Lies with Long Legs
IN his painstakingly long academic journey through mountains of source material available in Europe, Prof Prodosh Aich establishes that the entire understanding of India developed by self-claimed scholars from West is erroneous, since the initial attempt to comprehend ancient India through the Vedas was itself faulty.
He questions the validity of the works of the famous western scholars who translated the Vedic literature from Sanskrit into Italian, English and German. A vast majority of them did not even set foot on the Indian soil and those who came here did not learn the ancient language in an organised manner, even though translation needs an equal command of both languages. Since Sanskrit was not a spoken language, it was all the more difficult for them to develop language skills required for translation.
Colonialist Imperial England had prepared a concerted design to establish the superiority of white, blue eyed, blond, Christian culture over other cultures that they opted to define as "primitive", particularly in case of India.
Prof Aich uses juxtaposition to drive home a point and leaves judgement to readers. He frames a question and then answers it by using the primary source material. The book is bound to trigger an academic debate in the West also and would go a long way to establish once for all that the much-trumpeted and self-championed discipline of Indology in the West has in fact been based on falsehood.
It must have been a design that none of the scholars so far bothered to use the existing material, so abundantly available, which could have helped to unravel the truth about the colonial powers and imperial administration and bureaucracy. Scholars after scholars, even after the end of colonial empire, have continued to overlook the material that would have removed the well-laid myths about Indian society, polity and culture.
It would raise questions on popularly accepted theories on India, such as did the Aryans come to this part of the world from the north or they emigrated and then pushed back the original inhabitants to south. The book also puts a serious question mark on the anthropological understanding of the ancient Indian society as sought to be explained on the basis of the colour of the skin.
Prof Aich has dissects the methods adopted by famous Indologists for collecting material for their renowned works and made rightful inquires into their sources. A Jesuit father, Roberto de Nobili, in his missionary zeal, went to the extent of claiming that he had been able to find the lost Yajur Veda, which in fact was a copy that he had written to establish that there was indeed a relationship between Christianity and ancient Indian practices preserved and followed by Brahmins. In order to win the confidence of the local Brahmin community, he even called himself a Brahmin from Rome.
The author has put every Indologist under the microscope and exposed the majority. Comparing their descriptions with the writings of Megasthenes and others, the author shows how the 18 and 19th century Indologists did irreparable damage to the people of India.
Sir William Jones, celebrated as the Father of Indology in the UK, befooled not only his superiors but also the entire academic community by claiming that he knew 32 languages, including Sanskrit. He came to India as one of the Judges and went on to set up the Asiatic Society of Bengal, which closed its doors to the Asians, on January 15, 1784. He disseminated so much false information about India that an entirely wrong image of this ancient society was painted in the popular mind. German Indologist, Friedrich Maximilian Mueller, known here as Max Mueller, despite never visiting India, came to be known as the most authoritative Sanskrit expert.
Itís now beyond doubt that it was an English conspiracy hatched by none other than Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay, who wanted to control Indian minds by ensuring that they should know, comprehend and understand India through books written in English. Mueller became an instrument in Macaulayís plan to convince the majority of the local population that the English alien rule was better for them.
Macaulay had written in 1835 in absolutely clear terms: "We are not content to leave the natives to the influence of their own heredity prejudices..."
Till the l6th century, social studies, including historical studies, did not use racial terminology.
It was used later, by the British, to create a conscious divide between the ruled and the ruling classes, by bringing in words like "us" and "them" alien and local, Aryans and non-Aryans, Indo-European or Indo-German, so much so that a new discipline, "ethnography" came to be established at the European academic institutions.
Even physical descriptions like skin colour and types of lips, etc. were consciously used to drive a wedge between people. Stories of conquests were designed as the "historical justification" for looting, building strongholds, colonising foreign lands with the purpose of sustained exploitation and presented as an inherent law of evolution. The conquerors, the deliberate killers, the occupants, the exploiters were hailed for having brought culture and "civilization" into the "colonies". They were just following the pattern of the nomads on grazing grounds who came in some "pre-historic" period and brought "civilization" into India. "What could be wrong with that?
The book has exposed the western scholars who are never tired of claiming their objectivity and impartiality.