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India's Cultural Unity

The name Bharatvarsha has a deep historical significance, symbolizing, a fundamental unity. This name together with the sense of unity imparted by it "was ever present before the mind of the theologians, political philosophers and poets who spoke of the thousand Yojanas (Leagues) of land that stretches from the Himalayas to the sea as the proper domain of a single universal emperor". 

Although the Raj claimed the credit for India’s political unification, the sub-continent had a geo-political unity that dated back 2000 years before the British conquest to the Hindu-Buddhist Mauryan empire. The Maurya emperors had united most of the sub-continent under their rule between the fourth and second centuries BC; and their imperial ideal was echoed from the fourth to sixth centuries AD by a later Hindu dynasty the Guptas.

(source: Indian Tales of the Raj - By Zareer Masani  p. 7).

According to Jawaharlal Nehru: "Right from the beginning, culturally India has been one, because she had the same background, the same traditions, the same religions, the same heroes and heroines, the same old tales, the same learned language (Sanskrit), the village panchayats, the same ideology, and polity. To the average Indian the whole of India was a kind of punya-bhumi - a holy land - while the rest of the world was largely  peopled by mlechchhas and barbarians. 

Sankaracharya chose the four corners of India for his maths, or the headquarters of his order of sanyasins, shows how he regarded India as a cultural unit. And the great success which met his campaign all over the country in a very short time also shows how intellectual and cultural currents traveled rapidly from one end of the country to another." 

(source: Glimpses of World History - By Jawaharlal Nehru p. 129). 

Dr. Radhakrishnan: "In spite of the divisions, there is an inner cohesion among the Hindu society from the Himalayas to the Cape Comorin." 

(source: The Hindu View of Life - By Sir. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan p. 73-77). 

Girilal Jain, late editor of Times of India: " It is about time we recognize that we are not a nation in the European sense of the term, that is, we are not a fragment of a civilization claiming to be a nation on the basis of accidents of history which is what every major European nation is. We are a people primarily by virtue of the continuity and coherence of our civilization which has survived all shocks. And though inevitably weakened as a result of foreign invasions, conquests and rule for almost a whole millennium, it is once again ready to resume its march." 

(source: Hindu Phenomenon - By Girilal Jain  p. 21). For more refer to Vedic Roots of Early Tamil Culture - By Michel Danino.

Aryan-Dravidian Kinship

M. Vaitialingam has observed:

"The Indus-Valley civilization is now accepted as the earliest civilization found on the  Indian soil. It was an urban civilization, no doubt. We are not sure of the creators of this civilization. Some say it was the “Dravidians.” But “Aryans” and “Dravidians” are concepts comparatively very modern which were created by philologists of the 19th century. The Indus Valley people had nothing to do with them. What is more surprising that the Gods of the Indus Valley people are also the Gods of the Vedas and are Gods of the Hindu religion worshipped to this day a fact which has compelled the writers of ‘An Advanced History of India’ (Dr. Majumdar, Dr. Raychaudhari and Dr. Datta) to say “We must therefore hold that there is an organic relationship between the Indus-Valley and the Hinduism of today.  

Shiva, one of the chief deities of the Indus Valley people has an important place in the Vedic patheon, and ‘not a minor place’ in the Vedas as the learned authors hold. In the heart of Yajur Veda, which is one of the three important Vedas, and which occupied a middle place among them, we find a collection of mantras called ‘Satarudriya or Sri Rudram which is the life center of the Vedas, and the holy ‘Pachaksharam’ of the Saiva religion is in the very heart and center of Sri Rudram. 

According to modern theorists, the Tamils are supposed to be the descendants of the “Dravidians” of the Indus-Valley. But the ancient literature of the Tamils, the Sangam Literature, does not mention the name Shiva even once; whereas in Sri Rudram the word Shiva and the feminine form Sivaa, are mentioned several times. Yet Shiva is called a “Dravidian God! 

Indra occupies a prominent place in Rig Veda. He is invoked alone in about ¼ of the hymns of the Rig Veda, far more than are addressed to any other deity. He is considered by Western Indologists as the national hero of the Vedic “Aryans”. This Aryan hero was also the God of the ancient Tamils – the “Dravidians.” Temples were built in ancient times in Tamilnadu for worshipping Indra. Grand festivals were celebrated by the Tamil kings in honor of Indra, the “the national hero of the Aryans.’ Indra was so much cherished by the Tamil people, that priority of worship was given to him in the great Epic Silappadikaram’ – the epic of the Anklet. Besides, references to Indra worship are found in Tholkapiam (600 BCE) Purananuru, Paripadal Aingurunuru and Pattupaddu, all belonging to the Sangam period. Certainly Seran Senguttuvan, his brother Illango Adikal, and, above all, the great Sangam Poets were not naïve as to accept Indra the lord of the Aryans who were the enemies of the Dravidians as their God, How can historians reconcile these contradictory views? 

