“Let us not forget that the word “Dravidian” was first coined by Christian padre Robert Caldwell who came to Tamil Nadu with a single purpose of evangelisation. Nowhere in ancient Tamil literature does the word ‘Dravidian’ exist; there was a Christian agenda of dividing the native people behind Caldwell’s coining the term ‘Dravidian’. While the British Government used the Aryan-Dravidian theory to divide and rule the nation, the Church used it to conquer the languages and destroy the culture in order to Christianise the nation.” – Thamizhchelvan
In the just concluded DMK jamboree on Classical Tamil, Finnish Indologist Asko Parpola was presented the Kalaignar Karunanidhi Classical Tamil Award by President of India Smt. Pratibha Patil. The award carries a cash prize of Rs. one million, a Thiruvalluvar statue made of panchalokha and a citation.
Asko Parpola is an exponent of the Aryan Invasion/Migration Theory, which has been demolished by various scholars by all means including DNA studies. At a time when even Marxist historians have understood the stupidity behind the Aryan Invasion Theory and stopped peddling it, the Dravidian parties of Tamil Nadu continue to harp on it to divide the masses and alienate the Tamil people from the Hindu fold.
Despite his scholarship and exemplary work on the Indus (Sindhu-Saraswati) Valley civilisation, Iravatham Mahadevan is also an exponent of the Aryan Invasion/Migration Theory. Though his findings after painstaking researches have been remarkable, they are sullied by his connecting them to support the so-called Dravidian civilisation, which knowingly or unknowingly helps the Dravidian racist parties. This year he was duly honoured with the Thiruvalluvar Award by the DMK government for his great contribution in the fields of Epigraphy and Indus Script studies.
As Iravatham Mahadevan has a long acquaintance with Asko Parpola and was Vice President in the supreme committee constituted for the Classical Tamil Meet, there is a strong possibility that he may have recommended Parpola’s name for the Classical Tamil Award, which the DMK government would have accepted as Parpola’s claims support the cause of Dravidianism. Incidentally and significantly, in his acceptance speech at the Conference, Parpola said, “When the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu’s award is given to me for a Dravidian solution of the Indus enigma, this award will inevitably be interpreted by many people as politically motivated”.
Even after the demolition of the dubious Aryan-Dravidian Theory, if a scholar sticks to it, and a government which benefits from that theory awards that scholar, it would certainly be interpreted as politically motivated. Parpola has only confirmed the interpretation!
Let us not forget that the word “Dravidian” was first coined by Christian padre Robert Caldwell who came to Tamil Nadu with a single purpose of evangelisation. Nowhere in ancient Tamil literature does the word ‘Dravidian’ exist; there was a Christian agenda of dividing the native people behind Caldwell’s coining the term ‘Dravidian’. While the British Government used the Aryan-Dravidian theory to divide and rule the nation, the Church used it to conquer the languages and destroy the culture in order to Christianise the nation.
To fully capture a nation or a state, the Church adopted three strategies. First, ‘conquer the native language’, second, ‘destroy the native culture’ and third, ‘capture political power’. Indeed, Christianity is more a political concept than a religion, which is why it moved hand in hand with Empire. The main job of the missionaries was to learn the native language, study the native literature to understand the culture and tradition in order to destroy it slowly, and create an atmosphere for the political establishment to invade and capture power.
All missionaries including Caldwell, who landed in Tamil Nadu, projected themselves as great lovers of Tamil and the gullible masses and unassuming native intellectuals believed that projection. By the time the Scottish missionary Robert Caldwell landed in Madras (8 January 1838), Rev. John Anderson, a Missionary from the Church of Scotland, had already established the ‘General Assembly School’ (3 April 1837) with 59 boys, in a rented building in the Armenian street in the ‘Black’ Town of Madras. Anderson soon opened branch schools in neighbouring towns like Conjeevaram, Chingleput, Nellore, and other places in Madras like Triplicane.
