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History and Theory 42 (May 2003), pp.169-195
© Wesleyan University 2003 ISSN: 0018-2656]
Now that “Orientalism” has become an academic buzzword,
it may be useful to recall its former meanings. From the mid eighteenth to the
late twentieth century, the term was applied to the study of the languages,
literatures and cultures of the Orient. In his 1978 book Orientalism,
Said’s theory has been criticized by scholars who
study oriental cultures – now referred to as Indologists, Sinologists, Asian
studies specialists, and so forth – on several counts. Many object to his
indiscriminate lumping together of different types of orientalism.
At one point in his presentation, Said does distinguish between what he calls latent orientalism, “an almost unconscious (and certainly an untouchable) positivity” of ideas about the Orient, and manifest orientalism, “the various stated views about Oriental society, languages, literatures, history, sociology, and so forth.” This allows him to acknowledge the possibility of varying expressions of Orientalism while retaining his core concept. For, he asserts, “whatever change occurs in knowledge of the Orient is found almost exclusively in manifest Orientalism; the unanimity, stability, and durability of latent orientalism is more or less constant.” The changes in the forms of manifest Orientalism are simply froth on the surface; the underlying truth of latent Orientalism is the same. If this is so, the paradox remains. The concept on which Said and his epigones base their critique of the essentializing of “the Orient” is itself an essential category.
Despite the criticisms leveled against Said by
specialists in the literature that comprises his material, his theory has gained currency
both inside and outside the academy, with the result that “Orientalism” is now
applied loosely to any unflattering Western attitude about the East. In what
follows I return to scholarly discourse properly speaking. Acknowledging the
utility of Said’s “Orientalism” as a critical tool, I enlarge and historicize
the concept by examining various forms of oriental knowledge. Said’s area of
interest was Middle Eastern orientalism, I confine myself to Indian. I begin by
distinguishing six “styles” of orientalist discourse about
Limitations of space prevent me from doing more
than identifying typical exponents of each style and citing illustrative
passages. This should be enough to serve my immediate purpose, which is to show
that there are many shades of orientalism. The next step is to show that the
exponents of these styles interact with one another in various ways. I
accomplish this by examining the life and works of the nationalist orientalist
Kamikagama (?seventh century)
Jones, Institutes of Hindu Law or
the Ordinances of Menu (1794);
Nivedita, Aggressive Hinduism (1905); Aurobindo, A Defence of Indian Culture (1918–21)
1947 to present
Thapar, Interpreting Early
1978 to present
c.1980 to present
Rajaram and Frawley, Vedic Aryans and the Origins of Civilisation (1995)
If the European idea of the Orient is a European
invention, the Orient itself is not. Even Said is obliged to “acknowledge it
1. Patronizing/Patronized Orientalism.
European visitors to
2. Romantic Orientalism.
British orientalism during the colonial period was obviously connected, if not
invariably complicit, with British imperialism.
Orientalism. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, educated
Indians began turning from the imitative Anglophilia of the previous generation
to a renewed interest in their own traditions. Around the same time the national
movement got off to a slow start. In this climate a nationalist style of
[p.175>] orientalism took root.
4. Critical Orientalism. Nationalist
scholarship was prominent during the years of the freedom movement (1905-1947)
and the first two decades after the achievement of independence. During the
fifties and sixties, historians trained in Western methods and working within
Western theoretical frameworks, began to produce empirical studies of all
5. Reductive Orientalism. As we have seen,
Saidian interpretations of orientalism and the Orient are themselves orientalist
discourses. As Ludden puts it, they inhabit “a place inside the history
Saidian treatments of Indian history and culture began to appear within a decade
of the publication of Orientalism. One of the first was
6. Reactionary Orientalism. In recent years
a loose grouping of scholars, many with degrees in scientific disciplines but
without training in historiography, have sought to restore
In my table, nationalist orientalism occupies a
pivotal place, midway between the precolonial and early colonial discourses on
one side and the three forms of postcolonial practice on the other. In this
section I examine the life of a nationalist writer, showing how his style of
orientalism emerged in a scholarly environment dominated by patronizing and
romantic orientalists and a political environment in which loyalism and moderate
dissent were giving way to extreme forms of nationalism.
