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A History of Indians-Part 2: Dravidians

Constituting the majority of population in India before the second millennium, the evidence of early Dravidians comes from studying the Indo-Aryan culture, their languages, and all the eminent findings at sites like Mohenjodaro in Punjab and Harappa in Sind. They indicate a civilization as developed and rich as those of Mesopotamia and Sumeria. Dravidians were actually peace-loving farmers who were untrained in any kind of warfare. With a very sophisticated culture of their own, they used to worship all forms of life including herbs and plants. They were peaceful people who used to live on their land, worship the Earth and had a feminine culture, more concerned with harmony than with war. There is enough evidence to say that esoteric practices like Yoga and Meditation were also developed here.

Archaeological and linguistic studies suggest that Dravidian people had a dark complexion, dark or black eyes and hair and large foreheads. Theories also suggest that these people might have migrated from Africa and reached South India via the southern route about 50,000 years ago and stayed here because of the rivers and the abundance of fertile soil to sustain their livelihood.

Dravidians had an advanced city culture. Excavations from the 1920’s find specimens of craftsmanship that introduced to the world the Indus culture that existed 5,000 years ago. It was more ancient than the Aryans, who, as people believe, invaded India from central Asia in several waves around 1500 BCE. An ancient Hindu scripture, the Rig Veda, also indicates this destruction of the Harappan Civilisation. One view says that the Aryans targeted the dark-skinned race, a Dravidian feature, while the other view suggests that the culture was already disintegrating because of natural calamities like floods. People also claim that the Dravidians originally inhabited Northern India but with the immigration of the Aryans, they had to take shelter in the south which is why about 28% of Indians are Dravidians and reside in South India with any one of the Dravidian languages like Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada and Tulu as their main language.

There is a controversial link between the Harappan language and the Dravidians. While one theory holds that the Harappans used a sign language and not alphabetic as in Sanskrit, the other says that both of the languages are very similar to each other. There are inscriptions at Harappan sites that suggest a resemblance to the old Tamil that is spoken by Dravidians in southern India today.

While there are a large number of anthropologists who believe that the Dravidian peoples together were a distinct race, there are a small number of genetic studies that are based on uniparental markers and have challenged this view. Some researchers also suggest that both, the Dravidians and the Indo-Aryans are indigenous to the Indian Subcontinent, however, it has been rejected by most researchers since they believe that it is the Indo-Aryans who have immigrated to this land.

There are basically two clusters of genes in any South Asian person, or in other words, they are descendants from two cultures, Aryans and Dravidians, or as geneticists call them, ANI and ASI respectively. With the two being found in one, it becomes pretty clear that there must have been some kind of invasion or gene migration in the past. Now when the Aryans started immigrating, they mixed with the indigenous population of the land and hence gave rise to the two ancestral groups of people with a combination of ANI and ASI genes in proportions depending upon the geographical factors at large.

Modern-day theories have interpreted this union of completely opposite nature of the population to be symbolic of Yin and Yang. While the Aryans who are believed to be masculine and the harbinger of war, weapons and strategies, the Dravidians represent the conventionally calm and serene nature of the feminine culture. While the history is unclear and historians are unsure, the one thing an individual can be sure of is to understand the significance of finding harmony between the two and strike a balance.

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2 Comments

  1. Gopinath

    It’s one of the few good writeups I’ve read this month. Great work!!

  2. Harsh Mishra

    Really Insightful, with the history of fascism covered.

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