Saturday, August 27, 2005

Buddhism and Jainism in South India

South India had Buddhist and Jain past that predates Brahmanical Hinduism. The popular theory prevalent among South Indian intelligentia (especially, non-brahmins) is Brahmins destroyed these religions and drove the local Buddhist/Jain population to inferior caste positions [1]. Somehow, I find it difficult to agree with it. Not the least because this theory gives motley crowd of Brahmins some supernatural abilities, but it also defies the logic.

Religious practices of South Indians:

Along with phallus/goddess, snakes, numerous local gods and spirits are revered by South Indians (The discussion is only about Hindus). The obvious primitiveness of these supernatural powers shows they are the oldest forms of worship preceding both Buddhism and Jainism. If whole South India was Buddhist or Jain before the arrival of the Brahmins that would require whole population going back to its primitive forms of worship from more sophisticated religions. I find it highly improbable.

Elite religions:

Ergo, I would go by the theory that both Buddhism and Jainism were religions of miniscule elite classes in South Indian society [2]. The mass remained animist throughout the history.

Brahmins had it easy:

When Brahmins came down to South India they never had to ‘convert’ the local population [3]. Their Vaidik religion was just Indo-Aryanization of Dravidian beliefs and gods. Whereas, Buddhist and Jain elite remained aloof of the local population, Brahmins entered into their social life because of the common base of their religious beliefs. The cultural aspects of both these groups merged easily. Perhaps, when the locals saw that these northern people also worship the same gods the feeling of alien ness might have never developed. Anyway, illiterate local population hardly had any intellectualism to oppose caste divisions.

For Buddhists and Jains of South India, it could have been a gargantuan task to convert (supposing they had that inclination) the mass to those religions [4]. Only fear and education(preaching) would have helped their cause. The former was ruled out and the later was obviously never undertaken by the elites. So probably, non-Brahmin intelligentsia, instead of shedding tears for the past Buddhist/Jain ancestors, should at least partly blame those elites of South Indians for failing them. Then again, are you proud of your animist beliefs or would rather part of basically atheist religions.


1. I assume since most of the Brahmins from north-west of India, the origin of caste system, they must be lighter skinned because of their mixing with Indo-Aryans. However, a sizeable number of dark skinned Brahmins in South India shows that the Buddhist and Jain elites might have merged with them.

2. There is a very small population of Jains (Tulu/Kannada) in coastal Karnataka. They are generally prosperous and educated people. Present day Jains in India are by large rich merchants.

3. There is no provision for conversion in Brahmanical Hinduism. It shows that it’s not a religion spread from the proselytization. As I have discussed already, Hinduism is founded by Dravidian people sharing same set of beliefs throughout the country. Assimilation with Indo-Aryans (R1A-Dravidians) only resulted in literate construction of those beliefs not actually altering anything. Brahmins never had to indulge in proselytization in India.

4. Religions founded by individuals need fear and education (preaching). Perhaps, the former more than the later. You also need educated society to influence the others. I wonder whether East-Asian countries were more egalitarian when it comes education since historical times.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Origin of Caste concepts

There are many theories as to the origin of caste system in India. Many of these theories take into account skin colour or dominance of Indo-Europeans. I would base my theory on the following assumptions.

1. The initial Indian society was matriarchal.
2. The fundamental of caste system is purity and pollution distinction.
3. There was indeed an Indo-Aryan migration.
4. These Indo-Aryans had a structured and well defined religion in their Indo-European language.

I have already discussed about three most influential migrations to India.
1. Africa->Middle-East->India (Tribals)
2.Middle-East->North-West Indian subcontinent and Southern Central Asia-> Whole India (Dravidians)
3. North-West Indian subcontinent and Southern Central Asia-> South-East Europe(Kurgan)->North-West India-> Whole India(Indo-Aryans or R1A Dravidians)

Later I have discussed about rise of patriarchical society in Kurgan lands.

Masculization of feminine concepts:
Previously, I discussed about dominance of Dravidian religious symbols in Hinduism and marginalization of original Indo-Aryan gods. My argument was it was brought about by dominant Dravidian priestly class among Brahmins.

If one observe other Indo-European societies, there were class systems but nothing akin to caste system based on purity and pollution. The division was based on labour but the requirement was extent of cleanliness in every aspect of life from the higher castes. It's a classic case of female domain of cleanliness getting perverted in the feminized men.

