Indian Culture & History: Whose Narrative Should It Be- 3

Indian Culture & History: Whose Narrative Should It Be- 3

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In part 1 and 2 of this four-part series we discussed the views emerging from the Indian and foreign gaze respectively.

The Indian gaze comprises the Indigenous and Ambedkar’s views. The Indigenous view concludes that spirituality is at the core of our heritage, while Ambedkar’s view is nuanced with a deep historical perspective.

The foreign gaze straddles the Colonialist, Orientalist and Marxist views. The Colonialists preferred to see Hindu India as culturally backward and believed it was ripe for subjugation and propagation of their faith. The Orientalists took over from the Colonialists in English and European Universities followed by American ones. They support the Aryan Invasion Theory and view our cultural history, including the Sanskrit language and the Ramayana, from a lens of Brahminical oppression. The Marxists, who were entrusted with writing Indian History post-Independence see the pre Islamic period as one of strife and the Islamic period as one of cultural renaissance.

This Part 3 will focus on the challenge posed to the Orientalists and Marxists by the scholars of the Revivalist school.

The Revivalist Narrative

Since the nineties there has been a huge challenge thrown at the Marxists and Orientalists. The Revivalist scholarship, though in its infancy, is slowly catching up. Shrikant Talageri, Meenakshi Jain, Koenraad Elst, Rajiv Malhotra, Yvette Rosser are some of the scholars who have written extensively on the subject. Aiding them are scientists from IITs, IISc, Institute of Oceanography and genetic researchers across the world.

Aryan Invasion Theory

In the nineteenth century, the German scholar F Max Muller dated the completion of Vedas to 1200 BCE. His logic was rather arbitrary. He worked 200 years backward from Sutra Literature (5-6 century BCE) for each of the preceding literary periods – Aranyakas, Brahmannas and Vedas, and arrived at the date of 1200 BCE for the Vedas. However when he was challenged by his own colleagues like Goldstucker, Witney and Wilson, he confessed that his dating was purely speculative. Nevertheless this date got frozen and future scholars continued to go by it. As we will see the date of the Vedas got intertwined with the Aryan Invasion theory.

In the eighteenth century, the linguists were startled to discover commonalities between languages in Europe, Central Asia and North India (Dravidian languages are part of a different group). Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, English, German and Russian are related. They concluded that all these related languages must have descended from a common ancestral language. They termed this language group Indo European. Using sound linguistic principles they constructed the root language and called it Proto Indo European or PIE. This language or something close, would have been spoken in the ancestral homeland. The homeland was assigned as South Russia, only because it was the central region in the area where this language group spread – Europe, Central Asia and North India.

The theory goes that around 3000 BCE, the original Indo Aryan people began migrating to Central Asia. They divided into 12 branches. The migration continued over many centuries and where ever they went they assimilated with the local population and completely Aryanized the culture. In central Asia, the Indo Aryans split into two groups. One went west and became the Mittanis (Syria-Turkey) and the other went east and became the Vedic people. This is said to have happened in 1500 BCE. The Aryans wrote the Vedas and displaced the original, assumed to be Dravidian, people to the south of India.

In the 1920s the Harappan civilization was discovered. This added another layer to the debate. Since Aryan invasion was an accepted theory, it was concluded that the Harappan civilization was pre Aryan.

The linguistic argument was speculative at best, so the linguists sought to obtain textual and archaeological evidence to strengthen their argument. Since there were no texts at that time in Europe, they began to look into the Vedas to find textual support. Vedas are a recognized material for historiographic research. Michael Witzel, the Harvard University professor and champion of AIT said about the Vedas:

“In Vedic times elaborate steps were taken to ensure exact reproduction of the words of ancient poets. Thus, the Rig Veda has the exact same words in areas as far apart as Kashmir, Kerala and Odisha. These words have not changed since 1500 BCE. These texts are thus equivalent to inscriptions and can be relied upon as valid sources of names of persons, places and rivers of that period.”

