Myth of Christian contribution to Tamil – 3
by Thamizhchelvan on 23 Jul 2010 8 Comments

Caldwell the Racist!

Another missionary who inflicted massive damage on Tamil Hindus was the Scot Robert Caldwell (1814-1891) who, along with his wife Elissa Mault, resided in Tirunelvelli and made huge conversions. While he focused on the male population, she converted the womenfolk.


He sowed the poisonous seed called Dravidian Racism. He fully utilised the Aryan-Dravidian theories concocted by German linguist Max Mueller and imposed them on Tamil Hindus as true history. He abused the word ‘Dravida’ to the hilt and projected Tamil Hindus as a separate Dravidian Race. His book, Dravida Mozhikalin Oppilakkanam (A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South Indian Family of Languages, Harrison: London, 1856), which gave him the reputation of a great champion of Tamil, spewed venom on Brahmins and accused them of spreading lies. If Ziegenbalg was the founder of anti-Brahmanism, Robert Caldwell was responsible for spreading it throughout the region, giving a stimulus to the radicalization of the Non-Brahmin movement.



Ironically, ‘A comparative grammar of the Dravidian or South Indian family of languages’ cannot be termed his own work as he allegedly took lots of passages from Francis Whyte Ellis, who wrote “Dravidian Language Hypotheses”. To understand why Caldwell resorted to ‘research’ South Indian languages, one should read Dr. K. Muthaia’s article, Caldwell Oppilakkanaththin Arasiyal Pinnani (The Politics Behind Caldwell’s Comparative Grammar), published in the April 1997 issue of the Tamil monthly magazine Kanaiyaazhi.


Muthaia states, “Many research conclusions found in Caldwell’s book on comparative grammar of Dravidian languages have political reasons and undertones. The motive behind his arrival was to convert the South Indians and Christianise the southern region. He was also considerably successful in his religious mission… A detailed and in-depth study of his work would make us understand that he had had Sanskrit hatred, anti-Brahminism and denigration of Hinduism as objectives, but not establishing the antiquity of Tamil and the individuality of Tamil people… Knowing pretty well that he would not be able to spread Christianity among Tamil people unless their mindset on Hindu culture and Sanskrit language was changed, he indulged in creating hatred for North Indians in the minds of the Tamil Hindus. As a first step in that direction, he created the concept of ‘Dravidian Language Family’ ” (Dravida Maayai, Subbu, op. cit., pp. 26-28).


Caldwell’s infamous book Tinnevelly Shanars proved to be his nemesis. Though his focus for conversion was mainly on Shanars (Nadars), the dominant community in Tirunelvelli, he literally denigrated them and their lifestyle in the said book. The outraged and agitated community allegedly decided to punish him which forced him to shift base from Tirunelvelli to Ootacamund, where he breathed his last.  


Robert Caldwell was instrumental in creating anti-Brahmin, anti-North, anti-Sanskrit and anti-Hindu feelings among the Tamil people and dividing them through Aryan-Dravidian racial theories. His activities laid the foundation for Tamil separatism, which badly affected the national integration. His Comparative Grammar of Dravidian Languages also played an ugly role in creating racial differences between Sinhalese and Tamils in Sri Lanka, for he argued in that book that “there was no direct affinity between the Sinhalese and Tamil languages”. There is not even an iota of truth in the propaganda that he was a lover of Tamil and helped the development of Tamil. That is a misinformation campaign floated by the Church and supported by Dravidian racist parties.  


At a seminar on the last day of the recent Classical Tamil Conference, Prof. Parveen Sultana said, “Protecting our Mother Tongue is very important. We have come across many instances in world history where nations are conquered by capturing and dominating their languages. For example, a famous quote doing rounds in Africa says, ‘When they came here, they had the Bible and we had our lands. Now we have the Bible and they have our lands’! This has happened wherever Christianity has landed”.


That she spoke this truth in a conference where the likes of Caldwell were eulogised shows her courage! Delving into the great culture of this land, the learned professor spoke about the construction of temples and their greatness. Parveen Sultana’s speech was one of the rare highlights of the conference which was otherwise dominated by Christianity, Dravidian racism and eulogies for Kalaignar Karunanidhi. 


More on Padires’ love for Tamil!


The history of Tamil Nadu has many more evidences of the ‘divide and dominate’ policy of the White Church. During the reign of ‘Kizhavan Sethupathi’ in the kingdom of Ramanathapuram, a Portuguese Padire by name John-De-Britto indulged in heavy harvesting of souls. He even converted the close kin of Sethupathi Raja, but was finally punished by the King. V. Gopalan has written a detailed essay on this missionary and his activities:


Sri Thyagaraja Chettiar was a great exponent of Tamil literature and had great love for the language. Once a European missionary who claimed to have mastered Tamil Grammar came and showed some changes he had made to a few verses of Thirukkural. Outraged by the audacity of the Padire to change verses of such a great work, adored as a Tamil Veda, Sri Thyagaraja Chettiar scolded him and literally drove him away. This incident is mentioned in “Dr. Vu. Ve. Swaminatah Iyer Urainadai Noolkal” (Dr. U.V. Swaminatha Iyer’s Prose Works, Vol.-3, pp. 520-523).   


Sri Pandithurai Thevar of Madurai, another great exponent of Tamil language and literary works, learned that a British missionary had made changes to the very first verse of Thirukkural and printed the same. He immediately purchased the entire lot and burnt them! (Dravida Maayai, op. cit., pp. 21-22).


Baptising Thiruvalluvar and Blaspheming Thirukkural


Christians who had the temerity to lay their hands on Thirukkural then, have now gone to the extent of baptising Thiruvalluvar!!! Taking a cue from G.U. Pope’s atrocious introduction to Thirukkural, a fanatical evangelist called Deivanayagam, supported by the Madras Catholic Diocese, has been on a relentless campaign that, “Thiruvalluvar was a disciple of St. Thomas and most of the teachings in Thirukkural have been either taken from Bible or from the preaching of St. Thomas.”

The Roman Catholic Dioceses of Kerala and Tamil Nadu had announced in 2008 that they would be producing a film on the life and times of St. Thomas, wherein they would depict Thiruvalluvar as a disciple of St. Thomas. 


Later, as confirmation of the unholy Christian-Dravidian nexus, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi graced the occasion of the said film’s inaugural function as Chief Guest. Though himself an expert on the Thirukkural, the Chief Minister chose to participate in the inauguration of a film falsely portraying Thiruvalluvar as a disciple of St. Thomas, a complete concoction and an audacious expression of extremist evangelism.

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(To be continued…)

The writer is a freelancer

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