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When Ilaiah shelters under Isaiah’s spiritual umbrella

As most of the Aryan spiritual texts were born out of the battlefield they did not develop positive, egalitarian spiritual philosophies

Isaiah to Ilaiah part- V

After the Aryan invasion took place, the conditions of India changed radically. Aryan warriors killed many Dravidian agrarian thinkers and philosophers. If we take a similar Dravidian mythological example the Dravidian black Jambhavantha, the black queen Tataka and so on, represent that cultural ethos. The Indian sub-continent in that tradition was called Jambhudwipa. But once war heroes but not productive philosophers got hegemonized, the agrarian names that had similar phonetic origins between India and Israel changed quite radically. In Israel the culture of shepherds, carpenters, fishermen, in other words the culture of Gentiles and Samaritans, continued to operate as a living spiritual culture. Their productive spiritual philosophy also continued. At the same time an Aryan Brahmin-like priestly caste/class was emerging side by side with an ideology of idol worship. Temple untouchability, anti-human spiritual militancy of Pharisees in Israel had many similarities with that of ancient Brahminism.

The Israelite Pharisees shared many characteristics with Indian Brahmins. Both of them believed in huge superstitions and idol worship. Both of them believed in a hierarchical construction of society. Both of them believed in inequality being the essence of society. Jesus, a spiritual prophet, who was born in a carpenter family of Joseph and Mary changed the course of the entire Israelite society. Jesus came to be adored by Samaritans and Gentiles of Israeli society because he liberated them from slavery, untouchability and massive exploitation. Somehow the Indian Brahminism did not allow similar prophets, liberators and philosophers to come into existence in India. We must remember that without prophets like Abraham, Moses, Jeremiah, Zechariah, Isaiah and so on the emergence of Jesus would have been impossible.

Prophet Isaiah writing

Their agrarian economy gave rise to prophets, who constructed a positive spiritual philosophy. Even in India similar philosophers would have emerged. But the Aryan invasion and their war- and violence-loving culture changed the relationship between philosophy and production. Positive philosophers emerged from prophets in Israel because of their non-violent spiritual culture. They too were subjugated, in their case by Egyptians and, later, by Romans. Such a process was checkmated in India. For example, names like Uzziah have come to be adopted more or less with same meaning that South Indian names like Paraiah. But in the later course our great names like Paraiah, Mallaiah were given a meaning of ‘untouchable’ and Sudra. In the Israeli context Isaiah, Jeremiah and so on, became prophets because even the notion of God was constructed out of agrarian culture but not from the culture of war. In India the pre-Aryan agrarian monotheist God was replaced by war gods like Brahma, Vishnu, Rama, Krishna and so on. For example, the God deity—Mallaiah of Telangana, was not a war hero but a shepherd like Moses. Their cultural contexts were similar. The most famous name Paraiah also emerged from the leather economy of India. It was an agrarian productive name. But their philosophical essence was destroyed by the Aryan war hero culture.

As I said earlier, the word ‘iah’ here meant husbanding the land and animals. The relationship between agrarian production and similar names indicate that there is a common cultural ethos in both the nations. Ruth writes, “…and Hezekiah (II Chron.32:38), took a special interest in agricultural production, and none more so than Uzziah, who is described as one who ‘loved the soil’ (Chron. 36:10). This prosperity, however, was not enjoyed by everyone. Ahab’s attempt to take over Naboth’s vineyard (I Kings 21) is only one example of how the poor were exploited. The prophet Isaiah condemned those who add ‘field to field’ (Isaiah.5:8)”. It is also clear that Isaiah as a prophet took a stand that exploitation of man by man is against God’s will. As an agrarian prophet he gave the message that God was against adding field to field, in other words usurping the land of somebody illegally. In India because of the Aryan culture a Paraiah, or Mallaiah or Yellaiah, or Muttaiah could not become a moral prophet like Isaiah. The name Isaiah was believed to mean ‘The Lord saves’. In India after the Dravidian notion of God was replaced by the Aryan notion of war gods the meaning of names were turned upside down. The Aryans, who were foreigners, imposed their cultural ethic as essentially ‘Indian’. They deliberately cut the cultural roots between India and Israel.

How Aryans cut India-Israel ties

By taking away the right to read and write from people who came from the agrarian and other production backgrounds, the Dravidian masses, who had similar names, food culture, production culture like of the Israelites, were constructed as Shudras (slaves) and Chandals (Untouchables). This aggressive invasive war hero divinity destroyed our confidence in our own culture. It is in this process food producers were projected as devils and the non-productive consumers were projected as gods.

