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Hawaiki: The Original Home of the Maori; with a Sketch of Polynesian History

Chapter V. The Gangetic Race

page 66

Chapter V. The Gangetic Race.

In various places in his voluminous papers Mr. J. R. Logan thus refers to the Gangetic Race that occupied a considerable portion of India prior to the intrusion of the later Aryan race:—

Ethnology of the Indo-Pacific Islands, by J. R. Logan, part ii., p. 1.—"I was especially struck with the constantly accumulating evidence of the derivation of the leading races of the islands (Indonesia) from Ultraindia and India, and was led to the conclusion that the basin of the Ganges and a large portion of Ultraindia were occupied by tribes akin to the Malayan-Polynesians* before the movement of the Aryan or Indo-Germanic race into India. The combined and consistent evidence of physical conformation, language and customs placed this beyond doubt."

Page 29.—"But the adoption of the structure of a foreign tongue does not necessarily imply an abandonment of the native vocabulary. It is probable that intruding grammars have been more often and more fully adopted than intruding glossaries. The barbarous or inferior native tribes acquire the idiom of a civilized or dominant race of intruders, and

* I infer that Logan here refers to the Polynesians still remaining in Malaysia (or Indonesia), not that he considers the Malay to be connected with the Polynesians,—his subsequent remarks contradict the latter idea.

page 67this idiom gradually supplants their own, but the old vocabularies are often largely preserved by them and adopted by the obtrusive race. Thus it has been in the progress of the great formations of Asianesia (or Indonesia). The Papuans of the Viti (or Fiji) Archipelago have adopted the idiom of the intrusive Polynesians, but they have retained their native vocabularies to a great extent. So it must have been when the Iranian formation was diffused abroad. The numerous vocabularies of the Indo-European nations cannot have been derived from one mother tongue."

Page 51.—"The Western Burmans more often resemble the handsomer Asianesian (Indonesian) tribes found in Borneo, some parts of East Indonesia, and Polynesia.Similar tribes appear to have preceded the Malayan race in Sumatra,* for they have left their impress, to a certain extent, on the Nias and some of the Batto tribes. Even in the Peninsula, neater, lighter and handsomer men than the ordinary Malay are not infrequent amongst some of the Binua tribes.

Journal Indian Archipelago, 1852-3, p. 34.—" Whatever may be the genealogy of the Indo-Germanic formation (Aryans, etc.) it must undoubtedly have been very ancient at the period it began to spread eastward and westward. Sanskrit itself is not the parent, but the sister of the other ancient members of the family (of languages) and the great distance between Sanskrit and all other non-Iranian languages of Western Asia, makes it evident that the formation must have existed as a distinct one from the Semitic, Scythic, and Tibetan, long before the Aryan

* As I write I have before me a picture of a woman of Mantawai, an island off the coast of Sumatra. If the name of her abode had not been given, she would certainly be set down as a Polynesian, even to the dress and mode of carrying a basket.

