By Prof. Dinesh AgrawalPenn State University, USADemise of Aryan Invasion/ Race Theory
Theory is not a subject of academic interest only, rather it conditions our perception of India's historical evolution, the sources of her ancient glorious heritage, and indigenous socio-economic-political institutions which have been developed over the millennia. Indian culture
have been evolved and fostered over the millenia by India's ancient rishis who at the banks of holy rivers of Saptasindhu and Saraswati had composed the Vedic literature - the very foundation of Indian civilization, and realized the eternal truths about the Creator, His creation, and means to preserve it. These pioneers of the ancient Vedic culture were indigenous people of mother India.
These facts are mendaciously denied by the Aryan Invasion theory, which professes their foreign origin, and thereby challenges the very raison d'etre of Indian culture and nationhood. In this article an attempt has been made to expose the myth of the (AIT
) Aryan Invasion Theory (propagated by the west) by quoting scriptural, historical and archaeological evidences, and presenting proper interpretation of Vedic literature.
Now with the emergence of new information in last couple of decades, and an objective analysis of the archaeological data and scriptures, the validity of AIT is seriously challenged by scholars, and by many is outrightly discarded. The most weird aspect of the AIT is that it has its origin not in any Indian records but in European politics and German nationalism of 19th century. No where in any of the ancient Indian scriptures or epics or Puranas, etc. is there any mention of Aryan migration or invasion or Aryan race.
In the last couple of decades, the discovery of the lost track of the Rig Vedic river Saraswati, the excavation of a chain of Harappan sites from Ropar in the Punjab to Lothal and Dhaulavira in Gujarat all along this lost track, the discovery of the archaeological remains of Vedis (alters) and Yupas connected with Vedic Yajnas (sacrifices) at Harrapan sites like Kalibangan, decipherment of the Harappan/Indus script by many scholars as a language belonging to Vedic Sanskrit family, the view of the archaeologists like Prof. Dales, Prof. Allchin etc. that the end of the Harappan civilization came not because of the so called Aryan invasion but as a result of a series of floods, the discovery of the lost Dwarka city beneath the sea water near Gujarat coast and its similarity with Harappan civilization, and an objective, accurate and contextual interpretation of Vedas indicate convincingly towards the full identity of the Harappan/Indus civilization with post Vedic civilization, and demand a re-examination of the entire gamut of Aryan Race/Invasion Theories.
For thousands of years the Hindu society has looked upon the Vedas as the fountain-head of all knowledge: spiritual and secular, and the mainstay of Hindu culture, heritage and its existence. Never our historical or religious records have questioned this fact. Even western and far eastern travelers who have documented their experiences during their prolonged stay and sojourn in India have testified the importance of Vedic literature and its indigenous origin. And now, suddenly, in the last century or so, these the so-called European scholars are telling that the Vedas do not belong to Hindus, they were the creation of a barbaric horde of nomadic tribes descended upon north India and destroyed an advanced indigenous civilization. They even suggest that the Sanskrit language is of non-Indian origin. This is all absurd, preposterous, and defies the commonsense.A nomadic, barbaric horde of invaders cannot from any stretch of imagination produce the kind of sublime wisdom, pure and pristine spiritual experiences of the highest order, a universal philosophy of religious tolerance and harmony for the entire mankind, one finds in the Vedic literature.Origin of Aryan Race Theory:
Max Muller, a renowned Indologist from Germany, is credited with the popularization of the Aryan racial theory in the middle of 19th century. Though later on when Muller's reputation as a Sanskrit scholar was getting damaged, and he was challenged by his peers, since nowhere in the Sanskrit literature, the term Arya denoted a racial people, he recanted and pronounced that Aryan meant only a linguistic family and never applied to a race. But the damage was already done. The German and French political and nationalist groups exploited this racial phenomenon to propagate the supremacy of an assumed Aryan race of white people, which Hitler used to its extreme absurdities for his political hegemony and his barbaric crusade to terrorize Jews and other societies. This culminated in the holocaust of millions of innocent people.
