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Aryans and British India

Thomas Trautmann


“Aryan,” a word that today evokes images of racial hatred and atrocity, was first used by Europeans to suggest bonds of kinship, as this book shows in its far-reaching history of British Orientalism and the ethnology of India. When the historical relationship uniting Sanskrit with the languages of Europe was discovered, it seemed clear that Indians and Britons belonged to the same family. Thus the Indo-European or Aryan idea, based on the principle of linguistic kinship, dominated British ethnological inquiry. In the nineteenth century, however, an emergent biological “race science” attacked t ... More

Keywords: Aryan, racial hatred, bonds of kinship, Sanskrit, linguistic kinship, race science, Orientalism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 1997 Print ISBN-13: 9780520205468
Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012 DOI:10.1525/california/9780520205468.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Thomas Trautmann, author