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The GARBAGE taught in Rawlinson’s “A Concise History of The Indian People”

I mentioned a yesterday that I finally found my school history book, A Concise History of The Indian People. I have the second edition. Fortunately, the first edition is available as PDF on the internet.

I have OCRd the first edition and uploaded here as a Word document. But I want to post the relevant extracts about the Aryan Invasion Theory from the second edition, so I’m first posting the Preface (1950) of the second edition and thereafter the relevant sections from MY copy of the book (i.e. second edition).


THE need of a short history of India, incorporating the latest archaeological discoveries and bringing the history of the country down to the establishment of the self-governing Dominions of India and Pakistan, has long been felt. The admirable works of the late Dr V. A. Smith, the pioneer of Indian studies, are now, both in point of fact and in general outlook, out of date, and the whole subject requires to be re-stated. The present work is intended to fill the gap. It is written primarily for the use of the student preparing for the matriculation examination of the Indian universities, and is based on the syllabuses issued by them. In view, however, of the greatly increased interest in India which is now being displayed by the English public, it is hoped that it may also appeal to the general reader who requires a simple, non-technical account of the country and its peoples.

London, 1950


The Indus Valley Civilization. Investigations carried on by archaeologists have brought to light the existence of another great civilization which flourished along the banks of the Indus at a very early date, perhaps about 2,500 B.C. Of this nothing at all was known until a few years ago. Its chief centres appear to have been at Harappa, in the Montgomery district of the Punjab, and Mohenjodaro near Larkana in Sind. Excavations at Mohenjodaro have revealed a flourishing city, built of brick, with straight, broad roads, and an elaborate system of drainage. A large, pillared hall and a public bath are conspicuous features. The inhabitants belonged to the ‘chalcolithic’ age, that is, they used stone as well as copper weapons. They wore necklaces of gold and silver set with various precious stones; they made fine painted pottery, turned on the wheel, and children’s toys of earthenware. They were very artistic, and some stone and bronze statuettes of great beauty have been found. But the most remarkable discovery was that of large numbers of steatite seals, bearing figures of bulls, unicorns and other animals, most realistically carved. On these seals are words in a script which hitherto scholars have been unable to read. They appear to have been in some way connected with the Sumerians of Mesopotamia. How and when they were overthrown is not known, but they appear to have been a peaceful, unwarlike people, and they may have been overwhelmed by the wild tribes from the hills. Perhaps a change in the course of the Indus, or malaria, may have contributed to their downfall. It is thought by some scholars that the Aryans learnt from them the art of writing and the worship of the god Shiva [Sanjeev: Whether the Vedics learnt writing from them, it is clear that the idea of Shiva is the ORIGINAL Hindu religous idea – based on the egalitarian idea of tantra]. But we must wait for further discoveries before we can say anything more for certain. It is very interesting to note that there existed in Sind, 5,000 years ago, cities which were, in many respects, far in advance of many Indian cities of today.

The Dravidians. At some period beyond the dawn of history, the Dravidians entered India. At present we do not know who they were, but it is thought that they originally found their way into India from Baluchistan, either through the Bolan Pass or along the coast. The reason for thinking this is that the Brahuis, a tribe living on the Baluchistan border, still speak a language which scholars have identified as of Dravidian origin. It may be that the Dravidians once inhabited Hindustan, and were driven southward by the Aryans. Others hold that they had settled in southern India long before the coming of the Aryans. When they entered the country where we now find them, they probably intermarried to some extent with the aboriginal inhabitants. The Dravidians are distinguished by their dark complexion and eyes, broad noses and abundant hair. At present they speak four main languages, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kanarese, which are quite different from any Aryan dialect.

Very early they developed a culture of their own, and consolidated themselves into powerful kingdoms, which carried on a thriving overseas trade with Egypt and Western Asia. At some early date, Aryan missionaries entered the Tamil country, and the Dravidians partly adopted the Vedic gods and ritual, and also, with some modifications, the caste system.

