Monday, January 02, 2017

INDIA AND AFRICA: THROUGH NEW PRISMS


Almost half a century before Micheal Cremo’s trilogy, Forbidden Archaelogy, The Hidden History of the Human Race and Human Devolution challenged Darwin's theory of human evolution, Senegal’s Dr. Leopold Senghor held that man evolved from animal almost 2.5 million years ago; pinpointing South India as the first host of a civilization, where Man evolved into himself, and then Africa.

Civilization in Africa reached its zenith in Egypt. Building upon historical research identifying ancient Egypt with black Africa, he argued that sub-Saharan Africa and Europe are in fact part of the same cultural continuum; in the fifth century BC, the torch was passed from Egypt to Classical Greece; then through Rome to the European colonial powers of the modern age.  Meanwhile India conserved her civilization through to the present times.

Senghor held that the Dravidian and Sumerian (precursor of Mesopotamia) languages are clearly related to each other, indicating early contact and influences.      Hinduism was a large and perfect symbiosis, a fusion of the civilizations then prevalent here, led by the Dravidians and Aryans; with the Brahma, Vishnu, Shiv trilogy in which Brahma was an abstract idea of Albo-European influences, while Vishnu and Shiv were “profound realities of the Indian sub continent.”

Coming to Senegal, groundnut country in the hump of Africa’s West, Senghor saw a unique rhythm between India and his country.  “Madras and Dakor (capital of Senegal) are on the same latitude,” he pointed to certain similarities:  similar people with the same brown skin; the physical features of the cows, camels and elephants in his country were identical to that in India, whereas the African elephant had larger ears.  Mango, our favorite fruit, he claimed was native to Senegal and may have come from there.

The brown complexioned women of North Senegal resemble Indian women. The only difference is that Indian women have flat hair and Senegalese ladies have straight hair.
The music and arts of Africa and India are based on symbolic images, rhythm and melody.   Dravidian, Aryan and Senegalese poetry had impressive passion and sentiment in common; while African music had its own unique beats, Indian music was more Asiatic in feel.  (Recall the Dravid feel of the female sculptures found in Harappan digs).

On a recent trip, I discovered a book of candid conversations by a Delhi journalist, Ms. K P Bhanumati.  Particularly interesting were the articulations of this African scholar, Dr. Leopold Senghor, the first President of Senegal; reputed as one of the most important African intellectuals of the 20th century, he first enunciated the early 1900s’ concept of “Negritude” to promote African culture against the institutionalized racism in Western values, especially the literary and artistic black expressions in a hostile society.  Rather than anti-white racism, Negritude emphasized the importance of dialogue and exchange among different cultures, European, African, Arab, etc. His avoidance of Marxism and anti–colonialism is seen as a contributing factor in Senegal’s political stability, that is unusual for Africa.


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