Thursday, October 21, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
The following is an excerpt from a book called "ISLAM" by an ex Muslim Anwar Shaikh.
"The propagandists will have us believe that an Islamic government is the custodian of human rights. How much truth is there in this assertion? The reality can be revealed by the examination of Islam and the way it is practiced in Muslim countries. What is Islam? It means complete surrender to Allah (and Muhammad). As Allah is the Master and Sovereign, a true Muslim must dedicate himself to building Islamic government where the law of the Koran reigns supreme.
The implications of this rule could be fatal to human rights. It applies to both non-Muslims and Muslims living in the Islamic State. Let us take the non-Muslims first. (a) In an Islamic State, the non-Muslims are second class citizens. In fact, they are condemned as ac- cursed people and, therefore, not entitled to any rights whatsoever because, according to Islamic teachings, "Allah is an enemy to the unbelievers" (The Cow: 98). Also "God has cursed the unbelievers, and prepared for them a blazing Hell" (The Confederates : 65) Because of this ideology, the Koran commands: "Let not the believers take the unbelievers for friends; whosoever does that belongs not to God" (The House of Imran : 60). Surely, it must be clear that in a State, where non- Muslims are not to be befriended by Muslims, they cannot have equal rights of justice. This is specially true when there is a dispute between a Muslim and a non-Muslim. For example, a Jew has no remedy in law against a Muslim if the latter hits the former in a temper. Again, a Muslim cannot be executed for the murder of a non-Muslim.
In obedience to the Koranic injunction (Repentance: 29), non-Muslims living in Muslim State are subject to Jazya (Poll Tax) which is an imposition or penalty for being a non-Muslim. (b) Having viewed the rights of non-Muslim in a Muslim State, now I turn to the human rights of a Muslim. Allah, the Islamic (god, does not allow a Muslim to exercise his free will which is the foundation of humanity. He must obey the commandments of Allah which He revealed 1400 years ago, regardless of their unsuitability to modern times. Is it not strange that almost all the Muslim nations are backward and find it hard to manufacture even push-bikes, whereas non- Muslims have been able to build spacecraft and send men to the moon with satellites to carry world-wide communications, used willingly by the Muslim States? In fact, Muslim countries owe practically all of their scientific, medical, engineering and oven entertainment establishments to the West.
Almost every- thing they have taken from the West conflicts with Islamic principles. Yet, they put the Islamic stamp on them and pretend that non-Muslim have stolen these phenomena from the Koran which, they claim, contains instructions on every- thing such as physics, medicine, engineering, accountancy, law, history, spacecraft, literature and in fact everything that is or will be. What a tragedy it is that Islam ever reached the Indian sub-continent. There is no doubt that it shook Hinduism, but it is equally true that the Hindu culture beat it out of shape along with its ethos.
The Pakistani Mullahism states that once a person has confirmed his belief in the prophet Mohammed by reciting the Shahada (Kalma Sharif), he inevitably goes to paradise where Houris (beautiful young women) and hand- some youths wait impatiently for him to render their services. These misguided presentations of belief do not, help the cause of Islam. Are the ruling classes of Pakistan Muslims believers) or hypocrites (unbelievers)? I was one of those ardent advocates of Pakistan in 1947 and shouted like others : Pakistan ka matlab kya? La Ilahaila Allah. It ineans that the purpose of partitioning India is to create Pakistan for establishing the government of Allah (Islamic theocracy).
This promise involved the massacres of ten Lakh (one million ) Muslims and displacement of another ten million through forced migration. Despite suffering this calamity of horrific proportions, the people of Pakistan have been waiting for the enforcement of the Islamic Law but it has not come as yet. Why? The truth is that what is projected as the Islamic Law is not comprehensive enough to facilitate the formation of a government because there are less than eighty verses in the Koran which express legal concerns. When they are stretched, they lose their relationship with Islam.