According to the AIT theory, northern India was invaded
and conquered by nomadic, light-skinned race
of a people called 'aryans'
who supposedly descended from central Asia
(or some unknown land?) around 1500 BC, and destroyed
an earlier more advanced civilization of the people habitated in the Indus Valley, and then imposed upon them their culture and language. These Indus Valley people were supposed to be either Dravidian
, or Austrics
or now--days' Shudra class
The main elements on which the entire structure of AIT has been built are: Arya is a racial group, their invasion, they were nomadic, light-skinned, their original home was outside India, their invasion occurred around 1500 BC, they destroyed an advanced civilization of Indus valley, etc.Real Meaning of the Word 'ARYA'
In 1853, Max Muller introduced the word 'Arya' into the English and European usage as applying to a racial and linguistic group when propounding the Aryan Racial theory. However, in 1888, he himself refuted his own theory (Biographies of Words and the Home of the Aryas, 1888, pg 120) and he wrote:I have declared again and again that if I say Aryas, I mean neither blood nor bones, nor hair, nor skull; I mean simply those who speak an Aryan language...to me an ethnologist who speaks of Aryan race, Aryan blood, Aryan eyes and hair, is as great a sinner as a linguist who speaks of a dolichocephalic dictionary or a brachycephalic grammar.
In Vedic Literature, the word Arya is nowhere defined in connection with either race or language. Instead it refers to: gentleman, good-natured, righteous person, noble-man, and is often used like 'Sir' or 'Shree' before the name of a person like Aryaputra, Aryakanya, etc.
In Ramayan (Valmiki), Rama is described as an Arya in the following words: a;yR: sv;R-smWcewv: sdwv ip[y;dxRn (Aryah sarvasamashchaivah sadaiv priyadarshan ) :Arya - who cared for the equality to all and was dear to everyone.
Etymologically, according to Max Muller, the word Arya was derived from ar- (ar-), "plough, to cultivate". Therefore, Arya means - "cultivator" agriculturer (civilized sedentary, as opposed to nomads and hunter-gatherers), landlord;
V.S. Apte's Sanskrit-English dictionary relates the word Arya to the root r- (r-) to which a prefix a (a) has been appended to give a negating meaning. And therefore the meaning of Arya is given as "excellent, best", followed by "respectable" and as a noun, "master, lord, worthy, honorable, excellent", upholder of Arya values, and further: teacher, employer, master, father-in-law, friend, Buddha.References in Rigveda
The voluminous references to various wars and conflicts in Rigveda are frequently cited as the proof of an invasion and wars between invading 'white-skinned' Aryans and 'dark-skinned' indigenous people. Well, the so-called conflicts and wars mentioned in the Rigveda can be categorized mainly in the following three types:Conflicts between the forces of nature:
Indra, the Thunder-God of the Rig Veda, occupies a central position in the naturalistic aspects of the Rigvedic religion, since it is he who forces the clouds to part with their all-important wealth, the rain. In this task he is pitted against all sorts of demons and spirits whose main activity is the prevention of rainfall and sunshine. Rain, being the highest wealth, is depicted in terms of more terrestrial forms of wealth, such as cows or soma. The clouds are depicted in terms of their physical appearance: as mountains, as the black abodes of the demons who retain the celestial waters of the heavens (i.e. the rains), or as the black demons themselves. This is in no way be construed as the war between white Aryans and black Dravidians. This is a perverted interpretation from those who have not understood the meaning and purport of the Vedic culture and philosophy. An example of such distorted interpretation is made of the following verse:The body lay in the midst of waters that are neither still nor flowing. The waters press against the secret opening of the Vrtra (the coverer) who lay in deep darkness whose enemy is Indra. Mastered by the enemy, the waters held back like cattle restrained by a trader. Indra crushed the vrtra and broke open the withholding outlet of the river.