As we know Indo-Aryans were patriarchical. Also, I would expect that there was a gradual migration to India and not invasion. If it's invasion I find it difficult to see how their religion got marginalized. On the other hand, migration gives a proper picture. The patriarchical Indo-Aryans gave rise to a male Dravidian priestly class(or it must be in existence worshipping mostly goddesses), however, the society was matriarchal therefore even the male abstraction of the world was feminine. The resulting hierarchical system when Indo-Aryans and Dravidians merged was conceptually one sided. Dravidian. However, male appropriation of female psyche resulted in the perversion of the whole system.

Indeed, if you observe Brahmin society since the historical times it was mostly passive. It goes against the general expectation from haplogroup R1A people(aggressive and attacking like Pathans atleast after their liberation from Dravidian Hinduism and Buddhism). You can explain this character only from Dravidian angle.

To sum it up all, India's dominant culture, character and people has remained Dravidian throughout the history. Basically, all the religions of India, Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, are the abstraction of feminine character of Dravidian India.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Rise of Patriarchical Society

My only assumption for this argument is that human society was matriarchal in the begninning. I've already discussed about three migrations that left their mark on Indian population and how closely related were Dravidians and Indo-Aryans. For the sake of clarity and based on the earlier discussions, I'll be using the terminologies R1A Dravidians(Indo-Aryans), H-Dravidians, L-Dravidians, J-Dravidians and R-Dravidians.

Somewhere in North-West of Indian Subcontinent:
Few male cousins made a plan that would change the course of human history(exact period is unknown). Till then any human migration(or invasion) was undertaken by both men and women. As a result society remained matriarchical with mothers controlling the social and religious order. However, this migration of few closely related cousins(now we know as R1A-Dravidians) would change all that. First time in the history, a Homo-Sapien community left Indian subcontinent(the third homeland of Dravidians after Africa and Middle-East) without any females and moved to South-East Europe.

Now they are the masters of the society:
In the Kurgan lands these R1A-Dravidians took up the girls of Pre-Indo-European population. In the confusion of cultural conflicts, these R1A-Dravidian males ended up performing the religious duties. Now they were the one dictating terms for the social conducts. The taste of power in the community also motivated them to invent new gods in their mould.

The new patriarchical world order:
When the society was matriarchal the only driving reason behind any migration or invasion was lack of food. However, the male order changed all that. Now there were more migrations and invasions that is driven out of want for more land and more women. The greed was born. The new male order multiplied quickly. The societies under its attack either also became patriarchical or became extinct.

Elsewhere in the blogosphere:
NuSapiens feels transition from matriarchy to patriarchy was brought about by climate change. But I will stick to my position that it was due to few only male R1A-Dravidian migration to Europe from the sub-continent.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

First two Dravidian words : Amma and Ayya

Here I'm proposing that Amma and Ayya are the first two Dravidian words. I'm not sure what was the initial form of these words used by their ancestors in Africa. The day a child called its mother 'Amma' and father 'Ayya' the people somewhere in North-West of India became Dravidians.(see update 1)

Background of Indian population:
I have already mentioned there were three distinct male migrations to India based on three distinct strains of religious worship. The first were tribals. The second were Dravidians who were related to tribals during their years in Middle-East. The third were Indo-Aryans who were related to Dravidians during their years in Southern Central Asia(North-West India, Pakistan and Southern Afghanistan) and were also related to tribals during their years in Middle-East. All these males took up the girls of coastal migration to India killing all their men.

Ayya and Amma in South India:
Amma(mother) has retained her purity in South India all these years. However, Ayya has changed.
Ayya in Telugu: The rural Telugu people still address their father as Ayya. However, more common usage is for the elder and/or powerful.
Ayya in Tamil: Tamils have stopped addressing their fathers as Ayya. Now, it's only for elder and/or powerful.(see update 2)
Ayya in Kannada: In Kannada Ayya in some places has become Ajja which is an addressing term of ones 'grandfather'. As in Telugu and Tamil Ayya is an elder and/or powerful.
Ayya in Malayalam: Ayya has changed to Achha(n) in Malayalam which is an addressing term for father.
Except Tamil, all other major South Indian languages use Ayya to denote either father or grandfather. And it's obvious how it became a respectful term to address any elder and/or powerful.
North Indian Dravidians and Indo-Aryans don't use Ayya to denote either father or grandfather.

