Sanskritic Imperialism and Hindicization

Tamil Tribune, July 2000 (ID.V10N07A02)

Hindi Imposition and Sanskrit Imperialism

Thanjai Nalankilli

1. Introduction

" Hindi imposition is the most visible sign of Hindian domination and control of the Government of India. The economic plunder of most non-Hindi states to the tune of billions of Rupees every year by way of transferring monies from many non-Hindi states into Hindi states through a complex system of central government (Indian government) taxation, fiscal grants and loans to states, price subsidies and price setting is less apparent to the public but they are serious and are to the detriment to most non-Hindi states. Most non-Hindi states would be much better off economically but for this plunder. This article looks at Hindi imposition, the way it came to be, and the forces behind it."

"Indian Union ... is not a Nation"

Tamil Tribune, July 2000 (ID.V10N07A02)

2. Origins of the "Indian Union"

"The "Indian Union" is the remnant of the artificial administrative unit created by the British colonial rulers. That administrative unit is not a nation or a country by any natural definition. It is a conglomeration of many nationalities that the British conquered one by one and consolidated into a single administrative unit for ease of governance. No administrative unit, country, nation or empire of this nature and geographical extent existed in the Indian Subcontinent before the British conquest."

"These Brahmin supremacists saw an opportunity to create a large Brahmin-ruled "Aryan nation" comprising the entire British administrative unit."

Tamil Tribune, July 2000 (ID.V10N07A02)

3. Indian Freedom Movement

" People of the Indian Subcontinent wanted freedom from the British rulers. Naturally the leaders of the freedom movement were some of the educated elite. This included Brahmins because they are some of the best educated in the subcontinent. Among them are some Brahmin supremacists. These Brahmin supremacists saw an opportunity to create a large Brahmin-ruled "Aryan nation" comprising the entire British administrative unit. While non-Aryans will have only a secondary role and status in the new nation, even Aryans like the Sikhs will be demoted to second class status. The new rule will be based on Vedas, Manu Smirti, etc. The dead Sanskrit language, which the Brahmins consider to be their father language, will be the national and official language even though less than 0.01% of the people know that language. (According to the 1991 census 49,736 out of the total Indian population of 838,583,988 people know Sanskrit). "

"Hindi speakers also fit the designs of Brahmin supremacists well because Hindi is close to Sanskrit and the Hindian elite could be convinced that they are of the Aryan stock."

Tamil Tribune, July 2000 (ID.V10N07A02)

4. Origins of Hindi Imposition

" In the same way as the "one nation" lie was spread among the populace in the heat of anti-colonial fervor, Brahmin supremacists were able to convince a few non-Brahmin educated elite in the "merit" of making Sanskrit the national/official language and bringing back the glory of "ancient India" (the imaginary "Indian nation" that never existed before the British colonial rule). But the Brahmin supremacists realized that they could not impose Sanskrit as the official language because there was not much support for it even among the leaders of the freedom movement. They were also not sure that the non-Brahmins would allow the creation of an Aryan nation based on Brahminic values of the Vedas, Upanishads, Gita, Varahamihira, Charaka and Susruta. Brahmins simply did not have the numerical strength to push through these programs. They needed a powerful ally to provide that numerical strength to push through these programs. They went back to the age-old tactic used by the small group of Aryans who came to India several millennia ago.

How did the small group of Aryans who came as strangers into the Indian Subcontinent establish themselves at the top of the hierarchy over and above the native people? The Aryans who came to the subcontinent were not warriors and conquest by force was not an option. They convinced the local kings, in the name of gods and religion, that people are divided into four classes; the Brahmins at the top, next the warriors (kings at the head of the warrior class), and then the business class and the workers. The kings found it a suitable system because it gave them the divine right to rule and subjugate the two lower classes (the vast majority of the populace). Thus the small number of Aryans (Brahmins) who came as strangers gained a superior status and good life in the new land.

The Brahmin supremacists in the Indian independence movement wanted to regain the superior status and good life for themselves after the British leave the subcontinent. They went back to the proven strategy of their ancestors. They needed a powerful ally. The independent India would be a democracy, not a monarchy. Whereas the favor of the kings counted in monarchies, as in the old days millennia ago, now it is the numbers that count in a democracy. So the Brahmin supremacists have to co-opt the group with the most numbers (the largest population group). Hindi speakers would be the largest single group in the subcontinent and so the Brahmin supremacists set out to co-opt them. Hindi speakers also fit the designs of Brahmin supremacists well because Hindi is close to Sanskrit and the Hindian elite could be convinced that they are of the Aryan stock.

Because of the many similarities between Sanskrit and Hindi (the latter does owe much to the former), the Brahmin supremacists would promote a Sanskritized form of Hindi as the national/official language of the post-colonial India. This was acceptable to Hindian politicians and Hindian population at large because it establishes Hindian supremacy over the other people of the new India and it also provides them certain economical advantages in terms of Indian Government jobs and education over the non-Hindi population.

