அறிஞர் அண்ணாவின் கட்டுரைகள்

Epistles To the eminent [1]

Chief Justice
P.V. Rajamannar, Madras.

Most learned sir,
It is indeed with much terpidation that I pen this epistle— for you are not accustomed to recieve epistles from Lilliputian nor am I well versed enough in the art of cajoling those placed in very high places. In fact I would not have dared to address you as you are on a summit—had you not condescended to talk about matters, that concern the ordinary ! (like my poor self)

In fact, eminent men do not take the trouble of probing into the matters, in which the plebeians are actively interested—for one who is in the habit of handling gold, cannot be expected to take a hand at clay, even for the sake of a hobby, possibly !!

But somehow, your good-self, came from the high pedestal, to talk about the problem that is now the talk of the people, the Aryan-Dravidian question.

Let me at the very outset, pay my humble tribute for your, your condescension. Immersed, as you are, in the volumes of Law of various times and climes, it is to be wondered of course, how you were able to find time enough to think and talk about such topics of lesser importance, (from the point of view of eminent men like your good-self.)

But having had your say on this matter, pray permit me to pen my thoughts—for your perusal.

There seems to be a sneer almost, in your 'padsha-like' disposal of a case—which by the way was not brought before your august presence for trial and judgment.

This Aryan—Dravidian question, which you had had the pleasure of mentioning during one of your discourses in the city of Madras, is not a stray scholastic problem spot-lighted for the sake of demonstration of one's ability and academic eminence, but is one intimately connected with a movement which has for its bedrock, what historians term as the trinity—equality, liberty and fraternity.

Many—including poor me—would have appreciated, had you analysed this background before probing into the pro and cons of this problem—for it has been the rage of politicians and scholars alike for more than two decades.

To brush aside the argument advanced by men for over two decades, in one sweeping sentence, is neither fair, nor would it be rendering justice to the problem and to the public interested in the problem.

There is today no pure Aryan, nor pure Dravidian!—seems to be the verdict given by your good-self and I dare say, many who heard this would have winked and smiled,—in appreciation.

May I ask in all humility, who is that unlettered individual, who asked your goodself or anybody for the matter of that, to swear and say that there are Aryans and Dravidians—pure or impure!

It needs neither courage nor scholarly eminence to beat a dead horse they say—and if your good-self would permit me to borrow a bit from the language with which you are well versed, why should one indulge in "suppressio veri and suggestio falsi!"

Nobody today says that the races have kept their purity and pristine individuality.

But, the problem is not that—it is purely a problem of culture. And to by-pass that by just pronouncing that none today can be classified as Aryan or Dravidian, in the original sense of the term, is neither good logic nor a fruitful way of solving a problem.

Is there or is there not, two set of cultures—the Aryan and the Dravidian even today—there may be and there certainly is mutilation, mutual adjustments—but despite that, are there not two distinctly different cultures that bear the names Aryan and Dravidian?

Have we not to this day, this classification in almost all fields of life ?

Do we not say that Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kanarese are of the Dravidian stock and Sanskrit, the Aryan stock ? And is it not equally true that there has been fusion to some extent of these two languages and in spite of that, do we not classify Tamil as a Dravidian dialect ? And why ? We talk about Dravidian architecture—Dravidian philosophy—and all the while know, that there has been no fusion of ideas at all.

The truth to be accepted is this—that in spite of mutilation and even fusion to a lesser or greater degree, the distinction is there clearly to be seen by those whose vision is not blurred, and whose search for truth is not vitiated by considerations of self.

It is not a new thing to say, that the ethnic difference of the Aryan and Dravidian is to a great extent unreal as far as the present day is considered. The problem today is not to have a blood-test—it is not physiology that is to be the criterion—it is psychology ! What is the thought that pervades the deed—that is the criterion—that is the acid test to determine which needs be advocated and advanced. This demands a sincere attempt at analysing the moods and deeds of the millions and stray scholastic spitfires are of no use. Sound and fury signify nothing.

Pray, let me be enlightened on this point. Why is it, that despite multifarious activities, even men of your eminence are attracted now-a-days towards this problem? It is assuming a proportion and shape, that cannot be ignored even by eminent men! If so, what is it, that has given a new vitality, as it were, to this age-old problem?

Surely, the public are evincing such a keen interest today about this problem, that it has found its way into your abode crossing the corridors of the Mansion wherein your goodself is majestically enthroned. And having attained such a dimension and position of importance, one cannot possibly, even if he desires, dismiss it with a wave of one hand—with a single sweeping statement! Even fancies refuse to take to a flight, and this problem is neither a fancy nor a fiction.

