Thursday, September 2, 2010

Macaulay's Letter and the Origin of F. Max Muller's Aryan Theory


The Myth of the Aryan Invasion Theory
By. Shyam Narayan Shukla, Ph.D.

Before mid-nineteenth century no one had heard of Aryans coming to India from out side. One had also not heard that foreign people of “Aryan race” invaded India, conquered the indigenous people of “Dravidian race” and pushed them to southern part of India. However, now all this is part of the Indian history written by the British rulers of India.

Europeans were exposed to Sanskrit and the Hindu scriptures sometime in the seventeenth century. They discovered that Sanskrit and the European languages had many common words. Thus the western scholars arrived at a conclusion that the “Indo-European” languages must have had a common origin. Their hypothesis was that from Central Asia a section of Sanskrit speaking Aryans came to India and another section of the same people migrated to Europe.

It was Professor Frederich Max Muller of Oxford University who was responsible for advancing this imaginary “Aryan Invasion Theory”. He called “Arya” (or Aryan) a race even though the Vedas mention nowhere that “Arya” is a race. It actually means one who is well educated and well cultured.

The Rigveda says: “Krinvanto vishvamaryam” (Let us make the entire world “Arya”). It does not mean that people of Mongolian and African races be converted to Aryan race. Only many years later Muller realized his mistake and tried to emphasize that “Arya” does not denote a race but people who speak “Indo-European” languages. But the damage had already been done and his hypothesis of Aryan Invasion Theory had become a historical “fact”.

In the 1830s Lord Thomas Macaulay was appointed Governor General of the Indian provinces won by the East India Company. Macaulay was the son of a Presbyterian minister and his great ambition was to convert India to a Christian country. However, he realized that the Vedas were considered very sacred by all Hindus. Also the Brahmans, who preserved the Vedas, commanded a great respect. Yet he pioneered the English system of education in India with a hope that the effect of his new education system would be “prodigious” (his term).

He wrote to his father, “It is my firm belief that, if our plans of education are followed up, there will not be a single idolater among the respectable classes in Bengal thirty years hence.”

In 1854, nearly fifteen years after he returned back to England, he used his influence to get some fund from the East India Company for research on the Vedas. He then contacted Horace Wilson, a Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University. Wilson told him that he was retiring the following year and so a younger colleague of his, of German nationality, F. Max Muller would be a better candidate to conduct the research. Muller himself was a staunch Christian.

In 1868 he wrote to Duke of Argyle, Under Secretary of State for India, “The ancient religion of India is doomed – and if Christianity does not step in, whose fault will it be?”

Macaulay wanted Muller to write about the Vedas in such a way that they would be considered nothing more than collections of some crude rhymes written by illiterate nomadic Aryan invaders, who came from Central Asia to India on horse backs. Macaulay thought that the attestation of an academician would look more authentic and unquestionable. Max Muller, being a devout Christian, while assigning date of the oldest Veda, the Rigveda, could not give an earlier date than the origin of the world, which according to the Bible is 4004 years before Christ. Later the scientists estimated that the earth is about 6 billion years old. Muller arbitrarily wrote that Aryans came to India in 1500 B.C. and the Rigveda was written in 1200 B.C.

According to Hindu traditions,Kaliyuga started on the day Shri Krishna breathed his last on this earth. When this happened there was a conjunction of seven planets - Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury, sun and moon. It is astronomically estimated that this occurred on Februay 18, 3102 B.C. The Vedas definitely existed much before this period (the Mahabharata period).

In around 1914, when the ancient cities of Harappa and Mohenjodaro in the Indus Valley were excavated, the archeologists found by carbon-dating that they were at least 5,000 years old. They were beautifully planned cities with wide streets, magnificent buildings and good drainage system. The British historians were at a loss because that was going to crumble their Aryan Invasion Theory.

By that time the Aryan invasion and the Aryan- Dravidian conflict had already become part of Indian history and which had happened in 1500 B.C. Then the British archeologist John Marshal and Mortimer Wheeler ‘interpreted’ that the ancient cities excavated were the ruins of Dravidian culture destroyed by the Aryan invaders.

Eventhough Government of India has acknoledged the Aryan Myth as fake an a concoction of British Colonisation, it fails to remove the topic from the education system of the country. The Aryan Theory is still taught in everyday classes throughout India as history and fact despite the overwhelming proves against it. It also a well known fact that Max Muller had confessed during his later days


Sanjeev said...

The address to parliament you cite is false. Please see:

As for the rest I have not studied the matter and have no comment.

Sanjeev Sabhlok said...

The Aryan theory was invented to keep up the superiority of the Europeans to that of Hindus and thir thought. Maxmuller a faithful concocted a beautiful theory and tried to prove its ancient nature only to step into the chaotic Hinduism, the christian religion. Macaulay or muller only tried their best to pump dirt to stabilise the Britsh rule. But when he learned that the vedas are older enough to open the minds of Europe, he learnt to eat the crow.Finally he had to agree that vedic literature was there beyond the birth of Jesus(4000 years) and the cities of Mohajodaro and Harappa were a few thousand years old and fine civilistion existed there proved a shocker to Aryan theorists. Maxmuller was no longer a friend of India ,But a venomous tonic in the shaoe of Elixr.Fortunately scholars like Stephen knapp confirmed the vedic age to be more than ten thousand years. Even Pythagoras from somas in Greece travelled to the banks Ganges to learn higher mathematics. Unfartunately our government still clings to the ignominous theory in the history books of our schools. At least this generation is trying fathom the real history of India.