Sunday, June 19, 2011

Inventing the Dravidian Race Part - 3, Appropriation of Shiva, excerpts from the book 'Breaking India'

Protestant missionaries in the beginning attacked Saiva Siddhanta vehemently, the American Missionary Seminary in Sri Lanka used a Tamil English journal called the Morning Star (1841) to launch an attack on Saivites, calling Tamils barbarians living in darkness.  This attack proved counterproductive, caused much angst among the people for the Christian disrespect towards a cherished tradition. The attack was also effectively countered by a Sri Lankan Saivite Arumuga Navalar. Therefore the strategy changed from denigration to appropriation. 

G.U. Pope used this strategy very often, whenever he found something suitable and in line with his Christian belief he attributed it to Christian influence on Tamils and whenever he found something not fitting into his Christian belief and dogma, he blamed it on Hinduism. He states:

It will be seen how very near in some not unimportant respects the Saiva system approximates to Christianity; and yet some of the corruption to which it has been led by what almost seems a necessity are months the most deplorable superstitions anywhere to be found.

Later Christian missionaries started using this strategy to start portraying Saiva Siddhantha closer to Christianity. This missionary success in selectively appropriating and spreading confusion has permeated academic Tamil studies ever since.

Breaking India by Rajiv Malhotra and Arvindan Neelakandan

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