Aurobindo’s father was a British-trained physician
who was active in local government in
We get a glimpse of Aurobindo’s attitude towards patronizing orientalism in a passage he wrote a decade later in reply to a passage in Müller’s preface to the Sacred Books of the East. “I confess it has been for many years a problem to me, aye, and to a great extent is so still,” Müller wrote, “how the Sacred Books of the [p.177>] East should, by the side of so much that is fresh, natural, simple, beautiful, and true, contain so much that is not only unmeaning, artificial and silly, but even hideous and repellent.” Aurobindo’s reply was ironic in the great tradition of British irony:
In India Aurobindo mastered Sanskrit and Bengali and began to translate literary classics – the poems of Vidyapati, portions of the Mahabharata and Ramayana, some works of Kalidasa – into elegant Victorian English. He also wrote essays on various Sanskrit authors, in some of which he twitted the opinions of European orientalists. “That accomplished scholar & litterateur Prof Wilson” – H. H. Wilson, first Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford – was, Aurobindo noted around 1900, “at pains to inform” his readers that the mad scene in Kalidasa’s Vikramorvasiyam was nothing to the mad scene in King Lear, but rather “a much tamer affair conformable to the mild, domestic & featureless Hindu character & the feebler pitch of Hindu poetic genius. The good Professor might have spared himself the trouble” since there was “no point of contact between the two dramas.” The European condemnation of Indian drama as sapless was “evidence not of a more vigorous critical mind but of a restricted critical sympathy.” “The true spirit of criticism,” he concluded, “is to seek in a literature what we can find in it of great or beautiful, not to demand from it what it does not seek to give us.”
Another habit of European scholars that got
Aurobindo’s hackles up was their tendency to trace Indian achievements back to
European, usually Greek, predecessors. Where Greek influence was evident, as in
the Gandharan school of sculpture, he condemned the work as inferior to “pure”
For all his
condemnation of European scholars, Aurobindo admired their textual scholarship
and made use of it in his own work. He wrote around 1902 that a student of
Gaudapada’s Karikas could not do better than to start with
“Deussen’s System of the Vedanta in one hand and any brief & popular exposition
of the six Darshanas [philosophical schools] in the other.”
But he felt that European academics could not grasp the full meaning of Indian
scriptures. This was due to an essential difference in mentality: the Indian
mind was “diffuse and comprehensive,” able to acquire “a [deeper] and truer view
of things in their totality”; the European mind, “compact and precise,” could
hope only for “a more accurate and practically serviceable conception of their
Situated between these two “minds,” he was in a position to mediate. His aim as
a scholar, as he saw it around this time, was “to present to
Aurobindo pursued this project between 1902 and
Struck by Aurobindo’s passage from
Nandy admits that his “use of the biographical
data” of his subjects is “partial, almost cavalier.”
As a result he makes some minor but significant errors in regard to Aurobindo
life. For a psychological analysis of a historical figure to be useful, the data
must be reliable and the analysis based on a non-reductive theory that takes the
subject’s personal and cultural values seriously. The following data seem
relevant to a study of Aurobindo’s style of orientalism. (1) He spent his
earliest years in a colonial environment in
What does this tell us about Aurobindo as an
orientalist? One thing that seems certain is that he resented the colonial way
of writing about the literatures, arts, religions and societies of
Indian nationalists’ assertions of cultural
difference or claims of cultural superiority are seen by recent political
philosophers as a reversal of the essentialist premises of colonial orientalism.
Among the topics Aurobindo touched on in his Indological writings are five problems that are still actively debated by students of Indian history: (1) the [p.181>] significance of the Vedas, (2) the date of the vedic texts, (3) the Aryan invasion theory, (4) the Aryan-Dravidian divide and (5) the idea that spirituality is the essence of India. In this section I sketch the outlines of these problems, and summarize Aurobindo’s solutions along with those of other orientalists of the colonial and postcolonial periods. Adopting his nationalistic approach as my primary point of reference, I show how his views took shape in a particular historical matrix (of which the biographical factors discussed in the previous section are only one strand) and how they have been criticized and in some cases appropriated by postcolonial writers. Disentangling what is of lasting value in his work from what belongs to his era, I show that both his critics and admirers miss out on his enduring contributions. If the views of other orientalists were subjected to a similar triage, it might be possible to approach the five problems, and others, with a better chance of finding satisfactory solutions.
