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(Professor Karunanandham is explaining whether ‘From Volga to Ganga’, written by Rahul Sankrityayan, is a historical record.

He is answering the questions asked by a reader from the book 'From Volga to Ganga' in 'Kulukkai' youtube channel.)

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Rahul SankrityayanIn the book of ‘Rigvedik Arya’, it is mentioned that Gods waged wars against Asuras and names of Asura kings like Sambaran, Viruthinan, Namusi was mentioned. It also notes that how Asuras were killed in groups. In a portion of the book, “King Divodasa involves in war with Asura king Sambaran for about 40 years.

 It is said that the Asura king was killed in that arduous battle. They state that Asuras are unbeatable because they live in forts.

They thought that these forts could be demolished only through thunder and that’s why are yearning for the blessings of Lord Indra who is responsible for thunder. This is the reason behind the significance given to Indra.

Why is Indra remarkable? Because Indra’s weapon is ‘Vajrayudha’. Vajrayudha means thunder. They say, and if we brahmins apprise, the thunderbolt will strike, and all the forts would be demolished by the thunderbolt. They will relate even this mere coincidence to their mantra chanting and would state that thunder strike only because of them.

While narrating the war with the Asura King Sambaran, ‘it is asserted that women are fighting with swords in this Asura’s army’. Both Rahul Sankrityayan and the person who raised the question here are much worried about the subjugation of women. It would be appropriate to say that women were killed by Aryan kings than to say women took part in the war and died in battle.

There is no record of mercy shown to women in Rig Veda. They are trying to restore this void with creativity. Even Rig Veda is stating how Sambaran’s wife was killed by Aryans. Wasn’t it an opportunity for women to take part in war? Is it right that Asuras have only subjugation of women and prostitution? Prostitution is professed as the world’s oldest profession.

Prostitution had its own place in all civilizations. But there was no way to be present in nomadic civilization. They were very few in the count, and those who displace from place to place belonged to the same family. They even had circumstances where there was only one wife to many husbands.

Do you think this is alright? Even though it is not coming under prostitution, women were being subjugated to be in a relationship with several men without her consent. What kind of culture is this? There is no evidence of slave trade practiced by Asuras. I am not denying that there was no slave trade at all. Slavery existed more or less 5000 years ago.

It is stated in the book ‘Rigvedik Araya’ that “some Aryan kings after winning the battle, overpowered the defeated and made them their slaves.” Shudras are not featured in Rig Veda except its last part, tenth mandala.

But how is the word featured in rest of the mandalas? By denoting divisions such as demons, Asuras, Dhasyu, Krishna, Dasa, Yatsha, Kradha where there are no Aryans.

There is no term called ‘Shudras’ featured anywhere. The name ‘sutra’ would have emerged after the end of the Rig Vedic period or at the end of Rig Veda. After the permanent settlement of Aryans, the people of work division who were already inhibited there must work for Aryans. And people who worked for them were made ‘Shudras’ here. Shudras are not Aryans. Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vysyas come under Aryans, but Shudras are not Aryans.

All Aryans are not brahmins, but all brahmins might be Aryans. Those who know various kinds of works and crafts and who were compelled to work for Aryans belong to this fourth varna, ‘Shudras.’ This should be understood clearly. The book ‘From Lineage To State’ written by Romila Thapar speaks about the history of primordial Aryans.

These are only three subdivisions under Aryans in this book. That Aryan society was being called as ‘Vishvam’. The word Vysya has its root origin from the word ‘vish’. Vish means encompassing all society. Some of them were changing into pandits from vish or developing the skills and undertaking the chores of pandits. In order to govern and protect the battalion, Kshatriyas called ‘Rajanyas’ evolved. 

These three are the divisions of Aryans. They did not come here in crores and lakhs. They lived in small groups. Rig Veda itself is telling that only five groups of Aryans were powerful in the beginning.

Puru, Druhyu, Tritsu, Turvasa, Yadhu were the five groups present in the beginning. There will be ten families in one residence, and they belong to a joint family. They follow patriarchal lineage. This ten-family setup is being transformed into a village. And ten villages are together called as ‘Kopa’.

