Thoughts on economics and liberty

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works of the late Dr V. A. Smith, the pioneer of Indian studies, are now, both in point of fact and in general outlook, out of date, and the whole subject requires to be re-stated.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.

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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