In Hindu tradition, the hymns of the Vedas occupy an unusual place. On the one hand they are regarded as Divine Revelation, uncreated and the source of all truth. On the other, they are treated as crude sacrificial formulas, meant to propitiate gods who reward their worshippers with welfare, progeny, etc. Patronizing orientalists, interested only in the ritual interpretation, studied the Vedas as interesting relics of primitive humanity. Romantic orientalists gave their attention not to the hymns (the karmakanda or “action part” of the Vedas) but to the upanishads (the jnanakanda or “knowledge part”), which deal among other things with mystical knowledge. Aurobindo too was at first interested only in the upanishads, accepting passively the ritual interpretation of the hymns. Later he theorized that the hymns present, in symbolic form, the same knowledge that later was given intellectual expression in the upanishads. According to his theory, the hymns are concerned outwardly with gods and sacrifices but inwardly with the attainment of divine knowledge and bliss. Their language is deliberately equivocal, having at the same time a ritual and spiritual significance.
Incompletely worked out, mystical in intent,
Aurobindo’s theory has found few takers among academic orientalists. Dutch
Sanskritist Jan Gonda asserts that he goes “decidedly too far in assuming
symbolism and allegories”. Indian philosopher
Most critical scholars of the postcolonial period follow the lead of their patronizing predecessors in regarding the Vedas as documents of great historical and linguistic value but no literary or philosophical interest. At the other end of the spectrum, reactionary scholars see the Vedas as repositories of extraordinary wisdom, much of it in advance of modern science. Few of them have enough knowledge of Vedic Sanskrit to argue intelligently in favor of this hypothesis. For most the Vedas are just unchallengeable evidences of the antiquity and superiority of Indian culture. Reductive orientalists regard this sort of interest in the Vedas as an expression of a postcolonial nostalgia for origins, with worrisome applications to the reactionary project of imposing essentialist Hinduism on the Indian state.
Given the millennia that separate us from the texts, and the paucity of non-textual supporting materials, it is unlikely that we will ever know what the Vedas meant to their creators. Reactionary scholars rely on little but faith when they make their extraordinary claims. It is easy for critical scholars to undermine these assertions, but their own interpretations leave much to be desired. Like the readings of an art historian who knows everything about the provenance, iconography and formal structure of a quattrocento painting but nothing about Christianity, their work seems often to be an empty display of linguistic and historical virtuosity. Aurobindo’s theory accounts in principle for the historical as well as the spiritual sides of the texts, but in practice he gives almost all his attention to the latter. This omission is the primary weakness of his theory, which to be true must permit both an inward and an outward reading of every hymn.
Precolonial Indian scholars were for the most part
uninterested in the historical origin of the Vedas, regarding them as eternal
and uncreated. Traditional Indian [p.183>]
chronology, which deals in cycles of millions of years, is not much help in
placing the texts in a historical framework. Documentary Indian chronology
begins with the
Modern critical orientalists stand by their
colonial predecessors, placing the Rig Veda no earlier than 1900 bce and generally centuries later. They
offer linguistic and archaeological data to support this dating but admit that
they lack knock-down arguments, since the texts of the Vedas contain no sure
dating clues, and accurately dated artifacts cannot surely be correlated to the
texts. The one thing that might decide the matter is the decipherment of the
script of the Harappan Civilisation (“mature” phases c. 2600 to c. 1900
bce). First excavated in the 1920s, and so unknown to earlier
orientalists, this long-forgotten civilization has become an important
battlefield in the contemporary Indian culture wars. It is certain that the
Harappan people created one of the most extensive societies in ancient
Aurobindo never referred to the Harappan
Civilisation, which was excavated after he wrote his major works. He did
sometimes speak of an issue related to the Harappan puzzle: the question of the
Aryans’ homeland. Colonial orientalists theorized that Sanskrit, Greek, Latin,
etc. were all descended from an earlier language spoken by a distinct group of
people in a fairly compact homeland, who dispersed in various directions. These
people were formerly known as “Aryans.” Much scholarly ingenuity has been expended in the
search for their homeland, sites as disparate as
Aurobindo was unconvinced by the Aryan invasion
theory, pointing out that Indian tradition, including the texts of the Vedas,
makes “no actual mention of any such invasion.”
