Myth of Aryan Invasion Theory
Aryan Race and Invasion 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 and nationalism have been evolved and fostered over the millenia by India's ancient rishis who at the banks of holy rivers of Saptasindhuand 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, this fact is 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 Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) by quoting scriptural, historical and archaeological evidences, and presenting proper interpretation of Vedic literature.
The Aryan issue is quite controversial and has been the focus of historians, archaeologists, Indologists, and sociologists for over a century. AIT is merely a proposed 'theory', and not a factual event. And theories keep modifying, are discredited, nay even rejected with the emergence of new knowledge and new data. 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 Arya (Hindu) society has looked upon the Vedas as the fountain-head of all knowledge: spiritual and secular, and the mainstay of Arya (Hindu) culture, heritage and its existence. Never our historical or religious records have questioned this fact. Even western and far eastern travellers who have documented their experiences during their prolonged stay and sojourn in India have testified the importance of Vedic literature and its indigenous origin. 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.
1. Major Flaws in Aryan Invasion Theory
A major flaw of the invasion theory was that it had no explanation for why the Vedic literature that was assumed to go back into the second millennium BC had no reference to any region outside of India. Also the astronomical references in the Rig Veda allude to events in the third millennium BC and even earlier, indicating origin of Vedic hymns earlier than 3000 BC. If it is assumed that the so-called Aryans invaded the townships in the Harappa valley and destroyed its habitants and their civilization, how come after doing that they did not occupy these towns? The excavations of these sites indicate that the townships were abandoned. And if the Harappan civilization had a Dravidian origin, who were allegedly pushed down to the south by Aryans, how come there is no Aryan - Dravidian divide in the respective literatures and historical traditions. The North and South have never been known to be culturally hostile to each other. Prior to the descent of British on Indian scene, there was a continuous interaction and cultural exchange between the two regions. The Sanskrit language, the so-called Aryan language was the lingua-franca of the entire society for thousands of years. The three greatest figures of later Hinduism - Shankaracharya, Madhavacharya and Ramanujam were Southerners who are universally respected in the North, and who have written commentaries on Vedic scriptures in Sanskrit only for the benefit of the entire population. Even in the ancient times some of the great Sutra authors like Baudhayana and Apastamba were from South. Agastya, a celebrated Vedic rishi from North India, is widely venerated in the South as the one who introduced Vedic learning to the South India. And also was the South India un-inhabitated prior to the pushing of the original population of Indus Valley? If not, who were the original inhabitants of South India, who accepted the newcomers from North without any hostility or fight?
There is enough positive evidence in support of the religious rites of the Harappans being similar to those of the Vedic Aryans. Their religious motifs, deities and sacrificial altars bespeak of Aryan faith, indicating continuity and identity of Vedic culture with the Indus valley civilization.
If the Aryan Hindus were outsiders, why don't they name places outside India as their most holy places? Why should they sing paeans in the praise of India's numerous rivers crisscrossing the entire peninsula, and mountains - repositories of life giving water and natural resources, nay even bestow them a status of goddesses and gods. If Aryans were outsiders why should they consider this land as the 'holy land' and not their original land as the 'holy land' or motherland? For the Muslims, their holy place is Mecca. For the Catholics it is Rome or Jerusalem. For the Hindus, their pilgrim centers range from Kailash in the North, to Rameshwaram in the South; and from Hingalaj (Sindh) in the West to Parusuram Kund (Arunchala Pradesh) in the East. The seven holy cities of Hinduism include Kanchipurum in the south, Dwarka in the west and Ujjain in central India. The twelve jyotirlings include Ramashwaram in Tamil Nadu, Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh, Nashik in Maharashtra, Somnath in Gujarat and Kashi in Uttar Pradesh. All these are located in greater India only. No Hindu from any part of India has felt a stranger in any other part of India when on a pilgrimage. The seven holy rivers in Hinduism, indeed, seem to chart out the map of the holy land. The Sindhu and the Saraswati (now extinct) originating from the Himalayas and move westward and southwards into the western sea; the Ganga and the Yamuna also start in the Himalayas and move eastward into the north-eastern sea; the Narmada starts in central India and the Godavari starts in western India, while the Kaveri winds its way through the south to move into the southern sea. More than a thousand years ago, Adi Shankaracharya, who was born in Kerala, established several mathas (religious and spiritual centers) including at Badrinath in the north (Uttar Pradesh), Puri in the east (Orissa), Dwaraka in the west (Gujarat), and at Shringeri and Kanchi in the south. That is ancient India, that is modern Bharat, and that is Hinduism.
These are some of the obvious serious objections, inconsistencies, and glaring anomalies to which the invasionists have no convincing or plausible explanations which could reconcile the above facts with the Aryan invasion theory and destruction of Indus Valley civilization.
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.
What, really, is Aryan Invasion Theory?: According to this 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 etc.
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. And the evidences AIT advocates present in support of all these wild conjectures can be sumarized as follows:
Evidence for Invasion: Mention of Conflicts in Vedic literature, findings of skeletons at the excavated sites of Mohanjodro and Harappa Evidence for Aryans being Nomadic and Light-skinned: None whatsoever, Pure conjecture except some misinterpretated quotes from Vedas. Evidence for Non-Aryan/Dravidian Nature of Indus civilization: Absence of horse, Siva worshippers, chariots, racial differences, etc. Evidence for proposed date of invasion, 1500 BC: Arbitrary and speculative, in Mesopotamia and Iraq the presence of the people worshipping Vedic gods around 1700BC, Biblical chronology.
Now let us examine the facts about the so-called evidences in support of AIT: 1. 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 and 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. (Max Muller, Biographies of Words and the Home of the Aryas, 1888, pg 120) 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.
So nowhere either in the religious scriptures or by tradition the word Arya denotes a race or a language. There are only four primary races, namely, Caucasian, the Mangolian, the Australians and the Negroid. Both the Aryans and Dravidians are related branches of the Caucasian race generally placed in the same Mediterranean sub-branch. The difference between the so-called Aryans of the north and the Dravidians of the south or other communities of Indian subcontinent is not a racial type. Biologically all are the same Caucasian type, only when closer to the equator the skin gets darker, and under the influence of constant heat the bodily frame tends to get a little smaller. And these differences can not be the basis of two altogether different races. Similar differences one can observe even more distinctly among the people of pure Caucasian white race of Europe. Caucasian can be of any color ranging from pure white to almost pure black, with every shade of brown in between. Similarly, the Mongolian race is not yellow. Many Chinese have skin whiter than many so-called Caucasians.
Further, a recent landmark global study in population genetics by a team of internationally reputed scientists over 50 years (The History and Geography of Human Genes, by Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Paolo Menozzi and Alberto Piazza, Princeton University Press) reveals that the people habitated in the Indian subcontinent and nearby including Europe, all belong to one single race of Caucasion type. According to this study, there is essentially, and has been no difference racially between north Indians and the so-called Dravidian South Indians. The racial composition has remained almost the same for millennia. This study also confirms that there is no race called as an Aryan race.
(Article from V.Thakur, ASI )