What did the Dravidians do after they were defeated and driven out? 

The Western historians would have us believe that -  All those who escaped the destruction migrated southwards, crossed the central mountain ranges, entered the Deccan plateau, settled down there and started building temples for Indra, the national hero of their inveterate enemy, the ‘Aryans’, and began to honor him with grand festivals, all as a reward, for driving them out of their habitat. So naïve are they! "

(source: Perennial Hindu Culture and The Twin Myths – By M. Vaitialingam The Thirumaka Press. 1980 p. 22-37).

The AIT theory requires that the early Rigvedic peoples had no worthwhile knowledge of the ocean or of maritime trade. It reduces them to a nomadic land-based people who had never even seen the sea. But there is a major problem confronting this theory. The Rig Veda alone has more than 150 references to samudra, the common Sanskrit term for ocean, weaving it into its cosmology and the functions of almost every main God that it has. Witzel tries to explain away this problem by arguing that practically all the occurrences of the word samudra in the Rigveda refer to something other than a real terrestrial ocean. In other words he redefines samudra as something other than the sea. Witzel’s theory also requires ignoring the Sarasvati river, clearly referred to in the Rigveda as a major, exalted river. The Sarasvati was the main river of Harappan civilization and mainly dried up around 1900 BCE, contributing significantly to the civilization’s end. Witzel has to do considerable theatrics to ignore the numerous references to Sarasvati in the Rigveda and in other Vedic texts as the oldest and most sacred river of the Vedic people, in order to ‘prove’ his theory that the Aryans arrived from Central Asia a long time after the collapse of the Harappan civilization.

(source: Witzel's Vanising Ocean - by David Frawley). Watch Scientific verification of Vedic knowledge


South Indian traditions make no mention of any confrontation with supposed Aryans, followed by a migration from North to South. 

Quite the contrary, ancient Tamil tradition traces its origins to a submerged island or continent, Kumari Kandam, situated to the south of India. The Tamil epics Shilappadikaram and Manimekhalai provide glorious descriptions of the legendary city and port of Puhar, which the second text says was swallowed by the sea. As in the case of Dwaraka, (please refer to chapter on Dwaraka), initial findings at and off Poompuhar, at the mouth of the Cauvery, show that there may well be a historical basis to this legend: apart from several structures excavated near the shore, such as brick walls, water reservoirs, even a wharf (all dated 200-300 B.C.), a few years ago a structure tantalizingly described as a "U-shaped stone structure" was found five kilometers offshore, at a depth of twenty-three meters; it is about forty meters long and twenty wide, and fishermen traditionally believed that a submerged temple existed at that exact spot. If the structure is confirmed to be man-made (and not a natural formation), its great depth would certainly push back the antiquity of Puhar. Only more systematic explorations along Tamil Nadu's coast, especially at Poompuhar, Mahabalipuram, and around Kanyakumari (where fishermen have long reported submerged structures too) can throw more light on the lost cities, and on the traditions of Kumari Kandam, which some have sought to identify with the mythical Lemuria. 

Not only that, the descriptions of Puhar in the two Epics are replete with temples and gods. The Shilappadikaram, the older of two (c. first or second century BC), relates the beautiful and tragic story of Kannagi and Kovalan; it opens with invocations to Chandra, Surya, and Indra, all of them Vedic Gods, and frequently mentions Shiva, Subrahmanya, Vishnu and Krishna.

Then we have the tradition that regards Agastya, the great Vedic Rishi, as the originator of the Tamil language. He is said to have written a Tamil grammar, Agattiyam, to have presided over the first two Sangams, and is even now honored in many temples of Tamil Nadu and worshipped in many homes. One of his traditional names is "Tamil muni." The Shilappadikaram refers to him as "the great sage of the Pondiya hill," and a hill is still today named after him at the southernmost tip of the Western Ghats. The legend of the birth of Tamil is both delightful and rich in meaning. Aeons ago, people from the south flocked to the North, not in a Dravidian invasion, mercifully, but to attend the wedding of Lord Shiva and Uma on Mount Kailash; such was the multitude that there was fears the earth might tilt over. Appeals were made to Lord Shiva, who, ever compassionate, asked Rishi Agastya to go south: though he was of small stature, his spiritual power was such that his very presence would be enough to restore the earth's balance. Agastya agreed to go with his wife Lopamudra, but asked Lord Shiva to instruct him first in the mysteries of the language of the South. Shiva, placing Agastya to his left and Panini, another Rishi, to his right, seized a drum and started beating it with his two hands. From the sounds that flowed from the right, Panini gave shape to Sanskrit, while Agastya turned the sounds from the left to Tamil. We have a good example of how tradition could conceal ancient knowledge: is this legend not telling us that Tamil and Sanskrit flow from the same source? 