In one or two drafts not published during his lifetime, he said that the theory
was a “philological myth” foisted on the world by European scholars. He
suggested that this and other speculations be brushed aside in order to “make a
tabula rasa of all previous theories European or Indian [bearing on the meaning
of the Vedas] & come back to the actual text of the Veda for [p.185>] enlightenment.”
But when he came to publish his findings, he simply expressed doubt about the
Aryan invasion theory without denying the possibility that an “Aryan”-speaking
people may have entered the subcontinent from the north.
He sometimes spoke favorably of Tilak’s hypothesis that the Aryans dwelt
originally in the arctic region and later migrated to
Those who campaign against the Aryan-invasion theory are flogging a long-dead horse. Critical scholars abandoned it decades ago in favor of a theory that holds that speakers of Indo-Aryan (the presumed predecessor of Sanskrit) entered the subcontinent in one or more migrations. The relation between the different branches of the Indo-European family is linguistic; race does not enter into it. (This is a point Aurobindo insisted as early as 1912.) Critical scholars do maintain, however, that the linguistic distinction between Indo-Aryan and Dravidian languages is valid.
In the late nineteenth century, the distinction
between the Indo-Aryan languages of northern
When Aurobindo arrived in
Aurobindo’s philological research, preserved in
hundreds of pages of notes on Sanskrit, Latin, Greek, Tamil and other languages,
helped convince him that European comparative philology was overrated. He liked
to allude to a remark by
critical orientalists would agree with Aurobindo that the ethnological theories
of colonial scholars are politically suspect and scientifically worthless.
They would reject his idea that the Dravidian languages may have sprung from the
same protolanguage as Sanskrit.
Reactionary orientalists distort his views on this matter, turning his cautious
speculations into positive assertions and supporting their rejection of
historical linguistics by means of his misquotation of
When the culture of
Aurobindo agreed with Vivekananda that spirituality
was the essence of
In fact, Aurobindo claimed, the Indian spirit
comprised “an ingrained and dominant spirituality,” “an inexhaustible vital
creativeness,” and “a powerful, penetrating and scrupulous intelligence.”
In passages like this he seems practically to slip into the self-laudatory tone
of works like Sarda’s Hindu Superiority. Yet for all his “defence of Indian
culture” (the title of his main work on the subject) he was not blind to the
country’s limitations. He specifically condemned the “vulgar and unthinking
cultural Chauvinism which holds that whatever we have is good for us because it
is Indian or even that whatever is in
In the postcolonial period, critical historians
have tried to revise colonial depictions of Indian spiritual culture. The
results have often been iconoclastic, in part because many of the better writers
are Marxist or left-leaning. The reactionary orientalists’ reaction is against
this perceived attack on Indian spiritual values.
Reductive orientalists too have been hard on the romantic and nationalist views
of Indian spirituality. Some of them depict Aurobindo and other nationalist
writers as precursors of today’s reactionary scholarship as well as of Hindu
identity politics (Hindutva).
reductive writers go farther than
A serious investigation into the formation of
cultural ideas in
The principal claims of Said’s Orientalism
are that oriental scholars of the colonial period were all of a piece, and were
subservient to the political system that supported them. I have shown that there
are many styles of Indological scholarship, and that all of them reflect, in
various of ways, the political, social and intellectual concerns of their
authors. Patronizing orientalists took the
How is one to choose between these conflicting styles when examining a question of historical fact? It should be clear from my discussion of five problems of Indian historiography that the style of orientalism adopted by a given scholar neither guarantees nor precludes good results. What is important is the way the scholar collects and analyses the data and formulates conclusions. In other words, good scholars must practice the traditional scholarly virtues: gathering all available data, remaining open to new findings, drawing conclusions as dispassionately as possible. These virtues are not the monopoly of critical writers, just as their opposites are not the preserve of nationalists or reactionaries.