page 68races occupied N.W. India, while it is also certain that the Semitic variety of the same race, whether it be, or be not, the parent of the Iranian—must have been located in Western Asia from a still more remote period. The extreme antiquity of the Semitico-Iranian race in this province is established by its strongly distinctive physical characters, when compared with the purer African, Scythic and Dravidian; by the double evidence of the Semitic and Indo-Germanic linguistic formations; by the absence of this race and their formations (of language) in all other parts of the world, save in those in which they are intrusive; and by their immemorial occupation of the impregnable mountain homes of the Caucasians and the ranges to the eastward as far as the Hindoo-Kush. The question necessarily arises, could such a race have remained for thousands of years interposed between Africa and India without exercising any influence on the races and languages of these regions? It may be considered as established by a concurrence of physical, linguistic, artistic, and historical evidence that this race became predominant in the basin of the Nile at least four or five chiliads before the Christian era. It is not probable that the Aryans became predominant in the basin of the Ganges more than 2000 B.C. But it is equally improbable that a race which gave civilization and a ruling caste to Egypt 2000 to 3000 years previously, did not begin to affect the ethnology of India until this period. The preservation of such a race during so long a period of a rigid exclusion would be an ethnic anomaly."
Page 37.—"The Aryan race appears to have begun to spread from the western side of the Jumna into the basin of the Ganges probably less than 4000 years ago. * * It is probable that the native races (i.e., Gangetic) were here—at an early period of the Aryan era—reduced to page 69a helot state, or driven in among the aborigines on the north and south of the valley. In the lower part of the valley (Ganges) progress appears to have been slow and partial. They (the Aryans) did not completely and permanently subjugate the native tribes, or dislodge them. They made conquests and founded kingdoms, but the mass of the population remained non-Aryan, and the Aryan dynasties were frequently supplanted by native ones. The Aryan princes do not appear to have been able to maintain their power in Behar and Bengal. In the fourth century B.C. the celebrated Chandragupta (from 315 to 391 B.C.) a Sudra (i.e. one of the native non-Aryan races) became King of Magadha, and no purely Aryan dynasty was ever re-established. Chandragupta and his successors were surnamed Maurya* from his mother Mura, but the name was probably a tribal one. It is still found as an ethnic and geographical name in the adjacent Himalayas (Murang Murmi) * * But the priests, the religion, the civilization and the literature of the Aryans retained their power. The native languages were deeply Aryanised and the physical character of the population was greatly modified. * * Kocch, Bodo, and other purer remnants of the old race (i.e. Gangetic) are evidently in part, and in some of them in a great degree, indebted for the improvement in their physical type, when compared with the Tibetan and Chinese to the fact of their having been for more than 3000 years in contact with Aryans and Aryanised Indians although it is probable they had assumed their distinctive character at a much

* This word Maurya, has been used by some writers as asynonym for Maori. But those who think so have first to show that Maori was a racial name for the whole of the Polynesians. As a matter of fact it is only New Zealanders and Rarotongans who use the word as descriptive of themselves.

page 70earlier period. Tibetans may have spread into some parts of the Himalayas and directly or indirectly influenced the native Gangetic race before the Aryans advanced into India. * * From the remotest period, the Gangetic race must have influenced or been influenced by the Ultraindian (i.e. N.E. and E. of India) because there are no natural barriers, like the Himalayas between them."

"A survey of the character and distribution of the Gangetic, Ultraindian, and Asianesian (Indonesian, as we now call it) peoples, renders it certain that the same Himalayo-Polynesian race was at one time spread over the Gangetic basin and Ultraindia. As this race is allied to the Chinese and Tibetan, it is probable that it originally spread from Ultraindia into N.E. India, I will afterwards show reasons for believing that the race itself is a modified one."

"From its position and character India must have been peopled from the earliest Asiatic era. As soon as any of the adjacent countries were first occupied it could not fail to receive a population from the north. While navigation remained in its infancy, many accidental immigrants by sea would be absorbed into the mass of the native population and produce no perceptible effect on its physical character. But from the time when the adjacent shores of the Indian Ocean began to be the seats of commercial and maritime nations, the Peninsula must have been exposed to the regular influx of foreign traders and adventurers. From the antiquity of the Egyptian civilization, it is probable that the earliest commercial visitors were Africans (? not necessarily negros) from Eastern Africa and Southern Arabia. It is certain that the subsequent Semitic navigators of the latter country, at an early date established that intercourse with India which they have maintained to the page 71present day. The trade between India and the west appears to have been entirely in their hands for about 3000 years. During this period the Arab navigators not only remained for some months in Indian ports, between the outward and homeward voyages, but many settled in them as merchants."

"The influence of African and Arabic blood must have preceded that of Aryan in the Peninsula. In the times of Menu, perhaps 1000 years B.C., the Aryans had not spread as conquerors into the Peninsula. But they had begun to pass into it as settlers and propagandists at an earlier period."

