- It was German linguist Max Muller who in the 19th century proposed that 3,000-4,000 years ago an Indo-European (the Aryans) tribe invaded the subcontinent and brought along with it Indo-Aryan religion (Hinduism) , its culture and the caste system. The Aryans purportedly displaced the indigenous Dravidians, pushing them down South. and the imposition of. It proposed that substantial migrations from the Central Asian Steppe occurred between 2000 BCE and 1000 BCE, bringing Indo-European languages into India.
- So far, it has served as the foundation upon which Indian history has been written. Its central premise is comprised of three major components:
- The original inhabitants of India were “dark-skinned” Dravidians who established a peaceful, highly developed urban civilisation known as the Indus Valley Civilization.
- The Indo-Aryans were white-skinned people who spoke Vedic Sanskrit, wrote the Vedas, and enforced Indo-Aryan religion (Hinduism).
- Around 1500 BCE, a nomadic race known as the Indo-Aryans invaded and conquered India from the West. These ‘Aryans / Indo-Europeans were proposed to have a variety of homelands, including Central Asia, Scandinavia, North Germany, Hungary, and Ukraine. They destroyed the ancient Dravidian civilisation, oppressed the locals, and drove them to relocate to the south of India.
- The opposite viewpoint holds that the Indo-Aryan people and their languages originated on the Indian subcontinent, and that the Indus valley civilization was the Vedic culture, not a Dravidian civilization as described in the AIT.
- Archeologists claim that there is no evidence for conflict or invasion, and that the narrative of Aryan migration is also a lie. Rather than collapsing quickly, the Harappan civilisation around the now-defunct Sarasvati river progressively deurbanized owing to dwindling monsoons.
- Critics of AIT point out that the Sarasvati river is referenced frequently in the Rig Veda and is referred to as the “largest of rivers.” This refutes the AIT story that the Rig Veda was written following a putative Aryan invasion/migration about 1,500 BCE, and suggests that it was written closer to 5,000 BCE, when the river was at its peak.
- Extensive archeological evidence suggest that many of the traditions and customs prevalent in the Indus valley civilization, such as Yoga, the use of sindur, the namaste greeting, and so on, refuting the AIT theory that the Indus valley civilization was destroyed and supplanted by a “foreign” Hindu culture and civilization.
- Some genomic investigations have found no major foreign genetic influence in India during the last 10,000 – 15,000 years.
- There is no evidence of any form of large-scale migration in the Harappan culture to support the Aryan invasion.
- The study found no Central Asian Steppe ancestry among the Harappans, indicating that Steppe pastoralists came to India after the Harappan civilisation died out.
- Between 1800 BC and 1600 BC, the indigenous people moved from north to south India, most likely following the fall of the Indus Valley Civilisation. This was about 100 years before the arrival of Arabians and Central Asian Steppe people in India.
- Because the Harappans traded with Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Persian Gulf, and nearly every other country in South Asia, there was going to be population migration, resulting in a mixed genetic past.
- As part of the Rakhigarhi Project, DNA samples from 5000-year-old Harappan bones were found to be identical to current Indians’ DNA, debunking the idea.
Socio political impact of Aryan Invasion Theory
- The most significant socio-political aspect of this idea was that it generated the appearance that North Indians are foreigners and Dravidians are native Indians.
- It also widened the social divide between lower and upper castes, leading to lower caste movements in Western and Southern India during the nineteenth century.
Views by major thinkers and political figures
Why in News:
- The Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur’s 2022 calendar on the theme of “evidence” has caused a controversy for calling the Aryan invasion a myth.
To read about Ancient Dravidian Langiages- https://officerspulse.com/ancestral-dravidian-language/