As far the Brahmin supremacists are concerned, the ultimate goal is to elevate Sanskrit to the supreme state; they are willing to give Hindi the official language status in order to co-opt the numerical strength of the Hindi population. They made sure that the dead Sanskrit language, known less than 0.01% of the population was included in the 8-th Schedule of the Indian Constitution that lists the national languages of the new India, including Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, etc. Interestingly, languages like Nepali and Sindhi, which are spoken by 25 to 30 times as many as those who know Sanskrit, were not included in the 8-th schedule. (They were included years later after much agitation by those people.) It shows the power wielded by Sanskrit propagandists in the constituent assembly. They also saw to it that the constitution provided that Hindi (the official language) would be developed by drawing, wherever necessary, its vocabulary primarily from Sanskrit. Thus Sanskrit was pushed to the fore indirectly. Hindian leaders, who consider Sanskrit to be the mother of Hindi (with justification), had no objection to it. They are content that their language gets the official language status and they derive the benefits accruing from it.

Thus the Brahmin supremacists found their power base among Hindians. In the ancient days, when they came as strangers into the subcontinent, their supposed-forefathers, the Aryans, found their power base in the local kings by elevating them above everyone else but the Brahmins themselves. In the independent India they found their power base in Hindian politicians by elevating Hindi over all other languages except for Sanskrit.

" All India Radio broadcasts nationally a 15 minute news bulletin in Sanskrit everyday."

Tamil Tribune, July 2000 (ID.V10N07A02)

5. Sanskrit and the Indian Government

Government of India has taken many steps to promote the Sanskrit language, known to less than 0.01% of the population, at taxpayer expense. Behind these are the Brahmin supremacists and the Hindian politicians who dominate and control the Indian Government. Here are a few examples of Sanskrit imperialism and the arrogance of Brahmin supremacists.

5.1. Indian Constitution in Sanskrit

The Indian Constitution was originally written in English because it was the only language known to almost all members of the constituent assembly (Majority of members did not know Hindi). Then an official translation of the constitution was issued in Hindi. We have no objection to it as long as it was to be followed by translations in other languages. After all, it is good to have the constitution in one's mother tongue. It is reasonable that Hindi being spoken by the largest number of people (not a majority) gets the first translation. A few years later the Indian Government issued the second translation (no other translation was issued after this). Was the second translation in Bengali, spoken by the second largest group of people? That would be the logical choice. No. The second translation was in Sanskrit, known to less than 0.01% of the population. If this is not Brahmin supremacist arrogance, if this is not Sanskrit imperialism, what do you call this?

5.2. Sanskrit in All India Radio

All India Radio (Akashwani, they call it officially) is operated by the Government of India, supposedly for the benefit of the people of the Indian Union. This is the most widely distributed radio signal is India.

All India Radio broadcasts nationally a 15 minute news bulletin in Sanskrit everyday. Wherever you are in India, you can listen to the Sanskrit news bulletin everyday. What is the purpose of broadcasting a Sanskrit news bulletin nationally when no language other than English and Hindi have national news broadcasts? Why waste 15 minutes of radio time nationally to broadcast in Sanskrit known to less than 500,000 people out of the almost one billion people of India (1991 Census)? No national broadcast in Bengali that is understood by almost 70,000,000 people, no national broadcast in Telugu that is also understood by almost 70,000,000 people. Then why in Sanskrit? It is nothing but Brahmin supremacist arrogance; it is nothing but Sanskrit imperialism!

5.3. Tax-payer Monies for Sanskrit Development and Propagation

Indian Government spends large sums of monies in the form of scholarships to college and school students who study Sanskrit, to offer lucrative prizes to students who score high in Sanskrit, to organize Sanskrit Conferences, to honor Sanskrit scholars, to fund books in Sanskrit, to fund Sanskrit on the Internet, to provide grants for Sanskrit research, to finance a number Sanskrit colleges, to propagate the "glory" of Sanskrit in foreign countries, etc. No other language, with the exception of Hindi, receives such support. Indian Government spends more money on Sanskrit than the monies spend on all other languages put together (with the exception of Hindi).

5.4. Compulsory Sanskrit Instructions in Schools

In October 1998 the Indian Government mooted the idea of making Sanskrit a compulsory subject in schools. It could not, however, push through this proposal because the majority of schools are under state jurisdiction and there is not much enthusiasm to it in most states. Indian Government is already making efforts to take partial control of schools through Central Schools (Kendriya Vidhyalaya, as they call it) and the Central Board of Secondary Education (they both bypasses state government jurisdiction) and is also attempting to take charge of primary schools in some under-developed areas. Hindi is already compulsory in these schools and compulsory learning of Sanskrit will be introduced slowly.

Tamil Tribune, July 2000 (ID.V10N07A02)

6. Concluding Remarks

Brahmin supremacists cannot do much on their own because they are only a small fraction of the population. They get the power to carryout their activities through the numerical strength of Hindians who form the single largest linguistic group (not a majority, though). As long as there is this artificial nation called "Indian Union", Hindians will dominate and control the Indian Government and plunder the others through a complex scheme of central government (Indian government) taxation, fiscal grants and loans to states, price subsidies and price setting; and destroy all other cultures through Hindi imposition and Sanskrit imperialism. This Hindian/Brahmin-supremacist rule is the cause for uprisings in Kashmir, Punjab, Assam, Tripura, Mizoram, Nagaland, etc. and disenchantment in Tamil Nadu (which could soon lend itself to an uprising) and other non-Hindi states. The onnly way to end the rule of Hindians is to break up this artificial "Indian Union" to its natural constituents--the nations of Khalistan, Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram, etc.

by Nambi Oraon
Dalitstan Journal,
Volume 2, Issue 5, October 2000

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