Thursday, October 7, 2010

Aryan and Caste

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.

1 comment:

  1. Very well put, please do continue with this discourse was i would like to learn more about my culture