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Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
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Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Tamil National ForumSelected Writings - Shan Ranjit  > Hinduism: Native or Alien to India? > The Tamil Heritage - History & Geography

Selected Writings - Shan Ranjit

Hinduism: Native or Alien to India?

12 August 2000

Contents

bullet Introduction: Harappa -Indus Valley, 2800-2300 BC
bullet What caused the decline of the Indus Valley civilisation?
bullet Indo-Aryans: Who are they?
bullet Invasion of India by the Indo Aryans
bullet Vedas and its impact on Indian Society
bullet Hinduism equals Brahminism?
bullet Whispering of Vedas into Aryan ears
bullet Hindu Epics and Puranas
bullet Hinduism: native or alien to India?

[see also The Tamils... and Demise of Aryan Invasion Theory - Dinesh Agrawal]
and * Anita Diehel - E. V. Ramaswami Naicker-Periyar :
a study of the influence of a personality in contemporary South India

and Spirituality and the Tamil Nation]

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Introduction: Harappa -Indus Valley, 2800-2300 BC

HARAPPA - INDUS VALLEY, 2800- 2300 BC: This period is considered the peak of Indus valley civilization – one of the three greatest civilizations at that time, the other two being the Egyptian and Mesopotamian. The proud inhabitants of this civilization were the Dravidians who are now thought to be the original native inhabitants of the great land of India. The city of Harappa - 160 mile north of present Lahore in Pakistan - was an important city in the Indus valley civilization- the other being Maohanjo-daro (separated by 350 miles). When both these two great cities were discovered in 1920, the glorious Dravidian culture attained a new dimension.

Both these cities were well planned and had very wide streets intersecting each other at right angles. There was elaborate drainage system, connecting every house. Burnt bricks along with sun baked bricks were in common use in the buildings. Each city had a Great Bath (39 by 23 feet, with a depth of 8 feet) at its center, which was connected to an elaborate water supply system and sewers. The great bath in addition to being served as a public pool was also used for ritual purposes (it should be noted here the similar baths that one finds in city of Bath in England was built much later by the Romans in the 1st AD). It goes to show the remarkable skill in town planning and sanitation by the original inhabitants of India- the Dravidians.

The short and dark Dravidians mainly ate wheat, rice and barley. They domesticated various types of animals. It is believed that they worshipped the hump bull. They did not know about horses. They wore both cotton and woolen clothes, and used gold and copper ornaments. The findings various facial powders, ivory combs and razors at these sites have gone to prove that the Dravidians were very fashionable. Both these cities had a very active internal and external trade (with western Asia and Mesopotamia). Caste system was unknown to the peaceful Dravidians. The Dravidians had a very definite script and usually wrote from right to left. Unfortunately this Dravidian script still remains un-deciphered.

Religion and Dravidians:

From the excavations, it is believed that the Dravidians practiced some sort of ritual worship. There were many nude and semi nude figurines of mother goddess, and some sort of oil or incense was burnt before them. They worshiped many animals, especially the bulls. Among the male gods, the most remarkable discovery is that of a three faced deity wearing a horn headdress; seated cross-legged on a throne surrounded by a buffalo. It is now believed that this was an early form of Shiva (Rudra) cult that was later incorporated by the Aryans in to their Vedic religion.

In conclusion, the Dravidians, the original inhabitants of the great Indus valley civilization gave the world its earliest cities, first town planning, its first example of sanitary engineering and drainage systems.

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What caused the decline of the Indus Valley civilisation?

By 1800 BC, the great Indus valley civilization was decimated and almost extinct. What were the causes of this dramatic and sudden decline of this greatest civilization? Historians have attributed two main causes for this decline, namely environmental conditions and the violent arrival of the Aryans in India. Some geologists now believe that the Indus River all of a sudden changed its course or caused extensive flooding, forcing the people to move away from the banks of the Indus river. Others believe that this was the consequence of extensive herds of cattle that indicate overgrazing and a general degradation of the ecosystem including salinization of the water supplies.

But more than the enviornmental factors, it is now believed that the main cause that led to the decline of the Indus valley civilization was the violent arrival of the Indo- Aryans.

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Indo-Aryans: Who are they?