Textual Evidence to support AIT

The researchers looked for three types of evidence. First they searched for reminisces of foreign locales and tribes; of migration of river names. Second they looked for references to non-Aryan natives and lastly for evidence of west to east movement.

The Harvard professor Michael Witzel is a leading proponent of AIT. He claims that the rivers Saraswati and Sarayu mentioned in the Vedas are actually names transferred from Haraquati and another river in Afghanistan. He also says that the word anasa means flat nose and the Aryans used the word to describe the natives. Macdonnell claims that the demons Sribinda and Ilibisha appear un-Aryan. Rahurkar says some Rishis like Ashwasuktin, Gosuktin, Agasthya, Visishthas, Bhrigu are non-Aryans. Dasa, Dasya, Asura are non-Aryan. Demons destroyed by Indra like Vritra, Shushna,Vala, Namuchi etc are non-Aryans. The supernatural beings Danavas, Daityas, Rakshasas, Yakshas, Gandharvas etc. refer to non-Aryans. The gods Varuna, Mitra, Rudra, Surya, Pushan, Savtr, and Vishnu are non-Aryan. Witzel says the word rip in Rig Veda is a vague reference to Rhipean Mountains in modern Ural. Kosambi says that the word pani is non-Aryan.

According to Shrikant Talageri, their search for textual evidence was perhaps based on a priori belief that Aryans were outsiders. They were looking for random evidence in the Vedas to support their prior belief. A systematic analysis was not done.

Archaeological Evidence to support AIT

In 1946 further excavation of a Harappan site by Mortimer Wheeler revealed fortification around a mound. Mortimer linked it to the description of Indra as Purandara or destroyer of forts. He concluded that this proved Aryan invasion. He further linked the finding of some skeletal remains to Aryan invasion.

Lack of horse remains in excavations were also used to conclude Aryan invasion. Vedas mention horses but they appear absent in Harappa. Hence it was proposed that Aryans brought horses to India.

Counter to AIT and the Out of India Theory or OIT

Shrikant Talageri has written three books on AIT. He says that the linguistic argument is based on simplicity and plausibility and is very speculative. For instance, it is simpler that one branch of Indo Europeans came to India than 12 branches left from India. One wonders why 12 branches leaving from South Russia is simpler. He points out that the archaeological evidence is thin. On textual evidence, it appears that intense effort was made to find bits and pieces that fit a pre conceived theory. He has done a very systematic analysis of Rig Veda and Avestha to argue that AIT is a myth. He goes further to postulate that India was the homeland of the Indo Europeans.

Textual Evidence against AIT

Rig Veda can be divided into two sections; the old books consisting Books 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and new books consisting Books 1, 8, 9, 10. This is accepted by western scholars as well. Both the old and new books have geographical references of the area between Eastern Afghanistan and Western UP. The Vedic people, it appears were not familiar with Western Afghanistan or areas east of the Ganges. The old books have many references to Eastern rivers, mountains, lakes and animals but show hardly any familiarity with Western geographic data. The reference to western rivers, mountains, lakes and animals appear in the new books. This proves an east to west movement and seriously dents the AIT, which holds that the movement was west to east.

In the texts, there is no memory of an external homeland, nor acquaintance with areas further west than East Afghanistan. Taking on the arguments of the AIT proponents, Talageri says that the Haraquati River lies outside the geography populated by Indo Aryans. There is no evidence that Vedic people lived there. The claim that Dravidian people were the original inhabitants displaced by invading Aryans is also baseless. If this was the case, then there would remain Dravidian names of rivers, mountains and the like. For instance, in the USA names like Mississippi and Missouri are Native American names. When an ethnic shift takes place, usually names of geographical entities are not changed. There are simply no Dravidian names in the area of the Vedic people. Anasa said to be reference to flat nosed natives actually means someone who blabbers. The gods and demons said to be non-Aryan and local are found in Mittani, Greek and Avestha mythologies. Pani in Vedic Sanskrit is close to Greek Pan and Germanic Vanir. This disproves the AIT hypothesis that names of gods and demons were non Aryan. If the Aryan invasion indeed happened, then how did names that originated in India travel to Central Asia, Greece and Europe? It is equally inconceivable that non Aryan locals travelled to Greece and returned with their mythology.