(Rig Veda, I.32.10-11)
This verse is a beautiful poetic and metamorphical description of snow-clad dark mountains where the life-sustaining water to feed the rivers flowing in the Aryavarta is held by the hardened ice caps (vrtra demon), and Indra, the rain god by allowing the sun to light its rays on the mountains makes the ice caps break and hence release the water. The invasionists interpret this verse literally on human plane, as the slaying of vrtra, the leader of dark skinned Dravidian people of Indus valley by invading white-skinned Aryan king Indra. This is an absurd and ludicrous interpretation of an obvious conflict between the natural forces.Conflict between Vedic and Iranian people:
Another category of conflicts in the Rigveda represents the genuine conflict between the Vedic people and the Iranians. At one time Iranians and Vedic people formed one society and were living harmoniously in the northern part of India practising Vedic culture, but at some point in the history for some serious philosophical dispute, the society got divided and one section moved to further north-west, now known as Iran. However, the conflict and controversy were continued between the two groups often resulting into even physical fights. The Iranians not only called their God Ahura (Vedic Asura) and their demons Daevas (Vedic Devas), but they also called themselves Dahas and Dahyus (Vedic Dasas, and Dasyus). The oldest Iranian texts, moreover depict the conflicts between the daeva-worshippers and the Dahyus on behalf of the Dahyus, as the Vedic texts depict them on behalf of the Deva-worshippers. Indra, the dominant God of the Rigveda, is represented in the Iranian texts by a demon Indra. What this all indicate that wars or conflicts of this second category are not between Aryans and non-Aryans, but between two estranged groups of the same parent society which got divided by some philosophical dichotomy. Vedas even mention the gods of Dasyus as Arya also.
A well-known global phenomenon to share the natural resources like, water, cattle, vegetation and land, and expand the geographical boundaries of the existing kingdoms. This conflict between various indigenous tribal groups in no way suggests any war or invasion by outsiders on the indigenous people.Excavations at Harappa and Mohenjo-daro
It is argued that in the excavations at Harappa and Mohenjo-daro the human skeletons found do prove that a large scale massacre had taken place at these townships by invading armies of Aryan nomads. Prof. G. F. Dales (Former head of department of South Asean Archaeology and Anthropology, Berkeley University, USA) in his "The Mythical Massacre at Mohenjo-daro, Expedition Vol VI,3: 1964 states the following about this evidence:What of these skeletal remains that have taken on such undeserved importance? Nine years of extensive excavations at Mohenjo-daro (1922-31) - a city of three miles in circuit - yielded the total of some 37 skeletons, or parts thereof, that can be attributed with some certainty to the period of the Indus civilizations. Some of these were found in contorted positions and groupings that suggest anything but orderly burials. Many are either disarticulated or incomplete. They were all found in the area of the Lower Town - probably the residential district. Not a single body was found within the area of the fortified citadel where one could reasonably expect the final defence of this thriving capital city to have been made.
He further questions:
Where are the burned fortresses, the arrow heads, weapons, pieces of armour, the smashed chariots and bodies of in the invaders and defenders? Despite the extensive excavations at the largest Harappan sites, there is not a single bit of evidence that can be brought forth as unconditional proof of an armed conquest and the destruction on the supposed scale of the Aryan invasion.
Colin Renfrew, Prof. of Archeology at Cambridge, in his famous work, "Archeology and Language : The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins",Cambridge Univ. Press, 1988, makes the following comments about the real meaning and interpretation of Rig Vedic hymns:
"Many scholars have pointed out that an enemy quite frequently smitten in these hymns is the Dasyu. The Dasyus have been thought by some commentators to represent the original, non-Vedic-speaking population of the area, expelled by the incursion of the warlike Aryas in their war-chariots. As far as I can see there is nothing in the Hymns of the Rigveda which demonstrates that the Vedic-speaking population were intrusive to the area: this comes rather from a historical assumption about the 'coming' of the Indo-Europeans. It is certainly true that the gods invoked do aid the Aryas by over-throwing forts, but this does not in itself establish that the Aryas had no forts themselves. Nor does the fleetness in battle, provided by horses (who were clearly used primarily for pulling chariots), in itself suggest that the writers of these hymns were nomads. Indeed the chariot is not a vehicle especially associated with nomads. This was clearly a heroic society, glorifying in battle. Some of these hymns, though repetitive, are very beautiful pieces of poetry, and they are not by any means all warlike.”To thee the Mighty One I bring this mighty Hymn,for thy desire hath been gratified by my praise In Indra, yea in him victorious through his strength, the Gods have joyed at feast, and when the Soma flowed. The Seven Rivers bear his glory far and wide, and heaven and sky and earth display his comely form. The Sun and Moon in change alternate run their course that we, 0 Indra, may behold and may have faith . . .
The Rigveda gives no grounds for believing that the Aryas themselves lacked for forts, strongholds and citadels. Recent work on the decline of the Indus Valley civilization shows that it did not have a single, simple cause: certainly there are no grounds for blaming its demise upon invading hordes. This seems instead to have been a system collapse, and local movements of people may have followed it."