The original abode of these of the Indo- Aryans (meaning noble ones) have divided the historians, but its accepted by all that they came from out side India. Some have proposed that due to the similarity of Sanskrit (the script of the Indo-Aryans), Greek, Latin and Gothic, the ancestors and forefathers of the speakers of these languages at one time lived together (the European theory). Others have proposed that they had an Austrian-Hungarian connection. However the most accepted theory is that they came from Central Asia (what is now Iran). There are many striking similarities between the Indo-Aryan culture and those of the Central Asian culture. Iran means ‘ Land of the Aryans’. The ancient writings of the Persian language of Avesta (as known to us through the writings of Zarathustra) and the Hindu Vedas (the very ancient religious scriptures of the Indo-Aryans) share many gods and beliefs.

The gods worshipped in the Vedas resemble the gods of the ancient Central Asia, headed by the powerful Indra. Also popular was the fire god of Agni. Varuna and Mitra (gods of the night and day sky respectively) have been identified with Persian gods. Surya, the sun god is also mentioned in ancient Persian Avesta. Fire- worship was common to both these groups. Like the Iranian Avesta, the Vedas refers to the thirty-three gods. A rock inscription found at Boghaz Koi (western Asia) dated 1400 BC commemorating a treaty between the kings of Hittities and Mitanni invokes the blessings of Aryan gods of Varuna, Indra and twins Nasatya (Asvins).

It is now believed that before these Indo Aryans invaded India, they had settled in the present Afghanistan for many centuries, since the religious scriptures of the Indo- Aryans (Vedas) mentions many names of the rivers in Afghanistan.

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Invasion of India by the Indo Aryans

The tall, fair skinned Indo- Aryans in their fast horse driven chariots created terror and panic among the local inhabitants – Dravidians. Dravidians had no answer to the destructive power possessed by the invading and marauding Indo- Aryans. Indo Aryans also sought the help of their equally destructive gods- especially Indra. The ancient religious scripture of the Indo –Aryans (Vedas) termed the Dravidians as dark skinned Dasa or Dasyus who were their ubiquitous foes. Numerous Vedic hymns refer to the use of horses and chariots with spokes which must givens the Indo- Aryans a tremendous advantage over the local people. The Rig-Veda (the earliest of the Vedas) is dominated by hymns praising the Aryan gods of Agni and Indra for giving them victories and wealth plundered from the local Dasas through warfare. Below is a hymn from the RIG-VEDA denigrating the original inhabitants of India.

He (Indra), self-reliant, mighty and triumphant, Brought low the dear head of the wicked Dasas(dravidians). Indra the vritra-slayer, fort destroyer Scattered the Dasa(dravidians) hosts who dwelt in darkness He slaughtered the Dasas and cast down their forts of iron (RIG VEDA)

In Rig Veda (III: 34:9) it states that Indra killed the Dasyus and gave protection to the Aryan color, and arrogantly proclaimed “ let those who have no weapons suffer sorrow.” Rig Veda (IV: 28:3-4) praises Indra for killing thousands of the abject tribes of Dasas with his arrow and taking great vengeance with “ murdering weapons.” Another hymn mentions how sixty thousand Dasas were slain.

In the another hymn of Rig-Veda, the dasyus are condemned for being “ riteless, void of sense, inhuman and urges Indra to slay them.

He, much invoked, hath slain Dasyus (local inhabitants) After his wont and laid them low with arrows. The mighty thunderer with his fair- complexioned friends Won the land, the sun light and the waters (Rig Veda)

Fire god, Agni is also praised profusely for having burnt the forts of the dark skinned dasas(dravidians).

“ For fear of thee forth fled the dark-hued race, scattered abroad, Deserting their possessions, when glowing. Agni didst light up and rend their castles.”

In conclusion, the Indo Aryans who invaded the land of original inhabitants of India plundered and murdered the local inhabitants. They sought the help of their beloved gods to destroy the Dravidians – whom they described as short, dark, mean inhumans and void of sense. By the time the Indo-Aryan invasion was concluded, thousands of citizens of the great Indus valley civilization had been murdered. The rest surrendered, and assimilated with the Aryans forming the lowest strata of the Aryan society- the Sudras.

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Vedas and its impact on Indian Society

Vedic literature is one of the most important legacies of the Aryans. The Vedic literature can be divided broadly in to Surti and Smriti literature. Surti literature is considered that type of literature which was not composed but revealed by the Aryan gods to few sages, and then passed on orally from one generation to the other. On the other hand Smriti literature is one which was reduced to writing by memory of the sages. Vedic literature can be divided in to early Vedic literature (Vedas) and later Vedic literature (Puranas, Epics and Dharma sastras).