Page 42.—"I conclude that the basis of the present population of the Dekhan was of an African character and that it was partially improved by Turanians or Irano-Turanians and Semitico-Turanians from the N.W., and afterwards by the more advanced N.E. African and Semitic settlers (i.e. Coasts of the Red Sea, etc.). * * The E. African tribes of the Red Sea and for some distance to the southwards as well as the S. Arabian, must, at a very archaic period, have been intimately connected with the southern and original seat of Egyptian development. It may, therefore, be considered as in a high degree probable that the pre-Aryan civilization of Southern India had a partially Egyptian character and that the Himyarites and their maritime precursors on the coasts of the Indian Ocean, whether Semitic or African, carried the influence of this Civilization to India."

Page 54.—"The Ultraindian races in their fundamental" characters, physical and mental, and in all their social and national developments, from the lowest or most barbarous stages in which any of their tribes are now extant, to the page 72highest civilization which they have obtained in Burma, Pegu, Siam, and Kamboja, are intimately connected with the Oceanic races. The tribes of the Niha-Polynesian family, who appear to have preceded those of the Malayan, resemble the finer type of the Mons, Burmans, and the allied Indian and Himalayan tribes. The Malayan family approximates closely to the ruder or more purely Mongolian type of Ultraindia. The identity in person and character (of the Niha-Polynesian) is accompanied by a close agreement in habits, customs, institutions and arts, so as to place beyond doubt, that the lank-haired population of the islands (Oceania) has been received from the Gangetic and Ultra-indian races. The influx of this population closed the long era of Papuan predominance and gave rise to the new or modified forms of language which now prevails. The ethnic distance between the Polynesians and the Javans or the Mons, and the mere language and geographical position of the former, attest the great antiquity of the period when the Ultraindian tribes began to settle in Indonesia."

Such in brief are J. R. Logan's ideas as to the ancient Gangetic-Polynesian race, and his remarks as to the admixture of races from very early times, seem to offer an explanation of many peculiarities that have been observed in the Polynesian race as we know it. The influence of the Ancient Egyptian and Semitic civilizations on the race during the period it occupied India are apparent at this day—not so much of the former, but more particularly of the Semitic—which would seem to indicate that the ethnic connection of the Semitic race was later in time and of longer duration. It has frequently been pointed out that the Egyptian sun-god Ra finds an equivalent in Polynesian in the name—Ra—for the sun; page 73whilst there are indications that in ancient days the cult of the sun prevailed to a certain extent. But so ancient is it, and so little known about it, that it seems never to have prevailed to any large extent—that this cult in fact was learned from some outside race influencing the more ancient cult of Rangi and Papa—the Heaven and Earth cult, traces of which are found in the most ancient of races.* The influence of a Semitic connection, on the Polynesians, is very obvious to anyone who will study the language and the customs. Nearly all those who have dealt with the grammars of the various dialects of Polynesia have been struck with the many similarities in structure to be found between them and Semitic forms, but perhaps Dr. A. Macdonald of the New Hebrides has shown this most clearly in his papers published in the "Journal of the Polynesian Society." But the number of Semitic customs to be found prevailing among the Polynesians, is, perhaps, more striking than the lingual connection. The Rev. R. Taylor in his "Te Ika-a-Maui" mentions many of these, and his list might be very considerably augmented.

* A possible connection between the Egyptian God Horus may be suggested in the Polynesian (Maori) name Horu, for clay coloured by, and impregnated by iron. "L'Anthropologie," August 1891, says, "There is no doubt that in certain myths of Egypt, there is a connection between Horus and iron.