[p.191>] This is not
to say that the framework within which a scholar works has no effect on his or
her practice. Some sets of assumptions are too confining, others are too
amorphous; and all have a limited shelf-life. After a time it becomes necessary
to challenge the established framework, to look at the data from a radically
different angle of vision.
Such a challenge against the framework of traditional (mostly) European
orientalism has been mounted for a century or longer by (mostly) Indian
orientalists of different styles. Their approach varies greatly in accordance
with their preconceptions, but their common objective has been to shift the
center of the debate from
Chakrabarty writes about this project from a
(roughly) Marxist–Foucauldian standpoint, and this gives a postmodern and
“postcolonial” coloring to his presentation. But his aim, as distinct from his
theories and methods, is hardly new. Many scholars of the colonial period, and
many contemporary scholars with no sympathy for
Chakrabarty’s project is one of the most
sophisticated attempts to arrive at an Indian, or let us say a
not-exclusively-European way of looking at Indian history, but he builds on
foundations that were laid a hundred years ago. Many of his predecessors exhibit
great subtlety of thought and are not hobbled, like him, by an excessive
reliance on (European) figures like Heidegger and Marx who, taken at [p.192>] face value, seem to offer little support to
his thesis. I examine briefly one branch of this lineage, the nationalists of
nineteenth- and twentieth-century
Any survey of this style must begin with
Aurobindo expanded on this the following year: “If
the subject nation desires not a provincial existence and a maimed development
but the full, vigorous and noble realisation of its national existence, even a
change in the system of Government will not be enough; it must aim not only at a
national Government responsible to the people but a free national Government
unhampered even in the least degree by foreign control.”
Aurobindo subsequently left the political field because he saw what he was doing
“was not the genuine Indian thing,” but only “a European import, an imitation of
European ways.” 
He wrote in 1920 (the year
One thing that distinguishes the attempt of the
nationalists cited above to create “an alternative language of discourse” or
“different modernity” and many modern scholars who want to write the history of
It is to Chakrabarty’s credit that he does not sweep this problem under the carpet. Commenting on Guha’s discussion of the Santals’ statements, he writes:
may admit that participants in the hool did not view it as a secular
event, but there are limits to how far they can go in applying this insight.
Ordinarily the notion of divine intervention cannot be admitted to “the language
of professional history in which the idea of historical evidence . . . cannot
ascribe to the supernatural any kind of agential force accept as part of the
non-rational (i.e. somebody’s belief system).”
But Chakrabarty is not satisfied with just drawing a line between the non-modern
and modern modes of discourse. He wishes “to raise the question of how we might
find a form of social thought that embraces analytical reason in pursuit of
social justice but does not allow it to erase the question of heterotemporality
from the history of the modern subject.” As he puts it in his conclusion, “to
Chakrabarty has been criticized for giving an
opening to religious obscurantism, even for providing aid and comfort to the
religious Right. The entry of religious discourse into Indian politics has done
the country a great deal of harm, it is averred. If it is allowed to enter
academic discourse as well, would not things become much worse? This line of
thought is not without justification. Much of the political and social tension
If religion can be put to such perverse use, would it not be better to ban it from intellectual discourse – unless indeed it is rendered harmless by viewing it in the framework of historiographical or anthropological theory? This is what reductive and critical orientalists have tried to do for the last few decades, and they have failed. Now they are being challenged by reactionary “new historians,” who embrace religious discourse but lack training in critical historiography, and so contribute little of value. The same reactionary historians have tried to appropriate the work of nationalist writers like Aurobindo, Tilak and Gandhi, and critical historians have let this go unchallenged or even helped it along by writing of the nationalists as proto-reactionaries in scholarship as well as in politics. This is unfortunate both because it misrepresents the positions of the nationalists and because it fails to make use of those parts of their work that are of lasting scholarly value and that might be of help in establishing the dialogue that is needed to arrive at a viable reinterpretation of Indian history.
A return to nationalist orientalism is hardly the
way to resolve the outstanding problems in Indian historiography. The approach
of the nationalists was a product of their age, and much of it is obsolete.
