OPEN LETTER TO DALAI LAMA
Reverend Dalai Lama,
Greetings to you
I intend to write this letter to you, after reading your exclusive interview cum opinion which has been published under the title, ‘For Tibetans, India is our Aryabhoomi’ with the notation, ‘Giving up the idea of an independent Tibet, the Dalai Lama talks of peace, democracy and self-rule’ in the English daily, ‘The Hindu’ on 17th June 2016.
You have given your opinion briefly on all the FOUR areas, raised. Since 1959 you have secured asylum in India and was given patronage by the Government of India, unmindful of the criticism from the neighbouring country, China. The neighbour’s criticism went to the level of aggressive war between India and China at the instance of the latter. From then onwards India stood by its original decision of patronizing you despite many changes in the political parties / alliances ruling this country as per the electoral mandates of the people of the country at different periods of time. Till date India did not regret or utter even a word of displeasure on patronizing you ideologically.
There may be changes in the stand taken on the identity of Tibet and its population by you after you exit Tibet. From the beginning of your exile in India till date, the changes spelt out from your side are responsive to the proclamation and the political stand taken from the side of China, which still stakes claim for Tibet as its integral territory. Living in exile in India for most part of your active life, we were hopeful that you would be aware of the correct composition of India as a country. But the very title of your opinion column as, ‘For Tibetans, India is our Aryabhoomi’, reveals some gap in understanding its pluralistic culture on racial, linguistic fronts.
You are the only known global leader of Buddhism-followers organizationally, which Gowthama Buddha founded as a rationalist way of life, opposing and blasting out the then dominant invasive culture that intruded from Central Asia to India. The inheritors of such nomadic culture have protected it with all sorts of tactics because of which their philosophical legacy is branded as Aryan by renowned historians both inland and abroad.
Dr. K.M.Munshi points out in his Foreword to the Volume No.1 of ‘The History and Culture of the Indian People’,
“….. the barbarian inroads from Central Asia rendered all indigenous efforts at consolidation unfruitful.” (page 10)
We would like to point out that Buddha fought valiantly against Aryan culture of rituals, animal sacrifice etc. through his rationalist propaganda with his team of disciples, devoid of any violence. Buddha’s humanist philosophy was preferred by the oppressed sections of the society who were the victims of dominant Aryan cultural practices during vedic period. Buddha’s efforts brought out magnificent changes in the social system with the patronage of different ruling monarchs of his period and later with the real wisdom of Buddha’s preaching.
When the team work of propaganda got institutionalized, Buddhism became vulnerable for being identified as religion. From the original form of the rationalist propaganda as a way of life to wipe out all the woes of human life, Buddhism got transformed into religion, making the country of his birth, the present India vulnerable in getting identified as ‘Aryabhoomi’ as pointed by you in the cited opinion column. The subsided Aryan culture raised its oppressive and dominant tentacles with all sorts of advocacy of inclusion and at the same time sustaining its exclusive core of sanatanic dharma i.e. division and discrimination of people.
Hitting on other, without the person hit being aware of it, is the unique trait of Aryan culture. The tactful deed of hitting is signified with the vital components of appreciation, acceptance and assimilation of the opponent’s views. It is something like slow poisoning leading to ultimate killing of cultures other than Aryan. In the entire prolonged exercise no one could find out the cause of death, even not interested to initiate efforts for the search. Buddhism was sent out from the original land of its birth by the invaded Aryan culture, deceptively claiming itself as indigenous. Still the dominant culture endures but in variance which is not visible even to knowledgeable people who are not aware of their self ascendance in social, economic or political ladders against the will of the vedic culture, the so called precious Aryan culture.
The word ‘Aryabhoomi’ in whatever sense you have mentioned is not in harmony with the present composition of plural human races – Aryans, Dravidians and Mangoloids. (of course, Tibetans belong to the Mangoloid) for the formation of integral India after its independence from the Britishers in August 1947.
Prof. S.K.Chatterji in his ‘Race Movements and Prehistoric Culture’ in Volume I of the book The History and Culture of Indian People, says
“The view, adopted in official publications and accepted very largely both in India and outside India without any questioning, divided the people of India…. into seven broad groups, labeled as Mongoloid, Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Mongolo-Dravidian, Aryo-Dravidian, Seytho-Dravidian and Turko-Iranian. An Indian anthropologist like the late Rama Prasad Chanda made a more systematized essay based on both anthropometric data and early tradition as preserved in ancient Indian Literature towards a determination of the various racial elements in India.” (page 143)
Looking beyond the then prevailing racial segregations, Buddha visualized all of them as humans and his philosophy still holds good, even beyond the boundaries of these races. The very foundation of the rationalist philosophy by Buddha meant for equality among all the humans as a way of life and never as a religion. Later the Buddhist movement acquired religious tinge to the present level of getting branded as separate religion. Because of its religious identity, the rationalist principles of Buddha got diluted enormously. You also have exposed the set back of Buddhism as a religion in the worship of Buddha during the visit of Buddhist pilgrims to Bodh Gaya thus:
“When Buddhists go to Bodh Gaya, they collect the leaves of the Bodhi tree and sometimes even the bird droppings (laugh).”
You are unable to accept the superstitious practices of the Buddhists visiting Bodh Gaya.