For example, the agrarian system of Islam is feudalistic but the mullah and the Politician pretend that it is socialistic. Again, they claim that the Islamic government is democratic whereas the truth is exactly the opposite. These attitudes are a fine example of hypocrisy and they demonstrate the apostasy of the Pakistani religious and political leadership. Islamic Law requires four eye-witnesses to prove rape! Needless to say, for this type of offence it is ni'arly always impossible to produce such witnesses. Usually, when a com plaint of rape is made, the offender counter-accuses the. woman of being a whore and of destroying his faith (eeman) through temptation . This is all the Pakistani police officer needs to hear; he sets the accused man free and locks up the woman where there is a strong likelihood that she will be abused by the Police officers. According to some newspaper reports, this, lustful pursuit of the police can become sadistic when the officers force the woman to strip and dance to amuse them. The national character introduced by the Theo-Fascis ruling classes of Pakistan has resulted in the practice of Kuf (faithlessness) in the guise of eeman (faith). Not only individually , but also collectively, they have become anti-Islamic.
What a craft these people have developed to flout Islam in the name of Islam! If this is not enough, look at the license brothels in Pakistan. This is an open invitation to Zana and i carries the Islamic punishment of death by stoning. The rulers of Pakistan today have been making, mockery of Islam. The real culprits are the mullahs and the politicians who have brainwashed the ordinary people in the name of Islam for the purpose of driving them in those direc- tions that suit the ruling classes only. It is a tragedy that the so-called 'guidance' of the reli- gious and political leadership of Pakistan is really a gross misdirection. If there is any Kafir in the world of Islam, these people are the ones. The simple truth is that there is no such thing as an Islamic government.
This has been true for the past 1400 years. So why pick upon the Indian sub-continent to pretend that such a government can be established? It is simply because those who sought complete power for themselves in one part of the large continent of diverse religions found it easier to misguide and manipulate people in the name of the prophet Mohammed. The promise of a paradise full of beautiful women and pretty boys was declared to be the reward of those who supported the division of the continent that left both sides weaker in the larger world. The same promise of paradise is the reason why the poor people of Pakistan are prepared to tolerate the hell on earth that their political and religious leaders have created.
What a confidence trick it is that has been played upon the aspirations of the poor people f Pakistan as they await the only relief of their suffering through death and the passage to Paradise. The mullahs are not doing their duty as the ambassadors of Islam. The Mullah has a Koranic duty to raise is voice against a wicked government and all those who deride Islam in the name of Islam. He must bring such a government down and replace it with a righteous administration. But in Paki- stan, he has no intention of doing his duty. This is what makes him a hypocrite. Says the Koran: "A hypocrite is an unbeliever" (Women 140). Again : "The hypocrites bid to dishonor and forbid honour. God has promised them the fire of hell. God has cursed them" (Repentance: 65). And again : "Cursed they (the hypo- crites) shall be, and whosoever they are come upon, they shall be seized and slaughtered all". (The Confederates: 60). There is no secular punishment for apostasy. It is rtrlctly a matter between God and man. but the Pakistani mullahs have tried to act as Allah by prescribing 'murder for relegation'. Religion is the bread and butter of the mullah. Without it, he is sure to starve.
It is also a source of dignity for him but it pays him better when he acts as the stooge of the Politicians. It is his favourite trick to pronounce Fatwas' against innocent people to divert public attention from government atrocities which are committed in pursuit of power. Just look at the Pakistani Blasphemy Act of 1981. The perpetration of deception, deviation and dev- ilishness through the misrepresentation of Islam has become an effective tradition in the Indian subconti nent. It is a highly paying business for the mullah and the most enticing net for the politician to trap votes. Shatim-e-Rasool, or insulter of the Prophet Muhammad. is such a device in Pakistan. There is no command in the Koran that legitimises the killing of one who insults the Prophet. This is strictly a device of the Pakistani authorities at the instigation of the mullahs.