Their essentializing of the Indian soul, for instance, is unjustifiable on
historical or anthropological grounds, and politically dangerous. On the other
hand, the dissolution of all cultural distinctiveness in the name of political
stability, which Said seems sometimes to propose,
would also be bad social science and would not provide a solution to our
political problems. Writers like Chatterji,
 [p.169>] I am grateful for
comments and suggestions to the members of the Religions Reform Movement panel
at the 17th European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies,
 See, for example, ibid., 94.
See, for example, ibid.,
203–4: “For any European during the nineteenth century — and I think one can say this almost without
qualification — Orientalism was
such a system of truths, truths in
This paradox has been noted by Hallisey, 32;
 Said, Orientalism, 206.
 [p.172>] Here and elsewhere I use “postcolonial” in its
unadorned meaning: “belonging to the period after the colonial period,” that is,
with regard to
 [p.173>] Said, Orientalism, 5.
Trautmann, Aryans and
 Ludden, "Orientalist Empiricism," 271, emphasis mine.
 Ibid., 89, 49, 58, etc.
 Final Examination of
Candidates Selected in 1890 for the Civil Service of
 [p.177>] F.
Manuscript note included in
 Aurobindo, Early Cultural Writings, 188–89.
 [p.178>] Ibid., 277, 280.
 Aurobindo, Kena and Other Upanishads, 319.
 Ibid., 346.
 Ibid., 163.
Unnamed English classmate of Aurobindo’s, quoted in English in
 A Sanskrit phrase that in classical texts means
“constant duty” or “invariable law.” in the nineteenth century it was
reinterpreted as “eternal religion” and put forward as an Indian equivalent of
the English term “Hinduism.” Aurobindo used it to signify the “religion of
Vedanta,” which he believed to the supreme expression of the one universal
religion. i discuss the history of the term sanatana
dharma at some length in “ ‘the centre of the religious life of the
world’: spiritual universalism and cultural nationalism in the work of
 Undated letter (c.
August 1912) to
 Ibid. xvii.
 Interview in Empire (
 [p.180>] Ibid., 7. A historian is not obliged to take retrospective assertions like this at face value, but there seems to be less danger in accepting them provisionally, in the spirit of Ricoeur’s “second naïveté” (see Paul Ricoeur, The Symbolism of Evil [Boston: Beacon Press, 1969], 347–57), than in imposing an alien explanatory framework on them.
 Pages could be spent summarizing how this “myth” was created and enforced by British law, anthropology, architecture, ceremonial, etc., as well as by military force. The most interesting of the recent Foucault-inspired studies of imperial disciplines, such those in Chatterjee et al., Texts of Power: Emerging Disciplines and Colonial Bengal (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995), are concerned with various aspects of this myth-creation. To my mind however such studies give far too much importance to disembodied “discourse” and too little importance to deliberate personal, political, diplomatic and military force.
 [p.182>] T.
 See for example
 Typical claims are
that the rishis (“seers” of the Vedas) knew about
airplanes, atomic energy and cloning. Such absurdities make it difficult for
people to accept that Indian mathematicians and scientists did make some
remarkable discoveries, such as the Pythagorean theorem (before
 See Aurobindo, Secret of the Veda, 8, 139. Sastry argues in Aurobindo’s defense that the ritual meaning “was unimportant with the Rishis as that was intended as an outer cover for guarding the secret knowledge” (Collected Works, vol. 1, 17). This is unconvincing. The ritual meaning and its associated practices are still current after more than two millennia, while Aurobindo’s exoteric meaning is not part of the extant indigenous tradition.
 [p.183>] Müller’s linguistic computations, by which he
dated the Rig Veda to 1000 BCE, are explained in Gonda, Vedic Literature,
 The various issues in
these and other fields are comprehensively and even-handedly summarized in
 N.S. Rajaram,
 See Jha and Rajaram, and
 The modern word “Aryan” comes from the vedic arya, which was taken to be the name of the “race” that composed the Vedas. In modern scholarly literature, the presumed linguistic ancestor of Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, etc. is known as Proto-Indo-European; the presumed people who spoke this language are often called Indo-Europeans.
 Aurobindo, Secret, 26.
 Aurobindo, Secret, 26, 31, 38.
