A commentary by NS Rajaram on Rajiv Malhotra’s new book, Breaking India.
BREAKING INDIA MAY UNDERMINE WAR ON TERRORISM
Authors of the just released book Breaking India allege that Christian organizations are engaged in a divisive program to expand in countries like India, Sri Lanka and other former colonies by creating and exploiting divisions. This shortsighted policy may seriously undermine war against terror.
The war against terror is not just India’s war or America’s war: it is a war of freedom against the spread of ideology of terror in the name of God. The West, America in particular, became aware of the threat only after 9/11 but India has been waging a war against Jihadi terror for over a thousand years. As a result no people in the world today have more knowledge and experience of fighting terror than the Indians. India and the West should be working together to defeat this menace. With countries in the strategically vital Middle East sliding into turmoil, solidarity with India becomes still more important: this is a fact not seriously disputed by any serious strategic thinker in the world
But curiously, some groups based in America and Europe are actively engaged in weakening Indian society by dividing its people into mutually hostile camps on the basis of tribe, cast and religion. It is part of an ideology and academic exercise promoted by evangelical Christian and so-called ‘human rights’ organizations in an effort to spread their influence and gain converts. Many human rights organizations are little more than secular fronts of various churches that have made inroads into the media and are now trying to gain control of sections of the government. All this is brought out with profuse documentation by Rajiv Malhotra and Aravindan Neelakandan in their just released book Breaking India: Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines (Amaryllis 2011).
Their strategy is based on creating and fanning resentments among so-called ‘minorities’— a continuation of the tactics used by bureaucrats, academics and missionaries during the colonial era. These minorities are often based on willful misrepresentation. To take an example, McDonalds is one of the world’s largest fast food chains. In the past decade or so it has begun setting up franchises in India, Sri Lanka and other countries. In India its presence is miniscule compared to local businesses in the restaurant businesses. But no one for that reason regards India’s McDonalds franchises as ‘small businesses’ that qualify for tax and other benefits. Take another example: GM makes and sells cars in India, but in numbers it is dwarfed by Indian automakers like Maruti, Tata and Mahindra. Yet no one sees GM as a small business.
But this is exactly the claim of Christian organizations like the Catholic, Anglican and evangelical churches. Even though they are multinational organizations that are much larger worldwide than any Hindu sect or organization, they insist on being treated as minorities and given special privileges in education, jobs and other areas. This is a central thesis of the just noted Breaking India by Malhotra and Neelakandan. The authors further point out that in a manner eerily similar to what happened in the century preceding the European colonization of India (and other countries), these Christian organizations and their academic and NGO affiliates are engaged in weakening the country to facilitate foreign domination. It is no accident that Church organizations enjoyed special privileges under British rule, many of which have continued after independence in the guise of ‘minority’ rights. Their activities today give the impression that they would like to see the return of colonial rule in some form.
Dividing people along tribal and ethnic lines has a long and sordid history. In India it took the form of a racial divide of Indians into two groups called Aryans and Dravidians. Science has fully discredited the notion of race while the British themselves have acknowledged their political motive by admitting that the so-called Aryan Invasion Theory “gave a historical precedent to justify the role and status of the British Raj, who could argue that they were transforming India for the better in the same way that the Aryans had done thousands of years earlier.” (BBC, October 6, 2005.)
In a speech at the British House of Commons in 1929, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin echoed the idea by claiming that God had told the British (presumably in English) to uplift the degraded Indian Aryans to their former heights through British rule. This is what came to be known as the White Man’s Burden in the phrase made famous by Rudyard Kipling. Neither Kipling nor Baldwin originated the idea: they borrowed it from the missionaries who claimed, and still claim that by accepting Jesus as savior, we can be saved from our sins since Jesus died for our sins. (This is an obvious incentive to sin as much as possible since we can save ourselves by converting on our deathbeds; if we don’t sin, Jesus will have died in vain.)
But missionaries and academics later went much further. They claimed that their (meaning the British) presence was necessary to correct the oppression of the ‘minority’ Dravidians by the ‘invading’ Aryans. The most influential figure in this development was Robert Caldwell, Bishop of Tirunelveli. The Google Encyclopedia describes him as: “a Colonial Era Evangelist Missionary who used native languages as a tool to proselytize the Colonized in Southern India. To aid his mission, he nativised Christianity by adopting a teleological approach to re-classify Indian languages inspired by scientific (sic: pseudo-scientific) racial theories that was popular amongst the European intellectuals in the 19th century. His works revolve around the missionary work in Tinnevelly (Thirunelveli) district in Tamil Nadu and it laid the theoretical foundation for the political and academic ‘revivalist’ movement that came to dominate Dravidian nationalism in Tamil Nadu and racial polarization in Sri Lanka.”
This polarization led to the church-sponsored LTTE terrorism in Sri Lanka that ended only with its total defeat. In India it led to the Dravidian faultline—as the authors term it—that sustains Dravidian politics especially in Tamil Nadu. The original DMK was the handiwork of Christian missionaries. It was originally called the Justice Party, claiming its goal was to bring justice to the oppressed Dravidians. It is supposed to be scientific and rationalist, but still holds on to the scientifically discredited Aryan-Dravidian theory. This division is the centerpiece of both the Dravidian parties and the LTTE: their whole ideology collapses once they accept that science has demolished their racial basis.
