Hava Nagila!

Everything does pass, and we can endure and we can survive!! – Rahul Dravid

Are Tamils Rakshasas?

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.

  1. Ravana is described in The Ramayana as the grandson of Brahma. If birth decided caste, then Ravana is a Brahmin. Hence he should be Aryan right? Rama is described as a Kshatriya and not as an Aryan.  
  2. Assuming still that birth decides caste, in The Ramayana, Ravana – the Brahmin – is described as a person with more bad qualities than good and as a person who ruled selfishly. Then how come Dravidian parties say that the epics promote Brahminism? How is it that Kshatriyas and Vanaraas were able to trimuph over Brahmins?
  3. Coming to colour, both Rama and Bharata are described by Valmiki as having Neelamegha Shyamala varnam. Meaning, the colour of rain carrying clouds – close to black. Where did the fair complexioned North Indians figure here? Kamban also describes Rama as having a dark complexion. When describing Rama’s colour, Kamban is lost for words. He tries to find which colour Rama is. And he says, “Mayyo, Maragadamo, MaRikadalo, Mazhaimugilo” meaning, “Is His colour that of ink, dark emerald, deep sea or the rain carrying clouds?” None of these denote fair complexion. Further, in Sundara Kanda, when Hanuman surveys the people of Lanka, Valmiki says that some were handsome, some were ugly. He did not describe them all as ugly and dark. Ravana’s wife Mandodhari is described as a peerless beauty. Even Surpanakha and other Rakshasas are described as persons who could take on extremely beautiful forms. They CHOSE to look the way they wanted. 

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.

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17 comments on “Are Tamils Rakshasas?

  1. bharathi
    December 22, 2012

    awesome

  2. Meenakshi
    December 24, 2012

    thanks Bharathi. 🙂 🙂

  3. Anand Shankar
    January 2, 2013

    Rakshasa was just a race. Rakshasas were not demons. And all rakshasas were not evils. Ravana was of mixed race. His father was a brahmin and his mother was a rakshasa. Indo Aryans were not as fare as eropeans. Some of them like Rama were not very fare.

  4. Anand Shankar
    January 2, 2013

    Rakshasa was just a race. Rakshasas were not demons. And all rakshasas were not evils. Ravana was of mixed race. His father was a brahmin and his mother was a rakshasa. Indo Aryans were not as fair as eropeans. Some of them like Rama were not very fair.

  5. Meenakshi
    January 3, 2013

    Thanks Anand Shankar for the comment!! 🙂 🙂

  6. Chirag Aidasani
    May 19, 2013

    I loved your Article Meenakshi and you have researched extensively.I share the same views.

    People who argue why the two language families of India I.e- Aryan and Indo -European are different should know that
    , India is a continent in itself divided by the Vindhyas in the centre making travel between the two parts difficult ,so it is very much possible for another language family to develop in the same continent.

    Look at South east Asia for example , The Chinese ,Japanese,Korean etc all belong to seperate language families but still are connected by a common culture.

    So Letz forget Aryan Dravidian debate.Whatever happend in the past is gone and now we all should concentrate and work on developing Bharat and returning it to its former glory.

    • Meenakshi
      May 20, 2013

      Hi Chirag,

      Thanks for the comment. I agree with you that we should forget our differences and stand united for a better future.

      Once again, thanks for the comment. This kind of encouragement keeps me going.

      Thanks,
      Meenakshi

  7. Anonymous
    September 8, 2013

    While all Rakshasa were not portrayed as evil, most of them were. There image is often of beings who disrupted sages while they conducted rituals and attacked there ashrams and settlements. Their imagery often shows them as dark skinned with big moustaches. This can be attributed to the indigenous Dravidian people who attacked the invading Aryans from the north when the Aryans encroached into their territory. The indigenous Dravidians did not follow Vedic customs and therefore were portrayed as being demonic. This definitely doesn’t mean that they were all evil as attacking to protect ones territory from outsiders is a natural response.

    • Meenakshi
      September 20, 2013

      Thank you very much for your comment!! 🙂 🙂

      The Aryan invasion itself is a myth. It was spread by the Britishers to sow discord amongst Indians. There are plenty of well researched articles available on the internet on the same. 🙂 🙂

  8. Anirudh
    October 13, 2013

    Namaste,

    {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.
    }

    Happy Vijaya Dasami, the day Shree Raam slayed Raavana.

    I stumbled upon your blog while searching related to the Varna system. I am researching on the Indian caste system and its ill effects on our country.

    When you say Manu Neeti, I understandably believe that you are referring Manu Smriti. If so, may I request you quote the verse where Manu has not classified the Varna’s based on the birth. Also as much I know, Manu Smriti is not older than Raamayana. Your information will be of great help to me.

    On the remainder of the article you have published, I am impressed with your lucid writing style. May Shree Raama Chandra bless you and your kith & kin.

    • Meenakshi
      October 14, 2013

      Thank you Anirudh. Sorry for the late reply. I don’t recall the verse right away. Kindly refer to this book – “The Laws of Manu” by Wendy Doniger. It is one of the best translations of Manu Smriti. I picked up the thought from this book only. You can refer to http://valmikiramayan.net for excellent translations of The Ramayana. There are many places in The Ramayana where Rama and others quote from the Manu Neeti. Refer to the sections where Rama and Vaali talk after Rama downs Vaali with his dart. Hence, the conclusion that Manu Neeti is an older thing. Perhaps, The Ramayana may have come out in the book form earlier than Manu Neeti. We will have to read and research more for that. But Manu Neeti was very much in vogue at the time of The Ramayana.