The Vedas (meaning knowledge) are the most important scriptures of the Indo Aryans written in Sanskrit. It is said that their favorite Gods whispered the early Vedas in the noble ears of the Aryans. There are four Vedas and it is believed they were written from 2500 BC to 500BC.

RIG-VEDA: Considered to be the oldest and the most important. Essentially the Rig-Veda is dominated by hymns praising the Aryan Gods for giving them victories and wealth plundered from the local Dasas through warfare. It was rig Veda that for the first time mentioned the class system in India (unheard in the Indus Valley civilization).

The Brahman (representing priests) was his mouth Of both his arms was the Rajanya (representing King, head of the warrior or Kshatriya caste) made. His thigh became the Vaisya (representing the merchants, craftsmen and farmers), From his feet the Sudra was produced (representing the Dasas – the original inhabitants of Indus Valley).

The Aryan caste system (varna) essentially differentiated between the light –skinned Aryans, who made the top three castes of priestly Brahmins, warrior Kshatriyas and artisan Vausyas and the dark-skinned Dasas (original inhabitants), who were the servant Sudras. Sudras like women could not own property, and only rarely did they rise above the service positions. The Aryan society was highly patriarchial, and thus status of the women declined. Women did not attend public assemblies and could not inherit property of their own. Polygamy, adultery and prostitution were generally accepted during certain rituals.

SAMA VEDA: It contains the melodies or music for the chants used from the Rig-Veda for the sacrifices. Sama Veda was extensively used in the SOMA ritual for which the plant with inebriating and hallucinogenic qualities was imported from the mountains to the heartland of India. The singing of the Sam Veda used the seven tones of the European scale.

YAJUR VEDA: It is a collection of hymns for ritual formulas for the priests to use in the sacrifices. By the time Yajur Veda was in place, the priest class ( Brahmin caste) had become the most powerful class in the society. By instituting more elaborate sacrifices for their wealthy patrons, the Brahmin class not only grew in numbers but also accumulated wealth. They also instituted the shameless horse sacrifice – the parts of the horse symbolized different aspects of the universe – which culminated with exhibiting three symbols of the lotus leaf, the frog (for rain) and the golden man (for sun) representing the Aryan dominance over India and its waters.

The SOMA sacrifice was the most important sacrifice of the Aryans, and could take up to twelve years. The highly intoxicating Soma plant was brought from the Himalayas and animals were slain and cut up in the rites before their meat was eaten. Yajur Veda also refers to the Purusha (person) sacrifice symbolizing human sacrifice.

ATHARVA VEDA: It is primarily magical spells and incantations for various ailments and diseases. The Aryans looked down on doctors and medicines, probably because the natives were more skilled in these than they. Since these magical rituals were only conducted by the Brahmin caste, they became even more powerful and wealthy. Cows by right belonged exclusively to the Brahmins. Brahmins were also excluded from all the taxes.

BY 1800 BC the entire north India had been aryanized. They called their land - bordered to the north by the Himalayas and to the south by the Vindhaya ranges (close to the Maharastra –Madya Pradesh border) - the Aryavartta (sacred land of Aryans). Like the Dasas of the north India, there were local inhabitants south of the Vindaya mountains. They were mainly Nagas. Initially the Aryans found it difficult to cross the Vindhaya ranges. However by 1500 BC the Aryans had crossed the Vindhaya mountains. It is believed that the local inhabitants fought them hard, but eventually lost to Aryans. The Vedas are full of exaggerated cruel tales of Nagas, describing them as Raksasas and making fun of their long grown hair- since barber caste was unknown to the local people.

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Hinduism equals Brahminism?

By 500 BC, the priestly class of Brahmins had become the most powerful people of the society. In fact they were even more powerful than the kshatriyas (Kings and warriors). Brhamins by introducing the ignorant and stupid ritual in Hinduism not only made them powerful but also fattened their pockets. Brahmins now began to lay more stress on the rituals and the spirit and purpose of worship was lost. Brahmins forced the poor people to perform not only the costly Yagnas but also the shameful animal sacrifices. They cursed those people who did not obey them with their demands.

Brahmins made Hinduism complex and complicated with various theories on Moksha, Karma and re- birth. The local Dasas (original inhabitants) who were known as the Sudras were not allowed near the Hindu temples. Brahmins recited the rituals in Sanskrit, which the local population did not understand. In fact they fiercely guarded the Sanskrit language as their exclusive property, and did not allow any one outside their caste to learn it.

