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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Hindu

இவ்வார The New York Review of Books வெளியீட்டில் இந்தியா சம்பந்தமான சில புத்தகங்கள் பற்றிய அறிமுக விமர்சனக் கட்டுரை ஒன்று வெளிவந்துள்ளது . அதில் 'இந்து' என்ற பதம் 19ம் நூற்றாண்டின் பின்னர் தான் இந்து மதத்தினரைச் சுட்டியது என்ற எழுதப்பட்டுள்ளது. இந்தக்கூற்றில் எனது நண்பருக்கு ஐயம் ஏற்பட்டுவிட்டது. எனது நண்பருக்காக கீழ்வரும் பந்தியை "இந்து, இந்தி, இந்தியா" என்ற எஸ்.வி.ராஜதுரை அவர்களின் நூலில் இருந்து ஆங்காங்கே சில வரிகளை எடுத்து மொழிபெயர்த்து அனுப்பி வைத்தேன். அவருக்கு எழுந்த சந்தேகம் தீர்ந்து விட்டது.

“Hindu”

As early as the 16 century, the Jesuits found that some words were common in Greek, Latin and in Sanskrit. In the 18th century, Sir William Jones argued that all these three languages must come from one ‘mother’ language. Wilhelm von Humbolt said that these three belong to the Indo-Germananic family of languages, and have a Sanskrit root. He praised the grammar of Sanskrit, and (mistakenly) thought that the culture of India is based on Sanskrit.

But the people of India had not called themselves Hindus. It was the British who, after the arrival of the East Indian Company, for convenience divided the people into Muslims and Non-Muslims. The non-Muslims were called Hindus. Up until the18th Century, the people of India had had several different communities and identities. Their territories, languages, the caste system, occupation, religions and sects determined their identity, and there wasn’t a collective term "Hindus", not even in the holy books of the Brahmins. During the 18th century, the Europeans started to study Sanskrit and some of the books were translated and published into European languages. The books chosen for translation were not selected by the Europeans, but by the Brahmins who were the Sanskrit teachers. For example, The Book of Manu was translated, but what is the content of the book? "The Brahmin are the superlative caste of India; Brahmanism is the cell of the Indian tradition", and so on.

At the beginning of the19th Century, the Hindu code was created for all Indians - with the help of the Brahmins. To formulate the Hindu code, The Book of Manu was the basic document. Here, for the first time, the definition of "Hindu" was given.
In the earlier history, the word “Hindu” was used to designate territory. The word "Hindu" was the name of the riverbank area of Sindhu. The Arab Al-Hindu referred to the people (not to a religion or culture) on the other side of the Sindhu River. The Arabs coming into India used the word “Hindu” to refer to the foreigners in the area.

(From: S.V.Rajadurai, Hindu,Hindi,India. India: Chennai, 1993. A free translation from Tamil by Sengkallusiththan.)

**** William Dalrymple, “India: the war over history” in The New York Review of Books,
7 April 2005, p. 65: “The word ‘Hindu’ was not used as a religious term until the nineteenth century” (p. 65).
Dalrymple also states that modern scholars “believe that there was no such people as ‘the Aryans,’ just tribes of ethnically diverse speakers of several related languages who migrated to India…” (p. 63).

****For a far more authoritative source, see Professor Romila Thapar, “Somanatha: the Many Voices of a History.” India: Penguin Books, 2004, p. 144: “[T]he original meaning of Hindu was an inhabitant of al-Hind, the land across the Indus as viewed from the west”

3 Kommentare:

  1. Thanks SengaLLu siththan,
    This is a fact that everyone who categorizes themslef as hindu must know. Though I did not have any documental evidence I used to argue against the myth of HINDU'ism as a Religion and as a social sect. You are info was helpful.
    The most imporatant fact is that they[as called as hindus] have totally lost their identity

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  2. Devendhira poopathy08 April, 2005 23:56

    View of the siddhan as supported by svr's documments is absolutly correct,furthur there are quite number of evidences has to be looked upon to come over such conclusion that the word HINDU is not in india before 19th century.while i am reading the book of "PURATHANA INTHIYA ENNUM 56 DESANINGAL" I have noticed the word of HINDU is as older as Eastern philosophy.

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  3. Dear Mr. Devendra Poopathy

    could you please let us know bit more about the book which you are reading now " puraathana inthiyaavin 56 theesangkaL"!

    ReplyDelete