The Indo-Aryans. The Indo-Aryans were an offshoot of tribes which appear to have dwelt originally in the pasturelands of Central Asia, between the Oxus and Syr Darya rivers. They were a tall, fair people, with long, straight noses and regular features, and talked a language which is akin to Latin and Greek, and to the Celtic, Teutonic and Slavonic languages of Europe. Owing to some cause, perhaps the drying-up of their pastures or pressure from other invading tribes, they migrated southwards. One horde found its way into Iran, and its descendants founded the famous Achaemenian Empire, which lasted from the accession of Cyrus (559 B.c.) to the overthrow of the dynasty by Alexander of Macedon (331 B.C.). Some descendants of these Iranians, the Parsees, found their way to western India in the eighth century A.D. Another horde, calling themselves Arya or kinsmen, crossed the Hindu Kush mountains and entered Afghanistan. From Afghanistan they overflowed through the Kabul, Gumal, Kurram and other passes into the Punjab. The Aryans entered India in successive waves, not as an invading army but as settlers, bringing with them their wives and children and flocks and herds. Some scholars think that there were two separate waves of invaders, one coming from the northwest, and the other from the north, through Kashmir. The invaders did not stay long in the Punjab. As their numbers grew, they began to migrate in an easterly direction, until they reached the country between the Jumna and Ganges rivers. As they advanced they encountered stiff opposition from the earlier inhabitants, who disputed the river-crossings and tried to bar the way. These people were highly civilized and dwelt in walled cities, but the Indo-Aryans, who came from the colder climates of the north and were therefore more hardy and vigorous, managed to defeat them. The Indo-Aryans, who hated their opponents on account of their dark skins, their flat noses and their strange religious rites, called them Dasyus or Dasas (slaves). But they did not exterminate the Dasyus. They intermarried with them, and the descendants of these marriages adopted many of the customs and even the gods of the older race. The date of the Aryan invasions is uncertain, but scholars think that they took place some time between 2000 and 1500 B.C.


The Vedas. We owe our knowledge of the Indo-Aryans to the Vedic hymns, which are by far the oldest literary compositions in any Indo-Aryan language. These hymns, consist of invocations of the various Aryan deities, and were intended to be chanted at the time when sacrifices were being offered in their honour. They were handed down from generation to generation in the families of the Rishis or Seers to whom they were originally revealed. This was, of course, long before the invention of writing, and even today, if every written copy were destroyed, they could be recovered, word or word, from the lips of hundreds of learned pundits. There are three Vedas, the Rig, the Sama and the Yajur, but the two latter are really rearrangements of the Rig Veda for ceremonial purposes. There is also a fourth Veda, the Atharva, which mostly consists of charms and spells. The Rig Veda consists of 1,028 hymns addressed to different gods. They are of varying ages, and it is usually supposed that the tenth and last book is a good deal later than the rest. The word Veda means knowledge, and the Vedas are to Hindus what the Bible is to Christians and the Koran to Mohammedans, the source of all knowledge on religious matters.

Caste. In the Vedas, we see the beginning of the caste system. Caste is a Portuguese word, meaning purity of race. The original idea of caste was that of colour (varna). The fair-skinned Aryans looked down upon the darker aborigines or Dasyus [Sanjeev: This is nonsense since there were NO DASYUS IN INDIA]. In those early days occupations were hereditary [Sanjeev: this is TOTAL NONSENSE], and were handed down from father to son. For instance, the task of learning by heart the Vedas, and the various religious ceremonies connected with them, became the monopoly of certain families who came to be known as Brahmins, or offspring of the god Brahma. They were the descendants of the Rishis or Seers, to whom it was supposed that the hymns were originally revealed. These Brahmins, being devoted to the worship of the gods, were required to be very strict in their mode of life, and to keep themselves from any kind of impurity or defilement. Next to them came the Rajanyas or Kshatriyas [Sanjeev: NONSENSE since there is no mention of Kshatriya in the Vedas], the warrior caste. Thirdly came the Vaisyas or commercial “classes. They followed a large number of occupations, as farmers, traders and shop-keepers, goldsmiths, weavers, potters and so forth. Lastly came the fourth caste, the Sudras. These were the degraded descendants of the aboriginal tribes, who lived outside the village and made their living by performing menial tasks as scavengers and sweepers. [Sanjeev: this is NONSENSE since the Shuradas were the kings and rulers of the lands the Vedics went to. The was NOT THE SLIGHTEST TRACE OF MODERN UNTOUCHABILITY IN THOSE DAYS] Religious sects in later days, like the Jains, Sikhs and Lingayats, and tribes migrating to a fresh district and settling among strangers, often assumed the status of a caste.

A caste now consists of a group of families having the same occupation and rules of life (dharma), the members of which are bound to marry outside the family, but inside the group. At first, class-distinctions were not so sharply defined as they became later, and Brahmins and Kshatriyas freely inter married. Caste is at the root of Hindu society [Sanjeev: THIS IS THE GREATEST PIECE OF GARBAGE IN HUMAN HISTORY], and to destroy it would overthrow the whole social structure. It ensures the handing down of hereditary arts and crafts, and prevents unemployment. It preserves family life. Members of the same caste stick together, and help one another. On the other hand, the existence of a number of water-tight compartments prevents the growth of a truly national spirit. It leads to jealousy and friction. Democracy is impossible under these circumstances, and the lower castes become degraded and lose their self-respect. Modern conditions, however, are making the caste-system less and less rigid.