Whenever the mullahs are challenged to identify the particular Koranic verse advocating the murder of the Shatim-Rasool (swearer of the Prophet), they cannot do so and resort to lies instead. When questioned on the issue, one mullah declared in the Daily Jang (London, August 5th 1994) that it is mentioned in verses in "The Apartment": 57,61-62. It would appear that this particular mullah has never read the Koran because "The Apartment" has only 18 verses! It reminds one of a hadith (saying of the Prophet): "Time will come when Islam will exist in name only and the Koran will be just a collection of words.
The mosques will be full but completely unguided. During that period the mullahs shall be the worst of creatures under the sky; they will be the source of mischief'. (Muskat, Vol. 1, Mtab-ul-ilm, Ch. 3, p. 76). was to write and publish ETERNITY which is a philosophical work. They did not read the book. Those who claim to have read it do not possess the intellectual capacity to understand it. Take another couple of examples. Miss Tasleema Nasreen of Bangladesh is reported to have said that the contents of the Koran should be modified to meet the needs of the times. Instead of advancing counter-arguments to demonstrate the perfection of the Koran, the mullahs whipped up a public hysteria. Another woman, Mrs. Tansu Cillier, Prime Minister of Turkey, also stated in June 1994 that the Koran should be re- interpreted to suit the needs of the times.
As a result, the Turkish Government's Department of Religious Affairs issued instructions to the country's fifty universities to help prepare a new exposition of the Koran. This task is being undertaken seriously by the Turkish Muslim scholars today. This is exactly the same attitude as that of Tasleema Nasreen; yet nobody has raised a finger at the Turkish Prime Minister. It shows the hypocrisy of the mullah. Having been one of the enthusiastic creators of Pakistan in 1947, I can honestly say that I am frustrated and infuriated by what is going on in Pakistan today. It represents exactly the opposite of my dreams regarding an Islamic State."
Friday, October 8, 2010
Indo-European? The Issue Of Language And The Problem Of Linguistics In Relation To The History Of India
According to many spiritual traditions, East and West, in the beginning was the Word. This is true both of cosmic creation and of human history. Speech is the basis of all human culture. In the Vedic view, the faculty that most defines the human beings is speech, the essence of which is OM, the cosmic sound that creates the entire universe through its vibratory power.
The key to the origins of civilization and high thinking in humanity is linked to the development of speech. Other marks of civilization like writing and urban constructions are secondary and became possible only because of the spoken word. Yet speech arose much earlier in history than urban civilization, and it is likely that some form of speech has been with modern humans since our origins a hundred thousand years ago or more. Some societies that have not used writing have also had a high degree of verbal skills through oral poetry and story traditions.
The study of the ancient world must consider the development of ancient languages and, when existent, their literary records. In this regard, India has left us the greatest literature of the ancient world, the Vedic, and the greatest language, Sanskrit. This in itself tells a lot about the importance of Indian Civilization, its continuity and its antiquity. Only a great culture could produce and preserve such a language that has endured when all other great ancient languages have fallen into extinction.
Yet language records, by which we mean written texts, go back only some 5000 years, and even then only in fragments. This means that we cannot reduce ancient languages and the development of human speech to the available written records, however useful these might be. Efforts to explain the current languages of India have been based upon proposed migrations of people over the last three or four thousand years only. Now we can see that these follow too short a time frame to account for cultural developments and connections in the region, which were already well in place before this period.
Our modern view of the ancient world is colored by another modern discipline apart from archaeology. This is linguistics, or the comparative study of languages. Linguistics attempts to recreate postulated ancient languages. It then tries to use these creations to recover the history and the movements of people as if language was the primary determinative factor in how or why people migrated. This is sometimes called historical linguistics.
However, we must remember that linguistics is not a hard science like genetics nor based on technical evidence like archaeology. There is no genetic material in the human being that can be identified with particular languages or language families. There is, for example, no Indo-European gene or Dravidian gene or Sanskrit gene!