Talageri has done a comparative analysis of Avestha texts and Rig Veda. Unlike the AIT proponents his analysis is much more systematic. He has also analysed inscriptions found in excavations from Mittani (Syria, Iraq) and Kassite (Mesopotamia) sites. The Mittanis are dated 1460-1330 BCE, while the Kassites are dated 1677-1152 BCE. He finds that both Mittanis and Kassites had Vedic names, references to Vedic gods like Indra, Ashwini, Marut etc. The AIT proponents explain this by asserting that the group which left from South Russia split up in Central Asia, one going west and the other east. But this does not make sense because in Central Asia the culture would have been pre Vedic since Vedic culture developed in India. Furthermore, the similarity in names and mythology is between the new books of Rig Veda, Avestha and Mittani. The old Rig Veda books stand apart. Since the old books were written in India and have a continuity with the new books the evidence conclusively points to an east to west movement. The west to east movement is central to the argument of Aryan invasion.

Archaeological Evidence against AIT

The AIT people say that while the Rig Veda has references to horses, remains of horses have not been found in Harappan or pre historic excavations. This is not true. Horse remains have been found in Kodekal, Hallur, Mohenjo Daro, Ropar, Harappa, Lothal and many other places. Dr J P Joshi studied horse remains in a pre-historic site, Surkotada. The enamel pattern in upper and lower cheeks and teeth, and the size and form of incisors shows clear signs of crib biting, which is the habit of domestic horses. Therefore a denial that horses did not exist before 1500 BCE when Indo Aryans came is unfounded. In fact carbon dating of horse remains in Mahagara dates horses to 2265-1480 BCE.

Archaeology is capable of discerning ethnic or cultural shifts. For instance, the advent of Buddhism or entry of Islam can be discerned by archaeology. Archaeologists are agreed that there is no evidence of ethnic change, at least between 5000 and 800 BCE.

Further, the linguists say that the Proto Indo Europeans lived in their homeland in South Russia till 3000 BCE after which they began to migrate. In that period there is archaeological evidence of civilizations as far apart as Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Harappan and Chinese. It is baffling that archaeology would not find evidence of a South Russian Proto Indo European civilization if it did exist.

Even Western scholars are now agreed on the thin archaeological evidence. Erdosy, another well-known proponent of AIT says that archaeologists have seriously challenged it. Kennedy, Liechtenstein and Shaffer too have challenged the theory. Its greatest proponent, Michael Witzel says so far there is no archaeological evidence to support AIT.

Chronology of the Rig Veda

Talageri says that Rig Veda has references to wheeled vehicles but not to iron. Since wheeled vehicles are dated 3500 BCE and iron age commences in 1100 BCE, the Rig Veda has to fall in this period. The Kassites, who as we have seen have linguistic and cultural commonalities with Vedic people, are reliably dated 1700 BCE. Since the commonalities are with the new Rig Veda, the same must be dated before 1700 BCE. The spoke wheel and Bactrian camel are dated 2500 BCE. The old Rig Veda books do not refer to spoke wheels or Bactrian camel. Therefore they must be older than 2500 BCE while the new books must have appeared after 2500 BCE. Speculatively, the old books could go as far back as 3rd or late 4th millennium BCE. This coincides with the Indus Valley Civilization. According to B B Lal, radio carbon dates indicate that the roots of the Harappan civilization go back to 5th Millenium BCE, while it peaked between 2600-2000 BCE after which it began to decline. This dating of Rig Veda refutes the AIT date of 1500 BCE.