M.S. Elphinstone (1841):(first governor of Bombay Presidency, 1819-27) in his magnum opus, History of India, writes:
"It is opposed to their (Hindus) foreign origin, that neither in the Code (of Manu) nor, I believe, in the Vedas, nor in any book that is certainly older than the code, is there any allusion to a prior residence or to a knowledge of more than the name of any country out of India. Even mythology goes no further than the Himalayan chain, in which is fixed the habitation of the gods......To say that it spread from a central point is an unwarranted assumption, and even to analogy; for, emigration and civilization have not spread in a circle, but from east to west. Where, also, could the central point be, from which a language could spread over India, Greece, and Italy and yet leave Chaldea, Syria and Arabia untouched?
There is no reason whatever for thinking that the Hindus ever inhabitated any country but their present one, and as little for denying that they may have done so before the earliest trace of their records or tradition.
So what these eminent scholars have concluded based on the archaeological and literary evidence that there was no invasion by the so-called Aryans, there was no massacre at Harappan and Mohanjo-dara sites, Aryans were indigenous people, and the decline of the Indus valley civilization is due to some natural calamity.Presence of Horse at Indus-Saraswati sites
It is argued that the Aryans were horse riding, used chariots for transport, and since no signs of horse was found at the sites of Harappa and Mohanjo-daro, the habitants of Indus valley cannot be Aryans. Well, this was the case in the 1930 - 40 when the excavation of many sites were not completed. Now numerous excavated sites along Indus valley and along the dried Saraswati river have produced bones of domesticated horses. Dr. S. R. Rao, the world renowned scholar of archeology, informs us that horse bones have been found both from the 'Mature Harappan' and 'Late Harappan' levels. Many other scholars since then have also unearthed numerous bones of horses: both domesticated and combat types. This simply debunks the non-Aryan nature of the habitants of the Indus valley and also identifies the Vedic culture with the Indus valley civilization.Origin of Siva-worship
The advocates of AIT argue that the inhabitants of Indus valley were Siva worshippers and since Siva cult is more prevalent among the South Indian Dravidians, therefore the habitants of Indus valley were Dravidians. But Shiva worship is not alien to Vedic culture, and not confined to South India only. The words Siva and Shambhu are not derived from the Tamil words civa (to redden, to become angry) and cembu (copper, the red metal), but from the Sanskrit roots si (therefore meaning "auspicious, gracious, benevolent, helpful kind") and sam (therefore meaning "being or existing for happiness or welfare, granting or causing happiness, benevolent, helpful, kind"), and the words are used in this sense only, right from their very first occurrence. (Sanskrit-English Dictionary by Sir M. Monier-Williams). Moreover, most important symbols of Shaivites are located in North India: Kashi is the most revered and auspicious seat of Shaivism which is in the north, the traditional holy abode of Shiva is Kailash mountain which is in the far-north, there are passages in Rigvada which mention Siva and Rudra and consider him an important deity. Indra himself is called Shiva several times in Rig Veda (2:20:3, 6:45:17, 8:93:3). So Siva is not a Dravidian god only, and by no means a non-Vedic god. The proponents of AIT also present terra-cotta lumps found in the fire-alters at the Harappan and other sites as an evidence of Shiva linga, implying the Shiva cult was prevalent among the Indus valley people. But these terra-cotta lumps have been proved to be the measures for weighing the commodities by the shopkeepers and merchants. Their weights have been found in perfect integral ratios, in the manner like 1 gm, 2 gms, 5 gms, 10 gms etc. They were not used as the Shiva lingas for worship, but as the weight measurements.Discovery of the Submerged city of Krishna's Dwaraka
The discovery of this city is very significant and a kind of clinching evidence in discarding the Aryan invasion as well as its proposed date of 1500 BC. Its discovery not only establishes the authenticity of Mahabharat war and the main events described in the epic, but clinches the traditional antiquity of Mahabharat and Ramayana periods. So far the AIT advocates used to either dismiss the Mahabharat epic as a fictional work of a highly talented poet or if not fictional would place it around 1000 BC. But the remains of this submerged city along the coast of Gujarat were dated 3000BC to 1500BC. In Mahabharat's Musal Parva, the Dwarka is mentioned as being gradually swallowed by the ocean. Krishna had forewarned the residents of Dwaraka to vacate the city before the sea submerged it. The Sabha Parva gives a detailed account of Krishna's flight from Mathura with his followers to Dwaraka to escape continuous attacks of Jarasandh's on Mathura and save the lives of its subjects. For this reason, Krishna is also known as ranchhor (one who runs away from the battle-field). Dr. S. R. Rao and his team in 1984 - 88 (Marine Archaeology Unit) undertook an extensive search of this city along the coast of Gujarat where the Dwarikadeesh temple stands now, and finally they succeeded in unearthing the ruins of this submerged city off the Gujarat coast.Saraswati River Discovered