The agrarian communities, shepherds, fishermen, carpenters and so on who had names like that and also other names were violently prohibited from learning reading and writing after the Aryans invaded India. They declared that only Aryans (mainly Brahmins) could read and write. The Aryans declared that God should be a hero. The mediator between God and the rest of the people should be a saint or priest who should never be concerned about the concept of human equality in the spiritual realm. The Aryans were also against humans becoming prophets in India. This is the main reason why there are no prophets in India. There were and are only Brahmanic saints and they have no love for food producers, artisans, shepherds, carpenters and so on.

Though Gautama Buddha played some sort of prophetic role during his life time, once the Aryan Brahmins got the hegemonic place in the socio-political system his influence on the people was completely destroyed. It began to be restored only after Dr. B.R. Ambedkar embraced Buddhism. They never accepted Buddha, who was a non-Aryan tribal, as a positive prophet.

I am therefore all the more grateful to my illiterate parents, who gave me a name that came from a similar background as that of the great Israelite prophet, Isaiah. The similarity in the spelling, syllable and pronunciation makes me proud of my background, my history and my heritage.
Why is there a common cultural ground between Israel and South India? Why have the names that became divine and prophetic in Israel become the names of people who were condemned, abused, insulted, treated as “untouchable” and demonic in India?

Normally all ancient names of persons come from their historical divine names. Names like mine (there are in thousands in South India—Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala) even now have their historical roots. They go backwards to our parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Perhaps they go back hundreds and thousands of years. If names like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Zechariah were Israelite ancestral names surely we Indians would have our ancestral divine names like Paraiah, Mallaiah, Muttaiah, Yellaiah and so on in our area. Such ancient divine names in both these countries seem to have been constructed around the cattle and agrarian economy of these Asian countries. The presence of sheep, goat, cattle economy that was available in Israel was also present in India.

Moses was a shepherd like Mallaiah. If Moses became a prophet with a dignified written history of his own, Mallaiah (Iloni Mallanna), who was also a shepherd, became a deity because he increased the cattle wealth of the people. But after the Aryans invaded this land they were forced to not have a written history of their own. There is a close relationship between writing skills and advancing philosophy and divinity. Once the agrarian communities lost that right to write and read they also lost social status and respectability. With that all their creative faculties remained underdeveloped.

Once the Aryan culture constructed caste and migrated down to South India great names like Mallaiah, which exist in very popular divine forms even now, were reduced to an unworthy status. They established temples to Aryan deities in South India. For example, in Andhra Pradesh a Ram temple is built with massive money and the Komurelli Mallaiah, Iloni Mallaiah temples are reduced to nothing. The agrarian deities have become small cultural deities and the warmongering invader deities have been projected as big cultural deities. Normally the battlefield does not develop an egalitarian philosophy. It only develops destructive and cunning ideas. On the other hand agrarian production constantly negotiates and renegotiates human relations. Since their struggle with nature is part of production and for the common good, need is to love others in the community. On the other hand, in a warlike situation the other is either suspected or hated. As most of the Aryan spiritual texts were born out of the battlefield they did not develop positive, egalitarian spiritual philosophies. They negated both production and loving relations between all humans. They could not evolve the image of a positive God. For example, the deities that the Aryan thinkers constructed were fundamentally destructive in nature. Therefore, they could not acquire a universal stature.

When Ilaiah takes shelter under the spiritual philosophical umbrella of Isaiah, the self of this ancient nation re-connects to its ancient roots. The common cultural bondage between these two great ancient nations and their people gets re-established.

Published in the February 2013 issue of the Forward Press magazine

Forward Press also publishes books on Bahujan issues. Forward Press Books sheds light on the widespread problems as well as the finer aspects of the Bahujan (Dalit, OBC, Adivasi, Nomadic, Pasmanda) community’s literature, culture, society and culture. Contact us for a list of FP Books’ titles and to order. Mobile: +919968527911, Email: info@forwardmagazine.in)

About The Author

Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd

Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd is a political theorist, author and activist. He has been a professor of Political Science at Osmania University, Hyderabad and director of the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad. He is the author of ‘Why I Am Not a Hindu’, ‘Buffalo Nationalism’ and ‘Post-Hindu India’ 

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