Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts India, the Multicultural Paradigm

India, the Multicultural Paradigm

The roots of India’s multiculturalism extend back over three thousand years to the first great invasions of South Asia by Indo-Aryan tribes whose priestly Brahman bards chanted mantras to their gods. Those Vedic Aryans, the easternmost wing of an Indo-European dispersion originating in the Caucasus, poured over the Khyber, Bolan, and other passes of the Hindu Kush mountains that now divide Afghanistan from Pakistan. Thanks to their multi-horsed chariots, well-wrought iron, and hafted axes, the rajas and their tough Aryan tribes conquered the far more sophisticated pre-Aryan urbanites, whose civilization had flourished for almost a thousand years in the Indus Valley. The pre-Aryan peoples were probably proto-Dravidian-speaking ancestors of southern India’s modem Tar-nil-speaking Dravidas and may in turn have migrated to India from East Africa. From the archaeological remains of Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, and many other Indus Valley digs, we know how civilized they were, with modem sewage systems, hypocaust baths, steatite seals, burnt bricks, and glyptic art. They appear to have worshipped a phallic yogic fertility deity (the “Great God’ of modem Hinduism, Shiva) and the Mother Goddess, whose fecundity and “power” (&a&~) are required to animate every male Hindu deity.

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