Linguistics reflects certain assumptions about language and its development that linguists have today. The assumption that ancient people viewed and developed their languages many thousands of years ago, the way we theorize they did cannot be accepted as scientifically proven. As we shall soon discover, science casts serious doubt on it.
For these reasons, we cannot treat linguistics as a primary source for determining what occurred in the ancient world. It may be of secondary value, it at all, for refining correlations based on more solid forms of evidence.
The discovery of connections between Sanskrit and many Languages of Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia, caused nineteenth century scholars to posit an 'Indo-European' family of languages. Such ancient languages as Latin, Greek, Iranian and Sanskrit have many affinities as do later languages in the Germanic, Slavic, Baltic and others. This led them to posit some original Proto-Indo-European language behind all these from which these different languages arose as branches.
Based on this idea, scholars proposed an original homeland of this Proto-Indo-European group somewhere in Central Asia as a kind of common point of dispersion in different directions. They also proposed that the Vedic language and culture arose as a result of migrations from this region. In addition, many tried to relate this original linguistic group with some sort of racial identity or ethnicity, not surprisingly European Caucasoid! The term 'Aryan language' is an invention of Western scholars used to mean such Indo-European languages – historical and reconstructed.
Yet the fact that Indo-European languages are related in some ways is no proof that they evolved from a single language, much less the place or time when that might have occurred. The so-called Indo-European languages have connections with non-Indo-European languages as well. The similarities between Indo-European languages can be explained in other ways than from a migration into India, for which there is no evidence. For example, there could be movements out of India or other forms of cultural diffusion.
The division of languages into families is not watertight. Vedic Sanskrit has affinities with the Dravidian and Munda languages of India also. These connections extend to common loan words and common grammatical formations even for languages that might be classified as otherwise belonging to different language families. There appears to be no easy way of fitting languages into separate families.
Our view is that just as India has maintained a continuity of peoples and cultures within its geographical zone, the same is true of its languages. A region that could develop great languages like Sanskrit and Tamil cannot be held deficient as far as language is concerned. Indeed, Vedic grammar and linguistics as reflected in Panini and other more ancient texts is the most sophisticated in the world. The creative genius of India has long gone into language, grammar, metrics, etymology, mantra and other language studies, both scientific and spiritual. It is hardly a linguistic vacuum zone, only borrowing its languages from the outside, as some linguists propose. As with genetics, so with languages. The greatest diversity and the highest antiquity of Sanskrit and its derivatives are found in India. This is strong evidence that Sanskrit was born in India.
A major problem with migration theories of languages – which include the idea that the original Sanskrit speakers migrated to India sometimes after 1500 BCE (3500 BP) – is that it was rather late in the ancient period in which populations, civilizations, customs and languages were already well established.
The main migration of peoples and of languages would have been from the south and east at the end of the Ice Age. This was a consequence of natural history and the climatic upheavals that took place at the time. It was at this time that disruptions owing to climate changes would have created the maximum necessity for such movements of people. Yet if post-Ice Age events were the main impetus behind the development of both languages and cultures, it would make most of the languages of the world order than current estimates.
At best, the Indo-European group of languages reflects older cultural connections that began with these movements of peoples at the end of the Ice Age. The dominance of so-called Indo-European civilizations like India, Iran, Greece, and Rome aided in the continuity of such linguistic groups, but not their origin.
