the three ´ languages answer to cognate words in the other languages. elegant way Ellis proves both that the languages of the South are not descended from Sanskrit. Ellis generalized this finding to the other South Indian languages (he does not use the name Dravidian). published by the College Press for the use of its students (Ellis 1816). to Malto. that Robert Caldwell eventually carried out. Because the authority-claims of the new Orientalism rested ultimately on access to the pandit’s knowledge. kinship terms and the like. forty years later. but also that some words in one of the South Indian languages are traceable to a root that is preserved only in other of the languages. Campbell argued specifically that the desya portion of the vocabulary of Telugu is its core. showing. Codagu and.

Doubtless because Jones had already identified Indo-European with the Hamites. principally) components. He had joined the Asiatic Society and contributed an important paper to it. Hebrew and Chaldean. and the Japhetites with nomadic peoples. and sense his ambition to make Madras the center of an Orientalism of South India as a corrective to erroneous characterizations of the South broadcast from Calcutta. to which are applied the Western ¯ idea of the core vocabulary. favoring Persian and Hindustani. We see in the Dravidian proof a direct challenge to Calcutta’s monopoly of the new Orientalist knowledge. The Dravidian proof rested on the prior analysis of the languages in question by Vyakarana methods. taught in a madrassah. 6. essentially the Mughal dispensation. Ellis tried to develop word correspondences linking Tamil with Arabic. The knowledge which emerged was unprecedented in either intellectual tradition. What is learned about the significance of the modern construction of the keywords ‘Aryan’ and ‘Dravidian’ when we look at the question from the vantage of British India? I argue that several things are learned. the remaining son of Noah. The publication of Campbell’s Telugu grammar amounted to a declaration of independence from Calcutta. Close examination of the surviving records shows that Ellis had arrived at the essentials of the Dravidian idea well before the College was created (1812). and which Campbell’s grammar eclipsed. This is seen especially in the design of the College.48 Thomas R. implicitly identifying them with Shem. and indeed that its curriculum was shaped by it. Provisional conclusions toward work in progress To conclude. and the analysis of the South Indian ´ languages into alphabetized lists of dhatus. into Sanskritic (tatsama. the curriculum of which favored study of the Dravidian languages and Sanskrit. quite against the existing language policy. and he used the Jonesean romanization of Indian languages in all his writing. He was in error. Ellis was a committed practitioner of the new Orientalism invented at Calcutta. Unpublished draft manuscripts in the Bodleian Library show how Ellis went about trying to integrate it with existing knowledge. Trautmann Europeans. But by many signs we can divine that he thought Calcutta did not understand the South. which had published Carey’s grammar of Telugu just two years previous (Carey 1814). tadbhava) and non¯ » Sanskritic (desya. and the culture of the munshi. he attempted to show that the Dravidian languages were a branch of the Semitic family. and the culture of the pandit. and that the British-Indian aspect of these histories is essential to the full elucidation . Putting it in our terms. but his error had a rationale that was a good one for the time.

Another has to do with . so that the study of India elucidated the ‘modern. Western’. a contribution of inestimable importance. having become part of modern. to take a leading instance. I discuss them under two heads: (1) the construction of the synonymic couple. is under the sign of tradition. and (2) the relation of Orientalism to the politics of racial hatred. a hybrid knowledgeformation that we have lost sight of because it is hidden in plain sight. the ‘modern. Western’ through contrast with it (Dumont 1966). Western’ are to be read as synonyms. through Orientalism. and forgetting of Indian contributions. Louis Dumont’s many important contributions to Indian sociology. but not a source of modernity. The Oblivion of India (L’Oubli de l’Inde) could be applied here (Droit 1989). in wisdom quite possibly. 6. But that India has participated in the construction of modernity is somehow counter to modernist thinking itself. with a slight change: the forgetting I draw attention to is that of British-Indian Orientalism. Western knowledge. One of them is in our so-called Arabic numerals based on place notation and the use of zero which. as the Arabs acknowledged. Western”. There is a double kind of forgetting here. on both sides of the colonial relation: forgetting of the British contributions to Orientalism prior to the German ascendancy. Marsden. to what we oddly call the “modern. refuses the identity of the modern with the Western. Westernization is modernization and vice versa. Leyden and Ellis can be demonstrated readily enough. The phrase of Roger-Pol Droit. a kind of museum of Europe’s past. in the title of his book. but of an emergent mixed knowledge that is the product of the conjuncture and which.Discovering Aryan and Dravidian in British India 49 of the issues. Thus the paired adjectives ‘modern. Western’ The British-Indian episode has been largely lost from the story of knowledge in which the Aryan or Indo-European and the Dravidian concepts are emplotted. certainly had its origin in India. and the memory of Jones has never been lost. It is not a question of two contributions. And yet there are decided Indian inputs into modernity.1 The ‘modern. steeped in religion. hidden in plain sight. The case has been made and I need not recapitulate what I have said on the subject. because of its composite character. an earlier stage the West has gone through and emerged from into the modern. a British one and an Indian one. were framed in exactly this way. India is construed as its opposite. The forgotten contributions of British Orientalists such as Colebrooke. in opposition to the West. as an exemplary instance of the non-West. for which India.