As a suggestion to Philologists I offer the following: Tāne, was probably at one time the principal god of the Polynesians, superseded, with some branches, at a later date by Tangaroa, There is a strong accent on the letter "a" of Tāne, denoting that a consonant has been dropped, or that it is a compound word with a prefix Ta. The word would then become Ta-ane. Now "n" and "1" are transposable letters in many languages, of which numerous illustrations from the Polynesian language might be adduced. Therefore, the root word may be "Ale," the Hebrew for the oak, and "Ta" is god, in more than one language. With the Maoris Tane is essentially the god of trees and all matters connected with wood work. Hence it may be, that the very ancient tree worship—of which there are evident signs in Maori mythology—finds a lingering home in the word Tāne. Compare also the Ninē belief of the origin of mankind from a tree—"Journal Polynesian Society;" Vol. xi., p. 203. If this is so, it shows a Semitic connection.

page 74

Of the other ethnic element mentioned by Logan, the Sanskrit speaking Aryan, it seems now quite clear from the researches of Tregear, Dr. John Fraser, and Fornander* (not to mention European writers) that that language has largely influenced Polynesian. So much does this appear to be the case, that it cannot be accounted for unless we allow of the lengthy sojourn of the two peoples in close proximity with a constant communication and probable intermarriage, as indicated in Logan's remarks on the Gangetic race.

Logan seems to fix the date of the incursion of the Sanskrit speaking race into India as between 4000-2000 B.C. General Forlong ("Short Studies in the Science of Comparative Religions," 1897) a much later writer than Logan, and, therefore, having access to the latest information, assigns the following dates to events in India and Indonesia which will be useful for reference later on:—

* For the first, see his numerous papers published in the "Trans: and Proc: New Zealand Institute," and "Journal Polynesian Society." Dr. Fraser's papers are also to be found in the latter publication, whilst Fornander's third volume of his "Polynesian Race," is devoted entirely to this subject.

The Aryans beginning to appear north of Kakasia2200 B.C.
The Indo-Aryans in the Panjab1080 "
The Skuthi or Sacoe from Oxiana invade N.W. India950 "
The Aryans begin to settle in Lower Panjab850 "page 75
The Aryans reached Mid-Ganges800 "
The Aryans moving down the Granges620 "
Sanskrit ceased to be spoken500 "
Gotama (the Buddhist) born 557 "477 "
Time of great disturbances in India500-400 "
The Chinese heard of Indian Foreigners south of the Annam Peninsula460 "
Probable date of the Phoenician inscription South Sumatra450 "
Javan traditions say Java uninhabited, but cared for by Vishnus400 "
Magadha empire founded in India325 "
Nearchus supposed to have sailed to Sumatra323 "
Javan traditions state that about this time Arishtan Shar led to the Archipelago from N.W. India 20,000 families most of whom dispersed en route, probably in Malabar, Maladiva and Malagassar (Madagascar)300 "
A second Indian invasion of Java from the Kling coast of 20,000 families, who established Vishnuism290 "
Buddhism had reached the Indian Archipelago223 "
A large body of Desa Sagala from Panjab went to Java200-150 "
Indian Malas, or Malays, Yauvas or Javans, Bali and others, were all over the Peninsula and Archipelago125 "

If the hypothesis is right to the effect that the Polynesians are a branch of the ancient Gangetic race, it is obvious from the above table that they must have had several centuries of communication with the Sanskrit page 76speaking race, from the period when the latter occupied the mid-Ganges in B.C. 800, down to the probable time of the Polynesians leaving India about the fourth or fifth century B.C., which is the date we arrived at by aid of the Rarotonga traditions.

It is highly probable that some remains of the Polynesian Race may still be traced in parts of India that have not been so much influenced by the later Aryan and other ethnic waves. Indeed a long correspondence between the late S. H. Peal, F.R.G.S. of Assam and myself of some years ago, seems to prove that the tribes occupying the hill country of Eastern India have many Polynesian customs, and moreover a few words of the language seem to have survived the many linguistic invasions they have been subject to. As these pages are being written, I notice in Dr. W. H. Furness's paper on the "Ethnology of the Naga Hills,"* a reference to several customs that are closely allied to Polynesian; the tatoo marks on the face of the Sema division is apparently just like the old Maori moko-kuri, whilst the description of the ceremonies connected with tatooing, and the tools used, might be taken as descriptive of those of the Polynesians to-day. In plate No. xl. of the same volume is shown an old Siamese man, who is to all intents and purposes an old Maori.

* Journal, "Anthropological Institute," Vol. xxxii.