Indianization of India II

The trouble with India is that it had never been a single country or a state before the British came, and the Indian middle class or the Indianized Indians think that Sri Lanka is also in the same boat.

by Prof. Nalin de Silva

(October 29, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Now that Karunanidhi has been brought to his senses by the Congress we may go back to our series of articles on Indianization of India. It was ridiculous for Karunanidhi to claim that the innocent Tamils in and around Kilinochchi were not protected when they had to be protected only from Prabhakaran. Karunanidhi was only trying to protect Prabhakaran from impending defeat and unfortunately for him he had no backing from rest of the political parties in Tamil Nadu except for Vaiko’s party and the CPI (M) the party of the rathu sahodarays of D E W Gunasekera and may be of Tissa Vithrarana even though Trotsky would not have liked the idea very much.

Vaiko’s Party and CPI (M) cannot keep Karunanidhi in power and without the coalition at the centre with the Congress Party the Chief Minister is not able to survive for long. However Karunanidhi should have listened to Karunakaran, alias Muralitharan, alias Karuna Amman before he threatened to pull out his Lok Sabha members. Karunakaran knows Prabhakaran more than Karunanidhi, having undergone training in Tamil Nadu under the auspicious of the Indian government itself. The Indian government and also the political parties in Sri Lanka including the LSSP and the CP that demand more devolution also should listen to Karuna Amman who is on record stating that more devolution is not necessary. He is at least of the opinion that there is no need to devolve police powers and land distribution powers to the provincial councils. We do not know what changed the mind of Karuna Amman but he must be having a good following in the Eastern Province and President Mahinda Rajapakse must be lending his ears more to Karunakaran than to Karunanidhi.

The trouble with India is that it had never been a single country or a state before the British came, and the Indian middle class or the Indianized Indians think that Sri Lanka is also in the same boat. Even in 1947 when India gained independence from the British Raj some Maharajas opted to stay outside the Union and India became India as such after the independence. As the "states" and Maharajas had different histories India had to evolve various formulae to keep the new born country intact. It was a new- born country more than in one way and the experience of Sri Lanka is entirely different from that of India.

What was "India" before it became India. In the first instalment of the present series I said that we visited India about two weeks ago. Though we went to other parts of India as well it was mainly a pilgrimage to Dambadiva. As far as the Sinhala Buddhists are concerned it is Dambadiva and not India or Bharatha that takes priority. It is difficult to define the boundaries of Dambadiva but it can be safely assumed that roughly modern India, and parts of Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan were included in the landmass that was called Dambadiva. The Chinthanaya in Dambadiva, Lanka (Sri Lanka) was not very much the different until the Aryans (it is immaterial whether they were a racial group or a cultural group as in either case they would have introduced a new culture, economy and a new gene pool, if I may use some terms from modern western knowledge. The immigrant group sometimes alter the politics and the political structure as well and this happened with the immigration of the Aryans as well.) came to Dambadiva.

It is very often forgotten that Aryans were neither the first nor the last immigrant group to Dambadiva, and a group called Yakshas had migrated to Dambadiva sometime before the Aryans had from Persia or a place close to Persia. Apparently some of them were also called "Kirat" people and many authors have referred to these people. Some are of the opinion that even Prince Siddhartha had some relationship to the "Kirat" people though I am reluctant to believe so. Some people may object to a non historian having his own views on history but I am not an expert in any field and at least that fact gives me the freedom to express my views in any field that interests me. The experts unfortunately have to very often fall in line with the "official" position. I believe that Prince Siddhartha belonged to the original tribes of Dambadiva, and I come to this conclusion based on the Chinthanayas of the original tribes and the Yakshas.

The Yakshas had not changed the culture, politics or the economy very much and apart from those who are referred to as Kirats they appear to have lived in pockets in isolation from others. As Denis Fernando has mentioned, the Yakshas had come to Sri Lanka (or Lanka) from Persia (or a place west of Persia), and had settled down in areas close to the banks of Mahaweli and other places. It is said that Ptolemy referred to Machiavelli as a river associated with Persia, probably due to the Yaksha settlements along the banks of the river. I have written extensively on this Yaksha connection and those who are interested may refer to the Vidusara articles. It was in Lanka that Yakshas had made their presence felt than in India, but we have to note that the Buddha and Buddhism found resistance from the Brahmins as well as Yakshas in Dambadiva as well as in Lanka. It is wrong to identify the Yakshas with the Dravidians who had migrated to Bharatha after Dambadiva became Bharath. Some historians believe that the Dravidians migrated to India from western Asia whereas there is an opinion that their "homeland" was Africa.

The Aryans who migrated to Dambadiva, unlike the Yakshas, had changed not only the culture but the politics as well. Mixing with the cultures of the tribes who were already living, an entirely new culture, called Vedic culture was established with the appropriate political structures. The classification based on four varnas was introduced and the Brahamins became the foremost varna or the caste in Bharath. To cut a long story short what the Aryans had finally done was to transform Dambadiva to Bharath and to establish the Vedic culture. The cultural transformation would have taken more than a few hundred years to spread from the north west to south and to north east and east, and the society in which Prince Siddhartha was born could be referred to as Ardha Vedic, not being fully "Vedicized". The Ardha Vedic people occupied the north eastern, eastern parts that include present Bengal and Orissa and present Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. Prince Siddhartha apart from teaching Anithya Dukka and Anatma also began a revolution against the Vedic culture and the associated Chinthanaya, and also though not to the same extent, against the Chinthanaya of the Yakshas. ( I invite those who have a working knowledge of Sinhala to go through the Vidusara articles reproduced in the website, and not allow me to "mislead" the youth of the country. ) The fact that Buddha was confined to the Ardha Vedic zone and did not penetrate into the Vedic zone gives an idea of the extent to which the new Vedic culture had transformed the society. The new society was none other than the Vedic society of Bharath the "reincarnation" of Dambadiva.

(To be continued)
- Sri Lanka Guardian