Excerpted with permission from Malhotra, Rajiv and Aravindan Neelakandan, “Breaking India: Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines,” Amaryllis Publishers, Delhi, 2011
Chapter: 9- Propagation of ‘Dravidian’ Christianity
Sections: 2000: Seminar on ‘Dravidian Religion to Eradicate Casteism’ , 2001: India Declared the Mother of International Racism, 2004: ‘India is a Dravidian Christian Nation, and Christians Made Sanskrit’
Footnotes and Bibliography included
Chapter 9: Propagation of ‘Dravidian’ Christianity
Since 2000, the St Thomas Dravidian Christianity hoax has been taken to the public square of Tamil Nadu and has received support from international forces that are tangibly hostile to India. This chapter traces this development through a series of conferences that served to forge close collaborations between India-based and foreign-based interests. Fig. 9.1 shows the major milestones these collaborations have achieved thus far, which are as follows:
• All caste problems in Tamil Nadu were blamed on a Brahmin-Aryan conspiracy and Dravidian Christianity was offered as the solution.
• Once caste was explicitly conflated with race, proponents of Dravidian Christianity wrote to the Durban anti-racism conference that India was the mother of international racism.
• Propaganda materials were published declaring India as a Dravidian Christian nation.
• American evangelicals began to exploit the opportunity to evangelize the Tamil diaspora by establishing a positive association between the Dravidian identity and Christianity.
• Conferences in 2007 and 2008 went several steps further by claiming that Dravidian mysticism, literature, sculpture, and dance were really manifestations of Christianity and were rooted in the work of St Thomas.
These developments will be elaborated in this chapter.
2000: Seminar on ‘Dravidian Religion to Eradicate Casteism’
The Institute of Asian Studies under John Samuel has transformed itself into a nodal point for promoting Deivanayagam’s thesis. In 2000, Deivanayagam and the Institute organized a seminar in Chennai with an innocent-sounding goal: How to eradicate caste and religious clashes in India, and restore India’s peace and social harmony. It was heavily attended by Dravidianist political leaders and served as a watershed event to cement the relationship between Dravidianism and Christianity. The seminar ended with a declaration that may be summarized as follows:
1) Dravidians should realize their historical greatness if they want to free themselves from the ongoing Aryan oppression. They should shed off their inferiority complex by realizing their universal spiritual excellence, which can be traced through historic evidence.
2) When Dravidians are called upon to declare their religion, they should opt to declare it as ‘Dravidian Religion’ or by some other acceptable term, which has a historic basis. They should shun Hinduism, which has been harmful for the great Dravidian identity[i].
2001: India Declared the Mother of International Racism
At the United Nations World Conference against ‘Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Intolerance,’ held in Durban, South Africa, activists continued to develop the theme that a conspiracy by Hinduism, Brahmins, and Aryans was responsible for virtually every social problem worldwide. Deivanayagam and his daughter Devakala distributed their book, titled International Racism is the Child of India’s Casteism. [ii]
. They explained their conclusions as follows:
• Sanskrit came after Christianity, and it was created by Dravidians (p.9). William Jones was fooled by the similarity between Sanskrit and Greek/Latin into thinking that it was ancient. (p.10)
• Thomas brought early Christianity to India, but the crafty Brahmins, particularly Adi Sankara, perverted it by introducing casteism into it. (p.15)
• Racism was originated by the Aryan Brahmins of India, and it penetrated Christianity, which was already under the control of White Europeans. This happened because the Europeans were made to believe that they were also Aryans by race. (p.14)
The conflation of Aryans and/or Brahmins with the Whites, and of Dravidians with the Blacks, has deepened and merged with the Afro-Dalit movement that conflates Dalits with Africans. The mission of this movement is to bring together Dravidians and Dalits, representing them as the oppressed ‘Blacks’ of India. This will be explained further in chapter twelve.
Deivanayagam’s book called on the UN to put an end to racism everywhere in the world. Though an altruistic demand, his methods primarily consist of a vicious attack on a core Hindu institution: the Shankara Mutts. These are monastries established in the ninth century CE by the legendary Shankara, a South Indian saint. Although these four Matts or religious institutions are located geographically in the four corners of India and are heralded as a symbol of India’s cultural unity, Deivanayagam attacked them as the historical source of all racism ‘throughout the world’, demanding their closure.
“To eradicate racism from the world, casteism should be removed from India. As casteism is linked with manipulated religious beliefs, hereditary privileges and rights given to religious heads i.e., Sankara Mutts should be removed. When hereditary privileges given to religious heads will be removed India’s casteism will be abolished. When casteism will be abolished from India, racism will be eradicated from the world. If this does not happen . . . it will not only maintain racism throughout the world, but also it will spread the cancer of casteism all over the world by manipulated religious beliefs and will destroy world peace.” [iii]
In another pamphlet, Deivanayagam explains that:
Aryan Brahmins captured the religions of the Dravidians, namely, Buddhism, Jainism and Vaishnavism. They took the monotheistic concept of Saivism and Vaishnavism from the Bhakthi movement of Tamil Nadu and twisted it into monism (I am God); thereby claiming that Brahmin is God. . . . The Brahmins established Sankara Mutts in the 9th century AD all over India to maintain racism and casteism . . . [iv]
2004: ‘India is a Dravidian Christian Nation, and Christians Made Sanskrit’
In 2004, Devakala published a 400-page guidebook for field missionaries and evangelical institutions, titled India is a Thomas-Dravidian Christian Nation . . . How? [v] The book is filled with hatred such as:
Dravidian rulers were cunningly cheated by Aryans through women, diabolic schemes, drugs, and denial of education. The idea of ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ was another evil atheist idea brought by Aryans. Originally Aham Brahmasmi meant ‘God is in me’ but Shankara cunningly twisted it as ‘I am God’. [vi]
The book makes some ridiculously misinformed claims in the question-answer section meant for training missionaries, such as:
Question: What is the period of Sanskrit?
Answer: Sanskrit belongs to 150 CE. It originated after Jesus.
Question: What seven languages form Sanskrit?
Answer: Tamil, Pali, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Persian and Aramaic.
Question: Who created Sanskrit language?
Answer: Thomas Christians created Sanskrit language. The purpose of Sanskrit was to help spread Christianity to other parts of India where Tamil was not spoken. [vii]
i (Tamil.Net 2000)
ii (Deivanayagam.M and Devakala.D 2001)
Citation: International Racism is the Child of India’s Casteism. Chennai: Dravidian Religion Trust, 2001.
iii (Deivanayagam.M and Devakala.D 2001, 23)
iv (Deivanayagam.M and Devakala.D 2003, 10-11)
v (Devakala.D 2004, 400)
Citation: Devakala.D. India is a Thomas-Dravidian Christian nation . . . How? : Manual for Evangelism (Tamil). Chennai: Meiporrul Publishers , 2004.
vi (Devakala.D 2004, 230-1)
vii (Devakala.D 2004, 255)