The Aryan-Dravidian Divide

Aryan Invasion Theory Myth

When the British discovered how far advanced Indians were in terms of language, sciences, mathematics, arts, commerce,…they found it hard to believe and hard to digest.

For instance, when they encountered Sanskrit (with advanced grammar constructs that even today MIT and NASA use it in AI research), they found it hard to digest that a brown-skinned race could be so far advanced, or even more so could not stand it that the white-race could have anything in common, when they encountered many words from European languages had roots in Sanskrit.

Bear in mind this was a time period when many white Anglo-Saxon Europeans considered themselves the superior race, and savior of the world, and justified each conquest and imperialism over another land as a “civilizing” mission to the non-Christian “heathens”.

As a reminder: imperialism is really a euphemism for brutal exploitation and slavery of other peoples, and cultural genocide. To the ones being conquered and ruled over there was nothing romantic about it. The logic that a good many Europeans (and Indian pseudo-intellectuals) use to justify imperialism, is like someone coming into your home and raping you… and then they leave saying you should not complain as they taught you English and how to dress and eat like them.

Max Mueller, the infamous Indologist, was appointed to create a theory that would discredit Hindus. The Aryan Invasion Theory was created by introducing a hypothetical race called Aryans from Eastern Europe that invaded India and bought them Sanskrit and the “Vedic religion” from which “Hinduism” is supposed to have evolved.

The method of science dictates that a very large amount of compelling evidence is required to justify a hypothesis. Next the hypothesis would be put through a battery of tests. If it holds, it becomes accepted as a theory. In this case, everything is working in reverse! A theory is first created, then in order to justify the theory a hypothesis is created (with no evidence), and instead of the hypothesis being subject to a gauntlet of rigorous tests, an entire legion of Indologists worked around the clock to embellish it lavishly, until its existence becomes self-fulfilling and self-feeding using circular logic.

The word ‘aryan’ is not seen anywhere in Sanskrit literature as a proper noun “Aryan” (as in to describe a certain group or race of people). It occurs only in its adjective form arya, meaning “noble”, from which the  proper noun Aryan was forged by the Europeans.

Europeans not only forged a new word, but took it further by creating an artificial race – the Aryan race, describing it as the “pure race” (the idea of which was embraced by Hitler). Now armed with this theory, they can save their face / insecurity, and maintain their moral superiority over Hindus.

Today, not only has the Aryan race theory discredited throughout the academic world, but the only groups who still hold on to it are white supremacist groups, such as the Aryan Brotherhood.

The Europeans themselves became so enamored by this new race they’ve created, that various groups started the vying for who is more purer, i.e. more Aryan, which ultimately lead to Aryan nationalism, and the rise of Nazism (which revolved around the idea that Germans were of a “pure race”, the Aryan race), which lead to World War 2.

Note that this was not the first dream quest for associating themselves with a “pure race”. Prior to the Aryan race theory, they romanticized that all Europeans came from a now-submerged island continent called Atlantis, and there was numerous publications and expeditions in search of Atlantis.

Europeans for many centuries (and right-wing Christians today) believed they belong to the Biblical lineage of Japheth (one of the three sons of Noah: Japheth, Ham, Shem). Asians were considered to be the descendants of Shem (who was said to be dusky in color). Africans were considered to be descendants of Ham (who was said to be dark skinned), who was also cursed and banished by Noah (because Ham saw him when he was naked). He was cursed to be inferior and all his descendants doomed to be subservient to the other lineages. In fact, for centuries, Africans were considered not possess a soul (as they were sub-humans, i.e. animals, and animals in Christian theology do not have a soul) . So the same humane considerations do not apply to them. For over 400 years this Biblical justification was the sole reason used to justify slavery of Africans (ironically most of the Bible Belt in the USA are African Americans; see Christianity and Slavery).

Today, with evolutionary theory, we all know that all of humanity arose out of Africa through 6 million years of evolution, with the first hominids emerging about 500,000 years ago, and anatomically first humans around 200,000 years ago, and their first movement out of Africa (in small groups / packs) around 80,000 years ago. Around 70,000 years ago making their way into India (and from their rest of Asia). About 40,000 movement into Europe (where they encountered an earlier migration, Neanderthals — which was already on the brink of dying out).