    • Meenakshi
      October 14, 2013

      I forgot to mention…. thanks a lot for your comment. 🙂 🙂 I appreciate your taking time out to read my blog. And thanks very much for your blessings.

  9. Anirudh
    October 14, 2013

    Namaste,

    Thanks for the confirmation. Manu Smriti baffles me as i tend to believe that it contradicts Rig ved and our darshanas. I will share my findings in due course of time, mean while keep up the good work.

  10. Anirudh
    October 15, 2013

    Namaste,
    Manu Smriti clearly says that the Varna system is hierarchical and birth based. So this doesn’t support your cause (the myth you are trying to debunk)
    {
    Some Aryans were Brahmins, some were Devas and some were Asuras. Same is the case with Dravidians.
    }
    The Dravidian Aryan is injected by the westerners. It has been debunked and we find many articles demystifying Dravidian Aryan theory. Westerners injected this false idea not only to rule us but to maintain the superiority of their own race.
    So to claim some kings were Dravidians and some weren’t also doesn’t add value to your post.
    {
    Further, in Sundara Kanda, when Hanuman surveys the people of Lanka, Valmiki says that some were handsome, some were ugly. He did not describe them all as ugly and dark. Ravana’s wife Mandodhari is described as a peerless beauty. Even Surpanakha and other Rakshasas are described as persons who could take on extremely beautiful forms. They CHOSE to look the way they wanted.
    }
    in Sundara Kaandam Valmiki explains the mixed society that lived in Lanka. Raavana had brought them to Lanka by means of abduction, force and through offering gifts.
    {
    The Ramayana and later The Mahabharata have acclaimed the Chera, Chozha and Pandiya kings as honourable and valorous.
    }
    I am not sure about Ramayana but Mahabharata says Pandya kings fought in the Kurukshetra war. But I don’t remember Vyasa mentioning Cheras and Cholas.

    I am not saying Tamils are Raakshasas but suggesting you to correct the contradictions in your blog. May I suggest you to look in to this blog if you haven’t seen it earlier. I didn’t had the opportunity to read it fully (as it had been written about few years). It has historical information which every should be aware of it.

    http://thamizhan-thiravidana.blogspot.in/2011/06/56-2.html

    I am sure you will get valuable information to support your original intent.

    • Meenakshi
      December 17, 2013

      Hi Anirudh,

      Manu Smriti clearly does NOT state that a man’s caste is decided based on his birth. http://hinduismfacts.org/hindu-scriptures-and-holy-books/manusmriti/ – this is just one of the sites that give a translation of the Manu Smriti. You can read other books as well.

      Kindly read the Ramayana and the Mahabharata fully (in original translations). Sugriva describes India’s geography to the Vanaras when he sent them to search for Sita. He specifically tells them about Chola, Chera and Pandiya kings. Look at the following verses.
      Land of Matsyas and Kalingas and Kausika’s regions fair,
      Trackless wilderness of Dandak seek with anxious toil and care.

      Search the empire of the Andhras, of the sister-nations three,–
      Cholas, Cheras and the Pandyas dwelling by the southern sea,

      Pass Kaveri’s spreading waters, Malya’s mountains towering brave,
      Seek the isle of Tamra-parni, gemmed upon the ocean wave!”
      Translation from http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/dutt/rama07.htm

      There are plenty of other sites as well. Regarding Pandiya being mentioned in Mahabharata, check out this site – http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m08/m08020.htm.
      For more information, read Cho Ramaswamy’s ‘Enge Brahmanan’.

      Even without any written evidence from the Mahabharata (which there is in plenty), The Ramayana being older than the Mahabharata, it would be very safe to surmise that the Cheras, Cholas and Pandiyas who existed during Rama’s days also existed during Krishna’s days.

      Also, not every woman in Lanka had been brought to Lanka forcefully by Ravana. In Sundara Kanda, Hanuman also sees residents of the island itself in different forms of beauty.

      Meenakshi

  11. siv
    August 12, 2014

    This is partially right ,i wont say that its absolutely right ,because you have some mistakes and you have researched only 20%leave away that Aryan and Dravidian stuffs , if you want to learn more things about these people you can do Ur research on lord muruga and kumari kandam.You will get 50 % clarity on Ramayana stuff and other historical myths.

    First off all people don’t have mind to accept the true stuffs people just sticks to the old mythology.However i would like to congratulate ur efforts in bringing some useful stuffs to people.

  12. Chandan Gurjar
    April 2, 2017

    I agree with your views. There is no question of aryan and dravidian in the Ramayana. it was the story of evil Ravana vs maryada purushottam Ram.

    Politicians have played with what is supposed to be our puranas and some reputed directors like ManiRatnam bring these imaginations to relaity via films like Raavan . Looked like the story writer of Raavan was Perriyar himself (whose actual name RamaSwamy contained the powerful Ram naam). No wonder he was so influential

    Jai Shri Ram

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