¯. ˙ jh. n.50 Thomas R. th. n. This is a forgotten story. m. as a knowledge-regime the modern is an object of fusion of mixed origins and even less bounded and localized than the Western which is its supposed synonym. 12. t. I believe. d. g. It will be known well enough to readers of Allen’s Phonetics in Ancient India (Allen 1953). bh. b. This condition of amnesia is emblematic of a larger state of affairs. but the story of the ‘modern. n. u. It is to the modern Paninians that we must look for the rectification of this ‘forgetting of India’. gaining an acuity that leads eventually to the International Phonetic Alphabet. u. d. in whose work it was foundational. a modernized phonological analysis becomes apparent at about the time that Europeans are acquiring their first knowledge of Sanskrit. Burma. Trautmann phonological analysis based on the Indian alphabetical order with its rational series of vowels a. j. though it provided a basis for phonological analysis through the Brahmiderived scripts of Tibet. Western’ is not complete without the inclusion of India. The Indian numerical series (1. 11. The story of the modern (linguistic) concepts of Aryan and Dravidian. India — that is to say. gh. script reform in Japan and Korea. . grouped by place ¯ ı ¯ of articulation from the back to the front of the mouth: k. followed by the consonants. etc. then. Indonesia and the Philippines. are not complete without the forgotten story of British-Indian Orientalist scholarship. and so forth. which the European Sanskritists have not done enough to recover. kh. In Europe. the tradition of phonological and grammatical analysis associated with Sanskrit — had. 21…) has since become universal. n. and contributed to the ordering of the rhyming dictionaries in China and. t. The alphabetical series had a more limited reach in the past. 13 … 20. major inputs into the formation of modern linguistics. dh. via Jones’ article on the romanization of Asian languages and the Sanskrit study of some of the European linguists. 3 … 10. p. dh. i. The contrast of Europe to India as of modernity to tradition is no longer as self-evident as it seemed to Louis Dumont. but India is practically unknown in a recent survey on alphabets (Drucker 1995). ph. a. The number » » » » » series and the alphabetical order embed within their structures impressive intellectual accomplishments and illustrate two areas of special achievement in the ancient Indian sciences — mathematics and linguistics. 2. th. that are barely known by a few specialists today. One has the feeling that India was the source of a lesson in phonology. ch. c. probably. Thailand.