The main conclusions are:

  1. There is no archaeological evidence of a Proto Indo European civilization in South Russia around 3000 BCE. In the same time period other civilizations like Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Harappan and Chinese have been discovered by archaeology. This is inconceivable and the most likely reason is that it did not exist.
  2. The linguistic and cultural commonality between Rig Veda, Avestha and Mittani cannot be explained by the AIT hypothesis that culture was established in Central Asia from where it split west and east because it is agreed that Vedic culture developed in India. The dating of Rig Veda establishes that the Vedic civilization is older than Mittani or Avesthan civilizations. Hence, it is clear that Vedic civilization influenced the latter two.
  3. A systematic analysis of Rig Veda establishes that the movement was from the east to west and not west to east. The west to east movement is central to AIT.
  4. The Old Rig Veda books are dated earlier than 2500 BCE since they do not refer to spoke wheels. The new Rig Veda books are dated earlier than 1700 BCE which is the date of the Kassites with their cultural and linguistic commonalities. This proves two things. One, the Harappan and Vedic civilizations occupy the same space and time. As B B Lal says, “they are two sides of the same coin.” Second, the theory that the Aryans came in 1500 BCE and composed the Vedas thereafter is completely untenable.

Genetic Research

Before closing this section we will briefly look at genetic research. If there was a migration or invasion then it will reflect in gene data. If Aryans pushed out the Dravidians and tribals, then North Indian, South Indian and tribal genes would be different.

According to gene science, the Y DNA is passed on by father to son. The mtDNA is transmitted by mother alone to her progeny. These undergo only slight mutation over time and thus becomes the characteristics of the line of descendants. These mutations are organized in haplotypes. Similar haplotypes are clubbed under haplogroups. These are the genetic markers of ethnic groups.

Michel Danino has summarised 9 researches in this area. These are:

  1. 1999 study by Toomas Kivisild et al
  2. 1999 study by Todd R Distell
  3. 2000 study by Susanta Roychoudhury et al
  4. 2000 study by Toomas Kivisild et al
  5. 2003 study by Toomas Kivisild et al
  6. 2003 study by Toomas Kivisild et al
  7. 2004 study by Mait Metspalu et al
  8. 2006 study by Sanghamitra Sengupta et al
  9. 2006 study by Sanghamitra Sahoo et al

Add to this a later 2011 study by Mait Metspalu et al. The main conclusions of these studies are:

There is evidence of migration from Africa to India but not from Western Eurasian population. The genetic links between Eurasian and Indian population is close to the time of peopling of Asia and not in the period of the supposed Aryan Invasion. There is fundamental DNA unity across linguistic groups. There is no difference between tribes and castes. The genetic landscape formed much earlier than the supposed Aryan Invasion.

Michel Danino concludes “Just as the Aryan invasion left no trace in literature or in archaeology and anthropology, it is invisible at the genetic level.”

Vast and progressive knowledge system

Our home grown transcendental knowledge is ancient and sublime. Although the Western Indologists reject transcendence in the Vedas, their poets, writers and scientists are greatly influenced by it. Schoppenhuar, Emmerson, Thoreux, Schwitzer, Jung, Hesse, Eliot, Huxley, Oppenheimer, Shrodinger, Heizenberg, were all Vedantins. Our knowledge system extended to Ayurveda, Yoga, Mathematics, Astronomy, Agriculture, Metulurgy, Textiles, and Tannery to name a few. Unlike the criticism of staticness, the knowledge system was progressive and evolving. There is an Indian architectural system as can be seen in temple architecture. India exported knowledge westward. Eastward, the knowledge travelled from the Kalinga and Chola kingdoms, and later with Buddhism.

India’s unity is of untold antiquity

Hindu identity not existing before the Islamic invasions is severely challenged. I quote Yvette Rosser:

“These groups referred to as the indigenous Indians, who were not-yet-named-Hindu, are also known as early followers of Sanatana Dharma. This far-flung eclectic Dharmic group inhabited the lands that included present day Afghanistan, across the Himalayas and were quite literally scattered all over peninsular India.