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Who was H.G. Rawlinson (1880-1957)?

I finally found my school book on Indian history by Rawlinson. It is NOT the book I’ve been mentioning earlier, here, i.e. The Oxford Student’s History of India (1908). Instead, the school history book is called, “A Concise History of The Indian People” and I have with me its second edition which was published in 1950 (I have the seventh impression of 1968 of the second edition). The first edition was published in 1938.

This book is therefore an updated version of his 1908 book, and it also shows that Rawlinson was alive and well at least till 1950. Indeed, he lived from 1880 to 1957 with much of it spent in India, in Poona (now Pune).

H.G.Rawlinson was Professor of English and Principal of Deccan College from 1923-31. He was also a member of the Indian Education Service. He also worked as Principal of Fergusen College.



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Be prepared to change ALL your views about India. Sanjay Sonawani’s work will turn your understanding of India up side down.

My FB post a moment ago. I think this is worth sharing.



The Indian elite who arose from convent schools in which books by British historians (e.g. Vincent Smith and Rawlinson’s Oxford Student’s History of India) were taught effectively started believing that the Vedas were the source of their religion and that an Aryan Invasion had enslaved the aboriginal masses. They had no alternative way to verify these claims. This created a rift between the so-called aboriginals and the Brahmins.

It did not occur to the scholars on both sides that if there was a rift it must be religious in nature. They even forgot to ask why the deities they worship at home are absent from the Vedas and its allied literature. They did not ask about the strong ritualistic difference between the Vedas and the daily religious practice of Hinduism, a difference that could not have existed if the two religions were the same. The explanations given by Vedic scholars were mutely accepted. For example, it was said that the victorious Aryans accommodated some of the aboriginals Gods as part of their assimilation process. This surprisingly lame explanation went unchallenged for more than two centuries.

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The Aryan invasion theory that I was taught in school – Rawlinson’s text

I’ve broadly checked a couple of sections of the OCRd version of Rawlinson that I had cited here, and these are published below. This book of 1908 remained unchanged till my time in school (I was taught this in 1972, but I also read this book in detail for my IAS exams in 1981).

Since the 1980s – possibly the 1990s, India’s historical interpretations have changed dramatically. No “invasions” took place. Instead, Sanjay Sonawani’s research persuades me of an Aryan REFUGEE theory – in which a very few followers of the Vedic religion (which was a branch of the Zoroastrian religion) came to India, locating initially just south of Afghanistan.

The British played a superb role in methodically documenting India’s records and history but they made many, many fatal mistakes – which Sanjay is working to fix.


The Indus civilization. The most important discovery in connexion with the early inhabitants of India was that of an advanced chalcolithic culture stretching along the course of the river Indus, from Harappa in the Montgomery District of the Panjab to its mouth. In 1922, Mr R. D. Banerji of the Indian Archaeological Department found at Mohenjodaro, near Larkhana in Sind, a great prehistoric city which has now been excavated. It is well laid out, with wide streets running at right angles. The houses are built of brick, often several storeys high, with flat roofs, drains and bathrooms. The chief feature is a large public bath, with promenades and chambers for the bathers.

The Indus river folk were highly artistic, and left behind a large number of steatite seals or amulets, beautifully engraved with figures of crocodiles, tigers, antelopes, Brahminy bulls, and various religious emblems. From these seals we may infer that the climate of Sind was then moist and fertile. Wheat and cotton were in use. The horse, if we may judge from its absence, was unknown, and ploughing must have been done by oxen, as in India today. A number of figures have been found, one of a man who seems to be a priest, together with children’s toys of burnt clay, and fine glazed pottery. These people were skilled metal workers. They made copper images, axe-heads, swords and spears. They were fond of jewellery, especially of bangles and necklaces made of gold and silver and various precious stones.

The objects found throw a good deal of light on their religion. On one of the seals is a horned, three-headed god who has been identified with Siva. They also worshipped the lingam, the sacred pipal tree, and the Mother Goddess. The dead were usually cremated, and the ashes buried in urns.

Mohenjo-daro flourished about 2500 B.C., and was apparently sacked by an invading tribe from the hills, as groups of skeletons of men, women and children are found at various places, who seem to have met with a violent death. Bid the civilization lingered on for some time at Chanhu-daro and other localities. We shall not know for certain who the Indus river folk were until we find a clue to the writing on the seals, but apparently they were invaders from Iraq, probably akin to the ancient Sumerians, who settled down and intermarried with the earlier inhabitants. They may be of the same stock as the Dravidians now inhabiting Southern India. Others have identified them with the Dasyus who were opponents of the Indo-Aryans, as the Vedas inform us.