While Anderson’s colleagues Rev Robert Johnston and Rev John Braidwood helped him to run the schools, they also converted some of the educated elite in Madras to serve as teachers. One such example was Rev P Rajagopaul, who ably assisted in running these schools. This ‘General Assembly School’ later became the ‘Madras Christian College’.
Naturally due to political patronage, Madras Christian College emerged as an institute of excellence and students from elite families considered it to be a privilege to study there. When Robert Caldwell was at his peak, young Tamil scholars like V.G. Surya Narayana Sastri and Swami Vedachalam joined the Tamil Department of Madras Christian College as teachers. Both later headed the Tamil Department. Possibly due to exposure to the Christian environment and its influence, Surya Narayana Sastri, a Brahmin, changed his name to ‘ParithiMaar Kalaignar’ (Parithi=Suryan/Sun; Maal=Narayanan/Thirumal; Sastri= Kalaignar/ Pandit), developed a sort of hatred for Sanskrit and started the “Pure Tamil Movement” with the aim of ‘de-Sanskritising’ Tamil.
Swami Vedachalam, a staunch Saivite, followed suit and changed his name to “Maraimalai Adigal” (Marai=Veda; Malai=Chalam; Adigal=Swami). Surya Narayana Sastri, also known as ‘Dravida Sastri’ died at a young age of 33. Maraimalai Adigal carried on with the ‘Pure Tamil Movement.’
Though he was a Saivite and hated the atheistic principles of the “Self-Respect Movement” started by E.V. Ramasami, Maraimalai Adigal worked with them on the ‘anti-Sanskrit’ and ‘anti-Brahmin’ platforms. As Christian Missionaries always believed in “Racial Theories”, they cleverly created the concept of anti-Brahminism by classifying Brahmins as “Aryans & outsiders”. As we know, the Self-respect Movement later became the Dravidian Movement and led to the formation of DK, DMK, etc. The founder of Dravidar Kazahagam, EVR, was a supporter of the British and never welcomed Indian independence. In fact he pleaded with the British government to continue their regime in Tamil Nadu alone.
For all Dravidian racist leaders like EVR, Annadurai and Karunanidhi, Robert Caldwell was (and is) a “God;” they utilized his Dravidian theories to the hilt and called for a separate Tamil Nation. Make no mistake, “Tamil Separatism” is a Christian agenda and the Church has a long term plan of forming a Tamil Christian Nation with Tamil Nadu and North and East Sri Lanka. With this objective, the Church supported the LTTE and its Tamil Eelam demand. Dravidian racist leaders’ chauvinistic campaign against “Aryan-Brahmins”, well supported by the Church, helped them to capture power in Tamil Nadu in 1967 and till date no nationalist party could dislodge them from the seat of power.
And now, the main national party Indian National Congress, which was the culprit in bringing the Dravidian parties to power in Tamil Nadu, is under the firm clutches of an Italian woman who maintains a close and mutually beneficial relationship with the racist DMK headed by Karunanidhi. Ergo, the Church is on a very strong wicket in the center as well as the state!
Little wonder a Christian scholar got an award for giving a second life to the dubious concept of Dravidian civilisation. This is not the first time Iravatham Mahadevan has used his influence. Last July (2009), he brought a German “scholar” called Michael Witzel from the Sanskrit Department of Harvard University to give a lecture on the Rig Veda at the sacred seat of Sanskrit, the Sanskrit College, Chennai.
Witzel, well known for his anti-Hindu stance, received a lot of brickbats and could not answer many questions posed by the audience after the lectures at the Sanskrit College and Madras University. A fast growing web portal – www.tamilhindu.com – sent Witzel five questions regarding his dubious theories and he failed to answer despite acknowledging the mail and committing to answer them! In spite of repeated reminders, he pretended to be too busy and till date has answered only two questions and not answered the remaining three questions. When contacted again and again for the remaining three questions, he has not responded so far. It seems he couldn’t answer them.
