Origins Of The Aryan Dravidian Divide
"Aryan-Dravidian divide is a modern political creation with no
scientific or historical spport."
Science on Aryan and Dravidians
!ven fifty years after independence" it is nfortnate #t tre that
$ndians contine to view themselves and their history throgh
colonial glasses. The edcation system for the most part contines to
#e #ased on the %acalayite model. This is especially so in s#jects
li&e history" which inclde long discredited theories li&e the Aryan
invasion and the Aryan-Dravidian conflicts. 'hat is the trth( )ere
is what science has to say.
A recently p#lished stdy comparing the genetic composition of
'estern !rasian and $ndian poplations shows that the spposed Aryan
invasion of $ndia *+++ to ,+++ years ago postlated #y historians in
the nineteenth centry" and still fond in many te-t#oo&s is
contradicted #y genetics. $n articles that appeared in the .ritish
jornal /rrent .iology" T.R. Disotell" T. 0ivisild and their
cowor&ers o#serve that the "spposed Aryan invasion of $ndia *+++ -
,+++ years ago was mch less significant than is generally #elieved."
A &ey mitochondrial DNA of the 'estern !rasian strain acconts for
at most 1.2 percent in $ndian poplations as compared to 3+ percent
in !rope. This rles ot a recent common origin as postlated #y
the 4Aryan invasion4. Any split that occrred from a common
poplation mst have ta&en place more than 1+"+++ years ago"
according to the stdy. This is in agreement with other genetic data"
showing that there were major migrations ot of Africa into Sotheast
Asia at appro-imately the same time. $t is worth noting that
according to a widely accepted theory" hmans evolved in Africa and
spread into other parts of the world #eginning a#ot 5++"+++ years
ago. This was dring the last $ce Age" when mch of the Northern
)emisphere was ninha#ita#le de to e-treme cold. The 6ranas also
record that dring an e-tended cold period" people from all parts of
the world soght shelter in $ndia in caves and roc& shelters. This
goes to e-plain the presence of ancient cave- and roc& art at places
li&e .him#et&a in /entral $ndia.
)ere is something really interesting. The athors of the genetic
stdy note that this 'est !rasian strain is not only insignificant"
#t also present in roghly the same proportions in North and Soth
$ndia. This means that there is no correlation #etween the langages
of the poplation and their spposed !rasian origin. The 4Aryan
invasion4 theory holds that ancestors of spea&ers of 4Aryan4
langages li&e )indi" 6nja#i" .engali and others were !rasian
invaders" whereas spea&ers of 4Dravidian4 langages of Soth $ndia
were the original inha#itants of $ndia. The genetic stdy contradicts
this #y showing #oth to have the same insignificant proportion of the
'est !rasian DNA strain. So" according to science" there is no Aryan-
Dravidian divide.
The recent decipherment of the $nds script shows that these findings
are in agreement with findings from archaeology. 7ha and $ have read
more than 2+++ )arappan seals and they show that the 8edic literatre
already e-isted #y *+++ ./. The literary evidence of the Rigveda also
contradicts any invasion from !rasia. Some recent attempts to place
the Rigvedic land in Afghanistan are seriosly misgided. The Rigveda
descri#es an esta#lished maritime society in which references to the
ocean" ships and navigation are very common. $t is not easy to see
how sch a society cold florish in land-loc&ed Afghanistan. All in
all #oth science and literatre shatter the notion of any Aryan
invasion. $t is one of the a#errations of scholarship that #elongs to
what %illi&an called 4pathological science4. 9et s ne-t loo& at its
history and politics.
Aryans according themselves
The first point to note is that the idea of Aryans and Dravidians as
separate" even mtally hostile people is of very recent origin. $t
is a creation of !ropean scholars of the colonial era" having no
#asis in $ndian history or literatre. The Amara&osha" the
athoritative le-icon of the Sans&rit langage :1th centry AD;
defines Arya as maha&la &linarya sa#hya sajjana sadhavah. This
means that an Arya is one who hails from a distingished family" and
condcts himself with decency and gentleness. According to the
Rigveda the "children of Arya follow the light"" meaning they see&
enlightenment. $t has nothing to do with race" langage or
nationality. :Sans&rit has no word for race.;
This fact - that the Aryan-Dravidian theory was of recent origin -
was noted #y Dr. Am#ed&ar also. As he wrote< "All the princes"
whether they #elonged to the so-called Aryan race or the so-called
Dravidian race" were Aryas. 'hether a tri#e or a family was racially
Aryan or Dravidian was a =estion that never tro#led the people of
$ndia" ntil foreign scholars came in and #egan to draw the line."
This is spported also #y the %ansmriti" another ancient athority.
