Pan Africanism in South Asia

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Yanadi - Tribal girl in South India


PAN-AFRICANISM IN SOUTH ASIA

By HOREN TUDU*

Posted by RUNOKO RASHIDI

(click on pictures for a larger image)


Pan-Africanism: A new beginning for South Asia

The early stages of human civilization in South Asia marked a glorious era in which African people practiced sustainable development, lived in peaceful, close-knit kinship societies virtually without conflict. As the barbaric Indo-European rose from the depths of his shallow burrows, he knew only those actions that were innate to his cold environment in the Caucasus, namely murder, war, rape, torture, genocide, conflict and destruction, the proceedings having been documented in the celebrated Hindu text, the Rig Veda. However, history has taught us that this is not a unique circumstance of South Asia, wherever the Aryan has encountered African human beings; the end result has been tragedy beyond the comprehension of the human mind.

India has maintained the stability of its social order through race-based fascism. Literally meaning skin color, the "Varna" system of racial apartheid was imposed upon the native Africoid inhabitants with the utmost brutality centuries ago in Northwestern India. Most characteristic of Modern Hinduism is the sheer hatred and contempt for black African people. As clearly stated in widely read Hindu scriptures such as the Rig-Veda section II.12.4, "Black Skin is Impious and Lowly". Citing section I.130.8, "Indra protected in battle the Aryan worshipper, he subdued the lawless for Manu, and he conquered the black skin." In section IX.73.5 " The black skin, the hated of Indra, were swept out of heaven." Moreover, along with the disdain for blacks Indo-Aryan white supremacy is endorsed, as section I.100.18 states, " The thunderer bestowed on his white friends the fields, bestowed the sun, and bestowed the waters."

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Nagpur - Dalit Freedom Fighter

The invading Aryans enforced the caste system on the Black population with a merciless and bigoted spiritual philosophy, having whites occupy the top echelons of society, mixed races in the middle and the mass of the conquered Blacks at the bottom, today known as Dalits and Dravidians. The physical differences between the black-skinned Dravidian races of southern and eastern India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka and the Caucasoid Aryan races mainly comprising of upper caste Hindus and Sikhs is not the mere design of European colonialist historians, but a fact of human existence in the apartheid state of India. The indigenous people of the Indian Sub-Continent are the descendents of the Dravidian tribes that founded the celebrated Indus Valley civilization. Recent genetic evidence has confirmed what anthropologists have known all along, that the Dravidians, tribals, and lower caste Hindus belong to the greater African Diaspora. As affirmed in the pioneering mitochondria DNA studies published in Human Biology vol. 68 (1996) p.1, "The caste populations of Andhra Pradesh cluster more often with Africans than with Asians and Europeans". Additionally, another study performed by the Department of Medical Genetics in Umea University, Sweden discovered that "significant ethnic differences in single polymorphisms were found between all groups except for African Blacks-Dravidian Indians, who differed only in their MspI7-16-bp duplication haplotype distribution".

The early stages of Pan-Africanism in the western hemisphere focused on the principles and rhetoric of the great Jamaican born leader, Marcus Garvey. In recent times, global Negroland movements have sprouted all over the Indian Sub-Continent and are undergoing exponential growth in support. These movements comprise of all constituents of the Asiatic black race(Sudroids), from the Santhal insurgents of Bangladesh, to the tribal Gond militants of Madhya Pradesh and the Dalit Panthers of Bombay, Chennai, and Kerala. Furthermore, it must be made abundantly clear that these populations are by no means marginal, it totals over 350 million people, exceeding the combined populations of several western European countries.

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Apparently, the foundation and direct inspiration for these political and social movements come from the literature of great African-American intellectuals such as Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, Frederick Douglass and many others. In search for their true identity and history, the Dalits and Dravidians are making great efforts to expand on their African ancestry, making connections with their black brothers and sisters around the globe. As stated by the great historian and lecturer Runoko Rashidi, "They (Dalits) seem particularly enamored with African-Americans. African-Americans, in general, seem almost idolized by the Dalit, and the Black Panther Party, in particular, is virtually revered." In 1972, taking inspiration from the Black Panther Party, the Dalit Panther party was fashioned with circulating myths of actual Black Panthers being transplanted to India to fight Aryan fascist regimes such as the RSS(Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) and the Ranvir Sena. Particularly in South India, several universities and political establishments have made African-American literature required reading and continue to promote a "black is beautiful" type philosophy that empowers the next generation of Dravidians.

In the spirit of Marcus Garvey and John Henrik Clarke, Pan Africanism has become the need of the hour in South Asia. Based on genetic, cultural, and historical relatedness it was only natural for Dravidians and Africans to tie up struggles. History is in the making, and many prominent Dravidian intellectuals as we speak are exploring the call for an independent black "Dravidistan" nation. That day is heavily anticipated.

Horen Tudu is a Bangladeshi-Santhal born and raised in the United States. He is a staunch Pan-Africanist and research specialist. His work emphasizes on the Dalit and tribal historical/political situation of Bangladesh and India. He may be contacted at horentudu@yahoo.com.

Reprinted from the Global African Presence

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