The earliest extant Sangam text, the Tamil grammar Tolkappiyam, is "said to have been modeled on the Sanskrit grammar of the Aindra school," according to historian K. A. Nilakanta Shastri. Its text, says N. Raghunathan, shows that "the great literature of Sanskrit and the work of its grammarians and rhetoricians were well known and provided stimulus to creative writers in Tamil."

In historical accounts, we find Chola and Chera kings proudly claiming descent from Lord Rama or from Kings of the Lunar dynasty - in other words, an " Aryan" descent. We are told that the greatest Chola king, Karikala, was a patron of both the Vedic religion and Tamil literature, while Pandya king Nedunjelyun performed many Vedic sacrifices. The first named Chera king, Udiyanjeral, is said to have sumptuously fed the armies of both sides during the Bharata War at Kurukshetra. An inscription records that a Pandya king led the elephant force in the Great War on behalf of the Pandavas, and that early Pandyas translated the Mahabharata into Tamil. 

Thus, we may certainly speak of a distinct Tamil culture, a distinct Malayalam culture, just as we can speak of a distinct Gujarati or Bengali culture. But distinctiveness is not separateness. Each rich regional cultures of India are just various branches of a single tree having its own individuality, yet without being "separate": they cannot live apart from the tree, and without them the tree would be seriously endangered. 

(source: The Invasion That Never Was - By Michel Danino and Sujata Nahar). For more refer to Vedic Roots of Early Tamil Culture - By Michel Danino.

The Racial Question in India 

“The term race is a mental product, a concept having no objective existence, apart from man’s mind. Only individuals are real.” Said Topinard. 

A great Tamil Sangam poet sang centuries ago “All the world is one and all mankind is kin; good and evil are of one’s own making and not caused by others”. A fact which politicians may refuse to concede. 

“Americans are not a race, nor are Frenchmen, nor Germans; nor ipso facto is any other national group. Muslims and Jews are no more races than are Roman Catholics and Protestants…nor are people who live in Iceland or Britain or India or who speak English or any other language (whether Tamil or Sinhalese) or who are culturally Turkish or Chinese and the like, thereby describable as races.” 

An Englishman traveling in the U.S.A. finds that he is commonly recognized as English and the American in Europe is also recognized as such but that does not mean that there is an ‘English race’ or an ‘American race.’  

A Tamil from South India or Sri Lanka traveling in North India may be easily recognize as a Tamil, in spite of the fact that the Tamil speaking group has a cultural and religious tradition common to all the linguistic groups in India. This does not mean that there is a ‘Tamil race’ or a ‘Dravidian race.’

The ‘Dravidian race’ is an utter swindle of pseudo-scientific cloak for political and economic exploitation.  

“A racial type is but an artificial concept, though long continued geographical isolation does tend to produce a general uniformity of appearance’.

Fredrich Muller put it more bluntly when he declared “Race is an empty phrase, an utter swindle.” 

(source: Illusion of National Character – By  Hamilton Fyfe. Thinkers Library. Page 47).  For more refer to Vedic Roots of Early Tamil Culture - By Michel Danino.

Before the arrival of the British, there was no racial problem in India. The fundamental unity of India is emphasized by the name Bharata-Varsha or land of Bharata given to the whole country in the Epics and the Puranas, and the designation of Bharati Santati or the descendents of Bharata applied to the whole people. Vishnu Purana II-3-1 says: 

“The country that lies north of the ocean and south of the snowy mountains is called Bharata; there dwell descendents of Bharata.” 

Bishop Caldwell named the languages of the south as Dravidian. That Tamil or some old form of it was spoken throughout India is evident from Valmiki Ramayana where we find Sita conversing with Hanuman in a language different from Sanskrit, the language of the twice-born (Brahmin) in which Ravana spoke; and Sri Rama and his brother were conversing freely with Sugreeva and Vali. But the most surprising fact is that, according to Valmiki, Hanuman was a great Vedic scholar, well-versed in Vyakarana and in Sama Veda, an opinion expressed by Sri Rama also. These facts evidently show that throughout India, there were people who could freely speak both Sanskrit and Tamil, and that Vedas were studied throughout India by all communities from the remote past.  

(source: Perennial Hindu Culture and The Twin Myths – By M. Vaitialingam The Thirumaka Press. 1980 p. 58-67).

Refer to QuickTime trailer and Part One of the film The God Awful Truth.



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Updated - October 28, 2008