Thursday, November 18, 2004

Greek philosophy Vs Indian philosophy

Western philosophy traces its roots to Greek philosophy. Greek philosophers, beginning around 640BC (Thales of Miletus) to third century AD, developed various branches of philosophy. Their secular/scientific way of reasoning gave birth to glorious western ‘renaissance’ centuries later.

Around the same time Indian philosophers, Vaidiks, Budhists and others, were developing their own axioms for all their observations of the world. But their solutions have not stood the test of the time. While Europe went on to became dominant power in the world, Indian society degraded. Its recovery could begin only when it came in contact with western colonial powers and their philosophies and institutions.

Many western philosophers felt Indian philosophy couldn’t come out of the concept of God or of some supreme power and give its observations more objective solutions. In simple words, there was no practical way of verifying the theories.

Recently, I was reading about Greek philosophy and I came across a very interesting commentary about Greek arguments. Like Indians of that era, Greeks used to have debates to put forth their ideas. But unlike Indians, Greeks soon found out shortcomings of such arguments.

They realized that a person with stronger oratory skills and verbal power could effectively argue and win even when his arguments were weak. Moreover, many professional oratory groups, Sophists, who would argue anything for money, held sway in such debates. Understanding the futility of this arrangement, they went on to develop empirical way of verifying the theories. But in India, Vaidiks were obsessed with debates. In their literature, they would claim challenging other schools of thoughts and defeating them in debates. Though there were humourous comments(by other Vaidiks of the same period, check out Panini and Snake's conversation in the mailing list) about Vaidiks' obsession with ‘tarka’(arguments), nobody seriously challenged the usefulness or practicability of such an arrangement to further ones ideas.

Possibly, it’s one of the wrong steps in the evolution of Indian philosophy.

Friday, November 12, 2004

End of Indus Valley Civilization : (3)

Invasion by Pre-Dravidians :

There are so many theories about IVC. So here comes one more. Based on the observations I have made in my previous articles I’m proposing theory of ‘Pre-Dravidian Invasion’. This has a stronger case in the Vaidik age Indo-Aryan literature.

Most of the Vaidik literature talk about Aryans fight against a dark skinned people called Dasyus. The description of these people hardly suits to the urbanized people of IVC. So it’s very clear that these people can not be the ones who built IVC. But they can be the people who destroyed it.

Around 1700B.C Pre-Dravidian people of South India started attacking IVC. IVC was not known to possess a strong army. These urban, trading people along with their grand constructions became easy victims of attacking pre-Dravidians. A closer analogy could be barbarians (Germanic tribes) attacking Rome. It looks like these pre-Dravidians were mainly from South India, since pre-Dravidians of East India do not exhibit Dravidian culture( languages and Shaivism, which I feel is the main religion of Harappan people) of South India but still practices pre-Dravidian rituals of worshipping dark skinned goddesses. Now back to the main argument.

Emergence of Dravidian people:

While pre-Dravidians were destroying their homeland, the IVC population started migrating to Southern regions. Ironically, moving to the homelands of their destroyers. And overtime they mingled and crossbred with local pre-Dravidian population, influencing and assimilating with local culture. Since it was no more a homogenous block, these people never had any distinct identity of themselves. It was probably during first or second century AD these people were classified as Dravidians by the Indo-Aryans who by this time settled in all of North-India. ‘Manusmriti’, written around this time, categorizes all Dravidians as ‘Shudras’. Though there were further divisions in the society after Aryan Brahmin missionaries started arriving between 4th to 7th centuries.

Aryans and pre-Dravidians:

After defeating and destroying IVC something around 1700BC, pre-Dravidians continued to live in north-west of India. Possibly when Indo-Aryans started arriving around 1500BC they were the pale shadow of their forefathers who invaded that territory. Even the numbers could be favouring the Aryans. Defeated by these Indo-European people, Dasyus started retreating from IVC area and migrated to other parts of the country. A part of them might have been assimilated with Indo-Aryans. But some of these disintegrated people because of Aryan onslaught found it difficult to become a single, strong entity and degenerated to live a pathetic life. And in later centuries these people might possibly oppressed as ‘untouchables’(This argument is influenced by Ambedkar’s theory of origin of untouchablilty in India. I am proposing my theory of brokenmen ) by other Indians, now a mixed race of Aryans and pre-Dravidians.

In this series of articles, I have proposed IVC population was light skinned Mediterranean race. This civilization was destroyed by the dark skinned pre-Dravidians(australoids) of South India. The escaping Mediterranean population migrated to South India and assimilated with local people and gave rise to culture described as “Dravidian” by the Indo-Aryans. Indo-Aryans defeated pre-Dravidians on entering India from north-west and established their civilization. This argument tries to explain the missing link between end of the Indus valley civilization and invasion/migration of Indo-Aryans.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

End of Indus Valley Civilization : (2)

It is agreed that Harappan civilization declined around 1700B.C and Indo-Aryans began to appear on Indian Horizons about 1500B.C. So it is ruled out that IVC was destroyed by the invading Aryan tribes. There are numerous theories like, earthquakes, famines for the decline of IVC. Few historians do not rule out invasions by barbarian tribes of north-west.
But I found nobody has taken into account two important factors.
1. Melanin pigmentation distribution among population
2. Behavioural outlook of the people.
These two factors will be discussed in the succeeding paragraphs.

1. Melanin pigmentation:
If we observe present day population of Indian sub-continent the skin pigmentation increases as you move from north-west( present day Afghanistan) to south-east (Tamilnadu, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka). It is very difficult to imagine around 4000 years back the complete Indian population was purely dark skinned. So I propose IVC population was similarly light skinned as its Arab neighbours. And the South-East region of India was dark skinned as present day population in Tamilnadu, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

2.Behavioural Anthropology:

The main occupation of Harappan people was trading. And present day Harappan tract population of Sindhis , Gujaratis and Rajasthani Marwaris are still predominantly trading communities.

The dark skinned population of South India was known to be aggressive (still so, if you consider Tamils). Many communities worked as mercenaries in olden times.