Variety of races in India. How far the existing peoples of India are descended from the ancient men who used stone and copper tools nobody can tell. The most casual observer cannot fail to perceive that the present population of nearly four hundred millions is made up of the descendants of many diverse races, some of which have been settled in the country since the most remote times, while others are known to have entered it at various periods. In the course of ages those diverse races have ‘now become so intermixed and confounded that it is impossible to say where one variety of man ends and another begins’.

Two main types. But, notwithstanding infinite crossing, two main types are clearly discernible. The short, dark, snub-nosed, and often ugly type is represented by the Kols, Bhils, and countless other jungle tribes, as well as by an immense mass of low-caste folk in Northern India. The Southern races also, with certain exceptions, are more akin to this type than to the second, which is tall, fair, long-nosed, and often handsome, as represented by the Kashmiris and many high-caste people in the north and some in the south. [Sanjeev: there can hardly any statement more racist than this!]

Aryans and ‘aborigines’. The people of the short, dark type undoubtedly are the descendants of the older races who occupied the country before the tall, fair people came in. They are, therefore, often called aborigines to indicate that they represent the earliest or original inhabitants, so far as can be ascertained. Attempts, based chiefly upon philology, or the science of language, are sometimes made to distinguish races—Kolarian, Dravidian, and so forth—among these aborigines but with little success. The tall, fair people certainly came in from the north-west, and the earliest invaders of whom we know anything, the people of the Rigveda hymns, called themselves Arya, or kinsmen. Their blood may be assumed to flow in the veins of certain Brahmins and other classes at the present day, but it is mixed with strains derived from later invaders of similar physical type. The question of the original seat of the Aryan stock, one branch of which entered India from about 1500 B.C. or earlier, has given rise to many theories, which agree only in not being proved. It is, however, safe to say that the Aryan settlers in India were akin to the Persians or Iranians, and probably to many other races of Asia and Europe.

Indo-Aryans. These Aryan settlers in India are conveniently called Indo-Aryans to distinguish them from the continental Aryans on the other side of the passes. The Parsi or Persian colonies, whose ancestors, fleeing from Mohammedan persecution, reached Western India in the eighth century, may be regarded as Aryans of pure blood. The earliest settlements of the Vedic Indo-Aryans apparently were made in the Panjab, the ‘land of the five rivers’, or ‘of the seven rivers’, according to an ancient reckoning. Thence the strangers spread slowly over Northern India, advancing chiefly along the Ganges and Jumna, but making use also of the Indus route. One section seems to have moved eastwards along the base of the mountains into Mithili or Tirhut.

The distinctive Brahminical system was evolved, not in the Panjab, but in the upper Ganges valley in the Delhi region, between the Sutlaj and Jumna. Manu honours the small tract between the Sarasvati and Drishadvati rivers by the title of Brahmavarta, ‘the land of the gods’, giving the name of Brahmarshidesa, or ‘the land of divine sages’, to the larger region comprising Brahmavarta or Kurukehetra (Thanesar), with the addition of Matsya (Eastern Rajputana), Panchala (between the Ganges and Jumna), and Surasena (Mathura). When the treatise ascribed to Manu assumed its present shape, perhaps about 200 or earlier, the whole space between the Himalayas and the Vindhyas from sea to sea was acknowledged to be Aryvarta, the Aryan territory. The Indo-Aryan advance thus indicated must have been spread over many centuries. As they advanced the Aryans subdued, more or less completely, the ‘aborigines’, whom they called Dasyus or Dasas (slaves).

Southern expansion of the Indo-Aryans checked. The central forest barrier, or Mahakantara (ante, p. 4), long checked the Aryan advance towards the south, and, indeed, no large body of Aryan settlers can be proved to have passed it. But, in course of time, the ideas and customs of the Aryans spread all over India, even into lands where the people have little or no Aryan blood in their veins. Tradition credits the rishi Agastya with the introduction of Aryan Hindu institutions into the South.

Aryan languages. The Indo-Aryans spoke a language which in a later literary form became known as Sanskrit, and belonged to the same family as Persian, Latin, Greek, English, and many other Asiatic and European languages. From the early Indo-Aryan speech, Marathi, Hindi, Bengali, and other languages of Northern India have been evolved during the course of ages. But multitudes of people who are not Aryan by descent now speak Aryan languages. Community of language is no proof of community of blood.

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