The Myth Of Aryan Dravidian Divide

No Mention of any Aryan Dravidian Conflicts

There is no mention in any of the original Sanskrit and Vedic texts about the two opposing races called Aryan and Dravidian. The word Arya was used to designate a person as 'noble'. A wife will call her husband, 'O Arya' or 'O Arya-putra' meaning 'O my noble one' or 'O son of your noble father'. It was in this context that the word Arya was used in ancient Indian literature including Mahabharata. This appellation was given even if the husband belonged to the Rakshasa tribe. The word 'Dravida' was used to denote a tribe of people. In Mahabharata it was used to denote a tribe living some where in modern-day southern Andhara Pradesh. This tribe themselves used the appellation 'Arya' to denote nobility of a person. The appellation 'Arya' has some remote similarity with the appellation 'Ahura' (which cognates with the Vedic 'Asura') of Zend Avesta which also denote nobility of a person. In some occasions, the term Dravida is used as a collective term to denote the southern tribes of Chola, Pandya and Kerala, much like the noun Bahlika was used as a collective term to denote the western tribes like the Madra, Bahlika, Kekaya, Gandhara and Kamboja or the term Mlechcha was used to denote all the sea-trading tribes established on the sea shores of what is now Gujarat, Karachi, Bengal and Bangladesh. Even then, there was no instances where the Dravida tribe was mentioned as being opposed by an 'Aryan' tribe from the north. Usually the Dravida tribes were found to be allies of the northern tribes, for example the Keralas, the Pandyas and the Cholas were mentioned as allies of the Pandavas in their battle against the Kauravas.

The Conflict of Devas and Asuras

There was indeed an opposition as described in the Vedas between two tribes. But that was between the two similar tribes sharing many things as common in their culture, but had some difference in their ideologies that arose after some period of co-existence in the same territory. They were the tribes of Devas and Asuras. Their common territory is believed to be the Saraswati-Sindhu river basin and southern Tibet. In later stages, the Asura group generated the literature that culminated in Zend Avesta, while the Deva group held on to the Vedas. The Varuna and Mitra that belonged to the common pantheon, who were earlier designated as 'Asuras' / 'Ahuras' by both the Deva and Asura group became 'Deva' for the Deva group after this split.

The Dravida tribes mentioned in Mahabharata and other Sanskrit literature do not have any connection with Zend Avesta. None of their literature use the appellation 'Ahura' or 'Asura' for denoting nobility. So from where did this concept of Aryan-Dravidian divide come from? It is a myth created in the 19th century. This mythology of Aryan-Dravidian opposition was created to divide India on the basis of regional differences. This myth identifies people in southern India as Dravidian and people in northern India as Aryan and then wrongly portray the Dravidians as the Asuras or the descendants of Asuras. Asuras are mentioned predominantly in the Puranas (which is a post-Vedic, post-epic literature) as demons who were opposed by the Devas! The Devas, as per Puranic-lore, include Siva, Brahma and Vishnu whom the south Indians also consider as gods. Any southern Indian person who believed in these Devas; who now come to believe in this myth of Aryan-Dravidian divide will then identify himself first as a Dravidian; then as an Asura; and then without a doubt will reject his religion and will now become an easy target for religious conversion! Or he will now become an atheist!

Not only the southern Indians are thus deluded. The Aryan-Dravidian theorist went further to place the origin of the Vedas father and farther away from India. Thus the people in northern India, who were considered by these theorists and myth-makers as Aryans, themselves lost any interest in the Vedas. This was because, they were told they were not the pure Aryans but were a mixture of the pure Aryans from outside India and the Dravidians in India. It was then established that the pure Aryan race who came to India as foreigners authored the Vedas in a foreign land far away from India some where in the far north-west, before coming to India! Every Indian north or south was forced to believe that the Vedas were of a foreign origin and all that culture that Indians hold dear to them, all those revelations in the Vedas and in the Vedantas, everything now became foreign and alien.

The stealing of Vedas

Recently we have seen the movie Avatar. We see in it how the culture of the Navi's are completely destroyed (or unsuccessfully attempted to be destroyed) by the invaders. In India, in 19th century, what we saw was not only the attempted destruction of the culture of the native people, but also an attempt to steal away that culture from the natives. The credit for the authorship of the Vedas was almost taken away from the Indians or the Vedas were often mis-interpreted and discredited. The stealing of the Vedas is a common motif found in many Puranas! An Asura is mentioned as stealing the Vedas from Brahma and then Vishnu is mentioned as recovering it from the Asura and restoring the Vedas to where it belonged. This motif is repeated in several Puranas in several forms. In 19th-century-India what we witnessed was the realization of this myth of stealing of the Vedas!

After the invasion, after the attempted destruction of the native-culture and after the attempted stealing of that culture in 19th century, the Aryan-Dravidian theorist went further and put all these three charges of invasion, destruction of the native-culture and stealing of the culture that they did to the natives during their period, upon the hypothetical (better word is mythical) 'Aryans'! Thus as per this Aryan-Dravidian mythology, the mythical 'Aryans' invaded the mythical 'Dravidians' and destroyed their culture and finally stole the culture from them! Instead of 19th century, they set the time period for this invasion to around 1200 BC to make it look more realistic! For those who asked for proof, they showed the ruins of the Indus Valley civilization, (which declined due to natural causes, like the drying up of the rivers that sustained them) and said it was all ruined by the (mythical) 'Aryan Invasion' that happened around 1200 BC!

In retrospect, the myth of the Aryan-Dravidian divide, and the myth of Aryan Invasion was a self-reflection of the creators of this myth on what they did to the natives of India in 19th century AD, attributed upon the mythical 'Aryans' who did a mythical invasion of India around 1200 BC.

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Relevant Reading

  1. (Dr. Koenraad Elst's Book:- UPDATE ON THE ARYAN INVASION DEBATE; See what this Dutch speaking Belgian scholar has to say about this debate who analyzes the debate with a balanced view.)
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Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 16 Feb 2010 16:07 and updated at 31 Mar 2012 14:53

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