And ten Kopas are joined to form a ‘Rashtra’. They would suffice in villages mostly. The leader of that village was called ‘Gramica or Gramini’. And the leader of those families lived there was called ‘Kulapa, Kulapadhi’. This is their internal division.

How can they proclaim that they wished for independent administration in this small setting? Speaking of independence and slavery within this small setting sounds absurd. Their economy is only based on grazing cattle. Then how will this become the highest setting? Rahul calls this kind of setting as democracy in the book ‘From Volga to the Ganga’. But he is not telling the same in his book ‘Rigvedik Araya’ which was his collection of historical records.

What is mean by democracy? For example, people who live in the mountains even today, will gather together with all their families and sort out the issue if any indifference arises among them. Same way Aryans solved the problems aroused among them, but this would not work out after evolving into a civilization.

The book, ‘Rigvedik Araya’ mentions two types of setting, Sabash, Samiti. King can be chosen, and they can even dethrone the king if they want. And all the people were not involved in choosing the king. These are mere assumptions, not affirmation.

The king can be addressed as King or father in this small setting. How can you compare this small setting with a town civilization? that to a civilization which was spread across the Himalayas to the Arabian sea. This entire setting would change to rule a larger division. It is unjust to compare a civilization to nomadic tribes.

Asuras are inferior to Aryans. Is this argument, right? Aryans used myriad ways to defeat Asuras was history. Even Puranas are written based on this. How did Mohini Avatar come into existence? Who sent women to divide Asuras? Even Aryans went as Purohits to Asuras! Purohits existed in all civilizations.

Purohitham was sustained only in India from then to now in world history. It’s not in any other country and religion. Purohits will come interchangeably from different societies.

But here, Purohitham is confined into a small group. Sumerian king Nebuchadrezzar put forth social discipline. Whereas in Egypt, Pharoah propounded social discipline. In foreign countries, frameworks of social discipline were laid by kings, but only in India, discipline was propagated by Purohit groups.

Did kings create smritis? Smriti’s was created by Purohits, so-called brahmins. Which of the Dravidian literature speaks about caste? Else caste is justified even today by the literature of which language? Isn’t it Sanskrit? So, is it Dravidian’s who created caste? Caste is created based on birth. It is brahmin literature which states that one cannot change his caste even though he wished to change.

Who gave all these existing smritis? What is the record for these smritis? There are four varnas; and four varnas were to be protected is what smritis. As this would unfurl the crookedness of brahmins, they made this to tell through Krishnan, a ‘Sudra kshatriya’. Krishnan was sudra when he was grazing cattle.

He becomes a Kshatriya when he captures Mathurapuri and ascends the throne. Fairness of varna was being told through uprooted Kshatriya, Krishnan. They also made to tell through Ramayana and Mahabharata. But smritis were structured by brahmins. They created Puranas and Geetha in order to strengthen this.

Even today, the caste system was the reason for the fall of Dravidians. It was not created by Dravidians rather inculcated by brahmins. I am not saying this, but Rahul Sankrityayan who wrote ‘From Volga to the Ganga’ tells in his book ‘Rigvedik Araya’ with proof. In page number 235, “he tells that brahmins disassembled people of this country into small castes which cannot be assembled together any further.” He proclaims that caste is created by brahmins through the brahmins Dhurmugan, Dharmakeerti.

He is stating this several times and even through sage Vshishta and Vishwamithra. Its general that caste was created by Aryans. That, too specifically, brahmins. Inexpensive works of Sudras was an ease to Kshatriyas. This created cooperation between brahmins and Kshatriyas. But Rahul Sankriyayan accuses the blame on Kshatriyas in his book ‘From Volga to the Ganga’.

(to be continued)

- Prof. Karunanandham

Translated by Maruvarthini. P

(This article was published in Tamil Magazine 'Puratchi Periyar Muzhakkam', January 2021)


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