$t tells s that Dravidians :in the geographic sense; are also Aryans
who at one time had fallen from the Aryan fold when they stopped
following certain 8edic practices and ritals. :'as this the reason
that Sage Agastya went soth of the 8indhyas" ta&ing 8edic &nowledge
with him(; The %ansmriti has #een revised many times to reflect
changes in society and practices. $n one particlar place it
descri#es Arya Desha as< "The land #onded #y the montain of Reva
:Narmada;" the !astern Sea :.ay of .engal; and the 'estern Sea
:Ara#ian Sea; is Arya Desha. This is the land where #lac&-s&inned
deer roam freely." That is to say" the %ansmriti identifies Arya
Desha as none other than 6eninslar $ndia" which incldes Dravidians.
$t also tells s that the inha#itants of this contry are e-emplary
Aryans" worthy of emlation #y all.
'hat this means is that the terms 4Arya4 and 4Aryadesha4 were
assigned to people and their ha#itat depending on their condct and
cltre - and not race or langage. This also means that the
assignment cold change depending on whether the people had lapsed
from their e-pected standards of #ehavior. So at the time when this
passage in the %ansmriti was composed" the people of 6eninslar
$ndia were considered e-emplary Aryans. And this was #ecase of their
condct - not langage or race.
4Race science4< /olonial-missionary politics
The notion of Aryan and Dravidian as separate races" thogh a
colonial !ropean imposition contines to inflence intellectal
discorse in $ndia. This is nfortnate #ecase it rests on
scientifically discredited #eliefs. 'riting as far #ac& as 5>*>" Sir
7lian )-ley" one of the great natral scientists of the centry"
o#served< "$n !ngland and America the phrase 4Aryan race4 has =ite
ceased to #e sed #y writers with scientific &nowledge" thogh it
appears occasionally in political and propagandist literatre. $n
?ermany" the idea of the 4Aryan4 race received no more scientific
spport than in !ngland. Nevertheless" it fond a#le and very
persistent literary advocates who made it appear very flattering to
local vanity. $t therefore steadily spread" fostered #y special
)-ley was referring of corse to the rise of Na@ism arond the
notion of the Aryan race. $t shold ma&e one sspicios of the
motives of the !nglish" who" while denoncing racial theories in
!rope" contined to classify their $ndian s#jects along racial
lines. $t was simply a politically convenient tool in their 4divide
and rle4 strategy. They appealed to the vanity of one grop to ma&e
them feel sperior to others :#t still inferior to the !nglish;.
They &new well that it had no scientific #asis" #t fond it a
convenient tool for se in $ndiaA
.ritish were #y no means the only colonists to indlge in sch
propaganda in the name of 4science4. This idea of dividing a
con=ered people in the name of 4race science4 was a standard ploy of
colonial officials and /hristian missionaries. %ch of the
#loodletting in ethnic conflicts in Africa today is de to sch
mischief. Spea&ing of the recent )t-Ttsi conflicts" the Brench
anthropologist 7ean-6ierre 9angellier wrote< "The idea that the )ts
and the Ttsis were physically different was first aired in the 5CD+s
#y the .ritish e-plorer 7ohn Spe&eE The history of Rwanda Fli&e that
of mch of AfricaG has #een distorted #y 6ere .lancs F'hite BathersG
missionaries" academics and colonial administrators. They made the
Ttsis ot to #e a sperior race" which had con=ered the region and
enslaved the )ts. E%issionaries taght the )ts that historical
fallacy" which was the reslt of racist !ropean concepts #eing
applied to an African reality. At the end of the fifties" the )ts
sed that discorse to react against the Ttsis."
Sond familiar( The Aryan-Dravidian conflicts are a car#on copy of
the same racist divide" convert and con=er policy. Bortnately that
there is enogh indigenos scholarship in $ndia to fight and refte
sch political charlatanism" thogh it did scceed in dividing the
people into mtally hostile camps. This was mainly de to the
patronage e-tended to them #y the rling athorities - first the
.ritish and then the %ar-ist dominated /ongress. .etter sense is now
#eginning to prevail. .t to their eternal disgrace" the 4Seclarist4
and %ar-ist historians of $ndia contine to peddle this racist
nonsense. They shall live in infamy.
The #asic pro#lem with these race theories is that they are #ased not
on any laws of natre" #t man-made classifications that se
e-ternally o#serva#le featres. As one scholar pt it< "The race
concept has no scientific #asis. ?iven any two individals one can
regard them as #elonging to the same race #y ta&ing their common
genetic characteristics" or" on the contrary" as #elonging to
different races #y emphasi@ing the genetic characteristic in which
they differ." As an illstration" instead of choosing s&in- and eye
color as defining parameters" if one were to choose height and
weight" one wold end p with African Hls and Scandinavians as
#elonging to the same race. Noting sch anomalies" 9igi /avalli-
Sfor@a" widely regarded as the world4s foremost hman geneticist"
o#served that sch e-ternal featres simply indicate changes de to
adaptation to the environment. )e points ot that the rest of the
genetic ma&ep of the hman family hardly differs at all.
