The Aryan Dravidian Debate

Editorial Analysis for UPSC - The Aryan Dravidian Debate

The Aryan Dravidian Debate

Context:

• The Tamil Nadu Governor’s statements regarding the Aryan Dravidian divide has invited criticism from across the country.

Background:

• P.T. Srinivasa Iyengar, a popular historian has never agreed to the view that Aryans and Dravidians were racially different.
• Though he held that cultural differences existed between the Vedic and non-Vedic people.
• According to P.T. Srinivasa Iyengar, a careful research of the vedas will let you know that the Vedic culture is so appropriate with the Indian soil and atmosphere that calling it of a foreign origin would be absurd.
• The Governor’s statement claiming that this Aryan Dravidian divide is of colonial origin has invited criticism.
• But we need to give a thought about the works of many scholars of India and foreign countries who still hold that the politics of the non-Brahmin movement and the modern rationalism of the self-respect movement all have deep roots in colonial thought.

Works of Caldwell:
  • Caldwell had popped up the idea of Dravidian language family as a scientific entity in the 1850’s.
  • Even prior to this Francis Whyte Ellis the collector of Madras had laid the foundation of Caldwell’s theories.
  • Prominent American historian Thomas Trautmann has countered the works of European historians about their works on language and nations project which favour the political interests of British.
  • Thomas Trautmann claims that European works have interpreted the history of India.

Colonial Influence:

  • The British Government tactically used the works of Missionaries such as Caldwell and G.U. Pope.
  • The colonial hegemony which was present from the end of the eighteenth century to the twentieth century has influenced a lot on the history of its colonies.

Way Forward:

  • Topics like this are debatable, it is difficult to bring it to a logical end as the supporters of both the sides are supporting it based on their racial origins.
  • At the same point of time, it is also important to have a clear picture of our pasts which can be substantiated with truth and facts.
  • Any such ideological debates must be proved scientifically or else it will have no value, it must be proven with anthropological evidences.