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ARYAN


I surmised that Aryan would be a suitable word for entry into the Dictionary of Racial Language because of its racial implications stemming from World War II and Nazism. What I discovered through my research is that the origin of Aryan did not begin with Hitler, Nazism or even relate to the Nordics, as I originally thought. Instead, what I discovered is that Aryan, as its’ definition will demonstrate, is the antithesis of Hitler’s so called perfect race.

"It is one of the ironies of history that Aryan, a word nowadays referring to the blond-haired, blue-eyed physical ideal of Nazi Germany, originally referred to a people who looked vastly different. Its history starts with the ancient Indo-Iranians, Indo-European peoples who inhabited parts of what are now Iran, Afghanistan, and India" (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.)

From the American Heritage Dictionary—Fourth Edition:

Aryan—A member of the people who spoke the parent language of the Indo-European languages.

Of course this definition is very broad and not well described but the Oxford English Dictionary gives a much more in-depth definition along with a very useful etymology.

There are various ways of spelling Aryan from the numerous languages that encompass Aryan. Of those spellings the most repetitive were Arian (plural—Arianes or Aryas.)

1601—Holland’s Pliny—The region of the Arianes, all scorched and senged with the parching heate of the Sunne. (Given the latitude of the region described it would be physically impossible for this region to be Scandinavian/Nordic.)

1794—Sir W. Jones’ Ordin—All those tribes of men, who sprang from the mouth, the arm, the thigh and the foot of Brahma (Hinduism, the creator God—chief member if the triad also including Vishnu and Shiva) but who became outcasts by having neglected their duties are called Dasyus, or plunderers, whether they speak the language of the Mlechch’has or that of the Aryas.

1839—Based on historical evidence, ancient Indian and Iranian members of families called themselves Aryan. Applied to the family of languages, which include Sanskrit (ancient Indic language that is the language of Hinduism and the classical language of India), Zend, Persian, Greek, Latin, Celtic, Teutonic and Slavonic. Used prominently to distinguish Aryan languages from non-Aryan languages of India.

1851—In an idea current in the 19th century of an Aryan race corresponding to a definite Aryan language was taken up by nationalistic historical and romantic writers. Aryan was given significant importance by de Gobineau who linked it with the theory of the essential inferiority of certain races.

1878—That all the other Aryan vernaculars are variants of Hindi, caused by the influence of non-Aryan communities. Modern Languages E. Indies—The Aryans advanced down the basins of the Indus (river of South Central Asia flowing through North India and Pakistan to the Arabian Sea. Its valley was the site of a civilization from 2500-1500 B.C.) and the Ganges (river of North India and Bangladesh flowing to the Bay of Bengal).

1911—H.S. Chamberlain’s Foundations 19th Century—Anthropologists, ethnographers and even historians, theologians, philologists and legal authorities find the idea "Aryan" more and more unavoidable…though it were proved that there never was an Aryan race in the past, yet we desire in the future that there may be one.

1916—Madison Grant’s Passing of a Great Race—The name ‘Aryan race’ must also be frankly discarded as a term of racial significance.

1939—J.S. Huxley’s ‘Race’ in Europe—Biologically it is almost against the law to speak of a "Jewish race" as of an "Aryan race."

1932—In Nazism and neo-Nazism, a non-Jewish Caucasian, especially one of Nordic type, supposed to be part of a master race. Reintroduced under the Nazi regime (1933-1945) applied to inhabitants of Germany of non-Jewish extraction.

1933—W. Norman Brown’s The Swastika—A study of the nazi claims of its Aryan Origin. Hitler’s Mein Kampf—describes the exact opposite of Aryan as a Jew.

1940War Illustrator—The Founder of the Christian faith was of Aryan not Jewish descent.

With this background information and usage of the word Aryan, seen as early as 1601, it is difficult to see the understanding of the word Aryan in the propaganda spewed by Hitler and his Nazi party. Rather, it is quite humorous that such a so-called brilliant orator could not recognize such a critical part of the definition of the very word he used to describe a perfect race. Although Aryan was regionalized, by its first definition, Hitler decidedly must have settled upon the 1851 definition, which equates Aryan with the inferiority of certain races.

How Hitler redefined Aryan to mean a race consisting of the Nordic people as perfect, can never be known, but the implications of the word Aryan include the irony that its meaning has been distorted and an example of how language can be twisted to mean something for which it was not intended.

Saif Fazel

Library:

Saif Fazel

Author:

Kim Pearson











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