race and nation are used more or less interchangeably. but it has become guilty knowledge by the uses to which it has been put. Here the perspective from British India offers a beginning. as viewed from the limited perspective of British India. so to say. Before . of which it the nation was reconceptualized as the ground. It is surprising to find that the investigation has scarcely begun. of the atomic bomb. no overstatement can quite extinguish. then. How do the Orientalists stand in matters of this kind. when he tried to come to grips with the moral issues of the bomb. My own sense of the problem. whose signs were to be read from the body. He turned again to religious language. The words ‘race’ and ‘nation’ came to mean quite different things at the end of the 19th century than what they had meant at its beginning. Some time after Hiroshima and Nagasaki became the first and. at the same time. this having known sin. and the doing of it will require persons with the skills of Orientalist scholarship. “In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity. in their making of the modern ideas of the Aryan and Dravidian? Given the large literature on racism and its causes one would have thought this would have been a well-covered field. with words taken from the Bhagavad Gita: “brighter than a thousand suns”. but much remains to be done. in a speech on “Physics in the contemporary world” delivered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology on 25 November 1947. The deep moral unease Oppenheimer speaks of. and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose” (Oppenheimer 1947). attaches to the physicist through the body of knowledge from which the bomb was made. so to say. Robert Oppenheimer. the idea of nation was becoming politicized under the influence of the doctrine of popular sovereignty. for example. In the language of Sir William Jones.Discovering Aryan and Dravidian in British India 51 6. J. the physicists have known sin. is as follows. the idea of race becoming biologized or somatized. the last targets of nuclear bombing he said. no humor. I close with a few words on what the effects of including British India may be on the story of ethnic politics and the issue of tainted knowledge.2 Orientalism and the politics of racial hatred These are ways in which the investigation of Orientalism in British India will enrich and change the story-of-knowledge side of the Aryan and Dravidian concepts. the content of this knowledge is still true. it is to be hoped. and that there is much to be explained about the genealogies of the ideas of racial hate politics and their relation to Orientalist scholarship. He described that bomb. which had been intended for Germany but was dropped on Japan towards the close of World War II. albeit of another kind. but subsequently they became quite different concepts. I begin with a quotation from a Sanskritist who was also a physicist and the architect.

son of Noah (see Trautmann 1997: 42–52). so that James Cowles Prichard 1786– 1848). and not the study of complexion and other bodily features. and it was the classifications of languages by Orientalists and philologists that guided the classification of races. to conclude that the ancient Indians. the . Romans and Greeks were co-descendants of Ham. writing in the 1850s. chap. What seems a commonplace today was then the newest of discoveries.” in his Essai sur l’inégalité des races humaines (Gobineau 1853– 1855). What was afoot was a new authority-claim on behalf of physical anthropology and prehistoric archeology as against the dominance of Orientalism and comparative philology in the classification of races. Trautmann that parting of ways between race and nation. formed of a pure white subset of Indo-European and located in a European or Central Asian homeland. fallen civilizations. or rather the problematizing of their relation. English discussions of race had assumed an easy correspondence between language and the bodily signs of race. he posited that race is the fundamental cause of world history. In this vastly influential work. All this changed about the middle of the 19th century. that race and language do not necessarily go together. to take another example. Everywhere this deleterious admixture has occurred. that their relation is not a necessary one and needs at every point to be examined as a problem rather than assumed as a given (Trautmann 1997. enabled a new project for the redefinition of whiteness. and the admixture of the white race with others is the cause of the decline of civilizations. The Comte de Gobineau. Moreover. was the great theoretician of what might be called “the racial theory of world history. who are the last remnant of pure whiteness. Till the mid-19th century. complexion did not have the same fixed character as an unchanging sign of race that it subsequently acquired. but because of the mixture of races in the other. a pure white race. newly biologized and insisting on the superior power of the bodily signs of race over the linguistic ones (Stepan 1982). excepting only the Germanic peoples. for example. and the rise of race science. which appeared as a new key to history. Coinciding more or less with a deepened chronology for human history and the advent of Darwinian evolutionism there was the rise of what Nancy Stepan has called “race science”. the project of creating a new conception of the white race. Complexion was among many thinkers of the time conceived as by no means immutable. they were freely interchanged. The disjuncture of language and race. to which the Aryan name was attached. in the sense that the white race is the author of all civilizations. held that the white race had developed in a few thousand years from a dark Adam and Eve (Prichard 1813). It did not trouble Jones. 6).52 Thomas R.

