“Aryans vs. Dravidians” is a Myth”
Conversation between Dr. Subramanian Swamy and Abhaey Singh
The Festival of Bharat, publ. July 31, 2018
“The other pollution in our history is these words “Dravidian” and “Aryan”. The word Dravidian was first known to be used by (the 8th cent.) Adi Shánkara. When he started what is so typically Indian: no conquest by war but by shastra, which means debate. So Buddhists had taken over (the north) and Adi Shánkara made it a mission to revive and bring back Hinduïsm.”
(In fact Adi Shánkara created “Hinduïsm” by amalgamating many though not all dharmic schools in one and starting what is now known as advaita vedánta.)
“So he (Adi Shánkara) challenged scholars of Buddhism to debate. … The Buddhist scholar was Múndara Mishra. … plus another scholar from the Úttara Mimámsa school.” (Another atheïst school.)
One of the debater’s wife, the Buddhists or the Mimamsists presided over the debate.
“She asked Adi Shánkara: “who are you?” And he said: “I’m drávida shishu.” (shíshu means child). “But what is this word “drávida“?” He said, ‘it’s a sandhi (linking) of two words: Tr[a] and vid. Tr means 3; vid means coast.’ “So where the three coasts meet
there is Drávida. So it’s a regional term. South India is Drávida.
Unfortunately the British pounced on that and made it a racial thing. …”
“The word “Aryan” doesn’t exist in Sanskrit literature. “Arya” means “a civilised person”, an accomplished person, a gentleman or a lady, that sort of thing. It (the word) was never part of the community.
(The word “aryan” does exist in Sanskrit literature, though not in the racial sense of the word, not as the name of an ethnicity. “In later times”, says the Monier-Williams dictionary, “arya” came into use for “the first three castes” as opposed to the ‘caste’ of Shúdra, peasants, blue collar workers. Earlier the Buddhist scriptures used the word arya as in arya-púdgala (Hybr. Sanskr.) or arya-púggala (Pali): person of lofty qualities.)
“So the British created a history where they said that the whole of India was full of Dravidians; then the Aryans came from Europe through Khyber Pass and beat the hell out of the Dravidians and asserted themselves. And then they provoked the South Indians to rebel against the north under the term that “this country is really yours”. And Karnátaka didn’t accept it, and Kérala didn’t accept it, and Andhra (Pradesh) didn’t accept it, but Tamil Nadu became a victim of that. And so the Dravidian movement was started. …. .
“In fact (before the British took over) they (the Tamils) used to celebrate “Raman lila” as opposed to “Ram[a] lila” (lila, also leela), because Ram[a] was “Aryan”, a northerner (and Raman was perceived as being a southerner).
Now they’ve stopped (the conflagration of Raman and Ram) and I made a contribution (to that).”
(Although even as recent as 2019 the wikipedia editor states that the demi-god Raman is in fact the Hindu demi-god Rama, who in popular parlance is referred to as Ram.
Therefore Dr. Swamy has his work cut out; wikipedia uploaders tend to be extremely stubborn.)
Thereafter Mr. Swamy relates the rather contemporary story, i.e. dating from the colonial era, that says that Raman was killed by Rama and that therefore Ram[a] ruled supreme over the south. “But the truth is that Raman was also a northerner. … He went to Manosarovar and Lord Shiva gave him this boon” (of ruling over a swath of land).
“This (perceived) division is now being exploded by DNA studies.”
Mr Swamy goes on saying that recent DNA studies revealed that there is no racial difference between south and north. All Indians of Indian stock have the same DNA. The Dravidians are not a different race; they are merely the folks that live in the south, “between the three coasts” as Adi Shánkara explained it.
The scholar Rómila Thapar established quite a theory around the word “aryan” (not arya) that she wrongly assumes to appear in the Hindu Vedas. In section 3 of a series of 5 talks on Ms Thapar the publicist Rajiv Malhotra deals with this and other questions that can be raised listening to the otherwise distinguished Ms Thapar or reading her publications on the subject.
The former head of the Archaeological Survey of India, B.B. Lal, shows in of his three volumes book on the Harappan Culture: “Facets of Indian Civilization – Recent Perspectives” (Delhi 1999) how brick fragments found at both the Harappan site and that of Mohenjodaro in the Punjab show what is called the swastika. From this fact he deduces that the swastika — in the 20th Century so intrically linked with “Third Reich” Nazis and their claim to fame as descendants of Central Asian “Aryans” that swept into Western Europa as well as India to establish their culture — is an Indian, or at least Indic symbol , and that considering this fact the “Aryan invasion-theory“, first promoted by British settlers in India, cannot hold.
At the same time we cannot overlook that the Tochars of the 5th-10th Century held the swastika as national, ethnic, or cultural symbol. Neither can we overlook the fact that we find this symbol on the glazed wall of at least one religious building in Tashkent.
While the invasion-theory seems to be lacking, or needs to be discarded, we might as well adopt a new “Aryan-theory”, or at least a “swastika-theory” and call it the “Aryan export-theory“. One has the impression that Harappan-Punjabi merchants and others who settled in western lands decorated their buildings with a sign that they considered symbolic of their ethnic or national roots: here lives a Indian.