Whither Hinduism

"Third World Nations"?!




Once upon a time, during the height of intercontinental maritime voyages and exploration, a seasoned navigator was commissioned to find a shorter route to the “Indies” (the land with all the riches and the spices) . This explorer was none other than Christopher Columbus; the order came from the  Spanish Queen Isabella. The only problem in this rosy scenario was that a major land mass lay in his route, unbenown to the explorer. Thus, when he laid his eyes on a land after a long journey West across the Atlantic, he was certain he had reached India and the inhabitants of the land were naturally called Indians.

The people he called “Indians” were not the relatively organized Mayans, Incas or Aztecs of the Central and South Americas.  No, they were, the hunter- gatherers and nomads of North America. These people had been in this land for over 12,000 years but never developed a sophisticated civilization. They had no literary, scientific, commercial or artistic heritage. They were hardly the equal of the true Indians who had written Mahabharata, a literary masterpiece around 500 BCE.  And, fully 1500 years before Shakespeare, an Indian Sage, Valmiki wrote the poetic work of Ramayana, which can rival his (Shakespeare's) work in volume and poetic style. The exquisite philosophical writings of the Vedas and Upanishads were even older. These same Indians had also invented the concept of zero, the place value system, decimals, power system and laid the foundation of all the components of modern day mathematics; they also proposed many concepts in astronomy that the Europeans only described a Millennium or so later.

I’ll continue with a few specifics, just to make the point. Almost 1000 years before Copernicus, Aryabhata (550-476 CE) deduced that the earth rotated on its axis. This mathematician is also credited with using zero in computing, in the so-called "place value system", without which no calculations would have been possible, accurate calculation of pi (3.1416), the versed sine function (1 minus the cosine of an angle) and many other mathematical concepts. As I touched upon briefly in my introductory notes to this website, the list of Indian literary, scientific and artistic achievements were innumerable. Thus, it is utterly incomprehensible to me that having realized the mistake Columbus made, the West and the rest have not moved to rectify this. The Native Americans (and Mexicans, Panamanians, Peruvians, Brazilians and all the other native South Americans) do not even have racial similarity or relationship to the true Indians. They originated from somewhere in Central Asia… thus, of mongoloid ancestry; however, they do not seem to be perturbed by this anomaly.

We true Indians certainly are (perturbed) by this injustice. I have searched for answers for years. Why is it that people try to dance around this problem with solutions like calling the real Indians “East Indians” or call the Indian enterprises as India this or India that and the original inhabitants as Native Americans or American Indians (but still most commonly as simmply “Indians”)). Mongolian Americans or American Mongols might have been closer to the truth. Perhaps we Indians are also at fault; we have not made sufficient hue and cry and have simply looked the other way.

Well, I believe it is time to confront this problem head on. I think the solution should start with conceding that the so-called “Native Americans” (and not the white Americans) were here first and they are “The Americans”. Every one else is ‘something else ‘ Americans like Chinese- Americans or English- Americans or German- Americans, Spanish- Americans or even Indian -Americans. In the case of mixed races, “European -American” or “Asian -American” or “Eurasian- American” or “Irish- German- Americans” etc. In Mexico or Brazil or another South American country, the original inhabitants will be Mexicans or Brazilians, etc. And the name “Indians” should be reserved for people from India only.  Every body is a winner in this equation!