who held the role of interpreter for the British reading public of the best current work by Continental theorists of race such as the French anthropologists Paul Broca (1824–1880) and Paul Topinard (1830–1911). for one thing. which is the true motor of history. who was one of the first to apply the Aryan name to the Indo-European concept. have known sin. in his book on the Aryans. for the Indo-European doctrine. Their sin has taken the form of an accommodation to the rising tide of race science thought in the . Ending the ‘tyranny of Sanskrit’ was race science’s contribution to the politics of racial hatred that is with us still. The Orientalists. in a surprising complaint against the ‘tyranny of Sanskrit’. Isaac Taylor. were not the architects of this racial bomb. But in their own way the Orientalists. who speak Indo-European languages. is only one of several who attacked this famous pronouncement. synecdoche for Sanskrit and. while Max Müller had regarded the Aryans and the Semites as the twin civilizing forces in the world. in turn. Freed from the tutelage of philology. And Hitler’s contempt for Slavs and Gypsies. and the Germans Theodor Pösche (1826–1899) and Karl Penka (1847–1912). Max Müller. essentially the conception of Gobineau. The phrase is that of Isaac Taylor (1829–1901). We can trace the same movement clearly not in British India but in Britain itself. identified this racial-linguistic entity as racially white. becomes the focus of the new politics of racial hatred. But there is a great deal of further cultural work that had to be accomplished to cover the distance to Hitler. Max Müller repented of having so thoroughly identified race and language. then — in which Gobineau was well-read — must yield to the record of race. too. Max Müller (1823–1900) had said that although no authority would have been strong enough to convince the English soldier that the same blood was flowing in his veins as in the veins of the dark Bengalese. race science opened a space for the development of a narrowed and intensified concept of whiteness in the service of a thoroughly racialized vision of politics. required the formation of an Aryan concept that was narrowly racialized and detached from the Indo-European language family as such. The philological record. chap. language comparison offered a proof so convincing that no English jury would reject it (Müller 1855: 29). and proposed an amicable divorce between philology and race science (see Trautmann 1997. the true motor of history. Virulent anti-Semitism. then. 6). and was instrumental in the formation of the racial theory of Indian civilization.Discovering Aryan and Dravidian in British India 53 historical relations among languages gives a very misleading picture of the historical relations among races. and the object of his attack is Friedrich Max Müller.

and the time has long since come to abolish it. that accommodation took the form of what I want to call “the racial theory of Indian civilization”. Indian Palaeography. Georg. London: Oxford University Press. As I have argued elsewhere. and in South Africa. as evidence of an inhering natural racial antipathy of whites for blacks that in that era were thought to be a constant of history. Allen. tirés des registers de l’Académie Royale des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres 49. Mémoires de littérature. selon les anciens. white. Those in the tradition of Orientalist scholarship have tools for this task that no one else possesses. From Locke to Saussure: Essays on the study of language and intellectual history. chap.] Bühler. W. and they have. [The Supplément publishes correspondence of Père Coeurdoux with the Académie des Inscriptions of about 1768. I have tried to show in some detail how very much maltreatment of the Rigvedic text it has required to sustain that view. “Le Premier fleuve de l’Inde. 7). even after the discovery of the Indus Civilization. Anquetil-Duperron. an obligation to do so.512–646. as well. REFERENCES Aarsleff. It is no accident that discussions of the origin of caste from the period cite the parallel of the Jim Crow segregation in the American South after the Civil War. 647–712. and how surprisingly established it remains today. Calcutta: Firma Mukhopadhyaya. Phonetics in Ancient India. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Abraham Hyacinthe. 1808[1784–1793]. Trautmann latter half of the 19th century. was the clash of incoming. dark. Supplément au mémoire qui précède. . 1953. Hans. S[idney]. What was established by the Orientalists in the latter half of the 19th century as the master narrative of the origin of Indian civilization from a clash of light and dark races is no more than the back projection of Western notions of the supposedly instinctive race feelings of whites toward blacks underpinning the world of racial segregation following the abolition of slavery. The racial theory of Indian civilization can now be seen for the time-bound construct that it is. 1982. according to which the defining moment for India’s formation. savage Dravidian-speaking Indians and their unification through the caste system with its curious intersection of economic exchange and sexual segregation.54 Thomas R. the ‘big bang’ so to say. selon les modernes”. le Gange. expliqué par le Gange. and an emerging idea of racial pure whiteness. which shows at the very least that the indigenous inhabitants of India whom the invaders calling themselves Arya made war upon were by no means savages but the literate builders of great cities (Trautmann 1997. civilized Sanskrit-speaking Aryans with indigenous. 1962 [1898].