During the days of Buddha, the present territorial integrity of India was not even dreamt of. When you say, ‘For Tibetans’, you mean ‘For the Buddhist’, ‘India is our…. you mean the present territory within the boundaries of democratic republic of India.
The present Indian polity is composed of many races besides Aryans. Buddhist principles were accepted by many kingdoms starting from the Mauryan dynasty. The political patronage of such kingdoms was very much advantageous for the propagation of Buddhist principles.
The explicit truth found in your opinion is ‘The Buddhists don’t believe in God’. There were people in the deep south of India who were non believers of god but restricted their belief only to the level of paying respects to their fore fathers. Such people habited in the south prior to Buddha’s birth and even prior to the arrival of Aryans. These people practised and inherited a unique culture of social harmony and peace. Later, in these southern territories, the preaching of Buddhist philosophy was compatible very much with their humanist culture which prevailed then. Without any committed patronage from the small kingdoms who ruled then, Buddhist philosophy flourished on well in the South. Many literatures were recited, reflecting the Buddhist ideology in Dravidian languages spoken by the southern populace. The culture and language of those people were completely different from the Aryan languages spoken at present in the Northern territory with their parental root to Sanskrit language which was never spoken widely by people at any point of time.
R.C.Majumdhar, Ex Vice-Chancellor and Professor of History, Dacca University in his Chapter on ‘Sources of Indian History’ in Volume No.1, ‘The Vedic Age’ of the book, ‘The History and Culture of the Indian People’ says,
“If we analyse, for example, the 1500 or more inscriptions prior to the Gupta age (319 – 550 CE) that have so far come to light, we find and overwhelming large number – more than 95 per cent – written in Prakrit and concerned with non-Brahminical religious sects, mainly Buddhist and Jain”. (page 56)
The Buddhist preaching became integral to the ancient literatures of Tamil, the mother of all Dravidian languages, like Tirukkural, Naladiyar, Pazhamozhi, Tri Kadugam, Naanmani Kadigai, Ealathi, etc.
A distinct culture existed prior to the arrival of Aryans from Central Asia. This has been aptly proved by historians while describing the territorial jurisdiction of the then ruling kingdoms belongings to various dynasties. The renowned historian Prof. K.A.Nilakanta Sastri, documented in ‘A History of South India – From Pre historic Times to the Fall of Vijayanagar’, thus:
“…. starting somewhere about 1000 BCE, the movement of the Aryans into the South proceeded more or less steadily and peacefully and has reached its completion sometime before the establishment of the Mauryan empire which included in its fold all India except the extreme South”. (Page 63)
“… While the organization of Northern India had become complete, little progress had been made beyond the Vindhyas; only one settled Aryan kingdom was known, Vidurbha, and the rest of the South was peopled by pre-Aryan inhabitants.”
Following the scholarly evidences of renowned historians, the former President of India Pranab Mukherjee focused on the multi racial identity of the people of the present India in his speech delivered during his controversial visit to the head quarters of RSS at Nagpur thus:
“It is the ‘Perennial Universalism’ of 1.3 billion people who use more than 122 languages and 1600 dialects in their everyday lives, practice 7 major religions, belong to 3 major ethnic groups- Aryans, Mongoloids, and Dravidians live under one system.”
The Dravidian racial identity at large in deep South of India starting from Mauryan empire period to the present day and in its mixed form in rest of the country could have been reckoned by the Reverend Dalai Lama while offering his opinion as ‘Aryabhoomi’.
The Dravidian identity of the part of India’s population was laid stress at commoner level and in order to liberate the Dravidians from the enslaved position, entangled in social clutches due to the hegemony of Brahminical Aryan culture, the social revolutionary Periyar E.V.Ramasamy (1879-1973) founded an exclusive reform movement, Dravidar Kazhagam in the mid 20th century CE.
The social revolutionary Periyar E.V.R. endearingly called as Thanthai Periyar by the Dravidian population of the country has got many parallels to Buddha. Both of them founded their organizations on rationalistic principles. Both the revolutionaries fought for equality among humans devoid of any sort of discriminations based on birth. The propaganda styles of the both are devoid of violence and are on the lines of questioning what was listened to and arriving at conclusion based on reasoning. You have expressed in the published opinion thus:
“The Buddha himself once asked his followers not to accept his teachings out of faith or devotion, but only after thorough investigation.”
Periyar used to conclude his propaganda to the public in similar style. He used to appeal the audience to reject whatever he preached which were not convincing to the reasoning acumen of the respective individuals. Like Buddha, Periyar also transformed the political scenario of the territory viz. Tamil Nadu State with its substantial impact at all India level. In that way both Buddha and Periyar sought the path of propaganda to tell the people what they found true and ideal for the betterment of humanity.
As per the arguments and supportive deliberations and documents put forth by scholarly persons, it could easily be concluded that India is a country composed of many human races. The identity of India cannot be attributed to a single race viz. Aryans. So referring to India as ‘Aryabhoomi’ is contradictory to reality in respect of racial identity and also not in tune with the racial identity of Tibetans, hailing from Mangoloid stock.
‘Aryabhoomi’ does not signify racial identity alone but also proved historically the manner the particular race, Aryan race subjugated the rest in of the society with divisions perpetuated with birth based discriminations. It is not wise to identity India as ‘Aryabhoomi’.
A Liberated Draividian