In this regard it is helpful to look at what current science has to say about the language problem. Recent studies in the human genome suggest that some mutations in a gene called FOXP2 may have triggered the uniquely human capacity for speech and therefore language. Dates are uncertain, but all humans inhabiting the world today – traceable to an exodus from Africa perhaps 90,000 years ago- possess this capacity. Hence it is reasonable to suppose that the necessary mutations in speech production, hearing and cognition (comprehension) must have taken place 100,000 years ago at the least. – See "Molecular evolution of FOXP2, a gene involved in speech and language"
Chronology is not the only problem with linguistics as a tool in history. Linguistics methods fail scientific tests also. As published in Mathematics in the archaeological and Historical Sciences, when Kruksal, Dyen and Black applied statistical tests to the languages that make up the Indo-European family, they found results that contradicted the most basic assumption of linguists – that they form a language family. The most important member is of course Sanskrit, but their analysis threw up a major contradiction: Indian and Iranian languages failed the grouping test! This is a bombshell, for according to Info-European linguistics, Indo-Iranian is the lynchpin of the whole discipline, but the one quantitative test that was applied to the hypothesis discredited it.
Struck by this, Cavalli-Sforza highlighted that the Kruksal, Dyen and Black study "…found no similarity at all between Italic and Celtic languages, nor between Indian and Iranian ones… The non-identification of an Indo-Iranian group by Dyen et al. is the major departure from the conclusions accepted by the majority of traditional linguists. See "Great Human Diasporas" Addison-Wesley, 1995: page 190. In other words, much of what was regarded as solid fact in linguistics remains highly questionable, if not outright wrong.
The point to note here is that the tests do not deny that Sanskrit and ancient Iranian (Avestan) are related. They question the methodology used in deriving language families, which is the main tool of comparative linguistics. Since comparative linguistics is the basis of various migration theories, including the Aryan invasion (or migration) theory, it is hardly surprising that both comparative linguistics and invasion-migration theories should have fallen victims to rigorous scientific analysis. Both now stand discredited for the same reason: they are unscientific.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Unfortunately, these proposed Vedic Aryan hordes have been portrayed by western historians as primitive Nazis bringing racial oppression into ancient India. These mythical Aryan invaders have been attributed with caste oppression and all other Indian social evils. Yet such scholars fail to note that the type of class and clan society we find in the Vedas is much like what existed throughout the ancient world, continues in tribal societies everywhere, and persists in some forms in modern societies as well. It is not an Aryan invention.
The rule was the same in most ancient cultures; chieftains and priests formed a special group at the top. The common people were divided into merchants, farmers and servants, with some populations on the outside of the social order kept in the distance. Such a division does not reflect any single political or religious ideology, much less a particular ethnicity, but just the practicalities of organizing society in the pre-technological and largely non-urban world (even in the Harappan area with its numerous urban sites the great majority of people lived in villages).
There is no need to invent the Aryans to bring in the caste system, any more than to bring in the Sanskrit language. The pride of birth is high and often an important source of status in all cultures and societies. It does not require invaders to produce it. Such abuse of status is a common human problem, which continues today in various forms. It cannot simply be used to blame some mythical Aryans of thousands of years ago.
Yet today, even when most western historians have rejected the scenario of the pillaging Aryan hordes, they are doing very little to correct the distortions caused by it, often allowing these wrong accounts to continue in old textbooks without revision. They have thereby allowed the anti-Hindu or anti-Vedic sentiments generated by such ideas to go on without any serious challenge. Such characterizations border on racism and breed conflict and misunderstanding. It is necessary to remove these Aryan distortions for a correct view of ancient India. That is the part of the purpose of writing these articles.
When we open a history book used in our schools today, we find that it invariably begins with a description of the Indus Valley Civilization. It usually starts off with an account of the discovery of the two major sites Harappa and Mohenjodaro, followed by a brief description of what was found there. We will also be told how this civilization went into decline and finally disappeared by 1500 BCE (3500 BP). The main cause of this disappearance, the reader is then informed, was the invasion of India by nomadic tribes from Central Asia called the Aryans. According to this account, these invading Aryans, who are said to have entered India through the passages in the northwest, fought and overcame the inhabitants of the Indus Valley and established themselves over much of North India. They are then said to have composed their literature, the most important of which is the Rig Veda. This history of India begins in earnest with the records of the Aryans following their invasion. This in essence is the account of ancient history found not only in school books, but also in such authoritative sources as the Encyclopedia Britannica.