Indo-Aryans and Ayya:
Indo-Aryans once they moved from Southern Central Asia to South-Eastern Europe(Kurgan cultural centre)the term Ayya was modified into Arya. During their years in South-Eastern Europe the meaning also changed from father to noble(may be noble father too, 'Arya Putra' most plausibly meant noble father's son. When Darius boasted he's an Aryan, most plausibly it is 'I'm a noble father').

After spending few thousand years in South-Eastern Europe some of the Indo-Aryans migrated back to India. Though the religion that they had brought became a minor because of the dominance of Dravidian priestly class, they succeded in implanting their language in most part of India. However, the continuity with their Dravidian past was ensured in that word Arya, which is , after all, a derivative of 'Ayya'.

1. As Razib of Gene Expression commented 'Amma' might have had earlier origins.
2. Though common addressing term for father is 'Appa' in Tamil(as in Kannada), Ayya can also be used to address either father or grandfather. So all South Indian languages use 'Ayya' to denote either father or grandfather.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Origins of Indians

There are too many conflicting studies about the origins of Haplogroup R1A[1,2]. I'll use this opportunity to propose one more theory of Aryans and Dravidians.

Three distinct cultural migrations:
Hinduism has three distinct cultural influences.
1. Tribal nature worship
2. Dravidian* Shiva-Shakti (Symbols male-female reproductive organs)
3. Indo-Aryan Vaidik culture (Indra, Agni, Vayu, Mitra and so on)

Based on these and Haplogroup H, L and R1A studies I would propose there were three major migrations to Indians.
1. Africa-> Middle East -> India (Tribals)
2. Africa-> Middle East -> Central Asia -> India (Dravidians)
3. Africa-> Middle East -> Central Asia -> Kurgan -> India (Indo-Aryans)

Indo-Aryan Gods:
Indra and other gods of Indo-Aryans have too much similarities with other European pagan gods. Indra worshipping Indo-Aryans must have developed their religion before entering India.

The initial Vaidik works ridicule the natives of India as penis worshippers. So worship of Shiva and Shakti must be prevalent at that time(Not necessarily in those names). Now the question is
how Shiva and Shakti attained the highest status in Vaidik religion.

Dravidian Brahmins:
I think inclusion of Indian local deities into broader Vaidik religion may not be the work of Indo-Aryans. The priestly class of Dravidians creating a caste system along with priestly class
of Indo-Aryans might have included their deities to the large Indo-Aryan pantheon. Along the process they also created Brahma and Vishnu to complete a meaningful trinity with Shiva(Creator, preserver and destroyer).

The following would be the most likely candidates for Dravidian priestly class who became Brahmins later. Historically, these groups were identified with Shiva and Devi(Shakti) worship.

1. Saraswat Brahmins
2. Kashmiri Pundits (possibly a branch of Saraswat Brahmins)
3. Aradhyas (Telugu Brahmins)
4. Iyers (Tamil Brahmins)
5. Shivalli Brahmins(Tulu Brahmins)
6. Namboothiris(Malayalee Brahmins, a branch of Tulu Brahmins)

Though Havyaka Brahmins(a Kannada Brahmin caste) follow Shankara, I don't consider them
as Dravidian Brahmins since they differ a lot in many respects. But, Shivalli Brahmins eventhough mostly Maadhvas(Vaishnavites) are indeed Dravidian Brahmins since Shankara founder of Advaitism, was a Shaivite Namboothiri(but sought to merge Shaivism with other Vaidik worships), who inturn were actually a branch of Tulu Brahmins.

Iyers' Shaivism has nothing to do with Shankara. Most probably Advaitism brought other Indo-Aryan gods to a strong Shaiva region of Tamilnadu creating a Shaivite and Vaishnavite
divisions among Iyers.

However, now Hindus believe in all the gods. In all probability this was achieved by Dravidian priestly class and not by Indo-Aryans. Also, both these priestly classes together responsible for the creation and propagation of caste system.

*People inhabiting India before the arrival of Indo-Aryans. No relation with linguistic identities.

1. A discussion about origin of R1A at Genealogy-DNA mailing list.
2. A Genographic report about an Indian staffer at IBM. Interestingly, the official line of Genographic project was that R1A was originated in Europe around 10000 years ago. However, this report from the same project says something different.