This Dravidian ideology, it is hardly a theory, has spawned its own brand of ‘scholarship’. According to the Aryan Invasion Theory now kept alive by Dravidian politicians (and their academic camp followers like Michael Witzel, Iravatham Mahadevan and Asko Parpola), the invading Aryans destroyed the Harappan cities (of the Indus Valley) like Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. But these, Parpola in particular go further: the builders of these great 5000 year old cities were Dravidians who spoke an early form of Tamil. These were driven out of their cities by the invading Aryans and forced to migrate en masse to Tamil Nadu, a thousand miles to the south where they have preserved their Tamil language!
How does Parpola know that these long dead people spoke Tamil? He doesn’t but that is immaterial. He complimented the people of Tamil Nadu for preserving the ancient language of the Harappan people of which there is no trace. This pleased the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi sufficiently to give Parpola a cash award of a million rupees (about $25,000). When this news became public there was a flurry of activity in Western academic circles with several scholars claiming that they too had proof of the ‘Dravidian’ nature of the Harappan civilization. (Asko Parpola is from Finland.) But the activity died out when Mr Karunanidhi announced that the award would be given only once every five years.
A curious thing happened on the way from Bishop Caldwell to Dravidian politics— racism became inseparable from language: Dravidian language became Dravidian race. Even a supposedly great scholar like F. Max Müller became an advocate of it, at least until it became politically uncomfortable for him. This was denounced by real scientists. Sir Julian Huxley, one of the great biologists of the century wrote as far back as 1939:
“In England and America the phrase ‘Aryan race’ has quite ceased to be used by writers with scientific knowledge though it appears occasionally in political and propagandist literature…” To political and propagandist Huxley might have added ‘religious and missionary’, for it was the missionary Bishop Caldwell who created this conundrum. Even Max Müller believed in the Biblical superstition of Creation on 26 October 4004 BC! He even expressed admiration for the 17th century forger Father Robert de Nobili who produced a Biblical ‘Yesur Veda’ (Veda of Jesus) instead of the Yajurveda.
Today this brand religious ‘scholarship’ has been taken to abysmal depths by missionaries in India who now claim that the original Dravidians were Christians and the invading Aryans created the Vedas by borrowing ideas from the Bible! The authors of Breaking India cite several such examples by these missionary ‘scholars’. Here is a gem from one Deivanayagam (and his daughter Devakala) who claim that Sanskrit was brought to India (by Aryans naturally) after Jesus and prior to that India was Dravidian Christian, which is the source of the Veda. According to this theory Brahmins (Aryans) stole ideas from Dravidian Christianity and created Hindu scriptures including the Vedas. Sanskrit came into existence only 150 years after Christianity.
This raises a few difficult questions. What were Brahmins and what language did they use before they stole Dravidian Christianity and Tamil to create Hinduism and Sanskrit? What is Dravidian Christianity? According to these scholars, Dravidian Christianity was the Christianity preached by St Thomas when he came to India in 52 AD and was killed by Brahmins for that reason. Never mind that the Christian Bible (New Testament) came into existence only in the 4th century, compiled by St Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria. Or that St Thomas never visited India. (He may never have existed, but that is a different story.)
What is extraordinary is that such tripe should receive support and sponsorship from Christian organizations. Not so long ago Christian institutions could produce scholars of the caliber of Father Heras, W.W. Hunter and others who for all their prejudices knew the meaning and worth of scholarship. As I will describe in a future article, this precipitous decline in scholarship is due to the decline of Christianity in the West and the emptying of the seminaries. The vacuum has been filled by aspiring seminarians from Third World countries like India. So, where formerly Biblical scholars came from the divinity schools of Yale, Harvard, Gregorianum (Rome) and others, we now have shallow propagandists coming from troubled seminaries with no academic standards. Like the proverbial neo-convert (and neveu riche) many of them have become loose cannons without any trace of scruples.
This horde is now menacing their homelands with newfound money and influence. This is an important area that needs to be studied. Most Americans are not aware of the fact that Christianity today, the missionary movement in particular is a Third World phenomenon where it is creating social and political havoc. Another fact that Americans (and other westerners) are surprised to learn is that the Christianity being propagated by these is pre-Enlightenment Christianity with its baggage of racism and anti-Semitism: churches in India still preach that Jews killed Jesus and Jews are the enemies of God.
The relationship of the U.S. governments over the years with missionaries is a complex one. Some, mainly Republican administrations have not hesitated to use them as political tools for spying and other covert activities. Democratic administrations on the other hand have supported them in the fond hope they will carry out social works and advance ‘human rights’. (Both show that Christian outfits are willing political stooges.) Human rights bodies today are heavily infiltrated by evangelic interests pushing their own agenda. It is no exaggeration to say that human rights is a neocolonial ideology that has taken the place of the White Man’s Burden— of imposing a set of their own but alien values on the people of the Third World.
But the situation today is far too grave for such games: Indian and U.S. strategic interests now overlap to a degree that was unimaginable even a decade ago. And no area is more important than fighting terrorism. Fighting terrorism presents the greatest challenge for the two countries. But Church organizations, in their tunnel vision, focused on gaining maximum converts are oblivious to the social damage it is causing and the ill will it is generating. This discord can only help the terrorists. Leaders and thinkers in both countries must recognize the dangers of this ‘Breaking India’ activity that can only benefit forces that are bent on destroying freedom and civilization as we understand them.
Needless to say these evangelists and human rights-wallahs will not be in the front lines when terrorist forces strike home.
It is impossible to do justice to the full scope of Breaking India in an article like the present one. I have only touched on a few salient points, occasionally going beyond the book to highlight their historical and other background. The book needs to be studied and discussed in detail at various academic and policy forums.