The modern science of molecular genetics has demolished the whole notion of the Aryans. Archaeology also has disproved the idea of an Aryan invasion. In addition to political and racial ideas that were given a linguistic garb, some religious beliefs also played a part in creating the Aryan Invasion Theory. In the 19th century Europe many students were taught the Biblical superstition that the world was created in its present form with all its life forms on 23rd October 4004 BCE. European scholars steeped in this belief, could not accept that Indian history and civilization went much further back in time. So they distorted and misinterpreted records to fit their own limited worldview.
In recent years, recognizing that the Aryan Invasion Theory has been disproved, some scholars are proposing something they are calling the Aryan Migration Theory. This, too, is no more valid. All the old contradictions remain and some new ones arise as well. These both are rejected for the same reasons.
"ARYAN" – No single aspect of ancient Indian history has so dominated historical discourse as the so-called 'Aryan problem'. In the 19th century, European scholars, new to the study of India, proposed an 'Aryan invasion' that was supposed to have brought the Vedic civilization and the 'Aryan language' (Sanskrit) to India from the Aryan west. The theory led to the illusory idea of an Aryan race, generally blond and blue-eyed which fuelled a pathological attempt to recreate an Aryan nation years later in, of all places, Germany!
Even archaeology has not escaped the Aryan obsession, with scholars claiming that the Harappan civilization was non-Aryan, destroyed by the invading Aryans. Mortimer Wheeler, one of the early Harappan archaeologists, went so far as to try to read an Aryan massacre into skeletal remains he found at Mohenjodaro, which he highlighted with great drama and which has entered into many textbooks, still used to the present day. Through later archaeology disproved Wheeler's finding as a case of imagination gone wild, showing that the skeletons showed no evidence of violent deaths, and no Harappan sites have ever been found that were destroyed by outside invaders, archaeologists still talk about the incoming Aryans, hoping to find them eventually, somewhere! Meanwhile the depiction of the Aryans has retreated from massive destructive hordes to small groups of undetectable migrants, hoping to preserve the theory even if no evidence in favor of it can be found. The Aryan idea appears more like an article of faith for western historians than anything inherent in the facts coming out of India. What is the reality?
In the whole world of the Rig Veda, consisting of ten books and more than a thousand hymns, the word 'Arya' appears fewer than 40 times. It may occur as many times in a few pages of a modern European work like Hitler's Mein Kampf, where there is no doubt about its racial meaning. As a result, any modern book or even discussion on the 'Aryan problem' is more likely to be a commentary on recent European thought on the Aryans than anything really relevant to ancient India of many thousands of years ago.
The use of the term Aryan can be compared with the fear of the Swastika as a symbol of racism and hatred, which it is often falsely combined. The Swastika is an old Vedic symbol of good fortune, found in the oldest archaeological sites in India. It is found among other people also, including in pre-Columbian Native American tribes. The Nazis probably got their swastika symbol from ancient Roman ruins like Pompey where also it is found rather than directly from India. It is a solar symbol of enlightenment that the Buddhists and Jains also adopted. Other than the gross misuse by the Nazis, the Swastika – more popularly the Svasti – has been used as a symbol of goodwill and well-being all over the world. Except for the fleeting period of Nazi misuse, the Swastika has been a universal symbol of peace and prosperity.
The Rig Veda and all of Sanskrit literature that followed never refer to Aryans in this modern sense of the word. Aryan was an important title of respect, roughly comparable to the English word 'sir' or 'gentleman'. It was used to symbolize nobility and refinement of behavior and character, not a pattern of bias and prejudice to which it has been turned into by modern writers! The ancient Sanskrit lexicon Amarakosha identifies it as a synonym for honorable or praiseworthy conduct.