“The varied cultures of the Indian Subcontinent have shared, through the centuries, numerous basic perceptions of ontology based on particular concepts of time and space, employing a multitude of symbols with common meanings that might or might not overlap with any other. Some examples include respect for the cow, centrality of fire worship and/ or rituals, symbolism of the earth and the other planets, the ubiquitousness of many iconographic and artistic forms such as the swastika, the lingam, the lotus, the chakra or wheel. Deification of the female, sacredness of rivers and certain species of trees, medicinal remedies, common styles of jewellery, ornaments, fabrics and elements of fashion, are found in many geographically distant locations in India, among a broad assortment of peoples – of all castes and classes, with different ishta devas, and different languages, and distinct cultural identities. Quite often there are similarities in birth and death rituals, and importantly, a treasury of shared myths. A cursory, open-minded look at such variables could serve to counter the theory that Hindus were unaware of their cultural connections and oblivious of a certain trans-subcontinental civilizational syncretism or inter-relatedness, until it was inscribed upon them by outsiders such as the Turkish other”.

The whitewashing of Islamic atrocities

While their contribution to art, music and architecture is there for all to see, the strife and mayhem the Islamic invasions caused has been whitewashed in Marxist Historiography.

From the time the Islamic invasions began in the 8th century, India has had to put up its greatest fight for survival.

I quote K S Raja:

“Iran (or Persia) collapsed within a single generation to the Islamic armies, as did the eastern part of the Byzantine Empire. Arabs intruded into Sind, but their hold did not last. It took the Islamic forces more than 300 years before they could defeat the Hindu kingdom of Afghanistan. Then the invasion of India began in earnest with the Mahmud of Ghazni in the 10th – 11th centuries.

It should be understood that what Islam brought to India—and other parts of the world—was a new kind of warfare that was unknown in ancient times. It was called Jihad. The idea was not merely to conquer a country but to totally destroy its history and civilization. Iran and Egypt had great civilizations going back thousands of years, but they have been totally wiped out.”

The theory that Ghaznavi sacked Somnath for its wealth and not due to religious zeal does not hold much water.

I quote Koenraad Elst (Ayodhya and After):

“When RomilaThapar tries to make gullible readers believe that Mahmud Ghaznavi only desecrated temples for their wealth, she must know… that Mahmud is revered by the Muslims as a devout Muslim, that he calligraphed Quran text “for the benefit of his soul”, and that he actually refused a huge ransom which Hindus were ready to pay if he agreed to give back an idol, instead of breaking it. Mahmud preferred breaking idols to selling them, even if that meant foregoing wealth. So her theory of Mahmud’s economical rather than religious motives is at best an unscientific imposition of Marxist dogma upon the facts of Indian history, otherwise a deliberate lie.”

As for the theory of token destruction to assert power, Aurangzeb could well have destroyed only the most important temple in Varanasi. He actually destroyed many temples. The theory that Muslim rulers destroyed for wealth or to assert authority is an attempt to whitewash religious zealotry.

Mushtaq Khan Lodhi, Islamic scholar and author of Islam and the West, Clash between Islamism and Secularism says:

“I am fully convinced that the Islamic invasion of India was not only because of financial benefits and for expanding territory, but also equally, to propagate religion. It is an intrinsic article of faith in fundamentalist Islamic societies that a devout Muslim should propagate his faith. And the early invaders of India were by and large devout Muslims who were motivated in large measure by the need to propagate their faith apart from earning riches through plunder. Being a researcher of Islamic history and ideology, I have seen enough in religious texts that urge the proselytising of the Islamic faith by the faithful. Islamic invasion is predominantly a religious motivation, as was the case with the early Afghan and Persian invaders. There is an undying belief amongst fundamentalist Muslims that their faith is the last word in religion as Islam is supposed to be the last and final message from God and there can be no further religions after Islam, and that the message of Islam is not only the final one it is also the perfect one and cannot be altered by any man as it is the direct word of God. Along with this belief is the belief (shared along with European Christians) that Hindu India was backward in matters of Faith and Culture and that it was ripe for subjugation and propagating their respective faiths. This belief was not only the dominant motive that drove the early Islamic invaders from Afghanistan, Persia and even modern day Uzbekistan (Babar) to India, it was also the dominant motive behind Aurangzeb’s rule.”

