Everything does pass, and we can endure and we can survive!! – Rahul Dravid
A common belief exists among many people that Valmiki described the Tamils as Rakshasas and the North Indian people as Devas. See Chapter VIII – Ahalya – Page 40 – 42 of Rajaji Ramayana. The general belief that North Indians are fair complexioned and South Indians are dark added fuel to this unwanted fire. So, they summarize that The Ramayana is an epic written to symbolize Aryan aka Brahmin supremacy and degrade Dravidians. C N Annadurai came up with Kambarasam – a book that criticized The Kamba Ramayana. Among other things, Anna also criticizes Kamban for hailing Aryan preeminence. M Karunanidhi uses this till date in many of his campaigns. Many talk of how the fair Rama came with his Aryan (Brahminic) ideas to the south and killed all the southern people.
There are some basic questions and highlighted snippets from The Ramayana itself which can be used to argue against this baseless belief.
Ok, birth did not decide caste. But didn’t Rama from up north kill Ravana from down South?
Ravana was not the only asura that Rama slayed. Rama also slayed Subahu, Tataka and their army – in the North when he went along with Viswamitra. There are also lavish praises heaped on Vibheeshana, Kumbhakarna and Maalyavaan. Mareecha is shown to have reformed.
Ravana is described in The Ramayana as an Asura. Manu Neeti – the book that precedes The Ramayana – doesn’t decide people’s caste by birth. People were classified into castes based on their character/ nature of work. Any person who had selfish motives and egotistical nature were not accepted as Brahmins. The worst of them were categorized as Asuras. The altruistic and humane people were categorized as Devas. Rama killed the Asuras and saved the Devas representing the triumph of good over evil. Where do Aryan and Dravidian figure here?
Some Aryans were Brahmins, some were Devas and some were Asuras. Same is the case with Dravidians.
In any case, these are sufficient points to prove that the Aryan and Brahmin are two different concepts altogether.
Differences between Aryan and Dravidian cultures (not in character of people) did exist from very long ago. With time, even this turned into unity and the differences were mostly used in a geographical context. People who lived north of the Vindya mountains were called Aryans and those who lived south of it were called Dravidians.
The Aryan Dravidian divide was fuelled by the British and later invigorated by the DMK in the 1950s and 1960s. There are many researches on DNA patterns that prove that Aryans and Dravidians share the same genetic ancestor. Some, like this article, even say that there was a Dravidian to Aryan migration. http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2009-09-25/india/28107253_1_incidence-of-genetic-diseases-indians-tribes. Now, however, the lines of Aryan – Dravidian divide are blurred beyond recognition. Our epics also offer plentiful proof of the same.
The Ramayana and later The Mahabharata have acclaimed the Chera, Chozha and Pandiya kings as honourable and valorous. They all fought on the Pandava side for the same cause. It required the extreme efforts of Ashwathama to kill Pandiya. Narasimha Varma Pallavan – the greatest of Pallava emperors (Rule: 630 – 668 AD) had very good relations with Harshavardhana of the North and both of them had the intent to destroy Pulikesi. This is chronicled by Huan Tsuang – a chinese traveller. Adi Shankaracharya (788 – 820 AD) who was a southerner has contributed much more to Sanskrit literature than any north indian. It goes to show that the southeners and north indians coexisted in harmony right from The Ramayana age.
Hence calling the Tamils as descendants of Rakshasas doesn’t make sense.
Watch Cho’s Enge Brahmanan explanations – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYoiIgZftHU that shows the links between North and South. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bp3pZkdy0M&feature=related shows the link between Thirukural and the Bhagavad Geetha. Also read Deivathin Kural where Mahaswamigal explains and quotes various instances as proof of this fact.