- http://www.tamilhindu.com/2009/07/questions-to-michael-witzel/ Though the article is in Tamil, the questions are given in English as well.
Iravatham Mahadevan also took Michael Witzel to Roja Muthiah Research Library, founded by the University of Chicago Library in the name of a person (Roja Muthiah) from whom it purchased a massive collection of books and palm leaf manuscripts, as he sold his entire collection on being unable to maintain it due to financial constraints. The library is now focusing on collecting more study materials in all fields in Tamil to facilitate research scholars and students in Tamil studies.
Incidentally, after the DMK jamboree in Coimbatore, Iravatham Mahadevan arranged a lecture by Asko Parpola on ‘Indus Script and the Wild Ass’ on 28 June 2010 at the Roja Muthiah Library. This was the first lecture in memory of the Christian Professor Late Mr. Gift Shiromani, who taught Humanities at the Madras Christian College, which sponsored the event. Mrs. Rani Shiromani presided over the function and the Principal of MCC also spoke on the occasion. But Iravatham Mahadevan restricted the number of questions after the lecture and research scholars who came prepared with a number of questions were totally disappointed.
While the DMK jamboree was going on, well known scholar, Indologist and Director of Saraswati Sindhu Research Center, Dr. S. Kalyanaraman gave an interview to Rediff.com in which he contested the findings of Asko Parpola, saying he did not agree with Parpola’s unproven ‘decipherment’ of the Indus script on the premise that old Tamil was the underlying language. He pointed out that Parpola’s was simply a belief system, not premised on evidence of the corpus of inscriptions and the underlying cultural foundations of the civilization of 4000 years ago. He appreciated Parpola’s contribution in preparing the corpus of Indus script inscriptions in a logically organized set of concordances, but refuted his claims of decipherment. Responding to the interview, Parpola said with a tinge of arrogance, “Dr. Kalyanaraman has no linguistic training. He has not heeded my advice of taking a university course in linguistics. He is a supporter of Hindutva ideology and hence I have chosen to ignore his writings and opinions”. The dismissal of a native scholar on grounds of religion shows the Christian fundamentalism at work. Yet Dr. Kalyanaraman is not the only native scholar to question the decipherment claims of Parpola, who has also failed to answer the critique of Prof. B.B. Lal, the iconic archaeologist, regarding his decipherment claims. Parpola’s short interview to The New Indian Express (29 June 2010) on the sidelines of the lecture at Roja Muthiah Library, exposes the renewed attempt to resurrect the defunct Aryan Invasion Theory. Says Asko Parpola,“Dravidians were originally the inhabitants of the Indus Valley in Gujarat. They were not driven south by the Aryans; instead, they gradually moved there in search of greener pastures and more fertile soil for grazing and farming – and this was before the invading Aryans even came to town. There is evidence that this move was much before the invading Aryan hordes came to India. The Dravidian community that remained near the Indus River was conquered over many years later by the Aryans”.
Then Parpola makes a stunning revelation, “Just like when the British took over India, they made the Brahmins learn their language and work under them to administer the country before they conquered the whole nation, likewise, these Aryans too made the local village chieftains learn the Indo-Aryan language. An elite layer of Dravidians would have initially learnt Indo-Aryan first. The northern Dravidians then over time took completely to speaking Indo-Aryan with only traces of the original proto-Dravidian language still remaining”.
Parpola adds, “Dravidian languages flourished in the south because the Aryans could never conquer the south. Even the north could have taken centuries to conquer”.
These statements are self-explanatory and readers can draw their own conclusions. As an exponent of the Aryan-Dravidian Theory, he was chosen for the award by the Dravidian government possibly on the recommendation of Iravatham Mahadevan, one of the four vice presidents of the supreme committee headed by Chief Minister Karunanidhi. The other vice presidents were Deputy CM Stalin, Finance Minister Anbazhagan and former Vice Chancellor of Anna University Prof. V.C. Kulandaiswamy.
