Part 1) Aryan Invasion Theory
This is my first major posting in this thread, which I hope will be to scholarly standards. I will produce a lot of evidence. The bulk of my citations
will come from this
website. This is because this web site, which is also been
published as a book, is a vast archive of India-specific information which has been compiled from hundreds of scholars from around the world. It also
gives citations and books and article from where the information has been compiled. It is therefore an invaluable resource on India, and I encourage
you all to check it out. Also if you cannot wait for my post on India and Egypt, check it out on this site. (Note: This does not mean I endorse
absolutely everything posted on that site)
In this post we will look at the Aryan Invasion theory(AIT). You wil learn the origins of where the notion of the "Aryan race" comes from, and the
highly political, religious and racist discourse it emerged from. I will attempt to show that it is a complete fabrication by elite and powerful
colonial scholars to deny Indian civilisation its claim to the origins of civilisation and to denigrate it and to Anglocize it.
I agree it is unfortunate that the bulk of this thread is off-topic but nonetheless an interesting discussion has come out of that on defining what
civilisation is and what India is. In fact it is not uncommon for a discussion on India/Indians to turn into a controversy in defining what
India/Indians are. Some Indians think they are Indo-Aryan, some think they are Dravidians. Some think they are Western. Some think they are Hindu.
Some think they have no identity at all, because there is no such thing as India.
You will seldom find similar controversy when we talk about Greeks, Egyptians, Chinese because they have a sense of identity, place, history and
civilisation and mainly because we remember them as civilisations in world history. Indian civilisation on the other hand is much less remembered,
even denigrated, and divided ruthlessly into religions, castes, races, so that a national and civilisational ethos becomes much less tenable. This is
why many Indians, especially in the educated upper strata of Indian society do not identify themselves as Indians. Many of them believe India did not
exist until the British. Others, usually in the South, believe that the North Indians are invaders and India really belongs to them. It is indeed a
very sad situation and it stil plays out today.
But there is a reason for this very corrupted sense of national self and self-loathing. It did not exist in India prior to the British colonialists.
In fact it did not even exist in British scholarship when they first arrived in India. As Infinite
points out, British and European scholars
were very fascinated with India and India became a sort of craze back home. Hence if you look at 18th-19th century Europe you will find a lot of
Indophilia. This even lead to massive appreciation of Indian religions like Hinduism and Buddhism amongst the Western intelligentsia, who were
convinced that India was an ancient superpower and much of civilisation could be traced to India. They were also convinced that the Greeks had learned
their philosophy from the Indians, Egyptians had descended from Indians, and Christianity was of Buddhist origins. They were especially amazed by the
similarities between Indian culture and Indo-European culture found all over Europe.
Let us look at what some of them said:
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), German philosopher and writer:
"There is no religion or philosophy so sublime and elevating as Vedanta."
We, on the contrary, now send to the Brahmans English clergymen and evangelical linen-weavers, in order out of sympathy to put them right, and to
point out to them that they are created out of nothing, and that they ought to be grateful and pleased about it. But it is just the same as if we
fired a bullet at a cliff. "In India, our religions will never at any time take root; the ancient wisdom of the human race will not be supplanted by
the events in Galilee. On the contrary, Indian wisdom flows back to Europe, and will produce a fundamental change in our knowledge and thought."
Victor Cousin (1792-1867) eminent French philosopher
When we read with attention the poetical and philosophical monuments of the East--above all, those of India, which are beginning to spread in
Europe--we discover there many a truth, and truths so profound, and which make such a contrast with the meanness of the results at which European
genius has sometimes stopped, that we are constrained to bend the knee before the philosophy of the East, and to see in this cradle of the human race
the native land of the highest philosophy."
Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire (1694-1774) (One of) France's greatest writers and philosophers:
Voltaire concluded, " I am convinced that everything has come down to us from the banks of the Ganga (Ganges), - astronomy, astrology,
" It is very important to note that some 2,500 years ago at the least Pythagoras went from Samos to the Ganga (Ganges) to learn geometry...But he
would certainly not have undertaken such a strange journey had the reputation of the Brahmins' science not been long established in
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) an author, essayist, lecturer, philosopher, Unitarian minister who lectured on theology at Harvard University
The Indian teaching, through its clouds of legends, has yet a simple and grand religion, like a queenly countenance seen through a rich veil. It
teaches to speak truth, love others, and to dispose trifles. The East is grand - and makes Europe appear the land of trifles. ...all is soul and the
soul is Vishnu ...cheerful and noble is the genius of this cosmogony. Hari is always gentle and serene - he translates to heaven the hunter who has
accidentally shot him in his human form, he pursues his sport with boors and milkmaids at the cow pens; all his games are benevolent and he enters
into flesh to relieve the burdens of the world."
There are hundreds of quotes from various notable Western intellectuals on the above site, do check them out. Anyway you probably get the idea.
Western intellectuals had fallen in love with India. The impact India had on the West was massive and lasting as well. It influenced the American
Transcendentalist movement through Henry David Thoreau and Emerson, the birthing of Psychology through Schopenhauer who had a huge influence on Freud
and William James, the Theosophy society in England which in turn was highly instrumental in the the birth of the 60’s counter culture and the new
age movement. In other words India has had a huge impact on modern civilisation, and many are unconscious of it.
One of the biggest, and later uncomfortable conclusions of these Western intellectual giants was that India was the cradle of civilisation. It was the
home of the Indo-Europeans. It was the home of all religion, philosophies, science, mathematics. The notion that the home of the Proto-Indo-Europeans
was India and Proto-Indo-European language was Sanskrit came to be known as Indian Urheimat Theory
which is today known as Out of India
theory(OIT). This was heavily supported by Enlightenment philosophers:
Enlightenment pioneers Voltaire, Immanuel Kant, and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel had a firm belief in this and essentially created
the idea that India was the Urheimat of all Indo-European languages. In a 1775 letter, Voltaire expressed his belief in that the "dynasty of the
Brahmins" taught the rest of the world: "I am convinced that everything has come down to us from the banks of the Ganges." The idea intrigued
Kant who "suggested that mankind together with all science must have originated on the roof of the world [the Himalayas ]."
Now you can imagine if you were there at the time the contradictions this wave of Indian appreciation would have produced in the elite and powerful
group of Western society - that we know were very racist to dark-skinned people and elitist as well as their anxieties that the leading intellectuals
are heralding non-Western darker-skinned people as the origins of civilisation. Not to mention the impact on the Church of Hinduism-Buddhism - Pagan
religions in their view - being trumpeted over Christianity. It must have been an absolute headache for them.
This India-wave of appreciation was quickly suppressed and almost as if overnight Western scholarship turned against India, discarding its claims to
being the home of the Indo-Europeans. Actively demonizing its culture, especially targeting its lesser salient features such as the caste system. A
vestige of this still continues today in elite Western scholarship. Interestingly, many of these Western scholars that actively engaged in demonizing
Indian culture were Christians and they commanded very powerful positions.
Continued in next post.
[edit on 26-12-2009 by Indigo_Child]