The Tuzk-i-Timuri records the Amirs in Timur’s entourage as stating:

“By the favour of Allah we may conquer India, but if we establish ourselves permanently therein, our race will degenerate, and our children will become like the natives of those regions, and in a few generations their strength and valour will diminish.”

Unlike the Marxist claim, it would appear that they were not very enamoured by India. Timur pointed out the real reason why they invaded India:

“My object in the invasion of Hindustan is to lead an expedition against the infidels that, according to the law of Mohammed (upon whom and his family be the blessing and peace of Allah!), we may convert the people of that country to the true faith and purify the land itself from infidelity and polytheism, and that we may overthrow their temples and idols and become conquerors and crusaders before Allah.”

His descendant Babur says in the Baburnama:

“Chanderi had been in the daru’l-harb [Hindu rule] for some years and held by Sanga’s highest-ranking officer Meidini Rao, with four or five thousand infidels, but in 934 [1527-28], through the grace of God, I took it by force within a ghari or two, massacred the infidels, and brought it into the bosom of Islam.”

And then in a particularly happy mood, he wrote the following poem:

For the sake of Islam I became a wanderer;

I battled infidels and Hindus.

I determined to become a martyr.

Thank God I became a holy warrior.

Muslim writers have made no secret of the fact that they destroyed temples. Here is what Aurangazeb’s granddaughter wrote in 1707, in her Persian work Sahifah-i-Chihal Nasa’ih Bahadurshahi:

“… keeping the triumph of Islam in view, devout Muslim rulers should keep all idolaters in subjection to Islam, brook no laxity in realization of Jizyah, grant no exceptions to Hindu Rajahs from dancing attendance on Id days and waiting on foot outside mosques till end of prayer…and keep in constant use for Friday and congregational prayer the mosques built up after demolishing the temples of the idolatrous Hindus situated at Mathura, Banaras and Avadh.”

Koenraad Elst writes that during the conquests, after bleeding the warriors on the battlefield, Brahmins were singled out for extermination. Their women and children were taken as slaves. Mohamad bin Qasim killed 6000 warriors in Multan and enslaved the women. Even the celebrated Akhbar killed 30,000 non-combatants during the raid of Chittorgarh. 8000 women self-immolated.

Besides the killings, untold number of Hindus were enslaved and sold in the slave markets of Baghdad and Samarkand. The mountain range Hindu Koh (Indian Mountain) was renamed Hindu Kush (Hindu Killer) during the reign of Timur (1398-99), a hundred thousand Hindu slaves died there while being transported to Samarkand.

Fernand Braudel wrote in A History of Civilizations, Islamic rule in India as a “colonial experiment” was “extremely violent”, and “the Muslims could not rule the country except by systematic terror. Cruelty was the norm — burnings, summary executions, crucifixions or impalements, inventive tortures. Hindu temples were destroyed to make way for mosques.”

Staggering numbers also died as collateral damage of the deliberate impoverishment by Sultans like Alauddin Khilji and Jahangir. As Braudel put it: “The levies it had to pay were so crushing that one catastrophic harvest was enough to unleash famines and epidemics capable of killing a million people at a time. Appalling poverty was the constant counterpart of the conquerors’ opulence.”

Koenraad Elst says “There is no official estimate of the total death toll of Hindus at the hands of Islam. We can get an idea from the testimonies of Muslim chroniclers. Ferishtha lists several occasions when the Bahmani sultans in central India (1347-1528) killed a hundred thousand Hindus, which they set as a minimum goal whenever they felt like “punishing” the Hindus. The biggest slaughters took place during the raids of Mahmud Ghaznavi (1000 CE); during the actual conquest of North India by Mohammed Ghori (1192 CE); and under the Delhi Sultanate (1206-1526). The Mughals (1526-1857), even Babar and Aurangzeb, were fairly restrained tyrants by comparison. Prof. K S Lal once estimated that the Indian population declined by 50 million under the Sultanate, but that would be hard to substantiate; research into the magnitude of the damage Islam did to India is yet to start in right earnest.”