There is no reference to any 'Aryan' type, race or tribe as a term of ethnicity in Sanskrit literature. There is only Aryan as certain type of high culture or lofty code of conduct. Even the Buddha called his religion 'Arya dharma' in this manner. We cannot imagine Aryans conquered ancient India and took over all titles of respect in the country, any more than we can imagine that a tribe of Englishmen named 'sir' took over all main positions of power in England!
The Vedic deities or Devas were regarded as forces of light and their enemies were regarded as forces of darkness, just as was the case for many ancient solar religions, from America and Egypt to Europe and India. But this was not meant as a racial statement, but just the natural symbolism of light and darkness.
Yet the truth is that after two hundred years and many books on the subject of the Aryans, scholars are still unclear what the Aryan identity is. At first the Aryans were supposed to be a race of distinguished by physical traits like white skin, blond hair and blue eyes, but given the lack of any evidence for such types in India or Iran, countries of the most ancient Aryan cultures, this has largely been given up. Other scholars have gone so far to identify Aryan as Caucasian, though there are many Caucasian groups that have darker skin and many others who do not speak so-called Aryan languages. Scientists, too, have no use for the 'Aryan race'. As far back as 1939, Julian Huxley, one of the great biologists of the 20th century, dismissed it as part of "political and propagandist" literature.
Genetics is a new science that is adding important new information about human origins, but even with it some initial data has been distorted by the Aryan obsession. A recent study conducted by Bamshad et al. al the University of Utah claims to have found evidence of western, possible Indo-European or Aryan peoples in the DNA of some South Indian peoples (actually too small a group to prove the point). Their claims that they have identified genes relating to tribes and even castes (and sometimes language!) make NO scientific sense. Their study resembles Wheeler's imaginary massacre at Mohenjodaro. This genetic study has similarly been discredited by more important thinkers in the field. Eminent geneticists like L. Cavalli-Sforza and Stephen Oppenheimer have rejected it. See: Genetic Evidence on the Origin of Indian Caste Populations by M.Bamshad, T.Kivislid, W.S. Watkins, M.E. Dixon, C.E. Ricker, B.B Rao, J.M Naidu, B.V.R Prasad, P.G Reddy, A. Raganagam, et al. 2001, Genome Research 11, pp 994-1004. According to them the M17 genetic marker, which is supposed to distinguish the 'Caucasian' type, occurs with highest frequency and diversity in India, showing that among its carriers, the Indian population is the oldest.
Archaeologically speaking, the search for Aryan skeletons in India has not come up with anything either. There are to date no ruins, remains, encampments or settlements of any invading Aryans that anyone has ever been able to show or prove to have existed apart from indigenous developments.
Sensitive to the disrepute that race theories have fallen into, some scholars hold on to the Aryan term but as referring to a linguistic group. This began with the German-born Indologist Max Muller, one of the main proponents of Aryanism, who made a celebrated switch from Aryan as a race to Aryan as a language. Yet the vast body of Indian literature on linguistics, the richest in the world going back to yaska, Panini and Vedic texts, knows nothing of any Aryan language as the dialect of a particular group of people. When used relative to language, Aryan refers to noble or cultured speech, like well-educated individuals who speak good Sanskrit, similar to people speaking good English versus those speaking common or vulgar forms. This does not means that those speaking unrefined speech are speaking a different language or are of a different ethnicity!
The 'Aryan Nation' or Aryan racial purity was the battle cry of German nationalists, not ancient Indians. To look at ancient Sanskrit terms in light of their modern European redefinitions cannot lead us anywhere in understanding the ancient world, however much political passion it may arouse.
All this means that the 'Aryan problem' is mainly a non-problem – an aberration of wrong history and inaccurate semantics. It has been kept alive by certain historians, who have taken the Sanskrit term to mean what they would like it to. According to its advocates, because of linguistic similarities with languages of Europe and central Asia, the Vedic language and literature must be of non-Indian origin, and so must have been brought in by a different ethnic group, whom these propose was the invading or migrating Aryans. This proved not by any evidence of these incoming Aryans, but by the linguistic requirements of modern theories.