The differences in all our features today was largely influenced by environment. This can be seen even within a single generation. For example, I’ve seen Indian families with dark skin for generations, when they migrate to a colder climate, have offspring with relatively very fair skin (less melanin, due to the less sunlight available). Many are even born susceptible to the same allergies as the native population.

The Divide [and Conquer]

So, this Aryan Invasion Theory was used by the British in their divide-and-conqueror campaign in India, by proposing that the fairer skinned Indians are of the same descendants as Europeans – i.e. of Aryan descent. Many fairer skinned Indians (especially Brahmins) were lured by the prospects of power and privileges that came with accepting this new identity along side their white masters. The trap was now set for the Aryan-Dravidian divide.

If the fairer skinned Indians were deemed to be Aryans, and the Aryans were “foreign”, that means the indigenous population had to be given some other identity. And was introduced another fabrication – the native darker skinned Indians were deemed as “Dravidian”. The British furthered the Aryan-Dravidian divide by positioning the caste system as purely of Brahmin/Aryan origin, and was used as the means to oppress and enslave the Dravidians.

The British played it both ways:

  • On one hand they told the Dravidians that the Dravidian society was cultured and highly refined (playing on to the passion of Tamils for their language), and that they are the original people of India.
  • And on the other hand they told the Brahmins that the Dravidians are the most unrefined and uncultured with barbaric tribal practices and that “nothing of any significance can come out of the Dravidian mind”, and that it is a race meant to be ruled and lead.

Like the word Aryan, the word Dravidian also does not occur anywhere in Sanskrit or Tamil literature as a proper noun. One would think when all our literature of India so explicitly mentions so many peoples of different regions and kingdoms (stretching back over 6,000-10,000 years), that they would at least mention “Aryans” and “Dravidians”, especially when the “Aryan Invasion” of India is supposed to be no small event. But not single a literature in any language from any region mentions such group of people, whereas many other groups and cultures and their interactions, feuds, skirmishes, are written.

The European Indologists of that era proposed that the “fairer-skinned” Indians were a long lost Aryan tribe who upon mixing with the local “darker-skinned” Dravidian population had created a race of mongrels – the Indians (all Indians regardless of fairer or darker skin, were “mongrels”). In contrast with Europeans who maintained their more pure Aryan blood. And in one shot they reduced the identity of Indians (off all shades and castes) into race of mongrels bastardized by Aryan-Dravidian mixture.

Today the Aryan race theory (which implies, the Aryan Invasion Theory) has been discredited. Only to take on a different shape, instead of race based. The new theory speaks of no invasion (as no evidence of any such mass invasion has been found), but does take away Sanskrit from India, and places its origin in some hypothetical ethnic group in Caucuses region, from which all European languages and Sanskrit originated. They call the hypothetical language spoken by this hypothetical race as PIE (Proto-Indo-European). See my take on Sanskrit of why it originated in the Indian Subcontinent only (and why the West cannot digest that fact and want take credit for it into some hypothetical people).

Once the Western powers (today operating through thousands of Christian missionaries in India; see article on Missionary Aggression) succeed in fueling separate Dravidian identity, and let’s just say eventually succeed in carving out a separate Tamil Nation, they’ll take it to the next level. Within the Tamil Nation, there will be further divide-and-conquer. For example, creating another collective identity called Dalits, and now handing them the baton of dissent and separatism, by saying they were the original people (suppressed for centuries by the Dravidians — who like the Aryans are also from a yet-to-be-established mythical foreign place invading and enslaving the indigenous Dalits). Thereby causing another split, this time within the newly established Tamil Nation, a “Dalit Nation”. And then so on, until every major group in every corner no longer identifies themselves as Hindu or even Indian, but identify themselves with the identity given to them by their new masters abroad.

This has happened as recently as the last decade Balkanization of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia into many states — with heavy support by USA and its allies. And previous to that, the break up of the Soviet Union. And has happened close at home in Sri Lanka (when Christian missionaries created a wedge between Tamil Hindus and Ceylonese Buddhists in Sri Lanka, who have otherwise co-existed together for many centuries, to create one of the most bloodiest longest wars). The same divide-and-conquer was applied in Rawanda where for generations Hutus and Tutsis lived in peace, only to be divided and fuel the one of the biggest massacres across Rawanda (see the Rwandan Genocide).