It was such disgusting and abominable behavior of the Brahmins that led to the degeneration of Hinduism. It was the Brahmin orthodoxy and barbarity that gave rise to all the religions and the major self- respect movements that arose in India. Jainism (Lord Mahavira 599- 527BC) and Buddhism (Lord Buddha 563 BC) came in to existent primarily because people were sick and tired of the rituals and the power exerted by the Brahmins. Both Jainism and Buddhism completely omitted idol worship and rituals. In 1500, Guru Nanak formed Sikism, partly because of the Brahmin influence on the society. When the first Muslims invasion of India took place somewhere around 1000AD, millions of low caste Hindus (mainly Sudras) converted to Islam, mainly to escape from the Brahmin brutality. In fact Muslims would have never been successful in India had the Brahmins and Hinduism had treated all its citizens equally.

When Periayar started his Self respect movement in Tamil Nadu around 1924, and offered his ‘rationalism’ and his rejection of Hindu gods, he was only rejecting the Brahmins and their language; his rejection of the North India; his rejection of caste; his rejection of the disregard the fair Aryan north people had for the dark people of the south. Even today at the Kanchi Atheenam in Tamil Nadu – citadel of Tamil Nadu Brahminism – non Brhamins are not allowed to eat with the Brahmins.

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Whispering of Vedas into Aryan ears

The Basic foundations of Hinduism are the Vedas. The Vedic culture was an integral part of the Indo- Aryans by the time they had arrived in India. We all know that the Indo Aryans came to India mainly from the Central Asia. So, is it right for us to say that Hinduism was born in India? Was Hinduism was born outside India and later developed to its present stage in India? It is mind boggling for any one with minimum intelligence to understand why the Hindu gods whispered all the sacred Vedas only in to the ears of the Aryans. Why did not the Hindu gods whisper such sacred and knowledgeable Vedas in to the ears of the peace loving and docile local inhabitants of India- Dravidians? Why did these Hindu gods wait for the arrival of the destructive and brutal Aryans before they secretly whispered in to their ears only?

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Hindu Epics and Puranas

All most all the Hindu epics and Puranas depict the original inhabitants of India as dark, cruel, barbaric and vicious people. Every single Hindu gods and goddesses have Aryan like features, including the popular south Indian deity – lord Muruga. Most of the Hindu Epics and Puranas have Aryan Gods – like Indra- pleading to their Hindu gods to destroy their enemies – invariably these are Dravidian like figures who are portrayed as cruel and barbaric. All the ten Hindu Avatars (god –incarnate) – including the last and the yet to come Kalki avatar- are Aryan like figures, and most of their battles have been against the dark, ugly evil figures.

One has to wonder why there was not even one Avatar who was born to bring justice to all those people who had suffered so much due to Brahmin brutality and cruelty. It is now believed by the historians that the Aryans had borrowed the Shiva (Rudra) and Shakthi cult from the original inhabitants , and incorporated in Hinduism. Even here, while Siva has been portrayed like an Aryan figure while Shakthi (Kali) is depicted as a many-tongued, blood thirsty with bulging eyes. No other Aryan goddesses have met the same fate.

If Hinduism belongs to all those people who follow it (this includes the Sudras), why is that the '‘ sacred thread ‘ ceremony even today exclusively belongs only to the three castes of the Aryans (namely the Brahmins, Kshatriyas and vaishyas)? Why is that the Vedas have said that the holiest of holy passage, the Gayatri Mantra – addressed to the old solar god Savitr- can only be spoken by the three higher classes of the Aryans?

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Hinduism: native or alien to India?

It is not the intention of this article to bring disrespect or cast malice on the Hindu religion. Sure, the Hinduism has many good things to offer to the people. But those who practice Hinduism should seriously question some of the major principles and beliefs of Hinduism. Is it not foolish for the Dravidians to go to temples, lit camphor and prostrate in front of the very same gods, who have been praised and sung for having destroyed them? Is it not utter ignorance on our part to chant the Vedic gods’ names, when the very same gods are praised by the Aryans for butchering and slaughtering our fore- fathers? Is it not ironic that we follow a religion that categorized its own people based on color, and placing the original inhabitants of India at the bottom of the society simply because of their dark skin?

Even the name ‘Hindu’ is a corrupt form of Aryanism. The Indus River was called Sindhu river in the ancient times. The Persians pronounced the word Sindhu as Hindu, and called all those who lived there as Hindus. In conclusion one must wonder whether Hinduism is a forefront for the propagation of Brahminism or the Aryanism.

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