Finally I quote Will Durant’s famous line: “The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precious good, whose delicate complex of order and freedom, culture and peace, can at any moment be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within.” (Story of Civilization, Vol.1)

Unlike the whitewashed Marxist narrative, it is the medieval period that was the age of strife, while the period before was one of synthesis where various schools of Hindu and Buddhist philosophy sorted out their disagreements peacefully and existed side by side.

The key takeaways of the revivalist historiographic challenge are:

  1. In the pre Islamic period strong cultural identity existed.
  2. The academic culture was marked by rigour, rationality and creativity.
  3. There was a thriving knowledge system.
  4. The society was prosperous, pragmatic and progressive.
  5. Far from being strife torn, there was interdependence for the most part.
  6. The Islamic period was one of great stress and strife. It is a credit that Indian culture survived and their knowledge system was preserved in the mutts, temples and vidyapeeths.
  7. The British cannot be given the credit for unifying India. India was a strong cultural entity from antiquity.
  8. While the British did put in place western education system, they extracted the price of colonizing the minds of the natives.

Where are the Marxists coming from?

We discussed the Marxist historiography in Part 2 of this series. Briefly, they consider the pre Islamic period as one of strife and the Islamic period as one of synthesis. They have dishonestly down played the atrocities during the Islamic invasions. Having looked at both the Marxist and Revivalist views, we can understand where the Marxists are possibly coming from.

The obvious answer is that they are rooted in dialectical materialism and that is what they saw in our knowledge systems. All elements of transcendence and spirituality were taken out, and what was left is “cow, caste and curry”, as Rajiv Malhotra puts it.

There are political motivations as well.

  1. INC needed to create a Muslim friendly conversation to counter the separatist narrative of the Muslim League. This required suppression of Hindu aspirations.
  2. Post-Independence, Nehru was looking for an ideological platform to build his power base. By accepting the cultural history, his platform would have been no different from that of the Hindu Mahasabha-RSS. The Marxist narrative helped him carve out an ideological platform since the Marxists continued with the motivated colonial view. They whitewashed the Muslim oppression, presenting the invaders as an Indianised group that provided culture to the nation. They switched the age of synthesis and the age of strife.
  3. It was believed that if Hindu pride is allowed to rise, it would make the minorities insecure and encourage them to support the two-nation theory.

After seeing all these narratives, in Part 4 we will discuss where we can go from here.


  1. Shrikant Talageri, Aryan Invasion Theory Parts 1 & 2, YouTube
  2. Shrikant Talageri, Out of India Theory, You Tube
  3. Jim G Shaffer, The Indo Aryan Invasion: Cultural Myth and Archeological Reality
  4. Professor B B Lal, Why Perpetuate Myths? A Fresh look at Ancient Indian History
  5. Michel Danino, The Horse and the Aryan Debate, Archeology Online and Genetics and the Aryan Debate, Archeology Online
  6. The Aryan Invasion Theories, Counter Theories and Historical Significance, Archeology Online
  7. S. Rajaram, Distortions In Indian History,, 19.3.2015
  8. Mushtaq Khan Lodhi, Islam and the West, Clash between Islamism and Secularism
  9. Interview with Koenraad Elst on Ayodhya,, 8.1.2014
  10. Koenraad Elst, Ayodhya and After, Voice of India, 1991
  11. Yvetta Rosser, Imagining Jambudvipa: Rescuing Indology and Indian History,, 15.9.2014
Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. IndiaFacts does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Atul Sinha

Atul Sinha founded and runs a leading Strategic Brand Design Company. His interest in Indic culture and history led him to pursue a PhD program at SVYASA, Bangalore. He writes on Vedanta and Indic Culture.