Divide-and-conquer/Balkanization has been a part of USA’s foreign policy for ages. Read “Understanding Power” by Noam Chomsky. He uses at least 20 countries in the past 30 years to illustrate how the USA constantly subverts the stability of nations (and later comes swooping in via missionaries and human rights experts to “save them”). You’ll see that this process has been applied countless times, like clockwork across the globe.

It is much easier for the USA to keep tiny countries on a leash (and maintain superiority), than to control a large unified nation. These small countries become the new slaves toiling for the West. When the master says jump, they jump.


The idea of purity is a pathology. In the West it predominantly existed in the form of purity of race. The entire Jewish Holocaust was due to the German desire to restore their nation to “purity” of the Aryan race (the inventors fell victim to their own fabrication about this mystical race called Aryans).

When the British took their race-based purity and superimposed on a jaati-based purity, by inventing the  Aryan vs the Dravidian on top of existing caste structure, the result was a creation of new identities. Before that, Hindus considered themselves as Hindu first by ethnicity, with jaati being secondary. Now a whole sections of Hindus do not even see themselves as Hindus but have taken the bait and identify themselves with another ethnicity: Dravidian. This a dangerous way to solve problems by creating a separate race identities. By doing so you’re playing into the very problem you’re trying solve: by alienating yourself or the “other”.

Modern science has shown that there is insufficient genetic markers to even remotely distinguish between North and South Indians as distinct races. For example, one can determine if a DNA belongs to an Indian, an African, or a Caucasian, but cannot determine whether it is from a North or South Indian. There is also a general consensus that race is much less genetically determined, but more of a social and cultural phenomenon. Which is why people are asked to state their ethnicity, not “race”.


Diversity is the law of nature. There is no such thing as “purity” in organic/dynamic entities. Is there a purity in a particular flower? It probably took thousands of hybridizations, mutations, cross-pollinations, over thousands of years to get that flower with that pattern. Even a rose, though it might may look “pure” in origins has gone through numerous hybridizations to be what it is today. Same with humans, languages, cultures, and spiritual traditions.

The richness of Tamil and Sanskrit language as it is today is due to many streams of influence (self-regulating by rules of grammar and rules of euphonious combinations within that language). Neither was handed down in one flash as a fully manifest pure language. None of them evolved on a tiny isolated island — away from the influence of many other languages, kingdoms, tribes, spiritual traditions, cultures, merchant/trading interactions, etc. If that had happened, they would be no where near the level of language and literary sophistication they have today (as are seen by cultures that have not had contacts with rest of civilization). It is the diversity that adds richness, and fosters competition and creativity (in arts, music, poetry, literature, spiritual traditions, philosophies, cuisines, etc). In fact, I’d say Sanskrit is rich precisely because it was pan-Indian: it not only influenced almost every language in India, but was influenced by almost every language. All Indian languages evolved for the most part contemporaneously. All of them in the earliest stages, in no way resembled what they are today. To say which came first, or which influenced who the most, is entirely missing the point.

Regression [back to Purity]

Consider what would happen if Europe, in the name of going back to purity, threw out any contribution to mathematics because so and so was from the Indian, Chinese, Arab, and other non-Greek/non-European origins. They would be very backward. If we throw out all the Tamil Bhakti poetry we have for every line of Sanskrit influence we find (even though it may be one Sanskrit word for every 100 Tamil words), then Tamil spiritual literature would be extremely impoverished, and vice versa: if Sanskrit literature (the puranas, epics, sutras, etc) purged itself of any influence from indigenous traditions, the collective synergy would not have developed — as Sanskrit served as a pan-Indian “common denominator” language of communication between people of different languages, in not just India, but through the Far-East (it just evolved that way; just as if you want to reach a large audience today, you do it English — nobody is imposing it on you).

The real threat to any language is a language that is from a different culture. Most Indian languages have just 1 degree of separation between each other. Each language evolves and expresses the needs of a particular culture. Almost all of the Indian languages, are highly evolved in spiritual expression, with each language reaching the pinnacle in their own way (just as each classical dance form has its own way of expression). That is why you can convey a spiritual concept, in particular the feeling of bhakti poetry, easily and interchangeably in different Indian languages, but to convey the same in English it runs several sentences. Tamil people should be much more concerned about the impact of a non-Indic language like English on Tamil, than sister languages like Sanskrit. See article on Languages.

Further Reading

[updated 2017]


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