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Prof. Mona Bhan Cited in Indian Magazine

August 8, 2011

90730August 8, 2011, Greencastle, Ind. — "Nobody knows of their real origin or if they are indeed Aryans. But, regarded as long-lost members of a purebred 'Master Race' settled in the Himalayas, Brokpas attract curious visitors," begins a story in OPEN, a weekly magazine published in India. Shubhangi Swarup writes, "Typecasting Brokpas as 'exotic' has been so over­done, however, that even Mona Bhan, an anthropol­ogist studying the community for almost a decade, is weary of speaking about them. 'I have been quot­ed out of context by journalists and filmmakers who visit Brokpa villages with the sole purpose of realising their own fantasies of a pure Aryan race,' says the assistant professor of anthropology at DePauw University, Indiana, U.S., 'a fantasy deeply rooted in our persistent yet unspoken obsession with race as a marker of identity and otherness.' "

The text adds, "The theory claiming Brokpas to be Aryans, says Bhan, is a legacy of the British, who were deeply invested in ra­cial categorisation for purposes of exer­cising authority, not just marking iden­tity. She is currently writing a book that explicitly tackles this complex relation­ship between race and colonial govern­ance."

"Several Company Orientalists, scholars who worked for the colonial en­terprise, played an instrumental role in popularising perceptions of Aryanism in the Northwestern Himalayas," Dr. Bhan tells the publication. "They based it on an ill-conceived framework that conflated racial frame­works of identity with the region’s ‘dis­tinctive’ linguistic features. 61442Since cer­tain languages spoken in the Northwestern Himalayas were thought to share similarities with other Indo-Aryan languages, the speakers of these languages were also categorised as Aryans."

The complete piece is available online at the magazine's website.

Learn more about Professor Bhan in this previous article.

Source: OPEN

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