 Aurobindo, Secret, 31. See
 François Gautier, Rewriting Indian History (New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House, 1996), 7–8; David Frawley, The Myth of the Aryan Invasion of India (New Delhi: Voice of India, 1998), 8; Michel Danino and Sujata Nahar, The Invasion that Never Was (Delhi: The Mother’s Institute of Research, 1996), 39–43; Michel Danino, The Indian Mind Then and Now (Auroville: Editions Auroville Press International, 1999), 44; Danino, Sri Aurobindo and Indian Civilisation, 53.
 See for example
 In this connection, see Risley’s ridiculous (but at the time dangerous) misreading of a Buddhist bas-relief, which he presents as “the sculptured expression of the race sentiment of the Aryans towards the Dravidians” (Risley, 5).
 [p.186>] G. Lietard, Les peuples ariens et les langues ariennes (Paris: G. Masson, 1872), 13.
 Aurobindo, Secret, 25, 593. Aurobindo did however
acknowledge a difference in culture between the “Aryans” of the north and center
and the inhabitants of the South, West and East (see
 Aurobindo, Secret, 38.
 Aurobindo, ibid., 26.
 Aurobindo, ibid., 50; cf. ibid.. 29; Hour of God, 298; Supplement, 180;
“The Secret of the Veda” (manuscript draft).
 [p.187>] See Trautmann, Aryans and
 See ibid., 131–64. One well-published linguist writes that “it is quite clear that Chukchi-Kamchatkan and Eskimo-Aleut . . . are both closer to Indo-European than Afro-Asiatic or Dravidian is” (Merritt Ruhlen, The Origin of Language: Tracing the Evolution of the Mother Tongue [New York: John Wiley, 1994], 134–35).
 Danino and Nahar, Invasion, 42; Sujata Nahar et al., eds., India’s Rebirth (Mysore, India: Mira Aditi, 1996), 96; Rajaram and Jha, The Deciphered Indus Script. 18; Rajaram and Frawley, Vedic Aryans, xvi, 118.
 [p.188>] Ibid., 5–6.
 Ibid., 10.
 Ibid., 75.
of Indian Culture was written in reply to
 See for example,
 Inden, Imagining
 One happy result of the trend towards
specialization in the study of Indian languages and culture has been the
production of a large number of first-class monographs and translations
representing a wide variety of traditions. Extracts from and references to many
such works are found in
[p.190>] Sharma quoted in “A Faith
[p.191>] I hesitate to use the much-abused word
“paradigm,” but what I am referring to here is a paradigm shift of the sort
spoken of by
 Ibid., 43.
 Ibid., 4–5.
 Bipin Chandra Pal, article in a lost
issue of the newspaper
 [p.194>] Chakrabarty, “Minority Histories, Subaltern Pasts.” Postcolonial Studies 1 (1998): 20-21. The same passage, somewhat watered down in revision, is found in Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe, 104.
 Chakrabarty, Provincializing
These groups continue to use religious discourse to serve political ends. “A
time has come to bring [Vinayak Damodar] Savarkar’s dictum of Hinduising
politics and militarising the Hindudom to reality,” said Giriraj Kishore,
vice-president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), in a speech to members of the
Bajrang Dal, the VHP’s youth wing, on 30 June 2002 (Hindustan Times, 1 July 2002, online
edition http://www.hindustantimes.com/nonfram/300602/dlnat55.asp, accessed 1
July). The sort of “Hindudom” Kishore had in mind may be imagined by reading
accounts of the anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat in February–March, in which the
VHP and Bajrang Dal played conspicuous roles (see for example Amrita Kumar and
Prashun Bhaumik, eds.,
Lest We Forget: Gujarat 2002 [New Delhi: World Report, 2002]). On
3 September VHP president
 [p.195>] I discuss the Hindu Right’s misappropriation of Aurobindo in “Centre of the Religious Life.”
 See for example van der Veers and Thapar, "The Past and Prejudice," 13.
 In the first chapter of Orientalism, Said states the “main intellectual issue raised by “Orientalism”: “Can one divide human reality, as indeed human reality seems to be genuinely divided, into clearly different cultures, histories, traditions, societies, even races, and survive the consequences humanly?” (45).
See for example Aurobindo’s “Message to