Aryans: the Conquistadores
By Bhikhu Patel
There were many followers of Lord Macaulay in addition to Sir Warren Hastings and Sir William Jones. Lt. Colonel Coke, Commandant of Morodabad, in the year 1860, wrote to the then Governor General as follows:-
Our endeavor should be to uphold in full force, the separation (for us fortunate) which exists between different religions and races, not to endeavor to amalgamate them. Divide et Impera should be the principle of the Indian government.
The method adopted by St. Francis Xavier for the Hindu soul can be understood clearly – a sword in one hand and a cross in the other. The Arab and the Turk methods too, were easy to understand. The method adopted by the British, however, was unique. It was according to the suggestions made by Lord Macaulay, to demean the Hindu culture and demoralize Hindus by impressing upon them the superiority of the culture and the language of the West.
This is where the British were at their best. They adopted the Divide et Impera policy in full. Politicians, historians, linguists and missionaries, with the full backing of the government finance and authority, went to work.
After the formation of the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1784, it became a race to come up with the most feasible story of the invasion by the Aryans and locate the rightful owners of the Sanskrit language. Many countries joined in this race by the formation of organizations and also creating Sanskrit studies at the universities.
The following organizations were formed: Societie Asiatique of Paris in 1822; Royal Asiatic Society of G.B. and Ireland in 1823 and branches were opened in Boombay, Ceylon, China and Malaysia; American Oriental Society in 1842 and German Oriental Society in 1844.
Universities in many countries became deeply involved in the most interesting subject, Comparative Philology. Some of them include The Institute of Indology in Berlin and Bonn University of Germany; Edinburgh, Oxford, Cambridge and London Universities in Great Britain; Yale, John Hopkins and Columbia Universities in the U.S.A. and College de France. There is no previous record of such effort being made by world nations to study the origin of the culture and language of one occupied nation.
The Europeans were impressed with neither the Hindu culture nor religion. However, they could not hide their surprise at the uniqueness of the Sanskrit language. They observed that many Sanskrit words had uncanny resemblance to words in many European languages. This became the basis of a new branch of linguistics, comparative philology.
This was a period of great excitement for the linguists and historians. Each one was after justifying that the origin could be his country. That it is their nation that is the home of the Aryan Race. Their ideas about the Aryan race, supposedly their ancestors, were very different from the views about Hindus and their culture expressed by Lord Macaulay in his address to the Parliament.
For the Europeans, their ancestors, the Aryans, were the Conquistadores, the destroyers of the towns, cities and the culture. In fact, the history of Europe is not very different. The British Isles rose to their greatest just as the British Empire with India being the Jewel in the Crown. Within 200 years, the British saw the rise and fall of the Empire.
“It was only an island where uncivilized tribes lived. The island was called Britain (Rand McNally Social Studies Series).”
The Celtics, people of the tribe called Celt, were attacked by tribes from Northern Germany and Holland. The attackers were Angles, Jutes and Saxons. The country came to be known as Anglaise or Angle-land, and eventually England. The people are called Anglo-Saxons even today.
The Anglo-Saxons hardly had time to settle when they were attacked by the Vikings, the sea-faring Danish people. The Vikings are also known as the Northmen or Normans, since they had reached the north of France. Hence, this area was called Normandy.
William the Conqueror, a Norman, won the English crown and introduced French as official language. After the death of William the Conqueror, the Anglo-Saxons rose again and claimed the right over the French throne. It entailed into a long war, came to be known as The 100 Years War.
A French girl, Jeannette d’Arc from a little village, Domremy in eastern France, came to the rescue of her nation. Jeannette came to be known as Joan of Arc, as well as Maid of Orleans. She saved the French crown, however, no French ruler came to save her when she was being burned to death at the stake by the English.
The English too, reached North America and participated in land grabbing, destruction of culture, slavery trade and high-sea robberies of the Spanish ships loaded with gold and silver.
The British tried to squeeze the people of the 13 Colonies with taxation, when they were asked to leave the land. They then turned their sights to India.
Bhikhu Patel is a contributor to India Tribune’s opinions column and India West’s letters to the editor. Here at ICC, Bhikhu is an active participant in the Rangmach Senior program. Born in Tanzania and educated in the UK, Mr. Patel is an accountant by profession, but is an amateur historian by passion.