In other words, certain scholars have invented the Aryans as a people to give justification of their own theories. The idea of the invading Aryans was proposed even before any major archaeological finds relative to ancient India were made, and continued long after archaeology contradicted the invasion idea. It has ignored or distorted those finds that came later. Aryans are needed because without them there can be no Aryan invasion (or migration) needed to justify certain linguistic theories. In the face of all this it is best to ignore labels and look simply at the record of the people who lived in India and created her unique civilizations.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
What we call history is, to a greater extent, an artificial line, defining people are either civilized or uncivilized based upon markers like writing, urban development or the use of metals that may not be crucial to the real character of people. It is unlikely that earlier humanity was any less human or any less sensitive than we are, even if they did not build cities like we do. So-called primitive peoples often produced art and literature far superior than what is being produced today.
It is also well known fact of history that so-called primitive people in the colonial era, like the Native Americans, were often more honest, kind and truthful than their European conquerors, who never honored a single treaty with them. Scientifically speaking, the yogi in a cave and the caveman are indistinguishable to the urban markers of modern civilization, though they are radically different relative to the evolution of consciousness.
In this regard, Hindu records through the Vedas and Purans suggest that human civilization – or at least some sort of advanced culture capable of spiritual development – has been going on much longer than our recorded history. These texts connect human history with longer natural and cosmic cycles, and current humanity with earlier humanities of tens of thousands of years ago.
It has also been the view of many spiritual thinkers worldwide that there were earlier humanities that underwent their own cultural developments, though not necessarily in a technological manner. The ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Babylonians firmly believed this. We are only now beginning to suspect these possibilities. What was previously regarded as the beginning of history around 3000 BCE (5000 BP – Before Present) is now being seen as part of a longer natural history, with culture, agriculture and language being much older.
The Vedas project a 'Yuga' theory of historical and cosmic development, the idea of periodic cycles of humanity and of nature, broken by great natural catastrophes. This fits in well with current scientific theories about natural history through the Ice Ages and warm periods like the one we are living in today. There are two cycles of 41,000 years and 24,000 years duration that overlap the 100,000-year Ice Age Cycle, which are main cycles of natural history scientists are looking at relative to early humanity. These are characterized by the position of the Earth's axis relative to the Sun, and therefore the amount of energy that the Earth receives. Though the exact relationships are not known, these cycles have a bearing on the world's climate and a profound effect on the life of all species. The Vedic Yuga cycle of 24,000 years reflects similar time frames.
The idea of earlier Manus and the earlier kalpas, or world-ages, such as we find in the Puranic literature, may reflect memories of these earlier phases of mankind prior to what our current culture recognizes as history. This Hindu connection to prehistoric eras of human species may be responsible for the Hindu idea of an eternal tradition of truth (Sanatan Dharma). It extends to the Hindu view of the universe, which is defined according to longer natural cycles of yugas extending into the age of the universe itself and a recognition that our current universe is only one of many that exists throughout the endless expanse of time and space.
From the standpoint of modern science, this 'Hindu view of time' better reflects the movement of natural history (and cosmology) that is marked by cycles and cataclysms over long periods of time. It stands in stark contrast to Western historical models that follow a linear and progressive model of history, generally focused on events of the last 5000 years, if not the last 500. These place human history apart from the nature's cycles and often opposed to them as well.
Such linear time models extend to Western politics and religion. The Western mind then interprets history according to its own linear models, and ignores the role of natural history and its cycles that was the real time frame in which ancient people actually lived.
As we move into an ecological age, we must once more respect natural history and natural time cycles. This will take the modern mind back in the direction of the Hindu view of time and the Hindu approach to history that has always based itself on such natural time cycles and a regard for the much greater antiquity of the human species. It also accommodates new discoveries in fields as diverse as natural history, genetics and cosmology.