There are similar misconceptions a#ot Aryan and Dravidan langages.
The idea that different langages of a 4family4 #ranched off from a
single root langage - sometimes called a proto-langage - can #e
traced to the story of the Tower of .a#el fond in the .i#le.
.i#lical #eliefs li&e the creation of the world on Octo#er 2*" ,++,
./ have had great inflence on the interpretation of $ndian history
and cltre #y nineteenth centry !ropeans. The great %a- %ller
himself admitted this .i#lical #elief was the reason why he sed 51++
./ as the date of the Aryan invasion. '.'. )nter" another well-&nown
$ndologist from the same period was even more candid when he
wrote< "... scholarship is warmed with the holy flame of /hristian
To ta&e an e-ample" %rray !menea" a prominent Dravidianist" wrote
as recently as 5>1,< "At some time in the second millennim ./"
pro#a#ly comparatively early in the millennim" a #and or #ands of
spea&ers of an $ndo-!ropean langage" later to #e called Sans&rit"
entered $ndia over the northwest passes. This is or lingistic
doctrine" which has #een held now for more than a centry and a half.
There seems to #e no reason to distrst the argments for it" in
spite of the traditional )ind ignorance of any sch invasion." This
is a statement #ased on faith that has no place in science.
/ltral differences
/ltrally the differences that we find #etween North and Soth
$ndian temples can #e attri#ted to the historical e-perience of the
last few centries. The $slamic onslaght destroyed centers of
learning in North $ndia. Al#erni who accompanied %ahmd of ?ha@ni on
his campaigns in $ndia wrote< "%ahmd tterly rined the prosperity
of the contry" and performed there" wonderfl e-ploits" #y which the
)inds #ecame li&e atoms of dst scattered in all directions. ...
Their scattered remains cherish" of corse" the most inveterate
aversion of all the %slims. This is the reason" too" why )ind
sciences have retired far away from those parts of the contry
con=ered #y s" and have fled to places" which or hand cannot yet
A historical fact worth noting that the last great school of $ndian
mathematics florished in far away 0erala in the 5,-51th centry"
where %adhava and his stdents wor&ed on pro#lems of /alcls and
$nfinite Series more than two centries #efore Newton and ?regory.
$ndia #efore the coming of $slam had many great centers of learning.
Ta-ila" Nalanda" 8i&ramashila" Sarnath and many more sed to attract
stdents from all over the world. Bollowing the esta#lishment of the
Delhi Sltanate" for the ne-t si- hndred years" not a center of
learning worth the name was esta#lished. :$ leave ot $slamic
theological centers.; $t was only in the nineteenth centry that
niversities #egan to reappear.
As a reslt" the inflence of $slam has #een mch greater in the
North than the Soth. This reslted in a loss of tradition and
s&ills" which had to #e more or less re-ac=ired #eginning in the
5Cth centry. The main inflence in the north has #een of the %oghl
!mpire" while in the soth it has #een that of the 8ijayanagar !mpire
and its sccessors li&e the &ingdoms of %ysore" Travancore and
Tanjavr. $t wold #e a serios error to project this #ac& into early
history - something li&e projecting #ac& the 6ortgese inflence on
?oa into the remote past.
At the same time" the differences shold not #e e-aggerated. Bor
instance" in 0ashmir" priests are recrited from 0arnata&a" while
temples in Nepal have priests from 0erala. The very fact that
Sha&aracharya esta#lished centers in all corners of $ndia shows that
he was not considered an otsider #y North $ndians even in those days.
All this #rings s #ac& to politics as the main contri#tor to the
Aryan-Dravidian divide inclding lingistics. The originator of the
Dravidian langage theory was .ishop /aldwell" the athor of the
highly inflential /omparative ?rammar of Dravidian 9angages :5C1D"
5C31;. )e placed Dravidian langages in what he called the Scythian
9angage Bamily. 'hen another lingist :?over; critici@ed /aldwell
for his nsond theories a#ot the Scythian family and Dravidian
langages" it drew the following response< "$t wold have #een well"
if %r. ?over had made himself sre of perfectly apprehending Dr.
/aldwell4s Scythic theory #efore regarding its reftation ... as not
only of considera#le moment from a philological point of view #t of
vast moral and political importance."
.y 4moral and political4 he o#viosly meant /hristian missionary and
.ritish colonial interests. To the disgrace of $ndian edcation
athorities and seclarist scholars" this is still the version of
history taght in $ndian schools.
The 6olitics of )istory #y N.S. Rajaram :5>>1;" New Delhi< 8oice of
$ndia. 4The 8edic Dravidians4 in A )ind 8iew of the 'orld #y N.S.
Rajaram :5>>C;" New Delhi< 8oice of $ndia.