What Charles is pointing out is that the actual Aryan or Indo-Iranian peoples migrated into northern India and their descendants are now the dominant ethnic and linguistic group there; thus, as a presumably Indian Sikh, Khan would be Aryan in a legitimate ethnic or linguistic sense, as opposed to the completely BS sense in which the Nazis used it.
Yeah, I think Khan is a character who works on multiple levels in "Space Seed."
He's a character who nicely rebukes Nazism because he's the literal Superman who actually is smarter, stronger, and more intelligent than regular humans--but he's distinctly not blonde haired-blue eyed Nazi analog. Likewise, as a superhuman we get our crew interacting with them and viewing the condescension from the other side. The fact that Khan is an actual Aryan versus Hitler's awful pseudo-science idea of one just is the icing on the cake.
For me, the message of Space Seed is, "even if the superman exists, he's not any more qualified to rule or oppress us by virtue of his superiority." It's one of my problems with Dear Doctor where the question is supporting superior life-forms at the expense of the inferior. If that were true, **** those whales. Instead, Star Trek says whales are awesome!
Star Trek is about all manner of life having value. It's why I like the fact Vulcans are objectively smarter *AND* stronger than humans.
It also makes a nice statement about khan whose entire justification in ST:ID is that he's superior to everyone around him by virtue of being a savage superman. Then it all falls apart because Spock is stronger and smarter (AND more savage) than Khan. Which means his entire worldview is worthless. Spock doesn't NEED to dominate the weak and, in fact, takes orders from Kirk.
You could well be right. After all, Harrison/Khan wasn't the real terrorist here; Marcus was. At least until the climax, he was a relatively sympathetic antagonist, acting to defend his people from the real monster, Marcus, who was trying to use them to start a war. That could've been a nice way of subverting terrorist stereotypes -- to show us a dark-skinned guy who seems to be a terrorist and then turn it around. Although that would've worked better if they'd left out the massive urban destruction in the climax -- but then, they should've done so anyway, because it really didn't contribute anything to the story.
In a more typical movie, Kirk would track down Khan and proceed to team-up with him against Marcus. I actually think I prefer the subversion, though. Khan, in another movie, would just be your typical "Jack Bauer" hero who is turning against his evil superiors. Instead, Kirk doesn't care about the big picture at all. He's burning with rage over the death of Pike, who is collateral damage to Khan's plan. A nobody who is Kirk's everybody.
It was a nice deconstruction.
Actually, aside from the gratuitous death-scene references, I didn't feel it was a remake of TWOK in any way. On the contrary, I felt it was a wholly new take on Khan and (casting aside) a much better Khan story than TWOK gave us. I mean, TWOK pretty much ignored everything that defined Khan as an interesting antagonist and reduced him to a cookie-cutter revenge-obsessed maniac. This movie used Khan's intelligence, his cunning, his compassion and loyalty to his fellow Augments, and the potentials of his nature and backstory in ways that TWOK didn't even try to do. And it actually let Khan interact closely with Kirk and establish an onscreen relationship with him, rather than going the whole movie without ever letting the hero and villain meet face-to-face. That's the whole reason I'm okay with the villain being Khan after hoping for years that it wouldn't be.
I don't quite agree with the statement about Khan in the TWOK. Khan's revenge was everything to him by that point but I felt he was still an extremely nuanced character. His intelligence, superiority, and ruthlessness were all realized for me--as was I think his sublimated guilt over leading his crew to their destruction. Also, TWOK remembers something that I think every rip-off of it has forgotten--that the individuals seeking revenge should actually have a reason to be mad at the protagonists. ST(2009) comes closest and even it is pretty far-off.
I generally agree with you, though, and think Khan was extremely well-utilized in the film. I'd love to see novels detailing more of this version of Khan as well as their relationship with Admiral Marcus.