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Aryans and British India$
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Thomas Trautmann

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780520205468

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520205468.001.0001

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The Racial Theory of Indian Civilization

The Racial Theory of Indian Civilization

(p.190) Chapter 7 The Racial Theory of Indian Civilization
Aryans and British India

Thomas R. Trautmann

University of California Press

This chapter explores the concept of the so-called racial theory of Indian civilization. It explains that the abrupt decoupling of race and language was a reaction against the Aryan idea, particularly against the assertion that Indians were kin to Europeans, and that it attacked the authority of the comparative philologists and Sanskritists. The deepening time of race formation acted to solidify the idea of race as an entity independent of language. In addition, the acceptance of the new Darwinian reading of the history of biological forms invalidated claims that India's ancient literature was a testament of the primitive state.

Keywords:   racial theory, Indian civilization, race and language, Aryan idea, comparative philologists, Sanskritists, ancient literature

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