Permit me to point out that long long before your good-self thought it necessary to enlighten the public about the non-existence of a pure Dravidian and Aryan race, Max-Muller, the advocate of the Aryan way of thought and life, said it with an emphasis which none can enhance.

"I have declared again and gain" says this German scholar "that if I say Aryans I mean neither blood nor bones nor hair nor skull. I mean simply those who speak an Aryan language"

And may I point out Sir, why Max-Muller, presents this explanation with almost as anger—for mark his words "again and again"? It is because there were a good many men here, who claimed that they were Aryans—pure, unadulterated and they were pressing this claim with such vigour and vehemence and to the detriment of the masses, that Max-Muller was forced to come out with this explanation.

And, students interested in this problem have read with pleasure and profit this explanation from Max-Muller, long long before your good-self came forward to depict what you possibly considered as a new dictum.

Culture—in its broadest sense—is something to denote, those traits inherent in every nation of the world, even in the most primitive.

"We use it for the entire complex of all the ways and expressions of life which characterise any one nation."

I have had the courage to give this definition about culture, because it is from a scholar whose eminence is not to be doubted even by those placed in eminent positions. Having given this definition about culture, am I wrong, if I say that measured by this yardstick, anybody adept in that art, can discern the difference between Aryan and the Dravidian traits?

Even to talk about fusion, let me borrow the language of the law courts a bit, is not the whole truth but a part of it.

"Southern India especially the Tamil speaking area, at least upto the period of Pallava ascendeny was not the scene of an ethnic, linguistic, religious, cultural, interfusion of Dravidian elements the like of which was vigorous and active in the land roughly north of the Vindhyas"

As the above-mentioned quotation is from the scholarly journal 'tamil culture'—unblemished by party politics—I am sure, that I can request you to bestow your scholarly thought over what is expressed in those lines. These lines were written not out of spite nor to decry anybody or any thought but solely with a view to educate those who are not well-informed on the delightful but difficult subject.

Having taken some small interest at least, about this subject, may I request your good-self, to probe further in this matter, to find out the underlying truth behind the "debates ranging for two decades"—so that the land and the people might be benefited.

There should be a thorough analysis of these two cultures—carefully sifting the alien elements in them and then there should be an inpartial evaluation, so that the people of our State, can get what is their due, and better their future prospects.

For let me be permitted to remind your good-self—that this is no dead and cold problem now but one intimately connected with a live political organisation which works for the resurrection of a nation!

There is a false assumption that the historic process in India is one of progressive Aryanisation of the Indian Peninsula!

This myth is now being slowly exploded, thanks to the effects of those who took a thankless job, as it were.

It is up to men of eminence, to work towards this end—at least after well earned rest —for, the issue is being clouded, either by indifference or wanton misdirection.

I quote again "Tamil culture" with pleasure and confidence.

"The Central Government has not been liberal either in its outlook and in its attitude towards the study of the cultural heritage of the South. Its interest in these matters somehow halts with Sanskrit and Hindi"

I am aware, Sir, of your advocacy for a more vigorous research in this field— though you are expecting just the contrary of what I do expect, as a result of such a research. But let us not count the chicken even before we get the hen! The lethargy of the Central government, pointed out, is not an accident, For, this same government is interested very much, in re-building the History of India!!

and a host of other illustrious centres remain today as closed books, and the Archeological Department under the aegis of the Central government thinks that Dhandakaranya should be given attention to, but forgets that the "three kings" of Tamilagam have left a legacy, that lie buried and hidden, underneath many and mount and moat.

If this is mere indifference, it is regrettable; but on further analysis, we find, that this seems to be a calculated plan to seal up the legacy of the South altogether. For what else can this be when we find that in the first two volumes about the "History and Culture of the Indian People" prepared under the directions of Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan—the prime personality behind which is Mr.Munshi—
"We regret to state the first two volumes are disproportionately emphatic on the contribution of the Aryans and grossly laconic about the Non-Aryan peoples that form the basis of the earliest Indian History and Indian Culture"

And, what Sir, is your verdict, now?

There is indifference, calculated and mischievous on the one hand, vilification and vituperation along with that, and as if adding insult to injury we find, Sir, men of your eminence, brushing aside the basic truth with a non-chalance which is unbecoming of your high station in life and attainment in scholarly activities.

Sir, let me marshall out all the courage at my command to remind you, that you owe an explanation to the people, especially those who are actively engaged in the task of resurrecting a land and the people inhabiting it—for your verdict, framed in all haste, without taking into consideration all the available, relevant facts.