It is well known that in the Rig Veda, the honor of the greatest and the holiest of rivers was not bestowed upon the Ganga, but upon Saraswati, now a dry river, but once a mighty flowing river all the way from the Himalayas to the ocean across the Rajasthan desert. The Ganga is mentioned only once while the Saraswati is mentioned at least 60 times. Extensive research by the late Dr. Wakankar has shown that the Saraswati changed her course several times, going completely dry around 1900 BC. The latest satellite data combined with field archaeological studies have shown that the Rig Vedic Saraswati had stopped being a perennial river long before 3000 BC.
As Paul-Henri Francfort of CNRS, Paris recently observed, "...we now know, thanks to the field work of the Indo-French expedition that when the proto-historic people settled in this area, no large river had flowed there for a long time."
The proto-historic people he refers to are the early Harappans of 3000 BC. But satellite 'photos show that a great prehistoric river that was over 7 kilometers wide did indeed flow through the area at one time. This was the Saraswati described in the Rig Veda. Numerous archaeological sites have also been located along the course of this great prehistoric river thereby confirming Vedic accounts. The great Saraswati that flowed "from the mountain to the sea" is now seen to belong to a date long anterior to 3000 BC. This means that the Rig Veda describes the geography of North India long before 3000 BC. All this shows that the Rig Veda must have been in existence no later than 3500 BC. Aryan Invasion of India: The Myth and the Truth By N.S. Rajaram.
A lot of hyms in the Vedas indicate that the composers of the Vedic literature were quite familiar with the Saraswati river, and were inspired by its beauty and its vasteness that they composed several hymns in her praise and glorification. This also inidates that the Vedas are much older than Mahabharat period, which mentions Saraswati as a dying river.New Archaeological findings
Since the first discovery of buried townships of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro on the Ravi and Sindhu rivers in 1922, respectively, numerous other settlements, now number over 2500 stretching from Baluchistan to the Ganga and beyond and down to Tapti valley, covering nearly a million and half square kilometers, have been unearthed by various archaeologists. And, the fact which was not known 70 years ago, but archaeologists now know, is that about 75% of these settlements are concentrated not along the Sindhu or even the Ganga, but along the now dried up Saraswati river. This calamity - the drying up of the Saraswati - and not any invasion was what led to the disruption and abandonment of the settlements along Saraswati river by the people who lived a Vedic life. The drying up of the Saraswati river was a catastrophe of the vast magnitude, which led to a massive outflow of people, especially the elite, went into Iran, Mesopotamia and other neighboring regions. Around the same time (2000-1900 BC), there were constant floods or/and prolonged draughts along the Sindhu river and its tributaries which forced the inhabitants of the Indus valley to move to other safer and greener locations, and hence a slow but continuous migration of these highly civilized and prosperous Vedic people took place. Some of them moved to south east, and some to north west, and even towards European regions. For the next thousand years and more, dynasties and rulers with Indian names appear and disappear all over the West Asia confirming the migration of people from East towards West. There was no destruction of an existing civilization or invasion by any racial nomads of any kind to cause the destruction or abandonment of these settlements.
So, how can all these obvious anomalies and serious flaws be reconciled? By accepting the truth that the so-called Aryans were the original habitants of the townships along the Indus, Ravi, Saraswati and other rivers of the vast northern region of the Indian subcontinent. And no invasion by nomadic hordes from outside India ever occurred and the civilization was not destroyed but the population simply moved to other areas, and developed a new syncretic civilization and culture by mutual interaction and exchange of ideas.