Karunanidhi, by organizing this party jamboree in the name of classical Tamil by spending taxpayers’ money to the tune of Rs. 400 crore, has south to achieve the following objectives:
- To anoint himself as sole protector of the Tamil language and supreme leader of the Tamil people and to appropriate authority to conduct future Classical Tamil conferences.
- To proclaim Tamil as the oldest language, older than and supreme to Sanskrit.
- To resurrect the now defunct Aryan-Dravidian Theory.
- To forcefully emphasise Tamil identity, thereby alienating Tamil people from the Hindu fold and the national mainstream.
- To give a fresh impetus to Tamil separatism.
On the grand finale of the jamboree, he made many announcements, including:
- World Tolkappiyar Classical Tamil Sangam (WTCTS) will be set up in Madurai to hold Classical Tamil Conferences at reasonable intervals.
- Tamil must be made the official language of the government of India.
- Tamil must be officially declared as the language of usage at all levels at Madras High Court.
- Law will be enacted to give preference in government employment to persons who have studied in Tamil medium.
Dr. Vijaya Rajiva, a political scientist who taught at a Canadian university feels that, “What should trouble Tamils and Indians in general is Karunanidhi’s ongoing sponsorship of Tamil as a language that is not connected to the rest of Bharat. And followers of the Tamil Tigers have taken to organising themselves as anti India. This expresses itself unfortunately in the world of academia where noted individuals such as Iravatham Mahadevan (a former civil servant turned self taught Tamil scholar) and Asko Parpola a Finnish scholar of Tamil, are seemingly engaged in using the Tamil stick with which to beat a pan Indian identity. Mahadevan is reported to have said: I am not a Hindu. Parpola, of course, is Finnish and most likely does not identify with the word ‘Hindu’.”
At first Karunanidhi had no idea of holding a ‘World Classical Tamil Conference’. Since the International Association of Tamil Research (IATR) refused permission to hold the “Ninth World Tamil Conference” without understanding Karunanidhi’s urge to hold it before the elections while he was in power, Karunanidhi took it as a challenge and cleverly named the meet as “First World Classical Tamil Conference”.
As he has announced the formation of the World Tolkappiyar Classical Tamil Sangam (WTCTS), the fate of the International Association of Tamil Research (IATR) remains to be seen. There is a possibility of WTCTS becoming dysfunctional if Karunanidhi loses power. As of now, the community of Tamil scholars worldwide is divided between IATR and WTCTS. Some reputed scholars say if Karunanidhi wins the 2011 elections, he would transform WTCTS into the ‘Fourth Tamil Sangam’!
If Tamil is made an official language of India, other states will demand official status for their languages. They will also demand permission to use their languages in their respective state High Courts if the Centre allows Tamil to be used in the Madras High Court. This would necessitate that the Chief Justices (and other judges) must be natives of the particular state and speak the particular language.
The enactment of a law to give preference to persons who have studied in Tamil medium for government employment is another dangerous move. Other states would follow suit, and considering the inter-state rivalry which already exists for water and power, national integration will become impossible. Nehru’s huge blunder of agreeing to the linguistic demarcation of states will be felt severely now …
This is what the Church and the Christian world wanted. Splintered India will be easier to Christianise than a culturally united India. As far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, the first step is ‘Dravidianisation’, which is synonymous with ‘separatism’; the second and final step will be Christianisation.
All the above announcements were made with an objective to Dravidianise Tamil Nadu in the name of Tamil. Karunanidhi started by changing the Tamil New Year. The future course of Dravidianisation has been underlined in the Coimbatore Conference. Max Mueller, Robert Caldwell, et al will rise from their grave to have a barbaric laugh.
» Thamizhchelvan is a freelance journalist based in Chennai.
Filed under: british india, caste, christianity, india, neo-colonialism, orientalism, politics Tagged: | asko parpola, christianity, conversion, dravidian politics, dravidian race theory, indian history, iravatham mahadevan, m. karunanidhi, robert caldwell, world classical tamil conference