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les besoins d’un gouvernement colonial étant dans cette optique la force motrice derrière cette production. est un exemple de ce processus. celle du Dravidien. On y voit ces découvertes et ses conséquences en tant que produits naissants de deux traditions distinctes de l’étude du langage qu’apportèrent chacun Britanniques et Indiens au lien colonial. it follows that some aspects of modernism tacitly absorb Indian knowledge. était liée aux villes anglo-indiennes de Calcutta (pour l’indo-europeéen) et Madras (pour le draviden). among other things. It views these discoveries and their consequences as emergent products of two distinct traditions of language study which the British and the Indians brought to the colonial connection. This essay sketches out a different way of looking at aspects of colonial knowledge that fall outside the colonial utility framework. On soutient ici que ces découvertes se sont faites dans l’Inde britannique parce que la tradition européenne de l’analyse du langage est entré en contact avec la tradition indienne. Four major. ce dont traite cet article. The production of new knowledge in British India is generally viewed through the lens of post-colonial theory. were connected with the British-Indian cities of Calcutta and Madras. il s’ensuit que certains aspects du modernisme ont discrètement acquis des connaissances indiennes: plus précisément. and the conditions under which they came about are examined. specifically Indian language analysis. La phonologie indienne. Indian phonology. se combinant avec certains aspects de cette dernière. entre autres choses.Cet article propose une façon de voir tout autre d’aspects de la science coloniale qui se trouvaient hors du cadre de l’utilité coloniale. La découverte de l’indo-européen et du dravidien. It is argued that they came about in British India because the European tradition of language analysis met and combined with aspects of the highly sophisticated Indian language analysis. et on examinera les conditions dans lesquelles se firent ces découvertes. Le plus souvent on a examiné la production de nouveaux savoirs dans l’Inde britannique à la lumière des théories du post-colonialisme. l’analyse linguistique indienne. unanticipated discoveries were especially associated with the East India Company: those of Indo-European. . Malayo-Polynesian and the Indo-Aryan nature of Romani. If this is so. respectively. d’analyse linguistique. is an example of this process. Si tel est le cas. RÉSUMÉ L’Inde britannique fut un lieu fort propice pour ce qui est de l’évolution de la linguistique historique. The discoveries of Indo-European and Dravidian. the subject of this article. fort avancée. On associe quatre grandes découvertes inattendues à la Compagnie des Indes Orientales: celle de l’Indo-Européen. celle du Malayo-Polynésien et celle de l’appartenance du Romani aux langues Indo-Aryennes. Dravidian.Discovering Aryan and Dravidian in British India 57 SUMMARY British India was an especially fruitful site for the development of historical linguistics. and is seen as having been driven by the needs of colonial governance.

Man nimmt an. In dem Beitrag wird jedoch eine anderer Blickweise vorgeschlagen. Wenn dem so ist. Besonders die Ostindien-Kompanie wird mit vier Entdeckungen in Zusammenhang gebracht. Trautmann Department of History University of Michigan Ann Arbor. e-mail: ttraut@umich. welches heutzutage immer noch das indische Wissen.edu . in Zusammenhang mit den Kolonialstädten Kalkutta und Madras. Die indische Lautlehre bietet hierfür ein deutliches Exempel. A. steht. daß dies mit dem Zusammentreffen europäischer Traditionen und der hochentwickelten indischen Sprachanalyse zu tun hat. Trautmann ZUSAMMENFASSUNG In der britischen Kolonialzeit war Indien ein besonders günstiger Platz für die Entwicklung der historischen Sprachwissenschaft. Die Entdeckung des Indoeuropäischen und des Drawidischen. Das neugewonnene Wissen wird dabei allerdings durch die Brille der nachkolonialen Zeit und als Folge administrativer Bedürfnisse der Kolonialmacht gewertet.58 Thomas R. die in und durch die Kolonisierung aufeinander trafen. des Malayo-Polinesischen und die der Zugehörigkeit des Romani zur indoarischen Gruppe. speziell die Sprachanalyse umgibt. die des Indoeuropäischen. dann erklärt sich hieraus auch zu einem Gutteil das Stillschweigen. wie gezeigt wird. des Drawidischen. der britischen und der indischen. abseits von kolonialem Nützlichkeitsdenken. Author’s address: Thomas R. S. Die sprachwissenschaftlichen Entdeckungen und ihre Folgen werden als Resultat zweier unterschiedlicher Traditionen gesehen. Traditionen. mit der sich der vorliegende Artikel befaßt. MI 48109 U.

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